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HISTORY

OF

THE SIX PRINCIPLE BAPTISTS.

BY THE REV. A. D. WILLIAMS.

The writer never had any connection, and equally all who chose to come peaceawith the Six Principle Baptists. He has bly into their borders, whatever might be been induced to write this brief and im- their religious opinions. Mr. Williams perfect sketch only from the following devoted himself assiduously to cultivating considerations. 1. The ministers of that an intimacy with the Indians, and an acdenomination have been repeatedly and quaintance with their language. These urgently solicited to write it; but to no he soon happily accomplished, and had purpose. 2. They have requested the the happiness, by this means, to avert the author to write such a sketch, and have destruction of the colony which had prothrown some documents into his hands claimed him an outlaw. for that purpose. 3. It is thought de- In the meantime, he became convinced sirable that some information concerning that immersion only, was valid baptism. this people should be given in this work. A difficulty was now presented, for though 4. The urgent request of the publisher. he had “ received Episcopal Orders," as a

“ A Six Principle Baptist, who under- clergyman, yet he never had been imstands the true principles of his profession, mersed, and no administrator who had does not esteem it necessary to have his been, was to be procured. At the organitenets through the several ages of the zation of his church, therefore, at Provi. church. He is fully persuaded, however dence, Mr. Williams was baptized by one early, or generally, other opinions may of his members, Mr. Ezekiel Holliman, have prevailed, that those principles which and he in turn baptized Mr. Holliman and the distinguish him from other professions of rest. This was the first Baptist Church Christianity,are clearly taught and enjoined in America. At first they held to “parby the great head of the church, in the grand ticular redemption,” and, generally, to the commission to his Apostles.” (Knight's " laying on of hands." They soon deviated History of the S. P. Baptists, p. 5.) to “ general redemption," and a tenacious

In the early part of the seventeenth adherence to the laying on of hands. Howcentury, Roger Williams was banished ever, after various mutations and divisions, from Massachusetts, for “disapproving the the church has given this up and now arbitrary conduct of the Clergy," and ad stands connected with the Close or Calvinvocating liberty of conscience. He deter- istic Baptists. mined to establish a colony where his But before this took place, various views might be enjoyed unmolested. For branches were established in adjoining that purpose he removed to Rehobath, but towns, and a number of preachers were finding this to be within the limits of the ordained. According to Bacchus, (vol. Plymouth colony, he removed to a place 2. p. 120,) there were in Rhode Island, in which he named Providence. Here he 1730, seventeen Baptist churches, of which and his adherents settled ; receiving freely I thirteen were Six Principle Baptists. Va.

same churches and under similar rules and regulations as formerly." From 1774 until 1788, it seems that this association was held semi-annually, at which latter time it was resolved that it should be held annually as before. "In 1797 the yearly meeting passed a resolve, ordering an exchange of all the public gifts in the fellowship, as might be directed by a committee annually appointed for that purpose. In 1802 the yearly meeting was

com

rious efforts were made by the surrounding colonies to counteract these principles in Rhode Island, and restrict the liberty of conscience there enjoyed. Not the least amusing is a letter from the Massachusetts Presbyterian Association of Ministers, requesting the toleration and support of some of their ministers, as missionaries, in the State. The letter was craftily written, and designed to answer a purpose, for they knew full well that their minister would receive the same toleration from gov-posed of representatives from twenty-one ernment that the Baptists did. But could churches. The labors of the ministry in they have induced the government to pass the Six Principle Baptist denomination an ordinance to tolerate and support their have generally been confined to their own worship, they would, in the end, have been churches, or within a very small circle. able to make the civil power subserve them Their ministers have generally been in the same purpose that it did in the other colo- indigent circumstances, and were obliged nies. The scheme however did not succeed. to labor to support themselves and families; their churches not having been so much in the habit of affording pecuniary aid to their preachers, as other denominations; by reason of which they have not had the opportunity of travelling, and carrying their views into distant places."

Notwithstanding, in 1812, five churches had been organized in New York, and one at Abington, Pa., which have since held a yearly meeting by themselves. These churches have dwindled, until but two remain-one in New York, and one in Pennsylvania.

"Soon after the first settlement of this State, and the formation of a few of the first churches, (viz. Providence, Newport, Swansea, and North Kingston,) they, about the close of the seventeenth century, united in a yearly meeting, composed of elders and messengers from the several sister churches, and such other brethren as could conveniently attend them, for the strengthening, edifying, and upbuilding of each other in the Redeemer's kingdom; in setting in order the things that were wanting; and in advising and assisting in accommodating any difficulties that might arise. These yearly meetings continued annually, and alternately at Providence, Newport, and Swansea, and sometimes North Kingston; and, as other churches were organized, in the full faith and practice of Christ's doctrine, they united with the yearly meeting, and as early as 1729, this body consisted of the union of twelve churches, and about eighteen ordained elders."

"The yearly meeting," and churches composing the same, continued to increase, and went on their way rejoicing in the Lord, until 1764, when at a yearly meet ing in Providence, they concluded to alter the name of their general convention into that of an association, consisting of the

My copy says "sixteenth," but this is evidently a misprint, as the first church, in Providence, was organized in A. D. 1639. Other

evidence also proves that " seventeenth," was intended-A. D. W.

