Carter, C.W.

12/30/1912

C.W. CARTER, D.D.
November 27, 1833 - December 30, 1912
 
It is surely no disparagement of those who remain—his brethren, comrades and friends—to say of the great man whom we now commemorate.

“He passed; a soul of nobler mould.”

One of the greatest of services that a friend of Dr. Carter could render his brethren and his church would be by written or spoken word to make his well remem-bered presence felt at this annual gathering by tracing the life story with only the later chapters of which most of us are familiar. To accomplish this compensative task would be difficult, were there ample biographical material, such is the elusive and indefinable quality of a great personality. But scarcely anything of the kind is to be found among his manuscripts, which consist mainly of sermons and addresses, and so seldom broken was his habitual silence concerning himself, that even his children and intimate friends can recall but few allusions to himself that fell from his lips in conversation. His daughter, Mrs. McVoy, with whom he made his home dur-ing the later years of his life writes: “I wish I knew more of the early life of my father, but he was a man who talked very little especially about himself. I think now that in his later years I should have questioned him and tried to find out details which he never mentioned, but the habits of life become so fixed.” Though by many years his junior, my privileges of intimate friendship were unusual, but my memory of the things he said about himself are few and sacred treasures. His intimacies with. sur-viving contemporaries afforded but occasional glimpses from the interior of that beau-tiful soul that shone so charmingly through the channels of a noble, a generous, a holy and united life. It was only when he preached that his habitual reticence gave way to the impulse of self-revelation, but even then auto-biographical allusions were rare.

If Dr. Carter’s characteristic modesty has eluded the interest of the annialist, it has not by any means been able to obscure from those who knew him, the beauty and strength of his character, and such a portraiture as I may be able to make with the materials at hand I attempt in order to create in younger men ideals, to brighten hope and strengthen faith in those who are mature and to afford some gratification to our natural craving for expressing what we all feel, yet cannot half reveal.

Of the six daughters of George Daugherty, an immigrant from the North 0! Ireland, and Mary Higginbotham, Emeline Elizabeth, the youngest, became the wife of an Englishman by the name of Thomas Carter, who came to Louisiana by way of Georgia in 1830.

Mr. Carter settled in the Parish of East Feliciana, where his only child, Charles William, was born November 27, 1833. Two years later he died, leaving a considerable estate, and in 1837 his widow wedded Mr. W. F. Flynn, who removed his family to a plantation in the Parish of Tensas, where with four half-sisters Charles grew up. His stepfather was in every sense a true parent. An able businessman, he conserved and increased his wife’s fortune. Mrs. Flynn was a devout Presbyterian and her home was open to ministers of all denominations who came thither. The family became identified with the Methodist Church and held membership in a circuit society known as Davies Chapel, so named in honor of the Rev. Stephen J. Davies, of whom, in his Semi-Centennial Address, Dr. Carter made the following eloquent mention: “There was Stephen J. Davies, the Welchman who left his country when nine years old, but not before the rocks and crags and weird scenery of Wales had implanted in him the germs of spiritual and intellectual power; and as that power was developed in the activities of the ministry, he became one of the strongest and most helpful preachers in the Conference. He was my pastor when I was a college boy, and I noted fervor in his preaching which I have never seen excelled. Today there is a little chapel on Tensas River built under his administration of the affairs of our circuit.”

Though Mr. Davies is the only one of his early pastors whom he enshrines in that interesting portrait gallery of early members of the Louisiana Conference, the influence of these godly men must have been great both at the fireside, where they touched his young life, and in the little chapel, where from time to time their fervid eloquence called men to seek the things which are above. From them he acquired a life-long reverence for the Methodist ministry.
The home in which Dr. Carter was reared was one In which religion was nor-mal and piety neither strained nor ostentatious. I am not acquainted with the life of the four daughters, but what we know of that of the distinguished son makes it diffi-cult to mark a time when he passed from the tutelage of an obedient child of the church into the estate of a conscious son of God by faith in Jesus Christ. To homes of this sort and influences that form the Christian character in advance of the onslaught of the passions of youth and the seductions of the world we must ever look as the sources from which come those strong, pure and lofty lives that we are sometimes tempted to classify as a species with the passing generation rapidly becoming extinct.

Dr. Carter’s early education was obtained under tutors in association with his half-sisters at the plantation home in Tensas. In 1851 he entered Centenary College of Louisiana, then domiciled at Jackson, in the section of the State in which he had been born. There friendships with distinguished families such as the Merricks, the Ker-nans, the Ellises and the Tliomases were pleasantly resumed. The freshman class numbered eighty, the graduates four years later numbered twenty-two, of whom the youngest, Judge T. C. W. Ellis, of the Civil District Court of New Orleans, and Col. John S. Young, of Shreveport, the oldest, survive, Dr. Carter having been next in seniority to Col. Young. The honors of the class were divided between four—Carter first, Young second, Ellis third. Judge Ellis writes of the Centenary class of 1855: “It seems strange that the oldest two and the youngest should have survived by years the others of that distinguished class.” It is also remarkable that the first three honor men should have long survived alltherest.

From Centenary College both Carter and Ellis entered the Department of Law of the Louisiana University, the predecessor of Tulane University of Louisiana, in which great institution one of his Sons was later to occupy a professor’s chair. There they graduated in 1857. By unanimous choice of his class Carter was chosen Valedic-torian, again bearing off the laurels and demonstrating that in any scholarly sphere eminence was within his reach.
These college and university days were a time of forming friendships that lasted through life. One at least of these was as deep, true and tender as that of David and Jonathan. No truly great and noble nature is deficient in the capacity for making friends and the passion of friendship surpasses the love of women. During their University days Messrs. Carter and Ellis were frequent worshippers at the old Caron-delet Street Church, of which my father was then pastor. His signature upon their diplomas, as a Trustee of Centenary College, and his official visits during their student days formed an initial link of interest and, especially in the case of Mr. Carter, ripened into a friendship that he believed death had not severed. My earliest knowledge of Dr. Carter I gained when a mere lad I overheard my father remark to my mother, “Carter is a rare man.” In the Semi-Centennial Address Dr. Carter thus speaks of this older friend: “There was Linus Parker, the fourth and greatest Editor of the New Orleans Christian Advocate. He was a Staunch friend to the young preachers; and as I stood by his bed and saw his noble life ebb away, it seemed to me that the sun had gone down forever.”

Of other strong friendships with his Conference brethren there are men here who could speak better than I The passing of his friends was to him a sore loss, which after the memoirs of seven of our old men had been read found expression at the previous session of the Conference, in the pathetic words, “I feel lonely.” His supreme friendship was with his classmate Judge Ellis, from whose per-sonal letter, written less than a month after Dr. Carter’s death, I take the liberty of quot-ing. “He had reached almost the fourscore limit and although not to be unexpected— though it was the fall of the ripe fruit, the garner of the sheaf rich in the splendor of Its golden maturity—yet the intelligence of his passing was an unspeakable grief to me, for I loved him as brother, and I mourned that I shall meet him here no more. My faith tells me that I shall see him again.”

Of course a nature of the fineness of that of Dr. Carter was not insusceptible to girlhood’s charms. A commonplace book dating from college and university days bears witness to the responsiveness of his nature to the beautiful motive of love. He could not only grapple to himself with hooks of steel friends among his classmates and fellows, but he could also be bound by Cupid’s golden bands. Scraps of poetry and sentimental effusions that obtained permanent expression upon these intimate pages testify to the golden day dreams that intruded amidst the rigorous disciplines of his classical studies and from time to time shimmered in airy allurement upon the dreary background of Blackstone or the Civil Code. As we have seen, he nevertheless got through his law books with distinction. The concrete personal reality upon whom these sentimental outgoings of the young man’s fancy focalized was Miss Clara L. Pente-cost, whom he met in New Orleans while a law student. She was a grand daughter of the famous Pennsylvania lawyer Joseph Pentecost, widely known as “Honest Joe.” As a student she also was sojourning in the Crescent City when Mr. Carter became acquainted with her. They were married March 17, 1859, at the house of Mr. John
Morton Carter, the groom’s uncle, in Tensas Parish, two years and a half before Mr. Carter
entered the ministry. This marriage was based upon deep congeniality and mutual respect, beginning in the purest sentiment and therefore enduring in ever deepening love and confidence until Mrs. Carter’s death forty-six years later. Mrs. Carter used in pleasantry to say that she had married a lawyer, not a preacher, and therefore had been brought into the itinerancy by indirection. It was indeed two years before her husband’s great choice was made that this elect lady ‘cast in her lot with his, not knowing what the future had in store for her, save that she could suffer no wrong or indignity at the hands of the noble man at her side. Through the forty-six years of their itinerancy she could not have better adorned the minister’s home or served his calling had it been her initial choice. She died at Arcadia, La., October 30, 1906. She was the mother of eleven children, of whom six are living; the others died in childhood or infancy. The living sons are Briscoe, Thomas and J. Van; the surviving daughters are Mrs. Mattie C. Peace, Mrs. A. D. McVoy and Mrs. Edward Gardia. These all manifest unusual talent and capacity for intellectual pursuits and are followers of the faith of their parents. The eldest child, Harry, died July 23, 1863, aged three and a half Years; William Edward died June. 29 of the same year, aged two and a half; Charles died September 27, 1873, a babe of six months; George Dougherty died June 14, 1882, aged six and a half; Clara Belle died October 3, 1890, aged six and a half.

Mrs. Peace says that Dr. Carter studied law not from any deep interest in the subject, but
chiefly because his mother and stepfather desired that he should do so. All the more remarkable therefore was his brilliant career at the University. He went into practice in the office of Thomas L. Bayne of New Orleans. I do not know how long he continued in practice. I never heard him allude to the fact that he had been admitted to the bar. Judge Ellis says: “After graduation he practiced a short time here (in New Orleans), and then turning from the promise and allurement that noble profession held out, he entered the service of the Master.”
It was three years after graduation from the law school that Mr. Carter entered the Ministry
and was received on trial in the Louisiana Annual Conference, an event fascinatingly record in the Semi-Centennial Address. In 1861 he was stationed at Mansfield under the Confederate Government as civilian in charge of army supplies. ‘While there,” says Mrs. Peace, “he was converted under the ministry of Dr. Thweatt, and joined the Methodist Church, the family having already become identified with the Church in Tensas Parish.” To reconcile the statement that at the age of twenty-eight he was converted with what we know of his pure, pious youth and reverent at-titude toward the church seems difficult. Probably the event in his spiritual history to which Mrs. Peace refers was some crisis that decided him upon the course of his life devotion to Christ’s service in the itinerant ministry. Of the pastor of his college days I have already quoted his appreciative words; I have spoken also of his church-going habits during his student days in New Orleans. Of the latter period Judge Ellis says: “During the session he told me that he felt his call to preach.” Probably he had never experienced a cataclysmic passing from death Unto life, but with the un-folding of his spiritual and mental powers apprehended Christ according to the increas-ing measure of child, youth and man, and later came to the parting of the ways where he must either renounce the world for the prophet’s calling or turn his back upon the good Spirit that had hitherto led him in uprightness.
What it cost Charles W. Carter to enter the itinerant ministry we should know but for
incidental allusions by others. His lips never uttered one of those ignoble words of small men who speak of the sacrifices they have made for Christ. His own estimate of the transaction he would with equal modesty have withheld but that it comes out in a number of his sermons on the ministry; for example, in an eloquent utterance on the passage (Acts XX. 24) “Neither count I may life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of Cod.” The biographer may venture here to speak of that of which his subject would have been forever silent. I again quote his bosom friend: “He would have developed a great lawyer. He had the moral stamina and brain, the clear, discriminating judgment——and in his make-up was of the stuff from which great lawyers and judges are made.” He would undoubtedly have taken rank with the friends of his law period --- W. B. Spencer, who became a Supreme Court Justice, E. John Ellis, who was known as the “Silver-tongued, and who had a brilliant congressional career, T. C. W. Ellis, whose erudition, legal acumen and ever true moral sense give him a place of eminence among great men on the bench.

