April 21

This little note ties in with one of the articles in this week’s church bulletin (www.calvary@iadhobaptist.com). On this day in 1867 a note in the church minutes of the Kiokee Baptist reads, “The Baptist Church of Christ at Kiokee met and proceeded to the ordination of Brother Billy Harris, colored, to preach the Gospel.” Throughout American Baptist history there have been many examples of a positive relationship between blacks and whites. In 1639, John Clarke organized the Baptist church in Newport, Rhode Island, and a few years later “Jack, a colored” was baptized and added to the church’s membership. Living in Rhode Island, Jack was most likely a free man. But in the south slaves were often received into local Baptist congregations. In fact, in some churches the blacks outnumbered the whites up to as many as six to one. In the First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia, “colored deacons were elected, whose duty it was to watch over (the needs) of slave and free Negro members.” That church also licensed certain colored men, who seemed fitted by God to “exercise their spiritual gifts in public” – ie. to preach the gospel of Christ. A man named Lott Carey, a member of the church in Richmond, was able to raise $850 with which he purchased the freedom of his family. Then he, with Collin Teague, in 1821, sailed for Liberia, establishing the first Baptist Church in Monrovia. After the War Between the States, there was pressure to organize separate churches for the blacks, and many prominent churches willingly authorized and supported those churches, acknowledging and training young men for ministries...

April 14

  Dorothy Kelly was an English Puritan, living in Bristol. She desired to see the Church of England reformed – cleansed from the wickedness and laxity found in its members and clergy. On Sundays, after attending the services of her church, she would join others in private homes for prayer and the reading of more Biblical sermons. One of the men attending those meetings was an Anglican cleric named Hazzard. Over time, Rev. Hazzard, asked Mrs. Kelly, a widow, if she would marry him, and she agreed. The Hazzard home become a meeting place for Puritans. And since Bristol was one of the ports from which travelers to America embarked, the Hazzards hosted many people seeking what they called “religious freedom.” Mrs. Hazzard became more and more disenchanted with her church, its sermons, the reading of the Book of Common Prayer, and abuse of the Lord’s Supper. One week when her husband traveled to Lyme to avoid taking “Holy Communion,” Dorothy heard that Mr. John Canne, a noted dissenter – a Baptist – was staying in a local inn. She sent word inviting the man to lodge at the Hazzard home. When he found a group of Puritans in one of their meetings, he urged them to give up the Church of England entirely and gather for their own worship and prayer. Mrs. Hazzard felt convicted that was what she should do. When her husband returned home, she told him of her plans, and although he never left his church, he permitted his wife to do as she felt led of God. Soon, the group, meeting in a barn,...

April 7

The Metropolitan Tabernacle is best known as the site of C.H. Spurgeon’s ministry, but he did not start that church.  Several important men pastored there before him.  Benjamin Keach was ordained and began his pastorate there in 1668.  John Gill was an elder in that congregation for fifty-one years until his death in 1771. Following Gill, John Rippon was asked to become their under-shepherd.     On this day in 1773 Rippon wrote to the church.  “Various have been the workings of my mind upon this weighty subject since I left you [after candidating].  Often and daily have I laid it before the Divine throne, impartially sought counsel of the All-wise and infallible Counselor.”  He goes on to ask more time to pray about accepting their offer of the pulpit, “before I return an absolute and decisive answer to the call you have given me; which am rather inclined to…”      After several months Rippon agreed to become their pastor.     Rippon’s predecessor, Benjamin Keach, has become known for introducing congregational singing to his congregation and to Baptists in general.  John Gill is known for theology and his commentary on the Bible.  Spurgeon is known for his sovereign grace evangelism.  John Rippon is also well known, but slightly less so than his fellow elders.     Rippon was an admirer of Isaac Watts and scriptural hymns.  He made sure that the Metropolitan Tabernacle continued to sing quality hymns by publishing one of our great early hymnals.  It included material from several authors – including himself.  For example, the arrangement of the hymn “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name” which is best...

