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OF THE

English Baptists,

FROM

The ReformATION to the Beginning

of the Reign of King George I.

VOL. I.

CONTAINING
Their History to the RESTORATION

of King Charles II.

By THO. CROSB Y.

LONDON,
Printed for, and Sold by, the Editor, either

at his House in Vine-Street, Minories; or at
his House upon Horse-ly-down, Southwark.

"DCCXXXVIII.

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R E A D E R.

AM well aware, that some things contained in this history may awaken prejudice, censure, or displeasure, and occafron objections and offence, both to the treatise and my self. And I know that

some bave already declared their opinion, shat fats which bring no credit to the persons of whom they are related, ought to be buried in oblivion." But such persons seem to me to be very ignorant of the duty of an historian. In answer to whom I Mall only observe, that those heretical persons of the denomination of Baptists, on whom the sword of the magistrate fell fo heavy, are yet upon record, and not omitted even by so late an author as the reverend Mr. Neal, and so exposed to the view of men from age to age. Therefore 'I thought it needful, as well as jus, to have these things set in a clear open ligbt, to disabuse all those who may bave been imposed upon by false or partial and defe&tive history in this matter, and to remove, or prevent, or allay, scandal, or censure, for time to come ; and I am apt to think that many readers now and bereafter would have thought me partial, bad I not taken notice of them.

Neither do I think that it refletts any odium on the 's English Baptifts, that some of their opinion in the point

of Baptism, bave been charged with heretical notions and heterodox opinions, Name me that body of christians in the world, which may not be equally, if not more, chargeable with the same. And get i doubt not, God bath many faithful servants in this kingdom, among A all the denominations of chriftians, who notwithstanding the imputation of heresy and heterodoxy charged on them by others, will be found among tbe blessed in the kingdom of glory,

And as it is utterly unreasonable to impute the mifcarriages of some, to the rest of that body to which they

A 2

belong,

belong, until they profess and manifeft their approbation of them; so it is much more unreasonable to impute the miscarriages and bad principles of persons long since dead, to those, who in some one point, now believe and .. alt as they did, but own not, nor abet either their bad principles, or their practical enormities.

Now though many, even of the learned, and so late àn author as Mr. Neal, from wbom we might have looked for more cbriftian treatment, have made it their bufiness to represent the Anabaptists, as they are pleased in contempt to file them, in odious colours, and to write many bitter things, even notorious falfhoods concerning them, nay, to fasten doctrines upon them, which they never approved ; yet, as Mall be sewn in the sequel of this hiftory, no one feet of christians in this kingdom bave merited more the favour and good efteem of their governours and christian brethren, by their peaceable carriage and behaviour towards them, than they bave done. What fe&t of christians have fewed the like contentedness under the deprivations which the legislature bas seen needful to lay upon the Dissenters in general, than they? Who have been more content with the liberty allowed them by law than they? But not to be tedious in an epiftolary way, I shall refer the reader to the work itself, and leave himio judge whether I deserve to be reproached for avoiding partiality.

He that confiders the great trouble and pains that muft attend the reading so many voluminous books, to take in the compass of so many years included in this history; and the perplexing iboughts and difficulties under which an author labours; whose principal end is to set things in a just and fair light, will

, if he be candid, easily pass by small faults and little inadvertencies; but if there shall appear in the course of this history any confiderable mistakes, I mall bold my self obliged to such gentlemen, who shall be pleased to represent them, promising to take the firft opportunity that all present, to retrait or amend the same.

Tho. Crosby.

(i)

Τ Η Ε

PREFACE

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HOEVER writes a Book
seems by custom obliged to
write a preface to it; where-
in it is expected, he should
shew the motives which in-

duced him to write the same.
'Tis now many years since the materials,
of which a great part of this treatise is form-
ed, came into my hands. Had the ingeni-
ous collector of them lived to digest them Mr. Benj.
in their proper order, according to his de-Stinton.
fign, they would have appeared much more
beautiful and correct, than now they do. I
might here .expatiate in his praise, and say a.
great deal of my own knowledge, both as to
his industry and acquirements : But, as I
shall hereafter have occasion to mention him,
I omit it here: And shall annex to this pre-
face the several opinions of the first rise of
the Baptists, which he designed as an intro-
duction to his intended history of them; be-

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