Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

BAPTIST MEETING-HOUSE, BELL-İLLEY, COLEMAN-STREET.

nor

calling my Lord Mayor (says Edwards) in a most base and scornful manner Master Muyor.Overton, the moderator on Batty's side, then stood up, and said, “ Brother Lamb, had Paul done well if he had desisted from preaching in the name of Jesus, when commanded by the high-priest to forbear.”

To this Lamb answered in the negative, upon which Overton replied, in a most scornful manner, ought we to obey Master Mayor :" "and thus (continues our author) did these men argue the

power

of
my

Lord Mayor for an hour's space, till they came to state the question, and fall to their dispute. The question was, That God made man, and every part of man, of the dust of the earth; and therefore man, and every part of man, must return to the dust again, which Batty could not prove, nor could Lamb tell well how to answer : but both of them rap off from scripture to scripture, never clearing any one thing to the people. When they had rambled a long time, that they could neither of them tell what to say, then one or other stood up and said, 'Brother Lamb, or Brother Batty, leave this point to the consideration of the brethren, and take up some other.' After these two had spent four or five hours in this confusion, they sat down and rested; and then stands up one Mellish, a cobler ; and Lawson, a schoolmaster, both Anabaptists, and to work they went. Lawson calls to Mellish, and saith to him, “ Brother Mellish, speak either categorically, or hypothetically. Mellish answered Lawson, that he spake now to him in an unknown tongue, and prayed him to explain himself. Lawson told Mellish that he was not fit to dispute if he knew not the meaning of these words. Mellish replied, “ that if he should, stand up and tell the people, that the moon was made of green cheese, he did not question but some would be of his mind."*

We have no information relating to Mr. Lamb after the

Gangrana, part ii, po 14, 15.

BAPTIST MEETING HOUSE, BELL-ALLEN

COLEMAN-STREET

Restoration, excepting that he was one of the ministers who, on the part of the Baptists, signed a renunciation of Venner's insurrection. It is probable that he continued preaching at his meeting-house, in Bell-alley, till the time of his death, which is said to have taken place about the year 1672.

There are, at least, three publications extant by Mr. Lamb. The first, a small octavo pamphlet, entitled, “ The Fountain of Free Grace opened.” The second, a larger pamphlet, in quarto, published in 1642, entitled, A Treatise of particular Predestination, wherein are answered three Letters; the first tending to disprove particular Predestination : the second to shew the Contradiction betwixt Christ's dying for all, and God's election of some : the third to prove, that the soul doth not come from the parent, and consequently that there is no original sin.” The title of Mr. Lamb's third piece, which was published in 1656, and dedicated to his Highness the Lord Protector, was,

Absolute Freedom from Sin, by Christ's Death for the World, as the Object of Faith, in Opposition to conditional, set forth by Mr. John Goodwin, in his book entitled, • Redemption Redeemed;' and the final Perseverance of the Saints proceeding from Election, by the Grace of God alone, maintained and sweetly reconciled with the aforesaid Doctrine. And the great Question of God's eternal Decree of reprobating the unbelieving World, cleared from that Odium cast upon it by Mr. Goodwin.”*

From these publications, it is evident how grossly Mr. Edwards has misrepresented the fact, in stating that Mr. Lamb maintained and taught the Arminian tenets. On the contrary, it is very clear that, upon the subjects in dispute, he was a strict Calvinist.

SAMUEL OATES, father to the infamous Titus Oates, was at this time a popular preacher among the Baptists, and

[ocr errors][merged small]

BAPTIST MEETING-HOUSE, BELL-ALLEY, COLEMAN STREET.

a fellow-labourer with Mr. Lamb, at the meeting-house in Bell-alley, Coleman-street. Edwards calls him a weaver, and endeavours to place him in the most odious light. It appears from this author, that he spent much time in travelling through different parts of the country, in order to disseminate his opinions. In the year 1646, he took a journey into Essex, preached in several parts of that county, and baptized by immersion great numbers of people, especially about Bocking, Braintree, and Tarling. This made the Presbyterians in those parts very uneasy ; especially the ministers, who complained bitterly that such things should be permitted, and endeavoured to spur on the magistrates to suppress them. If any credit is to be given to the author of the “ Gangræna,” their conduct at one of the places they visited was highly censurable. He says, “ I was informed for certain, that not long ago, Oates an Anabaptist, and some of his fellows, went their progress into Essex to preach and dip, and among other places they came to Bellericay. On a Tuesday, at a lecture kept there, Oates and his company,

with some of the town, of that faction, when the minister had done preaching, went up in a body some twenty of them, (divers of them having swords) into the upper part of the church, and there quarrelied with the minister that preached, pretending they would be satisfied about some things he had delivered, saying to him, he had not preached free-grace. But the minister, one Master Smith, replied, if they would come to a place where he dined, he would satisfy them ; but it was not a time now to speak. Whereupon these Anabaptists turned to the people, and said to them, they were under antichrist, and in antichrist's way, and more to the same purpose. After this they committed a riot in the town.”+

