Farmer, Hugh

Farmer, Hugh a learned Independent minister, was born in 1714, near Shrewsbury, England. He studied under Doddridge, and gained his entire esteem and approbation. On leaving Northampton, he became assistant to Mr. David Some. His services, however, proving acceptable to the Dissenters in the neighborhood of Walthamstow, a place of worship was soon built, and for many years he continued there. In 1761 he became afternoon lecturer at Salters' Hall, and soon after Tuesday lecturer at the "Merchants' lecture." As he declined in years, he gradually relinquished his engagements as a preacher. In 1772 he resigned the afternoon lecture at Salters' Hall, and eight years after he gave up the Tuesday morning sermon; but he did not leave his church at Walthamstow till a few years later, when he gave up pulpit exercises entirely. He died February 6, 1787. He published A Dissertation on Miracles (London, 1771, 8vo); An Inquiry into the Nature and Design of Christ's Temptation in the Wilderness (London, 1776, 8vo, 3d ed.); and An Essay on the Deaoniacs of the New Testament (London, 1775, 8vo), in which he endeavored to prove that these were not cases of real possession, but of persons afflicted wtih epilepsy or madness. "This publication was answered by the late Mr. Feal, one of the tutors of Homerton Academy; and a controversy ensued, in which much acrimony of temper was discovered on both sides. Mr. Farmer was rather of a high spirit and hasty temper; but, abating these defects, he was a most estimable man," though he allowed himself larger liberty in speculation than was common in that age. Thus he interprets the temptation of Christ as a vision, and demoniacal possession as a disease. SEE DEMONIACS. A clause in his will directed his manuscripts to be burned; among them was a treatise on Balaam, and a revised edition of his essay on miracles. See Dodson, Memoirs of Farmer (London, 1805, 8vo); Jones, Christian Biography, page 145.

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