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quaintance with some under-servants, or lodgers in a nonconformist family, under the cloak of religion, in order to discover the place of their meeting. They walked the streets on the Lord's day, to observe which way any sus pected persons went. They frequently sat down in coffee: houses, and places of public resort, to listen to conversa: tion. They could turn themselves into any shape, and counterfeit any principles to obtain their ends. When they had discovered a conventicle, they immediately got a warrant from some who were called confiding justices, to break open the house. If the minister was in the midst of bis sermon or prayer, they commanded him in tbe king's name, to come down from his pulpit; and if he did not immediately obey, a file of musqueteers was usually sent up to pull bim down by force, and to take him into cus. tody; the congregation was broke up, and the people guarded along the street to a magistrate, and from him to a prison, unless they immediately paid their fines : the goods of the house were rifled, and frequently carried off, as a security for the large fine set upon it.
This was a new way of raising contributions, but it sel. dom or never prospered ; that which was ill-gotten was as ill-spent, upon lewd women, or in taverns and ale-louses, in gaming, or some kind of debauchery. An informer was but one degree above a beggar; there was a remarkable blast of providence upon their persons and substance: most of them died in poverty and extreme misery; and as they lived in disgrace, they seemed to die by a remarkable hand of God. Stroud and Marshal, with all their plunder, could not keep out of prison ; and when Keting, another informer, was confined for debt, he wrote to Mr. Baxter to endeavor his deliverance, confessing he believed God had sent that calamity upon him, for giving him so much trouble. Another died in the Compter for debt; and great numbers by their vices came to miserable and untimely ends.
But as some died off, others succeeded, who by the insti. gation of the court disturbed all the meetings they could find. The king commanded the judges and justices of Lon: don to put the penal laws in strict execution; and Sir Jos. Sheldon, lord-mayor, and kinsman to the archbishop, did
not fail to do his part. Sir Tho. Davis issued a warrant to distrain on Mr. Baxter for 501. on account of his lecture in New-street; and when he had built a little chapel in Oxenden-street, the doors were shut ap'after he had preached in it once. In April this year,  he was disturbed by a company of coostables and otficers, as he was preaching in Swallow-street, who beat drums under the windows, to interrupt the service, because they bad not a warrant to break open the house.
The court bishops, as has been observed more than once, pushed on the informers to do all the mischief they could to the non-conformists; “ the prelates will not suffer them to be quiet in their families,* (says a considerable writer of these times) though they have given large and ample testimonies, that they are willing to live quietly by their churcb neighbors" The dissenting protestants have been reputed the only enemies of the nation, and therefore only persecuted, (says a noble writer) while the papists remain undisturbed, being by the court thought loyal, and by our great bishops not dangerous. Mr. Locke, bishop Burnet, and others, have set a mark upon the names of archbishop Sheldon, bishop Morley, Gunning, Henchman, Ward, &c. which will not be easily erased; but I mention no more, because there were others of a better spirit, who resided in their dioceses, and had no concern with the court.
Antong these we may reckon Dr. Edward Reynolds, bishop of Norwich, born in Southampton 1599, and educated in Merton college, Oxford; he was preacher to the society of Lincoln's-Inn, and reckoned one of the most eloquent preachers of his age, though he had some hoarseness in his voice.f In the time of the civil wars be took part with the parliament, and was one of the assembly of divines. In the year 1646, he was appointed one of the preachers to the university of Oxford, and afterwards a visitor. Upon the reform of the university, he was made dean of Christ-church, and vice-chancellor. After the king's death he lost his deanery for refusing the engagement, but complied with all the other changes till the * State Tracts, vol. ii. p. 54, 55. Vol. iii. p. 42, &c.
| Wood's Athen. Oxon. vol. ii. p. 420.
king's restoration, when he appeared with the presbyteria ans, but was prevailed with to accept a bishopric on the terms of the king's declaration, which never took place. He was a person of singular affability, meekness, and humility, and a frequent preacher. He was a constant resident in his diocese, and a good old Puritan, who never concerned bimself with the politics of the court. He died at Norwich Jan. 16, 1676, ætatis seventy-six.
