Reading, John

, an English divine, was a native of Buckinghamshire, where he was born in 1588. He was admitted a student of Magdalen-hall, Oxford, in 1604. He took his degree of M. A. in 1610, and then entered himself a commoner of Alban-hall. In 1612 he was ordained deacon, and in 1614 priest, by the bishop of Oxford. About this time he became chaplain to Edward lord Zouch of Haringworth, warden of the cinque ports, and governor of Dover-castle. Having accompanied this nobleman to Dover, his preaching was so much admired, that at the request of the parishioners he was made minister of St. Mary’s, in December 1616. He was afterwards appointed chaplain in ordinary to Charles I. He was one of those doctrinal puritans, who opposed, as much as any churchman of opposite religious sentiments, the violent proceedings of the | authors of the rebellion, and had exposed them so frequently in his sermons, that he was soon marked out for vengeance. In April 1612, his library at Dover was plundered, and in November following he was dragged from his house by the soldiers, and imprisoned for a year and seven months. In January of the above mentioned year, archbishop Laud, then a prisoner in the Tower, had, at his majesty’s request, bestowed on him the living of Chartham in Kent; but from that the usurping party took care he should receive no advantage. He was also with as little effect made a prebendary of Canterbury. In 1644, however, sir William Brockman gave him the living of Cheriton in Kent, which he was not only allowed to keep, but was likewise appointed by the assembly of divines, to be one of the nine divines who were to write annotations on the New Testament for the work afterwards published, and known by the title of the “Assembly’s Annotations.

His sufferings, however, were not yet at an end; for soon after this apparent favour, upon a suspicion that he was concerned in a plot for the seizing of Dover-castle, he was apprehended and carried to Leeds-castle, where he was imprisoned for some time. In March 1650, he held a public disputation in Folkstone church with Fisher, an anabaptist, who argued against the necessity of ordination, and quoted as his authority some passage in bishop Taylor’s “Discourse of the liberty of Prophesying,” which obliged Mr. Reading to write a tract on the subject. On the restoration, when Charles II. landed at Dover, Mr. Reading was deputed by the corporation to address his majesty, and present him with a large Bible with gold clasps, in their name. He was now replaced in the prebend of Canterbury and the living of Chartham. Here he died Oct. 26, 1667, and was buried in the chancel of the church.

He published several occasional sermons from 1623 to 1663; and 1. “Brief instructions concerning the holy Sacrament,” Lond. 1645, 8vo. 2. “A guide to the holy City,” Oxon. 1651, 4to. 3. “An antidote to Anabaptism,1654, 4to. It was in this he animadverted on those passages of bishop Taylor’s “Discourse,” which seemed to favour irregular preaching. 4. “An Evening Sacrifice, or Prayers for a family in these times of calamity.” 5. “Speech made before king Charles II. on the shore, when he landed at Dover,” &c. 1660, single sheet, with verses. Mr, Reading left several manuscripts, partly in the hands | of Basil Kennet, whence they passed to his sen, White Kennet. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. II. Walker’s Sufferings of the Clergy. Kennel’s Mss. in Brit. Mus.