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Thomas Emlyn (1663–1741), English nonconformist divine, was born at Stamford, Lincolnshire.

He served as chaplain to the presbyterian Letitia, countess of Donegal, and then to Sir Robert Rich, afterwards (1691) becoming colleague to Joseph Boyse, presbyterian minister in Dublin. From this office he was virtually dismissed on his own confession of unitarianism, and for publishing An Humble Inquiry into the Scripture Account of Jesus Christ (1702) was sentenced to a year's imprisonment and a fine of £1000. Thanks to the intervention of Boyse he was released in 1705 on payment of £90.

He is said to have been the first English preacher definitely to describe himself as "unitarian," and writes in his diary, "I thank God that He did not call me to this lot of suffering till I had arrived at maturity of judgment and firmness of resolution, arid that He did not desert me when my friends did. He never let me be so cast down as to renounce the truth or to waver in my faith." Of Christ he writes, "We may regard with fervent gratitude so great a benefactor, but our esteem and rational love must ascend higher and not rest till it centre in his God and ours."

Emlyn preached a good deal in Paul's Alley, Barbican, in his later years, and died in London in 1741.


This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

THOMAS EMLYN (1663-17.41), English nonconformist divine, was born at Stamford, Lincolnshire. He served as chaplain to the presbyterian Letitia, countess of Donegal, and then to Sir Robert Rich, afterwards (1691) becoming colleague to Joseph Boyse, presbyterian minister in Dublin. From this office he was virtually dismissed on his own confession of unitarianism, and for publishing An Humble Inquiry into the Scripture Account of Jesus Christ (1,702) was sentenced to a year's imprisonment and a fine of £r000. Thanks to the intervention of Boyse he was released in 1705 on payment of £90. He is said to have been the first English preacher definitely to describe himself as "unitarian," and writes in his diary, "I thank God that He did not call me to this lot of suffering till I had arrived at maturity of judgment and firmness of resolution, and that He did not desert me when my friends did. He never let me be so cast down as to renounce the truth or to waver in my faith." Of Christ he writes, "We may regard with fervent gratitude so great a benefactor, but our esteem and rational love must ascend higher and not rest till it centre in his God and ours." Emlyn preached a good deal in Paul's Alley, Barbican, in his later years, and died in London in 1741.


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