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Monday, October 19, 2009

Stephens, Nathaniel 1606?-1678

Nathaniel Stephens (1606?-1678), was an English clergyman, ejected for nonconformity in 1662. He is now best known for his part in the early life of George Fox. He was a controversialist in the presbyterian interest, engaging also with Baptists, and with Gerard Winstanley. the universalist. In print he was a moderate, fair by the standards of his time to his opponents, and not bringing rancour to discussion of Catholicism.

Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 54 (see page 179)


His chief work (1656), on the Apocalypse, is notable for its rejection of speculations. His exegesis is praised and generally followed by Matthew Poole in the fifth volume (1676) of his Synopsis Criticorum.

He published:
  • A Precept for the Baptisme of Infants . . . vindicated . . . from . . . Mr. Robert Everard, 1651, (preface by John Bryan and Obadiah Grew).
  • A Plain and Easie Calculation of the Name ... of the Beast, 1656, (preface by Edmund Calamy the elder).
  • Vindiciae Fundamenti, or a threefold defence of the Doctrine of Original Sin, 1658, (against the Arminian positions of Everard, Jeremy Taylor, and others).

Calamy gives a specimen of his unpublished notes on the Apocalypse, used by Poole, and afterwards in the possession of Sir Charles Wolseley.

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