John Preston (clergyman) - Holy Orders

Holy Orders

Preston had now taken orders, and become dean and catechist of Queens'. He began a course of sermons which were to form a body of divinity. Complaints were made to the vice-chancellor that the college chapel was crowded with scholars from other colleges and townsmen. Order was issued excluding all but members of the college. Preston then began an afternoon lecture at St. Botolph's, of which Queens' College is patron. This brought him into conflict with Newcome, commissary to the chancellor of Ely, whose enmity Preston had earned by preventing a match between his pupil, Sir Capel Bedels, and Newcome's daughter Jane. A dispute with Newcome at St. Botolph's delayed the afternoon service; to make room for the sermon, common prayer was for once omitted. Newcome sped to the court at Newmarket to denounce Preston as a nonconformist.

The matter came before the heads of houses, and there was talk of Preston's expulsion from the university. At the suggestion of Lancelot Andrewes, then Bishop of Ely, Preston was directed to declare his judgment regarding forms of prayer in a sermon at St. Botolph's. He acquitted himself so as to silence complaint. Soon afterwards he was summoned to preach before the king at Finchingbrook, near Royston, Cambridgeshire. James highly approved his argument against the Arminians; he would have shown him less favour had he known that Preston was the author of a paper against the Spanish match, circulated with much secrecy among members of the House of Lords. He was proposed as a royal chaplain by James Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Abercorn, but James thought this premature.

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