A[lbert] C. Leonard.

A Memorial of the late Rev. William H. Adams : for twelve years pastor of the Cirular Church, Charleston, S.C online

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Online LibraryA[lbert] C. LeonardA Memorial of the late Rev. William H. Adams : for twelve years pastor of the Cirular Church, Charleston, S.C → online text (page 1 of 4)
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Columbia (Hnitier^itp



Bequest of

Frederic Bancroft




3ln IWcmoviam^







C£3.A.IiLESXO]Sr, s. c.

PitO/is/u-d by his Fnciuis, and Members of the Congre-
gation, as a Tribute of Res pee J: ami, Esteem to their
Lamciited, HonnrtUt>'n'fiU"B'vi'oi'^d Pastor.



The funeral services of the late Rev. W. H. Adams
took place at the Second Presbyterian Church at 4
o'clock yesterday afternoon. The church was well
filled by people of every denomination and all the
walks of life, the number and character of the con-
grec^ation testifying to the esteem and respect in
which tlie deceased had been held in the community.
The number and beauty of the floral offerings con-
tributed by sympathizing friends was the subject of
general remark. Conspicuous among these testimo-
nials was a crown of immortelles and a wreath and
cross of exquisite natural flowers, a tribute from the
orphans, of whose cause Mr. Adams was a zealous
advocate and friend.

The casket, which lay in the vestibule of the church
during the day, was borne to the altar rails by the
following clergyman : Rev. J. A. Chambliss, Right
Rev. P. F. Stevens. Rev. C. S. Vedder, Rev. David
Levy, Rev. W. S. Bowman, Rev. G. N. Well, Rev. E.
J. Meynarde, Rev. J. M. Green, Rev. W. H. Campbell
and Rev. C. R. Chrietzberg. The funeral procession
was headed by the pastor of the church, Rev. G. R.
Brackett, and contained a number of the leading
clergymen of the city. The Scriptures were read by
the Rev. W. F. Junkin, after which Dr. Brackett and
Dr. Chambliss delivered brief but touching and elo-
quent tributes to the memory of the deceased. The
Rev. Dr. Bowman then announced the favorite hymn

of the deceased— one that he had sun^ but shortly
before his death — "My God, the Spring of all my
Joys," which was sung by the choir. A prayer by
Dr. Vedder and the benediction by Bishop Stevens
closed the services, and the remains were then taken
to Magnolia Cemetery for interment.


BY RE\'. (i. R. HRACKETT, D.D.

It was a prayer of the Psalmist, "Take me not
away in the midst of my days" ; and when Job
thought he was about to die, he uttered the lament,
" My purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of
my heart." But death to a good man is never prema-
ture. He is not cut off in the midst of his days.
His sun never goes down at noon. Every Christian
life is complete ; a perfect day with its gray dawn, its
noon-tide brightness, and sunset glory. "That life is
long which answers life's great end."

''We live in deeds, not years ; in thoughts, not breaths ;

In feelings not in figures on a dial.

We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives

Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.

Life is but a means unto an end ; that end

Beginning, mean and end of all things — God.

The dead have all the glory of the world

We have read of earthly structures that were left
incomplete ; but there is no vacant niche in this living
Temple. There are no fragmentary remains of
unfinished Christian work. The believer is himself
complete in Christ, and he has finished the work

given him to do. " A living stone, chosen and pre-
cious in its own chiselled individuality," he is set in
his appointed place in the " Building of God" ; and
every block he has himself hewn, or upon which he
has bestowed any labor, will find the destined place
that is waiting for it. Looking earthward through
the eye of reason or sense, our deceased friend and
brother was " cut down in the midst of his days," and
" the purposes of his heart were broken." He has
left unfinished plans, and precious hopes are disap-
pointed. But " the steps of a good man are ordered
by the Lord. There are many devices in the heart
of man, but the counsel of the Lord, it shall stand."
The divine plan was completed, his earthly mission
fulfilled, and another sphere of usefulness was waiting
for him, for which he had just finished his preparatory

We cannot hope to do justice to such a life in the
few moments allotted to us. That, we trust, will be
done on another occasion. We desire not to eulogise
the dead, but to offer a simple tribute of affection to
one whom w^e honored as a faithful servant of God,
and loved as a brother.

