Parsons, Charles Booth
Parsons, Charles Booth D.D., a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was born in Enfield, Conn., July 23,1805. In early life he was an actor, but having become convinced finally that he could not serve God as he should in that employment, he forsook the stage and all its associations in 1837, and joined the Church, to become a preacher of the good tidings, in 1840, as a member of the Kentucky Conference. At the time of the separation of the Southern branch of Methodism, Parsons joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. but at the outbreak of the war he went back to the mother Church, and gave his influence to the support of the Northern, or, rather, Union cause, and became also a most devoted friend of the freedmen, especially in the state of Kentucky, where he was then preaching. Parsons's early training as a dramatist always attracted to him large audiences, and somewhat tinctured his style as a preacher. Those who bad the pleasure of hearing him in his best days bear testimony to his ability, and-the scores who have been converted under his ministry are the living witnesses of his success. His favorite pulpit themes were the cardinal doctrines of the New Testament, as taught by his Church. He seemed to have a clear conception of these truths, and before large congregations he defended them with ability, and urged them with singular pathos and power. He happily united the. qualities of the able debater and the attractive orator. His propositions were clearly stated, and sustained by the conclusive reasoning of the one, and sufficiently adorned by the embellishments of the other. His sermons were remarkable for the uniformity of their excellence. Nearly every effort was a success. "We shall never forget," writes one who is competent to criticise pulpit oratory, 'his grim picture of that hardened wretch who stood at Calvary, clanking the spikes that were so soon to be driven through the hands and feet of the blessed Redeemer."' This is a good sample of the dramatic pervading his discourses. Nor was he distinguished alone for the ability and success of his pulpit ministrations, but also for his wisdom in council and his administrative capacity In the meridian of life he was removed from the itinerant's extensive field to the invalid's limited sphere — from the pulpit to the sick-room. In his affliction and death; which occurred in Louisville, Ky., Dec. 8, 1871, he exemplified the truth of what he had preached in life. He was a good man, a kind friend, a popular minister, and his name will long survive. He was the author of quite an interesting volume, entitled The Stage and the Pulpit, now out of print. He served as one of the commissioners of the Church South to settle the claims of that Church with the Methodist Episcopal Church; but, as is well known, that settlement failed to give satisfaction, and a final arrangement was not made until 1876.