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Publifhed from the original Manufcripts,


His Grace's Chaplains.



A REVIEW of his Grace's LIFE and CHARACTER.


Printed for J. and F. RIVJNGTON, in St. Paul's Church-yard;
and B. WHITE, at Horace's Head, in Fleet-Street,



5 *&




i THESS. v. 21, 22.

Prove all things : hold f aft that 'which is good->
abftmnfrom all Appearance of Evil.

p. i, 25, 49


LUKE xii. 57.

J7tf , and <why even of yourfelves judge ye not
ivhat is right? p. 71


2 TIM. iii. 4.

" ' ' * Lovers of Pkafures more than "Lovers of
God. p. 97


Preached at St. James's Chapel on Palm-Sunday.

HEB. xii. 2.

Looking unto yefus, the Author andpinljher of

wr Faith : who, for the Joy that was fet bc~

1 2 fore


fore him, endured the Croft, defpijing the Shame,
and is fet down at the right Hand of the throne
of God. p. 123


Preached at St. James's Chapel on Palm-Sunday.

i COR. i. 22, 23, 24.
For the j^ews require a Sign, and the Greeks feek
after Wifdom ; but ive preach Chrijl crucified :
unto the yews a Stumbling-block, and unto the
Greeks Foolijhnefs \ but unto them which are
called, both yews and Greeks, Chrijl, the Power
of God, and the Wifdom of God. p. 145


Preached on Eafter-Day.

i COR. xv. 19,

If in this Life only we have Hope in Chrijl, ive
'areofallMenmoJlmiferable. p. 1.71

* Preached on Whitfunday,

MATTH. xii. 31, 32.

Wherefore I fay unto you : AH -Manner of Sin
and Bkifp.hemy.fiali be forgiven unto Men : 'but


the Elafphemy againji the Holy Ghoft Jhall not
be forgiven unto Men : and ivbofoever fpeak-
eth a Word againji the Son of Man, it Jhall
be forgiven him : but ivbofoever fpeakzth
againji the Holy Ghojl, it flail not be forgiven
him, neither in this World, neither in the
World to come. p. 191


MATTH. xii. 36.

But I fay unto you, that every idle Word, that
Men Jhall fpeak, they flail give Account there-
of in the Day of judgement. p. 2 1 9


MATTH. xiii. 16.

"But bleffed are your Eyes, for they fee -, and your
Ears, for they hear. p. 243


LUKE viii. 18.
*ake Heed therefore boiv ye hear. p. 271







bifhop of Canterbury, was born in the
Year 1693, at a fmall Village called
Sibtborp, in the Vale of Befooir, Nottingham*
foire. His Father was a Proteflant Diflenter,
a pious, virtuous, and fenfible Man, who, hav-
ing a fmall paternal Fortune, followed no Pro-
feffion. His Mother was the Daughter of
Mr. GEORGE BROUGH, of Sbelton, in the
County of Nottingham, a fubilantial Gentleman-
Farmer. He received his Education at feveral
private Schools and Academies in the Country,
being obliged by various Accidents to change
b his

ii Life of Arcbbljlop S E c K E R .

his Matters frequently. Notwithstanding this-
evident Difad vantage, at the Age of Nineteen
he had not only made a confiderable Progrefs
in Greek and Latin, and read the beft and moft
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 Courfe of Lectures on yewtfb
Antiquities, and other Points, preparatory to
the critical Study of the Bible. At the fame
Time, in one or other of thofe Seminaries, he
had the good Fortune to meet, and to form
an Acquaintance, with feveral Perfons of great
Abilities. Amongft the reft, in the Academy
of one Mr. JONES, kept firft at Gloucejler, then
at Te-wkejbury, he laid the Foundation of a ftricTr
Friendihip with Mr. JOSEPH BUTLER, after-
wards Bifhop of Durham. At the laft of thofe
two Places it was that Mr. BUTLER gave the
firft Proof of his great Sagacity and Depth of
Thought in the Letters which he then wrote to
Dr. SAMUEL CLARKE ; laying before Mm the
Doubts that had arifen in his Mind, concern- *
ing the Conclulivenefs of fome Arguments in
the DOCTOR'S Demonjiration of the Being and
Attributes of God. Thefe were written with


