honour, throne, and glory, as Christ now hath ; and shall
be endowed with a greater power of working miracles than
Christ had when he was on earth." The contest, which
lasted about four hours, was not carried without tumult;
and in the conclusion, each party retired claiming the
victory.^: The account of this dispute was afterwards
published by the adverse party, entitled, " A Relation of a
* Gangrrena, part i. p. 109, 110. Second edit.
+ Athenae Oxod. vol. ii. p. 104.
J AValker's Attempt, part i. p. 125, 126.
188 LIVES OF THE PURITANS.
Disputation in St. Mary's cbnrch in Oxon, between I\Ir,
Cheynel and Mr. Erbcry," \64i6. A particular detail of
o'her disputes which he had with the visitors was also pub-
lished by his opponents, entitled, " An Account ^iven to tlie
Parliament by the Ministers sent by them to Oxford," 1647.
In this piece they give a circumstantial account of their
disputations with Mr. Erbery, but not suihciently interesting
to deserve the reader's particular attention. Mr. Erbery hid
a public dispute with one Mr. Nichols, of which he gave a
particular account in a piece entitled, " A Dispute at
Cowbridge, (Glamorganshire,) with Mr. Henry Nichols,
Pastor of an Independent Church, and P^irson of a Parish-
Church."* But this is not more interesting than the
Upon Mr. Erbery's departure from Oxford, says Wood,
" be went to London, where he vented his blasphemies in
several places against the glorious divinity and blood of
JesUs Christ, espÂ«ci: lly in his conv-nticle at Christ-church
wiihin Newgale, where those of his opinion met once a
week. He was at length brought before the committee of
plundered ministers at Westminster; when, to th'' admiration
of those who had heard his blasphemies, lie b^an to make
a solemn profession of his faith in orthodox language : but
the chairman took him up, and commanded him silence,
saying, ' We know your tricks well enough.' To say the
truth," adds our author, " he had language at command,
and could dissemble for matter of profit, or to avoid danger ;
and it was well known he Avas a mere canter." This
account, from the bigotted Jiistorian, is extremely partial
and incorrect, as appears from a particular narrative pub-
lished by Mr. Erbery himself, in which he denies many of
the charges alleged against him, and acquits himself of
others. The piece is entitled, " The Honest Heritique; or,
Ortliodox Blasphemer, accused of Heresie and Blasphemie,
but cleared of both by the judgment of God, and of good
Men, at a Committee for Plundered Ministers of the Parlia-
ment, March l^th, 165^2 : With a double Answer to Articles
charged against him; whereupon he was freed from his
Prison, and liberty granted by the Lord to preach
" October 12, 1653, Mr. Erbery and Mr. John Webster
endeavoured," says Wood, " to knock down learning and
the ministry together, in a disputation they had with two
* Erberj'i Testimony^ p. 252. + Ibid. p. 310.
ministers in a church in Lombard-street. Erbery then
declared, that the wisest ministers and purest churches were
at that time befooled, confounded, and defiled by learning.
He said, also, that the ministers were monsters, beasts, asses,
greedy dogs, and false prophets ; that they are the beast
with seven heads and (en horns ; that Babylon is the clmrch
in her mhiisters; and that the great Whore is the church
in her worship. So that with him," he adds, " there was an
end of ministers, and churches, and ordinances together.
While these things were babbled to and fro, the multitude
being of various opinions, began to mutter, and many to
cry out, and immediately there was a tumult, wherein the
women bore away the bell, but some of them lost their
kerchiefs. And the dispute was so hot, that there was
more danger of pulling down the church than the
It is observed of Mr. Erbery, by one who appears to liave
been well acquainted with him, that the four principal
things upon which he chiefly dwelt in his ministry, were
vthe following : " That there was a measure of a pure appear-
ance of spirit and truth in the days of the apostles. â€” That
about tlie latter end of their days, or soon after, the spirit of
the Lord withdrew itself, and men substituted an external
and carnal worship in its stead. â€” That this apostacy was
not yet removed from the generality of professing christians,
notwithstanding their pretence of deliverance ; but that
they still lay under it, and were likely so to do for some
time. â€” That when the appointed season came, the apostacy
should be removed, and the new Jerusalem come down from
God, of which some glimpse might now appear in particular
saints ; yet the full view and accomplishment thereof seemed
to be at some distance."f
Mr. Baxter denominates him " one of the chief of the
anabaptists," and Mr. Neal calls him " a turbulent anti-
-nomian;"^ whereas he was neither the one nor the other.