March 31

Abraham Marshall followed his father in becoming the pastor of the Kiokee Baptist church in north east Georgia. After more than forty years of bachelorhood, Abraham determined that the Lord wanted him to marry, providing him with someone “to divide the sorrows and double the joys of life.” That desire was a part of Abraham’s purpose in visiting his father’s homeland in New England. Praying for a better horse and for a wife, Bro. Marshall set off across the Savanna River in 1792. In a few days, a Christian brother heard about the preacher’s need and traded horses with him. With that prayer answered, Abraham believed a wife would also be provided. Stopping in Spottsylvania, Virginia at the home of John Waller, Marshall met Miss Ann Waller. She was not the least bit taken aback when he explained the purpose of his trip and that he had appointments in New England. She agreed to marry him, if the Lord didn’t provide him a wife from among the Yankees. Abraham Marshall’s preaching tour in the north was blessed by the Lord, but no wife was supplied. On this day in 1792 he arrived back in Spottsylvania and four days later the couple was married. Six days were involved in the entire courtship, but these were not starry-eyed children. He was a forty-four-year-old seasoned Baptist preacher and she was thirty-one-year-old Christian woman. Ann and Abraham enjoyed a three month “horseback honeymoon,” riding about 550 miles down to Kiokee. The couple eventually had four sons, one of whom followed his father and grandfather as pastor of the church. Ann Marshall died in...

March 24

  On this day (March 24) 1809 Grover Comstock was born in Rochester, New York. Although he was the son of a Baptist preacher, he was not converted until after he had become a successful lawyer. In 1831 a blessed rival swept through Rochester and Comstock along with many others, including a few lawyers, were born again. Almost immediately Bro. Comstock became burdened for the lost heathen. While in school, preparing for missionary service he met his future wife, a woman also dedicated to the mission field. Comstock was ordained in Rochester on March 12, 1834, and shortly after that the couple sailed for Burma with their eyes set on a place called Arracan. Upon their arrival in Moulmein, Burma, they were unable to proceed to their intended destination, so they launched into the work at Kyouk Phyoo and then Ramree, preaching and printing gospel tracts. As children were born into the family, the Comstocks determined that it would be necessary to send them home for their education. It was, of course an extremely difficult decision. When Dr. Eugenio Kincaid was set to furlough back to the States, he took with him the two eldest Comstock children. He described the parting as exceedingly emotional, and the last thing he remembered of Bro. Comstock, with tears streaming down his face, were the words, “Remember, Brother Kincaid, six men for Arracan,” meaning, ” we need six more missionaries for Arracan.” When Kincaid’s ship was off Shady Hook, April 28, 1843, back in Burma, Sister Comstock, aged 31, died. Almost one year to the day, Bro. Comstock, aged 35 also died. Soon...

March 17

Jacob Dirks and his two adult sons, Andrew and Jan, became believers in the Lord Jesus Christ through the work of Anabaptist ministers. Mrs. Dirks and the other children remained Roman Catholics. When Jacob heard that an arrest warrant had been written against him, he fled from Utrecht to the larger city of Antwerp, hoping to spare his wife any further grief. But the magistrates took possession of most of the family possessions and she later died in poverty. The authorities eventually discovered Jacob and two of his sons, one whom was by this time engaged to be married. They were condemned to death. On this day (March 17) in 1568 the three were paraded through the city before the eyes of thousands, including the bride-to-be and some of the younger children of the family. One son ran up to his father and threw himself around his neck, weeping in sorrow, but he was torn away, thrown to the ground and trampled by the crowd. At the place of execution, Jacob asked, “How is it with you, my dear sons?” They answered, “All is well, dear father.” At that point the executioner mercifully strangled the men before lighting the fagots to burn their bodies. Those hating the truth in Holland during the sixteenth century had no respect for age or sex. It is said that thousands of Anabaptists were martyred in various ways – many in the same fashion as Jacob Dirks and his...

