King James Bible Adam Clarke Bible Commentary Martin Luther's Writings Wesley's Sermons and Commentary Neurosemantics Audio / Video Bible Evolution Cruncher Creation Science Vincent New Testament Word Studies KJV Audio Bible Family videogames Christian author Godrules.NET Main Page Add to Favorites Godrules.NET Main Page




Bad Advertisement?

Are you a Christian?

Online Store:
  • Visit Our Store

  • HISTORY OF BAPTIST DENOMINATION -
    CONTAINING AN ACCOUNT OF A NUMBER OF BAPTIST COMMUNITIES,


    PREVIOUS CHAPTER - NEXT CHAPTER - HELP - FB - TWITTER - GR VIDEOS - GR FORUMS - GR YOUTUBE    



    WHO DIFFER FROM THE MAIN BODY OF THE DENOMINATION, AND WHO ARE ALSO DISTINGUISHED BY SOME PECULIARITIES OF THEIR OWN. Churches which hold to Weekly Communion. THE practice of administering the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week, has never prevailed much among the American Baptists. The old church, at Sandy-Creek, North-Carolina, was for some years on that plan, but it has now given it up.

    A few years since, a number of ministers came over from Scotland to America, in the character of missionaries of the Independent persuasion, and some of them were patronized by the liberal Robert Haldane, Esq. of Edinburgh. These missionaries, after traveling a short time, in different parts of the United States, were led to embrace the Baptist sentiments, and from Pedobaptist became Baptist ministers. Mr. Walter Balfour was baptized by Mr. Collier of Charlestown, near Boston; Mr. Archibald Maclay by Mr. Williams of New-York; Mr. James Graham, now of Beaufort, South-Carolina, by the Home administrator in New-York; Mr. James M’Pherson, now of Baltimore, was baptized by Mr. Joseph B.

    Cook, then of Beaufort, South-Carolina. These baptisms all took place about 1809. Some other Pedobaptist ministers came over to the Baptists about the same time, and they were, perhaps, too much elated at these accessions to their cause, But it was soon found, that most of the Scotch ministers were, notwithstanding their becoming of the Baptist persuasion, far from uniting in their connection. The Independents in Scotland generally, if not uniformly, practice weekly communion; and of this point, and some others, these new converts to believers’ baptism were peculiarly tenacious. Mr. Balfour gathered a small church in Boston and Charlestown, to which he still ministers; but his success in building up a separate interest, has not been so great as his talents and address seemed at first to promise. An account of Mr. Maclay’s successful and commendable proceedings in New-York has already been related. The church which he founded, still practises weekly communion; but it is, notwithstanding, in fellowship with those which commune but monthly.

    Mr. M’Pherson gathered a church in Baltimore, mostly out of the second in that city, which went heartily into his notions of communion and other particulars respecting the order of the house, etc. He is a man of respectable talents, and seemed to promise usefulness as a minister of the word, notwithstanding his dividing measures; but to the grief of his friends, he has lately been disowned by his infant church, for intemperance. Mr. Graham preached a while in Savannah, Georgia; then in Beaufort, South-Carolina; and for a short time had the care of the church in that place; but not being able to bring it to his views, he formed a small one upon his own plan. How large it is, or what are its circumstances, I have not learnt.

    The labors of these ministers, together with some writings, which they brought from Scotland, seemed at first to threaten innovations among the American churches of considerable extent; but these appearances have, in a great measure, subsided, and very few have gone so far into the new order of the house, as to separate from their respective connections. Some few churches, however, have been founded by the converts to weekly communion, plurality of Elders, etc.

    One of this kind was formed in 1809, by the name of the Second Baptist Church in Charleston. Its principal teacher is Mr. Oliver Holden, a native of New-England, formerly a member of the first church in that town. This church at first consisted of nine members, but has since increased to twenty-five. 1 Three have been added by baptism, and thirteen from other churches. The constituents were dismissed, by their request, from the first church. The ostensible reason for asking a dismission, (as stated by themselves,) was, that discipline was not maintained so strictly as they desired, or as the church acknowledged it ought to be. And “despairing of seeing the church brought to resemble the Scripture pattern, and desirous of reforming themselves,” they, at their request, were dimissed for that purpose. Their leading views in this measure, and their distinguishing sentiments, are thus stated by one of their number: “In respect to the difference between their sentiments and those of the churches from whose connection they are separated, they profess to have aimed only to revive the Baptist principles recorded in the Scriptures and in the history of purer ages, and not to innovate in any degree. “They disapprove all connection with the world, in the support of the gospel, and with other churches in choosing and ordaining Elders. They deny that present ministers are successors of the Apostles, in the sense frequently conveyed on baptismal and other occasions; and that their office, as teachers and rulers in the church, should be known by any distinction in dress or titles. They consider it their duty to commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ every first day of the week; and that the evening of that day (after having attended to the Lord’s Supper) is a suitable season for mutual exhortation and prayer. And they profess to believe, that by duly regarding primitive practices, and apostolical injunctions, they shall be enabled to walk in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, and to enjoy the essential blessing of a spiritual and efficient ministry. “In doctrine they profess to be the same as when first taught by the Holy Ghost to call Jesus Lord, wishing for no change, excepting greater discoveries of its simplicity, efficiency and glory. “They use no platform of church-government but the Scriptures, believing that a greater acquaintance with them will strengthen their faith, love, and veneration for the adored object of their uniform testimony. “They have been supposed by some to have imbibed Sandemanian notions of faith, divine influence, religious experience, etc.; but it is not true. They separated from the first church, for the reasons above mentioned; but they have neither imbibed new sentiments, nor formed new connections. They profess their desire to “stand in the ways, and ask for the old paths,” and their hope that God will enable them to “Walk therein.” The reader will doubtless wish to hear the other side, and will probably suspect that the real cause of the separation has not been disclosed. 2 This church, although of the same order with Mr. Balfour’s, has yet no visible fellowship with it.

    In Hartford, Connecticut, a small church has been formed upon the plan of weekly communion, by Mr. Henry Grew, formerly pastor of the Baptist church in that city. Mr. Grew is a native of England; was, for a number of years, a citizen of Providence, Rhode-Island, and was called to the office of a deacon by the old church in that town, at the age of 24. Not long after he was, by the same church, called to the ministry, and was, a year or two after, settled in the pastoral care of the church in Hartford. His ministry here was, for a while, prosperous and happy, and his separation from the church was an event peculiarly painful and trying; for in addition to the maxims of the Scotch brethren, he imbibed some others, which were not only new, but in the estimation of his brethren unscriptural, and unbecoming a man of his talents and discretion.

    Mr. Grew is, by all who know him, respected for his gifts, and beloved for his piety; but by withdrawing from his former connection, and devoting himself exclusively to his little flock, he has circumscribed his sphere of usefulness to very narrow bounds.

    In the close of the autumn of 1810, a church, on the plan of weekly communion, was formed in New-York, under the ministry of Messrs.

    Errett and Ovington. “It is composed,” as they say, “of persons from various nations under heaven.” — They reject all human creeds, rules, covenants, etc. thinking the Scriptures perfect enough for direction in every thing. — They dislike all pompous edifices as places of worship; all pulpits or places designed for the exhibition of the clergy; and think themselves fully accommodated with a place of worship similar to those of the first churches. Accordingly they meet at present in a rented apartment, No. 70, Hudson-street, NewYork, where those, who desire to see what cannot be seen elsewhere, vlz. a church of Christ assembled together, may resort for the satisfaction of their minds, their queries, or curiosities. Their times of meeting are the first day of the week, thrice, and Thursday in the evening. And they have appointed Tuesday evening, for preaching the gospel to the world.” The doctrinal sentiments of these Weekly Communion Baptists are, probably, somewhat different. Some of them evidently agree with the churches from which they have separated. Others have been charged with favoring the Sandemanian system. This charge, however, they generally deny. In their maxims of discipline, and the order of their house, they seem to pay no regard to uniformity, and I know not as any two churches of them see alike, or maintain a visible fellowship with each other. Some of the brethren maintain their peculiar opinions in a becoming manner, while others urge their punctilios with such a ranting scrupulosity, as to defeat, in most cases, their own proselyting intentions.

    The Baptist churches generally throughout the United States celebrate the Lord’s Supper once a month; in some few cases but once in two or three months. They do not deny the lawfulhess of weekly communion, but they contend that it is not necessary for the gospel travel of a church. They plead that the frequency of attending to this solemn rite is left as a matter of discretion, since our Savior has only said, As oft as ye do it, do it in remembrance of me. And although it is certain that the disciples met on the first day of the week to break bread, yet that it is not cerlain that they met every first day for this purpose. They would freely commune with baptized believers, who hold to weekly communion, in case they agreed with them in doctrine, etc. But none of the brethren under consideration, except Mr. M’Olay and his church, seem disposed to commune with them.

    ARMINIAN OR FREE-WILL BAPTISTS FROM nearly the beginning of the Baptists in America, there have been some, who have opposed a number of the principal articles in the Calvinisticic creed. For a long time, most of these brethren resided in Rhode-Island and its vicinity, where their history has been related. For some years there were many of these, improperly called Separate Baptists, in Virginia, and the more southern States, who were called Arminians, because they maintained, that by the sufferings of Christ, salvation was made possible for every individual of Adam’s ruined posterity. The issue of the contest on this point may be found under the head of Virginia. And besides, there have always been some churches and many individuals, who have objected to some of the strong points of Calvinism, or adopted them with some peculiar modifications; but no very considerable party of this character arose, until a little more than thirty years ago, when one was founded by Elder Benjamin Randal, of New- Durham, New-Hampshire. This Elder Randal, as his biographer observes, was led, about 1780 “to object against the whole doctrine of John Calvin, with respect to eternal, particular, personal, unconditional election and reprobation; and propagated the following maxims, viz. 1st. That all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God. 2d. That Jesus Christ has died for all men, and, by the grace of God, hath tasted death for every man. 3d. That the grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men. 4th. That Christ’s ministers are commanded to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; and that he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” This zealous minister was assiduous in propagating his opinions, and endeavoring to persuade others to renounce, what he used to call, the hydra monster Calvinism. A number soon fell in with his views, broke off from the Calvinistic churches in New-Hampshire and the District of Maine, and from a small beginning they have arisen to a large community, which is scattered in different parts of Maine, New-Hampshire, Vermont, New-York, the Canadas, and in some other places.