Primitive baptism, he thought, consisted in going into the
water ankle-deep^ and not in a tolal immersion; but judged
that none have now any right to administer that ordinance
"without a fresh commission from heaven. In his views of
the trinity he was of the Subellion cast; and it appears
from the general strain of his writings, that he drunk very
deep in the spirit of mysticism. He was an admirer of tlifc
* Athenae Oxen. vol. ii. p. 104. t Erbery's Tesfinaony, Pref.
i. Ne*l'i pBriUns, tel. iii. p. 397.
190 LIVES OF THE PURITANS.
Quakers, with whom his wife united,* and from whom he
expected t^r^eat lhirjr;s, hut did not unite with them. He
had formerly I 'boured lender a sore affliction, which had
deeply affected his head ; previous to which he was a man
of good p;.rts and an CAcellent scholar, zealous and suc-
cessful in his ministry, ^iid particulr.rly grave and religious
in his iife.t Mr. Christopher Love thus observes : *' As for
Mr. Erbery, though he is fallen into dangerous opinions ;
yet, he being my spiritud father, I do na-urally care for
him ; and my heart cleaves more to him than to any man in
the world. I speak to the praise of God, he was the instru-
ment of my conversion nearly twenty years ago, and th6
means of my education at the university ; for which kind-
ness, the halt of what I have in the world 1 could readily
part with for his relief. It is true, about eight or nine years
since, he was plundered in Wales, and came to see me at
Windsor castle ; but a son could not make more of a father
than I did of him, according to my ability. When I had
not twelve pounds in the world, I let him have six of it ; and
I procured him to be chaplain to Major Skippon's regiment,
where he had eight shillings per day. "^ He is characterized
by those of his own persuasion, as a holy and harmless
person, for which the world hatt d him.j He died in th6
mouth of April, 1654, aged fifty years.
His Works. â€” I. The a^reat Myslerie of Godliness: Jesus Christ
our Lord God and Man, and Man with God, one in Jesus Clnist our
Lord, 1640. â€” 2. Ministers for Tythes, proving thcj are no Ministers
of the Gospel, 16.53. â€” 3. Sermons on several Occasions, one of which
is entitled, " The Lord of Hosts," 16.53.â€” 4. An Olive Leaf: or,
some peacealjle Considerations to the Christian Meeting at Christ's
Church in London, 1654. â€” 5. The Reign of Christ, and the Saints
with him on Earth a Thousand Years, one Day, and the Day at
Land, 1654. â€” 6. The Testimony of Wiliiain Erbery, left upon Record
for the Saints of succeeding Ages, 1658. â€” This contains several of thÂ«
Jeremtah WiiiTAKER, A.M. â€” Tliis excellent person
was born at Wakefield in Yorkshire, in the year 1599, and
educated in Sidney college, Cambridge, where he was held
in high estimation. He was religiously thoughtful from a
child; and when a boy at school he used to travel, in com-
pany with otliCiS, eight or ten miles to hear the gospel, and
unite with them in prayer and other religious exercises.
â€¢ Biog. Eritan. vol. v. p. 3199. EdU. 1747.
+ MS. Account. I Love's Vmdication, p. 36. Edit. 1651.
S Wood's Athenas Oxon. vol. ii. p. 104.
J. WHITAKER. 191
He often said, in tlie days of his youth, " I had much
rather be a rainist(,'r of the gospel tlian an emperor."
While at the uuiveisity, he made considerable progress iu
the various branches of useful literature; and, upon his
removal, he settled at Oakham in Rutlandshire, where, for
some time, he taus^ht school. Here he became intimate
with Mr. Wdliani Peachy, an eminent scholar -md preacher,
whose dauo'hter he afterwards married. Having been at
Oakham about four years, he accepted the pastoral charge
at Stretton in tlie same county. He naturally cared for the
souls of the people, and the preaching of the gospel was
his beloved work. His heart was so deeply engaged in
the work, that, having received an invitation to become
master of a collge, he returned this reply : " My heart,"
said he, " doth more desire to be a constant preacher than
to be master of any college in the world."
