|Last Page Activity: January 7, 2014|
Rev James KENNEDY
Birth: 15 Aug 1818 Place: Drumreagh, County Antrim, Ireland
Death: 26 Jan 1898 Place: Saint John, New Brunswick1
Father: George KENNEDY (1775-1857)
Mother: Mary PAUL (1776-1835)
Spouse: Eliza CONN
Birth: 29 Apr 1821 Place: Portrush or Coleraine, Ireland2
Death: 19 Dec 1875 Place of death: 334 W 55th Street, New York, New York
Father: Thomas CONN
Mother: Nancy MARTIN
Marriage: 9 May 1848 Place: Drumachose, Londonderry Co., Ireland
Eliza "Lizzie" (1858-)
Notes for Rev James KENNEDY
|These pages (pictured above)
Parting Address of the Members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Newtownlimavady to the
Rev. James Kennedy.
Rev and Dear Sir
We cannot allow you to part from us without some token of our appreciation of your valued services during the lengthened period of your ministry among us.
We dare not interfere with your acceptance of the "unanimous call" to one of the large Cities of America, - one of the great centres of civilization and progress, - assured that you have taken your present step constrained by a sense of duty to Christ and his church; and while we exceedingly regret your removal, we submissively recognise the hand of God "who metes out the bounds of habitation" assigning you a wider field of usefulness, and, we trust, a larger share of happiness for yourself, and also for your amiable and promising family, than you could have had with us.
When you became our pastor our numbers were few indeed. By your enliting devotedness to the work of the ministry, by your irreproachable and exemplary life, you have won the confidence and approval of all, and from a small beginning we are now in the good Providence of God, a well organised and united congregation. The seed sown will we trust bring forth "much fruit". Where you have sown another shall reap, - while you have planted another shall water; yet each shall receive "his own proper reward’.
The instruction of the young had a large share of your attention in obedience to the command "Feed my lambs". We do confidently hope that a generation "wiser and better than their fathers" will manifest that you have not in this respect "laboured in vain".
Your kindly, genial disposition made your pastoral visits highly acceptable. They were frequent and seasonable. Your warm sympathy with the afflicted, - the suffering and the bereaved endeared you very much to us all; while your earnest prayers for "grace to help" - your tender pressing entreaties to "lay hold on Christ", and your opportune presentation of the gracious promises of the Gospel to the sick and dying, have brightened the prospect and cheered the hearts of many of our loved ones, who are now, we trust, "among the ransomed around the throne". We have had your sympathy in all our joys and sorrows, and the fond and grateful recollection will not soon fade from our memories.
But to the preaching of the Word you gave all your strength, justly recognising this as the divinely appointed instrumentality, not only for the conversion of sinners, but also the upbuilding of believers - in faith, hope, holiness, and comfort. We own with deep regret, our slow progress in the knowledge of "divine things", but we take the blame to ourselves.
Your diligent preparation for the Sabbath gave a freshness and power to our plain Scriptural services.
The exploration of the book of Psalms has greatly endeared to us that portion of the Bible and has been to us a delightful and instructive exercise; while the pulpit reading of large portions of Scripture with the "running comment" has flashed many a truth into our minds that might otherwise have been overlooked.
Your lively pictorial teaching will do doubt attract many in your new sphere. The large experience you have had, your keen observation, and practical mind in connection with the sound theological principles of our time-honoured Confession and Testimony, will enable you to combat, the silly innovations, and weak fantasies that are creeping into many churches, the leavening influence of which it is to be feared is felt everywhere. Hitherto you have not sought to gratify the popular taste; and we confidently anticipate that the sensationalism and the morbid anxiety for novelty that so generally prevail will be strenuously opposed by you on the western side of the Atlantic as they have been here; and that you will have a nobler theme and higher aim whilst with the Apostle you say "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ"’ for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes".
We are well aware that our brethren of other denominations sympathise with us in our feelings as to your removal. Your frequent labours and services throughout our district have been highly appreciated; and many connected with other churches join with us in bidding you - God-speed.
