Richard Capel, A. M.—This worthy divine was born in the city of Gloucester, in 1586, and descended from the ancient family of that name, being a near relation to Lord Capel. His father was an alderman of the city; one who greatly promoted the cause of Christ in the place; and was a zealous friend to the suffering nonconformists. His son was educated in Magdalen college, Oxford, where he gained a considerable reputation, and was chosen fellow of the house. He had many learned pupils, who became famous in their day; among whom were Dr. Frewen, afterwards archbishop of York, and the celebrated Mr. William Pemble. Mr. Capel, being desirous of greater usefulness to souls, removed from the university and entered upon the ministerial work, first at Estington, then at Pitchcomb in his own county. He did not enter into the sacred office for a piece of bread, but for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom and the salvation of men. Therefore he had no sooner entered upon the work, than he gave himself wholly to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine; and his profiting soon became so manifest to all, that he was justly reputed a man approved of God, rightly dividing the word of truth. In the exercises of the pulpit he was sometimes a Boanerges, the son of thunder; hut more commonly a Barnabas, the son of consolation. Under the intolerance and oppressions of Bishop Laud, when the ceremonies were enforced with the utmost rigour, and the most grievous penalties were inflicted on the nonconformists, he became a sufferer with the rest of his brethren. And, upon the publication of the Book of Sports, in 1633, he could not read it with a safe conscience; therefore, to avoid deprivation, he peaceably resigned his living and turned physician; in which profession he was much esteemed, and very successful.*
* Mcen't MS. Codec, p. 313—317, 3i5; u transcribed from th» original church-book at Bedford.
The excellent Dr. Sibbs, who died in the year 1635, bequeathed legacies, in his last will and testament, to his numerous relations and friends; among whom was Mr. Capel, who received a small legacy.t In the year 1641 he espoused the cause of the parliament, and renewed his ministerial exercises at Pitcheomb, where he had obtained a distinguished reputation. He still continued in the practice of physic, but preached to the people gratuitously all the rest of his days. In 1643 he was nominated one of the assembly of divines, but never attended, choosing rather to continue his uninterrupted labours among the people of his charge.
Towards the close of life, this worthy servant of Christ was exercised with many trials, which, by the help of God, he bore with patience and unshaken confidence. He cheerfully resigned himself to his heavenly Father's will. Being particularly desirous not to die a lingering death, the Lord was pleased to grant him his desire. For, having preached twice on the Lord's day, and performed the usual duties of the family and the closet, he went to bed and died immediately, being September 21,1656, aged seventy years. Mr. Clark denominates him "a man of a quick apprehension, a strong memory, and great piety;" and says, "he was a living library, a full storehouse of all good literature, a judicious preacher, and a sound orthodox divine."J Iu the opinion of Wood, "he was a man of great eminence, and much followed by men of note, especially of the Calvinian party. At Estington he was eminent, among the puritans, .jot his painful and practical preaching, his
• Clark't Lives annexed lo Marlyrologie, p. 80S, 309.
i Baker'iMS. Collec. vel. xxiviii. p. 44*. J Lives, p. 304,811.
exemplary life and conversation, and for doing many good offices for his brethren in the ministry. He was esteemed an excellent preacher, and a true follower of Messrs. Dod, Claver, Hildcrsham, and Dr. Rainolds."* Mr. Daniel Capel, ejected at the restoration, was his son.t
His Works.—1. God's Valuation of Man's Soul, 1632.—2. A Treatise of Temptations, 1650.—3. A brief Dispute touching Restitution in Cases of Usury, 1650.—4. Remains, 1658.—5. An Apology in Defence of sonic Exceptions in the Book of Temptations, 1650.