Email me at Gwindsor@click-education.com

Graham Windsor's Web Page

The knowledge of Christ crucified

The author's preface / To the reader / The Sermon / A Historical Introduction / Notes on the text / Home

Notes on the text

J. Conant John Conant (1608-94) succeeded George Hakewill as Rector of Exeter College, Oxford, in 1649. From his student days he was a remarkable linguist in Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac. Once chaplain to Lord Chandos at Harefield, he was a strong disciplinarian at Exeter. He lectured the students from Piscator and Wollebius, and on the OT prophetic books. He succeeded Joshua Hoyle as Regius Professor of Divinity, and lectured on Grotius' Annotations. A royalist by inclination, he welcomed the Restoration, and willingly surrendered his post to Robert Sanderson, its previous holder. After making a deeper study of Church of England doctrine, he was ordained priest in 1671. He produced 12 children and 6 volumes of sermons, published 1693-1722.

Edw. Reynolds Reynolds (1599-1676) of Merton, became dean of Christ Church 1648-50 and again in 1659. Was vice-chancellor 1648. Known as a moderate, he conformed in 1662 and was made bishop of Norwich. Several sermons published.

Sermons in another language: No doubt refers to his Latin sermons, Tres conciones and Sex conciones, published 1654, 1658, which were university sermons.

Gloucester:I have no more details of this episode in Henry's life.

John Wilkinson: Henry's uncle and predecessor as Principal of Magdalen Hall

Henry Wilkinson: Strangely there were three of them at Oxford in the 1640s. The senior man was born 1566 and died 1647. The second, "Long Harry" (1610-1675) was a member of Westminster Assembly of divines and a canon of Christ Church. He was tutor to the third Henry W., author of this sermon

unreasonable men: At this juncture a certain amount of anti-intellectualism was gaining ground in England, a common fault of well-meaning pietism and Biblicist fideism. It was perhaps an unsurprising reaction to some of the neo-scholasticism common at the universities. There was certainly some distrust of academic institutions during the Civil War period. An example of it may be taken from my own college, Gonville and Caius in Cambridge. Its Master at this time was William Dell who complained that awarding degrees was a devilish procedure. He could speak as if he opposed the whole enterprise of human learning, and was so taken by opponents like Richard Baxter and Sydrach Simpson. In fact he was really opposed to scholastic philosophy and metaphysics and did not discount human learning in other fields, but rather encouraged it.

John of Leyden: A Dutch tailor, he took a leading part in the massacres carried out by the so-called Anabaptists in Munster, 1534. His name became a byword for unreasoning fanaticism.

Wigelius: probably Valentine Weigel (1533-88), Lutheran pastor, who was carried away by alchemy and the Cabbala, and opposed the churches as false prophets.

Arrowsmith: John Arrowsmith (1602-59), one of the most attractive figures of the period. A Cambridge man, he began at St. John's College, then became a Fellow of St. Catharine's. Appointed vicar of St Nicholas, King's Lynn, he became a member of the Westminster Assembly. In 1644 he displaced Robert Beale as Master of John's. From then on he maintained presbyterian views, but always with candour and courtesy, which earned him the respect of such as Benjamin Whichcote who called him "my friend of choice". Vice-chancellor in 1647, Regius Professor of Divinity in 1651, and Master of Trinity in 1653. Among his books were his Armilla Catechetica (in English), 1659, and his Tactica Sacra, in which he may have reiterated some of the arguments he had used in his sermon against Weigel).

Julian the Apostate: Julian, 331-363 AD, reportedly cried out "You have conquered, Galilean", when struck bya fatal blow.

Cranmer, Ridley etc: These martyrs for the Protestant faith were of course easily and frequently remembered because of the popularity of John Foxe's Acts and Monuments (known in the 19th century as Foxe's Book of Martyrs). Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, John Hooper, John Bradford, William Tyndale, John Philpot had all left glowing testimony to justification by faith in Christ which could be read in Foxe's pages.

A large catalogue of eminent champions Here we see the power of the Christian heritage. The men whom Wilkinson names formed part of a godly tradition. Tradition has a good meaning as well as several bad ones. It must always be checked and assessed by Scripture, but there is a presumption here that the Protestant heritage has been and can continue to be of service. If we ignore it we are failing to make use of the fellowship with the past which God has provided in the church. So Wilkinson commemorates some of the great writers of the Church of England, most of whom are still well worth reading and consulting.

