Founders of the Massachusetts Bible Society - 1809

The Massachusetts Bible Society began on July 6, 1809 and is an ecumenical, Christian organization dedicated to promoting Biblical literacy, understanding, and dialogue. This blog lists brief biographies of our founders who gathered in the Massachusetts State House Senate Chamber on that historic day to sign the Charter founding MBS. Please visit our website:

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Location: Newton Centre, MA, United States

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mr. Ensign Lincoln

Like Mr. Larkin, Ensign Lincoln was a printer and publisher. Although not ordained, he was licensed to preach as a Baptist in 1811, which he did frequently both in Boston and beyond. In the year 1813 he preached weekly in a nearby schoolhouse. In 1818 he preached the first sermon by a Baptist in Hingham, resulting in the organization of the first Sunday School in that town with 90 students on the first Sunday.

Born on January 8, 1779 in Hingham, Mass., he apprenticed to Manning and Loring at the age of 14 and began his own business as a printer in Boston in 1800. Despite his zeal for preaching, he never left his first profession until his death on Dec. 2, 1832. One of the first works he published was a two-volume set of poems by William Cowper, believed to be the first American edition of these poems.

His son, Brown University Professor John Larkin Lincoln, wrote of his father, “My dear father was one of the best of men, always cheerful and kind, with a wonderful equableness of temper…How loving he was at home, and how I loved to be in his lap in the evening and hear him talk!…I used to go with my father out of town when he went to preach for different churches. How many miles I have driven him out of Boston and back again, and how good and thoughtful he was in talking to me!”

The obituary in The American Magazine said of him: “A purer mind never inhabited a mortal frame. It instinctively shrunk from the approach of vice in all its forms. A love of truth and goodness was the ruling passion of his soul. His manners were frank and open; his deportment was as distant from prudery and affectation as his heart was from hypocrisy. He delighted in the social intercourse of friends, and was always an object around which they might gather to indulge in the pleasures of conversation—to be pleased, improved, and refined.”

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