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they would give help and countenance to the other.


Indeed, it seems they have sometimes suffered much
hardness in the Low Countries, if that be true that is
reported of such a man as Mr. Ains worth, that he
should live for some time with nine pence a week.
To which is replied by another, that if people suffered
him to live on nine pence a week, with roots boiled,
either the people were grown extreme low in estate,
or the growth of their godliness was come to a very
low ebb.


The truth is, their condition for the most part was
for some time very low and hard. It was with them


as, if it should be related, would hardly be believed, chap.


And no marvel. For many of them had lain long in ^-v -
prisons, and then were banished into Newfoundland,
where they were abused, and at last came into the
Low Countries, and wanting money, trades, friends or
acquaintances, and languages to help themselves, how
could it be otherwise ? The report of Mr. Ainsworth
was near those times, when he was newly come out of
Ireland with others poor, and being a single young man
and very studious, was content with a little. And yet,
to take off the aspersion from the people in that par-
ticular, the chief and true reason thereof is mistaken ;
for he was a very modest and bashful man, and con-
cealed his wants from others, until some suspected how
it was with him, and pressed him to see how it was ;
and after it was known, such as were able mended his
condition ; and when he was married afterwards, he
and his family were comfortably provided for. But we
have said enough of these things. They had (ew
friends to comfort them, nor any arm of flesh to sup-
port them ; and if in some things they were too rigid,
they are rather to be pitied, considering their times and
sufferings, than to be blasted with reproach to pos-


Was that Brown ^ that fell away and made apostasy,
the fii'st inventor and beginner of this way ?

,' Robert Brown was descended the vehemence of his delivery gain-

from an ancient and respectable ed him reputation with the people,

family in Rutlandshire. His father He was first a schoolmaster in

was a knight, and nearly related to Southworth, and then a preacher

Cecil, Lord Burleigh. He was ed- at Islington, near London. He

ucated at Cambridge, and preached first separated from the Church of

some time in Benet Church, where England in 1580, and having been







No, verily ; for, as one answers this question very
vrell in a printed book, almost forty years ago, that
the prophets, apostles and evangelists have in their
authentic writings laid down the ground thereof; and
upon that ground is their building reared up and surely
settled.^ Moreover, many of the martyrs, both former
and latter, have maintained it, as is to be seen in The
Acts and Monuments of the Church. Also, in the
days of Queen Elizabeth there was a separated church,
whereof Mr. Fitts was pastor,^ and another before that
in the time of Queen Mary, of which Mr. Rough ^ was

twice imprisoned, at length escaped
into Holland, and set up a congre-
gation of his followers at Middle-
burg. After its dissolution, he re-
turned in 1589 to England, recanted
his principles of separation, be-
came reconciled to the established
church, and was rewarded with a
living in Northamptonshire. Ful-
ler, the church historian, who was
born within a mile of his residence,
says he often saw him in his youth,
and adds that " he had in my time
a wife with whom for many years
he never lived, and a church
wherein he never preached." Be-
ing imprisoned for striking the con-
stable of his parish for demanding
a church rate of him, he died in
Northampton gaol in 1630, in his
81st year. Hornius says, " De eo
inter alia ridicula referunt, quod
cum frequenter uxorem suam pul-
saret, reprehensus propterea respon-
derit, ' Se non verberare earn ut
uxorem suam, verum ut nefariara
et maledictam vetulam.' "

Robinson, in his Justification of
Separation, page 54, says, " Now
touching Browne, it is true, that as
he forsook the Lord, so the Lord
forsook him in his way ; and so he
did his own people Israel many a

time. And if the Lord had not for-
saken him, he had never so returned
back into Egypt, as he did, to live
of the spoils of it. And for the
wicked things which Mr. Bernard
affirmeth he did in this way, it
may well be as he saith, and the
more wicked things he committed
in this course, the less like he was
to continue long in it, and the more
like to return again to his proper
centre, the Church of England,
where he should be sure to find
companions enough in any wick-
edness, as it came to pass." See
Wood's Athen. Oxon. i. 341 ; Ful-
ler's Ch. Hist. iii. 61—65 ; Strype's
Annals, iii. 15; Neal's Puritans, i.
251 ; Baylie's Dissuasive, p. 13;
Hornii Hist. Eccles. p. 231 ; Hoorn-
beek, Summa Controv. p. 739.

