A Brief Account OF THE Illegal Proceedings and SINFUL DOCTRINES of JAMES BEDFORD Priest of Blunsome and Earith in Hunting­ton SHIRE, Who by many hath been esteemed eminent, and above all the Priests in the Isle of Ely for his opposing the People called QUAKERS.

This is to discover his fruits and Doctrines both to Rulers, Priests and peo­ple, that both Rulers, Priests and people may see the iniquity that is upheld amongst them, and which many of the Priests still persist in; this is to discover to them a little of their abomination (among much more that they are found in and of the horrible and filthy thing that is committed in the Land, and in particular by James Bedford Priest of Blun­some and Earith in Huntington Shire, that so they that will uphold or countenance these Priests in their iniquities may be left without ex­cuse, and they that love their souls may save themselves from that per­verse generation, who are destroyers both of bodies and souls for dishonest gain, because of whose iniquities the Nations deeply suffers and wants the true establishment; for it is Right ousnesse that establisheth a Nati­on, and Iniquity that confounds and imbondageth it; So mark the fol­lowing account, which is as it was certified from the hands of some of the Sufferers hereafter mentioned, who are known to be credible and ho­nest men.

London, Printed for Thomas Simmons at the signe of the Bull and Mouth near Aldersgate, 1660.

The said Priest Bedford his proceedings against John Cranwell of Earith for the four years p [...]st, &c.

THe two former years he the said Priest Bedford came into John Cranwells f [...]ld and took 4 Lambs without leave, and sent his men for Tithe Wool at shear-day, but John Cranwells refused to give him any (because he was convinced in his conscience that Tithes now in the priesthood of Christ ought not to be paid, and that it was not equity that he should maintain such a Minister as he is not taught by) where­upon the said Priest Bedford sent his men and unlockt John Cranwells barn door, and took away as much wool as they thought good, and also took away of his Hay and Corn what they would, and did cast John Cranwell into Huntington Goal; So the Priest having dealt thus illegally (and as appears be­ing convicted in his conscience of the unlawfulness of this his proceedings.) The two last years, the Priest said he would go on Legally, in the year 1658. he did fetch a warrant for John Cranwell to bring him before two Justices to shew cause why John had not set forth his Tithe, which J C. did shew be­fore Justice Pedley and Robert Vintener, so after some words passed, they called three men to be sworn; then they did ask them what Lambs and sheep John Cranwell had that year, and what Hay and Corn, and what they did value the Tithe of them to be worth that year; and they did value it at 12 l. almost; but if John would pay the Priest, they said they would abate twenty shillings, John told them he oweth the Priest nothing, nor would give him any thing; Then they said they would make a warrant for fifteen pounds, which they did; And a while after Priest Bedford came with the Constable and took three Cows which was with calf, which the Constable said was worth 15. l. also they took, Carts, and 4 pair of wheels which also was worth 15. pound, but they brought three again, and kept one of them, (viz. the best) worth six pounds, and so they took one and twenty pounds worth of goods for Tithes demanded but to the value [Page 4]of twelve pounds, according to their own account. But mark how this said Priest hath added to his Iniquity, In the year 1 [...]59. the said James Bedford the priest came violently with two rude fellows with him upon Iohn Cranwells ground, and the priest said to Iohn Cranwells Son that he came for Tithe Hay, and Iohns Son discharged them off his fathers ground, and the Priest said he did not care for that, he came for his dues; so Iohns Son whipped away their horses (when the Priest would not remove them) upon which one of the Priests men swore that if he whipped away their horses again, he would run his fork into his belly, then the Priest said he would bear him harmless if it cost him an hundred pounds, and the Priest then threatened to overthrow Iohn Cranwells Cart, which Cart stood then loaden upon Iohns own ground a little way off them; and Iohns son putting away the Priests horses again, (notwithstanding his and his mens threatnings) the Priest rode galloping, and striving to make Iohn Cranwells horses overthrow the Cart; and Iohn Cranwels Son told the Priest it was a shame for him to take away his Fathers goods in that manner; the Priest said he could finde in his heart, if he were not a Minister, to come off his horse and whip Iohn Cranwells Son; so the Priest forcibly took a­way what Hay he would.

And moreover the Priest his men came by night, & bound up and carried away half an aker, and half another half aker of Jo. Cranwells wheat, and about the worth of another rood of wheat the Priest took away for small Tithe, as he said.

