Edward Symmonds, A.M.—This pious man was born at Cottered in Hertfordshire, and educated at Peter-house, Cambridge. Upon his leaving the university, he entered into the ministerial office, and appears to have preached at Fowey in Cornwall. In the year 1()30 he became rector of Little Rayne in Essex, where he continued till the commencement of the civil wars. He omitted the use of the cross in baptism and wearing the surplice, for which he was brought before a justice of peace; but whether the prosecution was dropped, or he was punished for this two-fold marvellous crime, we are not able to learn. "His omission of the cross and surplice, and his friendship with Stephen Marshall, plainly intimate," says Dr. Walker, " that he was something inclinable to the puritans ;"t and we venture to add, that the former alone sufficiently proves that he was a puritan and a nonconformist. He was nevertheless brought into many troubles during the civil wars, by the committee of scandalous ministers. Appearing before the committee, he was sequestered for preaching and publishing, "That the king, being the supreme magistrate, hath immediate dependence upon God, to whom only he is accountable—that the title of the Lord's anointed is proper and peculiar to the king : that royal birth is equivalent to royal unction: that authority is a sacred tiling, and essential to the king's person: that resistance is against the way of God, destructive to the whole law of God, inconsistent with the spirit of the gospel, the perpetual practice of Christianity, the calling of ministers, common prudence, the rule of
» Wood's Athena Oxoo. vol. ii. p. 82, 83.—Walker's Attempt, part ii. p. 6. t Walker's Attempt, part ii. p. 361.
humanity, nature itself, reason, the oath of allegiance, and even the late protestation." These charges, which Mr. Symmonds acknowledged, are expressed in his own words. He was further charged with having defamed the parliament, affirming, "That the parliament would force the king to comply with their laws: that they raised a force against the king; and that they are not to be obeyed, though they command according to the will of God, if it be not according to the command of the king: and pressing his auditors to believe whatsoever is set forth in the king's declarations; because a divine sentence is in his mouth, and he Cannot Err: and that if David's heart smote him for cutting off Saul's garment, what would it have done if he had kept him from his castles, towns, and ships?" For these things, the lords and commons in parliament assembled gave an order, dated March 3, 1642, that his living should be sequestered into the hands of Mr. Robert Atkins, A. M. who was appointed to preach every Lord's day till further order.*
Mr. Symmonds, besides his sequestration, endured many other hardships. His accusers, if sufficient credit be due to Dr. Walker, were persons of very inferior character. His family experienced some unkind usage; and he was forced to flee for safety into various parts of the kingdom, and at length into France. The doctor, however, is certainly very incorrect in asserting," that Mr. Symmonds brought all these miseries upon himself, because he could not go hand in hand with them in rebellion." Many of the royal clergy, who intermeddled not with state affairs, but remained neuter, continued in the peaceable possession of their livings. He died in the year 1649, and his remains were interred in St. Peter's church, Paul's-wharf, London. "He was a person of great piety, courage, wisdom, and learning; an excellent and a profitable preacher ;"t and though he suffered much during the wars, through his zeal for the royal cause, he was so strict in his life, and so plain, piercing, and profitable in preaching, that he was looked upon as a puritan.; He published " A loyal Subject's Belief," 1643; and " A Vindication of King Charles."
• Walker'* Attempt, part i. p. CT, 68.
+ Ibid, part ii. p. 358—361.—Fuller's Worthiei, part ii. p. 89.
t Uoyd'i Memoires, p. «14, 687.