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Richard Vines

Richard Vines, A. M.—This learned and excellent divine was born at Blason in Leicestershire, about the year 1600, and educated in Magdalen college, Cambridge. From the university he was chosen schoolmaster at Hinckley in his native county; and afterwards, on the death of Mr. James Cranford, he obtained a presentation to the rectory of Weddington in Warwickshire. Here he was a zealous and faithful labourer in the vineyard of Christ. His ministry was very much followed; and his endeavours were made a great blessing to the people. He also preached at Caldecot, a place near Weddmgton, and, at the death of the incumbent, was presented to the living. With great care and diligence he served both parishes, the profits of which amounted only to eighty pounds a year, tie also delivered a lecture at Nuneaton m the same county, to which multitudes resorted. Mr. Evans, afterwards ejected in 166$, succeeded him in his two livings, who, it is said, found that side of the country well stocked with religious knowledge and solid christians, produced by the preaching of many excellent men, but especially his worthy predecessor.J

On the breaking out of the civil war, Mr. Vines was driven from his flock, and forced to take shelter in Coventry. Indeed, there were about thirty worthy ministers in that city, who, driven from their flocks, fled thither for safety from the plunder of soldiers and popular fury, though they never meddled in the wars.^ The heavy judgments of God being now inflicted upon the nation, these divines set up a morning lecture in

• Chambers'* Funeral Sermon for Mr. Graile.
+ Graile/s Doct. of Conditions, Pref.
I Calamy's Account, vol. ii. p. 744, 745.
S Sylvester's Life of Baxter, part i. p. 44.

that city, in which Mr. Vines was frequently engaged, as well as on the Lord's day.

In the year 1643, he was chosen one of the assembly of divines, and he constantly attended during the session. Here his excellent abilities and great moderation were called forth into daily exercise; and how much good he did, in the matter of church government, says our author, may be safely concealed, but can scarcely be expressed without giving offence to some.* hi 1644, he was appointed by the parliament one of the assistant divines at die treaty of Uxbridge. '1 lie Oxford historian, speaking of Dr. Hammond, one of the king's party, on this occasion, thus triumphantly observes: "It being his lot to dispute with Richard Vines, a presbyterian minister, who attended the commissioners appointed by parliament, he did, with ease and perfect clearness, disperse all the sophisms that he brought against him."t How far this statement is correct, we are unable to say. Whitlocke, a writer far more correct and impartial, however, speaking of this treaty, says, " Tliat while Dr. Steward and Dr. Sheklen argued very positively, that the government by bishops was Jure Divino; Mr. Vines and Mr. Henderson argued as positively, but more moderately, to the contrary, and that the government of the church by presbyteries was Jure Divino."t

Mr. Vines was chosen a member of the committee of accommodation, and was chairman at their meetings.} On the subject of a general accommodation of all parties, he wrote an excellent letter to Mr. Baxter, discovering his mild and accommodating spirit.) He was, at the same time, appointed master of Pembroke-hall, Cambridge, by the Earl of Manchester, and, it is said, few persons were better qualified for the situation. Here he promoted true religion and sound literature to the utmost of his power, and restored the college to a very flourishing state, till, in die year Hi 49, he was turned out for refusing the engagements In the year 1645, he was one of the committee of learned divines appointed by the assembly to prepare the Confession of Faith." In 1648 he was appointed, by order of the parliament, one of the assistant divines at the treaty of the Isle of Wight; on which occasion he was much applauded by his own party, particularly for proving the sufficiency of presbyterian ordination. Ministers, he observed, who had been ordained by the presbytciian churches in Fiance and the Low Countries, were formerly owned and acknowledged, to all iutents and purposes, by our bishops, as lawfully ordaiued, both to preach and administer the sacraments.* During the treaty, he had much converse and some disputation with the king.t 'His majesty highly valued him for his ingenuity, and seldom spoke to niin without touching his hat, w hich Mr. Vines returned with most respectful language and gestures.*.

