This denomination of Christians holds that a personal profession of faith and an immersion in water are essential to baptism. There are several bodies of Baptists in the United States, which will be found under their different names. The Regular or Associated Baptists are, in sentiment, moderate Calvinists, and form the most numerous body of Baptists in this country.

The Baptists being Independent, or Congregational, in their form of church government, their ecclesiastical assemblies disclaim all right to interfere with the concerns of individual churches. Their public meetings, by delegation from different churches, are held for the purpose of mutual advice and improvement, but not for the general government of the whole body.

The following Declaration of Faith, with the Church Covenant, was recently published by the Baptist Convention of New Hampshire, and is believed to express, with little variation, the general sentiments of the Regular or Associated Baptists: --

"I. OF THE SCRIPTURES. -- We believe the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its Author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us, and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true centre of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions, should be tried.

"II. OF THE TRUE GOD. -- That there is one, and only one, true and living God, whose name is JEHOVAH, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness; worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love; revealed under the personal and relative distinctions of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.

"III. OF THE FALL OF MAN. -- That man was created in a state of holiness, under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, wholly given to the gratification of the world, of Satan, and of their own sinful passions, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defence or excuse.

"IV. OF THE WAY OF SALVATION. -- That the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace, through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, who took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the law by his personal obedience, and made atonement for our sins by his death; being risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in heaven; and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior.

"V. OF JUSTIFICATION. -- That the great gospel blessing which Christ, of his fulness, bestows on such as believe in him, is justification; that justification consists in the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life, on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through his own redemption and righteousness; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.

"VI. OF THE FREENESS OF SALVATION. -- That the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, except his own voluntary refusal to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ; which refusal will subject him to an aggravated condemnation.

"VII. OF GRACE IN REGENERATION. -- That, in order to be saved, we must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind, and is effected in a manner above our comprehension or calculation, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; and that its proper evidence is found in the holy fruit which we bring forth to the glory of God.

"VIII. OF GOD'S PURPOSE OF GRACE. -- That election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which he regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners; that, being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it is ascertained by its effects in all who believe the gospel; is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves, demands and deserves our utmost diligence.

"IX. OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS. -- That such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

"X. HARMONY OF THE LAW AND GOSPEL. -- That the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government; that it is holy, just, and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfil its precepts, arises entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and to restore them, through a Mediator, to unfeigned obedience to the holy law, is one great end of the gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.

"XI. OF A GOSPEL CHURCH. -- That a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by his laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges, invested in them by his word; that its only proper officers are bishops, or pastors, and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties, are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.

"XII. OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER. -- That Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit; to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its purifying power; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation, and, to the Lord's supper, in which the members of the church, by the use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ, -- preceded always by solemn self-examination.

"XIII. OF THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH. -- That the first day of the week is the Lord's day, or Christian Sabbath, and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes, by abstaining from all secular labor and recreations; by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private and public; and by preparation for that rest which remaineth for the people of God.

"XIV. OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT. -- That civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests of good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed, except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.

"XV. OF THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED. -- That there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death.

"XVI. OF THE WORLD TO COME. -- That the end of this world is approaching; that, at the last day, Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men, in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.

"CHURCH COVENANT. -- having been, as we trust, brought by divine grace to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, and to give up ourselves wholly to him, we do now solemnly and joyfully covenant with each other, TO WALK TOGETHER IN HIM WITH BROTHERLY LOVE, to his glory as our common Lord. We do, therefore, in his strength engage,

"That we will exercise a mutual care, as members one of another, to promote the growth of the whole body in Christian knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to the end that we may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

"That, to promote and secure this object, we will uphold the public worship of God and the ordinances of his house, and hold constant communion with each other therein; that we will cheerfully contribute of our property for the support of the poor, and for the maintenance of a faithful ministry of the gospel among us.

"That we will not omit closet and family religion at home, nor allow ourselves in the too common neglect of the great duty of religiously training up our children, and those under our care, with a view to the service of Christ and the enjoyment of heaven.

"That we will walk circumspectly in the world, that we may win their souls; remembering that God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind, that we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and that a city set on a hill cannot be hid.

"That we will frequently exhort, and, if occasion shall require, admonish, one another, according to Matthew 18th, in the spirit of meekness; considering ourselves, lest we also be tempted; and that, as in baptism, we have been buried with Christ, and raised again, so there is on us a special obligation henceforth, to walk in newness of life.

"And may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfect in every good work to do his will; working in us that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. AMEN."

