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The Welsh Baptists.

The Baptists of England do not claim John Smyth as their founder. "It seems, then, that the Baptists had, at this early period (1538), formed distinct churches of persons of their own sentiments, both in London and different parts of the country."--Ivimy's History of the English Baptists, Vol. I, p. 108.

Mr. Goadby's By-Paths to Baptist History, page 23, says: "The Church at Eythorne, Kent, owes its origin to some Dutch Baptists who settled in the country in the time of Henry VIII." "Eythorne Baptist Church," says Mr. Davies in the letter already referred to, "was founded not later than 1550."---Shackelford, pp. 276, 277. "Baptists and Baptist churches have existed in England since the days of the apostles. There is no record of Baptists having ever became nonexistent in England. The earliest dawn of the Reformation finds Baptists in England."--Church Perpetuity, p. 318. In speaking of Henry VIII, Mr. Cramp, pages 232 and 234, says: "The hatred to Baptists was further shown in excepting them from the general acts of pardon. Such acts were published in 1538, 1540 and 1550." On page 235, he also says: "But they could not put down the Baptists, who grew and flourished in spite of them. Congregations were discovered in Essex, at Feversham, in Kent, and other places." Again Mr. Cramp, on page 242, says: "There were many Baptists among the sufferers in Queen Mary's reigns, Some endured painful imprisonments, and some passed to heaven through the fire."

"During the reign of Elizabeth and James, a large number of Baptists fled from Holland and Germany to England." Herzog Ency., Vol. I, p. 211. The author that I have just quoted is an Old School Presbyterian, and says positively that "a large number of Baptists fled from Holland and Germany to England, and that, too, in John Smyth's day. The Penny Encyclopedia says: "Little is known of the Baptists in England before the sixteenth century. Their name then appears among, various sects which were struggling, for civil and religious freedom. Their opinions at this early period were sufficiently popular to attract the notice of the National establishment, as it is evident from the fact that a convocation, held in 1536, they were denounced as detestable heretics, to be utterly condemned. Proclamations allowed to banish the Baptists from the kingdom, books were burned, and several individuals suffered at the stake. The last person who was burned in England was a Baptist."--Vol. III, pp. 416, 417. In speaking of the times before John Smyth's day, Mr. Frowde says of the Baptists:

"History has for them no word of praise;, yet they were not giving their blood in vain in their deaths, they assisted to pay the purchase money of England's freedom." History of England, Vol. II, p. 359.

"We have strong reasons for believing that on the continent of Europe, small hidden societies, who have held many of the opinions of the Anabaptists, have existed from the time of the apostles. In the sense of direct transmission of divine truth and the true nature of spiritual religion, it seems probable that these churches have a lineage or succession more ancient than the Roman Church."--Clifford's History of English Baptists, p. 9.

Bishop Burnett says: "That in the time of Edward VI, 1 537, Baptists became very numerous, and openly preached their doctrines, that children are Christ's without water."--Church Perpetuity, p. 331. "It may be fairly gathered from the 'Articles of Visitation' that there were many Baptist churches in the kingdom at the time. This is also clear from the fact that the Duke of Northumberland advised that Mr. John Knox should be invited to England and make a bishop, that he might aid in putting down the Baptists in Kent."--Church Perpetuity, p. 332.

The "Articles of Visitation" were drawn up by Mr. Riddley, in 1550, which shows conclusively that there were many Baptist churches before 1607. "In 1538, under Henry VIII, there were so many Baptists as to bring upon themselves the fiercest hatred."--Evans History of English Baptists, p. 51. "To stamp the character and principles of these troublers of the commonwealth, the legislature, closing its session in 1551, exempted the Baptists from the pardon which was granted to those who had taken part in the late rebellion."--Evans History of English Baptists, Vol. I, p. 97.

"Dr. Wall seems anxious," says Neal, "to persuade his readers that there were no Baptists in England when Henry VIII ascended the throne at the commencement of the sixteenth century, A. D. 1511. But upon that supposition it is not easy to account for the sanguinary statutes, which in the early part of this reign were put forth against the Anabaptists. If the country did not abound with Baptists at this time (1511), why were those severe measures enforced against them? In 1536 the sect of the Anabaptist is specified and condemned. In fact. it is easy to trace the Baptists in England at least a hundred years prior to the time mentioned by Fuller at least to 1438. In the year 1539 we find certain legal documents promulgated, one of which was against the Anabaptists. From this it appears that the Baptists not only existed in England, but that they were in the habit of availing themselves of the art of printing *** in the defense of their peculiar and discriminating tenets.*** Bishop Burnett informs us that at this time (1547), there were many Baptists in several parts of England."--Neal's History of the Puritans, Vol. II. pp. 351, 355.

