Sampson, Francis S, Dd

Sampson, Francis S., D.D., An eminent Presbyterian divine, was born near Dover Mills, Goochland Co, Va., in Nov., 1814. At the age of sixteen he was placed in the family of his uncle, the Rev. Thornton Rogers, of Albemarle. Finding himself now in a religious atmosphere, he was induced to seek earnestly the salvation of his soul, made a profession of religion, and became a member of the Church in Charlottesville, Aug. 13, 1831. He graduated at the University of Virginia in 1836; subsequently studied theology at the Union Theological Seminary of Virginia; and, on the resignation of Prof. Ballantine, in the spring of 1838, was appointed teacher of Hebrew, and from that time continued to perform other duties of the Oriental department; was licensed by the East Hanover Presbytery in Oct., 1839, and ordained as an evangelist by the same presbytery in Oct. 1841. In the summer of 1848 he visited Europe, spending his time chiefly at the universities of Halle and Berlin in the prosecution of his Oriental studies, and returned in August, 1849. In Oct. 1848, he was elected professor of Oriental literature and languages in the Union Theological Seminary, Virginia, and in 1849 received the degree of D.D. from Hampden Sidney College. He died April 9, 1854. In 1851 Dr. Sampson delivered, at the University of Virginia, a lecture on The Authority of the Sacred Canon, and the Integrity of the Sacred Text, which was afterwards published, in connection with the series of which it formed a part; and in 1856 there was published, under the editorial supervision of his successor, Dr. Dabney, A Critical Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews. One of Dr. Sampson's most striking and valuable traits was his methodical industry. "That whatever is worth doing is worth doing well; that each task must be done with one's might in just so much time as is needed to do it perfectly, and no more; that no task is to be left till all is perfected which can be done to advantage — these were the rules of working which he carried with him from the time of his boyhood to the school, the university, the study, and the lecture room." He was eminently conscientious in everything. Family prayers were, in his house, no hurried, unmeaning form. The whole air and tone of the exercise showed deep, conscientious sincerity and earnestness. As an instructor, Dr. Robert L. Dabney says of him, "I hesitate not to say that, as a master of the art of communicating knowledge, he was, in my view, unrivalled;" and again, "One of the foundation stones of his success was his indisputable scholarship. No man ever passed through one of his classes without a profound and admiring conviction of this." See Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit, 4, 795; Allibone, Dict. of British and American Authors, s.v. (J.L.S.)

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