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Today in Christian History
Death of Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, of a fever.
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.
John Wesley feels his "heart strangely warmed" when he hears a reading of the preface to Luther's commentary on Romans at a Moravian meeting in Aldersgate Street, London. The event turns him into a soul-winner.
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."
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.
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."
Madame Caroline Miolan-Carvalho gives Charles Gounod's Ave Maria its first public performance.
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.
Death in New York City of William Lloyd Garrison, who had agitated against slavery as a speaker, writer, editor, and founder of the New England Anti-Slavery Society. Many of his anti-slavery arguments had been Bible-based.
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.
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"