March 10

Balthazar Hubmaer was born in Bavaria in 1480. He studied the doctrines of the Protestants, embracing the views of Luther, pastoring a Lutheran church and becoming a good friend and associate of Ulrich Zwingli. However he expected the Reformation to return to Biblical truth, and when that did not occur he embraced Anabaptism. He formed a Baptist church and immersed more than a hundred of his former church members, drawing the wrath of both Protestants and Catholics. Both Hubmaer and his wife were arrested and jailed separately. The dungeon cells in which they were kept were dark, cold and full of disease. Balthazar’s health deteriorated. He pleaded with his old friend Zwingli for assistance but was refused. After some time, the only hope he had was in death or recantation. Torture on the rack and with other means were applied. In his weakened condition, and fearing the worst for his wife, he agreed to meet Zwingli’s demands. Balthazar Hubmaer was taken into the city cathedral and placed on the raised pulpit before a huge congregation. Swaying back and forth in weakness, he began to read his letter of recantation, but then he stopped. As if miraculously empowered by God, he raised himself to his full height, and he filled the cathedral with the shout, “Infant baptism is not of God, and men must be baptized by faith in Christ.” The huge crowd exploded, both with curses and some praise. Hubmaer was dragged back to prison where he once again wrote out a clear and Biblical confession of faith. On this day (March 10) 1528 Pastor Hubmaer was led to...

March 3

On this day (March 3) in 1876, Florida became the 27th State in the Union. Three months prior to that date, H.Z. Ardis became one of the first Baptist pastors in the state, taking the reigns of God’s assembly in Madison, a community in the Panhandle. Ardis was born on August 8, 1811 into a South Carolinian Presbyterian home. As a teenager, he made a profession of faith and united with others in constituting a Presbyterian church at Beach Island, S.C., between Aiken and Augusta, GA. There in 1832 he joyfully married the love of his life, but when a baby girl came along the family was nearly destroyed. Upon coming to understand the Bible, H.Z. refused to permit his daughter to be christened, furthermore he felt led of the Lord to be immersed in water. On September 26, 1834 he joined a local Baptist church. Thus he found himself at odds with his mother, all his in-laws and even his wife, but he refused to give up what he knew to be the truth. Rather than despairing, H.Z. began to conduct prayer meetings, and soon after that he was urging sinners to come to Christ. The following January the Union Baptist Church called for his ordination. Even though his wife refused immersion, Bro. Ardis served that congregation for nine years, while at the same time assisting other churches throughout South Carolina. In 1845 Ardis was overcome with poor health. He was urged to move to an even warmer climate, which led him to Madison, Florida. By the grace of God his health improved and he pastored that assembly...

February 24

On this day (February 24) in 1876, George Grenfell and his wife sailed from England to begin missionary work in the Cameroons, Africa. George was raised in the Church of England, but he became attracted to the Sunday School of the Heneage Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. There he was born again, and there he was called into the ministry, having been introduced to the work of David Livingstone. Grenfell attended Bristol Baptist College, but when he heard that missionary Alfred Saker was on furlough, he wrote to him, offering his services. The Lord made it clear that the young man should travel to Africa as an assistant to Saker. When the elder missionary could no longer endure the rigors of missionary life, both men returned to England. On February 11, 1876 Grenfell married his long-time fiancee, and on this day, the two sailed for the Cameroons. Ten years later, in August 1877, Henry Stanley emerged from the African darkness at the mouth of the Congo River. Leaving from the east coast, he had been in search of David Livingstone, and after finding him (“Dr. Livingstone, I presume!”) he had continued westward, eventually sailing down the river to the coast. Although Grenfell was 600 miles to the north, upon hearing the news he raced down to hear what Stanley had to say about the continent’s unexplored interior. The missionary was immediately attracted to the idea of using the mighty Congo River to reach the Christless people of Africa. George Grenfell became the primary explorer of the Congo and the first to carry to gospel of Christ into the heartland...

