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eminent, he directed his thoughts to the Christian ministry; and from that time, he seemed to forget every thing else in the one all-engrossing object of doing good. What were great worldly possessions, including all the luxuries of life, to him who had deliberately consecrated every thing to the service and glory of his Redeemer? He began his professional career among the slaves of Virginia, and he closed it in faithful efforts, and generous benefactions, designed to elevate the character of the ministry throughout our whole Presbyterian Church; and the whole interval was spent in intense devotion to his work. Let every scoffer at the ministry contemplate this noble character, and be confounded. Let every minister of the Gospel contemplate it, and be encour aged, strengthened, comforted.
PHINEAS D. GURLEY, D.D.
PHINEAS DENSMORE GURLEY, the youngest child of Phineas and Elizabeth (Fox) Gurley, was born at Hamilton, Madison County, New York, on the 12th of November, 1816. But during the infancy of this son, the family removed to Parishville, St. Lawrence County. His father was born and educated a Quaker, though his ancestry were Scotch Covenanters; and his mother was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, though she frequently attended the Presbyterian Church, and in all her intercourse was a model of Christian charity. He received the rudiments of his education at the academy in Parishville. As a child, he was remarkably amiable and gentle in his disposition, and was especially distinguished for a spirit of reverential obedience toward his parents.
In the year 1831, a revival of religion, of great interest, was experienced in the village in which his lot was cast. Under a sermon preached by the Rev. Dr. Cannon, of Geneva, he became deeply impressed with a sense of his own sinfulness, and, after a season of intense agony, found rest, as he believed, in a cordial acceptance of Christ as his Saviour. Shortly after this, he united with the church in Parishville, being then about fifteen years of age.
Immediately after this, he not only felt a desire, but formed a purpose, to become a minister of the Gospel; and his father, though his pecuniary means were limited, finally consented that he should receive a liberal education. Accordingly, after having been engaged in his preparatory course about a year, he was admitted a member of Union College, in 1833, before he was sixteen years of age. At the close of his first year in college, he was summoned home to see his mother die; but before his arrival, she had departed, leaving it as her dying message to him, "that he should be a faithful minister for Jesus." This message was treasured among his most cherished remembrances as long as he lived. The scantiness of his pecuniary resources obliged him to teach a school at intervals, during his college course: but notwithstanding this, he maintained a high position in his class, and graduated, in 1837, with the first honor.
Shortly after his graduation, Mr. Gurley entered the Theological Seminary at Princeton, where also he took a very high stand, as a scholar, a gentleman, and a Christian. During the vacation of 1838, he performed missionary labor in Sussex County, Del., and, by this
means, not only acquired a greater facility of extemporaneous speaking, but learned many important lessons that he was able to turn to good account in his subse quent ministry. In April, 1840, he was licensed to preach the Gospel, by the Presbytery of North River, at Cold Spring, New York. His first sermon, which was preached in Newburgh, shortly after his license, made so decidedly favorable an impression, that it brought him an immediate call to become Associate Pastor with the Rev. Dr. Johnson, who was then far advanced in life.
The church in Indianapolis, Ind., having become vacant in 1839, its strength was much reduced by the withdrawal of a large number, who formed a second church (N. S.), with the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher as their Pastor. The first church, consisting of about one hundred and fifty members, and worshipping in an old and incommodious edifice, requested Dr. Archibald Alexander, through a commissioner to the General Assembly, in 1840, to recommend to them some suitable person for a minister. He recommended Mr. Gurley; and, accordingly, Mr. Gurley was applied to, accepted their invitation, and, on the 15th of December, was received by the Presbytery of Indianapolis, was ordained to the work of the ministry, and installed as Pastor of the church which had called him. Here he very soon acquired a powerful influence, not only by his correct, able, scriptural preaching, but by his faithfulness as a pastor, and his considerate, exemplary deportment in all the relations of life. The rapid increase of his congre gation created the necessity for a new church-edifice; and this was built, chiefly in response to his appeals and
efforts, and was dedicated in May, 1843. In the early part of that year, a revival of religion took place under his ministry, in which his labors were most abundant, and from which was gathered much precious fruit. During his ministry here, he visited Cincinnati, Fort Wayne, and several other places, in seasons of revival; and his labors were always attended with a manifest blessing.
In November, 1849, Mr. Gurley preached in the First Presbyterian Church in Dayton, Ohio, and assisted the pastor in the communion service. That congrega tion, becoming vacant soon after, elected him as its Pastor. Influenced largely by a regard to the health of his family, he accepted the call, and was installed by the Presbytery of Miami, in April, 1850. Here he remained four years, during which time he was indefatigable in his labor, and the church enjoyed unwonted prosperity.
The pastoral relation of the Rev. Dr. D. X. Junkin, to the F Street Presbyterian Church, in Washington City, having been dissolved in October, 1853, the congregation, by advice of the several Presbyterian ministers in Baltimore, unanimously called Dr. Gurley (for meanwhile he had received the degree of Doctor of Divinity) to become their Pastor, and that without even having had the opportunity to hear him preach. He immediately visited Washington, and preached to the congregation, who, af ter having heard him, repeated their call. He returned to Dayton, and announced to his people his determination to remain with them; but, upon more mature reflection, he reversed his decision, and resigned his charge, and, in
March, 1854, was installed pastor of the F Street Church, by the Presbytery of Baltimore. Here he continued, discharging his various duties with great fidelity and success, until he finished his course with joy.
In 1858, he served as Chaplain in the Senate of the United States. In 1859, a union of the Second Presbyterian Church with the F Street Church having been consummated, the united body was known from that time as the New York Avenue Church, Dr. Gurley continuing its Pastor. To the building of the noble edifice now occupied by this church, he contributed largely, by collecting funds, both at home and abroad. In 1865, the church with which he was connected, in accordance with his advice, established a Mission Church in the northern part of the city, which he helped to sustain and advance by every means in his power. He had a high estimate of the importance of Church Extension, and, both by his teachings and his example, did much to promote it.
Dr. Gurley was a commissioner from his Presbytery to the General Assembly that met at St. Louis, in May, 1866. As Chairman of the Judicial Committee of that Assembly, he exerted a commanding influence, and was especially active in securing the passage of certain resolutions, having a bearing on the then distracted state of the country and the Church. The same General Assembly appointed him a member of the Committee of Fifteen to confer with a similar Committee of the New School General Assembly, in regard to the reunion of the Presbyterian Church. Here he labored with great care, and yet with great diligence, and, though at