Dowling, John, D.D., was born at Pavensey, on the coast of Sussex, England, May 12, 1807. From the house in which Dr. Dowling was born may be seen the ivy-clad towers of Pavensey Castle, which was said to be an ancient ruin of Roman origin. Dr. Dowling's ancestors for generations were adherents of the Established Church of England. In early life he removed to London, and at the age of seventeen became a member of the Eagle Street Baptist church, whose pastor was the Rev. Joseph Ivimey, the historian of the English Baptists.
In early youth he exhibited great fondness for books and literary pursuits. At nineteen he was tutor in the Latin language and literature in a classical institute in London, and at twenty-one he became instructor in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and French in Buckinghamshire Classical Institute. In 1829 he established a classical boarding-school in Oxfordshire, a few miles from the city of Oxford, where he taught until 1832, when he embarked with his family for the United States.
Soon after his arrival he settled with the Baptist church in Catskill, where he was ordained Nov. 14, 1832. In 1834 he removed to Newport, Rhode Island and in August, 1836, accepted a call to a church in New York worshiping in Gothic Masonic Hall. He also preached for two or three years as pastor of the Broadway church in Hope chapel, after which he went to Providence as pastor.
In 1844 he first became pastor of the Berean church, in Bedford Street, New York, serving there eight years. In 1852 he accepted a call to Philadelphia, but returned in 1856 to the Berean church at their urgent and unanimous request. Here he continued to labor efficiently for twelve years. Afterwards he served the South church, Newark, N. J., and the South church of New York City. Dr. Dowling has been a prolific writer. In England he published three school-books which were in general use for many years. In this country he has published "The History of Romanism," of which some 30.000 copies have been published and sold: "Power of Illustration," "Nights and Mornings," "Indoor Offering," and numerous pamphlets and tracts.
One of the latest if not the last of his tracts, and a most valuable treatise for ministers of the gospel, is an essay reac before the New York Baptist Pastors' Conference in the fall of 1877, on "Humility as an Element of Ministerial Character." In 1846 he received the degree of D.D. from Transylvania University. For several years before his death Dr. Dowling, because of the infirmities of age, had no pastoral charge, but he preached in many pulpits of the city of New York of all evangelical denominations. No man was more cordially beloved than Dr. Dowling. To a humble, generous, sympathetic spirit there was added a character of sterling and incorruptible integrity. His death occurred at Middletown, N. Y., July 4, 1878.
[From The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881, reprint, 1988, p. 344. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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