Love Under Fire


Chapter 16—Seeking Freedom in a New World

Though the Church of England rejected the authority and creed of Rome, it welcomed into its worship many of her ceremonies. The claim circulated that things the Bible did not forbid were not evil in themselves. Observing these ceremonies tended to narrow the gulf separating the reformed churches from Rome, and some people claimed that doing so would help Catholics accept the Protestant faith. LF 123.1

Others did not agree. They saw these customs as badges of the slavery from which they had been delivered. They reasoned that in His Word God has established the regulations governing His worship, and that people are not free to add to these or to remove any of them. Rome began by requiring what God had not forbidden, and ended by forbidding what He had explicitly required. LF 123.2

Many viewed the customs of the English Church as obvious idolatry, and they could not participate in her worship. But the church, backed by civil authority, would permit no dissent. Unauthorized gatherings for worship were prohibited under penalty of imprisonment, exile, or death. LF 123.3

The Puritans were hunted, persecuted, and imprisoned, and they could not see any promise of better days. Some, while trying to go to Holland for refuge, were betrayed into the hands of their enemies. But their perseverance finally conquered, and they found shelter on friendly Dutch shores. LF 123.4

They had left their houses and their jobs. They were strangers in a strange land, forced to resort to unfamiliar occupations to earn their living. But they lost no time in idleness or complaining. They thanked God for the blessings they had and were happy that they could worship without fear. LF 123.5