Rice, Nathan Lewis, Dd

Rice, Nathan Lewis, D.D., a Presbyterian minister, was born in Garrard County, Ky., Dec. 29, 1807; died June 11, 1877. To procure funds to enable him to obtain an education preparatory to the study of law, he taught a school at the early age of sixteen. At the age of eighteen he united with the Presbyterian Church. He entered Center College, Danville, Ky., in the fall of 1826, and during a part of his course was a teacher of Latin in the preparatory department. After remaining some years, without graduating he entered upon the study of theology, and at the close of the year was licensed to preach by the Transylvania Presbytery. Feeling the need of a more thorough preparation for the work of the ministry, he entered Princeton Theological Seminary, where, during his course, he became known for his large attainments and extraordinary ability. He accepted a call to the Presbyterian Church at Bardstown, Ky., and was ordained and installed in 1833. The more effectually to counteract the efforts at proselyting by the Roman Catholic college at that place, he established an academy for girls, and subsequently one for boys, and also founded a newspaper called the Western Protestant, which was afterwards merged in the Presbyterian Herald of Louisville. He continued in this pastoral relation for eight years, and became, in 1841, stated supply for the Church at Paris, Ky. While here he entered into a discussion with Alexander Campbell, the president of Bethany College, Va., on the subject of baptism. The debate was held in Lexington, Ky. The moderators consisted of some of the most eminent lawyers of the state, among, whom was Henry Clay. This discussion created a wide and intense interest throughout the country, and brought out the full power of Dr. Rice as a disputant, and gained for him the reputation of being the greatest polemic of the age. The debate was written out by the disputants and published in a large octavo volume, which was extensively circulated. Soon after, Dr. Rice received a call to the Central Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, O., and entered upon his duties as its pastor in 1844. He was installed June 12, 1845. He was in labors more abundant, and in connection with his work as pastor he wrote several volumes, taught classes of candidates for the ministry, held a debate with the now archbishop Purcell of Cincinnati, which was published in a volume, also a debate with the Rev. Mr. Pingree of the Universalist Church of that city. Calls came to him from every quarter, so extensive had become his fame. In 1853, on the death of Dr. Potts, he accepted a call to the Second Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, Mo., and was installed Oct. 9 of the same year. He edited, besides his other labors, the St. Louis Presbyterian, and published several books. At the meeting of the General Assembly in Nashville, Tenn., in 1855, he was elected moderator. In 1858 he accepted a call to the North Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Ill. The Church was small and weak, but under his labors it grew strong and flourishing. While there he edited the Presbyterian Expositor. In May, 1859, he was elected by the General Assembly to the professorship of didactic and polemic theology in the Northwest Theological Seminary at Chicago, which duties he performed in addition to pastoral work. In 1861 he was called to the Fifth Avenue Church in the city of New York, to succeed Dr. J.W. Alexander, deceased. Here his labors proved too great for his strength, and he sought release in 1867, and retired to a farm near New Brunswick, N.J. After resting a year, he was called to the presidency of Westminster College, Mo., where he remained until 1874, when he was elected to the chair of didactic and polemic theology in the theological seminary at Danville, Ky. Here he performed his last earthly labors; and at the close of the session in 1877, having become greatly impaired in health, he sought retirement and rest at the residence of his brother-in-law in Bracken County, Ky., where within the brief space of one month, with a mind full of peace and holy joy, he died June 11. (W.P.S.)

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