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Obadiah Sedgwick

Obadiah Sedgwick, B. D.—This excellent person was brother to Mr. John Sedgwick, another puritan divine, born at Marlborough in Wiltshire, in the year l6OO, and educated first at Queen's college, then in Magdalen-hall, Oxford. Having finished his academical studies, he entered upon the ministerial exercise, and became chaplain to Lord Horatio Vere, whom he accompanied to the Low Countries. After his return, he went again to Oxford, and, in the; year 1629, was admitted to the reading of the sentences. He was tutor to Matthew Hale, afterwards the celebrated lord chief justice,; Leaving, the university a second time, he became preacher at St. Mildred's, Bread-street, London; but was driven from the place by the intolerance of the prelates. He became vicar of Coggeshall in Essex, in the year 1639,4 where he continued two or three years. Upon the commencement of the wars, he returned to the city and to his ministry at St. Mildred's, and was of+en called to preach before the parliament. In the year 1642, he became chaplain to Colonel Hollis's regiment in the parliament's army. The year following, he'was appointed one of the licensers of the press, and chosen one of the assembly of divines, and he constantly attended.|| Wood observes, but certainly with no good design, " that while he preached at Mildred's, which was only to exasperate the people to rebel and confound episcopacy, it Was usual with him, especially in hot weather,

• Theolog. Bib. Mag. vol. w. p. 420—422. i Ibid. vol. vi. p. 6.

J: Clark's Lives, last vol. part ii. p. 123.
$ Newcourt's Repert. Keel, vol.ji. p.. 160.
II Aeal's Puritan*, vol. ii. p. 556. iii. 46, .''<:(.

to unbutton his doublet in the pulpit, that his breath might be longer, and his voice more audible, to rail against the king's party, and those about the king's person, whom he called popish counsellors. This he did in an especial manner in September, 1644, when he, with great concernment, told the people, several times, that God was angry with the army for not cutting off delinquents."* Dr. Grey, with a similar design, denominates him " a preacher of treason, rebellion, and nonsense;" for the proof of which, he alleges the following passages from Mr. Sedgwick's sermons preached before the parliament:—" The field which I am at this time to work upon, and go over, you see is large. There is much more ground in it than I can conveniently break up and sow. I shall therefore, by God's assistance, who is the only breaker of hearts, set upon the work, and may he in tender mercy so accompany, and water, and prosper his truths at this day, that all our fallow ground may be broken up, and then be so graciously sown in righteousness, that we and all the land may shortly reap in mercy.—Sirs, you must break up this ground, or it will break up our land. There is not such a Godprovoking sin, a God-removing sin, a church-dissolving, a kingdom-breaking sin, as idolatry. Down with it, down with h, even to the ground. Superstition is but a bawd to gross idolatry.—Be as earnest and as active as you possibly can to send labourers into the field; I mean to plant the land with a heart-breaking ministry.—God hath been the salvation of the parliament, and in the parliament, and for the parliament. Salvation at Edge-hill; salvation at Reading and Causon; salvation at Gloucester; salvation at Newbury; salvation in Cheshire^ salvation in Pembrokeshire; salvation in the north; salvation from several treacheries; and salvation from open hostilities."+ Such are the formidable proofs, in the opinion of the learned doctor, that he was a preacher of treason, rebellion, and nonsense! How far he was guilty, every reader will easily judge.

In the year 1646, Mr. Sedgwick became preacher at St. Paul's, Covent-garden; where he was exceedingly followed, and was instrumental in the conversion of many souls. In 1653, he was, by the parliament, appointed one of the fryers; and the year following was constituted one of the assistant commissioners of London for ejecting ignorant and scandalous ministers. He was very zealous to carry on, as

• Wood's Athene Oxon. vol. ii. p. 139.
I Grey's Examination, vol. iii. p. 904—908.

in derision it is called, " the good work of reformation in church and state." He was a frequent preacher before the parhament. Sir John Birkenhead casts his foul aspersions upon him and Mr. Marshall, saying, " it is pleasant to observe how finely they play into each other's hands. Marshall procures thanks to be given to Sedgwick; and, for his gieat pains, Sedgwick obtains as much tor Marshall; and so they pimp for one another. But, to their great comfort be it spoken, their whole seven years sermons at Westminster are to be sold in Fetter-lane and Pye-corner."* Had this writer known how many of the episcopal clergy purchased and preached the sermons of the puritans, he might have greatly extended his foul aspersions. Mr. Sedgwick finding, at length, that his health began to decline, he resigned all his preferments and retired to Marlborough, his native place, where he died in the month of January, 1658, aged fifty-seven years, and his remains were interred in the chancel of Ogbor n St. Andrew, near Marlborough. + He was a learned divine, and an orthodox and admired preacher.t In his ministry, he was succeeded by the celebrated Dr. Thomas Manton, ejected in 1662.$

His Works.—I. Several Sermons on public Occasions, 1039, fee. - -2. Parliamentary Sermons, 1642, &c.; among which were, " lingland's Preservation," 1642.—" Haman's Vanity," 1643.—" An Ark again.'t a Deluge: or, Safety in Dangerous Times," 1644.—3. Military Discipline for the Christian Soldier, 1639.—4. Christ's Council to his Languishing Church of Sardis, 1640.—5. Speech in Guildhall, 1643.—6. The best and worst Malignant, 1648.—7. The doubting Christian resolved, 1663.—8. The humble Sinner resolved; or, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ the only way for sensible Sinners, discovering the Quality, Objects, and Acts of Justifying Faith,|| 1656.—

9. The Fountain opened, and the Water of Life flowing, 1657.—

10. The Shepherd of Israel; or, an Exposition of Psalm xxiii., 1658.—

11. Anatomy of Secret Sins, 1660.—12. The Bowels of tender Mercy Sealed in the Everlasting Covenant, 1660.—13. The Parable of tho Prodigal, 1660.—14. Synopsis of Christianity.—16. A Catechism.