« הקודםהמשך »
BY DAVID BENEDICT.A.M.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
creature. HE THAT BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED, shall be saved ; but
he that believeth not, shall be damned............... ........Mark xvi. 15, 16.
If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.........I believe that Jesus Christ
IN TWO VOLUMES.
PRINTED BY LINCOLN & EDMANDS, NO. 53, CORNHILL,
FOR THE AUTHOR.
DISTRICT OP MASSACHUSETTS, to wit :
District Clerk's Office.
BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the twenty second day of April, A. D. 1813, and in the thirty seventh year of the Independence of the United States of America, David Benedict, of the said District, has deposited in this Office the title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as Author in the words following, to wit : “ A GENERAL HISTORY OF THE BAPTIST DENOMINATION IN AMERICA, AND OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD. By David Benedict. A. M. Pastor of the Baptist Church in Pawtucket, R. I. And he said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved ; but he that believeth noter shall be damned...........Mark xvi. 15, 16. And the eunuch said, See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized !..... If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.....I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God... And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and be bap96-395
-*r aut of the water, &c...... Acts vii. In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, intitled, “ An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts
and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned ;” and also to an Act in. titled, “ An Act supplementary to an Act, intitled, An Act for the Encour, agement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies during the times therein mentioned, and extending the Benefits thereof to the Arts of Designing, Engraving and Etching Historical, and other Prints."
WILLIAM S. Shaw, ŞClerk of the District
? of Massachusetts.
I CAN hardly inform the reader how I came to engage in this work. According to the best of my recollection, I first conceived the design of the laborious task I have since pursued, in the summer of 1802, and in a short time I found myself travelling in Kentucky, Georgia, and the other States, asking questions, searching records, and collecting materials. From this time, the history of the Baptists, both at
home and abroad, became the subject of my interested attention. For between seven and eight years from this period, I was so much engaged in classical and professional studies, that I did but little more towards perfecting my plan, than read what books I could find, which, in any manner related to it, collect pamphlets, minutes of Associations, &c. and inquire of all, who, I thought, could give me any of the information I wanted. I soon became convinced, that if ever I pursued the undertaking to any considerable extent, I must travel for it; and accordingly in the autumn of 1809, I set out on a journey, in which I
almost nine months. I went into Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and then crossed over into the southera States, and explored the Carolinas and Georgia, first in the back regions, and then along the sea coast, and returned through Virginia, Maryland, and so on. I next went eastward beyond the Penobscot river in the District of Maine. After that I went into the northern parts of the State of New-York, and in the course of about thirteen months, travelled about five thousand miles. Since then I have travelled between one and two thousand miles in differeut parts of New-England on the business of this history. Most of these journies have been performed on horse back and alone. And I consider it a peculiar favour of Divine Providence, that amidst all my excursions in some of the most rugged and dreary parts of the country, I have been preserved from every kind of accident and harm.
Notwithstanding I was often lodged and refreshed by hospitable brethren and friends, yet my journies were unavoidably attended with expenses, which I was not well able to bear; and, indeed, I know not what I should have done, had it not been, that a number of churches and individuals made me very liberal contributions, for the purpose of aiding my undertaking.
P R E FAC E.
In these journies, besides collecting many materials, I formed a very extensive acquaintance, and engaged correspondents in every part of the country, in any of whom have contributed largely towards the accomplishment of this work. Still there were many parts of this extensive continent, which I had not visited, and many materials yet reinained to be collected. In the close of the year 181 I printed a Circular Address, &c. stating the progress I had made, and the materials I yet wanted, and distributed three hundred of them in places I had not visited. And besides these, I have written between five and six hundred letters to solicit information of various kinds.
In the summer of 1811, I was brought low by debility and disease; for about four months, my studies were almost wholly suspended ; but a gracious God was pleased to renew my strength, and I have since enjoyed, for me, an unusual portion of health.
Soon after I began to arrange my materials, I found the need of some one to copy after me for the press, and to lend other assistances, which a second person might perform. And I soon had the happiness to obtain Mr. George H. Hough, of New-Hampshire, a young ministering brother, acquainted with printing, whose assistance has facilitated my work, and taken off my hands the whole laborious task of transcribing it for the press, which, on account of my numerous quotations, I found absolutely necessary to be done.
