Chandler was born at Hungerford in Berkshire, where his father was a minister. He was sent to school at Gloucester, where he began a lifelong friendship with Bishop Butler and Archbishop Secker; and he afterwards studied at Leiden. His talents and learning were such that he was elected fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian Societies, and was made DD of Edinburgh and Glasgow. He also received offers of high preferment in the Church of England. These he refused, remaining to the end of his life in the position of a Presbyterian minister. He was moderately Calvinistic in his views and leaned towards Arianism.
Chandler took a leading part in the deist controversies of the time, and discussed with some of the bishops the possibility of an act of comprehension. From 1716 to 1726 he preached at Peckham, and for forty years he was pastor of the Old Jewry meeting-house. During two or three years, having fallen into pecuniary distress through the failure of the South Sea scheme, he kept a book-shop in the Poultry.
On the death of George II in 1760 Chandler published a sermon in which he compared the late king to King David. This view was attacked in a pamphlet entitled The History of the Man after God's own Heart, in which the author complained of the parallel as an insult, and, following Pierre Bayle, exhibited King David as an example of perfidy, lust and cruelty. Chandler replied first in a review of the tract (1762) and then in A Critical History of the Life of David.
Chandler left four volumes of sermons (1768), and a paraphrase of the Epistles to the Galatians and Ephesians (1777), several works on the evidences of Christianity, and various pamphlets against Roman Catholicism.
- "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 22 December 2010.