What I have been thinking is cut government pay —
THOMAS JEFFERSON LEADERSHIP
Our public oeconomy also is such as to offer drudgery and subsistence only to those entrusted with its administration, a wise & necessary precaution against the degeneracy of the public servants. In our private pursuits it is a great advantage that every honest employment is deemed honorable.
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Enterprising leaders should look to the private sector.
Demeunier was a French writer and public official who emigrated to America to avoid the bloodshed sweeping France. He was living in New York and wrote to Jefferson inquiring about employment possibilities. Though Jefferson demurred, saying he was too far away and too unfamiliar to be of much help, he offered some observations about work in America.
1. Top government jobs paid a bare minimum and offered plenty of drudgery. This was both “wise & necessary.” It kept capable people from making a career of public employment, both to their detriment and the government’s.
Demeunier had been part of the King’s court in France and had a very privileged life. Jefferson discouraged him from thinking a similar position here held any value or status.
2. Just the oppposite of public employment, the sky was the limit in private enterprise. All honest work in America was “deemed honorable.” This “great advantage” was as available to the immigrant Demeunier as it was to any other resident of any status.
101 THINGS TO DO
On a recent trip, the two hours difference between Central and Pacific time found me up at about 5:30 as usual. The only trouble: it was only 3:30 local time. Retreating to the small lobby of the quaint Hotel in historic Groveland, CA, I saw a commercial paper on the coffee table entitled 101 THINGS TO DO IN THE YOSEMITE AREA. I read many of them with interest, but failed to notice any reference to spiritual activities. Of course, that precipitated paper and pen.
Now in the life of most Americans, one may feel as though there are 1,001 things to do. Similarly few, if any, of these may include spiritual activities. Does this not underscore a terribly skewed lifestyle? Inasmuch as one’s approximate “Threescore and ten” years on this terrestrial ball, compared to the endless ages to live beyond this brief journey, does it not make much more sense to live in continued preparation for that which is to come?
Certainly, one cannot escape many mundane demands in life, but to live as though this world were all there is to life is to play the role of a fool . . . who says in his heart, “There is no God; hence, no accountability to a higher power.” This is the ultimate folly of men reputed to be educated, and intelligent. Could it be that some are educated beyond their intelligence??
Solomon, the wisest man to walk these paths of life left no little information about what men should be pursuing in the brevity of their days. At the end of his writing in Ecclesiastes, he pungently summarized, “Let us hear the conclusion of the matter: fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecc. 12:13.
Common observation produces evidence that most men are therein derelict in their duty, not understanding that they will live for millions of timeless years regretting it. So, 101 things to do, or 1,001 things to do, wisdom says: prioritize and see to it that personal repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is number ONE! Then living in discipleship to the Savior is to follow consistently. Whatever else is left to do is of little consequence in the scheme of things. Doubtless, you, dear reader, have many things to do. What is your priority? Remember, you and I really are on this planet for specific purposes. I am going to hear and heed the wisdom of Solomon. Here is hoping you will, too!
Failing to baptize infants was worthy of death
Dr. John Clarke, Obadiah Holmes, and a Baptist laymen, John Crandall, had walked eighty miles to a blind friend’s home in Lynn, Massachusetts for worship services. Little did they know that they were being closely watched by the authorities. In the midst of their worship in the Witter home, a marshal and his deputies burst in and arrested them, took them to dinner, and then took them to a Puritan meeting that was obviously designed to show them the error of their ways. The three men entered, bowed to the assembly, sat sown, and refused to remove their hats as a demonstration against the treatment that they were receiving. They attempted to defend themselves but were silenced, and then were confined to the Boston jail, being charged with being, “certain erroneous persons, being strangers,” though their offense was understood to be holding a religious service without a license. They were also indicted for holding a private meeting, serving communion to an excommunicated person, rebaptizing converts, etc. They were tried on July 31, 1651. John Cotton, the Puritan preacher acted as the prosecutor and stated the case against the three heretics. He shouted that they denied the power of infant baptism, and thus they were soul murderers. With great fervor he said that they deserved capital punishment just as any other type of murder. The men declared that they conducted a private service not a public service, and claimed under the ancient English maxim that a man’s house, however humble, is his castle. Judge Endicott agreed with John Cotton that these three men should be put to death. Clarke wrote a defense and was fined and released after someone paid his fine, Crandall was released. Holmes was fined and refused to pay the fine and was whipped until he nearly died, but recovered to become a great pastor.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 313-14.
