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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

Luther Rice, arousing the Baptists

Luther Rice, who returned to America to arouse the Baptists to the support of Judson and foreign missions, was a most remarkable man. He was not without faults, he made mistakes, but his virtues and zeal outshone them all.

He has been described as follows:

By nature he was endowed with many of the essential attributes of an effective speaker. His appearance was highly prepossessing.. Above the ordinary height, with a robust and perfectly erect form, there was at once produced on the mind of the beholder a most favorable impression. None could fail to entertain respect, for it was demanded by a peculiar dignity of appearance and manner.

Especially was this fane, when he arose in the pulpit. With a full face, and comparatively small eyes, there was sometimes rather a dull and heavy cast of countenance, which immediately changed when he became animated by speaking; his voice was clear and melodious.

He had but little action, which, however, was appropriate and graceful. He was, at all times, when he addressed an assembly, remarkable for self possession. Nothing seemed capable of discomposing his mind.

Perhaps few speakers have been apparently less affected by external circumstances; whatever might be the character of the congregation, whether large or small, intelligent or ignorant, whether in the city or country, he was always distinguished for the same dignity and readiness of utterance. . . .

The style of Mr. Rice’s sermons was, in many respects, superior. A refined, critical taste, could, perhaps, have discovered, at times, a redundancy of words and phrases; but this was no more than might have been expected from discourses which were always extemporaneous, especially when it is known that the multiplicity of other duties allowed but little time for preparation. . . .

The moment he began to speak, attention was roused, and uniformly the interest thus awakened was kept up throughout the services

John Christian, A History of the Baptists, vol. 2

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