A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Chillingworth, William
Chillingworth, William (1602-1644).—Theologian and controversialist, b. and ed. at Oxf., was god-son of Archbishop Laud. Falling into theological doubts he subsequently became a convert to Roman Catholicism, and studied at the Jesuit Coll. at Douay, 1630. In the following year he returned to Oxf., and after further consideration of the points at issue, he rejoined the Church of England, 1634. This exposed him to violent attacks on the part of the Romanists, in reply to which he pub. in 1637 his famous polemic, The Religion of the Protestants a Safe Way to Salvation, characterised by clear style and logical reasoning. For a time he refused ecclesiastical preferment, but ultimately his scruples were overcome, and he became Prebendary and Chancellor of Salisbury. C. is regarded as one of the ablest controversialists of the Anglican Church.