Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/157

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Book-Fires of the Revolution.

There is, however, no doubt about the burning of a book for its theological sentiments at this time, though it was no Parliament but only an university which committed it to the fire. Oxford University has always tempered her love for learning with a dislike for inquiry, and set the cause of orthodoxy above the cause of truth. This phase of her character was never better illustrated than in the case of The Naked Gospel, by the Rev. Arthur Bury, Rector of Exeter College (1690).

A high value attaches to the first edition of this book, wherein the author essayed to show what the primitive Gospel really was, what alterations had been gradually made in it, and what advantages and disadvantages had therefrom ensued. Bury, many years before, in 1648, had known what it was to be led from his college by a file of musketeers, and forbidden to return to Oxford or his fellowship under pain of death, because he had the courage in those days to read the prayers of the Church. So he had some justification for ascribing his anonymous work to "a true son of the Church"; and his motive was the promotion of that charity, and toleration which breathes in its every page. The King had summoned a Convocation, to make certain changes in the Litany, and,