May 23

John Comer was born in 1704; the place was Boston. His parents were Presbyterians, but an uncle on his mother’s side was a Baptist pastor. When Comer was a student at Yale, he fled Connecticut to escape yet another smallpox epidemic. The nearness of death was used by the Lord to bring the young man to his knees in repentance and faith in Christ. Then when he began reading Joseph Stennett’s “Treatise on Baptism,” he became convicted of his need of believer’s baptism. Unlike many of those early Baptists, he was successful in leading his parents to join him. He was baptized by his uncle, Elisha Callender, who was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Boston.

Bro. Comer began preaching Christ at the age of twenty-one. In November 1725 he became the co-pastor of the Baptist church in Newport, Rhode Island. Then three years later he took the charge of the Baptist church in Rehoboth (Ra-HO-buth), Massachusetts. In addition to being an excellent pastor and evangelist, his meticulous journal was later used by both Isaac Backus and Morgan Edwards in their histories of the early Baptists.

John Comer served the Lord with such zeal and intensity that he taxed his physical powers to the point of contracting consumption. He died at Rehoboth on this day in 1734, when he was not quite thirty years old.

There is no human explanation why the Lord cuts short the useful lives of some of His servants, while others, who are not so serviceable, are permitted long and semi-productive lives. But we do not question the Lord’s wisdom in such matters.