Life of Archbijhop S E c K E R . iii

fo much Candour, Modefty, and good Senfe,
that, on the Difcovery of his Name, they imme-
diately procured him the Friendmip of that
eminent Man, and ; were afterwards printed at
the End of his Evidences of Natural and Reveakd
Religion. This Correfpondence was en trailed
in Confidence to Mr. SECKER, who, in Order
to keep it private, undertook to convey Mr.
BUTLER'S Letters to the Poll-Office at Glou-
cefter, and to bring back Dr. CLARKE'S Anfwers.
Mr. SECKER had been deflined by his Father
for Orders amongft the DifTenters. With this
View, during the laft Years of his Education,
his Studies were chiefly turned towards Divi-
nity ; in which he made fuch 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 Tiejlament in
the Original, and the heft Comments upon it ;
Eufebiuss Ecclejiaftical Hiftory y the Apojlolical
Fathers, Whijlori s Primitive Cbrifiianity, and the
principal Writers for and againfl Minifterial
and Lay-Conformity -, with many others of
the moft eiteemed Treatifes in Theology. But
though the Refult of thefe Enquiries was (what
might naturally be expected) a well-grounded
Belief of the Chriftian Revelation, yet not be-
b 2 ing

iv Life of Archbiftop SEC ICE n.

ing at that Time able to decide on fome abftrufe
fpeculative Doctrines, nor to determine abib-
lutely what Communion he mould embrace;
he refolved, like a wife and honeft Man, to
purfue fome ProfefTion, which fhould leave him
at Liberty to weigh thefe Things more maturely
in his Thoughts, and not oblige him to declare,
or teach publicly, Opinions which were not
yet thoroughly fettled in his own Mind. There-
fore about the End of the Year 1716 he
applied himfelf to the Study of Phyfic ; and
after gaining all the Infight into it he could, by
reading the u'fual preparatory Books, and attend-
ing the beft Lectures during that and the fol-
lowing Winter in London-, in Order to improve
himfelf frill more, in January 1718-19 he
went to Paris. There he lodged au Cloitre
Sf. Benoit, Rue des Mat bur ins, in the fame
Houfe with Mr. WIN SLOW, the famous Ana-
tomifr,, whofe Ledures he attended, as he
did thofe of the Materia Medica, Ckymiftry, and
Botany, at the Kings Gardens. The Ope-
rations of Surgery he faw at the Hotel Dieu,
and attended alfo for fome Time M. GRE-
GOIRE, the Accoucheur, but without any
Defign of ever practifing that or any other
Branch of Surgery. Here he became acquainted


Life of Archbijhop S E C K E R . v

with ALBINUS, afterwards ProfcfTor at Leyden,
Father MONTFAUCON, and feveral other Per-
fons of Note. Here too was his firft Know-
ledge of Mr. MARTIN BENSON, afterwards
Bifhop of Gloncefter, one of the moil agreeable
and virtuous Men of his Time, with whom
he quickly became much connected; and not
many Years after was united to him by the
iirongeil Bonds of Affinity, as well as Af-

During the. Whole of Mr. SECKER'S Con-
tinuance at Paris, he kept up a conftant Corre-
fpondence with Mr. BUTLER, who before this
Time had taken Orders, and on the Recom-
mendation of Dr. CLARKE, and Mr. EDWARD
TALBOT, Son to Bifhop TALBOT, was ap-
pointed by Sir JOSEPH JEKYLL, Preacher at
the Rolls. Mr. - BUTLER took Occaiion to
mention his Friend Mr. SECKER, without his
Knowledge, to Mr. TALEOT; who promifed,
in Cafe he chofe to take Orders in the Church
of England, to engage the Bifhop his Father to
provide for him. This was communicated to
Mr. SECKER in a Letter from Mr. BUTLER,
about the Beginning of May, 1720. He had not
at that Time come to any Refolution of quit-
ting the Study of Phyfic; but he began to fore-
b 3 fee

vi Life of Arckbi/kop SECKER.

