Reynolds, Dward

, an English prelate of great eminence and talents, the son of Austin Reynolds, one of the customers of Southampton, was born there in November 1599, and educated at the free-school. In 1615 he became post-master of Merton-college, Oxford, and in 3620 probationer-fellow, for which preferment he was indebted to his proficiency in the Greek language, and his talents as a disputant and orator. After he had taken his master’s degree he went into orders, and was made preacher at Lincoln r s-inn, where he acquired much popularity. He also was preferred to the rectory of Braynton in Northamptonshire. Finding himself inclined to acquiesce in the breach that was to be made in the church at least, if not the state, when the rebellion broke out in 1642, he joined the presbyterian party? and in 1643 was nominated one of the assembly of divines, took the covenant, and frequently preached before the long parliament. That he was in their eyes a man of high consideration, appears from their naming him, in September 1646, one of the seven divines authorized by parliament to go to Oxford, and to preach in any church of that city, in lieu of the preachers appointed by the university.

In this mission he and his colleagues were at first interrupted by certain enthusiasts among the soldiers, headed by one Erbury, who maintained that the ordination of these divines was unlawful, and that no ordination was necessary for any man who had gifts. This was a favourite topic in those days, and is not yet exhausted. In the following year he was nominated to the more obnoxious office of one of | thevisitors of the university, and in Feb. 1 648 was chosen vice-chancellor, on the recommendation of the earl of Pembroke, then chancellor of the university. ID this last office he was to continue until August 1649. He was also, by a mandate from parliament, which now was supreme in all matters, created D. D. In March 1648 he was appointed dean of Christ church, in the room of Dr. Fell, who was ejected with no common degree of violence, Mrs. Fell and her family being literally dragged out of the deanery house by force. Dr. Reynolds being admitted into office in form, Wood says, “made a polite and accurate oration,” in Latin, in which “he spoke very modestly of himself, and how difficult it Was for a man that had sequestered himself from secular employments to be called to government, especially to sit at the stern in these rough and troublesome times; but since he had subjected himself to those that have authority to command him, he did desire that good example and counsel might prevail more in this reformation than severity and punishments.

Notwithstanding his acting with his brother-visitors in all the changes and ejectments they brought about in the university, he at length refused the engagement “to be true and faithful to the commonwealth of England, as established without a King and a House of Lords,” and therefore was in his turn ejected from his deanery, in 1651. He lived afterwards mostly in London, and preached there, as vicar of St. Lawrence-Jury. On the prospect of the restoration he joined with general Monk, to bring in the king, using his interest for that purpose in London, where he was the pride and glory of the presbyterian party. Dr. Pierce, in the introduction to his “Divine Purity defended,” says he was a person of great authority as well as fame among the Calvinists.

When the secluded members were admitted again to parliament, they restored him to his deanery of Christchurch, in May 1659. And in May following, 1660, he, with Mr. Edmund Calamy, was made chaplain to his majesty, then at Canterbury. After this he preached several times before the King and both Houses of Parliament; and in the latter end of June, being desired to quit his deanery, he was the next month elected, by virtue of the king’s letter, warden of Merton-college, and was consecrated bishop of Norwich Jan. 6, the same year. Sir Thomas Browne, who knew him well, gives him the character of a | person of singular affability, meekness, and humility, of great learning, a frequent preacher, and constant resident. But a more full account of our author is given in a funeral sermon preached at Norwich by the reverend Mr. Riveley, in July 1676, in which his character as a man of piety and learning, and as a divine and prelate, is highly praised. Wood, in his “Athenae,” says he was “a person of excellent parts and endowments, of a very good wit, fancy, and judgment, a great divine, and much esteemed by all parties, for his preaching, and fluid style.” In his “Annals” he is inclined to be less favourable. It was perhaps naturally to be expected that one who had taken so active a part in the revolutionary changes of the times, and yet afterwards accepted a bishopric, should not be much a favourite with either party. Wood also insinuates that Dr. Reynolds was much under the government of his wife, whom he calls “covetous and insatiable,” and concludes in these words: “In this I must commend him, that he hath been a benefactor (though not great) to Merton-college, that gave him all his academical education (for which in some manner the society hath shewed themselves grateful), and ‘tis very probable that greater he would have been, if not hindered by his beloved consort.

