Lexington, Ky., Aug.30, 1859.
MY DEAR BROTHER: - We were much gratified to receive your letter of the 17th., which came to hand last evening; from which we learn that you and your family were enjoying that greatest of earthly blessings, health – without which we are unprepared to appreciate other earthly blessings.
We also learn, thence, the verification, with you as with us, of that ancient promise of our beneficent Creator, that: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and Summer and Winter, and day and night, shall not cease,” with their concomitant “fruitful seasons,” &c. That the laborer is fully rewarded for his toil – the earth aboundeth with, not only the necessities, but the luxuries of this life; all of which call for the grateful emotions of renewed hearts. But there are other and higher blessings, which pertain to another and higher being; and which cease not with our earthly existence, but endure through the countless ages of eternity – the base of those unceasing praises, which the Redeemed of the Lord will continue to render to “God and the Lamb.” These latter blessings are not “earned by works, nor bought with gold,” but of that sovereign grace of God, which was disclosed in the gift of his Son, “who was delivered up for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
The case to which you allude, of the “Baptist preacher, who favored open communion,” and which gave rise to “great excitement in your city,” is one, in the adjudication of which, tradition, whether ancient or modern, is not the test, but whose solution scripturally, can be governed, exclusively, by the unerring Word of God; should be approached with a sense of the deep responsibilities devolved upon the church, by the Law-giver to Zion. I should say, that, so long as Mr. ______ taught and enforced the doctrine and order of the church, whether that doctrine and order be consonant with God or not, she was left without cause of action against him; the delinquency being referable to her declaration of faith and practice, to the support of which, alone, he was pledged. He acted consistently when he resigned the charge, as Pastor, on finding disaffection for his ministry on the part of the members – and the church stultified herself, in taking up a complaint against him, for holding as private property, sentiments, the avowal of which, on the part of candidates for membership, had presented no obstacle to their reception as members of her body. If his teachings, whether public or private, were antagonistic to her faith and practice, made known in her public confession of faith, then it was her privilege and her duty, to call him to account. I maintain that the church has no claim on me whatever for my private opinions. They are emphatically private property, over which she cannot legitimately exert her authority; but to publish the teachings of the unerring word of God. I should, consequently, deny her right of action against me, whilst I confine myself to the observance of the rule I have indicated.
But whether “open communion” is consistent with the theology of the Bible is entirely a different question, and does not depend for its solution, upon the action or non-action of the church or churches. It exists as truth or error, independently of the profession or practice of churches. In the investigation of the question, you may consider, as others have said, I am too rigid, and do not allow sufficient latitude of opinion. But you will remember that I am directly responsible to God for what I teach as Bible truth; and that it is your prerogative to test, not by ancient or modern tradition, but by the infallible word of truth, the doctrine I maintain. “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
Allow me to say, there can be no authority drawn from the Bible for inviting those to the Lord’s Supper who are not divinely qualified for the ordinance and that the Master himself, has unmistakably defined those qualifications.
The late Robert Hall, of England, a prominent minister of the denomination to which he belonged, has said: “Open communion arises from a new state of things.” May I add, from the perversion of the gospel!
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances belonging exclusively to the Church of God, and are destined to continue during her militant state, and the former is indispensably necessary to give right to the latter. No divinely accredited authority can be found for inviting un-baptized persons to the Lord’s Supper.
You quote from the language of Mr. _____, as follows: “But he [Mr. _____ ] thought the table of the Lord, belonged to all that loved our Savior, and were members in good standing in other evangelical churches.” I frequently come across the expression evangelical churches in certain quarters, without being entirely certain as to the precise meaning the writer intends to convey by the term Evangelical. Now, a denomination may claim to be evangelical, simply because she has protested against some of the grosser corruptions of the Church of Rome, and approximates nearer the standard of the Evangelists, while at the same time they retain some of those corruptions. I cannot recognize them as evangelical, so long as any of these corruptions cleave to their skirts. Indeed, I am not authorized to hold any community as an evangelical church which has not been built after the model of the Apostolic Churches – for example, the church at Jerusalem, the churches at Antioch, Ephesus, &c. God has given but one model, according to which all evangelical churches are reared up – they must be organized according to this model, or I am bound to dispute their claim. “My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her.” Song.6:9 “There is one body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Eph. 4:4-5. “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” I Cor. 12:27. What denomination is it, whether Catholic or Protestant, that does not claim to be the Church of God?
The Catholic Church claims that high distinction, and avers that the Episcopal, the Lutheran, the Presbyterian, and indeed, that all other Protestant denominations, are schismatics, that they have apostatized from her communion. Allow me to enquire: Whence did Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians and Methodists, together with all other Protestant denominations, properly so called, obtain their baptism? Whence the ordination of their ministry? I apprehend they cannot successfully controvert the answer to this question – From the Catholic Church! That the Bishops of the Episcopal Church – Martin Luther and John Calvin, John and Charles Wesley, together with all Protestant ministers, properly so-called, received their baptism and their ordination – if, indeed they have been baptized or ordained at all – from the Church of Rome, is potent truth, cannot, we are sure, be denied. And yet, each of those denominations claim to be the Church of God. Who is to decide on those claims? We respond, the unerring, the infallible word of God.
