1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Adams, Thomas
ADAMS, THOMAS (d. c. 1655), English divine, was, in 1612, “a preacher of the gospel at Willington,” in Bedfordshire, where he is found until 1614, and whence issued his Heaven and Earth Reconciled, The Devil's Banquet and other works. In 1614–1615 he was at Wingrave, in Buckinghamshire, probably as vicar, and published a number of works in quick succession; in 1618 he held the preachership at St Gregory's, under St Paul's Cathedral, and was “observant chaplain” to Sir Henry Montague, the lord chief justice of England. These bare facts we gather from epistles-dedicatory and epistles to the reader, and title-pages. These epistles show him to have been on the most friendly terms with some of the foremost men in state and church, though his ardent protestantism offended Laud and hindered his preferment. His “occasionally” printed sermons, when collected in 1629, placed him beyond all comparison in the van of the preachers of England, and had something to do with shaping John Bunyan. He equals Jeremy Taylor in brilliance of fancies, and Thomas Fuller in wit. Robert Southey calls him “the prose Shakespeare of Puritan theologians.” His numerous works display great learning, classical and patristic, and are unique in their abundance of stories, anecdotes, aphorisms and puns.
His works were edited in J. P. Nichol’s Puritan Divines, by J. Angus and T. Smith (3 vols. 8vo, 1862).