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respectable seminary for Protestant MEMOIR OF ABRAHAM Rees, D.D. F.R.S.
Dissenters at Carmarthen, he removed ( With a Portrait.)
to London, and became a pupil in the The father of this learned, industrious, academy founded by Mr. Coward, at and able writer, was the reverend Hoxton, and which was then conductLewis Rees, a dissenting divine of the ed by Dr. David Jennings and Dr. old orthodox stamp, whose name is Samuel Morton Savage. On the death yet revered both in North and South of the former, in 1762, a new arrangeWales, for his zeal and usefulness ment took place; Dr. Kippis being during a ministry of seventy years. appointed classical tutor, and Mr. When he first settled in the county of Rees, though only nineteen years of Montgomery, that part of the princi- age, taking the department of mathepality was covered with darkness to matics and natural philosophy; to such a degree, that the good man, in which studies, on the recommendation the discharge of his professional duties, and with the assistance of his friend experienced great opposition. The Dr. Price, he devoted as much of his insults which he met with from his time as his other engagemeots, and ignorant and bigoted countrymen, views as a candidate for the ministry, however, only acted as stimulants tó would allow. The satisfaction which provoke him to more diligence, and he gave, as an assistant instructor, the exercise of his pity and concern
induced the trustees to appoint him for their spiritual welfare. To avoid resident tutor; the duties of which the assaults and indignities which were
situation he continued to discharge for aimed at him by those who threatened more than twenty years. In the mean his life, he frequently travelled from time, he did not lose sight of the callone place to another in the darkness ing to which he had been destined by of the night.
On the Sabbath, and his pious father, as well as led by his during the honrs of leisure at other own inclination. At about the age of times, he preached to crowded audi- twenty-three, he was ordained pastor ences; nor did he neglect any fit op- of the Presbyterian congregation portunity that offered, of instructing meeting in St. Thomas's, Southwark. the children and younger branches of His predecessor was Mr. Henry Read, those families who attended upon his who, with his brother, Mr. James ministry. Such was his success, that Read, strenuously opposed, in 1719, he established large congregations in the imposition of articles and confesvarious places, where before there had sions of faith upon dissenting minisbeen but à very few individuals dis- ters; and for which they suffered not posed to think seriously of religion, a little obloquy from their more comand where he began his labours for a pliable brethren. Mr. Henry Read reformation, at the imminent hazard of had presided over the congregation in bis life. After spending many years
St. Thomas's above half a century, in this field of toil and danger, he re- and with such popularity, that for moved to Glamorganshire, in South many years he was obliged to take Wales, where he continued to be fol- his station in the pulpit nearly an lowed as a popular and useful preacher hour before the commencement of the almost to the end of the last century, service, on account of the crowds of when he died, at the advanced age of auditors who literally blocked up the ninety.
aisles of the meeting. His son, the subject of the present During his connexion with the somemoir, was born at or near Mont- ciety at St. Thomas's, the diploma of gomery, in the year 1743. After Doctor in Divinity was conferred upon receiving the elements of education Mr. Rees by the university of Edinunder Dr. Jenkins, who conducted a / burgh, through the recommendation 81,-VOL. VII.
of some persons of distinction in the whom, followed Dr. Priestley, with literary world, who bore a willing whom, we believe, the series of annual testimony to his merits as a preceptor sermons ended. From the beginning and preacher. After officiating at this of the design, Dr. Rees was looked up place about fifteen years, on the death to as the person best qualified to disof Mr. Nathaniel White, of the Old charge the duties of a resident tutor Jewry, the congregation there unani- in the natural sciences; and he conmously invited Dr. Rees to become tinued do so as long as the institutheir pastor ; which call, with the con- tion existed. But thougb great things sent of his friends at St. Thomas's, he were expected from the New College, accepted. Under his ministry, the as it was called, there were not wantsociety prospered and increased; bis ing some persons of shrewd judgment, discourses from the pulpit being argu-to foresee and predict the speedy fate mentative, interesting, and instructive, of this splendid edifice. One objection while his manner of delivery was equal to the new establishment, was the exly serious and impressive.
pensiveness of the system of educaAfter the lapse of some years, the tion therein adopted ; and another, of congregation built a new and more an equal, if not greater, import, was spacious chapel in Jewin-street, where the circumstance of admitting other the Doctor continued to preach as long pupils besides those intended for the as bis health permitted.-But we must ministry. It was observed, that such now revert to his academic labours. an association tended to raise the In the year 1784, Dr. Savage and Dr. views of theological students above Kippis resigned their connexion with the condition they were about to octhe seminary at Hoxton; and Dr. Rees cupy in life; and it was reasonably soon after followed their example. feared, that a promiscuous education The cause of this separation has never like this, would rather weaken than been properly explained; but there is cherish the spirit of zeal and bumility reason to believe that it was occasion, which ought to be the leading characed, in a great measure, by some dis- teristic of the Christian teacher. In satisfaction expressed on the part of answer to this, the English universities the trustees, at the wide departure of were referred to, where, it was said, this academical institution from the young men sometimes form connexions doctrinal principles which it was es- with the sons of the nobility, and theretablished to support. The old semi- | by procure valuable preferment. But nary at Hoxton, therefore, being now as it happens, that the dissenters, broken up, and that at Warrington, as while they remain such, can enjoy no well as the one at Daventry, falling ecclesiastical benefices or distinctions into rapid decay, it was resolved by at all, it is surprising how such an a meeting of the more liberal and idea could have entered the heads of wealthy dissenters in London, to form intelligent men. And even had there another near the metropolis, on a more been any justification for such a plea, extended scale than had as yet ap- it could only have been one that was peared in England, for the education at direct variance with the fundamenof young men in the free principles of tal principles of nonconformity, at nonconformity, unshackled by creeds, least as far as regards the character articles, and confessions of faith. Ac- and conduct of its ministers; in whom cordingly, a large subscription, head- it is expected that they should be abed by Mr. Newton, a gentleman of for- stracted from selfish views and worldly tune, was entered into, and in a short ambition. Considering all this, the time a fund was provided, sufficient decline of the New College at Hackfor the purchase and fitting up of some ney was no more than the natural extensive premises at Hackney. The consequence of an immature project; building went on with alacrity, and at but there were other causes which the opening of it in 1786, Dr. Kip- combined to hasten its dissolution. pis, the principal director and tutor, The primary or ostensible object of preached a sermon, which was pub- the scheme, was the settlement of an lished. The next commemorative dis- academy to prepare young men for the course was preached by Dr. Price, ministerial office, and on that account who was succeeded, in 1788, by Dr. ample funds ought to have been seRees, and he by the younger Mr. Hugh cured in the first instance ; instead of Worthington, of Salter's Hall, after which, the expenses of the establish