Jones, Jeremiah

, a learned dissenting divine, was born in 1693, and received his academical learning under his uncle, the rev. Samuel Jones, first of Gloucester, then of Tewksbury, the tutor of Chandler, Butler, and Seeker. He was fellow-student with the latter in 1711, and was a distinguished scholar, when he entered upon academical studies. It is apprehended, that he was a native of the North of England, and that his father was a gentleman in affluent circumstances. There was with him, at the above seminary, a younger brother, a youth of quick parts, who afterwards settled as a dissenting minister at Manchester. Mr. Jones, soon after he had finished his course of preparatory studies, became the minister of the congregation of Protestant dissenters, who assembled for worship in Forest Green, Avening, Gloucestershire, and resided at Nailsworth, where he also kept an academy. He had the character of being an eminent linguist. He was popular as a preacher; for the place of worship was considerably enlarged in his time. His discourses met with the approbation of the more judicious, for his salary amounted to one hundred pounds per annum, and the whole subscription came from persons of superior rank in life. Though | a deep scholar and hard student, he was not a man of severe manners; but of an open and social disposition, and one of a bowling party at a place still called the Lodge, on Hampton common, at which healthy exercise he relaxed from his studies, and by his presence and influence preserved decorum in the company. His character secured him the marked respect of a neighbouring clergyman. His anxiety to fulfil an engagement, which he had made, to perform some ministerial service at a place on the other side of the Severn, hastened his death. It escaped his recollection, till the time drew near; to prevent disappointment, he made so much speed, that his tender constitution was injured by it, and a complaint contracted, from which he never recovered. He died in 1724, aged 31.

Mr. Jones’s first publication was “A Vindication of the former part of Saint Matthew’s Gospel, from Mr. Whiston’s charge of Dislocations, or an attempt to prove that our present Greek copies of that Gospel are in the same order wherein they were originally written by that Evangelist; in which are contained many things relating to the harmony and history of the Four Gospels, 1719.” This work, says Dr. Harwood, is very valuable; it abounds with ingenious remarks, and displays the critical acumen of the author. He prepared for the press before his deatii another excellent performance, entitled “A New and Fall Method of settling the Canonical Authority of the New Testament,” which was published in 1726, in two volumes, 8vo. They were followed by a third volume. In drawing up these works, he took care, it seems, to consult and examine the originals, instead of satisfying himself with the quotations of other learned men. They remain, as monuments of his learning, ingenuity, and indefatigable industry; and would have done credit, it has been observed, to the assiduity and ability of a literary man of sixty. They were become very scarce, and bore a high price, ’when, with the liberality and zeal which reflects honour on them, the conductors of the Clarendon press lately republished them at Oxford. Mr. Jones, observes Dr. Maltby, has brought together, with uncommon diligence and judgment, the external evidence for the authenticity and genuineness of the canonical books; and he has, with equal ability and fairness, stated his reasons for deciding against the authority of the apocryphal. In the prosecution of this | important design, he has not only quoted, but translated, the greater part of the contents of Fabricius’s two first volumes. Mr. Jones intended another and distinct volume on the apostolical fathers. 1


Gent, Mag; LXXIII. p. 501.