Thomas, Ebenezer, Dd, Lld
Thomas, Ebenezer, D.D., LL.D.
a Presbyterian minister, was born at Chelmsford, England, Dec. 23, 1812. His father was an Independent minister, educated at Hoxton College in London, and was ordained at Chelmsford in 1805, where he remained as pastor for a number of years. He removed to Cincinnati, O., when his son was but a child. He was engaged in preaching in Cincinnati and destitute neighborhoods for several years. With a view of supplying the destitute, he organized a Home Evangelization Society, and was its agent. He accepted a call to take charge of the Welsh Independent Church at Paddy's Run, O. Here he established a boarding school, and some of the first men of the country were his patrons and pupils. Under his father's instruction, young Thomas was prepared for college. He entered the Miami University and graduated in 1834. He possessed powers of mind of the highest order, and his scholarly attainments were rarely equaled, never surpassed. Immediately after his graduation, he commenced teaching at Rising Sun, Ind., and afterwards at Franklin, O. When not engaged in teaching, he pursued the study of theology. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Oxford in 1836. Although he had not had the advantage of training in a theological seminary, there were few more thoroughly educated in every branch of theology. He was called to take charge of the Church at Harrison, and he was ordained and installed over the same in July, 1837. After remaining in Harrison over two years, he was called to the Hamilton Church, where he remained until 1849, when he was elected president of Hanover. College. This position he occupied until 1854, when he resigned to accept the chair of Biblical literature and exegesis in the Theological Seminary at New -Albany, Ind. Here he remained till the seminary was- removed so Chicago, when he resigned, but was re-elected by the new board at its first meeting. He accepted the appointment, but on account of controversy in the Church in regard to his views and those of his colleague, Professor McMasters, in regard to slavery, the seminary was not opened for two years. In the meantime he supplied the pulpit of the first Presbyterian Church in New Albany. In 1858 the synods in whose bounds the seminary was located voted to offer it to the General Assembly, and in 1859 it was accepted by the same. In the meantime the first Church of Dayton, O., gave Dr. Thomas a call, which he accepted. Here he was duly installed, and entered on his work, which he prosecuted with energy and success for twelve years, when he resigned to accept the chair of New Test. Greek and exegesis in Lane Seminary, Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, O. He died there Feb. 2, 1875. Dr. Thomas was a general scholar. He carried his studies outside of the curriculum, and was at home in history, geology, botany, entomology, mineralogy, astronomy, and microscopy. He was a model teacher, his thorough knowledge of every department and his unrivalled colloquial powers combined to make him a great favorite in the classroom. As a theologian he was a sincere and sound Calvinist, and he was as rich in Christian experience as he was sound in the faith. As a preacher he was popular and successful in all the fields of his labor. In all that goes to make tp excellences in writing and speaking, he was a prince. He was esteemed and honored by all. (W. P. S.)