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Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680)

One of the most popular and prolific puritans; an independent.
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“In God’s sight there are two men – Adam and Jesus Christ – and these two men have all other men hanging at their girdle strings.”

His Works:

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 1. (610 pages) PDF Internet Archive
This volume contains “An Exposition of the First Chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians” in 36 sermons.

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 2. (554 pages) PDF Internet Archive
This volume contains the following:
1. An Exposition of Various Passages of the Epistle to the Ephesians. Twenty-nine sermons, mainly in Ephesians 2.
2. Patience and Its Perfect Work. James 1:1-5 in four sermons.

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 3. (572 pages) PDF Internet Archive
This volume contains the following:
1. An Exposition of the Revelation.
2. Certain Select Cases Resolved:
a.) A Child of Light Walking in Darkness. Isaiah 50:10-11.
b.) The Return of Prayers. Psalm 85:8.
c.) The Trial of a Christian’s Growth. John 15:1-2.
d.) The Vanity of Thoughts. Jeremiah 4:14.


The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 4. (586 pages) PDF Internet Archive
This volume contains the following:
1. Christ Set Forth. Romans 8:34.
2. The Heart of Christ in Heaven Towards Sinners on Earth. John 13:1. Hebrews 4:15.
3. Aggravation of Sin. Romans 7:13. Romans 1:21. Romans 2:4-5.
4. Encouragements to Faith. John 6:37-38.
5. The Glory of the Gospel. Two sermons on Colossians 1:26-27.
6. A Discourse of the Glory of the Gospel. A longer treatise on Colossians 1:26-27.
7. The Knowledge of God the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 8:6.

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 5. (570 pages) PDF Internet Archive
This volume contains the following:
1. Christ the Mediator. (Makes up the bulk of this volume.)
2. The Supremacy of Christ Above Moses. Hebrews 12:25-29, Haggai 2:5-9.
3. The Reconciliation of the People of God by Christ’s Death. Ephesians 2:14-16.
4. The One Sacrifice. Hebrews 10:4-7.
5. Reconciliation by the Blood of Christ. Colossians 1:20.
6. Three sermons on Hebrews 1:1-2.

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 6. (548 pages) PDF Internet Archive
This volume contains “The Work of the Holy Ghost in Our Salvation.”

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 7. (596 pages) PDF Internet Archive
This volume contains the following:
1. Of the Creatures, and the Condition of Their State by Creation.
2. Of Gospel Holiness in the Heart and Life.
3. Of the Blessed State of Glory Which the Saints Possess After Death.
4. Three Several Ages of Christians in Faith and Obedience.
5. Man’s Restoration by Grace.
6. On Repentance. Two sermons on Zephaniah 2:1-3.

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 8. (618 pages) PDF Internet Archive
This volume contains “The Object and Acts of Justifying Faith.”

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 9. (530 pages) PDF Internet Archive
This volume contains the following:
1. A Discourse of Election &c. (Makes up the bulk of this volume.)
2. A Discourse of Thankfulness, which is Due to God for His Benefits and Blessings. Psalm 100:4.

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 10. (586 pages) PDF Internet Archive
This volume contains “An Unregenerate Man’s Guiltiness Before God, in Respect of Sin and Punishment.”

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 11. (560 pages) PDF Internet Archive
This volume contains “The Constitution, Right Order, and Government of the Churches of Christ.”

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 12. (350 pages) PDF Internet Archive
This volume contains five sermons:
1. An Immediate State of Glory for the Spirits of Just Men, Upon Dissolution, Demonstrated. 2 Corinthians 5:5.
2. The Great Interest of States and Kingdoms. Psalm 105:14-15.
3. A Glimpse of Zion’s Glory; or, The Church’s Beauty Specified. Revelation 19:6.
4. The World to Come; or, The Kingdom of Christ Asserted. Ephesians 1:21-22.

