Whiston, William

Whiston, William a learned English divine and mathematician, was born at Norton, in Leicestershire, Dec. 9, 1667, where his father was rector of the parish. He was educated at Tamworth School and Clare Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1690; became a fellow of his college, took orders in the Church of England, and was appointed mathematical tutor in 1693; was chaplain to Dr. Moore, bishop of Norwich, from 1694 to 1698; vicar of Lowestoft, in Suffolk, from 1698 to 1701; became deputy to Sir Isaac Newton in the Lucasian professorship of mathematics in 1701, and succeeded him in that chair on his resignation in 1703; was nominated by bishop Moore catechetical lecturer at the Church of St. Clement. By this time he had gained eminence as a preacher, when he adopted Arianism, rejected infant baptism, and began to omit portions of the litany. The bishop of Ely requested him not to fulfill the duties of the Boyle lectureship, in which he was making his views public, but allowed the continuance of the salary. Whiston resigned the lectureship, and, after several hearings before the heads of the houses, was deprived of his lectureship and expelled from the university, Oct. 30, 1710. In consequence of certain theological publications of a controversial character, he was pronounced a. heretic by the convocation in 1711, and the prosecution was continued until 1715, when the proceedings were terminated by an "act of grace." After his expulsion from the university he removed to London, where he gave lectures on astronomy and other mathematical sciences, and continued an active theological writer. He became a Baptist and a Millenarian, and gathered a congregation to his own house, to which he preached what he called primitive Christianity. A subscription was made for him in 1721 amounting to £470, and he derived additional income from his lectures and publications. He died in London, Aug. 22, 1752. Among his numerous publications are, A New Theory of the Earth (1696): — The Accomplishment of Scripture Prophecies (1708): —Paceleclioizes Physicomathematicae (1710): —Primitive Christianity Revived (1711-12): — A Brief History of the Revival of the Arian Heresy in England (17 11): — Athanasius Convicted of Forgery (1712): — Three Essays onnTrinitarianism (1713): — A Vindication of the Sibylline Oracles; to which are added the Genuine Oracles Thenselves (1715): — Astronomical Lectures (eod.): — St. Clement's and St. Irenceus's Vindication of the Apostolical Constitutions (1716): — Sir Isaac Newton's Mathematical Philosophy Demonstrated (eod.): — Astronomical Principles of Religion, Natural and Revealed (1717): — A Letter to the Earl of Nottingham concerning the Eternity of the Son of God and of the Holy Spirit (1719): — The True Origin of the Sabellian and Athanasian Doctrines of the Trinity (1720): — An Essay towards Restoring the True Text of the Old and New Testaments (1722): — The Literal Accomplishment of Scripture Prophecies (1724): — A Collection of Authentic Records belonging to the Old and New Testaments, Translated into English (1727-28): — Historical Memoirs of the Life had Writings of Dr. Samuel Clarke (1730): — The Primitive Eucharist Revived (1736): — The Eternity of Hell Torments Considered (1740): The Primitive New Testament (1745): — The Sacred History of the Old and New Testaments (eod.): — Memoirs of His Own Life and Writings (1749-50): — and a translation of the Works of Josephus, which has never been superseded except in part., See Chalmers, Biog. Dict. s.v.

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