The name that will ever stand most prominent in connection with the founding and the work of the early years of the San Francisco Theological Seminary is that of Rev. Dr. W.A. Scott. Coming to California in the days of the pioneers, his mind at once averted to the necessity of such an institution, and when the time came for its establishment he was an able advocate for it; and after the Seminary was started no one else did so much to carry it through its years of weakness and struggle. He was not only a Professor to give instruction to the students, but he was also President of the Faculty, of the Directors and of the Trustees. In all these places he was found competent and untiring in labors, while he ever looked to God in faith and prayer to direct and prosper the cause. For almost fourteen years he carried on this work in connection with the onerous duties of a large church, and he lived to see the Seminary comfortably housed in its home on Haight street, San Francisco, and well started on its way to the greater prosperity that has come to it in later years.
He was a man of able and diversified talents, and comparatively few men exercise so great an influence in so many different fields as did he.
Dr. W.A. Scott was of Scotch-Irish parentage, and was born at Rock Creek, Tenn., January 31, 1813. He died in San Francisco, Cal., January 14, 1885, at the age of 72.
He entered Cumberland College, Ky., while still young and graduated with distinction in 1833. In 1833-4 he was a student in Princeton Theological Seminary, N.J. He received the degree of D.D. from the University of Alabama in 1844, and that of LL.D. from the University of New York in 1872.
He united with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1828, and at the early age of 17 he was licensed to preach. For a year before entering college he labored as a Home Missionary in various places in Tennessee. He was chaplain in the army during the Black Hawk War, and in that service encountered many hardships and dangers. After about two years of labor in this way he was ordained, May 17, 1835, in Alexandria, La.
Dr. Scott was also engaged in various lines of literary work. He had a large library, was a voracious reader, and had at ready command a vast store of knowledge. For three years he conducted and edited the “Pacific Expositor,” a religious monthly, and he helped to establish and sustain “The Occident,” which was for many years the organ of the Presbyterian Church on the Pacific Coast. He took much interest in matters of science and was a friend of Professor Louis Agassiz, the distinguished scientist.
He was a prolific writer and published several books. Among these are “The Christ of the Apostles’ Creed,” “Strauss and Renan,” “The Wedge of Gold,” The Giant Judge,” “The Bible and Politics,” “Esther, the Hebrew-Persian Queen,” “Achan in El Dorado,” “The Pentateuch,” etc.
He was a great traveler also, and had traversed the Holy Land, Arabia, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, the Continent of Europe and other countries. In this he gathered up much interesting knowledge of the world, with which he enriched his preaching and his writings. He was well versed in ancient and modern literature, and studied and read eleven languages. Dr. Scott was eminently a great preacher.
Soon after his ordination he became pastor of the church of which General Jackson became a communing member. This was at the Hermitage of General Jackson, and was supported largely by the General, who was a warm friend of Dr. Scott.
From there he went to the Presbyterian Church at Tuscaloosa, Ala., and in 1842 he was called to succeed Dr. John Breckenridge as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans. He drew to this church many influential men, and under his ministrations, it became the larges and wealthiest church in the South.
His arduous labors impaired his health at different times, and, that he might recuperate, his friends twice sent him to travel in Europe and the Orient. During these trips they continued his salary, paid his traveling expenses and supplied his pulpit.
On account of broken health he came to San Francisco in 1854 and founded Calvary Presbyterian Church. Under his leadership this became the strongest Presbyterian church on the Coast, and remained so for many years. In 1858 he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, which met in New Orleans.
He resigned his pastorate in 1861 and for two years traveled in Europe, during which time he was awhile in charge of the new John-street Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, England.
In 1863 he returned to America and became pastor of the Forty-second-street Presbyterian Church of New York. He was called back by his friends to San Francisco in 1870. Here he founded St. John’s Presbyterian Church. This grew to be large and influential, and he continued as its pastor until his death in 1885.
In the pulpit Dr. Scott was impressive. He was a man of large frame, massive brow and commanding presence. His face beamed with an expression of kindness, intelligence and earnestness. He had a sweet and powerful voice, that filled the largest building, and a ready command of language. His mind was a storehouse of truth, fact and illustration, and with convincing argument and impassioned eloquence he preached the gospel of salvation. Dr. Scott exercised great influence as an educator.
Soon after his ordination he established a Seminary for Young Ladies at Winchester, Tenn. From there he was called in 1833 to become President of the Nashville Female Seminary, which had between three hundred and four hundred students.
