a history of the baptists
By Thomas Armitage
THE AMERICAN BAPTISTS
XVI. THEOLOGICAL SEMINARIES-LITERATURE-REVIVALS
Perhaps sufficient has been said already about the early efforts of the Baptists to provide facilities for general and theological education, but there is a disposition to linger and contemplate the great contrast presented between the firmly laid foundations and the present state of the structure. As early as 1813 a charter was obtained for the Maine Literary and Theological Institution, and in 1818 a school was opened at Waterville, under the charge of Jeremiah Chaplin, D.D., who for several years had been giving theological instruction to a few young men who had removed with him to Waterville from his pastorate at Danvers, Mass. In 1820 this school was incorporated as a college, with both a collegiate and a theological department, but when Newton Institution was opened, instruction in divinity was discontinued and the institution grew into what is now Colby University. The spread of Baptist principles in this country is nowhere more strongly seen than by our present educational statistics. The State of New York is a fair example. In 1817 there were only three educated Baptist ministers in that State, west of the Hudson. Thirteen men met at the house of Deacon Jonathan Olmstead, in Hamilton, September 24th, 1817, and contributed $13 to the cause of theological education in founding what has now become Madison University, and the first class which graduated from the infant institution numbered but six members. Today, 1886, the property and endowments of the Baptist institutions of learning in New York are estimated at $2,133,000. The Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution was opened on May 1st, 1820. Its first Professor was Rev. Daniel Hascall, and in the following fall, Elder Nathanael Kendrick, of Eaton, was employed to visit the school and lecture on moral philosophy and theology three times a week. The first regular class in Divinity was organized under In's instruction, in June, 1822. Two members of this class were Jonathan Wade and Eugenio Kincaid, both of whom went on missions to Burma.
Gradually, the length of the course of study was extended and its variety enlarged, until in 1839 the restriction to candidates for the ministry was widened, granting the privileges of the institution to 'students of good moral character not having the ministry in view.' This enlargement, however, was accompanied by the provisions that: 'No change should be made in the course of instruction to favor such students, that they should in no case exceed the number of those preparing for the ministry, and that in no other way should the privileges of the latter be abridged by reason of this arrangement.' The institution was supported by contributions from the Churches and by the help of the Education Society. By degrees which it is not necessary to trace here, it became the Madison University of today, having had a rare succession of Professors and graduates. Dr. Kendrick, who had been its head till 1836, was at that time formally elected its President, in which capacity he continued until 1848. Stephen W. Taylor, LL.D., became its second President in 1851, but died in 1856. Dr. Taylor was a layman of very high character. He graduated at Hamilton College, Clinton Co., N. Y., and had devoted his life to teaching. For two years he acted as principal of the academy connected with the University, but left in 1836, after which he founded the Lewisburg University, in Pennsylvania, and returned as President of Madison. Rev. George W. Eaton, D.D., LL.D., was the third President of this renowned institution. He was a graduate of Union College and had devoted his life to teaching, his first professorship being that of Ancient Languages, at Georgetown, Ky. He became Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, at Hamilton, in 1833, was elected to the chair of Ecclesiastical and Civil History, in 1837; in 1850 he became Professor of Systematic Theology and President of Madison University, in 1856 Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy, and in 1861 he was chosen President of Hamilton Seminary and Professor of Homiletics. He died August 3d, 1872, at the age of 68 years, having been connected with the Institution in one capacity or another for forty years, in prosperity and adversity, until its interests and history became a part of himself and the chief end of his existence. Dr. Eaton would have been a man of mark in any sphere of life. In body, intellect and soul, he possessed a uniform greatness, which, without exaggeration, entitle him to the appellation of a threefold giant. He knew nothing of cowardice, moral or otherwise, but met every issue which arose in the affairs of the denomination and the times, on the high and broad plane of Christian manliness. His first and last question on all subjects was, 'Is this right?' When that question was determined in his own mind his position was taken, whether he stood alone or with the multitude. His memory was what he would have called 'prodigious,' his eloquence massive, his hospitality warm, and his convictions of duty as deep as his nature. Withal, his sympathy with the weak, the wronged and the suffering, was extraordinary. He was as artless as a child, and his unsuspecting nature was often imposed upon, while he gave his strong arm to help every one. He was too impulsive for a thorough disciplinarian and too pure for any one to despise.
EBENEZER DODGE, D.D., LL.D., the fourth President of Madison University, is a native of Massachusetts, born at Salem, April 21, 1819. He is an alumnus of Brown University and studied theology at Newton. He served as pastor of the Baptist Church in New London, N. H., for seven years, with marked power, but was called from his pastorate to the chair of Christian Theology in 1853. In 1868 he was elected President of Madison University and in 1871 President of Hamilton Theological Seminary. He is a ripe scholar and a profound theologian. Under his administration the career of the University has been one unbroken progress; for it has enjoyed the greatest prosperity in its history in all its departments, so that it never occupied the commanding position which it does at this time. Dr. Dodge has contributed to the standards of Theology in his work on the 'Evidences of Christianity;' and his 'Theological Lectures,' now confined to the use of his students, exhibit the hand of a master in deep thought and ripe scholarship. He has many valuable manuscripts ready for the press, which, it is believed, will stand side by side with his present publications, and, as they are the results of his life-long experience, may even excel them in their advanced value.
The Newton Theological Institution has a most interesting history. At a large meeting of ministers and laymen held in Boston, May 25th, 1825, it was resolved that a Baptist Theological Institution in the vicinity of Boston was a necessity, and the Massachusetts Baptist Educational Society was requested to take steps in that direction. Its executive committee fixed upon Newton Center for a location, and selected Rev. Irah Chase to begin instruction. The foundations of the school were laid with great difficulty and in much faith and prayer. Students increased faster than the necessary provisions for their reception, and heavy debts were incurred. It was many years before its permanent endowment was secured with corresponding success. All connected with the undertaking made great sacrifices, and Dr. Chase gave twenty years of his valuable life to the enterprise with an unselfishness that has laid the Baptists of New England under a debt which they will never be able to discharge. The course of instruction was to cover three years, and to be specially adapted to college graduates familiar with the Latin and the Greek. Dr. Chase commenced his work in the autumn of 1825, and in the next year Prof. Henry J. Ripley was added. Prof. James D. Knowles came to their aid in 1834, Rev. Barnas Sears in 1836, and in 1838, upon the death of Prof. Knowles, Prof. Hackett left his chair in Brown University to take his place in the corps of tutors. Not far from 800 students have gone forth from its hallowed bosom to fill places of high trust, and under its present faculty it is doing, if possible, better work than ever and promises a splendid future.
