« PreviousContinue »
HANSARD KNOLLYS was a native of Chalkwell, in Lincolnshire, was well educated at home, and gradu. ated at the University of Cambridge. He became pious while at the University, and after he left it, was master of the free school at Gainsborough. He was ordained by the Bishop of Peterborough, first a deacon, then a presbyter of the church of England, and after. wards received the living of Humberton from the Bishop of Lincolo. He had not possessed it more than three years, before he began to feel scruples of con. science touching the usages of the church, such as the sign of the cross in baptism, the surplice, and the ad. mission of men promiscuously to the Lord's Supper. He thence resigned his living, yet-preached in different parishes, with the connivance of the bishop, whose personal feelings toward hím seem to have been friendly. He afterwards joined the Baptists, and preached with great success in London. It appears that he was much strengthened in his change of opinion, by finding that inasmuch as while preaching in the establishment his labors were not the means of converting any one, yet “ when he set out upon another foundation, and experienced more of God's teaching and assistance in the work, he quickly found to his comfort, that from thence. forward he continued to receive many seals of his ministry.” He appears to have been a man of fine scholarship, and having been forced to fly to New-Eng. land to escape the persecution of the high commission court, is honorably mentioned by Cotton Mather among those “ whose names deserve to live in our books for their piety.”
HENRY DENNE was a graduate of the University of Cambridge, received orders from the Bishop of St. David's, in the year 1630, and was settled in the parish of Pynton, in Hertfordshire. At a visitation held in his county in 1661, he was appointed to preach the sermon to the clergy and gentry.
With a heart set on the reformation of the church, he exposed the exist. ing abuses with a fearless and powerful eloquence. Much excitement followed that occasion, and it seemed at that time, that Mr. Denne would have been satisfied with the established church, if conformity to the papal ceremonies were not enforced. But when in the change of times, the government avowed the intention to reform religion, Mr. Denne devoted himself more closely to the study of the scriptures, in order to aid in that great work. By this means he became convinced that infant baptism has no warrant in the bible, and following out his conviction, was baptized on a profession of his faith, in 1643, and joined the church which was then under the pastoral care of Rev. Mr. Lamb. He afterwards suffered much, but was faithful unto death. He possessed great force of character, mani. fested an enlightened and warm attachment to his opinions, and did much to promote them by public discussion. His writings breathe a christian spirit, and do honor both to his intellect and his heart.
WILLIAM COLLINS was copastor of a Baptist church in London, in connexion with Dr. Nehemiah Coxe. After obtaining the esteem of Busby, young Collins travelled in France and Italy, and on returning to his own country, rejected every offer that was made to induce him to join the establishment, ** for it was conscience not humor that made him a dissenter.” In his funeral sermon which was printed in London in 1702, it is said, that having set apart a day for fasting and prayer, in order to seek divine direction as to the dis. posal of himself in the exercise of his ministry, on that very evening he received an invitation to settle as a pastor, from a church which met in that part of Lon. 'don called Petty France. The coincidence made a favorable impression on his mind, anda connexion was formed which continued until his death.
CAROLUS MARIA DE VEil, D. D. was a native of France. He was born of Jewish parents, and edu. cated in the Jewish religion. By the study of the prophecies of the Old Testament, compared with the statements of the Evangelists, he became convinced of the Messiahship of Jesus, and professed himself a christian. The announcement of this so enraged his father, that with a drawn sword he attempted to kill him, but was prevented by some who were present. De Veil joined the Roman Catholics, was celebrated among them as a preacher, and was made Doctor of Divinity in the University of Anjou.
In 1672, he published his Commentary on the Gospels, and from the learning he there exhibited, he was appointed to aid in writing against the Huguenots, the chief opponents of the Romish Church in France. Being thus led to study the Protestant controversy, he was convinced of his error and became a Protestant himself. Threatened with persecution, he fled to Holland, and thence crossed to England, where he became intimate with the most eminent men of the church of England, such as Stillingfleet, Tillotson, and Compton, Bishop of London.
In 1678, he published a new edition of his Commen. tary, and corrected the popish errors with which it abounded. Being urged to prosecute his literary labors, the Bishop of London gave him free access to his library. There he met with some writings of the English Baptists, and was struck with the fact that they 80 clearly developed the true Protestant principles. In the Bishop's family there was a young woman who was much ridiculed by the other domestics for being a Baptist. By means of her, however, he obtained an interview with Rev. Hansard Knollys, at the house of a nobleman near at hand, where Mr. Knollys used to visit. Afterwards he became acquainted with Gosnold, and united with the Baptists under his ministry. It is said that on this account he lost most of his former employments, and most of his old friends, except Dr. Tillotson, who was distinguished for a noble magnan. imity of mind, which led him to esteem the merits of other men, however much they differed in opinion from himself.
De Veil was held in high esteem among the Protestants in France. A very friendly letter from Claude was prefixed to his Commentary on the Acts, which was published in 1685. We do not hear of his being settled over any church after he united w tists, but that they, “ in consideration of his abilities,
on his dismission from his place, raised him a salary which he enjoyed till his death."
William DELL,M. A., was educated at the University of Cambridge, and was a clergyman of the church of England, officiating in the parish of Yeldon, in Bedfordshire. Nothing is known of his holding any connexion with the Baptists, until the civil wars, when the subject of reforming the church became agitated. To that question he brought all the energy of his intellect; and all the warmth of his heart. i, Deriving from his Bible clear views of the spirituality of the present dispensation, he announced the sentiment, that “ to make the whole kingdom a church was a mystery of iniquity.” It is said by Dr. Calamy, that Baxter's most frequent disputes with Dell, was about liberty of conscience, " that is, that the magistrate had nothing to do in matters of religion by constraint or restraint, but every man might not only hold and believe, but preach and do in matters of religion what he pleased."
In the year 1645, Mr. Dell became chaplain in the army, and preached regularly at the head-quarters of Sir Thomas Fairfax. He was intimate with Oliver Cromwell, and the leading men of those times. In 1646, he was appointed to preach before the House of Commons on a public fast-day. In the course of his sermon he took occasion to speak of the evil of persecution, and of using external force in promoting religion. The preacher who followed him, animad
* Crosby 4: p. 259.