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Edward Hale was ordained Associate Minister with Dr. Edward Everett Hale by the South Congregational (Unitarian) Church, Boston, on October 14, 1886. Mr. Hale was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, on February 22, 1858, the son of William Bainbridge and Amelia Porter Hale. He prepared for college at Phillips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire, and received his A.B. from Harvard with the Class of 1879. After two years in Italy and after early study in architecture he entered the Harvard Divinity School, receiving the degree of S.T.B. in 1886. On April 2, 1891, he became the first minister of the First Unitarian Church of Essex County, in Orange, New Jersey, where he remained until July 1, 1897. From October 3, 1897, until his death, March 27, 1918, he was minister of the First Church in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. In Orange he was the architect of the first church building; and in Chestnut Hill he worked closely with the architect of a new church. In 1888, while in Orange, he became Assistant and later Assistant Professor of Homiletics in the Harvard Divinity School, teaching there until 1906. On June 19, 1886, he married Emily Jose Milliken of Boston; there were two children, Emily Hale and William Peabody Hale.
Mr. Hale had a clear, orderly, scholarly mind, which led to the offer of Principalship of his own preparatory school in Exeter; and to the Presidency of the Meadville Theological School. He was endowed with a devout spiritual nature and the instinct of true pastoral care for the churches he served; a gift which was transmitted to and most gratefully recognized by the many students who came under his homiletical inspiration.
Dr. Charles Carroll Everett was Professor of Theology in the Harvard Divinity School from 1865 and Dean from 1878 to 1900, where his lectures marked a definite epoch in the theological life of the School. Unfortunately he never left manuscripts of his lectures. To Mr. Hale was given the task of preserving and editing the work of Dr. Everett. The first book was published by Harvard College with the title, The Psychological Elements of Religious Faith (Macmillan, 1902). A much fuller course was also published by the college, Theism and the Christian Faith (Macmillan, 1909), comprising some ninety lectures whose treatment had varied from year to year. All this material had to be collected from students’ notes, from memory and brief records. To this work Mr. Hale brought understanding, judgment and consecrated labor.
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