Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

and what he professed he was ready to defend, was engaged in the controversy about the rights without that mudesty which is always prudent, of the church, and necessity of episcopacy, he and generally necessary, and which, though it declared himself a Presbyterian, and an enemy was not agreeable to Mr. Cheynel's temper, to bishops, liturgies, ceremonies, and was conand therefore readily condemned by him, is a sidered as one of the most learned and acute of very useful associate to truth, and often intro- his party; for, having spent much of his life in duces her by degrees, where she never could a college, it cannot be doubted that he had a bave forced her way by argument or decla- considerable knowledge of books, which the mation.

vehemence of his temper enabled him often to A temper of this kind is generally incon- display, when a more timorous man would venient and offensive in any society, but in a have been silent, though in learning not his inplace of education is least to be tolerated; for, ferior. as authority is necessary to instruction, who- When the war broke out, Mr. Cheynel, in ever endeavours to destroy subordination, by consequence of his principles, declared himself weakening that reverence which is claimed by for the Parliament; and as he appears to have those to whom the guardianship of youth is held it as a first principle, that all great and-nocommitted by their country, defeats at once the ble spirits abhor neutrality, there is no doubt institution ; and may be justly driven from a but that he exerted himself to gain proselytes, society by which he thinks himself too wise to and to promote the interest of that party which be governed, and in which he is too young to be had thought it his duty to espouse. These teach, and too opinionative to learn.

endeavours were so much regarded by the ParThis may be readily supposed to have been the liament, that, having taken the covenant, he case of Cheynel; and know not how those was nominated one of the assembly of divines, can be blamed for censuring his conduct, or who were to meet at Westminster for the settlepunishing his disobedience, who had a right to ment of the new discipline. govern him, and who might certainly act with This distinction drew necessarily upon him equal sincerity, and with greater knowledge. the batred of the cavaliers; and his living being

With regard to the visitation of Merton Col- not far distant from the king's head-quarters, lege, the account is equally obscure. Visitors he received a visit from some of the troops, are well known to be generally called to regu- who, as he affirms, plundered his house and late the affairs of colleges, when the members drove him from it. His living, which was, I disagree with their head, or with one another; suppose, considered as forfeited by his absence, and the temper that Dr. Cheynel discovers will (though be was not suffered to continue upon easily incline his readers to suspect that he it,) was given to a clergyman, of whom he says, couid not long live in any place without finding that he would become a stage better than a pulsome occasion for debate; nor debate any ques- pit; a censure which I can neither confute nor tion without carrying opposition to such a admit, because I have not discovered who was length as might make a moderator, necessary. his successor. He then retired into Sussex, to Whether this was his conduct at Merton, or exercise his ministry among his friends, in a whether an appeal to the visitor's authority was place where, as he observes, there had been made by him, or his adversaries, or any other little of the power of religion either known or member of the college, is not to be known; it practised. As no reason can be given why the appears only, that there was a visitation, that inhabitants of Sussex should have less knowbe suffered by it, and resented his punishment. ledge or virtue than those of other places, it

He was afterwards presented to a living ofy may be suspected that he means nothing more great value, near Banbury, where he had some than a place where the Presbyterian discipline dispute with Archbishop Laud. Of this dis- or principles had never been received. We dow pute I have found no particular account. Ca- observe, that the Methodists, where they scatter lamy only says, he had a rufile with Bishop their opinions, represent themselves as preachLaud, while at his height.

ing the gospel to unconverted nations; and Had Cheynel been equal to his adversary in enthusiasts of all kinds have been inclined to greatness and learning, it had not been easy to disguise their particular tenets with pom pous have found either a more proper opposite; for appellations, and to imagine themselves the they were both, to the last degree, zealous, ac- great instruments of salvation; yet it must be tive, and pertinacious, and would have afforded confessed that all places are not equally enlightmankind a spectacle of resolution and boldness ened; that in the most civilized nations there not often to be seen. But the amusement of are many corners which may be called barbarbeholding the struggle would hardly have been ous, where neither politeness, nor religion, por without danger, as they were too fiery not to the common arts of life, have yet been cultihave communicated their heat, though it should vated; and it is likewise certain, that the inhave produced a couflagration of their country. habitants of Sussex have been sometimes med

About the year 1641, when the whole nation tioned as remarkable for brutality.

From Sussex he went often to London, | seems industrious to discover in every line herewhere, in 1613, he preached three times before sies, which might have escaped for ever any the Parliament; and, returning in November other apprehension: he appears always suspito Colchester, to keep the monthly fast there, as cious of some latent malignity, and ready to was his custom, he obtained a convoy of sixteen persecute what he only suspects, with the same soldiers, whose bravery or good fortune was violence as if it had been openly avowed : in all such, that they faced and put to flight more his procedure he shows himself sincere, but than two bundred of the king's forces.

without candour. In this journey he found Mr. Chillingworth About this time Cheynel, in pursuance of his in the hands of the Parliament's troops, of whose natural ardour, attended the army under the sickness and death he gave the account, which command of the Earl of Essex, and added the has been sufficiently made known to the learned praise of valour to that of learning; for he distinworld by Mr. Maizeaux, in his Life of Chilling- guished himself so much by his personal bravery, worth.

and obtained so much skill in the science of war, With regard to this relation, it may be obsery- that his commands were obeyed by the colonels ed, that it is written with an air of fearless ve. with as much respect as those of the general. racity, and with the spirit of a man who thinks He seems, indeed, to have been born a soldier, his cause just, and his behaviour without re- for he had an intrepidity which was never to be proach ; nor does there appear any reason for shaken by any danger, and a spirit of enterprise doubting that Cheynel spoke and acted as he re- not to be discouraged by difficulty, which were lates : for he does not publish an apology, but a supported by an unusual degree of bodily challenge, and writes not so much to obviate strength. His services of all kinds were thought calumnies, as to gain from others that applause of so much importance by the Parliament, that which he seems to have bestowed very liberally they bestowed upon him the living of Petworth, upon himself for his behaviour on that occasion. ) in Sussex. This living was of the value of £700

Since, therefore, this relation is credible, a per annum, from which thuy had ejected a man great part of it being supported by evidence remarkable for his loyalty, and therefore, in their which cannot be refuted, Mr. Maizeaux seems opinion, not worthy of such revenues. And it very justly, in his Life of Mr. Chillingworth, may be inquired, whether, in accepting this preto oppose the common report, that his life was ferment, Cheynel did not violate the protestation shortened by the inhumanity of those to wbom which he makes in the passage already recited, he was a prisoner ; for Cheynel appears to have and whether he did not suffer his resolutions preserved, amidst all his detestation of the opin- to be overborne by the temptations of wealth. ions which he imputed to him, a great kindness In 1616, when Oxford was taken by the forto his person, and veneration for his capacity; ces of the parliament, and the reformation of the nor does he appear to have been cruel to him, University was resolved, Mr. Cheynel was sent, otherwise than by that incessant importunity of with six others, to prepare the way for a visitadisputation, to which he was doubtless incited tion; being authorised by the Parliament to by a sincere belief of the danger of his soul, if he preach in any of the churches, without regard should die without renouncing some of his to the right of the members of the University, opinions.

that their doctrine might prepare their hearers The same kindness which made him desirous for the changes which were intended. to convert him before his death, would incline When they arrived at Oxford, they bega him to preserve him from dying before he was execute their commission, by possessing themconverted ; and accordingly we find, that when selves of the pulpits; but, if the relation of the castle was yielded, he took care to procure Wood * is to be regarded, were heard with very him a commodious lodging: when he was to little veneration. Those who had been accushave been unseasonably removed, he attempted tomed to the preachers of Oxford, and the liturgy to shorten his journey, which he knew would be of the church of England, were offended at the dangerous ; when the physician was disgusted emptiness of their discourses, which were noisy by Chillingworth’s distrust, he prevailed upon and unmeaning; at the unusual gestures, the him, as the symptoms grew more dangerous, to wild distortions, and the uncouth tone with renew his visits; and when death left no other which they were delivered; at the coldness of act of kindness to be practised, procured him the their prayers for the king, and the vehemence rites of burial, which some would have denied and exuberance of those which they did not fail him.

to utter for the blessed councils and actions of the Having done thus far justice to the humanity Parliament and army; and at, what was surely of Cheynel, it is proper to inquire how far he not to be remarked without indignation, their deserves blame. He appears to have extended omission of the Lord's Prayer. none of that kindness to the opinions of Chil. lingworth, which he sbowed to his person; for he interprets every word in the worst sense, and * Vide Wood's Hist. Autiq. Oxon. Orig. Edit.

