Dent, Arthur (DNB00)


DENT, ARTHUR (d. 1607), puritan divine, matriculated as a pensioner of Christ's College, Cambridge, in November 1571, graduated B.A. in 1575–6, M.A. in 1579, and was on 17 Dec. 1580 instituted to the rectory of South Shoebury, Essex, on the presentation of Robert, lord Rich. In 1582 he was one of the witnesses examined in support of charges brought against Robert Wright, a puritan minister (Strype, Annals, iii. 125, Append. 42, folio). About 1584 he was much troubled by Aylmer, his diocesan, for refusing to wear the surplice and omitting the sign of the cross in baptism. His name is appended to the petition sent to the lords of the council by twenty-seven ministers of Essex, who refused to subscribe the declaration ‘that there is nothing contained in the Book of Common Prayer contrary to the word of God’ (Brook, Puritans, ii. 112, 275). He died of a fever after three days' illness about the end of 1607. He left a widow, who was probably a sister of Ezekiel Culverwell, as he is styled Dent's ‘brother.’ Culverwell, in dedicating an edition of the ‘Ruine of Rome’ to Lord Rich, remarks that to Dent's ‘diligence, yea, extreme and unwearied pains in his ministry, publicly, privately, at home and abroad, for at least four and twenty years, all our country can testify. … Besides all others his great labours, he had a special care of all the churches, night and day, by study and fervent prayer, procuring the prosperity of Zion and the ruin of Rome.’ He was esteemed an excellent preacher, and the popu- larity of his printed sermons is attested by the numerous editions they passed through.

His works are: 1. ‘A Sermon of Repentance, preached at Lee in Essex, 7 March 1581,’ London, 1582, 1583, 1585, 1590, 1611, 1615, 1626, 1629, 1630, 1637, 1638, 1643, 12mo. Translated into Welsh by R. Lloyd, London, 1629, 8vo. 2. ‘Exposition of the Articles of our Faith by short questions and answers,’ London, 1591, 8vo. 3. ‘The Rvine of Rome, or an Exposition upon the whole Reuelation: wherein is plainely shewed and proued that the Popish Religion, together with all the power and authority of Rome, shall ebbe and decay still more and more throughout all the Churches of Europe, and come to an utter overthrow even in this life before the end of the world. Written especially for the comfort of Protestants, and the daunting of Papists, Seminary Priests, and all that cursed rabble,’ London, 1603, 1607, 4to; 1611, 1633, 1662, 8vo; 1656, 12mo. 4. ‘A Pastime for Parents; or a Recreation to passe away the time: contayning the most principal grounds of Christian Religion,’ London, 1603, 1609, 12mo. 5. ‘The Plaine Mans Path-way to Heaven. Wherein every man may clearely see whether hee shall be saved or damned,’ London, 1610, 1617, 1622 (18th edition), 1631, 1637 (24th edition), 1664, 1682. The 41st edition, with life of the author, appeared at London, 1831, 12mo. A Welsh translation by R. Lloyd was published at London, 1630, 8vo. 6. ‘A Sermon of Christ's Miracles,’ 4th edition, London, 1610, 8vo; 7th edition, London, 1617, 12mo. 7. ‘A Sermon of Gods Providence,’ 4th edition, London, 1611, 8vo; 6th edition, 1616. 8. ‘A learned and frvitfull Exposition upon the Lord's Prayer,’ London, 1612, 1613, 12mo. 9. ‘The Hand-maid of Repentance; or, a short Treatise of Restitution, written by Arthur Dent as a necessary appendix to his Sermon of Repentance,’ London, 1614, 12mo. 10. ‘The Opening of Heaven gates, or the ready way to everlasting life. Delivered in a dialogue between Reason and Religion touching Predestination,’ 4th edition, London, 1617, 12mo.

[Addit. MS. 5867, f. 23 b; Newcourt's Repertorium, ii. 531; Cooper's Athenæ Cantab. ii. 469; Cat. of Dr. Bliss's Library (1858), i. 90; Ames's Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert), pp. 1156, 1336, 1357, 1358.]

T. C.