ALVAH HOVEY, D.D., LL.D., its President, is a native of Greene, Chenango Co., N. Y., and was born March 5th, 1820. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1844, and spent three years at Newton as a theological student. After preaching for a year, in 1849 he first became a tutor in Hebrew, at Newton; and then in succession, Professor of Church History, Theology, and Christian Ethics, and President; so, that, for thirty-seven years he has consecrated all his energies to the training of young ministers in this renowned seminary. This long experience, governed by a sacred regard for divine truth and by a remarkably sound judgment in expounding its principles, has made his tuition far-reaching, and given to our Churches a fullness of doctrine and devotion which has been strong and abiding. Dr. Hovey is distinguished for his clear perception of Gospel doctrines, to which he cleaves simply because they are divinely true. First of all he is just, which renders his aims high and unselfish, besides making his counsels sensible and sound. His pen has been ever busy; he is the author of about a dozen volumes, amongst which are his 'Person and Work of Christ,' the 'Miracles,' his 'Higher Christian Life,' and his 'Memoirs of Dr. Backus,' all valuable productions. This veteran educator is beloved and trusted by the Churches everywhere, as far as he is known, and his present vigor promises to bless them for many years to come.
The third Theological Seminary founded by the American Baptists was that at Rochester, N. Y. About 1847 many friends of Madison University thought its usefulness would be greatly increased, by its removal from the village of Hamilton to a more populous center. After considerable controversy, and some litigation, the question of its removal was abandoned. The University of Rochester was founded in 1850, and in the following November a Theological Seminary was organized, distinct, however, in its property and government. From the first, its list of instructors has comprised the names of very eminent scholars. Its first two professors were Thomas J. Conant, D.D., and John S. Maginnis, D.D.; Ezekiel G. Robinson, D.D., LL.D., became its President in 1868, after most valuable service as professor from 1853. In 1872 he was elected President of Brown University, when Rev. Augustus H. Strong, D.D., was chosen to fill his position both as President and Professor of Biblical Theology at Rochester. This school has been liberally endowed and has given to the Churches a succession of pastors of the highest stamp for excellency in every respect. Its German Department was early enriched by the library of Neander, and its buildings have been provided by the munificence of J. B. Trevor, Esq., of New York, and John D. Rockefeller, Esq., of Cleveland. Hon. R. S. Burrows, of Albion; John M. Brnce, J. A. Bostwick and William Rockefeller, Esqs., of New York, have given large sums to replenish its library, and a host of other friends have carried its interests to a high state of prosperity by their Christian benefactions.
DR. STRONG, its President, was born at Rochester, August 3d, 1836, and graduated from Yale College in 1857. While a student at Yale he was brought to Christ, and united with the First Baptist Church in Rochester; but after his graduation he first entered the Theological Seminary in that city, and then completed his studies in the German universities. On his return from Europe, in 1861, he was ordained pastor of the Baptist Church at Haverhill, Mass., which he left in 1865 to become pastor of the First Church, Cleveland, OH., from whence he went to take his present place, after seven years of successful pastoral toil. Although Dr. Strong is the youngest of our theological presidents, the classes which come from under his hand evince his care in training and his wisdom in impressing them with that robust impress of Biblical theology which betokens their reverence for the heavenly vision. Endowed himself with insight into spiritual things, with keen faith and high sanctity, they catch his spirit, and their ministry evidences their love for that Lord whose they are and whom they serve. He is the author of numerous notable articles on theological subjects, but his most elaborate and weighty book is his 'Systematic Theology' recently published. It is a work of great research, indicating the strength and solidity, as well as the logical and analytical power, of the author's mind.
Having already spoken of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, it is not necessary to treat of its interests here, further than to speak of its President, who is in all respects the peer of his presidential brethren.
JAMES P. BOYCE, D.D., .LL.D., was born in Charleston, S. C. January 11th, 1827. In 1847 he graduated from Brown University, and, having been converted while in college, he was baptized in 1848 by the Rev. Dr. Richard Fuller. From 1848 to 1851 he studied theology at Princeton, N. J. He threw all his energies into his theological studies, and when he was examined for ordination to the ministry, Dr. Curtis, moderator of the examining council, asked him whether he intended to give his life to the preaching of the Gospel. He replied: 'Provided I don't become a professor of theology.' In 1851 he became pastor of the Church at Columbia, S. C., but took the chair of theology in Furman University in 1855. He accepted a professorship in the Theological Seminary at Greenville, S. C., however, in 1858. The seminary being located but temporarily there, in 1873 it was resolved to remove it to Louisville, its friends in Kentucky having offered $300,000 for its permanent establishment there, provided that $200,000 could be added from other sources. When financial embarrassment threatened the ruin of this great scheme, Dr. Boyce, who at that time was wealthy, borrowed large sums of money on his own responsibility, and threw his surprising financial talents into the enterprise. For about seven years it seemed as if the godly project must fail, and gloom, almost despair, settled upon the hopes of its friends. But Dr. Boyce by his patience and business skill re-inspired the energies of his brethren, and more than any other person led the movement to complete success. He is a refined and dignified gentleman, whose modest polish of manner, generous culture and varied accomplishments clothe him with a delightful influence in all spheres in which he moves, so that he is pre-eminently fitted to mold his pupils in the proprieties demanded by their calling. Clearly, it must be the fault of the pupil if he goes forth to his work without that refinement of manner, together with that mental and heart culture, which are demanded in the acceptable minister of our Lord Jesus.
The Baptist Union Theological Seminary at Morgan Park, Illinois, was organized in 1867. Up to about the year 1860 the West had been wholly dependent upon the East for theological education; but in 1859 a convention of delegates representing the West and Northwest gathered in Chicago to consult respecting the establishment of a new seminary in that part of our country.
The difference of opinion as to location was so striking that general agreement was not then reached. At length a preliminary organization was effected, in 1860, under the lead of W. W. Everts, D.D.. J. B. Oleott, and J. A. Smith, and in 1863 a corporation was formed and officers chosen; Hon. R. S. Thomas being President, Luther Stone, Secretary, and Edward Goodman, Treasurer. In 1865 the Legislature of Illinois granted it a charter. A temporary arrangement was made with Dr. Nathanael Culver to commence theological tuition, but a regular faculty was selected in 1866, and in the autumn of that year the work of instruction began in earnest. Since that time reliable endowments have been received, the faculty has been very effective, the seminary has been removed to Morgan Park, and is in a high state of prosperity. It has already graduated about 500 students. Its beautiful property at Morgan Park, and an endowment of $200,000, with a library of 25,000 volumes, promise much, with its able body of tutors, for the culture of the rising ministry in the West.
GEORGE W. NORTHRUP, D.D., LL.D., its President, was born in Jefferson County, K. Y., October 15th, 1826, and when but sixteen years of age became a member of the Baptist Church at Antwerp. His early educational advantages were slight, but from childhood he possessed that quenchless thirst for knowledge and culture that refuses to submit to any obstructions which assume to be insurmountable. He plodded on in the study of Latin, Greek and mathematics with such private aids only as he could command, until he was able to enter Williams College. In 1854 he graduated from that institution with the highest honors, and in 1857 finished a theological course at the Rochester Seminary. There, also, he served with distinguished ability as Professor of Church History for ten years. He accepted the chair of theology and the presidency in the seminary, which he has done so much to establish, in 1867, and in contending with the difficulties incident to the founding of a new institution he has displayed the qualities of a forceful leader and organizer. His wise methods and strength of will have braved all storms, and commanded that signal success which has given the West as strong and well-conducted a theological seminary as any in the East, in view of its youth. As a metaphysician, pulpit orator and theologian, Dr. Northrup is an honor to his denomination.
The youngest of the six theological schools is the Crozer Theological Seminary, located at Chester, in Pennsylvania, and organized in 1868. The late John P. Crozer, Esq., was deeply interested in ministerial education, and had largely aided therein through the Lewisburg University. After his death his family took up the work where he left it, to give it an enlarged and more permanent form. Led by his eldest son, Mr. Samuel A. Crozer, his other sons and daughters established this seminary as a devout monument to his name, and all generations will therefor call them blessed. The buildings and grounds are spacious, valued at $150,000; the endowment amounts to about $350,000, and the library and apparatus are ample for present use, although the library building is planned to contain about 50,000 volumes. William Bucknell, son-in-law to Mr. John P. Crozer, made a donation of about $30,000 for the purchase of books, and a further sum of $10,000 was presented from another source for the same purpose. Its average number of pupils is about fifty per year, its faculty is one of the best in the denomination, and it has sent about 300 men into the Christian ministry; many of whom are now filling places of great influence and responsibility.
HENRY G. WESTON, D.D., has been president of this institution from its foundation, and has contributed greatly to its up-building. He is a native of Lynn, Mass., and was born September 11th, 1820. He graduated at Brown University and Newton Theological Institution, and after sustaining himself for three years as a missionary in Illinois, became pastor of the Baptist Church in Peoria in 1846, where he was prospered for thirteen years. In 1859 he removed to New York city, to take charge of the Oliver Street Baptist Church, in which congregation he remained, first in Oliver Street, and then in Madison Avenue when it removed, until the year 1868, when he took the presidency of Crozer Seminary. His double aim was to give a complete theological training to the alumni of our colleges, who could study the Scriptures in the Greek and pursue the Hebrew; and also to take men who were somewhat advanced in life, but could not command a classical course; to aid them in the knowledge of the Scriptures and in theological studies, that they might be measurably qualified, at least, for their pastoral work. A peculiar order of ability was needed in the president who than well lay the foundations of such a school, not only must he be a true scholar, and a clear, sound and experienced theologian, broad in his views, simple in his habits, kind in his disposition, and devout in his piety; but quite as much he needed unflinching courage in his convictions. In a word, all the ripe qualities of manly experience were needed, with the forbearance and tenderness of a woman. Even then, the tact of a general was required, who knew the wants of the place and had the genius to meet them. Many men were scanned as to this fitness, but, with singular unanimity, Dr. Weston was hailed as the one man for the post. A ripe scholar and a pulpit master, it was believed that he could equally develop the immature and perfect the accomplished. The result has so far exceeded sanguine expectation, that all true Baptist hearts thank him for his work and praise his Master for the gift of the workman. For nearly a score of years he has been filling the pulpits of our land with men who are blessing it everywhere. The Baptist denomination, having possessed such a succession of men in the presidency of its seminaries, should be grateful indeed, for not one of them, from the establishment of the first school, has ever brought a stain upon its fair fame. And not only in view of the past, but in the necessities of the present, it is to be congratulated; happy are the Baptists of the United States in the possession of six such presidents of their theological schools.
American Baptists have lately paid much attention to female education, and have twenty-seven institutions devoted to this object. A Ladies' Institute was founded at Granville, Oh., in 1832, which was followed by the Judson Female Institute, at Marion, Ala., in 1839; by Baylor Female College, at Independence, Tex., in 1845; and by the Female Seminary at Georgetown, Ky., in 1846. Mary Sharp College was established, on a somewhat larger scale, at Winchester, Term., in 1851. But the largest and most thoroughly endowed Baptist institution for females is Vassar College, at Poughkeepsie, N. Y. It was founded by Matthew Vassar, in 1865, at a cost of $700,000. He excluded sectarian teaching, but put it under Baptist control, forbidding that its training should ever be 'intrusted to the skeptical, the irreligious or the immoral.' Its endowment is $430,000, and it exerts a great influence on the higher education of women. Its presidents have been John H. Raymond, LL.D.; S. L. Caldwell, D.D.; J. R. Kendrick, D.D.; and its present head, James M. Taylor, D.D., son of the late Dr. E. E. I. Taylor.
The growth of a distinctively DENOMINATIONAL LITERATURE in America has been closely kindred to the growth of the denomination and of its schools for education. From the antecedents of Baptist European life, under all its persecutions and disabilities, it was scarcely to be expected that Baptists would take any very prominent part in literature here. Still, it is one of the marvels of English literary history that the two men of the seventeenth century whom Macaulay pronounces 'creative minds' were decided Baptists in their religious convictions. He writes: 'We are not afraid to say that though there were many clever men in England during the latter part of the seventeenth century, there were only two great creative minds. One of these produced "Paradise Lost," and the other "Pilgrim's Progress."' Milton spent his strength in his two most extensive prose works in proving that those principles which distinguish the Baptists are drawn from the Scriptures; while Bunyan was a Baptist preacher, imprisoned for preaching at Baptist conventicles. As might have been expected, the writings of Baptists, both in the Old and New World, took a decidedly controversial tone. Roger Williams possessed high literary art, viewed in the ponderous style of his day, and advocated principles which are now universally conceded in the United States. His success in obtaining the charter, and the friendly admonition from England to the authorities of Massachusetts that they should be less severe with him, are justly attributed to the favorable impressions as to his purposes and spirit created in England by his writings, especially those in regard to the Indians. The occasion for the composition of the important works by which he is best known was furnished by the principle which he maintained against Mr. Cotton. Five volumes, of which the 'Bloody Tenet' is the most noted, were published in London between the years 1644 and 1652; after the death of Cotton, Williams ceased to write upon these subjects. But the battle which he fought has long since been decided. Despite the grudging reluctance of those who hate his memory for his religious principles, and the tardy acknowledgment of his great power by those who hold those principles themselves yet accuse him of inconsistency in their maintenance, the fact is clear that the tenets for which he contended so manfully against Cotton have incorporated themselves into all American institutions. Clarke, the founder of Newport, published a small volume on the persecutions in New England, but, so far as is known, the first Baptist theological work printed in America was a Catechism by John Watts, of Pennepec Church, in 1700. The next bears the following title, with an address to the reader, dated 'Providence, the 17th of February, 1718-19' -
'REPLY to the Most Principal Arguments contained in a Book, Entitled "The Baptism of the Holy Spirit without Elementary Water, Demonstratively proved to be the true Baptism of Christ." Signed, William Wilkinson. In which REPLY his arguments are fairly Refuted; and both WATER BAPTISM and the LORD'S SUPPER plainly proved to be the commands of JESUS CHRIST, and to continue in force until His Second Personal Coming. By Joseph Jenks. Printed in the year 1719.'
