finger ; promised to be wrote on the tables of their hearts ; and con-
firmed by a miracle for the space of forty years, in the wilderness.
The manna not keeping good any day but the Sabbath, God gave
them the bread of two days, because he gave them the Sabbath. But
whatever was gathered on the other days, and kept until the next,
stank, and was full of worms. And no ceremonial law had the pen-
alty of death annexed to it, to be inflicted by the magistrate ; but the
wilful profaner of the Sabbath was to be put to death by the magis-
trate, as the wilful murderer ; which clearly proves it to be a moral
law ; as may be seen Exod. i6th chap, and elsewhere : " If they hear
not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though
one rose from the dead." Luke xvi. 31.
" Here is in England about nine or ten churches that keep the Sab-
bath ; besides many scattered disciples, who have been eminently pre-
served in this tottering day, when many eminent churches have been
shattered to pieces."*
About this time, a number of letters were sent to America by Pe-
ter Chamberlain, senior Doctor of both Universities, and Physician in
ordinary to his Majesty's person, who was a Sabbatarian. f
By Mr. Stennett's letter it appears that the number of Seventh-day
churches was greater at this early period, than it has been since. At
present, as near as I can learn, there are but three churches in England,
which observe the Seventh day. Two of them are in London, and
the third in the country, at a place called Natton. Two of them, viz.
one in London and the one in Natton, are, in their doctrinal senti-
ments, Particular Baptists, and the other in London is of the General
Seventh-Day Baptists in America,
RHODE-ISLAND was the early resort of Baptists, who kept holy the
Seventh day ; and it now contains not far from a thousand communi-
cants of this belief. They are also found in a number of the other
The first Sabbatarian church in America was formed in Newport
in 1671, and originated in the following manner : In the year 1665,
Stephen Mumford came over from England, and brought with him
the opimcm that the whole of the Ten Commandments, as they were
delivered from Mount Sinai, are moral and immutable, and that it was
an anti- Christian power that changed the SabUath from the Seventh to
* History of the Sabbatarians, cc. by Henry Clarke, pastor of a clvjrch of
that order, in Brookfield county. New- York, p. 10, 11.
f Backus, Clarke.
Seventh-Day Baptists in America. 419
the First day of the week.* Mr. Mumford appears to have joined Mr.
Clarke's church, and Messrs. Hiscox, Hubbard, and others of that com-
munity soon fell in with his opinion of observing the Seventh day. These
brethren travelled in communion with that church until 1671, when
some of their number fell back to the observation of the First day as
the Sabbath. This the Sabbatarians called apostasy, and could no
longer travel with the church, except they were expelled. The church
counted their change a reformation, and could not therefore bring them
under censure. f This was truly an inconvenient posture of affairs, and
the Sabbatarians seemed to have no alternative but to withdraw.
Their number was seven ; their names were William Hiscox, Samuel
Hubbard, Stephen Mumford, Roger Baster, and three sisters. These
persons formed themselves into a church, and William Hiscox became
their pastor. He died in 1704, aged 66, and was succeeded by Wil-
liam Gibson, who died in 1717, aged 79. He came from London,
where he had been ordained before his arrival in Newport ;J is said to
Jiave been a scholar, and left behind him a good character as a preach-
er and Christian. Next to him was Joseph Crandal, who had also been
his colleague. This is the same Crandal, who was apprehended with
Messrs. Clark and Holmes at Lynn, in 165 i. He died in 1737. Af-
ter him was John Maxon, who died in 1778. Successor to him was
the late venerable Elder William Bliss, who died in 1808, aged Si.
The church is now under the care of his son Arnold Bliss and Henry
Burdick. Besides these pastors, this church has sent forth a considera-
ble number of preachers, who have laboured as assistants at home, and
also in different places abroad.
From some of the early members of this church have proceeded a
number of the principal characters, in Rhode-Island, and among its
communicants were the two governors, Richard and Samuel Ward.$
The Hopkinton church is the largest in the Sabbatarian connexion,
and indeed in almost any other, and contains about nine hundred mem-
bers. It was formed at Westerly in 1708, of members from Newport,
who had removed and settled in this region. Westerly, at that time,
comprehended all the southwest corner of the State. It was after-
wards divided into Hopkinton, Charlesvown, &c. This large church
has three meeting-houses, at two of which the communion is adminis-
tered. It has had a succession of wcrthy pastors, most of whom were
remarkable for longevity. It has also sent forth many successful
preachers. Its members have filled various different civil offices in
the State, and Deacon Babcock is now (1813) one of its senators.
Though this church has its seat in Hopkinton, yet its members ate
scattered in a number of the adjoining towns. They are an amiable,
pious people, pretty much inclined to the Arminian system. Laying,
on-of-hands they generally practise, but do not make it a bar to com-
munion. They have lately had a precious revival among them, in
which between one and two hundred were added to their number.
Their pastors, till lately, were Abram Coon and Matthew Stillman.
Elder Coon died a short time since, and who succeeds him I have not
* Chrke's History of the Sabbatarians, p. 8.
t Backus, vo'. i. \>. 411. M. E Iwards's MS. Hw'ccvy of Rhode-Island, p. 10f>
r. Eilwartls's MS. Hist, tf Rhode-Island, p. 109.
$ Backus, vol. iii. I. 234.
420 Seventh-Day Baptists in America.
The Rhode-Island Sabbatarians, like the school of the prophets,
finding thviir place too small for them, have emigrated to other parts,
but mostly to the State of New- York ; and by them foundations have
been laid for a number of churches of their order, which are in a flour-
ishing condition, and some of them are large. Their names, pastors
and numbers will be given in the general table.
In New-Jersey are two churches of the Seventh-day Baptists, which
are ancient and respectable. The oldest was formed at Piscataway,
about thirty miles from the city of New- York, in 1705, and arose in
the following manner : " About i 701, one Edmund Dunham, a mem-
ber of the old First-day church in that town, admonished one Bonham,
who was doing some servile work on Sunday. Bonham put him on
proving that the first day of the week was holy by divine appointment.
This set Dunham on examining the point ; the consequence was, re-
jecting the first day, and receiving the fourth commandment as moral
and therefore unchangeable."* In a short time, seventeen of the old
body sided with Dunham; and in 1 705, they were formed into a church,
chose Dunham for their pastor, and sent him to Westerly to be ordain-
ed, by the Sabbatarian church in that place.
From this church originated the one at Cohansey, in 1737, which
has since become much larger than the mother body. It is situated
about forty miles south-west from Philadelphia. Both of these church-
es have had, for the most part, worthy pastors ; they were founded
and still continue on the Calvinistick plan of doctrine.
A tnird church of Sabbatarian Baptists was formed in this State at
a place called Squan, in Monmouth county, upwards of sixty miles
e-ist by north ot Philadelphia, in 1745, of brethren from Stonington,
Connecticut, and Westerly, Rhode- Island. After remaining here up-
wards ot forty years, they bartered their estates for new lands some-
where towards the Ohio river. This church was Calvinistick, and by
it was probably formed the one in the Red-stone country of the same
faith, of which Mr. Clarke, their historian, seems to have obtained no
In Pennsylvania we find seme at different times, who have united
wi'.h believers' baptism the observation of the Seventh day. The
Tui.ker church at Ephrata is of this belief, as will be shown in the his-
tory of "ha 1 people. In the time so many Keithian Quakers (of whom
an account will soon be given) became Baptists, many of them tell in
with the observation of the S-.-venth day, principally by the influence
of one Abel Noble, who was at that time the only Sabbatarian Baptist
in Pennsylvania. He arrived here, from what place I do not find, in
1684; he baptized the first Keithian Quaker in 1697, and by him
many others v;ere gained over to the Sabbatarian faith. About 1700,
fear chuiches of Sabbatarian Baptists were formed at Newtown, twen-
ty -four iriiles from Philadelphia ; at Pennepek, nine miles ditto ; at
Nottingham, fifty miles ditto ; and at French-Creek, thirty-two miles
from that city. At this last place they built a meeting-house in 1762,
30 feet by 22, on a lot of one acre, the gift of David Rogers ; at the
other places they mei in private houses. Respecting the progress of
the< communities, I do not find much information. In 1770, there
* Edwards's Materials cov, arris the History of the Baptists in New-Jersey, p.
3fe Clarke's History of the Sabbatarians, 'p. 31.
Seventh-Day Baptists in America. 124?
were, In all four of them, but thirty-one communicants, and but one
preacher, whose name was Enoch David.*
In Virginia are three churches of the Seventh-day Baptists ; two of
them belong to the Sabbatarian Conference ; the third, because it ad-
mits to membership some brethren who keep the First day, has not
been received into that body.
In 1754. a church of this order of Baptists was begun on Broad
River, in the parish of St. Mark, South-Carolina, about 180 miles
from Charleston. The leading members in it were 'J homas Owen
and Victor Nelly, from French-Creek, Pennsylvania, and John Gregory
and his two sons, Richard and John, from Pucataway, New-Jersey.
They were Calvinistick in sentiment, and in 1770, had inci eased to
eighteen families, whereof twenty-four persons were baptized. They
had for their preacher one Israel Zeymore, while he behaved well ;
but he afterwards became the master of a vessel, and next went into
the army. " He was," says M. Edwards, " a man of wit and learn-
ing, but unstable as water."
Besides this Sabbatarian church, there were, at the same time, some
oftheTunker Baptists at Beaver-Creek, CloudVCreek, and Edisto,
who observed the Seventh day.
In 1759, eight families of the Seventh-day Baptists passed over from
South-Carolina, and settled near Tuckaseeking, in Georgia. They had
for their leader Richard Gregory, the son of John Gregory, ai Br'>ad
River. Another of their preachers was named Clayton, who was
fined a mark for saying, " that no man could be a Christian who kept
a concubine, were the keeper a king, and the concubine a countess ;'*
this was construed a reflection on the late king and the countess of
Yarmouth. After residing here about five years, this company retired
to t-disto, and left but few proselytes behind them.f
Thus we see that the Seventh-day Baptists have been found in aknost
every part of the United States. There are at present eleven church-
es of them united in an Association by the name of the Sabbataiian
General Conference, which holds its anniversaries in different places,
as best suits the convenience of the churches. It is said there are, be-
sides the churches already named, one or two in the western States, of
which no distinct accounts have been obtained.
The number of communicants in the Sabbatarian connexion is a lit-
tle less than two thousand. But it is supposed by Mr. Clarke, their
historian, that the Seventh-day Sabbath is observed by a population of
not less than fifteen thousand.
In baptism, church discipline, &c. the Sabbatarians differ in noth-
ing from their First-day brethren ; in doctrine, some of them are Cal-
vinists, but perhaps a greater part are inclined to the Arminian sys-
tem ; which, however, they wish to define for themselves.
Of their distinguishing sentiment respecting the Seventh day, they
are peculiarly tenacious ; and as they consider all, who do not regard
this day, violators of the Sabbath or the Lord, they cannot, in their
opinion, consistently receive them into their churches, nor sit down
with them at ihe communion-table. Yet they aie willing to unite with
them in preaching, and in all other acts of devotion and brotherly love.
* Edwards's Materials towards a History of the Baptists in Pennsylvania p
t Edwards's MS. Materials fur South-Carolina and Georgia.
422 Roger ens Baptists.
As to the strictness of observing the Sabbath, their writers seem tc
differ a little in their rules. Some contend that they ought to keep It
according to the spirit of the fourth commandment. Others plead
that the rigorous ceremonies enjoined in the Old Testament, aie, with
the rest of the ceremonial laws, cone away under the new dispensation ;
so that they may lawfully ride their horses to meeting, and do other
things on die Sabbath, which the Jews were forbidden to do on their
Roger ene Baptists.
THIS sect took its rise at New-London, in Connecticut, abcut the
year 1674; for in that year one John Rogers and James his brother,
and an Indian by the name of Japheth, were bapti/ed by a Mr. Cran-
dal, then a colleague pastor of the Seventh-day Baptist church in
Newport (R. I.) The next year, by the request of these persons, Wil-
liam Hiscox, the senior pastor of the same church, and two of his
brethren, viz. Samuel Hubbard and his son Clarke, made them a visit ;
when another brother, by the name of Jonathan, was baptized, and
these four persons were received as members of the Sabbatarian church,
in Newport, in their usual form, by prayer and the laying-on-of-hands.
Soon after this, John Rogers's father-in-law (tor what reason I do not
find) took from him his wife and children, with whom he was never
afterwards united.* Thus John Rogers not only lost his wife and
children in the outset of his career, but upon her complaints against
him, he was carried before the Deputy-Governor of Connecticut, by
whom he was sentenced to Hartford gaol, where he remained a
In September, 1676, the three Rogerses and Japheth, the Indian,
went in a boat and brought Messrs. Hiscox and Hubbard to New-
London again, when the father and mother of one of the sisters of the
Rogerses were all baptized by Mr. Hiscox, and were also added to the
church with which they had united. These frequent visits and ad-
ministrations of the Baptists, awakened the jealousies and resentment
of the people of the town, and the power of the magistrate was soon
exerted in rigorous measures, against this new and obnoxious sect.
