Thursday, August 16, 2018

Heretics, seducers, and nudists, oh my!

© 2018 Christy K Robinson

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While researching my books on William and Mary Dyer, and my 2018 book on Anne Hutchinson, I found many books, images, and ballads from their time period, the early- and mid-17th century. 

This broadsheet, basically a paper periodical of the day, was written by an unknown author and published in 1647, during the English Civil Wars. The ECW had begun over royal authority (the divine rights of kings) and religious upheaval and reformation that had been fomenting for a hundred years, with the Puritan faction coming into the majority.

The author commends the worthy and pious Parliament, which was a different strain of Puritan than the zealous ministers and their flocks who emigrated to New England and formed a theocracy.

Anne Hutchinson and her followers, including William and Mary Dyer, were called by their Puritan contemporaries libertines, familists, and antinomians.

A catalogue of the severall sects and opinions in England and other nations
With a briefe rehearsall of their false and dangerous tenents.
[London]: Printed by R.A., 1647.

By hellish wiles the States to ruine bring,
My Tenents are to murder Prince or King:
If I obtaine my projects, or seduce,
Then from my Treasons I will let them loose:
And since the Roman Papall State doth totter,
I'le frame my sly-conceits to worke the better.
By cunning art my way's more nearly spun,
Although destructive to profession;
Obscuring truths, although substantiall,
To puzle Christians or to make them fall:
That precious time may not be well improv'd,
Ile multiply strange notions for the lewd.
Would any comfortlesse both live and die?
Let him learne free wills great uncertaintie:
Salvation that doth unmov'd remaine,
Arminian Logick would most maintaine,
And faith that's founded on a firme decree,
Is plac't by them to cause uncertaintie.
What they dare to deny, Christians know,
Christ God and Man, from whom their comforts flow,
'Tis sad, that Christians dive by speculation,
Whereby they loose more sweeter contemplation:
Where Christian practice acts the life of grace,
There's sweet content to run in such a race.
Hath Adams sin procur'd his naked shame,
With leaves at first that thought to hide his staine?
Then let not Adamites in secret dare
Aparent sinfull acts to spread; but feare,
Since Adams sin hath so defil'd poore dust,
Cast from this Paradise by wicked lust.
A pish at sin and open violation,
By wilfull lust, deserves just condemnation:
Repentance, though a Riddle, this Ile say,
Thou must unfold the same or perish aye.
Then least this holy Law thou yet dost sleight,
Shall presse thee one day with a dreadfull weight.
By cursed words and actions to gainsay
All Scripture-truth, that ought to guide thy way,
Without all question, were it in thy power,
Thou would it all sacred Rules at once devoure:
Poor man, forbear, thou striv'st but all in vaine,
Since all mans might shall but confirme the same.
That soules are mortall, some have dar'd to say,
And by their lives, this folly some bewray;
Whilst (like the beast) they only live to eat,
In sinfull pleasures wast their time and state:
Meantime forgetting immortality,
To woe or joy for all eternity.
Poore men contrive strange fancies in the braine,
To cleanse that guilt which is a Leopard staine:
'Tis but a fain'd conceit, contended for,
Since water can but act its outward matter:
Regenerate, new-born; these babes indeed
of watry Elements have little need.
Were all things Gospell that H.N. bath said,
A strange confused worke were newly laid:
A perfect state, like Adams, is pretended,
Whilst out wardly each day God is offended:
No Sabboth, but alike all daies shall be,
If Familists may have their Liberty.
All Ordinances, Church and Ministry,
The Seeker that hath lost his beaten way,
Denies: for miracles he now doth waite,
Thus glorious truths reveal'd are out of date:
Is it not just such men should alwaies doubt
Of clearest truths, in Holy Writ held out.
To warrant this great Law of Separation,
And make one two, requires high aggravation:
Adultry onely cuts the Marriage-knot,
Without the which Gods Law allowes it not.
Then learn to seperate from sin that's common,
And man shall have more Comfort from a woman.
What Adams state had been with out a fall,
Is but presumption to contend withall:
But Adams state of deprivation
Profits by serious meditation;
Men it keep backe, Christ's all in all to all,
Then live by faith obedientiall.
Separatist or Independent.
The Saints Communion Christians do professe,
Most necessary to the life of grace,
But whilst some shrowd them by this bare notion,
Condemning all the rest for Antichristian,
Preferring much confused sad destraction:
They thus disturb a settlement in the Nation.
Under this name shrowds many desperate
Destroying Doctrines, unregenerate,
Expresse opposing grace in its true power,
And glories lustre some do much abhor;
Repentance and obedience are condemn'd,
And rarest Christian duties much contemned.
This curst opinion long hath been on foot,
A Christian Sabboth from our Isle to root:
When for base pleasures or curst recreation,
On Lords daies duties lost by prophanation,
Divine example hints sufficiently,
A first daies Sabboths full Authority.
That dare to search into the Trinity,
And in divine distinctions much to pry:
Christs humane nature they would dare to staine,
As ours by Adams guilt, but all in vaine:
Then let's beware, least diving thus too far,
We leese our love, and much increase sad jar.
That now expect a new revealed way,
Unknowne in Scripture, they have dar'd to say,
Beyond the way of usuall dispensation
Guifts infallible with Revelation,
And miracles againe with Ministry,
Thus men are lost, when they too far do pry.
The Jewish Sabboth these would have remaine,
As warrantable by command most plaine:
But since the Priest and sacrifice are ceast,
That Sabboth Judaicall is decreast:
The Lords daies ravishment divinely is
Confirm'd by Practice which unerring is.
That Englands Church is false do firmely hold,
What truths are therein taught deny thus bold
Without true ground, there's many yet that say
As much as these that erre and go astray:
Oh could we keep within a Christian bound,
That should such sad division not be found.
The Tatians
In what time that Eusebius lived, have
All Pauls Epistles dar'd reject and have
The Acts of the Apostles ser at nought,
Thus strange opinions have confusion brought:
Not far from those are some now in our daies,
That leave the Word and act contrary waies.
The Marchionites.
All Matthew, Marke, and Iohns divine
Most sacred Writ, these Gospels trine,
Tertullian doth report, rejected were,
By this strange Sect, thus heretofore:
As now we see, division greatly spread,
And from the bounds of practice get a head.

