Spencer, Thomas

Spencer, Thomas an English Dissenting minister, was born in Hertford, Jan. 21, 1791. He went to school at a very early age, and his religious impressions and exercises were early manifested. The special inclination of his mind was so early disclosed that preachers and preaching: seemed to occupy all his thoughts. His manners were exceedingly amiable and engaging. At the age of twelve his convictions became settled that to preach was his duty. Difficulties beset him on every side; he was obliged to engage in work wholly unsuited to his taste, his father not being wealthy. But at length Providence opened his way, and a kind friend had him placed in an academy for the training of young men for the ministry. He was fifteen years. of age when he came under the instruction of Rev. Mr. Hondle; with other studies, he commenced the study of Hebrew. He drew up a statement of his views of theological truth in connection with his call to the ministry. In January, 1807, having passed a remarkably good examination on all his studies, he went home, and while there preached his first public sermon. Those who heard him were filled with astonishment and admiration. His fame spread in every direction, and wondering, weeping crowds followed him everywhere, in fields, barns, school houses, workshops, in towns and cities, as well as in the metropolis, and lady Huntingdon's chapel at Brighton. On Nov. 5 he was appointed to preach at Cambridge in the pulpit previously occupied by the Rev. Robert Hall. Mr. Spencer was ordered to go to Liverpool, and he entered upon his duties June 30, 1810. His preaching affected all hearts, and during tile five Sabbaths of his stay he attracted increasing multitudes from all parts, and at the close he received a unanimous call to the pastorate. This he accepted, though he had numerous calls from other places, including London. When he entered upon his pastoral labors in Liverpool he was just twenty years of age. All the circumstances were of the most auspicious character, and the congregation looked forward to a long and prosperous pastorate. On June 27, 1811, he was ordained and installed pastor. The Church at once began to increase its membership by conversions, and God set his seal upon his ministry; but alas that the flower which had just begun to open with such bloom and beauty should be suddenly blighted! On Monday morning, Aug. 5, 1811, he left his home and started out to take a bath. He entered the water near the Herculaneum Potteries, and was seen soon after by one of the workmen to be carried rapidly by the tide around a projecting rock beyond the reach of help, and after vainly struggling he sank to rise no more. His body was recovered fifty minutes afterwards. Every effort that kind friends and medical skill could exert to resuscitate the body proved unavailing. (W.P.S.)

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