Hanna, Samuel (DNB00)

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HANNA, SAMUEL, D.D. (1772?–1852), Irish presbyterian divine, was born at Kellswater, near Ballymena, co. Antrim, about 1772. He was educated at Glasgow, graduating M.A. in 1789. In 1790 he was licensed by Ballymena presbytery. He was ordained as minister of the presbyterian congregation of Drumbo, co. Down, on 4 Aug. 1795. His reputation as a preacher grew rapidly. On 11 Dec. 1799 he was installed as minister of Rosemary Street, Belfast. He revived the congregation, and his meeting-house was handsomely rebuilt (opened 15 April 1832). A warm advocate of Sunday schools and of bible distribution, he was also one of the first to interest Irish presbyterians in the subject of missionary enterprise. In 1816 the general synod resolved to provide a theological training for its students instead of sending them to Scotland. Hanna, in June 1817, was unanimously elected professor of divinity and church history, with an emolument of 36l. a year (he retained his congregation). His lectures were given at the Academical Institution, Belfast. In the following year he was made D.D. of Glasgow. In 1835 he obtained a coadjutor, Samuel Davidson, D.D., in the department of biblical criticism, and in 1837 was relieved of the departments of ecclesiastical history and pastoral theology by the appointment of James Seaton Reid, D.D., the historian. In 1840 Hanna was freed from active pastoral work by the election of William Gibson, D.D., as his assistant and successor at Rosemary Street. On 10 July 1840 he was chosen first moderator of the general assembly, formed at that date by the union of the general and secession synods. Hanna was a man of respectable powers, who worked hard for his church; without special ability as a theologian he left the impress of his own evangelical sentiments on a long succession of his pupils. He died at the residence of his son-in-law, Dr. Denham, at Derry, on 23 April 1852, in his eighty-first year. His portrait hangs in the hall of the Assembly's College, Belfast. William Hanna, D.D. (1880-1882) [q. v.], was his son. He published a few sermons and pamphlets, the earliest being his sermon as moderator of the general synod, Belfast, 1809, 8vo.

[Belfast News Letter, 30 April, 1852; Orthodox Presbyterian, May 1832, p. 288; Reid's Hist. Presb. Church in Ireland (Killen), 1867, iii. 415 sq.; Killen's Hist. Cong. Presb. Church in Ireland, 1886, pp. 63 sq., 1-26, 258 sq.]

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