Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Agus, Benjamin

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AGUS, BENJAMIN (fl. 1662), divine, was one of the most distinguished of the earlier vindicators of the nonconformists, and as such second only to Richard Baxter, and hardly second to Vincent Alsop. His ‘Vindication of Nonconformity ’ and ‘Antidote to Dr. Stillingfleet's “Unreasonableness of Separation;” being a defence of the former,’ have been allowed to slip out of sight; but they hold in them all that needs to be said in behalf of nonconformity. From the former, these words of historic importance may be quoted: ‘A little before the Black Bartholomew [Act of Uniformity and ejection of the two thousand in 1662] a noble lord enquired whether I would conform or not? I answered: “Such things were enjoined as I could not swallow, and therefore should be necessitated to sound a retreat.” His lordship seemed much concerned for me, and used many arguments to reconcile me to a compliance, but perceiving me unmoved, at last said with a sigh: “I wish it had been otherwise; but they were resolved either to reproach you or undo you.”’ Another great lord, when speaking to him about the hard terms of conformity, said: ‘I confess I should scarcely do so much for the Bible as they require for the Common Prayer’—meaning doubtless, explains Palmer, ‘subscribing assent and consent to all and every thing in our present translation, or copy of the original. What wise man would do it?’ He has been identified with Benjamin Agas, native of Wymondham, Norfolk, who entered Corpus College, Cambridge, in 1639, proceeded M.A in 1657, and was described in his will, dated 21 May 1683, as ‘of London, clerk.’ Agus was ejected from Chenies, Buckinghamshire.

[Calamy and Palmer's Nonc. Memorial, i. 297–8; Works, ut supra; Masters' Hist. of Corpus Coll. (ed. Lamb), p. 196.]

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