Saturday, September 17, 2011

John Jasper (1813 - 1901)

A Baptist slave preacher died in 1812 leaving his pregnant widowed wife on the Peachy family plantation in Virginia. The young widow continued to pray dedicating her unborn son to the Lord.

“Lord, if dis chile you's sendin' me is a boy, doan' let him do nuthin' else but sing de praises of Jesus.”

She named her boy after John the Baptist when he was born. The widow continued to pray for her son although he grew to become a prodigal. Samuel Hargrove, a deacon of the First Baptist Church in Richmond, eventually purchased her son. John began to work in Samuel Hargrove's tobacco factory. His godly mother's prayer was answered on July 25, 1839.

John Jasper delighted in telling what happened on that July day.

“One July mornin' somethin' happen'd...Fac' is, bruth'n, de darkness of death was in my soul dat mornin'. My sins was piled on me like mount'ns; my feet was sinkin' down to reguns of despar, an' I felt dat all sinners I was de wust. I tho't dat I would die right den, an' wid what I supposed was my lars breath I flung up to heav'n a cry for mercy. 'Fore I kno'd it, de light broke; I was light as a feather, my feet ws on de mount'n; salvation rol'd like a flood thru my soul, an' I felt as if I could 'nock off de fact'ry roof wid my shouts...”
“Twan' long 'fore I looked up de line agin, an' dar was a good ol' woman dar dat know all my sorrers, an' had been prayin' fur me all de time. I had to tell her, an' so I skip along up quiet as a breeze, an' start'd to whisper in her ear, but just den de holin-back straps of Jasper's breachin' broke, an' what I tho't would be a whisper was loud enuf to be hearn clean 'cross Jeems River...All I know'd I had raise my fust shout to de glory of my Redeemer.”
“But for one thing thar would er been a jin'ral revival in de fact'ry dat mornin'. Dat one thing was de overseer. He bulg'd into de room, an' wid a voice dat sounded like he had his breakfus dar mornin' on rasps an' files, bellowed out: 'What's all dis row 'bout?' Somebody shouted out dat John Jasper gun got religun, but dat didn't work 'tall wid de boss. He tell me to git back to my I sed: 'Yes, sir, I will; I ain't meant no harm; de fus taste of salvation got de better un me, but I'll git back to my work.' An' I tell you I got back quick.”
“Bout dat time Mars Sam he come out'n his orfis, an' he say: 'What's de matter our here?' An' I hear de overseer tellin' him: 'John Jasper kick up a fus, an' say he dun got religun.'”
“Little aft'r I hear Mars Sam tell de overseer he want to see Jasper...I sez to him: '...Jes' now out dar at de table God tuk my sins away, an' set my feet on a rock. I didn't mean to make no noise, Mars Sam, but 'fore I know'd it de fires broke out in my soul, an' I jes' let go one shout to de glory of my Savior.' Mars Sam's face was rainin' tears.”

Samuel Hargrove gave John Jasper his freedom so that he might preach. John Jasper became a pastor and the founder of the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia. Jasper began his church with only six members but before he died in 1901, church membership had grown to two thousand members. 

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