Cawton, Thomas

, a puritan clergyman of the church of England, exiled for his loyalty during the rebellion, was born at Rainham in Norfolk in 1605, of parents who were not in circumstances to give him an education suited to his capacity and their wishes, but were so much respected as to procure the patronage of sir Roger Townsend, knt. who not only sent him to school, but took the pains to assist him in his tasks, particularly in the Greek. By the same interest he was sent to Cambridge, and entered of Queen’s college, and made a distinguished figure, not only in the usual studies preparatory to the ministry, but in that of the languages, acquiring an uncommon acquaintance with the oriental languages, the Saxon, high and low Dutch, and the Italian, French, and Spanish. His religious principles he imbibed from Drs. Preston and Sibbs, and Mr. Herbert Palmer, puritans of great reputation at that time. After taking orders, he resided for four years in the house of sir | William Armine of Orton in Huntingdonshire; and his old patron sir Roger Townscncl, just before his death in r presented him to the living of \V ivcnhoc in Essex. Alter he had been on this living about seven years, a violent and long continued tit of ague rendered it necessary to try change of air, and in compliance with the advice of his physicians, he removed to London, where, by the interest of sir Ilai bottle Grirnston, he was promoted to the valuable rectory or' St. Bartholomew, Exchange. He had not been here above five years when Charles I. was put to death. A few weeks after, Mr. Gawton was called upon to preach before the lord mayor and aldermen of London, at Mercers’ chapel, when he delivered himself in such plain terms against the hypocrisy of the predominant powers, that he was first sent for to Westminster, and then committed to the Gatehouse. This served only to raise his character among the loyal presbyterians, who, when Charles II. had thoughts of entering England, and asserting his right, intrusted him, with Mr. Christopher Love, and some other worthy persons, with the money raised by them for his majesty’s service, for which Mr. Love was imprisoned, and afterwards executed. Mr. Cawton then betook himself to a voluntary exile, and retiring to Rotterdam, became minister of the English church there, and died Ang. 7, 1659. His son, th.e subject of our next article, took care to preserve a just account of his merits and sufferings by writing “The Life nnd Death of that holy and reverend man of God Mr. Thomas Cawton, some time minister of St. Bartholomew,” &c. To which is added, his father’s Sermon, entitled “God’s Rule for a godly Life, from Philippians i. 27.” which is the sermon for the preaching of which he was imprisoned, London, 1662, 8vo. This account is an artless picture of a man who did great honour to his profession, and was a pattern of virtue in every social relation. His life is important in another respect, as proving that the ambition of civil power was as much the cause of the trpu-f bles of that time, as any want of liberty of conscience in matters of religion. Cawton knew how to unite the puritan with the loyalist. His biographer informs us that when he first received the sacrament, he ever afterwards expressed the profoundest reverence, and the most elevated devotion at that solemnity. 1

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Life as above.

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