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Benjamin Cox

Benjamin Cox, A. M.—This learned divine appears to have received his education at Broadgates-hall, Oxford, where he took his degree of master of arts in the year lfil7-$ He had a parochial charge in Devonshire, where, for some time, he was particularly zealous for the superstitious riles and ceremonies of the established church; but afterwards he

• Life of Biddle, p. 10—100.
+ Wood's Athena- Oxon. vol. ii. p. 197—S02.

J Life of Biddle, p. IS. $ Wood's Athena Oxon. vol. i. p. 827.

found sufficient reason for altering his opinions. In the year 1639 he was convened before Bishop Hall, his diocesan, who sent him to Archbishop Laud, for preaching a sermon from Hosea iv. 4., in which he proved that the church of England did not maintain the calling of bishops to be jure divino. This sermon, it appears, made a great noise in the country. "But when he came to me," says the archbishop," it pleased God so to blesB me, that I gave him satisfaction, and he went home very well contented, and made a handsome retraction."* Mr. Cox afterwards espousing the peculiar sentiments of the baptists, and opposing the presbyterian establishment of religion, the presbyterians upbraided him with his former superstitions and innovations. Mr. Edwards, whose pen was mostly dipped in gall, says, "he came out of Devonshire, was an innovator, and a time-server in the time of the bishops; and that against the will of Dr. Hall, bishop of Exeter, he had brought innovations into the church."t Admitting this account to be correct, his change of sentiments was undoubtedly on conviction, and therefore no disgrace to his character.

When the affairs of state led men to think and speak more freely upon religious subjects, Mr. Cox was among the first in promoting a further reformation, when he had flattering prospects of high preferment; but his sentiments upon baptism obstructed his advancement in the established church, and prejudiced against him those divines who were at the head of ecclesiastical affairs. He preserved, however, the character of a man eminently furnished with abilities and learning. After episcopacy and the common prayer were laid aside, he was, for some time, minister at Bedford. In the year 1643, some pious persons in Coventry having embraced the opinions of the baptists, invited Mr. Cox, being an aged minister and of good reputation, to come to them, and assist them in the formation of a distinct church, according to the peculiar sentiments of the baptists. Several presbyterian ministers, among whom was Mr. Baxter, had taken refuge in that city. Mr. Baxter, being zealous in opposing the peculiar opinions of the baptists, therefore challenged Mr. Cox to a disputation upon the points of difference. The challenge was accepted, and they disputed both by conference and by writing: but it was broken off by the interference of the committee, who required Mr. Cox to depart from the city, and to promise not to return. As he refused to observe their tyrannical requisitions, he was unme

» Wharton's Troubles of Laud, vol. i. p. S6S.
+ EdwardVt Gangrieaa, part i.p. 95.

diately committed to prison, where he remained for some time; till Mr. Pinson made application to Mr. Baxter, by whom his release was procured. This was, indeed, complained of as very hard and illegal usage, not without somq reflections upon Mr. Baxter himself, as having procured his imprisonment. This, however, Mr. Baxter denied.*

Mr. Cox, after his departure from Coventry, went to London, and was one of the principal managers, on the part of the baptists, of a public dispute concerning infant baptism, at Aldermanbury church, to which a stop was afterwards put by the government, fn the year 1644, when the seven churches in London, called anabaptists, published a confession of their faith, and presented it to the parliament, his name was subscribed to it, in behalf of one of those congregations.i Though, when the act of uniformity came out, in 1662, he at first conformed, yet his conscience soon after smote him for what he had done, when he threw up his living, and died a nonconformist and a baptist, at a very advanced age. He was a divine of great abilities, learning, and piety, and is said to have been the son of a bishop.; It seems more probable, however, that he was the grandson of one; as Dr. Richard Cox, upwards of twenty years bishop of Ely, died in the year 1581.$

His Works.—1. A Declaration concerning the public Dispute which should have been in the public Mccting-house of Aldermanbury, December 3, 1645, concerning Infant Baptism.—2. God's Ordinance the Saints Privilege, proved in two Treatises: viz. The Saints Interest by Christ in all the Privileges of Grace cleared, and the Objections against the Same answered. And the peculiar Interest of the Elect in Christ, and his saving Graces: wherein is proved, that Christ hath not satisfied for the Sins of all Men, but only for the Sins of those that do or shall believe in Him; and the Objections against the Same answered.

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