THE SECOND REFORMATION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
FEW people have borne the ordeal of persecution better than the English Baptists; but for a century after the passage of the Act of Toleration it seemed that they were unable to bear freedom. In the history of Christianity it has often happened that the people of God have grown marvelously in spite of opposition and persecution, but have languished in times of comparative prosperitythat a sect that fire and sword could not suppress has degenerated and disintegrated or finally disappeared when every external hindrance to prosperity had been removed. The English Baptists were to furnish another instance of this kind. After 1689 they were given a measure of toleration such as they had never known in Englandsince it was toleration secured and clearly defined by law, not given by the arbitrary will of one man. There was no external obstacle to their making rapid, continuous, and solid growth. Every indication pointed toward a career of uninterrupted progress and prosperity. Yet fifty years after the passage of the Act of Toleration, the Baptists of England were scarcely more numerous than they were at the accession of William III., while as to spiritual power they had dwindled to a painful state of deadness and inefficiency.
At first, indeed, they appeared likely to grow with unusual rapidity. The Confessions issued by them at about this time show how quickly they felt the impulse of hope, and how rapid, for a season, was their development. In 1677, the Particular churches published a modified form of the Westminster Confession, which they reissued in i688. This still forms the basis of the English Confessions, and, under the name of the Philadelphia Confession, is the system of doctrine approved by a large number of Baptist churches of our Southern and Southwestern States. The General Baptist brethien issued their Confession in 1678, and it is noticeable that its Arminianism is of a type that can hardly be distinguished from the milder forms of Calvinism. But while the immediate effect of toleration was stimulating, its later resuit was unfavorable to sound growth. Centralizing tendencies manifested themselves, false doctrine crept in, and there was a marked decline of spirituality.
The centralizing tendecies were strongest among the General Baptists. By 1671, a General Assembly had been organized. This body from the first undertook to exercise powers incompatible with the independence of the churches. Not content with such legitimate activities as proposing plans of usefulness, recommending cases requiring pecuniary support, and devising means for the spread of the gospel, it undertook the reformation of inconsistent or immoral conduct in ministers and private Christians, the suppression of heresy, the reconciling of differences between individuals and churches, and giving advice in difficult cases to individuals and churches. Some Baptists of our own day, who lament the lack of a strong government, will find this something closely approaching their ideal.
But mark the sequel. One Matthew Caffyn, a Sussex pastor of undoubted piety and alleged (but doubtful) learning, was chargrd with unsound views concerning the nature of Christ. There is little doubt that his theology, if sound at first, came to be Arian. He denied the Deity of Christ, though calling him divine a fine-spun distinctinn that some modern Unitarians also make. Two parties sprang up in the Assembly, and the body was finally divided in 1689, when Caffyn's views were pronounced heretical. A new Assembly was formed, and by 1750 the major part of the General Baptists had become Unitarian in their beliefs. This was followed by worldliness, lax discipline, the superficial preaching of mere morality, and the members fell away in large numbers. In a petition that he presented to Charles II., Thomas Grantham declared that there were twenty thousand General Baptists in England; in the days of George II. there were probably not half that number; and of these a large part had the form of godliness without the power. The strong government had miserably failed to repress heresy or to prevent schism.
The Particular Baptists organized the first Associations; the Somerset, in 1653, which became extinct about 1657; and the Midland, formed in 1655 and reconstructed in 1690, which still exists. Their General Assembly was organized in 1689, by the agency of the London churches, and this body also still lives. At its fourth meeting, in 1692, the Association had in its fellowship one hundred and seven churches. Warned by the experience of their General brethren, they disclaimed all manner of superiority or superintendency over the churches. They were willing to give advice in regard to queries, but had no notion of becoming a court of appeals to settle church quarrels and try heretics. This was not for lack of heretics to try, for the Particular churches had their difficulties at this time with certain troublers in Israel, who professed Antinomian doctrines and complete sanctification, the results of which teachings were disputes and divisions that caused a great decline.
