Bolton, Robert

, an eminent puritan divine, and one of the best scholars of his time, was born at Blackburn in Lancashire, in 1572, and educated in queen Elizabeth’s free-school in that place, where he made such proficiency as to be accounted a young man of extraordinary talents and industry. In his eighteenth year he went to Oxford, and entered of Lincoln college, under the tuition of Mr. John Randal, where he went through a course of logic and philosophy with distinguished approbation, and particularly took pains to acquire a critical knowledge of Greek, transcribing the whole of Homer with his own hand. By this diligence he attained a greater facility than was then usual, writing, and even disputing, in Greek with great correctness and fluency. From Lincoln he removed to Brazen-nose, in hopes of a fellowship, as that society | consisted most of Lincolnshire and Cheshire men. In 1596 he took his bachelor’s degree in this college, and was kindly supported by Dr. Brett of Lincoln, himself a good Grecian, and who admired the proficiency Bolton had made in that language, until 1602, when he obtained a fellowship, and proceeded M. A. the same year. His reputation advancing rapidly, he was successively chosen reader of the lectures on logic, and on moral and natural philosophy in his college. In 1605, vrhen king James came to Oxford, the vice-chancellor (Abbot, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury) appointed him to read in natural philosophy in the public schools, and to be one of the disputants before his majesty. Afterwards he increased his stock of learning by metaphysics, mathematics, and scholastic divinity. About this time, one Anderton, a countryman and schoolfellow, and a zealous Roman catholic, endeavoured to seduce him to that religion, and a place of private conference was fixed, but Anderton not keeping his appointment, the affair dropped. Mr. Bolton, with all his learning, had been almost equally noted for immorality, but about his thirty-fourth year, reformed his life and manners, and became distinguished for regularity and piety. In 1609, about two years after he entered into holy orders, which he did very late in life, he was presented to the living of Broughton in Northamptonshire, by Mr. afterwards sir Augustine Nicolls, serjeant at law, who sent for him to his chamber* in Serjeant’s Inn and gave him the presentation. Dr. King, bishop of London, being by accident there at the same time, thanked the serjeant for what he had done for Broughton, but told him that he had deprived the university of a singular ornament. He then went to his living and remained on it until his death, Dec. 17, 1631. He was, says Wood, a painful and constant preacher, a person of great zeal in his duty, charitable and bountiful, and particularly skilled in resolving the doubts of timid Christians. Of his works, the most popular in his time, was “A Discourse on Happiness.” Lond. 1611, 4to, which was eagerly bought up, and went through six editions at least in his life-time. He published also various single and volumes of sermons, a list of which may be seen in Wood. After his death Edward Bagshaw, esq. published “Mr. Bolton’s last and learned work of the Four last Things, Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven, with an Assize Sermon, and Funeral Sermon for his patron | Judge Nichols,” Loncl. 1633. Prefixed to this is the life of Mr. Bolton, to which all his subsequent biographers have been indebted. 1

1 Life ubi supra —Ath. Ox. I. Fuller’s Worthies and Abel Peclivivus. Clark’s Eccl. History. Grander, and a blunder commuted by him corrected in —Gent. Mag. vol. XLVIII. p. 75.