This Sunday in Baptist History
Joseph Ivimey came into this world at Ringwood, England on this day in 1773. I mentioned him a week or two ago, because the Lord saved him and called him into His ministry.
In his youth he was sent to live with his uncle to learn a trade, and it was through that relationship he heard the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He often walked nine miles to Wimbourne to hear more of Christ, and over time the Lord redeemed him.
After moving to Portsea and joining the Baptist church of that city, he was encouraged to try village preaching. Accounts tell us that he wasn’t a very good preacher at the time, and yet the Lord used him. Ivimey became the assistant to the pastor in Wallingford, and in 1805 he was invited to preach at Eagle Street, Red Lion Square, in London. That church called him, and for the next twenty-nine years the name Joseph Ivimey became synonymous with the Baptists in London. He encouraged other churches, and he encouraged young men to pray about the ministry. He was well-known in the House of Lords, and often spoke before them.
But Ivimey suffered from debilitating asthma and other health problems. As the disease progressed, his opportunities to preach became fewer and fewer. So when not in the pulpit or preparing messages, he began collecting historical documents. He authored the four-volume History of the English Baptists, which is still considered to be the most complete work available.
Joseph Ivimey preached his final sermon on December 8, 1833. His text was “I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” His body deteriorated for another year before he died at the age of sixty. In his will he stated that his headstone at the Bunhill Fields cemetery should declare his name and then simply say, “Grace Reigns.” Indeed it does.