John Worthington was born in Manchester in February 1618. In March 1632 he entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge, as sizar, proceeding BA in 1635 and MA in 1639. His tutors were Benjamin Whichcote and, subsequently, Richard Clark. He was elected Fellow in 1642. In 1650 he was installed as Master of Jesus College. He became DD in 1655, and married Mary Whichcote, his tutor's niece, in 1657. From 1655 to 1662 he was a correspondent of Samuel Hartlib. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 1657–8. His fortunes declined after the Restoration, however, when he was removed from his College appointments. Promises of preferment were not fulfilled and he survived by holding a sequence of Church livings, ending up, in 1666, as rector of Ingoldsby, thanks to the generosity of his friend Henry More. Worthington was an admirer of John Colet and Desiderius Erasmus, and was associated with the group of philosophical divines known as the Cambridge Platonists. He shared with them their broadly tolerant and rational theology. He did not publish any writings of his own in his lifetime (though some of his sermons were published posthumously by his son). Rather, he made his mark as a scholar by editing the works of the Bible scholar, Joseph Mead. He also edited, in 1660, the Select Discourses of John Smith. His Diary and Correspondence (1847–86) are an important source for the intellectual history of his time.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.