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163 — June 12 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 James Madison


Toleration v Liberty


On June 12, 1776, the Virginia Declaration of Rights was adopted but not until its author, George Mason, and the committee had consented, at the urging of young James Madison, to an amendment of the 16th article. The article originally stated:


That religion, or the duty we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only


by reason and convictions, and not by force or violence; and, therefore, that all men should enjoy the


fullest toleration in the exercise or religion, according to the dictates of conscience, unpunished and


unrestrained by the magistrate, unless, under the color of religion, any man disturb the peace, the


happiness, or the safety of society; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance,


love, and charity for each other.”


The difference between this article and the First Amendment,  is between the free exercise of religion and toleration.  Where did the young James Madison learn this principle? From the Baptists and their persecution in Orange and Culpeper Counties, Virginia.  Also this Declaration of Rights became the pattern of many other colonial declarations. Article 16 was the basis of the establishment and free exercise clauses of our federal Constitution.


May we never forget and may we pass on to our posterity that a vital part of our Baptist heritage involves religious liberty in America.


Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson and Cummins) pp. 242 -243.



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150 — May 30 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Grave Site – Bucks County, PA


Thomas B. Montanye was seventeen years of age when he was saved and then baptized by John Gano in the First Baptist Church of New York City. Young Thomas Montanye revealed the gift of preaching and in his nineteenth year he was ordained as pastor of the Baptist church in Warwick, New Jersey, where he served for more than twelve years. His preaching was powerful, and the work flourished. In one year alone, more than a hundred and fifty were added to the membership of the church. During this period, Pastor Montanye served in various offices of the Warwick Baptist Association, as is revealed in the minutes of that organization for May 30, 1797. His abilities and successes attracted the attention of others, and in 1801 he was called to the church in Southampton in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he served until his death on September 27, 1829


When the War of 1812 broke out with Great Britain, Montanye received a chaplain’s commission. On one occasion, “a general drill and review of the army had been ordered for the morning of the Sabbath, at the same hour when preaching had hitherto been the ‘order of the day.’” He went to “the quarters of General in command and stated to him, in a dignified and courteous manner, that he held a commission from his country, and also from his God; that, by virtue of his latter commission, he was superior in command on the Sabbath to any of the military; that the general order for a review would interfere with orders from a higher source; and that, consequently, the review could not and must not take place.” The Word of God was honoured and the review postponed.


Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/ Cummins) pp. 221-222.



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147 — May 27 – This Day in Baptist History Past


147 — May 27 – This Day in Baptist History Past      


 Dunster’s Grave


The Birth of a Baby Planted a Church


There is abundant proof that, in many thoughtful minds, serious doubts had arisen among the Congregationalists of Massachusetts concerning the scriptural authority for infant baptism and the right of the secular power to interfere in the religious affairs.  Henry Dunster, who had been compelled to resign his presidency of Harvard College and was publicly admonished and put under bonds, had done much to bring about this thoughtfulness. Dunster had great influence on the mind of Thomas Gould, a member of the Congregational Church of Charlestown. When a son was born into his home, Gould called his neighbors in to rejoice with him and to unite in thanks to God for this precious gift. He withheld the child from baptism and was summoned to appear before the church to answer why the child had not been sprinkled. He still refused to comply and was suspended from Communion. He was repeatedly brought before the Middlesex Court on charges relating to the “ordinance of Christ.”


Gould was to inform his Baptist brethren to appear, and the Baptist Church at Newport sent a delegation of three to assist their brethren in the debate. After two days of denunciation of the Baptists, who were not allowed to reply, the authorities claimed a victory. Gould was sentenced to exile from Massachusetts on May 27, 1668.


The First Baptist church in Boston was planted in the midst of great debate, turmoil, and persecution that began with the birth of a child.


Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I Thompson/ Cummins) pp. 216 -217



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133– May 13 – This Day in Baptist History


The Conversion of a Church”


The Congregational church in Sedgwick, Maine, had enjoyed the ministry of the Reverend Daniel Merrill for twelve years. During that time it became one of the largest of the denomination’s churches in the state. However, when several of his ministerial students became Baptists, the rev. Mr. Merrill determined to restudy the matter of baptism and write a book on the subject which would protect against such losses, and such a volume would be invaluable to many in refuting what he considered heresy taught by the Baptists. After more than two years of studying the scriptures he concluded that the Bible did not support his long-held position of sprinkling.


The matter came to a head when a group of children were presented to be sprinkled and the pastor could no longer with good conscience perform the rite. For several months Merrill continued in agony of heart for, as he confessed, he “could not bear the idea of being called one [a Baptist].


On February 28, 1805, after a series of sermons on the biblical mode of baptism, the congregation voted unanimously to call for a council of Baptist ministers to administer New Testament immersion, to constitute them as a Baptist church, and to ordain Daniel Merrill as their pastor. In all, sixty-six candidates were baptized on May 13, 1805, and nineteen more were baptized on the following day.


Thus concluded the remarkable story of the conversion of a pastor and his people, to the principles of the Baptists.


Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History, Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 195-196



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120 – April 30 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Who Will Go?


The work among the Karens in Burma is a thrilling account of missionary sacrifice and faithfulness. George Dana Boardman and his wife were appointed by the Triennial convention on April 30, 1823, in Washington, D.C., and they pioneered that rapidly expanding ministry.  God’s blessing rested heavily upon their efforts.  By 1910 the work among the Karens had grown to 50,000 members in 774 churches.  The Missionaries often looked to a range of mountains where a notorious savage tribe existed.  The missionaries wandered how they might reach the wild tribes who were known as Brecs, who lived by plunder and known to be fond of uncooked meat and blood, the tribes were greatly feared.  During an annual assembly of the Karen churches, an appeal was made to evangelize the Brecs, one of the national Karen evangelists bowed his head, evidently in prayer. Finally standing he said, “I am sorry for the poor Brecs, who know nothing of God, or his law to men.  I am very unhappy because no one goes to them with the great tidings.  If my church will give me leave, I will go.”   . . . “God delivered me form the mouth of a bear, and also from death when, crossing a swift stream . . . He also saved me from the mouth of a tiger.  He will be with me in this work, no matter how difficult.”   The national evangelist made his way to the range of mountains and to a village where the most wicked of all of the Brecs lived.  Here he was met with spears and knives of the angry Brecs.  He pulled out his Bible and hymnbook, he read scripture and then began to sing, literally for his very life.  Soon his voice in song calmed the angry hearts of those wild men.  The reception was so great among the Brecs that the national evangelist remained some time proclaiming the gospel.  In a few short years a church was established in the village.  Other villages responded, and churches and even schools were formed.


Dr. Dale R. Hart adapted from: This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins) p.p. 250   –   251



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102 – April 12, 1682 – This Day in Baptist History Past

They Sought a Place of Refuge

Jailed for refusing to pay a bond

William Screven emigrated to Boston from Somerton, England, about the year 1668. He moved to Kittery in the Province of Maine. After Massachusetts acquired the area of Main, the authorities began to watch Screven closely because of his Baptist views.

Ultimately, Screven was charged first with not attending meetings on the Lord’s Day. Later he was charged with making blasphemous speeches against the “holy order of pedobaptism.” After spending some time in jail for refusing to pay a bond of £100.

On April 12, 1682, he was brought before the Court at York, and the examination resulted as follows:

This Court having considered the offensive speeches of William Screven, viz., his rash, inconsiderate words tending to blasphemy, do adjudge the delinquent for his offence to pay ten pounds into the treasury of the county or province. And further, the Court doth further discharge the said Screven under any pretence to keep any private exercise at his own house or elsewhere, upon the Lord’s days, either in Kittery or any other place within the limits of this province, and is for the future enjoined to observe the public worship of God in our public assemblies upon the Lord’s days according to the laws here established in this Province, upon such penalties as the law requires upon his neglect of the premises.”

