In his day, Dr. Joseph S. Edie, M. D., was a venerable and esteemed elder of the Presbyterian Church at Christiansburg, Va.
He was born in Brooke county, Virginia on November 27th, 1798, and graduated at Hampden Sidney College in 1825.
About that time he came to Christiansburg as a teacher. Here he entered at once with great energy upon Christian work, and established the first Sabbath School in the place. Subsequently he established another school on Mr. Van Lear’s place on the North Fork of Roanoke, and did much in circulating tracts and religious reading among the people. After the organization of the Church at Christiansburg, in which he exerted a strong influence, he went to teach school in Lewisburg, Virginia, and pursued the study of medicine. During an absence of several years he taught also at Union, Monroe county, and completed his medical course in Cincinnati, Ohio. He returned to Christiansburg in 1832, and continued in the practice of his profession there for the remainder of his life.
He was a member of the Presbyterian church at Christiansburg for over fifty-six years, and a ruling elder for forty-nine years. “It is,” said his pastor, “perhaps enough to add that during all this time the church has never had a more valued or valuable member or officer. His name will be linked especially with the names of R. D. Montague and William Wade, and it is no disparagement to those excellent men and women who have stood with them, to say that to these three men, more than to any others, is due, under God, the success of the church in all its early struggles, and in much of its subsequent history. The church has never had in it men more devoted to its interests, or men of greater piety, weight of character and practical wisdom.”
Words to Live By:
Every good church has those faithful men and women who really are the ones who keep the church operating and who get things done, not for themselves, but selflessly and for the whole congregation. Remember to pray for these saints.
If you have any appreciation for Presbyterian works that came out of the nineteenth-century—works by men like Archibald Alexander, Samuel Miller, Charles Hodge, and so many more—then you owe a debt of gratitude to the Rev. William M. Engles. From 1838 until 1863—key years in Presbyterian publishing—Rev. Engles selflessly served as the head of the Presbyterian Board of Publication, and it was under his leadership that this institution produced some of the very best works issued in that era. No rash claim, it was said at his funeral that, “So far, indeed, as any one man can deserve such preeminence, he might justly be called the founder of the Presbyterian literature of this country.”
William Morrison Engles was born in Philadelphia on October 12th, 1797. His father was Captain Silas Engles, of the Revolutionary Army; his mother was Anna (Patterson) Engles, a lady from a distinguished family. Both parents were noted for their intelligence and for their accomplishments. William graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1815, studied theology with Dr. Samuel Brown Wylie, of the Reformed Presbyterian denomination, and was licensed by the Presbytery of Philadelphia on October 18th, 1818. Then on July 6th, 1820, he was ordained and installed as pastor of the Seventh Presbyterian Church, also known as the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church. Here his ministry was faithful and successful, but in 1834 he was obliged to resign, on account of a diseased throat.
From the pulpit he stepped into the editorial chair, succeeding Dr. James W. Alexander as editor of The Presbyterian, in which post he continued, until the day of his death, for thirty-three years. Under his supervision this newspaper attained an increased circulation and a high reputation as the leading organ of the Old School party. Then in May of 1838, Rev. Engles was appointed editor of the Board of Publication for the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., which post he held for twenty-five years, while yet retaining the editorship of The Presbyterian. In 1840, he was chosen to serve as Moderator of the General Assembly for the Old School wing of the PCUSA, and then filled the office of Stated Clerk for six years. His death, from an obscure disease of the heart, occurred on November 27, 1867, passing into glory at the age of 71.
Dr. Engles owed his reputation more to his pen than to his pulpit. He was too quiet and didactic to be a popular preacher. But to say nothing of his editorial success, to him the Board of Publication was more indebted than to any other individual, according to its own acknowledgment. He took an active part in its inception and progress. He not only rescued from oblivion various valuable works, in danger of becoming obsolete, but added to the Board’s issues a number of treatises from his own prolific pen. As these were published anonymously, they cannot here be specified. Mention, however, may be made of the little volume, entitled Sick Room Devotions which has proved of inestimable service, and The Soldier’s Pocket Book, of which three hundred thousand copies were circulated during the war.
