Whately, William

, an eminent puritan divine, was born at Banbury in Oxfordshire, in May 1583, where his father, Thomas Whately, was justice of the peace, and had been several times mayor. He was educated at Christ’scollege, Cambridge, under the tuition of Mr. Potman, a man of learning and piety, and was a constant hearer of Dr. Chaderton, Perkins, and other preachers of the Puritan-stamp. It does not appear that he was originally destined for the church, as it was not until after his marriage with the daughter of the Rev. George Hunt that he was persuaded to study for that purpose, at Edmund -hall, Oxford. Here he was incorporated bachelor of arts, and, according to Wood, with the foundation of logic, philosophy, and oratory, that he had brought with him from Cambridge, he became a noted disputant and a ready orator. In 1604, he took his degree of M. A. as a member of Edmund-hall, “being then esteemed a good philosopher and a tolerable mathematician.” He afterwards entered into holy orders, and was chosen lecturer of Banbury, his native place. In 1610, he was presented by king James to the vicarage of Banbury, which he enjoyed until his death. He also, with some of his brethren, delivered a lecture, alternately at Stratford-upon-Avon. In his whole conduct, Mr. Leigh says, he “was blameless, sober, just, holy, temperate, of good behaviour, given to hospitality”,&c. Fuller calls him “a good linguist, philosopher, mathematician, and divine;” and adds, that he “was free from faction?' Wood, who allows that he possessed excellent parts, was a noted disputant, an excellent preacher, a good orator, and well versed in the original text, both Greek and Hebrew, objects, nevertheless, that,” being a zealous Calvinist, a noted puritan, and much frequented by the precise party, for his too frequent preaching, he laid such a foundation of faction at Banbury, as will not | easily be removed.“Granger, who seems to have considered all these characters with some attention, says, that” his piety was of a very extraordinary strain; and his reputation as a preacher so great, that numbers of different persuasions went from Oxford, and other distant places, to hear him. As he ever appeared to speak from his heart, his sermons were felt as well as heard, and were attended with suitable effects.“In the life of Mede, we have aa anecdote of him, which gives a very favourable idea of his character. Having, in a sermon, warmly recommended his hearers to put in a purse by itself a certain portion from every pound of the profits of their worldly trades, for works of piety, he observed, that instead of secret grudging, when objects of charity were presented, they would look out for them, and rejoice to find them. A neighbouring clergyman hearing him, and being deeply affected with what he so forcibly recommended, consulted him as to what proportion of his income he ought to give.” As to that,“said Whately,” lam not to prescribe to others; but I will tell you what hath been my own practice. You know, sir, some years ago, I was often beholden to you for the loan of ten pounds at a time; the truth is, I could not bring the year about, though my receipts were not despicable, and I was not at all conscious of any unnecessary expenses. At length, I inquired of my family what relief was given to the poor; and not being satisfied, I instantly resolved to lay aside every tenth shilling of all my receipts for charitable uses; and the Lord has made me so to thrive since I adopted this method, that now, if you have occasion, I can lend you ten times as much as I have formerly been forced to borrow."

Mr. Whately died May 10, 1639, aged fifty-six, and was interred in Banbury church-yard, where is a monument to his memory, with a Latin and English inscription. His works consist of a considerable number of sermons, printed separately, one of which, “The BrideBush, or Wedding-Sermon,1617, 4to, brought upon him some censure: in this he maintained, that adultery, or desertion, on the side of either of the married persons, dissolved and annihilated the marriage. For a doctrine so contrary to the laws, and pernicious in itself, he was summoned before the high commission-court, where he acknowledged his error, and was dismissed. Among his. other publications, are, 1. “A pithy, short, and methodical way | of opening the Ten Commandments,” Lond. 1622, 8vo, 2. “The Oil of Gladness,1637, 8vo. 3. “The poor man’s Advocate,1637, 8vo. 4. which seems his greatest work, “Prototypes, or the primarie Precedent out of the book of Genesis,1640, fol. with a fine portrait, published by Edward Leigh, esq. To this is prefixed a life of him by the Rev. Henry Scudder. 1

1 Life as above. —Ath, Ox. vol. I. new edit. Fuller’s Worthies and Abel Redi?irns.