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Tertullian is thought to have been born 4/27/c.155 (160?) AD at Carthage (now in Tunisia) to pagan parents; his father a Roman centurion, perhaps part of an African-based legion assigned to the provincial governor.  His works indicate he received a good Carthaginian education including (but not necessarily limited to) grammar, rhetoric, literature, philosophy. He later traveled to Rome possibly to further his training (although Carthage was second only to Rome in culture & education) & may have studied law while there.   

One thing he did “learn” in Rome was the way Christians were being executed. He saw the courage which sustained them as they faced hideous deaths.  This startled him into investigating their Belief & eventually led to his conversion to Jesus Christ 197-198(?).  He was definitely married (addressed two books to his wife) but her name is lost in the dusty past. Tertullian was the first Christian penman to use Latin as a writing language but of his 31 extant works at least 3 were written in Greek.

Tertullian definitely did NOT (nor the Roman Catholics) create the concept of a Trinity. At least 13 verses list All Three of the God-Head in one verse but he appears to first to pen “trinity” described as “One God in Three Persons” (classic trinitarian formula). He was unhappy with compromise he witnessed coming into the church & wrote against encroachments rather than producing a systematic theology. His honesty did not win him friends among the “Churchmen” & one source said he died (c. 225-240) “separated from full communion with the bishops of the Catholic Church” a positive (rather than a negative) assessment.

Tertullian Quotes:

“One Person in Two Natures” – describing Christ

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church” – another of his famous phrases 

“What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” – as pagan philosophies came – a question we still need to hear!

 

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Oliver Cromwell was born 4/25/1599 at Huntingdon, England.  He received his education at the grammar school in Huntingdon (now Cromwell Museum) & at Cambridge.  He converted to being a Puritan at 28.

In August of 1620, Oliver Cromwell married Elizabeth Bourchier, born in 1598 the oldest of 12. Their marriage was a happy one.  While on a campaign in Scotland, Oliver wrote Elizabeth, ‘Thou art dearer to me than any creature; let that suffice’ & ‘My Dearest, I could not satisfy myself to omit this post, although I have not much to write; yet indeed I love to write to my dear, who is very much in my heart. It joys me to hear thy soul prospereth; the Lord increase His favours to thee more and more…The Lord bless all thy good counsel and example to all those about thee, and hear all thy prayers, and accept thee always’.  Only one letter to Oliver survived (December 1650) in which Elizabeth writes, ‘Truly my lif is but half a lif in your abseinse, deid not the Lord make it up in heimself, which I must ackoleg to the prase of heis grace’.

Cromwell was a notable military leader in England’s “civil war” & became “Lord Protector” (1653 to death). He, who’s been called “Chief of Men” & a “Brave Bad Man,” is said to have made the following contributions: 1) established a period of peace in England, Scotland & Ireland,  2) made England an “world power,”  3) established non-conformity i.e. living separate from the established church.  He died 9/3/1658.

Cromwell Quotes:

“No one rises so high as he who knows not whither he is going.”

“What is all our histories but God showing himself, shaking & trampling on everything that he has not planted.”

“I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

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Samuel Marinus Zwemer was born 4/12/1867, Vriesland, MI, 13th child of a full-blooded Dutch couple.  His father pastored the local Dutch Reformed Church & mother dedicated Samuel to God “as she laid him in his cradle.”  He graduated from Hope Academy & College (BA) & New Brunswick Seminary (BD 1890). 

Still at Hope he offered himself for work among the Muslims.  He & his classmate, James Cantine, moved to Basra on the Persian Gulf & later moved the mission to Cairo.  Arabia & Egypt were home for him from 1890-1929, first doing evangelism then writing/publishing.  He became known as “The Apostle to Islam.” Though he personally saw few Moslems converted he showed the need to reach them & inspired others.

It was while Zwemer was a part of the Church Missionary Society in Arabia (1890-1913) that he met Amy Elizabeth Wilkes.  He & this fellow missionary were married 5/18/1896. 1929-1937.  He was professor of the history of religion & Christian missions at Princeton Theological Seminary & later taught at the Biblical Seminary of New York & at Nyack Missionary Training Institute.  He died 4/2/1952.

He called Islam the “Calvinism of the Orient,” & saw their grasp of Monotheism as a great strength AND also a great deficiency; for without an “understanding of the Trinity, God was unknowable and impersonal.”

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Lewis Wallace was born 4/10/1827 at Brooksville, IN (on US 52) the 2nd of 4 sons born to David & Esther French Wallace. His father was a West Point graduate, lawyer & governor of Indiana (1837-1840) &  mother was a daughter of congressman John Test.  Lew left school (at 16), served as a copyist & studied law before going to the Mexican War. In 1849 he was admitted to the bar and served in the Union army in the uncivil war. He was a part of the court which tried those charged with assassinating President Lincoln.

