Puritan Voices

J.H. Robinson, ed.,
Readings in European History 2 vols.
(Boston: Ginn, 1906), 2:227-228, 230-233.

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned by Brian Cheek, Hanover College. November 12, 1995.
Not yet proofread.

Nehemiah Wallington, Diary
Josias Nichols, A Plea for the Innocent
Anonymous, Letter from Hell
Anonymous, Aminadab Blower

Nehemiah Wallington, Diary

[Page 228] A husbandman, grinding corn upon the Lord's day, had his meal burned to ashes. Another, carrying corn on this day, had his barn and all his corn therein burnt with fire from heaven the next night after.

A husbandman would needs go to plow on the Sabbath day, but mark the fearful judgment of God upon him; for, as he cleansed his plow with an iron instrument, the iron stuck fast in his hand, and could not he got out, but there stuck two years as a manifest token of God's wrath against him for that horrible sin.

On the 23d January, 1582, being the Lord's day, the scaffolds fell in Paris Garden under the people at a bear baiting, so that eight were suddenly slain, innumerable hurt and maimed. A warning to such who take more pleasure on the Lord's day to be in a theater beholding carnal sports than to be in the church in serving of God.

At Boston, in Lincolnshire, Mr. Cotton being their former minister, when he was gone the bishop desired to have organs set up in the church, but the parish was unwilling to yield; but, however, the bishop prevailed to be at the cost to set them up. But they being newly up (not playing very often with them), a violent storm came in at one window, and blew the organs to another window, and brake both organs and window down; and to this day the window is out of reputation, being boarded and not glazed.

Josias Nichols
The Plea for the Innocent
(London, 1602)

[Page 227] In the beginning of her Majesty's most happy reign, the gospel being published and preachers ordained to teach the people, many people, within a while feeling some taste of the heavenly comfort, began to delight in hearing of sermons, singing of psalms, in reading, and godly talk of Holy Scriptures which they were taught; and therewithal did somewhat refrain profane and unprofitable customs; and sometimes they admonished their neighbors if they did swear, and pray them to go with them to the sermon; the greater sort of the people, being old barrels which could hold no new wine, addicted partly to popery and partly to licentiousness, having many of them no other God but their bellies, would deride and scoff at them, and called them "holy brethren" and "holy sisters"; saying, " He is one of the pure and unspotted brethren!"

"Letter from Hell. Rome and the Inns of Court" (1641)

[Page 230] Articles of agreement made, concluded, and done this 28th of September, in the year of grace 1641, and of the world 5662, by and between the high and mighty prince, Lucifer, king of Styx and Phlegethon, the holy and most superstitious primate of the Roman Church, the cardinals, bishops, Jesuits, priests, and seminaries, of the one party; and Judge Bribery, Lawyer Corruption, Attorney Contention, Solicitor Sedition, Justice Connivance, Jailor Oppression, and State Negligence, of the other party, in manner and form following:

It is this day mutually agreed, by and between the several parties above named, that there shall be a league, offensive and defensive, concluded and confirmed by both parties, at or before Holy-rood day next ensuing the date hereof.

Item : That whereas there hath been lately, by the subtle practices of some parliamentary reformists, a discord and dissension raised between the state ecclesiastic and the state of the inns of court, whereby there hath happened no small prejudice unto the ecclesiastic state; the like whereof is to be doubted may also fall upon the state of the inns of court, and so consequently upon the crown and dignity of our sovereign lord, King Lucifer; it is therefore mutually agreed that all former controversies and contentions between [Page 231] both parties shall cease, and that all unity, peace, and concord shall be embraced, on either side, according to the expressions in the precedent article, to the honor of our sovereign lord, King Lucifer, his crown and dignity.

Item : It is agreed that the said state of the inns of court and the state ecclesiastic aforesaid shall jointly and severally use the uttermost of their strength, power, and policy to resist and suppress all such proceedings of this present Parliament which shall any way tend to the reformation and suppression of oppression, extortion, bribery, contention, and tradition; and that they shall and will, with all their might, power, and policy, endeavor and strive to broach, advance, and maintain all the said several impieties again, to the honor of our sovereign lord, King Lucifer, his crown and dignity.

