Die Jovis, 20 Februarii, 1650.
MR. Millington reports from the Committee of
plundered Ministers, the Exceptions taken to the
Book, intituled, "The Clergy in their Colours," and
to the Book, intituled, "The Bellows," &c.: With the
Opinion and Resolutions of the said Committee thereupon:
. . . . were this Day read.
Exceptions taken by the Committee for plundered
Ministers, against the Book, intituled, "The Accuser shamed," &c. by the accused John Fry,
Februarii 13, 1650.
1. THAT he, the said John Fry, hath published, in
Print, the Accusation that was made against him, viva
coce only, in the House of Parliament, by a Member
of Parliament; often particularly naming and reproaching
the said Member, in the said Book, Title Page, and Page
14, 15, 16, 17.
2. That he denies the Trinity, calling it, "A chaffy
and absurd Opinion of Three Persons, or Subsistences, in
the Godhead," Title Page, and Page 15; and especially,
Page the 22, Line the 14; viz. "Persons, and Subsistences,
and Substances, or Accidents. As for the Word Person,
I do not understand that it can properly be attributed but
to Man. It is out of Doubt with me, that, if you ask
the most Part of Men, what they mean by a Person,
they will either tell you 'tis a Man, or else they are not
able to give you any Answer at all: And, for the Word
Accident, I suppose none will attribute that to God; for,
according to my poor Skill, that Word imports no more,
but the Figure or Colour, &c. of a Thing: And certainty
no Man ever saw the likeness of God; as the Scriptures
abundantly testify: And therefore neither of the Words,
Persons, or Subsistences, can hold forth such a Meaning as
Accidents in God. Athanasius, in his Creed, faith, 'There
is one Person of the Father, another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost:' Others say; That there is Three
distinct Subsistences in God: Well! these Three Persons, or
Subsistences, cannot be Accidents; neither do I think it is
the Meaning of any: Then certainly they must be Substances: If so, then they must be created or uncreated;
limited or unlimited: If created, and limited; then the
Person of the Father is a Creature, the Person of the Son
a Creature, and the Person of the Holy Ghost a Creature;
which I think none will affirm: If they are not created,
or limited, then they must be uncreated and unlimited;
for I know no Medium between created and uncreated, limited and unlimited: If they are uncreated and unlimited,
then there are Three uncreated and unlimited Substances;
and so, consequently, Three Gods. For my Part, I find
no Footing for such Expressions in Scripture; and I think
them fit only to keep ignorant People in carnal and gross
Thoughts of God: And therefore I do explore them out
of my Creed."
Resolved, by the Committee, That the aforesaid Second
Exception be reported to the House, as containing
Matter of Blasphemy.
Exceptions taken by the said Committee against the
Book, intituled, "The Clergy in their Colours;"
printed under the Name of John Fry, a Member of
the Parliament of England.
THAT the said Committee do except against the
Clause in the Book, Page 39, Line 17, as scandalous;
viz. "I cannot let pass one Observation: And that is,
The strange Posture these Men put themselves into, when
they begin their Prayers before their Sermons: Whether
the Fools and Knaves in Stage Plays took their Pattern
from these Men, or these from them, I cannot determine,
&c. What wry Mouths, squint Eyes, screwed Faces, do
they make!" And Page 41, Line 3; viz. "Again, how
like a Company of Conjurers do they mumble out the
Beginning of their Prayers, that the People may not hear
them! and, when artificially they have raised their Voices,
what a Puling do they make!"
This Committee being of Opinion, That the aforesaid
Passages are sit to be excepted against, in regard they are
That the said Committee do further except against the
Clause, Page 49, Line 1; viz. "I must confess, I have
heard much of believing Things above Reason; and the
Time was, when I swallowed that Pill: But I may say, as
St. Paul, &c. When I was a Child, &c. Every Man that
knoweth any thing, knoweth this: that it is Reason that
distinguisheth a Man from a Beast: If you take away his
Reason, you deny his very Essence: Therefore, if any
Man will consent to give up his Reason, I would as soon
converse with a Beast as with that Man: And whatsoever
Pretence some may make of Religion; in this Particular,
certainly there is nothing else in it but Ignorance and
The said Committee do further except against the Clause,
Page 11, Line 14, to the End of the Thirteenth Page;
"I have for some Years past entered into a serious Consideration of my latter End, and of a Saint's Life in this
World: And, being convinced, that I should not be saved
by an implicit Faith, I took Example by the Bereans,
to search the Scriptures, whether such Things as I heard
and read of God, and his Attributes, Heaven, Hell,
Angels both good and bad, Man, Prayer, Sin, were so
or no: And, upon a narrow Scrutiny, I sound such Contradictions, Absurdities, and Inconsequences, in many
considerable Things, that I wondered I had been so long
blind, &c. After I had a full Sight of these Things; and that
from mine own Experience, I concluded, that Men greedily swallow down such Doctrines; and that some of the
Teachers, as well zealously, through Ignorance as otherwise, held them forth."
That it appears to this Committee, that the whole
Scope of the Book doth tend to the Overthrow of the
Preachers and Preaching of the Gospel.
That both the said Books, throughout, are against. . .
Doctrine and Assertions of the true Religion.
Memorandum, That Colonel Waite, and Colonel Peter
Temple, did testify before the said Committee, That
Mr. John Fry, a Member of Parliament, did give
unto each of them the said Book, called, "The
Clergy in their Colours."
Mr. Fry being present, according to Summons;
Resolved, That the Question be asked of Mr. Fry,
Whether the Books, one of them intituled, "The
Bellows, &c." and the other intituled, "The Clergy in
their Colours," be his Books; and whether he own them.
Mr. Speaker shewed both the Books, with those Titles,
to Mr. Fry; and asked him, Whether the Books, one of
them intituled, "The Bellows," &c. and the other intituled, "The Clergy in their Colours," be his Books;
and whether he owns them.
Mr. Fry replied, That he did write some Things of
this Nature: But, unless he may examine them, with his
Copies of them, he cannot say whether he do own these
Resolved, That Mr. Fry be asked whether he wrote
any Books with such Titles, as the Book now shewed
And Mr. Speaker did accordingly ask him that Question.
The Book, intituled, "The Clergy in their Colours,"
&c. being shewed him;
He doth confess, he wrote a Book with that Title; but
knoweth not whether all that is in this Book be his.
The other Book intituled, "The Accuser shamed,"
&c. being shewed to Mr. Fry;
He faith, He did not write a Book with that Title that
this Book bears.
Resolved, That the House do take up the Debate upon
the Report now brought in by the Committee on these
Two Books, on Saturday next, notwithstanding the Order
of the House for not sitting that Day: And that the
House do admit no other Business that Day: And that
Mr. Fry be then present.
Resolved, That, in the mean time, the same Committee
do examine, who was the Author of the Book called,
"The Accuser shamed;" and who put the Title to it:
With Power to send for the Printer, Persons, Papers, and
Witnesses; and to report it to the House on Saturday
Letter from Holland.
The Question being put, That the Letter delivered by
Mr. Speaker, from the States of Holland and Westfriezland, be read To-morrow Morning;
It passed with the Negative.
And the Question being put, That the said Letter be
It was Resolved, That the said Letter be now read.
The Letter was read accordingly.