We have only further to add that our hearts have deeply felt for you and your beloved partner in the sorrowful bereavement which you have just been called to suffer - a dispensation rendered doubly touching and trying in the circumstances in which you are now placed, and we beg to assure you of our deep sympathy with you in this affliction.
We also beg your acceptance of the accompanying presents from ourselves and some Christian friends in the neighbourhood who have felt desirous to be allowed to join in this tribute of love and respect. May it not only testify to you our loving regards, but be a remembrance to you for a long time to come of those to whom we believe your ministry has proved as signal blessing.
May He who measures the waters in the hollow of His hand, and holds the winds in His fists, carry you and yours in health and safety across the great deep. That God may bless you and make you a blessing in the land of your adoption, is the earnest prayer of your attached friends who now bid you an Affectionate Farewell.
Signed on behalf of the Congregation – Matthew Dodge, Elder; David Hopkins, Deacon; John Hastings, Member; John McDonnell, Member Newtownlimavady, Co Londonderry, Ireland, October 1870
"The following little treatise on Prayer was completed by Mr. Kennedy not long before his death. He had it on hands for a year or two and spent many hours over it during those last days of his life in which her was not able for continuous pulpit work. The spirit in which it was begun was, as he said himself, a desire to leave behind him something by which he might do good and be remembered. It is the fruit of his most mature Christian experience, although not of his greatest intellectual vigor.
In Offering some biographical details, it should be said, perhaps, that Mr. Kennedy had a great aversion to being written up. He did not like to see in print matters that he thought concerned only himself in his private relations. He enjoyed appreciation of his work as much as any man, and found a stimulus in it, but to record personal and complimentary matter as such would be contrary to his wishes. The following details are meant only to illustrate character and to furnish to his friends the outlines of his life. * (Foot note: *Some details of Mr. Kennedy's life are best told by his associates in church work, and will be found in Minutes appended.)
James Kennedy was born in August of the year 1818. He was of Scottish ancestry, but his forefathers had lived for some years in County Derry in the North of Ireland. In his boyhood he showed great force of character by overcoming difficulties in preparing for college. His early professional training was received at the Belfast Academical Institution under the presidency of Dr. Bryce, famous as an educator in his day. After completing his studies in Belfast he went to Paisley, Scotland, to study theology and hear the lectures of Dr. Andrew Symington. On May 10th 1842, he was licensed to preach the gospel, and a little more than a year after he was ordained pastor of the Broadlane and Derrybeg congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Dates and facts such as these are an imperfect record. Between these turning points of his career were multitudes of lesser experiences _ heart experiences, also _ that made the man. During his years at college and seminary, as well as in the early period of his ministry, he gave some time to teaching. He had certificates from Dr. Bryce of his knowledge and skill in the sciences and the ancient languages. He prepared young men for college; and in the invigoration of his own mind received by this means contributed to the development of that logical force and grasp that were admired in his preaching to his latest years.
It was not long after his settlement that the temperance reform began to stir the churches of Ireland. Mr. Kennedy threw himself into his work with all his might. Drunkenness was the most prevalent social evil of his time, and in his early youth it had often excited his disgust. When a public attack was made upon it, he was ready to follow or to lead. The main hope of the reformers was in methods for protecting the young.
"The drunkards will never be dead:
I'll tell you the reason why _
The young ones they grow up
Before the old ones die."
So ran the slogan, and thousands rallied to the cry. Bands of Hope were organized everywhere and printed pledges were signed by old and young. Mr. Kennedy and his people were among the first in zeal and in effort. A great deal of good was accomplished. He knew men too well to expect at once a perfect change in habits that were the growth of years. But let us make an advance when we can, he said, and trust to God and the best in man to conserve what is gained.
During the first period of his ministry, Mr. Kennedy was fond of open air preaching on the evenings of the Sabbaths. The long twilights and the respect paid to the Sabbath by all classes, made it possible to gather great companies of people on some piece of green meadow, under the shelter of a few friendly trees. In such places he delight to preach the word of life, and to bring to bear on men and women of all classes the motives of the gospel of Christ. It was a semi-mission work, peculiar in some respects to the place, and it offered opportunities which Mr. Kennedy's eager spirit was eagerly seized.
In the year 1859 took place that strange religious stirring which was then called a Revival. It was somewhat similar to a movement which our missionaries say is now in progress among the Ansairies of Syria. The distinctive feature of it was the physical accompaniments. Under the preaching of the gospel men and women were "stricken down" and rolled on the floor. When carried out they lay silent, as in a trance, or described visions they saw of Christ walking on the roof of the church, or in some of the attitudes familiar from passages of Scripture. Explanations of these phenomena have been offered from the standpoints of natural science and of theology. Mr. Kennedy welcomed the whole manifestation with some reserve. There were instances of genuine conversion and the beginnings of a holy life. There were also cases that were bodily exercise and nothing more. In the mysterious mingling of physical and spiritual, Mr. Kennedy applied Christ's supreme test, "By their fruits ye shall know them." The whole extraordinary incident, with its divine and human aspects, was a remarkable object lesson in the working of the grace of God on the basis of depraved humanity. It is for this reason tat it is referred to here, giving occasion as it did to some of Mr. Kennedy's strongest convictions on the nature of the Christian life.
Mr. Kennedy always had correspondents in the churches in the United States. Some of his letters show that a good report of his work had reached the distant land. He had suggestions for settlement in vacant congregations. At this time Mr. Kennedy had no definite desires or design of any kind for a change in his place of work. But he had a desire to visit friends in the western world. We find him, accordingly, in the year 1869, on his way across the Atlantic and preaching in the churches of New York. As the outcome of an unexpected turn of events, he was called to the pastorate of the Fourth Reformed Presbyterian church of New York. It held a position in the city well removed from the other congregations of the same denomination, and it looked forward to a fruitful work in its own field. Letters from members of the congregation to the pastor-elect overflow with good opinions and good hopes. The call was accepted, chiefly because it was considered a call of Providence and of the Lord of the church. On the 13th of November, 1870, Mr. Kennedy was installed pastor of the Fourth New York congregation. The congregation grew in numbers and erected a new church building on 48th Street.
In the year 1887 Mr. Kennedy was elected by the church to fill the chair in the Theological Seminary left vacant by the death of Dr. Sloane. He was thought well fitted for the position by experience and ability, and was urged strongly to accept it. But it was his own opinion that at his age and with his attachments to his congregation it was not wise to undertake anything in which so much depended on his success in an untried field.
It is a matter of more than private interest that in the year 1886 the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on Mr. Kennedy by the trustees of Geneva College. This corporation does not use its legal right to grant such degrees frequently, and it proceeds only on the ground of sufficient reason. Mr. Kennedy appreciated the intention and the honor, although all his life he had a singular dislike to titles of any kind.
Mr. Kennedy had resigned the care of his congregation in 1896, and in November of 1897 he moved with his daughter to St. John, New Brunswick. The change was made for domestic reasons. It took off his shoulders the charge of a house and it brought him under the immediate care of a devoted daughter _ Mrs. Dr. Morrison _ and her family.
This sketch would scarcely be complete without a particular reference to Matilda Kennedy, the daughter who was the constant companion of her father during his last years. She was companion, care-taker, amanuensis, and it was she who provided for the publication of this volume as a Memorial. He devotion was so unremitting that she denied herself the ease and change of place which might have improved her health and prolonged her days. He health was not vigorous, and after the shock of a father's death it declined rapidly. In November, 1898 _ about ten months after the aged father _ she closed her earthly life and went to her reward. She lived in quietness and did her part _ a part that was rich in spiritual significance, and to those who know, a memory of precious worth."
The book: Prayer by James Kennedy is dedicated to / Mrs. Hugh O'Neill / his Dear Niece and True Friend / this little volume / was / affectionate inscribed / by / The Author 3
|MORE NOTES re: James Kennedy
1. F20744, 1999-2001 Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.
2. Irene Morrison, Unknown, Information sent to Peggy Bryan.
3. "In Memoriam. Prayer. by James Kennedy," Memoriam completed by ? Prayer was completed by James Kennedy not long before his death., Murdoch-Kerr Press, Pittsburgh, After January 26, 1898 (James Kennedy's death), Preface = Memoriam See notes for Copy.