After coming to California, he took a leading part in founding and supporting University City College, and in later years University Mound College, both in San Francisco. These were for a time vigorous and growing schools for Christian education under the care of Presbyterians. And so the logical step next in order was to found a theological seminary. As has been seen, Dr. Scott was a prime mover in this.
It was in his mind to see such an institution founded when he first entered the Golden Gate in 1854. He was one of the two who determined in 1871 that such an institution should be founded and prepared the way for it. He presented the matter to the Synod in October of that year and his influence helped to persuade his brethren to undertake the great work. He was convener of the committee appointed to carry out the project, and in the final organization was placed at the head of the Directors and Faculty, and for many years he gave himself with all his energies and influence to its development.
He was from the first until the day of his death Professor of Systematic Theology and Mental and Moral Philosophy. He was well qualified for this position, not only by his eminent learning, but also by his “aptness to teach” and the deep interest he took in the students. He used to call them “His boys,” and they all felt that he was to them as a father. He won their unbounded love, respect and admiration, and with Mrs. Scott, often entertained them in his home. He was at the head of the Faculty, Directors and Trustees for fourteen years and thus took the leading part in directing the educational and financial affairs of the Seminary. He also wielded a great influence among Presbyterians and the public generally, and with voice and pen he did much to awaken among them a deeper interest in this School of the Prophets.
He was permitted to live to see this institution well established and with bright prospects before it, many of which have since been realized. The founding of the Seminary was doubtless his most important work and the crowning glory of his life. And under the favor of God it will ever remain his best and most enduring monument.
When Rev. Dr. William Alexander was called to his eternal home, June 28, 1906, there passed away the last of that noble band of Christian scholars who founded the San Francisco Theological Seminary. Not many men in the Presbyterian Church on the Pacific Coast have labored in so many departments of service, by such varied means, among so many people and over so wide a field as did he. In the home and on the farm, in the pulpit and on the platform, in religious publications and secular, in the councils of the church, as President of colleges, and in the Professor’s chair of our Seminary, his influence was felt with power and for good.
Dr. Alexander was born December 18, 1831, in Shirleyville, Pa. He was educated in Lafayette and Jefferson Colleges and Princeton Theological Seminary, and was thus by birth, environment and education fitted to take a prominent part in the work of the Presbyterian Church which he loved so well. He graduated from Jefferson (Now Washington and Jefferson) College in 1858 and from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1861. The University of Wooster, O., conferred upon him the degree of D.D. in 1876, and his Alma Mater LL.D. in 1902.
He was licensed 1860 by the Presbytery of Huntingdon and ordained June 10, 1862, by the Presbytery of Northumberland. He was Stated Supply and Pastor at Hollidays and Spruce Creek, Pa., 1860-62; President of Carroll College, Wis., while Stated Supply at Waukesha, 1862-64; Pastor in Beloit, Wis., 1864-69; San Jose, Cal., 1869-71; President of the University City College, San Francisco, 1871-74; and Professor in the San Francisco Theological Seminary, 1871-1906.
He was married in 1861 to Miss M.P. Osborne of Hudson, N.Y., and she and three sons survive him. Dr. Alexander was a strong preacher.
At Beloit, Wis., he succeeded in uniting and greatly strengthening two feeble churches, and in putting to confusion the forces of Spiritualism in that city. He preached a pure gospel, held fast to the form of sound words and earnestly contended for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. None who heard him was ever in doubt as to where he stood upon Biblical and theological questions. He also had much influence as a writer.
He wrote for the “Presbyterian Review” and many other magazines and papers. He edited the International Sabbath-School Lessons in one paper for three years, and had many sermons and addresses published. He delivered the principal address at the first inauguration of Professors, December 13, 1888, and again on April 27, 1897, at the celebration of the Quarter-Centennial Anniversary of the Seminary, he gave the historical address on “The Making of the Seminary.” He was also the author of “Nine Letters to Bishop McQuaid on Failure of Romanism,” and “Four Letters to General Geo. Stoneman on the Sunday Law.”
