Norton, John

Norton, John (1), an eminent Presbyterian. divine, was born in Hertfordshire, England, in 1606, and educated at the University of Cambridge; and, after taking holy orders in the Anglican Establishment, was made curate of Starford. A lecture was at that time supported at Starford by a number of pious ministers. Through their labors Mr. Norton, who was himself a preacher, though, like many others, ignorant of his own character, and unacquainted with the truth as it is in Jesus, was impressed with a sense of his sin, and by the agency of the Holy Spirit was brought to repentance. The view of his own heart and life, compared with the holy law of God, almost overwhelmed him with despair; but at length the promises of the Gospel administered to him inexpressible joy. His attention had been hitherto occupied in literary and scientific pursuits, but he now devoted himself exclusively to the study of theology; and being by his own experience acquainted with repentance and faith and holiness, he preached upon these subjects with zeal and effect. He soon became eminent. He adopted the creed and practice of the Puritans, and in 1635 emigrated to New England. He was first settled in the ministry at Ipswich, but was afterwards prevailed on to remove to Boston. In 1662 he was appointed one of the two agents of the colony to address king Charles on his restoration, but they did not fully succeed in the objects of their mission. He died in 1663. In his natural temper Mr. Norton was somewhat irascible, 'but being taught by the grace of God to govern his passions, his renewed heart rendered him meek, courteous, and amiable. Still a mistaken zeal for the truth made him, as it made his contemporaries, prone to persecution. He wrote, The Orthodox Evangelist, or a Treatise wherein many great evangelical Truths. are briefly discussed, etc. (Lond. 1654, 4to): — The Sufferings of Christ (1653): — The Heart of New England rent at the. Blasphemies of the present Generation, or a brief Tractate concerning the Doctrines of the Quakers (1660): — and a number of political Tracts, etc. Darling, Cyclop. Bibliog. 2:2216; Drake, Dict. of Amer. Biog. s.v.; Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v.

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