Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

which Mr. Henry began to be apprehensive that his interest at Worthenbury was shaken. But in these circumstances he writes, “The will of the Lord be done. Lord, if my work be done here, provide some other minister for this people that may be more skilful, more successful, and cut out work for me, somewhere else. However, I will take nothing ill which God doth .with me." He did what he could to conciliate the friendship of Dr. Bridgman, who gave him good words, and was very civil to him, and assured him that he would never remove him, till the law did. But as Worthenbury fell back into its former connexion with Bangor, he was obliged to consider himself as curate to the rector of that parish.

But the great question which now occupied his attention, as well as that of thousands of ministers beside, was, whether to conform or not. He took all possible pains to satisfy himself on this point, by reading, and conference with learned men, particularly with Dr. Fell, afterwards bishop of Oxford. But his mind remained unsatisfied. The most of the arguments used with him to induce him to conform, were addressed to the

principle of convenience and self-interest. But he was actuated by far higher motives. And his expression, in his diary, is, “God grant that I may never be left to consult with flesh and blood, in such matters."

In September 1660, Mr. Fogg, Mr. Steel, and Mr. Henry, were presented at Flint Assizes, for not reading the common prayer; although, as yet there was no law enjoining it; but there were some busy people that would out run the law. They were relieved, however, by the king's proclamation, which promised liberty. But in the spring he was presented again, which led him to write thus, 6 Be merciful to me O God, for man would swallow me up. The Lord show me what he would have me to do, for I am afraid of nothing but sin.”

In November 1660, he took the oath of allegiance, of which he has left a memorandum in his diary, with these words added, “God so help me, as I propose in my heart, to do accordingly.” Nor could any man more conscientiously observe that oath of God, than he did, or more sincerely promote its ends.

To increase his troubles, his annuity, from Emeral, was now withheld, and he was treated with much unkindness by some of the members of that family; yet he had the satisfaction of enjoying the unceasing friendship of the Broughton family, even to his dying day.

In the year 1661, many attempts were made to disturb and ensnare him, and the expectation was, that he would soon be silenced, or removed. This state of things induced him to make the following pious reflections. “Methinks, Sabbaths were never so sweet as they now are, when we are kept at such uncertainties. Now, a day in thy courts, is better than a thousand. Such a day as this (a sacrament day) is better than ten thousand. O that we might yet see many such days!

It was not long before Dr. Bridgman formally gave Mr. Henry his dismission from Worthenbury, of which notice was published to the congregation, on the 27th of October. He, on that day, preached his farewell sermon, from Phil. i. 27. “Only let your conversation be as becometh the gospel of Christ.” His daily prayer for them was, 66 The Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation." Thus he ceased to preach to his people there, but he did not cease to love them and pray for them. As to the arrears of his annuity, after some time, Mr. Puleston consented to give him a hundred pounds, a good deal less than was due-on condition that he would surrender his deed of annuity, and his lease of the house; which for peace sake, he was willing to do; so he was deprived of all the benefit of Judge Puleston's great kindness to him.

After this, he continued in the house until 1662, but never preached again in the church; though he regularly attended the services of his successor, Mr. Hilton, and joined in all the parts of public worship. And once, being permitted to use his own posture, he partook of the Lord's supper. When silenced, at Worthenbury, he was solicited to preach at Bangor, and Dr. Bridgman was willing to permit it, but he declined it. He frequently preached in other neighbourhoods, however, until Bartholomew's day—“The day,” said he," which our sins have made one of the saddest days to England since the death of Edward VI.--but even this for good.”

His reasons for non-conformity were not trivial. He had well considered the whole subject, and weighed the reasons on both sides, in the balances of the sanctuary. He could by no means submit to be re-ordained; so well satisfied was he of his call to the ministry, and his solemn ordination to it, by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, that he durst not do that which looked like a renunciation of it, as null and sinful; and which would be at least a tacit invalidating and condemning all his ministrations. Nor could he truly say, that he felt himself moved by the Holy Ghost, to take upon him the office of a deacon. Moreover, the form of subscription required by Dr. Hall, Bishop of Chester was one to which he could not conscientiously consent; because it contained a formal renunciation of his former ordination. Ego A. B-prætensas meas ordinationis literas, a quibusdam Presbyteris olim obtentus, jam penitus renuncio, &c. &c. Besides this, he was not satisfied to give his unfeigned assent, to all and every thing, contained in the book of Common Prayer; for “he thought, that thereby he would receive the book itself and every part thereof, ru

« AnteriorContinua »