Goodwin, Thomas

, a famous nonconformist of the independent class, was born in 1600 at Rolesby in Norfolk, | and was sent, when he was thirteen years old, to Christ Church college, Cambridge, where he took his bachelor’s degree in 1617, and applied himself with so much diligence to his studies, as to attract much notice in the university. In 1619 he was removed to Catherine-hall, of which he became a fellow. Having taken orders, he was elected lecturer of Trinity church, in Cambridge, in 1628; in 1630 he took his degree of B.D. and in 1632 he was presented by the king to the vicarage of the same church. In these employments he was greatly admired and followed by the puritans, who began to look up to him as a leader, but becoming dissatisfied with the terms of conformity, he relinquished his preferments, and quitted the university in 1634, and to avoid the consequences of his nonconformity, went afterwards to Holland, where he was chosen pastor to an independent congregation at Arnheim. When the parliament had usurped all church authority, he returned to London, and became a member of the assembly of divines, with whom, however, he did not always agree. But his attachment to the independent party contributed to render him a favourite with Cromwell, through whose influence he was, in 1649, made one of the commissioner* for the approbation of public preachers, and also appointed president of Magdalen college, Oxford. Here he formed a meeting upon the independent plan, or rather converted the college into a meeting of that description, but was not inattentive to the interests of learning. His intimacy and favour with Cromwell seems to have been fatal to his good sense, and probably the usurper’s hypocrisy deceived him. When he attended Cromwell upon his death-bed, he was overheard to express himself with presumptuous confidence on the protector’s recovery; and when the event proved him mistaken, he exclaimed in a subsequent prayer to God, “thou hast deceived us, and we are deceived.” But he was not the only one of the nonconformists of that age who fancied themselves endued with extraprdinary powers. After the restoration he was ejected from Oxford, and retired to London, where he was permitted to continue in the exercise of the ministry till his death in 1679. He was buried in Bunhill-fields, where a monument was erected to his memory, with a long Latin inscription. He was certainly a considerable scholar, and a learned and eminent divine. In the register at Oxford he is described “in scriptis in re theologica quamplurimis Orbi notus.| He-was a high Calvinist; but, while he zealously enforced what he conceived to be the doctrines of Christianity, he did not forget to enforce by every incitement in his power the necessity of pure moral conduct. He was author of numerous pious and controversial pieces, sermons, expositions, &c. some of which were printed during his life-time, and inserted, after his death, in a collection of his works published in five volumes folio. 1


Culamy. —Ath. Ox. vol. II. —Neal’s Puritans.