From the book, Why Baptise the little ones
"As we must take heed that we do not add the fancies of men to our Divine religion, so we must take equal care that we do not curtail the appointments of Christ." - DR. WATTS.
"What is an opinion? Two hundred millions of civilized men are the slaves of an opinion, and that opinion makes them the vassels of 'the Man of Sin'" - CANON STOWELL.
THE PUBLISHING COMMITTEE
Appointed by Churches of Christ in Great Britain and Ireland.
66 HIGHCROSS STREET, LEICESTER.
I. Divine Sanction - How ascertained - 6
II. The Silence of Scripture, and Proselyte Baptism - 9
III. Households and Children - 12
IV. Infants in the Kingdom - 16
V. Infants and Circumcision - 20
VI. The Church in the days of Abraham - 26
VII. The Commission - Infants in the Nations - 28
VIII. All the Human Family eligible for Baptism - 32
IX. Baptism into Moses - In Cloud and Sea - 34
X. The Lord's Day - 37
XI. Women at the Lord's Table - 39
XII. Children of Christian Parents Holy - 40
XIII. Children Addressed as Church Members - 42
XIV. The Early Fathers - 43
XV. Paedobaptist Admissions - 46
XVI. Evils of Baby Baptism - 51
Dr A. Clarke, Dr Halley, John Wesley, Rev. W. Burkett, Dr T. Dwight, Dr Alexander, Prof. Stuart, Rev. T. Withcrow, Dr W. Urwick, Rev. F. Guthrie, Rev. J. Bradley, Dr Wardlaw, Dr R.W. Dale, Rev. W. Thorn, Dr N.L. Rice, Dr W. Cooke, Dr Bushnell, Dr Doddridge, Dr Neander, Bunsen, Mosheim, Lange, Olshausen, Luther, Burnet, Barlow, Jeremy Taylor, Jacobi, W.W. Beecher, and others.
W H Y B A P T I Z E T H E L I T T L E O N E S ?
Why Baptize the Babies? If by Divine authority then none may object, but without that authority none should presume. Is the baptism of babes from heaven or of man? The author considers that a well-grounded and satisfactory answer can be given, and the truth so placed before every truth-seeking reader as to leave no room for doubt.
The phrase Baby-baptism, is not here used disrespectfully, but because, in this controversy, the word infant has been abused. "An Infant," in law, may be twenty years old, and ancient writers mention infants who went to the stake singing praises to Jesus. Passages have been cited in favour of baby-baptism merely because the word infant, or its cognate term in the language of the writer quoted, is used, which, for anything that can be shown to the contrary, may refer to persons who, though not of full age, were old enough to hear, believe and obey the Gospel.
That believers who have not been baptized are proper subjects for baptism is admitted by all defenders of baby-baptism. The action, then, of our Baptist neighbours, in this particular, is sanctioned by both sides. On the other hand, Paedobaptists claim the right to do what Baptists hold as unauthorized. The burden of proof therefore rests with the Paedobaptist. He has to show by what authority he subjects the babe, as yet unable to believe, to an ordinance which he and the Baptist declare was administered by the apostles of Christ to believers. In this discussion the Paedobaptist is entitled to the affirmative, and is bound to take it. To call upon the Baptist to affirm that Infants are not proper subjects for baptism is to do him wrong. He is not to affirm a negative. Upon what he does there is no dispute - he baptizes believers who have not been baptized. The dispute regards the practice of his opponent, who claims a right to do more, and who must, therefore, prove his right. The business of the Baptist is to test the alleged authority and show its insufficiency. If he please to do more, he may afterward show that baby-baptism is forbidden, or opposed to fundamental principles of Christianity, but in no case can this be demanded. His work is done, and the case is lost by the other side, when he manifests the defectiveness of the Paedobaptist argument and shows that Divine authority for baby-baptism has not been produced. Now, as it is desired that this little work shall be thoroughly logical, as well as replete with candour, the Paedobaptist must take his own ground, maintain his affirmative proposition, and present his strong reasons. All that Paedobaptists have advanced cannot be reproduced, nor is it needful, as very much that is weakness itself has been put forth on both sides. The strongest arguments, from the weightiest books, of esteemed Paedobaptist authors, shall have place, and if he who represents the other side can refute them they shall be refuted, but if he cannot, then, so far as these pages are concerned, neighbour Paedo shall bear the palm.
