Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/111

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
95
Book-Fires of the Rebellion.

to have been called in aid. In an age which was pre-eminently the age of pamphlets, and torn in pieces by religious and political dissension, the number of pamphlets that were condemned to be burnt by the common hangman was naturally legion, though, of course, a still greater number escaped with some lesser form of censure. It is only with the former that I propose to deal, and only with such of them as seem of more than usual interest as illustrating the manners and thoughts of that turbulent time.

It is a significant fact that the first writer whose works incurred the wrath of Parliament was the Rev. John Pocklington, D.D., one of the foremost innovators in the Church in the days of Laud's prosperity. The House of Lords consigned two of his books to be burnt by the hangman, both in London and the two chief Universities (February 12th, 1641). These were his Sunday no Sabbath, and the Altare Christianum.

The first of these was originally a sermon, preached on August 17th, 1635, wherein the Puritan view of Sunday was vehemently assailed, and the Puritans themselves vigorously abused. "These Church Schismatics are the most gross, nay, the most transparent hypocrites and