Knowles, Thomas

, was a native of Ely, where he was born in 1723, and received his education at the grammar-school of that place, from whence he was removed to Pembroke-hall, Cambridge, where he commenced B. A. in 1743, M. A. in 174-7, and was also chosen fellow of that society. He was afterwards lecturer of St. Mary’s, in Bury St. Edmund’s, upwards of thirty years, prebendary of Ely, rector of Ickworth and Chedburgh, and vicar of Winston, all in the county of Suffolk. He died October 6, 1802.

His works, which discover great learning in a style plain and perspicuous, were, 1. “The scripture doctrine of the Existence and Attributes of God, in twelve Sermons, with a preface, in answer to a pamphlet concerning the argument d priori.” 2. “An Answer to bishop Clayton’s Essay on Spirit;” for which archbishop Seeker conferred on him the degree of D. D. 3. “Lord Hervey’s and Dr. Middleton’s Letters on the Roman Senate.” 4. “Observations on the Tithe Bill.” 5. “Dialogue on the Test Act.” 6. “Primitive Christianity in favour of tha Trinity;” attempted to be answered by Mr. Capel Lofft. 7. “Observations on the divine mission of Moses.” 8. “Advice to a young clergyman, in six letters.” 9. “The Passion, a sermon.” 10. “On Charity Schools, on Sunday Schools, and a preparatory discourse on Confirmation.” Though he occasionally meddled with controversial points, yet he always conducted himself with the urbanity of a scholar, the politeness of a gentleman, and the meekness of a Christian. He had particularly directed his studies to the acquirement of biblical learning; and, by temporary seclusion from the world, had stored his mind with the treasures of divine wisdom. As a preacher, he was justly admired. His delivery in the pulpit was earnest and impressive his language nervous and affecting; his manner plain and artless. His discourses were evidently written to benefit those to whom they were addressed, not to acquire for himself the title of a popular preacher. It was his grand object to strike at the root of moral depravity, to rouse up the languishing spirit of devotion, to improve the age, and to lead men to the observance of those moral duties, which his Divine Master taught them to regard as the essentials of his religion. To the doctrines of the Church of England he was a zealous friend; but, at the same time, he was also the friend of toleration. As a parish priest, | he stood unrivalled among his order; exemplary in his conduct, unremitted in his attention to the duties of his station, blending in his ordinary conversation affability and openness, with that gravity of demeanour which well becomes a minister of the gospel persuasive in his addresses to his hearers, and adorning his doctrine by his life he will be long and unaffectedly lamented by his numerous parishioners. His only daughter was married, in 1780, to the rev. Benjamin Underwood, rector of East Barnet, and of St. Mary Abchurch, London. 1


Gent. Mag, LXXII.