FOSTER, JAMES: English dissenting minister; b. at Exeter Sept. 16, 1697; d. in London Nov. 5, 1753. He was educated at the free school, and at an academy, in Exeter, where he began preaching in 1718. After holding several obscure and precarious charges he came to London in 1724 as the colleague of Joseph Burroughs at the chapel in the Barbican. In 1728 he became Sunday evening lecturer at the Old Jewry and in 1744 pastor of the independent church at Pinners' Hall He took part in a number of theological controversies and enjoyed a great reputation as a pulpit orator. He is mentioned by Pope in the epilogue to the Satires, and it was a proverbial saying that "those who had not heard Farinelli sing and Foster preach were not qualified to appear in genteel company." Though Foster defended the historical evidences of Christianity against the views of Tindal, he was himself essentially a deist and rationalist. Besides numerous sermons, included in a collected edition, Sermons (4 vols., London, 1755), he published, An Essay on Fundamentals (London, 1720), in which he maintained that the doctrine of the Trinity is not essential; The Usefulness, Truth, and Excellency of the Christian Revelation (1731), a reply to Tindal; and Discourses on All the Principal Branches of Natural Religion and Social Virtue (2 vols., 1749-52), which had 2,000 subscribers.