Grew, Obadiah

, a worthy parish priest, was born in November 1607, at Atherston, in the parish of Manceter, Warwickshire; and, having been well grounded in grammar-learning under his uncle Mr. John Denison, was admitted a student of Baliol college, Oxford, in 1624. Here pursuing his studies carefully, he became qualified for academical honours; and, taking both his degrees in arts at the regular times, he was ordained at twenty-eight years of age by Dr. Wright, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. In the beginning of the civil wars he sided with the parliament party, took the covenant, and, at the request of the corporation of Coventry, became minister of the great parish of St. Michael in that city, in which station he was admired for his conscientious performance of all his duties. The soundness of his doctrine according to his persuasion, the prudence and sanctity of his conversation, the vigilancy and tenderness of his care, were of that constant tenor, that he seemed to do all which the best writers upon the | pastoral office tell us should be done. As he sided with the presbyterians against the hierarchy, so he joined with that party also against the design of destroying the king. In this, as in other things, he acted both with integrity and courage, of which we have the following remarkable instances. In 1648, when Cromwell, then lieutenant-general, was at Coventry upon his march towards London, Mr. Grew took this opportunity to represent to him the wickedness of the design, then evidently on foot, for taking off his majesty, and the sad consequences thereof, should it take effect; earnestly pressing him to use his endeavours to prevent it, and not ceasing to solicit him till he obtained his promise for it. Nor was he satisfied with this; for afterwards, when the design became more apparent, he addressed a letter to him, reminding him of his promise, and took care to have his letter delivered into CromwelPs own hands. At another time he was required to read in the church the proclamation against sir George Booth, and threatened by Lambert’s soldiers, then in Coventry, with the loss of his place if he refused, yet he determined not to read it. Of his liberality we have this instance: When Mr. Panton, a minister of the royalist party, was obliged to sell his library, Dr. Grew bought some of the books, and being afterwards requested to return them, with an offer of the money he paid, he returned the books, but refused the money, as he knew that Mr. Panton could not yet afford the money so well as himself.

In 1651 he accumulated the degrees of divinity, and completed that of doctor the ensuing act, when he preached the “Concio ad Clerum” with applause. In 1654 he was appointed one of the assistants to the commissioners of Warwickshire, for the ejectionof such as were then called scandalous, ignorant, and insufficient ministers and school^ masters. He continued at St. Michael’s greatly esteemed and beloved among his parishioners, till his majesty’s restoration; after which he resigned his benefice in pursuance to the act of conformity in 1661, although bishop Hacket was urgent with him to conform, and allowed him to preach a month beyond the prescribed time, but he delivered his farewell sermon, and afterwards restricted his labours to a few private hearers. Even in this, however, he was carefully watched, and underwent some severe trials, particularly an imprisonment of six months. He still, however, preserved the respect and affection of the citizens | of Coventry till his death, which happened October 22, 1689. He published “A Sinner’s Justification by Christ, &c. delivered in several Sermons on Jer. ii. 6, 1670,” 8vo; and “Meditations upon our Saviour’s Parable of the Prodigal Son, &c. 1678,” 4to, both at the request, and for the common benefit, of some of his quondam parishioners. 1


Biog. Brit, note in art. Nehemiah Grew. —Calamy. Miscellaneous Antiquities, in continuation of the Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica, No. I. by Benjamin Barllett, esq, F. S. A.