Samuel Crook, B. D.—This excellent divine was bom at Great Waldingfield in Essex, January 17, 1574; educated in Pembroke-hall, Cambridge; and afterwards chosen fellow of Emanuel college. His father was the learned and laborious Dr. Crook, preacher to the honourable society of GrayV inn, and descended from an ancient family. He was highly esteemed in the university, for his pregnant parts, great industry, and answerable proficiency in all the branches of useful and polite literature. He was chosen reader of rhetoric and philosophy in the public schools, which offices he filled with great applause. While at Cambridge he was a constant hearer and a great admirer of the excellent Mr. Perkins. He preached first for a short time at Caxton, near Cambridge; then, in the year 1602, accepted an invitation to the pastoral charge at Wrington in Somersetshire, receiving his presentation to the living from Sir Arthur Capel. In gratitude for the advantages which he had enjoyed at the university, he gave to the library of Peinbroke-hall, Basil's Works, Greek and Latin; to Emanuel college, all the Councils, Greek and Latin; and to the university library, the Works of Gregory Nazianzens and Gregory Nissens.
Mr. Crook, upon his settlement at Wrington, took indefatigable pains in his ministry, and his usefulness surpassed all expectation. He constantly preached three times a week, and sometimes oftener, to the end of his days. As he preached so he lived. His life was one continued comment upon his doctrine. He was much admired and esteemed by his people, and their affectionate attachment continued to increase to the last. As, during his preparations for the
• Hist, of Cambridge, p. 147. * Mather's Hist. b. iii. p. 88.
ministry, he had laid in richly, so now he laid out liberally. His sermons were grave, judicious, and appropriate; and hit applications, by a sweet eloquence, fervent zeal, and love to souls, were addressed to the hearts of his hearers. He did not serve God with that which cost him nothing, but laboured much in his preparations for the pulpit. His constant motto was, " I am willing to spend and be spent." In time of sickness, the physician observing that he might live longer if he would preach less, he said, " Alas! if I may not labour I cannot live. What good will life do me, if I be hindered from the end of living?" When labouring under the infirmities of old age, he would not desist from his beloved work, but often preached when with the utmost difficulty he could scarcely walk to the house of God; and even then his sermons were delivered with his usual vivacity.* He fed his flock, not with airy notions and vain speculations, but with the substantial provision of the gospel. He provided milk for babes, and strong meat for men. Notwithstanding his excellent endowments, and the high admiration in which he was held by all who knew him, he was not lifted up with pride, but walked in all humility before God and men. He is said to have been the first who brought extemporary prayer into use in that part of the country, in which exercise he greatly excelled.
He laboured in the ministry, with very little interruption, above forty-seven years. During this period he was the means of bringing many wandering sinners to Christ. Once, indeed, the bishop put a stop to his Tuesday lecture; but it is said, " God was pleased so to order it, that the lecture was soon revived, and the bishop who interrupted it was cast out of his office."i During a life of nearly seventy-five years, he witnessed many changes in the church of Christ. Nor wu he without his sufferings in the civil wars. Rude soldier* tyrannized over him in his own house, not permitting him to be quiet in his study. There they followed him with drawn swords, vowing his instant death, for not joining them in their bloody cause. The Lord, however, was pleased to deliver him from the rage of his enemies.
Mr. Crook, during his last sickness, often protested that the doctrine he had taught was the truth of God, as he should answer at the tribunal of Christ, to which he was hastening. He received the sentence of his approaching death with cheei fulness; and seeing he had no prospect of
• Clark's Livet annexed to, his Marlyrologic, p. 202—208. + Ibid. p. 206—208.
labouring any more, he desired his friends not to pray for the continuance of his life, but " for faith, for patience, for repentance, and for joy in the Holy Ghost. Lord," said he, "cast me down as low as hell in repentance, and lift me up to heaven by faith and confidence in thy salvation." He wat full of grace, full of peace, full of assurance. The Tuesday before he died, he said, " This day sevennight is the day oa which we used to remember Christ's nativity, and on this day I have preached Christ. I shall scarcely live to see it. But for me that child was born, and unto me that son was given." He died December 25, 1649, in the seventy-fifth year of his age. Mr. Clark says, " he was a person of a quick invention, a sound judgment, a strong memory, and great learning and
1)iety. He was grave without austerity, pleasant without evity, courteous without hypocrisy, and charitable almost without an equal."* Fuller has placed him on the list of learned writers, being fellows of Emanuel college, Cambridge.t
His Works.—1. Three Sermons, 1615.—2. Death Subdued, 1619. —3. The Guide to True Blessedness, 1630.—4. Divine Characters, 1668.