Baptists, Seventh-day

Baptists, Seventh-Day, a denomination of Baptists who keep the seventh day of the week instead of the first as the Sabbath. In England they assumed, soon after the Reformation, the name of Sabbatarians; but in 1818 this term was rejected by the general conference in America, and the term Seventh-day Baptists adopted. They believe that the first day was not generally used in the Christian Church as Sabbath before the reign of Constantine. Traces of seventh-day keepers are found in the times of Gregory I, Gregory VII, and in the twelfth century in Lombardy. In Germany they appeared late in the fifteenth, and in England in the sixteenth century. In 1595, a work advancing their views was published in England by one Nicholas Bound, D.D., and several of their members suffered imprisonment. They assumed a denominational organization in 1650, and counted at the end of the seventeenth century eleven churches, of which now only three remain. In America the first Seventh-day Baptists were connected with First-day Baptist churches. A separate organization was commenced in 1671. Yearly meetings commenced at the beginning of the eighteenth century, and a general conference was organized at the beginning of the nineteenth century, which held its meetings at first annually, later (since 1846) triennially. In 1845 they divided themselves into five associations (Eastern, Western, Central, Virginia, and Ohio). They have repeatedly taken action against slavery, and in favor of temperance and other reforms. A foreign missionary society was established in 1842, and supports missionaries in China and Palestine. Besides, they have a Tract and Publishing Society. The latter issues a weekly, a monthly, and a quarterly periodical. Their literary institutions are De Ruyter Institute and Alfred University, both in the State of New York, besides several smaller academies. The Baptist Year-book for 1890 gives the following statistics: 110 churches, 113 ministers, and about 9000 members. See Belcher, Religious Denominations.

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