The saine author relates a circumstance in the life of Mr. Oates, that was attended with more serious consequences.

• Crosby, vol. i. p. 236.

+ Gangræna, part i. p. 106.

BAPTIST MEETING-HOUSE, BELL-ALLEY, COLEMAN-STREET.

“ Last summer, (says he) I heard he went his progress into Surry and Sussex, but now this year he is sent out into Essex. This is a young lusty fellow, and hath traded chiefly with young women, and young maids, dippiug many of them, though all is fish that comes to his net.

A godly minister of Essex, coming out of those parts, related," he hath baptized a great number of women, and that they were called out of their beds to go a dipping in rivers, dipping many of them in the night, so that their husbands and masters could not keep them in their houses; and it is commonly reported, that this Oates had for his pains, ten shillings apiece for dipping the richer, and two shillings and sixpence for the poorer. He came very bare and mean into Essex, but before he had done his work, was well lined, and grown pursy. In the cold weather in March, he dipped a young woman, one Ann Martin, whom he held so long in the water, that she fell presently sick, and her belly swelled with the abundance of water she took in, and within a fortnight or three weeks died, and upon her death-bed expressed her dipping to be the cause of her death.”* The enemies of the Baptists considered this a fair opportunity for exercising their power in order to oppress them. Accordingly, for this," and other misdemeanors," he was committed to Colchester jail, made fast in irons, and bound over to the next sessions at Chelmsford. The other crimes laid to his charge were these : “That he had preached against the assessments of parliament, and the taxes laid

the

upon

people, teaching them that the saints were a free people, and should contribute not by compulsion, but voluntarily; but now, contrary to this, they had assessment upon assessment, and rate upon rate. That in his prayers he made use of this petition; that the parliament might not meddle with making laws for the saints, which Jesus Christ was to do alone.' “ Since his commitment (says Edwards) there hath been

Gangræna, part ii. p. 121.

BAPTIST MEETING-HOUSE, BELL-ALLEY, COLEMAN-STREET.

6 The

great and mighty resort to him in the prison. Many have come down from London in coaches to visit him; and I have a letter by me (says he) from a minister in Colchester, wherein he writes thus : ' Oats, the Anabaptist, hath had great resort to him in the castle, both of town and country; but the committee ordered the contrary last Saturday.”*

Mr. Oates was brought to trial on the 7th of April, 1646, and acquitted of the charge of murder ; but the judge bound him to his good behaviour, that for the future he should neither preach nor dip. This, however, had very little effect upon him ; for, on the following Lord's-day, he returned to his work as usual. But though Mr. Oates escaped with his life upon this occasion, the Presbyterians were determined he should not go unpunished. people of Weathersfield, (says Edwards) hearing that Oates and some of his companions were come to their town, seized on them (only Oates was not in the company) and pumped them soundly. And Oates coming lately to Dunmow, in Essex, some of the town hearing of it where he

was,

fetched him out of the house, and threw him into the river, thoroughly dipping him.”+

Dr. Calamy gives an account of a public disputation, in which Mr. Oates was engaged with Mr. William Sheffield, an ejected minister. He says, “ Mr. Oates, an Anabaptist, coming into the country, disturbed several congregations, and dispersed public challenges, to dispute with any minister, or ministers, upon the point of baptism. Several justices of the peace sent to Mr. Sheffield, desiring him to accept the challenge, and dispute the point with him in Leicester-castle. He yielded to their desire, and by agreement, Sir Thomas Beaumont was moderator. At the entrance of the dispute, Mr. Sheffield openly protested that it was truth, and not victory, he was aiming at, and pursuing ; and that, therefore, if he could not answer the arguments

Gangræna, part ü. p. 112.

+ Ibid. part iii. p. 105.

« AnteriorContinuar »