to

But power easily supplied the want of re-sure, and being convicted from their own doverence, and they proceeded in their plan of re-clarations, in which they had frequently conformation; and thinking sermons not so effica- demned Episcopacy as contrary to Christianity; cious to conversion as private interrogatories nor durst they deny it, because they might have and exhortations, they established a weekly been confuted, and must at once have sunk into meeting for freeing tender consciences from contempt. The soldiers, seeing their perplexscruple, at a house that, from the business to ity, insulted them; and went away, boasting of which it was appropriated, was called the their victory ; nor did the Presbyterians, for Scruple-shop.

some time, recover spirit enough to renew their With this project they were so well pleased, meetings, or to proceed in the work of easing that they sent to the Parliament an account of consciences. it, which was afterwards printed, and is ascribed Earbury, exulting at the victory, which, not by Wood to Mr. Cheynel. They continued for his own abilities, but the subtilty of the soldier some weeks to hold their meetings regularly, nad procured him, began to vent his notions of and to admit great numbers, whom curiosity, or every kind without scruple, and at length asa desire of conviction, or a compliance with the serted, that “the Saints had an equal measure prevailing party, brought thither. But their of the divine nature with our Saviour, though tranquillity was quickly disturbed by the tur- not equally manifest.” At the same time he bulence of the Independents, whose opinions took upon him the dignity of a prophet, and be then prevailed among the soldiers, and were gan to utter predictions relating to the affairs of very industriously propagated by the discourses England and Ireland. of William Earbury, a preacher of great repu- His prophecies were not much regarded, but tation among them, who, one day, gathering a his doctrine was censured by the Presbyterians considerable number of his most zealous fol. in their pulpits; and Mr. Cheynel challenged lowers, went to the bouse appointed for the re- him to a disputation, to which he agreed, and solution of scruples, on a day which was set at his first appearance in St. Mary's church apart for the disquisition of the dignity and addressed his audience in the following man. office of a minister, and began to dispute with ner: great vehemence against the Presbyterians, “ Christian friends, kind fellow-soldiers, and whom he denied to have any true ministers worthy students, I, the humble servant of all among them, and whose assemblies he affirmed mankind, am this day drawn, against my will, not to be the true church. He was opposed out of my cell, into this public assembly, by the with equal heat by the Presbyterians, and at double chain of accusation and a challenge from length they agreed to examine the point another the pulpit. I have been charged with heresy; day, in a regular disputation. Accordingly, I have been challenged to come bither in a letthey appointed the 12th of November for an ter written by Mr. Francis Cheynel. Here inquiry, " Whether, in the Christian church, then I stand in defence of myself and my docthe office of minister is committed to any par-trine, which I shall introduce with only this ticular persons ?”.

declaration, that I claim not the office of a iniOn the day fixed the antagonists appeared, nister on account of any outward call, though I each attended by great numbers; but when the formerly received ordination, nor do I boast of question was proposed, they began to wrangle, illumination, or the knowledge of our Savinot about the doctrine which they had engaged our, though I have been held in esteem by to examine, but about the terms of the propo- others, and formerly by myself. For I now sition, which the Independents alleged to be declare, that I know nothing, and am nothing, changed since their agreement; and at length nor would I be thought of otherwise than as an the soldiers insisted that the question should be, inquirer and seeker.” “ Whether those who call themselves ministers He then advanced his former position in have more right or power to preach the gospel stronger terms, and with additions equally dethan any other man that is a Christian?” This testable, which Cheynel attacked with the vehcquestion was debated for some time with great mence which in so warm a temper, such horrid vehemence and confusion, but without any pros- assertions might naturally excite. The dispute, pect of a conclusion. At length, one of the frequently interrupted by the clamours of the soldiers, who thought they had an equal right audience, and tumults raised to disconcert with the rest to engage in the controversy, de-Cheynel, who was very unpopular, continued manded of the Presbyterians, whence they about four hours, and then both the controthemselves received their orders, whether from vertists grew weary, and retired. The Presbishops, or any other persons ? This unexpected byterians afterwards thought they should more interrogatory put them to great difficulties; for speedily put an end to the heresies of Earbury it bappened that they were all ordained by the by power than by argument; and, by soliciting bishops, which they durst not acknowledge, for General Fairfax, procured his removal. fear of exposing themselves to a general cen- Mr. Cheynel published an account of this.Jis

Y

move.

pute under the title of “ Faith triumphing over found her not more obsequious than her hasError and Heresy in a revelation," &c. ; nor band. They repeated their orders with menacan it be doubted but he had the victory, where ces, but were not able to prevail upon her to rehis cause gave him so great superiority.

