a history of the english baptists
NOTE (A) p.11. Barnabas says, “They are blessed, who fixing their hope on the cross, have gone down into the water full of sins and defilement, and come up out of it, bringing forth fruit, having in our hearts the fear and hope which is in Jesus.”
Hernias, in his “Vision of the building the church triumphant represented by a tower,” has these words concerning the explication that was made to him: “What are the rest of the atones which fell by the water side, and could not be rolled into the water? They are such as have heard the word, and were willing to be baptized in the name of the Lord; but when they call to mind what holiness is required in those who profess the truth, withdraw themselves, and again walk according to their own wicked inclinations.” — And in another place: “Before a man receives the name of the Son of God, he is ordained to death; but when he receives that seal, be is freed from death, and delivered unto life: now that seal is water, into which men descend under an obligation to death, but ascend out of it, being appointed to life.” — Stennet’s Answer to Russen, p. 143.
NOTE (B) p. 16. Bishop Jewel, in his
“Defence of the Apology of the Church of England,” in reply to
Harding, who had upbraided the reformation by asking, “What
became of the hundred thousand Boors of Germany consumed
by the sword of the nobility for that their sedition and
rebellion?” answers him thus: “The Boors of Germany, of whom you
speak, for the greatest part , were adversaries unto
Luther, and understood no part of the gospel; but conspired
together, as they said, against the cruelty and oppression of
their lords.’ It is true, Munzer was a busy man in Thuringia,
and stirred up the people disposed to tumults by reason of
oppression.” To this we add, the sentiments of Brandt, at
the conclusion of his account of the confusions and disorders at
Munster: “However, says he in he apprehending and condemning the
people of this sect, there was little notice taken whether those
whom they put to death, were in any wise guilty of the above
mentioned riots and mutinies; but the severity of the government
was extended against all of them, without making any distinction
hardly between the most simple and innocent, and the most
criminal.” He then mentions several instances; one of which will
be sufficient to prove that this rebellion was not by the
Baptists on account of religion. “The History of the Anabaptist
Martyrs, relates, that they beheaded at Amsterdam one Peter, a
sexton of Sardam, as guilty of the late insurrection, though he,
being a teacher among the better sort of Anabaptists, had used
Ins utmost endeavours to hinder it.” — Hist. of Refor. v.
i. b. 2. p. 69.
NOTE (C) p. 23. The history of this affair is thus related by Robinson in his “History of Baptism:” “One of this son of humble bishops, named Fidus, in the year two hundred and fifty seven, wrote to Cyprian of Carthage to know whether children might be baptized before they were eight days old, for by his bible he could not tell; could Cyprian tell without consulting a council, which was about to be assembled on very important affairs.” The history of the Carthaginians will illustrate this matter. — “There was a ferocity in the manners of the old Carthaginians, and their history is full of examples of the cruel insensibility with which they shed the blood of citizens as well as foreigners.”
“This ferocity they carried into their religion. When Agathocles was upon the point of besieging Carthage, the inhabitants imputed their misfortune to the anger of Saturn, because instead of children of the first quality, which they used to sacrifice to him, they had fraudulently substituted the children of slaves and strangers in their stead, To make amends for this pretended crime, they sacrificed two hundred children of the best familes of Carthage to that god; besides which, more than three hundred citizens offered themselves voluntarily as victims. A brazen statue of Saturn was set up, his two arms brought almost together were extended downward over a fierce fire. The mothers kissed and decoyed their children into mirth lest the god should he offended with the ungracefulness of his worshippers. The priests were habited in scarlet, and the victims in a bright purple vest. The infants were laid upon the arms of the statute, and rolled into the are, and a rough music drowned their shrieks, lest mothers should hear, and relent.”
It is more than probable that Fidus proposed the baptism of infants, to save them from the arms of the burning Moloch. If this could he proved, his name ought to stand amongst the most renowned of the friends of humanity, though not of the lovers of scriptural divinity.
Note (D) p. 33. The learned Dr. Whitby says respecting this subject, on Rom. vi. 4, “And this immersion being religiously observed by all Christians for thirteen centuries, and approved by our church, and the change of it into sprinkling, even without any allowance from the Author of this institution, or any licence from any council of the church, being that which the Romanists still urged, to justify his refusal of the cup to the laity. It were to be wished, that this custom might be again of general use, and aspersion only permitted as of old, in case of the clinici, or in present danger of death.” To this we add, what is said by Dr. Wall in his History of Infant Baptism: “All those countries in which the usurped power of the Pope is or has formerly been owned, have LEFT OFF dipping of children in the font; but all other countries in the world which have never regarded his authority, do still use it; and BASINS, except in case of necessity, were never used by Papists, or any other christians whatsoever, till by themselves” viz. The assembly of Divines at Westminster, who in their Directory, say, “Baptism is to be administered not in private places, or privately, but in the place of public worship, and in the face of the congregation, and not in the places were fonts, in the time of Popery, were unfitly and superstitiously placed.” “And so (says Dr, Wall) they reformed the FONT into a BASIN.”
P. 11. chap. ix. p. 471, 477, 477.
Note (E) p. 119. It is remarkable that the formation of the first Baptist Church in America, exposed the founder to similar charges. This was Mr. Roger Williams, who, while, he was Minister at Salem, was charged with “advancing principles tending to Anabaptism, and that he filled Salem therewith.” It is thought, that could he have found a suitable administrator of the ordinance, he would have put his principles into practice sooner than he did; but after his banishment, being in a state of exile, it is probable that he concluded that his case was similar to the following proposed by Zanchy, when he is treating of baptism in his commentary on the 5th of Ephesians. He propounds a question of a Turk coming to the knowledge of Christ, and to faith in him, by reading the New Testament, and withal teaching his family and converting it and others, to the knowledge of Christ. But being in a country where he cannot easily come to Christian churches, Whether he may baptize them, whom he hath converted to Christ, he himself being unbaptized? Zanchy answers, “I doubt not of it but that he may, and withal provide, that he himself be baptized by one of, those converted by him.” The reason he gives is, “because he is a minister of the word extraordinarily stirred up by Christ. And as such, may, with the consent of that small church, appoint one of the communicants and be baptized by him.” Mr. Williams being fully convinced that baptism could only be properly administered, by a believer being immersed in water in the name of the sacred Trinity; one of the community named Mr. Holliman, who was some years afterwards a deputy from the town of Warwick to the general Court, was appointed to baptize Mr. Williams, after which, Mr. Williams baptized Mr. Holliman, and about ten others. This is said, by Govenor Winthrop, to have taken place in March 1639.”
Backus’s History of the American Baptists,
vol. i. p. 105, 106.
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