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'Satan Dethroned and Other Sermons'

Edited by
Secretary, American Baptist Theological Seminary,
Nashville, Tenn

To those staunch servants of God who lived and
laboured with this great preacher and loved him:

and A. C. DAYTON,
whose memory ought never to die.
This volume is most humbly dedicated. May
those who hold and preach and practice as they
did, be multiplied and blessed in their labours.

[Scroll down for the list of sermons]


     VIEWED from almost any angle, Dr. James Robinson Graves was a remarkable man. He was, perhaps, the most influential Baptist preacher in the Mississippi Valley during an entire half-century. He edited for forty-five years The Baptist, sometimes called The Tennessee Baptist, a periodical which had the widest circulation among all the Baptist papers of its day. He was a writer and publisher of books and denominational tracts. He organized two great publishing enterprises, and was the promoter of several denominational bodies.

     But his greatest distinction was that of a public speaker. This talent manifested itself in two ways, as a debater upon religious doctrines and as preacher and evangelist. It was as a preacher that Dr. Graves attained his greatest prominence, and won the greatest public consideration. Wherever it was known that he was to preach, in country town or city; at the "Saturday meeting," the Sunday services, or at the denominational gatherings, standing room was almost always at a premium. He spoke without regard to the flight of time. And the people never thought of time, until he was ready to close. Then they very often

[p. 6]
besought him to continue. For he showed such reserve power that the audiences felt he could say much more on the subject, if he would. It was no unusual thing for him to speak two or three hours at a time.

     Many sought to locate his "power as a public speaker." But they were not quite sure wherein it lay. Possibly, as his son-in-law, the editor of this volume might venture the following suggestion as to some elements which helped to make up his wonderful power, for it was indeed great:

     His breadth of accurate information, ready to hand for use. The manifest conviction and sincerity of the speaker, the irresistible logic of his discourse, the broad human sympathy coupled with the intense love of the truth, his superb, almost perfect physical powers; all these, together with a voice of wonderful compass, powers and sweetness - it was like an instrument on which he could play as a skilful musician upon a lute.

     Then, the evident courage and superb daring of the man; for he did not hesitate to advocate his views amidst the most unfriendly surroundings, if he felt called upon to present them. He was the unafraid champion of the truth, as he understood it. Add to this that God was with him, and you will have the writer's summing up of the elements that entered into his power of speech.

      When one heard him, he would never forget it. Such was his charm that men would often stand for

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hours in most uncomfortable positions, utterly oblivious of everything else, and listen to him as long as he could be induced to speak. In a Biography which is being published at about the same time as this volume, a somewhat full account of his activities and achievements has been set forth.

     The personal relationship of the editor of this volume must be relied upon to furnish both his excuse and his justification for the publication of these sermons, and for their late appearance. The fear that the editor might not be able to present the sermons in such a way as to do their author justice caused the delay. And the fear that time, as it passed, might never give him the opportunity to make Ms message permanent urges their presentation at this time.

     It will be observed that a few of the sermons, as here reproduced, contain an occasional uncompleted sentence, and perhaps also a mere note of illustration, to be "filled in" by the preacher as he later stood in the pulpit. Such omissions, if they can be regarded as such, tend to preserve the atmosphere of Dr. Graves' own manuscripts, without detracting from the power of the discourses as here published.

      The printed sermons, though full of excellence and power, can never quite reflect the speaker. But it is hoped that a real service and pleasure may be afforded by their publication. A son's love and admiration would never be satisfied if an effort were

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not made to give Dr. Graves a permanent place among the public speakers whose work ought to abide.

     I am venturing to include one of Dr. Graves' Marriage Ceremonies, not only that it may reflect his views, but that it may also preserve permanently the ideas and conceptions which have formed the deep foundation of countless homes - and may challenge present and coming generations to regard marriage as God established it.

      It seems desirable to offer a word of explanation to even thoughtful readers, regarding the fact that Dr. Graves was what, in his time, was called a "Landmarker"; that is, simply a strict constructionist. Many people got the idea that he did not really believe others than Baptists were truly Christians. Nothing could be further from the truth; yet it seems a strange perversion that some good people still interpret Baptists in that way.

     The writer of these sermons rejoiced to believe that every person who trusted in Jesus Christ was an eternally saved person, wholly without regard to any church; that the ordinance of baptism, which was according to the command of Jesus Christ, added no whit to the salvation of the candidate. In his thinking, no man was prepared to receive the ordinance of baptism until he was really saved. In reading these sermons, therefore, let the reader keep this belief always in mind; to do so is only fair to the preacher.

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     Dr. Graves had conscientious scruples about the honorary title of "D. D." Hence he never formally accepted this honour when it was tendered him by several educational institutions. But he did accept the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.
O. L. H.
Nashville, Tennessee.


I.   Satan Dethroned                       13
(John 12:31) II. The Sovereignty of God not Inconsistent with Free Moral Agency 36
(Matthew 6:10) III. Human Depravity 58
(Romans 5:12) IV. The Sustaining Power of the Gospel under Afflictions 73
(Romans 8:18-24) V. "The Fool hath Said" 86
(Psalm 14:1) VI. Glorifying God 95
(I Corinthians 6:20) VII. Agreement in Prayer 104
(Matthew 18:19) VIII. A Funeral Discourse 112
(James 4:14) IX. The Moral Grandeur of Christian Decision and Consistency 127
(Daniel 3:16-18) X. Atheism in Theory and Practice 145
(II Thessalonians 2:11) XI. His Offense 164
(Mark 6:3) XII. A Marriage Ceremony 171

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