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Christian History

Today in Christian History

December 29

December 29, 1809: William Gladstone, four-time British prime minister, is born in Liverpool, England. One scholar has called him "the epitome of all that the evangelicals and the English public asked for in their politicians" (see issue 53: William Wilberforce and the Century of Reform).

December 29, 1849: The carol "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," by pastor Edmund H. Sears, appears for the first time in The Christian Register.

December 29, 1851: The first Y.M.C.A. in the United States is organized in Boston.

December 29, 1876: Hymnwriter Philip P. Bliss and his wife fall to their deaths when a bridge collapses under the train they were riding. Bliss's compositions include "Man of Sorrows—What a Name!"; "Jesus Loves Even Me"; "Almost Persuaded"; the music to "It Is Well with My Soul"; and one hymn discovered in his trunk, which was on a different train that night: "I Will Sing of My Redeemer.

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April 24, 387: On this day, Augustine of Hippo writes in his autobiographical Confessions, "We were baptized and all anxiety for our past life vanished away." The 33-year-old had been a teacher of rhetoric and pagan philosophies at some of the Roman Empire's finest schools, but after great influence by his mother, Monica, and the famous bishop Ambrose, he turned to Christianity. His baptism by Ambrose, on Easter Sunday, marked his entrance into the church (see issue 15: Augustine and ...

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