292 – Oct. 19 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

His head was set on a pole, in front of his church

October 19, 1661 – John James, a Sabbatarian Baptist was arrested. His congregation met in Bulstrake Alley, Whitechapel, London. It was in the afternoon when a justice of the peace entered to disperse the assembly and ordered Mr. James to cease preaching, which the little man promptly declined. He was then taken from the pulpit and transported to Newgate prison where he was charged with having used seditious language in his sermon which James denied in no uncertain terms.

In Nov. he appeared in the dock and pleaded, “not guilty,” and afterward a verdict was given against him upon the evidence of profligate persons. James petitioned King Charles to intercede, but the King treated him with contempt and decreed that the sentence must be fulfilled and that he was to be hanged. To the sentence Rev. James responded by quoting several scriptures including, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints,” and “He that toucheth the Lord’s people toucheth the apple of His eye.” He also told them that they were going to bring innocent blood down upon their heads. He closed by saying, “I have no more to say for myself, but one word for my Lord…The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the King of England.”

On the 26th of Nov. James was dragged…from Newgate to Tyburn, the place of execution…James said, “I do own the title of a baptized believer…The executioner said, ‘The Lord receive your soul, sir,’ to which he replied, I thank thee,’ and added, ‘Father into thy hands I commit my spirit.’ His head was set on a pole, in front of his church, where his people had met in peace.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 433-35

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