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Today in Christian History
Walter of Merton, bishop of Rochester, changes his will to leave his fortune to Merton College, Oxford, England. Most of his endowment is intended to assist his numerous cousins and nephews.
The Puritan congregation at Newton (now Cambridge), Massachusetts, chooses Thomas Hooker as its pastor. Hooker had fled persecution in England.
Death of Philip Doddridge, famed for his book The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul that led William Wilberforce and others to Christ. He had been plagued with poor health all his life. Offered a free education at Cambridge if he would be ordained as an Anglican, Doddridge declined, becoming a non-conformist instead and author of over four hundred hymns, including "O Happy Day."
Phillis Wheatley, a slave in Boston who has written Christian poems, sends George Washington a few lines in which she describes him as "first in peace and honors."
Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter John Newton wrote in a letter: 'The Lord is so rich that He easily can -- so good that He certainly will -- give His children more than He will ever take away.
Birth of Henry T. Smart, English sacred organist. Though largely self-taught, Smart published many compositions, two of which are still popular as hymn tunes: LANCASHIRE ("Lead On, O King Eternal") and REGENT SQUARE ("Angels From the Realms of Glory").
Birth of Millar Burrows, American archaeologist. Director of the American School of Oriental Research at Jerusalem 1931-32, 1947-48), Burrows' most popular published work was "What Mean These Stones?" (1941).
Death of Reuben A. Torrey, an Independent Congregationalist educator and evangelist, who had pastored Chicago's Moody Avenue Church and served as the first superintendent of both the Moody Bible Institute and the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (Biola). Torrey had also been an editor of The Fundamentals, a magazine which helped unite fundamentalists.
Arrest of the Orthodox priest Innocent Semyonovich Popov. The following year he will be sentenced to death because "during the anti-religious campaign he conducted intensified agitation for the preservation of the church, organized illegal meetings in his flat, and by his actions elicited massive disturbance amidst the population." Eventually his sentence will be commuted to five years in prison.
One month before his death at age 65, English apologist C.S. Lewis wrote in a letter addressed to a child: 'If you continue to love Jesus, nothing much can go wrong with you, and I hope you may always do so.'
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"