Bold, Samuel (DNB00)
BOLD, SAMUEL (1649–1737), controversialist, apparently a native of Chester, was brought up under the care of William Cook, a distinguished nonconformist divine, who was ejected from St. Michael's Church, Chester, in 1662, and died in 1684. Bold was instituted vicar of Shapwick in Dorsetshire in 1674, but resigned or was ejected in 1688; he was instituted rector of Steeple in the Isle of Purbeck in 1682, and held the living for fifty-six years, till his death. In 1721 he succeeded to the adjacent parish of Tyneham, united to Steeple by act of parliament. In 1682, when a brief for the persecuted protestants in France was commanded to be read in the churches, Bold preached, from the epistle for the day, a sermon against persecution, which he shortly afterwards published. The sermon reached a second edition in the same year, and raised a great outcry, which only impelled Bold to publish a ‘Plea for Moderation towards Dissenters.' He here justifies his general praise of nonconformist divines by many special instances, mentioning, amongst others, Mr. Baxter and Mr. Hickman as ‘shining lights in the church of God.'
The grand jury at the next assize presented Bold for the sermon and also for the ‘Plea,' and he was cited before the court of Bishop Gulston of Bristol, where he was accused of having ‘writ and preached a scandalous libel.’ Bold wrote answers to these charges, but, his ‘answers being said to be worse than the books,' he was commanded, on pain of suspension, to preach three recantation sermons and to pay the expenses of Andrew Cosen, the complainant, styled by the bishop 'gent.,' but in reality his lordship's butler. Meantime Bold had fared no better in a prosecution in the civil courts. A third offence was there alleged against him that he had written a letter befriending a certain dissenting apothecary in Blandford. For the letter and the two publications he was sentenced to pay three fines, and lay seven weeks in prison till they were paid. After this the sudden death of the bishop and of the promoter in the civil suit freed him from further annoyance. In 1720, to protect himself from false reports, Bold republished the sermon against persecution, adding a short account of his subsequent troubles. In 1688 he published 'A Brief Account of the Rise of the name Protestant, and what Protestantism is. By a professed Enemy to Perse cution.' In 1690 he engaged in a controversy with Dr. Comber, author of a 'Scholastical I History of the Primitive and General Use of Liturgies in the Christian Church,' which Bold perceived to be written to afford a pretext for persecuting dissent ; in 1691 he followed it up with a second tract completing his refutation. In 1693 he published a devotional treatise entitled ' Christ's Importunity with Sinners to accept of Him,' which had been probably already published in 1675. The republication contains an affectionate dedication to Mrs. Mary Cook, the widow of William Cook, his early tutor. In 1696, an epidemic having caused many deaths in his parish, he published eight 'Meditations on Death written during the leisure bodily distempers have afforded me.'
In 1697 he began his tracts in support of Locke's essays on the 'Reasonableness of Christianity' and the 'Human Understanding.' The 'Reasonableness of Christianity ' appeared in 1695, and was violently attacked by a Rev. John Edwards as Socinian. Locke replied with a 'Vindication' of his essay, to which Edwards answered in a tract entitled 'Socinianism Unmasked,' &c. At this point Bold entered the field, publishing in 1697 a 'Discourse on the true Knowledge of Christ Jesus,' in which he insists, with Locke, that Christ and the apostles considered it enough for a Christian to believe that Jesus was the Christ. To the sermon he appended comments on Locke's essay and 'Vindication,' declaring the essay 'one of the best books that had been published for at least 1,600 years,' and criticising Edwards's tracts. Edwards immediately retorted, twitting Bold as 'Mr. L.'s journeyman' and produced a second tract from Bold with a preface on the meaning of the terms 'reason' and 'antiquity' as employed in the Socinian controversy. This was in 1697; in 1698 a third tract of Bold's appeared, answering some 'Animadversions,' &c., published at Oxford. In 1699 he brought out a 'Consideration of the Objections to the Essay on the Human Understanding.' Locke acknowledged Bold's support in his 'Second Vindication' of his essay; and in 1703 Bold visited Locke at Oates. He was then meditating the publication of further tracts which Locke dissuaded him from proceeding with. They were, however, published in 1706, and consist of a 'Discourse concerning the Resurrection of the Same Body' and two letters on the necessary immateriality of created thinking substance. The letters discuss and condemn the views expressed in Broughton's 'Psychologia' and Dr. Norris's 'Essay towards the Theory of an Ideal World.' The discourse deals with Dr. Whitby's arguments against Locke. In 1717 Bold's publisher brought out another tract demanding toleration, entitled 'The Duty of Christians with regard to Human Interpretations and Decisions, when proposed to be believed and submitted to by them, as necessary parts of the Christian Religion. By a Clergyman in the country;' and in 1724 appeared his last controversial work, 'Some Thoughts concerning Church Authority.' This was occasioned by the Bishop of Bangor's famous sermon on the nature of the kingdom of Christ, and his 'Preservative against the Principles and Practices of Nonjurors' of which Bold heartily approved. Bold was answered by several persons, among others by Conyers Place, who condemns his 'wild pamphlet and clouterly invective ' as 'time-serving', 'stupid', 'adulatorial' and 'nauseously' full of 'stupid and affected cant.' In the year before his death Bold published a 'Help to Devotion' containing a short prayer on every chapter in the New Testament. His devotional works show the sincerity, humility, and sweetness of his character. He died in 1737.[Monthly Magazine, xxii. 148; Wallace's Anti-trinitarian Biography; Locke's Works; Notes and Queries, 1st series, xi. 137; for Bold's works see Brit. Mus. Cat. and Dr. Williams's Library; a Letter on Images, by S. B., London, 1760, in the Brit. Mus. Library, is probably by Bold.]