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master of Trinity, was favourable to the Calvinists or Predestinarians. A letter is still extant from Wolfgang Mayer, dated September 1, 1630, to our dean, in which he owns his great obligations to him, both in his own person and that of his son James Mayer. Now this person had been maintained gratis some years in Trinity College, and made D. D. and honoured with fellows commons for his son on his own departure, as the university's delegate to the synod of Dort in 1618. He was pastor
professor in the church and university of Basil, and must have been, therefore, a strict Calvinist.
However, it is notorious thai Archbishop Laud principally contributed to bring the clergy into the milder sentiments of Arminius; and there is no reason to doubt but that Dr. Comber was one of those who joined in that scheme. So that there is no probability that he, as master of Trinity, contributed to make his fellows hate the name of Arminius.
In the third place, we are told that in elections Dr. Comber regarded only merit, preferring learning and genius to every thing else, except virtue and piety; keeping himself unbiassed, not only by gift, but by favour ; and considering himself as obliged " to water by his encouragement the flower of learning in poverty's garden.” To powerful intercessors and importunate friends, he would usually say, “ Sirs, persuade your gardener upon your importunity to plant a withered and bopeless herb or tree. If I should commit an error in the first election, the error will continue in the whole foundation. I had rather maintain a child of weak parts any where else than admit him into Trinity. The example will do more harm to the college, than the preferment can do good to the child.”
In the fourth place, the doctor is represented as very careful that the young men's studies should be methodical and useful; and, indeed, in order to become the latter, it is absolutely necessary that they should be the forme, desultoriness being likely rather to produce confusion than science in young heads.
In the fifth place, the dean is described as very exact in the private examination of the proficiency of students, and the inspection of all the exercises in college, and as careful to dispose of all the students according to their capacities. The poetic talents of young Cowley received so much encouragement from this judicicus man, that he
addressed him in a strain of gratitude in elegant Latit terse, prefixed to his “ Naufragium joculare."
In the last place, the dean is represented as maintaining with just vigour the authority of the statutes, yet never expelling any youth till many gentle admonitions were found' vain.. Like the skilful gardener, he frequently pruned the tree, before he dug it up as incurable.
As the dean's correspondence with the celebrated Morin, father of the Oratory in Paris, on the subject of the Samaritan Pentateuch, is neither incurious nor uninstructive, we shall here give some account of it.
On the 13th March, 1652, Morin writes to Dr. Combet a French letter, yet extant, and in possession of the dean's descendants, in which he observes, that he hears some learned Englishman has collated a MS. of tbe Samaritan Pentateuch with the Hebrew, and requests his help to obtain a copy of that collation ; and mentions the very learned Selden's account of this subject in his Marmora Arundeliana. On April the 24th following, the dean dates a Latin answer to this letter, and informs Morin, that the MS. which he inquires after belonged to the very learned Usher, archbishop of Armagh, and is the same which Selden meant; and also promises to send him a copy of the collations. The original of this elegant composition is also in the hands of his descendant, above referred to, but is inserted in the collection of Antiquities of the Eastern Church, printed at London in 1682. Our dean in this letter mentions a doubt in what rank with regard to the Jewish tbis Samaritan copy should be held. In the printed copy is a postscript, in which the writer observes, that the collation of two of the five Books of Moses being bebind, he will send them, if desired, as soon as he can procure them.
May the 25th, Morin replies by a Latin letter, which is printed in the above collection, that he has thankfully received the dean's collations, and wishes for the remain.der; gives an account of his own Samaritan copy, and adds in conclusion, that “nobody can doubt preferring the Jewish to the Samaritan copies." In others of his writings, however, he maintains the contrary opinion; aud Dr. Jenkins in his admirable work, “The Reasonableness of Christianity,” vol. 2, at the same time that he observes that this assertion of Morin is favourable to religion, adds, “ that it is inconsistent with others of this father,"
The great Archbishop Usher, though he bad esteem for his own Samaritan copy, declares that he thought the Jewish copy a thousand times superior in authority. Morin is supposed to have preferred elsewhere the Samaritan copy to the Jewish, in order by parity of argument to equal, at least, the vulgar Latin translation with the ori, ginal Greek of the New Testament; a scheme trály Popish.
September 30, 1634, our dean writes from Stepney another Latin letter to Morin, with the collations of the two remaining books of the Pentateuch, and repeats those of Leviticus. He also proposes a method for him to obtain a sight of the original MS. in the Cotton Library, and mentions Junius's (i. e. Patrick Young's) edition of the Septuagint, and the famous Alexandrine copy of that translation.
Morin, in another Latin letter, but without dale, answers our dean with thanks for his last-sent collations, and gives his own judgment on the Alexandrine MS. of the Septuagint, which he thinks a corrupted one.
