committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

CHAPTER IV.

Character of Charles I.—Sufferings during his Reign—First Particular Baptist Church—Samuel Howe—Dr. Featley's Book—Baptist Confessions of Faith—Toleration hated by the Presbyterians—Their Attempts to put down the Baptists—Milton's Lines—The Assembly of Divines—Outcry against Immersion—Parliamentary Declaration in favor of the Baptists—Fearful "Ordinance" against them—Their Activity during the Commonwealth and the Protectorate—Cromwell's Baptist Officers—The "Triers"—Baptists in Ireland

 

Charles I. succeeded his father, James I., in 1625.  In religion, he was a Romish Protestant. Politically, he believed in the one-man system of government, regarding the people as ciphers, and lost his life by pertinaciously laboring to put his belief in practice. Morally, he was made up of negations: he wanted principle, sincerity, and steadfastness. The Church of England used to call him a “martyr,” but the annual service in commemoration of his death is now discontinued. We may call him a “martyr-maker.” His reign, up to the time of the assembling of the Long Parliament, was distinguished by unremitting persecution of all dissenters from the Established Church, and of all who still remained in the Church, but scrupled conformity to some of its ceremonies and laws. The High Commission Court, first established by Queen Elizabeth, to which Court was entrustercise of the royal authority in things ecclesiastical, was in reality a Protestant Inquisition. It possessed absolute power to fine, impried the exson, and otherwise punish all alleged delinquents, and from its decisions there was no appeal. So severe were the proceedings of this tribunal, that great numbers fled the country to avoid them; some to Holland, some to New England.

The Baptists had their share in those sufferings, but the particulars have been imperfectly recorded. One case, casually mentioned in Neal’s “History of the Puritans,” may be regarded as an index of their condition. Among the ministers whose imprisonment for religion is noticed, the name of Mr. Thomas Brewer occurs,—“a Baptist preacher,” whose confinement extended to fourteen years. What times were those, when a man was suffered to lie in jail fourteen years for being a “Baptist preacher!”1

In the year 1633, an event occurred which requires specific notice. This was the formation of the first Particular or Calvinistic Baptist Church in England. Hitherto the Baptists had favoured Arminian views. William Kiffin gives the following account: “There was a congregation of Protestant Dissenters of the Independent persuasion in London, gathered in the year 1616, whereof Mr. Henry Jacob was the first pastor, and after him succeeded Mr. John Lathorp, who was their minister at this time. In this society several persons, finding that the congregation kept not to their first principles of separation, and being also convinced that baptism was not to be administered to infants, but to such only as professed faith in Christ, desired that they might be dismissed from that communion, and allowed to form a distinct congregation, in such order as was most agreeable to their own sentiments. The Church, considering that they were now grown very numerous, and so more than could in these times of persecution conveniently meet together, and believing also that those persons acted from a principle of conscience, and not obstinacy, agreed to allow them the liberty they desired, and that they should be constituted a distinct church; which was performed the 12th of September, 1633. And as they believed that baptism was not rightly administered to infants, so they looked upon the baptism they had received in that age as invalid; whereupon most or all of them received a new baptism. Their minister was Mr. John Spilsbury. What number they were is uncertain, because in the mentioning of the names of about twenty men and women, it is added, ‘with divers others.’”2

As the time of enlarged freedom drew near, the tyrants increased in rage. Seventeen canons were passed by the Convocation of the clergy in the early part of 1640, the fifth of which was directed “against sectaries.” Having ordered that Popish recusants who refused to conform should be ex?communicated, and that the civil power should be requested to aid in carrying the sentence into effect, these words were added: “The synod decrees, that the canon above men?tioned against Papists shall be in full force against all Ana?baptists, Brownists, Separatists, and other sectaries, as far as they are applicable.”3

