This is the day that … Benjamin Keach died in 1704.
He had been born in North Buckinghamshire, England, on February 29, 1640, in the days when England was about to be plunged into civil war…
Although brought up in the state church, he was baptised again at the age of 15 and joined a Baptist church … walking seven miles each Lord’s Day to join with the congregation in a neighbouring village.
At 18 he was ‘set aside for the work of the ministry’, the church having recognised his God-given gift in that area.
Two years later he married Jane Grove. And he began to preach …
But by now Oliver Cromwell was dead and Charles II was insisting that all church services conform to those of the Church of England.
Keach refused to do so … but continued his ministry. And as a result he was arrested and put in the pillory at Aylesbury. “Good people”, he said to the assembled crowd, “I am not ashamed to stand here this day, with this paper on my head. My Lord Jesus was not ashamed to suffer on the cross of me …”
Many a time he suffered similar indignities – ‘often seized, sometimes whilst preaching, committed to prison, sometimes bound, sometimes released on bail, and sometimes his life was threatened…’
In 1664 – at the age of 24 – we find him in Southwark, pastoring a Particular Baptist Church.
He had begun his days as a General Baptist (Arminian in theology), but now was Particular Baptist (ie, Calvinistic).
His first wife died at the age of 30, and Keach remarried in 1672.
He wrote 60 books and was “to the forefront in introducing congregational hymn singing into the Baptist church”.
This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.