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and cultivated by the greatest lovers of virtue and knowledge ; and feelingly observes in conclusion, “ As his works must last as long as any language remains to convey them to future times, perhaps I may flatter myself that this faint and imperfect ac count of him may be transmitted down with them And I hope it will be thought a pardonable piece of ambition and self-interestedness, if being fearful lest every thing else should prove too weak to keep the remembrance of myself in being, I lay hold on his fame to prop and support my own. I am sure, as I have little reason to expect that any thing of mine, without such an assistance can live, I shall think myself greatly recompensed for the want of any other memorial, if my name may go down to posterity thus closely joined with his; and I myself be thought of, and spoken of, in ages to come under the character of The Friend of Dr. Clarke.””

In domestic and private life, he was most tender and humane. When his young children' amused themselves with tormenting flies, &c., he calmly reasoned with them in such a familiar manner, as was calculated to make a very powerful impression upon their minds. In answering applications made to him with respect to scruples, of which, instances frequently occurred, he was always extremely prompt and condescending. It was one of his inviolable maxims, • Never to lose a single minute of time. He always carried à book with him, which he would read in his carriage, while walking in his fields, or at any vacant moment. Nay, he would occasionally open it even in company, whenever he felt that he could do so without offence to good manners. And yet, with all this value for time, we are told that


(as a supposed relaxation, perhaps, or from the infatuation of habit) he would spend whole hours in playing at cards!

“ Upright, mild, unaffected (says one of his biographers) and cheerful, even sometimes to playful simplicity, he seemed formed to have gone through the world without, an enemy, had he not touched upon the debateable land' of polemics. His intellectual character was that of pure reason, undisturbed by passion or enthusiasm, and closely pursuing it's object with all the powers of methodical accuracy and logical acuteness. His memory was remarkably strong,* and his attention indefatigable. If not one of the brightest geniuses, he is certainly one of the ablest men this island can boast.”

As a writer of sermons, he is chiefly characterised by solidity of reasoning and justness of observation, expressed in perspicuous and manly language; and therefore, with most of the eminent English divines, he takes his stand among the instructive and didactic preachers, rather than the orators.

* He told Mr. Pyle, of Lynn, that he never forgot any thing, which he had once thoroughly apprehended and understood.




THIS most distinguished critic and divine was born January 27, 1661-2, at Oulton in the parish of Rothwell, in the West Riding of the county of York. His ancestors were formerly of some consideration, and had been possessed of a valuable estate at Heptonstall, a chapelry and manor (the latter now forming part of the very large Rufford property) in the parish of Halifax. His grandfather, James Bentley, had a command in the royal army during the civil wars; and being involved in the fate of his party, beside enduring the pillage of his house and the confiscation of his lands, was himself imprisoned in Pontefract Castle, in which place he died. His son Thomas, the father of Dr. Bentley, was a respectable blacksmith † at Oulton, where he married the

* AUTHORITIES. Biographia Britannica ; Classical Journal, X.; Stillingfleet's, Bp. Newton's, Cumberland's, and Whiston's Lives ; Nichols' Edition of Dr. King's Works, and Literary Anecdotes, &c. &c.

it The writer of his Life in the old Biographia Britannica says, "he was the son of a mean tradesman. This Mr. Cumberland, his grandson, in a letter to the Bishop of Oxford, stiles “ á misrepresentation, debasing "his condition from that of a gentleman,"

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daughter of Richard Willis of the same hamlet, who had formerly been a Major in the service of Charles I. This lady, a woman of a very strong understanding, taught her son Richard the accidence; and by her father he was placed at the grammar-school at Wakefield, where his extraordinary talents quickly raised him above the level of his fellows. In 1676, he was admitted a sizar * of St. John's College, Cambridge, at the very early age of fourteen years and four months. Having taken the degree of B. A. at the regular period, he in 1682 offered himself as a candidate for å fellowship, but was rejected in consequence of his county being full! + Soon afterward, he became an assistant at the free grammar-school at Spalding in Lincolnshire. That he did not, however, continue long in that situation, appears from his having accepted, in 1683, the appointment of private tutor to the Son of Dr. Stillingfleet, Dean of St. Paul's, who in compliment to his sagacity gave him the option of taking his pupil to Cambridge or to Oxford. He preferred the latter, principally on account of the Bodleian library, the manuscripts of which he examined with the most minute attention ; thus deeply laying the foundation of that fabric of classical character, which he was destined to carry so high. Being now of age, he sold to his elder brother a small property which he had derived from his family, and

* For his own tutor, Mr. Johnston ; a circumstance, which Dr. Powell (though the mode of admission is merely formal) records as somewhat remarkable; he himself, during a long course of tuition, never having put down his own name upon such an occasion, but always that of some other fellow. ; s. + Or, as Chalmers less probably states, on account of his being too young for priest's orders.'

immediately expended the whole of it's produce in the purchase of books. Such even at this time was his turn for critical learning, that before he attained the age of twenty four, he had compiled and written with his own hand in quarto a volume of Hexapla; in the first column of which was every word of the Hebrew Bible alphabetically disposed, and in five other columns all the corresponding interpretations of those words in the Chaldee, Syriac, Latin (Vulgate), Septuagint, and Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. Thus, with the exception of the Arabic, Persic, Ethiopic, and Samaritan, he must at that time have made himself master of the whole Polyglott! He had, also, at the same date filled another quarto with the various readings and emendations of the Hebrew text, deduced from those ancient versions ! · In 1684, he took the degree of M. A.'

In 1689, he was admitted ad eundem in the University of Oxford, and is mentioned by Antony Wood as a promising genius, to whom the world was likely to be greatly obliged for his literary productions."

In 1691, he published his first work in a Latin Epistle to Dr. Mill, containing some critical observations upon the chronology of Johannes Malala.

In the following year, he was collated by Dr. Stil... lingfleet, to whom as Bishop of Worcester he had been appointed Domestic Chaplain,* to a prebend

* In this capacity, he so distinguished himself at his Lordship’s table upon a learned subject casually started by one of the noble guests, that on his leaving the room the Peer observed to Dr. S., “ You have a very great man for your Chaplain, my Lord.” “ Yes,” replied the Prelate, “ the greatest in Europe, had it pleased God to have given him the grace of humility.".

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