A HISTORY OF THE BAPTISTS
By Thomas Armitage
THE AMERICAN BAPTISTS
XVIII. BAPTISTS IN BRITISH AMERICA AND AUSTRALIA
In tracing the progress of Baptist principles through the provinces which now form the Dominion of Canada, we may begin with NOVA SCOTIA, which came under the British flag in 1713. English settlers, mostly Episcopalians, founded Halifax about 1749; Lunenburg was settled, principally by French and Germans, in 1753; and in 1759, after the expulsion of the Acadians, the influx from the New England colonies began. In a quarter of a century after that, Horton, Cornwallis, Yarmouth, Truro, Granville, Annapolis, Pictou and many other towns were settled by New Englanders. Many Lutherans settled in Lunenburg, and many Presbyterians from Scotland and the North of Ireland in Londonderry, Truro and Pictou, while the great body of emigrants from the American colonies were Congregationalists. The first House of Assembly, 1758, passed an act which made the Church of England the Established Church, but granting liberty of conscience to all other denominations, Roman Catholics excepted; marriage, however, could be celebrated only by the ministers of the Established Church. Many years and struggles were passed before this distinction was wiped from the statute-book. Shubael Dimock, of Mansfield, Conn., had become a 'Separatist,' and held religious meetings apart from the Standing Order, for which he was whipped and thrown into prison; his son Daniel had renounced infant baptism. They settled in Newport, N. S., in 1760, where Daniel was immersed by Mr. Sutton in 1763, and he immersed his own father some years later. Several other converts to Baptist views resided in Newport, but they did not organize a Baptist Church there at that time. Rev. John Sutton was from New Jersey, and soon returned thither. In 1761 Rev. Ebenezer Moulton, of South Brimfield, Mass., settled in Yarmouth with other emigrants. After preaching there for two years, he visited Horton and labored in that vicinity, but seems to have formed no Church. These are the first Baptists of whom we have any records in Nova Scotia. So far as can be ascertained, the first Baptist Church in British America was planted in New Brunswick in 1763, and was an offshoot of the Second Church in Swansea, Mass., and of two or three neighboring Churches. A company of thirteen Baptists formed themselves into a Church, with Nathan Mason as their pastor, and, leaving Swansea, settled in what is now Sackville, where they continued to reside for nearly eight years, during which time their Church increased to about sixty members. But, owing to some dissatisfaction with their new location, the pastor and the original founders of the Church returned to Massachusetts in 1771, and, so far as appears, the Church at Sackville was scattered. Some think that Mr. Moulton formed a Church at Horton, but Dr. Cramp says: 'There was no Baptist Church till after the appearance of Henry Alline. . . . While Mr. Button remained here he preached and baptized; the Dimocks and Mr. Moulton did the same, but separate action as Baptists was deferred till a more favorable conjunction of circumstances.' The Congregationalists had established Churches in various places, and the Baptists seem to have united with these, for, about the year 1776, there were two or three Churches in Nova Scotia made up of Baptists and Congregationalists, while a number of unorganized Baptists were found in various localities.
At this juncture Henry Alline, a 'New Light' preacher of extraordinary power, appeared in the province and left a lasting impression upon its religious institutions. He was born at Newport, R.I., in 1748, and removed to Falmouth, N. S., in 1760. He was converted when twenty-seven years of age, and after some unsuccessful attempts at securing an education he began to preach. He was very successful, traveling from place to place for nearly eight years, until New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were astir with religious revivals, the souls of the people being thrilled by his homely but pungent eloquence. He was a Congregationalist, but held the questions of Church order and ordinances as secondary matters. He seldom administered baptism, yet was willing that his converts should be immersed, if they chose, after thorough conversion. In fervency, power and doctrine he seems to have been of the Whitefield stamp. At the age of thirty-six years he died in Northampton, 1784. The ministry of this New Light apostle affected the progress of Baptist doctrines in two diverse ways. It infused a new and spiritual life into the languishing Churches, and his lax views on Church order and discipline told powerfully against all rigid and tyrannical organization. His converts were generally formed into Congregational Churches, some being baptized and others not, until in due time numbers of them appear to have seen the need of greater conformity to Gospel faith and practice, and at first resolved themselves into Baptist Churches, naturally enough of the open-communion order. Most of the Canadian Churches practiced open communion till the commencement of this century, and many of them till a later period. Some of the strongest Churches of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia came out of this Alline movement, all of them observing strict communion today. The Horton Church was one of these. It seems to have oscillated for a few years, but in 1809 it took the full Baptist ground. In this respect the Cornwallis, Chester, Argyle, First Halifax and other Churches differ little from the Horton Church, having gradually made their way to their present stand.
The first Association of Baptist Churches in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick was projected in 1797 and was fully organized in 1800, at Granville, Annapolis County. In the main its work differed slightly from that of present associations.
It threw strong guards around the fundamental independence of the individual Church, stating that it 'pretends to no other powers than those of an advisory council, utterly disclaiming all superiority, jurisdiction, coercion, right or infallibility.' For more than a quarter of a century, however, it examined and ordained candidates for the ministry. But, gradually, its leading minds became convinced that the New Testament rested the power of ordination in the independent and self-governing Church. 'Father Manning' stated the principle quaintly in an address to the Association thus: 'I have observed that representative bodies, the world over, are very much inclined to take to themselves horns, and to so use them as to destroy the liberties of the people. An Association, therefore, must not put on horns.' After 1827 the Association ceased to ordain pastors, missionaries and evangelists, leaving that matter where it belongs, in the hands of the individual churches. The question of communion was also much debated, and in 1809 the Association resolved that in the future no open-communion Church should belong to that body. Four Churches withdrew on this account, and from that time restricted communion has been the rule.
In 1821 the Association, for convenience, divided into the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Associations, one for each province, and in 1850 the Nova Scotia portion subdivided into the Eastern, Central and Western Associations, as at this time. The New Brunswick Association also divided into the Eastern and Western in 1847, but in 1868 there was yet another new departure. Up to this time the Prince Edward Island Churches had been in the Eastern Nova Scotia Association, but they now organized one of their own, with thirteen Churches. The Southern Baptist Association of New Brunswick was formed in 1850, and in 1885 these seven Associations, from these small beginnings, numbered 352 Churches; with 40,984 members. Some of the fathers who laid these broad foundations were most remarkable men. As pioneers they were marked by breadth of view, singleness and steadfastness of purpose and a Christ-like self-denial. The names of Thomas H. Chipman, Theodore and Harris Harding, Edward and James Manning and Joseph Dimock will ever be worthy of the highest honor. These and many more were all of one spirit and endowed with a great diversity of gifts, but, by universal consent, probably Edward Manning would rank amongst the first. He was converted under the preaching of Henry Alline, and in coming to the light passed through a 'horror of great darkness.' He traveled through these provinces in evangelistic labors, often on snow shoes in the depth of winter, to preach Jesus and the resurrection. His first pastorate, 1795, was over the mixed Church in Cornwallis, and for three years after his ordination he was greatly agitated on the subject of baptism, but at last he went to Annapolis and was immersed by T. H. Chipman. Soon after he renounced open communion, and with seven members of his Church separated from the main body. He continued in his pastorate till his death in 1851, and amongst his last words were these: 'Oh! the infinite greatness and grandeur of God.' He was imbued with deep piety and fervency of spirit; he was a champion of religious liberty, and possibly surpassed all his brethren in profundity and logical power. As a 'dissenting' preacher, he met with stern opposition and persecution from those of the Established Church, meeting the harsher intolerance of New Brunswick with the firmness of a man born to rule his own spirit.
