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David B. Ray
By Joseph H. Borum, 1880

     Elder D. B. Ray, fourth son of Dennis Ray, was born in Hickman county, Ky., March 30, 1830. He was baptized upon a profession of faith in Christ, by Elder W. White, and united with the Little Obion Baptist church, near his father's residence, on the 16th day of October, 1844. He entered the ministry in the year 1835. His ministerial labors were mostly confined to Western Kentucky and West Tennessee till the summer of 1870, when he removed from Humboldt, Tenn., (in which State he resided nearly ten years), to become associated with president A. S. Worrell, as editor of the Baptist Sentinel.

     Elder Ray is the author of the Text Book on Campbellism, which has reached the sixth edition. He is also the author of the Baptist Succession, which has reached the fifth edition in a very short time. He has engaged in twenty oral discussions eight with the Methodists and twelve with the "Disciples." Among the Methodists may be mentioned, J. B. McCutchen, of Western Kentucky, Doctor Guilford Jones, of Memphis, Tenn., Elders N, H. Lee, G. H. Hay, and Mr. C. W. Miller, of Kentucky. Among the Disciples, he has engaged in discussion may be name Elder T. W. Caskey, of Mississippi, Elder T. E. Myles, of Ke1ntucky (though he was pastor at Clarksville, Tenn., when he died), Samuel A. Kelley, of Kentucky, now of St. Louis, Mo., and Doctor J. R. Lucas, whom he has met in three discussions, and lastly with the redoubtable Jacob Ditzler, Methodist, famed for his onslaughts on Baptist doctrines and principles.

     In all these discussions, Elder Ray has shown himself to be possessed of rare ability as a polemic, and has given his brethren and the friends of the Baptist cause, the highest satisfaction. He is well posted in the Scriptures, and knows how to use the sword of the Spirit, and well read in church history, and being an adept in debate, he is always ready to meet his antagonist at every point. He also possesses rare self-control, or government: in discussion he never becomes excited nor thrown off his balance; smiles when the heaviest shafts of sarcasm and wit are hurled at him or his arguments, and ready to launch his javelin, well-pointed, against his opponent.

      As a writer he has contributed many valuable books of rare interest to the library of the denomination.

     While in Tennessee, Elder Ray did effective service, and was agent for the West Tennessee Baptist convention in 1866-7. He is of about the ordinary make of men in personal appearance. All who know him are thoroughly convinced that he is a Baptist of the first water without abrogation. He knows nothing of compromise with the teachers of error; he stands forth among them as Elijah did among the prophets of Baal, to condemn and not to assist them in their work. His works and labors will tell in coming ages. May he live long to Battle for the truth, and may his Flag never trail in the dust, and may the sacrifices which he shall offer, ever be acceptable to the Lord; and may his Rays of light continue to flash and blaze along the Christian highway for years to come without a dimming veil between.

      The author will here insert, in greatly abbreviated form, a few of the many complimentary notices in the public journals, concerning his published works "The Baptist Succession," and "Text Book on Campbellism." Of the Succession, the Central Baptist says:

"The style of the author is lucid, terse and adapted to the comprehension of all classes of readers. He has brought together a large number of historical facts, and arranged them better, in a smal1er compass, than any previous writer on the subject."
      The Baptist, J. R. Graves, editor, says:
"BAPTIST SUCCESSlON. D. B. Ray has issued his history bearing this title. We have glanced through it, and are pleased with it. He has, to our mind, demonstrated a succession of Baptist communities from the first to the present time."
      The Western Recorder, published at Louisville, Ky., says:
"RAY'S BAPTIST SUCCESSION. This book, we are glad to know, is having a wide circulation. It is a production of decided merit."
      Of the Text Book on Campbellism, J. R. Graves, editor of The Baptist, Memphis, Tenn., says:
"We hail the appearance of this book. It is the very thing needed by our ministers who have not time to read all of Campbell's writings the very thing for our members, for it places a key to the mysteries of this seductive system in their hands: and with this book and the New Testament they can withstand this error."
      A. B.Cabaniss, president of Brownsville Female college, say:
After reading the work, I am thoroughly convinced that this very text book in needed in every section where Campbellism prevails. I have never met with a work which fills its place."
      Elder Howard Malcom, D. D., of Philadelphia, says:
"Among recent theological publications, that of Reverend D. B.Ray., of Lexington, Ky., is one of the most timely. The Text book on Campbellism deserves a wide circulation, especially in the Southwest, as there that ism is most prevalent. The plan of the work comprehends every aspect of the subject. The arrangement of topics is natural, the style ingenious, and the deductions fairly drawn in the very words of their writers and accompanied, in every case, with reference to book and page. The result shows a mass of contradictions, even in the writings of Mr. Campbell himself."

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[From Joseph H. Borum, Biographical Sketches of Tennessee Baptist Ministers, 1880; rpt. 1976, pp. 519-521. jrd]

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