WE read how that in the last daies many false Prophets shall arise, and many shall say, Loe here is Christ, loe there is Christ, and shall deceive many, 2 Pet. 2.1. there were false Prophets also among the people, as there shall bee false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction, therefore we had need to be established in the truth, as in 1 Cor. 16.13. stand fast in the faith, 1 Pet. 5.9. whom resist stedfast in the faith, 1 Joh. 2.23. Let that therefore abide in you which yee have heard from the beginning, and yee shall continue in the Sonne and in the Father; Vers. 25. These things I have written unto you, concerning them that seduce you. Many, strange Sects and Opinions are held amongst us, so that it is to be feared, that what rule soever our wise and honourable Parliament shall establish it will not content the unquiet spirits of a lawlesse generation, which would have no rule; for set any Rule in the Church they will call it persecution, and they say they dislike some things commanded because they are Imposed. 
Some there are that looke for a Temporall Kingdome of Christ, that shall last a thousand years this opinion is most dangerous for all States, for they teach that all the ungodly must be killed, and that the wicked have no propriety in their estates. Others out of confidence that they are ruled by the spirit, despite all ordinary calling to the Ministry, all written prayers, all helps of study: Some make no conscience to heare and sing Psalms, but rather follow their own inventions, as he that would not believe the sun because it went not with his watch: Likewise this ordinary saying of theirs; Be in Christ and sin if thou canst; meaning, that regenerate men cannot sinne; this is the Doctrine of the Anabaptists: also that to receive the Communion with a prophane person, is to partake of his sinne; that the Lords Prayer was never taught to be said; that the Gospell was never purely taught since the Apostles times; that a liberty of Prophecying must be allowed; that all humane Lawes must be abolished; that Ministers of Gods Word should rule both the Spirituall and the Temporall; that distinction of Parishes is Antichristian. 
Should these absurd and grosse opinions take place, what division and confusion would they work amongst us? but such is the wisdome and care of our worthy and pious Parliament, to provide an Ordinance for preventing of the growing and spreading of heresie. 

Christy K Robinson is author of these books:

We Shall Be Changed (2010) 

Mary Dyer Illuminated Vol. 1 (2013)   

Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This Vol. 2 (2014) 

The Dyers of London, Boston, & Newport Vol. 3 (2014)  

Effigy Hunter (2015)   

Anne Marbury Hutchinson: American Founding Mother (2018)


And of these sites:  

Discovering Love  (inspiration and service)

Rooting for Ancestors  (history and genealogy)

William and Mary Barrett Dyer (17th century culture and history of England and New England)

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