guished English Nonconformist divines of that period received either the whole or a considerable part of their academical education.
In his funeral sermon for Dr. Hunt, (x. 11,) our author speaks of five or six of the English students, one of whom was Hunt, and perhaps another the preacher himself, who in January, 1700, or therHunt, and perhaps another the preacher himself, who in January, 1700, or thereabout, had the curiosity to attend the lectures of a celebrated Rabbi on Jewish learning.
After a time, he adds, all except these two, disheartened by the difficulty of the study, gave out. If we are right in this conjecture as to the other student, it is a remarkable indication of proficiency and aptitude for study, that he shoecoming in him to accept; preserving herein the due medium between seeking for such a distinction, and despising it when offered.
His own remark, in the case of Dr. Hunt, deserves notice: In the year 1729, says he, the University of Edinburgh, out of a regard to his distinguished merit, complimented him with the highest honorary
ed by the act of a body so constituted, or of rendering the individual affected by it a heretic.
The heresy is within them;—it forms an essential part of their own constitution;—it is they who are the true heretics, in exact proportion to the degree in which they suffer themselves to be influenced by that evil spirit of sectarianism, which is the bane of the present plan of religious association, and utterly adverse to Christian charity and brotherhood.
In 1744, on the death of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Hunt, Mr. Foster received an invitation to succeed him in the pastoral charge of the congregation at Pinners' Hall.
His connexion with the Baptist society in Barbican, in conjunction with Mr. Burroughs, had been, on the whole, an harmonious and comfortable one; and, in general liberality of views, they appear to have taken the lead, in some respects, of most of the London Presbyterian churches of that day. Thus we have already had occasion to remark, that this was the only dissenting
nd active of the party who sought to impose their own confessions of faith on their brethren.
Mr. Barrington had been, till this time, a member of Mr. Bradbury's congregation; but, from this time forward, left him, and became a hearer of Dr. Jeremiah Hunt, one of the most eminent of the class who were now beginning to be called liberal or rational Dissenters.
He had, in all probability, long before this time embraced Antitri-nitarian sentiments; though, as far as we can judge from his writi highly than that of those learned men with whom he could enter fully into the interesting and important questions which arose in pursuing the studies to which they were alike attached; and when, as was frequently the case, one or more such men as Hunt, or Lardner, or Chandler, or Benson, were among his visitors—men who would have been an ornament to any church, both for their learning and for the other graces which we desire to see united in divines and ministers of Christ—it was their custom t
e he continued for some years.
Whether he took any active part at this early period in public affairs relating to the dissenters, does not appear; though it is not improbable that his energetic character and powerful talents would lead him to come forward when he had an opportunity, and, if he came forward, he could not fail to distinguish himself.
His name occurs in the honourable list of the majority on the celebrated question of subscription at Salters' Hall, in 1719, along with those of Hunt, Lardner, Lowman, and other worthies of that and the coming age. While at Peckham he married; and shortly afterwards had the misfortune to lose a great part of his property in the fatal South Sea scheme of 1720.
Becoming thus embarrassed in his circumstances, he engaged for some years in the trade of a bookseller, still retaining, however, his ministerial connexion with his congregation at Peckham.
In consequence of this secular occupation, several of his earliest works bear his name in the
fers made to him; and was soon afterwards induced to assume the exercise of the ministry among the English Presbyterians; almost the only religious community which did not impose on its ministers and members restrictions in his estimation unauthorized by scripture.
After preaching occasionally for a short time in different places, he was ordained in 1738 as minister to the congregation at that time assembling in Bartholomew Close, London.
Among the ministers concerned in his ordination were Hunt, Chandler, and Benson.
Mr. Fleming gave no other confession of faith than this, that he believed the New Testament writings to contain a revelation worthy of God to give, and of man to receive, and that it should be his endeavour to recommend them to the people in the sense in which he should from time to time understand them.
He did not submit to the imposition of hands, which he considered as an unwarrantable mimicry of the apostles, and liable to misconstruction.
If it is supposed, as i