He was a son of Dr. Nehemiah Adams, of Boston,
and irjherited many of the qualities of his honored
father ; the same affability, suavit)', and obliging
manner; the same courteous and gentlemanly bear-
ing towards all classes of men. Condescending to
men of low estate, he had a kind and encouraging
word for all : for the chimney sweep and the scaven-
ger that removed the rubbish from his door. To the
stranger there was the appearance of studied grace
and fulsome flattery ; but he who knew him well, and
his antecedents, would discover that this abundant

flow of kindly feeling was as natural as a gushing

The type of his piety was deeply experimental and
devotional. To him Jesus was a personal friend ; and
as " Enoch walked with God," so he sought to
realize the habitual presence and companionship of
the Saviour. He lived in communion with God, and
cultivated the habit of ejaculatory prayer, and of
turning the current of conversation into religious

A graduate of the Boston Latin School and of
Cambridge University, he entered Andover Theolog-
ical Seminary and completed his theological course in
the Seminary at Columbia, S. C. He entered the
ministry thoroughly furnished for his work, with a
well disciplined mind and a varied and elegant culture
With no taste for metaphysial or polemical theology,
he devoted himself with great enthusiasm to philo-
logical and exegetical studies. His pulpit preparations
were elaborate and scholarly. " Beaten oil for the
lamps of the sanctuary," was his motto, and he resolved
" never to serve the Lord with that which cost him
nothing." The Bible was his chief study. He had
gone over the entire Scriptures in the instructions of
the pulpit and lecture room, which were enriched
with all the treasures he could gather from commen-
taries, encyclopedias and every department of science
and literature. Pointing on one occasion to the
drawer that contained his sermons and manuscripts
he remarked : " That is my life-work and my life-
blood." He published one small work, entitled "The
Seven Words from the Cross," and had projected the
plan of several larger and more elaborate works. But
he was interrupted in his literary projects by the

death of his venerable father. To write his biography
and edit his posthumous works, was the fih'al trust
wliich he felt was providentially committed to him.
To these literary labors of love he devoted himself
during the last year of his life. It was his most fer-
vent desire that he might complete his honored
father's memoirs ; but the son was called away from
this delightful task to join the sainted father where
all earthly labors have an end.

The devotional service of the sanctuary was as
carefully and faithfully prepared as his discourses.
He studied the spiritual wants of his people as
thoughtfully as his books. Hence the singular ap-
propriateness of his prayers, which seemed to inter-
pret the peculiar experiences of every class of hearers.
He entered by a personal sympathy into the expe-
rience of-evcry member of his flock. It was remarked
by one who had enjoyed his pastoral ministrations,
that his visits were " like those of angels, dropping
heavenly benedictions."

He had his share of afflictions and trials, but they
never beclouded the perpetual sunshine of his cheer-
ful and buoyant spirits. He felt it the duty of a
Christian to be always happy. ^However grievous
the chastpning, he ought to " rejoice in the Lord
alway." However dark the dispensation of Provi-
dence, he ought to dwell in the " light of God's coun-
tenance." The assurance of the per.sonal presence
and sympathy of his Saviour never forsook him. His
faith in prayer and the promises of divine guidance
was so strong and unwavering that it gave almost a
tinge of mysticism to his piety. This strong convic-
tion, which no adversity could shake, combined with
his indomitable will, imparted to his constancy and


perseverance in what he believed to be the path of
duty the appearance of obstinacy. But no one who
knew this beloved brother intimately, and was free
from prejudice, could doubt the sincerity of his motive
and purpose. When advised on one occasion to pur-
sue a different course of action, he replied : " How-
can I be decived in a matter which I have committed
to God and made the subject of earnest and believing
prayer for so many months ? " We have rarely seen
combined in any Christian so much womanly gentle-
ness with so much manly resolution. He may have
made mistakes, but they were errors of the head
rather than of the heart.

The general sketch of our dear brother would be
incomplete without a brief mention of his zeal for
Christian union. It amounted almost to a passion.
He was the life and soul of all our union movements.
He arranged and carried out the programme of the
Union Prayer-meeting. The "Clerical Union'' was
like the body without a soul when he left us. It was
lifeless. He was the most devoted of us all to the
Y. M. C. Association. In the " Evangelical Alliance "
he foresaw the realization of his happ}' dream of
Christian union. It was this spirit that drew him
affectionately towards all denpminations and endeared
him to Christians of every name.

