Merrick, James an English divine, noted for his theological and, especially, for his poetical productions, called by Lowth "one of the best of men and most eminent of scholars," was born Jan. 8,1720, and was educated at Trinity College, Oxford. He became a " probation fellow" at his alma mater in 1744, took holy orders shortly after, and became noted for his philanthropic labors. Owing to infirm health he never undertook the task of supplying the pulpit. He died Jan. 5, 1769. When yet a mere boy at school at Reading, Merrick published a poetical production that deserves to be placed among the classical writings of the English. His chief works are, A Dissertation on Proverbs, ch. ix (Lond. 1744, 8vo): Prayers for a Time of Earthquakes and Violent Floods, written in 1756, soon after the earthquake at Lisbon:- Annotations, Critical and Grammatical, on the Gospel of St. John
(Reading, 1764, 8vo; 2d pt. 1767, 8vo) :-Annotations on the Psalms (ibid. 1767, 8vo; 1768 4to), of which only part were his own; archbishop Seeker, bishop Lowth, and Kennicott were contributors: -An Encouragement to a Good Life, particularly addressed to soldiers quartered at Reading, among whom he labored much for the good of the Christian cause. Indeed, he appears to have paid great attention to this class of men, who at that time especially required it. He also wrote Poems on Sacred Subjects, and made an excellent Translation of the Psalms into English Verse. This, beyond all doubt the best poetical translation in English, was unfortunately not adapted for parochial choirs, inasmuch as it was divided into stanzas for music. This work is not perhaps as generally known as its merits-would justify. He published several other minor religious treatises. See Orme, Bibliotheca Biblica, p. 313; Allibone,- Dict. Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v.; English Cyclop. s.v.; Holland, Psalmists of Great Britain, 2:210 sq.