51 – February – 20 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Andrew Gifford

 

He endured to the end

 

1737 – BAPTIST PASTOR TESTIFIES OF THE PEACE OF CHRIST AT THE TIME OF DEATH IN LATE 18TH CENTURY ENGLAND – Pastor Andrew Gifford and his congregation dedicated a new facility in Eagle Street, Red Lion Square London on February 20, 1737.  He had served as an assistant pastor in both Nottingham and Bristol before becoming pastor of the Little Wild Street Church in London on Feb. 5, 1729.  Because of difficulty a majority of the members left in 1736 which led to the new church edifice mentioned above.  Andrew was born into a godly home in Bristol, England, August 17, 1700.  His father, Emmanuel Gifford, had suffered much difficulty because of his dissenting principles, and his grandfather had been imprisoned four times because of his biblical faith.  Andrew received Christ and was immersed at 15.  Pastor Gifford served the flock on Red Lion Square for nearly 50 years and the building had to be enlarged twice to accommodate the crowds.  Gifford was recognized for his knowledge of ancient manuscripts and coins.  His own collection of rare coins was the most valuable in Great Britain and King George II purchased it for his own.  In 1754 he received the Doctor of Divinity Degree from Marischal College, Aberdeen, and in 1757 he was appointed assistant librarian of the British Museum.  He was a warm friend of George Whitefield and preached for him many times.  Three days before he died, he said, “I am in great pain, but, bless God, this is not hell! O, blessed be God for Jesus Christ!”  When the end was near, he whispered, “O, what should I do now, if it were not for Jesus Christ!” What should I do now, if it were not for an interest in Jesus?” He died on a Saturday morning, June 19, 1784, and was buried in Bunhill, July 2, at 6 am. John Ryland brought the message.  There were 200 ministers and a vast crowd present.  He bequeathed his library and manuscripts to the Bristol Baptist College.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 70.

 

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