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The hope is entertained that at no remote date, a popular History of the Baptists, with the advancement of their principles, in this country and on the continent of Europe, will be furnished. Mr. BENEDICT, in his History, published in 1848, has supplied that lack of information with regard to Baptists in the United States. The belief is entertained that an intelligent mind, well qualified for the work, is already directed to the subject. The historical sketch in the following pages but barely touches upon most of the various topics adverted.

It is the desire of the writer that this volume may be attainable, for extensive circulation, at the lowest possible rate; and should any profit result therefrom, it will be devoted to the fund for "Baptist Ministers' Widows, &c."

In concluding these prefatory remarks, it may be observed that the Confession of Faith of 1689, now brought somewhat prominently under notice, furnishes the theological views and Christian practice of Baptists for more than two hundred years, (it embodying the sentiments of the Confession of 1643,) without referring to the Waldensian Baptist Confession of Faith, given by the Protestants of Mirandole, more than three centuries ago.* * A somewhat modern Baptist Confession of Faith, by ABRAHAM BOOTH, (1769,) may be read with advantage.†

From these three Confessions of Faith will be seen the extent to which Baptists may be charged with "heresy" and 66 'erroneous sentiment."

The writer cannot repress the aspiration-May the world be filled with such heresy!

Manchester, December, 1851.


* Appendix A.

+ Appendix H.


CONTROVERSY is not the design of the following Historical Sketch, nor is it intended to enlarge upon long gone by historical details of sufferings, in relation to a sect which has everywhere been spoken against. It might be easily shewn that imprisonment, banishment, and death, for several centuries, comprised the history of a large section of Christians, who were emphatically Baptists in sentiment, although not formed into what is now understood as distinct Baptist Churches.

The object proposed is, to present, in a somewhat concise form, the Progress of Sentiment;-to shew, in some degree, what Baptists have been, as to their adherence to those principles which, for several centuries, rendered them (it may be said) almost a distinct people,— respecting whom there has been so much misrepresentation, and with regard to whom (from want of accurate information) so much prejudice has existed, as to their true principles and practice; and which, to a considerable extent, prevail even in the present day.

With Baptists, both the mode of, and the subjects for, Christian Baptism are, upon Scriptural grounds, settled points; receiving, as they conceive they do, from the Divine Founder of the Christian system, His positive command for the observance of Baptism: an ordinance sanctioned by Jesus Christ himself submitting to it, and was practised by his apostles, when they "that believed were baptized, both men and


All denominations of Christians profess to take the Scriptures as their rule in matters of faith and practice; and whilst upon fundamental points so many agree in their opinions, there are other points, which by some, professing Christianity, are not considered as so essential, and respecting which opposing views are entertained-particular historical reference may be made to the question of Baptism.

It was not long after the time of the Apostles that a diversity of opinion began to extend. Dr. Howell presents, in an interesting form, the advancement of baptistical views in the early ages of the Church. He observes, "There is satisfactory evidence that so soon as unscriptural customs began to prevail in the early churches, secessions from them took place, and that distinct societies were formed upon the model of the Church at Jerusalem."

In the THIRD CENTURY the NOVATIONS withdrew from the Church of Rome, not on account of doctrine, but of discipline. These people raised communities on the New Testament model all over the Roman Empire; (a) they said to all who sought for fellowship, “If you wish

(a) Lardner-Jones.

to join any of our Churches, you can be admitted among us by immersion." (b)

In the FOURTH CENTURY the DONATISTS seceded from the Old Churches of Africa on account of corrupt practices. The superior abilities and virtues of Donatus gave great support to his party; (c) "they spread themselves throughout all the provinces of Africa;" (d) "they maintained that the Church ought to be made up of just and holy men." (e) "With this view they admitted none to fellowship without a personal profession of faith and holiness, and therein they baptized." (f) They re-immersed all persons coming from other communities. (g)

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The FOURTH CENTURY. THE BAPTISTS IN THE EAST were called Euchites-Novatians-Manicheans-Donatists-Antemenites-Bu

gariens-Phrygians-Galatians-Philippoplitans and Armenians. This large body of dissenters were resident in the Eastern Empire from the fourth to the thirteenth century. They baptized all that joined their societies on personal profession of their faith; and if they had been baptized before, they re-immersed them.


One Hundred

"They confined "They rejected

THE SEVENTH CENTURY. THE PAULICIANS IN AMENIA: body of Baptists became very numerous in the East. Thousand of them were martyred by Theodora. their baptism and communion to the faithful.” (h) Infant Baptism." (i) "They propagated their sentiments in Italy and beyond the Alps." (j)

BAPTISTS IN BRITAIN. Christianity was professed generally in Britain at the time of Constantine. (k) The churches were independent of each other. (1) They did not baptize infants, (m) though the natives did. (n) They immersed believers in fountains, rivers, and the sea. (o) They held no communion with the hierarchy. (p)

THE EIGHTH CENTURY. THE PATERINES IN ITALY. This Christian people filled Italy. (q) They immersed penitents; and re-immersed all those who had been baptized in other communities. (r)

THE NINTH CENTURY. THE VAUDOIS. This people, under various denominational terms, filled Spain and the south of France. They amounted to thousands and tens of thousands in the neighbourhood of the Pyrenees.(s) The communities immersed all upon a profession of faith, and re-immersed those who joined them from other communities. (t)

(6) Robinson.-M. (c) Gibbons. (d) Mosheim-Jones. (e) Dupin. (ƒ) Robinson. (g) Mosheim-Long-Claude-Lardner. (h) Gibbon-Milner. (i) Mosheim. (j) Gibbon. (k) Gildas B. (1) Bishop Burgess. (m) Encyclopedia Metropolitana. (n) Davis-Henry's Hist. (0) Bede's-Fox. (p) Hume-Milton. (q) Robinson. Allix-Mezeray-Dupin-Gibbon. (s) Robinson. (t) Robinson-Allix.

