« Beecher, Henry Ward Beecher, Lyman Beecher, Thomas Kinnicutt »

Beecher, Lyman

BEECHER, LYMAN: Presbyterian; b. at New Haven, Conn., Oct. 12, 1775; d. at Brooklyn Jan. 10, 1863. He was graduated at Yale 1797; studied theology under President Dwight the following year, and, after preaching on probation for a year at East Hampton, L. I., was ordained as pastor there, 1799; in 1810 he removed to Litchfield, Conn., and in 1826 to Boston, as pastor of the Hanover Street Church (Congregational). In 1832 he became president and professor of theology at the newly formed Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati, where for the first ten years he also served as pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church. In 1851 he returned to Boston, and after 1856 lived in Brooklyn. He was a profound student of theology, but eminently practical in his preaching, which was marked by an uncommon union of imagination, fervor, and logic. His convictions were strong, his courage great, and he acted with an impulsive energy which generally succeeded in accomplishing what he thought should be done. The death of Alexander Hamilton called forth a sermon on dueling (preached before the Presbytery of Long Island, Apr. 16, 1806; published in several editions) which did much to awaken the popular conscience on the subject. At Litchfield he took a decided stand in favor of a general reformation of public morals, and in particular against the convivial habits of the time. During his Boston pastorate he was a leader on the conservative side in the Unitarian controversy. In Cincinnati hard feelings evoked by the antislavery contest, and certain problems inevitable during the formative period of the seminary and in a new society, made his career a stormy one, but he worked with characteristic energy and retired with honor. During the earlier stages of the differences which led to the disruption of the Presbyterian Church in 1837 he was charged with holding heretical views on the atonement, and was tried and acquitted by both presbytery and synod in 1835; throughout the entire contest he was one of the New School leaders. His seven sons all became clergymen and his daughters, Catherine Esther Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Isabella Beecher Hooker, became well known for literary and philanthropic work. During his second residence in Boston Lyman Beecher prepared a collected edition of his Works (i, Lectures on Political Atheism and Kindred Subjects; Six Lectures on Intemperance, Boston, 1852; ii, Sermons, 1852; iii, Views of Theology as Developed in Three Sermons and on his Trials, 1853).

Bibliography: His Autobiography, Correspondence, etc. was edited by his son Charles Beecher, rev. ed., 2 vols., New York, 1865; consult also D. H. Allen, The Life and Services of Lyman Beecher, a Commemorative Discourse, Cincinnati, 1863; J. C. White, Personal Reminiscences of Lyman Beecher, New York, 1882; E. F. Haywood, Lyman Beecher, Boston, 1904.

« Beecher, Henry Ward Beecher, Lyman Beecher, Thomas Kinnicutt »
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