Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Chandler, Samuel

CHANDLER, SAMUEL (1693–1766), nonconformist divine, was grandson of a tradesman at Taunton, and son of Samuel Chandler (d. 1717), minister of a congregation at Hungerford, and afterwards for many years at Bath. The son was born in 1693, educated at Bridgewater, and afterwards under Samuel Jones at Gloucester, where he was the fellow-pupil of Bishop Butler and Archbishop Seeker. He finished his studies at Leyden, and in 1716 was chosen minister of the presbyterian congregation at Peckham. The loss of his wife's fortune in the South Sea scheme forced him to open a bookshop. He was appointed to deliver a set of lectures in defence of Christianity, first in conjunction with Lardner and afterwards alone. Chandler published the substance of his discourses, in answer to Collins's 'Grounds and Reasons,' in 1725. The archbishop (Wake) acknowledged the book (14 Feb. 1725) with an expression of regret that Chandler should have to sell books instead of writing them Chandler's rising reputation led to his being appointed in 1726 minister at the Old Jewry, as assistant to Thomas Leavesley; in 1728 he became sole pastor, and held the post for forty years. He was an industrious writer, and took part in many controversies as a defender of toleration and of the christian rationalism of the day. In 1748 he had some discussion with Gooch, translated in that year from Norwich to Ely, and Sherlock, then bishop of Salisbury, who introduced him to Archlnshop Herring to talk over the possibility of a measure of comprehension (Letters to and from Dr. Doddridge (1790), p. 113). Nothing came of the discussion. The bishops, it is said, expressed a wish to be rid of the Athanasian Creed; and Herring agreed with Chandler's desire that the articles might be expressed in scripture language. Chandler professed himself 'a moderate Calvinist,' and, like the liberal dissenters of his time, inclined towards Arianism. Chandler declined, it is said, offers of proferment in the established church. He was respected as a substantially benevolent man, though stern in manner and sharp in controversy. He planned and helped in establishing a fund for the widows and orphans of dissenting ministers. He was elected F.S.A. and (in 1754) F.R.S., and received the degree of D.D. from the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. He died on 8 May 1766, and was buried at Bunhill Fields. His funeral sermon was preached bv Dr. Amory, whom he had expressly forbidden to describe his character. Chandler's congregation offered 400l. a year to Archdeacon Blackburne [q. v.] to fill the post (Blackburne's Works, i. lxxv).

A full list of his works is given by Flexman in the 'Protestant Dissenters' Magazine,' The following chiefly relate to the deist controversy: 1. 'Vindication of the Christian Religion,' &c. (1725, 1728), in answer to Collins. 2. 'Reflections on the Conduct of Modern Deists,' 1727. 3. 'Vindication of . . . Daniel's Prophecies,' 1728 (these are also against Collins). 4. 'Plain Reasons for being a Christian,' 1730. 6. 'Vindication of the History of the Old Testament,' 1740 (against Thomas Morgan, the 'Moral Philosopher'). 6. 'Defence of the Prime Ministry and Character of Joseph' (against the late Thomas Morgan), 1743. 7. 'A Catechism,' 1742. 8. 'Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus Re-examined,' 1744 (a reply to Annet's attack upon Sherlock's 'Witnesses, &c.') 9. 'Review of the History of the Man after God's own Heart, wherein the Falsehoods of . . . the Historian (J. N.) are exposed and corrected,' 1762. Chandler having published a sermon, preached on 9 Nov. 1760, on the death of George II, comparing him to David, a satirical 'history of the man after God's own heart' had appeared, variously ascribed to Peter Annet [q. v.], John Northhook, and Alexander Campbell [q. v.], to which this is a rejoinder. It was followed by: 10. 'A Critical History of the Life of David,' &c. 2 vols. 8vo, said to be one of Chandler's best works, which was being printed at his death.

Among attacks upon Catholicism may be reckoned: 11. 'Translation of Limborch's History of the Inquisition,' 1732, with an introduction upon persecution; and three other pamphlets in reply to criticisms from Dr. Berriman, the substance of which he published in a 'History of Persecution,' in four parts, 1 vol. 8vo, 1736. 12. 'Account of the Conferences held in Nicholas Lane 13 Feb. 1734, between two Romish Priests and some Protestant Divines,' 1735. 13. 'Great Britain's Memorial against the Pretender and Popery, &c.,' 1745, ten editions of which were sold at the time of the rebellion. He also wrote two pamphlets in a controversy with the Rev. John Guyse (1729–1730), who accused him of latitudinarianism; pamphlets on the Test and Corporation Acts (1732, 1738), and the case of subscription to explanatory articles of faith (1748). Flexman gives a list of twenty-two separate sermons, including one on 'doing good,' with an answer to Mandeville (1728), and two on 'The Notes of the Church' (1734–5). In 1722 he published an edition of Cassiodorus on the Acts and Epistles, and in 1735 a paraphrase of Joel. He wrote the life of his sister Mary Chandler [q. v.] in Cibber's 'Lives of the Poets,' and is said to have contributed about fifty papers to the ‘Old Whig or Consistent Protestant’ (17 35-38), collected in 2 vols., 1739.

After his death appeared four volumes of sermons (1768), with a preface by Amory, and an engraving of a portrait by Chamberlin, belonging to the Royal Society (Nichols, Anec. ix. 609) ; and in 1777 a paraphrase of the Galatians and Ephesians, with a preface by Nathaniel White.

[Preface to sermons by Amory; Prot. Diss. Mag. i. 217, 257; Kippis’s Biog. Brit.; Wilson’s Dissenting Churches, ii. 360; Nichols’s Literary Anecdotes, v. 304-309; Gent. Mag. for 1769, p. 36.]

L. S.