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MR. CHAMBERS was born in Somersetshire, and received his education in University college Oxford, where he became a commoner in 1614, aged fifteen years. After taking his degree of arts, he entered into holy orders, and in June 1623 became rector of Claverton, in his own county. Some time after this he took the degree of bachelor in divinity, and was esteemed an orthodox divine, but soon silenced by bishop Pierce for preaching up the morality of the Sabbath; which, Mr. Calamy says, cost him two years trouble, imprisonment, ‘and sequestration. This took place in consequence of archbishop Laud having taken the cause into his own hand; a man who, in cases of this nature, seldom shewed either mercy or moderation. Mr. Chambers, at this trying period, gave evidence of much patience, exemplary fortitude, and resignation to the divine will. When the civil war began, he took part with the parliament, •and maintained a man and a horse, at his own expense, in the defense of civil and religious liberty. He took the covenant, and was constituted a member of the assembly of divines, and sometimes preached before the parliament. Wood says he was minister of Stretchley in Shropshire in 1648. Soon after this he had the rectory of Pewsey, near Marlborough, in the county of Wilts, conferred on him by the earl of Pembroke. He commenced doctor of divinity on the 12th April 1648, and was married to a daughter of Dr. Richard Brett, one of the translators of the bible under king James in 1604. Dr. Chambers was appointed an assistant to the commissioners for ejecting scandalous, ignorant, and insufficient ministers and schoolmasters. Oliver Cromwell, with the advice of his council, published an ordinance under the date of August 28th, 1654, in which he appoints and nominates certain lay commissioners for every county, and joins with them ten or more of tlio gravest and most notable ministers as their assistants; and appoint* any five, or more of them, to call before them any public preacher, lecturer, parson, vicar, curate, or schoolmaster, who is, or shall be, reputed ignorant, scandalous, insufficient, or negligent, and to receive all articles or charges which may be exhibited against them, and to proceed in the examination and determination of such offences, according to certain rules laid down for that purpose. The Wiltshire commissioners accordingly summoned before them Mr. Walter Bushnell, vicar of Box, near Malmsbury, to answer to a charge of drunkenness, profanation of the Sabbath, gaming, and disaffection to the then government. The vicar drew up a narrative of the proceedings of the commissioners, but did not publish it till the restoration, and even then the commissioners did themselves justice in a spirited reply; and Dr. Chambers, who was particularly reproached by Bushnell, justified himself in a distinct vindication. He kept his place till the very day when the act of uniformity came in force; and having preached his farewell sermon from Psalm cxxvi. 6. went home, was presently taken ill, and died September 1662. He was buried in the church of Pewsey, without the service, which had just at that time been restored. His wife died about the same time; and through the favor of the earl of Pembroke, his noble friend, the family obtained permission to remove the household goods.
His writings are, 1. A Divine Balance in which to weigh Religious Fasts.—2. Paul’s sad farewell to the Ephesians.—3. Motives to Peace and Love.—4. Animadversions on Mr. W. Dell’s book, entitled the Crucified and Quickened Christian.— 5. An Apology for the Ministers of the county of Wilts.—6. His Answer to Mr. Bushnell about the proceedings of the Commissioners.