Theodore Seth Harding was another Gospel warrior of these days. His first religious impressions were received under the ministry of Mr. Alline, when at the age of eight, but he was converted under the powerful preaching of Rev. Freeborn Garretson, a Methodist missionary from the United States, who was sent to Nova Scotia in 1787. Mr. Harding was ordained as pastor of the Horton Baptist Church in 1796, and remained its pastor until his death, in 1855. But like Manning and others, he extended his labors in every direction, even to the United States. In intellect he was not the peer of Manning, but far surpassed him in fluency and other elements of oratorical power, so that as a preacher he had few equals anywhere.
Joseph Dimock was the son of Daniel, who baptized his father when he fled for refuge from Connecticut. Joseph was ordained as pastor at Chester, in 1793, and although he made long missionary tours in all directions, he remained its pastor till his death, in 1847. He met with great opposition in his work. At Lunenberg infuriated mobs, maddened with liquor, determined to inflict personal violence upon him, but his firmness awed them and his gentleness disarmed their wrath. These are selected as types out of a large body of powerful and self-denying men, who have left the marvelous record of their work in these provinces.
The Baptist press of Canada had its inception in the Nova Scotia Association, in 1825, which voted to 'Request the Baptist Association of New Brunswick to unite with us in the publication of a Religious Periodical Magazine.' From this action sprang the 'Baptist Missionary Magazine,' of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, in 1827. It was a quarterly, published at St. John, N. B., and edited by Rev. Charles Tupper, and was continued until January, 1837, when it gave place to the 'Christian Messenger,' a weekly, published at Halifax, N. S. From that time it has rendered noble service to all our denominational interests, and still exists in combination with the 'Christian Visitor,' at St. John, N. B. The 'Christian Visitor' was established in 1848, and was conducted by Rev. E. D. Very, who was drowned in the Bay of Minas, in 1852, when returning from a geological excursion, in company with Professor Chipman and four students of Acadia College, all of whom perished. For a time the paper was conducted by Messrs. Samuel Robinson and I. E. Bill. After a time, Rev. Dr. Bill assumed full charge as proprietor and editor, and conducted this journal with marked ability, but in 1885 the two papers were purchased by a company, and united under the editorship of Rev. Calvin Goodspeed as the 'Messenger and Visitor,' published at St. John, N. B.
The first regular Missionary Society of the Nova Scotia Baptists began in 1815, when the Association, meeting at Cornwallis, 'Voted, that the Association is considered a Missionary Society, and with them is left the whole management of the mission business.' A contribution of $118,60 was made at this session for sending a missionary eastward of Halifax. From time to time the Association sent out missionaries, and in 1820 the first Home Mission Board was appointed in New Brunswick. 'Mite Societies' were formed in the Churches which were of great utility. The Female Mite Society of the Germain Street Church, in St. John, contributed $60, that year, a degree of liberality which, if attained by all the Churches at this time, would fill the mission treasury to repletion. The first Nova Scotia 'Society for the maintenance of Foreign Missions' was formed at the Chester meeting of the Association, 1838, and a Foreign Mission Board was appointed soon after in New Brunswick. Burma was chosen as the field of labor, and the first missionary sent out was Rev. R. E. Burpee, in 1845; he died in 1850. After his death the Provincial Board sent money annually to support native preachers, under the care of Rev. A. R. R. Crawley, of Henthada. Dr. Tupper was for many years the Secretary of the Foreign Board. His life was a wonderful triumph of energy and industry. His schooling was limited to ten weeks after he was ten years of age, and yet by dint of self-education he became proficient in many languages: Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, English, German, Italian, Syriac and one or two others, and it is said that he read the New Testament in the first three of these at least one hundred times. At the Jubilee of his ordination Dr. Tupper stated, that as a minister he had traveled in fifty years 146,000 miles, principally on horseback, had preached 6,750 sermons, attended and generally taken part in 3,430 other meetings, had made 11,520 family visits, married 238 couples, had conducted 542 funerals, and baptized 522 converts. Surely, if works save men, Brother Tupper's chance should be better than that of some Canadian brethren, however it may be with those of the United States. Dr. S. T. Rand's name forms an important leaf in the Indian missionary history of the Maritime Provinces, especially amongst the Micmacs. He has pursued this work during the greater part of his life, with indomitable perseverance and chiefly at his own charges.
Our brethren have also done an immense work in these Provinces by their educational institutions. Their fathers, generally, knew nothing of the learning of the schools, yet their interest in laying the foundations of these schools was unique rather than remarkable. They early saw that if the denomination was to do its Master's work in the most efficient manner, they must make early provision for the Christian education of the Churches, especially for an educated ministry. The venerable 'Father Munro' gave this terse expression to their common conviction: 'The man who successfully succeeds me in the pastoral office must stand on my shoulders.' It is probable that the first suggestion of a Baptist institution of learning for these Provinces was made by Edward Manning, and when the subject came up for discussion he pondered every point, and corresponded largely with the brethren in the United States on the matter. The way was dark, the Baptists were a feeble folk to undertake such a work, yet a series of events occurred between 1820-50 which facilitated the project. The founding of the Granville Street Church at Halifax by a number of members seceding from the Church of England gave force to the movement. The Crawley family and others amongst them were educated, and were ready to give their influence in this direction. The remarkable revival of 1828 brought a number of educated men into the Baptist Churches and ministry, who became active workers in the cause of education--such men as John Pryor, E. A. Crawley, William Chipman, Ingraham E. Bill and others. The Granville Street Church was admitted into the Association in 1828, at its meeting in Horton, at which time the Prospectus of the Nova Scotia Baptist Education Society was drawn up and submitted by the Halifax messengers of the Church there. The Society aimed to establish a seminary of learning, and to aid indigent young men in studying for the ministry. Their action will appear sufficiently courageous when it is taken into the account that twenty-nine little Churches, numbering in all 1,7T2 members, formed their entire strength. The first result was the establishment of the Academy at Horton, with Rev. William Pryor as Principal. This school has continued ever since, and is perpetually fitting men for College life and all the various fields of usefulness.
