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The Baptist messenger. volume (None) 1904-19??, December 01, 1905, Image 1

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L • \ ^he Baptist Messenger MISSIONS—EDUCATION—TEMPERANCE. VOL. 2. NO. 10. WINGATE, N. C.. DECEMBER, 1905. 25 Cents a Year. Some Extracts from President Poteat’s Inaugural Address at Wake Forest. I. The responsibility which I now formally accept I have not! sought. I have loved my teach ing, my microscope, and the invi tation to be present at Nature’s marvels under the open sky and j in the deep woods hereabouts. For these obscure delights I see no compensation in the publicity of strenuous days in administra tion. And my poet friends who, long winter nights, have taken me up into their high fellowship ■—what an exchange would these be for the personal and financial problems of a large institution? There have, in truth, been mo ments of hesitation and recoil be fore this new sphere of labor. Even now these keys received from my honored predecessor grow bigger and heavier the lon ger I look at them. Into what halls of untried activities will they admit me? What burdens wait behind closed portals for my untrained shoulders? What doors of opportunity will they open be fore me? II. There is an old Spanish maxim which warns us to beware entering where there is a great gap to be filled. But he whose withdrawal has made this wide gap has done the work of his hands so wisely that the task of his successor is greatly lightened. Under his guidance the traditions and ideals of the college have been established in right direc tions. He has led it out of the wilderness and put the song of progress in its mouth. III. The Christian college is pervaded by the Christian spirit of mutual helpfulness. It will show itself in the personal rela tions of faculty and students. The teacher is approachable, sym pathetic, generous. He is the student’s best friend, thoroughly committed to his success all round, partner with him in the noble enterprise of culture. The student, on his part, cannot but be respectful and responsive. And when the association is end ed the lectures may grow dim in memory and then drop out, but the lecturer never. The lessons go, but the impulse towards all noble and beautiful things re mains. The moulding, cultural agency is not the teaching, but the teacher, in whom the highest demand is manhood and inspira tional power. Titles count for little against personality. IV. The Christian college is the safest place for a young man in the formative period of his life. In the first place, he has the picked youth of the country as his companions, choice men as re gards both their social culture and their religious life. For ex ample, eighty-eight per cent, of the students in this college are church members, and allusion has already been made to the mould ing and inspiring influence of reverent and capable teachers. In the second place, while life habits are forming and settling into character, the student has the advantage of regularly recurring tasks in elevated pursuits. V. But is not the tendency to skepticism especially characteris tic of young men in college? I, think not. It is more exact to say that it is characteristic of that state of mental development which young men have attained when they attend college. It is not wholly unlike the teething stage in infancy. Whenever the mind awakes into independent activity, as it is apt to do under the stimulus of new knowledge or a widened experience, no mat ter what or where the external surroundings may be, that criti cal period will announce and sig nalize itself by putting a question mark after everything in heaven and in earth. Accordingly, we observe outside of colleges, as well as within them, this incipi ent skepticism which in most cases is only a stage to the trans ition from a hereditary to a per- personal, well grounded faith. VI. When the fathers laid brick to brick yonder in 1835, they did it in the assurance that they were building for the King dom; and every brick laid here since that great day is consecra ted by the same worthy and noble association. Cut these bonds and leave Wake Forest unrelated to the purpose of our Lord to recov er unto himself the whole round world, much and long as I have loved it, I should say my fare wells and seek attachment to the divine purpose elsewhere. VII. The Christian college stands side by side with the Christian ministry as an agency for the realization of all social good. VIII. Culture is no safeguard against anarchy, for it does not touch the moral root out of which anarchy springs. It is a common place of history that some of the most intellectual periods in the career of a people have been marked by the disintegration of personality and the decay of na tional life. As has been remark ed by one of the ablest of writers on the fundamental conceptions of the State, the intellect divest ed of moral spirit is not a work ing force in the institution of righteousness, which is the con dition of national life. Here emerge the opportunity and mis sion of the Christian college. IX. The Christian college needs to be pervaded by an elevated patriotism. The social, economic, and political sciences must come more to the front. It must mul tiply points of contact with the public life of the time. The ob ligations .of citizenship must be enforced, and the political career shown to be worthy of the noblest character and the brightest in tellect. Ralph: The Old Negro Preacher. To The Baptist Messenger: In both the letters written for the November issue of The Mes senger about old Gourdvine church, something was said about “Ralph,” the old negro preacher. Since he has been brought before us, it is a good time for us to exchange informa tion about him further. We younger people are inclined to think that before the civil war the negroes had no preachers, and that their religious interests were neglected by their masters, and even they themselves thought religion belonged exclu sively to the whites. It is a fact that the negro’s ideas were very low, and that after they had churches of their own, they had to have the assistance of the white people. We are told, for example, that Rev. John Davis, with Rev. E. L. Davis to assist him, was appointed to help or ganize the negro churches in parts of Union and Anson coun ties. But there were some ne-' groes, even in the early part of the last century, who were capa ble leaders and strong preachers in their time. Such was the one spoken of above. The name by which this negro preacher seems to be known most generally is just the single name, Ralph. Mr. Austin, in his letter, calls him Ralph Threadgill, while another writer refers to him as Ralph Freeman. Whatever may be the right name, we