Whatever the attractions of a learned profession, it is not unlikely that the life of a country
gentleman would have more attracted his simple, retiring nature. Such a prospect was opened to him when, in January 1860, his stepfather turned over to him an estate of one hundred thousand dollars value in lands and slaves. He counted all things but loss for Christ and gave himself unreservedly to the traveling connec-tion of the Southern Methodist Church and to the end remained true to his ideals of self-denying service. “At the final reckoning,” says Judge Ellis, the wisdom of his choice will be made manifest.”

That choice then meant more than it necessarily implies in these happier times when the rigorous conditions of itinerant life have been mitigated and the salaries of our ministers are more nearly adequate to their needs; -when the calling of the Metho-dist minister opens ways to eminence and ecclesiastical preferment and gives access to the best society. I have never heard Dr. Carter mention his own experience of the hardships of those early itinerant days; but the memoirs of his fallen comrades which from year to year he prepared and read at memorial services of the Conference give vivid outlines of heroism in the midst of hardships that would as truly have described his own endurance. While reading the sorrowful catalog of the bereavements he sus-tained mainly during the earlier years of his ministry we more than suspect that of the little lives of his children some were in a very real sense laid upon the altar of consecration to the service of Christ and the church. He had transported his family and household goods over long stretches of well-nigh impassible roads through the rigors of North Louisiana winters;. he had endured long periods of separation from his growing family, whom he was compelled to leave while he threaded the swamps and hills of a rural district; portioning to the brave wife and the merry children the bur-den and care of the home. His fortune was, of course, greatly diminished by the issue of the war; the itinerancy consumed the rest. That also was cheerfully laid upon the altar of service. He once said to me with accustomed modesty, “I ought not to have gone to New Orleans; I never did anything there and it cost me what little I had.” Near the days of his laying down his loved employ be said at an appropriate time dur-ing the session of a district conference: “I desire to make a confession. I have long cherished an ambition, and it Is this: to be the junior preacher on a large country circuit.” In many passages of sermons and addresses keen analysis of the genius of Methodism alternates with expressions of love for the work of the ministry. He never thought of it as other than an honor, a high calling.

The record of appointments served by C. W. Carter, as given in the Minutes of the Conferences, is as follows: 1861, Pt. Coupee; 1862-65 were years of war and disorganization and the General Minutes give no returns from the Louisiana Confer-ence, but C. W. Carter was preaching, most of the time in Morehouse. Resuming the record in the General Minutes, we find him in Baton Rouge from 1866 to 1868; in 1869 and ‘70 be was at Bastrop; in 1871, ‘72 at Mansfield; in 1873-75 on the Delhi District; in 1878, ‘77 at Trenton; in 1878 again at Bastrop, and the following year at Monroe and Trenton; in 1880-84 at Felicity St., New Orleans; in 1885, ‘86 at Carondelet St., New Orleans; in 1887-1892, Editor of the New Orleans Christian Advocate, in connection with this work serving also during 1888 the Dryades St. Church, and in 1890 Carrollton and Gretna and in 1892 the New Orleans District. He remained on the New Orleans District two years, having no other work during the second year. In 1894 he was elected President of Centenary College of Louisiana and remained in that important post among the scene of his own college days four years cherishing and sustaining his Alma Mater. From 1898 to 1901 he was presiding elder of the Opelousas District, the name of the District being in the meanwhile changed to Crowley. From Crowley Dis-trict he went back to First Church, Baton Rouge, after an interval of twenty-four years from the time when he had there declined the advantages of an attractive trans-fer to remain in the difficult field he had chosen. In 1904 and 1905 he was stationed at Arcadia; in 1908, ‘07 he served New Iberia, and in 1907, with blessings on his head and honors and achievements associated with his name, he requested and was granted a superannuate relation.

Into that bare catalog we must read a record of conscientious toil and self-denial, of high ideals steadfastly maintained, of brotherly love and evangelistic zeal, of fidelity and loyalty, of intercessions and spiritual travail, of hungerings and thirstings after righteousness and infillings of the Spirit, of which the chronicles of his life contain no mention, but which are laid up before the throne. In a letter requesting for himself the superannuate relation, dated Natchitoches, December 1, 1908, he thus recapitulates:”

“The time has come for me to retire front the active work. The last few years. have demonstrated to me that I am able to do the work required. If I am not able to do the work then I am in the way and hindering the Lord’s cause. This I cannot knowingly do. You have bestowed upon (me) all the honors in your power to give, and I have appreciated your love and good will as manifested in these things. I re-joice in the fact that you have so many young and capable men to take the places of us older men as we pass out. I have served as pastor thirty years, as presiding elder ten years, as editor seven years, as college president four years. If you will grant my request to put me on the list of superannuates, I will be very grateful to you.”

