Wall, William

, the able defender of infant-baptism, was born in 1646, but where educated, or any further particulars of his early life, are not upon record. He was vicar of Shoreham in Kent, where he died in 1728, at the age of eighty-two, and was considerably advanced when he slept forth as the champion of infant baptism, in opposition to Dr. John Gale, the ablest writer of his time on the baptist side. Mr. Wall published his “History of Infant Baptism” in 1707; and Dr. Gale, in 1711, published “Reflections” on it (See Gale.) In 1719, a friendly conference was held on the subject between him and Mr. Wall, which ended without any change of opinion on either side. Mr. Wall, in the same year, published his “Defence of the History of Infant Baptism,” which was accounted a performance of such ability and so decisive on the question, that the university of Oxford, to mark their high opinion of the book, and of the talents of the author, conferred on him the degree of D. D. in the following year. After his death were published “Critical Notes on the Old Testament, wherein the present Hebrew text is explained, and in many places amended, from the ancient versions, more particularly from that of the LXX. To which is prefixed, a large introduction, adjusting the authority of the Masoretic Bible, and vindicating it from the objections of Mr. Whiston, and the author of the ‘ Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion.’ By the late learned William Wall, D. D. author of the” History of Infant Baptism," 1733, 2 vols. 8vo.

Dr. Wall stands confessedly at the head of those writers who have supported the practice of infant-baptism; and his antagonists Gale, Whiston, and the baptist historian Crosby, all unite in praising his candour and piety. He was vicar of Shorebam for the long space of fifty-two years. He once had an offer of a living of 300l. a year, Chelsfield, three miles from Shoreharn, which his conscience would not allow him to accept; but he afterwards consented to take one of about one fifth the value, at twelve miles distance, that of Milton, near Gravesend. By an only daughter, Mrs. Catherine Waring, of Rochester, he had sixteen grand-children. This lady communicated some anecdotes of her father, printed in Atterbury’s Correspondence, by which it appears that he was a man of a facetious turn, and there are some of his letters to Atterbury in that correspondence. He was such a zealot for this | prelate, that he would have lighted up all Whittlebury -forest, in case of his recall, at his own expence. 1


Nichols’s Atterbury and Bowyer. Crosby’s Baptists.