' As for Mr. Robinson's being
the author of Independency, Mr.
Cotton replies that " the New Tes-
tament was the author of it, and it
was received in the times of purest,
primitive antiquity, many hundreds
of years before Mr. Robinson was
born." Prince, p. 176. See Cot-
ton's Way, p. 9.

^ See Prince's Annals, p. 302.

^ Rough^was burnt. See Neal's
Puritans, i. 71.


pastor or teacher, and Cudbert Simpson a deacon, who chap.
exercised amongst themselves, as other ordinances, so -X-^
church censures, as excommunication, &c., and pro-
fessed and practised that cause before Mr. Brown
wrote for it. But he being one that afterwards wrote
for it, they that first hatched the name of Puritans' and
bestowed it on the godlj professors that desired reform-
ation, they likewise out of the same storehouse would
needs bestow this new livery upon others that never
would own it, nor had reason so to do. Mr. Cotton,
likewise, in his Answer to Mr. Baylie, page fourth,
shows how in the year 1567 there were a hundred
persons who refused the common liturgy, and the con-
gregations attending thereunto, and used prayers and
preaching and the sacraments amongst themselves,
whereof fourteen or fifteen were sent to prison, of
whom the chiefest were Mr. Smith, Mr. Nixon, James
Ireland, Robert Hawkins, Thomas Rowland, and Rich-
ard Morecroft ; and these pleaded their separation
before the Lord Mayor, Bishop Sands, and other com-
missioners on June 20, 1567, about eighty years ago,
being many years before Brown.^ Divers other in-
stances might be given.


But if we mistake not, Mr. Brown is accounted by
some of good note to be the inventor of that way which
is called Brownism, from whom the sect took its name.
Moreover, it is said by such of note as aforesaid, that
it is not God's usual manner of dealing to leave any of
the first publishers or restorers of any truth of his to
such fearful apostasy.

1 In 1564. See note ' on page " See Fuller's Ch. Hist. ii. 480,
12, and Neal's Puritans, i. 161—164.




^ ^ Possibly this speech might arise from a common
received opinion. But reverend Mr. Cotton, in his
Answer to Mr. Bajhe, saith " the backsliding of Brown
from that way of Separation is a just reason why the
Separatists may disclaim denomination from him, and
refuse to be called Brownists, after his name ; and to
speak with reason," saith he, " if any be justly to be
called Brownists, it is only such as revolt from Sepa-
ration to formality, and from thence to profaneness."
Page 5.

To which we may add, that it is very injurious to
call those after his name, whose person they never
knew, and whose writings few if any of them ever
saw, and whose errors and backslidings they have con-
stantly borne witness against ; and what truths they
have received have been from the light of God's sacred
word, conveyed by other godly instruments unto them ;
though Brown may sometimes have professed some of
the same things, and now fallen from the same, as many
others have done.


Seeing we have presumed thus far to inquire into
these ancienter times of you, and of the sufferings of
the aforesaid persons, we would likewise entreat you,
though never so briefly, to tell us something of the per-
sons and carriages of other eminent men about those
times, or immediately after, as Mr. Francis Johnson,
Mr. Henry Ainsworth, Mr. John Smith, Mr. John
Robinson, Mr. Richard Clifton.




Here are some in the company that knew them all
familiarly, whom we shall desire to satisfy your re-

Those answered, We shall do it most willingly ; for
we cannot but honor the memory of the men for the
good that not only many others but we ourselves have
received by them and their ministry ; for we have heard
them all, and hved under the ministry of divers of them
for some years. We shall therefore speak of them in
order briefly.

Mr. Johnson,

Of whom something was spoken before,^ was pastor of
the church of God at Amsterdam. A very grave man
he was, and an able teacher, and was the most solemn
in all his administrations that we have seen any, and
especially in dispensing the seals of the covenant, both
baptism and the Lord's supper. And a good disputant
he was. We heard Mr. Smith upon occasion say, that
he was persuaded no men living were able to maintain
a cause against those two men, meaning Mr. Johnson
and Mr. Ainsworth, if they had not the truth on their
side. He, by reason of many dissensions that fell out
in the church, and the subtilty of one of the elders of
the same, came after many years to alter his judgment
about the government of the church, and his practice
thereupon, which caused a division amongst them. But
l)e lived not many years after, and died at Amsterdam
after his return from Embden.