Words to Live By: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” – 1 Peter 5:4.
Of Rev. Engles, it was noted that he “was exceedingly averse to anything that savored of mere eulogy or panegyric upon his own services”, so much so that even his own funeral service would not have been attempted but for the urgings of numerous friends.
Let your eye be fixed upon the heavenly goal; let your work here on earth, whatever that may be, be a work done as unto the Lord, and not with an eye to the applause of the world.
He has a number of “firsts” associated with signers of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. He was the only physician who signed that historic document. He was the only Presbyterian signer who was born in America. He was the first professor of Chemistry in America at the Philadelphia College. Who else can claim to have cured an epidemic of yellow fever in Philadelphia? He was considered the father of American Psychiatry. He was a founder of the Philadelphia Bible Society. Who was he? If you answered Benjamin Rush, pat yourself on the back.
Born December 24, 1745 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this fourth of seven children into an Episcopal home, he often went with his mother after the death of his father to Rev. Gilbert Tennent’s congregation in that eastern Pennsylvania city. Benjamin’s mother, under the latter’s influence, reared her son in Calvinistic principles. He memorized the Westminster Shorter Catechism in his youth.
Early education was provided by Rev. Samuel Finney, later a president of the College of New Jersey. Indeed, after training at West Nottingham Academy, Benjamin studies and graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1760.
On January 2, 1776, Rush married Julia Stockton, the youngest daughter of Richard Stockton, a fellow signer of the Declaration. They were married by the Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon, president of the College of New Jersey and a fellow signer of the Declaration as well. On July 4, 1776, Benjamin Rush placed his signature on the Declaration of Independence. Indeed, he followed up that action by serving as a physician with the Continental Army, and in combat at Trenton and Princeton.
Later in the 1780′s, the good doctor and patriot persuaded his fellow Presbyterians to establish Dickinson College, in Carlisle Pennsylvania.
We must acknowledge in this essay that while he received much training in both youth and adulthood, his convictions about Presbyterians were more passive than an active following. That would explain how he later on in life transferred his membership to the Episcopalian faith and even some branches of the Universalist church before finally coming back to the Presbyterian faith. Still in all of these moves, there was a love for the Bible, which he read daily, an esteem for Christ, to say nothing of Christian conduct. He would often mention the name of Jesus Christ in his writings, lectures, and letters.
He passed away in 1813 and was buried in Christ Church cemetery.
Words to live by: There seems to be no doubt that Benjamin Rush was a consecrated Christian, albeit there were times when he disagreed with denominational figures. Still the training he received as a youth had a way of coming back into his life and making an impression there for true doctrine. This should encourage all Christian parents to both teach and live Christ, and Hims crucified, before their families. God is faithful, and will bring fruit, although it may be long in coming to our children. See Proverbs 22:6.
From The Christian Observer, vol. 52, no. 40 (1 October 1873): 1, column 6.
Rev. S. J. P. Anderson, D.D.
The life of Dr. Anderson, up to the time of his failing health, and retirement from the ministry, had been one of remarkable success. He was born in Prince Edward county, Virginia, on December 5th, 1814, the son of Sterling C. Anderson, of Appomattox, VA. The early years of his life were spent in the country, on the farm of his father, where, at a village school, and with the aid of a tutor at home, he was prepared for college. In 1831, he went to the University of Ohio, at Athens, and afterwards to Hanover College, Indiana, where he graduated in 1835. His theological course was pursued at Union Theological Seminary.
[Above right: One of several images of the Rev. S.J.P. Anderson preserved at the PCA Historical Center. The actor Henry Fonda bore a striking resemblance, don’t you agree?]
The first charge of Dr. Anderson was at Danville, Virginia, where he remained five years, the pastor of a large and constantly increasing congregation. From Danville, he removed to Norfolk, VA, where he soon took rank as one of the ablest and most effective preachers in that State—so famous for its preachers.