I did not, at first contemplate any thing more at present, than the history of the American Baptists. I had, however, designed, at some future period, to compose a General History of the Baptists in other countries ; but learning that Mr. Ivimey, a Baptist minister in London, was engaged in writing the History of the English Baptists, and concluding that his work would, in a great measure, if not wholly, supersede the necessity of any further exertions of mine, I resolved to throw together in one view, with as much precision as possible, a general account of all who have maintained the peculiar sentiments of the Baptists, in foreign countries and ancient times. And as I must, in order to do this, travel an extensive round of ecclesiastical affairs, and refer to many characters and events, which might not be fully understood by all my readers, I concluded, at a late period, to give, in the first place, A Summary view of Ecclesiastical History, and then A Miniature History of Baptism, from the Apostolic age to the present time.
This work, scanty and imperfect as it may appear, has been collected from many hundred sources ; the field of inquiry has been wide, and I have endeavoured to explore it with faithfulness and care.
The history of the American Baptists abounds with incidents of a common kind, but it furnishes very few of those events which give pomp and splendour to the historick page. I therefore found it necessary to descend into minute details, to write much journal-wise, and, indeed, in any form, by which I might preserve from oblivion facts, which I thought worthy of being transmitted to posterity, and which might at the saine time be edifying to the present generation.
Many of the events described are of the most familiar kind ; an attempt to elevate them by the flowers of diction, would be preposferous in itself, and disgusting to the reader. I expect most of my
readers will be a plain people, unaccustomed to the trappings of art, and to the labour of decyphering learned figures and distant similitudes. But while I have dispensed with the decorations of style, I have endeavoured to regard an observation, which Cowper has made in some of his prose writings : “ Perspicuity is half the battle ; for if the sense is not so plain as to stare you in the face, but few people will take the pains to poke for it.”
I have found it somewhat difficult to determine how to manage the business to my own satisfaction, respecting the histories of indi. vidual churches. There are now in all the Associations upwards of two thousand ; to have given a detailed account of the origin, progress, and present circumstances of every one, would have made the work too voluminous and costly, and the narratives would have been so similar, that there would have been too great a sameness in them, to make them generally interesting. To have given the histories of no churches, in their individual capacities, would have made the work too general, and many interesting narratives and anecdotes must have been omitted. There remained, therefore, no alternative, but to give the particular history of some churches, and to omit that of many others. I suggested something on this subject in my Proposals, and there stated, that my intention was to take particular notice of those churches which are the most distinguished for age, for numbers, for prosperity, or adversity, for being mother establishments, or for their local situation. Upon these principles I have proceeded in my selection of churches for particular notice. But after all my care, it is possible I may have been partial and injudicious. And as every one is fond of reading something about himself and his own people, it is also possible I may be blamed where I ought not to be. I should have been glad to have said more of some churches and neighbourhoods than I have done ; I have written a multitude of letters which have not been answered, and therefore shall acquit myself of blame in these cases.
When I began this work, I had not determined what plan to pursue respecting biographical accounts. But I soon found that it would be impracticable, and in the judgment of my most enlightened brethren, improper to say much of the living. I took many accounts while travelling, and many have been communicated by others, which must be omitted; but they shall be preserved with care, and will be of use to some future historian. Some of my fathers and brethren have rested from their labours since this work was begun, and others may, and all of us must soon follow them.
I obseryed at first, that I hardly knew how I came to engage in this undertaking, and I now can say, I hardly know how, with my feeble health and scanty resources, I have carried it through. The cordial approbation, which my brethren have so generally manifested towards my design, has been a powerful stimulus to perseverance: and I have had the happiness of believing that I have been employed in the path of duty, and that God, in bis providence, has prospered my labours. And if no other person should receive any advantage from this publication, my labour will not be lost ; for the pleasure and profit, which it has afforded me, are more than sufficient to compensate all the labour and anxiety it 'has cost. But I cannot