Nicholas Byfield (1579-1622)A gracious preacher and puritan, thoroughly Calvinistic, and popularly received.
“A godly man must not impose on his conscience the necessity of observing such rules of practice that God has not prescribed.”
Biography of Nicholas Byfield (1579-1622):
Nicholas Byfield (1579–1622), a calvinistic puritan divine, a native of Warwickshire, son by his first wife of Richard Byfield, who became vicar of Stratford-on-Avon in January 1597. Nicholas was entered at Exeter College, Oxford, in Lent term 1596, as “aged 17 at least,” which gives 1579 as the latest date for his birth; and this answers to the original inscription on his portrait, “Ano Dei 1620 Aetatis suae 40,” thus making 1579 the earliest date. The second inscription (see below) shows that he was born in the last third of the year. He was four years at the university, but though a severe student did not graduate. Taking orders he intended to exercise his ministry in Ireland; but on his way there he preached at Chester, and was prevailed on to remain as one of the city preachers, without cure. He lectured at St. Peter’s church, and was extremely popular. John Bruen [q.v.] was one of his hearers, and a kind friend to him. In 1611 he got into a controversy on the sabbath question in a curious way.
[Wood’s Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 323; Brook’s Lives of the Puritans, 1813, ii. 297.; Cox’s Literature of the Sabbath Question, 1865, i. 159; authorities cited above; extracts from registers of St. Peter’s, Chester, and Isleworth.]
The Signs of a Wicked Man and the Signs of a Godly Man by Nicholas Byfield – eBook
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Directions for the Private Reading of the Scriptures by Nicholas Byfield – eBook
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1. The Assurance of God’s Love, 1614, 8vo.
2. An Exposition upon the Epistle to the Colossians…being the substance of neare seaven yeeres weeke-dayes sermons, 1615.
3. The Beginning of the Doctrine of Christ, &c., 1619, 12mo.
4. The Marrow of the Oracles of God, 1620,
5. The Promises; or a Treatise showing how a godly Christian may support his heart,” &c., 1618, 12mo.
6. Profitable Reading of the Scriptures.
7. The Cure of the Fear of Death.
8. The Signs of a Wicked Man.
9. The Spiritual Touchstone.
10. The Beginnings of Sin.
11. Collection of Sermons.
12. Collection of Treatises.
Byfield’s works were numerous, and most of them went through many editions, some as late as 1665. His expository works, which are Calvinistic, have been praised in modern times. His first publication was “An Essay concerning the Assurance of God’s Love and of Man’s Salvation,” 1614, 8vo. This was followed by “An Exposition upon the Epistle to the Colossians…being the substance of neare seaven yeeres weeke-dayes sermons,” 1615, fol. Brook gives abridged titles of fourteen works (eight being posthumous), adding “ several sermons,” but these are included in one or other of the collections previously enumerated in the list. The date of “The Beginning of the Doctrine of Christ,” &c., is not 1609, as given by Brook, but 1619, 12mo. “The Marrow of the Oracles of God,” 1620, 12mo (the last thing published by Byfield himself), is a collection of six treatises, which includes one separately enumerated by Brook, “The Promises; or a Treatise showing how a godly Christian may support his heart,” &c., 1618, 12mo. Brook does not fully specify the issues of separate parts of Byfield’s exposition of 1 Peter, nor does he give any indication of the later editions of the works.