But we must draw this imperfect sketch to a close.
It is a difficult task for a bosom friend, to whom ever)'-
thing was confided, to speak impartially and without
enthusiasm for the dead. Whatever faults he had,
they are eclipsed by the brightness of his Christian
life, and the .splendor of his triumphant death. He
was a faithful preacher, a laborious student, a loving
pastor, a devoted husband and father, a warm-hearted.

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genial friend, a beloved disciple. He loved the Sa-
vi(nir with a supreme affection, and, like John, lived
upon his bosom. \Vc saw him but once during his
brief illness. He remarked as he pressed my hand
for the last time, " I am enjoying delightful com-
munion with my Saviour on this sick bed."

It is not probable that, at any time during his
illness, he gave up all hope of recovery. But he
realized that his condition was extremely critical, and
he " set his house in orrler," and kept his " lamp
trimmed and burning." He called his wife to his
bedside, just before she retired, and said to her, " Let
us now have our evening prayer." With folded hands
and feeble, yet calm clear voice, he offered his last
family prayer. He prayed with humble resignation
that he might live to preach once more. He then
sang one of his favorite hymns, " My God, the .spring
of all my joys" etc. In the la.st watch of the night
the Master came and " found his servant watching."
He was sleeping heavily when his attendant roused
him to administer his medicine. The only response
he gave to the question of his wife, " Do you not
know me, dear ?" was, " Grace, grace, grace,— grace
and glory in the great Congregation." .Soon after he
fell asleep, and his dream of heaven was a blessed
reality. It has been beautifully said that. " The place
for which God created a good man may be in readi-
ness for him. The door which opens upon him
may be ajar already," "On golden hinges turning."
Bells " beyond the stars heard " may be calling him.
In the " morning watch," in the solemn stillness and
peace, he saw the " Great Congregation " through the
door ajar, and shcnited with rapture, " from Grace to
Glory " — to have lingered on earth a moment longer


would have been an anomaly, a mystery of Providence.
" From Grace to Glory /" Let not this epitaph be
sculptured on a broken shaft, symbolizing an unfin-
ished life. Grace is glory begun. Glory is grace
completed. Our brother saw the capstone laid upon
the finished temple of his lile, with " shoutings of
Grace, grace unto it." (Zech. iv. 7.)

The following tribute is from a sermon by the Rev.
J. F. Chambliss, D. D., of the Citadel Square Baptist
Church, Charleston, S. C. :

The sermon was from the. text, " Watchman what
of the night ?" and was chiefly a review of the work
of the Southern Baptist Convention, from which the
pastor had just returned. Having alluded to the
death of an eminent minister of his own denomina-
tion, and its effect upon the Convention, he thus

" Yet there was no despondency. Men may die,
but Jesus lives. Men may die — alas, how many of
our hearts have a fresh sorrow to-day as we say it,
and think of him, the noble and true, the eloquent
scholar, the refined Christian gentleman, the faithful,
able preacher of the Gospel, now sleeping his last
sleep over there in his beloved cottage on the beach !
You will let me turn aside a moment, brethren, to
speak of him, for )'ou also loved him. How often and
how gladly was he welcomed to this pulpit ! Almost
the last message he bore from God to man was de-
livered from this desk, on the first Sabbath in April.
For the two Sabbaths included in my recent absence,
he had promised, with his accustomed kindness, to


stand here in my place and break to you the
bread of life. But "even then he was far from well,
and expressed some fear that he might not be able to
fulfill his engagement. Even so God willed that it
should be, and you heard his voice no more. Yester-
day morning, a little before the break of day, when
his condition seemed to have improved, when other
friends had withdrawn from his bedside, and only she
stood near him whose life was bound up in his, her
heart leaping with hope revived, he uttered a few
words of prayer, then suddenly exclaimed, "From
grace to glory— glory in the great congregation,"
he passed away to be forever with the Lord.

Ah, friends, this was a death to be wished for and
prayed for, but it was such a death as could close and
crown only such a life as his— a life of exalted piety,
of intimate communion with the Father and with His
Son, Jesus Christ.

