Hoadley (or Hoadly), Benjamin

Hoadley (or Hoadly), Benjamin an English prelate, theologian, and politician, was born at Westerham Kent, Nov. 14, 1678. He studied at Catharine Hall, 'Cambridge, and passed A.M. in 1699. In 1700 he was appointed lecturer at St. Mildred's, London, and in 1702 rector of St. Peter-le-Poor. "His ability as a controversialist and his love of civil and religious liberty, became conspicuous in the strife of parties at the beginning of the century, when he entered the field against bishop Atterbury and the High-Church party. His share in this debate, and his intimate connection with the settlement of the new dynasty and the liberties of the country, were recognized by the House of Commons, who addressed the queen in his favor, and thus paved the way for his rapid promotion." In 1710 he was made rector of Streatham, and on the accession of George I, 1714, he became chaplain to the king. In 1715 he was made bishop of Bangor. In 1717 he preached the sermon before the king, on the text, My kingdom is not of this world, which gave rise to the famous Bangorian controversy (q.v.), in which Hoadley was assailed by the chiefs of the nonjurors, and with most effect by William Law, the champion of authority both in Church and State. This controversy was brought to a close about 1720, without conciliating either the High-Church party on the one hand, or the Dissenters on the other, but with great credit to Hoadley's ability and tolerant spirit. In 1721 he was translated to Hereford, and thence in 1723 to Salisbury. In 1734 he was made bishop of Winchester. He died April 17, 1761. In the political history of the Church of England, Hoadley is to "be regarded as the great advocate of what are called Low Church principles, a species of Whiggism in ecclesiastics in opposition to the high pretensions sometimes advanced by the Church or particular churchmen. It was in this character that he wrote his treatise on the 'Measure of Obedience to the Civil Magistrate,' which was animadverted upon by Atterbury, and defended by Hoadley, whose conduct on this occasion so pleased the House of Commons (as stated above) that they represented in an address to queen Anne what signal service he had done to the cause of civil and religious liberty." He maintained the same principles in the Bangorian controversy. The war of pamphlets on the subject was wonderful; the number issued on all sides was nearly fifty. His doctrines excited so violent discussion in the lower House of Convocation that the government, in order to prevent further dissensions, suddenly prorogued the Houses of Convocation, and they have never since been permitted to meet for the dispatch of business. The burden of Hoadley's offence, in the eyes of High-churchmen, lies in his doctrine, as stated in the sermon above mentioned: that the "Church is Christ's kingdom; that he alone is lawgiver; and that he has left behind him no visible human authority: no vicegerents who can properly be said to supply his place; no interpreters upon whom his subjects are absolutely to depend; no judges over the consciences and religion of his people." Against the Dissenters, and especially in answer to Calamy's abridgment of the Life and Times of Baxter, he wrote his Reasonableness of Conformity to the Church of England (1703, 8vo), and his Defense of Episcopal Ordination (1707, 8vo). Besides the writings named, he wrote a number of theological treatises, in which he shows great freedom of thought. His theology is Latitudinarian (q.v.). These writings include Letters on Miracles, to Dr. Fleetwood (1702, 4to): — A Preservation against the Principles of the Nonjurors (1716, 8vo): — Sermons (1718 et al.): — Plain Account of the Nature and Kind of the Lord's Supper (1735, 8vo). All these, with his Life of Dr. Samuel Clarke, his controversial pamphlets, sermons, etc., may be found in the Works of Bishop Hoadley, edited by his son, John Hoadley, LL.D. (London, 1773, 3 vols. fol., of which the first volume contains a life of bishop Hoadley). See English Cyclopaedia; Biographia Britannica; Hook, Eccles. Biography, vol. 6; Bogue and Bennett, History of Dissentc. ers, 2, 154; Buchanan, Justif. p. 200-201; Skeats, Hist. of the Free Churches of England, p. 227 sq.; Gass, Gesch. der Dogmatik, 3, 327; Wesley, Works. 2, 445; 6:510; Hagenbach, History of Doctrines (Smith's), 2, 417. 516; Mosheim, Church Hist. 3; Allibone, Dictionary of Authors, 1, 852.

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