Bates, William D.D., a learned Nonconformist, was born in 1625, place unknown. He was educated at Cambridge, where he was admitted D.D. in 1660. Soon after the Restoration he was appointed chaplain to Charles II, and was also, for some time, minister of St. Dunstan's, from whence he was ejected by the Act of Uniformity. He was one of the commissioners at the Savoy Conference in 1660 for reviewing the Liturgy, and assisted in drawing up the exceptions against the Book of Common Prayer. He was likewise chosen on the part of the Nonconformist ministers, together with Dr. Jacomb and Mr. Baxter, to manage the dispute with Dr. Pearson, afterward bishop of Chester, Dr. Gunning, afterward bishop of Ely, and Dr. Sparrow, afterward bishop of Norwich. The object of this conference was to persuade the dissidents to fall in with the requirements of the Church of England in regard to its rituals and ceremonies. But to the reasonings of Gunning, who seemed disposed to forward a reconciliation between the Church of England and Rome, Dr. Bates urged that, on the very same grounds on which they imposed the crucifix and surplice, they might bring in holy water, and all the trumpery of popery. Dr. Bates was on intimate terms with Lord-keeper Bridgman, Lord-chancellor Finch, the Earl of Nottingham, and Archbishop Tillotson. He was offered the deanery of Lichfield and Coventry at the Restoration, but he declined the offer; and, according to Dr. Calamy, he might have been afterward raised to any bishopric in the kingdom, could he have conformed. He resided for the latter part of his life at Hackney, where he died 19th July, 1699. According to Calamy, "he was generally reputed one of the best orators of the day, and was well versed in the politer arts of learning, which so seasoned his conversation as to render it highly entertaining to the more sensible part of mankind. His apprehension was quick and clear, and his reasoning faculty:
acute, prompt, and expert. His judgment was penetrating and solid, stable and firm. His memory was singularly tenacious, and scarcely impaired at the period of his death. His language was always neat and fine, but unaffected. His method in all his discourses would bear the test of the severest scrutiny." Dr. Bates was one of the best theological writers of his time; his Harmony of the Divine Attributes in the Work of Man's Redemption is still deservedly popular, and, in fact, all his writings are in demand. They are collected in his Whole Works, with a Memoir. by Farmer (Lond. 1815, 4 vols. 8vo). — Jones, Christ, Biog. p. 30; Allibone, Dict. of Authors, 1:141.