In the time of the Reformation, the genuine Anabaptists were the great and evangelical movement. Out of their principles and spirit grew all that was good in Luther's Reformation. Historians credit the Anabaptists with being the originators of the separation of church and State, of modern liberty and of the doctrine of a regenerate church membership.
In faith the Anabaptists of the Reformation were one with the Baptists of today.
In a paper read by Rev. Henry S. Burrage, D. D., one of the highest authorities on this subject, before the “American Society of Church History,” in 1890, on “The Anabaptists of the Sixteenth Century,” he says: “What were some of the ideas that characterized the Anabaptist movement of the sixteenth century? The following are especially worthy of attention: (1.) That the Scriptures are the only authority in matters of faith and practice. (2.) That personal faith in Jesus Christ only secures salvation; therefore infant baptism is to be rejected. (3.) That a church is composed of believers who have been baptized upon a personal confession of their faith in Jesus Christ. (4.) That each church has entire control of its affairs, without interference on the part of any external power. (5.) That the outward life must be in accordance with such a confession of faith, and to the end it is essential that church discipline should be maintained. (6.) That while the State may properly demand obedience in all things not contrary to the law of God, it has no right to set aside the dictates of conscience, and compel the humblest individual to set aside his views, or to inflict punishment in case such surrender is refused. Every human soul is directly responsible to God. These ideas characterized the Anabaptist movement in Switzerland. They appeared m the public discussions held with Zwingli and his associates. The supreme authority of the Scripture was made especially prominent in these teachings. The great evangelical truth which the Swiss reformers preached, they held. They believed in regeneration by the atoning blood * of Christ, but they demanded the fruits of regeneration. Their hymns, which happily have been preserved, show no trace of revolutionary or fanatical doctrines, but abound in devout sentiments pertaining to Christian experience and hope, and exhortation to fidelity and steadfastness in the faith, although persecution and death should be the result. These ideas the banished Swiss leaders made known in other lands. Prominent among these was Balthazar Hubmeyer. Indeed, no one influenced the Anabaptist movement from 1525 to 1528 more profoundly than he. …His numerous publications bear witness to his evangelical spirit and his devotion to Baptist principles. 'Baptism,' he says, 'is an ordinance of Jesus Christ. It is not enough that one believes in Jesus; he must confess him openly. He who confesses Christ before men, Christ will confess before his Father. The divine order is, first, the preaching of the word; second, faith: third, baptism.' When it was charged against the Anabaptists that they proposed to establish a church of sinless persons, Hubmeyer replied:
* This demonstrates they were not Universalists or Unitarians. Since there can be no human blood atonement for sin, they certainly were sound on the deity of Christ.
'You do us an injustice. If we say we have no sin, deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.' The charge of communism he indignantly repels. 'I have always said with reference to a community of goods,' is his testimony, 'that one should have regard to others, so that the hungry may he fed, the thirsty receive drink, and the' naked be clothed; for we are not lords but stewards. There is certainly no one who says that all things should be common.' When it was said that those who were opposed to infant baptism hold that no one can be saved without water baptism, Hubmeyer replied: 'Salvation is conditioned neither on † baptism nor on works of mercy, Condemnation is the result, not of neglect of baptism, but of unbelief alone.' And when it was added that the thief on the cross believed, and on the same day was with Christ in Paradise, yet he was not baptized with outward baptism, Hubmeyer replied: 'The man who has the excuse of the thief on the cross will have the favor of God, though unbaptized.'” ††
W. W. Everts, Jr., who is another of the highest authorities on the subject, says Hubmeyer “Nothing but Christ can draw the sinner. Nevertheless, as pictures are in the churches, violence be used, but of the preaching of the word let the people be instructed till they are in favor of their removal. …Among the reforms which he advocated are justification by faith only, the confession of sin, the marriage of priests, the proper support of ministers who preach the gospel, and the right of a congregation to dismiss a minister who does not preach the gospel. …He used to say: 'Baptism…
† No Campbellism or water salvation among the Anabaptists.
†† Am. Soc. of Ch. Hist., pp. 157, 158.
…stands for faith and the supper for lover. If one knew no other word of Scripture, but understood the true meaning of baptism and the supper, he knows God and angels, faith and love, law and prophets.' 'Where there is no baptism there is neither church nor ministry, neither brothers nor sisters, neither discipline, exclusion nor restoration. As faith is a thing of the heart, there must be an external confession by which brothers and sisters can mutually recognize each other.' Replying to Zwingli, Hubmeyer said: 'We must do as God pleases, consult the word, not the church; hear the Son, not Zwingli or Luther. …We are not condemned for not being baptized …but for unbelief. He that believes will be baptized if he can get to water and a baptizer.' To Oecolampadius he said: 'Baptism is a mere sign, but the meaning of the sign namely, the pledging of faith till death, is the essential part of the sign, and is wanting in pedobaptism.' …'The visible church,' he said, 'is a general assembly of all living believers.'”
Of course, Hubmeyer, in his conceptions of the, church, was not, in every respect, fully up to the understanding of the best expositors of Baptist church polity in our own time; but the above statements, as well as the I preceding from Dr. Burrage, show Hubmeyer and his people essentially Baptist.1
In a tract, 2 Hubmeyer says: “A heretic is one who knowingly resists the Holy Scriptures; …likewise, one who falsely interprets the Scriptures, putting Rome for church and Lord for shepherd. Although we cannot look for much good from such men, still they should be instructed with all mildness, and if that accomplishes…
1 Bap. Rev., vol. 10, pp. 205, 217, 218.
2 Quoted by Dr. W. W. Everts, Jr., in Tex. Hist. Mag, vol. 1, p. 135.
…nothing dismiss them free. For Christ wished that the tares should grow up with the wheat. From. this and many other passages of the Holy Scriptures, it appear, that persecutors of heretics are themselves the greatest heretics. For Christ did not come to butcher, to kill and to burn, but to deliver and improve all. It is necessary, therefore, to pray for the improvement of the erring, and to look for it as long as a man lives. The Turk, or the heretic, can be overcome, not by fire or sword, but only by patience and instruction. Burning heretics is, therefore, nothing less than a sham confession and actual denial of Christ. …The chief art consists in testing errors, and in refuting them by the Holy Scriptures.”
