Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Goodwin, John
GOODWIN, JOHN (1594?–1665), republican divine, was born in Norfolk about 1594. He was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, graduating M.A. and obtaining a fellowship on 10 Nov. 1617. Leaving the university in consequence of his marriage, he took orders, and became popular as a preacher in his native county at Raynham, Lynn, Yarmouth, and Norwich. For a time he seems to have officiated at St. Mary's, Dover. In 1632 he came to London, and on 18 Dec. 1633 was instituted to the vicarage of St. Stephen's, Coleman Street, vacated by the nonconformist secession of John Davenport [q. v.] He sided with the puritans, and as early as 1633 inclined to independency under the influence of John Cotton (1585-1682). In 1635 he was convened for breach of canons, but on his promise of amendment Bishop Juxon took no further proceedings. In 1638 Goodwin broached from the pulpit of St. Stephen's his opinions on justification (which had given offence at Dover), taking a view which was already regarded as practically Arminian, though he always maintained his independence of the system of Arminius, and cited Calvin as bearing him out on some points. A warm pulpit controversy with other city ministers on this topic was stayed by Juxon's interference, all parties agreeing to desist. Next year (1639) Goodwin angered his opponents anew by insisting on the need of a learned ministry. Juxon reported to Laud that he did not despair of a good issue. Goodwin had a hand in drafting the London clerical petition against the new canons of 30 June 1640. Alderman Isaac Pennington (afterwards closely connected with the quakers) was one of his parishioners, and joined his congregational society.
In 1639 Goodwin wrote a preface to the posthumous sermons of Henry Ramsden. During the next two years he published several sermons, and an exegetical tract (1641) criticising the positions of George Walker, B.D., of St. John's, Watling Street. Walker retorted upon Goodwin and others with a charge of Socinianism in the article of justification. Goodwin defended himself (1642) in ' Christ set forth,' and in a treatise on justification.
On the appeal of the parliament to arms Goodwin was one of the earliest clerical supporters of the democratic puritans. His Anti-Cavalierisme ' (1642) proclaims on its very title-page the need of war to suppress th party 'now hammering England to make an Ireland of it.' The loyalist doctrine of the divine right of kings he assailed in his 'Os Ossorianum, or a Bone for a Bishop,' i.e. Griffith Williams, bishop of Ossory (1643). With equal vigour he attacked the presbyerians as a persecuting party in his 'Θεομαχία, or the grand imprudence of ... fighting against God' (1644, 2 editions). In May 1645 he was ejected from his living for refusing to administer indiscriminately in his parish the baptism and the Lord's Supper. Nothing daunted, Goodwin immediately set up an independent church in Coleman Street, which had a large following. William Taylor, his appointed successor at St. Stephen's, was in his turn ejected in 1649, to be restored in 1657. In the interim Goodwin obtained the use of the church, but with a diminished e venue ; he estimates his loss in 1654 at 1,000l. Among his hearers at this period was Thomas Firmin [q. v.], who took down his sermons in shorthand.
The 'Gangræna' (16 Feb. 1646) of Thomas Edwards (1599-1647) [q. v.] included Goodwin among the subjects of attack; in the second and third parts, published in the same year, Edwards was provoked into yet more savage onslaughts by Goodwin's anonymous reply, bearing the stinging title 'Cretensis.' Goodwin is 'a monstrous sectary, a compound of Socinianism, Arminianism, antinomianism, independency, popery, yea and of scepticism.' He and several of his church 'go to bowls and other sports on days of public thanksgiving.' Goodwin, by his 'Hagiomastix, or the Scourge of the Saints' (1646; i.e. January 1647), came into collision with William Jenkyn, vicar of Christ Church, Newgate, whose 'Testimony' was endorsed (14 Dec. 1647) by fifty-eight presbyterian divines at Sion College. Sixteen members of Goodwin's church issued (1647) an 'Apologetical Account' of their reasons for standing by him. In answer (1648) to Jenkyn's complaint that presbyterians were put 'under the cross' by the existence of sectaries, Goodwin asks, 'Is not the whole English element of church livings offered up by the state to their service?' Jenkyn was aided by John Vicars, usher in Christ Church Hospital, who published (1648) an amusing description of 'Coleman-street-conclave' and its minister, 'this most huge Garagantua,' the 'schismatics cheater in chief.' This contains a likeness of Goodwin (engraved by W. Richardson) surmounted by a windmill and weathercock, 'pride' and 'error' supplyingthe breeze. Goodwin's career is, however, remarkable for consistency. He translated and printed (March 1648) a part of the 'Stratagemata Satanæ' of Acontius [q. v.], under the title 'Satan's Stratagems; or the Devil's Cabinet-Councel discovered,' with recommendatory epistles by himself and John Durie (1596–1680) [q. v.] Acontius, whose broad tolerance recommended him to the earlier puritans (see Ames, preface to Puritanismus Anglicanus, 1610), was now stigmatised by such writers as Francis Cheynell [q. v.] as a 'sneaking Socinian.' Cheynell sought in vain in the Westminster Assembly to obtain a condemnation of Goodwin's book, but printed (1650) his thoughts about it by request. There was a fresh sale for the translation, which was reissued with a new title, 'Darkness Discovered; or the Devil's secret Stratagems laid open' (1651).
