238 – August 26 – This Day in Baptist History Past
First Baptist – NY City-1800
He had no fear of the yellow fever
Benjamin Foster who had been the pastor of the First Baptist Church of New York City since 1788, died of yellow fever on August 26, 1798. The disease had reached epidemic proportions in New York City that year, and when the dreadful disease began to prevail, Pastor Foster was frequent in his visits to pray and give comfort from God’s Word to those scenes of affliction from which many of the best men shrunk back with terror. Foster was born into a typical pious Congregationalist home in Danvers, Mass. At age 18 he was sent to Yale College where he distinguished himself by his out-standing moral life as well as his success in classical literature and languages – Greek, Hebrew and Chaldean. At this time there was much debate over the scriptural mode and candidates for baptism. At one point Foster was chosen to defend infant baptism in debate. He carefully studied the scriptures and the history of the church from the times of the apostles and to his surprise and chagrin of others, came to a different conclusion than what was expected. When the day came, he declared himself an avowed convert to believer’s baptism, and that only those who profess faith in Jesus Christ are to be the subject of baptism, and that immersion only is the mode of Christian baptism. He was soon baptized and joined the Baptist church in Boston, and under the pastoral care of Samuel Stillman he studied theology. He pastored the Baptist church in Leicester, Mass, where he was ordained and then the Baptist church in Newport, RI. On his tomb in a NY cemetery it says, “…the church was comforted by his life, and now laments his death.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 352-53.
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He pastored all the Baptists in NYC and Philadelphia
On June 19, 1762, the First Baptist Church of New York City was constituted by Benjamin Miller and John Gano. Gano immediately became the pastor and also accepted the pastoral care of the Baptist church in Philadelphia. The meetinghouse in N.Y. was enlarged in 1763. During the Revolutionary War, the church was dispersed and its members scattered and the building used as a stables for the British as they occupied the city for seven years. Gano served that time with honor as a chaplain. On his return he found emptiness, desolation, and ashes. He collected 37 out of nearly 200 of his former flock. Many had died and others were scattered throughout every part of the new nation. After the building was cleaned, at the first service he preached from Haggai 2:3-“Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do you see it now?” The days of spiritual prosperity soon returned and lasted until he baptized his last convert on April 5, 1788. John was born July 22, 1727, the fifth son of Daniel Gano and Sarah Britton. He was a direct descendent of the French Huguenots of France. His great-grandfather Francis fled from the persecution that resulted from the bloody edict revoking the Edict of Nantes. Francis Gano settled in New Rochelle, N.Y. His son Stephen raised six sons one of whom was John’s father, Daniel. John’s father was a godly Presbyterian, his mother a Baptist, hence the children were raised in Baptist convictions. John began his ministry by preaching through-out the South, and accepted a call to take charge of an infant church at the “Jersey Settlement” in N.C. The church grew to be quite large but upon an outbreak of war with the Cherokees he moved to New Jersey. He ended his ministry as a missionary to Kentucky.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 300-01.
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