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Hattiesburg Ret 

286.09 C555h 

Christian, )olm T. 

A liistory ot tlie Baptists : 

William Carey College 

3 6781 00044980 4 




Class 286.09 Book C555h 

Accession 109432 




Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in-^djO with funding from 

Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 





Professor of Christian History in The Baptist 
Biile Institute, 'New Orleans, Louisiana. 


Sunday School Board 

of the 

Southern Baptist Convention 




IN ATTEMPTING to write a hiatory of the Baptists no one is more 
aware of the embarrassments surrounding the subject than the author. 
These embarrassments arise from many sources. We are far removed from 
many of the circumstances under survey ; the representations of the Baptists 
were often made by enemies who did not scruple, when such a course suited 
their purpose, to blacken character; and hence the testimony from such 
sources must be received with discrimination and much allowance made for 
many statements ; in some instances vigilant and sustained attempts were 
made to destroy every document relating to these people; the material that 
remains is scattered through many libraries and archives, in many lands and 
not always readily accessible ; often, on account of persecutions, the Bap- 
tists were far more interested in hiding than they were in giving an account 
of themselves or their whereabouts ; they were scattered through many coun- 
tries, in city and cave, as they could find a place of concealment; and fre- 
quently they were called by different names by their enemies, which is con- 
fusing. Tet it is a right royal history they have. It is well worth the 
telling and the preserving. 

It must be borne in mind that there are many sources of Church History. 
Broadly speaking we have Eastern and Western ; and a want of discrimi- 
nation in these sources, and frequently an effort to treat Eastern and West- 
ern churches as identical, has caused much confusion. A right understand- 
ing of these sources will clear up many dark corners. For example it is 
undoubtedly true that the Waldenses originated in the West and the Pauli- 
cians in the East, and that they had a different history. In later centuries 
they came in contact one with the other, but in origin they were diverse. 
Any effort to treat them as one and the same people is misleading. In my 
judgment both parties were Baptists. The above distinction will account 
for many minor differences, and even to-day these sources will be found 
coloring Baptist history. 

It may be thought by some that on account of its length the chapter on 
"The Episode of John Smyth" is out of proportion with the rest of the 
book. It must be remembered, however, that any information in regard to 
the complicated history of the Nonconformists of that period is welcome. 
As a matter of fact several subjects are here grouped ; and as all of them 
require notice it is believed that unity of thought, as well as length of dis- 
cussion, is preserved by the method here adoi)ted. Many questions were 

then raised for the first time among English Baptists which find expression 
to-day among all schools of Baptists. 

The question has often been asked: "Were all of the ancient parties 
mentioned in these pages in absolute or substantial accord with all of the 
doctrines and customs of modern Baptists?" The question can be answered 
with unerring accuracy : certainly not. Nor is there anything strange in 
the reply. It is well known that Baptists, Mennonites, and Quakers in 
their history have much in common, but while they agree in many particu- 
lars there are essential differences. There are marked differences among 
modern Baptists. Even a superficial examination of the views and customs 
of Russian, English and American Baptists would reveal to an observer 
this fact. We need not go beyond the history of American Baptists for a 
convincing example. At first, Arminian doctrines largely prevailed in this 
country ; at a later date, Calvinistic principles prevailed. Oftentimes the 
same persons have changed their opinions. Many of the Baptists in Vir- 
ginia were Arminians, but after passing over to Kentucky some of them 
became rigid Calvinists. Inside the Baptist denomination to-day there are 
persons, and doubtless churches, who are Arminian, and there are other 
persons and churches who are Calvinistis. There are also Unitarians and 
Higher Critics, as well as Evangelicals among Baptists. One who has a 
mind for such things could magnify these differences to an indefinite ex- 

Adequate reasons might be assigned for all of this. Baptists have never 
had a common creed, and it is equally true that they have never recognized 
any authoritative creed. They desire no such standard. Their attitude to- 
ward free speech and liberty of conscience has permitted and encouraged 
the largest latitude in opinions. Yet none of us would care to increase 
these differences or make more acute the variations. 

One who stops here would have only a superficial understanding of the 
history and polity of Baptists. Their ties of organization are so slender, 
their government so democratic in nature, and their hardy independence so 
universal, that it has been a wonder to some historians and a mystery inex- 
plicable to those who have not understood their genius, how they have re- 
tained their homogeneity and solidarity. But holding as they have ever done 
the absolute and unconditional authority of the New Testament as the sole 
rule of faith and practice in religious matters, they have had with them from 
the beginning a powerful preventive to error, and a specific corrective 
when there has been an aberration from the truth. 

All of these things, and more, must be taken into account when we come 
to consider the various parties and persons discussed in the pages of this 
history. These parties were persecuted, scattered and often segregated. 
They lived in different lands and frequently had no opportunity to compare 
notes. There were great controversies, and frequently new roads were to 
be blazed out, intricate doctrinal problems to be solved, and complicated 
questions to be adjusted. In the insistence upon some great doctrine, it may 

have happened that some other doctrine of equal or relative importance 
did not sustain its proper position for a time. Wrong views were some- 
times maintained, false doctrines introduced and defended. Much allow- 
ance must always be made, especially in considering the doctrinal views of 
Baptists, for the fact we are frequently indebted to a zealous and preju- 
diced enemy for much of our information. It is not safe without support 
to trust such testimony. 

Many examples might be introduced to show that some of these parties 
might not be recognized by some Baptists now-a-days. The Montanists, the 
Novatians, and the Donatists held diverse opinions, not only from each 
other, but from the teachings of the New Testament; but they stressed tre- 
mendously the purity of the church. It is x)ossible that the Paulicians 
were Adoptionists. There have always been different views in regard to 
the birth of Jesus. Some of the Anabaptists held that Jesus was a man, 
and that he did not derive his manhood from Mary, but passed through 
her as a channel. The Adoptionists held that Jesus was endowed with 
divinity at his baptism. Most modem Baptists hold that Jesus became 
incarnate at his birth. There were some Baptists who held the vagaries 
of Hofmann and other Baptists who followed the more sane and rational 
course of Hiibmaier. No effort is here attempted to minimize, or to dismiss 
as trivial, these variations. 

Perhaps absolute and unconditional uniformity is unattainable. Such 
uniformity was never, perhaps, more vigorously pressed than it was by 
Archbishop Laud, with a dismal failure and the tragic death to the prelate 
as the result. 

The wonder, however, is not that there were variations in these diverse 
conditions, but that there could be any homogeneity or unity. Through all 
of the variations, however, there has been an insistence ui)on some great 
fundamental truths. There has ever appeared the vital necessity of a 
regenerated life ; a church pure and separate from the ungodly ; believers' 
baptism ; a simple form of church government ; the right of free speech 
and soul liberty ; and the permanent and paramount authority of the New 
Testament. Whatever may have been the variations in any or all of these 
parties, on the above or kindred subjects, the voice of the Baptists has rung 
out clear and distinct. 

The testimony here recorded has been taken from many sources. I 
doubt not that diligent search would reveal further facts of the highest 
value. As a matter of fact I have a great accumulation of material which 
would extend into several volumes. In my judgment a Commission should 
be appointed with ample means to make a thorough search in the Archives 
of Europe. 

I am well aware of the imperfections of this book, but it presents much 
data never before found in a Baptist history. I have throughout pursued 
the scientific method of investigation, and I have let the facts speak for 
themselves. I have no question in my own mind that there has been a 

historical succession of Baptists from the days of Christ to the present 
time. It must be remembered that the Baptists were found in almost 
every corner of Europe. When I found a connection between one body and 
another that fact is stated, but when no relationship was apparent I have 
not tried to manufacture one. Straight-forward honesty is the only course 
to pursue. Fortunately, however, every additional fact discovered only goes 
to make such connections probable in all instances. 

I have an expectant) attitude toward the future. I heartily welcomU 
^very investigation, for truth has nothing to fear from the light. 

The Authob 

The Contents 

The Preface 

The Contents 


The New Testament Churches The Great ^^^^if^^-^.^^^^^f'''^^ 
of a Church — A Voluntary Association— A Church Jsot rsationai or 
«eneraShe Officers of a Church-The Ordinances-The Proper gub- 
Wts of Baptism— The Form of Baptism— The Lord's Supper— The 
Ordinancel as Symbols-The Churches Missionary Bodies-The Con- 
tinued Existence of the Churches ^"^ ^'^ 

The Ancient Churches. Early Conditions-Isaac Tayl<>^-SP|^*<^^^^^^. 
Diognetum-The Beginning of Dangerous Hf^-^^'^^-^f^fP^^^.f^^^^oj 
vation-Metropolitan Bishops-Grego^ the Great--The Baptism of 
■ReliPvers— The Fathers- The Early Councils and Infant Baptism— 
The Baptism of Adults Who Had Christian Parents-The First Law 
and The First Rule for Infant Baptism— The Testimony of Scholars— 
The For^ of Baptism-Six Rituals on the Subject-The Christian 
Monuments-The Catacombs-The Baptistenes-Clinic Baptism- 
Religious Liberty-Tertullian, Justin Martyr and Lactatius-Constan- 
Sne the Great Issues an Edict-Theodosius the Great Enforces Beh|ion 
by Law 

The Struggle Against Corruption. Incorruptible Churches— The T^t^ 
mony of Bunsen-The Montanist Churches-The Anabaptism-Th.e 
Spread of the Movement-The Novatian Churches-Robinson Traces 
?hem to the Reformation-They Were Called Anabaptists-The Dona- 
tist Churches-Their Origin-Rejected Infant B'lptism-Benedict- 
Lincoln— Augustine-Liberty of Conscience— Neander— Their Attitude 
Toward Liberty— Their Protest *''■*' 

The Paulician and Bogomii, Churches The Sources of I°fo™ation- 
The Greeks, The Armenians— "The Key of Truth. — ihe Apostouc 
Origin-^hey Rejected Other Communions-The Story of Constantine 
-The Connection of the Mohammedans-The Sab.ans-The Numbers 
of the Paulicians-Religious Liberty— The Free State of Teprice— 
Among the Albigenses in France— Persecuted— 9onybeare on Baptist 
Succession-Austin A. Smith-Widely Scattered >n Europe-the Pauh- 
cians not Manichseans-Their Doctrines-^he Synod of ^^^^^-^^S"" 
fession of Faith— The Adoptionists— The Form of Baptism— Macarius 
—The Oriental Church— The Bogomils-^Brockett— Their Persecutions 
—The Form of Baptism '^^'^^ 

The Contents-^""''""'^'^ 


The Albigensian, Thk Peteobbusian, The Heneician, The Abnoldist, 
AND The Beeengabian Churches — The Origin and Spread of These 
Churches — Prof. Bury — Their History — ^Their Good Character — ^Their 
Writings Destroyed — ^They Were Not Manichasans — Two Classes of 
Believers — In Southern France — The Crusades Against Them— Their 
Doctrines — Rejected Infant Baptism — Peter of Bruys — His Opinions — 
The Petrobrusians — Accused of Being Anabaptists — ^Henry of Laus- 
anne — His Great Success — Held the Opinions of the Anabaptists — 
Arnold of Brescia — The Testimony of Otto Freising — ^The Arnoldists — 
Berengarius — His Troubled Career ()0-68 


The Waldensian Chubches. The Alps as a Hiding Place— Peter Waldo 
— The Preaching Tour — Origin of the Waldenses — The Name — Roman 
Catholic Historians on Their Origin — Rainerio Sacchoni — Preger— 
The Statement of the Waldenses — The Noble Lessons — The Reform- 
ers — Beza — Later Writers — The Special Historians of the Waldenses — 
Faber — Moreland — Claudius Seisselius on Their Character — Their Man- 
ners and Customs — Their Principles — Infant Baptism — ^Their Change 
of Views in Regard to the Practice — Adult Baptism — Immersion. .69-82 


The Origin op The Anabaptist Chttrches. The Anabaptist Movement 
— Mosheim — Sir Isaac Newton — Alexander Campbell — Robert Barclay 
— Von Usinger — Sacchoni— Cardinal Hosius — Luther — Zwingli — Ana- 
baptism no New Thing — They Were Found in Many Lands — Different 
Leaders — Kinship to The Waldenses — 'Limborch — Keller — Moeller — 
Lindsay — The Waldenses and The Anabaptists Found in the Same 
Places — Waldensian Preachers Found Among the Anabaptists — Points 
of Agreement — The Anabaptists Claimed a Succession From Earlier 
Times — The Antiquity of the Netherland Baptists — ^The Swiss — Mo- 
ravia — ^The Picards — Erasmus — Sebastian Frank — Schyn — Abraham- 
zon — Ypeij and Dermout. 83-96 


The Charactee of The Anabaptists. Called by Many Names — Anabap- 
tists — Catabaptists — The Popularity of the Movement — Not a Turbu- 
lent People — Lovers of Peace — Bayle — Cassander — 'Pastor of Feldsburg 
— The Swiss Baptists — Erasmus — Persecuted in Every Land — Relig- 
ious Liberty — Hubmaier — ^Their Appeal to The New Testament — ^The 
Baptismal Question — A Spiritual Church Their Aim — Hast — Infant 
Baptism — ^The Form of Tlieir Organization , .....97-104 


The Reformees Beab Witness to the Baptists. The attitude of the 
Reformers to Infant Baptism — The History of Immersion in Germany, 
North and East — The Saxon Confession — Melanchthon — Pomerania — 
Sadoleto — Luther — John Bugenhagen — Zwingli — The Catabaptists — 
Erasmus — Melanchthon — William Farel — Martin Bucer — Baptisms in 
a Tub — Calvin — Baptism Not an Especial Discussion Between the 
Baptists and the Reformers 105-114 


The Gontents— co»//«««rrf 

The Baptists in The Practice of Dipping. The Testimony of Fleury — 
"The Sum of the Holy Scripture" — Conrad Grebel in Switzerland — 
A Moravian Chronicle — Its Doubtful Authority — Some Roman Catholic 
Converts May at First Have Practised Sprinkling — Kessler — Ulimann 
Dipped in The Rhine — ^The Dippings at St. Gall — ^The Baptistery — ^The 
Baptisms in the Sitter River — Persecutions on This Account — The 
Dippings at Appenzell — John Stumpf — The Decrees Against the Bap- 
tisms of the Baptists — The Persecutions at Zurich — The Strong Arm 
of the Law — The Famous Decree of Zurich — ^Gastins — Felix Manz 
Drowned Because he Practised Dipping — The Baptists in Vienna 
—The Italian Baptists 115-125 

Other Baptist Churches in The Practice of Dipping. The Church 
in Augsburg — Hans Denck — The Leaders all in the Practice of Dip- 
ping — Baptisteries in the Houses and Cellars — Sender — ^The Augsburg 
Historian — Urbanus Rhegius — The River Lech — The Church at Strass- 
burg — Melchior Hofmann— The Baptisms at Emden — Tubs Used for 
Baptismal Purposes — Dr. Winkler — Obbe Philips — The Words of 
Keller — Melchior Rink— "The Ordinance of God" — The Moravian 
Churches — Balthasar HUbmaier — His Character and Work — Denies 
Infant Baptism — Adopts Immersion — Zwingli and Hiibmaier — Capito — 
Farel — John Fabricius— The Books of Hiibmaier — Peter Reidermann — 
Erhard 126-137 

The Practice of Dipping in the Netherlands. Poland, Lithuania 
AND Transylvania Baptist Churches. The Waldenses in Holland — 
Religious Liberty — Rembrandt — Learned Men — Simon Menno — His 
Views of Baptism — "A Handful of Water" — Luther on This Phrase — 
The Doop — Roman 6 :3 — Anabaptist Literature on The Subject — 1 Cor. 
12 : 13 — The Practice of Menno — Immersion in the Netherlands — 
Bastingius — Boltens — Dooreslaar — Stark — Schyn — The Change of Prac- 
tice Among the Mennonites — The Collegiants of Rhynesburg — Poland 
and Silesian Baptists — Immersion — Sandius — Bock — The Unitarian 
Baptists — ^Their Great Learning and Culture — Peter Gonesius — Gregory 
Paulus — Their Numbers and Spirit— Socinus — Martin Czechovicus — The 
Racovian Catechism — The Lord of Cracow 138-152 


The Peasant Wars and The Kingdom of Muenster. The trouble be- 
tween the Peasants and the Nobility — Thomas Miinzer — The Twelve 
Articles^The Battle of Schlatchtberg — Thomas Miinzer Never a Bap- 
tist — The Responsibility of Luther — Grebel and Manz Disavow Miinzer — 
His Views on Infant Baptism — The Miinster Tumults — Largely a Po- 
litical Affair — The Desire for Liberty — Polygamy — Marriage Sacred — 
The Anabaptists Did Not Originate the Tumults — ^The Leaders Were All 
Pedobantists — Fair Minded Historians — Keller— D'Aubignfi — Ypeij and 

Dermout — Arnold The "Common Man" — The Act of Baptism at 

Miinster — "The Confession of Both Sacraments" — The Form of Bap- 
tism Dipping — Jesse B. Thomas — Keller — Heath — Cornelius — Rhegius 
— Fischer — John of Leyden 153-170 

The British Baptist Churches. The Statement of the Historians — 
Thomas Crosby — 'B. Evans — Adam Taylor — Robert Barclay — David 
Masson — The First Churches in Britain — Missionary Work — The Per- 
secutions — The Early Britons Baptists — Crosby — Davis — Immersion — 

The Contents— Continued 

Richards on the Welsh Word— Bede and Other Historians — St. Patrick 
in Ireland — Immersion and The Lord's Supper — Austin — The Saxons — 
An Attempt to Convert the Britons to Roman Catholic Views — ^The 
Differences — Infant Baptism — The First Instance of Infant Baptism — 
Laws Enacted on the Subject — The Paulicians in England — Hill Cliffe 
Church — Goadby — Walter Lollard — John Wytlif — His Views on Bap- 
tism — 'Thomas Walden — ^The Opinions of the Lollards — 'William Tyn- 
dale 171-188 


The Baptists in The Reformation Period in England. Henry VIII. — 
The Persecution of the Baptists — ^The Hatred of the King — The Opin- 
ions of the Baptists — Alice Grevill — Simon Fish — A Royal Proclama- 
tion Against Strangers — The Coming of the Dutch — The Baptists 
Burnt — Stowe — Froude — A Sensation — 'The Baptists Increase Daily 
— Their Numbers — Their Churches — Immersion — "The Sum, of the 
Holy Scripture" — Immersion Among the Baptists — ^The Donatists — 
Fuller — Featley — ^Edward VI. — The Baptists Increase in Numbers — 
In London — In Kent and Elsewhere — In Essex — Baptists Burnt— The 
Influence of John Calvin — Joan of Kent — The Practice of Immersion — 
The Baptism of Adults — J. Bales — Giles Van Bellen — Robert Cooke 
and Dr. Turner — Queen Mary — She Attempts to Reestablish Romanism 
— Philip II., of Spain — Bishop Gardiner — Edward Bonner — ^The Bap- 
tists Were Numerous — Shoals of Them From Abroad — Immersion — ^The 
Martyrs — Queen Elizabeth — The Name Baptists — Their Churches — ■ 
The Coming From Over-Seas — The Heavy Hand of the Law — More 
Baptists Burnt — ^The Independents — Learn Their Ideas From the Bap- 
tists — Immersion the Rule — Immersion Among the Baptists — James I. 
The Baptists Not Numerous in His Reign — The Burning of Edward 
Wightman — A Petition to the House of Lords — An Humble Supplica- 
tion to the King — An Appeal for Liberty of Conscience — Mark Leonard 
Busher 189-221 


The Episode of John Smyth. He Was an Unusual Man — The Material 
for His Life Rare and Complicated — Lincoln — Gainsborough — The 
Crowle Documents — Animosity Against Him — He is Baptized — His 
Great Ability — The Anabaptists in Holland — Baptist Succession — ^The 
Question of His Se-baptism — The Position of Baptist iWriters — His 
Own Words — His Immersion — No Difficulty to Obtain Immersion in 
Holland — ^Ashton — The Mennonites — B. Evans — Muller — Robert Bar- 
clay — P. B. — R. B. — Thomas Wall — Giles Schute — Crosby — Ivimey 

Taylor — Masson — Bishop Hall — Clyfton — Baillie — J. H. — ^Mark Leon- 
ard Busher — Helwys — John Norcott — John Morton — I. Graunt — Smyth 
His Own Witness — Excluded From the Baptist Church — He Differs 
From the Mennonites — The Testimony of Helwys — Helwys Returns 
to England 222-248 


Obigin of The Particular Baptist Churches. The General Baptists 
Numerous — Calvlnistic Views Among Baptists^-The Rise of the Par- 
ticular Baptists — The Independent Church of Henry Jacob — Crosby — 
Underbill — Crosby Sometimes Misleading — The Opinion of Lewis — The 
MS. of iWilliam Kiffin~The Sending to Holland for Baptism— The 
Statement of Hutchinson — .John Spilsbury— The Right to Begin Bap- 
tism — The Administrator of Baptism — The Continuance of Baptist 
Churches — William Kiffin — Daniel King — A Notable Introduction — 


The Contents-co»//««^*/ 

Henry D'Anvers — The Confession of Somerset — Thomas Grantham- 
Joseph Hooke — Samuel Stennett — The Baptist Magazine — Thomas 
Pottenger — James Gulross — The Story of Blount Going to Holland — 
The Mistakes of the So-called Kiffin Manuscript — Two Kiffin Manu- 
scripts — The So-called Practice of Sprinkling — Hanserd Knollys — The 
Jacob Church Often in Trouble on The Subject of Dipping — The Prac- 
tice of Spilsbury — Of Eaton — Of Kiffin — Of Henry Jessey — ^The Church 
of Hubbard — John Canne — The Broadmead Church — Samuel Howe — 
Paul Hobson — Thomas Kilcop — The Practice of Dipping Called "New" 
— The Answer of the Baptists — Samuel Richardson — Thomas Collier — 
Hanserd Knollys — John Tombes— Jeffrey Watts — ^The Confession of 
1643 — The Form of Baptism Dipping — Jesse B. Thomas — The Practice 
of the General Baptists — Masson — Featley 249-282 


A Great Debate on Baptism. Charles I. Brought Disaster — .William Laud 
— The Prevalence of Baptists — Persecutions — Search For The Baptists 
— Lord Robert Brooke — The High Commission Court Destroyed — ^The 
Boldness of the Baptists — The Church of England Tries to Enforce 
Immersion — Articles to be Enquired of — Baptisteries — ^Thomas Blake — 
Walter Craddock — Daniel Featley — Denne — John Floyer — Schaff — 
Greek Lexicons — The Edinburgh Encyclopedia — William Wall — The 
Westminster Assembly — .John Lightfoot — The Action of Parliament — 
The Book of Vellum— The Beginning of the Great Debate — The 
Practice of the Baptists — ^W. H. King — George C. Lorimer — Joseph 
Angus — Daniel Featley — Thomas Collier — Lewes Hewes — Thomas 
Lamb — John Goodwin — Edward Barber — iWilliam Jeffrey — Clem Writer 
— Goadby — Featley and Four Particular Baptists — Tombes and Henry 
Vaughan and John Cragge — iWilliam Russell and Samuel Chand- 
ler .283-312 


The Rise and Progress op Baptist Institutions and Customs. Bap- 
tist Associations — They Originated With the Particular Baptists — ^The 
General Baptists the First to Organize — J. M. Davis — The Great 
Authority of the Association — Business — Number — Date — ^The Custom 
of Appeal — The Office of Messenger — The Organization of the Partic- 
ular Baptists — A Letter From Ireland — The Midland Association — 
The Circular Letter — Objects of the Union — Support of the Ministry — 
Education — Hebrew, Greek and Latin — Bristol College — 'Mile End 
Academy — Pastor and Deacons — The Permanency of the Pastoral Re- 
lation — The Support of the Ministry — Ordination — Discipline — Amuse- 
ments — Marrying — Laying on of Hands and Anointing of the Sick — 
Singing 313-329 


The Achievements op The English Baptists. Opportunity for 
Growth — Robert Baillie — Thomas Edwards — Daniel Featley — An 
Epitome of the Period — William R. Williams — ^The High Attain- 
ments of the Baptists — Dr. Hawes — Mackintosh — Hugh Price Hughes — 
Chalmers — The Price of Human Liberty — Persecutions — An Act of Par- 
liament — The "Gag Law" — The Cruelty of Infant Baptism — 
Oliver Cromwell — Prominent Baptist Preachers in Prison — Crom- 
well Oasts His Influence Against the Baptist — Liberty of Con- 
science — Confession of the Particular Baptists — Of the Gen- 
eral Baptists — John Milton — John Bunyan — William Kiffin — James II. 
— William and Mary — ^The Baptists Brought Liberty of Conscience — 
John Locke— Price— Charles Butler — Herbert S. Skeats — Phillip Schaff 


The Contents— {Continued) 

— A Time of Paralysis Antinomianism — John Gill — John Rippon — Bap- 
tist Publications — Abraham Booth — John Howard — Andrew Fuller — 
Moderate Calvinism — The Missionary Movement — 'William Carey — 
Joseph Hughes and the Bible Society — Sunday Schools — Robert Raikes 
— W. Fox — The Relation of the Baptists to the Young — Regents Park 
College — Great Authors and Able Preachers — Hymn Writers. .330-358 


The Origin of The American Baptist Churches. The Date of the 
First Baptists in America Uncertain — Many of the Early Settlers 
Baptists — Cotton Mather — Plymouth — Roger Williams and Samuel 
Howe — The Fear of Anabaptism — A Disturbance on Account of 
Immersion - — Governor Winthrop — Governor Bradford — A Debate 
on Baptism — President Chauncey — Scituate — The Lathrop Church — 
Henry Dunster — Hanserd KnoUys — The General Court of Massa- 
chusetts Takes Part — Weymouth — Lady Moody — Painter — Perse- 
cutions — Roger Williams — At Salem — ^At Providence — The Form 
of His Baptism Immersion^Richard Scott — William Coddington 
— Williams Himself Testifies — Joseph B. Felt — George P. Fisher — 
Philip Schaff — Williams Separates From the Baptists — Apostolic Suc- 
cession — The Baptists Do not Derive Their Baptism From Williams — 
The First Democracy — The Provisions For the Charter of Rhode Island 
— Religious Liberty — Arnold — Hough — Bancroft — Judge Story — Gervi- 
nus — Straus — The Persecutions of the Baptists in Massachusetts — John 
Clark — Obadiah Holmes — Virginia a Battle Ground for Freedom — Severe 
Laws — Sir W. Berkeley — The Destruction of the Establishments — The 
Testimony of Hawks — James Madison — ^Thomas Jefferson — Bishop 
Meade — George P. Fisher Sums up the Case — The Revolutionary War 
— William Pitt — Fox — Burke — Robert Ryland — No Tories Among the 
Baptists — The Continental Congress — The Philadelphia Association — 
A Memorial to Congress — The Baptists in the Army — The Chaplains — • 
James Manning — John Hart — Thomas Jefferson — John Leland — Safe- 
guarding the Liberty of the Land — The First Amendment to the Con- 
stitution — The Eulogy of the Baptists by George Washington, ,359-393 


A History of the Baptists 



The Great Commission — A Definition of a Church — A Voluntary Associa- 
tion — A Church Not National or General — The Officers of a Church — 
The Ordinances — The Proper Subjects of Baptism — The Form of Bap- 
tism — The Lord's Supper — ^The Ordinances as Symbols — The Churches 
Missionary Bodies — The Continued Existence of the Churches. 

AFTEK our Lord had finished his work on earth, and 
hefore he had ascended into glory, he gave to his dis- 
ciples the following commission : "All authority is given to me 
in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, 
baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things 
whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo I am with you 
always even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28: 
18-20). Under the terms of this commission Jesus gave to 
his churches the authority to evangelize the world. 

A New Testament Church is a company of baptized believers 
voluntarily associated together for the maintenance of the 
ordinances and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The distinctive characteristics of this church are clearly 
marked in the ISTew Testament. 

Such a church was a voluntary association and was inde- 
pendent of all other churches. It might be, and probably 
was, affiliated with other churches in brotherly relations; but 
it remained independent of all outward control, and was re- 
sponsible to Christ alone, who was the supreme lawgiver and 
the source of all authority. Originally the teachers and the 
people conjointly administered the affairs of the church. 


14 A History of the Baptists 

In the New Testament sense of the church there can be 
no such an organization as a National or General Church, 
covering a large district of country, composed of a number 
of local organizations. The church, in the Scriptural sense, 
is always an independent, local organization. Sister churches 
were "united only by the ties of faith and charity. Independ- 
ence and equality formed the basis of their internal constitu- 
tion" (Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall 
of the Koman Empire, I. 554. Boston, 1854). Gibbon, always 
artistic in the use of material, continues: "Such was the mild 
and equal constitution by which the Christians were governed 
for more than a hundred years after the death of the apostles. 
Every society formed within itself a separate and independent 
republic; and although the most distant of these little states 
maintained a mutual, as well as friendly, intercourse of let- 
ters and deputations, the Christian world was not yet connected 
by any supreme or legislative assembly" (Ibid, 558). 

The officers of the church were first, pastors, indifferently 
called elders or bishops, and, secondly, deacons. These were 
the honorable servants of a free people. The pastors possessed 
no authority above their brethren, save that by service they 
purchased to themselves a good degree of glory. 

The more recent Episcopal writers, such as Jacob and Hatch, 
do not derive their system from the ancient Scriptural form 
of government, but always acknowledge the primitive congre- 
tional form of government, and declare that episcopacy is a 
later development. In the New Testament, elder and bishop 
are different names to describe the same office. Dr. Lightfoot, 
the Bishop of Durham, in a very exhaustive discussion of the 
subject, says: 

It is clear, that, at the close of the Apostolic Age, the two lower or- 
ders of the three fold ministry were firmly and widely established ; but 
traces of the episcopate, properly so-called, are few and indistinct. . . . 
The episcopate was formed out of the presbyterial order by elevation; 
and the title, which originally ' was common to all, came at length to be 
appropriated to the chief of them (Lightfoot, Commentary on Philippians, 

Dean Stanley represents the same view. He says : 

The New Testament Churches 15 

According to the strict rules of the church derived from those early 
times, there are but two orders, presbyters and deacons (Stanley, Chris- 
tian Institutions, 210). 

Kichard B. Kackham (The Acts of the Apostles cii), A. D. 
1912, says of the word bishop (episcopos) : 

We may say at once that it had not yet acquired the definite sense 
which it holds in the letters of Ignatius (A. D. 115), and which it still 
holds to-day, viz., of a single ruler of a diocese. From Acts xx. 28, 
Titus i. 6, 7, and comparison with I Timothy iii. 2f., we should conclude 
that episcopus was simply a synonym for presbyter, and that the two 
offices were identical. 

Knowling (The ExpositOTS Greek Testament, II. 435-437) 
reviews all of the authorities, Hatch (Smith and Cheetham, 
Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, II. 1700), Harnack (Geb- 
hardt and Harnack, Clement of Rome, ed. altera, 5), Stein- 
metz, etc., and reaches the following conclusion: 

This one passage (Acts 20:28) is also sufficient to show that the 
"presbyter" and the "bishop" were at first practically identical. 

Jerome, at the end of the fourth century, reminds the bishops 
that they owe their elevation above the presbyters, not so much 
to divine institution as to ecclesiastical usage; for before the 
outbreak of controversies in the church there was no distinction 
between the two, except that presbyter was a term of age, and 
bishop a term of official dignity ; but when men, at the instiga- 
tion of Satan, erected parties and sects, and, instead of simply 
following Christ, named themselves of Paul, of Apollos, or 
Cephas, all agreed to put one of the presbyters at the head 
of the rest, that by his universal supervision of the churches, 
he might kill the seeds of division (Hieron. Comm. ad Tit. i. 7). 
The great commentators of the Greek Church agree with Jerome 
in maintaining the original identity of bishops and presbyters 
in the 'New Testament. Thus did Chrysostom (Hom. i. in Ep. 
ad Phil. i. 11) ; Theodoret (ad Phil. i. 1) ; Ambrosiaster (ad 
Elph. iv. 11) ; and the pseudo-Augustinian (Questions V. et iN". 
T. qu. 101). 

There were two ordinances in the primitive church, bap- 
tism and the Supper of the Lord. Baptism was an outward 
confession of faith in Christ. It thus expressed a belief In the 

i6 A History of the Baptists 

death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, ard a subse- 
quent resurrection of all believers through the eternal Spirit. 

Only believers were baptized and that upon a public profes- 
sion of faith in Jesus Christ. The church was composed of 
believers or holy persons. The members were called in the 
New Testament "beloved of God, called to be saints" ; "sancti- 
fied in Christ Jesus" ; "faithful in Christ" ; "God's elect, holy, 
and beloved." The conditions of membership were repentance 
faith, righteousness, and the initiatory rite of baptism, which 
was symbolical of the changed life. 

In this connection it is interesting to note that all the Pedo- 
baptist Confessions of Faith include only believers in the defi- 
nition of the proper members of a church. The following 
definition of a church is taken from the Augsburg Confes- 
sion of Faith of the Lutheran Church. It fairly represents all 
the rest. It sayss: 

To speak properly, the church of Christ is a congregation of the mem- 
bers of Christ ; that is, of the saints, which do truly believe and rightly 
obey Christ. 

So universal is this definition of a church in all of the 
Confessions of Faith that Kostlin, Professor of Theology in 
Halle, says: "The Reformed Confessions describe the Church 
as the communion of believers or saints, and condition its exist- 
ence on the pure preaching of the Word" (Kostlin, Schaff- 
Herzog Religioiis Encyclopsedia, I. 474). 

The above definition, consistently applied, excludes infant 
baptism, since infants are incapable of faith, which always, in 
the New Testament, is a prerequisite to baptism. The New 
Testament teaching is quite clear on this point. John the 
Baptist required that those who were applicants for baptism 
should experience repentance, exercise faith, make a con- 
fession of sin and live a righteous life (Hath. 3 :2 ; Acts 19 :4). 
Jesus first made disciples and then baptized them (John 4:1), 
and gave distinct commandment that teaching should precede 
baptism (Math. 28:19). In the preaching of the apostles re- 
pentance antedates baptism (Acts 2 :38) : the converts were filled 
with joy, and only men and women were baptized (Acts 8:5, 

The Nezv Testament Churches 17 

S, 12). There is no account or inference implying the baptism 
of an infant by Jesns or his apostles. 

This is generally conceded by scholars. 

Dollinger, a Catholic scholar, Professor of Church History in 
the University of Munich, says: "There is no proof or hint 
in the New Testament that the apostles baptized infants or 
ordered them to be baptized" (John Joseph Ignatius Dollinger, 
The First Age of the Church, II. 184). 

Dr. Edmund de Pressense, a French Senator and Protestant, 
says: "ITo positive fact sanctioning the practice (of infant 
baptism) can be adduced from the New Testament; the his- 
torical proofs alleged are in no way conclusive" (Pressense, 
Early Years of Christianity, 376. London, 1&70). 

Many authors of books treating directly on infant baptism 
aflSrm that it is not mentioned in the Scriptures. One writer 
only is here quoted. Joh. W. F. Hofling, Lutheran Professor 
of Theology at Erlangen, says: ''The sacred Scriptures furnish 
no historical proof that children were baptized by the apostles" 
(Hofling, Das Sakrament der Taufe, 9!i. Erlangen, 1846. 2 

A few of the more recent authorities will not be amiss on this 
subject. The "Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics," edited 
by Professor James Hastings and Professor Kirsopp Lake, of 
the University of Leyden, says: "There is no indication of. 
the baptism of children" in the New Testament. 

The "Real Encyklopadie flir Protestantiche Theologie und 
Kirche" (XIX. 403. 3d edition), the great German encyclo- 
paedia, says: 

The practice of infant-baptism in the apostolic and post-apostolic age 
cannot be proved. We hoar indeed frequently of the baptism of entire 
households, as in Acts 15 : 32f ; 18 : 8 ; 1 Cor. 1 : 16. But the last passage 
taken, 1 Cor. 7 : 14, is not favorable to the supposition that infant baptism 
was customary at that time. For then Paul could not have written "else 
were your children unclean." 

Principal Robert Rainy, New College, Edinburgh, Presby 
terian, says: 

Baptism presupposed some Christian instruction, and was preceded by 
fasting. It signified the forgiveness of past sins, and was the visible point 
of departure of the new life under Christian influences and with the in- 

i8 A History of the Baptists 

spiration of Christian purposes and aims. Here it was the "seal" which 
it concerned a man to keep inviolate (Rainy, Ancient Catholic Church, 

The form of baptism? was dipping, or an immersion in 
water. John baptized in the river Jordan (Mark 1 :5) ; and 
he baptized in Aenon near to Salim '^because there was much 
water there" (John 3:23). Jesus was baptized in the Jordan 
(Mark 1:9), and he "went into the water" and he "came 
up out of the water" (Matthew 3:16). The symbolical 
passages (Eom. 6:3, 4; Col. 2:12), which describe baptism as 
a burial and resurrection make it certain that immersion was 
the Kew Testament act of baptism. 

This, indeed, is the meaning of the Greek word haptizevn. 
The word is defined by Liddell and Scott, the secular Greek 
lexicon used in all colleges and universities, "to dip in or 
under the water." In the lexicon of J. H. Thayer, the 
standard !N'ew Testament lexicon, the word is defined as an 
"immersion in water." All scholarship confirms this view. Prof. 
E.. C. Jebb, Litt. D., University of Cambridge, says : "I do not 
know whether there is any authoritative Greek-English lexi- 
con which makes the word to mean 'sprinkle' or( to 'pour.' I 
can only say that such a meaning never belongs to the word in 
classical Greek" (Letter to the author, September 23, 1898). 
Dr. Adolf Hamack, University of Berlin, says: "Baptism un- 
doubtedly signifies immersion. !N^o proof can be found that it 
signifies anything else in the !N'ew Testament, and in the mosi; 
ancient Christian literature" (SchafF, The Teaching of the 
Twelve, 50). 

Dr. Dosker, Professor of Church History, Presbyterian 
Theological Seminary, Louisville, says: 

Every candid historian will admit that the Baptists have, 'both philo- 
logically and historically, the better of the argument, as to the prevailing 
mode of baptism. The word iaptizo means immersion, both in classical 
and Biblical Greek, except where it is manifestly used in a tropical sense 
(Dosker, The Dutch Anabaptists, 176, Philadelphia, 1921). 

Nothing is more certain than that the New Testament 
churches uniformly practised immersion. 

The New Testament Churches 19 

The Lord's Supper shows forth the death of the Saviour till 
he shall come again. It is a perpetual memorial of the broken 
body and the shed blood of the risen Lord. In the Scriptures 
the Lord's Supper is always preceded by the act of baptism, 
and there is no account of any person participating in the 
Supper who had not previously been baptized. That baptism 
should precede the Lord's Supper is avowed by scholars of 
all communions. 

Dr. William Wall sums up the entire historical field when 
he says : "For no church ever gave the commii/nion to any per- 
sons before they were baptized. . . Since among all of the ab- 
surdities thai ever were held, none ever maintained thai any 
person should pariahe of the communion before he was haf- 
tized" (Wall, The History of Infant Baptism, I. 632, 638. 
Oxford, 1862). 

The Baptists have always insisted that the ordinances were 
symbols and not sacraments. Indeed this is the heart of their 

President E. Y. MuUins has concisely stated the historical 
contention of Baptists in the following words : 

They have seen with great vividness and clearness of outline the cen- 
tral spiritual elements of Christianity. With a like vividness and clear- 
ness they have perceived the significance of the outward forms. For them 
it has seemed as if the very life of Christianity depended upon keeping 
the spiritual and ceremonial elements in their respective places. Christian 
history certainly justifies them in their vievt'. Forms and ceremonies are 
like ladders. On them we may climb up or down. If we keep them in 
their places as Symbols, the soul feeds on the truth symbolized. If we 
convert them into sacraments, the soul misses the central vitality itself, 
spiritual communion with God. An outward religious ceremony derives 
its chief significance from the context in which it is placed, from the gen- 
eral system of which it forms a part. If a ceremony is set in the context 
of a spiritual system of truths, it may become an indispensable element 
for the furtherance of those truths. If it is set in the context of a sacra- 
mental system, it may and does become a means for obscuring the truth 
and enslaving the soul. It is this perception of the value of ceremonies 
aa symbols and of their perils as sacraments which animates Baptists in 
their strenuous advocacy of a spiritual interpretation of the ordinances 
of Christianity (McGlothlin, Infant Baptism Historically Considered, 7). 

20 A History of the Baptists 

The early churches were missionary bodies. They were 
required to carry out the great commission given by our Lord. 
In obedience to the missionary programme laid out by the 
divine Lord, the disciples in a few generations preached the 
gospel to the known world. 

The first church was organized by Jesus and his apostles; 
and after the form of this one all other churches should be 
modeled. The churches so organized are to continue in the 
world until the kingdoms of this earth shall become the king- 
dom of our Lord, even Christ. Prophecy was full of the en- 
during character of the kingdom of Christ (Daniel 2:44, 45). 
Jesus maintained a like view of his church and extended the 
promise to all the ages. He said : "Upon this rock I will build 
my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" 
(Matt. 16:18). The word church here is doubtless used in 
its ordinary, literal sense as a local institution; and in the 
only other passage where it is found in Matthew (18:17) it 
must be taken with the same signification. The great mass of 
scholarship supports the contention that this passage refers to 
the local, visible church of Christ (Meyer, Critical and Exegeti- 
cal Handbook to the Gospel of Matthew). 

The critical meaning of the word does not differ from this 
(Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the ISTew Testament, 197). 
The word "church" was used by our Lord and the apostles not 
so much in contra-distinction to the Jewish Theocracy, as to 
the Jewish synagogue, and the synagogue was always local 
(Cremer, Biblico-Theological Lexicon of the lETew Testament 
Greek, 330, 331). The Eoman Catholics have always denied 
the existence of a universal spiritual church (Alzog, Universal 
Church History, I. 108, 109). Until the German ReformatioTi 
there was practically no other conception of a church. When 
Luther and others split off from the Eoman Catholic Church, 
a new interpretation of this passage was adopted to suit the new 
views; so they held that Matthew 16:18 merely pointed to the 
ultimate triumph of Christianity. But manifestly this inter- 
pretation was remote from the meaning of the Lord. 

Paul gives a large promise: "Unto him be glory in the 
church of Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end. 

The New Testament Churches 21 

Amen" (Ephesians 3:21). EUicott translates the passage: 
"To all the generations of the ages of ages." The glory of 
Christ was to exist in all of the ages in the church. The 
church was, therefore, bound to exist in all of the ages. Even 
the redeemed in heaven are described in the Scriptures as a 

The author believes that in every age since Jesus and the 
apostles, there have been companies of believers, churches, who 
have substantially held to the principles of the New Testament 
as now proclaimed by the Baptists. ISTo attempt is made in 
these pages to trace a succession of bishops, as the Roman 
Catholics attempt to do, back to the apostles. Such an attempt 
is "laboring in the fire for mere vanity," and proceeds upon a 
mistaken view of the nature of the kingdom of Christ, and of 
the sovereignty of God, in his operations on the earth. Jesus 
himself, in a reply to an inquiry put to him by the Pharisees 
(Luke 17:20-24), compares his kingdom to the lightning, 
darting its rays in the most sovereign and uncontrollable man- 
ner from one extremity of the heavens to the other. And this 
view corresponds to God's dealings in the spiritual realm. 
Wherever God has his elect, there in his own proper time, he 
sends the gospel to save them, and churches after his model 
are organized (William Jones, The History of the Christian 
Church, xvii. Philadelphia. 1832). 

The ITew Testament recognizes a democratic simplicity, and 
not a hierarchial monarchy. There is no irregularity, but a 
perpetual proclamation of principles. There is no intimation 
that there was not a continuity of churches, for doubtless there 
was, but our insistence is that this was not the dominant note 
in apostolic life. ITo emphasis is put on a succession of bap- 
tisms, or the historical order of churches. Some of the apostles 
were disciples of John the Baptist (John 1:35), but there is 
no record of the baptism of others, though they were baptized. 
Paul, the great missionary, was baptized by Ananias (Acts 
9:17, 18), but it is not known who baptized Ananias. [N'othing 
definite is known of the origin of the church at Damascus. The 
church at Antioch became the great foreign missionary center, 
but the history of its origin is not distinctly given. The church 
at Eome was already in existence when Paul wrote to them his 

2.2 A History of the Baptists 

letter. These silences occur all through the New Testament, 
but there is a constant recurrence of type, a persistence of 
fundamental doctrines, and a proclamation of principles. This 
marked the whole apostolic period, and for that matter, every 
period since that time. 

This recurrence of type is recognized even where error was 
detected. The disciples desired Jesus to rebuke a man who 
walked not with them (Mark 9:40), but this Jesus refused 
to do. The church at Corinth was imperfect in practice and 
life. The Judaizing teachers constantly perverted the gospel, 
and John the Evangelist, in his last days, combated insidious 
error, but the great doctrines of the atoning work of Christ, 
conversion' and repentance, the baptism of believers, the purity 
of the church, the freedom of the soul, and the collateral truths, 
were everywhere avowed. At times these principles have been 
combated and those who held them persecuted, often they have 
been obscured; sometimes they have been advocated by ignor- 
ant men, and at other times by brilliant graduates of the uni- 
versities, who frequently mixed the truth with philosophical 
speculations ; yet always, often under the most varied condi- 
tions, these principles have come to the surface. 

Baptist churches have the most slender ties of organization, 
and a strong government is not according to their polity. They 
are like the river Rhone, which sometimes flows as a river 
broad and deep, but at other times is hidden in the sands. It, 
however, never loses its continuity or existence. It is simply 
hidden for a period. Baptist chutches may disappear and re- 
appear in the most unaccountable manner.. Persecuted every- 
where by sword and by fire, their principles would appear to 
be almost extinct, when in a most wondrous way God would 
raise up some man, or some company of martyrs, to proclaim 
the truth. 

The footsteps of the Baptists of the ages can more easily 
be traced by blood than by baptism. It is a lineage of suf- 
fering rather than a succession of bishops; a martyrdom of 
principle, rather than a dogmatic decree of councils; a golden 
chord of love, rather than an iron chain of succession, which, 
while attempting to rattle its links back to the apostles, has been 
of more service in chaining some protesting Baptist to the 

The New Testament Churches 23 

stake than in proclaiming the truth of the New Testament. 
It is, nevertheless, a right royal succession, that in every age 
the Baptists have been advocates of liberty for all, and have 
held that the gospel of the Son of God makes every man a free 
man in Christ Jesus. 

Books for further reading and reference: 

George P. Fisher (Congregationalist), A History of the Christian 
Church, pp. 1-44, 

Philip SchafiE (Presbyterian), History of the Christian Church, Vol. I. 

John Alzog (IJoman Catholic), Manual of Universal Church History, 
4 volumes. 

Thomas J. Conant (Baptist), The Meaning and Use of Baptizein. 

John T. Christian, Immersion, the Act of Christian Baptism. 

Edwin Hatch, The Organization of the Early Christian Churches. 



Early Conditions — Isaac Taylor — Epistola ad Diognetum — The Beginning of 
Dangerous Heresies — Baptismal Salvation — Metropolitan Bishops — Greg- 
ory the Great — The Baptism of Believers — ^The Fathers — The Early Coun- 
cils and Infant Baptism — The Baptism of Adults Who Had Christian 
Parents — The First Law and The First Rule for Infant Baptism — The 
Testimony of Scholars — The Form of Baptism — Six Rituals on the Sub- 
ject — The Christian Monuments — The Catacombs — The Baptisteries — 
Clinic Baptism — Religious Liberty — Tertullian, Justin Martyr and Lac- 
tantius — Constantine the Great Issues an Edict — Theodosius the Great 
Enforces Religion by Law. 

THE period of the ancient churches (A. D. 100-325) is 
much obscured. Much of the material has been lost; 
much of it that remains has been interpolated by Mediaeval 
Popish writers and translators ; and all of it has been involved 
in much controversy. Caution must, therefore, be observed 
in arriving at permanent conclusions. Hasty generalizations 
that all Christians and churches were involved in doctrinal 
error must be accepted with extreme caution. Strange and 
horrible charges began to be current against the Christians. 
The secrecy of their meetings for worship was ascribed, not 
to its true cause, the fear of persecution, but to a conscious- 
ness of abominations which could not bear the light. The Jews 
were especially industrious in inventing and propagating such 
stories. In this way discredit was brought on the Christian 

It is certain, however, in the early days following the death 
of the apostle John, that the Christians lived simple and zealous 
lives. Isaac Taylor, who especially wrote against a superstitious 
overvaluation of the patristic age, gives a fine picture of early 
Christian life. He says: 

Our brethren of the early church challenge our respect, as well as 
affection ; for theirs was the fervor of a steady faith in things unseen and 
eternal ; theirs, often, a meek patience under the most grievous wrongs ; 
theirs the courage to maintain a good profession before the frowning face 
of philosophy, of secular tyranny, and of splendid superstition; theirs was 


The Ancient Churches 25 

abstractness from the world and a painful self-denial; theirs the most 
arduous and costly labors of love; theirs a munificence in charity, alto- 
gether without example ; theirs was a reverent and scrupulous care of 
the sacred writings; and this one merit, if they had no other, is of a 
superlative degree, and should entitle them to the veneration and grateful 
regards of the modern church. How little do many readers of the Bible, 
nowadays, think of what it cost the Christians of the second and third 
centuries, merely to rescue and hide the sacred treasures from the rage 
of the heathen (Taylor, Ancient Christianity, I. 37). 

A most beautiful and pathetic picture is given bj the author 
of the Epistola ad Diognetum in the early part of the second 
century. He says : 

The Christians are not distinguished from other men by country, by 
language, nor by civil institutions. For they neither dwell in cities by 
themselves, nor use a peculiar tongue, nor lead a singular mode of life. 
They dwell in the Grecian or barbarian cities, as the case may be; they 
follow the usages of the country in dress, food, and the other affairs of 
life. Yet they present a wonderful and confessedly paradoxical conduct. 
They dwell in their own native lands, but as strangers. They take part 
in all things, as citizens; and they suffer all things, as foreigners. Every 
foreign country is a fatherland to them, and every native land is a foreign. 
They marry, like all others ; they have children ; but they do not cast 
away their offsprings. They have the table in common, but not wives. 
They are in the flesh, but do not live after the flesh. They live upon the 
earth, but are citizens of heaven. They obey the existing laws, and excel 
the laws by their lives. They love all, and are persecuted by all. They 
are unknown, and yet they are condemned. They are killed and made 
alive. They are poor and make many rich. They lack all things, and in 
all things abound. They are reproached, and glory in their reproaches. 
They are calumniated, and are justified. They are cursed, and they bless. 
They receive scorn, and they give honor. They do good, and are punished 
as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice, as being made alive. By the 
Jews they are attacked as aliens, and by the Greeks persecuted ; and the 
cause of the enmity tlieir enemies cannot tell. In short, what the soul is 
to the body, the Christians are in the world. The soul is diffused through 
all the members of the body, and the Christians are spread through the 
cities of the world. The soul dwells in the body, but it is not of the body ; 
so the Christians dwell in the world, but are not of the world. The soul, 
invisible, keeps watch in the visible body ; so also the Christians are seen 
to live in the world, for their piety is invisible. The flesh hates and wars 
against the soul ; suffering no wrong from it, but because it resists fleshly 
pleasures ; and the world hates the Christians with no reason, but they 
resist its pleasures. The soul loves the flesh and members, by which it is 

26 A History of the Baptists 

hated; so the Christians love their haters. The soul is enclosed in the 
body, but holds the body together; so the Christians are detained in the 
world as in a prison; but they contain the world. Immortal, the soul 
dwells in the mortal body ; so the Christians dwell in the corruptible, but 
look for incorruption in heaven. The soul is the better for restriction in 
food and drink; and the Christians increase, though daily punished. This 
lot God has assigned to the Christians in the world ; and it cannot be 
taken from them (Epist. ad Diognetum, C. 5 and 6 p. 69 sq. Otto. Lips., 

Througli all of this period there were doubtless many churches 
that remained true to the New Testment ideals. The more 
earnestly they adhered to Scriptural principles the less likely 
was mention made of them. It was the unusual and the hereti- 
cal that attracted attention and was recorded in the histories of 
the times. 

"For the first three centuries the Lord placed Christianity 
in the most unfavorable circumstances that it might display 
its moral power, and gain its victory over the world by spiritual 
weapons alone. Until the reign of Constantine it had not even 
a legal existence in the Roman empire, but was first ignored as a 
Jewish sect, then slandered, proscribed, persecuted, as a trea- 
sonable innovation, and the adoption of it made punishable with 
confiscation and death. Besides, it offered not the slightest 
favor, as Mohammedanism afterwards did, to the corrupt incli- 
nations of the heart, but against the current ideas of the Jews 
and heathens it so presented its inexorable demand of repentance 
and conversion, renunciation of self and of the world, that more, 
according to Tertullian, were kept out of the new sect by love 
of pleasure, than by love of life. The Jewish origin of Chris- 
tianity also, and the poverty and obscurity, of a majority of its 
professors offended the pride of the Greeks and Romans" - 
(Schaff, History of the Christian Church, I. 148). 

In spite of these extraordinary difficulties Christianity made 
progress. The hindrances became helps in the providence of 
Gk)d. Persecution led to martyrdom, and martyrdom had attrac- 
tions. Tertullian exclaimed to the heathen: "All of your in- 
genious cruelties can accomplish nothing; they are only a lure 
to this sect. Our number increases' the more you destroy us. 
The blood of the Christians i& their seed." The moral earnest- 

The Ancient Churches 27 

ness of the Christians contrasted powerfully with the prevailing 
corruption of the age, and while it repelled the frivolous and 
voluptuous, it could not fail to impress most strongly th^ deepest 
and noblest minds. This progress extended to every part of 
the empire. "We are a people of yesterday," says TertuUian, 
"and yet we have filled every place belonging to you — cities, 
islands, castles, towns, assemblies, your very camp, your tribes, 
companies, palace, senate, forum. We leave you your temples 
only. You can count your armies; our number in a single 
province will be greater." 

ISTevertheless, even before the death of the last of the apostles 
many dangerous and grievous heresies had sprung up in the 
Christian churches. A constant tendency to separate from the 
truth, as proclaimed in the Scriptures, was manfested in some 
places. The trend from the Word of God has been noted by the 
apostle Paul, and in some of his Epistles he combated error. 
Shortly after the death of the last of the apostles some dangerous 
heresies crept into the churches, and were advocated by many 
learned and distinguished men. 

It is not to be understood that all, or even most of the doc- 
trinal errors, which are found in later Eoman Catholic history 
are to be found in this period. This is not the case. For ex- 
ample, the worship of Mary and of images, transubstantiation, 
the infallibility of the pope, and the immaculate conception are 
all of later date. The tendency was rather to lessen the demand 
for repentance and faith, the experimental in religion, and rather 
to emphasize external signs and symbols. It was imagined that 
the outward symbol could take the place of the inward grace. 
The point of departure probably had its largest expression in 
baptismal salvation, and the tendency of some churches toward 
episcopacy, and away from democratic simplicity. 

One of the very earliest voices lifted against the abuses was 
that of the Shepherd of Hermas. The Shepherd says : 

Customs have become worldly ; discipline is relaxed ; the Church is 
a sickly old woman, incapable of standing on her feet ; rulers and ruled 
are all languishing, and many among them are corrupt, covetous, greedy, 
hypocritical, contentious, slanderers, blasphemers, libertines, spies, rene- 
gades, schismatics. Worthy teachers are not wanting, but there are also 
many false prophets, vain, eager after the first sees, for whom the greatest 

28 A History of the Baptists 

thing in life is not the practice of piety and justice, but the strife for the 
post of command. Now the day of wrath is at hand ; the punishment 
will be dreadful ; the Lord will give unto every one according to his works. 

One of the earliest and most hurtful errors was the dogma of 
baptismal regeneration. This error in one form or another has 
marred the life and colored the history of all of the Christian 
ages. It began early and the virus may be traced to this day 
not only among ritualists, but likewise in the standards of evan- 
gelical Christians. Tertullian was influenced by it to oppose 
infant baptism, and under other conditions it became the fright- 
ful origin of that heresy. 

Nevertheless, the churches continued to be free and inde- 
pendent. There were as yet no metropolitan bishops, and the 
office and authority of a pope was not yet known. Rome in those 
days had no great authority in the Christian world. "The see 
of Rome," remarks Cardinal ISTewman, "possessed no great mind 
in the whole period of persecution. Afterwards for a long time 
it had not a single doctor to show. The great luminary of the 
Western World is St. Augustine; he, no infallible teacher, has 
formed the intellect of Europe" (John Henry Newman, 
Apologia pro Vita sua, 407. London, 1864). Dean Stanley 
rightly adds: "There have been occupants of the sees of Con- 
stantinople, Alexandria, and Canterbury who have produced 
more effect on the mind of Christendom by their utterances 
than any of the popes" (Stanley, Christian Institutions, 241. 
New York, 1881), 

There was, however, a constant tendency towards centraliza- 
tion. As the pastor assumed rights which were not granted to 
him by the Scriptures, some of the metropolitan pastors exercised 
an undue authority over some of the smaller churches. Then 
the churches in some of the cities sought the patronage and pro- 
tection of the pastors of the larger cities. Finally Home, the 
political center of the world, became the religious center as well. 
In time the pastor in Rome became the universal pope. All of 
this was of slow growth and required centuries for its consum- 

Gregory the Great (A. D. 590-604) was "the first of the 
proper popes" and with him begins "the development of the 

The Ancient Churches 29 

absolute papacy" (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, I. 
15). The growth of the papacy was a process of history. Long 
before this the bishops of Rome had made arrogant claims over 
other churches. JSTotably was this true of Leo I., A. D. 440-461. 
All of this is conceded by Hefele. He says : 

It is, however, not to be mistaken, that the bishops of Rome did not, 
everywhere, in all the West, exercise full patriarchal rights ; that, to-wit, 
in several provinces, simple bishops were ordained without his co-opera- 
tion (Hefele, I. 383). 

The line of the absolute Mediaeval popes began with Gregory. 

"Christianity in Eome," says Gregorovius, "became in a very 
short time corrupt; and this is not to be wondered at, because 
the ground in which the seed of its doctrine had been sown was 
rotten and the least apt of all other grounds to bring forth 
good fruit. . . The Roman character had not been changed 
from what it was of old, because baptism cannot change the 
spirit of the times" (Gregorovius, Storia della citta di Roma 
nel Medio Evo, L 155). 

Gregory objected to the title "universal bishop." "I do not 
esteem that an honor," he declares, "by which my brethren 
lose their honor. My honor is the solid Strength of my brethren. 
. . But no more of this: away with words which inflate pride 
and wound charity" (Gregory, Ep. 30. III. 933). ]!Teverthe- 
less, the conception of a local, independent church, by these and 
other means was partly overthrown; and much of the Chris- 
tian world was called upon to suffer at the hands of a wicked 
and often ungodly hierarchy. 

Believers' baptism continued to prevail in the churches. Not- 
withstanding the efficacy which was supposed to exist in bap- 
tism, infant baptism was of slow growth. Even after its first 
appearance it was opposed by many, and for a long time was 
not generally practised. 

The writers known as the Apostolic Fathers, Clement, Barna- 
bas, Ignatius and the Pastor of Hermas, all required faith on the 
part of the candidate baptized. Clement does not mention bap- 
tism in his Epistle to the Corinthians ; but he does exhort parents 
to "let your children be partakers of the Christian training" 
^(Migne, Patrologiae gr., I. 255). 

30 A History of the Baptists 

Barnabas says: "Mark how lie has described at once both 
the water and the cross. Tor these words imply, blessed are 
they who, placing their trust in the cross, have gone down into 
the water ; for, says he, they shall receive their reward in due 
time" (Migne, Patrologise gr., 11. 755). 

Ignatius writes to Polycarp as follows: "Let your baptism 
be to you an armor, and faith as a spear, and love as a helmet, 
and patience as a panoply" (Ibid, Y. 847). The order of 
baptism as well as the exhortation exclude infant baptism. 

And the Shepherd of Hermas speaks of those who "have heard 
the word, and wished to be baptized in the name of the Lord" 
(Ibid, Patrologise gr., II. 906). 

The Apostolic rathets require that faith shall precede bap- 
tism and hence they know nothing of infant baptism. Dr. 
Charles W. Bennett, Professor of Historical Theology in Gar- 
rett Biblical Institute, Methodist, says : "The Apostolic Fathers 
contain no positive information relative to the practice of the 
church of their time respecting infant baptism" (Bennett, Chris- 
tian Archaeology, 391. ITew York, 1889). 

Passing to the second generation of the Fathers, Justin 
Martyr, A. D. 114-168, has sometimes been quoted as favoring 
the practice of infant baptism. After relating the evils of 
human nature and the bad habits of men, Justin declares that, 

in order that we may not remain tlie children of necessity and ignorance, 
but may become the children of choice and of knowledge, and may obtain 
in water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced 
over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the 
name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; he who leads to the 
laver the person that is to be washed calling him by name alone (Migne, 
VI. 419). 

It is now quite generally admitted that Justin knows only 
the baptism of adults, though he believed in baptismal regenera- 

The celebrated passage from Irenseois is as follows : 

For he came to save all through means of himself, all I say, who 
through him are born again to God — infants, thus sanctifying infants; a 
child, for children ; thus sanctifying those who are of this age, being at 
the same time made to them an example of youths, and thus sanctifying 
them to the Lord (Migne, VII. 783). 

The Ancient Churches 31 

This passage is probably spurious. There is no proof, how- 
ever, that it refers to baptism at all. Dr. Karl R. Hagenbach, 
for fifty years professor in the University of Basel, says that 
this passage does not "afford any decisive proof. It only ex- 
presses the beautiful idea that Jesus was Redeemer in every 
stage of life ; but it does not say that he redeemed children by 
the water of baptism" (Hagenbach, History ofl Doctrines, 200. 
l^ew York, l&GO)'. 

Origen, A. D. 185-254, is quoted in favor of infant baptism. 
His words are : 

To these considerations it can be added, that it may be enquired why, 
Bince the baptism of the church is given for the remission of sinS, bap- 
tism is given according to the observance of the church, even to children 
(parvulis) ; for the grace of baptism would seem superfluous if there was 
nothing in children requiring remission and indulgence (Migne, XII. 492). 

The same sentiment is found in his commentary on Romans. 

The original Greek of Origen no longer exists, and there 
remain of the words of Origen only translations by Rufinus and 
Jerome in Latin. These translations are notoriously unreliable, 
and it is admitted that the ideas of a later age are freely incorpo- 
rated in the writings of Origen. The children mentioned are 
not "infants," for in the same work this word is used to describe 
Jesus at the age of twelve (Migne, XIII. 1849). All that can 
be claimed is that Origen refers to the baptism of children, not 
infants, as an apostolic tradition. This is not of much weight, 
when it is recalled that Origen refers to a number of things as 
of apostolic tradition which are not even mentioned in the 

The earliest clear evidence of infant baptism is found in 
TertuUian who opposed it (A. D. 185). The first direct evi- 
dence in favoi* of it is found in the writings of Cyprian, in the 
Council of Carthage, in Africa, A. D. 253. In writing to one 
Fidus, Cyprian takes the ground that infants should be bap- 
tized as soon as they are born (Epistle ofl Cyprian, LVIII. 2). 
This opinion, however, was not based upon the Scriptures, and 
did not meet with the approval of the Christian world. 

The early councils' of the church were all against infant bap- 
tism. The Council of Elvira or Grenada, A. D. 305, required 
the delay of baptism for two years (Hefele, History of the Coun- 

32 A History of the Baptists 

cils, I. 155. Edinburgh, 1871). The Council of Laodicsea held 
A. D. 360, demanded that those who are "to be baptized must 
leaiTi the creed by heart and recite it" (Hefele, II. 319). The 
Council of Constantinople decreed that persons should "remain 
a long time under Scriptural instruction before they receive 
baptism" (Ibid, II. 368). And the Council of Carthage, A. 
,D. 398, decreed that "catechumens shall give their names, and 
be prepared for baptism" (DuPin, Bibliotheque universelle, c. 4. 

Many of the most prominent Christians, though born of Chris- 
tian parents, were not baptized in infancy. The number of 
such persons is so great, and the details are so many, that men- 
tion can be made of only a few of them. The list would in- 
clude the celebrated historian Eusebius, the emperor Constan- 
tine the Great, Ephrem Syrus, and the great Augustine. 

Basil the Great was born in the year 329, in a wealthy and 
pious family, whose ancestors had distinguished themselves as 
martyrs. His mother and grandmother were Christians and 
four brothers and five sisters were well-known Christians. He 
was baptized when he was twenty-six years of age. In a re- 
markable passage, A. D. 380, he plainly indicates the drift of 
the times. He says : 

Do you demur and loiter and put off baptism? When j'ou have been 
from a child catechised in the Word, and you are not yet acquainted with 
the truth? Having been always learning it, are you not yet come to the 
knowledge of it? A seeker all your life long. A considerer till you are 
old. When will you make a Christian? When shall we see you as one 
of us? Last year you were staying till this year; and now you have a 
mind to stay till next. Take heed, that by promising yourself a longer 
life, you do not quite miss of your hope. Do you not know what changes 
tomorrow may bring? (Migne, XXXI. 1514). 

All of this demonstrates that the early Christians continued 
to baptize upon a profession of faith ; and that infant baptism 
had gained no permanent foothold till ages after the days of 
the apostles. 

Infant baptism was not of rapid growth. Augustine, Bishop 
of Hippo-Eegius, North Africa (A. D. 353-430) was not the 
first to practise it; but he was, though not himself baptized 
in infancy, its first and ablest defender. He developed the 
theological argument in its favor. The Council of Mela, in 

The Ancient Churches 33 

Numidia, A. D. 416, composed of fifteen persons, and presided 
over by Augustine, decreed : 

Also, it is the pleasure of the bishops in order that whoever denies that 
infants newly born of their mothers, are to be baptized or says that bap- 
tism is administered for the remission of their own sins, but not on ac- 
count of original sin, delivered from Adam, and to be expiated by the 
laver of regeneration, be accursed (Wall, The History of Infant Baptism. 
I. 265). 

It is a suggestive fact prophetic of the future that the first 
council favoring the practice of infant baptism also accom- 
panied this by a curse against those who dissented from the 
opinions of the council. It furthermore shows there were 
opponents of infant baptism in those days, and that the infant 
rite was not the universal custom of those times. 

The first rule, to which reference is made as favoring infant 
baptism in Europe, was by the Spanish Council of Gerunda, 
A. D. 517. The Council was composed of seven men who sub- 
scribed to ten rules. The canon covering the point at issue here 
is Article V. : 

But concerning little sons lately born, it pleaseth us to appoint, that 
if, as is usual, they be infirm, and do not suck their mother's milk, even 
on the same day in which they are born (if they be offered, if they be 
brought) they may be baptized. 

The rule was that ordinarily catechetical instruction should 
precede baptism. In the case of infants who were sick, because 
of the fear that they would be lost in case of death without 
baptism, they were to be baptized in infancy. No provision 
was made for the baptism of infants who were in good health. 
It has also been seriously doubted whether this Council was 
ever held. 

Charlemagne, A. D. T89, issued the first law in Europe for 
baptizing infants. He was engaged in a stubborn war with the 
Saxons, but their brave general Windekind, always found re- 
sources to defeat his designs. In the end his imperial majesty 
hit upon a method, which disheartened Windekind, by detach- 
ing his people from him, and which completely made an end of 
the war. This was by reducing the whole nation by a dread- 
ful alternative; either of being assassinated by the troops, or 
of accepting life on the condition of professing themselves Chris- 

34 A History of the Baptists 

tians by being baptized; and tbe severe laws still stand in the 
capitularies of this monarch, by which they were obliged, "on 
pain of death, to baptize themselves, and of heavy fines to bap- 
tize their children within the year of their birth." 

That this is a correct interpretation of the attitude of the early 
churches there is not the shadow of a doubt. All historians con- 
firm, this contention. A few high authorities are here quoted. 

Dr. Adolph Harnack, of the University of Berlin, says of 
the post-apostolic period : 

There is no sure trace of infant baptism in the epoch; personal faith 
is a necessary condition (Harnack, History of Dogma, I. 20 note 2). 

He further says: 

Complete obscurity prevails as to the Church's adoption of the prac- 
tice of child-baptism, which, though it owes its origin to the idea of this 
ceremony being indispensable to salvation, is nevertheless a proof that 
the superstitious view of baptism had increased. In the time of Irenseus 
(II. 22, 4), and Tertullian {de hapt. 18), child-baptism had already be- 
come very general and was founded on Matthew 19 : 14, We have no 
testimony regarding it from earlier times (Ibid, II. 143). 

And finally he says that it 

was established in the fifth century as the general usage. Its complete 
adoption runs parallel with the death of heathenism (Ibid, IV. 284). 

Professor H. G. Wood, of the University of Cambridge, 

We are, as Harnack says, "in complete obscurity as to the Church's 
adoption of the practice." The clear third century references to child- 
baptism interpret it in the light of original sin, and if the adoption of the 
practice is due to this interpretation, it is almost certainly a late second 
century development. . . . References to original sin in Clement of 
Rome or other writers earlier than Cyprian cannot be held to imply a 
knowledge of the custom of infant baptism. Moreover, the idea that in- 
fants needed to be baptized for the remission of sins is contrary to all that 
is known of early Christian feeling toward childhood. . . . Even in 
the third century infant baptism cannot be described as a Church custom. 
That the Church allowed parents to bring their infants to be baptized is 
obvious; that some teachers and bishops may have encouraged them to do 
so is probable, though there is no reason to suppose that TertuUian's posi- 
tion was peculiarly his own. But infant baptism was not at this time en- 
joined or incorporated in the standing orders of the Church (Encyclopaedia 
of Religion and Ethics, II.). 

The Ancient Churches 35 

Dr. F. O. Conybeare says that "the essential thing was that 
a man should come to baptism of his own free will." He further 

On such grounds was justified the transition of a baptism which began 
as a spontaneous act of self-consecration into an opus operandum. How 
long after this it was before infant baptism became normal inside the 
Byzantine church we do not know exactly. . . . The change came 
more quickly in Latin than in Greek Christendom, and very slowly indeed 
in the Armenian and the Georgian churches (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 
11th edition, Article on Baptism). 

Andre Lagarde says: 

Until the sixth century, infants were baptized only when they were in 
danger of death. About this time the practice was introduced of admin- 
istering baptism even when they were not ill (Lagarde, Latin Church in 
the Middle Ages, 37). 

These facts are altogether against the idea that infant bap- 
tism was the practice of the ancient churches. In its introduc- 
tion it met with the greatest opposition, and it was only imder 
the anathema and by the point of the sword that infant baptism 
was pressed upon the unwilling Christians ; and the same intol- 
erance has followed its history to the present time. 

Of the form of baptism practised in the ancient churches 
there is not a particle of doubt. It is certain that immersion 
was the universal rule, save in the case of a few sick persons. 

There are six elaborate descriptions or rituals of baptism 
which have come down to us. They were all well known in the 
churches and all of them prescribe immersion. They are the so- 
called Egyptian Acts (Gebhardt and Harnack, Texts and Re- 
searches, VI. c. 4 (28)) ; the Canon Hipolyte, the third century 
(Hipolyte, Bk. VII. (29)); the Apostolic Constitutions or 
Canons, in the Greek, the Coptic, and the Latin versions, A. D. 
350-400; Cyril of Jerusalem, A. D. 286 (Migne XXXIII. 
43) ; Ambrose of Milan, A. D. 397 (Bunsen, Analecta, 11. 
465), and Dionysiua Areopagita, A. D. 450. These rituals were 
largely used in the churches and represent the universal prac- 
tice of immersion. 

Of this practice of immersion there is proof in Africa, m 
Palestine, in Egypt, in Antioch and Constantinople and in 
Cappadocia. Eor the Roman use of immersion we have the 
testimony of eight hundred years. Tertullian bears witness for 

36 A History of the Baptists 

the second century (Tertulllan, De Bapt., c. 4) ; Leo the Great 
in the fifth century (Fourth Letter to the Bishop of Sicily) ; 
Pope Pelagius in the sixth century (Epist. ad Gaudent) ; Theo- 
dulf of Orleans in the eighth century ; and in the eleventh cen- 
tury the Eomans dipped the subject "only once" (Canisius, Lec- 
tiones Antiq., III. 281). These examples settle the use of the 

There is also the testimony of the early Christian monu- 
ments. At first the Christians baptized in rivers and fountains. 
This, says Walafrid Strabo, was done with great simplicity 
(Migne, OXIV, 958). Later, on account of persecutions, the 
Christians hid themselves; and the Catacombs furnished many 
examples of baptisteries. Dr. Cote, who lived many years in 
Rome, and closely studied the baptismal question, says: "Dur- 
ing the darld daySi of imperial persecutions the primitive Chris- 
tians of Rome found a ready refuge in the Catacombs, where 
they constructed baptisteries for the administration of the rite 
of immersion" (Cote, Archaeology of Baptism, 151. London, 
187'6). Even a brief description of these baptisteries cannot be 
given here, but one who has not studied the subject carefully 
will be surprised at their number and extent. 

Afterwards when more liberty of worship was granted to 
the Christians many churches were erected. At first the bap- 
tistery was an independent structure, separate from the place 
of worship; but later it became the custom to place the bap- 
tistery in the church house itself. Such baptisteries were erected 
in almost every country where the Christian religion had spread. 
This was particularly true in Italy. Cote gives a list of not less 
than sixty-six baptisteries in that country alone (Cote, Bap- 
tisteries, 110). As late as the eighth and ninth centuries bap- 
tisteries continued to be in full use in Italy. Baptisteries were 
erected in Italy as late as the fourteenth century, while immer- 
sion continued in the Cathedral of Milan till the close of the 
eighteenth century. 

These baptisteries were decorated and naturally many of the 
emblems, mosaics and paintings were intended to illuminate the 
form of baptism. The so-called Christian Art was found in the 
Catacombs, on the interior of churches and on church fumi- 

The Ancient Churches 37 

ture and utensils. The oldest pictures do not date before the 
time of the Emperor Constantine (Parker, The Archaeology 
of Rome, XII. 11. Oxford, 1877) ; many of them have been 
constantly repaired, and some of the most famous ones have 
been so changed that they have lost their original character 
(ICrowe and Cavalcaselle, History of Painting in Italy, I. 22). 
!N^o certain conclusions can be drawn from this source, but the 
teaching of all early art indicates immersion as the form of bap- 
tism. The pictures represent river scenes, the candidate stands 
in the water, and every circumstance points toward the primi- 
tive act of baptism. The unanimous, opinion of the professors 
of archaeology in the great universities is that the ancient 
pictures, in the Catacombs and elsewhere, of baptism, represent 
the rite as administered by immersion (See Christian's Baptism 
in Sculpture and Art. Louisville, 1907). 

Affusion for baptism was of slow growth. Possibly the 
earliest mention of affusion is found in the famous Teaching 
of the Twelve Apostles (Bryennios, Didacha ton Dodeka Apos- 
tolon. Constantinople, 1883), which is variously claimed to 
be a production of the first to the seventh century. 

Novatian (A. D. 250) presents the first case of clinic baptism 
on record. He had water profusely poured upon him while sick 
in bed, but his baptism is distinctly called "an abridgement" or 
"compend" (Eusebius, The Church History, 289. New York, 
1890). Affusion is a mere substitute for immersion. Prance 
was the first country where affusion was permitted to persons 
in the full enjoyment of health (Wall, The History of Infant 
Baptism, I. 576). The first law for sprinkling was obtained in 
the following manner : "Pope Stephen III., being driven from 
Rome by Astulphus, King of the Lombards, in 753, fled to 
Pepin, who, a short time before, had usurped the crown of 
France. Whilst he remained there, the monks of Cressy, in 
Brittany, consulted him, whether, in cases of necessity, bap- 
tism, performed by pouring water on the head of the infant, 
would be lawful. Stephen replied that it would" (Edinburgh 
Encyclopaedia, III. 236). It was not, however, till A J). 1311, 
that the Council of Ravenna decreed : "Baptism is to be adminis- 
tered by trine aspersion or immersion" (Labbe and Cossart, 

38 A History of the Baptists 

Sacrosancta Concilia, II. B. 2. 1586. Paris, 1671). Soon after 
this sprinkling became customary in France. 

For the first thirteen centuries immersion was the Sior- 
mal practice of the Christian world. "Baptism by immersion," 
says Dollinger, "continued to be the prevailing practice of the 
Church as late as the fourteenth century" (Dollinger, The His- 
tory of the Church, II. 294. London, 1840-42). Immersion 
was practised in some parts of Germany in the sixteenth cen- 
tury. In England immersion was the practice for sixteen hun- 
dred years. 

At the time of the birth of Jesus religious liberty was un- 
known in the world. Even the ancient republics never recog- 
nized it. Socrates, with all of his moral heroism, never arose 
above the assumption, that impiety should be punished \nth 
death. In his defense before his judges he says : 

My duty is to persuade you, if I can ; but you have sworn to follow 
your own convictions in judging according to the laws — not to make the 
laws bend to your partiality. And it is your duty so to do. Do not, there- 
fore, require of me proceedings dishonorable in reference to myself and 
impious in regard to you, especially at a time when I am myself rebutting 
an accusation of impiety advanced by Miletus (Grote, History of Greece, 
VIII. 656). 

It was fully agreed by all Pagan nations that the state had 
a right to regulate all matters connected with religion ; and the 
citizen was bound to obey. 

Early did the Christians avow and amplify religious liberty. 
The blood of persecution brought to the front this doctrine. 
Tertullian boldly tells the heathen that everybody has a natural 
and inalienable right to worship God according to his own con- 
science. His words are : 

However, it is a fundamental human right, a privilege of nature, that 
every man should worship according to his own convictions ; one man's 
relig'ion neither harms nor helps another man. It is assuredly no part of 
religion to compel religion — !to which free-will and not force should lead 
us — the sacrificial victims even being required of a willing mind. You 
will render no real service to your gods by compelling us to sacrifice. For 
they can have no desire of offerings from the unwilling, unless they are 
animated by a spirit of contention, which is a thing altogether undivine 
(Tertullian, ad Scapulam, c. 2). 

The Ancient Churches 39 

Justin Martyr affirmed similar opinions (Apol. I. c. 2. 4, 
12), and later Lactantius says: 

Religion cannot be imposed by force; the matter must be carried on by 
words rather than by blows, that the will may be affected. Torture and 
piety are widely different; nor is it possible for truth to be united with 
violence, or justice with cruelty. Nothing is so much a matter of free 
will as religion (Lactantius, Instit. div. V. 20). 

Dr. Baur, commenting on these statements, says: 

It is remarkable how already the oldest Christian Apologists, in vindi- 
cating the Christian faith, were led to assert the Protestant principle of 
freedom of faith and conscience as an inherent attribute of the conception 
of religion against their heathen opponents (Baur, Gesch. der Ghristl. 
Kirche, I. 428). 

Hase says: 

Thus did the church prove, in a time of unlimited arbitrary power, the 
refuge of popular freedom, and saints assumed the part of tribunes of the 
people (Hase, Church History, sec. 117, p. 161, 7th edition). 

This is hardly a Protestant doctrinal tenet, but it does belong 
to the Baptists. Protestants have been all too ready to perse- 

When Constantine, after the victory of Milvian Bridge, on 
the Tiber, October 27, 312, became emperor he issued a decree 
of toleration. The famous edict of Milan was issued by Con- 
stantine and Licinius. It is of so much importance that the 
law is here transcribed in full. It is as follows : 

Perceiving long ago that religious liberty ought not to be denied, but 
that it ought to be granted to the judgment and desire of each individual 
to perform his religious duties according to his own choice, we had given 
orders that every man, Christians as well as others, should preserve the 
faith of his own sect and religion. But since in this rescript, in which 
such liberty was granted them, many and various conditions seemed clear- 
ly added, some of them, it may be, after a little retired from such obser- 
vance. When I, Constantine Augustus, and I, Licinus Augustus, came 
under favorable auspices to Milan and took under consideration every- 
thing which pertained to the common weal and prosperity, we resolved 
among other things, or rather first of all, to make such decrees as seemed 
in many respects for the benefit of every one; namely, such as should 
preserve reverence and piety toward the deity. We resolved, that is, to 
grant both to the Christians and to all men freedom to follow the religion 
which they choose, that whatever heavenly divinity exists may be propi- 

40 A History of the Baptists 

tious to us and to all that live under our government. We have, therefore, 
determined, with sound and upright purpose, that liberty is to be denied to 
no one, to choose and to follow the religious observance of the Christians, 
but that to each one freedom is to be given to devote his mind to that re- 
ligion which he may think adapted to himself, in order that the Deity 
may exhibit to us in all things his accustomed care and favor. It was 
fitting that we should write that this is our pleasure, that those condi- 
tions being entirely left out which were contained in our former letter 
concerning the Christians which was sent to your devotedness, everything 
that seemed very severe and foreign to our mildness may be annulled, and 
that now every one who has the same desire to observe the religion of the 
Christians may do so without molestation. We have resolved to communi- 
cate this most fully to thy care, in order that thou mayest know that we 
have granted to these same Christians freedom and full liberty to observe 
their own religion. Since this has been granted freely to them, thy de- 
votedness perceives that liberty is granted to others also who may wish to 
follow their own religious observances ; it being clearly in accordance 
with the tranquillity of our times, that each one should have the liberty of 
choosing and worshipping whatever deity he pleases. This has been done 
by us in order that we might not seem in any way to discriminate against 
any rank of religion. And we decree still further in regard to the Chris- 
tians, that their places, in which they were formerly accustomed to as- 
semble, and concerning which in the former letter sent to thy devotedness 
a different command was given, if it appear that any have bought them 
either from our treasury or from any other person, shall be restored to 
the said Christians, without demanding money or any other equivalent, 
with no delay or hesitation. If any happen to have received the said 
places as a gift, they shall restore them as quickly as possible to these 
same Christians ; with the understanding that if those who have bought 
these places, or those who have received them, demand anything from our 
bounty, they may go to the judge of the district, that provision may be 
made for them by our clemency. All these things are to be granted to 
the society of Christians by your care immediately and without any delay. 
And since the said Christians are known to have possessed not only these 
places in which they were accustomed to assemble, but also other places, 
belonging not to individuals among them, but to the society as a whole, 
that is, to the society of Christians, you will command that all of these, in 
virtue of the law which we have above stated, be restored, without any 
hesitation, to these same Christians ; that is, to their society and congre- 
gation ; the above mentioned provision being of course observed, that those 
who restore them without price, as we have before said, may expect in- 
demnification from our bounty. In all these things, for the behoof of the 
aforesaid society of Christians, you are to use the utmost diligence, to the 
end that our command may be speedily fulfilled, and that in this also, by 
our clemency, provision may be made for the common and public tran- 
quillity. For by this means, as we have said 'before, the divine favor to- 

The Ancient Churches 41 

ward us which we have already experienced in many matters will con- 
tinue sure through all time. And that the terms of this gracious ordinance 
may be known to all, it is expected that this which we have written will 
be published everywhere by you and brought to the knowledge of all, in or- 
der that this gracious ordinance of ours may remain unknown to no one 
(Eusebius, The Church History, X. 5). 

Of this decree Mason says : 

It is the very first announcement of that doctrine vrhich is now regarded 
as the mark and principle of civilization, the foundation of soUd liberty, 
the characteristic of modern politics. In vigorous and trenchant sentences 
it sets forth perfect freedom of conscience, the unfettered choice of religion 
(Mason, Persecution of Dioclesian, 327). 

A forced religion is no religion at all. Unfortunately, the 
successors of Constantine from the time of Theodosius the Great 
(385-395) enforced the Christian religion to the exclusion of 
every other; and not only so, but they enforced so-called ortho- 
doxy to the exclusion of every form of dissent, which was pun- 
ished as a crime against the State. Absolute freedom of reli- 
gion and of worship is a fact logically impossible on the church- 
state system. The government of the Roman empire was too 
absolute to abandon supervision of religion, so that the edict 
of Constantine was only temporary. Further, the rising power 
of episcopacy fitted into the monarchial system. Many of the 
bishops and monks were "men in black clothes, as voracious as 
elephants, and insatiably thirsty, but concealing their sensuality 
under an artificial paleness." 

The first blood of heretics shed by a Christian prince was by 
Maximus, A. D. 385, in the Spanish city of Treves. This act 
was approved by the bishops, with a single exception, but the 
Christian churches recoiled from it with horror. 

Books for further reference and reading: 

Fisher, 45-48. 

SchafE, II. 198-306. 

John T. Christian, Baptism in Sculpture and Art. 

Northcote and Brownlow (Roman Catholics), Roma Sotterranea, 3 

Philip Schafif, The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. 

The Ante-Nicene Fathers, edited by Roberts and Donaldson. 



Incorruptible Churches — The Testimony of Bunsen — The Montanist 
Churches — ^Their Anabaptism — The Spread of the Movement — The 
Novatian Churches — Robinson Traces Them to the Reformation — They 
Were Called Anabaptists — The Donatist Churches — Their Origin — 'Re- 
jected Infant Baptism — Benedict — Lincoln — Augustine — Liberty of Con- 
science — Neander — Their Attitude Toward Liberty — ^Their Protest, 

AT first there was unity in fundamental doctrines and prac- 
tices. Step by step some of the churches turned aside 
from the old paths and sought out many inventions. Discipline 
became lax and persons of influence were permitted to follow a 
course of life which would not have been tolerated under the 
old discipline. The times had changed and some of the 
churches changed with the times. There were those who had 
itching ears and they sought after novelties. The dogma of 
baptismal regeneration was early accepted by many, and men 
sought to have their sins washed away in water rather than in 
the blood of Christ. Ministers became ambitious for power 
and trampled upon the independence of the churches. The 
churches conformed to the customs of the world and the 
pleasures of society. 

There were, however, churches which remained uncorrupted, 
and there were faithful men who raised their voices against 
the departure from apostolic practice. An account will be given 
of some of the early reformers who offered their protest and 
called the people back to the simplicity of the gospel. 

Chevalier Christian Charles Bunsen, while Prussian ambas- 
sador to London, walking in the light and breathing in the 
atmosphere of a purer age, held holy communion with the 
early churches. He used these earnest words: 

Take away ignorance, misunderstanding, and forgeries, and the naked 
ftuth remains; not a spectre, thank God, carefully to be veiled; but an 
image of divine beauty radiant with eternal truth! Break down the bar- 


The Struggle Against Corruption 43 

riers which separate us from the communion of the primitive church — I 
mean, free yourselves from the letter of the later formulas, canons, and 
conventional abstractions — and you move unshackled in the open ocean 
of faith ; you hold fellowship with the spirits of the heroes of Christian 
antiquity ; and you are able to trace the stream of unity as it rolls through 
eighteen centuries in spite of rocks and quicksands (Bunsen, Hippolytus, 

The first protest in the way of separation from the growing 
corruptions of the times was the movement of the Montanist 
churches. This Montanus, the leader, was a Phrygian, who 
arose about the year A. D. 156. The most distinguished advo- 
cate of Montanism was Tertullian who espoused and defended 
their views. They held that science and art, all worldly edu- 
cation or gay form of life, should be avoided, because 
such things belonged to paganism. The crown of life was 
martyrdom. Eeligious life they held to be austere. Against 
a mortal sin the church should defend itself by rightly ex- 
eluding him who committed it, for the holiness of the church 
was simply the holiness of the members. With such prin- 
ciples they could not fail to come in conflict with the popular 
Christianity of the day. The substance of the contentions 
of these churches was for a life of the Spirit. It was not a 
new form of Christianity; it was a recovery of the old, the 
primitive church set over against the obvious corruptions of 
the current Christianity. The old church demanded purity; 
the new church had struck a bargain with the world, and had 
arranged itself comfortably with it, and they would, therefore, 
break with it (Moeller, Montanism in Schaff-Herzog Encyclo- 
pedia, III. 1562). 

Their contention was not so much one of doctrine as of 
discipline. They insisted that those who had "lapsed" from 
the true faith should be rebaptized, because they had denied 
Christ and ought to be baptized anew. On this account they 
were termed "Anabaptists," and some of their principles re- 
appeared in Anabaptism (Schaff, History of the Christian 
Church, 11. 427). Infant baptism was not yet a dogma, and 
we know that it was rejected by the Montanists. Tertullian 
thought only adults ought to be immersed. The Montanists 
were deeply rooted in the faith, and their opponents ad- 
mitted that they received the entire Scriptures of the Old 

44 A History of the Baptists 

and the New Testaments, and they were sound in their views 
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Epi- 
phanius, Hcer, XL VIII. 1). They rejected episcopacy and 
the right of the bishop's claim to exercise the power of the 

The movement spread rapidly through Asia Minor and 
North Africa, and for a time in Rome itself. It appealed 
very powerfully to the sterner moralists, stricter disciplinarians, 
and more deeply pious minds among all Christians. Montanism 
had the advantage of claiming divine revelation for stricter 
principles. Montanism had made so much stir in Asia Minor, 
before the close of the second century, that several councils 
were called against it, and finally the whole movement was 
oflScially condemned. But Montanism continued for centuries, 
and finally became known under other names (Eusebius, The 
Church History, 229 note 1 by Dr. McGiffert). In Phrygia 
the Montanists came in contact with, and probably in actual 
communion with, the Paulicians. We know that they were 
still in existence in the -vear 722 (Theophanes, 617. Bond 

The rise of the Novatian churches was another outcropping 
of the old strife between the lax and strict discipline. In 
the year 250 Novatian strenuously opposed the election of 
Cornelius as the pastor of the church in Rome. Novatian de- 
clared that he did not wish the office himself, but he pleaded 
for the purity of the church. The election of Cornelius pre- 
vailed, and Novatian carried many churches and ministers with 
him in his protest. The vast extent of the Novatiani move- 
ment may be learned from the authors who wrote against him, 
and the several parts of the Roman empire where they 

These churches continued to flourish in many parts of 
Christendom for six centuries (Waleh, Historic der Ketzere- 
yen, II. 220). Dr. Robinson traces a continuation of them 
up to the Reformation and the rise of the Anabaptist move- 
ment. "Great numbers followed his (Novatian's) example," 
says he, "and all over the Empire Puritan churches were con- 
stituted and flourished through two hundred' succeeding years. 

The Struggle Against Corruption 45 

Afterwards, when penal laws obliged them to lurk in comers, 
and worship God in private, they were distinguished by a 
variety of names, and a succession of them continued till the 
Reformation" (Robinson, Ecclesiastical Researches, 126. Cam- 
bridge, 1792). 

On account of the purity of their lives they were called 
the Cathari , that is, the pure. "What is still more," says Mos- 
heim, "they rebaptized such as came over to them from the 
Catholics" (Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History I. 203. 
New York, 1871). Since they baptized those who came to 
them from other communions they were called Anabaptists. 
The fourth Lateran Council decreed that these rebaptizers 
should be punished by death. Accordingly, Albanus, a zealous 
minister, and others, were punished with death. They were, 
says Robinson, "trinitarian Baptists." They held to the inde- 
pendence of the churches; and recognized the equality of all 
pastors in respect to dignity and authority. 

The Donatists arose in ISTumidia, in the year 311, and they 
soon extended over Africa. They taught that the church 
should be a holy body. Crespin, a French historian, says that 
they held the following views : 

First, for purity of church members, by asserting that none ought to 
be admitted into the church but such as are visibly true believers and 
true saints. Secondly, for purity of church discipline. Thirdly, for the 
independency of each church. Fourthly, they baptized again those whose 
first baptism they had reason to doubt. They were consequently termed 
rebaptizers and Anabaptists. 

In his early historical writings David Benedict, the Bap- 
tist historian, wrote with much caution of the denominational 
character of the Donatists. He followed closely the statements 
of other writers in his history; but in his last days he went 
into the original sources and produced a remarkable book 
called a "History of the Donatists" (Pawtucket, 1875). In 
that book he recedes from his non-committal position and 
classes them as Baptists. He quite freely shows from Augus- 
tine and Optatus, who were contemporaries, that the Donatists 
rejected infant baptism and were congregational in their form 
of government. 

46 A History of the Baptists. 

Dr. Heman Lincoln dissented from some of the conclu- 
sions of Dr. Benedict and called them fanciful. But that 
they held some Baptist principles he did not doubt. He 

It is evident that the Donatists held, at some period of their history, 
many of the principles which are regarded as axioms by modern Baptists. 
In their later history, after a stern discipline of persecution; they main- 
tained, as cardinal truths, absolute freedom of conscience, the divorce of 
church and state, and a regenerate church membership. These princi- 
ples, in whose defense they endured martyrdom coupled with their uniform 
practice of immersion, bring them into close affinity with Baptists (Lin- 
coln, The Donatists. In The Baptist Review, 358, July, 1880). 

This is the position of an extreme conservative. Perhaps 
Dr. Lincoln underestimated the coloring which the enemies of 
the Donatists gave to the controversy, and he certainly did not 
give due credit to what Augustine says on infant baptism in 
his opposition to them. It has been affirmed that some of the 
Donatists placed too much stress upon the efficiency of baptism 
and affirmed episcopacy. This however is a matter of contro- 
versy of no great interest, and does not here concern us. 

Governor Henry D'Anvers truly remarks: 

Augustine's third and fourth books against the Donatists demonstrated 
that they denied infant baptism, wherein he maintained the argument for 
infant baptism against them with great zeal, enforcing it with severe ar- 
guments (D'Anvers, A Treatise on Baptism, 223, London, 1674). 

Augustine makes the Donatists Anabaptists (Migne, Patrolo- 
gia Lat, XLIL). The form of baptism, according to Optatus, 
was immersion. Lucas Osiander, Professor in and Chancellor 
of the University of Tubingen, wrote a book against the Ana- 
baptists, in 1605, in which he says: "Our modern Anabaptists 
are the same as the Donatists of old" (Osiander, Epist. cent. 
16. p. 175. Wittenberg^ 1607). These rigid moralists, how- 
ever, did not count themselves Anabaptists; for they thought 
that there was one Tx)rd, one faith, one baptism and that their 
own (AlbaspinsB, Observat. In Optatus, i). They took no 
account of the baptism of others, and contended that they were 
wrongly called Anabaptists. 

The Donatists stood for liberty of conscience, and they 
were opposed to the persecuting power of the State Church. 
They were, says l^eander, "the most important and influential 

The Struggle Against Corruption 47 

church division which we have to mention in this period" 
(ISTeander, General History of the Christian Religion and 
Church, III. 258). Neander continues: 

That which distinguishes the present case is, the reaction, proceeding 
out 6f the essence of the Christian church, and called forth, in this in- 
stance, by a peculiar occasion, against the confounding of the ecclesiastical 
and political elements ; on which occasion, for the first time, the ideas 
which Christianity, as opposed to the papal religion of the state, had first 
made men distinctly conscious of, became an object of contention within 
the Christian church itself, — the ideas concerning universal, inalienable 
human rights ; concerning liberty of conscience ; concerning the rights of 
free religious conviction. 

Thus the Bishop Donatus, of Carthage, in 347, rejected the 
imperial commissioners, Paulus and Marcarius, with the ac- 
clamation: "Quid est imperatori cum eeclesia?" (Optatus, 
Milev., De Schismati Donat. 1. iii. e. 3). And truly indeed 
the emperor should not have had anything to do with the 
control of the church. The Donatist Bishop Petilian, in Africa, 
against whom^ Augustine wrote, appealed to Christ and the 
apostles who never persecuted. "Think you," says he, "to 
serve God by killing us with your hand ? Ye err, if ye, poor 
mortals, think this; God has not hangmen for priests, Christ 
teaches us to bear wrong, not to revenge it." The Donatist 
bishop Gaudentius says: "God appointed prophets and fisher- 
men, not princes and soldiers, to spread the faith." 

The position of these Christians was not only a protest but 
an appeal. It was a protest against the growing corruptions 
and worldliness of those churches which had sadly departed 
from the faith in doctrine and discipline; it was an appeal, 
since they were fervently called back to purity of life and 
apostolic simplicity. All through the days of darkness their 
voice was not hushed, and there was not wanting a people to 
stand before God. Maligned, they suffered with patience; re- 
viled, they reviled not; and the heritage of these people is 
liberty of conscience t« a world. All hail, martyrs of God. 

Books for further reading and reference: 
Fisher, 59, 58, 109, 141, 142. 
Schaff, II., 415-421 ; 849-853. 

The Ante-Nicene Fathers, edited by Roberts and Donaldson, Vols. III. 
and IV., the writings of Tertullian. 



The Sources of Information — The Greeks, the Armenians — "The Key of 
Truth" — ^The Apostolic Origin — They Rejected Other Communions — The 
Story of Constantine— The Connection of the Mohammedans — The Sa- 
bians — The Numbers of the Paulicians — Religious Liberty — ^The Free 
State of Teprice — Among the Albigenses in France — Persecuted — Cony- 
beare on Baptist Succession — Justin A. Smith — Widely Scattered in 
Europe — The Paulicians Not Manichseans — ^Their Doctrines — The Synod 
of Arras — 'A Confession of Faith — The Adoptionists — The Form of Bap- 
tism — Marcarius — ^The Oriental Church — The Bogomils — Brockett — ^Their 
Persecutions — ^The Form of Baptism. 

IT is to be regretted that most of the information concern- 
ing the Paulicians comes through their enemies. The 
sources are twofold. The first source is that of the Greek 
writers, Photius (Adv. recentiores Manichseans. Hamburg 
1772) and Petros Sikeliotes (Historia Manichseorum qui Pauli- 
oiani. Ingolstadt, 1604), which has long been known and was 
used by Gibbon in the preparation of the brilliant fifty-fourth 
chapter of his history. 'Not much has been added from that 
source since. The accounts are deeply prejudiced, and although 
Gibbon suspected the malice and poison of these writers, and 
laid bare much of the malignity expressed by them, he was at 
times misled in the facts. He did not have the completeness of 
information which was necessary for a full delineation of their 

The second source of information in regard to the Paulicians 
is Armenian in its origin and has recently been brought to light 
and illustrated. There was an old book of the Paulicians called 
the "Key of Truth," mentioned by Gregory Magistos, in the 
eleventh century. Fortunately, Mr. Fred C. C'onybeare, M. 
A., formerly Fellow of University College, Oxford, was much 
interested in affairs in Armenia. He was a second time in 
that country, in 1891, in quest of documents illustrative of 
the history of the Paulicians. He fell upon a copy of the 
"Key of Truth" in the Library of the Holy Synod at Edjmiat- 


The Paulician and Bogomil Churches 49 

zin. He received a copy of it in 1893 ; and the text with an 
English translation was printed by Mr. Oonybeare in 1898. 
He also accompanied the text with important data received 
from Armenian histories and from other sources. As may be 
judged this is not only a new but a very important source of 
information. The Paulieians are at length permitted to plead, 
in a measure, for themselves. We are able, therefore, prac- 
tically to reconstruct the Paulician history. 

The Paulician churches were of apostolic origin, and were 
planted in Armenia in the first century. "Through Antioch 
and Palmyra the faith must have spread into Mesopotamia 
and Persia; and in those regions become the basis of the 
faith as it is spread, in the Taurus mountains as far as Ararat. 
This was the primitive form of Christianity. The churches 
in the Taurusi range of mountains formed a huge recess or cir- 
cular dam into which flowed the early Paulician faith to be 
caiight and maintained for centuries, as it were, a backwater 
from the main for centuries" (Bury's edition of Gibbon's His- 
tory, VI. 543). The earliest center of Christianity in Armenia 
was at Taron, which was the constant home and base of opera- 
tions of the Paulieians. 

They claimed that they were of apostolic origin. "The 
Key of Truth" says: 

Let us then submit humbly to the holy church universal, and follow 
their works who acted with one mind and one faith and taught us. For 
still do we receive in the only proper season the holy and precious mydtery 
of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the Heavenly Father : — to-wit, in the 
season of repentance and of faith. As we learned from the Lord of the 
universal and apostolic church, so do we proceed : and we establish in per- 
fect faith those who (till then) have not holy baptism (Margin, That 
is to say, the Latins, Greeks, and Armenians, who are not baptized) ; 
nay, nor have tasted of the body or drunk of the holy blood of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. Therefore according to the Word of the Lord, we must first 
bring them into the faith, induce them to repent, and give it (Margin, 
Baptism) unto them (pp. 76, 77). 

Upon this point Adeney says : "Therefore, it is quite arguable 
that they should be regarded as representing the survival of a 
most primitives type of Christianity" (Adeney, The Greek and 
Eastern Churches, 217). He further says: "Ancient Oriental 

50 A History of the Baptists 

Baptists, these people were in many respects Protestants be- 
fore Protestantism" (Adeney, The Greek and Eastern Churches, 

The Paulicians did not recognize persons of other com- 
munions as belonging to the churches. "We do not belong 
to these," they said. "They have long ago broken connection 
with the church and have been excluded." Such is the testi- 
mony of Gregory Magistos, A. D., 1058, whose history is one 
of the chief sources of inforination. 

We can only lightly touch upon a few events connected with 
their history. The story of the conversion of Constantino, A. 
D. 660, is interesting. This young Armenian sheltered a Chris- 
tian deacon who was flying from Mohammedan persecutions. In 
return for his kindness he received a copy of the ITew Testa- 
ment. "These books became the measure of his studies and 
the rule of his faith ; and the Catholics, whoi disputed his inter- 
pretation, acknowledged that his text was genuine and sincere. 
But he attached himself with peculiar devotion to the writings 
and character of Paul: and the name of Paulicians is derived 
by their enemies from some unknown leader ; but I am confident 
that they gloried in their affinity to the apostle to the Gentiles" 
(Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, V. 386). 

Constantine felt that he was called upon to defend and restore 
primitive Christianity ; being greatly impressed by the writings 
of Paul, he took the name of one of his followers, Silvanus; 
and the churches founded by him received names from the primi- 
tive congregations. The entire people were called Paulicians 
from the apostle. These statements of the apostolic simplicity 
of these devout Christians tell more of the manners, customs 
and doctrines than volumes of prejudiced accounts left by 
their enemies. With Paul as their guide, they could not be 
far removed from the truth of the New Testament. 

Professor Wellhausen, in his life of Mohammed (Ency- 
clqpffidia Britannica, XVI. 571, 9th Edition), gives a most 
interesting account of the Baptists of the Syro-Babylonian 
desert. He says they were called Sabians, Baptists, and that 
thegr praotised the primitive forms of Christianity. Indeed, 
"Sabian" is an Arabized word meaning "Baptist." They 
literally filled with their members Syria, Palestine, and Baby- 

The Paulician and Bogomil Churches 51 

Ionia (Eenan, Life of Jesus, chap. XII). They were off the 
line of the main advance of Christianity, and were left un- 
touched in their primitive simplicity. From them Mohammed 
derived many of hia externals. The importance of this must 
not be undervalued. *'It can hardly be wrong to conclude," 
continues Prof. Wellhausen, "that these nameless witnesses of 
the Gfospel, unmentioned in ehurch history, scattered the seed 
from which sprung the germ of Islam." These Christians were 
the Paulicians. 

This bit of history will account for a fact that heretofore has 
been hard to understand. The emperors had determined to 
drive the Paulicians from their dominions. They took refuge 
"in the Mohammedan dominions generally, where they were 
tolerated and where their own type of belief never ceased to 
be accounted orthodox." This we leami from John the Philoso- 
pher. The Arabs had since the year 650 successfully chal- 
lenged the Roman influence in Armenia. The same protection, 
probably, preserved the Paulician churches through many ages. 
It is certain that the Paulicians were true to the Arabs, and that 
the Mohammedans did not fail them in the hour of trial. 

The number of the Paulicians constantly increased, and 
they soon attracted the attention of their enemies. In the 
year 690 Oonstantine, their leader, was stoned to death by 
the command of the emperor ; and the successor of Constantino 
was burned to death. The Empress Theodora instituted a per- 
secution in which one hundred thousand Paulicians in Grecian 
Armenia are said to have lost their lives. 

The Paulicians, in the ninth century, rebelled against their 
enemies, drove out Michael III, and established in Armenia 
the free state of Teprice. This is a well-known site some seventy 
miles from Sivas, on the river Chalta- They gave absolute 
freedom of opinion to all of its inhabitants (Evans, Historical 
View of Bosnia, 30). From the capital of this free state, itself 
called Teprice, went forth a host of missionaries to convert the 
Slavonic tribes of Bulgaria, Bosnia, and Servia to the Pauli- 
cian faith. This is positively stated by Sikeliotes. Great was 
their success — so great that a large portion of the inhabitants 
of the free state migrated to what were then independent 
states beyond the emperor's control. The state of Teprice 

t2 A History of the Baptists 

lasted one hundred and fifty years, when it was overcome by 
the Saracens. All around them were persecutions for conscience 
gajje — they themselves had lost one hundred thousand members 
by persecutions in the reign of Theodora — yet here was a 
shelter offered to every creed and unbeliever alike. This is 
a striking Baptist peculiarity. 

The Baptists have always set up religious liberty when they 
had opportunity. Conybeare, speaking of the Paulicians, 
justly remarks: 

And one point in their favor must be noticed, and it is this, Their sys- 
tem was, like that of the European Gathars, in its basal idea and con- 
ception alien to persecution ; for membership in it depended upon baptism, 
voluntarily sought for, even with tears and supplications, by the faithful 
and penitent adult. Into such a church there could be no dragooning of 
the unwilling. On the contrary, the whole purpose of the scrutiny, to 
which the candidate for baptism was subjected, was to ensure that his 
heart and intelligence were won, and to guard against the merely outward 
conformity, which is all that a persecutor can hope to impose. It was one 
of the worst results of infant baptism, that by making membership in the 
Christian church mechanical and outward, it made it cheap ; and ao paved 
the way of the persecutor (Conybeare, The Key of Truth, xli). 

In the year 970 the Emperor, John Tzimisces, transferred 
some of the Paulicians to Thrace and granted them religious 
liberty; and it is recorded to their credit that they were true 
to his interests. In the beginning of the eighth century their 
doctrines were introduced and spread throughout Europe, and 
their principles soon struck deep into foreign soil. 

It was in the country of the Albigenses, in the Southern 
provinces of France, that the Paulicians were most deeply im- 
planted, and here they kept up a correspondence with their 
brethren in Armenia. The faith of the Paulicians 'lived on 
in Languedoc and along the Rhine as the submerged Chris- 
tianity of the Cathars, and, perhaps, also among the Waldenses. 
In the Reformation this Catharism comes once more to the 
surface, particularly among the so-called Anabaptists and Uni- 
tarian Christians between whom and the most primitive church 
'The Key of Truth' and the Cathar Ritual of Lyons supply us 
with the two great connecting links" (Key of Truth, x). 

They were persecuted by the popes ; and all literary and other 
traces of them, as far as possible, were destroyed. But "the 

The Paulician and Bogomil Churches 53 

visible assemblies of the Paulicians, of Albigeois, were extir- 
pated by fire and sword ; and the bleeding remnant escaped by 
flight, concealment, or Catholic conformity. In the state, in 
the church, and even in the cloister, a latent succession vsras 
preserved of the disciples of St. Paul; who protested against 
the tyranny of Home, and embraced the Bible as the rule of 
faith, and purified their creed from all the visions of the 
Gnostic theology" (Gibbon, Decline and Fall of The Roman 
Empire, V. 398). 