The Baptists of New Brunswick numbered but about 2,000 in 1834, when they followed the example of their Nova Scotia brethren and opened a 'Seminary' in Fredericton. In 1842 the Rev. Charles Spurden, of Hereford, England, was appointed principal, which position he held for twenty-five years. Dr. Spurden was greatly endeared to his students and his brethren generally by his literary attainments and lovable qualities of character; he died in 1876, after a short pastorate in the Fredericton Church. The Seminary did good service under other principals, but it was closed after many years of financial struggle, and within a few years another has been opened at St. John, under more favorable conditions; from its opening it has had a female department. A female seminary wag opened in 1861, in connection with the Horton (Wolfville) School, and is still in vigorous operation. The intolerance of the dominant Church had much to do with the founding of denominational schools and colleges. Early in the history of Nova Scotia, King's College was founded at Windsor, under the aegis of the English Church, which admitted no student except on subscription of the Thirty-nine Articles. Dalhousie College was founded in 1820, with public funds, ostensibly as a non-sectarian University for the Province. But when it was opened the classical chair was refused to Rev. E. A. Crawley, for the sole reason, as Dr. Bill states: 'That these in charge felt bound, as they said, to connect the college exclusively with the Kirk of Scotland.' Thus mocked, the friends of Baptist education found it time to bestir themselves, and the result was a determination to found a college of their own, hence the origin of Acadia College. In addition to the great burden of raising the necessary funds by so feeble a folk, their task was increased by the difficulty of obtaining the requisite charter. Their foes raised a popular cry against the multiplication of feeble colleges, until the spirit of the Baptists was thoroughly aroused, when they resolved to maintain their right to possess such an institution if they paid for it with their own money. The Committee of their Educational Society went to Halifax in a body, and Mr. Crawley eloquently pleaded the justice of their cause at the bar of the House, which refused the charter by a majority of one. The seat of war was then transferred to public platforms and the newspapers, with such effect, that in 1840 the House was flooded with petitions for the charter. After a determined and bitter contest the Assembly granted it by a majority of twelve, the champion of the Baptists being Hon. J. W. Johnstone, a member of the Upper House; it also passed the Legislative Council.
The second struggle arose on a more questionable point. Large appropriations were made by the Legislature in aid of King's and Dalhousie Colleges, and the Baptists thought it but common justice that they should share in the public fund set apart for higher education; some few of them, however, holding that this position compromised the principle of voluntary support. This demand re-opened the whole question of college policy for the Province, the leading liberal politicians favoring the plan of one central university. The Baptists boldly entered the political arena, made Hon. J. W. Johnstone their candidate, elected him to the Legislature by an overwhelming majority and pressed their claim successfully. He was a gentleman of the highest character, of fine culture and splendid abilities. Afterwards, for many years, he was Attorney General and Premier of the Province; he also filled the chair of Chief Justice with distinction, and declined the governorship of the Province shortly before his death. In 1863 an unsuccessful attempt was made to rehabilitate Dalhonsie as the Provincial University. Failing in that, a larger scheme was proposed, under which denominational colleges should each receive an annual grant for a term of years, on condition that they surrendered or held in reserve their powers to grant degrees. These powers were to be transferred to a Provincial University to be established at Halifax. This was not to be a teaching institution, but simply an examining body empowered to confer degrees and to prescribe the curricula for all the affiliated colleges. After an animated debate at the Baptist Convention, held at Sackville, 1876, the proposition to affiliate Acadia College with the Halifax University was negatived by a large majority.
This college has had a perpetual struggle with financial difficulties consequent on its small and by no means wealthy constituency, but it has made constant progress, and its influence on the ministry and Churches is seen everywhere in their liberal culture, their intellectual and spiritual development. The first effort to raise an endowment was made in 1852, and by various other efforts the amount has been increased to about $100,000. In 1849 it was adopted as the College of the Baptists in the three Maritime Provinces. Many of its students have attained considerable distinction, and hold responsible positions in the Dominion and the United States. Dr. Crawley, who did so much to establish it and was its first president, felt compelled to resign that office in 1856, to attend to certain private business affairs which, for the time being, demanded his entire attention. But after their arrangement, in 1865, he returned to his work as an educator, accepting the chair of Classics, and for a time he also served as Principal in the Theological Department. He still retains his connection with the Institution as Professor Emeritus. Acadia College was never in a more prosperous condition than at present.
The venerable J. M. Cramp, D.D., whose name will ever be associated with the College as its second President, was the son of Rev. Thomas Cramp, a Baptist minister in the Isle of Thanet, was born in 1796, baptized in 1812, and was educated at Stepney College. He was ordained in 1818 as pastor of the Bean Street Baptist Church, Southwark, London. Subsequently, for fourteen years, he assisted his father in the pastorate of St. Peter's. Church, in his native town. In 1840 he became pastor of the Church at Hastings, Sussex. Four years later he was sent by the Committee of the Canada Baptist Missionary Society to take charge of the Montreal Baptist College; and in 1857 he became President and Professor of Moral Philosophy in Acadia College. He continued in active service till the infirmities of age compelled him to retire, in 1869, when he was made Professor Emeritus; his death occurred a few years later. Dr. Cramp's attainments were extensive; he was a good Hebrew scholar, a sound theologian, and thoroughly versed in Ecclesiastical History, as is seen in his 'Baptist History.' He was a true friend of a pure Bible, always insisting on fidelity to God in the translation of his Word. His character was sweet and unselfish, his aims were high, and his life stainless and full of affability. As a writer he is well known by his 'Text Book of Popery,' which is regarded as authoritative, also by his 'Paul and Christ,' and numerous other publications.
Rev. A. W. Sawyer, D.D., the present President of Acadia College, is a native of Vermont, and a graduate of Dartmouth College, of the class of 1847. He completed his theological course at Newton, and was ordained in 1853. He was appointed to the chair of Classics in Acadia in 1855, which chair he resigned in 1860. He then served as pastor of the Church at Saratoga Springs, N. Y., and as Principal of the New London Academy, N. H., but in 1869 he accepted the Presidency of Acadia, with the chair of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy. While Dr. Sawyer is very unassuming and quiet, he is one of the foremost educators in the Dominion. He is accurate and extensive in his scholarship, keen in his perception, close and logical in his habit of thought. In the class-room he has few equals in throwing the student back upon his own resources and compelling him to make his best intellectual efforts. The efficient staff of tutors, with himself, are making the Institution a blessing to the Denomination, as one of the agencies which are doing so much to make the Baptists more and more powerful in the Maritime Provinces.
THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC, formerly Lower Canada, is another interesting field of Baptist labor. The first Baptist Church in this Province, of which we find any record, was formed in 1794 at Caldwell's Manor, not far from the Vermont border. For many years this neighborhood had been occupied by Loyalist Refugees, mostly from Connecticut. Rev. John Hubbard and Ariel Kendrick, missionaries of the Woodstock (Vt.) Baptist Association, visited and preached in this settlement; their labors were greatly blessed; Rev. Elisha Andrews, of Fairfax, baptized about thirty converts and formed them into a Church. Two years later some of its members removed to a new township called Eaton, south of the St. Lawrence, in the district. of Three Rivers, and were organized into a Church. Several others were formed in this part of Lower Canada under the labors of the Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Society. Benedict speaks of three of these as members of the Fairfield Association in 1812, namely, these of St. Armand, Stanbridge and Dunham. A somewhat similar movement took place in Upper Canada, now Ontario, in I794. Reuben Crandall, then a licentiate, settled at Hallowell, in what is now the County of Prince Edward, on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, and in the following year he organized a Church. Another licentiate, T. Finch, organized a Church in Thurlow, now Haldimand, about 1804, which seems to have been known as the Charlotteville Church, and in a comparatively few years eight Churches were set off from this body. Other laborers established Churches about the same time in Cramahe, Rawdon, and neighboring places.
About 1803 the first Association in this district was formed, called the Thurlow, but afterwards the Haldimand Association, and this was a center of Baptist influence until this region of Canada became dotted with Baptist Churches gathered into several Associations.
