Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 01.djvu/370

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Ames
Ames
356

sermon preached in the university church (1609) attacked the prevalent diversion of card-playing as an offence against the rules of christian life no less censurable than open profanity. For this language he was suspended by the vice-chancellor ‘from the exercise of his ecclesiastical function, and from all degrees taken or to be taken’ (Letter to the Author of a Further Enquiry into the Right of Appeal, p. 32). According to the statement of Nethenus, Ames, who had been elected fellow, would have been chosen master instead of Cary (elected 1610) had he been more conformable to the established discipline. This would sufficiently account for the unfriendly feeling between the two, and for the fact that Ames shortly afterwards quitted the college and the university, persuaded so to do, says Nethenus, by Cary himself, who dared not expel him (Præf. Introd. in edition of Latin Works by Nethenus). On leaving Cambridge Ames sought to settle at Colchester as pastor of the congregation there, but was forbidden to preach by the Bishop of London. Under these circumstances he seems to have gained the sympathy of some opulent English merchants, to whom he was recommended by his doctrinal views, and at their expense was sent, together with one Parker, to Leyden, for the purpose of engaging in controversy with the supporters of the English church. According to one account (see life in Chalmers's Dict.) he was compelled to leave England by the hostility of Archbishop Bancroft; this statement, however, Nethenus (ut supra) declares to have taken its origin in certain misrepresentations of Episcopius. About the year 1613 he became involved in a controversy with Grevinchovius, the minister of the church of the Remonstrants (or Arminians) at Rotterdam; and, according to the assertion of his biographer, obtained so signal an advantage over his antagonist, that the latter became a laughing-stock even to the youngest theological students in the city. About this time Ames married the daughter of Dr. Burgess, chaplain to Sir Horace Vere, the English governor of Brill in Holland, and, on Dr. Burgess resigning his chaplaincy, succeeded to his post. Vere, however, was prevailed upon by the authorities in England to dismiss Ames; and we next hear of the latter as employed by the Calvinistic party, at a salary of four florins a day, to watch the proceedings of the synod of Dort (1618–19), giving his opinion and advice when required. Some theological theses which Ames put forth at this time were severely criticised, owing apparently to their being treated in too scholastic a manner. Mackovius, professor of theology at the university of Franeker, came forward in Ames's defence, and was himself attacked; but after a lengthened controversy, which stirred all theological Friesland, a formal decision (preserved by Nethenus) was eventually given by the recognised authorities in theological doctrine in favour of both. The conclusions of the synod of Dort favoured the Calvinistic party, and when the delegates from Dort repaired to England to present the acts of the synod to King James, occasion was taken to request Abbot, the archbishop, to give his assent to the appointment of Ames as head of a small theological college at Leyden, to which office he had already been nominated. Abbot replied that he was glad to hear that any countryman of his was held worthy of the post of professor in such a distinguished seat of learning, but added that Ames was no obedient son of the church, being a rebel against her authority (Præf. Introd.). An invitation to the theological chair at Franeker now appeared to offer the exiled scholar a permanent retreat; but here again his appointment would have been set aside by the exertions of his enemies, had it not been for the good offices of one Herwood, a military officer, with Prince Maurice. Ames entered upon his duties at Franeker in May 1622, and delivered on the occasion an oration on Urim and Thummim. He was subsequently chosen rector of the university, and his inaugural address on assuming the office (1626), and also that on his retirement from it, are still preserved (Latin Works, ed. Nethenus, v. 48, ii. 407). His tenure of his professorship, which lasted upwards of ten years, must be looked upon as the most important period of his life, his reputation as a theologian and his ability as a teacher attracting students, not only from all parts of the United Provinces, but also from Hungary, Poland, and Russia (Præf. Introd.). The air of Franeker, however, being found unsuited to his health, owing to an asthma from which he suffered, he removed to Rotterdam, with the twofold object of filling the post of pastor to the English church in that city, and of presiding over an English college which it was proposed to found there. Shortly after his arrival Rotterdam was visited by an inundation, and Ames, in effecting his escape from his house by night, contracted an illness through exposure, which resulted in his death in the month of November 1633, in his fifty-eighth year.

By his first wife Ames had no family; but by his second marriage with the daughter of a gentleman named Sletcher he had a son and a daughter. He appears to have died in