Roger Williams, New England Firebrand

By James Ernst | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
PERSECUTED EVEN IN HIS FATHER'S HOUSE

Roger Williams was the son of James Williams, "citizen and merchant taylor of London." When no more than eleven years of age, Roger came under the influence of nonconformist preachers of London and was "converted" to the Puritan tenets. The Williams family frowned upon his childish fancies and his prattle about strange and unconventional ideas. Vainly they tried to recall the erring child from his dissenting ways, but to the parental advice that he "believe as the Church believes" the solemn little Puritan, newly converted, answered: "The Truth is . . . the Father of Light and Mercies hath toucht my soul with a love to himself, to his only begotten and true Lord Jesus and to his Holy Scripture."

No answer could be made to such talk. The child was taken firmly in hand. We are not told what means of persuasion were used. It seems certain, however, that his parents, their friends, and the parish church censured and reproached him, for he wrote to Mr. John Whipple, Jr., in 1669), I have been used to bear censures and reproaches for Truth's sake, for reproving and witnessing against the works of Darkness above these fifty years. But a mere child would not understand that he was lacking in "good taste," that he was a rebel to his family and social class. Fortunately, they failed to break the spirit of young Roger Wil

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