After remaining five years at Norfolk, he was called to St. Louis, and in 1851 was engaged as the pastor of the Central Presbyterian church in that city. At the time that Dr. Anderson took charge of the church it was far from being in a prosperous condition. It was yet in its infancy, few in numbers, embarrassed with debt, and greatly afflicted by the death of its first pastor, Rev. Alexander Van Court, of precious memory! The task before him was a difficult one; but, by faithful preaching and earnest work, with the blessing of God, he was enabled to accomplish it with success. Under his ministry the church grew steadily, was increased by considerable accessions from time to time, until it became, at length, one of the largest and most influential churches in the city.
It is not too much to say of Dr. Anderson, that he was, in his day, a man of eminent usefulness and power in the ministry. He was a preacher of marked ability—earnest, evangelical and eloquent. He was a man of fine scholarship, large reading, and almost faultless taste; his mind was richly stored, not only with biblical, but also with historical learning, and the whole was laid under contribution to the pulpit. His sermons were not only sound and able, as expositions of gospel truth, but they were usually finished productions as they came from his hand, abounding in happy illustration, delivered in a pleasing, captivating style, and with a voice the richness and sweetness of whose tones lent a charm to every word that he uttered. It was indeed a strange providence as we look at it, which, before he had passed the meridian of his life, when he was yet in the vigor of his manhood, and in the full tide of his popularity and success, prostrated his health, deprived him of his voice, and consigned him to retirement and silence. But there can be no doubt that it was meant in wisdom and love. It was of the nature of the disease that Dr. Anderson suffered and of which he died, greatly to depress his spirits, and the latter years of his life were in consequence passed under a cloud of despondency and melancholy which never wholly cleared away, until the Master sent him the glad message of dismissal, and called him to “Come up higher.”
Amid all the clouds and darkness, however, that gathered about him, his hope of salvation was never for a moment obscured. He was wont to speak often of this as one of the sweet tokens of the favor of God. Everything else in his condition seemed to him to be dark and hopeless, but this blessed assurance of a personal interest in Christ never forsook him. Never did the sky grow so dark above him, but this bright star still trembled on the horizon of his hopes. His faith in Christ was firm as a rock to the last, and simple as that of a little child; his trust was solely on that precious blood that cleanseth from all sin, and he felt that he had nothing to fear. Death, the last enemy, whom we all so dread to meet, was disarmed of its terrors to him.–Old School Presbyterian. The Rev. S.J.P. Anderson breathed his last on September 10, 1873.
[The Central Presbyterian Church began as the Fourth Presbyterian Church in 1844 and acquired its present name in 1846 when it met in a small building at 6th and St. Charles Streets. Early clergy included Rev. Joseph Templeton and Rev. Alexander Vancourt, Rev. S. J. P. Anderson, and Rev. Robert G. Brank. In 1849 it moved to its own building at 8th and Locust where it remained until 1873. At that time it moved to a temporary chapel at the NE corner of Lucas and Garrison. Forced to retire a few years earlier, 1873 was also the year of Rev. S.J.P. Anderson’s death. A new church was built at the Lucas and Garrison location in 1876. This building was used until 1906 when the congregation moved to Delmar and Clara. The church is currently located at the corner of Hanley Road and Davis Drive in Clayton, Missouri. The architect’s drawing at left shows the church’s last building as envisioned by the architect, though the tall spire was never installed.]
Words to Live By: Man knows not his time. The Lord may call tomorrow, or our time may come many years from now; but surely we will all die. Keep your accounts current and be diligent, day by day, in what the Lord gives you to do. “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, NASB)
Published works of the Rev. S.J.P. Anderson—
1845 The influence of the Bible on liberty: an address, delivered before the Union Society of Hampden Sidney College, September 18, 1845. Richmond, H.K. Ellyson, 1845. 32pp.
“Form and Spirit,” in The Southern Presbyterian Review, 4.2 (October 1850) 177-197.
“The Variety of Shakespeare, in The Southern Presbyterian Review, 4.3 (January 1851) 343-357.
