Burning Pepper to Prevent Preaching
John Young was one of the courageous Baptist preachers in Virginia during the 18th century who suffered for the freedom to preach according to conscience. He died in a good old age on April 16, 1817.
In 1908, one of his granddaughters gave the following interesting information of John Young. “He was converted and began preaching. He, with others, was imprisoned for preaching what he believed to be the truth. His mother, who had care of his motherless children, visited him regularly once a week taking the children with her. Each preacher was in a room to himself. Each room had one small window, placed so high up in the wall that only a patch of sky could be seen, nothing on the earth. The congregations of the different ministers learned, each, which was his pastor’s window. Once a week John Young’s congregation (and I suppose the other’s too), would assemble under his window, and run up a flag, to let him know they were there and he would preach to them. In this way a great many people were converted. The authorities said, ‘ These heretics make more converts in jail than they do out ‘, so when the congregation assembled, that pastor was smoked out by burning pepper to prevent his preaching.”
Young had been arrested on June 13, 1771, ostensibly for preaching without a license.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, p. 155.
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Category Archives: Church History
Burning Pepper to Prevent Preaching
Life is the Time to Serve the Lord
James Greenwood certainly fulfilled the qualifications of a bishop and steward in being blameless and faithful until his death on April 15, 1815. Notwithstanding his excellent character did not keep him from being persecuted along with his other brethren in their service to the Lord.
Semple tells us that “in August 1772, James Greenwood and William Loval were preaching not far from the place where Bruington Meeting House now stands, in the county of King and Queen, when they were seized and, by virtue of a warrant, immediately conveyed to prison.”
Before the constitution of the Bruington Church the Baptists of the neighborhood met in a local barn. Later an arbor was erected where they might meet. It was here while James Greenwood and William Loval were preaching that they were arrested, and were conveyed to the King and Queen county jail. While being led to the jail they began to sing: “Life is the time to serve the Lord” and they gave notice that they would preach the next Lord’s Day from the jail windows.
The hymn that Greenwood and Loval sang challenges the Christian of today to use the time that God has given him or her to accomplish the work of Christ regardless of the hardships of this life. The hymn that they sang was written by Isaac Watts and may be found in The Baptist Hymnal of 1883 Edited by William H. Doane and E. H. Johnson.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 153-154.
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Blacks receive the gospel gladly
1831 – Thomas Paul, one of the first black Baptist pastors is the one that we honor on this day. Paul was a “free black” born in Sept. 1773, and at 16 was born the second time. On May 1, 1805 he was ordained to the gospel ministry. Black Baptists were numerous at that time numbering an estimated 400,000 by the end of the Civil War. However, they had few Black churches and worshiped with the white folks but segregated in galleries, or in groups within their auditoriums. Bro. Paul formed the African Baptist Church in Boston, later called Joy Baptist, and served as their pastor for twenty years. According to one account, He was no ordinary man…”His understanding was vigorous, his imagination was vivid, his personal appearance interesting, and his elocution was graceful…” In time the Gold Street Baptist Church in New York invited him to help them. Paul assisted the black’s to separate from the whites and establish the Abyssinian Baptist Church, and even though a small group, Paul remained and led them as pastor. Because of Carey and Thomas, this was also the time that Baptists were awakening to the burden of missions. The Mass. Baptist Missionary Society was started in 1815. The African Baptist Missions Society was formed in Richmond, VA by black Baptists. Paul applied to the Mass. Society for service in Haiti, was accepted and went at age 55. However, the French language proved to be difficult and he returned home. Thomas passed into the presence of the Lord on April 14, 1831. What a tribute he was to the Lord and his race.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 152.
