Linn, William

Linn, William D.D., a Reformed (Dutch) minister, was born near Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, February 27, 1752. He graduated from Princeton College in 1772 with honor, studied divinity with Reverend Dr. Robert Cooper, of Middle Spring, Pennsylvania, and in 1775 was licensed to preach by Donegal Presbytery. Fired with the patriotism of the Revolution, he became a chaplain in Genesis Thompson's regiment, and was ordained to the ministry at this period. His regiment being soon ordered to Canada, for domestic reasons he resigned his chaplaincy. After a brief settlement at Big Spring, he taught an academy in Somerset County, Maryland, with success, until in 1786 he became pastor of a Presbyterian church at Elizabethtown, N.J., from whence he removed to New York in the same year as one of the pastors of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church. He was full of genius and power. His sermons were written, and committed to memory. His delivery was graceful, natural, animated, and accompanied by that electric power which thrills and sways an audience. His imagination was vivid, his language choice and classical, and his pictorial ability remarkable. He was celebrated for his missionary and charitable discourses. "Earnest, pathetic, persuasive, and alarming in his addresses, he peculiarly excelled in awakening sinners and urging them to the refuge of the Gospel. On special occasions he shone with conspicuous luster, ad rose above himself." In consequence of the failure of his health, he retired from the active ministry in 1805, and died at Albany January 8, 1808. Among his published addresses are some of his celebrated missionary and charity sermons, historical discourses, controversial sermons, a eulogy on Washington, delivered before the New York State Society of the Cincinnati, and a sermon preached in 1776 to a regiment of soldiers who were about to join the army. — Sprague, Annals, volume 9; Dr. De Witt's Historical Discourse; Dr. Bradford's Funeral Sermon, etc. (W.J.R.T.)

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