his rendering of the book of Esther, the Song of Solomon, and some of the minor prophets, he induced the Bristol printer, Felix Farley, to issue his translation, entitled ‘Opus in Sacra Biblia elaboratum,’ in parts. Dr. John Fothergill [q. v.] recommended the venture in an advertisement in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ for 1746, but it met with insufficient support, and only a few numbers appeared. In 1763 Purver had completed the translation of all the books of both the Old and New Testament. Fothergill gave him 1,000l. for the copyright, and published at his own expense ‘A New and Literal Translation of all the Books of the Old and New Testament; with Notes critical and explanatory. By Anthony Purver,’ in 2 vols., London, folio, 1764.
Purver claimed to execute his translation, which was known as the ‘quakers' bible,’ under divine instruction. On arriving at a difficult passage, he would shut himself up for two or three days and nights, waiting for inspiration. He accepted the theory of the divine inspiration of the scriptures in its most literal form. Alexander Geddes [q. v.], the rationalist, condemned his work as a ‘crude, incondite, and unshapely pile, without order, symmetry, or taste;’ but Southey and other critics have preferred several of his renderings to those of the authorised version, and have commended his chronology, tables, and notes. Purver's only other publication, besides a popular broadside entitled ‘Counsel to Friends' Children’ (6th edit. 1785), was a ‘Poem to the Praise of God,’ 1748, large fol.
[Chalmers's Biogr. Dict. xxv. 385; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ix. 739; Friends' Magazine, February 1831, ii. 49; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. iii. 108, 156; Southey's Omniana, p. 57; Orme's Bibl. Biblica, p. 364; Cotton's Editions of the Bible in English, pp. 96, 207, 238, 259, 273; Memoirs of F. J. Post, p. 409; Woodward's Hist. of Hampshire, iii. 285 n.; Smith's Catalogue of Friends' Books, ii. 437; Gent. Mag. 1817, i. 510; Hartley Coleridge's Biographia Borealis, p. 717 art. ‘Fothergill;’ Cruttwell's Preface to Bishop Wilson's Annotated Bible, 1785; Friends' Quarterly Examiner, x. 557.]
PURVES, JAMES (1734–1795), Scottish sectary, was born at Blackadder, near Edington (he writes it ‘Identown’), Berwickshire, on 23 Sept. 1734. His father, a shepherd, died in 1754. On 1 Dec. 1755 he was admitted to membership in a religious society at Chirnside, Berwickshire. This was one of several ‘fellowship societies’ formed by James Fraser (1639–1699) [q. v.] They had joined the ‘reformed presbytery’ in 1743, but separated from it in 1753, as holders of the doctrine that our Lord made atonement for all mankind; and were without a stated ministry [see Macmillan, John]. Purves in 1756 bound himself apprentice to his uncle, a wright in Dunse, Berwickshire. He read Isaac Watts's ‘Dissertation on the Logos,’ 1726, and adopted the doctrine of the pre-existence of the human soul of Christ. In 1763 the Berwickshire societies sent him as their commissioner to Coleraine, co. Derry, to consult with a branch of the Irish secession church holding similar doctrines. A minute expressing concurrence of doctrine was signed at Coleraine by John Hopkins, Samuel Lind, and Purves. In 1769 the Berwickshire societies, who were declining in numbers, resolved to qualify one of their members as a public preacher. Three candidates delivered trial discourses on 8 June 1769; one of these withdrew from membership: of the remaining two, Purves was selected by lot (27 July), and sent to Glasgow College. Here, though his previous education had been slight, he managed to gain some Latin, and enough Greek and Hebrew to read the scriptures in the originals, a great point with his friends, who looked to this as a means of settling their doctrinal views. In 1771 a statement of principles drawn up by Purves was adopted by the societies. Its theology was high Arian, but its distinctive position was the duty of free inquiry into the scriptures, unbiassed by creed. This document led to a controversy with ministers of the ‘reformed presbytery.’
In 1776 several members of the Berwickshire societies, headed by Alexander Forton or Fortune, migrated to Edinburgh and established a religious society, calling themselves ‘successors of the remnant who testified against the revolution constitution.’ Purves joined them on their invitation; he supported himself by teaching a school; on 15 Nov. 1776 he was elected pastor. The site of his school at ‘Broughton, near Edinburgh,’ where also worship was conducted, is now occupied by St. Paul's episcopal chapel, York Place, Edinburgh. In 1777 he removed his residence to Wright's Houses, Bruntsfield Links, Edinburgh. He became intimate with Thomas Fyshe Palmer [q. v.] in 1786, and shared his political aspirations, but controverted his theological positions. In 1792 the worship of the society, in the Barbers' Hall, Edinburgh, was made public, the name ‘universalist dissenters’ was adopted, and a declaration of opinions was issued. From 1793 the reading of scripture lessons was made a part of the public services, a practice not then common in Scotland; members were at the same time encouraged to deliver