236 – August 24 – This Day in Baptist History Past
How the gospel spread in Ireland
Alexander Carson died on August 24, 1844. He was one of the most illustrious of the Irish Baptists. He was born in the north of Ireland in 1776. He settled as a Presbyterian pastor in 1798 at Tubbermore for £100 per year from the government. He was a Greek scholar, and had been willing to sign the “Standards” of the Church of Scotland, and could have become Professor of Greek in the University of Glasgow. He finally adopted Baptist principles, gave up his Presbyterian pastorate and salary, and gathered a little band of Baptists about him in a church without a meetinghouse, while he himself endured deep poverty. He was probably the leading scholar, writer and reasoner among the British Baptists. He aided in operating a Baptist seminary at Belina from 1830-1840. He had a stabalizing effect when confusion prevailed that laid the ground work for the “Prayer Meeting Revival” that spread from America to Ireland in the late 1850s. Often the fruit of our labors does not come forth until we have entered into our rest after enduring the heat of the day of sowing and cultivating. During the decade of the 1650s, at least 11 Baptist churches were formed when Cromwell’s army over ran Ireland in 1649. Its leadership consisted of many Baptists. Many Baptists abounded in his forces. Among them were twelve governors of towns and cities, ten colonels, four lieutenant colonels, ten majors, twenty captains, and twenty-three officers on the civil list. Most of these churches were founded and sustained by the officers and soldiers in Cromwell’s army. London Baptists, responding to an appeal sent a number of preachers to Ireland. That’s how the Baptist foothold got its start in Ireland to begin with.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 349-50.
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Some who want liberty only want it for themselves
Thomas Patient migrated to America as a Congregationalist preacher after graduating from either Oxford or Cambridge University. Meeting Baptists he re-examined the Scriptures concerning Baptism and concluded that “infant baptism” had no foundation in Scripture.” However, because of severe persecution from his church he was forced to return to Great Britain. The Pilgrims had come to find religious liberty but there was not liberty for others. He served as co-pastor with William Kiffin in London in 1640 and was one of the Baptist leaders who signed the Particular Baptist Confession of Faith by seven Baptist churches in London in 1644. This was during the Commonwealth under Cromwell and the English Parliament voted to appoint six ministers to preach in Dublin, Ireland, and Patient accepted one of those positions. He spoke to large audiences and he acted as chaplain for Colonel John Jones, who was actually the Gov. of Dublin and Patient was invited to preach each Lord’s Day in the Council of Dublin and thus the aristocracy of the Anglo-Irish society heard the living gospel. Patient baptized a large group in Dublin and it is believed that he founded the First Baptist Church in Ireland following the Reformation in Ireland. He apparently assisted in establishing the Baptist church at Cloughkeating. All the congregation were tried for their lives, but in God’s providence the foreman died, and they were all acquitted. Because Patient was willing to accept government remuneration for preaching, it is evident that the Baptists of London distanced themselves from him. But to him is the honor of building the first Baptist meetinghouse in Ireland. The man of God fell asleep in Jesus on July 30, 1666 having paid the price for his convictions on Baptism.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 312-13.
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“…they have increased their number above all sects in the land.”
December 26, 1646 – The Presbyterian Parliament in England under Cromwell passed an ordinance that called for severe penalties against anyone who would “preach or expound the scriptures in any church, or any other public place, except they may be ordained, either here or some other reformed church, as it is already prohibited in both houses of the 26th of April, 1645, and likewise against all such ministers, or others, as shall publish or maintain, by preaching, or writing or any other way, anything against, or in derogation of church government which is now established by authority of both houses of parliament.” It went on to tell how the authorities were to enforce and punish the offenders. The persecutions were directed mainly against the Baptists because they denied the necessity of infant baptism. Almost every prominent Baptist preacher was sooner or later committed to prison. The troubled times of the civil war gave the Baptists in England an opportunity for real growth. Robert Baillie, one of their enemies said, “…they have increased their number above all sects in the land. They have 46 churches in and about London. They are a people very fond of religious liberty, and very unwilling to be brought under bondage of the judgment of any other.” The Baptists joined in great numbers to Cromwell’s army. Many officers were accustomed to preaching, and both commanders and privates were continually searching the scriptures and praying in meetings. Because of this, many more became Baptists. One of the distinguished leaders, Major General Harrison was a Baptist. Cromwell had him thrown into prison when Harrison became disenchanted with Cromwell’s commitment to liberty. Baptists soon realized that the Parliamentary Party was not a real friend to the Baptists.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 541-42.