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51 – Feb. 20 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY

GiffordFebruary 20, 1737 – Pastor Andrew Gifford and the majority of members that had left Little Wild Street Church in London where Gifford had become pastor in 1729 dedicated their new facility in Eagle Street, Red Lion Square. For almost half a century Pastor Gifford served that flock of God seeing the building enlarged twice in order to accommodate the ever increasing congregation. Gifford was born into a godly home in Bristol on August 17, 1700. His father, Emmanuel, had endured much suffering because of his dissenting principles, and his grandfather had been imprisoned four times because of his scriptural beliefs. Early in life Andrew trusted Christ as his savior and was baptized at fifteen. Following his training he served as an assistant pastor at both Nottingham and Bristol before becoming pastor at Little Wild Street. Gifford was early recognized for his knowledge of ancient manuscripts and coins. His own collection of rare coins was the most valuable in Great Britain, and in time, King George II purchased it for his own display. In 1754 he received the Doctor of Divinity degree from the Marischal College, Aberdeen, and in 1757 he was appointed assistant historian of the British Museum. He was also a warm friend of George Whitefield and preached for Whitefield on several occasions. Three days before his death he said, “I am in great pain, but, bless God, this is not hell! O, blessed be God for Jesus Christ!” O, what should I do now, if it were not for Jesus Christ?…” His death took place on Saturday morning June 19, 1784, and he was buried in Bunhill on Friday, July 2, at 6 A.M. because of his faith in the resurrection. The message was delivered by John Ryland in the presence of 200 ministers and a vast crowd who had come to pay tribute.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 70-71.

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