Goodwin defended the most extreme measures of the army leaders. In his ' Might and Right Well Met' (1648), which was answered by John Geree [q. v.], he applauded the purging of the parliament. He was one of the puritan divines who, in the interval between the sentence and execution of the king, proffered to him their spiritual services. Goodwin tells us in his 'Ύβριστοδίκαι. The Obstrvctovrs of Justice,' pp. 96-7 (30 May 1649), that he had an 'houres discourse or more with' Charles, but was not impressed by his visit. He firmly contended in the same tract for the sovereign rights of the people, quoted approvingly Milton's ' Tenure of Kings and Magistrates' (13 Feb. 1649), and maintained that the proceedings against Charles followed the spirit of the law if not the letter. The pamphlet was cast into the shade by the splendour of Milton's 'Eἰκονοκλάστης' (October 1649). 'Two Hyms or Spiritual Songs' (1651) from his pen, sung in his congregation on 24 Oct. 1651, the thanksgiving day for the victory at Worcester, further illustrate his republican zeal.
Meanwhile he pursued his theological controversies. His magnum opus in defence of general redemption, ' 'ATroAvrpoxrts cmov- rpaxretas, or Redemption Redeemed,' appeared in 1651 (reprinted 1 840) ; his ' Water-Dipping no Firm Footing' (1653) and ' Cata-Baptism ' (1655) were polemics against baptists. The circumstance that Cromwell's ' Triers ' were mostly independents did not reconcile him to the new ecclesiastical despotism ; he arraigned it in his 'Βασανισταί'. Or the Triers [or Tormenters] Tried' (1657).
Calamy remarks that Goodwin ' was a man by himself, was against every man, and had every man against him.' Goodwin speaks of himself as having ' to contend in a manner with the whole earth ' (dedication to Cata-Baptism). His ideas were often ahead of his day. In his ' Divine Authority of the Scriptures Assorted ' (1648), which won the commendation of Baxter, he maintains, anticipating Fox and Barclay, that the word of God ; was extant in the world, nay in the hearts and consciences of men, before there was any copy of the word extant in writing.' In his 'Pagans Debt and Dowry' (1651; 1671, a reply to Barlow), which led to a controversy with Obadiah Howe [q. v.], he argues that without the letter of the gospel heathens may be saved. His rational temper made him the opponent of seekers and quakers, and gave him some affinity with the Cambridge Platonists. He rejected the distinction allowed by Acontius, between tolerance of error in fundamentals and in other points. Error in fundamentals may be innocent. Toleration he bases on the difficulty of arriving at truth. He would have men 'call more for light and less for fire from heaven' (epistle in Satan's Stratagems, 1648). Even the denial of the Holy Trinity he will not treat as a 'damnable heresy,' for orthodoxy is a doctrine of inference. Thomas Barlow [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Lincoln, wrote to him (September 1651), 'I always find in the prosecution of your arguments that perspicuity and acuteness, which I often seek and seldom find in the writings of others.'
At the Restoration Goodwin, with Milton, was ordered into custody on 16 June 1660. He kept out of the way, and at length was placed in the indemnity, among eighteen persons perpetually incapacitated for any public trust. His ' 'Ύβριστοδίκαι' was burned (27 Aug.) by the hangman at the Old Bailey. According to Burnet his comparative immunity was due to his Arminian repute. He soon returned to his Coleman Street congregation, though not to the emoluments of St. Stephen's, of which he was deprived and Theophilus Alford admitted as his successor, on 29 May 1661. He wrote strenuously against the Fifth-monarchy enthusiasts in 1654 and 1655 (see passages collected in Jackson, p. 210 sq.) But Venner's meeting house, whence the insurrection of 1661 proceeded, was in Swan Alley, Coleman Street, and here also, in 1653, was Goodwin's study (dedication to Exposition of Romans). Hence, doubtless, arose Burnet's fable that Goodwin was one of these enthusiasts. Immediately on Venner's rising, Goodwin's church issued a 'Declaration' (1660, i.e. January 1661) disclaiming all sympathy with this or any attempt 'to propagate religion by the sword,' Jackson ascribes to Goodwin an anonymous publication (which he wrongly describes) entitled 'Prelatique Preachers None of Christ's Teachers,' 1663; internal evidence is strongly against his authorship. He died in the plague year, 1665. From the burial register of St. Stephen's, Jackson gives the following entry as possibly referring to him: 'John Goodwin Jn whites Alley, vitler was buried the 3rd of September 1665.' By his early marriage he had seven children, two of whom died in 1645. His portrait, engraved in 1641, 'aetat 47,' by George Glover [q. v.], represents a man of fine features, wearing beard and moustache, his scanty hair almost hidden by an embroidered skull-cap.