The history, from which the above extracts are taken, was published in 1827, by which we learn that, in all, thirty-nine churches have at different times belonged to this denomination. Many of them had then lost their visibility, and still more at the present time; so that in 1845 there were but nineteen churches, fourteen ministers, and about three thousand communieants. They are evidently decreasing, and unless something arrests its progress, they will undoubtedly eventually become extinct. But however we may regard them now, we can but respect them as the early defenders of religious freedom. They had every thing to contend with, both with and without, but manfully maintained the struggle, and are now likely to be swallowed up by those who prevail mainly by the adoption of that for which they struggled-religious liberty. It is not the province of the writer to inquire for the cause, or causes, of their decrease.

His additional duty is only to state their Laying on of hands. This corresponds present position as impartially as he can. with Episcopal Confirmation. “They hold None will expect him to do it, as well as a this rite in connection with, and of equal member of the denomination described. authority with, baptism and all the other

principles of Christ's doctrine.” As this DOCTRINE.

is a point of great importance with them,

they refuse communion, as well as church They are Arminians, holding to a gen. membership, to all who have not been eral, in opposition to a limited or particu" under hands." It is their principal dis. lar atonement, and hence they sometimes tinguishing feature. Resurrection of the are termed, and term themselves, General dead. “ The doctrine of the resurrection Baptists. Their other peculiarities are is the great pillar of the whole gospel principally what they deduce from the system. The resurrection of Christ from first three verses of the sixth chapter of the dead is that foundation, upon which Hebrews. These, they conclude, "con- all Christianity depends ; "and if we believe tain the fundamental system of Christ's that Jesus died and rose again, they also revealed plan and way of salvation to that sleep in Jesus, shall God bring with sinners." Hence they derive their name him.' But there shall be a resurrection from the fact that six particulars are men- both of the just and the unjust. They tioned in this passage ; viz. Repentance that have done good to the resurrection of from dead works, Faith toward God, Doc-life ; and they that have done evil to the trine of Baptisms, Laying on of hands, resurrection of damnation." Resurrection of the dead, and Eternal

Eternal Judgment. This is called judgment. Repentance from dead works. the eternal judgment because it will finally They maintain that as all are sinners, all decide, and unalterably fix, the eternal are under obligation to repent; and “that state of all God's accountable creatures." except they repent they must all perish.” Faith toward God. Repentance will

CHURCH GOVERNMENT, ETC. lead him (the sinner) to obtain .faith toward God,"" by which “he is born of the Their church polity is so similar to spirit, cleansed from all sin and guilt, has the other Baptists that it does not need a his heart purified, and is become a meet description. temple for the Holy Ghost to dwell in." Their ministry generally has not been

The Doctrine of Baptisms. “The liberally educated, nor adequately supword is in the plural, and signifies more ported. Neither have they been forward baptisms than one." 1. John's, “ bap- in the so called reformatory movements tising with the baptism of repentance." of the day. By others they are classed 2. The baptism of the Holy Ghost and as opposed to many or most of them, with fire, on the day of Pentecost. This though perhaps they would not wish to be they think “ the only baptism of the so regarded. They discard the payment kind.” 3. The baptism of Christ's suf- or reception of a stated salary for their ferinys. “But after the resurrection of preachers ; and are generally opposed to Christ, the establishment of his kingdom Temperance, Moral Reform, and Antihere on earth, and his ascension to glory, Slavery Societies ; and never have made there is, by the authority of his gospel, to any missionary effort. The grounds of be but 'one Lord, one faith, and one bap- opposition to these societies, the writer tism,' viz. 4. The Apostles and their suco does not clearly understand, and hence cessors in the ministry, baptising the cannot affirm. It is possible that they do believers in Christ in the name of the not oppose the things themselves, but only Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy these societies as a means of accomplishGhost. The mode of this Baptism, ac- ing the work. cording to the true signification of the As far as he has been able, the writer word—is to dip, plunge, immerse, over. has quoted from their published docuwhelm, &c., representing the death, burial, ments; but where it is not distinguished and resurrection of Christ."

by quotation points, it must be understood

99

that he is responsible. However he thinks he has not misrepresented them.

A small paper called "John the Baptist" was published for a while by one of their ministers, but has been discontinued.

HISTORY

OF

Some of their principal ministers, are Pardon Tillinghast, Thomas Tillinghast, Richard Knight, O. W. Potter, William Stovyer, Albert Sheldon, and N. W. Warner.

THE GERMAN BAPTISTS, OR BRETHREN.

BY THE REV. PHILIP BOYLE, UNIONTOWN, MARYLAND.

THE German Baptists, or Brethren, are a denomination of Christians who emigrated to this country from Germany between the years 1718 and 1730; they are commonly called Dunkers; but they have assumed for themselves the name of " Brethren," on account of what Christ said to his disciples, Matt. xxiii. 8, "One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren."