'On page 424.




But he is much spoken against for excommunicating
his brother ^ and his own father, and maintaining his
wife's cause, who was by his brother and others re-
proved for her pride in apparel.


Himself hath often made his own defence, and others
for him. The church did, after long patience towards
them and mucli pains taken with them, excommunicate
them for their unreasonable and endless opposition,
and such things as did accompany the same ; and such
was the justice thereof, as he could not but consent
thereto. In our time his wife was a grave matron,
and very modest both in her apparel and all her de-
meanour, ready to any good works in her place, and
helpful to many, especially the poor, and an ornament
to his calling. She was a young widow when he mar-
ried her, and had been a merchant's wife, by whom he
had a good estate, and W'as a godly w^oman ; and be-
cause she wore such apparel as she had been formerly
used to, which were neither excessive nor immodest,
for their chiefest exceptions were against her wearing
of some whalebone in the bodice and sleeves of her
gown, corked shoes, and other such like things as the
citizens of her rank then used to wear. And although,
for ofi'ence sake, she and he were willing to reform the
fashions of them so far as might be without spoiling of
their garments, yet it would not content them except
they came full up to their size. Such was the strict-

' His brother's name was George. See Baylie, p. 15.


ness or rigidness (as now the term goes) of some in chap.
those times, as we can by experience and of our own -^^-^
knowledge show in other instances. We shall for
brevity sake only show one.

We were in the company of a godly man that had
been a long time prisoner at Norwich for this cause,
and was by Judge Cooke set at liberty. After going
into the country he visited his friends, and returning
that way again to go into the Low Countries by ship
at Yarmouth, and so desired some of us to turn in with
him to the house of an ancient woman in the city, who
had been very kind and helpful to him in his suffer-
ings. She knowing his voice made him very welcome,
and those with him. But after some time of their en-
tertainment, being ready to depart, she came up to
him and felt of his band, (for her eyes were dim with
age,) and perceiving it was something stiffened with
starch, she was much displeased, and reproved him
very sharply, fearing God would not prosper his jour-
ney. Yet the man was a plain countryman, clad in
gray russet, without either welt or guard, (as the pro-
verb is,) and the band he wore scarce worth threepence,
made of their own homespinning ; and he was godly
and humble as he was plain. What would such pro-
fessors, if they were now living, say to the excess of
our times ? ^

' Francis Johnson became a Se- son escaped from the country, and

paratist by reading a book written with some of his people set up a

by Barrow and Greenwood, as re- church at Amsterdam. Robinson

lalcd on page 425. In 1592, on the found him there in 1608, as appears

formation of a new congregation from page 34. On the breaking

of Separatists in London, Johnson out of the dissensions among them,

was chosen its pastor and Green- Johnson removed to Embden. See

wood its teacher. They, with fifty- note ' on page 24 ; Neal's Puritans,

four of their church, were soon pp. 3G3, 436 ; Prince's Annals, p.

seized by the bishop's officers, and 303; Robinson's Justification, p.

imprisoned. After the execution 55; Baylie's Dissuasive, p. 14;

of Barrow and Greenwood, John- Cotton's Way, p. 6.


CHAP. Mr. Henry Ainsworth,

A A. V 1.

A man of a thousand, was teacher of this church at
Amsterdam at the same time when Mr. Johnson was
pastor. Two worthy men they were and of excellent
parts. He continued constant in his judgment and
practice unto his end in those things about the church
government, from which Mr. Johnson swerved and
fell. He ever maintained good correspondence with
Mr. Robinson at Leyden, and would consult with him
in all matters of weight, both in their differences and
afterwards. A very learned man he was, and a close
student, which much impaired his health. We have
heard some, eminent in the knowledge of the tongues,
of the university of Leyden, say that they thought he
had not his better for the Hebrew tongue in the uni-
versity, nor scarce in Europe.^ He was a man very
modest, amiable, and sociable in his ordinary course
and carriage, of an innocent and unblamable life and
conversation, of a meek spirit, and a calm temper, void
of passion and not easily provoked. And yet he would
be something smart in his style to his opposers in his
public writings ; at which we that have seen his con-
stant carriage, both in public disputes and the managing
of all church affairs, and such like occurrences, have
sometimes marvelled. He had an excellent gift of
teaching and opening the Scriptures ; and things did
flow from him with that facility, plainness and sweet-
ness, as did much affect the hearers. He was powerful
and profound in doctrine, although his voice was not

' Cotton, in his Way of Congre- gently studious of the Hebrew text,

gational Churches Cleared, page 6, hath not been unuseful to the church

says, " Mr. Ainsworth, a man of a in his Exposition of the Pentateuch,

modest and humble spirit, and diJi- especially of Moses his rituals."