The sum of these years of service is fifty-one, but in fact his active ministry was of but forty-
eight years duration as there is an overlapping of three years when he was at the same time pastor or presiding elder and editor.

In 1879 the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by his Alma
Mater, and with characteristic modesty he placed the parchment token in his trunk, where some months later Mrs. Carter lighted upon it by chance and was thus made aware of this honor. In 1884 he was fraternal messenger to the General~ Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He collaborated in the preparation of the Hymn Book that preceded our present Hymnal. He was a member of the Board of Missions from 1887 to 1906. He was delegate to the General Conference eight times successively, from 1878 to 1906. From time to time he was in demand as preacher or speaker for special services, and never did he fail to measure up to all requirements and expectations. He was sane and solvent and absolutely safe. If he ever in any relation disappointed expectation it was only for those who had not wisdom to dis-cern the intrinsic merit of his work. He was not appreciated by sensation mongers, and those who feed upon froth and wind found his meat too strong.

We may now give some study to Dr. Carter’s peculiar powers as a preacher of the gospel. To begin with, we must go back to his scholastic period. No unprepared man preachers well. If for a time an ignorant and indolent man attracts attention by his preaching it is like the applause that a dog receives for walking on his hind legs—not because he does it well, but because he does it at all. Inspiration comes not to the thriftless idler. The superficial cannot command the sources of intellectual and spiritual power. No divine afflatus rests upon the weakling who is content to present less than the best product of his whole personality as an offering up to God through the Spirit. If we had no other legacy from the life of Dr. Carter, no other inheritance from his spiritual wealth than the demonstration that great preaching is the product of persevering toll and prayer, our debt to him would be inestimable. I speak not thus to commend to others his peculiar methods: every one must find for himself how best to operate his own wonderful psycho-physical machine to the glory of God and 7 then use all earnestness to make his life most fruitful in his calling.

The staple of Dr. Carter’s education was the cultural studies of his college course and the law, but his mental furnishing was exceeding broad. The college literary society had given him readiness of speech and the habit of writing gave him con-ciseness, simplicity and clearness. He had been in his college days a member of The Seven Wise Men, a secret society the exercises in which consisted of literary work of a strict and high character. It is doubtful it a college life centering in Greek letter fraternities largely dominated by society and athletics is capable of producing men of just his type. His study of classic languages must be credited with a part of his -skill in the use of his English tongue. No man speaks or writes his mother tongue at its best who is not also versed in other languages. To this principle Dr. Carter himself called attention in his memoir of P. H. Diffenwirth, an accomplished polyglot, many years a member of this Conference.

That Dr. Carter was a conscious seeker of style is evident to a critic of his writ-ten and spoken discourse. He said to me some years ago: “I have read every book on rhetoric and homiletics that I could iay my hands on. From Quintilian to the latest Yale Lectures he put under tribute those who wrote on the art of speaking.

He read an enormous amount of good literature, encyclopedic in its scope, and continued a
great reader to the end. During the fifty-one years of his ministry, includ-ing the period of his superannuation, the carefully kept list of the books he read totals one thousand and seventy, not counting his readings of the Bible. The first year includes the Hymn Book, the Discipline, four perusals of the New and one of the Old Testament and the conference course. His reading at this time was done largely by pine knot fires, a the Civil War had made other illuminants scarce. Much suffering from sciatiea together with the large demands of life may account for the unusual fact that during the first two years he was an Editor he records the reading of hut nine volumes. The later part of this remarkable catalog may be examined somewhat in detail as a key to the source of his unfailing freshness. Almost any year’s reading would make a five foot library equal to the famous selection of Harvard’s ex-president. For 1910, when he was seventy-five years of age, the list includes fifty-three volumes, comprising forty-five different works. A partial analysis gives ten volumes of fiction, of which seven are recent and three reversions to the standards, such as Don Quixote and Rokeby. In the biography class we find three volumes including Lord Roseberry’s “Life of William Pitt” Works of history are In the lead with fourteen volumes, in-cluding the seven of Carlyle’s Frederick the Great, and, among the recent, John Fiske and Theodore Roosevelt. Still urged by his ruling passion, we find him reading two works on Preaching—Jowett’s “High Calling” and Kennard’s “Psychic Power in Preach-ing.” Of works of a scientific character we find but tour and they on psychology. Of literature we find an essay in criticism—“The Poetry of Tennyson,” by Van Dyke, the four volumes of Dr. Holmes’s “Autocrat” series, a volume of essays and W. J. Bryan’s oration, “The Prince of Peace.” There are two volumes that may be classified as devotional reading, and politics is well represented by Woodrow Wilson’s “The State.” Theology with ten volumes comes second to history and includes only the new, with which we might classify the latest edition of the “Discipline.” The record for 1909 shows fiction far in the lead with eighteen out of a total of thirty-seven volumes, Victor Hugo hulking large in the number. Theology is second with five, psychology next with four. Our old friend Boswell’s Johnson fills the biographical section, and Mott’s “Future Leadership of the Church” barely prevents a break in his reading in homiletics and pastoral theology. The Methodist Hymnal and three volumes of essays in criticism give us the more purely literary section. The list for 1908 includes fifty-five volumes, fiction still in the lead with fourteen volumes. In philosophy three out of four volumes are from Plato. Of course a book on preaching is included and one on elocution. Of poetry there are five and of criticism four volumes.

