Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/130

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114
Books Condemned to be Burnt.

either more or less departed from the simplicity and truth of the Scripture." But these Christians, who preferred their religion to their sect, Bidle should have known were too few to count

Far inferior writers to Bidle were Ebiezer Coppe and Laurence Clarkson; nor, if religious madness could be so stamped out, can we complain of the House of Commons for condemning their works to the flames. The strongest possible condemnation was passed for its "horrid blasphemies" on Coppe's Fiery Flying Roll; or, Word from the Lord to all the Great Ones of the Earth whom this may concern, being the Last Warning Peace at the Dreadful Day of Judgment, All discoverable copies of this book were to be burnt by the hangman at three different places (February 1st, 1650); and Coppe was imprisoned, but was released on his recantation of his opinions. His book was the cause of that curious ordinance of August 9th, 1650, for the "punishment of atheistical, blaphemous, and execrable opinions," which is the best summary and proof of the intense religious fanaticism then prevalent, and so curiously similar in all its details to that of the primitive Christian Church. At both periods the distinctive features were the claim to