1 June 1727–24 August 1795
THE REV. DR. SAMUEL STENNETT was the great-grandson of the Rev. Edward Stennett, of Wallingford, England. His father and grandfather, both of them named Joseph, were also ministers of distinguished excellence. His father was, for many years, the pastor of the Baptist Church of Exeter, where the son was born in 1727, and where the first ten years of his life were spent. In 1737, his father removed to London, having accepted a call to the pastorate of the Baptist Church worshipping in Little Wild Street, in the immediate neighborhood of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Here the son enjoyed the very best instruction in learning under the tuition, at first, of the Rev. John Hubbard, Theological Tutor at Stepney, and then of the distinguished linguist, Dr. John Walker, of the Mile End Academy. Being of scholarly lineage, he himself became a proficient in the sacred languages and literature.
At an early age, he was received into the fellowship of his father’s church, and, in 1747, became his assistant in the ministry. After his father’s decease, he was ordained, June 1, 1758, as the pastor of the church, and continued in this position to the end of life. He received, also, a call, in 1767, to be the pastor of the Sabbatarian Baptist Church (Pinners’ Hall), of which his grandfather had been pastor. Though he never formally accepted the call, he performed the duties of a pastor, and preached for them regularly every Saturday morning for twenty years, in addition to the performance of his duties as pastor of the church in Little Wild Street.
In 1769, he published two volumes of Discourses on Personal Religion, containing a systematic exhibition of Practical Theology and Experimental Piety; in 1783, Discourses on Domestic Duties; in 1786, Discourses on the Parable of the Sower; and, in 1790, Discourses on the Divine Authority and Various Uses of the Holy Scriptures. He employed his pen, also, in defence of his Baptist views, in reply to the Rev. Dr. Stephen Addington. His Remarks on the Christian Minister’s Reasons for Administering Baptism by Sprinkling or Pouring of Water, appeared in 1772; and, in 1775, he published An Answer to the Christian Minister’s Reasons for Baptizing Infants, in a Series of Letters. He published, also, at different times, twelve Occasional Sermons. He excelled in beauty of style and elegance of diction. “In soft, tender, and insinuating persuasion and influence,” it is said, “he was a master.” He received the honorary degree of D.D., in 1763, from King’s College, Aberdeen.
He associated with some of the best society of the metropolis, by whom he was held in high estimation as a scholar, a divine, and a true gentleman. It is said that he enjoyed the personal friendship of his sovereign, George III, and that preferment in the Church of England was at his service. Obliging and kind in disposition, exemplary in morals and piety, he made friends everywhere. On the 16th of March, 1795, he was deprived of the wife of his youth. The blow proved too much for his infirm constitution, and he sank under it, surviving her loss only a few months. He died—in joyful anticipation of the blissful world of which he had so sweetly sung, in his own well-known hymn, “On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,” etc.,—at the rural retreat, that, for several years, he had occupied, near Highgate, breathing his last, August 25, 1795, in his sixty-eighth year. His Works, with an “Account of his Life and Writings” by W. Jones, were published in 1824, in three volumes.
by Edwin Hatfield
The Poets of the Church (1884)
Collections of Hymns:
A Collection of Hymns for the use of Christians of all Denominations (1782): WorldCat
A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, ed. John Rippon (1787): PDF
For more eds. of the Selection, see John Rippon.
William Jones, The Works of Samuel Stennett, D.D., 3 vols. (London: Thomas Tegg, 1824): HathiTrust
“Brief memoirs of the late Rev. Samuel Stennett, D.D.” Baptist Annual Register, vol. 2 (1795), pp. 380-393: HathiTrust
Josiah Miller, “Samuel Stennett, D.D.” Singers and Songs of the Church (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1869), pp. 249-250: Archive.org
John Gadsby, “Samuel Stennett,” Memoirs of the Principal Hymn-Writers & Compilers of the 17th, 18th, & 19th Centuries (London: J. Gadsby, 1870), p. 119: HathiTrust
William Cathcart, “Samuel Stennett, D.D.” The Baptist Encyclopædia, vol. 2, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: L.H. Everts, 1883), pp. 1101-1102: HathiTrust
Edwin Hatfield, “Samuel Stennett,” The Poets of the Church (NY: A. D. F. Randolph & Company, 1884), p. 577-579: Archive.org
Henry Burrage, “Samuel Stennett,” Baptist Hymn Writers and Their Hymns (Portland, ME: Brown Thurston & Co., 1888), pp. 56-59: Archive.org
W.R. Stevenson, “Samuel Stennett,” A Dictionary of Hymnology, ed. John Julian (London, 1892), pp. 1091-1092: Google Books
Carey Bonner, Some Baptist Hymnists, from the Seventeenth Century to Modern Times (London: Baptist Union Publication Dept., 1937).
S.L. Copson, “Samuel Stennett” in “Joseph Stennett (1663-1713),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
J.R. Watson, “Samuel Stennett,” Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology: