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Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Saturday, August 14

1670
William Penn is arrested for preaching in the streets. The jurors will refuse to convict him, although a judge will imprison, starve, and abuse them. As a consequence, Penn's case will set a precedent that Englishmen may not be coerced to return a desired verdict, and rights of religious expression will be extended.
1739
English revivalist George Whitefield wrote in a letter: 'Our extremity is God's opportunity.'
1796
Death of Benjamin Abbott, American revivalist.
1810
Birth of Samuel S. Wesley, grandson of Methodist hymnwriter Charles Wesley. Himself a sacred composer, Samuel Wesley penned over 130 original hymn tunes. The best remembered of these today is AURELIA, to which is sung "The Church's One Foundation."
1814
During the American Revolution, American patriot Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) was held overnight as a British prisoner during their shelling of Fort McHenry in Baltimore. In the morning, Key penned what later became our national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner."
1848
Death of Sarah Flower Adams, Unitarian author of the hymn "Nearer, My God, to Thee." The hymns sung at her funeral were her own, set to music by her sister.
1905
Peter Ignatyevich Podkorytov (later known as Hierodeacon Micah) is accepted as a monk in the Belogorsk monastery. Thirteen years later the Red Army will arrest him at Iveron monastery and shoot him in Perm.
1941
Martyrdom of Maximilian Kolbe who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the German concentration camp at Auschwitz, Poland.
1944
German Lutheran theologian and Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in a letter from prison: 'God does not give us everything we want, but He does fulfill all His promises ... leading us along the best and straightest paths to Himself.'
2007
Death of Samuel Olaniran Fadeji, who had served as the fourth African head of the Nigerian Baptist Convention. He had been an outstanding educator, revival leader, pastor, and author.

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