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Treatise of Liturgies, his Primitive Episcopacy, his Practical Divinity of Papists destructive to Men's Souls; and his volume of Sermons, printed after his death. He was some time minister of Mortlake in Surrey, but after his ejectment he gave himself up to reading and meditation, shifting from one place of obscurity to another, till the times suffered him to appear openly; he was then chosen successor to the reverend Dr. John Owen*, in the pastoral office to his congregation. Mr. Baxter says, he was a divine of solid judgment, of healing, moderate principles, of great acquaintance with the fathers, of great ministerial abilities, and of a godly upright life. Great was his solemnity and reverence in prayer; and the method of his sermons was clear, deep, and instructive. His death was unexpected, though, as he declared, it was no surprise to him, for he was entirely resigned to the will of God, and desired not to outlive his usefulness. This good man, says Dr. Bates, like holy Simeon, had Christ in his arms, and departed in peace, to see the salvation of God above, in the sixtysixth of his age.
Dr. Thomas Jacomb was born in Leicestershire, and educated first in Magdalen-hall, Oxon, and after in Emanuel-college, Cambridge, from whence he removed to Trinity-college, of which he was fellow. He came to London in 1647, and was soon after minister of Ludgate parish, where he continued till he was turned out in 1662. He met with some trouble after his ejectment, but being received into the family of the countess dowager of Exeter, daughter of the earl of Bridgewater, he was covered from his enemies. This honourable and virtuous lady was a comfort and support to the Nonconformist ministers throughout the reign of king Charles II. Her respects to the doctor were peculiar, and her favours extraordinary, for which he made the best returns he was able. The doctor was a learned man, an able divine, a serious affectionate preacher, of unspotted morals, and a Nonconformist upon moderate principles. He died of a cancerous humour, that put him to the most acute pain, which he bore with invincible patience and resignation till the 27th March 1687, when he died in the countess of Exeter's house, in the sixty-sixth year of his aget.
*This is an inaccuracy: he was chosen co-pastor with Dr. Owen, July 1682, a year before the doctor's death. To the above account of Mr. Clarkson, it is not improper to add, that his excellent pupil, bishop Tillotson, always preserved that respect for him which he had contracted while he was under his tuition. His book on Diocesan Episcopacy shews him, says Mr. Granger, to have been a man of great reading in church history. In his conversation, a comely gravity, mixed with innocent pleasantness, were attractive of respect and love. He was of a calm temper, not ruffled with passions, but gentle, and kind, and good; his breast was the temple of peace. Palmer's Nonconformists' Memorial, vol. 2. p. 451; Birch's Life of Tillotson, p. 4; and Granger's History of England, vol. 3. p. 310, 8vo.-ED.
+ It is a proof what different colouring a character derives from the dispositions and prejudices of those whose pen draws it, that Dr. Sherlock, who seems to have received some provocation from Dr. Jacomb, represents him " as the prettiest, non
Mr. John Collins was educated at Cambridge, New-England, and returned from thence in the times of the civil war, became a celebrated preacher in London, having a sweet voice, and a most affectionate manner in the pulpit. He was chaplain to general Monk when he marched out of Scotland into England, but was not an incumbent anywhere when the act of uniformity took place. Being of the Independent denomination, he succeeded Mr. Mallory as pastor of a very considerable congregation of that persuasion, and was one of the Merchant lecturers at Pinner's-hall. He was a man mighty in the Scriptures; of an excellent natural temper; very charitable to all good men, without regard to parties; and died universally lamented*, December 3, 1687.
[It seems to have escaped Mr. Neal's attention, to notice, at this period, two eminent persons, who died in the year 1686, Pearson bishop of Chester, and Fell bishop of Oxford.
