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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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rev. Joseph Eckley, DD

Joseph Eckley had a slightly different background than many of his fellows. He was born in England in 1750 and graduated from Princeton in 1772, earning his D.D. also from Princeton in 1793, making his way to Boston to become the pastor of Old South Church in 1779. In 1787 he helped found The Society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Indians, making it no surprise that he would gravitate to the Massachusetts Bible Society at its founding.

Decades after his April 30, 1811 passing, one Dr. Lowell wrote of Rev. Eckley: “I never witnessed his indignation at anything but bigots and bigotry; and then it was expressed emphatically. I do not remember his ever talking on points of theological controversy, — not even on the subject of the Trinity; though that was a subject which, in his day, was but little discussed among us. His relations were certainly more intimate with the 'liberal party,' as they were termed, than with the Calvinistic party. It was not so with his young colleague, Mr. Huntington, with whom I enjoyed pleasant, personal and ministerial intercourse during his life; but he was most kind, gentlemanly, and Christian-like, in his treatment of those from whom he differed in sentiment.”

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