(1612) with some acrimony; and Hobbes singled out his doctrine of predestination as virtual fatalism.
The observation of Fuller that it was he who ‘first humbled the towering speculations of philosophers into practice and morality’ indicates the real secret of Perkins's remarkable influence. While he conciliated the scholarship of his university by his retention of the scholastic method in his treatment of questions of divinity, he abandoned the abstruse and unprofitable topics then usually selected for discussion in the schools, and by his solemn and impassioned discourse on the main doctrines of Christian theology—conceived, in his own phrase, as ‘the science of living blessedly for ever’ (Abridgement, p. 1)—he won the ear of a larger audience. Method and fervour presented themselves in his writings in rare combination; and Ames (Ad Lect. in the De Conscientia) expressly states that, in his wide experience of continental churches, he had frequently had occasion to deplore the want of a like systematic plan of instruction, and the evils consequent thereupon. Whether he actually disapproved of subscription is doubtful. According to Fuller, he generally evaded the question. He, however, distinctly gives it as his opinion that ‘those that make a separation from our Church because of corruptions in it are far from the spirit of Christ and his Apostles’ (Works, ed. 1616, iii. 389). His sound judgment is shown by the manner in which he kept clear of the all-absorbing millenarian controversy, and by his energetic repudiation of the prevalent belief in astrology. On the other hand, he considered that atheists deserved to be put to death (Cases of Conscience, ed. 1614, p. 118, ii. ii. 1).
The remarkable popularity of Perkins's writings is attested by the number of languages into which many of them were translated. Those that appeared in English were almost immediately rendered into Latin, while several were reproduced in Dutch, Spanish, Welsh, and Irish, ‘a thing,’ observes John Legate [q. v.], the printer, in his preface to the edition of the ‘Collected Works’ of 1616–18, ‘not ordinarily observed in other writings of these our times.’ Of his ‘Armilla Aurea’ fifteen editions appeared in twenty years (Hickman, Hist. Quinq. p. 500).
Perkins's right hand was maimed (see Lupton, Protestant Divines, 1637, p. 357), and in his portrait, preserved in the combination-room of Christ's College, this defect is visible. The portrait was engraved for the ‘Herωologia’ of Henry Holland in 1620, and there is another engraved portrait in Lupton, p. 347.
In Baker MS. vi. 277 b (= B. 269) there are extracts from the registers relating to his family; but there appears to be no sufficient warrant for assuming that he was in any way related to Sir Christopher Perkins [q. v.], dean of Carlisle.
Of his collected works very incomplete editions appeared at Cambridge in 1597, 1600, 1603, 1605; a more complete edition, 3 vols. folio, 1608, 1609, 1612; at London in 1606, 1612, 1616; at Geneva, in Latin, fol. 1611, 2 vols. 1611–18 and 1624; a Dutch translation at Amsterdam, 3 vols. fol. 1659.
The collected editions of Cambridge or London include the following tracts, which were originally published separately: 1. ‘Prophetica, sive de unica ratione concionandi,’ Cambridge, 1592; Basle, 1602; in English by Thomas Tuke, London, 1606. 2. ‘De Prædestinationis modo et ordine,’ &c., Cambridge, 1598; Basle, 1599; in English in ‘Collected Works’ (1606), by Francis Cacot and Thomas Tuke. 3. ‘A Commentarie, or Exposition vpon the five first chapters of the Epistle to the Galatians, etc. … with a svpplement vpon the sixt chapter by Rafe Cvdworth,’ &c., Cambridge, 1606, 1617. 4. ‘A godly and learned Exposition … vpon the three first chapters of the Revelation. … Preached in Cambridge,’ 1595; 2nd edit. by Thomas Pierson, 1606. 5. ‘Of the calling of the ministerie, Two treatises: describing the duties and dignities of that calling. Delivered pvblikely in the vniversite of Cambridge,’ London, 1605. 6. ‘A discovrse of the damned art of witchcraft,’ &c., Cambridge, 1608, 1610. 7. ‘A treatise of God's free grace and mans free will,’ Cambridge, 1602. 8. ‘A treatise of the Vocations, or Callings of men,’ &c., Cambridge, 1603. 9. ‘A treatise of mans imaginations. Shewing his naturall euill thoughts,’ &c. 10. ‘Ἐπιείκεια, or a treatise of Xtian equity and moderation,’ Cambridge, 1604. 11. ‘A godly and learned Exposition of Christ's sermon in the Mount,’ &c., 4to, Cambridge, 1608. 12. ‘A clowd of faithfvll witnesses, leading to the heauenly Canaan,’ &c., London, 1622. 13. ‘Christian Œconomie: or, a short svrvey of the right manner of erecting and ordering a Familie,’ &c. 14. ‘A resolution to the Country-man, prouing it vtterly vnlawfull to buie or vse our yearely Prognostications.’ 15. ‘A faithfvll and plaine Exposition vpon the two first verses of the 2. chapter of Zephaniah. … Preached at Sturbridge Faire, in the field.’ 16. ‘The Combate betweene Christ and the Deuill displayed.’ 17. ‘A godly and learned Exposition vpon the whole