Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dod, John

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1217556Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 15 — Dod, John1888William Hunt ‎

DOD, JOHN (1549?–1645), puritan divine, born at Shotlidge, near Malpas, Cheshire, in or about 1549, was the youngest of a family of seventeen. His parents were possessed of a moderate estate, and after he had received his early education at Westchester sent him when about fourteen to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he was elected scholar and afterwards fellow. He was a learned man, a good Hebraist, and, it is said, witty and cheerful. When on one occasion he ‘opposed’ at the philosophy act, he acquitted himself so well that the Oxford masters of arts who were present, finding him ‘facetiously solid,’ begged him to become a member of their university; to this, however, he would not agree (Fuller, Church History, iv. 305). A false accusation brought against him of having defrauded the college of a sum of money due from one of his pupils was the cause of a fever which almost cost him his life. During his illness he received strong religious impressions, and after his recovery, his character being fully cleared, he preached at a weekly lecture set up by some ‘godly’ people of Ely. When he was probably past thirty he was instituted to the living of Hanwell, Oxfordshire, where he remained for twenty years. While there he married Anne, sister of Dr. Nicholas Bownde [q. v.], by whom he had twelve children [see Dod, Timothy]. The John Dod, proctor of the university of Cambridge in 1615 (Fuller, Hist. of Cambridge, 139), was probably one of his sons, though it is suggested that he was Dod himself (Memorials). His second wife was a Mistress Chilton. At Hanwell he worked diligently, preaching twice each Sunday besides catechising and supplying, in conjunction with four others, a weekly lectureship at Banbury. He was a nonconformist, and after being frequently cited was suspended by Bridges, bishop of Oxford (cons. 1604). After his suspension he preached for some time at Fenny Compton, Warwickshire. He then removed to Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire, and while there was ‘silenced’ by Archbishop Abbot, 24 Nov. 1611 (Abbot's letter to the Bishop of Peterborough, Collier, Eccl. Hist. ix. 371). In 1624 he was presented to the rectory of Fawsley in the same county, where he remained until his death. In the course of the civil war he is said to have been troubled by the royalist soldiers. He died at Fawsley, and was there buried on 19 Aug. 1645. Dod is the reputed author of the famous ‘Sermon on Malt.’ According to the edition of 1777 (the manuscript versions, Sloane MSS. 3769, f. 21, and 619, f. 43, and Ashmolean MS. 826, f. 102, do not mention Dod's name), he had preached strongly at Cambridge against the drinking indulged in by the students, and had greatly angered them. One day some of them met ‘Father Dod,’ as he was called, passing through a wood, seized him, and set him in a hollow tree, declaring that he should not be released until he had preached a sermon on a text of their choosing. They gave him the word ‘malt’ for a text, and on this he preached, beginning, ‘Beloved, I am a little man, come at a short warning to deliver a brief discourse, upon a small subject, to a thin congregation, and from an unworthy pulpit,’ and taking each letter as a division of his sermon. He is also said to have approved the action of Henry Jacob in forming a separatist congregation (Wilson).

His works are:

  1. ‘Two Sermons on 3rd chap. of the Lamentations of Jeremie,’ preached at Hanwell, by J. D. and Richard Cleaver, 1602.
  2. ‘A Plaine and Familiar Exposition of the Ten Commandments with a … Catichism,’ also with Cleaver, 1604, newly corrected and enlarged, 1615, 19th edit. 1635. From his authorship of this book Dod was often called ‘Decalogue Dod.’
  3. ‘A Remedy against Contentions,’ a sermon, 1609, 1618.
  4. ‘Ten Sermons … for the worthy receiving of the Lord's Supper,’ by J. D. and R. C., 1633, with life and portrait of Dod, 1661; also by the same two, ‘Three godlie and fruitful sermons,’ and ‘Seven … sermons.’
  5. also with Cleaver, ‘A Plaine and Familiar Exposition of the Ninth and Tenth Chapters of the Proverbs of Solomon,’ 1606, 1612; ‘First and Second Chapters,’ 1614 (Brit. Mus.) Other small volumes on two or three chapters of the Proverbs were published at different dates and passed through many editions. These were collected and published together as ‘A brief Explanation of the whole book … of Solomon,’ signed J. D. and R. C., 1615.
  6. ‘Bathshebaes Instruction to her Sonne Lemvel,’ by J. D. and William Hinde.
  7. ‘A Plaine and Familiar Exposition on the Lord's Prayer,’ 1635.
  8. Editorial work in Cleaver's ‘Godlie Forme of Householde Government … newly perused and augmented by J. D. and R. C.,’ and by the same ‘Patrimony of Christian Children … with consent of J. D.;’ also in ‘Bovvels Opened, or a Discovery of the neere and deere Love … by Dr. Sibs … master of Katharine Hall, Cambridge.’ Anecdotes of Dod have been published as ‘Old Mr. Dod's Sayings,’ 12mo, b. l. 1680, and fol. single sheet, 1667; ‘A second sheet of … Sayings,’ 1724; ‘Sayings in Two Parts,’ 1786, and other editions with slight variations of title; ‘A Sermon upon the word Malt … by the Rev. J. D., Author of the Remarkable and Approved Sayings,’ 1777, and in Taylor's ‘Memorials,’ which also contains life and bibliography with portrait of 1661, 8vo, 1875, reissued as part of Taylor's ‘Northamptonshire Tracts,’ 2nd series, 1881.

[Taylor's Mem. of Rev. J. Dod; Fuller's Church Hist. (Brewer), vi. 305–8; Worthies, i. 181; Clarke's Martyrologie, Lives, 168; Brook's Puritans, iii. 1; Wilson's Diss. Churches, i. 39; Neal's Puritans, iii. 270; Collier's Eccles. Hist. (Lathbury), ix. 371; Watt's Bibl. Brit. i. 309; Notes and Queries, 1855, 1st ser. xii. 383, 497.]

W. H.