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Manly, Basil (1825-1892) | Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Archives

Name: Manly, Basil (1825-1892)

Historical Note:

Basil Manly, Jr., was born in Edgefield County, South Carolina on December 19, 1825 to Basil Manly, Sr. and Sarah Murray Manly.  Manly, Jr. grew up in Charleston, South Carolina where his father was pastor of First Baptist Church.  Eventually the family moved to Alabama when Manly, Sr. became president of the University of Alabama.  Manly, Jr. was converted at the age of fourteen while reading the Life of Jonathan Edwards, and by the age of seventeen, had graduated from the University of Alabama first in his class.   In 1844 he was licensed to preach and began theological studies at Newton Theological Institute. He later left Newton and finished his studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating in 1847.  From 1848 through the late 1850s Manly, Jr. found himself quite busy and often stretched in ministry.  He held numerous positions during this period of time, ranging from pulpit supply to pastoring several churches. He also served as president of Richmond Female Institute.

Basil Manly, Jr. had a large role in the establishment of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He authored the “Abstract of Principles,” the seminary's confessional standard. In 1859, when the seminary opened in Greenville, South Carolina, Manly, Jr. served as professor of Biblical Introduction and Old Testament Interpretation. During this time, he also held preaching duties in several churches.  The Civil War forced the seminary to close its doors in 1862, but it eventually reopened in 1865 under the leadership of Manly, Jr. and his fellow colleagues.

By 1871, Manly, Jr. accepted the presidency of Kentucky's Georgetown College. He remained there six years, until the call of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary came his way again.  The seminary moved to Louisville, Kentucky in 1877 and Manly, Jr. was re-elected to the faculty as professor of Old Testament.  Manly, Jr. devoted the remainder of his life to teaching at Southern.  Manly also served as treasurer over the students' fund, which provided financial aid to students of the seminary.  In 1863, under his leadership the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention was established.  He also authored more than twenty hymns.  His most notable hymn is Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s first commencement hymn, “Soldiers of Christ in Truth Arrayed,” which has been sung at every commencement since 1860.  His only major literary contribution is an apologetic treatise entitled, The Bible Doctrine of Inspiration.  Basil Manly, Jr. died January 31, 1892 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Sources: Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists, pp. 817-818
Note Author: David Hoard

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