Keach, Benjamin

, a Baptist divine of considerable note in his day, and some of whose writings are still popular, was born Feb. 29, 1640, at Stokehaman in Buckinghamshire: he appears to have had no regular education, owing to the poverty of his parents, and for some time worked at a trade. He read much, however, in the religious controversies of the times, and entertaining doubts of the validity of infant baptism, was himself re- baptised by immersion, when in his fifteenth year, and joined himself to a congregation of Baptists. Between this and his eighteenth year, he probably studied with a view to the ministry, as at that latter period, he became a preacher, and some time after his settlement in London, attached himself to the particular or Calvinistic Baptists. After the restoration, he frequently was involved in prosecutions, owing to the bold avowal of his sentiments, especially in a little tract called “The Child’s Instructor,” in which he asserted that infants ought not to be baptised; that laymen, having abilities, might preach the gospel, &c. For this he was tried at Aylesbury assizes, Oct. 8, 1664, and sentenced to imprisonment and pillory, the latter of which was executed at the market-place of Winslou-, where he was then a preacher. In 1668 he was chosen pastor of a congregation of Baptists in Goat-yard passage, Horsleydown, Southwark. In 1674 and some following years, he had a controversy, concerning his particular tenets, with Baxter, Burkitt, Flavel, and others, and with some of his own persuasion, concerning certain minute points of discipline. He was in all his opinions sincere, and accounted a man of great piety, and of very considerable knowledge, considering the want of early education and opportunities. He died July Ks, 1704, and was interred in the burialground belonging to the Baptists, in the Park Southwark. He published a great many tracts, some controversial and some practical. His “Travels of True Godliness,” and “Travel-* of Ungodliness,” written in the manner of Bunyan, have passed through many editions, and are still popular; but his ablest works are his “Key to open Scripture Metaphors,” first published in 1682; and his “Exposition of the Parables,1704, both in folio. 1


Crosby’s Hist. of the Baptists.—Wilson’s Hist, of Dissenting Churches.