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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First Black Baptists in Savannah, GA
1788 – Andrew Bryan was ordained into the gospel ministry. Bryan pastored the first Negro Baptist church in Georgia. The church was founded by Abraham Marshall whose father, Daniel, founded the first Baptist church in Georgia. Abraham baptized forty-five black believers and along with others who had been previously baptized he formed them into a church and called and ordained Andrew Bryan as pastor. Bryan had been a convert of George Leile who had been a slave of Deacon Henry Sharp of the First Baptist Church of Savannah, Georgia. When Deacon Sharp detected that his servant was called of God, he emancipated the stirring preacher so that he could give himself totally to the preaching of the gospel. Ordained in 1775, Leile labored in and around Savannah before leaving in 1775 for Jamaica in 1779. Thus Leile predated the service of William Carey, “the founder of modern Baptist missions.” Upon Bryan’s death a resolution was passed by the Savannah Baptist Association in 1812. It read in part: “the Association is sensibly affected by the death of the Rev. Andrew Bryan, a man of color, and pastor of the First Colored Church in Savannah. This son of Africa, after suffering inexpressible persecutions in the cause of his divine Master, was at length permitted to discharge the duties of the ministry among his colored friends in peace and quiet, hundreds of whom through his instrumentality, were brought to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus…”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 26-28.
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A warrior and a preacher
1842 – Patrick Hues Mell, while the pastor of the Baptist church in Oxford, Georgia, was ordained to the gospel ministry. While serving there he also served as the professor of ancient languages at Mercer University from 1841-1855, and at the University of Georgia in 1856. He began serving as the Vice-chancellor of the U of Ga. from 1860-1872. He held the post of Chancellor until 1888. Dr. Mell was a gifted parliamentarian and was President of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1863-1871, and again from 1880-1887, and the moderator of the Georgia Baptist Convention for thirty-one years. Dr. Mell was born in Liberty County, Georgia, on July 19, 1814. He was fourteen when his father died and only sixteen when his mother passed away. As the eldest son he had to provide means of support for himself and his dependent brothers and sisters. He was saved in the summer of 1832 at the age of eighteen and baptized by Pastor Samuel Law at North Newport Church, Liberty County, GA. His desire for education was so great that he borrowed money to enroll in Amherst College in Amherst, Mass. During the Civil War, in response to the call by the governor of the state for volunteers to serve for six month periods, Dr. Mell, though still a professor in the university, raised a company of men over which he was elected captain. Later he was elected colonel. He remained in actual service six months at different points within the state. Dr. Mell had to overcome great difficulties to “press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” These difficulties only strengthened his character for Christ. [William Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopedia (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1881), 2:777. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 632-34.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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The Creeks Reject Christ
1838 – James O. Mason was ordained to the gospel ministry, and after training at the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution at Hamilton, NY he and his wife left to minister to the Creek Indians. James had been born on Christmas day in 1813 and raised by godly parents in the Baptist church in Granville, NY. He resigned from the mission on May 4, 1840 after it became impossible to gain a foothold in the tribe. He explained it all in a letter dated Jan. 10, 1840 in which he tells of being exposed hourly to the tomahawk and scalping knife. He said as he was walking some two hundred yards from his house he was stalked by three or four Indians and heard one of them yell, “here is the …nig(g)er missionary-shoot him.” Then he saw a flash and felt two balls pass through his coat and vest, hardly two inches from his heart. When I cried out, another one started toward me with a large bowie knife when I ran and lost them by a brook in impenetrable growth. These facts were made known to the chiefs but denied by the Indians. He went on to write that he cannot step outside without danger of being shot and when they lie down at night they fear that their house will be burned down before morning. Rev. Mason returned to New York and pastored the church where he was raised and then accepted a call to the Bottskill Baptist Church in Greenwich, NY and served with great distinction. [William Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopedia (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1881), 2:757. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp.474-475.] Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon
“God Giveth The Increase”
1835 – Samuel S. Day was ordained to the Gospel ministry, he and his wife having been appointed to the field of the Teloogoos in India on August 3rd. There were approximately 18 million of these people inhabiting the western coast on the Bay of Bengal. Their religion was Brahmanism with its suffocating caste system. They sailed for the field on Sept. 20. After four years, with little success, the Day’s saw their first Teloogoo convert baptized in the Pennar River on Sept. 27, 1840, with several thousand watching the event. With broken health, Rev. Day was forced to resign the work in 1853. Returning to America he became an agent of the Missionary Union in Canada. No doubt through his influence several Baptist pastors met on Oct. 18, 1866 to form the Baptist Foreign Missionary Society of Ontario and Quebec. Several outstanding missionaries continued the work that the Day’s began. “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one:…God giveth the increase.” [David Downie, The Lone Star-The History of the Telugu Mission (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1883), p. 214. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 462-464.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
A Man for an Hour of Great Travail
During the years 1860 to 1865, our nation was convulsed in a horrible civil conflict that ultimately claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, both Northerners and Southerners. The pain and suffering defies imagination.
In the midst of this turmoil, Adoniram Judson Gordon was ordained into the gospel ministry June 29, 1863, and became pastor at Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. His name, Adoniram Judson, was prophetic, because his new birth kindled an evangelical spirit that permeated every area of his life and ministry. This evangelical spirit permeated Gordon’s writing also. In his introduction of his book In Christ, Gordon gives us some insight into his heart and ministry.