But it may be well at the first to set forth reliable principles by which we may determine whether a given doctrine or practice has Divine authority.
I. - DIVINE SANCTION - HOW ASCERTAINED, page 6
TO us, and since the apostolic age, Divine authority is Bible authority. Whatever cannot be proved by the Bible is not part of the Christian system. Early Christian writers may be appealed to in illustration of that which is already proved by Holy Scripture, but of themselves they prove nothing beyond the opinions and customs of their own time. Consequently, if writers of the third and following centuries indicate that baby-baptism, baby-communion, or baby-anything-else was practised in their time, they only prove what is compatible with the post-apostolic origin thereof. Even in the lifetime of Paul the "Mystery of Iniquity" had already begun its work, and, without, doubt, it made rapid strides upon the removal of the apostles. The appeal then is to the Bible, and whatever cannot be proved therefrom must not, in anywise, be retained as an ordinance of God.
How, then, can it be certainly known that a doctrine or practice has Bible authority? By either of two ways, and by none other - by actual assertion, or by necessary inference. It is not enough to say that it may be implied, because that at once concedes that it may not. Nothing is proved by merely possible implication, not even by probability. The inference must be necessary. Whatsoever, then, is not in the Bible actually affirmed or necessarily implied, is no part of the doctrine of Christ.
How, then, can it be shown that an ordinance is Divinely authorised? By the production of a positive command, or by an instance Divinely sanctioned, or by necessary inference.
As doctrine, baby-baptism comes prominently before us in the creeds of Christendom. As a practice, we find it in a multitude of sects. But can it be proved from the Bible? If so, it is from heaven, but if not, it is of man. Take by way of illustration, baby-circumcision. As a doctrine, it is actually asserted - as a practice, actually commanded; and clear and undeniable instances, with Divine sanction, are recorded. Does the same hold good of baby-baptism? Certainly not! Paedobaptists of repute admit that as a doctrine it is not actually asserted in the Bible; that as a practice it is not actually commanded; and that the Bible does not contain a clear and undeniable instance. If then Divine authority - that is Bible authority - can be produced it must be in the form of Implication. Anti-paedobaptists are often charged with doing injustice to their opponents, by demanding direct command or clear example, thus refusing the right to establish their position by inference, though they themselves maintain much Bible doctrine and practice only in this way. But let no one misrepresent or misunderstand these pages. The author accords most heartily to Paedobaptists the right to establish their plea by inference. It is true that though he affirms, and they admit, that there is neither command nor example of baby-baptism in the Bible, there is yet another form of Divine sanction and, that if thus found it will stand on pillars stronger than the everlasting hills - that of Necessary Inference. But then a mere guess, a perhaps, or "You cannot prove that infants were not baptized," or "Is it not likely," etc., having nothing whatever to do with "Necessary Inference." *
* A former edition of this pamphlet called forth a reply of some thirty pages, from the author of "A Defence of Infant Baptism," in which he says:- "Mr. King lays down, at the outset, certain principles according to which the controversy is to be conducted; and these principles are so stated that a victory is sure to be declared in his favour. Mr. King says, 'Nothing is proved by merely possible implication; the inference must be a necessary one - the doctrine must be certainly implied.'"
This admission, on the part of the our Reviewer, is very satisfactory, because he utterly fails in attempting to refute it, though quoting (as he supposes) against it Bishop Butler, Dr. Beattie, and Prof. Knowles, as teaching that "probability is the very guide of life - that where there appears, on the whole, any - the lowest presumption on the one side and none on the other - or greater presumption on the one side - though in the lowest degree greater - this determines the question."
All this we may admit, so far as numerous ordinary matters of everyday life are concerned. It may be impossible for us to know which of two courses is the better to be taken, or which of two opposing statements is the true one; and yet we may be compelled to act according to one or the other. In that case, probability becomes the guide of life, and the wise man will take the more probable course. But even then probability proves nothing. How many people have taken the most probable road to a desired end, only to find themselves at the wrong destination.
