First Baptist Meeting House
Founded the First Baptist Church of Boston
On August 18, 1666 the Assistants’ Court of Massachusetts decided that Thomas Gould could be freed after him and Osborne, a fellow Anabaptist, paid a fine and costs, but if they refused, they were to be banished. On march 3, 1668 , Gould was brought before the court in Boston, and he was recommitted to prison. These godly men, along with other Anabaptists, Drinker, Turner and George had been “disenfranchised” and threatened with imprisonment for worshiping outside of the Congregational State Church. On April 17, 1666, Gould, Osborne and George were presented before the Grand Jury at Cambridge for absence from the Congregational church “for one whole year.” In spite of giving evi-dence that they attended a gospel church regularly, “they were convicted of ‘high presumption against the Lord and his holy appointments,’ and were fined £4 each, and put under bonds of £20 each; as they would not pay their fines, they were thrown into prison.” The name of Thomas Gould was revered by early Baptists in Mass. because of his adamant but gracious refusal in 1655 to have his infant sprinkled in the church of the standing order. During a period of five years Gould was put in “seven or eight courts.” His answer was, “I did not see any rule of Christ for it, for that ordinance belongs to such as can make profession of their faith, as the scripture doth plainly hold forth.” On March 3, 1668, Gould was brought before the Court of Assistants in Boston, and he was re-committed to prison. From the trials of Gould and these men the First Baptist Church of Boston came into existence. The members suffered fines and jail but they prevailed.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 340-41.
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Tremont Baptist Temple Today
Beauty from ashes
1843 – On this date Timothy Gilbert, S.H. Shipley, Thomas Gould, and William S. Donwell purchased the Tremont Theater for $55,000 and remodeled it at a further cost of nearly $25,000. Their purpose was noble; they desired to provide a meeting house for the Tremont Street Baptist Church, and also to provide “free seats” for the poor and strangers coming into Boston, Massachusetts to seek employment. The practice at that time was to rent pews for the support of the churches. The main auditorium had a seating capacity of 2,000 and met the needs of the congregation until March 31, 1852, when it was totally destroyed by fire. However, by May 25, 1853 the church was laying the foundation for a new facility which was finished on Christmas Day in which they held their first public service with new pews and an organ. The owners transferred ownership to the Evangelical Baptist Benevolent and Missionary Society. The Society granted a lease to the Tremont Street Baptist Church for the use of the building as a place of worship and teaching of God’s Word as long as they supported a good and sufficient pastor and all the pews remained free of charge. On the night of Aug. 14, 1879, the building again was razed by fire, but the directors took immediate steps to rebuild and go on with the ministry. The objectives of the Tremont Baptist Temple was to maintain evangelistic preaching, to support and provide colporteur (distribute religious books) and missionary laborers in Boston and the surrounding areas, as well as to provide in a special way for the spiritual needs of the destitute. On March 19, 1893, Tremont Temple burned again. All was destroyed, including their valuable library and museum, but out of the ashes Tremont built again and continued on for Christ.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 112.
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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