Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DEEMS, Charles Force, clergyman, born in Baltimore, Maryland, 4 December 1820. He was graduated at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1839, and entered the Methodist ministry in New Jersey. Soon afterward he became general agent for the American Bible society in North Carolina. In 1841 he accepted the professorship of logic and rhetoric in the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, holding this office five years, after which he was for one year professor of natural sciences in Randolph-Macon College, at Ashland, Virginia. Returning to North Carolina, he was stationed as a Methodist pastor at New Berne, and in 1850 was a delegate to the general conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, south, which met in St. Louis. While there he was elected to the presidency of Greensboro, N. C., female College, and also to the presidency of Centenary College, at Jackson, La. He chose the former, and served till 1854, from which time he was engaged in the regular pastorate till 1858. Afterward he was the presiding elder of the Wilmington and New Berne districts of the North Carolina conference. At the close of 1865 he went to New York, was occupied for a time in literary pursuits, and subsequently established the Church of the Strangers, of which he is still (1887) the pastor. He was at one time president of Rutgers female College, New York City. He has been the president of the American institute of Christian philosophy since 1881, and is now (1887) editor of "Christian Thought," a monthly magazine. He has also edited Frank Leslie's "Sunday Magazine," and five volumes of the " Southern Methodist Pub pit," and compiled three volumes of "Annals of Southern Methodism." He has received the degree of D. D. from Randolph Macon College, and that of LL.D. from the University of North Carolina. Besides the publication of several volumes of sermons, and many addresses, he has been a frequent contributor to periodical literature, and is the author of" Triumph of Peace and other Poems" (New York, 1840); "Life of Rev. Dr. Clarke" (1840); "Devotional Melodies" (1842);" Twelve College Sermons" (1844); "The Home Altar " (1850); "What Now?" (1853); "Weights and Wings" (1874); " A Scotch Verdict in Re-Evolution " (1886); and "The Light of the Nations " (1868), in which the author does not attempt to present the biography of Christ. but takes the records of the evangelists who write about the man Jesus, the Son of Mary, as he would the narratives of the classic authors, and strives to represent the consciousness of Jesus without reference to theological conclusions. He has written with considerable force in opposition to the doctrine of evolution.
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