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Cotton John

Né à Derby, 4 décembre 1585, mort à Boston, 23 décembre 1652.

Célèbre pasteur prédicateur puritain.

En 1697, étudiant au Trinity College de Cambridge, il est sous l’influence de William Perkins1. En 1602, toujours à Cambridge, il passe au Emmanuel College.

En 1611, il est vicaire de Saint-Botolph à Boston (Lincolnshire).

En 1630, prêche le sermon d’adieu aux émigrants qui avec John Winthrop2 partent coloniser la baie du Massachusetts.

En 1632, suite à l’offensive épiscopale menée par William Laud3, il est convoqué par la Haute Cour. Il se cache à Londres et en 1633, s’embarque avec Thomas Hooker4 pour Boston en Nouvelle-Angleterre. Il reçoit la chaire de Boston.

En 1642, il est invité avec Thomas Hooker, à participer à l’Assemblée de Westminster (réforme religieuse en Angleterre), mais ne peut s’y rendre.

En 1644, il publie The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, en 1648, The Way of Congregational Churches Cleared.


  1. Théologien qui est à l'origine du puritanisme tel qu'il se développa dans les colonies américaines.
  2. Prédicateur de « la grande migration puritaine » de 1630.
  3. Laud William (1573-1645). 1611, chapelain de jacques 1er. 1621, évêque de Saint David's. 1625, il a le monopole du recrutement ecclésiastique. 1628, évêque de Londres, archevêque de Canterbury. 1633, primat d'Angleterre. Il mène la chasse contre les sectes et les dissidents, forçant de nombreux intellectuels à l'exil. Il concoure à une politique impopulaire qui provoquera la révolte écossaise et les mouvements révolutionnaires. Il est accusé en 1640 de haute trahison, condamné à mort en 1644 et exécuté en 1645.
  4. Hooker est avec Cotton et Winthrop un des plus importants prédicateurs puritains de ce temps.

Écrits relatifs à la musiqiue

Singing of Psalmes a gospel-ordinance. Or a treatise, wherein are handled these foure particulars. 1. Touching the duty it selfe. 2. Touching the manner of matter to be sung. 3. Touching the singers. 4. Touching the manner of singing. By John Cotton, teacher of the church at Boston in New England

Autres écrits

A briefe exposition of the whole book of Canticles, or Song of Solomon. London, Printed by J. Young for Charles Green, Lane 1648.

A briefe exposition with practicall observations upon the whole book of Ecclesiastes. Published by Anthony Tuckney. London, Printed by T. C. for R. Smith 1654; 1655; 1657; New York, Arno Press 1972.

A conference Mr. John Cotton held at Boston with the elders of New-England. 1. Concerning gracious conditions in the soule before faith. 2. Evidencing justification by sanctification. 3. Touching the active power of faith. Twelve reasons against stinted forms of prayer and praise. Together with the differece between the Christian and anti-chirstian church, written by Francis Cornwell. London, Printed by J. Dawson and are to be sold by F. Eglesfield 1646.

A coppy of a letter of Mr Cotton of Boston. London 1641.

A defence of Mr. John Cotton from the imputation of selfe contradiction, charged on him by Mr. Dan: Cavvdrey. Oxford, Printed by H. Hall for T. Robinson 1658.

A exposition of the whole book of Canticles, or Song of Solomon. London, Printed for P. Nevil 1642.

A letter of Mr. John Cottons, teacher of the Church in Boston in Nevv-England, to Mr. Williams, a preacher there. Wherein is shewed, that those ought to be received into the curch who are godly, though they doe not see, nor expressly bewaile all the pollutions in church-fellowship, ministery, worship, government. London, Printed for B. Allen 1643.

A modest and cleare answer to Mr Balls discourse of set formes of prayer. London, Printed by R. O. and G. D. for H. Overton 1642.

A new covenant. A treatise of the covenant of grace, as it is dispensed to the elect seed, effectually unto salvation. London, W. Miller 1662
A practical commentary, or an exposition with observations, reasons, and uses upon the First epistle generall of John. By that pious and worthy divine Mr. John Cotton, pastor of Boston in New England. London, Printed by R. I. and E. C. for Thomas Parkhurst, and are to be sold at his shop at the Three crowns over against the Great conduit, at the lower end of Cheapside, M.DC.LVI. London, Printed by M. S. for Thomas Parkhurst 1658.

An abstract of laws and government. London, Printed by M. S. 1655
An abstract or the lawes of New England, as they are now established. London, for F. Coules, and W. Ley at Paules Chain 1641.

An exposition upon the thirteenth chapter of the Revelation. London, Printed for Livewel Chapman 1655.

Christ the Fountaine of life: or, Sundry choyce sermons on part of the fift chapter of the first epistle of St. John. London, Printed by R. Ibbitson 1651; New York, Arno Press 1972.

