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This Sunday in Baptist History

December 9

Noah Alden was a great-grandson of John Alden, one of the men who signed the Mayflower Compact. Noah was born into a Congregational home on May 30, 1725. While many of his peers trusted in their infant “baptism” for favor with God, at the age of sixteen, Noah was spiritually converted, trusting Christ as his Saviour. In time he married, moved to Stafford, Connecticut and became a member of the Congregational church of that city. Shortly thereafter he was convinced to study the subject of baptism, and in 1753 he was led to embrace immersion and united with the local Baptist church. When it became apparent that God had given him gifts fitted for the ministry, the church ordained him, and he became their pastor.

On this day in 1765 Pastor Alden, passed through Woodstock (probably Connecticut) and preached a sermon through which the Holy Spirit brought conviction upon the leader of a group of frivolous young people This young man, Beil Ledoyt, spoke to his friends about his experience with such earnestness and power that they, too, came under conviction. Ledoyt then arranged to use the school house, inviting many more of his acquaintances to hear his testimony – most of whom agreed to come in order to mock. At the conclusion of the meeting many of those same people stayed to pray. It is said they stood ‘like men amazed,” while Ledoyt spoke with such convincing force that some forty young people were converted.

The following year, according to Isaac Backus, fifteen of those young people were baptized and formed a Baptist church in Woodstock with Ledoyt acting as a lay exhorter before he was formally ordained as pastor. Backus went on to point out that this was one of the Baptist congregations which were severely persecuted by the government and the Congregationalists for their refusal to pay support to the local Protestant minister.

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