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same rule, may be borne with, according to the word of God, and consistent with the public peace." The commission entrusted to these Divines, was executed in a manner agreeably to the spirit which animated the ruling clergy at this period. Uniformity was the idol set up both by Presbyterians and Prelatists, in whose eyes toleration was an abhorrence. It is no wonder then that the committee broke up without being agreed; and as the Independents were the weakest party, they had nothing to do but to submit. They, however, pleaded the cause of toleration, though not upon the most generous principles. Mr. Neal says, "They were for tolerating all who agreed in the fundamentals of Christianity, but when they came to enumerate fundamentals, they were sadly embarrassed, as all must be who plead the cause of liberty; and yet do not place the religious and civil rights of mankind on a separate basis. A man may be an orthodox believer, and yet deserve death as a traitor to his King and country; and on the other hand, a heretic, or errant nonconformist to the established religion, may be a loyal and dutiful subject, and deserve the highest preferment his prince can bestow."*
The Presbyterians were now very urgent with the parliament for the establishment of their adored presbytery, without a toleration. For this purpose they framed a remonstrance in the name of the Lord-Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council, and presented it to the house, May 26, 1646; complaining "That particular congregations were allowed to take up what form of divine service they pleased, and that sectaries began to swarm by virtue of a toleration granted to tender consciences." To remedy this evil they proposed, "That all separate congregations should be suppressed, and the separatists rendered incapable of any public employment." The parliament, upon this occasion, acted with great wisdom. For, though highly displeased with the
Neal's Puritans, vol. ii. p. 206-212.
remonstrance, yet as the Presbyterians had the prize in their hands, they were not to be offended. The deputation, therefore, was received with respect, and the petitioners dismissed with a promise to take the matter into consideration. The parliament being embarrassed between the contenders for liberty and uniformity, in order to gain time, pressed the assembly of Divines for an answer to the question relating to the jus divinum of presbytery. A committee was appointed to determine this point; and their report being discussed by the assembly, it was determined that the Presbyterian discipline was jure divino. This point was subscribed by most of the Divines present, and among others by Dr. Seaman.*
The kingdom of England, instead of so many dioceses, was now divided into a certain number of provinces, made up of representatives of the several classes within their respective boundaries. Every parish had a congregational, or parochial presbytery for the affairs of the parish; the parochial presbyteries were combined into classes; these returned representatives to the provincial assembly, as the provincial did to the national.+ London was divided into twelve classical presbyteries; and the first provincial assembly was held at the convocation-house of St. Paul's, May 3, 1647. After a sermon by Dr. Gouge, a committee of seven ministers, and fourteen ruling elders, was chosen to consider the business of the province. Dr. Seaman was one of the Divines upon this committee, and presided as moderator at the second meeting of the provincial assembly.‡
As Dr. Seaman had a thorough acquaintance with ecclesiastical history, and was well skilled in the controversy respecting church-government, he was one of the ministers nominated by parliament to attend the commissioners, who were appointed to treat with the King in the Isle of Wight. During the debates respecting religion, his Majesty is said
Neal's Puritans, vol. ii. p. 228.
+ Ibid. p. 225. ↑ Ibid. p. 261-8.
to have taken particular notice of the singular ability discovered by our Divine; who had for his coadjutors, on the side of the parliament, Mr. Caryl, Mr. Marshall, and Mr. Vines. The treaty being broken off, the King was impeached by the army of high-treason. To countenance this proceeding, endeavours were used to obtain the sanction of the London ministers, and the episcopal clergy gave out that the Presbyterians had brought the King to the block, and that the Independents would cut off his head. To wipe away this calumny, the Presbyterian ministers published a vindication of themselves; and it received the signatures of fifty-seven of the London clergy. Among these we find the name of Dr. Seaman.+ In the year 1654, he was appointed, by Oliver Cromwell, one of the visitors of the University of Cambridge; and, about the same time, he is said to have become Vice-Chancellor of the same university.S
At the Restoration, our Divine lost all his preferments; but he retained his integrity and zeal for public usefulness. The Presbyterians were now divided in their politics; some being for going as far as they could with the court, and others for drawing back. Among the latter were Dr. Seaman, Mr. Jenkyn, &c. who meddled not with politics, and became a little estranged from the rest of their brethren. After his ejectment from Alhallows, Bread-street, in 1662, Dr. Seamen gathered a private congregation, chiefly among his old hearers, and preached to them as the times would allow. The meeting-house in Silver-street, appears to have been built for him about the time of King Charles's Indulgence, in 1672; and he continued his ministry there till death, the great silencer, removed him to his reward. He died at his house in Warwick-court, Newgate-street, about the 9th of September, 1695, "much lamented by the brethren, (says Wood,) in regard he was a learned man."¶
His friend, Mr. William Jenkyn, preached and published a sermon upon his death, from 2 Peter, i. 15. During his last illness, which was very painful, his deportment was patient and submissive, even to the admiration of those around him. He was a great admirer of free-grace, and glorified that God who so greatly depressed him.
