From a highly interesting account in the December number of the English Baptist Magazine, of a meeting held in London, November 10th, 1841 to hear the report of the deputation which had been sent to Denmark, in behalf of the persecuted Baptists of that country, we extract a few passages of particular interest.
The deputation say, they “found the circumstances and prospects of the persecuted brethren worse than they expected. Mr. Adolph Moenster had been nearly four months, and Mr. Peter Moenster nine months, under confinement. Both were consequently involved in great pecuniary difficulties, and, together with Peter Emil Ryding, were harrassed by an infamous suit, which the prosecutor for the crown had brought against them. In Langeland, a poor man, named Peter Andreas, had been stripped of every thing -- every chair, every table, every article of bedding, furniture and clothing, except the clothes upon his back. Even the little presents given him in the depths of his distress by his Christian brethren, had been barbarously taken from him; and not contented with that, the authorities were compelling him to undergo imprisonment for ten days or a fortnight at a time, which was reckoned as so many dollars towards the fine imposed upon him, which he was not able otherwise to pay.
Rasmus Jorgensen, another holy sufferer, had been fined on a principle of arithmetical progression, namely, the first month of his refusing to have his child christened, ten dollars per week, the second month twenty, the third forty, the fourth eighty, and so onward, until all his property should be exhausted; when he was to be imprisoned and ultimately banished from the kingdom for life, “in the case of his continued refusal to bring his child to the Lutheran font.” But they were cheered by the heavenly and devoted spirit of the persecuted brethren. “Both the prisoners,” (the Moensters) say they, “were ready to comfort their comforters,” like Paul and Silas, rejoicing in their bonds. Every thing they said and did, rendered it evident that the motive by which they were actuated, was the constraining love of Christ; and that while they would never betray his cause through pusillanimity, they would be as little likely to dishonor it by indiscretion.
One very gratifying fact stated, is, that Joseph John Gurney, Esq., and Mrs. Fry, during their visit in the country, having found “that the brethren had done nothing worthy of bonds, and that no fault could be found with them, save in the law of the Lord their God,” used the most strenuous efforts to procure their release and liberty of worship. “Through visiting the court of Denmark by the Queen's special invitation, Mrs. Fry never for a moment shrunk from identifying herself with the persecuted prisoners. She pleaded their cause most earnestly with the King, Queen, and all in authority;” and she and her noble-minded brother visited them in prison, and afforded them pecuniary assistance.
An anecdote respecting Mrs. Fry, which occurred during her stay at Hamburg, must be told here. “According to her usual practice, Mrs. Fry had assembled together a large audience of some of the principal people at Hamburg, in order to give them an address; which a certain doctor, deeply implicated in the wickedness of persecuting our devoted brother Oncken last year, undertook to interpret. Amongst other topics, Mrs. Fry seized the opportunity of insisting on the duties of Christian charity, the importance of religious liberty, and the wickedness of persecution; and, by this unexpected turn of the discourse, placed her interpreter in the most awkward dilemma imaginable. If he falsely translated the objectionable sentences, numbers were there who understood English as well as himself, and would detect him. If he left out those sentences, or stopped short in his work, everybody would know the cause. Greatly, therefore, to the amusement of the audience, the doctor went on with his work. “Nothing is more lovely than Christian charity,” said Mrs. Fry. “Nothing is more lovely than Christian charity,” said her interpreter. “No rights are to be so solemnly respected as the rights of conscience,” added Mrs. Fry. “No rights are to be so solemnly respected as the rights of conscience,” reiterated the doctor. "Consequently,” said Mrs. Fry, “there is nothing so hateful as a spirit of bigotry and persecution.” “Consequently,” said the doctor, “there is nothing so hateful as a spirit of bigotry and persecution.” Thus, in sentence after sentence, the persecuting German was compelled by Mrs. Fry to pronounce his own condemnation, receiving from her gentle hand as severe a castigation as a man, sensitive to his reputation, could undergo.
The deputation regard their mission as having issued favorably in many respects, though it did not procure the release of their brethren. The King received them very graciously; a favorable impression has been made upon the public mind respecting the Baptists of England and America; and hope is entertained that the persecuting laws of the kingdom will eventually be abrogated. The deputation “solemnly implore the Baptist denomination to turn their eyes to the continent, and remember their persecuted brethren in their contributions and their prayers.”
Others have since been baptized in Copenhagen, and two cast into prison; still, others are ready to be baptized; the work of God advances, and churches are springing up in various places.
[From The Baptist Memorial and Monthly Chronicle, “Anecdotes of Mrs. Fry,” Volume 1, January, 1842, pp. 32-33. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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