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Archive for the ‘today in history’ Category

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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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William & Mary were crowned King & Queen of England (joint monarchs) 4/11/1689, at the invitation of Parliament – an event called The Glorious Revolution.”

William was born 11/4/1650 at The Hague to William II of Orange (who died of smallpox 8 days before his birth) & his mother, daughter of England’s Charles I, (died also of smallpox when William III was 10).  Also called William Henry, prince of Orange (Dutch – Willem Hendrik, prins van Oranje) he was groomed to head the House of Orange & become a ‘Stadtholder’ (lead the Dutch Republic).  He died 3/8/1702.

Mary was born 4/30/1662, at London to King James II of England.  Her parents were converts to the Roman Catholicism but thankfully she was raised “Protestant” (i.e. was not RC).  This allowed her to form a soul union with William of Orange, a champion against the power/politics of the catholic system.  They were married 11/4/1677 (his 27th birthday).   Sadly she also, Queen Mary II, died of smallpox, 12/28/1694.

The joint rule of William III & Mary II happily helped England remain independent of Rome, which she had not been under Mary’s father (James II), who was openly Catholic, nor under her uncle (Charles II) who was also Roman Catholic, howbeit secretly.  William and Mary College in the US was endowed by William III.  He was reportedly so admired & loved in Scotland that they called him “King Billy.”

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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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Charles Wesley was married 4/8/1749, in a small parish church at Llanlleonfel, near Garth, Wales.  His bride was Sarah Gwynne, daughter of Marmaduke & Sarah (Evans) Gwynne. The minister for the ceremony was his brother, John, who had encouraged the wedding.  Sarah (also called Sally – perhaps to distinguish her from her mother) was born in Garth, Powyes, Wales in 1726 (month, day unknown).  She was musically inclined, in fact, performed before King George III.

While a young lady her father, a local magistrate, went on occasion to arrest Howell Harris, a Wesleyan minister.  As Marmaduke listened he liked what he heard, was converted to that view, & brought Harris home.  That was the beginning; years later he entertained two brothers & one of then returned in 1748 to propose.  Her mother had not welcomed Harris to her home but warmed to Charles, her new s-n-law.

Although Charles may not have witnessed a happy marriage as a boy he & Sarah had a good union.  They settled (same year as wed) at 4 Charles St., Bristol & remained there till 1771 (house is preserved as the “Charles Wesley House”).  God blessed them with eight children (only three lived to be adults – too common a happening back then).  She died 12/28/1818 (Charles died in 1788) & was buried beside Charles. 

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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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Irenaeus (it is thought) died 4/6/202 AD, probably at Lugdunum, Gaul (now Lyon, France).  Historians estimate his birth as 125-130.  He appears connected to Smyrna, a town near Ephesus ,located in what is now Turkey.  One of the things that rivets attention on Irenaeus is that he heard (was a student of?) Polycarp and – – – Polycarp heard (was a student of?) the Apostle John.   In a sense we might call Polycarp a “spiritual son” of John & Irenaeus a “spiritual grandson” of John.  What a linage.   

Irenaeus went west to what today is southern France (perhaps while a young man).  He seems to have been sent on a trip to Rome in 177.   Before he could return persecution took the lives of several believers including the man who had been bishop there, Pothinus.  Irenaeus became bishop in his place.  He penned the Refutation of Heresies, and Proof of the Apostolic Preaching. (As an aside, he seems to have seen the earth as a sphere.)

Irenaeus Quotes:

“Error never shows itself in its naked reality, in order not to be discovered. On the contrary, it dresses elegantly, so that the unwary may be led to believe that it is more truthful than truth itself.”

“The business of the Christian is nothing else but to be ever preparing for death.”

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