An excommunicated person is forbidden what is called Christian burial. Samuel Howe, a Baptist minister, who died in prison about this time while under excommunica?tion, was buried in the highway; interment in consecrated ground, so called, being refused. Mr. Howe was a popular preacher, but uneducated, and on that account, it seems, vilified by some, who were unable to distinguish between university learning and absolute ignorance; and who chose to regard those who had not received a college education as disqualified for the ministerial office, notwithstanding their religious attainments, or even their profound acquaintance with Scripture. In this latter respect Mr. Howe excelled most men. But in defending himself from their attacks, he certainly exceeded the bounds of moderation. In a Trea?tise which he published, entitled, “The Sufficiency of the Spirit’s Teaching, without Human Learning,” he at?tempted to show, not only that human learning is an insufficient guide in matters of religion, but that it is “dangerous and hurtful.” The following lines appear on the title page:—

“What How? how now? Hath How such learning found,
To throw Art’s curious image to the ground?
Cambridge and Oxford may their glory now
Veil to a Cobbler if they know but How.”

Nevertheless, Mr. Howe was a good and useful man. Roger Williams has this reference to him:—“Amongst so many instances, dead and living, to the everlasting praise of Christ Jesus, and of His Holy Spirit, breathing and blessing where He listeth, I cannot but with honorable testimony remember that eminent Christian witness and prophet of Christ, even that despised and yet beloved Samuel Howe, who being by calling a cobbler, and without learning (which yet in its sphere and place he honored), who yet, I say, by searching the Holy Scriptures, grew so excellent a textuary, or Scripture-learned man, that few of those high Rabbies that scorn to mend or make a shoe, could aptly or readily, from the Holy Scriptures, out-go him. And however (through the oppressions upon some men’s consciences even in life and death, and after death, in respect of burying, as yet unthought of and unremedied), I say, however he was forced to seek a grave or bed in the highway, yet was his life, and death, and burial (being attended with many hundreds of God’s people), honorable and (how much more on his rising again) glorious.”4 The barbarity attending his burial was characteristic of the age.

Immediately after the commencement of the contest between Charles I. and the Long Parliament, freedom in religion advanced with rapid strides. The chief restraints of law being removed by the abolition of the High Com?mission Court and the downfall of the hierarchy, all parties claimed and exercised liberty of worship. The Baptists in?creased very fast, greatly to the chagrin of the Presbyterian party, which was then in the ascendant. A book published in 1644, by Dr. Featley, may be taken as the exponent of the feelings entertained towards them. Dr. Featley had been engaged in a public disputation with the Baptists, and he printed an account of it, in which he claimed the victory. The book was entitled, “The Dippers Dipt, or the Anabaptists Ducked and Plunged over Head and Ears at a Disputation in Southwark.” He calls the Baptists an illiterate and sottish sect—a lying and blasphemous sect—an impure and carnal sect—a bloody and cruel sect—a profane and sacrilegious sect. His malice is thus expressed in the “Epistle Dedicatory:”—“Of all heretics and schismatics, the Anabaptists ought to be most carefully looked unto and severely punished, if not utterly exterminated and banished out of the Church and kingdom . . . They preach, and print, and practice their heretical impieties openly; they hold their conventicles weekly in our chief cities and suburbs thereof, and there prophesy by turns . . . They flock in great multitudes to their Jordans, and both sexes enter into the river, and are dipt after their manner with a kind of spell, containing the heads of their erroneous tenets . . . And as they defile our rivers with their impure washings, and our pulpits with their false prophecies and fanatical enthusiasms, so the presses sweat and groan under the load of their blasphemies.” We cannot help thinking that these are the words of a defeated champion, venting his spite against his opponents.

