William Whately, A. M.—This worthy minister was born at Banbury in Oxfordshire, in the month of May, 1583, and educated in Christ's college, Cambridge. His father, Mr. Thomas Whately, was several times mayor of the borough, and many years a justice of the peace. Young Whately was from a child trained up in the knowledge of the scriptures, and found them able to make him wise unto salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ. During his abode at the uersity, he was a constant hearer of the celebrated Dr. Chadderton and Mr. Perkins, by whose ministry his early piety was further promoted. He was put under the care and tuition of Mr. Potman, a man of eminent piety, learning and diligence. " Our tutor," says Mr. Henry Scudder, " called all his pupils into his chamber every evening for prayer, when he required us to give an account of the sermons we had heard on the Lord's day; and wheni any of us were at a stand, he used to say, 4 Whately, what say you ?' And he would repeat it as readily as it he had preached the sermon himself: but while this excited our tutor's love and our wonder, it awakened our envy and ill-will."*
were apparent on the present occasion, bis uprightness and his piety were certainly very deficient.—Prynne'i Cant. Doome, p. 107| 108.— Whitlocke't Mem. p. 32.—Lt Neve'l Lives, vol. i. part i. p. 144.
* Wharton's Troubles of Laud. vol. i. p. 554.
+ Prynne's Cant Doome, p. 108.
J Clark's Lives annexed to Martyrologie. p. 303.
S Scudder's Life of Mr. Whately, prefixed to bis " Prototypes."
Mr. Whately afterwards married the daughter of Mr. George Hunt,* an eminent preacher, by whose urgent recommendation he entered upon the work of the ministry. In the year 1605, having taken his degrees in arts, he was chosen lecturer of Banbury, bis native place; and in about four years, having gained uncommon applause, be was called to the pastoral office, and presented to the vicarage, which he enjoyed nearly thirty years, even to his death.
This excellent servant of Christ was no sooner settled in the ministry than he met with great opposition from the ruling ecclesiastics, on account of his nonconformity.t He
Eublished a sermon, entitled " The Bride Bush; or, the •uties of Married Persons, by performing of which marriage shall prove a great help to such as do now find it a little hell;" for which he was prosecuted in the high commission court. The dangerous errors said to be contained in this sermon were the two following:—1. The committing the sin of adultery, by either of the married persons, doth dissolve and annihilate the bond of marriage.—2. The wilful and malicious desertion of either of the married persons, doth in like manner dissolve the bond of marriage. For publishing these opinions, especially as he was a puritan, he was complained of to the Archbishop of Canterbury, convened before the high commission, and required to make satisfaction for his grievous ofTencc. Upon bis appearance before the ecclesiastical judges, he declared that he could make no satisfaction; but, according to our author, he afterwards recanted, May 4, 1621, and was then dismissed.t If this account be correct, is it not extremely probable that he was prosecuted, not so much for the dangerous errors in his sermon, as because he was a nonconformist ? Yet, supposing this was not the case, did not these ecclesiastical judges professedly reject the infallibility of the pope ? And did not their conduct, on the present occasion, savour too much of the same principle i
Mr. Whatcly and several of his brethren delivered a lecture alternately at Stratford-upon-Avon. On account of its great usefulness, it was continued many years, till it was put down by the severity of the prelates. They considered
* This Mr. George Hunt was son to Mr. John Huat, an excellent confessor in the bloody days of Queen Mary, who was condemned to be burnt, but was saved by the unexpected death of the queen.—Scuddcr's Lift of Mr. WhaMy.—Fox't Acts and Monuments, vol. iii. p. 751—753.
t Clark's Lives annexed to his Martyrologie, p. 318.
i Wood's Athens Oxon. vol. i. p. 529.
the lecture as a means of promoting nonconformity; therefore, however useful it might be in effecting the conversion and salvation of souls, it was deemed unfit to be continued. Accordingly, the Bishop of Worcester observes, that after this lecture was discontinued, his diocese was less troubled with nonconformists.*
Mr. Whatcly was a man of distinguished eminence. He possessed excellent endowments, which he unreservedly employed for the advancement of the glory of God and the happiness of men. He was eloquent and mighty in the scriptures; and his speech and his preaching were not with the enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power. His labours were not in vain in the Lord. " For it pleased God," says Mr. Scudder, " to put so great a seal upon his ministry, that many thousands of souls were converted and established by his ministerial labours." As a good shepherd of Christ, be exercised much care over his flock. He visited them from house to house, without respect of persons, resolving their doubts, and giving them suitable instruction. He had a tender affection for his people; and, with a view to promote their best interests, refused many offers of considerable preferment. He was always much grieved when a difference of opinion in lesser matters produced shyness among christians, who agreed in the fundamentals of the gospel. He was always ready to receive a word of reproof from the Lord's people, whether they were his superiors, equals, or inferiors, and would ever shew greater kindness to such faithful reprovers afterwards. He abounded in aets of liberality to the poor, and for many years expended one-tenth of his income in this way. And, indeed, the more he gave away, the more the Lord caused his worldly estates to prosper.
