Saturday, September 8, 2007

Kiffin in Cathcart Part 2

Mr. Kiffin was a merchant, carrying on business
with foreign countries, and especially with Holland.
He conducted his mercantile affairs with so
much skill that in a few years he was among the
wealthiest men in London, and known by all classes
of society throughout the kingdom as one of the
greatest of English merchant-princes. This made
him a conspicuous object for persecuting spite, and
it stirred up the cupidity of a base horde of informers,
whom the Stuarts employed to ruin Dissenters.
Lord Arlington, one of the secretaries of
Charles II., told Mr. Kiffin that he was on every
list of disaffected persons whose freedom was regarded
as dangerous to the government.

Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopedia (1881), pg. 654.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Kiffin in Cathcart Part 1

Kiffin, Rev. William
, was born in London in
1616. In 1625 the plague, which swept over his
native city, deprived him of both his parents and
left him with six plague sores, the cure of which
was regarded as impossible. Through two sermons
preached by Mr. Davenport and Mr. Coleman, in
London, Mr. Kiffin obtained from Christ a divine
life which defied the evils of seventy stormy years.
He united with a Congregational church, by which
he was first called to the ministry. In 1638 he
joined the Baptist church of which the Rev. John
Spilsbury was pastor. From this community a
colony went forth in 1640 which formed another
church. The new organization met in Devonshire
Square. It elected Mr. Kiffin pastor. an office
which he retained for sixty-one years, the duties
of which three assistant pastors at different times
aided him to discharge.

Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopedia (1881), pg. 654.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Orme and Ivimey: Publications of Kiffin Biography

In the Baptist Magazine (1832, pg. 264), a notice was posted regarding the appearance of two biographies of William Kiffin.

The article notes how the work, Remarkable Passages in the Life of Kiffin (1823), by William Orme (1787–1830) appeared at the same time which Joseph Ivimey's(1773-1834) biography of Kiffin was ready to go to press. Ivimey waited 9 years with the finished manuscript in hand before publishing it in 1833, shortly before his death in February, 1834.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kiffin Blog Open For Viewing

Today I opened up the Kiffin blog to be viewed by the world.

Initially I wanted it to be a place where I would store my own findings and reflections. But it seems only fit to place such a public figure as Kiffin into the vast public square of our day: the Web!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Portrait of William Kiffin

Larry Kreitzer of Regent's Park College, Oxford has written a pamphlet outlining the history of the remarkable portrait of William Kiffin. As the web notice states:

It is a detailed study of the oil painting of the wealthy London merchant, which was done in 1667 when Kiffin was 50 years old. The painting remains the only known artistic representation of the Particular Baptist leader made during his life-time (1616-1701). This study represents the first published investigation into the painting, arguably the finest example extant of a 17th-century Baptist figure within the art world

The study chronicles how the painting was passed down the Kiffin family line, how it was bequeathed to the Baptist Missionary Society in 1857, and how it eventually came to be at the college in Oxford. The pamphlet contains eleven illustrations, including two colour pictures of the 1667 portrait itself; it also provides a ‘Family-Tree of William Kiffin’, which fills in many gaps about his immediate family and his descendants, including the family connection to Oliver Cromwell.

Alas, poor souldier, whither wilt thou march?

Ballad: The Lamentation Of A Bad Market, Or The Disbanded Souldier

(July 17th, 1660.) - From the King's Pamphlets, British Museum.

This ballad relates to the disbanding of the Parliamentary army.
Contrary, however, to what is pretended in it, says Mr. Wright, in
his volume printed for the Percy Society, the writers of the time
mention with admiration the good conduct of the soldiers after they
were disbanded, each betaking himself to some honest trade or
calling, with as much readiness as if he had never been employed in
any other way. Not many weeks before the date of the present
ballad, a prose tract had been published, with the same title, "The
Lamentation of a Bad Market, or Knaves and Fools foully foyled, and
fallen into a Pit of their own digging," &c. March 21st, 1659-60.

In red-coat raggs attired,
I wander up and down,
Since fate and foes conspired,
Thus to array me,
Or betray me
To the harsh censure of the town.
My buffe doth make me boots, my velvet coat and scarlet,
Which used to do me credit with many a wicked harlot,
Have bid me all adieu, most despicable varlet!
Alas, poor souldier, whither wilt thou march?

