JOHN ROGERS PREACHING:
he personates God to the people, telling them, 'Well, I have trusted you so long with my Bible; you have slighted it; it lies in such and such houses all covered with dust and cobwebs. You care not to look into it. Do you use my Bible so? W...ell, you shall have my Bible no longer'.
And he takes up the Bible from his cushion, and seemed as if he were going away with it, and carrying it from them;
but immediately turns again and personates the people to God, falls down on his knees, cries and pleads most earnestly,
'Lord, whatsoever thou cost to us, take not thy Bible from us; kill our children, burn our houses, destroy our goods; only spare us thy Bible, only take not away thy Bible'.
(Context: It is plain that scenes like this were far from rare in East Anglia in the first half of the seventeenth century. Samuel Fairclough's own father, Lawrence Fairclough, had seen spiritual prosperity in his ministry at Haverhill, Suffolk, before his death in 1603. The successor to his work in Haverhill was one of the most 'awakening' of all Puritan preachers and one whose ministry was attended with a power which was still being spoken of in the mid-eighteenth century. This was John Rogers, nephew of Richard Rogers of Wethersfield, by whose financial support he studied at Emmanuel from 1588 until 1592. In 1605 he was called from Haverhill to be 'lecturer' in the beautiful vale of Dedham, later to be known throughout the world by the paintings of John Constable but famous in the seventeenth century for the great spiritual harvest which took place under Rogers' ministry. 'Let us go to Dedham to get a little fire' became a common saying among his contemporaries. One who went was Thomas Goodwin, while a student at Cambridge, and many years later when he was Dr. Goodwin and President of Magdalen College, Oxford, he reported his memory of it to John Howe. Howe recorded it as follows: 'He told me that being himself, in the time of his youth, a student at Cambridge, and having heard much of Mr. Rogers of Dedham, in Essex, purposely he took a journey from Cambridge to Dedham to hear him preach on his lecture day. And in that sermon he falls into an expostulation with the people about their neglect of the Bible [I am afraid it is more neglected in our days]; )
The Puritans and Revival Christianity by Iain Murray