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PREFACE.

THIS work has far exceeded the original design. The writer had long been of opinion that the denomination to which he has the honour and the privilege of being united had not, in any easily attainable form, an epitome, or distinct statement, of the principles, doctrines, and practice of that section of professing Christians known as BAPTISTS; he, therefore, reprinted, with some prefatory remarks, The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, which was appended to the January number of the Baptist Magazine for 1851.

The numerous expressions of pleasure and approbation offered to the writer, by both ministers and members of the Baptist churches, on the appearance of the interesting document referred to, gave ample assurance that its publication was generally acceptable. It was, however, proposed to publish a further edition of "The Confession," in a separate form, with the proof texts at length, to afford facility for reference; and, also, to give a brief sketch of the progress of Baptistical sentiment, as introductory to that confession.

In proceeding with this work, however, the writer found that his subject widened upon his hands: he felt that not only much could be said about the Baptists, but that much could also be said for them.

It will be observed-in the introductory remarks, and the historical incidents referred to from the primitive times—

the early centuries, and also the later ecclesiastical dynasties in this country, until the Revolution of 1688, are comprised in a very brief review; sufficient, however, as a sketch, to show the prevalence of sentiments identical with those maintained by Baptists at the present period.

Somewhat lengthened attention has been directed to the coercive laws and penalties to which Baptists, in common with other dissenters, were subjected in the various English reigns, and under the various religious systems-whether papistical, episcopal, or presbyterian; with, also, the advancing intelligence and the prevalence of enlightened views which have led to the repeal of obnoxious and oppressive statutes.

During the passing of these sheets through the press, the controversy between Romanism and Protestantism agitated the public mind. Was it possible, with any regard for Protestant truths, to be indifferent at what was passing? The bold effrontery of Romanism has been, in some degree, repelled; but let it not be for one moment imagined that the determination of Papacy will be at all slackened. Romanism may appear to be quiet, but it possesses full vitality it only awaits to show, with power, that Popery would be again what it has ever been-a persecuting system; and, consistent only with recognized tenets, is there not sufficient ground for the belief that it would reenact and practise, what it has done in past centuries, the calamitous atrocities of which history affords such abundant and soul-harrowing examples?

Semi-Romanism-or Popery under a Protestant garb— Puseyism, has a notice. Puseyites assert that their sentiments and practice are most in accordance with the Rubric or formula of the Anglican church. The advancement of their views and actings have, however, received a check, from the doctrines enunciated in high quarters. That the

inevitable tendencies of Tractarianism lead to Romanism are, by various incidents clearly demonstrated; but the most deplorable manifestation is the numerous perverts to papacy (see Appendix) from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

With the least encouragement from SOVEREIGNTY, a Tractarian PRIME MINISTER, and a Tractarian PRIMATE, PUSEYISM Would soon raise its at present sunken head; its pernicious leaven would insidiously and very extensively diffuse its baneful influence throughout the Anglican ecclesiastical polity; and Romanists would then universally rejoice at the prospect of the conversion of Protestant England to the "one true catholic church," and for which the "prayers of the faithful" are being continually offered!

Some counteracting agencies to the advances of Popish error and superstition are suggested by moral and religious means, not by coercion and persecution. A distinction, however, must even be maintained between what is legitimately civil and religious freedom and an attempt to acquire power and domination dangerous to the well-being of the Protestant community! Enlightened Christianity will promote the former; it is the province of THE STATE to prevent the latter. A notice of these popular and exciting topics have also extended the following pages.

These are times when those professing a regard to Protestantism should thoroughly understand their principles, and be able to defend them against the fallacies and sophistries of antagonistic systems. Abundant helps for that purpose are furnished in the numerous publications of the day.

The subject of Baptism has been one of engrossing interest. In these sheets the subject is not treated contro versially; but the sentiments entertained by various sections of professing Christians are given; and, in a brief space, the reader will see the numerous shades and opinions which prevail upon that question.

Topics not at first contemplated in these pages have received somewhat prominent attention. The controversy amongst the Baptists upon modes of communion, with the peculiar views of various authors, who have written upon the subject. These will, doubtless, be read with interest by those who desire to understand the different bearings of the question. The subject is treated, in its limited extent, historically; results are, also, furnished, by the adoption of what is termed open and strict communion. Although of later years these opposing opinions have not so much engaged the attention of Baptist churches, it is presumed that a short reference to them will not be without its use, as indicative of the sentiments of those whose labours endeared their names to the denomination to which they belonged.

In taking a cursory glance of those amongst the Baptists who have been eminent for learning and for usefulness, names are given which would have added a lustre to any section of the Christian church, and whose written works and devoted labours rendered them a blessing both to the church and to the world.

The evangelical statistics, near the conclusion of the sketch, will exhibit the position which Baptists occupy amongst professing Christians of the present day. To the Baptist denomination it cannot be other than matter of thankfulness to perceive that their principles and practice are so largely extending, both in this country and in the United States of America.

As the publication of the Confession of Faith contained in these pages constituted the chief intent of the writer, a special reference to some of the peculiar characteristics of that document will be permitted.

The THIRTY-TWO ARTICLES of Christian Faith and Practice were adopted, as it will be observed, at the General Assembly of above one hundred ministers and messengers of Baptized churches, who met in London, in 1689; and

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