Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/123

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107
Book-Fires of the Rebellion.

be? Could not God have hindered sin, if He would? Might He not have kept man from sinning, as He did some of the angels? Therefore, it was His device and plot before the creature was that there should be sin. ... It is by sin that most of God's glory in the discovery of His attributes doth arise. . . . Therefore certainly it limits Him much to bring in sin by a contingent accident, merely from the creature, and to deny God a hand and will in its being and bringing forth."

The author thought these positions quite compatible with orthodoxy; not so, however, the Presbyterian divines, nor Parliament; and certainly Archer's questions were more easily and more swiftly answered by fire than in any other way. Had he lived, one wonders how the divines would have punished him. For the next two cases prove how dangerous it was becoming to be convicted or even suspected of heterodoxy. Parliament was beginning to understand its duty as Defender of the Faith as the Holy Inquisition has always understood it—namely, by the death of the luckless assailant.

Thus, on July 24th, 1647, the House of Commons condemned to be burnt in three different places, on three different days, Paul Best's pamphlet, of the follow-