The Execution of Baptist Pastor John James
During the Reign of Charles II of England
One of the most affecting instances of the persecutions of this period, is the case of Mr. John James, a Baptist minister. A person had informed against him, that he had uttered treason in one of his sermons. This all that heard him denied. He was, notwithstanding, condemned to be hanged and quartered. His wife petitioned the King for his life, as he entered the Palace from the Park. The King replied, "Oh! Mr. James, he is a sweet Gentleman," and then shut the door upon her. The next day she again presented herself to his majesty, and he again replied, "He is a rogue, and shall be hanged." He was accordingly hanged, on the 26th November, 1661. His conduct on the scaffold was very calm; he had no raptures; but the peace of God, that passeth all understanding, kept his heart and mind through Christ Jesus. The executioner said, " The Lord receive your soul." He said, " I thank you." A person present said, "This is a happy day." He answered, "I bless the Lord, it is so," Another said, "The Lord make your passage easy." "I trust he will so," replied Mr. James. He was then asked, if he had anything to say to the Sheriff. He replied, "No; but only to thank him for his civility." He then said aloud, lifting up his hands, "Father into thy hands, I commit my spirit," and so finished his course. His quarters were placed on the city gates, and his head was set upon a pole opposite his own meeting-house, in "White-chapel."
[From Joseph Ivimey, History of Baptists, vol. i, p. 326-327; via History of the Baptist Churches in the North of England, From 1648 to 1845, by David Douglas, 1846, pp. 79-80, fn. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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