Baptists a name given to those Christian denominations which reject the validity of infant baptism, and hold that the ordinance of baptism can be administered only to those who have made a personal profession of faith in Christ. The Baptist churches also, in general, maintain that the entire immersion of the body is the only scriptural mode of baptism; yet the Mennonites, who are generally regarded as Baptists, use sprinkling. The name Baptist, as assumed by the Baptist denominations, of course implies that they alone maintain the Christian doctrine and practice of baptism; and in this sense their right to this distinctive name is denied by all other Christian denominations, as well as the similar claims of the Unitarians and (Roman) Catholics to their respective names. But, as established by usage, without having regard to its original signification, it is now generally adopted. The name Anabaptist is rejected by the Baptists as a term of reproach, because they protest against being identified with the Anabaptists of Munster, and as also incorrect, because most of their members receive the rite for the first time on their admission to a Baptist church.
1. Before the sixteenth Century. — All Baptists, of course, claim that the apostolic church was essentially Baptist, and that infant baptism is an innovation. But Baptist writers differ concerning the time of the introduction of infant baptism, and also as to the question whether it is possible to trace an uninterrupted succession of Baptist churches from the apostles' time down to the present. Some Baptist writers have attempted to trace this succession, as Orchard (History of Foreign Baptists, Lond. 1838), who gives, as the summing up of his researches, that "all Christian communities during the first three centuries were of the Baptist. denomination in constitution and practice. In the middle of the third century the Novatian Baptists established separate and independent societies, which continued until the end of the sixth age, when these communities were succeeded by the Paterines, which continued until the Reformation (1517). The Oriental Baptist churches, with their successors, the Paulicians, continued in their purity until the tenth century, when they visited France, resuscitating and extending the Christian profession in Languedoc, where they flourished till the crusading army scattered, or drowned in blood, one million of unoffending professors. The Baptists in Piedmont and Germany are exhibited as existing under different names down to the Reformation. These churches, with their genuine successors, the Mennonites of Holland, are connectedly and chronologically detailed to the present period." This view is, however, far from being shared by all Baptists. The leading Baptist Quarterly of America, The Christian Review (Jan. 1855, p. 23), remarks as follows: "We know of no assumption more arrogant, and more destitute of proper historic support, than that which claims to be able to trace the distinct and unbroken existence of a church substantially Baptist from the time of the apostles down to our own." Thus also Cutting (Historic Vindications, Boston, 1859, p. 14) remarks on such attempts: "I have little confidence in the results of any attempt of that kind which have met my notice, and I attach little value to inquiries pursued for the predetermined purpose of such a demonstration." The non-Baptist historians of the Christian Church almost unanimously assert that infant baptism was practiced from the beginning of Christianity, SEE BAPTISM, and generally maintain that no organized body holding Baptist principles can be found before the rise of the Anabaptists (q.v.), about 1520. SEE PAULICIANS: SEE LOLLARDS; SEE WALDENSES. Soon after the Anabaptists, Menno (q.v.) renounced the doctrines of the Roman church, and organized (after 1536) a Baptist denomination, which spread widely, especially in Germany and Holland, and still exists. SEE MENNONITES.
