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By Brock Townsend
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Suffering, Providence, and Robert Lewis Dabney

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In his 1903 book, The Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney, Thomas Cary Johnson wrote of his friend, colleague, and spiritual brother, “Dr. Dabney was a great man. We cannot tell just how great yet. One cannot see how great Mt. Blanc is while standing at its foot. One hundred years from now men will be able to see him better.”

This prophecy has undoubtedly proven true for those who have been privileged to read any of Dabney’s works, or who have been inspired by his example. His intellect and industry were nearly singular. For most of his vocational years, he was a professor at the Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, where he labored diligently to raise up the next generation of Christian pastors, in not only the nurture and admonition of the Lord, but in a zeal to preach the Gospel to a perishing world. But Dabney was endowed with a broad and keen intellect and a passion for many labors, and his industry extended well beyond the seminary. He was not only a professor, but a pastor and a preacher; a church architect; a prolific author; a Confederate army chaplain; and, during a critical season of the War for Southern Independence, the adjutant general to General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. After many years of faithful labor in his home state of Virginia, Dabney was appointed the first professor of moral and mental philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. He spent his final years living on the incompletely tamed frontier of the Lone Star State. Dabney’s industry continued until the end.

Moe @ The Abbeville Institute


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