These few persons, having adopted the Seixntb Jay of the week for their
Sabbath, continued to pursue their worldly business on the First, a prac-
tice very common with people of this belief; for which they soon began
to be harassed, imprisoned and beaten. But opposition seemed only
to inflame their zeal, and hurried them on to an extravagant and al-
most unexampled extreme. Hitherto these persons, who afterwards
broke over all bounds of order and decency, were not known as a dis-
tinct set, but had a regular standing in the Seventh-day Baptist church
at Newport. John Rogers, who afterwards became the fantastick leader
of this deluded community, on the following occasion, began the wild
and heedless career, by \vhich he exposed himself so much to the cen-
sure of his friends and the persecuting violence of his enemies. In the
year 1677, Messrs. Hiscox and his companion Hubbard visited New.
London a third time, and proposed to baptize the wife of Joseph Ro-
gers, another brother of the Rogers family. Their meeting was held
* It is related by Morgan Edwards that she was afterwards married to a
Uwycr, L>y ths oame oi" Frutt.
two miles from the town, where it was proposed that baptism should
he administered ; but John WAS for no retirement ; lie mast needs have
the company go up to the town, and have the administration in sight
and hearing of their enemies. John was finally listened to, and led on
the procession. This provoking measure turned out as might have
been expected in those days of intolerance and persecution ; for while
Mr. Hiscox was preaching, he was seized by the constable and imme-
diately carried before the magistrate, where he was detained a short
time, and then released. They now repaired to another place, and be-
gan to prepare for the administration ; when, to the astonishment of the
company, John stepped forward and prayed, and then led the woman
down into the wa.ter, and baptized her. From this time this singular
man took it upon him to baptize, and also to administer in other things
in a ministerial capacity. His relatives, excepting his brother Jona-
than, imbibed his spirit and followed his dictates. The church at
Newport attempted to reform and regulate them ; but their exertions
proved ineffectual, and their connexion was soon dissolved.
Thus far the history of the Rogerenes has been compiled from Back-
us. The following is related in the words of Morgan .Edwards, who
took his account from Backus, and from John Rogers's own writings.
After mentioning the baptism of the Rogers fanaily, he says, "The
most forward of the brothers was John ; for he took upon him to form
the family, and others that he baptized, into a church, arid to make a
creed, and to settle rules of discipline. The first act of discipline was
the excommuaication of his brother Jonathan, for using medicine, and
refusing to do things which would bring on him the lash of the civil
magistrate. And thus John Rogers was not only the founder of the
sect, and the person from whom they were called Rogerenes, but the
hero of the cause, in suffering, and writing, and defying ; I say defying,
for he had not been long at the head of the cause, before he printed and
published the following proclamation : " I, John Rogers, a servant or'
Jesus Christ, doth here make an opeji declaration of war against the
great red dragon ; and against the beast to which he gives power ; and
against th* false church which rides upon the beast ; and against the
false prophets, who are established by the dragon and the beast ; and
against the image of the beast : and, also, a proclamation of deri.-ion
against the sword of the devil's spirit, which is prisons, stocks, whips,
fines, and revilings, all which is to defend the doctrines of devils." His
theory, relative to baptism and the Lord's supper, is scriptural ; for
the Rogerenes baptize by immersing professed penitents and believers ;
the Lord's supper they administer in the evening, with its ancient ap-
pendages. Some other articles of Rogers's creed are as follow : " ist,
All days are alike since the death of Christ. 2d, No medicines are to-
be used, nor doctors nor surgeons-employed.* 3d, No grace at meals.
* This irrational sentiment they carried, with all the rest of their reveries,
to an ethusi:istu-.k extreme, by refusing to have miciwives for women in ti avail,
holding that they were to be delivered and hrak-d by the power of faith. Old
Mr. Rogers, (Mr. Hubbard informs us) had the wheel of a loaded cart run over
his leg, by which it was very much bruised : and thit he had, when he saw
him, re nuined six weeks in a must deplorable condition, but still strenuously
refused the use of any means.
