Tag Archives: Patrick Henry

273 – Sept. 30 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

 

Elder John Leland married Miss Sallie Devine on Sept. 30, 1776, and God blessed them with eight children. As the Apostles, along with Patrick Henry, Carrington, and Washington, he would have been considered an “unlearned and ignorant” man, in that he had received no formal education. But his proficiency in the gospel, law and politics was as profound as any of his contemporaries. Born in Grafton, Mass. on May 14, 1754, he was saved after a lengthy period of conviction over his sins. In June of 1774 he moved to Virginia, was ordained, and assumed the pastorate of the Mount Poney Baptist Church in Culpepper County. For the next fifteen years he served in a very successful evangelistic ministry that covered 75,000 miles, and the preaching of over 3,000 sermons. Altogether he baptized 1,352 converts. One woman’s husband came to shoot him but he got her under while the members detained him. His shrewd and witty mind aided him in championing soul liberty and religious freedom. It was primarily through his able leadership that we have the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He also opposed slavery when it was unpopular to do so, and was successful in disenfranchising the Protestant Episcopal Church which was supported by taxation in Virginia. He ended his life still preaching the gospel in his native Massachusetts and died at age 67 on Jan. 14, 1841. [Robert Boyle C. Howell, The Early Baptists of Virginia (Philadelphia: Bible and Publication Society. 1857), p. 242

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson,   pp.  535 – 36        

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197 – July 15 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Elijah_Craig_woodcut

“Polecat” Baptists – a stench to some, a blessing to others

Bartholomew Choning, James Goolrich, and Edward Herndon were all Baptist laymen in the state of Virginia in the latter part of the 18th Century, and all had the gift of exhortation. They were fearless men and were accused of “jamming a Scripture verse down the throat of every man they met upon the road.” They were evidently apprehended and imprisoned to await trial July 15, 1771. After the trial, the court record “ordered that they be remanded back to the gaol.” John Burrus, a licensed minister, was hauled into court along with the three laymen. These men were all from Caroline County, Virginia. Then there was Elijah Craig who spent time in jail at Bowling Green, Virginia. Those from Caroline County were members of Polecat Baptist Church because of its proximity to “Polecat” Creek.  All of them had been preaching without state church ordination or proper license. The church was later named Burrus Meeting House after the venerable preacher, and when the church was moved from near Polecat Creek to the White Oak Seats the name became Carmel. Carmel Church is still located on U.S. Highway 1, just north of Richmond, Virginia, one mile West off of Interstate 95. In the churchyard there is a memorial to these men and all who suffered incarceration for the sake of the gospel. Inside the church is a famous painting by Sidney King of Patrick Henry defending the five Baptist preachers in Fredericksburg, Va., at an earlier date. The church experienced a revival under the leadership of Andrew Broadus. The church still stands today as a testimony against those who would bring our churches back under state control.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 289-91.

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82 – March – 23 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST



Jerry Falwell
Liberty won and lost
1660 or 61’ – The Vestry Law was adopted in the colony of Virginia that provided that two church wardens would be chosen annually from a vestry of twelve to take the oath of supremacy to the British Sovereign, and subscribe (to) the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England.”  This was for the purpose to collect the “glebe” from every “tithable” person regardless of sect.  The “glebe” was that parcel set aside for the Anglican minister and his family which included at least 200 acres, a mansion with a kitchen, a barn, stables, a dairy, a meat house, a corn house, and a fenced in garden.  The Baptists strongly resisted such taxation in several colonies where it was levied.  There were those who strongly desired for these laws to continue even into the Commonwealth of Virginia, after the Declaration of Independence, one of such was Patrick Henry, who had been a champion of liberty, even on behalf of the Baptists.   The Baptists, believing that true religion did not need to be propped up by the state continued the pressure until the Virginia Legislature passed an act in 1799 that said that all religion would be a matter of the conscience and that incorporation of any religious society was in violation of religious liberty.  Churches were not incorporated in Virginia until Jerry Falwell brought suit against the state and won in 2002.  How sad that a Baptist would destroy the very liberty that his Baptist forefathers suffered to gain.  The final victory came in 1802 when a law was passed to sell all of the “glebes” and return the money to the people.  That was the final nail that was driven into the coffin of the state church.  Now we have come full circle where we have a state/church set up once again through the tax-exempt (501 (c) (3) church and incorporation.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 118. (Editor is responsible for commentary regarding Falwell and the tax-exempt state/church.)
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35 – February 04 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Posted: 03 Feb 2014 12:00 PM PST

 

1750 Courthouse-ChesterfieldChesterfield, County, VA

 

Courthouse

 

Being a Baptist was a crime

 

1774 – DAVID TINSLEY AND HIS FELLOW BAPTISTS, WERE DEFENDED BY PATRICK HENRY FOR PREACHING WITHOUT A LICENSE – David Tinsley was arrested on February 4, 1774. According to the Order Book of Chesterfield County, Virginia, Number 5, page 400, the charges were as follows: “David Tinsley being committed, charged with having assembled and preached to the people at sundry times and places in this county as a Baptist preacher, and the said David, acknowledging in court that he has done so. On consideration thereof the court being of opinion that the same is the breach of the peace & good behavior, It is ordered that he give surety…of the penalty of 50 pounds & two sureties in penalty of 25 pounds each.” This means that his crime was preaching the gospel as a Baptist. March 4 of the same year, Archibald W. Roberts was indicted for using hymns and poems instead of the psalms of David following communion and the sermon. Tinsley was confined for four months and 16 days in which he and fellow prisoners preached to the assembled crowds through the grates of the prison. The Association meeting at Hall’s Meeting House in Halifax County passed a resolution on behalf of the suffering preachers and received an offering for their defense. The money was wrapped in a handkerchief and sent to Patrick Henry to defend the preachers. Finally the jailers erected a wall over the window of the jail but when the crowd gathered a handkerchief on a pole told the preachers that the people were ready to hear and they commenced to preach. Those gathered became known as the “bandana brigade.” Fasting and prayer gained their release. There were only two more arrests, one in 1775 and the other in 1778 before permanent liberty was secured. There were many conversions however.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 47.

 

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23 – January 23 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

 

Henry, Patrick

Patrick Henry paid his fine

1833 – JOHN WEATHERFORD, THE LAST OF THE OLD VETERAN BAPTIST PREACHERS DIED – John Weatherford, the last of the old veteran Baptist preachers, died on January 23, 1833. A little boy noticed the white, rigid seams in his hands and it left an indelible impression. In his latter years the boy learned that Weatherford had been imprisoned in the Chesterfield County jail of the colony of Virginia for five months in the year 1773. The iron bars did not hinder him from preaching through the grates to the congregation that gathered. Wicked men would stand on either side and slash his hands with knives until blood would stream down and actually sprinkle down on the people. Dr. White, the young lad, called them, ‘the martyr marks of the Lord Jesus.’ Weatherford was not released until the jail fees (room and board) were paid, which was a considerable sum. Finally they were paid by someone and he was released. Over twenty years later Patrick Henry became a neighbor to Weatherford and only then the preacher found that it was Henry who had paid his fine. As an old man he requested Newton’s song ‘Amazing Grace’ to be sung to him.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from:  Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson/   Pg.  30

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273 – Sept. 30 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Through him we have the First Amendment

1776 – Elder John Leland married Miss Sallie Devine, and God blessed them with eight children. As the Apostles, along with Patrick Henry, Carrington, and Washington, he would have been considered an “unlearned and ignorant” man, in that he had received no formal education. But his proficiency in the gospel, law and politics was as profound as any of his contemporaries. Born in Grafton, Mass. on May 14, 1754, he was saved after a lengthy period of conviction over his sins. In June of 1774 he moved to Virginia, was ordained, and assumed the pastorate of the Mount Poney Baptist Church in Culpepper County. For the next fifteen years he served in a very successful evangelistic ministry that covered 75,000 miles, and the preaching of over 3,000 sermons. Altogether he baptized 1,352 converts. One woman’s husband came to shoot him but he got her under while the members detained him. His shrewd and witty mind aided him in championing soul liberty and religious freedom. It was primarily through his able leadership that we have the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He also opposed slavery when it was unpopular to do so, and was successful in disenfranchising the Protestant Episcopal Church which was supported by taxation in Virginia. He ended his life still preaching the gospel in his native Massachusetts, and died at age 67 on Jan. 14, 1841. [Robert Boyle C. Howell, The Early Baptists of Virginia (Philadelphia: Bible and Publication Society. 1857), p. 242 This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 535-36]  Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon

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196 – July, 15 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Elder Elijah Craig

 

Polecat” Baptists – a stench to some, a blessing to others

 

