Elder W. C. Buck is probably better and more widely known to the denomination than any other man belonging to it, excepting, perhaps, the venerable McClay. He is now, compared to most of us, an old man, though still vigorous in body, and active in mind. For nearly half a century he has been battling for the truth, and ever in fore-front of the contest. Careless of shield and helmet, he has stood out with his sword alone, defending himself by attacking the foe. The erect and self-reliant bearing of the head so well expressed in our engraving, is free from all approaches to haughtiness, but is the result, in part, of his early military training, for he was a soldier ere he became a minister, and preached his first sermon in his uniform as a cavalry officer. And, in part, it is the natural expression of a mind that does its own thinking, ever goes to itself for counsel, and neither fears nor hesitates to take all the responsibility of doing promptly and vigorously what he conceives he ought to do.
Elder Buck entered the ministry with an independent fortune. Had he given the energies of his large and active mind to the sordid work of accumulating wealth, he might now, in his old age, have been surrounded by affluence. Had he even left untouched the funds he then possessed, they would have, by the usual process of accumulation, enabled him now to rank among the rich men of the land. But he was willing, not only to be spent himself, but to employ his wealth in the work of the Lord. He has labored hard for many years, and has laid up treasures, but not upon the earth. He had respect unto the recompense which the Lord has promised, and now though poor he is rich. Rich in the confident trust that he shall wount for no good thing— rich in the assurance that there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness, which the Lord himself shall give him in that day when he comes again and gathers up his people.
As a speaker, Elder Buck is remarkable for his readiness to grapple at once, without previous study or preparation, with whatever subject may come before him. His superabundant wit or mirthfulness, while it often diminishes the force of what he says by depriving it of that staid dignity which should ordinarily characterize discussions upon matters pertaining to religion, yet gives a charm to his oratory, and a pungency to his arguments, which makes him a very dangerous opponent in an off-hand debate, where the object is to win the hearts or influence the minds of the masses. As a preacher, he is earnest and forcible, rather than persuasive, driving the truth into the minds of his hearers with startling vehemence of language, voice and gesture. He believes, and feels, and speaks, like one who believes firmly. And he feels deeply the fearful truths which he is sent to thunder into the ears of a thoughtless and heedless world.
[From The Southern Baptist Review and Eclectic, Volume 4, 1858, p. 274. Document from Google Books On-line. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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