For two years he was President of Carroll College, Wis.; for four years of the University City College, San Francisco, and for thirty-five years he was a Professor in the San Francisco Theological Seminary. Here in our Seminary he did his greatest work, and with that institution his name will ever be associated and held in highest honor. Three names are closely associated with the inception and founding of the Seminary. Dr. W.A. Scott had it in mind when he entered the Golden Gate in 1854, and Dr. Alexander says in his anniversary address that Dr. Scott “actually began the work by founding the old City College” in 1859. The subject was discussed at a called meeting of the Synod of the Pacific in San Jose in December, 1869, when “Dr. George Burrowes announced his purpose to donate his fine library to such an institution, whenever it should be commenced.”
Dr. Alexander became President of the City College July 5, 1871, and had in one of his classes several young men who were studying for the ministry. He says in his anniversary address: “One evening, as I sat in my room, it came into my mind like an inspiration, that now was the time to start the Theological Seminary.” He had the constitutions of several of the Seminaries at hand, and he sat down that night and wrote out a Plan for such an institution, modeled largely after that of Princeton Seminary. He took this to Dr. Scott, who gave it his approval. They consulted further on the subject, presented the matter to Synod in October following, and the Synod took the necessary action to establish the Seminary at that meeting, as has been fully set forth at the beginning of this history of the Seminary.
Dr. Alexander was elected a Professor at the first meeting of the Board of Directors, November 7, 1871, and continued as such until his death, June 28, 1906. At different times he taught in almost every department, but when the California Chair of Church History was established be became its first incumbent and continued in that department as long as he lived.
For many years he received scarcely any remuneration for his services, and so taught in the City College and preached in the churches around the Bay in order to gain a support for himself and family. Yet he bore the burden cheerfully, and toiled on faithfully as though receiving a princely salary.
In addition to this Dr. Alexander set aside the best room in the City College as a classroom for the Seminary and several other rooms as lodging places for the students, while he and Mrs. Alexander opened up their home to the students that they might enjoy some of the genial atmosphere of the family circle.
Dr. Alexander was appointed by the Synod to assist the women in organizing the Women’s Synodical Missionary Society, which increases in numbers and influence constantly as the years go by. He was for a time Associate Editor of the “Presbyterian Review,” and in 1890 was appointed by the General Assembly to represent the Synod of the Pacific in the Committee on the Revision of the Confession of Faith. In 1889 he was granted a leave of absence for one year, and spent the time with Mrs. Alexander traveling and studying in Europe, the Holy Land and Egypt, that at the age of sixty-eight he might fit himself for better work in the Seminary.
He was planning work for
another year when the summons came to enter into rest. His work is
done, but his influence will continue, and his honored name will ever be
associated with this Seminary which he loved so well and for which he toiled
and prayed so long.
A third name ever to be held in remembrance as that as one of the founders of the San Francisco Theological Seminary is the name of Rev. Dr. George Burrowes.
He began his services as Professor of the Hebrew Language and Literature with the first term of the Seminary, and for almost a quarter of a century he continued his remarkable expositions of Scripture and in the manifestation of a beautiful Christina life.
Dr. Burrowes was born April 3, 1811, at Millham, near Trenton, New Jersey. He began his classical education at a school in Trenton, April, 1824, and was for a time a teacher at Allentown, New Jersey. In November, 1830, he entered Princeton College and graduated therefrom in September, 1832. He took the first honors of his class and delivered the Latin salutatory at the Commencement, and had also assigned to him an honorary speech in English on “The Importance of Mathematics in a College Course.”
In November following he began his studies at Princeton Theological Seminary and graduated in 1835. He united with the Presbyterian Church at Trenton, N.J., in April, 1827; was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, February, 1835, and was ordained and installed pastor at West Nottingham, Md., July, 1836. He preached here from 1835 till1850, and then went to Easton, Pa., as Professor of Latin and Greek in Lafayette College, which position he held for five years. He was pastor at Newtown, Pa., from April, 1857, to June, 1859.
Having been selected by the Board of Education of the Old School branch of the Presbyterian Church to engage in educational work in California, he left New York, July 5, 1859, and came by way of Panama to San Francisco, where he arrived July 28th.
He found our Presbyterian Church well established here and doing good work.
Dr. Scott was then pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church, and was in the prime of life and at the height of his renown and influence. Dr. Burrowes wrote that when he preached for him at night the large and beautiful audience room was literally packed with a congregation made up principally of “men in the vigor of life, all attentive and anxious to receive an instructive, orthodox gospel.”
Dr. Scott welcomed Dr. Burrowes to the Coast most heartily, assisted him greatly in getting started in his educational work and ever stood by him in it.
The object of Dr. Burrowes was to begin a work that should develop into a Presbyterian college. The school was started in the basement of Calvary Church with four boys.