But the most astonishing and significant fact of his reading was the oft-repeated perusals of the Bible. From 1858 to 1912 he had read the entire Old Testament through sixty-one times and the New one hundred and seventy-five times. When the Revised Version appeared he carefully compared it verse by verse with the Authorized. Version and marked every variation of rendering and of text. As Editor of the New Orleans Christian Advocate about this time he notes in his column of “Briefs” that some patient man has counted the 792,444 words of the Revised Bible and found that 721,672 are the same as those in the version of 1611. He felicitates himself and the Church that the Authorized Version is accurate and that the language has changed very little in 275 years.

If any of us has wondered at Dr. Carter’s undiminished freshness, beauty of speech and power in preaching, “E’en down to old age,” so that he was not below his best when he’ preached the ordination sermon at Monroe two weeks before his death, our wonder may now be resolved. He kept himself fresh and vital by constantly feed-ing his mind and heart upon the best products of human talent and the living word of God. A few years ago a distinguished connectional visitor from one of the Eastern Conferences heard him with astonishment. He said, “I did not know there was such a preacher in the Church.” The same visitor after extracting from Dr. Carter the ad-mission of his Bible reading habits said, “Now I understand it all.” The Semi-Cen-tennial Address as at first planned, never delivered, opens with this sentence: “When I was twenty-five years old I resolved to get into the habit of reading the Holy Scriptures every day and to read that great book consecutively. I have kept in this habit until the present time, and I propose on this occasion to speak of some of the things which I have found in the Book.”

This same address contains the great key truths by which he opened the door of every intellectual difficulty. The harmonious action of God in and through nature and history and by the agency of men of surrendered will as well as by the immediate impact of Divine power was to him the great underlying relationship of all things in cosmos. Sin he treated as an awful irruption into these harmonious relations. He is at times almost a Parsee in his vivid realization of the conflict between the powers of darkness and the powers of light. It was to the Bible that he looked with absolute confidence as the authoritative revelation. “God has given this statement and history to men and he seems willing to abide by the results of their promulgation to the world. And of one thing we may be sure—God makes no mistakes!” Such are the closing words of the address. In times of assault at the foundations by methods of destructive criticism we may cry out for a faith founded upon the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture. When shall we practically believe the words of the late Bishop Keener to a class of undergraduates: “You will preach well or ill accordingly as you read your Bible or neglect it. “If the example of our Conference Chrysostom cannot track us this open secret of the preacher’s craft, we are hopeless and incorrigible; we have not yet learned the golden A, B, C, of the praise and love and power and profit of the Word of God.

In many passages Dr. Carter declares his confidence in the gospel as the power of God unto salvation. In his Centenary sermon he remarks upon the psychological law by which conviction upon the part of the speaker begets belief on the part of the hearer. The gospel as a testimony he relied upon as the efficient means of turning men from darkness to light. After hearing a rather sensational discourse the gist of which was the assertion that men had but to pass through an emotional experience resulting from the baptism of the Holy Spirit in order to become great soul winners, I asked him what he thought of it. He replied: “There is nothing in that; it is the truth that saves men.” Though not noted for immediate evangelistic efficiency Dr. Carter’s preaching affected all the results of true gospel preaching. Saints were edified, sinners were brought to repentance, the consolations and warnings of the gospel abounded, the flock were fed and the church strengthened, while at the same time a winnowing process went on, revealing the hearts of many.

The physical basis of oratory is a matter that no preacher can afford to neglect. Henry Ward Beecher, considering the breadth and variety of his themes and the effects wrought by his sermons and addresses, was the greatest orator America has produced. His scrupulous regard to physical condition and his study of elocution are well known. Dr. Carter had much of the orator’s art, though he was of an entirely different tem-perament and mental conformation from Beecher, and he had assiduously cultivated his voice until it had become a marvel of sweetness and flexibility and power. The musical quality of his speech, so well remembered, robs of surprise the information, possessed by few, that in youth he bad been a performer on the cornet and had studied elocution. Until well into middle life he continued to find recreation in playing the flute. He could recite a poem of several stanzas on a single breath, and years after other people had forgotten that he had ever been an amateur musician; he could fol-low a score with intelligent appreciation. For a preacher he regarded the cultivation of the voice as of importance as great as for a fisherman to look well to his tackle. Neither by accident nor by Inheritance had he acquired the exquisite elocution with which he played upon the heart strings of his hearers; his voice never breaking, never becoming inaudible, never hoarse, never beyond control, whatever the exigencies of bad acoustics, whatever the emotional response to his eloquent periods. Even when the passion of self-expression was strongest, even under the unction of the Holy Spirit, he never lost perfect mastery of his powers of utterance.

