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wards treated in the same manner ; one of whom predicted, without dejection, that she should enter the house again with less difficulty, at some other time; nor was she mistaken in her conjecture, for Dr. Fell lived to be restored to his deanery.
At the reception of the chancellor, Cheynel, as the most accomplished of the visitors, had the province of presenting him with the ensigns of his office, some of which were counterfeit, and addressing him with a proper oration. Of this speech, which Wood has preserved, I shall give some passages, by which a judgment may be made of his oratory.
Of the staves of the beadles he observes, that “some are stained with double guilt, that some are pale with fear, and that others have been made use of as crutches, for the support of bad causes and desperate fortunes;” and he remarks of the book of statutes which he delivers, that “the ignorant may perhaps admire the splendour of the cover, but the learned know that the real treasure is within." Of these two sentences it is easily discovered that the first is forced and unnatural, and the second trivial and low.
Soon afterwards Mr. Cheynel was admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Divinity, for which his grace had been denied him in 1641, and, as he then suffered for an ill-timed assertion of the Presbyterian doctrines, he obtained that his degree should be dated from the time at which he was refused it ; an honour, which, however, did not secure him from being soon after publickly reproached as a madman.
But the vigour of Cheynel was thought by his companions to deserve profit as well as honour ; and Dr. Bailey, the president of St. John's College, being not more obedient to the authority of the parliament than the rest, was deprived of his revenues and authority, with which Mr. Cheynel was immediately invested; who, with his usual coolness and modesty, took possession of the lodgings soon after by breaking open the doors.
This preferment being not thought adequate to the deserts or abilities of Mr. Cheynel, it was therefore desired, by the committee of parliament, that the visitors would recommend him to the lectureship of divinity founded by the lady Margaret. To recommend him and to choose was at that time the same; and he had now the pleasure of propagating his darling doctrine of predestination, without interruption, and without danger.
Being thus flushed with power and success, there is little reason for doubting that he gave way to his natural vehemence, and indulged himself in the utmost excesses of raging zeal, by which he was indeed so much distinguished, that, in a satire mentioned by Wood, he is dignified by the title of Arch-visitor; an appellation which he seems to have been industrious to deserve by severity and inflexibility : for, not contented with the commission which he and his colleagues had already received, he procured six or seven of the members of parliament to meet privately in Mr. Rouse's lodgings, and assume the style and authority of a committee, and from them obtained a more extensive and tyrannical power, by which the visitors
were enabled to force the Solemn League and Covenant and the Negative Oath upon all the members of the university, and to prosecute those for a contempt who did not appear to a citation, at whatever distance they might be, and whatever reasons they might assign for their absence.
By this method he easily drove great numbers from the university, whose places he supplied with men of his own opinion, whom he was very industrious to draw from other parts, with promises of making a liberal provision for them out of the spoils of hereticks and malignants.
Having in time almost extirpated those opinions which he found so prevalent at his arrival, or at least obliged those, who would not recant, to an appearance of conformity, he was at leisure for employments which deserve to be recorded with greater commendation. About this time, many Socinian writers began to publish their notions with great boldness, which the Presbyterians considering as heretical and impious, thought it necessary to confute; and therefore Cheynel, who had now obtained his doctor's degree, was desired, in 1649, to write a vindication of the doctrine of the Trinity, which he performed, and published
the next year.
He drew up likewise a confutation of some Socinian tenets advanced by John Fry; a man who spent great part of his life in ranging from one religion to another, and who sat as one of the judges on the king, but was expelled afterwards from the house of commons, and disabled from sitting in parliament. Dr. Cheynel is said to have shown himself evidently superiour to him in the controHe quit
versy, and was answered by him only with an opprobrious book against the Presbyterian clergy.
Of the remaining part of his life there is found only an obscure and confused account. ted the presidentship of St. John's, and the professorship, in 1650, as Calamy relates, because he would not take the engagement; and gave a proof that he could suffer as well as act in a cause which he believed just. We have, indeed, no reason to question his resolution, whatever occasion might be given to exert it; nor is it probable that he feared affliction more than danger, or that he would not have borne persecution himself for those opinions which inclined him to prosecute others.
He did not suffer much upon this occasion ; for he retained the living of Petworth, to which he thenceforward confined his labours, and where he was very assiduous, and, as Calamy affirms, very successful in the exercise of his ministry, it being his peculiar character to be warm and zealous in all his undertakings.
This heat of his disposition, increased by the uncommon turbulence of the times in which he lived, and by the opposition to which the unpopular nature of some of his employments exposed him, was at last heightened to distraction, so that he was for some years disordered in his understanding, as both Wood and Calamy relate, but with such difference as might be expected from their opposite principles. Wood appears to think, that a tendency to madness was discoverable in a great part of his life; Calamy, that it was only transient and accidental, though, in his additions to his first narrative, he pleads it as an extenua
tion of that fury with which his kindest friends confess him to have acted on some occasions. Wood declares, that he died little better than distracted; Calamy, that he was perfectly recovered to a sound mind before the Restoration, at which time he retired to Preston, a small village in Sussex, being turned out of his living at Petworth.
It does not appear that he kept his living till the general ejection of the Nonconformists; and it is not unlikely that the asperity of his carriage, and the known virulence of his temper, might have raised him enemies, who were willing to make him feel the effects of persecution which he had so furiously incited against others; but of this incident of his life there is no particular account.
After his deprivation, he lived (till his death, which happened in 1665) at a small village near Chichester, upon a paternal estate, not augmented by the large preferments wasted upon him in the triumphs of his party; having been remarkable, throughout his life, for hospitality and contempt of money.