Liberty on the Rise
The old court records of New England reveal the names of many Baptists who were constrained to pay taxes for the support of the Congregationalists. One of those was Nathanael Green who was ordained as the pastor of the Baptist Church in Charlton, Mass. on Oct. 12, 1763. That Congregation experienced many trials through the years, and at times spiritual depression was known as well as great spiritual revival. In that Elder Green served until his death on March 21, 1791, it is apparent that the church endured the period of the Revolutionary War. The pastor is spoken of as “being exemplary, “until he fell asleep in Jesus…” But the public court record shows that Elder Green was arrested, taken to Worchester, imprisoned, and fined for refusing to pay the “ministers rate,” which we have mentioned before was for the care of the state preacher and his family. The preacher was advised by Col. Chandler to pay the fine and after six hours he was released. The pastor received a receipt for, “…sixteen shillings, nine pence, one farthing, being in full for his town and county rates for the year 1767: Benjamin Bond, Constable for the year 1767.” The pastor sued on the basis that the law is to protect citizens against unscrupulous actions. He won at the lower court, the assessors appealed and he won in the Superior Court. The Man of God received all of his money and court costs back. We should note that the sun of liberty in America was rising in those days. Today it is just the opposite, when we go to court for the cause of liberty, the court rules for the state and against those that try to uphold freedom, and we have a Constitution, and they didn’t have its benefits yet. But we do have a “sin” problem. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” [Pr 14:34]
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp, 166 – 167.
Publishing Glad Tidings
On this date in 1824, Reverend Noah Davis sent a tremendously important message to a former classmate, the Reverend James D. Knowles of Washington, D.C., urging that consideration be given for the establishing of a publishing house for Bible literature among the rapidly growing ministry of the Baptists in America.
This is what he wrote: “I have been thinking for some time, how a Tract Society can be gotten up; in Washington, which shall hold the same place among Baptists that the American Tract Society does among the Congregationalists. I now feel very much, the necessity of having tracts to scatter in the waste places. It is a plan of doing good scarcely thought of among Baptists.” In February 25, 1824, a company of twenty-five Baptists met at the house of Mr. George Wood in Washington D.C. to consider the appropriateness of the formation of a Baptist General Tract Society. What brought them together was the letter sent by the Reverend Noah Davis of Maryland. Mr. Knowles gave this tribute to Reverend Davis: “His heart was in the work; a qualification, without which, no man ever accomplished much. He possessed unusual talents for business. He was active, affable, and prompt. He spoke with fluency, and when excited, with much power and eloquence. His full, loud, and sonorous voice, his manly person, his simple, direct, and forcible diction, gave him great advantages in preaching.” In 1826 the Tract Society was moved to Philadelphia which afforded more publishing opportunities. And the with the establishment of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1845 their name was changed to the American Baptist Publication Society. All of this because of the vision of one man.
Dr. Dale R. Hart, adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins) pp. 91-92