Thus it is seen that the pioneer Churches of Quebec and Ontario, as well as those of the Maritime Provinces, were planted by missionaries from the United States, excepting the elder Churches embraced in what is now the Ottawa Association. The members who first composed its Churches, with their pastors, were largely emigrants from Scotland. The eldest of these, Breadalbane, was organized in 1817 with thirteen members, all Scotch, their first elders being Duncan Campbell and Donald McLaurin. Next in order was the Clarence Church, 1817, formed of seven members. John Edwards, who was instrumental in its formation, was converted in Edinburgh under the ministry of the Haldanes. Other Churches in the valley of the Ottawa, as Dalesville and Osgoode, have a similar origin and history.
The first Baptist Church of Montreal was not organized till 1830, but it naturally took a leading part in originating and shaping the missionary and educational work in this part of Canada. Rev. John Gilmour, of Aberdeen, was its first pastor, a zealous leader in denominational work for many years.
These and most of the other Churches in the eastern part of Canada, during the first quarter of the present century, practiced open communion, a subject which for many years kept them in grievous friction with those of the western part. The eastern Churches held with right good Scotch grip all the orthodox doctrines, as well as to the immersion of believers on their trust in Christ. But they regarded the edification of the brethren and the observance of the Supper as the chief ends of the Gospel Church, losing sight of its aggressive character. They believed that evangelists should be supported while preaching, but gave no remuneration to the elders of their own Churches. They made the plurality of elders, the weekly celebration of the Supper, the liberty of the unordained to administer ordinances, and exhortations on the Lord's day, binding as duties on the whole brotherhood. Unanimity was required in all their decisions, and if a minority dissented the majority took their reasons for dissent into consideration. If these were found valid the majority altered their decision; if not, they exhorted the minority to repentance, but if they repented not they were excommunicated. They held that the exercise of discipline on the Lord's day was a part of divine worship, and they never neglected the duty of purging out the 'old leaven,' but rather enjoyed the exercise. Down to 1834, including the Montreal and Breadalbane Churches, they numbered but four Churches and three ministers.
In the years 1834-35 a memorable revival of religion gave new life to the Baptist cause in Eastern Canada. It began in Montreal and extended through the Churches of the valley, the immediate result being that the Churches came nearer to each other, and formed the Ottawa Association. A second revival, under the labors of Messrs. McPhail, Fyfe, and other ardent young missionaries, was enjoyed three or four years later. Its center was in Osgoode and vicinity, and it gave a fresh impulse to the spread of Baptist principles. The growth of the denomination in the West was more rapid. The fertile regions bordering on the Upper St. Lawrence and lakes Ontario and Erie invited a large influx of population. The Haldimand Association included the Churches in the London district, but the Upper Canada Association, which held its first meeting in 1819, embraced the neighborhood which includes Toronto and Brantford. In 1839 there were five Regular and one 'Irregular,' or open communion, Baptist Association, their statistics being: Churches, 172; members, 3,722. Nine or ten Churches, with a membership of about 560, were not connected with any association, making in all about 4,282 members. The following statistics for 1885 indicate the growth of the denomination in the entire Dominion--Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Northwest Territory: Churches, 370; members, 28,987. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward's Island: Churches, 352; members, 40,989. The total for British America being: Of Churches, 122; and of members, 69,971.
At the first meeting of the Ottawa Association, in 1836, it resolved unanimously to send a deputation to Great Britain to solicit aid in the proclamation of the Gospel in Canada, and to establish an academy for the training of young men for the ministry. The academy was commenced in that year, Rev. Newton Bosworth taking charge of the instruction. Rev. John Gilmour visited England and Scotland as the agent of the Association, and received collections there of about $5,000 for erecting a proper building, and a society was formed in London known as the Baptist Canadian Missionary Society. On Mr. Gilmour's return a similar society was formed in Canada, having for its aim the support of home missionaries and the promotion of theological education. It accomplished an excellent work. The 'Canada Baptist Magazine and Missionary Register' was published as a monthly for two or three years under its supervision; but it was discontinued about the year 1842, when a weekly paper appeared known as the 'Montreal Register.'
A root of bitterness in the communion question sprang up, which finally led to the extinction of the Missionary Society in Canada, and this controversy between the Eastern and Western Baptists became more pronounced year by year. The Society disclaimed that it was an open communion body, and avowed that the Churches which it assisted were mainly strict communion bodies. Distrust abounded, and about the year 1854 the Western Canada Baptist Home Missionary Society was formed, under the auspices of the Strict Communionists, and the Montreal Society soon died. In 1843 the Canada Baptist Union had been formed, somewhat after the model of the English Union, its general objects being to promote the unity and prosperity of the denomination, 'especially to watch over our religious rights and privileges; to secure their permanence and promote their extension.' Ample scope was afforded for the exercise of its vigilance and wisdom. At that time the great doctrines of religious equality and freedom of conscience were not well understood in Canada, so that it fell to the lot of the Baptists to bring them and their defense to the front. They had to meet the Clergy Reserves Question, the outgrowth of a provision in the Constitutional Act of 1791, whereby an allotment equal in value to one seventh of all grants of public lands in Upper Canada was to be set apart for the support of a 'Protestant clergy.' These reserves soon became valuable, while the ambiguity of the phrase 'Protestant clergy' made it a subject of contention amongst the Protestant denominations for many years. Some claimed that the word Protestant was merely the antithesis of 'Catholic,' and so, that the reserves were for the benefit of all sects which abjured the tenets of the Roman Catholics. Others maintained as stoutly that the word 'clergy' designated only the ministers of the Church of England, and it had never been applied in any British statute to any ministers but these of that Church and of Rome. The Baptists, true to their principles, refused to apply for any portion of these funds, but insisted on their secularization and use for legitimate State purposes. Messrs. Davies, Cramp, Gilmour, Girdwood and Fyfe, their leaders, denied the right of the State to vote lands or money to any Church, and demanded religions equality before the law, leaving all denominations to support themselves.
The same principles were involved and the same ground was taken in regard to university endowment. In 1797 the English Government had authorized the Legislative Council and House of Assembly in Upper Canada to set apart the land of ten townships, equal to half a million of acres, as a foundation for four Grammar-Schools and a University. At this period the Executive, the Legislature and the Councils were, almost without exception, members of the dominant Church, and cast their influence so solidly for the Episcopal High Church party that it became known as the 'Family Compact.' Arch-deacon, afterwards Bishop Strachan, a crafty, resolute and not over-scrupulous politician, was at their head. Backed by powerful friends and using many machinations he secured from the Imperial Parliament the fund for the establishment of an Episcopal University and the postponement of the erection of the Grammar Schools. The Executive Government was also to be created a permanent, commission, with power to dispose of the lands and manage the revenues, and so to remove them beyond the reach of popular control. This high-handed attempt to saddle an Established Church and an exclusively Episcopal University upon the infant province was resisted by the Baptists at every step. They petitioned the Government and remonstrated strenuously, and after much other action their Union, in 1845, gave the following as their voice on the subject:
'That in our estimation the most just, and ultimately the most satisfactory settlement of the socalled University Question, would be founded on the following general principles: To confine the funds of the University exclusively to the Faculties of Arts, Sciences, Law and Medicine, giving no support whatever to Theological Professors of any denomination, but leaving each sect to support out of its own resources its teachers in divinity.'
