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J. R. Graves
Celebrates as Editor for 30 Years

The Baptist newspaper - Memphis, Tennessee
      The Baptists of olden times are acknowledging the reception of THE BAPTIST of 1846 with pleasurable recollections. Here is one from a brother we venerate and love for his consistency to Baptist principles. He lived in the midst of Pedobaptists for thirty years, where there has been no Baptist church, and yet firm and consistent, - one among ten thousand. We hope Bro. P. will 'will' those two volumes to us when he dies, and we will 'will' them to our university when we die, and so perpetuate them: -

      "Bro. Graves: - I go clear back. I took the first number of THE BAPTIST printed. I have the two first volumes bound. Have taken every number printed since but six months, and expect to it on. I am an Old Landmarker in the fullest sense of the word. Go on in the good work; our church is right and must triumph in the end. - J. A. Pollock.
Florence, Ala., December 25, 1876.

      "Bro. Graves: - Enclosed please find my renewal for 1877. I received the copy of THE BAPTIST bearing date November 21st, 1846. To me it was a pleasant remembrance of that dear good old past, when It was our glorious privilege to take giant strides in the cause of the Master. It was about that period that I commenced as a subscriber to THE BAPTIST, and I must say that since then my Christian life and THE BAPTIST have moved on hand in hand, and I begin to feel, Bro. Graves, as the years of my pilgrimage here grow less, that THE BAPTIST must be my companion unto the end. The Holy Spirit has so often blessed me through its columns that I feel that It must necessarily be a part of my future, as it has been a part of my past life. You will understand and appreciate what I mean, and feel also in this connection. I do not know that I ever expressed such sentiment toward you personally, but I have often thought of you and THE BAPTIST in my prayers; have never in all my past thirty years doubted the sincerity of your alms and efforts in the advancement of the cause of our Redeemer. And now it is my earnest desire that it may please God to give you and THE BAPTIST many long and useful years, yet; that you may justly be to the future what you have been to the past, an abiding rock for Zion.

      "Your name and THE BAPTIST is associated in my mind with much that is good here in this life, and what will it be in that one that is to come." -
Wm. M. Crenshaw.
Iuka, Miss."

      Remarks - That which has afforded us Christian comfort and improvement in this age will not be forgotten in that which is to come. We do appreciate the feelings that prompted the above expressions of esteem, and may God bless our Bro. Crenshaw.

      "Bro. Graves: - I see in my last BAPTIST that you request all who were reading it thirty years ago, when you first published it, to write to you. I have become so feeble and tremulous that it is with great difficulty that I can write so that you can read It, but I thought perhaps it would be the last time I ever should be able to write to you, and I would try it this one time more.

      "Now, I will say this: I do not know positively that I read THE BAPTIST That same year, but suppose I did from the fact that I read it when Bro. Howell published it, and when it was Grave and Shankland, and Graves and Marks, and I have read it ever since when my circumstances would permit, and expect to do so as long as I can. I have some of the numbers in my house at this time over twenty years old. When I first read THE BAPTIST I was living in Robertson county, Tenn., but my address has been Ash Grove, Green county, Mo., for the past twenty years, as your books will show.

      "Bro. Graves, perhaps the last word that I may say to you is, 'Go on in your good work, pursue the even tenor of your way till we shall be called to a better home in heaven.' - John Turner.
Ash Grove, Mo., Dec. 17,1876.

      "Bro. Graves, Eld. G. W. White was another subscriber to THE BAPTIST thirty years ago. His address Is Ebenezer, Green county, Mo.
Jno . Turner."

      "Bro. Graves: - As you request all those who were reading THE BAPTIST At the time your name was associated with that of Howell as editor to notify you of the fact that you may publish their names, I give you mine as one, not that I want my name published, but that you may know that I am one of the Old Guard.

      "I will in a short time send you money to renew my subscription,
W. H. Halleburton.
DeWill, Ark., Dec. 25, 1876.

