Feast of Henry Martyn Dexter (November 13)   1 comment

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Above:  The Flag of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Image in the Public Domain

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HENRY MARTYN DEXTER (AUGUST 13, 1821-NOVEMBER 13, 1890)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Historian

I, as a bookish person, like scholars, generally.  Anti-intellectualism is among the most undesirable features of certain varieties of religion.  Even Roman Catholicism, with its admirable tradition of Thomism, has also contained a strong strain of anti-intellectualism.  The rational aspect of the Anglican Three-Legged Stool (really a tricycle) is one of the theological realities which keeps me an Episcopalian.

Henry Martyn Dexter (1821-1890) was an intellectual and a scholar par excellence.  He was also a minister of the Gospel.  That union of religiosity and intellectualism warrants my respect.  That said, nobody should assume that I agree with all or many of Dexter’s opinions, especially when he quoted the Bible to criticize extending voting rights to women.  He was godly yet mistaken about a great many topics.

Our saint entered the world at Plympton, Massachusetts.  His parents were Elijah Dexter, a Congregationalist minister, and Mary Morton.  Henry graduated from Yale College (B.A., 1840) and Andover Theological Seminary (B.D., 1844).  He, ordained, served at Franklin Street Congregational Church, Manchester, New Hampshire (1844-1849), and at Berkeley Street Congregational Church, Boston, Massachusetts (1849-1867).

Dexter was an editor of publications.  He edited The Congregationalist (1849-1866) from 1851 to 1866.  From 1859 to 1875 he was one of the editors of The Congregational Quarterly (1859-1878):  1859, 1860, 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877, and 1878.  Our saint also edited the successors of The Congregationalist:

  1. The Congregationalist and Recorder (1867), and
  2. The Congregationalist and Boston Recorder (1867-1901), a.k.a. The Congregationalist.

Dexter was the foremost historian of American Congregationalism.  He was a prolific author, as my research about him at archive .org revealed:

  1. Our National Condition, and Its Remedy:  A Sermon, Preached in the Pine Street Church, Boston, on Sunday, June 22, 1856;
  2. Christian Pamphlets (1858), as one of the authors;
  3. Street Thoughts (1859);
  4. Twelve Discourses (1860);
  5. The History of King Philip’s War by Benjamin Church (1865), as editor;
  6. The Verdict of Reason Upon the Question of the Future Punishment of Those Who Die Impenitent (1865);
  7. Mourt’s Relation or Journal of the Plantation at Plymouth (1865), as editor;
  8. What Ought to Be Done with the Freedmen and with the Rebels?  A Sermon Preached in the Berkeley-Street Church, Boston, on Sunday, April 23, 1865 (1865);
  9. The History of the Eastern Expeditions of 1689, 1690, 1692, 1696, and 1704 Against the Indians and French by Benjamin Church (1867), as editor;
  10. The Church Polity of the Pilgrims:  The Polity of the New Testament (1870);
  11. Pilgrim Memoranda (1870);
  12. Memoranda, Historical, Chronological, Etc., Prepared with the Hope to Aid Those Whose Interest in Pilgrim Memorials, and History, is Freshened by This Jubilee Year, and Who May Not Have a Large Historical Library at Hand (1870);
  13. Congregationalism:  What It Is, Whence It Is, How It Works; Why It is Better Than Any Other Form of Church Government; and Its Consequent Demands (1874);
  14. As to Roger Williams, and His “Banishment” from the Massachusetts Plantation; with a Few Further Words Concerning the Baptists, the Quakers, and Religious Liberty:  A Monograph (1876);
  15. A Hand-Book of Congregationalism (1880);
  16. The Congregationalism of the Last Three Hundred Years, As Seen in Its Literature (1880);
  17. The True Story of John Smyth, the Se-Baptist, As Told by Himself and His Contemporaries (1881);
  18. Common Sense as to Women Suffrage (1885);
  19. Sketch of the Life of Increase Niles Tarbox (1890); and
  20. The England and Holland of the Pilgrims (1905), completed by his son, Morton Dexter.

Our saint specialized in prose.  As his son, Morton Dexter (1846-1910), son of Emmeline Palmer, indicated, our saint

never regarded himself as a poet and never gave much attention to versifying.

Nevertheless, our saint wrote some ballads, at least one hymn, and at least one hymn translation (“Shepherd of Tender Youth”).  “Shepherd of Tender Youth” debuted in the December 21, 1849 issue of The Congregationalist.

Dexter, who received the LL.D. degree from Yale in 1890, died at New Bedford, Massachusetts, on November 13 of that year.  Yale received his library of Congregational Church history–1,850 volumes.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 23, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DESIDERIUS/DIDIER OF VIENNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT GUIBERT OF GORZE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BAPTIST ROSSI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF NICOLAUS COPERNICUS, SCIENTIST

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Henry Martyn Dexter and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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One response to “Feast of Henry Martyn Dexter (November 13)

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  1. Pingback: Shepherd of Tender Youth | GATHERED PRAYERS

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