I've been in France and Holland,
Guided by my starrs;
I've been in Spain and Poland,
I've been in Hungarie,
In Greece and Italy,
And served them in all their wars.
Britain these eighteen years has known my desperate slaughter,
I've killed ten at one blow, even in a fit of laughter,
Gone home again and smiled, and kiss'd my landlor's daughter;
Alas! poor souldier, etc.

My valour prevailed,
Meeting with my foes,
Which strongly we assailed;
Oh! strange I wondred,
They were a hundred;
Yet I routed them with few blowes.
This fauchion by my side has kind more men, I'll swear it,
Than Ajax ever did, alas! he ne'er came near it,
Yea, more than Priam's boy, or all that ere did hear it.
Alas! poor souldier, etc.

For King and Parliament
I was Prester John.
Devout was my intent;
I haunted meetings,
Used zealous greetings,
Crept full of devotion;
Smectymnuus won me first, then holy Nye prevail, (111)
Then Captain Kiffin (112) slops me with John of Leyden's tail,
Then Fox and Naylor bangs me with Jacob Beamond's flail. (113)
Alas! poor souldier, etc.

I did about this nation
Hold forth my gifts and teach,
Maintained the tolleration
The common story
And Directory
I damn'd with the word "preach."
Time was when all trades failed, men counterfeitly zealous
Turn'd whining, snievling praters, or kept a country ale-house,
Got handsome wives, turn'd cuckolds, howe'er were very jealous.
Alas! poor souldier, etc.

The world doth know me well,
I ne're did peace desire,
Because I could not tell
Of what behaviour
I should savour
In a field of thundring fire.
When we had murdered King, confounded Church and State,
Divided parks and forests, houses, money, plate,
We then did peace desire, to keep what he had gat.
Alas! poor souldier, etc.

Surplice was surplisage,
We voted right or wrong,
Within that furious age,
Of the painted glass,
Or pictured brass,
And liturgie we made a song.
Bishops, and bishops' lands, were superstitious words,
Until in souldiers' hands, and so were kings and lords,
But in fashion now again in spight of all our swords.
Alas! poor souldier, etc.

Some say I am forsaken
By the great men of these times,
And they're no whit mistaken;
It is my fate
To be out of date,
My masters most are guilty of such crimes.
Like an old Almanack, I now but represent
How long since Edge-Hill fight, or the rising was in Kent,
Or since the dissolution of the first Long Parliament.
Alas! poor souldier, etc.

Good sirs, what shall I fancie,
Amidst these gloomy dayes?
Shall I goe court brown Nancy?
In a countrey town
They'l call me clown,
If I sing them my outlandish playes.
Let me inform their nodle with my heroick spirit,
My language and worth besides transcend unto merit;
They'l not believe one word, what mortal flesh can bear it?
Alas! poor souldier, etc.

Into the countrey places
I resolve to goe,
Amongst those sun-burnt faces
I'le goe to plough
Or keep a cow,
'Tis that my masters now again must do.
Souldiers ye see will be of each religion,
They're but like stars, which when the true sun rise they're gon.
I'le to the countrey goe, and there I'le serve Sir John;
Aye, aye, 'tis thither, and thither will I goe.

London, printed for Charles Gustavus, 1660.

(111) Philip Nye.

(112) William Kiffin was a celebrated preacher of this time, and
had been an officer in the Parliamentary army. A little before the
publication of the present ballad a tract had appeared, with the
title, "The Life and Approaching Death of William Kiffin.
Extracted out of the Visitation Book by a Church Member." 4to,
London, March 13, 1659-60. He is here said to have been originally
'prentice to a glover, and to have been in good credit with
Cromwell, who made him a lieutenant-colonel. He appears to have
been busy among the sectaries at the period of the Restoration. He
is thus mentioned in a satirical pamphlet of that time, entitled
"Select City Quaeries:" - "Whether the Anabaptists' late manifesto
can be said to be forged, false, and scandalous (as Politicus terms
it), it being well known to be writ by one of Kiffin's disciples;
and whether the author thereof or Politicus may be accounted the
greater incendiary?" - T. W.

(113) Fox and Naylor were the founders of the sect of Quakers.
Naylor, in particular, was celebrated as an enthusiast. Jacob
Boehmen, or Behmen, was a celebrated German visionary and
enthusiast, who lived at the end of the sixteenth and beginning of
the seventeenth centuries, and the founder of a sect.