As I wrote there were before me a number of manuscripts each of which is a specimen of finished workmanship. Some have evidently been rewritten and bear dates much later than of their original composition. The internal evidence shows compression and abridgement, but the originals have been destroyed. Others that are preserved in their original form, hearing memoranda that so identify them, may be the first draughts. If so, they are marvels of correct form—clear, graceful handwrit-ing, scarcely a misspelled word, scarcely an erasure, an ever-present nicety of balance of the sentences, and a compactness in the use of material that show the value of the training he had received; and yet there is none of that meticulous refinement and lack of chasteness of style that one frequently encounters in Munsey.
After the fineness of the workmanship, which strikes us in these manuscripts, one observes that the writer had always his audience in his mind’s eye. Such a men-tal attitude in composition forestalls objections to written sermons, except that they exact of the preacher much toil and expenditure of time. It is a method, however, that enabled Dr. Carter to preach with a beauty and fitness of speech that could not offend the strictest taste, with accuracy and conciseness that excluded tediousness and with a force and freedom that came to him with relief from the uncertainties of extemporaneous speech. If he missed those rare bursts of eloquence that come like apocalypses to the extemporaneous speaker, he knew how to make sure of them in advance, fix them on his paper and in his memory and call them forth at will. He memorized his sermons, though not always; sometimes in his regular ministry preaching without written preparation; but- whatever his preparation, he appeared always to speak freely. Sometimes his manuscript was before him, but until his later years, when warned by the calendar, he began to distrust his faithful memory, a hearer would be hardly aware that he had written, much less that he was part of the time reading. In his manuscripts he notes the hymns to be sung, carefully chosen, and the Scripture lessons from the Old and New Testaments. He never supposed that his preaching could be made a substitute for the public reading of the Holy Scriptures in the congregation.

His greatest sermon is, I think, the Centenary Sermon, prepared at request of the Louisiana Conference and preached at Mansfield in 1884. The text is Isa. 60:22— “A little one shall become a thousand and a small one a strong nation. I the Lord will hasten it in his time.” The discourse is an examination of the causes of the remarkable growth and influence of Methodism within the century of its ecclesiastical life in America. He says:

“As there is nothing parallel to this in all the records of the past, the question of absorbing Interest is, how can this fact be accounted for? If we would under-stand the meaning of our present position on the theatre of active life—If we would understand the order of God’s providence, by which we have been brought to this position—if we would attain a clear conception of those principles which we have inherited and put a proper estimate upon the price of those blessings which have come down to us through the preceding generations, we must gather and weigh the facts of our history and analyze the motives which animated the souls of those men and women whose deeds made the facts of history!.”

He theorises that “moral and intellectual forces are never lost and never die. Though they assume different forms and work through various channels, they are living forces working steadily through the ages.” “The history of a church is simply the record of the processes by which that church has realized the capacities of its nature as a church and developed its abilities to do the legitimate work of a church; and that process whose ongoings are recorded in the historic page is the resultant of spiritual and intellectual forces.”

The analysis and interpretation of these facts and forces is made with both keenness and comprehensiveness. The preacher is master of a wide range of knowl-edge and has penetrated to the heart of the facts and learned the truth, which be holds with a tenacity of conviction and a joyous, buoyant confidence that give wings to his words and drive them like arrows to their goal.” A gentleman who heard the Centenary sermon provided the means for its publication. Unfortunately it is now out of print; a wide reading of it would correct a number of shallow theories by which self-constituted reformers would not only correct the wisdom of the fathers but discredit the testimony of history.

The year before the Centenary Sermon was preached Dr. Carter at an inter-denominational celebration of the quadricentennial of the birthday of Martin Luther had delivered an address that shows as full and accurate acquaintance with a wider range of ecclesiastical history as with the history of Methodism, and in which one of his favorite principles—the permanence and vitality of spiritual and intellectual forces acting under ever varying forms—is applied to the interpretation of the Reformation of the XVI. Century. A year earlier he had delivered an address at the anniversary of the Southwestern Bible Society, with astonishing effect upon a most critical and cultivated audience, including most of the Protestant clergy of New Orleans. In this masterpiece of the platform he rings the changes on another of his favorite convic-tions—that is, that the Bible is the living word because it proceeds from the living God, and has the - unique function of leading to God. Let us hear him:

“Whatever subject is presented or suggested by this book; if you take it in hand to follow it carefully and patiently, you will ere long find yourself in the pres-ence of God. Whether it is a book or a chapter or a verse or a line or a word, if you go to the bottom of it you find that God is there. A book whose words and thoughts, whose histories, biographies—whose poetry and philosophy—whose music and eloquence—all point to God! It is not always a complimentary criticism to say that a book is full of its author, but there never was a book so full of its Author as this book.”

His enthusiasm for the gospel appears in the concluding paragraph of the same address:
“The whole of it (that is, the message of the Book) has been crowded and packed into one blessed utterance! Do you ask, What is it? Tidings. What sort of tidings? Good tidings! Good tidings of what? Good tidings of great joy! For whom? Good tidings of great joy for all people. What are these good tidings of great joy to all people? ‘Unto you is born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.’ All the former dispen-sations of mercy and grace reached the climax of fulfillment in that word. All the hopes of the individual or of the race for the future are concentrated in that utter-ance. 0 then, send it out, this blessed knowledge of a personal Savior. Sow it everywhere, scatter it beside all waters. Strew it in the valleys, spread it along all the hillsides, crown the mountain tops. Here are tidings to man, tidings to the race from God. Tidings of his great love, tidings of his helpful band, tidings of his abundant grace, tidings of his tender sympathy. Send it out in haste. Men are dwellings in the shadows—minds are groping in the darkness—hearts are pining or the light. Deal it out with a liberal hand. Help it to go to the oppressed and the helpless. Bring your gold and frankincense and myrrh and pile them with glad hearts upon the altar. Pile them high that the fire of God may reach the sacrifice, and then the per-fume of devoted love to God and sincere benevolence to men will diffuse itself through the earth and help to bring on the blessed time when men everywhere will rejoice in the abounding and enlarging blessings which flow from an open Bible.”