When the first examinations
were held they showed that most thorough and excellent work had been done,
and the school began to increase rapidly, and soon out-grew its limited
quarters. Presbyterians realized that there was a good prospect of
securing a school of high order. Money was raised, a lot was purchased
on the corner of Stockton and Geary streets, and the City College building
was erected. The progress was remarkable, for within one year and
a half after the arrival of Dr. Burrowes there was established a college
with educational facilities superior to anything in California, and with
an attendance of one hundred and twenty students. The work continued
to prosper, and, looking toward the development of the college into university,
a site containing twenty-five acres of ground in South San Francisco was
donated to the Trustees of the City College for the purpose of establishing
a college thereon, and $31,250 were also given with it with which to erect
In 1865 Dr. Burrowes’ health broke down, and he was obliged to give up his work and return East to rest. The City College at that time had all modern educational appliances, was attended by one hundred and seventy students, and had an income above all expenses of about $3,000 per annum. This was the fruit of six years’ labor on the part of Dr. Burrowes and those who joined in with him.
He left San Francisco June 3, 1865, for the East, and remained there four years. While there, in 1866, he was reappointed a Professor at Lafayette College, in the department of Religious Instruction. His health having improved, he again turned his face toward California, and he arrived in San Francisco August 24, 1869. In the meantime, while the work was continued at the City College, a new college had been chartered for University Mount, and a fine Gothic building had been erected.
Upon his return Dr. Burrowes was offered the Presidency of the new college, which he accepted. The institution was opened for students in January, 1870, and soon a large number of them were in attendance. In addition to the thorough work during the week, there were classes for Bible study on the Sabbath and preaching by Dr. Burrowes.
He continued here for about three years with great success, but the work proved too laborious for him, and he resigned his position to devote his whole time to work in the San Francisco Theological Seminary. One behalf of the Board of Trustees, ex-Governor H.H. Haight, a Presbyterian Elder, and President of the Board of Trustees, addressed a letter to Dr. Burrowes, eulogizing the good work done by him, and conveying the grateful acknowledgement of the Board therefore and their good wishes for his future health and happiness.
Dr. Burrowes was elected to the chair of Hebrew Language and Literature in the San Francisco Theological Seminary December 4, 1871, and for about one year and a half filled the Professorship in connection with his work in the College.
This was the beginning of one of the most self-denying, most important, and most fruitful works of his whole life. The Seminary had no buildings, no grounds upon which to erect any, and no money to endow Professorships. But those who undertook the work were men of ability, perseverance and faith. The work of instruction was done by Rev. Drs. W.A. Scott, William Alexander, Daniel W. Poor and George Burrowes. The amount received by each one from the Seminary was only $300 or $400 a year, and Dr. Burrowes lived on this and on that little that he had saved up before.
Thus with hard work, sacrifice, love and faith, they laid foundations that made it possible to build up the grand institution we now have, and their example has stimulated others to labor and give for this most worthy School of the Prophets. The infirmities of old age made it necessary for Dr. Burrowes to cease from labor, and in 1890 he was made Emeritus Professor and retired on a salary sufficient to provide for all his wants and keep him in comfort. He continued with a good degree of health and strength, and occasionally preached or spoke at public gatherings. On April 3, 1894, his eight-third birthday, he tripped upon a rug in his room, and fell of the floor and fractured the head of his thigh bone. From the effects of this he died April 19th, and was buried April 21, 1895, in Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, Cal.
Dr. Burrowes was twice married—in early life to Miss Helena Parker, whose brother, Joel Parker, was twice Governor of New Jersey. She died November 29, 1848. He was married again in 1850 to Matilda M. Shadwell in Oxford, Pa.
Dr. Burrowes was remarkable both as a scholar and teacher. He took the first honors of his class at Princeton, and was a tutor in the College there while pursuing his theological studies in the Seminary. He was for five years a Professor in Lafayette College, and also its Vice-President. He founded and built up a noble collegiate institution in San Francisco, and aided in founding and firmly establishing the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which is now so well equipped for its work.
He was a fine linguist, read the classics like his mother tongue almost, and was an exceedingly apt teacher. His expositions of the Scriptures were remarkable. He always began his recitations with prayer, and ever strove to lead his pupils closer to the Savior and to have them filled with the Holy Spirit. His students loved him dearly, and when they would go to visit him after being out in the work it was his custom always to pray with them at parting, and place his hand upon their heads and give them a fatherly blessing.
