Thomas Doolittle (1630-1707)
Thomas Doolittle was born at Kidderminster, Worcestershire. While at the grammar school in Kidderminster, Doolittle heard Richard Baxter preach sermons that were later published as The Saints’ Everlasting Rest (1653). Those addresses led to Doolittle’s conversion in the early 1640s; thereafter, he called Baxter his “father in Christ.”
Shortly after conversion, Doolittle left his occupation as assistant to a county lawyer, who had demanded that he work on the Sabbath. Baxter encouraged Doolittle to enter the ministry. To prepare himself, Doolittle studied at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1653 and a master’s degree in 1656. His tutor was William Moses, who was later ejected from Pembroke.
Doolittle quickly earned a reputation as a great preacher. In 1653, he received Presbyterian ordination but committed himself to St. Alfege, London Wall, a Church of England congregation that he served until he was ejected for Nonconformity in 1662. His ministry there was eminently successful. In 1657, he wrote to Richard Baxter, whom he continued to consult for counsel and theological questions, “God hath given me abundant encouragement in my work, by giving me favor in the hearts and affections of the people…& others in the city” (Oxford DNB, 16:561).