« AnteriorContinua »
But although, during this king's reign (and for a good while after, as we shall see) there were no Eng. lishmen that held any, opinion against infant baptism, yet, as I said, that in Germany the Papists upbraided ihe Protestants with the name of Anabaptists, so it was done here also in the latter times of this reign; for this King Henry VIII. in a speech made at the proroguing of the parliament, Dec. 24, 1545 (recited by the Lord Herbert at that year) complaining of the great discord among his subjects, and of the reproachful names they gave one another, says, "What love and charity is there among you, when one calls another Heretic and Anabaptist ? -- and he calls him again Papist, Hypocrite, and Pharisee?"
In King Edward's time (1449), in the third year of his reign, Heylin says,
*“ At the same tiine the Anabaptists, who had kept themselves to themselves in the late king's time, began to look abroad, and disperse their dotages; for preventing which mischief before it grew to a head, some of the chief of them were convened,” &c. He does not say whether these were Dutch or English; and at the same year, 1549, Oitius, in his Annal. Anabaptist. recites a letter from Hooper to Bullenger, wherein he complains that England was troubled with a sort of Anabaptists; but reciting their tenets, he mentions nothing of infant baptism; nor does le say whether they were English or foreigners.
In Queen Dsary's time, Philpot had, a little before his martyrdom, an occasion to write a † letter to a fellow-prisoner of his, to satisfy him in some doubts that he had concerning the lawfulness of infant baptisna This shews that the question was then ventilated in England. Philpot, besides the arguments from Scripture, brings some of the quotations froin antiquity that I have produced, and concludes: -- " The verity of antiquity is on our side; and the Anabaptists have nothing but lies for them, and new imaginations, which feign
+ Hist. of Reformation, pag. 73.
+ Fox Martyrol. 1670.
the baptism of children to be the Pope's commandment."
But this good man  grants a great deal more of the question in point of antiquity than he should have done, when he says in his letter, Auxentius, of the Arian sect, with his adherents, was one of the first that denied the baptism of childrem (315]; and next after him Pelagius the heretic ; and some other there were in St. Bernard's tiine, as it does appear by his writings : and in our days the Anabaptists," &c.
The ground of his inistake concerning the Arians, that they should be against infant baptism, is, that the Arians are by some old writers called Anabaptists; but that was hecause they rebaptized all that had been baptized by the Catholics in infancy or at age; not that they disliked infant baptism, as I shewed before (ch. 4). And the particular mistake concerning Auxentius must have been caused by those words of St. Ambrose, in his oration against Auxentius:-“Why then does Auxentius say that the faithful people who have been baptized in the name of the Trinity, must be baptized again?” — where any one that will read the place, will see that "Auxentius's reason for saying so, was not any difference that the two parties had about infant baptism, but the different faith they had about the Trinity, in whose name baptism was given.
Pelagius denied original sin : from whence Philpot, by too visible a mistake, concluded he had denied infant baptism.
In the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign , as there were no English Antipædobaptists, so there were very few left in Holland ; till after the revolt of those provinces from Spain they increased again; for Bishop Jewel, in his Defence of his Apology, written about the seventh year of this queen, being twitted by Harding with the Anababtists, — “ Are not these your brethren ?" — and Harding having said that the Roman Catholic countries were cleared of thein (among which he expre-sly there reckons Base Almaiyn, i. e. the Dutch Low Countries) Jewel replies to himn,
They find harbour amongst you in Austria, Silesia,
Moravia, and such other countries where the gospel of Christ is suppressed; but they have no acquaintance with us either in England, Germany, France, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, or any other place where the gospel of Christ is clearly preached.”
From whence we may gather, that this sort of people were at this time  (which was about 40 years after their rise) almost totally suppressed in all these parts of the world.
But yet about the sixteenth year of Queen Elizabeth,  a congregation of Dutch Antipædobaptists was discovered without Aldgate in London, whereof twenty-seven were taken and imprisoned; and the next month one Dutchman and ten wonen were con demned. One woman recanted; eight were banished, two were burnt in Smithfield, as Fuller * out of Stowy relates. Their tenets are recited these : " Infants not to be baptized; Christians not to use the sword; all oatbs unlawful; Christ took not flesh of the Virgin Mary." This agrees in every point with the account given before of the doctrine of the Minnists. These were the first that that queen ever caused to be burnt for any opinion in religion.
