Parker, Samuel

, a man of some learning, and no contemptible writer, but of despicable character, was born in Sept. 1640, at Northampton, where his father, John Parker, then practised the law. John had been bred to that profession in one of the Temples at London, and inclining to the parliament against the king, was preferred to be a member of the high court of justice in 1649, in which office he gave sentence against the three lords, Capel, Holland, and Hamilton, who were beheaded. During Oliver’s usurpation he was made an assistant committeeman for his county. In 1650, be published a book in defence of the new government, as a commonwealth, without a king or house of lords, entitled “The Government of the People of England, precedent and present,” with an emblematical engraved title-page. In June 1655, when Cromwell was declared protector, he was appointed one of the commissioners for removing obstructions at Worcesterhouse, in the Strand, near London, and was sworn serjeant at law next day. In Jan. 1659, he was appointed by the rump-parliament one of the barons of the exchequer; but, | upon a complaint against him, was soon after displaced. His character, however, appears to have been such, that he was again made regularly serjeant at law, by the recommendation of chancellor Hyde, at the first call after the return of Charles II.

His son, Samuel, the subject of the present article, was educated among the Puritans at Northampton; whence, when prepared for the university, he was sent to Wadhamcollege in Oxford, and admitted, in 1659, under a presbyterian tutor. While here he affected to lead a strict and religious life, entered into a weekly society, then called the gruellers, because their chief diet was water-gruel; and it was observed “that he put more graves into his porridge than all the rest.” This society met at a house in Holywell, where he was so zealous and constant an attendant upon prayers, sermons, and sacraments, that he was esteemed one of the most valuable young men in the university. He took the degree B. A. Feb. 28, 1660. At the time of the restoration he was a violent independent, and as for some time he continued to rail against episcopacy, he was much discountenanced by the new warden, Dr. Blandford. Upon this he removed to Trinity college, where, by the advice of Dr. Ralph Bathurst, then a senior fellow of that society, he was induced to change his opinions, and became as violent against the nonconformists as he had ever been for them. He afterwards thanked Dr. Bathurst for having restored him “from the chains and fetters of an unhappy education.” He now proceeded M. A. in 1663, and having taken orders, resorted frequently to London, and became chaplain to a nobleman, whom he amused by his humourous sallies at the expence of his old friends the presbyterians, independents, &c. Mason was never more mistaken than when in his “Ode to Independence” he mentions him by the epithet “mitred dullness.” Parker was undoubtedly a man of wit, and although Marvell was his match, yet the success of the latter was not a little owing to his having the best cause.

In 1665 he was elected a fellow of the royal society, and published about the same time some physico-theological essays, in Latin, with the title “Tentamina Physico-Theologica de Deo; sive Theologia Scholastica, ad normarn novae et reformats philosophise concinnata,” Lond. 1665, 4to. This he dedicated to archbishop Sheldon. The work was attacked by N. Fairfax, M. D. in a treatise with the | whimsical title of “The Bulk and Selvedge of the World.” In 1666 he published “A free and impartial Censure of the Platonic Philosophy;” and shortly after “An account of the nature and extent of the Divine Dominion and Goodness, especially as they refer to the Origenian hypothesis concerning the pre-existence of souls, together with a special account of the vanity and groundlessness of the hypothesis itself,” Oxon. 166o, 4to. About Michaelmas, 1667, archbishop Sheldon appointed him one of his chaplains, a proof that at this time he was in estimation; and this seems to have led the way to higher preferment. He now left Oxford, and resided at Lambeth, under the eye of his patron; who, in June 1670, collated him to the archdeaconry of Canterbury, in the room of Dr. Sancroft, afterwards archbishop. On Nov. 26, the same year, having accompanied William prince of Orange on his visit to Cambridge, he bad the degree of D. D. conferred upon him. On Nov. 18, 1672, he was installed prebendary of Canterbury and had the rectories of Ickham and Chartham, in Kent, conferred upon him by the archbishop about the same time. About this time he published some of those writings against the presbyterians which involved him in a controversy. The first of these was his “Discourse of Ecclesiastical Polity, wherein the authority of the civil magistrate over the consciences of subjects in matters of external religion is asserted.” This was first answered by the anonymous author of “Insolence and Impudence triumphant,” &c. 1669; and by Dr. John Owen, in “Truth and Innocence vindicated.” He then published “A Defence and Continuation of Ecclesiastical Polity (against Dr. Owen),” Lond. 1671, 8vo “Toleration discussed,” &c. 1670, 4to “A Discourse in Vindication of bishop Bramhall and the Church of England, from the fanatic charge of Popery,” &c. This was prefixed to a “Treatise” of the said bishop, written in his own defence, 1672, 8vo. A humourous censure of this piece being published by Andrew Marvell, entitled ‘< The Rehearsal Transprosed,“&c. our author, in the same humourous taste, wroteA Reproof to the Rehearsal Transprosed,“1673, 8vo. Wood, however, observes, that,” finding himself beaten in this cudgelling way, his high spirit was abated for ever after, and though Marvell replied to his ‘ Reproof,’ yet he judged it more prudent to lay down the cudgels. It put him upon a more sober, serious, and moderate way of writing.“(See Marvell.) Parker’s last | publication in this controversy wasA free and impartial Inquiry into the causes of that very great esteem and honour the Nonconformist Ministers are in with their followers,“1673, 8vo. In 1678 he published his” Disputationes de Deo et providentia divina,“&c. 4to, which is highly commended by Dr. Henry More in the general preface to his works. This was followed by other works, entitled” Demonstration of the divine authority of the Law of Nature, and of the Christian Religion,“1681, 4to” The Case of the Church of England briefly stated in the three first and fundamental principles of a Christian Church. I. The Obligation of Christianity by Divine Right. II. The Jurisdiction of the Church by Divine Right. III. The institution of Episcopal Superiority by Divine Right,“London, 8vo;” An account of the Government of the Christian Church, in the first six hundred years; particularly shewing, I. The Apostolical practice of Diocesan and Metropolitical Episcopacy. II. The usurpation of patriarchal and papal authority. III. The war of two hundred years between the bishops of Rome and Constantinople, of universal supremacy,“London, 1683, 8vo;Religion and Loyalty, or, a demonstration of the power of the Christian Church within itself, supremacy of sovereign powers over it, and duty of passive obedience and nonresistance to all their commands, exemplified out of records,“&c. 8vo and the year following, the second part of the same work, containing” the history of the concurrence of the imperial and ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the Government of the Church, from the beginning of the reign of Jovian to the end of Justinian," 1685, 8vo.

