Taylor, Abraham (DNB00)

TAYLOR, ABRAHAM (fl. 1727–1740), independent tutor, was a son of Richard Taylor (d. 1717), independent minister at Little Moorfields, London. His name occurs in a list (December 1727) of ‘approved ministers of the congregational denomination’ in the London district, and in 1728 he became minister at Deptford, Kent. His first publication, an attack on Samuel Chandler [q. v.], appeared in 1729. It was entitled ‘A Letter to a Friend, occasioned by a rhapsody delivered in the Old Jewry by a reverend bookseller [Chandler] … at the shutting up his evening entertainment for the last winter season,’ 1729, 8vo. In 1730 he published a ‘Letter’ in reply to the ‘Enquiry’ into the causes of the decline of dissent by Strickland Gough [q. v.] This attracted the notice of William Coward (d. 1738) [q. v.], who selected Taylor as one of nine preachers for a weekly lecture in defence of Calvinism at Paved Alley, Lime Street. The Lime Street lectures (delivered from 12 Nov. 1730 to 8 April 1731) were collected, 1762, 2 vols. 8vo. While they were proceeding Taylor was ordained (1 Jan. 1731), having been selected as divinity tutor for a new academy, established by the ‘King's head society’ (founded 1730), with an extended course of study (six years), in which more stress was to be laid on orthodoxy than on other learning. In point of attainment Taylor was well suited for the post, but a harsh temper unfitted him for it. He soon had an angry controversy on a minor point of Calvinism with John Gill [q. v.], one of the Lime Street lecturers. When Coward first projected (early in 1735) his scheme of ‘founding a college after his death,’ he wavered between Philip Doddridge [q. v.] and Taylor as its head. He obtained the degree of D.D. about the same time as Doddridge (1736), from what university does not appear. Hugh Farmer [q. v.] writes (14 July 1737): ‘Dr. Taylor is at present the reigning favourite, and is printing twenty sermons at Mr. Coward's request.’ Samuel Clarke [q. v.] and David Jennings [q. v.] deprecated his influence with Coward. Taylor, however, lost character through financial imprudence, ceased to be tutor in 1740, and ended his ministry at Deptford soon after. He died in penury. The place and date of death are not stated.

Among his publications (chiefly sermons) is ‘A Practical Treatise of Saving Faith,’ 1730, 8vo, 3 parts. Appended to his funeral sermon (1733) for John Hurrion [q. v.] is ‘Some Account’ of him, reprinted with Hurrion's ‘Works,’ 1823, 3 vols. 12mo.

[Wilson's Dissenting Churches of London, 1808 i. 212, ii. 530, 1814 iv. 218; Doddridge's Correspondence (Humphreys), 1830, iii. 147, 251, 257; Bogue and Bennett's Hist. of Dissenters, 1833, ii. 218 sq.; James's Hist. Litig. Presb. Chapels, 1867, pp. 664, 690, 712, 715; Calendar of Associated Theol. Colleges, 1887, pp. 47 sq.]

A. G.