Bradwardine: Thomas Bradwardine (1290-1349), "the profound Doctor", born at Hartfield in Cheshire, confessor to King Edward III. He returned from the Crecy campaign to be archbishop of Canterbury for 40 days, before perishing from the Black Death. His lectures on predestination were finally published by Sir Henry Savile in 1618 as De Causa Dei contra Pelagianos. For Protestants he represented the sound remnant within a failing church.

Wickliffe: John Wycliffe (d. 1384), the "morning star of the Reformation", celebrated for his help in translating the Bible into English, for his writings against transubstantiation and for predestination.

Jewell: John Jewel, bishop of Salisbury, who died in 1571. His famous defence of the Church of England in his "Challenge" sermon, his "Apology" and the resultant exchanges with Thomas Harding, made him a respected father of the Elizabethan church.

Fox: John Foxe, born 1517 at Boston, Lincolnshire. He began compiling the history of Protestant martyrs while he was in exile under Queen Mary, and published abroad. From then on it received steady expansion in the editions of "Acts and Monuments", starting in 1563. Foxe has been traduced as a bigot. In fact he was a widely read and humane theologian, whose writings cover a variety of subjects with subtlety, and whose tolerance and humanity was widely respected.

Reynolds: John Rainolds (as the name is now generally written) has been labelled a Puritan verging on nonconformity, owing to his appearance at the Hampton Court Conference in 1604, when he defended the requests of the Millenary Petition. In fact he was not really so concerned with such matters. His life centred on the academic routines of teaching and writing in Oxford, where he was a magisterial figure between 1590 and 1607. Much of his best work was done in Latin, which is why he is not better known nowadays.

Hooker: Richard Hooker (1554-1600) is now regarded as a father figure by Anglican theologians. However he was not so regarded in his own day, and his reputation was slow to take off. Even in the seventeenth century, references to him are relatively few. This one by Wilkinson, however, shows that the Puritan tradition had learned to value the decided Protestantism of this retiring country vicar of Bishopsbourne in Kent. Hooker was one of three notable theologians who studied at Corpus Christi, Oxford, with Jewel and Rainolds. His "Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity" can now be read on the Net.

Ayry: Henry Airay (1560?-1616) was born in Kentmere, Westmorland, where his father  was servant to Bernard Gilpin, the "Apostle of the North". Gilpin furthered his education, and he gained his B.A. at Queen's College 1583, M.A. 1586, B.D. 1594, D.D. 1600. He preached at St Peter's in the East, next to Queen's. Provost in 1598, Vice-chancellor 1606. On 21 Oct. 1606, he criticised the future archbishop, William Laud, though Laud, perhaps surprisingly, bore him no ill-will. Airay had already condemned bowing at the name of Jesus, though this was according to the canons of 1604. He preached the funeral sermon for John Rainolds (they were regarded as "twin brothers"). He was buried at Queen's. His only writing was the posthumously published "Lectures on the Philippians" of 1618.

Crackenthorp: Richard Crakanthorpe (1567-1624), another famous alumnus of Queen's. He was acceptable to King James as chaplain, and supported his master against the Roman Catholics in the dispute concerning temporal sovereignty. His defence of the Church of England, "Defensio Ecclesiae Anglicanae", was reckoned to be "the most exact piece of controversy" against Rome.

Field: Richard Field (1561-1616), probably the most neglected today of all these early masters.  Joseph Hall and John Rainolds were among those who hung on his lectures, and his magnum opus, "Of the Church" 1606, elucidated in brilliant and incisive style the Biblical truths held by the Church of England against Rome. Field was at Magdalen College, B. A. 1581, where "Doctor Field's rooms" were later shown to curious or awed undergraduates.

Lake: Arthur Lake (1569-1626), of Winchester School and New College, Oxford, though little known today, was enormously respected in his day: "to his city an oracle, to scholars a living library". He became bishop of Bath and Wells. His Sermons were published in 1629.

Hackwell: George Hakewill (1578-1649), curiously became a Fellow of Exeter in 1596, before his B.A. in 1599. A man of wide reading, he was accepted in royal circles and took part in combating Roman errors. He discouraged Prince Charles from the Spanish match. In 1642 he was made Rector of Exeter. His name is better known today because of his part in promoting the idea of progress. He contested Bishop Godfrey Goodman's "Fall of Man", which maintained the medieval picture of the world as sliding into decay, in his own influential book "Apology of the power and providence of God", 1627. This was a book which Sam Pepys dipped into in 1667, satisfying himself that "the world do not grow old at all".

