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Jackson, Thomas (1579-1640) (DNB00)


JACKSON, THOMAS (1579–1640), president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and dean of Peterborough, was born at Witton-on-the-Wear, Durham, about St. Thomas's day, 21 Dec. 1579. Members of his father's family were Newcastle merchants, and he was at first intended for commerce. But his abilities came under the notice of the third Lord Eure, at whose suggestion he was sent to Queen's College, Oxford (25 June 1596), where Richard Crakanthorpe [q. v.] was his tutor. He obtained a scholarship at Corpus Christi College on 24 March 1596–7. He graduated B.A. on 22 July 1599, and M.A. 9 July 1603, became a probationer fellow of his college on 10 May 1606, and was afterwards repeatedly elected vice-president. On 25 July 1610 he proceeded B.D., receiving a license to preach on 18 June 1611, and the degree of D.D. 26 June 1622. At Oxford Jackson won much reputation for his varied learning, but mainly devoted himself to theology. He read divinity lectures weekly both at his own college and at Pembroke, and published the first two books of his commentary on the Creed in 1613, dedicating the first to his patron, Lord Eure. He was instituted to the living of St. Nicholas, Newcastle, on 27 Nov. 1623, through the influence of Neile, bishop of Durham, to whom he was chaplain for a time. In 1624, with the permission of his bishop, he resided much at Oxford, engaged in literary work. About 1625 he was presented by Neile to the living of Winston, Durham, receiving on 14 May 1625 a dispensation to hold it with Newcastle, and also becoming chaplain in ordinary to the king. He resided principally at Newcastle, where his preaching and charitable work were alike notable. In Fuller's words, he became ‘a factor for heaven where he was once designed a merchant.’ In 1630 Laud and Neile secured for Jackson the presidency of Corpus Christi, his own college, and on 8 July 1632 he was presented to the crown living of Witney, Oxfordshire. The latter he resigned in 1637, the former he held till his death. He was installed prebendary of Winchester on 18 June 1635, and on 17 Jan. 1638–9 became dean of Peterborough. He died, aged 60, on 21 Sept. 1640, and was buried at Oxford, in the inner chapel of Corpus Christi College, but no memorial marks the spot. By his will, dated 5 Sept., Jackson bequeathed most of his books to his college.

Jackson's theological works rank high. His views were at first decidedly puritanical, but they changed under the influence of Neile and Laud, and he ultimately incurred the wrath of the presbyterians, and especially of Prynne, who attacked him in ‘Anti-Arminianism’ and ‘Canterburie's Doome.’ At Laud's trial Dr. Featley described Jackson as ‘a known Arminian,’ and Dr. Seth Ward similarly characterised his religious position. ‘An Historical Narration’ by Jackson, apparently of extreme Arminian tendency, was licensed by Laud's chaplain while Laud was bishop of London, but was afterwards called in and suppressed, by order, according to Prynne, of Archbishop Abbot. Southey described him as ‘the most valuable of all our English divines,’ and insisted on the soundness of his philosophy and the strength of his faith. Jones of Nayland found in his works ‘a magazine of theological knowledge.’ His theology powerfully commended itself to modern high church divines, as recent reprints abundantly prove. Pusey asserted that his was ‘one of the best and greatest minds our church has nurtured.’

Jackson's chief work was his ‘Commentaries on the Apostles' Creed.’ It was designed to fill twelve books, nine of which were published in separate volumes in his lifetime. The first two appeared (London, 1613, 4to) under the titles of ‘The Eternall Truth of Scriptures’ and ‘How Far the Ministry of Man is necessary for Planting the True Christian Faith.’ The third, ‘The Positions of Jesuites and other later Romanists concerning the Authority of their Church,’ appeared in 1614; the fourth, entitled ‘Justifying Faith,’ in 1615 (2nd edit. 1631); the fifth, entitled ‘A Treatise containing the Originall of Unbeliefe,’ in 1625; the sixth, entitled ‘A Treatise of the Divine Essence and Attributes,’ pt. i. in 1628 (dedicated to the Earl of Pembroke), pt. ii. 1629; the seventh, ‘The Knowledge of Christ Jesus,’ in 1634; the eighth, ‘The Humiliation of the Sonne of God,’ in 1636; the ninth, ‘A Treatise of the Consecration of the Sonne of God,’ Oxford, 1638, 4to. The tenth book (‘Christ exercising his Everlasting Priesthood,’ or the second part of the ‘Knowledge of Christ Jesus’) was published by Barnabas Oley for the first time in 1654, folio, and the eleventh book (‘Dominus Veniet. Of Christ's Session at the Right Hand of God’) first appeared, also under Oley's auspices, in 1657, folio, in a volume containing other of Jackson's sermons and treatises. A collected edition of Jackson's works, some of which had not been printed previously, dated 1672–3, in 3 vols., supplies a twelfth book, of which a portion had been issued as early as 1627 under the title of ‘A Treatise of the Holy Catholike Faith and Church,’ 3 parts (reprinted separately in 1843). A completer edition of Jackson's works was issued at Oxford in 1844, 12 vols. In 1653 Oley issued in a single folio volume, with a preface by himself and a life of Jackson by Edmund Vaughan, a new edition of the first three books of the ‘Commentaries,’ with which the tenth and eleventh books (1654 and 1657) were afterwards frequently bound. Other books of the Creed, with a treatise on the ‘Primeval State of Man,’ also appeared in folio in 1654. Besides the ‘Commentaries,’ Jackson published in his lifetime three collections of sermons: 1. ‘Nazareth to Bethlehem,’ Oxford, 1617, 4to. 2. ‘Christ's Answer unto John's Question,’ London, 1625, 4to. 3. ‘Diverse Sermons,’ Oxford, 1637, 4to.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 664; Wood's Fasti (Bliss), i. 281, 299, 339, 401; Clark's Reg. Oxf. Univ. pt. i. pp. 36, 217, pt. ii. p. 214; Lloyd's Memoirs, ed. 1668, p. 69; Kennett's Register, pp. 670, 681; Jones's Life of Bishop Horne, p. 75; Walton's Life of Hooker; Rymer's Fœdera, xviii. 660; A Discovery of Mr. Jackson's Vanitie, by W. Twisse, ed. 1630, p. 270; Repertorium Theologicum, a synoptical table of Jackson's works, by the Rev. H. J. Todd, 1838; Mackenzie and Ross's Durham, p. 278; Brand's Newcastle, i. 305; Mackenzie's Newcastle, p. 280; Gale's Winchester, p. 123; Biog. Brit.; Chalmers's Dict.]

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