[On May the 22d, 1676, died, aged 73, the pious and learned Mr. Johin Tombes, B. D. ejected from the living of Leominster, in Herefordshire. He was born, in 1603, at Bewdley in Worcestershire. At fifteen years of age, having made a good proficiency in grammar learning, he was sent to Magdalen-hall, Oxford; where he studied under the celebrated Mr. William Pemble; upon whose decease he was chosen, though but twenty-one years of age, such was the reputation of his parts and learning. to succeed him in the catechetical lecture in that ball. He held this lecture about seven years, and then removed first to Worcester, and then to Leominster; in both places he had the name of a very popular preacher; and of the latter living he was, soon after, possessed ; and as the emolument of it was small, lord viscount Scudamore, out of respect to Mr. Tombes, made an addition to it. In 1641 he was, through the spirit of the church party, obliged to leave this town; and fled to Bristol, where general Fiennes gave him the living of All Saints. The city being taken by the king's party, his wife and children being plundered, and a special warrant being out to apprehend him, he escaped with difficulty, and got to London with his family, Sept. 22, 1643. Here he was sometime minister of Fehchurch, till his stipend was taken away for not practising the baptism of infants. He was then chosen preacher to the honorable societies at the Temple, on condition that he would not touch on the controversy about it in the pulpit. Here he continued four years, and was then dismissed for having published a treatise on the subject.
" He was universally allowed,” says Mr. Granger, “to be a man of extraordinary parts, and discovers in his writings a richness of funey as well as a solidity of judgment.” He was buried in the new chapel belonging to his palace, which he built at his own expence.History of England, vol. iii. p. 241.
He was, after this, chosen minister in the towu of his na: tivity, and had also the parsonage of Ross given him, but he gave up his interest in the latter, to accept the mastership of the hospital at Ledbury. When the affections of the people at Bewdley were alienated from him, on account of bis sentiments on baptism, he was restored to his living at Leomioster. In 1653, he was appointed a tryer for candidates for the ministry. After the Restoration he quitted his places, and laid down the ministry, and went to reside at Salisbury; from whence he had not long before married a rich widow, and conformed to the church as a lay-communicant. He was held in great respect by Jord chancellor Hyde, bishop Sanderson, bishop Barlow, and Dr.Ward, bishop of Salisbury, whom, during his residence in that city, he often visited. Mr. Wood says, “ that there were few better disputants in his age than he was." Mr. Wall speaks of bim as “a man of the best parts in our nation, and perhaps in any." Dr. Calamy represents him as one, whom all the world must own to have been a very considerable man and an excellent scholar.” And it perpetuates his memory with honor, that the lords, in their conference with the commons, in 1702, on the bill to prevent occasional conformity, supported their argument, that receiving the sacrament in church did not necessarily import an entire conformity, by an appeal to his example: “ There was a very learned and famous man,” said they, " that lived at Salisbury, Mr. Tombes, who was a very zealous conformist in all points but in one, infant baptism." Mr. Tombes was one of the first of the clergy of his day, who attempted a reformation in the church, and to remove all human inventions in the worship of God: with this view be preached a sermon, which he was commanded by the hoase of commons to print. So early as the year 1627, being led in the course of bis lectures to discuss, the subject of baptism, he was brought into doubts concerning the authority for that of infants, which for some years he continued to practice only on the ground of the apostle's words, 1 Cor. vij. 14. But the answer he received to that arguwent from an ingenious baptist at Bristol, put him to a stand as to that text. When he was in London, be consulted some of the learned ministers there on the question, and ate
a particular conference debated the matters with them; but it broke up without obviating his objections. He afterwards laid his reasons for doubting the lawfulness of the common practice in Latin before the Westminster assembly : after waiting many months, though he had been informed that a committee was to be appointed to consider the point, he could obtain no answer, nor hear that it was so much as admitted to a debate; but his papers were tossed up
and down from one to another to expose him. On being dismissed from the Temple, he printed his apology; of which Mr. Batchiler says, “ having perused this mild Apology, I conceive that the ingenuity, learning and piety, therein contained, deserve the press. He repeatedly took up his pen in this controversy, of which he was judged to be a perfect master, and he was often drawn into public disputations on it, particularly with Mr. Baxter, at Bewdley.6 Tbe victory, as usual,” says Mr. Nelson, was claimed on both sides : but some of the learned, who were far from approving his cause, yielded the advantage both of learning and argument to Mr. Tombes."*
He wrote more books on the subject than any one man in England; and, continuing minister of the parish of Bewdley, he gathered a separate church of those of his own persuasion; which, though not large, consisted of some members distinguished for their piety and solid judgment; and three, who were afterwards eminent ministers of that persuasion, were trained up in it, viz. Mr. Richard Adams, Mr. John Eccles, and Captain Boylston. It continued till about the time of the king's restoration. Crosby's History of the Baptists, vol. i. p. 278–293. Palmer's Non-conformist Memorial, vol. ii. p. 33—87; and Nelson's Life of bishop Bull, p. 219233.] Ed.
The murmurs of the people against the government, increased rather than diminished. When the parliament met, they addressed the king to enter into an alliance with the Dutch, and other confederates, for preserving the Spanish Netherlands, as the only means to save GreatBritain from popery and slavery.† But his majesty de
• Nelson's Life of bishop Bull, p. 251. † Notwithstanding this alarni, on a calculation that was made, in the preceding year, the Non-cunforrnists of all sorts, and Papists in