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67 – March – 08 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY


 

King George II
WHO OPENED THE NAILED DOORS OF THE CHURCH?
1680 –The Baptists in Boston quietly and cautiously built a new meetinghouse and began to assemble there on February 15, 1679. But the authorities soon found out and issued a law in May, 1679 to take the property from them if they continued to meet there. Under the threat of law, the Baptists ceased to occupy their own building.  However, King Charles II issued an edict to all authorities to allow freedom and liberty of conscience to all non-Catholics. He further stated they were not to be subjected to fines or forfeitures, or other hardships for the same. He stated, “…which is it a severity the more to be wondered at, whereas liberty of conscience was made one principle motive for your transportation into those parts.” Some friends of the Baptists in London notified the Baptists in Boston about the King’s decree, and the Baptists happily returned to meeting in their building. Shortly, the spiritual leadership was summoned before the Court of Assistants where is was demanded that they promise not to meet there again. They refused to promise and on March 8, 1680, an officer of the court nailed the doors to their building shut and posted the order thereon. The Baptists held their services in the yard, until one Sunday when they arrived, much to their surprise the doors were open. They did not know whether man or angel opened those doors, but they entered and held services and said, “The Court had done this illegally, we were denied a copy of the constable’s order and Marshall’s warrant, and we concluded to go into our house, it being our own, having a civil right to it.” Dr. Increase Mather published a pamphlet in London speaking against the Baptists’ character. John Russell wrote an answer to what Mather wrote. It was published in London and prefaced by some Baptist Ministers in England. They said, “It seems most strange that our Congregational brethren in New England, who with liberal estates, chose rather to depart from their native soil into a wilderness, than to be under the lash of those who upon religious pretenses took delight to smite their fellow servants, should exercise towards others the like severity that themselves at so great hazard and hardship sought to avoid; especially considering that it is against their brethren, who profess and appeal to the same rule with themselves for guidance in the worship of God, and the ordering of their whole conversation.”
Barbara Ketay from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 95-96.
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183 – July, 02 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

A goodly heritage”

 

            Andrew Gifford entered into heaven on June 19, 1784 and was buried in front of 200 ministers and a multitude of others in Bunhill Fields in the early morning of July 2, 1784. Dr. John Ryland, President of Bristol Baptist College, stood on a tombstone and delivered the funeral oration. Gifford had just completed over 60 years in the Baptist ministry in Bristol during a time of religious tolerance under the “Declaration of Indulgence” granted by King Charles II on Sept. 5, 1672. Prior to that, Andrews grandfather, his namesake, was imprisoned at least four times for preaching without state authority. His father, Rev. Emmanuel Gifford, served as a sentry as his father preached the gospel in the Bristol area. Once he was discovered and violently pursued by their persecutors. He took refuge under a staircase as his tormentors ran on by, swearing to do him physical harm if they caught him, but God gave deliverance to the young man and the Baptists in their worship. With such a heritage, young Andrew was raised in Bristol and was baptized when he was fifteen years old. He was trained at the local academy and was preaching the gospel by the time he was twenty-four. Dr. Ryland, said the following words at his grave side that morning, “Farewell, thou dear old man! We leave thee in the possession of Death until the Resurrection Day, but we will bear witness against thee, O King of terrors, at the mouth of this dungeon-thou shalt not always have possession of this dead body it shall be demanded of thee by the great Conqueror, and at that moment thou shalt resign thy prisoner. O ye ministers of Christ, ye people of God, ye surrounding spectators, prepare to meet this old servant of Christ at that day, that hour when this whole place shall be nothing but life, and death shall be swallowed up in victory.”

 

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 270-272.

 

 

 

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