Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/126

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

the air was thick with theological speculation; and only a few weeks after the condemnation of Best's Mysteries, the House condemned to a similar fate Bidle's Twelve Arguments drawn out of Scripture, wherein the Commonly Received Opinion touching the Deity of the Holy Spirit is Clearly and Fully Refuted.

Bidle, a tailor's son, must take high rank among the martyrs of learning. After a brilliant school career at Gloucester, he went to Magdalen College, Oxford, where, says his biographer, "he did so philosophise, as it might be observed, he was determined more by Reason than Authority"; and this dangerous beginning he shortly followed up, when master of the Free School at Gloucester, by the still more dangerous conclusion that the common doctrine of the Trinity " was not well grounded in Revelation, much less in Reason." For this he was brought before the magistrates at Gloucester on the charge of heresy (1644); and from that time till his death from gaol-fever in 1662, at the age of fortytwo, Bidle seldom knew what liberty was. It was soon after his first imprisonment that he published his Twelve Arguments, Though the House had this burnt by the hangman, it was so popular that it was