He kept walking for Jesus
1833 – John Clark went to be with the Lord having preached his last sermon Sept. 22nd in St. Louis County, Missouri. He was born near Inverness, Scotland on Nov. 29, 1758. At twenty he went to sea and on the second one out he served on was a pirate ship. Next he was the 2nd mate on a ship bound for the West Indies and at Tobago he was conscripted to serve on a British frigate. He and another sailor got to the other side of the Island and gained a position on a ship to England. War was now started with America so they were captured by two Spanish frigates and spent 18 months in Havana, Cuba until released in a prison exchange. Soon Clark was drafted to serve on a British Man-O-War and while anchored two miles off the coast of Charleston, S.C., he and another shipman swam ashore barely making it. While there he got saved under the powerful preaching of two Methodist circuit riding preachers. He went back to his home and found no one living but one sister. While in London he heard John Wesley preach. Back in America, he left the Methodists over the issue of the security of the believer, Episcopal form of church order and infant baptism. He embraced believer’s baptism, taught school to keep body and soul together, and then would walk for miles preaching the gospel. He Walked 1200 miles to Florida, preached daily and returned to Illinois. Later he duplicated his journey to encourage his converts. He suffered many deprivations to make sure he was always on time. His friends gave him a horse but he kept on walking. He almost married at thirty-six but felt that it would hinder his ministry. John Clark just kept walking for Jesus. [William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit (New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1865), 6:494. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 557-59]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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He pastored five churches at one time
1846 – Rev. William Duncan, whose ministry was during the period immediately following the Revolutionary War, ended his earthly sojourn. The seventy- year-old was the elder statesman of the Mt. Pleasant Associational Meetings. This one was being held in Ebenezer Baptist Church of Randolph County, Missouri. Duncan became ill as he had nearly concluded the final sermon at the final service. When he seemed to have regained his strength he was allowed to ride his horse the twenty miles to his home, where on the following Saturday he died of the congestive fever. He had been born in Amherst County, Virginia, on Feb. 22, 1776. His parents were Rev. John and Sarah Duncan, his father being the pastor of the local Baptist church. William was saved and baptized into his father’s church at twenty years of age. Quite young he married Sally Henley and they were blessed with two sons and six daughters. His theological training was in his fathers “academy”, and soon he was preaching to struggling Baptist churches. Soon he was pastor of four churches, some in other counties, seeing many converts for his tireless efforts. For thirty years Rev. Duncan maintained this grueling schedule of his four-church charge and then followed his children west to Missouri, finally settling in Howard Co., where, at the age of sixty-two he assumed the care of five churches. In Huntsville, Missouri where he had been pastor for the last eight years of his life, the Circuit court was in session at the time, upon hearing the news of his demise, the judge immediately adjourned the court. [R.S. Duncan, A History of the Baptists in Missouri (Saint Louis: Scammell & Company, Publishers, 1882), p. 187. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 555-56.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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He refused the “Test Oath”
1866 – Rev. B.F. Kenny, a respected Baptist minister, of Daviess County in Missouri, was arrested on three indictments found against him by a grand jury for the crime of preaching the gospel without taking the ‘Test Oath’. The State Convention had inserted this oath into the new constitution on Jan. 6, 1865, at the close of the Civil War, making it mandatory for pastors to vow loyalty to the state above Christ and His Word. 400 pastors out of the 450 in the state suffered rather than bowing until the act was repealed by the Supreme Court of the U.S. on Jan. 14, 1867. Several of them were imprisoned. Rev. J.H. Luther, Editor of the Missouri Baptist Journal was arrested, held on $1,000 bond, to answer the charge of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ without re-ordination from the commissioner of the state church. Another Baptist preacher was dragged from his home at mid-night, pistol whipped and beaten, and warned to leave the county because he refused to sign the ‘test oath’. [R.S. Duncan, A History of the Baptists in Missouri (St. Louis: Scammell & Co. Publishers, 1882), pp. 926-27. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 496-97.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
In Feb. of 1812 Jacob found the peace of Salvation
December 17, 1811 – Jacob Bower of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, we shall all be sunk and lost, and I am not prepared. O God, have mercy upon us all.” America’s greatest earthquake had just struck. Centered in the Mississippi River, it sent shock waves into Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Georgia, S.C., Virginia, and Indiana. Mild tremors were felt as far as Boston! Bower was born into a Christian family on Sept. 26, 1786. His father led the family in morning and evening devotions and instructed the children to live moral and upright lives, but he failed to lead them into a personal relationship with Christ. Therefore young Bower matured trusting in his own righteousness for salvation. Upon leaving home for employment, he was soon influenced by a Universalist, and for five years, Bower embraced that heresy and began drinking and fell into many vices and sins. When conviction came he would assure himself of salvation, for Universalism taught that men would be saved, regardless of their lifestyle. He married in 1807 at the age of 21, and the Lord again began to stir his heart with conviction. In 1811 during a visit to his home, and a witness of a Baptist preacher, his heart was stirred again to consider death and eternity. Conviction continued to grow and then came the earthquake. A tremendous struggle ensued and then in Feb. of 1812 Jacob found the peace of Salvation. He made a public profession and was baptized into the membership of Hazel Creek Baptist Church. After serving three Kentucky churches for ten years he moved his family to Illinois and within two years he organized two churches. And then in Illinois and Missouri he organized fourteen churches and ordained twelve ministers to the gospel ministry.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 526-28.
He was called “the man with the twenty hands.”
December 01, 1817 – John Mason Peck arrived with his family in St. Louis, Missouri after a 129 day journey by wagon, by boat, and on foot. They had to carry him, sick with a fever off on a stretcher. He had surrendered to the mission field under Luther Rice. He began by gathering children for a school and doing evangelistic work among the black population and make excursions into the surrounding areas to preach. He planted the earliest Baptist churches west of the Mississippi River. Limited in his own education, he founded the first College in the West. So great was his energy, he was called “the man with the twenty hands.” The following entry from his 1925 journal gives an example: He said that he had been gone from home for 53 days, had traveled through 18 counties in Ill. and 9 in Ind., rode 926 miles, preached 31 regular sermons, besides several speeches, addresses and lectures. He revived three Bible societies, and established seven new ones, aided in forming three Sabbath-school soc’s., and in opening several societies where none existed. The family had to live frugally on $5 per month from the Mass. Baptist Missions Soc. Peck eked out a living through other means including manual labor. When the interest in the Baptist Mission Societies in the East waned Peck and Jonathan Going doubled their efforts and laid the foundation for a new Missions Society in a period of strong anti-mission sentiment. We owe much to this man who built the first Baptist church in the city of St. Louis.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 501-02.