Churches resurrection [...] The end of the world. New York, AMS Press 1982.

Gods mercie mixed with his iustice. London, Printed by G. M. for E. Brewster, and H. Hood 1641; Gainesville, Fla., Scholars’ Facsimiles & Reprints 1958.

Gods promise to His plantation. 2 Sam. 7. 10 [...] As it was delivered in a sermon. London, Printed by W. Jones for J. Bellamy and are to be solde at the three Golden [Lyons by the Royall Exchange 1630; Reprinted at Boston in New-England by Samuel Green and are to be sold by John Usher, anno 1686: Boston, Old South meeting house 1894; Boston, Directors of the Old South work 1896.

John Cotton on the churches of New England. Edited by Larzer Ziff. Cambridge (Mass.), Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 1968
Nashauanittue meninnunk wutch mukkiesog, wussesèmumum wutch sogkodtunganash naneeswe testamentasash; wutch ukkesitchippooongaoo ukketeahogkounooh. Negonè wussukhùmun ut englishnánne unnontoowaonganit, nashpe ire ánue, wunnegenùe nohtompeantog. Noh asoowèsit John Cotton. Kah yeuyeu qushkinnúmun en indiane unnontoowaonganit wutch oonenehikqunàout indiane mukkiesog, nashpa Grindal Rawson. Wunnauchemookè nohtompeantog ut kenugke indianog [...] Cambridge, Printeuoop nashpe Samuel Green, kah Bartholomew Green 1691.

New covenant [...] A treatise of the covenant of grace, as it is dispensed to the elect seed, effectually unto salvation. London, P. Parker 1671.

Of the holinesse of church-members. By John Cotton, teacher of the church of Christ in Boston in New-England. London, Printed by F. N. for Hanna Allen, and are to be sold at the Crown in Popes-head Alley. 1650.

Spiritual milk for Boston babes in either England. Cambridg, Printed by S. G. for Hezekiah Usher at Boston in New-England 1656.

The bloudy tenent washed and made white in the bloud of the Lambe. London, Printed by M. Symmons for H. Allen 1647: New York: Arno Press 1972.

The churches resurrection, or The opening of the fift and sixt verses of the 20th chap. of the Revelation. By that learned and Reverend, John Cotton, teacher to the church of Boston in New England, and there corrected by his own hand. London, Printed by R. O. & G. D. for Henry Overton, and are to be sold at his shop in Popes-head-alley 1642.

The covenant of Gods free grace most sweetly unfolded and comfortably applied to a disquieted soul. London, M. Simmons 1645
The covenant of grace discovering the great work of a sinners reconciliation to God. London, Printed by M. S. 1655.

The doctrine of the church. London 1644.

The keyes of the kingdom of heaven, and power thereof, according to the vvord of God. London, Printed by M. Simmons for H. Overton 1644
The powring out of the seven vials: or, An exposition of the sixteenth chapter of the Revelation, with an application of it to our times. Wherein is revealed Gods powring out the full vials of His fierce wrath. 1. Upon the lowest and basest sort of Catholikes. 2. Their worship and religion. 3. Their priests and ministers. 4. The house of Austria, and popes supremacy. 5. Episcopall government. 6. Their Euphrates, or the streame of their supportments. 7. Their grosse ignorance, and blind superstitions. Very fit and necessary for this present age. Preached in sundry sermons at Boston in New-England, by the learned and reverend John Cotton. London, Printed for R. S. and are to be sold at Henry Overtons shop in Popes-head alley 1642; 1645.

The way of Congregational churches cleared in two treatises. In the former, from the historical aspersions of Mr. Robert Baylie, in his book, called A disswasive from the errors of the time. In the latter, from some contradictions of Vindicae Clavium, and from some mis-constructions of learned Mr. Rutherford in his book intituled, The due right of presbyteries. By Mr. John Cotton, London, Printed by M. Simmons, for J. Bellamie 1648.

The way of life; or, Gods way and course, in bringing the soule into, keeping it in, and carrying it on, in the wayes of life and peace. Laid downe in foure severall treatises on foure texts of Scripture. London, Printed by M. F. for L. Fawne and S. Geillbrand 1641.

The way of the churches of Christ in New England. London, Printed by M. Simmons 1645.

Treatises. Selections. The way of faith. New York, AMS Press 1983
Weg desz Lebens, oder: Gotts gewonheit und weyse die Seele zu bringen zu erhalten und fortzuleiten auf den wegendesz Lebens und Freidens: forgestellet in IV. unterschiedlichen Tractätlein über vier Texte der Schrift. Und ins Teutsche gebracht durch Petrum Streitbahen. Heydelberg, Gedruckt bey A. Weingaerdt 1662.

 Jean-Marc Warszawski
Dictionnaire des écrits relatifs à la musique
Novembre 1995- 2022

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