This Sunday in Baptist History
Hezekiah Smith was born in 1737 at Long Island, N.Y. Under the ministry of John Gano, he was born again, and following Gano’s example, he moved to Hopewell, N.J. in order to attend the Baptist Academy. After some time there he moved a few miles down the road to attend Princeton, where he graduated in 1762. At that point he became an itinerant evangelist in the South. In one fifteen month stretch he traveled 4,235 miles and preached 173 times. When the First Baptist Church of Charleston recognized the Lord’s call in his life, they ordained him to the ministry, expecting him to remain in the Carolinas preaching to the small churches scattered throughout the colony. But when the Philadelphia Association announced their desire to start a new school of higher education, Smith returned and helped to establish Rhode Island College. At that time he became pastor of the Haverhill, Massachusetts Baptist Church which he faithfully served until his death in 1805. There was, however, a hiatus of a few years when he became a brigade chaplain in the Continental army.
Early in 1805 Brother Smith preached from John 12:24 concerning the corn of wheat which died that it might bring forth more fruit. The following Thursday, he had a stroke and never spoke again. He lay paralyzed for a week before passing into the presence of his Saviour. That took place on this day in 1805.