Tag Archives: London

296 – Oct 23 – This Day in Baptist History Past

William Penn… saw her lay the straw about her for a speedy burning

October 23, 1685 – Elizabeth Gaunt was executed at Tyburn, near London. She was associated in English history with what was called the Rye-house Plot. Many were executed for participating in a non-existent “plot” to assassinate King Charles II. However, there was never any evidence presented against them in court. Elizabeth Gaunt, a godly Baptist woman who lived in London, spent a great part of her life doing acts of charity, visiting jails, and looking after the poor, etc. But her compassion became her undoing. An accused rebel was looking for refuge from his pursuers. Elizabeth thinking that he was escaping from religious persecution took him in while she looked for a way to get him out of the kingdom. In order to save his own life, he turned Elizabeth in to the authorities, because though it’s hard to believe, the king would rather prosecute dissenters than traitors. Elizabeth was tried and condemned for harboring a criminal. Even though she thought she was harboring a nonconformist and in the eye of the law innocent the judge refused to allow her witnesses to testify and instructed the jury to find her guilty. Elizabeth was condemned and burned, as the law directed in the case of women guilty of treason. She died with a steadfastness and cheerfulness that amazed all who saw it. William Penn, the Quaker, saw her lay the straw about her for a speedy burning, and saw the spectators moved with tears. She left a short note, in part it said: “Neither do I find in my heart the least regret at anything I have done in the service of my Lord and Master…”

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 439-41.

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247 – Sept. 04 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Bunyan, John

He preached to as many as 3,000 in London

“Wednesday Sept. 04, 1688 …was kept in prayer and humiliation for this Heavy Stroak upon us, ye Death of deare Brother Bunyan. Apoynted also that Wednesday next be kept in praire and humiliation on the same Account.” John Bunyan, their most loved pastor had died on Friday, Aug. 31 while on a preaching trip to London, England. The news had not reached his congregation in Bedford until they had gathered to worship the following Sunday. Bunyan often preached to as many as 3,000 in London after spending nearly 13 years in Bedford jail for refusing a license to preach the gospel. There he had writtenPilgrim’s Progress and other great works. In 1672 the Act of Pardon had set him free. He was born to a tinker (a repairer of pots and pans). He married in 1647 and was saved and baptized into the membership of Bedford church in 1655. His wife died the same year and he remarried in 1659. He had a precious blind daughter who visited him while in jail. He died as he was born, in poverty. His death came when he was exposed to a heavy rain which brought on a high fever, and in ten days the great preacher was with the Lord. [John Brown, John Bunyan His Life Times and Work (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1888), pp. 390-91.  Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp.  483-85.

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Oliver_CromwellOliver Cromwell

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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Medley, Samuel


When Medley Found Harmony with God


Samuel Medley, who had been born on June 23, 1738, at the age of sixteen when war broke out between England and France in 1755 was glad at the thought that he might be able to finish out his apprenticeship in the cloth trade in the British navy. Thus Samuel found himself in the famed Battle of Cape Lagos. He was wounded as the battle raged, and the greater part of the calf of one of his legs was shot away. The leg did not heal, and in time, the ship’s surgeon told him that gangrene had set in and amputation was imperative. Young Medley was filled with horror, and the doctor granted one more day before surgery. Medley began to think of his godly father and grandfather and remembered a Bible in his trunk. Sending for it, he spent the night reading the Bible and praying. The next morning when the surgeon returned, he was amazed at the healing that had begun, and no operation was necessary. Rather than being led to repentance, Medley rejoiced in his good fortune and turned again from the Lord.


Having to convalesce before continuing to pursue his aspirations of advancement in the navy, Samuel Medley went to his grandfather’s home in London. The elderly gentleman witnessed to and warned his grandson, but young Medley was unconcerned. Then one Sunday evening the grandfather chose to read Medley a sermon by Dr. Isaac Watts, and the Holy Spirit brought conviction and worked a wonderful transformation in the young sailor’s life. What a change resulted! Day by day Samuel Medley studied in his grandfather’s library. He was twenty-two years old now, and there was no time to lose. He was baptized in December of 1760 by Dr. Gifford. He learned both Hebrew and Greek and prayerfully studied the Word of God.


Medley’s usual day began in the study soon after his 4:00 A.M. rising. Private devotions and study were observed until ten o’clock, and then the various pastoral responsibilities among his people took place. He loved to witness to the sailors in his seaport city, and he had a keen interest in youth. The pastor loved music and wrote much poetry that found its way into useful hymns.


The man of God approached death in his sixty-first year, and on his deathbed he said, “ ‘I am now a poor shattered bark, just about to enter the blissful harbour: and O, how sweet will be the port after the storm.’…His last words were, ‘Glory! Glory! Glory! Home! Home!’ He died on July 17th, 1799,”and thus ended a glorious journey in the grace of God.


