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Daniel Dyke

Daniel Dyke, B. D.—This excellent divine was born at Hempstead in Hertfordshire, where his father was a worthy minister, and silenced for nonconformity.* He received his education at Cambridge, and became a most faithful and useful preacher j hut, like his honoured father, was exceedingly persecuted by the intolerant prelates. He was for some time minister of Coggcshall in Essex; but, upon the publication of Whitgift's three articles, in 1583, he was suspended by Bishop Aylmcr, and driven out of the county.t Afterwards he settled at St. Albans, in his native county, where his ministry was particularly acceptable and profitable to the people. He united with his brethren in attempting to promote a more pure reformation of the church, and, with this object in view, assembled with them in their private associations.t But in this, as in his former situation, the watchful eye of Aylmer was upon him, and he was involved in fresh troubles. Because he continued a deacon, and did not enter into priests' orders, which the bishop supposed he accounted popish; and because he refused to wear the surplice, and troubled his auditory, as his grace signified, with notions which thwarted the established religion, he was again suspended, and at last deprived. This was in the year 1589.^ The distressed parishioners being concerned for the loss of their minister, petitioned the Lord Treasurer Burleigh, who had been Mr. Dyke's great friend, to intercede with the bishop in their behalf. This petition sets forth, " That they had been without any ordinary preaching till within this four or five years; by the want of which they were unacquainted with their duty to God, their sovereign, and their neighbours: and so ignorance and disorder had greatly prevailed among them, for want of

. » Fuller's Worthies, part ii. p. 28. + MS. Register, p. 741.

f Baker's MS. Collec. Voi. xv. p. 79.
S MS. Register, p. 585.—Strype's Aylmer, p. 159.

being taught their duty: but that of late it had pleased the Lord to visit them with the means of salvation, by the ordU nary ministry of Mr. Dyke, an authorized minister, who, according to his function, had been painful and profitable, and had carried himself so peaceably and dutifully among them, both in his life and doctrine, that no man could justly rind fault with him, except of malice. There were some, indeed, who could not bear to hear their faults reproved; but through his preaching many had been brought from their ignorance and evil ways, to a better life; to be frequent hearers of God's word; and their servants were in butter order than heretofore."

They then inform his lordship, " that their minister was suspended by the Bishop of London; and that they were as sheep without a shepherd, exposed to manifold dangers, even to return to their former ignorance and cursed vanities. That the Lord had spoken it, therefore it must be true, Where no vision is, the people perish. And having experienced his honourable care for them in the like case heretofore, which they thankfully acknowledged, they earnestly pray his lordship, in the bowels of his compassion, to pity them in their present misery, and become a means that they may again enjoy their preacher."*

The treasurer, upon the reception of this petition, wrote to the bishop, and requested Mr. Dyke's restoration to his ministry, promising that if he troubled his congregation with innovations, in future, he would join his lordship against him; but the bishop excused himself, insinuating that Mr. Dyke was guilty of incontinency. This occasioned a further investigation of his character. He was tried at the sessions at St. Albans, when the woman herself who accused him, confessed her wicked contrivance, and asked him forgiveness in open court. Mr. Dyke being thus publicly cleared and honourably acquitted, the treasurer was the more urgent with the bishop to restore him; " because," said he, " the best minister in the nation may be thus slandered; and the people of St. Albans have no teaching, only they have for their curate an itisiiflicient doting old man. I'or this favour," said the worlhy treasurer, " 1 shall thank your lordship, and will not solicit you any more, if he shall hereafter give just cause of public offence against the orders of the church established."+ lint all that the treasurer could do proved ineffectual. The good man was therefore

* MS. Register, p. 303—306. + Ibid. p. 306—303.

left under the unmerciful censure of this prelate. But bow long he remained so, or whether the bisnop ever restored him, we arc not able to learn. He died about the year 1614.* His name, or the name of his brother, Mr. Jeremiah Dyke, another excellent puritan divine, is among those who subscribed the " Book of Discipline.'^ Mr. Dyke was a man of an unblemished character, a divine of great learning and piety, and a preacher of sound, heart-searching doctrine.; \Vood denominates him nn eminent preacher.^ His writings arc excellent for the time, and are still much admired. Bishop Wilkins classes his sermons among the most excellent in his dny.fl His works, containing various pieces, were collected and published in 1635, in two volumes quarto. His " Mystery of Self-deceiving," was often published, and was translated into High Dutch. " It is a book," says Fuller, " that will be owned for a truth, while men have any badness in them; and will be owned as a treasure, while they have any goodness in them."* This work, and his u Treatises on Repentance," are very searching. His doctrine falls as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.'*

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