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171 — June 20 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

They Gave Themselves to the Lord as a People of God

 

It is interesting to note how our Lord took humble people across great stretches of ocean, planted them on a vast continent, brought them together, and established local churches. Generally, they were feeble numerically, but the seed sown was nurtured and, during times of spiritual awakening, multiplied amazingly. It is interesting to see how the churches of the Philadelphia Association of Regular Baptists began. The church at Montgomery is an example.

 

In the year 1710, John Evans, and Sarah, his wife, from a church in Carmarthenshire, in South Wales, (James James, minister) came over and settled in Montgomery aforesaid. In 1711, came John James and Elizabeth, his wife, from Pembrokeshire, members of the church at Rhydwillym, (John Jenkins, minister) and settled in the same neighborhood. After some time Mr. Abel Morgan visited them, and preached to as many as came to hear, at the house of John Evans; and after his visiting for sometime, as often as he could, several persons were proposed for baptism, which was administered by Mr. Morgan. In the year 1719, it was moved to them either to join with some neighboring church, as that of Pennepek, being the nighest, or to be settled in gospel order as a distinct church by themselves. Upon which they consulted, and concluded, by reason of the distance of the place and diversity of the language, they understanding very little English, to be rather a church by themselves. Their conclusion being approved by Mr. Morgan, a day was set apart for the solemnizing of this great work, being the 20th day of June, 1719; and Mr. Abel Morgan, and Mr. Samuel Jones, being spent in fasting and prayer, with a sermon being preached by Mr. Morgan, suitable to the occasion, they proceeded. Being asked whether they were desirous and willing to settle together as a church of Jesus Christ, they all answered in the affirmative; and being asked whether they were acquainted with one another’s principles, and satisfied with one another’s graces and conversation, it was also answered in the affirmative; and then for a demonstration of their giving themselves up, severally and jointly, to the Lord, as a people of God and a church of Jesus Christ, they all lifted up their right hand. Then they were directed to take one another by the hand, in token of their union, declaring, at the same time, that they had given themselves to God, so they did give themselves to one another by the will of God, 2 Cor. 7:5, to be a church according to the gospel; to worship God and maintain the doctrines of the gospel, according to their ability, and to edify one another. Then were they pronounced and declared to be a church of Jesus Christ; a right hand of fellowship was given to them as a sister church, with exhortations and instructions suitable to the station and relation they now stood in; and the whole was finished with solemn prayer to God for a blessing on the work of the day. Their number, nine or ten persons.

 

It is true that “from small acorns mighty oaks are grown.” Our spiritual fathers were more concerned with purity of doctrine and life than large numbers. God’s heritage is a “little flock.”

 

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/ Cummins) pp. 253 -254.

 

 

 

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J.R. GRAVES LIFE, TIMES AND TEACHINGS 12


CONFLICT WITH CAMPBELLISM

At that time there was a general pause in the conflict with Campbellism in most of the territory, but in Nashville, the heart and center of this agitation, the First Baptist Church had been swept into “the current reformation” under the leadership of its pastor, Rev. S.P. Fall, and so the battle was kept up. The fact is that in Nashville, more than any other spot on the continent, the religious discussions were constant, bitter and personal, and with the Baptists it was a battle for existence.

In the forefront of this swirling conflict was this young man placed when he was but twenty-six years old, as editor and leader. Well might he hesitate as he did and ask himself the deep, soul-searching questions, “Is this my work” Has God called me to it?”

There are depths in many a soul, capabilities and powers of which a man in life’s quiet avocations know little or nothing. How little did Luther know the resources and capabilities of that great soul of his when tremblingly he caught the faint rays of gospel truth as there echoed through his being “Justification by faith” and “Romanism is false.” it is so with all brave spirits, not only in those whose world battles change the course of history, but in the heart of every lover and defender of the truth, who sees it with the clear eye of faith and will not give an inch in its defense, nor compromise one iota with that which is false. This was so with the soul of this truly great man. Trial, soul-conflict, faith in God, love of the truth and the determination to fight the battle to the end reveal to him forces and weapons and powers of defense and of endurance of which he little dreamed until the necessity was laid upon him. This was the experience of Dr. Graves. He explored his own inmost soul under the conscious eye of the Lord and said “I will.”

After that he never feared a foe nor shrank from his responsibility.

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