Dr. Featley was a man of influence, and it was therefore judged expedient to furnish an antidote to his book. This was done by the publication of a Confession of Faith, on the part of seven London churches. It appeared in the year 1644, under the following title:—“The Confession of Faith of those churches which are commonly (though falsely) called Anabaptists; presented to the view of all that fear God, to examine by the touchstone of the Word of Truth as likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print (although unjustly) cast upon them.” It was a fair digest of Baptist principles, showing that in all important points of theology, Christian ordinances and Church government excepted, the Baptists agreed with other evangelical Protestants. The compilers were particularly careful to state in full the views on magis?tracy held by the churches, in order to disabuse men of the absurd notions still cherished by many, who were fain to charge the Baptists with revolutionary tendencies, similar to those of Munster. The concluding paragraph is admir?ably written. It is as follows:—“Thus we desire to give unto Christ that which is His, and unto all lawful authority that which is their due; and to owe nothing to any man but love; to live quietly and peaceably, as it becometh saints, endeavoring in all things to keep a good conscience, and to do unto every man (of what judgment soever) as we would they should do unto us; that as our practice is, so it may prove us to be a conscionable, quiet, and harmless people (no ways dangerous or troublesome to human society), and to labour and work with our hands that we may not be chargeable to any, but to give to him that needeth, both friends and enemies, accounting it more excellent to give than to receive. Also we confess that we know but in part, and that we are ignorant of many things which we desire and seek to know ; and if any shall do us that friendly part to show us from the Word of God that we see not, we shall have cause to be thankful to God and them. But if any man shall impose upon us anything that we see not to be commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ, we should in His strength rather embrace all reproaches and tortures of men, to be stripped of all outward comforts, and, if it were pos?sible, to die a thousand deaths, rather than to do anything against the least tittle of the truth of God, or against the light of our own consciences. And if any shall call what we have said heresy, then do we with the Apostle acknowledge, that, ‘after the way they call heresy, worship we the God of our fathers,’ disclaiming all heresies (rightly so called), because they are against Christ, and to be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in obedience to Christ, as knowing our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.”5

The seven churches by which this Confession was published, met in the following places, viz.:—Devonshire Square; Broad Street, Wapping; Great St. Helens; Crutched Friars; Bishopsgate Street; Coleman Street; and Glaziers’ Hall. The first-mentioned church has existed from that time to the present. The others have been long extinct.

We have said that Presbyterianism was in the ascendant. But the Presbyterians of the seventeenth century held toleration in abhorrence. It was in their eyes the quintessence of all heresy.

The great Richard Baxter says:—“My judgment in that much disputed point of liberty of religion, I have always freely made known. I abhor unlimited liberty and toleration of all, and think myself easily able to prove the wickedness of it.”6

The President of the Scotch Parliament writes thus to the Parliament of England (Feb. 3, 1645):—“It was expected the honorable Houses would add their civil sanction to what the pious and learned Assembly leave advised; and I am commanded by the Parliament of this kingdom to demand it, and I do in their names demand it. And the Parliament of this kingdom is persuaded, that the piety and wisdom of the honorable Houses will never admit toleration of any sects or schisms contrary to our Solemn League and Covenant.”7

The London Presbyterian clergy bear their testimony against “the error of toleration, patronizing and promoting all other errors, heresies, and blasphemies whatsoever, under the grossly abused notion of liberty of conscience;” and add that they consider it a great grievance, “that men should have liberty to worship God in that way and manner as shall appear to them most agreeable to the Word of God, and no man be punished or discountenanced by authority for the same.” “We, the ministers of Jesus Christ,” say they, “do hereby testify to our flocks, to all the kingdom, and to the reformed world, our great dislike of Prelacy, Erastianism, Brownism, and Independency; and our utter abhorrency of Anti-Scripturism, Popery, Arianism, Socinianism, Arminianism, Antinomianism, Anabaptism, Libertinism, and Familism; and that we detest the fore-mentioned toleration, so much pursued and endeavoured in this kingdom, accounting it unlawful and pernicious.”8

