Zealous in Labor
Dutton Lane was converted under the ministry of Daniel Marshall and was baptized by Shubael Stearns in 1758. In August 1760, he became pastor of a church that he and Marshall organized. While pastoring in Virginia he was very active in starting other churches as well. One church he organized was in November, 1767, at Rappahannock. This church began with 25 members and later started many daughter churches as well.
Dutton did not have the advantage of a strong education, but he is described as a man having a strong constitution, a commanding voice, and fervent spirit. His zeal for the Saviour was so great that he was often persecuted for the gospel. Among the first to persecute him was his own father! His father determined to kill his son for becoming a Baptist and told his wife he was setting out to kill him. His wife challenged him to at least hear him preach once. He sat through one service and fell under conviction and was himself gloriously converted.
On one occasion he was preaching in Meherrin and was rebuked by a magistrate, one Joseph Williams. He was told not to preach there again. He replied that there were plenty of places for him to preach and he did not intend to return any time soon. He then said, “Little Sir, as you now think it, my impressions tell me, that you will become a Baptist, a warm espouser of that cause, which you now persecute.” In 12 years that prediction came true and Williams became a zealous Baptist deacon preaching the gospel wherever he could.
On another occasion one William Cocker fell under the sound of the gospel. William had often said he would rather go to Hell than spend any time in heaven with a Baptist. Dutton preached, and William fell under great conviction and soon was converted and became a staunch Baptist.
Dutton died a faithful man. It is instructive to consider how men of sincere zeal have been greatly used of God. May their tribe increase!
Written by Doug Hammett