Page images

encrease of the knowledge of Christ in the world, we have agreed to encourage spiritual gifts ; and if it appears after due trial, in the use and exercise of them, any brother is called to, gifted, and qualified for ministerial work, to set him apart thereunto, and send him forth in the Lord's name, to preach the gospel wherever God, in the course of divine providence, opens a door for him, praying for his success, and wishing him God-speed.

“XII.—Thongh in some respects a woman is allowed to speak in the church, yet not in such sort as caries in it direction, instruction, government, and authority, for, she must be in subjection under obedience, not to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man (1 Cor. xiv. 34, 35'; 1 Tim. ii. 11, 12), but to be and learn in silence. We therefore have agreed that no sister shall be permitted to speak in the church, except it be in a way of submission or subjection, or in answer to any question proposed to her by the church ; and that order might be observed, and confusion be prevented at our church-meetings, the Brethren are not to speak above one at a time in any matter of debate there.

“XIII.-These things, and whatever else may from the Word of God appear to be our duty, we shall endeavour under divine assistance to observe; but knowing our own weakness, inability, and insufficiency to think or do anything as of ourselves, our dependence is entirely on the Lord for strenght and every supply of grace, absolutely necessary to the right performance of every duty, both towards God and one another, desiring that wherein we fail to be daly humbled in the account thereof before the Lord, and to repent in dust and ashes.

“And now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen."


A wave of fanaticism of the most extraordinary kind passed over various religious communities at the beginning of the century in connection with the French prophets. These strange

Prophets. people were known as Camisards, a remnant of Protestants in Cevennes, who were engaged in guerilla

* Copied by Mr. John Taylor, of Northampton, from the Church records at Olney.

warfare from 1702 to 1704. Rulhière * tells us that “their places of worship had been cast down, their country delivered up to military pillage, their children carried off, the houses of those styled obstinate razed—that the most zealous of their number had been broken upon the wheel, while no one had instructed them." On the 1st of April, 1703, three hundred of their number, who had met for worship in a mill near Nismes, were in a mass consigned to the flames. In the midst of the wild excitement caused by the cruelties perpetrated on them, one of their party declared that he had seen a vision, and heard a voice which said to him, “Go and comfort my people.” Others professed to have witnessed similar miraculous appearances, and ecstasies were common. Prophets by hundreds asserted that they received the gift of inspiration, and all their movements were conducted by their supposed supernatural direction. The contagion spread, and increased in its power, until some felt that they were called to enter upon a prophetic mission. In 1706 a company of them came to London. Their vatici. nations involved them in trouble with the authorities,

Nicolas Facio, one of the party, who had been a follower of Spinoza, with Elias Marion and John Aude, indicted Nov. 18th, 1807, and convicted of uttering blasphemies, were fined, and exposed in the pillory.

Sir Richard Bulkeley published a vindication of the prophets; and John Lacy, a member of the Church in Westininster, under the care of Calamy, became one of their zealous adherents, causing his

# Vol. ii., p. 278.

pastor abundant trouble. On visiting him, he says he saw him in an easy chair, “heaving to and fro; and heard a humming noise, but no sound that was distinct. The noise grew louder by degrees, and the heaving in his breast increased, till it came up to his throat, as if it would have suffocated him. At length he began to speak, with a “distinct heave and breathe " between each syllable, to this effect :

“ Thou-hast-been-my faith-ful — ser-vant- and-Ihave-ho-noured—thee. But-1do-not-take-it-wellthat-thou-slight-est-and--op-pos-est-my-ser-vantsand -mes-sen-gers. If—thou—wilt-fall-in-with-these-myser-vants—thou-shalt-do-great-things-in-this--dis-pensa-tion-and-1-will-ase—thee as— a-glo-ri-ous—in-stru. ment-to-my-praise-and-I-will — takecare-of-theeand—thine. But-if-thou — go-est-on-to-op-pose-myser-vants—thou-wilt — fall — un-der — my-se-vere-dis-plea

[blocks in formation]

Lacy, in a Treatise entitled “A Cry from the Desert,” vindicated the prophets; and in "A Relation of the dealings of God ” with him “since the time of his believing and professing himself inspired," 1708, he explains the nature of his ecstatic visions. “ Under this influence,” he says (p. 10),

my body was removed ten or eleven foot”; and “the respiration of my breath hath, for sundry days, beat various tunes of the drum, sometimes six hours in a day, without my voluntary operation or thinking of it”; (p. 11) “I have been carried on my knees several times round a room, swifter than I could have gone on foot.” So far from being exhausted by these singular gyrations, he assures us that they “ do sensibly refresh the body, and what

* Calamy, Caveat against New Prophets,


ever be the violence or continuance of them, do not waste the spirit, but exhilarate.” The moral effect of these exercises, we are informed, was very good. The discourses uttered by him came " like water out of the pump by the agitation of the sucker.” So confident was Lacy that he had a divine call that he determined to submit the validity of his pretensions to an open and miraculous test. He had reported wonderful cures of blindness, cancers, tumours,

and other frightful maladies, but he produced no wit

At length, however, he predicted that, before the assembled people, he would raise from the dead his friend and fellow-prophet. “ The Spirit declared to him," he said, “He would attest this publication of our Lord's approach as a Bridegroom and return as a King, by raising Dr. Emes from the grave the 25th of next month, above four months after his interment.” The intimation caused general excitement, but Lacy remained perfectly tranquil and happy. “I rejoice,” he says, " at the approach of the 25th of May, without the least weight upon my spirits about the event of it.” A large crowd assembled at the appointed time, and soldiers were sent to prevent imposition or disturbance. The last sleep of Dr. Emes remained unbroken, and the spectators witnessed the non-fulfilment of the prediction.

We shall again have to meet the French prophets and their deluded votaries.*

Enthusiastick Impostors, 1707 ; Calamy's Historical Account of his Life and Times; The French Prophets, in a Sermon, 1708 ; See A Warning concern. ing the French Prophets, 1707 ; A Brief Vindication of the Antient Prophets, in a Letter to Sir Richard Bulkeley, Bart., 1709; The Falsehood of the New Prophets, by Henry Nicholson, 1708 ; An Answer to Several Treatises, by Sir Richard Bulkeley, Bart., 1708.


We must now cross the Atlantic, as our plan will lead us to alternate between England and America. The alliance of Churches with the State formed by the Puritan settlers of 1630 gave to them a peculiarity that renders it difficult to trace their subsequent history with accuracy. Their position was anomalous, and involved them in manifold difficulties arising from political conflict. The influence of INCREASE MATHER (one of the ejected Ministers of 1662), formerly paramount, now began to wane. With his son, COTTON MATHER, he had held the first place in the government of Harvard College, but their ascendency was disliked, and, as it would appear, because of their strict adherence to Ecclesiastical order as it existed in New England prior to 1688.

THOMAS BRATTLE took the initiative in the formation of a Congregational Church in Boston, deviating to some extent from the “Cambridge Platform.”' As yet, however, Evangelical doctrines were not openly discarded.


“We approve,” the promoters of the movement said, “and subscribe the Confession of Faith put forth by the Assembly of

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »