Rev. Thomas Scott (1747-1821)
Anglican Bible Commentator
As a young Baptist minister, William Carey had numerous theological influences. The Bengal Obituary (Calcutta, 1848), p. 334, affirms that Carey's "occasional access to the ministration of the Rev. Thomas Scott, author of the Commentary on the Bible, and Pastor at Ravanstone, (a village a few miles distant,) tended greatly to increase his convictions of his fallen condition." While at Ravanstone, Scott became a friend of John Newton the hymnist of Olney and William Carey, an apprentice to a man by the name of Mr. Old. Later, Scott left Ravanstone in 1785, and went to London to become chaplain to the Lock Hospital, the first hospital for syphilis patients. In 1801, Scott became the rector at Aston Sandford in Buckinghamshire where he died in 1821.
Thomas Scott, an Anglican with evangelical sympathies, is most famous for his Commentary on the Whole Bible and his participation in the establishment of the Church Missionary Society. He also was the author of several other books including A Vindication of the Divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, and of the Doctrines Contained in Them: Being an Answer to the Two Parts of Mr. T. Paine's Age of Reason; Essays on the Most Important Subjects in Religion; The Force of Truth; and Sermons on Select Subjects.
George Smith, The Life of William Carey, D.D.: Shoemaker and Missionary (London: John Murray, 1885), p. 20, says of Carey and Scott:
On the death of his [Carey's] first master, when he was eighteen, he had transferred his apprenticeship to a Mr. T. Old. Hackleton stands on the high road from Bedford and Olney to Northampton, and Thomas Scott was in the habit of resting at Mr. Old's on his not infrequent walks from Olney, where he had succeeded John Newton. There he had no more attentive listener or intelligent talker than the new apprentice or journeyman, who had been more influenced by his preaching at Ravenstone than by that of any other man. Forty years after, just before Scott's death, Dr. Ryland gave him this message from Carey:—"If there be anything of the work of God in my soul, I owe much of it to his preaching when I first set out in the ways of the Lord;" to which this reply was sent:—"I am surprised as well as gratified at your message from Dr. Carey. He heard me preach only a few times, and that as far as I know in my rather irregular excursions; though I often conversed and prayed in his presence, and endeavoured to answer his sensible and pertinent inquiries when at Hackleton. But to have suggested even a single useful hint to such a mind as his must be considered as a high privilege and matter of gratitude."
The Baptist Magazine for 1822 included short selections of Rev. Scott's doctrinal views, particularly related to the meaning and method of baptism. These selections are included here as an introduction to this important evangelical Anglican who helped to shape Carey's understanding of Christian theology.
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Created: January 12, 2007 Updated: January 16, 2007