Although the descendants of the Rogerenes have generally relinquished th*.
culiarities of their ancestors, yet sonic of them are stiii tinctured wit'a
424 Rogerene Baptists.
4th, All prayers to be mental, and not vocal, except when the spirit
of prayer compels to the use of the voice. 5th, Aii unscriptural p-.-ris
of religious worship are idols. 6th, All good Christians should exert
themselves against idols," &c. Among these idols they placed the
first day of the week, infant baptism, &c. The First-day Saboath they
called the New- England idol. The methods they took to demolish this
idol were, they would be at work near meeting-houses, and in the v\ ays
to meeting-houses ; and take work into meeting-houses, the v\omen
knitting, and the men whittling and making splits for baskets, and every
now and then contradicting the preachers ; this was seeking persecu-
tion, and they had plenty of it ; insomuch that the New-tnglanders
left some of them neither liberty, nor property, nor whole skins.
John Rogers was an author. He published a commentary on the
Revelation : he that hath patience to read it. let him read it. He also
published a Midnight Cry, a Narrative of Sufferings , &c. These last are
of some use ; for out of them I have extracted some sketches of his
history ; and others from Backus."*
Such was the beginning of the sect of the Rogerenes. Had they en-
joyed a free toleration in their wild speculation^, and been exposed to no
more legal coercion than a judicious magistracy would have inflicted,
their zeal might have soon abated, and their sect become extinct. But
their intolerant neighbours and rulers could exercise no degree of pa-
tience or forbearance towards them. But they were scrupulous to
mark every provocation (and the Rogerenes were certainly guilty of
many ;) and being clothed with power, they pursued with unrelenting
severity, by frequently haling before magistrates, imprisoning, and
unmercifully whipping a people whose mistaken zeal ought certainly
to have excited some degree of compassion as well as resentment.
But the Rogerenes gloried in tribulation : they often published ac-
counts of their persecutions and sufferings, and most fully demonstra-
ted to their enemies, " that persecution is the surest way to increase
John Rogers, the founder of this extraordinary sect, (than whom
Diogenes was not more churlish and contrary to all men) after prosecu-
ting his ministry for more than forty years, died at his own house in
New-London, in 1721, in the 73d year of his age. The occasion of
his death was as follows : The small-pox raged terribly in Boston,
(Mass.) and spread an alarm in all the country around. Rogers was
confident that he could mingle with the diseased, and that the strength
of his faith would preserve him safe from the mortal contagion. Ac-
cordingly he was presumptuous enough to travel 100 miles to Boston,
to bring his faith to the test, where he caught the infection, came home,
died with it, and spread it in his family. Thus ended this singular man.
This event, so confounding in its nature, had no apparent effect on the
jninds of his followers, unless it were to increase their zeal. Shortly
notions about the use of medicine ; and one of them lately, (in R. I.) when vio-
lently attacked with a fever, strenunuslv refused any medical assistance. He
consented that a physician, who was a member of the church with him, should
visit him as a brother, but not as a doctor. And it was not until his case was
thought to be hflples* and hopeless, that he consented to employ a physician ;
which he finally did, and rec-j\ ered.
* Edwards's History of the Baptists in New-Jersey.
Rogcrene Baptists. 425
ifter, Joseph Bolles published a second edition of Rogeri's book', en-
titled, " A Midnight Cry from the temple of God lo the ten virgins
Numbering and sleeping ; awake, awake, arise ! and gird your loins,
and trim your lamps, for behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye there-
fore out to meet him !" Bolles also wrote a preface to the "Midnight
6Vy," in which he says of Rogers, " For his religion he lost his wife
and children, and suffered continual persecution, being nearly one
third of his life-time, after his conversion, in prisons !" This piece
seemed to inspire with fresh ardour this wild community. A son of
John Rogers succeeded his father in his deluded ministry, who, with
many others of his brethren, set out with redoubled zeal to pull down
the dagon of the land, the idol Sabbath.
In the year 1725, a company of the Rogerenes were taken up on
the Sabbath, in Norwich, while on their way from their place of resi-
dence to Lebanon, where they were treated with much abuse and se-
verity, and many of them whipped in a most merciless manner. This
occasioned Governor Joseph Jenks (of R.I.) to write a spirited piece
against their persecutors, in which he not only blames the unnecessary
severity which they inflicted on the Rogerenes, but he also reprobates