THE Christians commonly called Baptists are, according to my belief, the purest part of that sect which, of old, was “everywhere spoken against,” and I am convinced that they have, beyond their brethren, preserved the ordinances of the Lord Jesus as they were delivered unto the saints.
I care very little for the “historical church” argument; but if there be anything at all in it, the plea ought not to be filched by the clients of Rome, but should be left to that community which all along has held by “one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.” This body of believers has not been exalted into temporal power, or decorated with worldly rank, but it has dwelt for the most part in dens and caves of the earth,—“destitute, afflicted, tormented,”—and so has proved itself of the house and lineage of the Crucified.
The church which most loudly claims the apostolical succession wears upon her brow more of the marks of Antichrist than of Christ; but the afflicted Anabaptists, in their past history, have had such fellowship with their suffering Lord, and have borne so pure a testimony, both to truth and freedom, that they need in nothing to be ashamed. Their very existence under the calumnies and persecutions which they have endured is a standing marvel, while their unflinching fidelity to the Scriptures as their sole rule of faith, and their adherence to the simplicity of gospel ordinances, is a sure index of their Lord’s presence among them.
It would not be impossible to show that the first Christians who dwelt in this land were of the same faith and order as the believers now called Baptists. The errors of the churches are all more or less modern, and those which have clustered around the ordinance of baptism are by no means so venerable for age as some would have us suppose.
The evidence supplied by ancient monuments and baptisteries, which still remain, would be conclusive in our favour were it not that upon this point the minds of men are not very open to argument. Foregone conclusions and established ecclesiastical arrangements are not easily shaken. Few men care to follow truth when she leads them without the camp, and calls them to take up their cross, and endure to be thought singular even by their fellow-Christians.
Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from his diary, letters, and records, by his wife and his private secretary: Volume 1, 1834-1854 (303–304). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
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