Hemphill, Samuel (DNB00)
HEMPHILL, SAMUEL (d. 1741), Irish presbyterian minister, was a native of Ulster, and probably trained for the ministry in one of the presbyterian academies in the north of Ireland. He appears to have entered at Glasgow College on 5 March 1716, and to have received the degree of M.A. on 30 April. In 1718 he received a call from the new congregation of Castleblayney, co. Monaghan, and was ordained by Augher presbytery on 24 Dec. Shortly after he entered the ministry, there broke out the non-subscription controversy, coincident with the passing of the Irish Toleration Act, 1719, which was without the condition of subscription. He voted with the subscribers, and made his mark among them by issuing (1722) one of the ablest pamphlets on that side. In June 1723 he was present at the meeting of general synods in Dungannon, co. Tyrone, and was placed on the synod's committee. Soon afterwards he was at Edinburgh. Charles Mastertown [q. v.], the foremost man of his party, sent him while there a pamphlet bearing on the controversy for revision. He received the degree of M.A. at Edinburgh on 21 Jan. 1726. On 26 May he issued from Castleblayney his last publication, in which with great skill he retorted upon Samuel Haliday [q. v.] the palmary argument of the non-subscribers. If subscription be unscriptural, urged Hemphill, equally so is every method proposed by the non-subscribers for ascertaining the fitness of a minister. The publication was followed by the ejection of non-subscribers from the synod at the June meeting. Though he had deserved well of his party, he was left to struggle with the difficulties of a frontier congregation. In 1729 he was called to the new congregation at Antrim, formed by those who had withdrawn from the ministry of John Abernethy (1680–1740) [q. v.]; the synod, however, would not permit him to remove. He fell into pecuniary difficulties, and died on 28 March 1741.
Hemphill published: 1. ‘Some General Remarks … on the … Consistency of Subscribing, &c.’ [Belfast?], 1722, 8vo (anon.; acknowledged later). 2. Preface to Mastertown's ‘Apology for the Northern Presbyterians,’ &c., Glasgow, 1723, 4to (valuable for the account of the proceedings at the general synod of that year). 3. ‘The Third Page of Mr. Abernethy's Preface … considered,’ &c., Belfast, 1725, 8vo. 4. ‘A Letter to the Rev. Mr. Samuel Haliday, &c.,’ Dublin, 1726, 8vo.
[Cat. of Edinburgh Graduates, 1858, p. 199; Reid's Hist. Presb. Church in Ireland (Killen), 1867, iii. 148, 168, 204; Witherow's Hist. and Lit. Mem. of Presbyterianism in Ireland, 1879, i. 250 sq.; Killen's Hist. Congr. Presb. Church in Ireland, 1886, pp. 17, 84; extracts from Minutes of General Synod; records of Glasgow University, per W. J. Addison, esq.]