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that whatever fine they laid on me, or whatever hole or prison, said I, you thrust me into, I shal! find God's living presence with me, as I feel it this
day: and so ended my speech. - Upon this a justice of the peace, one Rupert Humpatch, got up, went to the judge, laid his hand upon the judge's shoulder, and said, my lord, I know this man to be an honeft man; and what I fay, I speak not by hear-say, but experience ; for I was his next-door neighbour three years. Also, another justice fpake to the same effect. Then the judge fpake to me; Mr. Elwall, I perceive you have studied very deeply into this controversy; but have you ever consulted any of our reverend clergy and bishops of the church of England ? I answered, Yes, I have; and among others, the archbishop of Canterbury himself, with whom I have exchanged ten letters, viz. four I have had from him, and fix he has had from me (at which words all the priests ftared very earnestly). Well, says the judge, and was not the archbishop able to give you some fatisfaction in these points, Mr. Elwall? I said, No; but rather quite the reverse ; for that in all the letters I sent to the archbishop, I grounded my arguments upon the words of God and his prophets, Christ and his apostles; but in his answers to me, he referred me to acts of parliament, and declarations of state, &c. whereas I told the bishop, in one of my letters, that I wondered a man of
his natural and acquired abilities, should be so weak as to turn me over to human authorities, in things of a divine nature ; for though in all things that are of a temporal nature, and concern the civil society, I will be subject to every ordinance ef man for the Lord's sake; even from the king upon the throne down to the meanest officer in the land; but in things that are of a spiritual nature, and concern my faith, my worship of God, and future state, I would call no man father here upon earth, nor regard either popes or councils, prelates or priests of any denomination, nor convocations, nor assemblies of divines, but obey God and his prophets, Christ and his apostles. Upon which the judge answered, Well, if his grace of Canterbury was not able to give you satisfaction, Mr. El. wall, I believe I shall not; and fo fat down and rested him; for I think he had stood up for near an hour and a quarter.
Then he stood up again, and turning to the priests talked softly to them. I did not hear what he said, or what they said to him; but I guessed from what the judge faid next; for, says he, Mr. Elwall you cannot but be sensible that what you have writ, being contrary to the commonly received doctrines of the church, it has given offence to fome of your neighbours, and particularly to the clergy; are you willing to promise, before the face of the country here, that you will not write any
more on this head? I answered, God forbid that I should make thee any such promise ; for when I wrote this book, I did it in the fear of God; and I did not write to please the church of Rome, nor the church of England, nor the church of Scotland ; but to please tha God who gave me my breath ; and therefore, if at any time I find myself drawn forth to write in defence of this sacred first commandment, or any other of the ten, I hope I shall do it in the same spirit of fincerity as I have done this. And I perceived the judge was not in any wise displeased at my honest, plain, bold answer ; but rather his heart seemed to be knit in love to me; and he foon declared me acquitted : and then the clerk of the arraigns, or assizes, stood up, and said, Mr. Elwall you are acquitted; you may go out of court when you please.
So I went away through a very great croud of people (for it was thought there was a thousand people at the trial) and having spoke long I was a-thirst, so went to a well and drank. Then I went out of town hy a river-side, and locking about, and seeing no one near, I kneeled down on the bank of the river, and sent up my thank-offering to that good God who had delivered me out of their hands.
By the time that I returned to the town, the court was up and gone to dinner : a justice of peace and another person met me, and would have me to
eat and drink with them, which I did; and afterwards, as I was walking along the street some per • fons hove up a great fash-window and invited me up to them; and when I entered the room, I found ten or a dozen persons, most of them juftices of the peace; and amongst them a priest, whom they called doctor. One of the justices took me by the hand, and said, Mr. Elwall, I am heartily glad to fee you, and I was glad to hear you bear your testimony so boldly as you did. Yes, says another justice, and I was glad to see Mr. Elwall come off with flying colours as he did : upon which the priest said in a very bitter manner) He ought to have been hanged. I turned unto him, and said, Friend, I perceive thou doft not know what spirit thou art of ; for the son of man came not to destroy, but to save : but thou wouldest have me destroyed. Upon which one of the justices said, How now, doctor, did not you hear one of the justices say, that he was an honest man, and that what he said was not by hear-say, but by experience, and would you have honest men hanged, doctor? Is this good doctrine? So that the priest said but little more for some time: So I took leave of the jus-, tices, and took horse for Wolverhampton, for I knew there would be great joy in my family, for the common people all expected to hear of my being fined and imprisoned. But a farmer that lived near, who had been upon the jury at Stafford, got
to town before me, and the people went all up and asked him, What have they done to Mr. Elwall ? Have they put him in prison? He answered “ No, he preached there an hour together, " and our parsons could say never a word. What “ must they put him in prison for? I told our “ foreman of the jury, Mr. Elwall was an honest
man, and his father was an honest man, I knew “ him very well.” So they were all damped; but there was great joy in my family, and amongst all my friends : Praises, living praises be attributed to that good God who delivered me out of their hands!
Christ never told us of that scandalous popish invention, of his human nature praying to his divine nature; but, like a true obedient son of God, submitted to death, even that cruel death which the hatred and envy of persecuting wicked priests inflicted on him, because he had so plainly and truly told them all of their blindness, covetousness, pride, and hypocrisy. And therefore God raised him from the diad; and for his faithfulness God bas exalted him to be a prince and a saviour to all those that obey that pure doctrine which God gave him to teach ; that denying ungodliness and sinful lufts, we mould live soberly and righteously in this world. Then are we bis disciples indeed, when we do those things that he hath commanded. Then shall we. be saved, not by the merits of Christ, that is another popith invention ; for he never did any thing but