The following is designed, as its name implies, to be a directory to the doctrines and practices of Baptist churches. Its plan is different from that of any other work; more comprehensive in the range of its subjects, but more concise in its statement of facts. It is rather a hook for reference than a book for general reading. The arrangement is intended to be so clear and convenient, that any subject on which information is wanted, can be found at once. The style is adapted to the condition of those who desire information on such subjects, but who have little disposition for laborious or protracted investigation—instances of which are frequently occurring within the observation of every pastor.
There are great numbers of the younger members of our churches who, while they have a deep conviction that the doctrines they hold are according to the word of God, yet greatly need instruction as to church order and discipline, and the usages of the denomination. Indeed, there are many older members who might not be able to bring forward arguments to justify their faith and practice, or give information to those who desire to be instructed as to our denominational peculiarities. Besides, there are many outside the churches who often wish to know accurately what Baptists do believe and practise. These persons have, perhaps, small means to purchase, and little time to peruse many books. They desire to have the whole matter so condensed and definite that they can see it at a glance, and so reliable that they cannot doubt its correctness. The Directory is designed to supply this want.
Proof sheets of it were sent by the publishers to a number of ministers, eminent for learning and piety, residing in different sections of the country, who were requested to express their opinions of its merits, and also to make any suggestions that might improve it. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the very kind and generous terms in which they were pleased to speak of it, as well as for the very valuable suggestions which were made by several of them—which suggestions have, to a considerable degree, been adopted.
It is hoped that this work, prepared with much labor and care, and having met such general and generous approval, will be thought worthy to find a place in every church, and to be in the hands of every church member. That it may, by the divine blessing, contribute to the harmony, peace, and prosperity of our churches, is my sincere desire and prayer.
E. T. H.
New York, February 22, 1859.
Edward Hiscox (1814-1901) was an American Baptist pastor and theologian. He was converted to Christ in 1834 and began to preach the gospel four years later. He served as the pastor for several congregations, including the Stanton Street Baptist Church, New York (1852). He is best known for authoring the “Standard Manual for Baptist Churches” (1890) and the “New Directory for Baptist Churches” (1894).