' William Ames, P.P.—This learned divine was bom in the countyj>f Norfolk, in the year 1576, and educatedln /£Z~~ Christ's college, Cambridge, under the famous Mr. William Perkins.' Having received the truth of the gospel, he became exceedingly zealous in its defence, avowing his opposition to every kind of error and sin, especially the delusive corruptions of popery. About the year 1610. V having for some time been fellow of bis college, lie preached a sermon at St. Mary's church, against playing at cards and dice; which gave great offence to many of his audience, particularly because he was well known to be zealous in y the cause of nonconformity.* He beheld the approaching storm, and was obliged to quit the college and university, to prevent expulsion. Previous to his departure, he was called before Pr. Carey, master of the college, who urged him to wear the surplice; and to convince Ames's understanding, and bring him to a compliance, he warmly urged the words of the Apostle: " Put on the armour of light;" that is, said he, the white surplices The doctor's learned argument was, however, too futile to prevail upon Ames to conform. ' He adhered too tenaciously to the word of God, to defile his conscience by any sinful compliance; but resigned his fellowship, and forsook the university; and soon after, to escape the indignation of Archbishop Bancroft, he left the kingdom.
He fled to Holland, and was chosen minister of the English church at the Hague. But there he could find no long repose. The resentment of the prelates followed him into a foreign land. He was no sooner comfortably settled at the Hague, than Archbishop Abbot, Bancroft's successor, wrote to Sir Ralph Winwood, the English ambassador at the court of Holland, urging Ames's removal from his present situation. The archbishop's letter to Winwood [is dated March 12, 1612, which he concludes by saying, "I " wish the removing of him to be as privately and as cleanly " carried as the matter will permit. We are also acquainted " what English preachers are entertained in Zealand, where- V " unto in convenient time we hope to give a redress."t What intolerance could be worse than this? Good men must enjoy peace neither at home nor in a foreign land. When Ames was about to be chosen professor of y divinity at Leyden, endeavours~Were~ aTsolised through the
• Fuller's Hist, of Camb. p. 159. t MS. Chronology, Voi. Hi. A.D. 1633. p. 4. •• t Winwood't Memorials, vol. iii. p. 346, 347.
medium of the ambassador, and it yja^ prevented. The same was also attempted, but without success, when he was chosen by the states of Friesland to the same office in the university bFFraneker.* Such were the malice and madness of his~persrculdrs! Dr. Ames attended at the synod of Dort, and informed King James's ambassador at the Hague, from time to time, of the debates of that venerable assembly. He was famous for his controversial writings, especially against the~ Arminians, Bellarmme, 'and the English ceremonies; which, for conciseness and perspicuity, were not equalled by any of his'time.t~
Dr. Ames having for the space of twelve years filled the divinity chair with universal reputation, began to think the air of Franeker too sharp for his constitution. He was troubled with extreme difficulty of breathing, and thought every winter would be his last. He was, at the same time, desirous to be employed in the delightful work of preaching the gospel to his countrymen; therefore, he resigned his professorship, and accepted an invitation to the English church at Rotterdam.'TM
Upon this exchange of situation, our divine wrote his " Fresh Suit against Ceremonies,'^ a work of distinguished worth, shewing~his_gTfeat'libilities and erudition. In the
Sreface to this excellent work, he states the controversy Ius : " We stand upon the sufficiency of Christ's institu-_ tions, for every thing pertaining to divine worship; and that the word of God, and nothing else71s'flie~dnTy^ndaTd in matters of religion. The prelates, on the'wherhand, would have us allow and use certain human ceremonies in christian worship. We, therefore, desire to be excused, holding them to be unlawful. Christ we know, and are ready to embrace every thing that cometh from him. But these human ceremonies in divine worship, we know not, we camidt'receive Ihem." And speaking further on the same subject, he says, " I am more than ever persuaded, ) that such relics of popery, and monuments of superstition, ^ never did any good, but much evil.'Y He did not,
• Kingdom's MS. Collections, p. 141. + NeaPs Puritans, vol. ii. p. 254.
J Mr. Richard Baxter became a nonconformist by reading this master* piece of controversy.—Sylvester'* Life of Baxter, part I. p. 13,14.
^ Dr. Ames, in this work, relates the following anecdote:—" I was once," says he, " and, thank God, only once, before a bishop, being presented to him by the chief magistrates of a corporation, to be preacher in their town. The lowly prelate first asked them, how they durst choose a preacher without his consent. 1 You,' said he, « are to receive the preacher that I appoint; for I am your pastor j' thoogh he never fed them.
however, lire to publish it himself; but its learned editor 1,
says, that herein " Dr. Ames pleads the cause 6Ttruth both
succinctly and perspicuously, as he does, indeed, most
. admirably in all his writings. He shewed himself a pattern
of holiness, a burning and shining light, a lamp of learning
and arts, and a champion for the truth, especially while he
was in the doctor's chair at Franeker."
