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The Major English Puritans

The Puritan Era

Back to  Puritan's Index


The Major English Puritans

  1. Thomas Adams (1612-1653) Anglican. Writer of very popular devotional theology, including a massive commentary on 2 Peter. Praised for mastery of English language.
  2. Joseph Alleine (1634-1668). Presbyterian. Wrote the enormously best-selling An Alarm to the Unconverted, a good example of Puritan evangelism.
  3. Isaac Ambrose (1604-1662). Anglican, then Presbyterian. Renown for an exceptionally holy life such as spending one month a year in solitary meditation and prayer. Wrote numerous devotional books, such as the popular Looking Unto Jesus.
  4. William Ames (1576-1633). Anglican, then Presbyterian. Ministered in England as Cambridge Calvinist and in Holland as pastor and professor and advisor at the Synod of Dort. Closest disciple of William Perkins. Greatly influenced American Puritans. Wrote The Marrow of Theolgy, the standard Puritan systematic theology; and Cases of Conscience, important work on Biblical ethics; many others. Supralapsarian,
  5. John Ball (1585-1640). Presbyterian. Wrote A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace, an early and important work on Covenant Theology.
  6. Richard Baxter (1615-1691). Presbyterian. By far and away the most prolific Puritan writer, wrote on a host of subjects (systematic theology, ethics, politics, pastoral theology, ecclesiology, devotionals, evangelism, history, etc.), such as The Saints Everlastinq Rest; A Call to the Unconverted; The Reformed Pastor; Aphorisms of Justification; The Christian Directory; and over 100 other books, plus sermons, an autobiography, etc. One of Cromwell's Chaplains. Considered a model pastor. Irenic and conciliatory for true ecumenism, though he was a leading opponent of Antinomianism. Founder of Neonomianism error. A '4 Point Calvinist'. Helped in the recall of King Charles II.
  7. Paul Baynes (c.1560-1617). Anglican. An early Cambridge Calvinist and seminal Experimentalist. Succeeded Perkins at Cambridge. Wrote Commentary on Ephesians. Converted and taught Richard Sibbes, who became the next torchbearer.
  8. Samuel Bolton (1606-1654). Became Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge. His brother Robert also a major Puritan. Wrote The True Bounds of Christian Liberty against Antinomians.
  9. Thomas Brooks (1608-1680). Independent. Studied at Cambridge, developed a devotional Experimentalism in a sweet and pithy style. Wrote Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices; The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod; Apples of Gold, etc. One of the most quoted Puritans because of his masterful, proverbial English style.
  10. Robert Browne (1550-1633). Independent. Studied at Cambridge. Originally Calvinist, but decreasingly so. The first major Separatist, leader of the Brownists and early Independents. Somewhat eccentric. More known as a preacher than a writer.
  11. John Bunyan (1628-1688). Baptist. Soldier in the Civil War, became a tinker (metal-worker) by trade. Four-point Calvinist. While imprisoned for 12 years for refusing to conform to the re-established Church of England, Bunyan wrote Pilqrim's Proqress - not only hailed as one of the greatest masterpieces of English literature, but was destined to become the second best-selling Christian book of all time. He also wrote another allegory, The Holy War, plus many other books, some of which are systematic theology or devotional, including his autobiography entitled Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners.
  12. Jeremiah Burroughes (1599-1646). Independent. Studied at Cambridge. One of the Westminster divines. Wrote a massive Exposition of Hosea and the Experimentalist classic, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.
  13. Edmund Calamy (1600-1666). Presbyterian. A Cambridge Calvinist and Westminster divine. Helped recall Charles II to the throne. His grandson of the same name wrote an important history of the Great Ejection.
  14. Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603). Presbyterian. Expelled from teaching at Cambridge for advocating Presbyterianism. Imprisoned several times for his beliefs. The first major English Presbyterian. Studied under Beza at Geneva.
  15. Joseph Caryl (1602-1673). Independent. One of the Westminster divines. Succeeded John Owen as pastor in London. Wrote a famous 12 volume exposition of Job.
  16. Stephen Charnock (1628-1680). Presbyterian. Studied at Cambridge. One of Cromwell's chaplains. Wrote The Existence and Attributes of God, the fullest Calvinist theology of God ever written, considered the definitive work in the field. Also wrote Discources on Regeneration and other theological and Experimental works.
  17. Isaac Chauncy (1632-1712). Independent. The leading opponent of Neonomianism. Supralapsarian. Opened the door from semi-Antinomianism to Hyper-Calvinism.