    The first minister who united with Elder Randal, was Pelatiah Tingley, A.M. then of Sanford, Maine. He is a native of Attleborough, Massachusetts, a small distance from Providence, Rhode-Island, was a graduate of the College in that town. After him, Samuel Weeks and other ministers were convinced of what they esteemed the dangerous errors of Calvinism, and united in Elder Randal’s opposition. This party was as strenuous for believers’ baptism as before; they were, like all new sects, very sanguine in their new discoveries, and from a distinguished article in their doctrinal system, they were denominated Free-will Baptists. This appellation is received by some of the community, and objected to by others. Of late years they seem to prefer denominating themselves simply Christian, and their churches, Churches of Christ. But as all, who make a religious profession, account themselves Christians, and as all religious bodies profess to be churches of Christ, these terms are too indefinite for an historical narrative. I have therefore taken the liberty of applying to these people the name by which they are generally distinguished.

    Mr. Randal, their founder, is said to have been very successfnl in his ministry, not only in propagating his peculiar opinions, but in persuading sinners to repent; he was also, at times, much opposed in his public ministrations; but this increased his zeal, and under him and his associates, a number of churches shortly arose. The one at New-Durham, the place of his residence, was formed in 1781; this church soon became large, and spread her branches round in different directions; and other churches at Little-Falls, Woolwich, Georgetown, Edgcomb, Little-River, New- Gloucester, and Parsonsfield, arose not long after the mother body was founded. These Free-will churches soon found it expedient to form what they called General Meetings, which they held at different places once a quarter. The first of the kind was held at Phillipsburg, Maine, in 1783, and consisted of delegates “from all the branches of the little brotherhGod.”

    They next proceeded to form a Yearly Meeting, which was composed of delegates from each quarterly one; and at the close of the Yearly Meeting is held the Elders’ Conference, in which all the Elders meet to consult on the general interests of their community. In 1810, there were, among these people six Associations, or Quarterly Meetings, viz. Goreham, Edgeomb, and Farmington, in Maine; New-Durham, in New-Hampshire, and Strafford and Hardwick, in Vermont. In the three Meetings in Maine, there were, at that time, between forty and fifty churches, about as many preachers, and upwards of two thousand members; and it is probable that the three other Quarterly Meetings were as large if not larger than these.

    Mr. John Buzzell, of Parsonsfield, Maine, a preacher in this connection, began in 1811, to publish a periodical work entitled, A Religious Magazine, etc. which was to contain a history of this community. From the first number of that work some of these sketches have been selected. Other numbers were to have been forwarded, but for some reason they have not come to hand: these brief hints, must, therefore, suffice for the history of this extensive community.

    Mr. Elias Smith, formerly a preacher of good repute in the Warren Association, has, within a few years past, formed a party of considerable extent in different States, which are sometimes called Smithites, but more generally Christians, which last name their founder seems peculiarly solicitous of maintaining. Mr. Smith is a man of popular talents, but unusually changeable in his religious creed. He has propagated, at different times, Calvinism, Universalism, Arminianism, Arianism, Socianism, and other isms too numerous to mention. He has also advanced the doctrine of the annihilation of the wicked after death. He professes to explode all creeds and confessions, and denominates himself and followers, with a peculiar emphasis, Christians. He has published a multitude of books to defend his opinions, or rather to oppose those of all others. Many have become his disciples, of whom some believe more and some less of his changeable opinions. The large church in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, consisting of about six hundred members, has been dropped from the Groton Conference, on account of their adhering to this singular man. A number of other churches of different Associations have been shaken and diminished, by the too successful exertions of him and his associates.

    Many, doubtless, have fallen into his train, who, with better leaders or less leading, would have acted a more becoming part. Among the Free-will Baptists, Mr. Smith was, in many places, very cordially received; for he is as strenuous as ever for believers’ baptism, although he is constantly belabouring the Baptists, both from the pulpit and press. But the Free-will brethren finding him expert at brow-beating Calvinism, were ambitious of placing him among the champions of their cause. He was the means of introducing some innovations amongst them, both as it respects doctrine and discipime; but whether they still listen to his instructions, I have not learnt. Mr. Smith has been a few years in Philadelphia, where he founded a small church, which has lately published a pamphlet, containing a number of very severe strictures upon his conduct; and he is now about settling again in New-England.

    SEVENTH-DAY BAPTISTS AS the brethren of this sentiment are not numerous, we shall, under this head, give a brief sketch of their history both in Europe and America. The Sabbatarians differ from the Baptists generally in no other article but that of the Sabbath. And upon that subject, as near as I can understand from their writings and conversation, they hold that the ten commandments are all still binding on Christians, and of course, that the Seventh day of the week instead of the First, ought to be observed as the Christian Sabbath; that there is no account in the New-Testament, that there ever has been, by divine appointment, a change of the Sabbath; and that it is inconsistent for Christians to profess to obey the ten commandments, and still make an exception of the fourth, which contains the solemn requisition, Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, Etc. They plead that it was designed by the Former of the Universe that the Seventh day should be observed as the Sabbath, or day of rest, from the creation to the end of the world. They also contend, that whatever respect the early Christians paid to the First day of the week, on account of the resurrection of the Savior, yet that they then, and in after ages, observed the ancient Sabbath, and that this practice of observing two days, was continued to the time of Constantine, when, by an imperial law, the First day was established in preference to the Seventh; and that from that period the observation of the Seventh day fell generally into disuse. They suppose, however, that there have been Christians in every age who have kept holy the Seventh day, but they do not pretend that they can prove this point by historical evidence. The following passage seems much to their purpose, and is the only one of the kind which I have met with in history: “It was Constantine the Great, who first made a law for the observation of Sunday; and who, according to Eusebius, appointed it should be regularly celebrated throughout the Roman Empire.

    Before him and even in his time, they observed the Jewish Sabbath as well as Sunday, both to satisfy the law of Moses and to imitate the Apostles, who used to meet together on the First day. Indeed, some are of opinion, that the Lord’s day, mentioned in the Apocalypse, is our Sunday, which they will have to have been so early instituted by the Apostles. Be this as it will, it is certain a regard was had to this day, even in the earliest ages of the church, as appears from the first Apology of Justin Martyr, where he describes the exercise of the day not much unlike to ours. “By Constantine’s law, made in 32l, it was decreed, that for the future, the Sunday should be kept a day of rest in all cities and towns; but he allowed the country people to follow their work. In 538, the Council of Orleans prohibited this country labor; but in regard there were still abundance of Jews in the Gauls, and that the people gave in to a good many superstitious usages in the celebration of the new Sabbath, like those of the Jews among that of the old, the Council declares, that to hold it unlawful to travel with horses, cattle, and carriages, to prepare fGods, or to do any thing necessary to the cleanliness and decency of houses or persons, savours more of Judaism than Christianity.” Mosheim makes mention of some Christians in the second century, who assembled on the Seventh day for worship, but he also intimates that the greater part met on the First day. We find that the Waldenses were sometimes called Insabathos, that is, regardless of Sabbaths. Mr. Milner supposes this name was given to them, because they observed not the Romish festivals, and rested from their ordinary occupations only on Sundays. A Sabbatarian would suppose that it was because they met for worship on the Seventh day, and did regard not the First day Sabbath.

    Robinson gives an account of some of the Waldenses of the Alps, who were called Sabbati, Sabbatati, Insabbatati, but more frequently Inzabbatati. “One says they were so named from the Hebrew word Sabbath, because they kept the Saturday for the Lord’s day. Another says they were so called because they rejected all the festivals, or Sabbaths, in the low Latin sense of the word, which the Catholics religiously observed.” 7 Mosheim informs us they were so called from their wearing wGoden shoes, which, in the French language, are termed Sabats, which had imprinted on them the sign of the cross, to distinguish them from other Christians, etc. 8 “But is it likely,” says Robinson, “that people who could not descend from their mountains into neighboring States without hazarding their lives through the furious zeal of inquisitors, should tempt danger by affixing a visible mark on their shoes? Besides, the shoe of the peasants in this country was called Abarca.” It is the opinion of this writer, that the meaning of Insabbatati was, inhabitants of hills, mountaineers, etc. 9 But after all, there appears to be a peculiar obscurity attending the history of these people, and every one must form his opinion for himself respecting them. It is evident that they were numerous, and were terribly harassed by the Romish inquisitors. The following oath was required of those, who were suspected of their heresy. “I, Sancho, swear by Almighty God, and by these holy gospels of God, which I hold in my hand, before you lord Garcia Archbishop, and before others your assistants, that I am not, nor ever have been, an Inzabbatate Waldense, or poor person of Lyons, or an heretick of any sect of heresy condemned by the church; nor do I believe, nor have I ever believed, their errors, nor will I believe them in any future time of my life. Moreover, I profess and protest, that I do believe, and that I will always hereafter believe, the Catholick faith, which the Apostolical church of Rome publicly holds, teaches, and preaches, and you, my lord Archbishop, and other prelates of the Catholick church publicly hold, preach, and teach.” Mosheim gives an account of another sect in the twelfth century, in Lombardy, who were called Pasaginians, or the circumcised; that they circumcised their followers, and celebrated the Jewish Sabbath. 11 The account of their practising circumcision is undoubtedly a slanderous story forged by their enemies, and probably arose in this way. Because they observed the Seventh day, they were called, by way of derision, Jews, as the Sabbatarians are frequently at this day; and if they were Jews, it followed of course, that they either did or ought to circumcise their followers. This was probably the reasoning of their enemies; but that they actually practiced the bloody rite, is altogether improbable. Robinson supposes that these Pasaginians were a branch of the Waldenses, and were so called from their living near the passages of the mountains. These are a few of the historical facts, which lie scattered on the pages of ecclesiastical history, respecting the people, who have observed the ancient Sabbath. We have seen in the history of Transylvania, that Francis Davidis, first chaplain to the court of Sigismund, the prince of that kingdom, and afterwards superintendant of all the Transylvanian churches, was of this opinion.

    We shall now proceed to some brief sketches of the history of the Sabbatarians in England and America.

    SEVENTH-DAY BAPTISTS IN ENGLAND AT what time the Seventh-day Baptists began to form churches in this kingdom does not appear; but probably it was at an early period; and although their churches have never been numerous, yet there have been among them, almost for two hundred years past, some very eminent men.

    The famous family of the Stennetts, for three generations at least, were of this belief, as were a number of other distinguished members of the Baptist community. Of a flew of these characters we shall now give some brief account.

    Edward Stennett is the first of the family of which we have any information. The time or place of his birth does not appear, but it is probable he was born in the early part of the sixteenth century. In the time of the civil wars he took the side of Parliament, and thereby exposed himself to the neglect of his near relations. When he dissented from the established church and united with the Baptists, he, like all others of those times, fell under the oppressions of the ruling party; and being deprived of the means of subsistence, he applied himself to the study of physick, and became a medical character of some distinction. One very singular escape from the malicious designs of his enemies is thus related by Crosby: — “He dwelt in the castle of Wallingford, a place where no warrant could make forcible entrance, but that of a lord chief justice; and the house was so situated, that assemblies could meet, and every part of religious worship be exercised in it, without any danger of a legal conviction, unless informers were admitted, which care was taken to prevent, so that for a long time he kept a constant and undisturbed meeting in his hall. A gentleman who was in the commission of the peace, and his very near neighbor, being highly incensed at the continuance of an assembly of this kind so near him; after having made several fruitless attempts to get his emissaries admitted into the house in order to a conviction, in the rage of a disappointment resolved, together with a neighboring clergyman, upon doing it by a subordination of witnesses. They accordingly hired some persons fit for their purpose, to swear they had been at those assemblies, and heard prayer and preaching there, though they had never been in the house on those occasions. The clergyman’s conduct in this affair was the more censured, because he had professed a great friendship for Mr. Stennett, and was under considerable obligations to him; having often had his assistance in the way of his profession as a physician, for his family, without any reward. Mr. Stennett finding an indictment was laid against him on the conventicle act, founded upon the oaths of several witnesses, and being well assured that nothing but perjury could support it, was resolved to traverse it, and accordingly did so. The assizes were held at Newbury, and when the time drew near, there was great triumph in the success these gentlemen proposed to themselves, when on a sudden the scene was changed; news came to the justice, that his son, whom he had lately placed at Oxford, was gone off with a player; the concern whereof, and the riding in search of him, prevented his attendance in the court. The clergyman, a few days before the assizes, boasted much of the service which would be done to the church and the neighborhGod by this prosecution, and of his own determination to be at Newbury to help carry it on; but to the surprise of many, his design was frustrated by sudden death. One of the witnesses, who lived at Cromish, was also prevented, by being seized with violent and sad disease, of which he died. Another of them fell down and broke his leg, and was so hindered. In short, of seven or eight persons engaged in this wicked design, there was but one left who was capable of appearing; he was a gardener, who had been frequently employed by Mr. Stennett at day labor, but never lodged in his house, nor was admitted to the religious assemblies held there. They thought to make him, as he was a servant to the family, a very material evidence; and kept him in liquor for several days to that purpose. But coming to his reason just as the assizes drew on, he went about the town exclaiming against himself for his ingratitude and perjury, as well as against those who had employed him; and absolutely refused to go. So that when Mr. Stennett came to Newbury, neither prosecutor nor witness appearing against him, he was discharged of course.”

    Joseph Stennett, one of the sons of this worthy man, was born 1663, and was early brought to the knowledge of the truth; he went to London in 1685, and about five years after became pastor of the Seventh day church at Pinner’s Hall, which had been deprived of its pastor by the death of Mr. Francis Bampfield. Mr. Stennett was a minister very eminent in his day; his learning and abilities were great and he rendered essential services to the Baptist cause in London and its vicinity. He preached much among the churches of the First day order, and took an active and successful part in all their concerns. His son Joseph, D. D. retained his opinion respecting the Sabbath, but became pastor of a church of a different belief. The fourth in descent from the ancient Edward Stennett, was the late Samuel Stennett, D. D. and the fifth is the present Joseph Stennett, of Oxfordshire.

    Whether this distinguished succession have all observed the Seventh day, I am not informed.

    Francis Bampfield was one of the most eminent ministers of his time; he was educated at Oxford University, and was a number of years a minister of good repute in the established church. He, different from the father of the Stennetts, in the time of the civil wars, was against the Parliament, opposed the Protector’s usurpation, and suffered on that account. At what time he became a Baptist is not known; but on the restoration of Charles, all his former loyalty was disregarded, and he was, through the remainder of his life, treated with unrelenting severities, and constantly followed with persecution and distress. In one prison he was confined eight years. After that he was released, went to London, gathered a church, which kept the Seventh day; but he finally died in Newgate, in 1683. He published a number of tracts, among which was one on the observation of the Seventh day Sabbath. John James, the minister of a church of Sabbatarian Baptists in London, was put to death in a most barbarous manner, in 1661. To take away his life was not sufficient to satisfy the rage of his bloodthirsty enemies; but after being hung at Tyburn, he was drawn and quartered; his quarters were carried back to Newgate on the sledge, which carried him to the gallows; they were afterwards placed on the gates of the city, and his head was set on a pole opposite his meeting-house. This innocent man was exposed to these terrible sufferings on the charge of speaking treasonable words against his Majesty’s royal person at a private meeting,etc. Some of the treasonable words were, that the king was “a bloody tyrant, a bloodsucker, a blood-thirsty man, and his nobles the same; and that they had shed the blood of the saints,” etc. To these charges he pleaded not guilty, neither in form nor matter; but had he acknowledged these charges against the infamous Charles II. and his bloody associates, they would have been the words of truth and soberness.

    But there appears to have been a malicious combination against this harmless man, and he was convicted upon evidence, which the court, with all its prejudices, at first thought not worth regarding. It was proved afterwards, by four respectable persons, that one Bernard Osborn confessed that he had sworn against Mr. James, he knew not what. His wife, by the advice of her friends, presented a petition to the king, stating her husband’s innocency, and the character of the witness. When his inexorable majesty saw the paper endorsed The humble request of Elizabeth James, he replied, holding up his finger, “Oh! Mr. James — he is a sweet gentleman! ” And when the afflicted woman followed him to get some further answer, the door was shut against her. The next morning, as the king entered the park, the distressed wife again entreated his majesty to answer her request, and pardon her husband; but deaf to her cries, he again replied, “He is a rogue, and shall be hanged!” Thus the poor woman was obliged to retire, without even being heard by her pitiless sovereign.

    Mr. James went to the gallows with Christian fortitude, and finished his course in a joyful manner. “If,” says Crosby, “there was any undue combination against this poor man; if it was for some reason of State rather than for any real guilt on his part; if his judgment and conscience, rather than any just crime, were the cause of his sufferings, his blGod must be innocent blood.” Robert Shalder, mentioned in the history of the English Baptists, vol. 1. p. 210, who was taken out of his grave by his rude persecutors, appears to have been a Seventh-day Baptist, as was John Maulden, a pious and worthy minister, who was persecuted much for non-conformity, in the latter part of the reign of Charles II. Mr. Maulden published three small pieces, one of which was on this question, “Whether the Seventh or First day of the week be the Sabbath of the Lord? ” These are a few of the Sabbatarians who bore a share among the sufferings of the English Baptists.

    An account of the number of churches of this sentiment, and also a brief vindication of their opinions, are contained in the following letter from Dr.

    Edward Stennett, whose name has already been mentioned. It is dated Bell-Lane, London, February 2, 1668, and directed to the Sabbath-keepers in Rhode-Island. “Dearly Beloved, “I rejoice in the Lord on your behalf, in that he hath been graciously pleased to make known to you his holy Sabbath, in such a day as this, when truth falleth in the streets, and equity cannot enter. And with us, we can scarcely find a man that is really willing to know whether the Sabbath be a truth or not; and those who have the greatest parts, have the least anxiety to meddle with it. We have passed through great opposition for this truth’s sake, especially from our brethren, which made the affliction heavier: I dare not say how heavy, lest it should seem incredible. But the opposers of truth seem much withered, and at present the opposition seems to be dying away; for truth is strong. This spiritual fiery law will burn up all those things that men do set before it; for was there ever any ceremonial law given us? This law was given from the mouth of God, in the care of so many thousands; wrote on tables of stone with his own finger; promised to be wrote on the tables of their hearts; and confirmed by a miracle for the space of forty years, in the wilderness. The manna not keeping good any day but the Sabbath, God gave them the bread of two days, because he gave them the Sabbath. But whatever was gathered on the other days, and kept until the next, stank, and was full of worms. And no ceremonial law had the penalty of death annexed to it, to be infliceted by the magistrate; but the wilful profaner of the Sabbath was to be put to death by the magistrate, as the wilful murderer; which clearly proves it to be a moral law; as may be seen Exodus 16th chapter and elsewhere: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:31. “Here is in England about nine or ten churches that keep the Sabbath; besides many scattered disciples, who have been eminently preserved in this tottering day, when many eminent churches have been shattered to pieces.” 16 About this time, a number of letters were sent to America by Peter Chamberlain, senior Doctor of both Universities, and Physician in ordinary to his Majesty’s person, who was a Sabbatarian. By Mr. Stennett’s letter it appears that the number of Seventh-day churches was greater at this early period, than it has been since. At present, as near as I can learn, there are but three churches in England, which observe the Seventh day. Two of them are in London, and the third in the country, at a place called Natton. Two of them, viz. one in London and the one in Natton, are, in their doctrinal sentiments, Particular Baptists, and the other in London is of the General persuasion.

    SEVENTH-DAY BAPTISTS IN AMERICA RHODE-ISLAND was the early resort of Baptists, who kept holy the Seventh day; and it now contains not far from a thousand communicants of this belief, they are also found in a number of the other States.

    The first Sabbatarian church in America was formed in Newport in 1671, and originated in the following manner: In the year 1665, Stephen Mumford came over from England, and brought with him the opinion that the whole of the Ten Commandments, as they were delivered from Mount Sinai, are moral and immutable, and that it was an anti-christian power that changed the Sabbath from the Seventh to the First day of the week. 18 Mr. Mumford appears to have joined Mr. Clarke’s church, and Messrs.

    Hiscox, Hubbard, and others of that community soon fell in with his opinion of observing the Seventh day. These brethren traveled in communion with that church until 1671, when some of their number fell back to the observation of the First day as the Sabbath. This the Sabbatarians called apostasy, and could no longer travel with the church, except they were expelled. The church counted their change a reformation, and could not therefore bring them under censure, 19 This was truly an inconvenient posture of affairs, and the Sabbatarians seemed to have no alternative but to withdraw. Their number was seven; their names were William Hiscox, Samuel Hubbard, Stephen Mumford, Roger Baster, and three sisters. These persons formed themselves into a church, and William Hiscox became their pastor. He died in I704, aged 66, and was succeeded by William Gibson, who died in 1717, aged 79. He came from London, where he had been ordained before his arrival in Newport; 20 is said to have been a scholar, and left behind him a good character as a preacher and Christian. Next to him was Joseph Crandal, who had also been his colleague. This is the same Crandal, who was apprehended with Messrs.

    Clark and Holmes at Lynn, in 1651. He died in 1737. After him was John Maxon, who died in 1778. Successor to him was the late venerable Elder William Bliss, who died in 1808, aged 81. The church is now under the care of his son Arnold Bliss and Henry Burdick. Besides these pastors, this church has sent forth a considerable number of preachers, who have labored as assistants at home, and also in different places abroad.

    From some of the early members of this church have proceeded a number of the principal characters, in Rhode-Island, and among its communicants were the two governors, Richard and Samuel Ward. The Hopkinton church is the largest in the Sabbatarian connection, and indeed in almost any other, and contains about nine hundred members. It was formed at Westerly in 1708, of members from Newport, who had removed and settled in this region. Westerly, at that time, comprehended all the southwest corner of the State. It was afterwards divided into Hopkinton, Charlestown, etc. This large church has three meeting-houses, at two of which the communion is administered. It has had a succession of worthy pastors, most of whom were remarkable for longevity. It has also sent forth many successful preachers. Its members have filled various different civil offices in the State, and Deacon Babcock is now (1813) one of its senators.

    Though this church has its seat in Hopkinton, yet its members are scattered in a number of the adjoining towns. They are an amiable, pious people, pretty much inclined to the Arminian system. Laying-on-of-hands they generally practise, but do not make it a bar to communion. They have lately had a precious revival among them, in which between one and two hundred were added to their number. Their pastors, till lately, were Abram Coon and Matthew Stillman. Elder Coon died a short time since, and who succeeds him I have not learnt.

    The Rhode-Island Sabbatarians, like the school of the prophets, finding their place too small for them, have emigrated to other pales, but mostly to the State of New-York; and by them foundations have been laid for a number of churches of their order, which are in a flourishing condition, and some of them are large. Their names, pastors and numbers will be given in the general table.

    In New-Jersey are two churches of the Seventh-day Baptists, which are ancient and respectable. The oldest was formed at Piscataway, about thirty miles from the city of New-York, in 1705, and arose in the following manner: “About 1701, one Edmund Dunham, a member of the old First-day church in that town, admonished one Bonham, who was doing some servile work on Sunday. Bonham put him on proving that the first day of the week was holy by divine appointment. This set Dunham on examining the point; the consequence was, rejecting the first day, and receiving the fourth commandment as moral and therefore unchangeable.” In a short time, seventeen of the old body sided with Dunham, and in 1705, they were formed into a church, chose Dunham for their pastor, and sent him to Westerly to be ordained, by the Sabbatarian church in that place.

    From this church originated the one at Cohansey, in 1737, which has since become much larger than the mother body. It is situated about forty miles south-west from Philadelphia. Both of these churches have had, for the most part, worthy pastors; they were founded and still continue on the Calvinistic plan of doctrine.

    A third church of Sabbatarian Baptists was formed in this State at a place called Squan, in Monmouth county, upwards of sixty miles east by north of Philadelphia, in 1745, of brethren from Stonington, Connecticut, and Westerly, Rhode-Island. After remaining here upwards of forty years, they bartered their estates for new lands somewhere towards the Ohio river. This church was Calvinistic, and by it was probably formed the one in the Red-stone country of the same faith, of which Mr. Clarke, their historian, seems to have obtained no distinct account.

    In Pennsylvania we find some at different times, who have united with believers’ baptism the observation of the Seventh day. The Tunker church at Ephrata is of this belief, as will be shown in the history of that people.

    In the time so many Keithian Quakers (of whom an account will soon be given) became Baptists, many of them fell in with the observation of the Seventh day, principally by the influence of one Abel Noble, who was at that time the only Sabbatarian Baptist in Pennsylvania. He arrived here, from what place I do not find, in 1684; he baptized the first Keithian Quaker in 1697, and by him many others were gained over to the Sabbatarian faith. About 1700, four churches of Sabbatarlan Baptists were formed at Newtown, twenty-four miles from Philadelphia at Pennepek, nine miles ditto; at Nottingham, fifty miles ditto; and at French-Creek, thirty-two miles from that city. At this last place they built a meetinghouse in 1762, 30 feet by 22, on a lot of one acre, the gift of David Rogers; at the other places they met in private houses. Respecting the progress of these communities, I do not find much information. In 1770, there were, in all four of them, but thirty-one communicants, and but one preacher, whose name was Enoch David. In Virginia are three churches of the Seventh-day Baptists; two of them belong to the Sabbatarian Conference; the third, because it admits to membership some brethren who keep the First day, has not been received into that body.

    In 1754, a church of this order of Baptists was begun on Broad River, in the parish of St. Mark, South-Carolina, about 180 miles from Charieston.

    The leading members in it were Thomas Owen and Victor Nelly, from French-Creek, Pennsylvania, and John Gregory and his two sons, Richard and John, from Piscataway, New-Jersey. They were Calvinistic in sentiment, and in 1770, had increased to eighteen families, whereof twenty-four persons were baptized. They had for their preacher one Israel Zeymore, while he behaved well; but he afterwards became the master of a vessel, and next went into the army. “He was,” says M. Edwards, “a man of wit and learning, but unstable as water.”

    Besides this Sabbatarian church, there were, at the same time, some of the Tunkey Baptists at Beaver-Creek, Cloud’s-Creek, and Edisto, who observed the Seventh day.

    In 1759, eight families of the Seventh-day Baptists passed over from South-Carolina, and settled near Tuckaseeking, in Georgia. They had for their leader Richard Gregory, the son of John Gregory, at Broad River.

    Another of their preachers was named Clayton, who was fined a mark for saying, “that no man could be a Christian who kept a concubine, were the keeper a king, and the concubine a countess;”this was construed a reflection on the late king and the countess of Yarmouth. After residing here about five years, this company retired Edisto, and left but few proselytes behind them. Thus we see that the Seventh-day Baptists have been found in almost every part of the United States. There are at present eleven churches of them united in an Association by the name of the Sabbatarian General Conference, which holds its anniversaries in different places, as best suits the convenience of the churches. It is said there are, besides the churches already named, one or two in the western States, of which no distinct accounts have been obtained.

    The number of communicants in the Sabbatarian connection is a little less than two thousand. But it is supposed by Mr. Clarke, their historian, that the Seventh-day Sabbath is observed by a population of not less than fifteen thousand.

    In baptism, church discipline, etc. the Sabbatarians differ in nothing from their First-day brethren; in doctrine, some of them are Calvinistics, but perhaps a greater part are inclined to the Arminian system; which, however, they wish to define for themselves.

    Of their distinguishing sentiment respecting the Seventh day, they are peculiarly tenacious; and as they consider all, who do not regard this day, violators of the Sabbath of the Lord, they cannot, in their opinion, consistently receive them into their churches, nor sit down with them at the communion-table. Yet they are willing to unite with them in preaching, and in all other acts of devotion and brotherly love.

    As to the strictness of observing the Sabbath, their writers seem to differ a little in their rules. Some contend that they ought to keep it according to the spirit of the fourth commandment. Others plead that the rigorous ceremonies enjoined in the Old Testament, are, with the rest of the ceremonial laws, done away under the new dispensation; so that they may lawfully ride their horses to meeting, and do other things on the Sabbath, which the Jews were forbidden to do on their peril.

    ROGERENE BAPTISTS THIS sect took its rise at New-London, in Connecticut, about the year 1674; for in that year one John Rogers and James his brother, and an Indian by the name of Japheth, were baptized by a Mr. Crandal, then a colleague pastor of the Seventh-day Baptist church in Newport (R.I.) The next year, by the request of these persons, William Hiscox, the senior pastor of the same church, and two of his brethren, viz. Samuel Hubbard and his son Clarke, made them a visit; when another brother, by the name of Jonathan, was baptized, and these four persons were received as members of the Sabbatarian church, in Newport, in their usual form, by prayer and the laying-on-of-hands. Soon after this, John Rogers’s fatherin- law (for what reason I do not find) took from him his wife and children, with whom he was never afterwards united. 25 Thus John Rogers not only lost his wife and children in the outset of his career, but upon her complaints against him, he was carried before the deputy-Governor of Connecticut, by whom he was sentenced to Hartford gaol, where he remained a considerable time.

    In September, 1676, the three Rogerses and Japheth, the Indian, went in a boat and brought Messrs. Hiscox and Hubbard to New-London again, when the father and mother of one of the sisters of the Rogerses were all baptized by Mr. Hiscox, and were also added to the church with which they had united. These frequent visas and administrations of the Baptists, awakened the jealousies and resentment of the people of the town, and the power of the magistrate was soon exerted in rigorous measures, against this new and obnoxious sect. These few persons, having adopted the Seventh day of the week for their Sabbath, continued to pursue their worldly business on the First, a practice very common with people of this belief; for which they soon began to be harassed, imprisoned and beaten.

    But opposition seemed only to inflame their zeal, and hurried them on to an extravagant and almost unexampled extreme. Hitherto these persons, who afterwards broke over all bounds of order and decency, were not known as a distinct set, but had a regular standing in the Seventh-day Baptist church at Newport. John Rogers, who afterwards became the fantastic leader of this deluded community, on the following occasion, began the wild and heedless career, by which he exposed himself so much to the censure of his friends and the persecuting violence of his enemies. In the year 1677, Messrs. Hiscox and his companion Hubbard visited New- London a third time, and proposed to baptize the wife of Joseph Rogers, another brother of the Rogers family. Their meeting was held two miles from the town, where it was proposed that baptism should be administered; but John was for no retirement; he must needs have the company go up to the town, and have the administration in sight and hearing of their enemies. John was finally listened to, and led on the procession. This provoking measure turned out as might have been expected in those days of intolerance and persecution; for while Mr. Hiscox was preaching, he was seized by the constable and immediately carried before the magistrate, where he was detained a short time, and then released. They now repaired to another place, and began to prepare for the admlnistration; when, to the astonishment of the company, John stepped forward and prayed, and then led the woman down into the water, and baptized her. From this time this singular man took it upon him to baptize, and also to administer in other things in a ministerial capacity. His relatives, excepting his brother Jonathan, imbibed his spirit and followed his dictates. The church at Newport attempted to reform and regulate them; but their exertions proved ineffectual, and their connection was soon dissolved.

    Thus far the history of the Rogerenes has been compiled from Backus.

    The following is related in the words of Morgan Edwards, who took his account from Backus, and from John Rogers’s own writings. After mentioning the baptism of the Rogers family, he says, “The most forward of the brothers was John; for he took upon him to form the family, and others that he baptized, into a church, and to make a creed, and to settle rules of discipline. The first act of discipline was the excommunication of his brother Jonathan, for using medicine, and refusing to do things which would bring on him the lash of the civil magistrate. And thus John Rogers was not only the founder of the sect, and the person from whom they were called Rogerenes, but the hero of the cause, in suffering, and writing, and defying; I say defying, for he had not been long at the head of the cause, before he printed and published the following proclamation: “I, John Rogers, a servant of Jesus Christ, doth here make an open declaration of war against the great red dragon; and against the beast to which he gives power; and against the false church which rides upon the beast; and against the false prophets, who are established by the dragon and the beast; and against the image of the beast: and, also, a proclamation of derision against the sword of the devil’s spirit, which is prisons, stocks, whips, fines, and revilings, all which is to defend the doctrines ofdevils.” His theory, relative to baptism and the Lord’s supper, is scriptural; for the Rogerenes baptize by immersing professed penitents and believers; the Lord’s supper they administer in the evening, with its ancient appendages. Some other articles of Rogers’s creed are as follow: “1st, All days are alike since the death of Christ. 2d, No medicines are to be used, nor doctors nor surgeons employed. 3d, No grace at meals. 4th, All prayers to be mental, and not vocal, except when the spirit of prayer compels to the use of the voice. 5th, All unscriptural parts of religious worship are idols. 6th, All good Christians should exert themselves against idols,” etc.

    Among these idols they placed the first day of the week, infant baptism, etc. The First-day Sabbath they called the New-England idol. The methods they took to demolish this idol were, they would be at work near meetinghouses, and in the ways to meeting-houses; and take work into meetinghouses, the women knitting, and the men whittling and making splits for baskets, and every now and then contradicting the preachers; this was seeking persecution, and they had plenty of it; insomuch that the New- Englanders left some of them neither liberty, nor property, nor whole skins.

    John Rogers was an author. He published a commentary on the Reverend: he that hath patience to read it, let him read it. He also published a Midnight Cry, a Narrative of Sufferings, etc. These last are of some use, for out of them I have extracted some sketches of his history; and others from Backus.” Such was the beginning of the sect of the Rogerenes. Had they enjoyed a free toleration in their wild speculations, and been exposed to no more legal coercion than a judicious magistracy would have inflicted, their zeal might have soon abated, and their sect become extinct. But their intolerant neighboars and rulers could exercise no degree of patience or forbearance towards them. But they were scrupulous to mark every provocation (and the Rogerenes were certainly guilty of many;) and being clothed with power, they pursued with unrelenting severity, by frequently haling before magistrates, imprisoning, and unmercifully whipping a people whose mistaken zeal ought certainly to have excited some degree of compassion as well as resentment. But the Rogerenes gloried in tribulation: they often published accounts of their persecutions and sufferings, and most fully demonstrated to their enemies, “that persecution is the surest way to increase its objects.”

    John Rogers, the founder of this extraordinary sect, (than whom Diogenes was not more churlish and contrary to all men) after prosecuting his ministry for more than forty years, died at his own house in New-London, in 1721, in the 73d year of his age. The occasion of his death was as follows: The small-pox raged terribly in Boston, (Mass.) and spread an alarm in all the country around. Rogers was confident that he could mingle with the diseased, and that the strength of his faith would preserve him safe from the mortal contagion. Accordingly he was presumptuous enough to travel 100 miles to Boston, to bring his faith to the test, where he caught the infection, came home, died with it, and spread it in his family.

    Thus ended this singular man. This event, so confounding in its nature, had no apparent effect on the minds of his followers, unless it were to increase their zeal. Shortly after, Joseph Bolles published a second edition of Rogers’s book, entitled, “A Midnight Cry from the temple of God to the ten virgins slumbering and sleeping; awake, awake, arise! and gird your loins, and trim your lamps, for behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye therefore out to meet him!” Bolles also wrote a preface to the “Midnight Cry,” in which he says of Rogers, “For his religion he lost his wife and children, and suffered continual persecution, being nearly one third of his life-time, after his conversion, in prisons!” This piece seemed to inspire with fresh ardor this wild community. A son of John Rogers succeeded his father in his deluded ministry, who, with many others of his brethren, set out with redoubled zeal to pull down the dagon of the land, the idol Sabbath.

    In the year 1725, a company of the Rogerenes were taken up on the Sabbath, in Norwich, while on their way from their place of residence to Lebanon, where they were treated with much abuse and severity, and many of them whipped in a most merciless manner. This occasioned Governor Joseph Jenks (of R.I.) to write a spirited piece against their persecutors, in which he not only blames the unnecessary severity which they inflicted on the Rogerenes, but he also reprobated their provoking and disorderly conduct. This friendly interposition of the Governor involved him in a dispute with one Joseph Backus, Esq. the magistrate before whom the Rogerenes were arraigned, which was probably the means of abating, in some measure, the legal persecution~ which continually fell to the lot 0f this deluded and persecuted people. The Connecticut rulers, after inflicting on the Rogerenes, for almost a century, their fruitless severities, learnt, at length, what they ought to have learnt at first, that the wisest way to deal with them, when they came to disturb them, and proclaim against the idol Sabbath, was to remove them away, until their worship was ended, and then release them without fine or correction. This method they finally adopted, which had a much better effect than their former punishments.

    One family of these Rogerenes were Colvers or Culvers, 28 consisting of the father, John Colver and his wife, (who were part of the company which was treated so roughly at Norwich, etc) and five sons and five daughters, who, with their families, made up the number of 21souls. This large family, in the year 1734, removed from New-London, and settled in New-Jersey. The place they pitched upon for residence was on the east side of Schooly Mountain, in Morris county. They continued here about three years, and then went in a body to Barnagot, in the county of Monmouth: they continued there about eleven years, and then returned to Morris county, and settled on the west side of the mountain from which they had removed.

    In the year 1790, the Rogerenes (in N. J.) were reduced to two old persons, whose names were Thomas Colver and Sarah Mann; but the posterity of John Colver are yet numerous in Morris county, and have, most of them, become reputable members of other religious societies. “I do not find (says Mr. Edwards) that the Rogerenes have suffered by fines and corporal punishment in New-Jersey, more than once; and that was for disturbing a Presbyterian congregation at Baskingridge: in other places, they have been taken out of meeting-houses, with much pleasantry, and shut up in stables, penfolds, (and once in a hog-pen) till worship was over. Paul speaks of some people, who pleased not God, and were contrary to all men; it were uncharitable to apply this to the Rogerenes; but facts, for the course of 116 years, look too much like being contrary to all men, and as for the spirit that actuated them, it was as different from the meek and humble spirit of Jesus, as any two things could be. It is surprising how principles, or education, or custom, or something, will make people differ from others so greatly, that it is hard to think they are of the same common nature, or are the work of the same Maker. Had the Rogerenes lived in the time of the Cynicks, they would have been ranked with them.”

    Mr. Backus says of John Rogers, that “he intermixed a number of precious truths with many things of a contrary nature.”

    The Rogerenes, in their language and some other peculiarities, resembled the Quakers; hence they were often called Quaker Baptists. They have, some time ago, become extinct as a society. But their posterity, under the names of Rogers, Bolles, etc. are still numerous; and many of them are not only respectable, but some of them are distinguished members of many of the Baptist churches in different parts of New-England and some of the other States.

    Since the above was written, I have learnt that there is yet a small company of the Rogerenes in Groton, near New-London.

    INDIAN CHURCHES Of these there have been a few of the Baptist denomination, but most of them, at present, are either extinct or in a declining state. The oldest churches of the red brethren were formed on the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, which are included in the State of Massachusetts. A short time previous to I680, some of Mr. Mayhew’s converts on Martha’s Vineyard embraced the principles of the Baptists, and joined to the churches in Newport. And with the Indian converts to believers’ baptism came an Englishman by the name of Peter Folger, who was a school, master among them. In 1694, two indian churches had been formed, one on the Vineyard, and the other at Nantucket. Their pastor was Stephen Tackamason, who died in 1708, and is said to have borne an excellent character, both as a preacher and Christian. The church at the Vineyard appears to have been formed at Gayhead; in process of time it branched out to Chappaquidick on the east end of the island. It is difficult to trace the progress of these three churches, which have become reduced to one at Gayhead, and that in a feeble, declining state. Their preachers, at different times, have been Isaac Decamy, Jonas Horswet, Ephraim Abraham, Samuel Kakenehew, Peter Gilbert, Silas Paul, and Thomas Jeffer; the last of whom is now pastor at Gayhead and is esteemed a sober, worthy man. All these were ordained indian preachers, who have left good characters behind them; and besides these there have been, at different times, many unordained preachers and exhorters, whose names are not known.

    Peter Folger, though not a preacher, was a successful promoter of piety, learning, and believers’ baptism, among the red men of the islands, and a daughter of his was the mother of the famous Dr. Benjamin Franklin. At Charlestown in the Narraganset country, in the south part of Rhode- Island, near Point Judith, an Indian church was formed probably about 1750. It arose out of a Pedobaptist church of the Separate order, which was gathered there in the New-Light stir, under the ministry of a Mr. Park.

    Its first pastor was James Simons, and after him was the famous Samuel Niles, who was, in his day, one of the most eminent Indian preachers in America. Other preachers have succeeded him, but at present they are in a destitute and broken condition. In a visit, which I paid them a short time since, I found a member of venerable red sisters, who were much engaged in the things of the kingdom; three of them were about seventy years of age. The men were all absent on a fishing voyage. These Indians are the descendants of the Nyantick tribe, whose chief, Ninegret, refused to join in king Philip’s war,30 They were once a powerful tribe, but are now reduced to a handful. The State has secured to them a tract of land in Charlestown, which, however, they do not know how to manage to advantage.

    Morgan Edwards supposes that the forefathers of this congregation were converted by the labors of Roger Williams, which is not improbable, as it is known that he labored among them with much assiduity and some success. Among the Mohegan Indians, near New-London, according to Asplund, two churches were formed about 1770: they were upon the open communion plan, and consisted of Baptists and Pedobaptist. Connected with these, if I am rightly informed, was the famous Samson Occom, who afterwards went to New-Stockbridge, in New-York.

    At a place called Brotherton, now in Oneida county, New-York, an Indian church was formed of baptized believers in 1798. It arose in the following manner. Not far from 1770, the Oneidas, one of thy Six Nations, granted to their destitute brethren of other tribes a large tract of land for their settlement. To it Indians repaired from Stockbridge, Long-Island, from the Mohegans, the Narragansett, and a number of other tribes. The tract was six miles square, and was called New-Stockbridge. Reverend M. Sargeant, a Pedobaptist missionary, has long been employed among them. Brotherton is an Indian village adjoining New-Stockbridge, in which David Fowler, a pious Indian of the Baptist persuasion, settled in 1776. Five others of his brethren settled with him, and by them a meeting was maintained without any church estate, until 1798; then their number had increased to twelve, which were organized into a church by their neighboring white brethren.

    Mr. Fowler became its deacon, and was its principal leader till his death, which happened about 1807. Since that time they have been in a broken condition, and have, in a measure, lost their visibility as a church. Deacon Fowler was from Long-Island, and sustained an excellent character through life. On the same ground is a Baptist church on the open communion plan, which is considerably large, and is under the care of a preacher by the name of Wawby or Wabby.

    No great success has hitherto attended the means used to convert the American Indians. Their want of a written language has, in most cases, proved an insurmountable barrier to those benevolent white men, who have ardently desired their salvation. Our aged brother Elkanah Holmes labored for some years amongst the Tuscaroras and others of the Six Nations. Most of their chiefs and many of the rest showed a favorable disposition towards the gospel, but very few conversions were effected among them.

    KEITHIAN BAPTISTS SOON after the settlement of Pennsylvania, a difference arose among the Quakers, touching the sufficiency of what every man has within himself for the purpose of his own salvation. Some denied that sufficiency, and consequently magnified the external Word, Christ, etc. above Barclay’s measure. These were headed by the famous George Keith, and therefore called Keithism. The difference rose to a division in the year 1691, when separate meetings were set up in divers parts of the country, and a general one at Burlington in opposition to that of Philadelphia. This year they published a Confession of Faith, containing, twelve articles, much in Barclay’s strain, and signed by George Keith, Thomas Budd, John Hart, Richard Hilllard, Thomas Hooten, and Henry Furnis, in the behalf of the rest. They also published the reasons of the separation, etc. signed by the same persons and others, to the number of 48. About the same time, and afterward, were published several other pieces. The design of those publications was, 1st. To inform the world of the principles of the Separate Quakers. 2d. To fix the blame of the separation on the opposite party. 3d. To complain of the unfair treatment, slanders, fines, imprisonments, and other species of persecution, which they endured from their brethren.

    Whether these complaints be just or not, is neither my business nor inclination to determine. If just, the Quakers have also shown, “That every sect would persecute, had they but power.” I know but one exception to this satyrical remark, and that is the Baptists; they have had civil power in their hands in Rhode-Island government, for an hundred and thirty-six, (now one hundred and seventy-eight) years, and yet have never abused it in this manner, their enemies themselves being judges. And it is remarkable that John Holmes, Esq. the only Baptist magistrate in Philadelphia, at the time referred to, refused to act with the Quaker magistrates against the Keithians, alleging, “That it was a religious dispute, and therefore not fit for a civil court.” Nay, he openly blamed the court, held at Philadelphia, Dec. 6-12, 1692, for refusing to admit the exceptions, which the prisoners made to their jury. However, the Keithian Quakers soon declined; their head deserted them and went over to the Episcopalians. Some followed him thither; some returned to the Penn Quakers; and some went to other societies. Nevertheless, many persisted in the separation, particularly at Upper Providence; at Philadelphia; at Southampton; and at Lower Dublin.

    These, by resigning themselves to the guidance of Scripture, began to find water in the commission; bread and wine in the command; community of goods, love feast, kiss of charity, right hand of fellowship, anointing the sick for recovery, and washing the disciples’ feet, and therefore were determined to practice accordingly.

    The society of Keithians, most forward in these matters, was that kept at the house of Thomas Powell, in Upper Providence; which forwardness, it is said, was owing to one Abel Noble, who visited them, and was a Seventh-day Baptist minister when he arrived in this country. The time they began to put their designs in practice, was Jan. 28, 1697, when the said Abel Noble baptized a public Friend, whose name was Thomas Martin, in Redly-Creek. Afterwards Mr. Martin baptized other Quakers, to the number of 16. To them joined one William Beckingham, who broke off from the church at Cohansey. These 17 persons did, October I2, 1697, incorporate; and proceeded to choose a minister by lot. Three were put in nomination, William Beckingham, Thomas Budd, and Thomas Martin. The lot fell on the last, who, the same day, administered the Lord’s supper to them, for the first time. Shortly after, 15 more of the Quakers were baptized, some of whom lived in other parts of the country. But in 1700 a difference arose among them, touching the Sabbath, which broke up the society. Such as adhered to the observation of the Seventh day, kept together at Newtown, where some of their posterity are to this day. The rest lay scattered in the neighborhGod, till Mr. Abel Morgan gathered together 15 of them, and formed them into a society, now called the church of Brandywine, belonging to the Philadelphia Association.

    Another society of Keithian Quakers, who kept together, was that of Philadelphia, where they built a meeting-house in 1692. Of these, two public persons were baptized in 1697, by Reverend Thomas Killingworth, of Cohansey. Their names were William Davis and Thomas Rutter. The first joined Pennepek; the other kept preaching in Philadelphia, where he baptized one Henry Bernard Hoster, Thomas Peart, and seven others, whose names are not on record. These 9 persons united in communion, June 12, 1698, having Thomas Rutter to their minister. They increased, and continued together for 9 years. But some removing to the country, and the unbaptized Keithians falling off, the society in a manner broke up in 1707; for then the few that remained, invited the regular Baptists to join them, and were incorporated with them.

    A third society of Keithian Quakers was at Southampton, in Burk’s county; and a fourth at Lower Dublin. But many of these societies, soon also found water in the commission, and were baptized; and having become Baptists, they were soon divided again, on the disputed point respecting the Sabbath. Those who adhered to the observance of the Firstday Sabbath, in both societies, united with ihe church at Pennepek.

    Thus have we seen that the Keithian Quakers ended in a kind of transformation into Keithian Baptists: they were also called Quaker Baptists, because they still retained the language, dress, and manners of the Quakers. We have seen also, that the Keithian or Quaker Baptists ended in another kind of transformation into Seventh-day Baptists, though some went among the First-day Baptists and other societies. However, these were the beginning of the Sabbatarians in Pennsylvania. A confession of faith was published by the Keithian Baptists in 1697: it consists chiefly of the articles in the Apostles’ creed. The additions are articles which relate to baptism by immersion, the Lord’s supper; distinguishing days and months by numerical names, plainness of language and dress, not swearing, not fighting, etc. — Morgan Edwards.

    TUNKER BAPTISTS “THEY are called Tunkers 32 in derision; which is as much as to say, Sops, from tunker, to put a morsel into sauce; but as the term signifies Dippers, they may rest content with the nick-name, since it is the fate of Baptists, in all countries, to bear some cross or other. They are also called Tumblers, from the manner in which they perform baptism, which is by putting the party’s head forward under water, while kneeling, so as to resemble the motion of the body in the action of tumbling. The Germans sound the letters t and b like d and p; hence, the words Tunkers and Tumblers have been corruptly written Dunkers and Dumblers, “The first appearing of these people in America, was in the fall of the year 1719, when about 20 families landed in Philadelphia, and dispersed themselves, some to Germantown, some to Skippeck, some to Oley, some to Connestogo, and elsewhere. This dispersion incapacitated them to meet for public worship; and, therefore, they soon began to grow lukewarm in religion. But in the year 1722, Messrs. Baker, Gomery, Gantz, and the Trautrs, visited their scattered brethren, which was attended with a great revival, insomuch that societies were formed wherever a number of families were within reach one of another. But this lasted not above three years. They settled on their lees again, till about thirty families more of their persecuted brethren arrived in the fall of the year 1729, which both quickened them again, and increased their number every where. These two companies had been members of one and the same church which originated at Schwardzenau in the year 1708. The first constituents were Alexander Mack and wife, John Kipin and wife, George Grevy, Andreas Bhoney, Lucas Fetter, and Joanna Nethigeim. These had been bred Presbyterians, except Kipin, who was a Lutheran; and, being neighbors, they consorted together to read the Bible, and edify one another in the way they had been brought up; for as yet they did not know there were any Baptists in the world. However, believers’ baptism and a congregational church soon gained upon them, insomuch that they were determined to obey the gospel in these matters. They desired Alexander Mack to baptize them; but he, deeming himself in reality unbaptized, refused. Upon which they cast lots to find who should be administrator. On whom the lot fell hath been carefully concealed. However, baptized they were in the river Eder by Schwardzenau, and then formed themselves into a church; choosing Alexander Mack to be their minister. They increased fast, and began to spread their branches to Merienborn and Epstein, having John Naars, and Christian Levy to their ministers in those places.

    But persecution quickly drove them thence, some to Holland and some to Creyfelt. Soon after, the mother church voluntarily removed from Schwardzenau to Serustervin in Friezland, and from thence migrated towards America, in 17I9. And in 1729, those of Creyfelt and Holland followed their brethren. “Thus we see that all the Tunker churchs in America sprang from the church at Schwardzenau in Germany; that that church began in 1708, with only seven souls, and that in a place where no Baptist had been in the memory of man, nor any now are. In 62 years that little one became a thousand, and that small one a great nation. “It is very hard to give a true account of the principles of these Tunkers, as they have not published any system or creed, except what two individuals have put forth, which have not been publicly avowed. However, I may assert the following things concerning them from my own knowledge. They are General Baptists, in the sense which that phrase bears in Great-Britain; but not Arians nor Socinians, as most of their brethren in Holland are. General redemption they certainly hold; and, withal, general salvation; which tenets, though wrong, are consistent. They use great plainness of language and dress, like the Quakers; and like them they will neither swear nor fight. They will not go to law, nor take interest for the money they lend. They commonly wear their beards; and keep the First-day Sabbath, except one congregation.

    They have the Lord’s supper, with its ancient attendants of lovefeasts, washing feet, kiss of charity, and right hand of fellowship.

