Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Ejected

On Black Bartholomew's Day, August 24, 1662, approximately 2,000 ministers were ejected from the Church of England for refusing to acede to the terms of the Act of Uniformity. Who were these men who were so ignominiously cast out?

James Hamilton, "Bartholomew's Day, 1662," in Works, Vol. 4, pp. 351-352:

Who were these ministers whom the Church of England thus cast forth from her bosom, and who, for the next six-and-twenty years, were treated, by a profligate court and a haughty hierarchy, as the troublers of the realm, and the offscouring of all things? They included such men as Goodwin and Owen—the two names of renown in Congregational annals, and each of them still standing up gigantic as we look back along the centuries. They included Matthew Poole, that mighty biblical scholar, who, in his five enormous folios, has given the essence of all previous commentators. They included men of massive thought, like Thomas Manton and Joseph Caryl; men of fruitful fancy and entertaining information, like Bridge and Brooks, and Nehemiah Eogers and Fenner, and Adams and Burgess: whose voluminous writings rise from the field of our religious literature like a twin mountain-range—the one set, in their very disintegration, supplying the rich alluvium which covers the vale with corn, and makes it smile —the other rolling down those golden nuggets which have made the fortune of explorers from every sect and region. They included such men as Howe, whose lofty intellect and luminous insight give us new conceptions of the majesty of mind, and whose walk with God, so lowly and so loving, reminds us of the seraphim, attracted towards the Light of lights, but veiling their faces as they approach the overwhelming vision,—such men as Havel, the rapture of whose spirit would have made him touch the earth but lightly, had not his holy benevolence drawn him down into the abodes of his brethren; such men as Alleine, of whom it has been said that, "in fidelity and tenderness, in toils for the salvation of men, in frequent converse with eternal things, he was scarcely inferior to Paul himself, the first of human teachers, the inspired prince of mankind ;"1 such men as Baxter, whose Call to the Unconverted, and Everlasting Rest, still waken echoes in men's hearts, and are still a living presence in the world.

These, and such as these, were the men whom Charles in his perfidy and the bishops in their bigotry cast forth from the Church of England. These, and such as these, were the men, who, yea being yea, and nay being nay, knew nothing of subscription in a sense non-natural, and who, rather than accept a mess of pottage poisoned by falsehood or embittered by self-contempt, threw away their earthly all, and cast themselves on Providence.

1 W. Rhodes, in Stanford's Life of J. Alleine, p. 379.

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