BACKUS, ISAAC [1724‑1806] – American Baptist minister, historian and champion of the separation of Church and State who was converted during the Great Awakening in 1741 and joined the New Light. Inspired by Whitefield he went on preaching tours and in 1751 became a Baptist and the pastor of the Middleborough congregation. He contributed to the growth of the Baptists in New England.
BROWN, JOHN [1722‑1787] of Haddington. Scottish self educated minister who because of his prodigious learning as a child was accused of witchcraft by his minister. He was ordained in 1751 to minister at Haddington [1751‑1787]. During this period he trained many Burgher students [see 1733]. He was a prolific author who is best known especially for his "Self Interpreting Bible".
GELLERT, CHRISTIAN FURCHTEGOTT [1715-1769] – German Poet. He was born in Saxony and entered Leipzig University in 1734 as a student of theology, and on completing his studies in 1739 was for two years a private tutor. Owing to shyness and weak health Gellert gave up all idea of entering the ministry, and, established himself, with much success, in 1745 as a lecturer at the university of Leipzig in poetry, rhetoric and literary style. In 1751 he was appointed extraordinary professor of philosophy at Leipzig, a post which he held until his death. He was said to have been “the noblest and most amiable of men, generous, tender-hearted and of unaffected piety and humility. He wrote in order to raise the religious and moral character of the people”. His most famous hymn was “Jesus lives! No terrors now”
KLOPSTOCK, FRIEDRICH GOTTLIEB [1724-1803] – German poet who studied theology at Jena and Leipzig. He was a private tutor to Frederick V of Denmark in 1751. While still at school he drafted the plan for a religious epic “Der Messias” inspired by Milton's “Paradise Lost”. “Der Messias” which was started in 1751 was not completed until 1773 when he was living in Hamburg. He wrote religious odes, hymns, and lyrical and epic poems, and made important contributions to German poetry.
DENMARK – During the Age of Enlightenment and Rationalism 1752-1800 much energy was spent on useful social reforms but otherwise it was a period characterised by widespread religious differences and serious spiritual decline. The first half of the 19th century was a period of transition gradually the old rationalism was overcome through the influence of men such as N F S Grundtvig [see 1825], J P Mynster [see 1834], and H L Martensen [see 1854], and through the rising tide of revivalism. In 1849 the common people's fight for freedom led to the overthrow of the absolute monarchy and the spiritual coercion of the state run church system. The principle of religious liberty and freedom of conscience was legally established in the basic law of the new constitution. Many from the “awakened circles” joined the Grundtvigian movement, or founded the more pietistic Indre Missions [see 1861]. Smaller groups joined the Lutheran Mission called Bornholmians [see 1868] or various free churches. Since World War II the great majority of the population maintain membership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, recognised and supported by the state as the national church. [See 1536]
EMBURY, PHILIP [1728-1773] – Probably the first Methodist minister in America. Born in Ireland he was a carpenter by trade. John Wesley's preaching led to his conversion in 1752. He became a local preacher in Ireland six years later. He migrated to New York City in 1760 and was encouraged to preach to migrants and he did this in a meeting at his own home in 1766. During the week he worked as a carpenter and preached on Sundays until his early death on the farm.
GILLESPIE, THOMAS [1708-1774] – Scottish minister who trained under Philip Doddridge [see 1729] at Northampton and was a friend of Jonathan Edwards [see 1740]. He ministered at the country parish of Carnock in Fife and was deposed by the Church of Scotland general assembly in 1752 for refusing to take part in a “forced settlement” at Inverkeithing. Supported by the large congregation that built his Dunfermline church he stood alone for nine years, and then was joined by two other ministers one of them Thomas Boston’s son. Passing into the history as the founder of the Relief denomination, Gillespie sponsored the first Presbyterian body in Scotland to encourage foreign missions and to open its pulpits to all ministers of Christ and its communion table to all believers.
