Parker, Robert

, was a puritan divine of considerable learning and reading, but his early history is very variously represented. Mr. Brook, in his late “Lives of the Puritans,” places him as rector of North- Benflete, in Essex, in 1571, on the authority of Newcourt, but Newcourt is evidently speaking of a Robert Parker, who held Bardfield-parva in 1559, and must have been a different person. On the other hand, Mr. Masters, in his History of C. C. C. C informs us that he was in 1581 a pensioner of Bene’t college, Cambridge, and was made scholar of the house in 1583, at which time he published a copy of Latin verses on the death of sir William Buttes, and succeeded to a fellowship in the latter end of the year following. He was then A. B. but commenced A. M. in 1585, and left the university in 1589. Both his biographers agree that the person they speak of was beneficed afterwards at Wilton, in Wiltshire, and the author of “A scholastical Discourse against symbolizing with Anti-christ in ceremonies, especially in the sign of the Cross,” printed in 1607, without a printer’s name, consisting of near 400 pages closely printed in folio. In this he appears to have employed very extensive reading to very little purpose, according to Dr. Grey; and even Mr. Pierce, in his “Vindication of the Dissenters,” owns that “his fancy was somewhat odd as to his manner of handling his argument.” It contained at the same time matter so very offensive, that a proclamation was issued for apprehending the author, who, after many narrow escapes, was enabled to take refuge in Holland. Here some of his biographers inform us that he was chosen minister of the English church at Amsterdam; but the magistrates of the city, being unwilling to disoblige the king of England by continuing him their pastor, he removed to Doesburgh, where he became chaplain to the garrison. Others tell us that he would have been chosen pastor to the English church at Amsterdam, had not the magistrates been afraid of disobliging king James. According to Mr. Brook, it would appear that he had published his work “De Descensu” before he left England, but we can more safely rely on Mr. Masters, who had seen the book, and who informs us that it was while he was at Amsterdam that he published a treatise, “De Descensu | domini nostri Jesu Christi ad Inferos,” 4to, which had been begun by his learned friend Hugh Sandforcl, who finding death approaching, committed the perfecting of it to him. This he was about to do when compelled to leave England. His preface is dated Amsterdam, Dec. 30, 1611. He was also the author of a treatise “De Politia Ecclesiastica Christi et Hierarchicaopposita,” published in 1616, at which time he had been dead two years. He is indeed here represented “as an Eminent servant of Christ, called home to rest from his labours in the midst of his course.” The Bodleian catalogue assigns to him two other posthumous works, “A Discourse concerning Puritans,1641, 4to, and “The Mystery of the Vials opened in the 16th chapter of the Revelations.” He left a son, Thomas, author of a work called “Methodus gratioe divinse in traductione hominis peccatoris ad vitam,” Lond. 1657, 8vo, which the editor considered as a work of importance by the care he took to collate four ms copies. Brook says he wrote also “Meditations on the Prophecy of Daniel,” and died in 1677, in New England, to which he went in 1634, to avoid the consequences of nonconformity at home. 1

1 Master’s Hist, of C. C. C. C. Brook’s Lives of the Puritans. Neal’s Patitans, with Grey’s Examination, vol. I.