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Today in Christian History
Martyrdom of Polycarp, an early Church Father who was a disciple of the Apostle John. Arrested at age 86, Polycarp was burned at the stake for refusing to deny the Christian faith.
Death of Thomas Goodwin (probably in London), a notable English Congregational Nonconformist preacher. He had been a member of the Westminster Assembly of 1650, and author of many biblical and theological works. His last words were: "Ah, is this dying? How I have dreaded as an enemy this smiling friend."
Colonial missionary to the American Indians David Brainerd wrote in his journal: 'There is a God in heaven who over-rules all things for the best; and this is the comfort of my soul.'
Jonathan Edwards receives a smallpox vaccination from which he contracts the disease. He will die in March.
Anglican hymnwriter John Newton wrote in a letter: 'How great and honorable is the privilege of a true believer! That he has neither wisdom nor strength in himself is no disadvantage, for he is connected with infinite wisdom and almighty power.
Following the outrage raised by his publication of "Remarks on Certain Passages in the Thirty-Nine Articles," in which he has tried to reconcile Church of England teaching with Roman positions, and his migration to the Roman Catholic church, John Henry Newman leaves Oxford for good.
John Bright, a Quaker-born Christian parliamentarian in England, makes an eloquent speech against the Crimean War. Its most famous line is, the "Angel of Death has Been Abroad."
The body of the Orthodox priest George Porgachevsky is found about a mile and a quarter from the village of Ivanovskoye, Amur region. His head is crushed and he has two bayonet wounds in his stomach. The Soviets had arrested him thirteen days earlier.
Death in Alexandria, Virginia, of Kate Waller Barrett, an American physician, who, as a single mother and member of the Episcopal Church, co-founded the National Florence Crittenton Mission financed by wealthy Charles Nelson Crittenton. She had secured for the mission the first-ever federal charter for a charitable organization.
Death of Zhang Boling (Chang Po-ling), a prominent Chinese Protestant layman and educator. He had been affiliated with the YMCA, founded Nankai University, accepted women for education, and promoted athletic activities. Because of the school's patriotism the Japanese had bombed and burned it and succeeding political changes made him unwelcome.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"