Polhemus, Abraham, Dd
Polhemus, Abraham, D.D.
a minister of the (Dutch) Reformed Church in America, was a lineal descendant of the Rev. Johannes T. Polhemus the first minister of the Dutch Church of Brooklyn, Long Island, who had previously been a missionary of the Reformed Church of Holland at Itamarca, Brazil. He came to this country in 1654, and died in 1676. But little more is known of him than these few dates and facts of his ministry. The subject of this notice was born at Astoria, L. I., in 1812; graduated at Rutgers College in 1831, and at the theological seminary in New Brunswick in 1835. Immediately after his licensure by the Classis of New York, in 1835, he settled at Hopewell, Dutchess Co., N. Y., and remained there until 1857, when he removed to Newark, N. J., and took charge of the newly organized North Reformed Church in May of that year. In October following he died at Newburgh, N. Y., of fever, after an illness of several weeks. He was a man of majestic physical proportions, tall, broad shouldered, handsome, of amiable instincts and attractive manners. The attachment of his parishioners and friends to him was almost unbounded. He was modest, and yet energetic; frank and cordial, but always dignified and commanding respect. His pastoral qualifications were finely developed. As a preacher, he was easy, graceful, impressive in manner, solid and instructive in matter, evangelical and catholic ill spirit, and full of "an unction from the Holy One" which gave him great acceptance with the people. He was a leading man in the councils of the Church and in her benevolent and educational institutions, and, had he lived, would have been eagerly sought for other high positions. His piety partook of the characteristics to which it gave its own burnished splendor. His death was a scene of glorious Christian triumph, which reminds one of Payson's experiences. A few hours before he died he exclaimed aloud, "I see Jesus! Now that I have seen him, I never can come back again. I see Jesus! Did I not tell you I should see Jesus? My soul is ravished with the sight." After a while he added, "I have perfect assurance; not a doubt, not a fear." His last sermon was on the death of Stephen, and the subject made a deep impression on his own heart. From the beginning of his sickness he felt that he would never recover, though with occasional encouragements to the contrary, and he prayed that, like Stephen, he might see Jesus. The answer came on his dying bed. A handsome memorial volume has been published, containing his biography and a selection of his sermons. His memory has been an inspiration to the church whose foundations he laid with faith and prayer, and which, after only three short months of earthly labors, he was destined to lead in person to heaven. (W. J. B. T.)