January 17

This little note may not be as serious as most, but it is interesting. On this day in 1801, Thomas Jefferson was elected as the third president of the United States by the House of Representatives. Elder John Leland who had been a neighbor of both Congressman James Madison and Thomas Jefferson was delighted with the results, because he had helped to clarify the principles of liberty in the minds of both men. To help celebrate the great political victory, Leland, who was then pastoring in Cheshire, Massachusetts, collected the milk from 900 local, loyal Republican cows and brought it into town where the citizens gathered singing hymns, socializing and making cheese. The milk was processed into a mammoth cheese wheel 4 feet 4 inches in diameter, 15 inches think and weighting 1,235 pounds. Bro. Leland and Darius Brown loaded up the cheese and set off for Washington, DC. During the trip they used a sleigh, a wagon and a sloop to carry the cheese to Baltimore. As news of the gift spread, crowds gathered and Leland preached the gospel to multitudes. Upon arrival in Washington, Jefferson welcomed the Baptists to the executive mansion. Leland said that the great cheese “was not made… with a view to gain dignified titles or lucrative offices, but by the personal labor of freeborn farmers, without a single slave to assist, for an elective president of the free people.” Leland remained in the capital for several days preaching Christ at various public venues. Federalist congressman Manessah Cutler, no friend of either Jefferson or the Baptists, described the preacher as a “poor, ignorant, illiterate...

February 10

John Meglamare was born in 1730. His parents were Presbyterians, and through them John grew up very concerned about his soul. But concern is not enough. Prior to his conversion he moved to North Carolina where he began to hear the gospel preaching of several Baptists. As an adult at the age of 34 he was born again and was subsequently immersed in water, joining the Kehukee Baptist Church. There he grew quickly in the doctrines and service of his Saviour. Soon after his conversion, Bro. Meglamare began preaching the gospel both at home and itinerantly in North Carolina and northern Virginia. His church saw the Lord’s blessings in his ministry, and called for his ordination. That took place on this day in 1767. When his pastor died, the congregation looked to the newly ordained man of God to assume the pulpit. He served the Kehukee church for five years. After several visits to Sussex County, Virginia, a group of believers there sought to have a local Baptist church where they could attend regularly. They pleaded with Bro. Maglamare to settle among them. After much prayer, he felt that was God’s will, and a church with eighty-seven members was formed. Over time four other churches came into existence with God’s blessings and Bro. Meglamare’s regular visits. Eventually he settled into a new ministry at Blue Run Baptist Church and God’s blessings abounded even more. At the age of 56 John Meglamare moved to Kentucky, beginning a new phase of his ministry. He he served the Lord in that region for the last twenty years of his...

February 3

Henry Toler, was born into a humble but respectable family in King and Queen County, Virginia. You’d think that after the War of Independence the people of that place would have changed the name, but these were not English monarchs. And you might also think that once the population grew sufficiently, it would have been divided into two counties named King and Queen, but that didn’t happen either. After a long struggle under the Lord’s conviction, young Henry Toler was saved and joined the Upper College Baptist Church. It bore that name because it was planted on the grounds of the William and Mary College, who were the king and queen which gave the county its name. They were Protestants who ruled in Holland. Bro. Toler began his service for the Lord as an exhorter. It was his task, after hearing the sermon, to make further application and to drive home the message. When it became clear that Toler had a gift for preaching, a wealthy member of the church financed his move to Pennsylvania in order to study under Samuel Jones, pastor of the Lower Dublin Baptist Church. Returning to Virginia, Bro. Toler was invited to preach in the community of Nomini, where he planted a little church in 1786 with 17 members. The Lord blessed and in a year’s time the membership had grown by over a hundred. It did so again for several successive years. After it reached its peak the church began a period of decline, and discouraged Elder Toler considered resigning. But then in 1806 the Lord began against to move upon hearts. In...

