August 1, 1714: The "Schism Bill," which was intended to bolster Anglicanism in England, dies with its chief supporter, Queen Anne. For years, Dissenters (also known as “Non-conformists”) regarded the date as a day of deliverance, the "Protestant Passover.”
August 1, 1779: Francis Scott Key, author of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and a devout Episcopalian who helped establish the American Sunday School Union, is born.
August 1, 1834: The first Protestant missionary to China, Robert Morrison, dies at age 52. The Englishman's translation of the Bible, completed in 1823, filled 23 volumes (see issue 52: Hudson Taylor).
August 1, 1897: Pope Leo XIII issues the encyclical Militantis Ecclesiae, which describes Protestantism as the "Lutheran rebellion, whose evil virus goes wandering about in almost all nations.
August 3, 1492: Christopher Columbus sets sail from Spain for the "Indies." Though the explorer was in part driven by a quest for gold and glory, he also saw himself as a missionary. He thought, if there were a shortcut to the East by sea, missionaries could be sent there faster, thus enabling Christians to meet the provision for world evangelization before the Lord could return (see issue 35: Christopher Columbus).