He was a typologist, who believed that all the world's myths were corrupted versions of the original stories in the Bible, and an advocate of Day-Age Theory. He was a contemporary of John Nelson Darby and his writings had an influence on Dispensationalism.
Faber, eldest son of the Rev. Thomas Faber, vicar of Calverley, Yorkshire, by Anne, daughter of the Rev. David Traviss, was born at Calverley parsonage on 25 Oct. 1773, and educated at Hipperholme Grammar School, near Halifax, where he remained until he went to Oxford. On 10 June 1789 he matriculated from University College, being then only in his sixteenth year; he was elected a scholar on 25 March following, and took his B.A. degree when in his twentieth year. On 3 July 1793 he was elected a fellow and tutor of Lincoln College. He proceeded M.A. 1796 and B.D. 1803, served the office of proctor in 1801, and in the same year as Bampton lecturer preached a discourse, which he published under the title of Horæ Mosaicæ.
By his marriage, 31 May 1803, with Eliza Sophia, younger daughter of Major John Scott-Waring of Ince, Cheshire, he vacated his fellowship, and for the next two years acted as his father's curate at Calverley. In 1805 he was collated by Bishop Barrington to the vicarage of Stockton-on-Tees, which he resigned three years afterwards for the rectory of Redmarshall, also in Durham, and in 1811 he was presented by the same prelate to the rectory of Longnewton, in the same county, where he remained twenty-one years. Bishop Burgess collated him to a prebendal stall in Salisbury Cathedral in 1830, and Bishop van Mildert gave him the mastership of Sherburn Hospital in 1832, when he resigned the rectory of Longnewton. At Sherburn he devoted a very considerable part of his income to the permanent improvement of the hospital estates, and at his death left the buildings and the farms in perfect condition.
Throughout his career he strenuously advocated the evangelical doctrines of the necessity of conversion, justification by faith, and the sole authority of scripture as the rule of faith. By this conduct, as well as by his able writings, he obtained the friendship of Bishop Burgess, Bishop van Mildert, Bishop Barrington, the Marquis of Bath, Lord Bexley, and Dr. Routh.
His work on The Origin of Pagan Idolatry, 1816, is præ-scientific in its character. He considers that all the pagan nations worshipped the same gods, who were only deified men. This began at the Tower of Babel, and the triads of supreme gods among the heathens represent the three sons of Noah. He also wrote on the Arkite Egg’ and some of his views on this subject may likewise be found in his Bampton Lectures. His treatises on the Revelations and on the Seven Vials belong to the older school of prophetic interpretation, and the restoration of Napoleon in 1815 was brought into his scheme.
His books on the primitive doctrines of election and justification retain some importance. He laid stress on the evangelical view of these doctrines in opposition to the opinion of contemporary writers of very different schools, such as Vicesimus Knox and Joseph Milner. His works show some research and careful writing, but are not of much permanent value. He died at Sherburn Hospital, near Durham, 27 January 1854, and was buried in the chapel of the hospital on 1 February His wife died at Sherburn House 28 November 1851, aged 75.
His works include:
Many of these works were answered in print, and among those who wrote against Faber's views were Thomas Arnold, Shute Barrington (bishop of Durham), Christopher Bethell (bishop of Gloucester), George Corless, James Hatley Frere, Richard Hastings Graves, Thomas Harding (vicar of Bexley), Frederic Charles Husenbeth, Samuel Lee, D.D., Samuel Roffey Maitland, D.D., N. Nisbett, Thomas Pinder Pantin, Le Pappe de Trévern, and Edward William Whitaker.
He also coined the following words: