George Walker (1581-1651)A Calvinistic English Puritan, prolific author and preacher, and member of the Westminster Assembly.
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The Manifold Wisdom of God Seen in Covenant Theology by George Walker – eBook
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- The Manifold Wisdom of God Seen in Covenant Theology; in the divers dispensations of Grace by Jesus Christ. In the Old and New Testaments. Their agreement and difference. pp. 173. London, 1640.
- A brotherly and friendly censure of the errour of a dear friend and brother in Christian affection (1645) by George Walker
- A defence of the true sence and meaning of the words of the Holy Apostle Rom. chap. 4. ver. 3. 5. 9 (1641) by George Walker
- A modell of the government of the Church under the Gospel, by presbyters, proved out of the holy Scriptures (1646) by George Walker
- A sermon preached before the Honourable House of Commons, at their late solemne monethly fast, Januarie 29th. 1644 (1645) by George Walker
- A sermon preached in London by a faithfull minister of Christ (1641) by George Walker
- A true relation of the chiefe passages betweene Mr. Anthony Wotton, and Mr. George Walker (1642) by George Walker
- An exhortation to his dearely beloued countrimen, all the natiues of the countie of Lancaster (1641?) by George Walker
- Fishers folly unfolded (1624) by George Walker
- God made visible in his workes, or, A treatise of the externall vvorkes of God (1641) by George Walker
- Socinianisme in the fundamentall point of justification discovered, and confuted (1641) by George Walker
- The Christian champion; being the substance of a second discourse to the besieged soldiers in London-derry (1689) by George Walker
- The doctrine of the Sabbath (1638) by George Walker
- The history of the creation, as it is written by Moses in the first and second chapters of Genesis (1641) by George Walker
- The key of saving knowledge, opening out of the holy Scriptures (1641) by George Walker
- The substance of another speech of the reverend and valiant Dr. Walker to his soldiers in Londonderry (1689) by George Walker
- The summe of a disputation, betweene Mr. Walker pastor of St. Iohn Evangelists in Watling-street London; and a popish priest (1624) by George Walker
Biography of George Walker (1581-1651):
George Walker (1581-1651), divine, born about 1581 at Hawkshead in Furness, Lancashire, was educated at the Hawkshead grammar school, founded by his kinsman, Archbishop Edwin Sandys. He was a near relative of John Walker (d. 1588). Fuller states that George Walker “being visited when a child with the small-pox, and the standers-by expecting his dissolution, he started up out of a trance with this ejaculation, “Lord, take me not away till 1 have showed forth thy praise,” which made his parents devote him to the ministry after his recovery.” He went to St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a B.A. in 1608 and an M.A. in 1611. His former tutor, Christopher Foster, who held the rectory of St. John Evangelist, Watling Street, the smallest parish in London, resigned that benefice in favour of Walker, who was inducted on April 29, 1614 on the presentation of the dean and chapter of Canterbury Cathedral (Hennessy, Nov. Report. Eccl. p. 310). There he continued all his life, refusing higher preferment often proffered him. In 1614 he accused Anthony Wotton of Socinian heresy and blasphemy. This led to a “conference before eight learned divines,” which ended in a vindication of Wotton. On March 2, 1618-19 he was appointed chaplain to Nicholas Felton, bishop of Ely. He was already esteemed an excellent logician, hebraist, and divine, and readily engaged in disputes with “heretics” and “papists.” On July 10, 1621 he was incorporated with a B.D. of Oxford.
On May 31, 1623 he had a disputation on the authority of the church with Sylvester Norris, who called himself Smith. An account of this was published in the following year under the title of “The Summe of a Disputation between Mr. Walker…and a Popish Priest, calling himselfe Mr. Smith.” About the same time Walker was associated with Dr. Daniel Featley in a disputation with Father John Fisher (real name Percy), and afterwards published “Fisher’s Folly Unfolded; or the Vaunting Jesuites Vanity discovered in a Challenge of his…undertaken and answered by George Walker,” 1624, 4to. On March 11, 1633-4 he undertook to contribute 20s. yearly for five years towards the repair of St. Paul’s (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1633-4, p. 498). His puritanism was displeasing to Laud, who in 1636 mentions him in his yearly report to Charles I as one “who had all his time been but a disorderly and peevish man, and now of late hath very frowardly preached against the Lord Bishop of Ely [White] his book concerning the Lord’s Day, set out by authority; but upon a canonical admonition given him to desist he hath recollected himself, and I hope will be advised,” (Laud, Troubles and Tryal, 1695, p. 536). In 1638 appeared his “Doctrine of the Sabbath,” which bears the imprint of Amsterdam, and contains extreme and peculiar views of the sanctity of the Lord’s Day. A second edition, entitled “The Holy Weekly Sabbath,” was printed in 1641. His main hypothesis was refuted by H. Witsius in his “De Oeconomia Foederum,” 1694.