Strong ; and had this excellency above many, that he chap.


was most ready and pregnant in the Scriptures, as if — v^
the book of God had been written in his heart ; being
as ready in his quotations, without tossing and turning
his book, as if they had lain open before his eyes, and
seldom missing a word in the citing of any place,
teaching not only the word and doctrine of God, but
in the words of God, and for the most part in a con-
tinued phrase and words of Scripture. He used great
dexterity, and was ready in comparing scripture with
scripture, one with another. In a word, the times and
place in which he lived were not worthy of such a


But we find that he is taxed, in a book writ by
George Johnson, with apostasy and to be a man-
pleaser, &c.


Who can escape the scourge of tongues ? Christ
himself could not do it when he was here upon earth,
although there was no guile found in his mouth ; nor
Moses, although he was the meekest man in the earth.
For man-pleasing, they that tax him [do it] because
he concurred against their violent and endless dissen-
sions about the former matters. And for his apostasy,
this was all the matter. When he was a young man,
before he came out of England, he at the persuasion of
some of his godly friends went once or twice to hear a
godly minister preach ; and this was the great matter
of apostasy, for which those violent men thought him
worthy to be deposed from his place, and for which



CHAP, they thus charge hhn. And truly herein they may
^^v^^ worthily bear the name of rigid, &c.^

Mr. John Smith

Was an eminent man in his time, and a good preacher,
and of other good parts ; but his inconstancy, and
unstable judgment, and being so suddenly carried away
with things, did soon overthrow him. Yet we have
some of us heard him use this speech : " Truly," said
he, " we being now come into a place of liberty, are in
great danger, if we look not well to our ways ; for we
are like men set upon the ice, and therefore may easily
slide and fall." But in this example it appears it is
an easier matter to give good counsel than to follow it,
to foresee danger than to prevent it : which made the
Jere. prophct to say, " O Lord, the way of man is not in
himself, neither is it in man to walk and to direct his
steps." He was some time pastor to a company of
honest and godly men which came with him out of
England, and pitched at Amsterdam. He first fell
into some errors about the Scriptures, and so into some
opposition with Mr. Johnson, who had been his tutor,

' After Johnson's removal to he would desire ; but Ainsworlh,
Embden, Ainsworth was the sole though poor, would accept of no-
pastor of the church at Amsterdam thing but a conference with some
till his death. This " Rabbi of his of the rabbles upon the prophecies
age," as he was called, " was the of the Old Testament relating to
author of a very learned commen- the Messiah, which the other pro-
tary on the five books of Moses, in raised ; but not having interest
which he shows himself a complete enough to obtain it, and Ainsworth
master of the Oriental languages being resolute, it is thought he
and of Jewish antiquities. His was poisoned. His congregation
death was sudden, and not without remained without a pastor for some
suspicion of violence; for it is re- years after his death and then chose
ported, that having found a dia- Mr. Canne, author of the marginal
mond of great value in the streets references to the Bible." See
of Amsterdam, he advertised it in Neal's Puritans, i. 363, 386, 437 ;
print, and when the owner, who Baylie's Dissuasive, p. 15; Cot-
' was a Jew, came to demand it, he ton's Way, p. 6.
offered him any acknowledgment



and the church there. But he was convinced of them chap.
by the pains and faithfuhiess of Mr. Johnson and Mr. ^-^
Ainsworth, and revoked them ; but afterwards was
drawn away by some of the Dutch Anabaptists, who
finding him to be a good scholar and unsettled, they
easily misled the most of his people, and other of them
scattered away. He lived not many years after, but
died there of a consumption, to which he was inclined
before he came out of England. His and his people's
condition may be an object of pity for after times.^

Mr. John Robinson

Was pastor of that famous church of Leyden, in
Holland ; a man not easily to be paralleled for all
things, whose singular virtues we shall not take upon