            Bartholomew Choning, James Goolrich, and Edward Herndon were all Baptist laymen in the state of Virginia in the latter part of the 18th Century, and all had the gift of exhortation. They were fearless men and were accused of “jamming a Scripture verse down the throat of every man they met upon the road.” They were evidently apprehended and imprisoned to await trial July 15, 1771. After the trial, the court record “ordered that they be remanded back to the gaol.” John Burrus, a licensed minister, was hauled into court along with the three laymen. These men were all from Caroline County, Virginia. Then there was Elijah Craig who spent time in jail at Bowling Green, Virginia. Those from Caroline County were members of Polecat Baptist Church because of its proximity to “Polecat” Creek.  All of them had been preaching without state church ordination or proper license. The church was later named Burrus Meeting House after the venerable preacher, and when the church was moved from near Polecat Creek to the White Oak Seats the name became Carmel. Carmel Church is still located on U.S. Highway 1, just north of Richmond, Virginia, one mile West off of Interstate 95. In the churchyard there is a memorial to these men and all who suffered incarceration for the sake of the gospel. Inside the church is a famous painting by Sidney King of Patrick Henry defending the five Baptist preachers in Fredericksburg, Va., at an earlier date. The church experienced a revival under the leadership of Andrew Broadus. The church still stands today as a testimony against those who would bring our churches back under state control.

 

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 289-91.

 

 

 

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PATRIOT PREACHERS


These patriot-preachers were   staunchly patriotic, seriously independent, and steadfastly courageous. They   were found in almost all of the various Protestant denominations at the time:   Baptist, Presbyterian, Congregational, Anglican, Lutheran, German Reformed,   etc. Their Sunday sermons — more than Patrick Henry’s oratory, Sam Adams’ and   James Warren’s “Committees of Correspondence,” or Thomas Paine’s “Summer   Soldiers and Sunshine Patriots” — inspired, educated, and motivated the   colonists to resist the tyranny of the British Crown, and fight for their   freedom and independence. Without the Black Regiment, there is absolutely no   doubt that we would still be a Crown colony, with no Declaration of   Independence, no U.S. Constitution, no Bill of Rights, and little liberty.
The exploits of the Black Regiment are legendary. When General George   Washington asked Lutheran pastor John Peter Muhlenberg to raise a regiment of   volunteers, Muhlenberg gladly agreed. Before marching off to join   Washington’s army, he delivered a powerful sermon from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8   that concluded with these words: “The Bible tells us there is a time for all   things and there is a time to preach and a time to pray, but the time for me   to preach has passed away, and there is a time to fight, and that time has   come now. Now is the time to fight! Call for recruits! Sound the drums!”
Then Muhlenberg took off his clerical robe to reveal the uniform of a   Virginia colonel. Grabbing his musket from behind the pulpit, he donned his   colonel’s hat and marched off to war. And as he did, more than 300 of his   male congregants followed him.
Muhlenberg’s brother quotes John Peter as saying, “You may say that as a   clergyman nothing can excuse my conduct. I am a clergyman, it is true, but I   am a member of society as well as the poorest layman, and my liberty is as   dear to me as any man. I am called by my country to its defense. The cause is   just and noble. Were I a Bishop … I should obey without hesitation; and as   far am I from thinking that I am wrong, I am convinced it is my duty so to do   — a duty I owe to my God and my Country.”
Remember, too, it was Pastor Jonas Clark and his congregants at the Church of   Lexington who comprised that initial body of brave colonists called   Minutemen. These were the men, you will recall, who withstood British troops   advancing on Concord to confiscate the colonists’ firearms and arrest Sam   Adams and John Hancock, and fired “the shot heard round the world.”
The “Supreme Knight” and great martyr of Presbyterianism was Pastor James   Caldwell of the Presbyterian church of         Elizabethtown   (present-day Elizabeth), New Jersey. He was called the “Rebel High Priest”   and the “Fighting Chaplain.” He is most famous for the story “Give ’em   Watts!” It is said that at the Springfield engagement, when the militia ran   out of wadding for their muskets, Parson Caldwell galloped to the   Presbyterian church and returned with an armload of hymnbooks, threw them to   the ground, and exclaimed, “Now, boys, give ’em Watts! Give ’em Watts!” — a   reference to the famous hymn writer, Isaac Watts.
Not an easy path: Presbyterian   minister James Caldwell, who gained fame during the battle of Springfield,   New Jersey, when he gathered Watts hymnals from a church for use as rifle   wadding and shouted to the troops as he handed them out, “put Watts into   them,” was killed in the war, as was his wife.
 Then   there was the Baptist, Joab Houghton, of New Jersey. Houghton was in the   Hopewell Baptist Meeting-house at worship when he received the first   information of Concord and Lexington, and of the retreat of the British to   Boston with heavy losses. His great-grandson gave the following eloquent   description of the way he treated the tidings:
Stilling   the breathless messenger, he sat quietly through the services, and when they   were ended, he passed out, and mounting the great stone block in front of the   meeting-house, he beckoned to the people to stop. Men and women paused to   hear, curious to know what so unusual a sequel to the service of the day   could mean. At the first words a silence, stern as death, fell over all. The   Sabbath quiet of the hour and of the place was deepened into a terrible   solemnity. He told them all the story of the cowardly murder at Lexington by   the royal troops; the heroic vengeance following hard upon it; the retreat of   Percy; the gathering of the children of the Pilgrims round the beleaguered   hills of Boston. Then pausing, and looking over the silent throng, he said   slowly: “Men of New Jersey, the red coats are murdering our brethren of New   England! Who follows me to Boston?” And every man of that audience stepped   out into line, and answered, “I!” There was not a coward nor a traitor in old   Hopewell Baptist Meeting-house that day. [Source: Cathcart, The Baptists and the American   Revolution, 1876]
Consider,   too, Pastor M’Clanahan, of Culpepper County, Virginia, who raised a military   company of Baptists and served in the field, both as a captain and chaplain.   Reverend David Barrow “shouldered his musket and showed how fields were won.”   Another Baptist, General Scriven, when ordered by a British officer to give   up Sunbury, near Savannah, sent back the answer, “Come and get it.” Deacon   Mills, of the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, “commanded skillfully”   1,000 riflemen at the Battle of Long Island, and for his valor was made a   brigadier general. Deacon Loxley of the same church commanded the artillery   at the Battle of Germantown with the rank of colonel. (Source: McDaniel, The People Called Baptists,   1925)
A list drawn up by Judge Curwen, an ardent Tory, contained 926 names of   British sympathizers living in America — colonial law had already exiled a   larger number — but there was “not the name of one Baptist on the list.”   Maybe this is why President George Washington, in his letter to the Baptists,   paid the following tribute: “I recollect with satisfaction that the religious   society of which you are members has been, throughout America, uniformly and   almost unanimously, the firm friend to civil liberty, and the persevering   promoters of our glorious Revolution.” Maybe it explains why Thomas Jefferson   could write to a Baptist church, saying, “We have acted together from the   origin to the end of a memorable Revolution.”
(Source:   Ibid.)

