1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sherlock, William

SHERLOCK, WILLIAM (c. 1641–1707), English divine, was born at Southwark about 1641, and was educated at Eton and at Peterhouse College, Cambridge. 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 1674 he showed his controversial bent 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, an ably written treatise, in which he drew the distinction between active and passive obedience which was at that time generally accepted by the high church clergy; in the same year he was made master of the Temple. In 1686 he was reproved for his anti-papal preaching, and his pension stopped. After the Revolution he was suspended for refusing the oaths to William and Mary, but before his final deprivation he yielded, justifying his change of attitude 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). During the period of his suspension he wrote a Practical Discourse concerning Death, which became very popular. In 1690 and 1693 he published volumes on the doctrine of the Trinity which helped rather than injured the Socinian cause, and involved him in a warm controversy with Robert South and others. He became dean of St Paul's in 1691, and died at Hampstead in June 1707.

His sermons were collected in 2 vols. 8vo (4th ed., 1755).