2. Great Britain. — Whether and to what extent Baptist principles were held in Great Britain before the sixteenth century is still a matter of historic controversy. In 1535 Henry VIII ordered sixteen Dutchmen to be put to death for being Anabaptists, and in 1539, 30 persons were exiled because they rejected infant baptism. The general pardon of 1550 excepted the Baptists. Elizabeth commanded all Anabaptists to depart out of the' kingdom within 21 days. King James refused all concessions to Baptists, as well as to Nonconformists in general. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Mr. Smyth (1610), a leading minister among the Baptists, published a work against persecution, but it called forth a new proclamation against the Baptists and their books, and in 1611, another Baptist, Mr. Wightman, was burned. Cromwell protected the Baptists, but they were again persecuted under Charles II and James II. The Toleration Act of William III, 1689, recognised them as the third dissenting denomination. The first Baptist churches were Arminian; a Calvinistic Baptist church was established about 1633. In 1640 there were 7 Baptist congregations in London, and about 40 more in the country. Those who held Arminian views received the name General, those who held Calvinistic views, the name Particular Baptists. Many General Baptists adopted Arianism and Socinianism; and in 1770, the orthodox portion seceded, and formed what is known as the "New Connection of General Baptists." In 1792 William Carey prevailed on the Nottingham Association to found the Baptist Missionary Society, an event of the utmost importance in the history of the Christian church in general, for from it dates the awakening of a new zeal in the European and American churches for the conversion of the pagan world. In 1842 the Baptist Missionary Society reported at its "Jubilee" that it had translated the Scriptures, wholly or in part, into forty-four languages or dialects of India, and printed, of the Scriptures alone, in foreign languages nearly half a million.
Among the earliest writers of the Baptist denomination in England were Edward Barker, Samuel Richardson, Christopher Blackwood, Hansard Knollys, Francis Cornwell, and in the latter half of the seventeenth century, Jeremiah Ives, John Tombes, John Norcott, Henry D'Anvers, Benjamin and Elias Keach, Edward Hutchinson, Thomas Grantham, Nehemiah Cox, D.D., Thomas de Launne, and Dr. Russell Collins. But by far the most celebrated of all Baptist writers is John Bunyan. John Milton also is claimed by the Baptists, though not as a member of their denomination, at least as a professor of their distinctive principles; for they say he "composed his two most elaborate, painstaking volumes to prove from the Scriptures the divine origin and authority of the distinguishing principles of Baptists." Among the Baptist writers in the early part of the eighteenth century were Samuel Ewen, John Brine, Benjamin Beddoma, the three Stennetts (Joseph Stennett, Joseph Stennett, jun., D.D., Samuel Stennett, D.D.), John Evans, LL.D., J. H. Evans, Dr. Gale, the famous Dr. Gill, Joseph Burroughs, William Zoat, Caleb Evans, D.D., Abraham Booth, and Joseph Jenkins. Toward the close of the last and the beginning of the present century, the Baptist denomination had a large number of writers, among whom were William Jones, Thomas Llewellyn, William Richards, Robert Hall, John Foster, Andrew Fuller, Christopher Anderson, and Joseph Ivimey. The Rev. F. A. Cox (a Baptist writer) states (Encyc. Metrop.), however, that, "till of late years, Baptist literature must be regarded as, on the whole, somewhat inferior." Cox enumerates among the great men of the English Baptists, "Gale and Carson for Greek scholarship; Gill for Hebrew knowledge and rabbinical lore; Carey for Oriental research; Fuller for theological wisdom and controversial acuteness; Hughes for the union of elegant taste and public zeal in the formation of the Bible and Tract Societies; Foster for the reach and profundity of his mind; and Hall as the most chaste and beautiful of writers, and, perhaps, the greatest of English preachers." More recently, the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon acquired the reputation of being one of the most popular preachers of the nineteenth century. Sir Morton Peto has become a prominent member of the House of Commons. See Crowell, Literature of American Baptists in Missionary Jubilee (p. 400, 405).