(See Matt.3:5, 6, 11, 13-16; 20:22, 23; 21:25; 28:19. Mark 1:4, 5, 8, 9, 10; 11:30; 16:15, 16. Luke 3:3, 7, 12, 16, 21; 7:29, 30; 12:50; 20:4. John 1:28, 31, 33; 3:22, 23; 4:1, 2. Acts 1:5,2 2; 2:38, 41; 8: 12, 13, 36-39; 9:18; 10:37, 47, 48; 13:24; 16:15, 33; 18:8, 25; 19:4, 5; 22:16. Rom.6:3, 4.1 Cor.1: 13-17; 10:2; 12:13; 15:29. Gal.3:27. Eph.4:5. Col.2:12. Heb.6:2.1 Pet.3:31.)

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"This denomination claims an immediate descent from the apostles, and asserts that the constitution of their churches is from the authority of Jesus Christ himself, and his immediate successors. Many others, indeed, deduce their origin as a sect from much later times, and affirm that they first sprang up in Germany in the sixteenth century. This denomination of Christians is distinguished from others by their opinions respecting the mode and subjects of baptism. Instead of administering the ordinance by sprinkling or pouring water, they maintain that it ought to be administered only by immersion: such, they insist, is the meaning of the Greek word baptizo, to wash or dip, so that a command to baptize is a command to immerse. They also defend their practice from the phrase buried with him in baptism, from the first administrators' repairing to rivers, and the practice of the primitive church, after the apostles.

"With regard to the subjects of baptism, this denomination alleges that it ought not to be administered to children or infants at all, nor to adults in general; but to those only who profess repentance for sin and faith in Christ. Our Savior's commission to his apostles, by which Christian baptism was instituted, is to go and teach all nations, baptizing them, &c., that is, not to baptize all they meet with, but first to examine and instruct them, and whoever will receive instruction, to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This construction of the passage is confirmed by another passage -- 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.' To such persons, and to such only, this denomination says, baptism was administered by the apostles and the immediate disciples of Christ; for those who were baptized in primitive times are described as repenting of their sins, and believing in Christ. (See Acts 2:38, 8:37, and other passages of Scripture.)

"They further insist that all positive institutions depend entirely upon the will and declaration of the institutor; and that, therefore, reasoning by analogy from previous abrogated rites is to be rejected, and the express commands of Christ respecting the mode and subjects of baptism ought to be our only rule.

"They observe that the meaning of the word baptizo signifies immersion or dipping only; that John baptized in Jordan; that he chose a place where there was much water; that Jesus came up out of the water; that Philip and the eunuch went down both into the water; that the terms washing, purifying, burying in baptism, so often mentioned in Scripture, allude to this mode; that immersion only was the practice of the apostles and the first Christians; and that it was only laid aside from the love of novelty, and the coldness of our climate. These positions, they think, are so clear from Scripture, and the history of the church, that they stand in need of but little argument to support them."

There are some interesting facts connected with the history of the Baptists in America. In 1631, the Rev. Roger Williams, who had been a clergyman of the church of England, but, disliking its formalities, seceded, and ranged himself with the Nonconformists, fled to America from the persecutions which then raged in England. The great principles of civil and religious liberty were not then understood in the western world, and, as Mr. Williams was a man of intrepid firmness in advocating those principles, we are not surprised at the excitement and opposition which his doctrines awakened. He settled first in Salem, New England, the magistracy of which condemned his opinions, and subsequently sentenced him to banishment. Under that cruel act of legislation, he was driven from his family, in the midst of winter, to seek for refuge among the wild Indians. After great sufferings, having conciliated the Indians, he commenced the formation of a colony, to which he gave the name of Providence, situate in Rhode Island, a name which it still bears.

Thus he became the founder of a new order of things. Several of his friends afterwards joined him, and in that infant settlement he sustained the twofold character of minister and lawgiver. He formed a constitution on the broad principle of civil and religious liberty, and thus became the first ruler that recognized equal rights. Nearly a century and a half after that, when the Americans achieved their independence, thirteen of the states united in forming a government for themselves, and adopted that principle; thus America became, what the little colony of Providence had been before, a refuge for the persecuted for conscience sake. It has been well observed that the millions in both hemispheres who are now rejoicing in the triumph of liberal principles, should unite in erecting a monument to perpetuate the memory of ROGER WILLIAMS, the first governor who held liberty of conscience, as well as of person, to be the birthright of man.

In the year 1639, Mr. Williams formed the first Baptist church in America, at Providence. Throughout succeeding years, few changes, comparatively, were experienced in the movements of the Baptist denomination on this vast continent. Baptist churches multiplied exceedingly, until they assumed a leading attitude among the religious communities of America. They have amply provided for an efficient and learned ministry, and the extraordinary revivals with which they have been frequently favored, invest them with a moral strength and glory which cannot be contemplated but with astonishment and admiration.

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