John Collinges

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John Collinges (1623–1690) was an English presbyterian theologian, participant in the Savoy Conference, ejected minister, and prolific writer.


He was the son of Edward Collinges, M. A., born at Boxted, Essex, and educated to 16 at the grammar school of Dedham, where he came under the influence of Matthew Newcomen. His father died when he was fifteen, but he was sent as a sizar to Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He matriculated in 1639; graduated B.A. 1643, M.A. 1646, B.D. 1653 and D.D. 1658.[1]

By age about 22 he had become a preacher, living in the family of Isaac Wyncoll of Bures, Essex, whose eldest daughter he married. After two years at Bures he was called to Norwich, at first apparently to St. Saviour's parish; but in 1653 he took the place of Harding, ejected vicar of St. Stephen's, which he held without institution till the Restoration compelled him to resign it. In September 1646, when he came to Norwich, he was invited by Sir John Hobart to join his household. After Sir John Hobart's death in 1647, part of the house was converted into a chapel by his widow, and here for sixteen years, till the passing of the act restraining religious meetings, Collinges lectured on weekdays, and repeated his public discourses on Sunday nights. He was appointed one of the commissioners at the Savoy Conference, and was anxious for an accommodation. He died in January 1690, at Walcott, Norfolk.[1]


Collinges was a keen controversialist. In 1651 he published 'Vindiciae Ministerii Evangelici,' which is a vindication of a Gospel ministry against the claim of 'intercommonage' on the part of 'gifted men' not regularly set apart to preach. This was attacked by William Sheppard in The People's Privileges and Duty guarded against the Pulpit and Preachers, to which Collinges at once replied in Responsoria ad Erratica Pastoris. In 1653 he attacked two pamphlets, one by Edward Fisher, and the other published anonymously by Alan Blane with the title Festorum Metropolis, in which the Puritan observance of the Sabbath was criticised, and the better observance of Christmas Day insisted upon. Collinges names his reply Responsoria ad Erratica Piscatoris, and has a dedication in heroic verse "to my dear Saviour". He denies that the date of Christ's birth can be fixed.

In 1654 Collinges attacked the Change of Church Discipline of Theophilus Brabourne in a tract entitled Indoctus Doctor Edoctus. Brabourne replied in part ii. of his work, and Collinges rejoined with A New Lesson for the Edoctus Doctor. In 1655 he published Responsoria Bipartita, again discussing church government, and considering the right of the church to suspend the ignorant and the scandalous from the Lord's Supper. In 1658 these controversies are concluded by the publication of Vindiciae Ministerii Evangelici revindicate, against a book "in the defence of gifted brethren's preaching", which answered Collinges, and against a book called The Preacher sent. In the preface to this work he enumerates and classifies his controversial tracts.

After this Collinges dropped controversy; but his devotional and exegetical writings are even more voluminous. In 1650 appeared Five Lessons for a Christian to learn; in 1649, 1650, and 1652, parts i. ii. and iii. respectively of A Cordial for a Fainting Soule, containing thirty-six sermons in its first two parts. In 1675 he produced The Weaver's Pocket Book, or Weaving spiritualised, a work intended specially for the weavers of Norwich, in imitation of John Flavel's Navigation and Husbandry spiritualised. In 1676 he published The Intercourses of Divine Love between Christ and His Church, an exposition of chapter ii. of the Song of Solomon, which in 1683 was incorporated with a similar exposition of chapter i., and a metrical paraphrase. In 1678 there appeared Several Discourses concerning the actual Providence of God, containing ninety-eight sermons. In 1680 appeared the Defensative Armour against four of Satan's most fiery Darts, and in 1681 a tract on the Improveableness of Water Baptism.

Two biographical works were: Faith and Experience, published in 1647, containing an account of Mary Simpson of St. Gregory's parish, Norwich, and Par Nobile, begun in 1665 on the death of his patron, Lady Frances Hobart, but hindered from publication by the Great Plague and destroyed in 1666 by the Great Fire of London. It was rewritten and published in 1675, because of certain slanders, and contains accounts of the lives of Lady Frances Hobart, and Lady Katharine Courten who married William Courten, daughters of John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgewater.[2]

Besides numerous sermons, Collinges also wrote the annotations in Matthew Poole's Bible on the last six chapters of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentation, the four Evangelists, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians 1 and 2 Timothy, Philemon, and Revelation.


  1. ^ a b Venn Database
  2. ^ Par nobile, two treatises, the one concerning the excellent woman, evincing a person fearing the Lord to be the most excellent person, discoursed more privately upon occasion of the death of the Right Honourable the Lady Frances Hobart late of Norwich, from Pro. 31, 29, 30, 31 : the other discovering a fountain of comfort and satisfaction to persons walking with God, yet living and dying without sensible consolations , discovered from Psal. 17, 15 at the funerals of the Right Honourable the Lady Katherine Courten, preached at Blicklin in the county of Norfolk, March 27, 1652: with the narratives of the holy lives and deaths of those two noble sisters (1669).


Further reading[edit]

  • A. S. Hankinson, Dr. John Collinges of Norwich, 1623-90. Norfolk Archaeology, 42 (1997), 511-9.

External links[edit]