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 Gov. 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).
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Wise, John(1652–1725) Congregational clergyman, theologian, author; born in Roxbury, Mass. A Harvard graduate (1673), he served as a preacher in Branford, Conn. (1675–76), in Hatfield, Mass. (1677–78), and in Ipswich, Mass., where he was ordained in 1683. He spent the rest of his life in Ipswich (with the exception of service as chaplain of the 1690 expedition to Quebec) and became embroiled in battles against colonial taxes. He also protested against the centralization of church government, as seen in The Vindication of the Church Government of New-England Churches (1717). Known for his independent views and lively prose, he also defended those accused of witchcraft (1703) and promoted smallpox vaccinations. His egalitarian "democratic" views made him a popular writer for both American Revolutionaries and abolitionists.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.