They then retired, and left her exposed Somewhat before this, his captious and petu- to the brutality of the soldiers, whom they com lant disposition engaged him in a controversy, manded to keep possession, which Mrs. Fell, from which he could not expect to gain equal however, did not leave. About nine days afterreputation. Dr. Hammond had not long before wards she received another visit of the same published his Practical Catechism, in which kind from the new chancellor, the Earl of PemMr. Cheynel, according to his custom, found broke; who having, like the others, ordered her many errors implied, if not asserted; and there to depart without effect, treated her with refore, as it was much read, thought it convenient proachful language, and at last commanded the to censure it in the pulpit. Of this Dr. Ham- soldiers to take her up in her chair, and carry mond being informed, desired him in a letter to her out of doors. Her daughters, and some communicate his objections; to which Mr. Other gentlewomen that were with her, were Cheynel returned an answer, written with his afterwards treated in the same manner; one of usual temper, and therefore somewhat perverse. whom predicted, without dejection, that she The controversy was drawn out to a considera- should enter the house again with less difficulty, ble length; and the papers on both sides were at some other time: nor was she mistaken in her afterwards made public by Dr. Hammond. conjecture, for Dr. Fell lived to be restored to

In 1647, it was determined by Parliament, his deanery. that the reformation of Oxford should be more At the reception of the chancellor, Cheynel, vigorously carried on; and Mr. Cheynel was as the most accomplished of the visitors, had the nominated one of the visitors. The general pro- province of presenting him with the ensigns of cess of the visitation, the firmness and fidelity of his office, some of which were counterfeit, and the students, the address by which the inquiry addressing him with a proper oration. Of this was delayed, and the steadiness with which it speech, which Wood has preserved, I shall give was opposed, which are very particularly related some passages, by which a judgment may be by Wood, and after him by Walker, it is not ne- made of bis oratory. cessary to mention here, as they relate not more Of the staves of the beadles he observes, that to Dr Cheynel's life than to those of his asso- “some are stained with double guilt, that some ciates.

are pale with fear, and that others have been There is, indeed, some reason to believe that made use of as crutches, for the support of bad he was more active and virulent than the rest, causes and desperate fortunes ;” and he remarks because he appears to have been charged in a of the book of statutes which he delivers, that particular manner with some of their most un- “ the ignorant may perhaps admire the splenjustifiable measures. He was accused of propos-dour of the cover, but the learned know that ing that the members of the University should the real treasure is within.” Of these two be denied the assistance of counsel, and was lam- sentences it is easily discovered, that the first is pooned by name, as a madman, in a satire writ- forced and unnatural, and the second trivial ten on the visitation.

and low. One action, which shows the violence of his Soon afterwards Mr. Cheynel was admitted temper, and his disregard both of humanity and to the degree of Bachelor of Divinity, for which decency, when they came in competition with his grace had been denied him in 1641, and, as his passions, must not be forgotten. The visi- he then suffered for an ill-timed assertion of the tors, being offended at the obstinacy of Dr. Fell, Presbyterian doctrines, he obtained that his deDean of Christ-church, and Vice-chancellor of gree should be dated from the time at which he the University, baving first deprived hiin of bis was refused it; an honour which, however, did vice-chancellorship, determined afterwards to not secure him from being soon after publicly dispossess him of his deanery; and, in the course reproached as a madman. of their proceedings, thought it proper to seize But the vigour of Cheynel was thought by his upon his chambers in the college. This was an companions to deserve profit as well as honour : act which most men would willingly have refer- and Dr. Bailey, the president of St. John's Colred to the officers to whom the law assigned it; lege, being not more obedient to the authority but Cheynel's fury prompted him to a different of the Parliament than the rest, was deprived conduct. He, and three more of the visitors, of his revenues and authority, with which Mr. went and demanded admission ; which being Cheynel was immediately invested; who, with steadily refused them, they obtained by the as- his usual coolness and modesty, took possession sistance of a file of soldiers, who forced the doors of the lodgings soon after, by breaking open the with pick-axes. Then entering, they saw Mrs. doors. Fell in the lodgings, Dr. Fell being in prison at This preferment being not thought adequate London, and ordered her to quit them; but to the deserts or abilities of Mr. Cheynel, it was therefore desired, by the committee of Parlia- by him only with an opprobrious book against ment, that the visitors would recommend him the Presbyterian clergy. to the lectureship of divinity founded by the Of the remaining part of bis life there is found Lady Margaret. To recommend him, and to only an obscure and confused account. He choose, was at that time the same; and he had quitted the presidentship of St. John's, and the now the pleasure of propagating his darling professorship, in 1650, as Calamy relates, bedoctrine of predestination, without interruption, cause he would not take the engagement; and and without danger.

