Dempster John, Dd
Dempster John, D.D., an eminent Methodist minister and promoter of theological learning in the Church, was born Jan. 2, 1794, in the town of Florida, N. Y. His father, the Rev. James Dempster, was a Scotchman, educated at the University of Edinburgh, and, though bred a Presbyterian, was received by Mr. Wesley as one of his colaborers, and sent by him as a missionary to America. He preached for a season in the city of New York, but for some reason became disconnected from Mr. Wesley's service, and was thereafter a pastor of a Presbyterian church in the town of Florida till his death in 1803. The son was too young to profit intellectually from his father's training, and grew up ignorant almost of books till his conversion at a Methodist camp-meeting in 1812, when he began a course of sedulous and systematic study, which he kept up during his whole life. In 1816 he entered the itinerant ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and his successive appointments, as stated in the Minutes, were as follows: 1816, St. Lawrence, Lower Canada District; 1817, Paris, New York; 1818, Watertown; 1819, Scipio; 1820, superannuted; 1821-22, Watertown; 1823, Homer; 1824, Auburn; 1825-26, Rochester; 1827-28, Cazenovia; 1829-32, Cayuga District, Oneida Conference; 1833-35, Black River District; 1836-41, Missionary to Buenos Ayres; 1842, Vestry Street, New York; 1843-44, Mulberry Street; 1845-54, professor in Biblical Institute, Newbury, Vt., and Concord, N. H.; 1855-63, professor in Garrett Biblical Institute, Evanston, Ill. "His fields of labor were extremely diverse, and yet he occupied every one of them with marked success. From the borders of Canada on the north, to St. Augustine, Fla., on the south, whither he went in 1835, primarily in search of health, and thence to Buenos Ayres, in South America; from New England on the east to Illinois on the west, his name has, during the last half century, been familiar to the good, and associated with active labors for the promotion of the cause of Christ." By incessant labor he made up largely the deficiencies in his early education, acquiring the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, and a fair amount of general culture. His mind, naturally metaphysical, turned especially to questions of philosophical theology, such as the divine nature and government, the will, etc. and on these topics he both spoke and wrote with great success. But the great work of his life was the organization of theological seminaries in the Methodist Episcopal Church. After eighteen years of labor, he saw two of these (Concord and Evanston) in full operation, largely as the fruit of his own industry, energy, and perseverance. He died Non. 28, 1863, at Chicago. As a preacher he was at once simple, stirring, and profound. He seized with a master hand upon the great cardinal truths of revelation and providence, and wielded them with equal application to the judgment and the conscience. He left many MSS., especially .a work on the will; but, thus far, all that has been published in permanent form is his Lectures and Addresses (Cincinnati. 1864, 12mo). See Appendix to his Lectures; Minutes of Conferences, 1864, p. 148; Methodist Quarterly Review, July, 1864; Stevens, History of the Methodist Episcopal Church, vol. 3.