Dr. John Pearson, born in 1612, was successively master of Jesus and Trinity colleges, in Cambridge; and also Margaretprofessor of divinity in that university. He had the living of St. Clement's, Eastcheap, and was consecrated bishop of Chester, February 9, 1672. He was a great divine, a profound and various scholar, eminently read in ecclesiastical history and antiquity, and an exact chronologist. He united with his learning, clearness of judgment and strength of reason. As a preacher, he was rather instructive than pathetic. The character of the clergyman was adorned by an excellent temper, distinguished humility, primitive piety, and spotless manners: as a bishop, he was deemed too remiss and easy in his episcopal function. "He was (says bishop Burnet) a striking instance of what a great man could fall to: for his memory went from him so entirely, that he became a child some years before he died." His late preferment to the episcopacy, and the great decay of his faculties, which it is to be supposed came on gradually, may account for his remissness in that station. His works were few, but of great reputation. The chief were, "A vindication of St. Ignatius' epistles," in Latin; and "An exposition of the Apostles' creed:" esteemed one of the most finished pieces in theology in our language. The substance of it was originally delivered in sermons to his parishioners. This work has gone through twelve or thirteen editions. "It is itself (says Mr. Granger) a body of
sensical, trifling goose-cap, that ever set pen to paper." This description is contradicted by the nature of his library; if the choice of books indicate the turn of the mind. He left an incomparable collection of the most valuable books in all kinds of learning, and in various languages, which sold for 1300l. Granger's History of England, vol. 3. p. 307.-ED.
When, during his illness, Mr. Mead affectionately prayed for his recovery at the Pinner's-hall lecture, scarcely a dry eye was to be seen through the numerous auditory. Mr. Collins printed one sermon in the Morning Exercises, vol. 3, with the signature N. N. on this question, How the religious of a nation are the strength of it?" Mather's History of New-England, book 4. p. 200: where may be seen a Latin epitaph for him.-ED.
divinity, but not a body without a spirit. The style of it is just; the periods are for the most part well turned; the method is very exact; and it is in general free from those errors which are too often found in theological systems." Burnet's History, vol. 3. 12mo. p. 109, 110; Granger's History of England, vol. 3. p. 251, 8vo.; and Richardson's Godwin de Præsulibus, p. 779.
Dr. John Fell was the son of Dr. Samuel Fell, sometime the dean of Christ-church, Oxford: he received his classical education in the free-school at Thame in Oxfordshire: at eleven years of age he was made student of Christ-church, in 1636; and in 1643, graduated master of arts. About this time he took arms, within the garrison of Oxford, in the king's cause, and was made an ensign. In 1648, when he was in Iroly orders, he was displaced by the parliamentarian visitors; from that year, till the Restoration, he spent his time in retirement and study; observing the devotions of the church of England with other oppressed royalists. After the Restoration he was installed canon, and then dean of Christ-church, November 30, 1660, being then doctor in divinity, and one of the king's chaplains in ordinary. In the years 1667, 1668, and 1669, he was vice-chancellor of the university; and February 6, 1675, he was consecrated bishop of Oxford. Soon after his preferment he rebuilt the palace of Cusedon, belonging to the see. He was a munificent benefactor to his college, and raised its reputation by his discipline. He settled on it no less than ten exhibitions; and the best rectories belonging to it were his purchase. He expended great_sums in embellishing and adorning the university of Oxford. Learning was greatly indebted to his patronage and munificence. He liberally improved the press of the university; and the books that came from the Sheldonian theatre perpetuate, in this respect, his praise. For many years he annually published a book, generally a classic author, to which he wrote a preface and notes, and presented it to the students of his house as a new-year's gift: amongst these was an edition of the Greek Testament, in 12mo. 1675; which Dr. Harwood pronounces to be "a very valuable and excellent edition; that does honour to the bishop, because it is upon the whole a correct book, and exhibits the various readings very faithfully." His edition of the works of Cyprian affords also a conspicuous proof of his industry and learning. But he did not lay out his fortune in public acts of splendid munificence only: the private charities of life partook of his beneficence. To the widow he was a husband, to the orphan a father, and to poor children a tender parent, furnishing them with instruction, and placing them out in life. "He was in all respects a most exemplary man, though (says bishop Burnet) a little too much heated in the matter of our disputes with the dissenters. But, as he was among the first of our clergy that apprehended the design of bringing in Popery, so he was one of
the most zealous against it." It is a deduction from the merit of his character, as the patron of learning, that he was not well affected to the Royal Society: and it is to be regretted, that he was not friendly to that excellent man archbishop Tillotson; which was probably owing to a sense of his own sufferings before the Restoration: for he was not superior to a party spirit. Wood's Athenæ Oxon. vol. 2. p. 602. 605. Richardson de Præsulibus, p. 548. Burnet's History, vol. 3. p. 100. Granger's History of England, vol. 3. p. 252. British Biogr. vol. 5. p. 11; and Birch's Life of Tillotson, p. 100.]