Individually listed works:

  1. A childe of light vvalking in darknes (1636) by Thomas Goodwin
  2. A discourse of the punishment of sin in hell (1680) by Thomas Goodwin
  3. A discourse of the true nature of the Gospel demonstrating that it is no new law, but a pure doctrine of grace (1695) by Thomas Goodwin
  4. A glimpse of Sions glory: or, the churches beautie specified (1641) by Thomas Goodwin
  5. A sermon of the fifth monarchy (1654) by Thomas Goodwin
  6. A state of glory for spirits of just men upon dissolution, demonstrated (1657) by Thomas Goodwin
  7. Aggravation of sinne: and sinning against knowledge (1637) by Thomas Goodwin
  8. An apologeticall narration (1643) by Thomas Goodwin
  9. Certaine select cases resolved (1644) by Thomas Goodwin
  10. Christ set forth in his death, resurrection, ascension, sitting at Gods right hand, intercession, as the cause of justification (1642) by Thomas Goodwin
  11. Christ the universall peace-maker (1651) by Thomas Goodwin
  12. Encouragements to faith (1642) by Thomas Goodwin
  13. Most holy and profitable sayings of that reverend divine, Doctor Tho. Goodwin (1680) by Thomas Goodwin
  14. Of the constitution, right, order, and government of the churches of Christ (1696) by Thomas Goodwin
  15. Patience and its perfect work, under sudden & sore tryals (1666) by Thomas Goodwin
  16. The great interest of states & kingdomes (1646) by Thomas Goodwin
  17. The happinesse of the saints in glory, or, A treatise of heaven, on Rom. 8. 18 (1638) by Thomas Goodwin
  18. The principles of faith (1654) by Thomas Goodwin
  19. The returne of prayers. A treatise vvherein this case how to discerne Gods answers to our prayers is briefly resolved (1636) by Thomas Goodwin
  20. The tryall of a Christians growth in mortification, vivification, or purging out corruption (1641) by Thomas Goodwin
  21. The vanity of thoughts discovered: with their danger and cure (1637) by Thomas Goodwin
  22. The works of Thomas Goodwin, D.D. sometime president of Magdalene Colledge in Oxford (1681-1704) by Thomas Goodwin
  23. The world to come. Or, The kingdome of Christ asserted (1655) by Thomas Goodwin
  24. Two discourses (1693) by Thomas Goodwin
  25. Zerubbabels encouragement to finish the temple (1642) by Thomas Goodwin


Biography of Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680):

Thomas Goodwin, D.D. (1600-1680), independent divine, was born at Rollesby, Norfolk, on 5 Oct. 1600. He entered Christ’s College, Cambridge, on 25 Aug. 1613, and graduated B.A. in 1616. He was a hearer of Richard Sibbs, D.D., John Preston, D.D., and other puritans, and had prepared himself to receive the communion, but his tutor sent him back as too young and ‘little of his age.’ This temporarily alienated him from the puritans. In 1619 he removed to Catherine Hall, and graduated M.A. in 1620. On 16 Nov. 1620 a funeral sermon by Thomas Bainbrigg (d. 1646) [q. v.] renewed his puritan zeal. He was chosen fellow; commenced B.D.; in 1628 was elected lecturer at Trinity Church, Cambridge, in spite of the opposition of John Buckeridge, bishop of Ely; and in 1632 became vicar of Trinity Church. Becoming dissatisfied with the terms of conformity, he conferred in June 1633 with John Cotton, then in London on his way to New England. Cotton made him an independent. He resigned his vicarage in 1634 in favour of Sibbs, and left the university.

