Monroe County, Illinois
This history was extracted from the following book on:
Combined History of Randolph, Monroe and Perry Counties, Illinois
Published by J. L. McDonough & Co.
Rev. A. Wiswell
Ever since the Church and State were first united, the Baptists have suffered much persecution on account of their loyalty to soul liberty. Bancroft, the historian, speaking of the German Baptists, says: "With greater consistency than Luther, they applied the doctrines of the Reformation to the social positions of life, and threatened an end of priest craft and king-craft, spiritual domination, title and vassalage. They were trodden under foot with foul reproaches and most arrogant scorn, and their history is written in the blood of thousands of the German peasantry; but their principles, secure in their immortality, escaped with Roger Williams to Providence, - his colony is witness that, naturally, the paths of the Baptists are paths of freedom, pleasantness and peace" Mr. Locke has truly said: "The Baptists were, from the beginning, the friends of liberty – James and true liberty – equal and impartial liberty." Yet, until the Quakers arose in 1660, the Baptists stood alone in its defense. A writer for the New American Cyclopedia says" "Among the Baptists, Christian freedom found its earliest, its staunchest, its most consistent and its most disinterested champions. Nor less powerful has been the influence of the Baptists in the United States. Introduced into Rhode Island with Roger Williams and John Cook in 1638, their history for more than a century is most of the colonies is that of proscribed and banished men. In its code of law established by them in Rhode Island, Judge Story says: - "We read, for the first time since Christianity ascended the throne of the Caesars, the declaration that conscience should be free, and men should not be punished for worshipping God in the way they were persuaded He requires." The Amendment to the American Constitution made in 1789, was introduced into it by the united efforts of the Baptists. The spirit of liberty infused by the Revolutionary war was followed by the rapid spread and growth of Baptist principles. In fact, their great prosperity dates from that era.