Dr. Reynolds assisted at the Savoy conference, and on the first day, according to Neal, spoke much for abatements and moderation, but afterwards sitting among the bishops, he only spoke now and then a qualifying word, but was heartily grieved for the fruitless issue of the conference.“The same author says that he was” prevailed with to accept a bishopric on the terms of the king’s declaration, which never took place.“But another of his biographers says,” His education gave him no prejudice to monarchy or episcopacy; and when a man can advance himself with a good conscience, why may he not leave what interest only had engaged him in? Let them that blame his last turn, justify him, if they can, in the former. He was now submitting to authority, however he had opposed it. Their standing out, and keeping up a schism, when they were put upon nothing but what they owned indifferent, has a worse look than returning from wrong to right," &c. Dr. Reynolds, however, after the government was completely re-established, became a constant resident in his diocese, and mixed no more with affairs of state. He died at the episcopal palace at | Norwich Jan. 16, 1676, aged seventy-six. He was buried at the upper end of the chapel (built by himself in 1662) joining to the bishop’s palace in Norwich. Over his grave, soon after his death, was fastened to the wall a marble table, on which his epitaph in Latin was engraven.

His works are, “The Vanity of the Creature,” on Eccies. i. 14. “Sinfulness of Sin,” on Rom. vii. 9, and on vi. 12. “Use of the Law,” on Horn. vii. 13. “Life of Christ,” on 1 John, v. 12. “An Explication of the ex Psalm.” “Meditations on the Holy Sacrament of the Lord’s last Supper.” “Explication of the 14 Chapter of Hosea, in seven Humiliation Sermons.” “A Treatise of the Passions and Faculties of the Soul of Man;” all or most of which having been printed several times in 4to, were collected in one large folio at London in 1658, with the author’s portrait, and went by the name of “Bishop Reynolds’s Works.” They were much bought up, read and recommended by men of several persuasions; and are written in a style superior to the generality of works of divinity in that age. “Thirty Sermons” preached on several occasions, between 1634, and his death, some of which had been printed several times, were reprinted in the second edition of his works, at London, 1679, folio. Among them is his Latin Sermon preached at Oxon. 1649, entitled “Animalis Homo,” on 1 Cor. ii. 14. He also wrote the “Assembly of Divines’ Annotations,” on Ecclesiastes, which were so much admired that many learne’d men of [the presbyterian persuasion, wished that the rest had been all wrote parifilo K. eruditione. He also was the author of the “Epistolary Preface to William Barlee’s Correptory Correction,” c. of some notes of Thomas Pierce concerning God’s decrees, especially of reprobation; which book, with the Epistolary preface, a second of Thomas Whitfield, and a third of Daniel Cawdrey, sometime of Cambridge, were printed at London, 1656, 4to. He is also said to be the author of “The humble Proposals of sundry learned, pious Divines within this Kingdom, concerning the engagement intended to be imposed on them for their subscriptions,London, 1650, 4to. One sheet was published in December 1649. John Ducy published an answer, entitled “Just Re-proposals to humble Proposals or, an impartial consideration of,” &c. London, 1650, 4to, four sheets. And it is probable that he wrote several other things besides those above-mentioned; | particularly his “Meditations on the Fall of Peter,” a short tvrelves, never inserted in any of the folio editions.

Of the family of bishop Reynolds we find mention of his son Edward, who was educated at St. Paul’s school, and a fellow of Magdalen-college, Oxford, archdeacon of Norwich, and prebendary of Worcester. He was also for forty years rector of St. Peter’s Northampton, and died in his sixty-ninth year, June 28, 1698. He was buried in Kingsthorpe chqrch, near Northampton, where is a monument and inscription to his memory. Dr. Knight says, he was “a very able and judicious divine, and a very worthy son of so good a father.” Some notices of two of the bishop’s descendants may be found in Cumberland’s life.1


Ath. Ox. vol. II.—Wood’s Annals.—Neal’s Puritans.Gent. Mag. vol. LXXVIII. p. 294.—Lives of English Bihops, 1733, 8vo, by Salmon.— Knight’s Life of Colet.