Tag Archives: historian

283 – Oct. 10 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

A Blessed Baptist historian

October 10, 1779 – David Benedict was born to Thomas and Abigail near Stratford, New York. When David was 14 he was apprenticed to a shoemaker and for seven years labored in that trade. His ability secured an opportunity for the manufacturing and retailing business in that field, but his conversion to Christ at age 20 changed the course of his life.

In Dec. 1799 he was baptized in the Housatonic River and united with the First Baptist Church of Stratford. In 1802 he gave up the career of shoemaker and entered the academy of the Rev. Stephen S. Nelson at Mt. Pleasant, N.Y., and paid his way by tutoring other students. One of them was Francis Wayland, future President of Brown University. In fact David also graduated from Brown U. in 1806. He presented an oration on Ecclesiastic History at graduation. 

In 1808 he married the daughter of Dr. Stephen Gano. They were married for 60 years and had 9 sons and 3 daughters.  After graduation David became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pawtucket and continued there for 25 years.  America’s first Sunday school came into existence there. 

For many years David had collected material and he wrote the History of the Baptists in the United States, and to some extent in other countries.  Benedict traveled throughout the young nation on horseback, covering nearly four thousand miles. 

Dr. Benedict lived to the age of 95.  Up until his death on Dec. 5, 1874, his eyesight was unimpaired, and he was able to write clearly both day and night.  Baptists are indebted to David Benedict for preserving so well our Baptist annals for coming generations.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 420-21.

 

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15 – January 15 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Who is the real slave?

 

1838 – The British Baptist Union wrote to the ministers of the Baptist churches in the U.S. urging them to use their influence to bring about full emancipation. The practice of slavery had been introduced into Virginia in 1619 and was, at first, resisted by the southern colonies. However in time, the tragedy of slavery became the most divisive issue ever to face our nation. Baptist leaders divided severely on the matter. J.H. Hinton, chairman, wrote: “We have not been ignorant that slavery existed in the States, entailed, we are humbled and ashamed to acknowledge, by British influence, authority and example. But we had, until of late, no conception of the extent to which multitudes of professing Christians in your land, by indifference, by connivance, by apology, or by actual participation are implicated in it.” Isaac Backus, who became famous as a Baptist pastor and historian, was raised in the Standing Order of New England (state church). Yet the family owned a slave and an Indian girl apprenticed as a servant. The famed diary of Backus reported the death of a slave of one of the members of the church in Middleborough, Massachusetts in the mid-eighteenth century. Two things were involved in shifting the slave population to the South. The cold winters made slavery unprofitable and the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 made the institution of slavery to be profitably utilized. But we must ever remember that Jesus told us who the real slave is: He said “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. He also said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 20-21.

 

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295 – Oct. 22 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Parsons Rejects Infant “Baptism”

 

Oct. 22, 1795 – Was the day that Baptist historian and pastor, Isaac Backus heard Stephen Parsons preach, according to an entry in Backus’ diary. Parsons, a native of Middletown, Conn., and a member of the Separatist Congregational church in his home town became pastor of the branch that formed in Westfield, Conn. in 1788. However, in 1795, after much study on the subject, Parsons rejected infant baptism and was dismissed from his church. Parsons was baptized by Elder Abel Palmer, Pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Colchester, Conn. Seven of his former members went with him and they formed a Baptist church in Westfield. Later Parsons became pastor of the Baptist church in Whiteboro, N.Y. The split in the Congregational Church started with the Revivals of George Whitefield. The decadent Congregational churches were inundated with new converts from the Whitefield and other revivals of that era. In time the new, on fire converts left, and started new Congregational churches called “Separates” or “New Lights.” The new churches however were cut off from the tax revenues for the upkeep of their church buildings and pastors salaries. At this point, absent infant baptism they were only a step away from being Baptists. Coen says it well: ‘Gone to the Baptists’ is a frequent entry in the record books of the Separate churches beside the names of former members who had adopted the principle of believer’s, as opposed to infant’s baptism. [C.C. Coen, Revivalism and Separatism in New Englan, 1740-1800 (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1987), p.86. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 577-79.]   Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon

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