My acquaintance with Brother Adams began on this
platform nearly eight years ago, at the service of
welcome which marked the beginning of my pasto-
rate. It fell to his lot to greet me on behalf of the
ministry of the city, and as I listened to his cordial
words, looked into his large soulful eyes and felt the
grasp of his brotherly hand, he seemed to me a man
with whom it would be a joy to labor side by side
for the Master. It was a joy through all these years.
That we were connected with different branches of
the Church of Christ hindered not at all for us— as
such a fact should never hinder for Christian souls-
closeness and sweetness of fraternal intercourse. And
I can honestly say that I never knew a man who
seemed to me to have more of the spirit of the Lord.
If there were any who injured or spoke ill of him, it is



certain there were none of whom he ever spoke un-
kindly. He loved and prayed for all. Above almost
any minister I have known, he appeared to live in an
atmosphere of devotion. He was a diligent and syste-
matic student, scholarly in his tastes and habits; but
the desk of the scholar was ever the altar of the saint,
odorous with the incense of prayer.

Of his honored life as a preacher and pastor in this
city tor ten years, the occasion does not suffer me to
speak. But I could not pass on without one simple
word of love and sorrow for my friend and brother.
God help us to follow him as he followed Christ!"



J/)' Barr Mr. Porttv :

I heartily avail myself of the opportunity of ex-
pressing my affection and respect, by giving- a brief
tribute of remembrance to my beloved friend and
brother Rev. W. H. Adams.

I early marked a blessed peculiarity in Bro. Adams
— would that it was a universal trait in us all — that
he evidently was influenced in his feelings towards his
brethren of different denominations, by the same
spirit which the apostle manifested when he said.
" Grace be with all of them that love our Lord Jesus
Christ in sincerity." In this, following in the steps
of the Master who said : " Whosoever will do the
will of my Father, who is in Heaven, the same is my


brother and sister and mother." While a firm and
unflinching advocate of his own denominational
views, yet great tenderness was joined to his decision.
It was not the offspring of obstinacy or bigotry, but
of principle; not prejudice, but enlightened convic-
tion. His was the abiding spirit of brotherly love,
and in his deportment to those of other bodies I
never saw anything like shyness or estrangement.

During tile period of your absence, as you know,
we had many social meetings both at the Hancock,
and Baptist Church, in Lexington, as well as at pri-
vate houses, and he evidently felt as much at home,
and as among brothers and sisters in one place as in
the other. My own small flock, equally with myself,
were always edified by his sermons and addresses ;
and Bro. Adams seemed fully to reciprocate the feel-
ing, when after service at our Church he would, with
all his native heartiness, grasp my hand and say:
" Dear Brother I have had a real feast to-day." He
often said to me, " There is room enough here for
both of our Churches, may God prosper your labor

of love."

The young members of both congregations will not
forget his affectionate addresses to them ; and I doubt
not impressions were thus made by him, which will
never be eradicated.

In all the visits he paid and received I noticed that
he was quite leady to encourage religious discourse.
It was clearly the element congenial with his spirit.
His conversation was on subjects, rather than persons,
and no tattler or slanderous busybody found in him a
ready listener ; such talk was at once frowned down.
I noticed that in promi.scuous company, in a general
way, at first, he was rather reserved than communica-


tive, hut as soon as he felt he could trust, then his
heart was opened and his tongue unrestrained.

T loved Bro. Adams greatly, and when he left earth,
so unexpected!}' to me, I knew, sadly, I had lost a
friend ; for our communications, as ministers of the
Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, were always pleas-
ant, and I trust mutually profitable. And yet, why
should we mourn ? Surely not for him, he has left
earthh' joys and sorrows to be with Him " whom not
having seen he loved," and long 'ere this has received
the well deserved plaudit, " Well done, good and
faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

I wrote to his bereaved wife some time since as
soon as I heard of his death, and I have only to say
his beloved and afflicted family have my deepest
sympathy, in which Mrs. Pryor most heartily joins.
Yours, very truh',


tributp: from the rev. john haskell,


On my first meeting the Rev. W. H. Adams at his
home, in Charleston, .S. C, in November, 1873, I was
much impressed with the deep sincerity of the man;
and, also, the profound sympathy he manifested in the
welfare of others; but most of al^, the evident conse-
cration of himself to his Lord and Master. His piety
made him attractive and genial in a high degree.

