Page images
[ocr errors]

act of uniformity, he continued preaching as he had opportunity in private, till he was imprisoned for five days and pights, with twenty-five of his hearers in one room, with only one bed, where they spent their time in religous exercises ; but after some time be was released.* Soon af. ter he was apprehended again, and lay nine years in Dorchester gaol, though he was a person of unshaken loyalty to the king, and against the parliament war; but this availed nothing to his being a non-conformist. He afterwards retired to London, where, being again apprehended, he was shut up in Newgate, and there died Feb. 16, 1683-4. He was for the seventh day sabbath, but a person of unquestionable seriousness and piety.

With bim might be mentioned Mr. Ralphson, a learned man, and a fellow-sufferer with Mr. Delaune in Newgate. On the 10th of December, a bill was found against him by the grand jury of London ; on the 13th of the same month he pleaded not guilty at the Old Bailey. On the 16th of January he was called to the sessions-house, but other trials proving tedious, his did not come on. The next day he was brought to the outer bar; and after an attendance of divers hours in a place not very agreeable, and in the sbarpest winter that had been known, he contracted a vi. olent cold, wbich issued in a fever that cárried him as well as Mr. Bampfield beyond the reach of tyrants, or the restraint of bail-docks and press-yards, to the mansions of everlasting rest. Mr. Philips, partner with Mr. Bampfield, suffered eleven months imprisonment in Ilchester gaol, in a nasty, stinking hole, to the great hazard of bis life. Mr. French, of Town-Maulin, was confined six months in Maidstone common gaol, in a hard winter, without fire or candle, or any private apartment.

Mr. Salkeld, the ejected minister of Worlington in Suffolk, was fined one hundred pounds, and committed to the common gaol of St. Edmundsbury, $ for saying, popery was coming into the nation apace, and uo care taken to pre• Calamy, vol. ii. p. 260. † Calamy's Abridg. vol. ii. p. 259—377.

It aggravated the iniquity as well as severity of this sentence, that many hundreds of Mr. Saikeld's hearers could testify that what he said was not said as his own language, but that of the parliament.During his confinement he was helpful to his fellow-prisoners both as

vent it. He lay in prison three years, and was not discharged till the year 1686.

Mr. Richard Stretton suffered six months imprisoment this year, for refusing the Oxford oath, in company with ten ministers more, who were also bis fellow-prisoners. * Most of the dissenting ministers were forced to shift their places of abode to avoid discovery, and travel in long nights and cold weather, from one village to another, to preach to their people. If at any time they ventured to visit their families in a dark night, they durst not stir abroad, but went away before morning. Some spent their time in woods and solitary places; others, being excommunicated, removed with their effects into other dioceses -great numbers of the common people, taken at private meetings, were convicted as rioters, and fined ten pounds a-piece; and not being able to pay, were obliged to remove into other counties, by which they lost their business, and their families were reduced to want. I forbear to mention the rudeness offered to young women, some of whom were sent to bridewell, to beat hemp among rogues and thieves: others, that were married and with child, received irreparable damages; even children were terrified with constables and balberdeers breaking open houses, of whom I myself, (says Mr. Peirce) being very young, was one example ; and the writer of this bistory could mention others.

In the midst of these violent proceedings, the divines of the church of England published the London cases against the non-conformists, as if the danger of religion arose from that quarter; they were twenty-three in number, and have a minister and a cheerful christian. His table was furnished by his friends at Bury, and his fine afterwards remitted by king William.But his estate was much weakened, and his health almost ruined by his imprisonment. After his liberation he continued his ministry at Walsham in the Willows, and died December 26, 1699, aged 77.-Palmer's Non. Mem. vol. ii. p. 442, 43. Ed.

* Calamy, vol. ii. p. 676. + It is to be observed, that notwilstanding all the attempts used to suppress Mr. Delaune's Tract, to obstruct its reception, and to prevent its effect on the public mind, by severities against its author, and by committing the piece itself to the flames, there was a great demand for it, and before the year 1733, there had been seventeen impressious of it. Ed.

since been abridged by Dr. Bennet. These champions of the church were very secure from being answered, after Mr. Delaune had so lately lost his life, for accepting such a challenge.They must therefore have the field to themselves, for if their adversaries wrote, they were sure to be rewarded with fines, and a prison ; but since the return of liberty, they have been answered separately by Mr. Nathaniel Taylor, Mr. James Peirce, and others.

This year [1683] died Dr. John Owen, one of the most learned of the independent divines ; he was educated in Queen's college, Oxford, but left the university in 1637, being dissatisfied with Laud's innovations. He was a strict calvinist, and published bis Display of Arminianism in 1642, for which the committee of religion presented him to the living of Fordbam in Essex. In 1643 he removed to Coggeshall in the same county, where he first declared bimself an independent, and gathered a church according to the discipline of that people. He often preached before the long parliament, even about the time the king was beheaded, but always kept his senti. ments in reserve upon such a subject. Soon after, lieutenant-general Cromwell took him into his service as a chaplain in his expedition to Ireland ; and when the general marched to Scotland, he obtained an order of parliament for the doctor to attend him thither. Upon his return, he was preferred to the deanery of Christ-church, and next year to the vice-chancellorship of Oxford, where he presided with great reputation and prudence for five years. He always behaved like a gentleman and scholar, and maintained the dignity of his character. The writer of his life says, that though he was an independent bimself, he gave most of the vacant livings in his disposal among the presbyterians, and obliged the episcopal party, by conniving at an assembly of about three hundred of them, almost over against his own doors. The Oxford historian, after having treated his memory with most op

† Peirce, p. 259. Calamy, vol. ii. p. 58. Palmer's Non. Mem, vol. i. p. 102–58.