Many historians, l>esides Gibbon, such as Muratori and 
Mosheim, regard the Paulicians as the forerunners of the 
Albigenses, and, in fact, as the same people. One of the latest 
of these, already frequently quoted, is Professor Conybeare, 
one of the highest authorities in the world on Paulician matters. 
He afiirms that the true line of succession is found among Bap- 
tists. He says : 

The church has always adhered to the idea of spiritual regenera- 
tion in baptism, although by baptizing babies it has long ago stultified 
itself and abandoned the essence of baptismu Indeed the significance 
of the baptism of Jesus, as it presented itself to St. Paul, and the evangel- 
ists, was soon lost sight of by the orthodox churches. . . We hear 
much discussion nowadays of the validity o'' orders English, Latin, and 
oriental. The unbiased student of church history cannot but wonder that 
it has never occurred to any of these controversalists of the Church of 
England to ask whether they are not, after all, contending for a shadow; 
whether, in short, they have, any of them, real orders in the primitive 
sense in which they care to claim possession of th<^m. The various sects 
of the Middle Ages which, knowing themselves simply as Christians, re- 
tained baptism in its primitive form and significance, steadily refused to 
recognize as valid the infant baptism of the great orthodox or persecuting 
churches ; and they were certainly in the right, so far as doctrine and 
tradition count for anything. Needless to say, the great churches have 
long ago lost genuine baptism, can have no further sacraments, no priest- 
hood, and, strictly speaking, no Christianity. If they would re-enter the 
pale of Christianity, they must repair, not to Rome or Constantinople, but 
to some of the obscure circles of Christians, mostly in the East, who have 
never lost the true continuity of the baptismal sacrament. These are the 
Paulicians of Armenia, the Bogomil sect round Moscow whose members 
call themselves Christ's, the adult Baptists (those who practise adult 
baptism) among the Syrians of the upper Tigris valley, and perhaps, 
though not so certainly, the po.yelikans, the Mennonites, and the great 
Baptist communities of Europe. This condemnation of the great and so- 

54 A History of the Baptists 

called orthodox churches may seem harsh and pedantic, but there is no 
escape from it, and we place ourselves on the same ground on which they 
profess to stand. Continuity of baptism was more important in the first 
centuries of the church than continuity of ordei"s ; so important, indeed, 
that even the baptism of heretics was recognized as valid. If store was 
set by the unbroken succession of bishops, it was only because one function 
of the bishop was to watch over the integrity of the initiatory rite of the 
religion. How badly the bishops of the great churches did their duty, 
how little, indeed, after the third century they even understood it, is seen 
in the unchecked growth, from the year 300 A. D. onward, of the abuse 
of the baptismal rite, resulting before long in its entire forfeiture (Cony- 
beare, The History of Christmas. In The American Journal of Theology). 

Dr. Justin A. Smith, so long the scholarly editor of The 
Stcmdard, Chicago, says of the Paulicians : 

The sum of all this is, that whether or not a succession of Baptist 
churches can, as some think, be traced through the centuries of the Middle 
Ages down to the time when oup denominational history in its strict sense 
begins, we may at least say that our ancestry goes upward along a line 
of descent in which, if any where in the world, pure Christianity survived; 
and that among our Baptist progenitors, in this sense, were men and 
women who had the conspicuous honor to be maligned by those whom 
history proves to have been adepts in the two trades of murder and slander 
(Smith, Modern Church History, 227). 

One thing is certain, that in Italy, in France, and along the 
Rhine, the Paulicians and the Albigenses were found in the 
same territory, and there were no great diiferenees between 
them in practice and doctrines. Writers go so far as to assert 
that there was a succession of churches and of interests. It 
is well attested, that in the middle of the eleventh century 
they were numerous in Lombardy and Isurbia, but especially 
in Milan, in Italy; and it is no less certain that they traveled 
through France, Germany and other countries, and by their 
sanctity they won large numbers of common people to their 
way of thinking. In Italy they were called Paternes and 
Oathari, and in Germany, Gazari. In France they were called 
Albigenses. They were called Bulgarians, particularly in 
France, because some of them came from Bulgaria, and they 
were also known by the name of Boni Ho7)iines (Mosheim, 
Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, II. 200-202). Their ene- 
mies extolled their piety. A succession of them is found through 
the Middle Ages. 

The Paulician and Bogomil Churches 55 

The Paulicians were accused of being Manichseans, and much 
prejudice has been excited against them on this account. "The 
Paulicians," says Adeney, " have been most egregiously libeled 
of all of the Christian sects" (The Greek and Eastern 
Churches, 216. IS^ew York, 1908). The Koman Catholics 
have always denounced the teachings of Marcion with singular 
hostility. It is now clearly known that the Paulicians were 
not Manichseans. The Key of Truth settles this matter (p. 
18). Modern Armenian scholars do not hesitate to correct 
this error (Ter Mkittschain, Die Paulikianer im Byzantinischen . 
in Armenien, Leipzig, 1893). Conybeare has no doubt on the 

Turning to the doctrines and practices of the Paulicians we 
find that they made constant use of the Old and New Testa- 
ments. They had no orders in the clergy as distinguished from 
laymen by their modes of living, their dress, or other things; 
they had no councils or, similar institutions. Their teachers 
were of equal rank. They strove diligently for the simplicity 
of the apostolic life. They opposed all image worship which 
was practised in the Roman Catholic Church. The miraculous 
relics were a heap of bones and ashes, destitute of life and of 
virtue. They held to the orthodox view of the Trinity; and 
to the human nature and substantial sufferings of the Son of 

Baptist views prevailed among the Paulicians. They held 
that men must repent and believe, and then at a mature age 
ask for baptism, which alone admitted them into the church. 
"It is evident," observes Mosheim, "they rejected the baptism 
of infants." They baptized and rebaptized by immersion. They 
would have been taken for downright Anabaptists (AUix, The 
Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont. 
Oxford, 1821). 

Something of the opinions of the Paulicians is gathered 
from a Synod held in Arras, in the year 1025, by Gerard, 
Bishop of Cambray and Arras. One Gvindulphus, a Paulician, 
was condemned. He had taught his doctrines in many places. 
It was found on examination that the Paulicians held: 

The law and discipline we have received from our Master will not 
appear contrary either to the Gospel or apostolic institutions, if carefully 

56 A History of the Baptists 

looked into. This discipline consists in leaving the world, in bridling car- 
nal concupiscence, in providing a livelihood by the labor of our hands, in 
hurting nobody, and affording our charity to all who are zealous in the 

prosecution of this our design. 

Concerning baptism they made reply: 

But if any man shall say, that some sacrament lies hid in baptism, 
the force of that is taken off from three causes : the first is. Because the 
reprobate life of ministers can afford no saving remedy to the persons to 
be baptized. The second. Because whatsoever sins are renounced at the 
font, are afterwards taken up again in life and practice. The third. Be- 
cause a strange will, a strange faith, and a strange confession do not 
seem to belong to, or to be of an advantage to a little child, who neither 
wills nor runs, who knows nothing of faith, and is altogether ignorant of 
his own good and salvation, in which there can be no desire of regenera- 
tion, and from whom no confession of faith can be expected (Allix, The 
Ecclesiastical Churches, 104). 

A better answer conld not this day be given. There is a 
Confession of Faith which is attributed to the Paulicians, A. 
D. 1024, which declares : 

In the beginning of Christianity there was no baptizing of children; 
and their forefathers practised no such thing and we do from our hearts 
acknowledge that baptism is a washing which is performed in water, and 
doth hold out the washing of the soul from sin (Mehrning, Der heiligen 
Tauff Historie, II. 738). 

It is possible that the Paulicians were Adoptionists. This 
is the view of Conybeare (Ixxxvii), but his views are often 
inferential (xiv). He further says: ''My suggestion that the 
European Cathars were of the Adoptionists origin also rests on 
mere inference" (xiv). 

The connection of this view with that of modern Baptists is 
set forth by Conybeare as follows : 

It is therefore a promising field of research to enquire whether the 
Paulicians were not partially responsible for many sects which at the 
Reformation made their appearance and exhibit, some more, some less, an 
affinity to Paulician tenets as set out in the Key. This is not the place 
to embark on such an inquiry, which would require a sepai-ate work. Per- 
haps the data no longer exists which would enable one to trace the channels 
of communication. To do so would require in any case a vast amount of 
research ; but it does seem probable that in at least two of the Sects of 
the age of the Reformation we have a survival of the same ancient form of 
the Catholic Church which the pages of the Key reveal to us. These two 
sects are the Anabaptists and the Unitarians, afterwards called Socinians 

The Paulician and Bogomil Churches 57 

from their great teacher Socinus. From the former are derived the great 
Baptist churches of England and America, and also the Mennonites of 
Germany. The arguments of the sixteenth century Baptists against Paedo- 
baptism are the same as we have in the Key, and — what we might also 
expect — an Adoptionist view of Christ as a rule went with them in the 
past; though the modern Baptists, in accepting the current doctrine of 
the Incarnation, have both obscured their origin and stultified their dis- 
tinctive observances. From the first ages Adoptionist tenets have as 
naturally and as indissolubly been associated with adult baptism, as has 
infant baptism with the pneumatic Christology, according to which Jesus 
was from his mother's womb and in his cradle filled with the Holy Spirit, 
a pre-existent Divine being, creator, and controller of the universe (Cony- 
beare. The Key, cl, oli). 

Whatever may be the final conclusions in the matter, it is cer- 
tain that the Adoptionist views of the Paulicians accentuated 
their opposition to infant baptism. 

The form of baptism was to dip the subject into the water 
once, while the Greeks dipped three times. There is much 
evidence that in Armenia the form of baptism was immersion. 
Macarius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, A. D. 331 to 335, writing 
to the Armenians, says that baptism was administered with 
"triple immersion burying in the water of the holy font" 
(Library of the Mechitarist Fathers of Vienna. MSS. Cod. 
Arm. No. 100). There is an oration preserved out of the 
twelfth century ascribed to Isaac Catholicos of Armenia, which 
gives the practice of the Paulicians. John Otzun, A. D. 718, 
speaks of the Paulicians descending into the baptistery (Otzun, 
Opera, 25. Venice, 1834). And he further tells how the 
Mohammedans tried to prevent them f rom^ baptizing in the run- 
ning rivers, for fear that they would bewitch the waters and ren- 
der them unwholesome. 

The constant practice of the Oriental Church was immersion. 
Eev. Nicholas Bjerring says of its baptism: "Baptism is cele- 
brated sometimes in the church and sometimes in private houses, 
as needs may be. It is always administered by dipping the 
infant, or adult, three times" (Bjerring, The Offices of the 
Oriental Church, xii. New York, 18'80). And further on in the 
Liturgy he gives the ceremony of immersion. Thus did the 
Paulicians practise immersion as the Scriptures indicate. 

58 A History of the Baptists 

The Bogomils were a branch of the Cathari, or' Paulicians, 
who dwelt in Thrace. Their name appears to have been derived 
from one of their leaders in the midst of the tenth century, 
though others declare that their name comes from a Slavic 
word which isi defined, "Beloved of God." The Bogomils were 
repeatedly condemned, and often persecuted, but they continued 
to exist through the Middle Ages, and still existed in the six- 
teenth century. 

Their historians claimed for them the greatest antiquity. Dr. 
L. P. Brockett, who wrote a history of them, says : 

Among these (historians of the Bulgarians) I have found, often in 
unexpected quarters, the most conclusive evidence that these sects were 
all, during their early history, Baptists, not only in their views on the 
subjects of baptism and the Lord's Supper, but in their opposition to 
Pedobaptism, to a church hierarchy, and to the worship of the Virgin 
Mary and the saints, and in their adherence to church independency and 
freedom of conscience in religious worship. In short, the conclusion has 
forced itself upon me that in these Christians of Bosnia, Bulgaria, and 
Armenia we have an apostolic succession of Christian churches, New Testa- 
ment churches, and that as early as the twelfth century these churches 
numbered a converted, believing membership, as large as that of the Baptist 
churches throughout the world to-day (Brockett, The Bogomils of Bul- 
garia and Bosnia, 11, 12). 

Some Eoman Catholic writers have affirmed that the Bogo- 
mils did not practise baptism, or observe the Lord's Supper; 
and, that further, they denied the Old Testament Scriptures. 
This probably means no more than that they rejected infant 
baptism, and quoted the New Testament as supreme and au- 
thoritative in the matter. 

The persecutions of the Bogomils, as of other Paulicians, 
were continuous and severe. Every effort was made to destroy 
them. "Yet it was not stamped out," says Conybeare, "but only 
driven under ground. It still lurked all over Europe, but espe- 
cially in the Balkans, and along the Rhine. In these hiding 
places it seemed to have gathered its forces together in secret, in 
order to emerge once more into daylight when an opportunity 
presented itself. The opportunity was the European Reforma- 
tion, in which, especially under the formi of Anabaptism and 
XJnitarian opinion^ this leayen of the early apostolic church is 

The Paulician and Bogomil Churches 59 

found freely mingling with and modifying other forms of faith. 
In engendering this great religious movement, we feel sure that 
the Bogomils of the Balkan States played a most important 
part" (The Key of Truth, cxcvi). 

Books for further reading or reference : 

Fisher, 142. 

John C. L. Gieseler, A Compendium of Ecclesiastical History, II. 208- 
212; III. 494-500. 

Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Edition of Bury. 

F. C. Conybeare, Rituale Armenorum. 

F. C. Conybeare, The Key of Truth. 

John L. von Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, II. 101- 
305, 135, 136, 201-205. 

Augustus Neander, A General History of the Christian Religion and 
Church, V. 337-370. 



The Origin and Spread of These Churches — Prof. Bury — Their History — 
Their Good Character — Their Writings Destroyed — ^They Were ,Not 
Manichseans — Two Classes of Believers — In Southern France — The Cru- 
sades Against Them — Their Doctrines — Rejected Infant Baptism — Peter 
of Bruys — His Opinions — The Petrobrusians — Accused of Being Ana- 
baptists — Henry of Dausanne — His Great Success — Held the Opinions of 
the Anabaptists — Arnold of Brescia — The Testimony of Otto Freising — 
The Amoldists — Berengarius — His Troubled Career. 

IT has already been indicated that the Paulicians came from 
Armenia, by the way of Thrace, settled in France and Italy, 
and traveled through, and made disciples in, nearly all of the 
countries of Europe. The descent of the Albigenses has been 
traced by some writers from the Paulicians (Encyclopaedia 
Britannica, I. 454. 9th edition). Recent writers hold that 
the Albigenses had been in the valleys of France from the 
earliest ages of Christianity. Prof. Bury says that "it lingered 
on in Southern France," and was not a "mere Bogomilism, 
but an ancient local survival." Mr. Conybeare thinks that it 
lived on from the early times in the Balkan Peninsula, "where 
it was probably the basisi of Bogomilism" (Bury, Ed. Gibbon, 
History of Rome, VI. 563). 

They spread rapidly through Southern France and the little 
city of Albi, in the district of Albigeois, became the center of 
the party. From this city they were called Albigenses. In Italy 
the Albigenses were known by various names, like the Pauli- 
cians, such as "Good Men," and others. It is difficult to deter- 
mine the origin of all of the names; but some of them came 
from the fact that they were regarded asi vulgar, illiterate and 
low bred; while other names were given from the purity and 
wholesomeness of their lives. It is remarkable that the inquisi- 
torial examinations of the Albigenses did not tax them with 
immoralities, but they were condemned for speculations, or 
rather for virtuous rules of action, which the Roman Catholics 


The Albigensian Churches 6i 

accounted heresy. They said a Christian church should con- 
sist of good people ; a church had no power to frame any con- 
stitutions ; it was not right to take oaths ; it was not lawful to 
kill mankind ; a man ought not to be delivered up to the officers 
of justice to be converted; the benefits of society belong alike 
to all members of it; faith without works could not save a 
man ; the church ought not to persecute any, even the wicked ; 
the law of Moses was no rule for Christians; there was na 
need of priests, especially of wicked ones ; the sacraments, and 
orders, and ceremonies of the church of Rome were futile, ex- 
pensive, oppressive, and wicked. They baptized by immersion 
and rejected infant baptism (Jones, The History of the Chris- 
tian Church, I. 287). They were decidedly anti-clerical. 

"Here then," says Dr. Allix, 'Sve have found a body of men in 
Italy, before the year one thousand and twenty-six, five hundred 
years before the Reformation, who believed contrary to the 
opinions of the Church of Rome, and who highly condemned 
their errors." Atto, Bishop of Yercelli, had complained of such 
a people eighty years before, and so^ had others, before him, and 
there is the highest reason to believe they had always existed in 
Italy (Ibid, I. 288). The Cathari themselves boasted of their 
remote antiquity (Bonacursus, Vitse hsereticorum . . . Cathorum, 
ap. D' Archery, Scriptorum Spicilegiam, I. 208), 

In tracing the history and doctrines of the Albigenses it must 
never be forgotten that on account of persecution they scarcely 
left a trace of their writings, confessional, apologetical, or 
polemical; and the representations which Roman Catholic 
Avriters, their avowed enemies, have given of them, are highly 
exaggerated. The words of a historian who is not in accord 
with their principles may here be used. He says : 

It is evident, however, that they formed a branch of that broad stream 
of sectarianism and heresy which rose far away in Asia from the contact 
between Christianity and the Oriental religions, and which, by crossing 
the Balkan Peninsulia, reached Western Europe. The first overflow from 
this source were the Manichseans, the next the Paulicians, the next the 
Cathari, who in the tenth and eleventh centuries were very strong in 
Bulgaria, Bosnia, and Dalmatia. Of the Cathari, the Bogomils, Patoreni, 
Albigenses, etc. . . . were only individual developments (G. Schmidt, 
Schaffi-Herzog, I. 47). 

62 A History of the Baptists 

That is to say, these parties were all of the same family, and 
this connection is rendered all the more forceful on account of 
the terms of reproach in which this writer clothes his language. 

It has already been indicated that the Paulicians were not 
Manichseans, and the same thing may prohably he said of the 
Albigenses. The Albigenses were oppressed on account of this 
sentiment, which accusation was also made against the Wal- 
denses. Care must be taken at this point, and too prompt cre- 
dence should not be given to the accuser. The Roman Catholic 
Church sought diligently for excuses to persecute. Even Luther 
was declared by the Synod of Sens to be a Manichiean. The cele- 
brated Archbishop Ussher says that the charge "of Manichaean- 
ism on the Albigensian sect is evidently false" ( Acland, The Glo- 
rious Eecovery of the Vaudois, Ixvii. London, 1857). It would 
be difficult to understand the Albigenses from this philosophical 
standpoint. They were not a metaphysical people. Theirs was 
not a philosophy, but a daily faith and practice, which com- 
mended itself to the prosperous territory of Southern France. 

They held to the division of believers into two classes — the 
perfect and the imperfect. This was the common classification 
of the Paulicians, Waldenses and Anabaptists. The most elabo- 
rate accounts are given of the initiation of the perfecti by a 
single immersion into the body of believers (Beausobre, His- 
torie du Manichseanism, II. 762-877). 

The Waldenses were also found in the city of Albi and they 
were also called Albigenses because they resided in that city 
(Martin Schagen, The History of the Waldenses, 110). It 
was from Italy that the movement extended to Southern France ; 
and the soil was wonderfully well prepared for the seed. The 
country was the most civilized portion of France, rich, flourish- 
ing, and independent ; the people gay, intellectual, progressive ; 
the Roman Catholic Church dull, stupid and tyrannical; the 
clergy distinguished for nothing but superstition, ignorance, 
arbitrariness, violence and vice. Under such circumstances the 
idea of a return to the purity and simplicity of the apostolic 
age could not fail to attract attention. The severe moral de- 
mands of the Albigenses made a profound impression, since 
their example corresponded with their words. They mingled 

The Petrobrusian Churches 63 

with their tenets a severe zeal for purity of life and were heard 
with favor by all classes. No wonder that the people deserted 
the Roman Catholic priests and gathered around the Boni 
Hormnes. In a short time the Albigenses had congregations 
and schools and charitable institutions of their own. The Eoman 
Catholic Church became an object of derision (Schaff-Herzog, 
I. 47). 

This state of affairs greatly alarmed and aggravated the pope. 
In the year 1139 they were condemned by the Lateran Council; 
by that of Tours in 1163, and mission after mission was sent 
among them to persuade them to return to the Roman C'atholic 
Church. Cardinal Henry, in 1180, employed force. Pope 
Innocent III. published a cnisade against them. Says the 
Historian Hume : 

The people from all parts of Europe moved by their superstition and 
their passion for wars and adventures, flocked to his standard. Simon de 
Monfort, the general of the crusade, acquired to himself a sovereignty of 
these provinces. The Count of Toulouse, who protected, or perhaps only 
tolerated the Albigenses, was stript of his dominions. And these sectaries 
themselves, though the most inoffensive and innocent of mankind, were ex- 
terminated with the circumstances of extreme violence and -barbarity 
(Hume, History of England, II. ch. xi). 

In the second crusade the first city captured was that of 
Braziers, which had some forty thousand inhabitants. When 
Simon de Monfort, Earl of Leicester, asked the Abbot of 
Ceteaux, the papal legate, what he was to do with the inhabi- 
tants, the legate answered: "Kill them all. God knows His 
own." In this manner the war was carried on for twenty years. 
Town after town was taken, pillaged, burnt. Nothing was left 
but a smoking waste. Religious fanaticism: began the war; 
rapacity and ambition ended it. Peace was concluded in 1229, 
and the Inquisition finished the deadly work. 

The proof is overwhelming that the Albigenses rejected infant 
baptism. They were condemned on this account by a Council 
held at Toulouse, A. D. 1119 (Maitland, Pacts and Documents 
Illustrative of the Albigenses, 90. London, 1832), and that 
of Albi in 1165 ( Allix, The Ecclesiastical History of Piedmont, 
150). The historians affirm that they rejected infant baptism. 
Chassanion says: "I cannot deny that the Albigenses, for the 

64 A History of the Baptists 

greater part, were opposed to infant baptism ; the trutli is, they 
did not reject the sacrament as useless, but only as unnecessary 
to infants" ('Chassanion, Historie des Albigeois. Geneva, 
1595). Dr. Emil Comba, of the Waldensian Theological Col- 
lege, Florence, Italy, the latest of the Waldensian historians, 
says that the Albigenses rejected "all the sacraments except bap- 
tism, which they reserved for believers" (Comba, History of the 
Waldenses, 17. London, 18&9). 

The story is a pathetic one. "We live," says Everwin, of 
Steinfeld, "a hard and wandering life. We fleef from city to 
city like sheep in the midst of wolves. We suffer persecution 
like the apostles and martyrs because our life is holy and austere. 
It is passed amidst prayer, abstinences, and labors, but every- 
thing is easy for us because we are not of this world" (Schmidt, 
Hist, et, Doct. de la secte des Cathares, II. 94). Dr. Lea, the 
eminent authority on the Inquisition, has said that no religion 
can show a more unbroken roll of victims who unshrinkingly 
sought death in its most abhorrent form in preference to 
apostasy than the Cathari. 

Peter of Bruys, a well-known Baptist preacher of those 
times, sought, about the year 1100, a restoration of true religion 
in Languedoc and Provence, France. He considered that the 
gospel ought to be literally understood and he demanded Script- 
ure and not tradition from those who attempted to refute him. 
He was a pupil of the celebrated Abelard. Dollinger thinks he 
learned his doctrines from the Cathari and presents many rea- 
sons for his opinion. Others think that he presupposes the 
existence of the old evangelical life for several hundred years 
in Italy and Southern France. "There is much evidence," says 
Prof. I^ewman, "of the persistence in Northern Italy and in 
Southern France, from the early time, of evangelical types of 
Christianity" (Newman, Eecent Eesearches Concerning 
Mediaeval Sects, 187). 

His principal opponent was Peter the Venerable, Abbot of 
Clugni, and it is from Peter's book (Contra Petrobrusianos, 
Patrologia Lat., CLXXXIX. 729) that we must judge of the 

doctrines of Peter of Bruys. 

He held that the church was a spiritual body composed of regenerated 
persons. "The church of God," says Peter of Bruys, "does not consist of 
a multitude of stones joined together, but in the unity of believers as- 

The Henrician Churches 65 

sembled." He held that persons ought not to be baptized till they come 
to the use of their reason. Thus he rejected infant baptism referring to 
Math. 28 : 19 and Mark 16 : 16. He denied that "children, before they 
reach the years of understanding, can be saved by the baptism of Christ 
[the Roman Catholic statement of his belief], or that another faith could 
avail those who could not exercise faith since, according to them (the 
Petrobrusians) not another's but their own faith saves, according to the 
Lord's word. He who shall believe and be baptized shall be saved, but he 
who shall not believe shall be condemned." "Infants," he continues, 
"though baptized by you [Roman Catholics], because by reason of age 
they cannot believe, are not saved [that is by baptism] and hence it is idle 
and vain at that time to plunge them in water, by which they wash away 
the filth of the body, and yet cannot cleanse the soul from sin. But we wait 
for the proper time, and when one can know and believe in him, we do not 
(as ye accuse us), rebaptize him who can never be said to have been bap- 
tized — to have been washed with the baptism by which sins are washed 
away" [symbolically]. In respect to the Lord's Supper he not only rejected 
the doctrine of transubstantiation, but he also denied the sacramental char- 
acter of the rite. 

On account of his great popularity he was with difficulty ban- 
ished from Languedoc. He then appeared in the diocese of Nar- 
bonne and Toulouse, where he preached for twenty years with 
great success. In the year 1126 he was seized by the authorities 
and burnt at St. Gilles. 

He had a great company of followers, who after his death 
were called Petrobrusians. They held the same views on bap- 
tism that he did. Deodwinus, Bishop of Liege, writing to 
Henry I., of France, says of the followers of Peter of Bruys: 
"They as far as in them lies overthrow infant baptism" (Wall, 
The History of Infant Baptism, I, 478). 

It will be seen from the extracts given above that Peter of 
Bruy? and his disciples rebaptized, and were, therefore, in the 
eyes of their opponents. Anabaptists. Jacquest Benigne Bos- 
suet, the distinguished Bishop of Meaux and the great Boman 
Catholic controversialist, 1704, complained of the followers 
of Calvin that they sought apostolic succession through the 
Waldenses. He says: "You adopt Henry and Peter of Bruys 
among your predecessors, and both of them, everybody knows, 
were Anabaptists.'" Faber says : "The Petrobrusians were only 
a sort of Antipedobaptists, who rejected not baptism itself, but 
who denied simply the utility of infant baptism" (Faber, The 

66 A History of the Baptists 

Vallenses and Albigenses, 174. London, 1838). J. A. Eabri- 
cius Bajs : "They were the Anabaptists of that age" (Fabricins, 
Bibliographia, c. xi. 388). 

Henry of Lausanne, A. D., 1116-1148, was a disciple of 
Peter of Bruys, and was so successful in his work of reformation 
that he left a large number of followers who were called Henri- 
cians. He is described as "a man of great dignity of person, a 
fiery eye, a thundering voice, impetuous speech, mighty in the 
Scriptures." "Never was there a man known of such strictness 
of life, so great humanity and bravery," and that "by his speech 
he could easily provoke even a heart of stone to compunction." 
He came out of Switzerland to Mans and other cities of France. 
So great was his success, that whole congregations left the 
churches and joined with him. When he had come, in 1148, to 
Toulouse, Pope Eugene III. sent Bernard of Clairvaux, the 
great heresy hunter, to that city to preach against him. Bernard 
describes the effect of Henry's preaching, saying that the 
churches were deserted, "the way of the children is closed, the 
grace of baptism is refused them, and they are hindered from 
coming to heaven ; although the Saviour with fatherly love calls 
them, saying, Suffer little children to come unto Me." Henry 
was compelled to flee for his life. Within a short time he was 
arrested in his retreat, brought before the Council of Rheims, 
committed to a close prison in 1148, and soon afterwards finished 
his days in it. 

Like Peter of Bruys, he rejected infant baptism. Georgius 
Cassander, who, at the instance of the Duke of Cleves, wrote 
against the Anabaptists, says of Peter of Bruys and Henry of 
Lausanne: "They first openly condemned infant baptism, and 
stiffly asserted that baptism was fit only for the adult; which 
they both verbally taught, and really practised in their adminis- 
tration of baptism" (Cassander, De Baptismo infantium. Co- 
lonise, 1545). 

Arnold' of Brescia was horn in the beginning of the twelfth 
century and died about A. D. 1148. He was a student of 
Abelard, in Paris, and returned with lofty notions of reforma- 
tion in Italy. From one country to another he was driven 
by persecution. He finally returned to Rome and led a patriotic 

The Bercngarian Churches 67 

attempt for the freedom of the country against the pope. He 
was taken prisoner, hanged, his body burned, and the ashes 
thrown into the Tiber. 

Otto Freising, the contemporary Roman Catholic bishop-, re- 
marks : "That he was unsound in his judgment about the sacra- 
ments of the altar and infant baptism" (Freising, De Gentis 
Frid., II. c. 20). So he was condemned by the Lateran Council 
under Innocent II., A. D., 1139. Dr. Comba, in making a 
record of his opinions, says: "With the Albigenses, he con- 
demned the above-mentioned superstitions, as that also of the 
salvation of children by the sprinkling of water" (Comba, His- 
tory of the Waldenses, 16). 

Arnold had his followers, for he was very popular in Lom- 
bardy. *'^He founded," so his enemies said during his stay in 
Rome, "a sect of men which ia still called the heresy of the 
Lombards" (Johannes Saresberensis, Historia Pontificalis. 
See Breyer, Arnold von Brescia). They had great congregations 
of laboring men which formed such an important feature of the 
work of the Waldenses and Anabaptists. 

The Amoldists, like their leader, rejected infant baptism. 
Of these men, Guillaume Durand, A. J}., 1274, says: "The 
Amoldists assert that never through baptism in water do men 
receive the Holy Spirit, nor did the Samaritans receive it, until 
they received the imposition of hands" (Bull of Pope Lucius 
III. Hist. Pon. Prestz, 515). 

By the year 1184 the Amoldists were termed Albigenses, a 
little later they were classed as Waldenses. Deickhoif, one of the 
German writers on the Waldenses, affirms: "There was a con- 
nection between the Waldenses and the followers of Peter of 
Bruys, Henry of Lausanne and Arnold of Brescia, and they 
finally united in one body about 1130 as they held common 
views" (Dieckhoff, Die Waldenser im Mittelalter, 167, 168. 
Gottingen, 1851). This is the general opinion of the authori- 
ties. M. Tocco does not hesitate to affirm that "the Poor of 
Lombardy (the Waldenses) descended in a direct line from the 
Amoldists" (Tocco, L'Eresia nel medio Evo. Paris, 1884). 

Berengarius, who was born at Tours, and died in the adja- 
cent island of St. Cosme, was accused of holding Baptist views. 

68 A History of the Baptists 

He was a representative of that craving for spiritual independ- 
ence, and opposition to Roman Catholicism, which came to 
the surface all through the Middle Ages. In 1140 he became 
director of the Cathedral schools of Tours, but his departure 
from Romanism caused his condemnation by many councils 
until he closed his troubled career in deep solitude. Hisi great 
learning both in the Fathers and in classical literature, together 
with his profound study of the Scriptures, led him to the con- 
clusion that the doctrine of transubstantiation was false, and 
that it was necessary for him to distinguish between the symbol 
and the thing symbolized in the Lord's Supper. Deodwinus, 
[Bishop of Liege, a contemporary, states that there was a report 
out of France that the Berengarians "overthrew the baptism of 
infants." This view is accepted by quite all of the historians. 

Books for further reading and reference: 
Fisher. 194, 188 ,189, 209, 211, 424. 
SchafE, V. Pt. i. 507-515, 483-486. 
Gieseler, III. 51-53. 



The Alps aa a Hiding Place— Peter Waldo — The Preaching Tour— Origin 
of the iWaldenses— The Name — Roman Catholic Historians on Their 
Origin — Rainerio Sacchoni — Preger — ^The Statement of the Waldenses— 
The Noble Lessons — Ihe Reformers — Beza — Later Writers — 'The Special 
Historians of the Waldenses — Faber — Moreland — Claudius Seisselius on 
Their Character — Their Manners and Customs — ^Their Principles — Infant 
Baptism — ^Their Change of Views in Regard to the Practice — Adult Bap- 
tism — Immersion. 

O lady fair, I have yet a gem which a purer lustre flings 

Than the Diamond flash of the jewelled crown on the lofty brow of 

kings ; 
A wonderful pearl of exceeding price, whose virtues shall not decay, 
Whose light shall be a spell to thee and a blessing on thy way. 


IT is a beautiful peculiarity of this little people that it should 
occupy so prominent a place in the history of Europe. 
There had long been witnesses for the truth in the Alps. Italy, 
as far as Eome, all Southern France, and even the far-off 
Netherlands contained many Christians who counted not their 
lives dear unto themselves. Especially was this true in the 
region of the Alps. These valleys and mountains were strongly 
fortified by nature on account of their difficult passes and bul- 
warks of rocks and mountains ; and they impress one as if the 
all-wise Creator had, from the; begiiming, designed that place 
as a cabinet, wherein to put some inestimable jewel, or in which 
to preserve many thousands of souls, who should not bow the 
knee to Baal (Moreland, History of the Evangelical Churches 
of the Valley of Piedmont, 5. London, 1658"). 

Here a new movement, or rather an old one under different 
conditions, received an impetus. Peter Waldo, or Valdesius, or 
Waldensis, as he was variously called, was a rich and distin- 
guished citizen of Lyons, Prance, in the closing decades of the 
twelfth century. Waldo was at first led to study the Bible 
and he made a translation of it which he circulated among the 


70 A History of the Baptists 

people. The reading of the Gospels led to an imitation of Christ. 
Waldo took the manner of his life from the Scriptures, and he 
soon had a multitude of disciples. They gave their property 
to the poor and began to preach in the city. When they refused 
to cease preaching they were expelled from Lyons. Taking 
their wives and children with them, they set out on a preaching 
mission. The ground was well prepared by the Albigenses and 
the Cathari, as well as by the insufficiency and immorality 
of the Roman Catholic clergy. They traveled two by two, clad 
in woolen garments, with wooden shoes or barefoot. They pene- 
trated Switzerland and Northern Italy. Everywhere they met 
with a hearty response. The principal seat of the Waldenses 
became the slopes of the C'ottian Alps and East Piedmont, West 
Provence and Dauphiny. Their numbers multiplied into 
thousands. It is certain that in the beginning of his career 
Waldo was a Eoman Catholic, and that his followers separated 
from their former superstitions. 

There has been much discussion in regard to the origin of the 
Waldenses. It is asserted on thei one hand that they originated 
with Waldo, and had no connection with former movements. 
This view is held absolutely, probably by very few, for even 
Comba admits that "in a limited sense their antiquity must be 
admitted" (Comba, History of the Waldenses in Italy, 12) ; and 
he also states that the Waldenses themselves believed in their 
own antiquity. Those who hold this view now generally state 
that the Waldenses were influenced by the Petrobrusians, the 
Amoldists and others. Others affirm that the Waldenses were 
only a part of the general movement of the dissent against 
Rome. They were of "the same general movement" which pro- 
duced the Albigenses (Fisher, History of the Christian Church, 
272. ]^ew York, 1887). The contention is that the name 
Waldenses is from the Italian Yaldese, or Waldesi, signifying 
a valley, and, therefore, the word means that they lived in 
valleys. Eberhard de Bethune, A. D. 1160, says: "Some of 
them call themselves Vallenses because they live in the vale of 
sorrows or tears" (Monastier, A History of the Vaudois Church, 
58. London, 1848). Bernard, an Abbot of a Monastery of the 
Remonstrants, in the Diocese of Narbonne, about 1209, says 
that they were called "Waldenses, that is, from a dark 

The Waldensian Churches 7^ 

valley, because they are involved in its deep tMck darkness 
or errors" (Migne, CCIV. 793). Waldo was so called because 
he was a valley man, and was only a noted leader of a people 
who had long existed. This view is ardently supported by most 
of the Waldensian historians (Leger, Histoire Generale des 
Yaudois. Xeyden, 1669). It is certain that they were c^led 
by the names of every one of the ancient parties (Jones His- 
tory of the Christian Church, 308). Jacob Gretscher, of the 
Society of Jesus, Professor of Dogmatics in the University of 
Ingolstadt, A. D. 1577, fully examined the subject and wrote 
against the Waldenses. He affirmed their great antiquity and 
declared that it was his belief ''that the Toulousians and 
Albi-enses condemned in the year 1177 and 117& were no other 
than the Waldenses. In fact, their doctrines, discipline, gov- 
ernment, manners, and even the errors with which they had 
been charged show the Albigenses and the Waldenses were dis- 
tinct branches of the same sect, or the former was sprung from 
the latter" (Rankin, History of France, III. 198-202). 

The most remote origin has been claimed for the Waldenses, 
admitted by their enemies, and confirmed by historians. '^Our 
witnesses are all Roman Catholics," says Vedder, "men of learn- 
ing and ability, but deeply prejudiced against heretics as men 
could possibly be. This establishes at the outset a presumption 
against the trustworthiness of their testimony, and is a warn- 
ing to us that we must weigh it most carefully and scrutinize 
every detail before receiving it. But, on the other hand, our 
witnesses are men whoi had extraordinary opportunities for dis- 
covering the facts; some were inquisitors for' years, and give us 
the results of interrogating a large number of persons" (Ved- 
der, The Origin and Teaching of the Waldenses. In The 
American Journal of^ Theology, lY. 466). This is a very 
interesting source of information. 

Rainerio Sacchoni was for seventeen years one of the most 
active preachers of the Cathari or Waldenses of Lombardy ; at 
length he joined the Dominican order and became an adversary 
of the Waldenses. The pope made him Inquisitor of Lombardy. 
The following opinion in regard to the antiquity of the Wal- 

72 A History of the Baptists 

denses was rendered through one of the Austrian inquisitors in 
the Diocese ofi Passau, about the year 1260 (Preger, Beitrage 
zur Geschichte der Waldesier, 6-8) . He says : 

Among all the sects, there is no one more pernicious to the church 
than that of the Leonists (Waldenses), and for three reasons: In the 
first place, because it is the most ancient : for some say that it dates back 
to the time of Sylvester (A. D. 325) ; others to the time of the apostles. 
In the second place, because it is the most widespread. There is hardly 
a country where it does not exist. In the third place, because If other 
sects strike with horror those who listen to them, the Leonists, on the 
contrary, possess a great outward appearance of piety. As a matter of 
fact they lead irreproachable lives before men and as regards their faith 
and the articles of their creed, they are orthodox. Their one fault is, that 
they blaspheme against the Church and the clergy, points to which laymen 
in general are known to be too easily led away (Gretscher, Contra Val- 
denses, IV.). 

It was the received opinion among the Waldenses that they 
were of ancient origin and truly apostolic. "They call them- 
selves," says David of Augsburg, "successors of the apostles, and 
say that they are in possession of the apostolic authority, and 
of the keys to bind and unbind" (Preger, Der Tractat des 
David von Augsburg liber die Waldensier. Miinchen, 1876). 

A statement of the Waldenses themselves is at hand. In a 
Waldensian document, which some have dated as early as the 
year 1100, in a manuscript copy which dates from 1404, may be 
found their opinion on the subject of their antiquity. The 
Koble Lessons, as it is called, says: 

We do not find anywhere in the writings of the Old Testament that 
the light of truth and holiness was at any time completely extinguished. 
There have always been men who walked faithfully in the paths of right- 
eousness. Their number has been at times reduced to few; but has never 
been altogether lost. We believe that the same has been the case from the 
time of Jesus Christ until now ; and that it will be so until the end. For 
if the cause of God was founded, it was in order that it might remain until 
the end of time. She preserved for a long time the virtue of holy religion, 
and, according to ancient history, her directors lived in poverty and humil- 
ity for about three centuries; that is to say, down to the time of Con- 
Btantine. Under the reign of this Emperor, who was a leper, there was 
a man in the church named Sylvester, a Roman. Constantine went to 
him, was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and cured of his leprosy. 
The Emperor finding himself healed of a loathsome disease, in the name of 

The Waldensian Churches 73 

Jesua Christ, thought he would honor him who had wrought the cure by 
bestowing upon him the crown of the Empire. Sylvester accepted it, but 
his companion, it is said, refused to consent, separated from him, and con- 
tinued to follow the path of iwverty. Then, C!onstantine, went away to 
regions beyond the sea, followed by a multitude of Romans, and built up 
the city, to which he gave his name — Constantinople — so that from that 
time the Heresiarch rose to honor and dignity, and evil was multiplied 
upon the earth. We do not believe that the church of God, absolutely de- 
parted from the truth ; but one portion yielded, and, as is commonly seen, 
the majority was led away to evil ; and the other portion remained long 
faithful to the truth it had received. Thus, little by little, the sanctity 
of the church declined. Eight centuries after Constantine, there arose a 
man by the name of Peter, a native, they say, of a country called Vaud 
(Schmidt, Aktenstrucke, ap. Hist. Zeitschrift, 1852 s. 239. MSS. Cam- 
bridge University, vol. A. f. 236-238 and Noble Leizon, V. 403. For the 
genuineness of the Noble Lessons see Brez, Histoire des Vaudois, I. 42. 
Paris, 1796). 

The great church historian, I^eander, in cammenting on this 
document, suggests that it may have been "of an elder origin" 
than 1120. He further says : 

But it is not without some foundation of truth that the Waldenses of 
this period asserted the high antiquity of their sect, and maintained that 
from the time of the secularization of the church — that is, as they believed, 
from the time of Constantine's gift to the Roman bishop Sylvester — such 
an opposition finally broke forth in them, had been existing all along. See 
Pilicdorf contra Waldenses, c. i. Bibl. patr. Ludg. T. XXV. f. 278. (Ne- 
ander. History of the Christian Church, VIII. 352). 

Such was the tradition and such was the opinion of the 
Waldenses in regard to their origin. They held to a "secret 
perpetuity during the Middle Ages, vying with the Catholic 
perpetuity" (Michelet, Histoire de France, II. 402. Paris, 

Theodore Beza, the Reformer of the sixteenth century, voices 
the sentiment of his times, when he says: 

As for the Waldenses, I may be permitted to call them the very seed 
of the primitive and purer Christian church, since they are those that 
have been upheld, as is abundantly manifest, by the wonderful providence 
of God, so that neither those endless storms and tempests by which the 
whole Christian world has been shaken for so many succeeding ages, and 
the Western part so miserably oppressed by the Bishop of Rome, falsely 
so-cdlled; nor tlioe^ horrible persecutions which have been expressly raised 

74 A. History of the Baptists 

against them, were able so far to prevail as to make them bend, or yield 
a voluntary subjection to the Roman tyranny and idolatry (Moreland, 
History of the Evangelical Churches, 7). 

Jonathan Edwards, the great President of Princeton Uni- 
versity, in his "History of Redemption," says of the Waldenses : 

In every age of tMs dark time, there appeared particular persons in 
all parts of Christendom, who bore a testimony against the corruptions 
and tyranny of the church of Rome. There is no one age of antichrist, 
even in the darkest time of all, but eccksiaetical historians mention a great 
many by name, who manifested an abhorrence of the Pope and his idolatrous 
worship. God was pleased to maintain an uninterrupted succession of 
witneseea, through the whole time, in Germany, France;, Britain, and other 
countries, as historians demonstrate, and mention them by name, and give 
an account of the testimony which they held. Many of them were private 
persons, and many of them ministers, and some magistrates and persons 
of great distinction. And there were numbers in every age, who were 
persecuted and put to death for this testimony. 

Then speaking especially of the Waldenses, he says: 

Some of the Popish writers themselves own that that people never 
submitted to the church of Rome. One of the Popish writers, speaking 
of the Waldenses, says, the heresy of the Waldenses is the oldest heresy 
in the world. It is supposed, that this people first betook themselves to 
this desert, secret place among the mountains to hide themselves from the 
severity of the heathen persecutions, which were before Oonstantine the 

The special historians of the Waldenses claim the most remote 
origin for them. For example, Mr. Paber says : 

The evidence which I have now adduced distinctly proves, not only 
that the Waldenses and Albigenses existed anterior to Peter of Lyons; 
but likewise, that at the time of his appearance in the latter part of the 
twelfth century, they were already considered two communities of very 
high antiquity. Hence it follows, that, even in the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries, the Valensic churches were so ancient, that the remote com- 
mencement was placed, by their inquisitive enemies themselves, far beyond 
the memory of man. The best informed Romanists of that period pretended 
not to affix any certain date to their organization. They were unable to 
pitch upon any specific time, when these venerable churches existed not. 
All that they certainly knew was that they had flourished long einee, that 
they were far more ancient than any modem sect, that they had visibly 
existed from a time beyond the utmost memory of man (Paber, The 
Vallenses and Albigenses), 

The Waldensian Churches 75 

Sir Samuel Moreland remarks that any lapse between 
Claudius of Turin and Waldo "would hinder the continual suc- 
cession of the churches no more than the sun or moon cease to 
be when their light is eclipsed by the interposition of other 
bodies, or* more than the Rhone or the Garonne lose their con- 
tinual current because for some time they were underground and 
appeared not" (lAcland, The Glorious E«covery of the Vaudois, 

Many pages might be used in describing the upright character 
of the Waldenses, but space is allowed for only a few state- 
ments from their enemies. To this end, the testimony of 
Claudius Seisselius, the Archbishop of Turin, is interesting. 
He says: Their heresy excepted, they generally live a purer 
life than other Christians. They never swear except by com- 
pulsion [an Anabaptist trait] and rarely take the name of God 
in vain. They fulfill their promises with punctuality; and 
live, for the most part, in poverty ; they profess to observe the 
apostolic life and doctrine. They also profess it to be their 
desire to overcome only by the simplicity of faith, by purity of 
conscience, and integrity of life; not by philosophical niceties 
and theological subtleties." He very candidly admits : "In their 
lives and morals they were perfect, irreprehensible, and without 
reproach to men, addicting themselves with all their might to 
observe the commands of God" (Perrin, Hist, des Vaudois, I. v. 
Geneva, 1618). 

In the time of the persecution of the Waldenses of Merindol 
and Provence, a certain monk was deputed by the Bishop of 
Cavaillon to hold a conference with them, that they might be 
convinced of their errors, and the effusion of blood prevented. 
But the monk returned in confusion, owning that in his whole 
life he had never known so much Scripture as he had learned 
in these few days that he had been conversing with the heretics. 
The Bishop, however, sent among them a number of doctors, 
young men, who had lately come from the Sorbonne, which, at 
that time, was the very center of theological subtlety at Paris. 
One of these publicly avowed that he had understood more of 
the doctrine) of salvation from the answers of the little children 
in their catechisms than by all the disputations which he had 

7^ A History of the Baptists 

ever heard (Vecembecius, Oratio de Waldensibus et Albigensi- 
bus Christianis, 4). 

After describing the inhabitants of the valleys of Traissiniere, 
he proceeds: 

Their clothing is of the skins of the sheep — they have no linen. They 
inhabit seven villages, their houses are constructed of flint stone, having 
a flat roof covered with mud, which, when spoiled or loosed by the rain, 
they again smooth with a roller. In these they live with their cattle, 
separated from them, however by a fence. They also have two caves sot 
apart for particular purposes, in one of which they conceal their cattle, 
in the other themselves when hunted by their enemies. They live on milk 
and venison, being, through constant practice, excellent marksmen. Poor 
as they are, they are content, and live in a state of seclusion from the 
rest of mankind. One thing is very remarkable, that persons externally so 
savage and rude, should have so much moral cultivation. They know 
French sufficiently for the understanding of the Bible and the singing of 
Psalms. You can scarcely find a boy among them, who cannot give you 
an intelligent account of the faith which they possess. In this indeed, they 
resemble their brethren of other valleys. They pay tribute with a good 
conscience, and the obligations of the duty is peculiarly noted in their 
confessions of faith. If, by reason of civil wars, they are prevented from 
doing this, they carefully set apart the sum, and at the first opportunity 
they send it to the king's taxgathers (Thaunus, Hist, sui temporis, VI. 16). 

The first distinguishing principle of the Waldenses bore on 
daily conduct, and was summed up in the words of the apostle : 
"We ought to obey God rather than men." This the Roman 
Catholics interpreted to mean a refusal to submit to the authority 
of the pope and the prelates. All of the early attacks against 
them contain this charge. This was a positive affirmation of 
the Scriptural grounds for religious independence, and it con- 
tained the principles of religious liberty avowed by the Anabap- 
tists of the Reformation. 

The second distinguishing principle was the authority and 
popular use of the Holy Scriptures. Here again the Waldenses 
anticipated the Reformation. The Bible was a living book, and 
there were those among them who could quote the entire book 
from memory. 

The third principle was the importance of preaching and the 
right of laymen to exercise that function. Peter Waldo and 
his associates were preachers. AH of the early documents refer 

The Waldensian Churches yy 

to the practice of the Waldenses of preaching as one of their 
worst heresies, and an evidence of their insubordination and ar- 
rogance. Alanus calls them false preachers. Innocent III., 
writing of the Waldenses of Metz, declared their desire to 
understand the Scriptures a laudable one, but their meeting in 
secret and usurping the functions in preaching as only evil. 
They preached in the highways and houses, and, as opportunity 
afforded, in the churches. 

They claimed the right of women to teach as, well as men, 
and when Paul's words enjoining silence upon the women was 
quoted, they replied that it was with them more a question of 
teaching than preaching, and quoted back Titusi 2 :3, "The aged 
women should be teachers of good things." They declared that 
it was the spiritual endowment, or merit, and not the church's 
ordination which gave the right to bind or loose. They struck 
at the very root of the sacerdotal system. 

To the affirmation of these fundamental principles the 
Waldenses, on the basis of the Sermon on the Mount, added 
the rejection of oaths, the condemnation of the death penalty, 
and purgatory and prayers for the dead. There are only two 
ways after death, the Waldenses declared, the way to heaven 
and the way to hell (Schaff, History of the Christian Church. 
V. Pt. I. 502-504). 

The Waldensian movement touched many people, through 
many centuries and attracted converts from many sources. Many 
Roman Catholics were won over and some of them doubtless 
brought some error with them. Moreover, the term Waldenses 
is generic, which some, having overlooked, have fallen into mis- 
takes in regard to them. The name embraced peoples living in 
widely separate lands and they varied in customs and possibly 
somewhat in doctrines. There was a conference between the 
Poor men of Lombardy and the Waldenses. The Italian and 
French Waldenses probably had a different origin, and in the 
conferences they found that there were some differences between 
them. It is possible that some of the Italian Waldenses (so- 
called) practised infant baptism (Dollinger, Sektengeschichte, 
II. 52). There is no account that the French Waldenses, or 
the Waldenses proper, ever practised infant baptism. As early 

78 A History of the Baptists 

as the year 1184 there was a union of the Poor men of Lyons, 
as some of the followers of Waldo were called, and the Arnold- 
ists, who rejected infant baptism. 

The Confessions of Faith of the Waldenses indicate that they 
did not practise infant baptism. There is a Confession of Faith 
which was published by Perrin, Geneva, 1619, the date of 
which is placed by Sir Samuel Moreland, A. D. 1120' (More- 
land, History of the Churches of Piedmont, 30). That date is 
probably too early ; but the document itself is conclusive. The 
twelfth article is as follows: 

We consider the sacraments as signs of holy things, or the visible em- 
blema of invisible blessings. We regard' it as proper and even necessary 
that believers use these symbols or visible forms when it can be done. Not- 
withstanding which we maintain that believers may be saved without these 
signs, when they have neither place nor opportunity of observing them 
(Perrin, Histoire des Vaudois, I. xii., 53). 

In 1544 the Waldenses, in order to remove the prejudice 
which was entertained against them, and to make manifest their 
innocence, transmitted to the king of France, in writing, a 
Confession of Faith. Article seven says of baptism: 

We believe that in the ordinance of baptism the water is the visible 
and external sign, which represents to us that which, by virtue of God's 
invisible operation, is within us, the renovation of our minds, and the 
mortification of our members through (the faith of) Jesus Christ. And 
by this ordinance we are received into the holy congregation of God's 
people, previously professing our faith and the change of life (Sleiden, 
The General History of the Reformation, 347. London, 1689 )^ 

Other writings of the Waldenses likewise convey no idea of 
infant baptism. There is a "Treatise concerning Antichrist, 
Purgatory, the Invocation of Saints, and the Sacraments," which 
Bishop Hurd makes of the thirteenth century. There is a 
passage which condemns the Antichrist since "he teaches to bap- 
tize children in the faith, and attributes, to this the( work of 
regeneration^ with the external rite of baptism, and on this 
foundation bestows orders, and, indeed, groundsi all of Christi- 
anity" (Moreland, Churches of Piedmont, 148). 

A Catechism emanating from the Waldenses of the thirteenth 
century makes no allusion to infant baptism. It says that the 

The Waldensian Churches 79 

church catholic, that is, the elect of God, through the merits 
of Christ, is gathered together by the Holyi Spirit, and foreor- 
dained to eternal life (Gilly, Waldensian Eesearches, I. Ixxii. 
London, 1825), which is not consistent with infant baptism. 

The l^oble Lessons say: "Baptize those who believe in the 
name of Jesus Christ" (Moreland, Churches of Piedmont, 112). 

There is a Liturgy, of great antiquity, which was used by tlie 
Waldenses. The Office contains no Directory for the baptism of 
children. Robinson says of it that it has not : 

The least hint of pouring or sprinkling; on the contrary, there is a 
directory for the making of a Christian of a pagan before baptism, and 
for washing the feet after. Thusi the introductory discourse of the pres- 
byter delivering the creed, runs thus: "Dear Brethren, the divine sacra- 
ments are not properly matters of investigation, as of faith, and not only 
of faith, but also of fear, for no one can receive the discipline of faith, 
unless he have a foundation, the ifear of the Lord. . . You are about 
to hear the creed, therefore to-day, for without that, neither can Christ 
be announced, nor can you exercise faith, nor can baptism be administered." 
After the presbyter had repeated the creed, he expounded it, referring to 
trine immersion, and closed with repeated observations on the absolute 
necessity of faith, in order to a worthy participation of baptism (Robinson, 
Ecclesiastical Researches, 473, 474). 

The Roman Catholics soon cam© into conflict with the Wal- 
<Ienses on the subject of baptism. The Lateran Council, A. D. 
1215, pointing to the Waldenses, declared that baptism "in 
water" was profitable as "well for children as adults" (Maitland, 
Facts and Documents, 499). There is a long list of such Eoman 
Catholic authors. One of them said: "I paid great attention 
to their errors and defenses." Some of these authors are here 

Enervinus of Cologne writes to St. Bernard a letter in which 
he says of the Waldenses : 

They do not believe in infant baptism ; alleging that place in the 
Gospel, Whosoever shall believe and be baptized shall be saved (Mabillon, 
Vetera Analecta, III. 473). 

Petms Cluniacensis, K. D., 1146, wrote against them, and 
brought this charge: 

That infants are not to be baptized, or saved by the faith of another, 
but ought to be baptized and saved by their own faith , . . And that 
those who are baptized in infancy, when grown up, should be baptized 

8o A History of the Baptists 

again . . . rather rightly baptized (Hist. Eccl. Madgeburg, cent. XII. 
e. V. 834). 

Eckbert of Schonaugh says: 

That baptism does no good to infants, because they cannot of them- 
eelvea desire it, and because they cannot confess any faith (Migne, CXCV. 

Pictavius, A. D. 1167, says: 

That confessing with their mouths the being of God, they entirely make 
void all the sacraments of the Church — namely, the baptism of children, 
the eucharist, the sign of the living cross, the payment of tithes and obla- 
tions, marriage, monastic institutions, and all of the duties of priests and 
•cclesiasties (D'Archery, Veterum aliquot Scriptonim Spicilegium, II.). 

Ermengard, A. D. 1192, says: 

They pretend that this sacrament cannot be conferred except upon 
those who demand it with their own lips, hence they infer the other error, 
that baptism does not profit infants who receive it (Migne, CCIV. 1255). 

Alanus, a monk of the Cistercian order, was a voluminous 
writer and Ms learning and abilities obtained for him the title of 
Universalis. He died in the year 1201. He says that the 
Waldenses taught that : 

Baptism avails nothing before years of discretion are reachedi. Infanta 
are not profited by it, because they do not believe. Hence the candidate 
is usually asked whether he believed in God, the Father omnipotent. Bap- 
tism profits an unbeliever as little aa it does an infant. Why should those 
be baptized who cannot be instructed? (Migne, OCX. 346). 

Stephen de Borbone was a monk of the Dominican order. 
He died about the year 1261, but probably wrote the account 
here given about the year 1225. The manuscript of his book 
is in the Library of the Sorbonne and only a part of it is in 
print. He says: 

One argument of their error is that baptism does not profit little chil- 
dren to their salvation, who have neither the motive nor the act of faith, 
as it is said in the latter part of Mark (Dieckhoff, Die Waldenser im Mit- 
telalter, 160). 

Moneta, a Dominican monk, who wrote before the year 
A. D. 1240, says: 

They maintain the nullity of the baptism of infants, and affirm that 
none can be saved before attaining the age of reason. 

The Waldensian Churches 8i 

Eainerio Sacchoni, A. D. 1250, published a catalogue of the 
errors of the Waldenses. He says : 

Some of them hold that baptism is of no advantage to infants, because 
they cannot believe (Coussard, contra Waldenses, 126). 

One of the Austrian Inquisitors, A. D., 1260, says : 

Concerning baptism, some err in saying that little children are not to 
be saved by baptism, for the Lord says, He that believeth and is baptized 
shall be saved. Some of them baptize over again (Preger, Beitrage zur 
Geschichte der Waldesier). 

David of Augsburg, A. D. 1256-1272, says: 

They say that a man is then truly, for the first time baptized, when 
he is brought into this heresy. But some say that baptism does not 
profit little children, because they are never able actually to believe (Pre- 
ger, Der Tractat des David von Augsburg die Waldesier). 

A more influential line of contemporary witnesses could 
scarcely be found. "It is almost superflous to point out the 
striking agreement between these teachings of the Waldenses," 
says Professor Vedder, "and the sixteenth century Anabaptists. 
The testimony is unanimous that the Waldenses rejected infant 
baptism" {American Journal of Theology, IV. 448). If the 
Waldenses were not Baptists there is no historical proof of any- 

It is equally clear that the form of baptism was immersion. 
This was, at the time, the practice of the whole Christian world. 
The great Eoman Catholic writers afiirm that immersion was 
the proper form of baptism. Peter the Lombard, who died A. 
J). 1164, declared without qualification for it as the proper act 
of baptism (Migne, CXCII. 335). Thomas Aquinas refers 
to immersion as the general practice of his day, and prefers it 
as the safer way, as did also Bonaventura and Duns Scotus. 
These were the great doctors of the Eoman Catholic Church in 
the Middle ages. Mezeray, the French historian, is correct as 
to the form of baptism when he says : "In baptism of the twelfth 
century, they plunged the candidate into the sacred font, to show 
what operation that sacrament had on the soul" (Mezeray, His- 
toire de France, 288). And the contemporary writers, Eberhard 
and Ermengard, in their work "contra Waldenses," written 
toward the close of the twelfth century, repeatedly refer to im- 

82 A History of the Baptists 

mersion as the form of baptism among the Waldenses (See Gret- 
«;her, contra Waldenses. In Trias Scriptorum contra Wal- 
denses, Ingoldstadt, 1614; also in Max. Bibl. Patr. XXIV. and 
finally in Gretscher's Works, XII.) Wall also remarks of 
these people : "As France was the first country in Christendom 
where dipping of children in baptism was left off ; so there first 
antipsedobaptism began" (Wall, The History of Infant Bap- 
tism, I. 480). They denied infant baptism and practised dip- 

Mabillon, the great Roman Catholic historian, gives an ac- 
count, at much this date, of an immersion which was performed 
by the pope himself, which occurred in the Church of St. 
John the Evangelist. It is said that thei, pope blessed the water 

then while all were adjusting themselves in their proper places, his 
Holiness retired into an adjoining room of St. John the Evangelist, at- 
tended by some acolothysts who took off his habits and put on him a pair 
of waxed trousers and surplice and then returned to the baptistery. There 
the children were waiting — ^the number usually baptized by the pope. 

After the pope had asked the usual questions he immersed 
three and came up out of the baptistery, the attendants threw 
a mantle over his surplice, and he returned" (Mabillon, Annales 
ordinis sancti Benedicti, I. 43). Even the pope in those times 
practised dipping. 

Every institution has its vicissitudes, and after progress comes 
decline. On the eve of the Reformation everything was on the 
decline — faith, life, light. It was so of the Waldenses. Perse- 
cution had wasted their numbers and had broken their spirit 
and the few scattered leaders were dazed by the rising glories 
of the Reformation. The larger portion had gone with the Ana- 
baptist movement. Sick and tired of heart in 1530 the rem- 
nant of the Waldenses opened negotiations with the Reformers, 
but a union was not effected till 1532. Since then the Wal- 
denses have been Pedobaptists. 

Books for further reading and reference: 

Fisher, 204, 219, 272. 

Schaff, V. Pt. i., 469, 473-507. 

Gieseler, III. 411-421. 

Emilio Comba, History of the Waldenses of Italy. 



The Anabaptist Movement — Mosheim — Sir Isaac Newton — Alexander 
Campbell — 'Robert Barclay — von Usinger — iSacchoni — Cardinal Hosiu* — 
Luther — Zwingli — Anabaptism no New Thing — They Were Found in 
Many Lands — Different Leaders — Kinship to the Waldenses — Limborch 
— 'Keller — Moeller — Lindsay — The Waldenses and the Anabaptists Found 
in the Same Places — Waldensian Preachers Found Among the Anabaptists 
— Points of Agreement — The Anabaptists Claimed a Succession From 
Earlier Times — The Antiquity of the Netherland Baptists — ^The Swiss — 
Moravia — 'The Picards — Erasmus— Sebastian Frank — Schyn — Abraham- 
zon — Ypeij and Dermount, 

THE beginnings of the Anabaptist movement are finnly 
rooted in the earlier centuries. The Baptists have 
a spiritual posterity of many ages of liberty-loving Christians. 
The movement was as old as Christianity ; the Reformation gave 
an occasion for a new and varied history. 

The statement of Mosheim who was a learned Lutheran his- 
torian, as to the origin of the Baptists, has never been success- 
fully attacked. He says : 

The origin of the sect, who from their repetition of baptism received 
in other communities, are called Anabaptists, but who are also denominated 
Mennonites, from the celebrated man to whom they owe a large share of 
their present prosperity, is involved in much obscurity [or, is hid in the 
remote depths of antiquity, as another translator has it]. For they sud- 
denly started up, in various countries of Europe, under the influence of 
leaders of dissimilar character and views ; and at a time when the first 
contests with the Catholics so engrossed the attention of all, that they 
scarcely noticed any other passing occurrences. The modern Mennonites 
affirm, that their predecessors were the descendants of those Waldenses, 
who were oppressed by the tyranny of the Papists; and that they were 
of a most pure offspring, and most averse from any inclinations toward 
sedition, as well as all fanatical views. . . 

In the first place I believe the Mennonites are not altogether in the 
wrong, when they boast of a descent from these Waldenses, Petrobrusians, 
and others, who are usually styled witnesses for the truth before Luther. 
Prior to the age of Luther, there lay concealed in almost every country of 
Europe, but especially in Bohemia, Moravia, Switzerland and Germany, 


84 A History of the Baptists 

very many persons, in whose minds were deeply rooted that principle which 
the Waldenses, Wyclifites, and the Husites maintained, some more covert- 
ly and others more openly ; namely, that the kingdom which Christ set 
up on the earth, or the visible church, is an assembly of holy persons ; and 
ought therefore to be entirely free from not only ungodly persons and sin- 
ners, but from all institutions of human device against ungodliness. This 
principle lay at the foundation which was the source of all that was new 
and singular in the religion of the Mennonites ; and the greatest part of 
their singular opinions, as is well attested, were approved some centuries 
before Luther's time, by those who had such views of the Church of Christ 
(Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, III. 200). 

This opinion of Mosheim, expressed in 1755, of the ancient 
origin of the Baptists and of their intimate connection with 
the Waldenses, and of other witnesses of the truth, meets with 
the approval of the most rigid scientific research of our own 

Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest men who ever lived, 
declared it was "his conviction that the Baptists were the only 
Christians who had not symbolized with Rome" (Whiston, 
Memoirs of, written by himself, 201). William Whiston, 
who records this statement, was the successor of Newton in 
Cambridge University, and lectured on Mathematics and Nat- 
ural Philosophy. He himself became a Baptist and wrote a book 
on infant baptism. 

Alexander Campbell, in his debate with Mr. Macalla, says: 

I would engage to show that baptism as viewed and practised by the 
Baptists, had its advocates in every century up to the Christian era . . , 
and independent of whose existence (the German Anabaptists), clouds of 
witnesses attest the fact, that before the Reformation from popery, and 
from the apostolic age, to the present time, the sentiments of Baptists, and 
the practice of baptism have had a continued chain of advocates, and 
public monuments of their existence in every century can be produced 
(Macalla and Campbell Debate on Baptism, 378, 379, Buffalo, 1824). 

'Again in his book on Christian Baptism (p. 409. Bethany, 
1851), he says: 

There is nothing more congenial to civil liberty than to enjoy an un- 
restrained, unembargoed liberty of exercising the conscience freely upon all 
subjects respecting religion. Hence it is that the Baptist denomination, in 
all ages and in all countries, has been, as a body, the constant asserters 

The Origin of the Anohaptisi Churches 85 

of the rights of man and of liberty of conscience. They have often been 
persecuted by Pedobaptists ; but they never politically persecuted, though 
they have had it in their power. 

Robert Barclay, a Quaker, who wrote largely upon this sub- 
ject, though not always free from bias, says of the Baptists : 

We shall afterwards show the rise of the Anabaptists took place prior 
to the Reformation of the Church of England, and there are also reasons 
for believing that on the Continent of Europe small hidden Christian so- 
cieties, who have held many of the opinions of the Anabaptists, have 
existed from the times of the apostles. In the sense of the direct transmis- 
mission of Divine Truth, and the true nature of spiritual religion, it seems 
probable that these churches have a lineage or succession more ancient than 
that of the Roman Church (Barclay, The Inner Life of the Societies of 
the Commonwealth, 11, 12. London, 1876). 

These statements might be worked out in circumstantial de- 
tail. Roman Catholic historians and officials, in some instances 
eye-witnesses, testify that the Waldenses and other ancient com- 
munions were the same as the Anabaptists. The Augiistinian, 
Bartholomaeus von Usingen, set forth in the year 1529, a 
learned polemical writing against the '"Rebaptizers," in which 
he says that "Anabaptists, or Catabaptists, have gone forth from 
Picardism" (Usingen, Contra Rebaptizantes. Cologne, 1529). 
The Mandate of Speier, April 1529, declares that the Anabap- 
tists were hundreds of years old and had been often condemned 
(Keller, Die Waldenser, 135. Leipzig, 1886). Father Gretscher, 
who edited the works of Rainerio Sacehoni, after recounting the 
doctrines of the Waldenses, says : "This is a true picture of the 
heretics of our age, particularly of the Anabaptists ;" Baronius, 
the most learned and laborious historian of the Roman Catholic 
Church, says: "The Waldenses were Anabaptists" (D'Anvers, 
Baptism, 253). Baronius has a heavy and unreadable chron- 
icle, but valuable for reference to original documents. 

Cardinal Hosius, a member of the Council of Trent, A. D. 
1560, in a statement often quoted, says: 

If the truth of religion were to be judged by the readiness and boldness 
of which a man of any sect shows in suffering, then the opinion and per- 
suasion of no sect can be truer and surer than that of the Anabaptists since 
there have been none for these twelve hundred years past, that have been 
more generally punished or that have more cheerfully and steadfastly under- 

86 A History of the Baptists 

gone, and even ofiEered themselves to the most cruel sorts of punishment 
than these people (Hosius, Letters Apud Opera, 112-113. Baptist Magazine 
OVIII, 278. May, 1826). 

That Cardinal Hosius dated the history of the Baptists back 
twelve hundred years, i. e. 360, is manifest, for in yet another 
place the Cardinal says : 

The Anabaptists are a pernicious sect. Of which kind the Waldensian 
brethrun seem to have been, althoujjU some of them lately, as they testify 
in their apology, declare that they will no longer re-baptize, as was their 
former custom ; nevertheless, it is certain that many of them retain their 
custom, and have united with the Anabaptists (Hosius, Works of the 
Heresseics of our Times, Bk. I. 431. Ed. 1584). 

From any standpoint that this Roman Catholic testimony is 
viewed it is of great importance. The Roman Catholics were 
in active opposition to the Baptists, through the Inquisition 
they had been dealing with them for some centuries, they had 
every avenue of information, they had spared no means to in- 
form themselves, and, consequently, were accurately conversant 
with the facts. These powerful testimonies to the antiquity of 
the Baptists are peculiarly weighty. The Baptists were no 
novelty to the Roman Catholics of the Reformation period. 

The testimony of Luther, Zwingli, and other Reformers, is 
conclusive. Luther was never partial to the Baptists. As early 
as 1522, he says: "The Anabaptists have been, for a long time 
spreading in Germany" (Michelet, Life of Luther, 99). The 
able and eloquent Baptist, the late Dr. E. T. Winkler, comment- 
ing on this statement says r "Nay, Luther even traces the Ana- 
baptists back to the days of John Huss, and apologetically ad- 
mits that the eminent Reformer was one of them." 

Zwingli, the Swiss Reformer, is more specific than Luther. 
From the beginning of his work he was under the necessity of 
dealing with the Anabaptist movement. He says : 

The institution of Anabaptism is no novelty, but for three hundred 
years has caused great disturbance in the church, and has acquired such 
strength that the attempt in this age to contend with it appears futile 
for a time. 

No definite starting place can be ascribed to the Baptists of 
the Reformation, for they sprang up in many countries all at 
once. It is impossible to trace them first of all to any one place, 

The Origin of the Anabaptist Churches 87 

for they appeared in many countries at the same time (J, O. 
Fiisslin, Beitrage zur schweizerischen Reformations geschichte, 
I. 190; 11. 64, 65, 265, 328; III. 323. Zurich, 1754). And 
Fiisslin adds : 'The Anabaptists were not wrong, therefore, when 
they said that anabaptism was no new thing. The Waldensians 
had practised it before them" (Ibid, II. 166). No one can cer- 
tainly say whether they appeared first in the Netherlands, Ger- 
many or Switzerland, and their leaders were not confined to any 
one country, and seem to have had no especial connection with 
each other. 

No one leader impressed himself updn all of them. There 
was an independence and an individuality that made it impos- 
sible to express a complete system of their intellectual beliefs. 
There are three contemporary accounts which show the diver- 
gence of opinion among them — ^two from hostile and one from 
a sympathetic historian. Bullinger (Der Wiedertaufern 
Ursprung, Furgang, Secten. Zurich, 1650) attempts a classifica- 
tion of their different divisions, and mentions thirteen distinct 
sects within the Anabaptist circle ; but they manifestly overlap 
in such a way as to suggest a very large amount of difference 
which cannot be distinctly tabulated. Sebastian Frank notes 
all the varieties of views which Bullinger mentions, but refrains 
from any classification. "There are," he says, "more sects and 
opinions, which I do not know and cannot describe, but it 
appears to me that there are not two to be found who agree with 
each other in all points." Kessler (Sabbatta, St. Gall, 1902), 
who recounts the story of the Anabaptists of St. Gall, records 
the same variety of opinions. The seed had been sown by earlier 
Christians, in many lands, and the Baptists were the fruitage. 
They did not spring from any individual, hence the great 
variety and independence exhibited by Baptist churches. 
Through persecution they had not been permitted to hold con- 
ferences to frame their plea, probably they did not know of 
each! other's existence, hence there were dissimilarities in their 
views; but in the main there was unity in thought, since they 
had learned their heart lessons out of the same blessed Gospels, 
and had been taught by the same free Spirit. 

The Anabaptist movement was the continuation of the old 
evangelical faith maintained by the Waldenses and other 

88 A History of the Baptists 

Mediaeval Christians. Limborchj the historian of the Inquisi- 
tion, says: 

To speak my mind freely, if their opinions and customs were to be 
examined without prejudice, it would appear that among all of the modern 
sects of Christians, they had the greatest resemblance to that of the 
Mennonites or Dutch Baptists (Limborch, The History of the Inquisition, 
I. 57. London, 1731). 

Dr. Alien, Professor in Harvard University, says : 

Side by side with the creed which has worked itseif out into such 
shapes as these (referring to the Roman hierarchy) has come down the 
primitive, obstinate, heroic, anti-sacerdotal tradition, which has made 
the starting point of many a radical protest, from the Puritan Novatians 
of the third century down to the English Independents of the seventeenth. 
That tradition in its most logical form is not only Protestant, but Baptjat. 

Dt. Ludwig Keller, a learned member of the Reformed 
Church, the Miinster Archivist, and now in charge of the 
Archives in Berlin, says : 

It is not to be doubted also that in the process of scientific investiga- 
tion still further traces will be brought to light. . . Much rather 
can it be proved that in the lands mentioned Baptist churches existed 
for many decades and even centuries before the Reformation {The Bap- 
tist Quarterly Review, VII. 28-31). 

In his last work Keller says : 

The salient points of this mode of viewing history is that inside of 
the evangelical world an unbroken course of development and historical 
continuity reached far back beyond the sixteenth century is a matter 
of fact; and yet it equally repudiates the Catholic supposition that only 
since 1517 "an appalling apostasy from the true faith took place in the 
Western World," and that of Luther's followers that with him the light 
of the Gospel first (since the apostasy) came into the world (Keller, Die 
Anfange der Reformation, iii, iv. Translated for The Wt-stern Recorder 
by Dr. Albert H. Newman). 

The statement of Dr. William Moeller, late Professor of 
Church History, in Kiel, is to the same effect. He says : 

The Baptists have often been called the most consistent and the most 
genuine sons of the Reformation, or it has been thought that they have 
been excellently characterized by the name of "Ultras" of the Reformation; 

The Origin of the Anabaptist Churches 89 

but this view is supported only by the very extraneous circumstance that 
many of their numbers had previously been adherents of Zwingli or Luther, 
and that the Swiss Reformation prepared the way for their doctrine of 
the eucharist and the Biblical radicalism. Even the attempt of Cornelius 
to explain their rise to the effect of the Bible in the hand of the ordinary 
man is only sufficient to account for certain formalities and singular 
eccentricities. To judge from their collective view of the world, measured 
by their motives and aims, they belonged not to the Reformation, but 
to Mediaeval Christianity, a continuation of the opposition (which grew up 
in the second half of the Middle Ages on Catholic soil) to the secularized 
church (Moeller, History of the Christian Church, 90, 91). 

Dr. Thomas M. Lindsay, Principal of thd Free Church Col- 
lege, Glasgow, A. D., 1906, says: 

To understand sympathetically the multiform movement which was 
called in the sixteenth century Anabaptism, it is necessary to remember 
that it was not created by the Reformation, although it certainly received 
an impetus from the inspiration of the age. Its roots can be traced for 
some centuries, and its pedigree has at least two stems which are essentially 
distinct, and were only occasionally combined. The one stem is the suc- 
cession of the Brethren, a Mediaeval anti-clerical body of Christians whose 
history is written only in the records of the Inquisition of the Mediaeval 
Church, where they appear under a variety of names, but are universally 
said to prize the Scriptures and to accept the Apostles' Creed. The other 
existed in the continuous uprising of the poor peasants in rural districts 
and the lower classes in the towns against the rich, which was a feature 
of the latter Middle Ages (Lindsay, A History of the Reformation, II. 
235. New York, 1908). 

The statements of these writers have been dwelt upon since 
they exhibit the spirit of the new learning by experts, who have 
applied the principles of investigation by the scientific method 
to the history of the Baptists. 

In those places where the Waldenses flourished there the Bap- 
tists set deep root. This statement holds good from country to 
country, and from city to city. Innumerable examples might be 
given. For long periods there were Waldenses in Cologne. The 
Beghards were spread all over the Flemish Netherlands; and 
in Switzerland, along the Rhine, and in Germany, where after- 
wards we meet the Baptists (Heath, The Anabaptists and Their 
Eng^lish Descendants, In Contemporary Review^ 403. HVIarch, 

90 A History of the Baptists 

1891). Metz was a place of refuge for the Waldenses (Miche- 
let, Histoire de France, II. bk. iii) ; they spread through Aus- 
tria-Hungary, as far as Transylvania ; the Cathari were found 
in the heights of the Alps, in Switzerland ; they came to Bern 
(Chron. of Justinger. Dchsenbein, op. cit. 95) ; and they came 
to Freiberg (Ochsenbein, Der Inquisitions prozesz wider die 
iWaldenser. Bern, 1881). They were found in Strassburg. 
In all of these places were the Waldenses in Mediaeval times ; 
in all of them were the Baptists in Reformation times. The 
ground along the banks of the Rhine was so well prepared that 
a Waldensian in the fifteenth century could readily travel from 
Cologne to Milan without spending the night with any but a 
fellow-believer. It was precisely in these places that the Bap- 
tists flourished in great numbers. 

Many able preachers, of the Waldenses became widely known 
as Baptist ministers. Such were the martyrs, Hans Koch, 
Leonard Meyster, Michael Sattler and Leonard Kaser, who 
were all renowned Baptist ministers (Mehrning, Baptisma His- 
toria, 748). Koch and Meyster were put to death in Augsburg, 
in 1524; Sattler in 1527, at Rotenburg, and Kaser was burnt 
August 18, the same year, at Sherding. At Augsburg, in 1525, 
was a Baptist church of eleven hundred members. Hans Denck 
was the pastor, and he was of Waldensian^ origin. Ludwig 
Hatzer was expressly called by a contemporary a Picard; and 
Hans Hut was an adherent of the "old Waldensian, brethren" 
(Der Chronist Joh. Salat. In Archiv. f, Schweiz. Ref. Gesch., 
I. 21). Leonard Scheimer and Hans Schaffer were Baptist 
preachers (Keller, Die Anfange der Reformation, 11. 38). 
There was also Thomas Hermann, who, in 1522, labored as a 
Waldensian minister, but he was martyred, in 1527, as a min- 
ister of the congregation of the Baptists (Beck, Die Geschichte 
Bucher der Wiedertaufer, 13). Conrad Grebel, the distin- 
guished Baptist leader of Switzerland, received his learning 
from the Waldenses. Many of the distinguished Baptist fami- 
lies of Hamburg, Altona and Emden were of Waldensian origin 
(Blaupot Ten Cate, A Historical Enquiry, in Southern Baptist 
Review, October, 1857). Moreover, the trade unions and much 
of the weaving business which was originally in the hands of 
the Waldenses all became Baptist, 

The Origin of the Anabaptist Churches 9I 

There are many external points between tlie Anabaptists and 
Waldenses, which force themselves upon us. The peculiar 
attitude which the Waldenses, as well as the Anabaptists, took 
toward the historical books of the Old Testament (Keller, 
Johann von Staupitz, 101, 162, 166, 342. Leipzig, 1888), 
can by no means be accidental. The Waldenses translated the 
Bible into the Romance and Teutonic languages early in the 
thirteenth century, the Baptists retained these versions of the 
Bible two hundred years after Luther's version. The oldest 
German Bible is of Baptist origin. In these versions alone the 
Epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans appears. The attitude of the 
two bodies toward the question of grave yards, the use in the 
worship of certain forms of prayers, the singing of the same 
hymns, of observing the Supper, the principles in church build- 
ings, the gray dress of the apostles, the itinerate preachers, in 
the form of asking a blessing and many other details mark the 
Waldenses and the Baptists as of the same origin. 

Professor S. Minocchi, in a valuable pamphlet on The Bible 
in the History of Italy, says : 

Nevertheless, among the Waldenses and others, versions of its most 
noted and precious books, such as the Psalms, the book of those who suffer, 
pray and hope, or the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, which are full of such 
deep wisdom and profound melancholy, were largely circulated. The 
New Testament was sought after, and was spread about; and in its pages 
were found the condemnation of the Church of Rome and its faulty clergy, 
and at the same time the hope of a religious revival among the people. 
The book of Revelation, in the image of Babylon, gave them a picture 
of the horrors of the Church ; in the New Jerusalem they viewed the Chris- 
tian restoration, which they were longing for. The Epistles of St. Paul 
fascinated them by their deep religious feeling, their wisdom so profound, 
their thought so spiritually free, their description of customs so simple. 
The Acts of the Apostles gave them in the insuperable model of a poor, 
virtuous, and happy life, such as that of the primitive Christians with their 
simple rites and with their having all things in common. But it was the 
Gospel, above all, that showed them, in the poor and humble figure of Jesus, 
the perfect ideal of a true religious life, so different from that of the osten- 
tatious pontiffs of Rome (Salvatore Minocchi, La Bibbia nella Storia 
d'ltalia. Firenze, 1904). 

According to Professor Minocchi, the thirteenth century ver- 
sions of the Italian Bible "Sprang, like many of the other old 
versions, anonymously, from the people who required a means of 

g2 A History of the Baptists 

affirming the religious ideas born in them by the change that 
had taken place in their minds and conscience. But if we con- 
sider its intimate relationship with the contemporary heretical 
translations of France, Provence, and Savoy, we may safely 
believe that the first Italian version had its origin in some 
centers of the sect called the 'Poor of Italy,' and if we con- 
sider its phraseology, we may even more definitely hold that it 
was issued by the Tuscan Patarenec". 

The Baptists of the Reformation claimed that they had an 
ancient origin and went so far as to suggest a "succession of 
churches". This claim was put forth by them at the very 
beginning of the Reformation A. D. 1521. An old letter is 
in existence founding: "Successio Ana-baptistica." The let- 
ter bears its own date as "that of the Swiss brethren, written 
to the Netherland Anabaptists, respecting their origin, a year 
before. Anno 1522" (Suptibus Bemardi Gaultheri. Coloniae, 
1603 and 1612). The letter is particularly important since it 
shows that the Baptists as early as 1521 claimed a succession. 
Van Gent, a Roman Catholic, quotes the letter and calls the 
Anabaptists "locusts," "which last, as apes of the Catholics, 
boasted as having an apostolic succession" (Van Gent, Grund- 
liche Historic, 85. Moded, Grondich bericht von de erste 
beghinselen der Wederdoopsche Sekten). 

The author of the "Successio Anabaptistica," says of the 
Anabaptists : 

I am dealing with the Mennonites or Anabaptists, who pride themselves 
as having the apostolic succession, that is, the mission and the extraction 
from the apostles. Who claim that the true Church is found nowhere, 
except among themselves alone and their congregations, since with them 
alone remains the true understanding of the Scriptures. To that end 
they appeal to the letter of the S. S. and want to explain them with 
the S. S. And thus they sell to the simple folks glass rubies for precious 
stones. . . If one charges them with the newness of their sect, they 
claim that the "true Church" during the time of the dominion of the 
Catholic Church, was hidden in her (Cramer and Pyper, Bibliotheca Refor- 
matoria Neerlandica, VII. 510). 

The point of this inquiry is that the Swiss Baptists wrote a 
letter, in 1522, on the apostolic origin of their churches in 
reply to one they had received the year before from the Baptists 

The Origin of the Anabaptist Churches 93 

of the ISTetherlands, and that a Eoman Catholic condemned 
them on that account. 

We know also that at that date there were Baptists in the 
Netherlands. John Huibrechtsz was sheriff, in 1518, and he 
protected the Anabaptists (Wagenaar, Description of Amster- 
dam, III, 6, 66). Upon the origin of the Netherland Bap- 
tists the scholarly Van Oosterzee remarks: 

They are peculiar to the Netherlands and are older than the Reforma- 
tion, and must, therefore, by no means be confounded with the Protestanism 
of the sixteenth century, for it can be shown that the origin of the Bap- 
tists reaches further back and is more venerable (Herzog, Real Ecyclo- 
psedie, IX. 346). 

There is a like claim to the antiquity of the Swiss Bap- 
tists. At Zurich the Baptists, in 1525, held many discussions 
with Zwingli and others, in the presence of the City Council. 
On November 30, 1525, Zwingli secured a rigorous edict 
against them. The beginning of the edict contains the follow- 
ing words : 

You know without doubt, and have heard from many, that for a 
very long time, some peculiar men, who imagine that they are learned, have 
come forward astonishingly, and without any evidence of the Holy Scrip- 
tures, given as a pretext by simple and pious men, have" preached, and 
without the permission and consent of the church, have proclaimed that 
infant baptism did not proceed from God, but from the devil, and, therefore, 
ought not to be practised (Blaupot Ten Gate, Historical Enquiry). 

!From this it appears that the Baptists of Zurich, and there- 
abouts, had already been known "a very long time." The 
former statement of Zwingli, already given, will be recalled. 
There is no doubt that Zwingli wrote this decree. Two or 
three years would not be "a very long time." The antiquity 
of the Baptists was claimed by themselves, and admitted in 
1525 by their enemies. 

A notable proof of the antiquity of the Baptists of Mo- 
ravia is here recorded. Johanna Schlecta Oostelacius wrote a 
letter from Bohemia, October 10, 1519, to Erasmus, affirming 
that for one hundred years the Picards had been dipping 
believers, and that they rebaptized and were therefore Ana- 
baptists. His words are: "Such as come over to their sect 
must every one be dipped in mere water (m aqua simplici re- 

94 -^ History of the Baptists 

haptizari)" (Pauli Colimesii, Opera Theologica, Critica et His- 
torica. No. XXX. 534, 535, Hamburg, 1469). 

These Picards, Waldenses, were spread all over tke Flemish 
^Netherlands and in Germany. They were found in the places 
where the Anabaptists flourished. Two of these persons, about 
whom Costelacius wrote, waited on Erasmus, at Antwerp, and 
congratulated him on his bold stand for the truth. He declined 
their congratulations and reproached them with being Anabap- 
tists (Robinson, Ecclesiastical Researches, 506). They re- 
turned to tell their brethren: "They are averse to us because 
of our name, i. e. Anabaptists" (Camerarius, de Eccl. Fratrum, 
125. Ivimey, History of the Baptists, I. 70). Eraisnnis wrote 
of them : 

The Husites renounce all rites and ceremonies of the Catholic Church; 
they ridicule our doctrine and practice in both sacraments ; they deny orders 
and elect officers from among the laity ; they receive no other rule than 
the Bible ; they admit none into their communion until they are dipped 
in water, or baptized; and they reckon one another without distinction in 
rank to be called brothers and sisters. 

Sebastian Frank, the father of modem German history, who 
wrote under the date of 1531, out of the chronicles of the 
Picards, of Bohemia, in 1394, says : "The Picards in Bohemia 
are divided into two, or some say three parties, the large, the 
small, the very small, who hold in all things with the Ana- 
baptists, have all things common, and do not believe in the 
real presence" (Frank, Chronica, Zeitbuch und Geschichte, 
clxix. Strassburg, 1531). He tells many additional things 
concerning these Baptists of 1394. He says the Roman Cath- 
olics reported very shameful things in regard to them, but that 
the Bohemian historians tell otherwise. Ziska, a Bohemian king, 
tried to exterminate them, but later they increased greatly until 
they numbered eighty thousand. They were a pious, child- 
like and sincere people ; and many of them suffered on account 
of their faith. These Baptists are still living, writes Frank, 
in Bohemia. Their fathers had to live in the forests and caves. 
They supported each other mutually. The Lord's Supper they 
held in a house set apart for that purpose. They had no Ar- 
ticles of Faith other than the Bible. They accepted no in- 
terpretations of the fathers. They held the Scriptures to be 
the word of God. 

The Origin of the Anabaptist Churches 95 

These statements are from contemporary authors. The fact 
is established that the Baptists had existed in Bohemia since 
the year 1394; that they practised immersion and close com- 
munion ; in no wise received infant baptism ; and were in all 
points like the Anabaptists. 

The Dutch Baptist historians all claim apostolic origin for 
the Baptists. Such is the claim of Hermann Schyn (Historia 
Christianorum 134 A. D. 1723) ; of Galenus Abrahamzon 
(Verdediging der Christenen, 29) ; and J, H. Halbertsma af- 
firms the Waldensian origin of the Baptists. "The Baptists," 
says he, "existed several centuries before the Reformation" 
(Halbertsma, De Doopsgezinde) . While Blaupot Ten Cate 

I am fully satisfied that Baptist principles have in all ages, from the 
times of the apostles to the present, prevailed over a greater or smaller 
portion of Christendom (Cate, Nederlandsche Doopsgezinden in Friesland, 

The claim of the Dutch Baptists to apostolic origin was 
made the object of a special investigation in the year 1819, 
by Dr. Ypeij, Professor of Theology in Gronigen, and the Kev. 
J. J. Dermout, Chaplain to the King of the Netherlands, 
both of whom were learned members of the Reformed Church. 
Many pages might be filled with the reports that they made to 
the King. In the opinion of these writers : 

The Mennonites are descended from the tolerably pure evangelical 
Waldenses, who were driven by persecution into various countries ; and 
who during the latter part of the twelfth century fled into Flanders ; and 
into the provinces of Holland and Zealand, where they lived simple and 
exemplary lives, in the villages as farmers, in the towns by trades, free 
from the charge of any gross immoralities, and professing the most pure 
and simple principles, which they exemplified in a holy conversation. They 
were, therefore, in existence long before the Reformed Church of the Nether- 

We have now seen that the Baptists who were formerly called Anabap- 
tists, and in later times Mennonites, were the original Waldenses, and who 
have long in the history of the church received the honor of that origin. On 
this account the Baptists may be considered as the only Christian community 
which has stood since the days of the apostles, and as a Christian society 
which has preserved pure the doctrines of the Gospel through all ages. 
The perfectly correct external and internal economy of the Baptist denomina- 

96 A History of the Baptists 

tion tends to confirm the truth, disputed by the Romish Church, that the 
Reformation brought about in the sixteenth century was in the highest 
degree necessary, and at the same time goes to refute the erroneous notion 
of the Catholics, that their denomination is the most ancient (Ypeij en 
Dermout, Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Hervormde Kerk. Breda, 1819). 

This testimony from the highest authority of the Dutch 
Reformed Church, through a Commission appointed by the 
King of the Netherlands, is a rare instance of liberality and 
justice to another denomination. It concedes all that Bap- 
tists have ever claimed in regard to the continuity of their his- 
tory. On this account State patronage was tendered to the 
Baptists, which they politely, but firmly declined. 

The claims here considered in regard to the Baptists are of 
the highest consideration. The best historical study and scien- 
tific scholarship all lean toward the continuous history of the 
Baptists. In the last twenty years there has been much patient 
investigation of the history of the Baptists, especially in Ger- 
many and Switzerland. Likewise many of the sources have been 
published, and the trend of scholarship favors the idea of the 
continuity of Baptists from very early and some say from apos- 
tolic times. 

Books for further reading and reference: 

Schaff, VII. 74-84. 

Lindsay, I. 336-339. 

Fisher, History of the Reformation, 475. 



Galled by Many Names — ^Anabaptists — Catabaptists — The Popularity of 
the Movement — Not a Turbulent People — Lovers of Peace — 'Bayle— Cas- 
sander — ^Pastor of Feldsberg — The Swiss Baptists — Erasmus — Persecuted 
in Every Land — Religious Liberty — Hiibmaier — Their Appeal to the New 
Testament — The Baptismal Question — A Spiritual Church Their Aim — 
Hast — Infant Baptism — The Form of Their Organization. 

IT is amazing how many names were applied, in the period 
of the Reformation, to the Baptists. They called each 
other brethren and sisters, and spoke of each other in the 
simplest language of affection. Their enemies called them 
Anabaptists because they repeated baptism when converts came 
from other parties. This name Anabaptist is a caricature. It 
damns first by faint praise and then by distortion. "The 
opprobrious term 'Anabaptist' was and is a vile slander. IX 
was invented to conceal thought. It shrouded in a fog the 
grand ideals of a people loving peace and truth. The term is 
even yet a pellet of wax on the object glass of a telescope. The 
tendency of history is to change front, but the most historiog- 
raphers still look at the whole question through corrugated 
glass" (Griffis, the Anabaptists. In The Neiv World, 648. 
December, 1895). 

They were called Catabaptists because they denied infant 
baptism and practised immersion. The name Baptist dates 
from the earliest days of the Beformation. In contemporary 
literature they are generally called Baptists (Frank, Chronik, 
III. 198). It is an old and honored name. 

The extent of the Baptist movement in the sixteenth cen- 
tury can scarcely be exaggerated. "This malady of Anabaptism 
and fanaticism," says Dorner, "had, in the third and fourth 
decades," that is between 1520 and 1540, "spread like a hot 
fever through all Germany; from Swabda and Switzerland 
along the Khine to Holland and Friesland ; from Bavaria, Mid- 


98 A History of the Baptists 

die Germany, Westphalia and Saxony, as far as Holstein" (Dor- 
ner, Geschichte der protestantischen Theologie, 132. Miinich, 

Anabaptism represented in the sixteenth century the stream 
of popular thought, feeling and aspiration, which has not ceased 
to flow through the centuries. Had it not been for fierce per- 
secutions, which, from the beginning fell upon the Baptists, in 
all human probability the Reformation would have been dis- 
tinctly a Baptist movement. In that event the character of the 
Reformation would have been far more thorough and spiritual, 
and the battle for human liberty would not have been delayed 
for ages. But the leaders of the Reformation feared for their 
prerogatives and the rulers for their thrones, and these two 
forces combined to defeat any show of human freedom. The 
masses of the people, however, were with the Baptists. 

The novelty and boldness of the doctrines of the Baptists 
literally filled with terror the rulers of the world. Many of the 
leaders were scholarly men well versed in Greek and Hebrew. 
The wholesale slaughter of the Peasants, in 1525, caused the 
spread of Anabaptism, in the next twenty-five years, all over 
Europe. Cities and districts which had been friendly to 
Luther went over to the Anabaptists, and thousands of trades- 
men were to be counted as their adherents. (Guy de Bres, Racine, 
Source et Fondement des Anabaptistes, 5. Ed. 1555). The 
Archbishop of Lund, Imperial Ambassador with the King of 
Rome wrote July 9, 1535, that while thousands of them had 
been killed "there is a great quantity of this secti in several 
parts of Germany" (State Papers of Venice, Y. 29). Albertus 
Hortensius writing, in 1548, affirms: "The Anabaptists have 
increased with marvelous rapidity in all places" (Hortensius, 
Tumultum Anabaptistarum). 

Thousands were baptized by Hiibmaier, and other Baptist 
preachers in Switzerland, Moravia, Germany, the Netherlands, 
and other countries. Frank says: 

The course of the Baptists was so swift that their doctrines soon spread 
over the whole country, and they quickly obtained a great body of adherents, 
baptized many thousands and also drew to their side many well-meaning 
souls. They were thrown into prison, tortured with branding sword, fire, 

The Character of the Anabaptists 99 

water, and divers imprisonments, so that, in a few years, some two thousand 
or more are estimated to have been put to death (Franck, Chronik, III. 198). 

So much has been said about the Baptists being turbulent 
and fanatical, that it is really a surprise to many when it is 
found, that they were the most peaceful of men. That there 
were many persons called Anabaptists who were fanatics there 
is no doubt. When it is remembered, however, that the worst 
of outrages were committed against them, and that they were 
himted like wild beasts, that their women were outraged, that 
they were dro\vned in rivers and burnt at the stake, that every 
means of exasperation was used against them, we are only sur- 
prised that they were as moderate as they were. Had the cause 
of these revolutionists succeeded they would have been regarded 
as the most brilliant champions of liberty, and they would have 
been classed among the world patriots. Since they failed they 
have been counted the worst of reprobates. It has been shown 
also that most of the fanatics were not Anabaptists at all, and 
that the contention in which they were engaged was far more 
political than religious. 

The Baptists' were peace lovers and did not believe in the use 
of the sword. This trait would probably describe the most of 
them. They were reviled and they reviled not again, they 
were persecuted and they pleaded for liberty of all. It is pleas- 
ing to note that theii^ true worth has been appreciated. Pierre 
Bayle, 1648^1706, the learned encyclopaedist. Professor of 
Philosophy at Eotterdam, tells of the mild character of the 
Baptists, and of their long list of martyrs. He says : 

Could it only produce those who were put to death for attempts against 
the government, its bulky martyrology would make a ridiculous figure. But 
it is certain that several Anabaptists, who suffered death courageously for 
opinions, had never any intention of rebelling. Give me leave to cite an 
evidence, which cannot be suspected; it is that writer (Guy de BrSs) who 
has exerted his whole force in refuting this sect. He observes that its 
great progress was owing to three things : The first was, That its teaching 
deafened its hearers with numberless passages of Scriptures. The second. 
That they affected a great appearance of sanctity. The third. That their 
followers discovered great constancy in their sufferings and death. But he 
gives not the least hint that the Anabaptist martyrs suffered death for 
taking up arms against the state, or stirring up rebellion (Bayle, HIb- 
torical and Critical Dictionary, I. 287 note). 

100 A History of the Baptists 

Greorgius Ca&sander, who lived in those times, and disputed 
with the Anabaptists and visited some of their ministers in 
prison, in his Epistle to the Duke of Cleves, gives a good repu- 
tation to the Baptists of Belgium and Lower Germany. He 

They discover an honest and pious mind; that they erred from the 
faith through mistaken zeal, rather than from evil disposition ; that they 
condemned the outrageous behaviour of their brethren of MUnster; and that 
they taught that the kingdom of Jesus Christ was to be established only by 
the cross. They deserve, therefore, to be pitied and instructed, rather 
than to be persecuted (Cassander, Praefat. Tractet. de Baptismo In- 

The Roman; Catholic Pastor at Feldsberg, 'A. D. 1604, says: 

Among all of the sects none had a finer appearance and a greater 
external sanctity than the Anabaptists. Among themselves they call 
each other brother and sister ; they curse not, they revile not, they swear 
not, they use no defensive armor, and at the beginning had no weapons. 
They never eat or drink immoderately, they use no clothes that would 
indicate worldly pride, they have nothing as individuals but everything in 
common. They do not go to law before the magistracy and endure every- 
thing in patience, as they pretend, in the Holy Spirit, Who then would 
believe that under these garments lurk pure ravening wolves? 

The character of the Swiss Baptists has the highest com- 
mendation of Erasmus. In the time of their persecution in 
Basel, Erasmus lived in that cit^'. He remarked upon the per- 
secuting desire of those who had themselves just escaped from 
danger and declared: 

They who are so very urgent that heretics should not be put to death, 
did yet capitally punish the Anabaptists, who were condemned for much 
fewer articles, and were said to have among them a great many who had 
been converted from a very wicked life, to one as much amended ; and 
who, however, they doted on their opinions, had never possessed them- 
selves of any churches, or cities, or fortified themselves by any league 
against the force of princes, or cast any one out of his inheritance or 
estate (Epistolarum de Erasmus, XXXI. 59. A. D. 3530). 

On account of these statements Bellarmine accused Erasmus 
of being of the Baptist persuasion. No one could express a fa- 
vorable opinion of the Baptists and escape abuse. 

Dr. Schaff has siunmed up his opinion of the entire movement 
of the Reformation. Luther, of all the Reformers, arouses 

The Character of the Anabaptists loi 

his enthusiasm. With a patrotic interest he narrates the story 
of his countryman, Zwingli. For Calvin as a theological genius 
he had a high admiration, but he pronounced him to be "one who 
forbids familiar approach". To Dr. Kostlin he wrote (1888) : 
"I am now working on the Swiss Reformation, but I cannot 
stir up as much enthusiasm for Calvin or Zwingli, although he 
is my countryman, as for Luther." About the same time he 
wrote to Br. Mann : 

The Refopmation everywhere had its defects and sins, which it is 
impossible to justify. How cruel was the persecution of the Anabaptists, 
who by no means were only revolutionary fanatics but for the most part 
simple, honest Christians and suffered and died for liberty of conscience 
and the separation of church and state. And how sad were the moral state 
and the rude theological quarrels in Germany. No wonder that Melanchthon 
longed for deliverance from the rabies theologorum. I hope God has some- 
thing better and greater in store for His Church than the Reformation 
(Schaflf, The Life of Philip Schafif, 462). 

Earnest and evangelical as were the Baptists it would seem 
natural to suppose that they would at least be tolerated by the 
government. But their views were too radical, and their prin- 
ciples too far reaching, to fail to challenge the hatred of that 
persecuting era. The whole Christian world was organized upon 
lines of persecution. The only exception to the rule were the 
Baptists. They held that every man had a God-given right to 
worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience; 
and the larger right that other men had the same privilege. In 
this contention they stood absolutely alone ; and standing alone 
they paid the price in human blood in order that every man 
might worship, or not worship, God according to the dictates 
of his own conscience. It was a costly sacrifice, but it was none 
too dear for thei world's redemption 

The entire Christian worla was engaged in persecution. The 
Baptists, in all lands, both Protestant and Eoman Catholic, were 
cruelly persecuted by imprisonment, exile, torture, fire and 
sword. The Baptists by thousands were martyred. They alone 
pleaded for liberty. "The principles from which the Anabap- 
tists proceeded," says Emil Egli, "manifested a powerful grasp 
on original Christian ideas" (Egli, Die Ziirischer Wiedertaufer, 
94. Zurich, 1884). Their voice on the subject of liberty of con- 

102 A History of the Baptists 

science was clear and distinct. Hans Miiller, of Medicon, 
when brought before the Zurich magistrates, said : 

Do not lay a burden on my conscience, for faith is a gift freely from 
God, and is not a common property. The mystery of God lies hidden, like 
the treasure in the field, which no one can find, but he to whom the Spirit 
shows it. So I beg you, ye servants of God, let my faith stand free (Egli, 

Balthasar Hiibmaier, in a tract published at Schaffhausen, 
in Switzerland, included the Turks and atheists in his plea for 
the rights of conscience. He says: 

The burning of heretics cannot be justified by the Scriptures. Christ 
Himself teaches that the tares should be allowed to grow with the wheat. 
He did not come to burn, or to murder, but to give life, and that more 
abundantly. We should, therefore, pray and hope for improvement in 
men as long as they live. If they cannot be convinced by appeals to reason, 
or the Word of God, they should be let alone. One cannot be made to 
see his errors either by fire or sword. But if it is a crime to burn those 
who scornfully reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ, how much more it is 
a crime to burn the true expounders and exemplars of the Word of God. 
Such an apparent zeal for God, the welfare of the soul, and the honor 
of the church, is al deception. Indeed to every one it must be evident that 
the burning of heretics is a device of Satan (Hiibmaier, Von Ketzern und 
verbrennen. A. D. 1524). 

The Baptists appealed directly to the New Testament as the 
sole authority in matters of religion. They at once repudiated 
the traditions of the Fathers and appeals to earthly councils, 
and chose the Scriptures as the rule of faith and practice. 
They believed in the personal interpretation of the Word of 
God and that a man must walk according to the light which is 
in Him. An important feature of the Baptist movement was 
its strange atmosphere of Bible reading, almost to the exclusion 
of other literature. This was also characteristic of the earlier 
evangelical movements, but not to the same extent as among the 
Baptists of the Eeformation. There had been more than one 
translation of the Bible into German before Luther's time. The 
Baptists used with great power their heritage of the Waldensian _ 
Bible, and they hailed with delight Luther's translation of the 
Bible. Their own leaders, such as Hatzer and Denck, translated 
the Scriptures out of the originals into the vernacular of the 
people. Among the skilled artisans, journeymen and better 

The Character of the Anabaptists 103 

situated peasants of the early sixteenth century, there were not 
a few who could read suiSciently to make out the text of the 
German Bible, whilst those who could not read would form a 
circle around those who could, and the latter, from the coigne 
of intellectual advantage, would not merely read, but would 
often expound the text after their own fashion to their hearers. 
These informal Bible readings became one of the chief func- 
tions among Baptists (Bax, Rise and Fall of the Anabaptists, 
163-165. London, 1903). 

The Baptist movement was radical in its nature, but the 
baptismal question was secondary in its importance. The move- 
ment involved the entire reconstruction of the State Church 
and of much of the social order. It was nothing less than revolu- 
tionary. The Reformers aimed to reform the Roman Catholic 
Church by the Bible; the Baptists went directly to the apos- 
tolic age and accepted the Bible alone as their rule of faith and 
practice. The Reformers founded a popular State Church, in- 
cluding all citizens and their families ; the Baptists insisted on 
the voluntary system and selected congregations of baptized 
believers, separated from the world and the State (Schaff, His- 
tory of the Christian Church, VII. 72). They preached repent- 
ance and faith, they organized congregations, and exercised 
rigorous discipline. They were earnest and zealous, self-deny- 
ing and heroic. They were orthodox in the articles of the Chris- 
tian faith. 

Hast says: 

To realize regeneration among men was the Anabaptist aim, amd if they 
failed, the noble and exalted thought which animated them, and for which 
they strove, must not be depreciated. They have deserved in this particu- 
lar the respect of an unprejudiced later age, before a thousand others; 
and they seem in the choice of meajis to attain this end, to have been gen- 
erally worthy of respect. It was not so much the advocacy of the doctrine 
of regeneration' that was so noticeable and characteristic of them, but the 
fact that they held on so hard for its realization. They stood in their 
consciousness much higher than the world about them, and, therefore, 
were not comprehended by it (Hast, Greschichte der Wiedertaufer, 144. 
Munster, 1836). 

This meed of praise by the German historian is none too high. 
The nature of a church was the fundamental contention of the 
Baptist movement of the Reformation, 

I04 A History of the Baptists 

The Baptists could find no trace of infant baptism in the 
Bible, and they denounced it as the invention of the pope and 
the devil. Baptism, they reasoned, presupposes instruction, 
faith and conversion, which is impossible in the casei of infants. 

Yohmtary baptism of adults and responsible converts is, 
therefore, the only valid baptism. They denied that baptism 
is necessary to salvation, and maintained that infants are, or 
may be, saved by the blood of Christ without water baptism 
(Augsburg Confession, Article IX). But baptism was necessary 
to church membership as a sign of conversion. 

From this conception of baptism followed, as a sequence, the 
rebaptism of those converts who wished to unite with the Bap- 
tists from other bodies. 

The two ideas, a pure church of believers and the baptism 
of believers only, were the fundamental articles of the Baptist 

The administration of the affairs of the congregation was 
exceedingly simple. Through baptism one entered into the 
fellowship of the believers. Each congregation had its own 
leader called teacher or pastor who was elected by the congre- 
gation. If death or persecution removed him a new man was 
immediately elected to take his place. Besides these there were 
persons selected to take care of the poor and competent persons 
were sent out as missionaries. The duties of the pastor were to 
warn, to teach, to pray in meetings, to institute the breaking 
of bread, and to represent the church in withdrawing the hand 
of fellowship. On Sunday the congregation came together to 
read the Word of God, to exhort one another and to build one 
another up in Christian doctrine. From time to time the Lord's 
Supper, which they termed the breaking of bread, was cele- 
brated (Cornelius, Geschichte des Miinsterischen Aufruhrs, 
II. 49). 

Books for further reading and reference: 

Schaff, VII. 74-84. 

Lindsay, I. 336-339. 

Fisher, History of the Reformation, 475. 



The Attitude of the Reformers to Infant Baptism— iThe History of Immer- 
sion in Germany, North and East— The Saxon CJonfession — Melanchthon 
— Pomerania — Sadoleto — Luther — John Bugenhagen — Zwingli — The Cat- 
abaptists — Erasmus — Melanchthon— -William Farel — Martin Bucer — Bap- 
tisms in a Tub — Calvin — Baptism Not An Especial Discussion Between 
the Baptists and the Reformers, 

THEEE was a constant conflict between the Reformera 
and the Baptists on the proper subjects of baptism. At 
first the Reformers were disposed to take the Baptist side of the 
controversy and to deny the necessity of infant baptism. "The 
strength of the Baptist reasoning in regard to infant baptism," 
says Planck, the great German Protestant historian, referring 
to Melanchthon, "made a strong impression on his convictions." 
Planck continues: "The Elector, wishing to quell the contro- 
versy, dissuaded the Wittenberg theologians from discussing 
the subject of infant baptism, saying he could not see wbat ben- 
efit could arise from it, as it was not of much importance, and 
the rejection of it would create great excitement, sinlce it 
had been so long hallowed in the Church by the influence 
of Augustine, its defender, Melanchthon agreed with the Elec- 
tor. Whether it were right in him to be so quickly convinced, 
we leave it for theology to determine" (Planck, Geschichte der 
Entstehung, der Veranderungen und der Bildung unseres 
protestantischen Lehrbegriffs. Leipsic, 1781-1800. 6 vols). 
When the Reformers for State and political reasons finally re- 
tained infant baptism, between them and the Baptists there was 
a constant controversy. On the form of baptism, however, by 
dipping, there was but slight conflict between the parties, since 
the Baptists and the Reformers held practically the same views. 
Even when the Reformers practised, or permitted, pouring or 
sprinkling, they generally affirmed that the primitive rite was 
by dipping. 


io6 A History of the Baptists 

De Hoop Sheffer relates that in Germany "until 1400, 
there was no other method (of baptism) than immersion." The 
displacement of immersion after that date was not rapid. Dip- 
ping as the form of baptism, at the time of the Reformation, 
still existed in many parts of Germany. ''In the North and 
East of Germany," says Van Slee, "even as in England and the 
I^orthem kingdoms immersion still existed np to the breaking 
in of the Reformation period of the sixteenth century" (Van 
Slee, De Rijnsburger CoUegianten, 376. Harlem, 1895). 
Dipping for baptism, in Germany, was practised as late as 
1560. The Archbishop of Metz, in 1549, called a provincial 
council, which published decrees that were not only applicable to 
that province, but also to Treves and Cologne. The Synod made 
no provision for sprinkling, but required the priest "to dip the 
child three times in water" (Sleiden, The General History of 
the Reformation, XXI. 481). 

