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George Walker

George Walker, B. D.—This learned divine was born at Hawkshead in Lancashire, in the year 1581, and educated in St. John's college, Cambridge. Being favoured with religious parents, he enjoyed the benefit of their pious instructions when very young,t which appeared of signal advantage to him in future life. Havmg finished his studies at (he university, he went io London; and, in the year 1614, became rector of St. John the Evangelist, in Watling-street.^ Here he continued a faithful and laborious minister nearly forty years, refusing all other preferments, though frequently offered him. He did not preach to obtain preferment, but to win souls to Christ. About the same time he became chaplain to Dr. Felton, bishop of Ely, who made choice of him the very morning of his consecration. He was a bold opposer of popery, and he engaged several times in public disputations against its errors and super

• Thore»by's Vicaria Leodiensis, p. 87,88.

+ Palmer's Noncon. Mem. vol. i. p. 877.

| The following curious anecdote is related of him, which we give without comment:—" Being visited when a child with the small-pox, and those who stood expecting his dissolution, he started up out of a trance, with this ejaculation, Lord, take me not aivay till / have shewed forth thy praises; which, after his recovery, induced his parents to devote him to the ministry."—Fuller's Worthies, part ii. p. 118.

s, Kewcourt"* Repert. Keel. vol. i. p. 375.

stilions. In (be year 1623 he had a public dispute with a popish priest of the name of Smith, before a very large assembly; and, by the consent of both parties, the account of it was afterwards published. He had many encounters with Fisher, the famous Jesuit, and many others, who were deemed the most able disputants of the Romish persuasion.* Mr. Walker was a divine of sterling piety and strict Sabbatarian principles; and he often urged from the pulpit the necessity of an exact observance of the Lord's day. In the year 1635, having openly avowed his sentiments in one of his sermons, and recommended the holy observance of the sabbath, as opposed to a book published by Bishop White of Ely, and set forth by public authority, he was convened before Archbishop Laud, when he received canonical admonition.* In the year 1638 he was prosecuted and severely censured in the star-chamber. Having preached a sermon in his own church, to prove " that it is a sin to obey the greatest monarch on earth, in those things which stand opposed to the commands of God," he was committed twelve weeks to the custody of a pursuivant, to whom he paid fees to the amount of twenty pounds. Upon his prosecution, he was shut up ten weeks close prisoner in the Gatehouse, and at last compelled to enter into a bond of a thousand pounds, to confine himself prisoner in his brother's house at Cheswick, when his living was sequestered. He continued a prisoner upwards of two years, but was afterwards released by au order of parliament.

His case was laid before the house of commons in 1641, when it was resolved, "That his commitment from the council-table for preaching a sermon, October 14, 1638, and his detainment twelve weeks for the same, is against the law and the liberty of the subject.

"That the prosecution of the said Walker in the starchamber, for preaching the said sermon, and his close imprisonment thereupon for ten weeks in the Gatehouse, and the payment of twenty pounds fees, is against law and the liberty of the subject.

"That the five passages marked in the sermon, by Mr. Attorney and Sir John Banks, contain no crime, nor deserve any censure, nor he any punishment for them.

"That the enforcing the said Walker to enter into the bond of one thousand pounds, for confinement in his

• Fuller's Worthies, part ii. p. 118.
+ Wood's Athens* Oxon. To), i. p. 840.

brother's house at Cheswick, and his imprisonment there, is against law.

"That the sequestration of the parsonage of the said Walker, by Sir John Lamb, was done without any warrant, and against the law of the land.

"That Walker ought to be restored to his parsonage, and the whole profits thereof, from the time of the said sequestration, and to have reparation for all such damages as he hath sustained by these several imprisonments, and his case transmitted to the lords."*

Whether Mr. Walker received any reparation for damages we have not been able to learn; but after his release from confinement, he returned to his benefice and ministerial charge in Watling-street, where he continued the rest of his days without further molestation. In the year 1643 he was chosen one of the assembly of divines, where, by his munificent and generous behaviour, he gained a distinguished reputation. The year following he was appointed one of the committee for the examination and ordination of public preachers. The same year he was one of the witnessesagainst Archbishop Laud at his trial, when he deposed that the archbishop had endeavoured to introduce arminianism and the popish superstitions into the church of England.+ Though Wood reproaches him with having preached against the king J and his party, he united with his brethren, the London ministers, in their protestation against the king's death, declaring that his majesty ought to have been released.^ He was a member of the first provincial assembly in London, and sometimes chosen moderator. He died in the year 1651, aged seventy years, and his remains were interred in his own church in Watling-street. Fuller says, "he was well skilled in the oriental languages, and an excellent logician and divine. He was a man of a holy life, an humble spirit, and a liberal hand, who deserved well of Zion college library; and who, by his example and persuasion, advanced a thousand pounds for the maintenance of preaching ministers in his native county." Wood calls him " a learned man, but a severe puritan."*

• Xalson's Collections, vol. ii. p. 2.50,251.

+ Prynne'l Cant. Doome, p. S60, 53SJ.

{ Dr. Grey charges him with the same crime, for the proof of which he appeals to the following passage in one of his sermons: " After God had rejected Saul for his disobedience from being king over Israel," says Mr. Walker, "and had declared his purpose to him by Samuel, an evil spirit of fury, jealousy, and tyranny, came upon him." The reader will judge what degree of proof ic affords.—Gretfs l.xamin. vol. i. p. 390.

4 Calaay'a Coutin. vol. ii. p. " II.

His Works.—1. The Sam of a Disputation between Mr. Walker, Pastor of St. John the Evan., and a Popish Priest, calling himself Mr. Smith, but indeed Norris, 1623.—2. Fisher's Folly Unfolded; or, the vaunting; Jesuit's Challenge Answered, 1624.—3. Socinianism in the Fundamental Point of Justification Discovered and Confuted, 1641. —4. The Doctrine of the Holy Weekly Sabbath, 1641.—6. God mad* Visible in all his Works, 1641.—6. Sermons preached before the Parliament, 1644, &c.