Parker, Samuel, Dd (1)
Parker, Samuel, D.D. (1), a prelate of the English Church, was born at Northampton in September, 1640. He was of Puritan extraction, and was marked by certain Puritan notions, when, as a young man, he entered Wadham College, Oxford. He studied later at Trinity College. He was there brought in contact with persons of a very different, turn of mind, particularly with Dr. Ralph Bathurst, who is said by the writers of his Life to have been chiefly instrumental in drawing him away from the Puritans. Parker, at the Restoration, became a zealous advocate for episcopacy. He had an active pen, which he employed about the time of the Restoration, and for a few succeeding years, in repeated attacks on the Puritan, or, as it was then become, the Non-conforming party. The controversy is almost forgotten, and we think it needless to recount the titles of his tracts. One of his writings, A Discourse in Vindication of Bishop Branmhall (Lond. 1670), called forth the "Rehearsal Transposed" of Andrew Marvell, in which Parker was very severely handled, and to which he replied in A Reproof to the Rehearsal Transposed (Lond. 1673); but Marvell's wit was too much for him and in everything he subsequently wrote he showed how keenly he felt the castigation. He was favored and promoted in the Church. In 1667 he was made chaplain to archbishop Sheldon; in 1670 he became archdeacon, and in 1672 a prebendary of Canterbury, and had the livings of Ickham and Chartham. When king James II contemplated the reunion of England with the general Church, with its head in the Roman pontiff, he looked among the English divines for persons who might be willing to assist in his designs, and, among other persons, he fixed upon Parker, who was made by him bishop of Oxford in January, 1686; and when Hough was deprived of the presidency of Magdalen College, it was given to Parker. It is said that he was then inclined to popery. It is very reasonable, however, we think, to believe that these favors were really the price of his religion, which he did not scruple to offer up as a willing sacrifice to his ambition. In this new change Parker became one of the Romish mercenaries, prostituting his pen in defense of transubstantiation and the worship of saints and images. To this purpose he published a piece, Dec. 16, 1687 — though, according to the printer's style, in 1688 — entitled Reasons for abrogating the Test imposed upon all Members of Parliament, anno 1678, Oct. 30, etc.; first written for the author's satisfaction, and now published for the benefit of all others whom it may concern. The papists, it is certain, made sure of him as a proselyte, and one of them tells us that he even proposed, in council, whether it was not expedient that at least one college in Oxford should be allowed the Catholics, that they might not be forced to be at such charges by going beyond the seas to study. In the same spirit, having invited two popish noblemen, with a third of the Church of England, to an entertainment, he drank the king's health, wishing a happy success to all his affairs; adding that the religion of the Protestants in England seemed to him to be in no better condition than that of Buddha was before it was taken, and that they were next to atheists who defended that faith. Nay, so notorious was his conduct. that the cooler heads among the Romanists condemned it as too hot and hasty. Bishop Parker's authority in his own diocese was so very insignificant that when he assembled his clergy, and desired them to subscribe an "Address of Thanks to the King for his Declaration of Liberty of Conscience," they rejected it with such unanimity that he got but one clergyman to concur with him in it (Burnet's History of my Own Times, vol. ii). Bishop Parker encountering contempt with all good men, trouble of mind threw him into a malady of which he died at Magdalen College, March 20, 1687. Sir James Mackintosh (Miscellaneous Works, 2:156) says that Parker refused on his death-bed to declare himself a Roman Catholic. However true or false this may be, it is certain he sent a "Discourse" to James, persuading him to embrace the Protestant religion, with a "Letter" to the same purpose, which was printed at London (1690, 4to). Bishop Parker's only work of any permanent reputation is entitled De Rebus sui Temporis Commentarius, but it is disfigured by party virulence, and is in no respect trustworthy. This treatise was not published till 1726, when it was given to the world by his son, Samuel Parker (2). A translation of it by the Rev. Thomas Newlin was published in 1727. Bishop Parker was a most inveterate opponent of Cartesianism. In his Disputationes de Deo et divina providentia he contended in the scholastic spirit equally against the philosophy of Des Cartes and that of Hobbes, making no distinction between the mechanical features of each, and not discerning, that while the one was atheistic, the other was as strikingly theistic in its spirit and tendency. The other publications of bishop Parker are: An Account of the Government of the Christian Church for the first Six Hundred Years, particularly showing, I. The apostolical Practice of diocesan and metropolitical Episcopacy. II. The Usurpation of patriarchal and papal Authority. III. The War of Two Hundred Years between the Bishops of Romne and Constantinople for universal Supremacy (Lond. 1683, 8vo): — Religion and Loyalty; or a Demonstration of the Power of the Christian Church within itself, the supremacy of sovereign Power over it, the duty of passive Obedience, or non-resistance to it, exemplified out of the Records of the Church and the Empire from the beginning of Christianity to the end of the Reign of Julia) (Lond. 1684, 8vo): — Religion and Loyalty, the second part or the History of the Concuirrence of the imperial and
ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the Government of the Church from the beginning of the Reign of Jovian to the end of the Reign of Justinian (Lond. 1685, 8vo): — History of his Own Time [translated], with an Account of his Conversion from Presbytery to Prelacy (Lond. 1728, 8vo) — The Era of the Church immediately after the Apostles (Tracts of Angl. Fathers, 3:138). See Darling, Cyclop. Bibliogr. ii, s.v.; Macaulay, Hist. of England, 2:321; iii 113 sq., 124-127; Perry, Hist. Ch. of England, 2:397 448, 480, 502; Stoughton, Eccles. Hist. of England, 1:444 sq.; 2:109, 134 sq.; Debury, Hist. Ch. of England, p. 73 sq.; (Lond.) Gentleman's Magazine 70. 7 sq.