animous, but pressed with a more than ordinary urgency and earnestness, to such a degree, that Dr. Calamy, who happened to visit the city at the time when the matter was pending, describes himself as that the peculiar eagerness and impetuosity of their spirits on this occasion boded very ill.
Calamy's Life and Times, vol.
II., p. 263.
At this period, if we are to believe the representatione Bible (as Sir J. Jekyl wittily expressed it) carried it by 4; the numbers being 57 to 53.
Dr. Calamy (in his Memoirs lately published
Calamy's Life and Times, II. 417.), at the conclusion of hCalamy's Life and Times, II. 417.), at the conclusion of his account of this dispute, in which he refused to take any part, though earnestly solicited on both sides, has the following very just remarks:
As to the grand matter which they contended about, be of necessity of one communion.
These sentiments are very just; but surely, if they were Dr. Calamy's, he ought, in proper consistency, to have recorded his vote with the non-subscribing majorit
, in order to give such an impression as the human mind, especially at that early stage of its development to which the Scripture history chiefly refers, can most readily comprehend of the wisdom and steadiness of the course of Divine Providence.
About the close of the year 1721, Mr. Benson came to London, and having been examined and approved by several of the most eminent Presbyterian ministers, he began to preach, first at Chertsey, and afterwards in London.
By the recommendation of Dr. Calamy, he afterwards went to Abingdon, in Berkshire, and settled as minister of a dissenting congregation there, with whom he continued for seven years, diligently employed in studying the sacred writings, and labouring to instruct and improve the people under his care.
During his stay at Abingdon, he preached and published three serious practical discourses, addressed to young people, which were well received.
But of these he afterwards forbade the reprinting, as containing views of some disp
posed to introduce a clause providing a sort of test in relation to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity; as to which (says Dr. Calamy
Calamy's Life and Times, vol.
II. p. 403.) the body of the Dissenters were (unkindly and without any just ground) rCalamy's Life and Times, vol.
II. p. 403.) the body of the Dissenters were (unkindly and without any just ground) represented as wavering and unsettled.
However this may have been, there can be no question that a large portion of them were fully prepared to resist, to the utmost of their power, every attempt to impose additional restraints of any kind on the converal members of the liberal majority acted as they did, in a great measure, in consequence of his opinion and advice.
Dr. Calamy, who declined voting at all on this occasion, speaks of himself as earnestly importuned to come forward by some of theorder, as they expressed it, to prevent Mr. Barrington Shute's endeavour to break the body of ministers to pieces.
See Calamy's Life and Times, vol.
II. p. 413. Among the multitude of pamphlets which issued from the press on this occasion, was on