Marshall, Walter (DNB00)


MARSHALL, WALTER (1628–1680), Presbyterian divine, born at Bishop Wearmouth, Durham, 15 June 1628, was the son of Walter Marshall, curate of that place from 1619 to 1629. At the age of eleven he was elected a scholar of Winchester College. He proceeded thence to New College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. and was elected a fellow 1650. From 15 Dec. 1657 to 1661 he was a fellow of Winchester (Kirby, Winchester Scholars). In 1661 he was presented to the living of Hursley, four miles from Winchester. The patron, Richard Major, father of Richard Cromwell's wife, was a peaceable country sauire who 'did not like sectaries' (Cromwell s Letters), and the connection between him and Marshall was soon dissolved. He was ejected by the Act of Uniformity in 1662, but soon after settled as minister of an independent congregation at Gosport.

Marshall experienced much mental disquiet before he attained peace of mind. The works of Baxter, which he studied deeply, produced in him a profound melancholy. He appealed to their author and to Dr. Thomas Goodwin [q. v.], who replied that he took them too 'legally.' He died at Gosport, Hampshire, shortly before August 1680. His funeral sermon was preached by Samuel Tomlyns, M. A., of Andover, and was printed, with a dedication to Lady Anne Constantine and Mrs. Mary Fiennes, and with an epistle to the inhabitants of Gosport and the county of Southampton, dated 23 Aug. 1680.

Marshall's chief work, 'The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification,' was not published till 1692. A short preface, signed 'N. N.,' and dated (in the 2nd edit. 1714) 21 July 1692, furnishes a few details of his life. A 'Recommendatory Letter,' by James Hervey (1714-1758) [q. v.] dated 5 Nov. 1756, is prefixed to the6th edit. 1761. In his 'Theron and Aspasio,' Hervey also speaks highly of Marshall's work, saying that 'no man knows better the human heart than he,' and mentions it as the first book after the Bible that he would choose if banished to a desert island. Joseph Bellamy of New England made large quotations from 'The Gospel Mystery' in his 'Letters and Dialogues between Theron, Paulinus, and Aspasio,' London, 1761, as also did Hervey in his 'Polyglott,' published the same year. Marshall's work became extremely popular, and numerous editions and abridgments have been published up to a recent date. The third large-type edition was published at Edinburgh, 1887.

An elder brother, John Marshall, was elected a scholar at Winchester in 1637, aged twelve. He also become a fellow of New College in 1645, and was appointed rector of Morestead, Winchester. He died in 1670.

[Kirby's Winchester Scholars, pp. 12,178; Bogue and Bennett's Hist. of Dissenters, i. 454, which does not give the date of Marshall's death correctly; Calamy's Baxter, Lond. 1713, ii. 347; Woodward's Hist. of Hampshire, ii. 95, 127; Hervey's Works, Edinb. 1769, passim; registers of Bishop Wearmouth, per Archdeacon Long.]

C. F. S.