GEORGE BENSON (1699-1762), English dissenting minister, was born at Great Salkeld, in Cumberland, on the 1st of September 1699, of a family which had distinguished itself in church and state. He studied at a school at Whitehaven and later at the university of Glasgow. In 1722, on Calamy's recommendation, he was chosen pastor of a congregation of dissenters at Abingdon, in Berkshire, where he continued till 17 29, when, having embraced Arminian views, he became the choice of a congregation in Southwark; and in 1740 he was appointed by the congregation of Crutched Friars colleague to the learned Dr Nathaniel Lardner, whom he succeeded in 1749. His Defence of the Reasonableness of Prayer appeared in 1731, and he afterwards published paraphrases and notes on the epistles to the Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus and Philemon, adding dissertations on several important subjects, particularly (as an appendix to 1 Timothy) on inspiration. In 1738 he published his History of the First Planting of the Christian Religion, in 3 vols. 4to, a work of great learning and ability. He also wrote the Reasonableness of the Christian Religion (1743), the History of the Life of Jesus Christ, posthumously published in 1764, a paraphrase and notes on the seven Catholic epistles, and several other works, which gained him great reputation as a scholar and theologian even outside his own communion and his own country. Owing to his undoubted Socinianism his works suffered neglect after his death, which occurred on the 6th of April 1762.
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