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same treasons, to the great encouragement of other persons to commit the like treasons, and to the scandal of the church of England established by law, and to the disturbance of the peace of this kingdom. Upon which the court ordered an indictment to be preferred against them; and on May the 8th, Mr Cook and Mr Snatt were committed to Newgate, for suspicion of high-treason and treasonable practices. But such was the lenity of the government, that no manner of punishment was inflicted on them; and Mr Collier, with great assurance, published several papers to justify his practice."
The next controversy in which our ecclesiastic engaged was, if possible, of a still more formidable character than any of the preceding : it was no less than an exposition of the immorality of the English stage, in the course of which he had to contend, almost single-handed with such men as Dryden, Congreve, Vanbrugh, and all the leading wits of
In 1698, he published a book entitled : “A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage, together with the Sense of Antiquity upon this Argument.' In this book, he begins with showing the immodesty and indecency of the stage, and the ill consequences that attend it; he proves next, that the Roman and Greek theatres were much more inoffensive than the English, and then produces the authorities of Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, and the French poet Corneile, against the modern stage. He then proceeds to open the indictment by a charge of profaneness, which he supports by instances from several pieces of Mr Dryden, Mr Otway, Mr Congreve, and Vanbrugh. His second charge is the abuse of the clergy. His third relates to immorality encouraged by the stage. He then descends to some remarks upon Amphitryon, exposes what he calls the horrid profanenesss of the comical history of Don Quixotte; criticises • The Relapse, or Virtue in Danger;' and concludes with producing the opinions of the heathen philosophers, orators, and historians, the restraints imposed upon the stage by the laws in several countries, and the sentiments of the church. In answer to this, Mr Congreve published a little piece, entitled, “ Amendments of Mr Collier's false and imperfect citations from the old Batchelor, the Double Dealer,' &c. Mr Vanbrugh, afterwards Sir John Vanbrugh, likewise published a small piece in support of his own performances, under the title of “A short Vindication of the Relapse, and the Provok'd Wife.' To these and other opponents, Collier briskly and promptly replied in several successive pieces ; and, in the issue, drove his antagonists fairly from the field. A more pacific subject next engaged his fruitful pen, namely, a translation of Moreri's excellent dictionary. It is well-executed, and, in the additional original matter affords a very creditable specimen of the extent and accuracy of Collier's attainments. The two first volumes were printed in the year 1701, and the author gave notice in his preface, that such of the articles as were of a later date than the year 1688, were composed by another hand. The third volume was published under the title of A Supplement,' &c. in 1705, and was reprinted in 1727. The fourth and last volume, which in the title-page is called
An Appendix,' as in reality it is to the other three, was printed in 1721. The whole is certainly a great treasure of historical, geographical, and poetical learning.
His next great work was entitled, “An Ecclesiastical History of
Great Britain, chiefly of England, from the first planting of Christianity, to the end of the Reign of King Charles II. With a brief Account of the Affairs of Religion in Ireland. Collected from the best ancient Historians, Councils, and Records, fol. 1702, vol. i. which comes down to the Reign of Henry VII. “The method in which this History is written,” says the author of his life in the · Biographia Britannica,' “ is very clear and exact; his authorities are constantly cited by the author, his remarks are short and pertinent, and, with respect to the dissertations that are occasionally inserted, they are such as tend to illustrate and explain those perplexed points of which they treat, and contribute thereby to the clearer understanding of the narration. The style is very uniform and grave, which is the more remarkable, because the author, in other writings, has shown as lively a fancy, and as much quickness of wit, as any writer of his own time; but he knew this would be improper here, and therefore it is with great judgment avoided. He speaks modestly and respectfully of most of the Historians who went before him, and if he is any where severe, he takes care that his reason shall go along with his censure. His own peculiar sentiments with respect to religion and government may be in some places discerned; but taking the whole together, it will be found as judicious and impartial a work, as the world, in doing justice to his talents, could have expected.”
In 1713, Collier was consecrated a bishop by Dr Hickes, one of the non-juring clergy, who had himself received consecration from the hands of the deprived bishops of Norwich, Ely, and Peterborough. He died in 1762.
“ Collier,” say Dr Johnson, “was formed for a controvertist; with sufficient learning ; with diction vehement and pointed, though often vulgar and incorrect; with unconquerable pertinacity ; with wit in the highest degree keen and sarcastic; and with all those powers exalted and invigorated by just confidence in his cause. Thus qualified, and thus incited, he walked out to battle, and assailed at once most of the living writers, from Dryden to Durfey. His outset was violent: those passages which while they stood single had passed with little notice, when they were accumulated and exposed together, excited horror : the wise and the pious caught the alarm, and the nation wondered why it had so long suffered irreligion and licentiousness to be openly taught at the public charge. Nothing now remained for the poets but to resist or fly. Dryden's conscience, or his prudence, angry as he was, withheld him from the conflict; Congreve and Vanbrugh attempted answers. Congreve, a very young man, elated with success, and impatient of censure, assumed an air of confidence and security. His chief artifice of controversy is to retort upon his adversary his own words; he is very angry, and hoping to conquer Collier with his own weapons, allows himself in the use of every term of contumely and contempt: but he has the sword without the arm of Scanderbeg; he has his antagonist's coarseness, but not his strength. Collier replied; for contest was his delight; he was not to be frighted from his purpose, or
The cause of Congreve was not tenable: whatever glosses he might use for the defence or palliation of single passages, the general tenour and tendency of his plays must always be condemned. It is acknowledged, with universal conviction, that the perusal of his
works will make no man better; and that their ultimate effect is to represent pleasure in alliance with vice, and to relax those obligations by which life ought to be regulated. The stage found other advocates, and the dispute was protracted through ten years : but at last comedy grew more modest, and Collier lived to see the reward of his labour, in the reformation of the theatre. Of the powers by which this important victory was achieved, a quotation from 'Love for Love,' and the remark upon it, may afford a specimen. "Sir Sampson. “Sampson's a very good name ; for your Sampsons were strong dogs from the beginning." Angelica. “ Have a care- -If you remember, the strongest Sampson of your name pulled an old house over his head at last.” Here you have the sacred history burlesqued, and Sampson once more brought into the house of Dagon, to make sport for the Philistines.'
BORN A. D. 1671.-DIED A. D. 1732.
EDMUND CALAMY, the third of his family who attained to distinguished reputation as a divine, and as an asserter of religious liberty,
the grandson of Edinund Calamy, B. D., and son of Edmund Calamy ejected from Moreton, in Essex. He was born in Aldermanbury, April 5th, 1671. He received his grammar-learning in Merchant-tailors' school under the celebrated Mr Hartcliffe.
Such was Mr Hartcliffe's esteem of his pupil, that he volunteered his services to procure him admission into one of the universities. But his own inclinations, as well as the wishes of his friends, led him into a different
He was first sent to Mr Doolittle's academy at Islington, and subsequently to another dissenting academy kept by Mr Samuel Cradock at Wickham-Brook, Suffolk. In 1688 he went to the university of Utrecht. While resident there he was offered a professorship in the university of Edinburgh, by Mr Carstairs the principal. This he declined, but soon after returned to England. In May, 1691, he went to Oxford for the purpose of prosecuting his studies, and informing himself more fully respecting the points in dispute between the conformists and nonconformists. Here he enjoyed the friendship of Pocock, Barnard, and Dodwell.
We shall select a few sentences from an interesting part of his journal, in which he relates the steps by which he was led to sacrifice very fair prospects of a temporal nature, and unite himself with the dissent
“I had it now," he writes, “ particularly under consideration whether I should determine for conformity or nonconformity. thought Oxford no unfit place to pursue this matter in. I was not likely to be there prejudiced in favour of the dissenters, who were commonly run down and ill spoken of. I was entertained from day to day with what tended to give any man the best opinion of the church by law established. I was a witness of her learning, wealth, grandeur, and splendour. I was treated by the gentlemen of the university with all imaginable civility. I heard their sermons, and frequently attended their public lectures and academical exercises. I was free in conversation as opportunities offered ; and was often argred with about consort
ing with such a despicable, such an unsociable sort of people as the nonconformists were represented. But I took all occasions to express my hearty respect and value for real worth, wherever I could meet with it. I carefully studied my Bible, and particularly the New Testament, and found the plain worship of the dissenters, as far as I could judge, more agreeable to that, than the pompous way of the church of England. I read church-history, and could not help observing, with many others that have gone before me, that as the fondness for church power and pomp increased, the spirit of serious piety declined and decayed among those that bore the name of Christians. I read several of the fathers, and, among the rest, Ignatius's six Epistles, of Bishop Usher's Latin and Isaac Vossius's Florentine Greek editions,' of which Mr Dodwell gives it as his judgment, that the presbyterians questioned them only out of interest.' But I doubt there would be more reason to think the episcopalians favour them out of interest. 1 read also Bishop Pearson in defence of these epistles, as well as Monsieur Daillé and Larroque in opposition to them; and I so well liked the way of arguing," &c. &c. Having taken a careful view of the arguments to be urged on both sides, he thus concludes: “Supposing then, (though not granting,) that we dissenters are in an error, I think we have good reason to believe, that the God we have to do with, is so merciful, that he will not judge or condemn us, or exclude us from his favour, for any errors of judgment or practice which are consistent with true love to him ; but will graciously accept us, upon a general repentance of all our sins and errors. Without taking in this principle, we must send all our forefathers that lived before the Reformation, down to hell, without any relief, even though they acted in the integrity of their hearts, which would be hard.” ?