    They annoint the sick with oil for recovery; and use the trine immersion of laying-on-of-hands and prayer, even while the person baptized is in the water; which may easily be done, as the party kneels down to be baptized, and continues in that posture till both prayer and imposition of hands be performed. But though their baptism be well contrived for trine immersion, yet it loses its resemblance of a burial. Their church government is purely republican, and their discipline the same with those of the English Baptists, except that in Maryland they have a superintendant, whose name is Daniel Leatherman: to him is referred the decision of variances among the ministers and people; and as the Tunkers call all their ordained ministers Bishops, it follows that Leatherman holds the rank of Archbishop. Every brother is allowed to stand up in the congregation to speak, in a way of exhortation and expounding; and when by these means they find a man eminent for knowledge and aptness to teach, they choose him to be a minister, and ordain him with imposition of hands, attended with fasting and prayer, and giving the right hand of fellowship. They also have deacons; and ancient women for deaconesses; and exhorters, who are licensed to use their gifts statedly. They pay not their ministers, unless it be in the way of presents, though they admit their right to pay; neither do the ministers assert the right, esteeming it more blessed to give than to receive. Their acquaintance with the Bible is admirable. In a word, they are meek and pious Christians, and have justly acquired the character of the Harmless Tunkers. “Of these there are in Pennsylvania 15 churches; to which appertain 8 ordained ministers, and 13 exhorters or probationers, and 4 meeting-houses. The reason of their having no more places of worship is, that they choose rather to meet from house to house, in imitation of the primitive Christians. Their number of families is about 419, which, allowing five to a family, contain about souls, whereof 763 are baptized and in communion.”

    These Tunker churches were situated at different distances, in a western direction from Philadelphia, and but few of them were over a hundred miles from that city. Mr. Edwards has given a particular history of each of them, the most remarkable of which, and the only one whose history we shall here relate, is that at Ephrata. “This church is distinguished by the above name, which is the name of the village where it exists, in Cocolico township, and Lancaster county, 60 miles to the westward of Philadelphia. The same village is frequently called Tunkers town. It consists of between 30 and 40 buildings, and stands on a parcel of land containing 155 acres. The land is formed into a triangle by the crossings of the Paxton and Lancaster roads, and Cocolico river.

    The places of worship in the village are three. One, called Sharon, adjoins the sisters’ apartment by way of chapel. The other, called Bethany, is a chapel belonging to the apartments of the brethren, where they resort to worship, morning and evening, and sometimes in the night, as the sisters also do in the other chapel. The third is a common church, called Zion, built on the summit of a little hill, about 200 yards distant from the other. Here the single brethren and single sisters, the married people and their children, meet once a week for public worship, The brethren have adopted the dress of the white friars, with some alteration, and the sisters that of the nuns; and both, like them, have taken the vow of celibacy. But some break through the vow: then they quit their cells, and go to the neighborhGod among the married people. All the fraternity wear their beards. Their livelihGod they get by cultivating the land, by a printing-office, by a grist-mill, a paper-mill, an oil-mill, etc. and the sisters by spinning, weaving, sewing, etc. They slept at first on board couches with blocks for pillows, but now sleep on beds, and have otherwise abated much of the severity of their order. They keep the seventh day of the week for Sabbath, to which their founder had been proselyted by the remains of the Keithian Baptists, particularly Reverend Thomas Rutter, who, in this affair, was the disciple of Abel Noble. “From the uncouth dress, the recluse and ascetic life of these people, sour aspects and rough manncrs might be expected; but on the contrary, a smiling innocence and meekness grace their countenances, and a softness of tone and accent adorn their conversation, and make their deportment gentle and obliging. Their singing is charming, partly owing to the pleasantness of their voices, the variety of parts they carry on together, and the devout manner of performance. The families belonging to the society are about 40 whereof about 135 persons, including the single brethren and sisters, are baptized and in communion. This was their state in 1770. They had their existence as a society, on Nov. 12, 1724, when Conrad Beissel, Joseph Shaffer, John Moyer and wife, Henrick Hehn and wife, and Veronica Frederick were baptized in Pequea fiver by Reverend Peter Baker. The same day, these seven incorporated into a church, and chose Conrad Beissel to be their minister. After this, they continued some time at Mill-Creek; and then, removing about three miles northward, pitched on the land of Rudolph Neagley, in Earl township. Here they continued about seven years, and hither resorted many to see them, some of which joined their society. Here they began their economy, the men living by themselves on the forementioned lands, and the women also by themselves on the adjoining lands of John Moyly. Here Conrad Beissel appointed two elders and a matron to preside over his church in the wilderness, binding them by a solemn promise, and at the same time giving to each a Testament, to govern according to the rules of that book. Then he withdrew, and made as though they should see him no more. This was done in 1733. He traveled northward till he came to the spot whete Ephrata or Tunkerstown now stands, and with his hoe planted Indian corn and roots for his subsistence. But he had not been long in the place, before the society found him out, and repaired to his little cot; the brethren settling with him on the west banks of Cocolico, and the sisters on the east, all in sight of one another, with the river running between them. The next year they set about building their village, beginning with a place of worship. The village is inclosed with a large ditch, and fortified with posts, and rails, and quicksets.”

    The author of the foregoing account has also given biographical sketches of the ministers by which these churches were supplied. The most distinguished of which, were Alexander Mack, Conrad Beissel, and Peter Miller. “ Alexander Mack , was born in the year 1680 at Schrisheim, in Germany. He was educated a Calvinistic, but embraced the Baptist principles, in 1708, arrived in this country, with many of his congregation, in 1729, and became a minister of Beggarstown, in the township of Germantown, near Philadelphia, the same year, where he continued till he died, in 1735. Mr. Mack was a man of real piety. He had a handsome patrimony at Schrisheim, with a profitable mill and vineyards thereon; but he spent all in raising and maintaining his church at Schwardzenau, whereof he was father, and father of all the Tunkers. “ Conrad Beissel , founder of the society at Ephrata. This was his real name; but when he became a Baptist, he assumed the name of Freidsam Gottrecht, and gave new names to all the brethren and sisters. He was born in 1690, at Eberback, in Germany. Bred a Presbyterian. Arrived in Boston, in 1720. Thence he and his two companions, Stunts and Steiffel, traveled westward to Pennsylvania, and lived as hermits about Mill-Creek, and the Swede-Spring in Lancaster county. He embraced the principles of the Baptists in 1724. Died July 6, 1768, and was buried at Ephrata.

    As for his character, I give it in the words of one who knew him well. “He was very strict in his morals, and practiced selfdenial and mortification to an uncommon degree. Enthuslastic and whimsical, he certainly was; but an apparent devoutness and sincerity ran through all his oddities. He was not an adept in any of the liberal arts and sciences, except music, in which he excelled. He composed and set to music, in three, four, six, and eight parts, a folio volume of hymns, and another of anthems. He published a dissertation on the fall of man, in the mysterious strain: also a volume of letters.

    He left behind, several books in manuscript, curiously written and embellished.”

    Peter Miller . He was born in 1709, in the bailiwick of Kaiferlautern, in Germany; had his education in the University at Heildeberg; came to this country in 1730, and settled with the Dutch Presbyterians in Philadelphia: there he was ordained by Reverend Messrs. Tennant Boyd, and Andrews, the same year. He embraced the principle oftheBaptists in 1735, and in 1744 received another ordination from Reverend Conrad Beissel, to be prior of the society at Ephrata. Dr. Douglas, in his history of the provinces, saith, that he is a good scholar, and writes fine latin.” The main body of Tunker Baptists in America are, at present, as they ever have been, in Pennsylvania. But besides those in that State, there were, in the year 1770, according to Mr. Edwards, (who took unwearied pains to learn their history, and ascertain their numbers) in Maryland, 4 churches of these people, in which were 9 ministers, and 382 members. The number of families, out of which the 4 churches were collected was 169.

    In Virginia were 2 churches which contained together 56 members; The number of ministers was 3, and the families 100.

    In North-Carolina were 3 churches,4 ministers, 88 families, and members.

    In South-Carolina, there were at the same time 3 churches, but one minister, whose name was David Martin. He was a native of Pennsylvania, and is said to have been a man of some distinction, and to have borne an excellent character. The families were 63, and the number of members 108.

    There was, also, a church of the Tunkers at Amivell, in New-Jersey, which was formed in the year 1733; it is now in a comfortable condition.

    From the whole, it appears by Mr. Edwards, that there were of the Tunkers, in America, about 40 years ago, 28 churches, in which (excepting the one in New-Jersey) were 1455 communicants; and that to these churches, appertained upwards of 20 ordained ministers or bishops, and nearly the same number of exhorters. And the number of Tunker families was 669, which, allowing five to a family, Mr. Edwards’s uniform and probably correct mode of computation, makes the whole population of the Tunkers 3345.

    By a statement of Mr. Edwards for 1790, it appears, that of the Tunker Baptists there was at that time one church in New-Jersey, 15 in Pennsylvania, 7 in Maryland, and in the more southern States 10; making in all 33. 34 so that they had received the addition of five churches in years. But what has been their progress since the last-mentioned date, or what is their present situation as to numbers, etc. I have not been able to learn. I am informed by Dr. Rogers of Philadelphia, and others, that “it is, at present, a fixed principle with them, to make no communication; and that they feel hurt when interrogated respecting their society.” Indeed, they have always been shy of the English, and suspicious of encroachment and exposure; and under these circumstances, it is surprising how Mr. Edwards, without an acquaintance with the German language, could gain such correct and extensive information respecting them, as he has recorded in his historical works.

    Many of the churches mentioned by him have become extinct, and others have suffered great diminutions, and it is generally believed that their society is declining; but still they are considerably numerous in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and small detachments of them are to be found in most of the southern and western States. While they have declined in some places, and become extinct in others, they have emigrated to remoter regions, and formed new establishments, some of which are very large. One of these is in the Allegany Mountains, in Somerset county, Pennsylvania, in a place called Brothers’ Valley, near the town of Berlin, about 200 miles westward of Philadelphia. There is, also, another large society in the Red-stone county, beyond the mountains, on Jacob’s-Creek, in the counties of Fayette and Westmoreland. It is believed, that some other societies have been formed in Pennsylyania, since Mr. Edwards’s account was taken; but I have been able to learn nothing respecting them.

    These people have also become adventurers to the western States of Ohio and Kentucky; and some of them, I have been informed, have settled not far from Detroit, in the Michigan Territory.

    The following anecdote of a preacher from that country, by the name of John Messemer, was related to me by the Reverend David Jones, of the Great Valley, Pennsylvania, to whom it was related by Mr. Messemer himself. “While visiting my brethren in these parts,” (said the Tunker in his broken English) “I thought I would go to de city of Philadelphia, and hear some of de preachers dere. I first went to hear de Universalists; and I found dey preach no hell dere, but dey seem have no religion too. I next go to hear de Methodists, and dey preach all hell, but dey seem have good deal religion too. I next go to hear de Baptists, and dey preach some hell and some heaven, and this I thought was de rightest way.”