He was a fine preacher also. He stuck close to the Gospel and presented the truth so as to interest and instruct both old and young. The degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by Washington College, Penn., in 1853.
He was a master of good English, wrote many articles for magazines and papers, and was the author of “A Commentary on the Song of Solomon,” “Octorata and Other Poems” and “Advanced Growth in Grace.” His commentary on the Song has been pronounced the best ever written.
He was a Christian of deep and humble piety, and had at various times all through his mature life remarkable religious experiences. He attributed them to the presence and influence of the Holy Spirit. After one of these experiences he wrote:
“Had I stood with Moses on the top of Pisgah my soul could hardly have had such delightful emotions as those now felt.” Again he wrote: “When I arise in the morning and come into my study, here I find Jesus already waiting for me, and I meet Him with delight of heart.” “I can scarcely conceive of anything more desirable in Heaven than merely to have these feelings made perfect, and the union with Jesus completed by my being brought to be with Him where He is to behold His glory.”
He had a strong “desire to depart and be with Christ,” and often said that when the summons came he would go with unspeakable delight. That desire was at last gratified, and he has gone to enjoy the Heavenly Home and loved ones there, as he wrote:
“All I love
Is gathered now in Heaven—my precious Lord,
And friends loved well as live.
Soon our soul
Shall from this body burst, bright with the rays
Of Christ our righteousness, and rise to shine
A star amid the morning stars of Heaven.”
One of the four original Professors of the San Francisco Theological Seminary who labored and made sacrifices to establish this institution was Rev. Daniel Warren Poor, D.D. For five years he gave himself most earnestly to this work, and the Presbyterian Church on this Coast will ever be greatly indebted to him for his valuable services.
Dr. Poor was the son of a missionary, and was born at Tillapally, Ceylon, August 21, 1818, and died October 11, 1897, in Newark, N.J., aged seventy-nine years. He graduated from Amherst College, Mass., 1837, and studied theology for two years in the Andover Theological Seminary in the same State. He was pastor of the Congregational Church at Fairhaven, Mass., 1843-49; Presbyterian Church, Newark, N.J., 1849-60; and of the First Church at Oakland, Cal., 1869-71.
He was elected Professor of Church History at the origin of the Seminary, November 7, 1871, and held the position until he resigned, August 14, 1876, to become Corresponding Secretary of the Board of Education in Philadelphia.
Dr. Poor was a scholarly man, and was especially proficient in the German language. Because of these qualifications he was chosen to translate and edit, in connection with Dr. Conway P. Wing, the Commentary on Second Corinthians in Schaff’s edition of “Lange’s Commentary,” 1868. He received D.D. from Princeton College in 1857,
He was also an able teacher. He was well versed in the history of the church, and had the faculty of making its study interesting. He was of a cheerful disposition, accustomed to look on the bright side, and often had some amusing and apt story to tell to brighten up the subject under consideration and to interest his students.
He received but small remuneration
for his services, as the Seminary had then no endowment. He preached
for some time at San Lorenzo, Cal., while carrying on his work in the Seminary,
organized the Union Church in that place, and led the congregation on to
build their beautiful house of worship. He was for seventeen years
the efficient Corresponding Secretary of the Board of Education and rendered
the Church excellent service in that position.
The supreme end for which a Theological Seminary exists is to prepare young men to make proclamation of the Gospel for the salvation of sinners. For this work they need not only to be instructed in the fundamental truths and doctrines of the Gospel, but also to be trained to deliver the message in the most effective manner and to do the work of a pastor most efficiently. A man well fitted to give such training was found in Rev. James Eells, D.D. He was a scholarly man, well versed in the word of God, and one who had had a wide and successful experience as preacher and pastor. He was thus prepared to give both the technical and practical instruction that men need for such a work, and also to inspire them with love for, and earnest devotion to, the cause of Christ.
The aim of the minister should be fruitage. Christ chose and ordained His Apostles that they “should go and bring forth fruit.” And a man who has been successful in this work himself should be able “to teach others also” how best to sow the seed, cultivate the field and reap the harvest.
For this reason Dr. Eells was chosen to give instruction in the department of Practical Theology. He brought rare gifts to the work and used them with good results during the time of his Professorship.
He came of good Presbyterian stock. His ancetor, Colonel Samuel Eells, came from England to America about 1660. His son, and his son’s sons for many generations, were Presbyterian ministers. There were four of them named James.
