Gilbert Tennent

Tennent, Gilbert, a distinguished Presbyterian preacher in America, was born at Armagh, 5th February 1703. At fifteen years of age he accompanied his father, a Presbyterian minister, to America, and assisted in conducting an academy opened by him near Philadelphia; and, having studied theology and medicine, was in 1726 ordained pastor of a congregation at New Brunswick. In 1740 and 1741 he travelled through New England, at the request of Whitefield, preaching with great success. Drake says: "He was one of the most conspicuous ministers of his day, ardent in his zeal, forcible in his reasoning, and bold and passionate in his addresses to the conscience and the heart." He affected eccentricity in his preaching, allowed his hair to grow long, and when in the pulpit wore an overcoat bound with a leathern girdle. In 1743, about the time of his father's decease, he founded a Presbyterian church in Philadelphia, and subsequently resumed the practice of itinerant preaching. In 1753 he visited England to solicit benefactions for the spread of religion in America. He was the author, amongst other works, of The Lawfulness of Defensive War (1747), and Sermons on Important Subjects (1758). He died 23rd July 1764, aged 61.


37a. Biographical Dictionary—American Biography: Francis S. Drake. Boston, 1876.