Wotton, Anthony

, ranked by Fuller among the learned writers of JCing’s-college, Cambridge, was born in London, about the latter part of the sixteenth century, and educated at Eton, whence, being elected to King’scollege, he was entered, Oct. 1, 1579, commenced B. A. in 1583, M. A. in 1587, and B. D. in 1594. He was also fellow of that college, and some time chaplain to Robert earl of Essex. On the death of Dr. Whitaker in 1596 he stood candidate for the king’s professorship of divinity in Cambridge, with Dr. John Overall of Trinity-college; but failed, by the superior interest of the latter, although he performed his probationary exercises with general applause. In March 1596 he was chosen professor of divinity in Gresham-college, upon the first settlement of that foundation, and in 1598 quitted his fellowship at Cambridge, and marrying soon after, resigned also his professorship. He was then chosen lecturer of Allhallows Barking; but in 1604 was silenced by Dr. Bancroft, bishop of London, for some expressions used either in a prayer or sermon, which were considered as disrespectful to the king; but it does not appear that he remained long under suspension; at least, in a volume of sermons printed in 1609 he styles himself minister of Allhallows.

His next trouble arose from his brethren in London, of the puritan stamp, with which he is usually classed. He was accused of holding an erroneous opinion concerning the doctrine of justification, which, according to him, consisted in the forgiveness of sins. His principal accuser was the Rev. George Walker, minister of St. John the Evangelist in Watling-street, who went so far as to bring forward a charge of Socinianism, heresy, and blasphemy. This produced a conference between eight divines of eminence, four for each party; and the result was, that although these judges differed from Mr, Wotton “in some points of the former doctrine of justification, contained in his expositions,” yet they held “not the difference to be so great and weighty, as that they are to be justly condemned of heresy and blasphemy.| In 1624, as Mr. Wotton had promised to explain himself more fully on the subject in dispute, he published his Latin treatise “De reconciliatione peccatoris,” thinking it more advisable to discuss the question in a learned language, than to hazard differences among common Christians by printing his opinion in English. In this work he professed to agree with the Church of England, the generality ofr the first reformers, and particularly Calvin, and to oppose only the opinion of Flaccus III} ricus, Hemmingius, c. and that of the Church of Rome, as declared in the Council of Trent. Walker, however, returned to the charge, but did not publish any thing until after Mr. Wotton’s death. This obliged his friend Mr. Gataker, one of the eight divines who sat in judgement on him, to write a narrative of the conference, which was published by Mr. Wotton’s son in 1641.

As Mr. Wotton was a zealous advocate for the reformation, he published several books in defence of it, which exposed him to the resentmeni of a different party. He entered particularly into the controversy with Dr. Montague, afterwards bishop of Chichester, whose work entitled “Appello Csesarem” met with a host of opponents, on account of its leaning towards Arminianism and popery. Wotton did not long survive this performance. Though a man acknowledged by all parties to be learned and able, it does not appear he had any other preferment than the lectureship of Allhallows, where, according to the register, he was buried Dec. 11, 1626.

His writings are, 1. “An answer to a popish pamphlet, &c. entitled ‘Certain Articles,’ &c.” Lond. 1605, 4to. 2. “A defence of Mr. Perkins’ booke called A Reformed Catholike, &c.” ibid. 1606, 4to. 3. “The tryal of the Roman Clergy’s title to the Church,” ibid. 1608, 4to. 4. “Sermons on part of chapter first of St. John’s Gospel,” ibid. 1609, 4to. 5. “Run from Rome; or, The necessity of separating from that Church,” ibid. 1624, 4to. 6. “De reconciliatione peccatoris, &c.Basil. 1624, 4to. 7. “An answer to a book, entitled Appello Coesarem, written by Mr. Richard Mountague,” ibid. 1626. 8. “The art of Logick,” ibid. 1626, 8vo. This is an English translation of Ramus’s logic, made by his son, and with a dedication by our author. This son, Samuel, who died in 1680, was rector of East and West Wretham in Norfolk. 1

1 Ward’s Gresham Professors. Harwood’s Alumni Etonenses, pp. 139 and 22 I.