  18. David Clarkson (1622-1686). Independent. Studied at Cambridge. Assistant and immediate successor to John Owen as pastor. Wrote on Experimental theology.
  19. Tobias Crisp (1600-1643). Independent. Originally an Arminian, later became a Supralapsarian Calvinist and the leading Calvinistic 'Antinomian'. Exaggerated subjects like Christ was made sin, believers not under the Law, eternal justification before faith, immediate witness of the Spirit, etc. Much influenced the rise of Hyper-Calvinism. Wrote Christ Alone Exalted. Other Antinomians: John Eaton, John Saltmarsh., William Dell.
  20. Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658). Independent. Represented Cambridge in Parliament. Organized the New Model Army, which won the English Civil War. Powerful leader but tolerant of other churches. Close friend of John Owen. Commissioned many leading Puritans to be his chaplains. Reluctantly approved the execution of Charles II, but refused the crown offered him by Parliament; instead became Lord Protector (1653). Buried in Westminster Abbey, but at the Restoration his corpse was exhumed and publicly hanged. Strong Puritan religious principles.
  21. John Davenant (1576-1641). Anglican. Bishop of Salisbury. Delegate to Synod of Dort. Taught Christ died for all, especially the elect. Very low doctrine of reprobation. Wrote The Death of Christ and a much hailed commentary on Colossians.
  22. Edward Fisher (1627-1656). Little known about him; some reports say he was a barber or surgeon. Famous for writing The Marrow of Modern Divinity, a dialogue on the leading theological issues of the day with extensive quotes from leading Puritans. The Marrow would cause a major controversy in the early 18th-century Scotland.
  23. John Flavel (1630-1691). Presbyterian. Pastored in Dartmouth. Wrote Experimental and systematic theology, such as The Method of Grace and The Fountain of Life.
  24. Thomas Gataker (1574-1654). Anglican. Cambridge Calvinist and Westminster divine. A leading anti-Antinomian and major contributor to the Westminster Annotations .
  25. Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680). Independent. London pastor and President of Magdalen College, Cambridge University. A leading Westminster divine and organizer of the Savoy Declaration. One of the most important and precise Puritan theologians. Wrote The Holy Spirit; Justifying Faith; Christ the Mediator; other works mainly in systematic theology. Supralapsarian. Taught the sealing of the Spirit was a second work of grace bringing assurance of salvation.
  26. William Gouge (1578-1653). Presbyterian. Studied at Cambridge. Very influential Westminster divine, he alternated as successor of Twisse as Prolocutor. Wrote a large Exposition of Hebrews and contributed to the Westminster Annotations.
  27. William Gurnall (1617-1679). Anglican. Studied at Cambridge. Wrote the classic The Christian in Complete Armour based on Ephesians 6.
  28. Joseph Hall (1574-1656). Anglican. Bishop. Delegate to Synod of Dort. Moderate Calvinist like Davenant and Ussher. Famous devotional writer, such as his Contemplations Upon the Principal Passages of the Old and New Testaments.
  29. Matthew Henry (1662-1714). Presbyterian. Author of the best-selling commentary on the Bible ever written, a standard devotional and experimental work. Also wrote several other devotional pieces. His father Phillip Henry was also a noted Puritan.
  30. John Howe (1630-1705). Anglican, then Presbyterian. Briefly one of Cromwell's chaplains. Irenical and non-controversial. Wrote many popular devotional works.
  31. Benjamin Keach (1640-1704). Baptist. Adapted the Westminster Confession and Shorter Catechism for Baptists. The major organizer of Baptists after the Act of Toleration. Wrote Tropologia (reprinted as Preaching from the Types and Metaphors of the Bible), the largest work on Bible typology ever written. Later succeeded by John Gill and C.H. Spurgeon. Promoted congregational hymn singing.
  32. Hanserd Knollys (1599-1691). Baptist. One of the major early 'Particular' (i.e., Calvinist) Baptists in England. Studied at Cambdridge. One of Cromwell's chaplains.
  33. John Lightfoot (1602-1675). Anglican, then Presbyterian. Cambridge Calvinist. One of the most important Westminster divines, he never missed a session. Famous as a scholar of ancient Jewish customs, language and literature.
  34. Thomas Manton (1620-1677). Presbyterian. One of the three scribes at Westminster Assembly. One of the most famous Puritan preachers. Published an enormous number of sermons, and popular expositions of James and Jude.
  35. Joseph Mede (1586-1638). Anglican. Professor at Cambridge. Moderate Calvinist. A leading scholar on many subjects. Especially noted for a large commentary on Revelation, one of the few espousing Pre-Millenialism. Somewhat mystical.
  36. John Milton (1608-1674). Anglican, then Presbyterian, then Independent. Moderate Calvinist, then Arminian, then Arian. Wrote a systematic theology, but famous as a major English poet: Paradise Lost; Paradise Regained; Samson Agonistones; etc. Went blind in 1651.