Still, even taking this doctrine of probability as stated, it avails our Reviewer nothing. He says, "the lowest presumption on one side and none on the other; or, greater presumption on one side, even in the lowest degree greater, determines the case." But in this he begs the entire question - the presumption is not in favour of infant baptism, not even in the lowest degree. It is not commanded; no instance of it is recorded in the New Testament; there is no certain allusion to it; and its declared design renders it inapplicable to babes - being commanded, with repentance and trust in Christ, for the remission of sins. Infants being incapable of repentance, and having no sins to remit, are ineligible.
We deny the applicability of this doctrine of probability to positive ordinances of God associated with salvation. Nothing could possibly be more unlike His love and wisdom, displayed under every dispensation, than to ordain an act by which duly qualified subjects may be brought into saving association with the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, leaving us to discover, by our erring estimate of probability, either the action to be submitted to or the proper subjects thereof. In his closing pages, our Reviewer only claims to have shown "the evidence for infant baptism to be what may be characterised as highly probable." Even if it were so, that would afford no reason for administering, in the name of the Lord Jesus, what cannot be shown to be of His appointment. But, as we have seen, it is not "highly probable," the probability being all the other way. Probability never justifies more than an opinion, but the obedience demanded by the Lord is the obedience of faith, and faith rests on positive testimony and not on the balance of probability.
Thus far, only this is claimed - that there is no command for baby-baptism, and no instance of it recorded in the Bible. It may, however, for anything here said to the contrary, be sustained by legitimate inference. The only thing we are now entitled to plead in opposition is, that it is not likely that, in reference to the initiatory ordinance of the Church of Christ, we are left to discover its proper subjects by inference, and that, so far as the more numerous class for whom it is intended is concerned, the Lord has left us without either command or example. Still, reasonable as this conclusion is, we are bound to examine, with all candour, whatever inferential proof the other side can submit. To this work we advance, praying the Great Head of the Church to aid our effort to effect a thoroughly impartial examination.
II. - THE SILENCE OF SCRIPTURE AND PROSELYTE BAPTISM, page 9
DR. A. CLARKE. - "We suppose that men, women, and children came to John's baptism, according to the manner of the Nations in the reception of proselytes; namely, that they, standing in the Jordan, were taught by John; that they were baptized into the name of the Messias, who was now immediately to come; and into the profession of the doctrine of the Gospel concerning faith and repentance; that they plunged themselves into the river, and so came out.
"To the objection, It is not commanded to baptize infants, therefore they are not to be baptized, I answer, It is not forbidden to baptize infants, therefore they are to be baptized; and the reason is plain; for when Paedo-baptism in the Jewish Church was so known, usual, and frequent, in the admission of proselytes, that nothing almost was more known, usual, and frequent, there was no need to strengthen it with any precept when baptism was now passed into an evangelical sacrament. For Christ took baptism into His hands, and into evangelical use, as He found it; this only added, that he might promote it to a worthier end and a larger use. The whole Nation knew well enough that little children used to be baptized; there was no need of a precept for that which had ever by common use prevailed. For since it was most common in all preceding ages that little children should be baptized, if Christ had been minded to have this custom abolished, He would have openly forbidden it. Therefore his silence, and the silence of Scripture in this matter, confirmed Paedo-baptism, and continues it to all ages." - Commentary on New Testament.
1. HERE the Commentator, arguing from the silence of Scripture, admits that there is neither command nor example.
2. Granting, for a moment, all he alleges in reference to Jewish proselyte baptism we have then to ask, where, in the Bible, we learn anything about that baptism? It is not therein named, but, like to baby-baptism, has neither precept nor example in all the Book of God. It then follows, that if the baptism of babes must be inferred from proselyte baptism, that the Bible is not our only rule of faith, and that we depend upon the writings of unconverted and uninspired Jews for information concerning that proselyte baptism which is the pattern for the Christian Church in all ages. This we cannot accept, or, if we do, we surrender the plea - "The Bible, and the Bible alone, the only religion of Protestants."