Hyper-Calvinism was developed in one section of the Particular churches, and everywhere proved a blighting doctrine. The London Association, formed in 1704 by delegates from thirteen churches, deemed it necessary to condemn the Antinomian perversion of Calvinismregarding its action, however, not a judicial decision, but the deliberate opinion of a representative body of Baptists. The ablest and most learned of the Baptists of this time, John Gill, cannot be absolved from responsibility for much of this false doctrine. He was the son of a Dissenting minister and a native of Northamptonshire (born at Kettering, 1697). As a Dissenter he could not be matriculated at either of the Universities, but, pursuing his education under private tutors, he became a great scholarin the classics, in biblical studies, and in rabinnical lore he was the equal of any. His vigorous mind was not weighed down by his erudition. Though not eloquent as a preacher, he was an industrious writer of books highly esteemed in their day and very influential. His Commentary on the Bible is more learned than perspicuous, and Robert Hall once characterized it as a continent of mud, sir. If this be regarded as a hasty and unjust criticism, the praise of Toplady must be acknowledged to go to the other extreme: If any man can be supposed to have trod the whole circle of human learning, it was Doctor Gill. . It would perhaps try the constitutions of half the literati in England, only to read with care and attention the whole of what he said. As deeply as human sagacity, enlightened by grace, could penetrate, he went to the bottom of everything he engaged in.
Doctor Gills Body of Divinity, published in 1769, was a great treatise of the rigid supralapsarian type of Calvinism, and long held its place as a theological textbook. This type of Calvinism can with difficulty be distinguished from fatalism and antinomianism. If Gill did not hold, as his opponents charged, that the elect live in a constant state of sanctification (because of the imputed righteousness of Christ), even while they commit much sin, he did hold that because of Gods election Christians must not presume to interfere with his purposes by inviting sinners to the Saviour, for he will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and on no others. This is practically to nullify the Great Commission; and, in consequence of this belief, Calvinistic Baptist preachers largely ceased to warn, exhort, and invite sinners; holding that, as God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, when he willed he would effectually call an elect person, and that for anybody else to invite people to believe was useless, if not an impertinent interference with the prerogatives of God. What wonder that a spiritual dry-rot spread among the English churches where such doctrines obtained! Could any other result be reasonably expected as the fruits of such a theology? It must, however, in justice be said that this was a time of general decline in religion among Englishmen, which began with the Restoration, and became marked from the beginning of the Hanoverian period. Many causes combined to bring religion to this low estate. In the desire to avoid Romanism on the one hand and Puritanism on the other, the Established Church had fallen into a colorless, passionless, powerless style of teaching. The clergy were estranged from the House of Hanover, and the whole church system was disorganized. By successive withdrawals of its best men, the Church had been seriously weakened, while the Dissenting bodies had not been correspondingly strengthened. Deism had made great strides among people and clergy, and Christianity was but half believed and less than half practised.
Here, indeed, was the great secret of the religious collapse that had overtaken England. There was a serious deterioration in the moral fiber of the people, the cause of which is not far to seek. This deterioration plainly had its source in that general and widespread corruption of the highest orders of society that began with the reign of Charles II. and had continued ever since. During the reign of the Stuarts the body of the poeple continued, as to moral character and religious ideas, substantially what they had been. After a generation or two, however, the example of the higher classes was not without its effect. When king and courtiers made a scoff of religion, when they lived in open lewdness and ostentatious impiety, the ideals of the people could not fail to be greatly affected though the change might be slow. The corruptions sown during the Stuart period were bearing abundant fruit in church and society long after the Stuarts had lost the throne of England forever. Phillimore, a historian of English jurisprudence, sums up the matter in saying: The upper classes were without refinement; the middle, gross without humor; and the lower, brutal without honesty.
But it was through the clergy that the effects of the Restoration chiefly made themselves felt on the religious life of the nation. In the Established Church the manners and morals of the clergy, as depicted in contemporary literature, were frightful. The drunken, lecherous, swearing, gaming parson is a familiar character in the plays and romances of the period, and survives even to the beginning of the present century. Preferment in Church depended upon subserviency to those who were masters in State, and the clergy took their tone from the court. Not only was personal piety a bar to advancement rather than a recommendation, but virtual infidelity in the State bred rationalism in theology. The clergy became timid, apologetic, latitudinarian in their teaching, and the people became like unto them. Religion never sank to so low an ebb in Eng!and as during the first half of the eighteenth century.
Lest this should be thought too black a picture, painted by an unfriendly hand, let an English churchman be heard. Bishop Ryle says: From the year 1700 till about the era of the French Revolution, England seemed barren of all good. . . There was darkness in high places and darkness in low places; darkness in the court, the camp, the Parliament, and the bar; darkness in the country and darkness in town; darkness among rich, and darkness among poora gross, thick, religious and moral darkness; a darkness that might be felt.