As he thus by his writings, as well as personal conduct, maintained an unreserved obsequiousness to the court, during the reign of Charles II. so upon the accession of his brother to the throne, he continued in the same servile complaisance; and it was not long before he reaped the fruits of it in the bishopric of Oxford, to which he was nominated by James II. on the death of Dr. Fell in 1686, being allowed to hold the archdeaconry of Canterbury in commendam. He was also made a privy counsellor, and constituted, by a royal mandamus, president of Magdalencollege in Oxford, a situation which amounted to a disgrace, as it was in violation of the statutes, and in resistance to the lawful election of Dr. Hough. (See Hough )

Having now openly rejected the church of England, | which he had sacrificed to his ambition, he became one of the Romish mercenaries, prostituting his pen in defence of transubstantiation, and the worship of saints and images. The papists, it is certain, made sure of him as a proselyte; one of whom, in a letter from Liege, informs his correspondent that he even proposed in council, whether it was not expedient that at least one college in Oxford should be allowed to be catholics, that they might not be forced to be at such charges by going beyond the seas to study. In the same spirit, having invited two popish noblemen, with a third of the church of England, to an entertainment, he drank the king’s health, wishing a happy success to all his affairs; adding, that the religion of the protestants in England seemed to him to be in no better a condition than Buda was before it was taken, and that they were next to Atheists who defended that faith. So very notorious was his conduct, that the more prudent and artful of the popish party condemned it. Father Peter, a Jesuit, and privy-counsellor to king James, in a letter to father la Chaise, confessor to Louis XIV. uses these expressions: “The bishop of Oxford has not yet declared himself openly; the great obstacle is his wife, whom he cannot rid himself of; his design being to continue a bishop, and only change communion, as it is not doubted but the king will permit, and our holy father confirm; though I don’t see how he can be farther useful to us in the religion he is in, because he is suspected, and of no esteem among the heretics of the English church; nor do I see that the example of his conversion is like to draw many others after him, because he declared himself so suddenly. If he had believed my counsel, which was to temporize for some longer time, he would have done better; but it is his temper, or rather zeal, that hurried him on to it.” These two letters were first printed in a “Third Collection of Papers relating to the present juncture of affairs in England,” &c. \6S9 9 4to, and have been since inserted in Echard’s and Rapin’s histories.