This learned divine did not long survive his removal
into Holland. His constitution was already greatly shat-
tered, and the air of that country being of no real service
y to him, he determined upon a removal to New England; -V
but his asthma returning 'T>eT6re^is^fitende^depa"rture,
Sut an endToTiis life at Rotterdam. Hewas there buried s 9 „
fovember 14, 1633, agedTDty-sevenyears.* TheTollow- /JrJJL
ing spririgTfis wife and' children embarked for New
England, carrying with them hisvaluable' library, which
at that time was a noble acquisition to that country.t' His
son Wilhiun, afterwards returning to England, was one of
the ejected nonconformists, in 1662.}
Dr. Ames filled the divinity chair, says Mr. Granger, with admirable abilities. His fame was, indeed, so great, that many came from remote nations to be educated under him. But he was much better known abroad than at home. And he adds a quotation from a piece of Mr. Hugh Peters,$„ /in these words: " Learned Amesius breathed his last 'breath + ) intomy bosom, whifTell his professorship' in Friesland to~ / live jwith jneTTjecause of my church's independency'Jaf Rotterdam. He was my colleague, and chosen brother to the church, where I was an unworthy pastor. "| Dr. Ames was a solid, judicious, and learned divine; a strict Calvinist in points of doctrine, and an independent in matters of discipline and church government. Fuller has classed him among the learned writers and fellows of Christ's college, Cambridge.! Dr. Mather styles him, " the profound, sublime, irrefragable, and angelical doctor, and doubts whether he left his equal upon earth. He seldom preached
Then turning to me, he said, ' How durst thou preach lu my diocese, without my leave?' So that wilhout any other reason, except mere lord»hip, the whole corporation and I were dismissed to wait bis lordship's pleasure, which I have now done more than twenty years."—Fruk Ssrff. part ii. p. 409.
• Biographia Britannica, Voi. I. p. I78, 173. Edit. 1778.
t Mather's Hist, of New Eng. b. iii. p. 3.
1 Palmer's Noncon. Mem. vol. iii. p. 896.
4 Historical and Critical Account of H. Peters, p. 69. Edit. 1751.
H Granger's Biog. Hist. vol. ii. p. 198,199.
I Fuller's Hist, of Cam. p. 92.
without tears; and when upon his death-bed, had most wonderful foretastes of glory."•
The learned Mosheim, speaking of our divine as a writer, particularly upon the moral science, observes, that, by a worthy and pious spirit of emulation, he was excited to compose a complete body of christian morality. He says, that Dr. Ames was a native of Scotland; and that he was one of the first among the reformers who attempted to treat morality as a separate science, to consider it abstractedly from its connexion with any particular system of doctrine, and to introduce new light, and a new degree of accuracy and precision, into this master-science of life and manners. The attempt, says he, was laudable, had it been well executed; but the system of this learned writer was dry, theoretical, and subtile, and much more adapted to the instruction of students, than to the practical direction of private christians.t
His Works.—1. DUceptatio Scholastics inter Nec Grevinchovium et Gul. Amesius, he., 1613.—2. Dispntatio inter Amesium et N. Grevinchovium, 1615.—3. Corinis ad collationem Hagiensem, 1618.— 4. Medulla Theologica, 1623.—5. Explicatio utrinsque Epistokc St. Petri, 1625.—6. Do incarnatione Vcrbi, 1626.—7. Bcllerminus enervates, etc., 1627.—8. De Conscientia, 1630.—9. Antisynodalia, 1630.—10. Demonstratio logics verae, 1632.—11. Dispntatio theologica, 1632.—12. Tecbnometria. etc., 1632.—13. A Reply to Bishop Morton, 163..—14. A Fresh Suit against human Ceremonies in God's Worship; or, a Triplication qnto Dr. Burgess's Rejoinder for Dr. Morton, 1633.—15. A first and second Mauuduction, 163..—16. Rescriptio ad responsum Grevinchovii de rcdemptione gencrali, 1634.— 17. Christiana? catechescos sciographifl, 1635. —18. Lectioncs in omnes Psalmos Davidis, 1635.—He is said to have been author of " Puritanismus Anglicanus," 1610; but he only wrote a preface to it, and translated it into Latin. Air. William Bradshaw was the author of this piece, which contains the chief opinions of the puritaus, and was published in English, in 1641.—Many of the above articles passed through many editions; and several of those in Latin were afterwards published in English. He wrote many prefaces to other men's works, and some other scattered pieces. His Latin works were collected and published at Amsterdam in 1658, in five volumes. His books are said to have been famous over all Europe.!
• Mather's New Eng. b. Hi. p. 3—9. . + Mosheim's Eccl. Hist. vol. iv. p. 429. vol. T. p. 363, 364. J Biog. Britan. vol. i. p. I7S. Edit. 1778.