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found some followers among the Baptists. He had a discussion with a well-known minister in the stone-chapel, in St. Paul's Cathedral, concerning the Supreme Deity of Jesus Christ. Biddle was next arraigned on an old ordinance, that might have led to a fatal conclusion, but Oliver Cromwell in his wise and noble decision put a stop to the proceedings. The Protector, finding himself baited on all sides by Presbyterian and Independent ministers, decided to send Biddle out of the country, and ultimately banished the Unitarian heretic to the Scilly Isles in 1655, allowing him pension out of his own pocket.
“They charged me to have erred,
And hope to be forgiven.” Before his banishment there had been formed a considerable society, calling themselves “ Biddelians," at other times “ Socinians," but the name they preferred was that of “ Unitarians.” Mr. Biddle at length obtained release from banishment, and again preached to his followers in London, but being again subjected to prison, his health failed, and on 22nd September, 1662, in the fifty-seventh year of his age, he peacefully and happily breathed his last. Though denounced and punished, by the Presbyterians especially, as a Heretic and Blasphemer, he was a true believer in God through Christ, and one that exercised himself to have always a good conscience void of offence toward God and men, having, moreover, assured hope of the resurrection both of the just and unjust, under the merciful dispensation of a Father-God.
Many of his theological treatises were published and widely diffused, and Socinian or Unitarian views, from his unflinching advocacy, began to prevail to a considerable extent in this country, though not so generally as in Poland and Transylvania. But the time was destined to come when an entire conversion to Unitarianism should come to pass in these very chapels, which had been founded by the descendents of those severe old Presbyterians, who caused the several imprisonments, and would have rejoiced at the punitive death of the Rev. John Biddle, the first Unitarian minister in this country.
CHAPTER VIII. CHARLES II. AND THE NONCONFORMISTS. THE ACT OF UNIFORMITY. “BLACK BARTHOLOMEW DAY.'
THEN Charles II. passed through the city on his way
to Westminster, 29th May, 1660, the Nonconformist
ministers of London and neighbourhood attended him in clerical attire, and appointed one of the most venerable of their number to present to his Majesty a richly adorned Bible, which he graciously accepted, and promised “To make the rule and government of his life.” There is a curious old volume, having inside a large engraving of the National Arms, and containing sermons preached by Episcopalian and Presbyterian clergy for the Happy return of his Majesty.” We give the order of the sermons as inserted. The first of the collection was preached before the King at Whitehall, upon 28th June, 1660—“Being the day of solemn thanksgiving for the happy return of his Majesty"-" By Gilbert Sheldon, D.D., and Dean of his Majestie's Chappell Royall. Published by his Majestie's speciall command.” The title is, “David's deliverance and thanksgiving.” The second sermon was preached—“Before the Honourable House of Commons, at their Solemn Fast, before their first sitting, 30 April, 1660," by John Gauden, D.D. In his “ Epistle Dedicatory,” he displays his political and theological spleen against the opponents of Charles I. It appears there is a verse in Scripture ending with Nullus (none), and the preacher says, “In which negative the time-serving astrologasters and others strongly fancied, they found a fatal period of the British Monarchy, at least of the Stuartian Royal Family," and he goes on,
O how it must make those Diviners mad to see that King who was made and esteemed as Nullus (a persecuted, expulsed, and as much as lay in humane malice, a nullified King) to see him reign assurely and gloriously, &c." But this Dr. Gauden in pleading for the rights of Christ and