Dr. Seaman was a Divine of considerable learning and abilities, a smart disputant, and thoroughly skilled in theological controversy. His acquaintance with the oriental languages was very considerable. He translated into the Turkish language, Mr. Ball's Catechism;* and always carried about with him, for his own use, a small Plantin Bible, without points. He was a most excellent and profound casuist. For more than thirty years, his skill in this branch of divinity, procured him great fame; insomuch that scarcely any Divine in London, was so much resorted to for resolying difficult cases. His judgment was deep and piercing. In expounding the scripture, he gave the sense of difficult passages with the greatest perspicuity; so that he might with propriety be called, An Interpreter, one of a thousand. In his sermons, he mixed application with doctrine; and could, upon all occasions, discourse rationally upon any point, without labour or hesitation. Having thoroughly digested every branch of divinity, he could, at all times, deliver himself with readiness and fluency. His judgment concerning the doctrines of the gospel were thoroughly orthodox; and a little before his death, he delivered to his pupils some excellent discourses on faith, justification, and the covenant of grace. He valued one truth of Christ above all the wealth of both the Indies; and would never sacrifice his conscience for the sake of preferment. He was better pleased in being a real pastor to one, than a nominal pastor to a thousand congregations; being desirous to live amongst his own people. He was a great observer of Providence ;
• Kennett's Chronicle, p. 300.
SILVER-STREET.- Presbyterian, Extinct.
and whatever were its allotments he was perfectly resigned, and contented with his worldly circumstances. Being of a public spirit, he tenderly felt whatever affected the church of Christ, both at home and abroad. To the poor, especi ally such as were pious, he was eminently charitable; and those of his brethren who fell under this description, ever found him a hearty friend. Of the value of time he was deeply sensible, and therefore improved it with diligence; but rarely allowing himself any season for recreation. His prudence was very remarkable, both in conversation and behaviour; and in this particular, as well as in others, he may be considered as a truly wise man. This wa was well known in the circle of his acquaintance, and occasioned his being frequently resorted to for advice. Upon some occasions he could put on a prudent reserve; but upon others he would indulge himself in all the cheerfulness which was consistent with the gravity of a Christian. In his latter days he is said to have much studied the prophetical part of scripture. Dr. Seaman left behind him a very valuable library. It was the first that was sold by auction in England, and produced seven hundred pounds, a very considerable sum in those days. A catalogue of this library is preserved in the Museum belonging to the Baptist academy, at Bristol.* (A)
• Calamy's Account, p. 16. Cont. p. 17.-Noncon. Mem. vol. j. p. 80.— Mr. Jenkyn's Sermon at the Funeral of Dr. Seaman.
(A) WORKS. Dr. Seaman, though so learned a man, did not often appear in print. His publications consist of, A Fast Serman, before the House of Commons, September 25, 1644, entitled, Solomon's Choice; or, a Precedent for Kings and Princes. 1 Kings, iii. 9.-One or two other Sermons before the Parliament:-A Vindication of the Judgment of the Reformed Churches, concerning Ordination, and the laying on of Hands, &c. 4to. 1647. N. B. This was in answer to Mr. Sydrach Sympson's Diatribæ, concerning unordained Persons preaching :-A Sermon against Divisions; preached before the Lord Mayor, April 7, 1650 :-A Translation of Mr. John Ball's Catechism into the Turkish Language, 1660-A Farewell Sermon on Heb. xiii. 20, 21. 1663.-Dr. Seaman also drew up some Notes on the Revela tion, which he presented to Lord Wharton; but they were never printed.