Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Barker, Matthew (1619-1698)

BARKER, MATTHEW (1619–1698), nonconformist divine, was born at Cransley, Northamptonshire, in 1619. After completing his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated M.A., he taught a school at Banbury, Oxfordshire, until the outbreak of the civil war in 1641 compelled him to remove to London. There he was shortly afterwards chosen minister of St. James's, Garlick Hill. About five years subsequently he accepted the invitation of the London citizens, who resided in the summer at Mortlake in Surrey, to become lecturer there. On 25 Oct. 1648 he preached a sermon before the House of Commons at St. Margaret's, Westminster. In 1650 he was chosen incumbent of St. Leonard's, Eastcheap. Along with Joseph Caryl [q. v.] he was sent in 1659 to Scotland with a letter to General Monk from Dr. Owen in the name of the independent churches, and he also signed in January 1660 the renunciation and declaration of the congregational and public preachers in London against ‘the late horrid insurrection and declaration of rebellion in the saide city.’ Being displaced in 1662, he collected a congregation, who were allowed the morning use of the meeting-house at Miles Lane erected after the great fire of 1666. After continuing the duties of his office for several years amidst ‘many hazards and difficulties,’ he died on 25 March 1698.

He was the author of ‘Natural Theology, or the Knowledge of God from the Works of Creation, accommodated and improved to the service of Christianity,’ 1674; ‘Flores Intellectuales, or select Notions, Sentences, and Observations, collected out of several Authors and made publick, especially for the use of young Scholars entering into the Ministry,’ 1691; ‘A Christian standing and moving upon the Foundation’ (sermon preached before the House of Commons), 1650; a sermon on Mark ii. 20 in ‘Supplement to the Morning Exercises at Cripplegate,’ 1676; a sermon on John i. 7 in ‘Continuation of Morning Exercises,’ 1683; a sermon on Matt. xi. 24, published in ‘Casuistical Morning Exercises,’ 1690; and an appendix to ‘A Discourse of Family Worship’ by George Hammond, 1694. He also edited Everard's ‘Gospel Treasury Opened,’ and wrote the annotations on the ‘Thessalonians’ in Poole's ‘Continuation.’

[Wilson's Dissenting Churches, i. 463–5; Palmer's Nonconf. Memorial, i. 144–5; Dunn's Seventy-five Eminent Divines, pp. 100–2.]