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Anne settled a pension of £200 upon him. He died at Lewson house, near Sherborne, in the 730 year of his age. He had kept his shroud for many years beside him, and on finding himself dying, he calmly put it on with his own hands, and having given his parting biessing to all present, gently laid down his head, breathed a sigh, and was at rest. His works were published in 1721, in 4 vols. 8vo., with a life by Hawkins prefixed. The Rev. W. L. Bowles has also written a life of this amiable prelate, in 2 vols. 8vo.
BORN A. D. 1617.-DIED A. D. 1693.
William SANCROFT, one of the most conscientious, if not one of the most able primates of England, was born at Fresingfield, in the county of Suffolk, on the 30th of January 1617. He received the rudiments of his education at Bury. At the age of eighteen, he was sent to Emanuel college, Cambridge, of which his uncle, Dr William Sancroft, was then master. In 1642, he succeeded to a fellowship in his college. The 'solemn league and covenant was soon after this proposed to the heads and fellows of colleges, but by what means Sancroft escaped the consequences of this test, it is now impossible to determine. He retained his fellowship, and it has been suggested that he may have succeeded in doing so through the interference of Milton, who, though not yet in public life, must have had considerable inAuence both in the house of commons and in the assembly of divines, and may have exerted himself in favour of a brother-poet, for Sancroft had also cultivated the muses, and professed himself an admirer of Milton's poetry. Soon afterwards, the use of the liturgy was prohibited, and public prayer, according to the directory, enjoined to be put up in every church and chapel in the kingdom. A friend advised Sancroft to yield to necessity and conform in this case, but he replied, “I do not, indeed, count myself obliged to go to chapel and read common prayer till my brains be dashed out; but to comply, by praying according to the directory, would be to throw a foul aspersion on the whole church of England since the reformation ; and shall I pray for your synod and army, or give thanks for your covenant ?" At last, in the month of July 1651, he gave proof of his sincerity by incurring the forfeiture of his fellowship rather than take the engagement,' as it was called.
For some years after his expulsion from Cambridge, Mr Sancroft seems to have lived chiefly with his elder brother at Fresingfield. During this period he published two tracts which made considerable noise. The first a dialogue in Latin, was entitled, “Fur Prædestinatus,' and was intended to hold up the doctrines of Calvinism to ridi. cule; the other, entitled Modern Policies, taken from Machiavel, Borgia, and other choice authors, by an eye-witness,' was a satire on the supposed fanaticism and hypocrisy of the party in power. The latter tract was but published in 1652, but passed through seven editions in the short space of five years. Of the · Fur Prædestinatus,' Sancroft's biographer, Dr D'Oyly thus writes : “ The exposure of the Calvinistic doctrines was peculiarly serviceable at that time, when both the puritans and the independents, however they differed from each other on points of church discipline and government, yet concurred in maintaining those doctrines in their utmost rigour, and pushed them to the extreme of Antinomianism ; thereby obstructing the natural influence of Christianity on the human heart, and giving a free rein to perverse and headstrong passions. A dialogue is feigned between a thief condemned to immediate execution, and a Calvinistic preacher, who came to move him to repentance for his crimes. The thief, although by his own acknowledgment he had lived in the commission of the worst enormities, is full of self-satisfaction ; maintains that he could not possibly act any other part than he had done, as all men, being either elect or reprobate, are predestined to happiness or misery; that the best actions, as they are reputed, partake of so much wickedness as to differ in no essential degree from the worst; that sinners fulfil the will of God as much as those who most comply with his outward commands; and that God, as working irresistibly in all men, is the cause of the worst sins which they commit. He says, that he had always reflected respecting himself in this manner—that either he must be elect or reprobate ; if the former, the Holy Spirit would operate so irresistibly as to effect his conversion ; if the latter, all his care and diligence for effecting his salvation, would rather do harm than good; but now, he felt satisfied that he was one of the elect, who, though they may fall into grievous sins, cannot fail of salvation.”
In 1657, Sancroft quitted England, with an intention of taking up his residence in Holland; but, after visiting Amsterdam, the Hague, and Utrecht, he was persuaded to accompany a friend in a tour through the south of Europe. The restoration of Charles II. having brought Sancroft back to England, he was appointed chaplain to Bishop Cosin, and preached his consecration sermon. Preferments now flowed rapidly upon him. In 1662 he was elected master of Emanuel college, and at the close of the year 1664, the king conferred on him the deanery of St Paul's, at the request of Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury, and Henchman, bishop of London. While dean of St Paul's, he eagerly promoted the design for building a new church suitable to the dignity of the see ; and it was mainly through his exertions and bounty that the magnificent plan of Sir Christopher Wren was at last adopted. 'The first stone of the new cathedral was laid under the superintendence of Dr Sancroft as dean, but it was not completed till long after his death.
