Kingsley, Calvin, Dd, Lld
Kingsley, Calvin, D.D., Ll.D.
a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was born of Presbyterian parentage, at Amnesville, Oneida County, N. Y., Sept. 8, 1812. His early advantages were rather moderate, but his thirst for knowledge made him superior to circumstances, and he secured whatever he could by night study and the careful improvement of the intervals in his working hours. He was converted at the age of eighteen, and avowed it at once as his purpose to enter the ministry. By teaching country schools he saved enough to partially defray the expenses of a collegiate education, and in 1836 entered Alleghany College, whence he was graduated with honor in the year 1841, having held already, in his sophomore year, the appointment of tutor of mathematics. Immediately after graduation he was elected professor of mathematics in the college, and discharged the duties of that position for several years, taking upon himself also the work of preaching; he had been licensed to preach in 1836. In the year 1843, when Alleghany College was deprived of its assistance from Pennsylvania by an enactment withdrawing all appropriation from the high schools of the state, Kingsley, then an ordained deacon in the Church, was appointed agent " for the peculiarly arduous and thankless task of raising funds for the endowment of his college." About this time, also, the future bishop first came prominently before the general public. He had early entertained strong antislavery predilections, and in 1843 was led to open a public discussion with the distinguished preachers Luther Lee (q.v.) and Elias Smith (q.v.), who had formed the "Wesleyan" organization through disaffection at the position assumed by the Methodist Episcopal Church on the subject of the institution of slavery. In these discussions Kingsley proved himself' in every respect the equal, if not the superior, of his antagonists-" men by nature able, and by practice trained to the highest point of effectiveness by their zeal for truth, and laborious study of the whole ground of the controversy." From 1844 to 1845 he was also regular pastor in the city of Erie, where a deep religious influence accompanied his ministrations. While here he had a public discussion with a Universalist minister, and also prepared his lectures on Prof. Bush's work on the Resurrection, which were published afterwards under the title Kingsley on the Resurrection (1845, and often). Preferring work in the pulpit to that in the rostrum, he resigned his place at Alleghany College in 1846, but the trustees refused to accept the resignation, and, at the most earnest entreaty of many of his friends, he was induced to continue his college relations, even at a considerable pecuniary sacrifice. Besides, however, discharging the duties of his chair, he continued to labor faithfully as a preacher upon the adjacent circuits and stations. In 1852 he was elected a delegate from his Conference to the General Conference, and not only was he at the head of his own Conference delegation, but while in attendance, though a comparative stranger, received, in the election of bishops, some forty votes for this distinguished office. By the next General Conference (1856) le was elected editor of the Western Christian Advocate, successor of the celebrated late Dr. Elliott, In this place he displayed much editorial ability, and his paper became a powerful influence in the West. In 1860 he was recognised by the General Conference as the leader of the antislavery movement, and was chosen chairman of the Slavery Committee, and managed the discussion on that subject with great taste. He was at that time reelected editor of The Advocate, and at the breaking out of the war brought its whole support to the aid of the government. In 1864, the General Conference, then in session at Philadelphia, promoted him to the high distinction for which he had been a candidate in 1852, and he performed the duties of the position until the summer of 1869, when he took an episcopal tour around the world, but died on his way homeward at Beirut, Syria, April 6, 1870. ' As a bishop, he met the highest expectation of the Church. In the chair his decisions were clear and exact. In making the appointments he manifested great sympathy for the preachers and devotion to the interests of the Church. His ministrations were able and successful, and during the six years of his episcopal labor he gave himself wholly to the work of his great office. As a man, he was simple and unaffected in his manners, genial and social in his spirit. His intellect was strong, keen, and logical. He used a ready pen, and his descriptions were clear, concise, and graphic. His sermons were rich in doctrinal truth, and by their clear conception and earnest delivery held the attention of large congregations. His executive power was of a superior order, and each successive year his talents were unfolding" (Conference Minutes, 1870, p. 294). The Rev. Dr. Robert Allyn, in his Personal Recollections of Bishop Kingsley (Central Christian Advocate, June 1, 1870), speaks of him as " a man genial, charitable, honest, earnest, shrewd and far-seeing, patient, careful, logical, and bold in defense and in attack. His square form, solid lips, and broad shoulders were an indication of the wrestler. and his keen, quick eye was that of a master offence. While he was one of the most diligent of workers, he had just enough of the phlegmatic about his temperament to make him the pluckiest of fighters. He always looked at a point, and not at half of the horizon, as many do when they preach or write. His eagle eye would see the mark, no matter how far away, and his steady hand could point the spear to hit it exactly. In his sermonizing there was no attempt at profundity, or speculation, or rhetorical ornamentation, or even logical force; yet it had all these so far as they are of any account. It was emphatically as the rain that cometh down from heaven falling because the clouds are too full to hold it longer, and never caring on what place it may descend, or what it shall refresh. His thoughts were always clear, and his words exact and often picturesque. He was entirely indifferent to the applause of those to whom he spoke, and was so natural-commonly not graceful in all his manner, that a careless observer would be sure to be deceived into thinking him of less weight than he really had. Every word he chose was a word to help convey his meaning, and he never added another for show; hence a few, who looked for sound rather than sense, might undervalue his preaching; but let a congregation hear him often, and become accustomed to the flash of his eye and the movement of his face as his thoughts came leaping from his heart, and as he attempted to clothe them in words, and they could not fail to be fascinated. He had a magnetic power to keep people awake and to instruct them, and to attach men to him which not many possess. Said he once, 'I cannot soar on the wings of fancy, I can only instruct and convince.' "In a word," says Dr. Wiley, " his whole character was well rounded and symmetrical as his mind was rigorously logical, and his frame robust, compact, and well knit together. He filled with ability all places to which the Church called him, as pastor, educator, editor, and bishop." Bishop Kingsley left in MS. form a series of lectures he delivered while professor at Meadville, in defence of the Orthodox doctrine. It is to be hoped that they will soon be brought out in book form. They certainly would prove a great addition to our literature on those subjects. Since his decease his letters of travel have been published under the title of Round the World (Cincinnati, 1870, 2 vols. 12mo), prefaced by a memoir of the bishop. (J. H. W.)