3. Dr. Clarke intimates that Paedo-baptism was so known, usual, and frequent, in the Jewish Church, that it was not necessary, in introducing the New Dispensation, to say anything about it. But there never was a Jewish Church into which infants were inducted by baptism. There was a Jewish Nation into which proselytes were introduced, and into which infants were incorporated, and in which, therefore, the flesh profited much; whereas in the Church of Christ fleshly descent profits nothing, confers no right, and supplies no qualification. A Nation and a Church are as dissimilar as light and darkness. If, then, the little children of proselytes were, with their parents, grafted into the Jewish Nation, it follows not that the children of Christians should, in like manner, be received into the Church - which is not National, but Spiritual - which the Lord requires shall be composed of those only who are twice born, not of those born of the flesh nor of the will of man; but solely of those who are born again, born of God.
4. But if these things were so, and if Jewish proselyte baptism were found in the Bible, and if there were also a requirement that it be made the pattern of baptism in all ages of the church, would it then justify the practice of the Paedo-baptist sects? Certainly not! For, first, this proselyte baptism was a complete immersion, whereas, out of the Greek Church, the immersion of a babe is rarely heard of. Second, Jewish proselyte baptism was administered to the children of proselytes born before their parents became proselytes, and generally at the same time with their parents, but it was not administered to children born after that event, because the parents and their offspring were considered as Israelites, clean from their birth. (Lightfoot's Hor. Hebr., on Matt. iii. 6., and Horne's Introduction, Vol. iii., p. 292.) According, then, to this pattern, only the children of Christians born before the conversion and baptism of their parents would be entitled to baptism, while all born afterwards would remain unbaptized. Look then on this picture and on that! The thing is as unlike the pattern from which it is said to be drawn, and by which it is said to be authorized, as can well be.
5. But after granting all this and giving to the other side the advantage of all these ifs, another question presents itself - Did the Jews of our Lord's day really know anything at all of proselyte baptism? It is not found in the Bible. Moses gave it not! Neither is it once alluded to by prophet or apostle. It is a human invention, and those who affirm that it was originated and usual before the time of John the Baptist need to favour us with proof. Come Gentlemen! Please tell us how you know that it was then known and frequent! You allege that writers so declare who lived centuries after. Is this evidence? How many things are there which writers, who did not live till centuries after the apostles, affirm of the Primitive Church which you will not accept? Have you no other evidence? None as yet have you produced. We have waited long, and asked often, but there is none, and, until you produce it, we must hold that Dr. Clarke and those who reason with him have based infant baptism upon a guess, a fancy, a surmise, have assumed a practice, of the existence of which there is no proof, and which, had it existed, would not sustain them.
The generally admitted fact is, that Jewish proselyte baptism is first alluded to in a Jewish Talmud of the third century. There is full and indisputable testimony to proselyte baptism in the Gamara of the Babylonian Talmud, a compilation of the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries, and there is one passage which is thought to bear upon the practice in the Mishna of the Jerusalem Talmud, composed in the third century. Dr. Halley, who held no mean position among Paedobaptists, said:- "It would be uncandid not to state, that several scholars of great name, as Dr. Owen, Carpzovius, Lardner, Doddridge, Van Dale, Ernesti, Paulos, De Wette, Stuart, and others, either deny or doubt that the baptism of proselytes was prevalent in the time of our Lord."
Only this, then, is in evidence - that Jewish proselyte baptism is unmistakably written of in the fifth century, and most likely alluded to in the third. This is all! That it was practised early in the Christian era we doubt not, but could it be proved to have been in use before the end of the first century it would not meet the requirement, for nothing is more likely than that the Jews adopted it from John's baptism and from that of the Christian Church. Dr. Clarke, then, completely fails in his attempt thus to sustain baby-baptism.
