Elder William Downs (1782-1860)

Elder William Downs first joined the Regular Baptists. He later united with the Separate Baptists, but returned to the United Baptists (the name given to the Regular and Separate Baptist churches who united in Kentucky in about 1801), until the United Baptists became so corrupt that he left them and joined the Regular Baptists (those holding the original Regular Baptist principles) again. The Regular Baptists are the same church as the Regular Predestinarian Baptists, now commonly called Primitive Baptists. They were the leading denomination in many parts of the United States at the time this article was written.

"1st. There never was any Apostolic church set up in the world, the pillar and ground of the truth, but the original church first planted at Jerusalem by Christ and his Apostles. 2nd. That church, I clearly believe, is at this day only found with the Regular or Predestinarian Baptists."

For the Western Predestinarian Baptist.

In the multiplicity of business in which I am at this time engaged, I have consented to borrow a few moments to send to you the following communication for the "Predestinarian Baptist" should you think it worthy a place in its columns. I own to you both that I am somewhat alarmed and deeply distressed in reflecting upon the portentious occurrences of the present day. The christian world is at this day miserably distracted and torn to pieces, by division, discord and faction, and especially the denomination called Baptists, once deemed the light of the world, the salt of the earth, and the spiritual Israel of God. But what are they now? A ruined, split up, and contemptible mass of fragments divided and subdivided into at least a dozen sects, all arrayed against each other, with as much hatred and intolerance as the fiend of the bottomless pit could almost wish. Those different sects are every where hateful, and hating each other. Is there not for all this state of things a cause? Certainly. In the purpose of God, it is first to be found, by him designed and intended: 1st. To purge his church by separating the tares from the good wheat. 2nd. It is found in the general union entered into between the Regular and Separate Baptists. From that union (falsely so called) has grown up the present distress. That union was hypocritically entered into; as such it was unquestionably an unlawful marriage; as such the children resulting, or growing out of that unlawful union, are all the children of illegitimacy. The complete heresy; the Stone and Marshall-schism; the Missionary innovations with the Stinsonite abomination, are, I awfully fear, naught but the children of this unlawful connection, all partaking more or less, of the errors of the Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. St. Paul, II. Thess. 4:3, prophesies of this very day, for, says he, Let no man deceive you, for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4th verse, Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God showing himself that he is God. From the above I infer that intolerance is the man of sin found in the succession of the Popes of the church of the see of Rome. If my views of this subject be correct, the following conclusions are also true. 1st. There never was any Apostolic church set up in the world, the pillar and ground of the truth, but the original church first planted at Jerusalem by Christ and his Apostles. 2nd. That church, I clearly believe, is at this day only found with the Regular or Predestinarian Baptists. That church for about three hundred years with its branches remained in the general, sound in the faith and practice of the gospel, with few exceptions. In the year 324 or 325, Constantine the great, out of a false zeal for Christianity united it with state policy, which soon proved a flood of poison poured into the lap of the church. This anti-christian zeal of the Emperor laid the foundation of all the subsequent abominations that characterizes the Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. Almost instantaneously sprang up, a thirst for College bred preachers; those when stationed in power sought to ride rough-shod over the laity; next came Missionary friars to tease the laity out of their hard earnings to aggrandize the Clergy, but by hypocritical pretense to immortalize christianity by raising it above the state, in direct opposition to the orders of christianity itself. Out of this arrangement grew a thirst for distinction. This was soon obtained; humble preachers of the cross were soon displaced, and Priests with badges of distinction made to officiate in their stead. Out of this order, grew Bishops, archbishops, prehendaries, prelates, and lastly, a Papal or Pope, or universal Bishop, vicar of Christ, etc., which St. Paul means by the man of sin. At his bidding the world was convulsed, and then ensued persecutions, famine, carnage, blood shedding, roasting, burning, &c., all hereticks by his holiness, so denominated. From these cruelties and abominations fled the pious Waldenses, Vocdesis, Petrobrussians, Nestorians, and others, and thus was the church of Christ split up into fragments or fractions and scattered abroad like sheep without a shepherd, while the great majority remained under the influence of the man of sin, swallowed up in all his abominations. But God, who is rich in mercy never did, nor never will entirely forsake his Elect people, chosen in Christ and grace given to them before the world began. II. Tim. 1:9. To the deliverance of his Elect Israel, he raised up a Cyrus, a Darius, and others to rebuild his house, and lead them out of Babylonian captivity. In this manner did God raise up a Wickliffe, a Huss, a Luther, with others to reprove the abuses of his spiritual Israel; this they measurably did by reforming some of the abuses brought on by the man of sin. Their reformations gradually progressed, until an effectual reformation was completed in Wales by the Predestinarian Baptists there. Their confession of faith may at this day be seen, in what is denominated the Philadelphia Confession of Faith. In the above extracts, I have traced the church from Christ to Constantine; from thence to the man of sin; from thence to Wickliffe, Huss and Luther; from thence to the Predestinarian Baptists, in Wales, where she is again occupying original ground; from thence she has progressed with very little molestation, or alteration up to the year 1800. Though during this time she has been opposed, hated, and set at nought by the whole array of the arminian phalanx, and Pedobaptist Rantism, yet has she, almost proselyted the world on the subject of baptism. I next compare the above eras with the present state of the church as connected with the above prophecy, II. Thess. 