Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lushington, Thomas

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1449781Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 34 — Lushington, Thomas1893Bertha Porter

LUSHINGTON, THOMAS (1590–1661), divine, is usually stated to have been born at Sandwich in Kent. Sir Thomas Browne, in a letter to John Aubrey, written in 1672, speaks of Lushington's birthplace as Canterbury (Browne, Works, ed. Wilkins, i. 467). It seems, however, probable that he was the Thomas, ‘son of Inggram lussyntovn and An' [i.e. Agnes] hys wyfe,’ baptised at Hawkinge, near Folkestone, 2 Sept. 1590. The registers contain the entries of baptism of three more children of Ingram and Agnes, between 1587 and 1593. Thomas matriculated at Broadgates Hall, Oxford, subsequently known as Pembroke College, on 15 March 1606–7, and graduated B.A. in 1616 from Lincoln College. In the interval, according to Wood, he ‘had some public employment in the country or elsewhere.’ He proceeded M.A. of Lincoln College in May 1618, and afterwards returned to Broadgates Hall, where he devoted himself to theology. Sir Thomas Browne [q. v.], author of ‘Religio Medici,’ was his pupil at the college. In 1624 he preached a sermon before the university, in which he denounced the popular desire for war with Spain, and spoke contemptuously of the House of Commons. Although his wit and eloquence pleased his hearers, Dr. Piers, the vice-chancellor, reprimanded him for his frivolity, and he was forced to recant his views in a sermon preached on the Sunday following (cf. Cressy, Fanaticism, 1672, p. 13, and Edward Hyde, Animadversions upon … Fanaticism, 1674, pp. 22–4). He took the degree of B.D. in July 1627, and D.D. in June 1632. Lushington was a high churchman of the Laudian school, and ‘a very learned and ingeniose man’ (Aubrey, Letters, ii. 293). He was the chaplain and intimate friend of Richard Corbet [q. v.], bishop of Oxford, and shared in the bishop's convivialities. On 10 June 1631 he was presented by Laud to the prebend of Beminster Secunda in the cathedral of Salisbury, in succession to Corbet, and in 1632 accompanied Corbet on his translation to Norwich. It was owing to Lushington's persuasions that his former pupil, Sir Thomas Browne, settled in Norwich. In 1633 he became vicar of Barton Turf and of Neatheshead in Norfolk, in 1636 of Felixstowe and of Walton in Suffolk, and in 1639 was presented by the king to the rectory of Burnham Westgate, and in 1640 to those of Burnham St. Mary, Burnham St. Margaret and Burnham All Saints in Norfolk. Wood says that Corbet ‘got him to be chaplain to Charles I.’ During the civil wars he was deprived of his preferments and lived quietly, ‘publishing then divers books to gain money for his maintenance.’ At the Restoration he declined offers of preferment on account of his age. He died at Sittingbourne in Kent on 22 Dec. 1661, and was buried on 26 Dec. in the south chancel of Sittingbourne Church. A handsome monument to his memory was erected against the south wall of the chancel by his ‘kinsman, Thomas Lushington of Sittingbourne, Esq., whom he by his last will made heir to all he had’ (Hasted, Kent, ii. 594). No trace of it now remains. The epitaph eulogised his character and learning.

In 1646, under the initials G. M., he published a commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, principally translated from the Latin of Crellius, entitled ‘The Expiation of a Sinner.’ The work exposed him to suspicions of Socinianism, which he never succeeded in wholly dispelling. In 1660 John Barwick, when starting for Breda, was instructed by the bishops to warn the king against accepting Lushington's services as chaplain (should he offer them) until ‘inquiry should be made concerning his suspected faith and principles’ (Life of Barwick, p. 272). The book was vigorously attacked by Edmund Porter in his ‘God Incarnate,’ London, 1655. It was apparently reissued, under the initials T. L., D.D., in or before 1656 (Wood, Athenæ, Bliss, iii. col. 529). He also wrote ‘Logica Analytica de Principiis, regulus et Usu Rationis rectæ,’ lib. i. ‘De Interpretatione,’ which was published by Nich. Bacon, London, 1650. Another part to the work, ‘De Argumentatione,’ does not appear to have been printed. A ‘Commentary on the Galatians,’ London, 1650, also translated from Crellius, is attributed by Wood to Lushington. The two Oxford sermons of 1624 were first published in London in 1659, under the pseudonym of Robert Jones, D.D.; they appeared also in 1708 in vol. ii. of ‘The Phenix,’ p. 476, &c., and in a volume, London, 1741 (with a preface by Hyde). The second sermon only was reissued at London in 1711, and Dublin, 1768. Manuscript copies of both the sermons are preserved in the Harleian MS. 4162, Brit. Mus. (the first sermon imperfect), and in the library of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, ccci. fols. 186, 205. A treatise upon the theology of Proclus, formerly in the possession of Sir Thomas Browne, is probably Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 1838 (Sloane). ‘A Treatise of the Passions according to Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas’ is also said to have been left by Lushington in manuscript.

[Works of Sir Thomas Browne, ed. Wilkins, iv. 468; Oxf. Univ. Reg. (Oxford Hist. Soc.), ii. 293, iii. 341; Foster's Alumni Oxon., 1500–1714; Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), iii. cols. 526–31; Prynne's Canterburies Doome, pp. 357, 360; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), ii. 656; Cal. of State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1639–40, p. 368; Blomefield's Norfolk, vii. 39, xi. 5; Hasted's Kent, ii. 594, 617; Wood's Historia et Antiq. Univ. Oxon. 1674, ii. 335, for Latin inscriptions both on monument and on stone over Lushington's grave in Sittingbourne Church; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, pt. ii. p. 65; Coxe's Cat. of MSS. in Oxford Colleges and Halls; Halkett and Laing's Dict. of Anon. and Pseudon. Lit.; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Cat. of Trin. Coll. Dublin; Transcripts in Canterbury Diocesan Registry, per J. M. Cowper, esq.; Sittingbourne par. reg., per the Rev. H. Venn.]

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