III. - HOUSEHOLDS AND CHILDREN, page 12
JOHN WESLEY. - "If it be objected, there is no express mention in Scripture of any infants whom the apostles baptized; I would ask, suppose no mention had been made in the Acts of those two women baptized by the apostles, yet might we not fairly conclude, that when so many thousands, so many entire households were baptized, women were not excluded, especially since it was then the known custom of the Jews to baptize them? The same holds of children; nay, more strongly, on account of circumcision. Three thousand were baptised by the apostles in one day, and five thousand in another. And can it be reasonably supposed that there were no children among such vast numbers? Again, the apostles baptized many families: Nay, we hardly read of one master of a family who was converted and baptized, but his whole family was baptized with him. Thus the Jailor's Household, He and all his; The Household of Gaius, of Stephanas, of Crispus. And can we suppose that in all these households, which we read were without exception baptized, there should not be so much as one child, or infant? But to go a step further. St. Peter says to the multitude, Acts ii. 38, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you, for the remission of sins - for the promise is to you, and to your children.' Indeed the answer is made directly to those that asked, What shall we do? But it reaches farther than to those who asked the question. And though children could not actually repent, yet they might be baptized. And that they are included appears, 1. - Because the apostle addressed himself to every one of them, and in every one children must be contained. 2. - They are expressly mentioned, the promise is to you and to your children." - Treatise on Baptism.
THUS the founder of Wesleyan Methodism gives his strong reasons for infant baptism, in which he rises no higher than supposition. At the outset he admits that in Scripture it has not any express mention. He tries his hand at inference, or rather at guessing, but evolves nothing substantial, "Suppose no mention had been made in the Acts of those two women baptized by the apostles, yet might we not fairly conclude that when so many thousands were baptized women were not excluded." But here is the answer - If the baptism of women has neither direct command nor undeniable example in Scripture, neither necessary inference, then it is unauthorized, and what is unauthorized may not be administered as an ordinance of God. Furthermore, we are not left in the case of women to suppose anything. Lydia was baptised, and "when the believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women" (Acts viii. 12). Mention cannot be more positive. The example is undeniable. Only one similar intimation of baby-baptism and the question is settled, against us for ever. It avails nothing to intimate that if all the evidence of women baptism had been left out of the Bible women and babes would then stand in the same relation to the ordinance. It is enough to know that the one is clearly affirmed and the other never mentioned.
The attempt of Mr. Wesley to strengthen his supposition by assuming the baptism of babes to have been established before the institution of Christ's baptism, needs no reply here, as the assumption, in our dealing with Dr. Clarke, is proved worthless.
The Households appear as Mr. Wesley's stronghold. But even here he claims no more than "It is reasonably supposed." This one thing we think may be reasonably supposed, namely, that the Head of the Church has not left us to mere supposition where the proper subjects for an ordinance, which translates into His kingdom and confers His name, are concerned. Proof we are demanding, not supposition. Commands, examples, there are none. Is it then certain, though it be not stated, that the three thousand, and the five thousand, and the households, said to have been baptised, included even one babe? If so, baby-baptism is right. If not, the argument is worthless. We ask not whether the eight thousand persons were all unmarried or childless. So to suppose would be absurd. No doubt they had as many children, by reason of age unable to believe, as would now be found in a promiscuous multitude of like number. It is then reasonable to suppose that the baptized had infants, but that no more warrants the conclusion that those infants were baptized than it does that they attended to the Breaking of the Bread because we read that the baptized continued steadfastly therein. In regard to the households, does Mr. Wesley attempt to prove that there was certainly an infant in any one of them? Family baptism does not imply baby-baptism. But there are not many household baptisms mentioned, only some three. A few others are named as added to the Church where baptism is not named, though of course it was administered. The households mentioned as baptized are those of Stephanas, the Jailor, and Lydia. Of the other class Mr. Wesley cites the house of Gaius, and that of Crispus. Let us follow Mr. Wesley in his proof cases and if there be evidence in them bring it to light.
