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Charles Herle

Charles Herle, A.M.—This excellent divine was born of honourable parents at Prideaux-Herle, near Lystwithyel in Cornwall, in the year 1598, and educated in Exeter college, Oxford. In the year 1618, he took his degrees in arts; and, having finished his studies at the university, he entered upon the ministerial work. He first settled at some place in Devonshire, where, being always accounted a puritan, he suffered persecution on account of bis nonconformity .$ Afterwards, he became rector of Winwick in Lancashire, being one of the richest livings in England. Upon the commencement of the civil war, he took part with the parliament, was elected one of the assembly of divines, and, upon the death of Dr. Twisse, in 1646, was chosen prolocutor to the assembly. He was appointed one of the morning lecturers at the Abbey church, Westminster, one of the licensers of the press, one of the committee for the examination and ordination of ministers, one of the committee of accommodation,!! and one to assist in preparing materials for the confession of faith. On the dissolution of the assembly, he spoke in the name of his brethren, and "thanked the honourable and reverend Scots commissioners for their ass stance; excused,

• Backus'i Hist, of Baptists, tol. i. p. 282.

+ Muther'i Hist, of New Kng. b. i». p. 127, 128. % Ibid. b. iii. p. 100.

^ Prynne'i Brrvinte of land, p. 6.

I Papers of Accommodation, p. 2.

in the best manner he could, the directory's not being so well observed as it ought; and lamented that the assembly had not

K,wer to call offenders to an account."* In the year 1647, r. Herle and Mr. Stephen Marshall were appointed to attend the commissioners of parliament to Scotland, to give the Scots a just account of the affairs of England. After the king's death, Mr. Herle retired to his flock and stated ministerial exercise at Warwick, where he continued the rest of his days.

In the year 1651, the Earl of Derby having raised a regiment of soldiers for Charles II., then on his march from Scotland, he sent Lieutenant Arundul, with about forty horse, to Mr. Herle's house at Winwick, which filled the whole family with the utmost consternation, expecting to be immediately plundered and ruined. Arriving at his house, Arundal said to Mr. Herle, " My business is to tell you, that the Earl of Derby wishes you to come to him with all speed; and if you will go, there shall be no further trouble to you or your family." Mr. Herle replied, " I will go immediately, and wait upon the right honourable the Earl of Derby, my patron;" and ordered his horse to be brought out. After some kind entertainment of the lieutenant and his soldiers, Mr. Herle accompanied them to the earl's quarters, who received and treated him with the utmost civility. After some friendly conversation with him, his lordship sent him back, attended by a guard of soldiers. It is also observed, that, after the battle of Warrington-bridge, in this year, Arundal's forces being routed, and himself wounded, he retired to Mr. Herle's house, where he was treated with the utmost kindness.t

During the above year, Mr. Herle was appointed, together with Mr. Isaac Ambrose, Mr. Edward Gee, and some others, assistant to the commissioners for ejecting ignorant and scandalous ministers and schoolmasters in Lancashire. Dr. Grey says, that, in this office, he acted " with great severity; and how well he was qualified for such dirty work, his public sermons sufficiently testify." He then transcribes from those sermons the following expressions, to prove the charge alleged against him :{—" Do justice to the greatest. Saul's sons are not spared; no, nor Agag, nor Benhadad, though themselves kings. Zimri and Cosbi, though princes of the people, must be pursued to their tents. What an army of martyrs has God given to the fire for our reformation at first! What a calendar of traitors has he given to the gallows, for our preservation since!"—Whether these expressions afford sufficient evidence of the doctor's charge, or whether he designed it only to reproach the memory of this celebrated divine, every intelligent reader will easily judge. The character of Mr. Herle is too well established to be at all impaired by any such calumny. He was a moderate presbyterian, exceedingly beloved by his brethren in the ministry, and the author of several practical and controversial writings. Puller justly denominates him "a good scholar, and a deep divine;" and says, " he was so much the christian, the scholar, and the gentleman, that he could agree in affection with those who differed from him in judgment."* He died at Winwick, towards the end of September, l6c<9, aged sixty-one years; and his remains were interred in his own church.t Mr. Herle, with the assistance of several other ministers, ordained the famous Mr. John Howe, in his own church at Winwick; on which account Mr. Howe would sometimes say, " that he thought few in modern times had So primitive an ordination; for he considered Mr. Herle as a primitive bishop."t

* Neal's Puritans, vol. ii. p. 556. iii. 46. + MS. Chronology, vol. ii. A. I). 1651. i Grey's Examination, vol. ii. p. 270.

His Works.—1. Microcosmography, in Essays and Characters, 1028.—2. Contemplations and Devotions on all the Passages of oar Saviour's Passion, 1631.—3. An Answer to misled Dr. Hen. Fearne, according to his own method of his Book, 1642—t. Several Sermons before the Lords and Commons, 1642, &c.; among which were the following:—" A Payre of Compasses for Church and State, before the Honourable House of Commons, at their monthly Fast, Nov. last, 1642."—" David's Song of three Parts, a Sermon before the Honourable House of Lords, June 15,1643."—" David's Reserve and Rescue, a Sermon before the Honourable House of Commons, Nov. 5,1644."— 6. The Independency on Scriptures of the Independency of Churches, wherein the Question of the Independency of Church Government is temperately stated and argued, 1643.—6. Worldly Policy and moral Prudence, the vanity and folly of the one, and the solidity and usefulness of the other, iu a moral discourse, 1654.