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The Baptist Newspaper
Introduction to the First Edition
Nashville, Tennessee, January, 1835
R. B. C. Howell, Editor
      The first number of THE BAPTIST, we have, at length, laid before our readers. We confess that we do not, without many fears, and misgivings enter the Editorial field. The peculiarly disordered state of the Church throughout a large portion of this commonwealth, and many other parts of great valley of the west, growing as we believe, out of the prevalence of intestine dissensions, the conflict of opinion, on doctrinal, as well as practical religion, and the operation of, perhaps, many other causes equally disturbing, and deleterious, will we apprehend, render the task of conducting a religious periodical, at the present crisis, extremely arduous. Under the most favourable circumstances, the skill we might bring to the work, would be sufficiently limited. And inexperienced, we are, in editorial tactics, and perhaps, in other respects, not so well calculated as many others of our brethren, to sit upon the whirlwind and manage the storm, which now rages in the moral world, we tremble lest we should not be able to accomplish all the good which it is desirable the Baptist should effect. Could the services of any faithful, and competent brother have been obtained, to conduct the work, most gladly should we have remained silent, and thus have avoided a responsibility which we have assumed with so much reluctance. The Pastorship of the Church, and congregation, in this City, was. Of itself, enough to occupy all our powers, and fill up every moment of our time, and we should have rejoiced could we have been left free to devote to it our undivided attention. To assume an additional office, and especially one so difficult, and important, we did, by no means desire. But having, under a sense of solemn duty to God, and the church, whose servant we are, consented to do so, our best exertions shall not be wanting to make this paper an agreeable, and edifying visitor in the families, and by the fireside of our beloved brethren and friends.

      The field before us is, indeed large, and white unto the harvest. For wisdom, and strength to cast in the sickle and reap, our confidence is in the Lord God of Hosts. Cheered by his countenance and blessing, and governed by the directions of his Holy Spirit, we shall not, we trust, labor in vain. As to pecuniary advantage, we desire none. We labor without money, and without price. The only reward to which we look, is the hope, that through these means, by the blessing of the Lord, we may aid in quieting the jarring elements of discord, and bind to the cross of Jesus the hearts and affections of a larger number of immortal spirits. We are aware that many faithful, pious and talented laborers are already engaged in the same work with ourselves, and the necessity of our publication may, therefore, be questioned,. Le it, however, be kept in mind, that all those laborers are at a distance from us. The interest which is felt in a paper conducted in the midst of our community, is not attached to the works to which we allude. They are not, consequently, patronised to any desirable extent. Not, by any means, because they are not worthy of patronage, but because they cannot, in the nature of things, possess and embody the local information required. Many facts and providences, rich in mercy and blessings of divine grace, which are constantly occurring around us, and which otherwise would never find a record, will make their way to the Baptist, and will readily and immediately interest all those win whose neighborhood they have transpired. Thus many would be induced to read, who would not otherwise receive a religious paper of any kind. The boundary of their vision enlarged, the children of God will see more of the goodness of his grace; they will have occasion to observe more of the wants of the church, and of the world; and will consequently feel a deeper anxiety for the salvation of sinners. Many, thousands, by these means, perhaps, will find cause for gratitude, and prayer, and effort, who might, under other circumstances, have continued to slumber on, undisturbed. These and similar considerations encourage us to enter upon our work; and the more cheerfully, in the hope that, by the blessing of heaven upon this instrumentality, our Zion may soon awake, shake herself, from the dust, and gird herself with strength, to enter upon the great contest already waging between the powers of darkness, and the kingdom of Godís dear Son.

      With regard to the character which the Baptist will attempt to sustain, it may not be out of place to make two or three remarks. While this paper will feel every respect for the venerated systems of the various denominations of Christians among whom we are called to reside, with many of whom we have formed most pleasant acquaintances, and agreeable attachments, and will never wantonly assail any of their creeds, it will be a firm supporter of the principles of the word of God as held by the Baptist church, known in this city and state, as the United Baptist church. These are the principles, which deliberately, and under a solemn conviction that they embody the truth of God, the Editor has long since adopted; that he will seek their dissemination, by every means in his power, it is under such circumstances, rational to conclude. At the same time, he would deprecate, as sincerely as any of his most liberal brethren, the most distant approach to sectarian exclusiveness, and guard most rigidly against the spirit of partisan rivalry with his brethren of different faith. He trusts that the most unaffected attachment to the forms, and faith of the Church, is no inconsistent with the sincerest affection towards all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.

      To unite, harmonize, and invigorate the Church in this state, some medium of communication, is necessary, through which our brethren, in various parts, should have knowledge of each other, and reciprocally understand more extensively and distinctly their feelings, views, and designs. Such a medium will, we trust, be found in the pages of the Baptist. We shall keep up a record, so far as our limits will allow, of the state of religion throughout our country and the world, detail the conquests of grace, and point continually the onward march of the ark of God. The operations of Bible, Missionary, Tract, Education, Temperance, and other benevolent societies, will be faithfully laid before the Church, and all our brethren, "effort," and "[blurred] effort," afforded the use of the Baptist, through which, in the spirit of kindness and Christian love, to express, without reserve, their opinions of their correctness, and utility. Well written original expositions of Scripture, reviews, essays, criticisms, revival and other intelligence are invited, together with [blurred] and literary selections. We shall be dependent upon the Ministry, our Deacons, and other brethren, for such matter as we have mentioned, and, also, for information of Ordinations to the ministry, the Constitution of Churches, the proceedings and decisions of Associations, and Conventions, of which from its conveniency of form for preservation, the Baptist will serve as a permanent repository for future reference. But, above all, we shall need, [rest of line blurred] the prayers of our brethren that our Ministry several lines blurred. Our highest aspirations, as righteous journalists is to be thought worthy to stand side by side of our brethren, and engage with them in the same labors of love for the glory of God, and the salvation of men.

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      We have been kindly favored, by the Editor, with a copy of THE WESTERN BAPTIST MONITOR, a weekly sheet published in Madisonville, in the Eastern district of Tennessee. This work, which has only reached its third number, is edited by brother William Wood, and, all things considered, is of respectable size and appearance. The communications, in the paper before us, are interesting, and the selections judicious. Judging by the editorial matter - we have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with him - the Editor is awake to the best interests of Zion, and ready to every good word and work. The field he occupies is as destitute as it is important, and interesting. The Monitor, we doubt not, will prove an excellent auxiliary to the means already employed to spread abroad light, and salvation, in the region of its publication. Bro. Wood, and the brethren engaged with him, have our best wishes for the complete success, and extensive usefulness of their undertaking. . .

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[From the Tennessee Baptist Newspaper, January 1835, pp. 3-4, Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]



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