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HOLMES or HOMES, NATHANIEL, D.D. (1599–1678), puritan divine, son of the Rev. George Holmes of Kingswood in Gloucestershire, was born in 1599 in Wiltshire. He matriculated on 11 April 1617 as a fellow-commoner of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, whence he migrated to Exeter College. He was admitted B.A. on 19 Oct. 1620. He appears to have then returned to Magdalen Hall, taking his degree of M.A. in 1623 as a member of that house (Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf. Hist. Soc., ii. ii. 360, iii. 388). He had previously taken orders and became a frequent preacher in the neighbourhood of Oxford. He took the degrees in divinity, B.D. in 1633, and D.D. in 1637, as a member of Exeter College. His views inclining strongly to Calvinism, he was among the earliest of the ministers who subscribed to the covenant, and was presented in 1643 to the rectory of St. Mary Staining. Holmes soon changed his views, and, becoming a millenarian, joined Henry Burton, B.D. [q. v.], minister of St. Matthew's, Friday Street, in establishing an independent congregation towards the end of 1643. Wood states (Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 1168) that he had several congregations in the country, which he visited ‘like a bishop of a diocese’ from time to time: one of them was at Dover. Pepys seems to have gone to hear Holmes preach at Whitehall 12 Feb. 1659–60 (Diary i. 27). On the enforcement of the Act of Conformity in 1662, Holmes gave up his cure, and went to reside in the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate, where he either kept or frequented conventicles. He died in June 1678, and was buried in St. Mary, Aldermanbury. Although a millenarian, he only inculcated a spiritual and purified liberty to be enjoyed by the saints, and no sensual license. He is said to have been well skilled in Hebrew.

He published, besides sermons: 1. ‘Usury it Injury,’ London, 1640, 4to. 2. ‘Vindication of Baptizing Believers' Infants, in some Animadversions upon Mr. Tombes, his Exercitations about Infant Baptisme,’ &c., London, 1646, 4to. 3. ‘Dæmonologie and Theologie, the first the Malady, &c., the second the Remedy,’ &c., London, 1650, 8vo. 4. ‘The Mischiefe of Mixt Communions fully discussed,’ &c., London, 1650, 4to. 5. ‘Song of Solomon. A Commentary … on the whole Book of Canticles,’ 1650, 8vo. 6. ‘Ecclesiastica Methermeneutica, or Church Cases cleared,’ 1652, 8vo. 7. ‘The Resurrection revealed, &c.: I. That Chiliasme, or the opinion of the future glorious state of the Church on earth … is no errour. II. Of the manner and measure of burning the world … III. Touching Gog and Magog … IV. Concerning Covenants,’ &c., London, 1661, fol. 8. ‘Exercitations on the Chiliasme, the Burning of the World, of Gog and Magog, the two Witnesses, and the Character of Antichrist,’ London, 1664, fol. 9. ‘Miscellania; consisting of three treatises: I. Exercitations extricated, &c. II. A Review of, or a fresh Enquiry after Gog and Magog, where to find them. III. Some Glimpses of Israel's Call approaching,’ &c., London, 1666, fol. 10. ‘An Essay concerning the Sabbath,’ London, 1673, 8vo.

[Kennett's Eccles. Chron. i. 553, 827; Palmer's Nonconf. Mem. i. 149; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 1168; Atkyns's Gloucestershire, ed. 1768, p. 259; Boase's Register of Exeter College, p. 250.]

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