Upon the publication of the Book of Sports, this amiable
divine, with multitudes of his brethren, was exposed to the
persecution of the ruling prelates. Though, for refusing to
read it, he was involved in some difficulties, he happily
escaped the malicious threatenings of his enemies. Being
afterwards required to afford pecuniary assistance for the
purpose of carrying on the war against the Scots, he refused,
and openly told the bishop, or his ch nicellor, that he could
Jiot do it with a good conscience ; for which, if one of his
friends had not paid the money, he would have suffered
suspensi(m and deprivation.*
Mr. Whitaker, having preached atStrctton thirteen years,
was chosen, in the year 1643, one of the assembly of
divines. This called him up to London, when he accepted
an invitation to the pastoral office of St. Mary Magdalen,
Bermondsey, in Southwark ; and he became one of the
morning lecturers at the Abbey church, Westminster. In
16^7 he was appointed a member of the first provincial
assembly holden in London, and was once chosen to the
office of moderator. During the same yâ‚¬ar, by an order
from the house of lords, he was appointed, with Dr. Thomas
Goodwin, to have the oversight and examination of the
papers (o be printed for the assembly of divines. + The
year following he was in danger of being deprived of his
lecture at Westminster for refusing the engagement; but,
* Clark's Lives annexed to his Martyrologie, p. 264> 265.
+ Dissenting Brethren's Propobitions.
192 LIVES OF THE PURITANS.
on account of his universal esteem and great moderation,
he contiiiuPd unmolested.*
This Avorthy divine, during the latter part of his life, was
afflicted with most racking pains, but was of a most humble,
meek, and qniet spirit. Under tiiese tormenting agonies, he
never nuirmured, but, in the exeicise of faith and patience,
was entirely resigned to the wUl of God. He manifested so
excellent a spirit through the whole of his long and painful
affliction, that many persons were of opinion that God
desig)\ed him for a pattern of patience to posterity. When
his frienls asked him how he did, he usually replied, " The
bush is always bunung, but not consumed. And though
my pains he above the strength of nature^ they are not
above the supports of graced About two months before
his death, his pains became more extreme than ever, when
he rried thus unto the Lord : " O thou Father of mercies,
pity n e. Do not contend for ever. Consider my frame,
that I am but dust. My God, who hast made heaven and
earth, help m*. Oh! give me patience, and inflict what
thou wilt. If my patience was more, my pain would be
less. Dear Saviour, why dost thou cover thyself with a
thick cloud ? Blessed is the man that endureth temptation.
Consider, Lord, that I am thy servant. Lord, drop some
sweet comfort into these bitter waters. O that the blood of
sjjrinkling may allay my pains ! I am in a fiery furnace.
Lord, be with me, and bring me out refined from sin. When
I have sailed through the ocean of these pains, and look
back, I see ihey are all needful. I fly unto thee, O God !
Hide me under the shadow of thy wings, till the terrible
storm be overpast. O, my God! break open the prison
door, and set my poor captive soul at liberty. But enable
me willingly to wait thy time. No man ever more desired
life tlian I desire death. When will that day arrive that I
shall neither sin nor sorrow any more ? When shall thisT
earthly tabernacle be dissolved, that I may be clothed upon
â– with that house which is from heaven ? Blessed are the dead
which die in the Lord ; for they rest from their labours."
Through the whole of his affliction he exercised an unshaken
confidence in God, and enjoyed an uninterruped assurance
of his favour. He called him im/ Father and mj/ God, and
said, " Consider, and save me, for I am thine. How long,
* Clark's Lives, p. 866.
J. WHITAKER. 193
how lon^, sliall I not be remembered ? Yes, I am remem-
bered : hlesseil be thy name. This is a fiery cliariot, but
it wdl carry me to heaven. Bltssed be God, who has
hitherto su])|Jorfed me; who has delivered me, and wdl
deliver me." As the agonizing fits ol paiii W( re coming
upon him, he usually said, " Now, in ihe strength ol" the
Lord God, I will undergo these pains. Oh I my Gad, put
U'lderneaih thine everlasting arms, and str nii^ihen me."
Notwithstanding lill his pains a;id rcjarings, he otti n told his
friends, that he would not, for a thousand w>;rl !s, exchunga
states with any man on eitrth whom he looked upon ; s living
in a sta.e of sin. Tlie grand Jidversary of s uls could
never shake his confidence. He often said, " Through
mercy, I luive not one repining thought against God." As
he felt the fits coming on, he requested h;s friends to with-
draw, that they mi^ht not be gr.eved by hearing his groan-
ing.s; and he blessed God they were not obliged !o hear his
doleful lamentations. As the period of his dissolution
approached, his agonizing'fits brcame more lr<quentand
more painful ; but the Lord was, at length, ph ascd to deliver
him out of them all. He died June 1, l(ij4, aged fifty-fivÂ«
years, and his mortal remains were interred in Oerinondsey
church, when vast numbers of people honoured his fun< ral
by th( ir attendance.* His funeral sermon was preached by
Mr. Simeon Ashe, and afterwards published, entitled,
" Living Loves betwixt Christ and Hying Christians. A
Sermon preached at M. Magdalene, Bermondsey in Soutli-
wark, near London, June 6, 1654, at the Fuuerall of the
faithful Servant of Christ, Mr. Jeremiah \V'hit..ker, Minister
of the Gospel, with a Narrative of his exemplary Liie and
After Mr. Whitaker's death, his body was opened in the
presence of several physicians; when they lounii both his
kidnies full of ulcers, and one of them swelled to an
enormous size, and filled with purulent matter. In the neck
of his bladder, they found a stone about an inch and
half long, and an inch broad, weighing about two ounces,
â– which is supposed to have occasioned his racking pains.t
*' He was a constant and an excellent preacher, an
universal scholar, an eminent theologian, an able disputant,
and much given to acts of charity and liberality. "t Mr.
