John Davenant

1576-1641. Bishop of Salisbury. Graduate of Cambridge, by the age of thirty-three he had become D.D. and divinity professor there. In 1618, at the height of the Calvinist controversy, King James I (himself not without scholarly pretensions) sent him and three other churchmen to represent the Church of England at the Synod of Dort. Despite his colleagues' uneasiness, Davenant on their behalf read to the synod a paper advocating the doctrine of universal redemption. His king evidently approved, for Davenant was appointed bishop of Salisbury in 1621. Even his very moderate Calvinism was, however, unacceptable under the new king, Charles I, and the growing power of William Laud.* In 1631 Davenant was summoned before the council after preaching at court a sermon on predestination and election which provoked Charles's displeasure. Thereafter Davenant in his west country diocese meekly carried out Archbishop Laud's High Church commands in ecclesiastical matters. Among his works was a much-praised commentary on Colossians.