Birthdays on April 21
Birth of English churchman and hymnwriter Reginald Heber. In 1815 he delivered lectures on the The Personality and Office of the Christian Comforter (Holy Spirit). He was made Bishop of Calcutta, India, where he worked hard for the spread of the gospel.
Birth of A. W. Tozer, who became one of the best-known ministers in the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. He authored many devotional books, including God Tells the Man Who Cares.
Birth of Samuel John Mills, one of the founders of the modern missionary movement in the United States. With several other students at Williams College, Mills formed the Society of the Brethren in 1808. These young men met frequently for discussion and prayer. One day they were caught in a sudden downpour and took shelter in the lee of a haystack. When the storm was over they stood to their feet and said, "We can do it if we will." Mills went on to Andover where he was joined by Adonirum Judson from Brown, Samuel Newell from Harvard, and Samuel Nott, Jr., from Union College. In June 1810 these four offered themselves for missionary service to the General Assembly of the Congregational Church. As a direct result there came into being the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which in 1812 dispatched the first American missionaries to India. ill health prevented Mills from going overseas, but he led in establishing the backing of missions at home.
Birth of Asahel Nettleton, evangelist, hymn publisher and educator. Converted at age 18, he was licensed to preach at 28, and began as an evangelist in Connecticut Massachusetts and New York. In his crusade at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 1819, some 2,000 professed conversion. In 1822 he suffered a severe attack of typhoid fever, from which he never fully recovered. In spite of this set back, however, in 1824 he published Village Hymns. In 1834, at age 51, he founded the Tbeological Institute of Connecticut.
Birth of Johnson Oatman, Methodist clergyman and hymnwriter. About age 36 he began writing poetry which soon came into great demand by such well-known sacred music composers as William J. Kilpatrick, Charles H. Gabriel and E. O. Excell. "There's Not a Friend Like the Lowly Jesus," "Higher Ground" and "Count Your Blessings " are three of his hymns.