The Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology

The Penitential Discipline of the Primitive Church
by Nathaniel Marshall

[Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1844]

[pp v-vii]


THE following treatise was published anonymously in 1714. Dr. Marshall, however, in his preface to his translation of St. Cyprian, acknowledges it in the following words: "Perhaps it will be expected from me to apologize for my frequent reference in the course of this work to a treatise which I published some time ago without a name to it, concerning ‘the Penitential Discipline of the Primitive Church:’ now my true and only reason for thus referring to it, was to save the trouble of enlarging further upon subjects which are there properly handled, and which could not so well be deduced to their proper length, within the necessary brevity of notes."—(Pref. p. 20.)

Of the circumstances of Dr. Marshall’s life but little is known. It appears from the Register of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, that "Nathaniel Marshall, of the Country of Middlesex, was entered a pensioner of that house, July 8th, 1696. That he was admitted to the degree of LL.B. in 1702, and to that of D.D. in 1717, by royal mandate;" but no other mention of him is to be found in that College. The various preferments which he held appear in the title-pages of his several works.

In 1712, he preached before the Sons of the Clergy. In January, 1715, he was lecturer at Aldermanbury, and Curate of Kentish Town: when at the recommendation of the Princess of Wales, who was pleased with his preaching, he was appointed to be one of the King’s Chaplains, "whose favourable regard," as his widow says, in her Preface to his Sermons published after his death, and dedicated to the Queen, "he had the honour to enjoy." In 1717, he brought out his "Translation of St. Cyprian;" his "Defence of the Constitution in Church and State," and his "Earnest Exhortation," at which time he was Rector of the united parishes of St. Vedast’s, Foster-Lane, and St. Michael-le-Querne. In 1721,he published "A Sermon preached on January 30th." He appears afterward to have had the Lectureship of St. Lawrence, Jewry, and St. Martin’s, Ironmonger-Lane, and died, February 6th, 1730-1, Canon of Windsor.

He was buried at St. Pancras, leaving eight children, the eldest of whom was, at the time of his death, Rector of St. John the Evangelist.

In the course of the same year, his widow Margaret published by subscription fifty of his miscellaneous Sermons in three volumes, octavo, with a Dedication to the Queen; and a fourth volume appeared in 1750.

The present edition has been accurately reprinted from the original edition, with all the quotations carefully verified.

[Cf. Nichols’ Bowyer, vol. i., pp. 141, 153, 481; vol. iii. 616.]

Project Canterbury