A Good Man with a Good Testimony
1st Meeting House
They accepted (exemptions) in prosperity, what their Baptist forebears refused under persecution
Elisha Callender was as it is written of Enoch: “. . . . he had this testimony, that he pleased God”
The Baptist Church in Boston built a new church edifice in 1680, and in 1683 John Emblem from England became their pastor; after serving them for fifteen years, he died in 1699, when Ellis Callender succeeded him. He was followed by Elisha Callender and Jeremiah Condy, until Samuel Stillman took charge in I665. By the time that the second Callender became pastor, the spirituality of the Baptists had so commended them to the respect of the better portion of the community that the three principal clergymen in Boston, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather and John Webb, not only consented to be present at his ordination, but Mr. Mather most cheerfully preached the ordination sermon, May 21st, 1718.
And what was as noble as it was remarkable, he had the manliness to select as his subject, ‘Good Men United!’ In the face of the whole colony he condemned ‘the wretched notion of wholesale severities’ These he called ‘cruel wrath,’ and said roundly: ‘New England also has, in some former times, done something of this aspect, which would not now be so well approved of, in which, if the brethren in whose house we are now convened met with any thing too unbrotherly, they now with satisfaction hear us expressing our dislike of every thing that has looked like persecution in the days that have passed over us.
Spiritual prosperity attended Callender’s ministry as pastor of the church in Boston. Scarcely did a month pass without some professions of faith. In his twentieth year of ministry, he was cut down by death.
In 1729, because of the testimony of men like Elisha Callender, that the bitterness of the General Court of Massachusetts was so far relaxed against Baptists as to exempt them from paying the parish ministerial taxes if they alleged a scruple of conscience in the matter.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (E. Wayne Thompson and David L. Cummins) pp. 207-208