Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Customs of Primitive Churches, by Morgan Edwards

Introduction, with "Advertisement" and Contents
Thanks to Chris Hanna, I recently obtained an e-copy of Customs of Primitive Churches by Morgan Edwards (Philadelphia, PA: 1768). Edwards (1722-1795) was for many years clerk of the Philadelphia Baptist Association,and compiler of Materials Towards a History of the Baptists in the United States. Customs of Primitive Churches is a fairly rare and hard-to-find book, though several libraries have it in microform. The information in Edwards's "Advertisement" suggests why it is hard to find -- that it was printed in limited quantity. I post some excerpts from the book for the readers' historical enjoyment and elucidation. Following below is the "Advertisement" on page 2 and the "Contents" on page 110. The book seems to be intended as a church manual.

Due to several considerations, especially age, the book can be hard to read and decipher. I am using brackets [ ] to set off words of which I am unsure. I'm trying for the most part to retain original spelling, but with correction of some obvious typos.

THE publisher of the following piece knows that a thing of the kind requires much care and a multitude of counsellers in order to render it useful and unexceptionable. He means no more by the publication than humbly to engage his brethren to join him in a design of serving the churches this way, and to offer his mite towards the accomplishment of that design; therefore he intends to print but a few copies, and to let none go out of his hands but to the ministers of the philadelphia association, and some others; with an earnest request that each of them will consider the plan; mend it; or propose a better; correct what is wrong; retrench superfluities; supply defects, particularly texts more apposite to the propositions than some of those cited; and after all meet in a body to compare their thoughts together, and contrive the best method to put them forth, as was the case with regard to our Confession of faith in the year 1689. (page 2)

Contents (Page 110)
Of the word church
Of the distinctions of a church
Of the definition of a church
Of the constitution of a church
Of the officers of a church
Of a minister
Of his qualifications Of his election
Of his ordination
Of his instalment
Of elders
Of eldresses
Of deacons
Of deaconesses
Of a clerk
Of missionaries
Of the right of church officers to pay
Of church censures
Of rebuke
Of suspension
Of excommunication
Of admission to the church
Out of the world
Out of another church
Of restoration of the suspended
Of the excommunicated
Of the ordinances of the church
Of baptism
Of the Lords Supper
Of laying on of hands
Of the right hand of fellowship
Of the love feast
Of washing feet
Of the kiss of charity
Of anointing the sick
Of collecting for the saints
Of fasts
Of feasts or thanksgivings
Of devoting children to God
Of burying the dead
Of marriage
Of public worship
Of the sabbath
Of a church judicature
Of decissions by suffrage
Of the subjection of women
Of the business of a church
Of the duties of church members to their ministers
Of their behaviour towards one another
Of their behaviour towards their church
Of their duties as men, women &c
Of their duties towards the world
Of the duties of a church towards itself and other churches
Of an association

After the contents page, there are 6 unnumbered pages of information about the churches of the Philadelphia Baptist Association.


Unknown said...

thank you i will read this a I have time Looneytunewy, Dekalb

Unknown said...

Good to hear from you Brother Looney. I am planning/hoping/trying to post an excerpt every Monday.

Hope all is well.