Page images

and put Mr. Ogle into the marshal's hands. After some weeks, upon the solicitation of sir Patricias Curwen, he was admitted to bạil, and confined within the town. A little after, getting his liberty, he went to visit his friends in England, and afterwards in Scotland, where he preached at a communion. The governor hearing of it, said, he preached treason there, as he had done before in England, and threatened to confine him again. Upon the advice of his friends, be staid a good while from his family, till several of the officers promised that he should pot be molested, and yet, when he returned, he was sent to the marshal's again, where he continued some weeks, till, upon the intercession of friends, the governor gave him his liberty, but banished him the town, because he refused to give him a five hundred pounds bond, and that he would not seduce his majesty's subjects, which he knew he should be represented as doing, if he offered to preach. Hereupon he went to London, and made his application to general Monk, telling him how the governor had used him. The general received bim with the greatest civility,' and promised, that if he would conform, he would use his interest to make him a bishop ; but if he did not, he could do him no service; nor even protect him in his parish. Mr. Ogle told him, that the height of his ambition was only to live quietly amongst his own people; but if that could not be obtained, he must submit to provi. dence. On returning home, he was sent for by the governor, and Mr. Wrissel with him, who were both sent to prison together, upon pretence of a Presbyterian plat, said to be discovered in the South of England. But after a month's imprisonment, ' upon the earnest solicitations of some friends, he got his liberty, upon condition he should leaye Berwick. Upon the Five Mile Act he went to Bous. den, where he had a small estate of his own, and there preached privately some years, without being burdensome to any. But even there he was molested, sometimes by dragoons, sometimes by bailiffs, sometimes presented at the court, and sometimes complained of at the sessions for keeping conventicles; so that his house was little better than a prison. But he had inward peace and com. fort, hoping that he was doing God service ; and many were long after very thankful to God for the benefit they received by his labours. When Charles the Second


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

granted liberty to Dissenters, the governor would not suffer Mr. Ogle to live in Berwick, unless he would con form. Upon the Indulgence in Scotland he was called to Lantown. In Monmouth's time, by the order of sir John Fenwick, he was taken up by a party of soldiers and carried to Newcastle, where, though he was much indisposed, he was confined six weeks, which nearly cost him his life. Upon king James's liberty he was invited again to Berwick, and there had a numerous congregation. In king William's time he was invited to Kelso, a considerable Jiving upon the borders of Scotland. He had also a call from the magistrates, ministers, and people of Edinburgh, to be one of the fixed ministers of that city ; but he was not to be prevailed upon to leave Berwick, where God had signally supported, owned, and blessed him. There be lived beloved, and died much lamented in April, 1696, aged sixty-six. He was a man of great learning, and particularly well skilled in ecclesiastical history. He was a laborious, judicious, and affectionate preacher, and a wise and prudent person for the church government. He well understood the art of preaching to all sorts of hearers..

OLDFIELD, JOHN, was born near Chesterfield, and brought up at Bromfield school, which was at that time much celebrated. He was a general scholar; and a great master in the languages and mathematics. He had a mechanical head and hand, capable of any thing into which he had an opportunity to get an insight. What some might reckon a reflection upon him was, in the judgement of wise men, his great honour, viz. that he acquired his learning without being beholden to any university. He had the offer of Tamworth living, and was pressed to remove thither, where he would have had a much better income, but was prevented by the importunity of his people. All who knew him acknowledged him to have been a judicious divine, a good casuist, an excellent preacher; pertinent and methodical ; clear in opening his text, and very close to the conscience in applying it. He was a man of prayer, and well acquainted with the internals of religion. He was a person of few words; but if any one gave him occasion, by starting any useful discourse, or put him upon prayer, writing or preaching, he appeared to want neither words ñor sense, He was of a very peaceable spirit, and though his people

3 Q 2


were very capricious, and hard to be pleased in ministers, yet they all centered in him. He made many removes after he was ejected, but God “ told his wanderings, and he had songs in the house of his pilgrimage.” He was a man of great moderation ; which he thought himself obliged to testify by going sometimes to church ; and he would often discourse freely and ainicably upon the subject of conformity, with such of his acquaintance as were otherwise minded; and yet he was inany ways a sufferer for his nonconformity. He for some tiine preached once a fortnight at Rodenuke, where a meeting being discovered by two informers, they swore against biin, upon presumption that he was the preacher, though, as it appeared, it was not his day : however he was prosecuted with much eagerness. Whereupon he and John Spadeinan, esq. (a worthy gentleman who was owner of the house where the meeting was held,) made their appeal, and gave such plain evidence of his being ten miles distant at the time, that he was cleared; and the informers, being afterwards prosecuted for perjury were found guilty. Upon which one of them ran away, and the other stood in the pillory at Derby. After the Act of Uniforinity passed, before it took place, he studied his duty with all possible care as to the compliance required. He drew up, on this pccasion, a soliloquy, with the text prefixed, Eccl. vii. 14. “In the day of adversity consider." He was ejected froin the living of Carsington, in Derbyshire. Mr. Oldfield spent the latter part of his life at Alfreton, from whence he took many weary steps to serve his Master, and was very useful in that neighbourhood, till his infirmities forced him to cease from his labours. He departed to his everlasting rest, June 5, 1682, aged fifty-five. He had four sons in the ministry. John, the eldest, was in the Church of England; the rest were Dissenters. Nathanael was pastor to a congregation in Southwark; and his brother, Joshua Oldfield, D.D. succeeded him there. Sainuel had a small society at Ramsbury in Wilts.

