William Chillingworth, who afterwards became Chancellor of Salisbury, was a divine who spent a large part of his life in controversy, of which he was very fond. Lord Clarendon in his account of him says:—
'He had spent all his younger time in disputation; and had arrived to so great a mastery, as he was inferior to no man in those skirmishes; but he had with his notable perfection in this exercise, contracted such an irresolution, and habit of doubting, that by degrees he grew confident of nothing, and a sceptic at least in the greatest mysteries of faith.'
He was converted to Roman Catholicism by a Jesuit, John Fisher, and went to Douay, where he intended to publish a defence of his change, but was prevented by Laud, who converted him back again. He returned to England and published a reply to Edward Knott, a Jesuit, who was then engaged in a controversy with Dr. Potter, Provost of Queen's College, Oxford. This was his great work called 'The Religion of the Protestants a safe Way to Salvation.' This was published in 1638, and two editions were printed in less than five months. The tenth edition appeared in 1742. Chillingworth espoused the Royal cause in the Civil War, and was taken prisoner at Arundel Castle and sent to Chichester, where he died in 1644.
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