gave a proof that he could suffer as well as act Being thus flush ed with power and success, in a cause which he believed just. We have, there is little reason for doubting that he gave indeed, no reason to question his resolution, way to his natural vehemence, and indulged whatever occasion might be given to exert it; himself in the utmost excesses of raging zeal, by nor is it probable that he feared affliction more which he was indeed so much distinguished, than danger, or that he would not have borne that, in a satire mentioned by Wood, he is dig- persecution himself for those opinions which nified by the title of Arch-visitor, an appella- inclined him to persecute others. tion which he seems to have been industrious to He did not suffer much upon this occasion ; deserve by severity and inflexibility: for, not for he retained the living of Pet worth, to which contented with the commission which he and he thenceforward confined his Jabours, and his colleagues had already received, he procured where he was very assiduous, and, as Calamy six or seven of the members of Parliament to affirms, very successful in the exercise of his meet privately in Mr. Rouse's lodgings, and ministry, it being his peculiar character to be assume the style and authority of a committee, warm and zealous in all his undertakings. and from them obtained a more extensive aud This heat of his disposition, increased by the tyrannical power, by which the visitors were uncommon turbulence of the times in which he enabled to force the solemn League and Covenant lived, and by the opposition to which the unand the negative Oath upon all the members of popular nature of some of his employments exthe University, and to prosecute those for a posed him, was at last heightened to distraction, contempt who did not appear to a citation, at so that he was for some years disordered in his whatever distance they might be, and whatever understanding, as both Wood and Calamy rereasons they might assign for their absence. late, but with such difference as might be ex

By this method be easily drove great numbers pected from their opposite principles. Wood from the University, whose places he supplied appears to think, that a tendency to madness with men of his own opinion, whom he was was discoverable in a great part of his life; very industrious to draw from other parts, with Calamy, that it was only transient and accipromises of making a liberal provision for them dental, though, in his additions to his first narout of the spoils of hereties and malignants. rative, he pleads it as an extenuation of that

Having, in time, almost extirpated those fury with which his kindest friends confess him opinions which he found so prevalent at his ar- to have acted on some occasions. Wood declares, rival, or at least obliged those, who would not that he died little better than distracted; Calrecant, to an appearance of conformity, he was amy, that he was perfectly recovered to a sound at leisure for employments which deserve to be mind before the Restoration, at which time he recorded with greater commendation. About retired to Preston, a small village in Sussex, this time, many Socinian writers began to pub- being turned out of his living at Petworth. lish their notions with great boldness, which It does not appear that he kept his living till the Presbyterians, considering as heretical and the general ejection of the Nonconformists; and impious, thought it necessary to consute; and it is not unlikely that the asperity of his cartherefore Cheynel, who had now obtained his riage, and the known virulence of his temper, doctor's degree, was desired, in 1649, to write a might have raised him enemies, who were willvindication of the doctrine of the Trinity, which ing to make him feel the effects of persecution he performed, and published the next year. which he had so furiously incited against others;

He drew up likewise a confutation of some but of this incident of his life there is no parti. Socinian tenets advanced by John Fry; a man cular account. who spent great part of his life in ranging from After his deprivation, he lived (till his death, one religion to another, and who sat as one of which happened in 1665,) at a small village near the judges on the king, but was expelled after- Chichester, upon a paternal estate, not augwards from the House of Commons, and dis- mented by the large preferments wasted upon abled from sitting in parliament. Dr. Cheynel bim in the triumphs of his party; having been is said to have shown himself evidently superior remarkable, throughout his life, for hospitality to him in the controversy, and was answered and contempt of money.

« ElőzőTovább »