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Preliminary Remarks on the English BaptistsThe Government of their Churches. -The Baptist Associations-General and Particular BaptistsRise of the Modern Question Controversy occasioned by it-State of our Churches about the year 1770Spread of False Calvinism among them, and other Denominations-A Check begun to be put to it's Progress.

MR. FULLER having been brought up among the Particular Baptists, in which religious connection he rose to eminent respectability and usefulness, it may be proper to prefix to the narrative of his life and labours, a brief account of the principles held by that denomination of Christians, and of the state of religion among them at the time of his entering on the work of the ministry.

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The Baptists take their name from the ordinance of Baptism, in respect of which they are concerned to adhere to the primitive institution of Jesus Christ, from which they conceive Christians of other denominations have deviated. I simply mention this, as not knowing into what hands this publication may fall. If any reader wishes to know the reasons of our judgment on this subject, I would refer them to a late publication of my own.* We wish others to search the scriptures carefully, and judge for themselves, and desire to love all that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, whether they think with us on this point or not.

As to Church Government, the Baptists have almost universally coincided in opinion and practice with the Independents; considering every separate congregation as authorized to chuse it's own elders, and admitting or excluding members by the vote of the whole church, 3 xH

In several parts of the kingdom they have long had Associations of churches; to the apnual meeting of whose ministers and messengers letters are sent, giving information of the state of every church; while a general letter from each' Association is usually printed, and circulated through all the churches. If

* See A Candid Statement of the Reasons which induce the Baptists to differ in Opinion and Practice from so many of their Christian Brethren.

any church were to dishonour their profession, by tolerating fundamental errors or scandalous disorder in it's members, the Association would refuse to acknowledge them as belonging to it's body. I have known very salutary effects to follow from the Association threatening to withdraw from a church, if they did not impartially attend to gospel discipline,

The Northamptonshire and Leicestershire Association, of which Mr. Fuller was so long a distinguished member, was first planned at Kettering, Oct. 1764. A letter was written from the same place, at their first meeting, in May 1765. Their first priuted letter was sent from Olney, in 1766, written by Mr. Moses Deacon: in this the churches are not named; but in 1767 the Association consisted of eight churches : in 1815 it contained thirty-one.

The Western Baptist Association had it's rise much earlier, and was for many years kept up by the Baptists as such, without any regard to their different principles in other respects. The consequence of this was, their annual meetings were found to be rather pernicious than useful; as there was scarcely a meeting of the kind, but some unhappy differences arose betwixt the Calvinistic and Arminian ministers. In the year 1731, this annual meeting was to have been held at Tiverton, but an awful fire about that time, which consumed most of the town, prevented it. The next

The Baptists take their name from the ordinance of Baptism, in respect of which they are concerned to adhere to the primitive institution of Jesus Christ, from which they conceive Christians of other denominations have deviated. I simply mention this, as not knowing into what hands this publication may fall. If any reader wishes to know the reasons of our judgment on this subject, I would refer them to a late publication of my own. We wish others to search the scriptures carefully, and judge for themselves, and desire to love all that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, whether they think with us on this point or

*

not.

As to Church Government, the Baptists have almost universally, coincided in opinion and practice with the Independents; considering every separate congregation as authorized to chuse it's own elders, and admitting or excluding members by the vote of the whole church,

In several parts of the kingdom they have long had Associations of churches; to the annual meeting of whose ministers and messengers letters are sent, giving information of the state of every church; while a general letter from each' Association is usually printed, and circulated through all the churches. If

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* See A Candid Statement of the Reasons which induce the Baptists to differ in Opinion and Practice from so many of their Christian Brethren.

any church were to dishonour their profession, by tolerating fundamental errors or scandalous disorder in it's members, the Association would refuse to acknowledge them as belonging to it's body. I have known very salutary effects to follow from the Association threatening to withdraw from a church, if they did not .impartially attend to gospel discipline,

The Northamptonshire and Leicestershire Association, of which Mr. Fuller was so long a distinguished member, was first planned at Kettering, Oct. 1764. A letter was written from the same place, at their first meeting, in May 1765. Their first priuted letter was sent from Olney, in 1766, written by Mr. Moses Deacon: in this the churches are not named; but in 1767 the Association consisted of eight churches : in 1815 it contained thirty-one.

Tbe Western Baptist Association had it's rise much earlier, and was for many years kept up by the Baptists as such, without any regard to their different principles in other respects. The consequence of this was, their annual meetings were found to be rather pernicious than useful; as there was scarcely a meeting of the kind, but some unhappy differences arose betwixt the Calvinistic and Arminian ministers. In the year 1731, this annual meeting was to have been held at Tiverton, but an awful fire about that time, which consumed most of the town, prevented it. The next

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