Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Polhill, Edward

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1193322Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 46 — Polhill, Edward1896William Arthur Shaw

POLHILL, EDWARD (1622–1694?), religious writer, son of Edward Polhill (d. 1654), rector of Ellington, Kent, by his second wife, Jane, daughter of William Newton of Lewes, was born in 1622. He entered Gray's Inn on 16 June 1638–9, and was called to the bar (Foster, Gray's Inn Register), but he chiefly divided his time between the care of his family estates in Burwash, Sussex, where he was justice of the peace, and the compilation of religious tracts, somewhat Calvinistic in temper, but supporting the established church. ‘It was hard to say which excelled, the gentleman or the divine’ (Life of Phil. Henry, p. 422). Lazarus Seaman claimed ‘knowledge of him from his childhood,’ and ‘certified of his domestical piety’ (Divine Will, preface). Polhill died about 1694.

Polhill wrote:

  1. ‘The Divine Will considered in its Eternal Degrees and holy Execution of them,’ London, 1673; strongly Calvinistic in tone, with prefaces by John Owen (1616–1683) [q. v.] and Lazarus Seaman; 2nd edit., London, 1695; partly reprinted at Berwick, 1842, as ‘An Essay on the Extent of the Death of Christ.’
  2. ‘An Answer to the Discourse of William Sherlock touching the Knowledge of Christ and our Union and Communion with Him,’ London, 1675. ‘When I read Sherlock's book,’ says Polhill, ‘I thought myself in a new theological world, as if, according to Pelagius, all grace were in doctrine only.’
  3. ‘Precious Faith considered in its Nature, Working, and Growth’ (London, 1675); panegyrised by Philip Henry.
  4. ‘Speculum Theologiæ in Christo, or a View of some Divine Truths,’ London, 1678.
  5. ‘Christus in corde, or the Mystical Union between Christ and Believers considered in its Resemblances, Bonds, Seals, Privileges, and Marks’ (London, 1680); reprinted, ‘corrected by the Rev. Mr. Priestley of Jewin Street,’ London, 1788, and again in 1842 as ‘revised and carefully abridged by James Michel.’
  6. ‘Armatura Dei, or a Preparation for Suffering in an Evil Day, showing how Christians are to bear Sufferings,’ London, 1682; reprinted, London, 1824.
  7. ‘A Discourse of Schism,’ London, 1694; a catholic-minded treatise, showing that the separation of the nonconformists is not schism; reprinted in 1823. Reprints of Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 6 appear in Ward's ‘Library of Standard Divinity’ (new ser. vol. i.).

[Berry's County Gen., ‘Kent,’ p. 334; Addit. MSS. 5711 f. 133, 6347 f. 10; Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep., pp. 51a, 53a, 69a, 80a; Lords' Journals, vii. 284, 304, 468, 633; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. iv. 106; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. vi. 460, 563, 3rd ser. v. 419; Calamy's Account, ii. 680; Orme's Life of Dr. John Owen, pp. 507, 513; Hasted's Kent. i. 316.]

W. A. S.