      "Bro. Graves: - In accordance with your request, made in a recent number of THE BAPTIST, I have the pleasure of sending yon my name. I have been a subscriber to it for all the time I could find it convenient, that is as soon as the war allowed you to rebuild your shattered fortunes. I will not be positive that I was a subscriber thirty years ago, but I am satisfied that I took your paper in 1848, twenty-eight years ago. I appreciate the old number, and treasure it as a grateful souvenir of the 'good old long time ago.' I am at present a subscriber and will take the dear BAPTIST as long as I live. Having moved from Searcy, Ark., to our farm in Searcy valley, please change my address from there to Center Hill, Ark.
Mrs. N. A. Critz. "

      "Bro. Graves: - I see you request the name of every one who has been a subscriber to THE BAPTIST ever since u have been its editor. I am happy to say I have been one. I was influenced to subscribe for it by Bro. E. Collins, when R. B . C. Howell was the editor.
Lone Elm, December 27, '76.

      The Standard, Chicago, thus notices:
      "THE OLDEN TIME - Rev. J. R. Graves of the Memphis BAPTIST, publishes a fac simile of the first number of that paper, with which he was connected, dated November 21st 1846. He had just then accepted the pastorate of the Second Baptist church of Nashville. We find in this number some of Bro. Grave's strong writing, advocating Indian Missions, and other denominational movements. We also find a very instructive letter from Rev. John M. Peck, dated at Rock 8prings, giving an interesting account of the Baptist cause in Southern Illinois thirty years ago. The following extract from it is not entirely out of date even now.

      "When churches build comfortable houses of worship, they ought to provide pastors, and obey the gospel in sustaining them. I teach and preach that it is wretched economy to spend several hundred dollars to build and fit up a house, to meet in but once a month. Churches that only hold monthly meetings need no house specially for that purpose. They can meet anywhere twelve times in a year -a tobacco-house, a gin-house, or a large corn-crib would do well enough. If a church is at the pains and expense to put up a comfortable house of worship let them make arrangements at once to have a pastor and pay him, as the word of God requires.

      "We talk these matters out LOUD in this part of Illinois, so that all can hear and understand and it produces good effect. People have common sense, and soon find out, if they have a useful pastor, they must have all his time and talents. Then he is worth something. A preacher's time and talents are his own, for the benefit of his family, as much as any other man's, and no church or people have any more right to the time and talents of a minister, and that of their families, without a fair compensation, than they have to the time and talents of any other person. But if a preacher employs no time but the Lord's day, and cultivate no talents, by habitual study, and only preaches just what he happens to think about when he is speaking, why, surely he ought to consider it a great privilege to be permitted to preach the gospel in that manner."

      The editor of the Battle-Flag, Missouri, thus: "We have just received a copy of THE BAPTIST, issued from Nashville, Nov. 21st, 1864, by R. B. C. Howell, D.D., and Rev. J. R. Graves as editors. This shows that it has been thirty years since Bro. Graves began his career us an editor. He is still in the prime and vigor of mind and body. THE BAPTIST appeared thirty years ago with sixteen pages about eight by ten inches. May God long spare THE BAPTIST with its editor to speak the truth in love."

      Our warm-hearted brother of the Western Baptist with this personal kindness:

      "A NOVELTY. - Dr. Graves, of THE BAPTIST, Memphis, presents his readers with a copy of the first issue of the paper upon which his name appeared as editor. It was called THE BAPTIST, and is dated Nashville, November 21, 1846. R. B. C. Howell and J . R. Graves appear as editors. At that time, thirty years ago, Dr. Graves was quite a young man, and pastor of the Second Baptist church in Nashville. He had been selected by the committee of publication as assistant editor of the paper, Dr. Howell having the general supervision of it. It is a sixteen-page, about 10x12, with two columns to the page. No editorial has the initial "H." from which we infer that Dr. Graves became editor from the Jump. Most of the editorial is devoted to Indian Missions; the minutes of a Free-Will Baptist Association are given, with some editorial strictures, and among the correspondents are the well-known names of J. M. Peck of Illinois, and W. H. Bayliss, then of Arkansas. The letter of the latter is dated 'Dallas county, October 28th, 1846,' and the writer speaks of Brownsville church, of which he was then pastor, and which has since been known as the Tulip church. Some four or five pages are occupied with the details of the Mexican war."


From The Baptist, Memphis, Tennessee, January 13, 1877. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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