God’s eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made” (Rom. 1:20). Many miss the majesty of God’s creation, but one boy on the Swiss-Italian border got the message.

Anselm grew up on breathtaking St. Bernard. His mother frequently reminded him of the Creator, and Anselm imagined God living among the Alps. In his mid-teens, Anselm, quarreling with his father, entered a French monastery where he expanded his knowledge of God through the study of Scripture. His keen mind and mature faith led to repeated calls from England, and eventually, Anselm crossed the channel to become archbishop of Canterbury.

His life and teaching breathed Christ. Belief in God, Anselm felt, was rational and logical, not a blind leap of mindless faith. The beauty of creation evidenced God’s existence; and furthermore, the very fact that our minds could imagine an infinite, loving God gave evidence that he existed. Anselm’s famous argument for God’s existence said that if God could exist in our minds, he could exist in reality.

But Anselm’s deepest writings were on the atonement, which he defined as Christ’s blood being a “satisfaction” made to God by the Lord Jesus. Love of Christ’s atonement brought Anselm comfort when he found himself in the crossfire between the pope and the English king. The redheaded King William Rufus (Rufus the Red) was profane and violent. He reputedly arose a worse man every morning and went to bed a worse man every night. He enjoyed seeing animals and men tortured, while Anselm would go out of his way to save a hare.

Banished and recalled, exiled and returned, Anselm bore his trials with strength until April 21, 1109, when, surrounded by friends, he passed away at age 76 as the morning was breaking. Friends lifted his dying body from the bed and placed it in ashes on the floor. Thus he met his Creator face to face, whom he had first recognized in the beauty of the Alps and in the pages of the Holy Bible.

I look to the hills! Where will I find help? It will come from the Lord, Who created the heavens and the earth. The Lord is your protector, And he won’t go to sleep or let you stumble. The protector of Israel doesn’t doze or ever get drowsy. (Psalm 121:1-4)

Robert J. Morgan, On This Day: 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). Apr. 21.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

1555 – Twelve Jesuit priests, sent by Ignatius of Loyola, arrive in Prague to help Canisius founded a college in the heart of Hussite country. They faced jeers and threats until the Archduke of Bohemia deployed guards and threatened severe penalties for any injury done to them.

1649Maryland Toleration Act is passed by the Maryland assembly, allowing freedom of worship for all Christians. It has the strong support of Lord Baltimore, the Roman Catholic proprietor of Maryland.

1855 – Sunday school teacher Edward Kimball visits the Holton Shoe Store in Boston, Massachusetts, where Dwight L. Moody works, finds him in a stockroom, and speaks to him of the love of Christ. Shortly thereafter, Moody is converted and devotes his life to serving God, becoming a notable American evangelist.

1947 – On his twenty-seventh birthday, while laying bricks, John Ajayi Agbona hears a voice calling him to ministry with the Christ Apostolic Mission Church of Nigeria. He obeys and will be instrumental in founding eighty churches in five nations as well as schools in Nigeria. His work will often be accompanied by miraculous healings.

Accessed ChristianHistoryInstitute.org 19 April 2022.

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