The price for doing right is sometimes high, even the price of our own life or cruel punishment by others upon our bodies. But of course our lives and bodies are not our own, they have been given to us by the Lord to use for His glory – and that is just what John Leland did, he chose to do what is right in God’s sight!
John Leland records that the following events took place in Autumn, 1781 in the Peninsula area of Virginia . . .
Threatened to not preach The Word of God in York, VA
In the first of my preaching in York, I had a meeting in the edge of Warwick. Just as I had read my text. Col. Harwood, with six others, entered the house. “Sir,” said the Colonel, “I am come to stop you from preaching here today.” Without any time to think, I gave a heavy stamp on the floor, and told him in the name of God to forbear. He replied, “I did not come to fight, but to stop you from preaching.” A Mr. Cole Diggs, son of a counsellor, was there, and said,” Col. Harwood, you are a representative in the General Assembly, and the Assembly has just made a law to secure the religious rights of all, and now you come to prevent them. What does that look like? “Said the Colonel, “Mr. Diggs, I only came to prevent an unlawful conventicle, for this meeting draws away the people from the church!” Mrs. Russell, the mistress of the house, replied, “Hah! Colonel, I think it is a pity that people cannot do as they please, in their own house.” “Madam,” said the Colonel, “I did not come to dispute with ladies.” And here the fracas ended. The Colonel and Co. went off, and the meeting was continued. When he returned home, his mother said unto him,” Well, Neddy, what did the man say unto you?” “What? said the Colonel, “He stamped at me, and made no more of me than if I had been a dog. I shall trouble them no more.” Some of his servants I baptized afterwards.
A Lady to be Baptized ~ another threatening situation
Captain Robert Howard, of York, had a beautiful and pious wife whom he adored. She wished to be baptized, but as he was a vestryman in the church, he opposed it. At a time, however, she came forward and was baptized. When he heard of it, he called for his carriage, and took his cow-skin, and said he would lash me out of the county. His sister replied, “Brother Bobby, Mr. Leland is a large man, and will be too much for you.” “I know it,” said the Captain, “but he will not fight.” His wife made answer, “Perhaps he may — he goes well armed; and if he should wound you in the heart, you would fall before him.” “Ah,” said the Captain, “I know nothing about this heart-work.” “I wish you may, my dear,” said his wife. He finally declined the contest, and afterwards became serious, penitent, believing, and was baptized. After his reform, as he was riding in company with me to meeting, one of his uncles met him in the road, and accosted him thus: “Nephew Bobby, I pity you in my heart, to see you following that deluded people, and wasting your time so much, that you will raise no corn this year.” “My uncle,” said the Captain, “I wish you had pitied me as much two years ago, when you cheated me out of my mill.”
Another Lady for Baptism ~ another angry husband
About the same time, a gentlewoman, in James City, was convinced that it was her duty to be baptized, but neglected it until she could evade it no longer. She came to my quarters on Saturday, and made known her desire; accordingly the neighbors were collected, and she was baptized: when she returned and told her husband of it, he would not sleep with her that night, nor eat breakfast with her in the morning. She came to meeting on Sunday and informed me of what had taken place, and asked my advice in the affair. I knew the lady to be an excellent cook, and her husband was fond of good dinners. My answer was, “My sister, give yourself no uneasiness; his appetite will bring him to his reason by dinner time;” which accordingly came to pass.