We do not claim, and we cannot imagine how the Church of Rome can, with any degree of consistency, place us in the same category with the denominations above alluded to, seeing we have been the objects of her bitter persecutions. The Catholic Church is quite too young to be the mother of the “Old School Baptist Church,” unless we admit the daughter to be several centuries older than the mother. We claim to have descended from the Apostolic Churches, to maintain the same faith and practice with them, to be built on the same foundation. “Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”
Let us inquire: Were the churches at Jerusalem, Antioch, Galatia, Ephesus, &c., separate, independent bodies, subject to the government and control of none but the great Law-giver to Zion? Is it so with the churches I have named? Are not the various congregations of Episcopalians controlled by the “Court of Bishops?” Does it not require the whole, to constitute the Episcopal Church? Is not the same true with regard to the Lutheran? Is not the Presbyterian Church composed of the many congregations of that order? Is it not true of the various societies, [“Our Societies,” as John Wesley called them] to constitute the Methodist Church? Are not appeals from the inferior to the superior judicatures allowable in those denominations, including the Church of Rome? Are not all of those denominations part and parcel with State establishments, except the Methodist? The Catholic, of France, Spain, and some of the smaller States. The Episcopal, of England. The Lutheran, of Germany, and several other States. The Presbyterian, of Scotland. The “Evangelical,” of Prussia, &c. Is there not in this an acknowledgement of another head than Christ. Finally, are not these facts conclusive against the claim of all and each, to being the Church of God? “My kingdom [said the Redeemer] is not of this world.” “The kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
“The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are termed benefactors. But with you it shall not be so; let him that is greatest among you, be as the younger, and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” Luke 22:25,26. Again; “Be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ.” Matt. 23:8-10.
The “Old School Baptists,” in contradistinction to all these denominations, claim the Church of Christ to be the highest ecclesiastical authority on earth; from her decisions there is no appeal. “And if he neglect to hear them, tell it to the Church; but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto them as a heathen man and a publican.” “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matt. 18:17-18. Whence the authority, in cases of dealing for offences, to go to the inferior judicatories, and travel up to the Pope, with the Catholic Church? To the inferior and travel up to the “Court of Bishops,” if, indeed, you stop short of Queen Victoria, who is the “head of the Episcopal Church, and defender of the faith?” Whence your authority to go before the “Session,” the “Synod,” thence up to the “General Assembly” of the Presbyterian Church? To go to the “Class Leader,” the “Circuit Rider,” the “Presiding Elder,” the Bishop, and up to the “Methodist Conference,” in the Methodist Church? Is not the decision of the Pope final in the Catholic – the decision of the “Court of Bishops” final in the Episcopal Church? The decision of the General Assembly final in the Presbyterian Church? The decision of the General Conference of the Methodist Church final with Methodists? If not, why those appeals? Do not those various denominations “make void the law of God by their traditions?” Is there not in all this, a radical departure from the order Christ has established in his Church?
That the Catholic Church has been a persecutor from her very existence, we think no one will deny, who has acquainted himself with her history, either sacred or profane. In this, her example has had its influence with some of her protestant daughters.
But whom did she persecute within the first fifteen centuries? Not Episcopalians, because they had no visible existence on earth until the year 1536, when Henry the VIII, by an act of Parliament, separated England from the Pope’s dominion and authority, and assumed to be the head of that church and defender of that faith. Not the Lutherans, because they were not known until the rise of Martin Luther, the Reformer, in the sixteenth century. Not the Presbyterians, because they were utterly unknown until the rise of John Calvin, at Geneva, in 1539. Not the Methodists, because they were alike unknown until the rise of John and Charles Wesley, at Oxford College, in the year 1729. But whom did she persecute? We answer; Non-conformists; Baptists, who adhered to apostolic doctrine and order; “Novationists,” who maintained the same doctrine and order now maintained by “Old School Baptists,” – that salvation is wholly of Grace, abounding to the chief of sinners, through the rich atoning blood of the Lord Jesus, applied to the redeemed by the irresistible operation of the Holy Spirit, to the production of “repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ” – that the legitimate subjects of Baptism are believers only – the mode, dipping, immersing, overwhelming. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Rom. 6:4. The administrator, a Baptist Minister, regularly called of God to the work, in union and fellowship with the Baptist Church.
“Donatists,” in the 4th century, who held substantially the same principles with the Ephesians of the 1st and the Novationists of the 3rd century, became the objects of the most bitter persecutions because they would not receive into their churches persons coming from the Catholic Church, without their giving “a reason of the hope within them,” and submitting to the ordinance of Baptism from a properly authorized minister. Hence they were charged with re-baptizing. “Paulicians,” in the 7th century; “Vaudois,” in the 8th century; “Gundulphians,” in the 10th century; “Berengarians,” in the 11th century; “Petrobrussians,” in the year 1110; “Henricians,” in the year 1135; “Arnoldists,” in the year 1140; “Waldensians and Albigenses,” in the year 1150; “Waldo and his followers,” in the year 1176; “Hussites,” in 1420; “Pichards or Waldensians” in the year 1450.
I ask, who persecuted John Wickliff and had John Huss and Jerome of Prague burned to death, for the testimony they bore to the truth? Answer: Roman Catholics. Who caused Lewis and Joseph Craig, John Waller, James Ireland, Jeremiah Moore, John Shackelford, and many others, to be imprisoned in Virginia, for preaching Christ, and him crucified? Answer: Episcopalians. Who had Muncer put to death, for his advocacy of Bible truth and civil and religious liberty? Answer: Martin Luther. “All men condemned Luther for these murdering proposals, but in order to relieve himself, he made the devoted people the scape goats, while he and his colleagues imputed the crimes of the Empire to the Ana-baptists, and so escaped.” Orch.Ch.History pg. 356. But what was Muncer’s crime, for which Luther urged his death? “The doctrine of liberty had been advocated by all the Reformers, while pointing out the usurped claims of the Pope; but none understood or carried out this liberty into practice but the Baptists, consequently all eyes were directed to Muncer, who now drew up a memorial expressive of their grievances, and which was presented to their lords, and dispersed all over Germany. It consists of twelve articles on civil and religious liberty. It is allowed to be a master-piece of the kind.” Orch.Ch.History pg. 355. Who caused the putting to death of Servetus? Answer: John Calvin, the Presbyterian. “The truth is and it ought to be avowed, that the conduct of Calvin admits of no apology.” Jones’ Ch.Hist., pg. 424.
