Kiffin, William

Kiffin, William, a distinguished English Baptist minister, born in 1616, originally a merchant, by his wealth exerted great influence at the courts of king Charles II and James II, and thereby indirectly secured many favors to his brethren. By his means the false and scurrilous pamphlet entitled 'Baxter Baptized in Blood was examined and condemned; and by his intercession, also, twelve Baptists who had been condemned to death at Aylesbury received the king's pardon. In 1683, two of his grandsons, Benjamin and William Hewling, young gentlemen of great fortunes, accomplished education, and eminent piety, were concerned in the ill-timed and illfated expedition of the duke of Monmouth, which terminated in the destruction of almost all who had any hand in it, including the two Hewlings, though evern effort was made by Kiffin to save their lives. Kiffin was pastor of the Baptist church, Devonshire Square, London, from 1639 to 1701. He died Sept. 29, 1701, at an advanced age, "leaving behind him a character of rare excellence, tried alike by the fire of prosperity and adversity in the most eventful times." He wrote in favor of strict communion in reply to John Bunyan, opposed Dr. Featley in the famous disputation at Southwark, and was handled with severity by Edwards in his Ganyrceana. He is regarded as the father of the " Particular Baptists." An estimate may be formed of the high position Kiffin must have occupied in his day if Macaulay (History of England, vol. ii) could say, " Great as was the authority of Bunyan with Baptists, that of William Kiffin- was still greater. Kiffin was the first man among them in wealth and station." "His portrait," says Skeats (Hist. English Free Churches, p. 154), " does not bear out the once current impression concerning the Baptists of that age. With skull-cap and flowing ringlets, with mustache and 'imperial,' with broad lace collar and ample gown (see his portrait in Wilson's Dissenting Churches, i, 403), he resembles a gentleman Cavalier rather than any popular ideal of a sour- visaged and discontented Anabaptist." See Crosby, Hist. Engl. Baptists; and Lives (Lond. 1659, 4to, and one by Joseph Gurney, 1833, 8vo; also his Autobiography, edited by Orme, Lond. 1823, 8vo). (J. H. W.)

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