William Gouge


Biography of William Gouge

William Gouge (1575–1653) was an English clergyman and author. He was a minister and preacher at St Ann Blackfriars for 45 years, from 1608, and a member of the Westminster Assembly from 1643.

He was born in Stratford-le-Bow, Middlesex, and baptised on 6 November 1575. He was educated at Felsted, St. Paul's School, Eton College, and King's College, Cambridge. He graduated B.A. in 1598 and M.A. in 1601.

Before moving to London, he was a Fellow and lecturer at Cambridge, where he caused a near-riot by his advocacy of Ramism over the traditional methods of Aristotle. (This story about Gouge, who lectured on logic, is related in Wilbur Samuel Howell's Logic and Rhetoric in England 1500-1700 (1956) as an account from Samuel Clarke, and is not reliably dated.)

At Blackfriars, he was initially assistant to Stephen Egerton (c.1554-1622), taking over as lecturer.

He proposed an early dispensational scheme. He took an interest in Sir Henry Finch's Calling of the Jews, and published it under his own name; this led to a spell of imprisonment in 1621, since the publication displeased James I of England.

Already nearly 70 years old, he attended the Westminster Assembly regularly, and was made chairman in 1644 of the committee set up to draft the Westminster Confession. The other original members of the committee were John Arrowsmith, Cornelius Burges, Jeremiah Burroughs, Thomas Gataker, Thomas Goodwin, Joshua Hoyle, Thomas Temple, and Richard Vines He also acted as an Assessor.

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