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which that prelate was then chancellor,) in order to complete the important work, in which he was engaged, a free inquiry into religion. At last, after a thorough examination, the protestant principles appearing to him the most agreeable to the Holy Scripture and reason, he declared for them and about the year 1634 wrote a confutation of the motives, which had induced him to go over to the church of Rome. This paper is now lost. It is true, we have a paper of his on the same subject, first published in 1687, in the Additional Discourses of Mr. Chillingworth; but it seems to be written upon some other occasion, probably at the desire of some of his friends. *
As in his forsaking the church of England, as well as in his return to it, he was solely influenced by a sincere love of truth, so he constantly persevered in that excellent temper of mind; and even after his return to protestantism, he made no scruple to examine the grounds of it, as appears by a letter of his to Dr. Sheldon, containing some scruples he had about leaving the church of Rome and returning to the church of England. These scruples, which he freely declared to his friends, seem to be the occasion of a groundless report, that he had turned papist a second time, and then protestant again.t
His returning to the protestant religion making a great deal of noise, he was engaged in several disputés with those of the Romish religion, and particularly with Mr. John Lewgar, Mr. John Floyd, a Jesuit, who went under the name of Da
* Des Maizeaux, ubi supra, p. 13–17. + Id. ibid, p. 18. and remark [F.]
niel, or Dan. à Jesu,* and Mr. White, author of the Dialogues published under the name of Rushworth; with whom, at the desire of Lord George Digby, afterwards earl of Bristol, he had a conference at the lodgings of Sir Kenelm Digby, a late convert to the church of Rome.† But in 1635 he was engaged in a work which gave him a far greater opportunity to confute the principles of that church, and to vindicate the protestant religion, upon the following occasion. A Jesuit, who went by the name of Edward Knott, though his true name was Matthias Wilson, I had publ ned in 1630, in 8vo. a little book, called, Charity mistaken, with the Want whereof Catholickes are unjustly
charged, for affirming, as they do with Grief, that Protestancy unrepented destroies Salvation. This was answered by Dr. Christopher Potter, provost of Queen's College, in Oxford; and his answer came out in 1633 with this title: Want of Charitie justly charged on all such Romanists, as dare (without Truth or Modesty) affirme, That Protestancie destroyeth Salvation. In Answer to a late Popish Pamphlet, intituled, Charity mistaken, &c. The Jesuit replied in 1634 under this title: Mercy and Truth, or Charity maintayned by Catholiques. By way of Reply upon an Answere lately framed by Dr. Potter to a Treatise, which had formerly proved, thạt Charity was mistaken by Protestants; with the Want whereof Catholiques are unjustly charged for affirming, that Protestancy unrepented destroyes Salvation. Devided into two Parts.-Mr. Chillingworth undertaking to answer that Reply, and Mr. Knott being informed of his design, resolved to prejudice the public both against our Author and his book, in a libel, intitled, A Direction to be observed by N. N. if hee meane to proceede in answering the Booke, intitled, Mercy and Truth, or Charity maintained by Catholickes, &c. printed in 1636, in 8vo. pag. 42. Permissu Superiorum.-In this piece he represents Mr. Chillingworth as a Socinian ; whose Answer was very near finished in the beginning of the year 1637; and, having been examined, at Archbishop Laud's request, by Dr. John Prideaux, afterwards bishop of Worcester, Dr. Richard Baylie, vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford, and Dr. Samuel Fell, Lady Margaret's professor of divinity, it was published with their approba tion in the latter end of that year, with this title: The Religion of Protestants a safe Way to Salvation; or, an Answer to a Booke, intitled, Mercy and Truth, or Charity maintained by Catholickes. Which pretends to prove the contrary. By William Chillingworth, Master of Arts of the University of Oxford. This book was received with a general applause; and, what perhaps never happened to any other controversial work of that bulk, two editions were published within less than five months. On the other hand, Mr. Knott, seeing that he had not been able to deter our Author from publishing his Answer, tried once more to prejudice the public against it; wherein he was seconded by some Jesuits: for in 1638, Mr. Knott published a pamphlet, intitled, Christianity maintained; or, a Discovery of sundry Doctrines tending to the Overthrowe of the Christian Religion, contayned in the Answere to a Book, intituled, Mercy and Truth; or, Charity maintayned by Catholickes : printed at St. Omer's, in 4to. pag. 86. In this piece* he promises a larger volume in answer to Mr. Chillingworth. To this pamphlet is subjoined a little piece under the title of Motives maintained; or, a Reply unto Mr. Chillingworth's Answere to his own Motives of his Conversion to the Catholicke Religion. The next pamphlet against our Author was likewise printed at St. Omers in 1638, in 4to. pag. 193, with this title: The Church conquerant over human Wit; or, the Churches Authority demonstrated by M. William Chillingworth (the Proctour for Wit against her) his perpetual Contradictions in his Booke, intituled, The Religion of Protestants a safe Way to Salvation. The author was a Jesuit, called John Floyd, who, in 1639, published likewise another piece, in 4to. pag. 104, intitled, The totall Summe; or, no Danger of Damnation unto Roman Catholiques for any Errours in Faith ; nor any Hope of Salvation for any Sectary whatsoever, that doth knowingly oppose the Doctrine of the Roman Church. This is proved by the Confessions and Saying of Mr. Chillingworth his Booke. The third pamphlet, which appeared against Mr. Chillingworth, was printed in 1639, most probably at St. Omers, in 4to. pag. 158, and intitled, The Judgment of an University-Man concerning M. William Chillingworth his late Pamphlet, in Answere to Charity maintayned. It was written by Mr. William Lacy, a Jesuit. To this piece is
* Id. ibid. p. 39, 40.
| Id. p. 40–43, and Letters between the Lord George Digby, and Sir Kenelm Digby, Knt. concerning Religion, p. 84, 85. edit. London, 1651.
| Bibliotheca Patrum Societatis Jesu, p. 185.
subjoined another, intitled, Heautomachia. Mr. Chillingworth against Himself, pag. 46. It hath no title page, nor preface, being the sequel of the other, and printed at the same time. The style is also the same.
In 1652, nine years after our Author's death, Mr. Knott published a large answer to him, intitled, Infidelity unmasked; or, the Confutation of a Booke published by M. William Chillingworth, under this title, The Religion of Protestants a safe Way to Salvation: printed at Ghent, in 4to. pag. 949, besides the Preface and Index.
While Mr. Chillingworth was employed in the excellent work abovementioned, he wrote a letter to one of his friends, who had desired to know, what judgment might be made of Arianism from the sense of antiquity. It is without date; and, the cover being lost, it doth not appear to whom it was written. The original is in the library of the Royal Society, and is as follows:
“I am very sorry it was my ill fortune not to see thee, the day that I went out of Oxford; otherwise I should have thanked thee very heartily for the favour thou didst the night before, especially for Mr. Coventrye's company and discourse, whose excellent witt I doe very much admire; and had I so much interest in him as you have, I should desire him often (though I hope I need not) to remember what our Saviour sayes, “To whom much is given, of them much shall be required.'
“Mr. Taylour did much confirme my opinion of his sufficience; but let mee tell you in your eare,