1662 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Josiah Shute

Thomas Fuller, in History of the Worthies of England (1662) 3:211-12.



JOSIAS SHUTE brother to Nathaniel aforesaid, was bred in Trinity colledge in Cambridge, and became afterwards Minister of Saint Mary Woolnoth in London, and was, (reader I doe say and will maintain it,) the most Pretious Jewell that was ever shewn or seen in Lombardstreet; All Ministers are Gods Husband-men, but some of them can only plough in soft ground, whose Shares and Coulters will turn Edge in a hard point of Divinity. No ground came amiss to Master Shute, whether his Text did lead him to controversiall or positive Divinity; having a strain, without straining for it, of native Eloquence: he spake that which others studied for. He was for many years, and that most justly, highly, esteem'd of his Parish; till in the beginning of our late Civil Warrs some began to neglect him, distasting wholesome meat well dressed by him merely because their mouths were out of tast, by that generall distemper, which in his time was but an Ague, afterwards turn'd to a feaver, and since is turn'd into a Frenzy in our Nation.

I insist hereon the rather for the comfort of such godly Ministers, who now suffer in the same nature wherein Mr. Shute did before; indeed, no servant of God can simply and directly comfort himself in the sufferings of others, (as which hath something of envy therein,) yet may he do it consequentially in this respect, because, thereby he apprehends his own condition herein consistent with Gods love and his own salvation, seeing other precious Saints tast with him of the same affliction, as many godly Ministers doe now a days, whose sickles are now hung up as useless, and neglected, though before these Civil Warrs they reaped the most in Gods harvest. Master Shute dyed Anno Domini 1640. and was buried with great solemnity in his own Church, Master Udall preaching his Funerall Sermon: since his death his excellent Sermons are set forth on some part of Genesis, and pity it is there is no more extant of his worthy indeavours.

It must not be forgotten, how retiring a little before his death into the Country, some of his Parishioners came to visit him, whom he chearfully entertained with this expression: "I have taught you, my dear flock, for above thirty years, how to live, and now I will shew you in a very short time how to dye." He was as good as his word herein, for within an Hour he in the presence of some of them was peaceably dissolved.

Be it also known, that besides these two brothers, Nathaniel and Josias, fixed in the City of London, there were three more, bred and brought up in the Ministry: viz. Robert, preacher at Lyn, Thomas, Minister for a good time in Chester, and Timothy, lately (if not still alive) a preacher in Exeter.

All great (though not equal) lights are set up in four Candlesticks; I mean, places of eminency, and conveniently distanced from one another, for the better dispersing of their Light; and good housewives tell me old Candles are the best for spending. Happy their father, who had his quiver full of five such sons. He need not be ashamed "to see his enemies in the gate." It is hard to say whether he was more happy in his sons, or they in so good a father; and a wary man will crave time to decide the doubt, until the like instance doth return in England.