John Tillotson

1630-1694. Archbishop of Canterbury from 1691. He was born near Halifax, son of a Presbyterian, and educated at Cambridge. He accepted the Act of Uniformity* in 1661 and became an Anglican, thereafter securing speedy preferment to the deanery of Canterbury in 1672. He tried hard in troublous times to bring the Dissenters within a comprehensive Church of England. Tillotson was probably the most influential preacher in the history of the English sermon. He had as many imitators in the eighteenth century as Milton had among its poets. Yet his style was “plain and unaffected,” to use his own phrase. He sought no heights, but both in language and structure his work is unsurpassed in its lucidity. As Bishop Burnet said in the funeral sermon, no man “knew better the art of preserving the majesty of things under a simplicity of words.”