On a narrow strip in the northern California coastline grow the giant Redwoods, the biggest living things on earth. Some are over 360 feet tall, and some trunks are more than 60 feet around. They do not have much foliage for their size; all their strength is in those huge trunks, with foot-thick bark . . . Some have actually been burned, but are still alive and growing . . . The Redwoods (to use a much cheapened word in its old, strict, strong sense) awesome. They dwarf you, making you feel your smallness as scarcely anything else does.California’s Redwoods make me thing of England’s Puritans, another breed of giants who in our time have begun to be newly appreciated. Between 1550 and 1700 they too lived unfrilled lives in which, speaking spiritually, strong growth and resistance to fire and storm were what counted. As Redwoods attract the eye, because they overtop other trees, so the mature holiness and seasoned fortitude of the great Puritans shine before us as a kind of beacon light, overtopping the stature of the majority of Christians in most eras, and certainly so in this age of crushing urban collectivism, when Western Christians sometimes feel and often look like ants in an anthill an puppets on a string.
I, ….. do here declare my unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained in and prescribed in and by the Book entitled The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the use of the Church of England, together with the Psalter and Psalms of David, pointed as they are to be sung or said in Churches; and the Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests and Deacons.
I… do declare that it is not lawful, upon any pretence whatsoever ,to take arms against the King; and that I do abhor that traitorous position of taking arms by his authority against his person, or against those that are commissioned by him; and that I will conform to the liturgy of the Church of England as it is now by law established: and I do declare that I do hold there lies no obligation upon me or on any other person, from the Oath commonly called The Solemn League and Covenant, to endeavour any change or alteration of government either in Church or State; and that the same was in itself an unlawful Oath, and imposed upon the subjects of this realm against the known laws and liberties of this Kingdom.
“We thank God for the memory of these men, who, having seen the position clearly, acted upon it at all costs. May God give us grace to follow in their train!”