On This Day In Christian History

The Twelfth of February

1663: Congregational minister Cotton Mather is born in Boston. The most celebrated New England writer of his day, he was a scientist (whose work included early studies of inoculation), one of the founders of Yale University and pastor of Boston's Second Church (just as his father, Increase Mather, had been). He also wrote "Wonders of the Invisible World," a description of the Salem witch trials.

From "What Must I Do To Be Saved" by Cotton Mather:

You must know what shall be done for you if you find salvation. 

And here; you are to know that no good thing shall be withheld from the saved of the Lord. Wonder wonder. Be swallowed up with wonderment, at this grace, O self-destroyed ones! 

There is proposed unto you a deliverance from all the undesirable circumstances, into which you have run, by your departure from God. 

It is proposed unto you, that you shall no longer be the children of death, but be made the children of God. That you shall be forgiven and accepted with a reconciled God and be followed with perpetual testimonies of his fatherly love: That no iniquity shall have dominion over you, but you shall become the amiable temples, wherein he will dwell, with the sweet influences of his good Spirit forever irradiating of you. 

It is proposed unto you; that your spirits, at your death, shall put on the garments of light and enter into the peace and rest of a heavenly paradise: that your bodies ere long by a resurrection shall be restored unto your spirits: but be the lively, the lovely, the most agreeable and everlasting mansions for them: that you shall have a joyful portion in the city of God and have his marvellous kindness forever doing unutterable things for you, in that strong city: There you shall at length be filled with all the fulness of God and have God become all in all unto you for ever and ever. 

All this is contained in the salvation whereof you have a tender. Salvation, it is a comprehensive word as incomprehensible good! Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, no heart can conceive, what is laid up in the salvation of God. 


1834: German theologian and philosopher, Friedrich Schleiermacher dies. He made religion a matter of the will, defining it as feeling an absolute dependence on God in works including "On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers" (1799).

From the sermon "Christ's Resurrection an Image of Our New Life "
by Friedrich Schleiermacher

Oh, that we had our eyes more and more steadily fixed on the risen saviour! Oh, that we could ever be learning more and more from him to breathe out blessing, as he did when he imparted his Spirit to the disciples! Oh, that we were more and more learning like him to encourage the foolish and slow of heart to joyful faith in the divine promises, to active obedience to the divine will of their lord and master, to the glad enjoyment and use of all the heavenly treasures that he has thrown open to us! Oh, that we were ever speaking more effectively to all connected with us, of the kingdom of God and of our inheritance in it, so that they might see why it was necessary for Christ to suffer, but also into what glory he has gone! These are our desires, and they are not vain desires.


1865: Presbyterian minister and militant abolitionist Henry Highland Garnet becomes the first African-American to address the U.S. House of Representatives.

From the "Memorial Discourse" delivered in the Hall of the House of Representatives by Henry Highland Garnet:

Let us view this demon, which the people have worshipped as a God. Come forth, thou grim monster, that thou may be critically examined! There he stands. Behold him, one and all. Its work is to chattleize man; to hold property in human beings. 

Great God! I would as soon attempt to enslave Gabriel or Michael as to enslave a man made in the image of God, and for whom Christ died. Slavery is snatching man from the high place to which he was lifted by the hand of God, and dragging him down to the level of the brute creation, where he is made to be the companion of the horse and the fellow of the ox. 

It tears the crown of glory from his head, and as far as possible obliterates the image of God that is in him. Slavery preys upon man, and man only. A brute cannot be made a slave. Why? Because a brute has not reason, faith, nor an undying spirit, nor conscience. It does not look forward to the future with joy or fear, nor reflect upon the past with, satisfaction or regret. But who in this vast assembly, who in all this broad land, will say that the poorest and most unhappy brother in chains and servitude has not every one of these high endowments? 

Who denies it? Is there one? If so, let him speak. 

There is not one; no, not one. 


1915: Blind hymnwriter Fanny Crosby dies at age ninety-five after writing more than eight thousand texts.

Pass, me not O gentle Saviour,
hear my humble cry.
While on others thou art calling,
do not pass me by.

Let me at thy throne of mercy,
find a sweet relief.
Kneeling there in deep contrition,
help my unbelief.

Trusting only in thy merit,
would I seek thy face.
Heal my wounded, broken spirit,
save me by thy grace.

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