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Anthony Wotton

Anthony Wotton, B. D.—This learned person was born in London, and educated first at Eton school, then at King's college, Cambridge, where he took his degrees. Being a person of considerable reputation, he became fellow of the college, and was for some time chaplain to the Earl of Essex. Upon the death of Dr. Whitaker, in the year 1596, he stood as candidate for the king's professorship of divinity at Cambridge; but Dr. Overall, by a superior interest, carried the election. Mr. Wotton, notwithstanding this, was highly applauded in the university, t

He was, during the above year, chosen first professor of divinity in Gresham college. Also, upon the resignation of his professorship, he was chosen lecturer of Alhallows Barking, London. Here he met with some trouble on account of bis nonconformity. Having used this expression, " Lord, open thou the eyes of the king, that he may be resolved in the truth, without respect to antiquity," his words were supposed to insinuate, " that the king was blind, wavering, and inclined to popery, "t For this, therefore, with some otnrr things, he was silenced by Archbishop Bancroft.^

Mr. Wotton, on account of his views of the doctrine of justification, fell under the displeasure of some of the

* Thoresby's Viraria Leodiensis, p. 66.

t Fuller's Hist, of Camb. p. 158. f Ward's Gresham Professors, p. 39.

\ Archbishop Bancroft was a stout and zealous champion for the church, which, it is said, he learnedly and ably defended to the confusion of its enemies. Clarendon says, " that he had an excellent knowledge of the cbnrcbx that he almost rescued it out of the hands of the Calvenian party, that be very much subdued the unruly spirit of the nonconformists, and that his death could never be sufficiently lamented." Fuller says, " it is confessed that he was most stiff and stern in pressing ronformilv, which he did very fiercely throughout nil his province." Collier says, " his unrelenting strictness gave a new fare to religion. The liturgy wns more solemnly observed < the fasts and festivals were more regarded t the use of copes was revived i the surplice generally wornt and all things in a manner recovered to the first settlement under Quern Elizabeth. Some who had formerly subscribed In a loose, reserved sense, were now called upon to sign their conformity in more close, onevailve terms i so that now there

London ministers. His chief antagonist was Mr. George Walker, another zealous puritan, who, having opposed him for some time with great zeal, as a follower of Socinus, charged him with heresy and blasphemy; and sent him a letter, dated May 2, 1614, desiring a conference before eight learned divines to be chosen by both parties. They accordingly met for the purpose; Messrs. Walker, Stock, Downham, Westfield, and Gouge, on the one part; and Messrs. Wotton, Balmeford, Randall, Hicks, and Gataker, on the other. But the matters in dispute not being adjusted at that time, they had a second conference. In order to a better settlement of the points in controversy, Mr. Gataker proposed that Mr. Walker should set down in writing the heretical and blasphemous positions of Socinus, and Mr. Wotton's erroneous assertions as agreeing with them; that when they assembled they might the more readily come to a conclusion. Both parties agreed to the proposal. Upon their second meeting, after some debate, it was their unanimous opinion, that Mr. Wotton had not maintained any heresy or blasphemy whatsoever; which they accordingly subscribed under their own bands. The persons who attended the second conference, and who subscribed this declaration, were those mentioned above, excepting Mr. Baylie in the place of Mr. Westfield.*

Mr. Wotton was concerned in the controversy with Dr. Montague, afterwards bishop of Chichester; who, in a work

was no room left for scruples and different persuasion." Warner says, that he filled Che see of Canterbury '* with no extraordinary reputation •bout six years. He was naturally of a rough uncourtly temper, which was heightened by his great authority in the high commission. He had extremely high notions of government in church and state. He was most certainly a greater friend to prerogative than to liberty.'* By some be was charged with covetousncss and want of hospitality, which occasioned the following satire upon his death :

Here lies bis grace, in cold clay clad,

Who died for want of what he had. According to Rapin, " Bancroft never ceased to plague the puritans, and never ceased incensing the king against them, doing them all the mischief he could. Herein he was too closely imitated by the rest of the bishops, who found a double advantage in destroying the puritans. He is also accused of having been one of the most zealous to instil into the king the maxims of arbitrary power." lie is styled " a great persecutor and silencer of hundreds of most godly, conscientious, preaching ministers i" and is said to have lived an evil life, and died a fearful death—Qranger'i Bhg. Hitl. ml. I. p. 339.—Claremhn't Hlit. vol. I. p. 68.—Fulltr'$ Church IHit. b. x.

p. 55, 67.—Ctllier'i Eccl. llitt. vol. ii. p. 68T Watnct't HM. of Eng.