2, 3, 4. About the beginning of the 19th century, the Baptists were visited with a great revival of religion. In this revival thousands were added to their churches. Just at the close of this revival the union between the Regular and Separate Baptists were concluded, which introduced in a short time almost every heresy arminianism was capable of introducing; so that Luther Rice, in the year 1812, instigated by the love of money, brought on to Kentucky the Missionary fever under the pretense of sending relief to Judson and Carey, then stationed in the Burman Empire. Rice making a great profit by imposing upon the unsuspecting part of the Baptists, with others, caused hundreds of money loving preachers to embark in Rice's projects. Thus was introduced into the churches a host of money institutions, such as Missionary Boards, with a host of officers, such as Presidents, Vice Presidents, Managers, Life members, etc., all looking up for distinction and remuneration. Add to this unscriptural society, the bible, the temperance etc., societies, with their distinctions and salaries annexed, and you see, at least, of innovating abominations all growing out of love of money, and others for distinction. These abominations are now almost every where imposed upon the churches, to their disquietude and division, so that it may in truth be said, that the gold is again become dim, and that the glory has departed from Zion, while her sons and her daughters are now setting disconsolate and weeping as did the Elect Israelites in the Babylonish captivity. O melancholy picture. In my humble opinion what at this day is denominated the United Missionary Baptists are aiming to bring on as late of things not a whit better than existed in the reign of Pope's Gregory VII and Leo X. Then existed intolerance, persecution, and slanders, never in any age of the world excelled. At this day, the same abominations are almost predominant, which characterize the Missionary churches as they did, the Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. It is true that the exercise of their cruelties is let or hindered by civil authority which will prevent the execution of their intolerant designs. But how long this may be the case, I am unable to say. But let those intolerant aspirants get the reigns of civil authority (as did the Pope of Rome) into their hands and rivers of pious blood would again drench the earth. The shrieks of pious men and women would again be heard, from the midst of torturing flames. These things are by the great majority of the American people hooted at as though no danger is to be apprehended; in like manner did the great majority hoot at the gradual approach of Papistical supremacy in days that are past by and gone. The Popes in their crusades to unlimited power were asserted by large councils filled up with designing ambitious clergymen. Many of these councils set for years (one at least at one session 38 years) deliberating the destruction of the common and religious rights of the laity to aggrandize the Clergy, who like greedy wolves, were seeking their own profit at the expense of all others. In like manner we see the execution of the Missionary innovation upon original christianity, treading in the same steps as did their predecessors and exercising similar means, presenting the same colors, and venting the same spleen in their anti-christian papers, regardless of the pressing injunctions of the New Testament of God's grace; anciently the church was ruined by intrigues, councils being friars, false glossaries, and ambitious money lovers. At the present day, they are ruined, distracted, split up and rent in pieces by general associations, petty councils, hireling preachers, venters of slanders against the brethren. New schemes to make gain constantly following each other in succession, and to palm these impositions upon the ignorant and unsuspecting, the divine book is ransacked from chapter to chapter, with detached verses and fragments of verses perverted and metamorphosed so that the Bible is made to say what its divine writers never intended it should say. The cause of all the 460 sects, now existing in the christian world have all been produced by disappointed aspirants who have coveted to be rulers, or independent leaders. Such failing to realize their wanted expectations, have set up for themselves, and thus drew parties after them as at the present day out of the original Welsh Baptists, known as the Particular, Regular, or Predestinarian Baptists, have grown, the General, the Separate, the Dunkard, the Seventh Day, Baptists, all of the arminian stamp. But of the general Union, have grown the Campbellites, or Reformers; Stinsonites, Missionaries, Mormons, Middle Ground etc. Baptists (falsely so called). Not one of the above sects deserve the name; yet they have all arrogated it to themselves, and are busily engaged in nick-naming the real Baptists. They call them Antinomians, Parkerites, Iron Jackets, Hard Sides, Infant Destroyers, etc. These, though all arrayed against each other, all unitedly vent their poisonous spleen, and unheard of slanders against those who are Baptists indeed. So do all the other sects. Thus do all unitedly misrepresent, belie, and slander the Old Baptists, as though they were not the creatures of God. Let the original Baptists, then, to a man, stand to their posts, by earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, Jude 3, and ere it be long, error will hide its deformed head, and the whole elect of God will, in union become to their enemies as terrible as an army with banners. In my humble opinion, every individual who contributes to the Missionary operations is ignorantly contributing to the downfall of the American Republic. The leaders and inventors of this anti-republican institution, have long since been convinced that they could not speedily attain to their wanted prospect, until they trained up votaries enough to revolutionize both church and state. Thus they are now busily engaged to do as may be seen in their numerous protracted meetings in which they make to themselves thousands of proselytes, mostly out of little boys, girls, and negroes, all intended for show, and to intimidate the weaker soil of those who are Baptists indeed, and it is remarkable, that all their protracted, or distracted meetings excite no interest with the people, but a small distance from them; hence it is, that as soon as their efforts are withdrawn, the excitement ceases. Dear brethren, I must close by praying Almighty God, to give you both wisdom and christian prudence, sufficient to the crisis in which you are placed. I am in the best of bonds, your unworthy brother in Christ.

Ohio Co., Ky., September 27, 1842.
[Western Predestinarian Baptist, Paris, Ill., Vol. 1, No. 15, June 1, 1843, pages 235-238.]

The Primitive Baptists who are affiliated with the Primitive Baptist Library believe predestination applies to the eternal destiny of the elect, and to their adoption as children of God. They further believe God's providential care for His people, or "providence," is the right word to describe God's dealings with His people, in that measured portion of eternity which we call "Time."

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