1 Smith, who has already been
mentioned on pages 22 and 34,
was, according to Baylie, p. 15,
"a man of right eminent parts."
Neal says that he was " a learned
man, of good abilities, but of an
unsettled head, as appears by the
preface to one of his books, in
which he desires that his last
writing may always be taken for
his present judgment. He was
for refining upon the Brownists'
scheme, and at last declared for the
principles of the Baptists; but be-
ing at a loss for a proper adminis-
trator of the ordinance of baptism,
he plunged himself, and then per-
formed the ceremony upon others ;
which gained him the name of a
Se-baptist. He afterwards embraced
the tenets of Arminius, and pub-
lished certain conclusions upon
those points in the year 1611,
which Mr. R,obinson answered in
1£14 ; but Smith died soon after,
and his congregation dissolved."

" The fall of Mr. Smith," says
Cotton, in his Way, p. 6, "and the
spirit of errors and instability that
fell upon him, was a dreadful warn-

ing from heaven against self-ful-
ness and self-pleasing. For though
the tyranny of the Ecclesiastical
Courts was harsh towards him, and
the yokes put upon him in his min-
istry too grievous to be borne, yet
neither was he alone in suffering.
Nor were those that suffered with
him at that time (Mr. Clifton and
Mr. Robinson) such inconsiderable
persons that he should affect to go
alone from them. He thought he
could have gained his tutor, John-
son, [of Amsterdam] from the er-
vors of his rigid separation. But
he had promised them not to go
over to him without their con-
sents; and they utterly dissuaded
him therefrom, as fearing his insta-
bility. And yet, contrary to his
promise, he went over to him,
which led him into manifest temp-
tations and aberrations."

The celebrated Bishop Hall wrote
a letter which he addressed " to Mr.
Smith and Mr. Robinson, ringlead-
ers of the late Separation, at Am-
sterdam." See Neal's Puritans, i.
437 ; Baylie's Dissuasive, pp. 15, 19 ;
Bp. Hall's Epistles, dec. iii. ep. L


CHAP. US here to describe. Neither need we, for they so
- — -^ well are known both by friends and enemies. As he
was a man learned and of solid judgment, and of a
quick and sharp wit, so was he also of a tender con-
science, and very sincere in all his ways, a hater of
hypocrisy and dissimulation, and would be very plain
with his best friends. He was very courteous, affable,
and sociable in his conversation, and towards his own
people especially. He was an acute and expert dis-
putant, very quick and ready, and had much bickering
with the Arminians,^ who stood more in fear of him
than any of the university. He was never satisfied in
himself until he had searched any cause or argument
he had to deal in thoroughly and to the bottom ; and
we have heard him sometimes say to his familiars that
many times, both in writing and disputation, he knew
he had sufficiently answered others, but many times
not himself; and was ever desirous of any light, and the
more able, learned, and holy the persons were, the
more he desired to confer and reason with them. He
was very profitable in his ministry and comfortable to
his people. He was much beloved of them, and as
loving was he unto them, and entirely sought their
good for soul and body. In a word, he was much
esteemed and reverenced of all that knew him, and his
abilities [were acknowledged] both of friends and
strangers. But we resolved to be brief in this matter,
leaving you to better and more large information herein
from others."^

' See pages 41 and 392. tor of the Pilgrim Church, raen-

* John Robinson was born in tioned on page 23, he had a bene-

1575, but the place of his birth is fice near Yarmouth, in Norfolk,

unknown. He was probably edu- where he was often molested by

Gated at the university of Cam- the bishop's officers, and his friends

bridge. Before his election as pas- almost ruined in the ecclesiastical




Mr. Richard Clifton

Was a grave and fatherly old man when he came first chap.
into Holland, having a great white beard ; and pity it
was that such a reverend old man should be forced to
leave his country, and at those years to go into exile.
But it was his lot ; and he bore it patiently. Much
good had he done in the country where he lived, and
converted many to God by his faithful and painful
ministry, both in preaching and catechizing. Sound
and orthodox he always was, and so continued to his
end. He belonged to the church at Leyden ; but be-
ing settled at Amsterdam, and thus aged, he was loath

Online LibraryAlexander YoungChronicles of the Pilgrim fathers of the colony of Plymouth, from 1602-1625 → online text (page 38 of 44)