Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CHAPIN, Edwin Hubbell, clergyman, born in Union Village, Washington County, New York, 29 December, 1814; died in New York City, 27 December, 1880. He received his early training at the Bennington, Vermont, seminary, his parents having removed to that town, and. after completing the seminary course, studied law in Troy, New York, but soon went to Utica and became editor of "The Magazine and Advocate," a periodical devoted to the interests of Universalism. About the same time he determined to study for the ministry, and was ordained in 1837. His first pastoral duties were in Richmond, Virginia, where he remained for three years, and then removed to Charlestown, Massachusetts. After six years spent there, he was invited to take charge of the School street Universalist church in Boston, as the colleague of the venerable Hosea Ballou. In 1848 he accepted an invitation from the 4th Universalist church of New York City, then situated near City Hall park. His preaching proved so attractive that a larger building became necessary, and within four years two changes were made to more spacious quarters. In 1850 Dr. Chapin went to Europe as a delegate to the peace congress at Frankfort-on-the-Main. In the period preceding the civil war he was conspicuous among the opponents of Negro slavery, and during its continuance lent his great influence to the support of the government. At the close of the war, when the flags of the New York regiments were delivered to the keeping of the state, Dr. Chapin was appointed orator for the occasion, and made an address of remarkable power and eloquence. In 1866 his congregation removed to the "Church of the Divine Paternity," 45th street and 5th avenue, New York City, where it has since remained. Dr. Chapin had long been one of the most prominent of metropolitan preachers, and the new church became one of the points to which throngs of church-goers--and, which is more important, throngs of non-church-goers--resorted whenever it was known that the pastor would speak. Although he was zealous and diligent in his church duties, he was among the most popular of public lecturers, and, while his health permitted, his services were constantly in demand. He was not a profound student in the scholarly acceptation of the term, but as a student and interpreter of human nature, in its relations to the great questions of the time, he had few superiors. His denominational religious associations were with the Universalists; but his sympathies were of the broadest character, and he numbered among his personal friends many of the staunchest advocates of orthodoxy, who could not but admire his eloquence, however much they may have dissented from his religious teaching. In creeds Dr. Chapin did not believe; but he preached a wise conduct in life, and included in the range of his pulpit themes every topic, social or political, that affects the well-being of mankind. In 1856 he received the degree of S. T. died from Harvard, and in 1878 that of LL.D. from Tufts. He was a trustee of Bellevue medical College and hospital and a member of many societies. The Chapin Home for aged and indigent men and women, named in his honor, remains a monument to his memory. In 1872 he succeeded Dr. Emerson as editor of the " Christian Leader." The closing years of his life were marked by failing physical powers, though his mind was as brilliant as ever. He travelled in Europe, but was unable to regain his wonted vigor, and for a long time before his death he suffered from nervous depression that no doubt hastened the end. Most of his sermons and lectures were collected and published in book form. The titles are Hours of Communion" (New York, 1844); "Discourses on the Lord's Prayer" (1850); "Characters in the Gospels" (1852); "Moral Aspects of City Life " (1853); " Discourses on the Beatitudes" (1853); "True Manliness" (New York, 1854); " Duties of Young Men" (1855); "The Crown of Thorns--a Token for the Suffering," probably the most widely read of his books (1860); "Living Words" (Boston, 1861); " The Gathering"--memorial of a meeting of the Chapin family (Springfield, Massachusetts, 1862); " Humanity in the City" ; "Providence and Life" ; and "Discourses on the Book of Proverbs." With James G. Adams as his associate, he compiled " Hymns for Christian Devotion" (1870).
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