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Edward Philips

Edward Philips, A.' M.—-This zealous puritan was educated in Pembroke college, Oxford. Afterwards he settled in London, and became preacher at St. Saviour's, Soutltwark, where he had a large congregation, mostly persons of puritan principles, by whom, says Wood, he was esteemed " a person zealous for the truth of God, powerful in his calling, faithful in his ministry, careful of his flock, peaceable and blameless in his life, and constant and comfortable in his death." And surely the people of his own particular charge were as likely to know these things as any others. Our author denominates him a zealous Calvinist, an avowed enemy to popery, and constantly laborious in the propagation of puritanisui and practical religion.*

His excellent endowments were not, indeed, a sufficient protection against the oppressions of the times. For, in the year 1596, he was cited before Archbishop Whitgift and other high commissioners, when he was suspended from his ministry and committed to the Gatehouse. The crimes for which he was thus punished, were contained in the following articles:—1. " That he broke the order appointed, by preaching on a Thursday, instead of Wednesday, which was appointed to be observed as a day of fasting and prayer.—

2. That by preaching on Thursday, he turned a day of rejoicing and feasting into a day of mourning and abstinence; which, by hindering hospitality, made the case worse.—

3. That he continued the service much loo long, even from nine o'clock till one.—4. That as soon as the service was ended, he very schismatically led many people to hear Mr. Downham's sermon.—5. That he agreed with Mr. Downham to keep his exercise with fasting in the afternoon.'" These were the marvellous charges alleged against him, for which he met with the above oppressive treatment. Our learned historian, indeed, says, " It is but just to observe, that Mr. Philips did observe the Wednesday, only he preached on the Thursday, because, being his regular lecture day, he was likely to have a larger congregation: that he went not to Mr. Downham's church till an Hour and a half after he had finished at his own: that when he went he had only the company of Mrs. Ratcliff and his fellow minister, and both their wives; and that he did not persuade Mr. Downham to keep his exercise in the afternoon; but he had purposed so to do, even before he spoke to him about it, as Mr. Downham himself confessed before the high commissioners."*

• Wood's Athens Oxon. vol. i. p. 276,277. t Strype's Whilgifl, p. 490,491.

From this impartial statement, it may be doubted whether so excellent and useful a minister of Christ was ever suspended and cast into prison upon such trivial and ridiculous charges before.

It docs not appear how long the good man continued in a state of confinement. If his persecutors considered the above charges so dangerous to the episcopal authority and the church of England, as to justify their proceedings, he might remain a long time. He died about the year 1603. Mr. Philips most probably never published any thing himself ; but after his death, in 1605, Sir Henry Yelverton, afterwards judge, who having been his constant hearer, had taken down some of his sermons as they were delivered, published a volume, entitled, " Two and thirty godly and learned Sermons."*