Valentine Wightman published a volume on Baptism in 1728, which was the outcome of a debate on that subject. In 1730, a 'Concordance to the Bible' in the Welsh language was published by Rev. Abel Morgan, which was largely used in the vicinity of Philadelphia. The historical discourse of John Callender, pastor of the Church at Newport, delivered in 1738, a hundred years after the founding of that city, has become a classic authority upon Providence and Rhode Island matters. Probably the first sermon published by a Southern Baptist was Isaac Chanler's, with the title: 'The Doctrines of Glorious Grace enforced, defended, and practically improved.' Boston, 1744. Having already spoken of the writings of Abel Morgan and Samuel Stillman, it is not necessary to mention them here. The history of 'New England Baptists,' by Dr. Backus, has become a standard, and is thoroughly reliable in its general treatment of facts.
Its author himself had been actively engaged in the advancement of religious liberty, and especially in awakening a public sentiment to be expressed in legislation against the privileges and immunities accorded to the State Church. Since its first publication it has passed through a number of revisions and in its present form it is indispensable to a full and true history of New England. The works of Backus and Morgan Edwards were used largely by David Benedict, who published the first edition of his 'History of the Baptists' in 1812, a work which he enlarged in 1848 to embrace a sketch of the Baptists not only in every State of the Union but in all parts of the world. This book has passed through many editions, and remains a noble monument to the untiring toil and patience of its author.
During the first half of our national existence the books written by Baptists were, for the most part, intended to instruct Church members in the doctrines and duties of Christianity. The authors and titles of a few of them may be mentioned. Dr. Samuel Jones wrote a 'Treatise of Discipline;' Dr. William Rogers published a work on 'Justification;' Dr. Jeese Mercer, on 'Various Christian Duties,' and on the 'Unity and Interdependence of the Churches.' President Maxcy wrote largely on the Atonement, one production in which the 'governmental' theory of the Atonement is treated of. Dr. Baldwin's discourse on the 'Deity of Christ,' published in 1812, during the Unitarian Controversy, passed through many editions, as did, also, Dr. Judson's Sermon preached in Calcutta, in 1812, and republished in America in 1817, in which he defended his course in becoming a Baptist. Numerous tracts, sermons and pamphlets, have been published on Baptism and Communion, and, perhaps, none of them have been more widely circulated or useful than these of the late Rev. Stephen Remington. We greatly need a work on Baptist Bibliography, and another on Baptist hymnology.
So far as is now known, the first Baptist periodical published in America was the 'Analytical Repository,' in Savannah, Ga., by Rev. Henry Holcombe, their pastor of the Church there. Its first issue was for the months of May and June, 1802, and its publication is said to have continued for two years, though the second volume is not known to be extant. The first volume consists of six numbers, the sixth being for March and April, 1803. It was a 12mo, each number containing 48 pages. Its historic value lies chiefly in its account of the general proceedings which led to the organization of the Georgia Baptist State Convention; in its detail of the first efforts toward mitigating the hardship of the Penal Code, petty larceny being at that time a capital crime; in an account of the Savannah Female Orphan Asylum, which was established by Dr. Holcombe, and still exists; in a narrative concerning the founding of the Baptist Church in Savannah, and in a sketch of the colored Baptists in that city, also of several Churches in its vicinity. On the 20th of May, 1802, John Rice was executed in Savannah for stealing a gun, and on the day of his execution Dr. Holcombe took his children to his own house to cherish and comfort them; he then prepared a memorial to the Legislature of Georgia, and procured a milder and more enlightened system of punishment.
Nothing is more honorable to Dr. Henry Holcombe Tucker, the grandson of Dr. Holcombe, and to the Georgia Baptists, than their protest against all legal disregard of marital relations amongst slaves. At the meeting of the Georgia Association, held at Pine Grove, October 8th, 1864, Dr. Tucker offered the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted first by that body and afterward by various Associations in the State : 'Resolved, That it is the firm belief and conviction of this body that the institution of marriage was ordained by Almighty God for the benefit of the whole human race, without regard to color; that it ought to be maintained in its original purity among all classes of people, in all countries and in all ages, till the end of time; and that, consequently, the law of Georgia, in its failure to recognize and protect this relationship between our slaves, is essentially defective and ought to be amended.'
The interest awakened in foreign missions in 1814 naturally found expression in the establishment of a periodical to maintain and foster their interests by spreading information and appeals. The first missionary periodical published by the American Baptists was known as the 'Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Magazine,' issued by the Massachusetts Missionary Society in September, 1803, a year after the organization of the society. It was edited by Dr. Baldwin, first as a semi-annual of thirty-two pages, filled with letters and reports from missionaries. In 1817 its numbers were issued once in two months, and in 1825 it was changed to a monthly, and has since been conducted in the interests of Foreign Missions. 'The Macedonian' was started in 1842 for the diffusion of Foreign Mission news. In 1849 the 'Home Mission Record' was started to promote Home Missions, items relating to the subject having before appeared in various religions papers. Its name was changed to the 'Home Evangelist' in 1863. and in 1867, by arrangement with the Missionary Union, it appeared under the title, 'The Macedonian and Record,' the first leaf containing home and the second foreign missionary intelligence; but, in 1878, the 'Baptist Home Mission Monthly' was commenced, a quarto of sixteen pages which has since been enlarged to twenty-four, and it now reports the work of the Woman's Home Mission Societies. The following newspapers are mentioned after the dates of their establishment: The oldest Baptist weekly in America is 'The Watchman,' of Boston, established in 1819, with the title, the 'Christian Watchman,' and edited by Deacon James Loring. The question of slavery becoming a subject of warm discussion, the 'Christian Reflector' was begun at Worcester, Mass., edited by Rev. Cyrus P. Grosvenor. This paper was removed to Boston in 1844, under the editorship of Rev. H. A. Graves, where it obtained a large circulation; but, Mr. Graves's health failing, Rev. J. W. Olmstead became its editor, March, 1846, and in 1848 the two papers were united, under the name, 'The Watchman and Reflector,' Dr. Olmstead remaining as editor. The 'Christian Era' was commenced in Lowell in 1852, but was removed to Boston after several years, and conducted by Dr. Amos Webster, and was merged into 'The Watchman and Reflector' in 1875. when the name of the united papers became 'The Watchman.' Dr. Olmstead resided in New York for a short time, but returned as editor-in-chief of 'The Watchman' in 1882, and now ranks as the senior Baptist editor in the country, having conducted this paper, with a brief interval, for more than forty years. The influence of this journal is very healthful and deservedly wide-spread in New England.