Between 1634 and 1639 he was probably a separatist preacher in London. He married there in 1638. In 1639 the vigilance of Laud made his position untenable; he crossed to Holland, and became pastor of the English church at Arnheim. At the beginning of the Long parliament (3 Nov. 1640) he returned to London, and gathered an independent congregation in the parish of St. Dunstan’s-in-the-East. In 1643 he was appointed a member of the Westminster Assembly, and took the covenant. He was one of the sub-committee of five nominated on 16 Dec. 1643 to meet the Scottish commissioners, and draw up a directory for worship; his co-operation was not at first very hearty. On 9 Dec. 1644, when Burroughs, Nye, Carter, Simpson, and Bridge (afterwards known as the ‘dissenting brethren’), entered their dissent from the propositions on church government adopted by the majority, Goodwin was absent from the assembly through illness, but he added his name next day. Goodwin conceived that the use of synods was ‘to frame up the spirits of men to a way of peace.’ If the power of excommunication had been withheld from the superior judicatories, he would have been satisfied. Himself a Calvinist he was not prepared to excommunicate Arminian congregations. After 1646 he took little or no part in the proceedings of the assembly. He was invited to New England by Cotton in 1647, and prepared to go, but was dissuaded by his friends. When the ‘dissenting brethren’ drew up their ‘Reasons’ in detail (printed 1648), Goodwin was their leader and editor. On 2 Nov. 1649 he was appointed a chaplain to the council of state with 200l. a year, and lodgings in Whitehall. On 8 Jan. 1650 by order of parliament he was made president of Magdalen College, Oxford, with the privilege of nominating fellows and demies in case of vacancy, or of refusal to take the engagement. He constantly preached at St. Mary’s, wearing a ‘velvet cassock,’ and held a weekly meeting at his lodgings, on the plan of an independent church meeting, of which Stephen Charnock [q. v.] and Theophilus Gate [q. v.] were members. John Howe (1630-1705) [q. v.], then a student at Magdalen, being of presbyterian sentiments, ‘did not offer to join’ this meeting; Goodwin invited and admitted him ‘upon catholic terms.’ In the ‘Spectator,’ No. 494, 26 Sept. 1712, Addison gives an account of the examination of a student (either Anthony Henley [q. v.] or, according to Granger, Thomas Bradbury, not the divine) in grace rather than in grammar, by ‘a very famous independent minister, who was head of a college in those times.’ The reference is evidently to Goodwin; the ‘half a dozen nightcaps upon his head’ allude to the two double skull-caps shown in his portrait.

On 14 Aug. 1650 Goodwin was appointed on a commission (including Milton) to make an inventory of the records of the Westminster Assembly. In 1653 he was made a commissioner for the approbation of public preachers; and on 16 Dec. 1653 he was made D.D. of Oxford, being described in the register as ‘in scriptis in re theologica quamplurimis orbi notus.’ In 1654 he was one of the assistants to the commissioners of Oxfordshire for removing scandalous ministers. In 1658 Goodwin and his friends petitioned Cromwell for liberty to hold a synod and draw up a confession of faith. Cromwell gave an unwilling consent, but died (3 Sept.) before the time fixed for the opening of the assembly. Goodwin attended him on his deathbed. A few minutes before he expired Goodwin ‘pretended to assure them in a prayer that he was not to die’ (Burnet). A week later a fast-day was held at Whitehall; Tillotson, who was present, assured Burnet that in Goodwin’s prayer the expression occurred, ‘Thou hast deceived us, and we were deceived.’ Burnet does not notice that this is a quotation (Jer. xx. 7).

Goodwin and his friends met at the Savoy for eleven or twelve days from 12 Oct. Representatives, mostly laymen, of over a hundred independent churches were present. Goodwin and John Owen were the leaders in a committee of six divines appointed to draw up a confession. They adopted, with a few verbal alterations, the doctrinal definitions of the Westminster confession, reconstructing only the part relating to church government. The main effect of the declaration of the Savoy assembly was to confirm the Westminster theology.

On 18 May 1660 Goodwin was deprived by the convention parliament of his office as president of Magdalen. He took to London several members of his Oxford church, and founded an independent congregation, since removed to Fetter Lane. His later years were spent in study. In the great fire of 1666 more than half his library, to the value of 500l, was burned; his divinity books were saved. He died of fever, after a short illness, on 23 Feb. 1680, and was buried in Bunhill Fields. The Latin epitaph for his tomb, written by Thomas Gilbert, B.D. [q. v.], was ‘not suffer’d to be engrav’d’ in full; it specifies his great knowledge of ecclesiastical antiquities. His portrait was engraved by R. White (1680); for Palmer’s first edition it was engraved from the original painting by James Caldwall [q. v.]; for the second edition it was re-engraved by the elder William Holl [q. v.] His face, with its strong hooked nose and curling locks, has a Jewish cast. He married first, in 1638, Elizabeth, daughter of Alderman Prescott, by whom he had a daughter, married to John Mason of London; secondly, in 1649, Mary Hammond, then in her seventeenth year, by whom he had two sons, Thomas (see below) and Richard, who died on a voyage to the East Indies as one of the company’s factors; and two daughters, who died in infancy.

