A ‘Man-Taker’

Joseph Ivimey records this fascinating anecdote about a 17th century General Baptist pastor, George Hammon. It was the normal practice of the day for ministers to do itinerant evangelistic work, even during times of great persecution. Ivimey (2:221) recounts this story from one such occasion:

That he {Hammon} was a very zealous man will appear from the following anecdote. While at Canterbury he was going to preach at a distant place, and was overtaken by a violent storm of rain. While stopping under a tree for shelter a person from a house opposite called to him, and told him that he was an informer, and having heard there was to be preaching at such a place to-night he was going thither in order to give information of the persons who assembled. This was the very place where Mr. Hammon was appointed to preach, and he instantly replied; “I am a man-taker also.” “Are you so, said the informer? then we will go together.” When they arrived at the house, after sitting some time Mr. Hammon said to the informer, “Here are the people but where is the minister ? Unless there is a minister we cannot make a conventicle of it, and therefore I propose that either you or I should preach.” On the informer declining it, Mr. H. said, “then I must,” which he did with so much energy, and so much to the surprise of the informer, that he from this time dropped his profession and became an altered man.