Life is still of God, but it has this new dependency “in Christ.” “Of Him are ye inChrist Jesus.” The obligation to labor remains unchanged, but a new motive and a new sanctity are given to it by its relationship to Christ. “Forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” The marriage relationship is stamped with this new signet, “Only in theLord.” Filial obedience is exalted into direct connection with the Son of God. “Children obey your parents in the Lord.” Daily life becomes “a good conversation in Christ.” Joy and sorrow, triumph and suffering, are all in Christ. Even truth, as though needing a fresh baptism is viewed henceforth “as it is in Jesus.” Death remains, but it is robbed of its sting and crowned with a beatitude, because in Christ. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 266-267
Simple in style – Solemn in manner
James Barnett Taylor was ordained for the gospel ministry on May 2, 1826, at Sandy Creek Church in Virginia. He had been born in the village of Barton-upon-Humber, England on March 19, 1804. His father brought his family to America the next year, and they settled in the city of New York. At the age of 13, young Taylor was baptized and united with the First Baptist Church of New York City. That same year the Family moved to Virginia. At the age of 16, he began to preach. In 1826 he became pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia, where he served for sixteen years. During that time he organized Sunday schools and Bible societies and promoted the cause of education. Six hundred and sixty members were added to the church, three new churches were organized, and upwards of a dozen of the men in his church entered the ministry. In 1839 he was elected chaplain of the University of Virginia. In 1840 he became pastor of the Third Baptist Church (later known as Grace Baptist Church) in Richmond. In 1844 he traveled south to encourage the churches to increase their support of missions. He collected large sums of money for the American Baptist Missionary Societies. He was also greatly interested in the welfare of the Negroes and was appointed to work with the secretary of the Freedmen’s Bureau. His last sermons were preached in Alexandria to Negro congregations. This servant ministered faithfully in a very difficult time and died on December 22, 1871. Taylor was a preacher, simple in style and solemn in manner.
Dr. Dale R. Hart adapted from: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins. pp. 254 – 255
Absolom Backus Earle gave a report of his labors as a missionary in New York in 1938 which contained the following information. He had labored faithfully at Mohawk, Auriesville, Fultonville, Fonda and vicinity for two years and at the close, he said, “I do not know of but one person that has given evidence of a new birth since I began my missionary labors.” It is hard to believe that he is the same A.E. Earle that James Beller writes of in his account. Earle was born in 1812 in Charlton, N.Y. He was converted at the age of 16 and began preaching at age 18. He was ordained at Amsterdam, N.Y. at age 21 where he was pastor for five years, and then resigned to enter the field of evangelism. For 58 years he held revivals, city-wide campaigns, and protracted meetings in every state of the Union and Canada. It is estimated that he conducted 1,000 protracted meetings, and traveled over 350,000 miles. He had nearly 160,000 conversions, and 400 called to the Gospel ministry. Earle also was the author of several books. He died at Newton, Mass., on Mar. 30, 1895, at the age of 83.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 184-86.
Twice a Baptist
Edward Baptist, Jr. was born in the State of Virginia on this date in 1828. His mother’s name was Eliza and his father too was a noted Baptist preacher. Young Edward trusted Christ at an early age and was immersed. At about twenty-four years of age he was ordained into the gospel ministry. He spent several years in Alabama ministering in strategic churches, where he served with distinction. In 1856 he returned to Virginia accepting a call to a church in Spottsylvania County. He spent the rest of his life pastoring a number of churches in the same county as a circuit-riding pastor. By 1893 his unusual pastorate involved four churches. Goshen, Mine Road, Mount Hermon, and Rhoadesville churches had a combined membership 473. He would minister to each church on a Saturday and Sunday each month. During 1893 he baptized fifty-eight converts into the fellowship of the four churches. On Jan. 29, Pastor Baptist departed this world and entered into the presence of the Lord. Dr. L.J. Haley wrote his obituary and said the following, “Elder Baptist was a man of stern and upright religious and moral character. He was a true and unselfish friend, kind and gentle in his family, a friend and generous neighbor, a loyal and patriotic citizen, an able and eloquent preacher of the gospel, a faithful and loving pastor, and a man and Christian, who in all the relations and responsibilities of life earnestly and conscientiously strove to do his duty and to make himself useful and helpful to his fellow-man. He was a man of extraordinary power and ability in the pulpit. I can truthfully say that some of the finest specimens of pulpit oratory I ever listened to came from the lips of E.G. Baptist, Jr.”
The men were inseparable
Benjamin Miller was ordained to the gospel ministry on Feb. 13, 1748 when he was 25 years old and became pastor of the Scotch Plains Baptist Church in N.J. Prior to that he had offered himself to the Piscataway Baptist Church and had been immersed in 1740. Benjamin was born in 1715 and as a young man, was said to be, “wild and forward.” However he met with a sudden change under a sermon by a Presbyterian Preacher named Gilbert Tennant who christened him. Miller spent some time in study under a Mr. Biram and it was there that he embraced the sentiments of the Baptists. Miller had the reputation of being a warm hearted Baptist preacher. He was a close friend of two other warm hearted Baptist preachers of that day: John Gano, Chaplain and the preacher who Baptized Geo. Washington during the Revolutionary War, and Rev. Benjamin Steele. Rev. Steele pastored the Piscataway church for 29 years. The men were inseparable. Morgan Edwards said, “Lovely and pleasant were they in their lives and in their death, they were not much divided, the one having, the one having survived the other but thirty-five days.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 89 – 91.