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[369] ment, Roger Williams, after remain two years or a
Chap. IX.} 1633.
little more in Plymouth, accepted a second invitation to Salem. The ministers in the Bay and of Lynn used to meet once a fortnight at each other's houses, to debate some question of moment; at this, in November, 1633, Skelton and Williams took some exception, for fear the custom might grow into a presbytery or a superintendency, to the prejudice of the church's liberties; but such a purpose was disclaimed, and all were clear that no church or person can have power over another church. Not long afterwards, in January, 1634, complaints were made against Wil-
liams for a paper which he had written at Plymouth, to prove that a grant of land in New England from an English king, could not be perfect, except the grantees ‘compounded with the natives.’ The opinion sounded like treason against the charter of the colony; Williams was willing that the offensive manuscript should be burned; and so explained its purport, that the court applauded his temper, and declared ‘that the matters were not so evil as at first they seemed.’

Yet his gentleness and forbearance did not allay a jealousy, which rested on his radical opposition to the established system of theocracy, which he condemned, because it plucked up the roots of civil society and brought all the strifes of the state into the garden and paradise of the church. The government avoided an explicit rupture with the church of England; Williams would hold no communion with it on account of its intolerance; ‘for,’ said he, “the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience is most evidently and lamentably contrary to the doctrine of Christ Jesus. The magistrates insisted on the presence of every man at public worship; Williams reprobated the law; the worst statute in the English code was that which did but enforce attendance upon the parish church. ”

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