3. United States. — The Baptist churches in the United States owe their origin to Roger Williams (q.v.), who, before his immersion, was an Episcopalian minister. He was persecuted for opposing the authority of the state in ecclesiastical affairs and for principles which "tended to Anabaptism." In 1639 he was immersed by Ezekiel Holliman, and in turn immersed Holliman and ten others, who with him organized a Baptist Church at Providence, Rhode Island. A few years before (1635), though unknown to Williams, a Baptist preacher of England, Hansard Knollys, had settled in New Hampshire and taken charge of a church in Dover; but he resigned in 1639 and returned to England. Williams obtained in 1644 a charter for the colony which he and his associates had founded in Rhode Island, with full and entire freedom of conscience. Rhode Island thus became the first Christian state which ever granted full religious liberty. In the other British colonies the persecution against the Baptists continued a long time. Massachusetts issued laws against them in 1644, imprisoned several Baptists in 1651, and banished others in 1669. In 1680 the doors of a Baptist meeting-house were nailed up. In New York laws: were issued against Ithem in 1662, in Virginia in 1664. With the beginning of the eighteenth century the persecution greatly abated. They were released from tithes in 1727 in Massachusetts, in 1729 in New Hampshire and Connecticut, but not before 1785 in Virginia. The spread of their principles was greatly hindered by these persecutions, especially in the South, where in 1776 they counted about 100 societies. After the Revolution they spread with extraordinary rapidity, especially in the South and Southwest, and were inferior in this respect only to the Methodists. In 1817 a triennial general convention was organized, which, however, has since been discontinued. In 1845 the discussion of the slavery question caused alienation between the, Northern and Southern Baptists. The destruction of slavery, in consequence of the failure of the Great Rebellion and the adoption of the constitutional amendment in 1865, led to efforts to reunite the societies of the Northern and the Southern States. The Northern associations generally expressed a desire to co-operate again with their Southern brethren in the fellowship of Christian labor, but they demanded from the Southern associations a profession of loyalty to the United States government, and they themselves deemed it necessary to repeat the testimony which, during the war, they had, at each annual meeting, borne against slavery. The Southern associations that met during the year 1865 were unanimous in favor of continuing their former separate societies, and against fraternization with the Northern societies. They censured the American Baptist Home Missionary Society for proposing, without consultation or co-operation with the churches, associations, conventions, or organized boards of the Southern States, to appoint ministers and missionaries to preach and raise churches within the bounds of the Southern associations. Some of the Southern associations, like that of Virginia, consequently advised the churches "to decline any co-operation or fellowship with any of the missionaries, ministers, or agents of the American Baptist Home Mission Society." A number of negro Baptist churches in the Southern States separated from the Southern associations, and either connected themselves with those of the North, or organized, with the co-operation of the Northern missionaries, independent associations. Divisions among the American Baptists commenced early to take place; SEE SIX-PRINCIPLE BAPTISTS; SEE SEVENTH-DAY BAPTISTS; SEE SEVENTH-DAY GERMAN BAPTISTS; SEE OLD- SCHOOL BAPTISTS; SEE FREE-WILL BAPTISTS; SEE DISCIPLES; SEE CHURCH OF GOD. Some divisions have become extinct, as the Roqerenes, organized in 1680 in Connecticut, and called after Jonathan Rogers. They observed the seventh day instead of Sunday, and believed in spiritual marriages. The Free or Open Communion Baptists, who were organized about 1810, united in 1841 with the Free-will Baptists.
The Baptist literature of the United States begins in the seventeenth century with the pleas of Roger Williams and his companion, John Clarke, for religious liberty. Contributions to the denominational literature were also made by the Wightmans, of Connecticut (Valentine, Timothy, and John Gano), the two Abel Morgans, John Callender, and Benjamin Griffith. The first Baptist book on Systematic Theology was published in 1700 by the Rev. John Watts. About the middle of the eighteenth century the Rev. Isaac Backus commenced his literary career. He was followed by the Rev. Dr. Stillman, Rev. Morgan Edwards, Samuel Shepard, Rev. William Rogers, Rev. Richard Furman, and the eccentric John Leland. Fruitful authors at the beginning of the present century were Thomas Baldwin, D.D., Rev. Henry Holcombe, James Manning, D.D., Rev. Dr. Stanford, Rev. Dr. Mercer, Rev. A. Broaddus, Rev. Jonathan Maxey, D.D., and Rev. William Staughton, D.D. The literature of the last fifty years is very numerous. We give below (from Crowell, Literature of the American Baptists during the last fifty years, in Missionary Jubilee, N. Y. 1865, p. 405-465) a list of the most important denominational works of Baptist authors, and of the most important contributions of Baptist authors to religious and general literature.
A. Denominational Literature.—
a. Didactic.— Jesse Mercer, of Georgia (on Ordination; Church Authority; Lord's Supper); Andrew Broaddus, Va. (Church Discipline); W. Crowell, Ill. (Church Members' Manual); Warham Walker, N. Y. (Church Discipline); E. Savage (Church Discipline); J. L. Reynolds (Church Order); Th. F. Curtis (Progress of Baptist Principles; Communion); Fr. Wayland (Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches); D. C. Haynes (The Baptist Denomination); E. T. Hiscox (Church Directory); W. Jewell, S. W. Lynd, Mill, R. Fuller, T. L. Davidson, N. M. Crawford, E. Turney, W. C. Duncan, M. G. Clarke (Baptism); A. N. Arnold (Communion); J. I. Dagg (Church Order).
b. Historical. — Benedict (Hist. of Baptists, the standard American work); Duncan (Early Baptists); W. Gammell (American Baptist Missions); W. Hague (Baptist Church transplanted from the Old to the New World); J. Newton Brown (Hist. of Bapt. Publication Society; Baptist Martyrs; Simon Menno); F. Dennison (Baptists and their Principles); S. S. Cutting (Provinces and Uses of Baptist History).
c. Polemic (against other denominations). — S. Wilcox, D. Hascall, Th. Baldwin, G. Foote, J. T. Hinton, W. Hague, J. Richards, J. J. Woolsey, C. H. Hosken, R. B. C. Howell, E. Turney, G.W. Anderson, J. T. Smith, T. G. Jones, S. Henderson, A. C. Dayton (the latter two specially against Methodism). d. Apologetic (in defense of Baptist principles). — Among those who wrote in defense of the Baptists respecting the Lord's Supper were T. Baldwin, J. Mercer, D. Sharp, Spencer C. Cone, A. Broaddus, D. Merrill, G. F. Davis, H. J. Ripley, Barnas Sears, J. B. Taylor, T. F. Curtis, J. Knapp, A. N. Arnold, W. Crowell, H. Harvey, John L. Waller, A. Hovey, C. H. Pendleton, M. V. Kitz Miller, Willard Judd, James Pyper, J. M. C. Breaher, M. G. Clarke, J. Wheaton Smith. Among the writers defending the denominational view of Baptism are D. Merrill, H. Holcomb, Irah Chase, H. . Ripley, Adoniram Judson; W. Judd, A. Bronson, J. T. Smith, W. Hague, T. G. Jones, Richard Fuller, J. Bates, J. Dowling. e. Hymn-books. — The principal writers of lyric poetry are S. F. Smith, S. Dyer, S. D. Phelps, S. P. Hill, H. S. Washburn, James D. Knowlee, J. R. Scott, Miss M. A. Collier, Mill, L. H. Hill, J. N. Brown, R. Turnbull.
B. Contributions of Baptist Authors to Religious Literature. — a. Didactic. — Broaddus (Hist. of the Bible); W. Collier (Gospel Treasury); H. Holcombe (Primitive Theology); J. Newton Brown (Encyclopaedia of Religious Knowledge; Obligations of the Sabbath); Howard Malcom (Bible Dictionary; Extent of Atonement); Francis Wayland (The Ministry; Human Responsibility); W. R. Williams (The Lord's Prayer; Religious Progress); H. C. Fish (History of Pulpit Eloquence). b. Critical and Exegetical. — Irah Chase (Constitutions and Canons of the Apostles; Daniel); H. J. Ripley (Four Gospels; Acts; Romans); H. B. Hackett (Chaldee and Hebrew Grammars; Acts; Philemon); A. C. Kendrick (Olshausen's Commentary); Th. C. Conant (Gesenius's Hebrew Grammar; Job; the word); Mrs. H. C. Conant (Neander's Commentaries); R. E. Pattison (Ephesians); J. T. Hinton (Daniel); A. Hovey (Miracles of Christ); E. Hutchinson (Syriac Grammar); A. Sherwood (Notes on New Testament). c. Polemical. — Against Universalism, by E. Andrews, J. Tripp, J. Russell, W. C. Rider, R. R. Coon; against Roman Catholicism, by J. Dowling and R. Fuller. d. Historical. — Benedict (Hist. of all Religions); J. C. Choules (Hist. of Missions); Mrs. H. C. Conant (Popular Hist. of the Bible).
4. Continent of Europe. — After the extirpation of the Anabaptists, the Baptist principles were represented on the European continent almost exclusively by the Mennonites (q.v.). In 1834 a Baptist society was organized in Hamburg by Oncken, a native German, who was immersed in the Elbe in 1833 by Dr. Sears, since which time the Baptists have spread rapidly in Northern Europe. In several states, as Sweden and Mecklenburg, they met with cruel persecution, but in Hamburg they were recognised by the state in 1859. Besides the independent churches organized by them, Baptist doctrine, or at least the rejection of paedobaptism, has found some adherents in several other churches, e.g. some pastors in the Free Evangelical churches of France, in the Reformed State Church of France, and in the Free Apostolic Church, founded in 1856 in Norway. Among the missions established by the Baptists in Asia, Africa, and Australasia, those in India, especially those among: the Karens in Burmah (q.v.), have been the most successful. The Karen mission not only counts numerous congregations, but is already the nucleus of a Christian nation.
II. Doctrines and Government. — The Baptists have no standard Confession of Faith. As their churches are independent, each adopts its own articles of religion. In England, as has been stated above, the "Old Connection" are chiefly Socinians; the "New Connection," evangelical Arminians; 'the "Particular Baptists," Calvinists of various shades. In the United States, the regular Baptists are for the most part Calvinists, perhaps of a stricter order than their British brethren. The Baptists generally form "Associations," which, however, exercise no jurisdiction over the churches. They recognize no higher church officers than pastors and deacons. Elders are sometimes. ordained as evangelists and missionaries. Between clergy and laity they recognize no other distinction but that of office.
Though Regular Baptists accept of no authority other than the Bible for their faith and practice, yet nearly all of the societies have a confession of faith, in pamphlet form for distribution among its members. The following form, generally known as the "New Hampshire Confession of Faith," is perhaps in more general use among the societies in the North and East, while the "Philadelphia Confession of Faith" is that generally adopted in the South. We give both:
Confession of Faith of Regular Baptists (Northern).
1. The Scripture. — We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.
2. The True God. — We believe the Scriptures teach that there is one, and only one living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is JEHOVAH, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son,and the Holy Ghost, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
3. The Fall of Man. — We believe the Scriptures teach that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker; but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.
4. The Way of Salvation. — We believe the Scriptures teach that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace, through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, who, by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and by his death made a full atonement for our sins; that, having risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in heaven; and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior.
5. Justification. — We believe the Scriptures teach that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in him is justification; that justification includes the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood, by virtue of which faith his prefect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.
6. Salvation. — We believe the Scriptures teach that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own determined depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel, which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.
7. Regeneration. — We believe the Scriptures teach that in order to be saved sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life.
8. Repentance and Faith. — We believe the Scriptures teach that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God, whereby, being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our prophet, priest, and king, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Savior.
9. God's Purpose of Grace. — We believe the Scriptures teach that election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners; that, being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that; is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy, that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.
10. Sanctification. — We believe the Scriptures teach that sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means-especially the word of God, self- examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer.
11. Perseverance of Saints. — We believe the Scriptures teach that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
12. The Law and Gospel. — We believe the Scriptures teach that the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government; that it is holy, just, and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen man to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.
13. A Gospel Church. — We believe the Scriptures teach that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by his laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His word; that its only scriptural officers are bishops, or pastors, and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
14. Baptism and the Lord's Supper. — We believe the Scriptures teach that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation, and to the Lord's Supper, in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ, preceded always by solemn self-examination.
15. The Christian Sabbath. — We believe the Scriptures teach that the first day of the week is the Lord's day, or Christian Sabbath; and it is to be kept sacred to religious purposes by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreation, by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private and public, and by preparation for that rest which remaineth for the people of God.
