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History of Congregationalism

History of Congregationalism

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Excerpt from History of Congregationalism: From About A. D. 250 to 1616

This volume contains the history of Congregationalism from about A. D. 250 to 1616. Much of it, consequently, is occupied with the history of the principles and doctrines now embraced by the denomination, rather than by the history of Congregationalists themselves. Though as a denomination, we had no distinctive, organized existence until near the close of the sixteenth century; yet, inasmuch as some of our denominational peculiarities have always found advocates and friends, since the days of the apostles, - a very imperfect notion could be formed of our history, if these facts were entirely overlooked. But, in order to bring them out, it has been necessary to travel over a very extensive field of observation, and to introduce more of general history than, at first thought, may seem strictly proper in a denominational work.

The sources whence this history has been drawn, will sufficiently appear by reference to the margin. Original authorities have been appealed to whenever they have been within my reach; and when they have not, the defect has been, in part at least, supplied, by comparing several second-hand authorities, and when it was possible, men of different views and habits of thought.

I have not been anxious to avoid the charge of making my pages "bristle with notes and references." It would have saved a great deal of labor to have omitted them altogether; but I could not persuade myself that an historical work would be of any value which did not furnish vouchers for its statements. The pretty copious extracts from the early Congregational writers, will, I am confident, be regarded as among the most valuable portions of this volume.

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