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that decision what it may, by the publication of the archbishop's Life in this form, I shall not only enable the reader to judge for himself, but shall also gratify the warmest feelings of my heart, by the consciousness of having discharged, in the best manner I was able, one of the most sacred of human duties to a deceased friend and benefactor: to whose kindness, under Providence, I owe my first establishment, and much of my subsequent success in life; to whose instructions, virtues, and example, I am indebted for still more important benefits, with whose venerable name it is my highest worldły ambition to have my own united here, and with whom ( among the spirits of just men made perfect,') may a gracious God render me worthy to be more closely and permanently united hereafter!
Dr. Thomas Secker, late Archbishop of Canterbury, was born in the year 1693, at a small village called Sibthorp, in the vale of Belvoir, Nottinghamshire. His father was a protestant dissenter, a pious, virtuous, and sensible man, who, having a small paternal fortune, followed no profession. His mother was the daughter of Mr. George Brough, of Shelton, in the county of Nottingham, a substantial gentleman-farmer. He received his education at several private schools and academies in the country, being obliged by various accidents to change his masters frequently. Notwithstanding this evident disadvantage, at
the age of nineteen, he had not only made a considerable progress in Greek and Latin, and read the best and most difficult writers in both languages, but had acquired a knowledge of French, Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac, had learned Geography, Logic, Algebra, Geometry, Conic Sections, and gone through a course of lectures on Jewish Antiquities, and other points preparatory to the critical study of the Bible. At the same time, in one or other of those seminaries, he had the good fortune to meet, and to form an acquaintance, with several persons of great abilities. Amongst the "rest, in the academy of Mr. Jones, kept first at Gloucester; then at Tewkesbury, he laid the foundation of a strict friendship with Mr. Joseph Butler, afterwards Bishop of Durham. At the last of those two places it was that Mr. Butler gave the first proof of his great sagacity and depth of thought in the letters which he then wrote to Dr. Samuel Clarke; laying before him the doubts that had arisen in his mind, concerning the conclusiveness of some arguments in the doctor's Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God." "These were written with so much candour, modesty, and
good sense, that on the discovery of his name, they immediately procured him the friendship of that eminent man, and were afterwards printed at the end of his Evidences of Natural and Revealed Religion. This correspondence was entrusted in confidence to Mr. Secker, who, in order to keep it private, undertook to convey Mr. Butler's letters to the post-office, at Gloucester, and to bring back Dr Clarke's answers.
Mr. Secker had been destined by his father for Orders among the dissenters. With this view, during the last years of his education, his studies were chiefly turned towards divinity; in which he made such quick advances, that, by the time he was three-and-twenty, he had read over carefully a great part of the Scriptures, particularly the New Testament, in the original, and the best comments upon it; Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, the Aposto. tical Fathers, Whiston's Primitive Christianity, and the principal writers for and against ministerial and lay-conformity; with many others of the most esteemed treatises in - theology. But though the result of these enquiries was (what might naturally be expected) a well
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