William Chillingworth

1602-1644. Anglican apologist. Godson of William Laud,* scholar and fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, and friend of Gilbert Sheldon and John Hales, Chillingworth had a reputation of “an impartial and well-balanced mind, a large store of learning and a keen power of dialectics.” He was converted to Rome by (John) Fisher the Jesuit* (d.1641), through the weakness of the logical basis of Laudian theology. At Douai in 1630 he was set to write against the Church of England, but reweighing the arguments he returned to England, where in 1634 he again declared himself Protestant, though not yet Anglican. Hotly attacked by the Romans, he wrote at Laud's request The Religion of Protestants a Safe Way to Salvation (1638). On the basis that “the Bible only is the religion of Protestants,” he maintained the rights of reason and free inquiry, and the necessity of personal conviction. At last persuaded into the Anglican ministry by Laud, he became chancellor of Salisbury in 1638 and incurred the wrath of Parliament in 1640. Serving as chaplain or soldier in the Civil War, he was captured at Arundel in December 1643 and died in captivity a month later.