16. Civil Government. — We believe the Scriptures teach that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interest and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed, except only ill things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
17. Righteous and Wicked. — We believe the Scriptures teach that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are, in his sight, wicked and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death.
18. The World to Come. — We believe the Scriptures teach that the end of the world is approaching; that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave for final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.
19. Covenant. — Having been, as we trust, brought by divine grace to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, and to give ourselves wholly to him, we do now solemnly and joyfully covenant with each other TO WALK TOGETHER
IN HIM, WITH BROTHERLY LOVE, to his glory as our common Lord. We do therefore, in his strength, engage —
That we will exercise a Christian care and watchfulness over each other, and faithfully warn, exhort, and admonish each other as occasion may require:
That we will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but will uphold the public worship of God and the ordinances of his house That we will not omit closet and family religion at home, nor neglect the great duty of religiously training our children and those under our care for the service of Christ and the enjoyment of heaven:
That, as we are the light of the world and salt of the earth, we will seek divine aid to enable us to deny ungodliness, and even worldly lust, and to walk circumspectly in the world, that we may win the souls of men:
That we will cheerfully contribute of our property, according as God has prospered us, for the maintenance of a faithful and evangelical ministry among us, for the support of the poor, and to spread the Gospel over the earth:
That we will in all conditions, even till death, strive to live to the glory of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.
"And may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep. through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in us that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. AMEN."
Confession of Faith of Baptist Churches (Southern).
1. Holy Scripture. — The holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience; the supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest.
2. God the Trinity. — The Lord our God is but one only living and true God, infinite in being and perfection. In this divine and infinite being there are three subsistencies, the Father, the Word (or Son), and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity.
3. God's Decree. — Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chose in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving him thereunto. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so he hath, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto; wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith by Christ, by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto salvation.
4. The Fall of Man and Sin. — Although God created man upright and perfect, and gave to him a righteous law, yet he did not long abide in this honor, but did wilfully transgress the command given unto him in eating the forbidden fruit; which God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory. Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, whereby death came upon all; all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body. They being the root, corrupted nature was conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation, being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath.
5. God's Covenant. — Man having brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to reveal the Covenant of Grace, wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him that they might be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.
6. Christ the Mediator. — The Son of God, the second person in the Holy Trinity, being very and eternal God, the brightness of the Father's glory, of one substance, and equal with him, who made the world, who upholdeth and governeth all things he hath made, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man's nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin — so that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.
7. Redemption. — The Lord Jesus. by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he, through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven for all those whom the Father hath given unto him.
To all those for whom Christ hath obtained eternal redemption he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same; making intercession for them; uniting them to himself by his Spirit; revealing unto them, in and by the word, the mystery of salvation; persuading them to believe and obey; governing their hearts by his word and Spirit, and overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation, and all of free and absolute grace, without any condition foreseen in them to procure it.
8. The Will. — Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.
When God converts a sinner, and translates him into a state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin, and by his grace alone enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good.
9. Effectual Calling. — Those whom God hath predestinated unto life he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call by his word and Spirit out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace of salvation by Jesus Christ.
10. Justification. — Those whom God effectually calleth he also freely justifieth, accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone.
11. Adoption. — All those that are justified, God vouchsafed, in and for the Fake of his only Son, Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privilege of children of God.
12. Sanctification. — They who are united to Christ, effectually called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, are also further sanctified, really and personally, through the same virtue, by his word and Spirit dwelling in them.
13. Saving Faith. — The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the word.
14. Repentance. — Saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency.
15. Good Works. — Good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith.
16. Perseverance. — Those whom God hath accepted in the Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.
17. Moral Law. — The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof, and that not only in regard to the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator who gave it; neither doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.
18. The Sabbath. — God, by his word, in a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which he called the Lord's day.
19. The Church. — The Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order, or government of the church is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner. In the execution of this power, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the world unto himself, through the ministry of his word, by his Spirit, those that are given unto him by his Father, that they may walk before him in all the ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his word.
20. Church Officers. — A particular church gathered, and completely organized according to the mind of Christ, consists of officers and members; and the officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the church are bishops, or elders, and deacons.
21. Ministers, their Duty and Support. — The work of pastors being constantly to attend the service of Christ, in his churches, in the ministry of the word, and prayer, with watching for their souls, as they that must give an account to him, it is incumbent on the churches to whom they minister not only to give them all due respect, but to communicate to them of all their good things, according to their ability.
22. Baptism. — Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ to be unto the party baptized a sign of his fellowship with him in his death and resurrection; of his being ingrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life. Those who do actually profess repentance toward God, and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance. The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party is to be immersed, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
23. Lord's Supper. — The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him, the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches unto the end of the word, for the perpetual remembrance and showing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death.
24. The Resurrection. — The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them; the souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into paradise, where they are with Christ, and behold the face of God, in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day.
25. The Judgment. — God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness, by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father, then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive the fullness of joy and glory, with everlasting reward, in the presence of the Lord: but the wicked who know not God, and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
The American Baptists differ also from the British in a more general adoption of "close communion." SEE COMMUNION.
1. United States. — According to the American Baptist Year-book for 1890, there were, in 1889, 1294 associations, 33,588 churches, 21,175 ordained ministers, and 3,070,047 members. The number of Baptist theological institutions was, in 1889, 7; universities and colleges, 31; seminaries for female education exclusively, 32; seminaries and academies, male and co-educating, 46; institutions for the colored race and Indians, 17. The Baptists, in 1889, published 54 weekly papers, 2 bi-weeklies, 33 monthlies, 4 semi-monthlies, 1 bi-monthly, 9 quarterlies, and 1 yearly publication. Six periodicals are published in foreign languages.
The general benevolent associations are
(1.) the American Baptist Missionary Union, organized in 1814. The receipts in 1889 were $415,144. There are under the charge of the Board 62 stations, 1179 out-stations, in the work among the heathen. In all the mission-fields there are 279 missionaries employed, 173 of whom are female helpers. There are 2076 preachers, 1316 churches, 134,413 members. 10,308 were baptized in 1888. Its fields of labor, in addition to general Bible work, are Burmah, Assam, Telugu, China, Japan, Africa, and Europe (France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden).
(2.) American Baptist Publication Society, organized in 1824; office located at 1420 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, with branch houses in various cities of the United States. In 1889 its receipts amounted to $626,360 24. Ninety-eight new publications were issued during the year. 661,582,811 pages 16mo were printed; total number of pages issued since the society's organization is 7,840,079,755 pages 16mo. The Reaper has a circulation of 2,835,000 copies; Sunlight, 2,117,000 copies.
128 persons are employed by the society as its agents in the states and foreign countries.
(3.) American Baptist Home Missionary Society, organized in 1832. Total receipts in 1889, $375,254 93. Missionaries and agents employed during the year, 790; churches and out-stations supplied, 1795. It maintains not only missions in various states of the Union, but also aids in the erection of churches and in educational work.
(4.) American and Foreign Bible Society. SEE BIBLE SOCIETIES.
(5.) Southern Baptist Convention, organized in 1845. Its Foreign Mission Board is located at Richmond, Va., and reported in 1889, receipts, $149,584 64; expenditures, $102,119 77; Its Home Mission Board is located at Atlanta, Ga. Receipts, $159,985; expenditures, $159,156 05. There have been under commission during the year 328 missionaries: among foreign populations, 12; in Cuba, 20, among the colored people, 41; among the native population, 255.
(6.) American Baptist Historical Society, organized in 1853, has a library of 7468 volumes and 2806 pamphlets.
(7.) Women's Baptist Foreign Missionary Society, organized in 1871; located in Boston. Receipts in 1889, $76,193 88. It is auxiliary to the Missionary Union, and operates chiefly by establishing schools, medical work, and Bible women.
(8.) Women's Baptist Foreign Missionary Society of the West, organized in 1871; located in Chicago. Receipts, $30,793 12, in 1889. It employed 30 workers in the foreign field during the year.
(9.) Women's Baptist Home Mission Society, organized in 1877; located in Chicago. Receipts in 1889, $39,774 71. 71 missionaries were employed during the year.
(10.) Women's American Baptist Home Mission Society, organized in 1877. Receipts in 1880, $28,935 72.
(11.) Baptist Ministers' Aid Society, organized in 1885, in Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan, maintains a home at Fenton, Mich., having 11 inmates.
(12.) American Baptist Education Society, organized in 1888. Receipts during 1889, $2596; expenditures, $3342.
2. Great Britain. — According to the English Baptist Hand-book for 1890, there were in Great Britain and Ireland 46 associations of General and Particular Baptists. 2786 churches, 3781 chapels, 299,126 members, 448,796 pupils of Sunday-schools. In 1889 a scheme was proposed for the amalgamation of the General Baptists and Particular Baptists, and carried into effect, the names General and Particular being dropped, and the word Baptist used only. In Scotland there were, in 1889, 103 Baptist churches, 94 ministers, and 11,773 members. In Ireland, 20 churches, 14 ministers, and 1602 members. The Particular Baptists have 9 colleges: Bristol (founded in 1770); Rawdon, Leeds (1804); Regent's Park, London (1810); Pontypool (1807); Haverford West (1841); Pastor's, London. (1856); Manchester (1866); North Wales. Llangollen (1862); Scotland, Glasgow (1869). The first five had together, in 1890, 111 pupils. The General Baptists have a college at Nottingham (since 1798), with 9 students.
The religious and benevolent societies are many: the Baptist Hand-book for 1890 names 26. The Baptist Missionary Society had in 1889 an income of £80,818, and has missions in India, Ceylon, China, Japan Palestine, Africa, the West Indies, and France. The General Baptists have a mission in India. The Baptist Union strives to be a bond of union for the independent churches to obtain statistical information on Baptist churches and institutions throughout the world, and to prepare an annual report on the state of the denomination.
According to the Baptist Hand-book, the periodicals of the English Baptists are 5 yearly, 15 monthly, 1 bimonthly, and 3 weeklies.
3. In other Countries. — The British Possessions in America had, in 1889, 23 associations, 756 churches, 475 pastors, 74,781 members, 9 periodicals, and 5 educational institutions. Germany had, in 1889, 104 churches and 19,743 members; Switzerland, 4 churches and 507 members; Denmark, 21 churches and 2572 members, Sweden, 497 churches and 32,305 members; France, 13 pastors and 1123 members; Italy, 53 churches and 910 members; Austria-Hungary, 6 churches and 1472 members; Romania and Bulgaria, 3 churches and 231 members; Russia, 44 churches and 11,293 members; Holland, 19 churches and 1218 members. In Asia the American Baptist Missionary Union (in India, Burmah, and Ceylon) reported, in 1889, 63,233 members; those of the English Baptist Missionary Society (India, Ceylon, China, Japan), 6761 members; those of the General Baptist Missionary Society of England (India), 1401 members; the Baptist Missionary Society of England (North China), 1178 members, Canadian Baptist Missions (India), 1852 members; American Southern Baptists in China, 727 members. In Africa the English Baptist Missionary Society had, in 1889, 1098 members; the American Baptist Missionary Union in Congo, 246 members; the Southern Baptists in Liberia, 149 members. There are 200 Baptists in St. Helena, and 186 churches and 15,196 members in Australasia. See Benedict, History of the Baptists; Cox, The Baptists (in the Enc. Metr.); Missionary Jubilee (N. Y. 1865); Smith, Tables of Church History; Herzog, Real-Encyklopadie, s.v. Schem, Ecclesiastical Year-book; Cutting, Historical Vindications. For a fuller account of works on the history of American Baptists, compare above, Baptist Literature.