It will be observed that each, Doct. Mosheim, Jones and Orchard, in their histories of the Christian Church, accord to the people who have maintained “Old School Baptist” sentiments since the apostles’ day, and whom I have designated by the NAMES given them, mostly, by their enemies, purity of life and conversation, and almost rigidity in the sacrifices they should make, rather than swerve from the faith.
Noble examples of suffering and death, for the cause of their Divine Master, are given in the cases of Perpetua and Felicitias, two females, whose circumstances were peculiar – each having an infant at her breast, and who were entreated by their nearest and dearest earthly friends to “renounce their faith,” and save their lives. The former, while in prison, and just before her being thrown to wild beasts for destruction, was permitted to suckle her infant. “In this situation [says Jones] she comforted her mother, and encouraged her brother, entrusting to him the care of her infant son; and was, according to her own expression, as happy as if she had been in a palace.” Jones’ Ch. Hist., pg. 146. But what is the testimony concerning Felicitias? “Three days before the exhibition, however, she was delivered; and, being in great pain, those who were about her, asked how she would be able to endure the being exposed to wild beasts, when she was much affected with the pains of child-birth. She replied, that in this case she was left to herself, but that in her other sufferings, she would have another to support her, even Him for whom she suffered.” Jones’ Ch. Hist., pg. 144.
What shall we say of the firmness and resignation of John Wickliff, in bearing reproaches for the cause of Christ? John Huss and Jerome of Prague sealed their testimony with their blood – the former was burned to death, 7th July, 1415, the latter on the 20th May, 1416. After this digression, I return to the subject immediately before me.
We find the most palpable discord between the “Mother of Harlots” and her Protestant daughters – while she charges those daughters with apostasy, they charge her with being the Apocalyptic Beast. All would be left in doubt, but for “the more sure word of prophecy.” No wonder that the Old Mother forbids to her children the use of our Bible. The wonder is, rather, that her protestant daughters submit, with so much seeming patience, to the grand-children, having recourse to the “King James translation of the Holy Scriptures.”
But the impression is attempted to be made that all Protestant denominations are but so many branches of the Church of God. We, as “Old School Baptists,” have no disposition to interfere with the family quarrel; wholly disclaiming descent from, or anything in common with the Old Mother or her daughters. The exhortation is, “Let there be no schism in the body.” What would the amalgamation of materials so inharmonious present? Not the body of Christ. Because that body, although composed of “many members,” recognizes but one life, and Christ is that life. The members sympathize with each other – their interest is one – all are interested in the well-being, health and growth of each. “If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; and if one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.” Is this applicable to the so-called “evangelical churches?” Have they care and anxious solicitude for the advancement of the interests of “Old School Baptists?” If they have, they have undergone a wonderful change within the present century. Have we forgotten that Paedo-baptists persecuted Baptists and Quakers in Massachusetts within the present century? Look at the “blue light laws” of Connecticut. Have Baptists of the Old School, ever sought power from the secular arm? Have they not all the while, since the Independence of the United States was achieved, asked of “the powers that be,” only to be let alone?
But you claim for these various denominations the title “evangelical churches.” If you claim that they are churches, according to the standard of churches recorded by the Evangelists of our Lord, then you will allow that it is our privilege to test the claim by that standard.
In this particular, we claim to be the only evangelical churches known to the word of God, and we accord to you the right to test our claim by that standard. Allow me to say that evangelical churches knew nothing of baby sprinkling – baby membership. This is a new order, which dates several centuries subsequently to the apostolic day and is utterly unknown to the Bible, and directly antagonistic to its teachings.
Immersion or dipping was the universal mode of baptism for a long series of years after the organization of the Gospel Church on earth. Towards the close of the fourth century, the idea prevailed that none could be saved unless they were baptized. Hence sprinkling was allowed by Emperors [without the slightest authority from the word of God] in cases where it was supposed the immersion of the whole body would endanger the life of the individual. “In the year 370 Galetes, the dying son of Valens, was baptized by order of the Emperor, who swore he would not be contradicted.” Time progressed, and dipping was still observed as the manner of administering the ordinance of baptism, until the rise of John Calvin, who said, “Howbeit, the very word baptizing signifieth to dip, and it is certain that the manner of dipping was used of the Old Church.” Institutes, Book 4, chap. 15.
I may startle you, somewhat, when I say, and shall prove from the standard of truth, the Bible, that believers are the only Bible subjects – dipping or immersion the only Bible mode – and Baptist Preachers, “called of God, as was Aaron,” the only Bible administrators of the ordinance of baptism. If however, the word of God does not sustain me, the assertion is not worth the paper on which it is made.
The Divine Redeemer said, “See that ye make all things according to the pattern showed thee in the Mount.” May I not say, without fear of successful contradiction, that a church not built after that pattern is not the Church of Christ! That no authority has been given by the King of Zion to alter the pattern. And that it is the highest presumption and impiety in the Pope or any other earthly tribunal, to attempt to change the ordinances, or extend them to others than those whose characters are most clearly and unmistakably defined by the only Law-giver to Zion?