In 1551, at Wittenberg, the Saxon Confession of Faith was 
adopted by the superintendents, pastors and professors, that it 
might be presented to the Council of Trent. The Confession 
was published by Melancthon, and contained the following ref- 
erence to baptism: 

Baptism is an entire action: to-wit, a dipping (mersio) and a pronounc- 
ing of these words, I testify by this imersion (mersione) that thou art 
washed from sin, etc. 

In Pomerania, one of the Northern provinces of Prussia, the 
form of baptism in 1560 was immersion. They were required 
to baptize by the ritual of Luther, which was by immersion, and 
the following is added: 

Where it is possible, we would much rather they be baptized naked, 
whether it be in Winter or Summer time. But where it is not, they can be 
baptized in their clothes. Still no one should take offense, for we baptize 
not the clothing, but the person. Not alone in the head, but the whole 
body as the ordinance of Christ and the words in baptism convey (Acta 
et Statuta Synodica Ecclesiarum Pomeranise Domini, 1560). 

The Roman Catholic custom of the period is mentioned by 
the celebrated Jacopo Sadeleto, who was Secretary to Leo X., 
and was afterwards made a cardinal by Paul III. Writing in 
the year 1536, he says: 

The Reformers Bear Witness to the Baptists 107 

Our trine immersion in water at baptism, and our trine emersion, 
denote that we are buried with Christ in the faith of the true trinity, 
and that we rise again with Christ in the same belief (Sadoleto, Pauli 
Epist. ad. Romanos commentar. cap. VI. 8). 

It is observed that in the North and East of Germany the 
form of baptism as practised by the Baptists was not especially 
a matter of note. This was because that in the North and East 
of Germany immersion was the common practice and so the 
dipping's of the Baptists did not seem an unusual thing. But 
in the South of Germany at Strassburg and Augsburg the prac- 
tice of dipping was especially made a record of as peculiar to 
the Baptists, because there affusion was the common practice of 
the people. The Baptists stood out in this particular as acting 
contrary to the customs of the people. Had the Baptists of 
North and East Germany practised sprinkling it would have 
been a matter of peculiar remark. That this was not done is a 
powerful intimation that the Baptists of those sections prac- 
tised dipping. 

Martin Luther did not differ substantially from the view ex- 
pressed by the Roman Catholic Church on the form of baptism. 
The act of baptism was not an item of controversy at that time, 
for the Beformers either preferred immersion, as Luther, or 
held the act to be a matter of indifference, as Calvin. Luther 
at first followed the practice of his own country and insisted on 
immersion. It is not altogether impossible that Luther learned 
the practice of dipping from the Baptists of Bohemia, for in the 
early days of the Reformation he leaned heavily on the old 
evangelicals (Enders, Luthers Briefwechsel. II. 345, Nr. 280). 

Roman Catholics claimed that the Baptists received their 
views of baptism from Luther. This was the charge of John 
Eck, the old opponent of Luther (Eckius, Enchiridion Locitvm 
Communion, 226. Anverpise, 1539). This charge greatly ex- 
asperated Luther. Robinson says: 

Luther bore the Zwinglian dogmatizing, but he could not brook a 
further Reformation in the hands of the dippers. What rendered the 
great man's conduct more surprising is that he had himself, seven years 
before, taught the doctrine of dipping. . . The Catholics tax Luther 
A3 being the father of the German dipper's, some of the first expressly 

io8 A History of the Baptists 

declare, they received their first ideas from him, and the fact seems unde- 
niable, but the article of Reforming without him he could not bear. This 
is the crime objected against them, as it had been against Carlstadt. This 
exasperated him to the las't degree, and he became their enemy, and not- 
withstanding all that he had said in favor of dipping, persecuted them under 
the title of re-dippers, re-baptizers, Anabaptists. It is not an improbable 
conjecture that Luther at first conformed to his own principles and dipped 
infants (Robinson, Ecclesiastical Researches, 542, 543). 

It is doubtless true that Luther began bj dipping infants. 
That he taught immersion there can be no doubt. In his cele- 
brated sermon on Baptism, date 1518, he says: 

First baptism is called in Greek tapUsmos, in Latin memo, that la, 
when we dip anything wholly in water, that it is completely covered over. 
And although in many provinces it is no longer the custom (in other 
provinces it was the custom) to thrust the children into the font and 
to dip them ; but they only pour water with the hands out of the font ; 
nevertheless, it should be thus, and would be right, that after speaking 
aloud the word (baptize) the child or any one who isi to be baptized, be 
completely sunk down into the water, and dipt again and drawn out, for 
without doubt in the German tongue the word (taufe) comes from the word 
tief (deep), that a man sinks deep into the water, what he dips. That 
also the signification of baptism demands, for it signifies that the old man 
and sinful birth from the flesh and blood shall be completely drowned 
through the grace of God. Therefore, a man should suflBciently perform 
the signification and a right perfect sign. The sign rests in this, that a 
man plunge a person in water in the name of the Father, etc., but does not 
leave him therein but lifts him out again ; therefore it is called being lifted 
out of the font or depths. And so must all of both of these things be the 
sign; the dipping and the lifting out. Thirdly, the signification is| a sav- 
ing death of the sins and of the resurreotion of the grace of God. The 
baptism is a bath of the new birth. Also a drowning of the sins in the 
baptism (Opera Lutheri, I. 319. Folio edition). 

In the judgment of Luther, in the year 1518, in Germany, 
tmifen meant to dip. He is altogether a capable witness on this 
point. It is a significant fact that when the Ritual of Luther 
(Schaff, History of the Christian Church, VI. 578, 607. 608), 
in 1523, prescribed immersion there was no controversy on bap- 
tism between him and the Baptists. 

There is an account of how Luther caused dipping to be 
restored in Hamburg. John Bugenhagen found that only 
sprinkling was performed, and he reported the case to Luther. 

The Reformers Bear Witness to the Baptists 109 

There was some confusion on the subject. Bugenhagen, A. D. 
1552, says: 

At length they did agree among themselves, that the judgment of 
Luther, and of the; divines at Wittenberg, should be demanded upon this 
point: which being done, Luther did write back to Hamburg that sprinljling 
was an abuse, which they ought to remove. Thus was plunging restored at 
Hamburg (Crosby, The History of English Baptists, I. xxii. London, 1738). 

Luther affirmed that the Baptists were in the practice of dip- 
ping. In a familiar letter written to his wife he says : 

Dear Kate — We arrived here, at Halle, about 8 o'clock, but have 
not ventured to go to Eisleben, for we have been stopped by a great Ana- 
baptist (I mean a flood) which has covered the road here, and has not 
threatened us with mere "sprinkling," but with "immersion," against our 
will, however. You may comfort yourself by being assured that we are 
not drinking water, but have plenty of good beer and Rhenish wine, with 
which we cheer ourselves in spite of the overflowing river. Halle, January 
25, 1546. 

'No other construction, save that the Baptists were in the 
practice of dipping can be applied to this language of Luther. 

We now turn to the testimony of Huldreich Zwingli, the Swiss 
Reformer. As early as June 15, 1523, he wrote to his friend, 
Wittenbach, that the bread and wine in the Eucharist are what 
the water is in baptism. "It would be in vain," he added, "for 
us to plunge a man a thousand times in water, if he does not 
believe" (D' Aubigne, History of the Eeformation, III. 298). 

Zwingli published, at this date, a book which is most sugges- 
tive of the practice of the Baptists, and without point if they 
did not practise dipping. The book is Elenchiis contra Cator 
haptistas, A Refutation of the Tricks of the Catabaptists or 
Drowners. Why should they be called "drowners" if they did 
not immerse? The title of such a book would be inappro- 
priate to persons in the practice of sprinkling. The word 
"Catabaptist" essentially means a submersion, and not one who 
merely despises baptism. The idea of despising baptism is not 
inherent in the word, but only an implication from their re- 
jection of infant baptism, or any part of the meaning of Cat- 
abaptist, for the word does not mean anything different from 
submersion. Other words may be used in connection with it to 

no A History of the Baptists 

indicate that the Baptists despised infant baptism, but the idea 
is not contained in the word Catabaptist, but in words which 
explain such hatred. Catabaptist is a Greek word which means 
one who submerges. The lexicons and the Greek language are 
all in accord with this use. 

Hence Ottius, under the year 1532, relates: 

Our churches are infested throughout the country by the Catabaptists 
whom it is not possible at this time tc reproach with evil. We have tried 
by the Scripture to persuade them but with their convictions this is not 
possible. Silence was then placed upon them, the neglecting of which, it 
is deserving that the authorities should return to their pertinacities that they 
shall be immersed a second time and returning, be submerged from within 
deeply (Ottius, Annales anabaptistica, 55). 

The Baptists preferred the name Gatabaptists to that of Ana- 
baptists. Indeed, they always repudiated the word Anabaptist, 
since they did not consider that they practised anabaptism. 
They simply baptized ; never attempted to rebaptize. They did 
think they practised catabaptism, namely, immersion. They 
never would have admitted the name as applicable to them if 
it meant despisers of baptism. They practised baptism; they 
rejected infant baptism. "They naturally disovsmed," says 
Gieseler, the able historian, "the name Anabaptist, as they de- 
clared infant baptism invalid and called themselves Gatabap- 
tists" (Gieseler, A Compendium of Ecclesiastical History, V. 
255, 256). 

The use of the word Catabaptist among Baptists may be 
found in Fiisslin (III. 229) ; and as late as the time of Schyn, 
A. D. 1729, the name Catabaptist, even among the Mennonites, 
meant immersion. There had been before the days of Schyn 
changes among the Mennonites, and in his time many of them 
practised affusion, yet the word Catabaptist still meant immer- 
sion. Schyn rejected the word Baptist as not appropriate 
to his people. "Yet some think," he continues, "that the name 
Catabaptist is more suitable; but because this word is of am- 
biguous meaning, and is used by adversaries in a bad sense, 
and more properly means immerse, and that rite is not in com- 
mon use among Mennonites, nor is it esteemed necessary among 
all Mennonites, hence also the name does not suit all Mennon- 
ites" (Schyn, Historige Mennonitarum Pleniox Deductio, 35). 

The Reformers Bear Witness to the Baptists iii 

Zwingli made many references to the immersions of the 
Catabaptists. A few instances are here cited. He says : "Since, 
therefore, you see that Catabaptism which you hope as from 
a fountain to derive all your counsel is proved by no Scripture," 
etc. Once more he says of his Baptist opponent: "What then if 
upon you, you raging wild ass (for I could not call him a man 
whom I think was baptized among the shades of the Phlege- 
thon)," etc. This was one of the rivers of hell. He further 
says of his opponent: "Yet, as I have said, since the man now 
doubtless burns among the shades as much as he froze here 
through his Catabaptist washings, I have concluded to omit his 
name." He further tells of a whole family of Baptists who had 
been immersed and then made ship-wreck of themselves. 

Desiderius Erasmus was the most brilliant representative of 
the humanistic culture of the sixteenth century. Writing out 
of England, in 1532, he says: "We dip children all over in 
water, in a stone font" (Erasmus, Coloquia Familiaria). His 
influence was very great upon the educated ministers among 
the Baptists of the lower Khenish provinces, such as John Cam- 
panus, and others (Rembert, Die Wiedertaufer im Herzogtum 
Jiilich), and the Baptists often spoke of him as the ornament of 
the German nation (Beck, Die Geschichte Blicher der Wied- 
ertaufer, 12 note). We certainly know that John Campanus 
was in the practice of dipping. 

Philip Melanchthon, the colaborer with Luther, says: 

The immersion in water is a seal, the servant he wTio plunges signifies 
a work of God, moreover, the sinking down in that manner is a token 
of the divine will, with the form spoken, to baptize in the name of the 
Father, Son and Holy Spirit; as the apostles use to baptize in Acts, in 
the name of Christ. In which words the signification is plain. Behold, to 
what end we should plunge, that so ye may receive, and also to be made 
certain of favor toward thee in the divine testimony. . . A seal is made 
in baptism, for from this custom he may know that he is passing from 
death unto life. It is also the sinking down of the old Adam in death, and 
the coming forth of the new. This is why Paul calls it the bath of regenera- 
tion. This signification is easily perceived from the type (Melanchthon, 
Loci communes rerum theologicarum, Part, De Baptismo. A. D. 1521). 

William Farel, the Geneva Reformer and the friend of 
Calvin, wrote in 1528 in the defense of the Baptists. He had 
already written. September 7, 1527, a letter in appreciation 

112 A History of the Baptists 

of the position of the Baptists on the subject of baptism. He 
now compares their baptism by dipping to that of Christ. He 

It is not understood by many what it is to give one' si name to Christ 
to walk and preserve iu the newness of life by the infusion of the Spirit 
with whom Christ dips his own, who, in His mind and by His grace wish to 
be dipped in water {intingi aqua) in the presence of the Christian con- 
gregation, that they may publicly protest that they believe in their hearts, 
that they may be dearer to the brethren and closer bound to Christ by hia 
solemn profession, which is only rightly dispensed as that great John, and 
the greatest of all, Christ, commanded (Henninjard, Correspondance des 
Reformateurs dans les pays de la langue francaise, II. 48). 

There is an instance of dipping on record from Henry 
Slachtcheaf. He wrote to Martin Bucer as follows : 

And this I desire to admonish thee, brother, no longer to impart bap- 
tism to infants. I see this by the Lord who has shown to me clearly by the 
Spirit, and not on that account to dare to dip our children in water. Hence 
it is cursed with the mother, it is cast out from place to place, etc. Hence 
my friend, I beseech you, do not oppose the truth. Vehemently and 
wickedly have the things of our Gospel suffered with many most of all about 
these two ordinances, the Supper and the baptism, but with the Lutherans 
very badly. With the Anabaptists that I know thus far baptism is observed 
literally (Cornelius, Die Geschichtquellen d. Bisthums Miinster, I. 228, 

Thus was immersion the literal practice of the Baptists. 
Slachtchaef baptized a child by dipping upon a profession of 
faith. Cornelius says of him: 

He preached in Hueckelhoven in the house of Godert Reinharts and 
he dipped it in a bucket of water (er es eimer wasser taucht) (Ibid, 228). 

The vessel (eimer) was doubtless a tub used to hoist water 
out of the well. Whatever the vessel was the child was dipt into 
it. The ceremony was performed by a man who had written. 
Bucer against infant baptism and stated that baptism was by 
dipping. This same vessel is elsewhere mentioned in the prac- 
tice of dipping among the Baptists. 

There are two examples in the writings of John Calvin which 
go to show that the Baptists were in the practice of dipping. 
Calvin came in direct contact with the Baptists and well knev 

The Reformers Bear Witness to the Baptists 113 

their opinions, for he married the widow of a Baptist preacher. 
In the first example, he defines, in a well-known passage the 
meaning of the word. He says: 

The word signifies to immerse, and it is certain that the rite of immer- 
sion was observed in the ancient church (Calvin, Institutes, Bk. IV. c. 15). 

Immediately following this statement he makes a reply to a 
Baptist who urged that Acts 19 :3-5 taught rebaptism. Calvin 
says to the Baptist: 

That if ignorance vitiated the former baptism, so that another bap- 
tism is made to coa*rect it ; they were the first of all to be baptized by 
the apostles, who in all the three years after their baptism scarcely tasted 
a small particle of the measure of the sincere doctrine. Even now among 
us, where would there be sufiicient rivers for a repetition of the dipping of 
so many, who in ignorance of the compassion of the Lord, are daily cor- 
rected among us (Ibid, c. 15. sec, 18). 

Calvin thus speaking of his own times declares that if the 
opinions of the Baptists prevailed the rivers would not suffice 
suffice for their dippings. 

The second instance where Calvin refers to the dipping prac- 
tised by the Baptists is as follows : 

Truly so much ignorance deservedly requires another baptism, if for 
ignorance they should be rebaptized again. But what pertains to us it 
would be necessary always to have a lake or a river at our back, if so 
often as the Lord purge any en"or, we should hel completely renewed from 
baptism (Calvin, Opuscula. Contra Anabaptists, II. 28. Geneva, 1547). 

Calvin was here discussing the relation of baptism to Acts 
19:3-5 as expounded by the Baptists. He declared the Bap- 
tists needed a river or lake to carry out their ideas of dipping. 

Diodati, the Geneva reformer and scholar, expressed him- 
self, A. D. 1558, clearly on the subject of dipping. In speak- 
ing of the baptism, of John, Math. 3:6, he says: "Plunged in 
the water for a sacred sign and seal of the expiation and re- 
mission of sins" (Diodati, Pious and Learned Annotations 
Upon the Holy Bible. London, 1648). 

When once the position of Luther and the other Reformers 
is understood, it is not surprising that the form of baptism was 
not a subject of discussion between the Eeformersl and the Bap- 

114 -^ History of the Baptists 

tists. The testimony of the Eeformers is clear and distinct that 
the Baptists were in the practice of dipping. 

Books for further reading and reference: 

Schaff, VII. 218-220. 

The Worka of Luther, Zwingli and Calvin. 



The Testimony of Fleury— "The Sum of the Holy Scripture"— Conrad 
Grebel in Switzerland — A Moravian Chronicle — Its Doubtful Authority — 
Some Roman Catholic Converts may at First Have Practised Sprinkling 
— Kessler — Ulimann Dipped in the Rhine — The Dippings at St. Gall — 
The Baptistery — The Baptisms in the Sitter River — Persecutions on This 
Account — ;The Dippings at Appenzell — John Stumpf — ^The Decrees 
Against the Baptisms of the Baptists^ — ^The Persecutions at Zurich — The 
Strong Arm of the Law — 'The Famous Decree of Zurich — Gastins — Felix 
Manz Drowned Because he Practised Dipping — The Baptists in Vienna — 
The Italian Baptists. 

REFEEENCE has already been made, in former pages, to 
the fact that the Waldenses practised dipping ; that this 
was at first the custom; of the Reformers; and some reliable 
testimony has been introduced to show the practice of the 
Baptists. The point of controversy between the Baptists and 
the Beformers on baptism was not dipping, but the necessity 
of infant baptism. There is much more available material on 
the form of baptism among the Baptists. That subject is now 
pursued further. 

L'Abbe Eleury, the great Roman Catholic historian, under 
date of 1523, gives an account of the Baptist practice. He says : 

This was called the heresy of the Anabaptists, because the name was 
attributed to this erroneous sect, for they baptized in a sacred fountain all 
those baptized in infancy, and they condemned baptism given to little 
children. . . Neither did they detest baptism the less, and all, aa 
many as gave name to their own faction,dipped again in the sacred fountain; 
whence they were called Anabaptists (Fleury, Historiae Ecclesiastica, 
XXXIV. 282), 

These clear and circumstantial statements are confirmed by 
a book published in Dutch, as early as 1523, called the Sum 
of the Holy Scripture, which was translated by Simon Fish, in 
1529, into English, and was for more than a generation the 
hand-book of the English Baptists. The author of the old book 


ii6 A History of the Baptists 

The water of baptism taketh not away our sin for then it were a pre- 
cious water. And then it behooved us daily to wash thereih. Neither hath 
the water of the fountain more virtue in itself than the water that runneth 
in the River Rhine. For we may as well be baptized in the Rhine as in 
the font. . . . We be plunged under the water. . . . And this we 
promised to do when we be baptized and we signify even the same, when we 
be plunged under the water (Sum of Scripture, British Museum. 4401 b. 2). 

The subject was a believer, the act was immersion and the 
river Rhine was the place. The Rhine for the Baptists became 
a famous baptizing place. 

It is a significant fact that the most distinguished advocate 
of Baptist views in Switzerland, Conrad Grebel, dipped his con- 
verts upon a profession of faith. Associated with him was 
George Blaurock, a monk of Coire ; on account of his eloquence 
called the "mighty George." 

The account which follows is given prominent place in some 
histories of the Baptists in Switzerland, and from it are de- 
ducted some remarkable conclusions as to the practice of Sprink- 
ling among Baptists. The representation is that the account is 
taken from an anonymous Moravian chronicle. The account is 
as follows: 

At one of the meetings of the "brethren" at Zurich, according to a 
Moravian chronicle, all bowed in prayer before God that he would grant 
them power to fulfill the divine will. Blaurock, thereupon, arose and asked 
Grebel to baptize him upon a confession of his faith. Again he fell upon 
his knees, and Grebel baptized him. All the rest present were baptized by 
Blaurock. The celebration of the Lord's Supper followed. At the house 
of Rudolf Thoman, at Zolikon, a like scene wasi enacted not long after. 
There was a meeting of the brethren there. After ithey had long read and 
conversed together, John Brubach, of Zurich, arose and wept loud, say- 
ing that he was a great sinner, and desired others to pray for him. Here- 
upon Blaurock asked him if he desired the grace of (5od. He replied : 
"Ye'3." Then Manz arose and said : "Who. will forbid me to baptize this 
person?" "No one," replied Blaurock. He then took a dipper of water and 
baptized him in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 
Then Hottinger arose and desired baptism (Cornelius, Geschichte des Mttn* 
sterischen Aufruhrs, II. 26, 27). 

If the events described above took place, of which there is 
much doubt, it was at the time Grebel had first broken with 

The Baptist Practice in Switzerland During the Reformation 117 

Zwingli, and was still a Presbyterian, and Blaurock had just 
come from the Roman Catholic Church, and before either of 
them had embraced Baptist views. But did these things occur ? 
The authority given is an anonymous Moravian chronicle. Why 
a "Moravian chronicle" ? Would not a Swiss chronicle do bet- 
ter ? This "Moravian chronicle" has been made to do good ser- 
vice. Who wrote the "Moravian chronicle ?" What is its date, 
and where did it come from ? Who has it now, and who ever 
saw it ? There are too many of these anonymous "chronicles," 
and "manuscripts," and all of them unauthenticated. All of 
them are quoted by Pedobaptists in support of sprinkling among 
Baptists. !Not much importance can be attached to such state- 
ments. All who mention this circumstance concerning Blau- 
rock quote the "Moravian chronicle" as their authoxity. This 
was true of Fiisslin (1740); Cornelius (1860), and Egli 
(1879) — all of them Pedobaptists. Not one of these writers 
claims to have seen the "Moravian chronicle," not one gives the 
date of it, not one mentions the year or even century in which 
it was written, not one gives the page. 

The face of the narrative is against the authenticity of the 
"Moravian chronicle." It was manifestly not written by the 
"Brethren," but by an enemy. The details are circumstantial 
enough for the writer to have been an eye-witness. It was from 
the nature of the case impossible for an enemy to have been 
present in these assemblies. These were dangerous times and 
no very accurate account could have been expected of the pri- 
vate meetings of the "Brethren." It is opposed to the spirit of 
the Baptists of the sixteenth century. It is said that Blaurock 
asked Brubach "if he desired the grace of God," referring to 
baptism. The Baptists did not call baptism "the grace of God." 
They were accused of despising baptism, and it is certain that 
they did not regard it as a means of grace. The language does 
not sound natural in the mouth of a Baptist of the sixteenth cen- 
tury, and it does have the flavor of Pedobaptist writers of a 
later time. It is contrary to the known fact that Grebel, a few 
days later, was in the practice of dipping, and that Manz prac- 
tised dipping, and that dipping was the act of baptism used 
at Zolikon. 

ii8 A History of the Baptists 

There is another version of this same affair (Hosek, Balthasar 
Hiibmaier, ch. V.), which takes no account of affusion. The 
story is told in a different manner, the people are crossing them- 
selves as Roman Catholics, and evidently they were not Bap- 
tists. All such unauthenticated documents should be received 
with caution. 

It must be remembered that in the early days of the Eef ortna- 
tion men of every character, and of almost every opinion, were 
called Anabaptists. It was only needful that a man should assail 
Roman Catholicism in the interest of human freedom to be thus 
classed. The Roman Catholics did not closely discriminate 
when speaking of their opponents. They hastened to brand 
them) with such epithets as appeared to be useful. There were 
those who practised infant baptism who were called Anabap*- 
tists. It was an hour of revolution. Men today did not hold 
views they warmly advocated yesterday. Transition was every- 

It is possible that some converts turning from Romanism 
practised sprinkling; but it is equally true, a little later, that 
some of these persons were in the practice of dipping (ISTitsehe, 
Geschichte der Ziiricher Reformation, 282. Zurich, 1879). The 
account given above as coming from a "Moravian chronicle" is 
described elsewhere as a trial before a court (Egli, Actensamm- 
lung zur Geschichte ver Ziirischer Reformation, 282. Zurich, 
1879). It is not certain that these persons werq identified at 
this moment with the Baptist movement. It is certain that 
some of them were just turning from Romanism, and it is 
further certain at this time that dipping was the normal act of 
baptism among the Baptists (Kessler, Sabbatta, III. 266). At 
first they were probably followers of Luther or Zwingli from the 
Romanists, and they passed through several stages of thought 
before they became Baptists. In the meantime, by their ene- 
mies, they were all classed as Anabaptists. 

There is no obscurity in the fact that Grebel practised dip- 
ping. In March, 1525, Grebel baptized Ulimann by dipping 
him into the Rhine (Stark, Geschichte der Taufe, 18'4). The 
account is taken from Kessler, who says : 

The Baptist Practice in Switzerland During the Reformation 119 

Wolfgang Ulimann, on the journey to Schaffhausen, met Conrad Crrebel 
who instructed him so highly in the knowledge of Anabaptism that he 
would not sprinkle out of a dish, but was drawn under and covered over 
with the waters of the Rhine (Kessler, Sabbatta, II. 266). 

Dipping is tere declared, by this contemporary writer to be 
the distinctive Baptist practice. Kessler expressly says Grebel 
"instructed him (Ulimann) so highly in the knowledge of Ana- 
baptism that he would not be sprinked out of a dish," but was 
dipped in the waters of the Ehine. Dipping in the waters of 
the Rhine was, therefore, well instructed Anabaptist knowledge. 
Hence dipping was the normal act of baptism among the Bap- 
tists; of Switzerland. The teaching of Grebel, and his associates, 
procured for them the name of Dippers or Baptists (Van 
Braght, Martyrology, I. 7). Therefore, according to this con- 
temporary Lutheran Pastor Kessler, neither sprinkling nor 
pouring were well instructed Baptist doctrines. 

Grebel returned to St. Gall, and when he learned that Kessler 
was allowed to preach in one of the churches, he asked permis- 
sion to do the same. Being refused, March 18, he announced a 
great meeting in the Weavers' Hall, and further declared that 
he would preach in the Square, the Market Place, the Marsh 
and elsewhere. The people came to hear him from all parts of 
St. Gall, Appenzell and many other parts of the country. The 
success of his plea was instantaneous (Arx, Geschichte des 
Kantons St. Gallen, II. 501. St. Gall, 1811). Great numbers 
of converts were made and dipped in a; baptistery especially 
prepared for the purpose (Kessler, Sabbatta, 270). Daily the 
people from the surrounding country flocked to St. Gall inquir- 
ing for the baptistery. Augustus Naef, Secretary to the Coun- 
cil of St. Gall, in a work published in 1850, records the suc- 
cess of the Baptist movement. He says : "They baptized those 
who believed with them in rivers and lakes, and in ai great 
wooden cask in Butcher's Square before a great crowd" (Naef, 
Chronik Stadt und Landschaft St. Gallen, 1021). The num- 
ber of converts grew with such rapidity that the baptistery was 
not sufficient for the immersions. Then it was that the Bap- 
tists sought the Sitter River. The Sitter River is two or three 
miles from St. Gall, and is gained by a difficult road. The 

I20 A History of the Baptists 

only solution for the choice of the river is that it was a suit- 
able place for Grebel to baptize his converts. 

Tor the success of the Baptist movement at St. Gall there is 
the testimony of Trodolin Sichers, a Eoman Catholic eye-wit- 
ness. He says: 

The number of converts increased so that the baptistery could not 
contain the crowd, and they were compelled to use the streams of the Sitter 
River (Arx, Geschichte des Kantons St. Gallen, 501). 

One of the baptismal occasions was Palm Sunday, April 9, 
1525. On that day Grebel led out to the Sitter River a great 
company of converts and baptized them (Kessler, Sabbatta, 
267). The Baptist church at St. Gall soon had eight hundred 
members. The Bible was read, its divine lessons were earnestly 
and tenderly unfolded, and sinners were urged to flee from the 
wrath to come. It was a new gospel to thousands, and multi- 
tudes, with tears of repentance, asked the privilege of confessing 
Cbrist, and retired to some mountain stream to exclaim with the 
eunuch, "See here is water, what doth hinder me to be bap- 
tized ?" The solemn ordinance was administered, and coming 
forth from the water both the convert and the bearer of the glad 
tidings "went on their way rejoicing" (Burrage, Anabaptists, 

When Grebel was forced by persecution to flee from St. Gall, 
Eoggenacher, a skinner, and Eberle Polt, continued to teach and 
preach. The latter, Kessler says, was a pious, good-hearted 
man, practised in the Scriptures, and of agreeable speech. He 
preached during the Eastertide in the Butcher's Hall and on 
the Berlingsberg. Sichers says : 

Crowds came to be baptized in large vessels in the fields, and to each 
of the new baptized a new name was given (Sichers, Chronik, XX. 19). 

The Council induced the Burgomaster to invite Eberle to his 
house, and urged him to leave the city. He went on the fol- 
lowing Eriday, and eight days afterwards. May 29, he suffered 
martyrdom at Schvsrjrz. 

It has already been recorded that the people of Appenzell 
camie to St. Gall to be immersed by Conrad Grebel. In 1525 the 
Baptists had three places in this district where meetings were 
held. The largest was at Teuffen, with a second at Herisau, and 
a third at Brunnen. In all of these places the services were held 

The Baptist Practice in Switzerland During the Reformation 121 

Tinder the open sky, while the converts were baptized in the 
neighboring brooks and streams. Indeed^ these are| the exact 
words of the Appenzell Chronicle ('Appenzell, Ohronik, Gabriel 
Walser, 440. St. Gallon, 1740). 

John Stumpf, who lived in the vicinity of Zurich, in the 
period under survey, was familiar with the Baptist contention 
in Switzerland. He is, therefore, a valuable witness. He says 
the early Baptists in Switzerland were "rebaptized in rivers and 
brooks" (Stumpf, Gemeiner Loblicher Eydgenossenschaft, 
1722). This testimony is direct and of an authoritative char- 

The Council of St. Gall, at the instigation of Zwingli, it is 
alleged, determined to rid themselves of the "Dippers." As 
the Baptists dipped for baptism they were to be drowned for 
punishment. The edict is as follows: 

In order that the dangerous, wicked, turbulent and seditious sect of 
the Baptists may be eradicated, we have thus decreed : If any one ia 
suspected of rebaptism, he is to be warned by the magistracy to leave the 
territory under penalty of the designated punishment. Every person is 
obliged to report those favorable to rebaptism. Whoever shall not! comply 
with this ordinance is liable to punishment according to the sentence of 
the magistracy. Teachers of rebaptism, baptizing preachers, and leaders 
of hedge meetings are to be drowned. Those previously released from 
prison who have sworn to desist from such things, shall incur the same 
penalty. Foreign Baptists are to be driven out ; if they return they shall be 
drowned. No one isi allowed to secede from the (Zwinglian) church and 
to absent himself from the Holy Supper. Whoever flees from one jurisdic- 
tion to another shall be banished or extradited upon demand (Simler, 
Sammlnng, I. ii. 449). 

The date of the decree is Septembr 9, 1527. The decree did 
not produce the desired effect, for upon March 26, 1530, another 
edict was put forth. It enjoined: 

All who adhere to or favor the false sect of the Baptists, and who 
attend hedge-meetings, shall suffer the most severe punishments. Baptist 
leaders, their followers, and protectors shall be drowned without mercy. 
Those, however, who assist them, or fail to report: or to arrest them shall 
be punished otherwise on body and goods as injurious and faithless sub- 
jects (Bullinger, Reformationsgeschichte, II. 287). 

Matters were worse in Zurich. Zwingli and the Council of 
Zurich knew no mercy towards the Baptists. At first Zwingli 

122 A History of the Baptists 

held debated with their leaders with indifferent success, then, he 
evoked the strong arm of the law. The first Zurich decree, A. 
D., 1525, was as follows: 

We, therefore, ordain and require that hereafter all men, women, boys and 
girls forsake rebaptism, and shall not make use of it hereafter, and shall let 
infants be baptized ; whoever shall act contrary to this public edict shall be 
fined for every offense, one mark ; and if any be disobedient and stubborn 
they shall be treated with severity ; for, the obedient we Will protect ; the 
disobedient we will punish according to bis deserts, without fail ; by this all 
are to conduct themselves. All this we confirm by this publiq document, 
stamped with the seal of our city, and given on St. Andrew's Day, A. D., 

The decree went into effect at once. For the good name of 
Ziwingli it could have been wished that he would never be more 
severe. There is preserved another ofiicial decree which indi- 
cates that the Baptists of Switzerland practised immersion. On 
March 6, 1526, the Senate of Zurich decreed: 

Decrevit clwrissimus Benatus aqua mergere, qui merserit haptismo auo. 
Qui prius emeraerat (Zwingli, Elenchus contra Cantabaptistas. III. 364). 

It is elsewhere written in shorter form. Qui mersus fuerit 
mergatur, that he who immerses shall be immersed (Starke 
183). This' is the official statement of the Senate of Zurich 
that the Baptists of Switzerland practised immersion. 

The civil authorities of Zurich set an example of severity 
scarcely surpassed by Protestants, and of the deplorable execu- 
tion of the sentence many examples are on record. Thei perse- 
cutors delighted to fit the penalty, as they cruelly judged it, to 
the fault, and so they put the Baptists to death by drowning. 

Upon the very day of the decree of the Senate of Zurich 
against the Baptists, Zwingli, who evidently was greatly pleased 
with the action of the Senate, wrote to Vadian: 

It has been decreed this day by the Council of the Two Hundred (of 
Zurich) that the leaders of the Catabaptists shall be cast into the Tower, in 
which they formerly lay, and allured by bread and ;water diet until either 
they give up the ghost or surrender. It is also added that he who after 
this is dipped shall be submerged permanently (qui posthac tingatur, prossua 
mergatur) ; this is not published (Zwingli, Opera, VII. 477). 

The Baptist Practice in Switzerland During the Reformation 123 

Zwingli is even more explicit as to the form of baptism among 
the Baptists, for he further says of this decree: 

But the illustrious Senate decreed, after having come together, which 
without doubt has been the tenth time after others either publicly or private, 
to sink in water whoever should immerse in baptism him who before had 
emersed. This may be a somewhat disgusting thrust to your observant reader 
(Zwingli, Opera, III, 364). 

Persons, even Anabaptists, if there were such in Switzerland, 
who practised sprinkling, were not included in this verdict. 
Onlj those who immersed in baptism were to be drowned. The 
punishment was as ironical as it was teiTible. Since the Bap- 
tists immersed in baptism they were drowned. 

Gastins, who was a contemporary, was quite sarcastic to- 
wards the Baptists. He refers to the decree of the Senate of 
Zurich, just quoted, in these words : "To immerse in water who- 
ever should immerse in baptism him before was emersed," and 
adds: "They like immersion, so let us immerse them {aquis 
mergere, qui merserit haptisnio eo, qui primus &nwrserity' 
(Gastins, De Anabaptismi, 8. Basise, 1544). Gastins in an- 
other place enumerates the errors, as he calls them, of the Bap- 
tists, and one of them was that they "immersed in water (im- 
mergunter aquisy (Ibid, 129, 130). 

The edict of March 7 was ratified November 19, 1526. The 
Baptists were to be delivered to the executioner, who should 
bind their hands, place them in a boat and throw them into the 
water to die. Great numbers of Baptists thus perished. So 
much was this true that it became a matter of international cor- 
respondence (Calendar of State Papers in Venice, IV. 35. A. 
D. 1532. Sannlo Diaries, V. Ivi. 380). 

Among the number thus imprisoned was Pelix Manz, who was 
convicted, January 5, 1527. He was sentenced to death and 
drowned. Bullinger says of him: 

As he came down from the Wellingberg to the Fish Market and was led 
through the shambles to the boat, he praised God that he was about to die for 
the truth ; for Anabaptlsm was right and founded upon the Word of God, and 
Christ had foretold that his followers should suffer for the truth's sake. And 
the like discourse he urged much discussing with the preacher who attended 
him. On the way his mother and brother came to him and exorted him to be 
steadfast, and he persevered in his folly to the end. When he was bound 

124 -^ History of the Baptists 

upon the hurdle and was about to be thrown into the stream by the execu- 
tioner, he sang in a loud voice, In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum' 
meum, "In thy hands, Lord, I commend my spirit," and herewith was 
drawn into the water by the executioner and drowned (Bullinger, Reforma- 
tions Gesehichte, II. 382). 

In consequence of these terrible persecutions the Baptists fled 
to other lands. In many instances they were followed, cap- 
tured, and put to death by drowning. "At Vienna many Ana- 
baptists were so tied together in chains, that one drew the other 
after him into the river, wherein they were all suffocated" 
(Featley, The Dippers Dipped, 73). "Here you see the hand 
of God," continues Dr. Featley, "in punishing these sectaries 
some way answerable to their sin according to the observation 
of the wise man, quo quis peccat eo purdatur, they who drew 
others into the whirlpool of error, by constraint draw one an- 
other into the riv^er to be drowned ; and they who profaned bap- 
tism by a second dipping, rue it by a third immersion. But 
the punishment of these Catabaptists we leave to them that 
have the legislative power in their hands, who though by pres- 
ent connivance they may seem to give them line ; yet, no doubt, 
it is that they may entangle themselves and more easily be 

The neighboring Italian Baptists were! likewise in the prac- 
tice of dipping (Benrath, Wiedertaufer in Venetianischen. 
Theologische Studien und Kritiken, 1885). The Reformation 
and the Baptists did not make as great gains in Italy as in other 
countries ; but they did not keep themselves aloof from agitation. 
The Eoman Catholic writer, Cantti, says : "Although the love for 
the new ideas did not carry away either the people or the princes, 
and although those who were anxious about the condition of 
their own belief were very few, compared with the number of 
those who lived believing without analysing their creed^ yet 
he who thinks that the Eeformation had neither extension nor 
civil or political consequences on this side of the Alps, makes 
a great mistake" (Cantii, Gli eretici d'ltalia. Quoted from 
McCrie). Oantu further remarks that "whilst the Eeformation 
in Germany was associated with princes, and in France with 
the nobility, in Italy it principally touched the men of letters." 

The Baptist Practice in Switzerland During the Reformation 125 

This was practically true, but not exclusively so. It to a degree 
extended its influence among all classes. 

The sixteenth century was essentially a selfish one. The 
great historian of those times, Francesco Guicciardini wrote: 
"I do not know if there be a man more disgusted than I am 
with the ambition, avarice, and effeminacy of the priests . . . 
Nevertheless, my position at the Court of several popes made 
it necessary for me, in view of my own private interests, to 
love their greatness ; had it not been for that reason, I should 
have loved Martin Luther dearly, not in order to be rid of the 
laws laid upon us by the Christian religion as it is commonly 
interpreted and understood, but in order to see that pack of 
villains reduced to the point of being either without vices, or 
without authority" (Guicciardini, Opere inedite, E-icordo 28'). 
The Baptist cause flourished only feebly in Italy, but even 
there some believed the faith once for all delivered to the 

Books for further reading and reference : 

Henry S. Burrage, The Anabaptists of Switzerland. 

Richard Heath, The Anabaptists. 



The Church in Augsburg — Hans Denck — The Leaders all in the Practice 
of Dipping — Baptisteries in the Houses and Cellar<s — Sender — The Augs- 
burg Historian — Urbanus Rhegius — The River Lech — ^The Church at 
Strassburg — Melchior Hofmann — The Baptisms at Emden — Tubs used 
for Baptismal Purposes — Dr. Winkler — Obbe Phillips — The Words of 
Keller — Melchior Rink — "The Ordinance of God" — Moravian Churches — 
Balthasar Hiibmaier — His Character and Work — Denies Infant Baptism 
— Adopts Immersion — Zwingli and Hiibmaier — ^Capito — Farel— John 
Fabricus — ^The Books of Hubmaier — Peter Reidermann — Erhard. 

A BAPTIST church was found ia Augsburg, in 1525, 
where Hans Denck was pastor. In this city Denck was 
exceedingly popular, so that in a year or two the 
church numbered some eleven hundred members. Urbanus 
Rhegius, who was minister in that city at the time, says of the 
influence of Denck : "It increased like a canker, to the grievous 
injury of many souls." Augsburg became a great Baptist cen- 

Associated with Denck at Augsburg were Balthasar Hiib- 
maier, Ludwig Hatzer and Hans Hut. They all practised 
immersion. Keller in his life of Denck says: 

The baptism was performed by dipping under (untertauchen) . The men 
were in this act naked, the women had a covering (Keller, Ein Apostel der 
Wiedertatifer, 112). 

Schaff is particular to relate that the four leaders of the 
Anabaptists of Augsburg all practised immersion. He says : 

The Anabaptist leaders, Hiibmaier, Denck, Hatzer, Hut, likewise appeared 
in Augsburg, and gathered a congregation of eleven hundred members. They 
had a general synod in 1527. They baptized by immerision. Rhegius stirred 
up the magistrates against them ; the leaders were imprisoned and some were 
executed (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, VI. 578). 

Immersion was the practice of the Baptists of Augsburg. 
There i? the testimony of a trusted eye-witness in the Augs- 


The Baptists of Germany and Moravia 127 

burg Benedictine, Clemens Sender. This old historian says 
of the Baptists of Augsburg: 

In Augsburg in the gardens of the houses in 1527, men and women, ser- 
vants and masters, rich and poor, more than eleven hundred of them were 
rebaptized. They put on peculiar garments in which to be baptized, for in 
their houses were their baptisteries where there were always a number of 
garments always prepared (Clemens Sender, Die Chronik, 186). 

Sender thus bears witness to the large number of persons 
immersed in Augsburg. It has sometimes been claimed that the 
baptisms which occurred among the Baptists in houses and cel- 
lars must have been by sprinkling. They had especially pre- 
pared baptisteries in their houses for immersions. When it 
was dangerous and inconvenient to go to the rivers and streams 
for baptismal purposes baptisteries were erected in private 
houses. This is the testimony of an eye-witness. Hiibmaier is 
moreover associated with these immersions. 

.Wagenseil, a historian of Augsburg, says: 

In the year 1527 the Anabaptists baptized none who did not believe with 
them ; and the candidates were not merely sprinkled, but they were dipped 
under (Wagenseil, Geschichte der Stadt Augsburg, 1820). 

Urbanus Ehegius was likewise a witness to the practice of 
the Baptists of Augsburg. He was a resident of the city at 
the time. iHe was a learned man, a university student, hon- 
ored by the Emperor Maximilian and a follower of Luther. 
In 1528 two letters were written by the Baptists of Augsburg. 
Ehegius answered these letters (Zwen wunderful zam sendbrieff 
zweyer Wiedertauffer, Augsburg, 1528). He discussed at 
length the position of the Baptists on infant baptism. In re- 
gard to the form of baptism there is a picture on the title page 
that shows the Baptists in the practice of immersion. There 
is a large expanse of water, an ocean we judge by the ap- 
pearance of a ship in the waters; and these waters are full of 
Baptists, nude, and practising immersion. From one side of 
the stream the Baptists, in great numbers, are tumbling into 
the waters. From the other side flowsi a river which is wash- 
ing the Baptists out of the sea into a flaming fire. The bap- 
tismal waters of the Baptists become the fires of hell, and there 

12^ A History of the Baptists 

even stands one shaking a viper into the fire, while gaping 
multitudes approve. This is a prejudiced picture of their 
practice of immersion. 

Instances are related, and details given, in regard to the 
baptisms which took place in Augsburg. "The act of baptism," 
says Theodore Keim, in his article on Ludwig Hatzer, "was ad» 
ministered in the River Lech, the men being naked, the women 
wearing bathing trousers." He mentions the wife of the artist 
Adolf Diicher "who during the absence of her husband in Vienna 
three days in the Holy Week of 1527 opened her house, which 
was favorably situated on the River Lech, for the purpose of 
baptizing" (Jarbucher fur Deutsche Theologie, 278. Stuggart, 
1856). At other times, as we have seen, baptisteries were 
erected in the houses and cellars. Many details of these immer" 
sions have recently been published from the original records 
(Zur Gesehichte der Wiedertaufer in Obersschaben, von Dr. 
Friedrich Roth. In Zeitschrift des Historischen Verems jut 
Schwahen und Neuherg. Augsburg, 1901). 

Heath, who has written much on the history of the Baptists, 
and has given particular study to the Continental Baptists, saya 
of these immersions in Augsburg that "this fact, which seems 
well authenticated, would suggest that the mode was the same 
throughout South Germany, Switzerland, and the Tyrol; since 
the Augsburg community was founded by the Walshuter Jacob 
Gross and the Tyrolese Ferber. Moreover Augsburg appears 
to have been the center most important for the Baptists of South 
Germany" ( Heath, Anabaptists, 94). 

Strassburg was associated with Augsburg in the work of the 
Baptists. Denck came to Strassburg in 1526 and rendered val- 
uable service there. Many of the most distinguished citizens 
joined the Baptist church. Baptism, at this date, among the 
Baptists of Strassburg was by dipping. Gerbert states that 
the baptisms occurred at this time "before the Butcher's Gate, 
probably in a branch of the Rhine" (Gerbert, Strassburgischen 
Sectenbewegung, 93). Bertel and Essinger declare that these 
immersions among the Baptists were performed by a shoemaker 
(Rohrich, Die Strassburguschen Wiedertaufer. In Zeitschrift 
filr die historischen Theologies 48. A. D. 186(0^ 

The Baptists of Germany and Moravia 129 

One of the best known Baptist preachers of those days was 
Melchoir Hofmann. On account of his peculiar views of proph- 
ecy he plunged himself and the Baptists into grief. His preach- 
ing caused much excitement. At Emden he organized a Baptist 

The probability is that having connected himself with the 
Baptists of Strassburg he practised immersion exclusively. It 
has, however, been confidently affirmed that Hofmann, on a visit 
to Emden, practised sprinkling ; and by this rite three hundred 
persons in the great church at Emden were baptized. Such a 
supposition, however, is not based upon the facts in the case. 
It is a theory established by guesses. He came, as has been stat- 
ed, from Strassburg. It is certain the Baptists of Strassburg 
practised immersion. 

The claim that he practised sprinkling at Emden is based 
upon the statement of a late German writer, who reached that 
conclusion upon an inference. The inference was that since 
the baptism took place in a church house and was performed in a 
great tub therefore it was by sprinkling. Nothing is said in 
Cornelius (Geschichte des Miinsterischen Aufruhrs, II. 222) ; 
and Hast (Geschichte des Wiedertaufers, 255) that a great 
tub was used in the baptism, while Frederich Otto zur Linden 
describes the baptism as taking place in the open, air (Melchoir 
Hofmann ein Prophet der Wiedertaufer, 236). Why a great 
tub should be necessary for sprinkling has not yet been ex- 

The baptism of converts in tubs was no unusual thing. Otho, 
in the twelfth century, directs the Pomeranians to be immersed, 
and this was accomplished in the open air in wooden tubs or 
troughs. These tubs were let into the ground and filled with 
water. The candidates were immersed in the tubs (Henrici 
Canisii, Vita Ottonis. Inter Jacobi Basagii, II. w. 60). This 
was in a neighboring country to Emden. 

Dr. Winkler made a study of these tubs and in an able article 
he published the results of his studies. He says: 

We can prove from ecclesiology and from the testimony of Luther him- 
self that the pail or tub, such as Hoffmann used at Emden (a large pail) 
was the baptismal font of the Western Churches. There was even a certain 
eacredness connected -with it. We find in Luther's Table Talk (Bohn's 

130 A History of the Baptists 

ed. p. 165) the following incident. Dr. Menius asked Luther in what manner 
a Jew should be baptized? The Doctor replied: You must fill a large tub 
with water, and having divested a Jew of his clothes, cover him with white 
garments. He must then sit down in the tub and you must then baptize 
him quite under the water. This garb, added Duther, was rendered the more 
suitable from the circumstances that it was then, as now, the custom to 
bury people in a white shroud, and baptism, you know, is the emblem of 
our death. 

Here Luther alludesi to these immersions which are very familiar to ec- 
clesiologists. . . There is reason to believe that the baptismal fonts in 
early Europe were tubs. The ecclesiologist Poole (Structures, etc., of 
Churches, 45 ) says : The first defined shape which the font assumed in Eng- 
land is that of a circular tub-shaped vessel, some probably of Saxon, many of 
them of the Norman date, as the antique font of St. Martin's Church, at 
Canterbury. Knight (Land We Live In. I. 261) says: "It is even supposed 
to have been built by Christians of the Roman army, A. D. 187. It was cer- 
tainly one of the first ever made in England. It was about three feet high 
and capacious within. It has no stand ; but rests upon the ground. The 
sculptures upon it are a sort of ornamental interlacings in low relief. It 
closely resembles the font delineated by the old illuminators in representing 
the baptism of King Ethelbert, and it is believed to be the first font in which 
the first of our Christian kings was baptized." 

Under this division, the tub fonts, Poole, an Episcopalian antiquarian, 
groups the font of Castle Frome, Herefordshire, that at Bride Kirk, in Cum- 
berland, that at West Haddon, in Northamptonshire, and that in Thorpe 
Emald, in Leicestershire. And in regard to all of the ancient fonts of Eng- 
land he says : The rule of the Church of England, however many the excep- 
tion's, and however accounted for, is to be baptized by immersion ; and for 
this the ancient fonts are sufficiently capacious (Poole Structure, 59 note). 

"We learn from Bourasse, a Catholic archaeologist, that the leaden font 
in the cathedral at Strassburg has a tub shape, and so has the baptismal font 
at Espanburg, Diocese of Beauvais. Both of these baptismal tubs are repre- 
sented on the plates of Bourasse's Dictionaire D'Archaologie Sacree. At 
Notre Dame, in Rouen, the font was made in the) form of a coffin, with a 
covering of black wood. This sepulchral figure was the symbolical transla- 
lation of the words of Paul : We are buried with him by the Baptism into 
death (Dr. Winkler, in The Alabama Baptist, 1875). 

These circumstantial details and the actual examples given 
show that the tubs were large enough for immersions, and that 
adults were immersed in them. 

It is not necessary to depend upon late German writers for 
the original narrative of the baptizings of Hofmann at Emden. 
It may be found in the writings of Obbe Philips. He says : 

The Baptists of Germany and Moravia 131 

Among these (German Baptists) there arose one Melchoir Hofmann. He 
came to Emden from the High German country, and publicly (in the open 
air) baptized in the Church at Emden three hundred persons, both burgher 
and peasant, master and servant. The old count, to be sure, allowed this to 
be done, and it is said that the count was himself disposed toward the same 
faith (Philips, Bekentnisse, Biiii. Zur Linden, Hoffmann, 23G). 

Hackenroth adds: 

As soon as the civil authorities learned that Melchoir began to baptize 
{doopen, to dip) he and all those who adhered to the sect, who allowed them- 
selves to be baptized (doopen, dipped) again, were banished out of East 
Friesland, and all belonging to the sect were obliged to leave (Hackenroth, 

This is mucli like other Pedobaptist accounts of sprinkling 
among Baptists, the nearer the approach is made to the original 
sources, the more certainly do the signs of sprinkling recede. 
Philipsz does not motion the great tub ; but hei does declare that 
the baptism was performed in the open. The possibility is that 
the preaching took place in the church, and the baptism at some 
suitable place for the immersion. There is no reference to affu- 
sion or anything that would indicate that immersion was not 
thei form of baptism used on the occasion. 

The direct testimony is at hand that Hofmann was, at this 
time, practising immersion. He had just come from East Fries- 
land to Emden; but in East Friesland he had been dipping 
converts (Linden, Melchior Hofmann, 283). Keller speaks of 
this as follows: 

It appears as if by the presence of Melchior Rink, who, in 1524, dared 
to attack, and gave the first thrust. In a remarkable manner Rink dipped 
(taught) again in Friesland at the same time with Hofmann in the year 
1530. According to some versions the same men had worked in common, 
from 1524 till 1539, in Sweden, Livonia, Holstein, etc. Both were furriers, 
both from Swabia. The question needs a closer enquiry whether we shall 
consider both of the Melchiors one or two persons (Keller, Geschichte der 
Wiedertaufer, 127). 

So far as the inquiry goes as to whether there were two Mel- 
choirs or only one is of no interest in this place. If there were 
two Melchiors then there were two preachers who practised im- 
mersion; and if the two names indicate the same person then 
there was one Baptist who preached there practising dipping. 
The form of baptism is not in dispute. It stands as a recorded 

132 A History of the Baptists 

fact that Melcliior Hofmann was dipping his converts in East 
Friesland before he came to Emden. If he dipped in East 
Friesland, there is no suggestion why he would have practised 
sprinkling in Emden. 

Fortunately the practice of Melchior, or Kink, as he was 
sometimes called, in the form of baptism is not unknown. 
Justus Menius and F. Myconius wrote, in 1530, a book against 
the Baptists. The name of Kink is especially mentioned. Of 
the practice of the Baptists these authors say : 

First in regard to baptism, which is, that man upon the command of 
Christ must be dipped into the water and lifted out again {inns wasser 
eingetaucht) . That is a siymbol of the forgiveness of Christ, though by 
nature a servant of sin and a child of condemnation, now saved from death 
and the devil, now eternally living under the grace of Grod, as clearly shown 
under the Gospel and promised through Christ in the entire gospel in his 
own and he shall consider it his own for all time to come. To such the 
meaning of baptism is declared in its signification and to them all doubt 
will grow less ( Menius and Myconius, Der Wiedertauflfer Lere vnd geheimnis. 
Wittenberg, 1530);. 

These writers, who were hostile to the Anabaptists, mention 
Kink, and bear witness to the practice of dipping. 

It was in the same year that Hofmann published his book. 
Die Ordinanz Oottes, The Ordinance of God. The book may 
be found in the Mertnonite Library, at Amsterdam. In that 
book Hofmann says : 

Furthermore, it is commanded of the Lord to hia messengers; after 
they have thus taught, called and admonished the people through the Word 
of God, they ishall lead forth those who have given themselves to the Lord 
out of the kingdom of Satan and espoused them openly to Christ through 
the true sign, of the covenant, through the baptism, that thereupon hence- 
forth they completely put to death their own wills and as a bride to her 
beloved bridegroom to be obedient is all things. And thus also in these last 
times will the true Apostolic Messengers gather together the chosen band, 
and through the call of the Gospel" and through the baptism espouse and 
bind them to. the Lord . . . Christ as an example for his own band per- 
mitted himself to be baptized by John the Baptist, and was then led 
off the Spirit of God into the wilderness, there to fast forty days and to 
suffer the temptations of Satan, but true to his Father unto the end he 
fought it through and overthrew Satan . . . But the sign of the cove- 
nant is established alone for those old enough to understand and for those 
who are of full age, and not one letter in the Old and the New Testament 

The Baptists of Germany and Moravia 133 

alludes to the infants. Woe unto those who wilfully put lies instead of the 
truth, and charge against God, what in eternity he has not willed or 
commanded. God is the enemy of all liars and no one of them has a part 
in the kingdom, but their inheritance is the everlasting i)erdition. (Gramer 
and Pyfer Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica, VI). 

This extracl^ from Hofmann is fully in accord with immer- 
sion. All of the allusions given above refer to immersion. The 
baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan by John, the putting to 
death of the will and the resurrection to a better life are 
symbolically set forth by immersion. Such references are never 
in harmony with the practice of sprinkling. 

A dispassionate statement of the facts leads to the conclusion 
that Hofmann practised dipping. 

Moravia became an open field for the Baptists, and in that 
coimtry the work prospered marvelously. Balthasar Hiibmaier, 
or Hiibnor, as he generally wrote his name, was the great apos- 
tle of the Baptists of Moravia. He was truly a remarkable man 
and a preacher of power. He had not the impulsiveness of 
Grebel, or the brilliancy of Hatzer, or the eloquence of Denck ; 
but for calmness, soberness, logical clearness, and consistency, 
absolute devotion to truth, and freedom from important errors, 
he stands unrivalled by any man of the Reformation. He ap- 
proximated truth slowly. This is notable in his rejection of 
infant baptism. He had progressed so far that on January 16, 
1525, he had doubts concerning infant baptism, and had a 
dedicatory service for children instead of the baptismal rite; 
but he still baptized children if the parents desired it. In the 
meantime he became so violently opposed to infant baptism that 
he broke the font which was used for that purpose (Miiller, 
Geschichte der Eidgenossen, VII. 12 Zurich, 1829). When 
this act was followed by his book, Yon dem christlischen der 
Glauhigen, it was apparent to all that he had become a Baptist. 
He had, indeed, been baptized, with one himdred and ten others, 
on Easter Day, by William Roubli, one of the Swiss Baptists 
who had been pastor at Basel (Fiisslin, Beytrage, I. 217). 

His view of the form of baptism was also a growth. It is 
quite certain that at the beginning of 1525 Hiibmaier thought 
that believers' baptism could be administered by pouring. In 
the book mentioned above he said: 

134 A History of the Baptists 

To baptize in water is to pour over (ubergiessen) the confessor of 
big sins external water, according to the divine command, and to inscribe 
him in the number of these separately upon his confession and desdre. 

It is not evident at tlie time that he had given the form, of 
baptism any consideration. He certainly wrote strongly in favor 
of believers' baptism, and against infant baptism. 

In April, 1525, at Waldshut, it being Easter, "there assembled 
a strong party of adherents in that town," where Hiibmaier 
"called his followers together on Easter eve inj the year 1525, 
and, after having some water brought to him in a milk pail, 
solemnly rebaptized three hundred persons" (Sohm, Geschichte 
der Stadt pfarrie Waldshut ein Merkwiirdeger, Beitrage zup 
Weidertaufer Geschichte). At this date, April, 1525, Hiib- 
mier practised pouring. At the same time he held footrwash- 
ing to be a Bible ordinance. Only a brief period before this 
he was dedicating children to the Lord and in the presence of 
obdurate parents he christened the children. This was a forma- 
tive period in his life on the subject of baptism. 

While Hiibmaier was in Waldshut he probably began prac- 
tising dipping. Br. Paul Burckhard, a careful student of Bap- 
tist affairs in Germany, says, "that it is also possible that in 
Waldshut on the Rhine the people were baptized by Hiibmaier in 
the Rhine" (Letter to the author, March 28, 1900). Hiibmaier 
was found in 1527, in Augsburg, along with other Baptist 
leaders, practising immersion (Sender, Die Chronik, 186. Leip- 
zig, 1894). He had advanced from the practice of pouring 
in 1525 to that of immersion in 1527. This was no more sud- 
den than many other changes which took place with him. In- 
deed, it was no more than could have been expected. Schaff, 
who is usually quite accurate on such points, is certain that 
Hiibmaier, in 1527, practised dipping. 

Zwingli is a witness to the fact that Hiibmaier practised im- 
mersion. He says: 

He posed like a fool in a carnival, who acts as though he is lifting 
nothing but straw. His adherents, the bath fellows, are geese who cackle in 
every direction, but do not know which way to fly ; but he himself, the Doc- 
tor is clothed in magnificent apparel and, therefore, he considers it unbecom- 
ing to wash 'little children, as he gays himself ; although it is not becoming 

The Baptists of Germany and Moravia 135 

in him, it is perfectly becoming for Jesus Christ and the humble preachers 
of Zurich (Hosek, Balthasar Hiibmaier, ch. VI). 

This was November 6, 1526. He was the companion of 
"bath fellows." What could be the meaning of this if Hiib- 
maier did not practise dipping ? More than once Z'wingli nses 
this term to describe immersion among the Anabaptists. 

There is another proof that in 152Y Hiibmaier was an im- 
mersionist. Capito writing to Zwingli, November 27, 1527, 
says: "What I have written lately concerning Balthasar on 
submersion, I have drawn from letters from Feneston and Vien- 
na" (Zwingli, Opera, VIII. 112). Hiibmaier had been writing 
upon and practising dipping. 

It is mentioned in another chapter where Farel, September 
7, 1527, mentions Hiibmaier, where he refers to baptism as dip- 
ping in water (Keller, Die Reformation, 386 note). Keller 
says that this defense of Hiibmaier and Denck are not well 
known. It shows from a contemporary that Hiibmaier practised 

Another contemporary bears witness that in; the last days of 
Ms life Hiibmaier practiced dipping. This is John Fabricius, 
the learned Roman Catholic writer. In his book against Hiib- 
maier, 1528', he says: 

Their leader and founder was a certain doctor Balthasar, who, though 
he used to write that he was the "mountain of peace," was an incessant 
recusant of wars and rebellions, he was, I say, a man of such, lofty spirit 
that he boasted that in his learning he excelled and by far surpassed all the 
Zwinglians, Oecolampadius, and even Luther himself. He was not satis- 
fied because that in Germany in many towns, and above all under the 
renowned house of Austria be incited horrible tumults and for a ilong 
time among the Ligurians, he denied an oath the delusion of rebaptism. 
He also condemned it, and under a curse he publicly asserted it. Imme- 
diately in Moravia the usage of the universal church having been repudiated 
he treasonably relapsed into the same heresy of the Catabaptists (dippers) 
as a 'dog does to his vomit, and the baptism of children having been 
rejected, he decreed that only old men, drybones, and almost toothless, 
ought to be baptized, or dipped, in the sacred fountain, concerning this 
thing he wrote books and tracts surely not a few, and this new and de- 
testable abuse produced new conspiracies of the people, illicit unions in 
love, and other crimes of this kind almost limitless (Fabricus, Aversus 
Doctorum Balthasarum Pacimontanum), 

136 A History of the Baptists 

Hiibmaier is himself a -witness to the practice of immersion. 
In an early book he refers to baptism as a pouring; in later 
books he refers to it as performed in water. In one of the 
passages against his enemies who called him an Anabaptist he 
pithily answers : "Water is not baptism, else the whole Danube 
were baptism, and the fishermen and boatmen would be daily 

One of his books has the title : The Form of Baptism in Water. 
In another of his books, Von der Briederlichen straff, he gives 
an explanation of the celebrated passage in the sixteenth of 
Matthew. He not only says that baptism is a dipping but he 
explains the passage to refer to the ordinary congregation of be- 
lievers. The passage is as follows: 

He commanded her to use them faithfully, according to his Word, when 
he said to Peter, Thou art a stone, and on this rock, meaning his public and 
uninterrupted confession that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living 
God, I will build my church (he had just spoken of them as Christian 
churches), my company, my congregation, and the gates of hell shall not 
prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of 
heaven. Verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be 
bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in 
heaven. In saying "to thee," Christ sets forth the unity of the churches, aa 
saying, "ye" he impliesl that many shall be assembled in this unity of the 
faith and Christian love. It was after the glorious resurrection that Christ 
committed the power of the keys to the church, bidding them preach the 
Gospel and thus gather a congregation of believers, and afterwards bap- 
tize them in water, and with the first key open the door of the Christian 
Church and admit them for the remission of sins (Hosek, Balthasar 
Hiibma:ier, ch. IX). 

Hiibmaier always denied that he was an Anabaptist or that 
he practised anabaptism. He claimed that he practised the 
baptism of believers, since infant baptism was na baptism at 

The Baptists of Moravia were not a unit on the form of bap- 
tism as they were not a unit on other things. There was pub- 
lished in the year 1545 a Confession of Eaith, which was drawn 
up by Peter Riedermann who died in Pruzga, Hungary, De- 
cember 1, 1556. In the section referring to the administration 
of baptism Eiedermann says : 

The Baptists of Germany and Moravia 137 

Then the baptizer commands the candidate to humble himself with bended 
knees before God and his church, and take pure water and pour it upon 
him, and say, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, Son and Holy 
Spirit (Mittheillungen aus dem Antiquariate, I. 309). 

This was not the position of all of the Moravian Baptists. 
This may have been a private statement of Eiedermann. How 
far the Baptists of Moravia agreed with him is not known. But 
Erhard, who was an eye-witness, wrote: "Would that Di- 
ogenes might see your baptism and make sport of your wash- 
ings. You will sometimes be called Trito-Baptists, when you are 
immersed in the Strygian Lake" (Armitage, History of the 
Baptists, 381). 

Books for further reading and reference : 
Schaff, VI. 267-571. 

W. J. E. Bennett, The Church's Broken Unity. The Anabaptists, II. 



The Waldenses in Holland — Religious Liberty — Rembrandt— Learned Men — 
Simon Menno — His Views of Baptism — "A Handful of Water" — Luther 
on This Phrase — The Doop — Romans 6: 3 — Anabaptist Literature 
on the Subject — 1 Cor. 12 : 13 — The Practice of Menno — Immersion in 
the Netherlands — 'Bastingius. — Boltens — Dooreslaar — Stark — Schyn — • 
The Change of Practice Among the Mennonites — ^The Collegians of Rhy- 
nesburg — Poland and Silesian Baptists — Immersion — Sandius — Fock — 
Bock — ^The Unitarian Baptists — ^Their Great Learning and Culture — 
Peter Gonesius — Gregory Paulus — Their Numbers and Spirit — Socinus — 
Martin Czechovicus — The Racovian Catechism — The Lord of Cracow. 

THE Waldenses entered Holland in 1182 and by the year 
1233 Flanders was full of them. Many of them were 
weavers, and Ten Gate says that at a later date all of 
the weaving was in the hands of the Baptists. Ypeij and Der- 
mount say : "The Waldenses scattered in the Netherlands might 
be called their salt, so correct were their views and devout their 
lives. The Mennonites sprang from them. It is indubitable 
that they rejected infant baptism, and used only adult baptism" 
(Ypeij en Dermount, Geechieddenis der Netherlandische Her- 
vormde Kirk, I. 57, 141). The Reformation in the Nether- 
lands was practically synonymous with the Baptist movement. 

Here, as everywhere, the Baptists were good citizens; paid 
taxes ; and advocated liberty of conscience. The fires of perse- 
cution were frequently lighted in Holland. The Baptists had 
assisted the Prince of Orange in his struggle against Spanish 
tyranny ; and he steadfastly resisted all efforts to persecute them. 
Two Baptists, J. Cortenbosch and Peter Bogaert, a minister, 
brought to him a considerable sum of money as an offering 
from the Baptists. They performed this task at the risk of 
their lives. The Prince assured them that they would be 
treated as equals (Ottii Annales, ad ann., 1572.). 

Motley says of the Prince of Orange : 

He resolutely stood out against all meddling with men's consciencesi or 
inquiring into their thoughts. While smiting the Spanish Inquiisition into 

The Baptists in the Netherlands 139 

the dust, he would have no Calvinist Inquisition set up in its place. Earnest -> 
ly a convert to the Reformed religion, but hating and denouncing only what 
was corrupt in the ancient church, he would not force men, with fire and 
sword, to travel to heaven upon his own road. Thought should be 
free. Neither monk nor minister should burn, drown, or hang his fellow- 
oreaturea when argument or expostulation failed to redeem them from error. 
It was no small virtue, in that age, to rise to such a height. We know what 
Calvinists, Zwinglians, Lutherans have done in the Netherlands, in Germany, 
in Switzerland, andi almost a century later in New England. It is there- 
fore, with increased veneration that we regard this large and truly catholic 
mind (Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, II, 362). 

In regard to his relations to the Baptists the historian con- 
tinues : 

It was impossible for the Prince thoroughly to infuse his own ideas on 
the subject of toleration into the hearts of his nearest associates. He could 
not hope to inspire his deadly enemies with a deeper sympathy. Was he not 
himself the mark of obloquy among the Reformers, because of his leniency 
to Catholics? Nay, more, was not his intimate counselor, the accomplished 
Saint Aldegonde, in despair because the Prince refused to exclude the Ana- 
baptists from Holland? At the very moment when William was straining 
every nerve to unite warring sects, and to persuade men's hearts into a 
system by which their consciences were to be laid open to God alone — at the 
moment when it was most necessary for the very existence of the Father- 
land that Catholic and Protestant should mingle their soc'al and political 
relation's, it was indeed a bitter disappointment for him to see wise states- 
men of his own creed unable to rise to the idea of toleration. "The affair 
of the Anabaptists," wrote Saint Aldegonde, "has been renewed. The 
Prince objects to excluding them from citizenship. He answered me sharply, 
thai; their yea was equal to our oath, and that we should not press the 
matter, unless we were willing to confess that it was just for the Baptists 
to compel us to a divine service which was against our conscience." It 
seems hardly credible that this sentence, containing so sublime a tribute to 
the character of the Prince, should have been indited as a bitter censure, 
and that, too, by an enlightened and accomplished Protestant (Motley, Rise 
of the Dutch Republic, II. 206). 

But William of Orange held on his way. When the Union of 
Utrecht, the foundation of the Dutch Republic was formulated, 
it was expressly provided that "every individual should remain 
free in his religion, and that no man should be molested or 
questioned on the subject of divine worship" (Ibid, II. 412). 

It is interesting to note that Eembrandt, the greatest painter 
of HoUand, was a Baptist. Professor H. Weizseker, in his chap- 

140 A History of the Baptists 

ter on Holland (Protestantism in the Nineteenth Century, 
I. 295) says of him : "Little is known of the religious character 
of Remhrandt, but an Italian biographer of the seventeenth 
century says he was brought up a Baptist and belonged to their 
fellowship. How can we think him of such a community ?" he 
asks. "His whole life was in the world. Yet he painted many 
portraits of preachers, some of his best. That of Sylvius, bend- 
ing over the pulpit, Bible in hand, and that of Anseo, the Baptist 
pastor with the saintly face, are well known. In days of ad- 
versity, when his personal- effects were sold, among them were 
found five books. One of these five books wasi a Josephus and 
another a copy of the Bible. When he died he left one book 
as an heirloom, and that was a Bible." 

Rembrandt was moved by the spirit of liberty. It must be 
borne in mind that in the beginning of the seventeenth century 
Holland had risen to a great power. Though not yet foimally 
free from the Spanish yoke, she had broken the fetters by the 
heroic efforts of the former generation, and had entered on her 
grand career of national enterprise. Science and literature 
flourished in her universities, poetry and the stage were favored 
by her citizens. It was a time of new ideas. Old conventional 
forms in religion, philosophy and art had fallen away, and lib- 
erty was inspiring new conceptions. Here there was no church 
influence to fetter Rembrandt in the choice and treatment of his 
subjects, no academies to prescribe rules. He was thus left to 
himself to paint the life of the people among whom he lived. 
The legends of the Roman Ohurch were no longer of interest; 
and the Bible was read and studied with avidity. Under such 
influences Rembrandt became "the Shakespeare of Holland." 

"During the seventeenth century it became evident," says 
Dosker, "that men of considerable talent were to be found among 
the rank and file of the Mennonites. And they were not con- 
fined to one learned profession or to one social stratum. There 
were physicians of more than local reputation: men like A. J. 
Roscius, doctor of medicine and preacher at Hoom; the cele- 
brated Bidloo brothers, one of whom was body-physician to 
Peter the Great, Czar of Russia, and the other similarly em- 
ployed at the Court of Prince William III. of the Netherlands. 

The Baptists in the Netherlands 141 

Another of these famous Mennonite doctors was Galenus de 
Haan. . . who was equally celebrated as preacher and practi- 
tioner of medicine at Amsterdam; and especially A. C. Van 
Dale, whose works on the science of healing made him a Euro- 
pean celebrity. 

"Among the men of letters I mention J. P. Schabalje,preacher 
at Alkmaar, renowned as a scholar and poet. So far as is known 
he was the first to write a 'Life of Christ.' 

"We find poets among them like J. A. van der Goes, cele- 
brated by his Ystroom, and Karel van Mander, translator of 
Virgil and of the Iliad. 

"In the world of art they boasted a Mierevelt, especially Kuys- 
dael, the greatest of the Dutch landscape-painters, and the 
greatest of all, perhaps, Kembrandt. For science they could 
claim, 'J. A. Leeghwater, who drew the plans for the reclamation 
of Haarlem lake, a marvelous engineering problem ; and J. van 
der Heyden, who first undertook the illumination of the streets 
of Amsterdam, and who was the inventor of the prototype of the 
modem fire-engine" (Dosker, The Dutch Anabaptists, 244). 

In the second and third decades of the Eefonnation Simon 
Menno became the leader of the Baptists in that country. He 
was born in Friesland, in 1492, and died in Holstein, January 
13, 1559. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest; but he 
became a convert to the Baptist faith when, in 1531, Seike 
Feerks or Sicke Snyder was burnt at the stake. On his con- 
version he at once preached Jesus and soon became a con- 
spicuous leader among the Baptists. 

There is no record known of the manner of the baptizing of 
Menno. Judging from the tenor of his writings, he was bap- 
tized by immersion. In a great number of instances, in his writ- 
ings, he refers to baptism as a dipping in water. In two or 
three instances in refuting his enemies reference is made to 
pouring. In answering a scomer he says: 

"We think that these, and like commands, are more painful and difficult 
to perverse flesh which is naturally so prone to follow its own way, than to 
have a handful of water applied ; and a sincere Christian must at all times 
be ready to do all of this ; if not, he is not born of God ; for the regenera- 
tion are of the mind of Christ. (Menno, Opera Theologica, 224. Am- 
sterdam, 1651). 

142 A History of the Baptists 

The other passages are to the same effect. Menno says these 
scorners were wrong in heart and "that a whole ocean of water" 
would not satisfy them. The man might have a handful of wa- 
ter cast on him, or he might he haptized in the ocean, if his 
heart was not clean he would he a miserable sinner. Water 
does not cleanse a man from sin. The handful of water did not 
represent the act of Menno, but the objection of the scomer of 
baptism. Menno was not expressing his own opinion, he was 
refuting his opponent. 

Menno could not have endorsed "a handful of water" as the 
proper act of baptism, since these were the very words the Bap- 
tists had long been accustomed to hurl at their opponents. To 
hold that such an act of baptism was valid would have been 
contrary to every Baptist argument of the times. The Bap- 
tists long before, and at the time of Menno, invariably taunted 
their opponents by calling infant baptism "a dog's bath," "a 
handful of water," etc. That Menno applied such terms to 
his own act is incredible. A few instances where Baptists thus 
taunted their opponents are here given. 

Luther writing against the Baptists charged them with judg- 
ing of his baptism from the abuse of the K,oman Catholic 
Church. He says : 

But now are they in their madness thinking that baptism is like a thing 
such as water and salt consecrated, or as caps and leaves carried about ; so 
from this they proceed to call it a dog's bath, a handful of water, and 
many other such abominable words (Luther, Werke, XVII. 2865. Ed. 
1740, J. G. Walsh). 

Again Luther remarks : 

For the devil knows well, that if the crazy mob should hear a pompous 
slander word, that they stumble over it, and faith flies away. Ask no 
further ground or reason. As when they may hear it said, the baptism 
is a dog's bath, and the baptizer is a false and villainous bath servant. 
Thus they conclude from hence ; why, if so, let the devil baptize, and let 
God shame the false bath servant . . . 'Yes with me such things have 
been spoken, as these pompous slander words, dog's bath, bath servant, 
handful of water, etc. (Ibid, 2686). 

Once more Luther says: 

In the second place, here is also the overthrow of the assertions of 
the Anabaptists and such like company. Who thus teach . . . the 
beloved baptism to despise, as to be nothing more than plain common 

The Bapjists in the Netherlands 143 

water, from hence they indulge to slander it : What can a handful of 
water help the soul (Luther, Kirchen Postill, 721). 

"A handful of water" was the term of reproach that the 
Baptists used toward their enemies. It is incredible to think 
that Menno would have used such a term to describe his own 

Baptism in the opinion of Menno was dipping. He refers 
to baptism as doop (dipping). There is no proof that Menno 
ever used this word in any sense other than to dip ; and there 
is no proof that doop meant anything les^s in the time of Menno. 
Apart from the word doop Menno constantly uses other words 
to describe baptism by dipping. He devotes several chapters 
to the doop and never mentions pouring. 

The symbolic passage Romans 6 : 3, 4 is mentioned and en- 
forced more than one hundred times by Menno. In this pas- 
sage the symbolism of baptism is given as a burial, an immer- 
sion, an emersion. He says : 

Observe all of you who persecute the word of the Lord and his people, 
this is our instruction, doctrine and belief concerning baptism (doop), 
according to the instruction of the words of Christ, namely, we must first 
hear the word of Ood, believe it, and then upon our faith be baptized 
(gedoopt) ; we are not seditious or contentious; we do not approve of 
polygamy ; neither do we seek nor wait for any kingdom upon earth. 
Oh no ! No ! To God be eternal praise ; we will know that the word 
of the Lord teaches us and testifies to, on the subject. The word of 
the LordI commands us that we, with 'sincere hearts, desire to die to sin, 
to bury our sins with Christ, and with him to arise to a new life, even 
aa baptism (doop) is portrayed (Menno, Wercken, 17). 

The word "portrayed" represents a portrait, or photograph. 
Aa a picture is an exact image of a person so this burial and 
resurrection is an exact image of the act of baptism. But the 
exact image of a burial and resurrection is an immersion in, 
and emersion out of the water. 

The citation of Romans by Menno, as determining the form 
of baptism, is characteristic of the literature of the Baptists in 
the Reformation period. We find in the Protocol of Emden, 
1578 ; in that of Franckenthal, 1571, where it is explained as 
meaning that "baptism is a symbol of death and a new life;" 
and in the Miinster Restitution (issued 1634) baptism is de- 
scribed as "the burial of the sinful flesh (hegravmge unses 

144 ^ History of the Baptists 

sundtliken fleisches)^' In the Berne Disputation, 1532, the 
Baptist says: ''Baptism is always a symbol of a renewed man 
entombed {vergraben) into the death of Jesus Christ" (Dr. 
J^sse B. Thomas in The Western Becorder, 1897). 

Menno quotes 1 Corinthians 12 :13 as sustaining the practice 
of immersion. He says: 

Moses believed the word of the Lord, and erected a serpent; Israel 
looked upon it and was healed, not through the virtue of the imagte, 
but through the power of the divine word, received by them through faith. 
In the same manner salvation is ascribed in scriptural baptism (doope) 
Mark 16 :16 ; the forgiveness of sins. Acts 2 :38 ; the putting on of Christ, 
Gal. 3:27, being dipped into (indoopinge) one body, 1 Cor. 12:13 (Menno, 
Wercken, 14). 

There are direct passages where Menno mentions his own 
practice as dipping. Tor example he says : 

In short, had we forgiveness of sins and peace of conscience, through 
outward ceremonies and eJements, so 'that we must have that true sinking 
down (ondergaen) and with his merits to yield and give way. Behold, 
this is the only true foundation of baptism (doop) maintained by the Scrip- 
tures, and none others. This we teach and practise though all the 
gates of hell rise up against us; for we know that this is the word of 
Grod, and the divine ordinance, from which we dare not take away, nor 
add thereto, lest we be found disobedient and false before God (who 
alone is the Lord and God of our consciences) for every one of the Lord 
is pure; he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him (Ibid, 15). 

Baptism is here described as a "sinking down," and thins 
portrays immersion. He further says, this "we teach and prac- 
tise." Again he says: 

In the third place, we are informed by the historians, ancient and 
modem, also by the decrees, that baptism was changed both as to its 
mode and time of administering. In the beginning of the holy church, 
persons were dipped in common water (gedoopt in inhezworen water) on 
their first profession, upon their own faith, according to the Scriptures 
(Ibid, 16). 

It is not readily to be believed that a man who says that the 
mode and time of baptizing has been changed, and severely 
criticises those who wrought the change, and calls the people 
back to the primitive practices, would be found in the use of 
affusion. Menno plainly says the Scriptures teach dipping, 
says the mode has been changed, and that men ought literally 
to obev the commandments of God. 

The Baptists in the Netherlands 145 

In passages too numerous liere to mention Menno refers to 
baptism "as dipping in the water." Three instances are given 
where the word must mean immersion. He says : 

Again Paul calls baptism (doop) a water bath of regeneration. O Lord, 
how lamentably the word is abused. Is it not greatly to be lamented, 
that men are attempting, notwithstanding these plain passages, to main- 
tain their idolatrous invention of infant baptism, and set forth that 
infants are regenerated thereby, as if regeneration was simply a thrusting 
into the water (induckinge in't water) (Menno, Wercken, 13). 


O Lord, Father, how very broad, easy and pleasing to the flesh is the 
entrance into the miserable, carnal church ; for it is all as if one said, no 
matter who, or what, or how he is, it is all right, if he has been but sworn 
before the fountain, and washed and dipped in it {ende in de fonte ge^ 
waschen ende gedoopt is) (Ibid, 411). 

Once more; 

Do you think, most beloved, that the new birth consists in nothing 
but in that which the miserable world hitherto has thought that it consists 
in, namely, to plunge into the water (in te duycken in den water), or 
say thus: I baptize (doope) thee in the name of the Father, of the Son, 
and of the Holy Ghost (Ibid, 419). 

The Mennonites of our day reject infant baptism and prac- 
tise believers' baptism by affusion. Menno and his immediate 
followers were in the practice of dipping, but later the Mennon- 
ites did not strenuously insist upon this form of baptism. At 
length some practised dipping and others sprinkling; and in 
the course of time affusion became the normal act and immer- 
sion the exception among them. 

At the close of the sixteenth century and at the beginning of 
the seventeenth dipping was considered, in the Netherlands, as 
the meaning of the Greek word haptizein. There is an example 
of this found in the Commentary of Jeremiah, Bastingius on 
the Heidelberg Catechism which was then used in the Low 
Countries. He says: 

The word baptism is a Greek word, and cometh of taptizeki, and sig- 
nifieth properly dipping into water, etc. (Bastingius, An Exposition or 
Commentarie upon the Catechism, 138). 

The historian Backus explains the change of the Mennonites 
from immersion to affusion in the following manner: "The 
Mennonites are also from Germany and are of like behaviour, 
but they are not truly Baptists now. Their fathers were so ia 

146 A History of the Baptists 

Luther's time, until confinement in prison brought them to 
pour water on the head of the subject, instead of immersion; 
and what was then done out of necessity is now done out of 
choice, as other corruptions are" (Backus, History of the Bap- 

There were those in Holland, who, for a long time, con- 
tinued in the practice of dipping. At the close of the sixteenth 
century full toleration was given to the church at Altona. 
The following account is taken from the "History of the Differ- 
ent Religious Denominations in Altona,"* by John Adrian Bol- 
tens, published in Altona, 1790: 

The free exercise of religion being now obtained in Altona, many 
Mennonites resorted thither, particularly prior to the breaking out of 
the thirty-years war in Holstein, as well as prior to that event. Thus 
their numbers kept continually increasing, to which increase the intolerant 
decrees of Hamburg did not a little contribute. In course of time a 
difference of opinion arose as to the mode of baptism. This was the 
cause of the Mennonites now in Altona, which were one church, separat- 
ing into two interests. The one maintained the mode of pouring ; the 
other adopted that of immersion, and were, therefore, dis'tinguished by the 
name of Immergenten. This separation continued until the year 1666, 
though efforts had been made towards a union, but without the desired 
effect. Of the two, the Immergenten were the most numerous, and a new 
church was erected by them out of the profits of the whale fishery, in 
which many of their members were engaged {The Baptist Magazine, XV. 
290. September, 1823). 

There was in Friesland in the beginning of the year 1600 a 
party of Mennonites who would receive none but those who 
dipped. Of these people Stark says: 

Some of them have again introduced among themselves entire immersion ; 
and on this account, they have been called immersers by other congregations. 
Still with most, only the pouring of water on the head has been intro- 
duced (Stark, Geschichte der Taufe and Taufgesinnten, II. 348). 

These statements are important in many respects. They 
show that the original form of baptism among the Mennonites 
was immersion, that in some instances it had been set aside in 
favor of pouring, that dipping was still used in some con- 
gregations, and that there were some Mennonite congrega- 
tions who would not receive any form of baptism save im- 

The Baptists in Poland 147 

There was a book printed in the year 1649 showing the dif- 
ferences between the Reformed Church of the Netherlands and 
the Baptist churches. Of baptism it said : 

As formerly the circumcision, so now is baptism a symbol of the 
spiritual uncleanness of man. For circumcision taught by taking away 
the foreskin, and baptism by immersion or sprinkling with water, that man 
is unclean by nature and, therefore, guilty before God (Abraham Dooreslaar 
and Peter Jacobi Austro-Sylvium, Grondige ende lare Wertooninghe, 464). 

Even the Reformed Church in the Netherlands, in 1649, 
held that immersion was baptism. Indeed, immersion was pre- 
ferred to sprinkling. Van Braght, who held to sprinkling, 
affirmed that immersion was the practice in the Netherlands, 
"Yes, to our present time," A. D. 1659 (Van Braght, Mar- 
tyrs' Mirror of the Baptists). Hooke, in 1701, says that im- 
mersion was practised among the Baptists of the Netherlands 
(Hooke, A Necessary Apology for the Baptist Believers, 122, 
133. London, 1701). 

The historian of the Mennonites, Schyn, points out that in 
his day, A. D. 1729, while sprinkling was the ordinary- 
form of baptism among the Mennonites that immersion was 
also practised. It was declared to be the primitive practice, 
but that it had been generally, but not completely superseded 
by "an abundant sprinkling." Another witness is Cornelius 
Ris, who says as late as 1776, the year of American Inde- 
pendence : 

What concerns the holy baptism, we thus understand thereby, one 
dipping in, or under, of the whole body in the water, or an abundant 
sprinkling of the same. Which last method in these Northern regions we 
almost generally hold to be more convenient, while the same facts may be 
signified thereby (C!ornelius Ris, Von die Heilige Wasser-Taufe, Art. 
25. sec. 96). 

About the year 1619 there had been a revival of immersion 
in Holland, under three brothers van der Kodde. These per- 
sons were called Collegiants, and they were organized into 
societies near Leyden at Rhynesburg. They practised immer- 
sion having received it from the Silesian Baptists, who had it 
from the Swiss (Heath, The Anabaptists and their English 
Descendants, 390. The Contemporary Review, March, 1891). 

A History of the Baptists 

Van Slee (De Kijnsburger Collegianten, 371. Haarlem, 1891) 
shows all along, in the Netherlands, there had been a family 
by the name of Geesteraniis which was in sympathy with the 
practices of the Poland Baptists. The presidency of the great 
Baptist school, at Cracow, was offered to a member of this 
family ; and one of the first persons to be immersed at Rbynes- 
burg was John Geesteranus. One of the members of the Col- 
legiants gives a record of the procedure of baptism as follows : 

The candidate for baptism makes publicly his profession of faith on 
a Saturdaj' in the morning, before an assembly of Rhynesburgers, held 
for that purpose; a discourse is pronounced on the excellency and nature 
of baptism; the minister and candidate go together to a pond, behind the 
house belonging to one of the number. In that pond the neophite, cate- 
chumen, is baptized by immersion; if a man, he has a waistcoat and 
drawers; if a woman, a bodice and petticoat, with leads at the bottom, 
for the sake of decency. The minister, in the same dress as the men 
wear, is also in the water, and plunges them in it, pronouncing at the 
same time, the form used by the most of the Christian communions. This 
being over, they put on their clothes, go back to the meeting, and hear 
an exhortation to perseverance in complying with the precepts of Christ. 
A public prayer is said, and canticles or psalms sung (Picart, Religious 
Customs of the Various Nations of the "World. English Translation in 
1737 in 6 volumes). 

The Baptists of Poland and Transylvania all held that^dip- 
ping in water and a personal profession of faith and repentance, 
are essential to baptism" (Catechesis Ecclesiarum Poloniarum, 
sec. vi. cap. iii). These Baptists received their form of baptism 
from Switzerland and transferred it to Poland. This origin 
is now quite generally admitted and all historians state that it 
was by immersion (Barclay, The Inner Life of the Common- 
wealth, 12 note) . ( 

The testimony to the practice of immersion among the Bap- 
tists of Poland is quite satisfactory. Sandius, in his vindication 
of the Baptists of Poland, says that the Baptists of that country 
rejected infant baptism, and that believers, according to the 
symbolism of the primitive church, were baptized by immersion 
of the whole body in the water (Sandius, Bibliotheca Anti- 
Trinitatiorum, 268 note). There is an anonymous manuscript, 
written by one of the Baptists of Poland, which declares that 

The Baptists in Poland 149 

there is no other baptism save that which is performed by im- 
mersion. The title may be consulted in Bock (Historia Anti- 
trinitaorum, I. pt. 1. 19). Fock likewise states that the baptism 
of Poland was by immersion (Fock, Der Sociaismus, 588). 
These are the principal authorities on the conditions in Poland, 
and these writers are unanimous in the statement that the Bap- 
tists of that country practised dipping. 

The Unitarian Baptists, as they have been called, originated, 
for the most part in Italy (Speculum Anabaptistica Furoris, 
1808). They have frequently been called Socinians, deriving 
the name from the illustrious house of Sozini, which long 
flourished in Sienna, a noble city of Tuscany. There were a 
number of distinguished men born to this family. One of that 
number was Faustus Socinus who became a leader among the 
Baptists of Poland. 

The Unitarians were among the most cultured of men. The 
peculiar tone of the belles-lettres culture that followed upon 
the revival of learning was quite congenial with their opinions. 
They called in question the foundations of the state religions 
and were disposed to sift all creeds. There were not less than 
forty educated men at Vicenza who were united in a private 
association who held these views. These men were mostly ban- 
ished from Italy, many of them fled to Switzerland, and after- 
wards found refuge in Poland. One of these, Blandrata, a 
learned physician, fled to Geneva, and afterwards became an 
influential propagator of Baptist principles in Poland. The 
Italian and Swiss Baptists sought refuge in Poland about A. D. 
1550 and carried with them the idea of dipping from the 
earlier Baptists of Switzerland. The reason that the Bap- 
tists selected Poland as a place of refuge lay in the fact that 
Poland was so strongly attached to liberty in religious matters. 

Probably the first to introduce Baptist views into Poland 
was Peter Gonesius. He fell in with the< Baptists of Moravia 
and was led to reject infant baptism (Lauderbach, Polnish 
Arianischen Socianismus). 

Baptist views rapidly spread among the people. The Synod 
of Wengrow, December 25, 1565, was composed of forty-seven 
ministers and eighteen noblemen, besides a great number of 
lesser people. It was acknowledged by the churches of a. num- 

150 A History of the Baptists 

ber of districts as far as the Carpathian mountains. The 
Synod declared in favor of adults as the subjects and immer- 
sion as the form of baptism. At this meeting Czechovicus bap- 
tized James Niemojawski by immersion (Count Valerian Kras- 
inski, The Eeformation in Poland, I. 361). 

Gregory Paulus was a noted Baptist and an immersionist. 
He was pastor at Cracow. On May 30, 1566, John a Lasco rep- 
resented him as denying "that infants ought to be admitted to 
baptism as the fountain of life and the door of the church." 
He impressed men that baptism belonged to adults and not to 
crying children, and when he had done this he led ''them to 
the river and immerses them." He claimed that these things 
were the first "rudiments of the ancient religion about to be 
restored" (Letter to Beza, May 30, 1556. In Museum Hel- 
veticum. Part XIV. 282). 

The Baptists of Poland and Siebenburgen, in 1574^ were a 
numerous and aggressive people. In that year they issued a 
Catechism (Cateehesis et Confessio fidei coetus per Poloniam 
congregati) which contains one hundred and sixty pages, but 
copies of it are now rare. The printer was Turobinus, and it 
was issued at Cracow. The writer of the Catechism was the 
celebrated George Schomann (Schomann, Testamentum. Jo. 
Adam Muller, de Unitatiorum, XXI. 758). Baptism is con- 
fined to adults and defined as "the immersion in water and the 
emersion of a person who believes the Gospel and repents, in 
the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, or in the name 
of Christ only, whereby he publicly confesses that by the grace 
of God the Father, in the blood of Christy through the opera- 
tion of the Holy Spirit, he is washed from all his sins, in order 
that being inserted in the body of Christ he may mortify the 
old Adam, with the assurance that after the resurrection he will 
attain unto eternal life" (Rees, Eacovian Catechism, LXXI). 

Stanislaus Farnovius, A. D. 1568-1614, held to adult baptism 
by immersion. George Schomann, mentioned above, was a 
great scholar among them. He was born at Batibon in Silesia, 
in the year 1530. He was baptized by immersion at Chmelaik 
in 1572 and in 1573 he became the assistant of Gregory Paulus 
at Cracow (Wallace, Antitrinitarian Biography, II. 200). 

The Baptists in Poland 151 

The famous Faustus Socinus also held to Baptist views and 
was a firm believer in the immersion of a converted man in 
water. He was bom at Sienna, 1539, and died at Luclawice, 
Poland, in, 1604. He attempted to unite with the Baptists of 
Poland but was refused except on condition that he be rebap- 
tized. He refused to permit this since he said it was not neces- 
sary in his case. He was a firm believer in immersion ( Socinus, 
De Baptismo Aquse, 716. Racovise, 1613). Many Baptists 
of that period held lightly to all forms of externals since they 
believed that the spiritual life was all that was essentially 
necessary (Otto Fock, Der Socianianismus, 586). The views of 
Socinus niightily impressed the Baptists of Poland, and he 
became a most influential leader among; them. His noble birth, 
intellectual powers and polished manners commended him to 
the favor of the Polish nobles ; and his influence was augmented 
by his marriage to a daughter of one of the nobility. 

Martin Czechovicus was a Lithuanian. The first heard of him 
was on September 16, 1661, when he was the bearer of a letter 
from Calvin to the Synod of Cracow. He contended that bap- 
tism by immersion was necessary in the case of all adult be- 
lievers "whether those born of Christian parents, or those con- 
verted of heathen nations." 

Simon Ronemberg was born at Dantzic on Christmas Day, 
1540. He was christened when an infant by sprinkling in the 
Roman Catholic Church ; then he was sprinkled as an adult, and 
lastly he was immersed when he united with the Baptists. Of 
this he gives a particular account in one of his books. His being 
baptized by immersion was regarded as a grievous offense ; and 
being commanded by the Senate of Dantzic, August 17, 1552, 
to defend himself against this charge, and not choosing to deny 
what took place, or to recant, he was formally deprived of his 
office, and immediately left Dantzic with his wife and eight 
children (Wallace, Antitrinitarian Biography, II. 238). 

John Caper, Sr., after officiating as Pastor of the Evangelical 
Church of Meseritz for about twenty-eight years, changed his 
views late in life and went over to the Baptists. He was im- 
mersed in a pool at Smigel, on the last of July, 1588 ; on which 
occasion Valerius Herberger, a popular Evangelical minister, 
wrote some satirical verses. It is said that Caper presided as a 

152 A History of the Baptists 

Baptist minister over the churcli at Smigel, from the time of 
his conversion to his death; and that about the year 1606 he 
was drowned by a company of horsemen, probably in the very 
pond in which he had been immersed (Bock, Hist. Ant., 92, 

The Racovian Catechism was written about 1590 but was 
first published in 1605. It superseded the old Catechism, 
which was rude and ill digested. It was corrected by some, en- 
larged by others and more ingeniously stated, and became the 
creed of the entire communion. The article on baptism is as 
follows : 

It does not pertain to infanta since we Lave in the Scriptures no com- 
mand for, or example of, infant baptism, nor are they j^et capable, as the 
thing itself shows, of faith in Christ, which ought to precede this rite. 

In answer to the question: "What then is the thought of 
those who baptize infants ?" It is replied. 

You cannot correctly say that they baptize infants. For they do 
not baptize them, since that cannot be done without immersion and ablu- 
tion of the whole body in water; whereas they only lightly sprinkle their 
heads, this rite not only being erroneously applied to infants, but also 
through this mistake evidently changed. 

Speaking of a profession of faith the Catechism says: 

Declaring, and as it were representing by their very ablution, immer- 
sion and emersion, that they design to rid themselves with Christ, and, 
therefore, to die with him, and to rise to newness of life (The Racovian 
Catechism, 252, 253. London, 1818). 

The highest prosperity was now obtained by the Baptists of 
Poland. Jamea a Sienno, Lord of Cracow, in the year 1600, 
renounced the Reformed Church and came over to the Bap- 
tists, and two years after caused a famous school, intended for 
the Seminary of the churches, to be established in his own city 
which he made the metropolis of the Baptist movement (Wisso- 
watius, Naratio Unitairorum a Eeformatis, 214). 

Books for further reading anJ reference : 

Motley, Rise and Fall of the Dutch Republic, II. 

Weizseacher, Protestantism in the Nineteenth Century. 



The trouble between the Peasants and the Nobility — Thomas Miinzer — The 
Twelve Articles — 'The Battle of Schlatchberg — Thomas Mtinzer Never a 
Baptist — The Responsibility of Luther — Grebel and Manz disavow Miin- 
zer — His Views on Infant Baptism — The Miinster Tumults — Largely a 
Political Affair — ^The Desire for Liberty — Polygamy — Marriage Sacred— 
The Anabaptists did not originate the Tumults — The Leaders Were all 
Pedobaptists — Fair Minded Historians — Keller — D'Aubign6 — Ypeij and 
Dermout — Arnold — The "Common Man"- — The Act of Baptism at Miin- 
ster — "The Confession of Both Sacraments" — The Form of Baptism Dip- 
ping — Jesse B. Thomas — Keller — Heath — Cornelius — Rhegius — Fischer 
— John of Leyden. 

THERE has been reserved for this chapter an account of 
certain events which have been alleged against the Bap- 
tists, namely, the Peasant Wars and the tumult at Miinster. 
Because of these the Baptists have been charged with the 
wildest vagaries and with instigating horrible tumults. 

The most searching investigation has failed to prove that 
Munzer, the leader of the riots in the Peasant Wars, was a Bap- 
tist, or that the Baptists were in anywise responsible for the 

There had long been trouble between the peasants and the 
nobility. Many times and in different localities, during the 
preceding one hundred years, had the oppressed peasants 
in Central Europe attempted to throw off the yoke which their 
feudal lords had laid upon them. Heavy burdens had been 
placed upon the laboring classes by their lay and ecclesiastical 
masters. The forcible repression of evangelical doctrines was 
an added grievance. Leonard Fries, secretary of the city of 
Wiirtzburg, who gathered the documentary evidence of that 
time, writing in the spirit of the age, calls the uprising a deluge. 
It cannot be doubted that many of these grievances called for 

Now again the peasants were in revolt. The leader of 
the movement was Thomas Miinzer, born at Stoltzberg, at the 


154 ^ History of the Baptists 

foot of the Hartz Mountains. He had been, a priest, but became 
a disciple of Luther, and was a great favorite of the Reformer. 
His deportment was remarkably grave; his countenance was 
pale; his eye was sunk as if absorbed in thought; his visage 
long, and he wore no beard. His talent lay in a plain and 
easy method of preaching to the country people, whom it would 
seem as an itinerant he taught almost throughout the Electorate 
of Saxony. His air of mortification won him the hearts of 
the rustics; it was singular then for a preacher so much as 
to appear humble. When he had finished his sermon in any 
village he used to retire, either to avoid the crowd or to devote 
himself to meditation and prayer. This was a practice so very 
singular and uncommon that the people used to throng about the 
door, peep through the crevices, and oblige him sometimes to 
let them in, though he repeatedly assured them that he was 
nothing ; that all he had came from above, and that admiration 
and praise were due only to God. The more he fled from 
applause, the more it followed him. The people called him 
Luther's curate, and Luther called him his Absalom, probably 
because he stole "the hearts of the men of Israel" (Robinson, 
Ecclesiastical Researches, eh. xiv). 

The peasants set forth their views in twelve articles. Some 
have said that the articles were written by Hiibmaier, but there 
is no proof of this. It was an eloquent appeal for human liberty. 
When the peasants arrived in any village they caused the articles 
to be read. The articles, in brief, are as follows: 

1. Every congregation shall be free to elect its own pastor. 

2. The tithes shall be applied, as far as is necessary, to the sup- 
port of the pastor; the remainder shall be given to the poor and to the 
common interests. 

3. Vassal service shall be entirely abolished. 

4. All privileges of the nobles and princes relating to the exclusive 
ownership of hunting and fishing grounds shall cease. 

5. Forests that have been taken away from the commune by ecclesiasti- 
cal or secular lords shall be restored. 

6-8. All arbitrary and multiplying and increasing duties and rents 
shall cease. 

9. The laws and penalties attached to them, shall be executed justly 
and impartially, according to unchangeable principles. 

The Peasant Wars and the Kingdom of Miinster 155 

10. All fields and meadows which have been taken away from the 
commune shall be restored. 

11. The right of the nobles to tax legacies at the unjust expense of 
widows and orphans shall be abolished. 

12. They promised finally that they will willingly yield all these 
demands if it be proved to them that a single one of these articles is con- 
trary to the Word of God (Hosek, Balthasar Hubmaier, ch. ii. Brunn, 
1867. Translated by Dr. W. W. Everts, Jr. In The Texas Historical 
and Biographical Magazine 1891, 1892). 

There were thousands of peasants who followed the standard 
of Miinzer. On the approach of the armies of the nobles they 
entrenched themselves on a height above Franken- 
hausen, still called Schlachtberg. It is needless to say that 
Miinzer was utterly defeated, and not less than five thousand 
peasants lost their lives on that day, May 15, 1525. This was 
an end of the Peasants' War. That the peasants had cause for 
grievance there can be no dispute, and had their cause suc- 
ceeded it would have been hailed in history as a cause worthy 
of the heroes of liberty. 

Thomas Miinzer, the leader of the tumult, was never a 
Baptist, but all his life was a Pedobaptist dreamer. "Indeed, 
in no sense of the term," remarks Burrage, "and at no period 
of his career, was he an Anabaptist, though strangely enough 
he is often called the founder and leader of the Anabaptists" 
(The Baptist Quarterly Review, 140. April, 1877). More 
than any other man Luther was responsible for the bloody out- 
break of the peasants. He stirred hopes within them with great 
smiting words, which fired the hearts of the peasants with their 
wrongs and a desire for better days. He made them ready to 
risk and dare, and led them to their fate. 

"When Luther's enemies," says Alzog, "sarcastically taunted 
him with being an accomplished hand at kindling a conflagra- 
tion, but an indifferent one at putting out the flames, he pub- 
lished a pamphlet against 'those pillaging and murdering peas- 
ants.' 'Strike,' said he to the princes, 'strike, slay, front and 
Tear; nothing is more devilish than sedition; it is a mad dog 
that bites you if you do not destroy it. There must be no sleep, 
no patience, no mercy ; they are the children of the devil.' Such 

1S6 A History of the Baptists 

was his speech in assailiug- those poor, deluded peasants, who 
had done no more than practically carry out his own principles. 
They were to he suhdued hy the strong hand of authority, and 
to receive no sympathy, no mercy, from their victorious con- 
querors. It is computed that a hundred thousand men fell in 
battle during the Peasants' War, and for this immense loss of 
life Luther took the responsibility. 'I, Martin Luther,' said he, 
*have shed the blood of the rebellious peasants ; for I commanded 
them to be killed. Their blood is indeed upon my head; but,' 
he blasphemously added, 'I put it upon the Lord God, by whose 
command I spoke' (Luther, Table Talk, 276. Eisleben, edi- 
tion)" (Alzog, Universal Church History, III, 221, 222. Dub- 
lin, 1888). 

Miinzer once held a conference with' Grebel and Manz, the 
Baptist leaders (Bullinger, Eeformationgeschichte, I. 368) ; 
but no account of the proceedings has come down to us. There 
is an extant letter which Grebel wrote on the subject. "As 
Grebel's letter shows," says Burrage, "he and his associates 
were not agreed with Miinzer in reference to baptism. They did 
not believe in the use of the sword as hei did. Doubtless they 
found that they and the Saxon reformer widely differed. 
Munzer's aims were social and political chiefly" (Burrage, 
The Anabaptists of Switzerland, 89). 

The Baptists distinctly disavowed the views of, Miinzer. 
Grebel in his letter to him, after stating his own position, offered 
■to Miinzer the following delicate hint : 

Since you have expressed yourself against that infant baptism, we hope 
that you do not sin against the eternal word, wisdom and command of 
God, according to which believers only are to be baptized and that you 
decline to baptize infants (Cornelius, Geschichte des Miinserichen Auf- 
ruhrs, II. 240-247). 

Cornelius, who was a Roman Catholic, admits the Baptists 
were "in unconcealed opposition to Miinzer in cardina,! points." 

Miinzer, beyond doubt, was a Lutheran. There is positive 
proof, though he sometimes "played tricks with the sacraments," 
that he was never a Baptist (Erbkam^ Geschichte der protestan- 
tischen Sekten, 494). Possibly he denied at one time the neces- 
sity of infant baptism, but he practised that rite to the end of 

The Peasant Wars and the Kingdom of Munster 157 

his life. There is no proof that he was ever rebaptized or in 
any way was ever connected with the Baptist movement. "He 
was not baptized," says Frank, "as I am trustworthily in- 
formed" (Franl^, Chronik, 493b). 

In the year 1523 he put forth a book for the direction of 
God's service (Miinzer, Ordnung und berechnung des Teutschen, 
6), and in this book he prescribes infant baptism. In 1525, 
in a letter to Oecolampadius he defends infant baptism and 
held to its practice (Herzog, Das Leben Joh. Oekolampads, I. 
302. Basel, 1843). That he was never a Baptist is quite 
plain (Sekendorf, Historia Lutheranismi, I. 192; 11. 13). 
Frank says: "He himself never baptized, as I am credibly 
informed" (Frank, Chronik, clxxiiib), and adds he was never 
a Baptist. With this statement modern scholars agree (Mar- 
shall, The Baptists. The Encyclopaedia Britannica, III. 370, 
Cambridge, 1910). 

It may be concluded that Miinzer was a follower and friend 
of Luther ; he practised infant baptism to the close of his life ; 
he was never in the practice of Anabaptism; he was opposed 
by the Baptist leaders ; held doctrinal views radically different 
from the Baptists on the use of the sword; and he was never 
intimately associated with the Baptists. 

All parties seem anxious to rid themselves of the responsi- 
bility of the Munster affair. The Roman Catholics charge tlie 
Lutherans with the disturbances, and the Lutherans in return 
lay all the blame on the Anabaptists. It suited the purposes 
of each party to make the account of the disturbances as hor- 
rible as possible. This is only one more instance of how the 
dominant class of every age writes history in its own interest, 
and how it has hitherto succeeded not only in imposing its 
views on the average intelligence of its own time, but in 
passing it down to the second-hand historians of subsequent 
ages (Bax, Eise and Fall of the Anabaptists, 173). The 
accounts given by the enemies of a party, are to be received 
with caution. This is doubly true in this instance, since the 
Lutherans were trying to shield themselves from the Eoman 
Catholics, and were endeavoring to lay the blame on the Ana- 

158 A History of the Baptists 

baptists. The Lutlierans became the historians, and they wrote 
what they pleased, and there was no one to correct them. 

The insurrection of Miinster had more to do with politics 
than it had with religion. The feudal system hiad long 
oppressed the common people. Thought) was now awakened, 
principles which had long been dormant were revived. The 
"cotaimon man" saw his rights and he determined to possess 
them. Buck, much against his will, acknowledges this. He 

It must be acknowledged that the true rise of the insurrections of 
this period ought not to be attributed to religious opinions (Buck, A Theo- 
logical Dictionary, 20, Article, Anabaptists), 

In the early sixteenth century, we may be quite sure, the 
revolt against feudalism was noti ideal in all of its individual 
elements. It would be manifestly foolish to expect such to 
be the case with sections of a population, more or less suddenly 
cast adrift from their social and economic moorings. But at 
the same time there can be no doubt in the mind of any per- 
son who has seriously studied the history of social move- 
ments, that the bulk of those who thronged the city of 
Miinster in the year 1534, were infinitely more honest, and 
more noble characters in reality, than the unscrupulous ruf- 
fians of the moribund feudalism with whom they were at war 
(Bax, Eise and Fall of the Anabaptists, 174). It should never 
be forgotten, as it frequently is, that during the whole period 
of the Anabaptist domination of Miinster, that town was under- 
going the perils of a siege, and the military considerations had 
to be kept largely in mind. Nor should it be forgotten that 
during its existence the Bishop's troops were murdering in cold 
blood every Anabaptist they could lay their hands on (Lindsay, 
A History of the Eeformation, II. 460). 