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“For I am in a stait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better,” Philippians 1:23.
Paul was torn between two desires. Philippians 1:21 tells us what these two desires were. Paul struggled between the desire to live for Christ and to depart to eternity.
In my life I also struggle with the idea of death versus life, but not in the same manner Paul did. My fleshly struggle is the desire to live, to keep on enjoying the earthly things. I often fear death. It is not because I want to stay here for God’s glory, I desire to stay here for my glory! Then, I look into God’s Word and search my heart.
When I understand that this life is not about me, it helps me to put life and death into its proper perspective. I can then see that I am called to live for the glory of God!
I pray that I, like Paul, will be driven to bring God maximum glory with my life on earth. I also anticipate the day that I will finally experience the great things He has laid up for me in eternity!
JUST A THOUGHT
Are you looking forward to the better departure?
Some who want liberty only want it for themselves
Thomas Patient migrated to America as a Congregationalist preacher after graduating from either Oxford or Cambridge University. Meeting Baptists he re-examined the Scriptures concerning Baptism and concluded that “infant baptism” had no foundation in Scripture.” However, because of severe persecution from his church he was forced to return to Great Britain. The Pilgrims had come to find religious liberty but there was not liberty for others. He served as co-pastor with William Kiffin in London in 1640 and was one of the Baptist leaders who signed the Particular Baptist Confession of Faith by seven Baptist churches in London in 1644. This was during the Commonwealth under Cromwell and the English Parliament voted to appoint six ministers to preach in Dublin, Ireland, and Patient accepted one of those positions. He spoke to large audiences and he acted as chaplain for Colonel John Jones, who was actually the Gov. of Dublin and Patient was invited to preach each Lord’s Day in the Council of Dublin and thus the aristocracy of the Anglo-Irish society heard the living gospel. Patient baptized a large group in Dublin and it is believed that he founded the First Baptist Church in Ireland following the Reformation in Ireland. He apparently assisted in establishing the Baptist church at Cloughkeating. All the congregation were tried for their lives, but in God’s providence the foreman died, and they were all acquitted. Because Patient was willing to accept government remuneration for preaching, it is evident that the Baptists of London distanced themselves from him. But to him is the honor of building the first Baptist meetinghouse in Ireland. The man of God fell asleep in Jesus on July 30, 1666 having paid the price for his convictions on Baptism.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 312-13.
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“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” John 11:25, 26.
There are a lot of things in this world that can make us feel unsure. The feeling of true assurance is something that avoids us all too much. When we are able to fix our hearts on things that we know are sure, it brings security to our lives.
Merriam-Webster defines assurance as “being certain in the mind” and “inspiring confidence.” Nothing can bring more certainty to the mind and inspire more confidence in the heart of a believer than God’s Word. In today’s Scripture, we see a promise that should ease the heart of every believer, a truth that should set our minds at peace. And what is that truth?
Death will never defeat the believer!
That is a powerful truth! Through Jesus Christ, we have total victory over death. Life, the assurance of the resurrection, is a sure reality that we can rest in.
Christ has the authority to make this promise. Why? Because He is life and He is the resurrection. As believers we are “in Christ” (1 Cor. 15:22). By being placed in Him, we are also placed in His resurrection and in His life. That means we have the assurance of these promises, and “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise” (2 Peter 3:9).
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you rest in the assurance of God’s promises?
“Not many noble”
The great Baptist preacher and leader in the early days of our Republic, John Leland’s description of Elijah Baker was quite revealing. He said that he was “a man of low parentage, small learning and confined abilities. But with one talent, he did more than many do with five.” It reminds us of the words of Paul at 1 Cor 1:26 – “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:” God is looking for availability not ability. Baker, one of the early Baptist ministers, was greatly used of God to establish all of the churches between Hampton and Richmond City, and several on the eastern shore in Virginia. This success brought the wrath of Satan upon him, and he became the object of much abuse. He was often pelted with apples and stones while he was preaching. Once he was taken by Ruffians and placed on a ship with orders to land him on any coast out of America. He refused to work and was treated poorly when he preached and sang. Contrary winds kept the ship in harbor so he was placed on another one. When the storm continued to rage they thought it could be that they had taken the preacher so they put him on another ship. He continued to sing and preach until they put him off permanently. Then they put him in debtor’s prison on July 1, 1778 in the Accomac County Jail. The case was continued on the 29th of July and it lasted until Aug. 25. Altogether he had spent 56 days in prison, but he invested his time in preaching and prayer. Since liberty in VA had been granted two years prior, the charge was vagrancy rather than preaching without a license. And the plaintiffs were Anglican churchmen rather than state officials. This prison still stands today and there is a memorial to Elijah Baker who preached the First Baptist sermon here.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 310-11.
