the name of Hallet
, which frequently occurs in the preceding narrative, occupied a distinguished place for three generations in the history of Protestant dissent at Exeter
The first of the series was one of the venerable Two Thousand
, ejected from Chesleborough, in Somersetshire
In 1672 he settled at Exeter
, where he remained till his death in 1688, exercising his ministry as a faithful, affectionate pastor, under the dangers and trials to which Nonconformist ministers in those troubled times were continually exposed.
He is said to have been a diligent student, and a fervent, clear, and impressive preacher.
His immediate successor was Mr. G. Trosse
, with whom his son, Joseph Hallet, jun.
, was associated as colleague in 1690.
In 1710, this gentleman opened an academy for the education of candidates for the Christian
ministry, which continued for several years.
In the list of students at this institution we find the names of several who rose to eminence in the succeeding age;—among the rest, Joseph Hallet
the third, and the celebrated Dr. James Foster
It seems to have been looked upon with great jealousy by the opponents of the new notions, as a hotbed of heresy; and the liberal manner, as we should consider it, in which Mr. Hallet
appears to have permitted and even encouraged his pupils to study both sides of disputed
questions, is frequently mentioned in terms of strong censure in the pamphlets published by the ultra-orthodox in the Exeter
It is by no means improbable that some of them both went further than their tutor in the adoption of heterodox sentiments, and were considerably less discreet in divulging them.
, after his ejectment, continued joint pastor with Mr. Peirce
of the seceding congregation, till his death in 1722, when he was succeeded by his son, already mentioned, the best known and most eminent of the three.
He was born in 1692.
For a short time he was associated with his father in the conduct of the academy in which he received his education, but not as a regular tutor.
At this time he appears first to have corresponded with the celebrated Whiston
; and it gives a singular image of the jealous and inquisitorial spirit with which the self-styled champions of orthodoxy were accustomed to keep watch on those whom they suspected of prying into forbidden mysteries, when we learn that Mr. Hallet
thought it necessary to request his correspondent not to address his letter directly to himself, since, if it should be known that he maintained a correspondence with such a noted heresiarch, it would be utter ruin to his prospects.
Mr. Joseph Hallet
was the author of various pieces connected with the leading controversy of the day, so prolific in the productions of the busy pens of many active polemics; but he is best known by a valuable work entitled, ‘A free and impartial Study of the Scriptures recommended; being notes on some peculiar texts, with discourses and observations on various subjects.’
The first volume of this work was published in 1729, and was followed by two others in 1732 and 1734.
He also distinguished himself in the controversy which was actively maintained at that period by several eminent advocates of revelation, particularly among the Dissenters, with Morgan
, and other deistical writers.
He has been already mentioned as having continued and completed the imperfect work of Mr. Peirce
on the Epistle to the Hebrews.
To this work he has prefixed an elaborate dissertation on the disputed questions as to the authorship of this Epistle, and the language in which it was written; adopting the conjecture that it was originally written by St. Paul
, in the Hebrew or rather Syro-Chaldaic tongue, spoken by the Jews of Palestine
, but that it was afterwards translated into Greek
by St. Luke.
was a man of high accomplishment as a scholar, particularly in the Hebrew and other oriental tongues; and it has been remarked, that there is scarcely one of the conjectural emendations of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament which he has suggested in his discourses, that has not been since countenanced by respectable evidence in the extensive researches of Kennicott
As a minister, he is said to have discharged the duties of his office with exemplary diligence and fidelity; and in private life to have secured the esteem of all who knew him, by the mildness and gentleness of his temper, and his truly Christian behaviour.
He died in 1744.