OTTERBEIN, PHILIP WILLIAM [1726-1813] – Co-founder of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ [see 1800]. He was son of a Reformed minister from Germany and studied at Herborn and was ordained to the ministry of the Reformed Church. In 1752 he responded to an appeal from Michael Schlatter to do missionary work in America. While serving as pastor of the German Reformed congregation of Lancaster Pennsylvania he struggled earnestly in his attempts to preach a vital message but felt inadequate in explaining how one might know the assurance of salvation. A moving spiritual experience brought him into a more complete awareness of salvation in Christ, and he henceforth taught the need for every person to experience repentance and a new birth. He organised prayer meetings, trained laymen in the evangelistic work, and worked closely with ministers and other denominations including the Methodist bishop, Francis Asbury [see 1784]. Bishop and co-founder with Martin Boehm [see 1768] of the United Brethren in Christ  he served as minister of the German Evangelical Reformed Church in Baltimore from 1774 until his death.
SEMLER, JOHANN SALOMO [1725-1791] – German biblical scholar who was son of a Pietistic pastor. Semler was educated at Halle where in 1750 he became professor of theology. When J.S. Baumgarten died five years later, Semler became the head of the theological faculty. He pioneered in biblical and church historical criticism investigating the origins of the New Testament books in a manner unacceptable to Lutheran Orthodoxy and this caused controversy.
SEABURY, SAMUEL [1729-1796] – First bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA. He was born in Connecticut and graduated from Yale in 1748 and then studied theology and medicine in Edinburgh. He was ordained in 1753 and served as a missionary in New Brunswick and was then a rector on Long Island [1757-1766] where he also practiced medicine and taught school. Seabury was imprisoned for a short while during the American Revolution because of his Tory sympathies after which he went over to the British side and served as a hospital and later regimental chaplain. He became bishop of Connecticut and Rhode Island and died while making parish calls.
ALISON, FRANCIS [1705‑1779] – Irish born American Presbyterian minister and educator. He studied at Glasgow University and in 1735 moved to America where he opened a school in New London in 1743. In 1755 the granting of degrees was authorised with Alison as vice provost of the college with whom he was to be associated for twenty five years. He also founded the Presbyterian Society for the Relief of Ministers and their Widows.
MOSHEIM, JOHANN LORENTZ VON [1694-1755] – Lutheran Church historian who became a Lutheran when his Roman Catholic father died. He was educated at Lubeck and at the University of Kiel where he became a faculty member. Theologically mediating between the Pietists and the Deists he opposed both groups. Although he contributed to most fields of theology his principal works were in church history, which he endeavoured to make more scientific and objective. His interests extended even to Chinese church history. His main work was published in 1755.
PARAGRAPH BIBLES – In 1755 John Wesley published a New Testament in which he returned to the pre-Geneva Bible practise of paragraphing, as opposed to the arrangement in verses followed in the King James Version and other versions. The Religious Tract Society brought out an edition of the King James Version in paragraphs in 1838. The Revised Version of 1881 adopted the paragraph arrangement, and this has been followed in most modern translations.
RABAUT, PAUL [1718 – 1794] – French Huguenot leader born into a Protestant family and at the age of 16 accompanied and helped itinerant preacher Jean Betrine. The four years of experience served him well when he became in 1738 a pastor and an opponent of repressive legislation. He was associated with the church in Nimes most of his life. In 1756 he was voted president of the national synod of the Huguenot Church which at this period was in difficulties with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes [see 1598] and though beset by problems Rabaut did much to rehabilitate the Protestants of France. With Antoine Court [see 1715] he is to be regarded as of major importance in the history of 18th century French Calvinism. One significant success in which he and his sons shared was the passing of the Edict of Toleration in 1787.
CALLINICUS III – Patriarch of Constantinople  who succeeded Cyril V [see 1748]. He is a unique case of an Ecumenical Patriarch who was patriarch for a single day. He was bishop of Heracleia and a very ambitious man who used any means in order to become patriarch. He had tried many times unsuccessfully to seize the throne. In 1757, he plotted with some high ranking Greek civil servants against the incumbent patriarch Cyril V and by bribing the grand vizier, Köprülü Mehmed Pasha, managed to depose his rival and ascend the throne as Patriarch Callinicus III. His patriarchate lasted only for hours though, because he died from a sudden heart attack when he heard that he had indeed been elected.