I now proceed to give the Bible testimony concerning the building, the materials, their preparation, and the rearing the spiritual superstructure. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” Ps. 127:1. “And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18. “Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion, for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste.” Isa. 28:16. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” I Cor. 3:11
The commission given by the Lord Jesus to his called and qualified apostles, reads thus: “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matt. 28:19-20. Allow us to inquire; Are not the taught the only subjects of baptism known in the commission? “He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.” Mark 16:16. “Then, they that gladly received his word were baptized.” Acts 2:41. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:47. “But when they believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 7:12. Allow me to inquire, If, as our adversaries contend, “baptism came in the room of circumcision,” whence their authority for extending the ordinance to females? Circumcision, under the law, was confined to Abraham’s male descendants, and those servants [male] bought with his money. Whence were Timothy and Titus, who had been previously baptized, compelled to be circumcised, if baptism superceded circumcision? I proceed; “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we.” Acts 10:47. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Rom. 10:10. “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot stand still; and they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water,” &c. Acts 8:37-39. Need I multiply proofs that believers are the only Bible subjects of baptism?
We come next to the mode of baptism; “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water.” Matt. 3:15,16. “Thus” – in this way – after this mode – agreeably to the example I give. What was that example? “Know ye not that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are BURIED with him by BAPTISM into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now, if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:3-11. “BURIED with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Col. 2:12.
Suppose you employ a laborer to bury a dead corpse. He takes it away, and after a time applies to you for payment. You ask, Have you complied with your agreement, and where did you bury it? He conducts you to the place – you find the corpse propped up on its feet, with a few particles of dust thrown on the face and head. Would you pay him for burying the corpse? Would you not conclude he was trifling with you? In vain might he urge your practice in the observance of the ordinance of baptism. “A word to the wise is sufficient.”
But I proceed to the third proposition – the administrator of the ordinance.
John was named of the Angel, before his birth. For what purpose did the Holy Ghost add “THE BAPTIST,” but to set forth his official character? “In those days came John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt. 3:1,2. Not that it is a continuation of the old Jewish congregation “is at hand” – not already set up, visibly, in the world – nor does the right of admission to its ordinances result from being literally, the children of Abraham; with whom the covenant of circumcision was made. No, no. “That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Rom. 9:8.
Nor was “the Baptist preacher” sent to prepare, but “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:17. How make them ready? To open up the prophecies which had gone before to “the people prepared,” and show their fulfillment in the person of the Messiah – to extend the holy ordinance of Baptism to those who “confessed their sins.” Thus, the Baptist not only clearly shows us that believers are the legitimate subject of baptism, but also denies the ordinance to all who did not “bring forth fruit meet for repentance;” telling them, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father; for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Matt. 3:9.
What are the so-called “evangelical churches” doing when they extend the ordinance of baptism to babies of believing parent, or parents, and thus force them into the church? Do they observe the pattern? With what face, then, can they claim to be the Church of God? If baptism is efficacious in saving babies, where one of the parents is a believer, why not where both are unbelievers? You should no more censure the “new order,” which was newly sprung up, for contending they are not authorized to say that any can go to heaven who are not baptized. You lay quite as much stress on baptism as they do.
But I resume; The volition of all those who are the subjects of Gospel Baptism, is indispensable. “But first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” II Cor .8:5. But I have said the administrator must be a Baptist Minister, regularly called of God, ordained to the work, and in good standing with the Baptist Church. Let us not forget the Savior said, “Follow me.” “Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.” Eph. 5:1,2.
Now, if Jesus went to a “Baptist Preacher” for baptism, and received the ordinance at his hands, saying, “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness,” I submit, whether it is Christ’s ordinance, or whether we “fulfill all righteousness,” if we receive the ordinance from a baptized or unbaptized Catholic, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, or indeed, any other but a Baptist Minister?
I might fatigue you with reading proofs drawn from our adversaries, with regard to the practice, or rather in support of the practice of “Old School Baptists.” A few may suffice for the present. Doct. Mosheim says: “The rites instituted by Christ himself, were only two in number, and these designed to continue to the end of the Church here below. These rites were Baptism and the Holy Supper.” Mos. Ch. Hist., vol. 1, ch. 4. The same writer says: “The sacrament of Baptism was administered in this [the 1st] century, without the public assemblies, in places prepared for that purpose, and was performed by immersion of the whole body in the baptismal font.” Mos. Ch. Hist., vol. 1.
John Calvin said: “Howbeit, the very word of baptizing signifieth to DIP, and it is certain that the manner of dipping was used of the Old Church.” Institutes, Book 4, chap. 15. The same writer admits fully, in his Institutes, that believers are the primitive subjects, and dipping, or immersion, the primitive mode of baptism.” Institutes, Book 4, chap. 15 &c.
Pardon me for introducing the testimony of a highly learned Paedo-baptist minister of our own country. He was approached by a Baptist Minister, who remarked, “You are aware that I am utterly unacquainted with the Greek language – I do not know one letter in the Greek alphabet. Please inform me what is the literal translation of the Greek verb baptiso or baptidso?” The Paedo replied, “To dip; to plunge; to immerse the whole body.” The Baptist Minister, supposing the other disposed to jeer him, remarked, “You can play off on my ignorance – you know that I know not.” To which the Paedo rejoined, “No man, who is entitled to reputation as a Greek scholar, dare deny that I have given you the literal translation of the word.” Then, said the Baptist, “with your knowledge on the subject, how could you practice sprinkling, and call it Baptism?” The Paedo replied, “Hut, tut, man; you can’t imagine what an effect three or four hundred guineas will have upon a man.” I need scarcely tell you, because I apprehend you have not forgotten, that the late Elder Joseph Redding was the Baptist preacher, and Parson Stubbs the Paedo.