The Connecticut Baptist Missionary Society started the 'Christian Secretary' in 1822, with Elisha Cushman as editor. A succession of editors conducted it until 1858, when Elisha Cushman, Jr., assumed charge, continuing it till his death in 1876. Then S. D. Phelps, D.D., who had filled the pastorate of the First Baptist Church at New Haven, under the shadow of Yale College, for thirty years, became its editor, and bus done a most forceful work in making it an indispensable exponent of the principles and progress of the Connecticut Baptists. The 'Christian Index,' now published at Atlanta, Ga., had its origin in the 'Columbian Star,' a weekly folio sheet, originated at Washington, D. C., about the year 1822, by Luther Rice, assisted by Dr. Staughton and O. B. Brown; it was devoted principally to the advocacy of foreign missions and education through the Columbian College. It appears to have been first edited by John S. Meehan, assisted by the gentlemen already named, Mr. Brown editing in the same office a monthly called the 'Latter-Day Luminary.' Afterwards, the celebrated Professor J. D. Knowles, then a student in Washington, became its editor, and was succeeded by Baron Stow, then a student also. About the years 1826-28 it was removed to Philadelphia, put under the management of Dr. W. T. Brantly, and issued as a quarto, under the name of 'The Columbian Star and Christian Index.' Late in 1832 or early in 1833 it became the property of Jesse Mercer, who removed it to Georgia and edited it till 1840, when he presented it to the Baptist Convention of that State. William Stokes, who had assisted him, became editor-in-chief and remained in the chair till 1843, when he was followed by Dr. J. S. Baker till 1849. He had several successors, and Rev. Joseph Walker took charge in 1857. Under his careful toil it rose from about 1,000 paying subscribers to nearly 6,000, and yielded $1,000 annually above its expenses. In 1801 it was sold to Rev. S. Boykin, and Dr. Shaver conducted it from 1867 to 1874. Then Rev. Dr. E. Butler became its editor, serving until 1878, when Dr. Tucker; its present learned chief, took the editorial chair. As a Baptist organ, it has always been unflinching in its maintenance of Baptist doctrine and practice. It retains the flavor imparted to it by Knowles, Brantly and Mercer, and is conducted with as much ability as it has commanded at any time in its hoary history of four-and-sixty years.
The 'Religious Herald,' of Richmond, Va., was established by William Sands, a layman and an expert printer, in 1828. Like most other things that become of any account, it began its life in the day of small things. Mr. Sands lived in Baltimore, and, on the suggestion of William Crane, went to Richmond to establish a Baptist paper, aided by money furnished by Mr. Crane. For several years Mr. Sands was printer and financial manager, with Rev. Henry Keeling for editor, but the struggle to establish the Journal was severe. Dr. Shaver put his strong hand to the enterprise in 1857, and the paper soon took that high position amongst religious periodicals which it has sustained ever since. William Sands died in 1868, lamented as a most devout Christian, possessed of the soundest judgment, and beloved by all who knew him for his amiable disposition. The establishment of Sands and Shaver was consumed by fire in 1865, and they sold the 'good will' of the paper to Messrs. Jeter and Dickinson. Dr. Jeter devoted fourteen of the ripest years of his life to its up-building, and not in vain. He has left a hallowed influence about its very name, and, under its present energetic management, its weekly blessings help to make bright homes for thousands of Christian families, North and South.
'Zion's Advocate,' published at Portland, Me., was begun in 1828 with Rev. Adam Wilson as editor, who held this relation to it until 1848, with a short interval. Afterwards it was edited by various men of large capacity, amongst whom were Dr. W. H. Shailer. In 1873 the paper was purchased by Rev. Henry S. Burrage, its present editor, under whose direction its reputation and influence have been greatly enlarged. It has also been changed by him to its present enlarged size, and kept abreast of the demands of the times, not only in the advocacy of our denominational principles and practices, but in awakening new enthusiasm in the cause of education amongst our Churches in Maine. The sound judgment and careful scholarship with which it is conducted render it worthy of its high place in our periodical press.
The 'Journal And Messenger,' published at Cincinnati, Oh., originated in the 'Baptist Weekly Journal' of the Mississippi Valley, in 1831. In 1834 the 'Cross,' a Baptist paper of Kentucky, was united with it, and seven years later it was removed to Columbus, Oh., with Messrs. Cole, Randall and Batchelor as editors. The 'Christian Messenger' was united with it in 1850, under the name of the 'Journal and Messenger.' It then changed owners and editors several times, until it was purchased, in 1876, by G. W. Lasher, D.D., by whom it has been edited since in a vigorous manner; its circulation has become large, and it well cultivates its important field. 'The Western Recorder.' Various attempts were made to establish a Baptist paper in Kentucky, but failed until the 'Baptist Banner' originated at Shelbyville in 1835. At that time it was a fortnightly; but in 1835 Rev. John N. Waller became its editor; when it was removed to Louisville and issued as a weekly. Soon it was united with the 'Baptist,' which was published at Nashville, Tenn., and with the 'Western Pioneer,' of Illinois, becoming the 'Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer.' In 1841 Mr. Waller ceased to be its editor, and was succeeded by Rev. W. C. Buck; but in 1850 Mr. Waller returned to the paper, aided by Rev. S. II. Ford, and in 1851 its name was changed to the 'Western Recorder.' Dr. Waller died in 1854, and Mr. Ford became its sole editor and proprietor; but, after a time, it passed into other hands until 1858. During a part of the civil war its issue was suspended, but it was resumed in 1863, when it was owned and edited by various persons till about 1872; then A. C. Caperton, D.D., became its solo owner and editor. It had never fully paid its way until that time, but he changed its form from a quarto to an octavo, and enlarged its size about one third, he also employed paid contributors and a field editor, and it steadily grew in power, popularity and financial value, until it is now regarded as one of the leading journals of the South.
'The Tennessee Baptist' was established under the name 'The Baptist,' at Nashville, Tenn., in the year 1835; two or three years after that it was consolidated with the 'Western Baptist and Pioneer,' and was edited by the late Dr. Howell and others; but its circulation barely crept up to 1,000 copies until, in 1846, it fell into the hands of Dr. J. R. Graves, its present editor. It then assumed its present name, and, under his persevering and energetic management, its circulation increased rapidly and became very large. During the civil war its publication was suspended. At its close the paper was removed to Memphis, the word 'Tennessee' dropped from its name, and its circulation, as a quarto of sixteen pages, has again readied a high figure. Dr. Graves is endowed with marked qualifications for an editor. As a writer and speaker he is remarkably direct and copious, like all men in downright earnest, infusing his spirit and principles into the minds of his constant readers and hearers. Restless and aggressive, his pen is ever busy, not only as an editor, leaving his own stamp upon his paper, but as an author his works teem from the press perpetually in the form of books and pamphlets. His life has been devoted with quenchless zeal to the cause of higher education, and the literature of the Southern Baptist Sunday-School Union and Publication Society has been built up chiefly under his untiring labors. In the South and South-west the 'Baptist' is an indisputable power in the advocacy of the most pronounced Baptist principles and practices. After the war its publishing-house was burned, and its assets, to the amount of $100,000, destroyed, yet, without a dollar to begin with, Dr. Graves re-established his paper at Memphis. He has been its vigorous editor in an unbroken connection for forty years, and stands at his post, at nearly three-score-and-ten, the unfaltering advocate of the old landmarks of Baptist life, decided and distinct in all its denominational trends and interests.