January 27

On this day in 1682, under William Penn, a decree of religious freedom was granted to the people of Pennsylvania. Penn, as you may know, was a Quaker. The first Baptist pastor to take advantage of the liberty in that colony was Thomas Dungan. To escape the persecution against the Baptist in England, Dungan first fled to Rhode Island, and then in 1684 he settled north of Bristol, Pennsylvania at Cold Spring. There he began to preach Christ, starting a Baptist church, erecting a building and securing a burial-place. Just four years later Dungan became a resident of that grave yard. The Cold Spring Baptist Church struggled for only four years after that, and then the grounds of that cemetery were left unattended. In 1770 when Morgan Edwards searched for the church he found that “nothing remained … but a grave-yard and the names of families that had belonged to [the church]. The short life of the Cold Spring church might have meant the loss of the name Thomas Dungan as well, if it were not for one important event. In 1686, the nineteen year old son of the English Baptist pastor, Benjamin Keach, disembarked from a ship in Philadelphia harbor. It was assumed that he was a Baptist minister like his Father, and he did nothing to dispel the idea – despite the fact that he was unregenerated. He had heard his father preach so often, and he knew enough of the scriptures, that he felt he could preach just as well. One Lord’s day as he lead a small group in the worship, “He performed well enough...

January 20

Henry Sharp was a deacon in the First Baptist Church of Savannah, Georgia. He was also a slave owner – as were most of his neighbors. When he recognized that the Lord had saved one of his slaves, George Leile, and that the Holy Spirit had given him gifts fit for the ministry, he “emancipated the stirring preacher so he might give himself wholly to the preaching of the Gospel (among) the people of color.” Before he moved to Jamaica as a missionary, Leile led Andrew Bryan to the Lord. Bryan became an outstanding preacher himself, and suffered persecution for his efforts. Thankfully, he persisted in his service for Christ, and his owner allowed him to construct a church building in the Yamacraw district of Savanna. This became the first black Baptist church in America, eventually growing to more than 800 members. 125 miles away, outside of Augusta, Abraham Marshall was pastoring the Keokee Baptist Church. He was also traveling throughout the region as a missionary and evangelist. He took a great interest in the black work in Savannah. It was Brother Marshal and the Keokee church who helped to organize that church and which subsequently ordained Brother Bryan. Marshall prepared and presented a certificate of ordination to the new pastor. It read: “This is to certify that the Ethiopian Church of Jesus Christ of Savannah, have called their beloved brother Andrew Bryan to the work of the ministry. We have examined into his qualifications, and believing it to be the will of the great head of the Church, we have appointed him to the preach the Gospel and...

January 13

J.N. Hall was ordained to the gospel ministry on this day in 1872. Hall had a keen mind and eloquent manner of speech, enabling him to be greatly used of the Lord. While editing different Baptist journals throughout his life, he preached an average of a sermon a day. Also when he was traveling, he was often asked to engage in debates – something which was popular at the time. He would face the Campbellites, the Methodists and whoever was bold enough to confront him. An infidel club in western Kentucky had made great strides in their region, constantly challenging the local Christians and making life miserable for Baptist pastor, who was not well-equipped for debating. Realizing that by refusing to face his Satanic opponents, he was doing a disservice to Christ and his community, he gave the club a challenge – if they brought noted agnostic Robert Ingersoll to a debate, he would invite J.N. Hall. The leader of the infidels accepted. When Ingersoll declined to come, they obtained the services of the President of the Free Thought Association of America, a man named Putman. Hall, too, was invited, accepting the proposed date. As the hour approached, the auditorium was full and city dignitaries were present, but Bro. Hall had not arrived. The Christians were in despair. Putman announced that Hall was afraid to face him. Then despite not having the advertized debate, since he had been paid he announced that would take the following two hours to destroy Christianity, and he began to preach his unbelief. As it happened, Bro. Hall was providentially delayed and arrived the...