Had the insurrection of Miinster succeeded it would have 
been regarded as one of the most brilliant events in the his- 
tory of human liberty. Had the United States failed in the 
Revolutionary War what would have been the consequences? 
Washington would have been called a rebel, and our struggle 
for liberty sedition. That there were wrongs and excesses at 

The Peasant Wars and the Kingdom of Milnster 159 

Miinster no one denies^ but what revolution has them not? 
Bancroft has beautifully referred to this. He says: 

The plebeian sect of the Anabaptists, the same of the Reformation, 
with greater consistency than Luther, applied the doctrines of the Reforma- 
tion to the social relations of life, and threatened an end to kingcraft, 
spiritual dominion, tithes, and vassalage. The party was trodden under 
foot with foul reproaches and most arrogant scorn ; and its history 
written in the blood of myriads of the German peasantry ; but its prin- 
ciples, safe in their immortality, escaped with Roger Williams to Provi- 
dence ; and his colony is the witness that, naturally, the paths of the Bap- 
tists were paths of freedom, pleasantness and peace (Bancroft, History of 
the United States, II. 459). 

It has been charged that polygamy was instituted at Miin- 
ster. It must not be forgotten by the conventional historian, 
who overflows with indignation at the wickedness of the Miin- 
sterites in instituting polygamy, that such accredited represen- 
tatives of orthodox Protestant respectability as Luther and 
Melanchthon had declared polygamy not contrary to Chris- 
tianity. This, it is true, was said by the distinguished Re- 
formers in question in order to secure the favor of Henry 
VIII., of England, and the Landgrave of Hesse, respectively, 
and they, together with their patrons, would have wished doubt- 
less to keep it, as Kautsky has suggested, as a reserve doctrine 
for the convenience of the great ones of the earth on emergency 
(Bax, Rise and Fall of the Anabaptists, 253). 

The Baptists never held to polygamy in any form. Archseolo- 
gists have exhumed a long list of the writings of the lead- 
ers in the Munster uprising, and it has been found that 
their teachings were often at variance with the Romanists 
and Lutheran doctrinal confessions, but they never varied 
from the moral life which all Christians are called upon to 
live. Their writings seldom refer to marriage ; but when they 
do it is always to bear witness to the universal and deeply 
rooted Christian sentiment that marriage is a sacred and un- 
breakable union of one man with one woman. Nay, more, 
one document has descended to us which bears testimony to 
the teaching of the Anabaptists within the beleaguered city 
only a few weeks before the proclamation of polygamy. It is 
entitled Bekerdones des aldbens und lehens gemein Christe zu 

i6o A History of the Baptists 

Miinster (Cornelius, Die Geschiclite des Bistliuins Miinster, 
445, 457, 458), and was meant to be an answer to calumnies 
circulated by their enemies. It contains a paragraph on mar- 
riage which is a clear and distinct assertion that the only Chris- 
tian marriage isl the unbreakable union of one man and one 
woman (Lindsay, A History of the Eeformation, II. 464). 

Paul Kautsky, after giving certain reasons why polygamy 
was permitted at Miinster, points out further: 

That prostitution was not tolerated within the walls of the New 
Jerusalem. The very communism of the brethren itself sufficed to render 
this difficult or> impossible, so that women who wished to live by the sale 
of their bodies* had no alternative but to seek the market outside of the 
walls amid the forces of law and order in the Bishop's camp. In addition 
to this, one of the first edicts of the Twelve Elders was one of Draconian 
severity directed against adultery and seduction (Bax, Rise and Fall of 
the Anabaptists, 203). 

ITo attempt is made to defend polygamy at Miinster, or else- 
where, but the people of Miinster were more consistent than 
Luther and Melanchthon, and they put every safeguard around 
the sanctity of the home. 

After all has been said of the Anabaptists they were not 
the prime movers of the rebellion of Miinster. This is a mere 
episode in their history, and we hear of it only through 
poisoned sources. The doings of Bockhold and his followers 
were those of a small minority, and they were abhorred by a 
vast majority of the Baptists. Compared with the company 
within the walls of Miinster, the number of the brethren, the 
Anabaptists so-called, were as thousands to units (GriflBs, The 
Anabaptists. The New World, 657. December, 1895). 

'No one denies that there were 'Anabaptists among the people 
of Miinster, but the rebellion began with, and was led by 
Lutherans (Ten Cate, Gesch. der Doopsg. in Holland. I, 11). 
Most of the leaders were Pedobaptists. Gregory and Enter 

Nor is it just to charge all of the insurrections of those times, whether 
at Miinster or other places, where the Anabaptists had societies, to that 
class of people. The first insurgents groaned under severe oppression, and 
took up arms in defense of their civil rights. The Anabaptists appear 
rather to have seized the occasion than to have been the prime movers 
(Gregory and Ruter, History of the Christian Church, 500). 

The Peasant Wars and the Kingdom of MUnster i6i 

It is certain that the leaders in Miinster differed essentially 
in principles from those who elsewhere bore the name of Bap- 
tists. The men of Miinster wielded the sword; the Baptists 
were distinguished from other Christians by refusing to bear 
armis. The men of Miinster dreamed of establishing a secular 
kingdom; the Baptists looked alone to the spiritual reign of 
Christ. Any one who will impartially study the history of 
Menno Simon and that of John of Leyden will not deny that 
the doctrines and spirit of the two men were wholly unlike; 
and more unlike are they for example, both in doctrine and in 
spirit than were Luther and the Roman Catholics. 

Bernhardt Eothmann, a ringleader, was a Pedobaptist, 
the Lutheran preacher at the Church of St. Maurice, in Miin- 
ster. He had been early attracted by the teaching of Luther, 
as we learn from his Confession of 1532 (Detmer, Bernhardt 
Eothman, 41. Miinster, 1904), and he went to Wittenberg to 
make the acquaintance of Luther and Melanchthon. He led 
the movement at Miinster before many Anabaptists appear to 
have been connected with it (Spanheim, Hist. Anab., 12). 
Bead the following: 

It is certain that the disturbances in the very city of Miinster were 
begun by a Pedobaptist minister, whose name was Bernhardt Rotbmann; 
that he was assisted in his endeavors by ministers of the same persua- 
sion, and that they began to stir up tumults; that is, teach revolutionary 
principles a year before the Anabaptist ringleaders, as they were called, 
visited the place. These things the Baptists knew, and they failed not to 
improve them to their own advantage. They uniformly insisted that 
Luther's doctrines led to rebellion, and his disciples were the prime movers 
in the insurrections, and they also asserted that an hundred and fifty 
thousand Lutherans perished in the Rustic War (Fessenden. Encyclopedia 
of Religious Knowledge, 77). 

A great many were Roman Catholics, and a still greater part 
had no religious principles whatever (Buck, A Theological 
Dictionary, 20). 

Some fair-minded and discriminating historians have dis- 
tinguished between the Anabaptists of Miinster and the Bap- 
tists. Dr. Ludwig Keller says: 

iWhenever, at the present time, the name "Anabaptist" is mentioned the 
majority think only of the fanatical sect which, under the leadership of 

i62 A History of the Baptists 

John of Leyden, established the kingdom of the New Jerusalem at Miin- 
ster. The history of the religious ideas whose caricature appears in the 
communion of Miinster, however, in no wise connects itself with the begin- 
ning and the end of the short episode. There were Baptists long before the 
Miinster rebellion, and in all of the centuries that have followed, in spite 
of the severest persecutions, there have been parties which, as Baptists 
and Mennonites have secured permanent position in many lands (Keller, 
Preussiche J ahrhilcher, September, 1882). 

D' Aubigne says: 

On one point it seems necessary to guard against misapprehension. 
Some persons imagine that the Anabaptists of the times of the Reforma- 
tion, and the Baptists of our day, are the same. But they are as different 
as possible', there is at least as wide a difference between them as there 
was between the Episcopalians and the Baptists ... So much for 
the historical affinity. As to the principles, it is enough to look at the 
social and political opinions of the Anabaptists, to see that the present 
Baptists reject such sentiments. The doctrine of the Mennonites them- 
selves differ not essentially from that of other Protestant communions 
(Schyn, Historia Christianorum qui in Belgio. Amsterdam, 1723). A 
popular American work (Fessenden's Encyclopedia) states the difference. 
It says, article Anaiaptists, The English and Dutch Baptists do not con- 
sider the word as applicable to their sect. And farther on, it is but justice 
to observe that the Baptists in Holland, England, and the United States, 
are to be considered as entirely distinct from these seditious and fanatical 
individuals above mentioned ; and they profess an equal aversion to all 
principles of rebellion of the one and enthusiams of the other (D'AubignS, 
History of the Reformation, I. 9 preface). 

Few writers have given the subject more thought than Drs. 
Ypeij and Dermout, who were especially appointed by the 
King of Holland to look into the facts and give a true report. 
They write on this theme at great length. They say: 

The fanatical Anabaptists, of whom we now speak, were originally 
from Germany, were under the bishoprick of Speiers, they, by a rebellion, 
had made known their displeasure at the oppression of the so-called feudal 
system. This was in the year 1491. Since that time they, by their re- 
volt, have often caused anxiety, and have given the government no little 
trouble. This continued till the time of the Reformation, when these 
rebels sought in the new religion an augmented power, and made the most 
shameful misuse of it to the promotion of their harassing disturbances. 
These ought by no means to be considered as the same as the Baptists. 
Let the reader keep this distinctly in mind in the statements in which we 
axe now about to make. 

The Peasant Wars and the Kingdom of Miinster 163 

At much length they draw a distinction between the Baptists 
and the turbulent Anabaptists of Miinster. John of Leyden is 
described, as are the Miinster men. They declare that the 
Baptists and these turbulent Anabaptists were not the same. 
They proceeds 

We shall now proceed more at length to notice the defense of the worthy 
Baptists. The Baptists are Protestant Christians entirely different from 
the Anabaptists in character. They were descendants from the ancient 
Waldenses, whose teachings were evangelical and tolerably pure,, and who 
were scattered by severe persecutions in various lands, and long before 
the time of the Reformation of the Church were existing in the Nether- 
lands. In their flight they came thither in the latter part of the twelfth 
century. la this country and in Flanders, in Holland, and Zealand they 
lived as quiet inhabitants, not intermeddling with the affairs of Church and 
State, in the villages tilling the land, in the cities working at some trade 
or engaging in traflic, by which means each one was well supplied and in 
no respect burdensome to society. Their manner of life was simple and 
exemplary. No great crime was known among them. Their religious 
teaching was simple and pure, and was exemplified in their daily conduct 
(Ypeij, A. en Dermout, J. J., Geschiedenis der Netherlandsche Hervomke 
Kerk, 1819. Chapter on Baptists). 

Gottfried Arnold, born at Annaberg, Saxony, September 5, 
1666, was Professor of History in Giessen. In his great book, 
which made an epoch in Church History, he says : 

It is true that these good testimonies (which had to be accorded to the 
Anabaptists for their doctrines and lives) do not refer to those who in 
the Miinster sedition showed themselves so impious and seditious. Never- 
theless it is manifestly evident from many public acknowledgements that 
the remaining Catabaptists were not only different from these (and had 
no part in their seditious doings) but also very greatly abhorred and al- 
ways in the highest degree condemned and rejected these ; just as their 
adversaries themselves from their writings confess and testify that they, 
especially the Mennonites, never agreed with the Miinsterites (Arnold, 
Unparteischen Kirchen und Ketzer Historie, II. 479). 

The careful discrimination made by these authors is worthy 
of consideration. The Baptists, or the people ordinarily called 
Anabaptists, were entirely distinct from these furious persons 
who were likewise termed Anabaptists. They had nothing in 
common save that both parties practised rebaptism. The Miin- 
ster fanatics did not recognize the baptism of the Baptist 
churches, but rebaptized all alike. This likeness was the occa- 
sion of the Roman Catholics calling the Miinster men Anabap- 
tists; but they likewise laid the revolt at the door of the fol- 

164 A History of the Baptists 

lowers of Luther and Ziwingli, The Lutherans seized upon 
the point of rebaptism, and in order to clear themselves, they 
placed the entire uprising on the Baptists. The Baptists had 
little to do with it. The Lutherans were the historians, and 
the Baptists have been to this day compelled to bear the 

The Pea.sant Wars were attributed to the Baptists, although 
Miinzer, the leader, practised infant baptism to the close of 
his life. The Miinster insurrection was charged to the Bap- 
tists, although it was opposed to a fundamental tenet held by 
them, that under no condition should a Christian bear arms or 
in any way engage in a tumult. The Baptists held steadfastly 
to this view before the Miinster insurrection. Grebel and Manz 
were called "false prophets" because they refused to engage in 
any entangling political alliances (Keller, Die Eeformation und 
die alteren Reformationparteien, 40.) In a meeting of the 
Anabaptists, in January, 1535, at Sparendam, when the Miin- 
ster riots were in full swing, they were condemned ten to one. 
In a large gathering at Bocholt, in Westphalia, in the summer 
of 1536, the Baptists repudiated the whole movement. The 
Schleitheim Confession of Paith condemned the use of the 
sword by any Christian. The followers of Menno to this day 
do not bear arms. 

The evidence submitted shows that the Miinster insurrection 
began previous to 1491 and grew out of political disturbances 
of the times; that it was the opposition of the "common man" 
to the old feudal^ system of bishops and nobles; that it was 
intended to be in the interest of human liberty ; that most of 
the leaders were followers of Luther, and did not become Bap- 
tists; that there were many Roman Catholics and many of no 
religious faith in the movement; that those who were termed 
Anabaptists in Miinster held views divergent from the ordinary 
tenets of regular Baptists of the period ; that the so-called Ana- 
baptists had no vital connection with the great Baptist move- 
ment; and had this insurrection succeeded gloriously, as it 
failed miserably, it would doubtless have been regarded as 
one of the greatest achievements of human liberty. 

The act of baptism practised in Miinster has been the occa- 
sion of no end of controversy. Since, as it has been seen this 

The Peasant Wars and the Kingdom of Miinster 165 

was not a representative Baptist movement, but one largely 
composed of Lutherans, the act of baptism in Miinster was not 
necessarily the practice of the Baptists of the period. After a 
somewhat patient investigation it may safely be affirmed that 
the ordinary form of baptism in Miinster was immersion. The 
evidence is set down impartially. 

The Behentnesse van Beiden Sacrameniem, The Confession 
of both Sacraments, which was subscribed to by Bernhardt Roth- 
mann, John Klopries, Hermann Strapade, Henry Roll, Diony- 
sius Vinne and Gottfried Stralen is especially significant. The 
Confession says: 

What the word doop means. Every German knows, of course, the mean- 
ing of doopen (to dip), and consequently also of doov and doopsel (dipping). 
Doopen is as much as to say dip or immerse in water, and doop is aa much 
as to say a ducking or besprinkling with water. Now, this word doop, by 
reason of its natural signification, may be used of all and every kind of dip- 
ping. But in the Christian sense there is not much more than one sort 
of dipping in water that can be called (doop), which is when a person is 
dipped according to the command of Christ; otherwise, if it be done in 
a manner, or with a different intent from what Christ and the Apostles 
practised, it may literally or naturally be called (doop), but it can never be 
called doop in the Christian sense ; for all dipping in water is in fact, and 
may be called doop, but only that which is done according to the command of 
Christ is the Christian doop. 

\What the doop (baptism) ia ... It is a small matter that I be 
plunged into water. Indeed, it is of no benefit to the soul that the filth 
of the flesh be put away ; but the certain announcement of a good con- 
science the putting off of the old man, the laying aside the lust of sin, 
and endeavor henceforth to live in obedience to the will of God — on this 
salvation depends, and this is also that which in baptism is acquired. • • • 
The dipping, as the Apostles write it, and also used the same, is to be 
performed with this understanding. They also who are dipped are therein 
to confess their faith, and, by virtue of this faith, to be disposed to put 
off the old man, and henceforth to live in a new conversation; indeed, 
it is on this condition that the dipping is to be received, by every candi- 
date that he, with the certain announcement of a good conscience, re- 
newed and born again through the Holy Ghost, will forsake all unrighteous- 
ness with all works of darkness, and will die to them. And, accordingly, the 
dipping is a burial of the old man and a raising up of the new man; 
likewise a door into the holy church, and a putting on of Jesus Christ. 
There are some who . . . make of the dipping a sign of grace; but 
this can be proved by no Scripture, that the dipping was intended to 
be the true token of grace . . . But, well, be it so; let the immersion 
in water be the sign; we bold, however, that the water does not bring 

l66 A History of the Baptists 

anything more with it, but that it is an external sign. But we pray 
thee, then, what is the use of the sign, where the reality which is signified 
is not present? He who gives or receives the sign of anything without 
regard to the reality, is he not a traitor? The kiss is the sign of friendship. 
Judas gave the sign, and had not the reality ; how did he fare? Likewise, 
when one receives a troth penny, accepts the right hand of his friend in 
token of fidelity, if, in fact, he be found untrue, having not the reality 
of the sign (which is truth) in his heart, dear friend, what wouldst thou 
think of such a man? . . . and for what wouldst thou value such a 
sign? . . . Accordingly, whoever would rightly receive the external 
sign must assuredly bring the inward reality along with him ; otherwise 
the sign is false, useless and unworthy of commendation. 

Well, then, to be brief, and to reach a conclusion as to what the doop 
is, we say that the dipping is an immersion in water, which the candidate 
desires and receives as a token that he has died to sin, has been buried with 
Christ, thereby risen to a new life, thenceforth to walk not in the lust 
of the flesh, but obediently according to the will of God. They who are 
thus minded and thus confess, the same should be dipped ; and they are 
also rightly dipped, and thus assuredly receive forgiveness of sins in the 
dipping, and also admission into the holy church and the putting on of 
Christ. And this comes to the person dipped, not by virtue of the dipping, 
nor yet because of the formula employed, "I dip thee," etc., neither by rea- 
son of the faith of the fathers and of their uninvited vows and suretyship — 
it comes to him through his knowledge of Christ, his own faith, and because 
of his own free will and heart, through the Holy Ghost, he puts off the lusts 
of the flesh and puts on Christ. And this is briefly what doop is, and to 
whom it should and may be usefully administered. 

. . . After that this gateway was thus destroyed and opened to every- 
body, the holy church, was also desecrated and injured ; and it is to be 
expected that the holy church itself also shall never be able' to reach her 
glory unless the gateway be built up, and be judged and cleansed of all 
abominations (Bouterwek, Zur Literatur und Geschichte der Wiedertaufer, 
6-8. Bonn, 1864). 

The original of tlie Confession is not at hand, and the point 
might profitably be raised whether the phrase ''besprinkled with 
water" is a part of the original document. Such a phrase appears 
to be entirely out of harmony with the argument and spirit of 
the Confession and might be accounted for as a gloss. It is 
an interesting question and a comparison with the original 
manuscript, if it can be found, might throw light ouj the ques- 
tion. Much care needs to be taken in authenticating manu- 
scripts ; and none require more accurate consideration than those 
which treat of Anabaptist history. 

The Peasant Wars and the Kingdom of Miinster 167 

It is to be noted, however, that, in the Confession, *'be- 
sprinkle with water" is not "recognized side bj side with immer- 
sion as valid baptism," but that the definition is given as a 
possible one for the doop then used. Only dipping is recog- 
nized by the Confession as the proper form of baptism among 
Christians. "We may say that the baptism is an immersion 
in water," runs the Confession, "which the one baptized re- 
quests and receives as a true token that he has died to sin." 

In speaking of the Confession, Dr. Jesse B. Thomas truly 
remarks : 

It seems incredible that the clear distinction between the broader ety- 
mological signification of the word doopen, and its single exclusive use, 
accompanied by so elaborately detailed explanation of its specific use could 
have been simultaneously repudiated by the voluntary substitution in prac- 
tice of the illegitimate modifications condemned in it (The Western Re- 
corder, 1898). 

On this point of dipping. Dr. Keller says : 

The dipping (eintauchung) in water was by all means a sign of the 
dying oflE of the old man. The very nature of baptism they could con- 
ceive to be nothing else; hence, to them, the baptism of unintelligent, 
thoughtless and speechless children, appeared to them a? an abomina- 
ble blasphemy, and the source of the destruction of all of the apos- 
tasy of the holy church (Keller, Geschichte der Wiedertiiufer, 132). 

Heath, the English writer on the Anabaptists, is equally clear 
on this point. He says : 

The "Confession of both Sacraments" describes baptism as a dipping or 
plunging completely into water, for only under this form can it be 
spoken of as being buried with Christ (Heath, The Anabaptists, 147, 148). 

Cornelius, the Roman Catholic writer, says that Kothmann 

Baptism is the sign through which we exhibit the passage from 
death to life ; as the passage through the Red Sea was unto the children 
of Israel of the grace of God so it is to us a sure sign of the grace of 
God to be baptized in the water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy 
Spirit (Cornelius, Geschichte des Munsterischen Aufruhrs, I. 132). 

Thus speak the scholarly students of the Anabaptists, and 
they hold that the practice of the Anabaptists of Miinster was 
dipping. There is an instance on record of a baptism in Mian- 

i68 A History of the Baptists 

Bter. Heath says: "On January 5, 1534, two Hollanders 
arrived at Miinster, apostles sent out by Jan Matthysz. They 
used the words : 'Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,' 
that they denounced the wrath of God on all tryrants and 
blood-shedders, that they called on the believers in Miinster 
to be baptized and form a true community, in which they should 
be equal and have all things in common, can hardly be doubted. 
Rothmann, Klopries, Vinne and Stralen were baptized, and, 
with Roll, were appointed to baptize others. The rite was per- 
formed in Rothmann's house, and, judging from the terms of 
the Confession, was probably by immersion. In eight days 
there were already 1,000 persons baptized in Miinster. Of their 
state of mind they have left this record: *In the day God 
awakened us so that we were faithful to be baptized, there was 
poured out a spirit, a brotherly love, rising to* the floodtide.' 
And of their consecration therein they say : 'Whatever we now 
find day by day that God wills among us, that will we do, cost 
what it may.' " (Heath, The Anabaptists, 160). 

We have seen elsewhere that the Anabaptists were accustomed 
to practise dipping in their houses. Dr. Urbanus Rhegius 
wrote a furious book, from Wittenberg, in 1535, against the 
Anabaptists of Miinster. The Preface of the book was by 
Martin Luther. He designates the third article of the Ana- 
baptists as an error. He says : 

III. The Miinster error of holy baptism. In 1 Peter iii. we read that 
baptism eaves, through which we obtain the icovenant a£ g«o(J con^ 
science toward God. This demands death of the flesh and all good 
works. Where no faith is there are no good works, the result is then 
that faith is necessary to baptism. Then it follows that only true believer* 
can be baptized, Rom. vi. 

Gal. iii. 1 Pet. iii. Acts ii. viii. x. xvi. xxii. Conscientiousness and 
faith must precede, which is not true of children consequently they are 
not rightly baptized. Therefore one should be baptized right, if one un- 
derstands and believes. Therefore they drag into ridicule holy baptism 
and they compare child's baptism, though they plunge them into water 
(inns wasser stekt), to cat and dog baptism and say that it is mockery 
and child's play (Rhegius, Widderlegung der Miinsterischen newen Val- 
entinaner. iWittenberg, 1535). 

The Peasant Wars and the Kingdom of Munster i6g 

Christopher Andreas Fischer, A. D., 1607, commenting on 
this article of the Miinster Confession, says : 

The baptism in water is nothing, but the baptism which is the death 
of the flesh saves. The child's baptism is a cat and dog baptism, though 
they are plunged in the water {ins tcasser steckt) and is a ridicule and 
child's play (Fischer, Vier und Funffzig Exhebliacke warumb die Wieder- 
taufer, 7). 

The form of baptism which the enemies of the Anabaptists 
practised was dipping and the subjects were infants. The form 
of baptism among the Anabaptists was dipping and the subjects 
were adult believers. The Anabaptists spoke slightingly of the 
baptism of infants as no better than the baptism of a cat or 
dog. It will be noticed that the act of baptism was dipping. 
This was undoubtedly the form of baptism practised by 
the Anabaptists of Miinster. Nothing can be plainer than this. 
If, therefore, we can trust the statement given by Bouterweg, 
and the contemporaneous account of Rhegius, who gives the 
words of the Anabaptists, then the Anabaptists of Miinster 
were in the practice of dipping. 

Ehegius argued that one thus baptized possessed the new birth, 
or water bath, and should, therefore, be baptized. And then 
follows the passage : 

It is God who regenerates us young and old. Our knowledge and work 
cannot accomplish it but the grace of the Holy Spirit. The same can 
work alike in the infant child as in the mature man as we see in John 
the baptist, Luke i. 

A child can have all that is necessary to baptism. One can dip it in 
the water (ins tcasser tuncke) at the same time quote the Word of God. 

The argument of Rhegius is forceful. As the Anabaptists 
claimed that only adults ought to be baptized in water; so he 
thinks baptism will bring the same blessing to children. This 
argument is unanswerable that immersion was the practice of 
Miinster. Rhegius was quite willing that the Anabaptists should 
dip adults ; if the Anabaptists: would allow the dipping of chil- 

The view of John of Leyden on the form of baptism has 
been preserved by Hermann Kerssenbrock. This writer knows 
only what is evil of the Anabaptists and only what is good of 

170 A History of the Baptists 

their opponents. But he directly says that John of Leyden 
practised redipping (Kerssenbrock, Historia belli Monasterien- 
sis, 15). 

The testimony establishes the fact that the so-called Anabap- 
tists of Miinster were in the practice of dipping. 

Books for further reading and reference : 
Bax, The Rise and Fall of the Anabaptists. 
Schaff, VI. 440-449. 



The Statement of the Historians — Thomas Crosby — B. Evans — Adam Tay- 
lor — Robert Barclay — David Masson — The First Churches in Britain — 
Missionary Work — ^The Persecutions — The Early Britons Baptists — 
Crosby — Davis — Immersion — Richards on The Welsh Word — Bede and 
other Historians — St. Patrick in Ireland — Immersion and the Lord's Sup- 
per — Austin — The Saxons — An Attempt to Convert the Britons to Ro- 
man Catholic Views — The Differences — Infant Baptism — The First In- 
stfnce of Infant Baptism — Laws :.>]nacteu on the Subject — The Paulicians 
in England— Hill Cliffe Church— Thomas Walden— The Opinions of 
the Lollards — William Tyndale — Goadby — Walter Lollard — John Wyclif 
— His Views on Baptism — Thomas Walden — The Opinions of the Lollards 
— William Tyndale. 

THE existence of Baptist people and principles in Eng- 
land, extending back to remote periods, as related by 
tbe historians, is unusually clear and convincing. 

Thomas Crosby began the first volume of his history of the 
English Baptists in 1738, with the story of John Wyclif. 

This was the point where Neal had commenced his His- 
tory of the Puritans. Crosby apparently had not, at the time 
he began to write, gone deeply into the subject. He had mar- 
ried a daughter of the celebrated Benjamin Keach, was a 
Baptist deacon, and taught a private school in Southwark. His 
brother-in-law, Mr. Benjamin Stinton, had gathered material 
for an English Baptist history. At the time of his death he 
had only finished the Introduction which was an account of 
foreign Baptists, in which he traced them back to the times of 
the Apostles. 

Mr. Stinton died and the material came into the hands of 
Mr. Crosby, who had no intention of writing a history. After 
vainly trying to induce others to undertake such a work Crosby 
wrote the history. 

The beginning by Crosby of his history of the English 
Baptists with Wyclif, and the statements he makes in regard 
to "the reviving of immersion," led to misapprehensions in 
the minds of some. There was much discussion among Eng- 


17^ A History of the Baptists 

lish Baptists in regard to the administrator of baptism, and 
Crosby gives an account of bow certain English Protestants 
were in favor of reviving the ancient practice of immersion, in 
the time of James I., and again in 1633. 

All of this had a confusing effect upon some readers. His 
history was immediately attacked by the Pedobaptists and 
criticised by the Baptists. The Rev. John Lewis, a clergyman 
of the Church of England, in Kent, wrote against Crosby at 
great length. He published a volume entitled, "A Brief His- 
tory of the English Anabaptists," and besides this he left in 
manuscript form, in many volumes, his researches concerning 
the Baptists in England (Rawlinson MSS. C. 409. Bodleian 
Library). He was violent and venomous, but he gathered 
much valuable information concerning the Baptists. Crosby 
replied to Mr. Lewis with spirit. He says: "There were many 
Anabaptists and learned ones before the year 1600" (Crosby, 
A Brief Reply to the Rev. Mr. John Lewis, 20. London, 1738). 

These criticisms led Crosby to take up the entire subject, 
and to make some original investigations. These studies led 
to his second and subsequent volumes. 

If there was doubt as to the meaning of Crosby in the first 

volume there was none in the second. He is strong and clear. 

In the first volume he traces Baptists through foreign sources 

to the Apostles, in the second volume he makes out an English 

line of succession. No advocate of church succession would 

require a stronger statement. He says: 

This great prophet John, had immediate commission from heaven, Luke 
iii 2, before he entered upon the actual administration of his office. 
And as the English Baptists adhere closely to this principle, that John 
the Baptist was by divine command, the first commissioned to preach 
the gospel, and baptize by immersion, those that receive it; and that thia 
practice has ever since been maintained and continued in the world to this 
present day ; so it may not be improper to consider the state of religion 
in this kingdom ; it being agreed on all hands, that the plantation of the 
gospel here was very early, even in the Apostles days (Crosby, A Histo- 
ry of the Baptists, II. ii). 

Crosby gives a sketch of the preservation of immersion from 
the days of Christ to the beginning of the seventeenth century. 

The Early British Baptists 173 

He nowhere intimates that any Baptist church in England ever 
changed its practice from sprinkling to immersion. He as- 
sumes throughout that the Baptists had all along practised 
immersion. He is at pains to point out that the Continental 
Anabaptists practised immersion. He believed that immersion 
had been continuously practised in England since the time "the 
gospel was preached in Great Britain soon after our Saviour's 
death" (II. 9). He says, in speaking of the opinions of Wy- 
clif : "I shall only further observe that the practice of immersion 
or dipping in baptism, continued in the church imtil the reign 
of James I., or about the year 1600" (II. xlvi). By church 
he evidently meant the Church of England, since he also says : 
''That immersion continued in the Church of England till 
about the year 1600." "Yet," he further says, "there were 
some who were unwilling to part with this laudable and ancient 
practice" (II. lii). He quotes with great approval Sir John 
Floyer, who says: "The age which has practised sprinkling in 
England began 1644, and to the present year are 77 years" 
(Floyer, An Essay to Restore the Dipping of Infants, 61. 
London, 1722). Once more Floyer says: "Dr. Lightfoot wrote 
about 1644, near the time that sprinkling was introduced" 
(Ibid, 33). Such is the testimony of Crosby to the existence 
of Baptists in England. 

1^0 less important is the statement of B. Evans, who wrote 
an important history of English Baptists. He says : 

The true origin of that sect which acquired the denomination of 
Anabaptists by their administering anew the rite of baptism to those who 
come over to their communion. . . is hid in the remote depths of an- 
tiquity, and is, of consequence, extremely difiBcult to be ascertained" 
(Moshejm, IV. cent, xvi. chap. iii. 429). No one conversant with the 
records of the past can doubt this. The whole facts of history place the 
truth beyond dispute. I have seen enough to convince me that the pres- 
ent English dissenters, contending for the sufficiency of Scripture, and 
for primitive Christian liberality to judge of its meaning, may be traced 
back in authentic manuscripts to the Nonconformists, to the Puritans, 
to the Lollards, to the Vallenses, to the Albigenses, and I suspect, through 
the Paulicians and others, to the Apostles (Robinson, Claude of Turin, II. 
53). Dissidents from the popular church in the early ages, compelled to 
leave it from the growing corruption of its doctrines and morals, were 
found everywhere. Men of the apostolic life and doctrine contended for 

174 ^ History of the Baptists 

the simplicity of the church and the liberty of Christ's flock, in the midst 
of great danger. What the pen failed to do, the sword of the magistrate 
effected. The Novatians, the Donatists, and others that followed them 
are examples. They contended for the independence of the church; they 
exalted the divine Word as the only standard of faith ; they maintained the 
essential purity of the church, and the necessity of a holy life spring- 
ing from a renewed heart. Extinguished by the sword, not of the Spirit, — 
their churches broken and scattered, — after years of patient suffering 
from the dominant sect, the seed which they had scattered sprung up in 
other lands. Truth never dies. Its vitality is imperishable. In the wild 
wastes and fastnesses of Europe and Africa it grew. A succession of able 
and intrepid men taught the same great principles, in opposition to a cor- 
rupt and affluent state church, which distinguished modern English Non- 
conformists ; and many of them taught those peculiar views of Chris- 
tian ordinances which are special to us as Baptists. Beyond all doubt 
such views were inculcated by the Paulicians, the primitive Waldenses, 
and their brethren. Over Europe they were scattered, and their converts 
were very numerous, long before the Reformation shed its light in the 
darkness of Europe (Evans, The Early English Baptists, I. 1. 2). 

Adam Taylor, the historian of the English General Bap- 
tists, says: 

But we may be permitted to state a few facts, which will prove that, in 
all ages of the church, there have been Baptists, who have heartily joined 
with the first Baptist, John, in pointing sinners "to the Lamb of God, 
which taketh awaj the sin of the world" (Taylor, History of the Eng- 
lish General Baptists, I. 1. 2). 

These are the most weighty historians who have written on 
English Baptist history. It is no less interesting to note that 
historians who are not Baptists give great antiquity to the 
Baptists of England. Barclay, a Quaker, who wrote a book, 
in which he largely treats of the Baptists, says : 

As we shall afterwards show, the rise of the Anabaptists took place 
long prior to the foundation of the Church of England, and there are 
also reasons for believing that on the Continent of Europe, small hidden 
societies, who held many of the opinions of the Anabaptists, have existed 
from the times of the Apostles. In the sense of the direct transmission of 
divine truth and the true nature of spiritual religion, it seems probable 
that these churches have a lineage of succession more ancient than the 
Roman Church (Barclay, The Inner Life of the Religious Societies of 
the Commonwealth, 12). 

The testimony of Professor David Masson, of the Uni- 
versity of Edinburgh, is important because he gave the matter 
critical attention. He says: 

The Early British Baptists 175 

The Baptists were by far the most numerous of the sectaries. Their 
enemies (Featley, Paget, Edwards, Baillie, etc.) were fond of tracing 
them to the anarchial Gennan Anabaptists of the Reformation ; but they 
themselves claimed a higher origin. They maintained, as Baptists still 
do, that in the primitive or apostolic church the only baptism practised 
or heard of was an immersion in water ; and they maintained further that 
the baptism of infants was one of the corruptions of Christianity against 
which there had been a continued protest by pure and forward spirits in 
different countries, in ages prior to Luther's Reformation, including some 
of the English Wyclifites, although the protest may have been repeated 
in a louder manner, and with wild admixtures, by the German Anabaptists 
who gave Luther so much trouble (Masson, The Life of Milton, V. 146- 
149. London, 1871). 

Thus standard Baptist writers are reenforced by eminent his- 
torians who are not Baptists, but who have investigated the 
history of English Baptists. They all agree in giving great 
antiquity to the Baptists, and some of them assign an antiquity 
to them reaching to the days of the Apostles. 

The first churches planted in Great Britain were Baptist 
churches. "The prevalence of Baptists in Britain," says Dr. 
E. B. C. Howell, ''from the earliest times and in no small 
numbers, will be questioned by no one who is at all familiar 
with the religious history of the land of our fathers" (Howell, 
The Early Baptists of Virginia). 

The tradition is that the gospel was preached in Britain 
in the apostolic age (Collier, Ecclesiastical History of Great 
Britain, I. 27) ; though it is difficult to ascertain who first 
carried it there. The Roman Catholic historian Lingard, who 
tries in every way to throw doubt upon the early progress of 
Christianity in Britain, is compelled to admit that in apostolic 
times "the Christian doctrines were silently disseminated 
among the natives" (Lingard, The Anglo-Saxon Church, I. 2. 
London, 1858). We see the light of the world shining, but 
we do not see who kindled it. Gildas, the most ancient 
British chronicler, says: "Meanwhile these islands, stiff with 
cold and frost, and in a distant region of the world, remote 
from the visible sun, received the beams of light, that is, the 
holy precepts of Christ, the true Sun, showing to the whole 
world his splendor, not only from the temporal firmament, 
but from the height of heaven, which surpasses everythiiyr 

176 A History of the Baptists 

temporal, as the latter part, as we know, of the reign of 
Tiberius Oaesar, bj whom his religion was propagated without 
impediment, and death threatened to those who interfered with 
its professors" (Gildas, The Works, 302). 

Missionaries multiplied rapidly. The superstitions of the 
people gave way and the common people gladly accepted the 
Word. At length, in the year 180, Lucius was converted. 
He was the first king to receive baptism (Bede, Ecclesiastical 
History of England, 10). He and his people were baptized 
upon a profession of their faith (Fox, Martyrology, I. 1381), 
It is' generally agreed that at this period many pagan temples 
were turned into edifices for the worship of the true God. 
Religion had spread so wonderfully that Justin Martyr said: 

There is no nation; whether of Barbarians or of Greeks, or any other 
by what names soever they are called ; whether they live in wagons, or 
without houses, or in tents, among whom prayers are not made, and thanks- 
giving offered up, to the Father and Creator of all, through the name of the 
crucified Jesus. 

Under Diocletian, about the year 300, the British Chris- 
tians suffered a fierce persecution. Their books and churches 
were burnt, and many of them put to death. "God, therefore, 
who wished all men to be saved, and who calls sinners no less 
than those who think themselves to be righteous, magnified 
his mercy toward us, and, as we know, during the above 
named persecution, that Britain might not be totally enveloped 
in the dark shades of night, he, of his own free gift, kindled 
up among us bright luminaries of holy martyrs, whose places 
of burial and martyrdom, had they not for our manifold 
crimes been interfered with and destroyed by the barbarians, 
who have kindled in the minds of the beholders no small fire 
of divine charity" (Gildas, The Works, 303). "Whom I must 
regard as Baptist martyrs," says Crosby, "till the Psedobap- 
tists convince me to the contrary" ^Crosby, History of the 
English Baptists, II. xiv). 

Were these early Christians Baptists? Crosby makes no 
qualifications. He says: 

Now in this enquiry, so much has occurred to me, as carries with it 
more than a probability, that the first English Christians were Baptists. 

The Early British Baptists 177 

I could not therefore pass by so material a fact in their favor. And be- 
cause it cannot be placed where it belongs, I have fixed it by way of pre- 
face to this second volume (Groaby, II. To the Reader). 

Purther on he says: 

, The true Christian doctrine, and form of worship, as delivered by the 
Apostles, was mantained in England, and the Romish government and 
ceremonies, zealously withstood, till the Saxons entered into Britain, about 
the year 448, During which time there is no mention of any baptizing in 
England, but adult persons only. And from this silence of history, touch- 
ing the baptizing of infants in England; from the Britons being said to 
keep so strictly to the holy Scriptures, in doctrine and in ceremonies; in 
which there is no mention of the baptizing of infants ; and from the accounts 
of those who were baptized which expressly mention their faith and con- 
version, the English Baptists have concluded, that there was no such prac- 
tice as baptizing of infants in England for the first three hundred years 
after it received the Gospel and certainly he would have a very hard task 
that should undertake to prove that there was (II. xii). 

Davis, the Welsh Baptist historian, says: 

Infant baptism was in vogue long before this time (A. D. 600) in 
many parts of the world, but not in Britain. The ordinances of the Gos- 
pel were then administered exclusively there, according to the primitive 
mode. Baptism by immersion, administered to those who professed re- 
pentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Welsh 
Christians considered the only baptism of the New Testament. That was 
their unanimous sentiment as a nation, from the time that the Christian 
religion was embraced by them, in 62, until a considerable time after 600 
(Davis, History of the Welsh Baptists, 14). 

There is no question that baptism was performed by im- 
mersion. The original word among the Britons for baptize 
means to dip (Richards, A Plain and Serious Discourse Con- 
cerning Baptism. Lynn, 1793). An instance of baptism is 
given by the Boman Catholic historian Bede. He says : 

The holy days of Lent were also at hand, and were rendered more 
religious by the presence of the priests, inasmuch as the people being in- 
structed by daily sermons, resorted in crowds to be baptized ; for most of 
the army desired admission to the saving water; a church was prepared 
with boughs for the feast of the resurrection of our Lord, and so fitted up 
in that martial camp, as if it were a city. The army advanced, still wet 
with the baptismal water; the faith of the people was strengthened; and 
whereas human power had before been despaired of, the Divine assistance 
was now relied on (Bede, 31). 

178 A History of the Baptists 

For the space of forty years tlie noted St. Patrick, a Briton 
bom, preached extensively among the Irish, Scotch and Britons. 
The time of his birth, even the century in which he was born, 
is unknown. It was probably the close of the fourth century. 

No certain data can be given concerning his beliefs. It 
can, however, be positively stated that he was not a Eoman 
Catholic (Nicholson, St. Patrick. Dublin, 1868) ; and that 
he approximated in many things the doctrines of the Baptists. 
Cathcart (Ancient British and Irish Churches. Philadelphia, 
1894) argues at length and with much ability that he was a 
Baptist. He did not hold to the Eoman Catholic idea of 
church government, and he ordained one or more bishops in 
every church (Nennius, Historia Britorium, 3, 54). He did 
not believe in purgatory (Hart, Ecclesiastical Kecords of Eng- 
land, xxii). 

In regard to the form of baptism Patrick practised im- 
mersion upon a profession of faith. During his life he is 
said to have immersed one hundred and twenty thousand peo- 
ple. He baptized Hercus, a king, in the fountain Loiglea, 
and thousands of others on that day (Todd, Life of Patrick, 

His opinions on the subject of the Lord's Supper were 
equally meritorious. Sedulius, an Irishman, who flourished in 
the fifth century, tells us (Commentary of 1 Cor. xi), that our 
Lord left "the memorial unto us, just as a person going to a 
distance leaves a token to him whom he loves, and as often as 
he sees it he may call to his mind his benefits and friendship" 
(Hart, Ecclesiastical Records, xvii). He also speaks of the 
elements of the communion as "the sweet meat of the seed of 
wheat, and the lovely drink of the pleasant vine." The Lord's 
Supper was taken in both kinds, and there was no mention of 

In the year 597 Gregory the Great sent Austin, or, as he 
is sometimes called, Augustine, to Britain to convert the Saxons. 
Gregory when a monk had seen some fair-haired Saxon youths, 
and when he asked them from what country they came, they 
replied from the land of the Angles, but Gregory thought thejr 

The Early British Baptists 179 

should more appropriately be called angels. He was anxious 
to go on a missionary journey to this people, but he was so 
popular in Rome he was raised to the papal see. He did not, 
however, give up his cherished design to convert the Saxons. 
He could not go, but he persuaded Austin to undertake the 
mission, and Austin reached the country in the year indicated 
above. Austin was to offer them the most liberal terms, and 
allow them to retain all of their former practices, if they would 
submit to baptism. He was not to destroy the heathen temples ; 
only to remove the images of their gods, to wash the walls 
with holy water, to erect altars and deposit relics in them, and 
so convert them into Christian churches; not merely to save 
the expense of new ones, but that the people might easily be 
prevailed upon to frequent those places of worship to which 
they had been accustomed. Gregory directed him further to 
accommodate the services of the Christian worship, as much 
as possible, to those of the heathen, that the people might not 
be startled at the change; and in particular, he advised him 
to allow the Christian converts, on certain festivals, to kill and 
eat a great number of oxen to the glory of God, as they had 
formerly done to the glory of the devil (Henry, The History 
of Great Britain, III. 194. London, 1800). 

Austin met with success; the king and great numbers of 
the people were converted to his views, and baptized. They 
came in so fast that he is said to have baptized ten thousand 
by immersion in one day in the River Swale (Fuller, Church 
History of Britain, I. 98). 

After his success with the Saxons Austin turned his at- 
tention to the British Christians to bring them, if possible, 
in subjection to the pope. The native Christians did not ac- 
knowledge the supremacy of Rome. They did not practise 
infant baptism. These and other questions greatly perplexed 
Austin. As he was not able to determine the questions, he 
wrote Gregory, who gave him the needed instruction (Bede, 
Ecclesiastical History, 45). 

i8o A History of the Baptists 

It was finally agreed that Austin should meet representa- 
tives of the Britons. In the conference which followed Austin 
said to them : 

You act in many particulars contrary to our custom, or rather the 
custom of the universal church, and yet, if you will comply with me in 
these three points, viz. to keep Easter at the due time ; to administer bap- 
tism, by which we are again born to God, according to the custom of the 
holy Roman Apostolic Church; and jointly with us preach the word of 
God to the English nation; we will readily tolerate the other things you 
do, though contrary to our custom. They answered that they would do 
none of these things, nor receive him as their archbishop ; for they alleged 
among themselves, "If he would not now rise up to us, how much more 
will he condemn us, as of no worth, if we begin to be under his subject- 
ion" (Bede, Ecclesiastical History, 71). 

Austin ajQfirmed that there were many differences between 
the Roman Catholics and the British Christians, and the Britons 
asserted that they were not subject to Austin and would not 
receive him as archbishop. They differed on the subject of 
baptism. The Britons did not baptize after the manner of the 
Roman Church. As there was no difference between them 
on the act of Baptism as all parties practised immersion, it 
must have been on the subjects of baptism. There is no proof 
that the Britons practised infant baptism. Fabyan, an old 
Roman Catholic writer, explains what Bede meant by "baptism 
according to the custom of the Holy Apostolic Church." Fabyan 
says of Austin : 

Then he said to the: Sins ye wol not assent to my hestes generally 
assent ye to me specially in iii. things. 

The first is, that ye kepe Ester* day in due fourme and tyme as it i« 

The seconde, that ye geve Christendome to children. 

And the thyrde is, that ye preache unto the Anglis the worde of God, 
as afortimes I have exhorted you. And all the other deale I shall suffer 
you to amende and refourme within yourselves, but they would not re- 
ceave of theyr brethren i)eace, they should recieve warre and wretche, the 
which was put in experience by Ethelfirdus, King of Northumberland 
(Fabyan, The New Chronicles of England and France, I. 115. London, 

Austin was true to his threat, and he did bring war and 
wretchedness upon the Baptists of England. Roger de Wen- 

The Early British Baptists i8i 

dover says that "all of this came to pass in every respect as 
he had foretold, through the working of God's vengeance" 
(Eoger de Wendover, The Elowers of History, 60). True 
to the principles of Roman Catholics, and Pedobaptism, an 
army was sent, with orders that the Britons should be slain, 
even though they bore no arms. About twelve hundred of 
them who came to pray are said to have been killed, and only 
about fifty escaped by flight. The facts in regard to Austin 
have been summed up as follows: "He found here a plain 
religion, (simplicity is the badge of antiquity), practised by 
the Britons, living some of them in the contempt, and many 
more in the ignorance, of worldly vanities, in a barren country ; 
and surely piety is most healthful in those places where it can 
least surfeit of earthly pleasure. He brought in a religion 
spun of a coarser thread, though guarded by a finer trimming, 
made luscious to the senses with pleasing ceremonies; so that 
many, who could not judge of the goodness, were courted 
with the gaudiness thereof. Indeed, the papists brag, that he 
was 'the apostle to the English,' but not one in the style of St. 
Paul" (Fuller, The Church History of Britain, I. 101). 

The first instance of infant baptism on record in England 
occurred in the year 626. King Edwin promised Paulinus, 
the Roman Catholic archbishop, that he would believe in his 
God if he would give him the victory over his enemy Quichelm, 
"and as a pledge of his fulfilling his promise, he gave orders 
that his daughter should be baptized" (Roger de Wendover, 
Flowers of History, 67). In the following year Edwin was 
immersed in York by Paulinus. On going with the king to 
his country place, the zeal of the people was so great, that for 
thirty-six days, Paulinus, "from morning to night, did nothing 
else but instruct the people resorting from all the villages 
and places, in Christ's saving word; and when instructed, he 
washed them with the water of absolution in the river Glen, 
which was close by" (Bede, Ecclesiastical History, 96-98). 
In like manner he baptized great numbers in the river Swale. 

The Roman Catholics enforced infant baptism with great dif- 
ficulty. The laws of the N"orthumbrians, A. D. 950, demanded ; 

l82 A History of the Baptists 

Every infant to be baptized within nine days, upon pain of six ores; 
and if the infant die a pagan (unbaptized) within nine days, let the pa- 
rents make satisfaction to God without any lawful mulct; if after he i3 
nine days old, let him pay twelve ores to the priest besides (Wilkins, Coun- 
cils, I. 228). 

The 15th canon made in King Edgar's time, A. D. 960, 

That every infant be baptized in thirty-seven nights ; and that no one 
delay too long to be confirmed by the bishop (Hart, Ecclesiastical Records, 

The Constitutions of the Synod of Amesbury, A. D. 977, 
were drawn up by Oswald, and required children to be bap- 
tized in nine days of their birth. In commenting upon this 
decree Collier, the English Church historian, says: 

It is plain as will be shown farther, by and by, that the English 
Church used the rite of immersion. It seem* that they were not at all 
discouraged by the coldness of the climate, nor thought the primitive cus- 
tom impracticable in the northern regions ; and if an infant would be 
plunged into the water at nine days old, without receiving any harm, 
how unreasonable must their scruples be who decline bringing their child- 
ren to public baptism for fear of danger? How unreasonable, I say, 
must this scruple be when immersiom is altered toi sprinkling? (Collier, 
Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain, I. 471). , 

After the year 1000 the Paulicians began to make their ap- 
pearance in England. In 1154 a body of Germans migrated 
into England, driven into exile by persecution. A portion of 
them settled in Oxford. William JSTewberry (Rerum Angli- 
carum, 125. London, 1667) tells of the terrible punishment 
meted out to the pastor Gerhard and the people. Six years 
later another company of Paulicians entered Oxford. Henry II 
ordered them to be branded on the forehead with hot irons, 
publicly whipped through the streets of the city, to have their 
garments cut short at the girdles, and be turned into the open 
country. The villages were not to afford them any shelter 
or food, and they perished a lingering death from cold and 
hunger (Moore, Earlier and Later Nonconformity in Oxford, 

At an early date a Baptist church was located at Hill Cliffe, 
near Warrington, in Cheshire. English Baptists constantly 

The Early British Baptists 183 

mention this churcli as having had its origin far beyond the 
Eeformation. The historian Goadby appears to give a fair 
representation of the facts. He sayS: 

We have reliable evidence that a Separatist, and probably a Baptist 
church, has existed for several centuries in a secluded spot of Cheshire, on 
the borders of Lancashire, about a mile and a half from Warrington. 
No spot could be better chosen for concealment than the site on which 
this ancient chapel stood. Removed from all public roads, enclosed by 
a dense wood, affording ready access into two counties. Hill Cliffe was 
admirably situated for the erection of a "conventicle", an illegal conventi- 
cle. The ancient chapel built on this spot was so constructed that the 
surprised worshippers had half a dozen secret ways of escaping from it, 
and long proved a meeting place suited to the varying fortunes of a hated 
and hunted people. Owing to the many changes inseparable from the event- 
ful history of the church at Hill Cliffe, the earliest records have been lost. 
But two or three facts point to the very early existence of the community 
itself. In 1841 the old chapel was enlarged and modernized; and in dig- 
ging for the foundation, a large baptistery of stone, well cemented, was 
discovered. How long this had been covered up, and at what period it 
was erected, it is impossible to state; but as some of the tombstones in the 
graveyard adjoining the chapel were erected in the early part of the six- 
teenth century, there is some probability for the tradition that the chapel 
itself was built by the Lollards who held Baptist opinions. One of the dates 
on the tombstones is 1357, the time when Wyclif was still a fellow at 
Merton College, Oxford ; but the dates most numerous began at the period 
when Europe had just been startled by Luther's valliant onslaught upon 
the papacy . . . Many of these tombstones, and especially the oldest, 
as iwe can testify from a personal investigation, look as clear and as fresh 
as if they were engraved only a century ago . . . Hill Cliffe is un- 
doubtedly one of the oldest Baptist churches in England,. . . The 
earliest deeds of the property have been irrevocably lost, but the extant 
deeds, which go back considerably over two hundred years, describe the 
property as being "for the Anabaptists" (Goadby, Bye Paths of Baptist 
History, 23). 

The latest book on the subject is by James Kenvsrorthy. He 
says: "On the subject of baptism they have always followed 
the practice of the Christians of the ]^ew Testament and of the 
early churches — baptism by immersion or dipping'' (Ken- 
worthy, History of the Baptist Church at Hill Cliffe, 14). 

Walter Lollard, a Dutchman, of remarkable eloquence, 
came, according to Fuller, into England, in the reign of Ed- 
ward III., "from among the Waldenses, among whom he was 

184 A History of the Baptists 

a great bard or pastor." His followers rapidly increased 
so that Abelard declared "our age is imperiled by heretics, 
that there seems to be no footing left for the true faith." 
Knighton, the English chronicler, says: "More than one-half 
of the people of England, in a few years, became Lollards" 
(Knighton, col. 2664). Hallam says in his History of the 
Middle Ages: "An inundation of heresy broke in the twelfth 
century over the church, which no persecution was able to 
repress, till it finally overspread half the surface of Europe." 
The clergy were so alarmed that they dispatched the Arch- 
bishop of York and the Bishop of London, to the King in 
Ireland, to entreat him to immediately return to England, to 
protect the church which was in danger of destruction. "As 
soon," says a contemporary historian, "as the king heard the 
representation of the commissioners, being inspired by the 
divine spirit, he hastened into England, thinking it more neces- 
sary to defend the church than to conquer kingdoms" (Wal- 
singham, Historia Anglica, VIII. 213). This address of the 
commissioners was occasioned by the Lollards having affixed 
a number of theses to the church doors against the scandalous 
lives of the clergy and the received doctrines' of the sacra- 
ments (Collier, Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain, III. 

At this period, A. D. 1371, Wyclif was the greatest man 
in England. He was educated at Oxford and none doubted 
his learning. Knighton, who was his enemy, described him 
as "second to none in philosophy, in scholastic discipline alto- 
gether incomparable." The popularity of the doctrines of 
Wyclif at Oxford is abundantly attested by the reiterated comr 
plaints of Archbishop Arundel, who affirmed that Oxford was 
a vine that brought forth wild and sour grapes, which, being 
eaten by the fathers, the teeth of the children were set on 
edge; so that the whole Province of Canterbury was tainted 
with novel and damnable Lollardism, to the intolerable and 
notorious scandal of the University. "She who formerly was 
the mother of virtues, the prop of the Catholic faith, the singu- 
lar pattern of obedience, now brings forth only abortive chil- 

The Early British Baptists 185 

dren, who encourage contumacy and rebellion, and sow tares 
among pure wheat" (Le Bas, The Life of Wyclif, 278). 

Thomas Walden, who had access to the writings of Wyclif, 
charges him with holding the following opinions : 

That it is a blasphemy to call any "head of the church" save Christ 
alone. That Rome is not the seat in which Christ's vicar doth reside. 
That the doctrine of the infallibility of the Church of Rome, in matters 
of faith, is the greatest blasphemy of anti-Christ. That in the times of 
the Apostles, there were only two orders, namely, priests and deacons, and 
that of bishop doth not differ from a priest. That it is lawful for a 
clergyman to marry. That he defined the church to consist only of per- 
sons predestinated. That those are fools and presumptuous who affirm 
such infants not to be saved who die without baptism ; and also, that he 
denied that all sins are abolished in baptism. That baptism does not 
confer, but only signifies grace, which was given before (Fuller, The Church 
History of Britain, I. 441). 

The above paragraph contains, as far as it goes, a satisfac- 
tory statement of doctrine. Upon the Lord's Supper and other 
matters of belief Walsingham says: 

That the eucharist, after consecrations, was not the true body of Christ 
but only an emblem or a sign of it. That the Church of Rome is no more 
the head of all churches than any other church, and that St. Peter had 
no greater authority than the rest of the apostles. That the pope of 
Rome has no more jurisdiction in the exercise of the keys than a com- 
mon priest. That the Gospel is a sufficient direction for the life and 
government of a Christian. That all other supplementary rules, insti- 
tuted by holy men, and practised in the monasteries, give no more im- 
provement to Christianity than whiteness does to a wall. That neither 
the pope, nor any other prelate, ought to have prisons for the punish- 
ment of offenders againstj discipline; but every person ought to go at 
large, and have his liberty, both in notion and practice (Walsingham, 
Historia Anglicana, 191). 

It is evident that Wyclif made great advances in reform 
over the Roman Catholic Church of his day. Year after year 
marked a further departure from Rome and her dogma. In noth- 
ing was this more manifest than in infant baptism. In the early 
years Wyclif firmly believed in the efficacy of infant bap- 
tism, but in later years he appears to have greatly modified 
his views. Thomas Walden goes so far as to call him "one 
of the seven heads that came out of the bottomless pit for 
denying infant baptism, that heresy of the Lollards, of whom 

i86 A History of the Baptists 

he was so great a ring-leader." Walsingham says: "That 
damnable heretic, John Wjclif, reassmned the cursed opinions 
of Berangarius" (Walsingham, Ypod. Neust., 133), of which 
it is certain denying infant baptism was' one. Collier expressly 
tells us "he denied the necessity" of infant baptism (Collier, 
An Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain, III. 185). The 
statement of Collier is unquestioned. Wyclif did not deny 
infant baptism itself, but the necessity of it. He did not believe 
that a child dying unbaptized would be lost (Wall, History 
of Infant Baptism, I. 436, 437). This was greatly in advance 
of the age and marked Wyclif at once a heretic and "an enemy 
of the Church." 

There is no effort in this place to assign Wyclif to a posi- 
tion among Baptist martyrs, but there is no doubt he held firmly 
to many Baptist positions. Crosby, on the other hand, declares 
he was a Baptist and argues the question at great length. "I 
am inclined to believe that Mr. Wyclif," says he, "was a Bap- 
tist, because some men of great note and learning in the Church 
of Kome, have left it upon record, that he denied infant bap- 
tism." Ajnong other authorities he quotes Joseph 'Vicecomes 
(De Kit. Bapt., lib. ii. chap. i). "Besides," continues Crosby, 
"they charged him with several of those which are called Ana- 
baptistical errors; such as refusing to take an oath (art. 41. 
condemned by the Council of Constance), and also that opinion, 
that dominion is founded in grace (Fuller, Church History of 
Great Britain, I. 444, Art. 51). Upon these testimonies, some 
Protestant writers have affirmed that Wyclif was a Baptist, 
and have put him in the number of those who have borne wit- 
ness against infant baptism. And had he been a man of 
scandalous character, that would have brought reproach upon 
those of that profession, a less proof would have been sufficient 
to have ranked him among that sect" (Crosby, The History of 
English Baptists, I. 8, 9). 

][^o doubt the sentiments of Wyclif, on many points, were 
the same as those of the Baptists, but there is no document 
known to me that warrants the belief that he was a Baptist 
(Evans, The Early English Baptists, 1. 13). 

The Early British Baptists 187 

It is certain that the Lollards, who had preceded Wyclif 
and had widely diffused their opinions, repudiated infant bap- 
tism (Neal, History of the Puritans, II. 354). The testimony 
of Neal is interesting. He says: 

That the denial of the right of infants to baptism was a principle gen- 
erally maintained among Lollards, is abundantly confirmed by the historians 
of those times, (Neal, History of the Puritans, II. 354). 

The followers of Wyclif and Lollard united and in a short 
time England was full of the "Bible Men." " 'Tis, there- 
fore, most reasonable to conclude," says Crosby, "that those 
persons were Baptists, and on that account baptized those that 
came over to their sect, and professed the true faith, and de- 
sired to be baptized into it" (Crosby, I. 17). 

The Lollards practised believers' baptism and denied infant 
baptism. Fox says one of the articles of faith among them 
was "that faith ought to precede baptism." This at least was 
the contention of a large portion of those people. 

The Lollard movement was later merged into the Anabap- 
tist, and this was hastened by the fact that their political 
principles were identical (Hook, Lives of the Archbishops of 
Canterbury, VI. 123). The Lollards continued to the days of 
the Eeformation. Mosheim says: "The Wyclifites, though 
obliged to keep concealed, had not been exterminated by one 
hundred and fifty years of persecution" (Mosheim, Institutes 
of Ecclesiastical History, III. 49). 

Davis (History of the Welsh Baptists, 21) claims that Wil- 
liam Tyndale (A. D. 1484-1536) was a Baptist. He was born 
near the line between England and Wales, but lived most of 
the time in Gloustershire. "Llewellyn Tyndale and Hezekiah 
Tyndale were members of the Baptist church at Abergaverney, 
South Wales." There is much mystery around the life of Tyn- 
dale. Bale calls him "the apostle of the English." "He was 
learned, a godly, and a good-natured man" (Fuller, Church 
History of Britain, II. 91). It is certain he shared many views 
held by the Baptists; but that he was a member of a Baptist 
church is nowhere proved. He always translated the word 
ecdesia by the word congregation, and held to a local concep- 

i88 A History of the Baptists 

tion of a churcli (Tyndale, Works II. 13. London, 1831). 
There Were only two offices in the church, pastor and deacons 
(I. 400). The elders or bishops should be married men (I. 
265). Upon the subject of baptism he is very full. He is 
confident that baptism does not wash away sin. "It is im- 
possible," says he, "that the waters of the river should wash 
our hearts" (Ibid, 30). Baptism was a plunging into the 
water (Ibid, 287). Baptism to avail must include repentance, 
faith and confession (III. 179). The church must, therefore, 
consist of believers (Ibid, 25). His book in a wonderful man- 
ner states accurately the position of the Baptists. 

Books for further reading and reference: 

Thomas Fuller, The Church History of Britadn, 2 volumes. 

Jeremy Coujeb, The Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain. 9 volumes. 

The Baptists in the Eeformatiok Pekiod in England. 

Henry VIII. — ^The Persecution of the Bairtists — ^The Hatred of the King — 
The Opinions of the Baptists — Alice Grevill — Simon Fish — A Royal Proc- 
lamation Against Strangers — The Coming of the Dutch — The Baptists 
Burnt — Stowe — Froude — A Sensation — The Baptists Increase Daily — 
Their Numbers — ^Their Churches — Immersion — "The Sum of the Holy 
Scripture" — Immersion Among the Baptists — The Donatists — Fuller — 
Featley — Edward VI — The Baptists Increase in Numbers in London — 
In Kent and Elsewhere — In Essex — Baptists Burnt — The Influence of 
John Calvin — Joan of Kent — The Practice of Immersion — The Baptism 
of Adults — J. Bales— <jriles Van Bellen — Robert Cooke and Dr. Turner — 
Queen Mary — She Attempts to Reestablish Romanism — Phillip II., of 
Spain — Bishop Gardiner — Edward Bonner — The Baptists Were Numer- 
ous — Shoals of Them From Abroad — Immersion — The Martyrs — ^Queen 
Elizabeth — The Name Baptists — Their Churches — The Coming From 
Over-Seas — The Heavy Hand of the Law — More Baptists Burnt — The 
Independents — Learn Their Ideas From the Baptists — Immersion the 
Rule — Immersion Among the Baptists — James I. — The Baptists Not Nu- 
merous in His Reign — The Burning of Edward Wightman — A petition to 
the House of Lords — An Humble Supplication to the King — ^An Appeal 
for Liberty of Conscience — Mark Leonard Busher. 

THE Eeformation period was' of long duration in England. 
It began with Henry VIII and really did not end till 
the Long Parliament which beheaded Charles I. During 
this formative time the Creed, the Liturgy, and the Practice 
of the Church of England were determined. 

Henry VIII (1509-1547) came to the English throne 
under the most favorable circumstances. He was young, culti- 
vated, brilliant, and endowed with all those social and mental 
qualities which sent a thrill to the heart of the nation and 
inspired the most sanguine hopes for the future. He had a 
splendid coronation, for his father had left him ample means 
to gratify his love for display. He married his deceased 
brother's wife, Catherine of Spain, after a solemn repudiation 
of the lawfulness of the former contract. This was the begin- 
ning of his troubles, and the occasion of endless disputes and 
■ultimately the separation of the Church of England from Rome. 

As much as Henry VIII hated the papal party, after he 
had broken with the Pope, he had still more hatred for the 


190 A History of the Baptists 

Baptists, at holme and abroad. ISTeither threats nor cajolery 
prevented the spread of the Baptists. Like the Israelites in 
Egypt, "the more they were afflicted, the more they grew." 

The history oi the Baptists of England, in the times of 
Henry VIII, is written in blood. He had scarcely come to 
the throne before proceedings were begun against them, and 
they were persecuted to the death. 

The chief agent of the king in these persecutions was 
William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury. There appeared 
before him, at the Mansion at Knoll, May 2, 1511, a number 
of persons. "Then I say, "says Crosby, "it is evident that they 
were opposers of infant baptism at that time, and then the rise 
of the Baptists is not of such late date as some would have it" 
(Crosby, The History of the Baptists, I. 30). They were 
required to renounce the following articles: 

1. That in the sacrament of the altar is not the body of Christ, but 
material bread. 2. That the sacrament of baptism and confirmation are 
not necessary, or profitable for men's souls. 3. That confession of sins 
ought not to be made to a priest. 4. That there is no more power given 
by God to a priest than to a layman. 5. That the solemnization of mat- 
rimony (by a priest) is not profitable or necessary for the well of a 
man's soul. 6. That the sacrament of extreme unction ia not profitable 
or necessary to a man's soul. 7. That pilgrimages to holy and devout 
places be not profitable, neither meritorious for man's soul. 8. That 
images of saints are not to be worshipped. 9. That a man should pray 
to no saint, but only to God. 10. That holy water, and holy bread, be 
not the better after the benediction made by the priest, than before (Bur- 
net, History of the Reformation of the Church of England, I. 27). 

All were punished. Alice Grevill, who had been a Baptist 
for twenty-eight years, was condemned to death. Simon Fish 
and James Bainham, in the year 1525, belonged to a Baptist 
church, located in Bow Lane. Fish was a theologian and a 
pamphleteer. He was educated in Oxford, came to London 
and entered Gray's Inn, about 1525. He was denounced as a 
damnable heretic, and in 1531 he died of a plague. His wife, 
who was suspected of heresy, married Bainham, who was burnt 
for heresy in 1532. He was a lawyer of high character and 
Burnet says "that for true generosity, he was an example to 
the age in which he lived." This is truly a remarkable testimony 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 191 

coming as it does from a bishop of the Church of England. 
Under examination he said that "thei truth of the holy Scrip- 
tures was never these eight hundred years past so plainly and 
expressly declared to the people as it had been within these six 
years." He demanded that only believers should be baptized in 
this militant church (Fox, Book of Martyrs, II. 329, 330). 
There was then an organized Baptist church, in London, in 
the practice of believers' immersion in the year 1525. He died 
a triumphant death, at the stake, April 20,: 1532, at Smithfield. 

The law against heretics was strengthened, in 1534-5. 
The most alartaing letters were sent into England, by English 
foreign officials, as to the insubordination of the Anabaptists, on 
the Continent. Henry VIII was already interested in the 
extermination of the Baptists, and his zeal extended to foreign 
lands. iHe extended his help in exterminating the Baptists in 
Germany (Gardiner, Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, 
VIL 167). 

The interest of the king was not confined to Germany- 
In the same year a royal proclamation was issued, in which it 
is said that many strangers are coming into this realm, who, 
''though they were baptized in their infancy, yet have, in con- 
tempt of the holy sacrament of baptism, rebaptized themselves. 
They are ordered to depart out of the realm in twelve days, 
under pain of death" (Wilkins, Concilia, III. 779). They 
did not return to the Continent and continued under the royal 
inspection (Cottonian MSS., Titus B. I. vol. 415). 

This law was soon placed into operation. The old Chroni- 
cler Stowe, A. D. 1533, relates the following details : 

The 25th day of May were — in St. Paul's Church, London — examined 
nineteen men and six women, born in Holland, whose opinions were, 
First, that Christ is not two natures, God and man; secondly, that Christ 
took neither flesh nor blood of the Virgin Mary ; thirdly, that children 
bom of infidels may be saved: fourthly, that baptism of children is of 
none effect, fifthly, that the sacrament of Christ's body is but bread only, 
sixthly, that he who after baptism sinneth wittingly, sinneth deadly, and 
cannot be saved. Fourteen of them were condemned ; a man and a woman 
were burnt at Smithfield; the other twelve of them were sent to other 
towns, there to be burnt. 

192 A History of the Baptists 

iFxovide, the English historian, gives a beautiful tribute 
to their fidelity. He says: 

The details are all gone, their names are gone. Poor Hollanders they 
were and that is all. Scarcely the fact seems worth the mentioning, so 
shortly is it told in a passing paragraph. For them no Europe was agi- 
tated, no courts were ordered in mourning, no papal hearts trembled with 
indignation. At their death the world looked on complacent, indifferent, 
or exulting. Yet here, too, out of twenty-five poor men and women were 
found fourteen who by no terror of stake or torture could be tempted to 
say they believed what they did not believe. History has for them no 
word of praise ; yet they, too, were not giving their blood in vain. Their 
lives might have been as useless as the lives of most of us. In their 
deaths they assisted to pay the purchase money for England's freedom 
(Froude, History of England, II. 385). 

The burning of the Baptists caused a profound sensation. 
It became a matter of court correspondence throughout Europe. 
One who has not studied the subject in the light of recent 
revealed facts cannot appreciate the large place the Baptists 
occupied in the public mind in the sixteenth century. But the 
burnings continued to the end of the reign of this king. 

The Baptists died with the greatest fortitude. Of them 
Latimer says: 

The Anabaptists that were burnt here in divers towns in England as 
I have heard of credible men, I saw them not myself, went to their death, 
even intrepid, as ye will say, without any fear in the world, cheerfully. 
Well, let them go (Latimer, Sermons, I. 143). 

The Landgrave of Hesse, in examining certain Baptists 
im Germany, found letters in their hands in regard to England. 
The letters showed that "the errors of that sect daily spread" 
in England. He wrote a violent letter to Henry and warned 
him against the Anabaptists. In October, 1538, the king ap- 
pointed a Commission composed of Thomas Cranmer, the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, as President^ with other distinguished 
men to prosecute the Anabaptists. 

The result was that the books of the Baptists were burnt 
wherever they were found. On November 16, following, the 
king issued a proclamation to the eifect that none were "to 
sell or print 'any books of Scripture', without the supervision 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 193 

of the king, one of the councils, or a bishop. Sacramentariana, 
Anabaptists, and the like, who sell booksi of false doctrine, are 
to be detected to the king or Privy Council" (Titus MSS. B. 
I. 527). All strangers who "lately rebaptized themselves" were 
ordered from the kingdom, and some Baptists were burnt at 
the stake. 

The thoughtful reader has doubtless frequently asked how 
many Baptists there were in England in the reign of Henry 

VIII. The question can only approximately be answered. 
There were probably more Baptists there at the period under 
survey than there were in America at the beginning of the 
Revolutionary War. Ammonius, under datel of November 8, 
1531, writes to Erasmus of the great numbers of the Anabap- 
tists in England. He says: "It is not astonishing that wood 
is so dear and scarce the heretics cause so many holocausts, 
and yet their numbers grow" (Brewer, Letters and Papers of 
Henry VIII, I. 285). Erasmus replied that Ammonius "has 
reason to be angry with the heretics for increasing the price of 
fuel for the coming Winter" (Ibid, 297). This was horrible 

It was regarded as a great feat to discover and break up 
"a bed of snakes," as their meetings were called. Erasmus, 
under date of February 28, 1528, wrote to Moore: "The 
heresy of the Anabaptists is much more widely diffused than 
any one suspects" (Brewer, Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, 
IV. pt. ii. 1771). The Bishop of Faenza, June 8, 1535, wrote 
to M. Ambrogio that the Anabaptists already have "a firm foot- 
ing in England" (Gardiner, Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, 

IX. 344). Hacket, an English official, places their number at 
6,000 and daily increasing. He says : 

Said that the king's justice and amiable and good entreating toward 
his subjects would preserve the realm against all adversity, and he marveled 
that those whose eyesight was so sharp as to see the fire that bums before 
their own doors, and the commotion of this new sect of rebaptizement, 
which now numbers 6,000, and is daily increasing (Brewer, Henry VIII., 
VII. 136). 

One town had more than 500 Baptists in it. Latimer, who 
was a contemporary, says of their numbers : 

194 -^ History of the Baptists 

I should have told you of a certain sect (the margin says they were 
Anabaptists) of heretics that spake against their order and doctrine; they 
have no magistrates or judges on the earth. Here I have to tell you what 
I have heard of late, by the relation of a credible person and worshipful 
man, of a town in this realm of England that hath above five hundred of 
heretics of this erroneous opinion in it (Latimer, Sermons, V. 151. Par- 
ker Society). 

Petrus TascMiis, under date of September 1^ 1538, says: 
"In England the truth, silently but widely is propagated and 
powerfully increases" (Corp. of the Reformation, III. 580). 

limmersion was the universal rule of baptism in the reign 
of Henry VIII. There are two elaborate rituals of the Church 
of England at this period. The one is : "A Declaration of the 
Seremonies to the Sacrament of Baptysm," A. D. 1537; and 
the other is the "Saulsbury Liturgy," 1541. The last is re- 
garded, by some, as the most sacred Liturgy belonging to the 
Church of England. Both of these liturgies enforce immersion. 
Erasmus, writing from England in 1532, gives the English prac- 
tice. He says: "We dip children all over in cold water, in a 
stone font." Every English monarch of the sixteenth century 
was immersed, Henry VIII and his elder brother Arthur, 
Elizabeth in 1533 and Edward VI in 1537 were all immersed. 

The form of baptism among the Baptists is equally clear. 
Simon Fish was cdmpelled to flee beyond the seas and while 
there he translated the old Baptist book, TKe '8um of the Holy 
Scripture. This old Dutch book demanded the immersion of 
the believer and denied infant baptism;. It was printed in 
England in 1529. Through the next fifty years many editions 
of the book appeared in England (Fish, The Sum of Holy Scrip- 
ture. British Museum, C. 37 a. Arber proper dialogues in 
Rede me and not Wroth. English Reprints^ 18'7l), and it 
became the Baptist text book next to the New Testament. 
There were editions of the book printed in England in 1547, 
1548 and 1550 (British Museum, C. 37 a). There are copies 
of two editions in the Library of the University of Cambridge. 
All of these editions exhibit the same bold language against 
the baptism of infants, and in favor of the immersion of be- 
lievers as the only act of baptism. The book was secretly 
published in the face of the greatest hostility, condemned by 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 195 

tlie decrees of councils and persistently circulated by the Bap- 
tists (Ex. reg. Warham, 188). 

The quaint and queer old Cliurchi historian Fuller, in 
giving a reason for the coming of so many Dutch. Baptists to 
England, also mentions something of their doctrines, their prac- 
tice of immersion and activities. He says : 

A match being now made up, by the Lord Cromwell's contrivance, 
betwixt King Henry and Lady Anne of Gleves, Dutchmen flocked faster 
than formerly into England. Many of them had active souls; so_ that 
whilst their hands were busied about their manufactures, their heads were 
also beating about points of divinity : Hereof they had many crude notions, 
too ignorant to manage themselves and too proud to crave the directions 
of others. Their minds had a by-stream of activity more than what sufficed 
to drive on their vocation: and this waste of their souls they employed in 
needless speculations, and soon after began to broach their strange opinions, 
being branded with the general name of Anabaptists. These Anabaptists 
for the main, are but "Donatists new dipt," and this year their name first 
appears in our English chronicles, etc, (Fuller, Church History of Britain, 
IL 27). 

Fuller was wrong in stating that these were the first Ana- 
baptists who appeared in England. He was right, however, 
in declaring that they were in the practice of dipping. The 
"Donatists new dipt" and the allusion to the ''bye-streams," 
show, of course, that the Baptists practised dipping. The state- 
ment is incapable of any other construction. Fuller was bom 
in 1609 and wrote his history in 1654. He was an eye witness 
of much of the times through which Baptists passed in their 
persecutions, and this account is peculiarly valuable. 

There is another author who lived only a short distance 
from' Fuller and published a book one year after the appearance 
of Fuller's history. He is the author of the book "The Ana- 
baptists Kouted." He also refers to the Donatists in connection 
with the Anabaptists. In fact the Donatists Seem to have been 
a current name by which the Baptists were called. What 
Fuller mentions in a figure of speech this author states in plain 
words. He declares: 

Anabaptists not only deny believers' children baptism, as the Pela- 
gians and Donatists did of old, but affirm that dipping the whole body under 
water is so necessary that without it none are truly baptized (as has 
been said) (The Anabaptists Routed, 171,172). 

196 A History of the Baptists 

Daniel Featlej, D. D., the opponent of the Baptists, bom 
in 1582, also declarea that the Baptists of the reign of Henry 
VIII practised dipping. He says: 

Let the punishment bear upon it the print of the ein, for as these 
sectaries drew one another into their errors, so also into the gulfe; and 
as they drown men spiritually by rebaptizing, and so profaning the holy 
sacrament, as also they were drowned corporally. In the year of our 
Lord 1539, two Anabaptists were burnt beyond Southwark (Featley, The 
Dippers Dipt). 

It will he noticed that Fuller says these Baptists were 
from Cleves, where the Baptists in 1534 were numerous (Keller, 
Preussische JaJirbucher, September, 1882). The Baptists of 
this Dutedom practised dipping in water (Rembert, Die Wie- 
dertaufer in Hexogtum Jiilich, 253). 

The practice of immersion was universal in the reign of 
Henry VIII. It was the form of baptism of all parties and 
there is no known testimony to the contrary. The Ohurch of 
England practised immersion. The Catholics practised im- 
mersion. The Baptists practised immersion. 

In the reign of Edward VI (1547-1553) the laws against 
the Baptists were enforced, and the two persons burned at the 
stake in this reign were Baptists. Others were safe, had the 
protection of the laws, even criminals were pardoned, but to 
be a Baptist was a grave crime. This sterling young king, 
merciful to an astonishing degree, for his heart Was peculiarly 
kind and tender, visited upon th© Baptists a cruelty that 
reminded one of a wild beast. 

The Baptists steadily increased in numbers. They were 
found in the court,, and among the common people, in th© town 
and in the country. Bishop Burnet says: "There were many 
Anabaptists in many parts of England" (Burnet, History of 
the Eeformation, II. 110). Heylyn says: "And at the same 
time, the Anabaptists, who had kept themselves unto themselves 
in the king's time, began to look abroad, and disperse their 
dotages" (Heylyn, History of the Reformation, I. 152). Bishop 
Fowler Short says : "Complaints had been brought to the Coun- 
cil of the prevalence! of the Anabaptists ... To check the 
progress of these opinions a Commission was appointed" (Short, 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 197 

History of the Church of England, VI. 543). These references 
had to do with the Baptists throughout the country. 

Their numhers in London were great. Bishop John 
Hooper wrote to Henry Bullinger, under date of June 25, 
1549, as follows: "The Anabaptist flock to this place (OLondon) 
and give me much trouble." (Ellis, Original Letters Eelative 
to the English Eef ormation, 1.65). In 1 5 50 Eidley was Bishop 
of London. In "the articles to be enquired of", early in June, 
the clergy were ordered to ascertain : 

Whether any speak against infant baptism., (Whether any of the 
Anabaptists' sect, or other, use notoriously any unlawful or private con- 
venticle (churches), whether they do use doctrine or administration of 
sacraments, separating themselves from the rest of the parish (British 
Museum C. 53 aa 11). 

Here is a direct official statement that there were Baptist 
conventicles, or churches, in London. Some of these churches 
were "notorious," and some of them more "private." These 
churches "do us© doctrine," had "the administration of the 
sacraments," that is, they baptized and observed the Lord's Sup- 
per, and they were separated from the parish churches. That is 
to say, there were fully organized Baptist churches in London in 
the year 1550. 

The information is equally positive that there were Baptist 
churches in Kent. Bishop John Hooper, June 26, 1550, writes 
regarding this district as follows : "That district is troubled with 
the frenzy of the Anabaptists more than any other part of the 
kingdom" (Ellis, Original Letters, I. 8Y). 'Strype says : "There 
were such assemblies [churches] in Kent" (Strype, Memorials, 
11. 266). Such congregations were in Feversham, Maidstone 
audi Eythome. 

The Baptists of Kent had a number of eminent ministers. 
Such was Cole of Feversham. Henry Hart began preaching 
in the reign of Henry VIII. He was strict and' holy in life 
but hot in his opinions. He, with several others, was thrown 
into prison, Humphrey Middleton was another. When he 
was cast into prison he said to the Archbishop : "Well, reverend 
sir, pass what sentence you think fit upon us ; but that you may 
act say that you were forewarned, I testify ithat your turn will 

198 A History of the Baptists 

be next." It aecordinglj came to pass that upon the release 
of Middleton the Archbishop was thrown into prison. Another 
preacher in Kent was John Kemp who *Vas. a great traveler 
abroad in Kent^ instructing and confirming the gospellers" 
(Strype, Annals of the Kefoirmation, II. ii. 284). 

There is much important information in regard to the 
Baptist churches in Essex (Strype, Memorials Ecclesiastical, 
II. i. 369). There was an organized Baptist church at Becking 
(Strype, Memorials of Archbishop Cranmer, I. 334. Also 
Lansdowne MSS., 930. 95). 'The Bocking-Braintree church 
book, which is still in existence, carries the authentic records of 
the church for more than two hundred years; but there is no 
question that the origin of the church dates back to the days of 
Edward VI" (Goadby, Bye Paths in Baptist History, 26-28). 
John Veron, in 1551, writing to Sir John Gates, says: 

For this our country of Essex, in which many of these libertines and 
Anabaptists are running in, "hoker moker," among the simple and igno- 
rant people to incite and move them to tumult and insurrection to magis- 
trates and rulers of this realm. "Whence I trust if ye once know them, ye 
will soon weed out of this country to the great good and quiet of the 
king's subjects of the same county and shire (Tracts on the Liberty of 
Conscience, ex). 

Only two Baptists were burnt during the reign of Edward 
VI. Burnet says there were two kinds of Anabaptists in the 
country. Says he : 

For the other sort of Anabaptists who only denied infant baptism, 
I find no severity used against them, but several books were written 
against them, to which they wrote some answers (Burnet, History of the 
Reformation, II. 112). 

The influence of John Calvin had begun to be felt iti Eng- 
lish affairs. His books had appeared in translations in Eng- 
land. He was responsible in a large measure for the demon of 
hate and fierce hostility which the Baptists of England had to 
encounter. He advised that "Anabaptists and reactionists 
should be alike put to death" (Eroude, History of England, 
y. 99). He wrote a letter to Lord Protector Somerset, the 
translation was probably made by Archbishop Cranmer (Calvin 
to the Protector, MSS. Domestic Edward VI, V. 1548), to 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 199 

the effect: "These altogether deserve to be well punished by 
the sword, seeing that they do conspire against God, who Had 
set him in his royal seat." 

The first to be burnt in this reign was Joan of Kent, who 
was probably a member of the church at Eythorne (Evans, 
The History of the English Baptists, I. 72 note). She was a 
pious and worthy woman, and ai great reader of the Scriptures. 
She was arrested iri the year 1548 on the charge of heresy and 
she was' burnt April 30, the following year. 

The other Baptist who suffered martyrdom in this reign 
was George van Pare. He was by profession a surgeon. He 
could not speak English and had to plead his cause through an! 
interpreter. Burnet says of his death : 

He suffered with great constancy of mind, and kissed the stake and 
faggots that were to burn him. Of this Pare I find a popish writer 
saying, that he was a man of most wonderful strict life, that he used 
to eat not more than once in two days, and before he would eat he would 
lie sometimes in his devotions prostrate on the ground (Burnet, History 
of the Reformation, II. i. 112). 

All parties in the reign of Henry VIII practised immer- 
sion and there was but slight change in the reign of Edward 
VI. Twice was the Prayer Book revised during this period, 
and the form of baptism prescribed in both books was immer- 
sion. A slight concession was made in the last Prayer Book of 
Edward, possibly to the growing influence of Calvin, but more 
probably from a dread that children dying unbaptized would 
be lost, to the effect that if the child be weak it would siiffioe 
to pour water upon it. This was the first time that fine "clothes," 
or a desire for worldly show, was permitted to enter into the 
ceremony of baptism. 

In such instances pouring was permitted but it was per- 
formed with the greatest hesitation and doubt. Tyndale says: 

If aught be left out, or if the child be not altogether dipped in water, 
or if, because the child is sick, the priest dare not plunge it into the 
water, but pour water upon its head, — 'How tremble they. How quake 
they. "How say ye. Sir John," say they, "is the child christened enough? 
Hath it full Christendom? They believe verily, that the child is not 
christened" (Tyndale, Works, III. 289). 

200 A History of the Baptists 

Instructions were further given to the archdeacons, in 
1553, as follows: 

Whether there be any who will not suffer the priest to dip the child 
three times in the font, being yet strong and able to abide and suffer it in 
the judgment and opinion of discreet and expert persons, but will needs 
have the child in the clothes, and only be sprinkled with a few drops of 
water (Hart, Ecclesiastical Records, 87). 

Immersion was insisted upon in all cases where it could 
he performed. In the Oatechismus, that is to say, a Short 
Instruction into the Christian Religion there is a Sermon on 
Baptism. There is a picture representing a number of adults 
being baptized by immersion. The Sermon further says: 

For what greater shame can there be, than a man to profess himself 
to be a Christian man, because he is baptized, and yet he knoweth not 
what baptism is, nor what strength the same hath, nor what the dipping 
in the water doth betoken . . . For baptism and the dipping into 
water doth betoken, that the old Adam, with all his sin and evil lusts, 
ought to be drowned and killed by daily contrition and repentance 
(Sermon on Baptism, ccxxiii). 

Provision was made for the baptism of adults and only 
immersion was allowed. The Catechism of Edward VI pro- 

Him that ibelieveth in Christ, professeth the articles of the Christian 
faith, and mindeth (I speak now of them that are grown of ripe years) the 
minister dippeth in or washeth in pure clean water, in the name of, etc. 

In the very year that Edward came to the throne, A. D. 
1547,( J. Bales wrote a book against the Baptists (A breyfe 
andi plaine declaration. . . Anabaptists). He had been accused 
of holding Baptist principles and this book was a reply to the 
charge. He declares that they "that be of age" as well as infants 
"ought to be baptized" "in the fountain of regeneration." He 
thought that grown people ought to be immersed upon a pro- 
fession of faith. He says when he thus speaks of baptism he 
is called an Anabaptist. According to Bales an Anabaptist is 
one who iknmersed those that be of age in a fountain. Bales 
continues : 

If he speaks anything concerning the abuse of the ceremonies and 
sacraments: what exclamations do they make and how do they report 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 201 

him to be a sacramentary. If ye speak anything of baptisme: declar- 
ing that neither the holiness of the water, neither the oil, can give the 
grace therein promised, and that the washing in the fount avayleth not 
them that observe not the profession they make there how detestable 
Anabaptists shall be counted. 

The opinion of the Anabaptists was that they did not be- 
lieve that the water saves, but that an adult ought to be dipped 
in water on his profession of faith and live a holy life after that 

The opinion of the Baptists on immersion is set forth in 
the trial of the Dutchman Giles van Bellan, in York. He said : 

Item, That no man can make any water holier than God made it; 
therefore the water in the font, or the holy water in the church, is 
no holier than the water in the river, for the water in the river is as 
holy as the water in the' font, if a man be baptized in it, and the words of 
baptism be spoken over liim. 

Item, That any man may baptize in water as well as a priest (Evans 
Early English Baptists, I. 243). 

He held to the baptism of immersion in water. These are 
the words almost literally condemned by Archbishop Warham 
as taken from, the Sum of the Holy Scripture. 

Eobert Cooke was a celebrated Baptist who lived during the 
reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth. He 
was connected with the court for more that forty years. He 
was ardent in his opinions, full of debate, eloquent and well 
educated. He was probably the Baptist against whom John 
Knox wrote his celebrated book on the Anabaptists (Works of 
JokQ Knox, V. 16). Dr. William Turner also wrote a book 
against him (A Preservative, or triacle, against the poyson of 
Pelagius, lately renewed and styrred up in the furious sect of 

Turner was described as a "noted and forward theologist 
and physician of his time." On coming to the court he and 
Cooke would have debates in private. At length he preached a 
sermon against the 'Anabaptists which sermon was reported to 
Cooke and he answered it. Turner had already written some- 
thing against the Anabaptists. A book had appeared in 1548 
called the Sum of Divinity by Robert Hutton. The introduo- 

202 A History of the Baptists 

tion was written by Turner. In the chapter on baptism are 
found these words : 

Repentance and remission of sins, or, as Saint Paul sayeth a regener- 
ation or new birth for the dipping into water signifieth that the man to 
be mortified with sin, the coming up again or deliverance out of the 
water signifieth the new man to be washed and cleansed and reconciled 
to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. 

The persons mentioned as dipped into the water were adults. 
A striking contrast is drawn by Dr. Turner. Cooke and his 
church dipped believers only; Turner and his church dipped 
infants. Both practised the same form of baptism, dipping, but 
they differed in regard to the subjects. The position is stated 
by Dr. Turner in these words : 

And because baptism is a passive sacrament, and no man can bap- 
tize himself, but is baptized of another : and children may as well be 
dipped into the water in the name of Christ (which is the outward bap- 
tism as much as one man can give to another) even as old folks ; and 
when as they have the promise of salvation, as well as the old folks 
and can receive the sign of the sacrament as well ; there is no cause why 
the baptism of children shall be deferred (Turner, Preservative, 40). 

Turner says these Baptists practised "over baptism, which 
is the dipping into water in the name of Christ," and he thinks 
infants should be dipped as well (Ibid, 43). He further says 
"that these water snakes" are everywhere. 

Mary Tudor, known in history as the "Bloody Mary," came 
to the throne July 6, 1553, and died in the early mioming of 
N^ovember 17, 1558. Mary was an intense Roman Catholic 
at the time when Roman Catholicism was passing from England 
forever. "Catholicism had ceased to be the expression of the 
true conviction of sensible !tnen on the relation between them- 
selves and heaven. Credible to the student in the cloister, cred- 
ible to those whose thoughts were but echoes of tradition, it was 
not credible any more to men of active and original vigor of un- 
derstanding. Credible to the uneducated, the eccentric, the im- 
aginative, the superstitious; credible to those who reasoned by 
sentiment, and made sylogisms of their passions, it was incred- 
ible then and ever more to the sane and healthy intelligence 
which in the long run commands the mind of the world" 
(Froude, History of England, YII. 10). 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 203 

Wlien Mary came to the tbrone lier first thouglit was to 
re-establish the Roman Catholic religion. She was literally 
consumed by her zeal. Henry VIII and Edward VI bad both 
burnt the Baptists. Mary sought to bum all who were opposed 
to Romanism, Baptists and Reformers alike. There was intense 
opposition to the policy of the Queen, an opposition which 
finally worked ber doom, but Mary was none the less deter- 
mined on that account, "I have never seen," said Renard the 
Imperial Ambassador of Charles V, *'the people as disturbed 
and discontented as now." Mary was determined that burning 
should be administered to heretics. 

She was ably seconded by several lieutenants. Philip II of 
Spain, the husband of Mary, was the leader in the punishment 
of heretics through the horrible Inquisition. Her chief agent 
and adviser was Gardiner, the Bishop of Winchester. Bishop 
Ponet gave the following description of him: 

The doctor had a smart color, hanging nose, frowning brows, eyes an 
inch within his head, a nose hooked lilje a buzzard's ; nostrils like a horse, 
ever snuffing in the wind ; a sparrow mouth, great paws like the devil, 
talons on his feet like the grife, two inches longer than the natural toes, 
and so tied with sinews that he cannot abide to be touched/ (Froude, 
History of England, VI. 105, 197, 295, 298). 

Loyd said of him : 

His reserveness was such that he never did what he aimed at, never 
aimed at what he intended, never intended what he said, and never said 
what he thought ; whereby he carried it so, that others should do his 
business when they opposed it, and should undermine theirs when he 
seemed to promote it. A man that was to be traced like a fox, and read 
like Hebrew, backward. If you would know what he did, you must observe 
what he did not ; that whilst intending one thing, he professed to aim 
at the opposite ; that he never intended what he said, and never did what 
he intended (Lodge, Illustrations of English History, I. 126). 

Another enemy of the Baptists was Edward Bonner the 
Bishop of London. The brutality of Bonner was notorious 
and unquestionable. A published letter was addressed to him 
by a lady in which he is called "the common cut throat and 
general slaughter slave of all the bishops of England" (Godly 
Letter Addressed to Bonner. Fox, Acts and Monuments, VII. 

204 A History of the Baptists 

These were tlie murderers of the Baptists. J. M. Stone is 
the latest writer' on Mary. He is a Eoman Catholic and an 
apologist. He is compelled to admit, after he had done all 
he could to explain her acts, that she persecuted. He says: 

"But apart from all misrepresentations, exaggerations, distorted evidence 
and positive fiction, there remains the fact that a considerable number of 
persons did perish at the stake in Mary's reign (Stone, History of Mary 
I., 371, 372). 

"That the Baptists were very numerous," says Crosby, "at 
this time, is without controversy; and no doubt many of the 
tmartyrs in Queen Mary's days were such, though historians 
seem to be silent withj respect to the opinion of the martyrs 
about baptism; neither can it be imagined, that the papists 
would in the least favor any of that denomination which they 
so detested and abhorred" (Crosby, History of the English 
Baptists, I. 63). Investigations have confirmed the surmises 
of Crosby, and we know that many of the martyrs were Bap- 
tists. The historian Ivimey also declares that "the Baptists came 
in for their full share of suffering, and that many of the martyrs 
were of that denomination, which was then numerous" (Ivimey, 
History of the Baptists, I. 97). 

The exact number of the martyrs among the Baptists, at 
this period, probably will never be known, but the large majority 
of those who suffered were of this communion. William Clark 
recently investigated this subject and gave the following testi- 
mony : "A considerable proportion of those who suffered under 
Mary were Anabaptists" (Clark, The Anglican Reformation, 
328). This conservative statetenent is borne out amply by the 
original documents, 

ITothing but immersion was permitted in England at this 
time. Bishop Bonner, of London, in his article to be enquired 
of demanded: 

Item: Whether there be any that will not suffer the priest to dip the 
child three times in the font, being yet strong, and able to abide and 
suffer it in the judgment and opinion of discreet and expert persons; 
but will needs have the child in the clothes and only be sprinkledl with a 
few drops of water (Cardwell, Documentary Annals, I. 157). 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 205 

Trine immersion had long l>een the practice of the Church 
of England. There was a tendency in Mary's time to practise 
one dipping (Wall, The History of Infant Baptism, I. 580). 
The testimony of Dr. Watson, the Bishop of Lincoln, is at 
hand. He says: 

Though the old and ancient tradition of the Church hath been from the 
beginning to dip the child three times, etc, yet that is not such necessity; 
but if he be once dipped in the water, it is sufficient. Yea, and in times 
of great peril and necessity, if the water be poured on his head, it will 
suffice. (Watson, Holsome and Catholyke Doctryne Conicernynge the 
Seven Sacraments, 22, 23. London, 1558), 

There is no recorded exception to dipping among the Bap- 

Elizabeth the second queen regnant of England, the last 
sovereign of the Tudor line, daughter of Henry VIII and 
Anne Boleyn, was bom at the Palace of Greenwich, September 
7, 1533, and died March 24, 1603. In her treatment of relig- 
ion she was vacillating and could not be depended upon to 
pursue the same policy. Although the Eoman Catholics were 
constantly plotting against her throne and even her life she 
treated them with great leniency. With the Baptists it was 
not so. From the beginning she was their enemy, and her 
hostility continued with increasing violence to the end of her 

At best the distinction between the names Baptists and Ana- 
baptists is technical ; for the word Anabaptists is still used in 
England to designate the Baptists of to-day ; and was long used 
in this country, even after the Eevolution, in the same manner. 
It is now the legal name of the Baptists of JSTew England. 
The word Baptists was used by a high official of the English 
government in the earlier days of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. 
That official was Sir William Cecil, afterwards Lord Burleigh, 
then the Secretary of State and especial adviser of the Queen. 
The date is March 10, 1569. It is found in a remarkable sketch 
drawn up possibly for his own use, as his habit was, to look 
everything square in the face; but more probably that he might 
place before Elizabeth the dangers that beset her government. 
At any rate, it is an official memorandum of the highest officer 
of state, and easily the most influential man under Elizabeth. 

2o6 A History of the Baptists 

It is a long document, covering many pages, but in this instance 
we are interested in only one of the alleged dangers enumerated. 
Secretary Cecil says: 

The next imperfections are here at home, which be these : The state 
of religion many ways weakened by boldness to the true service of God; 
by increase of the number and courage of the Baptists, and the deridera 
of religion ; and lastly by the increase of numbers of irreligious and Epi- 
cures. (A Collection of State Papers relating to the Reign of Elizabeth. 
Transcribed from original Letters and other authentic Memorials, left 
by William Cecil, Lord Burleigh, and now remaining at Hartfield House, 
in the Library of the Right Honorable the Present Earl of Saulsbury, 
by Samuel Haynes, M. A., London, 1740. I. 585, 586). 

It is therefore scientifically correct to call these people Bap- 

The Baptists had not been exterminated in the reign of 
bloody Mary. Under her many Baptists had suffered martyr- 
dom, some fled to other lands, the most remained at home. It 
is certain that at the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth Eng- 
land was full of Baptists. The opinion of Marsden, one of the 
calmest of the Puritans, may be of interest on this point. He 

But the Baptists were the most numerous, and for some time by far the 
most formidable opponents of the Church. They are said to have existed 
since the days of the Lollards, but their chief strength was more abroad 
(Marsden, 144). 

Evans, an unusually careful historian, says : 

Not only the existence, but the wide spread of Baptist princii-Ies, 
during the reign of the royal Tudor lioness, is acknowledged on all hands. 
(Evans, Early English Baptists, I. 147). 

There were at this time a number of Baptist churches in 
England and the Baptists had a great following. Three rea- 
sons may be offered for the multitude of the Baptists of Eng- 
land] in the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth. Eirst, protec- 
tion had been given to Dutch and Erench refugees. Churches 
were allowed to them in which divine worship, according to 
their own views, could be conducted. While nonei of these per- 
mitted churches were Baptist, yet many Baptists unawares to 
the authorities came in. Second, the state of the Netherlands 

The Baptists in the R^ormation Period in England 207 

supplied another cause. England under a Protestant Queen, 
appealed to them as a land of freedom, and many Baptists 
hoped there to find at least partial liberty of conscience. Third, 
there were also in England numibers of native Baptists. At 
the prospects of liberty they came from their hiding places 
where they had been sequestered. 

The native Baptists were reenforced by shoals of Baptists 
from abroad. The Bishop of London described these exiles as 
"a marvelous colluvies of evil persons, for the most part facino- 
rosi ehriosi et sectarii" Roger Hutchinson, a contemporary, 
thus speaks of them : 

Divers sectaries were crept in, under the cover and title of true re- 
ligion, who through the persuasion of the devil hath sowed the devilish 
seed, as thie . . . Anabaptists ( Roger Hutchinson, Works, 214") . 

Bishop Jewel, who had just been consecrated Bishop of 
Saulabury, wrote to Peter Martyr, November 6, 1560, as follows: 

We found at the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth, a large and 
inauspicious crop of Anians, Anabaptists, and other pests, which, I know 
not how, but as mushrooms spring up in the night and in darkness, so 
these sprung up in that darkness and unhappy night of the Marian times. 
These I am informed, and hope that it is the fact, have retreated before 
the light of pure doctrines, like owlsj at the light of the sun and are! no- 
where to be found (Zurich Letters, 91). 

Strype went over the subject and carefully recorded the 
facts as follows: 

There were so many of these strangers in London, even upon, the first 
coming of the Queen to the crown, that in her second year she was fain 
to issue a proclamation for the discovery of them, and a command to 
transport them out of her dominions; or else expected to proceed against 
them according to the laws ecclesiastical or others (Strype, The Life of 
Archbishop Grindal, 180). 

The Queen being informed of the coming of these Baptists, 
isaued letters, dated in May, to Archbishop Parker, to cause 
a visitation to be made. The Queen wrote: 

Forasmuch as we do understand that there do daily repair into this 
realm great numbers of strangers from the parts beyond the seas, otherwise 
than hath been accustomed ; and the most part thereof pretending the 

2o8 A History of the Baptists 

cause of their coming to be for to live in this realm with satisfaction of 
their conscience in Christian religion, according to the order allowed in 
this realm, that are infected with dangerous opinions, contrary to the 
faith of Christ's Church, as Anabaptists, and such other sectaries, etc. 
(Oardwell, Documentary Annals, I. 307, 308). 

Bishop Aylmer says: 

The Anabaptists with infinite other swarms of Satanites, dot you think 
that every pulpit may well be able to answer them? I pray God that there 
may be many who can. And in these later days, the old festered sores 
newly broke out, as the Anabaptists, the freewillers, with infinite other 
swarms of God's enemies. These ugly monsters, brooks of the devil's 
brotherhood (Aylmer, Harborough of Faithful subjects, in Preface). 

Whitgift in 1572 wrote a book against the Baptists. He 
came to the following conclusions : 

Only I desire you to be circumspect, and to understand, that Anabap- 
tism, (which usually followeth the preaching of the Gospel) is greatly to 
be feared in the Church of England. 

It is indeed true that the Baptists usually "follow the preach- 
ing of the Gospel." There were many replies to Whitgift 
In a large volume (The Defence) in reply to his opponents he 
repeatedly denounced the Baptists. One of their worst faults 
was, he says : 

They had their private and secret conventicles, and did divide and 
separate themselves from the Church, neither would they communicate 
with such as were not of their sect, either in prayers, sacraments, or 
hearing of the word (Whitgift, An Answer to a Certain Libel). 

The Baptists had churches, observed the sacraments, and 
were of the stricter sort. Bishop Cox was also disturbed by 
the Baptists. In writing to Gaultner, June 12, 1573, he says: 

You must not grieve, my Gaultner, that sectaries are showing them- 
selves to be mischievous and wicked interpretersi of your most just opinion. 
For it cannot be otherwise but that tares must grow in the Lord's field, 
and that in no small quantity. Of this kind are the Anabaptists . . . 
and all other good for nothing tribes of sectaries (Ziirich Letters, 285). 

Persecution was resorted to but the Baptists continued to 
multiply; foreigners continued to stream into the country, as 
many as 4,000 resided near ^Norwich, many of them were Bap- 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 209 

lists. Moreover clmrches were formed. Of those still exist- 
ing it is alleged that Faringdon was founded in 1576 ; Crowle 
and Epworth both in 1597; Dartmouth, Oxford, Wedmore, 
Bridgewater, all in 1600. That is to say there were conventi- 
cles in at least nine counties outside of London, where churches 
still exist as their direct successors (Langley, English Baptists 
before 1602. London, April 11, 1902. In The Baptist). 
Some of these Baptists were foreignersi but some of them were 
"even in England amongst ourselves and amidst our bowels" 
(Acta Kegia, IV. 86). Dr. Some (A Godly Treatise, wherein 
are examined and Confuted many execrable fancies) not only 
tells of "the Anabaptistical conventicles in London and other 
places," but he likewise affirms that many of the Anabaptists 
were educated in the imiversities. 

"The Anabaptists," says Burnet, "were generally men of 
virtue, and of universal charity" (Burnet, History of the Re- 
formation of his own Time, 702). But no principle of tolera- 
tion was to prevail toward them. The people of that generation, 
save the Baptists, never understood religious liberty. Least 
of all did Elizabeth understand it. On December 27, 1558, 
she commanded all preaching to cease; and February 4, 1559, 
the High Commission Court was established by Parliament. 
This was the beginning of unnumbered woes to the Baptists. 
The Baptists were to suffer most of all. 

Three things were undertaken against the heretics. The 
first was certain injunctions given by the Queen's Majesty 
(British Museum, 698 h 20 (1)). One of the injunctions was: 

That no man shall wilfully or obstinately defend or maintain heresies, 
errors, or false doctrine, contrary to the faith of Christ and his holy 

Another was against "the printing of heretical and seditious 

The second. To follow these prohibitions) with a search war- 
rant, or a visitation, as it was called. When a royal visitation 
was to be made the kingdom was divided into circuits, to which 
was assigned a certain number of visitors, partly clergymen, 
partly laymen. The moment they arrived in any diocese the 
exercise of spiritual authority by every other person ceased. 

210 A History of the Baptists 

Thej summoned before them the bishop, the clergy, and eight, 
six or four of the principal householders from each parish, 
adm.inistered the oath of allegiance and supremacy, required 
answers upon oath to every question which they thought 
proper to put, and exacted a promised obedience to the royal 
injunctions. In this manner the search for heretics was pur- 
sued from parish to parish throughout the kingdom. 

The third step began February 28, in an Act for the Uni- 
formity of Keligion and came fully into operation December 
17 of the same year. An Act of Parliament was obtained for 
one religion, for a uniform mode of worship, one form of 
discipline, one form of church government for the entire nation ; 
with which establishment all must outwardly comply. This 
Act metamorphosed the Church of England into its present 
form, being the fourth alteration in thirty-four years. 

Elizabeth was anxious to do what she could to gratify Philip 
II, and she took an opportunity of showing him that the Eng- 
lish for whom she demanded toleration from him, were not the 
heretics with whom they had been confounded. She had caught 
in her net some Dutch Anabaptists. These became the scapegoat 
for her diplomacy. ''The propositions for which they suffered," 
says Froude, "with the counter propositions of the orthodox, 
have passed away and become meaningless. The theology of the 
government mischievous; but they were not punished in the 
service of even imagined truth. The friends of Spain about 
the Queen wished only to show* Philip that England was not 
the paradise of heresy which the world believed" (Froude, His- 
tory of England, II. 43, 44). Two noble m,en were carried 
to ISTewgate and burnt at Smithfield, July 22, 1575. One was 
a man of years with a wife and nine children ; the other was a 
young man who had been married only a few weeks. 

The last years of Elizabeth were marked by special cruelty. 
After the defeat of the Spanish Armada she had time to press 
her ideas of conformity. After' th^ death of Grindal she had 
chosen John Whitgift as Archbishop of Canterbury. Honest 
and well intentioned, but narrow minded to an almost incredible 
degree the one thought which filled his mind was the hope of 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 21 1 

bringing all men into conformity with the Church of England. 
Fletcher^ the historian of the Independents, described him as 
follows : 

This man was thorough in all he did, especially if souls were to be 
snared, or persons of real piety to be punished. He seemed to take a 
malicious delight in bending the laws over to the side of persecution ; and 
when no law existed which could thus be used, he either made or sought 
to procure one. He was probably more feared and detested than any man 
of his day (Fletcher, History of Independency, II. 145). 

Whitgift choked the prisons with Baptists. He regarded the 
Baptists as heretics beyond any of his times. The doctrines of 
theset men, were fatal to the idea of a National Church. There 
could be no National Church if infants were not to be baptized, 
if priests did not by the magic of baptism make all children 
Christians. He made the pulpits Ting against the Baptists. 
He preached in St. Paul, November 17, 1583, against the Ana- 
baptists as "our wayward and conceited persons." The conse- 
quence was that some Baptists went tot foreign lands, but the 
most hid themselves or under the cloak of conformity waited 
for better times. 

It has been solmetimes stated that the Baptists originated 
with the Independents. The exact reverse is true. The Inde- 
pendents derived their ideas of religious liberty and inde- 
pendent form of government from the Baptists. 

Eobert Browne was the father of the Independents or Con- 
gregation alists. It was in the year 1580' that he went to Nor- 
wich, This was the headquarters of the Dutch Baptists in 
England. There were "almost as many Dutch strangers as 
English natives inhabiting therein" (Fuller, Church History 
of Britain, III. 62). Collier says: 

At this time the Dutch had a numerous congregation at Norwich ; many 
of these people inclining to Anabaptism, were the more disposed to en- 
tertain any new resembling opinions (Collier, Ecclesiastical History of 
Great Britain, VII. 2). 

From these Dutch Baptists he learned some of his opinions, 
and so, in that city, in the year 1584, he organized the first 
Independent Church. Many of the foremost writers admit, 
as the circumstances indicate, that he copied from the Baptists. 

212 A History of the Baptists 

No one except the Baptists ever held these peculiar views of 
liberty of conscience and independence of church government; 
and the Congregationalista did not vrell learn these lessons; 

Weingarten makes this strong, statement: 

The perfect agreement between the views of Browne and those of the 
Baptists as far as the nature of a church is concerned, is certainly proof 
enough that he borrowed this idea from them, though in his "True Declara- 
tions" of 1584 he did not deem it advisable to acknowledge the fact, lest 
he should receive in addition to all the opprobrious names heaped upon 
his, that of Anabaptists. In 1571 there were no less than 3,925 Dutch- 
men in Norwich (Weingarten, Revolutions Kirchen Englands, 20). 

