Goodwin, Thomas (DNB00)
|←Goodwin, Philip||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 22
GOODWIN, THOMAS, D.D. (1600–1680), independent divine, was born at Rollesby, Norfolk, on 5 Oct. 1600. He entered Christ's College, Cambridge, on 25 Aug. 1613, and graduated B.A. in 1616. He was a hearer of Richard Sibbs, D.D., John Preston, D.D., and other puritans, and had prepared himself to receive the communion, but his tutor sent him back as too young and 'little of his age.' This temporarily alienated him from the puritans. In 1619 he removed to Catherine Hall, and graduated M.A. in 1620. On 16 Nov. 1620 a funeral sermon by Thomas Bainbrigg (d. 1646) [q. v.] renewed his puritan zeal. He was chosen fellow; commenced B.D.; in 1628 was elected lecturer at Trinity Church, Cambridge, in spite of the opposition of John Buckeridge, bishop of Ely; and in 1632 became vicar of Trinity Church. Becoming dissatisfied with the terms of conformity, he conferred in June 1633 with John Cotton, then in London on his way to New England. Cotton made him an independent. He resigned his vicarage in 1634 in favour of Sibbs, and left the university.
Between 1634 and 1639 he was probably a separatist preacher in London. He married there in 1638. In 1639 the vigilance of Laud made his position untenable; he crossed to Holland, and became pastor of the English church at Arnheim. At the beginning of the Long parliament (3 Nov. 1640) he returned to London, and gathered an independent congregation in the parish of St. Dunstan's-in-the-East. In 1643 he was appointed a member of the Westminster Assembly, and took the covenant. He was one of the sub-committee of five nominated on 16 Dec. 1643 to meet the Scottish commissioners, and draw up a directory for worship; his co-operation was not at first very hearty. On 9 Dec. 1644, when Burroughs, Nye, Carter, Simpson, and Bridge (afterwards known as the 'dissenting brethren'), entered their dissent from the propositions on church government adopted by the majority, Goodwin was absent from the assembly through illness, but he added his name next day. Goodwin conceived that the use of synods was 'to frame up the spirits of men to a way of peace.' If the power of excommunication had been withheld from the superior judicatories, he would have been satisfied. Himself a Calvinist he was not prepared to excommunicate Arminian congregations. After 1646 he took little or no part in the proceedings of the assembly. He was invited to New England by Cotton in 1647, and prepared to go, but was dissuaded by his friends. When the 'dissenting brethren' drew up their 'Reasons' in detail (printed 1648), Goodwin was their leader and editor. On 2 Nov. 1649 he was appointed a chaplain to the council of state with 200l. a year, and lodgings in Whitehall. On 8 Jan. 1650 by order of parliament he was made president of Magdalen College, Oxford, with the privilege of nominating fellows and demies in case of vacancy, or of refusal to take the engagement. He constantly preached at St. Mary's, wearing a 'velvet cassock,' and held a weekly meeting at his lodgings, on the plan of an independent church meeting, of which Stephen Charnock [q. v.] and Theophilus [q. v.] were members. John Howe (1630–1705) [q. v.], then a student at Magdalen, being of presbyterian sentiments, 'did not offer to join' this meeting; Goodwin invited and admitted him 'upon catholic terms.' In the 'Spectator,' No. 494, 26 Sept. 1712, Addison gives an account of the examination of a student (either Anthony Henley [q. v.] or, according to Granger, Thomas Bradbury, not the divine) in grace rather than in grammar, by 'a very famous independent minister, who was head of a college in those times.' The reference is evidently to Goodwin; the 'half a dozen nightcaps upon his head' allude to the two double skull-caps shown in his portrait.
On 14 Aug. 1650 Goodwin was appointed on a commission (including Milton) to make an inventory of the records of the Westminster Assembly. In 1653 he was made a commissioner for the approbation of public preachers; and on 16 Dec. 1653 he was made D.D. of Oxford, being described in the register as 'in scriptis in re theologica quamplurimis orbi notus.' In 1654 he was one of the assistants to the commissioners of Oxfordshire for removing scandalous ministers. In 1658 Goodwin and his friends petitioned Cromwell for liberty to hold a synod and draw up a confession of faith. Cromwell gave an unwilling consent, but died (3 Sept.) before the time fixed for the opening of the assembly. Goodwin attended him on his deathbed. A few minutes before he expired Goodwin 'pretended to assure them in a prayer that he was not to die' (Burnet). A week later a fast-day was held at Whitehall; Tillotson, who was present, assured Burnet that in Goodwin's prayer the expression occurred, 'Thou hast deceived us, and we were deceived.' Burnet does not notice that this is a quotation (Jer. xx. 7).
Goodwin and his friends met at the Savoy for eleven or twelve days from 12 Oct. Representatives, mostly laymen, of over a hundred independent churches were present. Goodwin and John Owen were the leaders in a committee of six divines appointed to draw up a confession. They adopted, with a few verbal alterations, the doctrinal definitions of the Westminster confession, reconstructing only the part relating to church government. The main effect of the declaration of the Savoy assembly was to confirm the Westminster theology.
On 18 May 1660 Goodwin was deprived by the convention parliament of his office as president of Magdalen. He took to London several members of his Oxford church, and founded an independent congregation, since removed to Fetter Lane. His later years were spent in study. In the great fire of 1666 more than half his library, to the value of 500l., was burned; his divinity books were saved. He died of fever, after a short illness, on 23 Feb. 1680, and was buried in Bunhill Fields. The Latin epitaph for his tomb, written by Thomas Gilbert, B.D. [q. v.], was 'not suffer'd to be engrav'd' in full; it specifies his great knowledge of ecclesiastical antiquities. His portrait was engraved by R. White (1680); for Palmer's first edition it was engraved from the original painting by James Caldwall [q. v.]; for the second edition it was re-engraved by the elder William Holl [q. v.] His face, with its strong hooked nose and curling locks, has a Jewish cast. He married first, in 1638, Elizabeth, daughter of Alderman Prescott, by whom he had a daughter, married to John Mason of London; secondly, in 1649, Mary Hammond, then in her seventeenth year, by whom he had two sons, Thomas (see below) and Richard, who died on a voyage to the East Indies as one of the company's factors; and two daughters, who died in infancy.
Goodwin's sermons have much unction; his expositions are minute and diffuse; great historical value attaches to the defences of independency in which he was concerned. He began to publish sermons in 1636, and brought out a collection of them in 1645, 4to. To the seventh piece in this collection, 'The Heart of Christ in Heaven towards Sinners on Earth' (1643), a writer in the 'Edinburgh Review' (January 1874) has endeavoured, following Lemontey and Wenzelburger, to trace the suggestion of the modern Roman catholic devotion to the sacred heart; the supposed link with Goodwin being père Claude de la Colombière. Isaac Watts (Glory of Christ, 1747) had previously drawn attention to the unusual language of Goodwin 'in describing the glories due to the human nature' of our Lord. Of his writings the larger number were not printed in his lifetime, though prepared for the press. Five folio volumes of his works were edited by Thankful Owen, Thomas Baron, and Thomas Goodwin the younger, in 1682, 1683, 1692, 1697, and 1704; reprinted, 1861, 6 vols. 8vo; condensed by Babb, 1847-50, 4 vols. 8vo. Not included in the works are the following, in which he had a chief hand:
- 'An Apologeticall Narration hvmbly svbmitted to the honourablb [sic] Houses of Parliament,' &c., 1643, 4to.
- 'The Reasons presented by the Dissenting Brethren,' &c., 1648, 4to (issued by the assembly).
- 'The Grand Debate concerning Presbytery and Independency,' &c., 1652, 4to (issued by the independents).
Thomas Goodwin the younger (1650?–1716?), son of the above, born about 1650, was educated in England and Holland, and began his nonconformist ministry in 1678, when he joined with three others, including Theophilus Dorrington [q. v.], in an evening lecture held at a coffee-house in Exchange Alley. In 1683 he made the tour of Europe with a party of friends, returning in July 1684, when he became colleague to Stephen Lobb at Fetter Lane. He left Fetter Lane on Lobb's death (3 June 1699), and became pastor of an independent congregation at Pinner, Middlesex, where he had an estate. He kept here an academy for training ministers. He published a sermon in 1716, and probably died soon after. Besides funeral sermons for Lobb and others, and a thanksgiving sermon, he published:
- 'A Discourse on the True Nature of the Gospel,' &c., 1695, 4to (a piece in the Crispian controversy, of antinomian tendency).
- 'An History of the Reign of Henry V,' &c., 1704, fol. (dedicated to John, lord Cutts).
[Notices by Owen and Baron, with autobiographical particulars, edited by T. Goodwin, jun., in Works, vols. i. and v.; Wood's Athenae Oxon. 1692, ii. 783; Calamy's Account, 1713, pp. 60 sq.; Calamy's Continuation, 1727, i. 90 sq.; Life of Howe, 1720, pp. 10 sq.; Walker's Sufferings, 1714, ii. 122; Burnet's Own Time, 1724, i. 82 sq.; Palmer's Nonconf. Memorial, 1775 i. I 183 sq., 1802 i. 236 sq.; Wilson's Dissenting Churches of London, 1808 i. 214 sq., 1810 iii. 420, 429sq., 446sq.; Brook's Lives of the Puritans, 1813, iii. 156; Neal's Hist. of the Puritans, 1822, iv. 172 sq., 455 sq.; Granger's Biog. Hist, of England, 1824, v. 58; Lemontey's Oeuvres, 1831, vii. 443; Edinburgh Review, January 1874, p. 252; sq. (quotes Theodore Wenzelburger in Unsere Zeit, 15 Nov. 1873, for an early German translation of Goodwin's Heart of Christ); Mitchell and Struthers's Minutes of Westminster Assembly, 1874, pp. 17, 18,30, 58; Masson's Life of Milton, 1877, iv. 149, 228; Mitchell's Westminster Assembly, 1883, p. 214.]