The Trail of Blood ch 1
It was wonderful to hear Dr. Carroll tell how he became interested in the history of the different denominations, ESPECIALLY THEIR ORIGIN. He wrote the book after he was 70 years old, but he said, "I was converted unto God when I was just a boy. I saw the many denominations and wondered which was the church the Lord Jesus founded."
Even in his youth he felt that in the study of the Scriptures and history, he could find the church which was the oldest and most like the churches described in the New Testament.
This research for the truth led him into many places and enabled him to gather one of the greatest libraries on church history. This library was given at his death to the Southwestern Baptist Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas.
He found much church history, most of it seemed to be about the Catholics and Protestants. The history of Baptists he discovered, was written in blood. They were the hated people of the Dark Ages. Their preachers and people were put into prison and untold numbers were put to death. The world has never seen anything to compare with the suffering, the persecutions, heaped upon Baptists by the Catholic Hierarchy during the Dark Ages. The Pope was the world's dictator. This is why the Ana-Baptists, before the Reformation, called the Pope The Anti-Christ.
Their history is written in the legal documents and papers of those ages. It is through these records that the "TRAIL OF BLOOD" winds its way as you find such statements:
"At Zurich, after many disputations between Zuinglius and the Ana-Baptists, the Senate made an Act, that if any presume to rebaptize those who were baptized before (i.e. as infants) they should be drowned. At Vienna many Ana-Baptists were tied together in chains that one drew the other after him into the river, wherein they were all suffocated (drowned)." (Vida Supra, p. 61)
"In the year of our Lord A.D. 1539 two Ana-Baptists were burned beyond Southwark, and a little before them five Dutch Ana-Baptists were burned in Smithfield." (Fuller Church History.)
"In 1160 a company of Paulicians (Baptists) entered Oxford. Henry II ordered them to be branded on the forehead with hot irons, publicly whipped them through the streets of the city, to have their garments cut short at the girdles, and be turned into the open country. The villages were not to afford them any shelter or food and they perished a lingering death from cold and hunger." (Moore, Earlier and Later Nonconformity in Oxford 12.)
The old Chronicler Stowe, A.D. 1533, relates: "The 25th of May in St. Paul's Church, London, examined nineteen men and six women. Fourteen of them were condemned; a man and a woman were burned at Smithfield, the other twelve of them were sent to towns there to be burned."
Froude, the English historian, says of these Ana-Baptist martyrs: "The details are all gone, their names are gone. Scarcely the facts seem worth mentioning. For them no Europe was agitated, no court was ordered in mourning, no papal hearts trembled with indignation. At their death the world looked on complacent, indifferent or exulting. Yet here, out of twenty five poor men and women were found fourteen, who by no terror of stake or torture could be tempted to say they believed what they did not believe. History has for them no word of praise, yet they, too, were not giving their blood in vain. Their lives might have been as useless as the lives of most of us. In their death they assisted to pay the purchase of English freedom."
Likewise, in writings of their enemies as well as friends, Dr. Carroll found their history and that their trail through the ages was indeed bloody:
Cardinal Hosius (Catholic, A.D. 1524), President of the Council of Trent:
"Were it not that the baptists have been grievously tormented and cut off with the knife during the past twelve hundred years, they would swarm in greater number than all the Reformers." (Hosius, Letters, Apud Opera, pages 112,113.)
The "twelve hundred years" were the years preceding the Reformation in which Rome persecuted Baptists with the most cruel persecution thinkable.
Sir Isaac Newton: "The Baptists are the only body of known Christians that have never symbolized with Rome."
Mosheim (Lutheran): "Before the rise of Luther and Calvin, there lay secreted in almost all the countries of Europe persons who adhered tenaciously to the principles of modern Dutch Baptists."
Edinburg Cyclopedia (Presbyterian): "It must have already occurred to our readers that the Baptists are the same sect of Christians that were formerly described as Ana-Baptists. Indeed this seems to have been their leading principle from the time of Tertullian to the present time."
Tertullian was born just fifty years after the death of the Apostle John.
Go to Chapter II
Return to Table of Contents