Dodds, Robert James (1824-1870)

Dodds, Robert James, D.D.–“Son of Archibald and Margaret (Davison) Dodds, was born near Freeport, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, August 29, 1824. Possessed from his youth with integrity of character and amiability of disposition he was dedicated to God for the work of the ministry. At an early age he began his classical studies under the direction of his pastor, the Rev. Hugh Walkinshaw, and made such rapid progress and proficiency in all the departments of literature taught in a College, that he was recommended as sufficiently advanced to begin the study of theology in the spring of 1844. He studied theology in the Allegheny and Cincinnati Seminaries, and was licensed by the Pittsburgh Presbytery, June 21, 1848. As a preacher, his sermons were rich in Scriptural truth and illustration. He was not a popular orator owing to a hesitancy in his speech, and he was more spiritual than ornate; more thoughtful than rhetorical; more anxious about conviction than elegance of style. He was admirably adapted with every qualification for a successful Missionary. He was a good classical scholar, and made such proficiency in the study of the Arabic tongue that he was able to preach a sermon in that language in eighteen months after beginning the study of it. He was a remarkably cheerful man, uniform in his feelings and sympathetic in his disposition. His intellectual character was marked with keen and vigorous reasoning powers, a retentive memory, and the ability to concentrate his ideas. Among his earlier publications is, “A Reply to Morton on Psalmody,” 1851, pp. 140. His writings are principally letters to the Foreign Mission Board and are published in the Church magazines. He translated the Shorter Catechism into the Arabic language, and was engaged in writing and translating other works for the use of the Mission. He was honored with the degree of Doctor of Divinity by Monmouth College in 1870. He was Moderator of the Synod of 1866. During a subsequent journey to Idlib, he contracted a severe cold which adhered to him. In the beginning of December following, he suffered from a slight hemorrhage of the lungs, intensified by typhoid fever, from which he died, at his home in Aleppo, Syria, December II, 1870.” from History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of America by William Malancthon Glasgow, p484-487. Dodds’ work “A Reply to Morton on Psalmody can be found here


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