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Henry Benade Cowley

Report and Letters, New Church Life
"In Memoriam: Rev. Henry B. Cowley"

Henry Benade Cowley. Click for larger image. "After a lingering illness, the Rev. Henry Benade Cowley departed to his eternal home on December 2d, 1901.

Mr. Cowley, who was born at Pittsburg, January 7th, 1871, was the second son of the late David Cowley, M.D., whose name is well-known as one of the pillars of the Pittsburg Society and as one of the earliest and most ardent members of the Academy of the New Church.

Born and bred in an intensely active sphere of the Church, and gifted with a bright intelligence and earnestness of purpose, Henry Cowley from early childhood developed an unusually strong interest in spiritual things. He was, it may be said, "a born teacher," and gave evidence of the love of teaching even in early childhood. At the age of fourteen he formed the determination to prepare himself for the ministry, and for this purpose entered the schools of the Academy in Philadelphia in 1886. After two years a constitutional illness forced him to give up his studies, and he now had to spend five weary years in outdoor work. Finally, in 1893, his health permitted him to resume his beloved studies in the Academy, from which he graduated as Bachelor of Arts in 1896, and as Bachelor of Theology in 1897. In the fall of the same year he was engaged as assistant teacher at the parish school of the Society in Huntingdon Valley. On June 15th, 1898, he married Miss Julia Viola Klein, a daughter of the late Andrew Klein, of Brooklyn, and sister of the Rev. David H. Klein, of Middleport, and on June 19th, 1898 he was ordained into the priesthood of the New Church by Bishop Pendleton. In the following year he was engaged as assistant to the Rev. Homer Synnestvedt, and as Headmaster of the local school at Bryn Athyn. Occupied almost exclusively in his work of teaching children, and throwing his whole heart and soul into this use, he never had much opportunity to enter into the general work of the priesthood, but was pre-eminently and by preference a school-master, a guide, philosopher and friend of the little ones, whose heart and interest he gained in a remarkable degree. The delight of his life was to teach and lead the young, and to prepare himself for ever more effective work by the study of the principles and methods of education. His career of usefulness, however, was not destined to be of long duration in this world. Never in robust health, he was forced by a severe illness to give up all active work in the spring of 1901. For many months there was hope of his ultimate recovery, and he himself looked forward with confidence and delight to the time when he should again be in the midst of his beloved school-children. But a complication of diseases finally set in, and he was quickly taken to a higher scene of labor in the use of New Church Education.

At the memorial meeting, on December 4th, Pastor Synnestvedt, as an intimate associate, gave heartfelt testimony to the devotion of Mr. Cowley in his work, his bright, cheerful, patient and studios disposition, the appreciation in which he was held by his pupils and his fellow-teachers, and pointed out the importance of the primary education of the young--a work which is so fundamental, "so near the ground," that it is sometimes lost to our sight. Bishop Pendleton dwelt on the truth that "if a man loves his work, he will be saved," and spoke of the bright prospects and wide usefulness as an educator now opening before our brother in the other life, Mr. Odhner read an extract from the Apocalypse Explained, n. 732, showing that the New Church will increase on earth only according to her increase in the other world from accumulation of such spirits as in this life had received the Heavenly Doctrines. From such increase, also, the work of the New Church Education will increase in this world. Mr. Acton, quoting from the Spiritual Diary, n. 5003, dwelt on the reasons why men are removed from this world at an old or early age; one of the reasons there given, is that men die when uses are ready for them in the other life. "Our brother was in the spiritual love of teaching children, and all children are collected and taught by angels in the spiritual world. There he will find a school ready for him, a school infinitely better equipped than the one he has left behind, and with living representations to illustrate his teaching." Mr. Stanley spoke of the bonds of association with the other world which are increased in strength by every death in our midst. "The increased courage and determination with those who take up and carry on the use of those who have departed is by itself a sign of this increased association." Mr. Bostock pointed out that the work of education had apparently suffered a severe blow, inasmuch as Mr. Cowley was the only one of our ministers who had devoted his life exclusively to this use. But his death and his example should inspire us with renewed devotion and determination to perpetuate the use.

Mr. Cowley's brother and sister, Dr. William Cowley and Miss Margaret Cowley, of Pittsburg, and his brother-in-law, Mr. Anton Sellner and Mr. Samuel Klein, of New York, were present at the memorial meeting."

Julia Viola Klein
daughter of Anton (Andreas) Klein and Rosina Herold
Julia Viola Klein. Click for larger image.

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