London: Lodowick Lloyd, 1671. Item #01357
The Scarce, Controversial Latitudinarian Texts:
Their Attack on the Puritans
[FOWLER, Edward]. The Principles and Practices of Certain Moderate Divines of the Church of England, Abusively Called Latitudinarians (Greatly Misunderstood), Truly Represented and Defended, Wherein (by the way) Some Controversies, of no mean Importance, are Succinctly Discussed: in a Free Discourse between two Intimate Friends. in Three Parts. The Second Edition. London: Printed for Lodowick Lloyd; and are to be sold at the Green Dragon in Pauls Church-yard, 1671. [Bound with] FOWLER, Edward. The Design of Christianity; or A plain Demonstration and Improvement of this Proposition, viz. That the enduring mane with Inward Real Righteousness or True Holiness, was the Ultimate End of our Savior's Coming into the World, and is the Great Intendment of His Blessed Gospel. London: Printed by E. Tyler and R. Holt for R. Royston and Lodowick Lloyd, 1671.
Second edition of the author's anonymously written first book (1670), first edition of the author's second book; both complete. Octavo (6 7/8 x 4 3/8 in; 176 x 112 mm). xxvi, 348; , 308, , [1, blank] pp. Side-notes to the first volume. Extra engraved title page to the second volume.
Full contemporary, paneled calf expertly rebacked to style with earlier refreshment of corners. With contemporary signatures to the front free endpaper. Binder's glue ghosts to endpapers, otherwise a fresh, internally clean, near fine copy.
Exceedingly scarce in the marketplace, with no copies of any edition of either book coming to auction within the last thirty-five years.
Edward Fowler, (1631/2–1714), bishop of Gloucester, was born at Westerleigh, Gloucestershire, the third son of Richard Fowler (d. 1681). "In 1670 he suddenly launched himself into the world of religious controversy. His début was an attack on Calvinist or, as it was increasingly portrayed, ‘puritan’ theology. He sought to expose the irrationalism and antinomianism implicit in puritan teachings on justification by faith alone, imputed righteousness, and absolute predestination. It was aimed, noted Thomas Barlow in his own copy, ‘against the zealous non-Conformists’ and especially at their charge that many of those who had, like Fowler, conformed to the restored Church of England were time-servers, hypocrites, or latitudinarians. The Principles and Practices of Certain Moderate Divines of the Church of England (1670) argued that nonconformist accusations of apostasy against some Anglican ministers were a smokescreen. What nonconformists resented was that these younger ministers had repudiated the shibboleths of Calvinism. The moderate divines had simply demonstrated:
" 'that the grand designe of the gospel is to make men good: not to intoxicate their brains with notions, or furnish their heads with a systeme of opinions; but to reform mens lives and purifie their natures: which noble principle … doth utterly overthrow the Latitudinarianism they are accused of '
"Fowler returned to the point the following year in an avowed sequel, The Design of Christianity, and provoked an onslaught from nonconformists like John Bunyan who were eager to defend their own (Calvinist) understandings of doctrines like justification. One such person believed that Fowler had substituted ‘the meer morality of a Heathen’ for the Christian doctrine of justification and asked Richard Baxter, another leading nonconformist, to repudiate Fowler's work as a perversion of his own teaching (Keeble and Nuttall, 2.117). Fowler and Baxter exchanged letters and discovered a mutual respect and theological outlook, although Baxter warned against intemperate replies to sincere if misguided critics. Unfortunately Fowler did not heed this advice. He responded to Bunyan with a vicious assault, calling him a ‘ranting antinomian’, an ‘ignorant fanatic’, and an ‘impudent malicious schismatic’ (Fowler, Dirt wip't Off ). Some have wondered whether Fowler might later have been reflected in Bunyan's unflattering portrait of ‘Mr Worldly Wiseman’. A few years later Fowler turned his guns on the Quakers and exposed ‘the absurd opinions of that sect’ in print too" (DNB).
"Latitudinarian was initially a pejorative term applied to a group of 17th-century English theologians who believed in conforming to official Church of England practices but who felt that matters of doctrine, liturgical practice, and ecclesiastical organization were of relatively little importance… their stance was that human reason is a sufficient guide when combined with the Holy Spirit for the determination of truth in doctrinal contests, and therefore that legal and doctrinal rulings that constrain reason and the freedom of the believer were neither necessary nor salutary…
"…with no Archbishop of Canterbury officially announcing it, nor Lords adopting it, latitudinarianism was the operative philosophy of the English church in the 18th century. For the 18th-century English church in the United States (which would become the Episcopal Church after the American Revolution), latitudinarianism was the only practical course since it was a nation with official pluralism and diversity of opinion and diffusion of clerical power.
"Today, latitudinarianism must not be confused with ecumenical movements, which seek to draw all Christian churches together, rather than to de-emphasize practical doctrine. The term has taken on a more general meaning, indicating a personal philosophy which includes being widely tolerant of other views, particularly (but not necessarily) on religious matters" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latitudinarianism).
Out of stock