Joshua Morse was born on this day in 1726 when his parents were living in the colony of Rhode Island. Even though his grandfather was a Baptist, his parents were not, and Joshua was not raised in the light of the Word of God. Nevertheless, at the age of sixteen he attended a meeting of the evangelical “New Lights” with the intention of mocking them, but he came away under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Soon he surrendered to the Lord for not only salvation, but also for service, like his grandfather.
The first time Joshua Morse preached Christ’s gospel, he was arrested. At the time, the law declared that every preacher not authorized by the Congregational religion was to be fined ten shillings. Not only that but every hearer of that preacher was to be fined five shillings and the man or woman who opened his house to the man was to pay an additional five pounds. The magistrate, therefore, ordered that Morse pay the fine or receive ten lashes. The preacher declared that he would be whipped. But after being bound to the post, the constable who was to administer the beating refused and argued with the magistrate against such cruelty. The court official, after some awkward moments offered to pay Morse’s fine on his behalf, but the preacher refused to accept it. After a few more minutes the court officials slinked off and someone untied the bonds.
Throughout his life, Brother Morse was persecuted, beaten so often and so severely that his head and face carried the scars to his grave. Nevertheless, the Lord blessed the man’s ministry with souls saved and several churches planted.
After living through some of the most momentous events in this country’s history, Joshua Morse died. As his physical life ebbed away he chose a hymn to be sung at his funeral and asked that someone preach from the words of Paul: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”