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MR. GOODWIN'S MEETING, COLEMAN-STREET.
will be unnecessary to spend many words ; for though the persons who voted upon the occasion had an undoubted right to give the King as much of their own money as they pleased, yet, as the parliament was dissolved, and their functions at an end, they had no right to vote away the property of their brethren. Another object which the clergy had in view in prolonging their sittings, and which more immediately concerned the non-conformists, was the enactment of certain canons, or articles, which they published June 30, to the number of seventeen. They, are entitled, “ Constitutions and Canons ecclesiastical, treated upon by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Presidents of the Convocation for their respective Provinces, and the Rest of the Bishops and Clergy of those Provinces, and agreed upon with the King's Majesty's Licence, in their several Synods begun at London and York, 1640." The first of these canons, ing the Royal Power," asserts the absolute authority of Kings, and the unlawfulness of taking arms, even in selfdefence. Most of the succeeding canons are directed with peculiar force against the non-conformists, who are commanded to submit under pain of ecclesiastical censure. (E) When these arbitrary injunctions were made public, they excited great dissatisfaction among the people, and several pamphlets were dispersed against them. Mr. John Goodwin, and others of the London clergy, drew up a petition to the privy council ; and to give it the more weight, pro
(E) The fourth canon against Socinianism, an account of its stretch of authority, is curious, and made effectual provision to prevent the dissemination of that system. “ It is decreed, that no person shall import, print, or disperse any of their books, on pain of excommunication, and of being further punished in the star-chamber. No minister shall preach any such doctrines in his sermons, nor student have any such books in his study, except he be a graduate in divinity, or have episcopal, or archidiaconal ordination ; and if any layman embrace their opinions, he shall be excommunicated, and not absolved without repentance and abjuration." The “. Anabaptists, Brownists, Separatists, and other sectaries," are treated with similar lenity,
MR. GOODWIN'S MEETI G, COLEMAN-STREET.
cured a great number of signatures. Many of the conformable clergy expressed their dissatisfaction with the oath in the sixth canon ; and so great was the outcry against the tyrannical proceedings of the bishops, that the King was obliged to isstie an order to the archbishop to relax his severity.*
Mr. Goodwin was ejected from his living of Colemanstreet, in 1645, by the committee for plundered ministers, because he refused to baptize the children of his parishioners promiscuously, and to administer the Lord’s-supper to his whole parish. Though these were the ostensible reasons of his ejectment, it is highly probable that his Arminian principles, of which he was a warm admirer, and skilful defender, weighed not a little with the commissioners. After he was deprived of his living, Mr. Goodwin set up a private meeting in Coleman-street parish, where he adopted and maintained the Independent form of church government.
Mr. Goodwin being left to subsist upon the efforts of his own talents and genius, applied them against his opponents with singular energy, both in the pulpit and from the press. If he caused considerable vexation to the governing party, it must be confessed, that he received no small provocation ; and when openly attacked, he thought it perfectly justifiable to defend himself. When episcopacy ceased to domineer, it was natural for him to look for some respite from his troubles. But the Presbyterians proved to him more formidable enemies than the Bishops. Not contented with depriving him of bis living, they continued to heap upon him plenty of abuse, and enacted laws that were designed to prohibit his preaching.
In the year 1646, there appeared from the press a scandalous book, quoted in former parts of this work, entitled, “ GANGRENA: or, a Catalogue and Disco
• Neal's Puritans, vol. ii. p. 327-335.
MR. GOODWIN'S MEETING, COLEMAN-STREET.
very of many of the Errors, Heresies, Blasphemies, and pernicious Practices of the Sectaries of this Time, vented and acted in England in these four last Years. By Thomas EDWARDS, Minister of the Gospel.” A second and third part of this work appeared in the course of the same year; and the whole forms a very thick quarto volume. Thomas Edwards, the author, was a furious Presbyterian, and evinces a mind so deeply dyed with bigotry, that he becomes at once an object of pity and contempt. (F) The
(F) Thomas EDWARDS received his education at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took the degree of B. A. in 1605, and that of M. A. in 1609. He was also incorporated M. A. at Oxford, in 1623. Though a Puritan in his heart, he received orders in the established church; but we are not informed whether he ever obtained a benefice. He appears to have officiated chiefly as a lecturer at Hertford, and other places in and about London; and to have sometimes incurred the rebukes of his ecclesiastical superiors by his puritanical style of preaching, and the offences which he committed against the rules and orders of the church. When the long par. liament declared against King Charles I. he became a zealous advocate for the changes in civil and ecclesiastical matters, which were then introduced ; and supported with all his influence the ruling party. With equal zeal he supported the Presbyterian discipline and government, when the Indepen. dents began to gain ground; and in his writings against them he was not over delicate in the choice of his expressions. Besides the “ Gangræna," he wrote “ Reasons against the Independent Government of particular Congregations, &c.” 1641; “ A Treatise of the Civil Power of Ecclesiasticals, and of Suspension from the Lord's-Supper,” 1642; “ Antapologia ; or, a full Answer to the Apological Narration of Mr. (Thomas) Goodwin, Mr. Nye, Mr. Simpson, and Mr. Burrouglys, Members of the Assembly of Divines, &c." 1644 ; “The particular Visibility of the Church ;” and “ The casting down the last and strongest Hold of Satan; or, a Treatise against Toleration," Part I. 1647. The language and sentiments conveyed in these publications, are bitter and violent in the extreme. The author was distinguished by all the zeal and bigotry of a Dominic ; and had he been possessed of power, would have proved as furious a persecutor of all non. conformists to Presbyterianism, as that firebrand was of those whose religious scruples compelled them to quit the Catholic pale. He died in Hola land, whither he had Aed to escape the resentment of the Independents, after Oliver Cromwell had overturned the power of the parliament, in the year 1647, when he had entered into the 48th year of his age. General Biography.
