Faldo, John (DNB00)

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FALDO, JOHN (1633–1690), nonconformist minister, is said to have been educated at Cambridge, and to have been a chaplain in the army, so that he held no benefice when the Act of Uniformity became law. In 1673 he is described as ‘a nonconforming minister at Barnet,’ but in 1684 was chosen pastor of the congregation at Plasterers' Hall, Addle Street, Aldermanbury, London. Here he remained till his death. In 1673 he published ‘Quakerism no Christianity. Clearly and abundantly proved, out of the writings of their Chief Leaders. With a Key, for the understanding their sense of their many Usurped, and Unintelligible Words and Phrases, to most Readers.’ The book was in three parts, the third being entitled ‘An Examination of the First Part of W. Pen's Pamphlet called The Spirit of Truth: with a Rebuke of his Exorbitances.’ This was at once answered by Penn in a tract called ‘Quakerism a New Nick-Name for Old Christianity, being an Answer to a Book, Entituled, Quakerism No Christianity; subscribed by J. Faldo. In which the Rise, Doctrine and Practice of the Abused Quakers are Truly, Briefly and Fully Declared and Vindicated from the False Charges, Wicked Insinuations and utmost Opposition made by that Adversary. By one of them, and a Sufferer with them in all their Sufferings, William Penn.’ The British Museum copy of this tract is dated 1672, apparently a misprint for 1673. Faldo, still in 1673, answered Penn in ‘A Vindication of “Quakerism no Christianity,” &c., against the very vain attempts of W. Pen, in his pretended answer: with some remarkable passages out of the Quakers' Church Registry, wherein their near approach to Popery and their bold blasphemy is abundantly manifest;’ to which, in 1673 again, Penn replied by ‘The Invalidity of John Faldo's Vindication of his Book, &c. In Two Parts. By W. Penn, who Loves not Controversy for Controversy's Sake.’ Penn states in this tract that Faldo took up the subject ‘disgusted at the coming over of some of his hearers to the way we profess.’ On the appearance of ‘The Invalidity,’ &c., Faldo sent Penn a printed challenge to engage in a public dispute, which Penn refused by letter, observing, ‘for thy letter, it is civil, I wish all thy procedure had grated no more: I love, and shall at any time convenient, embrace a sober discussion of principles of religion; for truly I aim at nothing more than truth's triumph, though in my own abasement;’ but Faldo was displeased with the answer, and published in 1674 ‘A Curb to W. Penn's Confidence,’ to which Penn retorted with ‘William Penn's Return to John Faldo's Reply, called A Curb for William Penn's Confidence, &c., writ in Defence of his Answer to John Faldo's Printed Challenge.’ After this Faldo assembled a company of twenty-one learned divines, who subscribed to a commendatory epistle which was issued with a second edition of Faldo's original work, ‘Quakerism no Christianity.’ This appeared in 1674, and was at once answered by Penn in ‘A Just Rebuke to One and Twenty Learned and Reverend Divines (so called). Being an Answer to an Abusive Epistle against the People called Quakers.’ The final tract of the controversy was Faldo's answer to this, which appeared in 1675, entitled, ‘XXI Divines (whose names are hereunder affixed) cleared of the unjust Criminations of W. Penn in his pretended “Just Rebuke” for their Epistle to a book entituled “Quakerism no Christianity.”’ Throughout the controversy Faldo is extremely abusive and often coarse, but he shows a more amiable side of his character in a volume published in 1687, called ‘A Discourse of the Gospel of Peace, and of the Government of our own Spirits. Being the substance of Divers Sermons, from Ephes. vi. 15 and Prov. xvi. 32.’ This is dedicated to Lady Clinton, to whose family Faldo seems to have acted as chaplain. Faldo ‘was of the congregational judgment in the latter part of his life, and noted for his moderation.’ He died on 7 Feb. 1690, of the stone, and was buried at Bunhill Fields, where there is a Latin inscription upon his tomb. His funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. John Quick, and afterwards published. It asserts that he did much to heal the breach between presbyterians and independents, but gives no biographical facts except the observation that ‘such a pastor as Mr. Faldo is forty years a making.’ In 1696 there was published the seventeenth edition of Jeremiah Dyke's ‘The Worthy Communicant: or a Treatise showing the due Order of Receiving the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper,’ abridged and supplemented by Faldo so as to bring the book ‘within the reach of the poor.’

[Wilson's Hist. of the Dissenting Churches, ii. 527; Calamy and Palmer's Nonconformist's Memorial, iii. 513; A Collection of the Works of William Penn, 1726, i. 45; Thomas Clarkson's Memoirs of the Public and Private Life of William Penn, 1849, ch. ix.]

R. B.