As time went by sectarian differences became less important and denominations cooperated for such causes as evangelism, social action, and missionary activities.
English and Scottish missions in the late eighteenth and early to mid-nineteenth centuries not only brought the Gospel message, they were also instrumental in fomenting social reforms, bringing medical care, and ending pagan practices that destroyed the lives of women and children.
The opportunity for social gatherings had a powerful appeal to people who were starving for companionship. They were stirred by the evangelistic drive of the preachers, who encouraged emotional expression. The same exhibitions of tearful remorse and exuberant joy that appeared in England under Wesley’s preaching and in the Great Awakening in America appeared on the frontier. Out of the conversions of the camp meetings, the churches gathered recruits and the morals of the region showed dramatic improvement.
In 1707 American Baptists in Philadelphia organized their first association of churches, and other groups of Baptist churches followed their example. They were active in evangelism wherever they went. Through the Philadelphia Association, the South was indoctrinated with Baptist ideas, though the Southern colonies were officially Anglican in religion.
The English Government compelled the colonial Government to be more hospitable to persons who did not conform to colonial Congregationalism. In 1691 the original charter of the colony was taken away and a substitute provided. By that time Baptist and Episcopal churches had been founded in Boston.
The most famous document from the Assembly was the Westminster Confession of Faith. It was strictly Calvinistic and as such not only met the needs of English Presbyterians, but it was adopted by the Church of Scotland to take the place of the Scottish creed of 1560. It became the basis of Congregationalist creeds, and it was the model for statements of doctrine by English and American Baptists.
His allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress is considered one of the great works of Christian literature and was often one of only two books, along with the Bible, that families owned for over 200 years until the early twentieth century.
Samuel Stennett, an English Baptist minister, was born in Exeter in 1727. In 1758 he succeeded his father as pastor of the Wild Street Church in London where he remained for 37 years. He died in 1795. Stennett was the author of some prose writings and of 38 hymns.
Samuel Francis Smith, a Baptist minister, was born in Boston in 1808. He attended the Boston Latin School and entered Harvard College in 1825. After leaving Harvard in 1829 he entered Andover Theological Seminary, graduating in 1832. His first pastorate was at Waterville, Maine where he remained eight years.
Robert Robinson, a Baptist minister, was born in Norfolk, England in 1735. At the age of 14, he was apprenticed to a London hairdresser. He was converted among the Methodists at the age of 20 and became a lay preacher.