See also:English deist, was
See also:born at Heston, near
See also:Hounslow in Middlesex, on the 21st of
See also:June 1676 . He was educated at
See also:Eton and
See also:College, Cambridge, and was for some
See also:time a student at the
See also:Temple . The most interesting
See also:episode of his
See also:life was his intimacy with
See also:Locke, who in his letters speaks of him with affection and admiration . In 1715 he settled in
See also:Essex, where he held the offices of
See also:justice of the peace and
See also:lieutenant, which he had before held in Middlesex . He died at his
See also:house in Harley Street,
See also:London, on the 13th of
See also:December 1729 . His writings are important as gathering together the results of previous English Freethinkers . The imperturbable courtesy of his
See also:style is in striking contrast to the violence of his opponents; and it must be remembered that, in spite of his unorthodoxy, he was not an atheist or even an agnostic . In his own words, "
See also:Ignorance is the foundation of atheism, and freethinking the cure of it " (Discourse of Freethinking, 105): His first
See also:work of note was his
See also:Essay concerning the Use of Reason in Propositions the Evidence whereof depends on Human Testimony (1707), in which he rejected the distinction between above reason and contrary to reason, and demanded that
See also:revelation should conform to man's natural ideas of
See also:God . Like all his
See also:works, it was published anonymously, although the identity of the author was never long concealed . Six years later appeared his chief work, A Discourse of Freethinking, occasioned by the Rise and Growth of a
See also:Sect called Freethinkers (x713) . Notwithstanding the
See also:ambiguity of its title, and the fact that it attacks the priests of all churches without moderation, it contends for the most
See also:part, at least explicitly, for no more than must be admitted by every
See also:Protestant . Freethinking is a right which cannot and must not be limited, for it is the only means of attaining to a knowledge of truth, it essentially contributes to the well-being of society, and it is not only permitted but enjoined by the Bible .
In fact the first introduction of
See also:Christianity and the success of all missionary enterprise involve freethinking (in its etymological sense) on the part of those converted . In England this essay, which was regarded and treated as a plea for
See also:deism, made a
See also:great sensation, calling forth several replies, among others from
See also:Bishop Hare, Bishop
See also:Hoadly, and
See also:Richard Bentley, who, under the signature of Phileleutherus Lipsiensis, roughly handles certain arguments carelessly expressed by
See also:Collins, but triumphs chiefly by an attack on trivial points of scholarship, his own pamphlet being by no means faultless in this very respect . Swift also, being satirically referred to in the
See also:book, made it the subject of a
See also:caricature . In 1724 Collins published his Discourse of the Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion, with An
See also:Apology for
See also:Free Debate and Liberty of Writing prefixed . Ostensibly it is written in opposition to Whiston's attempt to show that the books of the Old Testament did originally contain prophecies of events in the New Testament
See also:story, but that these had been eliminated or corrupted by the Jews, and to prove that the fulfilment of prophecy by the events of Christ's life is all " secondary, secret, allegorical, and mystical," since the
See also:original and literal reference is always to some other fact . Since, further, according to him the fulfilment of prophecy is the only valid
See also:proof of Christianity, he thus secretly aims a
See also:blow at Christianity as a revelation . The canonicity of the New Testament he ventures openly to deny, on the ground that the
See also:canon could be fixed only by men who were inspired . No less than
See also:thirty-five answers were directed against this book, the most noteworthy of which were those of Bishop
See also:Chandler, Arthur Sykes and
See also:Clarke . To these, but with
See also:special reference to the work of Chandler, which maintained that a , number of prophecies were literally fulfilled in Christ, Collins replied by his
See also:Scheme of Literal Prophecy Considered (1727) . An appendix contends against Whiston that the book of Daniel was forged in the time of
See also:Antiochus Epiphanes (see DErsM) . In philosophy, Collins takes a foremost place as a defender of Necessitarianism . His brief Inquiry Concerning Human Liberty (1715) has not been excelled, at all events in its
See also:main outlines, as a statement of the determinist standpoint .
One of his arguments, however, calls for special
See also:criticism his assertion that it is self-evident that nothing that has a beginning can be without a cause is an unwarranted
See also:assumption of the very point at issue . He was attacked in an elaborate
See also:treatise by Samuel Clarke, in whose
See also:system the freedom of the will is made essential to religion and morality . During Clarke's lifetime, fearing perhaps to be branded as an enemy of religion and morality, Collins made no reply, but in 1729 he published an answer, entitled Liberty and
See also:Necessity . Besides these works he wrote A
See also:Letter to Mr Dodwell, arguing that it is conceivable that the soul maybe material, and, secondly, that if the soul be immaterial it does not follow, as Clarke had contended, that it is immortal; Vindication of the Divine Attributes (1710); Priestcraft in Perfection (1709), in which he asserts that the clause "the
See also:Church . . . Faith" in the twentieth of the Thirty-nine Articles was inserted by
See also:fraud . See
See also:Kippis, Biographia Britannica; G .
See also:Lechler, Geschichte
See also:des englischen Deismus (1841); J .
See also:Hunt, Religious Thought in England, ii . (1871);
See also:Stephen, English Thought in the 18th Century, i . (1881); A . W .
Benn, Hist. of EnglishRationalism in the 19th Century (London, 1906), vol. i. ch. iii . ; J . M .
See also:History of Freethought (London, 1906) ; and DEISM .
BARON CUTHBERT COLLINGWOOD COLLINGWOOD (1750-,8,o)
JOHN CHURTON COLLINS (1848-1908)
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