[From Ramsey Church Magazine 1896-7]

Letters of Bishop Baptist Levinz.

The following copies of letters from Bishop Baptist Levinz* have been preserved in the Ecclesiastical Records and may be of interest to your readers:-

" Lambeth, To Thomas Cholmondeley, Esquire, Vale Royall. Honor'd Sir,-

I have been imploy'd in ye visiting ray Lord Canterbury's diocese for him, else I had been in your parts sooner, in order to my voyage for my Island. I came, back butt last night from that imploy to Lambeth and here I stay till to-morrow bee over to see what will become of ye seven champions of our church, and then for Oxon. In a fortnight's time I hope to wayte upon yu att Vale Royall, and desire the salarys for the schoolmaster att Ramsey and ye, preacher and school- master att Duglasse may be ready for me to carry over with me,. Yt so I may be welcome to ye poor people, Yu have always been a most generous Patron to ym, and I beseech yu not now to forsake 'em yt so they may have all incouragments to continue ym firms to the Protestant Church in, this time of tryall, for I doubt not but yu have heard wee have a Seminary of Romish Priests. and Jesuits sending over thither which necessitates my going over wth all the -speed I can to withstand, their proceedings to my uttermost, and I hope God will, give such a, blessing to my weake butt syncere indeavours, yt, I shall preserve that little nation from their corruptions, however I will doe my indeavours and leave ye event to God. My humble service to yr selfe, yr excellent Lady and good Brother. I am with all imaginable respect, Sir, yr most humble servt, B. S and M."

He, duly paid his visit to Vale Royal, and arrived in the Island early in August, when, having just heard of the acquittal of the seven bishops, he wrote to Archbishop Sancroft:-

"This good news will make mee goe with. the more cheerfulnesse into the long sails I am now going to in My Portmos, as your Grace usually stiles it, wheer all the comfort I can promise my selfe is from this topique Only, that there I may have time enough for my, prayers . . . as also opportunity of holding closer communication with my God, since that poor desolate place will scarce afford me any other than Hee to con- verse with. This is the good use I intend by God's blessing, to make of this Banishment, wch I suppose will last mee, till, next summer. . . When. I lye under the confinement of my melancholy retreat, 'twill be. some comfort if your brace please to permitt mee the honour and satisfaction, of writing now and then a line to you.,,

He then begs the Archbishop to intercede for him with. the Bishop of Winchester to bestow upon, him " a house and prebend att Winchester when it falls, or something else equivalent, that I may have wheer-withall to protect me for the future from wintering in the severe climate of Man.-

"For," 'he proceeds, "I have a, title too big for my scant fortunes to maintayne." Again, dating from Bishop Court itself, Sept. 12, 1688, he writes to the Archbishop complaining bitterly of the wet and stormy weather, but declaring himself resvolved to stay in order to counteract the influence of certain Papists end Jesuits who were daily expected in the Island.

"In the mean time I am not idle; to fortify the people against the storms, if not every, at least every other Sunday, I goe to some church in my diocese to preach to and confirms the people." The danger seems not to have been a, serious one, as we find him able to assure the Archbishop that he found "the people in appearance nothing inclined to popery, tho' wee retayne several popish customs heer in this remote place, amongst wch this is one, that as soon as any person is inter'd all the persons present, fall down upon their knees and say theyre prayers att the grave; of which ask them; the reason, they can tell you no other, but that their fathers did, so before them; and many other such fopperys wee have, reliques of popish superstition."

On the 17th of November, having heard of the threatened landing of William ,of Orange, the issued the following proclamation : -

"Whereas 'were have received' intelligence hy his Matie's late proclamacon, that there is a horrid Invasion intended to have been upon his Kingdom of England, and that wee are now informed that the same is already made to the great distress and calamity of these kingdoms, and that there are certaine fformes of prayer intended and prepared to he sent forth for that purpose, wch are not as yett come to our hand, wee do therefore hereby order and appoint Wednesdays and Fridays in every week to be sett apart as dayes of humiliacon for the people to meet to seek God .. and we dbe hereby further require and, injoine the ministers to read the Comination Service beginning at the 51 Psalm and after that to conclude with the prayer of St. Chiyssostam and. the Blessing.


*'He was one of the trustees of the Royal Bounty.


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
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