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97 – April – 07 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Dunster grave site

 

Dunster Grave Site

He counted the cost
1657 – Henry Dunster, on this day was forced to resign as President of  Cambridge College (now Harvard), for refusing to have his son christened (sprinkled).  He was then arraigned before the Middlesex court and not allowed to speak on his own behalf but the court stated his position with these words, “The subjects of baptism were visible penitent believers and they only.”

Dunster had publically declared that christening “was not according to the institution of Christ” or the mind of Christ.   He also said that the covenant of Abraham was not the ground for baptism.  It was the bloody back of Obadiah Holmes and the persecution of others that had caused Dunster to take the strong stand that he did though he was one of the most influential men in New England and Massachusetts Colony at that time.  But it was these seeds of trials that were sown and nourished before the first Baptist church could be planted in Massachusetts Bay proper.

What a debt we owe these stalwart soldiers of the cross.  And yet in this age of instant everything we are prone to quit if God doesn’t do something immediately when we begin to serve Him in the endeavor that He has called us.

We forget the words of our Lord, For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.  Rather, we expect the harvest as soon as we put in the seed and then when we don’t see a crop immediately we get upset and leave our field of service.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 141.

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97 — April 07—This Day in Baptist History Past


A Patient Sowing and Enduring Bringeth Forth Fruit

“…not many noble, are called:” But thankfully He does call some.

On April 7 1657 – Henry Dunster, President of Cambridge College (now Harvard), was so stirred in his mind that he turned his attention to the subject of infant baptism and soon rejected it altogether. It was upon the persecution of Obadiah Holmes and others who had taken a strong stand for believers’ baptism that the faithfulness of Holmes, the publicity his enemies gave to his convictions, his willingness to suffer for convictions, and the beastliness of a church-state (Congregational), that denied its citizens religious freedom, all magnified the truth he propagated.

Dunster’s success in promoting Harvard by furthering its interests, collecting large sums of money in its behalf, and even giving one hundred acres to it, was marvelous and testified to his commitment to the institution. But he had a higher commitment to the truth of God and began to preach against infant baptism in the church at Cambridge in 1653, to the great alarm of the entire community. Armitage quotes Prince in pronouncing Dunster “‘one of the greatest masters of the Oriental languages that hath been known in these ends of the earth’, but he laid aside all his honors and positions in obedience to his convictions.”

Dunster was forced to resign his presidency of Harvard College, April 7, 1657, after which he was arraigned before the Middlesex court for refusing to have his child baptized.

Dr. Dale R. Hart from: Adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 141-142.

 

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