EDWARD FOWLER (1632-1714), English divine, was born in 1632 at Westerleigh, Gloucestershire, and was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, afterwards migrating to Trinity College, Cambridge. He was successively rector of Norhill, Bedfordshire (1656) and of All Hallows, Bread Street, London (1673), and in 1676 was elected a canon of Gloucester, his friend Henry More, the Cambridge Platonist, resigning in his favour. In 1681 he became vicar of St Giles, Cripplegate, but after four years was suspended for Whiggism. When the Declaration of Indulgence was published in 1687 he successfully influenced the London clergy against reading it. In 1691 he was consecrated bishop of Gloucester and held the see until his death on the 26th of August 1714. Fowler was suspected of Pelagian tendencies, and his earliest book was a Free Discourse in defence of The Practices of Certain Moderate Divines called Latitudinarians (1670). The Design of Christianity, published by him in the following year, in which he laid stress on the moral design of revelation, was criticized by Baxter in his How far Holiness is the Design of Christianity (1671) and by Bunyan in his Defence of the Doctrine of Justification by Faith (1672), the latter describing the Design as "a mixture of Popery, Socinianism and Quakerism," a horrid accusation to which Fowler replied in a scurrilous pamphlet entitled Dirt Wip'd Off. He also published, in 1693, Twenty-Eight Propositions, by which the Doctrine of the Trinity is endeavoured to be explained, challenging with some success the Socinian position.
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