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where Gale was an occasional preacher, though not, as some of Foster's biographers have intimated, the settled minister. It was in the year 17.24 that Foster accepted of an invitation to be co-pastor of this Society with the Rev. Joseph Burroughs. His acceptance of this office is dated 26th April in that year, as appears from the Church book, (beginning May 22nd 1695,)' at present in my possession, as Minister of Worship Street Chapel. This appointment led to all our Author's subsequent fame. It was while in this connexion that he published his answer to Tindal, viz. A.D. 1731, an octavo volume, which is among the most celebrated of his works. It was applauded by all parties, went through several editions, and Tindal himself was accustomed to speak of this Defence of Christianity with great respect*. In the year 1728, while still Pastor of the Barbican Baptist Church, he was invited to deliver courses of Sunday Evening Lectures at the Old Jewry Chapel, where the celebrated Dr. Chandler was one of the Ministers. He had himself delivered Lectures in the same place, which were afterwards published. These Lectures were continued by Mr. Foster, to crowded audiences, during the winter season for more than twenty years. These discourses called forth the com
* The title is, "The Usefulness, Truth and Excellency of the Christian Revelation,” &c., of which the third edition, octavo, was published in the year 1734.
mendation of the poet of Twickenham, in his well-known couplet,
Let modest Foster, if he will, excel
Ten Metropolitans in preaching well. Pope had quoted to Bolingbroke, and the latter recites with commendation a passage found in one of Foster's printed Sermons; “Where mystery begins, religion ends.'
Subsequently, our Author accepted an invitation to take charge of the Independent Church at Pinners' Hall, succeeding Dr. Hunt, the friend of Lardner, and preached his first Sermon there January 6th 1745. In the following year, he was called to an office which proved a severe trial of his sensibility, and which is thought to have been a remote cause of his death. It was the request of the Earl of Kilmarnock, who had been implicated in the rebellion of the preceding year, that he should administer to him consolation in the closing scene of his life, and even attend him on the scaffold. An account of his conversations with this unfortunate Nobleman was afterwards published by him, which though it displeased the fanatics of that day, may be expected to give satisfaction to all who make use of reason in matters of Religion. From that time Foster's vivacity and health declined, though he continued to preach till January 5th 1752. He died on the 5th November in the following year. He never discovered
uneasiness on account of his theo
logical principles, “but to the last spoke with great dissatisfaction of the narrow and confined schemes of the divine mercy*.”
Foster was the author of four volumes of excellent Sermons, chiefly practical, which may be read with great advantage at the present day; and of two volumes, in quarto, of “ Discourses on all the principal Branches of Natural Religion and Social Virtue,” 1749–1752. The list of subscribers to this work, to the number of two thousand, enumerated at the beginning of the second volume, has probably no equal for extent and respectability, affixed to any work of “Dissenting Divinity.” He engaged in controversy with Stebbing, on the subject of Heresy, and also wrote some of the Essays in the “Old Whig.” The University of Aberdeen, in the most flattering manner, conferred upon him, in the year 1748, the degree of Doctor in Divinity.
The Tract now reprinted, published by our Author A.D. 1720, was edited by the Rev. Charles Bulkley in 1750. It is now given to the English public after an interval of eightyfive years, and is believed to be adapted to remove the false impressions still remaining in the minds of some Trinitarian Dissenters, in relation to the origin of Unitarianism in England, and the conduct to be pursued towards its advocates. To the Essay, are added
* Dr. Caleb Fleming.
some valuable Extracts from the Introduction to the celebrated “Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity,” by Dr. Samuel Clarke, which it is conceived will be found to harmonize well with the sentiments of Dr. Foster, since this Work of Dr. Clarke, in conjunction with others of the honest Whiston, greatly contributed to produce the circumstances in which Foster was in early life placed. These Extracts are taken from the third edition of “ The Scripture Doctrine,” published in the year 1732, which edition, we are told by the Editor, "contained several alterations and additions which were left by the Author ready for the press, and which are exactly printed from his copy.'
London, February, 1835.
FUNDAMENTALS IN RELIGION.
WHOEVER considers the excellence and perfection of the Christian law, its suitableness to the present circumstances of mankind, and what a direct tendency the observation of it has to promote the true dignity and highest happiness of the human nature, must needs be concerned to see the design of it in so great a measure defeated by bigotry and
party zeal. It cannot but be matter of lamentation to such a one, to see those admirable rules of justice and charity which our holy religion lays down to be observed by its professors, and which are of everlasting, unchangeable obligation, as being founded on the necessary nature and relations of things, infringed and violated by unreasonable heats, fierce contentions, and quarrels about the doctrines of it, which are no further useful than as