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happy to hear any good tidings concerning WALEs, especially those of a religious nature, although I am in a manner banished from it. In my present circumstances, however, I wish to consider Cambria as only a small, though, perhaps, the best spot of my native country. I would view all mankind as my brethren, and myself as a Citizen of the World. This amor patria. I admire—it is exceeded only by that which the CHRISTIAN expresses towards the household of faith, the inhabitants of Mount Zion. What with most men is called the love of our country is a little, contemptible, servile passion—the principle that instigates the rage of a mob, and the depredations of a tyrant—that hardens the hearts even of Britons against the noble feelings of pity and horror at the hearing of the unparalleled villanies committed in remote parts of the Globe' But this, I thank God, is neither your amor patriae nor mine. I study the antiquities, language, and proper poetry of Wales much less now than formerly. I have indeed less time than I used to have, but my fondness for those studies is also somehow greatly abated. Whether I am the better or the worse man for this I will not pretend to say. I would not, however, have you think that I have entirely neglected the studies that relate to CAM BRIA. I have been employed, ever since the commencement of this year, in examining the ancient Ecclesiastical history of our ancestors, and actually went so far as to begin a summary or compendium of that subject. I meant to have it published in a certain periodical
publication, called The Protestant Magazine; but that work being discontinued soon after, but a very small part of my Observations saw the light. Nor is it likely now that I shall very soon again resume that study. It bore the title of Remarks on the Ancient Ecclesiastical History of Britain. The first section, which is all I have yet finished, and would make, perhaps, near twenty pages, contains Thoughts on the various Traditions respecting the first publication of Christianity among the Britons. I have met with near half a score of different traditions concerning the first preaching of the Gospel here, every one of which, in my opinion, is totally destitute of those marks that render a narration worthy of credit. Were I obliged to give the preference to any one of them, I think it should be that which ascribes that work to the Apostle PAUL. Certain circumstances, I think, make that the most plausible, though it is by no means attended with those evidences which are the proper grounds of historical faith. Upon the whole, I am now so situated as to my sentiments on this head, that I would neither affirm nor deny that the gospel reached Britain within the apostolic age. Such is, in my opinion, the doubtful state of this question. But I did not think so formerly. I see more and more the necessity, in all cases that lie within our reach, and with which we have any concern, to examine and judge for ourselves. But this is not answering my good Friend’s letters. * Pray have you both, you ask, ‘published any thing more upon the subjects?’ Yes, we have— David, of Norwich, published another Fast Sermon, on 1 Sam. xii. 24, 25, entitled, The Fear of God the only Preservative from Temporal and Eternal Ruin. It is a very good discourse. He received the thanks of Sir Edward Astley and Mr. Coke, the members for the county, and of Sir Harboard Harboard, one of the members for the city of Norwich. He is favoured by many of the great; and, what is a greater privilege, is highly esteemed by the people under his care. His congregation has, since he was ordained, considerably increased and is still increasing. He has, I believe, baptized near a hundred people within these three years: more than twice as many as I baptized since I came here.
+ The controversy about BAPTISM is still continued. A Piece came out last year in answer to that little tract of mine, of which you speak in your last letter. This is entitled, “The Reviewer Reviewed; or, a Reply to the Rev. Mr. Richards's Review of Strictures on Infant Baptism, &c. By John Carter.” It is a large pamphlet. To this a Reply was published about last Christmas, entitled “Observations on Infant Sprinkling; or, an Answer to a certain Publication entitled the Reviewer Reviewed. In a series of Letters to the Author. By W. Richards.” This piece has provoked and mortified the Independents beyond measure. Carter drew up a sort of reply to it, which he sent up to London to be revised and corrected. They had it under their care from June till near Michaelmas.
The book was published in London in the course of last month, under the title of “Remarks on a late Publication entitled Observations on Infant Sprinkling; by W. Richards. In Seven Letters to that 'Gentleman; by John Carter.” I am used somewhat roughly in this piece. The author, however, thought proper to leave me in the quiet possession of most of my arguments. He employs himself chiefly upon certain circumstances, and catches at what he seems to deem unguarded expressions, where he gives considerable scope to his talents, affecting frequently a sort of pleasantry and ridicule, while he exhibits evident symptoms that his heart is far from being sufficiently sprightly and tranquil. I dropped a hint at the close of my Book, that Dr. WATTs once was so far from thinking infant baptism tenable, that he told his friend Mr. G. that he wished it was laid aside 1 To confute this, he had published a letter at the end of his book from Dr. Gibbons, to whom he understood I referred. But while the Doctor labours with might and main to bring my assertion into discredit, he very oddly owns that Dr. Watts once told him (perhaps two or three years before his decease) “that he sometimes thought of a compromise with his Baptist brethren, by their giving up their mode of baptism, immersion, on the one side, and our (the Independents) giving up the baptism of Infants on the other; as he had not observed any benefit arising from the administration of the ordinance to them.” But this the HDoctor insists falls much short of declaring that he wished infant baptism was laid aside / Whatever
my friends and opponents, or the impartial world
may think of this performance, I am preparing another piece upon Baptism, which I mean to comprehend a full answer to every thing material that my antagonists have here advanced. I have some notion of giving it the following title, or one very much like it, viz. “A Sketch of the History of ANTich RIST : designed for the use of those who would wish to distinguish between the Ordinances of Christ and the Traditions of Men. In a Series of Letters to the Rev. Mr. Carter, of Mattishall in Norfolk. With Notes and an Appendix, in Answer to that Gentleman's Remarks on a late Publication, &c. By W. Richards.” It will extend beyond the usual limits of the controversy about Baptism. For, as the title suggests, it will, in a great measure, treat of that religion which is built upon the corruption or adulteration of genuine Christianity, and which is properly called the religion of Antichrist. Of this religion, as I apprehend, Popery makes but a part —it includes all national churches—those of England, Scotland, and other Protestant nations, as well as that of Rome—even all those communities or churches that are erected upon the perversion of the New Testament Revelation. I expect no popularity from this performance. The very reverse, doubtless, will be my reward from the religious world.
The approbation of the Truth, and of the God of Truth, is all I wish to seek. The controversy has
been already productive of some good; even the