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Thomas Blake

Thomas Blake, A.M.—This pious servant of Christ was born in the county of Stafford, in the year 1597, and educated in Christ's Church, Oxford. Having finished his studies at the university, he entered upon the ministerial work, and obtained some preferment in the church. He became a faithful steward of the manifold mysteries of God. He was zealous in the work of the Lord, and his labours were made eminently useful. He was the faithful and laborious pastor of St. Alkmond's church, Shrewsbury, but it is doubtful whether this was the first place of his settlement. When the parliament prevailed, and episcopacy was abolished, Mr. Blake took the covenant; but was afterwards turned out for refusing the engagement.* In the year 1647, he accepted an invitation to Tamworth in his native county, where he continued in the ministerial work all the rest of his days. Here he was appointed one of the assistant commissioners of Staffordshire, for ejecting ignorant and scandalous ministers and schoolmasters. He died at Tamworth, aged sixty years, and his remains were interred in his own church, June 11, 1657.t He was a man of great piety, good learning, and a constant and excellent preacher.

Mr. Anthony Burgess, afterwards ejected in 1662,{ who preached Mr. Blake's funeral sermon, gives the following commendations of his character:—He was a man of many excellent qualifications. He possessed good natural talents, much improved by diligent application, and sanctified by the grace of God. The most eminent feature in his character was his great piety, for which he was highly esteemed. And as he was a man of considerable learning,

• Calamy'i Account, vol. ii. p. 124.

+ Wood's Athens Oxon, vol. ii. p. 133.

t Palmer** Jfoncon. Mem. vol, iii. p. 350.

Mr. Samuel Shaw, afterwards silenced at the restoration^ who delivered Mr. Blake's funeral oration, addressed the people as follows:—" While he lived, it was as impossible for him not to love you, as it is for you to make him an adequate return of love: and his care was answerable to his love. His writings were not read without satisfaction; and his sermons were never heard without approbation, and seldom without following advantage. His awful gravity and commanding presence could not be considered without reverence, nor his conversation without imitation. To see him live was a provocation to holy life: to see him die might have made us weary of life. When God restrained him from this place, he made his chamber his church, and his bed his pulpit; in which I heard him offer up many prayers to God for you. His death made him mindful of you, who have been too unmindful of his life. I did not see that any thing made him so backward to resign up his soul to God as his unparalleled care for you. His death seemed little to him in com pur i son of your happiness. I sat by him, and I only, when, with a flood oi tears, he prayed: Lord, charge not me with the ignorance of this

• Funeral Sermon for Mr. Blake.

+ Paluwr's Noncoo. Mem. To), ii. p. 404,

people. Hrs wisdom, justice, and tenderness, were such predominant graces, that it is as much my inability to describe them as it is my unhappiness not to imitnlt them."*

His Works.—1. Birth's Privilege; or, the flight of Infants to Baptisms, 1644.—2. Infants Baptismc freed from tichristianismc. la a full Repulse given to Mr. C'li. Blackwood, in his Assault of thai Part of Christ's Possession which he holds iu his Heritage of Infants, entitled, hy ' The .Storming of Antichrist,' 1645.—A. A Moderate Answer to the two Questions, I. Whether there he sufficient Ground from Scripture to warrant the Conscience of a Christian to present his Infants to the Sacrament of Baptism!—*2. Whether it be not sinful for a Christian to receive the Sacrament in a mixt Assembly? 1645.— 4. An Answer to Mr. Tombcs his Letter in Vindication of the Birthprivilege of Believers and their Issue, 1646.—5. Vindicise Foederis. A Treatise of the Covenant of God with Mankind, 1653.—6. latent Baptisme maintained in its Latitude, 1653.—7. The Covenant Sealed; or, a Treatise of the Sacrament of both Covenants, 1655.—8. Postscript to the Rev. and Learned Mr. Rich. Baxter, 1655.—0. Mr. Joh. Humphrey's Second Vindication of a Disciplinary, Anti-eraStian, Orthodox, Free Admission to the Lord's Supper, taken into Consideration, 1656.—10. Answer to Mr. B. Cox about Free Admission to the Sacrament.—11. Living Truths in Dying Times.—12. Several Sermons.