In a document which the Anabaptists presented to the authorities of the Gruningen district, we read: “Believers are those who walk in the will of the Spirit, and bring forth the fruits of the Spirit; they are the company of the body of Christ, the Christian church. To this, therefore, the Anabaptists belong.”1
In A. D. 1527, Denck, a great Anabaptist leader, “in a letter frankly laid his views before Oecolampadius, and asked for himself what he was willing to accord all men, religious freedom.”2
In a tract Denck said: “ Those who walk in the footsteps of Christ I rejoice in and love, wherever I find them. But with those who will not keep silent, I cannot have much fellowship, for I do not discover in such the mind of Christ, but a perverted mind, which will force me to abandon my faith and compel me to adopt its own, whether it be right or not. And even if right, zeal may be very commendable but unwise. For it should be…
1 The Anabaptists of Switzerland, by H. B. Barrage, D. D., p. 180.
2 Idem, p. 184.
…known that in matters of faith everything should be free, voluntary and without compulsion.” l
The Anabaptists believed children inherit the moral depravity of their parents. Denck said: “There is something in me that strongly opposes my inborn inclination to evil.”2
They believed faith the miraculous gift of God: “What our parents and teachers tell us, and what is written in books, we may regard as true and believe; I myself,” says Dr. Denck, “have ‘believed' in this sense: but this faith has never helped the infirmities which were born in me, and has not released me from the conflict in my soul between good and evil inclinations. For me, therefore, it is incontestable that merely to hold as true that which has been handed down to me cannot lead me to the life for which a deep longing slumbers within. Since it is true we are saved by faith, the word must be understood in the right sense. 'Faith,' says Denck, 'is the accordance of our will with the will of the good, or with the divine will. …Faith, therefore, must be built upon other foundations; indeed upon the immediately given facts of experience.' As such a fact Denck designates the feeling within, which says to every one that he must do good, 'which impels me wholly without my will and assistance.' …The Scripture …teaches that the unfolding of the good seed is not possible through our power alone. …The inclination to evil has its seat deep in the nature of man; it is indeed possible for us to strive after the good; but we cannot accomplish it without the help of Almighty God. …But the more I am filled with the divine source of the…
1 Idem, pp. 185,186.
2 Preussische Jahrbucher, for Sep 1892—from an article by Ludwig Keller, translated in Bap. Rev., by Dr. H. B. Burrage.
…doctrines of Christ, which are transmitted in the Holy Scriptures, the more is my conviction that he only can rightly understand them who has himself been illuminated by the light of the divine Spirit. …Yes, it is true, that the inclination to evil resides deep in human nature; if, however, the Holy Scriptures were the only means of leading men to the good, there never would have been good men among' those who are ignorant of the Scriptures, and God would not have given to many millions of men even the possibility of attaining to the good and salvation.”1
These Anabaptists believed in election: “Christ, the Lamb of God, has been from the beginning of the world a mediator between God and men, and will remain a mediator to the end. Of what men? Of you and me alone? Not so, but of all men whom God has given to him for a possession.”2
John Muller, another Anabaptist leader, in 1525, wrote: “Since faith in the free gift of God and not in every man's possession, as the Scriptures show, do not burden my conscience. It is born not of the will of the flesh, but of the will of God. …No man cometh unto me except the Father draw him. The secret of God is like a treasure concealed in a field which no man can find unless the Spirit of the Lord reveal it to him.”
In an article in the Standard, Prof. Howard Osgood, D. D., than whom there is no higher authority on this subject, says: “Like their brethren in southern Europe they sought only soul liberty, freedom to serve God according to their understanding of the Scriptures, while they acknowledged their full duty of obedience to the civil power in all matters not contrary to God's word.
1 Idem, pp. 38,43.
2 Idem, p. 43.
Their church discipline was strict, almost to severity, and wherever they wore allowed to remain in peace the desert smiled and bloomed around thorn. They sought to obtain no deserted Roman Catholic church buildings for themselves; they were renowned for the purity of their domestic relations in life; and in their confessions and practice they urged the duty of complete religious liberty
for all. …They held that there could be no contradiction between God's doctrine of his church and of salvation, that election and justification by faith and regeneration by the Spirit result in a church of believers. To bring in those as children who give no evidence of having been elected of faith, or of regeneration, is to institute a practice at war with the doctrines and for which there is not the first evidence of Scripture. The claims of Baptists were, freedom to preach the gospel, to form churches after the scriptural pattern which should be separated from the world and worldlings, to exercise church discipline over their members, and that each church should have entire control over its own ecclesiastical affairs without interference of the State. …They choose their own pastors and supported them and sent forth a multitude of missionaries so that Melancthon could say that they went where no evangelical, Lutheran and Zwinglian, had penetrated. …For a hundred years Switzerland was drained of her sturdy sons, who in great numbers braved the loss of their goods and. the long journey through hostile territory and the price set upon their heads by the Bavarian dukes in order to reach Moravia, where they might enjoy some little freedom to worship God. From Moravia, they sent out missionaries in scores to all parts of Germany, Tyrol and Switzerland, to Hungary, Silesia and Poland, who took their lives in their hands that they might preach the word of their Redeemer and raise up churches to his praise. The Romish church historians say that these missionaries were very successful in their efforts to delude the people.”
While speaking of these Baptists and missions I will here quote from a letter recently received from one of the highest authorities on this subject, Rev. W. W. Everts, Jr.: “I am much interested in your question about missions and the Anabaptists. They were the most determined colporteurs and missionaries throughout Europe. The only reference I have found to any heathen land I have given in Armitage, where the persecuted flock think of settling in America among 'the red Jews Columbus has just discovered.' This was in 1524, I believe.”
Though I have already noticed that they agreed with present Baptists against Campbellite positions, I will give further proofs of this. As to believing repentance precedes faith, Hottinger, at his execution, exhorted the people to “Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”!
They utterly rejected “sacramental salvation.” Grebel, a great Anabaptist leader, said: “From the scriptures we learn that baptism declares that by faith and the blood of Christ our sins have been washed away, that we have died to sin and walked in newness of life; that assurance of salvation is through the inner baptism, faith, so that water does not confirm and increase faith as Wittenberg theologians say, nor does it save.” †† Hubmeyer said: “In order to live a Christian life there must be a change in the natural man, who is by nature…
† The Anabaptists in Switzerland, p. 72; Dr. Philip Schaff, In Bap. Quart.
Rev., July 1889.
†† Idem, p. 124.
