William Sherlock

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William Sherlock (c. 1641 – June 1707) was an English church leader.


He was born at Southwark, and was educated at St Saviour's Grammar School and Eton, and then at Peterhouse, Cambridge.[1] In 1669 he became rector of St George's, Botolph Lane, London, and in 1681 he was appointed a prebendary of St Paul's. In 1683 he was made master of the Temple.

In 1686, he was reproved for his anti-papal preaching and his controversy with the king's chaplain, Lewis Sabran, and his pension was stopped. After the "Glorious Revolution" he was suspended for refusing the oaths to William and Mary, but before losing his position he yielded, justifying his change of attitude.[2]

He became dean of St Paul's in 1691, and died at Hampstead in June 1707.


In 1674 he showed his controversial tendencies by an attack on the puritan John Owen, in The Knowledge of Jesus Christ and Union with Him. In 1684 he published The Case of Resistance of the Supreme Powers stated and resolved according to the Doctrine of the Holy Scriptures, a treatise in which he drew the distinction between active and passive obedience (which was at that time generally accepted by the high church clergy).

During the period of his suspension, he wrote a Practical Discourse concerning Death, which became very popular.

In 1690 and 1693 he published works on the doctrine of the Trinity which helped rather than injured the Socinian cause, and involved him in a controversy with Robert South and others.

His sermons, collected in 2 volumes, went through several editions.


  1. "Sherlock, William (SHRK657W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. In The Case of the Allegiance due to Sovereign Powers stated and resolved according to Scripture and Reason and the Principles of the Church of England (1691).


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