Henry Airay, D. D.—This learned person was born in Westmoreland, in the year 1560, and received his grammar learning under the famous Mr. Bernard Gilpin, who, at the age of nineteen, sent him to Edmund's-hall, Oxford; but alterwards he removed to Queen's college. Having taken his degrees, he became a frequent and zealous preacher, was chosen provost of the college, and afterwards vicechancellor of the university. In each of these departments, says Wood, he shewed himself a zealous Calvinist, and a
freat promoter of those of his own opinion, but went eyonu the number of true English churchmen. And he adds, that though he condemned himself to obscurity, and affected a retired life, being generally admired and esteemed for his holiness, integrity, learning, gravity, and indefatigable pains in the ministerial function, he could not keep himself from public notice.+ By his singular wisdom, learning, and prudence, in the government of his college, many scholars went forth, who became bright ornaments both in church and state. Another writer observes, that he was so upright and utircbukable through the whole of his conversation, that he was reproached by some as a precisian. But how much he condemned the injurious zeal of the separatists; how far he disliked all the busy disturbers of the church's peace; how partially he reverenced his holy mother, the church of England; and how willingly he conformed himself to her seemly ceremonies and injunctions, his practice and his friends arc witness. He was, it is added, an humble and obedient son of the church, and no less an enemy to faction than to separation.}
However much Dr. Airay might oppose the separatists, or partially reverence the church of England, or willingly conform himself to her seemly ceremonies and injunctions, it is an indubitable fact, that he was a true nonconformist. When he was provost of Queen's college, he was called in question by the vice-chancellor, for his nonconformity to the ceremonies and discipline of the church. And on
• Nevrcourt's Repert. Eccl. vol. i. p. 859.
+ Wood's Athene Oxon. vol. i. p. 348.
t Airay on Phil. Pref. Edit. 1618.
account of his zeal in the same cause, he very narrowly escaped being const rained to make a public recantation.* He wrote and published a " Treatise against Bowing at the name of Jesus," shewing the superstition and absurdity of that popish relict.
In the year 1600', Mr. William Laud, afterwards the famous archbishop, having preached at Oxford, his sermon contained many scandalous and popish sentiments; for which he was called before Dr. Airay the vice-chancellor, to give an account of what he had delivered. It was the opinion of many that he was a papist, or very much inclined to popery; and he narrowly escaped making a public recantations Dr. Airay having accomplished his days upon earth, meekly and patiently surrendered himself to God, earnestly desiring to depart and to be with Christ. And having devoutly committed his soul to the care of his dear Redeemer, he closed his eyes in peace, and was carried to his grave with honour. He died October 6, 1616, aged fifty-six years ; and his remains were interred in the inner chapel of Queen's college.
His Works.— I. Lectures upon the whole Epistle to thc I'hilipinns, 1618.—'2. The just and necessary Apology touching his Suit in Law, for the Rectory of Charlton on Otmore, in Oxfordshire, 1621.— 3. A Treatise against llo« ing at the Manic of Jesus.