Another learned teacher among Paedo-baptists said, in presence of a large assembly, “No minister, who understands the Greek language, will be so silly as to controvert the subject of Baptism with a Baptist, allowing the New Testament to be the guide. For that knows no one as a proper subject, and no other as a New Testament mode, but believers, and dipping or immersion.” A Professor of Greek Literature, in one of our most celebrated Colleges, says: “There is no doubt but that believers were the apostolic subjects, and immersion or dipping the apostolic mode of Baptism.” That Professor is now President of a Paedo-baptist college. With all the foregoing testimony before us, how can we doubt?
Doct. Mosheim, Milner, Baxter, Doct. Wall, and other Paedo-baptist ministers, who sought earnestly and laboriously for authority for Infant Baptism and Infant Church Membership, are all constrained to admit that no higher authority has been found than “ancient tradition,” – “the ancient practice of the Church.” Doct. Baxter has, indeed, resorted to the “Scriptural Almanac,” as proof; but by whom calculated, or when published, he does not inform us. Dare we recognize any authority paramount to God’s Holy Word? But I love consistency, and have forbearance with a man who is consistently wrong.
How is it that Paedo-baptist claim that babies are the subjects of baptism, extend the ordinance to them, and yet deny to them the Lord’s Supper? If they are the rightful subjects of the first, they certainly are of the other ordinance – why do they not bring them to the Lord’s Table? It may be replied, To do so, would be mocking a holy ordinance. I ask, what more sense is there in baptizing them? They have about as correct conceptions of the one ordinance as of the other – and grant either of them, is to grant a spiritual ordinance to a natural subject, contrary to the divine teachings of God’s Holy Word.
You inquire for my practice, and especially for my invitation to the Lord’s Supper. It is, and has been, uniform, since my earliest ministry, thirty odd years ago, that “Brethren and sisters, of sister churches, who are in good standing at home, and have fellowship with us and the doctrines we hold, are invited to take seats and partake with us.”
You seem to conclude that my invitation will cover the ground occupied by Mr. _____. Let us see: “But he thought the table of the Lord belonged to all who loved our Savior, and were members in good standing in other evangelical churches.” 1st. I cannot recognize any communities as evangelical churches, which have not been built after the apostolic model. 2nd. I do not recognize any as “sister churches,” built after a different model – hence, my invitation will not embrace such. 3rd. “Fellowship for us and the doctrine we hold.” Now, my Bible teaches. “There is one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Eph. 4:4-6. The Spirit of God is infallible – therefore he does not teach one that babies are the subjects, sprinkling the mode; and another that believers are the subjects, and dipping the mode of Baptism. Need I repeat, I cannot recognize any as the proper subjects of the Lord’s Supper, but those who with the “heart believe unto righteousness; and with the mouth, make [voluntarily] confession unto salvation,” – and are legally baptized.
I took occasion, some months since, to utter, in a public discourse, the following: Our Paedo-baptist friends complain that we do not invite them to our communion table; and in the next breath take care to inform us, that it is not our table, but the Lord’s.” We cheerfully grant that it is not our table. If it were ours we could exercise some discretion; but, as it is “the Lord’s,” no discretion is left us. We must be content to invite such as our Divine Master called to his table. But we ask, will you invite unbaptized persons to the Lord’s table? We presume you will answer, unhesitatingly, No. Then we ask, How much more charitable [according to the abuse of the term charity,] are you than we? Now, we do not consider the sprinkling of a baby or adult, by an authorized or unauthorized administrator, as baptism; and for this very reason we dare not invite to the Lord’s Supper an individual who has given the most satisfactory evidence that he or she is “born again,” has “passed from death into life,” until they have submitted to Gospel Baptism.
The piety of Paedo-baptists, or of those who assent to immersion, as the gospel mode of baptism, is not now the subject in controversy. Though they give us the most conclusive evidence, so far as words go, that they are the subjects of divine teaching, as many have done, yet their submission to gospel baptism is a sina quanon to their invitation to the Lord’s table. They must not only believe as the Church does, but practice as she does, to entitle them to seats at the communion table.
I am aware that our sympathies have much, too much influence with us, many times. Our children enlist the warmest sympathies of our hearts. It is natural that it should be so; but we should be cautious that those sympathies should not blind us to their and our best interests.
Suppose we were to embrace the popular system, that salvation is offered to mankind universally, on the condition that they “repent and believe the gospel.” Are infants, babies, competent to comply with the conditions? But it is contended, in some quarters, that they are not sinners until they come to the year of accountability. At what age do they become accountable? How happens it that they frequently die before they arrive at that year? How can death justly seize upon them in the absence of sin? “The wages of sin is death.” “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” But have we forgotten that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” And, “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” Is superior power indispensable to change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, and can inferior power prepare the spirit for celestial glory?
I am not wholly unapprised of the effects now, and from time immemorial, being made to play upon the sympathies of parents and friends, against God’s method of saving sinners. What plan have they to propose, which gives promise of greater success?
I commend to the most serious consideration of Paedo-baptists, the following occurrence, which took place not one hundred miles from Lexington, as an illustration of the folly of extending an holy ordinance belonging to the spiritual subjects of Christ’s spiritual kingdom, to those whose minds are “enmity against God, not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Is not the destruction of an holy ordinance, rebellion against the authority of God? Are not the parties to such desecration participus crimius? A very respectable widow lady had four children, two of them [the older two,] professed hope in Christ, and the convictions of their own judgment led them to seek membership with a Baptist Church, where they could receive baptism according to the pattern given, and the example laid by the head of the church himself. The mother, being a Paedo-baptist, desired that the two younger children should have their membership with her. For this purpose she exercised her maternal authority. A meeting was appointed at her house for the purpose of having the children baptized. The authority of the mother, procured quiet compliance on the part of the little girl; but when the boy was called for he had attempted to evade baptism by hiding himself. Threats of the application of the rod forced compliance on his part. When the minister had pronounced the ceremony, he dipped his fingers in a bowl of water, and sprinkled it in the face of the youth. The latter immediately jumped back, clenched his hand, drew it back, and said to the minister, “G--d d--m your soul, if you do that again I will knock you down.” What is this but a desecration of an ordinance whose rites all its legitimate subjects are inwardly taught to respect?
