July 20, 2013 · 4:25 PM
Ten years that equaled a century
It is for some to go, and for others to hold the rope for others that go to the heathen world. Such was the lot of the Rev. Samuel Pearce who was ordained in 1789 as pastor of the Cannon Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, England in which he served until his death on Oct. 10, 1799. Though it only lasted ten years, William Cathcart said, “Measured by usefulness instead of years this young pastor preached for at least a century.” Pearce was a dear friend of Wm. Carey before the beginning of the missionary enterprise, and was one of the strongest advocates of the worldwide mission’s cause that the world has ever known. He desired to go with Carey but because of his physical frailties, the Missionary Society convinced him that he was of greater value for the cause of missions in England. His eloquence in the pulpit stirred many throughout England and Ireland to volunteer for and support of the work in India. As a staunch prayer warrior, Pearce carried every matter to the Lord and expected and received answers to his prayers. In 1794 he wrote to the ministers in the U.S. urging the formation of the American Baptist foreign missionary society, land credit must be given to Pastor Pearce, for the seed fell on good soil and bore fruit a hundredfold. Pearce was born in Birmingham, England, ln July 20, 1766. As a boy he experienced seasons of great conviction as he considered his sin. When he was fifteen he saw a man die who cried out, “I am damned forever.” He was filled with terror for a year and hearing Rev. Birt of Plymouth, England, he was pointed to the Lamb of God, and found full assurance and peace with God. He was trained in the Bristol College. At 33 years of age he fell victoriously asleep in Jesus, with his dear wife comforting him.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 297-98.
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March 30, 2013 · 3:45 PM
NASHVILLE AND THE SECOND CHURCH
Dr. R.B.C. Howell was then in the zenith of his power and usefulness. He had recently written and published his great work on Communion, which has already passed through several editions. He was a man of culture and eloquence and of great literary ability, a tremendous worker, and at that time the most influential man among the Baptists of the South. In addition to his pastoral labors in connection with the First Baptist Church, of Nashville, he also was editor of The Baptist. In that paper of November, 1845, he wrote this commendatory word concerning Graves: “He has lately come from Kentucky and, although quite young, is thoroughly educated, exemplary in piety, ardently devoted to his work, and not without ministerial experience.”
A year of indefatigable and successful labor followed, during which time young Graves was brought into conflict with the almost supreme of Methodism in that city. The influence of such a man as Dr. Howell on him must have been very great. Some one has said: “A man is the sum of his antecedents.” As we shall see, young Graves imbibed much of this great man’s spirit and adopted many of his ecclesiastical views. Here, in fact began to operate those influences and reactions which in later years led to his writing The Great Iron Wheel.
BECOMES EDITOR OF THE BAPTIST
And now opened before young Graves a new and untried field of labor, and his real life work began. It came about in this way: In 1835 R.B.C. Howell started a small quarto paper in Nashville called The Baptist. It continued for three years and was then merged in the Banner and Pioneer, which was published in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Howell retained the position of associate editor, or Tennessee editor. Five years later, in 1842, The Baptist, was resuscitated under the ownership of the General Association of Middle Tennessee and Northern Alabama, with Dr. Howell again as editor. The paper did not pay expenses and its circulation ran a little more than one thousand. Young Graves, while pastor of the Second Baptist Church, wrote stirring articles for The Baptist often controversial, which made a most favorable impression. At the General Association of 1846, Dr. Howell resigned the editorship and the executive committee of the Association elected J.R. Graves his successor. He at first declined because, in becoming editor, he would have to assume somewhat heavy responsibilities. It was characteristic of Dr. Graves that he sought to avoid heavy responsibilities, especially in the denominational life, but he at length accepted and his real life work was already begun.
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