“The Unity of the Human Race, in The Southern Presbyterian Review, 5.4 (April 1852) 572-601.
“Commemorative Discourse,” in A memorial of the Rev. Stephen Griffith Gassaway, A. M. : late Rector of St. George’s Church, Saint Louis. St. Louis: Printed at the “Missouri Democrat” Office, 1854.
1858 The Power of a Christian Literature : a sermon on behalf of the Assembly’s Board of Publication. Philadelphia : Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1858. 34pp.
“The Fulness of Time, in The Southern Presbyterian Review, 11.4 (January 1859) 556-570.
1861 The Dangers and Duties of the Present Crisis! : A Discourse, delivered in the Union Church, St. Louis, January 4, 1861. St. Louis, Mo.: Schenck, 1861. 18pp. To view this title, available on the Web, click here.
The hour being late, today’s entry is drawn directly from Alfred Nevin’s Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church (p. 333), with just a little elaboration.
Third in an Illustrious Line of Medical Doctors
H. Lenox Hodge was born in Philadelphia, July 30th, 1838. His father was the eminent physician, Dr. Hugh L. Hodge. [His uncle was the equally eminent Princeton Seminary professor, Dr. Charles Hodge]. Lenox received a collegiate education, which terminated in 1855, in his native city, and afterwards studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1858.
In the Fall of the same year he became resident physician of the Pennsylvania Hospital, retaining that office till the Spring of 1860, when he opened an office for the practice of medicine in Philadelphia. He was appointed Demonstrator of Surgery in the University of Pennsylvania, and, in 1861 commenced giving instruction to private classes, on Chestnut Street, between Ninth and Tenth Streets, and subsequently lectured in Chant Street, on Anatomy and Operative Surgery. During the Civil War, Dr. Hodge served at West Philadelphia’s Satterlee Hospital, and he was also attached to the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps of Surgeons, serving as a field surgeon at Yorktown, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. In 1870 he was appointed Demonstrator of Anatomy in the University of Pennsylvania, and was, for nearly ten years, attending surgeon at the Children’s Hospital. At the opening of the Presbyterian Hospital, in 1872, he was appointed attending surgeon to that institution.
Dr. Hodge, by his talents, industry, integrity and energy, attained a high rank in his profession. He was a gentleman of polished address and peculiar benevolence. For a number of years he was an exemplary, active and useful ruling elder in the Second Presbyterian Church. Removed by death, in the midst of his years, June 10th, 1881 [surviving his uncle by not quite three years, Charles Hodge dying in 1878], he bore his last and lingering illness with marked resignation, and left the record of one who had adorned all the relations of life by his cultivated intellect, kind disposition, and exemplary Christian character. At the time of his decease he was a member of many medical societies and associations.
Words to Live By:
When we think of Christians who are, or were, medical doctors, the easy association is to the New Testament author, Luke, who wrote one of the four Gospels, as well as the Book of Acts. Next to the pulpit ministry, the medical profession is perhaps preeminently an appropriate one for Christians, focused as it is on the art and science of healing. As much as we need to be reminded to pray for our pastors, don’t we also need to be praying for doctors and other medical professionals? In a culture that seems fixated on death (Prov. 8:36), Christians in the medical profession face unique challenges today.
For Further Study:
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia maintains an archival collection of Dr. Hodge’s case notebooks. The finding aid for that collection can be viewed here.
H. Lenox Hodge was buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. His gravesite, with an accompanying photograph, can be viewed here.
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On August 27th, 1820, the Rev. Sylvester Larned appeared for the last time before the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans. He had remained in the city during the summer’s “sickly season.” Death from fever was everywhere, and Rev. Larned has spent those weeks and months ministering to the city’s poor who […]
Dr. Woolley’s series of articles on Presbyterians in America continues today with a focus on the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Bible Presbyterian Church. Our Monday and Tuesday posts will conclude this series. Do keep in mind that these articles were written in the early 1950s and so much has changed since that time. V […]