Goodwin’s sermons have much unction; his expositions are minute and diffuse; great historical value attaches to the defences of independency in which he was concerned. He began to publish sermons in 1636, and brought out a collection of them in 1645, 4to. To the seventh piece in this collection, ‘The Heart of Christ in Heaven towards Sinners on Earth’ (1643), a writer in the ‘Edinburgh Review’ (January 1874) has endeavoured, following Lemontey and Wenzelburger, to trace the suggestion of the modern Roman catholic devotion to the sacred heart; the supposed link with Goodwin being père Claude de la Colombière. Isaac Watts (Glory of Christ, 1747) had previously drawn attention to the unusual language of Goodwin ‘in describing the glories due to the human nature’ of our Lord. Of his writings the larger number were not printed in his lifetime, though prepared for the press. Five folio volumes of his works were edited by Thankful Owen, Thomas Baron, and Thomas Goodwin the younger, in 1682, 1683, 1692, 1697, and 1704; reprinted, 1861, 6 vols. 8vo; condensed by Babb, 1847-50, 4 vols. 8vo. Not included in the works are the following, in which he had a chief hand : 1 . ‘ An Apologeticall Narration hvmbly svbmitted to the honourablb [sic] Houses of Parliament,’ &c., 1643, 4to. 2. ‘The Reasons presented by the Dissenting Brethren,’ &c., 1648, 4to (issued by the assembly). 3. ‘The Grand Debate concerning Presbytery and Independency,’ &c., 1652, 4to (issued by the independents).

Thomas Goodwin the younger (1650?-1716?), son of the above, born about 1650, was educated in England and Holland, and began his nonconformist ministry in 1678, when he joined with three others, including Theophilus Dorrington [q. v.], in an evening lecture held at a coffee-house in Exchange Alley. In 1683 he made the tour of Europe with a party of friends, returning in July 1684, when he became colleague to Stephen Lobb at Fetter Lane. He left Fetter Lane on Lobb’s death (3 June 1699), and became pastor of an independent congregation at Pinner, Middlesex, where he had an estate. He kept here an academy for training ministers. He published a sermon in 1716, and probably died soon after. Besides funeral sermons for Lobb and others, and a thanksgiving sermon, he published: 1. ‘A Discourse on the True Nature of the Gospel,’ &c., 1695, 4to (a piece in the Crispian controversy, of antinomian tendency). 2. ‘An History of the Reign of Henry V,’ &c., 1704, fol. (dedicated to John, lord Cutts).

[Notices by Owen and Baron, with autobiographical particulars, edited by T. Goodwin, jun., in Works, vols. i. and v.; Wood’s Athenae Oxon. 1692, ii. 783; Calamy’s Account, 1713, pp. 60 sq.; Calamy’s Continuation, 1727, i. 90 sq.; Life of Howe, 1720, pp. 10 sq.; Walker’s Sufferings, 1714, ii. 122; Burnet’s Own Time, 1724, i. 82 sq.; Palmer’s Nonconf. Memorial, 1775 i. I 183 sq., 1802 i. 236 sq.; Wilson’s Dissenting Churches of London, 1808 i. 214 sq., 1810 iii. 420, 429sq., 446sq.; Brook’s Lives of the Puritans, 1813, iii. 156; Neal’s Hist. of the Puritans, 1822, iv. 172 sq., 455 sq.; Granger’s Biog. Hist, of England, 1824, v. 58; Lemontey’s Oeuvres, 1831, vii. 443; Edinburgh Review, January 1874, p. 252; sq. (quotes Theodore Wenzelburger in Unsere Zeit, 15 Nov. 1873, for an early German translation of Goodwin’s Heart of Christ); Mitchell and Struthers’s Minutes of Westminster Assembly, 1874, pp. 17, 18,30, 58; Masson’s Life of Milton, 1877, iv. 149, 228; Mitchell’s Westminster Assemb



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