Dr. Eells was the sixth in this ministerial line, and his son James, who also became a Presbyterian minister, was the seventh.
Dr. Eells was born in Westmoreland, New York, August 27, 1822. He died in Cincinnati, Ohio, March 9, 1886, in the sixty-fourth year of his age.
Like many others, Dr. Eells had to make his own way in the world, and both before and after being in college he was engaged in teaching.
He went with his parents to Worthington, Ohio, when nine years of age. His father was a Home Missionary and later moved to Amherst, Ohio. This was near Oberlin, and Dr. Eells took the first years of his college course at Oberlin College. He entered the Junior class of Hamilton College, N.Y., in 1842, and graduated therefrom in 1844. Several years were spent thereafter in teaching. He then entered August Theological Seminary and graduated in 1851. He was married to Miss Emily Paige of Auburn the same year, with whom he lived and labored in the Master’s service for thirty-five years. She still survives him.
From the Seminary he went direct to become pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Penn Yan, N.Y. He remained there for four years, and became afterwards pastor of the following churches successively:--Second Church, Cleveland, O., 1855-59; Brooklyn, N.Y., Dutch Reformed, 1859-67; San Francisco First, 1867-70; Cleveland, O., Second, 1870-74; Oakland, Cal., 1874-79.
During the last two years in Oakland he also served the San Francisco Seminary as Professor of Practical Theology. In 1877 he was Moderator of the General Assembly at Chicago, which is the highest honor in that line our Church can bestow. In the same year he was a delegate to the first meeting of the Presbyterian Alliance of the World, which was held in Edinburgh, Scotland.
He received the degree of D.D. from the University of New York in 1861, and of LL.D. from Marietta College, Ohio, in 1881.
He resigned his charge in the Oakland church and the San Francisco Seminary in 1879 to accept the Professorship of Practical Theology in Lane Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio. He continued in that work preaching most of the time in different churches in the city also, until his death, March 9, 1886. He died suddenly of paralysis of the heart at his home in Cincinnati, and was buried at his old home in Cleveland.
The most marked results of his work were in the Oakland church. Under his wise pastorate the church that had almost been rent asunder was reunited. The membership increased from 116 to 404 in five years, and the present fine house of worship was built. He won hosts of friends, and his farewell reception was largely attended. At that gathering one of the prominent men of the city remarked to me “What a grand statesman Dr. Eells would have made had he turned his talents in that way.”
Dr. Eells rendered efficient service to the San Francisco Theological Seminary in three ways:--
First—He was for many years a Director. As such he took a deep interest in its welfare, gave wise counsel in directing its affairs, and devoted much time to its interests.
Secondly—He was at different times its Financial Agent. Even when at Lane Seminary he proposed to undertake to raise money for our Seminary, and his efforts did much toward securing the endowment for the first chair established therein.
Thirdly—He was for two or three years a Professor in this Seminary. For this work he was eminently qualified by his natural abilities, education, and his experience as a teacher and a pastor. And thus during the few years he was there he did much to help educate and fit the students of the Seminary for their life work in preaching the gospel.
Dr. Eells also assisted in founding and sustaining our church paper on this Coast, “The Occident,” and often wielded his facile pen in contributing to its columns and those of other periodicals.
In Dr. Eells there was a combination of excellent qualities. He was a man of commanding personality. He was tall, graceful and dignified in all his manner. His mental equipments, both natural and acquired, were of the first order. He was a superior preacher. He studied to know the gospel of salvation, and then, with warm heart, clearness of expression and moving eloquence, he delivered his message. As a Presbyter he was faithful and efficient and won the highest esteem and honors from his brethren.
It was the privilege of the writer to have been in his early ministry closely associated with Dr. Eells, and he found him ever taking a deep interest in his younger brethren especially, and ready to give counsel and help him in many ways.
Not long before his death he preached his last sermon to his old church in Cleveland, from the text: “After he had served his generation by the will of God, he fell asleep.” His last words on that occasion were, “Such men cannot die.” These words seemed almost prophetic, for the speaker had served his generation well, and soon after this he fell asleep.
His departure was a glorious
translation, for the Master whom he had served so well had a higher work
for him to do, and said to him, “Friend, come up higher.”
