In 1750 Benjamin Foster was born into a Congregational family at Danvers, Massachusetts. He proved to be an intelligent boy and at eighteen earned gained entrance into Yale College, where he quickly excelled. When the subject of baptism came up for discussion before the student body, Foster was chosen to defend the paedo-baptist position – that babies ought to be sprinkled. In preparation for an oral debate he carefully studied the scriptures in both English and Greek, spending time as well searching church history from the time of the Apostles. When the day of the debate arrived, Foster declared that he had come to accept only believer’s baptism by immersion. It’s not known whether the debate was carried out.
Bro. Benjamin Foster graduated from Yale a few years before the Revolutionary war. He was baptized and received into the Baptist church in Boston where he continued to study theology. Soon he became pastor of the church in Leicester, and there he was ordained. He preached Christ, authored tracts on Bible doctrine, answered the call to pastor in Newport, Rhode Island, and after the departure of John Gano for Kentucky, he became the pastor of the First Baptist Church in New York. It was there where he died on this day (August 26) in 1798 from yellow fever.
There were few men in the country who were Foster’s superior when it came to knowledge of the Greek, Hebrew and Chaldean languages. His tombstone expressed that fact and more – “As a scholar and divine, he excelled; as a preacher he was eminent; as a Christian he shone conspicuously; in his piety he was fervent; the church was comforted by his life, and it now laments his death.”