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John Wise

Wise, John, 1652–1725, American clergyman, exponent of the democratic principles of modern Congregationalism, b. Roxbury, Mass., grad. Harvard, 1673. He was pastor at Ipswich, Mass., from 1680 until his death, but his influence extended beyond his parish. For a short time, in 1687, he was deprived of his ministerial office by Governor Andros for having led his fellow townsmen in their refusal to pay taxes violating their charter rights. In 1689 he represented Ipswich in the Boston convention for reorganization of the colonial government. In opposition to Increase Mather and Cotton Mather, he resisted the plan to place individual churches under the jurisdiction of associations of ministers, stating his reasons in two pamphlets that carried great influence, The Churches Quarrel Espoused (1710) and A Vindication of the Government of New England Churches (1717). These expositions of church democracy were reissued and widely read before the American Revolution and again before the Civil War.

See biography by G. A. Cook (1952, repr. 1967).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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