This was followed in 1853 with an utterance through their Missionary Society, in words declaring:
'In the most emphatic and decided manner its determination never to rest satisfied until the Clergy Reserves are secularized by the Government,' and the 'fixed resolution of the Churches throughout the entire Province of Canada, to resist by every lawful and available means any and every attempt which may be made by the Government, or otherwise, to induce the Baptist denomination, in particular, and the other religious denominations in Canada, to accept of any partition of the Clergy Reserves Fund, for any purpose whatever.'
Partition had been pressed in some quarters as a basis of settlement, but, true to their ancient faith, the Baptists would have none of it; they finally triumphed, and as the result Canada now enjoys the same religious liberty that is secured to all in the United States.
In regard to Baptist periodicals in Canada West, it may be well to say, that after one or two futile attempts, the 'Christian Messenger' began its publication at Brantford, in 1853, but in 1859 it was removed to Toronto, and its name was afterwards changed to the 'Canadian Baptist,' which is still published as the leading organ of Baptist opinion. A few years since, it was purchased by a company of which the Hon. William McMaster is the principal stockholder. The constitution of the company makes the various denominational Societies the joint beneficiaries of the net profits of the paper. But with his characteristic liberality, Mr. McMaster announced in October, 1886, his readiness to hand over the paid-up stock held by him, amounting to $40,000, to those Societies, which are now quite numerous.
During the last thirty-four years, the Baptist Home Mission Society of Ontario, has planted seventy self-sustaining Churches, and more than seven thousand converts have been baptized on its field, west of the city of Kingston. During the last year it helped to support sixty-two feeble Churches and maintained preaching at sixty out-stations. The Baptists of that vicinity have expended about $130,000 in home mission work. The field occupied by the Eastern Society lies amongst a population two thirds of whom speak French and are Roman Catholics. The Frenchspeaking people are crowding the English-speaking people out, and many of our Churches are depleted, yet in 1885 one hundred and thirteen converts were baptized on the field. Steps are already taken for the union of the Eastern and Western Conventions.
During the first seven years of the Foreign Mission Society of Ontario and Quebec it was auxilliary to the American Baptist Missionary Union; but in 1873 it undertook an independent mission to the Telugus. Six missionaries with their wives, and two unmarried female missionaries, have been sent to that field. During twelve years the Society has expended more than $100,000 in foreign work, and within the last two years Rev. A. V. Timpany and Rev. G. F. Currie have died at their posts as missionaries. The Foreign Missionary Society of the Maritime Provinces sustains about the same number of laborers. and both of them employ several native preachers also. The 'elect' ladies in all the provinces are rendering efficient aid by auxilliary societies and a monthly paper, the 'Missionary Link,' which does good service in the same cause.
The Grand Ligne Mission, in the Province of Quebec, has been in operation for half a century, and has been the means of bringing about 5,000 persons to the knowledge of the truth, who are now scattered over Canada, the New England States and the far West. About 3,000 of these passed several years in the schools of the mission, and are spreading abroad the light which they received there. T. S. Shenston, Esq., of Brantford, Treasurer of the Foreign Missionary Society of Ontario and Quebec, is one of the noblest laymen in Canada. During the most critical years of its history he was Treasurer of its Board and has always been amongst its most liberal supporters. He was born in London, England, in 1822, and came to Canada when but nine years of age.
Endowed with superior native ability, controlled by unflinching integrity and industry, he has risen to great usefulness and honor. He commenced life as a farmer, but at the age of twentyseven was made a magistrate in Oxford County, where he resided. There were seventy-five magistrates in that county, and the returns of convictions show that he did more magisterial business than all of them put together. In 1851 he published a 'County Warden and Municipal Officer's Assistant,' and in 1852 an 'Oxford Gazetteer.' He set up type and printed with his own hands a work on 'Baptism,' in 1864, and for many years he has held the office of Register of Brant County. In conjunction with another generous soul, for years he sustained an Orphan House for twenty-two girls in Brantford. He is senior deacon of the "First Baptist Church in that city, and has been the Superintendent of its Sabbath-school for the better part of twenty-five years. In addition to the books here named he has published several others, amongst them, 'The Sinner and his Saviour' (256 pages), and an ingenious 'Perpetual Calendar,' reliable for some hundreds of years. All this is the work of what is called a 'self-made' man.
A brief sketch of Baptist Educational work will be acceptable. In 1838 the Committee of the London Society sent out Dr. Benjamin Davies to take charge of the Theological Institution at Montreal, known as the 'Canada Baptist College.' As the number of students increased a comfortable stone building was purchased, where the work was done with tolerable efficiency until 1843, when Dr. Davies returned to London to act as a Professor in Regent's Park College.
Rev. Robert A. Fyfe had charge of the Montreal Institution in 1843-44, and was succeeded by the Rev. J. M. Cramp; but in an evil hour a costly edifice was built, and its debts were so heavy that in 1849 it succumbed; the library and property were sold and it was discontinued. While it was in operation it did an excellent work; and many of its students of high character are a blessing to the Churches still; its managers and supporters were liberal and large hearted and its tutors were able men. But its location was 400 miles east of the principal center of Canadian Baptist population, its sympathies and methods were not sufficiently American, it was thought to cherish open communion sentiments, and at that time there was little love amongst the Baptists of Canada West for an educated ministry; all of which causes contributed to its downfall. Since this unhappy failure no further attempt has been made to establish a Baptist institution of learning in Lower Canada.
Several abortive attempts were put forth in this direction in the West, the most ambitious of which was in connection with the 'Maclay College,' projected in 1852. Dr. Maclay, an indefatigable friend of education, was induced to make the attempt to raise ?10,000 for the establishment of a Theological Institution, more than half of which sum was subscribed. Dr. Maclay was chosen President, but declined to serve; the managers and subscribers failed to agree amongst themselves as to a successor, and in other things, and the scheme fell to the ground. Dr. Fyfe devised a practicable plan for a Canadian Baptist College, in 1856, which, after much arduous labor and anxious care has been crowned with success. Rev. Robert A. Fyfe, D.D., was born in Lower Canada, in 1816, was baptized in 1835, and almost immediately after left for Madison University to prepare for the ministry. Want of means and ill health compelled him to return home within a year, but he continued his studies first at Montreal and then at the 'Manual Labor High School,' Worcester, Mass. He entered Newton Theological Seminary in 1839 and graduated thence in 1842. After several years of successful pastoral labor in other places, he became pastor of the Bond Street Church, Toronto. He submitted to the denomination his scheme for a school with a literary and theological department, providing for the admission of both sexes in the literary department, which project was indorsed, but with much misgiving. Woodstock was chosen as its site, and after three or four years of hard struggle a substantial building was erected there. In 1860 Dr. Fyfe was constrained to resign his pastorate and accept the principalship, from which time until his death, in 1878, he devoted all his powers to its interests. The first edifice was destroyed by fire just as the Institution was opening its doors to students, and years of selfdenying effort were buried in heaps of ashes and blackened bricks, with a debt of $6,000 on the smoking embers. With characteristic courage he immediately began to rebuild, and in the face of difficulty, discouragement and gloom, two better buildings were erected, one for the exclusive use of the ladies' department. His death removed a prince from our Canadian Israel. In the Theological Department, for some years before his death, Rev. John Crawford, D.D., and Rev. John Torrance had been associated with him, and after his death the work of the Institute was conducted under two heads for a time. Professor Torrance was Principal of the Theological, and Professor J. E. Wells was Principal of the Literary Department.