Sheffer says : 

Browne's new ideas concerning the nature of the Church opened to him 
in the circle of the Dutch Baptists! in Norwich. 

One of the most recent of the historians of the Congrega- 
tionalists is Williston Walker, Professor in Hartford Theo- 
logical Seminary. About the connection between Browne and 
the Anabaptists he makes the following statements : 

In many respects — in their abandonment of the State Church, in their 
direct appeal to the Word of God for every detail of administration, in 
their organization and officers — their likeness to those of the radical 
Reformers of the Continent is so striking that some affiliation seems almost 
certain. Nor is the geographical argument for probable connection with 
continental movements less weighty. These radical English efforts for a 
complete reformation had their chief support in the eastern counties, es- 
pecially in the vicinity of Norwich and London. These regions had long 
been the recipient of Dutch immigration; and the influx from the Nether- 
lands had vastly increased during the early reign of Elizabeth, owing to the 
tyranny of Philip II, In 1562 the Dutch and Walloons settled in Eng- 
land numbering 30,000. By 1568 some 5225 of the people of London were 
of this immigration; and by 1587 they constituted more than half of the 
population of Norwich, while they were largely present in other coast 
towns. Now these immigrants were chiefly artisans, and among the work- 
men of Holland Anabaptist views were widely diseminated; and while 
it would be unjustifiable to claim that these exiles on English soil were 
chiefly, or largely, Anabaptists, there were Anabaptists among them, and 
an Anabaptist way of thinking may not improbably have been widely in- 
duced among those who may have been entirely unconscious of the source 
from which their impulse came. Certainly the resemblance between the 
Anabaptist movement of the Continent and English Congregationalism in 
theories of church polity, and the geographical possibilities of contact be- 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 213 

tween the two, are sufficiently manifest to make a denial of relationship 
exceedingly difficult (Walker, A History of the Congregational Churches 
of the United States, 26). 

After tracing certain dissimilarities of the two bodies' he 
says that Browne never acknowledged his indebtedness to 
the Anabaptists. He then further remarks: 

Though no trace of a recognition of indebtedness to Anabaptist thought 
can be found in Browne's writings, and though we discover no Dutch 
names among the small number of his followers whom we know by name 
at all, the similarity of the system which he now worked out from that of 
the Anabaptists is so great in many respects that the conclusion is hard to 
avoid that the resemblance is more than accidental (p. 36). 

In 1582 he emigrated, on account of persecutions, to Middle- 
burg, Zealand. Here his church was broken up by dissensions. 
The Baptists were numerous here, and some of his people fell 
in with them (Brandt, History of the Reformation in the Low 
Countries, I. 343, 443). Johnson, the ■Pastor of the Separatist 
Church, in Amsterdam, writing in 1606, says of these people 
who fled from England on account of persecution : 

A while after they were come hither, divers of them fell into the errors 
of the Anabaptists, which are too common in these countries, and so per- 
sisting, were excommunited by the rest (Johnson, An Inquirie and An- 
swer of Thomas White, 63). 

Immersion was the almost universal rule in Elizabeth's reign. 
Gough, a learned antiquarian, of two centuries ago, states the 
condition of things in England under this queen. He quotes 
the original authorities to make good his words. He says : 

This (immersion) in England was custom, not law, for, in the time of 
Queen Elizabeth, the governors of the Episcopal Church in effect ex- 
pressly prohibited sprinkling, forbidding the use of basins in public bap- 
tism. Last of all (the Church Wardens) shall see that in every Church 
there be an holy font, not a basin, wherein baptism may be administered, 
and it be kept comely and clean. Item, that the font be not removed, nor 
that the curate do baptize in parish churches in any basins nor in any 
other form than is already prescribed. Sprinkling, therefore, was not 
allowed, except in the Church of Rome, in cases of necessity at home 
(Archaeology, X. 207, 208). 

The authorities were particular that the law should be com- 
plied with. The first commentary upon the Book of Common 

214 A History of the Baptists 

Prayer was by Thomas Sparrow. He says on baptism as it 
was imderstoodi in bis time: 

This baptism is to be at the font. What the font is everybody knows, 
but why is it so called. The rites of baptism in the first times were per- 
formed in fountains and rivers, both because their converts were many, 
and because of those ages were unprovided of other baptisteries; we have 
no other reminder of the rite but th^ name. For hence it is we call our 
baptisteries fonts; which when religion found peace, were built and con- 
secrated for the more reverence and respect of the sacrament (Sparrow, 
A Rationale upon the Book of Common Prayer, 299). 

Bishop Horn writing to Henry BuUinger, of Zurich, in 1575, 
says of baptism in England : 

The minister examines them concerning their faith, and afterwards dips 
the infant (Zurich Letters, Second Series, 356). 

John Brooke, A. D. 1577, gives a glimpse of the form of 
baptism by immersion. He says: 

I believe that baptism ought to be administered (not with oil, salt, 
spittle, or such things) but only in pure and clean water, in the name of 
the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (BiX)oke, A brief and clean Con- 
fession of the Christian Fayth). 

Many of the Baptists were connected with the church of 
John a Lasco which was organized] in London in 1550. This 
was a good hiding place for foreign Baptists. The practice of 
this church was dipping. Their Catechism prescribes: 

Q. — 'What are the sacrements of the church of Christ? A. — Baptism 
and the Supi)er of the Lord. Q. What is baptism? A. — It is a holy 
institution of Christ, in which the church is dipped in water in the name 
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Denkleynen catech- 
ismus, oft kinder leere der Duytscher Ghmeynte van London. An. 1566). 

In this connection Robinson states that the Anabaptists prac- 
tised dipping. He says : 

They found no fault with the ordinary mode of baptizing, for that was 
dipping, but their objections lie against the subject, a child (Robinson, 
The History of Baptism, 555). 

The year 1571 marks the appearance of a very important 
book (Reformation Legum Ecclesiasticarum) , which was' to 
have been sent forth by the authority of John Fox. It was 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 215 

prepared by Archbishop Cranmer and other Commissioners, 
a.nd was probably written by Dr. Haddon. It was printed un- 
der the supervision of Bishop Parker in the 13th Parliament 
of Elizabeth, It makes clear that the Church of England re- 
quired the candidates to be "plunged into the waters {in aquas 
demergitur) and rise again out of them." It is equally clear 
on the practice of dipping among the Baptists. After alluding 
to their denial of infant baptism it says : 

Likewise more errors are heaped up by others in baptism, which some 
so amazed look as if they believed that from that eternal element itself 
the Holy Spirit emerges, and that his power, his name, and his efficiency, 
out of which we are renewed and his grace and the remaining gifts pro- 
ceeded out of it, swim in the very fonts of baptism. In a word, they wish 
our total regeneration to be due to that sacred pit which inveighs against 
our senses. 

The year 1578 affords an additional proof of immersion 
among the Baptists of England. The Eev. John Man, Merton 
College, Oxford, published in English, a translation and adap- 
tation of the Common Places of the Christian Eeligion by "Wolf- 
gang Musoulus. He says the word baptism comes from a 
Greek word which means in English, "dipping or drowning." 
He declares the form of baptism among the Baptists to be im- 
mersion. He continues: 

But some man will object . If the baptism of John and the baptism' of 
Christ be all one, then the Apostlesi had no reason to baptize the twelve 
disciples in the manner of our Lord Jesus, who were baptized before of 
John. For what purpose was it to dip them twice in one baptism? Did 
not some of the fathers, and the Anabaptists of our days, take the foun- 
dation of their baptizing of this (Man, Common Places of the Christian 
Religion, 678). 

Wall particularly marks the correspondence between the de- 
cline of dipping in the Church of England and the growth of the 
Baptists. According to his position. Baptists thrive wherever 
Pedobaptists practise pouring or sprinkling. Dipping and the 
Baptists go together. The Dutch Baptists made no particular 
progress in England because the Einglish practised dipping. 
"When pouring began to be the custom in the days of Elizabeth 
the Baptists made progress, and their great popularity in Eng- 

2i6 A History of the Baptists 

land was secured by the growth of sprinkling in the reigns of 
James I and Charles I. The statements of Wall are very in- 
teresting. He says: 

Germany and Holland afterwards had their share of trouble with this 
sect; but not till they also had, almost generally, left off the dipping of 
infants. England all this while kept to the old way. And though several 
times some Dutch Anabaptists came over hither during these times, en- 
deavoring to make proselytes here; yet Foxe the historian in Queen 
Elizabeth's time declares that he never heard of any Englishman that was 
perverted by them. So that antipaedobaptism did not begin here while 
dipping in the ordinary baptisms lasted. 'Then for two reigns pouring 
Water on the face of the infant Was most in fashion, and some few of the 
people turned antipaedobaptists, but did not make a separation for it. 
They never had any considerable numibers here, till the presbyterian reign 
began. These men (out of opposition to the church of England I think) 
brought the external part of the sacrament to a less significant symbol than 
Calvin himself had done, (for he directs pouring of water on the face,) 
and in most places changed pouring toi sprinkling. This scandalized many 
people, and indeed it was, and is really scandalous. So partly that, and 
partly the gap that was then set open for all sects that would, to propagate 
themselves, gave the rise to this: which I therefore think, as I said, would 
upon our return to thei church of England way, cease (Wall, The Histo- 
ry of Infant Baptism, II. 404, 465). 

The reign of James I. (1603-1625) was in a wild time, an 
age of ceaseless conflict all around. The human mind, awak- 
ening from the sleep of Feudalism and the Dark Ages, fast- 
ened on all of the problems inherent in human society problems 
which even at the present day are not half solved. In Eng- 
land during the seventeenth century, men were digging down 
to the roots of things. They were asking. What is the ultimate 
authority in human affairs ? Upon what does government rest ? 
and, For what purpose does it exist ? ( Arber, The Story of the 
Pilgrim Fathers, 6). But the Baptists and others were to win 
victories on constitutional and religious liberty hitherto un- 
known in England. 

The Baptist churches in the early part of the reign of Jamea 
I were in the extremity of weakness, in the depths of obscur- 
ity, and in the midst of violent persecutions. The powers of 
the state and of the hierarchy were combined, and persistently 
directed to stamp them out of existence, Bnpri§oned, ban- 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 217 

ished, or put to deatii, it was supposed for a time that they 
had almost become extinct ; but they grew in secret, multiplied 
exceedingly, and were found in every part of England. It is 
said by Omerod, in 1605, that "so hold our Sectaries also 
conventicles in private houses, and in secret corners, which 
truth seldom seeketh." He continues: "And thus their plot- 
ting and plodding together they (being few in number at the 
first) are grown to such a multitude, as that one of their own 
preachers said openly in a pulpit, he was persuaded that there 
were 10,000 of them in England, and that the number of thelm 
increased daily in every place of all stations and degrees" 
(Omerod, The Picture of a Puritan. London, 1605). These 
doubtless were not all Baptists, but the Baptists were well re- 
presented among the Dissenters. 

Notwithstanding that Edward Wightmau was burnt to 
death, the Baptists petitioned, in 1610, the House of Lords for 
wider liberty of conscience and greater privileges. The peti- 
tion is preserved in the Library of the House of Lords, and 
is endorsed on the back "read and rejected." The petition is 
as follows: 

To the right Honorable aesembly of the Commons House of Parliament. 

A most humble supplication of divers poor prisoners, and many others 
the King's native loyal subjects ready to testify it by the oath of allegiance 
in all sincerity, whose grievances are lamentable, only for cause of con- 

Most humbly showing that whereas in the Parliament holden in the 
seventh year of the King's majesty's reign that now is, it was enacted that 
all persons whatsoever above the age of eighteen years of age, not coming 
to Church, etc, should take the oath of allegiance, and for the refusal there- 
of, should be committed to prison without bail, etc. By such statute the 
Popish Recusants upon taking the oath, are daily delivered from imprison- 
ments: and divers of usl are also set at Ldberty when we fall under the 
hands of the Reverend Judges and Justices. But when we fall into the 
hands of the bishops wfe can have no benefit by the said oath, for they 
say it belongeth only to Popish Recusants and not to others; but kept 
have we been by them in lingering imprisonments, divided from wives, child- 
ren, servants and callings, not for any other cause but only for* conscience 
toward God, to the utter undoing of us, our wives and children. 

Our most humble supplication therefore to this high and Honorable 
Assembly lis, that in commiseration of the distressed estate of us, our 
poor -vfives and children, it may be enacted in express words that other the 

2i8 A History of the Baptists 

King's majesty's faithful subjects, as well as the Romish Recusants may 
be freed from imprisonment upon taking the said oath. 

And we shall still (as we do day and night) pray that the God of heaven 
may be in your Honorable Assembly, for by him do princes decree justice. 

By his majesty's faithful subjects 

Most' falsely called 


Rejected by the Committee. 

The Baptists, in 1615, put forth an "humble supplication to 
the King's majesty." It bore the title, "Persecution for Re- 
ligion judged and condemned" (British Museum, 4108 de 30 
(5)). It was reprinted by the Baptists in 1620 and 1622. In 
the Epistle to the king they pathetically say : 

Yet our most humble desire of our Lord the King, is, That he would not 
give his power" to force his faithful subjects to dissemble to believe as he 
believes, in the least measure of persecution; though it is no small per- 
secution to live many years in filthy prisons, in hunger, cold, idleness, di- 
vided from wife, family, calling, left in continual miseries and temptations, 
so as death would be to many less persecution ; seeing that his majesty 
confesseth, that to change the mind must be the work of God. And of the 
lord bishops we desire, that they would a little leave oflE persecuting those 
that cannot believe as they, till they have proved that God is well pleased 
therewith, and the souls of such as submit are in safety from condemna- 
tion ; let them prove this, and we protest that we will forever submit to 
them, and so will thousands ; and therefore if there be any spark of grace 
in them, let them set themselves to give satisfaction by word of writing, or 
both. But( if they will not, but continue their cruel courses as they have 
done, let them remember that they must come to judgment, and have the 
abominations set in order before them. 

This appeal is signed by "Christ's unworthy witnesses, his 
majesty's faithful subjects, commonly (but most falsely) called 
Anabaptists." So there were thousands of Baptists in Eng- 
land at this time and many of them had' never been out of the 
country for they describe their condition ag in prison and in 
persecution. They declare they were falsely called Anabap- 
tists, and this appeal was long afterwards published by the 
Baptists in the hours of persecution as a suitable historical docu- 
ment setting forth their position. The supplication exposed by 
several excellent arguments the great sin of persecution; they 
rejected the baptism of infants, as being a practice which had 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 210 

no foundation in ScrijDture ; and all baptisms received either in 
the Church of Eome, or the Church of England, they looked 
upon as invalid, because received in a false church and from 
antichristian ministers. They denied succession to Eome and 
declared succession not necessary to baptism. They affirmed: 
"That any disciple of Christ, in vrhat part of the world soever, 
coming to the Lord's way, he by the word and Spirit of God 
preaching that way unto others, and converting, he may and 
ought also to baptize them." They asserted that every man 
had a right to judge for himself in matters of religion; and 
that to persecute on account of religion is illegal and anti- 

They acknowledged magistracy toi be Grod's ordinance, and 
that kings and such as are in authority ought to be obeyed in 
all civil matters, not only for fear, but also for conscience sake. 

They allowed the taking of an oath to be lawful; and de- 
clared that all of their profession were willing in faithfulness 
and truth to subscribe the oath of allegiance. 

They own that some called Anabaptists held several strange 
opinions contrary to them ; and endeavored to clear themselves 
from deserving censure on that account, by showing, that it 
was so in some of the primitive churches ; as some in the church 
of Corinth denied the resurrection of the dead; some in the 
church of Pergamos held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans and 
yet Christ and his x\postles did not condemn all for the errors 
of some. But that which! they chiefly inveigh against is the 
pride, luxury and oppression of the lordly bishops, and the pre- 
tended spiritual power by which, they say, many of them were 
exposed to the confiscation of goods, long and lingering im- 
prisonment, hanging, burning, and banishment. "All of which," 
they say, "In our Confession of Faith in print, published four 
years ago." 

Thi^ is a (memorable document. "The enlarged and accu- 
rate views which this pamphlet," says Price, "broached, evince 
an astonishing progress in the knowledge of religious freedom, 
and fully entitle its authors to be regarded as the first ex- 
pounders and most enlightened advocates of this best inheri- 
tance of man. Other writers, of more distinguished name, 

220 A History of the Baptists 

succeeded, and robbed them of tbeir honor; but their title is 
so good, and the amount of service they performed on behalf 
of the common interests of humanity is so incalculable, that 
an impartial posterity must assign to them due meed of praise. 
It belonged to the members of a calumniated and despised sect, 
few in, numbers and poor in circumstances, tol bring forth to 
the public view, in their simplicity and omnipotence, those im- 
mortal principles which are now universally recognized as of 
divine authority and universal obligation" (Price, History of 
Protestant ^Nonconformity in England, L 520, 523. Lon- 
don, 1836-1&38). 

There was an event which happened in the year 1614 which 
was of more importance than all of the decrees of the bishops. 
It was a book written by an humble Baptist, a citizen of Lon- 
don. An old letter throws much light upon his history (in 
the Mennonite Library, Amsterdam). Mark Leonard Busher, 
the author, was in the prime of a ripe manhood, being at that 
date fifty-seven years of age. He wrote the first book which 
appeared in England advocating liberty of conscience. It can- 
not be read without a throb. The style is simple and rather 
helpless, but one comes upon some touching passages (Masson, 
The Life of Milton, IIL 102). He was still living in 1641, 
in Leyden, poor, old, and forsaken. Whether he returned with 
Helwys and his church, or at another date, is not known, but 
he was in London in 1614. The probability is that on the 
publication of his book he was compelled to flee the country 
for at a later date he was again in Holland. The book was to 
receive no favor from, the cruel and persecuting Church of 
England. The rigid Presbyterians and the Church of England 
would not tolerate the principles it contained. ^Nevertheless, the 
good seed was planted. In after years Locke and Milton heard 
the voice of Busher with rapture. 

The main contention of the book is "except a man be born 
again he cannot see the kingdom of God" ; that regeneration is 
the result of faith in Christ; and that no king or bishop is 
able to commiand faith. Persecution, therefore, is irrational, 
and must fail of its object ; men cannot be made Christians by 
force. To this he adds another appeal : Even Turks, infidels. 

The Baptists in the Reformation Period in England 221 

and the heathen tolerate those of other beliefs than their own. 
Therefore he says: 

How much more ought Christians, when as the Turks do tolerate them? 
Shall we be less merciful than the Turks? or shall we learn the Turks 
to persecute the Christians? It is not only unmerciful, but unnatural and 
abominable ; yea, monstrous for one Christian to vex and destroy another 
for difference and questions of religion. 

He pleads for this) liberty to be granted to the Romanists — 
the first Englishman who had the courage to do so — and argues 
that this could be done with entire safety to the state. This 
was an unheard of stretch of generosity. He also advocated 
the freedom of the press. He says ; 

That for the more peace and quietness, and for the satisfying of the 
weak and simple, among so many persons differing in religion, it be law- 
ful for every person on persons, yea, Jews and papists, to write, dispute, 
confer, and reason, print and puWish any matter touching religion, either 
for or against whomsoever, always provided they allege no Fathers for 
proof of any' point of religion, but only the holy Scriptures (Busher, Re- 
ligious Peace: or, a Plea for Liberty of Conscience, 51). 

Slowly but surely the debt to the Baptists for religious lib- 
erty is being acknowledged. Says Stoughton: 

The Baptists were foremost in the advocacy of religious freedom, and 
perhaps to one of them, Leonard Busher, citizen of London, belongs the 
honor of presenting, in this country, the first distinct and broad plea for 
liberty of conscience (Stoughton, Ecclesiastical History of England, II. 

The Baptists from thel beginning stood for liberty of con- 
science for all. 

Books for further reading and reference: 
Fbotjde, History of England. 12 volumes. 

Gilbert Burnet, History of the Reformation of the Church of Eng- 
land, 3 volumes. 
J. H. Blunt, Reformation of the Church of England. 2 volumes. 
Thomas Cbosbt, A History of the English Baptists. 4 volumes. 



He was an Unusual Man— The Material for His Life Rare and Complicated 
— Lincoln — Grainsborough — The Crowle Documents — Animosity Against 
Him — He is Baptized — His Great Ability — The Anabaptists in Holland — 
Baptist Succession — The Question of His Se-Baptism — The Position of 
Baptist Writers — His Own Words' — His Immersion — No difiScuIty to ob- 
tain Immersion in Holland — Ashton — The Mennonites — B. Evans — Muller 
—Robert Barclay — P. B.— R. B.— Thomas Wall— Giles Shute— Crosby— 
Ivemey — Taylor — Masson — Bishop Hall — Clyfton — Baillie — I. H. — ^Mark 
Leonard — Busher — Helwys — John Norcott — John Morton — I. Graunt — 
Smyth His Own Witness — ^Excluded From the Baptists Church — He dif- 
fers From the Mennonites — The Testimony of Helwys — Helwys Returns 
to England. 

It is now necessary to return and consider a movement which 
has made a great noise in the world. It is a review of the 
Rev. John Smyth and his work in Holland, and the connec- 
tion of the English Baptists with that work. 

John Smyth has, been the occasion of many violent contro- 
versies. An episode in his life, for it can) scarcely be called 
more than that, has been the provocation for the writing of 
many books and to this day authors find a perennial interest 
in his doings. Some assert that while he lived in Gainsborough, 
in 1606, he turned Baptist, and was baptized by John Morton 
in the river Don ; others assert that the manuscript which gives 
this account is a forgery; some assert that, at a later date, in 
Holland, he baptized himself; others declare that he was bap- 
tized by Helwys; some say that the first General Baptist 
churches of England originated with him and his company; 
while others declare that there were Baptist churches in England 
long previous to this date. Such are some of the contradictions 
which arise in the investigation of the details of the life of this 
singular and gifted man. 

The date and place of his birth have not been ascertained. 
It is certain that he was educated at Cambridge. He entered 
the University, March 15, 1586, in Christ's College, and grad- 
uated as Master of Arts, 1593 (Burgess, Smyth the Se-Bap- 


The Episode of John Smyth .223 

tist, 42. London, 1911). He was ordained a clergyman of 
tlie Churcli of England by William Wickham, in 1594. He 
was elected preacher of the 'City of Lincoln, September 27, 
1600 (Lincoln Records, f 5b) and ended his services there 
October 13, 1602, It is certain that while in this place lie 
rejected the doctrines of the Anabaptists ajid believed the 
slanders alleged against them (Smyth, a paterne of true Praye, 
Works, I. 164. Cambridge, 1915). 

He remained in Lincoln till 1606, when he became pastor 
of an Independent Church in Gainsborough. He remained 
there to some date preceding March, 1608, when hei removed 
to Holland (Smyth, The Character of the Beast, Tl. Bod- 
leian Library, n p Pamp.). While he was pastor at Gainsr 
borough a manuscript which purports to be the minutes of the 
Baptist Church at Epworth and Crowle (Dr. John Clifford, The 
Gerieral Baptist Magazine, London, July, 1879, vol. 81), was 
found. It records : 

1606, March 24. This night at midnight Elder John Morton bap- 
tized John Smith, vicar of Gainsborough, in the River Don. It vras so 
dark we were obliged to have torch lights. Elder Brewster prayed, Mr. 
Smith made a good confession; walked to Epworth in his cold clothes, 
but received no harm. The distance was over two miles. All of our 
friends were present. To the triune God be praise. 

The occasion for the publication of these extracts was the 
reopening of the chapel at Crowle, June 8, 1879. Many more 
of these records were printed at the time. 

On its publication this document was violently assailed in the 
United States as a forgery ; because of the alleged immersion of 
Smyth by Morton. 

There are many things recorded in these minutes of Ep- 
worth and Crowle which are not easily understood, other things 
which are improbable, and stiU others which seem to be impossi- 
ble. But when one remembers that there was a veil of secrecy 
thrown over all of the doings of the Separatists ; that some of the 
most influential men secretly sympathized with and possibly be- 
longed to them ; the deeper one reads into the history of those 
times the more clearly he is convinced that dissent was wide- 
spread. When one remembers all of this he is not likely to 

224 -^ History of the Baptists 

be dogmatic in his assertions. It is possible that these minutes 
were compilations, but one had better not lean too heavily 
on unauthenticated manuscripts. 

Shortly after Smyth arrived in Holland he repudiated his 
former baptism. This was probably about the year 1609. He 
remained a Baptist a short time and was then excluded by the 
church which he had organized and Thomas Helwys became 
pastor and leader. At a later date Smyth applied to the Men- 
nonites for membership, but after inueh discussion and dis- 
turbance among them, his application was rejected. It was 
the occasion of a great debate and much acrimony among the 
Mennonites. Letters were written by many parties and some 
of the Mennonite churches went so far as to formally condemn 
the union in severe terms. Two Mennonite preachers, His 
and Gerritz (L. F. Reus, Aufrichteige JSTachrichten Mennoni- 
ten, 93, A. D. 1748), wrote 'Confessions which were favora- 
ble to the Mennonites and had Smyth and others to sign them. 
The Confessions only dissatisfied both parties and failed to 
bring union. Of the forty-two English who signed one of them, 
eleven erased their names, and the gravest dissatisfaction arose 
over it among the Mennonites thenaselves. The result was that 
Smyth was not received by the Mennonites and the remnant 
of his company wasi only received after years of waiting, and 
then not without friction. 

The subject of Anabaptism was not new among the Separ- 
atists in Holland. Francis Johnson testified! in 1606 that a 
little while after 1593, when his church emigrated "divers of 
them fell into the heresies of the Anabaptists (which are too 
common in these countries), and so persisting were excommuni- 
cated by the rest." John Payne (Payne, Eoyall Exchange, 
Haarlem, 1597) mentions the English Baptists bred in the 
Low Countries; and Henoch Clapham, the same year, had 
trouble with some Anabaptists in his Separatist church in Am- 
sterdam (Clapham, Little tractate entitled the Carpenter, dated 
July 7, 1597). 

Extraordinary animosity has been developed by a discus- 
sion on the point whether Smyth baptized, himself or was bap- 
tized by Helwys, He was surrounded by the Dutch Bap- 

The Episode of John Smyth 22$ 

lists but he did not apply to them for baptism. The Pedo- 
baptist story goes that he first baptized himself, then Helwys, 
and then the remainder of the company. He has since been 
called a Se-Baptist. Tbe story has been used with uncommon 
gravity by the opponents) of Baptist principles, and replied to 
with no small amount of indignation as a calumny on the man 
(Hanbury, Historical Memorials, I. 179). Baptist writers 
have usually taken strong ground against Smyth having bap- 
tized himself. It is difficult to see what difference it makes 
whether Smyth baptized himself or was baptized by Helwys. 
It is certain! that Smyth and his church thought they had the 
right to originate baptism among themselves and quoted the 
example of John the Baptist to sustain it. Their real trouble 
was not baptism, but church succession. Smyth was led to 
doubt whether there were any baptized churches in the world 
and hence any true succession. 

It may be of moment to remark that the baptism of Smyth 
did not affect the baptism of the Baptist churches of England. 
It has been affirmed that the General Baptist churches of Eng- 
land originated with this church of Smyth's; that this was 
the mother church of Baptists; and even that the Baptist de- 
nomination originated here in the year 1609. After prolonged 
investigation, we are imable to find the evidence that any Bap- 
tist church greiw out of tbis one. We are able to find that after 
Helwys settled with this church in London, some churches 
affiliated with it in a certain correspondence with some Men- 
nonites in Holland; but that they had a common origin is no- 
where manifest. If such proof exists it has escaped our at- 

The Baptist historians of England are singularly unanimous 
on this point. "If he (Smyth) were guilty of what they 
charge with hilm," says Crosby, " 'tis no blemish on the Eng- 
lish Baptists ; who neither approved any such method, nor did 
they receive their baptism from him" (Crosby, History of the 
English Baptists, I. 99). 

Ivimey had no such an opinion. Referring to the origin 
of the Particular Baptist churches in the reign of Charles I, 
Lo says: 

226 A History of the Baptists 

It was during this reign that an event took place among the Baptists, 
which has been commonly, but erroneously considered as the commence- 
ment of their history in this country. This was the formation of some 
churches in London, which many have supposed to be the first of this de- 
nomination in the kingdom. But could it be proved that there were no 
distinct Baptist churches till this period, it would not follow that there 
were no Baptists, which however has been confidently stated. .We have 
shown that persons professing similar sentiments with these of the pre- 
sent English Baptists, have been found in every period of the English 
church; and also that as early as the year 1589, from the testimony of 
Dr. Some, there were many churches of this description in London and in 
the country. During the reign of James, we have produced unexceptional 
proof that there were great numbers of Baptists who suffered imprisonment 
in divers counties, and that a petition to the king was signed by many of 
their ministers. It is thought that the General Baptist church in Canter- 
bury has existed for two hundred and fifty years, and that Joan Boucher 
who was burnt in the reign of Edward the sixth was a member of it 
(Ivimey, A History of the English Baptists, I. 137, 138). 

Adam Taylor, who wrote the history of the General Bap- 
tists, has a chapter upon: ^'The History of the English Gen- 
eral Baptists, from the Reformation to the commencement of 
the eighteenth century" (Taylor, A History of the General 
Baptists, I. 65). A little further on he says: "This (church 
of Smyth's) appears to have been the first Baptist church com- 
posed of Englishmen, after the Reformation" (p. 70). Taylor 
is doubtless wrong in this statement that this was the first 
church composed only of Englishmen. As to the General Bap- 
tists, Taylor affirms and traces their history from' the Refor- 

It has been assumed by some that Smyth was baptized by 
affusion. The point has been made that he was surrounded 
by the Dutch Mennonites, who invariably, it is claimed, prac- 
tised sprinkling, and that Smyth learned his practice from 
them. Smyth was not a Dutchman but an Episcopalian from 
the North of England. It was the Presbyterians, and not the 
Church of England, who, from Scottish influences, introduced 
sprinkling into England. At the very time, and before Smyth 
left England, the Church of England was using radical meas- 
ures to prevent the growth of affusion in that country. Proof 
must be introduced to show that Simyth differed from his fellow 
Churchmen in this practice. Such proof is unknown. 

The Episode of John Smyth 227 

The difficulty in the mind of Smyth: was not to obtain im- 
mersion in Holland, for there were those who immersed there, 
but thfe proper succession. The authors who have been the 
most persistently quoted to prove that Smyth was baptized by 
affusion are Asbton, the editor of the Works of John Robin- 
son; Evans, the author of a History of the Baptists; MuUer, 
a Mennonite, and Barclay, a Quaker. Ashton was a Congre- 
gationalist, a partisan for pouring, who invariably gave the 
worst reason for Smyth and the best for Eobinson. MuUer 
was a Mennonite who never passed an opportunity to justify 
pouring. Barclay was a Quaker, who did not believe in bap- 
tism at all, and his effort was to invalidate all baptism, espe- 
cially as practised by the Baptists. Evans is conservative and 
pronounces no decided opinion. 

Ashton offers no proof in favor of his position. (He thinks 
there are "incidental allusions" which would indicate "that 
the baptism which Mr. Smyth performed on himself, must 
have been rather by affusion or pouring " than by immersion. 
This cautious statement of an author who advocated pouring, 
and who was dogmatic on most subjects, is a slender basis for 
any presumptive proof that Smyth was in the practice of 

It is curious, however, that those who have been so careful 
tx> quote Dr. Ashton in the above guarded statement that Smyth 
poured water on himself have been equally careful to pass over 
the strong statement that the Dutch Baptists, of the time of 
Smyth, practised dipping. In one instance he speaks with un- 
certainty; in the other positively. The first fits the precon- 
ceived views of those who find pouring everywhere and is al- 
ways quoted; the last is fatal to such views and is left un- 

It is worth while to see what Ashton does say. His words 
are as follows: 

It is rather a singular fact as zealous as were Mr. Smyth and his 
friends for believers' baptism, and earnest as were their opponents in be- 
half of infant baptism, the question of the mode of baptism wasi never 
mooted by either party. Immersion for baptism does not appear to have 
been practised or pleaded by either Smyth or Helwys, the alleged founder of 

228 A History of the Baptists 

the General Baptist denomination in England. Nothing appears in these 
controversial writings to warrant the supposition that they regarded im- 
mersion as the proper and only mode of administering that ordinance. 
Incidental allusions there are, in their own works, and in the replies of 
Robinson, that the baptism which Mr. Smyth performed on himself, must 
have been rather by affusion or pouring. Nor is this supiK)sition improb- 
able, from the fact that the Dutch Baptists, by whom they were surrounded, 
uniformly administered baptism by immersion (Robinson, Works, III. 461). 

If silencei was worth anything it would prove immersion as 
readily as pouring. An honest man ought not to quibble. An 
elaborate statement has been made that all of the Mennonites 
practised pouring and that in 1612 immersion was unknown 
among them; that immersion began in Holland in 1619, 
among the CoUegiants, at Eynsburg. Therefore, it is said, 
Smyth practised pouring. As an argument, this is illogical. 
If Smyth desired to practise pouring, why did he not go to 
the Mennonites if they possessed the thing he wanted ? Smyth 
was an Englishman, starting baptism on his own account, be- 
cause he believed all succession was lost, and he did not go to 
the Dutch for baptism. 

It is further claimed: That when the company of Smyth, 
after it had been expelled by Helwys and the Baptist contin- 
gent, applied for membership among the Mennonites that the 
form of baptism was not raised; and that therefore Smyth 
performed pouring upon himseK. A marvelous argument 
Why should the Mennonites raise the question? Why raise 
the question if the Mennonites practised pouring and Smyth 
had been imimersed? There are those now-a-days who prac- 
tise affusion and they are quite content to receive persons who 
have been immersed into their fellowship and raise no ques- 
tions. Generally, it is those who have been immersed who 
raise the question of the validity of pouring. As a matter of 
fact, the Mennonites did not receive Smyth into their church, 
and it was more than three years (1615) after his death, be- 
fore the remainder of his company was received into that body. 
AH of this was preceded by a violent controversy, which stirred 
the Mennonite body throughout Holland. If there was such 
harmony between Smyth and the Mennonites! it would be diffi- 

The Episode of John Smyth 229 

cult to explain this extraordinary proceeding. 'Astton, as a 
witness, is not faithful to those who quote himL 

Evans has heen quoted in the same manner, but he is cau- 
tious. On the existence of immersion in Holland, in 1608- 
1612, he is particularly clear. After quoting Ashton, he says 
on his own account: 

The remark of the editor is equally true of a considerable period of the 
controversy in this country (England), The aH but universal practice in 
the English Church, rendered the discussion of the mode unnecessary. In 
Tombes' replies to his many opponents, the claims of infants are the points 
in dispute. Upon the mode of Smyth's baptism, we shall have more to 
say presently ; and we only add that there was a portion of the Dutch 
Baptists who uniformly administered baptism by immersion (Evans, Early 
English Baptists, I. 203 note). 

On the same page he adds: 

There were Baptists in Holland, those who administered baptism by 
immersion, as well as those who adopted the mode at present practised by 
our brethren of the Netherlands. 

It is clear from both Ashton and Evans that had Smyth 
desired immersion from the Mennonites there were those 
in the practice who could have immersed him. Smyth was 
probably immersed in infancy; if the Crowle Records be true, 
he was immersed in 1606 ; and was now immersed again. It 
was the validity of baptism over which he stumbled. 

MuUer is freely quoted by Evans. He was a Mennonite. 
The Mennonite brethren are most excellent people, but they 
are nervous on the subject of baptism. They are unusually 
anxious to justify their practice of pouring. But even MuUer 
says Smyth was immersed. He thought the Mennonites of 
the period were in the practice of aifusion, but that Smyth 
immersed himself. Since MuUer has been freely quoted, this 
declaration is of interest. He says: 

I, myself, add the following remarks : It appears to me that the persona 
mentioned in the memorial, who were not yet baptized, were admitted to 
the Waterlanders by the baptism not of immersion, but of sprinkling. 
This mode of baptism was, from the days of Menno, the only mode used among 
them, and still amongst us. The Waterlanders, nor any other of the 
various parties of the Netherlands Doopsgezinden, practised at that time 
baptism by immersion. Had they made an exception, in that use, on behalf 

230 A History of the Baptists 

of the English, who in their country had not yet received baptismy it is 
more than probable that the memorial would have mentioned the alteration. 
But they cared only for the very nature of the baptism (as founded in 
full ages), and were therefore willing to admit those who were baptized 
by a mode different from theirs, just as they are wonted to do now-a-days 
(Evans, I. 224). 

The other witness is a Quaker, and Barclay always be- 
littles baptism, and takes special delight in his endeavors to 
invalidate the claims of the English Baptists. He was com- 
pelled to admit that the question of the manner of baptism 
does not come up (Barclay, The Inner Life of the Societies 
of the Coamnonwealth, 70). 

When Professor Masson was asked his opinion in regard to 
this book of Barclay's, he said: 

Yes, I know the booK well. I was much interested and read the book 
as soon as it came from the press. Robert Barclay belonged to a family 
which had lon^ been connected with the religious history of England, and 
I was led to expect great things of his book ; but I was disappointed. 
It seems to me that he failed to catch the trend of the religious life of 
the times of which he wrote. The work is in nowise equaled to the subject 
with which ha deals; or with what we might have expected from him. I 
suppose he collected some useful information, but the work is not especially 

These are Has witnesses and this is the testimony produced 
to prove that all of the Mennonitesi practised sprinkling and 
that John Smyth was baptized by affusion. All of these are 
recent writers and they do not pretend that there is| a word 
in the writings of Smyth, his friends, or even his enemies, 
that would prove that he practised affusion. They all declare 
that the act of baptism never comes upon the boards. It is 
the old Pedobaptist argument of silence. But these authors 
do not sustain the position assumed. From one or the other 
of the authors it will be found that all of the Mennonites 
practised dipping, some of them practised dipping, and further 
that Smyth was dipped. The overwhelming majority, how- 
ever, of the historians, including many who have given the 
subject most careful consideration, never intimate that Smyth 
w&s baptized in any other way save by immersion. 

The Episode of John Smyth 231 

Since Smyth did not apply to the Dutch Baptists for hap- 
tism, had no connection with them till a period after his 
baptism, and was never in their fellowship, the form of bap- 
tism as practised by the Mennonites had no bearing on Smyth 
and his baptism. Therefore, at this place, though there is much 
material on the subject,, the form of baptism among the Men- 
nonites is not discussed at length. The two Mennonites with 
whom Smyth especially dealt were Hans de Ris and Luhbert 
Gerritz, who belonged to the Waterlander congregations. There 
are two witnesses at hand, Abram a Doorslaer, and Peter 
Jacob Austro-Sylvium, writing under date of 1649, by the 
authority of the North Holland Synod, mentions these per- 
sons by name and declares they practised "baptism by immer- 
sion or sprinkling with water" (Grondige ende Klare Wer- 
tooninghe vanhet oderscheydt in the voozamste Hooftstrucken, 
464). This seta at rest the idea that the Waterlanders did not 
practise dipping; and Smyth could not have been immersed 
if he soi desired. There is no date between Simon Menno and 
the year 1700 that immersion was not practised by some of the 
Dutch Baptists and by some congregations exclusively. The 
trouble in the mind of Smyth was not immersion, but the suc- 
cession of the churches. 

In the century in which the baptism occurred, the seven- 
teenth, no writer! mentions any form of baptism of Smyth other 
than immersion. Three authors who reflect the mind of the 
century are quoted. Beginning with the year 1641, there oc- 
curred a controversy on the subject of baptism. The Baptists 
after the arrest of Archbishop Laud and the destruction of the 
High Court of Commission came from their hiding places in 
great droves. It is not the purpose, in this place, to discuss 
that controversy only so far as it relates to the baptism of 
John Smyth. The boldness of the Baptists mightily stirred 
the Pedobaptists. In a measure liberty of speech had been 
granted to the Baptists and they took advantage of the privi- 
lege. Their enemies thought they must be crushed at once. 

The first to attack the Baptists was one P. B., who wrote, 
in 1641. Edward Barber, who printed his own book in that 
year, says that the work of P. B. came to his hand while his 

232 A History of the Baptists 

awn was in press. P (raise God) B(arbon) says the Bap- 
tists were new, whicli R. B (arrow) ( Brief e Answer to a dis- 
course, lately written by one P, B. London, 1642. Library 
of Dr. Angus, Regents Park College) resented and said that 
their form of baptism was old. P. B. refers to some of the 
Baptists as those "who baptized themselves" "beyond seas" in 
"the ISTetherlands."' Their trouble, he said, was the want of 
a proper administrator. He declared that they would not go 
to the Dutch Baptists, who did not practise "total dipping." 
He says: 

But now very lately some are mightily taken, as having found out a 
new defect in baptism, under the defection, which maketh such a nullity of 
baptism in their conceit, that it is none at all, and it is concerning the 
manner of baptizing, wherein they have espied such a default, as it maketh 
an absolute nullity of nil persons' baptism, but as have been so baptized, 
according to their new discovery, and so partly as before, in regard to the 
subject, and partly as regard to the great default in the manner . . . 
They want a dipper, that hath authority from heaven, as had John, whom 
they please to call a dipper, of whom it is said, that it might be manifested 
his baptism was from heaven (P. B., A Discourse tending to prove the 
Baptisme in or under the Defection of Antichrist to be the Ordinance of 
Jesus Christ). 

Then the position of the Baptists on the subject of dipping 
is stated at length. A resume of these statements may be 
given. Smj'th and his company rejected' the Roman Catholic 
Church as Antichrist and would not go to it for baptism, though 
it practised dipping; they were troubled on the subject of the 
succession of churches and held that rather than take any 
chances they would institute baptism among themselves, and 
claimed the authority of John the Baptist to begin the rite; 
they refused to be baptized by the Welsh, though they prac- 
tised dipping; they did not go to the Dutch Baptists, though 
they had a succession of more than an hundred years, because 
they did not always practise total dipping. Such is the testi- 
mony of Praise God Barbon to the baptism of Smyth. Barbon 
was answered by a number of Baptists who discussed the ques- 
tion of succession and the right to originate baptism, but not 
one in the remotest manner intimated that Smyth was not 

The Episode of John Smyth 233 

Thomas Wall, A. D. 1691, was an opponent of the Bap- 
tists. In explaining the immersion of Smyth, he says: 

A third devise these people have found to deprive infants to water 
baptism, persuading people of years they w^re not baptized at all, if not 
dipped or plunged in water (Wall, Baptism Anatomized, 107). 

Giles Shute, in 1696, wrote in a venomous manner against 

the Baptists. He says : 

Now let the wise judge in what an abominable disorder they retain 
their baptism ever since from Mr. Smyth ; and whether it stinketh not in the 
nostrils of the Lord ever since as the ministry of Corah and his company 
did. In his table of particulars, wherein this passage is directed to it, 
is queried, who began baptism by way of dipping among English people call- 
ing themselves Baptists? The answer is, John Smyth, who baptized him- 
self. Thus you may see upon what a rotten foundation the principles of 
the Anabaptists are built and what door that anti-covenant doctrine came in 
among us in England ; therefore it is of the earth, and but a human inno- 
vation, and ought to be abhorred and detested by all Christian people 
(Shute, A General Challenge to all Peddbaptists). 

The English Baptist historians mention immersion as the 
form of baptism of Smyth. Crosby refers to Smyth as "among 
the first restorers of immersion" (Crosby, the History of the 
English Baptists, I. 97). 

Ivimey says : 

Upon a further consideration of the subject, he saw reason to conclude 
that immersion was the true and proper meaning of the word baptize and 
that it should be administered to those only who were capable of professing 
faith in Christ (Ivimey, A History of the English Baptists, I. 114). 

Taylor says: 

In reviewing the subject of the separation, Mr. Smyth discovered that he 
and his friends acted inconsistently in rejecting the ordination received 
from the Church of England, because they esteemed her a false church, 
and yet retained her baptism as a true baptism. This led him to examine 
the nature andi ground of baptism; and he perceived, that neither infant 
baptism nor sprinkling had any foundation in Scripture. With his usual 
frankness he was no sooner convinced of this important truth than he openly 
professed and defended his sentiments (Taylor, The History of the English 
General Baptists, I. 68). 

A long list of Pedobaptist writers could be quoted who state 
that Smyth was immersed. The following are thoroughly rep- 

234 ^ History of the Baptists 

resentative : Daniel Neal (History of the Puritans, II. 29. 
London, 1732) ; Thomas Price (The History of Protestant Non- 
conformity in England, I. 495) ; Walter Wilson (History and 
Antiquities of Dissenting Churches, I. 29) ; Punchard (The 
History of Congregationalism from ahout the year 250 to 1616, 
318, 319) ; Ashead (The Progress of Keligious Sentiment, xix. 
London, 1852) ; and W. M. Blackburn (History of the Chris- 
tian Church). 

Koom must be given for the testimony of Prof. Masson, of 
the University of Edinburgh. This brilliant scholar, in the 
preparation of his great Life of Milton, carefully and labori- 
oTisly went through the mass of material bearing on the sub- 
ject. He says: 

Smyth had developed his Separatism into the fonn known as Anabap- 
tism, not only requiring the rebaptism of the members of the Church of 
England, but rejecting the baptism of infants altogether, and insisting on 
immersion as the proper Scriptural form of this rite (Masson, The Life 
of John Milton, II. 540). 

In Professor David Masson, A. M., LL. D., we have an ex- 
ceptional expert. He was Professor in Edinburgh University 
for thirty years, having previously served thirteen years as 
Professor in University College, London. He put in forty- 
three years in active service in the study of English Litera- 
ture. Perhaps no English speaking scholar gave so touch study 
to the period of the Civil Wars (A. D. 1640-1660), as he did. 
His great work on The Life of Milton cost him thirty years 
of exacting study. He has told something of his studies and 
processes of work in the British Museum. He says: 

Of the multiplicity and extent of the researches that were required, 
any general account may be tedious. Perhaps, however, I may allude 
specially to my obligations to the State Paper Office in London, where there 
were printed calendars of the State Papers ; the task of consulting them 
is easy : Unfortunately, when I began my readings in the great national 
repository, the domestic papers of the period which most interested me-from 
1640 to 1643-were utterly uncalendered. They had, therefore, to be brought 
to me in bundles and inspected carefully, lest anything useful should be 
skipped. In this way I had to persevere at a slow rate in my readings 
and note papers ; but I believe I can now say for much the greater part 
for the time embraced in the present Tolume-1640 to 1643- there is not a 

The Episode of John Smyth 235 

single domestic document extant of those that used to be in the State Paper 
Office, which has not passed through my hands and been scrutinized 
(Masson, Life of Milton, Preface to Vol. III). 

He gave especial attention to the point of dipping among 
English Baptists. When he was visited at his home at Gowan- 
lea, Juniper Green, Midlothian, he was asked the following 
question : 

Does your reading lead you to believe that the English Baptists before 
A. D. 1641, practised immersion? or do you think they were in the 
practice of sprinkling, and about the date indicated changed their minds 
and are since immersionists? 

A look of surprise came over his face and he queried : "Does 
any one believe anything like that ?" Then he continued :' 

Well, I am always open to new* light. These gentlemen may know 
something that I do not in support of their theory ; but all my reading is in 
the direction that the Baptists in England were immersionists in practice. 
Of course, among the early Anabaptists of Germany, when all kinds of 
people were called Anabaptists, and the term covered all sorts of religious 
beliefs, there may have been some who were called Anabaptists who prac- 
tised sprinkling, but I know no such in England. When a man puts forth 
a new opinion like this, no one is under the slightest obligation to 'believe 
it or to refute it unless it is supported by the most powerful reasons. All 
of the literature of the times is in favor of the dipping theory. When I 
wrote my book I tried to guard everj< point with ample authority. I had 
good reason for what I did, much has passed out of my mind, and 19 very 
dim to me now. 

At once he proceeded to mention many well-known authori- 
ties and to refer readily to the original sources. 

We now turn from the historians to a consideration of the 
facts concerning the baptism; of Smyth gathered from himself 
and his contemporaries. 

The avowed enemies of Smyth affirm that the form of bap- 
tism was immersion. Bishop Hall, who was an open opponent 
of Smyth, points to the form of baptism by immersion. In 
his Apolog^^ against the Brownists, he speaks of Smyth as one 
"who had washed off the font water as unclean" ; and further 
on he says: "He hadi renounced our Christendom with our 
Church, and has washed off his former water with new" (Hall, 
Works, IX. 384). Bishop Hall, an Episcopalian, unquestion- 

236 A History of the Baptists 

ably refers to immersion. It, is impossible to think that these 
allusions are to pouring, for he would not say that affusion 
would wash off a former baptism in a font., Such a figure of 
speech is imipossible in the mouth of a Church of England 
bishop of that period. Hall was keen to catch a point ; and 
was severe on the Brownists when they opposed Smyth. He 
says : 

You cannot abide a false church, why do you content yourself with a 
false sacrament? especially since your church, not being yet gathered to 
Christ, is no church, and therefore her baptism a nullity . . . He 
(Smyth) tells you true; your station is unsafe; either you must go forward 
to him, or back to us. All your rabbis cannot answer that charge of your 
rebaptized brother ... If your baptism be good, then is your con- 
stitution good . • . What need you to surfeit of another man's trencher? 
. . . Show me where the Apostles baptized in a basin (Ibid, 25). 

These remarks of Bishop Hall to the Brownists in regard to 
Smyth as "your rebaptized brother" are significant. In scorn- 
ful sarcasm he demands of the Brownists, "Show me where 
the Apostles baptized in a basin." "What need you surfeit 
of another man's trencher?" The point of the thrust implies 
that Smyth had dipped himself, contrary to their practice, and 
that he had apostolic precedent for his dipping. It further im- 
plies that the meat on Smyth's trencher had nauseated them, 
because, like the Apostles, he had discarded the basin (Armi- 
tage, A History of the Baptists, 458). 

A statement has been quoted by Dr. Whitley from Joseph 
Hall to prove that Smyth was in the practice of sprinkling 
He says: 

Joseph Hall challenged Robinson next year. "If your partner, M. Smyth, 
should ever perswade you to rebaptize, your fittest gesture (or any other at 
full age) would be to receive that Sacramentall water, kneeling . . . 
Shew you me where the Apostles baptized in a Basin ... as your 
Anabaptists now do (Common Apologie, XXXVI, XXXVII) (Whitley, 
works of John Smyth, I. xciv). 

Turning to the works of Bishop Hall (X., 69-71, Oxford, 
1837), we are scarcely impressed that he said that the Ana- 
baptists baptized in a basin. On page 69 is the following 
statement : 

The Episode of John Smyth ^37 

This, therefore, I dare boldly say that if your partner, M. Smyth, 
should ever, which God forbid, persuade you to rebaptizc, your fittest ges- 
ture, or any others at full age, would be to receive that Sacramental water 

Hall said Robinson (not Smyth) received the Lord's Sup- 
per kneeling, and it would be well if he received baptism in 
like fashion. The remainder of the quotation from Dr. Whit- 
ley is removed more than two pages and further challenges the 
statements of Robinson. Bishop Hall further says : 

Show you me, where the Apostles baptized in a basin; or where they 
received women to the Lord's Table ; for you ho anthropos, 1 Cor. xi. will 
not serve: shew me, that the Bible was distinguished into chapters and 
verses in the Apostles' time : shew me, that they ever celebrated the Sacra- 
ment of the Supper at any other time than evening, as your Anabaptists 
now do: shew me, that they used one prayer before the Sermons always, 
another after; that they preached even upon a text; where they preached 
over a table ; or lastly, show me where the Apostles used that, which you 
used before your last prophecy ; and a thousand such circumstances. 

ITowhere in this passage is it intimated that John Smyth, 
or the Anabaptists, baptized in a basin, oP practised sprink- 
ling. What is affirmed of the Anabaptists is that they cele- 
brated the Lord's Supper at other times than the evening. 
That and nothing more is said. And that is about as good 
proof as has ever been offered that Smyth practised sprinkling. 
It is none at all. 

Clyfton, A. D., 1610, speaks of Smyth's church "as a new 
washed company" (Clyfton, A Plea for Infants, Epistle to the 

This is not compatible with the idea of pouring. Clyfton 
practised affusion and would not have used these words if 
Smyth had agreed with him. 

Robert Baillie, in speaking of the ease in which Brownists 
turned Anabaptists, alluded to Smyth and his company, "as 
turning into such as readily as snow and ice turn into water' 
(Baillie, Dissuasive, 30). This language is not consistent with 

I. H., in 1610, wrote a book against this congregation, in 
which he declares : "For tell me, shall every one that is bap- 
tized in the right form and manner (for which ye stand much 

238 A History of the Baptists 

on) upon the skin be saved?" (I. H., A Description of the 
Church of Christ, 27). The Baptists differed from their op- 
ponents upon "the form and manner" of baptism. The form 
of the Puritans was pouring ; the form of the Baptists was im- 
mersion. He further asks : '*^IIas the water of Holland washed 
ye all so clean?" (Ibid, 25). Such a question is inconsistent 
with pouring. 

Those associated with Smyth declare that the form of bap- 
tism was dipping. Mark Leonard Busher was in some wise 
connected with Smyth and was in Holland at the time. On 
the subject of dipping he is clear. He says : 

And therefore Christ commanded his disciples to teach all nations, 
and baptize them ; that is, to preach the word of salvation to every crea- 
ture of all sorts of nations, that are worthy and willing to receive it. And 
such as gladly and willingly receive, he has commanded to be baptized in 
the water; that is, dipped for dead in the water (Busher, Plea for Religious 
Conscience, 50). 

Such was the practice of the Amsterdam congregation "dipped 
for dead in the water" those who believed. Effort has been 
made to dissociate Busher from the Baptists, but Christopher 
Lawne bears witness that he was an Anabaptist (Lawne, Pro- 
phane Schisme, 56. A. D. 1612), 

Another of this company, scarcely second to Smyth, was 
Thomas Helwys. In A Declaration of Paith of English Peo- 
ple Remaining in Amsterdam in Holland, printed in the year 
1611 (York Minster Library, xxi. o 15), supposed to have 
been written by Helwys, Article 14, is the following language : 

The baptism of washing with water is the outward manifestation of 
dying unto sin, and walking in the newness of life. Rom. 6 :2,3. And 
therefore in no wise appertaineth to infants. 

The allusion to the burial and resurrection; of Christ would 
indicate immersion; and affusion cannot be described as "a 
washing with water." There is a like expression which oc- 
curs in a letter written by Helwys and others, Amsterdam', 
March 12, 1610, which is as foUows: 

And whosoever shall now be stirred up by the same Spirit to preach 
the same word, and men being thereby converted, may, according to John 
his example, wash them with water, and who can forbid? (MSS. in 
Amsterdam Library, No. 1351). 

The Episode of John Smyth 239 

The evidence all points to the immersion of Helwys. The 
historians are quite unanimous in regard to his baptism. Brook 
says: Helwys received baptism by immersion (Brook, Lives 
of the Puritans, II. 279). 

Prof. Masson says: 

For this Helw7s returning to England shortly after 1611, drew around 
him, as we saw, the first congregation of General or Arminian Baptists in 
London; and this obscure Baptist congregation seems to have become the 
depository for all England of the absolute principle of Liberty of Con- 
science expressed in the Amsterdam Confession as distinct from the more 
stinted principle advocated by the general body of the Independents. Not 
only did Helwys' folk differ from the Independents on the subject of Infant 
Baptism and Dipping; they differed also in the power of the magistrate 
in matters of belief and conscience (Masson, The Life of Milton, II. 544). 

John Norcott was associated with Smyth; and he wrote a 
book to substantiate dipping. Many editions of this book were 
printed (Ivimey, History of the English Baptists. III. 299"). 
He succeeded Spilsbury in the pastorate of Gravel-lane. He 
,was associated with Hanserd KnoUys, William Kiffin, and 
other heroes of those times. His funeral sermon was preached 
by Benjamin Keach. The book was dedicated to the church 
at Wapping. An edition of this book was edited and pub- 
lished by Charles H. Spurgeon. He used a reprint of the 
fifth London Edition. This edition has an introduction by 
Kifim. The first edition has as yet escaped our attention. A 
portion of Chapter IV is as follows : 

1. The Greek word haptizo means to plunge, to overwhelm. Thus 
Christ was plunged in water, Matt. 3 : 16. Thus he was plunged or over- 
whelmed in his sufferings, Luke 12 :50. "I have a baptism to be baptized 
with ; and now I am straightened till it be accomplished." 

2. The Dutch translation reads. In those days came John the Dipper, 
Matt. 3 : 1. And in John 3 :23, that version reads, John was dipping in 
^non because there was much water there. What need much water were 
it not for dipping. 

3. They did baptize in rivers. They came to John, and were baptized 
in Jordan, Matt. 3: 6. John was baptizing in ^non because there was 
much water there, John 3 : 25. What need it be in a river, and where 
there was much -water? Would not a little water in a basin serve 
to sprinkle the face? 

240 A History of the Baptists 

4. Baptism signifies the burial of Christ. Therefore we are buried with him 
by baptism into death, Rom. 6 : 4. Buried with him in baptism. Col. 2 : 
12. Now we do not reckon a man buried when a little earth is} sprinkled 
on his face, but he is buried when covered ; we are buried in baptism. 

5. Christ's sufferings are called a baptism, Luke 12:50. I have a bap- 
tism to be baptized with ; and now am I straightened till it be accomplished. 
When Christ suffered he was plunged into pains. Did his sufferings lie 
only on his head or his forehead? No, no; therej Was not one part free; 
he was from head to foot in pain; his head was crowned with piercing 
thorns, his hands and feet were nailed to the cross; and his whole person 
Was so stretched on the cross that a man might have told all of his bones, 
Ps. 22: 17. There was not one part free. Man hath sinned body, soul 
and spirit, therefore the whole Christ must suffer for sin. Christ was 
baptized into pain, plunged into sorrow, not any part free; thisi he called 
his baptism. Thus one baptized is plunged under water, to show how Christ 
was plunged into sorrow for ourt sakes. 

6. Baptism is the putting on of Christ. As many of you as have been 
baptized into Christ have put on Christ, Gal. 3 : 27. The text means as 
a servant wears his Lord's livery, a garment which demonstrates him to 
be a servant to such a great personage, so in baptism we put our Lord's 
livery on, and he himself clothes us from head to foot. It is thus that by 
baptism we put on Christ. 

7. When Christ was baptized, he came up out of the water, Matt. 3 : 16. 
Was his baptism performed by having a little water thrown on his face? 
Then he had not been plunged in the water, and could not have come out 
of it; but because he was baptized in the water, therefore, being baptized 
he came up out of the water. Philip and the Eunuch went down into the 
water, (and being there in the water) Philip baptized the Eunuch. Both 
of them went up out of the water. Acts 8: 39; but to what end had they 
gone down if Philip did merely sprinkle the Eunuch, or pour water upon his 

Thus you see the place where these persons were baptized was a river, 
or a certain water; their action was on this wise — they went down into 
the water, they were baptized. This was done in places where there 
was much water. The end was to show Christ's burial ; but now if there 
be not a burial under water to show Christ's burial, the great end of the 
ordinance is lost; but burial is well set forth by dipping under water (Nor- 
cott. Baptism Discovered Plainly and Faithfully, according to the Word 
of God, 28-41). 

Then there follows some questions and answers to show that 
sprinkling is "strange fire" on the altar of God. 

John Morton was a member of this church and subscribed 
to many of the articles. He practised dipping. Benjamin 
Brook says of him: 

The Episode of John Smyth 241 

John Morton was one of John Smyth's disciples at Amsterdam from 
whom he received baptism by immersion. He afterwards came to England, 
was a zealous preacher of the sentiments of the General Baptists, etc. 
(Brook, The Lives of the Puritans, III. 517). 

In the Bodleian Library is a copy of the book of E. Jessop 
and there are marginal notes supposed to have been made by 
John Morton, Jessop says: 

That the baptism of children neither is nor can be the mark of the 
Beast spoken of in Rev. XIII. 16, for that ... is auch a thing (in- 
deed) as young children are not capable of. 

To this Morton rejoins: 

(Ye) baptisme of Christ is (such a) thing whereof ( infant )s are not 
capable. (If) it were (use)d and practised on them they wold (be dro)wn- 
ed as many (have) been in historys (not)es thereof a new (mo)tion is 
found for them (name)ly to sprinkle theyr (head) instead of dipping 
(which) ye word baptisme (signi)fieth (Burgess, John Smyth, the Se- 
Baptist, 327). 

John Robinson, the Pilgrim Father, in reply to Morton, 
affirms that the latter and his congregation practised dipping. 
He says: 

In the next place they come to baptism, in which they think themselves 
in their element, as filth in water. And beginning with John's baptism, 
etc, (Robinson, Defense of the Doctrine Propounded by the Synod of Dort, 

Here is a positive assertion that Morton and his church 
practised dipping. 

Morton testifies to his own belief. He declares that John 
baptized his disciples in the Jordan, and adds : 

This was indeed the practice of the primitive churches, it cannot be de- 
stroyed (Morton, A Description of what God hath wrought, 129. A. D. 

I. Graunt is another witness to the position of Morton. He 
declared that Morton differed from some on Free Grace, but 
he agreed with the rest of the Baptists on immersion. His 
words are in the form of a conversation. He says : 

Heres. But we have found a rule of truth in God's word, plainly di- 
recting us to the making matter of the Church of Christ, none ,but| t.uch 

242 A History of the Baptists 

as are qualified by faith, are fit subjects of baptism, which faith is wrought 
by teaching and then baptism of dipping admits and gives entrance unto 
such believers to have communion in church fellowship with us in the 
holy ordinances of God; which church ordinances are not understood, but 
neglected and contemned of all the heretics you have named and conferred 
with before, therefore we are the true church, for we profess but one 
Lord, one faith, and one baptism. Ephes. 4: 5. 

Truth. Sir, I perceive you are an Anabaptist, and therefore I shall 
speedily make good my late promise, and indeed, some thirty years since, 
Mr. Morton, a teacher of a church of the Anabaptists, in Newgate, then his 
confession comprehended all the errors of the Arminians which now of late, 
many that go under your name, in and around London dissent from, as 
seems to you (I. G(raunt), Truth's Victory, 19). 

The affirmation is that Morton, in 1615, was in the practice 
of dipping. He differed with some on Free Grace, but not 
on the act of baptism. 

Smyth is himself a witness to the practice of dipping. The 
extract from the Confession, as quoted above from Helwys, 
described baptism as "a washing with water" and a burial and 
a resurrection was likewise sig-ned by Smyth. In a Short Con- 
fession of Faith (MSS. in the Amsterdam Library, No. 1352), 
signed by Smyth, and some forty others. Article 30, he says 
of baptism: 

The whole dealing in the outward visible baptism of water, setteth be- 
fore the eyes, witneseth and signifieth, the Lord Jesus doth inwardly bap- 
tize the repentant, faithful man, in the laver of regeneration and renewing 
of the Holy Ghost, washing the soul from all pollution and sin, by the 
virture and merit of his bloodshead ; and by the power and working of the 
Holy Ghost, the true, heavenly, spiritual, living water, cleanseth the in- 
ward evil of the soul, and maketh it heavenly, spiritual, living, in true right- 
eousness or goodness. Therefore, the baptism of water leadeth us to Christ, 
to his holy office in glory and majesty ; and admonisheth us not to hang 
only upon the outward, but with holy prayer to mount upward, and to 
beg of Christ the good thing signified. 

By no proper exegesis can] this be interpreted to mean any- 
thing but immersion. In another Confession of Faith signed 
by Smyth (Amsterdam Library, No. 1348), he says: 

That baptism is the external sign of the remission of sins, of dying, 
and being made alive, and therefore does not belong to infants. 

In the Confession of himself and friends, published after 
his death, article 38, he says: 

The Episode of John Smyth 243 

That all men in truth died and are also with Christ buried by baptism 
into death (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2: 12), holding their Sabtoath with Christ in 
the grave. 

And article 40 says: 

That those who have been planted with Christ together in the likeness 
of his death and burial shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection. 

These articles savor of immersion. In a book (Amster- 
dam Library, 'No. 1354), by John Smyth, not generally known, 
written in Latin, the following occurs : 

He preaches to deaf ears who sets forth to children the doctrine of the 
church. And thus he consults a blind man about colors, who washes 
children in baptismal waters ... Do they not misuse their labor 
who plunge {tingent) infants in baptismal waters, before they instruct them 
in the knowledge of the church . . . Hence it is surely established 
that repentance is the condition of baptism, so thus a comparison between 
the sign and the thing signified is set forth, for repentance in the mind is 
the same thing as washing in water is of the body. Baptism cleanseth 
filth from the body, and so real repentance washes away sin. Baptism is 
the symbol of the remission, and destruction of sin, for as the washing of 
water taketh away the tilth of the flesh, so the sin of the soul is purged, 
remitted, destroyed. 

He quotes Hebrews 10:22, 23, and clearly distinguishes 
between the dipping of the body and the sprinkling of the 
heart. He says: 

Both the sign and the thing signified are coupled by the Apostle and in 
turn united in one another. The sign is the washing of the body in the ele- 
ment of water, the thing signified is the sprinkling, that is, the cleansing 
of the heart from an evil conscience through the blood of Christ, where the 
comparison must be seriously observed, the analogy of the figure and of the 
truth, or of the sacrament and of the thing of the sacrament 

This is a clear distinction. He further says: 

Baptism, however, does not signify the remission of another's imputed 
sin, because not the filth of others, but their own filth is washed from the 
bodies of those baptized. 

Another statement (Amsterdam Library, No. 1364), says 
that "the critic casts into my teeth the proverb, He washes 
his garment of sin, he does wet it, says he." Surely this re- 
fers to dipping. There are two additional manuscripts (ISTos. 
155 6 A and 1556B), which have not been hitherto quoted. They 

244 ^ History of the Baptists 

were written by Smytk or some member of the company against 
infant baptism. If the writer did not understand immersion 
to be the form of baptism it is impossible to comprehend the 
argument he is making. Every reference is to immersion. 
The author is discussing original sin and that on that account 
the baptism of infants is not needed. He remarks that "water 
does not wash away the uncleanness of other persons from al- 
ready cleansed bodies, but his own." "Cleansing by water 
belongs to baptism." "The washing softens." "Baptism is 
the symbol of communion with Christ, for God' has not seen 
fit to baptize the babes but the adult believers, partly that he 
might lift them' by this outward token, when, they are so apt 
to fall into so many sins, that he might comfort them, that he 
might strengthen them for the struggle, partly to exhort them 
to surrender to sin considering baptism as a symbol of the 
washing of sin, partly because never doesi God do anything in 
vain, which they should have done, if they had imparted bap- 
tism to children, who do neither receive the token nor that 
which is signified, nor the meaning of it, nor the use, nor the 
profit." That such passages refer to immersion is plain even to 
the casual reader. 

It has been vigorously asserted, as already noticed, that 
Smyth owed his change of views to the Mennonites, and that 
he was influenced by them to baptize himself by pouring, since 
the Mennonites practised affusion. Very great emphasis has 
been placed upon this point by some writers. It has been re- 
garded by some as eminently conclusive that Smyth practised 
affusion. As a matter of fact, the Mennonites widely differed 
from Smyth in many things. 

If this had been true Smyth would have applied for bap- 
tism to the Mennonites in the first instance. Taylor says: 

There were indeed, many churches, in Holland who practised immersion ; 
but, as they differed widely in sentiment from him, he did not choose to 
receive baptism from them. This completely refutes Dr. Mosheim's suppo- 
sition that the English Baptists derived their origin from the German and 
Dutch Mennonites ; and that in former times, they adopted their doctrines 
in all of its iwints (Taylor, The History of the English General Baptists, 
I. 70). 

The Episode of John Smyth 245 

Taylor mentions many differences between Smyth and 
the Mennonites, Smyth himself indignantly denied that he 
learned his doctrines from Menno. Some persons! of the Ke- 
formed Church had criticised Smyth and said that he imi- 
tated the doctrines of Menno. In a document (Amsterdam 
Library, No, 1364), not hitherto mentioned, he makes answer: 

In this article the opinion of Mienno is presented to us as if we 
echoed the sentiments of any master you please. Perhaps the critic notes 
down our contradiction and opiwsition. Why are you Reformed ones 
unanimous in all of your dogmas? Is it not with them as many heads, so 
many senses. Is it right for us to depart from Menno, when Menno de- 
parts from the truth? 

Previous to his baptism, so far as the evidence goes, he 
never attracted the attention of the Mennonites. It was only 
after his baptism and a discussion had sprung up between 
Smyth and his opponents, Clyfton and Ainsworth, that the at- 
tention of the Dutch Baptists was directed to him. They 
were greatly pleased with his brilliant and scholarly defense 
of believers' baptism, and after that they began to court his 
approval. Bradford says this in so many words. He says : 

But he (Smyth) was convinced of his errors by the pains and faithful- 
ness of Mr. Johnson and Mr. Ainsworth and revoked them ; but afterwards 
was drawn away by some of the Dutch Anabaptists, who finding him a 
good scholar and unsettled, the easily misled the most of the people, and 
others of them scattered away (Young, Chronicles of the Pilgrims, 451). 

There were divisions, rather than harmony, in Amsterdam, 
among the many English people who were there. Every little 
group had its own opinions, and no two of them agreed. This 
could be illustrated, at great length. Only two competent 
authorities are here quoted. 

Howell (Familiar Letters, 26. See Evans, Early Eng 
lish Baptists, II. 24) says: 

I am lodged in a Frenchman's house, who is one of the deacons of our 
English Brownist Church here. I believe in the street where I lodge there 
be well near as many religions as there be houses; for one neighbour 
knows not, nor cares not much, which religion the other is of: so that the 
number of conventicles exceed the number of churches here. 

Brereton (Travels, 1634, p. 13. Cheetham Society), 

246 A History of the Baptists 

Here also is a French church (Dort) ; Arminians, Brownists, Anabap- 
tists, and Mennonites do lurke here and also swarm, but not so much 
tolerated here as at Rotterdam. 

The differences between the Baptists and Smyth on the one 
hand, and the Mennonites on, the other, are set forth in a book 
probably written by iHelwys (An 'Advertisement or Admoni- 
tion unto the Congregations, which Men Call the New Fryer- 
lings, in the Lowe Countries, written in Dutch, published in 
English and printed in 1611). The book was addressed to 
Hans de Eis, Eeynier Wybranson, and the Congregation 
whereof they are. The book forever dispels any illusion that 
the Baptists and Mennonites in Amsterdam were agreed. The 
whole book of about one hundred pages is taken up with the 
differences. Helvpys says: 

Having long desired to publish our faith unto this nation and in 
particular unto the congregations which you are, (as we have formerly done 
to our nation) ; and also to make knowr* the things wherein you, and we 
differ, and are opposite. We have now through the mercies of God, thus 
far, brought our desires to pass, being only unsatisfied for our own in- 
sufficiency that we are no better able to manifest your errors unto you. 
We have divers causes from good grounds to do this. First, because we 
are bound to discover the mystery of iniquity, by all good means that we 
can ; and in the cup that she hath filled for us, to fill her the double. 
Secondly, that we might through the grace of God (if your willing minds 
be thereunto) be instruments of good in discovering divers of our errors 
unto us, which we acknowledge to the praise of God, and with thankful 
hearts to you. Now in that we do this by way of opposition and re- 
proof publicly, which you did by instruction privately ; for our defense 
herein, we answer; You came publicly amongst us, and advanced your 
error of succession and order, from the proportion of the Scriptures, and 
have destroyed the faith of many thereby, who for sinister respects were 
willing to follow you ; we have dealt divers times with divers of you private- 
ly, but you have lightly regarded our loving admonitions esteeming all 
aa nothing we have said; some of you going on in your sin seeking to 
make this people one with you, who are justly cut off from God and his 
people for their falling away from grace. We have written privately to 
the whole congregation. You are of them to prevent you in this evil, we 
have written particularly unto you H(ans) de R(is) but all in vain, in 
that you esteem the truth we profess, as us herein as vain. Thus we are 
constrained (for the defense of the truth of God we profess and that we 
may not seem to justify you in your evils, and to make it known unto all 
that we have good cause to differ from you) to publish these things in the 

The Episode of John Smyth 247 

number as we do ; and that it may appear unto all, and to your consciences 
that we have strong grounds for these things wherein we differ from you, 
though we be weak in the maintaining of them. If any shall oppose part or 
all that is here written, we desire this equal kindness, that it may be set 
over into English for all of your understandings, as we have caused this 
to be set over in Dutch for all yours, and if there be any cause of reply, 
we will by the assistance of God answer with all of the ability wherewith 
God shall make us able. 

As troublesome as Smyth was to all parties he was con- 
scientious. In the latter days of x\ugust he fell on sleep and 
was buried in the New Church, Almsterdam, September 1, 
1612, as the records of that church show. 

After the exclusion of Smyth, in 1609, Helwys became 
pastor and leading man of the Baptist church in Amsterdam. 
There was no effort at reconciliation between Smyth and Hel- 
wys, for they considered their differences vital. Between 
Helwys and the Mennonites there was never an effort for union. 

Thomas Helwys, Elwes, Helwisse, Helwas, as the name 
was variously spelt, was probably the son of William Helwys. 
He seems to have been born about the year 1550, and was a 
man of some wealth. He had long been associated with Smyth. 
He had cared for Smyth when he was a young man. He 
worked with Smyth before he left England and accompanied 
him to Holland. He was by far the most active man among 
the Separatists (Robinson, Religious Communion, Works III. 

Helwys became convinced that the English sectaries 
ought not to have left England for Holland to avoid persecu- 
tion ; and he returned to England late in the year 1611 or early 
in 1612, accompanied by a greater part of the church. He 
established his church in London (Flight in Persecution by 
John Robinson. Works, III. 160). Shortly after his return 
he justified his course in a book which he wrote. The church 
met for worship in Pinner's Hall. Helwys was extremely suc- 
cessful as a preacher, attracted large congregations and made 
many converts. This church has sometimes been called the 
first General Baptist congregation in England ; but it has been 

248 A History of the Baptists 

abundantly shown tkat there were many Baptists in England 
before the return of this congregation to England. 

Books for further reading and reference: 

E. Aeber, The Story of the Pilgrim Fathers. 

John Waddington, Congregational History. 4 Tolumes. 



The General Baptists Numerous — Calvinistic Views Among Baptists— The 
Rise of the Particular Baptists — 'The Independent Church of Henry 
Jacob — Crosby — Underhill — Crosby Sometimes Misleading — The Opinion 
of Lewis — The MS. of William Kiffin — The Sending to Holland for Bap- 
tism — The Statement of Hutchinson — John Spilsbury— The Right to Be- 
gin Baptism — The Administrator of Baptism — The Continuance of Bap- 
tist Churches — ^William Kiffin — Daniel King — A Notable Introduction — 
Henry D'Anvers— 'The Confession of Somerset — ^Thomas Grantham — 
Joseph Hooke — Samuel Stennett — The Baptist Magazine — Thomas Pot- 
tenger — James Culross — ^The Story of Blount Going to Holland — ^The 
Mistakes of the So-called Kiffin Manuscript — Two Kiffin Manuscripts — 
The So-called Practice of Sprinkling — Hanser3 Knollys — The Jacob 
Church Often in Trouble on the Subject of Dipping — The Practice of 
Spilsbury— Of Eaton— Of Kiffin— Of Henry Jessey— The Church of Hub- 
bard — John Canne — The Broadmead Church — Samuel Howe — Paul Hob- 
son — Thomas Kilcop — The Practice of Dipping Called "New" — ^The An- 
swer of the Baptists — Samuel Richardson — Thomas Collier — Hanserd 
Knollys — John Tombes — Jeffrey Watts — The Confession of 1643 — The 
Form of Baptism Dipping — Jesse B. Thomas — The Practice of the Gen- 
eral Baptists — ^Masson — Featley. 

THUS far only the history of the General Baptist churches 
of England has been considered. This body consti- 
tuted by far the larger portion of the Baptists of that 
country, and their history runs on in an uninterrupted stream 
from generation to generation. On the subject of the admin- 
istrator of baptism Baptists held, as has been seen, that they had 
the power to originate baptism, but that it took at least two 
persons to begin the act ; and that these two could institute the 
rite. This was the method of Smyth and was the general 
theory held by them. To understand this history this posi- 
tion must be kept sharply in mind. They were mildly Ar- 
minian in their views, and forcefully impressed free will. 

It is now time to consider the history of another body of 
Baptists, who if not so numerous were at least highly influ- 
ential. They were called Particular Baptists, since they held 
to Calvinistic views. Two views of the administrator of bap- 
tism prevailed among them. The first and oldest was that 
every Christian man could, without himself having been bap- 


250 A History of the Baptists 

tized, immerse a candidate upon a profession of faith. Later 
there were those who held that an administrator should have 
a succession from a previously baptized administrator. At 
times th^e views came into conflict and caused anuch trouble- 
some discussion. The Particular Baptists had a wholly differ- 
ent origin from the General Baptists. 

It must not be thought that either of these parties were 
new. Crosby says: 

It may be proper' to observe here, that there hpve been two parties of 
the English Baptists ever since the beginning of the reformation; those 
that have followed the Galvinistical scheme of doctrines, and from the 
principal points therein, personal election, and have been termed Particular 
Baptists : And those that have professed the Arminian or remonstrant ten- 
ets; and have also from the chief of those doctrines, universal redemption, 
been called General Baptists (Crosby, I. 173). 

There were likewise many Baptists in England who did 
not choose to assume either name, "because they receive what 
they think to be truth, without regarding with what human 
schemes it agrees or disagrees" (Crosby, I. 174). 

But some of the Particular Baptist churches originated 
in the Independent church of Henry Jacob. There is no proof 
that all of the seven Particular Baptist churches of London 
originated in this manner. "The Seven Churches of London, 
however," says Cutting, "are not to be supposed as com- 
prising the whole of the Particular Baptist denomination 
at that time. There were certainly several churches besides 
these, and their increase at a period immediately succeeding 
was very rapid." 

Dr. Underbill, after years of investigation, very ably dis- 
cusses the entire problem. He says: 

It has been seen that their (the Baptist) idea, the true archetypal 
Idea, of the church, was the grand cause of the separation of the Bbp- 
tists, as individuals and communities, from all the various forms of eccle- 
oiastical arrangement adopted by the reformers and their successors. There 
could be no harmony between the parties; they were antagonistic from the 
first. Hence the Baptists cannot be regarded as owing their origin to a 
secession from the protestant churches ; they occupied an independent and 
original position, one which unquestionably involved suffering and loss 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 251 

from ita unworldliness, and manifested contrariety to the political tenden- 
cies and alliances of the reform movement (Underbill, The Records of the 
Church of Christ meeting in Broadmead, Bristol, 1640-1687). 

The first company went out from Jacob about the year 1633. 
A want of recognition of this origin, and just discrimination 
between these bodies, has caused much confusion and led to 
many erroneous conclusions. Crosby indeed states this fact, 
but he nowhere gives a separate history of the two bodies, and 
this is the chief fault of his invaluable history. In this he 
has unfortunately been followed by some other historians. The 
General and Particular Baptists were not only distinct in 
origin and in history, but were often in debate one with the 
other. Very many of the misunderstandings of Baptist his- 
tory, in the reign of Charles I, have their basis in the con- 
founding of the history of these distinct and separate Baptist 

The first statement that Crosby makes concerning the or- 
ganization of the Particular Baptist church under the min- 
istry of John Spilsbury is misleading, since it apparently 
ascribes to all Baptists, only what actually took place in the 
one congregation of Henry Jacob. The mistake of Crosby con- 
sists in making a general statement of a specific instance. He 

In the year 1633, the Baptists, who had hitherto been intermixed amongr 
the protestant Dissenters, without distinction, and so consequently shared 
with the Puritans in all the persecutions of those times, began now to 
separate themselves, and form distinct societies of those of their own per- 
suasion (Crosby, The History of the English Baptists, I. 147). 

Lewis, a Church of England man, reviewed on ita appear- 
ance Crosby's History. After quoting the above statement he 

Here seems to me to be two mistakes — 1 — That the Anabaptists till 
1633 were intermixed among Protestant Dissenters, viz.. The Puritans, 
Brownists, Barrowists and Independents. Since they all disclaimed them. 
2. That the English Anabaptists began in 1633 to separate themselves. The 
writer of this ignorant and partial history owns, etc. etc. (Bawlinson MSS., 
C 409). 

In his contentions Lewis was right and Crosby was wrong. 
Crosby continues: 

252 A History of the Baptists 

Concerning tlie first of which I find the following account collected 
from a manuscript of Mr. William KiflSn. 

"There was a congregation of Protestant Dissenters of the Independ- 
ent persuasion in London, gathered in the year 1616, whereof Mr. Henry 
Jacob was the first pastor ; and after him succeeded Mr. John Lathrop, who 
was their minister at this time. In this society several persons, finding that the 
congregation kept not to their first principles of separation, and being also 
convinced that baptism was not to be administered to infants, but such 
only as professed faith in Christ, desired that they might be dismissed from 
that communion, and allowed to form a distinct congregation, in such order 
as was agreeable to their own sentiments. 

"The church considered that they were now grown very numerous and 
BO more than could in these times of persecution conveniently meet together, 
and believing also that these persons acted from a principle of conscience, 
and not obstinacy, agreed to allow them the liberty they desired, and that 
they should be constituted a distinct church ; which was performed the 
12th of Sep. 1633. And as they believed that baptism was not rightly 
administered to infants, so they looked upon the baptism they had received 
in that age as invalid ; whereupon most or all of them received a new 
baptism. Their minister was Mr. John Spilsbury. What number there 
were is uncertain, because in the mentioning of the names of about twenty 
men and women, it is added, with divers others. 

In the year 1638, Mr. William Kiffin, Mr. Thomas Wilson, and others 
being of the same judgment, were upon their request, dismissed to the 
said Mr. Spilsbury's congregation. 

In the year 1639, another congregation of Baptists was formed, whose 
place of meeting was in Crutched Fryars : the chief promoters of which 
were Mr. Green, Mr. Paul Hobson, and Captain Spencer (Crosby, I. 149). 

Upon the organization of Spilsbury's church the question of 
a lawful administrator of baptism came up. There were Bap- 
tists among these Dissenters already and it does not follow 
that they had received their baptism from Pedobaptist sources. 
But a line of action must be established. Two possible sources 
were open to them. Crosby says: 

The former of these was to send over to the foreign Anabaptists, who 
decended from the ancient Waldenses in France or Germany, that so one 
or more received baptism from them, might became proper administrators 
of it to others. Some thought this the best way and acted accordingly. 

After giving a quotation from Hutchinson, Crosby continues : 

This agrees with an account given of the matter in an ancient manu- 
script, said to be written -by Mr. William Kiffin, who lived in those times, 
and was a leader among those of that persuasion. 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 253 

This relates, that several sober and pious persons belonging to the 
congregations of the dissenters about London were that believers were the 
only proper subjects of baptism, and that it ought to be administered by 
immersion, or dipping the whole body into the water, in resemblance of 
burial and resurrection, according to 2 Colos. ii. 12. and Rom. vi. 4. That 
they often met together to pray and confer about the matter, and consult 
what methods they should take to enjoy this ordinance in the primitive 
purity. That they could not be satisfied about any administrator in Eng- 
land, to begin this practice; because though some in this nation rejected 
the baptism of infants, yet they had not as they knew of, revived the 
ancient custom of immersion : But hearing that some in the Netherlands 
practised it, they agreed to send over one Richard Blount, who understood 
the Dutch language: That he went accordingly, carrying letters of recom- 
mendation with him, and was kindly received both by the church there, 
and Mr. John Batte their teacher: That upon his return, he baptized Mr. 
Samuel Blacklock, a minister, and these two baptized the rest of the com- 
pany, whose names are in the manuscript, to the number of fifty-three. 

So that those who followed this scheme did not derive their baptism 
from the aforesaid Mr. Smith, or his congregation at Amsterdam, it being 
an ancient congregation of foreign Baptists in the Low Countries to whom 
they sent. 

But the greatest number of English Baptists, and the more judicious 
looked upon all of this as needless trouble, and what proceeded from the old 
Popish doctrine of right to administer sacraments by an uninterrupted 
succession, which neither the Church of Rome, nor the Church of England, 
much less the modem dissenters, could prove to be with them. They 
affirmed (Persecution foB religion judged and condemned, 41) therefore, 
and practised accordingly, that after a general corruption of baptism, 
any unbaptized person might warrantably baptize, and so begin a reforma- 
tion (Crosby, I. 100-103). 

John SpilsburV did not believe lie was under obligation to 
send anywhere for baptism; but that he had a right to bap- 
tize like John the Baptist did. He had nothing to do with 
this Blount scheme. He says: 

And because some make it such an error, and so, far from any rule or 
example, for a man to baptize others who is himself unbaptized, and so 
think thereby to shut up the ordinance of God in such a strait, that none 
can come by it but through the authority of the Popedom of Rome; let the 
reader consider who baptized John the Baptist before he baptized others, 
and if no man did, then whether he did not baptize others, he himself 
being unbaptized. iWe are taught by this what to do upon like occasions. 

Further, I fear men put more than is of righti due it, and so prefer it 
above the church, and all other ordinances besides; fgr they can assume 

254 ^ History of the Baptists 

and erect a church, take in and cast out members, elect and ordain officers, 
and administer the Supper; and all a-new, without any looking after suc- 
cession, and further than the Scriptures : But as for baptism, they must 
have that successively from the Apostles, though it come through the hands 
of Pope Joan, What is the cause of this, that men do all from the iWord 
but only baptism? (Spilsbury, Treatise on Baptism, 63, 65, 66). 

"Nor is it probable," says Crosby, "that this man should go 
over sea to find an administrator of baptism,, or receive it at 
the hands of one who baptized himself?" (Crosby, I. 104). 
The position was defended with ingenuity by the Particular 
Baptists. John Tombes was one of the most learned men of 
his times ; an unwearied opponent of infant baptism ; and fre- 
quently in public debates with Baxter and others. He de- 
fended this position (Tombes Apology for two Treatise, 10), 
and such was likewise the view of Henry Laurence, Esq. (Laur- 
ence, Treatise on Baptism, 407). 

The position was finally assumed by the Particular Baptists 
as the correct one. Says Crosby: 

It was a point much disputed for some years. The Baptists were not 
a little uneasy at first about it; and the Psedobaptists thought to render 
all of the baptisms among them invalid, for want of a proper administrator 
to begin their practice : But by the excellent reasoning of these and other 
learned men, we see their beginning was well defended, upon the same 
principles on which all other Protestants built their Reformation (Crosby, I. 

The position of the Particular Baptists meant that for an 
administrator of baptism they did not go beyond the authority 
of the New Testament They declared that it was not neces- 
sary to prove a succession of Baptist churches. This body of 
Baptists have, however, been singularly clear in affirming the 
long continued existence of the Baptists of England, and else- 
where. They even claim, if it were at all necessary to prove 
it, that they have a succession more ancient and purer, if 
humbler than that of the Koman Catholic Church. The wit- 
nesses on this point are numerous and weighty. William Kiffin, 
A. D., 1645, wrote: 

It is well known to many, and esi)ecially to ourselves, that our con- 
gregations as they now are, were erected and framed according to the rule 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 255 

of Christ before we heard of any Reformation, even at the time when 
Episcopacy was at the height of its vanishing glory. 

This was after the Confession, of Faith of 1643 was written 
and published. I^iffin affirmed that their churches as they are 
now erected and framed preceded the Reformation of the Epis- 
copacy. Mr. Joseph Richart, who says he wrote the queries 
to which Kiffin replied, affirmed that he understood the Epis- 
copal and not the Presbyterian Reformation. "You allege," 
he says, "your practise, that your congregations were erected 
and framed in the time of Episcopacy, and before you heard 
of any Reformation" (Richart, A Looking Glass for Anabap- 
tists, 6, 7. London. 1645). 

Here were Baptist churches, according to Kiffin, before the 
times of Henry VIII, and this fact was well known to the 
Baptists. Further on Kiffin makes the claim that the Baptists 
outdated the Presbyterians. He says- 

And for the second part of your query. That we disturb the great work 
of Reformation now in hand ; I know not what you mean by this charge, 
unless it be to discover your prejudice against us in Reforming ourselves 
before you, for as yet we have not in our understanding, neither can we 
conceive any thing of that we shall see reformed by you according to truth, 
but that through mercy we enjoy the practice of the same already ; 'tis 
strange this should be a disturbance to the ingenious faithful reformer; 
it should be (one would think) a furtherance rather than a disturbance, 
and whereas you tell us of the work of Reformation now in hand, no reason- 
able men will force us to desist from the practice of that which we are 
;persuaded is according to Truth, and wait for that which we know not 
what it will be ; and in the meantime practise that which you yourselves say 
must be reformed (KiflBn, 12-14). 

The year 1650 marked the appearance of a distinguished 
book by Daniel King (A Way to Zion, sought out and found, 
for Believers to walk in; or, a Treatise, consisting of three 
parts). In the first part it is proved: 

1. That God hath had a people on earth, ever since the coming of 
Christ in the flesh, throughout the darkest days of Popery, which he hath 
owned as saints, and as his people. 

Here is a distinct claim, that the Baptists have existed since 
the days of Christ. King further says: 

2^6 A History of the Baptists 

2. That the saints have power to re-assume and to tak6 up as their 
right, any ordinance of Christ, which they have been deprived of by the 
violence and tyranny of the Man of Sin. 

This was the ordinary position of the Particular Baptists. 
In the third part King says : 

Proveth that outward ordinances, and among the rest the ordinance 
of baptism is to continue in the church, and this Truth cleared up from 
intricate turnings and windings, clouds and mists that make the way 
doubtful and dark, 

Four of the most prominent Baptists of those times, Thomas 
Patience, John Spilsbury, William KiflSn and! John Pearson 
wrote an introduction for the book. These men declare that 
the assertion that "there are no churches in the world" and 
"no true ministers" has "been of singular use in the hands of 
the Devil." These old Baptists carefully guarded every his- 
torical statement. A part of the introduction is as follows : 

The devil hath mustered all of his forces of late, to blind and pester 
the minds of good people, to keep them from the clear knowledge and prac- 
tice of the way of God, eithei'; in possessing people still with old corrupt 
principles ; or if they have been taken off them, then to persuade them, 
that there are no true churches in the world, and that persons cannot 
come to the practice of ordinances, there being no true ministry in the 
world ; and others they run in another desperate extreme, holding Christ 
to be a, shadow, and all his Gospel and Ordinance like himself fleshy and 
carnal. This generation of people have been of singular use in the hand 
of the Devil to advance his kingdom, and to make war against the kingdom 
of our Lord Jesus. Now none have been more painful than there have 
been of late, to poison the city, the country, the army, as far as they 
could. Inasmuch as it lay upon some of our spirits as a duty, to put our 
weak ability for the discovering of these gross errors and mistakes; but 
it hath pleased God to stir up the spirit of our Brother, Daniel King, whom 
we judge a faithful and painful minister of Jesus Christ, to take this 
work in hand before us ; and we judge he hath been much assisted of God 
in the work in which he hath been very painful. We shall not need to 
say much of the Treatise ; only in brief : It is his method to follow the 
Apostles' rule to prove everything by the existence of Scripture-light, ex- 
pounding Scripture by Scripture, and God hath helped him in this discourse, 
in proving the truth of churches, against all such as that have gone under 
the name of Seekers, and hath very well, and with great evidence of 
Scripture-light answered to all, or most of their objections of weight, &t 
also those above, or beyond ordinances. 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 257 

This is the endorsement of five of the leading Baptists in 
the world in their day, "that God hath a people on earth, ever 
since the coming of Christ in the flesh." They further be- 
lieved that these people were the Baptists. 

Henry D'Anvers was a man of great celebrity among the Bap- 
tists. He was bom about the year 1608. He was a colonel in 
the Parliamentary army and governor of Strafford. While 
governor he embraced Baptist principles and was baptized 
probably by Henry Haggar. He wrote a book on baptism, in 
which he greatly stirred up the Pedobaptists. It is a vigorous 
defense of believers' baptism by dipping. He traces the his- 
tory of the Baptists century by century back to the apostles. 
After referring to the existence of Baptists in England for 
long periods, he says: 

In the 16th year of King James, 1618, That excellent Dutch Piece, 
called A very plain and well-grounded Treatise concerning Baptism, that 
with so much authority both from Scripture and Antiquity, proves the 
baptizing of Believars, and disproves that of Infants, was printed in Eng- 

Since when (especially in the last 30 or 40 years) many have been the 
Conferences that have past, and many the Treatises that have been 
written Pro and Con upon that subject, and many have been the Suffer- 
ings both in old and new England, that people of that perswasion have 
under gone, whereby much Light hath broken forth therein, that not only 
very many Learned men have been convinced thereof, but very many Con- 
gregations of Baptists have been, and are daily gathered in that good old 
way of the Lord, that hath so long lain under so much obliquy and re- 
proach, and been buried under so much Antichristian rubbish in these 
Nations (D'Anvers, A Treatise of Baptism, 308, London, 1674, second 
edition ) . 

He further says: 

By all which you see by plentiful Evidence, that Christ hath not been 
without his Witnesses in every Age, not only to defend and assert the true, 
but to impugn, and to reject (yea, even to Death itself) the false Bap- 
tism. Insomuch that we are not left without good Testimony of a Series 
of Succession, that by God's providence hath been kept afoot, of this 
great Ordinance of Believers-Baptism ever since the first times (Ibid, 321, 

The Confession of Paith of several Congregations of Christ 
in the county of Somerset, and some churches in the counties 

258 A History of the Baptists 

near adjacent, A. D., 1656, has always been an important docu- 
ment. On this subject it is very clear. The Confession says: 

Article XXIX. Tliat the Lord Christ Jesus being the foundation and 
cornerstone of the gospel church whereon his apostles built. Eph. ii. 20. 
Heb. ii. 3. He gave them power and abilities to propagate, to plant, to 
rule and order. Matt, xxviii. 19 Liuke x. 16. For the benefit of that 
his body, by which ministry he did shew forth the exceeding riches of his 
grace, by his kindness towards it in the ages to come, Eph. ii. 7, which is 
according to his promise. 

Article XXX. That the foundation and ministration aforesaid, is a sure 
guide, rule and direction, in the darkest time of the anti-christian apos- 
tacy, or spiritual Babylonish captivity, to direct, inform, and restore us in 
our just freedom and liberty, to the right worship and order belonging to 
the church of Jesus Christ. 1. Tim. iii. 14, 15, 2. Tim. iii. 15, 16, 17. 
John xvii. 20. Isa. lix. 21. Rev. ii. 24. Isa. xl. 21. Rev. ii . 5 . 1 Cor . xiv : 
37. &c. (Crosby, I. 52, 53). 

Another mighty Baptist of this century was Thomas Gran- 
tham. He says: 

From all which testimonies (and many more that might be brought) 
it is evident, beyond all doubt, (our opposers being judges) that whether 
we respect the signification of the word baptize, that many of the learned 
have much abused in this age, in telling them the Anabaptists (i. e. the 
Baptized Churches) are of late edition, a new sect, etc. when from their own 
writings, the clean contrary is so evident (Grantham, Christianismus Primi- 
tivus, 92, 93. London, 1678). 

Joseph Hooke, who styled himself "a servant of Christ and 
a lover of all men," was a noted Baptist of this century. He 
wrote with great fulness on the continuation of the Baptists 
through the ages. He says: 

The people to whom John Woodward is joined, called Anabaptists 
are not rightly so called, and are no new sect (Hooke, A Necessary Apology 
for the Baptized Believers, Title page. London, 1701). 

Again he says: 

Thus having shewed negatively, when this sect called Anabaptists did 
not begin ; we shall shew in the next place affirmatively, when it did be- 
gin ; for a beginning it had, and it concerns us to enquire for the fountain 
head of this sect ; for if it was sure that it were no older than the Mun- 
ster fight ... I would resolve to forsake it, and would persuade others 
to do so too. 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 259 

That religion that is not as old as Christ and his Apostles, is too new 
for me. 

But secondly, Affirmatively, we are fully persuaded, and therefore do 
boldly though humbly, assert, that this sect is the very same sort of people 
that were first called Christians in Antioch, Acts 11 : 26. But sometimes 
called Nazarenes, Acts 24 :5. And as they are everywhere spoken against 
now, even as they were in the Primitive Times. 

And sometimes anciently they were called Anabaptists, as they have been 
of late times, and for the same cause, for when others innovated in the 
worship of God, and changed the subject in baptism, they kept on their 
way, and men grew angry, and for mending an error, they called them 
Anabaptists, and so they came by this name, which is very ancient . . . 
(Hooke, 66). 

Many more such statements occur in the book, but the fol- 
lowing must end his testimony: 

But we think it sufficient, that we can prove all we teach by the in- 
fallible Records of God's Word, and if all histories and monuments of 
antiquity had been overlaid, or burnt, as many have been, so that we had 
never been able to shew from any book but the Bible, that there were 
ever any of our persuasion in the world, till within a few years, yet we 
should think that book enough to prove the antiquity of our persuasion, 
that we are not a new sect, seeing that we can make it appear by that one 
book, that our persuasion is as old as Christ and the Apostles. And on 
the contrary, if we could show from approved history, that multitudes of 
all ages and nations since the Apostles' days have been of our persuasion, 
yet if we could not prove by the word of God, that our persuasion is true, 
it would signify very little. Therefore in the next place, we shall demon- 
strate that our doctrine is according to the Holy Scriptur:?s, the Standard 
of Ti-uth (Hooke, 32). 

Samuel Stennett was one of the most accomplished scholars 
of his day, and was for forty-seven years pastor of the Little 
AVild Street Baptist Church, in London. His father, grand- 
father and greatgrandfather were all Baptist ministers. His 
greatgrandfather was born before the Civil Wars. He was 
in position to judge of the claims of the Baptists to antiquity. 
On this point he says : 

And from these (Piedmont) we have traced the truth for which we 
contend, amidst the notable testimonies of renowned martyrs and con- 
fessors in favor of it, seven hundred years before the Reformation, down 
to the present times (Stennett, Answer toi a Christian Minister's Reasons, 
295. London, 1775). 

26o A History of the Baptists 

The Baptist Magazine was founded in London in 1809. The 
very first number in this magazine, after the introduction, was 
"A Miniature History of the Baptists," in which it was claimed 
that the Baptists had always practised adult baptism, by im- 
mersion. The Editor further says : 

The Baptists have no origin short of the Apostles. They arose in the 
days of John the Baptist, and increased largely in the days of the Apostles, 
and have existed, under the severest oppressions, with intervals of pros- 
perity, ever since. 

Again, in 1817, the same magazine says: 

The Baptists in England trace their origin, as a separate denomination, 
to the period of the Reformation, in the reign of Henry VIII ; though 
there is good evidence that persons of the same sentiments, on the subject 
of believers' baptism, were found among the Wiclsliffitea and Lollards, who 
were the Protestant dissenters from the Church of Rome before that 
period; and also, that all of the British Christians, till the arrival of 
Austin at the close of the sixth century were ignorant of the practice of 
infant baptism (Baptist Magazine, IX. 411). 

One of the best posted English Baptists was Thomas Pot- 
tenger. Writing in 1845, of English Baptists, he says: 

Writers have stated, though erroneously, that the first Baptist church 
in England was formed at the commencement of the seventeenth century, 
soon after Charles I. ascended the throne. This is a mistake. It is con- 
trary to facts. History tells another tale. Courts of justice, registers of 
prisons, annals of martyrdom, lead to a different conclusion. Centuries 
before this period Baptists lived in various parts of the land, though the 
ignorance and cruelty of the times did not permit them to enjoy a visible 
and denominational organization like their successors of the present day. 
Moreover, there were Baptist societies in the kingdom long before the light 
of the reformation dawned upon it, and those societies were composed of 
men and women who regarded immersion on a profession of faith in Christ 
essential to the due administration of baptism (Pottenger, The Early Eng- 
lish Baptists. In The Baptist Magazine, XXXVII. 283. London, 1845). 

This is not an antiquated opinion among the English Bap- 
tists, for many of the most intelligent Baptists of that coun- 
try believe that the Baptists date back to the Apostles. The 
Rev. George P. Gould, ex-President of Regents Park College, 
edited and published a series of Baptist Manuals, historical and 
biographical. In 1895 he published one on Hanserd Knollys, by 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 261' 

Ijames Culross, ex-President of Bristol Baptist College. After 

stating that Knollys became a sectary in 1631, Culross says: 

Had Baptists thought anything depended on it, they might have traced 
their pedigree bacli to New Testament times, and claimed Apostolic suc- 
cession. The channel of succession was certainly purer, if humbler, than 
through the apostate church of Rome. But they were content to rest on 
Scripture alone, and, as they found only believers' baptism there, they 
adherred to that (Culross, Hanserd Knollys, 39 note). 

The story of the sending of Blount to Holland to obtain im- 
mersion is a blind account, and rests solely on the authority 
of the so-called KiflSn Manuscript. This is a document which 
has been shown to be utterly worthless (Christian, Baptist His- 
tory Vindicated. Louisville, 1899). The KifEn Manuscript has 
generally been discredited by Baptist authors. Crosby can only 
affinm that it "was said to be written by William KifBn" (Cros- 
by, History of the English Baptists, I. 101). Evans says: 
"This statement is vague. We have no date and cannot tell 
whether the facts refer to the Separatists under Mr. Spils- 
bury or to others" (Evans, Early English Baptists, II. 78). 
Cathcart says this transaction may have happened, but "we 
would not bear heavily on the testimony adduced by these good 
men" (Cathcart, Baptist Encyclopaedia, I. 527). 

Armitage says : 

A feeble but strained attempt has been made to show that none of the 
English Baptists practised immersion prior to 1641, from the document 
mentioned by Crosby in 1738, of which he remarks it was "said to be writ- 
ten by William KiflSn." Although the Manuscript is signed by fifty-three 
persons, it is evident that its authorship was only guessed at from the begin- 
ning, it may or may not have been written by KiflBn (Armitage, History 
of the Baptists, 440). 

Dr. Henry S. Burrage, who gave much time and attention 
to this subject, after a somewhat lengthy discussion of the Jer- 
sey Church Kecords and the Gould Kiffin Manuscript, is con- 
strained to say: 

It will be noticed in our reference above to the Jessey Church Records, 
we say "if they are authentic." We have not forgotten the Crowle and 
Epworth records. These made their appearance about the same time as the 
Jessey Church Records, and it is now known that they are clumsy forgeries. 
The Jessey Church Records may be genuine, but their genuineness has 
not yet been established (Zion's Advocate, September, 1896). 

262 A History of the Baptists 

Pedobaptist writers have rejected the Kiffin Manuscript, and 
pronounced its testimony untrustworthy. John Lewis, in his re- 
ply to Crosby, ridicules the Kiffin Manuscript. After quoting 
the story of Blount and Blacklock, taken from Crosby, he says : 

This is a very blind account. I can't find the least mention made any- 
where else of these three names Batte, Blount and Blacklock, nor is it said 
in what town, city or parish of the Netherlands those Anabaptists lived 
who practised this manner of baptizing by dipping or plunging the whole 
body under water (Rawlinson MSS. C 409. Bodleian Library). 

Lewis, in referring to this "ancient Manuscript," mentioned 
by Crosby, says: ''How ignorant" (Ibid). Elsewhere he says: 

But it is pretty odd, that nobody should know in what place this ancient 
congregation (a congregation much about the same antiquity with the 
ancient manuscript) was, and that John Batte, their teacher, should never 
be heard of before or since (Rawlinson MSS), 

Again : 

Others say it (baptism) was first brought here by one Richard Blount, 
but who and what he was I don't know. 

Once more: 

But we have no authority for this account but a manuscript said to 
have been written by William Kiffin. 

The document was so untrustworthy that Dr. Dexter, though 
it was in line with his contention, rejected it. He says : 

On the other hand, had not Kiffin — as it is supposed — made the state- 
ment, it would be suspicious for its vagueness, and for the fact that none 
of the historians, not even Wilson, Calamy, Brook, or Neal, know anything 
about Blount, or Blacklock, beyond what is here stated (Dexter, True Story 
of John Smyth, 54). 

This manuscript, in which almost every statement in it can 
be shown to be false, which is rejected by the most of Baptists, 
and by controversial Pedobaptist writers, is the only authority 
to prove this story of Blount going to Holland, and that the 
Baptists were in the practice of sprinkling. ISTot one contem- 
porary author mentions the journey of Blount, or the names of 
Blount or Blacklock. There is no proof that either man ever 

Origin of the Partictilar Baptist Churches 263 

lived. Edwards does indeed mention a Blount who was a 
Baptist, but his given name is not mentioned and no circum- 
stance connects him with Holland. The Blount mentioned by 
Edwards was a General and not a Particular Baptist, and could 
not have been connected with this enterprise. 

The first reference that has been found to the Baptists send- 
ing to Holland for baptism is in an account by Hutchinson, 
who wrote in 1676, and he declares the point of the trouble 
was not immersion, but a proper administrator. He says : 

When the professors of these nations had been a long time wearied 
with the yolse of superstition, ceremonies, traditions of men, and corrupt 
mixtures in the worship and- service of God, it pleased the Lord to break 
these yokes, and by a very strong impulse of his Spirit upon the hearts of 
his people, to convince them of the necessity of Reformation. Divers pious, 
and very gracious people, having often sought the Lord by fasting and 
prayer, that he would show them the pattern of his house, th(; goings-out 
and the comings-in thereof, etc. Resolved (by the grace of God), not to 
receive or to practise any piece of positive worship which had not precept 
or example from the word of God. Infant baptism coming of course under 
consideration, after long search and many debates, it was found to have 
no footing in the Scriptures (the only rule and standard to try doctrines 
by) ; but on the contrary a mere innovation, yea, the profanation of an 
ordinance of God. And though it was proposed to be laid aside, yet what 
fears, tremblings, and temptations did attend them, lest they should be 
mistaken, considering how many learned and godly men were of an oppo- 
site persuasion. How gladly would they have had the rest of their brethren 
gone along with them. But when there was no hope, they concluded that 
a Christian's faith must not stand in thel wisdom of men ; and that every 
one must give an account of himself to God ; and so resolved to practise 
according to their light. The great objection was, the want of an admin- 
istrator ; which, as I have heard was removed by sending certain messen- 
gers to Holland, whence they were supplied (Hutchinson, A Treatise Con- 
cerning the Covenant and Baptism Dialoguewise. Epistle to the Reader. 
London, 1676). 

Hutchinson knows nothing of Blount, Blacklock or Batte. 
The people he mentions were all Pedobaptists, who had just 
been converted to Baptist views. This is hearsay testimony years 
after without any details. The first man mentioned, who was 
sent to Holland to get immersion, was John Spilsbury, but Cros- 
by says this was not true. The date of the going of Blount to 
Holland is as mythical as the person of Blount. A Baptist 

264 ^ History of the Baptists 

writer, who published a history of the Baptists, siij plementary 
to Neal's History of the Puritans, says thai] Blount went to 
Holland in 1608". Barclay says he went in 1633. Other writ- 
ers have been impressed with the date of 1640. . One writer 
mentions three dates, 1640, 1641 and 1644. The KifRn Manu- 
script mentions both 1640 and 1644. One date is just as good 
as another, for there is no authority to substantiate any of 
them. I^ot one prominent Baptist received his baptism' from 
this source. William Kiffin, John Spilsbury, Samuel Rich- 
ardson and Paul Hobson did not. 

We are confronted with the attnazing proposition that there 
were two Kiffin Manuscripts, differing from one another in 
most important respects. The one by Crosby has already been 
referred to; the other is known as the Gould edition. In the 
year 1860, Rev. George Gould had a lawsuit in regard to cer- 
tain chapel property. After the suit was over, Mr. Gould pre- 
sented his side of the question to the public in a volume en- 
titled: Open Communion and the Baptists of Norwich. He 
also left a volume of manuscripts. Through the kindness of 
Rev. George P. Gould, ex-President of Regents Park College, an 
opportunity was granted the author to examine these papers. 
There were some thirty documents, with other miscellaneous 
papers, copied into a large book, under the general title: 
J^otices of the Early Baptists. These papers) were copied into 
this book about the year 1860. It has recently been announced 
that these papers have been found ; but what became of the origi- 
nals is a mystery. Information was sought in vain. The Kifiin 
Manuscript as copied in this book differs in a radical manner 
from the quotations made by Crosby from the so-called TCiffin 
Manuscript. The Gould KiflSn Manuscript has been shown in 
almost every detail to be contrary to well authenticated re- 
cords, such for example, as sworn depositions in the courts of 
the land. Some who were described as men were women, some 
who were pronounced alive were dead, soiine who were declared 
to be in prison were free, etc., etc. Records in the book pro- 
fess to be the minutes of the church of which Henry Jacob was 
pastor, and yet not one date or fact connected with his life is 
correctly given. Take a single incident from the minutes: 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 265 

About eight years H. Jacob was Pastor of ye said Church & when upon 
his importunity to go to Virginia, to which he had been engaged before by 
their consent, he was remitted from the said office, 1624, & dismissed ye 
congregation to go thither, where in after years, he ended his dayes. In 
the time of his Service much trouble attended that State and People 
within and without. 

This is the so-called minute of the church, and yet every 
statement is contrary to the facts in tlie case. Mr. Jacob did 
not serve the church eight years, but only six years ; he did not 
go to Virginia in 1624, but in 1622; and he did not die in 
Virginia, but he returned to England in 1624, and died there 
in April or May of that year, and was buried from St. An- 
drew Hubbard's Parish, Borough of Canterbury. All of this 
is found in the last will and testament of Henry Jacob, which 
may be consulted at Somerset House, London. The will was 
probated by his wife, Sarah Jacob. 

From the Gould Kiffin Manuscript, of 1860, the following 
is taken : 

1640. 3rd. Mo: The Church became two by mutuall consent half being 
with Mr. P. Barebone, & ye other halfe with Mr. H. Jessey. jNIr. Richard 
Blunt with him being convinced of Baptism yt ought to be by dipping in 
ye body into ye water, resembling Burial and rising again. 2 Col. 2 : 12, 
Rom. 6. 4 had sober conference about in ye Church, & then with some of 
the forenamed who also were so convinced; and after prayer & conference 
about their so enjoying it, none having then so practised it in England 
to professed Believers & having heard that some in ye Netherlands had so 
practised they agreed and sent over Mr. Richard Blunt (who understood 
Dutch) with letters of Commendation, and who was kindly received there; 
and returned with letters from them Jo: Batte & Teacher there and from 
that Church to such as sent him. 

They proceed therein, viz. Those persons that were persuaded Baptism 
should be by dipping ye body had met in two Companies, and did intend 
so to meet after this, all those agreed to proceed alike togeather And then 
manifesting not any formal words (A Covenant) Wch word was scrupled 
by some of them, but by mutual desires each Testified : 

Those two Companies did set apart one to Baptize the rest ; so it was 
solemnly performed by them. 

Mr. Blunt baptized Mr. Blacklock yt was a teacher amongst them and 
Mr. Blunt being baptized, he and Mr. Blacklock baptized ye rest of their 
friends that were so minded, and many being added to them, they increased 

266 A History of the Baptists 

Upon these eleven words "none having then so practised it 
in England to professed Believers" treatises have been writ- 
ten to prove that the English Baptists did not practise immei'- 
sion before 161-1. If his document were genuine it would prove 
no such fact. All that could be claimed for it is, that so' far 
as the writer knows, there had been no practise of believers' 
immersion previous to that date. The document does not say 
they received baptism in Holland from Batte, but that they 
received letters and Blunt baptized Blacklock and Blacklock 
baptized Blunt and they baptized the rest. All this took place 
in England and not in Holland. 

In 1850 Charles H. Spurgeon did not know that any one 
in England practised immersion. It was a surprise and joy 
to him to find that there were in England, those whose exist- 
ence he had not anticipated, who observed the ^ew Testament 
teaching in regard to baptism. He proceeded to become one of 
thetai, and soon filled the world with his fame (Spurgeon, Ser- 
nioil on God's Pupil. Ps., 71:17). Because a certain man, 
who was not a Baptist, did not know of the practice of believer^' 
immersion in 1640, no more proves that such a baptism was 
not practised than the want of knowledge in 1850, on Spur- 
geon's part proved that no believers then immersed in Eng- 
land. Besides they had facilities of information in 1850 far 
beyond what they had in 1640. But Crosby leaves out these 
words altogether. If these words were in the Kiffin Manu- 
script then he deliberately falsified the record to suit his pur- 
pose and left out the most important words in the manuscript. 
He did this with the full knowledge of the fact that he had 
loaned this manuscript to Mr. ^eal, who in several instances 
quoted from it, and could easily have exposed Crosby. Crosby 
stands above reproach in candor and honesty. 

Whoever compiled the Gould manuscripts, repeatedly, in jke 
thirty documents, recorded these eleven words in connection 
with documents which do not naturally mention baptism in any 
form. It was a pet phrase of the compiler of the Gould KifEn 
Manuscript. How did these words get into the Gould Kifiin 
Manuscript ? 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 267 

"No. 18 of the Goiild collection is an example of how the com- 
piler made use of these words. Effort has been "made to prove 
that the Gould collection was made by Edward Bampfield, but 
this is a failure since this number was written after Bampfield 
was dead, and his autobiogTaphy is mentioned. He died in 
1683. This collector believed that the Baptists obtained im- 
mersion from somewhere, so he puts it in all of the docu- 
ments. Therefore we read in No. 18 : 

An account of ye methods taken by ye Baptists to obtain a proper 
administrator of Baptism by Imersion, when that practice had long been 
disused, yt then was no one who had been so baptized to ba found. 

The same statement is found in document Xo. 4. How did 
these statements get into the Gould Kifii'n Manuscript ? They 
are not in Crosby's edition. They are in a number of the 
documents in the Gould collection. There is not a single in- 
stance known in this period, where a Baptist chiirch practised 
sprinkling, or where any Baptist church changed its practice. 

[Fortunately it is not necessary to turn to a confused and mis- 
leading manuscript for an account of the organization of the 
Particular Baptist Churches. Hanserd KnoUys was one of 
the principal actors of those times, and he gives an account of 
their organization. He rejected infant baptism in 1631 (John 
Lewis, Appendix to the History of the Anabaptists. Eawlin- 
son MSS. CCCCIX, 62), and probably became a Baptist in 
the same year (Kiffin, Life and Death of Hanserd KnoUys, 
47. London, 1812). He tells in simple langaiage (A Mod- 
erate Answer unto Dr. Baswick's Book. London, 1645), the 
story of thei planting of these churches in the days of persecu- 
tion before 1641. He relates: 

I shall now take the liberty to declare, what I know by mine own 
experience to be the practice of some Churches of God in this City. That 
so far both the Dr. and the Reader may judge how near the saints who 
walk in the fellowship of the Gospell, do come to their practice, to those 
Apostolicall rules and practice propounded by the Dr. as God's method in 
gathering churches, and admitting Members. I say that I know by mine own 
experience (having walked with them), that they were thus gathered; viz. 
Some godly and learned men of approved gifts and abilities for the Min- 
istry, being driven out of the Countries where they lived by the persecution 

268 A History of the Baptists 

of the Prelates, came to sojourn in this great City, and preached the word 
of God both publicly and from house to house, and daily in the Temple, 
and in every house they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ ; and 
some of them having dwelt in their ovrn hired houses, and received all that 
came unto them, preached the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things 
v?hich concern the Lord Jesus Christ. And when many sinners were con- 
verted by the preaching of the Gospel, some of them believers consorted 
with them, and of professors a great many, and of the chief women not a 
few. And the condition which those Preachers, both publicly and privately 
propounded to the people, unto whom they preached, upon which they were 
to be admitted into the Church was by Faith, Repentance, and Baptism, 
and none other. And whosoever (poor as well as rich, bond as well as 
free, servants as well as Masters), did make a profession of their Faith 
in Jesus Christ, and would be baptized with water, in the Name of the 
Father, Sonne, and Holy Spirit, were admitted Members of the Church ; 
but such as did not believe, and would not be baptized, they would not 
admit into Church communion. This hath been the practice of some 
Churches of God in this City, without urging or making any particular 
covenant with Members upon admittance, which I desire may be examined 
by the Scripture cited in the Margcnt, and when compared with the Doctor's 
three conclusions from the same Scriptures, whereby it may appear to the 
judicious Reader, how near the Churches some of them come to the practice 
of the Apostles rules, and practice of the primitive churches, both in gather- 
ing and admitting members. 

This is a rational, genuine, straightforward " account of the 
organization of the Particular Baptist churches. 

The Independent church, of which Henry Jacob was the 
first pastor, and of which Mr. Lathrop was the second, was often 
troubled on the subject of immersion. In 1633, during the 
pastorate of Mr. Lathrop, there was a division in the church 
on the subject of dipping, and a Baptist church was organized 
under the pastorate of John Spilsbury, This church of Spils- 
bury's practised dipping. Spilsbury immersed Sam Eaton be- 
tween the dates of April 14, 1634, and May 5, 1636. Eaton 
also became a preacher and immersed others. This informa- 
tion was given by John Taylor, who put in rhyme as follows: 

Also one Spilsbury rose up of late, 
(Who doth or did dwell over Aldersgate) 

He rebaptiz'd in Anabaptist fashion 
One Eaton (of the new found separation) 
A zealous button maker, grave and wise. 
And gave him orders others to baptize: 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 269 

He was so apt to learn that in one day, 
He'd Do't as well as Spilsbury weigh'd Hay. 
This true Hay-lay man to the Bank side came 
And there likewise baptized an impure dame. 

This book was written, in 1638 (Taylor, A Swarme of Sec- 
taries, and Schismatiques). It is interesting to note Spils- 
bury's idea of immersion. He says : 

As is recorded by the Holy Ghost in the Scriptures of God; even so it 
is the judgment of the most and best learned in the land, so far as I have 
seen, or can see by any of their writings. As in all of the common dic- 
tionaries, which with one joint consent affirm, that the word baptize or 
baptizo, being the original word, signifies to dip, wash, to plunge one into 
the water though some please to mock and deride, by calling it a new tan- 
gled way, and what they please. Indeed it is a new found way, in opposi- 
tion to an old grown error ; and so it is a new thing to such, as the 
Apostles doctrine was to the Athenians (Spilsbury, A Ti-eatise concerning 
the Lawful Subject of Baptism. London, 1653). 

In regard to the enemies calling baptism "a new fangled 
way," Spilsbury remarks : "Yet truth was: before error." He 
evidently thought immersion was the old way. The L^rop 
church had continual trouble on dipping. A book called "To 
Zion's Virgins," was written by an ancient member of the 
congregation. An edition was printed in 1644, but it had been 
in use for several years and was in fact a Catechism. The date 
can be approximated. It was written after September 18, 1634, 
for it declared that Mr. Lathrop was now pastor in America. 
It was before 1637 when Mr. Jessey was called as pastor, for 
the church was engaged in prayer for a pastor. The date was 
then, between 1634 and 1637. The church at that date had al- 
ready experienced disturbances on the subject of believers' im- 
mersion. The writer exhorts the members that they avoid "that 
that makes divisions," and continues : 

I desire to manifest in defense of the Baptisme and forme we have 
received, not being, easily moved, but as Christ will more manifest him- 
self, which I cannot conceive to bee in the dipping of the head, the creature 
going in and out of the water, the forme of baptism doth more or lesse 
hold forth Christ. And it is a sad thing that the citizens of Zion, should 
have their children born foreigners and not to be baptized, &c. 

Again. : 

270 A History of the Baptists 

Then sayes such as be Called Anabaptists, &c. This answer is given 
in part: Wherefore let such as deny infants baptisme, as goe into the 
water and dip down the head and, come out to show death and buriall, 
take heede they take not the name of the Lord in vaine, more especially 
such as have received baptisme in their infancy. 

This ancient member of the Independent church testifies di- 
rectly ttf the immersion of believers, and the date was before 

Spilsbiiry immersed Eaton; and Eaton immersed others. 
Moreover Eaton had been a member of Lathrop's church, and 
so Spilsbury did not recognize the baptism administered by 
Lathrop, The date of the baptism, of Lathrop can be approxi- 
mately fixed by the records of the High Court of Commission. 
Eaton died in prison August 25, 1639 (Calendar of State 
Papers, CCCCXXVII. 107). He was in jail from May 5, 
1636, continuously to his death, therefore he was immersed be- 
fore 1636; and he was likewise a preacher and practised im- 
mersion before that date. The Court Eecords show that April 
29, 1632, he was a member of Lathrop's church. He continued 
in jail until April 24, 1634, when he was released from prison 
under the same bond that Lathrop was (Ibid, CCLXI. 182). 
After that date and before May 5, 1636, he joined the Bap- 
tist church and was dipped by Spilsbury. At a later date he 
was again cast into prison (Ibid, CCCXXIV. 13), and while 
in prison he attacked the baptism of the Churchmen (Ibid, 
CCCCVL 64). He died on Sunday, August 25, 1639 (Ibid, 
CCCCXXXVII. 107), and not less than two hundred persons 
accompanied the corpse to the grave. 

There was another secession from the Jacob church in 1638, 
when William Kiffin and five others united with the church of 
Spilsbury. (Ivimey, The Life of William Kiffin, 16, London, 

Of this event jGroadby says : 

Five years after the above date (i. e. 1638), a further secession from the 
original church strengthened their hands. Among the seceders were Wil- 
liam Kiffin and Thomas Wilson. KifBn, to whose pen we are endebted for 
the account of the origin of the first Calvinistic Baptist church of Eng- 
land, thus speaks of the reasons which led him to join Mr. Spilsbury : — I 
used all of my endeavors, by converse with such as were able, also by 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 271 

diligently searching the Scriptures, with earnest desire to God that I 
might be directed in a right way of worship; and, after some time, con- 
cluded that the safest way was to follow the footsteps of the flock, namely, 
that order laid down by Christ and his Apostles, and practised by '..he 
primitive Christians in their time. Which I found to be, after conversion 
they were baptized, added to the church, and continued in the Apostles' 
doctrine and fellowship, and breaking of bread and prayers (Goadby, Bye- 
Paths in Baptist History, 351). 

Spilsbury was in the practice of immersion; but Kiffin was 
more strict in his views than was his pastor. Spilsbury per- 
mitted pulpit affiliation; Kiffin would have none of it. He 
believed that only an immersed man should occupy a Baptist 
pulpit. Crosby gives this account of Kiffin : 

He was first of an Independent congregation, and called to the ministry 
among them ; was one of them who were concerned in the conferences 
held in the congregation of Mr. Henry Jessey ; by which Mr. Jessey and 
a greater part of the congregation became proselytes to the opinions af 
the Baptists. He joined himself to the congregation of Mr. John Spils- 
bury, but a difference arising about permitting persons to preach amongst 
them that had not been baptized by immersion, they parted by consent 
(Crosby, History of the English Baptists, III. 3, 4), 

Kiflfln, in the year 1639, or 1640, withdrew from the church 
of Spilsbury and organized the Devonshire Baptist Chvirch, of 
London, on a strict immersion line. This honored church has 
continued to this day. 

After the organization of the church under Spilsbury, the 
subject of dipping still troubled the Independent church of 
Lathrop. He removed to America in 1634 with a part of his 
church, which brought on a great debate on baptism in this 

We are not yet done with this church of Jacob's for one of 
its most distingniished pastors, Eev. Henry Jessey, became a 
Baptist. He was one of the most noted men of his times. He 
was born September 3, 1601, entered Cambridge University in 
1622, and became a minister in 1626, and became pastor of 
the Jacob church in 1637. The frequent debates on baptism 
soon unsettled his mind. In 1642 he freely declared to the 
church his convictions on the subject of dipping, and proposed 
that those baptized in the church thereafter be baptized by that 

2/2 A History of the Baptists 

form. In 1644 he held frequent debates on the subject of 
infant baptism, and in June, 1645, he was baptized by Hanserd 

This Independent church, organized by Jacob, had a most 
wonderful record for making Baptists, and encouraging the 
practice of dipping. There were repeated secessions from it 
on that account. Out of it came a number of the great lead- 
ers of the Particular Baptists, all of whom were in the prac- 
tice of dipping. Henry Jessey received his baptism from Han- 
serd Kuollys, who had been a Baptist since 1631. Eaton was 
immersed by John Spilsbury, and Eaton in turn dipped others. 
William Kiffin was the strictest of them: all and would not 
permit those who had not been immersed to preach in Baptist 
pulpits. Even those who emigrated to America precipitated 
a great debate on the subject of dipping. 

There was another Independent church which at least had 
two distinguished pastors who were Baptists. It was organized 
by Mr. Hubbard, about the year 1621. He wag a Pedobaptist 
minister, but the immediate successors in the pastorate were 
Baptists. The church worshipped at Deadman's Place, and 
contained many Baptists in its membership. It is probable 
that by 1640 a majority of its members were Baptists and had 
been immersed. They were arrested in January, 1640, and 
brought before the House of Lords. So greatly did Baptist 
sentiment prevail among them that they were called Anabap- 
tists (Journal of the House of Lords, IV. 133). There were 
more than sixty-six of them. The House of Lords, on the 
16th of January, reprimanded them. This action on the part 
of the House of Lords directed much sympathy to the church. 

Some of the persons before the House of Lords on this oc- 
casion signed the great Confession of Faith of 1643. Just 
when John Canne became minister is not known certainly, 
but he resigned and went to Holland in 1633. He was in 
Amsterdam in 1634, at which time he wrote his celebrated 
book: "The ISTecessity of Separation," which had a wide cir- 
culation with important results. At that time he was an Ana- 
baptist (Brereton, Travels, 65). Stovell makes it perfectly 
plain that while pastor of the Hubbard church he was a Bap- 
tist. He was still, in 1638, in Amsterdam, and heavily fined 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 273 

for his activities (Evans, Early English Baptists, II. 108). 
•He probably returned in that year to London, v^here he labored 
with success. He went, in 1640, larger liberty being granted 
of preaching, to Bristol, where he preached in public places, 
at other times in the open air, and founded a church. Being 
a Baptist, he was described as a "baptized man," meaning 
an immersed man. Already, in 1640', a Baptist was known 
as an immersed man. 

The Broadmead Eecords give an account of his arrival and 
work in that city. The Records say: 

At this juncture of time (1640) the providence of God brought to this 
city one Mr. Canne, a baptized man ; and it was this Mr. C'anne that made 
notes and references upon the Bible. He was a man very eminent in hia 
day of godliness, and for reformation in religion, having great under- 
standing in the way of the Lord (Broadmead Records, 18, 19). 

Mr. Canne attempted to preach in a suburb of the city and 
a wealthy woman placed some obstructions in his way. The 
Broadmead Records say: 

The obstruction was by a very godly great woman, that dwelt in that 
place who was somewhat severe in the profession of what she knew,hear- 
ing that he was a baptized man, by them called Anabaptists, which was 
to some sufficient cause of prejudice, because the truth of believers' bap- 
tism had been for a long time buried, yea, for a long time by popish inven- 
tions, and their sprinkling brought in room thereof. And (this preju- 
dice existed) by reason (that) persons in the practice of that truth by 
ibaptism were by some rendered very obnoxious ; because, about one hun- 
dred years before, some beyond sea, in Germany, that held that truth of 
believers' baptism, did, as some say, some very singular actions ; of whom 
we can have no true account what they were but by their enemies ; for 
none but such in any history have made any relation or narrative of 
them (Ibid, 19, 20). 

Canne, in 1640, was a baptized man, such a man was called 
an Anabaptist, and there is no record that any time since his 
conversion he had changed his mind on the subject of bap; 

The third pastor of the Hubbard church was Samuel Howe, 
a Baptist. He died about 1640, while pastor of the church. 
He had been pastor about seven years. He was much lamented. 
He was persecuted, denied Christian burial, and was finally 
interred at Agnes-la-cleer. He wrote a famous book, called 

274 -^ History of the Baptists 

Howe's Sufficiency of the Spirit's Teaching. His contempo- 
raries bore high praise to his ability and zeal for his work. It 
was Samuel Howe who greatly impressed Roger Williams; 
and it was probably from Howe that Williams learned some of 
his lessons of soul liberty and dipping in baptism (Howe, 
Sermon, xii. xiii). 

It has been shown that Taylor said Spilsbury practised dip- 
ping. He bears the same testimony to Howe. Taylor says 
the Baptists of England date back to the "reign of Henry 8," 
and affirms that "in these, our days, the said Anabaptisticall 
sect is exceeding rife, for they do swarm here and there with- 
out fear of either God or man, law or order" (Taylor, A 
Cluster of Coxcombes. London, 1642). Here follows the 
relation of the preaching cobler, Sam Howe : 

This reverend translating brother (Howe) 
Puts both his hands unto the spiritual-plow, 
And the nag's head, near the Coleman-Street, 
A most pure crew of Brethren there did meet, 
Where their devotions were so strong and ample, 
To turn a sinful Tavern to a Temple, 
They banished Bacchus there, and some small space 
The drawers and the Bar-boy had some grace 

(Taylor, A Swarme of Sectaries, 8). 

Taylor makes Howe a Baptist and a dipper. He repre- 
sents him in the title page standing in a tub filled with water 
as a pulpit, and marks the picture "Sam How." This was in' 
1638. The above book of Taylor's was answered by Henry 
Walker. Of the tub in which Howe was standing. Walker 

Of the picture in the title of his book. I did first conceive that fellow 
in the tub to be John Taylor the Poet, having stayed so long with the 
Bishop of Canterbui-y, until at last he saw one vessel of sack drawn dry, 
and then break out the head of the tub tumible in and fallen asleep was 
almost stiffled in| the lees ; crying to Sam the vinter's boy in the Tower, 
to help him ; crying Sam Howe come and help me out, and all the peo- 
ple flocked about him. See how he stands like a drowned mouse (Henry 
Walker, An Answer to a foolish Pamphlet entitled a Swarme of Sectaries 
and Schismaticks, 3, 4. London, 1641). 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 275 

Tajlor thereupon reads a lecture and pronounces Walker 
also an Anabaptist. He likewise represents Walker as stand- 
ing in a tub and makes him an Anabaptist dipper (Taylor, A 
seasonable Lecture). 

Thus were John Canne and Samuel Howe, the pastors of 
this Independent church, both practising dipping. Both of 
these were Baptists. Two other parties connected with this 
church, Thomas Gunn and John Webb, were baptists, who 
signed the Confession of Faith of 1643. Thus can the opinions 
of the most of the Baptists be accounted for. 

There is yet another Baptist who signed the Confession of 
Faith of 1643, for whose practise we can give an account. 
His name was Paul Hobson. Of him; Ivimey says: 

He is mentioned among the rejected ministers. Dr. Calamy supposed he 
was chaplain of Eaton College, and that he had a place of command in 
the army ; but observes, that if he had conformed afterwards it would have 
made some atonement, as was the case in other instances. In addition to 
these circumstances, we find that he was engaged as early as 1639, as one of 
the chief promoters of founding a Baptist church in London. He was one 
of the pastors who signed the Confession of Faith of the seven churches 
in London in 1644 (Ivimey, History of the English Baptists, I. 88). 

The above statements in regard to Paul Hobson are con- 
firmed by Edwards (Edwards, Gangr^ena, I. 33), who was 
a contemporary. Edwards wrote in 1645, and he says that 
Hobson had been a tailor, but was now in the army. He had 
been a great while a Baptist preacher. An Anabaptist in 
the mouth of Edwards was always one who immersed. 

Thomas Kilcop was another of the Baptists who signed the 
Confession of Faith of 1643. He had long been a Baptist 
minister. When Praise God Barbon. in 1641, attacked the 
Baptists he was answered by Edward Barber for the General 
Baptists; and by Thomas Kilcop for the Particular Baptists. 
This Barbon had been a member of the church of Jacob, and 
had become pastor of an Independent organization of his own. 
He was a rabid Pedobaptist, and is variously described as a 
leather seller and a politician. He became a distinguished 
member of the Long Parliament and his Parliament was called 
the Praise God Barbon Parliament. He was bom, proba- 

276 A History of the Baptists 

bly, in 1596, and died in 1679. Like many of the members 
of Jacob's church, he became a Baptist. The date we do not 
know, but in the "Declaration" of the Baptists, issued in 1654, 
twenty-two names signified to it as "of that church which 
walks with Mr. Barbon" (National Dictionary, III. 151). 
The book of Kilcop appeared early in 1641. On the subject 
of immersion, he said: 

By baptism is meant the baptism of water, John 3 : 22, 23. Bap- 
tism is a Greek word, and most properly signifies dipping in English, and 
therefore the parties baptized are said to be baptized not at but in Jordan, 
Mark 1 : 5, 9, 10, and in ^non, John 3: 23. Acts 8: 38, 39. Math. 
3 : 16. Then note that the baptizing of dipping belongs to Christ's dis- 
ciples, and none else (Kilcop, A Short Treatise of Baptisme. London, 

There is no intimation that he ever recognized any other 
form of baptism save immersion. On the subject of succes- 
sion he held the views of the other Particular Baptists of his 

Those who have read the literature of the seventeenth cen- 
tury cannot fail to have been impressed with its harsh contro- 
versial tone. This is true on well nigh all subjects. The 
remark especially applies to those who wrote on the form and 
subjects of baptism. The harshest of the opponents of the 
Baptists were the Presbyterians. They had separated more 
widely from the New Testament practice, and they felt called 
upon to justify the acts of the Westminster Assembly; and 
their radical changes in the fundamental law of England in 
enacting affusion. Naturally their most determined opponents 
were the Baptists. What the Presbyterians lacked in argu- 
ment they made up in assertion. They never tired of call- 
ing the Baptist practice of dipping "new fangled, a novelty 
of recent occurrence, and soured leaven." Ain illustration 
could be secured from almost any year of the century. For 
example, Eichard Burthogge, A. D., 1684, says of the Bap- 
tists : "Your opinion is but a novelty" (Burthogge, An Argu- 
ment for Infant Baptism, 122). Richard Baxter, A. D. 1670, 
says: "These and many more absurdities follow upon this 
new conceit" (^Baxter, The Cure of Church Divisions, 49). 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 277 

The word "new," however, in the mouth of writers of the 
period was a relative term and meant from one to sixteen hun- 
dred years. In the main they meant to deny the affirmation 
of the Baptists that immersion was ''the good old way" and 
had the mark of "antiquity upon it" (Watts, A Scribe, Phari- 
see and Hypocrite, iv. London, 1657). Samuel Richardson 
is a good witness. He answered Daniel Featley, in the year 
1645, who had affirmed that the Baptists were new. Rich- 
ardson says: 

The Papists pretend antiquity, and brag of their universality against 
the truth. We know error is ancient ; and spreading ; but truth was be- 
fore error, and baptizing by dipping was before baptizing by sprinkling ; 
he may name to us as many as he pleaseth, but he must tell us where it 
is written in the Scriptures, as we may read it, before we shall believe them 
(Richardson, Some Brief Considerations, 14). 

William Allen, another Baptist, writing in 1655, says to 
call it "new baptism," as the enemies call it, is to "miscall 
it, being indeed the old way of baptizing" (William Allen, 
An Answer to J. G., his XL Queries, 72). 

Thomas Collier, a famous Baptist, A. D., 1651, affirms that 
dipping was the old practice. He says: 

Sir, you are maliciously mistaken, and the ignorance is in yourself. 
In calling them Anabaptists, for the practising baptism, according to the 
Scripture, that grieve you it seems ; but you have learnt a new way, both 
for matter and manner, babies instead of believers ; for manner, sprinkling 
at the holy font, instead of baptizing in a river: you are loth to go in 
with your long gowns, you have found a better way than ever was pre- 
scribed or practised ; who now eir are the ignoramuses ( Collier, Pulpit 
Guard Routed, 89). 

Hanserd Knollys, in answer to John Saltmarsh, a Quaker, 
who affirmed that immersion was new (Saltmarsh, The Smoke 
in the Temple, 16. London, 1646), declares that immersion 
is not new. He says: 

Paul's doctrine was called new, although he preached Jesus and the 
resurrection Acts 17 : 19. Also when our Saviour preached with authority, 
and confirmed his doctrine with miracles, they questioned among themselves 
saying. What new thing is this? What new doctrine is this? (Knollys, 
The Shining of a Flaming Fire in Zion, or a Clear Answer to 13 excep- 
tions, against the ground of the New Baptism ; so called in Mr. Salt- 
marsh's Book, 1. London, 1646). 

278 A History of the Baptists 

John Tombes answered the charge of Mr. Marshall, that 
he was "itching after new opinions." Of this, Mr. Tombes 


As for Master Marshall's reasons, they Are not convincing to me, nor 
is the holding of rebaptization such a new opinion as he would make it 
(Tombes, An Apology or Plea for the two Treatises, 53. London, 1646). 

The announcement from a Baptist that immersion was the 
good old way, and as ancient as the times of the Apostles, 
brought a violent outbreak from Jeffrey Watts. 'He says : 

Only, I wonder at the iron brow, and brazen face of novel impudence, 
and new light, that whereas it is every seventh day at least, in its chimney 
house conventicles, prating against the old, laudable, and ancient prac- 
tices of this our, and other Reformed Churches, it dares to pretend to 
antiquity (so contradicting itself) and glory of it in this point, of their 
immerging and dipping, (calling it the old way), who scorn dt, and scofE 
at the same, and all old light, in their other tenets and opinions (.Watts, 
A Scribe, Pharisee and Hypocrite, v). 

The Baptists claimed to have "the good old way" wLen 
they practised immersion; Watts calls it "a new way'' since 
he affirmed that immersion was not taught in the JSTew Testa- 
ment. He mentioned two things the Baptists did which he 
pronounced new. The first was that in 1642 or 1643, they 
immersed nude women in the rivers. "I hope," said he, "you 
see, that your dipping of women in their clothes, is a new 
business in the church" (Ibid, 19). He takes up much time 
in elucidating the old slander. The second thing he affirms 
about dipping is that it is not found in the Scriptures. He 
said that it had been of long continuance in England and 
gives many examples, and then he affirms that it is new among 
Baptists, since they had practised it only since 1524. He says: 

And thus (as I said) in your purest and perfected Western churches, for 
these five or six hundred years last past (I think, I am rather within, than 
without my compass) there have been none dipped or immerged, no not 
in the old, once good way of the former times, publicly, authoritatively 
nay scarce presumptuously; untill those Africans (I will not say monsters) 
new men; for (Africa semper aliquid aportat nove) who were your pro- 
genitors and predecessors, the first dippers and immergers in the West 
(the very place where they are you arose), is another argument to prove 
their and your business of dipping, a novelty, a new thing, as coming from 

Origin of the Particular Baptist CJiurches . 2'j<) 

Africa originally. I say until those Africans new men, those Egyptian 
frogs, that love to be paddling and dipping in rivers and ponds, began to 
spread themselves and slip up and down to bring forth rivers and ponds 
(as the rivers and ponds brought forth them) or rather to bring their 
perverts to ponds and rivers to be baptized. The which bold and presump- 
tuous attempt, against the constant and uniform custom of the Western 
Church, began in the year 1524, and so is not above an hundred and, two 
and thirty years since, which is time enough, and Httle enough to make 
it novelty in comparison of antiquity (Watts, A scribe, 63). 

According to Watt, the Baptists of England had been in 
the practice of immersion one hundred and thirty-two years. 
John Goodwin took precisely the same view. He called the 
immersions of the Baptists new. He said it had only been 
in existence among Baptists since the time of Nicholas Storch. 
His words are: 

That that was a case of necessity, wherein Nicholas Storch (with his 
three comrades) in Germany about the year 1521, or whoever he was that 
first, himself being in his own judgment and conscience unbaptized, presumed 
to baptize others after that exotique mode in this nation (Goodwin, Water 
Dipping no Firm Footing for Church Communion, 40. London, 1653). 

The Particular Baptists, in 1643, prepared a Confession 
of Faith, which was published the folloAving year. The XL 
Article of the Confession of Faith of those churches which 
"are commonly (though falsely) called Anabaptists" is as 
follows : 

That the way and manner of dispensing this ordinance is dipping or 
■plunging the body under water; it being a sign, must answer the thing 
signified, which is, that interest the Saints have in the death, burial and 
resurrection of Christ : and that as certainly as the body is buried under 
water, and rises again, so certainly shall the bodies of the saints be risen 
by the power of Christ in the day of the resurrection, to reigne with 

There is a note appended, as follows: 

The word iaptiso signifies to dip or plunge yet so as convenient garments 
be both upon the administrator and subject, with all modesty 

Perhaps in a Confession of Faith, it would be impossible 
to state the practice of the Baptists more plainly. It has 
been asserted that this Confession of 1643, was the declaration 
q£ their change of doctrine on the subject; and that this Con- 

28o A History of the Baptists 

fession of Faith was the first Baptist document which affirmed 
immersion. As a matter of fact, according to all psychological 
principles and all history, this Particular Baptist Confession, 
of 1643, was simply the expression of the doctrines this body 
of Baptists had held all of the time. 

If one will read the Confession he will find that not only 
did the Baptists not change their doctrines, but they further 
declared that they had long groaned under persecution; and 
that only from the meeting of the Long Parliament, in 1640, 
had they had any redress. All of this and more is stated in 
Article L, which is as follows : 

And if God should provide such a mercy for us, as to incline the 
magistrates hearts so far as to tender our consciences, as that we might 
be protected by them from wrong injury, 'oppression and molestation, 
which long we have formerly groaned under by the tyranny and oppression 
of the Prelatical Hierarchy, which God through his mercy hath made this 
present King and Parliament wonderfully honorable, as an instrument 
in his hand, to throw down and we thereby have had some breathing time, 
we shall, we hope, look at it as a mercy beyond our expectation and con- 
ceive ourselves further engaged for ever to bless Grod for it. 

They looked into the future as they had a retrospect of 
the past. The persecutions of the past, they say in Article LI, 
inspired them with the courage for the future. They ex- 
pressed themselves as willing to give up all and that they did 
not count their lives dear that they might finish their course 
with joy. They had endured persecution in the past, they 
were willing to suffer affliction in the future. The God of 
our fathers had been true to us in the past, he will not for- 
sake us now. This is a heroic statement. 

It is impossible to conceive that men of a mould like this 
would change their minds on a fundamental doctrine over 
night. Professor J. B. Thomas, late Professor of Church 
History, in Newton Theological Institution, concisely states 
the argument, when he says: 

Let it be noted that the first edition of "the Confession of the Seven 
Churches" was issued in 1643, affirming immersion to be the only true 
baptism. Now Baillie, a jealous and sagacious contemporary witness, 
affirms that this Confession expressed the already matured faith of forty-six 
churches, "as I take it, in and about London." Featley, an imirortant figure 
in this discussion, reckoned them, as I remember, at fifty-two, and Neal 

Origin of the Particular Baptist Churches 281 

distinctly affirms that there were at the date, "54 congregations of English 
Baptists in England who confined Baptism to dipping," their illiterate 
preachers going about the country, and "making proselytes of all who would 
submit to their immersion." We are required then to believe, either that one 
congregation of "immersers" organized in 1641, there had grown this great 
company in two years, or that in the same time fifty or more existing 
Baptist congregations had simultaneously repudiated a custom to which 
they were traditionally attached and which was in universal use, in be- 
half of another custom which nobody among them had ever practised or 
even heard of: they without any newly assigned or intelligent motive, 
suddenly ceased wholly to do what they had always and uniformly been 
accustomed to, and began exclusively to do what they had never done at 
all. So toppling a hypothesis surely needs massive support. 

I am not persuaded that this support has been furnished. I recognize no 
important evidence that was not apparently accessible to Crosby in his 
day, and see no satisfactory reason for abandoning his opinion that immer- 
sion in England long preceded the date named by Neal, and now (that 
is in 1643) reaffirmed (Western Recorder, December 17, 1896). 

The Confession of Faith was equally clear on the proper 
administrator of baptism. The view of Spilsbury prevailed. 
He held that if baptism was lost, any disciple could begin it 
again, and quoted John the Baptist in proof of his position. 
They declared it was not necessary to send anywhere for an 
administrator. Article XLI is as follows: 

The person designed by Christ to dispense baptism, the Scriptures 
hold forth to be a disciple, or a person extraordinarily sent, the commission 
enjoining the administration, being given to them who were considered 
disciples, being men able to preach the Gospel. 

The Baptists of 1643 did not have an "agent extraordi- 
narily sent" to Holland to obtain baptism. They believed 
in and practised no such thing. 

The Confession of Faith was made by the representatives 
of seven churches and was signed by the following persons: 
William Kiffin, Thomas Patience, John Spilsbury, George 
Tipping, Samuel Eichardson, Thomas Skippard, Thomas 
Munday, Thomas Gunn, John Mabbatt, John Webb, Thomas 
Kilcop, Paul Hobson, Thomas Goare, Joseph Phelpes and Ed- 
ward Heath. 

The Confession of Faith was clear and orthodox enough 
to allay suspicion, and ought to have saved the Baptists from 
further annoyance and persecution. The impartial Masson 
says of it: 

282 A History of the Baptists 

In spite of much persecution continued even after the Long Parliament 
met, the Baptists of these congregations propagated their opinions with 
such zeal that by 1644 the sect had obtained considerably larger dimensions. 
In that year they counted seven leading congregations in London, and 
forty seven in the rest of England, besides which they had many adherents 
in the army. Although all sorts of impieties were attributed to them on 
hearsay, they differed in reality from the Independents mainly on the 
subject of baptism. They objected to the baptism of infants, and they 
thought immersion or dipping under water the proper mode of baptism ; 
except in these points and what they might involve they were substantially 
at one with the Congregationalists. This they made clear by the publi- 
cation, in 1644, of a Confession of their Faith in 52 Articles, a document 
which, by its orthodoxy in all essential matters shamed the more candid 
of their opponents (Masson, The Life of John Milton, II. 585). 

Their adversaries took no such, view of the Confession of 
Faith. They could not be satisfied or induced to give the 
Baptists credit for common honesty. It was greeted by an 
outburst of passion from the Pedobaptist world. 

Dr. Featley, who wrote with no small prejudice, says: 
If we give credit to this Confession, and the preface thereof, those who 
among us are branded with that title, are neither heretics nor schismatics, 
but tender hearted Christians, upon whom, through false suggestions, the 
hand of authority fell heavily whilst the hierarchy stood ; for they neither 
leach free will, nor falling from grace, with the Arminians ; nor deny origi- 
nal sin, with the Pelagians, nor disclaim magistracy, with the Jesuites ; nor 
maintain plurality of wives, with the Polygamists ; nor community of goods, 
with the Apostles ; nor going naked, with the Adamites ; much less even 
the mortality of the soul, with Epicures and Psychopannychists (Featley, 
Dippers Dipt, 177). 

]^evertheless, the Confession of Faith exerted a powerful 
and favorable influence for the Baptists. It was orthodox, 
evangelical and free from objectional errors. "The Baptists 
never did anything that more effectually cleared them from 
the charge of being dangerous heretics, than did this" (Crosby, 
I., 170). 

Books for further reading and reference : 

Joseph Ivimey, A History of the English Baptists. 4 volumes. 
Adam Taylor, The History of the English General Baptists. 2 volumes. 
J. H. Wood, A Condensed History of the General Baptists of the 
New Connectioij, 



Charles I Brought Disaster — William Laud — The Prevalence of Bap- 
tists — Persecutions — Search For The Baptists — Lord Robert Brooke — 
The High Commission Court Destroyed — The Boldness of the Baptists 
—The Church of England Tries to Enforce Immersion — Articles to be 
Enquired of — Baptisteries — Thomas Blake — Walter Craddock — Daniel 
Featley— Denne — John Floyer — Schaff — Greek Lexicons — The Edinburgh 
Encyclopedia—William Wall — The Westminster Assembly — John Light- 
foot — ^The Action of Parliament — The Book of Vellum — The Beginning 
of the Great Debate — The Practice of the Baptists — 'W. H. King — George 
C. Lorimer — Joseph Angus — Daniel Featley — Thomas Collier — Lewes 
Hewes — Thomas Lamb — John Goodwin — Edward Barber — William Jef- 
frey— kjlem Writer — Goadby — Featley and Four Particular Baptists — 
Tombes and Henry Vaughan and John Cragge — iWilliam Russell and 
Samuel Chandler. 

THE reign of Charles I, A. D. 1625-1649, brought almost 
unlimited disaster upon England. The claim that the 
king was above law came in with the Stuarts. "He had 
inherited from his father," says Macaulay, "political theories, 
and was much disposed to carry them into practice. He was like 
his father, a zealous Episcopalian. He was, moreover, what his 
father had never been, a zealous Arminian, and, though no 
Papist, liked a Papist much better than a Puritan" (Macau- 
lay, History of England, I., 64). Dr. Humphrey Gower, 
the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, accu- 
rately stated the contention. He says: 

We still believe and maintain that kings derive not their titles from the 
people ; but from God. That to him only they are accountable. That it 
belongs not to subjects, either to create or to censure ; but to honor and 
obey their Sovereign ; who comes to be so by a fundamental hereditary 
Right of Succession ; which no religion, no law, no fault or forfeiture, can 
alter or diminish. 

Account must be taken of another person who was the most 
intelligent, unscrupulous, and tyranical enemy that the Bap- 
tists of England ever had. Abbot, at the beginning of the reign, 
was Archbishop of Canterbury; but he was to be succeeded by 
William Laud the growing Churchman of the times. Macaulay 
says of him : 


284 A History of the Baptists 

Of all the prelates of the Anglican Church, Laud had departed far- 
thest from the principles of the Reformation, and drawn nearest to Rome. 
His theology was more remote than even that of the Dutch Arminians from 
the theology of the Calvinists. His passion for ceremonies, his reverence for 
holy days, vigils, and sacred places, his ill-concealed dislike for the mar- 
riage of ecclesiastics, the ardent and not altogether disinterested zeal with 
which he asserted the claim's of the clergy to the reverence of the laity, 
would have made him an object of aversion to the Puritans, even if he had 
used only legal and gentle means for the attainment of his ends. But his 
understanding was narrow, and his commerce with the world had been small. 
He was by nature rash, irritable, quick to feel his own dignity, slow to 
sympathize with the suffering of others, and prone to the error, common 
in superstitious men, of making his own peevish and malignant moods for 
emotions of pious zeal. Under his direction every corner of the realm 
was subjected to a constant and minute inspection. Every little congrega- 
tion of separatists was tracked out and broken up. Even the devotions of 
private families could not escape the vigilance of his spies. Such fear did 
his rigor inspiref that the deadly hatred of the Church, which festered in 
innumerable bosoms, was generally disguised under an outward show of 
conformity. On the very eve of troubles, fatal to himself and his order, 
the bishops of several extensive dioceses were able to report that not a single 
dissenter was to be found within his jurisdiction (Macaiflay, I. 68). 

By persecution and imprisonment Laud was to press his 
views till the whole country was brought into a state of insur- 
rection and the King and Laud were both to lose their lives 
in the conflict. 

Every year, in the former reign, marked the growth of the 
Baptists in England. This is likewise true of this reign. 
"The prevalence of Baptist principles," says Evans, "and the 
moral heroism of many who held them in the past reign, have 
already been noticed, yet only glimpses of their organization 
can be gathered from the records of those times. Their exist- 
ence is certain, but beyond this we can scarcely affirm" (Evans, 
Early English Baptists, II. 20). There are more instances 
than Evans supposed (Evans, II. 54). The names of some 
of these Baptist churches are : Ashf ord, Maidstone, Biddenden 
and Eythome, and probably others in Kent (Taylor, History 
of the General Baptists, I. 281, 283) ; in London there were 
probably several ; Lincoln, Sarum, Coventry, Tiverton (Amster- 
dam Library, "Eo. 1372) ; l^ewgate, Stoney Stratford (Evans, 
11. 54) ; Amersham,, in Buckinghamshire (Taylor, I. 96) ; 
and certainly one in Southwark. Dr. Angus adds the follow- 

A Great Debate on Baptism 285 

ing cliurches to this list : Braintree, Sutton, Warrington, Crowlo 
and Epworth, Bridgewater, Oxford and Sadmore. Here are 
the names of twenty-one General Baptist churches in existence 
in 1626. In 1633 we can add the following churches: King, 
Stanley, Newcastle, Kilmington (Devonshire), Bedford, Ciren- 
cester, Commercial Street (London), Dorchester and Ham- 
sterly. Such is the statement of Dr. Angus. A small Baptist 
church was supposed to have been organized in Olchon, "Wales, 
in this year (Thomas, Histoiiy of the Baptists in Wales, 3). 

Early in his reign Laud gave the Baptists a taste of his 
cruelty. Three of their most popular ministers in Kent, 
Thomas Brewer, Turner and Fenner were arrested and placed 
in prison, where Brewer remained no less than fourteen years. 
Two years later, 1627, Laud mentions to the King these per- 
sons in prison and says: 

I must give your Majesty to understand, that at about Ashford, in 
Kent, the Separatists continue to hold their conventicles, notwithstanding 
the examination of so many of them as have been discovered. They are all 
of the poorer sort, and very simple, so that I am utterly to seek what to do 
with them (History of the Troubles and Trials of William Laud. Writ- 
ten by himself, 535). 

The King endorsed the above with his own hand and wrote : 
"Keep these particular persons fast, until you think what to 
do with the rest." The malignant hatred of the Baptists almost 
surpasses belief. "If I hate any," says a courtier of these 
times, "it is those schismatics that puzzle the sweet peace of 
the church; so that I could be content to see an Anabaptist go 
to hell on a Brownist's back" (Howell, Letters, 270). 

Search was everywhere made for them. Complaint was 
made, A. D. 1631, that 

All God's true children had continual cause of lamentation and fear, in 
respect of the daily growing and far spreading of the false and blasphemous 
tenets of the Anabaptists against God's grace and providence, against the 
godliest assurance and perseverance, and against the merits of Christ him- 
self (Life of Sir D' Ewes, II. G4). 

There were in London alone eleven congregations. Bishop 
Hall writing to Archbishop Laud, June 11, 1631, says: 

I was bold last week to give your lordship information of a busy and 
ignorant schismatic lurking in London ; since which time, I hear to my 

286 A History of the Baptists 

grief, that there are eleven several congregations (as they call them) of 
Separatists about the city, furnished with their idle-pretended pastors, who 
meet together in brew houses and such other meet places of resort every 
Sunday (Letter in State Paper Office). 

Repeated enquiries revealed the presence of the Baptists 
throughout the kingdom. Many of them were in prison and 
others vehemently suspected. Credible information was given 
that there were present in London and other parts Baptists 

who refuse on Sundays and other festival days to come to their parish 
churches, but meet together in great numibers on such days, and at other 
times, and in private houses, and places, and there keep conventicles and 
exercises of religion, by the laws of this realm prohibited. For remedy 
whereof, taking with him a constable and such other assistance as he shall 
think meet, he is to enter into any house where such private conventicles 
are held, and search for such sectaries, as also for unlawful and unlicensed 
books and papers ; and such persons, papers, and books so found, to bring 
forthwith before the writers to be dealt with as shall be thought fit (Cal- 
endar of State Papers, Febry 20, 1635-1636. Lambeth, CCCXIV. 242, 243). 

That the Baptists of 1641 were hated and persecuted cannot 
be doubted. They were called ''devilish and damnable." It 
is refreshing in the midst of all of this scandal to find one high 
authority who spoke well of them. Lord Robert Brooke says : 

I will not, I cannot, take on me to defend that men usually call Ana- 
baptism : Tet, I conceive that sect is twofold : Some of them hold free will ; 
community of all things ; deny magistracy ; and refuse to baptize their 
children. Truly such are heretics (or Atheists) that I question whether 
any divine should honor them so much as to dispute with them, much 
rather sure should Alexander's sword determine here, as of old the Gordian 
knot, where it requires this motto. Quia solvere no possum, dissecaho. 

There is another sort of them, who only deny baptism to their children, 
till they come to years of discresion ; and then they baptize them but in 
other things they agree with the Church of England. 

Truly these men are much to be pitied ; and I could heartily wish, that 
before they be stigmatized with the opprobious brand of schismatic, the 
truth might be cleared to them. For I conceive, to those that hold we may 
go farther than Scripture, for doctrine or discipline, it may be very easy 
to err in this point in hand ; since the Scripture seems not to have clearly 
determined this particular (Lord Robert Brooke, A Discourse opening the 
Nature of the Episcopacie, which is Exercised in England, II. 99, 100. 
London, 1641). 

There was now a turn for the better. Soon after the con- 
vocation of the Long Parliament, early in January, 1640, Arch- 

A Great Debate on Baptism 287 

bishop Laud was impeached for high treason. Parliament 
June 24, 1641, put down the High Commission Court of the 
Star Chamber. With the impeachment and final execution 
of their greatest enemy in the person of Laud ; and the abolish- 
ment of the infamous courts which had so sorely pressed them 
the Baptists appeared in England in incredible numbers. The 
year 1641 was the year of liberty. Previous to this date they 
had been hunted and persecuted, and in every way possible 
they concealed their numbers and meeting places. iJTow they 
sprang into publicity with amazing rapidity, they had so many 
preachers, and won converts with such ease, their baptisms in 
the rivers were so frequent and so open, their preaching was 
such a novelty, and their boldness so daring, that their enemies 
were thrown into consternation. They made mention of the 
baptizing as a novelty, their doctrine as sour leaven, their 
pretentions as impudence, and their numbers as nothing less 
than a public calamity. Heretofore they had suppressed them 
with the sword, by the stake and the High Commission Court ; 
now as these were abolished, they made up in the fury of their 
declarations what they had formerly expressed in blood. The 
enemies of the Baptists literally filled the world with sound. 
The incredible number of books and pamphlets which were 
hurled against them was only surpassed by the horrible things 
said about them. Controversies raged and England was turned 
into debating clubs. 

To a complete understanding of the great debate on baptism 
which began in 1641 it will be necessary to trace the history 
of the form) of baptism from the accession of Charles I. Even 
the Puritans provided for the baptism of adults. A work for 
the Wisely Considerate (pp. 24, 25), in 1641, has a form "for 
the administration of the sacrament of baptism." It provides 
that "the persons of years to be baptized are noted to be such 
as believe and repent." Provision was made by these Pedo- 
baptists equally for adults and infants. 

The Church of England everywhere tried to enforce the rite 
of immersion. The bishops were diligent in rooting out the 
basins which were substituted in some places instead of the 
font. The font was for immersion; the basin was used for 
affusion. The enquiries were for the purpose of obtaining in- 

288 A History of the Baptists 

formation on any departure fromi the custom of tlie Church, 
and on no point were they more particular than this. 

The Bishop of London, 1627, enquired concerning the clergy: 

Whether your minister baptize any children in any basin or other vessel 
than in the ordinary font, being placed in the church or doth put any basin 
into it? Concerning the Church he enquires: 'Whether have you in your 
church or chapel a font of stone set up in the ancient usual place? 

Like enquiries were made by the Bishop of Exeter, in 1638 ; 
the Bishop of Winchester, in 1639; the Bishop of London, in 
1640; and the Bishop of Lincoln, in 1641. 

The activity of the bishops put fonts in nearly all of the 
church houses in England, and vast numbers of these fonts 
and baptisteries may be seen to this day in these churches. 
Take for example the City of Canterbuiy. The Church of St. 
George the Martyr has the ancient octagonal font, the basin 
being upheld by eight small shafts and a thick center one. The 
Church of St. Magdalene and St. Thomas, the Roman Catholic 
Church, both have beautiful baptisteries. St. Martin's Church 
was the place of the immersion of ten thousand converts at one 
time. There is an immense baptistery in St. John's. In 1636 
this baptistery was in ruins and the want of a font in the 
Cathedral was regarded as a scandal. Bishop Warner pre- 
sented one to the Church with great ceremony (The Antiquity 
of Canterbury, by William Sumner. London, 1840), and when 
it was destroyed in the troublesome times of 1641 it was rebuilt 
in 1660. Several persons were baptized by immersion in this 
font from 1660 to 1663 (Archfeology, XI. 146, 147). These 
fonts were large enough for immersion (Paley, Illustrations of 
Baptismal Fonts, 31). Samuel Carte says of the fonts of 
England: "Give me leave to observe, that anciently at least 
the font was large enough to admit of an adult person being 
dipped or immersed therein." 

The bishops of the Church of England stood squarely against 
the innovation of affusion in the reign of Charles I. They 
accounted it a bad practice. 

There are those who mention the practice of dipping in those 
days. Thomas Blake writing in 1645 relates: 

A Great Debate on Baptism 289 

I have been an eye witness of many infants dipped and know it to have 
been the constant practice of many ministers in their places, for many 
years together (Blake, Infants Baptisme Freed from Antichristianisme, 
1. 2). 

Another witness is Walter Craddock who organized in 1638, 
in Llanvaches, Wales, an Independent Church. Joshua 
Thomas in his History of the Welsh Baptists says that "the 
history of this church says that it was composed of Independ- 
ents and Baptists mixed, but that they united in the communion, 
and that it had two ministers, and that they were co-pastors, 
Mr. Wroth an Independent and Mr. William Thomas a Bap- 
tist (J. Spinther James, History of the Welsh Baptists). Crad- 
dock himself was not a Baptist. On July 21, 1646, he preached 
before the House of Commons, at St. Margaret's, Westminister. 
In that sermon he gives valuable information to the practice of 
immersion in England. He says: 

There is now among good people a great deal of strife about baptism ; 
as for divers things, so for the point of dijiping, though in some places in 
England they dip altogether. How shall we end the controversy with 
those godly people, as many of them are. Look upon the Scriptures, and 
there you shall find tapto (to baptize), it is an ordinance of God, and the 
use of water in the way of washing for a spiritual end, to resemble some 
spiritual thing. It is an ordinance of God, but whether dipping or sprink- 
ling, that we must bring the party to the river, or draw the river to him, 
or to use water at home, whether it must be in head and foot, or be under 
the water, or the water under him, it is not proved that God laid down an 
absolute rule for it. Now what shall we do? Conclude on the absolute 
rule that God hath laid down in Scripture, and judge of the rest according 
to expediency (Craddock, Sermon, 100). 

Daniel Featley is also a good witness (Clavis Mystica, 1636). 

He says: 

Our font is always open, or ready to be opened, and the minister attends 
to receive the children of the faithful, and to dip them in the sacred laver. 

William Walker, a Pedobaptist, who wrote in 1678, says: 

And truly as the general custom! now in England is to sprinkle, so in 
the fore end of this century the general custom was to dip (Walker, The 
Doctrines of Baptisms, 146. London, 1678). 

Eev. Henry Denne, who was one of the foremost Baptist 
preachers of the century, is a good witness of the practice of 
immersion in England previous to 1641 for he mientions that 

290 A History of the Baptists 

date. In a discussion with Mr. Gunning, A, D. 1656, he says: 

Dipping of infants was not only commanded by the Church of England, 
but also generally practised in the Church of England till the year 1600; 
yea, in some places it was practised until the year 1641 until the fashion 
altered ... I can show Mr. Baxter, an old man in London who has labored 
in the Lord's pool many years; converted by his ministry more men and 
women that Mr. Baxter has in his pax'ish ; yea, when he hath labored a 
great part of the day in preaching and reasoning, his reflection hath been 
(not a sackporrit or a candle), but to go into the water and baptizei con- 
verts (Denne, A Contention for Truth, 40, London, 1656). 

Sir John Floyer, a most careful writer, says : 

That I may further convince all of my countrymen that immersion in 
baptism was very lately left off in England, I will assure them that there 
are yet persons who were so immersed ; for I am so informed by Mr. Beris- 
ford, minister of Sutton, that his parents immersed not only him but the 
rest of the family at his baptism (Floyer, The History of Cold Bathing, 
182. London, 1722). 

Alexander Balfour says: 

Baptizing infants by dipping them in fonts was practised in the Church 
of England, (except in cases of sickness or weakness) until the Directory 
came out in the year 1644, which forbade the carrying of children to the 
font (Balfour, Anti-Pedobaptism Unvailed, 240. London, 1827). 

Dr. Schaif, himself a Presbyterian, says: 

In England immersion was the normal mode down to the middle of the 
seventeenth century. It was adopted by the English and American Baptists 
as the only mode (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, VII. 79). 

All of these writers affirm, that immersion was the common 
practice in England; they mention many persons who were 
immersed and that affusion did not prevail till the introduction 
of the Directory in 1644. The most splendid English divines 
spoke out in no uncertain words. The bishops by their visita- 
tion articles were opposing the innovation, as sprinkling was 
called, and the English scholars by their writings were sus- 
taining them. They were opposed by "the love of novelty, and 
the niceness of parents, and the pretense of modesty." With 
these facts in mind the authorities here presented may be in- 

The Greek lexicons used in England in the first half of the 
seventeenth century were Scapula, Stevens, Micaeus and Leigh. 

A Great Debate on Baptism 291 

These all define hapiizein as dipping or submerging. A Greek 
lexicon is unknown prior to 1644 which gives sprinkle as a 
definition of haptizein; and the few that have since given such 
definitions appear to have been under the influence which 
shaped the action of the Westminster Divines. 

Joseph Mede, A. D., ISSe-ieSS", a learned divine, says: 

There was no such thing as sprinkling or rantism in baptism in the 
Apostles' days, nor many ages after them (Mede, Diatribe on Titus 3:2). 

Henry Smith, of Husbands, Borneswell, A. 1)., 1629, 
preached a sermon at the installation of Mr. Brian Cane, high 
sheriff of Leicestershire. He said: 

First the word baptism according to the true meaning of the Greek 
text. Baptism doth signify not only a dipping, but such a dipping in water 
as doth cleanse the person dipped ; and for it the primitive church did use 
to put the party quite under the water . . . Baptism is called a regenera- 
tion, and yet baptism is a dipping of our bodies in water; but regeneration 
is the renewing of our minds to the image wherein we are created. 

Dr. John Mayer, Pastor of the Church in Reydon, Suffolk, 

The Lord was baptized, not to get purity to himself, buti to purge the 
waters for us, from the time he was dipped in the waters, the waters washed 
the sins of all men (Mayer, A Commentary on the Four Evangelists, V. 76). 

An important book of the times was written by Daniel 
Rogers, a Church of England man. He says : 

Touching what I have said of sacramental dipping to explain myself a 
little about it ; I would not be understood as if schismatically I would 
instill a distaste of the Church into any weak minds, by the act of sprink- 
ling water only. But this (under correction) I say: That ought to be 
the churches part to cleave to the institution, especially it being not left 
arbitrary by our Church to the discresion of the minister, but require to 
dip or dive the infant more or less (except in cases of weakness), for 
which allowance in the Church we have cause to be thankful ; and suitably 
to consider that he betrays the Church (whose officer he is) to a disordered 
error, if he cleaves not to the institution; to dip the infant in water. And 
this 1 do aver, as thinking it exceedingly material to the ordinance and 
no slight thing; yea, with both antiquity (though with some slight addition 
of a threefold dipping; for the preserving of the impugned Trinity entire) 
constantly without exception of countries cold or hot, witnesseth unto : and 
especially the constant word of the Holy Ghost, first and last, approveth, 

292 A History of the Baptists 

as a learned critic upon Matthew chap. 3, verse 11, hath noted, that the 
Greek tongue wants not words to express any other act as well as dipping, 
if the institution could bear it (Rogers, A Treatise of the two Sacraments 
of the Gospel, Baptisme and the Supper of the Lord, 77. London, 1633). 

The Baptists never failed to quote Rogers in support of 
their practice of dipping. 

Stephen Denson, 1634, says: 

The word translated baptizing doth most properly signify, dipping over 
head and ears, and indeed this was the most usual manner of baptizing 
in the primitive church ; especially in hot countries, and after this same 
manner was Christ himself baptized by John (Denson, The Doctrine of 
both Sacraments, 39, 40. London, 1634). 

A little in advance he had said of the Baptists : 

And the use of all that hath been spoken serves especially for the con- 
demning of the practice of such as turn to Anabaptism, who though they 
know and do not deny, but that they were once baptized in the Church of 
England, or other where; yet require to be baptized again, making no 
better than a mockery of their first solemn baptism. 

Edward Elton, 1637, says: 

First, in sign and sacrament only, for the dipping of the party baptized 
in water, and abiding under the water for a time, doth represent! and seal 
unto us the burial of Christ, and his abiding in the grave ; and of this all 
are partakers sacramentally (Elton, An Exposition of the Epistle of Saint 
Paul to the Colossians, 293. London, 1637). 

John Selden vpas regarded as the most learned Englishman 
of his times. He says: 

The Jews took the baptism wherein the whole body was not baptized 
to be void (Selden, De Jure Nat., c. 2). 

Bishop Taylor, 1613-1677, says: 

If you would attend to the proper signification of the word, baptism 
signifies plunging into the water or dipping with washing (Taylor, Rule 
of Conscience, I. 3, c. 4). 

There is no great amount of evidence of the practice of the 
Catholics of England on the subject of dipping, but that which 
is at hand is singularly interesting and clear. Thomas Hall, 

A Great Debate on Baptism 293 

in an attack whicli he made on a Baptist preacher, A. D. 1652, 
by the name of Collier, declared that Anabaptism is "a, new 
invention not much above an hundred years old," and then 
he declared that the Catholics themselves were great dippers. 
His words are: 

If dipping be true baptizing, then some amongst us that "have been 
dipped, should be rightly baptized. The Papists and the Anabaptists like 
Samson's foxes, their heads look and lie difEerent ways, yet they are tied 
together by the tails of dipping (Hall, The Collier in his Colours, 116; 
also, Hall, The Font Guarded, 116. London, 1652). 

It was the Presbyterians who changed the practice of dip- 
ping in England. The rise of sprinkling for baptism in Eng- 
land is traced by Dr. Schaff who was a Presbyterian. He says : 

King Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth were immersed. The first 
Prayer Book of Edward VI. (1549), followed the Office of Sarum, directs 
the priest to dip the child in water thrice: "first, dypping the right side; 
secondly, the left side; the third time, dypping the face toward the fonte." 
In the second Prayer Book (1552) the priest is simply directed to dip the 
child discreetly and warily ; and permission is given, for the first time in 
Great Britain, to substitute pouring if the godfathers and godmothers 
certify that the child is weak. "During the reign of Elizabeth," says Dr. 
Wall, "many fond ladies and gentlewomen first, and then by degrees the 
common people, would obtain the favor of the priests to have their children 
pass for weak children too tender to endure dipping in water." The same 
writer traces the practice of sprinkling to the period of the Long Parlia- 
ment and the Westminster Assembly. "This change in England and other 
Protestant countries from immersion to pouring, and from pouring to 
sprinkling, was encouraged by the authority of Calvin, who declared the 
mode to be a matter of no importance; and by the Westminster Assembly 
of Divines (1643-1652), which decided that pouring and sprinkling are 
"not only lawful, but also sufficient.'' The Westminster Confession declares : 
'Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary ; but baptism is 
rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person (Schafif, 
Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 51, 52). 

It was largely through the authority of Calvin that sprink- 
ling came into general use in England. Sir David Brewster 
is unquestioned authority. His account is as follows: 

During the persecution of Jlary, many persons, most of whom were 
Scotchmen, fled from England to Geneva, and there greedily imbibed the 

294 -^ History of the Baptists 

opinions of that church. In 1556 a book was published in that place con- 
taining "The Form of Prayer and Ministration of the Sacraments, approved 
by the famous and godly learned man, John Calvin," in which the adminis- 
trator is enjoined to take water in his hand and lay it upon the child's 
forehead. These Scotch exiles, who had renounced the authority of the 
Pope, implicitly acknowledged the authority of Calvin; and returning to 
their own country, with Knox at their head, in 1559, established sprinkling 
in Scotland. From Scotland this practice made its way in the reign of 
Elizabeth, but was not authorized by the established Church. In the 
Assembly of Divines, held at Westminster in 1643, it was. keenly debated 
whether immersion or sprinkling should be adopted ; 25 voted for sprink- 
ling, and 24 for immersion ; and even this small majority was obtained at 
the earnest request of Dr. Lightfoot, who had acquired great influence in 
that Assembly. Sprinkling is therefore the general practice of this country. 
Many Christians, however, especially the Baptists, reject it. The Greek 
Church universally adheres to immersion (Edinburgh Encyclopedia, III. 

Wall says of the Presbyterians who introduced affusion into 
England : 

So (parallel to the rest of their reformations) they reformed the font 
into a basin. This learned assembly could not remember that fonts to 
baptize in had always been used by the primitive Christians, long before 
the beginning of popery, and ever since churches were built : but that 
sprinkling for the common use of baptizing, was really introduced (In 
France first, and then in other popish countries) in times of popery (Wall, 
History of Infant Baptism, I. 583). 

He also says: 

For sprinkling, properly so called, it seems that it was in 1645 just 
then beginning, and used by very few. It must have begun in the dis- 
orderly times after 1641 ; for Mr. Blake had never used it, nor seen it used. 

Tor a long time a revolution had been brewing in England, 
and it came with the Civil Wars of 1641. The result of the 
war was not only the overthrow of the King and Laud, but it 
overthrew the Church of England as well. The Presbyterians 
took charge of the ecclesiastical affairs of the kingdom. They 
set out to reform everything. The Westminster Assembly con- 
vened and put forth the Confession of Eaith and the Form of 
Church Government which bears that name. One of the things 
which they reformed was baptism;, and they substituted sprink- 
ling for immersion as the law of the land. The Reformed 
Churches of Calvin practised pouring, and so must the Ee- 

A Great Debate on Baptism 295 

formed Church of England. They took hold of the matter 
with a bold hand and in time succeeded. Thus pouring, through 
the Westminster Assembly, triumphed for a time in England. 
With all of the prestige of Calvin it was no easy task to accomr 
plish. There was stubborn opposition, and when a vote was 
taken for the exclusion of dipping there was a tie vote, and Dr. 
John Lightfoot, who had acquired great influence in the Assem- 
bly, secured the deciding ballot. There was no particular sen- 
timent in England in favor of affusion outside of the West- 
minster Assembly in 1645. 

Dr. Lightfoot gives an interesting account of the debate in 
the Westminster Assembly. He says: 

Then we fell into the work of the day, which was about baptizing "of 
the child, whether to dip him or to sprinkle." And this was the proposition, 
"It is lawful and sufficient to be-sprinkle the child," had been canvassed 
before our adjourning, and was ready now to vote ; but I spake against it, as 
being very unfit to vote ; that it is lawful to sprinkle when every one 
grants it Whereupon it was fallen upon, sprinkling being granted, whether 
dipping should be tolerated with it. And here fell we upon a large and 
long discourse, whether dipping were essential, or used in the first institu- 
tion, or in the Jews' custom. Mr. Coleman went about, in a large discourse, 
to prove tWh to be dipping overhead. Which I answered at large. After 
a long dispute it was at last put to the question, whether the Directory 
should run thus, "The minister shall take water, and sprinkle or pour it 
with his hand vipon the face or forehead of the child ;" and it was voted so 
indifferently, that we were glad to count names twice; for so many were 
so unwilling to have dipping excluded that the votes came as an equality 
within one ; for the one side were twenty four, the other 25, the 24 for 
the reseiwing of dipping and the 25 against it ; and there grew a great 
heat upon it, and when we had done all, we concluded upon nothing in it, 
but the business was recommitted. 

Aug. 8th. But as to the dispute itself about dipping, it was thought 
safe and most fit to let it alone, and to express it thus in our Directoi'y : 
"He is to baptize the child with water, which, for the manner of doing is 
not only lawful, but also sufficient, and most expedient to be by pouring 
or sprinkling of water on the face of the child, without any other ceremony 
(Lightfoot, Works, XIII. 299. London, 1824). 

On this particular 7th day of August, when this matter of 
pouring was introduced, complaints were brought into the As- 
sembly of the increase of the Anabaptist conventicles in divers 
places" (Baillie, Journal, II. 215). This was an opportune 
item to the anti-dippers in the Assembly. 

296 A History of the Baptists 

The action of the Westminster Assembly was followed by acts 
of Parliament which fully confirm the contention of Wall that 
sprinkling began in England "in the disorderly times of 1641," 
and that in 1645 it was "used by very few." The Presbyte- 
rians were not satisfied with an ecclesiastical law to govern the 
church, but now as they had authority they followed it with 
the laws of Parliament to control State action. These actsi of 
Parliament have been summed up by Kev. J. E. Bliss as 
follows : 

Th0 original law of 1534 enforced immersion, and those who were not 
baptized were to be treated as outlaws. The law was passed when the 
Roman Catholic Church was abandoned and the present Established Church 
inaugurated in its stead. However, this law was repealed by an act of 
Parliament in 1644, at least so much of the old law as enforced immersion, 
an(J they passed an act enforcing sprinkling in its stead, and left the 
original penalty annexed to outlaws, being deprived of the inheritance of 
the state, the right of burial, and in short, of all of the rights to other 
sprinkled citizens of the realm . . . After 1648 immersion was prohibited 
and for many years made penal (Bliss, Letters on Christian Baptism). 

The laws that the Presbyterians enacted to exclude immer- 
sion and to establish pouring are exceedingly strong. They 
may be found in Scobell's Collection of Acts of Parliament, 
Anno 1644. It was decreed that "the Book of Common Prayer 
shall not henceforth be used, but the Directory for Public Wor- 
ship." The Book of Common Prayer prescribed immersion; 
the Directory prescribed pouring. It was ordered that under 
penalty the Directory should be used throughout the United 
Kingdom. In order that none might escape and no other form 
of baptism be used it was decreed that "a fair Register Book 
of vellum, to be kept by the minister and other offi'cers of the 
Church; and that the names of all children baptized, and of 
their parents, and of the time of their birth and baptizing, 
shall be written and set down by their mdnister," etc. 

This infamous law was intended as a check upon every Bap- 
tist in the land, and all that was needed for a conviction was 
to turn to the Register Book. That there might be no mistake 
in the form of baptism it was decreed : 

Then the minister is to demand the name of the child, which being told 
|iim, he is to say (calling the child by name) 

A Great Debate on Baptism 297 

I baptize thee in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy 

As he pronounceth the words, he is to baptize the child with water; 
which for the manner of doing it is not only lawful but sufficient and most 
expedient to be, by pouring or sprinkling of the water on the face of the 
child, without adding any other ceremony. 

This law directly replaced immersion by pouring and it was 
passed January 3, 1644-45. It was not, however, till 1648, 
that the Presbyterians were enabled to enact the "gag law." 
They had already substituted pouring for dipping, but they 
went further and enacted a law to punish the Baptists as 
"blasphemers and heretics." It was enacted that any person 
who said "the baptism of infants is unlawful, or such baptism 
is void, or that such persons ought to be baptized again, or in 
pursuance thereof shall baptize any person formerly baptized," 
shall be placed in prison and remain there until they "shall find 
two sufficient sureties" that "they shall not publish the same 
error any more." Under this infamous law four hundred 
Baptists were thrown into prison. This was the triumph of 
pouring in England, and reached its culmination in 1648. 
Pouring began in 1641, became ecclesiastical law in 1643, 
civil law in 1644-45, and was vigorously pushed in 1648; and 
those who held to dipping were punished as heretics and blas- 
phemers. Thus did pouring prevail in England. This law 
was repealed with the fall of the Presbyterians, and the old 
law for immersion was reenacted by the Church of England. 

The Presbyterians brought in with their reforming two 
novelties. One was that baptism came in the room of circum- 
cision and hence that an infant ought to be baptized on the 
faith of its parent. The other wasi that pouring was baptism, 
and that it was commanded by the Scriptures. This was a 
novelty. The Baptists forthwith replied that immersion alone 
was taught in the New Testament. They did not change their 
position but they did change the accent. Previous to this 
time there had been no occasion for this emphasis. They were 
practical men, and only combated error when it appeared. It 
is remarkable how speedily they detected this new error of the 

There grew up in the reign of Charles I one of the most 
tremendous debates on baptism known in history. It raged 

298 A History of the Baptists 

continuously from about tlie year 1641 to the close of the 
century. The Presbyterians had brought in the innovation of 
pouring, and the Baptists, now for the first time permitted 
legally to speak, answered boldly. It has been sometimes said 
that the Baptists had just adopted immersion, but the evidence 
is to the contrary. There is no proof that in those days one 
English Baptist was in the practice of sprinkling. What really 
happened was that an occasion occurred, in the judgment of 
the Baptists, for a discussion of the act of baptism, and the 
Baptists seized the opportunity. 

The views of some experts on the practice of the Baptists is 
here given. Dr. W. II. King, London, who made an extensive 
investigation of the pamphlets in the British Museum, says : 

I have ■carefully examined the titles of the pamphlets in the first three 
volumes of this catalogue, more than 7,000 in number, and have read every 
pamphlet which has seemed by its title to refer to the subject of baptism, 
or the opinions and practices of the Baptists, with this result : that I can 
afBrm, with the most unhesitating confidence, that in these volumes there 
is not a sentence or a hint from which it can be inferred that the Baptists 
generally, or any section of them, or even any individual Baptist, held any 
other opinion than that immersion is the only true and Scriptural method 
of baptism, either before the year 1641 or after it. It must be remembered 
that these are the earliest pamphlets, and cover the period from the year 
1640 to 1646 {The Western Recorder, June 4, 1896). 

Dr. George C, Lorimer, who gave much attention to Baptist 
history, said in an address September 14, 1896, before the 
students of Newton Theological Institution : 

I insist that it is due our Baptist churches and their action on the 
world's progress should not be ignored. As a rule they do not receive the 
recognition they deserve. Dr. Dexter in his True Story of John Smyth 
has, let us believe unintentionally, put them in an enfirely false light ; and 
his representation that Edward Barber originated the practice of immer- 
sion in England, and that before the publication of his book (1641) the 
Baptists poured and sprinkled, is, to put it mdldly, incorrect. I have just 
returned from the British Museum, where I went over the documents 
which are supposed to substantiate such a view, and I solemnly declare 
that no such evidence exists. 

Dr. Joseph Angus, former President of Regents Park Col- 
lege, London, member of the Committee who translated the 
Revised Version of the Bible, says : 

A Great Debate on Baptism 299 

During this period, very little is said about immersion, and the silence 
of the writers on the mode is said to be deeply significant. But it is over- 
looked that in that age immersion was the generally accepted mode of 
baptism in England. The Prayer Book has all along ordered the child "to 
be dipped warily" in the water. The practice of dipping was familiar in 
the days of Henry VIII., and both Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth were 
dipped in their childhood. In that centui-y it was not necessary to lecture 
on the meaning of the word, or to insist on the mode of baptizing, which 
is still described in the English service as "dipping." . . That there was 
no such delay in forming Baptist churches as our American friends have 
supposed, is proved by the dates of the formation of a number of them. 
Churches were formed, chapels built and doctrines defended long before 
1641, and others, down to the end of the centui-y, owing probably to the 
discussions of that year {The Western Recorder, October 22, 1896). 

Daniel Featley states that the Baptist churches were in the 
practice of dipping. He was born at Charlton, Oxfordshire, 
March 15, 1582, and died at Chelsea, April 17, 1645. He had, 
in 1641, a debate in Southwark with four Baptists. Shortly 
afterwards he published an account of the debate in his book 
"The Dippers Dipt." In the Dedication to the Reader he says : 
"I could hardly dip my pen in anything but gall." He was a 
personal witness to the acts of the Baptists of that period. He 
says for twenty years writing in 1644, they had lived near his 
residence and had been in the practice of dipping. 

The words of Featley are especially significant. He spoke 
of the Baptists from personal knowledge, and there are no 
reasons to believe that he exaggerated the facts. However 
loosely he may have used the phrase, twenty years, it would 
refer to about the years 1621-4. He nowhere intimates that 
the Baptists or the form of baptism by dipping were a novelty. 
In his Epistle Dedicatory he says: 

Now, of all the heretics and schismatics, the Anabaptists in three 
regards ought to be most carefully looked into, and severely punished, if 
not utterly exterminated and banished out of the church and kingdom. 

His reasons are as follows: 

First, In regard to their affinity with many other damnable heretics, both 
ancient and later, for they are allied unto, and may claim kindred with. . . 

Secondly, In regard to their audacious attempts upon the^ Church and 
State, and their insolent acts committed in the face of the sun, and in the 
eye of the High Court of Parliament. 

300 A History of the Baptists 

Under this second head he says : 

They preach, and print, and practise their heretical impieties openly 
and hold their conventicles weekly in our chief cities, and suburbs thereof, 
and there prophesy in turns ; and ( that I may use the phrase of Tertul- 
lian) aedificantur in ruinam, they build one another in the faith of their 
Sect, to the ruin of their souls ; they flock in great multitudesi to their 
Jordans, and both sexes enter the river, and are dipt after their manner, 
with a kind of spell containing the heads of their erroneous tenets, and 
their engaging themselves in their schismatical covenants, and (if I may 
so speak) combination of separation. And as they defile our rivers with 
their impure washings, and our pulpits with their false prophesies, and 
fanatical enthusiasms, so the presses sweat and groan under the load of 
their blasphemies. For they print not only Anabaptism, from whence they 
take their name ; but many other most damnable doctrines, tending to 
carnal liberty, Familism, and a medley and hodge-podge of all religions. 

Thirdly, In regard to the peculiar malignity this hei-esy hath to magis- 
trates, etc. 

He then proceeds to say that he had known these heretics 
near his own home for twenty years. His words are : 

As Solinus writeth, that in Sardinia there is a venomous serpent called 
Solifuga, (whose biting is present death) there is also at hand a fountain, 
in which they who wash themselves after they are bit, are presently cured. 
This venomous serpent (vera Solifuga) flying from, and shunning the 
light of God's word, is the Anabaptist, who in these later times first shewed 
his shining head and speckled skin, and thrust out his sting near the place 
of my residence for more than twenty years. 

He distinctly says the Baptists had practised immersion near 
his residence for more than twenty years. This was first 
said in the debate with Kiffin in 1641. A little later he traces 
the Baptists to Germany in the time of Storch at the Reforma- 
tion ; that this man was a blockhead and kindled the fires from 
the chips of the block ; that the fire burned in England in the 
times of Elizabeth and other sovereigns; and lately the fires 
burned very brightly. 

This Southwark church was located in the borough where 
Spurgeon's church is found. It fias always been a great Bap- 
tist center. It is in the old district called Horsleydown. It 
is here the debate occurred. The Baptists had here a great 
baptizing place (Wall, History of Infant Baptism, II, 459). 
A baptist erion was finally erected here for the use of a number 
of Baptist churches, and it registered according to an act of 

A Great Debate on Baptism 301 

Parliament, in the year 1717 (Crosby, History of the English 
Baptists, IV. 189). Manning and Bray (History of Surrey, 
III. 613) speaking of the early and later history of this place 

It seems that the anabaptists had fixed themselves here in considerable 
numbers. In the year 1775 there were four meeting houses of that per- 


Featley not only affirms there had been Baptists long in 
England but he connects them with the Baptists of 1641. He 

Of whom we may say, as IrensEUS sometime spake of the heretic Ebon, 
the father of the Ebonites, his name in the Hebrew signifies silly, or simple 
and such God wat he was : So we may say, the name of the father of the 
Anabaptists signifieth in English a senseless piece of wood or block, and 
a very blockhead was he; yet out of this block were cut those chips that 
kindled such a fire in Germany, Halsatia, and Swabia that could not be 
fully quenched, no not with the blood of 150,000 of them killed in war, or 
put to death in several places by magistrates. 

This fire in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James and our 
gracious sovereign, till now, was covered in England under the ashes; or 
if it brake out at any time, by the care of the ecclesiastical and civil magis- 
trate, it was soon put out. But of late since the unhappy distractions 
which our sins have brought upon us, the temporal sword being in other 
ways employed, and the spiritual locked up fast in the scabbard, this sect 
among others, hath so far presumed upon the patience of the state that it 
hath held weekly conventicles, rebaptized hundreds of men and women 
together in the twilight in rivulets, and some arms of the Thames and 
elsewhere, dipping them over head and ears. It hath printed divers pam- 
phlets in defense of their heresy, yea and challenged some of our preachers 
to disputation. Now although my bent hath been hitherto against the 
most dangerous enemy of our Church and State, the Jesuit, to extinguish 
such balls of wild fire as they have cast in the bosom of the Church, yet 
seeing this strange fire kindled in the neighboring parishes and many 
Nadab's and Abihu's offering it to God's altar, I thought it my duty to 
cast the waters of Siloam upon it to extinguish it. 

In another place he calls the rebaptizing of the Baptists "a 
new leaven," and that their position "is soured with it," but this 
is to be read not as a detached statement, but in the light of what 
is said about it. He explains there are two kinds of old Ana- 
baptists and one kind of new Anabaptists. These new Ana- 
baptists began in 1525. This he fully explains: 

302 A History of the Baptists 

They first broached their doctrine about the year 250 which was this: 
That all of those who had been baptized by Novatus, or any other heiretics, 
ought to be rebaptized by the orthodox pastoi-s of the church. 

The second broached theirs about the year 380, which was this : That 
none were rightly baptized but those that held with Donatus, and conse- 
quently, that all others had received baptism in the Catholic Church, by 
any other save those of his party, ought to be rebaptized. 

The third broached theirs in the year 1525, which was this: That 
baptism ought to be received by none, but such as can give a good account 
of their faith ; and in case any have been baptized in their infancy, that 
they ought to be rebaptized after they come to years of discresion, before 
they are to be admitted to the church of Christ. 

The first tenet which he says is ''peculiar to this new sect," 
which had their origin in 1525, was "that none are rightly 
baptized but who are dipped." F'eatley declares there were 
Baptists in his neighborhood prior to 1625 ; that they had ex- 
isted in England during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward 
VI, James I; and of his own personal knowledge they had 
dipped in rivers for more than twenty years previous to 1644. 

There is a fine statement made by William Ames who was a 
Brownist. He had a controversy with Bishop Morton. In the 
year of his death, 1633, he wrote a book (A Fresh Suit against 
Ceremonies in God's Worship), which made a ISTonconformist 
out of Bichard Baxter. In his book he points out the attitude 
of the Baptists toward dipping. He says : 

I will easily grant the Catabaptists, and confess that the strife which 
they made about baptism, hath been not altogether without benefit ; for 
hence it comes to pass that those things which the foolish superstition of 
human reason had added thereto, being brought into question, are now 
become vain and unprofitable. 

Christ Jesus who instituted baptism with such simplicity and purity 
as knowing better than all men ; what arrogance to add, alter or detract, 
on the part of man. 

Dipping is preferred to sprinkling for dipping is not a human ceremony. 

Calvin's devise of a new washing, was an idle vanity, he added to the 
washings which God had set. 

In vain do they worship me teaching the doctrine's and precepts of men 
i. e., such things as men set up themselves against the commandment of 

Christ is the only teacher of his church, therefore there may be no 
means of teaching or admonishing but such as be ordered. 

When Christ himself instituted baptism he required it to be used ; is it 
a very hard question whether it be lawful for men to add other than the 

A Great Debate on Baptism 303 

above. As if what Christ himself prescribed were not fit enough. In 
divine institutions as we must talie nothing from, so we must not alter, so 
we must add nothing to them. What rites he would have used he himself 

Sprinkling of water upon the people for baptism, an Apist imitation. 

The Anabaptists hold fanatically about rites and formalities (they say) 
it is not lawful to worship God with other external worship save that 
which is in Scripture prescribed us. And human inventions without war- 
rant from God in Scripture are to be reprehended. It is weH known that 
Anabaptists have certain times and places of meeting for worship ; certain 
order of preaching and praying ; may in baptizing of grown-men, as even 
bishops can scarce be ignorant of. 

One of the foremost Baptists of those times was Thomas 
Collier, of Whitley, iu the parish of Godalming. He was 
described by his enemies as of obstinate demeanor, refusing to 
pay all tithes into the Church where his estate lies (Calendar 
of State Papers, January, 1635. CCLXXXII. 82). He 
preached through the counties of West England in Surrey and 
Hampshire. He wrote books, traveled as a missionary, and 
immersed many converts (Edwards, Gangrsena, III. 41. Lon- 
don, 1646). Eor more than twelve years he had labored in 
this field and prospered under the fiercest persecutions. He 
was an intense Baptist and held firmly to the faith in 1646 as 
he had previously done in 1635. 

He linked the word Anabaptists with "baptized Christians," 
which was understood in those days to mean immersed believers. 
His words are: "They, these persecutors, would say as much 
of the Anabaptists, or rather of the baptized Christians of this 
nation." He further remarks that these "persecutors are ma- 
liciously mistaken," and show their ignorance "in calling them 
Anabaptists, for the practicing baptism, according to Scrip- 
ture, that grieves you it seems ; but you have learnt a new way, 
both for matter and manner, babies instead of believers ; for 
manner, sprinkling at the font, instead of baptizing in a river ; 
you are loth to go with your long gowns, you have found a 
better way than was ever prescribed or practised; who now 
Sir are the Ignoramuses?" 

Lewes Hewes, who describes himself as a minister of God's 
Word, attacked the follies of infant sprinkling, afiirms adult 
baptism by immersion, addressed, A. D. 1640, to the Parlia- 

304 A History of the Baptists 

ment on the abuses of Popery introduced into religion. The 
book is in the form of a dialogue between a Minister and a 
Gentleman. Some of the passages are: 

Gent. Many do say, that the manner of administering the holy sacra- 
ment of baptism prescribed in the Service Book is very absui"d, and full 
of Popish errors, and so ridiculous as that they cannot but laugh at it. I 
pray you tell me, what do you find in it so absurd and ridiculous, as they 
cannot but laugh at it? 

Min. The interrogatories ministered to Infants that have no under- 
standing and the ansvi^ers of the godfathers are so absurd and ridiculous, as 
they cannot but laugh at them : as first, the minister must first examine 
the infant and ask him, if he doth forsake the devil and his works, the 
vain pomp and glory of the world, the coveteous desires of the same, the 
carnal desires of the flesh, so as he will not follow nor be led by them ; he 
must also ask him, if he doth believe all the Articles of the Christian faith, 
and if he will be baptized in that faith. 

Gent. Were not these interrogatories administered to infants in the 
primitive church? 

Min. No, these or the like were then administered to such as were of 
years, when they were converted and came to be baptized, and afterwards 
commanded by the Pope to be administered to infants. 

In another prayer thanks is given to God for regenerating the infant 
with the Holy Spirit, that the children of God do receive the Spirit of God 
to regenerate them, not by sprinkling of water in baptism, but by having 
the Gospel preached, 2 Cor. 3 :8, Acts 10 :44 ( Lewes Hewes, Certain Griev- 
ances, well worthy of the serious consideration of the right honorable and 
High Court of Parliament, 12-1^. London, 1640). 

One of the striking Baptist preachers of those times was 
Thomas Lamb. His occupation was that of a soap boiler. He 
was an active minister from the earliest days of Charles I 
(Wood, History of the Baptists, 109). After he came to 
London he was pastor in Bell-alley, Coleman Street. He was 
soon cast into prison and he was released on bail June 25, 
1640 (Acts of the High Court of Commission, CCCCXXXL 
434), with the injunction "not to preach, baptize or frequent 
any conventicle." About October 15, of the same year, he was 
in Gloucestershire preaching and immersing his converts. The 
people of that section had largely departed from the Church 
of England and the Baptists had a great following (Wynell, 
The Covenants Plea for Infants, Oxford, 1642). Here he was 
opposed by Mr. Wynell the rector. It was from this congrega- 

A Great Debate on Baptism 365 

tion that Richard Baxter, about 1639, became acquainted with 
the Baptists, and the practice of dipping greatly shocked him 
(Baxter, Life and Time, I. 41). As a result of the contro- 
versy the Baptists had sent to London for Mr. Lamb. He came 
and baptized many converts in the River Severn. He brought 
with him Clem Writer, who was also a Baptist preacher. 
Wynell says Lamb held his services in a private house "and 
by preaching there he subverted many, and shortly afterwards 
in an extreme cold, and frosty time, in the night season, diverse 
men and women were rebaptized in the great River Severn in 
the City of Gloucester." These immersions took place in the 
early winter of 1640. 

John Goodwin was one of the most interesting men in Lon- 
don. He was rector of St. Stephen's Church, Coleman Street, 
and was a near neighbor of Thomas Lamb, of Bell-alley. One 
of Goodman's members, Mr. William Allen, turned Baptist 
and united with Lamb's Church. This made Goodwin furious 
and he attacked the "new mode of dipping." Allen replied 
(An Answer to Mr. J. G.) and affinned that dipping was the 
old form. Lamb took up the quarrel and expressed indignation 
at the attack of Goodwin. He had himself been for some 
years in the practice of dipping. His opinion of Goodwin's 
book was expressed in vigorous English (Truth Prevailing, 78. 
London, 1655). Mr, Goodwin in the meantime had oppor- 
tunity for reflection and he wrote another book (Water Dip- 
ping no Firm Footing for Church Communion) and apologized 
for his "grasshopper expression" calling dipping new. He, in 
this new place, says the Baptists had practised dipping since 
the Reformation of Luther. Llis language is : 

First we understand by books and writings of such authority and 
credit; that we have no ground at all to question their truth that that 
generation of men, whose judgments have gone wandering after dipping 
and rebaptizing, have from the very first original and spring of them since 
the iate Reformation. 

Edward Barber was a merchant tailor of London, a gentle- 
man of great learning, at first a minister of the Church of 
England, but long before the Civil Wars he became a Baptist 
(National Biography, III. 146). He was the agent in con- 
vincing many that infant baptism had no foundation in Scrip- 

3o6 A History of the Baptists 

ture. He soon gathered a numerous congregation whieli met 
in Spital in Bishopgate Street. In His book (A Small Treatise 
on Dipping) he says lie was cast into prison for ''denying the 
sprinkling of infants." He was cast into prison in 1639 and 
on Wednesday, June 20, ofi that year, he appeared before the 
King's Commission (Tanner MSS. LXVII. 115. Bodleian 
Library). So that Edward Barber denied infant sprinkling 
before 1639. While in prison in 1639 Barber discussed im- 
mersion with Dr. Gouge who was a prominent man in the 
Church of England, and Barber made him admit that sprink- 
ling "was a tradition of the Church" (Blackewell, Sea of Ab- 
surdities concerning Sprinkling driven back, 6. London, 1650). 

This corresponds with the statement of Wall that sprinkling 
did not prevail till 1644 and began as a policy of the govern- 
ment in the troublesome times of 1641, 

Dr. Grouge discussed the subject of immersion with Barber. 
The latter affirmed that immersion was the proper act of bap- 
tism, and Gouge admitted that sprinkling was only a tradition. 
This corresponded exactly with the statement of Barber that 
he was imprisoned for denying the sprinkling of infants. This 
date was before June 20, 1639. Barber makes it perfectly 
plain in his book that the Baptists had long been in, the prac- 
tice of dipping. 

Among other objections urged was that the Baptists im- 
mersed women and that the clothes were immersed as well as 
the person. Barber answered that these objections did not 
avail since immersion had long been the practice. He said 
he was chosen of God to divulge immersion. The word "di- 
vulge" in those days simply meant to publish without reference 
to the order of time. Eor example, Henry Denne, who' was 
baptized in 1643, and from that date was a preacher, was sent 
on a special mission by the church at E'enstanton, October 28, 
1653, and it was said of him : "On that day he was chosen and 
ordained, by imposition of hands, a messenger to divulge the 
Gospel of Jesus Christ" (Taylor, History of the General Bap- 
tists, I. 150). Barber was a great preacher and he divulged 
the Gospel of Immersion. 

William Jeffery was born of pious parents in the year 1616, 
in the parish of Penhurst, and afterwards lived in Bradbourn, 

A Great Debate on Baptism 307 

Seven Oaks, Kent, where lie and his brother David were great 
supporters of a meeting (Crosby, The History of English Bap- 
tists, III. 97). It is probable that he was engaged in the propa- 
gation of the Baptist faith several years prior to the Civil 
Wars (Taylor, History of the General Baptists, I. 109). He 
was a minister of a congregation about Orpington which in- 
creased greatly under his ministry. He was a successful, and 
unwearied supporter of the Baptist interest, and suffered with 
great patience. He had several debates with men of the Church 
of England, and also with the Independents and Quakers. He 
was much valued for steady piety and universal virtue. 

Clem Writer, or A. R(itter), was a prominent Baptist in 
London. He originally camie from Worcester and was formerly 
a member of the Church of England. He became a Baptist 
about the year 1637. He was a man of education, attended 
public meetings, and on several occasions drew up petitions to 
Parliament and transacted other business. Edwards abused 
him on all occasions, and even pronounced him an atheist. He 
"is now an arch-heretic," says Edwards, "and fearful apostate, 
an old wolf, and a subtle man, who goes about corrupting and 
venting his errors" (Edwards, Gangrsena, I. 27). 

His works on the Vanity of Childish Baptism are the most 
scholarly of all the books written on the baptismal controversy 
of 1641. The first volume was written against the position of 
the Church of England, in 1641, and the next year, the second 
volume appeared against the position of the Independents. 
On the subject of dipping he states his position in words that 
imply that it had always been the Baptist practice. He says: 

The institution of Christ requireth that the whole man he dipped all 
over in water . . . The Greek authors account hapto and iaptizo to signify 
that the Latins use niergere, immergere (tingere immergendo) (that is to 
say) to dip, to plunge, to douse overhead or under water (A. R., A Treatise 
on the Vanity of Childish Baptisme, I. 10). 

He concludes that for a thousand years there was no other 
practice except dipping in the Christian world. Among Bap- 
tists it had been the practice since Luther's time. Says he: 

And if any shall think it strange and unlikely that all of the god- 
liest divines and best churches should be thus deceived on this point of 

3o8 A History of the Baptists 

baptism for so many yeares together, let him consider that all Christendome 
(except here and there one, or some few, or no considerable number) was 
swallowed up in grosse Popery for many hundred yeares before Luthers 
time, which was not until about 100 yeares agone. 

This scholarly Baptist had an opponent. It is really inter- 
esting to note how closely his antagonist resembles the Pedo- 
baptist controversialist of to-day. 

The Baptists of the middle part of the seventeenth century 
were controversailists. They were compelled to debate. The 
Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Brownists and Independents 
agreed with each other only in one particular of hating the 

"Various methods were adopted," says Goadby, "for remov- 
ing this general dislike, and answering the wicked, accusations 
made against them. They issued pamphlets in defence of their 
opinions. They subscribed to numerous Confessions of Faith. 
They were ready, in season and out of season, to meet their 
opponents. They challenged them to public disputations; now 
in London, now in the country. Ordinary buildings proved too 
small and inconvenient for the excited and eager crowds who 
attended these disputations; and the largest accommodation 
being afforded by the parish church, to the parish church they 
commonly hurried. The occasion of these discussions was 
often fierce opposition of local clergymen, but was sometimes 
the uneasy consciences on the subject of baptism of some mem- 
bers of the congregations. The victory, as in all such public 
discussions, was usually claimed by both sides. The disputa- 
tions themselves illustrate the habits and the ferment of a 
former age" (Goadby, Bye-Paths in Baptist History, 139). 

The report of the debates were usually published by the 
opponents of the Baptists. There was large room for partiality 
and unfairness. These one sided accounts were published often 
with marginal commentaries, and one at least published a scan- 
dalous frontispiece which depicted fifteen different sorts of 

The first of these debates occurred in 1641 between Dr. 
Featley and four Particular Baptists. It was "somewhere in 

A Great Debate on Baptism 309 

Southwark," probably in the parish church. Sir John Lenthall 
was present, ''with many knights, ladies and gentlemen." There 
were also present some of the illiterate sort, upon whom Dr. 
Featley looked with disdain. The discussion was held in the 
year that Charles I. had broken with Parliament. Two months 
before it began the royal standard was unfurled at Nottingham, 
and a week after it had closed Charles fought his first battle. 

The disputants were hardly fairly matched. Dr. Featley 
was a veteran debater, and had won many encounters with the 
Jesuits. His intimate friend had said the Catholics "con- 
temned him for that he was low of stature, yet admired him 
for his ready answers and shrewd distinctions." Yet this friend 
of thirty-seven years had found him "meek, gracious, affable, 
merciful." This would not be suspected from reading this 
debate. In European seminaries he was regarded as "the 
Sagacious and Ardent" Doctor. 

His opponents were four Baptists. One of them was de- 
scribed as "a. Scotchman," another was called "Cufiin." This 
was none other than William Kiffin, for two years past the 
pastor of Devonshire Baptist Church. He was now only thirty- 
six years of age, and yet had before him fifty-nine years of 
pastoral and checkered life. Of the other two disputants there 
is no information. 

The version of the debate as given by Featley is a long 
drawn out rambling discussion on baptism. Featley was in- 
sulting, but not convincing. At the conclusion, says Featley, 
"it grew late, and the Conference broke off." Featley was self- 
complacent. He says : 

The issue of the Conference was, first, the Knights, ladies and gentle- 
men gave the doctor great thanks, secondly, three of the Anabaptists went 
away discontented, the fourth seemed in part satisfied, and des'ired a 
second meeting; but the next day, conferred with the rest of that sect, he 
altered his resolution, and neither he, nor any other of that sect ever since 
that day troubled the doctor, or any other minister in this borougli with 
a second challenge. 

Featley's version of the debate was published two years and 
one-half after the debate under the title: The Dippers Dipt, 

310 A History of the Baptists 

or, the Anabaptists duck'd and plung'd over head and ears, at 
a Disputation in Southwark. London, 1645. The debate was 
not printed until Featley was in prison suspected of being a 
spy. The most exciting political events had in the meantime 
taken place, and all recollection of the debate had passed from 
the mind of "the auditors." While in prison he had a debate 
with Henry Denne, who was there for preaching the word. He 
and Denne debated the issues at stake in baptism. The result 
was that on January 10, 1644, Featley printed his book. In a 
little less than a month Denne had his reply imder the title of 
Antichrist Unmasked. Samuel Richardson took up the chal- 
lenge and gave Featley a severe handling in a book entitled: 
Some Brief Considerations on Dr. Featley's Book. With a 
chuckle Eichardson says: 

The knights and ladies thanked him, but he cannot say he deserved it. 
The Anabaptists went away discontented and grieved. It seems they were 
sorrowful to see his great blindness and hardness of heart. He saith, none 
of them ever after that troubled him ; it seems they could do him no good, 
and so they resolved to leave him to God, till he should please to open 
his eyes. 

Many and notable were the debates of the period. The 
Presbyterians now being in power tried to dismiss the subject 
of baptism. But debates would not down. A great debate, be- 
tween Richard Baxter and John Tombes occurred at Bewdley, 
January 1, 1649. The debate continued throughout the daj- 
without intermission until the disputants were exhausted. Bott 
sides claimed the victory; but Wood declares: "That all tho 
scholars then and there present, who knew the way of disputing 
and managing arguments, did conclude that Tombes got the 
better of Baxter by far." 

Tombes had a more celebrated debate in 1653, in St. Mary's 
Church, Abergavenney, with Henry Vaughan and John Cragge. 
The writer who records the discussion, speaks in no very com- 
plimentary terms of the Baptists. "They inveigled the poor, 
and simple people especially." "Women, and inferior trades- 
men, which in seven years can scarce learn the mystery of the 
lowest profession, think half seven years enough (gained from 
their worldly employments) to understand the mysteries of 
divinity, and whereupon meddle with controversy, which they 

A Great Debate on Baptism 311' 

have no more capacity to pry into than a bat to look into the 
third heaven." The writer also gives his version of the public 
discussions of Tombes elsewhere. "The disputes at Bewdley, 
Hereford, and Ross, have ben successful to astonishment; and 
in this last, at Abergavenny (though tumultuary, and on a 
sudden), hath appeared the finger of God. He hath, with spittle 
and clay, opened the eyes of the blind, overthrown the walls of 
Jericho with the second ram's horns ; with these weak means 
hath wrought strong effects, that no creature may glory in an 
arm of flesh." 

Mr. Tombes had been heard with much amazement. Some 
persons were highly offended. Others were '^staggered or 
scrupled ; and some, not knowing what to think of their own, 
their childrens', or their ancestors' salvation." Many well 
learned, heard Mr. Tombes, and heard with amazement. Among 
them were Vaughan, "schoolmaster of the town, formerly fellow 
of Jesus College, Oxford," and Mr. Bonner, an aged clergyman 
of the neighborhood. ISTo one spoke after the service in answer 
to the challenge of Tombes; but Bonner "closed with him on 
the way to his lodging." "That night, and especially the next 
morning, the Anabaptists triumphed, saying, Where are your 
champions now?" 

The next day excitement ran high. Cragge, Vaughan and 
Bonner went to the house where Tombes was staying, and a 
public debate was arranged. The church house was overflowing 
with people. Bonner was preparing "to give an onset," but he 
was dissuaded "lest in his aged and feeble state he should 
impair his health." The debate continued with much heat for 
six hours. 

The century closed with a famous debate at Portsmouth. 
Mr. Samuel Chandler, a Presbyterian minister of Pareham, 
established a lectureship at Portsmouth. In the course of his 
lectures he defended infant baptism. His remarks were re- 
ported to Mr. Thomas Bowes, the General Baptist minister. 
He conferred with Mr. Webber, the Particular Baptist minister 
of the town. A debate was arranged between the parties. Wil- 
liam Russell, M. D., the well-known General Baptist minister of 
London, was chosen to defend the Baptist cause. With Dr. 

312 A History of the Baptists 

Russell in the position of "junior counsel" and "moderator," 
were John Williams, of East Knowle, and John Sharpe, of 
Frome, both Particular Baptist ministers. The Presbyterians 
selected Samuel Chandler, Mr. Leigh, of Newport, and Mr. 
Robinson, of Hungerford. The debate occurred in the Pres- 
byterian meeting house February 22, 1698-9. The assembly 
was worthy of the debate. The governor and lieutenant-gover- 
nor, the mayor and magistrates of Portsmouth were all present. 
The military were also there. The debate continued nine hours. 
The debate came to an end between six and seven o'clock. 

A few days after the discussion an article appeared in the 
Postman newspaper, from the pen of Colonel John Gibson, the 
Jjieutenant-Governor, as follows : 

Portsmouth, Feb. 23. — Yesterday the dispute between the Presbyterians 
and the Anabaptists was held in the Presbyterian meeting-house. It began 
at ten o'clock in the morning, and continued till six in the afternoon, 
without intermission. The theme of the dispute was, the subject of baptism, 
and the manner in which it is to be performed. Russell and Williams were 
the opponents for the Anabaptists, and Mr. Chandler and Mr. Leigh for 
the Presbyterians; Mr. Sharpe was moderator for the former, and Mr. 
Robinson for the latter. Mr. Russell opposed infant baptism with all the 
subtilty and sophistry of the schools ; and it was answered with good 
reason and learning. Upon the whole, it was the opinion of all the judi- 
cious auditory, the Presbyterians sufficiently defended their doctrines, and 
worsted their adversaries, when they came to assume the place of opponents. 

Another article appeared in the Flying Post, which was one- 
sided and unfair. Dr. Russell published an account of the de- 
bate which brought an answer from the Presbyterians. The de- 
bate and these various articles and replies brought on much 

All of the Baptist historians record their pleasure that this 
was the last debate of the kind that ever occurred in that coun- 

Books for further reading and reference : 
Macaulay, The History of England. 4 volumes. 
Daniel Neal, The History of the Puritans. 5 volumes. 
Herbert S. Skeats, A History of the Free Churches of England. 
William A. Shaw, A History of the Church of England during the Civil 
Wars and the Commonwealth. 2 volumes. 



Baptist Associations — .They Originated With the Particular Baptists — The 
General Baptists the First to Organize — J. M. Davis — The Great Author- 
ity of the Associations — Business — Number — Date — The Custom of Ap- 
peal — The Office of Messenger — The Organization of the Particular Bap- 
tists — ^A Letter From Ireland — The Midland Association — The Circular 
Letter — Objects of the Union — Support of the Ministry — Education — He- 
brew, Greek and Latin — Bristol College—Mile End Academy — Pastor and 
Deacons — ^The Permanency of the Pastoral Relation — ^The Support of the 
Ministry — Ordination — Discipline — Amusements — Marrying — Ikying on 
of Hands and Anointing of the Sick — Singing. 

TEE formation of Baptist Associations may be traced to the 
period of the Civil Wars and they were developed in the 
last half of the seventeenth century. They formed a source of 
healthful and pleasant intercourse to many. The Baptists were 
persecuted, the churches were often weak and widely separated, 
and intercourse was not easy. Eoads existed more in name than 
in fact. ISTo means of public transit existed, and commerce 
called individuals but rarely from their homes, or only to the 
next market town. These annual gatherings of the brethren 
were hailed as seasons of holy festivity. Men of note, both of 
piety and of action, were brought together, and by their counsel 
and preaching greatly aided the churches of God (Evans, Early 
English Baptists, II. 223). 

It must be carefully remembered that the Particular and 
General Baptists did not act in concert nor did they always 
hold the same views on organization. The idea of an associa- 
tion seems to have originated with the Particular Baptists. The 
London Confession of Eaith of 1643, article XLVII seems to 
anticipate an association. At least the germinal idea is there. 
That document says : 

And although the particular Congregations be distinct (1 Cor. 4. 17, & 
14. 33, 36. & 16.1) and severall Bodies, every one a compact and knit 
Citie (Matth. 28.20) in itself; yet are they all to walk by one and the 
same (1 Tim. 3. 15. & 6. 13, 14) Rule, and by all meanes convenient to 

314 -^ History of the Baptists 

have the counsell (Rev. 22. 18, 19) and help one of another in all needful 
affairs of the (Col. 2. 6, 19, & 4. 16) Church, as members of one body in 
the common faith under Christ their onely head. 

The day this was declared was the birthday of the modem 
association. The distinctiveness of the idea is seen in the fact 
that church order is made to rest on the principle of voluntari- 
ness under the authority of Christ, the only Head. But the 
times were too changeable and threatening for organization. 
The power of Charles I had been bridled but the Presbyterians 
were in power and they were as hostile to the Baptists as ever 
the Episcopalians had been. In 1649 Charles I was put 
to death, and the Baptists under Cromwell had an extension 
of liberty. So the time was ripe for the organization of asso- 

But while the idea of associations originated with the Par- 
ticular Baptists, the General Baptists were the first to organize. 
They were not connected with the Independents or Brownists. 
Many of the General Baptists were royalists and favored a 
strong government. There was incorporated in their early 
meetings an authority invested in associations which would not 
now be tolerated among Baptists. Says Professor J. M. Davis, 
of the Baptist College, Cardiff, Wales : 

The General Baptists, like the Particular Baptists, held the idea of 
the Independency of the Churches, but their General Conference was more 
Presbyterian in its legislation. By their connection v/ith the Anabaptists 
and the Mennonites of the Continent, and their stay at Amsterdam, they 
obtained knowledge of the Presbyterian Synods of the churches of Luther 
and Calvin. Also they acknowledged an order of officers, which they called 
"Messengers," corresponding to the apostolic order, which they supposed 
continued partly in the church. "The Messengers" were appointed by the 
General Conference. Their work was to plant new churches and to con- 
firm those that were already in existence ; ordain ministers ; and visit 
churches to advise them and to confirm them, and to report their condition 
to the General Conference. They were a kind of "Baptist Bishops,'' with 
power of superintendency. They differed from the Bishops of the Church 
of England, in that they were appointed by the General Conference and 
were under their authority. At first their power was moderate, but it 
was enlarged from the end of the 17th century on {The Western Recorder, 
September 21, 1916. Translation by J. T. Griffith). 

Many of the ideas of strong government and of church order 
were incorporated into the early associations of America. 

The Rise and Progress of Baptist Institutions 315 

As a reaction from this monarchial idea manj Baptists in this 
country favored the idea of a convention, v^here no power w^as 
lodged with the general body save that of voluntariness. It 
has, therefore, followed in this country that many Baptist gen- 
eral bodies have taken the name and form of conventions rather 
than that of associations, and where the associational name has 
been retained the idea of organization is not far removed from 
that of a convention. The conception of a convention appeals 
to a liberty loving people, rather than the stronger idea of an 
association. Generally the older bodies, from custom, have 
retained the name of association, while the newer organizations 
have adopted the name convention. Gradually, in England, 
these objectionable features have been eliminated. 

The Particular Baptists, on the other hand, were more con- 
servative, more independent of authority, more jealous of dele- 
gated rights, and consequently were much slower in forming 

Adam Taylor (The History of the English General Baptists, 
I. 457) gives the origin of associations among General Bap- 
tists and his account is here mainly followed. 