The Lancashire ministers declare their “harmonious consent” with their brethren in London as follows:—“A toleration would be putting a sword into a madman’s hands; a cup of poison into the hand of a child; a letting loose madmen with firebrands in their hands, and appointing a city of refuge in men’s consciences for the devil to fly to; a laying a stumbling block before the blind; a proclaiming liberty to the wolves to come into Christ’s fold to prey upon the lambs: neither would it be to provide for tender consciences, but to take away all conscience.”9

These sentiments were reduced to practice as far as possible. In 1645 an Ordinance of Parliament was published, enacting “that no person be permitted to preach, who is not ordained a minister, either in this or some other Reformed Church, except such as, intending the ministry, shall be allowed for the trial of their gifts, by those who shall be appointed thereunto by both Houses of Parliament.” The Ordinance was to be sent to Sir Thomas Fairfax, with the “earnest desire and recommendation” of the Houses, that it should be “duly observed in the Army.”10 The Baptists were particularly aimed at; because there were great numbers of preachers among them, and they were of course destitute of ordination, in the Presbyterian sense of the word. Next year the Corporation of the City of London interfered in the matter, by presenting a memorial to Parliament, called “The City Remonstrance,” in which they prayed, “that some strict and speedy course might be taken for the suppressing all separate and private congregations; that all Anabaptists, Brownists, Heretics, Schismatics, Blasphemers, and all other sectaries, who conform not to the public discipline established, or to be established, by Parliament, may be fully declared against, and some effectual course settled for proceeding against such persons; and that no person disaffected to the Presbyterial government, set forth or to be set forth by Parliament, may be employed in any place of public trust.”11 But the Baptists and others in the army procured a counter-petition, which was very numerously signed, “applauding the labors and successes of the Parliament in the cause of liberty, and praying them to go on with managing the affairs of the kingdom according to their wisdom, and not to suffer the free-born people of England to be enslaved on any pretence whatever, nor to suffer any set of people to prescribe to them in matters of government or conscience.”12 Nevertheless, the intolerant principle prevailed; and in December, 1646, a second Parliamentary Ordinance appeared, forbidding all unordained persons to “preach or expound the Scriptures in any church, or chapel, or any other public place,” and directing that all ministers, or others, who should “publish or maintain, by preaching, writing, printing, or any other way, anything against, or in derogation of, the Church government which is now established by authority of both Houses of Parliament,” should be apprehended, and “due punishment” inflicted on them.13 Many Baptists suffered under this ordinance, by imprisonment and otherwise. Had it been rigidly executed, there would have been extensive disturbances of the public peace, for the intolerance of the Presbyterian party excited general disgust and loathing. Milton’s thoughts and feelings on the subject were expressed with more force than elegance There is stinging truth in his lines entitled, “On the new Forcers of Conscience under the Long Parliament”:—

“Because you have thrown off your Prelate lord,
And with stiff vows renounced his Liturgy,
To seize the widowed whore Plurality
From them whose sin you envied, not abhorred;
Dare ye for this adjure the civil sword
To force our consciences that Christ set free,
And ride us with a classical hierarchy
Taught ye by mere A. S. and Rutherford?
Men, whose life, learning, faith, and pure intent,
Would have been held in high esteem with Paul,
Must now be named and printed Heretics
By Shallow Edwards and Scotch what d’ye call:
But we do hope to find out all your tricks,
Your plots and packing worse than those of Trent,
                         That so the Parliament
May with their wholesome and preventive shears
Clip your phylacteries, though bauk your ears,
                         And succor our just fears,
When they shall read this clearly in your charge,
New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large
.”14

These Presbyterian outrages were also exposed by Samuel Richardson, one of the Pastors of the Calvinistic or Particular Baptist church, the formation of which has been mentioned. Mr. Richardson’s pamphlet was entitled:—“The necessity of Toleration in matters of religion; or, certain questions propounded to the Synod, tending to prove that corporal punishments ought not to be inflicted upon such as hold errors in religion, and that in matters of religion men ought not to be compelled, but have liberty and freedom.” The “questions” are such as no persecutor, Roman Catholic or Protestant, Episcopalian or Presbyterian, could satisfactorily answer; and the observations interspersed are so pithy and pungent, that the good cause must have derived great benefit from the publication. “Sit still quietly,” the author says, “and be humbled, for your folly in calling persecution discipline and just deserved censure; and in calling your priesthood and presbytery a holy order, and yet are but the Pope’s priesthood. And we had as good be under the Pope, as under your presbyterian check . . . You would all be tolerated, and would have none tolerated but yourselves; you would suffer none to live quietly and comfortably, but those of your way. Is this to do as you would be done by?”15

The Assembly of Divines sat from 1643 till 1649. Their Confession of Faith and Catechisms will live as long as theological literature lasts. With the exception of those portions in which religious liberty, Church government, and Christian baptism are treated, they are invaluable. The Assembly not only sustained infant-baptism, but also enjoined sprinkling as the mode of administering the ceremony. It was a close division: twenty-five were for the injunction of sprinkling, twenty-four against it. That majority of one was obtained by Dr. Lightfoot’s influence, to whose authority as an Oriental scholar and biblical critic great deference was paid. The minority were not willing to legislate on the subject, and would have left it to the option of ministers. But it seems that there was a dread of possible consequences; for if any infants should be immersed, a suspicion might get abroad that sprinkling was insufficient. This might lead to the conclusion that those who had been only sprinkled ought to be baptized. The inquiry might then be extended to adults, and so the interests of the Baptists might be furthered. It was judged prudent to prevent all this by positive enactment.

There was a wonderful outcry against immersion. Even Baxter allowed himself to use expressions which might be laughed at, were it not for the melancholy fact that in his case (for he could not be ignorant on the subject) prejudice and passion prevailed over Christian charity, and impelled him to adopt a course which in his sober moments he must have condemned. Take a specimen or two:—“That which as a plain breach of the sixth commandment, Thou shalt not kill, is no ordinance of God, but a most heinous sin. But the ordinary practice of baptizing over head, and in cold water, as necessary, is a plain breach of the sixth commandment; therefore it is no ordinance of God, but a heinous sin, and, as Mr. Craddock shows in his book of Gospel liberty, the magistrate ought to restrain it, to save the lives of his subjects.” . . . “In a word, it is good for nothing but to dispatch men out of the world that are burdensome, and to ranken churchyards. I conclude, if murder be a sin, then dipping ordinarily over head in England is a sin; and if those who make it men’s religion to murder themselves, and urge it upon their consciences as their duty, are not to be suffered in a commonwealth, any more than highway murderers; then judge how these Anabaptists, that teach the necessity of such dipping, are to be suffered.” Poor Baxter! Had he never read the ninth commandment?16

Samuel Oates’s case is another illustration of the intense hatred against everything Baptist which was at that time indulged in. This excellent minister, who was for some time pastor of one of the London churches, was much blessed in his labors. While engaged in a home missionary tour in the county of Essex, in the year 1646, his preaching was attended with such success, that hundreds were converted and baptized. One of the converts having died a few weeks after, Mr. Oates was actually committed to prison, put in irons, and indicted for murder. It would seem hardly creditable that this charge could be seriously entertained; but malice and bigotry stick at nothing. Mr. Oates’s persecutors were disappointed, as it clearly appeared on the trial that the young woman baptized was in good health for some time after her baptism. The jury returned a verdict of “not guilty;” but the attempt to destroy a Christian minister by such means was an ugly symptom.17