And the said Priests men violently took away of Jo. Cran­wells Barly & pease as much as they would, never setting out the Tithe, so that the quantity of or worth of all I.Cs. Goods which this Priest hath taken away cannot be certainly known, he hath taken away so much in such an illegal & fellonious manner, as all that reads this may judge, and see what fruits are brought forth by these Teachers in this Nation, who pro­fesse to be Ministers of the Gospel, and to take the cure of souls, when thus they are found in Robbery and oppressing the people, and to these unjust proceedings they take the more Liberty from the Rulers not putting a stop to them, pretending they have the Law & Government on their sides.

To all the aforesaid wicked actings of Priest Bedford, those whose [Page 5]names are hereunto annexed, can testifie the truth of the same, Richard Catlin, Stephen Chody, Matthew Peacock, Bennet Cranwel.

And likewise take notice of the further Illegal proceed­ings of the said James Bedford against Thomas Purcas of Blun­some; as first of all in the year, 1655. it seemed not enough for the said Priest Bedford to cast Thomas Purcas into prison, but after he was forth of prison, sent his men to the land of the said Thomas Purcas, and took away what of his Hay and Corn they would. And also at another time the said Priest sent his man into his yard, and fetcht away a Pig after a felloni­ous manner, and said his Master would bear him harmlesse. Moreover in the year 1658. the said James Bedford cast the said Thomas Purcas into prison again, where he continued nine weeks, and after he was forth of Prison, he sent his men upon the land of the said Thomas Purcas, and took away from him what they would, as aforesaid. And moreover in the year 1659. Priest Bedford himself came upon a land of the said Thomas Purcas, & beat off the said Thomas his Team, and took away all the Grain of that Land except three Sheaves; And yet notwithstanding all this his so wicked actings, his cove­tousnesse in all this was not satisfied, but sent his men to a­nother land of the said Thomas, and out of six shockes took a­way five and left but one, and his servant Thomas Bar by force pulled away the sheaves out of the said Thomas his cart, and other of his men at several other times did the like.

To all which aforesaid several actions done by the said Priest and his men, there are many witnesses can testifie the same; where­fore men may here plainly see what spirit this Priest Bedford is of, and in what paths he walks, even in the steps of the false pro­phets which Christ prophesied of, which should appear in sheeps cloathing, but inwardly ravening Wolves, as by his fruits a­foresaid he is made manifest, Mat. 7.15.

And now seeing this said Priest Beford hath been had in great esteem for an eminent disputant against the Quakers, and after a meeting that John Whitehead had with him at Had­nam in the Ile of Ely, Justice Castle of Hadnam did esteem of this Priest Bedford above all the Priests in the Ile of Ely, in saying That he had done more (in disputing against John [Page 6]Whitehead) then any Minister in the Ile of Ely would have done, and so he set him above all the Priests in that Ile, (though his folly and confusion was plainly manifest both at that meeting and other places;) Therefore take notice of some of the Priests Doctrines here, from whence the Readers hereof may easily judge what an ignorant com­pany of Priests they have in the Ile of Ely, if this Priest Bedford be above them all.

Pr. At the said meeting, he the said Priest Bedford deny­ed that every man is enlightned with a spiritual Light, and affirm­ed that the light within led men to murther, instancing for his proof, John 16.2. and Pauls persecuting the Saints.

Answ. Christ is the true Light that lighteth every man that com­eth into the World, and his light with which he enlightens e­very man is Spiritual; so the Priest in saying that the light within led men to murther, he hath blasphemed against the Light of Christ, who came not destroy mens lives but to save them; and the gifts of his light or grace which he gives free­ly unto man-kinde, are of the same Nature that Christ is of from whence they flow forth, and what Paul did in persecut­ing the Saints, he did it ignorantly and not by the light, for the light shewed him his transgression in so doing, and they spoken of John 16.2. who thought they did God service in killing the Saints were not led by the light, for they and their thoughts were deceived by him who was a murtherer from the beginning.

Pr. At a meeting which was at Blunsome Steeple-house the fourteenth day of the twelfth moneth, where George White­head opposed the said Priest Bedford, the Priest scoffed at quaking and trembling, judging it to be of the Devil, as also he did at falling down (as some have done when they were smitten by the power of God.)

