Pagit, Ephraim (DNB00)

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PAGIT or PAGITT, EPHRAIM (1575–1647), heresiographer, son of Eusebius Pagit [q. v.], was born in Northamptonshire, probably at Lamport, about 1575. He matriculated from Christ Church, Oxford, on 25 May 1593, being eighteen years old. There is no evidence of his graduation, but he is said to have been a great linguist, writing fifteen or sixteen languages. On 19 Aug. 1601 he was admitted to the rectory of St. Edmund the King, Lombard Street. In May 1638 he wrote a series of letters addressed to Cyril Lucaris, patriarch of Constantinople, and other patriarchs of the Greek church, commending to their notice his own ‘Christianographie,’ the translation of the English prayer-book into Greek by Elias Petley, and Laud's conference with Fisher.

On the outbreak of the civil war Pagit was silenced, and retired to Deptford, Kent. He was always a strong royalist, and in favour of the prayer-book; yet he took the covenant, and in 1645 he joined in a petition to parliament for the establishment of presbyterianism, probably as a preferable alternative to independency. His standard of doctrine he finds in the articles of ‘our mother,’ the church of England. He died at Deptford in April 1647, and was buried in the churchyard. He married the widow of Sir Stephen Bord of Sussex.

His accounts of sectaries are valuable, as he makes it a rule to give authorities; and they take a wide range, since he treats every deflection from Calvinism as heresy, and every approach to independency as faction.

He published:

  1. ‘Christianographie; or, a Description of the sundrie Sorts of Christians in the World,’ &c., 1635, 4to; many reprints; best edition, 1640, fol.
  2. ‘Heresiography; or a description of the Hereticks and Sectaries of these latter times,’ &c., 1645, 4to; two editions same year; many reprints; sixth and best edition, 1662, 8vo.
  3. ‘The Mystical Wolf,’ &c., 1645, 4to (sermon on Matt. vii. 15; reissued with new title-page, ‘The Tryall of Trueth,’ &c.). His nine letters to the patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Moscow, and of the Maronites, also to Prince Radziwil of Poland and John Tolnai of Transylvania, are in Harl. MS. 825.

All are duplicated in Greek and Latin; two are also in English, and one in Syriac.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 210 sq.; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, ii. 174; Brook's Lives of the Puritans, 1813, iii. 62 sq.; the Lamport registers do not begin till 1587, those of Oundle in 1625; Pagitt's works.]

A. G.