Verily the times were odd and strange! The same Parliament which denounced preachers who had not been regularly ordained, and ordered the magistrates to seize them, issued, in the following year, a declaration in favour of the Baptists! How it came to pass I know not. Perhaps some thought that they had gone too far, and honestly desired to retrace their steps; or possibly the growing numbers and influence of the denomination inspired a salutary fear, especially as it was known that there were many Baptists in the army. These words were found in the “Declaration,” issued March 4, 1647:—“The name of Anabaptism hath indeed contracted much odium, by reason of the extravagant opinions and practices we abhor and detest. But for their opinion against the baptism of infants, it is only a difference about a circumstance of time in the administration of an ordinance, wherein in former ages, as well as this, learned men have differed both in opinion and practice. And though we could wish that all men would satisfy themselves, and join with us in our judgment and practice on this point, yet herein we hold it fit that men should be convinced by the Word of God, with great gentleness and reason, and not beaten out of it with force and violence.”18

It was but a momentary gleam of light. As if terrified at what they said—

   

“They back recoiled
E’en at the sound themselves had made;”

and in May, 1648, they passed a law more fearfully barbarous than any which had for a long time found a place in the statute book. We refer to the “Ordinance of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, for punishing blasphemies and heresies.” By this law it was enacted that all persons found guilty of Atheism, Deism, or Socinianism, and refusing to abjure, should suffer death as in case of felony. If they abjured, they were to remain in prison till they found sureties that they would not maintain their errors any more; then, if they afterwards recanted, and were convicted a second time, they were to be executed. It was also enacted that all persons convicted before two justices of the peace, of maintaining and defending certain specified opinions held by Papists, Arminians, Antinomians, Quakers, or Baptists, should be ordered to renounce their errors in the parish church, and in case of refusal, to be committed to jail till they should find sureties that they would not maintain or defend such opinions any more. This was equivalent to a sentence of imprisonment for life. The Baptist sentiment condemned was thus expressed:—“That the baptizing of infants is unlawful, or such baptism is void, and that such persons ought to be baptized again;” it is added, “and in pursuance thereof shall baptize any person formerly baptized.” Even the Episcopalians were included in the condemnation, for the same penalties were provided for those who should maintain “that the Church government by presbytery is Antichristian or unlawful.”19

It is no apology for this vile law, that it was practically a dead letter, and was intended to terrify or prevent rather than to punish. The good sense and Christianity of the people would not suffer it to be executed; but the Presbyterians, whose handiwork it was, were fully prepared for the experiment, if power had been entrusted to them. Here again we see “old priest writ large.”

During the Commonwealth the Baptists evinced much zealous activity in the cause of the Saviour. The ministers were indefatigable, the people fervent and steadfast. If now and then the fervor evaporated into fanaticism, or something like it, and if diversity of opinion on comparatively minor points caused a multiplication of small parties, an excuse may be found in the peculiar circumstances of the times. And surely it was better that the waters should be in motion, or even troubled, than that they should be stagnant and corrupted. We are not required to defend all the measures adopted by our forefathers, any more than to employ their quaint modes of speech. But it would be well for us to imitate their diligence, their prayerfulness, their strict regard to the authority of the Saviour, their indefatigable endeavors for mutual edification. They laboured “in season, out of season.” Those of them who were in Cromwell’s army took care not to blink their principles there. Prayer and preaching were duly attended to, by officers as well as by privates. A serious, orderly deportment prevailed. In camp and in garrison they observed good dis?cipline; in the field their prowess was unquestioned. They were the Havelocks of the seventeenth century.

Under the Protectorate the Baptists were not only un?molested, but prosperous. Some of them disapproved of the new Government, preferring the Commonwealth; and some joined the Fifth Monarchy men, who held visionary notions respecting the kingdom of Christ. Hence the Pro?tector was thought to look coolly on them, and to wish to lessen their influence, particularly in the army. But the main body were satisfied with the existing order of things, and diligently improved their opportunities.

