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Dutton Lane *
By Elder R. B. Semple

Dutton Lane was born November 7th, 1732, near the City of Baltimore. At what time he became a resident of Virginia, is not known; but he was baptized by Shubael Stearns, in 1758. He was ordained to the ministry, and, probably, to the care of Dan River Church, October 22d, 1764, having commenced public speaking immediately after he was baptized. Mr. Lane was not a man of much learning; but, having a strong constitution, a commanding voice, and fervent spirit, he did great things in his Master's service.

Unenlightened as the Virginians were, at that time, it was not to be expected that he would be allowed to go in peace. His own father was among the first to set his face against the Baptists generally, and against his own son Dutton in particular. He once pursued him with an instrument of death. It fell out, however, that instead of killing his son, he was himself slain by the sword of the Spirit, from which he soon after revived with a hope of eternal life, and was baptized by that very son whom he would have slain.

Mr. Lane was once preaching at a place called Meherrin, in Lunenburg County, where a Mr. Joseph Williams, a magistrate, charged him, before the whole congregation, not to come there to preach again. Mr. Lane mildly replied, that as there were many other places where he could preach without interruption, he did not know that he should come there again shortly. After wishing peace to the rest of the company, he gravely addressed Mr. Williams, and said, "Little, sir, as you now think it, my impressions tell me that you will become a Baptist, a warm espouser of that cause which you now persecute." This prediction came to pass; for, in about twelve years, Williams embraced religion, was baptized, and became a zealous member and useful deacon in the church that was afterwards formed at that place.

Once he was preaching against drunkenness, and exposing the vileness and danger of the practice, when one John Giles stood up, saying, angrily, "I know who you mean," and with a blasphemous oath declared, "I'll demolish you." But this self-condemned sot was prevented from doing any harm.

One William Cocker had conceived such malignity against the Baptists, that he was accustomed to say, that he would rather go to hell than heaven, if going to heaven required him to be a Baptist. But falling in, accidentally, where Mr. Lane preached, he was struck with deep conviction; and being delivered by converting grace, he became a pious Baptist. Mr. Lane continued preaching till his death; but the latter part of his life was somewhat obscured by his adopting and maintaining certain strange opinions. By diving into subjects not revealed, and rather neglecting those which were obvious and more important, he was much less regarded. He lived and died a pious man, however, in the estimation of those who knew him well.


Prepared by Elder R. B. Semple.

[From James B. Taylor, Virginia Baptist Ministers, 1859, pp. 29-30pp. - jrd]

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