Following the accession to the throne of Charles II there developed a distinct anti-puritan state of mind. There was a rejection of moral restraint, and repressive measures were enacted which mainly affected groups such as Presbyterians, Baptists, Independents and Quakers.
Although Charles II, somewhat to suit his own purposes later sought to support religious freedom, it was under his successor James that we find Catholicism being promoted. The result was a public outcry, and outrage even among Anglicans.
As a result a number of prominent bishops wrote to William of Orange in the Calvinist Dutch Republic, requesting his help. This temporarily at least united the non-conformists with the Anglicans against the Catholic James.
James eventually fled to France, and William of Orange was established as joint monarch with his wife Mary. Freedom of worship for those who held a Trinitarian belief was brought into law with the passing of the Toleration Act, in 1689. The punishing Conventicle Act and the Five Mile Act were duly repealed.
It was thus that the bloodless, so-called Glorious Revolution came about.
The Rev Dr Nick Needham is a Baptist minister originally from London. He holds the degrees of BD and PhD from the University of Edinburgh. He has published several books, the first two of which were in the area of Scottish Church History. More recently he has published 2,000...