Crosby has republished a letter from some Baptists in the army to the Protector, in which they accuse him of de?signing to get rid of them, or, as they expressed it, “to purge the army of the Anabaptists.” They were not very careful in the choice of words. These are some of the “queries” they put to “his Highness”:—“Whether your Highness had come to the height of honor and greatness you are now come to, if the Anabaptists, so called, had been so much your enemies as they were your friends?” “Whether the Anabaptists were ever unfaithful, either to the Commonwealth in general, or to your Highness in par?ticular? And if not, then what is the reason of your in?tended dismission?” “Whether the Anabaptists may not as justly endeavor to eat out the bowels of your Govern?ment, as your Highness may endeavor to eat them out of their employments?” “Whether the Anabaptists did not come more justly into their employments in the army, than your Highness into the seat of government?” “Whether the Anabaptist will not be in a better condition in the day of Christ, that keeps the covenant with God and men, than your Highness will be if you break with both?” “Whether an hundred of the old Anabaptists, such as marched under your command in ‘48, ‘49, ‘50, &c., be not as good as two hundred of your new courtiers, if you were in such a condition as you were at Dunbar in Scotland?” “Whether your Highness’s conscience was not more at peace, and your mind more set upon things above, when you loved the Anabaptists, than it is now, when you hate their principles, or their service, or both?” “Whether your Highness’s court is not a greater charge to this nation than the Anabaptists in the army? And if so, whether this be the ease which you promised the people?”20

This is plain dealing. But Cromwell accomplished his purpose, as regarded his own regiment, the principal officers in which were dismissed, avowedly because they were Baptists. The probability is that they were strong republicans, and were afraid of the old tyranny.

The discontents of the Irish Baptists, some of whom objected to the Protectorate, regarding the title of “Lord Protector” as “applicable to God alone,” were allayed by a judicious letter addressed to them by Messrs. Kiffin and Spilsbury. It is inserted in the volume of “Confessions of Faith,” published by the Hanserd Knollys Society.21

Three Baptist ministers (John Toombes, Henry Jessey, and Daniel Dyke) were appointed “Triers,” that is, they were members of a committee so called, constituted by the Government for the examination of candidates for Church livings, and the removal of “ignorant and scandalous” clergymen. The ministers above mentioned, and several more, accepted the charge of parishes. We do not vindicate their consistency, in consenting to receive tithes and other payments, by which parish ministers are supported in the Church of England; but the impartial reader will give due weight to the considerations which have been alleged in their defense, viz.:—that the scarcity of qualified ministers warranted them in taking this step, as they were thereby put in a position to preach the Gospel to thousands who would have been otherwise destitute of the means of grace; that they were bound to no forms and ceremonies, and allowed to conduct worship in whatever manner they pleased; and that some of them retained their own churches, and continued to minister to them, occupying the parish pulpits on only one part of the Lord’s-day.

Statistics were not much thought of in those days. We are unable to furnish an exact account of the number of Baptist churches in England at the time of the Restoration. It may suffice to remark that there were churches of our denomination in about thirty English counties, and that they were numerous in Wales. The principal churches in Ireland were in Dublin, Waterford, Kilkenny, Clonmel, Cork, and Limerick.

 

  1 Neal, ii. p. 329.

  2 Crosby, i. p. 1.

  3 Ibid. p. 151.

  4 The Hireling Ministry none of Christ’s, p. ii. quoted in Ivimey’s History of the Baptists, i. p. 155.

  5 Confessions of Faith, pp. 13-48.

  6 Ivimey, i. p. 169.

  7 Neal, iii. p. 310.

  8 Neal, p. 390.

  9 Crosby, i. p. 190.

10 Crosby, i. p. 192.

11 Ibid. p. 184.

12 Neal, iii. p. 328.

13 Crosby, i. p. 194.

14 Todd’s Milton, vi. pp. 92-97. “Bauk,” for “both,” means to “spare,” to “leave untouched.” “The mild and gentle parliament will content itself with only clipping away your Jewish and persecuting principles.”—Warburton.

15 Tracts, p. 284.

16 Ivimey, i. p. 193.

17 Crosby, i. p. 236.

18 Crosby, i. p. 196.

19 Crosby, i. pp. 199-205.

20 Crosby, iii. pp. 231-242.

21 Pp. 322-326.

 
 
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