Screven and his associates had now come to the conclusion that if at Kittery they could not have freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences, they must seek that freedom elsewhere.

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: Baptist History Homepage , ( Rev. William Screven and the Baptists at Kittery , By Henry S. Burrage, 1904 ) pp. 18-19


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100 — April 10 —This Day in Baptist History Past

Ten Shillings or Ten Lashes

Joshua Morse, having been born April 10, 1726, his life spanned many eventful years during the establishment of our nation. At the age of eighteen he began his ministerial labors at a time when every man who opened his door for a dissenter to preach was fined five pounds, the preacher ten shillings, and hearers five shillings. The very first time that Morse preached at Stoningham, he was apprehended, and the magistrate sentenced him to be fined ten shillings or to receive ten lashes at the whipping post. The fine he could not pay, and the lashes he was prepared to receive.

Morse was knocked down often by blows while praying and preaching as well as being dragged around by the hair of his head. On one occasion a man struck Morse in his temple with such violence that it brought him to the floor from which he arose with emotion and pity and said, “If you die a natural death, the LORD hath not spoken by me.” This man, not long after, went to sea, fell from the ship, and was drowned.

About a month before his death in July of 1795, he called his church together and gave them his last advice and benediction. He had composed a hymn to be sung at his funeral and chose a passage to be preached from, which was, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 144-145. / Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


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Dr. Thomas and Carey Bound for India.

On April 4th 1793, William Carey and Dr. John Thomas boarded the “Earl of Oxford” for Calcutta. However, when the ship’s captain was informed that he would forfeit his commission if he took the missionaries, the two men were put ashore. Through Thomas’s hard work, arrangements were made with a Danish ship, and despair was transformed to joy as Mrs. Carey and the Carey children were able to travel as well.  They sailed on June 13, and God’s purpose would be fulfilled! Dr. John Tomas suffered many tragedies and died on October 13, 1801, but to this servant of Christ, we are indebted, for he it was who led Carey to India.

Dr. John Thomas, a name that is practically unknown among Baptists today, but Dr. Thomas was greatly used of God in opening the door of the modern-day missionary movement. Reared in the home of a Baptist deacon in England, John Thomas was early subjected to the gospel. He was not saved, however, until after his completion of medical training and his marriage. “Turning eagerly to the Scriptures, he accepted Christ as his Saviour. ‘  And then, he says, ‘my assurance of pardon and everlasting happiness ran high and strong.’ “

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 137-38.



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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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C. H. Spurgeon’s Convictions of Baptist Beginnings

On April 2nd 1861 a public meeting was held for the Baptist brethren of London at the famed “Metropolitan Tabernacle,” known to many as “Spurgeon’s Tabernacle,” where dedicatory services were extended as church members and London residents united in praising God for His blessings!

Consider the words of greeting from Spurgeon, as he welcomed the area Baptist brethren to the new building.

“We believe that the Baptists are the original Christians. We did not commence our existence at the reformation, we were reformers before Luther and Calvin were born; we never came from the Church of Rome, for we were never in it, but we have an unbroken line up to the apostles themselves. We have always existed from the very days of Christ, and our principles, sometimes veiled and forgotten, like a river which may travel underground for a little season, have always had honest and holy adherents. Persecuted alike by Romanists and Protestants of almost every sect, yet there has never existed a Government holding Baptist principles which persecuted others; nor, I believe, any body of Baptists ever held it to be right to put the consciences of others under the control of man. We have ever been ready to suffer, as our  martyrologies will prove, but we are not ready to accept any help from the State, to prostitute the purity of the Bride of Christ to any alliance with Government, and we will never make the church, although the Queen, the despot over the consciences of men.

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 134-135.


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