FLETCHER, JOHN WILLIAM [1729-1785] – He was born in Switzerland and came to England with a distinguished university record from Geneva and was appointed as a private tutor in 1752. Converted under the influence of the Methodists he was ordained by the bishop of Bangor in 1757. After assisting John Wesley in London, Fletcher settled in Shropshire in 1760. For a time he was superintendent of Countess of Huntington's ministerial training college at Trevecca. During the Calvinistic controversy Fletcher was the chief defender of evangelical Arminianism. In personal relationships with theological opponents Fletcher was a model of Christian reconciliation. That Wesley recognised his work can be seen in the fact that he designated Fletcher as his successor, had he consented, as the leader of Methodism.
HART, JOSEPH [1712-1768] – Hart was an 18th century Calvinist minister in London. His works include "Hart's Hymns", a much-loved hymn book amongst evangelical Christians throughout its lifetime of over 200 years. However one of Joseph Hart's early publications, prior to his conversion was a tract denouncing Christianity called “The Unreasonableness of Religion” criticising John Wesley’s Sermon on Romans 8:32. He was brought up by evangelical parents and said that he “imbibed the sound doctrine of the Gospel from my infancy” However he was not converted until he heard George Whitefield at Whitsun in 1757. After these times Hart still had “sufferings and uncertainties as to his conversion”, but he could always look back to his conversion and believe that God saved his soul. He reflected this in his hymn “How good is the God we adore”. Joseph Hart preached at Jewin Street chapel in London, a building with multiple galleries, to a congregation of significant size. Only one of Hart's sermons remains, that of Christmas 1767.
HUTTON, MATTHEW – Archbishop of Canterbury [1757-1758]. Matthew Hutton was a high churchman who served as archbishop of York (1747–1757) and archbishop of Canterbury (1757 to 1758). He was a direct descendant of Matthew Hutton, who served as archbishop of York in the 17th century. Hutton was born near Richmond in Yorkshire, and was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge, graduating in 1713. He was a fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, from 1717 to 1727, and became a doctor of divinity in 1728. He became a royal chaplain to George II in 1736. While he became archbishop of Canterbury in 1757 he died the next year without having ever lived in Lambeth Palace. He succeeded Thomas Herring [see 1747] and was succeeded by Thomas Secker [see 1758].
SERAPHEIM II – Patriarch of Constantinople [1757-1761] succeeded Callinicus III [see above]. There is no additional information readily available.
TAYLOR, JOHN [1694-1761] – Nonconformist minister who after a lengthy pastorate in Norwich was appointed as professor of divinity at Warrington Academy in 1757. Taylor adopted Arian views of the person of Christ, and also claimed that the orthodox reformed view of the imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity lacked biblical support, and that Adam's sin had natural not moral consequences. His views were fully answered by Jonathan Edwards [see 1740] in “The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin Defended” in 1758 but Taylor’s thoughts continued to be influential in England and the United States of America.
BOYCE, WILLIAM [1710‑1779] – English composer who was trained as a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral. He became organist at Chapel Royal for 11 years from 1758 but was forced to resign due to loss of hearing. He wrote "Cathedral Music" an historical review which did much to keep alive the music of Byrd and Gibbons. He was the best native composer of the late 18th century.
CLEMENT XIII – Pope [1758-1769] [see 1740]. He received a Jesuit education in Bologna and was created cardinal by Clement XII [see 1730] in 1737 becoming bishop of Padua six years later. During his tenure as bishop of Padua he visited all the parishes in the diocese, the first bishop to do that for 50 years. He was elected at a time when the papacy was declining in prestige and the Jesuits were under attack. He took up the cause of the Jesuits to whom he owed his election. In 1758 the reforming minister of Joseph I of Portugal (1750–77), the marquis of Pombal, expelled the Jesuits from Portugal, and shipped them en masse to Civitavecchia, as a "gift for the pope”. The Jesuits were abolished in France in 1764 and expelled from Spain, Naples and Malta. The Bourbon kings seized Avignon, Benevento and Pontecorvo, and united in a demand for the total suppression of the Jesuits in January 1769. Driven to extremes, Clement XIII consented to call a meeting to consider the step, but on the very eve of the day set for its meeting he died (February 2nd 1769), not without suspicion of poison, of which, however, there appears to be no conclusive evidence. They were finally suppressed by Clement XIV [see 1769]. He succeeded Benedict XIV and was succeeded by Clement XIV [see 1769].