Mr. Wood represents Dr. Owen, as a perjured'person, a time-server, a hypoerite, whose godliness was gain, and a blasphemer; and, as if this were not sufficient, be has also made him a fop. “ All which," ob

probrious language, confesses, that he was well skilled in the tongues, in rabbinical learning, and in the jewish rites and customs, and that he was one of the most genteel and fairest writers, that appeared against the church of England. The doctor had a great reputation among foreign protestants; and wben he was ejected by the act of uniformity, was invited to a professorship in the United Provinces. He was once also determined to settle in New England, but was stopped by express order from the council. He was pastor of a considerable congregation in London, and died with great calmness and composure of mind, on Bartholomew-day 1683. His works are very numerous, and still in esteem among the dissenters; though his stile is a lit, tle intricate and perplexed.

[In this year died aged 72, Dr. Benjamin Whichcote, the friend of Tillotson. He was of an ancient and honorable family in the county of Salop, and was born at Whichicote. ball in the parish of Stoke, March 11, 1609. He was ad, mitted in Emanuel college, Cambridge, 1626, and gradserves Mr. Granger, with equal judginent and candor," means no more than this ; that when Dr. Owen entered himself a meinber of the uni. versity of Oxford, he was of the established church, and took the usual oaths; that he turned independent, preached and acted as independents did,took the oath called the Engagement,and accepted of preferment from Cromwell; that he was a man of good person and behavior, and liked to go well dressed." “ We must be extremely cautious,” adds this a dthor, “how we form our judgments of characters at this period; the difference of a few modes or ceremonies in religious worship, has been the source of infinite prejudice and misrepresentation. The practice of some of the splenetic writers of this period, reminds me of the painter, well known by the appellation of hellish Brueghell who so accustomed himself to painting of witches, imps, and devils, that he sometimes made but little difference between his human and infernal figures.” To Mr. Neal's delineation of Dr. Owen's character may be added, that he was hospitable in his house, generous in his favors, and charitable to the poor, especially to poor scholars, some of whom he took into his own family, maintained at his own charge, and educated in academical learning. When he was at Tunbridge, the duke of York, several times sent for hini, and conversed with him concerning the dissenters. On his return to London king Charles himself sent for him, and discoursed with him two hours ; assuring him of his favor and respect, expressing himself a friend to liberty of conscience, and his sense of the wrong done to the dissenters. At the same time he gave him a thousand goineas to distribute among those who had suffered most. Granger's History of England, vol. iii.p. 301, 2, note; and Palmer's Non-con. Mem. vol. i. p. 154, 5. Ed..

uated bachelor of arts 1629, master of arts 1638, and bachelor in divinity 1640. In the same year that he took his second degree, he was elected fellow of the college, and his tutor, Mr. Thomas Hill, leaving the university the year after, Mr. Whichcote took pupils, and became very considerable for his learning and worth, his prudence and temper, his wisdom and moderation, in those times of trial; nor was he less famous for the number, rank, and character of his pupils, and the care he took of them. Wallis, Smith, Worthington, Cradock, &c. studied under him. In 1626, he set up an afternoon lecture in Trinity church at Cambridge, which he served twenty years. In 1643, the master and fellows of his college, presented bim to the liv. ing of North-Cadbury, in Somersetsbire.

But be was soon called back to Cambridge, and admitted provost of King's college, March 19, 1644.* In 1649, he was created doctor in divinity. Here he employed his credit, weight, and influence, to advance and spread a free and generous way of thinking, and to promote a spirit of sober piety and rational religion. Many, whose talents and learning raised them to great eminence as divines, after the restoration, were formed by him. To his predecessor in the provostship he was generous. His spirit was too poble, servilely to follow a party. At the Restoration he was removed from this post, on accepting of which he had resigned the living of Cadbury, and he was elected and licensed to the cure of St. Anne's Blackfriars, Nov. 1662. This churcb was burnt down in the fire of 1665, and he retired for a while to Milton, a living given to him by his college. He was after this presented, by the crown, to the vicarage of St. Lawrence Jury, which was his last stage. Here he continued, in high and general esteem, preaching twice every week, till his death in 1683. One volume of his sermons, entitled “ Select Discourses," was published, after his death, by the earl of Shaftesbury, author of the 6 Characteristics,” in 1698. Three others by Dr. John Jeffery, archdeacon of Norwich, in 1701 and 1702, and a fourth by Dr. Samuel Clarke. A collection of his " Apho

• See before vol. iii. p. 139, text and note, where we have alreads made respeetful mention of Dr. Whicheote.

« PreviousContinue »