Ans. Here the priest scoft at the power of God, and re­proached its work, which caused Moses to quake, and Davids flesh to tremble, and him to morne all the day long, and the word of the Lord said unto Ezekiel, Son of man, eat thy bread with quaking, and Paul fell down to the earth when he was smitten, and he trembled, and said work out your salva­tion with fear and trembling, and Iohn fell down at the feet [Page 7]of Christ; many more examples might be shewn for this a­gainst Pr. Bedfords blasphemy, whom we ask if it was not the power of God that caused the Devils to tremble? Surely he is not come so farre as the devils were, to acknowledge the power of God, when they confessed to the Name of Jesus, Eze. 12.17, 18. Acts, 9.4.6. Rev. 1.17.

Pr. Bedford scoft at the Quakers silent meeting, and called it a Rediculous Foppery.

Ans. So he might as well have scoft at Iob and his Friends for sitting upon the ground together in silence seven dayes and seven nights, Iob. 2.13. ch. 3.1. And at Ezekiel, who witnessed the like, Ezek. 3.15, 16, 17. And saith the Lord, keep silent O yee Islands before me, and let the People re­new their strength; so the Prophets and Holy men of God knew a time to be silent and a time to speak, and in silence they waiting renewed their strength.

Pr. Bedford much scoffed at going naked; Instancing a friends going naked in Cambridge.

Ans. So he would have scoffed at the Prophet Isays, going naked and barefoot for a sign and a wonder, Isa. 20. and at Sauls being naked a day and a night when the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and therefore it was said is Saul also a­mong the Prophets? 1 Sam. 19.23, 24. And some of the servants of the Lord in this age, have been moved to go naked, for a signe to those whose shame and nakedness the Lord would discover, as he hath done the priests nakedness, and the Schollers of Cambridge their shame and filthiness, since the friend went naked there.

Pr. Affirmed that the Quakers tread under foot the word of God, in denying the Scriptures to be the Word.

Ans. This is also a lie and a slander, for we own the Scrip­tures in their place in owning that to be the Word which they say is the Word, and that is God and Christ, who was before the Scriptures (which is the writtings) were; wherein are the words that God spoke, but the word was before the words or writtings were.

Pr. Affirmed that all the Scriptures from the beginning of Gene­sis to the end of the Revelation is the word of God, and that the Devils words are the word of God.

Ans. So you may see here this priest makes no distinction [Page 8]between the Devils words (which are in many places recorded in the Scripture) and the word of God, but in counting the Devils words the word of God, he would here make the Divell a Minister of Gods word, and here all may see his blasphemy, for the Devil was a liar from the begining, as he was when he tempted the woman, and spoke quite contra­ry to what God had said, Gen. 3.3, 4.

Pr. That the Colledges were not built by the Papists, for he said the Colledge at Ierusalem was before the Papists were, 2 Kin 22.14.

Ans. See what a silly priest this is, the Colledge (so called) at Jerusalem was but one, and theres no mention of any be­ing made Ministers at it; but that Huldah a Prophetess dwelt in that Colledge, who spoke the words of the Lord, such a one as the priests will not allow to preach; but here are ma­ny Colledges in England, at Oxford and Cambridge, which this priest Bedford could not clear from being built by Pa­pists. Also this Priest Bedfords deceit and lies against the people of God called Quakers, was taken notice of in many other things which he read in a book, as he had gathered them out of the priests books; and that he durst not at all fair­ly dispute with G. Whithead at the said meeting, but filled up much of the time with vain stories, lyes, and scoffing, laugh­ing, and filthy talk not fit to be mentioned, of which many of his hearers were so ashamed, till many of them cryed out against him, and some said he was mad, and others asked what he was else but a beast? When he spoke much of a Quakers calling him a beast, which he was proved to be from Titus. 1.10.11, 12, 13. And thus poor people have long been led captive by such prophane priests as this, whose propha­ness is gone abroad, and will remaine upon record for future ages, by whose iniquities the soul of the Righteous is grie­ved, and this Nation greatly suffereth by reason of such pro­phane Teachers, who are the Leaders that cause the people to erre: And how can ever a Nation be setled in peace, while such are upheld by the Rulers to be leaders of the peo­ple as oppresse them, whose practices and principles tends to the rum both of bodies and soules, let the serious consider it, and the people lay it to heart.

G. W.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.