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He stood by the Word
1785 – Spencer H. Cone was born on this day at Princeton, N.J. to dedicated Baptist parents who were also members of the Hopewell Baptist Church. His mother prayed for him, while on her breast, and received the assurance that he would be a preacher of the gospel. At the age of 12 he entered Princeton College, but his father developed mental illness and he was forced, at age 14, to support the family. He worked as a bookkeeper, newspaper publisher, and an actor. He was devoted to the politics of Jefferson and Madison. He discovered the works of John Newton in a bookstore and came under deep conviction over his sinful condition, and that Christ alone could save him. Cone fought bravely in the War of 1812 as captain of artillery in several prominent battles. Shortly he began preaching in Washington, D.C. and became so popular that he was elected chaplain of the U.S. Congress. He then was pastor of a church in Alexandria, Virginia, and then became pastor of the First Baptist Church in NY, City. For nearly forty years he was a leader in home and foreign missions and in the great modern movement for a purely translated Bible. He fought the pedobaptists over the issue of baptizo meaning immerse. In his prime it was said that he was the most popular clergyman in America. Though he valued education, he was mostly concerned with the purity of the Word that men might truly know the mind of Christ in the Scriptures, translated faithfully into the languages of all men.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 150.
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They Sought a Place of Refuge
Jailed for refusing to pay a bond
William Screven emigrated to Boston from Somerton, England, about the year 1668. He moved to Kittery in the Province of Maine. After Massachusetts acquired the area of Main, the authorities began to watch Screven closely because of his Baptist views.
Ultimately, Screven was charged first with not attending meetings on the Lord’s Day. Later he was charged with making blasphemous speeches against the “holy order of pedobaptism,” after spending some time in jail for refusing to pay a bond of £100.
On April 12, 1682, he was brought before the Court at York, and the examination resulted as follows:
“This Court having considered the offensive speeches of William Screven, viz., his rash, inconsiderate words tending to blasphemy, do adjudge the delinquent for his offence to pay ten pounds into the treasury of the county or province. And further, the Court doth further discharge the said Screven under any pretence to keep any private exercise at his own house or elsewhere, upon the Lord’s days, either in Kittery or any other place within the limits of this province, and is for the future enjoined to observe the public worship of God in our public assemblies upon the Lord’s days according to the laws here established in this Province, upon such penalties as the law requires upon his neglect of the premises.”
Screven and his associates had now come to the conclusion that if at Kittery they could not have freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences, they must seek that freedom elsewhere.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: Baptist History Homepage , ( Rev. William Screven and the Baptists at Kittery , By Henry S. Burrage,
1904 ) pp. 18-19
Edward Wightman, the last Baptist to be executed by the fires of the stake at Lichfield outside the St. Mary’s Catholic Church on April 11, 1612. Bishop Neile of Lichfield and his coadjutors, who acted as Royal Commissioners on the occasion, were manifestly “forgers of Lies. “ Thomas Crosby mentions that “many of the heresies they charge upon him are as foolish and inconsistent, that it very much discredits what they say.” What was the real cause of his martyrdom? “Among other charges brought against him were these: ‘That the baptizing of infants is an abominable custom; that the Lord’s supper and baptism are not to be celebrated as they are now practiced in the church of England; and that Christianity is not wholly professed and preached in the church of England, but only in part’ “ Though they found him guilty of many heresies, some of which were probably unknown to him, even by name, the account that he claimed “the use of baptism to be administered in water only to converts of sufficient age and understanding.” Was true.
What kind of man really was Edward Wightman? His son, grandson, great grandson, for two more generations all pastored Baptist churches in America! That is a great tribute to his faith.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: A History of the Baptists, by John T. Christian /A History of the English Baptists, by Joseph Ivimey.
Ten Shillings or Ten Lashes
100– April 10—This Day in Baptist History Past
Joshua Morse, having been born April 10, 1726, his life spanned many eventful years during the establishment of our nation. At the age of eighteen he began his ministerial labors at a time when every man who opened his door for a dissenter to preach was fined five pounds, the preacher ten shillings, and hearers five shillings. The very first time that Morse preached at Stonington, CT he was apprehended, and the magistrate sentenced him to be fined ten shillings or to receive ten lashes at the whipping post. The fine he could not pay, and the lashes he was prepared to receive.
