Act of Uniformity

Samuel Pepys recorded in his Diary on August 17, 1662, the last service conducted by Dr. William Bates (a Puritan minister) before the Act of Conformity took effect:

He pursued his text again very well; and only at the conclusion told us, after this manner: “I do believe that many of you do expect that I should say something to you in reference to the time, this being the last time that possibly I may appear here. You know it is not my manner to speak any thing in the pulpit that is extraneous to my text and business; yet this I shall say, that it is not my opinion, fashion, or humour that keeps me from complying with what is required of us; but something which, after much prayer, discourse, and study yet remains unsatisfied, and commands me herein. Wherefore, if it is my unhappiness not to receive such an illumination as should direct me to do otherwise, I know no reason why men should not pardon me in this world, and am confident that God will pardon me for it in the next.” And so he concluded. Parson Herring read a psalm and chapters before sermon; and one was the chapter in the Acts, where the story of Ananias and Sapphira is. And after he had done, says he, “This is just the case of England at present. God he bids us to preach, and men bid us not to preach; and if we do, we are to be imprisoned and further punished. All that I can say to it is, that I beg your prayers, and the prayers of all good Christians, for us.”