Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Aspinwall, Edward

ASPINWALL, EDWARD, D.D. (d. 1732), a polemical divine, received his education at Cambridge, and was appointed chaplain to the Earl of Radnor. Afterwards he became sub-dean of the Chapel Royal, and in 1729 was instituted prebendary of Westminster. He is the author of a 'Preservative against Popery,' 1715, and an 'Apology, being a series of Arguments in Proof of the Christian Religion,' 1731. The 'Apology' is prefaced by an address 'To all Impartial Freethinkers,' in which the author states: 'I have made it my sincere and labour'd concern to divest myself of every bias or influence that interest or blind passion might bring upon me, to the end that my mind, being (I think) perfectly disingag'd from all partial and unworthy motives, might remain absolutely free to determine itself by solid reason in the choice of reveal'd religion.' The arguments are clearly put, and the language is in the main temperate. But while he is willing to tolerate free discussion in religious matters, the author protests against his opponents' use of the weapon of ridicule. 'Let all men,' he says (p. 12), 'have an unbounded freedom to express their sentiments for or against religion; but let their words and writings stand clear of any scurrilous reflections, sneer, or sarcasm against it, or let the author be severely chastis'd by publick authority.' His arguments are chiefly directed against Antony Collins, the well-known deist. Aspinwall died on 3 Aug. 1732.

[Le Neve's Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, ed. Hardy, iii. 365; Gent. Mag. ii. 929.]

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