fee many Obftacles to his purfuing that Pro-
feflion; and having never difcontinued his Ap-
plication to Theology, his former Difficulties,
both with Regard to Conformity and fome other
doubtful Points., had gradually leffened, as his
Judgement became ftronger, and his Reading
and Knowledge more extenfive. It appears alfo
from two of his Letters ftill in Being, written
from Paris to a Friend in England, (both of
them prior to the Date of Mr. BUTLER'S above-
mentioned) that he was greatly diHatisfied with
the Divifions and Disturbances which at that
particular Period prevailed amongft the Dif-
fenters. In this State of Mind Mr. BUTLER'S
unexpected Propofal found him, which he was
therefore very well difpofed to take into Con-
jfideration ; and after deliberating carefully on the,
Subject of fuch a Change for upwards of two
Months, he refolved at length to embrace the
Offer, and for that Purpofe quitted France the
latter End of July, or Beginning ofAugtift, 1 720.
On his Arrival in England he was introduced
to Mr. TALBOT, with whom he cultivated a
clofe Acquaintance. But it was unfortunately
of very fliqrt Duration. For in the Month of
December that Gentleman caught the Small-
Pox, and died. This was a great Shock to all


Life of Archbifiop S E c K E R . vii

his Friends, who had juftly conceived the
higheft Expectations of him, but efpecially
to an amiable Lady whom he had lately mar-
ried, and who was very near finking under fo
fudden and grievous a Stroke. Mr. SECKER,
befides fharing largely in the common Grief,
had peculiar Reafon to lament an Accident that
feemed to put an End at once to all his Hopes ;
but he had taken his Refolution, and he deter-
mined to perfevere. It was fome Encourage-
ment to him to find that Mr. TALBOT had
on his Death-bed recommended him, toge-
ther with Mr. BENSON and Mr. BUTLER, to
his Father's Notice. Thus did that excellent
young Man, (for he was but Twenty-nine when
he died) by his nice Difcernment of Charac-
ters, and his confidence Good-nature, provide
moir. effectually in a few folemn Moments for
the Welfare of that Church from which he
himfelfwasfo prematurely fnatched away; and
at the fame Time raifed up (when he leaft
thought of it) the trueft Friend and Protector
to his Wife and unborn Daughter; who after-
wards found in Mr. SECKER all that tender
Care and Afliftance which they could have
hoped for from the nearer! Relation.

It being judged necefTary by Mr, SECKER'S
b 4 Friends

viii Life of Archbtjhop S c K E R .

Friends that he fhould have a Degree at Ox-
ford} and he having been informed that if he
ihould previoufly take the Degree of Dodor
in Phyfic at Leyden, it would probably help
him in obtaining the other, he went a little
before Cbriftmas from London to Rotterdam, and
thence to Leyden. He took his Degree there,
March 7, 1720-1, and, as Part of his Exercife
for it, compofed and printed a DifTertation
de Medicind Statica, which is Hill extant, and
is thought, by the Gentlemen of that Pro-
feffion, a feniible and learned Performance,
GORTER, in his Treatife de pe rfpiratione infen-
Jlbili, printed at Leyden in the Year 1736, makes
a fhort but refpe&ful Mention of it in , his
Preface. After paying a Vilit to Amfterdam he
returned by the Way of Hehoetjluys and Har~>
wich to London, and on the ift of April, 1721,
entered himfelf a Gentleman-Commoner of
JLxeter College in Oxford, about a Twelvemonth
after which he obtained the Degree of Eatcbelor
of Arts in that Unherjity, without any Difficulty,
in Confequence of the Chancellor's recommen^.
datory Letter to the Convocation,

He now fpent a confiderable Part of his
Time in London, where he quickly gained the
JLfleem of fome of the molt learned and in-

Life of Archbifkop S E c K E R . ix

ingenious Men of thofe Days, particularly of
Dr. CLARKE, Rector of St. James's, and the
celebrated Dean BERKELEY, afterwards Bifhop
of Cloyne, with whom he every Day became
more delighted and more clofely connected.
He paid frequent Viiits of Gratitude and
Friendfhip to Mrs. TALBOT, Widow of Mr.
EDWARD TALBOT, by whom me had a
Daughter five Months after his Deceafe. With
her lived Mrs. CATHARINE BENSON, Sifter
to Bifhop BENSON, whom in many Refpects
ihe greatly refembled. She had been for feveral
Years Mrs. TALBOT'S infeparable Companion,
and was of unfpeakable Service to her at the
Time of her Hufband's Death, by exerting all
her Courage, Activity, and good Senfe, (of
which ihe pofTefled a large Share) to fupport
her Friend under fo great an Affliction , and
by afterwards attending her iickly Infant with
the utmofl Care and Tendernefs, to which,
under Providence, was owing the Prefervation
of a very valuable Life.

