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GROVE, HENRY (1684–1738), dissenting tutor, was born at Taunton, Somersetshire, on 4 Jan. 1684. His grandfather was the ejected vicar of Pinhoe, Devonshire, whose son, a Taunton upholsterer, married a sister of John Rowe, ejected from a lectureship at Westminster Abbey; Henry was the youngest of fourteen children, most of whom died early. His constitution was naturally delicate. Grounded in classics at the Taunton grammar school, he proceeded at the age of fourteen (1698) to the Taunton Academy, 'which sent out men of the best sense and figure among the ministers of this county in the dissenting way' (Fox). Here he went through a course of philosophy and divinity under Matthew Warren, a presbyterian divine, included (perhaps erroneously) among the ejected of 1662. Warren was a moderate Calvinist, who lectured on old lines, but encouraged a broad course of reading. The text-books were Derodon, Burgersdyck, and Eustache; Grove devoted himself to Le Clerc, Cumberland, and Locke. In 1703 he removed to London to study under his cousin, Thomas Rowe, in whose academy he remained two years. Rowe was 'a zealous Cartesian;' Grove became an equally zealous disciple of Newton. He studied Hebrew, and formed his style of preaching on Richard Lucas, D.D. [q. v.] and John Howe (1630-1705) [q. v.] With Isaac Watts he began a close friendship, unbroken by many differences of opinion.

In 1705 Grove returned to Somersetshire, where his preaching attracted attention. He married, and probably settled for a short time at Ilchester. On 14 June 1706 Warren died. The Somersetshire presbyterians met to arrange for carrying on the Taunton Academy, and appointed Grove, in his twenty-third year, tutor in ethics and 'pneumatology.' He lived at Taunton, and took charge of the neighbouring congregations of Hull Bishop's and West Hatch, in conjunction with James Strong. His stipend from these two charges was under 20l. a year, and the income from his tutorship was small, but he had some patrimony. He gave great care to his sermons, and systematised his prelections on metaphysics and ethics; his ethical system (published posthumously in an unfinished state) was his favourite work. In 1708 he corresponded with Samuel Clarke (1675–1729) [q. v.] on the defects of his argument for the existence of God. For Clarke, as a Newtonian, he had a great respect, but thought him inferior as a metaphysician to Andrew Baxter [q. v.] In 1714 he contributed four papers to the revived issue (eighth volume) of the 'Spectator.' His first and second papers (1 Sept. and 1 Oct.) are pleas for disinterested benevolence; the third (29 Nov.) makes an ingenious use of the love of novelty as levelling the distinctions of position; the fourth (20 Dec.), on a future state, closes the 'Spectator.'

Grove published (1718) an essay on the immateriality of the soul. The resignation of Darch, his colleague at the academy, now threw on him the conduct of the departments of mathematics and physics. Early in 1725 Stephen James, the divinity tutor, died, and Grove, without relinquishing his other work, took his place, with the assistance of his nephew, Thomas Amory, afterwards D.D. [q. v.] He resigned his congregations to succeed James as minister at Fullwood (or Pitminster), near Taunton. He declined invitations to Exeter and London. He refused to take any share in the doctrinal disputes which spread from Exeter to London in 1719, and produced the rupture at Salters' Hall. His orthodoxy was called in question by John Ball (1665?-1745) [q. v.], especially in consequence of his discourse on saving faith (1736); but though he laid great stress on the 'reasonableness' of Christianity, and on the moral argument for a future state, he seems to have avoided the speculations on the doctrine of the Trinity, which were rife among the dissenters of his age. Strong reports him as saying, 'The older I grow the less inclined I am to quarrel with men for difference of opinions.'

The Taunton Academy more than maintained its repute during his tutorship. A list of ninety-three of his students is given by James Manning (Monthly Repository, 1818, p.89 sq.); twenty-two additional names are given in Dr. Toulmin's manuscript list. In discipline, as well as in teaching, his methods were suasive rather than authoritative; his first publication, on the 'regulation of diversions' (1708), was designed to produce in his pupils the love of a high morale. There are points of resemblance between Grove and Doddridge. Grove 'had the reputation of some wit,' but he lacked Doddridge's constitutional vivacity and his missionary spirit. Like Doddridge he wrote hymns; his poetical flights were stimulated by the friendship of Elizabeth Singer, afterwards the wife of Thomas Howe, the tutor's nephew. One or two of his hymns still survive in dissenting collections. He remonstrated with Watts on the overdrawn theology of some of his hymns.

