248 – Sept. 05 – This Day in Baptist History Past
Posted: 04 Sep 2014 06:24 PM PDT
Jailed for encouraging a brother
John Spur and John Hazel, both elderly men, were hauled into court in Salem, Mass. on Sept. 05, 1651, for the horrible “crime” of offering sympathy to Obadiah Holmes, at the time of his brutal beating by the authorities, for preaching without a license from the Congregational Church. Neither men were convinced Baptists as yet, but Spur had been excommunicated from the Salem Congregational Church for declaring his opposition to infant baptism. Spur was given his choice of a forty shilling fine, or a whipping. Someone paid his fine, which he declined, but the court took it and released him anyway. Hazel, though very Ill, defended himself by saying, “…what law have I broken in taking my friend by the hand when he was free and had satisfied the law?” The sentence was still given: Hazel was to pay a fine or be whipped. Five days went by and when he refused to pay, the jailer released him, but he refused to leave without a discharge. The jailer gave it to him and he left totally free of all charges. Three days later, on Sept. 13, 1651 John Hazel was with the Lord Jesus, set free forever more. [Edwin S. Gaustad, Baptist Piety (Grand Rapids, Mich.: WmB. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1978), p. 30.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 486-487.
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238 – August 26 – This Day in Baptist History Past
First Baptist – NY City-1800
He had no fear of the yellow fever
Benjamin Foster who had been the pastor of the First Baptist Church of New York City since 1788, died of yellow fever on August 26, 1798. The disease had reached epidemic proportions in New York City that year, and when the dreadful disease began to prevail, Pastor Foster was frequent in his visits to pray and give comfort from God’s Word to those scenes of affliction from which many of the best men shrunk back with terror. Foster was born into a typical pious Congregationalist home in Danvers, Mass. At age 18 he was sent to Yale College where he distinguished himself by his out-standing moral life as well as his success in classical literature and languages – Greek, Hebrew and Chaldean. At this time there was much debate over the scriptural mode and candidates for baptism. At one point Foster was chosen to defend infant baptism in debate. He carefully studied the scriptures and the history of the church from the times of the apostles and to his surprise and chagrin of others, came to a different conclusion than what was expected. When the day came, he declared himself an avowed convert to believer’s baptism, and that only those who profess faith in Jesus Christ are to be the subject of baptism, and that immersion only is the mode of Christian baptism. He was soon baptized and joined the Baptist church in Boston, and under the pastoral care of Samuel Stillman he studied theology. He pastored the Baptist church in Leicester, Mass, where he was ordained and then the Baptist church in Newport, RI. On his tomb in a NY cemetery it says, “…the church was comforted by his life, and now laments his death.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 352-53.
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236 – August 24 – This Day in Baptist History Past
How the gospel spread in Ireland
Alexander Carson died on August 24, 1844. He was one of the most illustrious of the Irish Baptists. He was born in the north of Ireland in 1776. He settled as a Presbyterian pastor in 1798 at Tubbermore for £100 per year from the government. He was a Greek scholar, and had been willing to sign the “Standards” of the Church of Scotland, and could have become Professor of Greek in the University of Glasgow. He finally adopted Baptist principles, gave up his Presbyterian pastorate and salary, and gathered a little band of Baptists about him in a church without a meetinghouse, while he himself endured deep poverty. He was probably the leading scholar, writer and reasoner among the British Baptists. He aided in operating a Baptist seminary at Belina from 1830-1840. He had a stabalizing effect when confusion prevailed that laid the ground work for the “Prayer Meeting Revival” that spread from America to Ireland in the late 1850s. Often the fruit of our labors does not come forth until we have entered into our rest after enduring the heat of the day of sowing and cultivating. During the decade of the 1650s, at least 11 Baptist churches were formed when Cromwell’s army over ran Ireland in 1649. Its leadership consisted of many Baptists. Many Baptists abounded in his forces. Among them were twelve governors of towns and cities, ten colonels, four lieutenant colonels, ten majors, twenty captains, and twenty-three officers on the civil list. Most of these churches were founded and sustained by the officers and soldiers in Cromwell’s army. London Baptists, responding to an appeal sent a number of preachers to Ireland. That’s how the Baptist foothold got its start in Ireland to begin with.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 349-50.
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300th Anniversary of
Broadmead Church – Now Hanham Baptist
Prayer in England brought the Toleration Act
Pastor George Fownes proposed that the congregation seriously consider the steps that should be taken if the services were interrupted by law officers. On August 03, 1680, they determined to continue their services unless the magistrate himself used violence. This tactic worked well until Dec. 18, 1681, when the civil, ecclesiastical, and military powers invaded the house of God on the Lord’s Day and Pastor Fownes was sent to prison at Newgate. After six weeks in jail, he appeared before the judge and was acquitted due to a flaw in the warrant. Returning to his flock, for safety’s sake, they began holding services in the fields rather than in their church building, regardless of the weather. In March of 1682 Pastor Fownes was arrested again and committed to Glouchester Jail for six months. His persecutors declared that he would not leave the jail alive. The pastor served as his own attorney and the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty”, but he was returned to the prison in spite of the verdict. When his six months were ended he demanded his freedom and a bond was demanded of him and the promise to stop preaching. He requested a judicial inquest. Two justices appeared before the judge and said that if he was released “he would draw all the country after him.” He was held for two more years in prison until the Lord in mercy released him in death in Dec. of 1685. After the Act of Toleration, the Broadmead Baptist Church, in Bristol, England finally knew peace, and Pastor Fowne’s son, George Fownes, became pastor in 1693. In 1695 “the church built a new meeting house 50 feet long by 40 feet, with no debt.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 318-19.
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1773 – Today in This Day in Baptist History Past, we again celebrate the life of our entry of March 9, Edmund Botsford, who was ordained into the gospel ministry by Rev. Oliver Hart, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Charleston, S.C. on this date. The event took place in Savannah, Georgia and the sermon text was from I Tim. 4:16 – Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. In the area of Georgia where Mr. Botsford ministered the people were a mixed multitude of emigrants from many different places; most of whom were destitute of any type of religion. Those who were religious were zealous Lutherans and other styles of church men who were violently opposed to Baptists. On one occasion he preached at the courthouse and he seemed to have the hearer’s attention when someone yelled “the rum is come.” The crowd diminished and by the time the dust settled, so to speak, the crowd had thinned and many of his hearers were intoxicated and fighting. An old gentlemen came up to him, took his horse by the bridle, bragged on his sermon and invited him to drink with him, which Botsford declined. But in that the old man invited him to come and preach, and it was accepted, Botsford went and had great success when the old man’s sons and wife received Christ. During the last fifteen years of his life Botsford suffered from a nerve disease in one side of his head that would actually cause him to go into a cataclysmic state sometimes upward of a minute and a half, and then when he would come out of it he would assume preaching. The audience was aware of an unusual presence of God in his life.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 104.
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