Open main menu


PEMBLE, WILLIAM (1592?–1623), puritan divine, son of a clergyman, was born at Egerton, Kent, about the beginning of 1592. His father was poor, and his education was provided for by John Barker of Mayfield, Sussex. In March 1610 he was admitted to Magdalen College, Oxford, where Richard Capel [q. v.] was his tutor. He matriculated on 18 June 1610 at the age of eighteen. Having graduated B.A. on 3 March 1614, he removed to Magdalen Hall, where he became reader and tutor. He proceeded M.A. on 9 June 1618, took orders, and was made divinity reader of Magdalen Hall, a post which he filled with great distinction, being an able exponent of Calvinism, and famous as a preacher. He was loyal to the Anglican church, though anxious that the terms of conformity should be made easier to his party. His acquirements in various branches of learning were very remarkable. It would seem that his labours and studies exhausted his strength and shortened his days. He went for change of air on a visit to Capel, his old tutor, at the rectory of Eastington, Gloucestershire, and while staying there was seized with a fever, of which he died on 14 April 1623. He was buried in Eastington churchyard.

Pemble's works were all posthumous, edited and published by his friends, as follows: 1. ‘Vindiciæ Fidei, or a Treatise of Justification,’ &c., Oxford, 1625, 4to (edited, with preface, by John Geree [q. v.] 2. ‘Vindiciæ Gratiæ: a Plea for Grace,’ &c., 1627. 4to; Oxford and London, 1629, 4to (this and the foregoing consist of lectures delivered at Magdalen Hall). 3. ‘Salomon's Recantation and Repentance,’ &c., 1627, 4to; 1628, 4to (a comment on Ecclesiastes). 4. ‘Five Godly and Profitable Sermons,’ &c., 1628, 4to; Oxford and London, 1629, 4to. 5. ‘An Introduction to the Worthy Receiving the Sacrament,’ &c., 1628, 4to (edited by Capel and dedicated to Barker); 1629, 4to; 1639, 8vo. 6. ‘Fruitful Sermons,’ &c., 1629, 4to (on 1 Cor. xv. 18–19). 7. ‘A Short and Sweete Exposition upon the first nine chapters of Zachary,’ &c., 1629, 4to. 8. ‘De Sensibus Internis. … Editio posthuma,’ &c., Oxford and London, 1629, 12mo; 1647, 12mo. 9. ‘De Formarum Origine. … Editio posthuma,’ &c., 1629, 12mo (dedicated to Accepted Frewen [q. v.]); Oxford, 1647, 12mo; Cambridge [1650?], 12mo (highly commended by Adriaan Heereboord of Leyden, who has utilised it in his ‘Meletemata Philosophica,’ Amsterdam, 1665, 4to). 10. ‘A Briefe Introduction to Geography,’ &c., Oxford, 1630, 4to; 1658, fol.; 5th edit. 1675, fol.; 1685, 4to. 11. ‘A Summe of Moral Philosophy,’ &c., Oxford, 1630, 4to; 1632, 4to. 12. ‘An Exposition of the … Fifth Chapter of St. John's Gospel,’ &c., 1631, 4to. 13. ‘The Period of the Persian Monarchie,’ &c., 1631, 4to (condensed from Rainolds, and enlarged by Capel). 14. ‘Tractatus de Providentia Dei. … Editio posthuma,’ &c., 1631, 12mo (ed. by Capel). 15. ‘Enchiridion Oratorium,’ &c., Oxford, 1633, 4to. The above, omitting No. 10, were collected as his ‘Workes,’ 3rd edit. 1635, fol. (three parts); 4th edit. Oxford, 1658–9, fol. John Wilkins, D.D. [q. v.], bishop of Chester, highly commends Pemble's sermons.

[Fuller's Worthies, 1662, p. 109 (under Sussex); Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 330, Fasti (Bliss), i. 353, 381; Brook's Lives of the Puritans, 1813, ii. 304 sq.; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1891, iii. 1140.]

A. G.