Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/49

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Sixteenth Century Book-Fires.

exceedingly rare and costly. There are many extracts from the first of these in Knewstub's Confutation "of its monstrous and horrible blasphemies" (1579), wherein I fail to recognise either the blasphemies or their confutation, nor do I find anything but sense in Niclas's letter to two daughters of Warwick, whom he seeks to dissuade from suffering death on a matter of conformity to certain Church ceremonies. He insists on the life or spirit of Christ as of more importance than any ceremony. "How well would they do who do now extol themselves before the simple, and say that they are the preachers of Christ, if they would first learn to know Christ before they made themselves ministers of Him!" "Whatever is served without the Spirit of Christ, it is an abomination to God." Nevertheless the young persons seem to have preferred death to his very sensible advice.

Probably the Family of Love were misunderstood and misrepresented, both as regards their doctrines and their practices. Camden says that "under a show of singular integrity and sanctity they insinuated themselves into the affections of the ignorant common people"; that they regarded as reprobate all outside their Family, and deemed it lawful to deny on