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opened a door for Mr. Preston's preferment, had not his inclinations to puritanism been a bar in the way.
He therefore resolved upon an academical life, and took upon him the care of pupils, for which he was qualified beyond most in the university. Many gentlemen's sons were committed to his care, who trained them up in the sentiments of the first reformers; for he affected the very stile and language of Calvin. When it came to his turn to be catechist, he went through a whole body of divinity with such general acceptance, that the outward chapel was usually crowded with strangers before the fellows came in, which created bim envy. Complaint was made to the vice-chancellor of this unusual way of catecbising, and that it was not safe to suffer Dr. Preston to be thus adored, unless they had a mind to set up puritanism, and pull down the hier. archy; it was therefore agreed in the convocation-house, that no stranger, neither townsman nor scholar, should upon any pretence come to those lectures, which were only designed for the members of the college.
There was little preaching in the university at this time, except at St. Mary's the lectures at Trinity and St. An. drews being prohibited ; Mr. Preston therefore, at the request of the townsmen and scholars of other colleges, attempted to set up an evening sermon at St. Buttolphi's, belonging to Queen's college ; but when Dr. Newcomb, commissary to the bishop of Ely, heard of it, he came to the church and forbad it, commanding that evening prayers only should be read: There was a vast crowd, and earnest entreaty that Mr. Preston might preach, at least for that time, but the commissary was inexorable, and to prevent further importunities, went home with his family ; after be was gone, Mr. Preston was prevailed with to preach ; and because much time had been spent in debates, they adven. tured for once to admit the service, that the scholars might be present at their college prayers. Next day the commissary went to Newmarket, and complained both to the bishop and king; he represented the danger of the hierarchy, and the progress of non-conformity among the schol. ars, and assured them that Mr. Preston was in such high esteem, that he would carry all before him if he was not
thoroughly dealt with. Being called before his superiors, he gave a plain narrative of the fact; and added he had no design to affront the bishop or his commissary. The bishop said, the king was informed that he was an enemy to forms of prayer, which Mr. Preston denying, he was ordered to declare his judgment upon that head, in a sermon at St. Buttolph's church and so was dismissed.
Some time after, king James being at Newmarket, Mr. Preston was appointed to preach before him, which he performed with great applause, having a fluent speech, a commanding voice, and a strong memory to deliver what he had prepared without the assistance of notes. The king spake familiarly to him ; and though his majesty expressed a dislike to some of his puritan notions, he commended his opposing the Arminians. And the dake of Buckingham not knowing wbat friends he might want among the populace, persuaded the king to admit him one of the prince's chaplains in ordinary, and to wait two months in the year, which he did. Soon after this he was chosen preacher of Lincoln’s-inn, and upon the resignation of Dr. Chadderton, master of Emanuel college, in the year 1622, at which time he took his degree of doctor of divinity. The doctor was a fine gentleman, a complete courtier, and in high esteem with the duke of Buckingham, who thought by his means to ingratiate himself with the puritans,* whose power was growing very formidable in parliament. The duke offered him the bishopric of Gloucester, but the doctor refused, and chose rather the lectureship of Trinity church, which he kept till bis death. By his interest in the duke and the prince, he did considerable service for many silenced ministers; he was in waiting when king James died, and came up with the young king and duke in a close coach to London. But some time after the duke having changed measures, and finding that he could neither gain over the puritans to his arbitrary designs, nor separate the doctor from their interests, he resolved to shake bands with his chaplain. The doctor foreseeing the storm, was content to retire qui
*" But Preston was as great a politician as the duke,” says Mr. Granger, “ was not to be over-reached.” Ed.
etly to his college, where it is apprehended he would have felt some further effects of the duke's displeasure, if God in his providence had not cut him out work of a different nature, which engaged all his thoughts to the time of his death.
Dr. Preston lived a single life, being never married ; nor had he any cure of souls. He had a strong constitution, which he wore out in his study, and in the pulpit. His distemper was a consumption in the lungs, for which, by the advice of physicians, he changed the air several times; but the failure of his appetite with other symptoms of a general decay, prevailed with him at length to leave off all medicine, and resign himself to the will of God. And being desirous of dying in his native country, and among his old friends, he retired into Northamptonshire, where he departed this life in a most pious and devout manner, in the forty-first year of his age; and was buried in Fawsley church, old Mr. Dod, minister of the place, preaching his funeral sermon to a numerous auditory, July 20th, 1628. Mr. Fuller* says, “ He was an excellent preacher, a subótle disputant, a great politician ; so that his foes must con
fess, that (if not having too little of the dove) he had • enough of the serpent. Some will not stick to say, he had parts sufficient to manage the broad-seal, which was • offered bim, but the conditions did not please. He might • have been the duke's right hand, but his grace finding that he could not bring him nor his party off to his side, · he would use him no longer;" which shews him to be an honest man. His practical works and sermons were printcd by his own order after his decease."