On the death of Sheldon, in 1677, Dr Sancroft, much to his own surprise, as well as that of all who were acquainted with his habits, was elevated at once to the primacy. Bishop Burnet hints that Sancroft may have been indebted for this piece of good fortune to an opinion which the court may have entertained of him, that he was a man more likely to be gained over to their secret wishes than any member of the existing prelacy. But of any thing like the slightest disposition on the part of Sancroft ever to temporize with popery, we most unhesitatingly acquit him. In fact, in a sermon which he preached before the peers, soon after his elevation to the archiepiscopal chair, he attacked the Jesuitical party with a zeal and bitterness at that time peculiarly his own; and one of the very steps which he took after his promotion,
and, in 1644, removed to King's college, where, in 1647, he obtained his degree as Bachelor of Arts. He attached himself to the presbyterian party, and early commenced the public duties of his office, in which he very speedily obtained that high popularity which attended him to the last." His first charge was that of St Dunstan's, London, where he was appointed vicar, and where he remained till ejected by the act of uniformity in 1662. While there, he united himself with several other ministers in carrying on the morning lectures in Cripplegate church. In the restoration of Charles II. he took an active part, and was soon after appointed one of his majesty's chaplains. In the following November he received from the university of Cambridge the degree of Doctor in divinity, by an express royal mandate. About this time too he was offered the deanery of Litchfield and Coventry, but, along with several of his brethren, who were presented with similar bribes by the court, he, from conscientious scruples, declined the offer. It is said, that from the high and general estimation in which he was held, he might, by conformity to the dominant church, have secured any bishopric in the kingdom. At the same time it is evident that high as he stood, he was not reckoned the first of his party ; for whilst he and Manton were offered deaneries, Baxter and Calamy had the credit of refusing bishoprics. In 1660 he was appointed one of the commissioners at the celebrated Savoy conference. This conference was summoned by a royal commission, and met at Savoy, the bishop of London's lodgings. Its object was “ to advise upon and revise the book of common prayer.”! It consisted of a great many commissioners, episcopalian and presbyterian, and was carried on at considerable length, and with great keenness of discussion; though it terminated altogether unsuccessfully. Baxter, in the second part of his · Life and Times,' has left us a very clear and copious narrative of the whole proceedings, 'into which, however, it is unnecessary to enter, farther than to select a slight anecdote of Dr Bates, of whom Baxter says “he spoke very solidly, judiciously, and pertinently." Baxter had said something in the course of debate, which Bishop Morley, the most vehement and unreasonable of his party, interpreted to mean, man might be for some time without sin;" “ upon which,” says Baxter, " he sounded out his aggravation of this doctrine, and then cried to Dr Bates, What say you, Dr Bates, is this your opinion ? saith Dr Bates, I believe we are all sinners, but I pray, my lord, give him leave to speak.”5
In 1662 he was deprived of his charge in London by the celebrated ' act of uniformity;' and though never, like many of his brethren, cast into prison, nor subjected to such severe privations as most of them endured, yet he had much to undergo and to endure. Once when called to a deathbed along with Baxter, he was most providentially prevented from attending, though ignorant of the real danger he would have been exposed to from his enemies, who had stationed officers at the sick woman's house to seize him. In 1665 he took the oath imposed by the Oxford parliament, “ that they would not, at any time,
" that a
• Baxters Life and Times, part ii. p. 283.
Baxter's Life and Times, part ii. p. 304. --Burnet's own Times vol. i. p. 294. • Baxter, part ii. p. 337.