    It is difficult to say what are the definite doctrinal sentiments of the Tunkers; it is said, however, that they hold the doctrine of universal salvation, and hence they are often called Universalists; but this sentiment they are not forward to advance, nor strenuous to defend; and it is probable they maintain it with some peculiar qualifications.

    The Tunkers still maintain their former simplicity, and most of those distinguished religious maxims and peculiar domestic habits which Mr. Edwards ascribes to them. But by the best information I can gain, they have much depreciated as to vital religion, and appear too generally contented with keeping up their external forms, while but little of the power of godliness is to be found amongst them. But as they have not conformed to the unscriptural traditions of men, but have, in the midst of their lukewarmness and declension, preserved essentially the primitive mode of administering the ordinance of Baptism, we shall give them a place among the American Baptists.

    MENNONITES “THESE have their denomination from the personal name of Menno Simon, a native of Witmars, and a man of parts and learning, who carried the reformation one step farther than either Luther or Calvin; and who, no doubt, would have been ranked with the chief reformers, had there not been some cross-grained fatality attending the laudable deeds of Baptists, to prevent their having, in this world, the praise they deserve. He was born in the year 1505. Got into orders in 1528. Continued a famous preacher and disputer to 1531, when he began to suspect the validity of many things in the church of Rome, and among the rest, that of infant baptism. He discovered his suspicions first to the doctors of his own fraternity; but they, resolving all to the authority of the church, relieved him not. Then he visited Luther and many besides, who had, at the time, avowed the word of God to be the only rule of faith and practice in religious concernments. What satisfaction they gave him, touching other matters, I do not find; but their grounding infant baptism on consequences and expedience, rather than on any express precept or precedent, increased his suspicion. He then betook himself to the close study of the New-Testament and ecclesiastical history; and finding no traces of it in the first and second century, nor yet in the word of God; and strong indications of believers’ baptism in both, he renounced the former, and embraced the principles of the Baptists, notwithstanding the disgrace which the profession had been brought under by the appearance of some Baptists in the insurrection of those times, which were common throughout most parts of Germany. 35 These insurrections were not of the religious kind, but struggles of the people for civil liberty against the tyranny and oppression of the princes. In some of these, not a Protestant of any denomination was found. In none of them were the Protestant Baptists either the agitators or the most numerous; no, not in that of Munster. The contrivers of this, and the first that appeared in it, are well known to be of other denominations; and though three Baptists, one by his wealth, and the other two by their superior skill and courage, became principals in fighting the tyrant and defending the town, yet, had they not the guilt of the plotters nor of the first insurgents; nor were the Baptists, under their command, many, in comparison of the other citizens and boors which made the whole body of the madmen of Munster, as they are called. Nevertheless, the blame of the whole, is fixed on the Baptists, contrary to all fair dealing and the historical evidence of facts, and follows them to this day even in foreign countries. Menno continued preaching and planting churches in the various parts of the low countries, for a course of about thirty years, and died in peace, January 31, 1561, after having been hunted like a partridge on the mountain by both Protestants and Papists. The faith and order of this eminent reformer may in some measure be gathered from the fragments of his works which are now extant. A General Baptist, as that character is understood in Great-Britain, he certainly was; but I have not seen sufficient evidence of his being what is now called an Arian or Socinian. I rather think that the term Arminian or Remonstrant, would better suit his religious sentiments. But the Mennonites in Pennsylvania, and in other parts of the world, have somewhat deviated from Menno, in matters both of faith and practice; particularly in that of baptism. He, in his Declaration concerning Christian baptism in water, printed in 1539, pag 24, expressly saith, “After we have searched ever so diligently, we shall find no other baptism besides dipping in water, which is acceptable to God, and maintained in his word.” After which he adds, page 39, “Let who will oppose, this is the only mode of baptism that Christ Jesus instituted, and the Apostles taught and practiced.” Accordingly Menno was dipped, and did dip others.

    His successors did the same, except when they made proselytes in prisons, or were hindered from going to rivers; and this they excused from a consideration of necessity; just as Cyprian, in his 69th epistle, excuses the usage of sprinkling or pouring instead of dipping, because the subjects were confined to their beds, which made it be called Clinical Baptism. But, as in Africa so in Europe, what was done at first, out of a supposed necessity, became afterwards to be practiced out of choice. What excused the Mennonites in Europe, excuse them not in Pennsylvania. In the former they made converts in prisons, whom they could not lead to the water, and therefore fetched water to them. In the former they were hindered from going to rivers, and therefore did as well as they could in the inner chambers; but in Pennsylvania, every one may do what is right in his own sight, without either fear or shame.

    It is earnestly prayed, therefore, that the Mennonites of America will return to follow Menno in an affair wherein he was so eminent a follower of Christ, and his Apostles; especially as so many of the common people have desired a restoration of immersion, and have gone off to the Tunkers for the want of it. Touching the subjects of baptism, the Mennonites still retain their integrity, by administering the ordinance to none but those who profess faith and repentance, and make vows of subjection to the Gospel of Christ; which keeps up the distinction between world and church; for where baptizing infants prevails, there can be no world, all are church; but they do not prefer dipping. Their common method is this: The person to be baptized kneels; the minister holds his hands over him, into which the deacon pours water, and through which it runs on the crown of the kneeling person’s head; after which follow imposition of hands, and prayer. The parents sometimes insist on their children’s being baptized before they will consent to their marriage; which I wish they would not, lest any be forced to a thing, which should be a matter of personal choice, following convictions and calls of conscience; for then only is baptism what it should be, The answer of a good conscience toward God. 1 Peter 3:21 “The principles and practices of the Mennonites in Pennsylvania may be seen in their Confession of Faith, published at Philadelphia, in 1727. This confession, as far as it goes, is orthodox; and is no other than a translation of that framed and published at Dordrecht, in 1632, by deputies from all the Mennonites in Europe. But as the book is scarce, I may be allowed to mention some particulars. “The Mennonites do not, like the Tunkers, hold the doctrine of general salvation; yet, like them, they will neither swear nor fight, nor bear any civil office, nor go to law, nor take interest for the money they lend, (though many break through this last.) Some of them yet wear their beards; nor are the ancient rites of washing feet, etc. wholly out of use among them. They, like the Tunkers, use great plainness of speech and dress. This last is so capital a point with them, that some have been expelled from their societies, for having buckles to their shoes, and pocket-holes to their coats.

    Their church government, like that of all Baptists, is wholly democratical or republican. Their ministers they choose by balloting; and when two or more are thus nominated, they leave it to the decision of lots, which shall be the man. They do not pay them; nor do their ministers assert their right to a liveliehood from the Gospel. They are put into their office, by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, attended with fasting and prayer. They call their ordained ministers bishops, which term, though as scriptural as pastor, elder,etc, other dissenters avoid, as if they were conscious that the proper office of bishop is not among them.

    The brothers are allowed to speak in the church by way of exhortation or expounding, but are not permitted to preach publicly, till they obtain license from the church. These they call preachers, helps, exhorters. Their aim in America, is to have a pious ministry rather than a learned one; but in Europe they covet both, and have a college among them for the purpose. 36 The epithets which these people give themselves in their writings are, Harmless Christians, Revengeless Christians, Weaponless Christians, etc. and as such are they considered by the rulers of the province, and by those of other States. Remarkable, on this subject are the words of the Duteh ambassador (Van Benning) to Monsieur de Turenne: “The Mennonites are good people, and the most commodious to a State of any in the world; partly because they do not aspire to places of dignity; partly because they edify the community by the simplicity of their manners, and application to arts and industry; and partly because we fear no rebellion from a sect, who make it an article of their faith never to bear arms.” Their industry and frugality they carried with them to Pennsylvania, and thereby are become very wealthy. Some Mennonite families were in the province as early as the year 1692, who came hither from New-York government, which at first belonged to the Dutch, and was called New-Netherlands, extending from the river Delaware to the river of Connecticut. They set-tied in the neighborhood, now called Germantown and Frankfort, etc. Other families soon followed; and after them many came directly from Europe, insomuch that May 23, 1708, there was a church settled at Germantown, consisting of 52 members, which exists to this day, and is not only the first in the province, but, in some sort, the mother of all the rest. In about 16 years after, this church had branched out to Skippek, Conestogo, Great-Swamp, and Monatony, and become five churches; to which appertained ministers, viz. Reverend Messrs. Jacob Goottschalk, Henry Kolb, Martin Kolb, Cleas Johnsen, Michael Zeigler, John Gorgas, John Conerads, Cleas Rittinghausen, Hans Burghaltzer, Christian Heer, Benedict Hirchy, Martin Beer, Johnnes Bowman, Velter Clemer, Daniel Langanecker, and Jacob Beghtly. The present (1770) state of the Mennonites in this province is as follows: 1st, Their churches, which contain many branches, are 13. 2d The meetinghouses belonging to them are 42. 3d, Their ordained ministers or bishops are 55. 4th, Their probationary or licensed preachers are 53. 5th, The families are about 810, which, allowing 5 to a family, contain 4050 souls; whereof 1448 persons are baptized and members of their churches. This account, I believe, is pretty exact, except the county of Lancaster hath introduced any error into it; for in that county I have not met with as much readiness to give me the information I sought, as in the other counties; owing, I believe to a suspicion, that a knowledge of their State would some way or other be to their prejudice. “In the year 1743, the Mennonites began a settlement in Frederick county, Maryland, 56 miles N.W. from Annapolis, and 122 S.W. from Philadelphia; and in 1770, according to Mr. Edwards’s account, their society had increased to about 400 families, in which, allowing 5 to a family, were 2000 souls, whereof 861 were baptized. In this large community were five ordained ministers or bishops. The Mennonites, also founded a society in Augusta county, Virginia, in the year 1752, which, at the time above, mentioned, had increased to about 100 families, whereof 52 were baptized.”

    From the foregoing accounts it appears, that there were of the Mennonites in America, in the year 1770, 15 churches; about 20 ordained ministers or bishops, as they call them; between 50 and 6o probationary or licensed preachers; 2361 communicants; 1310 families; and, allowing 5 to a family, 6550 souls. Their number has probably decreased since that period, although they are at present considerably numerous. But as they have changed the administration of baptism, from immersion to affusion, and thereby not only departed from the only scriptural mode of administering this ordinance, but also from the example of the noble founder of this sect, we shall wholly leave them out in our enumeration of the American Baptists.

    GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - BAPTIST HISTORY INDEX & SEARCH

    God Rules.NET
    Search 80+ volumes of books at one time. Nave's Topical Bible Search Engine. Easton's Bible Dictionary Search Engine. Systematic Theology Search Engine.