Tyler, Bennet, Dd
Tyler, Bennet, D.D.
an eminent Congregational divine, was born at Middlebury, Conn., July 10, 1783. His parents were in humble circumstances, and he worked on the farm until he was fifteen, when an accident disabled him so that it was resolved to send him to college. His own exertions, with some assistance from his father, enabled him to graduate at Yale College in 1804 free from debt. He was converted while at college in the great revival of 1802, studied theology with Rev. Asahel Hoker, and in 1808 was ordained over the Church in South Britain, Conn., where he remained fourteen years. From 1822 to 1828 he was president of Dartmouth College, also performing the duties of college pastor. In 1828 he succeeded Dr. Payson in the pastorate of the Second Church, Portland, Me., where he was greatly beloved. Dr. Tyler was a clear, logical, and pungent preacher, and he specially delighted in doctrinal themes. About this time Prof. N. W. Taylor, of Yale Divinity School, enounced views which were regarded by many New England theologians as unsafe and unsound. Dr. Tyler was his principal opponent, and the long and able discussion which followed belongs to the history of controversy. To offset the influence of the New Haven theology on the young preachers in the state, the Theological Institute of Connecticut was founded at East Windsor in 1833, and Dr. Tyler was chosen its president and professor of theology. He held these positions until his resignation, July 16,1857. He died at East Windsor, after only a few hours' sickness, May 14,1858.
Dr. Tyler was a man of humble and sincere piety, and of a genial and sympathetic nature. In his theological opinions he did not embrace pure Calvinism, but as modified by Edwards and his school. He was in full sympathy with the traditional theology of New England, and was a straightforward controversialist, avoiding metaphysical speculations and verbal subtleties. In forming his system he began, not with mind, but with the Bible, and he looked for no advances in theology except such as come from a richer Christian experience. His writings are permeated by a spirit of practical religion, and, according to some, checked the influence of Dr. Taylor's views. Dr. Tyler published many sermons and controversial articles and pamphlets. His larger works are as follows: History of the New Haven Theology in Letters to a Clergyman (1837): — A Review of Day on the Will (1837): — Memoir of Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D. (Hartford, 1844, 12mo): — Nettleton's Remains (ibid. 1845, 12mo): — The Sufferings of Christ Confined to his Human Nature (N. Y. 1845): — A Treatise on New England Revivals (1846): —Letters to Dr. Horace Bushnell on Christian Nurture (1847-48): — Lectures on Theology (posthumous), with a Memoir by Rev. Nahum Gale, D.D. (his son-in-law) (Boston, 1859, 8vo). See Cong. Quar. Rev. 1860, p. 351 sq. (by A. H. Quint); New-Englander, August, 1859 (by Prof. Lawrence); Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, s.v.