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BORN A. D. 1644.-DIED A. D. 1716.
DANIEL WILLIAMS was born at Wrexham, in Denbighshire, about the year 1644. When only nineteen years of age, he became a presbyterian preacher; and, after having officiated in various parts of England, he was nominated chaplain to the countess of Westmeath. He subsequently obtained the appointment of pastor to a congregation in Wood-street, Dublin, which he retained for upwards of twenty years. Being exposed to much inconvenience, on account of his zeal for protestantism, he quitted Ireland towards the close of the reign of James II., and took up his residence in London.
On the accession of William III., Mr Williams, being the most influential presbyterian minister of his day, was admitted to an interview with that monarch; whom, it is said, he persuaded to ameliorate the condition of the Irish dissenters. In 1688, he was chosen pastor to a large congregation in Hand-alley, Bishopsgate-street; and, in 1691, he succeeded Baxter, as lecturer at Pinner's-hall. He now became involved in a controversy on the doctrine of the Trinity, which led to his establishing a separate lecture at Salter's-hall. In 1692, he published a tract against the Antinomian doctrines of Crisp, entitled, 'Gospel Truth Stated and Vindicated,' &c.; and soon afterwards another, entitled, A Defence of Gospel Truth,' &c. These productions exposed him to a charge of Socinianism, which, after a strict investigation by a committee of ministers, was declared to be without the least foundation. In 1709 he received a diploma of D.D. from the university of Edinburgh. Towards the close of Queen Anne's reign he gave great offence to the tory ministers by his bold invectives against the intolerant principles of their party, and his zeal for a protestant succession. Soon after the arrival of George I. in this country, he presented the new monarch, at the head of a deputation of metropolitan pastors, with a congratulatory address from the dissenters. His death took place on the 26th of January, 1716.
Dr Williams was twice married, and both his wives are said to have been in opulent circumstances. He bequeathed the bulk of his fortune for the alleviation of distress, and the advancement of learning and religion. Among other noble benefactions, he gave large sums for the education of youth in Dublin,-for the support of a preacher to the native Irish, and for the relief of the widows of poor ministers. also devised estates for the support of six students at the university of Glasgow; and left his books, including the collection of Dr Bates, (for which he had given £15,000,) together with a considerable sum of money, to found a public library in London. The last mentioned bequest led to the establishment of Red Cross-street institution, one of the most valuable dissenting foundations in the country.
BORN A. D. 1632.-DIED A. D. 1718.
THIS learned prelate was born in London in 1632. He received his education at the school of St Paul's, and at Magdalene-college, Oxford. His first clerical preferment was to the rectory of Brampton, in Northamptonshire. In 1691 he was elevated to the bishopric of Peterborough. He died in 1718.
Bishop Cumberland bore an unblemished reputation throughout a long life. As a prelate, he was unostentatious; assiduous in the discharge of his functions; charitable, and pious. As a scholar, his reputation stood high among his contemporaries. His principal works are, 'De Legibus Naturæ Disquisitio Philosophica,'-a treatise, directed against the philosophy of Hobbes, which was translated into several European languages; An Essay on Jewish Weights and Measures;' 'Origines Gentium Antiquissimæ ;' and 'The Phoenician History of Sanchoniathos, translated from Eusebius.'
BORN A. D. 1678.-died A. D. 1720.
SIMON OCKLEY, an eminent Orientalist, was born at Exeter in 1678. After a proper foundation in school-learning he was sent, in 1693, to Queen's college, Cambridge, where he soon distinguished himself by great quickness of parts, as well as by intense application to literature, and to the Oriental languages more particularly. He took at the usual times the degrees in arts, and that of B. D.
Having taken holy orders, he was, in 1705, through the interest of Simon Patrick, bishop of Ely, presented by Jesus college, in Cambridge, to the vicarage of Swavesey in that county; and, in 1711, he was chosen Arabic professor of the university. These preferments he held to the day of his death, which happened at Swavesey, the 9th of August, 1720.