He was author of, 1. “ The First Last, and the Last First; against Hypocrisy."-2. “The Substance of some Lectures at Wirksworth."-3. “A Piece on Prayer," (generally esteemea as valuable as any thing on the subject.)-4. "Sermon, on Psalm Ixix. 6." in the Country Farewell Sermons.

OLIVER, PHILIP, was born at Chester, in 1763. His parents were in affluent circumstances, and designing hìn for the ministry, gave him a liberal education. At the time appointed, he was sent to Oxford. When he had concluded his university studies, after obtaining the degree of M. A. he returned to Chester, and soon afterwards was ordained to the curacy of Churton Heath, about five miles froin Chester. At this place, a change in his sentiments com menced, and his uniform conduct afterwards proved him to be a genuine Christian, and a sincere believer in Jesus. . It is a remark, often confirmed by observation, that where the Gospel, in its purity and simplicity, is preached, there will be hearers. No sooner did Mr. Oliver preach Christ crucified, than his congregation increased. The pleasing tidings were speedily known at Chester, and more or less from that place attended his ministry, every Lord's day., After a few years he left Churton Heath, and went to Bir. mingham, there to be employed as an assistant to Dr. Ry-. land. By the lovers of evangelical iruth he was generally esteemed ; and many resorted to hear him with pleasure ; but he was soon 'obliged, through indisposition, to leave Birmingham, and in about a year returned to Chester.

It was asserted by some of his friends, that when he again returned, he expected to occupy one of the churches in Chester; not from any lucrative views, as he always possessed an independency, but that he might enjoy more opportunities of doing good, and his sphere of usefulness be extended. Not long after, an order was sent to the clergy in the diocese, forbidding them to grant Mr. Oliver the use of their pulpit;'and ever after, that prohibition was strictly attended to *. Thus did his usefulness seem at an end. At this time Mr. Oliver resided with an aged mother, in a retired situation, near the city. Considering himself as ex. cluded from the church, he resolved to be as useful as he could in a more private situation. He admitted a few indi. viduals to family prayer in his hall, and occasionally deli„vered a short lecture to them. This was about 1793. In a few weeks, ihe attendants increased, and he opened an adjoining building, which was afterwards licensed for the

.. No other reason can be assigned for such a procedure against so gnod a man, but his zealous attachment to the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel; those doctrines, which are taught throughout the articles and liturgy of the Church of England.

purpose, purpose. Still the congregation continued to increase, till by several enlargements, and the erection of a gallery, the little one literally became a thousand: that number constantly, attending his ministry. Owing to almost constant weakness and indisposition, Mr. Oliver seldom preached more than once a week, which was on Sabbath mornings. Sometimes he had crowded auditories. Yet he was not only a popular but an useful preacher. Those who enjoyed a relish for divine truths, seldom went away unedified. Although he did not enjoy good health, yet he was a man of a cheerful disposition; and it may, without exaggera. , tion, be said, that he was never heard to utter an impatient sentence, but was calm and resigned to the will of God, amidst all his sufferings. For two months previous to his death, he was unable to preach. He went to Parkgate, for the benefit of the air, and his friends fondly entertained hopes of his recovery; but he was soon obliged to return to Chester, as every symptom of a speedy dissolution was vi. sible. Though the painful tidings were unexpected by his friends, the terrific messenger was welcomed by him. The sting of death was removed, and he had nothing to do but to die. On July 10, 1800, the day of his departure, bis constant language was expressive of his hope and confidence in the Lord Jesus. To a friend he said, “ Trust in Je. sus! trust in Jesus! he is the only Saviour.” To another, he observed, “ True grace, and that unmixed Gospel I have preached to others, is now my only joy and support." The nature of his disorder, which was an inflammation of the lungs, hindered his speaking much; but what he did say, evidenced the composure of his mind, and his entire resignation to the will of God. On the Wednesday after his death, he was interred in the burying ground of St. John's Church. On the Sabbath following, a funeral serinon was preached, at the chapel in Boughton, by the rev. Mr. Charles, of Bala, to a crowded audience, from Rev. 1.3. And the mournful event was improved by a sermon on the occasion, at the Independent Chapel, in Queen Street, preached by the rev. Mr. Smith, froin Heb. i. 19. The character of Mr. Oliver was uniform and consistenta As a minister, few, if any, excelled him, in sweetness, simplicity, and purity of sentiment, which were mingled through all his discourses. The righteousness and atonement of the Lord Jesus' were subjects on which he dwelt

« PreviousContinue »