Bennett, James (1774-1862) (DNB00)

BENNETT, JAMES, D.D. (1774–1862), congregational minister, was born in London 22 May 1774, and educated there and at Gosport, where he was prepared for the ministry of the independent church under the Rev. Dr. Bogue. In 1797 he was ordained at Romsey, where he remained till 1813. While there he became an ardent supporter of the London Missionary Society, preaching the annual sermon on its behalf in 1804. He saw the first missionary ship, the Duff, sail from Spithead for foreign lands, and at home he was a coadjutor of Robert and James Haldane in some of their evangelistic tours. He removed in 1813 to Rotherham, where he was both tutor in the college and pastor of the church. In 1828 he was transferred to London, where, first in Silver Street and then in Falcon Square, he exercised his ministry till 1860, when he resigned. He died in London, 4 Dec. 1862, at the age of eighty-eight.

Bennett enjoyed in an unusual degree the esteem and confidence of his friends for the consistency of his character, the loftiness or his aims, the excellence of his judgment, and the laborious diligence which he exhibited as a minister and a supporter of all good public movements. Among the special objects to which he applied himself were the defence of christianity against the unbelievers of the day, especially against a certain Mr. R. Taylor, a popular lecturer; the promotion of christian missions, and the advancement of the Congregational Union. As one of the secretaries of the London Missionary Society he came much into contact with its missionaries, both while they were prosecuting their studies and after they engaged in active work. Among those who in their younger days were members of his church was David Livingstone, who spent some time in London after leaving Scotland, chiefly in medical study.

Bennett was a voluminous author. The following are his principal works: 1. 'Memoirs of Risdon Darracott, of Wellington, Somerset' (whose granddaughter, Sarah Cowley, he married in 1797). 2. 'The History of Dissenters' from A.D. 1688 to 1808, in conjunction with Rev. Dr. Bogue (2nd ed. London, 1833, 3 vols.) 3. 'Lectures on the History of Christ,' 3 vols. 4. 'Memoirs of the Rev. Dr. Bogue.' 5. 'Lectures on the Preaching of Christ.' 6. Congregational lectures on 'The Theology of the Early Christian Church.' 7. 'Justification as revealed in Scripture.' 8. 'Lectures on the Acts of the Apostles.' 9. 'Lectures on Infidelity,'

[Memorials of the late James Bennett, D.D., including sermons preached on the occasion of his death, London, 1863; private information from his son, Sir J. Risdon Bennett, M.D., F.R.S.]

W. G. B.