Penington, Isaac

Penington, Isaac a distinguished and zealous preacher of the Society of Friends, was born in 1617. He was the son of Sir Isaac Penington, lord mayor of London; was married in 1648 to Mary Springett, widow of Sir William Springett, and mother of the wife of William Penn. Except when traveling in the discharge of his religious engagements, he resided on his estate, the Grange, at Chalfont, Buckinghamshire. From 1661 to 1670 he suffered imprisonment for conscience' sake no less than six times. As this victim of persecution was a man of a remarkably meek and quiet spirit, though courageous in matters of religious principle, it is not unlikely that his republican parentage had some share in stimulating the unsleeping vigilance of the civil authorities. It is an interesting series of facts that Thomas Ellwood was domestic Latin tutor to Isaac Penington's children; that it was through the good offices of Penington and Dr. Paget that the amiable tutor obtained the honorable post of reader to John Milton; and that it was to Ellwood's suggestion that the world owes the inception of Paradise Regained. Penington died in 1679; at Goodnestone Court, Kent, and was buried at Jordans, in the county of Bucks, where his remains repose by those of William Penn. Of his numerous writings, which amount to more than eighty (principally expositions of his theological dogmas), a collection was published: The Works of the Long Mournful and Sorely Distressed Isaac Penington, etc. (1681, fol.). Among his productions are, Light or Darokness, Displaying or Hiding Itself (Lond. 1650, 4to): — A Word for the Common Weal (1650, 4to): — The Fundamental Right, Safety, and Liberty of the People, briefly Asserted (1651, 4to): — Divine Essays (1654, 4to): — The Root of Popery Struck at (1660, 4to): — The Holy Truth and People Defended (1672, 4to): — His Testimony Concerning Church Government and Liberty of Conscience (1681,4to). See Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Auth. 2:1549; Thomas, Biog. Dict. s.v.; Webb, The Penns and Peningtons of the 17th Century (Lond. 1867).

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