Benefield: Sebastian Benefield (1559-1630) of Corpus Christi, promoted Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, 1613. Benefield is a solid and thoughtful writer in his Doctrinae Christianae Sex Capita (1610), his commentary on Amos (1613) and his 8 sermons of 1614. Wood's verdict was that he was "so well read in the Fathers and schoolmen that he had scarce his equal in the university".

Bolton: Robert Bolton (1572-1631) studied at Queen Elizabeth's School in Blackburn, Lancashire. In 1592 he went to Lincoln College, Oxford, tutored by Mr Randall who lent him books when his father died in 1593. His favourite subject was Greek, at which he was "so expert he could write in it or dispute in it with as much ease as in English or Latin" (Wood). He was also a calligrapher. He transferred to Brasenose College for his B.A. 1596, where he became Fellow, 1602, and M.A. He gave the disputation at King James' visit in 1606. At this point he was still unconverted and was considering an invitation to visit a RC seminary abroad. However he came to faith through Thomas Peacock. When he moved to become rector of St Andrews, Broughton, in Norfolk, Bishop John King pretended to complain against the parish: "You have deprived the university of its brightest ornament". Clearly Bolton was someone exceptional. He died of a quartan ague, and his funeral monument (the sermon was preached by Nicholas Estwick) is in the church at Broughton. His sermons were published 1611-31 and his whole works in 3 vols., 1638-41. "One of a thousand for piety, wisdom and stedfastness" (said Thomas Fuller): an authoritative preacher who majestically became the pulpit.

Pemble: William Pemble (1592?-1623) typically closes the list of these Oxford worthies, for like many of them he was a man enormously respected in his own time, forgotten in ours, of sound faith, studied scholarship and powerful expression. He was the son of a clergyman at Egerton, Kent. After a B.A. at Magdalen College (1614), he moved to Magdalen Hall (M.A. 1618), where he was divinity reader. A strong predestinarian and an incessant student. Worn out, supposedly, by his studies, he died when on a visit to his friend Richard Capel at Eastington, Gloucestershire. All his works were posthumously published: Vindiciae fidei (1625) and Vindiciae gratiae (1629) were among the best known of his collected Works (1635 folio), which was reprinted 4 times.

Our public professors: Wilkinson refers here to those who had been Regius Professor of Divinity.

Rome, Racovia, Munster etc Defence of the faith of the Church of England against Rome was a principal concern of the best writers of the time (see my unpublished Cambridge thesis on this subject, which I hope to publish soon). The Racovian Catechism was published in Polish at Racow in S. Poland in 1605, and in Latin in 1609. Its authors were Schmalkel and Volkel, summarising the heterodox ideas of Faustus Socinus. Munster recalls the extremes of the so-called Anabaptists, though naturally many Anabaptists would refuse such a link.

Peter Martyr: Peter Martyr Vermigli, born at Florence 1500, a leading Italian reformer. He obtained the chair at Oxford in 1547 and held it till 1553 when he had to flee the Marian regime.

Humfred: Laurence Humfrey (1527-90), a leading Marian exile, returned to England to carry on the reformation in 1559. He was a principal figure among those who wished to distance the Church of England from its pre-Reformation background. An inveterate enemy of Rome, he was also skilled in polite literature and rhetoric. His Life of Jewel is one of his lasting achievements.

Abbot: Robert Abbot (1560-1617), elder brother of George, the archbishop of Canterbury. Robert was appointed Regius Professor in 1612, but was best known for his series of works attacking the Roman church.

Holland: Thomas Holland of Balliol (d. 1612) was appointed Professor in 1589 and was also Rector of Exeter from 1592.  He was thought "mighty in the scriptures" and expert in the Biblical languages. With 6 others he was entrusted with the translation of the OT prophets for the Authorised Version in 1611. We have 2 published sermons from him.

Prideaux: John Prideaux (1578-1650), Rector of Exeter as well as Regius professor, was one of the last representatives of the old Church of England, which was never the same after the Restoration. A vigorous disciplinarian and redoubtable controversialist, he took seriously the work of educating students. He was a systematiser and organiser rather than a profound mind, but well informed and theologically orthodox.

Sanderson: Robert Sanderson (1587-1663), chaplain to Charles I, and Bishop of Lincoln after the Restoration. Sanderson is remembered for his prowess in casuistry, and there is no doubt he was more interested in practical Christianity than in systematic doctrine. However his remarkable series of 30 sermons -To the clergy, to the Magistracy, and to the People- are a lasting resource and a model of orderly and masterly composition. His difficulties about predestination were recorded in a fascinating exchange of letters with the Arminian Henry Hammond. Sanderson was well liked by many of the Puritans, and admired for his quality of life, even though their theologies did not fully coincide.

