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were the subject of continual discussion. Our tutors also were of different opinions ; Dr. Ashworth taking the orthodox side of every question, and Mr. Clark, the sub-tutor, that of heresy, though always with the greatest modesty.
Both of our tutors being young, at least as tutors, and some of the senior students excelling more than they could pretend to do in several branches of study, they indulged 'us in the greatest freedoms, so that our lectures had often the air of friendly conversations on the subjects to which they related. We were permitted to ask whatever questions, and to make whatever remarks, we pleased; and we did it with the greatest, but without any offensive, freedom. The general plan of our studies, which may be seen in Dr. Doddridge's published lectures, was exceedingly favourable to free inquiry, as we were referred to authors on both sides of every question, and were even required to give an account of them. It was also expected that we should abridge the most iniportant of them for our future use. The public library contained all the books to which we were referred.
It was a reference to “Dr. Hartley's Observations on Man,” in the course of our Lectures, that first brought me acquainted with that per
mance, which immediately engaged my
closest attention, and produced the greatest, and in my opinion the most favourable effect on my general turn of thinking through life. It established me in the belief of the doctrine of Necessity, which I first learned from Collins; it greatly improved that disposition to piety which I brought to the academy, and freed it from the rigour with which it had been tinctured. Indeed, I do not know whether the consideration of Dr. Hartley's theory contributes more to enlighten the mind, or improve the heart; it effects both in so super-eminent a degree.
In this situation, I saw reason to embrace what is generally called the heterodox side of almost every question*. But notwithstanding this, and though Dr. Ashworth was earnestly desirous to make me as orthodox as possible, yet, as my behaviour was unexceptionable, and as I generally took his part in some little things by
It will be seen in the course of these memoirs, that from time to time, as deeper reflection and more extensive reading incited him, he saw reason to give up almost all the peculiar theological and metaphysical opinions which he had imbibed in early youth; some of them with considerablc difficulty, and all of them at the evident risk of considerable obloquy from those whom he highly respeçted, as well as from those on whom his interest ap. peared to depend.
which he often drew upon himself the ill-will of many of the students, I was upon the whole & favourite with him. I kept up more or less of a correspondence with Dr. Ashworth till the time of his death, though much more so with Mr. Clark. This continued till the very week of his melancholy death, by a fall from his horse at Birmingham, where he was minister.
Notwithstanding the great freedom of our speculations and debates, the extreme of heresy among us was Arianism ; and all of us, I believe, left the academy with a belief, more or less qualified, of the doctrine of atonement.
Warm friendships never fail to be contracted at places of liberal education; and when they are well chosen, are of singular use: such was mine with Mr. Alexander of Birmingham. We were in the same class, and during the first year occupied the same room. By engagements between ourselves we rose early, and dispatched many articles of business every day. One of them, which continued all the time we were at the academy, was to read every day ten folio pages in some Greek author, and generally a Greek play in the course of the week besides. By this means we became very well acquainted with that language, and with the most valuable authors in it. This exercise we continued long after we
left the academy, communicating to each other by letter an account of what we read. My life becoming more occupied than his, he continued his application to Greek longer than I did, so that before his death he was, I imagine, one of the best Greek scholars in this or any other country. My attention was always more drawn to mathematical and philosophical studies than
These voluntary engagements were the more necessary, in the course of our academical studies, as there was then no provision made for teaching the learned languages. We had even no compositions, or orations in Latin. Our course of lectures was also defective in containing no lectures on the scriptures, or on ecclesiastical history, and by the students in general (and Mr. Alexander and myself were no exceptions) commentators in general and ecclesiastical history also, were held in contempt. On leaying the academy, he went to study under his uncle Dr. Benson, and with him learned to value the critical study of the scriptures so much, that at length he almost confined his attention to them.
My other particular friends among my fellow students, were Mr. Henry Holland, of my own class, Messrs. Whitehead, Smithson, Rother.
ham, and Scholefield, in that above me; and Mír. Taylor in that below me. With all these I kept up more or less of a correspondence, and our friendship was terminated only by the death of those who are now dead, viz. the three first named of these six, and I hope it will subsist to the same period with those who now survive.
All the while I was at the academy, I never lost sight of the great object of my studies, which was the duties of a Christian migister, and there it was that I laid the general plan which I have executed since. Particularly I there composed the first copy of my “ Institutes of Natural and Revealed Religion,” Mr. Clark, to whom I communicated my scheme, carefully perusing every section of it, and talking over the subject of it
But I was much discouraged even then with the impediment in my speech, which I inherited from my family, and which still attends me. Sometimes I absolutely stammered, and iny anxiety about it was the cause of much distress to me. However, like St. Paul's thorn in the flesh, I hope it has not been without its use. Without some such check as this, I might have been disputatious in company, or might have been seduced by the love of popular applause as a preacher; whereas my conversation and my de