Leigh says, ' ' he was a pious and learned divine, mighty in
â€¢ Clark's Live?, p. 267â€”272.
+ Ibid. p. gif}.â€” Ashe's Fun. Ser. for Mr. Whitaker.
% Clark's Lives, p. 266.
VOL. in. Â»
194 LIVES OF THE PURITANS.
the scriptures, laborious in his ministerial function, fealous
for God's glory, and of a liumble, melting spirit, and a
â– wonderful instance of patience during the whole of his
heavy affliction."* Fuller includes him among the learned
writers of Sidney college, Cambridge.+ We have not been
able to collect any long list of his writings; only he
published c<'rt;!in sermons preached before the parliament,
and probably some others. Mr. William Whitaker, ejected
in IGGS, was his son 4
Mr. Whitaker, during his heavy affliction, wrote a letter
to the Protector Cromwell, the sight of which will be
highly gratifying to every inquisitive reader. It is tran-
scribed from the original in Mr. Whitaker's own hand, and
though there be no date, it was evidently written in the year
1651. It is addressed " To his Highness the Lord Pro-
tector," of which the following is a copy :Â§
*' May it please your highness to pardon this boldness in
presenting this book, composed by some godly men, to
appease the heat of the present controversies, wherein is
proved â€” ' That the office of the ministry is not the intru-
sion of men, but the institution of Jesus Christ. â€” That the
necessity of this office is perpetual. â€” That the ministry was
80 preserved under ajitichrist, that it is not antichristian. â€”
That this office is peculiar to some, and not common to all. â€”
And that they who assume this office must be called lawfully
at present, and also hereafter.' Ordination in general if
necessary, and how that is to be observed is justifiable.
" I cannot come to tender it, being confined to my cham-
ber under extreme tormenting pains of the stone, which
forceth me to cry and sorrow night and day. But blessed for
ever be the Lord, who hath begotten us to a lively hope and
joy by Jesus Christ; that tl>e thoughts of eternity do
sweeten the bitter things of time : that, when we are weary
of the things of this life, we may greatly rejoice in hope of
a better. In this dying condition, give me leave to tender
many thanks to your highness for taking away the engage-
ment, whereby you have greatly refreshed the consciences
of many. The good Lord recompense this great act of
mercy, and enlarge your heart to prevent the like snares in
future, at which the worst of men frown, and the best of
men mourn. And the same God who hath raised you above
other men, still raise you to be higher than yourself^ far
* Leigh's Religion and Learning, p. 364.
+ History of Cambrido:e, p. 154.
% Palmer's Noncoii. Mem. vol. i. p. 15T.
S Sloane'sMSS. ^o.4I59.
J. WHITAKER. 195
above all these dominions, and tlirofies, and powers ; that
you may account all these things low and little, dregs and
dust, dung and dross, in comparison of things eternal.
Also, what poor things are Porapey, Cassar, Nimrod, and
Nebuchadnezzar, to the Abels, whose thoughts are fixed
on things everlasting !
'' May it please your highness to consider seriously, how
religion is not only weakened by divisions, but almost
"wasted by the daily growing of alterations. The reins of
government a long time have been let loose, and are now
lost in the church totally : in families extremely so, that
masters know not how to order their servants, nor parents
their children. All grow willing to command, but unwilling
to be commanded : sabbaths are generally profaiied, ordi-
nances despised, the youth playing whilst the minister is
preaching, the consciences of many growing wanton, abus-
ing liberty to all licentiousness. And there are none left in
places to put oftenders to shame for any of tliese abomina-
tions. The good Lord persuade your heart to appoint such
justices whose principles and practice lead them to restrain
vice; who do account the sabbath their delight, that the
inferior officers may be by them encouraged.
" I beseech you also, in the bowels of Jesus Christ, to
remember the many poor prisoners in the land, who in
uprightness of their heart lent the greatest part of their
estate upon public faith. The Romans were forced in like
straits to borrow of the people; but it is recorded to their
glory, that their wars were no sooner ended than these
public debts were discharged. Let not p iganish Rome rise
up in the day of judgment to condc mn unfaithful England.
