J. B. Jeter, D.D.
By Ben M. Bogard
Jeremiah B. Jeter was born in Bedford county, Virginia, July 18, 1802. At the age of nineteen years he joined the church, and was baptized by Elder William Harris.
As he came up from the water he delivered a speech to the congregation, and from that start he continued to preach all his life. His first set sermon was about twenty days after his baptism and in the same community.
Dr. Jeter was exceptionally active throughout life, and the Lord blessed his ministry in the salvation of thousands of souls. During the first ten years of his ministry he baptized over a thousand converts. During the next fourteen years he was pastor of the First Baptist Church, Richmond, Va., and during that time he baptized nearly a thousand into its fellowship. At the close of this eminently successful pastorate he became pastor of the Second Baptist Church, St. Louis, Mo., and continued in that office for three years, baptizing one hundred and fifty converts. In 1852 he returned to Richmond, Va., and became pastor of Grace-street Church, where within a few years he had increased the membership from 322 to over 600. Such was the uniform success which attended his ministry.
It was about the year 1865 that he became editor of the Religious Herald. He continued in this work until death took him away. As an editor he has had few equals, and he succeeded in making a great paper of the Religious Herald, which still stands with the very best papers published by Baptists. One of his editorials is published at the close of this sketch. It is a fair specimen of numerous strong editorials that came from his ready pen.
Dr. Jeter was a successful writer of books. In 1837 he published the "Life of Rev. A. W. Clopton," and in 1843 he published "A Memoir of Mrs. Schuck, Missionary to China;" in 1850 he gave the world the "Life of the Rev. Andrew Broaddus;" then followed, in 1854, "Campbellism Examined," which book showed him to be a skillful debater, and still later followed "Campbellism Re-examined." In 1858 he published "The Christian Mirror;" in 1871, "The Seal of Heaven," and, during the same year, he published "The Life of the Rev. Daniel Witt."
Besides these eight books he published numerous tracts, speeches, sermons, etc. When we consider his constant work as preacher, and later as editor, we can appreciate the immense labor it took to produce so many books.
Dr. Jeter was present at the organization of the General Association of Virginia, and he lived to be the only survivor of the membership of that first meeting. He was the first missionary appointed by
the General Association, and he was ever afterward a warm friend of the work of the General Association, and perhaps no other man has had so much influence in that body as he.
Among those who were converted under his ministry some have become prominent preachers. There are prominent among these Dr. Garlick and Dr. P. S. Henson. Dr. Jeter has continued to live in these men. In his converts Dr. Jeter still moves and thinks and glorifies God. His works do follow him.
He died Feb. 18, 1880, at the advanced age of seventy-eight years. He no doubt triumphantly joined that host that no man can number.
"O, that with yonder sacred throng,
We at his feet may fall;
We'll join the everlasting song,
And crown him Lord of all."
================[Ben M. Bogard, editor, Pillars of Orthodoxy, or Defenders of the Faith, 1900. — jrd]
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