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281 – Oct. 08 – This Day in Baptist History Past


First modern to begin public singing


1664 – Twenty-four year old Benjamin Keach was held in the assize (county court) at Aylesbury, England having been bound over for ₤100 and two sureities in bonds of ₤50 each. His crime? He printed a small book entitled, ‘The Child’s Instructor: or, A New and Easy Primer.” The Man of God had suffered, “suffered many occasions of imprisonment and once his life was saved by an officer, which had captured the preacher, preventing them trampling him to death. On another occasion he was charged with publishing a seditious ‘primer’, called the ‘Child’s Instructor.’ Keach was imprisoned, fined and pilloried. Chief-Justice Hyde presided. “…breaking through all law and decency, represented him to the Grand jury as a man of the most dangerous principles, attempting to poison the minds of children…; and exhorted them to do their duty when the bill came before them…and exhorted them to do their duty. The next day the judge was quite pleased as the following indictment was read by the clerk.  “Thou art here indicted Benjamin Keach of Winslow, for seditious, heretical, and schismatical, evil, etc. toward your Majesty’s Government and the Government of the Church of England. And they repeated the title to the children’s books mentioned above. One said:- Ques. “Who are the right subjects of baptism? Ans.- “Believers, or godly men and women only who can make confession of their faith and repentance.”  From the age of 28 until his death he pastored the same church. He was the first coming out of the persecution to begin public singing. {B. Evans, The early English Baptists (London: J. Heaton and Son, 1864), 2:308-9. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D.551-53]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon


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Some were whipped by individuals, several fined.
December 07, 1770 – William Webber and Joseph Anthony were arrested in Chesterfield, County, Virginia and they were held in prison until on Jan. 04, 1771, they were brought before the magistrates on charges of “misbehavior by itinerant preaching in this County being of that sect of dissenters from the Church of England commonly called anabaptists, and on hearing they acknowledged that they had preached in the upper end of this county at a meeting of sundry people there.” The court refused their offer to take the oath as prescribed by the so called Toleration Act, and thus for conscience sake they remained in jail until March 7, 1771. Jail increased their opportunities to preach through the grates. Their preaching was so powerful that the jailer was inclined to leave the door of their cell ajar so they could escape. Their reply was the same as Paul the Apostle, “They have taken us openly, uncondemned, and have cast us into prison; and now, do they cast us out privily? Nay, verily, but let them come themselves and fetch us out.” Chesterfield, County was notorious for its persecution of Baptist preachers. In fact there is a monument to religious liberty on the courthouse square in Chesterfield, Virginia, in memory of those who courageously suffered in its behalf. Semple, in his history (1810), mentions, that the Baptist cause has most flourished where it has met the most opposition in its offset. In the history of Chesterfield jail, seven preachers were confined for preaching without a license. They were William Webber, Joseph Anthony, Augustine Easton, John Weatherford, John Tanner, Jeremiah Walker and David Tinsley. Some were whipped by individuals, several fined. They kept up their persecution even after other counties had laid it aside.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 510-11.

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