Hoyle: Joshua Hoyle (d.1654) of Magdalen Hall. Became Fellow at Trinity College, Dublin, and professor of divinity there in the time of James Ussher. When he returned to England in 1641, his parish of Stepney found him "too scholastical". He was a member of the Westminster Assembly and in 1648 was appointed Master of University College and Regius Professor. He defended his friend Ussher against the Jesuit Malone in his learned Rejoinder of 1641.

The present professor: I.e. John Conant (see above), who was shortly to hand back the Professorship to its previous holder, Sanderson.

Arminius: James Arminius (in Dutch, Harmensen, 1560-1609) had an immediate relevance to England, not only because he took issue with William Perkins on predestination, but also because King James sent English delegates to the Synod of Dort which met to consider the doctrines of Arminius and his followers.

Pelagius redivivus: The title of a work (meaning "Pelagius alive again") by Daniel Featley (1626), in which he urged that Arminius' doctrines were a recrudescence of simple Pelagianism.

Some prelates (not all): The doctrinal divisions within the English clergy caused by the arrival of Arminianism have long been recognised; certainly such men as Hoby, Prynne, Morton wrote about it, and such men as Davenant suffered because of it. Recent studies such as Tyacke's "Anti-Calvinism" and concurrent literature show a continuing interest in this theme.

Remonstrance: This perhaps refers to the "Resolutions on Religion" drawn up by a sub-committee of the House of Commons, Feb. 24, 1629. They say "these persons who have published and maintained such Papistical, Arminian, and superstitious opinions and practices, who are known to be unsound in relion, are countenanced, favoured and preferred", going on to instance the promotions of Richard Montague, Francis White, John Buckeridge, John Howson, John Cosin and Matthew Wren. They made no direct comparison of Arminianism with Jesuit doctrines, only with those of popery.

Dr Twisse: William Twisse (1578-1646) of Winchester School and New College, Oxford. He edited the work of Bradwardine for Sir Henry Savile in 1618. He served as vicar of Newbury and devoted himself to theology. His "Vindiciae Gratiae" was thought by his supporters to be the definitive answer to the teaching of Thomas Jackson concerning the contingency of the divine decrees.

Kendall: George Kendall (1610-63) of Exeter College, D.D. 1654. A presbyterian, he was ejected in 1662. He was a determined opponent of universal redemption as found in the works of John Goodwin (not to be confused with Thomas Goodwin), against whom he wrote his THEOKRATIA (1653). His book "Sancti Sanciti" (1654) included an answer to Horne in which he defended the usefulness of university learning, as did Simpson and Wilkinson too.

Gravenchovius: Usually Grevinchovius, a noted Dutch Arminian.

Mr Ford Simon Ford (1619-99) entered Magdalen Hall 1636. A friend of Edward Reynolds, he was vicar of St Lawrence, Reading. He opposed the Quakers, and was later vicar of All Saints, Northampton.

Mr Cooke: Alexander Cooke (1564-1632) entered Brasenose College 1581, and proceeded B.D. 1596. Vicar of Leeds from 1615, he was an inveterate enemy of Rome, e.g. in his book "The Weathercock of Rome's Religion" (1625).

Dr Staunton: Edmund Staunton (1600-71) of Corpus Christi, was converted after nearly drowning at the age of 20. He ministered at Kingston-on-Thames for 20 years and was known as "the searching preacher". He was a member of the Westminster Assembly. From 1649 to 1660 he was President of his college. He was ejected in 1662 and was buried at Bovingdon, Herts. His life by his friend Mayo was published the same year.

Mr Kilby: Richard Kilbye (1561-1620) entered Lincoln College 1577 and became its Rector in 1590. He was one of the Oxford group translating the OT prophets for the Authorised Version. Regius Professor of Hebrew in 1610, he left a Latin commentary on Exodus unpublished.

Allhallows: One of the three city churches mentioned here, which with St Mary's, where this sermon was preached, were centres of Puritan exposition at the time. Allhallows = All Saints, which was on the High Street at its junction with the Turl, next to Queen's College. It is now Lincoln College library, but this is not the 17th century building. That was destroyed in 1699 when the tower fell and demolished the building. The later church was erected in 1710 by Henry Aldrich of Christ Church.

St Peter's in the East: On Queen's Lane, next to Magdalen College, with a pictureque tower, it was mentioned in Domesday Book.

