Anglican John Whitlock: Remember, Hold Fast, Repent

"Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent." (Revelation 3:3; KJV)
Local Anglican pastor John Whitlock (1625-1708) is the last minister in our reading of the Puritan Paperback, Sermons of the Great Ejection. “The Great Ejection” was the expulsion of 20% Anglican ministers from their cures in the 1662 Act of Uniformity. A graduate of Cambridge, Whitlock was given the cure of St. Mary’s, Nottingham (pictured left) in 1651 where his life-long friend William Reynolds became the lecturer. After 11 years of outstanding ministry, he was indicted in June 1662 for failure to keep the Book of Common Prayer in regular use and was quickly suspended. St. Mary’s being the oldest and at the time the largest parish in the City of Nottingham, the church had a majority of high profile members among the upper classes, the Lord Mayor, the Sheriff (yes the Sheriff of Nottingham), and wealthy lace merchants who objected to his ministry explains the speediness of his ejection. His farewell sermon we have here is the second part of two delivered on Friday, 6 July 1662 rather than one of the Sundays of August. Whitlock continued his ministry as a “non-conforming” Anglican about 14 miles north in Mansfield. After a later period of imprisonment from 1685-1687, he returned to Nottingham in 1687-88 to soldier on for Christ for another twenty years until his death in 1708. His son succeeded him in Nottingham.
There is a sense of urgency in Whitlock’s introduction to his sermon text of Revelation 3:3 as the speed of his ejection took him unawares. He had planned to spend several sermons here but, he says, he must try to do it all in one!

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