An Anabaptist imprisoned


March 4, 1647, the Baptists of England received some relief from persecution when the Lords and Commons published a declaration providing some religious freedom.  In essence it said that even though they would wish that all would agree on the subject of “infant baptism”, it still remained a matter of time and place, therefore men should come to a reasonable conclusion from the Word of God, “…without being beaten out of it by force and violence.”  This referred to the fact that early in the 17th Century, Samuel Oats, a very popular preacher went into Essex, and an adjoining country, and baptized great numbers of converts.  One of those women died after she had been dipped in cold water, Oats was indicted, sent to prison for murder but acquitted by a jury.  However the enmity was so great against Oats that a group of rowdies dragged him from his house and bragged that they had thoroughly dipped him.  Peace was short lived however, for on May 2, 1648, The Lords and Commons rescinded the law by saying that anyone who baptizes someone formerly baptized  “…(shall) be committed to prison,…until he (promise) that he will  publish such errors that he will no longer do such things.”


Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 89.


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