“from my Palace in Culpeper.”
James Ireland was one of the great Baptist Church organizers in Virginia. “On one occasion in Culpeper County, while he was praying after a preaching service, he was seized by the collar by two men and given the ultimatum of promising not to preach there any longer or going to jail. He chose the latter alternative, and after a few days he was incarcerated in Culpeper. Through the jail bars he preached in spite of all the efforts to disturb him and his listeners. His detractors ran riding horses at a gallop through his hearers, urinated in his face as he preached, attempted to blow him up with gunpowder, and endeavored to suffocate him by burning brimstone and Indian pepper under the floor of his cell. A doctor and the jailer conspired to poison him. Ireland also was dunked in water and threatened with public whippings. When drunken rowdies were placed in his cell to harass him, he led several to personal faith in Jesus Christ. During this time, he wrote letters to individuals and churches which he headed “from my Palace in Culpeper.” This resulted in the salvation of many souls who heard his letters read as well as those who heard him preach. He said, “My prison then was a place in which I enjoyed much of the divine presence; a day seldom passed without some signal token and manifestation of the divine goodness toward me.”
Even while he preached out of prison, he continued to be threatened with beatings and dunkings. On one occasion two women conspired to poison his family, which nearly resulted in Ireland’s own death and did cause the death of one of his eight children. He bore the burden of ill health as a result of this maltreatment until his death May 5, 1806.”
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 183-184
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