Harmer, Thomas

, a learned dissenter, was born at Norwich in 1715. He received the elements of classical learning in the country, and discovering an inclination for the profession of a dissenting minister, was sent to London to study un’ler the tuition of Mr. Eames. When he had finished his studies, he settled with a small congregation at Wattsfield, in Suffolk, where he improved his acquaintance with the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, in each of which he acquired much critical skill. The favourite object of his pursuit was oriental history, which he applied to the illustration of the sacred writings. Observing a striking conformity between the present customs of the eastern nations and those of the ancients, as mentioned or alluded to in various passages of scripture, he conceived a design at a very early period, of making extracts of such passages in books of travels and voyages, as appeared to him to furnish a key to many parts of holy writ. In 1764 he published a volume of “Observations on divers Passages of Scripture,” &c. The favourable reception which this work met with, encouraged Mr. Harmer to proceed in it, and in 1776 he gave the public an | enlarged edition of it, in 2 vols. 8vo. By the preface to this impression we learn that Dr. Lowth bishop of London furnished him with some ms papers of sir John Chardin. In 17S7 Mr. Haroier published two other volumes. A new edition of the whole of this most useful work has lately been published by the rev. Adam Clarke. He was author also of the ' Outlines of a new Commentary on Solomon’s Song, drawn by the help of instructions from the East;“an” Account of the Jewish Doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead," and some other tracts of less consequence. Mr. Harrner died without a struggle, in November 1788, having passed the preceding day in perfect health. 1


Gent. Mag. 1788 and 1789. Europ. Mag. 1792.