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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Friday, March 5

310
Christian witness Adrianus is thrown to a lion in Palestine and afterwards slain with the sword.
493
Archbishop John sallies forth from Ravenna with crosses, the Gospels, and a retinue of monks, falling at the feet of Theodoric and suing for peace - which the invader grants.
1526
Zurich authorities commence a trial which eventuates in sentences of life imprisonment for the Anabaptists Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, and George Blaurock. Two weeks later the three manage to escape.
1687
Hungarian officials behead and quarter Sigmund Zimmermann, Caspar Rauscher, Andreas Keczer, and Franz Baranyay in Eperjes [PreŇ°ov, Slovakia]. In a complex political situation, animosity to oppressive Hapsburg policies had led to a revolt after which Catholic leaders of the Holy Roman Empire cracked down on all opposition, cruelly oppressing Protestants and their pastors and inspiring another revolt. These four are the first to die as martyrs when the second revolt was quelled in Eperjes.
1708
Death in London of Bishop William Beveridge. He had preached profoundly and lived peaceably amid the controversies of his day. He will be remembered for his book Private Thoughts upon Religion and a Christian Life (1713), published after his death. It sets forth resolutions such as, "I am resolved, by the grace of God, to be always exercising my thoughts upon good objects, that the devil may not exercise them upon bad."
1797
Henry Nott and a large missionary party, which includes artisans, arrive at Tahiti's Matavai Bay. Sponsored by the London Missionary Society, they are to settle on the islands of Tahiti, Tonga, and the Marquesas to teach the gospel and useful arts. While the others die, go mad, or desert, Nott remains steady. It will be twenty-two years before he sees his first convert.
1850
Birth of Daniel B. Towner, American music evangelist. An associate of D.L. Moody, Towner composed over 2,000 hymn tunes, including AT CALVARY ("Years I Spent in Vanity and Pride"), MOODY ("Marvelous Grace of our Loving Lord") and TRUST AND OBEY ("When We Walk With the Lord").
1858
Death in Wiltshire, England, of Maria Grace Saffary, who had been a Baptist hymnwriter and wrote "God of the sunlight hours!" as well as hymns about baptism, including one that begins "'tis the great Father we adore in this baptismal sign."
1899
Evangelist Sam Jones opens a crusade in Toledo, Ohio, where the mayor is also named Sam Jones. The mayor welcomes the publicity until Jones says, "If the Devil were mayor of Toledo, he wouldn't change a thing." Nonetheless, Mayor Jones will be reelected by a wide margin.
1977
Death in Abeokuta, Nigeria, of James Tanimola Ayorinde, who had been a Baptist pastor, chairman of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, and a respected and beloved leader of the Baptist World Aliance.

Copyright Statement
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"