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LIFE AND CHARACTER OF THE AUTHOR.
THE REV. THOMAS ADAM, author of the following works, was born at Leeds, in the West-Riding of Yorkshire, Feb. 25, 1701; his father, Mr. Henry Adam, was of the profession of the law, and town-clerk of that corporation. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Jasper Blythman, Esq. *, Recorder there, by whom he had six children, Jasper, Henry, Thomas, Katherine, Elizabeth, and Sibyl.
Our author, Thomas, was first put to the public grammar school in that town, under the care of the pious and worthy Mr. Thomas Barnard +, then head master of that school, and afterwards to the school at Wakefield; from whence, about the usual time of life, he went to Christ's College, Cambridge. But, after he had resided there about two years, he removed to Hart-Hall (now Hertford College) in Oxford, under the care of that famous disciplinarian, Dr. Newton, (head of that seminary, and its
"Elizabeth, the mother of Jasper Blythman, Esq., Recorder of "Leeds, was one of the twenty children of Sir John Stanhope, which were born and baptized (besides two which were still-born) before "either he or his lady were forty years of age."
† Author of the Life and Character of Lady Elizabeth Hastings.
founder as a college,) for whose memory in that capacity he ever retained the highest respect.
He took the degree of Bachelor of Arts only, as he had imbibed the doctrine of the indefensible nature of pluralities from Dr. Newton, whose masterly treatise on that subject is well known; and, therefore, concluded it a needless expense for him to proceed any farther in academical degrees.
By the interest of an uncle, a person of some eminence in his profession of the law, and who had been of singular service to the family of the patron, about the year 1724 he was presented to the living of Wintringham, in Lincolnshire, of which he continued Rector fifty-eight years; but not being of age to take possession, it was held for him by a friend for about a year.
Not long after he settled at Wintringham, his uncle, who seemed much set upon the advancement of so promising a nephew, urged him greatly to come up to London to show himself, as he termed it, concluding this to be the most likely way to recommend him to the favour of those who were most able to advance him in the world: but when Mr. Adam understood that his view was to put him in the way of more preferment, he was so far from embracing this advantageous proposal, that he thought it his duty to decline the invitation in as civil a manner as he could, at the same time returning for answer, that it was incumbent upon him to be with his flock at Wintringham; an answer which gave great offence to his uncle, as it frustrated all his well-meant schemes for his promotion and advancement in the church.
Nor did he ever afterwards depart from the same disinterested determination to refuse all additional preferment.
When Dr. Thomas was promoted to the bishopric of Lincoln, our author, whose good behaviour at the
University had gained him the esteem of his governors there, was strongly recommended by them to his peculiar notice, as one whom he would find more especially deserving, amongst his clergy, of his attention and regard. And it is very probable that we find him, in consequence of this, appointed to preach before his lordship at Gainsborough, at his primary visitation there. But how much soever the bishop might be at any time disposed to befriend him, he gave him to understand that he was perfectly satisfied with what he at present had, then not quite £200. per annum, nor ever meant to engage in any second charge.
Not many years after his coming to Wintringham, Mr. Adam thought proper to change his state of life, by marrying Susanna, the eldest daughter of the Rev. Mr. Cooke, vicar of the neighbouring parish of Roxby, by whom he had one only daughter, who died in her infancy; and, after having lived together with much comfort during thirty years or more, in the year 1760, he was called upon to resign this dearest earthly treasure into His hands from whom he had received her. How greatly he was affected by this loss, and the truly Christian manner in which he bore it, will be best shown by a meditation* on the subject, found amongst his papers, in his own hand-writing, after his decease.
There is nothing in our author's history, after this ́period, which calls for particular notice. An uninteresting sameness of events must almost necessarily attend a life passed in the obscure shade of country retirement. We shall, therefore, dwell upon those parts of his character, as a minister and a Christian, which may furnish some considerations not unworthy of regard and imitation.
From the account which has been already given of Mr. Adam's faithful attachment to his parish at Wintring* See No. IV. Appendix.
ham, and his determined refusal of all additional preferment, it is natural for the reader to suppose that he was peculiarly diligent amongst his people, and instant in season and out of season for the conversion and salvation of their souls. But this does not by any means appear to have been the case at that time: for, though he was very exact and regular in the discharge of all the public parts of his office, and his sermons had even then a zeal and fervour in them beyond the generality; yet, as he himself afterwards observed to a peculiar friend, "Neither his "life nor his doctrine could be of any peculiar use to them, for he lived in a conformity to the world, and his "doctrine was contrary to the cross of Christ *."
We find in his private reflections (which make a part of his works now submitted to the public) a remark of his own, which will fully show his judgment of the case on the review of it many years afterwards.
"Intrusion into the ministry for worldly ends, and ab❝solute unfitness for it; in great ignorance of Christ; - great unconcern for the salvation of souls;-consequent sloth and remissness;-squandering a large "income in sensual pleasure; and when I was some"thing awakened, doing what I did in self-dependence " and self-seeking, how awful!"
How long it was after his entrance into the ministry, before it pleased God to give him a clearer insight into his own state, and the nature of his calling, we cannot exactly determine; though it seems probable that his conscience soon began to be not fully satisfied. All that we can gather on this head with certainty, is, that he re
Lest this expression should appear in any degree obscure to some of our readers, we would observe, that what Mr. Adam meant by it, was, that he was not preaching Christ crucified as the foundation of man's hope for pardon and justification with God; but man's righteousness, thus making the cross of Christ of no effect.