March 22

John Gill was born in 1697. His Father, Edward, was a Baptist deacon in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England, so John grew up reading the Word of God; he read just about everything else as well. By the time he was 11, he was reading Latin and Greek classics. The local bookseller was open for business only on the weekly market days, but on that day John was there in the store reading and talking to authors as they came by. When he was 12, his father’s pastor preached a message from “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” The sermon was used to bring down the proud young man and a few months later John could look at the wounds and blood of the Lord Jesus as the means to his salvation. On November 1, 1716 he was baptized in the river at Kettering, after which he joined the Baptist church. Almost immediately, he began preaching the gospel. He was called to become the pastor of the church at Horsely-downs, and on this day (March 22) in 1720, at the age of 23 he was ordained to the ministry. In 1769 he published his “Body of Divinity,” and later came his commentary on the Bible. He loved the people of God – both in his church and elsewhere. He was among the first to support the Rhode Island College and its founder James Manning.
About 50 years before Gill’s birth, the Tabernacle Fellowship was born in London. Over the years that congregation has had different names, but it has always been a Baptist church. Its first pastor was William Rider. Sometime after Rider, came Benjamin Keach. In 1720, John Gill became pastor and served there for 51 years. Following him, John Rippon served another 63 years. During these times, the church experienced great growth and became one of the largest congregations in the country. But the following years were not so kind, and the church began to falter – until in 1854, when Charles Spurgeon, at the age of 20, became pastor. The church still exists today.