Among the early preachers in Wesley's connexion was the Rev. John Edwards, born at Shrewsbury, but converted under the preaching of the Rev. George Whitefield. He was located for a time at Leeds, where the Society was much divided, and their discords were a subject of deep complaint from Wesley himself. As Edwards's views more resembled those of Whitefield than Wesley, he and many others withdrew themselves, and formed a separate congregation, much increased by defections from Call Lane. For them a chapel was erected, called White, or Whitehall Chapel. Mr. Scales says of his predecessor : "He was a good and holy man, a faithful preacher, and an earnest advocate of the doctrines of grace. Some, indeed, who were not well-affected to those doctrines, represented his preaching as licentious in its tendency But the good man's holy life and labours did far more than all beside to silence all such injurious aspersions, and to prove his to be the doctrine which is according to godliness." In his day the maintainers of evangelical doctrine were comparatively few; but those few were highly esteemed. Some persons came even from Bradford to profit by Mr. E.'s ministry. His chapel soon became too small to accommodate his hearers, and was enlarged. In the latter years of his life* the Rev. Edward Parsons (Trevecca Academy) became his assistant. He died Feb. 17, 1785, æt. 70.
He was the editor of a "Vindication of Doctrine of Justification," by Traill. 1753.
On his death, Rev. EDWARD PARSONS succeeded him. After a few years a new chapel appeared desirable. Salem Chapel was accordingly built, near to the place of the former sanctuary. But some were still attached to the old locality, and they invited Rev. GEORGE WILSON, from Durham, to be their minister (1792). After a few years he resigned his office (1805).
- 1806. Rev. WILLIAM ECCLES, from Rotherham Academy. Mr. Eccles was a man of sincere piety, and the congregation increased under his ministry. He became secretary to the West Riding Auxiliary Missionary Society, in which department his labours were very effective. In 1818 he accepted the charge of a chapel in Camberwell, London, after a twelve years' ministry at Leeds.-(See HOPTON.)
- 1819. Rev. THOMAS SCALES, from Wolverhampton, The mention of his name in the West Riding of Yorkshire will always be attended with strong expressions of esteem and respect. As a minister of Christ he was eminent for devotedness and zeal. These excellencies were by no means confined to his own pastoral circle, but were widely and beneficially extended wherever need might be. The various public institutions were largely and beneficially indebted to the labours of one who, though intelligently attached to the principles of his own denomination, was catholic in his views, and most efficient as a worker. Among other most important services the establishment and maintenance of Silcoates School for the education of the children of Independent ministers and missionaries, will be remembered with peculiar gratitude.
- In such a work as this, it is incumbent to record that much of the varied information therein contained, is due to the research and assiduity with which Mr. Scales treasured up information relative to the Congregational body. Had he been permitted to complete his materials, for which his very busy life afforded little leisure, the result would have been doubtless a production more worthy of the body of which it is a memorial.
- Mr. Scales was a native of Leeds, and was educated for the ministry at Hoxton Academy. He married, as his first wife, the daughter of his esteemed tutor, the Rev. Dr. Simpson.
- In 1825, the necessity of increased accommodation for the congregation rendered the erection of a new chapel necessary. The locality was altered to Queen Street, and the chapel, then the largest in the Riding, was opened April 27, 1825.
- When, in 1849, increase of years and infirmities rendered Mr. Scales's retirement necessary, he became chaplain (for a time) of Silcoates School, and then retired to Gomersal till his death, 1860.
- 1850. Rev. WILLIAM GUEST. Mr. Guest's ministry was ardent and active. After ten years' pastorate, however, he was compelled to retire, and he left Leeds for Taunton, 1860.
- 1861. Rev. WILLIAM THOMAS (Rotherham Acy.), from Bradford. The present minister (in 1868).
* In the memoir of Rev. S. Bradburn, a preacher among the early Methodists, he states that when he was sent to Bradford in the year 1781, the then new Independent pulpit was offered to him, which he declined. Also that Mr. Edwards's congregation repeatedly and pressingly urged him to become co-pastor with Mr. E., and that Mr. E. himself joined in the request. He refused, however, to leave the Methodist body.