Flexman, Roger, D. D.

, a dissenting clergyman of considerable learning and industry, was born Feb. 22, 1707-8, at Great Torrington, in Devonshire, where his father was a manufacturer. He discovered a very early inclination for the ministry, and such was his proficiency in classical learning, that, at the age of fifteen he was admitted into the academy at Tiverton, under the rev. John Moore, who, on finishing his studies, solicited his assistance in the conduct of that institution. This, however, he declined, and in pursuance of his original intentions, was ordained in 1730 at Modbury, whence he soon removed to Crediton, and afterwards to Chard, and in 1739 to Bradford, Wilts. In 1747 he arrived in the metropolis, and became the pastor of a congregation at Rotherhithe, in which station he continued until his hearers, by death, or otherwise, declined so much in numbers, that he thought proper to resign in 17S3. He continued, however, for time time to preach occasionally at a morning lecture in St. Helen’s, Bishojisgate-street, and eisewh^re; but in his latter years his health and faculties were so much impaired as to render the performance of his public duties no longer possible. He died June 14, 1795, at the very advanced age of eighty-eight.

Of his mental talents and literary acquirements, those who knew him before the infirmities of age came on, entertained a high opinion. Few persons possessed a' more., extensive and accurate acquaintance with English history. His memory was so retentive as to supersede recourse to written authorities; and it served him for the recital of dau s an i minute circumstances, which the most laborious researches can scarcely ascertain. This rendered him | capable of communicating important information on various occasions, and he was often consulted by men of the first rank and character. In discussions of a political as well as literary kind, his knowledge was of considerable service; and it gave him access to many members of both houses of parliament, who availed themselves of hints and references with which he supplied them. In 1770 he was appointed one of the compilers of the “General Index to the Journals of the house of commons.” The interesting period of parliamentary proceedings from 1660 to 1697, comprehending vol. VIII, XI. was assigned to him. His plan was submitted to a committee of the house, soon after his appointment: and the execution of this elaborate work, begun in 1776, and completed in 1780, was much approved and liberally rewarded. He was frequently employed on making Indexes to inferior works; and among others that to the Rambler. Dr. Johnson, who sometimes founded his dislikes on very slender circumstances, on hearing Dr. Flexman’s name mentioned, exclaimed, “Let me hear no more of him, sir. That is the fellow who made the Index to my Ramblers, and set down the name of Milton thus; Milton, Mr. John.” Dr. Flexman was rather more creditably employed in superintending by far the best edition of Burnet’s “Own Times,” published in 1753, 4 vols. 8vo. His original works consist of a few occasional seripons and tracts. Among the latter are: 1. “The plan of divine worship in the churches of Dissenters justified,1754. 2. “Critical, historical, and political miscellanies; remarks on various authors, Potter, Seeker, Sherlock, &c.1752 1762. He wrote also the lives of the rev. S. Bourn, and of Dr. Chandler, prefixed to their respective works. In religious opinions he was a strenuous advocate for the pre-existent dignity of Christ, and the personality of the Holy Spirit. He maintained also the essential distinction between the soul and body, and the liberty of the human will, in opposition to Materialists and Necessarians. But whatever ardour he might show in maintaining his opinions, it was united with the most comprehensive charity and good will nor was his integrity less laudable. 1

1 Funeral Sermon, by Dr. Rees. Uoswell’s Life of Juhnon.