(Copied from pages 21-23 of J.R. Graves 'Introductory Essays to Orchard's History of the Baptist Churches, 13th Edition, 1885)
It can be shown upon the most unquestionable authorities, that there has been a succession of Baptist churches in England and Wales, from the days of Paul until now, and it is an established fact that the majority of the churches planted in America, from 1645 - 1730, were organized by Welsh Baptists, and constituted upon the articles of faith brought over with them from the mother churches. Mr. Orchard informs us that he is preparing for the press a history of the Baptists of England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and America, which will be reprinted as soon as it can be obtained. In the meantime we submit the following fact: About fifty years before the birth of our Savior, the Romans invaded the British Isles, in the reign of the Welsh King, Cassabellan; but having failed in consequence of other and more important wars, to conquer the Welsh nation, made peace with them and dwelt among them many years. During that period many of the Welsh soldier joined the Roman army, and many families from Wales visited Rome, among whom there was a certain woman of the name Claudia, who was married to a man named Pudens.
At the same time Paul was sent a prisoner to Rome, and preached there in his own hired house, for the space of two years, about the year of our Lord 63.
Pudens and Claudia his wife, who belonged to Caesar's household, under the blessings of God on Paul's preaching, were brought to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, and made a profession of Christian religion (see Tim 4:21) The author also gives Fox, Dr. Gill, Matthew Henry, Godwin's Catalogues, and Crosby's History of English Baptists as proof. These together with other Welshmen, among them Roman soldiers, who had tasted that the Lord was gracious, exerted themselves on the behalf of their countrymen in Wales, who were at that time vile idolaters.
That the gospel was extensively spread in Briton during this period we learn from Tertullian and Origen. In the year 130 there were two ministers by the names of Faganus and Damianus, who were born in Wales, but born again in Rome, and these becoming eminent ministers of the gospel, were sent from Rome to assist brethren in Wales.
During this year Lucious, the Welsh king, was baptized, and was the first king in the world who embraced the Christian religion. During the next century Christianity made rapid progress in the Island, as is evident from the testimony of Tertullian, and from the multitudes of martyrs who suffered in the tenth pagan persecution under Dioclesian, which took place about the year 300. The Saxons invaded England in 469, overthrew Christianity, and burnt the meeting houses, and drove all who would not submit to them into Cambria, which is now called Wales. During this century the British Christians suffered greatly at the hands of their Saxon foes. Yet we find that there were several eminent and faithful ministers among the Welsh Baptists at this period, among whom were Gildas, who was a man of learning, Dyfrig, Dynwat, Telio, Padaru, Pawlin, and Daniel.
Infant Baptism was not known to the Welsh Christians until A.D 596 or 600, when Austin was sent by Gregory, Bishop of Rome, to convert the Saxons. In this he was successful, and according to Fox, he baptized ten thousand in the river Swale. He sought and obtained a conference with the Welsh Baptists near the border of Wales. The main point was that these Primitive Christians should acknowledge the usurped authority of the church of Rome. Fabian, an ancient historian, related the final demand of Austin in these words, "Sins ye wol not assent to me specially in three things; the first is, that ye keep Easter day in due form and time as it is ordained; second, that ye give Christendome to children, and the third is that ye preach unto the englis the word of god afortetimes I have exhorted you. And all other deale I will suffer you to amende and reforme within yourselves." But these Baptists utterly refused to practice the traditions of Rome for the commandments of Christ. Then this emissary of Rome threatened them in this wise, "Sins ye wol not receave Peace of your brethren, ye shall of other receave Warre and wretche."
The Saxons shortly after invaded Wales, it is thought through the influence of Austin, and slaughtered incredible numbers. While infant baptism and the traditions of the son of perdition were enforced by the sword upon the low country, and the rich and more fertile portions of the island, Welsh Baptists contend that the principles of the gospel were maintained pure and unalloyed in the recesses of their mountainous principality, all through the dark reign of popery. Dr. Richard Davis, Bishop of Monmouth, said, "There was a vast difference between the Christianity of the Ancient Britons and the mock Christianity introduced by Austin into England in 596; for the ancient Britons kept their Christianity pure, without any mixture of human traditions, as they received it from the disciples of Christ, adhering strictly to the rules of the Word of God.
"The faith and discipline of the Scottish churches in Ireland were the same with the British churches, and their friendship and communion reciprocal. The ordinances of the gospel in both islands, at this time, were administered in their primitive mode. The venerable Bede says that the supremacy of Rome was unknown to the Irish. And no ceremonies were used which were not strictly warranted by the Scriptures. In short, from what we have stated, and the evidence produced by Usher, we have the strongest reason to conclude that these islands enjoyed the blessings of a pure and enlightened piety, unembarrassed by any use of the idol tenants of the Romish Church."
These Welsh churches are our church ancestors in organization and doctrine. Many Baptists came to America by way of Europe and mingled to some extent with these, but they were most all Arminians and separated from us in 1832.
From the book "Peace" by Elder Leon H. Clevenger
--- Leon. H Clevenger
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