Item : It is agreed by and between our sovereign lord, King Lucifer, and the whole state ecclesiastic, of the one part, and Judge Bribery, that forthwith, upon the dissolution of this present Parliament, he, the said Judge Bribery, is then again to put in practice the taking of bribes, passing of false judgment, and maintaining his false and corrupt sentences and decrees to be things sacred and infallible; oppressing the innocent by close imprisonment, and also favoring all Jesuits, priests, and seminaries, if any of them happen by the instruments of justice to be laid hold on; animating and instructing all attorneys, solicitors, and clerks, for and to the sowing of strife and contention amongst the people of the land, to the honor of our sovereign lord, King Lucifer, his crown and dignity.

Aminadab Blower Rejects the Prayer Book

[Page 232] Some small and simple reasons, delivered in a hollow tree, in Waltham Forest, in a lecture, on the 33d of March last, by Aminadab Blower, a devout bellows mender of Pimlico; showing the causes, in general and particular, wherefore they do, might, would, should, or ought, except against and quite refuse the Liturgy or Book of Common Prayer:

My dear beloved and zealous brethren and sisters here assembled in this holy congregation, I am to unfold, unravel, untwist, untie, unloose, and undo, to your uncapable understandings, some small reasons, the matter, the causes, the motives, the grounds, the principles, the maxims, the whys and the wherefores, wherefore and why, we reject, omit, abandon, contemn, despise, and are and ought to be withstanders and opposers of the service book, called by the hard name of Liturgy, or Common Prayer, which hath continued in the Church of England eighty-four years.

I have exactly examined and collected some notes and observations out of the learned Hebrew translated volumes of Rabbi Ananias, Rabbi Ahitophel, Rabbi Iscariot, Rabbi Simon Magus, Rabbi Demas, and Rabbi Alexander the coppersmith, and all nor any of their writings doth in any place so much as mention that book, or any such kind of service, to be used at all by them. I have farther taken pains in looking over some Chaldean, Persian, Egyptian, Arabian, and Arminian authors, of which I understood not one word; I also (with the like diligence and understanding) have viewed the Turkish Alchoran, and there I found not a syllable concerning either Liturgy, Common Prayer, or divine service. As for Greek authors, I must confess I understand them not, or negatively, for which reason I leave them as impertinent; and, touching the Latin writers, they are partial in this case, the tongue being Romanian and the idiom Babylonish, which seems to me an intricate confusion.

I, having carefully viewed the tomes and tenets of religion and books of all manner of hieroglyphics, writings, scrolls, tallies, scores, and characters, and finding nothing for the maintaining of that book or Liturgy, I looked into the [Page 233] ecclesiastical history written by one Eusebius, and another fellow they call Socrates, wherein I found many arguments and incitements to move men to such doctrine as is comprised and compiled in the Liturgy. After that I searched into the acts and monuments of this kingdom, written by old Fox, and there I found that the composers of it were bishops and doctors, and great learned schoolmen of unfeigned integrity, of impregnable constancy, who, with invincible faith, suffered most glorious martyrdom by the papal tyranny, for the writing and maintaining that book, with the true Protestant religion contained in it.

Brethren, I must confess that I was somewhat puzzled in my mind at these things, and I could not be satisfied till I had consulted with some of our devout brothers. Our brother How, the cobbler, was the first I broke my mind to, and we advised to call or summon a synod to be held in my Lord Brook's stable, the Reverend Spencer, the stable groom, being the metropolitan there. At our meeting there was Greene the felt maker, Barebones the leather seller, Squire the tailor, with Hoare a weaver, and Davison a bone-lace maker of Messenden, and Paul Hickeson of Wickham, tailor, with some four or five baker's dozens of weavers, millers, tinkers, botchers, broom men, porters, of all trades, many of them bringing notes with them fitting for our purpose. . .

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