Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

SCROOPS'-COURT.-Nonjurors, Extinct.

and Communion with the Persons in the Godhead with the Father in his everlasting Love, by Faith in the Son's Salvation, through the sacred Teachings and Influence of the Holy Spirit.” This book has a recommendatory preface by the Rev. Isaac Nicholson, and has passed to a second edition. About two or three years ago, Mr. Pierce published an octavo volume, entitled, “ Sermons and Essays.” To this there was a recommendatory preface by Dr. Hawker.

[ocr errors]



In Scroops'-Court, opposite to St. Andrew's church, Holborn-Hill, anciently stood an Inn belonging to one of the courts of law. It was called Scroops, or Serjeants' Inn. Here also stood a meeting-house, which was occupied for some time by the Nonjurors, and was standing in 1738. This little is all that we know concerning the place. Of the strange tribe of Dissenters that held it, we have spoken at large under a former article. *






Bakers'-Court is situated in the broadest part of Holborn, between Brook-street and Gray’s-inn-lane, and nearly opposite to Thaives Ion. The meeting-house in this court is a very small place, with three galleries. Obscurely situated, and wearing all the marks of an ancient structure, it seems highly probable that it was built in the times of the Nonconformists; and there is some reason to suppose that Mr. Rowe's congregation met here after they were cast out of Westminster Abbey. If this conjecture be right, it was the preaching place of that learned and celebrated writer, Mr. Theophilus Gale. Till within the last half century, the history of this place is involved in obscurity. During that space of time it has been in the hands of the Methodists.

The first person of whom we have any account as preaching at this place, was Mr. George Bell. He belonged many years to Mr. Wesley's societies, in which he was a local preacher. He possessed a heated imagination, and gave some extraordinary proofs that he was far gone in enthusiasm. One of these was his firm persuasion that the end of the world was nearly approaching. This event he expected to take place on the 28th of February, 1763. Mr. Wesley took great pains to convince him of his errors, but he remained unmoved as a rock. Mr. Wesley accordingly forbad him his pulpits, in December, 1762; and on the 4th of February following, he voluntarily withdrew from the society. About the same time, Mr. Maxfield, and several other persons, withdrew from Mr. Wesley's con

[blocks in formation]

nexion, and set up a separate congregation in Prince'sstreet, Moorfields. As Maxfield was chosen pastor of this society, Bell became a member of it, and also an occasional preacher. But it was not long before he resolved to set up for himself. As he had many followers, he took the meeting-house in Bakers'-court, and preached there a number of years. His doctrinal sentiments were high Antinomianism, with which he mixed not a little of enthusiasm. In his preaching he was much given to screaming, so that he could be scarcely understood. He thought he possessed a miraculous discernment of spirits, and sharply condemned those who differed from him.* Of the time of his death we find no mention.

Mr. Bell was succeeded at Bakers'-court by a Mr. Nichols, who preached there but a few years, when he gave way to the late minister, Mr. Russel. This person occupied the place more than twenty years, and appeared to be a serious, good man, though very illiterate. His people were poor, and but few in number. About a year or two ago he was succeeded by a Mr. Lane, from Cheshunt, but who came last from Grub-street, where he had been some time upon trial. He is reckoned an antinomian, and has published one or two pamphlets upon some high points of doctrine.+

* Mr. Wesley's Journals.

+ Private Information.





THERE are three meeting-houses in Fetter-late, but that which first claims our attention, is the one situated between Nevil's-court and New-street, formerly occupied for many years by the Independents, but at present by the Moravians. The origin of this meeting-house may be traced to the reign of Charles II, and it was probably erected at the time that he issued forth his declaration for Indulgence, in 1672. But prior to this there existed, in the same neighbourhood, a place where the Nonconformists assembled for divine worship. As early as the fire of London, in 1666, we find mention made of a meeting-house in Fetter-lane. It consisted of four rooms, opening into each other, and is said to have had “ seventeen pews, with divers benches.”* This place was taken forcible possession of by the episcopal party, after they were deprived of their churches by the above calamity; and when they had made use of it as long as they thought proper, it was returned to the rightful owner. This place appears to have been situated in New-street; or, at least, there was an entrance to it from that quarter. The nonconformist minister to whom it belonged was Mr. John Turner, who was ejected from Sunbury, in Middlesex, but afterwards came to London, and was very active in preaching during the time of the great plague. Whether this meeting-house be the same as the one now under consideration seems uncertain, if they were different, it is very proþable that the latter was built for Mr. Turner, in the room

• Maitland's London, vol. i. p. 452.

[blocks in formation]

of the former one. At his place the celebrated Mr. Baxter preached for some years a Friday lecture, but quitted it on the 24th of August, 1682. Mr. Henry Stubbs, an ejected minister, also preached there as assistant to Mr. Turner. Owing to some cause now unknown, perhaps to the persecution raised against the nonconformists, at the latter end of the reign of Charles II. and the commencement of the succeeding one, Mr. Turner quitted his meeting-house in Fetterlane, and afterwards had another built for him in Leatherlane, where he preached till bis death,

Upon the removal of Mr. Turner, the meeting-house in Fetter-lane was taken possession of by a congregation of In. dependents, under the care of the famous Mr. Stephen Lobb. In his time a lecture was carried on here upon a Lord’s-day morning, by six London ministers. It was designed principally for servants, and commenced at five o'clock. The meeting-house in Fetter-lane was one of those singled out for destruction by Sacheverell's mob, in 1709, Mr. Bradbury being then pastor. Mr. Lobb's church continued to assemble at this place, under a succession of ministers, till the year 1732, when the present meeting. house, on the opposite side of the way, was erected for Mr. Rawlin. At that place we shall pursue the history of this church, having first dismissed the present article.

Shortly after the removal of Mr. Rawlin, his old meetinghouse was taken by Mr. John Wesley, who formed his first society in that place, May 1, 1738. Peter Boehler, a disciple of Count Zinzendorf, having visited England about that time, gained many converts, and bad frequent conferences with John and Charles Wesley. Many Moravians in consequence joined their society, but it soon fell into confusion. Most of the members were infected with Antinoniian principles, asserting, “ That believers were no more bound to obey the works of the law, than the subjects of the King of England are bound to obey the laws of the King of France." Mr. Wesley strenuously endeavoured to reclaim them from

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »