BAPTISTS (ante). The history of this denomination in the United States can be traced far back towards the first colonizing of New England by the pilgrim fathers. The first B. churches, however, were founded by Roger Williams, in Providence, R. I., and by John Clark, in Newport, R. I., during the year 1639. Williams at first met con siderable opposition and persecution for declining to recognize the power of the civil magistrate in matters of religion; but in 1644 he obtained a charter for the land which he and his followers had colonized. It is now called Rhode Island, and was among the first states to grant religious liberty. In the other colonies the persecution of the Bap tists lasted many years, occasioned not altogether by their religious views, but in part by their .extreme views regarding civil government. Laws were made against them in Massachusetts in 1644, and .some of them were banished in 1669; they were proscribed in New York in 1662, and in Virginia in 1664, but about the beginning of the 18th c. the authorities became more tolerant. It may be said here that the article on religious liberty to be found in the amendments of our constitution is in no small part dim to the strenuous efforts of the B. in 1789.
The B. in the United States are divided into several denominations. After the revo lution their cause steadily advanced; and the regular or associated B. denomination has now in the United States alone, according to the Baptist Year Book for 1879, 1075 associ ations, 24,499 churches, 14,954 ministers, 11,845 Sunday-schools, with 827,770 volumes in the libraries, and 2,102,034 church members. They have 9 theological seminaries: 2 in New York, at Hamilton and Rochester; 2 in Illinois, at Upper Alton and Morgan Park; 2 in Kentucky, at Georgetown and Louisville; 1 at Newton Center, Mass.; 1 at Upland, Pa., and 1 at Liberty, Mo.; the total number of students being 838, and 37 instructors; the total value of property $1,685,178, and the endowment amounting to $1,245,545. They have 31 colleges and universities, of which Brown university, founded in 1764 at Providence, R. I., is the most celebrated. The more prominent of the others are Colby university, at Waterville, Me.; Madison university, at Hamilton, N.Y.; Colum bian university, at \Washington, D.C.; the university of Rochester, N.Y.; the university
of Chicago, 111.; and Vassar college for women, at Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Total number of students in all the colleges, 4897, with 269 instructors; total value of property, $7,096,726; amount of endowment, $2,962,275; and 208,835 volumes in the various libraries of the colleges. According to the Year Book, they have 47 academies, semina ries, institutes, and female colleges, with 4632 students; a property value of $2,361,000, and endowment of $392,545. home and foreign statistics for the year 1878 were, for the five continents, as far as reported: As to doctrine, and worship, the Calvinistic B. in America, as in Eng land, agree in all essential points, except as to the subjects and mode of baptism, with the evangelical Congregationalists. They require baptism by immersion to entitle them to church membership membership, denying that any other mode is scriptural or valid. They disallow the baptism of infants, administering that rite to none but believers on the confession of their personal faith. In respect to communing at the Lord's supper with persons not regularly immersed, there is difference of view and of practice among B.—some holding to "open" and some to ." close " communion. Open communionists, common among English B., are in this country a very small minority of the denomination.
The B. have been distinguished for zeal and Success in evangelizing the newer por tions of the country, and must be recognized as supplying much of the Christian force with which American society has been molded. As a denomination, they are positive and aggressive. They are represented in nearly all the great Cities by powerful, well. equipped, and rapidly augmenting churches. In missions among the heathen, they have shown great zeal; and though they have not sought to cover a great number of fields, they are not surpassed in modern times in diligent and persevering efforts. In some countries, notably in Burmah formerly, and in northern India recently, their suc cess In missionary labor has risen to grand proportions.
The associated B. in the United States meet annually in stated conventions for the promotion of missions, education, beneficence, etc. They have a publication society at Philadelphia.