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Memoir of Dr . Benjamin Spencer ( ate of Bristol , born at Southwold , in Suffolk , died at Tfxickney , Nov 5 , 1822 , aged 67 . The power of religion to develope and expand the faculties of the human mind has seldom been more strikingly illustrated than in the subject of the present memoir . To a singular train of events *
which led him at an early period of life to investigate with seriousness the doctrines and duties of the Christian religion , he owed the awakening of intellectual faculties of no ordinary strength : the growth of the religious principle and the develope men t of the powers of the understanding were strictly correlative : the former was the immediate cause of the
latter , and this he was accustomed to acknowledge with deep gratitude . The early habit of reflecting on a subject containing such powerful sources of emotion as religion , by a mind naturally contemplative and strong , was likely to
absprb it , and to render it comparatively indifferent to every other concern . Accordingly , he soon conceived the desire of devoting himself to . the Christian ministry , in which he perceived that he should not only have ample opportunity , but in which it would become the business of bis life
to investigate the most interesting subjects : and as hi& friends recoguued in him indications jpf talent which would render him capable of filling the office with usefulness and honour , combined with a gravity t > f deportment which promused to secure his steadyde voted ness to it , they warmly encouraged his wish . Circumled him to
stauces fa ^ d unit e himself with a society of Particular Baptists : hence he received the theological part of his education at the Baptist academy at Bristol . Wheu be first arrived at this institution , the students were warmly engaged in the discussion ofy what to many will seem a
very singular question , naipcly , Whether it be M * e duj , y . afr ail men to believe in * the gospel of Christ ? He . . entered with earnestness into this , controversy ; he took the affirmative side of thq question , and he soon saw that it would lead hi in far , though he did not at nr ^ t suspect how far , from Calvinism . .
While at tbk p £ a 4 e * ny he applied himself with dl } igfci * c $ to the s £ u 4 y of the Greek and Hjetyr ^ iy laugwages , aa 4 to t ^ ie ordiuary , hit very Hunted $ ot } i > er . of infraction pursued la that iu&Utution . His » i *> $ rcs 3 was so steady and rapid in
every thing to which he dnected his attention , the good sense he displayed on all occasions so great , his seriousness go deep , and his general demeanour so exemplary , that he attracted the particular notice of Dr . Caleb Evaiis , then the resident tutor , who soon ceased to treat him as a pupil , and made him his companion and friend .
On leaving the academy , Dr . Spencer was chosen the pastor of the Particular Baptist congregation at Alcester , in Warwickshire . Here he resided several years in great harmony with his people , much respected as a man of sound judgment , and universally considered by his brother ministers as an acute and able reasonsr .
His manner of conducting an argument was excellent ; he was precise , logical , guarded , and rarely lost his temper . His style of preaching was somewhat singular . It was generally an exposition of a passage of Scripture , rather than a discourse
from a single text , which latter method he considered better calculated to keep men in ignorance of the sacred books , than to elucidate what is obscure , and to register in the memory a clear and con . nected account of what is certain and
important . His usual plan was to give what he conceived to be the precise meaning of the passage selected for con . sideration ; then to state , to explain , and perhaps to defend the doctrine it might teach ; and , lastly , to deduce and to enforce the moral precepts it might contain .
In the comparative seclusion in which he was placed he had much leisure ; he visited but little , and he had few books . His active mind thirsted for fuller information on many of the doctrines which are usually considered essential parts of the Christian system , and on this account he regretted his distance from those *
sources of knowledge which larger towus afford ; bat at length it occurred to him , that all the real knowledge on these sub jeets which men possess , and which they have recorded in their writings , must have been derived from a study of the Scriptures , and that this great source of
instruction was as open to him as to them . Immediately , and with great' ardour , he applied himself ta the study of the Greek of the New Tefctatneut : he read through , tu a conuected manner , the £ our Gospels , next the Acts , of the Apostles , and then their various epistles ; . and where one author has written several epistles , he always read these in attccea ~
C 767 )
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Dec. 2, 1822, page 767, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2519/page/47/