Lew met Susan Arnold Elston, proposed in ’49, & married her 5/6/1852 in Crawfordsville. Susan was the daughter of Isaac Compton & Maria Akin Elston. Isaac was a merchant of means;  Maria had a Quaker (Friends) background. Susan would play a part in her Lew’s conversion. Pres. Hayes appointed him governor of the Territory of New Mexico (1878–81).  It was in Sante Fe that he completed the manscript of Ben Hur.  Pres. Garfield made him Minister to the Ottoman Empire (Constantinople, Turkey 1881–85).

Wallace at one point considered himself an atheist. He gathered material “proof” against the Bible.  Susan believed in the Lord & prayed for him. He realized his error & was converted. He reportedly asked his wife what he could/should do with all the material he’d collected – it provided foundations for Ben Hur, A Tale of the Christ (pub.1880) which was enormously successful.  Lew died in Crawfordsville, IN, 2/15/1905.       

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Joseph Parker was born 4/9/1830, Northumberland, England, son of a stonemason in whose home the Bible was “the book most read.” One Lord’s Day walking home with his godly father & a Sunday-school teacher, Joseph declared his love to Christ & asked Him into his heart. His 1st sermon (18) was from, “It shall be more tolerable for Tyre & Sidon at the judgment, than for you” (Luk 10.14). His 2nd (also preached open air) was from Deu  32.41 but it was from the villagers response to his 3rd that he based his call to preach.

In peaching travels he met his “Annie” & wed her 11/15/1851, daughter of Mr/Mrs Wm Nesbitt a farmer, trustee, & deacon of Horsley Congregational Church where they were married. Their sweet love was interrupted by Ann’s death 12 years later.  He married Emma Jane 12/22/1864, at Sunderland,  daughter of Mr/Mrs Andrew Common, J.P., banker, & Nonconformist.  (Her life was from 6/20/1846 to 1/26/1899.) 

Althouth Parker received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Chicago University (at age 32) he was basically a “self-made man” being in his office around 6 AM for study & pray & taking meditative saunters about noon, thinking over texts he had been studying.  He began “Thursday Morning Meetings” (actually starting at 12 noon) for the business men of London (a hard city) & held them for 30 years.  He announced (9/28/1884) he’d begin preaching through the Bible – thus producing his 25 vol. The People’s Bible. After serving 33 years at London’s City Temple, (seating 3000 – often full) he died, 11/28/1902.

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William Wordsworth was born 4/7/1770 at Cockermouth, Cumbria, England, the 2nd of 5 children of John & Anne (Cookson) Wordsworth. William’smum” died in 1778: he was sent to Hawkshead Grammar School where he penned his first poems. While at Hawkshead his dad also died.  By 1787 he was at St John’s College, Cambridge.  During one summer vacation (1788) he trekked through Cumberland county & later Wales. Before graduation he did the “European Gentleman thing” – a walking tour of France, Switzerland & Germany.  While there he came to an understanding/sympathy with the French Revolution.

After returning to England he & his younger sister, Dorothy, were re-united.  Also he met Samuel Taylor Coleridge; they published Lyrical Ballads, containing his “Tintern Abbey” & Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”  By 1802 he felt he could financially afford to marry & did. He bride was Mary Hutchinson, friend from his childhood.  They were blessed with 5 children but sadly 2 of them died, Catherine & John. Following the death of Robert Southey (1843) Wordsworth became Poet Laureate.  He died 4/23/1850; his wife Mary published The Prelude, considered his most famous work 3 months later.

Wordsworth Quotes:

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.”

“Come grow old with me. The best is yet to be.”

“The World Is Too Much With Us…”

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Booker T (Taliaferro) Washington was born 4/4/1856, a Black who did much for his people & poor whites of the south by teaching them trades & self-reliance. He was born to slave parents & learned early to work hard in secular employment.  He was so poor when he went looking for an education he had to sleep under a board sidewalk. He applied himself & at 16 enrolled at Hampton Institute & Industrial School, graduated at 19.

He taught school for three years, then attended Wayland Seminary, WDC. At 25 he opened a school for black youths at Tuskugee, AL with 50 students in two old buildings. At his death (age 59) there were 40 buildings, 1500 students, & a faculty of 200.  By then some 8,000 young African Americans had been trained had become useful citizens.  His secret to success?  Faith in God.  He died 11/14/1915. His biography is worth reading; it’s called

Up from Slavery.                                                                                       

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