Thompson, Joseph Parrish, Dd, Lld
Thompson, Joseph Parrish, D.D., LL.D.
an eminent Congregational divine, was born in Philadelphia, Aug. 7,1819. He graduated at Yale College in 1838. Afterwards he pursued the study of theology at the Andover and New Haven Theological schools. In November, 1840, he was ordained pastor of the Chapel Street Congregational Church in New Haven. While occupying this position, Dr. Thompson assisted in establishing The New-Englander. He published also, while at New Haven, a Memoir of Timothy Dwight. In 1845 he was called to the pastoral charge of the Broadway Tabernacle Church in New York city, and was installed on the 15th of April of that year. For some years the Tabernacle continued to be a great center of religious interest. The vast edifice was often thronged by a congregation composed of strangers, young men, and those who had no regular place of worship. The Tabernacle Church was the mother of several Congregational churches in New York and Brooklyn. The society determined to sell the Tabernacle in 1855, and the new church was built at the intersection of Broadway, Sixth Ave., and Thirty-fourth Street. This building was completed in 1859, and dedicated April 24 of that year. Under the ministry of Dr. Thompson the society flourished exceedingly. When the church was dedicated there was a debt upon it of 165,000. No pews were sold, as it was resolved that there should be no private ownership in the building. In 1863 the society paid off $25,000 of this indebtedness; the remaining sum of $40,000 was paid in March, 1864. Notwithstanding Dr. Thompson's immediate pastoral labors, he was always busy with his pen. In 1845 he printed a Memoir of David Hale (late editor of the Journal of Commerce), with Selections from his Miscellaneous Writings-a work which passed through various editions. In 1846 appeared his Young Men Admonished, afterwards, in subsequent editions, which were numerous, entitled Lectures to Young Men… Hints to Employers appeared in 1847, and another edition in 1851. Stray Meditations, was published in 1852; and in 1857 there was a revised edition, entitled The Believer's Refuge. He was one of the first editors of the Independent, being associated ill that service with the Rev. Dr. Storrs and the Bev. Dr. Bacon. In 1852 he originated the plan of the Albany Congregational Convention. He also served as a manager of the American Congregational Union and of the American Home Missionary Society. In 1852 he went abroad, visiting Palestine, Egypt, and other Eastern lands. This gave an Oriental cast to his subsequent, studies and writings, and he became well known as art authority in Egyptology. Many of his writings upon this subject appeared in the North American Review, the Bibliotheca Sacra, the Journal of the American Geographical and Statistical Society, in Smith's Dict. of the Bible, and the revised edition of Kitto's Cyclop. of Biblical Literature. He published Egypt, Past and Present, in 1856. During the Civil War, Dr. Thompson occupied a warmly patriotic position. He did a great deal for the Christian Commission. Twice he went to the South; he visited the army; and he was a member of the Union League Club. His son was killed in the service of the country. Dr. Thompson published (1863) a souvenir of him entitled The Sergeant's Memorial, by his Father. When president Lincoln was assassinated, Dr. Thompson delivered a notable eulogy upon him before the Union League Club. In 1872 Dr. Thompson was compelled by ill health to sever the relation, which he had so long maintained with the society. One night, while working in his study, he imagined that he heard a terrible crash, as if the whole house were falling, and he remembered-nothing more 4til he regained consciousness at three o'clock in the morning. When he resigned his pastoral charge of the Tabernacle Church, it made him a gift of $30,000; and individuals gave him $20,000 more. Having resolved upon going abroad, he took up his residence in Berlin, where he devoted himself to study, especially in Egyptology. During the controversy between Bismarck and the pope, at the request of the Prussian minister, he prepared and published a work on the relations of Church and State in America; and in the Centennial Year he delivered in different cities of Europe several addresses concerning the United States. . His oration occasioned by the death of Mr. Bayard Taylor, the American minister, delivered in Berlin, was a beautiful and much- admired production. He had prepared an address to be delivered before the Evangelical Alliance at Basle, Switzerland, on the subject of the persecutions in. Austria. When Mr. Taylor died, Dr. Thompson was spoken of as his successor. It is known that when the rumor reached his ears, he wrote that he could not accept the position, and considered himself unfitted for it. He spoke excellently both French and German, and he frequently had occasion to employ his accomplishments as a linguist. in the public addresses which he delivered in Europe. Though always an invalid, Dr. Thompson's last illness was caused by an accident which had happened to him during his visit to London, when, while standing upon the doorstep of a friend's house, he was prostrated by vertigo, severely injuring his head. He died at Berlin, Sept. 20,1879. Among his other productions may be noted The College as a Religious Institution (1859) Love and Penalty (1860): — Bryant Grey (1863): Christianity and Emancipation (1863): — The Holy Comforter (1866): —Man in Genesis and Geology (1869): and Life of Christ (1875): —with a great variety of pamphlets and of contributions to periodical literature. He was understood, at his death, to be preparing a work on The Hebrews in Egypt. See N. Y. Tribune, Sept. 22,1879.