His character was now become contemptible, and his authority in his diocese so very insignificant, that when he assembled his clergy and desired them to subscribe an “Address of Thanks to the king for his declaration of Liberty of Conscience,” they rejected it with such unanimity, that he got but one clergyman to concur with him in it. The last effort he made to serve the court was his | publishing “Reasons for abrogating the Test” and this produced a controversy, in which he was completely foiled, his character despised, and his spirit broken. He died unlamented at Magdalen college, May 20, 1687, and was buried in the outer chapel. He was a man of learning, and in some instances an acute writer*. Of that character MarvelPs wit cannot deprive him. But it may be allowed, with Burnet, that he was a man of no judgment, and of as little virtue; and as to religion, rather impious; that he was covetous and ambitious, and seemed to have no other sense ofreligion but as a political interest, and a subject of party and faction. He seldom came to prayers, or to any exercises of devotion; and was so lifted up with pride that he grew insufferable to all that came near him.

It must have been as the last effort of a desperate cause when he sent a “Discourse” to James, persuading him to embrace the protestant religion, with a “Letter” to the same purpose, which was printed at London in 1690, 4to. His works have but few readers at this day; and Swift observes, that “MarvelPs remarks on Parker continued to be read when the book which occasioned them was long ago sunk.” He left a son of his own name, who was an excellent scholar, and a man of singular modesty. He never took the oaths after the revolution. He married a bookseller’s daughter at Oxford, where he resided with a numerous family of children to support which he published some books, particularly, 1 “An English Translation of Tully de finibus, 1702,” 8vo, in the preface to which he has some animadversions upon Locke’s Essay concerning Human Understanding. 2. “An abridgment of the Ecclesiastic Histories of Eusebius, Socrates, Sozornen, and Theotloret,1729. He also published a Latin manuscript of his father, containing the history of his own time, under this title, “Reverendi admodum in Christo patris Samuelis Parkeri episcopi de rebus sui temporis commentariorum libri quatuor,1726, 8vo, of which,’ two English translations were afterwards published, one by the rev. Thomas Newlin, fellow of Magdalen college. But Mr. Parker’s last and greatest work was entitled “Bibliotheca Biblica,” printed at Oxford in 5 vols. 4to, the first of which appeared in two parts in 1720, and the fifth in

* Lardner speaks in terms of re- use of it in chapter xxxix of his ‘ Tesspect of his “Demonstration of the timonies of Ancient Heathens,” vol. Divioe Authority," and makes great VIII. of his Works.
| 1735, with an account of the other writings of the author, and some particulars of his life, drawn up by Dr. Thomas Haywood, of St. John’s college, to whom were attributed most of the dissertations in the work. He describes it as “being a new Comment upon the five Books of Moses, extracted from the ancient fathers, and the most famous critics both ancient and modern, with occasional annotations or dissertations upon particular difficulties, as they were often called for.” Mr. Parker died July 14, 1730, in his fiftieth year, leaving a widow and children. The metrical paraphrase of Leviticus xi. 13, &c. in vol. Hi. was written by Mr. Warton, of Magdalen college, father to the late learned brothers, Joseph and Thomas Warton; and the “Fragment of Hyppolitus, taken out of two Arabic Mss. in the Bodleian,” in the fourth vol. was translated by the late Dr. Hunt. Mr. Parker never was in orders, as he could not reconcile his mind to the new government; but he associated much and was highly respected by many divines, particularly nonjurors, as Dr. Hickes, Mr. Collier, Mr. Dodwell, Mr. Leslie, Mr. Nelson, and Dr. Grabe, whose liberality lessened the difficulties which a very large family occasioned. He appears to have had a place in the Bodleian library, as Mr. Wheatly, in a letter to Dr. Rawlinson, dated Dec. 1739, says, “Sam. Parker’s son I had heard before was apprenticed to Mr. Clements: but the account you give me of his extraordinary proficiency is new. If it be true also, I hope some generous patron of learning will recall him from the bookseller’s shop, and place him in his father’s seat, the Bodleian library.” This son, Sackville Parker, was afterwards for many years an eminent bookseller at Oxford, and one of the four Octogenarian booksellers, who died in 1795 and 1796, namely, James Fletcher, at eighty-six; Sackville Parker, at eightynine; Stephen Fletcher, at eighty -two, and Daniel Prince, at eighty-five. They were all born at Oxford, except James Fletcher. The present worthy bookseller, Mr. Joseph Parker, is nephew and successor to Mr. Sackville Parker. 1
1

Ath. Ox. vol. II. Biog. Brit. Burnet’s Own Times. —Gent. Mag. vol. LXX. p. 7. Letters by eminent Persons, 1813, 3 vols. 8vo D’Israeli’s Quarrl, vol. II. p. 17*. Crosby’s Baptist!, vol. II. Nirhols’t Bowyer.