Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 01.djvu/39

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Abbot
Abbot
25

regius professor of divinity at Oxford, in succession to Dr. Holland. During his residence in the university his sympathy with the Calvinistic party was unmistakably evinced by his suspension (when vice-chancellor) of Dr. Howson, canon of Christchurch, who had ventured publicly to animadvert upon the notes to the Genevan Bible; and also by a direct attack from the pulpit upon Laud, at that time president of St. John's College, for his leanings towards Romanism (Heylin, Life of Laud, p. 67; Aerius Redivivus, p. 390).

In the year 1613 Abbot took a leading part in the dispute respecting the complicity of the jesuit Garnet in the Gunpowder plot — a controversy in which Bellarmine, Bishop Andrewes, ‘Eudæmon Joannes’ (the jesuit L'Heureux), and Casaubon were likewise engaged. Abbot was invited to answer Eudæmon Joannes, whose treatise the catholic party regarded as a triumphant vindication of Garnet. His reply was entitled ‘Antilogia adversus Apologiam Andreæ Eudæmon Joannis.’ ‘It is manifest,’ says Jardine, ‘that, during its composition, Dr. Abbot had free access to all the documentary evidence against Garnet which was in the possession of the government . . . and in consequence of the vast body of evidence that it contains . . . as well as the powerful reasoning of the author, it is beyond all comparison the most important work which appeared in the course of the controversy.’

In December 1615, Abbot was consecrated by his own brother to the see of Salisbury. His appointment was not made without considerable opposition. ‘Abbot,’ said King James, ‘I have had very much to do to make thee a bishop; but I know no reason for it, unless it were because thou writest against one’ — alluding to the fact that Abbot's ‘Defence’ was a rejoinder to one Dr. Bishop, a jesuit (Abel Rediv. p. 545). On quitting Oxford, Abbot delivered before the university a farewell oration in Latin, of which some fragments are still preserved. He was attended, with every mark of respect, by the members of his own college and the heads of houses to the borders of his diocese. His discharge of the duties attaching to his episcopate, during the short period that he held the office, would seem to have been in every respect meritorious. He restored the cathedral which had fallen into decay, exercised a bountiful and discriminating hospitality, and devoted his best energies to the religious instruction of the people and the improvement of their social condition. He died 2 March 1617–18 after much suffering from a painful malady induced by his sedentary habits. ‘He was,’ says Wood, ‘a person of unblameable life and conversation, a profound divine, most admirably well read in the fathers, councils, and schoolmen.’ Abbot was twice married; the second time to a widow lady, Bridget Cheynell, mother of Francis Cheynell, an eminent presbyterian divine in the time of the Commonwealth. This second marriage is said to have displeased his brother, the archbishop, who regarded it as an infringement of the apostolic injunction that a bishop should be the husband of one wife. By his first wife Abbot had sons and a daughter, who was married to Sir Nathaniel Brent, warden of Merton College, Oxford. Their daughter, Margaret, was married to Dr. Edward Corbet, rector of Haseley in Oxfordshire, and the latter presented some of the bishop's manuscripts to the Bodleian.

Besides the works already mentioned, Abbot was the author of a laborious commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, a manuscript in four volumes folio and one of the collection presented by his granddaughter's husband to the Bodleian; of his other contributions to controversial theology an account will be found in Middleton, ‘Biographia Evangelica,’ ii. 381–2; ‘Biographia Britannica,’ i. 19.

[Life by Featley, in Fuller's Abel Redivivus, vol. ii.; Fuller's Church History; Wood, Athenæ Oxon., ed. Bliss, ii. 224–7; Criminal Trials (S. D. U. K.), ii. 366–7.]

J. B. M.

ABBOT, ROBERT (1588?–1662?), divine, has been strangely confused with others, e.g. with Robert Abbot, bishop of Salisbury, and with one of the humble ‘ejected’ of 1662 (Palmer's Nonconf. Mem. ii. 218); he has also been at different times erroneously separated into a Robert Abbot of Cranbrook, Kent; another of Southwick, Hants; a third of St. Austin's, London (the last being further described as a presbyterian, and as joining in the rebellion); while these were only the successive livings of the same Robert Abbot. He is also usually described as of the archbishop's or Guildford Abbots, whereas he was in no way related to them, albeit he acknowledges gratefully, in an epistle dedicatory of ‘A Hand of Fellowship to Helpe Keepe Ovt Sinne and Antichrist’ (1623, 4to), that it was from the archbishop he had ‘received all his worldly maintenance,’ as well as ‘best earthly countenance’ and ‘fatherly encouragements.’ The ‘worldly maintenance’ was the presentation to the vicarage of Cranbrook, of which the archbishop was patron. This was in 1616. He had received his education at Cambridge, where he proceeded M.A., and was afterwards