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McGarvey, John W.

Posted by ceddleman 
McGarvey, John W.
March 16, 2007 03:27PM
Text from Moore, W. T. (editor), Living Pulpit of the Christian Church.
Cincinnati: R. W. Carroll & Co., Publishers, 1871. Pages 325-326. This
online edition © 1996, James L. McMillan. Used by permission. Christian

FEW men among the Disciples have obtained a more enviable reputation, and
enjoyed more generally the confidence of the brethren, than the subject of
this notice. Blessed with more than an average amount of practical common
sense, and having faithfully done his duty in all the positions he has
occupied, it is not strange that he should now be regarded as one of the
safest and truest men in the Church of Christ.

JOHN W. M'GARVEY was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, March 1, 1829. His
father was born in Ireland, and, when grown, came to America, and settled
at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where, with a small capital, he went into the
dry-goods business. His mother was a Miss THOMSON, of old Virginia stock,
and was born and reared near Georgetown, Kentucky. In 1833, his father
died, and, some time after, his mother was married to Dr. G. F.

In 1839, the family removed to Tremont, Tazewell County, Illinois, where
he was trained to industry by his step-father, and thoroughly instructed
in primary and academic branches by Mr. JAMES K. KELLOGG, a successful
educator of that place. In April, 1847, he entered the Freshman Class of
Bethany College. While at college he made the good confession, and was
immersed, by Professor PENDLETON, in April, 1848. So soon as he became a
Christian, he determined to devote his life to the preaching of the
Gospel, and it was not long before he gave very conclusive evidence of
fitness for the work. In July, 1850, he graduated as one of the honor men,
delivering the Greek speech, and receiving marked tokens from the faculty
of their high appreciation of his scholarship.

Meantime, his family had removed to Fayette, Missouri, at which place,
soon after leaving college, he taught a male school for ten months. In
June, 1851, his step-father died of cholera, while on his way to attend
the commencement of Bethany College. He was a warm friend of the college,
and gave it twenty-five hundred dollars while living, and left it a
child's part in his estate.

At the call of the Church in Fayette, Brother M'GARVEY gave up his school,
and, in September, 1851, was ordained to the work of the ministry, and
afterward preached for the Church at Fayette and neighboring county
churches until February, 1853, when he removed to Dover, Lafayette County,
Missouri. In March, 1853, he was married to OTTIE F. HIX, of Fayette.

He resided at Dover nine years, and, during this period, he spent about
half of the time at home, and, the remainder, preaching extensively over
the State of Missouri, holding five public debates with various religious
parties; he also collected money to erect a boarding-school in his
village, and conducted the school two years.

In the spring of 1862, he accepted the pastoral care of the Church in
Lexington, Kentucky, where a large field of usefulness was open to him.
During the same year he published his "Commentary on Acts," which had
occupied all the time he could devote to it for three and a half years.
This is a work of decided merit, and at once fixes his reputation as a
fine Biblical scholar.

On the removal of Kentucky University to Lexington, in 1865, he accepted a
chair in the College of the Bible, with the understanding that only a
small portion of his time was to be devoted to teaching, such as would not
materially interfere with his labors in the Church. Under his ministry,
the Church had reached a remarkable degree of prosperity, and his labors
were highly appreciated by the entire congregation. But, finding that his
whole time was needed in the university, in 1866, he resigned his charge
of the Church; but, as the Church has not succeeded in obtaining the
regular services of a suitable man, he has not yet been relieved.
President GRAHAM, however, now shares the labor of preaching with him.

Brother M'GARVEY is a little below medium size, has dark hair, light hazel
eyes, and a very youthful appearance for one of his age. He is very strict
and regular in his habits, and this fact explains why it is that he has
been able to accomplish so much mental labor without impairing his health.

That which most distinguishes him as a writer and speaker is clearness;
there is never the slightest confusion in his ideas. He has very little
imagination, and relies almost exclusively on facts for effect. His mind
is well stored with these, and, in the construction and management of an
argument, he uses them with great ease and success. In debate he is one of
the safest and ablest men among the Disciples, and not the least source of
power here is his remarkable coolness--he is never thrown off his guard.

As a teacher, he has very few superiors. Knowledge is what a student
needs; hence, the matter-of-fact man is always the best teacher--all other
things being equal. But Brother M'GARVEY is also an excellent preacher,
and, as a pastor, has been eminently successful. He has a kind, generous
nature, but is not very demonstrative. He attends strictly to his own
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