January 12

Samuel Harriss was born on this day in 1724. He was born again 36 years later.
Before his conversion Harriss served his community as sheriff, justice of the peace, colonel in the militia, and Captain of Fort Mayo. In the family’s Episcopal religion he was for a time a church warden. His family had political power and social prominence, but that all changed for Samuel.
One day, while on assignment and dressed in his military uniform, he stopped at the home of two brothers named Murphy. Somewhat hiding and sitting behind a loom, he heard one of the brothers preach the gospel. Later he testified that “the arrow of the Almighty stuck fast,” and he was born again. He became so excited and joyful he left the house shouting “Glory, glory, glory,” even forgetting to take with him his sword.
Daniel Marshall baptized Samuel Harriss, and soon after he began preaching Christ anywhere between the James and Rappahannock rivers, and periodically as far away as the Shenandoah Valley. He was ordained in 1769 when he was 45, but he had already started to experience the wrath of the wicked one. Four years earlier he was driven out of Culpepper County, Virginia, by a ferocious mob, but still he wanted to serve his Saviour. In Orange County he was pulled from the pulpit by his hair. On another occasion he was knocked down under a rain of punches. In the town of Hillsborough he was given permission to preach in the local jail, but once he was inside, the sheriff locked the doors and kept him there for some time. He became one of the 44 Baptist ministers arrested in Virginia for preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Samuel Harriss gave up his wealth and prestige to become a preacher of the gospel. He was willing also to sacrifice his freedom and even his life. America still needs men like Samuel Harriss.