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John Sprint

John Sprint, A. M.—This learned person was the son of Dr. John Sprint, dean of Bristol, a frequent Calvinistic preacher; was born in or near that city, and educated in Christ's Church, Oxford. After taking his degrees in arts, he became vicar of Thornbury in Gloucestershire; but afterwards removed to London, .where he became a very popular preacher. Wood says, " he was a grave and pious divine, but for the most part disaffected to the ceremonies of the church of England, at least, while he continued at Thornbury. He was, indeed, called in question for uttering certain things against the ceremonies and discipline of the established church." This writer also adds, that he not only conformed himself, but was the great instrument in persuading others to do the same, by his book, called " Cassander Anglicanus." Fullers says, he put in the one scale the woe pronounced against those who preach not the gospel, or desert their flocks upon pretended scrupulosity; and in the other, the nature of those ceremonies that were enjoined by lawful authority; and finding the former to preponderate, he concluded it to be unlawful, on any such

• Wood's Athens, vol. 1. p. 405. t Wilkins on Preaching, p. 82, S3. VOL. II. X

account, for any one to leave or lose his ministerial func« tion.* Dr. Calamy, having mentioned Mr. Sprint's " Cassander Anglicanus," adds, " I think it not improper to communicate to the world a paper concerning it, which was written by the hand of his own son; a copy of which was sent me by the grandson of the author, with assurance that it was drawn up by his father, Mr. Samuel Sprint of Tidworth." The paper was as follows:

1. " This book meddles not with subscription, but disclaims it, p. 237.

2. " In all the arguments, it supposeth, that the ceremonies imposed are inconveniencies, and the church's burdens.

3. " By the quotations, p. 194, 196, and elsewhere, he adviseth us to bear witness against them, and to express our dissent from them, and then conform: Which is not to assent $ and much less, to declare our unfeigned assent, as well as consent to them.

4. " Bishop Laud said,4 It had been no great matter, if this book and the author had been burnt together.'

5. " This book is not fully comprehensive of the author's judgment: for, besides what is extant of his in print, (viz. his 4 Bellum Ceremoniale,' printed by another,) and what he hath left in manuscript, this book, as he hath acknowledged to his acquaintance, hath suffered much by the hands of the bishop's chaplain, who was appointed the reviser of books to be printed."t

From this account, and even from the words of Fuller, as cited above, it appears that Mr. Sprint was a puritan in principle and a nonconformist in practice; only he would conform, and recommended others to conform, rather than suffer deprivation. " To speak my free thoughts," observes Calamy, " I take that book of Mr. Sprint's to be a defence of occasional conformity to the church, in evidence of charity, while a testimony is publicly borne against its remaining corruptions; rather than a plea for entire conformity. t He was a man of excellent wisdom and great moderation. He died in London, May 7,1623, and his remains were interred at St. Ann's, Blackfriars, where he appears to have been for some time minister. Mr. Samuel Sprint and Mr. John Sprint, jun. both ejected in 1662, were his sons.^

His Works.—1. Propositions tending to prove the necessary Use of the Christian Sabbath, or Lord's Day, 1607.—2. The practice of

• Wood's Athenae, vol. i. p. 406.—Fuller's Worthies, part i. p. 360.

+ Calamy's Account, vol. ii. p. 343.

i Moderate Nonconformity, vol. i. p. 27. Edit. 1703.

\ Palmer's Noncon. Mem. vol. ii. p. 282,456.

that Sacred Day, framed after the Rules of God't Word, 1607,—3. The Surom of Christian Religion by way of Question and Answer, 1613.— 4. Cassander Anglicanus: or, the Necessity of Conforming to the prescribed Ceremonies of the Church, in case of Deprivation, 1618. 6. The Christian's Sword and Buckler; or, a Letter sent to a Mao seven years grievously afflicted in Conscience and fearfully troubled in Mind, 1638.—6. Helium Cerenioniale, already mentioned.