William C. Buck, born in Shenandoah County, Virginia, on August 23, 1790, grew up on his family farm. He became a member at the Water Lick Baptist Church, and in 1812 he was ordained into the ministry and became the pastor of Water Lick.
Buck was a man who took on many roles. He became a lieutenant during the War of 1812. Not long after the war, he felt the call to missionary work in Kentucky and became the pastor of First Baptist Church, Louisville. He also became editor of the “Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer,” as well as the elected secretary of the Bible Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. After this, he ministered in several different Baptist churches in Columbus, Mississippi, Greensborough, and Selma, Alabama. He even published, “The Baptist Correspondent.” At the time of the Civil War, he served as a missionary in the Confederate army. Burrage tells how General Mason Brayman (an acquaintance of Buck’s in Louisville) described Buck as “robust in constitution, of wonderful force of character, full of enterprise and hard work.” He goes on to describe Buck as “eloquent, an impressive preacher, and the first to set foot in Kentucky, the China mission.” These characteristics of Buck are evident in the many ministries he was a part of. Buck also had several published works. He thought the Baptists of the south and west needed a better hymnal than the one they were currently using, so he published, “The Baptist Hymn Book” in 1842. He also published, “The Philosophy of Religion,” and “The Science of Life.”
Though in the light of glory he
Attempt the deep profound.
Thy name fills heav’n with praise,
Each cherub tries the theme,
But far above cherubic lays
Ascends thy peerless name.
Thy mighty works, as seen
In heav’n, and earth, and sea –
Too vast for mortal minds to scan,
Are dim outlines of thee.
The gospel best makes known,
And still, though aided by thy word,
Our thoughts ne’er reach thy throne.
If angels veil their face
When on thy throne they gaze,
How shall a mortal speak thy grace,
So far from glory’s blaze?
Burrage, H., 1858. Baptist Hymn Writers and Their Hymns. Portland, Maine: Brown Thurston and Company.