St Michael's: On the corner of Ship St and the Cornmarket, with Saxon work outside and unfaced walls of rubble; unchanged since the Norman Conquest, by the old north gate of the city. Nearby the old Bocardo prison, where Cranmer was gaoled, spanned the Cornmarket.

St Mary's: On the High Street, next to Queen's. Scene of the famous trial of Cranmer in 1555, with his dramatic withdrawal of his recantation.

White: Dr Thomas White, who founded the professorship in moral philosophy 1621.

Whitaker: William Whitaker (1548-95), Master of St John's Cambridge. Whatever his failings as an ecclesiastical politician, he was probably the greatest systematic theologian of the English church. Unfortunately his writings were mostly controversial and in Latin, which has diminished his repute. Consult the Geneva edition of 1610, or more accessible, his Disputation on Scripture in the Parker Society edition.

Cartwright: Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603), the doyen of the early Puritans and the opponent of Archbishop Whitgift. His Biblical and anti-Rome writings are less well known than they merit.

Ward: Samuel Ward (c 1573-1643), a representative learned and moderate Church of England divine. A translator for the A.V. (Revelation), a close friend of William Perkins and Abp. Ussher,  Master of Sidney Sussex, Cambridge, from 1617, a delegate to the Synod of Dort and admiring associate of his fellow-delegates, Bishops Davenant and Hall.

Davenant: John Davenant (c 1570-1641), later Bishop of Salisbury and Regius Professor at Cambridge. He had a rare gift for both Biblical and controversial studies, combining decided views with judicious and moderate expressions. Like Ward he held to a sublapsarian system, which included a universal atonement. He joined Ward, Hall, Mede and others to support the attempts of John Durie to bring about a pan-Protestant reconciliation.

Greenham: Richard Greenham (1536-94) of Pembroke Hall was perhaps the most celebrated Puritan pastor of his day. His rectory at Dry Drayton near Cambridge was the cynosure for many a budding preacher, such as "silver-tongued" Henry Smith. Though Greenham lived in naked nonconformity he was so well respected that he was left to enjoy his ministry. His early sermons were published, and his works in 1599. His Treatise on the Sabbath (1592) is well known.

Perkins: William Perkins (1558-1602), Fellow of Christ's, a preacher and writer of extraordinary and universal talents. Widely respected in his own day, he was later defined as a narrow Puritan, a description which ignores the richness of his writings, pastoral, systematic, controversial and biblical. Read a selection in the Breward edition (Sutton Courtenay).

Baynes: Paul Baynes (d. 1617), known nowadays for his great commentary on the Ephesians (pub.1618). A Fellow of Christ's, he succeeded Perkins as lecturer at Great St Andrews after 1602.

Sibbes: Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), Master of St Catharine's and preacher at Grays Inn, continued the magnificent tradition of godly preaching in Cambridge, despite his stammer. In harmony with the late flowering of a moderate Anglican piety, his writings leave a sense of good manners, pastoral care and love of the scriptures.

Preston John Preston (1587-1628), Dean of Queens' College, and Prince Charles's Puritan chaplain. Versed in scholasticism, he was able to write detailed theology and impressive sermons. For a time near the centre of political power, he left many wondering what he night have done if he had lived longer.

Dod: John Dod (1549-1645), so long lived in contrast to Preston, was an accomplished Hebraist. However, his extraordinary reputation was due to the frequent reprinting of his sermons and pastoral material.

Hildersham: Arthur Hildersham (1563-1632), also of Christ's, was lecturer at Ashby-de-la-Zouch. He organised the Millenary Petition of 1604. Of advanced views, he was nevertheless said by Thomas Fuller to have "loved all honest men". His lectures on John 4 (1629) remain.

Hill: Robert Hill (d. 1623), again of Christ's, ministered at St Bartholomew, Exchange, in London. He edited Perkins' posthumous works. He wrote The Life Everlasting (1601).

Arrowsmith: see above

National Covenant: The Solemn League and Covenant was taken by the House of Commons, Sept. 25, 1643, "for the reformation and defence of religion, the honour and happiness of the King, and the peace and safety of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland". Later others up and down the country signed the Covenant.

Envoi: If you are interested in reading more of these Protestant worthies or have found the sermon useful to you, you can always contact me by e-mail at gwindsor@cableinet.co.uk

Perhaps I can make up a CD with some of these writings on it, if you think it would be helpful. In any case it's always nice to contact those of like (or unlike) mind, who still find this part of history interesting and relevant.