FROM KING JAMES'S DECLARATION FOR LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE, TO THE ACT OF TOLERATION IN THE REIGN OF KING WILLIAM AND QUEEN MARY.
THOUGH the projects of the Roman Catholics were ripe for execution, there was one circumstance which spread a black cloud over all their attempts, which was the near prospect of a Protestant successor to the crown: this was the only hope of the Protestant cause, and the terror of the Papists. To remove this impediment, his majesty first attempted to convert his eldest daughter Mary, princess of Orange, to the Roman Catholic religion, or at least to consent to the making way for it, by taking off the penal laws. To accomplish this, his majesty wrote an obliging letter to his daughter, reciting the motives of his own conversion; which were, the "great devotion of the church of Rome; the adorning their churches; their acts of charity, which were greater than the Protestants could boast of; the numbers who retired from the world, and devoted themselves to a religious life*. He was convinced that Christ had left an infallibility in the church, which the apostles acknowledged to be in St. Peter. Acts xv. It was the authority of the church (says he) that declared the Scriptures to be canonical; and certainly, they who declared them could only interpret them, and wherever this infallibility was there must be a clear succession, which could be no where but in the church of Rome, the church of England not pretending to infallibility, though she acted as if she did, by persecuting those who differed from her, as well Protestant dissenters as Papists; but he could see no reason why dissenters might not separate from the church of England, as well as the church of England had done from that of Rome."
* Burnet, p. 149. 155. vol. 3. Edin. ed.
The princess answered the king's letter with great respect; "she affirmed the right of private judgment, according to the apostle's rule, of proving all things, and holding fast that which is good. She saw clearly from the Scriptures that she must not believe by the faith of another, but according as things appeared to herself. She confessed, if there was an infallibility in the church, all other controversies must fall before it, but that it was not yet agreed where it was lodged, whether in a pope, or a general council, or both; and she desired to know in whom the infallibility rested when there were two or three popes at a time, acting one against another; for certainly the succession must then be disordered. She maintained the lawfulness and necessity of reading the Holy Scriptures; for, though faith was above reason, it proposed nothing contradictory to it. St. Paul ordered his episiles to be read in all the churches; and he says in one place,' I write as to wise men, judge ye what I say:' and if they might judge an apostle, much more any other teacher. She excused the church of England's persecuting the dissenters in the best manner she could; and said the reformers had brought things to as great perfection as those corrupt ages were capable of; and she did not see how the church was to blame, because the laws were made by the state, and for civil crimes, and that the grounds of the dissenters leaving the church were different from those for which they had separated from the church of Rome." It was impossible for the princess to clear up this objection. But bishop Burnet* adds very justly, that the severities of the church against the dissenters were urged with a very ill grace, by one of the church of Rome, that has delighted herself so often by being, as it were, bathed with the blood of those they call heretics. Upon the whole it appeared that her highness was immoveably fixed in her religion, and that there was not the least prospect of her departing from it.
At the same time his majesty attempted the prince of Orange, for which purpose he employed one Mr. James Steward, a Scotch lawyer, who wrote several letters upon this argument to pensionary Fagel, in whom the prince placed an entire confidence †. The pensionary neglected his letters for some time; but at length, it being industriously reported that the silence of the prince was a tacit consent, the pensionary laid all his letters before his highness, who commissioned the pensionary to draw up such an answer as might discover his true intentions and sense of things.
The answer was dated from the Hague, November 4, 1687, and begins with assurances of the prince and princess's duty to the king; and, since Mr. Steward had given him to understand that his letters were written with the king's knowledge and allowance, the pensionary assures him, in the name of their highnesses, that it was their opinion that "no Christian ought to
Page 156. + Burnet, p. 165, 166.
Welwood's Memoirs, p. 218.