Birthdays on November 4
Birth of Augustus Toplady. Converted at age 15 in Dublin, Ireland, through the evangelistic outreach of Methodists, he was ordained in 1762 into the ministry of the church of England and became a strict Calvinist, strongly opposed to the Methodists. At eighteen he wrote his first hymn, "Great God, Whom Heaven and Earth and Sea..." But his most famous hymn, "Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me," was written in 1775 when he was 34. Tradition says he wrote it while sheltering from a storm in a rock crevice. He died two years later of tuberculosis and overwork.
Birth of Watchman Nee. Soon after his conversions, he joined the Brethren and began teaching in 1924. He made several trips to the United States and other countries, and it was on those trips that he authored many books. However, although he could have remained in freedom in the United States, Watchman Nee returned to China to share the sufferings of his people under Communism. Because his preaching conflicted with Communist ideology, he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison on a trumped up charge. When due for release, he refused to deny Christ and was given several more years. In the meantime, his faithful wife was also persecuted. Her house was ransacked thirteen times (but she hid her precious Bible and Christian literature in ingenious places). She died in 1971. Watchman Nee died in prison, still confessing Christ.