Walker was committed to prison on Nov. 11, 1638 for some “things tending to faction and disobedience to authority” found in a sermon delivered by him on the 4th of the same month (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1658-9, p. 98). His case was introduced into the House of Commons on May 20, 1641, and his imprisonment declared illegal. He was afterwards restored to his parsonage, and received other compensation for his losses. At the trial of Laud in 1643 the imprisonment of Walker was made one of the charges against the archbishop (Laud, Troubles, p. 237). When he was free again he became very busy as a preacher and author. Four of his works are dated 1641: 1. God made visible in His Works, or a Treatise on the Eternal Works of God. 2. A Disputation between Master Walker and a Jesuite in the House of one Thomas Bates, in Bishop’s Court in the Old Bailey, concerning the Ecclesiastical Function. 3. The Key of Saving Knowledge. 4. Socinianisme in the Fundamental Point of Justification discovered and confuted. In the last, which was directed against John Goodwin, he revived his coarse imputations against Wotton, who found a vindicator in Thomas Gataker, in his “Mr. Anthony Wotton’s Defence against Mr. George Walker’s Charge,” Cambridge. 1641, 12mo. In the following year Walker replied in “A True Relation of the Chiefe Passages between Mr. Anthony Wotton and Mr. George Walker.” Goodwin in his “Treatise on Justification,” 1642, deals with the various doctrinal points raised by Walker.
Walker joined the Westminster assembly of divines in 1643, in the records of which body his name often appears as that of an active and influential member. On Jan. 29, 1644-5 he preached a fast-day sermon before the House of Commons, which was shortly afterwards published, with an ‘Epistle’ giving some particulars of his imprisonment. In the same year (1646) he printed “A Brotherly and Friendly Censure of the Errour of a Dead Friend and Brother in Christian Affection.” This refers to some utterance of W. Prynne. On 26 Sept. 1645 parliament appointed him a ‘trier’ of elders in the London classis. There is an interesting undated tract by him entitled “An Exhortation to Dearely beloved countrimen, all the Natives of the Countie of Lancaster, inhabiting in and about the Citie of London, tending to persuade and stirre them up to a yearely contribution for the erection of Lectures, and maintaining of some Godly and Painfull Preachers in such places of that Country as have most neede.” He himself did his share in the direction indicated, for, in addition to spending other sums in Lancashire, he allowed the minister of Hawkshead 20l. a year, and the parsonage-house and glebe there were long called “Walker Ground,” from their being his gift. He was also a benefactor to Sion College library and a liberal supporter of the assembly of divines.
Wood justly styles Walker a ‘severe partisan,’ but he was also as Fuller said, ‘a man of an holy life, humble heart, and bountiful hand.’
He died in his seventieth year in 1651, and was buried in his church in Watling Street, which was destroyed in the fire of 1666.
For Further Study:
[Fuller’s Worthies; Wood’s Fasti, i. 399, ed. Bliss; Newcourt’s Repartorium, i. 375; Ward’s Gresham Professors, p. 40; Dodd’s Church History, 1739, pp. 394, 402; Neal’s Puritans, 2nd edit. ii. 416; Brook’s Puritans, ii. 347 ; House of Commons’ Journals, ii. 151, 201, 209, iv. 288, 346; House of Lord’s Journals, iv. 214, 457, vi. 469 ; Hist.. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. App. p. 170; Jackson’s Life of John Goodwin, 2nd edit. 1872, p. 38; Gastrell’s Notitia Cestriensis (Chetham Soc.), ii. 519; Cox’s Literature of the Sabbath Question, 1853; Mitchell and Struthers’s Minutes of the Westminster Assembly, 1874; Mitchell’s Westminster Assembly, 1874; Hennessy’s Novum Repertorium. p. 310.]