Vincent Alsop


Vincent Alsop

Vincent Alsop (c. 1630 - May 8, 1703), was an English Nonconformist clergyman.

Alsop came from Northamptonshire and was educated at St John's College, Cambridge. He received deacon's orders from a bishop, and settled as assistant-master in the free school of Oakham, Rutland. The Rev. Benjamin King took him under his wing, and he married King's daughter. He was thus "converted" to King's religious beliefs, and received ordination in the Presbyterian denomination, not being satisfied with that which he had from the bishop. He was presented to the living of Wilby, Northamptonshire; but lost it as a result of the Act of Uniformity 1662.

After this he preached privately at Oakham and Wellingborough, and suffered accordingly. He was imprisoned for six months for praying with a sick person. A book against William Sherlock, dean of St Paul's, called "Antisozzo (against Socinus)", written in the vein of Andrew Marvell's "Rehearsal Transprosed", made him a name as a wit. He was also invited to succeed the venerable Thomas Cawton (the younger) as independent minister in Westminster. He accepted the call and drew great crowds to his chapel.

He published other books which showed a strong vein of wit, as well as great powers of reasoning. Even with Dr Goodman and Dr Stillingfleet for antagonists, he more than held his own. His "Mischief of Impositions" (1680) in answer to Stillingfleet's "Mischief of Separation", and "Melius Inquirenduni" (1679) in answer to Goodman's "Compassionate Inquiry", remain historical landmarks in the history of nonconformity.

As a result of the involvement of his son in alleged treasonable practices, he had to appeal to, and obtained pardon from, James II. This seems to have given a somewhat diplomatic character to his later years, inasmuch as, while remaining a nonconformist, he had a good deal to do with proposed political-ecclesiastical compromises.

References

*Wood's "Athenae" (Bliss) iv. 106;
*Calamy's "Life of Baxter", ii. 487;
*Wilson's "History and Ant. of Dissenting Churches", iv. 63-66.


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