Rev. James M. Pendleton, D.D., so widely known as a great and good man, died of capillary bronchitis, at noon on March 4th, at the home of his son-in-law. Mr. B. F. Procter, in Bowling Green, Ky.
He was born in Spottsylvania county, Va., November 20, 1811, and removed when quite young with his parents to Christian county, Ky.
When seventeen years of age he professed faith in Christ and joined the Bethel church, near Pembroke, Ky., and was baptised April 14th, 1829, by Rev. Jno. S. Wilson.
He preached his first sermon in September, 1831. He served the Bethel and Hopkinsville churches jointly as pastor for some time, having been ordained November 2, 1833, and was called to Bowling Green in 1837, where he was pastor for twenty years.
He was married March 13th, 1838, to Miss Catherine Garnett, of Glasgow, Ky. Only nine days more would have given them fifty-three years of life together. He removed to Murfreeboro, Tenn., in 1857, where he was theological professor in Union University and pastor of the Baptist church for five years. From Murfreesboro he removed to Dayton, Ohio, and subsequently to Upland, Pa., where he was pastor for eighteen years. Owing to advancing years he resigned the pastorate a few years ago, and has since spent his time with his children, writing, and occasionally preaching. He is the author of several very valuable books, "Three Reasons Why I Am a Baptist," "Christian Doctrines," "Distinctive Principles of Baptists," "Brief Notes on the New Testament," "Church Manual," "Pendleton's Sermons," and others. He had only six weeks ago completed his "Reminiscences," which will doubtless be published soon.
He spent last summer in Upland, and returned to Bowling Green in October, quite feeble and greatly reduced in flesh. He had, however, become more vigorous, and preached for us twice, the last time being on Sunday morning, Jan. 25. his text being Ps. li. 4, subject, "Sinning against God." It was an excellent sermon, delivered with great earnestness and tenderness. We shall never forget his closing appeal while enforcing the ''awfulness of sinning against God." It was a fitting close of a life-work preaching the "gospel of grace."
He was announced to preach for me on Sunday morning, Feb. 15, but was taken ill on the night of the 10th, and gradually grew weaker until death. He was conscious and calm, with momentary exceptions, up to within an hour of death, and passed away as a child falling asleep.
The funeral services were held in the Baptist church at 8 p.m., on the 6th. The church and Dr. Pendleton's chair in the audience were draped in mourning. The large room was filled with admiring friends of Dr. Pendleton from this and other communities, representing not only Baptists but other denominations and non-professors. His son, from Pennsylvania, had been with him for several days, but his daughters in Colorado and Texas were not able to be here.
The services were began by an instrumental voluntary, as the procession entered the church preceded by the ministers who took part in the services.
Dr. W. H. Whitsitt announced the first hymn,"Servant of God, well done" (648 Hymnal), Rev. A. M. Boone read 2 Cor. iv. 6 to v. 10. Rev. M. M. Riley, the pastor, offered prayer. A beautiful and appropriate solo was sung by Mrs. L. D. Potter, at the conclusion of which Rev. Dr. T. T. Eaton, a life-long intimate friend of Dr. Pendleton, announced his text, 2 Tim. iv. 7, from which he delivered a forcible sermon and an appropriate eulogy of the deceased. He said no one could take Dr. Pendleton's place; he had filled his place here and had gone to take his place on high. At the conclusion of his remarks, the choir and congregation sang, " How firm a foundation," after which Dr. Whitsitt, who also had been a pupil and friend of Dr. Pendleton, spoke feelingly on behalf of the Seminary and of the pupils in former years. His remarks were brief, appropriate, tender, and true. The remains were then taken to our beautiful Fairview Cemetery, followed by a very long procession, where they were interred in a lot previously procured by Dr. Pendleton and his son-in-law.
Our sympathy and admiration for dear Sister Pendleton we can not express. Such calm resignation we have never seen. She held his hand till life had fled; and, owing to her blindness, knew not the end had come till a child removed his hand from hers. She and her children have the sympathy of many thousands. Truly had he fought the good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith. May God give us more such men as was J. M. Pendleton.
M. M. Riley.
Bowling Green, Ky.
[From The Baptist and Reflector , March 12, 1891, p. 1, CD edition. The reference to this document is from Thomas White's Selected Works of JMP; used with permission. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
More on J. M. Pendleton
Baptist History Homepage