Kidder, Dr. Richard

, a very learned English bishop, was born, as Wood says, at Brighthelmstone in Sussex, but as others say, in Suffolk. In June 1649, he was admitted sizar in Emanuel -college, Cambridge, where he took his degree of A. B. 1652, was elected fellow in 1655, and took his degree of A. M. in 1656. He was presented by his college to the vicarage of Stanground, in Huntingdonshire; from which he was ejected for nonconformity, in 1662, by virtue of the Bartholomew act; but conforming soon after, he was presented by Arthur earl of Essex to the rectory 01 Raine, in Essex, 1664. Here he continued till 1674, when he was presented to the rectory of St. Martin’s Outwicb, London, by the Merchant-tailors company. In September 1681, he was installed into a prebend of Norwich; and in 1689 made dean of Peterborough, in the room of Simon Patrick, promoted to the see of Chichester. On this occasion he took the degree of D. D. Upon the deprivation of Ken, bishop of Bath and Wells, for not taking the oaths to king William and queen Mary, and Beveridge’s refusal of that see, Kidder was nominated in June 1691, and consecrated the August following. In 1693 he preached the lecture founded by the honourable Robert Boyle, being the second that preached it. His sermons on that occasion are inserted in his “Demonstration of the Messias,” in three parts; the first of which was published in 1694, the second in 1699, and the third in 1700, 8vo. It is levelled against the Jews, whom the author was the better enabled to combat from his great knowledge of the Hebrew and oriental languages, for which he had long been celebrated. He wrote also, “A Commentary on the Five Books of Moses; with a Disser | tation concerning the author or writer of the said books, and a general argument to each of them.” This commentary was published in 1694, in two volumes, 8vo; and the reader in the preface is thus acquainted with the occasion of it: “Many years are now passed since a considerable number of the London clergy met together, and agreed to publish some short notes upon the whole Bible, for the use of families, and of all those well-disposed persons that desired to read the Holy Scriptures to their greatest advantage. At that meeting they agreed upon this worthy design, and took their several shares, and assigued some part to them who were absent. I was not present at that meeting; but I was soon informed that they had assigned to me the Pentateuch. The work was begun with common consent; we did frequently meet; and what was done was communicated from time to time to those that met together and were concerned. The methods of proceeding had been adjusted and agreed to; a specimen was printed, and an agreement was made when it should be put to the press. I finished my part in order thereto; but so it fell out, that soon after all this, the clouds began to gather apace, and there was great ground to fear that the popish party were attempting to ruin the church of England. Hence it came to pass that the thoughts of pursuing this design were laid aside; and those that were concerned in it were now obliged to turn their studies and pens against that dangerous enemy. During this time, also, some of the persons concerned in this work were taken away by death; and thus the work was hindered, that might else have been finished long since. I, having drawn up my notes upon this occasion, do now think myself obliged to make them public,” &c. To the first volume is prefixed a dissertation, in which he sets down, and answers all the objections made against Moses being the author of the Pentateuch; and having considered, among the rest, one objection drawn by Le Clerc, from Gen. xxxvi. 31, and spoken in pretty severe terms of him, some letters passed between them, which were printed by Le Clerc in his “Bibliotheque Choisie.” Dr. Kidder had likewise borne a part in the popish controversy, during which he published the following tracts: 1 “A Second Dialogue between a new Catholic Convert and a Protestant; shewing why he cannot believe the doctrine of Transubstantiation, though he do firmly believe the doctrine of the Trinity.| 2. “An Examination of Bellarmine’s Thirtieth note of the Church, of the Confession of Adversaries.” 3. “The Texts which Papists cite out of the Bible for the proof of their Doctrine, `of the Sacrifice of the Mass,‘ examined.” 4. “Reflections on a French Testament, printed at Bourdeaux, 1686, pretended to be translated out of the Latin by the divines of Louvain.” He published also several sermons and tracts of the devotional kind.

This prelate died Nov. 1703, in his palace at Wells, and was privately bur- ed in the cathedral. Through a most unhappy accident, in the night between the 26th and 27th of that month, he was killed in his bed, with his lady, by the fall of a stack of chimneys, occasioned by the great storm. It is reported that his heirs were sued for dilapidations! He was a very clear, elegant, learned writer; and one of the best divines of his time. 1


Biog. Brit.—Birch’s Tillotson.—Cole’s ms Athena in Brit. Mus.