The neglect of this will involve the land in national guilt.
I am persuaded, it the Lord help you to defray these debts,
that you shall win the hearts of very many, and stop the
moufhs of your groafcst adversaries.
" And now that I have taken upon me to speak, let not
your highness be angry with your poor servant, if he
implore your pi<y and candour, anl petition for the safe
return of Mr. Cawton, a sincere servant of Christ; who,
being involved in th'^ business for which Mr. Love suffered
death, hjif a ye^ir since suffered a voluntary banishment in
great extremity and hardship. May not the blood of Love
Buffer for that offence ? Have not others in oiher kinds done
as much and more, and ye( found favour ? I beseech your
honour's protection, that the beginning of your government
may be with acts of grace ; and oli that such a day of
195 LIVES OF THE PURITANS.
release mi2:lit come that your highness might see it, both
for your honour and safety, to prochiim liberty to the
captives, and the opening of the prison to them who have
been long bound. The God of glory help you to lay such
foundations in common equity and righteousness, that you
m? y leave the nation in a better condition Avhen you die
than you found it : that you may give up your account
with joy; which is the hearty prayer of,
" Your highnesses humble servant,
'< Jer. Whitaker."
His Works.â€” I. Christ the Settlement of Unsettled Times, ft
Sermon preached before the Hcmoiirable House of Commons, at their
late public l^ast, 23 Jan. I6i2, printed 1642.â€” 2. The Christian'*
Hope Triumphing, in a Sermon preached before the Right HonoMt-
able the House of Lords, in Abbey-church, Westminster, May 18,
being the Day appointed for solemn and public Humiliation, 1645.
â€”3. The Danger of Greatnesse ; or, Uzziah, his Exaltation and
Destruction, a Sermon before the Lords and Commons in Parliament,
and the Assembly of Divines, in the Church of St, INIartin's in thÂ»
Fields, January 14, 1645, being a special Day of Humiliation set
â€¢part to seek God's Direction in the settling of Church Govern-
William Strong, A. M. â€” This excellent minister
received his education in Katherine-hall, Cambridge, of
which he was chosen fellow. The master of the college was
the celebrated Dr. Sibbs. Upon leaving the university, he
was presented to the living of Long Crichill in Dorsetshire,
where he continued till he was forced to flee from the cava-
liers.* He then tied to London, where he often preached
before the parliament, was chosen one of the additional
divines to the assembly, and minister of St. Dunstan's in the
West. After some time he gathered a congregation upon
the plan of the independents, which assembled in West-
minster abbey, and was composed of many parliament men
and persons of quality residing in Westminster. t He was
chosen to the office of pastor in this society, December 9,
1650, upon which occasion he delivered a sermon on the
order of a gospel church, which may be seen among hig
select sermons published after his death. He was after-
wards nominated one of the triers for the approbation of
â€¢ Wood's Athenfe Oxon. vol. ii. p. 139.
+ Calamy's Account, vol. ii. p. 41.
:f Bisliop Kcnnet pours great calumny upon those learned divines wbÂ»
were appointed triers. " By the questions they were wont to ask," sayt
Mr. Strong died in the vigour of life, and was buried in
the Abbey church, July 4, 1654 ; but his remiins were dug
up at the resfoiation and thrown into a pit dug o i purpose
in St. Mirgaret's church-yard ; but of this bruial traiisaction
a more particular account is given in another place.* Mr.
Obadiah S/dgwick, who preached his funeral sermon, says,
"that he was so plain in heart, so deep in judgment, so
painful in study, so frequent, exact, and laborious in
preaching, ;>nd, in a word, so emi-iently qu ilified for all the
duties of the ministerial office, thit he did not know his
equaL^'t Mr. Strong published several sermons and
theological treatises in his life-time ; and others were pub-
lished after his death. Among these we fin!, in qua to,
*' Thirty-one select Sermons, preached on special Occasions.
By William Strong, that godly, able, and fiilhfnl Muiister
of Christ, lately of the Abbey at Westminster, 1656." To
this volume there is a preface by Dr. Thomas Manton, Mr.
John liowe, and Mr. George Griffith. There is another
preface by Dr. Henry Wilkinson, d an of Christ's (Church,
who givt's the follovviug account of Mr. Strong's character:
" There is an excellent vein in his sermons, as one s 'ith
m the like case, the farther you search the richer tr -asure
you are likely to find. That which made his sermons pass
with so great approbation of the most judicious hearers,
when he was alive, and will !)e a passport to h's wrifnigs