Henry Rogers (congregationalist)

Last updated

Henry Rogers
Portrait of Henry Rogers (Congregationalist).jpg
Christian Non-Conformist, writer and apologist
Born18 October 1806
St Albans, Hertfordshire, U.K.
Died20 August 1877
Pennal Tower, Machynlleth, U.K.
EducationHighbury College, Middlesex, London

Henry Rogers (1806–1877) was an English nonconformist minister and man of letters, known as a Christian apologist.



He was third son of Thomas Rogers, a surgeon of St Albans, where he was born on 18 October 1806. He was educated at private schools and by his father, of congregationalist views. In his seventeenth year he was apprenticed to a surgeon at Milton-next-Sittingbourne, Kent; reading John Howe's The Redeemer's Tears wept over Lost Souls diverted his attention from surgery to theology. After study at Highbury College, Middlesex, he entered the congregationalist ministry in June 1829. [1]

His first duty was that of assistant pastor of the church at Poole, Dorset. In 1832, he returned to Highbury College as lecturer on rhetoric and logic. In 1836 he was appointed to the chair of English language and literature at University College, London, which in 1839 he exchanged for that of English literature and language, mathematics and mental philosophy in Spring Hill College, Birmingham. That post he held for nearly twenty years. An incurable throat problem compelled him to abandon preaching. [1]

In 1858, Rogers succeeded to the presidency of the Lancashire Independent College, with which he held the chair of theology until 1871. His health failing, he retired to Silverdale, Morecambe Bay; in 1873 he moved to Pennal Tower, Machynlleth, where he died on 20 August 1877. His remains were interred in St. Luke's Churchyard, Cheetham Hill, Manchester. [1]


In 1826, Rogers published a volume of verse, 'Poems Miscellaneous and Sacred;' and at Poole he began to write for the nonconformist periodical press. On his return to London, he contributed introductory essays to editions of Joseph Truman's 'Discourse of Natural and Moral Impotency,' the works of Jonathan Edwards, Jeremy Taylor (1834–35), and Edmund Burke (1836–37) and Robert Boyle's 'Treatises on the High Veneration Man's Intellect owes to God, on Things above Reason, and on the Style of the Holy Scriptures.' In 1836 he issued his first major work, 'The Life and Character of John Howe'(London), of which later editions appeared in 1863; 1874; and 1879. [1]

In 1837 he edited, under the title 'The Christian Correspondent,' a classified collection of four hundred and twenty-three private letters 'by eminent persons of both sexes, exemplifying the fruits of holy living and the blessedness of holy dying,' London, 3 vols. In October 1839 he began, with an article on 'The Structure of the English Language,' a long connection with the Edinburgh Review which proved to be durable. In 1850 two volumes of selected 'Essays' contributed to it were published, and a third in 1855. Still further selected and augmented, these miscellanies were reprinted at London in 1874 as 'Essays, Critical and Biographical, contributed to the "Edinburgh Review,"' 2 vols., and 'Essays on some Theological Controversies, chiefly contributed to the "Edinburgh Review."' [1]

In 1852 Rogers issued anonymously, as 'by F. B.,' his best-known work 'The Eclipse of Faith, or a Visit to a Religious Sceptic' (London,), a dialogue in which the sceptic (Harrington) plays the part of remorseless critic of the various forms of rationalism then prevalent. In the course of three years it passed through six editions. From Francis William Newman, who figured in its pages in thin disguise, it elicited a 'Reply,' to which Rogers rejoined in 'Defence of "The Eclipse of Faith,"' London, 1854 (3rd edit. 1860). [1]

To the Encyclopædia Britannica (8th edit.) Rogers contributed the articles on Bishop Butler (1854), Gibbon, Hume, and Robert Hall (1856), Pascal and Paley (1859), and Voltaire (1860). He edited the works of John Howe, which appeared at London in 1862–3, 6 vols. He contributed to Good Words and the British Quarterly (his articles were mostly reprinted). [1]

As a Christian apologist he was influenced by Joseph Butler. His last work was 'The Supernatural Origin of the Bible inferred from itself' (the Congregational Lecture for 1873), London, 1874, (8th edit. 1893). Two volumes of imaginary letters were entitled 'Selections from the Correspondence of R. E. H. Greyson, Esq.' (the pseudonym being an anagram for his own name), London, 1857; 3rd edit. 1861. [1]

Besides the works mentioned above, Rogers also published: [1]

Some articles are also understood to be his work: ‘Religious Movement in Germany’ (Edinburgh Review, January 1846), ‘Marriage with the Sister of a Deceased Wife’ (ib. April 1853), ‘Macaulay's Speeches’ (ib. October 1854), ‘Servetus and Calvin’ (British Quarterly Review, May 1849), ‘Systematic Theology’ (ib. January 1866), ‘Nonconformity in Lancashire’ (ib. July 1869). [1]

Rogers's portrait and a memoir by Robert William Dale were prefixed to the eighth edition of the 'Superhuman Origin of the Bible,' 1893. [1]