Of CRISPUS mention is twice made. Paul says, "I baptized none of you but Crispus" (Cor. i. 14). The other instance gives all the history we have of that baptism - "And Crispus, the chief ruler of the Synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized" (Acts xxiii. 8). Strange proof of baby-baptism! It is not said that Crispus and his house were baptized, though that may be implied from the fact subjoined - that "Many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized." Still, the persons said to be baptized are those who heard and believed. But though it is not said of Crispus and his house that they were baptized it is recorded that they believed. "Crispus believed in the Lord with all his house." What then does the case prove? Either that there were not infants in his house, or else that baptism was not intended for infants, and that, therefore, they were not taken into account. If none in this house why assume that they must have been in some other of the few households mentioned? If there were infants in this house and they are not regarded in the narrative, because not proper subjects for baptism, why suppose that they would be otherwise treated in any other case? The first case, then, not only gives nothing in Mr. Wesley's favour, but is point blank against him.
STEPHANUS is named three times and his household twice. Cor. i. 16 tells us that Paul "baptised the house of Stephanas," but gives no information as to age, sex, or number of persons. In the same Epistle, however, we read, "Ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruit of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the Saints." Here, then, there is proof that there were not infants in the house, or, that if infants were there, not being fit subjects for that which is affirmed, they are not included in the narrative. Case No. 2 is directly against Mr. Wesley.
Of GAIUS, we only know that Paul baptized him. Of his house we are told nothing and therefore know nothing.
The JAILOR is not likely to serve the purpose much better. Acts xvi. informs us that Paul "spake the Word to him and to all that were in his house," - that he "rejoiced, believing in God with all his house." First then the Word was spoken to all that were in his house. But we don't preach to babes? Either, then, infants were not present, or not being fit subjects for hearing the Gospel, they are not regarded - not included in the account. If not present, of course, the case favours not Mr. Wesley, and if present, but not included in the account, because not fit subjects for hearing, then there can be no warrant for including them in the number baptized, unless there be first produced Scripture warrant for baby-baptism. Not only so, but those of the household who were baptized were rejoicing believers. "And when he had brought them into the house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced believing in God with all his house." The Jailor's house then was baptized, but unto all those who were baptized the Word was spoken, and they were subjects of faith and joy. Strange ground for "reasonably supposing" infant baptism.
Of LYDIA we know nothing, only that "she was baptized and her household." Some conclude that the household and the brethren whom Paul and Silas comforted when they returned to the house of Lydia were the same persons, but as we desire not the aid of mere supposition, let that go. Of Lydia we know not whether she had young children, or any children, or had ever had children. The argument of baby-baptism from this case can only stand thus - Lydia may have had an infant, and she may not. If she had, the infant may have been baptized, and it may not, and, therefore, infant baptism is of Divine authority. Never was conclusion more worthless.
The answer of Peter (Acts ii. 38) remains for notice:- "Repent, and be baptized every one of you, for the remission of sins - for the promise is to you, and to your children." Thus it is given by Mr. Wesley. But what have infants to do with a Command that begins with "Repent"? That, the application of such Command to infants is incongruous Mr. Wesley evidently felt, and therefore he added:- "Though children could not actually repent, yet they might be baptized." But where is the proof that they might? Then, again, what have babes to do with an ordinance which with repentance is, "For the remission of sins"? Even "Original Sin," so called, will not help the case. Sins, not one sin, imputed to everybody, but sins, of which the babe has none! Then there is an additional promise:- "Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" - which promise was applied to all the persons addressed. But nowhere is the unbelieving, whether babe or adult, called to receive the Holy Spirit, whom the Saviour declared the world could not receive. Those who had confessed Christ were called to receive the Spirit, but others were not, and babes confess nothing. True, the word children is in the text, and finding "children" within a few lines of the word "baptism" presented an opportunity too rare to be passed over without an attempt to turn it to advantage. "For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord your God shall call." But the word children has no necessary reference to babes, the word used in commonly employed to denote descendants and, as the facts show, may allude to adult descendants only. The children here referred to are those old enough to be called of God by the Gospel and, therefore, not babes. Children it is true, but children in the sense in which Abraham, at the age of a hundred and twenty, was the child of Terah. Thus in Mr. Wesley's reasons for infant baptism we find nothing sustainable. No command, no example, no necessary inference, nothing but "may be" and supposition. His main arguments, the households and the children, and not only refuted by the foregoing, but repudiated by Paedobaptists of repute. The households are given up by Dr. Halley and many others, while thoughtful writers deny the right to apply the words of Peter to infants. Of this class we may cite Dr. Whitby on Acts ii. 39, he says:- "These words will not prove the right of infants to receive baptism. Limbroch, in his comment on this text, says, 'By tekna, the apostle understands not infants, but children, or posterity, in which signification the word tekna occurs in many places in the New Testament. See, among others, John viii. 39.' And here Peter also comprehends in that expression their unborn posterity ... Whence it appears that the argument, which is very commonly taken from this passage for the baptism of infants, is of no force, and good for nothing, because it entirely departs from the design of Peter. It is necessary, therefore, that Paedo-baptism should be supported by other arguments."