On the whole of this correspondence, it is worthy observation, that Morin was an apostate from the reformed religion, and appears to have been greatly influenced by views of ambition, and to be truly exceptionable in many parts of his works; as appears from the account of his lite prefixed to the collection above named, by an unknown author.
Our dean, however, on this occasion, considered him only as a scholar, and believed he was serving the general interests of religion and learning by the assistance which he gave to this person ; and whatever other faults Morin was guilty of, he certainly was not ungrateful; for in one of his works he gives Dr. Comber a just encomium for learning, industry, and liberality.
On the breaking out of the rebellion, dean Comber strove against the stream of popular insurrection with all the means in his power. He was very active in support
the king's cause, by letters to his friends, by public petitions, and by private contributious. When the university resolved to send their plate to the distressed monarch at York, the dean was one of the first in promoting the loyal and benevolent design.
Such a man could expect no favour from the triumphant faction, and accordingly he was involved in the general wreck, losing his mastership by an order from the Earl of
Manchester, April 15, 1645. That he was not deprived of it sooner, as some of his brethren were, was owing to the difficulty the party had in obtaining a successor. The ; learned Thomas Gataker was offered it, but after some deliberation he refused the place, on account of his age and the weighty nature of the concern. At length it was given, as we have already seen, to Thomas Hill, bachelor of divinity, who is much better known by his usurpation of Dr. Comber's rights, than by his good use of them.
Dr. Walker adds, that the dean was also imprisoned, plundered, and deprived of all his preferments. However, his confinement did not continue long, and he obtained leave to settle in Cambridge. The writers of his life present us witli a pretty good picture of the chief virtues which he exercised in this state of deprivation during about eight years. In his grace before and after meat, he always prayed for humility, faith, and patience. And these virtues so thoroughly possessed his soul in adversity, that a calm overspread his breast in the inidst of a public storm. He thought humbly of himself, and magnificently of his God; therefore when bis preferments were taken from him by the hand of violence, he beheld through the gloom the high arm of Providence, and kissed the rod with resignation. Nor was he less distinguished for the practice of meekness. He was never heard to express any passionate word against his enemies, but only this, “ God forgive them !"
Compassion was another virtue in the exercise of which our dean eminently shone. This is indeed the natural offspring of affliction. He was fainous not only for his almsgiving to relieve the bodies of his fellow-Christians, but so tender-hearted that he wept frequently for the sins of the triumphant party, and which hurried them to destruction. He endeavoured, however, to conceal these tears, lest they should be misconstrued as proceeding from selfishness ; but they were in the judgment of wise and good men proofs of an affectionate heart, as both sacred and profane writers allow. If his alms-giving seemed rather above than below what strict prudence allowed, as he bad only a shattered fortune and a daughter to provide for, (his paternal estate going to the inale heir of the family op bis decease,) yet he saved in some measure an equivalent by his trugality. His piety also was signal, and he exercised it in' frequent prayer, attentive reading, and hearing of God's word.
Thus laudably and happily occupied, our deprived'dean was attacked by a complicated and lingering disease, which was designed by his Almighty Father to conduct him to immortal glory.
His behaviour in the last stage of his life was such as became a Christian minister. When he could no longer read the Scriptures himself he desired his lady to read them to him. In the extremity of his sufferings from the united tortures of the gout, the gravel, and the stone, bis patience and resignation were so great, that when his friends asked how he did, bis answer always was,
Very well, lithank God!” In this condition he frequently breathed forth pious and fervent ejaculations in English, Latin, and Greek. He received the Holy Eucharist with the strongest marks of religious reverence and holy rapture. To his lady's parents and another ancient friend he sent an affectionate exhortation to prepare for death, using this remarkable expression, “ I shall be loth to be happy with
Thus died this holy man, February 28, 1653-4: his remains were interred, not in the chapel of Trinity College, as they ought to have been, but in the parish church of St. Botolph in Cambridge, March the 3d of the above year. On the 29th of the same month Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Boreman, fellow of Trinity College, preached the dean's funeral sermon from Rom. viii. 9. This discourse was printed under the title of “ The Triumph of Faith over Death, or the Just Man's Memorial;" to which is prehixed
as the preacher calls it, though it should rather have been entitled, “. A Narrative of the Life and Death of Dr. Coinber.”
Dr. Duport, afterwards dean of Peterborough, in some Latin verses on Dr. Comber, gives liin this ligh cha
Librorum helluo, literarum abyssus,
The dean married a widew lady of forfüne, but innchi Younger than himself, by whom he left a daighter, who became the wife of Williain Johnson, Esq. of RushtonGrange in Yorkshire, big whom she had nine sons and e leven daughters. The dean's widow took for her third - Vol. X. Churchm. Mag. for Feb. 1806. N husband,