MR. GOODWIN'S MEETING, COLEMAN-STREET,
zeal that he discovers against toleration evidently shows that he wanted only the civil sword to become a bloody persecutor. One of the characters brought forward in this work, and by far the most prominent, was Mr. John Goodwin, who is treated with a sufficient share of scurrility and abuse. The following will serve as a specimen : “ There is Master John Goodwin, a monstrous sectary, a compound of Socinianism, Arminianism, Libertinism, Antinomianism, Independency, Popery, yea and of Scepticism, as holding some opinion proper to each of these. This man, for twelve years last past, hath disturbed the city of London, with broaching continually one error or other, which was the true cause why the bishops and their chaplains suffered him (though in several particulars irregular according to the bishops' ways) to preach when they had put down others, and would not suffer them, and all because by his conceits and fancies he would disturb the Puritan party. The errors above-mentioned not constituting our author sufficient heretic, he is elsewhere called an “Anabaptist..”+ To this black catalogue Mr. Edwards adds the crimes of “ pride, arrogance, malice, wrath, jeering and scoffing at him and his books, &c. and as if this were not enough, he calls him an" Hermophrodite.”! In order to blacken Mr. Goodwin, and the rest of the sectaries, he has picked out of their writings upwards of two hundred articles which he terms heresies, many of which will be deemed, by most persons, to be perfectly innocent. He has also heaped together a large quantity of curious stories, which show the weakness, not to say wickedness of the writer. Among the heresies laid to Mr. Goodwin's charge, is that most fearful one of baptizing children out of his own parish ; also of playing at bowls upon one of the parliament's thanksgiving days. (G)
• Gangræna, Part iii. p. 114. t Ibid. Part ii. p. 25.
Ibid, (6) The character which Mr. Edwards draws of the sectaries, will afford the reader some amusement. “They generally walk loosely (says he) and
MR. GOODWIN'S MEETING, COLEMAN-STREET,
These, certainly, were sins not to be forgiven. And here we would observe, that Mr. Goodwin's not siding with the Presbyterians, and his defending some notions with respect to justification, and the extent of Christ's death, not agreeable to the current opinions of the day, were the true reasons of all that spleen and malice which they manifested towards him. Mr. Goodwin drew up a reply to the first part of Mr. Edwards's book, under the title of “Cretensis : or, a brief Answer to an ulcerous Treatise, &c.” 1646. Mr. Edwards complains heavily against this piece, as charging him
forgery, lying, juggling, bitterness, malice, bloody negociation against the saints, taking up reports, and printing them upon weak and slight grounds, obscene and scurrilous writing, contradictions, false English, nonsense, and such like.”* Without attempting to justify the use of any terms of opprobrium, we must confess that, as it respects the “ Gangræna," most of the above charges bear a strong sem
at large, over what they did before they turned sectaries, and in comparison of the godly Presbyterians; they do many things under pretence of Christian liberty, which professors heretofore were not wont to do, nor do not, neither durst they have done ; of which I could give many instances, both of persons and things. I do not know, nor hear, of a sectary in England, that is so strict and exact in his life as he was before, and as thousands of Presbyterians are ; and this is not my observation alone, but a general observation. Many of them play at cards and tables ; are very loose on the Sabbath days ; go to bowls, and other sports, on days of public thanks. giving, as Mr. John Goodwin, and several of his church ; they wear strange long hair ; go in such fine fashionable apparel beyond their places as 'tis a shame; they will feast, ride journies, do servile business on the fast days, and give their parish-churches no sermons, no prayers at all on those days ; they make little conscience of family duties ; they will sit and tipple, be jovial and merry together. I could tell true and certain stories of many sectaries, who were exceeding precise and strict before they fell into those ways, but are abominable loose now; and let but a man turn sectary now adays, and within one half year he is so metamorphosed in apparel, hair, &c. as a man hardly knows him.”—Gangræna, Part ii. p. 63.
Gangræna, Part ii. p. 33.