Some Potted Biographies

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bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I love old reference books. I picked this one up awhile back at a used bookshop I frequent: A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature by John W. Cousin, originally published in 1910. The volume includes short biographies of many Christian writers - something I doubt a modern book with this title would do. Reading them, you get an idea of what was thought of Christian writers (including the Puritans) about half a century before the Puritan revival began in the 1950s. Here are three examples:

GOODWIN, THOMAS (1600-1680) - Divine, was born in Norfolk, and educated at Cambridge, where he was Vicar of Trinity Church. Becoming an Independent, he ministered to a church in London, and thereafter at Arnheim in Holland. Returning to England he was made Chaplain to Cromwell's Council of State, and President of Magdalen College, Oxford. At the restoration he was deprived, but continued to preach in London. He was the author of various commentaries and controversial pamphlets, was a member of the Westminster Assembly, and assisted in drawing up the amended Confession, 1658. He attended Oliver Cromwell on his deathbed.

GILLESPIE, GEORGE (1613-1648) - Scottish theologian, was born at Kirkaldy, and studied at St. Andrews. He became one of the ministers of Edinburgh, and was a member of the Westminster Assembly, in which he took a prominent part. A man of notable intellectual power, he exercised an influence remarkable in view of the fact that he died in his 36th year. He was one of the most formidable controversialists of a highly controversial age. His best known work is Aaron's Rod Blossoming, a defence of the ecclesiastical claims of the high Presbyterian party.

OWEN, JOHN (1616-1683) - Puritan divine, born at Stadhampton, Oxfordshire, and educated at Oxford, from which he was driven by Laud's statutes. Originally a Presbyterian, he passed over to Independency. In 1649 he accompanied Cromwell to Ireland, and in 1650 to Edinburgh. He was Dean of Christ Church, Oxford (1651-1660), and one of the "triers" of ministers appointed by Cromwell. After the Restoration he was ejected from his deanery, but was favoured by Clarendon, who endeavoured to induce him to conform to the Anglican Church by offers of high preferment. Strange to say Charles II also held him in regard, and gave him money for the Nonconformists; and he was allowed to preach to a congregation of Independents in London. His great learning and ability rendered him a formidable controversialist, specially against Arminianism and Romanism. His works fill 28 volumes; among the best known being The Divine Original, etc., of the Scriptures, Indwelling Sin, Christalogia, or. . .The Person of Christ, and a commentary on Hebrews.

Just a few examples of an interesting (to me, at least) book published 111 years ago.
 
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