Grove sought distinction as an ethical writer, but the impression of his personal character has outlasted his painstaking theory of morals. His system is a mild Christian stoicism; the function of morality is to meet the universal demand for happiness; and it was Grove's experience that 'the happiness of the present state consists more in repose than in pleasure.' He treats conscience as an intellectual process which ascertains what actions are lawful, and then prudence decides 'which are to take place in the present juncture.' The lists of subscribers to his various posthumous works include the names of Archbishop Herring, with Hoadly, Secker, and Hutton among the bishops.

Grove preached on 19 Feb. 1738, and was seized the same night with a violent fever, of which he died on 27 Feb. He was buried at Taunton, where there is a tablet to his memory in Paul's Meeting, bearing a Latin inscription from the pen of John Ward, LL.D., professor of rhetoric at Gresham College. James Strong of Ilminster and William May of London preached funeral sermons; the latter's was not published. His portrait, by J. Woolaston, was engraved by Vertue in 1740. His wife died insane in 1736; he had thirteen children, of whom five survived him.

Of Grove's publications during his lifetime Amory enumerates twenty-six, most of them being single sermons. The following may be specially mentioned:

  1. 'An Essay towards a Demonstration of the Soul's Immateriality,' &c., 1718, 8vo (has preface on the reality of an external world against Arthur Collier [q. v.]).
  2. 'The Evidence for our Saviour's Resurrection,' &c., 1730, 8vo (greatly commended by Lardner).
  3. 'Some Thoughts concerning the Proofs of a Future State from Reason,' &c., 1730, 8vo (against Joseph Hallet, tertius).
  4. 'Queries proposed to … all such as think it an injury to Religion to show the Reasonableness of it,' &c., 1732, 8vo (anon.)

Posthumous were:

  1. 'Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, most of them formerly published,' &c., 1739, 8vo.
  2. 'Sermons and Tracts,' &c., 1740, 8vo, 4vols.; second series, 1741-2, 8vo, 6 vols.; the two series reissued as 'Posthumous Works,'1745, 8vo, 10 vols.
  3. 'A System of Moral Philosophy,' &c., 1749, 8vo, 2 vols. (edited, and the last eight chapters written, by Amory, who edited the other posthumous works).

Some of his verses were included in the continuation of Dryden's 'Miscellany Poems,' 1706, vol. vi., and in similar collections. His letters on free will and immortality and in defence of the presbyterians (against Trenchard) appeared in the 'St. James's Journal,' 1722. His last 'Spectator' was included by Bishop Gibson in his edition (1731) of Addison's 'Evidences of the Christian Religion.' At the time of his death Grove was writing the life of Elizabeth Rowe.

[Funeral Sermon by Strong, 1738; Amory's Biographical Preface to Sermons, 1740; this is reproduced in Biog. Brit. 1757, iv. 2444 (article by H., i.e. Henry Brougham), and abridged in Protestant Dissenter's Magazine, 1796, p. 81 sq., 206 sq.; Calamy's Continuation, 1727, ii. 747 sq.; Palmer's Nonconf. Memorial, 1802, ii. 56; Toulmin's Hist. View of Prot. Diss., 1814, p. 230 sq., 567; Monthly Repository, 1813, p. 771; John Fox in Monthly Repository, 1821, p. 258 sq.; Murch's Hist. Presb. and Gen. Bapt. Churches in West of Engl. 1835, p. 194; Hunt's Religious Thought in Engl. 1873, iii. 237, 245; Evan's MS. List of Dissenting Congregations, 1715 (cf. James's Hist. Litig. Presb. Chapels, 1867, p. 676 sq., and James's Lists and Classifications, 1866, p. 34).]

A. G.