Fox, that wrote the Book of Martyrs, was then living; and he ventured to intercede with the queen for the lives of these two, but could not prevail; she shewing such a sense of the necessity of suppressing any new sect by severity at the beginning. In his letter to her there are these words : -7As for their errors indeed, 10 man of sense can deny that they are most absurd. And I wonder that such monstrous opi nions could come into the mind of any Christian. But such is the state of human weakness, if we are left ever so little a while destitute of the divine light, whither is it that we do not fall? And there is great reason to give God thanks on this account, that I hear not of any Englishman that is inclined to that madness,” &c. He entreats the queen that these two may be banished, as the rest were, or otherwise punished: -“But, to roast
* Ch, Hist. ninth book, $ 3.
alive the bodies of poor wretches, that offend rather by blindness of judgment than perverseness of will, in fire and flames, raging with pitch and brimstone, is a hardhearted thing, and more agreeable to the practice of the Romanists than the custom of the Evangelists."
Froin bis words Fuller concludes, that this opinion had not then taken any footing among the English; for Fox was likely to know if it had.
At what time it began to be embraced by any Englislag I do not find it easy to discover ; but it is plain that no very considerable number in England were of this persua. sion till about sixty years ago. [15+1]. The first book (except some books taken in a Jesuit's trunk, which had been brought over on purpose to spread this opinion, which I must mention. buy and by, but except them the first) that ever I beard of, that were set forth in English, upholding this tenet, was a Duch book called A plain and well grounded Treatise concerning Baptism. This was tran-lated and printed in English, anno 1618,  the sixteenth year of King Jaines. I. but neither in that king's reign, nor in that of his son King Charles I. till toward the latter end of it, have we any account of any considerable number of people of this way; very little mention of them, or of that question, in any English books.
Dr. Featly, who wrote 1645,[15+5] says ia his preface, -"This fire in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth, King James, and our gracious sovereign, till now was covered in England under the ashes; or if it broke out at any time, by the care of the ecclesiastical and civil magistrates it was soon put out. But of late, since the unhappy distractions ..... hundreds of men and women together, rebapiized in the twilight, in rivulets, and some arms of the Thames, &c. And in his letter to Mr. Donnhain, mentioning the great encrease of inonstrous sects, and heresies at that time, especially of Papists and Anabaptists, be says, -" They boast of their great diaglit ol' tis!; the l'apists of 20,700 proselytes; the Anabaptists of forty-seven churches." Upon which view of vecis arising in such umes, he does in
another place of bis book set forth the mischiefs of a general toleration in any state : -- which observation of the doctor's, made upon the first toleration that had ever been in England, the experience of all times since following has shewn to be a just one. None can deny but that this evil does follow upon it, how necessary soever it inay sometimes be on other respects.
It was during the rebellion against king Charles I. and the usurpation of Oliver Cromwell,  that this opinion began to have any great number of converts to it . In those times of stirs, they boasted in their books that that * prophecy was fulfilled :Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. That usurper gave not only a toleration, but great encouragment to all sorts of religions that opposed the Church of England and the Presbyterians. Neither of these could he trust, but laboured to weaken them what he could ; and the more dissenters and separaters there were from these, the, safer he reckoned he sat.
The event, of these joining afterwards together to vindicate their country from tyranny and utter confusion, shewed that he was in the right.
In these times of general liberty this opinion increased mightily; many owning it, out of conscience (we must in charity judge) as thinking it to be the truth; but many also for advantage; for Oliver, next to his darling Independents, favoured this sort of men most; and his arıny was in great part made up of them. You must suppose then that they left out of their scheme of doctrine, that tenet of the Minnists, “That the sword is not to be made use of by Christians;" for they had many of thein the places of troopers, captains, major-generals, committee men, sequestrators, &c.
It appears by a passage in the Life of Judge Hále, t  how much that party, was favoured at that time; for it is there related how that judge, having the case
* Daniel xii. 4. + Burnet's Life and Death of Sir Matthew Hale, p. 44.