The Political Sermons of John Preston
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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.
KeywordsSeventeenth Century East India Company Gray Haires Individual Conscience Great Offence
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