« PreviousContinue »
Dr. Calamy's Account of the ejected ministers has ever been justly held in very high esteem by Protestant Dissenters; and Dissenting Ministers are particularly interested in it. As it has been many years out of print, and few comparatively are possessed of this rich treasure, a new edition of it was much wanted. As the work is large, consisting of four thick octavo volumes, it has been thought expedient to bring it into a smaller compass, by omitting some things which are the least interesting, to render the circulation of it the more extensive; as well as to insert in their proper places the most important of the Author's subsequent additions to almost every article in the
article in the Continuation, which makes two of the volumes. It may be proper to give the reader some account of the manner in which this design is executed, according to the advice of the judidicious Mr. Job Orton, who first recommended the undertaking. The principal things omitted (besides many redundancies in the language) are, Copies of testimonials respecting the ordination of these ministers, and their induction into livings; the time and circumstances of their taking their several degrees ; some of the less curious inscriptions upon their tombs; and some small compositions of theirs, which might properly be printed by themselves; together with the ill-natured reflections and scandalous stories of Wood* and Walkert; and consequently Dr. Cala
my's Let any one look at the examples produced by Robinson in his Notes upon Claude, from sermons preached by dignitaries and bishops, before Lords and Kings, both before and after the usurpation, and he will soon be satisfied that Episcopalians themselves have not all been rational preachers.
* Mr. Anthony Wood, the author of Athena Oxonienses. The following character of him by Bp. Burnet (in his letter to the Bp. of Litchfield and Coventry, p. 9,) will be thought a sufficient answer to all that he hath written against these good men or any other. “ That poor writer “ has thrown together such a tumultuary inixture of stuff and tattle, “ and has been so visibly a tool of some of the church of Rome, to re“ proach all the greatest men of our church, that no man who takes
care of his own reputation, will take any thing upon trust that is said “ by one who has no reputation to lose.”
+ Mr. John Walker (afterwards Dr.) wrotę An Attempt to recover an
my's refutation of them ; unless the things in question appeared to be of importance; in which case a general account of the matter is retained, with a reference to the original work. Such historical facts also are left out of the memoirs, as are related in the · Introductory history of the Times; as likewise some anecdotes respecting particular persons which appeared uninteresting or invidious, together with various minute and trifling circumstances* in some of the narratives; as well as those low expressions and uncandid reflections in which the author too frequently indulged.-The lists of Books published by these worthies are retained, and several additions made to them. But the Titles of them are generally abridged.-In a word, the editor has aimed to make the work as concise as possible, while he has been careful to retain every thing of importance, particularly what appeared most useful in a practical view.
The INTRODUCTION to this work is a concise abstract of the 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 12th, 13th, and 14th chapters of Dr. Calamy's first volume, which is an Abridgment of Mr. Baxter's Life, relating to the
Times in which the ejected ministers lived, from the rise of the Civil War to the Revolution, intended to give such readers as are unacquainted with history, account of the number and sufferings of the clergy, by way of answer to Dr. Calamy. The Dr, in his Continuation, detects him in such a number of scandalous falsehoods as plainly shew that, where the characters of Nonconformists are concerned, he is not to be depended upon. A general Reply to his furious, but weak attempt, may be seen at the end of Calamy's 4th vol. intitled, The Church and the Dissenters compared as to Persecution. See also Neal's History of the Puritans, vol. ii. p. 17, &c. 4to edit.— A proposal has lately beert made to republish Dr. Walker's Attempt, as an antidote against the effects of the Noncon. Mem. The editor has no objection to a fair account of the lives of good men, of any description, who have suffered for conscience sake ; nor is he unwilling to see persecution in any party exposed; but apprehends that such a voluminous ill-written book as this of Walker will meet with no greater encouragement now, than it did from sensible churchmen on its first publi. cation. The author proposed a second part, which was never called for, and this folio volume commonly sells for 55.- If, however, it should be reprinted, Dr. Calamy's and Mr. Neal's rewarks upon it ought tobe republished also.
Such, for example as those which are found vol. ii. p. 242, 273. yol. iji. P. 423.
just idea of their true situation. It also contains the substance of the 10th chapter, on the Grounds of their Nonconformity; without any part of the Dr.'s defence of these in his Notes to the 2d edit, in answer to the exceptions of Hoadley and Olyffe. What relates to Mr. Baxter himself will be found under his name in Worcestershire. The Historical additions after the Revolution are here entirely omitted. They would afford good materials for any one who may undertake to bring down the history of the Dissenters to the present time: a work much to be desired.
But the present publication is not merely an abridgment; some liberties are taken with respect to the composition, which may well be supposed needful, when it is considered, that the accounts of the ministers were drawn up by many different hands, and evidently inserted much as the author received them. His additions in the two last volumes could not with propriety be often subjoined to the first account, but it was found necessary to transpose sentences, and incorporate them with the former narrative. A great number of mistakes also are corrected with regard to the names and situation of places, and other minute circumstances, together with some of importance to the characters of
persons.-Additions are likewise made to many original articles, from lives, funeral sermons, and other publications. Several accounts are entirely new written, with much enlargement. Dr. Calamy having but briefly mentioned some considerable persons whose lives had been published, particularly Independents, e. g. such as Dr. Owen and Dr. Goodwin, &c. referring the reader to these lives, the editor has procured such as he could, and extracted the substance of
them.- Various anecdotes of other persons have
Those who are desirous of a more thorough acquaintance with this part of English history, are referred to Mr. NEALE's History of the Puritans, of which a new edition in octavo was lately published by Dr. Toulmin, who has added some valuable Notes.A more concise History of Nonconformity, in one vol. 12mo, has been printed by Mr. Cornish, which is recommended to young persons, and others who have not time to read the former.---Printed for Conders
cars, Curates, or Lecturers t; and the computed
* Valuable communications were received from the following Dissent-
To this list the editor with peculiar pleasure subjoins the names of the
+ These are expressed by the letters R, V, C, L. D. signifies a Do.
native. Perp. C. a perpetual curacy. S. a sequestered living.
value of a great number of their livings. At the end of it are numerous Addenda et Emendenda, bat mostly very minute, of which the Editor has availed himself; as likewise of the MS. notes of a clergyman, with which he was favoured in the course of the publication.
With all these helps many articles are yet very short and imperfect, and the bare Names of a great number still appear in the list, whose characters and history are irrecoverably lost for want of a more timely care to preserve them.-On the whole, however, it is hoped that the work will be found to have received no inconsiderable improvements, among which none of the smallest is, that the Places from which the ministers were ejected, (before set down without any kind of method) are disposed in the order of the alphabet, for the sake of being the more readily found. It is presumed also that it will be an additional recommendation to this work, that it contains so many fine portraits of these worthies, almost all of them taken from original paintings, and executed by the ablest artists.
The encouragement given to this undertaking by a very numerous list of subscribers, of various deno minations, is highly gratifying to the Editor, who relies on the candour of the public with respect to such imperfections as may still be expected in a work of this nature, and requests his pious readers to unite with him in imploring a divine blessing on this publication, that it may prove the happy means of reviving the spirit of primitive christianity; of Nonconformity to a corrupt World ; of Zeal for the rights of conscience, for the honour of Christ, for the credit and success of his institutions, and for the salvation of souls, which so eminently distinguished the original nonconformits, but which, alas! hath of late so visibly declined amongst their successors.
Hackney, Nov. 1,