Booth, Abraham

, a pious and popular dissenting minister of the Baptist persuasion, was born at Blackwell in Derbyshire, May 20, 1734, of poor parents, who were unable to give him any education. He spent a considerable part of his youth in the farming business, and that of the stocking frame, but appears to have during this time read much, and at length began to preach among the sect called the general baptists, throughout the towns and villages in his neighbourhood. In his twenty-third year he married; and this producing a numerous family, he opened a school at Button-Ash field. At this time he held the doctrine of universal redemption, and disliked predestination to such a degree as to ridicule it in a poem (of which he was afterwards ashamed), but he now changed his sentiments and became a zealous Calvinist in that and othei points supposed to constitute the Calvinistic system. The | consequence of this change was, an avowal and defence of his new opinions in his first publication, “The Reign of Grace,” in which he was encouraged hy the late rev. Henry Venn, vicar of Huddersfield, who wrote a recommendatory preface to it. It appeared in 1768, and led to a new and important aera in his life, being so much approved by the congregation of particular baptists in Prescot-street, Goodman’s fields, whose pastor was just dead, that they invited Mr. Booth to succeed him. This invitation he accepted, and in Feb. 1769, took possession of his pulpit, after being regularly ordained for the first time. Here he appears for some years to have spent what time he could spare from his public labours in laying in a stock of knowledge; and although he always lamented the want of a regular education, his proficiency, and the extent of his reading were so great as in some measure to redeem his time, and place him on a footing, both as a scholar, preacher, and writer, with the ablest of his brethren. He knew Greek and Latin usefully, if not critically: the Greek Testament he went through nearly fifty times by the simple expedient of reading one chapter every day. General science and literature, history, civil and ecclesiastical, he investigated with acuteness in the ablest writers, English, French, Dutch, and German; and his works show that he particularly excelled in a knowledge of controversial divinity, and of those arguments, pro and con, which were connected with his opinions as a baptist. After exercising his ministry in Prescot-street for nearly thirty-seven years, he died Monday, Jan. 27, 1806, and his memory was honoured by a tablet and inscription in his meeting-house, recording his virtues and the high respect his congregation entertained for him. Besides the work already mentioned, he published, 1. “The Death of Legal Hope, the Life of Evangelical Obedience,1770, 12mo. 2. “The Deity of Jesus Christ essential to the Christian Religion,” a translation from Abbadie, and occasioned by the subscription controversy, 1770. 3. “An Apology for the Baptists in refusing communion at the Lord’s Table to Pscdobaptists,1778. 4. “Paedobaptism examined, on the principles, concessions, and reasonings of the most learned Psedobaptists,1784, and enlarged 1737, 2 vols. a work which his sect consider as unanswerable. He published also some lesser tracts and occasional sermons. 1

1 Essay on his Life and Writings, by William Jones, 1808, 8vo.