'The Examiner,' a New York Baptist weekly, has probably the largest circulation of any Baptist paper in the world, and has a most interesting history. The 'Baptist Advocate' was commenced in 1839, by the late William H. Wyckoff, LL.D., who remained its editor till 1845, when it changed ownership and name, being called the 'New York Recorder.' In 1850 Dr. M. B. Anderson became its owner and editor, and remained so till 1853. It was consolidated in 1855 with the 'Baptist Register,' a weekly then published at Utica, N. Y. As far back as 1808, Daniel Hascall, John Lawton and John Peck commenced the 'Western Baptist Magazine' in Central New York, as an organ of the Hamilton Missionary Society; this again was merged into the 'Baptist Register,' and, in 18S5, Alexander M. Beebee, LL.D., a gentleman of genuine ability, high literary taste and the soundest of judgment, became its editor. Under his wisdom and management it soon attained a large circulation and influence, and he remained editor almost to the time of his death, in 1856. Only in the previous year the 'Register' had been combined with the 'Recorder,' with the further change of name to the 'Examiner,' under the editorship of Edward Bright, D.D., who had for some years been the Corresponding Secretary of the Missionary Union, and for a longer period one of the publishers of the 'Baptist Register.' In 1850 the 'New York Chronicle' was commenced by Messrs. O. B. Judd and Hon. William B. Maclay. It soon attained a wide influence. In 1857 it passed into the hands of Pharcellus Church, D.D., who continued its editor till 1865, when it was united with the 'Examiner' under the name of the 'Examiner and Chronicle'; but recently the older title has been resumed, and it is now known simply as 'The Examiner.' Dr. Bright has edited it for more than a generation with very marked ability and success, and has made it one of the most influential religious organs in our country.
'The Baptist Weekly,' published in New York, was formerly the organ of the Free Mission Society, which was organized in 1840. It was first known as the 'American Baptist,' and was edited by Rev. Warham Walker. The 'Christian Contributor ' and the 'Western Christian were merged into this paper, which was located at Utica until 1857, and after its removal to New York it was edited by the late Dr. Nathan Brown, missionary first to Assam and then to Japan. Dr. A. S. Patton became its owner and editor in 1872, and still manages all its interests. From that time until recently Dr. Middleditch acted as associate editor, but has now retired to found a new journal, a monthly, known as the 'Gospel Age.' The 'Weekly' has a large circulation, and is characterized for its kind spirit and firm maintenance of all that concerns the advancement of true Baptist interests in the world.
'The Michigan Christian Herald,' of Detroit, was established by the Baptist Convention of Michigan, in 1842. At first it was a monthly, then a semi-monthly, but in 1845 it became a weekly. Some years after, the Convention sold it to Rev. Marvin Ahen, when it was edited by Rev. Miles Sanford and others till 1861. Then it fell under the editorial direction of Dr. Olney, who more than maintained its high literary character; but seeing that it was published at a financial loss, it was sold to the proprietors of the 'Christian Times and Witness,' of Illinois, in 1867. The Michigan Baptists, however, so felt the need of a State paper that the present proprietor of the 'Christian Herald,' Rev. L. II. Trowbridge, began its publication in 1870, in the interests of educational work, chiefly through Kalamazoo College. So healthy was its influence that the State Convention adopted it as its official organ, and it has become indispensable to the support of denominational enterprise in the State. It is conducted with great care and ability, and circulates largely amongst the 30,000 Baptists of Michigan.
'The Standard,' of Chicago, Ill., dates from August 31, 1853. It was started as a new paper by a committee of the Fox River Baptist Association, of which Rev. J. C. Burroughs was chairman, under the name of 'The Christian Times,' and was the successor of the 'Watchman of the Prairies.' The following November, Rev. Leroy Church and Rev. Justin A. Smith assumed the control of the paper, and about three years later Edward Goodman, who had been connected with it from its inception, became one of the proprietors. In January, 1875, Dr. J. S. Dickerson purchased the interest of Rev. Leroy Church. When Dr. Dickerson died, in 1876, Mrs. Dickerson, with her son, J. Spencer Dickerson, continued His interest in the paper. The circulation of the 'Standard' is large and its character very high; the rank which it sustains being all the testimonial needed by its managers to their enterprise and the manly maintenance of their religious convictions.
'The National Baptist.' Toward the close of 1864 our Churches in Philadelphia and its vicinity felt the need of a well-sustained paper to sustain denominational interests, especially in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The sum of $17,000 was presented to the Baptist Publication Society for that purpose, and the first number was issued January 1st, 1865, under the editorial supervision of George W. Anderson, D.D. For three years Dr. Kendall Brooks acted as editor, but, becoming President of Kalamazoo College, Dr. Moss served as its editor until chosen professor in Crozer Theological Seminary. Dr. H, L. Wayland, the present editor, took charge of the paper in 1872, and in 1883 it became his property. Its editorial department has always been in able hands, and as a weekly paper it has become a power in the denomination, its present circulation being greatly in excess of that at any previous period in its history. Dr. Wayland leaves the marks of a clear and powerful mind upon its columns, and conducts it in that spirit of open fairness which challenges the admiration of his brethren, who uniformly rejoice in his editorial success.
The 'Christian Review,' a quarterly, was commenced in 1836, with Prof. Knowles as its first editor, but his sudden death in that year transferred his position to Dr. Barnas Sears, who brought it to the close of vol. vi. Dr. S. F. Smith then edited it to the close of vol. xiii, and Rev. E. G. Scars edited vol. xiv. Drs. Cutting, Turnbull, Murdock, Woolsey, Franklin Wilson, G. B. Taylor and E. G. Robinson, carried it to the end of vol. xxviii, in 1863, at which time its publication terminated. In 1867 the Baptist Publication Society began the issue of the 'Baptist Quarterly,' with Dr. L. E. Smith as editor-in-chief, and Drs. Hovey, Robinson, Arnold and Gregory as associates. At the end of vol. ii, Dr. Weston took the editorial chair, and eight volumes were issued, when its publication was discontinued. Dr. Barnes, of Cincinnati, begun the publication of the 'Baptist Review.' a quarterly, in 1878, but sold it in 1885, when its name was changed to the 'Baptist Quarterly,' and it is now under the editorial control of Dr. McArthur and Henry C. Vedder, Esq., New York. Many of the successive editors named performed their duties with remarkable ability, and won for the 'Review' a recognition in the religious literature of the land. The contributors, also, were amongst the best scholars and thinkers of America, but our Churches had not readied an appreciation of its learned discussions and withheld their support. The present editors of the 'Quarterly' have somewhat popularized the character of the articles, and it bids fair to maintain its existence. The number of educated and scholarly persons in our Churches is constantly increasing, and the best thought of the tiniest minds in them is likely to receive generous encouragement in such a desirable enterprise.
