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.
A House For A Church
From nearly the beginning of the Massachusetts Colony until 1769, the Baptists had been persecuted in various ways in the city of Boston and, indeed, throughout the entire colony. An infant church was first organized in Charlestown near Cambridge. Thomas Gould became its pastor. He and his members paid dearly. They lost the right to vote, were fined and imprisoned, and were threatened with banishment. Gould was brought before both the secular courts and the church courts and charged with Anabaptism. This Baptist church came into existence under the influence of Henry Dunster, the first president of Harvard College, who had adopted baptistic principles. The church moved from Charlestown to Noddle’s Island and then dared to enter Boston sometime after Gould’s death in 1675. John Russell became the new pastor. Philip Squire and Ellis Callender built a small meetinghouse. This building was so plain that it did not attract the attention of the Boston authorities until it was completed and the church began to use it for worship on February 15, 1679. On March 8, 1680, the marshal was ordered to nail the doors, which he did, posting the following notice on the door: “All persons are to take notice that, by order of the Court, the doors of this house are shut up, and that they are inhibited to hold any meetings therein, or to open the doors thereof, without license from authority, till the Court take further order, as they will answer the contrary to their peril.” In May, they came to the property to find the doors open! They went in boldly and held their services in their own building. For nearly 70 years this was the only Baptist church in Boston.
Dr. Dale R. Hart, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins) pp. 93-94