• Clark's Lives, last Toi. part i. p. 48.
I- Wood's Athens Oxon. vol. ii. p. 159.

% Whitlocke's Mem. p. 119, 183, 186. \ Papers of Accom. p. t.

| Sylvester's Baxter, part ii. p. 14T. 1 Ibid, part i. p. 64.

*• Neal'i Puritans, vol. ill. p. 350.

Dr. Grey, in his answer to Mr. Neal, relates, that when Mr. Vines returned from this treaty, he addressed one Mr. Walden, saying, " Brother, how hath this nation been fooled! We have been told that our king is a child and a fool; but if I understand any thing by my converse with him, which I have had with great liberty, he is as much of a christian prince as ever I read or heard of, since our Saviour's time. He is a very precious prince, and is able of himself to argue with the abltst divines we have. And, among all the king's of Israel and Judah, there was none like him." This account is said to have been given about the year 1675, by one Nathaniel Gilbert of Coventry, in an information subscribed by his own hand, having himself heard Mr. Vines. Dr. Grey transcribed it from an attested copy of the original, which original was in possession of his father, to whose grandmother the above Gilbert was half brother! §

When sentence of death was pronounced upon the king, Mr. Vines, and several of his brethren, presented their duty to his majesty, with their humble desires to pray with him, and perform other serviceable offices, if he would be pleased to accept them. The king returned them thanks for their kind offers, but declined their services.|| About the year 1653, Mr. Vims was appointed, by order of the parliament, one of the divines to draw up the Fundamentals, to be presented to the house.!

When Mr. Vines first went up to London, he was chosen minister of St. Clement's Danes, where many persons of quality were his constant hearers. After some time, by the solicitation of the Earl of Essex, he resigned the place and

• Fuller's Church Hist, b. xi. p. 815.

+ Wl.irloclw's Mem. |>. 336, SSi. J Fuller'i Worthies, pt. ii. p. 184.

(, ('••• v's ) lamination, vol. i. p. 414.

H Wu. <1 "i Auiit.t Oxnn. vol. ii. p. 622.

I Silvester's Baxter, part ii. p. 197.

removed to Walton in Hertfordshire. He afterwards accepted an invitation to St. Lawrence Jewry, London; where his excellent talents were still employed in promoting the Redeemer's glory, and the salvation of his people. Many flocked to his ministry, and his labours were made a blessing to their souls. While pastor of St. Lawrence, he was chosen one of the weekly lecturers at St. Michael's, Cornhill, and wa» often called to preach before the parliament. It is but just, however, to observe, that our divine, with several of his brethren, preached too warmly against the baptists.* On the death of the Karl of Essex, the parliament appointed a public funeral for him, which was performed with great solemnity in St. Peter's church, Westminster, when Mr. V ines preached his funeral sermon to a very great audience, composed of persons of very high distinctions

After a laborious and useful life, Mr. Vines, at length, became the subject of painful bodily affliction. Though afflicted with racking pain in his head, which nearly took away his sight, yet he would not desist from his public labours. He was resolved to spend and be spent in the work of the Lord. The day before he died, he preached and administered the Lord's supper; and about ten o'clock the same evening he was taken with bleeding at the nose, and died betwixt two and three next morning, aged fifty-five years. His remains were interred, with great lamentation, in the church of St. Lawrence Jewry, February 7, 1655 ; when Dr. Thomas Jacombe preached his funeral sermon, giving the following high commendations of his character :—He was a burning and shining light in his day, and possessed very excellent parts, even- taller by the head than most of his

» Neat's Puritans, vol. iii. p. ISO.