…sinful and with no remedy in himself by which the wounds that sin has made can be healed … When a man has received this new life he confesses it before the church of which he is made a member according to the rule of Christ; that is he shows to the church that, instructed in the Scriptures, he has given himself to Christ to live henceforth according to his will and teaching. He is then baptized, making in baptism a public confession of his faith. …In other words, in baptism he confesses that he is a ginner, but that Christ by his death has pardoned his sins, so that he is accounted righteous before the face of his God.”1
Again, says Hubmeyer: “Condemnation is the result not of a. neglect of baptism but of unbelief alone.”2 Again, “we ascribe nothing whatever to water baptism. It is an ordinance instituted by Christ and by the Apostles and received by believers.”3 Again, he says: “No element or outward thing can cleanse the soul, but faith purifies the hearts of men. It follows that baptism cannot wash away sin. If, therefore, it can not wash away sin, and yet is from God, it must be a public testimony of inward faith, and an outward pledge to live henceforth a new life as God gives grace.”4 Says Denck, another great Anabaptist leader: “In themselves ceremonies are not useful, and he who thinks thereby to attain anything whether through baptism or the breaking of bread is superstitious. …He who makes ceremonies burdensome is not much of a gainer thereby, for should one lose all ceremonies, he would not suffer any…
1 Idem, p. 88.
2 Idem, p. 149.
3 Idem. p. 151.
4 Idem, p. 152.
…injury, and indeed it is better to want them than to misuse them.” *
In an Anabaptist confession of faith, called the “Schleitheim Confession,” made in 1527, we read: “Baptism should be given to all those who have learned repentance and change of life, and believe in truth that their sins have been taken away through Christ.” †
Hans Overton, in 1520, said: “It is not enough that we have received baptism on the confession of our faith and by that faith have been engrafted into Christ.” 1 In 1529, Anabaptist sufferers in prison said in their appeal to their persecutors : “Baptism is the registering of believers in the eternal church of God. Faith confessed is wine and baptism is the sign hung out to show that wine is within. What a thing is this to hang out a sign while the wine is still in the grape on the vine, when it may be dried up.” 2
“In 1532, a book appeared in Holland, without the name of the author. …It was soon translated into English, French and Italian, and so many editions were sold that it added largely in spreading Baptist views throughout Europe. …On baptism it says: 'So we are dipped under as a sign that we are as it were dead and buried as Paul writes in Rom. 6 and Col. 2. …The pledge is given when we are plunged under the water.' “3 An Anabaptist woman, when “on the rack was asked whether she 'expected to be saved by baptism?' She answered: 'No, all the water in the sea cannot save me, nor anything else but that salvation which…
* Idem, pp. 186, 187.
† Armitage's Bap. Hist., p. 950.
1 Idem, p. 412.
2 Idem, p. 387.
3 Idem, p. 409.
…is in Christ.'”1 That the Anabaptists did not believe in water salvation or Campbellism is certain from abundance of testimony, additional to this. But I will close the testimony on this point in the language of Dr. Philip Schaff, of the Anabaptists: “They denied that baptism is necessary for salvation.”2 The Anabaptists in the Schleitheim Confession said that “he who serves the gospel should also live from it as the Lord has ordained.”3
The Anabaptists were what are called “close communion” Baptists. On the terms of communion the Schleitheim Confession says: “We are one and are agreed concerning breaking of bread. …that all who would drink one draught as a memorial of the poured blood of Christ should before hand be united to one body of Christ, to-wit: by baptism. …Hence, also it should and must be whoso has not the call of one God to one faith, to one baptism, to one spirit, to one body, common to all the children of God, he cannot be made one bread with them, as must be if he would in truth break bread according to the command of Christ.”4
The Anabaptists had no sympathy with the doctrine of infant damnation. “They denied that baptism is necessary for salvation and maintained that infants are saved without baptism and by the blood of Christ. † But baptism is necessary for church membership.”3 As infants thus appear to need the “blood of Christ” it thus appears that these Anabaptists believe that infants are depraved, a belief clearly demanded by the Scriptures and maintained by all well instructed Baptists.
† Dr.Schaff says: “The Baptists and Quakers were the first organized Christian communities which detached salvation from ecclesiastical ordinances and taught the salvation of unbaptized infants and unbaptized but believing adults.” — Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, p. 56.
1 Idem, p. 412.
2 Dr. Schaff, In Bap. Quart. Rev., July 1889.
3 Armitage's Hist. Bap., p. 951.
4 Idem, p. 950.
I will close this by the testimony of Dr. Philip Schaff, as to various points of Anabaptist belief. “The reformers founded a popular State church; the Anabaptists organized on the voluntary principle, select congregations of baptized believers, separated from the world and from the State. …They were cruelly persecuted by imprisonment, exile, torture, fire and sword, and almost totally suppressed in Protestant as well as in Roman Catholic countries. The age was not ripe for unlimited religious liberty and congregational self-government. The Anabaptists perished bravely as martyrs of conscience. Luther calls them martyrs of the devil. …They preached repentance and faith, baptized converts, organized congregations, and exercised rigid discipline. … They accepted the New Testament as their only rule of faith and practice. …They were generally orthodox. …Their demand of rebaptism virtually unbaptized and unchurched the entire Christian world. …These two ideas of a pure church of believers and of baptism of believers only were the fundamental articles of the Anabaptist creed. …It is unjust to charge the extravagant dreams and practices upon the whole body. …The Anabaptist psalms and hymns resemble those of Schwenkfeld and his followers. They dwell on the inner life of the Christian, the mysteries of regeneration, sanctification and personal union with Christ. They breathe throughout a spirit of piety, devotion, cheerful resignation under suffering and readiness for martyrdom. They are hymns of the cross, to comfort and encourage the scattered sheep of Christ, ready for the slaughter in imitation of the divine Shepherd. …The blood of martyrs is never shed in vain. The Anabaptist movement was defeated by fire and sword, but not destroyed; it revived among the Mennonites, the Baptists in England and America, and more recently in isolated congregations on the continent. The question of the subjects and the mode of baptism still divides” Baptists from the Pedobaptist churches; but the principle of religious liberty and separation of church and State, for which the Swiss and the German Anabaptists suffered and died, has left its imprint upon the course of history, has triumphed in America and is making steady progress in Europe.''1
The genuine Anabaptists were exclusive immersionists. Of the Anabaptist age, says Dr. Philip Schaff: “The controversy between the reformers and the Anabaptists referred only to the subjects of baptism. …The mode of baptism was no topic of controversy, because immersion was still extensively in use, and decidedly preferred by Luther and the other reformers as the most expressive and primitive, though not the only mode.”2
That the Anabaptists were exclusive immersionists is evident. (1.) From their making the Bible their only rule of faith and practice. (2.) From their having inherited immersion from their Baptist ancestry. (3.) From their having been persecuted AS DIPPERS. “That some of these preferred and practiced immersion we infer from the fact that their persecutors, who delighted in fitting the penalty, as they cruelly judged it, to the fault, put many of them to death by full immersion, swathing the sufferers to large sacks with their living contents into huge puncheons where the victims were drowned. So the Swiss, some of them, at least, immersed in rivers. This appears from the work Sabbata of Knertz, a contemporary Lutheran.”3 The translator of Luther's…