Goodwin published besides the works already mentioned: 1. 'The Saints' Interest in God,' &c., 1640, 12mo. 2. 'God a Good Master,' &c., 1641, 12mo (dedicated to Elizabeth Hampden, mother of the patriot). 3. 'The Return of Mercies,' &c., 1641, 12mo. 4. 'The Christian's Engagement,' &c., 1641, 12mo. 5. 'Impedit ira animum, or Animadversions vpon . . . George Walker,' &c., 1641, 4to (Walker's 'Defence,' to which this is a reply, was published by Goodwin). 6. 'Impvtatio Fidei, or a Treatise of Justification,' &c., 1642, 4to. 7. 'The Butcher's Blessing, or the Bloody Intentions of Romish Cavaliers,' &c., 1642 (Jackson). 8. 'Innocencies Triumph, or an Answer to ... William Prynne,' &c., 1644, 4to (two editions same year, defends his 'Θεομαχία'). 'Innocency and Truth Triumphing,' &c., 1645, 4to (continuation of No. 8). 10. 'Calumny Arraign'd,' &c., 1645, 4to (answer to Prynne's reply). 11. 'A Vindication of Free Grace,' &c., 1645, 4to (ed. by Samuel Lane, contains sermon 28 April 1644 by Goodwin, taken in shorthand by Thomas Rudyard). 12. 'Twelve . . . Serious Cautions,' &c., 1646, 4to. 13. 'Some Modest and Humble Queries,' &c., 1646 (Jackson). 14. 'Anapologesia Tes Antapologias, or The Inexcusablenesse of ... Antapologia,' &c., 1646, 4to (first and only part; against Edwards). 15. 'A Candle to see the Sunne,' &c., 1647, 4to (appendix to 'Hagiomastix'). 16. 'A Postscript ... to ... Hagiomastix,' &c., 1647, 4to. 17. 'Sion College Visited, or Animadversions on a Pamphlet of W. Jenkyns,' &c., 1647 (i.e. January 1648), 4to. 18. 'Nεοφυτοπρεβύτερος, or The Youngling Elder ... for the instruction of W. Jenkyn,' &c., 1648, 4to. 19. 'The Unrighteous Judge,' &c., 1648 (i.e. 18 Jan. 1649), 4to (reply to Sir Francis Nethersole). 20. 'Truth's Conflict with Error,' &c., 1650, 4to (from shorthand report by John Weeks of disputations on universal redemption by Goodwin against Vavasor, Powell, and John Simpson). 21. 'The Remedy of Unreasonableness,' &c., 1650 (Jackson). 22. 'Moses made Angry; a Letter ... to Dr. Hill,' &c., 1651 (Jackson). 23. 'Confidence Dismounted, or a Letter to Mr. Richard Resbury,' &c., 1651 (Jackson). 24. 'Εἰρηνομαχία, The Agreement and Distance of Brethren,' &c., 1652, 4to; 1671, 8vo. 25. 'A Paraphrase,' &c., 1652, 4to; second edition with title 'An Exposition of the Nineth Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans,' &c., 1653, 4to (dedicated to the Lord Mayor, John Fowke [q. v.]). 26. Philadelphia, or XL Queries,' &c., 1653, 4to (on baptism). 27. 'Thirty Queries,' &c., 1653 (Jackson; on the magistrate's authority in religion). 28. 'The Apologist Condemned,' &c., 1653 (Jackson, a vindication of No. 27). 29. 'Dissatisfaction Satisfied in Seventeen . . . Queries,' &c., 1654 (Jackson). 30. 'Peace Protected,' &c., 1654, 4to (amplification of No. 29; contains a warning against the 'fift monarchic' men). 31. 'A Fresh Discovery of the High Presbyterian Spirit,' &c., 1654, 4to (curious controversy with six London booksellers, Thomas Underhill, Samuel Gellibrand, John Rothwell, Luke Fawne, Joshua Kirton, and Nathaniel Webb, who petitioned for the restraint of the press). 32. 'The Six Booksellers Proctor Non-suited,' &c., 1655, 4to. 33. 'Mercy in her Exaltation,' &c., 1655, 4to (funeral sermon, 20 April, for Daniel Taylor). 34. 'The Foot out of the Snare,' &c., 1656, 4to (by John Toldervy, who had been a quaker; part by Goodwin). 35. 'Triumviri, or the Genius ... of ... Richard Resbury, John Pawson, and George Kendall,' &c., 1658, 4to. Calamy mentions his 'Catechism,' which has not been identified. Posthumous was 36. 'Πλήρωμα τὰ Πνευματικόν, or a Being Filled with the Spirit,' &c., 1670, 4to, with recommendatory epistle by Ralph Venning; it is included in Nichols' series of standard divines. Goodwin edited Fenner's 'Divine Message,' 1645. Jackson (p. 57) quotes. Goodwin ('Innocencies Triumph,' p. 4) as claiming the authorship of the 'Plea for Liberty of Conscience ' which forms part of a reply to Adam Steuart, originally issued with the title ' MS. to A. S.' 1644, and again with the title 'A Reply of Two of the Brethren,' &c., 1644. But Jackson has misread his reference. Goodwin distinctly assigns the piece to another pen ' ingaged in the same warfare.' The error has misled Underhill and Masson.