Fowler, Edward

Fowler, Edward bishop of Gloucester, was born in 1632 at Westerleigh, in Gloucestershire, where his father was minister. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, but, removing to Cambridge, be took his master's degree as a member of Trinity College and, returning to Oxford, was incorporated in the same degree July 5, 1656. About the same time he became chaplain to Arabella, countess dowager of Kent, who presented him to the rectory of Northill, in Bedfordshire. As he had been brought up among the Puritans, he, at first objected to conformity with the Church of England, but became afterwards one of its greatest ornaments. In 1681 he was made vicar of St. Gibes's, Cripplegate, when he took his degree of D.D. He was. an able defender of Protestantism, and appears as the second of the London clergy who refused to read James II's declaration for liberty of conscience in 1688. He was rewarded for his eminent services in the cause of religion, and in. the promotion of the revolution, by being made in 1691 bishop of Gloucester. 'He died at Chelsea in 1714. He belonged to the moderate or latitudinarian school of divines. His writings are, The Principles and Practice of Latitudinarians (so called) defended (London, 1671, 8vo): — The Design of Christianity (Lond. 1676, 8vo; pub. in Watson's Tracts, volume 6). This work was attacked by Bunyan (to whom Fowler replied in a tract entitled Dirt wiped out, 1672, 4to): — Libertas Evangel/ca (1680, 8vo); various tracts against Popery, two on the Trinity, and a number of sermons. — Biographia Britannica, s.v.; Hook, Eccles. Biog. 5:164; Orme, Life of Baxter, 2:238.

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