First Baptist – NY City-1800
He had no fear of the yellow fever
Benjamin Foster who had been the pastor of the First Baptist Church of New York City since 1788, died of yellow fever on August 26, 1798. The disease had reached epidemic proportions in New York City that year, and when the dreadful disease began to prevail, Pastor Foster was frequent in his visits to pray and give comfort from God’s Word to those scenes of affliction from which many of the best men shrunk back with terror. Foster was born into a typical pious Congregationalist home in Danvers, Mass. At age 18 he was sent to Yale College where he distinguished himself by his out-standing moral life as well as his success in classical literature and languages – Greek, Hebrew and Chaldean. At this time there was much debate over the scriptural mode and candidates for baptism. At one point Foster was chosen to defend infant baptism in debate. He carefully studied the scriptures and the history of the church from the times of the apostles and to his surprise and chagrin of others, came to a different conclusion than what was expected. When the day came, he declared himself an avowed convert to believer’s baptism, and that only those who profess faith in Jesus Christ are to be the subject of baptism, and that immersion only is the mode of Christian baptism. He was soon baptized and joined the Baptist church in Boston, and under the pastoral care of Samuel Stillman he studied theology. He pastored the Baptist church in Leicester, Mass, where he was ordained and then the Baptist church in Newport, RI. On his tomb in a NY cemetery it says, “…the church was comforted by his life, and now laments his death.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 352-53.
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