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The Political Sermons of John Preston

  • Christopher Hill

Abstract

John Preston was born in 1587, son of a ‘decayed’ gentleman farmer of Northamptonshire. His father died when John was 12 years old, but (like Hobbes) he was educated by a wealthy maternal uncle, who was several times mayor of Northampton.1 After a successful career at Cambridge, Preston contemplated various professions — trade, diplomacy, philosophy, medicine. The picture we get of him at this stage is of an able and ambitious young gentleman of declining family. But around 1611 he was converted by a sermon of John Cotton’s: and henceforth devoted himself to divinity. He was a very successful tutor and lecturer, and also proved himself no mean academic politician, managing at the age of 27 to snatch the mastership of his college (Queens’) for the Calvinist John Davenant from the greedy maw of George Mountain, Dean of Westminster and later Archbishop of York.

Keywords

Seventeenth Century East India Company Gray Haires Individual Conscience Great Offence 
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Notes

  1. 4.
    J. Hacket, Scrinia Reserata (1693), I, pp. 203–5.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 1.
    G. Burnet, A History of My Own Time (1897), I, pp. 27–8.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Fuller, The Worthies of England (1662), II, p. 291; Ball, op. cit., pp. 88–9.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 2.
    Laud, Works (1853), III, pp. 182–3.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 6.
    John Cosin, Works (1845), II, pp. 58–9. Reports of this Conference are suspect, since they emanate from Arminian sources. But Montague’s defenders seem to have outmanoeuvred the Puritans.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 1.
    J. Strype, Annals of the Reformation… during Queen Elizabeth’s happy reign (1824), III, Part ii, pp. 238–42.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    The attribution of this remark to Cromwell is uncertain. But many other examples could be given. See, for instance, Sir Simonds D’Ewes, Autobiography and Correspondence (1845), I, pp. 276–7, 286–7.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 1.
    Gardiner, History of England, 1603–42 (1884), VI, pp. 51–2.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid., VI, pp. 145–7, 171.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 1.
    Gardiner, op. cit., V, p. 347.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Christopher Hill 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Hill

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