endeavour an alteration in the government of church or state.” In this he was joined by about twenty of his brethren, who, acting upon the interpretation given of it by the Lord Keeper Bridgeman, whom Bates consulted
came in at the sessions,' as Baxter tells us, and took the oath. Among the chief of those who followed him upon this occasion were Howe and Poole; and among those who stood out was Baxter, who could by no means be persuaded of the souudness of the Lord Keeper's explanation, “ that by endeavours was meant unlawful endeavour,” and who, therefore, notwithstanding a long letter from Dr Bates upon the subject, steadily persisted in his refusal, thinking the reasons contained in that letter by no means sufficient “ to enervate the force of the objections to the oath, or to solve the difficulties.” 6 In the beginning of the year 1668, some of the more moderate prelatists endeavoured to effect some sort of comprehension,' as it was called, by which, upon certain terms, the Dissenters might be admitted into the church. In this Dr Bates was actively concerned along with Manton and Baxter, on the presbyterian side. But the scheme met with such violent opposition from the leading prelates of the day, that it fell to the ground.7 A little after this, we find him presenting, along with some of his brethren, an address to the king for the relief of the nonconformists; but though they were received most graciously, nothing was done, and as Baxter says, ' after all, they were as before.' Again, in 1674, we find him engaged in another fruitless attempt to secure some privileges to his brethren. Tillotson and Stillingfleet sought an interview with him, and some other nonconforming ministers; the scheme was proposed, and the terms drawn up; but through the inveterate opposition of some of the more violent of the bishops, the attempt ended as the others had done. The accession of James II. to the throne by no means diminished the sufferings of the puritans. Upon several of them this event brought fresh hardships and trials. Among these was Baxter, and one of the most interesting scenes in the whole of that interesting and eventful period, is the narrative of his trial before Jefferies, when, attended by Dr Bates, he faced unmoved the brutal threats and profane ribaldry of that perverter of justice and persecutor of the saints. The whole scene is far too long for transcription here : the few sentences that refer to the subject of this memoir is all that is required. “ Richard, Richard,” exclaimed Jefferies, interrupting Baxter in his defence, “ dost thou think we'll hear thee poison the court? Richard, thou art an old fellow, an old knave, thou hast written books enough to load a cart, every one as full of sedition as an egg is full of meat. .. I know thou hast a mighty party, and I see a great many of the brotherhood incomers waiting to see what will become of their mighty don; and a Doctor of the party, (looking to Dr Bates,) at your elbow; but by the grace of Alnighty God, I'll crush you all !"3 At the accession of William, he presented the address of the Dissenters to their majesties ; and ever after, till the day of his death, enjoyed the esteem and confidence of both king and queen. During the latter part of his life he was minister of a congregation at Hackney. He died there in 1699, aged 74. While residing there we meet with the following incident, narrated by Calamy, which
• Baxter, Life and Times, part iii. p. 13, 15. --Burnet, vol. i. p. 373.
& Orme's Life of Baxter, p. 368.
is introduced here as being interesting in a literary way.
A French minister, a refugee from the persecutions of the duke of Savoy, came over to England. Dr Bates being desirous to see him, asked Calamy to bring him to Hackney. When he was introduced," he made a very handsome speech to the Doctor in Latin ;” not one word of which the Doctor could understand, till Calamy interpreted. The Doctor then replied in Latin also, but not one word of his answer could Monsieur Amald comprehend till Calamy explained. The reason of this may be seen in our own day; when the English and foreign pronunciation of Latin are still as much at variance as ever; and this, as Calamy remarks, “ shows the inconvenience of our using a different pronunciation of the Latin tongue from what is common among foreigners." !
He did not outlive his usefulness ; but in spite of the growing infirmities of which he himself tells us in his funeral sermon for Dr Jacomb, preached and laboured to the last, a circumstance too common to be remarked in these days, but most unaccountably uncommon in ours. He seems to have been the intimate friend of Tillotson and Stillingfeet, who were men like himself, moderate and pacific in their church principles. He was in all respects a superior man, and entitled to stand high in the ranks of nonconformity. In person he is said to have been handsome, or as Howe terms it in his funeral sermon for him," of a self-recommending aspect, composed of gravity and pleasantness, with a graceful mien, and calmness of person.' His character was amiable, his talents high, his learning extensive, his judgment clear and sound, and his memory remarkably strong. His works are by no means numerous or large, being originally comprised in one folio volume, and of late years modernized into four octavos. His largest work is his · Harmony of the Divine Attributes,' which seems to have been intended for a system of divinity, and which, along with his discourses upon the existence of God, immortality of the soul, truth of the Christian religion, forms one of the compactest and completest systems of theology of which that period can boast. It is the production of a man of shrewd judgment and acute thought. Like Leighton among the Scotch divines, he seems to have risen superior to most of his contemporaries, in the adoption of a sounder philosophy, and the rejection of that abstruse and futile metaphysics which disfigured the writings of that age. His style is clear and polished, more of a modern air than any of his brethren, excepting Charnock. It is light and full of imagery ; tasteful, but by no means powerful ; attractive rather than impressive. He is said to have studied poetry and light literature ; and a number of romances were found in his library at his death. He was an admirer of Cowley ; and from some passages we would be tempted to believe he had studied Jeremy Taylor. There is far more compression and terseness in Bates than in Taylor; but by no means a dissimilarity in their general tone of style. But the divine whom he most resembles is Leighton. Like him his style is short and elegant rather than fluent and nervous. Like him he had abandoned the scholastic divisions and subdivisions in his discourses; and like him, almost nothing that wears the air of controversy is to be met with in his works. In this he most strikingly differed from
• Calamy's Life, vol. i. p. 219.