The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Nevin, John Williamson

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The American Cyclopædia
Nevin, John Williamson
1882892The American Cyclopædia — Nevin, John Williamson

NEVIN, John Williamson, an American clergyman, born in Franklin co., Pa., Feb. 20, 1803. He graduated at Union college in 1821, studied theology at Princeton, and continued there afterward as assistant teacher and wrote “Biblical Antiquities” (2 vols., 1828). He was licensed to preach in 1828. From 1829 to 1839 he was assistant teacher and professor of Hebrew and Biblical literature in the Presbyterian theological seminary at Allegheny City, and in 1833-'4 edited “The Friend,” a weekly literary journal. In 1840 he removed to Mercersburg, and took charge of the theological seminary there; and in 1841 he became also president of Marshall college. In 1843 he published “The Anxious Bench,” which was translated into German, and also a translation of Dr. Schaff's “Principle of Protestantism,” with an introduction. In 1846 he published “The Mystical Presence;” in 1847, “The History and Genius of the Heidelberg Catechism;” in 1848, “Antichrist, or the Spirit of Sect and Schism.” From January, 1849, to January, 1853, he edited the “Mercersburg Review.” At the close of 1851 he resigned his situation as professor in the theological seminary, continuing to act as president of Marshall college until its removal to Lancaster in 1853. He was the originator and exponent of what is called the “Mercersburg system of theology,” which arose on the occasion of some revival measures in 1843. It endeavored to restore the Protestant sacramental faith of the 16th century, and opposed sects as a rejection of the actual incarnation of Christ in his church. The church is the body of Christ, and hence divine and an object of faith; its ministers hold a divine power by apostolic succession; and its sacraments are seals as well as signs of grace. Baptism is for the remission of sins; and Christ is really, if not physically, present in the eucharist.