Liberty on the Rise
The old court records of New England reveal the names of many Baptists who were constrained to pay taxes for the support of the Congregationalists. One of those was Nathanael Green who was ordained as the pastor of the Baptist Church in Charlton, Mass. on Oct. 12, 1763. That Congregation experienced many trials through the years, and at times spiritual depression was known as well as great spiritual revival. In that Elder Green served until his death on March 21, 1791, it is apparent that the church endured the period of the Revolutionary War. The pastor is spoken of as “being exemplary, “until he fell asleep in Jesus…” But the public court record shows that Elder Green was arrested, taken to Worchester, imprisoned, and fined for refusing to pay the “ministers rate,” which we have mentioned before was for the care of the state preacher and his family. The preacher was advised by Col. Chandler to pay the fine and after six hours he was released. The pastor received a receipt for, “…sixteen shillings, nine pence, one farthing, being in full for his town and county rates for the year 1767: Benjamin Bond, Constable for the year 1767.” The pastor sued on the basis that the law is to protect citizens against unscrupulous actions. He won at the lower court, the assessors appealed and he won in the Superior Court. The Man of God received all of his money and court costs back. We should note that the sun of liberty in America was rising in those days. Today it is just the opposite, when we go to court for the cause of liberty, the court rules for the state and against those that try to uphold freedom, and we have a Constitution, and they didn’t have its benefits yet. But we do have a “sin” problem. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” [Pr 14:34]
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp, 166 – 167.