But a man had been raised up for just this emergency, and by a long and peculiar experience he had been prepared to cope with the powers of darkness. John Wesley was the son of an English clergyman, educated at Oxford, in his youth an ardent believer in High Church principles and full of self-righteousness. Going on a mission to the new colony of Georgia, he fell into company with some Moravians, and received his first instruction in the true meaning of the gospel. On his return to England, he sought out others of this people; and it was in the year 1738, at the meeting of a Moravian Society in London, that John Wesley felt, as he tells us, for the first time: I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death. Soon England was shaken by the preaching of the new birth and immediate justification by faith, and the second Reformation had begun. Driven from the pulpits of the Established Churchof which he was, and remained to the day of his death, a presbyter in full standingWesley began, though with fear and trembling, to preach in the fields. In this he had been preceded by George Whitefield, a fellow-student at Oxford, and a member also of a small religious club that had been nicknamed Methodists. Whitefield was the greater preacher, Wesley the greater organizer and leader. Together, and powerfully aided by other helpers only less eloquent and less able, they accomplished the greatest religious revolution of modern times.
Not only did they call into being societies all over the kingdom, which, at John Wesleys death numbered one hundred thousand members; but, as has been well said, the Methodists themselves were the least result of the revival. A great wave of religious zeal swept over the entire English nation, and left permanent results upon the national character, institutions, laws. Upon the Church of England itself the effect was most marked, possibly because here reformation was most needed. The clergy were roused from their lethargy; the whole spirit of the church was transformed and permanently altered for the better. Skepticism was checked, and religion became once more respectable among the titled and the rich. An Evangelical party arose, which ruled the Church of England for the next fifty years, and included among its members some of the most godly ministers and laymen that church has ever possessed. A new moral enthusiasm was roused in the nation, as was manifest in the changed attitude of the people toward all policies in which ethical issues were involved. The abolition of the slave trade may be directly traced to the revival, as well as the new philanthropy that from this time forward became a national trait. In short, in the throes of this movement, England was born again, and the new life on which she then entered has endured to the present hour.
It is superfluous to say that the Baptists of England participated in the benefits of this second Reformation. With it begins a new era in their history, an era of growth, of zeal, of missionary activity, which gave them a leading place among the Nonconformists of England. While this is true regarding all the Baptist churches, perhaps the most immediate and striking results of the Wesleyan movement may be traced in the growth of the General Baptists.
Among the early converts of the Wesleyan revival was a youthful Yorkshireman, the son of a miner, himself a worker in the mines from his fifth year. Dan Taylor was of sturdy frame and great native intelligence, though his education was naturally of the slightest. Soon after his conversion, he began to visit the sick and lead prayer-meetings with the zeal not unusual in new converts, but with an ability so unusual that his brethren encouraged him to attempt preaching. His first sermon was preached in a dwelling-house near Halifax, in September, 1761. The leading Methodists of Yorkshire encouraged his efforts and urged him to visit Mr. Wesley and be enrolled in the ranks of the regular Wesleyan preachers; but there were things in the discipline and doctrine of the societies that he did not approve, and about midsummer, 1762, he withdrew finally from all connection with the Methodists.
At this time there were a few Christians in the village of Heptonstall, not far from Halifax, who had done the same. They invited Taylor to preach to them, For some months he preached to them in the open air, under a tree. The prospect was discouraging, the country wild, and the people rough and unpolished, yet he determined to remain and preach the gospel to them. On the approach of winter, they obtained a house to meet in, taking up part of the chamber floor and converting the rest into a gallery. The house was duly registered under the Act of Toleration, and during the week Taylor taught a school in it, to eke out his support. These people had left both the Church of England and the Methodists, hut had joined no other body. They began to study the New Testament, with a view to determining some plan of church order and some principles of doctrine. Taylor diligently used such books as he could obtain, and the result of his investigations was to cnnvince him believers baptism is the only thing warranted by the Scriptures. There were Particular Baptists about Halifax, but they were bitterly hostile to all who held the Arminian theology; and since Taylor persisted in holding that Jesus Christ had tasted death for every man and made propitiation for the sins of the whole world, they would not help him to obey Christthough several expressed their firm persuasion that he was a genuine Christian, and were even well satisfied of his call to the ministry. He learned at length that in Lincolnshire there were Baptists of sentiments like his own, and with a friend he set out to travel a distance of one hundred and twenty miles on foot. They found, however, a congregation of General Baptists at Gamston, Nottinghamshire; and though they were received rather coolly at first, after a conference of three days they were baptized in the river near-by, February 16, 1763.
