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nished himself with a large fund of rational and theological learning, the fruits whereof were very conspicuous in his following life. On July 9, 1652, he took the degree of Master of Arts ; having gone through a course of philosophy, studied the heathen Moralifts, read over the accounts we have remaining of the pagan theology, the writings of the School-men, and several systems of the Reformers, and the Divines who succeeded them: but, as he signified to a friend, he had thoroughly studied the sacred Scriptures, and from thence had drawn up a body of divinity, for himself and his own use, which he saw very little occasion afterwards to vary from, in compliance with the schemes of others.
After his taking his last degree, Mr. Howe became a preacher, and was ordained by Mr. Charles Herle at his Church of Winwick in Lancashire ; which is noted for being one of the richest Churches in England. In his parish there were several chapelries, and the ministers that officiated in them; assisted at the ordination, and joined in laying on hands
upon which made him often say, that few in modern times, had so truly primitive an ordination as he had.
In a little time he was called to Great Torrington in Devonshire, where he exercised his ministry with much diligence and fuccess. There he had a numerous auditory, and a very flourishing Christian society under his pastoral care ; and thought of no other than of living and dying with them. But notwithstanding his painful labours among them, he found leisure to keep up a good correspondence with the ministers in the neighbourhood, and all over the country, by whom he was greatly esteemed; but especially by the famous Mr. George Hughes. of Plymouth, whose daughter he married March 1, 1654 (C).
Some time after Mr. Howe, having occasion to take a journey to London, was de
(C) Those two Gentlemen kept up a weekly mutual coi respondence by latin letters, and with relation to one of them Dr. Calamy tells the following remarkable paffage. " Mr. Howe happened to have a “ fire in his house at Torrington, which might have “ been ruinous to his family, if a violent rain, ss which fell just at that time, had not contributed “ greatly to extinguish it. On that very day it so “ fell out that he received a letter from his Father " Hughes, which concluded with this prayer ; Sit “ ros Cæli fuper habitaculum vestrim! Let the dew of “ heaven be upon your dwelling! Which was a “ prayer the seasonableness of which for his children, “ in the letter of it, the good man could not appre“ hend at the time of writing ; but they could not “ but affectionately remark upon it, who received « it.” p. 5. fol. edit. p. 15, 16. oct.
tained there longer than he intended. He had the curiosity to go one Lord's-day (and it was the last that he designed to continue in town) to be an auditor at the chappel at Whitehall. Cromwel, who generally had his
eyes every where, spied out Mr. Howe in the auditory, and knew him by his garb to be a country minister ; and thinking he discerned something more than ordinary in his countenance, he sent a messenger to him to desire to speak with him when the worship of God was over. Upon his coming to him Cromwel requested him to preach before him the Lord's-day following. Mr. Howe was surprized with the unexpected motion, and modestly desired to be excused. Cromwel told him it was a vain thing to attempt to excuse himself, for that he would have no denial. Mr. Howe pleaded, that having dispatched what business he had in town, he was tending homewards, and could not be absent any longer without inconvenience. Cromwel inquired what great damage he was liable to sustain, by tarrying a little longer ? Mr. Howe replied, that his people, who were very kind to him, would be uneasy, and think he neglected them, and slighted their respect. Cromwel promised to write to them himself, and to
fend one down to supply his place,' and actually did so; and Mr. Howe staid, and preached as he was desired. But when he had given him one Sermon, Cromwel still pressed for a second, and a third ; and at last after a great deal of free conversation in private, nothing would serve him (who could not bear to be contradicted, after he had once got
power in his hands) but he must have him to be his houshold Chaplain ; and he would take care his place should be supplied at Torrington, to the full satisfaction of the people. Mr. Howe did all that lay in his power to excuse himself and get off, but no denial would be admitted (D). At length (though not without great reluctance) he was prevailed with to comply, and remove with his family to Whitehall, where several of his children
And in this difficult station he indeavoured to be faithful, and to keep a good conscience. And as an argument of
uncommon (D) This remarkable story is told with some little variation, and additional circumstances, by Dr. Calamy, in the Continuation of his account of the ejected ministers; worthy of the reader's perusal. Vol. III. p. 250, 251.
ALL historians, almost, have taken notice of Oliver Cromwel's fagacity and penetration, peculiar to himself, in finding out men of merit and ability ; and of his resolution to compel, as it were, such per-, fons into his service : who, like our Author, found it was to no purpose to dispute the matter with one,
uncommon conduct and caution it has been observed by several, that there was hardly any man, who was in an eminent public station in these critical times, and was admitted to the knowledge of so many secrets as he was, who was so free from censure in the changes that afterwards succeeded. He did not improve his interest in those, who then had the management of affairs in their hands, either to the inriching himself, or the doing ill offices to others, tho' of known differing sentiments ; but readily embraced every occasion that offered, of serving the interest of religion and learning, and in opposing the errors and designs, which at that. time threatned both (E). There were many
to who did not use to be denied. Particularly the anonymous author of the critical review of the political life of Oliver Cromwel t, lately published, says; “ This must be said to Cromwel's honour, that tho' " he was not the most learned man of his time, yet " he greatly respected, and not only fo but patronized “ men of genius and wit, whom he often took pains “ to find out.” And the same writer further says, “ No man ever dived into the manners and minds “ of those about him with more penetration, nor “ sooner discovered their natural tempers and talents " than himself. If he chanced to hear of, or see a “ man that was fit for his purpose, though never lo “ obscure, he sent for him, and imployed him ; suit“ ing the imployment to the person, and not the « person to the employment."
p. 237, 2d edit. (E) AMONG many instances of our Author's generous temper, while he lived at court; Dr. Calamy