Puritan Memoirs - Mr. Edward CorbetPuritan Memoirs - The Life and Death of Some Reformed Ministers
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THIS puritan divine was born at Pontesbury in Shropshire, 1602, and educated in Merton college Oxford, where he took the degree of arts, and was afterwards chosen fellow. He was made proctor of the university; but refusing to conform to certain” points, he was called before the vice-chancellor, who laid his case before Laud, chancellor of the university, whom he petitioned for relief; but it does not appear that he received any redress. Upon the commencement of hostilities between the king and parliament, Oxford being garrisoned by the royal forces, he was deprived of his fellowship, and expelled from the college for refusing to espouse the royal cause. Archbishop Laud, being afterwards a prisoner in the tower, refused him the rectory of Chatham in Kent, on account of his puritan principles; and when appointed rector of that place by an ordinance of parliament, 1643, his lordship still refused his allowance, though the refusal was now of no avail. Mr. Corbet was an evidence against the archbishop on his trial, and deposed, “That in the year 1638, his grace visiting Merton college by his deputy Sir John Lamb, one article propounded to the wardens and fellows was, Whether they made due reverence by bowing toward the altar when they came into the chapel? That he and Mr. Cheynell were enjoined, by the visitors and commissioners, to use this ceremony; and refusing, though he had assigned his reasons for so doing, he was particularly threatened. That after this, Dr. Frewin, the vice-chancellor, told him that he had been sent by the archbishop to require of him that he must use this ceremony. That the archbishop after this sent injunctions to Merton college, requiring them to bow towards the altar, and that the visitors questioned such as refused; and that there Was a crucifix placed above the communion table in Magdalen college, with pictures in the windows; that a crucifix was also set up in Christ church—none of which innovations were ever heard of before the time of the archbishop.”
Mr. Corbet was chosen one of the assembly of divines, where, according to Neal’s list, he was a constant attender. He is also said to have been one of the committee for the examination and ordination of ministers, and one of the preachers to the parliament. He was likewise one of the seven preachers appointed by parliament for the purpose of reconciling the scholars at Oxford to the parliamentary order of things in 1646. But Wood informs us, that he soon left that employment, and threw his part of the duty on the shoulders of the remaining six. Mr. Corbet was also appointed one of the visitors of that university, and orator and canon of Christ church in the room of Dr. Henry Hammond. He did not remain long in this situation, but being made rector of Great Hasely, he removed thither to take the charge of his flock. He took the degree of doctor of divinity in 1648, and continued at Hasely till his death, which took place at London in 1657, and fifty-fifth year of his age. His remains were conveyed to Great Hasely, and interred in the chancel of his own church. He has been accounted an excellent diving a valuable preacher, and a man of inflexible integrity.
Dr. Corbet is supposed to be the author of the Worldling’s Looking Glass; and he has published one of his Sermons on God’s Providence, from 1 Cor. i. 27, preached before the Commons at their Fast, December 28th, 1642; and probably some other works.