Dr. Carter’s sermons had something of the dramatic in them. The conflict wag-ing between darkness and light, between Satan and the Savior, thrills him and calls him to battle, and he sounds a trumpet that others may come to the help of the Lord against the mighty. On the second page of the manuscript of a great sermon preached Christmas Day, 1888, occurs one of the climaxes that ever and anon rise through the processes of his discourses:
“The event which we celebrate at this season of the year is the grandest epoch in the history of man. As the stars one by one fade out of sight in the brightness of the sunrise, so every event in human history fades and expires in the effulgence of glory that streams over the world at the rising of the sun of righteousness. This Is the opening scene in the drama of human redemption, planned and arranged in the deep counsels of Godhead.’ It is grand in all its relations and phases—so grand in its con-ception that we feel that it was originated only in the love of God—so grand in its design, the salvation of a ruined race, that love, ineffable, inexplicable, wonderful love -shines out at every point—so grand in its accomplishment that we are forced up to -the truth of the statement that ‘God was manifest in the flesh’—so wide in its results (throwing wide the blazing portals of the skies that every penitent soul may have abundant entrance) that we must recognize the fact that Christ’s great heart yearns for the salvation of sinners.’’

Occasionally weird, sometimes sensuous imagery, occurs in Dr. Carter’s preaching of this period, and recurs in a sermon preached as late as 1905 on the subject “At the Bar of God.” But so seldom are these passages met that the late Bishop Ward’s remark upon the chastened character of his imagination was entirely just. Self-criticism had wrought its perfect work.

The Fraternal Address to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, sitting in Philadelphia in 1884, and the address on “Ideals of Manhood,” written after his superannuation afford equally great matter for study and quotation. Indeed the richness of the material in Dr. Carter’s manuscripts would more than vindicate ~ that perilous experiment of publishing a volume of sermons were even a random col-lection made for print. But our time does not admit of further study of this interesting subject,

The editorial columns of the New Orleans Christian Advocate also tempt one to linger over things meaty and substantial. Concerning these I must content myself with quotation from Bishop Keener, who said to me after reading one of Dr. Carter’s editorials: “You can’t buy such articles as that. You can get statistical articles, you can get news articles, you can get articles on all sorts of subjects, but such as this money can’t buy.”

Dr. Carter preached on great themes—an indispensable condition of great preach-ing. Here are some of his themes of later years:

“The Power of Love” (1906), “The Destruction of Death,” “The Savior of the World,” (1907), “Sonship of Believers” (1908), “The Minister’s Theme” (1900), “Prayer - -for the Young” (1912). He believed that preaching is the greatest work that a man -can be called to do, and accordingly brought everything—scholarship, talents, physical powers, emotions, spiritual experience and trained industry to bear upon his great work. But he did not fall under the subtle temptation that has mastered some talented men and robbed many a brilliant ministry of its proper fruits. He preached only that souls might be saved, sanctified and put into action that yet other souls might be saved through them. In the Fraternal Address, after a fine analysis of the spiritual condition and growth of Southern Methodism after the Civil War, he says:

“The teaching of the service of his ordination, ‘That he will apply himself wholly to this one thing and draw all his cares and studies this way’ makes him (the minister) feel that if he entered upon any other work, he would be discrediting the Spirit’s call and dishonoring the glory of the work of preaching the gospel and mocking the solem-nity of the vow he has taken and staining the escutcheon of the church whose creden-tials be carries. The true preacher feels like Nehemiah—he is doing a great work, the greatest of all works, when he is proclaiming out of an earnest and believing heart the doctrines of the word of God and showing forth the facts of Christ’s redemption. He is carrying on that which his Lord began and he is carrying it on through the in-fluence of the same Spirit. For this reason he cannot come down to other matters and, at the same time, retain the precious consciousness of a Savior’s approving pres-ence. That approving presence is his best blessing and his greatest security, and he reads in the last words of Jesus-—words uttered when all heaven was astir with prepa-ration to receive and enthrone the glorified humanity of the Son of Cod—that that presence is promised to those who go and preach.”

Dr. Carter was wise in his pastoral methods. He was a stranger to ill-directed activity of the restless mind and undisciplined will that sometimes pass for commenda-ble diligence. The man who declared that he wanted a “hustler” for his pastor would not have appreciated Dr. Carter. But a congregation blessed by his ministry would week by week feed upon spiritual food and have always within their call the counsels of a sage and the frank loving admonitions of a man who bore daily the burden of souls to the altar—a true minister, Who for himself, his family, his flock, the Church and the whole world pleaded the one Sacrifice, whereof they have no right to eat who serve at the altar of popular applause; a congregation thus privileged would have occasion to thank Him who “when he ascended up on high gave gifts to men— Pastor-teachers for the work of the ministry, until we all come unto the perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” He preserved the balance and dignity of the minister’s calling in the homes of the people as in the pulpit. He visited and prayed with the members of his flock, be was the consoler of the bereaved, the minister to the sick, the counselor of the perplexed, the monitor of the tempted. He was a pastor, not a social functionary of the church. His presence in a home was accompanied with an aroma of heavenly things. At the family altar he talked with God as one accustomed to this holy converse.

Dr. Carter was careful as to his ecclesiastical and conference duties. He loved the brethren,
and his pen sketches in the Semi-Centennial Address witness his sincere appreciation of their gifts and graces. His reminiscences prove his interest in the leg-islative progress of his Church, and though his voice was rarely heard upon the floor of General Conference, his hand did a part in shaping legislation.

