Benson, Joseph

Benson, Joseph one of the most eminent of the early Methodist ministers in England, was born at Melmerby, in Cumberland, Jan. 25, 1748. His father designed him for the "ministry in the Established Church, and had him taught Greek and Latin by the Rev. Mr. Dean, of Parkhead, under whom he made great proficiency. At sixteen he fell in for the first time with the Methodists and was converted. In 1766 Mr. Wesley appointed him classical master at Kingswood School. He devoted himself closely to philosophy and theology, studying constantly and zealously. In 1769 he was made head- master of Lady Huntingdon's Theological College at Trevecca; but in 1771 he left it, because of its becoming a thoroughly Calvinistic school. Mr. Benson was then, and always after, a decided Arminian. While engaged in these seminaries he still regularly kept his terms at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. In August, 1771, he was admitted into the Methodist Conference, and soon became one of the ablest preachers in the body. He filled the chief stations, such as Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sheffield, Hull, Birmingham, and London, and crowds attended his preaching wherever he went. After a life of great clerical and literary industry, he died Feb. 16, 1821, at London. Dr. Clarke calls him "a sound scholar, a powerful and able preacher, and a profound theologian." Besides editing for many years the Methodist Magazine, he published A Defence of the Methodists (Lond. 1793, 1- 2mo): — A Farther Defence of the Methodists (1794, 12mo): — Vindication of the Methodists (Lond. 1800, 8vo): — Apology for the Methodists (Lond. 1801, 12mo): — Sermons on various Occasions (Lond. 1836, 2d edit. 2 vols. 12mo): — A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (Lond. 1848, 6th edit. 6 vols. 8vo). Life of John Fletcher (New York, 1 vol. 8vo). His life has been twice written, once by Macdonald (New York, 8vo), and again by Treffry (New York, 12mo).

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