This Christian

They admitted

THE ELEVENTH CENTURY. THE ALBIGENSES. society was known in the south of France for ages. (that is, the immersed, see Mezeray) to the Lord's supper after fasting and prayer. (u)

It is most deeply interesting to trace the existence of evangelical truth in the early records of the history of the Christian Churches. Amongst the most distinguished for purity of doctrine and practice, THE WALDENSES stand forth pre-eminently as noble confessors of the truth. Let an examination be made of their character: Shobert supplies a beautiful portraiture of these early Christians:


"A Christian community, whose origin is based in the obscurity of the early ages, WHOSE DOCTRINES APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN TRANSMITTED THEM FROM THE PRIMITIVE APOSTLES, and to have been preserved untainted from the successive corruptions engrafted on the mild precepts of the gospel by the Church of Rome-À COMMUNITY WHICH, CONSEQUENTLY, NEVER NEEDED REFORMATION-is a phenomenon that must excite peculiar interest in the mind of the philosopher, as well as the religious reader. Such a phenomenon is presented by the Vandois, or Waldenses - the very purity of whose doctrines has gained them a place in the calendar of Popish persecutions.”

In the TWELFTH CENTURY it appears the Petro Brussians withdrew themselves (about 1100) from the communion of the Church of Rome, which was then very corrupt. THEY DID RECKON INFANT BAPTISM AS ONE OF THE CORRUPTIONS OF THAT CHURCH, AND ACCORDINGLY RENOUNCED IT, AND PRACTICED ONLY ADULT BAPTISM.†

That the doctrines maintained by the Waldenses had an extended diffusion, appears on the authority of Matthew Paris, who writes that the "Berengarian, or Waldensian, heresy had, about the year 1180, generally infected all France, Italy, and England." Guitmond, a Popish writer of that time, also says, that "not only the weaker sort in the country villages, but the nobility and gentry in the chief towns and cities, were infected therewith; and, therefore, Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, who held this see both in the reigns of William the Conqueror and of his son William Rufus, wrote against them in the year 1087." The archbishop adds, from Poplinius' History of France, that the Waldenses of Aquitain did, about the year 1100, during the reigns of Henry I. and Stephen, kings of England, "spread themselves and their doctrines all over Europe," and mentions England in particular.‡

(u) Allix-Dupin.

* Shobert's Persecutions of Popery, vol. i., p. 216. D. Wall's History of

Infant Baptism.

Danvers on Baptism, pp. 275, 278.

Archbishop Usher, from Thomas Walden, says, that "several Waldenses who came out of France were apprehended, and, by the king's command, were marked in the forehead with a key or hot iron;" which sect, says William of Newbury, in his History of England, were called the Publicani, whose origin was from Gascoyne; and who, being as numerous as the sands of the sea, did sorely infest both France, Italy, Spain, and England,"

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Rapin, in relating the transactions of the councils of Henry II., gives the following account of these people, on the authority of the above-mentioned historian: "Henry ordered a council to meet at Oxford, in 1166, to examine the tenets of certain heretics, called Publicani. Very probably they were disciples of the Waldenses, who began then to appear. When they were asked, in the council, who they were? they answered they were Christians, and followers of the apostles. After that, being questioned upon the creed, their replies were very orthodox as to the trinity, and incarnation. But," adds Rapin, "if the historian is to be depended upon, they rejected baptism, the eucharist, marriage, and the communion of saints. They shewed a great deal of modesty and meekness in their whole behaviour. When threatened with death, in order to oblige them to renounce their tenets, they only said 'Blessed are they that suffer for righteousness' sake.""* They were, however, (on the testimony of Hume) "whipped, and were thrust out almost naked, in the midst of winter, and perished through cold and hunger, not one daring, or being willing, to give them the least relief. They seem to have been THE FIRST that suffered for heresy in England." Dr Vaughan,† in his life of Wyckliffe, gives a somewhat lengthened notice of these early sufferers for the truth. Referring to their doctrines, which they maintained before the council, he observes, "they had perhaps learned to discard the pernicious tenet of baptismal regeneration, or, it may be, withheld that ordinance entirely from infants."‡

Ivimey observes, "there is no difficulty in understanding what were their sentiments on these heretical points. When A MONK says they rejected the eucharist, it is to be understood that they rejected the absurd doctrine of transubstantiation; when he says that they rejected marriage, he means that they denied it to be a sacrament, and maintained it to be a civil institution; when he says that they rejected the communion of saints, nothing more is understood than that they refused to hold communion with the corrupt Church of Rome;

* History of England, vol. i. p. 350. † Vaughan's Life of Wyckliffe, vol. i. p. 191. + Dr. Vaughan's "Life of John de Wyckliffe" is considered the most interesting that has been published, as containing a more full account of the life and writings of that early reformer than has been given by his previous biographers. A cheap edition of the work would be a boon to the reading public.

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