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With the end of the Civil War in 1865, the black church and its worship gained a more public face, even in the South. Black groups within white churches could separate and begin self-determining congregations. [Read more…]
Lemuel Haynes (1753–1833) was born to a black father and white mother, and never knew either of his parents. At five months old, he was sent to become an indentured servant to Deacon David Rose and his family in Granville, MA. Yet the Roses treated Haynes as if he were one of the family. Haynes wrote of Mrs. Rose, “I remember it was a saying among the neighbors that she loved Lemuel more than her own children.”
After fighting in the Revolutionary War, the Rose family encouraged Haynes to pursue ministry. He was tutored by William Bradford and others and received his license to preach in 1780. In 1785, Haynes became the first African-American to be ordained.
Haynes pastored for five years in Middle Granville, MA, before answering the pastoral call from an all-white church in Rutland, VT, where he served for 30 years. He pastored another 15 years in other parts of Vermont and New York until his passing in 1833.
During his ministry, he wrote on various topics impacting the newly-formed United States, such as slavery and abolition, Scripture, and politics. Some of his works were published in “May We Meet in the Heavenly World”: The Life and Piety of Lemuel Haynes, where you’ll find the following excerpt.
By being steadfast and unmoved under trials, the servants of God can bear an honorable testimony in favor of religion. This is one way by which God has furnished the advocates of the gospel with peculiar arguments in defense of the truth and has made them rejoice and glory in tribulation.
It is not a stoical apathy that reconciles God’s people to sufferings; [it is] not because they are not susceptible of injuries and ignorant of abuse. But God is glorified by their patiently enduring: therefore it is that the language of the persecuted apostles was so appropriate. “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41, emphasis added).
Hence it was that our blessed Lord says to His disciples: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matt. 5:11–12).
The ministers of Christ are frail, imperfect creatures in common with other men; they need thorns in the flesh to humble and keep them low. And their afflictions tend, if patiently endured, to work for them an exceeding weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17). A reason of Paul’s being so useful to the church of God was on account of his being a vessel chosen and formed in the furnace of affliction.
Perhaps a more accurate attention to order would have led me to an additional detail of the sufferings of God’s people, under a former head, such as a body of death, which Paul so much complains of. This made him cry out, “O wretched man that I am!” I believe this is the greatest enemy that faithful ministers have to contend with and excites the most painful sensations.
Oh! The pride, the ignorance, the corrupt passions, the selfishness, that they often feel, tending to draw away their minds from God and divert them from a close adherence to duty. These are trials that cleave unto us, go where we will. They are too apt to be intruders, even into our solemn acts of devotions; like Abraham’s fowls, [they] descend to mar the sacrifice, and ’tis hard to drive them away.
Ministers of the gospel need not be moved from the path of duty nor be discouraged under suffering, because it is what they may reasonably expect. This was suggested by Christ to primitive preachers, to fortify against despondency: “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.… But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them” (John 16:1–2, 4a, emphasis added).
The ambassadors of Christ have sworn to be faithful [and] are all under oath, and for them to betray their trust is treason and high-handed perjury. Their profession is before many witnesses: “In the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Jesus Christ …” (1 Tim. 6:13).
What is a life—yea, ten thousand lives—when contrasted with that sacrifice that must be made by our deserting the cause of God? The great and sure reward promised to the faithful servants of Christ, for all their sufferings, should more than barely support them, amidst all the sorrows of life. Every pain, every tear, every insult they bear for Christ’s sake will secure them a great reward in heaven (Matt. 5:12). The wearisome and tiresome nights they spend here in running their race and in finishing their course will only prepare them for a more sweet repose and rest at their journey’s end, when the morning shall break forth.
Read more from Lemuel Haynes in “May We Meet in the Heavenly World”: The Life and Piety of Lemuel Haynes.
But with a David C Cook study kit, all you need to do is invite your group. You’ll get study books, videos, and leader material to help guide your group toward a stronger faith in God and deeper relationships with one another. [Read more…]
In Jesus Wins, releasing this month, Dayton Hartman argues that a biblical view of eschatology produces a different response. It places Jesus’ return and victory at the center and inspires hope and greater faithfulness in the present age.
This excerpt reminds readers that the entire story of redemption is about getting us back to paradise and the intended relationship with our Creator that began in the garden of Eden. [Read more…]
Yesterday we posted about ways to kickstart your yearly Bible study goals.
Today, we’re back with another of a different kind: free Bible study starter packs.
We all come into the new year with different goals. Some of us just want to finally nail down a habit of Bible reading, while others have loftier goals, like learning (or relearning) Greek and Hebrew. [Read more…]
One of the best-selling Christian books this year was Letters to the Church by Francis Chan. In it, he reminds readers of how powerful and glorious the Church once was—and calls us to once again be the Church God intended us to be.
In this excerpt, Chan gently challenges our displaced focus on self and redirects it to someone, and something, far greater. [Read more…]