"The first John Knott became the pastor of the Eythorne church somewhere between 1590 and 1600, and the last John Knott removed to Chatham in 1780." In continued more than three hundred years without a single unfriendly division and with a steadfast adherence to the faith and practice of the Primitive Church."--Goadby's By-Paths to Baptist History, p. 26. "The Bocking Braintree church book, still in existence, carries back the authentic records of the Church for more than two hundred years; but there is no question that the origin of the Church itself dates back to the days of Edward VI."--Goadby, p. 26.

"Tiverton church is said to have existed since the last years of Queen Elizabeth."--Idem, p. 28. Queen Elizabeth reigned from 1550 to 1603. "We have reliable evidence that a Separatist, and probably a Baptist Church, has existed for several centuries in a secluded spot of Cheshire, on the borders of Lancashire, about a mile and a half from Warrington."--Idem, p. 22. "Of the Hill Cliffe church, Rev. D. O. Davis, of Rockdale, England, who attended the Southern Baptist Convention in Birmingham, Ala., in 1891, as a representative of the English Baptists, says: "The oldest Baptist Church in this country is Hill Cliffe. * * * Tradition declares that this church is five hundred years old. A tombstone was recently discovered in the burial ground of the place bearing date of 1357. In digging the foundation to enlarge the old chapel, a large baptistry was discovered, which was made of stone and well cemented. The baptistry must have belonged to a previous chapel. Oliver Cromwell worshipped in this church. It is one of the pre-historic churches, and a regular Baptist Church." --Shackelford's History of the Baptists, p. 274. In speaking of Henry VIII, who reigned from 1509 to 1547, Goadby says: "Bitterly as he hated the Papist party *** he revealed a still more bitter hatred for all Baptists, English and Continental."--Goadby, p. 72. Jarrell says: 'Laying all this aside, I have already proved that the Hill Cliffe and other churches have a history far back of the time of John Smyth; and that two years before Smooth organized his church, he spent nearly all night in debate with elders' of the Crowle church, which existed in 1599; how; long previous, no one knows."--Church Perpetuity, pp. 344, 345.

"The sect in England which rejects the custom of baptizing infants are, not distinguished by the title of Anabaptists, but by that of Baptists.*** They are divided into two sects, one of which is distinguished by the denomination of General or Arminian Baptists, on account of their opposition to the doctrines of absolute and unconditional decrees; and the other by that of Particular or Calvinistic Baptists, from the striking resemblance of their system to that of the Presbyterians, who have Calvin for their chief."--Mosheim's Ecc. History, Cent. 16, Sec. 3, Chapter 3, p. 21.

"At Crowle, in Lincolnshire, a few miles from Gainsborough, there was, according to an old church book recently copied, a Baptist society as early as 1550. To that rural community Smyth went in the year 1604 and debated nearly all night with Elders Henry Heluisse and John Morton, who defended our cause well."--Dr. John Clifford's History of English Baptists, p. 15. There were the Calvinistic Baptists that Smyth was on "good terms with," but would not receive baptism of them for fear that he would acknowledge them to be the Church of Jesus Christ. After John 5myth had organized his so-called Baptist Church, he saw his mistake and offered to join the Dutch Baptists. "Smyth and his congregation met in a large bakery for a time, but he soon saw his mistake in his hasty sea baptism, and offered to join the Dutch congregation of Baptists.*** Part of his congregation under the leadership of Heluys would not unite with Smyth in his movement, but excluded him from their fellowship and warned the Dutch church not to receive him."- Armitage, p.-154.

Mr. Neal, who was a Pedobaptist historian, and wrote the history of the Puritans, Vol. II, p. 361. of the origin of the Particular Baptists of England, says "When after long search. and many debates, it appeared to them that infant baptism was a mere innovation, and even a profanation of a divine ordinance, they were not fraught to lay it aside without many fears and tremblings. They were persuaded that believers were the only proper subjects of baptism, and that immersion or dipping the whole body into the water, was the appointed rite. They were at a loss for an administrator to begin with. After often meeting together to pray and confer about this matter, they agreed to send over into Holland Mr. Richard Blunt, who understood the Dutch language, to a Baptist Church there. He was received kindly by the society and their pastor; and upon his return, he baptized Mr. Samuel Blacklock, a minister. These two baptized the rest of the company to the number of fifty-three."

