Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/120

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104
Books Condemned to be Burnt.

brat of the other, they are so well alike." He confesses himself "of the opinion of most, that the clergy are the great incendiaries" In the matter of Psalm-singing he finds "few men under heaven more irrational in their religious exercises than our clergy." As to their common evasion of difficulties by the plea that it is above reason, he fairly observes: "If a man will consent to give up his reason, I would as soon converse with a beast as with that man." Nevertheless, how many do so still!

Fry wrote as a rational churchman, not as an anti-Christian, "from a hearty desire for their (the clergy's) reformation, and a great zeal to my countrymen that they may no longer be deceived by such as call themselves the ministers of the Gospel, but are not." This appears on the titlepage; but a good motive has seldom yet saved a man or a book, and the House, having debated about both tracts from morning till night, not only voted them highly scandalous and profane, but consigned them to the hangman to burn, and expelled Fry from his seat in Parliament (February 21st, 1651).

So far of the political utterances that for the offence they gave were condemned to the flames; but these only represent