Excerpt from The Place of Baptists in Protestant Christendom: An Address Before the American Baptist Historical Society, at Its Ninth Anniversary, in Providence, R. I., May 30th, 1862
Reformation may be thought of entirely apart from Prot estantism. The former may be imagined to have gone on quietly and peaceably, its spirit to have been cherished, its doctrines to have been apprehended, its life to have been lived, as has been the case in many a devout heart throughout all ages. We may conceive it to have wrought like the leaven, in secret, or, if Openly yet so gently, so patiently, so purely, that there should have been transformation at last without, at any time, a. Protest or a revolution. In short, the reformers might have proceeded as Protestant Churchmen think those among themselves desiring amendment ought to do, careful above all things that the body, called of Christ, should not be broken. But suppose them to prefer a different course. Sup pose them unwilling, secretly or individually alone, to hold the great truth of gratuitous salvation through Christ, and of the autocracy of Scripture, and resolved on publishing their belief, exemplifying it in practice, and making it effective through organic association, through Church fellowship, in short; and suppose them to be met now by the assertion that however it might be with their particular truths, the power of the church was paramount, and that the church - the State too, if you please - forbade their procedure; then must they either yield, recant, suppress their cherished sentiments, and even obediently suffer the discipline of sacred mother church, or they must find a standing ground back of their primary and palpable doctrines, a first truth of church building, and that will be the principle of Protestantism.
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