86 – March – 27 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

 

Baptists struggled for liberty
1778 – On this very day, two young evangelists Isaiah Parker and Samuel Fletcher, were persecuted by mobs as they attempted to preach on the streets of Pepperell, Massachusetts, according to an entry in the diary of Isaac Backus.  Unwilling to surrender to the pressure the young men visited Pepperell several times during the spring and summer.  During a visit on June 26, however, a real blowup took place as six converts presented themselves for baptism.  On Sept. on that year, Backus makes an entry concerning a letter from the Baptists at Pepperell which was discussed by the Warren Association.  The setting according to Backus, “They met in a field by a river side, where prayers were made, and a sermon begun, when the chief officers of the town, with many followers, came and interrupted their worship.”  He went on to record that the owner of the field warned the “rowdies” to depart but they refused to go.  One of the Baptist preachers reminded them of the liberty of conscience which is generally allowed, even by the powers that we were at war with; and one of the officers said, “Don’t quote scripture here!”  Then a dog was carried into the river, and plunged in evident mockery.”  A gentleman in town then invited them to his house for worship that was near another river.  The mob followed and took some whiskey and more dogs and began to plunge them into that river in obvious contempt for water immersion.  At that point friends warned them that for their safety they should remove themselves to yet another area for the baptism of the converts, which they did.  But even then they had to endure more abuse at the close of that service.  The result of this opposition only strengthened the resolve of our forefathers neither did they ever believe in coercing converts.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 124..
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