Believer’s Baptism and Divine Healing
March 13, 2024
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
This is the account of two healings that occurred in association with believer’s baptism.

The 16th to the 18th century was a time of bitter persecution for Baptists, at the hands of Roman Catholics and Protestants alike, in Europe, in England, and in America.

One form of persecution was slander, which the devil introduced in his conversation with Eve. In their zeal for pedobaptist heresy, prominent Protestants falsely charged Baptists with all sorts of false things pertaining to baptism, such as baptizing naked, baptizing in filthy water, and baptizing in cold water so that many die as a result.

In the business of slander, no one outperformed the Puritan
Daniel Featley (1582-1645), a translator of the King James Bible on the First Oxford Company responsible for the later books of the Old Testament. He was a protege and benefactor of KJV translator John Rainolds and chaplain to George Abbot, another KJV translator. In The Dippers Dipt, or, The Anabaptists Duck’d and Plunged Over Head and Eares (1645), Featley described the Anabaptists in Vienna being tied together in chains and drowned in the river. He supported this, believing it was good to “dip” the “dippers.” He wrote, “Here you see the hand of God in punishing these sectaries some way answerable to their sin.” He claimed that Baptists were in the habit of going “stark naked, not onely when they flocke in great multitudes, men and women together, to their Jordans to be dipt; but also upon other occasions, when the season permits. ... And as they defile our rivers with their impure washings, and our pulpits with their false prophecies and fanatical enthusiasms, so the presses sweat and groan under the load of their blasphemies.” The racy cover featured Baptist women being baptized in the nude, which doubtless increased the sales!

Richard Baxter (1615-1691), famous Presbyterian theologian who has been described as “the chief of the English Protestant Schoolmen” and a “model Puritan pastor.” He wrote, “The ordinary practice of baptizing by dipping over head in cold water ... is no ordinance of God, but an heinous sin ... the magistrate ought to restrain it, to save the lives of his subjects. ... the ordinary or general dipping of people over head in the cold water, doth tend directly to the overthrow of their health and lives; and therefore it is murder. ... Apoplexies, lethargies, palsies, and all comatous [comatose] diseases, would be promoted by it. So would ... debility of the stomach ... and almost all fevers, dysenteries, diarrhoeas, colics ... convulsions, spasms, tremors, etc.” (Plain Scripture Proof of Infants Church-membership and Baptism, 1656).

William Burkitt (1650-1713), Anglican rector and author of Expository Notes on the New Testament. He said baptism by immersion is a breach of the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” He added, “how many thousand persons strong and weak, old and young, would this plunging over head and ears in northern countries, and in the winter season infallibly destroy and make an end of?” (An Argumentative and Practical Discourse of Infant-Baptism, 1695).

Almost in answer to these ignorant, vicious slanders, God healed at least three men of sicknesses when they were baptized by immersion.

The case of Captain Francis Langdon

During the Commonwealth led by Oliver Cromwell (1649-1660), Abraham Cheare, pastor of the Baptist church in Plymouth, received a request from Captain Francis Langdon in Cornwell to come and baptize him. Langdon was suffering from tuberculosis and was close to death. The doctors gave him no hope of recovery.

Cheare described Langdon’s condition as follows:

“[H]is breath had almost left him, his speech hardly to be perceived, scarce able when he was in his chair to rise upon his feet, and if up, hardly able to step one step without being held up, the very sinews of his neck loosed, that his head hung in his bosom, cough tearing him even to pieces. He had not slept one hour in many nights, only two or three times the week before, as a return of prayers in the particular case put up for him by the servants of the house, at his desire; he could receive in no nourishment but a little milk, he had utterly laid aside all cordials. And indeed when I saw him at first, I thought he would hardly live till the morning, this was his outward estate” (Henry Nicholson,
Authentic Records Relating to the Christian Church Now Meeting in George Street and Mutley Chapels, Plymouth: 1640 to 1870, London, 1904).

Cheare met with other Baptist pastors to discuss the matter and pray about it. They feared that Langdon would die and the Baptists would be blamed. In the end, Cheare said he didn’t have faith to proceed, but another Baptist preacher named Muckle agreed to perform the ordinance.

On the day of the baptism, Langon was brought to the river. It was January and frost was on the ground. Cheare said that Langon had “decayed more in one day now, than in a week before.” Following is Cheare’s description of what happened:

“[B]rother Muckle goeth down with him into the water, and he is led by two or three men, he baptizeth him. Immediately as soon as he is out of the water, he requireth that no person hold him, but strongly, swiftly as one that runneth, he goeth up alone against the hill which was very steep, 50 or 60 feet, and then was led and helped home, declaring that he found at that instant--recovery. He is put into his bed, speaketh strongly and heartily; after the Lord was waited upon for an hour, he calleth for victuals, desires beef and pork, afterwards lieth him down to sleep, and sleeps very well all that night for the space of seven or eight hours; had not one straining pull of the cough that night, when he waketh, he saith, he could have slept longer, but was unwilling to have the friends depart till he had spoken of the salvation of God. He is very hearty all the morning, ariseth about noon, but tarried not long up, saying, he found the bed more comfortable than the fire, and I think had some faintness, but still declared that he lived by faith to have the cure perfected by degrees, as his weakness grew by degrees. He rejoiced much that the Lord had so manifestly owned his ordinance.”

The case of “old man Wilson”

The following case was described by John Taylor (1752-1835) in
A History of Ten Baptist Churches (1827).

“I was invited to baptize some people there [Clear Creek, Kentucky]. I think five were baptized at the time and among them an old man the name of Wilson, apparently far gone in a consumption. This became a great trial to my faith. I found [that] the old man could only speak a little above a whisper. And though hehad been much of a singer and a powerful man in his family, all had been laid aside perhaps for a twelvemonth for want of health.

“I had lately been reading Mr. Rice’s pamphlet on infant baptism, where he had averred that it was instant death to wet a man allover in the last stages of consumption. If all this is true, thought I, which I did not know to the contrary, in this thing I had great perplexity.

“This old man came foremost to the water. And I was almost ready to tremble with fear, but in we went. As quick as he recovered from the water, he raised his hands and with pretty strong voice cried, ‘Glory to God! Glory to God!’

“The first thought I had was, ‘Old man, you are not yet killed.’

“A handsome, little revival of religion went on. This old gentleman’s voice was so far restored that he resumed worship in his family and became a pleasant singer in public worship. And he lived after this for several years, so that wetting him allover did him no harm.”

Another case like this was described by Joseph Ivimey in “A Wonderful Appearance of Providence at Baptism,”
The Baptist Magazine, 10, 1818, p. 257.


We know that the apostolic sign miracles were temporary for a special purpose, that being the laying of the foundation of the church (2 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 2:2). But God has done miracles throughout the church age. He has healed many in answer to prayer. We have witnessed this and have experienced it. The miracle of regeneration is as great as the miracle of the creation of light and life 6,000 years ago.

For more about the persecution of Baptists in England and America, see the free eBook
Protestant Persecution of Baptists.

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