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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor



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Justin Edwards

EDWARDS, Justin, clergyman, great-grandson of Samuel, born in Westhampton, Massachusetts, 25 April 1787; died at Bath Alum, Virginia, 23 July 1853. He was descended from Alexander Edwards, who emigrated from Wales, and resided at Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1655'90, and whose grandson, Samuel, died in 1749. Justin was graduated at Williams in 1810, and in 1811 began at Andover a theological course, which he did not finish. Being earnestly pressed to become pastor of the "South" parish, comprising nearly 2,000 parishioners without other religious organization in the same town, he was ordained 2 December 1812. In 1817 he was elected a member of the executive committee of the New England tract society, and in 1821 was chosen corresponding secretary, by which the labor and responsibility of superintending the press and directly managing the business of the association officially devolved upon him. Early in 1825 he united with the Rev. Dr. Woods and fourteen others in organizing in Boston the "American Society for the Promotion of Temperance."

In 1827 he was one of several prominent New York and New England clergymen who met at Lebanon Springs, New York, to discuss the subject of religious revivals, and Yale honored the same year with the degree of D. D.. About this time he applied for and received a release from the pastoral relation, and had entered on his duties as agent of the American temperance society when he decided to accept a call from a new Church in Salem Street, Boston. Here he labored so zealously that, by the following summer, his failing health compelled him to resign. Dr. Edwards was now free to return to his temperance work, in which he engaged with extraordinary energy for the next six years (1830'6). During this period he traveled extensively, arousing the public to the importance of the reform, and wrote a series of papers known as " Permanent Temperance Documents." in 1836 he was elected president of the Andover theological seminary, which office he held for nearly six years. His attention was now called to the proper observance of the Sabbath, and when the American and foreign Sabbath union was organized in Boston he became its secretary.

From 1842 till 1849 he was laboriously engaged in doing for the Sabbath what he had previously done for the cause of temperance, not only traveling extensively and delivering addresses in every part of the country, but writing another set of "Permanent Documents," which probably form the ablest condensed plea for the Sabbath that the language affords. The last four years of his life were chiefly occupied in the preparation of a condensed commentary on the Scriptures at the request of the American tract society. He had completed the work, so far as the New Testament was concerned, and had proceeded with the Old Testament as far as the 50th Psalm. Dr. Edwards published many sermons and addresses, and was the author of the following tracts issued by the American tract society: No. 167," Well conditioned Farm" (on temperance); No. 177, "Joy in Heaven over One Sinner that Repenteth"; No. 179, "The Way to be Saved "; No. 125, " On the Traffic in Ardent Spirits"; No. 582, "The Unction from the Holy One." Of the first four, 750,000 copies were printed prior to 1857. Of his " Sabbath Manual," 583,544 were called for; of the "Temperance Manual," 193,625 ; and snore than 70,000 of the commentary on the New Testament. A memoir of his life and labors, by Rev. Dr. William Halloek, was published by the Tract society in 1854.

Bela Bates Edwards, clergyman, another great-grandson of Samuel, mentioned in the preceding sketch, born in Southampton, Massachusetts, 4 July 1802; died in Athens, Georgia, 20 April 1852. He was graduated at Amherst in 1824, and at Andover in 1830. He was licensed to preach in the latter year, but was never ordained. After serving as tutor at Amherst, he acted as assistant secretary of the American education society in 1828'33. He edited the "American Quarterly Register" in 1828'42; the "American Quarterly Observer," which he founded, in 1833'5; the" American Biblical Repository," with which the hatter was united, in 1835'8: and the "Bibliotheca Sacra" in 1844'52. He was appointed professor of Hebrew in Andover theological seminary in 1837, received the degree of D. D. from Dartmouth in 1844 and in 1848 was elected associate professor of sacred literature.

During his twenty-four years of editorial labor he issued thirty-one octavo volumes of the periodicals with which he was connected. His work in connection with the "Quarterly Register" was especially valuable. He designed to make it a storehouse of facts for present and future generations, and it contains indispensable materials for the historian. In the pages of the other periodicals named, Dr. Edwards's contributions were chiefly criticisms of current (especially biblical) literature and disquisitions on the science of education. While occupied with his labors in this field he published several works, among which are the " Eclectic Reader" (1835); "Biography of Self-Taught glen" (1831); "Memoir of Henry Martin," with an introductory essay (1831);" Memoirs of E. Cornelius" (1833); a volume on the '"Epistle to the Galatians"; and the "Missionary Gazetteer" (1832).

He was also a frequent contributor to the religious press, and wrote various pamphlets and the more important portions of several books in collaboration with Profs. Sears, Felton, and Park. Among the latter are "Selections from German Literature 'and "Classical Studies." He was also associated with Samuel H. Taylor in the translation of "Ktihner's Greek Grammar." In 1845 he was compelled to visit Florida for his health, and on his return sailed for Europe, where he spent a year. In 1851 he was again compelled to go south, and was residing there the following winter, when he died. He was an ideal editor and professor, uniting great erudition and a sound judgment with a deep, earnest, and uniform piety. A selection from his sermons and addresses, with a memoir by Professor Edwards A. Park, was published in Boston in 1853.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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