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fo much Candour, Modefty, and good Senfe, that, on the Discovery of his Name, they immediately procured him the Friendship of that eminent Man, and were afterwards printed at the End of his Evidences of Natural and Revealed Religion. This Correfpondence was entrusted in Confidence to Mr. SECKER, who, in Order to keep it private, undertook to convey Mr. BUTLER's Letters to the Poft-Office at Gloucester, and to bring back Dr. CLARKE'S Answers.
Mr. SECKER had been destined by his Father for Orders amongst the Diffenters. With this View, during the laft Years of his Education, his Studies were chiefly turned towards Divinity; in which he made fuch quick Advances, that, by the Time he was Three-andtwenty, he had read over carefully a great Part of the Scriptures, particularly the New Teftament in the Original, and the best Comments upon it; Eufebius's Ecclefiaftical Hifiory, the Apoftolical Fathers, Whifton's Primitive Christianity, and the principal Writers for and against Ministerial and Lay-Conformity; with many others of the most efteemed Treatifes in Theology. But though the Refult of these Enquiries was (what might naturally be expected) a well-grounded Belief of the Chrifb 2
tian Revelation, yet not being at that Time able to decide on fome abftrufe fpeculative Doctrines, nor to determine abfolutely what Communion he should embrace; he refolved, like a wife and honeft Man, to pursue fome Profeffion, which should leave him at Liberty to weigh these Things more maturely in his Thoughts, and not oblige him to declare, or teach publicly, Opinions which were not yet thoroughly fettled in his own Mind. Therefore about the End of the Year 1716 he applied himself to the Study of Phyfic; and after gaining all the Infight into it he could, by reading the ufual preparatory Books, and attending the best Lectures during that and the following Winter in London; in Order to improve himself ftill more, in January 1718-19 he went to Paris. There he lodged au Cloitre St. Benoit, Rue des Mathurins, in the fame Houfe with Mr. WINSLOW, the famous Anatomift, whofe Lectures he attended, as he did thofe of the Materia Medica, Chemistry, and Botany, at the King's Gardens. The Operations of Surgery he faw at the Hôtel Dieu, and attended alfo for fome Time M. GREGOIRE, the Accoucheur, but without any Defign of ever practifing that or any other Branch of Surgery. Here he became acquainted
quainted with ALBINUS, afterwards Profeffor at Leyden, Father MONTFAUCON, and feveral other Persons of Note. Here too was his firft Knowledge of Mr. MARTIN BENSON, afterwards Bishop of Gloucester, one of the moft agreeable and virtuous Men of his Time, with whom he quickly became much connected, and not many Years after was united to him by the strongest Bonds of Affinity, as well as Affection.
During the Whole of Mr. SECKER'S Continuance at Paris, he kept up a constant Correfpondence with Mr. BUTLER, who before this Time had taken Orders, and on the Recommendation of Dr. CLARKE, and Mr. EDWARD TALBOT, Son to Bishop TALBOT, was appointed by Sir JOSEPH JEKYLL, Preacher at the Rolls. Mr. BUTLER took Occafion to mention his Friend Mr. SECKER, without his Knowledge, to Mr. TALBOT; who promised, in Cafe he chose to take Orders in the Church of England, to engage the Bishop his Father to provide for him. This was communicated to Mr. SECKER in a Letter from Mr. BUTLER, about the Beginning of May, 1720. He had not at that Time come to any Refolution of quitting the b 3 Study
Study of Phyfic; but he began to forefee many Obftacles to his pursuing that Profesfion; and having never discontinued his Application to Theology, his former Difficulties, both with Regard to Conformity and fome other doubtful Points, had gradually leffened, as his Judgement became ftronger, and his Reading and Knowledge more extenfive. It appears alfo from two of his Letters ftill in Being, written from Paris to a Friend in England, (both of them prior to the Date of Mr. BUTLER'S abovementioned) that he was greatly diffatisfied with the Divifions and Disturbances which at that particular Period prevailed amongst the Diffenters. In this State of Mind Mr. BUTLER's unexpected Propofal found him, which he was therefore very well difpofed to take into Confideration ; and after deliberating carefully on the Subject of fuch a Change for upwards of two Months, he refolved at length to embrace the Offer, and for that Purpose quitted France the latter End of July, or Beginning of August, 1720.
On his Arrival in England he was introduced to Mr. TALBOT, with whom he cultivated a clofe Acquaintance. But it was unfortunately of very fhort Duration. For in
the Month of December that caught the Small-Pox, and died. This was a great Shock to all his Friends, who had justly conceived the highest Expectations of him, but especially to an amiable Lady whom he had lately married, and who was very near finking under fo fudden and grievous a Stroke. Mr. SECKER, befides fharing largely in the common Grief, had peculiar Reason to lament an Accident that feemed to put an End at once to all his Hopes; but he had taken his Refolution, and he determined to persevere. It was fome Encouragement to him to find. that Mr. TALBOT had on his Death-bed recommended him, together with Mr. BENSON and Mr. BUTLER, to his Father's Notice. Thus did that excellent young Man, (for he was but Twenty-nine when he died) by his nice Discernment of Characters, and his confiderate Good-nature, provide most effectually in a few folemn Moments for the Welfare of that Church from which he himfelf was fo prematurely fnatched away; and at the fame Time raised up (when he least thought of it) the trueft Friend and Protector to his Wife and unborn Daughter; who afterwards found in Mr. SECKER all that tender Care and