Voi. ii. p. 490 Rapin'M IIlit. of Eng. vol. ii. p. 163, 176.—Prynne's Jm.

tipalhie of Englitii Prelaclc, part I. p. 152,839. Edit. 1641. * Ward's Gresham Professors, p. 39.

entitled u Appello Caesarem," declared himself in favour of Arminianism, and made dangerous advances towards popery. The doctor's book was no sooner published than it met with a host of opponenls. Dr. Featly, Dr. Sutcliff, Mr. Rouse, Mr. Burton, Mr. Yates, Bishop Carlton, and Mr. Wotton, sent forth answers to it: * but the last contained the strongest arguments, and the most solid refutation. «1 Dean Sutcliffis said to havechode heartily, Mr. Rousemeant honestly, Mr. Burton wrote plainly, Mr. Yates learnedly, Bishop Carlton very piously, but Mr. Wotton most solidly."t Mr. Wotton did not long survive this last performance; for he died in London, December 11, 1626. He was a great scholar, an excellent preacher, and a zealous advocate for a further reformation of the church. He wrote an elegant Latin style, and is very justly placed among the learned writers of King's college, Cambridge.} Mr. Gataker denominates him, " a worthy servant of God, whom," says he," I always revered while he lived, as a man deserving of singular respect for his piety, learning, and zeal in the cause of God, which his works do sufficiently manifest, and will testify to posterity

His Works.—1. An Answer to a popish Pamphlet of late newly furnished, and the second time printed, entitled,' Certain Articles orfor

• Wood's Athens Oxon. vol. i. p. 442.

* Dr. Richard Montague was a divine who, in the reign of Charlei I.v lealously promoted arbitrary power; and, for publishing sentiments tending to the disturbance of church and state, he was accused to the commons in parliament, and convened and examined before the bar of the house. The proceedings of the commons displeased the kings for, as Montague was one of his chaplains, he pretended that this was an encroachment upon his prerogative. He expressed his displeasure at the commons, and took occasion, by the instigation of Bishop Laud, the king's most intimate counsellor, to bring the cause before the council, and, by this means, to stop the prosecution. Notwithstanding this, Montague was summoned a second time before the commons, and severely reprimanded. His cause was recommended to the Duke of Buckingham, by Bishops Laud, Bockridge, and Hnwson, who observed, " That learned men ought to be left to abound in their own sense, it being the great fault of the council of Trent to reguirt luitcripthn to school-opinions." Afterwards, a committee of the commons reported to the house, that Montague's " Appeal," and several other of his pieces, contained erroneous papistical and Arminian opinions, repugnant to the articles of the church of England | among which were the following:—" That the church of Rome hath ever remained firm upon the same foundation of sacraments and doctrines instituted by God. That images may be used for the instruction of the ignorant, and excitation of devotioo. That men justified may fall away, and depart from the state of grace." Notwithstanding these censures, he was promoted by the king to the bishopric of Winchester!—FalUr'i Church Hist. b. xi. p. 181.—Rapin't Hist, of Eng. vol. ii. p. 240, 244, 276.

t Fuller's Hist, of Camb. p. 75.

\ Ward's Grcsham Professors, p. 40—42.

eible Reasons,'&o.,1605.—2. A Defence ofMr. Perkins's Books, called, ' A Reformed Catholicke,' against the cavils of a popish writer, one D. B. P. or, W. B. in his ' Deformed Reformation/ 1606.—3. The Tryal of the Roman Clergy's title to the Church, 1608.—4. Sermons on part of Chap. i. of St. John's Gospel, 1609.—o. Runne from Rome; or, the Necessity of separating from that Charch, 16*24.—6. De Reconciliation! Peccatoris, 1624.—7. An Answer to a Book, entitled Appello Catarem, written ty Mr. Richard Montague, 1626.-MJ. The Art of Logic, 1626. This last is a translation of Ramus's Logic.

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