JOSEPH BELLAMY (1719-1790), American theologian, was born in Cheshire, Connecticut, on the 20th of February 1719. He graduated from Yale in 1735, studied theology for a time under Jonathan Edwards, was licensed to preach when scarcely eighteen years old, and from 1740 until his death, on the 6th of March 1790, was pastor of the Congregational church at Bethlehem, Connecticut. The publication of his best-known work, True Religion Delineated (1750), won for him a high reputation as a theologian, and the book was several times reprinted both in England and in America. Despite the fact that with the exception of the period of the "Great Awakening" (1740-1742), when he preached as an itinerant in several neighbouring colonies, his active labours were confined to his own parish, his influence on the religious thought of his time in America was probably surpassed only by that of his old friend and teacher Jonathan Edwards. This influence was due not only to his publications, but also to the "school" or classes for the training of clergymen which he conducted for many years at his home and from which went forth scores of preachers to every part of New England and the middle colonies (states). Bellamy's "system" of divinity was in general similar to that of Edwards. During the War of Independence he was loyal to the American cause. The university of Aberdeen conferred upon him the honorary degree of D.D. in 1768. He was a powerful and dramatic preacher. His published works, in addition to that above mentioned, include The Wisdom of God the Permission of Sin (1758), his most characteristic work; Theron, Paulinus and Aspasio; or Letters and Dialogues upon the Nature of Love to God, Faith in Christ, and Assurance of a Title to Eternal Life (1759); The Nature and Glory of the Gospel (1762); A Blow at the Root of Antinomianism but One Covenant (1769); Four Dialogues on the Half-Way Covenant (1769); and A Careful and Strict Examination of the External Covenant (1769).
His collected Works were published in 3 vols. (New York, 1811-1812), and were republished with a Memoir by Rev. Tryon Edwards (2 vols., Boston, 1850).
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