Allow me to give another example, in which want of confidence on the part of the actors in the teachings which they recognize is most clearly manifested. “But without faith it is impossible to please God.” One or two congregations sent up to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, [New School] at Buffalo, N.Y., in the year 1855, two queries, which are substantially as follows: 1st. “Is Roman Catholic Baptism valid Baptism?” 2nd. “Is Roman Catholic Ordination valid Ordination?” The subject was referred to a committee, who reported adversely. When the subject was taken up for discussion on the report of the committee there were those who unhesitatingly pronounced against the validity of the baptism and ordination of the Catholic Church. Others who, perhaps, understood themselves and the position they occupied towards the “Old Mother,” better attempted and succeeded in arresting the attention of the young spouts. They maintained that, “if you determine that Roman Catholic Baptism is not valid Baptism, then are we not baptized. That Calvin and Luther received their baptism in the Catholic Church. That if you decide that Roman Catholic ordination is not valid ordination, by that decision you un-church us. Forasmuch as Calvin and Luther were ordained in the Catholic Church.” The result was the indefinite post-ponement of the subject, with directions to the Secretary to erase from their minutes the proceedings had on the subject.
Now, I ask, if the General Assembly felt that she could sustain herself by the unerring word of God, why did she decline a decision of the queries presented for her solution? Why did she not yield to the earnest solicitations of those whom it is fair to presume, were honestly searching for truth? Again; If those congregations did not feel that they were bound to submit to the decision of the great “Sanhedrim,” why did they refer the queries to them?
But, I ask emphatically, is not the decision of the Pope on matters of faith and practice, Law, in the Catholic Church? Is not the decision of the “Court of Bishops,” with perhaps the sanction of Queen Victoria, the head of that Church, and defender of that Faith, Law, in the Episcopal Church? Is not the decision of the highest judicature in the Lutheran Church, [by what name soever that judicature may be called] Law, in the Lutheran Church? Is not the decision of the “Presbyterian General Assembly” Law, in the Presbyterian Church? Is not the decision of the Methodist General Conference, although the body itself is not one hundred years old, Law, in the Methodist Church? Have these denominations forgotten the teachings of the inspired Apostle? Let us see: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in the old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” II Pet. 1:20,21. Do they claim divine inspiration? Let us see their chart.
Will they give us a bible example for taking a case on appeal from the decision of the “Church” to a higher “Court of Appeals”? You may possibly refer to the case recorded in the 15th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, supposing that to be analogous to the cases put. But, I ask, Is there not a radical difference between the tribunals, whose province it is to decide? The twelve apostles are the ordained Princes which shall rule in judgment, divinely qualified for the purpose. Now will you claim equal dignity for those uninspired men? Allow me again to refer you to the commission delivered to the Apostles: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The Canon of Scripture is filled up, it is complete. We should be cautious that we neither “add to, or take from the words of this prophecy,” least we experience “the plagues that are written in this book.” See Rev. 22:18,19. In the above case something was taught which Christ had not commanded his Apostles. And as he had commanded to teach all the lessons necessary to faith and godliness, it was eminently proper that they should decide the matters committed to them, being divinely appointed to that end.
I desire again in this connection, to call your attention specially to a subject insisted on by the Paedo-baptists, namely; “That Baptism, supercedes, having come in the room of circumcision.” You will allow an inspired Apostle to decide in this matter. “Him [Timothy] would Paul have to go forth with him, and took and circumcised him, because of the Jews which were in those quarters; for they knew all that his father was a Greek.” Acts 16:3. Again; “But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised, and that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.” Gal. 2:3,4. Now, if Paul considered Baptism to have come in the room, or to have superceded circumcision, why did he circumcise Timothy, and allow Titus to be circumcised, each of whom had been baptized?
But there is yet another matter to which I invite your attention. Circumcision, under the Old Testament dispensation, was a sign, an external sign, which those who received it bore wherever they went, and by which they conveyed unmistakable evidence to the sons of Abraham [to whom the rite belonged] that they belonged to the same family, and consequently had right to the privileges and immunities belonging to the Abrahamic covenant of circumcision. Now will you inform me what trace the water leaves on the baptized? Or what sign by which others who have been baptized, may know them? You are aware it always requires a substance to cast a shadow. Such a thing as a shadow casting a shadow has never been known. The Bible informs us that circumcision is a sign, or shadow. Baptism is also a figure or shadow, hence it is impossible that circumcision prefigured baptism.
You inquire, what then, was circumcision a figure, or representative of? I answer, or rather let the Holy Ghost answer, “For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Rom. 2:28,29. Now the sign of circumcision, or circumcision “in the flesh,” was an external sign, by which the beneficiaries of the covenant of circumcision were distinguished from all others. The circumcision of the heart, more indelibly made, because to last as long as eternity itself, is an unmistakable evidence that the Lord has taken up his dwelling there. And hence Old School Baptists require of candidates for the holy ordinances “a reason of the hope that is within you.” God has no still born children. If he has wrought the work of circumcision within, the subject can give such evidence of it, which will secure gospel fellowship, without which the ordinances and admission to church membership should always be denied. “Let there be no schism in the body.”
