This Day in History: December 31st, 1782 “Rounding out the year with praise”
“David Zeisberger was a Moravian missionary to America who won many converts among Native Americans and who founded several towns, including Goshen, Indiana. He also kept a diary that has proven invaluable to later historians. The year 1782 was marred by war and by the cold-blooded massacre of over eighty Native American Christians of the Delaware tribe by a white militia. The group of Moravians had often been separated in the previous months. On this day, 31 December 1782, they reviewed the year together with tears. After their meeting David wrote:
‘We closed the year with praise and thanks to the Lord for all his goodness and for the kindnesses the Savior had done us in rescuing us from so many dangers and in being so heartily interested for us, but we confessed to him our transgressions and shortcomings and begged forgiveness of all our sins.” Source: David Zeisberger’s Diary.
This Day in History: December 31st, 1770 “America’s first-known “watch-night” service was held at St. George’s Methodist Church in Philadelphia.”
“The modern rise and use of the watch-night service, for the most part, may be traced to John Wesley and the Methodists. In a letter dated June 8, 1750, John Wesley, noted that the Anglican Book of Common Prayer made use of the word “vigil” to describe a practice observed by Christians in the early Church. In his letter, Wesley stated that it was common for early Christian believers to spend the entire night in prayer and that this practice was called Vigiliae or “vigils.” He reasoned that this practice among the English Methodists was not original, but based upon the example of early Christians: “Therefore, for spending a part of some nights in this manner, in public and solemn prayer, we have not only the authority of our own national [Anglican] Church, but of the universal Church in the earliest ages.” While Wesley is correct that the practice of praying throughout the night or a part of it may be traced to the early Church, the contemporary observance of the watch-night service may be traced to the English Methodists, particularly early converts of Methodism who came under the influence of Wesley and his preachers. An extended prayer meeting at night came to be known as a watch-night service.” If you want to read the rest of this article, click the following link:
I grew up in the Church of God of Prophecy: Pentecostal Church. Every, I mean every, New Year’s Eve, our church threw a party. It was called a “watch-night” service. Until today, I had thought that they made the name up. I had no idea that these “watch-night” services had been going on around here since before the Revolution.
Back to the party: Our Church sang & danced every New Year’s Eve away. No alcohol involved; just the Holy Spirit, “Ghost”. As I just sat and watched, they threw the most exciting New Year’s Eve party that I have ever been to. Running, flag waving, speaking in tongues, communion, singing, dancing; all in anticipation of Jesus’ return. Maybe tonight…
Source: www.christianhistoryinstitute.org/today/12/31/ & http://www.historicstgeorges.org/museum & http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/seven-sites-every-united-methodist-should-see
Looking for a different resolution this year? Pick out one or two of Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions from his 1734 pamphlet “21 Resolutions”.
This Day in History: December 20th, 1796. One eyed Captain Thomas Webb died.
“The recently converted man in full military dress, unforgettable in the green patch over his sightless eye-socket, dramatically laid his sword alongside an open bible and announced to the small congregation that he was a soldier of the cross and a true spiritual descendant of John Wesley.”
Do you want to reenact as a rather different kind of Methodist lay preacher in the 1760 in America? One eyed Captain Thomas Webb (1724-1796) would be a good choice.
“Captain Webb was an officer in the British Navy and wore his regimental uniform and sword when he preached. He had been saved under the preaching of John Wesley back in England. When he preached he wore his uniform and put his sword across the pulpit.”
For more information, click the following link.
Sources: “The Heritage of American Methodism”, by Kenneth Cain Kinghorn, pp. 26-29 &
This Day in History: December 18th, 1707 Charles Wesley was born.
Charles Wesley was an evangelist, leader in the Methodist movement, and brother to John Wesley. He wrote more than 6,000 hymns and many are still in use today in our Churches. Below is a the title page from his original 1808 hymnal, that we own. It contains over 500 pages of his hymns.
This Day in History: December 18th, 1555
“Martyrdom of John Philpot, archdeacon of Winchester. As he was going to the stake in Smithfield, the sherif’s men offered to carry him over a muddy spot, but Philpot declined, saying “I am content to go to my journeys end on foot.” He knelt and kissed the stake, recited three psalms and then submitted to the flame. Years earlier he had been one of the religious leaders who condemned Joan of Kent to a similar fate.” Source: www.christianhistoryinstitute.org/today/12/18/
These images of John Philpot’s martyrdom come from my original 1732 Fox’s Book of Martyrs.
We have scanned all of the original engravings from our 1732 Fox’s Book of Martyrs. Our original book is about 3 inches thick, 10 inches wide, and 15 inches tall. It must weigh at least 10 pounds. It is full of illustrations of people being tortured to death (mostly burned at the stake). This book contains these thirty one plates that we have scanned and cleaned up. These engravings are sharp because they were scanned from a very large original image, cleaned up, and then shrank down to the smaller book that we are not producing (6 3/4 X 9 ¼) .
“In the time of Elizabeth I, the persecution of the adherents of the Reformed religion, both Anglicans and Protestants alike, which had occurred during the reign of her elder half-sister Queen Mary 1st was used to fuel strong anti-Catholic propaganda in the hugely influential Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Those who had died in Mary’s reign, under the Marian Persecutions, were effectively canonised by this work of hagiography. In 1571 the Convocation of the Church of England ordered that copies of the Book of Martyrs should be kept for public inspection in all cathedrals and in the houses of church dignitaries. The book was also displayed in many Anglican parish churches alongside the Holy Bible. The passionate intensity of its style and its vivid and picturesque dialogues made the book very popular among Puritan and Low Church families, Anglican and Protestant nonconformist, down to the nineteenth century. In a period of extreme partisanship on all sides of the religious debate, the exaggeratedly partisan church history of the earlier portion of the book, with its grotesque stories of popes and monks, contributed to fuel anti-Catholic prejudices in England, as did the story of the sufferings of several hundred Reformers (both Anglican and Protestant) who had been burnt at the stake under Mary and Bishop Bonner.” Source: Wikipedia
This Day in History: December 18th, 1645
“Christmas was not held in high regard by the Puritans, who complained that the holiday was nowhere commanded in Scripture. During the period of the English Civil War, Parliament even banned the celebration of Christmas. The Mercurius Civicus, or London’s Intelligencer, printed an article in the issue dated 18 December 1645, explaining to Londoners the absurdity—and impiety—of keeping Christmas Day. The paper stated that it was more probable that Jesus was born in September than in December, and quoted a “late minister” as saying:
‘God did conceale the time when Christ was borne, upon the same reason that He tooke away the body of Moses, that they might not put an holinesse upon that day.’
Source: Dawson, William Francis. Christmas: Its Origin and Associations. London: Elliot Stock, 1902.