+ Robert, Earl of Essex, was only son of the unfortunate favourite of Quern Elizabeth, and inherited much of his father's popularity. He was a nobleman of very upright intentions. Owing to the compassion of his .nature, and the sincerity of his zeal for the essentials of religion, he ■hewed great kindness to the persecuted puritans. He was one of those few noblemen in parliament who dared to attack the " great monster the prerogative." But he never appeared to so great an advantage as at the head of an army. He acquired a great reputation as a soldier | a kind of merit that was despised by James I, and overlooked by Charles. His courage was great, and his honour was inflexible; but he rather waited than sought for opportunities for fighting; and knew better bow to gain than improve a victory. When he took the command of the parliament's army, he was better qualified than any man in the kingdom for the post; bot he is said to have been soon eclipsed by a new race of soldiers, who, if not his superiors in the art of war, went far beyond him in spirit and enterprise. He died September 14, 1646; and his death laid a foundation for the advancement of Cromwell.—Biog. Britan. vol. v. p. 161, 168. Edit. ma.—Qra*gv'i Biog. Uut. vol. i. p.332. ii. 249.

brethren. He was mighty in the scriptures, and an interpreter one of a thousand. He was an accomplished scholar, a perfect master of the Greek, an excellent philologist, and an admirable orator. He was a ready and close disputant, and approved himself, to the admiration of many, in tho treaties of Uxbridge and the Isle of Wight. He was a solid, judicious, and orthodox divine, mighty in points of controversy, giving a death-wound to error. His spiritual and powerful ministry was principally upon the doctrine of justification, debasing man and exalting the Saviour. He wished to die praying or preaching. 'That which would have made some keep their beds, did not keep him out of the pulpit: and as he preached, so he lived and died. He was of an heroical and undaunted spirit; and, like Luther, nothing would hinder him from a courageous and conscientious discharge of his duty.» He was accounted " the very prince of preachers, a thorough Calvinist, and a bold, honest man, void of pride and flattery."* Fuller styles him " an excellent preacher, and the very champion of the assembly;" and adds, " that he was constant to his principles, yet moderate and charitable towards those who differed from him."} Wood says nothing of him, only denominates him a zealous puritan.}

Dr. Grey insinuates a reflection on the simplicity and integrity of Mr. Vines, by a story of his praying in the morning of an Easter Sunday, before the Marquis of Hertford, for the king's restoration to his throne and regal rights: but, in the afternoon, when die Marquis was absent, and Lord Fairfax come to church, he prayed iu stylo parliamentaria, mat God would turn the heart of the king, and give him grace to repent of his grievous sins, especially all the blood he had shed in those ctri/, uncivil wars. On this it was observed, that Mr. Vines was much more altered between the forenoon and afternoon, than the difference between ap English marquis and an Irish baron4 The reader, however, will easily perceive, that each of these prayers might have been very consistently offered up by the same person.

When Mr. V ines was schoolmaster at Hinckley, he bad for one of his pupils Mr. John Cleivelnnd, a noted royalist and popular poet in the reign of Charles I., who, it is said, " owed the heaving of his natural fancy, by die choicest elegancies in

Creek and Latin, to Mr. Vines."*—A few days before the death of our pious divine, as he was preaching at St. Gregory's church, a rude fellow cried aloud to him, " Lift up your voice, for I cannot hear you:" to whom Mr. Vines replied, "Lift up your ears, for 1 can speak no louder."*

His Works.—1. A Treatise on the Sacrament, 1657—2. Christ the Christian's only Gain, 1661.—;). God's Drawing and Man's Coming (o Christ. 1662—4. The Saint's Nearness to God, 1662 — fi. I mural Sermon for the Earl of Essex.—6. Funeral Sermon for Mr. William Strong.—7. Caleh's Integrity in following the Lord folly, a Sermon before the Honourable House of Commons, at their late solemn Fast, Nov. 30. 1642.—8. The Posture of David's Spirit, when he was in a Doubtful Condition, a Sermon before the Commons, 1644. —9. The Happiness of Israel, a Sermon before both Houses, 1646.— He was author of some other Sermons.