Mr. Crosby, in speaking of the above circumstance, says: "So that those who followed this scheme did not derive their baptism from the aforesaid Mr. Smyth, or his congregation at Amsterdam, it being an ancient congregation of foreign Baptists in the Low Countries to whom they sent."--Crosby's History of English Baptists, Vol. I, p. 101. I am sure the Particular Baptists of England must have believed that Baptist churches of Holland were in regular line with the apostolic churches. Well might Mr. Orchard say: "The Particular Baptist Church in London at its formation, A. D., 1633, deputed Mr. Blount to visit a church in Holland and receive from the Waldensian Baptists scriptural immersion. The Baptists are the only Christians that can prove a scriptural immersion and order descended to them from the days of John the Baptist."--Orchard, Vol. II, p. 261.

Crosby, in speaking of John Smyth, said: "If he were guilty of what they charge him with, it is no blemish on the English Baptists, who neither approved of any such method, nor did they receive their baptism from him. –Crosby’s History, Vol. I, p. 99.

H. Collins, a Baptist preacher of England, said in a work published in 1691 that the English Baptists did not get their baptism from John Smyth. "It is absolutely untrue, it being well known to some who are yet alive, how false this assertion is; and if J. W. will give a meeting to any of us, and bring whom he pleases with him, we shall sufficiently show the falsity of what is asserted by him in this matter, and many other things he has un-Christianly asserted."--Ivimy's History, Vol. I, p. 140.

"The Vale of Carleon is situated between England and the mountains of Wales, just at the foot of the mountains. It is our Valley of Piedmont, the mountains of Merthyn Tydfyl, our Alps; and in the crevices of the rocks, the hiding places of the lambs of the sheep of Christ, where the ordinances of the gospel to this day have been administered in the primitive mode, without being adulterated by the corrupt church of Rome. It would be no wonder that Penry, Wroth and Erbury, commonly called the first reformers of the Baptist denomination in Wales, should have so many followers at once, when we consider the field of their labors was the Vale of CareIon and its vicinity. Had they, like many of their countrymen, never bowed the knee to the great Baal of Rome, nor any of the horns of the beast in Britain, it is probable that we should not have heard of their names; but as they were great and learned men, belonging to that religion (or rather irreligion), established by law, and particularly as they left that establishment and joined the poor Baptists, their names are handed down to posterity; not. only, by their friends, but also by their foes, because more notice was taken of them than those scattered Baptists in the mountains of the Principality. As this denomination has always existed in this country from the year 63, and had been so often and severely persecuted, it was by this time an old thing. The Vale of Alchon also is situated between mountains almost inaccessible. How many hundred years it had been inhabited before William Erbury visited this place, we cannot tell. It is a fact that cannot be controverted that there were Baptists here at the commencement of the Reformation; and no man on earth can tell where the Church was formed, and who began to baptize in this little Piedmont. Whence came these Baptists? It is universally believed that it is the oldest Church; but how old, none can tell. We know at the Reformation, they had a minister named Howell Vaughn, quite a different sort of Baptist from Erbury, Wroth, Vavasor Powell and others, who were the great reformers, but had not reformed so far as they should have done, in the opinion of the Olchon Baptists. And that was not to be wondered at, for they dissented from the Church of England, and probably brought some of her corruptions with them; but the Mountain Baptists were not dissenters from that establishment. We know that the re. formers were for mixed communion, but the Olchon Baptists receive no such practices. In short, these were plain, strict apostolical Baptists. They would have order and no confusion--the Word of God their only rule. The reformers, or the reformed Baptists, who had been brought up in the established church, were for laying on of hands on the baptized; but these Baptists whom they found on the mountains of Wales were no advocates of it. The Olchon Baptists must have been a separate people, maintaining the order of the New Testament in every generation, from the year 63 to the present time."--Davis' History of the Welsh Baptists, pp. 19, 20.

Davis' History of the Welsh Baptists is a translation of Thomas' History. It was first published by Thomas in 1778, and translated by Davis in 1788.

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