Rogers married four times: first, in 1830, Sarah Frances, eldest daughter of W. N. Bentham of Chatham, a relative of Jeremy Bentham, who died soon after giving birth to her third child; secondly, in November 1834, her sister, Elizabeth, who died in the autumn of the following year, after giving birth to her first child. As the law then stood his second marriage was not ab initio void, but only voidable by an ecclesiastical tribunal. He married thirdly, in 1842, Emma, daughter of John Watson, of Finsbury Square, London. She also died in giving birth to her first child. Rogers married fourthly, in 1857, Jane, eldest daughter of Samuel Fletcher, of Manchester; she died in 1891, having endowed scholarships in her husband's memory at the Lancashire Independent College and the Owens College, Manchester. [1]

Related Research Articles

Mark Pattison (academic)

Mark Pattison was an English author and a Church of England priest. He served as Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford.

Henry James Sumner Maine British jurist and historian (1822–1888)

Sir Henry James Sumner Maine,, was a British Whig comparative jurist and historian. He is famous for the thesis outlined in his book Ancient Law that law and society developed "from status to contract." According to the thesis, in the ancient world individuals were tightly bound by status to traditional groups, while in the modern one, in which individuals are viewed as autonomous agents, they are free to make contracts and form associations with whomever they choose. Because of this thesis, Maine can be seen as one of the forefathers of modern legal anthropology, legal history and sociology of law.

William Lindsay Alexander 19th-century Scottish church leader

William Lindsay Alexander FRSE LLD was a Scottish church leader.

Francis William Newman English scholar and writer

Francis William Newman was an English classical scholar and moral philosopher, prolific miscellaneous writer and activist for vegetarianism and other causes.

Thomas Innes was a Scottish Roman Catholic priest and historian. He studied at the Scots College, (Paris), of which he became vice-principal. He was the author of two learned works, Critical Essay on the Ancient Inhabitants of the Northern Parts of Britain (1729), and Civil and Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, 80 to 818.

Samuel Davidson Irish biblical scholar

Samuel Davidson was an Irish biblical scholar.

Robert Vaughan (minister)

Robert Vaughan (1795–1868) was an English minister of the Congregationalist communion, academic, college head and writer, from a Welsh background. He was professor of history in the London University, and then president of the Independent College, Manchester. He founded, and for a time edited, the British Quarterly.

The Hon. William Herbert was a British botanist, botanical illustrator, poet, and clergyman. He served as a member of parliament for Hampshire from 1806 to 1807, and for Cricklade from 1811 to 1812. His botanical writings are noted for his treatment of Amaryllidaceae.

Mark Hopkins (educator) American educationalist and theologian

Mark Hopkins was an American educator and Congregationalist theologian, president of Williams College from 1836 to 1872. An epigram — widely attributed to President James A. Garfield, a student of Hopkins — defined an ideal college as "Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other".

Charles Webb Le Bas was an English clergyman, fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and principal of the East India Company College.

Peter Bayne (1830–1896) was a Scottish author. He used the pseudonym

Henry Formby was an English Roman Catholic priest and writer.

Robert Gordon (minister) Scottish minister and writer

Robert Gordon FRSE was a Scottish minister and author. Originally prominent in the Church of Scotland, and serving as Moderator of the General Assembly in 1841, following the Disruption of 1843 he joined the Free Church of Scotland and became a prominent figure in that church.

William Maxwell Hetherington

William Maxwell Hetherington was a Scottish minister, poet and church historian. He entered the university of Edinburgh but before completing his studies for the church he published, in 1829, 'Twelve Dramatic Sketches' founded on the Pastoral Poetry of Scotland. Hetherington became minister of Torphichen, Linlithgow, in 1836; in 1843 he adhered to the Free Church, and in 1844 was appointed to a charge in St. Andrews. He subsequently became minister of Free St. Paul's, Edinburgh, in 1848; and was appointed professor of apologetics and systematic theology in New College, Glasgow, in 1857. He died 23 May 1865.

George Walker (mathematician)

George Walker was a versatile English Dissenter, known as a mathematician, theologian, Fellow of the Royal Society, and activist.

Samuel Sharpe (scholar) British scholar

Samuel Sharpe (1799–1881) was an English Unitarian banker who, in his leisure hours, made substantial contributions to Egyptology and Biblical translation. Like his literary uncle Samuel Rogers, he was connected for much of his life with Newington Green Unitarian Church.

Henry John Rose was an English churchman, theologian of High Church views, and scholar who became archdeacon of Bedford.

George Oliver (1781–1861) was an English Roman Catholic priest and a historian of Exeter, Devon, England, and its environs.

John Mitford (1781–1859) was an English clergyman and man of letters.

Henry Robert Reynolds

Henry Robert Reynolds was an English Congregational minister, college head and writer.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Rogers, Henry (1806-1877)"  . Dictionary of National Biography . Vol. 49. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Rogers, Henry (1806-1877)". Dictionary of National Biography . Vol. 49. London: Smith, Elder & Co.