Monday, October 22, 2007

'Christ Shall be Magnified:' Mrs. Laura Thomas II

Miss. Laura Blagdon, her mother and sister, cast out of their home, spent a brief period at Cheltenham, where they had friends. But the memories of happier times spent there made the stay brief. A friend mentioned Carmarthen as a suitable place for them. They set off to the West, meaning to stop a while at Coleford. On their way there they paused at Lydney. There, in the churchyard, they prayed to God for guidance.

As a result, they decided to go at once to Carmarthen, then a quiet and elegant county town, dominated by its ancient Castle, coming alive only on market day. Here in what was once the Royal capital of Wales, Welsh and English speaking culture existed side by side, while the town abounded with churches and chapels of every denomination. The Blagdon's attached themselves to Zion Calvinistic Methodist Chapel (pictured).

However, Laura was already considering a step which would mean separation from that church. Shortly before the move to Carmarthen, someone had asked her whether she had been baptised. Miss Blagdon (not unnaturally) replied: "Yes, of course I have been baptised!" at which point the man had replied: "You may have been sprinkled in your infancy, of which you know nothing, but that is not Christian Baptism." Laura, together with her sister and mother, hand begun 'to search the scriptures, to find out whether these things were so.'

The drift towards the Baptists continued when Mrs. Blagdon met her former music teacher, Mr. John Rollings, a deacon at Priory Street Baptist Church in the town. Still used to the Anglican orders, the Blagdons took him to be the pastor of the church and thus, when they became convinced that believer's baptism was the only scriptural baptism, they asked him to baptise them. He explained that a deacon among the nonconformists was not the same as a deacon among the Anglicans and introduced the family to his pastor, Mr. Nathaniel Thomas.

After interviewing the Blagdons, Pastor Thomas recommended them to the church as fit candidates for baptism, and on 22 January 1852, they were baptised at Priory Street. They had intended to remain at Zion, but hearing a personal attack on them in the course of a sermon against believers' baptism, they left that chapel and joined the church at Priory Street.



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