Rainbow, Edward

, a pious and exemplary bishop of Carlisle, was born April 20, 1608, at Bliton, a village in Lincolnshire near Gainsborough. His father, Thomas, was at this time rector of Bliton, and afterwards of Wintringham in the same county; both which preferments he owed to the Wrays of Glentworth. He married Rebecca Allen, daughter of the rev. David Allen, rector of Ludbrough, a very learned lady, who had been successfully taught Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, by her father. Under such parents he had the advantage of a religious as well as learned education. For the latter purpose he was sent first to Fillingham, and next, in 16 19, to the public school of Gainsborough, whence, in April 1620, he was removed to Peterborough in Northamptonshire, and put under the tuition of Dr. John Williams, afterwards archbishop of York, but then a prebendary of Peterborough, and a good friend of old Mr. Rainbow. In order to have the farther advantage of this gentleman’s protection, he was sent, in June 1621, to Westminster school, Dr. Williams being then dean of Westminster. In all these places his progress was marked by great diligence and proficiency in his studies, and a conduct which did credit to the instructions of his parents.

In July 1623, he was entered of Corpus Christi college, Oxford, of which his elder brother was now a member, and afterwards died a fellow. Here he remained until June 1, 1625, when he removed to Magdalen college, Cambridge, in order to enjoy one of the scholarships then founded by the countess dowager of Warwick, who herself nominated him to the same. In 1627 he took his degree of B. A. and that of M. A. in 1630, and soon after was appointed by the great patron, of his family, sir John Wray, to be master of the free-school at Kirton, three or four | miles from Bliton, his native place. Hi* testimonials from the university proved that he was more than sufficient foe this situation. He had indeed, while at college, distinguished himself on one or two occasions by an uncommon display of talent, particularly when the Tripos delivered a scurrilous speech, and being interrupted, Mr. Rainbow was ordered, without any preparation, to take his place. On this occasion he delivered an extempore speech with so much delicacy of wit, and chastened satire, as to receive universal approbation.

Kirton school; to which he had now removed, was never much to his liking, and he therefore soon left it, and came to London. When he was admitted to orders does not appear, but we first hear of his preaching at Glentworth in 1632. In London he first took up his residence in Eulier’s Rents, but in three months removed to Sion college for the sake of the library there. He also became a candidate for the preachership of Lincoln’s-inn, but was not successful. In June of that year, however, he was appointed curate at the Savoy, and being invited back to his college by Dr. Smith the master, and some others of the society, he was, in 1634, admitted to a fellowship. After his return to the university, he appears to have resided occasionally, or for some stated time, annually, at London, where, in the year above mentioned, he preached one sermon, printed at the request of his friends, and another in 1639 hut it was at the university that his sermons were most admired, and his hearers most numerous. Here too, as in the case of the tripos, he was suddenly called upon to supply the place of a gentleman who was unexpectedly absent, and acquitted himself with great credit, in an extempore discourse. He does not, however, appear to have reviewed his early sermons with much pleasure, finding that he had indulged too much in a declamatory kind of style, which he did not think becoming in such compositions, nor to be preferred to the plain exposition of the doctrinal parts of the Holy Scriptures. With the same conscientious feeling, when he became a college tutor in 1635, he added to other branches of instruction, a knowledge of the foundation and superstructure of religion and so acceptable was his mode of teaching, that the master of the college recommended to his care, the sons of some noblemen, particularly Theophilus earl of Suffolk. In 1639, he was chosen dean of his college, and the following year attended | James earl of Suffolk, son to Theophilus, to the Long parliament. In 1642, on the death of Dr. Smith, he was elected master of Magdalen college, with the concurrence of the earl. In 1646 he took his degree of D. D. and chose for the subject of his thesis a defence of the principles of the church of England, as containing every thing necessary to salvation. For some time he does not appear to have been molested for this attempt to support a church which the majority were endeavouring to pull down. In 1650, however, when he refused to sign a protestation Against the king, he was deprived of the mastership, which he was very willing to give up rather than comply with the party in power. His steady friend, however, the earl of Suffolk, gave him the small living of Little Chesterford near Audley Inn in Essex, in 1652, but this he held only by his lordship’s presentation, as he determined never to submit to an examination by the republican triers, as they were called.

Unpromising as his situation now was, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. Smith, his predecessor in the mastership of the college. In performing his duties as a parish priest, he used a selection from the common prayerbook, with which his hearers, many of whom had never read them* were very much pleased. He also regularly visited and catechised his flock, and by works of charity gradually gained upon their affections. In 1659, he accepted the rectory of Benefield in Northamptonshire, from the earl of Warwick, but still on condition of having nothing to do with the triers; and here likewise he became very popular.

On the restoration, in 1660, he was replaced in the mastership of Magdalen college, appointed chaplain to the king, and the year following was promoted to the deanery of Peterborough. In 1662, being elected vice-chancellor of the university, which obliged him to reside there, he greatly contributed to restore proper discipline. In 1664, he was appointed bishop of Carlisle, so much against his inclination, that it required the utmost importunity of his friends to reconcile him to a station for which his modesty made him think he was unfit. After consecration, although the expences attending his entrance on this office were very considerable, he immediately resigned all his other preferments but when he found in what a state his predecessor (Dr. Stern) had left the episcopal residence, Rose | castle, he thought it his duty, however unwillingly, to sue him for dilapidations. He then, at great ex pence, repaired the castle, and rebuilt the chapel entirely. His more serious attention, however, was bestowed on the various duties of his office, both with respect to the clergy and people. To the former, in particular, he set an example of diligence in preaching, catechising, &c. and in hospitality. He had prayers four times a day in his family. After continuing this course for twenty years, he became a martyr to the stone and gout, with alternate fits of both which he had long been afflicted. He died at Hose castle, March 26, 1684, in his seventy-sixth year, and was interred in Dalston church-yard, where a plain stone intimates only his name and title. He printed three occasional sermons one we have already mentioned, which was preached at St. Paul’s cross, Sept. 28, 1634, entitled “Labour forbidden and commanded” the second was on the funeral of Susannah, countess of Suffolk, preached May 13, 1649, and printed with some elegies by Drs. Collins and Duport. This Baxter recommended to be reprinted among Clark’s Lives. The third was on the funeral of the celebrated Anne countess of Pembroke, Dorset, and Montgomery, at Appleby in Westmoreland, April 14, 1676. He appears to have been a man of polite manners, uncommon learning, and of exemplary piety and charity. In 1670, he joined with Dr. Wilkins, bishop of Chester, in opposing the conventicle act. 1

1 Life by Jonathan Banks, and Funeral Sermon by his chaplain, the rev. Thos. Tu!ly, 1688, 12mo.