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PUBLISHED AND SOLD AT THE DEPOSÍTORY, 56, PATER-
NOSTER-ROW; BY J. NISBET, 21, BERNERS
STREET; AND OTHER BOOKSELLERS.
The Rev. Thomas Spencer was born at Hertford, January 21, 1791. Even when a child, preachers and preaching seemed to occupy nearly all his thoughts. The manuscript of a sermon, written when he was about twelve years old, is still preserved, which shews the early bias of his mind, and indicates his future superiority. In 1806, when he was about fifteen, he was placed by Thomas Wilson, Esq. under the care of the Rev. William Hordle, of Harwich, to enter on his preparatory studies. In January, 1807, when he was sixteen, he was admitted into Hoxton College. During the vacation in the following Midsummer, he preached his first sermon in public, at Collier's-End, a small village near Hertford. This sermon is the first in the present volume, and was preached July the 5th, 1807 : the two following sermons were also delivered in the same month. The dates affixed to the ensuing discourses, will shew the time when they were preached, and will account for the early popularity which Mr. Spencer acquired.
In the Midsummer vacation of 1810, he was appointed to preach to a congregation at Liverpool. His sermons excited extraordinary attention, and he was invited to the pastoral office.
On Sunday, the 3d of February, 1811, Mr. Spencer commenced his stated engagements at Liverpool, just after he had attained his twentieth year. His preaching attracted such overflowing congregations, that in a few months it was found absolutely necessary to erect a much larger chapel, of which he laid the first stone on the 15th of April, 1811, and in which the Rev. Dr. Raffles now successfully labours. But it pleased Him whose designs are inscrutable to man, though always wise and good in themselves, to cut short the days of this most promising and devoted young minister, after he had been settled about six months at Liverpool. On Monday morning, August the 5th, he resolved to bathe in the river Mersey, thinking it might brace his nerves after the exertions of the preceding Sabbath, and prepare him for the duties to which he intended to devote the day. He had folded his
prepared his pen, in order to compose a sermon to be preached in the ensuing week on behalf of The Religious Tract Society, of whose Anniversary Meeting, held in May, 1811, he had received, from his friend, Mr. John Haddon, a particular account, with copies of the addresses then delivered, which had determined him to advocate the cause of this Institution. Mr. Spencer left his paper and pen prepared for this purpose, and proceeded to the river Mersey to bathe. While undressing himself, he was engaged in humming a hymn-tune. He entered the river, was borne out by the current, sunk in the deep water, a nd was drowned : thus