He saw more than 10,000 conversions
Elder Jabez Smith Swan preached the last Sunday of a five week evangelistic effort on Sept. 18, 1842 that began on August 14 in Mystic, Conn. Those present said that he was truly ‘in the Spirit on the Lord’s day’, as he preached with great power. After the first baptism, there were daily baptisms in Mystic for twenty-six successive days, and sometimes twice daily. More than four hundred persons were baptized during that period. Almost every house was turned into a house of prayer. Swan was born in Stonington, Conn. on Feb. 23, 1800 and at fourteen had “given a good account of himself” as a powder boy in the defense of his town in the War of 1812. He moved to Lyme with his parents, Joshua and Esther and had a deep conversion experience when he was twenty-one years old and was baptized by Rev. William Palmer. He was called to preach, studied at the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institute, and was ordained to the gospel ministry on June 20, 1827. He pastored several churches but always returned to evangelism. He died in 1884 after seeing more than 10,000 conversions, most of them baptized. [F. Dennison, The Evangelist, or Life and Labors of Rev. Jabez S. Swan (Waterford, Conn.,: Wm. L. Peckham, 1873), pp. 193-95, 203-4. Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 511-13.
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He was the first of the modern Baptist evangelists
Jacob Knapp, raised in an Episcopalian home, was ordained to the Baptist ministry onAugust 27, 1824. Prior to that he had been educated at the Hamilton Theological Seminary, after being licensed to preach in 1821 by, the Baptist church in Masonville, New York, and graduated on June 1, 1824. Upon graduation he accepted a church in Springfield, NY where he saw 60 people saved and added to the church in 6 years. In 1830 he began a 3 year pastorate in Watertown, NY where revival fires fell, and Knapp baptized nearly 200 converts in 3 years into the membership of the church. A great phenomenon took place in America about this time, as the successful “protracted meetings” of Charles G. Finney, who labored mainly among the Presbyterians, saw his great revivals. There was a concern for a greater thrust in evangelism, and wherever Jacob Knapp went to preach, great results followed. He resigned from Watertown and went into full time evangelism for the next 42 years of his life. He saw his largest audiences in Rochester, NY (1839), N.Y. City (1840), Boston (1841), and Washington D.C. (1843).” In 1840 Knapp moved to Rockford, IL, and labored in the Midwest. In 1867 he went to California and preached among the churches there. Up until modern times, it is quite certain that none equaled him in the number of meetings and the territory covered. It has been estimated that 100,000 were converted through his labors for Christ, and 250 entered the ministry. Knapp died on March 2, 1874. His funeral began at 1 pm the following Lord’s Day and lasted until sunset. Knapp was the first of the modern day Baptist evangelists.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 353-354.
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“The Apostle of Education”
Richard Furman began to preach at the age of 16 and became popularly known as the “boy-evangelist.” Reese and Evan Pugh ordained him two years later, on May 10, 1774, as pastor of High Hills. After a fruitful ministry there of 13 years, he became pastor of the Charleston Baptist Church, which he served for the rest of his life. “In the community no minister ever enjoyed so large a share of general confidence and reverence.” For 38 years he made “annual excursions” into various parts of the state, preaching the gospel and promoting the interests of the denomination. This itinerant ministry resulted in numerous revivals and the formation of many churches. His eloquence and fame as a preacher once opened for him an opportunity to preach in the United States Congressional Hall.