Ockley had the culture of Oriental learning very much at heart; and his several publications were all intended solely to promote it. In 1706, he printed at Cambridge a useful little book, entitled, 'Introductio ad Linguas Orientales,' 12mo. Prefixed is a dedication to his friend the bishop of Ely, and a preface addressed to young collegians, whom he labours to excite by various arguments to the pursuit of Oriental learning; assuring them in general, that no man ever was, or ever will be truly great in divinity without at least some portion of skill in it: "Orientalia studia, sine quorum aliquali saltem peritiâ nemo unquam in Theologia vere magnus evasit, imo unquam evasurus est." There is a chapter in this work relating to the famous controversy between Buxtorf and Capellus, upon the antiquity of the Hebrew points, where Ockley professes to think with Buxtorf, who contended for it:
but he afterwards changed his opinion and went over to Capellus, although he had not any opportunity of publicly declaring it.
In 1707, he published from the Italian of Leo Modena, a Venetian rabbi, The history of the present Jews throughout the World; being an ample, though succinct, account of their customs, ceremonies, and manner of living at this time: to which is subjoined a supplement, concerning the Carraites and Samaritans, from the French of Father Simon,' 12mo. In 1708, he published a curious little book, called, 'The Improvement of Human Reason, exhibited in the life of Hai Ebn Yokdham, written above 500 years ago by Abu Jaafar Ebn Tophail,' from the Arabic, and illustrated with figures, 8vo. The design of the author, who was a Mahometan philosopher, is to show, how human reason may, by observation and experience, arrive at the knowledge of natural things, from thence to supernatural, particularly the knowledge of God, and a future state; the design of the translator, to give those who might be unacquainted with it, a specimen of the genius of the Arabian philosophers, and to excite young scholars to the reading of Eastern authors. This was the point our rabbi had constantly in view; and therefore in his 'Oratio Inauguralis' for the professorship, we find him insisting upon the beauty, copiousness, and antiquity of the Arabic tongue in particular, and upon the use of Oriental learning in general, and dwelling upon the praises of Erpennius, Golius, Pocock, Herbelot, and all who had any ways contributed to promote the study of it.
In 1713, his name appeared to a little book with this title, 'An Account of South West Barbary, containing what is most remarkable in the territories of the King of Fez and Morocco. Written by a person who had been a slave there a considerable time, and published from his authentic manuscript. To which are added, Two Letters; one from the present King of Morocco to Colonel Kirk; the other to Sir Cloudesley Shovel; with Sir Cloudesley's answer,' 8vo. While we are enumerating these small publications of the professor, it will be but proper to mention two sermons; one, Upon the dignity and authority of the Christian Priesthood,' at Ormond chapel, London, in 1710; another, Upon the necessity of instructing Children in the Scriptures,' at St Ives, in Huntingdonshire, 1713. To these we must add a new translation of the second Apocryphal book of Esdras, from the Arabic version. Mr Whiston, we are told,' was the person who employed him in this translation, upon a strong suspicion that it must needs make for the Arian cause he was then reviving; and he accordingly published it in one of his volumes of Primitive Christianity Revived.' Ockley, however, was firmly of opinion, that it could serve nothing at all to his purpose, as appears from a printed letter of his to Mr (afterwards Dr) Thirlby, in which are the following words: "You shall have my Esdras in a little time, two hundred of which I preserved when Mr Whiston reprinted his, purely upon this account, because I was loath that any thing with my name to it should be extant only in his heretical volumes. I only stay till the learned
See the preface to An Epistolary Discourse concerning the Books of Ezra genuine and spurious, but more particularly the Second Apocrypha! Book under that name, and the variations of the Arabic Copy from the Latin,' By Francis Lee, M. D. author of the 'History of Montanism.'
author of the history of Montanism has finished a dissertation which he has promised me to prefix to that book."
But the most considerable by far of all the professor's performances, is, The History of the Saracens,' begun from the death of Mahomet, the founder of the Saracenical empire, which happened in 632, and carried through a succession of Caliphs, to 705. This history, which illustrates the religion, rites, customs, and manner of living of that warlike people, is curious and entertaining; and the public were much obliged to Mr Ockley for it; for he was at vast pains in collecting materials from the most authentic Arabic authors, especially manuscripts, not hitherto published in any European language; and for that purpose resided some time at Oxford, to be near the Bodleian library, where those manuscripts were reposited. It is in two volumes, 8vo.; the first of which was published in 1708; the second, in 1718; and both were soon after republished. A third edition was printed in the same size at Cambridge, in 1757, to which is prefixed, An Account of the Arabians or Saracens, of the Life of Mahomet, and the Mahometan Religion, by a Learned Hand; that is, by the learned Dr Long, master of Pembroke hall.
