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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Sunday, October 20

Pope Clement VI condemns self-flagellation. The practice had arisen two hundred years ealier, initiated by the monk Peter Damien as a means to help himself suppress his lusts.
John Winthrop is elected governor of Massachusetts Bay. His journal will become a treasure mine for historians.
Birth of Ernst W. Hengstenberg, German O.T. scholar. An outspoken defender of evangelical Christianity against the rationalism of his day, Hengstenberg's most significant writing was his four-volume "Christology of the Old Testament."
Birth of American lawyer Horatio Gates Spafford. In 1873, upon learning of the drowning of his four daughters following a ship collision in the Atlantic, Spafford penned the lines to the hymn, "It is Well With My Soul."
Death from consumption of 27-year-old Grace Darling in Northumberland, England. Daughter of a lighthouse operator, she had gained honor four years earlier by persuading her father to assist her in rowing through terrifying waves to rescue nine shipwrecked women and children who had been abandoned by sailors. An admiring public had taken up a
Birth of Harry Dixon Loes, sacred music educator. A writer of gospel songs and choruses, it was Loes who composed the hymn tune REDEEMER ("Up Calvary's Mountain, One Dreadful Morn").
Birth of Stuart Hamblen, country songwriter who flourished during the 1950s. His best-remembered Christian songs include "Known Only to Him," "Beyond the Sunset," and "It Is No Secret."
Death of Mary Lathbury, "the Saint of Chautauqua." She wrote the hymns "Break Thou the Bread of Life" and "Day Is Dying in the West."
The last of the Inklings' Thursday meetings is held this evening. This group of Christians associated with Oxford included such notable thinkers as J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Owen Barfield.
English apologist C.S. Lewis shared his longing for heaven in a letter: 'It'll be nice when we all wake up from this life, which has indeed something like a nightmare about it.'

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