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C 8018, 13.5
HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1848, by
L. COLBY & CO.,
Southern District of New York.
Stereotyped by C. Davison & Co.,
33 Gold street, New York.
TO FOREIGN BAPTISTS, BAPTIST AUTHORS, AND THE BAP.
It is now seven years since I commenced in earnest my preparation for this continuation of Baptist History
In the prosecution of this long and laborious undertaking I have gone much beyond my original design, and as an unavoidable consequence, the period of bringing it to a close has been protracies far beyond my own calculations and the expectations of my patrons and friends.
Foreign Department. An abridgment of what is contained in my first vol., with the addition of such items and facts as I could collect from Orchard's work on Foreign Baptists, and other productions of baptist writers which have been published since my former accounts were made out, was all that I at first proposed under this head. But as I progressed in my inquiries and researches, for the reasons which I shall soon name, I resolved on a more thorough investigation of the history of the people among whom our peculiar sentiments are found ihan I had ever before made.
Waldenses and kindred communities. I found so many conflicting statements relative to the denominational character of these ancient witnesses for the truth, that I determined, as far as possible, to go back to the original works, from which baptists and pedobaptists have made their quotations in support of their adverse and respective claims. This I have found a laborious task; the result of my examinations is expressed in pp. 60, 61, 72–76.
Dr. Wall's maxim in matters of dispute on the baptismal question is full of sound sense and ought always to be observed, viz. "It is unwise to deny to an opponent what can certainly be proved, as it creates a suspicion of all else we have to say. Those who contend that “the Waldenses as a whole always baptized their children," and those who maintain that the practice was not known among them, mutually place themselves in an extremely awkward position, since facts in history are continually coming up which most categorically disprove both these statements. I would as soon attempt to affirm or deny the practice of pedobaptism among the Dissenters and Nonconformists of England of all classes for many centuries past, as to establish either of the above theories.
The very generic character of the term Waldenses, is overlooked by most writers respecting the wide-spread community to whom it is applied; they view them as we do any sect or denomination of the present time, and do not seem to realize that the people in question were spread over all Europe for many centuries, and were, as Robinson denominates them, the Anie-Lutheran Protestants, who, while they all agreed in opposing the errors and oppressions of the papal power, still differed from each other in their creeds and forms much the samne as do the anti-catholics of the present day. Whatever local name they bore, the catholics called them all Vaudois or Waldenses, the same as they now do Lutherans all dissenters from their church in all the east.
This view of the diversified character of this great people enables us as baptists to meet our opponents in an open field which we may range all around, and if we can prove, as we certainly can, thai any portion of them rejected infant baptism, our main position is established.
No writer on our side should lay claim to all who passed under the general names of Waldenses, Albigenses, Patarines, Picards, &c.; the protestants, to be sure, have generally done So, and I have become so ineffably disgusted with their sweeping pretensions in opposition to so many facts of history, and especially to catholic impeachments of the anti-pedobaptist heresy of some of them, that I am sorry to see any of our people follow their example.
I have endeavored to exhibit the arguments and concessions of Mosheim in a clearer point of light than our writers have generally done; my comments on the statements of this distinguished historian may be found in pp. 44–49.
Dr. Wall, of England, lived among the baptists and had free intercourse with them rela tive to their peculiar views, which may account for his treating them in his writings will more mildness and respect than most authors of that age were accustomed to do; but Di Mosheim does not appear to have had any personal acquaintance with them nor any pred