Oliver Heywood: Ebenezer

Oliver Heywood’s Diary entry from 20 October 1669 finds him reflecting on rumours that his great opponent, Dr Hook, Vicar of Halifax, is arranging for an arrest warrant to be issued against him. As a nonconformist, he had been prohibited from preaching, but having been expelled from the state church, he preached all the more, which doubtless incensed old Hook.

lodged with Elizab. Haslam- so returned home on Wednesday being Octob. 20 1669- Dr Hook had sent a man to Wakefield sessions to swear agt. me, and reports are he hath got a warrant, but I hear no ceartainty as yet- Ebenezer.

Heywood’s only response is a single, Hebrew word: Ebenezer, meaning ‘thus far, the Lord has helped us’. The Lord who delivered the ejected Puritan previously, will continue to save him and deliver him from each successive challenge and attack. The changeless God continues to care for His precious servants, and His power to do so never diminishes. Be of good cheer! Heywood is now with his God, but the God of Heywood is still with you.