Today in Christian History

February 15

February 15, 1386: Jagiello, king of the Lithuanians, is baptized. His conversion, the condition of an alliance with Poland, marks the end of established paganism in Europe.

February 15, 1631: John Donne, the greatest love poet of the English language and dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, preaches his last sermon titled "Death's Duel." "We celebrate our own funeral with cries, even at our birth," preached the poet, who was seemingly obsessed with the subject for his entire life (32 of his 54 songs and sonnets are about death).

February 15, 1860: Wheaton College (formerly Illinois Institute), one of evangelicalism's top institutions of higher education, is chartered in Illinois.

February 15, 1905: Christian author Lew Wallace dies at age 77. Wallace famous Ben Hur (1880) conceived on a train ride while arguing about Christ's divinity with famous agnostic Robert Ingersoll. It sold more than 300,000 copies in a decade, making him one of the best-selling religious authors of the 1800s.

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September 19, 821: Theodulf, poet, scholar, secretary of education, and bishop of Orleans during Charlemagne's reign is buried. He wrote hymns, among which his best remembered is "Gloria Laus et Honor" or "All Glory, Laud and Honor / To thee Redeemer King.

September 19, 1853: Baptist missionary pioneer J. Hudson Taylor sets sail from England for China at the age of 21 (see issue 52: Hudson Taylor).

September 19, 1888: Missionary Jonathan Goforth begins a tour of the North Honan region of China, where ...

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