Having for many years been exercised with manifold temptations and infirmities, he became particularly watchful over himself, deeply humble before God, more loathsome in his own eyes, and more tender and compassionate towards others. Towards the close of life, he greatly increased in humility and holiness. His last days were his best days; and, as his dissolution approached, he bore his racking pains with most exemplary patience. A brother minister having prayed with him, at the close of the exercise be lifted up his eyes and one of his hands towards heaven, and immediately resigned his happy spirit unto
• Wharton's Troubles of Laud, vol. i. p. 552.
God. He lived much beloved, and died much lamented, May 10, 1639, aged fifty-six years. His remains were interred in Banbury church-yara; and over his grave was afterwards raised a large stone monument, with an inscription in Latin and English, part of which was the following:*
Wbatso'ere thoul't say who passest by,
Why ? here's enshrin'd celestial dust,
His bones, whose name and fame can't die,
These stones as feoffees weep in trust .
It's William Whately that here lies,
Who swam to's tomb in's people's eyes.
Mr. Whately was endowed with a lively spirit, a solid judgment, and a vast memory. He was a hard student, a constant preacher, an excellent orator, and a great scholar, especially in logic, philosophy, and mathematics.t Mr. Leigh observes, " Of all the ministers I ever knew, he possessed the most worthy character. He was blameless, sober, just, holy, temperate, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, a lover of good men, and a workman who needed not to be ashamed.''f Fuller denominates him " a good linguist, philosopher, mathematician, and divine," and snys, " he was free from faction."^ Wood says, " he possessed excellent parts, was a noted disputant, an excellent preacher, a good orator, and well versed in the original text, both Greek and Hebrew; but being a zealous Calvinisl, a noted puritan, and much frequented by the precise party, for his too frequent preaching, he laid such a foundation of faction in Banbury, as will not be easily removed."! " His piety," says Granger, " was of a very extraordinary strain; and his reputation as a preacher so great, that numbers of different persuasions went from Oxford, and other distant places, to hear him. As he ever appeared to speak from his heart, his sermons were felt as well as heard, and were attended with suitable effects."!
The following aneedote, related of Mr. Whately, at once shews the happy effect of his preaching, and the honourable liberality of his spirit. Having in a sermon warmly recommended his hearers to put in a purse by itself a certain
• Wood's Athens Oxon. rol. i. p. 529.
t Life of Mr. Whately.
t Epistle prefixed to Whately's " Prototypes."
\ Fuller's Worthies, part ii. p. 339.
jj Wood's Athens, Voi. i. p. 628,529. vol. ii. p. 351.
I Biog. Hist. Voi. ii. p. 191.
portion from every pound of the profits of their worldly trades, for works of piety; he observed, that instead of secret grudging when objects of charity were presented, they would look out for them, and rejoice (o find them. A neighbouring clergyman hearing him, and being deeply affected with what he so forcibly recommended, went to him after the sermon was ended, and asked what proportion of his income he ought in conscience to give. " As to that," saith he, " I am not lo prescribe to others; but I will tell you what hath been my own practice. You know, sir, some years ago 1 was often beholden to you for the loan of ten pounds at a time. The truth is, I could not bring the year about, though my receipts were not despicable, and I was noi at all conscious of any unnecessary expenses. At length I inquired of my family what relief was given to the poor; and not being satisfied, I instantly resolved to lay aside every tenth shilling of all my receipts for charitable uses: and the Lord has made me so to thrive since I adopted this method, that now, if you have occasion, I can lend you ten times as much as I have formerly been forced to borrow."*
Mr. Thomas Whately, ejected in 1662, was his son; and Mr. Richard Morton, another ejected minister, married his daughter.t
His Works.—1. Redemption of Time, 1606.—2. A Caveat Tor the Covetous, 1609.—3. The Bride-Bush; or, tho Duties of Married Persons, 1617.—1. Funeral Sermon for Sir Anthony Cope, 1618.— 5. The New Birth; or, a Treatise of Regeneration, 1618.—6. God's Husbandry, 1619.—7. A pithy, short, iind methodical Way of opening the Ten Commandments, 1622.—8. A Treatise of the Cumbers and Troubles of Marriage, 1624.—9. Sin no More, 1628.—10. The Oyl of Gladness, 1637.—11. The Poor Man's Advocate, 1637.— 12. Prototypes, or Examples out of the Book of Genesis, applied to our Instruction and Reformation, 1610.—13. Several Sermons.