John Bunyan McCure

The Life And Testimony Of John Bunyan McCure

By a most gracious Providence I was directed to Woodbridge Chapel, Clerkenwell, where I heard that good and honoured man, Mr. Richard Luckin. This minister, under the blessing of God, was the means of bringing my soul into Gospel liberty. For three months it was like heaven upon earth to me, for I could then read my title to mansions in the skies. I felt so happy that I could scarcely attend to my duties, for I had indeed found the Lord, and was now afraid lest I should lose the joy of His presence. I could not endure that any one should speak against Him whom my soul loved. Such was the tenderness of conscience, that I could not endure the filthy conversation of the wicked. If a customer uttered an oath in the shop, I reproved him, aud entreated him not to utter such language. My employer, beholding the change, reviled me, telling me he believed that I was going out of my mind; that he had then an uncle in the lunatic asylum, who had been out of his mind from religious madness for fourteen years. I replied, “That I believed no one ever went out of their mind in consequence of being religious, but for the want of it. For the Lord had blessed me with the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins; and instead of being out of my mind, why, sir,” said I, “I am now for the first time in my right mind.” I looked upon my fellow-creatures with pity and compassion. Oh, how I longed to speak to them respecting their souls. While out on business, I invariably made it a practice to address any one walking in the same direction as myself. I would make an allusion with reference to the weather, and, if the slightest chance was given, introduce the subject of religion. Sometimes I got ridiculed and laughed at, and was told to go about my business. I soon learnt, however, that this was casting pearls before swine. While under the ministry of Mr. Luckin, I was asked to go to Bethel Chapel, City Road, to witness the baptism of several persons who were to be baptized by Mr. Smith, of Penzance. I went, but full of prejudice against that ordinance, and more particularly when I saw the men dressed in white apparel, I was more determined than ever not to be converted to Christian immersion; indeed, I believed there was no foundation for it in the New Testament, and therefore I would not believe it. With these feelings I left the chapel, only sorry that I had been persuaded to witness what I did not believe, and I said, “It will be a long time before I shall be tempted to visit a Baptist chapel again.”

However, the effect of that service I could not dismiss from my mind; the argument of the preacher, the test of Scripture brought forward by him during the sermon in defence of believers’ baptism, and his challenge that he would at once give up the subject if any one could produce from the New Testament only one text of Scripture in support of infant sprinkling. With the fullest confidence that I was right, and the preacher wrong, I commenced the search, when, to my surprise, I could not find one text of Scripture or one instance of children being baptized, but I found no less than eighty passages of Scripture testifying to the truth of believers’ baptism. I was now fully convinced, my prejudices gave way, and I was obliged to surrender. I made known my convictions to my minister, who was a thorough Paedobaptist. He made use of the usual arguments. I told him that, however painful was the necessity of leaving his ministry, I must obey the dictates of my own conscience. On the following Sabbath morning he stated that two young men had left his ministry, believing in adult baptism, and he expressed himself in this most peculiar manner: “I compare myself to a hen which sat upon ducks’ eggs after incubation, I find that I have hatched ducks for the water.” Truly, I was hatched. He had indeed preached the Word to me, which came like the refreshing spring to the thirsty traveller, but to the water to be baptized I was brought by the study of the Word of God, accelerated by being a witness of the ceremony performed in Bethel Chapel, City Road.

I then made application for baptism, and was received as a candidate by the Baptist Church, under the ministry of the late Mr. John Lucombe, and was baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity by that venerable man of God. I shall never forget the night of my baptism, while I testified before a congregation of six hundred persons my faith in Christ, and while they witnessed the obedience of love. I did indeed feel that I loved Jesus, therefore I was keeping His commandment. It was a sacred opportunity to me; the Divine Presence was most precious and overpowering. I felt that night that I could not only obey Christ, but that I could suffer for Him. I now went on my way rejoicing…

John Bunyan McCure (1822-1883) was an English Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. In 1840, he preached his first sermon and tied the knot in marriage. In 1848, he was ordained pastor at Hadlow, Kent, with John Foreman bringing the charge. In 1852, he and his family removed to Australia, where they served in gospel ministry for sixteen years. This came to a sudden end with the unexpected death of Mrs. McCure, whose last wish was for her children to be raised in England. Mr. McCure was the first Evangelist (Missionary) to be sent from the English Strict and Particular Baptists to Australia. In 1872, after returning to England, he was appointed pastor of Eden Chapel, Cambridge.