He was specially devoted the younger brethren, doubtless thinking that to them he could be
most serviceable. While on the train journeying to my second conference session he said to me: “Gerry, come sit by me; I had rather talk to you than those fellows” (referring to certain older men, doubtless more congenial to him and nearer his own class). By whomsoever he might be sought, his quest was the young and the obscure whom he could most help.

Dr. Carter’s ministry in his own family must have been charming. It was cer-tainly
effective. He writes to a little grandson, giving a delightful account of one of his boyhood experiences of hunting a bear. The following letter written to a son must be given in full as an example of ministerial fidelity in his own family, coupled with appreciation of the minister’s calling.

My Dear —: A happy New Year to you and the wife and children. I hope and gray that it
may be to you and yours the best of all.
“I see by the Advocate that you are to begin next Saturday. (Evidently a round of quarterly
conferences.) I want you to begin with a determination that you will put all you have and all you are into your work. You are now in your prime and that fact lays a heavy responsibility upon you. I want you to meet it like a true man, panoplied in the Gospel armor. You have a great office. In spite of all the jokes made about the presiding eldership, it gives the greatest opportunity for great work for the Church and humanity. Get the work on your heart. Fall in love with it. Work as if all depended upon you, pray as if all depended upon God. Expect to succeed. Look constantly for results. Get the optimistic spirit and inspire your preachers and membership with it, and you will see the pleasure of the Lord prosper in your hands. May the great Spirit— ‘the Administrator of the affairs or redemption—be your constant Companion and your daily Guide.”

For himself he asked nothing in the way of ecclesiastical advantage, but was duly
appreciative of the unsought honors that came to him. About the conclusion of his first pastorate at Baton Rouge occurred this incident for which I am indebted to Mrs. Peace. He had been solicited to transfer from the Louisiana Conference, and was inclined to do so. My father was his presiding elder and Dr. John C. Keener was Editor of the Orleans Christian Advocate. Both came up from New Orleans to Baton Rouge by Steamboat to interview him about the “call” to St. Louis. Dr. Keener said, ‘Charlie, we need you right here in Louisiana. “Alter some silence,” says Mrs. Peace, “my gather said, ‘All right, Dr. Keener, I will not go.’ Then Linus Parker said, ‘Let us ‘~pray.’ Not a word was uttered for several minutes; then those three holy men with one accord repeated the Lord’s Prayer. I was a small child, little more than five years of age, but it is a memory that will never die.” Again Charles W. Carter had followed his Christian principle of self-renunciation for the sake of the gospel. Had he sought great things for himself, he would probably have gained them. When in his later years he was appointed to a work far smaller than for many years he had been accustomed to serve, he would not have been human had he not felt humiliated—humiliated not because of wounded pride, but his great soul suffered; for it seemed as if his ministry had been rejected. There was no reason for it: in every respect, though old, he was his best. He said nothing, but he felt an inward hurt.

Dr. Carter’s old age was green and lovely. His mind was serene, his spirit joyous; his
natural force was scarcely abated and his mental powers were unimpaired. He rejoiced in his green old age, especially because in his youth he had been delicate and threatened with tuberculosis. His prolonged life he regarded as an answer to prayer. His step was elastic and his laugh rang like a silver bell. A year before his death, he said, “I have had a warning, though I am in excellent health.” A slight lesion of the heart had become evident to his physician. Men similarly affected have often outlived their contemporaries. How little it affected him may be seen in this pen -picture by his friend Judge Ellis. “Last spring Dr. Carter spent a week or more with me here (in New Orleans) and a few days at my home in Amlte City. My children and grandchildren, whom I have taught to love and venerate him, received him so affectionately, and with us he seemed so at home and so happy. In pleasant and mirthful conversation—going over the old and the recent—in devotional service morning and -evening, in music and song, in all of which he took the lead, it was a happy season for us all; and in it all he seemed so good and yet so great. On the Sabbath he preached and was at his best. The impression he made on those who met and heard him still remains.

From the same loving pen I quote this characterization. “He was so modest, so forgetful of self, that his greatness is known only to those who knew him intimately. He was among the first of a noble generation of gentlemen, strong men, brave men, true men.” These words of the Greek dramatist are as applicable to Dr. Carter in the -latter years of his life as if they had been intended to describe him.

“Prosperity attend him, since while passing on
Into the vale of man’s decline
He yet with newer learning’s tint
His mind imbues
And wisdom cultivates, (Clouds. 1. 511.)

“If any man keep my words he shall not see death.” This promise of the Master was literally fulfilled when Dr., Carter came to the supreme hour, December 30, 1912. He slept but a day before the eve of the New Year; he awoke in a new world -and saw the dawning of eternity instead of the beginning of another cycle of the seasons. Simple, unostentatious, yet sublime was his death, as had been his life.

The walls of Sparta’s cities were men. The bulwarks and the aggressive strength of Zion are men whom God has filled with his Spirit and who are devoted to his will. As these pass from our ranks our hope is in the genetic power of their life and spirit by which others are raised up to take their places. Under a cloudless sky, beneath a wide-spreading oak, on the New Year’s Day a year ago, Dr. Carter’s pastor, the Rev. R. H. Harper, spoke over his peaceful form these words: “May the God of this man cause his falling mantle to abide on us who look after him heavenward.” And this may be our prayer to night.

Source: Journal Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1913, pages 52-62, by Fitzgerald Sale Parker.