1 In Bap. Quart. Rev., PP. 266, 268, 270, 272, 273, 276.
2 The Bap. Quart. Rev., July 1889.
3 William B. Williams' Lect. on Bap. Hist., pp. 246, 247; Cramp's Bap. Hist., pp. 181,182.
…Controversial Works, speaking of Luther's sermon on Baptism,1 on p. 8, of his Introduction, says: “The sermon and letters are directed principally against the Anabaptists, a fanatical sect of reformers who contended that baptism should be administered to adults only, not by sprinkling, but by dipping.” A writer who has given this special investigation, says: “And thus it is through the whole book of Luther on the sacraments. I have read it over and over again, years ago, and marked all the places in controversy concerning the Anabaptists, and in not one single instance is there the remotest hint that they practiced sprinkling and pouring. …When the Anabaptists spoke of the sprinkling of the Lutherans they called it 'a handful of water,' doubtless in derision; and when they alluded to the dipping of Luther, without faith either on the part of the administrator or the subject, they called it 'a dog bath,' also in derision. Nothing satisfied them but the immersion of a professed believer.”
Robinson says: “Luther bore the Zwinglians dogmatizing, but he could not brook a reformation in the hands of the dippers. …Notwithstanding all he had said in favor of dipping, he persecuted them under the names of re-dippers, re-baptizes, or Anabaptists.”2
Dr. J. B. Thomas, Professor, of Church History in Newton Theological Seminary: “Usually they insisted upon immersion as the only baptism.” 3
Dr. Featley published a work against them as “Dippers Dipped,” etc. Says Rev. W. W. Everts, Jr.,
“Dr. Sears' inference from their alleged failure to magnify the significance of immersion, and from their…
1 Vol. 10, pp. 2513, 2593.
2 Robinson's Eccl. Resh., p. 542.
3 Ms. Lect., p. 59.
…apparent agreement with the reformers as to the mode, falls to the ground when we learn from an authority like Hofing, that at that time immersion was as common as sprinkling, that the Roman ritual, Luther's books on baptism, and almost all the Lutheran rituals instruct the administrator to immerse the candidate and that the word sprinkle is hardly ever to be found in the earlier regulations. It is well known that the church of England put immersion first, and allowed sprinkling only in case of the feeble. Logically, therefore, it might be admitted that the Anabaptists did not differ from the prevalent mode of baptism and still the presumption would be that they immersed. …Gastins was wont to say, with ghastly sarcasm, as he ordered the Anabaptists to be drowned: 'They like immersion so much let us immerse them,' and his words became a proverb. Zwingli used to call them 'bath fellows.' Hubmeyer destroyed the font as well as the altar at Waldshut, denouncing them both as nests of evil. …He says, 'the soul must be sprinkled with the blood of Christ and the body be washed through pure water.' The subjoined tract of this scholar and martyr is unmistakable on this point. Bullinger admits all the spiritual significance of immersion, in his controversy with the Anabaptists. Finally, the English Baptists practiced immersion and the first of them came from the continent.” From a form for baptized in water, Niclolsburg, 1527, Dr. Everts, quotes: “Do you upon this faith and duty desire to be baptized in water.”
Says Dr. J. A. Smith, formerly Lecturer on Church History to the Baptist Theological Seminary, in Chicago: “Whether Menno Simon was or was not strictly a Baptist, has been lately called in question. Pertinent to the matter is a quotation from his writings, Mennonis Simons Opera, p. 24, by a writer in the Nonconformist and Independent, At the place noted, Simon Menno says: 'After we have searched ever so diligently, we shall find no other baptism besides dipping that is acceptable to God and maintained in his word.' We can from PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE testify to the accuracy of this quotation.” The writer goes on to say: “It is true that the followers in Holland departed from the practice.”1
Of Menno's words — Doopsel in den water — Dr. Howard Osgood says: “The words, indoopenege, onderdoopinege, onderdompelinge, are employed in Dutch to express immersion. …Doop and doopen in Dutch exactly correspond to taufe and taufen in German. All these words come from the same roof and etymologically signify dipping and dip.” Dr. Osgood gives the following proofs that the Anabaptists immersed: “Zwingli was all powerful in the council at Zurich and the council passed the following decree, 'Qui interum mergat, mergatur.' Under the decree in 1527, the first Anabaptist martyr in Switzerland, Felix Mantz, one of the first scholars in his day, was drowned in the lake of Zurich, near Zwingli's church. …Within the canton of Zurich the usual punishment was drowning, as will be seen by instances related in the martyrology, published by the Hanserd-Knollys Society. John Stumpf, a contemporary of Zwingli in his history of Switzerland, p. 2444, says: 'What was worst of all, they, the Anabaptists, repeated the baptism …and were re-baptized in the rivers and streams.'
“Again, Kessler, in his Sabbata, vol. 1, p. 266, says that 'Wolfang Uliman, of St. Gall, went to Schaffhausen and met Conrad Grebel,' the most prominent leader,…
l In The Standard, of Chicago.
…preacher and scholar among the Anabaptists, 'who instructed him in the knowledge of Anabaptism that he would not be sprinkled out of a dish, but was drawn under and covered over with the water of the Rhine by Conrad Grebel.' On p. 268, Kessler adds that Grebel came to St. Gall, Kessler's home, where his preaching was attended by hundreds from the town and surrounding country and the longing desire many had nourished for a year, was accomplished by following Grebel to the Sitter river and being baptized by him there. When I was at St. Gall, in 1867, I made special investigation upon this point. A mountain stream, sufficient for all sprinkling purposes, flows through the city, but in no place is it deep enough for the immersion of a person, while the Sitter river is between two and three miles away, and is gained by a different road. The only solution of this choice was that Grebel sought the river in order to immerse the candidates. August Naef, secretary of the council at St. Gall, in a work published in 1850, on p. 1021, speaking
of the practices of Anabaptists, in 1525, says: 'They baptized those who believed with them in rivers and lakes, and in a great wooden cask and the butchers' square before a great crowd.'
“These immersions were in Switzerland from 1524-30. An old historian of Augsburg, Sender, says: 'The hated sect in 1527 met in the gardens of houses, men and women, rich and poor, more than 1100 in all, who were rebaptized. They put on peculiar clothes in which to be baptized, for in the houses where their baptisteries were, there were a number of garments always prepared.'
“A later historian of Augsburg, Wagenseil, says: 'In 1527 the Anabaptists baptized none who did not believe with them, and the candidates were not merely sprinkled with water but were wholly submerged.' These are the testimonies of Pedobaptists.
“Zwingli entitles his great work against the Anabaptists, 'Elenchus contra Catabaptistas.' Catabaptistas, a word of post-classical Greek, according to Passow and Liddell and Scott, means 'one who dips or drowns,' and that Zwingli uses the word in this signification, is shown by his repeated endeavor in this work to make all sorts of fun of the baptism of the Anabaptists, immersion, 'dying people,' 'redying them,'1 'plunging them into the darkness of water to unite them to a church of darkness,' ‘they mersed,' etc.
“The following I find from the Anabaptists on the mode of baptism. …Belthazar Hubmeyer, in his treatise on baptism, 'von dem Christenlichen Tauffder Glaubigen,' A. D. 1525, page 5, says: 'Tauffen im wasser ist dem bekennenden verjeher seiner sunden auss dem Gotlichen beneleh mit eusserlichem wasser ubergiessen und den in die zal der sundern auss eygner erkantuss und bewilligung einschreiben.' Translation: 'To baptize in water is to cover the confessor of his sins in external water, according to the divine command, and to inscribe him in the number of the separate upon his own confession and desire. I have translated ubegiessen to cover, we cannot translate here 'to pour the confessor' …with external water, for which signification see Sanders' Lexicon under, 'giessen.'1
“The fact that a baptistry was built at St. Gall, and that John Stumpf, a Lutheran pastor, who lived in
Zurich from 1522 to 1544, and who wrote of them from personal knowledge of their practices, says they 'rebaptized…
1In The Religious Herald.
…in rivers and streams' is good evidence that they immersed.”1
Then Sicher, a Roman Catholic, gives the account of their baptisms at St. Gall: “The number of the converted increased so that the baptistry could not hold the crowd and they were compelled to use the streams and the Sitter river.”2
Simler says that: “Many came to St. Gall, inquired for the Tauffhaus (Baptistry) and were baptized.”2
Dr. Rule, who speaks contemptuously of them, says that they took their converts “and plunged them in the nearest streams.”3
Mosheim says the Socinians, in their Catechism of 1574, say: “Baptismus est hominis Evangelic credentis et penitentiam agentis in nomine Patris et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, vel in nomine Jesu Christi in aquam immersio et emersio”4 — Baptism is an immersion and the immersion of a man who believes and is truly penitent, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, or in the name of Jesus Christ, in water. The Socinians were surrounded and mingled with the Baptists. How absurd, then, even with only this to the contrary, to take the position that “exclusive immersion began among the Baptists in the seventeenth century,” because, “until the seventeenth century — and that near its middle — exclusive immersion had been abandoned.”
Replying to the statement that “the only instance in which immersion among the Anabaptists occurred during the sixteenth century, is the immersion of Wolfang Uliman, at Schaffhausen, in 1525,” H. S. Burrage, D. D.,…
1 Armitage's Bap. Hist., p. 352.
2 idem, p. 353.
3 Idem, p. 352.
4 Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 16, sec. 3, chap. 4, sec. 10—note.
…says: “Well, let us see. In the 'Bekenntniss beiden Sacramenten' which at Munster, Oct. 22, 1533 was subscribed by Rothman, Klopriss, Staprade, Vienne and Stralen, and was made public on the eighth of November following, occurs this statement: 'Baptism is an immersion (eintauchung) in water, which the candidate requests and receives as a true sign that, dead to sin, buried with Christ, he rises to a new life, henceforth to walk not in the lusts of the flesh, but obedient to the will of God.'”1
Prof. Howard Osgood, D. D., says; “In 1666 and; '68, Arents, a Mennonite † author, published a treatise in favor of immersion.” “In 1740 an anonymous Mennonite author defends immersion. Schyn, the historian of the Mennonites, certainly leans in favor of immersion.”
S. H. Ford, LL.D., who has made Baptist history rather a specialty, says: “In the Dutch Martyrology, translated by the eminent Dutch scholar, Rev. Benjamin Millard, of Wigan, the name given to the Anabaptists or Mennonites is that of Dippers. Thus, on page 34, are found these words: ‘Some of the principal Dippers, that is, Baptist people, were seized (De voornaemste Doopers: verstaet Doops Gesinde.)' That Millard gave a false rendering of Doops is not to be supposed, and consulting seven Dutch Lexicons, they all agree with the one now before me. It is by Tauchnitz, Leipsic:
“Dooping — baptizing, christening, dipping, plunging.
“Doopsel — baptism, dipping.
“Dooper — dipper, plunger, Baptist.
“Now, Dooper was the term of reproach given to these Anabaptists by their foes in Holland, as its equivalent, Dipper, was in England.
† Some early Anabaptists were called Mennonites from Menno, one of
their great leaders.
l In Zion's Advocate.
“We read in the Dutch Martyrology that one Herz Lowrys, in 1528, persecuting the Baptists, 'addressed the council in strong terms, inquiring what they intended to do with these dipping heretics' (Martyrology, vol. 1, p. 71), and again, in the next pages he is quoted as exclaiming: 'O, the dippers, the dippers!' Several such instances might be cited. But these are surely sufficient to show that the use of such expressions and epithets can be accounted for only on the ground that they immersed all candidates for baptism. …We close this by affirming that every scholar knows, who has consulted the original, that the words of Menno, Doopsel inden water, are correctly translated — immersing, as dipping in water.
