Jennings, David

, an eminent dissenter, the son of an ejected nonconformist, was born at Kibworth, in Leicestershire, in 1691. He obtained a good stock of grammar learning at the free-school of his native place, and about 1709 he was sent to pursue a course of academical studies in London, under the care of Dr. Chauncey. Having finished his studies he was appointed one of the preachers at an evening lecture at Rotherhithe, and in 1716 chosen assistant preacher at the meeting near Haberdashers’ hall. Two years afterwards he was elected pastor to the congregational church in Old Gravel-lane, Wapping, in which office he continued during forty-four years. Within a year after he entered upon it, he refused to comply with the requisition brought forwards by many of his brethren at Salters’-hall, to sign certain articles relating to the Trinity. Mr. Jennings, about 1730, published a small volume of sermons addressed to the young, entitled “The Beauty and Benefit of early Piety,” which was followed by other publications of a practical nature. In 1740- he entered the lists against Dr. John Taylor, concerning original sin, which doctrine he strenuously justified; but notwithstanding their difference in doctrinal points, they continued in habits of intimacy and friendship. In 1743 Mr. Jennings was elected trustee of Mr. Coward’s charities, and one of the lecturers at St. Helen’s; and in the following year he became divinity tutor, in the room of Mr, Eames, at the academy, at that time chiefly supported by Mr. Coward’s funds. In this work he was earnestly intent: nothing ever diverted him from a daily attendance in the lecture room; and he was indefatigable in the discharge of the duties belonging to his office. The habits of early rising, of order in the arrangement of business, and of punctuality in his engagements, enabled him to perform more than most men would have been able to get through. As a relief to the studies of the mind he employed himself in the common mechanical arts of life. His method of communicating instruction was easy and familiar, and his general deportment towards his pupils affable and friendly. He, however, determined to maintain in his academy the reputation for orthodoxy which it had acquired, and would not | suffer young men to deviate from his standard of faith; and in some cases he had recourse to expulsion. In 1747 Mr. Jennings published “An introduction to the Use of the Globes,” &e. which maintained a considerable degree of popularity for more than half a century. In 1749 the university of St. Andrew’s in Scotland conferred on the author the degree of D.D. After this he published “An appeal to reason and common sense for the Truth of the Holy Scriptures.” He died in September 1762, when he was seventy-one years of age. He was highly valued by his acquaintance, and he had the honour to educate many pupils who proved ornaments to the dissenting interest, and have rendered eminent service to science and the world. After his death was printed, from a ms copy, “An introduction to the knowledge of Medals.” Of this science Dr. Jennings seems to have known very little, and the editor of his work less. The blunders in this work are numerous, and gross. In 1766 a more elaborate work was published by Dr. Furneaux from the Mss. of Dr. Jennings, entitled “Jewish Antiquities; or a course of lectures on the Three First Books of Godwin’s Moses and Aaron: to which is annexed a dissertation on the Hebrew language,” in 2 vols. 8vo. This is a work of great merit, and deserves the perusal of all who would obtain an intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures, particularly of the Old Testament. A new edition of the “Jewish Antiquities” was published about three years since, it having been long out of print, and very much called for. 1


Rees’s Cyclopædia. Protestant Diss. Magazine, vol. V. Orton’s Life of Doddridge, p. 15. Kippis’s do. p. 16. Some account of his sen, fvippis’s Life of Doddridge, p. 243.