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18 – Jan. 18 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


In a publication called Sightler Publications of Greenville, S.C., additional confirmation has been given of the historic meeting between Rev. John Leland and James Madison, the Father of the US Constitution.  The Baptists of Virginia, along with Patrick Henry, initially stood in opposition to the ratification of the constitution.  Our  forefathers feared a constitution that did not provide safeguards against limiting the powers of a centralized government.  Without clear assurance that government could impose a “state church” upon the entire nation!  With Leland’s mind and Henry’s oratory they were sure to defeat the ratification of the constitution when it came before the Virginia state convention if they were elected delegates from Orange Co.  When Madison, also from Orange, Co. was told by Joseph Spencer that the Baptists opposed ratification he went to see Leland at his house.  Madison agreed, that if elected to append a Bill of Rights to the constitution, including a First Amendment to prevent of an official “state church.”  Leland withdrew his name and threw his support to Madison for delegate.  Ratification was by 19 votes, 187-168.  Two witnesses confirm that such a meeting did take place between Rev. Leland and Madison, George Nixon Briggs, a Baptist and Gov. of MA, who spoke to Leland in 1837, and John Strode Barbour, a native of Orange, Co.  This is Chronicled in an article by Samuel Chiles Mitchell, Prof. at the U. of Richmond, which appeared in the Religious Herald of Oct. 18, 1934, entitled James Madison and His Co-worker John Leland.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins, pp. 37-39.

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343 – Dec. 09 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


They voted to change the course of the sun…
 December 09, 1774 – Isaac Backus was instrumental in getting a petition from the Baptists of Massachusetts read before the Provincial Congress which was presided over by John Hancock. Backus as the agent for the Baptists had made the presentation because the Baptists had approached the General Court and local authorities again and again with petitions asking for redress of their grievances relating to taxes for the support of religious teachers. There is no record that any of these petitions were given any attention by the courts. The Baptists of that state had been persecuted and imprisoned for conscience’ sake under these laws and the persistent Backus would not let the issue die. At one point in a four-hour heated discussion on the subject in the presence of Patrick Henry, at the Continental Congress in 1774, John Adams closed the matter by saying “Gentlemen, if you mean to try to effect change in Massachusetts laws respecting religion, you may as well attempt to change the course of the sun in the heavens.” John Hancock, presiding over the Continental Congress, ordered the petition read and considered.  With this encouragement, when the General Court of Massachusetts met at Watertown in July 1775, the members heard and pondered this matter and based on the scripture: “ with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” They voted to change the course of the sun in the state of Massachusetts in regards to taxation without representation.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 513-15.

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