Tindal (L), Matthew
Tindal (l), Matthew one of the successors of Toland and Shaftsbury in the school of English deists or freethinkers, was born at Beer-Ferrers, in Devonshire, about 1657. He was educated at Lincoln and Exeter colleges, Oxford; took his A.B. in 1676 shortly after was elected fellow of All-Souls, and was admitted doctor of laws at Oxford in 1685. He retained his fellowship during the reign of James II by professing the Roman Catholic faith; he afterwards recanted, however, and, adopting revolutionary principles, went to the other extreme, and wrote against the nonjurors. He now became an advocate and sat as judge in the court of delegates, with a pension from the crown of £200 per annum. Some time afterwards, considerable attention was drawn to him by his work entitled The Rights of the Christian Church (1706-7, 8vo), and the ensuing controversy; but the production which has rendered his name a memorable one was his Christianity as Old as the Creation (1730), which provoked replies from Dr. Warburton, Leland, Foster, and Conybeare. Dr. Middleton endeavored to take a middle course in this controversy, as may be seen in that article, but the most effective answer, though its very existence seems to have been forgotten, was that embodied in the Appeal of William Law, published in 1740. Tindal's line of argument was mainly coincident with Shaftsbury's, that the immutable principles of faith and duty must be found within the breast, and that -no external revelation can have any authority equal to the internal this he supported by much learning and show of argument, to which Warburton thought he.had replied by the mass of learned evidence contained in his Legation. William Law, making no account of literary evidence, replied by his masterly development of the philosophy of the fall and final recovery of mankind; a book remarkable for close argument, and for its many fine illustrations, but now obsolete in certain fundamental principles. Tindal died in London, Aug. 16, 1733, and was interred in Clerkenwell Church. Mr. Tindal also wrote, An Essay concerning the Power of the Magistrate and the Rights of Mankind in Matters (Religion (Lond. 1697, 8vo): —A Defense of the Rights of the Christian Church (ibid. 1709, 2 pts. 8N.o): — The Nation Vindicated (ibid. 1711; pt. 2, 1712): —War with Priestcraft, or the Freethinker's Iliad (ibid. 1732, 8vo), a burlesque poem.