As soon as any number of General Baptist churches were 
gathered, in any county or district, they united to support a 
periodical meeting, to consult for the common welfare. Such a 
meeting was called an Association, and was usually held at the 
principal place of the district, quarterly, half yearly, or annual- 
ly, according to the convenience of the congregations support- 
ing it. It was composed of two or more representatives from 
each church in the district, elected to this office by the churcli 
which sent them. The messenger ot elder was more frequently 
chosen, and was joined to one or more respectable private breth- 
ren, who had equal rights with the ministers to deliberate and 

The business usually transacted at these Associations was — 
the reformation of inconsistent or immoral conduct, whether 
in ministers or private Christians — ^the prevention or suppres- 
sion of heresy — the reconciling of differences between members 
and churches — the giving of advice in difficult cases, whether 
respecting individuals or societies — ^the proposing of plans of 

31 6 A History of the Baptists 

usefulness — the recommending of cases that required pecuniary 
support — and, in short, the devising of the most effectual means 
of promoting the prosperity of religion in the world at large, 
but especially in their own churches. 

The first four of these particulars would scarcely come under 
the purview of an Association to-day. They occupied a large 
place in the proceedings of those early days. 

It is not easy to ascertain the number of Associations into 
which the English General Baptists were divided; new unions 
being frequently formed, and old ones dissolved. During this 
period there are found traces of Buckinghamshire, Cambridge, 
Dorsetshire, the Isle of Ely, the Kentish, the Lincolnshire, the 
London, the Northamptonshire, the Western and Wiltshire As- 
sociations. These all existed at the close of the seventeenth 
century ; and appear then to have been, in a greater or less de- 
gree, flourishing. Several of them were composed of a con- 
siderable number of prosperous churches. 

These Associations in different parts of the nation, maintain- 
ing only a local union, a more general co-operation became de- 
sirable. To effect this, occasional meetings were held, usually 
in London, as the center of the kingdom, which they styled 
General Assemblies. They were composed of representatives 
of the various Associations, and from such churches as chose to 
send deputies; which might be either ministers or private 

It is not easy to ascertain the exact date of the first introduc- 
tion of General Assemblies among these churches ; but it can be 
placed with great probability, under the Protectorate. Mr. 
Grantham, in 16'7l, speaks of them as generally established and 
approved (Grantham, Sigh of Peace, 130-132) ; and, in 1678, 
having mentioned the assembly recorded in Acts fifteen, he 
says : 

According to this precedent, the baptized churches in this age and nation 
have Ijept an Assembly-general for many years, for the better settlement 
of the churches to which they are related (Grantham, Gbristianismus 
PrJmitivus, 137. London, 1678). 

This system of Associations and General Associations gave 
rise to a custom of Appeal from the decisions of churches. 

The Rise and Progress of Baptist Institutions 317 

When any member thought himself aggrieved by the proceed- 
ings of his church, he might appeal to two or more neighboring 
churches, and require them to judge and hear the case. If the 
appeal was received, a meeting of deputies from; each of the 
societies to which the appeal was made was appointed; and, 
both parties having been heard at length, judgment was given. 
But if either party remained dissatisfied, the business might be 
brought before the Association to which they belonged; and 
have another investigation. And from the decision of the As- 
sociation, there yet lay a final appeal to the General Assembly. 
For some time, the discontented persons appear to have been 
considered as having a right to claim a hearing; but this was 
found to protract altercations, and nourish a captious spirit. The 
Assembly therefore resolved, that no case of this nature should 
be received by them, without the mnatual consent and request of 
all the parties concerned (Minutes of the General Assembly for 
1711, I. 113. London, 1909). 

Furthermore they introduced an officer into their system 
whom they called a bishop or messenger. He was generally 
chosen by an Association of the representatives of the churches ; 
and was ordained of those of his o-satu order with great solemnity. 
Sometimes a particular church chose a messenger, but in that 
instance his business was to preach the gospel and regulate the 
churches which he founded. "They were appointed," says Jef- 
frey, "for the gathering of churches, and the establishment of 

At the Lincolnshire Association, held at Coningsly, May 30, 
1775, the office is thus defined : 

The messenger, who is chosen by the unanimous consent and approbation 
of the churches which stand in a close connection together, hath full liberty 
and authority, according to the gospel, to freely enquire into the state of 
the churches respecting both pastor and people, to see that the pastors 
do their duty in theirt places, and the people theirs; he is to exhort, ad- 
monish, and reprove both the one and the other, as occasion calls for. In 
virtue of his office, he is to watch over the several flocks committed to his 
care and charge — to see that good order and government be carefully and 
constantly kept up and maintained in the churches he is called and appointed 
to look after and to watch over; to labor and to keep out innovations in 
doctrine, worship, and discipline, and to stand up in the defense of the 

3i8 A History of the Baptists 

This right of appeal and appointment of messengers for the 
government of the churches was inconsistent with the independ- 
ence of a church which these Christians strenuously asserted. 
The qiTCstion was constantly raised : How far agreements made 
by a General Assembly do obligate the churches concerned by 
their representatives ? Grantham answers as follows : 

To ascribe infallibility to any Assembly since the Apostles' days, must 
in nowise be allowed. Wherefore, though we ought to consider with great 
respect what is concluded by a general council of Christ's true ministers ; 
yet we may lawfully doubt of what they deliver, unless they confirm it 
by the word of the Lord (Grantham, Christianismus, 139). 

The General Baptists were then in an experimental state in 
regard to organization and have long since discarded these views. 

Although the Particular Baptists were slower in organizing 
Associations than the General Baptists, they had, as we have 
seen, in 1643, anticipated such a union. The especial cause for 
the organization of the first Particular Baptist Association oc- 
curred some ten years later. The churches in Ireland wrote a 
special letter to the churches in London. In this letter they say : 

That their beloved and faithful brother, John Vernon, the bearer of the 
letter, will, through the blessing of God, be suddenly with you . . . His 
conversation hath been with zeal and faithfulness ; the Lord having put 
it into the hearts of all his congregations in Ireland to have a more revived 
correspondence with each other by letter and loving epistles, in which 
practice we found great advantage, not only by weakening Satan's sugges- 
tions and jealousies, but it hath brought a closer union and knitting of 
heart ; and, which is not an inferior consideration, we have hereby been 
enabled feelingly and knowingly to present each others wants and condi- 
tions before God. In the same manner, we shall be enabled to answer our 
duty towards you, and you towards us, and so bear each others burdens, 
and fulfill the law of Christ in our very near relation. We hereby earnestly 
request the same brotherly correspondence with you and from you ; and, 
by your means, with all of the rest of the churches in England, Scotland, 
and Wales, whom we trust will be provoked to the same things, which we 
hope may be mutually obtained once in three months. 

The same letter asks for a "perfect account of the churches 
of Christ owned in communion with them;" and offers "one 
request more," "if it hath not been lately practised," namely: 

That they would send two or more faithful brethren, well acquainted 
with the discipline and order of the Lord's house, able to speak seasonable 

The Rise mid Progress of Baptist Institutions 319 

words, suited to the necessities of the people, to visit, comfort, and confirm 
all the flock of our Lord Jesus, that are, or have given up, their names to 
be under his rule, and government in England, Scotland and Irelanr" 

This letter greatly moved the Particular Baptist churches of 
England and douhtless resulted in the organization of the Lon- 
don Baptist Association. The circular letter sent out was the 
occasion, in ISTovember following, of an Association of Particu- 
lar Baptist churches in the west of England. One of the ques- 
tions of debate was: Whether laying on of hands on baptized 
believers was an ordinance of Christ ? The majority agreed 
that there was no warrant for it, and that the question should 
not disturb the communion of the churches. The circular let- 
ter was signed by Thomas Collier, one of the many Baptist min- 
isters singled out for abuse by Edwards. ''-[Te is a master- 
sectary," says Edwards, "and a man of great power amongst 
them. He had emissaries under him, whom he sends abroad to 
several parts." In other words he was the general superinten- 
dent and messenger of the churches. 

The Midland Association of Particular Baptist Churches was 
formed, in 1655, at Warwick. After adopting a Confession of 
Faith of sixteen articles, after the manner of the Confession 
of 1643, the Association determined the objects of the union. 
They were as follows : 

The churches were to be helpful to each other : first, in giving advice, 
after serious consultation and deliberation, in matters and controversies 
remaining doubtful to any particular church, according to the plain ex- 
ample of the churches of Jerusalem and Antioch. (Acts xv. 23. t&c.) 
Secondly, in sending their gifted brethren to use their gifts for the edifica- 
tion of the churches that need the same, as they shall see it to be reasonable, 
as the Church at Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch. Acts xv. 22. 
Thirdly, in giving and receiving also, in case of the poverty and want of 
any particular church, as plainly doth appear in the approved and due 
acting of the Churches of the Gentiles towards the Church at Jerusalem. 
Rom. XV. 26. Fourthly, in a joint carrying on of any part of the work of 
the Lord, as is commanded to the churches, as they shall have opportunity 
to join therein, to the glory of God. See 2 Cor. viii. 19-23. Fifthly, in 
watching over each other and considering each other for good, in respect 
of purity of doctrine, exercise of love and good conversation, being all 
members of the same body of Christ (1 Cor. xii . 12), who, therefore, 
ought to have care for one another (ver. 25) especially considering how 
the glory of God is concerned in their standing and holy oonversation. 

320 A History of the Baptists 

The churches now associated are desired to take these things into considera- 
tion, and to signify by their messengers, at their next meeting, how far 
they close with the same, and what they judge expedient to be further 
considered and done, for the glory of God and the good of the people. 

The first General Assembly of the Particular Baptist 
Churches, the greatest of the Assemblies, as Marlow calls it, 
was the one called by a letter from the London churches, the 
year after the landing of William of Orange. The meeting 
was called to assemble in London, 1689, "of two principal breth- 
ren of every church of the same faith with us, in every county 
respectively." Letters of acceptance of this invitation were to 
be sent to H. Knollys or W. Kiffin. "Brother Kiffin lives in 
White's Alley, Little Moorfields." The Assembly continued its 
sittings for eight or nine days, was pervaded by a solemn, earn- 
est and united spirit, and transacted business of real importance 
to the welfare and prosperity of the churches. The first day 
was spent in humbling themselves before the Lord. The second 
day they agreed upon certain preliminaries, as the foundation 
or rules of their Assembly, in order to guard against any mis- 
apprehensions in the minds of the members of their respective 
churches, declaring that "they disclaimed all manner of su- 
periority, or superintendency over the churches, having nO' au- 
thority or power to prescribe or impose anything upon the faith 
or practice of any of the churches of Christ, their whole intend- 
ment being to be helpers together of one another, by way of 
counsel and advice." 

Differences in individual churches "in point of communion" 
were to be left undisturbed ; and differences between one church 
and another were not allowed to be debated, "until the rule 
that Christ had given in the matter (Matt, xviii. 15) be first 
answered." Even tlieir advice is regarded as not binding "to 
any one church till the consent of that church be first had, and 
they conclude the same among themselves." Moreover, "all 
things offered by way of counsel and advice were to be proved 
out of the Word of God, and the (particular) Scripture an- 
nexed." The "breviates" of the meeting were to be transcribed 
and sent to every particular church, with a letter. Each person 
was to present to the Assembly his letter of recommendation 

The Rise and Progress of Baptist Institutions 321 

f romi the church to which he belonged, and none were to be per- 
mitted to speak without the general consent of the Assembly. 
After the letters from the several churches were read, and 
prayer offered, the meeting adjourned (Goadby, Bye Paths of 
Baptist History, 203). 

Out of these meetings particular and general as devised and 
organized by Thomas Grantham, Thomas Collier, William Kif- 
fin, Benjamin Keach, and others, have grown, with additions 
and subtractions and modifications, Baptist organizations. 
They have assumed their peculiar form on account of the funda- 
mental conception that each church is an independent body, and 
its connection with other churches of the same faith and order, 
or general bodies was purely optional. It was recognized that 
some form of union and co-operation was desirable. At first 
there were cross-currents of opinion arising out of the fact that 
the Baptists while holding democratic principles were citizens 
of a monarchy. They were feeling after liberty. It is remark- 
able with their surroundings, with limited experience, under 
persecution, that they devised a system of organizations that 
not only became the bulwark of freedom but presented a method 
of co-operation and effective work. 

It has frequently been assumed that the General Baptists 
did not encourage the support and education of the ministry. 
Most of the General Baptist ministers had secular employments 
and made their own living. But it is true that they did take 
steps to support and educate their ministry. Joseph Hooke, an 
elder among them in the last days of Charles II says of human 
learning : 

It is nowhere said in the Word of God, "Let a bishop be an academic, 
a rhetorician, a logician, a graduate ;" but it is said, "'A bishop must be 
blameless, as the steward of God, vigilant, of good behavior, given to hospi- 
tality, apt to teach, &c." And when we find them thus qualified according 
to the mind of God, we choose them to the ministry, whether they have or 
not been bred in the University . .. Let none mistake me, as though I 
should despise human learning, as some have done in a passionate zeal, 
because of its abuse's, and others through sottish ignorance, being them- 
selves strangers to it. No! I love and honour human learning, and give it 
my approbation ; only, I would not have more ascribed to it than is due ; 
nor, by any means, that it should be preferred above Divine learning, but 
only attended upon aa a servant (Hooke, Necessary Apology, 58-62), 

322 A History of the Baptists 

'At first the ministers only received traveling expenses, and 
then often on the narrowest scale. Afterwards, in 1656, it 
was decreed that the churches should defray the charges of their 
families, and "that our beloved brethren shall have ten shillings 
a week for themselves and their families." This was to cover 
their own traveling expenses, and the cost of their families' 
maintenance during their absence (Goadby, 225). 

Francis Stanley, who long labored among the Greneral Bap- 
tists, "without being chargeable to any," tells of his own knowl- 

That some ministers had spent the greater part of their outward sub- 
stance in the service of the churches ; some their all ; and some more than 
their all, many being reduced to the affecting straight, either to neglect 
the worthy work of the Grospel, or else to be reputed worse than infidels 
(1 Tim. V. 8). 

Thomas Grantham took up the charge of Stanley and gently 
suggested : 

Let the baptized churches be exhorted to consider that, whilst others 
have exceeded, they have been too short, in caring for their ministers, who, 
though they have generally with great cheerfulness served them in the 
Gospel of God freely, yet that will not justify the churches' neglect of 
their duty. And besides, the ministry are rendered, by this neglect, less 
capable to iserve them, being generally much diverted by worldly employ- 
ments from that serious study and exercise of reading which ordinarily 
conduces much to the furtherance of the Gospel, in the more ample preach- 
ing thereof. 

The General Assembly gave the matter a practical turn in 
1704. The churches in Kent said to the Assembly that "they 
were in a sinking and langiiishing condition;" and one reason 
assigned was, "the want of making provision for a Gospel min- 
istry." The Assembly therefore advised : 

That able and gifted persons be chosen and appointed to inform the 
churches in general of the duty, according to the Scriptures, to make 
provision for a Gospel ministry, and that the ministers be strictly enjoined 
in their respective churches to be dilligent in this work. 

That every congregation choose and appoint a person, or persons, to 
collect or gather at his, her, or their discresion, such moneys as shall be 
given for the use aforesaid, once a month, or as often as convenient. 

That all such moneys so collected shall be delivered into the hands of 
a treasurer, or treasurers, as are chosen by the Association, or other 

The Rise and Progress of Baptist Institutions 323 

churches distinct, according as they think convenient; and that such a 
treasurer or treasurers, by and with the consent and direction of the afore- 
said Association, or churches distinct, shall apply or dispose of the said 
moneys for encouraging and supporting a Gospel ministry, as aforesaid, 
and to no other uses whatsoever; and that the said collections shall not 
hinder or prevent raising a stock to be brought to the General Assembly, 
for the messengers, or traveling ministers (Minutes of the General As- 
sembly, 1). 

The Particular Baptists were explicit on this subject. In 
the first General xVssembly of the Particular Baptists, in 1689, 
it is affirmed of the pastors : 

It is incumbent on the Churches to whom they Minister, not only to 
give them all due respect, but also to communicate to them of all their 
good things according to their ability, so as that they may have a com- 
fortable supply, without being themselves entangled in Secular Affairs; 
and this is required by the Law of Nature, and by the Express order of 
our Lord Jesus, who hath ordained that they that preach the Gospel, should 
live of the Gospel. 

They provided a fund which was to be devoted to the follow- 
ing purposes : 

To help the weaker churches in the maintenance of their ministers, so 
that they (the ministers) might give themselves wholly to the preaching 
of the Gospel. 

To send ministers that are ordained, or at least solemnly called to 
preach, both in city and country, where the Gospel hath, or hath not been 
tpreached, and to visit the churches. 

Such ministers were to be selected by at least two churches in 
London or the country. The fund was further devoted to : 

Assist those ^nembers that shall be found in any of the churches that 
are disposed for study, have an inviting gift, and are sound in fundamentals, 
in attaining to the knowledge and understanding of the languages, Latin, 
Greek and Hebrew. 

In replying to a number of questions it was affirmed that it 
was an unquestionable advantage: 

For our brethren now in the ministry, to obtain a competent knowledge 
of the Hebrew, Greek and Latin tongues, that they may be the better 
capable of defending the truth against opposers. 

Already had the Baptists anticipated the action of the Par- 
ticular Baptist Assembly in 1689. Many of their ministers 

324 -^ History of the Baptists 

had been educated in the great universities of Oxford and Cam- 
bridge. In 1675 the Baptist ministers of London invited their 
brethren throughout the country to meet in the following May 
in the metropolis with a view to form "a plan for providing an 
orderly standing ministry who might give themselves to reading 
and study and so become able ministers of the ITew Testament." 

Pour years later, or in 1679, Edward Terrell, who was an 
elder in the Broadmead Church, Bristol, executed a deed to con- 
siderable property, in trust to the pastor of that church, under 
the following conditions: 

Provided he be a holy man, well skilled in the Greek and Hebrew 
tongues, in which the Scriptures were originally written; and devote three 
afternoons in the week to the instruction of any number of young students, 
not exceeding twelve, who may be recommended by the churches, in the 
knowledge of the original languages, and other literature (Ivimey, History 
of the English Baptists, II. 339). 

This fund became available in 1717 and sine© that date 
Bristol College, the oldest of Baptist institutions of learning, 
in England, has had an honorable career. 

After the New Connection of General Baptists was formed, 
June 6, 1770, steps were taken to organize an academy. A 
manuscript found among the papers of Dan. Taylor, under date 
of 1779, is entitled a plan for assisting in studies of preachers. 
The writer adds : "The design has annually obtained credit and 
reputation, since it was first begun by a poor blind brother in 
Wadsworth church and myself. As the churches increased in 
number and respectability, the necessity for such an institittion 
became more apparent: the subject, therefore, became the fre- 
quent topic of conversation among individuals, and on public 
occasions. The Boston Association in 1796, recommended the 
churches to adopt measures for facilitating the design, and to 
open subscriptions for the purpose. This recommendation pre- 
pared the churches for the consideration of the subject at the 
ensuing Association. At that meeting funds were established 
and the books were opened for subscriptions. In January, 1798, 
an Academy was opened under the superintendence of Dan. 
Taylor at Mile End, London. 

The Rise and Progress of Baptist Institutions 325 

It is thus manifest that both the General and Particular Bap- 
tists of England fostered education. They differed in methods, 
details and ideals ; but they did not differ in regard to the neces- 
sity of education. The primary, and at first the only reason 
for fostering schools among the English Baptists, was the educa- 
tion of the ministry. Their insistence was that a minister 
should be an educated man. It was furthermore determined 
that this education should include a knowledge of Latin, Grreek 
and Hebrew. 

The earliest Confessions of both sections of the Baptists 
recognized only two officers in the churches — ^ministers and dea- 
cons. The Confession of Faith of certain English People, living 
in Amsterdam, contained, Article 76, the following statement: 

That Christ hath set in his outward church two sorts of ministers : 
viz., some who are called pastors, teachers or elders, who administer in 
the word and sacraments, and others who are called Deacons, men and 
women: whose ministry is, to serve tables and wash the saints feet (Acts 
vi. 2-4; Phil. i. 1 ; 1 Tim. iii. 2, 3, 8, 11 and chap. v.). 

The London Confession, Article XXXVL, says : 
That being thus joyned, every Church has power given them from 
Christ for their better well-being, to choose to themselves, meet persons 
into the ofBce of Pastors, Teachers, Elders, Deacons, being qualified accord- 
ing to the Word, as those which Christ has appointed in his Testament, 
for the feeding, governing, serving, and building up of his Church, and 
that none other have power to impose them, either these or any other. 

In many churches two, or even four, ministers were associat- 
ed. In fact a plurality of pastors was very common among the 
General and Particular Baptists in the time of the Stuarts. 
When such a union was once formed between an elder and a 
church, it was regarded as indissoluble as marriage, and only to 
be severed by death, or the apostasy of the preacher. The fol- 
lowing resolution was passed in the Lincolnshire General Bap- 
tist Association in 1696 : 

That there is nothing which we can justly fix upon that can warrant 
an elder to forsake his people; nor can any elder, who has gone away 
from his own people, be established as an elder over another people in 
another place (Goadby, 224). 

An elder might be displaced from a church on account of an 
erring life, or false teaching. The wife of the elder must like- 

326 A History of the Baptists 

wise be a member of tbe cburch. The church, looked out young 
men with appropriate gifts, and often arranged meetings where 
they could exercise their gifts for preaching. 

The deacons were "helps in government," and they were to 
assist in the spiritual development of the church and to care 
for the poor. Such was the declaration of Grantham (Chris- 
tianimus Primitivus, 126). Many of the churches had deacon- 
nesses. The Broadmead Church, in 1 678-9, elected four sisters 
who were widows as deaconesses (Broadmead Records, 187', 

Grantham claimed for "the baptized churdhes" "the only true 
ordination" both of bishops and deacons ; since "they only have 
true baptism;" and "they only have due election of officers;" 
they only have "the true form, or order, of ordination." The 
right of the people to elect their officers, he says, has been in- 
vaded "by great personages and magistrates," and "by the rich 
and strong." But 

now this privilege is restored and maintained in the baptized churches, 
where none are elected messengers, bishops or deacons without the free 
choice of the brotherhood where such elections are made. And after such 
election of persons of known integrity and competent ability, we proceed 
ta ordination, with fasting, and prayer, and the laying on of hands . , . 
all which apostolic practices are religiously observed in the baptized 
churches, without any devised adjuncts or ceremonies of our own or 
others (Grantham, 129). 

The discipline of the churches was strict and persistent. 
"Their general conduct," says Goadby, "their domestic life, 
their business, their connections in civil society, their recrea- 
tions, and even their dress, were all deemed legitimate subjects 
for the strictest supervision." They were required to be strict- 
ly orthodox. A pertinent example is that of a man who had 
been treasurer of the General Assembly who was expelled from 
the Petty France Church, London. The account is as follows : 

Mr. Robert Bristow was rejected and east out of the communion, after 
much patience exercised towards him, and strenuous endeavors used to 
recover him out of dangerous errors he was fallen into ; namely, the renun- 
ciation of the doctrine of the Trinity, and particularly the deity of Christ, 
and of the Holy Spirit, and so rooting up the very foundation of the 
Christian religion. 

The Rise and Progress of Baptist Institutions 327 

A certain Mr. Ingello, one of the early pastors of the Broad- 
mead Church, Bristol, "offended divers members of his con- 
gregation with his flaunting apparel ; for he, being a thin, spare, 
slender person, did goe very neate, and in costly trimm, and 
began to exceed in some garments not becoming ye Gospel, much 
lesse a minister of Christ." He was accordingly dealt with. 
One John Bowes, a minister, attended a foot ball game, which 
was adjudged "a great evil," and was accordingly dealt with by 
the church. This did not end the matter. The brethren re- 
solved : 

Some debate was had about the matter that seeing he had, first, dis- 
honored the Lord ; secondly, grieved the people of God ; thirdly, given great 
occasion to the adversaries to speak reproachfully, he should not be suffered 
to preach, until further fruits meet for repentance did appear. 

The General Assembly of the Particular Baptists, 1689, 
answered the query: "AVhether it were not necessary to take 
note of those excesses that were found in their members, meti 
and women, with respect to their apparel," affirmatively. Their 
sober reply was: 

It is a shame for men to -nrear long hair, or long perriwigs, and especially 
ministers (1 Cor. xi. 14), or strange apparel. That the Lord reproves 
the daughters of Zion for their bravery, haughtiness, and pride of their 
attire, walking with stretched out necks, wanton eyes, mincing as they 
go (Isa. iii. 16), as if they effected tallness, as one observes of their 
stretched-out necks ; though some in these times seem, by their high dresses, 
to outdo them in that respect. 

Great stress was laid on marrying "in the society." A solemn 
meeting was held in the Cambridge Church, 1655, to determine 
an answer to the query : "Whether, or no, it is lawful for any 
member of the congregation to marry with any one out of the 
congregation?" The query provoked debate, but the church 
adhered to the answer that "it was not." 

The records of the churches of those times contains all kinds 
of charges preferred against members. Some of them were "for 
beating his wife," drunkenness, not keeping a promise, not 
speaking the truth, "borrowing money and making no sign of 
paying it again," "backbiting and idleness." 

328 A History of the Baptists 

Dr. Wall commends their discipline in the highest manner. 
This is all the more complimentary when his well-known dis- 
like for the Baptists is taken into account. He says : 

They have their way of adjusting differences that arise among themi- 
selves on account of trespasses, dues, or other money matters ; which I 
recite as being worthy of imitation. If any one of them does wrong to 
another, or refuse to do or to pay what is equitable in any case ; if he will 
not be brought to reason by a private arguing of the matter, nor by the 
verdict of two or three neighbors added ; the plaintiff brings the case before 
the congregation, when they with their elder are assembled in the nature 
of a vestry. And in difficult cases, there lies an appeal fi-om a particular 
congregation, to some fuller meeting of their church under a messenger. 
And he of the two that will not stand to the ultimate determination of the 
assembly by their usage appointed, is no longer acknowledged by the rest 
as a brother. 

And this is very much according to our Saviour's and Paul's direction 
in such cases ; so I have been told that it has the good effect to prevent 
abundance of lawsuits, and end many quarrels ; very few of them offering 
to withstand the general verdict and opinion of all of their brethren. And 
there is no reason to doubt but that a like course would, if it were put in 
practice have a like good effect among other societies of Christians. 

The discipline (of renouncing brotherhood) they use against such of 
their communion as are known to be guilty of any such immorality, as is a 
scandal to the Christian profession of a sober and godly life ; for which 
care of their members there is no man but will commend them (Wall, 
History of Infant Baptism, I. 560). 

Por a period the imposition of hands upon the baptized, fast- 
ing as a religious duty, washing the feet of the disciples and 
anointing of the sick were practised in some congregations. 
It was their custom in the election of officers, pastors and dea- 
cons, to cast lots. Their marriage and funeral services were of 
the simplest character. 

The Baptists were much divided on the subject of singing. 
They were not altogether a songless people. They were opposed 
to "human composures," and the strictness of their ideas on 
church membership caused a reluctance in having congregational 
singing. But singing slowly prevailed in the congregations. 
Benjamin Keach introduced singing into his church at Horse- 
lydown. Isaac Marlow was much distressed and published, in 
1690, a Discourse Concerning (against) Singing. Very grave- 
ly and soberly does Keach, his picture would indicate that he 

The Rise and Progress of Baptist Institutions 329 

had no sense of humor, answer Marlow. He says there are 
various kinds of voices; "namely, (1) a shouting noise of the 
tongue; (2) a crying noise ; (3) a preaching voice, or noise made 
that way; (4) a praying, or praising noise; and (5) lastly, a 
singing voice." "All of these are distinct from each other. 
Singing is not a simple heart singing, or mental singing ; but a 
musical melodious modulation, or tuning of the voice. Sing- 
ing is a duty perfonned always with the voice, and cannot be 
done without the tongue" (Keach, Breach Repaired in God's 
Worship ; or. Singing Psalms, 'Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, 
proved to be an holy ordinance of Jesus Christ). There was a 
long discussion on singing. But singing soon became the cus- 
tom in all Baptist churches. 

Books for further reading and references : 

The Works of Andrew Fuller, John Gill, John Rippon, John Foster, 

Abraham Booth, Charles H. Spurgeon, Alexander Maclaren, etc., etc. 



Opportunity for Growth — ^Robert Baillie — Thomas Edwards — Daniel Feat- 
ley — An Epitome of the Period — (William R. Williams — The High Attain- 
ments of the Baptists — Dr. Hawes — Mackintosh — Hugh Price Hughes — 
Chalmers — The Price of Human Liberty — Persecutions — An Act of Par- 
liament — ^The "Gag Law" — The Cruelty of Infant Baptism — 
Oliver Cromwell — Prominent Baptist Preachers in Prison — Crom- 
well Casts His Influence Against the Baptists — Liberty of Con- 
science — Confession of the Particular Baptists — Of the Gen- 
eral Baptists — John Milton — John Bunyan — .William Kiffin — James II. 
— 'William and Mary — ^The Baptists Brought Liberty of Conscience — 
John Locke — Price — Charles Butler — Herbert S. Skeats — Phillip Schaff — 
A Time of Paralysis — Antinomianism — John Gill — John Rippon — ^Baptist 
Publications — Abraham Booth — John Howard — Andrew Fuller — Moder- 
ate Calvinism — The Missionary Movement — William Carey — Joseph 
Hughes and the Bible Society — Sunday Schools — Robert Raikes — 'W. Fox 
The Relation of the Baptists to the Young — Regents Park College — Great 
Authors and Able Preachers — Hymn Writers. 

THE troubled times of the Civil Wars gave the Baptists an 
opportunity to make great growth. This is affirmed by 
all parties. Robert Baillie, who was an enemy to them, says : 

Onder the shadow of Independency, they have lifted up their heads 
and increased their number above all sects in the land. They have forty- 
sis churches in and about London ; they are a people very fond of religious 
liberty, and very unwilling to be brought under bondage of the judgment 
of any other. 

Thomas Edwards says, in 1646, that the Anabaptists stand 
"for a toleration of all religions and worship." He says : 

"They have grown to many thousands in the city and country," "keep 
open meetings in the heart of the city," and that "they increase and grow 
daily" even while Parliament is in session (Edwards, Gangraena, I. 
Epistle Dedicatory). 

Dr. Featley, their opponent, accuses them of holding the fol- 
lowing opinions : 

That it is the will and command of God, that since the coming of his 
Son the Lord Jesus, a permission of the most Paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or 
Anti-christian Consciences and worships be granted to all men in all Nations 
and Countries; that Civil States with their Officers of justice are not 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 331 

Governors or Defenders of the Spiritual and Christian state and worship ; 
That the doctrine of Persecution in case of Conscience (maintained by 
Calvin, Beza, Cotton, and the Ministers of the New England Churches) 
is euilty of the bloud of the souls crying for vengeance under the Altar 
(Featley, The Dippers Dipt. The Epistle Dedicatory). 

In the margin he continues their plea : 

That the Pari, will stop all proceedings against them, and for future 
provide that as well particular and private congregations as publike, may 
have publike protection, that all statuetes against the Separatists be 
reviewed and repealed; that the Presse may bee free for any man that 
writes nothing scandalous or dangerous to the State; and this Parliament 
prove themselves loving Fathers to all sorts of good men, bearing respect 
unto all, and so inviting an equall assistance and affection from all. 

A dissatisfied officer wrote to Cromwell : 

Have they not filled your towns, your cities, your provinces, your 
islands, your castles, your navies, your tents, your armies, your courts? 
Your very council is not free ; only we have left your temples for you to 
worship in. 

So strongly were they attached to liberty that when Croiniwell 
made himself Protector, and intimated his intention of remov- 
ing all Baptists from his army, one of the officers, a Baptist, 
said to him: 

I pray do not deceive yourself, nor let the priests deceive you, for the 
Baptists are men that will not be shuflBed out of their birthright as free 
born people of England {Baptist Magazine, XXXV. 295, A. D. 1843). 

Probably the best epitome which has appeared of this period 
was written by Dr. William B. Williams, of New York. 
He says: 

To the Baptists then, the age ... is a memorable one. The period of 
the Commonwealth and the Protectorate was the season in which our dis- 
tinguishing sentiments, heretofore the hidden treasures of a few solitary 
confessors, became the property of the people. Through weary years they 
had been held by a few in deep retirement, and at the peril of their lives ; 
now they began rapidly working their way and openly into the masses 
of society. The army that won for Cromwell his "crowning mercies," as 
he called those splendid victories which assured the power of the Parlia- 
ment, became deeply tinged with our views of Christian faith and order. 
They were not, as military bodies have s6 often been, a band of mercenary 
hirelings, the sweepings of society, gleaned from the ale-house and the 
kennel, or snatched from jail and due to the gallows ; but they were com- 

332 A History of the Baptists 

posed chiefly of substantial yeomanry, men who entered the ranks from 
principle rather than for gain, and whose chief motive for enlistment was 
that they believed the impending contest one for religious truth and for 
the national liberties, a war in the strictest sense pro aris et focis. Clar- 
endon himself allows their superiority, in morals and character, to the 
royalist forces. In this army the officers were many of them accustomed 
to preach ; and both commanders and privates were continually busied in 
searching the Scriptures, in prayers, and in Christian conference. The 
result of the biblical studies and free communings of these intrepid, high- 
principled men was that they became, a large portion of themi, Baptists. 
As to their character, the splendid eulogy they won from Milton may 
counterbalance the coarse caricatures of poets and novelists, who saw 
them less closely, and disliked their piety too strongly, to judge dispassion- 
ately their merits. 

Major General Harrison one of their most distinguished leaders was 
a Baptist. He was long the bosom friend of Cromwell ; and became alien- 
ated from him only on discovering that the Protector sought triumph, 
not so much from principle, as for his own personal aggrandizement. Favor- 
able to liberty, and inaccessible to flattering promises of power, he became 
the object of suspicion to Cromwell, who again and again threw him into 
prison. On the return of the Stuarts, his share in the death of Charles I 
among whose judges he had sat, brought him to the scaffold, where his 
gallant bearing and pious triumph formed a close not unsuitable to the 
career he had run. Othei's of the king's judges, and of the eminent officers 
of the army, belonged to the same communion. Some of these sympa- 
thized only, it is true, with their views of freedom, and seem not to Tiave 
embraced their religious sentiments. Among this class was Ludlow, a 
major-general under Cromwell, an ardent republican, and who, being of 
the regicides, sought a refuge, where he ended his days, in Switzerland. 
He was accounted the head, at one time, of the Baptist party in Ireland. 
Such was their interest, that Baxter complains, that many of the soldiers 
in that kingdom, became Baptists, as the way to preferment. (Orme, I. 
135). The chancellor of Ireland under Cromwell was also of our body; 
Lilburne, one of Cromwell's colonels, and brother of the restless and 
impracticable John Lilburne, was also of their number. Overton, the 
friend of Milton, whom Cromwell in 1651 left second in command in Scot- 
land, was also ranked as acting with them, as also Okey and Alured. 
Col. Mason, the governor of Jersey, belonged to the Baptists, and still 
others of Cromwell's officers. Penn, one of the admirals of the English 
navy, but now better known as the father of the celebrated Quaker, was 
a Baptist. Indeed, in Cromwell's own family their influence was for- 
midable; and Fleetwood, one of his generals and his son-in-law, was 
accused of leaning too much to their interests as a political party. The 
English matron, whose memoirs form one of the most delightful narratives 
of that stirring time, and who in her own character presented one of the 
loveliest specimens of Christian womanhood, Lucy Hutchinson, a name of 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 33^ 

love and admiration wherever known, became a Baptist. She did so, 
together with her husband, one of the judges of Charles I. and the governor 
of Nottingham Castle for the Parliament, from the perusal of the Scrip- 
tures. Of no inferior rank in society, for Hutchinson was a kinsman of 
the Byrons of Newstead, the family whence sprung the celebrated poet, 
their talents, and patriotism, and Christian graces, and domestic virtues, 
throw around that pair the lustre of a higher nobility than heralds can 
confer, and a dignity, compared with which the splendor of royalty, and 
the trappings of victory are poor indeed. 

The ministry of our denomination comprised, too, men of high char- 
acter; some, unhappily, but too much busied in the political strife of the 
age, but others whose learning and talent were brought to bear more 
exclusively on their appropriate work. Tombes, the antagonist of Baxter, 
Bampfield, Gosnold, Knollys, Denne and Jessey, all Baptist preachers 
had held priestly orders in the English established church ; Gosnold being 
one of the most popular ministers in London, with a congregation of 
3,000 ; and Jessey, a Christian whose acquirements and talents, piety and 
liberality won him general respect. Kiffin, a merchant whose wealth and 
the excellence of his private character had given him influence among 
the princely traders of London, and introduced him to the court of the 
Stuarts, was pastor of a Baptist church in that city. Cox, another of 
our ministers at this time, is said by Baxter to have been the son of a 
bishop ; and Collins, another pastor among us, had in his youth been a 
pupil of Busby. De Veil, a convert from Judaism, who had, both with 
the Romish church of France, and in the Episcopal church of England, 
been regarded with much respect, and, in the former, been applauded by 
no less a man than the eloquent and powerful Bossuet, became a Baptist 
preacher, and closed his life and labors in the bosom of our communion. 
Dell, a chaplain of Lord Fairfax, and who was, until the Restoration, 
head of one of the colleges in the university of C'amibridge, was also a 
Baptist minister. Although they deemed literature no indispensable prepa- 
tion for the ministry (nor did the church of the first six centuries), the 
Baptists under Cromwell, and the Stuarts, were not destitute of educated 
men. Out of the bounds of England, Vavasor Powell, the Baptist, was 
evangelizing Wales with a fearlessness and activity that have won him, at 
times, the title of its apostle ; and, on our own shores, Roger Williams, 
another Baptist, was founding Rhode Island, giving of the great doctrine 
of religious liberty, a visible type. Our sentiments were also winning 
deference from minds that were not converted to our views. Milton, with 
a heresy ever to be deprecated and lamented, had adopted most fully our 
principles of baptism. Jeremy Taylor, a name of kindred genius, in a 
work which he intended but as the apology of toleration, stated so strongly 
the arguments for our distinguishing views, that it cost himself and the 
divines of his party much labor to counteract the influence of the reason- 
ings : while Barlow, afterwards also a bishop, and celebrated for his share 
in the liberation of Bunyan, addressed to Tombes a letter strongly in 

334 •^ History of the Baptists 

favor of our peculiarities. Such progress in reputation and influence 
was not observed without jealousy. Baxter laments that those who, at 
first, were but a few in the city and the army, had within two or three 
years grown into a multitude (Works, xx. 297) ; and asserts that they 
had so far got into power as to seek for dominion, and to expect, many 
of them, that the baptized saints should judge the world, and the millen- 
nium to some. And Baillie, a commissioner from Scotland to Westminster 
Assembly, a man of strong sense, and the ardor of whose piety cannot be 
questioned, though he was a bitter sectarian, complained that the Baptists 
were growing more rapidly than any sect in the land; while Lightfoot's 
diary of the proceedings of the same assembly proves that similar com- 
plaints were brought before that venerable body. 

Some would naturally, as in the history of the early Christians, be 
attracted to a rising sect, who were themselves unprincipled men. Lord 
Howard, the betrayer of the patriotic Russell, was said to have been at 
one period of his shifting and reckless course, a Baptist preacher. Another 
whose exact character it is difficult to ascertain, perverting, as royalist 
prejudices did, even his name for the purposes of ridicule, Barebones, the 
speaker of Cromwell's parliament, is said to have been a Baptist preacher 
in London. Others, again, of the body were tinged with extravagences ; 
some joined with other Christians of the time in the confident expectation 
of what they termed the Fifth Monarchy, Christ's personal reign on the 
earth. In the changes of the day, and they were many and wondrous, 
they saw the tokens of Christ's speedy approach to found a universal 
empire, following in the train of the four great monarchies of the prophet's 
vision. It is to the credit of Bunyan, that he discerned and denounced 
the error. Then, as in all ages of the church, it was but too common for 
the interpreters of prophecy to become prophets. Others, again, were 
moved from their steadfastness by Quakerism, which then commenced its 
course; while others adopted the views of the Seekers, a party who denied 
the existence of any pure and true church, and were waiting its establish- 
ment yet to come. In this last class of religionists was the younger Sir 
Henry Vane, the illustrious patriot and statesman so beautifully paneger- 
ized in a sonnet of Milton, and from his talents dreaded alike by Cromwell 
and the Stuarts, and the friend of Roger Williams. The founder of Rhode 
Island seems himself, in later life, to have imcbibed similar views. 

Yet with all of these mingled disadvantages, and they are but such 
heresies and scandals as marked the earliest and purest times of Christi- 
anity, that era in our history is one to which we may turn with devout 
gratitude, and bless God for our fathers. In literature, it is honor enough 
that our sentiments were held by the two great men who displayed, beyond 
all comparison, the most creative genius in that age of English literature, 
Milton and Bunyan. In the cause of religion and political freedom, it 
was the lot of our community to labor, none the less effectively because 
they did it obscurely, with Keach, doomed to the pillory, or, like Delaune, 
perishing in the dungeon. The opinions, as to religious freedom, then 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 335 

professed by our churches, were not only denounced by statesmen as 
rebellion, but by grave divines as the most fearful heresy. Through evil 
and through good report they persevered, until what had clothed them 
with obloquy became, in the hands of later scholars and more practised 
writers, as Locke, a badge of honor and a diadem, of glory. Nor should it 
be forgotten, that these views were not with them, as with some others, 
professed in the time of persecution, and virtually retracted when power 
had been won. Such was, alas, the course of names no less illustrious than 
Stillingfleet and Taylor. But the day of prosperity and political influence 
was, with our churches, the day of their most earnest dissemination. Their 
share, in storing up the falling liberties of England, and in infusing new 
vigor and liberality into the constitution of that country, is not yet gen- 
erally acknowledged. It is scarce even known. The dominant party in 
the church and in the state, at the Restoration, became the historians; 
and "when the man, and not the lion, was thus the painter," it was easy 
to foretell with what party all the virtues, all the talents, and all the 
triumphs, would be found. When our principles shall have won their 
way to more general acceptance, the share of the Baptists in the achieve- 
ments of that day will be disinterred, like many other forgotten truths, 
from the ruins of history. Then it will, we believe, be found, that while 
dross, such as has alloyed the purest churches in the best ages, may have 
been found in some of our denomination, yet the body was composed of 
pure and scriptural Christians, who contended manfully, some with bitter 
sufferings, for the rights of conscience, and the truth as it is in Jesus : 
that to them English liberty owes a debt it has never acknowledged ; and 
that among them Christian freedom found its earliest and some of its 
stanchest, its most consistent, and its most disinterested champions. Had 
they continued ascending the heights of political influence, it had been 
perhaps disastrous to their spiritual interests ; for when did the disciples 
of Christ long enjoy power of prosperity, without some deterioration of 
their graces? He who, as we may be allowed to hope, loved them with an 
everlasting love, and watched over their welfare with a sleepless care, 
threw them back, in the subsequent convulsions of the age, into the 
obscure lowly stations of life, because in such scenes he had himself 
delighted to walk, and in these retired paths it has ever been his wont to 
lead his flock (Life and Times of Baxter. The Christian Review, VIII. 
5-11. March, 1843). 

It is generally admitted that these Baptists possessed the 
highest attainments and the most exalted character. The opin- 
ions of a few competent authorities, and certainly they were not 
prejudiced in favor of the Baptists, are here quoted. Dr. 
Hawes says: 

Whoever properly estimates the doctrines and practices of the Baptists, 
must allot them a place among the faithful, notwithstanding their views 

33^ A History of the Baptists 

of baptism. In all other things they are united with their reforming 
brethren. They are exemplary in their zeal for the salvation of souls, and 
exhibit respectable specimens of those who follow Christ as their example. 

The historian Mackintosh says : 

The Baptists are a simfple and pious body of men, generally unlettered, 
obnoxious to all other sects for their rejection of infant baptism, as 
neither enjoined by the New Testament, nor consistent with reason. These 
suffered more than any other persuasion under Charles II. They had 
publicly professed the principles of religious liberty (Mackintosh, ch. VI. 

Some years ago Hugh Price Hughes, the foremost Methodist 
preacher of England, said; 

I assert with a full sense of. the responsibility, that I believe that the 
great battle of the twentieth century will be the final struggle between 
the Jesuit Society in the full possession of the authority of Rome and 
the individual human conscience ; and when, like Oliver Cromwell, I look 
around to see where I shall find Ironsides, who will vindicate the rights 
of the human conscience, my eyes fall upon the Baptists. The anvil on 
which the Jesuit hammer will break to pieces is the Baptist conscience. I 
should like all the world through to pit the Baptist conscience against the 

One other quotation will be given in this place. It is from 
the celebrated Dr. Chalmers. ,He says : 

Let it never be forgotten of the Particular Baptists of England, that 
they form the denomination of Fuller and Carey and Ryland and Hall 
and Foster ; that they have originated among the greatest of all missionary 
enterprises ; that they have enriched the Christian literature of our country 
with authorship of the most exalted piety, as well as of the first talent 
and the first eloquence; that they have waged a very noble and successful 
war with the hydra of Antinomianism ; that perhaps there is not a more 
intellectual community of ministers in our island, or who have put forth 
to their number a greater amount of mental power and mental activity in 
the defence and illustration of our common faith ; and, what is better than 
all the triumphs of genius or understanding, who, by their zeal and fidelity 
and pastoral labour, among the congregatio/is which they have reared, 
have done more to swell the lists of genuine discipleship in the walks of 
private society — and thus to uphold and to extend the living Christianity 
of our nation (Chalmers, Lectures on Romans, 76). 

The price of human liberty in England was the blood of the 
Baptists. They stood ever for soul liberty. They struggled for 
it through blood and fire. At the beginning of the Civil Wars 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 337 

the animosity against the Baptists was very great. Edwards, 
who fairly represented the hostility of those times against the 
Baptists, says: 

I here declare myself, that I could wish there were a public Disputa- 
tion, even in the point of Psedobaptisme and of Dipping, between some of 
the Anabaptists, and some of our Ministers ; and had I an interest in the 
Houses to prevaile to obtaine it (which I speak not as to presume of any 
such power, being so meane and weak a man) it should be one of the first 
Petitions I would put up to the Honorable Houses for a public Disputa- 
tion, as was at Zurick, namely, that both Houses would give leave to the 
Anabaptists to chuse for themselves such a number of their ablest men, 
and the Assembly leave to chuse an equall number for them, and that by 
Authority of Parliament publike Notaries sworne, might be appointed to 
write down all, some Members of both Houses' present to see to the Peace 
kept, and to be Judges of the faire play and liberty given the Anabaptists, 
and that there might be severall dayes of Disputation, leave to the utmost 
given the Anabaptists to say what they could, and if upon such faire and 
free debates it should be found the Anabaptists to be in the Truth, then 
the Parliament only to Tolerate them, but to Establish and settle their 
way throughout the whole Kingdoms, but if upon Disputation and debate, 
the Anabaptists should be found in Error (as I am: confident they would) 
that then the Parliament should forbid all Dipping, and take some severe 
course with all Dippers, as the Senate of Ziirick did after the ten severall 
Disputations allowed the Anabaptists (Edwards, Gangraena, III. 177). 

Plainly the advice of Edwards was to drown the Baptists. 
The Presbyterian party, which was now fully in the saddle, did 
something more than use words. Various petitions, from many 
sources, were sent up to Parliament asking that severe laws 
should be enacted against all sectaries who would not come into 
the Presbyterian establishment. 

The first law passed by Parliament in this direction was an 
ordinance silencing all preachers who were not ordained min- 
isters either of the English or of some Eoreign Church. It bore 
date April 26, 1645, and was as follows: 

It is this day ordained and declared by the Lords and Commons as- 
sembled in parliament, that no person be admitted to preach, who is not 
ordained a minister, either in this or some other reformed church, except 
•such, as intending the ministry, shall be allowed for the trial of their 
gifts, by those who shall be appointed thereunto by both houses of parlia- 
ment (Crosby, History of the Baptists, I. 193). 

The law was ordered printed, that it should be enforced in the 
army as well as elsewhere, and due punishment inflicted upon 

338 A History of the Baptists 

!any who violated it. It was found however upon the test that 
many of the Baptists had formerly been ordained, when they 
belonged to the State Church, and the magistrates could make 
little out of the m.atter. Another ordinance was therefore passed 
December 26, 1646, to the following effect: 

The commons assembled in parliament do declare, that they do dislike 
and will proceed against" all such persons as shall take upon them to preach, 
or expound the scriptures in any church, or chapel, or any other public 
place, except they may be ordained, either here or in some other reformed 
church, as it is already prohibited in an order of both houses of the 26th 
of April, 1645, and likewise against all such ministers, or others, as shall 
publish or maintain, by preaching, writing, or any other way, any thing 
against, or in derogation of church government which is now established 
by authority of both houses of parliament ; and all justices of the peace, 
sheriffs, mayors, bayliflfs, and other head oflBcers of corporations, and all 
officers of the army, are to take notice of this declaration, and by all lawful 
ways and means, to prevent offenses of this kind, and to apprehend the 
offenders, and give notice thereof to this house, that thereupon course may 
be speedily taken, for a due punishment to be inflicted on them (Crosby, 
I. 195). 

This law would have given the Baptists great trouble only the 
disturbed condition of the country directed the officers to other 
tasks. There seems to have been a favorable turn toward the 
Baptists for on March 4, 1647, a declaration was published by 
the Lords and Oommons to the following effect: 

The name of Anabaptism hath indeed contracted much odium, by reason 
of the extravagant opinions and practices of some of that name in Ger- 
many, tending to the disturbance of the government and peace of all states, 
which opinions and practices we abhor and detest : But for their opinion 
against the baptism of infants, it is only a difference about a circumstance 
of tijpe in the administration of an ordinance, wherein in former ages, as 
well as this, learned men have differed both in opinion and practice. And 
though we could wish that all men would satisfy themselves, and join 
with us in our judgment and practice in this point ; yet herein we 
held it fit that men should be convinced by the word of God, with great 
gentleness and reason, and not beaten out of it with force and violence 
(Crosby, I. 196). 

This promised well, but this very Parliament, the next year. 
May 2, 1648, enacted: An ordinance of the lords and commons 
assembled in parliament, for the punishing of blasphemies and 
heresies (Crosby, I. 197). 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 339 

It was one of the worst and most cruel laws passed since the 
early days of the Reformation. Heresy, in some instances was 
classed with felony, and was to be punished with the pains of 
death, without benefit of clergy. Others were subject to con- 
viction before two justices of the peace and to be imprisoned 
upon conviction. Such a person was required to give surety that 
he would not any longer maintain such errors. Among the er- 
rors mentioned was the following : 

That the baptizing of infants is unlawful, or that such baptism is void, 
and that such persons ought to be baptized again, and in pursuance thereof 
shall baptize any person formerly baptized : That the church government 
by presbytery is antichristian or unlawful. 

Infant baptism has always led its advocates to persecute. 
Thus did the Presbyterians carry out their cruel ideas. The 
ordinance would have produced much more suffering than it 
did, but the Baptists and other sectaries were in such numbers, 
and were increasing so rapidly, that it was not always convenient 
to execute such a law. One John Bidle was arrested, tried and 
convicted before a miagistrate. Cromwell could not afford to 
have him punished too strenuously, so he was banished for three 
years. It was a good occasion for the Baptists to protest against 
the violation of conscience, and so they petitioned the Protector 
for the privilege of soul liberty. Among other things they 

That such as profess faith in God by Jesus Christ (tho' differing in 
judgment from the doctrine, worship or discipline publickly held forth) 
shall not be restrained from, but shall be protected in the profession of 
the faith and exercise of their religion, &e. Art. 37. That all laws, statutes, 
ordinances, &c. to the contrary of the aforesaid liberty, shall be esteemed 
as null and void. Art 38. 

The persecutions, however, as might have been expected, were 
more particularly directed against the Baptists, since they de- 
nied the necessity of infant baptism. Almost every prominent 
Baptist preacher was sooner or later committed to prison. The 
Presbyterians were now supreme in Parliament, and they fav- 
ored the administering of the laws for persecution. But Crom- 
well perceived that the Long Parliament was odious to the peo- 
ple, so he put, without ceremony, an end to their power, April 
20, 1653. 

340 A History of the Baptists 

Uromwell owed mucli to the Baptists. After lie became Pro- 
tector, the Baptists on account of their views of religious liberty, 
were not in his favor. But it was under the profligate Charles 
II and James II that they suffered most of all. The Baptists 
were the outspoken advocates of liberty of conscience. 

In their letter to Charles IT, dated A. D. 1655, presented to 
him at Bruges, they call upon him to pledge his word "that he 
will never erect, nor allow to be erected, any such tyrannical, 
popish, and antichristian Hierarchy (episcopalian, presbyterian, 
or by what name soever called) as shall assume power over, or 
impose a yoke upon, the conscience of others ; but that every one 
of his subjects should be at liberty to worship God in such a 
way as shall appear to them agreeable to the mind and will of 
Christ" (Clarendon, History of the Eebellion, III. 359). The 
same spirit animated them during the reign of James II. 

The Ct>nfession of the Particular Baptists, 168'9, Article 
XXI says : 

God alone is Lord of the Gonscience, and hath left it free from the 
Doctrines and Commandments of men which are in any thing contrary 
to his Word, or not contained in it. So that to Believe such Doctrines, 
or to obey such Commands out of Conscience, is to betray true liberty of 
Conscience ; and requiring of an implicit Faith, and absolute and blind 
Obedience, is to destroy Liberty of Conscience, and Reason also. 

The General Baptists also in An Orthodox Creed, 1679, 
Article XLV, of the Civil Magistrates, say: 

And subjection in the Lord ought to be yielded to the magistrates in 
all lawful things commanded by them, for conscience sake, with prayers 
for them, &c. 

In Article XLVI, Of Liberty of Conscience, it is said: 

And the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute blind obedience, 
destroys! liberty of conscience, and reason also, it being repugnant to' both, 
and that no pretended good end whatsoever, by any man, can make that 
action, obedience, or practice, lawful and good, that is not grounded in, 
or upon the authority of holy scripture, or right reason agreeable thereunto. 

The most rigid laws were enacted against the Baptists, and 
executed with terrible severity. The jails were filled with them. 
They could be convicted by one magistrate, without trial by 
jury; and the law forbade their meetings in their conventicles. 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 341 

It was the battle of the fire and faggot against liberty of con- 

It brought to the fore great men. The two original minds of 
the century were essentially Baptist — John Milton and John 
Bunyan. Lord Macaiday says: 

We are not afraid to say, that, though there were many clever men in 
England during the latter half of the seventeenth century, there were 
only two minds which possessed the imaginative faculty in a very eminent 
degree. One of those minds produced the Paradise Lost, the other the 
Pilgrim's Progress (Macaulay, Critical and Historical Essays, 140. Boston, 

Of the ability of John Milton there is no question. Macaulay 
says of him : 

"We turn for a short time from the topics of the day, to commemorate, 
in all love and reverence, the genius and virtues of John Milton, the poet, 
the statesman, the philosopher, the glory of English literature, the cham- 
pion and the martyr of English literature (Ibid, 2). 

Macaulay places him as one of the greatest of the poets. It 
is not probable that Milton belonged to a Baptist church. In 
his last days he did not appear to be connected with any religious 
society. In all distinguishing views he was in accord with the 
General Baptists of his day. He had a powerful and inde- 
pendent mind, emancipated from the influence of authority, and 
devoted to the search of truth. Like the Baptists, he professed 
to form his system from the Bible alone ; and his digest of Scrip- 
tural texts is certainly one of the best that has appeared. !No 
Baptist writer of any age has more thoroughly refuted infant 
baptism (Milton, Christian Doctrines, II. 115). Many of 
the biographies of Milton, however, class him with the Baptists. 
Featley gives this slant to both Boger Williams and John Mil- 
ton (Featley, The Dipers Dipt. The Epistle Dedicatory). 
John Lewis quotes Featley and numbers Milton as a Baptist 
(Lewis, A Brief History of the Eise and Progress of Anabap- 
tism in England, 87). John Toland, who wrote the first life 
of Milton, 1699, says: 

Thus lived and died John Milton, a person of the best accomplishments, 
the happiest genius and the vastest learning which this nation, so renowned 
for producing excellent writers, could ever yet show ... In his early days 

342 A History of the Baptists 

he was a favorer of those Protestants then opprobriously called by the 
name Puritan. In his middle years he was best pleased with the Inde- 
pendents and Anabaptists, as allowing of more liberty than others and 
coming the nearest to his opinion to the primitive practice. But in the 
latter part of his life he was not a professed member of any particular 
sect among Christians; he frequented none of their assemblies, nor made 
use of their peculiar rites in his family. Whether this proceeded from a 
dislike of their uncharitable and endless disputes, and that love of dominion 
or inclination to persecution, which, he said, was a piece of popery in- 
separable from all Churches, or whether he thought one might be a good 
man without subscribing to any party, and that they had all in some things 
corrupted the institutions of Jesus Christ, I will by no means adventure 
to determine; for conjectures on such occasions are very uncertain, and I 
have never met with any of his acquaintance who could be positive in 
assigning the true reasons for his conduct (Toland, life of Milton, 152, 

He was persecuted to the grave. There is no sadder picture 
tliaii that of Milton in his last days. Macaulay says of him: 

If ever despondency and asperity could be excused in any man, they 
might have been excused in Milton. But the strength of his miind over- 
came every calamity. Neither blindness, nor gout, nor age, nor penury, 
nor domestic aflSictions, nor political disappointments, nor abuse, nor pro- 
scription, nor neglect, had power to disturb his sedate and majestic patience. 
His spirits do not seem to have been high, but they were singularly equi- 
table. His temper was serious, perhaps stern; but it was a temper which 
no sufferings could render sullen or fretful. Such as was when, on the 
eve of great events,- he returned from his travels, in the prime of health 
and manly beauty, loaded with literary distinctions, and glowing with 
patriotic hopes, such it continued to be when, after having experienced 
every calamity which is incident to our nature, old, poor, sightless and 
disgraced, he retired to his hovel to die (Macaulay, Critical and Historical 
Essays, 13). 

The other original mind of the century was John Bunyan. 
"The history of Bunyan," says Macaulay, "is the history of a 
most excitable mind in the age of excitement." The Pilgrim's 
Progress, next to the Bible, has been read by more people 
than any other book. Macaulay says of it: 

That wonderful book, while it obtains admiration from the most fas- 
tidious critics, is loved by those who are too simple to admire it. Doctor 
Johnson, all whose studies were desultory, and who hated, as he said, to 
read books through, made an exception in favour of the Pilgrim's Progress. 
That work was one of the two or three works which he wished longer. 
It was by no common merit that the illiterate sectary extracted praise 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 343 

like this from the most pedantic of critics and the most bigoted of Tories. 
In the wildest parts of Scotland the Pilgrim's Progress is the delight of 
the peasantry. In every nursery the Pilgrim's Progress is a greater favorite 
than Jack the Giant-killer. Every reader knows the straight and narrow 
path as well as he knows a road in which he has gone backward and 
forward a hundred times. This is the highest miracle of genius, that things 
which are not should be as though they were, that the imagination of one 
mind should become the personal recollection of another. And this miracle 
the tinker has wrought (Macaulay, 134). 

[For denying infant baptism and being "a common upholder 
of several unlawful meetings and conventicles, to the dispar- 
agement of the Church of England," he was, in 1660, com- 
mitted to prison, where he remained twelve years, or till 1672. 
Bunyan says of his imprisonment: ^ 

I found myself a man encompassed with inflrmities: the parting with 
my wife and poor children hath often been to me in this place as the 
pulling of my flesh ; and that not only because I am somewhat too fond 
of these great mercies, but also because I should have often brought to 
my mind the many hardships, miseries and wants that my poor family was 
likely to meet with, should I be taken from them ; especially my poor blind 
child, who lay nearer my heart than all besides. Oh the thoughts of the 
hardships my poor blind one might undergo, would break my heart to 
pieces. Poor child, thought I, what sorrow art thou to have for my por- 
tion in this world. Thou must be beaten, must beg, suffer hunger, cold, 
nakedness, and a thousand calamities, though I cannot now endure the 
wind should blow on thee. But yet, recalling myself, thought I, I must 
venture you all with God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you. 

In describing his sufferings, Macaulay says : 

It may be doubted whether any English Dissenter has suffered more 
severely under the penal laws than John Bunyan. Of the twenty-seven 
years which have elapsed since the Restoration, he had passed twelve in 
confinement. He still persisted in preaching; but, that he might preach, 
he was under the necessity of disguising himself like a carter. He was 
often introduced into meetings through back doors, with a smock frock 
on his back, and a whip in his hand. If he had thought only of his own 
ease and safety, he would have hailed the Indulgence with delight. He 
was now, at length, free to pray and exhort in open day. His congrega- 
tion rapidly increased ; thousands hung upon his words ; and at Bedford, 
where he ordinarily resided, money was plentifully contributed to build 
a meeting-house for him. His influence among the common people was 
Buch that the government would willingly have bestowed on him some 
municipal office ; but his vigorous and stout English heart were proof 

344 -^ History of the Baptists 

against all delusion and all temptation. He felt assured that the proffered 
toleration was merely a bait intended to lure the Puritan party to destruc- 
tion ; nor would he, by accepting a place for which he was not legally 
qualified, recognize the validity of the dispensing power. One of the last 
acts of his virtuous life was to decline an interview to which he was invited 
by an agent of the government (Macaulay, The History of England, II. 
177, 178). 

The place of Bunyan is secure. "Bunyan is, indeed," says 
Macaulay, "as decidedly the first of allegorists, as Demosthenes 
is the first of orators, or Shakespeare the first of dramatists." 

The most widely known and the most beloved Baptist of 
the timies was William Kifiin, the merchant preacher. At this 
time he was about seventy-five years of age, and he lived unto 
the last year of King William's reign. His portrait does not 
bear out the once current impression concerning the Baptists 
of that age. With skull-cap and flowing ringlets, with mous- 
tache and "imperial", with broad lace collar and ample gown, 
he resembled a gentleman cavalier rather than any popular 
ideal of a sour-visaged and discontented Anabaptist. Though 
one of the cleanest men he was called to suffer for his religious 
convictions. Macaulay has recorded something of his suffer- 
ings. He says : 

Great as was the authority of Bunyan with the Baptists, that of 
William Kiffin was still greater. Kiffin was the first man among them 
in wealth and station. He was in the habit of exercising his spiritual 
gifts at their meetings : but he did not live by preaching. He traded 
largely ; his credit on the Exchange of London stood high ; and he had 
accumulated an ample fortune. Perhaps no man could, at that conjuncture, 
have rendered a more valuable service to the court. But between him 
and the court was interposed the remembrance of one terrible event. He 
was the grandfather of the two Hewlings, those gallant youths who, of 
all the victims of the Bloody Assizes, had been the "most generally lamented. 
For the sad fate of one of them James was in a peculiar manner respon- 
sible. Jeffreys had respited the younger brother. The poor lad's sister 
had been ushered by Churchill into the royal presence, and had begged 
for mercy ; but the king's heart had been obdurate. The misery of the 
whole family had been great; but Kifiin was most to be pitied. He was 
seventy years old when he was left destitute, the survivor of those who 
should have survived him. The heartless and venal sycophants of White- 
hall, judging by themselves, thought that the old man would be easily 
propitiated by an alderman's gown, and by some compensation in money 
for the property which his grandsons had forfeited. Penn was employed 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 345 

in the work of seduction, but to no purpose. Tlie king determined to try 
what effect his own civilities would produce. Kiffin was ordered to attend 
at the palace. He found a brilliant circle of noblemen and gentlemen 
assembled. James immediately came to him, spoke to him very graciously, 
and concluded by saying, "I have put you down, Mr. Kiffin, for an Alder- 
man of London." The old man looked fixedly at the king, burst into tears, 
and made answer, "Sir, I am worn out ; I am unfit to serve your Majesty 
or the City. And, sir, the death of my poor boys broke my heart. That 
wound is as fresh as ever. I shall carry it to my grave." The king stood 
silent for a minute in some confusion, and then said, "Mr. Kiffin, I will 
find a balsam for that sore." Assuredly James did not mean to say any 
thing cruel or insolent; on the contrary, he seems to have been in an 
unusually gentle mood. Yet no speech that is recorded of him gives so 
an unfavorable a notion of his character as these few words. They are 
the words of a hard-hearted and low-minded man, unable to conceive any 
laceration of the affections for which a place or a pension would not be 
a full compensation (Macaulay, The History of England, II. 178, 179). 

The happy succession of Williami and Mary to the throne 
of England, February 13, 1689, and the passage of the Tol- 
eration Act, on May 24 following, secured comparative liberty 
to the Baptists. They were tolerated but still under the power 
of the State. Great had been their sufferings ; but they had 
remained consistent in their advocacy of the rights of con- 
science. Their views had prevailed at tremendous sacrifice. 
"The Baptists were the first and only propounders of abso- 
lute liberty," says the celebrated John Locke, "just and true 
liberty, equal and impartial liberty" (Locke, Essay on Tol- 
eration, 31, 4'°ed.). 

The part the English Baptists played in obtaining soul 
liberty is now conceded by the historians. Price says: 

It belonged to the members of a calumniated and despised sect, few 
in numbers and poor in circumstances, to bring forth to public view, in 
their simplicity and omnipotence, those immortal principles which are 
now universally recognized as of Divine authority and of universal obliga- 
tion. Other writers of more distinguished name succeeded, and robbed 
them of their honor ; but their title is so good, and the amount of service 
they performed on behalf of the common interests of humanity is so incalcu- 
lable, that an impartial posterity must assign to them their due meed of 
praise (Price, History of Protestant Nonconformity, I. 222). 

Charles Butler, Koman Catholic, says: 

246 . A History of the Baptists 

It is observable that this denomination of Christians, — now truly 
respectable, but in their origin as little intellectual as any — first propa- 
gated the principles of religious liberty (Butler, Historical Memoirs respect- 
ing the English, Irish, and Scottish Catholics, I. 325. London, 1819). 

Herbert S. Skeats says: 

It is the singular and distinguished honour of the Baptists to have 
repudiated, from their earliest history, all coercive power over the con- 
sciences and actions of men with reference to religion. No sentence is 
to be found in all their writings inconsistent with those principles of 
Christian liberty and willinghood which are now equally dear to all the 
free Congregational Churches of England. They were the proto-evangelists 
of the voluntary principle (Skeats, A History of the Free Churches of 
England, 24. London, 1869). 

In a foot note lie says he is not connected with the Bap- 
tist denomination, and therefore, "perhaps, greater pleasure 
in hearing this testimony to nndouhted historical fact" he- 
longs to the author. 

Dr. Schaff says: 

For this change of public sentiment the chief merit is due to the 
English Non-conformists, who in the school of persecution became advo- 
cates of toleration, especially to the Baptists and Quakers, who made 
religious liberty (within the limits of the golden rule) an article of their 
creed, so that they could not consistently persecute even if they should 
have a chance to do so (Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, I. 802, 803). 

The period which followed was not one of prosperity for 
Baptists. There was a world reaction which had set in against 
Christianity. Infidelity for the next one hundred years was 
to occupy a large place in the world. This general spirit of 
unrest and unbelief wrought havoc in empires as well as in 
individuals, ^o just history of these times can be written that 
does not tate into account this trend in human affairs. It 
was a period of stagnation. Worldliness was common in the 
churches, and piety was at a low ebb. 

There were moreover internal troubles among the Baptists. 
The General Baptists were paralyzed by dissensions and alien- 
ations. The Particular Baptists had made their Confession 
on the lines of the Westminster Confession of the Presby- 
terians. There was a constant tendency in the discussion of 
election and predestination toward hyper-Calvinism, and in 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 347 

the debates which arose over the doctrines of Wesley many 
Baptist preachers became Antinomians. There was a blight 
upon the churches and much of their religion took a most 
repulsive form. 

John Gill was by far the ablest man among the Baptists. 
He was born in Kettering, in 1679, and became a superior 
scholar in Greek, Latin and logic. After many years of study 
he became a profound scholar in the Rabbinical 'Hebrew and 
a master of the Targum, Talmud, the Rabboth and the book 
of Zohar, with their ancient commentaries. He was a pro- 
lific writer as is attested by his Body of Divinity, his Com- 
m;entary on the Bible ,and many other works. 

Toplady, who was his intimate friend, gives the follow- 
ing just estimate of him: 

If any man can be supposed to have trod the whole circle of human 
learning, it was Dr. Gill. . . It would, perhaps, try the constitutions of 
half the literati in England, only to read with care and attention the 
whole of what he said. As deeply as human sagacity enlightened by grace 
could penetrate, he went to the bottom of every thing he engaged in. . . 
Perhaps no man, since the days of St. Austin, has written so largely in 
defense of the system of grace, and, certainly, no man has treated that 
momentous subject, in all its branches, more closely, judiciously and suc- 

He was also a great controversialist as well as a great 
scholar. On this subject Toplady adds: 

What was said of Edward the Black Prince, that he never fought a. 
battle that he did not win; what has been remarked of the great Duke of 
Marlborough, that he never undertook a siege which he did not carry, 
may be justly accommodated to our great philosopher and divine. 

Toplady further says: 

So far as the doctrines of the gospel are concerned. Gill never besieged 
an error which he did not force from its strongholds; nor did he ever 
encounter an adversary to truth whom he did not baffle and subdue. His 
doctrinal and practical writings will live and be admired, and be a stand- 
ing blessing to posterity, when their opposers are forgotten, or only remem- 
bered by the refutations he has given them. While true religion and sound 
learning have a single friend remaining in the British Empire, the works 
and name of John Gill will be precious and revered. 

With all of his learning, while he did not intend it, he 
fell little short of supralapsarianism. He did not invite sin- 

348 A History of the Baptists 

ners to the Saviour, while preaching condemnation, and as- 
serted that he ought not to interfere with the elective grace 
of God. When his towering influence and learning are taken 
into account, some estimate may be formed of the withering 
effect of such a system of theology. 

There were forces at work, already which meant a revolu- 
tion in Baptist affairs. These forces were finally to culmi- 
nate in the great foreign mission work of Carey. The preach- 
ing of Wesley and Whitefield had profoundly stirred the na- 
tion. The Arminian theology of Wesley was opposed by Top- 
lady and Gill, nevertheless the people felt a great quicken- 
ing power. It may properly be said that while the Arminian 
theology could not withstand the sledge-hammer blows of Gill, 
the result was that practical religion resolved itself into a 
matter of holy living rather than into a system of divinity. 

Dr. Gill was succeeded in the pastorate by Dr. John Rip- 
pon. Rippon filled the same pastorate as Gill had done in 
London for sixty-three years, or until 1832. His preaching 
was full of affection and power. He compiled a hymn book 
and founded the Baptist Annual Register, a monthly, from 
1790 to 1802. In 1809 The Baptist Magazine was estab- 
lished. These were the first distinct Baptist newspapers. Dur- 
ing the Commonwealth several newspapers, such as The Faith- 
ful Post, The Faithful Scout, Murcurius Politicus, and others, 
had Baptist editors and contributors, but they were political 
rather than religious papers. The Baptists, previous to the 
founding of The Baptist Magazine, had maintained a friend- 
ly correspondence in the columns of the Evangelical Maga- 
zine. This was unsatisfactory. On account of controverted 
points which needed ample discussion and the growing im- 
portance of the mission work in India, Booth, Ryland, and 
others, felt a Baptist periodical was im\perative. The Bap- 
tists were likewise active in writing books and pamphlets. 
Among such books was the famous Pedobaptism Examined 
by Abraham Booth. 

Booth was for thirty-seven years pastor of the Prescott 
street Church, London. He was a prolific writer, and was 
justly reputed as one of the greatest scholars of his day. His 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 349 

Grace Abounding is to-day read with delight. Dr. ITewman, 
a personal friend, says of him: 

As a divine he was a star of the first magnitude, and one of the 
brightest ornaments of the Baptist denomination to which he belonged. 
Firm in his attachment to his religious principles, he despised the popular 
cant about charity, and cultivated genuine candor, which is alike remote 
from the laxity of latitudinarians and the censoriousness of bigots. 

Another movement which must have had a beneficial effect 
upon the Baptists was prison reform/ under John Howard. He 
was born September 2, 1726. At first he was a Congrega- 
tionalist, but later became a Baptist. He was made sheriff 
of Bedfordshire. He visited the prison where Bunyan was 
incarcerated for twelve years. Everything in it was shock- 
ing, and appealed to his whole humanity to remove the horrid 
evils that reigned all over the place. Trom that moment he 
seems to have concentrated himself to fight prison abuses and 
the powers of the plague throughout the world. How he 
traveled, how he suffered, how he labored with kings, em- 
perors, empresses, parliaments, and governors of jails; how 
he gave his money to relieve oppressed prisoners and victims 
of the plague; how he risked his life times without number, 
it is not here possible to tell. 

The eloquent Edmund Burke says of him: "He visited 
all Europe and the East, not to survey the sumptuousness of 
palaces, or the stateliness of temples; not to make accurate 
measurements of the remains of ancient grandeur; nor to form 
a scale of the curiosity of modern art; not to collect medals, 
or to collate manuscripts; but to dive into the depth of dun- 
geons — to plunge into the infection of hospitals — to survey 
the mansions of sorrow and pain — to take the gauge and di- 
mensions of misery, depression, and contempt — to remember 
the forgotten — ^to attend to the neglected — to visit the for- 
saken, and to compare and to collate the distresses of men 
of all countries. His plan is original, and as full of genius 
as it is of humanity" (Baptist Magazine, IX. 54, 65. Lon- 
don, 1817). 

It is sufficient to say that the name of Howard stands high 
above every other philanthropist to whom our race has given 

350 A History of the Baptists 

birth. The Howard Associations of all lands show the ex- 
tent and duration of his fame. 

At the time of his death he had long been a member of the 
Little Wild Street Baptist Church, London. The great prison 
reform movement had its origin in the imprisonment of a 
Baptist preacher and was carried out by another great Bap- 
tist. His funeral sermon was preached by the famous Dr. 
Samuel Stennett. Dr. Stennett, in that discourse, said of his 
friend : 

Nor was he ashamed of those truths he heard stated, explained, and 
enforced in this place. He had made up his mind, as he said, upon his 
religious sentiments, and was not to be moved from his steadfastness by 
novel opinions obtruded on the world. Nor did he content himself with 
a bare profession of these divine truths. He entered into the spirit of 
the gospel, felt its power, and tasted its sweetness. You know, my friends, 
with what seriousness and devotion he attended, for a long course of years, 
on the worship of God among us. It would be scarcely decent for me to 
repeat the affectionate things he says, in a letter writ me from a remote 
part of the world, respecting the satisfaction and pleasure he had felt in 
the religious exercises of this place (Stennett, Works, III., 295. London, 

The entire letter is printed in the same volume (p. 459). 
In it he expresses his adherence to the faith. He says: 

But, Sir, the principal reason of my writing is most sincerely to thank 
you for the many, many pleasant hours I have had in reviewing' the notes 
I have taken of the Sermons I had the happiness to hear under your 
ministry ; these. Sir, with many of your petitions in prayer, have been, 
and are, the songs in the house of my pilgrimage. 

With unabated pleasure I have attended your ministry ; no man ever 
entered more into my religious sentiments, or more happily expressed them. 
It ever was some little disappointment when any one occupied your pulpit; 
oh. Sir, how many Sabbaths have I ardently longed to spend in Wild 
Street; on those days I generally rest, or if at sea, keep retired in my 
little cabin. It is you that preach ; and I bless God I attend with renewed 
S)leasure; God in Christ is my rock, the portion of my soul. I have little 
more to add, but, accept my renewed thanks. 

There was another great force working for the betterment 
of the Baptist denomination. It was represented by Andrew 
Fuller. He was born February 6, 1754. His spiritual strug- 
gles if less interesting than John Bunyan were equally deep. 
He was long under conviction. He says of himself : 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 351 

In March, 1770, I witnessed the baptizing of two young persons, having 
never seen that ordinance administered before, land was ■considerably 
affected by what I saw and heard. The solemn imtmersion of a person, on 
a profession of faith in Christ, carried such a conviction with it, that I 
wept like a child on the occasion. , . I was fully persuaded that this was 
the primitive way of baptizing, and that every Christian was bound to 
attend to this institution of our blessed Lord. About a month after this 
I was baptized myself, and joined the church at Soham, being then turned 
of sixteen years (Fuller, Works, I. 7). 

October, ITSS, he became pastor at Kettering, and there 
he spent the remainder of his useful life. He was a deter- 
mined opponent of error in all forms. He entered the lists 
"a mere Shamgar, as it might seem, entering the battle-field 
with but an ox-goad against the mailed errorists of his island," 
but he produced an impression that his enemies could not 
overcome. In appearance he was "tall, broad-shouldered, and 
firmly set. His hair was parted in the middle, the brow 
square and of fair height, the eyes deeply set, overhung with 
large bushy eyebrows. The whole face had a massive expres- 

The man who encoimtered him generally bore the marks 
of a bludgeon. He was the determined foe of hyper-Calvin- 
ism. He said in his strong way "had matters gone on but a 
few years the Baptists would have become a perfect dung- 
hill." His work entitled: "The Gospel worthy of all Ac- 
ceptation: or, The Obligation of Men fully to credit, and 
cordially to approve, whatever God makes known; wherein is 
considered the ITature of Faith in Christ, and the Duty of 
those where the Gospel comes in that matter," was an epoch 
making book. 

The book provoked a controversy, but the result of the con- 
troversy was that it cleared the ground and opened up the 
way for the preaching of the gospel to the whole world. Ful- 
ler became the first great llissionary Secretary of modem 

Dr. Joseph Belcher gives the following description and es- 
timate of him: 

Imagine a tall and somewhat corpulent man, with gait and manners, 
though heavy and unpolished, not without dignity, ascending the pulpit to 

352 A History of the Baptists 

address his fellow mortals on the great themes of life and salvation. His 
authoritative look and grave deportment claim your attention. You could 
not be careless if you v?ould ; and you would have no disposition to be so, 
even if you might. He commences his sermon, and presents to you a plan, 
combining in a singular manner the topical and textual methods of preach- 
ing, and proceeds to illustrate his subject, and enforce its claim on your 
regard. You are struck with the clearness of his statements ; every text 
is held up before your view so as to become transparent ; the preacher has 
clearly got the correct sense of the passage, and you wonder that you 
never saw it before as he now presents it ; he proceeds, and you are sur- 
prised at the power of his argument, which appears to be irresistible. 
You are melted by his pathos, and seem to have found a man in whom 
are united the clearness of Barrow, the scriptural theology of Owen, and 
the subduing tenderness of Baxter and Flavel. 

Andrew Fuller was providentially raised up at a period when coldness 
benumbed some parts of the Christian church, and errors obscured the 
glory of others. Untaught in the schools, he had to work his way through 
all kinds of difficulty ; to assume the attitude of a controversialist even 
against his own section of the church, as well as against the enemies of 
the common faith ; and to contend against prejudices of every sort, that 
truth might spread, and Christian zeal be roused into action. The wonder 
rather is, that one short life should have accomplished so much, than so 
little was effected (Fuller, Works, I. 107 note). 

This missionary movement really began in 1Y84 in a con- 
ference for prayer established by Carey. Only two years 
previous to this date Carey and Fuller became acquainted; 
when the latter, "a round headed, rustic looking" young man 
preached "On being men in Understanding" and heard him 
read a circular letter at the association on "The Grace of 
Hope." Carey had fasted all day "because he had not a 
penny to buy a dinner." He enjoyed the sermon and the 
two men became fast friends. 

At a meeting held in Kettering, October 2, 1792, the Bap- 
tist Missionary Society was formed, and the first collection 
for its treasury amounting to £1S 2s 6d, was taken up. Mr. 
Fuller was appointed the first Secretary, and while others 
nobly aided, Andrew Fuller was substantially the Society till 
he reached the realms of glory. Speaking of the mission to 
India, he says: 

Our undertaking to India really appeared to me, on its commencement, 
to be somewhat like a few men, who were deliberating about the import- 
ance of penetrating into a deep mine, which ^ad never before been explored. 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 353 

We had no one to guide us, and while we were deliberating, Carey, as it 
were, said, "Well, I will go down if you will hold the rope." But before 
he went down he, as it seemed to me, took an oath from each of us at 
the mouth of the pit, to this efEect, that while "we lived, we should never 
let go the rope" (Ivimey, History of the English Baptists, IV. 529). 

■Carey perhaps had the greatest facility of learning lan- 
guages of any man who ever lived. In seven years he learned 
Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French and Dutch. Carey and Thomas, 
a Baptist surgeon of India, were appointed missionaries. They 
first attempted to sail in the Earl of Oxford, but were pre- 
vented by the East India Company. Carey finally sailed in the 
Danish East Indianman, the liron Princessa Maria, June 13, 

On his missionary work in India it is not necessary, in this 
place, to linger. He prepared grammars, dictionaries and 
most of all translated the Scriptures. Of his books it is said: 
The versions of the Sacred Scriptures, in the preparation of which he 
took an active and laborious part, including Sanscrit, Hindu, Brijbbhassa, 
Mahrratta, Bengali, Oriya, Telinga, Karnata, Maldivian, Gurajattee, Bu- 
looshe, Pushtoo, Punjabi, Kashmeer, Assam, Burman, Pali, or Magudha, 
Tamul Cingalese, Armenian, Malay, Hindostani, and Persian. In eix of 
these tongues the whole Scriptures have been translated and circulated; 
the New Testament has appeared in 23 languages, besides various dialects 
in which smaller portions of the sacred text have been printed. In thirty 
years Carey and his brethren rendered the Word of God accessible to one- 
third of the world. 

Even that is not all; before Carey died 212,000 copies of 
the Scriptures were issued from Serampore in forty different 
languages, the tongues of 330,000,000 of the human family. 
Dr. Carey was the greatest tool maker for missionaries that 
ever labored for God. His versions are used to-day by all 
denominations of Christians throughout India. 

Carey, Marshman and Ward gave during their stay in In- 
dia nearly $400,000.00 for the spread of the gospel. Ered- 
erick VI, of Denmark, sent them a gold medal as a token ot 
appreciation for their labors. At the death of Carey the 
learned societies of Europe passed the most flattering resolu- 

Dr. Southey says of Carey, Marshman and Ward: 

354 ^ History of the Baptists 

These low-bom, low-bred mechanics have done more to spread the 
knowledge of the Scriptures among the heathen than has beea accom- 
plished, or even attempted, by all the world beside. 

William Wilberforce said in the House of Commons of 

He had the genius as well as the benevolence to devise the plan of a 
society for communicating the blessings of Christian light to the natives 
of India. To qualify himself for this truly noble enterprise he had reso- 
lutely applied himself to the study of the learned languages ; and after 
making considerable proficiency in them, applied himself to several of 
the oriental tongues, and more especially to the Sanscrit, in which his 
proficiency is acknowledged to be greater than that of Sir (William Jones, 
or any other European. 

With the defeat of Antinomianism, and under the impulse 
of the missionary propaganda, there was a renewed desire to 
read and study the Bible. With this there began another move- 
ment which was destined to exercise the most beneficial in- 
fluence upon the human race in every part of the globe. To- 
wards the close of the eighteenth century a great want of 
Welsh Bibles was felt by ministers of religion in that coun- 
try. Few families were in possession of a single copy of the 
Holy Scriptures. So urgent was the need, of a supply, that 
the Bev. Thomas Charles came to London to place the matter 
before some religious people. Having been introduced to the 
committee of the Religious Tract Society, of which Bev. Joseph 
Hughes, a Baptist Minister was Secretary, that there might 
be a similar dearth in other parts of the country, and that it 
would be desirable to form a society for the express purpose 
of circulating the Scriptures. Inquiries were made through- 
out England, as well as upon the Continent, and it was found 
that the people everywhere were destitute of the Bible. The re- 
sult was the formation of The British and Foreign Bible So- 
ciety. Mr. Hughes was elected secretary. 

"1. am thankful for my intimacy with him," said his friend 
Leifchild. "My esteem of him always grew with my inter- 
course. I never knew a more consistent, correct, and imblem- 
ished character. He was not only sincere, but without offense, 
and adorned the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. 
His mind was full of information, singularly instructive, and 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 355 

very edifying; and while others talked of candor and modera- 
tion, he exemplified them" j(Leifchild, Memoir of the Kev. 
J. Hughes, 143)]. 

Mr. Hughes prepared a prize essay on: "The Excellency 
of the Holy Scriptures, an Argument for their more General 
Dispersion." Thei circulation of this essay led to the forma- 
tion of the Society, May 4, 1804, at the London Tavern, 
Bishopsgate Street. Mr. Hughes originated thei Society, gave 
it a name, and became its first secretary. lAt this meeting it 
was agreed: 

(1) A Society shall be formed with this designation, The British and 
Foreign Bible Society, of which the sole object shall be to encourage a 
wider dispersion of the Holy Scriptures. 

(2) This Society shall add its endeavors to those employed by other 
Societies for circulating the Scriptures through the British dominions, and 
shall also, according to its ability, extend its influence to other countries, 
whether Christian, Mahometan, and Pagan, &c. 

The institution was thus established and more than seven 
hundred pounds were subscribed for its maintenance. The 
first historian, John Owen, says: 

Thus terminated the proceedings of this extraordinary day, a day 
memorable in the experience of all who participated in the transactions 
by which it was signalized ; a day to which posterity will look back, as 
giving to the world, and that in times of singular perturbation and dis- 
tress, an institution for difEusing, on the grandest scale, the tidings of 
peace and salvation ; a day which will be recorded as peculiarly honorable 
to the character of Great Britain, and as fixing an important epoch in 
the history of mankind (Owen, The History of the Origin and First Ten 
Years of the British and Foreign Bible Society, I. 16, 17. London, 1816). 

The institution of Sunday Schools also dates from this pe- 
riod. It was the year 1780 that Robert Raikes, the pro- 
prietor and editor of the Gloucester Journal^ had his attention 
drawn to the ignorance and depravity of the children of Glou- 
cester. The streets of the lower part of the town, he was in- 
formed, were filled on Sunday with "multitudes of these 
wretches, released on that day from employment, spent their 
time in noise and riot, playing at chinck, and cursing and 
swearing." Raikes at once conceived the idea of employing 
persons to teach these children on Sunday. The idea was car- 

356 A History of the Baptists 

ried into execution, and at the ©nd of three years he wrote to 
a friend: 

It is now three years since we began; and I wish you were here, to 
make inquiry into the effect. A woman who lives in a lane, where I had 
fixed a school, told me, some time ago, that the place was quite a heaven 
on Sundays, compared with what it use to be. The numbers who have 
learned to read, and say their catechism, are so great that I am astonished 
at it. Upon the Sunday afternoon the mistresses take their scholars to 
church, — 'a place into which neither they nor their ancestors ever entered 
with a view to the glory of God (Watson, History of the Sunday School 
Union, 5, 6). 

The school of Eaikes was not a Sunday School, but a school 
which taught reading and catechism of the Church of England 
and marched the children to Church on Sunday. Mr. Eaikes 
does not appear to have expected that his system would be gener- 
ally adopted. William Fox, a Baptist deacon, of London, had 
the honor of giving universality to the Sunday School. He be- 
came interested in the movement and proposed the Sunday 
School Society. "I am full of admiration at the great," writes 
Mr. Eaikes to Mr. Fox, "and the noble design of the society you 
speak of forming. If it were possible that my poor abilities 
could be rendered in any degree useful to you, point out the 
subject, and you will find me not inactive" {Baptist Magat 
zine, XIX. 251, London, 1827). The Sunday School So- 
ciety, which has been of such signal use in England, was or- 
ganized in the Prescott Street Baptist Church, London, Sep- 
tember 7, 1785. Fox placed the Sunday School under vol- 
untary instead of paid teachers, and had the Bible taught in- 
stead of secular studies. The modern Sunday School in its 
development originated with a Baptist. 

It has sometimes been said that on account of their oppo- 
sition to infant baptism the position of the Baptists in- 
cluded a harsh attitude toward the young. But they are not 
indifferent to the conversion of their children. The covenants 
of Baptist churches as far back as they can be traced, pledge 
each member to bring up his offspring in "the nurture and 
admonition of the Lord." This was manifested in the lives 
of these English Baptists. Benjamin Keach (bom 1640) suf- 
fered at the pillory Irjr order of the judges for writing and 

The Achievements of the English Baptists 357 

publishing a book entitled "The Child's Instructor," and he 
was placed in prison for two months and forced to pay a fine 
of one hundred pounds. He was converted at eighteen and 
was pastor in London at the age of twenty-eight. John Gill 
(born 169Y), the great commentator, was converted when he 
was twelve years of age, and at twenty-three was the succes- 
sor of Keach. John Rippon (bom 1751), the successor of 
Gill, was converted when he was sixteen, was a licensed 
preacher in Bristol College when he was seventeen, and was 
chosen to succeed the great Gill at twenty years of age. John 
Ryland (born 1755) was converted when he was fourteen and 
ordained when he was eighteen. Joseph Stennett (born 1692), 
was converted at fifteen and was ordained as pastor of Little 
Wild Street when he was twenty-two. Samuel Stennett (born 
1727), son and successor of the above, was converted and 
baptized when he was quite young. Robert Hall (born 1764), 
was converted at nine years of age, began to preach at fifteen 
and was assistant pastor of Broadmead Church, Bristol, be- 
fore he reached his majority. Andrew Fuller (bom 1754) 
was converted at fourteen years of age^, baptized at sixteen, 
and ordained at twenty-one." This list of distinguished Bap- 
tist preachers, converted when young, could be indefinitely ex- 

Out of the same general awakening Stepney College, now 
Regents Park College, owes its origin. Its foundation is due 
entirely to Abraham Booth. No institution has done more 
service for the Baptists of England than has this one. For 
more than thirty years the celebrated Joseph Angus was its 
president. He was a profound scholar, a forceful writer and 
a member of the Committee that Revised the New Testament. 
At the age of twenty-two he was pastor of the church honored 
by the ministrations of Dr. Gill and Rippon, and that was in 
later days to receive additional fame from the ministry of 
Charles H. Spurgeon. The work of Revision occupied much 
of his best thought and labor for ten years (1870-1880), and 
to the enthusiasm which so congenial a task inspired was added 
the delight of intercourse with scholars from almost every sec- 

358 A History of the Baptists 

tion of the religious commimity. He was always distinctively 
a Baptist. 

Besides Bristol and Midland Colleges, the foundation of 
which have already been mentioned, the Baptists of England 
have Rawdon College, A. D. 1804, the Pastors College, 1861, 
and Manchester College, 1866. 

English Baptists have abounded in able authors. Kote 
can be made of only two or three here. John Foster was a 
writer of essays. Sir James Mackintosh declares that he was 
"one of the most profound and eloquent writers that England 
has produced." Aubrey, in his "Rise of the English Nation" 
makes this reference to John Foster: "The Eclectic Review 
for a length of time swayed literary and political opinions; 
mainly through the splendid articles, nearly 200 in number, 
contributed by John Foster. His famous essays showed their 
author to be, according to Mackintosh, one of the most pro- 
found and eloquent writers that England has produced. His 
"Life and Correspondence" by Ryland ranks among the 
classics. No song book would be complete that did not con- 
tain "Blest be the tie," by John Fawcett; and "How Firm a 
Foundation," by George Keith. 

The English Baptists have always had able, cultured and 
eloquent preachers. They have produced three of the great- 
est preachers of all time. Robert Hall has been pronounced 
the greatest preacher that ever used the English tongue. And 
no generation will forget Charles H. Spurgeon and Alexander 

Books for further reference: 

The Works of Andrew Fuller, John Gill, John Rippon, John Foster, 
Abraham Booth, Charles H. Spurgeon, Alexander Maclaren, etc., etc. 



The Date of the First Baptists in America Uncertain— Many of 
the Early Settlers Baptists — Cotton Mather — Plymouth — Roger Wil- 
liams and Samuel Howe — The Pear of Anabaptism — A Disturb- 
ance on Account of Imimersiion — Governor Winthrop — ^Governor 
Bradford — A Debate on Baptism — President Chauncey — Scituate 
— The Lathrop Church — Henry Dunster — Hanserd Knollys — The Gen- 
eral Court of Massachusetts Takes Part — iWeymouth — Lady Moody- 
Painter — Persecutions — Roger Williams — At Salem — At Providence— 
The Form of His Baptism Immersion — Richard Scott — William Godding- 
ton — 'Williams Himself Testifies — Joseph B. Pelt — George P. Pisher — 
Philip SchafE — •William Separates Prom the Baptists — 'Apostolic Suc- 
cession — The Baptists do not Derive Their Baptism Prom Williams — 
The Pirst Democracy — The Provisions For the Charter of Rhode Island — 
Religious Liberty — ^Arnold — Hough — Bancroft — Judge Story — Gervinus — 
Straus — The Persecutions of the Baptists in Massachusetts — John Clark 
— Obadiah Holmes — Virginia a Battle Ground for Preedom — Severe Laws 
— Sir W. Berkeley — The Destruction of the Establishment — The Testi- 
mony of Hawks — James Madison — Thomas Jefferson — Bishop Meade — 
George P. Fisher Sums up the Case — The Revolutionary War — William 
Pitt — Fox — Burke — Robert Ryland — No Tories Among the Baptists — 
The Continental Congress — The Philadephia Association — A Memorial to 
Congress — The Baptists in the Army — The Chaplains — James Manning — 
John Hart — ^Thomas Jefferson — John Leland — Safeguarding the Liberty 
of the Land — The First Amendment to the Constitution — ^The Eulogy of 
the Baptists by George Washington. 

THE exact date of the arrival of the first Baptists in Amer- 
ica, and their names are uncertain. There are traces of 
immersion and the rejection of infant baptism at an early date. 
Go'vemor Winslow wrote of the Baptists, in 1646, "We have 
some living among us, nay, some of our churches, of that 
judgment." Cotton Mather states that "many of the first set- 
tlers of Massachusetts were Baptists, and they were as holy 
and watchful and faithful and heavenly people as any, per- 
haps in the world" (Mather, Magnalia, II. 459). He further 

Somq few of these people have been among the Planters in New Eng- 
land from the beginning, and have been welcome to the communion of our 
churches, which they have enjoyed, reserving their particular opinions 
unto themselves. But at length it came to pass, that while some of our 
churches used it, it may be, a little too much of cogency towards their breth- 
ren, which would weakly turn their backs when infants were brought forth 


360 A History of the Baptists 

to be baptized, in the congregation, there were some of these brethren who 
in a day of temptation broke forth into schismatical practices, that were 
justly offensive unto all of the churches in this wilderness (Ibid, II. 459. 
Hartford, 1820). 

Speaking of tliese statements of Mather the Baptist his- 
torian ,C!rosby says: "So that Antipsedobaptism is a,s ancient 
in those parts as Christianity itself" (Crosby, I. 111). 

Baptist views were broached at Plymouth. Eoger Williams 
came in 1631. He had attended the preaching of Samuel 
Howe, the Baptist preacher in London who practised immer- 
sion. Williams himself paid a high tribute to Howe. It is 
not certain that Williams, at this time, had fully adopted Bap- 
tist principles. "When it is recollected," says Ivimey, "that 
60 early as the year 1615, the Baptists in England pleaded 
for liberty of conscience as the right of all Christians, in their 
work entitled, 'Persecution judged and condemned :'^and this 
appears to have been the uniform sentiment of the denomina- 
tion at large, and that Mr. Williams was very intimate with 
them at a very early period, which is evident from the man- 
ner in which he speaks of Mr. Samuel Howe of London: /It 
is highly probably that these principles which rendered him 
such a blessing to America and the world were first maintained 
and taught by the English Baptists (Ivimey, A History of 
the English Baptists,;!. 219, 220). 

It is probable that Williams already believed in immersion 
and rejected infant baptism. In 1633 he was "already in- 
clined to the opinions of the Anabaptists" (Publications of the 
Narragansett Club, I. 14). For on requesting his dismissal 
to Salem in the autumn of 1633, Elder Brewster persuaded 
the Plymouth Church to relinquish communion with him, lest 
he should "run the same course of rigid Separation and Ana- 
baptistery which Mr. John Smith, the Se-Baptist of Amster- 
dam had done" (Publications of the IsTarragansett Club, I. 
17). Anabaptism was a spectre which haunted the imagina- 
tions of the early American settlers. The word possessed a 
mysterious power of inspiring terror, and creating odium. It 
*'can be made the symbol of all that is absurd and execrable, 
so that the very sound of it shall irritate the passions of the 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 361 

multitude, as dogs have been taught to bark, at the name of 
a neighboring tyrant." 

William Gammell, after stating the immierslon of Hoger 
Williams, further says: 

The very mention of the name of Anabaptism called up a train of 
phantoms, that never failed to excite the apprehensions of the early Puri- 
tans. Hence it was, that when Mr. Brewster suggested even the remotest 
association of Roger Williams with this heresy, the church at Plymouth 
was easily induced to grant the dismission which he had requested. A 
considerable number of its members, however, who had become attached 
to his ministry were also dismissed at the same time, and removed with 
him to Salem (Gammell, Life of Roger Williams, 27. In Sparks' Ameri- 
can Biography, IV). 

There was an Anabaptist taint about Plymouth. There is 
therefore this singular circumstance that the Rev. Charles 
Chauncy, who was an Episcopal clergyman and brought with 
him the doctrine of immersion, made for Plymouth. Felt says 
he arrived "a few days before the great earthquake on the 1st 
of June," 1638. 

The account of the disturbance on account of immersion is 
related by two governors who were eye witnesses. Governor 
Winthrop of the Colony of Massachusetts, under date of 1639, 

Our neighbors of Plimouth had procured from hence, this year, one 
Mr. Chancey, a great scholar, and a godly man, intending to call him to 
the office of a teacher; but before the fit time came, he discovered his 
judgment about baptism, that the children ought to be dipped and not 
sprinkled ; and, he being an active man, and very vehement, there arose 
much trouble about it. The magistrates and the other elders there, and 
most of the people, withstood the receiving of thati practice, not for itself 
so much, as for fear of worse consequences, as the annihilation of our 
baptism, &c. Whereupon the church there wrote to all the other churches, 
both here and in Connecticut, &c., for advice, and sent Mr. Chancey's 
arguments. The churches took them into consideration, and returned their 
several answers, wherein they showed their dissent from him, and clearly 
confuted all his arguments, discovering withal some great mistakes of his 
about the judgment and practice of antiquity (Winthrop, History of Netv 
England, I. 330, 331). 

Governor Bradford of Plymouth Colony took up the mat- 
ter likewise and showed that not only Chauncy was an im- 

362 A History of the Baptists 

mersionist but that the whole of New England was agitated 
on the subject of immersion. Thus there is the record of two 
governors on the subject. Governor Bradford says: 

I had forgotten to insert in its place how ye church here had invited 
and sent for Mr. Charles Chansey, a reverend, godly and very learned 
man, intending upon triall to chose him pastor of ye church hear, for ye 
more comfortable performance of ye ministrie with Mr. John Reinor, the 
teacher of ye same. But ther fell out some difference aboute baptising, 
he holding that it ought only to be by dipping, and putting ye whole body 
under water, and that sprinkling was unlawful. The church yeelded that 
immersion, or dipping, was lawfull, but in this could countrie not so 
conveniente. But they could not nor dursti not yeeld to him in this, that 
sprinkling (which all ye churches of Christ doe for ye most parte at this 
day) was unlawfull & humane invention, as ye same was prest; but they 
were willing to yeel to him as far as they could, & to the utmost ; and 
Were contented to suffer him to practise as he was perswaded ; and when 
he came to minister that ordinance he might so doe it to any yt did 
desire it in yt way, provided he could peacably suffer Mr. Reinor, and 
such as desired to have theirs otherwise baptized by him, by sprinkling 
or powering on of water upon them ; so ther might be no disturbance in 
ye church hereaboute. But he said he could not yeeld hereunto. Upon 
which the church procured some other ministers to dispute ye pointe with 
him publickly ; as Mr. Ralfe Patrick, of Duxberie, allso some other min- 
isters within this governmente. But he was not satisfied ; so ye church 
sent to many other churches to crave their help and advise in this matter, 
and with his will & consente, sent them his arguments written under his 
owne hand. They sente them to ye church at Boston in ye Bay of Massa- 
chusetts, to be communicated with other churches ther. Also they sent 
the same to ye churches of Conightecutt and New-Haven, with sundrie 
others; and received very able & sufficient answers, as they conceived, 
from them and their larned ministers, who all concluded against him. 
But himself was not satisfied therwth. Their answers are too large hear 
to relate. They conceived ye church had done what was meete in ye things, 
so Mr. Chansey having been ye most parte 3 years here, removed himself 
to Sityate, wher he now remaines a ministef to ye church ther (Bradford, 
Of Plimoth Plantation, 382, 384). 

This was the first debate on the American continent on the 
subject of immersion. This was possibly before there was a 
Baptist church in this country, certainly before there was more 
than one, namely, the First Providence. The whole of New 
England was agitated on the subject of immersion. 

The Church at Boston and other churches returned answers 
(Bradford, History of New England, I.). As much as Chauncy 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 363 

was admired at Plymoutli tlie church did not employ him on 
account of his views on the subject of immersion. This is set 
forth by Hooker in a letter to his son-in-law, Shepherd, Novem- 
ber 2, 1640. He says: 

I have of late had intelligence from Plymouth. Mr. Chauncy and the 
church are to part, he to provide for himself, and they for themselves. 
At the day of fast, when a full conclusion of the business should have 
been made, he openly professed he did as verily believe the truth of his 
opinion as that there was a God in heaven, and that he was as settled in 
it as that the earth was upon the center. If such confidence find success 
I miss my mark. Mr. Humphrey, I hear, invites him to providence, and 
that coast is most meet for his opinions and practice (Felt, Ecclesiastical 
History, I. 443). 

It will be seen from this letter of Hooker's that Mr. Chauncy 
was invited on leaving Plymouth to go to Providence, for "that 
coast is most meet for his opinions and practice." That is to 
say the Providence men believed in immersion. It cannot 
mean anything else since Chauncy still believed in infant bap- 
tism. This is perfectly plain for Pelt says of Chauncy, July 
7, 1642: 

Chauncy at Scituate still adheres to his practice of immersion. He haft 
baptized two of his own children in this way. A women of his congrega- 
tion who had a child of three years old, and wished it to receive such an 
ordinance, was fearful that it might be too much frightened by being 
dipped as some had been. She desired a letter from him, recommending 
her to the Boston church, so that she might have the child, sprinkled. He 
complied and the rite was accordingly administered (Felt, Ecclesiastical 
History, I, 497, See also Winthrop, History of New England, II. 72). 

So there was no difference between the Providence men and 
Chauncy on the form of baptism. So Chauncy settled at 
Scituate. But the practice of dipping had long been known 
in that town. In 1634 after Spilsbury had drawn out of the 
Jacob Church, in London, and he was in the practice of dip- 
ping, Lathrop, then pastor of that church and some of his fol- 
lowers, removed from London, and settled at Scituate, Massa- 
chusetts. Even after the removal the old question of immer- 
sion would not down. Deane, who was an able historian and 
editor of the publications of the Massachusetts Historical So- 
ciety, saysj 

364 A History of the Baptists 

Controversy respecting the mode of baptism had been agitated in 
Mr. Lathrop's church before he left England, and a part had separated 
from him, and established the first Baptist (Calvinistic) church in Eng- 
land in 1633. Those that came seem not all to have been settled on this 
point, and they found others in Scituate ready to sympathize with them. 

Lathrop remained in Scituate till 1639. The immersion 
trouble still pursued him, and in 1639 he and the portion of 
the church that practised sprinkling, who were in the minor- 
ity, removed to Barnstable. Deane further says that a ma- 
jority of those left in Scituate believed in immersion, but 
"nearly half the church were resolute in not submitting to 
that mode." One party "held to infant sprinkling; another 
to adult immersion exclusively; and a third, of which was 
Mr. Chauncy, to immersion of infants as well as adults." So 
when Chauncy came to Scituate he found a people of his own 
mode of thinking. 

Dr. Henry S. Burrage asks: 

How came Mr. Chauncy to hold such an opinion, if immersion was 
unknown among the Baptists of England until 1641? And certainly if 
Mr. Chauncy in 1638 rejected sprinkling and insisted upon immersion as 
scriptural baptism, why may not Roger Williams and his associates at 
Providence have done the same in the following year? [or the year before]. 

Not only did all the churches consider and respond to the 
appeal of the Plymouth church to its position on the ques- 
tion of immersion, but; almost every man who could wield a 
pen, seems to have used it against the prevailing Anabaptist 
errors. John Lathrop, in 1644, published "A Short Form of 
Catechisme of the Doctrine of Baptisme, In use in these 
Times that are so full of Questions". In the same year, 
Thomas Sheppard went to press, urged by the "increase of 
the Anabaptists, rigid Separatists, Antinomians and Famil- 
ists." In 1645, George Phillips, of Watertown; in 1647, John 
Cotton of Boston and Nathaniel Ward of Ipswich; in 1648, 
Thomas Cobbett, of Lynn; and in 1649, Thomas Hooker, all 
published treatises dealing with the question of baptism and 
its proper candidates, and aimed at the Anabaptists, in which 
the severest epithets were employed. And these are but sam- 
ples which have been preserved of a vigorous literature, called 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 365 

forth by the supposed exigencies of the times" (King, The 
Paptism of Roger Williams, 52. Providence, 1897). 

In 1654 Chauncy was elected President of Harvard Uni- 
versity. Consistent with his former position, he still held 
to immersion. Pierce, the historian of Harvard, says: 

The town to which President Dunster retired after his resignation had 
the singular fortune to supply the college with a successor in the person 
of the Rev. Charles Chauncy. He "was of the contrary extreme as to 
baptism from his predecessor; it being his judgment not only to admit 
infants to baptism, but to wash or dip them all over" (Pierce, History of 
Harvard University, 18. Cambridge, 1833). 

The third pastor of Scituate was Henry Dunster. He was 
the first President of Harvard. He came to America in 1640 
and was immediately elected President of the College. Jlub- 
bard says of him: 

Under whom, that which was before but at best schola illustra, grew 
to the stature and perfection of a College, and flourished in the profession 
of all liberal sciences for many years. 

And Prince says: 

For a further improvement it (The New England Psalm Book) was 
committed to the Rev. Mr. Henry Dunster, president of Harvard College; 
one of the great masters of the oriental languages, that hath been known 
in these ends of the earth (Prince, Preface to New England Psalm Book). 

He had brought the College to the highest standard of use- 
fulness. He was present in Boston at the trial of Clarke, 
Holmes and Crandall for worshipping God, He had long had 
scruples on the subject of infant baptism and now he was con- 
vinced that it was wrong. He boldly preached against the 
same in the church at Cambridge. This greatly flustrated Mr. 
Jonathan Mitchell, the pastor of the church. He said: 

I had a etrange experience ; I found hurrying and pressing suggestions 
against psedobaptism, and injected scruples and thoughts whether the 
other way might not be right, and infant baptism an invention of men, 
and whether I might with good conscience baptize children, and the like. 
And these thoughts were darted in with some impression, and left a strange 
confusion and sickliness upon my spirit (Mitchell's Life, 69,70). 

This action against infant baptism, in 1653, forced his res- 
ignation as President of Harvard. Quincy, the historian of 
Harvard, says: 

366 A History of the Baptists 

Dunster's usefulness however was deemed to be at an end and his 
services no longer desirable, in consequence of his falling in 1653, as Cotton 
Mather expresses it, "into the briars of anti-psedobaptism," and of having 
borne "public testimony in the church at Cambridge against the adminis- 
tration of baptism to any infant whatever". . . Indited by the grand jury 
for disturbing the ordinance of infant baptism on the Cambridge church, 
sentenced to a public admonition on lecture day, and laid under bonds for 
good behaviour, Dunster's martyrdom was consumated by being compelled 
in October, 1654, to resign his office as President (Quincy, History of 
Harvard University, I. 15-18). 

He now goes to Scituate as pastor and Chauncy went to 
Harvard as President. Thus did Baptist sentiments prevail. 
The opposition was strangest against their views of infant 

Hanserd KnoUys arrived in Boston, in 1638, and in. a 
brief time moved to Dover, then called Piscataway, l^ew Hamp- 
shire. There has been much dispute as to whether he was at 
the time a Baptist. He died September 19, 1691. On his 
return to England in 1641 he was certainly a Baptist. Mather, 
who was a contemporary, and evidently acquainted with his 
opinions in America says he was a Baptist. He says: 

I confess there were some of these persons whose names deserve to 
live in our book for their piety, although their particular opinions were 
such as to be disserviceable unto the declared and supposed interests of 
our churches. Of these there were some godly Anabaptists ; as namely 
Mr. Hanserd Knollys (whom one of his adversaries called Absurd Knowles), 
of Dover, who afterwards moved back to London, lately died there a good 
man, in a good old age (Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana, I. 243. 
Hartford, 1855). 

