Benefield, Sebastian

, an eminent divine of the seventeenth century, was born August 12, 1559, at Prestonbury in Gloucestershire. He was admitted, at seventeen years of age, a scholar of Corpus Christi college, Oxford, and probationer-fellow of the same house, April 16, 1590. After he had taken the degree of master of arts, he went into holy orders, and distinguished himself as a preacher. In 1599, he was appointed rhetoric -reader of his college, and the year following was admitted to the reading of the sentences. In 1608, he took the degree of doctor in divinity, and five years after was chosen Margaret professor | in that university. He filled the divinity chair with great reputation, and after fourteen years resigned it. He had been presented, several years before, to the rectory of Meysey-Hampton, near Fairford in Gloucestershire, upon the ejection of his predecessor for simony and now he retired to that benefice, and spent there the short remainder of his life (about four years) in a pious and devout retreat from the world. Dr. Benefield was so eminent a scholar, disputant, and divine, and particularly so well versed in the fathers and schoolman, that he had not his equal in the university. He was strongly attached to the opinions of Calvin, especially that of predestination; insomuch that Humphrey Leach calls him a downright and doctrinal Calvinist. He has been branded likewise with the character of a schismatic: but Dr. Ravis, bishop of London, acquitted him of this imputation, and declared him to be “free from schism, and much abounding in science.” He was remarkable for strictness of life and sincerity; of a retired and sedentary disposition, and consequently less easy and affable in conversation. This worthy divine died in the parsonage house of Meysey-Hampton, August 24, 1630, and was buried in the chancel of his parish church, the 29th of the same month. His works are, 1. “Doctrinac Christianas sex Capita totidem praelectionibus in schola theologica Oxoniensi pro forma habitis discussa et disceptata,” Oxon. 1610, 4to. 2. “Appendix ad Caput secundum de consiliis Evangelicis, &c. adversus Humphredum Leach.” This is printed with the foregoing treatise. 3. “Eight sermons publicly preached in the university of Oxford, the second at St. Peter’s in the East, the rest at St. Mary’s church. Began Dec. 14, 1595,Oxford, 1614, 4to. 4. “The sin against the Holy Ghost discovered, and other Christian doctrines delivered, in twelve Sermons upon part of the tenth chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews,Oxford, 1615, 4to. 5. “A commentary or exposition upon the first chapter of Amos, delivered in twenty-one sermons in the parish-church of Meysey-Hampton in the diocese of Gloucester,Oxford, 1613, 4to. This work was translated into Latin by Henry Jackson of Corpus Christi college, and printed at Oppenheim in 1615, 8vo. 6. “Several Sermons, on occasional subjects.” 7. “A commentary, or exposition upon the second chapter of Amos, delivered in twenty-one sermons, in the parish-church of Meysey-Hampton, &c.London, | 1620, 4to. 8. “Prselectiones de perseverantia Sanctorum,” Francfort, 1618, 8vo. 9. “A commentary, or exposition on the third chapter of Amos, &c.London, 1629, 4to. 10. There is extant likewise a Latin sermon of Dr. Benefield’s on Revelations v. 10. printed in 1616, 4to. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. Biog. Brit.