In Dr. Lindsley we have an example of the kind of men who believed in having a Theological Seminary on the Pacific Coast and who labored for its establishment and success. He had a vision of the future greatness of the Coast in material things, and realized the need there was of the gospel to enlighten men in spiritual and moral truths and to move their hearts to live in accordance therewith.
And so when he came to the
Coast his energies were turned first to the building up of the church to
which he was called to minister in Portland, Oregon. Then he labored
to found other churches in that city, to organize the great Northwest for
Christian work, to bring laborers into the field, and to extend the Church
of Christ into the vast regions of our then newly acquired possessions
Having finished the work that was given him to do in these fields, he devoted the remaining years of his life to labor in our Theological Seminary. As one wrote of him after his death: “At the age of seventy he had created out of the slenderest conditions a Presbyterian province that bids fair to rival New Jersey or Pennsylvania in stability of Christian institutions and affluence of Christian products, and was able to pass with hearty public approval to the exercise of the highest permanent function of the Christian ministry—that of Professor in a Theological Seminary.”
A.L. Lindsley was born in Troy, N.Y., March 4, 1817. He died in Portland, Oregon, August 12, 1891. Owing to the premature death of his father, he was left to depend upon himself, but nevertheless started on a college course, with the purpose of becoming a civil engineer. He was converted while in college and then devoted himself to the ministry. After graduating from Union College he attended Union Theological Seminary for a part of his course, but graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1846. He was ordained in May, 1846, and in the same month was married to Miss Julia West, an accomplished young lady of New York City, with whom he lived happily for forty-five years.
Immediately after his marriage he went as a Home Missionary to Wisconsin, and helped to lay the foundation of Presbyterianism in that State—then a Territory. He aided in establishing the first Presbytery and Synod in Wisconsin, and also Carroll College at Waukesha. After six years of labor there he returned East and spent sixteen years as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in South Salem, N.Y., where his memory is still revered for his devoted and successful service.
Having received a second call to the First Presbyterian Church of Portland, Oregon, he accepted, and crossed the plains to the Pacific Coast, arriving in Portland in July, 1868. He had then passed the so-called “dead line,” being fifty-one years of age, but it was after this that he did his greatest work. He remained in Portland eighteen years. When he came the First Church had but eighty-seven members. While there seven hundred and forty-five members were received into it, eight new Presbyterian Churches were started in the city which drew largely upon the membership and wealth of the First, and when he resigned there were four hundred and twenty-three still remaining in it.
Dr. Lindsley had the true missionary spirit and bent his energies to the development of the great Northwest. In this he was sustained by the strong men of his own church. At the close of his pastorate $240,000 had been expended by that church in benevolent work, and the Presbytery with fourteen ministers had developed into a Synod with fifty-two members, he himself having organized no less than twenty-two churches.
Dr. Lindsley’s missionary zeal led him to found the missions in Alaska, which he carried on at his own expense for a long period before the Board relieved him. He sent J.C. Mallory as the first Protestant missionary to Alaska in May, 1877. In August following Mrs. McFarland, a member of his church, was also sent by Dr. Lindsley as the first teacher to Alaska. In 1879, commissioned by the Presbytery of Oregon, he went to Alaska, and on August 3d organized at Fort Wrangell the first American church in that distant territory.
In addition to his multifarious duties as already outlined, he found time to labor zealously in behalf of reform schools, Christian education, the Chinese and the aborigines; and his pastoral work, which was always first in his heart, ever received his ardent and faithful care. It was a great and good work that he accomplished during these eighteen years of strenuous life.
Dr. Lindsley received his degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1868, and his degree of Doctor of Laws from Lafayette College during the period of his Professorship in the San Francisco Theological Seminary.
When Mr. W.S. Ladd founded
the chair of Practical Theology in the San Francisco Theological Seminary,
Dr. Lindsley became its first incumbent. He was elected to that position
in 1886, and entered upon his work therein at the beginning of the term
in September of that year. At his inauguration he made an address
in which he expressed his conviction of the wisdom of founding the Seminary
and his assurance of its future usefulness. He was peculiarly fitted
for this work by his broad early education, which was supplemented by life-long
mental training, by his long experience as a pastor and a logical, eloquent
and persuasive preacher. He knew the field as few others did and
the qualities required in those who were to labor therein, and for five
years he did his work in the Seminary with marked ability. In the
summer of 1891, while spending his vacation in his old Portland home, the
Master called him to enter into “the rest that remaineth for the people
of God,” and he died with the word “Victory” on his lips.
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