Rice, Phineas, Dd
Rice, Phineas, D.D., an eminent Methodist preacher, was born in the State of Vermont in 1786. Having been converted when about sixteen years of age, he was soon called to publicly exercise his gifts. He was received on trial in the New York Conference in 1807, and was sent to labor as junior preacher on the Granville Circuit. The ministry of Dr. Rice extended over a period of fifty- four years, and each year during all that long period he was returned effective, and received regularly his appointment. He labored on circuits sixteen years, in stations eleven, and in the presiding elder's office twenty- eight years, excepting the last year, which was not completed at the time of his death. He was a member of every General Conference from 1820 to 1856, inclusive. He received the degree of D.D. from Wesleyan University. Dr. Rice was a marked man in every respect. His piety was deep, fervent, and abiding, and he was eminently a man of prayer. Scrupulously punctual, industrious, and self-sacrificing, he was a wise counsellor and a true friend.
He had a natural vein of pleasantry, and his conceptions were not unfrequently quaint, and quaintly expressed. Even when in the pulpit, at times a facetious remark, evidently unpremeditated, would cause his hearers to smile. These smiles were not seldom suddenly followed by tears as the preacher passed from one phase of his subject to another. His pathos and tenderness were strangely blended with his wit and humor; and if one could have wished that there had been less of the latter qualities, it was nevertheless evident that there was in them no bitterness, no harshness, no undue severity. As an expounder of ecclesiastical law and an administrator of the discipline Dr. Rice had few equals. During the last months of his life he suffered greatly but patiently, and calmly contemplated the approach of death, which came Dec. 4, 1861. See Minutes of the Conferences, Meth. Episc. Church, 1862, p. 70.