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nomian creeds. It secures all the glory of salvation to the riches of distinguishing grace, and teaching those who have believed to be careful to maintain good work.”
In 1789, the late Dr. Rippon-then Mr. Rippon-published a reprint of this Confession. There is the following notice of it in his Annual Register, 1790 : “ John Rippon, London. A Confession of Faith put forth by the elders and brethren of many congregations of Christians-Baptized upon a confession of their faith-in London and the country. Printed in London in 1689.” There is added to this edition (what was never before given) the places where they all laboured.
In 1790, such was the interest excited in Wales for its diffusion that a motion was made for reprinting, in Welsh, the Confession of Faith of 1689; and that, at associations held at Hengoed, at Swansea, and at Salem, numerous copies were subscribed for the use of the members of the churches.
In 1809, an edition of the Confession of Faith was published, in London, and a notice of it is given in the following terms: “This work will be found to contain, in thirty-two articles, a concise and comprehensive view, both of the doctrines and practice inculcated in the Word of God, with numerous references to the Scriptures in support of each article, furnishing those who wish to defend the truth with the strongest arguments in support of evangelical doctrine and practice ; while it will greatly assist the serious inquirer after the paths of holiness, and establish the weak and wavering Christian in the great and glorious doctrines of the everlasting gospel.”
Such are some of the leading characteristics of the Confession of Faith of 1689; and to the writer it has been a source of no ordinary satisfaction to find—and which he was not aware of when he entered upon his work—that, in his publication of that Confession, he has but followed, in a
somewhat more extended form, the example of his former venerable pastor, Dr. John Rippon, who published his edition in 1790.
This work, with all its defects, prepared amidst many interruptions, is affectionately commended to the Baptist denomination ; and he would fain express a desire that every member of every Baptist church may possess an exposition of those principles, in an adherence to which and in their maintenance so much was suffered by THE FOREFATHERS of the denomination.
To the general reader, who has any regard to Christian principles, it is presumed the work will not be without its interest, and may meet with some acceptance. Such will see that, in the Confession of Faith of 1689, there is but little to condemn, and much to approve.
There are those who are opposed to all Creeds and Confessions of Faith, as standards of belief and practice of human composition. Let it be understood that by the publication of the Confession of Faith of 1639 it is not intended to convey the idea as to what only is to be believed and only to be practised, but as embodying, in a compressed form, those doctrines believed, and those guides for practice more particularly maintained, by that section of professing Christians from whom it emanated, with the desire that it may lead the serious reader and intelligent inqnirer to the one only true standard, in its most comprehensive form -THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
A passing allusion may be made to the history of the Baptists. The writers recognized by that denomination, as containing the fullest information, are Thomas CROSBY and JOSEPH IVIMEY. Mr. BENJAMIN STINTON, the pastor of the Baptist church in Goat-street, Horse-lie-down, London, had collected a large mass of material relating to Baptists ; which was compiled, with additional matter, by one of his deacons, Mr. Thomas Crosby, and published in four volumes - the first in 1738 and the last in 1740. In relation to Baptists, it embodies much that is interesting ; but the work is rarely to be met with. Mr. D. NEALE had previously published his “History of the Puritans," and gives a brief notice of the Baptists. Of the manner in which Mr. Neale had executed his task, Mr. Crosby thus writes,—“Now though many, even of the learned, and so late an author as Mr. Neale, from whom we might have looked for more Christian treatment, have made it their business to represent the Anabaptists, as they are pleased in contempt to style them, in odious colours, and to write many bitter things, even notorious falsehoods concerning them, nay, to fasten doctrines upon them, which they never approved; yet, as shall be shewn in the sequel of this history, no one sect of Christians in this kingdom have merited more the favour and good esteem of their governors and Christian brethren, by their peaceable carriage and behaviour towards them, than they have done. What sect of Christians have shewed the like contentedness under the deprivations which the legislature has seen needful to lay upon the Dissenters in general, than they? Who have been more content with the liberty allowed them by law than they?"*
In 1811, Mr. IVIMEY's first volume of the “History of the English Baptists” appeared; the three other volumes came out at succeeding intervals, and the work was completed in 1830. Mr. Ivimey has drawn largely upon Crosby's History; but has added up to the later date given much that is interesting in relation to the history of the Baptist churches; with also notices of several Baptist ministers of the more recent period, who were distinguished for their learning and usefulness. It has, however, been considered that Mr. Ivimey's history might have been better digested and arranged.
* Vol. i.-Crosby's Hist. of the English Baptists—"To the Reader.”
The hope is entertained that at no remote date, a popular History of the Baptists, with the advancement of their principles, in this country and on the continent of Europe, will be furnished. Mr. BENEDICT, in his History, published in 1848, has supplied that lack of information with regard to Baptists in the United States. The belief is entertained that an intelligent mind, well qualified for the work, is already directed to the subject. The historical sketch in the following pages but barely touches upon most of the various topics adverted.
It is the desire of the writer that this volume may be attainable, for extensive circulation, at the lowest possible rate; and should any profit result therefrom, it will be devoted to the fund for “ Baptist Ministers' Widows, &c.”
In concluding these prefatory remarks, it may be observed that the Confession of Faith of 1689, now brought somewhat prominently under notice, furnishes the theological views and Christian practice of Baptists for more than two hundred years, (it embodying the sentiments of the Confession of 1643,) without referring to the Waldensian Baptist Confession of Faith, given by the Protestants of Mirandole, more than three centuries ago.* A somewhat modern Baptist Confession of Faith, by ABRAHAM Booth, (1769,) may be read with advantage.t
From these three Confessions of Faith will be seen the extent to which Baptists may be charged with “heresy' and "erroneous sentiment.”
The writer cannot repress the aspiration - May the world be filled with such heresy!
JOSEPH ADSHEAD. Manchester, December, 1851.
THE PROGRESS OF SENTIMENT.
CONTROVERSY is not the design of the following Historical Sketch, nor is it intended to enlarge upon long gone by historical details of sufferings, in relation to a sect which has everywhere been spoken against. It might be easily shewn that imprisonment, banishment, and death, for several centuries, comprised the history of a large section of Christians, who were emphatically Baptists in sentiment, although not formed into what is now understood as distinct Baptist Churches.
The object proposed is, to present, in a somewhat concise form, the Progress of Sentiment;——to shew, in some degree, what Baptists have been, as to their adherence to those principles which, for several centuries, rendered them (it may be said) almost a distinct people, respecting whom there has been so much misrepresentation, and with regard to whom (from want of accurate information) so much prejudice has existed, as to their true principles and practice; and which, to a considerable extent, prevail even in the present day.
With Baptists, both the mode of, and the subjects for, Christian Baptism are, upon Scriptural grounds, settled points ; receiving, as they conceive they do, from the Divine Founder of the Christian system, His positive command for the observance of Baptism : un ordinance sanctioned by Jesus Christ himself submitting to it, and was practised by his apostles, when they "that believed were baptized, both men and women.”
All denominations of Christians profess to take the Scriptures as their rule in matters of faith and practice ; and whilst upon fundamental points so many agree in their opinions, there are other points, which by some, professing Christianity, are not considered as so essential, and respecting which opposing views are entertained-particular historical reference may be made to the question of Baptism.
It was not long after the time of the Apostles that a diversity of opinion began to extend. Dr. Howell presents, in an interesting form, the advancement of baptistical views in the early ages of the Church. He observes, “ There is satisfactory evidence that so soon as unscriptural customs began to prevail in the early churches, secessions from them took place, and that distinct societies were formed upon the model of the Church at Jerusalem.”
In the THIRD CENTURY the NovaTIONS withdrew from the Church of Rome, not on account of doctrine, but of discipline. These people raised communities on the New Testament model all over the Roman Empire; (a) they said to all who sought for fellowship, “If you wish