HAMANN, JOHANN GEORG [1730-1788] – German religious thinker who underwent a religious experience in 1758 during a business trip to London. Returning to Germany he began to study and was the most evangelical of his group rediscovering in Luther’s work a spontaneous personal faith, a religious experience which rose superior to Protestant scholasticism, pietistic subjectivism, and a rationalistic philosophy. He wrote a number of notable works.
HEUMANN, CHRISTOPH AUGUST [1681-1764] – German Protestant theologian. He studied at Jena and was director of the theological seminary at Eisenach [1709-1717] from where he moved to Gottingen. He became professor of history and literature and professor of theology at the University of Gottingen, resigning in 1758 when he came to reject the Lutheran understanding of the Eucharist. He devoted the remainder of his life to writing. He wrote a 12 volume commentary on the whole New Testament and published numerous controversial papers on the Lord's Supper.
SECKER, THOMAS – Archbishop of Canterbury [1758-1768] – He was a native of Nottinghamshire and at Richard Brown’s Free School at Chesterfield attained a competency in Greek and Latin. Brown congratulated Secker for his successful studies by remarking, ‘If thou wouldst but come over to the Church, I am sure thou wouldst be a bishop’. In London he met Isaac Watts, who encouraged Secker to attend Samuel Jones's dissenting academy at Gloucester, at that time functioning in the house of Joseph Wintle, a distiller. Under Jones, Secker significantly increased his ability at languages, supplementing his understanding of Greek and Latin with studies in Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac. Jones's course was also famous for his systems of Jewish antiquities and logic; maths was similarly studied to a higher than usual level.
Also at Jones's academy at the same time as Secker were the later Church of England bishops Joseph Butler, Isaac Maddox, and John Bowes, and other leading Christians included the future dissenting leaders Samuel Chandler, Jeremiah Jones, and Vavasour Griffiths. In 1713, Jones moved his academy to larger premises in Tewkesbury, partly financed by £200 from Secker. He studied medicine in London, Paris and Leiden, receiving his MD degree at Leiden in 1721. Having decided to take orders he graduated, by special letters from the chancellor, at Exeter College, Oxford, and was ordained in 1722 and after a number of parishes he became bishop of Bristol in 1735. About this time George II commissioned him to arrange reconciliation between the prince of Wales and himself, but the attempt was unsuccessful. In 1737 he was translated to Oxford and eventually in 1758 was raised to the see of Canterbury. His support of an American episcopate raised considerable opposition in England and America. His principal work was “Lectures on the Catechism of the Church of England”. He succeeded Matthew Hutton [see 1757] and was succeeded by Frederick Cornwallis [see 1768].
WILKINSON, JEMIMA [1752-1819] – A religious leader whose interest was raised about 1758 by George Whitefield's sermons and by the meetings of the New Light Baptists. In 1774 she was influenced by Ann Lee [see 1766] the founder in America of the Shakers. Following a fever she claimed she had died and that her body was inhabited by the “Spirit of Life”. Taking the name “Public Universal Friend” she held open-air meetings, led processions on horseback dressed in a long robe over masculine attire. Wilkinson established churches and her disciples, claiming that she was Christ come again, aroused hostility forcing her to leave New England. Internal disputes affected the movement which disintegrated entirely after her death.
OCCOM, SAMSON [1723-1792] – Best-known American Indian preacher of the 18th century who was converted with his mother during the Great Awakening in 1740 and studied theology with Eleazar Wheelock [see 1733] who began the Indian School that later developed into Dartmouth College. Occom served as teacher and minister to the Montauk Indians of Long Island from 1749 to 1764. He was ordained in 1759 and served as a missionary to the Oneidas, an Iroquois tribe. He established the Indian town of Brotherstown New York in 1784 and published an Indian hymnal.
HECK, BARBARA [1744-1804] – Mother of American Methodism. Born in Ireland she migrated to New York with her husband in 1760. She encouraged her cousin Philip Embury [see 1752] to hold the first Methodist meeting in America in his home and encouraged him further in the building of the first Methodist chapel in America. The family moved to Canada early in the Revolutionary War because of their Tory views.