Considered part of the “pulpit of the American Revolution,” and a leading advocate of the separation of church and state in Revolutionary-era America, Baptist pastor Isaac Backus was a pillar of early American evangelical thought. His works such as Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty and Government and Liberty Described and Ecclesiastical Tyranny Exposed open a valuable window into early America and the development of the ideals of religious liberty. Also an important historian, Backus wrote on the rise of Baptists in New England religious traditions. This collection samples a variety of his writings with treatises, histories, and theological works, along with a memoir of his life by Alvah Hovey.
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In this treatise, Isaac Backus, an important voice in the “pulpit of the American Revolution,” discusses the problems of church-state relations, rallying the cry for religious liberty. Noting the unique roles of ecclesiastical and civil government, Backus argues for their separation and the protection of freedom of conscience. Backus argues that the “true liberty of man is, to know, obey, and enjoy his Creator, and to do all the good unto, and enjoy all the happiness with and in his fellow creatures that he is capable of.” This work was originally preached as a sermon in 1773.
A History of New England with Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians Called Baptists, vol. 1
Isaac Backus’ history of religious development in New England offers a valuable window into early America and the rise of religious traditions, particularly the Baptists. Primarily created to remedy the lack of attention paid to Baptists and religious oppression in other Puritan histories, Isaac Backus presents a detailed account of important figures and events related to the Baptists, beginning with the “sentiments and character of the first planters of this country.”
A History of New England with Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians Called Baptists, vol. 2
Isaac Backus’ history of religious development in New England offers a valuable window into early America and the rise of religious traditions, particularly the Baptists. Primarily created to remedy the lack of attention paid to Baptists and religious oppression in other Puritan histories, Isaac Backus presents a detailed account of important figures and events related to the Baptists. This volume takes the history of the New England Baptists from the “affairs of the Rhode Island Colony” to the “state of Vermont,” and finishes with “observations of the foregoing history.”
A Memoir of the Life and Times of Rev. Isaac Backus
Learn more about Baptist preacher, Isaac Backus with Alvah Hovey’s classic biography. Hovey offers a detailed account of Backus’ life, work, and the times in which he lived. Hovey describes his early life, conversion, career as a preacher, developing theology, writing, and role in early American politics. He also includes a look at his family and personal life, a sampling of letters from correspondents, and seven appendixes.
Alvah Hovey (1820–1903) was born in Greene, New York, and educated at Dartmouth College and Newton Theological Institution (now Andover Newton Theological School). He stayed at Newton as a librarian and professor of Hebrew, church history, theology, and Christian ethics. His numerous books include Commentary on the Gospel of John and Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians.
Study the controversy over Separatist and Baptist churches in early New England with this response to Joseph Fish’s nine sermons on Matthew 16:18. Fish’s work argues that the “‘Standing Churches’ in New England, are built upon the Rock, and upon the same principles with the first fathers of this country: and that separates and Baptists are joining with the Gates of Hell against them.” Backus responds to these claims with this treatise in which “many of his mistakes are corrected; the constitution of those churches opened; the testimonies of prophets and apostles and also of many of those fathers are produced, which as plainly condemn his plan as any separate or Baptist can do.”
Government and Liberty Described and Ecclesiastical Tyranny Exposed
Isaac Backus was an advocate of separating government and church, and ardent voice for the protection of religious liberty in early America. This, one of his most important treatises, defines and examines the role of government and the protection of freedom of religion, and the importance of separate churches.
In this discourse, American Baptist pastor Isaac Baptist examines Acts 13:27, offering insights for understanding why Jews did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and fulfilled prophecy by rejecting him. Backus first offers a brief survey of “the voices of the prophets of the Old Testament, which were exactly fulfilled in Jesus,” and then considers the “reason why the Jews did not receive him, though they had so often heard these plain predictions.”
The Doctrine of Universal Salvation Examined and Refuted
Better understand the doctrine of universal salvation and the historical debate surrounding it. Early American Baptist preacher Isaac Backus examines this doctrine and refutes it with Scripture. Particularly, Backus responds to the writings of Relly and Winchester, and argues against their claims.
Study faith and its influence with this discourse from Isaac Backus. In this volume Backus opens dialogue about “the nature of faith, and its powerful influence on the heart and life; together with the contrary nature and effects of unbelief and answers to various objections.” He also includes “a brief view of the present state of the present state of the Protestant world, with some remarks on the writings of Mr. Sandeman.”
About Isaac Backus
Isaac Backus (1724–1806) was an American Baptist preacher during the Revolutionary era and a leading advocate of Separatist churches. Backus was born in Yantic, now part of Norwich, Connecticut, to a farming family. Influenced by the First Great Awakening and revivalist James Davenport’s visit in 1741, the family became part of a Separatist Congregationalist church at Bean Hill. Ordained in 1748, Backus was much influenced by the writings of John Gill and became a Baptist, baptized in 1751. He pastored what became Middleborough First Baptist Church in Massachusetts for the rest of his life. He served as a delegate to the Massachusetts ratifying convention, voting in favor of ratifying the United States Constitution. He was a major leader of the transition from New Light to Baptist, and an outspoken advocate of religious liberty and the separation of church and state. His works on the subject, as well as his historical work, made important contributions to American evangelical thought.