The following account of these people has been extracted from a work called "Materials toward a History of the American Baptists," published in 1770, by Morgan Edwards, then Fellow of Rhode Island College, and overseer of the Baptist Church in Philadelphia :

these people in America was in the fall of the year 1719, when about twenty families landed in Philadelphia, and dispersed themselves, sore to Germantown, some to Skippack, some to Oley, some to Conestoga, and elsewhere. This dispersion incapacitated them to meet in public worship, therefore they soon began to grow lukewarm in religion. But in the year 1722, Baker, Gomery, and Gantzs, with the Trauzs, visited their scattered brethren, which was attended with a great revival, insomuch that societies were formed whereever a number of families were within reach one of another. But this lasted not above three years; they settled on their lees again; till about thirty families more of their persecuted brethren arrived in the fall of the year 1729, which both quickened them again and increased their number every where. Those two companies had been members of one and the same

"Of the Germans in Pennsylvania who are commonly called Tunkers, to distinguish them from the Menonists; for both are styled Die Täufer, or Baptists. They are called Tunkers in derision, which is as much as 'sops,' from tunken, to put a mor-church, which originated in Schwartzenau, sel in sauce; but as the term signifies dip in the year 1708, in Germany. The first pers, they may rest content with their nick- constituents were Alexander Mack and name. They are also called Tumblers, from wife, John Kipin and wife, George Grevy, the manner in which they perform baptism, Andreas Bhony, Lucas Fetter, and Joanna which is by putting the person head for- Nethigum. Being neighbors, they agreed ward under water, (while kneeling,) so as together to read the Bible, and edify one to resemble the motion of the body in the another in the way they had been brought act of tumbling. The first appearance of up, for as yet they did not know there were

any Baptists in the world. However, be- | Supper, with its ancient attendants of love. liever's baptism and a congregational feasts, washing feet, kiss of charity, and church soon gained on them, insomuch right hand of fellowship. They anoint that they were determined to obey the the sick with oil for recovery; and use the gospel in those matters. These desired trine immersion, with laying on of hands Alexander Mack to baptize them, but he and prayer, even while the person baptized deeming himself in reality unbaptized, re- is in the water, which may easily be done, fused; upon which they cast lots to find as the person kneels down to be baptized, who should be administrator; on whom and continues in that posture till both the lot fell hath been carefully concealed. prayer and imposition of hands be perHowever, baptized they were in the river formed. Their church government is the Eder, by Schwartzenau, and then formed same with the English Baptists, except that themselves into a church, choosing Alex- every brother is allowed to stand up in the ander Mack as their minister. They in- congregation, and speak by way of exhorcreased fast, and began to spread their tation and expounding; and when by these branches to Marienborn and Epstein, hav- means they find a man eminent for knowing John Naas and Christian Levy as their ledge, and possessing aptness to teach, ministers in those places; but persecution they choose him to be their minister, and quickly drove them thence: some to Hol- ordain him with laying on of hands, atland, some to Crefelt. Soon after the tended with fasting and prayer, and giving mother church voluntarily removed from the right hand of fellowship. They also Schwartzenau to Serustervin, in Friesland, have deacons, and aged women for deaand from thence migrated toward Ameri- conesses, who are allowed to use their gifts ca in 1719; and in 1729 those of Crefelt statedly. They do not pay their ministers, and Holland followed their brethren. Thus, unless it be by way of presents; neither we see, all the Tunker churches' in Ame- do their ministers assert their right to pay, rica sprang from the church of Swartze- esteeming it more blessed to give than nau in Germany; that that church began receive.' Their acquaintance with the in 1708, with only eight souls, and that in Bible is admirable; in a word, they are a place where no Baptist had been in the meck and pious Christians, and have justly memory of man, nor any now are; in acquired the character of Harmless Tunsixty-two years that little one is become kers." The Rev. E. Winchester, one of a thousand, that small one a great nation.' the Baptist missionaries from England, in It is very difficult to give a true account a work published by him in the year 1787, of the principles of these Tunkers, as they gave, among other things, the following have not published any system or creed, account of these people: "They are inexcept what two individuals have put forth, dustrious, sober, temperate, kind, charitwhich has not been publicly avowed. able people; envying not the great, nor However, I may assert the following things despising the mean. They read much, they concerning them, from my own knowledge, sing and pray much; they are constant viz., general redemption they certainly attendants upon the worship of God; their hold, and with all general salvation. They dwelling-houses are all houses of prayer: use great plainness of dress and language, they walk in the commandments and ordilike the Quakers, and like them will neither nances of the Lord blameless, both in take an oath nor fight. They wil not go public and private. They bring up their to law, nor take interest for the money children in the nurture and admonition of they lend.* They commonly wear their the Lord.' The law of kindness is in their beards, and keep the first day (except one congregation.) They celebrate the Lord's

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The taking of interest is now tolerated among them, but most of them do not demand or take full lawful interest, and some of them do not take any interest for the money they lend to their poorer brethren.

† It is quite probable the author here alludes

to the (Sieben Taeger) Seventh Day Baptists, who formed a settlement at Ephrata, in Lancaster County, in Pennsylvania, in the year 1724. These are the same people meant and described under the name Dunkards, in Buck's Theological Dictionary; there is no account given of the German Baptists or Brethren in that work.

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