Monday, October 5, 2020

The year was 1695. We remember the Reverend John Glas. The reading is "Sing Hosanna" by Glas.

It is the 5th of October 2020. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at I'm Dan van Voorhis.

The year was 1695.

If you were to find yourself at the Old Granary Burying Ground in Boston, you might come across the tombstone of one "Mary Goose." It was believed that she was the inventor of the eponymous nursery rhymes. Although, some familiar with the burial site believe that a different Goose, Elizabeth, was buried there.

Regardless of the Mrs. Goose that might be buried there, we know that it is not the Mother Goose as it was in France in 1695 that Charles Perrault wrote the "Contes de ma mere l'oye." otherwise known as the "Tales of Mother Goose." But Perrault did not intend these for children. Instead, they were written for French aristocrats for whom nursery rhymes were a source of entertainment. Perrault's stories were designed to reinforce traditional Catholic morality.

French literary circles were bustling under the reign of Louis XIV, and they would too begin to bustle in England under Louis' rival King William III of England. It was in 1695 that the new king allowed the Licensing Order for parliamentary censorship to lapse. Before this, the English parliament would allow one official newspaper, and a royal censor had to approve all other publications.

But following the example of the French literary salons, the English literary elite would begin to experiment with unofficial papers, satirical news, and broadsides. This would usher in the famed Augustan age of British literature with the likes of Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift.

A story fit for these new kinds of publications was served up in 1695 with one of the most daring sea raids ever by Henry Every, a man also known as the "King of the Pirates." He successfully ran down and looted the fleet of the Grand Mughal of India. It was a golden age of piracy, and while Every and his ship, the Fancy, might not have the fame they once did, the era of famous pirates and semi-fictional pirate tales was nigh.

Perhaps the most famous pirate story would be told by the Scotsman, Robert Louis Stevenson. It would be a century before he did so, but it is believed he was inspired by the family that lived in the rectory by the church that Stevenson lived behind. A one-time minister of that church had a son whose story is said to have influenced "Treasure Island." The captain, George Glas, was the son of a very significant Scottish pastor whose work and writing would pave the way for a new approach to church-state relations in Scotland and much of the western world. Georg Glas' father, the Reverend John Glas, founder of the so-called "Glasites," was born on this, the 5th of October, in 1695.

Glas was born in Auchtermuchty, Scotland, a place as delightful as it is fun to say. Glas graduated from the University of St. Andrews in 1713 and completed his training for the ministry at the University of Edinburgh. He held positions at churches in Dunkeld and Dundee and may have had an unremarkable career had he not begun teaching through the Westminster Shorter Catechism. One question, "how doth Christ execute the office of King?" changed everything for Glas. He came to believe that the Kingdom of Christ was not mediated through the state and certainly not through the state churches. In 1729 the "Testimony of the King of Martyrs" cemented his place in the history of dissenting Protestant thought. Hundreds followed John in criticizing the national covenant, Presbyterianism, and the belief that the state should have any role in the church's reformation. Glas was defrocked, but along with his son-in-law Robert Sandeman, they continued to found independent churches. When Sandeman immigrated to the colonies, the churches he founded in the Glasite tradition would be known as Sandemanian. Many of the Churches of Christ in America trace their founding to Sandeman and back to John Glas. Glas and his wife had 15 children, all of whom died before John. John Glas died in 1773. Born on this day in 1695, he was 77 years old.

The reading for today comes from the Hymn "Sing Hosanna" by John Glas.

Thy Worthiness is all our song
O Lamb of God! For Thou was slain;
And by thy blood brought' st us to God,
Out of every nation, tribe, and tongue;
To our God mad' st us kings and priests,
And we shall reign upon the earth

This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 5th of October 2020 brought to you by 1517 at The show is produced by a man who takes Irn Bru in his Wheaties, Christopher Gillespie. The show is written and read by Dan van Voorhis. You can catch us here every day. Remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true. Everything is going to be ok.

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