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The Bible leads men to Baptist principles
In the entry on July 1, the power of the state church (Lutheran) was considered in Norway and the antecedents of the Baptists in that country. Many soldiers had embraced Baptist (Bible) principles also, and on July 28, 1743 some were ordered by the colonel to participate in a Lutheran church parade, and the soldiers refused. They were brought before a court-martial in Jan. of 1744. The verdict was that Hans and Christopher Pedersen should “work in iron” for six months, and that the rest should be sent to prison in Oslo so that they might “work constantly and receive instruction, so they might change their mind.” King Christian VI changed the sentence, ordering all to be sent to the penitentiary in Oslo. The officials had underestimated these Baptist prototypes, for they were a greater problem behind walls than they were outside. Jorgen Njcolaysen was ordered to attend services in the prison chapel, and when he refused, he was dragged by force from the building. The King had him whipped and then be given religious instruction. They continued to witness, and soon other prisoners surrendered their lives to the Lord. The bishop wrote to the King on July 11, 1744 stating that the six military persons had misused both the King’s and God’s grace and longsuffering. Also that six different priests had tried to get them to repent, but there work had been in vain. Their work had been in vain, because these separatists were not only stubborn in regard to their own heresy, but, “I ask that they be removed from the prison because they are a danger to the other prisoners.” They were finally sent to separate forts. These men believed in justification by faith, believer’s baptism, autonomy of the church and separation of church and state and the sole authority of scripture.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 309-10.
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The Welsh revival spreads to America
The Philadelphia Association of Regular Baptists began meeting as early as 1688, in what they called general, and some-times yearly meetings. The business of these meetings was confined to the ministry of the Word and the administration of the gospel ordinances. But at their meeting July 27, 1707 they seem to have taken more the form of an association, therefore this is the date that historians use for the founding of the Philadelphia Association. The members and ministers that made up these churches came from the great Welsh migration in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Such leaders as Jenkins Jones, Abel Morgan, and Samuel Jones brought with them their tradition of great preaching, love of singing, and warm and fervent evangelism. They were a feeble, though faithful, band of believers at that time, consisting of but five churches: Lower Dublin, Piscataqua, Middletown, Cohansie, and Welsh Tract. There were only 14 Baptist churches in all of the colonies at that time. Some things that were discussed in their meeting were things wanting in the churches especially pertaining to who was not to preach in their associational meetings. “…a person that is a stranger, that has neither letter of recommendation, nor is known to be a person gifted, and of good conversation, shall not be admitted to preach, nor be entertained as a member in any of the baptized congregations in communion with each other.” They were careful to emphasize that they desired no creed and that a “Gospel church is the highest earthly ecclesiastical tribunal and is in no wise subject to any other church, or the decrees of associations or councils. They believed strongly in the sovereignty of God, but kept a fiery spirit of evangelism.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 307-09.
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1 Corinthians 10:13
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it,” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
The church at Corinth was saturated by a culture where sin ran rampant and all types of idolatry were present. Temptation was a very real part of the life of the new believers that lived in this unbelieving society. Paul gave them strong encouragement to keep on course for God. We are called to live lives that are pleasing to Him, even during the most challenging temptations. God has called us to rise above temptation. He has also given us the means to overcome temptation and bring glory to Him.
To do this, it all begins with knowing. Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that temptation is “common.” We all face temptations. The greatest news is that God has provided a means for us to overcome temptation. If you are a child of God, you no longer have to be overtaken by sin. You have a way of escape. Knowing this is the first key to overcoming temptation.
Secondly, we have to act. It is one thing to know the right choice, but to act takes action. We must also understand that we cannot do this on our own. We seek God and His direction during these times of decision. With God’s direction there will always be a solution or direction that is pleasing to Him.
JUST A THOUGHT
Are you seeking God when trying to overcome temptation?