BAPTIST THOROUGH REFORMERS
PREFACE TO THE CENTENNIAL EDITION
The following Lectures have a peculiar history. They were originally delivered to the Baptist Church in Caldwell, N. J., in the ordinary course of pastoral labors in that place, and were not then intended for the press. At the urgent request of those who heard. them, the author was induced to give them to the public. They were delivered. from meager notes, and from these, as his "copy," the author, himself a practical printer, set up the types of the first edition, which was published in 1858. As much of the matter was thus extemporized, at the "case," the entire book was never written. The late excellent Spencer H. Cone, D. D., then pastor of the First Baptist Church of New York city, read the proofs, and so well pleased was he with the work, that he ordered the first fifty copies for his own church, recommending it from his pulpit as well as by the notice which appears among the "Recommendations."
Several editions were printed during the few following years, and the work was widely circulated through the country, and seems to have given a new phase to the baptismal controversy, by directing attention to the GREAT PRINCIPLES which underlie the action of the Baptist denomination. It shows that these principles, though based on God's Word, are constantly violated by Protestant pedobaptists, though they profess to be governed by that Word. Not a few of these have been led, by the perusal of previous editions, to see the utter inconsistency of pedobaptism with the principles of the New Testament, and have renounced it, and united with the Baptist denomination. Among these, several highly honored and useful brethren, now in the ministry of the denomination, might be named.
The occurrence of our National Centennial seemed to the author an appropriate time to issue a revised. and enlarged edition, especially as some years have elapsed. since the plates of the first editions were destroyed, and during all that time applications have been made for the work, which could not be supplied.
To the advocacy and propagation of the principles here presented, our country owes all it possesses of true greatness. American principles are, essentially, Baptist principles, and this is owing to the fact that Baptist principles have impressed. themselves upon the nation, as the only principles consistent with a government divorced from ecclesiastical control, and recognizing the universal right to civil and religious liberty.
And to the recognition and prevalence of these principles, the evangelical pedobaptist churches of our land owe their spirituality and moral power, in spite of the inconsistency of infant baptism, the legitimate and baneful fruits of which are nipped in the bud. by the influence of Baptist churches.
With the earnest prayer that the present edition may be as useful, at least, as previous ones, in leading Christians of every name to the knowledge and practice of Bible truth, the work is commended to the blessing of God, and the candid consideration of the reader.
J.Q.A. (John Quincy Adams)
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