Suppose a circumcised Jew from London met a circumcised Jew from Paris, in the city of Lexington, and suppose one thousand of the most respectable citizens of Lexington would offer their combined testimony to the man from Paris that the man from London belonged to the circumcised family of Abraham. What influence suppose ye, their testimony would exert on the mind of the Pharisee? Not a particle – no more than the whistling of a bird. And why? The man from Paris would naturally inquire, What do you know of the sign? He would say, If the man from London, is a member of the family, he bears along with him unmistakable evidence of the fact. Each exhibits the “sign of circumcision,” and each is irresistibly convinced that the other is a veritable circumcised Jew. Now, suppose one who is circumcised in heart, from Moscow, meets another circumcised in heart, from Madrid, at London; and suppose one hundred thousand of the most respectable unregenerate persons of that Metropolis, should say to the man from Moscow, that the man from Madrid is a christian, would this suffice to give fellowship? Not at all. The man from Moscow would reply, Let the man from Madrid give me the evidence, which he bears with him, if indeed he is “born again.” They each give “the reason of the hope that is in him.” The result is, the hand of fellowship follows the heart that is circumcised to the heart of the circumcised; each is satisfied that the other is “an heir of God and a joint-heir with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We should not forget the one is “the circumcised in the flesh, made by hands;” the other “the circumcision of the heart, in the Spirit.” Well might the Psalmist proclaim, “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” And Paul, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man, which is in him? Even so the things of God, knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God; which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” I Cor. 2:10-16. Hence it is seen that Paul and his brethren had “the mind of Christ.” They received his ordinances understandingly. Will this apply to unconscious babes? Shall we consider it a small matter to attempt to “instruct” Christ? Has not Calvin and others attempted to do so? What else is the substitution of sprinkling for baptism? Extending the right to unconscious babes? Their attempting or pretending to “bring them into covenant with God?”
I love babies, but my Lord alone can “save them with an everlasting salvation.” I rejoice that the salvation of his people whether adults or infants, is secured in his tried hands; that it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Suppose salvation were conditional, and none could be saved but those who complied with the conditions; what rational hope could we indulge of their salvation? Remember the seeds of death are sown in them as well as in adults, that all are sinners. “Ye must be born again,” must be “born of the Spirit,” or we cannot see, or enter into the kingdom of God. What agency had we in bringing about our first birth? Can we rationally suppose that we can be more active in bringing about our spiritual birth? But remember infants have flesh and blood, and that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” And the argument of the apostle, “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality; then shall be brought to pass the saying, Death is swallowed up in victory; O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Again, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It [the body] is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” I Cor. 15:42-44,53-57. But who performs this mysterious and glorious change? “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Phil. 3:21. If it require Almighty power to prepare our bodies for eternal bliss, do you feel willing to entrust the preparation of our spirits to inferior power? Our children twine about our hearts, but I rejoice to know they are in the hands of the Judge of the whole earth, who will do right.
Modern Arminians seem to consider the mission of the church to be the “evangelization” of the world. Hence they are forming societies, raising money, and sending out missionaries for the purpose avowedly, as some of them say, of making christians, adding to the Redeemer’s kingdom, saving souls from hell, &c. Possibly this is the interpretation intended to be given of the term “Evangelical Churches.”
I am forcibly reminded of two of eleven queries put to the prayerful consideration of the churches in Kentucky, some years since, by “the Publishing Committee of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.” 9th. “Suppose all Missionary and Bible Societies were now to stay their efforts and leave the matter to others, how would they go about it? And how many hundreds of centuries would pass before the gospel could be preached or the Bible could be read in one hundred of the three thousand languages, and how many thousands even in our own country might perish for the lack of knowledge?” 11th. “If the church shall fail to contribute to the extent of her resources, to furnish the millions, yet in Pagan darkness with the scriptures, may not their blood be found at her door, when their voices shall rise against her in judgment?”
And yet these very people [modern missionaries] charge Catholics with being awfully impious, because Catholics, as they say, contend that the priest can pray souls out of [the half-way house] purgatory. It is but justice to Catholics to say, they charge this to be misrepresentation. Their position is, the priest is a righteous man, and “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Therefore, the prayers of priests should be secured in behalf of those who are gone to purgatory.
Modern missionaries are industriously engaged to raise a fund to save “the millions yet in pagan darkness.” Now what is the difference? Catholics beg or demand money to pay for praying souls out of purgatory, and Protestants beg money to prevent, as they say, souls from going to [the lower house] hell? In point of fact the course of those Protestants is as impious as that of the Catholics.
Some years since I was in Frankfort, where I met one of the great luminaries of the Missionary Society [Elder Alfred Bennett], who after hearing me preach, came to me and said, “I was glad to hear you make one remark this morning.” “What was that?” said I. He replied, “You said if you were in error, you would be glad to be convinced of it.” “Yes,” said I, “I wish to be right; and he who convinces me of error, will shew himself to be my friend.” Said he, “Where will I see you in the morning?” I replied, “At S_____.” “Until what hour – until nine o’clock?” said he. “Yes,” I replied, “I will wait for you until ten.”
We separated; I waited for him until eleven o’clock the following morning, and hearing nothing from him supposed he had declined his mission to convert me. However, about two o’clock in the afternoon I received a message that he was at the house of brother S_____ and wished to see me. I went immediately in company with two or three brethren. When we reached the house, we found several of his missionary friends, whom I supposed he had collected to witness my conversion. He commenced asking me questions with regard to sundry points of the christian religion. I promptly and most frankly answered his questions. After proceeding for about one hour, during which time he had not controverted one position I had taken, he remarked, “You are not to conclude I coincide in opinion with you, because I do not controvert your position.” Several friends present remarked, “Yes we will.” He seemed to become irritated, and said quite quickly, “No, you are not.”
He resumed, and I, to answer his questions. Immediately after answering the first of the second series of questions, he said, “I dissent from you.” Here several of the bystanders remarked, “Well, now give us your reasons for dissenting.” “No,” said he, “I shall do no such thing; I only wanted him [me] to answer some questions for my own satisfaction.” “But,” said the bystanders, “each of you profess to be teachers; we want instruction, and if brother Dudley is wrong, you should tell us wherein.” “No,” said he, “I shall do no such thing.”
He progressed with his questions and I with my answers for, I think, about another hour. After he concluded, I remarked, “Mr. B., I wish now, to ask you a few questions. Do you believe man to be dead in trespasses and sin, as the Bible declares him to be?” “Most assuredly,” said he, “I do.” “Do you believe the gospel to be a spiritual system, and that without divine influence man is totally incapable of believing or obeying it?” “Most certainly I do,” said he. “Have you any guarantee that God will send his Spirit where you send the Gospel?” “No,” said he, “why do you ask that question?” I replied, “Because I desire to know your precise position.” I continued, “What proportion of the heathen, to whom you send the Gospel, will believe and obey it?” “I do not know,” said he. I inquired, “Do you suppose that all will receive and obey it?” He promptly answered, “No.” I continued, “Will one-half believe and obey it?” He replied, “No.” “Will one in ten?” He answered, “I suppose one in ten may believe and obey the Gospel.” I asked, “What will be the cause of the damnation of those who are damned?” He quickly replied, “The rejection of the Gospel.” “And I suppose,” said I, “that, according to your views, the acceptance or belief of the Gospel is the cause of the salvation of those who are saved.” “Yes,” said he. I then remarked, “You have come out just where I supposed you to be.” I continued, “Where is your philanthropy? Why will you send damnation to a people who, according to your theory, would not be damned if the Gospel were kept from them, and only one in ten, at best, could be saved?” He seemed to become quite incensed at me. May I add, Mr. B. or Elder B. [he had D.D. appended to his name] that these are some of the marks of the “Beast.” Can you wonder that I have no fellowship for him or for his mark?
Now, I take it, that the Book of God is a book of positive institutes; and that no power resides anywhere, not even in “His Holiness, the Pope,” “The Court of Bishops,” “The Lutheran Combined Council,” “The Presbyterian General Assembly,” “The Methodist General Conference,” “Baptist Conventions,” “Councils,” or “Associations,” to modify or, in any particular, to change the doctrine, discipline or ordinances established by the King for the government of his Zion. To do so, would be open rebellion against Him who has said, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” Hear the language of inspiration: “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed, is partaker of his evil deeds.” II John 10.
I am a Baptist, because my experience and the Word of God will not allow me to be anything else. Yet I censure not others because they cannot see as I see.
My wife joins me in kindest and warmest regards to you, and every member of your family. God bless you all, and if consistent with His will, make you all the happy subjects of his great salvation. Our friends are enjoying their accustomed health, so far as I am advised. As ever, most truly and affectionately,
Your friend and brother,
Thomas P. Dudley.
P.S. – You will allow me to add an important and interesting piece of history of a people whose successors we are: “On another occasion, the same writer [Theodore Beza, the contemporary and colleague of Calvin] remarks, that, the Waldenses, time out of mind, have opposed the abuses of the Church of Rome, and have been persecuted after such a manner, not by the sword of the word of God, but by every species of cruelty, added to the millions of calumnies and false accusations, that they have been compelled to disperse themselves wherever they could, wandering through the deserts like wild beasts. The Lord, nevertheless, has so preserved the residue of them that, notwithstanding the rage of the whole world, they still inhabit three countries, at a great distance from each other, namely: Calabria, Bohemia and Piedmont, and the countries adjoining, where they dispersed themselves from the quarters of Province about two hundred and seventy years ago. And as to their religion, they never adhered to Papal superstition; for which reason they have been continually harassed by the bishops and inquisitors abusing the arm of secular justice, so that their continuance to the present time is evidently miraculous.”
Again; Bullinger, in his preface to his sermons on the book of Revelation  write thus concerning the Waldenses: “What shall we say that for four hundred years and more, in France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Bohemia, and other countries throughout the world, the Waldenses have sustained their profession of the Gospel of Christ, and in several of their writings, as well as by continual preaching, they have accused the Pope as the real anti-christ foretold by the Apostle John, and whom, therefore, we ought to avoid. These people have undergone divers and cruel torments, yet have they constantly and openly given testimony to their faith by glorious martyrdoms, and still do so even to this day. Although it has often been attempted, by the most powerful kings and princes, instigated by the Pope, it hath been found impossible to extirpate them, for God hath frustrated their efforts.” [“If God be for us, who can be against us?”]
And yet again; Monsieur De Vignauce, who was forty years pastor of one of the Churches of the Waldenses, in the valley of Piedmont, and died at the advanced age of eighty, wrote a treatise concerning their life, manners and religion, in which he says, “We live in peace and harmony one with another, have intercourse and dealings chiefly among ourselves, having never mingled ourselves with members of the Church of Rome, by marrying our sons to their daughters, nor our daughters to their sons. Yet they are so pleased with our manners and customs, that Catholics, both lords and others, would rather have men and maid servants from among us, than from those of their own religion, and they actually come from distant parts to seek nurses among us for their children, finding, as they say, more fidelity among our people than their own.” Jones Hist.Chris.Church, pg. 343,344.
Do you not see in this people called Waldenses many traits which find their parallel no where in modern times, but among “Old School Baptist?” Can you wonder, my dear brother, that we are tenacious of our principles! Adieu for the present.
Thomas P. Dudley.