Hopkins, John Henry, Dd, Lld
Hopkins, John Henry, D.D., LL.D.
Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the diocese of Vermont, was born of English parents in Dublin, Ireland, Jan. 30, 1792, and came to this country when about eight years old. He was educated chiefly by his mother. In 1817 he entered the legal profession, but six years later he quitted the bar for the ministry, and was ordained in 1824 as rector of Trinity Church, Pittsburg. In 1827 he was a prominent candidate for the office of assistant bishop of Pennsylvania, but as the vote of Mr. Hopkins was to decide between himself and Dr. H, U. Onderdonk, another candidate, he cast his vote in favor of the latter. In 1831 he became assistant minister at Trinity Church, Boston, and professor of divinity in the Episcopal Theological Seminary of Massachusetts. In 1832 he was elected bishop of Vermont, and was consecrated Oct. 31. At the same time he accepted also the rectorship of St. Paul's Church, Burlington, Vt., which he held until 1856. Besides this, he also established a school for boys, employing poor clergymen and candidates for orders as teachers. His heavy expenses from this enterprise embarrassed him seriously for many years. After relinquishing this school, he projected and established the "Vermont Episcopal Institute," a semitheological school, over which he presided until his death, January 9, 1868. In 1867, bishop Hopkins was present at the Pan-Anglican Synod held in Lambeth, and took a prominent part in its proceedings. In the dissensions dividing the Anglican Church he was a decided champion of the High-Church party, and refused to sign the protest of a majority of the American bishops against Romanizing tendencies. Several of the posthumous works of bishop Hopkins will be published by one of his sons. Bishop Hopkins was one of the most learned men of his denomination. He had remarkable versatility of mind, and was a persevering and successful student in the field of theology. Indeed, "it was hard to find a highway or byway of ingenious investigation where he has not left his footprint." The great mistake of his life, and one which he undoubtedly regretted before his death, was his apology for the institution of human slavery. But we have every reason to believe that the bishop was sincere in what he preached, and that, notwithstanding this failing, he was a devout and consistent man of God. He was a voluminous writer. Besides a number of pamphlets, sermons, and addresses, he published Christianity vindicated in a series of seven discourses on the external Evidences of the V. Test. (Burlington, 1833, 12mo) — The primitive Creed examined and explained (1834, 12mo) — The primitive Ch. compared with the P. E. Ch. (1835,12mo) — The Ch. of Rome in her primitive purity compared with the Ch. of Rome at the pres. day (1839, 12mo) — Causes, Principles, and Results of the Brit. Reform. (Philadelphia 1844, 12mo) Hist. of the Confessionals (N. Y. 1850, 12mo) — Refutation of Milner's End of Controversy (1854,2 vols. 12mo). An answer has recently been published by Kenrick, Vindication of the Catholic Church (Baltimore, 1855,12mo). Bishop Hopkins's last works are a little brochure on the law of ritualism — an argument based on scriptural and historical grounds in behalf of the beauty of holiness in the public services of his Church; and a History of the Church in verse for Sunday-schools. — Amer. Ch. Review, April, 1868, p.
160; Allibone, Dict. of Authors; Vapereau, Dict. des Contemporains, p. 897. (J. H. W.)