Vines, Richard

, a learned and excellent divine, a popular and laborious preacher, and a most industrious and useful man in his college, was born at Blaston in Leicestershire, and educated in Magdalen college, Cambridge, where he commenced M. A. and was remarkable for his sober and grave behaviour, not being chargeable even with the venial levities of youth. From the university he was elected (most probably at the recommendation of his contemporary Thomas Cleiveland) school-master at Hinckley; where he entered into holy orders, and (as appears by an extract from the register of that parish) | married, and had at least one child. After remaining some time in the faithful discharge of his office at Hinckleyschool, he obtained the rectory of Weddington, in Warwickshire; and, at the beginning of the civil war, was driven from his parish, and forced to take shelter in Coventry. When the assembly of divines which established the presbyterian government in 164 1 was called, Mr. Vines, who was a good speaker, was unanimously chosen of their number; and, as Fuller says, was the champion of the party. While he was at London he became the minister of St. Clement Danes, and vicar of St. Lawrence Jewry; afterwards he removed to Watton, in Hertfordshire; and was appointed master of Pembroke Hall, in Cambridge, in 1645, by the earl of Manchester, on the ejection of Dr. Benjamin Lavey; but resigned that and his living of St. Lawrence Jewry in 1650, on account of the engagement. He joined in a letter from the principal ministers of the city of London (presented Jan. 1, 1645, to the assembly of divines sitting at Westminster by authority of parliament), complaining against the independents. He was a son of thunder, and therefore compared to Luther; yet moderate and charitable to them that differed from him in judgment. The parliament employed him in all their treaties with the king; and his majesty, though of a different judgment, valued him for his ingenuity, seldom speaking to him without touching his hat, which Mr. Vines returned with most respectful language and gestures. This particular was the more remarkable, as no other of the parliament commissioners ever met with the same token of attention. Dr. Grey, in his answer to Neal, relates that when Mr. Vines returned from this treaty, he addressed one Mr. Walden, saying, “Brother, how hath this nation been fooled We have been told that our king is a child, and A foot- but if I understand any thing by my converse with him, which I have had with great liberty, he is as much of a Christian prince as ever I read or heard of since onr Saviour’s time. He is a very precious prince, and is able of himself to argue with the ablest divines we have. And among all the kings of Israel and Jndah, there was none like him.

When sentence of death was pronounced on this unhappy sovereign, Mr. Vines came with the other London ministers to offer their services to pray with his majesty the morning before his execution. The king thanked them, but declined their services. Vines was an admirable | scholar; holy and pious in his conversation, and indefatigable in his labours, which wasted his strength, and brought him into a consumption when he had lived but about fifty -six years. He was a very painful and laborious minister, and spent his time principally amongst his parishioners, in piously endeavouring “to make them all of one piece, though they were of different colours, and unite them in judgment who dissented in affection.” In 1654 he was joined in a commission to eject scandalous and ignorant ministers and schoolmasters in London. He died in 1655, and was buried Feb. 7, in the parish-church of St. Lawrence Jewry, which having been consumed in the general conflagration of 1666, no memorial of him is there to be traced. His funeral-sermon was preached Feb. 7, by Dr. Jacomb, who gave him his just commendation. He was a perfect master of the Greek tongue, a good philologist, and an admirable disputant. He was a thorough Calvinist, and a bold honest man, without pride or flattery. Mr. Newcomen calls him “Disputator acutissimus, Concionator felicissimus, Theologus eximius.” Many funeral poems and elegies were made upon his death.

Mr. Vines was frequently called forth to preach on public solemnities; particularly before the House of Commons, at a public fast, Nov. 30, 1642; on a thanksgiving, before both Houses, July 13, 1644; at another fast, before the Commons, March 10, 1646; and before the House of Peers, at the funeral of the earl of Essex, Oct. 22, 1646. Thirtytwo of his “Sermons” were published in 1662. 1

1 Clark’s Lives. Nichols’s Hist, of Leicestershire, art. Hinckley. Fuller’s Worthies. Peck’s Desiderata. Grey’s Examination of Neal, vol. I. p. 414.