Rev. Joseph Lear
REV. JOSEPH LEAR. - FEW in the Conference have studied the Scriptures with wiser eyes than the minister whose name is at the head of this sketch. Despite the arduous claims and toil of the itinerant, he has redeemed the time for study. Self-taught, he has become a classical scholar, and has examined the sacred writings with something of critical accuracy, bringing out whatever of meaning lay yet unfolded in the original. Mr. Lear has been a reader. In his happiest moods, it is rare to hear so true exposition, and so apt use of literature, as flows from the sermons of this preacher. As Bacon says, he is a "full man." His conversation is singularly instructive. Mr. Lear's ministerial life reaches back to 1833. In all the forty-seven years, the testimony from every field of labor enhances his reputation as a man of God of purest life, and with a single eye. God has given witness to his preaching. He is a devout man.
His father, John Lear, was born in Italy and lived in that country until he became nearly, or quite grown. Being a strong man, fearless in disposition, and fond of change and adventure he traveled much, and passed through various changes of home and of fortune, until he finally settled in Fredericksburg, and there kept a fancy store.
In February, 1830, he was ordained deacon in Norfolk, and appointed to Trent Circuit in North Carolina ; and in 1837 to Essex; in Richmond, February, 1838, he was ordained Elder, and appointed to Elizabeth City, N. C., since which time, having received help from God, he has continued his labors through every successive year to this hour. God has given him to see fruits of his ministry.
Mr. Lear married judiciously a lady of superior endowments. The Rev. W. W. Lear of the Virginia Conference is his son.
Source: Sketches of the Virginia Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South. by Rev. John J. Lafferty Richmond, Va., Christian Advocate Office 1880.
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