Sproat, James, Dd
Sproat, James, D.D.
a Presbyterian divine, was born at Scituate, Mass., April 11, 1722. He graduated at Yale College in 1741; was converted while in college; and having gone through the requisite course of preparation for the ministry, was licensed to preach, and ordained pastor of the Fourth Congregational Church in Guilford, Conn., Aug. 23, 1743, Here he labored with great zeal and success for about twenty-five years, when, in October 1768, he became pastor of the church in Philadelphia of which Rev. Gilbert Tennent had been pastor. He continued sole pastor till 1787, when he was relieved from a portion of his labors by the settlement of Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Ashbel Green. In 1780 the College of New Jersey conferred upon him the degree of D.D. The year 1793 was signalized by the prevalence of yellow fever in Philadelphia to an appalling extent. The family of Dr. Sproat was almost annihilated by it; his own death took place Oct. 18, 1793 He was a master of the learned languages, and had made deep researches into systematic, casuistic, and polemic divinity. In his personal religion he was truly eminent — his faith was built on the sure foundations of the Gospel, and it supported him in the most trying hour. In his last moments he said, "All my expectations for eternity rest on the infinite grace of God, abounding through the finished righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ." His only publication was a Sermon, preached on the death of Whitefield in October 1770. See Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, 3, 125; Allen, Biog. Dict. s.v.; Mass. Hist. Coll. 10; Assembly Miss. Mag. 1. (J.L.S.)