Tag Archives: Lynn

213 – July 31 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Obadiah Holmes

Failing to baptize infants was worthy of death

Dr. John Clarke, Obadiah Holmes, and a Baptist laymen, John Crandall, had walked eighty miles to a blind friend’s home in Lynn, Massachusetts for worship services. Little did they know that they were being closely watched by the authorities. In the midst of their worship in the Witter home, a marshal and his deputies burst in and arrested them, took them to dinner, and then took them to a Puritan meeting that was obviously designed to show them the error of their ways. The three men entered, bowed to the assembly, sat sown, and refused to remove their hats as a demonstration against the treatment that they were receiving. They attempted to defend themselves but were silenced, and then were confined to the Boston jail, being charged with being, “certain erroneous persons, being strangers,” though their offense was understood to be holding a religious service without a license. They were also indicted for holding a private meeting, serving communion to an excommunicated person, rebaptizing converts, etc. They were tried on July 31, 1651. John Cotton, the Puritan preacher acted as the prosecutor and stated the case against the three heretics. He shouted that they denied the power of infant baptism, and thus they were soul murderers. With great fervor he said that they deserved capital punishment just as any other type of murder. The men declared that they conducted a private service not a public service, and claimed under the ancient English maxim that a man’s house, however humble, is his castle. Judge Endicott agreed with John Cotton that these three men should be put to death. Clarke wrote a defense and was fined and released after someone paid his fine, Crandall was released. Holmes was fined and refused to pay the fine and was whipped until he nearly died, but recovered to become a great pastor.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 313-14.

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59 – February – 28 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

 

An aged man stands true

1644 – On this day William Witter of Lynn, Massachusetts was arraigned before the Salem Court for “entertaining that the baptism of infants was sinful.”  Later, on Dec. 18, 1645, he was charged with saying that, “they who stayed whiles a child is baptized do worship the devil.”  On June 24, 1651, he was accused of “absenting himself from the public ordinances nine months or more and for being re-baptized.”  In time he united with the Baptist church in Newport, R.I. where Dr. John Clarke was pastor.  However, because of his age and the fact that he was blind, it was impossible to travel that far for services, so on June 19, 1651 Pastor Clarke, Obadiah Holmes, and John Crandall, as representatives of the Baptist church in Newport, upon the request of Bro. Witter, arrived at his home after walking the eighty miles in two days.  Spies informed the authorities of the Mass. Bay Colony that services were conducted on Sunday morning at the Witter home without the authority of the Congregational Church, which caused the three men to be arrested and hauled away to a tavern.  Then to cleanse their souls they were taken to an afternoon worship service at an established church service, and then they were imprisoned, and a great miscarriage of justice followed which ended in the brutal beating of Holmes.  Witter was not arrested, no doubt because of his advanced age.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 82.

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