“But Menno adds to this its explanation: 'Yet, whoever will oppose, this is the only mode of baptism that Jesus Christ instituted, and His Apostles taught and practiced.'”1
As to the argument for affusion among the ancient Mennonites, derived from modern Mennonite authors, I will reply in the words of Mosheim: “Many circumstances persuade me that the declarations and representations of things given by the modern Mennonites are not always worthy of credit.” † 2
That some Mennonites practiced immersion is proved from the fact that, in 1620, there were Mennonite pastors who served two churches — a Mennonite and a Collegiant church — and the Collegiants always practiced immersion.
† Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 16, sec. 3, chap. 3— note to 1.
1 Chr. Repository.
2 As an illustration of Mosheim's statement I quote the following from Prof. Howard Osgood, D.D.: “Schyn, the historian of the Mennonites, certainly leans in favor of immersion, and is severely taxed for so doing by his late editor, Maatschoen, who, vol. 2, p. 72, note, says: ‘No true Mennonite has ever practiced immersion or defended it in writing.'“ Yet, Schyn is the old and main Mennonite historian!
Barnes Sears, D.D., thus quotes Trecksel, a recent writer of much weight: “The Anabaptists baptized running streams and in † barns.”1
Turretine, called the theological Blackstone: “The Anabaptists are so called from their repetition of baptism in the case of those who have been already baptized, whether in respect to infants †† or adults, who pass from one sect of this people to another, whom they again baptize — immerse —(tingunt) that they may receive the into their communion.”2
Cramp quoting Bullinger, concerning the Anabaptists, brings out the fact, that both the people and himself regarded the Anabaptists as exclusive immersionists: “For the people said, (Let others say what they will of the dippers, we see in them nothing but what is excellent.'“3
Samuel H. Schmuker says: “The Anabaptists held to the baptism of believers by immersion, denying the efficacy of infant baptism.”4
Of Anabaptists Neal says: “They differed about the subject and mode of baptism, whether it should be administered to infants, or in any other manner than in dipping the whole body under water.”5 This shows there was a kind of Anabaptists who baptized infants and who were not exclusive immersionists; and, that there was a kind who were the reverse. From the former kind and from some who were just coming out of the Romish…
† When they baptized in any kind of houses they used “palls” or tanks sufficiently large for immersion. See in another place, in this chapter.
†† In this appears the error, that they re-baptized only because the former baptism was in infancy. They were Anabaptists because they admitted no baptism scriptural except that of the true church.
1 In The Religious Herald.
2 Quoted by the eminent scholar, E T. Winkler, D.D.
3 Cramps' Bap. Hist., p. 179.
4 History all Relig., by Schmuker, pp. 37, 38, 39.
5 Neal's Hist. Puritans, vol. l, p. 137.
…church — as is seen in another part of this chapter — comes “the testimony that the genuine Anabaptists did not exclusively immerse!”
Jacob Ditzler, a famous Methodist controversialist, conceded that the Anabaptists were immersionists: “The German Anabaptists restored baptism by coming out of the Romish church and immersing each other when they had been sprinkled.”1
Regarding the examples, related in Armitage, and by others, of affusion among Anabaptists, I cannot better answer than in the language of that lamented and eminent historical and exegetical scholar, the Rev. E. T. Winkler, D.D.: † “Neither do the cases of pouring decide anything. For the administrators who acted on their own authority, were members of the Reformed Party and would still, if permitted, retain connection with it. The pourings were administered by those who were associates or disciples of Zwingli and Luther, …who began their public labors at Wittenberg and Zurich. Except that they insisted on a converted membership they agreed in doctrine and ordinances with the Reformers. Nay, some of them, as we are expressly told, held aloof from the general body of the Anabaptists; so it was with the Anabaptists of Munster, who were Separatists, and considered all others bearing the name as damned, (Luther's Ger. Works, vol. 2, quoted by Michelets' Luther, p. 54.) These cases of pouring were due to these advanced reformers …and that at the very chaos of the Reformation. The practice of these dissenters, under such circumstances, can afford no satisfactory evidence of the…
† In a letter I received from the excellent Baptist historian of Rochester Theological Seminary, Prof. R. J. W. Buckland, D.D.,—just before his death -he confirms Dr. Winkler' statement.
1 Graves-Ditzier Deb., p. 828. As I quote Mr. Ditzier, not because he is any authority with scholars, but only for those who blindly follow him, I beg the pardon of scholars for quoting him. When such a man is driven to make this concession the evidence ought to convince all candid persons.
…customs which prevailed among the general body of the Anabaptists, as the opinion of Luther a year or two after he broke from Rome cannot be identified with the established creed of Lutherianism. The incohate Anabaptists advanced according to the light they had. Thus Grebel, who in 1525, baptized Wolfgang Uliman, afterwards immersed him in the Rhine.”
Inasmuch as the Anabaptists, in the language of Mosheim: “Before the rise of Luther and Calvin …lay concealed in almost all the countries of Europe, particularly in Bohemia, Moravia and Switzerland and Germany,” — under other names —1 Dr. Winklers' statement conclusively shows that those cases of affusion have no bearing whatever as to the immersion of the general body of Anabaptists. In but one month after Grebel poured Uliman he immersed him.
In the chapter, in this book, in which I show the connection and perpetuity of these various dissenters, appears how these Anabaptists received immersion in an orderly manner.
Inasmuch as the Anabaptists sometimes baptized in “tubs,” “pails,” houses and barns they have been presumed not exclusive immersionists. As Dr. Winkler has so conclusively met this I will give his answer: “We can prove from ecclesiology and from the testimony of Luther himself that the pail or tub, such as Hoffman used at Emden ('a large pail') was the baptismal font of the Western churches. There was even a certain sacredness connected with it. We find in Luther's Table Talk (Bohns' Ed. p. 165) the following incident: ‘Dr. Menius asked Dr. Luther in what manner a Jew should be baptized?' The Doctor replied: 'You must…
l Mosheim’s' Eccl. Hist., cent. 16, gee. 3, chap. 3 and 1, 2.
…fill a large tub with water, and having divested the Jew of his clothes, cover him with white garments. He must then sit down in the tub and you must then baptize him quite under the water. This garb,' added Luther, 'was rendered the more suitable from the circumstance that it was then, as now, the custom to bury people in a white shroud, and baptism, you know, is an emblem of our death.'