* Book xi. p. 131.
From the Dissolution of the third Parliament of King
Charles I. to the Death of Archbishop Abbot.
THE ancient and legal government of England, by king, lords, and commons, being now suspended by the royal will and pleasure, bis majesty resolved to supply the necessities of the state, by such other methods as his council should advise, who gave a loose to their actions,being no longer afraid of a parliamentary enquiry, and above the reach of ordinary justice. Instead of the authority of king and parliament, all public affairs were directed by proclamations of the king and council, which had the force of so many laws, and were bound upon the subject under the severest penalties. They levied the duties of tonnage and poundage, and laid what other imposts they thought proper upon merchandize, which they let out to farm to private persons; the number of monopolies was incredible; there was no branch of the subject's property that ministry could dispose of, but was bought and sold. They raised above a million a year by taxes on soap, salt, candles, wine, cards, pins,leather,coals, &c. even to the sole gathering of rags.
Grants were given out for weighing huy and straw within three miles of London ; for guaging red herring barrels, and butter casks ; for marking iron, and sealing lace ;* with a great many others; wbich being purchased of the crown, must be paid for by the subject. His majesty claimed a right in cases of necessity (of which necessity himself was the sole judge) to raise money by ship writs, or royal mandates, directed to the sheriff's of the several counties, to levy on the subject the several sums of money therein demanded, for the maintenance and support of the royal navy. The like was demanded for the royal army, by the name of coat and conduct money, when they were to march; and when they were in quarters, the men were billeted upon private houses. Many
* Stevens's Historical Acconnt of all Taxes, p. 153-1. 2d. edit.
were put to death by martial law, who ought to have been tried by the laws of the land ; and others by the same mar. tial law were exempted from the punishment, which by law they deserved. Large sunis of money were raised by commissions under the great seal, to compound for depopulations, for nuisances in building between high and low water mark, for pretended encroachments on the forests, &c. beside the exorbitant
fines of the star-chamber and high commission court; and the extraordinary projects of loans, benevolences, and free gifts. Such was the calamity of the times, that no man could call any thing his own longer than the king pleased ; or might speak or write against these proceedings, without the utmost hazard of his liberty and estate.
The church was governed by the like arbitrary and illegal methods; Dr. Laud, bishop of London, being prime minister, pursued his wild scheme of uniting the two churches of England and Rome,* without the least regard to the rights of conscience, or the laws of the land, and very sel . dom to the canons of the church, bearing down all who opposed him with unrelenting severity and rigor. To make way
for this union, the churches were not only to be repaired, but ornamented with pictures, paintings, images, altarpieces, &c. the forms of public worship were to be decorated with a number of pompous rites and ceremonies,
* Dr. Grey is much displeased with Mr. Neal for this representation of Laud's views; but, without bringing any direct evidences to refute it, he appeals to the answer of Fisher, and the testimonies of Sir Edward Deering and Limborch to shew, that the archbishop was not a papist. This may be admitted and the proofs of it are also adduced by Dr. Harris, (Life of Charles I. p. 207,] yet it will not be so easy to acquit Laud of a partiality for the church, though not the court, of Rome, according to the distinction May makes in his parliamentary history. It will not be so easy to clear him of the charge of symbolizing with the church of Rome in its two leading features, superstition and intol, erance. Under his primacy the church of England, it is plain, assumed a very popish appearance. “ Not only the pomps of ceremonies was dai"ly increased, and innovations of great scandal brought into church ; but
in point of doctrine, many fair approaches made towards Rome.” Even Heylin says, s tlie doctrines are altered in many things ; as, for ex
ample, the pope not antichrist, pictures, free-will, &c. the thirty-nine “articles seeming patient, if not ambitious also, of some catholic sense.” May's Parliamentary History, p. 22-3 ; and Hevlin's Life of Laud, p. 252. · Ed.