Bifhop TALBOT being in November 1721
appointed to the See of Durham, Mr. SECKER
was in December 1722 ordained Deacon by him
in St. James's Church, and Priefl not long
after in the fame Place, where he preached his


x Life of Archbifhop S E c K E R .

firft Sermon, March 28, 1723. The Bimop's
domeftic Chaplain at that Time was Dr,
RUNDLE, a Man of warm Fancy, and very
brilliant Conversation, but apt fometimes to
be carried by the Vivacity of his Wit into in-
difcreet and ludicrous Expreffions, which
created him Enemies, and on one Occafion
produced difagreeable Confequences. With
him Mr. SECKER was foon after affociated in the
Bimop's Family, and both taken down by his
Lordmip to Durham in 'July 1723.

On the Death of Sir GEORGE WHELER, in
1723-4, the Bifhop gave his Prebend of Dur-
ham to Mr. BENspN, and the Rectory of
Honghtcn k Spring to Mr. SECKER. This
valuable Piece of Preferment putting it in his
Power to fix himfelf in the World in a Man-
ner agreeable to his Inclinations, he foon after
made a Propofal of Marriage to Mrs. BENSON
abovementioned ; which being accepted they
were married by Bifhop TALBOT in King-
Street Chapel, 0&obtr2%, I 7 2 5- At the earneft
Defire of both, Mrs. TALBOT and her Daughter
confented to live with them, and the two Fa-
milies from that Time became one.

Not long before this, Bimop TALBOT had
given the Redtory of Haugkton, near Darling-

Life of Archbljhop SECKER. xi

ton, to Mr. BUTLER. There was a Neceffity
for rebuilding a great Part of the Parfonage-
Houfe, and Mr. BUTLER had neither Money
nor Talents for that Work. Mr. SECKER
therefore, who had his Friends always in his
Thoughts, and was now in great Favour with
his Patron, perfuaded him to give Mr. BUTLER,
in Exchange for Hciughton, the Recliory of
Stanhope, which was of much greater Value,
and without any fuch Incumbrance. In the
Winter of 1725-6 Mr. BUTLER publifhed
the firfl Edition of his incomparable Sermons.
Mr. SECKER took much Pains to render his
Stile more familiar, and his Meaning more
obvious. Yet they were at lafl by many called
pbfcure. But whatever requires Attention is
not of Courfe obfcure. No one (as Dr. CLARKE
rightly obferved on this Occafion) ever im-
puted Obfcurity to Euclid's Elements. Diffi-
culties they may have, but Difficulties foon
maflered by the Degree of Attention which
fuch Subjects require. Mr. SECKER gave his
Friend the fame Affiftance in the Difcourfe
prefixed to the Second Edition, and alfo in that
noble Work, which he afterwards publifhed,
be Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed,
to tke 'Conjlitution and Courfe of Nature.


xii Life of Archbljhop S F c K E R .

He now gave up all the Time he poffibly
could to his Refidence at Hough ton. He applied
himfelf with Alacrity to all the Duties of a
Country Clergyman, and fupported that ufeful
and refpeftable Character throughout with the
flri&eft Propriety. He omitted Nothing which
he thought could be of Ufe to the Souls and
Bodies of the People entrufled to his Care.
He brought down his Converfation and his
Sermons to the Level of their Underftan dings ;
he viiited them in private, he catechifed the
young and ignorant, he received his Country
Neighbours and Tenants kindly and hofpi-
tably, and was of great Service to the poorer
Sort of them by his Skill in Phyfic, which
was the only Ufe he ever made of it. Though
this Place was in a very remote Part of the
World, yet the Solitude of it perfectly fuited
his fbudious Difpofition, and the Income arifing
from it bounded his Ambition. Here he
would have been content to live and die; here,
as he has often been heard to declare, he fpent
ibme of the happier! Hours of his Life ; and
it was no Thought or Choice of his own that
removed him to a higher and more public
Sphere. But Mrs. SECKER'S "Health, which
began now to be very bad, and was thought:


