1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Parker, Martin

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PARKER, JOSEPH (1830-1902), English Nonconformist divine, was born at Hexham-on-Tyne on the 9th of April 1830, his father being a stonemason. He managed to pick up a fair education, which in after-life he constantly supplemented. In the revolutionary years from 1845 to 1850 young Parker as a local preacher and temperance orator gained a reputation for vigorous utterance. He was influenced by Thomas Cooper, the Chartist, and Edward Miall, the Liberationist, and was much associated with Joseph Cowen, afterwards M. P. for Newcastle. In the spring of 1852 he wrote to Dr John Campbell, minister of Whitefield Tabernacle, Moorfields, London, for advice as to entering the Congregational ministry, and after a short probation he became Campbell's assistant. He also attended lectures in logic and philosophy at University College, London. From 1853 to 1858 he was pastor at Banbury. His next charge was at Cavendish Street, Manchester, where he rapidly made himself felt as a power in English Nonconformity. While here he published a volume of lectures entitled Church Questions, and, anonymously, Ecce Deus (1868), a work provoked by Seeley's Ecce Homo. The university of Chicago conferred on him the degree of D.D. In 1869 he returned to London as minister of the Poultry church, founded by Thomas Goodwin. Almost at once he began the scheme which resulted in the erection of the great City Temple in Holborn Viaduct. It cost £70,000, and was opened on the 19th of May 1874. From this centre his influence spread far and wide. His stimulating and original sermons, with their notable leaning towards the use of a racy vernacular, made him one of the best known personalities of his time. Dr Parker was twice chairman of the London Congregational Board and twice of the Congregational Union of England and Wales. The death of his second wife in 1899 was a blow from which he never fully recovered, and he died on the 28th of November 1902.

Parker was pre-eminently a preacher, and his published works are chiefly sermons and expositions, chief among them being City Temple Sermons (1869-1870) and The People's Bible, in 25 vols. (1885-1895). Other volumes include the autobiographical Springdale Abbey (1869), The Inner Life of Christ (1881), Apostolic Life (1884), Tyne Chylde: My Life and Teaching (1883; new ed., 1889), A Preacher's Life (1899).

See E. C. Pike, Dr Parker and his Friends (1905); Congregational Year-Book (1904).