His resolution being fixed to adhere to the cause of nonconformity, he began his ministerial labours in Oxford and the adjacent villages. In 1692, he went to London and received an invitation to assist the Rev. Matthew Sylvester, who was minister of a presbyterian congregation in Blackfriars. After he had preached to this congregation for the space of two years, he wished to receive public ordination ; but as the dissenters had not ventured openly upon any such service since the act of ejectment, most of the aged ministers in London discouraged the plan, and declined taking any part in the service, through fear of offending the government. Among the eminent dissenters of those times, perhaps none was more distinguished than Dr William Bates, called for his winning eloquence, the “silver-tongued.” His works are to this day commended above those of most of his contemporaries for their excellence of style as well as of judgment. With him, Mr Calamy, though at the time but a young preacher, was conversant, and requested his counsel and aid at his entrance upon his ministry, more particularly in the services of his ordination. Mr Calamy had already been disappointed in his application to the no less celebrated John Howe. He then writes : “I waited also upon Dr Bates, and told him that several of us had a design shortly to be ordained. He appeared very well pleased ; and said many kind things, with abundance of freedom. But when I moved that he would bear a part in the work of the day, and
Vol. I. pp. 224, 225.
2 Vol. I. p. 290.
join in laying on hands, he desired to be excused; and told me that he had such a respect for my grandfather, (whom he always admired as an excellent person,) that he would as soon do such an office for me, as for any person whatsoever, yet that, having forborn any concern in ordinations hitherto, he was not for engaging in them now. He added, that this need not be the least hindrance or discouragement to us; for there were ministers enough that would readily join in so good a work. This, I confess, a little startled me, and was the occasion, perhaps, of my using more warmth than was decent in one of my age, towards one of the doctor's gravity. I told him, frankly, that I did not understand his proceedings; and must desire he would give me satisfaction as to the grounds he went upon. I took upon me to give him to understand, that his encouraging such as I was, while we were prosecuting our studies in order to the ministry, and giving us a good word and recommending us to the people when we had finished our studies and began to preach, did indeed look kind. But, after all, if when we offered with solemnity to enter upon the ministerial office, we must be left to shift for ourselves, and such as he, refused to lay hands upon us, it looked as if either regularity in such matters was little set by, or accounted of, or as if he was under some doubt as to the lawfulness or sufficiency of ordination by presbyters. I added, that for my part, I was so shocked with this treatment, that unless he gave me some light in this matter, I should be tempted to lay aside all thoughts of being ordained, (notwithstanding, that most things relating to the matter were settled,) and he must excuse me, if I gave Dr Bates's so positively refusing to be concerned in any ordination, as my reason for so doing. At this, the good doctor was nettled, and rising from his seat, he went to the door, called his servant, and gave orders that care might be taken not to give him disturbance upon any account whatever, until he opened the door again, which he now shut fast, that we might have freedom of discourse, without interruption. Then sitting down again in his chair, he entered into a long discourse in order to my satisfaction. He assured me, he was himself fully satisfied as to the sufficiency of ordination by presbyters, and its agreeableness both to scripture and primitive antiquity. He was therein entirely of the mind of Bishop Usher. He had often argued with persons that were of different sentiments ; and was at any time ready to do it, when he saw reason to think it might answer a good end, &c. I, on the other hand, urged the strongest arguments I could recollect, (and having just then studied the point, I was pretty ready upon the subject) that were used by the episcopal party to prove the necessity of the concern and agency of a superior bishop, in order to a valid, or at least a regular ordination, and enforced them as much as I was able ; to which he gave me a very frank and ready answer. From the whole strain and connexion of his discourse I could easily perceive that he had not any scruple as to a presbyterian ordination. He affirmed, moreover, that he took our separation from the established church, to be not only justifiable, but necessary, as circumstances stood ; and declared that our having ministers ordained among us was necessary too. He thought that we that were free, and willing to enter into the ministry among the dissenters in their discouraging circumstances, deserved all the respect that could be showed
Yet, after all this, I insisted upon it, that his absolute refusal to be