Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/67
perilled by the foreign policy of England. He found time for close and continuous study, and for learned correspondence with such men as Ussher, but while in active ministerial employment he published little except controversial tracts against popery and on justification. He first appeared as an author (1619) in a pamphlet on the lawfulness of lots when not used for divination, which exposed him to attack as an advocate for games of hazard.
In 1643 Gataker was nominated a member of the Westminster assembly of divines. He was one of those who scrupled at the covenant in its original form, and procured the insertion of an explanatory clause relating to episcopacy. His views on church government tallied with those of Ussher, being in favour of ‘a dulie bounded and wel regulated prelacie joined with presbyterie.’ In 1644 he was put on the committee for examination of ministers. He had declined the mastership of Trinity College, Cambridge, offered him by the Earl of Manchester. On 4 March 1645 he was placed on a committee to select fit persons for translating the directory into Welsh. On 12 May he was elected one of the committee of seven charged with the preparation of the first draft of a confession of faith. In the discussions on this symbol he differed from the majority in the article of justification, and obtained a somewhat less rigid definition, which he accepted for the sake of unity. After 1645 the failure of his health precluded him from attendance either at the assembly or the local classis, as well as from preaching, though he still administered the sacraments, and did some little pastoral work. He signed the first address, 18 Jan. 1649, against the trial and execution of the king. He was reflected on for not resigning his benefice, but there was a difficulty in finding a man to suit patron and people. As for the emoluments, he goes minutely into his receipts and expenditure to prove that he was not ‘gripple’ (grasping). Practically he disbursed the whole net income of his preferment in improvements and the provision of a good curate. As an assembly man he did not receive half the charge of his boat hire.
Gataker in his enforced leisure published his critical labours on subjects both classical and biblical. His best known works are his edition of Marcus Antoninus and his commentaries on Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lamentations in the assembly's ‘Annotations’ (1645 and 1651). His scholarship was minute and fastidious; a peculiarity of his Latin orthography is the invariable omission of u after q. He had a vast memory, enabling him to dispense with common-place books. From some conventional marks of the puritan he was free; the term ‘Lord's day’ he preferred to ‘Sabbath,’ and thought even ‘Sunday’ admissible, as sanctioned by Justin Martyr (Disc. Apol. p. 14). He criticised the style of the New Testament against the purists. He has been cited as favouring ‘Jehovah’ as the correct pronunciation of the tetragrammaton; in fact he leans to ‘Jahveh,’ but is content to retain the ordinary form, his main point being that any approach to the original is better than the substituted word ‘Lord.’ Shortly before his death he composed ‘a pious epigram,’ consisting of two quaint stanzas, of some power.
Gataker died of fever on 27 July 1654, and was buried in his church; no stone marks his grave. He would never allow his portrait to be taken; he is described as a spare man of medium stature, of fresh complexion, but early grey. He was four times married: first (shortly before 1611) to the widow (having two daughters) of William Cupp or Cupper; she died in childbed, leaving a son, Thomas, who went into trade, and died before his father; secondly, to a daughter of the Rev. Charles Pinner, and cousin of Sir Nicholas Crisp [q. v.]; she also died in childbed, leaving a son Charles [see below]; thirdly, to a sister of Sir George and Sir John Farwell; she died of consumption, having outlived a son and daughter, but leaving a daughter, who married one Draper, and survived her father; fourthly (in 1628), to a citizen's widow (d. 1652), by whom he had no issue.
He published: 1. ‘Of the Nature and Use of Lots,’ &c., 1619, 4to; 2nd edit., 1627, 4to. 2. ‘A Just Defence,’ &c. (of the preceding, against J. Balmford and E. Elton), 1623, 4to. 3. ‘A Discourse of Transubstantiation,’ &c., 1624, 4to. 4. ‘Certaine Sermons,’ &c., 1637, fol. (a collection, most having been separately printed). 5. ‘Antithesis,’ &c., 1638, 4to (in answer to ‘Theses’ on lots, by William Ames (1571 [not 1576]–1633) [q. v.] and Gisbert Voet). 6. ‘Francisci Gomari Disputationis … Elenchus,’ &c., 1640, 8vo (on justification). 7. ‘Animadversiones in J. Piscatoris et L. Lucii … de causa … justificationis,’ &c., 1641, 12mo. 8. ‘Master Anthony Wotton's Defence,’ &c., 1641, 12mo (the ‘defence’ is by Samuel Wotton, son of Anthony; the preface and postscript are by Gataker). 9. ‘A True Relation of Passages between Master Wotton and Master Walker,’ &c., 1642, 4to. 10. ‘An Answer to Master George Walker's Vindication,’ &c., 1642, 4to. 11. ‘De Nomine Tetragrammato,’ &c., 1645, 8vo. 12. ‘De Diphthongis,’ &c., 1646, 12mo. 13. ‘A Mistake … removed … answer to … a treatise of Mr. J. Saltmarsh,’ &c., 1646, 4to;