Hopkins, Samuel

honorificReverend; Mr.
Birth: September 17, 1721 in Waterbury, CT
Death: December 20, 1803 in Newport, RI
Education:

Yale

Faith:

Calvinist

Nationality:

Anglo-American

Occupation:

minister

Residence:

Housatonic (later Great Barrington) (from 1743 to 1760)

Newport, RI (from 1770 to 1803)

Events:

Occom's First Mission to the Oneidas.

Biography:

Samuel Hopkins was named after his uncle, Samuel Hopkins (1693-1755), who was a minister in West Springfield, MA. Hopkins the younger grew up on a farm in Waterbury, CT, and attended Yale. There, he was friends with David Brainerd, who would become the well-known missionary to the Delaware Indians, and was influenced by the famous theologian Jonathan Edwards, who served as missionary to the Stockbridge Indians. After graduation, Hopkins studied divinity with Edwards, until he was ordained pastor of the North Parish church of Sheffield at Housatonic, now Great Barrington, MA. Although he wasn't a missionary, in 1753, Hopkins published "Historical Memoirs relating to the Housatonic Indians." His strict theological views got him dismissed from his post in 1769, and in 1770 until his death in 1803, he preached at the First Congregational Church in Newport, RI. There, he was active in opposing the slave trade, freed his own slaves, lobbied for laws against the importation of Africans and for the freeing of children of slaves, and originated the idea of sending freed slaves to Africa as missionaries. These ideas appeared in his pamphlet, "Dialogue Showing it to be the Duty and Interest of the American States to Emancipate all their African Slaves," published in 1776. He originated a revision of Calvinist theology that become known as Hopkinsianism, described in his major work, "The System of Doctrinces Contained in Divine Revelation" (1793). Based on the ideas of Jonathan Edwards, it argued that people can overcome sin by disinterested benevolence and complete submission to God's will. He was an associate of Eleazar Wheelock, writing to him about reports of Occom's first mission to the Oneidas, and was also acquaintanted with Occom, who stayed with Hopkins during a preaching tour of western Massachusetts and Connecticut.

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Sources:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Appletons%27_Cyclop%C3%A6dia_of_American_Biography/Hopkins,_Samuel_%28theologian%29; Samuel Hopkins." Encylopedia Britannica. www.searh.eb.com/EBchecked/topic/271555/Samuel-Hopkins.