Rev. James Ireland was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1748. He was brought up in the Presbyterian Church of his fathers. His education and talents were respectable. He came to America after reaching manhood, with pleasing manners, and without Christ in his heart. He was something of a poet, and in revising one of his religious pieces he was deeply convicted of guilt, from which faith in a suffering Saviour delivered him. He became eminent as a preacher soon after his baptism; his learning and the tenderness of his manner produced a powerful impression upon his hearers, and the Spirit's blessing upon the truth he proclaimed made him a great enemy of Satan's empire. He formed several Baptist churches during his ministry, which extended over forty years, and his influence in favor of truth was very great.
This led the Episcopal clergy of Virginia to stir up social and legal persecutions against him. He was thrust into jail in Culpeper for preaching without the authority of law; abuse was heaped upon him on his way to prison; within its walls an attempt was made to blow him up with gunpowder, and on its failure an effort was put forth to suffocate him by burning brimstone at the door and window of his jail. It was also planned to poison him. His persecutions permanently injured his health; two accidents completed the work begun by State church tyranny, and Mr. Ireland entered upon his rest May 5, 1806. ==============
[From The Baptist Encyclopedia, William Cathcart, editor, 1881; rpt. 1988, p. 585. — jrd]
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