“Here Luther alludes to these immersions which are very familiar to ecclesiologists. …There is reason to believe that the baptismal fonts in early Europe were tubs. The ecclesiologist, Poole, says (Structures, etc., of Churches, p. 45): 'The first defined shape which the font assumed in England is that of a circular tub-shaped vessel, some probably of Saxon, many of them of Norman date, as the antique font of St. Martins' church, at Canterbury. Knight says (Land we Live In, I., p. 261): 'It is even supposed to have been built by Christians in the Roman army, A. D. 187. It was certainly one of the first ever made in England. It was about three feet high and capacious within. It has no stand; but rests upon the ground. The sculptures upon it are a sort of ornamental interlacings in low relief. It closely resembles the font delineated by the old illuminators in representing the baptism of King Ethelbert; and it is believed to be the very first font in which the first of our Christian kings were baptized.'
“Under this division, the tub fonts, Poole, an Episcopalian antiquarian, groups the font of Castle Frome, Herefordshire, that at Bride Kirk, in Cumberland, that at West Haddon, in Northamptonshire, and that at Thorpe Emald, in Leicestershire. And in regard to all the ancient fonts of England, he says: 'The rule of the church of England, however many the exceptions, and however accounted for, is to baptize by immersion; and for this all the ancient fonts are sufficiently capacious.' (Structure, etc., p. 59, note.)
“We learn from Bourrasse, a Catholic archeologist, that the leaden font in the cathedral of Strasbourg has a tub-shape, and so has the baptismal font at Espanburg, Diocese of Beauvais. Both of these baptismal tubs are represented on the plates of Bourasses' Dictionaire D'Archaologic Sacree. At Notre Dame, in Rouen, the font was made in the form of a coffin, six feet long, with a covering of black wood. This sepulchral figure was the symbolical translation of the words of Paul: 'We are buried with him by baptism into death.' Bourasse, p. 493.”1
In Smith's Dictionary of Christian Antiquities2 the position of Dr. Winkler is confirmed.
The lamented Prof. Heman Lincoln, D.D. — Professor of Ecclesiastical History in Newton Theological Seminary — a little while before his death, wrote me of the Anabaptists: “My own impression is that the majority of them accepted both immersion and baptism upon a profession of faith.”
Answering Dr. Sears, Prof. W. W. Everts, Jr., well said: “Dr. Sears would have been nearer right if he had made pouring the exception and immersion the rule among the Anabaptists.” Just as with the Campbellites, who have poured and sprinkled, but are, as a people, exclusive immersionists.
Prof. W. W. Everts, Jr., wrote: “The English Anabaptists practiced immersion, and the most of them
came from the Continent.”
l In Alabama Baptist, of 1875?
2 Arts. on Baptistry and Fonts.
Inasmuch as it has been denied that the English Baptists immersed — and even, therefore, that the first American Baptists did so — I close this chapter with proof that the English Anabaptists were exclusive immersionists. Only because of the effrontery with which this denial is made is it here noticed. Crosby quotes Sir John Floyer: “The practice of immersion, or dipping in baptism, continued in the church until the reign of James I, or about the year 1600. …Sir John Floyer says: 'My design being to recommend the use of cold bathing to this country, I thought it necessary for the assuring of all people of the innocency of that practice to represent to them the ancient custom of our church in the immersion of infants, as well as all other people at their baptism. And I do here appeal to you, as persons well versed in the ancient history and canons and ceremonies of the Church of England; and therefore are sufficient witnesses of the matter of fact which I desire to prove, viz.: That immersion continued in the Church of England until about the year 1600. And from thence I shall infer that if God and the church thought that practice innocent for sixteen hundred years, it must be accounted an unreasonable nicety in this present age to scruple either at immersion or cold bathing as dangerous practices.' …In the Synodus Wigorniensis, ‘Trina semper fiat immersio baptizandi,' Anno 1240. And in the Synodus Exoniensis, 1287, 'Si puer rite baptizatus, non ipsa submersio, nec praecedentia, sed subsequentia persacerdotem suppleantur,' and the Synodus Wintoniensis, Anno 1306, mentions the immersion. I have quoted all the preceding passages, says Sir John Floyer, from Spellman, whose credit cannot be questioned, and I desire all thence to observe that the immersion was always used to children as well as adult persons. …Linwood, who began to write his Constitutiones Angliae, about the year 1422, interprets a competent baptistry to be big enough for the immersion of the person to be baptized. …It is evident, by the rubrick in the days of King Edward VI, that the English church used that practice: 'Then shall the priest take the child into his hands, and ask the name, and naming the child, shall dip it in water thrice; first dipping the right side, secondly, the left side, and the third time, dipping the face downwards in the font, so it be discreetly and warily done.' In the Common Prayer Book, in Queen Elizabeth's days, the rubrick says, naming the child: 'You shall dip it in the water, so it be discreetly and warily done, but if the child be weak, or be baptized privately in a case of necessity, it was sufficient to pour water upon it.' King Edward's injunctions were published in 1547, by which all were forbidden the breaking obstinately the laudable ceremonies of the church. And in Sparrow's collection of articles, etc., in the articles of Queen Elizabeth, 1564, it is ordered, 'That the font be not removed, nor that the curate do baptize in any parish in a basin, nor in any other form than is already prescribed. …When Christianity was first planted, the bath structures were turned into temples, and the Piseinas' or cold baths were called Baptisteria by Pliny, Jr., and in them they baptized frequently. And the Saxons, who succeeded the Romans, brought in the German custom of washing in rivers for preserving of their healths; and that made them receive the baptismal immersion in rivers and fountains without any scruple. …That I may farther convince all my countrymen that immersion in baptism was very lately left off in England, I will affirm that there are yet persons living who were so immersed, for I was informed by Mr. Berisford that his parents immersed not only him, but the rest of his family at his baptism. He is now about 60 years old, which by the date of the letter must be about 1640.”1
Dr. Cutting says: “No known service book of the English church gave authority to substitute something else for dipping, down to the period of the Reformation. …Simpson, in his excellent work on Baptismal fonts, says: 'Not one of the rituals which we have examined (he is alluding to those preceding the prayer book of Edward VI) contains any permission to use pouring or sprinkling when the child is brought to the church.' …In the prayer book of Edward VI the exceptional allusion was first put into the rubrick. …'This,' says Simpson, 'was the first instance of pouring being allowed in public baptism.'”2
Dr. Wall says: “The offices of liturgies for public baptism in the Church of England, did all along, as far as I could learn, enjoin dipping without any mention of pouring or sprinkling. And John Frith, writing in the year 1533, a treatise on baptism, calls the outward part of it the plunging down into the water, which he often mentions without ever mentioning sprinkling and pouring.”3
Says Dr. Schaff: “King Edward and Queen Elizabeth were immersed. The first prayer book of Edward the VI, 1594, directs the priest to dip the child in the water. …In the second prayer book, 1552, the priest is simply directed to dip the child discreetly and warily, and permission is given, for the first time in Great Britain, to substitute pouring', if the godfathers and godmothers certify that the child is weak. During the reign of Elizabeth, Bays Dr. Wall, 'Many fond ladies and gentle women first, and then by degrees the common people, would obtain the…
