When J.R. Graves Came To Hopkinsville

“Will you give me the space to tell of the visit of Dr. Graves to the church at this place? He came by invitation from the pastor and deacons, arriving here on the morning of March thirteenth. Being met by Prof. J.W. Rust and Deacon W.L. Trice, and conducted to the hospitable home of the latter, by whom he was entertained during his stay. Every day his room at Deacon Trice’s was frequented by old friends and new ones, who desired to converse with and shake the hand of “the old man eloquent.” There has seldom been experienced an occasion of  sweeter communion among Christians, and Deacon Trice was one of the happiest. The conversations were mostly confined to great doctrines of grace and our visitor would talk most affectionately about the Savior. After the evening service Dr. Graves would be surrounded by his friends for a few minutes of conservation. Some of these had known him in years gone by, when in strength and vigor he was the peer of any man in the Southern pulpit. Some bore the affection inherited from departed parents, some were drawn to him by the “sweet magnetism” of his discourses, but they all came gladly to express a warm regard for the old man who was so nobly giving his declining years to the Master’s service.

Dr. Graves began his Chair Talks on Salvation, Sunday morning. His theme was, The Glory and Greatness of Salvation. There were not many dry eyes in the house when he closed. Sunday night the talk was on, Heaven, Where is it? Monday night, How to get this Great Salvation. Tuesday night, Can we Know That we Are Saved? Wednesday night, Can we Forfeit or Lose It? There was so much sweetness and kindness and spirituality in his discourse that the large congregation were drawn to him with almost fatherly affection, and the argument was so persuasive, so clear and convincing, that it needed no vindication after being heard. At the close of the talk Wednesday night, Pastor J.N. Prestridge expressed to Dr. Graves in warm words the gratitude of the church and community, referring impressively to the great work he had accomplished during his life. Prof. Rust then suggested that the parting hand be extended, and, while singing, “Blest be the tie that binds,” the audience came forward without respect to denominational line to bid Dr. Graves an affectionate farewell. Such a service as this is rarely seen, so genuine, so affectionate, so spiritual.
Dr. Graves made a grand impression on our community. Those who knew him before are rejoiced to have renewed their friendship; those who met him for the first time love him with a love that only such a meeting can engender. We all to a man say God bless him and his forever.

Respectively, J.O. Rust, Hopkinsville, Ky., April 6, 1888″

– Taken From “The Baptist” newspaper, April 14, 1888, page 3.
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