Morse was knocked down often by blows while praying and preaching as well as being dragged around by the hair of his head. On one occasion a man struck Morse in his temple with such violence that it brought him to the floor from which he arose with emotion and pity and said, “If you die a natural death, the LORD hath not spoken by me.” This man, not long after, went to sea, fell from the ship, and was drowned.
About a month before his death in July of 1795, he called his church together and gave them his last advice and benediction. He had composed a hymn to be sung at his funeral and chose a passage to be preached from, which was, “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.”
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 144-145. / Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
A husband and wife team
1834 – On this day Justus and Calista (Holman) Vinton were married. They met at the Hamilton Bible Institute at Hamilton, NY where they had both gone to prepare themselves for the service of Christ. Justus had been born on Feb. 17, 1806, in Wilmington, CT. He received Christ at age ten and called to preach at fourteen, and in 1826 he entered the Bible Institute in Hamilton, NY. Calista was born on April 9, 1807 and at 16 she contracted an illness and was near death. She requested to be baptized before she died, so they put her on a sleigh and took her to the river on a cold day in March and Pastor Grow baptized her. From that day on she began to recover. They sailed for Burma in July arriving in Maulmain in December. Vinton conducted services on board the ship and led the captain, the steward and a number of the sailors to Christ. Having studied the Karen language in school, the Vinton’s immediately began to evangelize among the Karens from village to village, which they continued for the next twenty-five years. They took a furlough in 1848 to allow for Mrs. Vinton’s health and to give Mr. Vinton an opportunity to stimulate the mission cause, which he did. After they returned to the field, war broke out and a Burmese evangelist in Rangoon asked them to come to assist the work there. The mission directors back home disagreed so Vinton resigned. Through great privations they saw unusual results. In one 20 month period Vinton baptized 441 converts. Vinton died in 1858 with jungle fever.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 144.
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He couldn’t say No!
1801 – On this day William Carey, known as “the Father of Modern Missions”, was asked to be the professor of Bengali in the new College. Carey, having never attended college, questioned whether he could produce in the classroom. But this modest, unassuming man did produce, twenty-one of his first forty-five students rose to be judges and other held leading positions in the government. Again we see Rom. 8:28 at work for this also gave stability for Carey, Marshman and Boardman’s work at the mission. They say that Carey was not a genius but what would one have to do to be a genius. He only spoke at least seventeen languages, mastered numerous Indian languages, preached in the vernacular, was an active personal soul winner, and participated in establishing twenty churches and mission stations in India by 1814. Considering the fact that they arrived there in 1793, one of his sons died of dysentery, his wife had a nervous breakdown, and he had to work to support his family, surely all would agree that he should have nothing to apologize for. This is all the more evidence of his testimony that when asked to describe himself, he referred to himself as a plodder by saying to his nephew Eustace, “I can plod.” He told Rev. Swan of the Cannon Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, England, “I never could say —-‘No’.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 143.
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Dunster Grave Site
He counted the cost
1657 – Henry Dunster, on this day was forced to resign as President of Cambridge College (now Harvard), for refusing to have his son christened (sprinkled). He was then arraigned before the Middlesex court and not allowed to speak on his own behalf but the court stated his position with these words, “The subjects of baptism were visible penitent believers and they only.”
Dunster had publically declared that christening “was not according to the institution of Christ” or the mind of Christ. He also said that the covenant of Abraham was not the ground for baptism. It was the bloody back of Obadiah Holmes and the persecution of others that had caused Dunster to take the strong stand that he did though he was one of the most influential men in New England and Massachusetts Colony at that time. But it was these seeds of trials that were sown and nourished before the first Baptist church could be planted in Massachusetts Bay proper.
What a debt we owe these stalwart soldiers of the cross. And yet in this age of instant everything we are prone to quit if God doesn’t do something immediately when we begin to serve Him in the endeavor that He has called us.
We forget the words of our Lord, For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. Rather, we expect the harvest as soon as we put in the seed and then when we don’t see a crop immediately we get upset and leave our field of service.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 141.