Dr. Griffin’s Theory Of The Atonement -- By: Edwards A. Park

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 015:57 (Jan 1858)
Article: Dr. Griffin’s Theory Of The Atonement
Author: Edwards A. Park


Dr. Griffin’s Theory Of The Atonement

Edwards A. Park

The personal history of Dr. Griffin gives to his Theological opinions a peculiar significance. He studied theology with Dr. Jonathan Edwards, a divine whose influence is destined to increase as the power of men to understand him increases. From the 4th of June, 1795, until the summer of 1801, Dr. Griffin was the pastor of the Congregational Church at New Hartford, Connecticut. “On the 20th of October, 1801, he was installed colleague pastor with the Rev. Dr. McWhorter [over the First Presbyterian Church of Newark, New Jersey]. The congregation over which he was placed was one of the largest and most respectable in the United States, qualified in every respect to estimate the labors of a most eloquent, gifted and devoted minister.”1 On the 28th of May, 1809, after having fulfilled there a pastorate of nearly eight years, he preached his Farewell Sermon to his church at Newark, and on the 21st of the following June he was inducted into the Bartlet Professorship of Sacred Rhetoric, at Andover Theological Seminary. The Institution was then in its infancy. Its founders, Mr. Abbot, Mr. Bartlet, Mr. Brown, were living, and were Visitors of the Seminary. Their own theological views are indicated by the exalted encomiums which they lavished upon him. His colleagues, Professors Woods and Stuart, avowed their substantial agreement with him in his theological speculations. “The stories,” says Dr. Griffin, “about Dr. Pearson’s abusing me, or quarrelling with me, or being unfriendly to me, are all false. He resigned on account of age

and infirmity. He is a good man, and is still an active and very useful friend of our [Divinity] College.”2 It is not pretended that either Professor Pearson, or the other Professors, or the founders of the Seminary sanctioned all the assertions of Dr. Griffin; they did not agree with each other or with him in all minutiae; still they were pleased with the main principles and the leanings, as then developed, both of his theology and of his philosophy.

After having spent two years in the duties of his Professorship, Dr. Griffin was installed Pastor of the Park Street Church, Boston, on the 31st of July, 1811. His installation sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. Worcester, of Salem, Mass. Here he officiated as pastor until April 27, 1815, nearly four years. “Though he spent more time in several other places than in Boston,” writes Rev. Dr. Humphrey, “I have always been impressed with the belief that his pre-eminent usefulness was on that ground. When he went there, the piety of the pilgrim fathers had nearly...

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