Johnson, John (1706-1791) (DNB00)

JOHNSON, JOHN (1706–1791), baptist minister, son of a peasant, was born at Lostock, in the parish of Eccles, near Manchester, in March 1706. He was piously brought up, and when only twenty years old became a preacher. About 1741 he was appointed pastor of the Byrom Street Baptist Chapel, Liverpool, but left about 1747–8 in consequence of his doctrinal views having rendered him obnoxious to a section of the congregation. He and his adherents afterwards built a chapel in Stanley Street, Liverpool, opened in 1750, in charge of which he remained until his death on 20 March 1791, aged 85. His wife, whom he married about 1740, survived him.

Johnson had much vigour and originality of mind, and was the founder of a sect called Johnsonian Baptists. His followers were found for a long time at Wisbech in Cambridgeshire and elsewhere.

Among his numerous writings were: 1. ‘The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Married State,’ 5th edit. 1760, 8vo; often reprinted. 2. ‘A Mathematical Question propounded by the Vicegerent of the World,’ 1755; 5th edit. Windsor, U.S.A., 1794; another printed in London, 1859. 3. ‘The Election of God Undisguised,’ 1759. 4. ‘The Two Opinions Tried,’ &c., 1764. 5. ‘Divine Truth, being a Vindication of the Attributes, &c., of God,’ 1769. 6. ‘The Riches of Gospel Grace Opened,’ 2 vols. Warrington, 1776. 7. ‘A Scriptural Illustration of the Book of Revelation,’ Warrington, 1779. 8. ‘The Evangelical Believer's Confession of the Son of God,’ Liverpool, 1781. 9. ‘The Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures.’ 10. ‘Original Letters,’ 2 vols. Norwich 1796–1800. This contains an account of the author, probably by Samuel Fisher, who preached his funeral sermon.

[Letters as above; Thom's Liverpool Churches and Chapels, 1854, p. 43; Catalogues of Brit. Mus. and Manchester and Liverpool Free Libraries; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Gardner's Faiths of the World, ii. 249.]

C. W. S.