warding the meed of praise to the learned, the accurate, the candid Lardner.
In August, 1729, at the age of forty-five, Mr. Lardner obtained his first settlement as a stated preacher among the dissenters.
Having had occasion to preach for Dr. W. Harris, at Crutched Friars, he was in consequence unexpectedly invited by the congregation to be assistant preacher to their minister.
On the occasion of his assuming this office for the first time, he offered a prayer in his own behalf that he migrister, who died in 1733; and one daughter, married to Mr. Daniel Neal, well known for his History of New England, and still more for his History of the Puritans.
In the same year Mr. Lardner also lost his excellent friend and colleague, Dr. William Harris.
His funeral sermon on this occasion was published, and contains a high and doubtless well-deserved eulogium on that gentleman's character and talents.
After his decease, Mr. Lardner had a unanimous invitation to undertake the pastoral c
idence of it, and well-minded Deists be induced to admire and embrace it.
After repeated examination, I am persuaded that the Christian religion, as it lies uncorrupted in the Scriptures, is of divine original.
And the more I have examined into the nature and evidence of it, the more I am convinced of the divine mission of Jesus and of the truth of the Gospel.
In 1740, Mr. Benson was chosen pastor of the congregation of Protestant Dissenters in Crutched Friars, on the death of Dr. William Harris, in which situation he remained for the rest of his active life.
For some years (as has already been stated) he was associated in this charge with the celebrated Dr. Lardner, until that eminent theologian and true Christian was induced by his increasing deafness and other infirmities, which, in his opinion, incapacitated him for the service of the public congregation, to withdraw from the pulpit, and devote himself entirely to those labours of the study and of the pen, in the results
ich his tastes and habits of mind led him chiefly to occupy his leisure, we are not informed.
Nor does it appear in what mode of life he was occupied during the first years of his residence in London; all we know is, that it afforded but scanty means of support for a numerous young family, and frequently placed him, as he afterwards used to relate of himself, in sight of real want, though he thanked God it had never quite reached him.
About this time he received an overture, through Dr. W. Harris, to write in defence of the measures of administration, in which case the Doctor told him he was authorized to promise that he would be well provided for. Mr. Fleming, however, notwithstanding his necessitous circumstances, promptly refused, saying he would rather cut off his right hand.
Situated as he was, this refusal shewed the strength of his regard to principle and integrity; for he seems not merely to have rejected an immediate resource, but to have given offence to some who were