Besides the literary works which have been so abundantly mentioned in this work, in association with the many eminent Baptists treated of therein, it may be well to mention a few others which have done honor to their authors. Amongst an immense list we have Prof. Ripley on the Gospels, the Acts and the Epistle to the Hebrews; Dr. Malcom's 'Dictionary of Names, Objects and Terms found in the Holy Scriptures;' 'Christ in History;' by Dr. Turnbull; the 'Creative Week,' the 'Epiphanies of the Risen Lord,' and the 'Mountain Instruction,' by Dr. Boardman. On Baptism, we have the 'Act of Baptism,' by Dr. Burrage; 'The Mould of Doctrine;' by Dr. Jesse B. Thomas; 'Baptism in the Christian System,' by Dr. Tucker; and the great work of Dr. Conant, on Baptizein. On missions we have Dr. Gammell's 'History,' Dr. Edward Judson's life of his father, and the 'Story of Baptist Mission?,' by Rev. O. W. Hervey. The Baptist press abounds in biographies of the great and the good, and in general literature. Several volumes have come from the pen of Dr. Mathews; Abraham Mills has given us his great work on 'English Literature and Literary Men;' Mr. Hill and Mr. Bancroft have given us valuable works on rhetoric. Drs. Kendrick, J. L. Lincoln, Albert Harkness and J. E. Boise, have published editions of the Latin and Greek classics, which have been. extensively used in schools and colleges. Dr. J. R. Loomis is the author of a series of Text books on Geology, Anatomy, and Physiology; and Dr. Edward Olney, of a complete series of mathematical text-books. In language, Dr. Hackett has translated Winer's 'Chaldee Grammar,' and Dr. Conant's edition of 'Gesenius's. Hebrew Grammar 'is the standard authority in the schools of America and Europe. This list might be doubled in length as an exhibition of literary activity of which we may be proud when we take into account that all these authors have been toilers either in the professor's chair or the pulpit, so that the ordinary duties of life were laborious if not exhausting; yet, out of their sound discipline, clear insight and good taste, they have been able to enrich almost every department of learning.
Besides this, an immense popular and cheap literature has been created on special denominational topics, in the shape of tracts, pamphlets and small books, by the American Baptist Publication Society. Twenty-five Baptists met in Washington, D. C., on the 20th of February, 1824, to consider the need of a tract society for the American Baptists. Rev. Noah Davis proposed that such a society should be formed, which idea was zealously favored by Messrs. Knowles, Staughton and Rice, and the body was organized at once. Its receipts for the first year were but $373 80, with which it issued 696,000 pages of tracts. Two years later its headquarters were removed to Philadelphia, where it began to issue bound volumes. In 1840 it commenced to employ colporteurs to circulate its publications and to perform itinerant missionary work in destitute regions, and the name of the society was changed in 1845 to its present form. It undertook Sunday-school missionary work: in 1867, so that besides serving as a publishing house it preaches the Gospel from house to house by colporteurs, supplies families by gift or sale with Bibles and Baptist literature, and fosters the formation and aid of Sundayschools. By a law of its own, a Sunday-school planted in a destitute region soon gives the nucleus of a Church, and a new literature adapted to youth, having this aim in view, has made its appearance. The 'Young Reaper,' commenced in 1856, reported a circulation for 1881-85 of 2,616,304 copies, and of the 'Bible Lesson Monthly,' in weekly parts, 5,448,000 copies. Within four years 900,000 copies of a popular Sunday-school song book were sold in the schools. A fair conception of the influence of the Society on the interest of Sunday-schools may be obtained, when it is stated, that in the current year for the Society's operations for 1884-85, 5,284,000 copies of Bible Lessons and 1,046,000 Advanced Quarterlies were sold, devoted to the exposition of the Bible Lesson for the Sabbath. These, besides an endless number of bound volumes, for library and gift-books in the schools, present some idea of this new literature created by the American Baptists within a score of years.
The many notable things which have been spoken of in the rapid growth of the Denomination might be supplemented by many others, but only two can be named: the endowment of our Churches with marvelous love for the salvation of men, and their zeal in promoting general revivals of religion; together with the new feeling of appreciation toward them by their brethren of other Christian denominations. In the South and Southwest there were many in the early part of this century who were too creed-bound, in all that related to the divine purposes and decrees, to labor for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the conversion of multitudes of sinners. Indeed, in North Carolina, some of the early Baptists were actually infected with the superstition of Baptismal Regeneration. When they were first visited by Gano, Miller and Vanhorn, they confessed to those men that they had been immersed without faith, believing that this would save them; and some of their pastors confessed that they themselves were not converted, but were so anxious to baptize others that Burkitt and Read say, in the 'History of the Kehukee Association,' that they often baptized their candidates by fire-light in the night, lest they should change their minds before morning. This state of things gave rise to that Antinomianism which blighted many of the Southern Churches for a time, till the more intelligent and evangelical shook off this 'bondage, and began to use the truths and measures set forth by Whitefield with such blessed results that they reaped rich harvests for Christ, especially in Virginia, Georgia and Kentucky; the North soon caught the same spirit.
About 1830 a general awakening was seen in our Churches, and what were called 'two days' meetings' began to be held, to pray and labor for the conversion of sinners . These were so marked in their effects that the time was prolonged to four-days, and last of all to 'protracted meetings,' without regard to length of time. Then the system of modern evangelical labor was introduced, as some pastors left their pastorates to go from Church to Church, helping other pastors. Amongst the first of these was the Rev. Jacob Knapp, who resigned his pastoral duties at Watertown, N. Y, and devoted himself to that form of labor for more than forty years. His educational advantages had been light, but his mind was strong and His doctrines sound, enforced by an uncommon knowledge of Scripture. His statements of truth were devoid of all attempt at rhetorical finish, but he was unusually fervent and fluent. His mind was marked by strong logical tendencies and his sermons were full of homely illustrations, apt passages from the Bible, and close knowledge of human nature. In person he was short, squarely and stoutly built, his voice was deeply sepulchral and his manner self-possessed; he was full of expedient and his will was indomitable. Crowds followed him, whole communities were moved by his labors and great numbers were added to the Churches. Dr. Reuben Jeffery edited his sermons and Autobiography, which were published in 1868, and gave a lively picture of his style and labors. Mr. Knapp says that he kept an account of the number converted under his ministry for the first twenty years' work as an evangelist, but gave up the attempt after the count readied 100,000. Of course, he met with much opposition, and often he was charged with a love of money; but he says that, aside from His traveling expenses, he received from the Churches only about 500 per annum. The writer heard him preach many times, and judged him, as he is apt to judge men, more by his prayers than his sermons, for he was a man of much prayer. His appearance in the pulpit was very striking, His face pale, his skin dark, his mouth wide, with a singular cast in one eye bordering on a squint; he was full of native wit, almost gestureless, and vehement in denunciation, yet so cool in his deliberation that with the greatest ease he gave every trying circumstance its appropriate but unexpected turn.
Other evangelists soon entered the field, many of them meeting with good success. Amongst these may be mentioned T. J. Fisher, of Kentucky, with Messrs. Raymond, Swan, Earle, DeWitt and Gravlis. Many of our pastors have been noted for the culture of revival influences in their Churches. Borne of them through a long course of years; as in the case of the late Lyman Wright, and of the two honored men who have held the same pastorates with great power for more than forty years: Dr. George C. Baldwin, of Troy, N. Y., and Dr. Daniel J. Corey, of Utica, N. Y. These are mentioned simply as examples of many others in our ministry. And it has been specially delightful in latter years to find numbers of the Presidents and Professors in our colleges and universities laboring with great energy for the salvation as well as for the education of their students, some of them reaping a large harvest. So that, taking the denomination as a whole, during the present century there has been an increase of zeal wisely used in this direction. The natural tendency of things in the olden times of harsh and hard controversy on infant baptism, when our fathers were obliged to struggle all the time for the right to be, was, to look with comparative indifference, if not suspicion, on the conversion of youth in very tender age.
Happily, that unreasonable and unlovely state of things is passing away, and our Churches are learning the holy art of winning very young children to Jesus, as soon as they can understand his claims upon them and are able to love and serve him. Inasmuch as we reject the fraud of practicing upon them a rite which leaves them no choice in casting their own religious life, we are under double obligation to teach, and draw, and watch, and influence them to the service of our precious Master. We have come to look upon the neglect of these duties as sheer and downright wickedness, and instead of leaving our children to run wild until their hearts are all gnarled and scarified, like a knotted oak-tree, we are bringing our little ones to Jesus, that he may lay his hands on them and bless them.
The better understanding which has arisen between Baptists and other Christians is a matter for gratitude, and especially because our Churches have in no wise compromised their honor or consistency to secure this result. The candor and grasp of German scholarship and the independence of English High Churchmen has had much to do with this change. In the German and English controversies on baptism, especially in the Tractarian movement of the latter, the concession has been made without reluctance that the classical and ecclesiastical literature of the New Testament period and the early Christian centuries sustain the Baptist position. Then, in purification of the change which early took place in the ordinances, instead of forcing all sorts of unnatural interpretations upon the facts and teachings of the Bible, the open avowal is very commonly made, that the Church had the right to change Christ's ordinances as convenience required. A noted example in point is that of the late Dean of Westminster, who, when visiting America in 1878, replied to an address of welcome from the Baptist ministers of New York and Brooklyn on November 4th; thus:
'You have alluded to me in your address as an ecclesiastical historian, and have referred to the undoubted antiquity of your principal ceremony--that of immersion. I feel that here, also, we ought to be grateful to you for having, almost alone in the Western Church, preserved intact this singular and interesting relic of primitive and Apostolic times, which we, you will forgive me for saying so--which we, at least in our practice, have wisely discarded. For wise reasons the Primitive Baptism was set aside. The spirit which lives and moves in human society can override even the most sacred ordinances.'
Here, a manly honesty meets an issue of stubborn facts not with a flat and false denial of its existence, but with the real reason for setting aside a Divine institution. The frankness of this statement is characteristic of the man; he boldly tells us that these who have ceased to immerse have 'discarded' the practice of 'Apostolic times,' and thinks that they have done so 'wisely,' without any authority from the Lord of the Apostles for rejecting one of his 'singular and interesting' institutions. The Dean had an affection for modern methods of religious substitution in things which he regarded as of secondary consequence, and he could not see how a man's conscience and convictions of duty should bind him to what the Dean could not understand as important. Hence, while he acknowledged that he 'ought to be grateful' to the Baptists, for having cleaved to the Apostolic practice 'almost alone' in Western Christendom, it was hard for him to see exactly why they should not 'discard' it as well as others did. Great as was his tolerance in thought, when he looked at any religious point even through his affections he betrayed a tinge of intolerance. His most courteous allowance in such cases was mingled with a touch of scorn for what he could not fully comprehend; therefore, brave as he held the Baptists to be for unswerving fidelity to the Bible form of baptism, he saw no need for this constancy, but candidly said, 'We have altered all that long ago,' without the slightest attempt at popular equivocation.
Possibly no Baptist writer of our times awakened less asperity in Pedobaptist minds than the late Dr. William E. Williams, yet on this very point no man more completely covers the right interpretation of true Baptist conviction. He says:
'We read in the ordinance as the Sovereign bequeathed it, in the yielding waters that bury and then restore the loyal disciple, the cenotaph of our great Leader, the persistent tomb perpetually erected by which he would have his death set forth to the end of the world, and his exulting triumph over death, and His jubilant entrance into Paradise as well. And if it would be thought temerity for a follower of Michael Angelo or of Christopher Wren to pull down the tomb of either of these great architects on the plea of substituting a better, is it less temerity to innovate on the design in the gate of His own Church, reared by The Great Architect? Bury us into the tomb he occupied. Plant us into the new emerging life that he there displayed, nor think it shame to stand loyally by the ways that he has opened, and that none in all the world may better.'
He deprecates all change from Christ's appointment either in the subject or act of baptism as: 'A most dangerous assumption of power in the Church, and also a most rash ascription of intrinsic and magical efficacy to the outer emblem. The Churches early, but most unrighteously, learned to annex not only the remission of sins to the ordinance, but the regeneration itself--to attach pardon from Christ and new life from the Holy Ghost as sequents to an external rite. Priestly hands and Church laver's were thus employed, by an assumption that not one page of Scripture warrants, to usurp the prerogatives of God the adopting Father and Christ the mediating Brother, and the Paraclete, the renewing and illumining Teacher.' Lees. Bap. Hist. pp. 82,83. In like manner, as men return to the simplicity of the Lord's Supper, in the spirit of the New Testament, for the purely memorial purpose of setting forth Christ's death, they come better to understand why Baptists reject the Romish interpretation that it is a test of love between Christian men, or a bond of spiritual fellowship in any Bible sense whatever. The more other Christians come to respect them for their protest against its abuse, and to recognize them as extending brotherly love, and with it acts of Christian brotherhood in the substantial deeds of benevolence, in the mutual burden-bearing of everyday life, and in that unity of the Holy Spirit by which birth from above is attested, rather than in the act of breaking bread, where the pure disciple and the hypocrite, the precious and the vile, have in all ages eaten the Supper together, and still sit at the same table in all Christian Denominations; the more they challenge universal respect, as the interpreters of the one Gospel baptism.
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