  37. John Owen (1616-1683). Independent. Chaplain to Cromwell, London pastor, leader of the Independents, vice-chancellor (President) of Oxford University. Entered Oxford at 12, earned Master's degree at 19. Important in drawing up the Savoy Declaration. Often preached before the Long Parliament. Second only to Perkins in influence, second to none in scholarship. Prolific writer on systematic, Experimental and Biblical theology: Commentary on Hebrews (7 vols.); The Death of Death (the standard on limited atonement); The Holy Spirit; A Display of Arminianism; The Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually Minded, others. Of Welsh ancestry. Often in controversy with Baxter. Detailed, prolix writing style.
  38. William Perkins (1558-1602). Anglican. The most influential of all Puritan theologians and the leading Cambridge Calvinist. A close follower of Beza; Ames was his closest disciple. Opposed by Arminius. Prolific writer on systematic and experimental theology. His The Golden Chain was the standard work on 'High' Calvinism. A major Supralapsarian. His famous chart on the order of the decrees and of historical salvation was the classic. Fervent opponent of Romanizing tendencies in the Church of England. Very logical and ordered, somewhat Scholastic. Wrote Cases of Conscience on ethics, Experimentalism.
  39. Matthew Poole (1624-1679). Presbyterian, sympathetic to Anglicanism. Studied at Cambridge. Wrote a very popular Commentary on the Bible, often reprinted, which sums up Puritan exegesis. Also compiled the Latin Synopsis Bible Commentary.
  40. John Preston (1587-1628). Anglican. A leading Cambridge Calvinist and theological Experimentalist. Wrote the important The Breastplate of Faith and Love.
  41. John Rainolds (1549-1607). Anglican. President of Christ Church College, Oxford University. An important early Puritan. One of the leading Bible scholars of the day and major translators of the King James Version, died before its completion.
  42. Edward Reynolds (1599-1676). Anglican. Bishop. Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford University. Important Westminster divine.
  43. Richard Sibbes (1577-1635). Anglican. A leading Cambridge Calvinist. Influenced by Paul Baynes, in turn influenced Richard Baxter. Noted as preacher and theologian and especially as Experimentalist. Wrote The Bruised Reed, others.
  44. John Smyth (1554-1612). Baptist. Originally an Anglican, then Separatist and 'Se-Baptist' (he baptized himself). Started the first Baptist church in England. Originally a Cambridge Calvinist, then turned Arminian.
  45. Robert Traill (1642-1716). Presbyterian. Originally Scottish, ordained and preached in England. Supralapsarian. A close associate of Chauncy against Neonomianism. Wrote The Throne of Grace, others.
  46. John Trapp (1601-1669). Anglican with Presbyterian sympathies. Wrote a large and very popular commentary on the Bible, famous for its pithy, quotable style.
  47. William Twisse (1578-1646). Moderate Anglican. Prolocutor (president) of the Westminster Assembly and influential divine. Wrote the definitive work on Supralapsarianism, The Riches of God's Love Unto the Vessels of Mercy. Tolerated Crisp against assaults. Of German ancestry.
  48. James Ussher (1581-1656). Anglican. Archbishop. Irish. Invited to be divine at Westminster Assembly, but did not attend. His Irish Articles were the basis for the Westminster Confession. One of the leading scholars of the century. A prolific writer: A Body of Divinity; a work on Gottschalk and predestination; Bible chronology (his date for Creation at 4004 BC is still popular); others. A moderate Calvinist similar to Davenant, '4 Point Calvinist'.
  49. Thomas Watson (c. 1620-1686). Presbyterian. Studied at Cambridge. One of the most famous Puritan preachers. Popular writer: A Body of Divinity (a systematic theology based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism); The Lord's Prayer; The Ten Commandments; The Beatitudes; A Divine Cordial; Repentance; others.
  50. Daniel Williams (1643-1716). Presbyterian. The leading Neonomian. Influenced by Baxter, taught '4-point Calvinism' with serious modifications. Taught that the Gospel is a 'new law', obedience to which is justifying righteousness. Wrote The Gospel Truth. Wealthy, left his library as the permanent Dr.Williams Library, London.

Other notable English Puritans:
Samuel Ward, Christopher Ness, Sir Richard Baker, William Bridge, Robert Bolton, John Arrowsmith, John Downame, Richard Rogers, George Swinnock, Richard Greenham, Walter Marshal, William Pemble, Ezekiel Hopkins, Vavasor Powell, Francis Roberts, John Eaton, John Saltmarsh, Robert Towne, Obadiah Sedgewick, John Sedgewick, Thomas Taylor, Andrew Willet, William Greenhill, Henry Scudder, Phillip Nye, William Jenkyn, Matthew Mead, Elisha Coles, George Downame. Time fails us to list such heroes (cf. Hebrews 11:32). As Spurgeon said, "There were giants in the land in those days."

— Source Unknown

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