The policy of the Canadian Baptists in educational work was greatly changed by the munificence of the Hon. William McMaster. Before Dr. Fyfe's death the opinion had begun to obtain that Toronto was the proper place for the Theological College, but the dread of creating division in the interests of Woodstock, and the apparent impossibility of raising money to erect a college worthy of the denomination in that growing city, made all shrink from the attempt. At that point, what had seemed utterly impossible was made practicable by Senator McMaster's liberality. This great philanthropist was born in the county of Tyrone, Ireland, in 1811. He received a good English education in a private school, and in 1833 came to Canada, at the age of twenty-two years. He soon entered upon a most successful and honorable mercantile career, in the wholesale dry-goods business, having first been a clerk and then a partner of Robert Cathcart. When Montreal was the great distributing center for Western Canada, he was one of the few whose commercial enterprise and ability transferred a share of the wholesale trade from that city to Toronto. Having established his firm there and associated two of His nephews with himself his business became immense, until he retired from active partnership to follow financial transactions, for which his foresight and sound judgment amply fitted him, so that he became one of the leading capitalists of the province. He has always been a Liberal in his politics, and in 1856 he was with much reluctance induced to accept a nomination as a candidate for the Legislative Council of Canada. He was elected by a large majority, and at the Confederation was appointed to the Senate of the Dominion.
Mr. McMaster has always taken a marked interest in the educational interests of Canada. In 1865 he was appointed a member of the Council of Public Instruction, and, in 1873, he was made a Senator of the Provincial University by Government appointment. All the educational enterprises of the Baptists have been aided largely by his wisdom and purse, being one of the largest subscribers to the Woodstock Institute; and at the Missionary Convention of Ontario, held at St. Catharine's in 1879, it was resolved that, in view of certain proposals made by him, the Theological Department of the Institute at Woodstock should be removed to Toronto. At once he purchased from the University of Toronto a plot of ground 250 feet square, and immediately erected thereon one of the most beautiful and complete college buildings in the country. He vested this property in a Board of Trustees in 1880, to be held in trust for the Baptist denomination. At the first meeting of this Board Rev. J. H. Castle, D.D., was elected President of the College; Rev. John Torrance, A.M` Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Apologetics, and at a subsequent meeting Professor A. H. Newman, D.D., LL.D., of Rochester Seminary, was chosen for the Chair of Church History and Old Testament Exegesis.
A brief notice of several of our brethren who have done such splendid work in Canada must close this sketch of Baptists there.
Dr. Castle was born at Milestown, Penn., in 1830, was baptized in 1846, graduated from the Lewisburg University in 1851, and received his Doctor's degree from the same institution in 1866. He was settled as pastor at Pottsville; Pa., for two years and a half, when he accepted the charge of the First Baptist Church in West Philadelphia, where he remained for fourteen years. In 1873 he became pastor of the Bond Street Church, Toronto, when the beautiful structure known as the Jarvis Street Meeting-house was erected for his congregation, Mr. McMaster contributing about $60,000 to the building fund. He declined the Principalship of Woodstock, and when its Theological Department was removed to Toronto all eyes turned to him as eminently fitted to become its President. This position he has filled, and the chair of Systematic Theology and Pastoral Theology, with great success. Professor Torrance, who first became Principal of the Woodstock Institution, had previously been a student there and a graduate of the Toronto University, but he died before he could engage in the work of the new College. The report of the Trustees speaks of him as an accurate scholar; 'His force and clearness as a thinker, the soundness of his views as a theologian, his aptness as a teacher, his reputation in the denomination, and his unflinching Christian integrity gave every reason to hope for him a long career of the highest usefulness.'
Dr. Newman is a native of Edgefield County, S. C., and was born in 1852. He graduated from Mercer University, Georgia, in 1871, and from Rochester Theological Seminary in 1875. He spent a year 1875-76 in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where, as resident graduate, he devoted himself to the study of Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic and Patristic Greek. From 1877 to 1880 he was acting as Professor of Church History at Rochester, and in 1880-81 was Pettingill Professor in the same institution. He translated and edited Immer's 'Hermeneutics of the New Testament,' published at Andover in 1877, and is the author of many review articles, evidencing extensive research and critical acumen. He is justly regarded also as an authority in ecclesiastical history, especially in its relation to the principles and polity of the Baptists. If his valuable life is spared, Baptist literature will be greatly enriched by His fruitful pen. At present the Doctor is editing the 'Anti-Manichaean Treatises of St. Augustin,' with a revised translation, notes and an introduction on the Manichaean Heresy.
Malcolm MacVicar, Ph.D., LL.D., fills the vacancy left by the death of Professor Torrance. He was Principal of the State Normal School at Ypsilanti, Mich., and his career as an educator has been successful and distinguished. He was born in Scotland in 1829, but in 1835 came to Chatham, in Ontario. He entered Knox College, Toronto, in 1850, with Donald, his brother, now Principal of the Presbyterian College in Montreal. While a student Malcolm's doctrinal views changed, he became a Baptist, and was ordained to the Baptist ministry in 1856. He graduated from Rochester University in 1859, from which time to 1863 he served as Professor of Mathematics, and from that date to 1867 as Principal of Brockport Collegiate Institute, N.Y. From 1868 he was Superintendent of Public Schools in Leavenworth, Kan., then Principal of the Normal School in Potsdam, N. Y., before he went to the Normal School in Michigan. Dr. MacVicar is the author of several valuable textbooks in arithmetic and geography. He excels as a mathematician and metaphysician, and has made a special study of the relations of science to religion. He is critical, original and enthusiastic.
Rev. W. N. Clarke, D.D., was for many years pastor of the Churches at Newton Center, Mass., and at Montreal, but took the chair of New Testament Exegesis at Toronto in 1884. He brought broad views and a loving spirit to his work, and having published a most valuable commentary on one of the Gospels, he possesses special fitness for this high position. His compeer, Rev. D. M. Welton, D.D., Ph.D., an advanced scholar in the Oriental languages, fills the chair of Old Testament Exegesis. Dr. Welton is a graduate of Acadia, also of a celebrated German University, and was for some years the Principal of the Theological Department in Acadia College.
Theodore H. Rand, M.A., D.C.L., was appointed to a chair in Toronto College in 1885-86. He is a graduate of Acadia, and was in succession the Superintendent of Education in Nova Scotia and in New Brunswick, in both of which provinces he inaugurated and kept in operation for a number of years the noble system of free schools which they now possess. He filled a chair also in Acadia before he removed to Toronto. The entire cost of sustaining all these professorships, in addition to the large sum expended in building 'McMaster Hall' and in endowing the President's chair, was cheerfully assumed by Mr. McMaster.
Rev. Wolverton, B.A., was appointed Principal at Woodstock after the resignation of Mr. Torrance. He had previously obtained and collected pledges for its endowment to the amount of $40,000, with the intention of raising the amount to $100,000. For some time Senator McMaster had purposed to thoroughly equip an Arts College in connection with the University of Toronto, but has now determined to devote this handsome endowment to the Woodstock foundation. In view of this great work, Dr. Rand has been induced to accept the Principalship of Woodstock, while Professor Wolverton will devote all his time to its financial management. Mr. McMaster stipulated that $56,000 should be raised by the denomination for new buildings and other improvements, of which sum $50,000 has been raised, and a new impulse has been given to Baptist educational enterprises all through Canada. University powers will be sought for Woodstock College, and the corner-stone of the splendid new college building was laid at Woodstock, October 22, 1886, by Mrs. Wm. McMaster, when addresses were delivered by Dr. Band and Dr. McArthur, of New York.
The progress and development of the Baptists in Canada for the last quarter of a century have been wonderful, and they bid fair to make greater advancement still for the coming generation. Without referring to particular pages, it may suffice to say that the above facts have been collected chiefly from 'Cramp's History,' 'Benedict's History,' 'Bill's Fifty Years in the Maritime Provinces,' minutes of Associations, Missionary Reports, Memorials of Acadia College and the Canadian Year-Books.
AUSTRALASIA proper comprises New South Wales, Victoria, South and North Australia, Queensland and West Australia, covering about 3,000,000 square miles. Captain Cook discovered New South Wales in 1770, and slowly British subjects have settled the greater part of the continent, while the aboriginals have largely decreased. Rev. John Saunders may he regarded as the founder of Baptists in Australia. At the age of seventeen he became a member of a Baptist Church at Camberwell, in London, and renounced every opportunity to take a seat in Parliament, preferring labor for Christ. After establishing two Churches in London, his heart was set on planting a Christian colony in that stronghold of idolatry and other wickedness, Botany Bay. On reaching Sidney, in 1834, he commenced to preach in the most fervid and powerful manner in the Court-house, where crowds flocked to hear him. He soon formed the Bathhurst Street Church and remained its pastor till 1848, when his health broke. He then retired from the pastorate and died in 1859. The loss of so vigorous a leader dampened the courage of his Church, but it revived under the new leadership of Rev. James Voller, whose labors were greatly blessed, and an Association was formed, so that now the Baptist force is most earnest and vigorous in New South Wales. The number of Churches is 22, the number of members, 1,196.
VICTORIA. The Baptist cause was planted there by Rev. William Ham, in 1845, when the first Church was formed. This pioneer labored under the greatest difficulties, but a church edifice was built in Collins Street, Melbourne, in which he labored for some years. Little progress was made, however, until 1856, when the Rev. James Taylor, of Glasgow, took the pastoral oversight. His scriptural and logical preaching, accompanied by a peculiar unction from above, soon drew large audiences, so that the congregation removed to the Grand Opera House, which seated 2,000 people, and yet was too small for the throng. Soon, a large and beautiful church edifice was built, which is now the rallying point for the annual gatherings of our Churches in the colony. Mr. Taylor is still preaching to an earnest Church at Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne. Two sons of Mr. Ham are amongst the most liberal supporters of the denomination in the colony; the eldest acted as chairman of the Victorian Baptist Association at its session a year ago. A second Church was organized in Melbourne, which was under the pastoral care of Rev. W. P. Scott till his death, in 1856; and when the great gold discovery demoralized the community, the Missionary Society in England, at the earnest request of the Church for a suitable pastor, sent the Rev. Isaac New to fill the vacancy. At that time, Melbourne was shaping itself into a magnificent city, with many social refinements and educational institutions; and the pulpits of all denominations were being filled with preachers of a high order. Mr. New's finished thought and fresh delivery attracted great congregations, and in 1859 the elegant chapel in Albert Street was erected for this Church. But in ten years, failing health compelled this great preacher to retire from his work, and in 1886 he fell asleep in Christ. There are 100 preaching places in Victoria and about 15,000 persons who enjoy the services of their ministers, the membership of the Churches being nearly 6,000, and the number of Sunday-school scholars about 9,000. Our Churches there are in a flourishing condition and number 39, with a membership of 4,235. Rev. S. Chapman, the present pastor of Collins Street, is a most successful minister, who has set his heart on raising $250,000 for home mission purposes with every indication of success. He proposes to establish an inter-Colonial College, to form a building fund for opening new fields and to aid struggling Churches in town and country.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA. Before Mr. Scott settled in Melbourne, he spent two years as pastor in this colony. The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Hinders Street Church, Adelaide, was held in September, 1886, at which it was reported that since its organization 1,581 members had been added to that Church, and its average fiscal income had been $10,000 per annum. Dr. Silas Mead has rendered great service to the denomination during a quarter of a century, but the Baptists are not strong in the colony. The denomination has lacked compact organization, many of its members preferring isolation to combined activity. For the present, many of the other denominations are in advance of the Baptists, because they have accepted State aid and the appropriations of large plots of land for ecclesiastical purposes, which offers Baptists have declined on principle. The number of Churches is 52, the membership of the Associated Baptist Churches in South Australia is 5,190, Sabbath-school scholars 5,191.
QUEENSLAND. There were no Baptists in this colony in the old convict days, when the incorrigible from Port Jackson, New South Wales, were sent to Moreton Bay. But immediately upon the settlement of free persons a Church was established. Mr. Stewart preached for some time in the Court-house, he being followed by Rev. B. G. Wilson, in 1856, when a substantial chapel was built in Wharf Street, but a much larger and more beautiful building is now in course of erection. The Churches number 13, and have all sprung from this one Church, the Baptist Church membership of the colony being 1,355, with Sunday-school scholars under their care to the number of about 2,000.
NEW ZEALAND. The principal Churches of this colony are at Dunedin, the capital in the South Island, and Auckland, the principal city of the North Island. The present pastor of the Church at Auckland is Rev. Thomas Spurgeon, son of the London divine. A Tabernacle, seating 1,500 people, has been opened, which is too small for the multitude who throng to hear him. This Church was organized by Rev. J. Thornton, and a few miles southeast of Auckland, Rev. Josiah Hinton, a son of the late John Howard Hinton, of London, is laboring earnestly. Flourishing young Churches are found, also, at Wellington, the capital, at Christ Church, Nelson and other places. About 50,000 only of the Maoris, the aborigines, are left, and the Baptists are doing something to bring them to Christ. Fronde says that gunpowder, rum and tobacco have ruined this once noble race, which is so fast melting away before civilization. In the two Islands we have 23 Churches, and 2,398 members.
TASMANIA. Rev. H. Bowling left Colchester, England, for this field in 1831; it was then known as Van Diemen's Land. He commenced at once to proclaim the Gospel, and for thirtyfive years continued to preach in this beautiful Island. But the struggle was hard as well as long, for at present there are but 8 Churches with 404 communicants in the colony, and 625 scholars in the Sunday-schools. William Gibson, Esq., and his son, have recently built and presented to the denomination four beautiful church edifices, one at Launceston, with a seating capacity of 1,500, the others are at Perth, Coleraine and Longford.
Although there are no Baptists in Western Australia, the progress made in the other colonies within the last ten years presents an encouraging feature in the ecclesiastical life of Australasia. Everywhere, heroic effort is made and new plans are projected for more thorough work. Men of large ability and experience are prosecuting these plans. James Martin, who was pastor of the Collins Street Church, Melbourne, for seven years, did much for our Churches, both as a preacher and writer; his name, with these of William Poole, David Rees, George Slade, Henry Langdon and Alexander Shain, has done much to stimulate the consecration of Baptists there, and others of equally heroic devotion are ready to enter into their labors full of work and full of hope. The denominational papers in Australasia, are 'The Banner of Truth,' in New South Wales; 'The Freeman,' in Queensland; and in South Australia, 'Truth and Progress.'
And now, having traced the stream of truth in its flow from Bethlehem to this newest discovered end of the earth, which, though the largest Island in the world, may not improperly be called a continent, and has, because of its vast extent, been called the 'fifth quarter of the world,' we see how nearly primitive Christianity belts the globe in its new embrace of 'Southern Asia.' This history shows the extreme jealousy of the Baptists for the honor of Scripture as the revelation of Christ's will. For this they have endured all their sufferings, each pain evincing their love to him and their zeal to maintain his will according to the Scriptures. It appears to be as true of error as it is of the truth itself, that a little leaven 'leavens the whole lump,' when once it comes into juxtaposition with the genuine meal and the fermenting process takes up one single particle. Every individual error which has crept into the Churches since the times of the Apostles is directly traceable to a perversion of Scripture, and generally corruption of doctrine has come by the misinterpretation of Scripture. In most cases the rise of divergence from the Bible sense can be traced not only to a change of manner, however slight, but also to that change at a given point of time, and from these they have run to the very opposite of Christ's teaching and example. A marked illustration of this is found in both the Christian ordinances. Take, for example, the Supper. Our Lord instituted it in the evening and after he and his disciples had eaten the roasted paschal lamb with bread and herbs. But as if for sheer contradiction of Christ, in the days of Cyprian and Augustine, the Churches came to the notion that the Supper should be forbidden in the evening and taken in the morning while fasting. The pretense was, that reverence for Christ would not allow its elements to mingle with common food. So perfectly fanatical did men become in this perversion, that Walafrid Strabo said: 'The Church has enjoined on us to act in the teeth of Christ's example and we must obey the Church.' He was the Abbot of Reichenau, A. D. 842, no mean authority; and a prolific writer, whose works, says Reuss, 'for several centuries formed the principal source and the highest authority of biblical science in the Latin Church, and were used down to the seventeenth century.' Dr. Hebbert says of him: 'He turns the argument round, and puts it that those who think our Lord's example ought to be followed are calumniating the Church in assuming that the Church would or could give a wrong order in such a thing!'
So, the bulwark of infant baptism has been found in the words of Jesus: 'Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven,' despite the fact that one Apostle says, that he 'blessed them' and 'prayed for them,' but so far from saying that he baptized them, another is careful to say, that 'Jesus baptized not.' Exactly in the same way infallible headship is attributed to the Pope, from a false interpretation of the words: 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church.' The power of priestly absolution is claimed on a perversion of the words: 'Whosesoever sins ye remit they are remitted to them.' By the same forced construction, auricular confession is extorted from the passage 'Confess your faults one to another;' extreme unction, from a false use of the passage: ' Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil, . . . and the Lord shall raise him up;' but this office is not done till the man is dying. Purgatory is drawn from the abused passage which speaks of Christ preaching to 'the spirits in prison;' the right of private judgment is denied because Peter said: 'No prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation;' and the worship of Mary is enforced because it is written: 'Blessed art thou among women.' The tortures of the Inquisition are justified because Paul said that he delivered Hymeneus and Alexander 'over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme,' and the burning of heretics, by the words of the same Apostle when he instructed the Corinthians to deliver the fornicator to 'Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.'
The truth can only be conserved by holding it in righteousness, without wresting it from its natural testimony and obliging it to do duty in enforcing the traditions of men. For this reason Baptists must ever keep the doctrines of Jesus and his ordinances, and the order of his Church, as they were delivered unto them, being faithful unto the death.
This narrative makes it clear that the principles of New Testament Christianity have never been wholly eradicated from the consciousness of some Christians in history. When perversions and abuses have multiplied, and the most godly men have feared that a pure and spiritual Christianity was about to perish from the earth, God has not left himself without witnesses, who have appealed to the authority of his word against the corruptions of their age. Their testimony has been as enlivening as a gust of fresh air, fanning the latent spark of religious life into a blaze. When the purest organic communities have been interrupted and broken, the truth has never compromised itself any more than its Author has compromised himself. With more or less distinctness, individual believers have ever maintained the teachings of Christ. Their spirits have been emancipated from mere ecclesiastical authority, as they have sought with honest hearts to learn and to do the will of God revealed in the Bible. In doing this they have been the worthy successors of the Bible Baptists.
These historical facts should give new hope to the Gospel Churches of our own times. Many who claim to be actuated by the scientific spirit and methods of our day, have proclaimed open hostility to all forms of assumed privilege and prescription. No institution, however venerable, can hold its own against this combination, unless it can show a valid reason for its existence.
Many signs show that this attack will not cease until social order and possibly civil government have been fundamentally reconstructed. The Churches of Christ must also meet this assault.
More and more their doctrines and observances must be called in question, and in so far as they are justified by an appeal to ancient traditions and usages, to old organizations and their authority, the advance of the modern spirit will prevail against them. Only those Churches which stand firmly upon the New Testament, holding no faith or practice but what it enjoins, will stand in a position that cannot be successfully assailed until their great Divine Charter is demonstrated to be of human origin. When the New Testament, which has survived in immortal youth and strength, despite all destructive forces, has been torn into shreds, then those Churches will wane, but not till then. Baptists have taken this impregnable position, and so long as they hold it, sophistry and contempt, either from Christians or skeptics, can storm their fortress no sooner than a handful of snow-flakes can storm Gibraltar. Such attacks will simply make manifest the strength and simplicity of the faith once delivered to the saints. They must fail when the word of God fails, but not till then; for God will honor them so long as they honor his word.
The author's work is now done; and he here expresses devout gratitude to the Father of mercies for the health given him to finish his labor of love for the truth's sake. This work is now laid at his Master's feet as a tribute to the truth, for the edification of all who love the truth as Jesus revealed it in its fullness. It is tendered for the examination of all loving and candid Christians, regardless of name, with the fervent desire that it may be approved by the great Shepherd of the one flock, as an honest and faithful presentation of that truth which he promised should make his people free indeed. The writer's profound respect for other Christian denominations has not allowed him to utter a disrespectful word of them, however widely his views and theirs may differ on subjects which we hold to be very important. They are no more to blame either for the mistakes or faults of their forefathers, than Baptists are for the blunders or defects of their forefathers. When the countless millions of Christ's disciples meet our common Lord above, he will lovingly tell us which of us were right and which were wrong. If he shall say, 'My Baptist followers were mistaken in this or in that,' it will be their privilege to thank him for saving them despite these failures. And if he shall say, 'My Pedobaptist followers were mistaken in this or in that,' the most ill-natured reply that any true Baptist can make will be: 'Dear brethren, we always told you so.' Then, for our eternal salvation, we shall all heartily sing together, 'Unto him who hath loved us and redeemed us unto God, unto him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.'
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