1902 Encyclopedia > Henderson

Ebenezer Henderson
Scottish dissenting minister and theological and miscellaneous writer

EBENEZER HENDERSON, Scottish dissenting minister and theological and miscellaneous writer, was born at the Linn near Dunfermline, November 17, 1784, and died at Mortlake, May 17, 1858. He was the youngest son of an agricultural labourer, and after three years' schooling spent some time at watchmaking and as a shoemaker's apprentice. In 1803 he joined Mr Robert Haldane's theological semi-nary, and in 1805 was selected to accompany the Rev. John (afterwards Dr) Paterson to India; but as the East India Company would not allow British vessels to convey mis-sionaries to India, Henderson and his colleague went to Denmark to await the chance of a passage to Serampore. Being unexpectedly delayed, they ultimately decided to settle in Denmark, and in 1806 Henderson was fixed at Elsinore. From this time till about 1817 he was engaged in encouraging the distribution of Bibles in the Scandinavian countries, and in the course of his labours he visited Sweden and Lapland (1807-8), Iceland (1814-15), and the mainland of Denmark and part of Germany (1816). During most of this time he was an agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society. In 1818, after a visit to England, he travelled in company with Dr Baterson through Bussia as far south as Tiflis, but, instead of settling as was pro-posed at Astrakhan, he had to retrace his steps, having re-signed his connexion with the Bible Society. In 1822 he was invited by Prince Alexander Galitzin to assist the Bussian Bible Society in translating the Scriptures into various languages spoken in the Bussian empire. After twenty years of foreign labour Henderson returned to England, and in 1825 was appointed tutor of the Mission College, Gosport. In 1830 he succeeded Dr William Harrison as theological lecturer and professor of Oriental languages in Highbury Congregational College, and though in 1850, on the amalgamation of the colleges of Homerton, Coward, and Highbury, he was excluded from office through age, he was pastor in 1852-53 of a chapel at Mortlake. His last work was a transla-tion of the book of Ezekiel. Henderson was a man if great linguistic attainment : in the course of his labours he made himself more or less acquainted, not only with the ordinary languages of scholarly accom-plishment and the various members of the Scandinavian group, but also with Hebrew, Syriac, Ethiopic, Russian, Arabic, Tatar, Persic, Turkish, Armenian, Manchoo, Mongolian, and Coptic. He organized the first Bible Society in Denmark (1814), and paved the way for several others. In 1817 he was nominated by the Scandinavian Literary Society a corresponding member; and in 1840 he was made D.D. by the university of Copenhagen. He was honorary secretary for life of the Religious Tract Society, and one of the first promoters of the British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews. The records of his travels in Iceland (1818) were valuable con-tributions to our knowledge of that island. His other principal works are Biblical Researcnes and Travels in Russia (1826), Divine Inspiration (1836), and annotated translations of Isaiah (1840, 1857), the twelve minor prophets (1845), and Jeremiah (1851).
See Memoirs of Ebenezer Henderson, by Thulia S. Henderson (his daughter), London, 1859.

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