know that he lived in the first part of the last century and was preaching before and at the tinjse of the di vision, about 1831 to 1833. He was a slave in Anson county, and according to one writer, ‘ ‘in the neighborhood of Rock River church. ” He felt called to preach soon after his conversion and was licensed by his church for that purpose. He did not have any regular churches, but he kept a pony and travelled from Fayette ville to the western part of the State, and even into Tennessee. In a pamphlet by John Spencer Bassett, he says Rev. Purefoy spoke of Ralph as follows: “He became a good, reader and was well versed in the Scripture. He was considered an able preacher and was frequently called upon to preach on funeral occasions, and was appointed to preach on Sabbath at association, and fre quently administered the ordi nance of baptism and the Lord’s supper. He was of common size, was perfectly black, with a smil ing countenance, especially in the pulpit while speaking. He was very humble in his appearance at all times, and especially when I conducting religious services. I Great personal respect was also ' shown him by the brethren whom he visited in his preaching 'excursions.” It is said that he ' would have no money for preach ing; he only wanted food and clothing. Mr. A. Lowery, of Anson coun ty, says that at an association at Elizabeth church, they were dis cussing as to who should preach the sermon on Sunday. A preach er from Charleston, S. C., rose ' and requested that Ralph preach it. He said he had often heard of him and had come to hear him. He preached on ‘ ‘The temptation of Christ.” The one expression that Mr. Lowery remembers from the sermon was when Ralph, in the middle of his sermon, read the passage, ‘ ‘All these things will I give thee, ’ ’ and then, with a greasy smile that evoked laugh ter in response from his congre gation, he said, “Poor devil, he didn’t have a foot of land in the world.” Ralph seems to have had the respect of all the white preachers of that time, and especially was Rev. Joseph Magee attached to him. They travelled and preach ed together, and Ralph went to Tennessee to preach Rev. Ma gee’s funeral. He sided with the anti-mission party when the di vision came, and very much to his regret, he lost the favor of the other party. There seems to have been some trouble with the ne groes in some of the States about this time, and by a statute they were stopped from preaching. This was a great trial for Ralph, but we never hear of his preach ing afterwards, for he died soon after the division among the Bap tists. T. B. Ashcraft. Wake Forest College, Dec. 9, 1905. The Baptist State Convention. The seventy-fifth annual session of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention passed into the history of the denomination when President Jones allowed the gavel to fall Sunday night, December 10th. It was in many respects a very notable gathering. Assembled in the Capital City, the delegations represented the best type of our Baptist citizenship from the mountains to the sea. In the absence of the appointee. Dr. J. M. Frost, of our Sunday School Board, Nashville, Tenn., preached the annual sermon, tak ing for his theme, “Your Bap tism.” It was a unique and mas terful effort and 'calculated to build our people up in the Baptist faith. W. N. Jones, a prominent Bap tist layman, was elected presi dent of the convention. Dr. R. H. Marsh, who, for fourteen consec utive years, has presided over the deliberations of the body, declin ing re-election; and N. B. Brough ton and H. C. Moore were re elected secretaries. Our State Mission secretary, Livingston Johnson, made the re port in the history of his board, and $30,002.20 was the amount contributed for State missions during the year. Dr. Willingham, full of holy zeal for missions, was present and presented the subject of Missions in an engaging and most inter esting way. He begged for men, and the next morning. Rev. C. M. Rock, the Warsaw pastor, of fered himself to the board for Japan, and Bro. L. L. Jenkins, of Gastonia, a former deacon of the writer’s, offered to pay the sal ary of Bro. Rock. Dr. Gray, of the Home board. was at his best, and laid the im portant work of his board on the hearts and consciences of the peo ple in his own stirring and elo quent manner. One of the most pleasant events of the convention was the inaug uration of W. L. Poteat, as pres ident of Wake Forest College. The convention, about one thou sand strong, attended in a body. There were several noted educa tors of the State from other insti tutions present and participating in the exercises. Dr. Poteat de livered a masterful address on the place of the Christian college in the world. The convention had quite a number of distinguished visitors present: Dr. Seymore, of the Bap tist Publication Society; Dr. Dar- gan, of the Seminary at Louis ville; Dr. Prestage, of the Bap tist Argus; Dr. Graham, of the- Index; Dr. Pitt, of the Herald, and others not now recalled. The Orphanage, ministerial ed ucation, and all the usual objects of the convention, came in for their share of time and discus sion. All the pulpits of Raleigh, save the Catholic, Primitive Bap tist and Episcopal, were filled by Baptist preachers on Sunday, and it was the general concensus of opinion that the seventy-fifth was the very best convention ever held by the Baptists of-the State. W. F. Watson. Profanity. Exchange. There was a man and woman who married, and the mother taught their little son his prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep,” etc., while the father would alarm the neighborhood every morning swearing at his stock in the barn yard. What was the result? Ah! It is the old story. The boy’s natural tendency, assisted by his father’s example, caused him to turn a deaf ear to the teachings of his mother and take up the practices of his father, thus add ing another to the long list of God-defying profanity users. Another case: Some men were teasing a small boy, when the youngster ripped out an oath that made my blood run cold, yet old gray-headed men stood by and laughed their approval, as much as to say, “Isn’t he smart?” Oh, the depravity of the human heart! We see women every day— good, pure Christian women—giv ing themselves in marriage to men of this class, obligating them selves to go through life with an ungrateful wretch, who will not only render their life miserable, but will blight the moral training- of their children. To reform him you say! Ah, who was it said, “What fools these mortals be!” If you have any respect for yourself or your children, shun the profanity user as you would the smallpox or the sot. Subscribe for The Messenger— only twenty-five cents a year. .1,1

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