However that is he was apparently pastor of a mixed con- 
gregation of Pedobaptists and Baptists at Dover. There was 
nothing strange about this for even Isaac Backus, the Baptist 
historian, was once pastor of such a church before he became 
a regular Baptist. There was soon in the church a disturb- 
ance on thei subject of infant baptism. Mr. Leckford, an 
Episcopalian, visited Dover in April, 1641, and he describes 
a controversy between Mr. Knollys and a ministerial opponent 
about baptism and church membership. "They two," says 
he, "fell out about baptizing children, receiving of members, 
etc." The Baptists, taught by KnoUys, in order to escape per- 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 367 

secution removed, in 1641, to Long Island. After Long Is- 
land fell into the power of the Episcopalians they moved again 
to ISTew Jersey and called their third home Piscataway. This 
has long been a flourishing Baptist church. 

Manifestly the Anabaptist peril was regarded as great so 
the General Court of Massachusetts, March 3, 1636, ordered: 

That all persons are to take notice that this Court doth not, nor will 
hereafter, approve of any such companies of men as shall henceforth join 
in any pretended way of church fellowship, without they shall first acquaint 
the magistrate and the elders of the greater part of the churches in this 
jurisdiction with their intentions, and have their approbation therein. And 
further it is ordered, that no person being a member of any such church 
which shall hereafter be gathered without the approbation of the magis- 
trates and the greater part of the said churches, shall be admitted to the 
freedom of this commonwealth (Massachusetts Records). 

In 1639, it seems, there was an attempt to found a Baptist 
church at Weymouth, a town about fourteen miles southeast 
of Boston. This was frustrated by interposing magistrates. 
The crime charged was: 

That only baptism was the door of entrance into the visible church ; 
the common sort of people did eagerly embrace his opinion (Lenthal), 
and labored to get such a church on foot, as all baptized ones might com- 
municate in, without any further trial of them (Massachusetts Records). 

John Smith, John Spur, Eiehard Sylvester, Ambrose Mor- 
ton, Thomas Makepeace, and Robert Lenthal, were the prin- 
cipal promoters of the design. They were all arraigned be- 
fore the General Court at Boston, March 13, 1639, where the 
most of them were fined (Benedict, History of the Baptists, 
I. 356. Boston, 1813). 

The same year in which Mr. Chauncy came over, a female 
of considerable distinction, whom Governor Winthrop calls 
Lady Moody, and who, according to the account of that states- 
man and historian, was a wise, amiable, and religious woman, 
"was taken with the error of denying baptism to infants" 
(Winthrop, 11. 123, 124). She had purchased a plantation 
at Lynn, ten miles ^Northeast of Boston, of one Humphrey, 
who had returned to England. She belonged to the church in 
Salem, to which she was near, where she was dealt with by 
many of the elders and others; but persisting in her error, 

368 A History of the Baptists 

and to escape the storm which she saw gathering over her 
head, she removed to Long Island and settled among the Dutch. 
''Many others infested with Anabaptism removed thither also." 
Eleven years after Mrs. Moody's removal (1651), Messrs. 
Clarke, Holmes, and Crandall, went to visit some Baptists at 
Lynn, by the request of an aged brother. This circumstance 
makes it probable, that although many Anabaptists went off 
with this lady, yet there were some left behind (Benedict, A 
General History of the Baptist Denomination, I. 358). 

In 1644, we are informed by Mr. Hubbard, that "'a poor 
man, by the name of Painter, was suddenly turned Anabap- 
tist, and having a child born would not suffer his wife to 
carry it to be baptized. He was complained of for this to the 
court, and enjoined by them to suffer his child to be baptized. 
But poor Painter had the misfortune to dissent from the 
church and the court. He told them that infant baptism was 
an antichristian ordinance, for which he was tied up and 
whipt. He bore his chastisement with fortitude, and declared 
that he had divine help to support him. The same author who 
records this narrative, intimates that this poor sufferer, "was 
a man of very loose behavior at home." This accusation was 
altogether a matter of course ; it need no further facts to sub- 
stantiate it; for was it possible for a poor Anabaptist to be a 
holy man ? Governor Winthrop tells us he belonged to Hing- 
ham, and says he was whipt "for reproaching the Lord's ordi- 
nance" (Winthrop, II. 174, 175). Upon which Mr. Backus 
judicially enquires: "Did not they who whipped this poor, 
conscientious man, reproach infant sprinkling, by taking such 
methods to support it, more than Painter did?" (Backus, I. 
357, 358). 

By this time Winthrop tells us the "Anabaptists increased 
and spread in Massachusetts" (Winthrop, 11. 174). This is 
confirmed in many ways. 

Thomas Hooker of Connecticut wrote to Thomas Sheppard 

of Cambridge as follows: 

I like those Anabaptists and their opinion every day worse than the 
other. . . unlesse you be very watchful you will have an army in the field 
before you know how to prepare or to oppose. 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 369 

When John Wilson, the colleague of John Cotton, was near 
his end, he was asked for what sins the land had been visited 
by God's judgments, and his answer was, ''Separatism, Ana- 
baptism and Korahism." 

Persecutions had begun against the Baptists in 1635, and 
were inflicted subsequently in the name of the law in many 
places, in Dorchester, Weymouth, Rehobeth, Salem, Water- 
town, Hingham, Dover, N. H., and Swampscott. So numerous 
were the offenders that on November 13, 1644, the General 
Court, passed a law for the suppression of the Baptists. The 
law was as follows: 

Forasmuch as experience hath plentifully and often proved, that since 
the first rising of the Anabaptists, about one hundred years since, they 
have been the incendiaries of the commonwealths, and the infectors of per- 
sons in main matters of religion, and the troublers of churches in all 
places -where they have been, and that they who have held the baptizing 
of infants unlawful, have usually held other errors or heresies together 
therewith, though they have (as other heretics use to do) concealed the 
same till they spied out a fit advantage and opportunity to vent them, 
by way of question or scruple ; and whereas divers of this kind have since 
our coming into New England appeared amongst ourselves, some whereof 
(as others before them) denied the ordinance of magistracy, and the 
lawfulness of making war, and others the lawfulness of magistrates, and 
their inspection into any breach of the first table; which opinions, if they 
should be connived at by us, are like to be increased amongst us, and so 
must necessarily bring guilt upon us, infection and trouble to the churches, 
and hazard to the whole commonwealth ; it is ordered and agreed, that if 
any person or persons, within this jurisdiction, shall either openly condemn 
or oppose the baptizing of infants, or go about secretly to seduce others 
from the approbation or use thereof, or shall purposely depart the congre- 
gation at the ministration of the ordinance, or shall deny the ordinance of 
magistracy, or their lawful right and authority to make war, or to punish 
the outward breaches of the first table, and shall appear to the court 
wilfully and obstinately to continue therein after due time and means of 
conviction, every such person or persons shall be sentenced to banishment 
(Backus, History of the Baptists in New England, I. 359, 360) 

Speaking of this law, Hubbard, one of their own historians 

But with what success is hard to say ; all men being naturally Inclined 
to pity them that suffer, how much soever they are incensed against offen- 
ders in general. Natural conscience and the reverence of a Deity, that is 

370 A History of the Baptists 

deeply engraven on the hearts of all, make men more apt to favor them 
that suffer for religion, true or false (Massachusett Records, S73). 

The next year in Marcli an effort was made at a General 
Court "for suspending (if not abolisliing) a law against the 
Anabaptists the former year." It did not prevail for "some 
were much afraid of the increase of Anabaptism. This was 
the reason why the greater part prevailed for the strict obser- 
vation of the aforesaid laws, although peradventure a little 
moderation as to some cases might have done very well, if 
not better." 

Roger Williams was bom about the year 1600. He was 
educated in the University of Cambridge under the patronage 
of the celebrated jurist, Sir Edward Coke. He was sorely 
persecuted by Archbishop Laud, and on that account he fled 
to America. Ho arrived in Boston, .^February, 1631. H© 
was immediately invited to become pastor of that church, but 
he found that it was "an unseparated church" and he "durst 
not officiate to" it. The Salem church extended him. an in- 
vitation to become pastor, but he was prevented from remain- 
ing in that charge by a remonstrance from Governor Brad- 
ford. He was gladly, received at Plymouth, but he gave "vent 
, , .to divers of his own singular opinions," and he 
sought "to impose them upon others." 

Hence he returned to Salem in the Summer of 1633 with a 
number of persons who sympathized with his views; and in 
1634 he became pastor of that church. There had already 
been a good deal of discussion on certain phases of infant 
baptism. He was finally banished from that colony in Jan- 
uary, 1636. His radical tenets demanded the separation of 
the church and state, and that doctrine was unwholsome in 

After many adventures in passing through the trackless for- 
ests in the midst of a terrific New England winter, he ar- 
rived in Providence with five others, in June of the same year. 
In 1638 many Massachusetts Christians who had adopted Bap- 
tist views, and finding themselves subjected to persecution on 
that account, moved to Providence (Winthrop, A History of 
New England, I. 269). Most of these had been connected 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 371 

with Williams in Massachusetts and some of them were prob- 
ably Baptists in England. Williams was himself well ac- 
quainted with Baptist views, and had already expounded soul 
liberty. Winthrop attributed Williams' Baptist views to Mrs. 
Scott, a sister of Ann Hutchinson. Williams was acquainted 
with the General Baptist view of a proper administrator of 
baptism, namely that two believers had the right to begin 
baptism'. On his adoption of Baptist views, previous to March, 
1639 (Winthrop says in 1638, I. 293), Williams was bap- 
tized by Ezekiel Holliman, and in turn Williams baptized 
HoUiman and some ten others. At this time there was not 
a Baptist preacher in America unless Hanserd KnoUys was 
such a man. 

The form of baptism on the occasion was immersion (New- 
man, A History of Baptist Churches in the United States, 80. 
!N"ew York, 1894). In a footnote Dr. Newman says: 

Contemporary testimony is unanimous in favor Of the view that immer- 
sion was practised by Williams. As the fact is generally conceded, it does 
not seem worth while to quote the evidence. 

That evidence is clear and explicit. Reference has already 
been made to the immersion views of Chauncy, and that on 
November 2, 1640, at Providence, "that coast is most meet for 
his opinion and practice." 

In the person of Richard Scott there was an eye witness of 
the baptism of Roger Williams. He was also a Baptist at 
the time. He says: 

I walked with him in the Baptists' way about three or four months, in 
which time he brake from the society, and declared at large the ground 
and reason of it ; that their baptism could not be right because it was 
not administered by an apostle. After that he set about a way of seeking 
(with two or three of them that had dissented with him) by way of 
preaching and praying; and there he continued a year or two, till two of 
the three left him (Scott, Letter in George Fox's answer to Williams. 
Backus, History of the Baptists of New England, I. 88). 

This was written thirty-eight years after the baptism of 
Williams. Scott had turned Quaker. There is no question 
that the "Baptists' way" was immersion; and there is no in- 

372 A History of the Baptists 

timation that the Baptists had ever chaaged their method of 

There was another contemporary witness in the person of 
William Coddington, He had likewise turned Quaker and 
could not say too many things against Williams. In 1677 he 
wrote to his friend Fox, the Quaker, as follows: 

I have known him about fifty years; a mere weathercock; constant 
only in inconsistency ; poor man, that doth not know what should become 
of his soul, if this night it should be taken from him. . . One time for 
water baptism, men and women must be plunged into the water (Backus, 
History of the Baptiets of New England, I. 333). 

The testimony of Williams to the form of baptism is sin- 
gularly clear. He declares that it is an immersion. In a 
tract which for a long time was supposed to be lost, "Christen- 
ings Make not Christians," 1645, he says: 

Thirdly, for our New-England, parts, I can speake uprightly and con- 
fidently, I know it to have been easie for myselfe, long ere this, to have 
brought many thousands of these Natives (the Indians), yea the whole 
country, to a far greater Antichristian conversion then was ever yet heard 
of in America. I have reported something in the Chapter of their Religion, 
how readily I could have brought the whole Country to have observed 
one day in seven; I adde to have received a Baptisme (or washing) though 
it were in Rivers (as the first Christians and the Lord Jesus himselfe did) 
to have come to a stated church meeting, maintained priests and forms 
of prayer, and the whole forme of antichristian worship in life and death 
(p. 11). 

In a letter which is found among the Winthrop papers, 
dated ISTarragansett, November 10, 1649, Williams says: 

At Seekonk a great many have lately concurred with Mr. John Clark 
and our Providence men about the point of new baptism, and the manner 
by dipping, and Mr. John Clark hath been there lately, (and Mr. Lucar), 
and hath dipped them. I believe their practice comes nearer the first 
practice of the great Founder Christ Jesus, then any other practices of 
religion do (Publications of the Narragansett Club). 

A great many Baptist writers could be quoted to prove that 
Williams practised immersion. A statement from a few Pedo- 
baptist writers is sufficient. 

Joseph B. Felt says: 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 373 

Having become an Anabaptist, through the influence of a sister to 
Mrs. Hutchinson and wife to Richard Scott, he went to live at Providence 
the preceding year, Williams, as stated by Winthrop, was lately immersed. 
The person who performed this rite was Ezekiel Holliman, who had gone 
to i-eside there from Salem. Williams then did the same fop him and ten 
others, and thus they formed a church (Felt, Ecclesiastical History of 
New England, I. 402). 

Professor George P. Pisher, Yale University, says: 

At Providence, in 1639, a layman named Holliman baptized him by 
immersion, and then Williams in turn baptized Holliman, and "some ten 
more." This was not a strange step, for Roger Williams had been antici- 
pated in his favorite tenet of "soul liberty" by the Baptists, who were 
pioneers in the assertion of the doctrine of religious freedom (Fisher, 
History of the Christian Church, 472). 

Professor Fislier further says: 

In 1638 Williams was immersed by an Anabaptist named Holliman 
and ten others. There was thus constituted the first Baptist church in 
America (Fisher, The Colonial Era, 123). 

Dr. Philip Schaff says: 

In 1638 he became a Baptist ; he was immersed by Ezekiel Holliman 
and in turn immersed Holliman and ten others (Schaff, The Creeds of 
Christendom, I. 851). 

The act of baptism by immersion never seemed to trouble 
Williams. He had doubts in regard to any authorized ad- 
ministrator of baptism on account of the corruption in the 
world, there being no valid church. He continued only three 
or four months in connection with the Providence church, and 
then he departed from them and turned Seeker. Under this 
point Governor Winthrop', under date of June or July, 1639, 

At Providence, matters went on after the old manner. Mr. Williams 
and many of his company, a few months since, were in all haste rebaptized, 
and denied communion with all others, and now he has come to question 
his second baptism, not being able to derive the authority of it from the 
apostles, otherwise than by the ministers of England, (whom he judged to 
be ill authoi-ity) so as he conceived God would raise up some apostolic 
power. Therefore he bent himself that way, expecting (as was supposed) 
to become an apostle ; and having a little before, refused communion with 
all, save his own wife, now he would preach to and pray with all comers. 
Whereupon some of his followers left him and returned back from whence 
they went (Winthrop, I. 307). 

374 -^ History of the Baptists 

Having been an Episcopalian, apostolic succession was the 
rock upon which he split. Cotton Mather says of him: 

Upon the sentiment of the court, Mr. Williams with his party going 
abroad (as one says) to "seek their providences," removed into the Southern 
part of New England, where he, with a few of his own sect, settled a place 
called Providence, Then they proceeded not only into the gathering of a 
thing like a church, but into the renouncing of their infant-haptism ; and at 
this further step, of separation they stopped not, but Mr. Williams quickly 
told them, "that being himself misled, he had led them likewise out of the 
way," he was now satisfied that there was none upon earth that could 
administer baptism, and so that their last baptism, as well as their first, 
was a nullity, for the want of a called administrator; he advised them 
thereupon to forego all, to dislike everything, and wait for the coming of 
a new apostle: whereupon they dissolved themselves, and became that sort 
of sect that we term Seekers, &c. (Mather, Magnalia, I. 498). 

A very curious sidelight is thrown on this subject by Hom- 
ius, a contemporary writer of Holland. There was a very 
close religious and political relation between Holland, England 
and American at this time. This Dutch writer (Georgii Hornii, 
Historia Eccles, Ludg. Bat., 1665, p. 26T) directly mentions 
Roger Williams, and traces the origin of "the Seekers" to 
America. As to the English Baptists, he bears a testimony of 
which their descendants need not be ashamied. He says : "That 
of the Anabaptists there were two classes. The first holding the 
Free Will and a community of goods, and denying the lawful- 
nessi of magistracy and infant baptism. Of these there were at 
that time in England few or none. The second class were ortho- 
dox in all but their denial of infant baptism." 

As a matter of fact, he remained a Baptist in principle all 
of his life. Mather says "The church came to nothing." On 
this point there has been much debate, and the authorities are 
divided. The church has no records for more than one hundred 
years after 1639, they being probably burned in King Philip's 
War, and its history on this account is incomplete. Benedict 
admits that "the more I study on this subject, the more I am 
unsettled and confused" (Benedict, A General History of the 
Baptist Denomination in America, 443. See King, The Mother 
Church in America, 1896). It is a matter, however, of no 
particular moment to the general historian. Nothing depends 
on it. In any event, the Baptists of America did not derive 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 375 

their origin from Roger Williams. Benedict (p. 364) men- 
tions the names of fifty-five Baptists churches, including the 
year 1750, in America, not one of which came out of the Provi- 
dence church. 

"From the earliest period lof our colonial settlements," says 
J. P. Tustin, "multitudes of Baptist ministers and members 
came from Europe, and settled in different parts of this con- 
tinent, each becoming the center of an independent circle 
wherever they planted themselves" (Tustin, A Discourse deliv- 
ered at the Dedication of the Baptist Church and Society in 
Warren, R. I., 38). Mr. Tustin continues: "It is a fact gen- 
erally known, that many of the Baptist churches in this country 
derived their origin from the Baptist churches in Wales, a coun- 
try which has always been a nursery for their peculiar prin- 
ciples. In the earlier settlements of this country, multitudes of 
Welsh emigrants, who left their fatherland, brought with them 
the seeds of Baptist principles, and their ministers and mem- 
bers laid the foundation of many Baptist Churches in New 
England, and especially in the middle states." The churches, 
therefore in this country, were for the most part made up of 
members directly from England and Wales. 

James D. Knowles (Memoir of Roger Williams, 169 note. 
Boston, 1834), has raised this question and answered it as 
follows : 

The question which has been asked, with some emphasis, as if it 
vitally affected the Baptist churches in this country; "By whom was 
Roger Williams baptized?" has no practical importance. All whom he 
immersed were, as Pedobaptists must admit, baptized. The great family 
of Baptists in this country did not spring from the First Church in Provi- 
dence. Many Baptist ministers and members came, at an early period, 
from' Europe, and thus churches were formed in different parts of the 
country, which have since multiplied over the land. The first Baptist 
church formed in the present State of Massachusetts, is the church at 
Swansea, Its origin is dated in 1663, when the Rev.- John Myles came 
from Wales, with a number of the members of a Baptist church, who 
brought with them its records. Of the 400,000 communicants now in the 
United States, a small fraction only have had any connection, either 
immediate or remote, with the venerable church at Providence, though 
her members are numerous, and she has been honored as the mother of 
many ministers. 

376 A History of the Baptists 

This was the beginning of the settlement of Rhode Island. 
The first declaration of democracy, in America, was here formu- 
lated March, 1641. The Author of the History of American 
Literature says: 

It was ordered and unanimously agreed upon, that the government 
which this body politic doth attend unto in this island and the jurisdiction 
thereof, in favor of our prince, is a Democracy, or popular government; 
that is to say, it is in the power of the body of freemen, orderly assembled, 
or major part of them, to make or constitute just laws, by which they 
will be regulated, and to despute from among themselves such ministers 
as shall see them faithfully executed between man and man. 

And the following acts secured religious liberty there: 

It was further ordered, by the authority of this present Court, that 
none be accounted a delinquent for doctrine, provided, it be not directly 
repugnant to the government or laws established. 

On September, 1641, it was ordered: 

That the law of the last Court made concerning liberty of conscience 
in point of doctrine, be perpetuated. 

It was decreed at Providence, in 1647, that since: 

Our charter gives us power to govern ourselves, and such other as 
come among us, and by such a form of civil government! as by the volun- 
tary consent, etc., shall be found most suitable to our estate and condition : 
It is agreed by this present Assembly thus incorporate, and by this present 
act declared, that the form of government established in Providence Plan- 
tations is Democratical ; that is to say, a government held by the free 
and voluntary consent of all of the greater part of the free inhabitants 
(Rhode Island State Papers). 

The state was not to dictate to or disturb the church. In the 
charter the word "civil" everywhere defines the jurisdiction 
of the Court. Religion and the State were divorced. Arnold 
says : 

The use of the word civil is everywhere prefixed (to the charter) to 
the terms "government" or "laws" wherever they occur. . . to restrict the 
operation of the charter to purely political concerns. In this apparent 
restriction there lay concealed a boon of freedom such as man had never 
known before. They (the Rhode Islanders) held themselves accountable 
to God alone for their religious creed, and no earthly power could bestow 
on them a right which they held from heaven. . . At their own request 
their powers were limited to civil matters (Arnold, History of Rhode 
Island, I. 200). 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 377 

Hough, commenting upon the provisions of the charter of 
Rhode Island, says: 

This broad and liberal grant of liberty of opinion in matters of religious 
faith ia among the earliest examples of that toleration which now prevails 
in every state in the American Union ; but at the time it was asked and 
obtained, it formed a striking and honorable contrast with the custom and 
laws of the neighboring colonies (Hough, American Constitutions, II. 
246. Lauer, Church and State in New England, 48. Tenth Series, II., 
III. Johns Hopkins University Studies. Baltimore, 1892). 

The service that the Baptists have rendered to the world in 
bringing religious liberty to this continent has been fully 
acknowledged by the greatest authorities in the world. Only 
the statements of a few representative men are here given. 

Bancroft, the historian of the United States, says of Wil- 
liams : 

He was the first person in modern Christendom to assert in its pleni- 
tude the doctrine of the liberty of conscience, the equality of opinions 
before the law. . . Williams would permit persecutions of no opinion, of 
no religion, leaving heresy unliarmed by law, and orthodoxy unprotected 
by the terrors of penal statutes. . . We praise the man who first analyzed 
the air, or resolved water into its elements, or drew the lightning from 
the clouds ; even though the discoveries may have been as much the fruits 
of time as of genius. A moral principle has a much wider and nearer 
influence on human happiness ; nor can any discovery of truth be of more 
direct benefit to society, than that which establishes a perpetual religious 
peace, and spreads tranquility through every community and every bosom. 
If Copernicus is held in perpetual reverence, because, on his death-bed, 
he published to the world that the sun is the centre of our system ; if the 
name of Kepler is preserved in the annals of human excellence for his 
sagacity in detecting the laws of the planetary motion ; if the genius of 
Newton has been almost adored for dissecting a ray of light, and weighing 
heavenly bodies in the balance — let there be for the name of Roger Williams 
at least some humble place among those who have advanced moral science, 
and made themselves the benefactors of mankind (Bancroft, History of 
the United States, I. 3.75-377). 

Judge Story, the eminent lawyer, says: 

In the code of laws established by them in Rhode Island, we read for 
the first time since Christianity ascended the throne of the Cajsars, the 
declaration that conscience should be free, and that men should not be 
punished for worshipping God in the way they were persuaded he requires. 

378 A History of the Baptists 

The German Philosopher, Gervimis, says : 

In accordance with these principles, Roger Williams insisted, in Massa- 
chusetts, upon allowing entire freedom of conscience, and upon entire 
separation of the Church and State. But he was obliged to flee, and in 
1636, he formed in Rhode Island, a small and new society, in which perfect 
freedom in matters of faith was allowed, and in which the majority ruled 
in all the civil affairs. Here, in a little state, the fundamental principles 
of political and ecclesiastical liberty practically prevailed, before they were 
ever taught in any of the schools of philosophy in Europe. At that time 
people predicted only a short existence for these democratical experiments — 
Universal suffrage ; universal eligibility to office ; the annual change of 
rulers ; perfect religious freedom — the Miltonian doctrine of schisms. But 
not only have these ideas and these forms of government maintained them- 
selves here, but precisely from this little State, have they extended them- 
eelves throughout the United States. They have conquered the aristocratic 
tendencies in Carolina and New York, the High Church in Virginia, the 
Theocracy in Massachusetts, and the monarchy in all America. They 
have given laws to a continent, and formidable through their moral influ- 
ence, they lie at the bottom of all the democratic movementsi which are 
now shaking the nations of Europe (Gervinus, History of the Nineteenth 
Century. Introduction). 

He not only sought liberty for his own people, but to all 
persons alike. Hitherto the Jews had been proscribed. He 
especially plead for them. No persons have more fully recog- 
nized the worth of religious liberty than have the Jews; and 
they have paid eloquent tribute to his memory. In this direc- 
tion Straus says: 

The earliest champion of religious freedom, or "soul liberty," as he desig- 
nated that most precious jewel of all liberties, was Roger Williams. . . 
To him rightfully belongs the immortal fame of having been the first person 
in modern times to assert and maintain in its fullest plenitude the absolute 
right of every man to "a full liberty in religious concernments," and to 
found a State wherein this doctrine was the key-stone of its organic laws 
(Straus, Origin of Republican Form of Government in the United States, 
47-50. New York, 1885. See Religious Liberty of Henry M. King, 1903). 

It is now time to return to the persecutions of th© Baptists 
in the other colonies. Note has already been taken of the activ- 
ity of the Massachusetts colony against the Baptists, and the 
persecuting laws that they passed and executed. On October 
18, 1649, this Colony urged drastic measures against the Bap- 
tists of Plymouth. The General Court wrote to the Plymouth 
brethren as follows: 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 379 

Honored and beloved Brethren: We have heard heretofore of divers 
Anabaptists arisen up in yo-ar jurisdiction, and connived at; but being 
but few, we well hoped that it might have pleased God, by the endeavors 
of yourselves and the faithful elders with you, to have reduced such erring 
men again into the right way. But now, to our great grief, we are credibly 
informed that your patient bearing with such men hath produced another 
effect, namely, the multiplying and increasing of such errors, and we fear 
may be of other errors also, If timely care be not taken to suppress the 
same. Particularly we understand that within this few weeks there have 
been at Sea Cunke thirteen or fourteen persons rebaptized ( a swift pro- 
gress in one town), yet we hear not if any effectual restriction is intended 
thereabouts (Massachusetts Colonial Records, III. 173). 

This Sea Cunke (now Swansea und Eehoboth), was to be the 
location of the third Baptist church in America, under the pas- 
toral care of the Eev. John Myles. 

The persecuting spirit of Massachusetts was soon further 
put to the test. John Clarke was the pastor of the Newport 
Baptist church, founded somewhere between 1638 and 1644. 
This John Clarke was the father of American Baptists. He 
had much to do, in connection with Roger Williams, with pro- 
curing the second charter of Ehode Island in 1668. There 
was at Lynn, Massachusetts, an aged disciple by the name of 
William Witter. He had been cut off from the Salem church, 
June 24, 1651, "for absenting himself from, public ordinances 
nine months or more and for being rebaptized" (Eelt, Ecclesi- 
astical History of l^ew England, II. 25-46). He had previous- 
ly become a member of the church in ISTewport. On July 19, 
1651, John Clarke, Obadiah Holmes and John Crandall, "be- 
ing the representatives of the Baptist church in l^ewport, upon 
the request of William Witter, of Lynn, arrived there, he being 
a brother in the church, who, by reason of his advanced age, 
could not undertake so great a journey as to visit the church" 
(Newport Church Papers). 

While they were expounding the Scriptures they were ar- 
rested by two constables. They were watched over that "night 
(in the ordinary) as Thieves and Bobbers," by the officers,^ and 
on the second day they were lodged in the common jail in 
Boston. On July 31 they were brought to public trial in Bos- 
ton, without trial by jury and at the will of the magistrates. 

380 A History of the Baptists 

Governor Endicott charged them, with being Anabaptists. 
Clarke replied he was "neither an Anabaptist, nor a Pedobap- 
tist, nor a C'atabaptist." At this reply the Governor stepped 

And told us we denied infant baptism, and being somewhat transported, 
told me I had deserved death, and said he would not have such trash brought 
into his jurisdiction. Moreover he said. You go up and down and secretly 
insinuate into those that are weak, but you cannot maintain it before 
our ministers. You may try and dispute with them (Clarke, Narrative). 

Clark was about to make reply when he was remanded to 
prison. Holmes says: 

What they laid to my charge, you may here read in my sentence, upon 
the pronouncement of which, as I went from the bar, I expressed myself in 
these words : — I bless God, I am counted worthy to suffer for the name of 
Jesus. Whereupon John Wilson (their pastor, as they call him) struck me 
before the judgment seat, and cursed me, saying. The curse of God or Jesus 
go with thee (Backus, History of the Baptists in New England, I. 189). 

From the prison Clarke accepted the proposition to debate 
the subjects involved and suggested by the Governor (Massa- 
chusetts Archives, X. 212). It was supposed that John Cot- 
ton would represent the ministers. But the Governor allowed 
the debate to come to naught, though he had proposed it. Clarke 
and Crandall were not long afterward released "upon the pay- 
ment of their fines by some tender-hearted friends" without 
their consent and contrary to their judgment. Holmes not ac- 
cepting the deliverance was publicly whipped. He said : 

The man striking with all his strength (yea spitting in (on) his hands 
three times as many aflSrmed) with a three corded whip, giving me there- 
with thirty strokes. When he had loosed me from the post, having joyful- 
ness in my heart, and cheerfulness in my counternance, as the spectators 
observed, I told the magistrates. You have struck me as with roses (Backus, 
I. 192). 

The whipping was so severe that Governor Jenekes says : 

Mr. Holmes was whipt thirty stripes, and in such an unmerciful man- 
ner, that in many days, if not some weeks, he could take no rest, but as 
he lay on his knees and elbows, not being able to suffer any part of his 
body to touch the bed whereon he lay (See Summer Visit of Three Rhode 
Islanders, by Henry M. King, 1896). 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 381 

The trial and whipping of Holmes was the occasion of the 
conversion of Henry Dunster, the President of Harvard, to 
the Baptists. The immediate cause of the organization of the 
church in Boston was a sermon Dunster preached there on the 
subject of infant baptism. The church was much delayed in 
its organization, but this finally took place May 28, 1665. The 
magistrates required them to attend the Established Church. 
The General Court disfranchised them, and committed them to 
prison, and pursued them with fines and imprisonments for 
three years (Backus, I. 300). In May, 1668, the General 
Court sentenced Thomas Gould, William Turner, and John 
Farnum to be banished; and because they would not go, they 
were imprisoned nearly a year; and when petition for a re- 
lease of the prisoners was presented to the General Court, some 
who signed the petition were fined for doing so, and others were 
compelled to confess their fault for reflecting on the Court. 

The complete separation of Church and State was not guar- 
anteed by the Constitution of Massachusetts until 1833. 

Virginia was the great battle ground for religious freedom. 
The Colony was founded by members of the Church of Eng- 
land, and none others were tolerated in its jurisdiction. The 
charter, 1606, provided: 

The presidents, councils and ministers should provide that the true 
word and service of God should be preached and used according to the 
rites and doctrines of the Church of England. 

The bloody military code of 1611, the first published for the 
government of the Colony, required every man and woman in 
the Colony, or who should afterwards arrive, to give an account 
of their faith and religion to the parish minister, and if not 
satisfactory to him, they should repair often to him for in- 
struction; and if they refuse to go, the Governor should whip 
the offender for the first offense; for the second refusal to be 
whipped twice and to acknowledge his fault on the Sabbath day 
in the congregation; and for the third offense to be whipped 
every day till he complied (Howell, Early Baptists of Vir- 
ginia, 38. Laws, &c., Strasbury. London, 1812). 

The tyrannical Sir W. Berkeley had passed, December 14, 
1662, the following law: 

382 A History of the Baptists 

Whereas many schismatical persons out of their averseness to the 
orthodox established religion, or out of new fangled conceits of their own 
heretical inventions, refused to have their children baptized. Be it there- 
fore enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that all persons that, in contempt 
of the divine sacrament of baptism, shall refuse when they may carry their 
child to at lawful minister in that country to have them baptized shall be 
amersed two thousand pounds of tobacco, half to the publique (Henning, 
Statutes at Large, Laws of Virginia, II. 165). 

These statutes were put into execution. The Baptists were 
democrats from, principle and naturally did not love^ the Es- 
tablishment. Hawks, the historian of the Episcopal Church of 
Virginia, says: 

No dissenters in Virginia experienced, for a time, harsher treatment 
than did the Baptists. They were beaten and imprisoned; and cruelty 
taxed its ingenuity to devise new modes of punishment and annoyance. 
The usual consequences followed ; persecution made friends for its victims ; 
and the men, who were not permitted to speak in public, found willing 
auditors in the sympathizing crowds who gathered around the prisons to 
hear them preach from grated windows (Hawks, Contributions to Ecclesi- 
astical History in the United States, I. 121. New York, 1836-9). 

'He further says: 

Persecution had taught the Baptists not to love the Establishment, 
and they now saw before them a reasonable prospect of overturning it 
entirely. In their Association they calmly discussed the matter, and re- 
solved on their course ; in this course they were consistent to the end ; 
and the war which they waged against the Church, was a war of extermi- 
nation. They seem to have known no relentings, and their hostility never 
ceased for seven and twenty years. They revenged themselves for their 
sufEerings by the almost total ruin of the Church ; and now commenced 
the assault, for, inspired by the ardours of patriotism which accorded to 
their interests. . . they addressed the convention, and informed that body 
that the religious tenets presented no obstacle to their taking up arms and 
fighting for the country ; and they tendered the services of their pastors 
in promoting the enlistment of the youth of their persuasion. . . A com- 
plimentary answer was returned to their address; and the order was 
made that the sectarian clergy should have the privilege of performing 
divine service to their respective adherents in the army, equally with the 
chaplains of the Established Church. This, it is believed, was the first 
steps towards placing the clergy of all denominations, upon an equal footing 
in Virginia (p. 138). 

The intense opposition to the Baptists in Virginia, in 1772, 
may be gathered from a letter written by James Madison to a 
friend in Pennsylvania. He says : 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 383 

That diabolical, hell-conceived principle of persecution rages among 
eome ; and to their eternal infamy the clergy can furnish their quota of 
imps for such purposes. There are at this time, in the adjacent county, 
not less than five or six well meaning men in close jail for publishing 
their religious sentiments, which, in the main, are very orthodox. 

In 1775 the Baptists of Virginia met in regular session in 
their General Association. "This was," says their historian, 
Robert Semple, "a very favorable season for the Baptists. Hav- 
ing been much ground under the British laws, or at least by 
the interpretation of them in Virginia, they were, to a man, 
favorable to any revolution by which they could obtain free- 
dom of religion. They had known from experience, that mere 
toleration was not a sufficient check, having been imprisoned at 
a time when the law was considered by many as being in force. 
It was therefore resolved at this session, to circulate petitions 
to the Virginia Convention or G-eneral Assembly, throughout 
the State, in order to obtain signatures. The prayer of these 
was, that the church establishment should be abolished, and re- 
ligion left to stand upon its own merits ; and, that all religious 
societies should be protected in the peaceable enjoyment of their 
own religious principles." 

Accordingly, in 1776, the Baptists were enabled to place 
upon their records that the bill had been passed and in their 
judgment that religious and civil liberty were duly safeguarded. 
This simply suspended the old laws o£ persecution. 

An Assessment Bill was passed, in 1784, by the General As- 
sembly of Virginia, through the influence of the Episcopalians 
and Presbyterians. The bill provided that a tax be levied upon 
all persons for the support of religion, and the money be di- 
vided among the leading sects. The Baptists would come in 
for a large share of the patronage. The legislature declared 
that "a general assessment for the support of religion ought to 
be extended to those who profess the public worship of the 
Deity" (Journal of the House of Delegates, October, 1784, 
32). Madison, writing of this struggle, under date of April 
12, 1785, says: 

The Episcopal people are generally for it (the tax) . . . The Presbyte- 
rians seem ready to set up an establishment which is to take them in as 
they were to pull down that which shut them out. . . I do not know a more 

384 A History of the Baptists 

shameful contrast than might be found between their memorials on the 
latter and the former occasion (Rives, Life and Times of Madison, I. 630). 

In this contest the Baptists stood alone and won. They were 
supported by individuals of all denominations. ''It is a matter 
of record," says Howell, " in their proceedings that when, in 

1785, they had repeated their Declaration of Principles, the 
General Committee placed them in the hands of Mr. Madison, 
with the request that he would embody them in their behalf, 
in a memorial to the legislature, praying for the passage of the 
law" (Howell, Early Baptists of Virginia, 92). His voice and 
that of Jefferson sounded the sentimentsi which were victorious. 

Mr. Jefferson prepared the "Act for Eeligious Freedom" 
which passed the General Assembly of Virginia in the year 

1786. The Act says: 

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall 
be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or minis- 
try whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened 
in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious 
opinions or belief ; and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters 
of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect 
their civil capacities. 

And though we well know that this Assembly, elected by the people 
for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain 
the acts of succeeding Assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our 
own, and that therefore to declare the act irrevocable, would be of no 
effect in law, yet we are free to declare, that the rights hereby asserted 
are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any shall be hereafter 
passed to repeal the present, or to narrow its operation, such an act will 
be an infringement of natural rights (Jefferson, Notes on the State of 
Virginia, 379, 382). 

Thus was liberty of soul secured in Virginia by the Baptists, 
The Establishment was finally put down. Dr. Hawks says: 

The Baptists were the principal promoters of this work, and in truth 
aided more than any other denomination in its accomplishment (Hawks, 
Ecclesiastical Contributions, 152). 

Bishop Meade, another Episcopalian, says : 

The Baptist Church in Virginia took the lead in dissent, and was the 
chief object of persecution by the magistrates and the most violent and 
persevering afterward in seeking the downfall of the Establishment (Meade, 
Old Parishes and Churches in Virginia, I. 52. Philadelphia, 1872). 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 385 

And he again says : 

The warfare begun by the Baptists, seven-and-twenty years before was 
now finished : The Church was in ruins, and the triumph of her enemies 
complete (Meade, II. 449, 450). 

In the period ending with the Eevolutionary War religious 
tests were everywhere. They were consistently opposed by the 
Baptists. As a result the Baptists were persecuted and came 
under the heavy hand of the law. Only in Khode Island was 
iiLerty of conscience maintained. The Baptists in bringing lib- 
el: ry of conscience to a Continent had undertaken a supreme 
task, but they were equal to the occasion. Professor George P. 
Ficher, has given a fine statement of the case. He says : 

At the beginning of the American Revolution, the Episcopal Church 
was established in the Southern colonies. In New Jersey and New York, 
it enjoyed the special favor of the government officials. In Massachusetts 
and Connecticut there had never been an establishment, in the strict sense 
of the term. Every town was obliged to sustain public worship and sup- 
rport a minister. There was an assessment upon the inhabitants for this 
purpose. As the people were for a long time almost exclusively Congre- 
gationalists, the worship was of this character. As other denominations 
arose, the laws were so modified as to allow the tax to be paid by each 
of the organizations to the support of its own worship. Such an act was 
passed in Connecticut in reference to the Episcopalians in 1727, shortly 
after the founding of Christ Church in Stratford, for their first religious 
society in the State; and iu 1729 the same right was extended to Quakers 
and Baptists. In places where no congregations had been gathered by 
dissidents from the prevailing system, individuals, whatever their religious 
beliefs might be, were comi)elled to contribute to the support of the Con- 
gregational worship there existing. This requirement was more and more 
counted a hardship. It is believed that in all the colonies there were 
religious tests in some form. Even in Pennsylvania and Delaware, none 
could vote save those who professed faith in Christ. When the revolu- 
tionary contest began, it was natural that there should spring up move- 
ments to abolish the religious inequalities which were a heritage from the 
past. The Baptists, who were outnumbered by none of the religious 
bodies except the Congregationalists, and who had felt themselves espe- 
cially aggrieved, at once bestirred themselves in Massachusetts and Vir- 
ginia to secure the repeal of obnoxious restrictions. A Baptist committee 
laid their complaints before the Massachusett delegates in the first Conti- 
nental Congress at Philadelphia. The support which the Baptists lent to 
the patriotic cause, and the proclamation of human rights which was 
made on every hand, won a hearing for their demands, and rendered them, 
after tedious delays, successful. In Virginia, Patrick Henry, Jefferson, 

386 A History of the Baptists 

and Madison enlisted in their favor. In 1785, the statute of religious 
freedom was adopted, of which JefEerson deemed it a great honor to have 
been the author, by which intervention in matters of faith and worship 
was forbidden to the State. All denominations were put thus on a level, 
and none were taxed for the support of religion. In New England, the 
release from this last requirement, or from the payment of a tax for a 
particular form of religion to be chosen by the citizen, was accomplished 
later. It took place in Connecticut in 1818 ; and the last of the provisions 
of this character did not vanish from the statute-book in Massachusetts 
until 1833, when Church and State were fully separated. In that State, 
from 1780 to 1811, a religious society had to be incorporated in order to 
have its members exempted from taxation for the parish church (Fisher, 
History of the Christian Church, 559, 560). 

Up to this date, as has been seen, the Baptists had been 
persecuted in the colonies, and their labors had been directed 
toward the overthrow of the iniquitious laws. The Eevolution- 
ary War opened up possibilities to overthrow the entire system 
of persecution. The Baptists were not slow to seize and im- 
prove the opportunity thus presented. They were everywhere 
the friends of liberty. 

The American War was brought on by the Episcopal Party 
in England who were opposed to freedom. The soldiers who 
fought against this country were mainly Irish Catholics, The 
foremost British statesmen thought the War unjustifiable. Wil- 
liam Pitt, May 30, ITS®, said in the House of Commons: 

The American war was conceived in injustice, and matured in folly, 
and that it exhibited the highest moral turpitude and depravity, and that 
England had nothing but victories over men struggling in the holy cause 
of liberty, or defeat which filled the land with mourning for the loss of 
dear and valuable relations slain in a detested and impious quarrel. 

Six months after this date, when the surrender of Comwallis 
was published in England, in the House of Commons, Fox 
adopted the words of Chatham, uttered at the beginning of the 
Revolution, and said: 

Thank God that America has resisted the claims of the mother country 
(Hume, Smollett and Farr, History of England, III. 155, 162). 

Burke and other noted Englishmen expressed themselves in 
the same manner. The Baptists of England were on the side 
of America. When Robert Hall was a little boy, he heard Rev. 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 387 

Eobert Eyland, the commanding Baptist preacher of IsTorth- 
ampton, say: 

If I were General Washington I would summon all the American 
officers; they should form a circle around me, and I would address them, 
and we would offer a libation in our own blood, and I would order one 
of them to bring a lancet and a punch-bowl ; and he should bleed us all, 
one by one, into this punch-bowl ; and I would be the first to bare my 
arm ; and when the bowl was full, and we had all been bled, I would call 
upon every man to consecrate himself to the work, by dipping his sword 
into the bowl, and entering into a solemn covenant engagement by oath, 
one to another, and we would swear iy him that sits upon the throne, and 
liveth forever and forever, that we would never sheath our swords while 
there was an English soldier in arms in America (Hall, Works, IV. 48-49. 
New York, 1844), 

The opinion of the English Baptists is set forth in a letter 
from; Dr. Rippon, the London Baptist preacher, to President 
Manning of Brown University. He says : 

I believe all of our Baptist ministers in tovsm, except two, and most 
of our brethren in the country, were on the side of the Americans in the 
late dispute. . . We wept when the thirsty plains drank the blood of your 
departed heroes, and the shout of a King was amongst us when your well- 
fought battles were crowned with victory. And to this hour we believe 
that the Independence of America will for a while secure the liberty of 
this country ; but that if the continent had been reduced, Britain would 
not have long been free (Guild and Manning, Brown University, 324. 
Boston, 1864). 

There was not a tory among the Baptists of America. Rhode 
Island was largely Baptist. 'The Baptists have always been 
more numerous," says Morgan Edwards, "than any other sect 
of Christians in Ehode Island; two thirds of the inhabitants, 
at least, are reputed Baptists. The governors, deputy-governors, 
judges, assemblymen and officers, civil and military, are chief- 
ly of that persuasion" (Collection of the Rhode Island Histori- 
cal Society, VI. 304). May 4, 1776, just two months before the 
Declaration of Independence, Rhode Island withdrew and repu- 
diated the rule of George III. This was thirty-two days be- 
fore Virginia renounced allegiance (.Howison, History of Vir- 
ginia, II. 133). In large numbers they sent their sons to the 
army. Bancroft speaks of Rhode Island at the Revolution "as 
enjoying a form of government, under its charter, so thorough- 

388 A History of the Baptists 

ly democratic that no change was required beyond a renuncia- 
tion of the king's name in the style of its public acts" (Ban^ 
croft, History of the United States, IX. 563). When thei Con- 
stitution of the United States was adopted E-hode Island had 
long enjoyed freedom. Arnold says : 

Rhode Island for more than a century and a half has enjoyed a free- 
dom unknown to any of her compeers, and through more than half of that 
period her people had been involved with rival Colonies in a struggle for 
political existence and for the maintenance of those principles of civil and 
religious freedom which are now everywhere received in America (Arnold, 
History of Rhode Island, II. 563). 

The Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia, Sep- 
tember 5, 1774, and in eight days there was a Committee of 
Baptists, headed by Rev. Isaac Backus, who solemnly recog- 
nized its authority. They bore the following memorial from 
the Warren Association of the Baptist churches of New Eng- 
" land : 

Honorable Gentlemen : As the Antipsedobaptist churches of New Eng- 
land are most heartily concerned for the preservation and defence of the 
rights and privileges of the country, and are deeply affected by the en- 
croachments upon the same, which have lately been made by the British 
parliament, and are willing to unite with our dear countrymen, vigorously 
to pursue every prudent measure for relief, so we would beg leave to say 
that, as a distinct denomination of Protestants, we conceive that we have 
an equal claim to charter-rights with the rest of our fellow subjects ; and \ 
yet have long been denied the free and full enjoyment of those rights, as 
to the support of religious worship. Therefore we, the elders and brethren 
of twenty Baptist churches met in Association at Medfield, twenty miles 
from Boston, September 14, 1774, have unanimously chosen and sent 
unto you the reverend and beloved Isaac Backus as our agent, to lay our 
case, in these respects, before you, or otherwise to use all the prudent 
means he can for our relief. 

John Gano, Moderator. 
Hezekiah Smith, Clerk. 

The Philadelphia Baptist Association, the oldest in America, 
likewise sent a Committee to assist the appeal from ISTew Eng- 
land. Dr. Samuel Jones, in a Centenary Sermon, in 1807, be- 
before the Philadelphia Association, says : 

When Congress met in this city, I was one of the committee under the 
appointment of your body, that, in company with the late Rev. Isaac 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 389 

Backus, of Massachusetts, met the delegates in Congress from that State, 
in yonder State House, to see if we could not obtain some security for 
that liberty, for which we were then fighting and bleeding by their side. 
It seemed unreasonable to us, that we should be called upon to stand up 
with them in the defence of liberty if, after all, it was to be liberty for 
one party to oppress another (Minutes of the Philadeljphia Association, 
459, 460). 

The constant plea of the Baptists was for liberty of con- 
science. To this memorial Congress gave a faithful hearing 
and a sympathetic reply as follows: 

In provincial Congress, Cambridge, December 9, 1774. On reading the 
memorial of the Rev. Isaac Backus, agent to the Baptist churches in this 
government. Resolved : That the establishment of civil and religous lib- 
erty, to each denomination in the province, is the sincere wish of this 
Congress. But being by no means vested with the powers of civil govern- 
ment, wiiereby they can redress the grievances of any person whatsoever, 
they therefore recommend to the Baptist churches, that when a General 
Assembly shall be convened in this colony, they lay the real grievances of 
said churches before ttie same, when and where their petition will most 
certainly meet with all that attention due to the memorial of a denomina- 
tion of Christians so well disposed to the public weal of their country. 
By order of Congress, 

John Hancock, President. 
A true extract from the minutes. 

Benjamin Lincoln, Secretary. 
(Backus, II. 202). 

John Adams had said: "We might as well expect a change 
in the solar system, as to expect they would give up their es- 
tablishment." The Baptists did not at this time gain their 
cause but progress was made toward true liberty. 

The Baptists everywhere enlisted in the army. The Baptist 
General Association notified the Convention of Virginia that 
they had considered what part it would be proper to take in 
the unhappy contest, and had determined that they ought to 
make a military resistance to Great Britain in her unjust in- 
vasion, tyrannical oppression, and repeated hostilities" (Head- 
ley, Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution, 250. New York, 
1864). They proclaimed that "they were to a man favorable 
to any revolution, by which they could obtain freedom of re- 
ligion" (Semple, History of Virginia Baptists, 62. E-ichmond, 

390 A History of the Baptists 

Baptist preachers became chaplains in the army. The Bap- 
tist General Association sent, in 1775, Rev. Jeremiah Walker 
and John Williams to preach to the soldiers. These were the 
most popular Baptist preachers in the Old Dominion. McClana- 
han raised a company chiefly of Baptists whom he commanded 
as captain and preached to as chaplain. Rev. Charles Thomp- 
son of Massachusetts served as chaplain three years and Rev. 
Hezekiah Smith was from the same State.- Rev. Samuel Rogers 
of Philadelphia was one of the foremost preachers of the day. 
He was appointed chaplain of a brigade by the ILegislature. 
Rev. David Jones followed Gates through two campaigns. Rev. 
John. Gano had great mental powers and as "a minister he 
shone like a star of the first magnitude in the American 
churches" (Sprague, Annals of the American Baptist Pulpit, 
66). He was the foremost chaplain in the army. Headley 
says of him: 

In the fierce conflict on Chatterton's Hill he was continually under 
fire, and his cool and quiet courage in thus fearlessly exposing himself was 
afterwards commented upon in the most glowing terms by the officers who 
stood near him (Headley, Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution, 255). 

Other Baptists served the Revolutionary cause in many ways. 
Jam,es Manning, the President of Brown University, was the 
most popular man in Rhode Island. He filled for the govern- 
ment many delicate positions and was elected unanimously to 
Congress. John Hart, a member of the old Hopewell Bap- 
tist church, was one of the signers of The Declaration of In- 
dependence. Col. Joab Houghton was a valuable officer in the 
army. It was thought by many that the Baptists were too 

[For their patriotic endeavors they received the highest praise. 
Thomas Jefferson, writing to the Baptist church, of Buck 
Mountain, Albemarle County, Virginia, neighbors of his, in 
reply to a letter which they had sent him, says : 

I thank you, my friends and neighbors, for your kind congratulations 
on my return to my native home, and on the opportunity it will give me 
of enjoying, amidst your affections, the comforts of retirement and rest. 
Your approbation of my conduct is the more valued as you have best 
known me, and is an amiple reward for my services I may have rendered. 
We have acted together from the origin to the end of the memorable Revo- 

The Origin of the American Baptist Churches 391 

lution, and we have contributed, each in a line allotted us, our endeavors 
to render its issue a permanent blessing to our country. That our social 
intercourse may, to the evening of our days, be cheered and cemented by 
witnessing the freedom and happiness for which we have labored, will be 
my constant prayer. Accept the offering of my affectionate esteem and 
respect (Jefferson, Complete Works, VIII. 168). 

In iis complete works there are replies to congratulatory ad- 
dresses from the Danbnry, Baltimore and Ketocton Associa- 
tions; and from the representatives of six Baptist Associations 
which met at Chesterfield, Va., November 21, 1808. The last 
body was the General Meeting of the Baptists of Virginia. To 
them he says: 1 

In reviewing the history of the times through which we have passed, 
no portion of it gives greater satisfaction than that which presents the 
efforts of the friends of religious freedom with which they were crowned. 
We have shown, by fair trial, the great and interesting experiment whether 
freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience 
to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort 
which results from leaving one to profess freely and openly those princi- 
ples of religion which are the inductions of his own reason (Jefferson, 
Ck)miplete Works, VIII. 139). 

When the Constitution of the United States was presented to 
the States for ratification it was doubtful whether it would 
pass. Massachusetts and Virginia were the pivotal States. 
Massachusetts was evenly divided and it was only through the 
labors of Manning, Stillman and Backus that the Constitution 
was adopted by that State. The majority was nineteen votes. 
There were 187 yeas and 168 nays on the last day of the ses- 
sion, and '^before the final question was taken. Governor Han- 
cock, the president, invited Dr. Manning to close the solemn 
convocation with prayer. The prayer was one of lofty patriot- 
ism and every heart was filled with reverence." 

The vote of Virginia was epally in doubt. John Leland, 
the Baptist preacher, and James Madison were candidates, in 
Orange County for the Legislature. Orange was a Baptist 
county and the probabilities were that Leland would be elected. 
He withdrew in favor of Madison, and Madison was elected and 
in the Legislature he was just able to save the Constitution. 
J . S. Barbour, of Virginia, in 1857, in an eulogy of James 
Madison said : 

392 A History of the Baptists 

That the credit of adopting the. Constitution of the United States 
properly belonged to a Baptist clergyman, formerly of Virginia, by the 
name of Leland. . . If Madison had not been in the Virginia Convention, 
that Constitution would not have been ratified by the State, and as the 
approval of nine States was required to give effect to this instrument, 
and as Virginia was the ninth, if it had been rejected by her, the Consti- 
tution would have failed (the remaining States following her example), 
and that it was by Elder Leland's influence that Madison was elected to 
that Convention (Sprague, Annals of the American Baptist Pulpit, 179). 

One thing more must be done to secure soul-liberty in tbis 
country beyond peradventure. There was an open question 
whether the Constitution in the form adopted safeguarded lib- 
erty. A General Committee of the Baptists of Virginia met in 
Williams' meeting-house, Goochland County, March 7, 1788. 
The first question discussed was: 

Whether the new federal constitution, which had now lately made its 
appearance in public, made sufBcient provision for the secure enjoyment 
of religious liberty ; on which, it was argued unanimously, that, in the 
opinion of the general committee it did not (Semple, History of the Vir- 
ginia Baptists, 76, 77). 

Upon consultation with Mr. Madison the Committee ad- 
dressed General Washington. The next year, within four 
months after Washington had become President, this address 
was formally presented, in which they expressed the fear "that 
our religious rights were not well secured in our new Consti- 
tution of government." They solicited his influence for proper 
legislation, and he returned a favorable answer. As a result, 
an amendment to the Constitution was made the next month, 
September 25, which says: 

Congress shall make no law, establishing articles of faith, or mode of 
worship or prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the free- 
dom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to 
assemble, and to petition to the general government for a redress of griev- 

'Ro more fitting conclusion can be had to this volume than to 
quote the language of the Father of his Country. The days 
of persecution, of blood and of martyrdom were passed. Civil 
and soul liberty, the inalienable rights of man, enlargement, 
benevolent operations, educational advantages, and world wide 

The Origin of the American Ba-ptist Churches 393 

missionary endeavor, — all had been made possible by the 
struggles of the past. George Washington had been consulted 
by the Baptists to assist in securing freedom of conscience, 
and he replied: 

I have often expressed my sentiments, that every man, conducting 
himjself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his 
religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity accord- 
ing to the dictates of his own conscience. While I recognize with satis- 
faction, that the religious society of which you are members have been, 
throughout America, uniformly and almost unanimously the firm friends 
to civil liberty, and the persevering promoters of our glorious revolution, 
I cannot hesitate to believe, faithful supporters of a free, yet efficient gen- 
eral government. Under this pleasing expectation, I rejoice to assure 
them, that they may rely on my best wishes and endeavors to advance 
their prosperity (Sparks, Writings of George Washington, XII. 155. Bos- 
ton, 1855). 

Books for further reading and reference: 

David Benedict, The History of the Baptist Denomination in America ; 
Henry C. Vedder, The Baptists ; A. H. Newman, A History of the Baptist 
Churches in the United States. 


Abelard, 184. 
Abbot, Robert, 283. 
Administrator of Baptism, 172, 

249, 250, 254. 
Albigenses, 60-64, 67, 70. 

From the Paulicians, 52, 55, 60, 

In Italy and Southern France, 

Pure men, 61. 

Rejected infant baptism, 60. 

Practised immersion, 61. 

Writings destroyed, 61. 

Antiquity of, 62. 
Ambrose of Milan on immersion, 

American Baptists, 359-393. 
Amersham church, 284. 
Anabaptists, 83-86. 

A converted membership, 103. 

Among the Donatists, 46. 

Among the Montanists, 43. 

Among the Novatians, 44. 

Among the Waldenses, 82. 

Character of, 97, 99-101. 

C o n g r egational government, 

Connection with older parties, 

Dutch historians on, 95, 96. 

External points of likeness, 90. 

Found in the places of the Wal- 
denses, 89, 90, 94. 

In Bohemia, 94, 95. 

In Moravia, 93. 

In the Netherlands, 92, 96, 99. 

In Switzerland, 92, 100. 

Infant baptism, 104, 

Immersion among, 92, 105-114, 

In many countries, 86. 

Lord's Supper, 104. 

Many sources, 87-89. 

Missionaries, 104. 

Novelty of, 98. 

Numbers of, 98. 

Origin of, 83. 

Preachers from the Waldenses, 
90, 91. 

Succession among, 84-87. 

The nature of a church, 103. 

Translation of the Bible, 91, 
Apostolic Fathers, 29. 
AppenzeUj, Immersions in, 120. 
Abas, Synod of, 55. 
Arminians, The, 249. 

Arnold of Brescia, 6G, 67. 
Arnoldists, 67. 
Art, Christian, 36, 37. 
Arundel, Thomas, 184. 
AsHFORD church, 284. 
Associations, 313, 314. 

Business, 315, 316. 

Circular letters, 319. 

Messengers, 315. 

Number of, 316. 

Time of meeting, 315. 

Power of appeal, 316, 317. 
Augsburg, Church in, 126; the 
practice of dipping, 126-128. 
Augustine, 32, 33. 
Austin, 178-181. 

Backus, Isaac, 391. 

Baillie, Robert, 175. 

Bainham, James, 190. 

Bampfield, Edward, 333. 

Baptism, believers, 16-18, 29 ; im- 
mersion in the New Testa- 
ment, 18 ; baptismal salvation 
and other errors, 28; immer- 
sion in the ancient churches, 
35-38; the practice on the 
continent, A. D., 1600, 38; in 
England, 173; among the 
Waldenses, 81, 82; among 
the Anabaptists, 105. 

Baptist Annual Register, 348. 

Baptist Magazine, 348. 

Baptisteries, 36, 57; in private 
houses, 127, 128, 129 ; in Eng- 
land, 288 ; in St. Gall, 119 ; in 
Augsburg, 126. 

Baptists, the name, 97 ; first used 
in England (1569), 206; the 
Baptists new, 276, 277 ; prac- 
tised dipping in England, 
288; History, the sources of, 
4; differences among Bap- 
tists, 5. 

Baptized Christians, 273. 

Barber, Edward, 275, 305, 306. 

Barbon, p., 275, 276. 

Barnabas, 29. 

Basil the Great, 32. 

Basins, The use of, 287. 

Batte, John, 253. 

Baxter, Richard, 302, 305, 332. 

Beghards, The, 89. 

Bellan, Giles van, 201. 

Berengarius, 67-69. 

Bernard of Clairvaux, 66, 79. 

Beza, Theodore, 73, 331. 



General Index 

BiDDENDEN church, 284. 

Blacklock, Samuel, 253, 261-267. 

Blandratra, Georgius, 149. 

Blaurock, George, 116, 117. 

Blount, Richard, 281-267. 

Bocking-Braintree church, 198, 

BOGOMILS, The, antiquity of, 58; 
persecutions of, 58, 59. 

Bohemia, 94, 96. 

Bonner, Edward. 203. 

Books burnt, 192; seditious, 209. 

Booth, Abraham, 348, 349, 357. 

Bow Lane, Church in, 190. 

Bradford church, 285. 

Brewer, Thomas, 285. 

Bridgewater church, 209, 284. 

Bristol College, 324, 357, 358. 

British and Foreign Bible So- 
ciety, 354. 

Briton, First churches in, 171; 
Baptists in, 171, 175, 176; 
immersion, 176; Austin tries 
to convert the Britons, 179, 
180; the persecutions, 181. 

Browne, Eobert, 211-218. 

Brov/nists, The, 236, 251, 285, 
302, 314. 

Bunyan, John 334, 335, 341, 342, 
343, 349, 350. 

Burial in Baptism, 132. 

Busher, Mark Leonard, 220, 221, 
295, 331, 347, 351. 

Calvin, John, 198, 199, 294; on 
dipping among Baptists, 112, 

Canne, John, 272, 273. 

Canon Hipolyte on immersion, 

Caper, John, 151. 

Carey, William, 336, 348, 352, 

Catabaptists, The, 97, 110, 111, 

Catacombs, The, 36. 

Cathari, The, 45, 55, 61, 62, 90. 

Cecil, William (Lord Burleigh), 

Charles, I., 216, 283; Baptist 
churches in the reign of, 251, 
284, 285 ; number of the Bap- 
tists, 285 ; the good character 
of the Baptists, 286; immer- 
sion among, 287. 

Charles, Thomas, 354. 

Chauncy, Charles, 363, 364, 365, 
367, 371. 

Christian Art, 36. 

Church, The, definition of, 16; 
voluntary body, 13; indepen- 

dence of, 14, 28, 29; officers 
of, 14, 15; ordinances of, 15; 
continuation of, 20-23; mis- 
sionary work, 20. 

Cirencester church, 285. 

Clarke, John, 365, 368, 379. 

Clement, 29, 30. 

Clyfton, Richard, 245. 

COLLEGIANTS, The, 147, 148, 228. 

Collier, Thomas, 293, 303, 321. 

Commercial street church, 285. 

Confessions, Augsburg, 16, 
104; Bekentnesse van Beiden 
Sacramentum, 165-166; of 
English people, 325; Ortho- 
dox 1679, 340; Particular 
Baptists, 1689, 255, 340; Par- 
ticular Baptists, 1643, 224, 
272, 275, 279-282, 313, 325; 
Somerset, 257. 

Constantine the Great, 32, 39. 

Constantine the Paulicians, 50. 

CoNSTiTUTiONof the United 
States, 391. 

Conventicles, 183, 197, 208. 

Cooke, Robert, 201, 202. 

Councils, Carthage, 32; Con- 
stance, 191; Constantinople, 
32; Elvira or Grenada, 31; 
Laodicce, 32; Mela, 32; 
Lateran, 63, 67; Ravenna, 
37; Gerunda, 33; Toulouse, 
63; Tours, 63; Trent, 106. 

Coventry, Churches in, 284. 

Crandall, John, 365, 368, 379. 

Cromwell, Oliver, 331, 339, 340, 

Crowle and Epworth church, 209, 
223, 284. 

Dartmouth church, 209. 

Deacons, 325. 

Debates on baptism, 297, 298, 
308; Featley-Kiffin, 299-302, 
309, 310; Featley - Denne, 
310; Baxter-Tombes, 310; 
Tombes-Vaughan and 
Cragge, 310, 311; Russell, 
Williams and Sharpe-Chan- 
dler, Leigh and Robinson, 
311, 312. 

Denck, Hans, 90, 103, 126. 

Denne, Henry, 310, 333. 

Dioclesian, 176, 271. 

Dipping, in Germany, 106, 108; 
in England, 194; in Pom- 
erania, 106; in the Reforma- 
tion, 105; among the Ana- 
baptists, 109-114. 

Discipline, 42, 43, 326, 327. 

''Do9:'z bath," 142, 171, 172. 

General Index 


DoNATiSTS, The, 6, 45-47, 174, 

Doop, 131, 142, 165, 166. 
Dorchester church, 285. 
Dover, Debate on baptism, 866. 
DucHER, Adolf, 128. 
DUNSTER, Henry, 365, 366, 381. 
DuVeil, Charles, 333. 

Eaton, Sam, 268, 269, 270, 272. 

Edgar, King, on infant baptism, 

Edict of Milan, 39. 

Edward III., 183. 

Edward VI., 196 ; Baptists burnt, 
196, 198, 199; numbers of, 
196-198; influence of Calvin, 
198 ; the king immersed, 194, 
293; immersion in the reign 
of, 99-201. 

Edwin, King, 181. 

Egyptian Church Acts on immer- 
sion, 35. 

Elizabeth, Queen, immersed, 194, 
293; immersion in the reign 
of, 213-216; Baptists and 
Anabaptists, 205; the name 
Baptists, 205, 206; numbers 
of Baptists, 206-208 ; 
churches of, 206, 209; per- 
secutions of, 205, 209; the 
Baptists burnt, 210. 

Emden, Baptists in, 131, 132. 

Endicott, Governor, 380. 

English Baptists, 171-173. 

Ephrem Syrus, 32. 

Erasmus on dipping, 111. 

Essex, Churches in, 197, 198. 


Evangelical Magazine, 348. 

Eythorne church, 197, 199, 284. 

Faithful Post, 348. 

Faithful Scout, 348. 

Farel on dipping, 111, 112. 

Faringdon church, 209. 

Fawcett, John, 358. 

Feversham church, 191. 

Fish, Simon, 116, 190. 

Fleetwood, Charles, 332. 

Fluery on dipping among Bap- 
tists; 115. 

Foster, John, 358. 

Fox, W., 356. 

Friesland, Baptisms in, 131. 

Fuller, Andrew, 336, 350, 351, 
352, 357. 

Gano, John, 390. 
Gardiner, Stephen, 203. 
Geesteuanus, John, 147. 

General Assemblies of General 
Baptists, 316. 

General Assemblies of Particular 
Baptists, 318, 319. 

General Association of Virginia, 
383, 389, 392. 

General Baptists, 249. 

Gerhard, 182. 

Germany, Immersion in, 109. 

Gerritz, Lubbert, 224, 231. 

Gill, John, 347, 348, 357. 

Glen, Baptisms in the river of, 

Goare, Thomas, 281. 

GoNESius, Petrus, 149. 

GoSNOLD, John, 333. 

Grantham, Thomas, 321. 

Grebel, Conrad, 116-120. 

Greek lexicons, 18; used in Eng- 
land, 290, 291. 

Grevill, Alice, 190. 

Grindal, Edmund, 210. 

Gross, Jacob, 128. 

Gundulphus, Confession of, 55. 

Gunn, Thomas, 275, 281. 

Hall, Robert, 336, 357, 358, 386. 

Hamburg, Dipping in, 109. 

Hamsterly church, 285. 

"Handful of water," 142, 143. 

Harrison, Gen. John, 332. 

Hart, Henry, 197. 

Hart, John, 390. 

Harvard University, 365, 366. 

Heath, Edward, 281. 

Heidleberg Catechism, 145. 

Helwys, Thomas, 224, 225, 227, 

Henricians, The, 66. 

Henry II., 182. 

Henry VIIL, 189, 190, 255; per- 
secutes the Baptists, 190; 
opinions of the Baptists, 190, 
191 _; laws strengthened 
against, 191; foreign Bap- 
tists, 191, 195; Baptists 
burnt, 191, 192; the Baptists 
practise immersion, 194-196; 
the burning causes a sensa- 
tion, 192; the fortitude of the 
Baptists, 192. 

Henry of Lausanne, 66. 

Henry, Patrick, 385. 

Heresies in the ancient churches, 
27, 28. 

Hermann, Thomas, 90. 

Hewling, James, 344, 345. 

High Commission Court, 209, 231, 
270, 287. 

Hill Cliffe church, 182-184. 

HoBSON, Paul, 252, 264, 275, 281. 


General Index 

HoFMANN, Melchior, 129-133. 

Holmes, Obadiah, 365, 368, 379. 

Howard, John, 349. 

Howe, Samuel, 273, 274, 360. 

Hubbard church, 272, 273, 274. 

Hubmaier, Balthasar, 6, 98, 102, 
126, 134-137, 154; opposition 
to infant baptism, 133; the 
practice of dipping, 134; de- 
finition of a church, 136; not 
an Anabaptist, 136. 

Hughes, Joseph, 354, 355. 

Hus, John, 94. 


Hut, Hans, 90, 126. 

Hutchinson, Anne, 371, 373. 

Hutchinson, Mrs. Lucy. 332, 333. 

Ignatius, 30. 

Immersion in America, 361, 362. 

Immersion in England, 173, 177, 

Independents, The, 211-214, 250, 
251, 252, 270, 272, 275, 288, 

Infant baptism, not Scriptural, 
16-18; not taught by the 
Fathers, 29; first reference 
to, 31 ; Councils on, 31, 32 ; of 
slow growth, 32 ; first rule of, 
33; the first law of, 33; 
among the Albigenses, 63, 
64 ; among the Waldenses, 77- 
81; among the Petrobrusians, 
65; unknown in Briton, 177; 
baptism delayed, 31-33; first 
instance of, 181. 

Injunctions, 209. 

Ireland, Churches in, 178. 

Irenaeus, 30. 

Italy, Baptists drowned, 124. 

Jacob, Henry. 250, 258, 264, 265, 
268, 272, 276. 

James I., 216; condition of af- 
fairs, 216; weakness of the 
Baptists, 216; their growth, 
217 ; petition for liberty, 217 ; 
A n Humble Supplication, 
218; first book on liberty of 
Conscience, 220, 221. 

Jefferson, Thomas, 385, 390, 391. 

Jepfery, William, 306, 307. 

Jessey, Henry, 269, 271, 272, 333. 

Joan of Kent, 186, 226. 

John of Leyden, 161, 162. 

Justin Martyr, 30, 39. 

Kaser, Leonard, 90. 
Keach, Benjamin, 239, 321, 356, 

Keith, George, 358. 
Kemp, John, 198. 
Kent, Churches in, 197, 199. 
Kiffin MSS., 261-267. 
KiFFiN, William, 239, 264, 270, 
271, 281, 309, 310, 320, 321, 333, 

344, 345. 
KiLCOP, Thomas, 275, 276, 281, 
KilmighTon church, 285. 
King church, 285. 
Klopreis, Johann, 165. 
Knollys, Hanserd, 239, 260, 261, 

272, 320, 333, 366, 371. 
Koch, Hans, 90. 
KoDDE, van der, 146. 

Lactantius, 39. 

Lamb, Thomas, 304, 305. 

LANDdRAFT of Hesse, 192. 

Lasco, John a, 214. 

Lathrop, John, 252, 268, 269, 270, 
271, 364. 

Laud, William, 6, 231, 283, 284, 
286, 287, 294, 370. 

Lech, Baptism in the river of, 

Leland, John, 391, 392. 

Liberty of conscience, 38-41 ; 138, 
139, 158, 159; in America, 
360, 370, 384; among the 
Anabaptists, 102; among the 
Donatists, 46, 47; in Eng- 
land, 313, 336, 337-339; 
among the Paulicians, 51, 52; 
among the Peasants, 154; in 
Miinster, 157-166; in Poland, 

Lilburne, John, 332. 

Lincoln, Churches in, 223, 284. 

Locke, John, 220. 

Lollards, The, 173, 183; great 
numbers of, 184; infant bap- 
tism among, 185, 186, 187; 
continued to the Reformation, 
187, 260. 

London, Churches in, 197, 209, 

Lord's Supper, 19, 185. 

Lucius, King, 176. 

Luther, Martin, 91, 100, 101, 163, 
183; practised dipping, 105- 
109; restores dipping, 108; 
the Baptists dipped, 109, 110, 
111; "a handful of water," 
142; the cause of the Peas- 
ant War, 155, 156. 

Mabbatt, John, 281. 
Maclaren, Alexander, 358. 
Maidstone church, 197, 284. 
Manchester College. 358. 

General Index 


Manichaeans, 48, 64. 

Manning, James, 387, 390, 391. 

Manz, Felix, 123, 124, 156. 

Mary, Queen, '202-205; burnt 
heretics, 202, 203, 204; Bap- 
tists numerous, 204; immer- 
sion among, 204, 205. 

Marshman, Joshua, 353, 354. 

Massachusetts Court, 367, 368, 
378 381 

Mason, Col. George, 332. 

Matthysen, Jan., 167. 

Melanchthon, Philip, 111, 160. 

Mennonites, The, 111, 160; prac- 
tised dipping, 145-147; later 
practised affusion, 146; or- 
igin of, 5; connected with 
John Smyth, 245, 246. 

Menno, Simon, 141-146, 231, 245, 

Mercurius Politicus, 348. 

Meyster, Leonard, 90. 

Middleton, Humphrey, 197, 198. 

Milan, The Cathedral. 39. 

Mile End Academy (Midland), 

Milton, John, 220, 332, 341. 

Ministers, ordination of, 326; 
support of, 321, 322, 323; 
education of, 321, 323, 324. 

Missionaries in Briton, 176. 

Missionary Secretary, 353. 

Missions, 353. 

Montanist churches, 6, 43, 44. 

Monuments, The, 36. 

Moody, Lady, 367, 368. 

Moravia, Baptists in, 133-137. 

Moravian chronicle, 117, 118. 

Morton, John, 222. 

MuNDAY, Thomas, 281. 

Myles, John, 375. 

MiiNSTER, The Kingdom of, 153, 
157; the historians prejudic- 
ed, 157; political move, 158; 
the conditions in the city, 
158; condemned because a 
failure, 159; Polygamy in, 
159, 160 ; the Anabaptists not 
the originators of the move- 
ment, 160; the leaders Pedo- 
baptists, 160; the Munster 
men not the same as Ana- 
baptists, 161-164; baptisms 
in, 164-170. 

MuNZER, Thomas, 153, 157; dis- 
avowed by Baptists, 156. 

The Netherlands, 95; Baptists 
in, 138; dipping in, 138; 
meaning of the word baptize, 

Newcastle church, 285. 
Newgate church, 284. 
Nonconformists, The, 173. 
Northumberland Laws on in- 
fant baptism, 181, 182. 
Norwich, Baptists in, 211-213. 


NovATiAN churches, 4, 44, 45, 174. 
Nude baptisms, 106. 
Number of Baptists in England, 
193, 195, 196, 206, 207. 

Oecolampadius, 157. 
Olchon church, 285. 
Origen, 31. 
Oswald, King 182. 
Overton, 332. 

Oxford, Paulicians in, 182; Bap- 
tists in, 209, 284. 

Pagan temples turned into 
churches, 176. 

Painter whipped, 368. 

Pare, George van, 199. 

Parliament favors the Baptists, 

Particitlar Baptists, 225, 249- 
254; 282; origin of, 249; 
views on administrator of, 
baptism, 249-253 ; long in ex- 
istance, 254-261; the Blount 
incident, 254, 261; practised 
dipping, 268-276 ; Associa- 
tions among, 316. 

Pastor of Hermas, 29, 30. 

Pastors College, 358. 

Patient, Thomas, 281. 

Patrick, St., 178. 

Paulicians, The, 4, 48-60; their 
origin, 48-50; sources of in- 
formation, 48; The Key of 
Truth, 48; the conversion of 
Constantino, 50; connections 
with Mohammed, 50, 51 ; suc- 
cession of, 53, 54 ; their num- 
bers, 51; the State of Te- 
price, 51 ; connections with 
the Albigenses, 52-55; not 
Manichaeans, 55, 64; confes- 
sions of, 55, 56 ; form of bap- 
tism, 55, 56, 57; in England, 
182, 183; adoptionists, 6, 56; 
doctrines of, 55-57. 

Paulinus of York, 181. 

Paulus, Gregory, 150. 

Peasant Wars, 98; The Twelve 
Articles, 154, 155; defeat of, 

Penn, Sir William, 332, 


General Index 

Persecutions of the Baptists, 51, 
62, 101 ; in England, 176, 182, 
190, 284, 330 ; in Switzerland, 

Petition to the House of Lords, 

Petrobrusians, The, 64, 66. 

Phelps, Joseph, 281. 

Philadelphia Association, 388, 

Philip II., 203, 210. 

PiCARDISM, 90, 94. 

Plymouth, Baptists in, 360, 361. 

Poland, Churches in, 148-152; 
school in, 152. 

Polygamy, 159, 160. 

PoMERANiA, Baptism in, 128. 

Popes, Eugene III., 66; Gregory 
the Great, 28, 29; Innocent 
III., 63, 77; Leo the Great, 
29, 36; Leo X., 106; Lucius 
III., 67; Paul III., 106; Pela- 
gius, 36; Stephen III., 37; 
Sylvester, 72. 

Powell, Vavasor, 333. 

Presbyterians, 220, 276; intro- 
duce pouring in England, 
293-296; Pass laws in Par- 
liament, 337-339; persecute, 
296, 297. 

Providence, R. I., 362, 375; im- 
mersion in, 364; laws of, 
376; charter, 376; liberty in, 

Puritans, 173, 251; provided for 
adult baptism, 287. 

Purity of the ancient churches, 
24-27, 42, 43. 

Quakers, origin of, 5, 371, 372. 

Racovian Catechism, 150, 152. 

Raikes, Robert, 355, 356. 

Rawdon College, 358. 

Reformation in England, 189. 

Reformers, View of, 105. 

Regents Park College, 357. 

Rembrandt, 139, 140. 

"Revived immersion," 171. 

Rhine, Im^mersions in, 116, 128, 

Rhode Island, 377, 378. 

Richardson, Samuel, 264, 281. 

Rink, Melchoir, 131, 132. 

RiPPON, John, 357. 

RiS, Hans de, 224, 231, 246. 

Rituals on immersion, 35, 36. 

Roll, Heinrich, 165. 

Roman Catholic practice of dip- 
ping, 106, 107. 

Ronemberg, Simon, 151. 

Rothmann, Bernhardt, 161, 165. 
ROUBLI, William, 133. 
Russian Baptist, 5. 
Ryland, John, 336, 357. 

Sabians, 50. 
Sacraments, 19. 
Sadmore church, 284. 
Sattler, Michsel, 90. 
Saulsbury, Churches in, 284; 

Liturgy, 193. 
Saxons, Conversion of, 178, 179. 
Scheimer, Leonard, 90. 
Scituate, Immersion in, 363, 364, 
365, 366. 

Sea Cunke, 379. 
Seven Churches, 251. 

Singing, among the English Bap- 
tists, 328, 329; among the 
Waldenses, 76. 

Sitter River, Immersions in, 119, 

Skippard, Thomas, 281. 

Smithfield, Baptists burned in, 
190, 210. 

Smyth, John, 4, 222-248, 249; 
Material rare, 222; instabil- 
ity, 224; man of ability, 224; 
abused, 224 ; baptism of, 223 ; 
English Baptists not from, 
225, 226; Se-Baptism, 224, 
225; baptized by immersion, 
226-244; effort to unite with 
the Mennonites, 224, 244-247. 

Slachtchaef on dipping among 
Baptists, 112. 

Stanley church, 285. 

Snyder, Sicke, 141, 

Socinus, Faustus, 56, 151. 

Socrates, 38. 

Southwark church, 284, 300. 

Spilsbury, John, 239, 251, 252, 
253, 251, 263, 264, 268, 270, 
271, 272, 274, 281. 

Sprinkling, origin of, 37, 38; 
among Baptists, 116-118. 

Spurgeon, Charles H., 239, 266, 
357, 358. 

St. Gall, immersions in, 119; 
baptistery in, 119; Baptists 
drowned for dipping, 121. 

Stoney Stratford church, 284. 

Stralen, Gottfried, 165. 

Strapade, Hermann, 165. 

Strassburg, Baptists in 128. 

Succession of churches, 6, 7, 20- 
23, 44, 53, 54, 171-173, 254.^ 

Sum of the Holy Scripture, 115, 
116, 194. 

Sunday School Society, 356. 

Sunday Schools, 355, 356. 

General Index 


Sutton church, 284. 

Swale, Baptisms in, 179, 181. 

SwANSAE church, 379. 

Sword, Use of, 157, 164. 

Synod of Amesbury, 182; Sens, 

62; Wengrow, 149, 150; 

North Holand, 231. 

Taufen, Its meaning, 108, 
Taylor, Dan, 324. 
Teprice, State of, 51. 
Terrell, Edward, 324. 
Tertullian, 26, 28. 35, 38, 43. 
Theodulf of Orleans, 41. 
Tipping, George, 281. 
Tiverton church, 284. 
TOMBES, John, 333. 
Trade Unions, 90. 
Transylvania, Churches in, 138, 

, 148. 
Tribute paid by Waldenses, 76. 
Trito-Baptists, 137. 
TpBS used for dipping, 112, 129, 

Turner and Fenner, 285. 
Turner, William, 201, 202. 
Tyndale, William, 187, 188. 

Ulimann, Wolfgang, 118. 
Uniformity in Religion, 6, 210. 
Unitakian Baptists, 148-152. 

Vienna, Baptists drowned in, 124. 
Vinne, Dionysius, 165. 
Virginia, Persecutions in, 381. 
Visitations, The, 209. 

Waldenses, The, 64, 65, 69-82, 
138, 173, 259; origin of, 69, 
163; the name, 70, 71; anti- 
quity, 71-75; Leonists, 72; 
extent, 77; purity of life, 75; 
knowledge of Scripture, 76; 

principles, 76 ; women among, 
77; oaths, 77; infant baptism, 
77; confessions, 78; catech- 
ism, 78; liturgy, 79; immer- 
sion among, 81, 82, 115; con- 
nection with Anabaptists, 82, 
90; decline of, 82; in Eng- 
land, 184; in Netherlands, 

Waldo, ' Peter, 70, 

Walker, Jeremiah, 390. 

Ward, Samuel, 353, 354. 

Warham, William, 190, 201. 

Warrington church, 284. 

Washington, George, 159, 392, 

Waterlanders, The, 231. 

Webb, John, 275, 281. 

Wedmore church, 209. 

Welsh Baptists, 177, 368. 

Westminster Assembly, 276, 291, 
293, 294, 347. 

Weymouth church, 367, 368. 

Whitefield, George, 348. 

Whitgift, John, 210, 211. 

Wickham, William, 223. 

Wightman, Edward, 217. 

William, Prince of Orange, 138, 

Williams, Roger, 274, 334, 860. 
368 ; baptism of, 360, 371-374. 

Witter, William, 879. 

Wybranson, Rejmier, 246. 

Wyclif, John, 171, 173, 183, 184- 
187, 260. 

Zurich, 92, 93; persecutions in, 
121; decree of, 121-124; Bap- 
tists drowned in, 123. 

Zwingli, Ulrich, 93, 100, 101, 118, 
134, 163; immersion, 109- 
111; practice of the Baptists, 
109, 110, 111. 


Abrahamson 95 

Acland 62, 75 

Acta et Statu ta synodica Ec- 

clesia Pomeranea 108 

Acta Eegia 209 

Acts of the High Court of 

Commission 304 

Adams, John 389 

Adeney 49, 50, 55 

Ainsworth 245 

Alabama Baptist, The 130 

Alanus of Auxerre 77, 80 

Albaspinus 46 

Allen, Dr 88 

Allen, William 277 

Allix, Pierre, 

55, 56, 61, 63, 155, 156 

Alzog, John 23 

Ambrose of Milan 35 

Ambrosiaster 15 

America Journal of Theology, 

53, 71, 81 

American Literature 410 

Ames, William 302 

Ammonius 193 

Anabaptists Routed 196 

AngTis, Joseph, 

231, 284, 285, 298, 299 

Ante-Nicene Fathers 41, 47 

Appenzell Chronik 121 

Aquinas, Thomas 81 

Arber. E 194, 248 

Archaeology 213, 288 

Armitage, Thomas....l37, 236, 261 

Arnold, Gottfried 162 

Arnold, S. G 388 

Articles to be enquired of 288 

Arx 189, 190 

Ashead 234 

Ashton, Robert 227, 229 

Aubrey -358 

Augsburg Confession 16, 104 

Augustine, St 32, 33, 46, 47 

Austrian Inquisitor .— 81 

Austro-silvius, Peter Jacobi, 

147, 231 
Aylmer, John 208 

Backus. Isaac, 145, 146, 366, 368, 

369, 372. 381, 388, 389 

Baillie, Robert....l75, 237, 295, 330 

Bales, J 200, 201 

Balfour, Alexander 290 

Bancroft, George, 

159, 377, 387, 388 
Baptist Thfi. (London) 209 

Baptist Magazine, The 

86, 146, 260, 331, 349, 356 

Baptist Quarterly Review, The, 

88, 155 

Baptist Review, The 40 

Barber, Edward 231, 306 

Barbour, J. S 391, 392 

Barclay, Robert, 

85, 148, 227, 230, 264 

Barnabas 29, 30 

Baronius, Caesar 85 

B(arbon), Praise God....231, 232 

B (arrow), R 231 

Bartholomaeus von Usinger....85 

Bas, Le 185 

Bastinguius, Jeremiah 145 

Basil the Great 32 

Baur, Ferdinand Christian 39 

Bax, E. Belford, 

103, 157, 158, 159, 160, 170 

Baxter, Richard 276 

Bayle, Pierre 99 

Beausobre, Isaac de. 62 

Beck, Josef 90, 166 

Bede, Venerable, 

176, 177, 179, 180, 181 
Bekentnesse van Beiden Sacra- 

mentum 165, 166 

Belcher, Joseph 351, 352 

Bellarmine, Roberto Francesco 

Romolo 100 

Benedict, David, 

45, 46, 367, 374, 375, 393 

Bennett, Charles W 30 

Bennett, W. J. E 137 

Benwrath, Karl , 124 

Bernard of Clairvaux...„...70, 71 

Bertel and Essinger 128 

Beza, Theodore 73 

Bjerring, Nicholas 57 

Blackburn, W. M 234 

Blake, Thomas 288, 289, 294 

Blakewell „ 306 

Bliss, J. F 216 

Blunt, J. H 221 

Bock, S. F 149, 152 

Bonacursus 61 

Bonaventura, Giovanni di Fi- 

danza 81 

Bonner,. Edward 202, 204 

Booth, Abraham 329, 358 

Bossuet, Jacquest Benigne.... 65 

Bouterwek, K. V/ 166 

Bradford, William, 

245, 361, 362, 363 
Braght, Van 119, 147 


Index of Authors 


Brandt 213 

Brereton 245, 272 

Bres, Guy de 98 

Brewer 193 

Broadmead Records 273, 326 

Brockett, L. P 58 

Brook, Benjamin 239, 240 

Brooke, John 214, 286 

Buck, Charles 158, 161 

Bunsen 35, 42, 43 

Burgess, Walter H 223, 241 

Burke, Edmund 249 

Bunyan, John 343 

Burnet, Gilbert, 

190, 196, 198, 199, 209, 221 
Burrage, Henry S., 

120, 125, 155, 156, 261, 363 

Burthogge R 276 

Bury, Prof, ..„ 49, 60 

Busher, Mark Leonard, 

220, 221, 238 

Butler, Charles 345 

Bry<9nnios, Philotheo 37 

Bullinger, Heinrich, 

87, 121, 123, 124, 156 
Burchard, Paul 134 

Calendar of State Papers, 

123, 270, 286, 303 

Calvin, John 113, 114 

Camerarius, Joachin 94 

Campbell, Alexander 84 

Canisius, Petrus 36, 129 

Cantu 124 

Capito, Wolfgang 135 

Cardwell, Edward -204, 208 

Carte Samuel 288 

Cassander, Georgius 66, 100 

Cate, Elaupot ten 90, 93, 160 

Catechesis Ecclesiarum Poloni- 

arum 148, 150 

Catechism Edward VI 200 

Catechism of John a Lasco....214 

Catechismus 200 

Cathcart, William 178 

Catholicus, Isaac 57, 261 

Cecil, William 205 

Chalmers, Thomas 336 

Chassanion, de Menistrol 64 

Christian, John T., 

23, 37, 41, 261 

Chrysostom. John 15 

Clapham, Henock 224 

Clarendon, Edward Hyde 360 

Clark, Wiiliam 204 

Clarke, John 380 

Clement 29 

Clifford, John 223 

Clvfton, Richard 207, 245 

Cobbett, Thomas 364 

Coddington 372 

Collier, Thomas, 

175, 182, 186, 188, 211, 277 

Comba, Emil 64, 67, 82 

Conant, T. J 23 

Contemporary Review 89, 147 

Conybeare, Fred C, 

85, 48, 49, 52, 53, 55, 56, 59, 60 
Confession of 1643....280, 281, 282 

Constantine the Great 39-41 

Cornelius, C. A., 

104, 112, 116, 117, 129, 156, 160 


Costelacius, Johanna Schlecta, 93 

Cote, Wolfred Nelson 36 

Cotton, John 364 

Cottonian MSS 191 

Coussard 81 

Colimesius, Paul 93 

Cox, Bishop :208 

Craddock, Walter 289 

Cramer and Pyper 92, 133 

Cranmer, Thomas ....198, 199, 214 

Cremer, Hermann 20 

Crespin, Jean 45 

Crosby, Thomas, 

109, 171, 172, 176, 177, 186, 187, 
190, 204, 221, 225, 233, 249, 251, 
252, 253, 254, 261, 262, 263, 264, 
271, 282, 301, 307, 337, 338, 360 

Crowe and Cavalcaselle 37 

Crowle and Epworth Minutes, 

223, 220 

Culross, James 261 

Cutting, Sewell S 250 

Cyprian 30 

Cyril of Jerusalem 35 

D'Anvers, Henry 46, 85, 257 

D'Archery 61, 80 

D'Aubinge, J. H. Mere....l09, 162 

David of Augsburg 72, 81 

Davis, J 177, 187 

Davis, J. M 314 

Deane, C 363, 364 

Denne, Henry....289, 290, 306, 310 

Denson, Stephen 292 

Deodwinus, Bishop of Leige, 

65, 68 

Detmer, Heinrich .^. 161 

D'Ewes 285 

Dexter, Henry M 252, 298 

Dieckhoff, A. Wilhelm 67, 80 

Diodati 113 

Dionysius Areopigita 35 

DoUinger, John Joseph Ignatius, 

17, 38, 64, 77 
Dooreslaar, Abraham ..147, 231 
Dorner, August Johannes.. ..97, 98 

Doskar 140, 141 

Duns Scotus, Johannes , 81 


Index of Authors 

DuPin, Louis Ellies 32 

Durand, Guillaume _... 67 

Eberhard de Bethune 70, 81 

Eck, John 107 

Eckbert of Schonaugh 80 

Edinburgh Encyclopsedia-37, 294 

Edwards, Jonathan 74 

Edwards, Thomas, 

175, 263, 275, 303, 319, 330, 337 

Egli, Emil 101, 102, 117 

Elizabeth, Queen 207 

EUicott, Charles J 21 

Ellis 197 

Elton, Edward 292 

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 

50, 60, 157 

Enders, Ernst Ludwig 107 

Enervinus of Cologne 79 

Epiphianus 44 

Epistola Diognetum 25, 26 

Erasmus, Desiderius, 

94, 100, 111, 193 
Erbkam, Wilhelm Heinrich....l56 

Ermengard 80 

Evans 51 

Evans, B., 

173, 174, 186, 199, 201, 206, 227, 
229, 230, 261, 273, 284, 313 

Everts, W. W 155 

Eusebius, Pamphilius 37, 44 

Faber, George Stanley....65, 66, 74 

Fabricus, Johannes 66, 135 

Fabyan, Robert _. 180 

Faenza, Bishop of 193 

Farel, Guillaume Ill, 112 

Fawcett, John 358 

Featley, Daniel, 

124, 175, 196, 277, 282, 288, 299, 

301, 309, 310, 330, 331, 341 

Feldsberg, Pastor of 100 

Felt, Joseph, 

361, 364, 372, 373, 379 
Fischer, Christopher Andreas, 

168, 169 

Fish, Simon 184 

Fisher, George P., 

23, 41, 47, 59, 68, 70, 82, 96, 

104, 373, 385, 386, 

Fleury, Claude 115 

Floyer, John 173, 290 

Flying Post, The 312 

Fock Otto „ 149, 151 

Foster, John „ 258, 329 

Fox, John, 

176, 190, 191, 203, 214, 385 
Frank, Sebastian, 

87, 94, 97, 98, 99, 157 
Freising Otto 67 

Fries, Leonard 153 

Froude, J, A., 

192, 198, 202, 203, 210, 221 

Fuller, Andrew 329, 358 

Fuller Thomas, 

179, 181, 183, 185, 187, 188, 195, 

196, 211 
Fusslin, J. C, 87, 110, 117, 133 

Gammell, William 361 

Gardiner 191, 193 

Gastins, J 123 

Gaulther, Bernardus 92 

Gebhard and Harnack 15, 35 

General Baptist Magazine 223 

Gent, Van 92 

Gerbert, C. ^ 128 

Gervinus, George Gottfried....378 
Gibbon, Edward, 14, 48, 49, 50, 53 
Gieseler, Johann Karl Ludwig, 

59, 68, 82, 110 

Gildas 175, 176 

Gill, John 329, 358 

Gilly, William Stephen 79 

Goadby, J. Jackson, 

183, 198, 270, 271, 308, 321, 322, 


Goodwin, John 279, 305 

Gough, Richard 213 

Gower, Humphrey 283 

Grantham, Thomas, 

258, 316, 317, 322, 326 

G(raunt), 1 242, 243 

Gregorivus 29 

Gregory the Great 29 

Gregory, and Ruter 160 

Gretscher, Jacob 71, 72, 82 

Griffis, W. E 97, 160, 237, 238 

Grote, George 38 

Guild and Manning 387 

Guiociardine, Francesco 125 

H. I ...„ 238 

Hackenroth 131 

Hacket 193 

Haddon, Dr 215 

Hagenbach, Karl R 31 

Halbertsma, J. H 95 

Hall, Joseph, 

235, 236, 237, 285, 286 

Hall, Thomas 293 

Hallam, Henry 184 

Hanbury, Benjamin 225 

Harnack, Adolf 15, 18, 34 

Hart 178, 182, 199 

Hase, Karl August von 39 

Hast, J 103 

Hastings, James 17 

Hatch, Edwin 14, 15, 23 

Hawes, Dr .> 335, 336 

Index of Authors 


Hawks, Francis Lester....382, 384 

Hayes, Samuel 206 

Headley, Joseph Tyler 389, 290 

Heath, Richard, 

89, 125, 128, 147, 167, 170 
Hefele, Karl Joseph, 29, 30, 31, 32 

Helwyn, Peter 196 

Helwys, Thomas 238, 246 

Henry, Robert 179 

Herminjard, Aime Louis, 112, 193 

Herzog, Johann Jakpb 157 

Hewes, Lewis 303, 304 

Hipolyte, Canon of 35 

Hofling, John W. P 17 

Hofmann, Melchior 132, 133 

Holmes, Obadiah 380 

Hook 187 

Hooke, Joseph....l47, 258, 259, 321 

Hooker, Thomas 364, 368 

Hooper, John 197 

Horn, Bishop 214 

Hornius, George 374 

Hortensius, Albertus 98 

Hosek, Fr. X 118, 135, 136, 155 

Hosius, Stanislaus 85, 86 

Hough 377 

Howell 225, 285 

Howell, R. B. C 175, 384 

Howison 387 

Hubbard, William....365, 368, 369 
Hiibmaier, Balthasar, 

102, 133, 134, 136 

Hughes, Hugh Price 336 

Hurnes, David » 63 

Humes, Smollet and Farr 386 

Hutchingson, Roger 207, 263 

Hutchinson, Edward 252 

Hutton, Robert 201, 202 

Ignatius 15, 29, 30 

Irenffius 30, 34 

Ivimey, Joseph, 

204, 225. 226, 33, 239, 270, 

275, 282, 324, 260 

Jacob, George Andrew. 14 

James, J. Sninther 289 

Jarbiicher fiir Deutsche Theo- 

logie 128 

Jebb, R. C 18 

Jefferson, Thomas 384 

Jenckes, Governor 380 

Jerome 14 

Jessop, E 231 

Jewel, John 207 

John the Philosopher 51 

Jones, William 21, 61, 71 

Johnson, Francis 213, 234 

Journal of the House of Dele- 
gates 383 

Journal of the House of Lords 272 
Justin Martyr 30, 39, 176, 204 

Karapet, Ter Mkttschain 55 

Kautsky, Paul 160 

Keach, Benjamin 328, 32'J 

Keim, Theodore 128 

Keith, George 358 

Keller, Ludwig, 

85, 88, 90, 91, 126, 131, 135 
161, 162, 164, 167, 196 

Kenworthy, James 183 

Kerssenbrock, Hermann 169 

Kessler, Johann, 87, 118, 119, 120 

"Key of Truth" 48, 49. 52 

Kiffin MSS 261 

Kiffin, William, 

251, 254, 255, 256, 261, 267, 268 

Kilcop, Thomas 276 

King, Daniel ...„ 255, 256 

Kmg, Henry M 365, 378, 380 

King, W. H 298 

Knighton 184 

Knollys, Hanserd 277 

Knowles, James 375 

Knowling, R. J 15 

Knox, John 20I 

Kostlin, Julius 16 

Krasinski, Warlerjan S......."l50 

Labbe and Cossart ^ 37 

Lagarde, Andre "" 35 

Lake, Kirsopp 17 

Lamb, Thomas ....: ...305 

Langley, Arthur S !!!!209 

Lasco, John a 150, 214 

Latimer, Hugh 192, 193, 194 

Lathrop, John 364 

Laud, Arch 98, 285 

Lauderbach ^ 149 

Lauer „ 377 

Laurence, Henry .'.254 

Lawne, Christopher 238 

Lea, Henry Charles 64 

Leckford 366, 367 

Leger, Jean 71 

Leif child, John 354, 355 

Leigh 290 

Leo the Great 36 

Lewis, John, 

172, 251, 262, 267, 341 

Liddell and Scott 18 

Lightfoot, John 173, 295 

Lightfoot, Joseph Barber ,.. 14 

Limborch, Philippus van 88 

Lincoln, Heman 46 

Lincoln Records 223 

Linden, Frederich Otto zur, 

129, 131 


Index of Authors 

Lindsay, Thomas Martin, 

89, 104, 158, 160 

Lingard, John 175 

Liturgy among the Waldenses 79 

Locke, John 220, 345 

Lodge 203 

Lorimer, George C 298 

Luther, Martin, 

86, 108, 109, 114, 129, 142, 156 

Mabillon 77, 79, 82 

Macarius of Jerusalem 257 

Macaulay, Thomas Babington, 
283, 284, 312, 341, 342, 343 
344, 345 
Mackintosh, Sir James....336, 358 

Maclaten, Alexander 329, 358 

Madgeburg Centuries 80 

Madison, James 382, 383, 384 

Magistos, Gregory 48, 50 

Maitland, Samuel Roffey....63, 79 

Man, John 215 

Manning and Brey 301 

Marlow, Isaac 320, 328, 329 

Marsden, J. B 206 

Marshall, S 278 

Mason, A. J 41 

Massachusetts Records, 

367, 368, 379, 380 
Masson, David, 

174, 175, 220, 230, 234, 23& 
239, 281, 282 
Mather Cotton, 359, 360, 366, 374 

Mayer, John 291 

McCrie 124 

McGifFert, Arthur C 44 

McGlothlin, W. J ■A-^T-oii 

Meade, William 384, 385 

Mede, Joseph rc"^Qn 

Mehrning 56, 90 

Melanchthon, Philip 106, 111 

Menius, Justus 132 

Menno, Simon....l41, 143, 144, 145 

Meyer, Heinrich A, W 20 

Mezeray, Francois Endesde.... 81 

Micaeus .z^—AA'^^n 

Michelet, Jules 73, 86, 90 

Migne, Jacques Paul, 

29, 30, 32, 35, 46, 71, 80, 81 

Milton, John 220, 341 

Minutes of Epworth and Crowle 

Minutes of the General As- 
sembly 317, 322, 323 

Minutes of the Lincolnshire 
Association 317, 325 

Minutes of the Midland Asso- 
ciation 319 

Minutes of the Philadelphia 
Association 389 

Minocchi, Prof 91 

Mitchell, Jonathan 365 

Moded 92 

Moeller, Wilhelm Ernst 88, 89 

Moller, W 43 

Monastier, A 70 

Moneta 80 

Moore, James J 182 

Moravian Chronicle 116 

Moreland, Sir S 69, 74, 75, 78 

Morton, John 240, 241 

Mosheim, John Lawrence von, 

45, 53, 54, 59, 83, 84; 187, 175, 

Motley, John Lathrop, 

138, 139, 152, 173 

MuUer 227, 229 

MuUer, Hans 102 

Miiller, J. von 133 

Munzer, Thomas 157 

Muratori, Ludivico Antonio.... 53 

Musculus, Wolfgang 215 

Museum Helviticus 150 

Myconius, Friederich 132 

National Biography 276, 305 

Neaf, Augustus 119 

Neal, Daniel 187, 234, 264, 312 

Neander, Augustus, 46, 47, 59, 73 

Nennius ^ 178 

Newberry, William 182 

Newman, Albert H., 

64, 88, 371, 393 

Newman, John Henry 4, 28 

Newton, Isaac 84 

New World, The 97, 160 

Nicholson, R. S 178 

Nitsche, Richard 118 

Noble Lessons 72, 73, 79 

Norcott, John 239, 240 

Northcote and Brownlow 41 

Ochsenbein, Gott. Frieder 90 

Omerod 217 

Oosterzee, Jan Jakob van 93 

Optatus 46, 47 

Origen ^ 30 

Orme 332 

Osiander, Lucus 46 

Ottius, John H 110, 138 

Otzun, John 57 

Owen, John : 355 

Paget, Ephraim 175 

Paley, F. A 288 

Parker, John Henry 37 

Patient, Thomas 256 

Payne, John 224 

Pearson, John 256 

Pelagius, Pope 36 

Index of Authors 


Perrin, Jean Paul..._ 75, 78 

Peter the Lombard 81 

Peter the Venerable 64 

Petrus Clumaensis 79 

Philipsz, Obbe 130, 131 

Phillips, George 364 

Photius 48 

Picart ^ 148 

Pictavius 80 

Pilichorf 73 

Pitt, William 386 

Planck, Gottlieb Jakob 103 

Ponet, Bishop 303 

Poole , 129, 130 

Postman, The 312 

Potteng-er, Thomas 260 

Preger, Wilhelm 72, 81 

Pressense, Edmund de 17 

Price, Thomas, 219, 220, 234, 245 

Prince, Thomas 365 

Protocol cf Emden 143 

Protocol of Franckenthal 143 

Pseudo-Augustinian Questions 15 
Publications of the Narragan- 

sett Club 360, 372 

"i^unchard, G. 234 

Quinsy, Josiah 366, 367 

Rackham, Richard B 15 

Racovian Catechism 150, 152 

Rankin 71 

Rainy, Robert 17 

Rawlinson MSS., 

172, 251, 262, 267 
Real Enclopadie fiir Theologie 

und Kirche 17, 93 

Rees, T 150 

Rembert, Karl Ill, 196 

Renan, Joseph Ernest 50 

Renard 203 

Reus, L. F 224 

Rhegius, Urbanus....l26, 168, 169 
Rhode Island Historical So- 
ciety , 387 

Rhode Island State Papers 376 

Richards, William 177 

Richardson, Samuel 277, 310 

Richart, Joseph 255 

Ridley, Nicholas 197 

Ridermann, Peter 136, 137 

Rippon, John ....329, 348, 358, 387 

Ris, Cornelius 147 

Rives, William C 384 

Robinson, John 227, 228, 241 

Robinson, Robert, 

44, 45, 79, 94, 107, 108, 154 
173, 214, 247 

Roger de Wendover 180, 181 

Rogers, Daniel 291, 292 

Rohrich 128 

Roth, Friederich 128 

Ryland, Robert 387 

Sacchoni, Rainerio 71, 81, 85 

Sadolet, Jacopo 106, 107 

Sandius, Christopher Chr 148 

Saltmarsh, John 277 

Saresbernsis, Johannes 67 

Scapula, John 290 

Schaff-Herzog 43, 61, 63 

Schaff, Philip, 

18, 23, 26, 29, 41, 43, 47, 68, 77 
82, 96, 100, 101, 103, 104, 114, 
134, 137, 170, 290, 293, 346 

Schagen, Martin 62 

Schmidt 61, 64, 73 

Schomann, George 150 

Schyn, Herman 95, 110, 162 

Scobell 296 

Scott, Richard 371 

Sedulius, Ccelius 178 

Seisselius, Claudius 27, 28, 30 

Sekendorf 157 

Selden, John 292 

Semple, Robert 383, 389 

Sender, Clemens 127, 134 

Shaw, William A 312 

Sheffer, De Hoop 106, 212 

Shepard, Thomas 364 

Short, Fowler 196, 197 

Shute, Giles 233 

Sichers, Frodolin 120 

Sikeliotes, Petros 48, 51 

Simler, Joh. Jac 121 

Skeats, Herbert S 312, 346 

Slachtchaef, Henry 112 

Slee, J, C. van 106, 148 

Sleiden, John 78, 106 

Smith and Cheetham 15 

Smith, Henry ..„ 291 

Smith, Justin 54 

Smyth, John 223, 242-244 

Socinus ...151 

Sohm 134 

Some, Dr 209, 226 

Southern Baptist Review 90 

Spanheim, Frederich 161 

Sparks' American Biography, 361 

Sparks, Jared 393 

Sparrow, Arthur 214 

Speier, Mandate of 85 

Spilsbury, John 253, 254, 256 

Sprague, William Buell....390, 392 

Spurgeon, Charles H 329, 358 

Stanley, Arthur P 14, 15, 28 

Stanley, Francis 322 

Stark, J. A 118, 146 

Stennett, Samuel 259, 350 

Stephen de Borbone 80 


Index of Authors: 

Stevens, A. H 290 

Story, Joseph 377 

Stoughton 221 

Strabo, Walafrid 36 

Straus, O. S 378 

Stone, J. M 204 

Stovell 272 

Stowe 191 

Strype, John 197, 198, 207 

Stumpf, John 121 

Successio Ana-baptistica 92 

Sum of the Holy Scripture, 

115, 116, 194, 201 
Sumner, William 288 

Tanner MSS _ 306 

Taschius, Petrus 193 

Taylor, Adam, 

226, 233, 244, 245, 282, 284, 306, 
307, 315 

Taylor, Isaac 24 

Taylor, Jeremy 293 

Taylor, John....268, 269, 274, 275 
TertuUian ....26, 30, 34, 35, 38, 47 
Texas Historical and Biograph- 
ical Magazine, The 155 

Thannus 76 

Thayer, J. H. ..., 18, 20 

Theodoret 15 

Theologische Studien und Krit- 

iken 124 

Theophanes 44 

Thomas, Jesse B., 

143, 167, 280, 281 

Thomas, Joshua 285, 288 

Titus MSS 192 

Tocco _ 67 

Todd, J. H 179 

Toland, John 341, 342 

Tombes, John 254, 278 

Toplady, Augustus Montague, 347 

Turner, William 201, 202 

Tustin, J. P 375 

Tyndale, William 199 

Underbill, Edward B 250, 251 

Vecembecius 76 

Vedder, Henry C 71, 81, 393 

Veron, John 198 

Vicecombes, Joseph 186 

Wagenaar 93 

Wagenseil, C. J 127 

Walch, Johann Georg 44 

Walden, Thomas 185 

Wall, William, 

19, 33, 37, 65, 82, 186, 205, 216, 

294, 300, 306, 328 

Wallace 150, 151 

Walsingham 185, 186 

Ward, Nathaniel 364 

Washington, George 393 

Watson, Dr 205 

Watts, Jeffrey 277, 278, 279 

Weingarten 212 

Weizsacker, Prof. H., 

139, 140, 152 

Wellhausen, Prof. J 50 

Western Recorder, The, 

88, 167, 281, 298, 299, 314 

Whiston, William 84 

Whitley, W. T 236 

Whittier, John G 69 

Wilberforce, William 354 

Wilkins, D 182, 191 

Williams, Roger 372 

Williams, William R 331-335 

Wilson, John 369 

Wilson, Walter 234 

Winkler, E. T 86, 129, 130 

Winslow, Edward 359 

Winthrop, John, 

361, 363, 367, 368, 370, 371, 373 

Wisely Considerate, The 287 

Wissowatius, A 152 

Wood, H. G 34 

Wood, J. H 282, 304, 310 

Wynell, Thomas 304, 305 

Writer, Clem (A. R.)_....307, 308 

Ypeij, Dr., 95, 96, 138, 162, 163 

Zeitschrift fiir des historichen 
Vereins fiir Schwaben und 
Neuberg 128 

Zeitschrift fiir die historichen 
Theologie 128 

Zion's Advocate 261 

Zurich Letters 207, 208, 214 

Zwingli, Ulrich, 

86, 93, 109, 111, 114, 121, 122, 
123, 134, 135