During the time that education was suspect for ministers in the South, particularly among the Separate Baptists who feared that schools would dilute Baptist spirituality, divert mission money, and lead to a hireling ministry, Richard Furman become known as the “Apostle of Education.” He led the association to form a General Committee in 1790 to administer educational funds. This committee provided funds for scholarships to attend the Baptist College in Providence, Rhode Island, and for young men to study under pastors who would also lead them in the reading of theology.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 191 -192
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He Accepted the Reproach of Christ
1818 – The legislature of New Brunswick, Canada passed an act stating that no avowed preacher of the gospel should have a seat in the legislature. A Baptist evangelist, Joseph Crandall, who was well known throughout the Maritime Provinces, was a member of the New Brunswick legislature. It was made clear to him that if he was in the pulpit the next Sunday that he would be dismissed from his legislative seat early in the week. The next Sunday found him behind the sacred desk, as he had chosen to forsake the legislative desk. His ministry and influence for Christ increased. He had chosen the reproach of Christ of greater value than the riches and fame of this world. Crandall’s mother died when he was only thirteen, and not long after his father followed her in death. Before departing his mother said, “Joseph, the Lord has a great work for you to do when I am gone.” These words so impressed him that they never left him. In New Brunswick he came under the influence of two great preachers, Harris Harding and Joseph Dimock, and Joseph saw himself condemned to endless mercy and saw the mercy of God as the only sure remedy through the Lord Jesus Christ. They saw in Joseph great potential and helped him get an education which eventually saw him ministering to multitudes and saw great numbers baptized. He stood against the doctrine of “vested rights” and in the right of the “selected few” to govern the many. To dissent from the church/state notions of the day was, in the judgment of some, treason against the laws of the land. Crandall stood as the bold and uncompromising advocate of equal rights.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 100.
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No Protection for Hypocrites
The events surrounding the ministry of Isaiah Wallace of New Brunswick, was published in the Christian Messenger on March 29, 1871. Wallace was born in Hopewell, New Brunswick on Jan. 17, 1797, the first-born child of James and Catharine Wallace. Early on he trusted the Lord Jesus as his savior, and was baptized by immersion. As he reached maturity, God the Holy Spirit burdened him to preach, and he did so as the opportunity presented itself. He served as a pastor, agent for the Baptist College at Acadia, and an evangelist. Everywhere he ministered he experienced the hand of the Lord upon him, and the Baptist work greatly expanded throughout both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. How we need to pray that God will once again awaken that beautiful but spiritually destitute portion of North America. Often in his evangelistic crusades, Bro. Wallace would preach three times a day, baptize converts, serve communion and move on to another area to do the same thing, crossing bodies of water in cold weather and often walking for many miles. Many times multitudes were saved in his evangelistic meetings. At another time ministering in the northern portions of New Brunswick, he was able to establish the Campbellton Baptist Church. A lady of high social standing requested baptism. She had belonged to another communion and her friends discouraged her on the basis that she would surely endanger her health by going into the cold water. Her husband asked Rev. Wallace if he knew of any that he had baptized, taking cold, and Wallace, said, “No.” He then asked him if he had ever heard of anyone taking cold and Wallace said that T.S. Harding told him that out of a 1,000 converts that only one had caught a cold and that she was a hypocrite. The man said, “My wife is no hypocrite.” So he allowed her to be baptized without incident. Let us pray that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will once again know the power of God.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp.182-184.
“determined to invest his life in winning souls to Christ”
November 11, 1790 – Thomas Baldwin, was installed as the pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1791 seventy were added to the church, and they later experienced several glorious revivals, one in which resulted in 21 receiving Christ. His mother left a fine moral and intellectual character on Thomas. His father was attached to and rose to some distinction in the then Colonial Army. When Thomas was 16, his father having died and his mother having remarried and moved to Canaan, N.H., Baldwin represented the town in the state legislature at an early age and commenced his studies to fit himself for the legal profession. After the death of his first son in 1777 he resolved to make religion his first concern. It was not until 1780 that two Baptist preachers came to labor in the neighborhood that he came to a full understanding of the grace of God. Having been educated among pedobaptists, he struggled with the subject of Baptism. He became convinced of believers baptism and was determined to follow through to be baptized in the latter part of 1781 no matter how much disapproval and alienation he received from his friends, which was considerable. Baldwin determined to invest his life in winning souls to Christ and building up the cause of Him who had by His grace brought him to the saving knowledge of the truth. In due time he was set apart for the work of an evangelist and then for 7 years he pastored the Baptist church in Canaan with no stipulated salary. All he received did not average to more than $40 per year. He spent a considerable amount of time preaching in destitute places, sometimes as far as 100 miles in the dead of winter. He became a prolific writer, editor, and apologist for the principles of the Word of God.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 469-70.