Gosnold, John (DNB00)

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GOSNOLD, JOHN (1625?–1678), anabaptist preacher, born in 1625 or 1626, was educated at the Charterhouse, from which he proceeded to Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. He took orders in the established church, and in early life became chaplain to Lord Grey, but during the civil war he embraced the principles of the baptists, and gathered a congregation in Paul's Alley, Barbican, London. This church existed under a long succession of ministers for about a hundred and twenty years. His preaching attracted people of all denominations. His audience was usually computed to be nearly three thousand, and ‘among them very often six or seven clergymen in their gowns, who sat in a convenient place under a large gallery, where they were seen by few’ (Walter Wilson, Dissenting Churches, iii. 235). The number and quality of his auditors occasioned after the fire of London an application from the officers of the parish of Cripplegate requesting a collection for the poor of that parish. The request was complied with, upwards of 50l. was raised, and the church voluntarily continued the collection for above twenty years. Gosnold was one of the ministers who subscribed the apology presented to Charles II on occasion of Venner's conspiracy. He was a strenuous opponent of Socinianism, and strove to keep his flock from imbibing its principles. He died 3 Oct. 1678, in the fifty-third year of his age, and was buried in Bunhill Fields. Wilson represents him as ‘a man of great learning and piety; a serious practical preacher; of singular modesty and moderation; unconcerned in the disputes of the times; and much esteemed and valued by men of note and dignity in the established church, particularly by Dr. Tillotson, whose weekly lecture he used to attend’ (ib. iii. 234). He published two tracts against infant baptism, entitled: 1. ‘Of Laying on of Hands, Heb. 6. 2,’ &c., 4to, London, 1656. 2. ‘Bαπτισμῶν Διδαχῆς, Of the Doctrine of Baptisms, Heb. 6. 2. Or, a Discourse of the Baptism of Water and of the Spirit,’ 4to, London, 1657. Before one of these treatises should be a small portrait of Gosnold by Van Hove, which is, however, seldom found.

[Crosby's English Baptists, iii. 61; Calamy's Nonconf. Memorial (Palmer, 1802–3), i. 196; Wilson's Dissenting Churches, i. 207, iii. 234–5; Addit. (Cole) MS. 5870, f. 7 b.]

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