And this was not merely a first impression but a

growinf;^ one on the continued and more intimate ac-
quaintance with him.

He spent the first Sabbath in November last with
me, and preached an instructive and impressive ser-
mon in the morning, and in the afternoon his address
on the subject of Infant Baptism — as he then baptized
my httle child — will long be remembered as an attrac-
tive setting forth of this subject and a convincing argu-

The recollection of the Communion season that
followed, conducted chiefly by him, will be cherished
as of special interest. Indeed the influence of that
Sabbath floated like a benediction of peace on those
gathered in the sanctuary.

I have thought if the' labor of love on that single
day was of so much value ; how much we may ex-
pect he will accomplish, with the Divine blessing for
the many that need to be won to Christ, and helped
on in the heavenly race. How much such a man is
needed ! What a future of efficient service was before
him! But I must not forget nor cease to be thankful
to God for the great and good work he had already

Though to our shortsighted vision, this Dear
Brother was summoned far too soon from the impor-
tant work he was domg so well ; a work that needed
to be done, and that few, if any, could do as accepta-
bly ; yet we must humbly bow, and cheerfully accept
the appointment of the all-wise Providence of God.
and as he doubtless did or would say; " Not my will,
but thine be done."

I received a letter from him dated Marcii 25th,
1880, saying :

" Expecting to leave Tuesday, afternoon, next, for


Cheirleston, S. C, to spend the summer at my cottage
on Sullivan's Island, having accepted the invitation of
the Church there to serve as its- summer pastor, I
write to take leave of you, and express my sense of
obligation for your kind offices to me."

" I have dwelt on my Sabbath under your hospita-
ble roof with ever pleasurable memories," &c.

As I often think of the kind offices he performed
so fraternally for me, my sense of obligation remains


It seems incredible that God has taken him away ;
so good, gifted, pure, useful, with so much to do, and
so many dependent upon liis life.

I mourn over the loss of that great love, that con-
stant interest and good counsel, which continually
came to me in his letters ; my pride is laid low, the
confident expectation that he was to become great in
his calling, be honored in usefulness, and be a great
joy in perpetuating his Father's name, and works in
the ministry of the Gospel. What a beautiful memory
remains to us ! I often said he was the best man in
the world — so strong, able, intelligent, warm-hearted,
merry, courageous, devoted to duty, loyal to the
truth, and withal so meek, patient, enduring.

How truthful he was, as God was slowly hedging
up his way in the North, and how clear he was that
the door opened southwards, and yet it was to lead
him to death. I presume the thought and effort of
removal, and re-settling, did much to weary and de-
press him, and enfeeble his power of resisting disease.





The brief acquaintance I had with your brother,
during my visit to Boston, impressed me deeply with
his earnest consecration and sincere devotion.

His abihties also fitted him to stand in his Father's
place, which is the highest praise that could be given
to ordinary mortals.

His loss will be deeply felt, not only by his friends
but by thousands who knew him only as the gifted
son of a gifted father.


•'The memory of' the just is blessed."

Precious to my heart are the memories that cluster
around the acquaintance I have had with Mr. Adams.

It was at a time when my heart and faith were
being sorely tried that he commenced his loving min-
istrations among us. His affectionate grasp of the
hand, his soothing words of comfort in the social
walk of life, and .spiritual notes of warning and en-
couragement from the pulpit fell like a balm upon
my troubled soul.

Never has he left me wherever we chanced to meet.


that life has not seemed dearer and Heaven nearer
through the influence of his conversation.

He preached in a style rather savoring of the " old
school" theology, and though to some it was uncon-
genial truth, I always felt roused to stricter action,
and more grateful for the precious promises by the
train of thought which he presented.

While with us he was often requested to preach
less doctrinal sermons, and has said that he had often
seated himself, pen in hand, to frame a different dis-
course, but the hand of God seemed to restrain him ;
he must preach the whole truth, and impelled by the

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Online LibraryA[lbert] C. LeonardA Memorial of the late Rev. William H. Adams : for twelve years pastor of the Cirular Church, Charleston, S.C → online text (page 1 of 4)