This Day in Presbyterian History: Samuel Finley [1715-1766]

By David T. Myers

Injurious to Your Health

It was downright unhealthy to be the president of the College of New Jersey (today’s Princeton University) in the opening years of that educational institution. In the first nine years of its existence, five presidents were installed and five presidents were on the short list to heaven! That fifth president was Samuel Finley.

Born in Scotland in 1715, Samuel Finley came over to the colonies at age nineteen. He studied theology at the celebrated Log College under the Tennents, was ordained into the New Brunswick Presbytery as a revivalist preacher. He was clearly a New Side Presbyterian.

Assigned first to a brand new Presbyterian church in Mitford, Connecticut, he discovered that the governor of Connecticut really did not want him, or for that matter, the Presbyterian Church. He was escorted, or should I say, expelled from the colony. It is clear from his later ministry that this was all due to the providence of God.

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