Colet, Dr John

Colet, Dr. John, was born in London in 1466; was educated at Oxford, and traveled on the Continent for seven years, where he made the acquaintance of many eminent scholars, especially of Erasmus, Bus daeus, and Linacer, and where he also learned Greek. He obtained Church preferment when very young. In 1497 he commenced lecturing at Oxford on St. Paul's Epistles, and drew crowds of students. In 1505 he was made dean of St. Paul's, in which capacity his endeavors to restore discipline brought on him, though happily without effect, a charge of heresy. He introduced divinity lectures at St. Paul's, delivered by himself and others. "These lectures raised in the nation a spirit of inquiry after the Holy Scriptures, which had then long been laid aside for the school divinity, and so might be said to prepare a way for the reformation which soon after ensued. We cannot but think that Colet was in some measure instrumental towards it, though he did not live to see it effected, for he expressed a great contempt for religious houses, exposed the abuses that prevailed in them, and the mischiefs attending the imposing celibacy on the clergy. This way of thinking, together with his free and public manner of communicating his thoughts, which were then regarded as impious and heretical, rendered him very obnoxious to the clergy, and exposed him to a persecution from the bishop of London. Latimer tells us in his sermons, not only was Colet brought into trouble, but he would certainly have gone to the stake had not God turned the king's heart." In 1512 he founded and endowed the noble institution of St.

Paul's School for 153 scholars. He died in 1519. He wrote a Latin Grammar for St. Paul's School, which was long in use. Among his religious writings were, Daily Devotions, or the Christian's morning and evening Sacrifice (Lond. 1693, 12mo); Monition to a godly Life (Lond. 1534); Epistolae ad Erasmusn, etc. See Knight's Life of Dean Colet (Lond. 1724, 8vo); Jones, Christ. Biog.; Seebohm, Oxford Reformers (Lond. 1867).

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