Life of Archbljhop S E c K E R . xiii

to have been injured by the Dampnefs of the
Situation, obliged him to think of exchanging
it for a more healthy one. And Dr. FINNEY,
Prebendary of Durham, and Rector of Ryton,
being old and infirm, Mr, BENSON requefted
the Bifhop, through Dr. RUNDLE, that Mr.
SECKER might fucceed him, and refign Hough-
ton. This meeting with Difficulties, Mr.
BENSON, in order to remove them, very gene-
roufly gave up his Prebend of Sarum, to accom-
modate the Perfon for wtfomRyton was defigned,
and then Mr. SECKER was allowed to make the
Exchange abovementioned. He went up to
London, and was inftituted to Ryton and the
Prebend, June 3, 1727, and for the two fol-
lowing Years lived chiefly at Durham, going
over every Week to officiate at Ryton, and
fpending there two or three Months together
in the Summer.

In July, 1732, the Duke of Graf ton, then
Lord Chamberlain, appointed him Chaplain to
the King. For this Favour he was indebted
to Dr. SHERLOCK, who having heard him
preach at Bath, had conceived the higheft
Opinion of his Abilities, and thought them
well worthy of being brought forwards into
public Notice. From that Time an Inti-

xiv Life of Archbifiop S E c K E R .

macy commenced betwixt them, and he re-
ceived from that great Prelate many folid Proofs
pf Efteem and Friendmip.
, His Month of Waiting at St. James's hap-
pened to be Auguft* and on Sunday the 2yth
pf that Month he preached before the Queen,
the King being then abroad. A few Days after,
her Majefty fent for him into her Clofet, and
held a long and gracious Converfation with
him. In the Courfe of it he took an Oppor-
funity of mentioning to her his Friend Mr.
BUTLER. The Queen faid, me thought he
had been dead. Mr. SECKER affured her he
was not. Yet her Majefty afterwards afked
Archbifhop BLACKBURNE if he was not dead ?
His Anfwer 'was; No, Madam, but he is
buried. And indeed the Retirement of Stanhope,
where he fpent almoil his whole Time, was
too folitary for his Difpofition, which had in
it a natural Caft of Gloominefs. And though
thefe reclufe Hours were .by no Means loft
either to private Improvement or public Utility,
yet he felt at Times, very painfully, the Want
:of that felect Society of Friends, to which he
liad been acciiflomed, and which could infpire
him with the greateftChearfulnefs. Mr. SECKER,
who knew this, was extremely anxious to draw
4 him

Life of Arcbbifoop SECKER. xv

him out in co a more active and confpicuous
Scene, and omitted no Opportunity of expref-
fing this Defire to fuch as he thought capable
of promoting it. And not: long after this, on
Mr. TALBOT'S being made Lord Chancellor*
he found Means to have Mr. BUTLER recom-
mended to him for his Chaplain, His Lord-
fhip accepted and fent for him. This Pro-
motion bringing him back into the World, the
Queen very foon appointed him her Clerk of
the Clofety from whence he rofe, as his Talents
became more known, to thofe high Dignities
which he afterwards enjoyed.

Mr. SECKER now began to have a public
Character, and flood high in the Eftimation
of thofe who were allowed to be the heft
Judges of Merit. He had already given Proofs
of Abilities that plainly indicated the Eminence
to which he muft one Day rife, as a Preacher
and a Divine ; and it was not long before an
Opportunity offered of placing him in an ad-
vantageous Point of View. Dr. TYRWHIT,
who fucceeded Dr. CLARKE as Rector of St.
James 's in 1729, found that preaching in fo
large a Church endangered his Health. Bifhop
GIBSON therefore, his Father-in-law, propofed
to the Crown that he fhould be made Reiiden-


tfVi Life of Archbifnop S E C K E R .

