Neal - Houston-Packer Collection BX9333 .N4 1754 v1

Chap. V. The HISTORY of the PuRttors. rbi becaufe they had been defiled with fuperflition and idolatry; and becaufe r.e n many pretended proteflants placed a kind of holinefs in them. Betides, Ehzaberh,' the wearing them gave countenance to popery, and looked as if we r were fond of being thought a branch of that communion, which we had fo ju(tly renounced. But fuppofe them tobe indifferent, they gave great offence to weak minds, and therefore ought not to be impaled, when therewas no foundation for the ufe of them, in fcripture or primi- time antiquity. Thefe things (fay they) every one fhould endeavour to reform in his place, miners by the word, magi/trates by their authority, according to the word of God, and the people by prayer. There was no difference in points of doftrine, between the puritans and conformifts; fo that if we add but one article more, we have the chief heads of controverfy between the church of England, and the pro- teftant diffenters at this day ; and that is, The natural right that every man has to judge fir himfelf, and make proffon of that religion he ap- prehends moß agreeable to truth, as far as it does not afei the peace and fafety of the government he lives under ; without being determined by the prejudices of education, the laws of the civil magsftrate, or the decrees of councils, churches, or fynods. This principle would effeétnally put an end to all impotitions; and unleffs it be allowed, I am afraid our feparation from the church of Rome can hardly be juftiüed. The Bible, Pays Mr. Chi! lingworth, and that only, is the religion of, proteftants; and every one by making ufe of the helps and afliftances that God has put into his hands, mutt learn and underfland it for himfelf as well as he can. It will appear hereafter, what fort of difcipline thePURITANS would have introduced ; but thefe were the objeétions that hindered their com- pliance with the prefent eftablifhment and for which they were content to fifer the Vs of all things. Thofe who remained within the church, became itinerant preachers, lefturers; or chaplains. The chief leaders of Heads of the the feparation, according to Mr. Fuller, were the reverend Mr. Coleman/paration. Mr. Button, Mr. Halingham, Mr. Benfen, Mr. White, Mr. Rowland, and Mr. Hawkins, all beneficed within the diocefe of London. Thefe had their followers of the laity, who forfook their parifh churches, and af- fembled with the deprived minifters in woods and privatehoufes, to wor- fhipGod without the habits and ceremonies of the church. The queen being informed of their proceedings, tent to her com- mifíoners to take.effeétudl meafures to .keep the laity to their parifh churches, and to -let them know, that if they frequented any feparate conventicles, or broke through the ecclefiaftical laws, they fhould for the $rft offence be deprived of their freedom of the city of Lon.'oh, andafter that, abide what further punithnnent the fhould direft. This was a vaft Vol-. I. Y firetch