PREFACE. iX pious reader. If its length require any apology, the author would only observe, that he hopes no part of it will be found superfluous or uninterest- ing; that he has endeavoured to give a compressed view of the cruel oppressions of the times ; and that it would have been difficult to bring the requisite information into a narrower compass. The work contains an authentic investigation of the progress and imperfect state of the English reformation, and exhibits the genuine principles of protestant and religious liberty, as they were violently opposed by the ruling ecclesiastics. The fundamental principles of the reformation, as the reader will easily perceive, were none other than the grand principles of the first Protestant Non-, conformists. Those reasons which induced the worthy Protestants to seek for the reformation of the church of Rome, constrained the zealous Puritans to labour for the reformation of the church of England. The Puritans, who wished to worship God with greater purity than was allowed and established in the national church,* were the most zealous advocates of the reform- ation; and they used their utmost endeavours to carry on the glorious work towards perfection. They could not, with a good conscience, submit to the superstitious inventions and impositions of men in the worship of God; on which account, they employed their zeal, their labours, and their influence to promote a more .pure reformation. Fuller's Church Hist. b. ix. p. 70.