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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Prime, Ebenezer 1700-1779

PRIME, Ebenezer, clergymen, born in Milford, Connecticut, 21 July, 1700; died in Huntington, L. I., 25 September, 1779. He was the grandson of James, who, with his brother, Mark Prime, came from England to escape religious persecution about 1638. Ebenezer was graduated at Yale in 1718, studied divinity, and the following year was called to Huntington, L. I., where he became an assistant to Reverend Eliphalet Jones. On 5 June, 1723, he was ordained pastor of the same church, which office he continued to hold until his death. A register of the sermons that he preached, with texts, dates, and places of delivery, shows that he prepared more than 3,000, many of which are still preserved. Although he was educated as a Congregationalist, in 1747 his own church and the others in the county of Suffolk formed themselves into a presbytery and adopted the Presbyterian form of government, Mr. Prime being chosen the first moderator. In the war of the Revolution Mr. Prime's church was turned into a military depot by the British, and the pulpit and pews were burnt for fuel. The parsonage was occupied by troops: the pastor's valuable library was used for lighting fires, and otherwise mutilated. Driven from home in his seventy-seventh year, an object of special hostility on account of his decided patriotic opinions, he retired to a quiet part of the parish and preached in private houses, or wherever he could gather his people together. Toward the close of the war Colonel Benjamin Thompson, afterward Count Rumford, was ordered to occupy the village. He tore down the church, and used the materials in building barracks and block-houses in the graveyard. Ascertaining where the venerable pastor lay buried, he directed that his own tent should be pitched at the head of the grave, that, as he expressed it, he might have the satisfaction of treading on the "d old rebel "every time he entered and left it. Mr. Prime is described by a contemporary as "a man of sterling character, of powerful intellect, who possessed the reputation of an able and faithful divine."

Annals of the American Pulpit, Volume 3 - 1860 (see page 30)

Old First Presbyterian Church (founded 1658, present building 1784)File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View

His published discourses include

"A Sermon Preached in Oysterbay, February 27, 1643-44", 1744
"The Pastor at Large Vindicated", 1758
"The Divine Institution of Preaching the Gospel Considered " (New York, 1758)
"The Importance of the Divine Presence with the Armies of God's People in their Martial Enterprises, considered and improv'd; and the Christian soldier admonished, councelled and encourag'd" (1759).
He also published a sermon, delivered in 1754, on " Ordination to the Gospel Ministry," regarding which he held peculiar views.

Records of the First church in Huntington, Long island, 1723-1779: Being the ... First Church in Huntington (Huntington, N.Y.), Ebenezer Prime - Reference - 1899 - 144 pages
Records of the First church in Huntington, Long island, 1723-1779 - Huntington, N.Y. First Church. [from old catalog]
Records of the First church in Huntington, Long Island, 1723-1799. Being the record kept by the Rev. Ebenezer Prine, the pastor during those years - Huntington (N.Y.). First church

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