1 Crosby's Hist. of Bap., vol. 2, pp. 46-54.
2 Cutting's History Vindications, pp. 78, 79.
3 Wall's Hist. Int. Bap., vol. 1, p. 350
…favor of the priests to have their children pass for weak children, too tender to endure the dipping in the water.' The same writer traces the practice of sprinkling to the period of the Long Parliament and the Westminster Assembly. This change in England and other Protestant countries from immersion to pouring, and from pouring to sprinkling, was encouraged by the authority of Calvin, who declared the mode to be a matter of no importance, and by the Westminster Assembly of Divines, 1643-1652, which decided that pouring or sprinkling is 'not only lawful but also sufficient.’”1
Says Dr. Wall: “As for sprinkling, properly so called, it seems it was, in 1625, just then beginning and used by very few. It must have begun in the disorderly times after 1641, for Mr. Blake had never used it, nor seen it used.”2 Dr. Wall also says: “France seems to have been the first country in the world in which baptism by affusion was used ordinarily to persons in health, and in the public way of administration. …From France it spread, but not until a good while after, into Italy, Germany, Spain, etc., and last of all, into England.”3 As late as John Wesley's time, 1736, “He refused to baptize, otherwise than by dipping, the child of Henry Parker, unless the said Henry Parker and his wife could certify that the child was weak and not able to bear dipping; and added to his refusal that, unless the said parents would consent to have it dipped, it might die a heathen.”4
To the universality of immersion in the Episcopal church, up to and at the Reformation, like testimonies can…
1 Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, pp. 5l, 52.
2 Wall's Hist. Int. Bap., vol. 2, p. 311.
3 Idem, vol. 1, pp. 576, 577.
4 Life and Times of John Wesley, by Tyerman, vol. 1, pp. 156, 157.
…be added almost ad infinitum. Surely, these, which no authority contradicts, must be superabundant. Any one desiring more testimonies is referred to Conant's Baptizein, Robinson's History of Baptism, Edinburgh Encyclopedia, J. T. Christian on Baptism, etc.
In view of the foregoing, to say the Baptists of England, before, up to and at the time of John Smyth,
were not immersionists, involves the following incredible things: First, that, though claiming to follow only the Bible, they were not as obedient to it as the creed-ridden Episcopalians, who never permitted affusion for adults, but only for sickly infants. Second, that we have the strange somersaults of Baptists, who were then affusionists, becoming immersionists, while Episcopalians, who were then immersionists, have become affusionists! We, therefore, find the writers and others, who were contemporaneous with the Baptists of England, in the sixteenth century, universally, whenever they mention the matter, speaking of them as “Dippers.” Dr. Featley, one of their bitterest enemies, who eagerly seized on anything he could to make them opprobrious, and who lived between 1582-1645, and who wrote the bitter work entitled, “The Dippers Dipt; or, the Anabaptists Plunged Over Head and Ears,” at a disputation in Southwark, between 1641-1645 — in the language of Dr. Armitage — “Never accuses the English Baptists of substituting dipping, or some other practice which they had previously followed. He gives not one hint that in England they had ever been anything else but 'Dippers,' an unaccountable silence if they had practiced something else there within the previous fifty years.”1 Fuller knew the English Baptists only as…
1 Armitage's Hist. Bap., p. 458.
…immersionists. He says: “These Anabaptists, for the main, are but 'Donatists' new dipped.”1
Of John Smyth's baptism, which bears on the point before us, Armitage says: “Those who wrote against the Baptists after 1640, make no distinction on the matter of immersion between the Baptists of that period and those who had continued down from 1610, nor report any change among them, from affusion, or per fusion, to dipping. On the contrary, they speak of them as one stock, from Smyth downward. …Uniformly in contempt they call them ‘Dippers,’ Barbone says in his discourse: ‘They want a 'Dipper' that had authority from heaven.' Featley bitterly complains that they 'Flock in multitudes to their Jordans, and both sexes enter the river and are dipped after their manner.' …There is not a particle of evidence that Smyth affused himself, and it is a cheap caricature to imagine that he disrobed himself, walked into a stream, then lifted handfuls of water, pouring them liberally upon his own shoulders and chest. We have the same reason for believing that he immersed Helwys, as much as that he dipped himself.”2
Mason writes: “Heluissies' folk differed from the Independents generally on the subject of infant baptism and dipping.” He thinks that Busher was a member of that “congregation” in 1614, the man who described a baptized person as one “dipped for the dead in the water.”3
Wilson's History of Dissenting Churches, (pages 29-30) says of Smyth: “He saw grounds to consider immersion as the true and only meaning of the word baptism.”3
1 Fuller's Ch. Hist. of Britain, cent. 16, sec. 5, 11.
2 Armitage's Hist. Bap., pp. 457-459.
3 Idem, p. 459.
Neal says that Smyth “plunged himself.”1
That the English Baptists were closely related to the Dutch and German Baptists is well known to the historian. The Dutch and German Anabaptists being immersionists is assurance of the English Baptists practicing only immersion. Of Smyth's time Evans says: “There were Baptists in Holland, those who administered the ordinance of immersion.”2
Evans thus quotes from the editor of John Robinson's works: “The Dutch Baptists, by whom they were surrounded, uniformly administered baptism by immersion,” and Evans adds: “There was a portion of the Dutch Baptists who uniformly administered baptism by immersion.”3 Hence, Rev. W. W. Everts, Jr., says: “The English Baptists practiced immersion and the first of them came from the continent.”
That any early English Baptist church ever changed from affusion to immersion there is not even a shadow of proof. In the name of all reason I ask: Who can believe that they could have made so great a change without leaving one mark of it on history's page?
That the genuine early English Baptists were exclusive immersionists is beyond all reasonable doubt.
l Neal's History Puritans, vol. 1, p. 243.
2 Idem, Ibid.
3 Evans' Early Eng. Bap., vol. 1, p. 203.