In the mean time Ockley was one of those unfortunate persons whom Pierius Valerianus would have recorded in his book 'De Infelicitate Literatorum.' In his Inaugural Oration,' printed in 1711, he calls fortune "venefica et noverca," and speaks of the "mordaces curæ" as things long familiar to him; and, in December 1717, we find him actually under confinement; for, in the introduction to the second volume of his Saracenical history, he not only tells us so, but stoically dates from Cambridge castle.
BORN A. D. 1633.-DIED A. D. 1721.
NATHANIEL, Lord Crewe of Stene, and bishop of Durham, was born in January, 1633. He was educated at Lincoln-college, Oxford. In 1669 he was made precentor and dean of Winchester, and also appointed clerk of the closet to Charles II. His sycophancy soothed the royal ear, and in 1671 he was promoted to the bishopric of Oxford. Two years afterwards he was translated to the see of Durham, at the request of the duke of York. On the accession of James II. he was introduced into the privy council, where he became a strong promoter of all those successive acts of despotism by which his royal master's fall was precipitated. As a member of the new ecclesiastical commission, he countenanced all those infatuated measures by which that body continued to alienate the loyalty even of the universities themselves.
It will not be matter of surprise that this hireling bishop should have been among the first to desert a falling cause, and betray his royal patron. It is said that he was among the first to vote that James had performed an act of abdication. He was, however, expressly excepted from the pardon granted by William and Mary to the adherents of the late sovereign; he consequently absconded, and offered to resign his
bishopric to Burnet, on condition of receiving £1000 per annum out of its revenues for life. Burnet declined the proposal; and Crewe, in consequence of Tillotson's intercession, was allowed to retain his see. Having ventured to return to England, he made his peace at court, by voting for the new settlement. On the death of his two elder brothers, in 1691, he became Baron Crewe of Stene. Almost the last act of his public life was his opposition to the proceedings instituted against Sacheverell. He died without issue, although thrice married, on the 18th of September, 1721, aged eighty-eight.
This versatile prelate was not eminent either for piety or erudition. Speaking of his employment as an ecclesiastical commissioner, Burnet says, "He was lifted up with it, and said, now his name would be recorded in history; and when some of his friends represented to him the danger of acting in a court so illegally constituted, he said, he could not live if he should lose the king's gracious smiles.”
BORN A. D. 1656.-DIED A. D. 1723.
THIS prelate was of the family of the Fleetwoods of Lancashire. He was educated at Eton, whence he was elected to King's college, Cambridge. Soon after the Revolution he was appointed one of the royal chaplains. He also obtained the rectory of St Austin's, and the lectureship of St Dunstan's in the west.
In 1691 he appeared as an author in his Inscriptionum Antiquarum Sylloge,' being a collection of ancient Pagan and Christian monumental inscriptions. In 1692 he published a translation of 'Jurieu's Plain Method of Christian Devotion.' This proved a highly popular work; the 27th edition of it was published in 1750. In 1701 he published 'An Essay upon Miracles,' which called forth some animadversions from Hoadly. Two or three years after this, he withdrew for a time from the city, giving up all his preferments, and retiring to a small rectory which he held in Buckinghamshire. His love of study and retirement rendered this change agreeable at least to him; but it is probable that the measure was dictated by other considerations than these alone. While thus withdrawn from public notice, he pursued the study of antiquities, drew up his Chronicon Preciosum,' containing an account of English money, and the price of corn and other commodities for the preceding six hundred years.
On the death of Beveridge, in 1706, Fleetwood was elevated to the see of St Asaph, but he was not consecrated until June, 1708. Upon the death of Bishop Moore, in 1714, he was translated to the see of Ely, in which he continued till his death in 1723. Fleetwood was a good scholar, an accomplished antiquarian, and an eloquent preacher. His publications are numerous, and both Hickes and Hearne acknowledge their obligations to him in their particular department of literature. One of his best publications is his 'Vindication of the Thirteenth Chapter to the Romans.' Upon the pretended authority of this chapter much offensive doctrine had been reared with regard to the political institutions of the country. By a course of false reasoning upon it, some