Returning, Taylor ind his people organized a General Baptist church, the only one at that time in Yorksiire, and in the autumn he was ordained to the ministry, at Birchcliff. At first they connected themselves with the Lincolnshire churches of like faith, but speedily became aware of the great degeneracy that had occurred. Many of the General Baptists had come to deny the atonement, justification by faith alone, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit. As Taylor made the acquaintance of General Baptists in the midland counties, he found them more evangelical. A preliminary conference was held at Lincoin about Michaelrnas, 1769, and a formal organization was effected in London June 7, 1770, of The Assembly of the Free Grace General Baptists, commonly known as the "New Connexion." Two Associations,, a Northern and a Southern, were also formed at once. The Northern consisted in 1772 of seven churches and one thousand two hundred and twenty-one members, which by 1800 had increased to twenty-two churches and two thousand six hundred members. The Southern Association never showed much vitality. In Yorkshire, as we have seen, there was but one church at the beginning, but at the end of fifteen years there were four.
The the New Connection was due almost wholly to Dan Taylor He was the life and soul of the movement. Everything that he set his hand to prospered; when he took his hand away things languished. His mind was naturally vigorous, and he found means to cultivate its powers and make of himself a fairly educated man. His body seemed incapable of fatigue and his labors were herculean. If anything demanded doing, he was ready to do it. Did an Association wish a circular letter to the churches, he wrote it; was a minister in demand for a sermon, a charge, or any other service, from Berwick-on-Tweed to Lands End, Dan Taylor was on hand. He led in the establishment of the fund for the education of ministers, in 1796, and was principal of the academyor, as we should say nowadays, theological seminaryestablished for the purpose in 1798. He edited the General Baptist Magazine ; he traveled up and down England, traversing, it is said, twenty-five thousand miles, mostly on foot. And he preached constantly; a sermon every night and three on Sunday was his ordinary allowance, and on special occasions he preached several times a day. Even the labors of John Wesley are equaled, if not surpassed, by this record.
One story has been preserved that well illustrates a trait of his character, his indomitable energy. At one time in his life he had some difficulty with his eyes and feared he might lose his sight. He was at first appalled by the prospect, as anybody would naturally be; then he determined that he would learn the whole Bible by heart, so that when his eyesight was gone he might still be able to preach the gospel. He began his task, and had actually accomplished a good part of it when his trouble left him, and he desisted. No wonder that such a man was a successful evangelist; such determination and pluck will make a man successful in any calling; and qualities of this kind, as well as the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are needed, if one is to be a great evangelist. God makes no mistakes; he never selects for a great work the lazy, half-hearted, weak-willed man, but one who has energy and grit and perseverance, as well as piety. It is impossible to bore through granite with a boiled carrot; it requires a steel drill.
Dan Taylor fell asleep in his seventy-eighth year, and the phrase almost literally describes his end, for suddenly, without a groan or sigh, he expired while sitting in his chair. His work was well done, and English Baptists still feel the result of his manly piety and zealous labors.
The change that gradually came over the Particular Baptists is not, to so great an extent, identified with the character and labors of a single man. It is still true, however, that to the influence of Andrew Fuller such change is largely due, especially the modification of the Baptist theology, that was an indispensable prerequisite to effective preaching of the gospel. Fuller was born in Cambridgeshire in 1754, and at the age of fourteen became deeply convicted of sin. It was long before the way of life became clear to him, but at length he reached a faith in Christ from which he never wavered. The witnessing of a baptismal service in March, 1770until then he had never seen an immersionwrought immediate conviction in his mind that this was the only form of obedience to the command of Christ, and a month later he was himself baptized. In the spring of 1775 he was ordained to the ministry, and in 1782 became pastor of the church at Kettering, which he served until his death, in i8i~. He was a sound and edifying preacher, but not a great orator; nevertheless, few pulpit orators have had so wide a hearing, or so deeply influenced their generation.
Fuller was, first of all, mighty with his
pen. He was mainly self-educated, and never became a real scholar, but he had a robust
mind capable of profound thought, and he learned to express himself in clear, vigorous
English. The result was to make him one of the most widely read and influential
theological writers of England or America. Large editions of his writings were sold in
both countries, and they bid fair to be still in print when much-vaunted works
of a later day are forgotten. Fuller boldly accepted and advocated a doctrine of the
atonement that, until his day, had always been stigmatized as rank Arminianism, viz., that
the atonement of Christ, as to its worth and dignity, was sufficient for the sins of the
whole world, and was not an offering for the elect alone, as Calvinists of all grades had
hitherto maintained. Along with this naturally went a sublapsarian interpretation of the
doctrines of grace, and this modified Calvinism gradually made its way among
Baptists until it has become well-nigh the only
doctrine known among them.
But Fuller was also great as an organizer and man of affairs. He became secretary of the missionary society of the Baptists, and in pursuance of his duties traveled from one end of England to another many times; five times he traversed Scotland for the same object, and once he made a like tour of Ireland. He was a man of splendid physique, tall and strongly built, and eyes deep-set under bushy brows lighted up a massive face that was a good index of his character. To his sturdy mind, enlightened zeal, and indefatigable labors, the Baptist cause in England, and in America as well, owes a debt that can hardly be acknowledged in words too emphatic.
But the most important of those results that may be directly or indirectly traced to the Wesleyan revival, remains to be described. The man destined to do more than any other toward the regeneration of English Baptists, and to be an inspiration to all other Christians, was some years younger than Andrew Fuller. This was William Carey. He was born in 1761, not of Baptist parentage; on the contrary, his father was an old-school Churchman, and bred his son in holy horror of all Dissenters. But Carey heard the gospel preached, he was convicted of sin, and converted, and like most young converts, took to reading his Bible with new zest. The New Testament speaks for itself to any one who will honestly read it to learn what it teaches, and Carey soon learned what a Christian church ought to be and what a converted man ought to do. He not only saw his duty, but did it, though it required him to join himself to certain of the despised Dissenters. He was baptized on profession of faith, in the river Neu, on October 5, 1783, by Dr. John Ryland. Little did Doctor Ryland know that he was performing the most important act of his life, and as little did he guess that this humble youth was to become a great man. This day baptized a poor Journeyman shoemaker is the curt entry in the good doctors diary.
It was evident, however, from the beginning that Carey was a young man of promise. He became a member of the Baptist church at Olney, of which Rev. John Sutcliffe was pastor. He showed gifts in exhortation that warranted his pastor and friends in urging him to preach, and he was not long in making his fitness for the ministry evident. In 1787 he was called to the pastorate of a little Baptist church at Moulton, and ordained. He already had a wife and two children, and the Moulton church was so poor that he could be paid only seventy-five dollars a year. He was obliged, therefore, during the week to work as a cobbler for the support of his family. At the same time he had a thirst for learning, and as he worked his custom was to keep by him a hook for study. In this way he is said in seven years to have learned to read five languages, including Greek and Hebrew. If young men and women whose educational advantages have been limited would but take a tithe of the pains to utilize their odd minutes that Carcy took, they might do anything they chose. It is true Carey had a remarkable gift for acquiring languages, but even more remarkable than this was his determination to learn, in spite of difficulties. It is that determination which is lacking in most, more than ability to learn.
Carey not only studied text-books, but read all good books that he could borrow, and among these was a copy of Captain Cooks voyages. lIe also kept a school after a time, and of course had to teach the children geography. In these ways his mind was turned toward the destitute condition of the heathen and their need of the gospel. But when he began to talk to others about it, he met with little encouragement, and it is said that once when he began in a Baptist gathering to speak of a mission to the heathen, Doctor Ryland exclaimed: Sit down, young man; when the Lord gets ready to convert the heathen he will do it without your help or mine! It riot recorded whether Carey sat down or not, but he certainly did not give up advocating missions to the heathen. Apart from the hyper-Calvinism disclosed by Doctor Rylands remark, it is not wonderful that Carey received so little encouragement at first. English Baptists were poor, and so great an enterprise might well have seemed to them beset with unsurmountable difficulties. But Carey wisely declined to consider the matter of possibilities; he looked only at the question of duty. The Duke of Wellington replied to a young clergyman who asked if it were not useless to preach the gospel to the Hindus: With that you have nothing to do. Look to your marching orders, Go, preach the gospel to every creature. The soldier was right and the preacher stood justly rebuked.
With difficulty Carey got together money to print and circulate a tract called An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens. Not long after this came from the press his great opportunity arrivedhe was appointed to preach the sermon at the meeting of his Association at Nottingham. May 30, 1792. He chose as his text Isaiah 44 : 2, 3, and announced as the heads of his discourse: Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God. It was one of the days on which the fate of denominations and even of nations turns. It roused those who listened to a new idea of their responsibility for the fulfilment of Christs commission. Even then, nothing might have come of it but for an impassioned personal appeal of Careys to Andrew Fuller, not to let the meeting break up without doing something. A resolution was passed, through Fullers influence, that a plan be prepared for establishing a missionary society, to be presented at the next ministers meeting.
That meeting was held in Andrew Fullers study, at Kettering, October 2, and then and there The English Bapfist Missionary Society was organized. Its constituent members were twelve, and out of their poverty they contributed to its treasury the sum of thirteen pounds two shillings and six pence. What a sum with which to begin the evangelization of the world! The history of this society is an instructive commentary on the Scripture, For who hath despised the day of small things. The London churches, the richer churches among Baptists, stood aloof from this movement. It was the poorer country churches that finally raised enough money to send out in June, 1793, Carey and a Baptist surgeon named Thomas, who had previously been in India and, as he had opportunity, had preached the gospel as a layman and a physician.
The British East India Company was bitterly opposed to the preaching of the gospel in India, fearing that the natives might be provoked to rise against the government. It is not exaggerating to say that Christianity has done more than any other thing, more than strong battalions, to maintain Englands rule in India. But the directors could not foresee this. One said he would see a band of devils let loose in India rather than a band of missionaries. Englishmen who survived the Sepoy rebellion were rather less anxious to see devils let loose in India, and much more favorably disposed toward missionaries. For a time Carey, and the next missionaries sentMarshman and 1vVardestablished themselves at Serampore, a Danish settlement not far from Calcutta. Here a missionary press was set up, and Doctor Carey did the great work of his life in translating and printing the Scriptures in the various Indian languages. He had, as we have seen, a special al)titude for the acquisition of languages. He had shown this before leaving England, but he demonstrated it more clearly after he reached India. The rapidity and ease with which he acquired the various languages spoken there have never been surpassed, and he became in a short time one of the worlds greatest Oriental scholars.
To every man his gifts. Others could preach the gospel to the heathen as well as Carey, or better, for he never seems to have developed special power as a preacher. But no one could equal him as scholar, translator, writer. He wisely spent his time and strength in translating the Scriptures and other Christian literature into the Indian languages and dialects, in making grammars, and the like. Thus he not only did a great work for his own generation, but one that will last for all time, or so long as these languages shall be spoken. Before his death, there had been issued under his supervision, he himself doing a large part of the work, versions of the Scriptures in forty different languages or dialects, spoken by a third of the people on the globe; and of these Scriptures two hundred and twelve thousand copies had been issued.
In his later years, men like Sydney Smith ceased to sneer at the consecrated cobbler, and Carey was honorded as a man of his learning, piety, and exalted character deserved. In r8oi he was made professor of Bengali in Lord Wellesleys new College of Fort William, at Calcutta; and titles and honors were showered upon him toward the close of his life. The learned societies of Europe recognized him as one of the greatest scholars of his age. But he was to the last a humble missionary of the religion of Christ. He is justly regarded as the father of modern missions, for though Baptists were not the first in modern times to engage in this work, it was Carey and his work that drew the attention of all Christians to it, that quickened the Christian conscience, and that gave the missionary cause a great forward impulse which it has never since lost.
From the first the mission thus established prospered, in spite of the obstacles thrown in its way by British officials and the fire of ridicule kept up in the rear by men who ought to have been in better business. The first secretary of this body was Andrew Fuller, to whose indefatigable labors was due much of its growth in financial strength and missionary zeal. The society has several times extended its operations, and in addition various enterprises have been conducted by churches and individuals in Africa and Italy. In this work, and in many other forms of service, the. General and Particular Baptists united, prior to their formal union.
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