Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Frank, Mark

FRANK, MARK, D.D. (1613–1664), theologian, born at Brickhill, Buckinghamshire, in 1613, was admitted pensioner of Pembroke College, Cambridge, 4 July 1627. He was elected to a scholarship in 1630, and to a fellowship 8 Oct. 1634, having become M.A. the same year. In 1641 he became B.D., and was chosen junior treasurer of his college, and senior treasurer in 1642. Two years later he was ejected as a malignant by the parliamentary visitors, on his refusal to take the covenant, and ordered to leave Cambridge.

We are told that he bore his long period of deprivation 'with patience and constancy.' Before his ejection he had attracted the favourable notice of Charles I by a sermon he preached at Paul's Cross before the lord mayor and aldermen in 1641 on Jeremiah xxxv. 18-19, which the king commanded to be printed. In this sermon he propounds the Rechabites as an example of obedience 'never more needful' than then, and gives a strongly drawn picture of the troubles of the time, describing the insults to the monarch, the bishops, and the clergy. 'It is a usual thing nowadays,' he says, 'to direct our governours what to do, what to read, what to command; then, forsooth, we will obey them.' At the Restoration Frank was re-established in his fellowship 10 Aug. 1660, and his learning and loyalty were rewarded by a long series of well-deserved ecclesiastical promotions. He was made D.D. by royal mandate in 1661, and was chosen master of his college 23 Aug. 1662, in succession to Dr. Laney, elevated to the see of Peterborough. Arch- bishop Juxon appointed him one of his chaplains, and he held the office of domestic chaplain and ex-officio licenser of theological works to Juxon's successor, Archbishop Sheldon, by whom he was presented to the arch-deaconry of St. Albans, and to the treasurership of St. Paul's 19 Dec. 1660, and 22 April 1662 collated to the prebendal stall of Islington in the same cathedral. He was also presented to the rectory of Barley, Hertfordshire, 2 Feb. 1663-4, by Bishop Wren, a preferment he enjoyed but a short time, his death taking place the following year, at the age of fifty- one. He was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, near the entrance of the north door. By his will he bequeathed 100J. and 360 volumes of books to St. Paul's Cathedral. Frank is chiefly known by a ' Course of Sermons for all the Sundays and Festivals throughout the Year,' originally published after his death, with a portrait, in 1672, and republished, in two volumes, in the ' Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology.' The series includes several sermons for the chief days of the Christian year, there being nine for Christmas day, three for the Epiphany, five for Easter day, &c. The sermon on the Rechabites already mentioned, preached at Paul's Cross, is added, and one preached in St. Paul's Cathedral. These sermons deserve notice as the productions of a sound but not extreme churchman plain, sensible, and evangelical discourses. In their scholarly character and shrewd incisiveness they recall the sermons of Bishop Andrewes, which they resemble also in their divisions and subdivisions, according to the fashion of the age. The divisions, however, are natural, not artificial, and are calculated to bring out and elucidate the real meaning of the text, and the lessons it was intended to convey.

[Attwood's Manuscript List of Masters of Pembroke; Kennel's Biographical Notices Lansd. MS. 986, No. 21, p. 54; Baker's MSS. vi. 297; biographical notice prefixed to sermons in Library A.-C. T.]

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