tiary of St. Paul's, and that Mr. SECKEA
fhould fucceed him in the Rectory. This
Arrangement was fo acceptable to thofe in
Power, that it took Place without any Diffi-
culty. Mr. SECKER was inftituted Rector the
1 8th of May, 1733, and in the Beginning of
July went to Oxford to take his Degree of
DoElorof Laws, not being of fufficient Stand-
ing for that of Divinity. On this Occafion
it was that he preached his celebrated Act
Sermon on the Advantages and the Duties of
academical Education, which was univerfally
allowed to be a Mafterpiece of found Reafon-
ing and juft Compofition. It was printed
at the Delire of the Heads of Houfes, and
quickly parTed through feveral Editions. It is
now to be found in the Second Collection
of his Occajional Sermons, publifhed by himfelf
in 1766.

He was cenfured in a Paper called The
Weekly Mifcellany for not quoting Texts of
Scripture in this Sermon. The only Notice
he took of that Cenfure was by contributing
very liberally for many Years towards fupport-
ing the Author of it.

At the next Waiting, at Hampton-Court, the
Queen again fent for him, and faid very oblig-

Life of Archbijhop S E c K E R . xvii
ing Things to him of this Sermon. And it
was thought that the Reputation he had ac-
quired by it contributed not a little towards
that Promotion which very foon followed its
Publication. For in December 173 4 he received
a very unexpected Notice, by Letter, from
Bifhop GIBSON, that the King had fixed on
him to be Bimop of EriftoL Dr. RUNDLE
had a little before this been propofed by the
Lord Chancellor TALBOT for the See of
Gloucefter, but on Account of fome Impru-
dences of Speech charged on the Doctor by
Mr. VENN, the Bifhop of London oppofed this
Nomination, and with much Difficulty pre-
vailed on Dr. BENSON to accept that Dignity.
Dr. FLEMING was about the fame Time pro-
moted to the See of Cartijle -, and the three
new Bifhops were all confecrated together in
Lambeth Chapel, Jan. 19, 1734-5, the Confe-
cration Sermon being preached by Dr. THOMAS,
now Biuiop of Winchcftcr.

The Honours to which Dr. SECKER was
thus raifed in the Prime of Life did not in the
leaft abate his Diligence and Attention to Bufi-
nefs -, for which indeed there was now more
Occafion than ever. He immediately fet about
the Vifitation of his Diocefe, confirmed in a

VOL. I. c great

xviii Life of Archbifiop S E c K E R .
great Number of Places, preached in feveral
Churches, fometimes twice a Day, and, from,
the Informations received in his Progrefs, laid
the Foundation of a parochial Account of his,
Diocefe, for the Benefit of his Succeffors.
Finding, at the fame Time, the Affairs of his
Pariih of St.. James's in great Diforder, he took
the Trouble, in Concert with a few others,, to
put the Accounts of the feveral Officers into
a regular Method, drew up; a Set of excellent
Rules to direct them better for the future,.
and r by the- large Share which he always took
in the Management of the Poor,, and the Re-
gulation of many other parochial Concerns, was
of fignal Service to his Parifhioners,, even in a
temporal View.. But it was their fpiritual-
Welfare which engaged,, as it ought to do, his
chief Attention.. As far as the Circumftances
tf the Times and the Populoufnefs of that
polite Part of the Metropolis allowed, he
omitted not even thofe private Admonitions
and perfonal Applications which are often
attended with the happiefl Effects. Not being
able,, however,, to do fo much in this Way as
he wifhed, he was peculiarly affiduous in giv-
ing arid promoting every Kind of public In-
flrudion, He allowed out of his own Income.

a Salary

Life of Archbifoop S E C K E R . xix

a Salary for reading early and late Prayers,
which had formerly been paid out of the Offer-
tory Money. He held a Confirmation once
every Year, and examined and inflru&ed the
Candidates feveral Weeks before in the Veftry,
and gave them religious Tracts, which he alfo
diflributed, at other Times, very liberally ft)
thofe that needed them. He drew up for the
Ufe of his Parimioners that admirable Courfe
of Lectures on the Church Cateckifm, which
have been lately published, and not only read

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