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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Tuesday, May 24

1575
Lutheran scholar Stephen Gerlach delivers the Augsburg Confession to Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias II for consideration as talks continue to see if common ground can be found for a union between the Orthodox and Lutheran churches.
1607
Captain John Smith and the Jamestown colonists observe their first celebration of the Eucharist, thought to have been presided over by John Hunt, their Anglican priest.
1752
Robert Robinson, sixteen years old, hears George Whitefield preach and writes in his Bible "renatus" (born again). He will become a Baptist pastor and the author of the hymn "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing."
1768
Death of pastor and hymnwriter Joseph Hart. Twenty thousand people will attend his funeral. Although reared godly, he had become virulently opposed to Christianity and wrote against John Wesley. However, at forty years of age, he returned to his childhood faith and began to write hymns. Among the best known was "Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy." His hymns were so successful he was encouraged to become a Congregational minister. He was so fervent that great crowds gathered to hear him preach.
1830
Alexander Duff arrives in India. He will proceed to Calcutta where he will advance Christian education. He and his wife suffered two shipwrecks in sailing to Asia.
1844
Inventor Samuel F. B. Morse demonstrates the world's first practical telegraph. For over a decade he had struggled to patent and finance the invention, writing in a moment of discouragement, "The only gleam of hope, and I cannot underrate it, is from confidence in God. When I look upward it calms any apprehension for the future and I seem to hear a voice saying: ‘If I clothe the lilies of the field, shall I not also clothe you?' Here is my strong confidence, and I will wait patiently for the direction of Providence." His first message, sent from the Supreme Court to Baltimore, was a quote from the Bible: Numbers 23:23, "What hath God wrought."
1859
Madame Caroline Miolan-Carvalho gives Charles Gounod's Ave Maria its first public performance.
1861
Death of Mary Webb in Boston. Although bound to a wheelchair from youth, she had founded one of the first women's missionary societies in America and coordinated the efforts of two hundred local societies.
1892
Birth of Earl B. Marlatt, American religious educator and hymnologist. In 1926 Marlatt penned the hymn, "`Are Ye Able?' Said the Master," to be sung in a consecration service at Boston University's School of Religion.
1896
Maud Booth speaks in Sing Sing prison, seeking prison reform, and electrifies the prisoners: "I do not come here to prevent you from paying the just penalty of your crimes; take your medicine like men. When you have paid the penalty I will help you. I will nurse you back to health. I will get you work. Above all I will trust you. It depends on you whether I keep doing so or not."

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