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221–August 09 – This Day in Baptist History Past

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Baptists not Protestants for Liberty

Ministers of the State Church in Connecticut were supported by levies upon all the citizenry, and their salaries were collected with all other taxes. From time to time Baptists visited Connecticut from Rhode Island, but it was not until 1704 that a few Baptists in the southeastern part of the colony petitioned the General Court for the privilege of holding religious meetings. Ebenezer Frothingham, of Middletown, Connecticut, reported that “Young Deacon Drake, of Windsor, now in Hartford prison for the ministers’ rates and building their meetinghouse, altho’ he is a Baptist, is accounted a harmless, godly man; and he has pled the privilege of a Baptist through all the courts, and been at great expense, without relief, till at last the Assembly has given him a mark in his hand, and notwithstanding this, they have thrust him to prison for former rates, with several aggravations which I shall omit.  But as to what the Constitution does to relieve the poor deacon, he may there die, and the cry of blood, blood, go up into the ears of a just God.” Godly preachers were beaten at whipping posts in the town squares, and other persecutions were experienced. The Baptist cause slowly made progress in the colony; however, the growth was not without a heavy price. When the minister’s tax was to be collected for the State church pastors, dissenting laymen would discover that their cows or the contents of their corn-cribs would be seized and taken to the town post to be sold to cover the cost of their taxes. Baptists continued to grow, and on August 9th, 1795, the State church (Congregational) in Middletown, Massachusetts passed the following: “When members of this Church shall renounce infant baptism and embrace the Baptist principles and practice baptism by immersion, they shall be considered by that act as withdrawing their fellowship from this Church, and we consider our covenant obligations with them as Church members dissolved.”

Dr. Dale R. Hart From: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins pp. 460 – 462

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