This Sunday in Baptist History
Allen Wyley, a resident of Culpeper, Virginia, was born again as a young man and was baptized by David Thomas in 1765. He earnestly prayed that a Baptist preacher would come to his community to establish a church. One day when he heard that the Separate Baptist, Samuel Harris was nearby, he set out to find him. When they finally met, Harris sensed that Wyley had a message from God, and he determined to return with him to Culpeper to preach Christ. That was the beginning of a lengthy period of persecution in the area, but it didn’t deter either Wyley or Harris.
Some months later, in Orange county, Mr. Wyley was arrested while preparing a meeting place for the visit of another Baptist evangelist. The court order reads, “This day Allan Wiley, John Corbley, Elijah Craig and Thomas Chambers [are] charged as Vagrant and Itinerant Persons… for Assembling themselves unlawfully at Sundry Times and Places Under the Denomination of Anabaptists and for Teaching and preaching Schismatick Doctrines. Whereupon the Court [is] of the opinion that the said Allen Wiley, John Corbley, Elijah Craig and Thomas Chamber are Guilty… and [are] Ordered [to] enter into Bond each in the sum of 50 pounds… until the 25th of October next and in case they fail to Enter into Such Bond as aforesaid that Each of Them so failing Shall be committed to Gaol Until the Same Shall be performed.”
Although Wyley was never ordained, as a godly layman he began openly witnessing of his Saviour, and this ministry eventually moved him to Stafford County. He became a founding member of the Potomack Baptist Church and served as assistant to William Fristoe, primarily as an exhorter.