Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
On this page I keep a collection of all known copies of Particular Baptist literature that are publicly available. These are few in number. Most of the Particular Baptists’ books are available through Early English Books Online, but this requires access to an institution with a paid subscription to the EEBO database. One might think that EEBO has the rights to all these books. In fact, they only have rights to the digital scans in their database. Thus, the only way to get literature like this into the hand of the public is for libraries to scan their own copies of these books and make them available. It would seem that the British Library is in the process of doing so, because I have recently found (through their online library catalog) that they have made several of their own books available to the public. Some of these copies have been rebound, and perhaps they were digitized at that time, given that photography is easier when there is less pressure to preserve the original binding.
Whatever the reason, we can all benefit from their work now. I have made an initial search of their Particular Baptist literature and added links to the page linked above, marking out the copies from the British Library, which are in color! The copies marked “Google Books” are the same books as the British Library scans, but in black and white. The British Library has many more Particular Baptist books than what they have digitized thus far, but it seems that over time more and more should be added to the corpus of public access material.
The crown jewel of these scans, in my opinion, is the 1695 Baptist Catechism, though readers may enjoy Nehemiah Coxe’s Vindiciae Veritatis or Hercules Collins’ The Temple Repair’d. Another special addition is Benjamin Keach’s The Child’s Delight which is the book he was famously put in the stocks for. This book was hard to get a hold of for a long time, partly because it was ordered to be destroyed. Now anyone can read it. Note also two works by Keach on the covenants, digitized and made available from J.I. Packer’s library. Their quality is exceptional.
If you find any more resources like these, or if you have any trouble with the links, please let me know.
Thomas Brooks says,
From “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ” (1657).
In the seventeenth-century polemics of paedobaptism and credobaptism, one of the common arguments asserted by the English Particular Baptists was that their paedobaptist brothers agreed that a profession of faith was a necessary prerequisite for baptism. To make their point, Particular Baptists like Andrew Ritor, Benjamin Coxe, William Kiffin, Hanserd Knollys, and Thomas Patient appealed to the catechism of the Church of England, which was appended to the Book of Common Prayer. The catechism specifically required a profession of faith and repentance before admission to baptism. Here is the portion to which they referred:
The Particular Baptists viewed this as inconsistent credobaptism, or perhaps we could call it “credopaedobaptism.” If actual repentance and faith were necessary, how could these be promised by parents or godparents? Given their strong Calvinism, the idea of promising actual faith and repentance (which could only be given by God) for another was an absurdity. To the Particular Baptists, this presupposed the election and thus salvation of children, many of which were not saved. If the children were presupposed as elect, then salvation could be lost. If the children were not presupposed as elect, then there could be no presupposition of God-given repentance and faith in them.
When the Westminster Assembly began its work reforming the Church of England in order to impose national uniformity through a new Confession of Faith, Catechism, and Directory for Public Worship (with a few more documents), they inherited the unlucky task of wrestling with the question of a profession of faith in baptism. George Gillespie’s Notes of Debates and Proceedings of the Westminster Assembly give us a glimpse into how the Assembly handled it. Read below and decide for yourself if their conclusions about credopaedobaptism were satisfactory.
Thomas Manton comments,
Proverbs 18:1 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.
Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, abut how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him– a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and ball the more as you see the Day drawing near.