Dr. Dale R. Hart: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 257 – 258.


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King George II
1680 –The Baptists in Boston quietly and cautiously built a new meetinghouse and began to assemble there on February 15, 1679. But the authorities soon found out and issued a law in May, 1679 to take the property from them if they continued to meet there. Under the threat of law, the Baptists ceased to occupy their own building.  However, King Charles II issued an edict to all authorities to allow freedom and liberty of conscience to all non-Catholics. He further stated they were not to be subjected to fines or forfeitures, or other hardships for the same. He stated, “…which is it a severity the more to be wondered at, whereas liberty of conscience was made one principle motive for your transportation into those parts.” Some friends of the Baptists in London notified the Baptists in Boston about the King’s decree, and the Baptists happily returned to meeting in their building. Shortly, the spiritual leadership was summoned before the Court of Assistants where is was demanded that they promise not to meet there again. They refused to promise and on March 8, 1680, an officer of the court nailed the doors to their building shut and posted the order thereon. The Baptists held their services in the yard, until one Sunday when they arrived, much to their surprise the doors were open. They did not know whether man or angel opened those doors, but they entered and held services and said, “The Court had done this illegally, we were denied a copy of the constable’s order and Marshall’s warrant, and we concluded to go into our house, it being our own, having a civil right to it.” Dr. Increase Mather published a pamphlet in London speaking against the Baptists’ character. John Russell wrote an answer to what Mather wrote. It was published in London and prefaced by some Baptist Ministers in England. They said, “It seems most strange that our Congregational brethren in New England, who with liberal estates, chose rather to depart from their native soil into a wilderness, than to be under the lash of those who upon religious pretenses took delight to smite their fellow servants, should exercise towards others the like severity that themselves at so great hazard and hardship sought to avoid; especially considering that it is against their brethren, who profess and appeal to the same rule with themselves for guidance in the worship of God, and the ordering of their whole conversation.”
Barbara Ketay from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 95-96.
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363 – Dec. 29 – This Day in Baptist History Past



Conviction waned before returning


1807 – John Chin was ordained to the gospel ministry. John was the youngest son of a farming family and was born near Blanton, England, in May of 1773. He always talked in glowing terms of his parents but especially of his godly mother who instructed him early in the scriptures. John was brought, as early as eight, to his need of Christ but the conviction subsided when he was apprenticed, while a lad to a craftsman in Bristol. However he was attracted to the preaching of an independent minister named Hey and began attending the chapel at Horsely Down. It was there that he came deeply under conviction of sin and received the Savior of Calvary, was baptized, and united with the church. The pastor encouraged John to exercise his gift of preaching and door to door evangelism. From there John moved to London and became involved with the Baptist  church that met in Church Street, Blackfriars. He then began to serve with Pastor Joseph Swain and the saints in Walworth. Following the death of Mr. Swain, a second church was formed, property secured, and a chapel was erected. A sizeable congregation gathered, and Mr. Chin was asked to become their pastor. Mr. Chin was preaching regularly in various places, and he did not accept an immediate call, in fact it was nearly three years before he was finally persuaded to accept the challenge and was ordained. For the next thirty-two years he served this congregation faithfully, and it was necessary on several occasions to enlarge the chapel. At the conclusion of his ministry it would seat near a thousand. On August 28, 1839, at age 66, John Chin laid aside his robe of flesh. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: 2000 A.D. pp. 712-14. Alfred W. Light, Bunhill Fields (London: C.J. Farncombe and Sons, Ltd., 1915), p. 69.]


Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon


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329 – Nov. 25 – This Day in Baptist History Past


He repudiated infant Baptism


1790 – John Macgowan, aged 54, died and was buried in Bunhill Field, London, England. The following words marks his resting place, “Here lies John Macgowan, U.D.M., who at the hand of God merited nothing but final destruction, yet, through grace, was enabled to hope in a finished salvation.” Eph. II, 8. The letters “U.D.M.” stand for Verbum Dei Minister, i.e., “Minister of the Word of God.” During his final sickness he was visited by a pastor friend, Rev. John Reynolds, who said, “I found him in a sweet and heavenly frame; his countenance indicated the serenity of his mind. He said…hear of the loving kindness of my God. Methinks I have as much of heaven as I can hold.” Then tears of joy like a river flowed from his eyes…We are to part here; but we shall meet again. You cannot conceive the pleasure I feel…, that I have not shunned to declare (according to my light and ability) the whole counsel of God. I can die on the doctrines that I have preached – they are true – I have found them so. Go on to preach the Gospel of Christ, and mind not what the world may say to you.” Upon parting, he said, ‘My dear brother, farewell—I shall see you no more.”  John Macgowan was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, about 1726, obviously into a household of penury, for at an early age he was apprenticed to a weaver to be trained for that occupation. He was converted through the influence of the Methodists, but after a thorough examination of the scriptures he repudiated infant Baptism and was immersed as a believer. He became pastor of the Devonshire Baptist Church in London at age 41 in 1767, and stayed until his death. [Alfren W. Light, Bunhill Fields (London: C.J. Farncombe and Sons, Ltd., 1915), pp. 226-27. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 645-46.]   Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon


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199 – July, 18 – This Day in Baptist History Past


The importance of a godly wife


Only eternity can reward the wives of the great preachers of the past such as the godly wife of Benjamin Keach, who at 28 years of age, was called to pastor the Baptist church at Horsleydown London in 1668. This holy lady, who had borne him five children in ten years, died in 1670, and Keach wrote a poem in her memory entitled “A Pillar Set Up.” In this poem he gave her a very great and noble character, commending her for her zeal for the truth, sincerity in religion, uncommon love to the saints, and her content in whatsoever condition of life God was pleased to bring her to. He particularly observes, how great an help, and comfort, she was to him in his suffering for the cause of Christ, visiting, and taking all possible care of him while in prison, instead of tempting him to use any means for delivery out of his troubles, encouraging him to go on, and counting it an honor done them both, in that they were called to suffer for the sake of Christ. He also said that some acknowledged that, that their conversion to God was thro’ the conversation they had with her.” Two years after her death, he married a widow of extraordinary piety with whom he lived thirty-two years. Susanna Partridge bore him five daughters, the youngest of whom married Thomas Crosby, a renowned Baptist historian. After the death of Keach, she lived with her daughter and son-in-law, and Crosby wrote of her, “She lived with me…the last twenty years of her life. I must say, that she walked before God in truth, and with a perfect heart, and did that which was good in His sight. She lived in peace, without spot and blameless.” Many godly wives saw their husbands pilloried, imprisoned, and treated roughly, and the encouragement of these women provided the strength that kept them strong.  Keach died July 18, 1704.  Joseph Stennett preached from, “I know whom I have believed.


Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 294-95.



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121 – May 01 – This Day in Baptist History Past

Unified British and Colonial Baptists  

As long as the established State Church (Anglican) existed, certain limitations would be experienced.  The Edict of Toleration in 1689 did not grant total religious freedom.  Baptist church buildings had to be designated as chapels, tabernacles, or with some other name.  Dr. John Rippon, of London, in a letter written to President James Manning, of Rhode Island College, on May 1, 1784, stated thus: “I believe all of our Baptist ministers in town, except two, and most of our brethren in the country were on the side of the Americans in the late dispute . . . . We wept when the thirsty plains drank the blood of our departed heroes, and the shout of a king was among us when your well fought battles were crowned with victory; and to this hour we believe that the independence of America will, for a while, secure the liberty of this country, but if that continent had been reduced, Britain would not have long been free.”  When Robert Hall was a small boy he heard John Ryland, Jr say to his father, Dr. John Ryland, Sr.: “if I were Washington I would summon all the American officers, they would form a circle around me, and I would address them, and we would offer a libation in our own blood, and I would order one of them bring a lancet and a punch bowl, and we would bare our arms and be bled, I would call on every man to consecrate himself to the work by dipping his sword into the bowl and entering into a solemn covenant engagement by oath, one to another, and we would swear by Him that sits upon the throne and liveth forever and ever, that we would never sheathe our swords while there was an English soldier in arms remaining in America.”
Dr. Dale R. Hart adapted from: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins. pp. 252 – 253

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Dutch Anabaptists Persecuted

Why our Founders in America Insisted on a Bill of Rights

On April 3rd 1575, a small congregation of Dutch Anabaptists convened in a private house outside the city of London. While they were at worship, a constable interrupted the service and took twenty-five people before a magistrate, who committed them to prison. They remained there for two days when, upon posting bond, they were released on giving promise to appear before the court when summoned.

Information was given to the Queen (Elizabeth I0, and a Royal Commission was issued to Sandys, Bishop of London, and some others to interrogate the parties and proceed accordingly.  The Anabaptists appeared before the commissioners, where their confession of faith was rejected, and they were required to subscribe to four articles that condemned their own principles.  Of course, these involved pedobaptism.
These staunch believers refused to subscribe to the articles presented to them.

Sandys said “that [their] misdeeds therein were so great that [they] could not enjoy the favour of God.  .  .  .  He then said to [them] all, that [they] should be imprisoned in the Marshalsea.”  The Prison was later called the “Queen’s Bench.”

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 136-37.

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