William Jones - Encyclopedia

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WILLIAM JONES (1726-1800), English divine, was born at Lowick, in Northamptonshire on the 30th of July 1726. He was descended from an old Welsh family and one of his progenitors was Colonel John Jones, brother-in-law of Cromwell. He was educated at Charterhouse School, and at University College, Oxford. There a kindred taste for music, as well as a similarity in regard to other points of character, led to his close intimacy with George Home (q.v.), afterwards bishop of Norwich, whom he induced to study Hutchinsonian doctrines. After obtaining his bachelor's degree in 1749, Jones held various preferments. In 1777 he obtained the perpetual curacy of Nayland, Suffolk, and on Home's appointment to Norwich became his chaplain, afterwards writing his life. His vicarage became the centre of a High Church coterie, and Jones himself was a link between the non-jurors and the Oxford movement. He could write intelligibly on abstruse topics. He died on the 6th of January 1800.

In 1756 Jones published his tractate On the Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity, a statement of the doctrine from the Hutchinsonian point of view, with a succinct and able summary of biblical proofs. This was followed in 1762 by an Essay on the First Principles of Natural Philosophy, in which he maintained the theories of Hutchinson in opposition to those of Sir Isaac Newton, and in 1781 he dealt with the same subject in Physiological Disquisitions. Jones was also the originator of the British Critic (May 1793). His collected works, with a life by William Stevens, appeared in 1801, in 12 vols., and were condensed into 6 vols. in 1810. A life of Jones, forming pt. 5 of the Biography of English Divines, was published in 1849.

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