Stark, Andrew, Lld

Stark, Andrew, Ll.D., a Presbyterian divine, was born in the parish of Slamannan, County of Stirling, Scotland, Aug. 3, 1791, of pious parents in easy circumstances. At a very early age Andrew manifested a love of study; he received his first instructions in Latin in his own parish school, but was soon transferred to the grammar school at Falkirk, and afterwards to a school at Denny Loanhead. In the beginning of 1805 he entered the University of Glasgow, which he attended for six successive winters, graduating in April 1811, with the degree of A.M. After leaving the university he taught a public school near Falkirk with great success for upwards of two years. He pursued his theological studies at the seminary in Edinburgh, then under the superintendence of the Rev. Prof. Paxton. Upon leaving the seminary he went to London (Chelsea), where he engaged as a classical teacher in a boarding school, under the Rev. Weeden Butler, a clergyman of the Church of England. Capt. Frederick Marryat, the distinguished novelist, was one of his pupils. Providential circumstances and careful reflection directed him to the ministry, and he was soon licensed by the Associate Presbytery of Edinburgh. His first sermon was preached Oct. 26, 1817, in the pulpit of his cousin, Rev. Dr. Stark, of Denny Loanhead; and it was a singular coincidence that he preached for the last time in his life in the same pulpit. His first settlement as pastor was over the congregation of South Shields, Sept. 16, 1818; but after a few months he resigned, and the Presbytery reluctantly dissolved the pastoral relation, June 14, 1819. For a year he was employed as a private tutor in the family of Sir Frederick Vane. In June, 1820, he proceeded once more to London, and near the end of August embarked for New York, where he arrived Oct. 6. He came to this country without any fixed purpose as to employment, willing to teach or preach as Providence might seem to direct. For a year he preached occasionally, and superintended the studies of two or three boys, the sons of wealthy gentlemen in the city of New York. Dr. Mason. who was then president of Dickinson College, proposed to him to become a professor in that institution, and he was not disinclined to listen to this proposal; but just at this time circumstances occurred which led him to devote his life wholly to the ministry. The Associate Presbyterian Church (then in Nassau Street, afterwards in Grand Street, and now in Thirty-fourth Street) in the city of New York, which had lately lost its pastor, the Rev. Thomas Hamilton, invited Mr. Stark at first to become their stated supply, and soon to become their pastor, and he was installed in the early part of May 1822. Under his care the Church grew, by gradual and healthful accessions, and became distinguished for its stability. He was honored with the degree of LL.D. by the University of London about the year 1844 or 1845. Dr. Stark labored incessantly for the moral and spiritual welfare of his people; many sought his counsel and advice in their worldly affairs, and some who became wealthy attributed their success to his judicious advice and assistance. He secured both the respect and love of his people, who on many occasions manifested their high regard for him by the most delicate and kindly acts. Dr. Stark had naturally a good constitution, but it had been greatly impaired by a violent fever in London before he came to the United States. At length he became so enfeebled that his physician urged him to make a visit to his native country, and accordingly he embarked for England July 3, 1849. Soon after his arrival in Scotland his symptoms became much more unfavorable, and he died Sept. 18, 1849, at Denny Loanhead, in the house of his cousin, the Rev. Dr. Stark. His remains were brought to New York, and interred in Greenwood Cemetery. In person Dr. Stark was of medium height, and of symmetrical and graceful proportion; his high forehead and dark piercing eyes indicated a mind of more than ordinary power. In manner he was dignified and courteous, yet pleasing and affable. To a stranger he might seem distant and reserved, but those who knew him well and had his confidence found him frank and cordial. He never professed what he did not feel, and abhorred hypocrisy and shams in all their forms. As a scholar he had few superiors. In the classics, in history, theology, philosophy, and in general literature, he was competent to fill the chair of a professor. Such was his familiarity with Homer's Iliad that he was heard to say that if the last copy of it were lost from the world, he thought he could reproduce it without much difficulty. As a preacher he was not an orator, in the popular sense, yet he had the power of securing the attention of his hearers. He made most careful preparation; in early life he wrote out his sermons in full, and committed them to memory; but later he usually wrote very full outlines of his sermons, studying his subject with great care, rendering it both instructive and interesting. In expository preaching he had few equals. His correct learning and superior culture. his extensive and varied knowledge of literature, both ancient and modern, enabled him to illustrate and enforce the truths which he proclaimed with peculiar aptness, beauty, and power. His preaching was calculated to awaken sinners to thoughtfulness, and make enlightened and stable Christians; his manner in the pulpit was solemn and impressive; his fervor and unction convinced every hearer that he magnified his office and felt what he uttered. As a pastor he was conscientiously faithful, and watched with tender care the flock over which God had placed him as overseer. He was prompt in all his engagements, and never failed to fulfill an appointment. He was more frequently seen in the homes of the poor than in the mansions of the rich; he formed his estimate of men not by their wealth or rank, but by their worth, and especially by their piety. The worthy poor and the distressed found in him a tender sympathy and a firm friend. He was generous, but unostentatious in his charities, keeping his benefactions a profound secret. His whole life, public and private, was in keeping with his high calling; he was a living epistle known and read of all men, a noble Christian gentleman, and a faithful ambassador for Christ. Dr. Stark was married May 8, 1823, to Ellen, daughter of John and Mary McKie, of New York. They had five children — three daughters and two sons. The eldest son, John M., was graduated at Union College in 1849, and subsequently at the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons, and had the position of surgeon under the government in the late war of the Rebellion; the eldest daughter is married to the Rev. Andrew Shiland. Dr. Stark was an ornate and instructive writer, and, when he chose, both sharp and racy. Some of his productions may be mentioned: Charitable Exertions an Evidence of a Gracious State, a sermon: — A Metrical Version of the Psalms of David Defended: — A Biography of Rev. James White, prefixed to the Sermons of the latter: — A Lecture on Marriage: — Remarks on a Pamphlet by the Associate Presbytery of Albany, in a Letter to the Associate Congregation of Grand Street: — A History of the Secession, published in the Associate Presbyterian Magazine, to which publication he contributed largely. (W.P.S.)

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