Brooks - BX9338 .B7 1813 v1

'COLEMAN--AXTON. 151 reformation of the church. He is denominated from this letter a man of good intentions, but of little learning.. Mr. Coleman and his brethren, Messrs. Benson Button and Hallingham, are said to have been more ardently zealous in the cause of the reformation than any others ; and it is observed, that theycondemned the discipline of the church, the calling of the bishops, and the public liturgy, as savour- ing too much of the church of Rome; that they would allow of nothing in the public worship of God, besides what was expressly laid down, in the holy scriptures ; and that though the queen had, commanded them to be laid by the heels, it is incredible how the number of their followers increased in all parts of the kingdom.f WILLIAM AXTON was a truly pious man, a steady non- conformist, and a learned divine. Hewas some years rector of Moreton Corbet in. Shropshire ; + where Sir Robert Corbet, who was his great and worthy friend, protected him for some time from the severities of the prelates.§ Though under the wing of so excellent a patron he found protec- lion only for a season, and was brouglIt into trouble for nonconformity. About the year, 1570, he was cited before Dr. Bentham, bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, when he underwent several examinations for refusing the apparel, the cross in, baptism, and kneeling at the sacrament. Upon his appearance, he debated these points with the bishop and his officers, with great freedom and courage. These ex- aminations, now before me, though at considerable length, are here presented to the curious reader. Mr. Axton being brought before his ecclesiastical judges, the bishop thus addresed him: Bishop. Though we allow you, Mr. Axton. to assign your reasons, you, shall not be unanswered. Therefore set forth your reasons, and we will consider them. Axton. If there be any odds in the disputation, it is ore your side. For you are many, and I am but one, and have no equal judge or moderator; but I am content to set down my reasons, and leave them to God and your own eon- . Strype's Annals, vol. i. p. 568-570, Heylin's Hist. of Pres. p. 257,258. t Mr. Neal, by mistake, says Leicestershire.-Ilist. of Puritans, vol. i. p. 228. § Sir Robert was a constant friend to the persecuted nonconformists, and often sheltered them from the tyrannical oppressions of the bishops.-MS. Chronology, vol. ii. p. 373. (14.)