IV. - INFANTS IN THE KINGDOM, page 16
REV. W. BURKETT. - "In Luke xviii. 15-17, it is said, 'They brought unto Him also infants, that he might touch them; but when His disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein.' You will observe here a solemn action performed; children as brought to Christ to be blessed by him. Where note, 1. The persons brought - children, young children, sucking children, as the words import 'they brought them in their arms!' Not led them by their hands. 2. The persons are brought unto - Jesus Christ. But for what end? Not to baptize them, but to bless them: the parents looking upon Christ as a prophet, a great and extraordinary prophet, persuade themselves that by His prayers, and laying His hands on their children, they should be preserved from bodily diseases, and from Satan's power, that he would confer upon them all needful blessings. Learn from this, 1. That infants are capable of benefit from Jesus Christ. 2. That it is the best office that parents can perform unto their children, to bring them unto Christ, that they may be made partakers of that benefit. 3. That if infants are capable of benefit by Christ, if capable of His blessings on earth, and presence in heaven; if they be subjects of His Kingdom of Grace, and heirs of His Kingdom of Glory; they may then be baptized; for they that are within the covenant, have a right to the privilege of the covenant, and to baptism, the seal of the covenant; and if Christ denies not infants the kingdom of heaven, which is greater, what reason have His ministers to deny them the baptism, which is less? 4. That Christ will have all His disciples and followers to resemble little children, in such properties wherein they be patterns to them, namely, in humility and innocence, in freedom from malice and revenge, in docility and tractableness, in cleaving to, and depending upon their parents, and in contentedness with their condition. 'Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein.'" - Notes upon the New Testament.
THUS is baby-baptism defended by another famous commentator. Note first his concessions. For what purpose did they bring little children to Jesus? "Not to baptize them but to bless them." Very good! The case then presents no example of baby-baptism. They were brought that they might be "preserved from bodily diseases." Good again, and most likely correct. But what then does the case teach? This, that were Christ now upon earth, it would be good to bring infants to Him that, by contact with His person and the utterances of His blessing, they might be preserved from sickness, or, if sick, healed. No more does the case prove. It does not even authorize bringing infants for like purpose to His disciples, and certainly it contains not a shadow of authority for baby-baptism, not even for adult baptism. There is no baptism in it, nor near it. The logic by which Burkett and others educe baby-baptism from the narrative is indeed peculiar. "Infants are capable of benefit from Jesus." That is, infants are capable of being preserved from disease, or of cure, by an exercise of the will and power of the Saviour. "Therefore infants should be baptised." But a horse is capable of benefit from Jesus, even the same benefit as that supposed to be conferred upon the little children brought to Him - that is to say, if He please to exert His power in preservation or in recovery. Does it then follow that the animal should be baptized? If not, their capability to receive from Jesus physical blessing furnishes no ground for admission to one of the ordinances of His church. Then it is urged that if infants are capable of blessing in heaven, they are fit subjects for baptism. But, till proved that the conditions of entering into the Church here and into glory hereafter are one and the same, the affirmation stands for nothing. The talk about the "right to the privilege of the covenant" is assumption from first to last. This point is so well handled in a recent Quarterly that we cannot do better than dismiss our commentator with a page therefrom.
"The conduct of Christ in the case in hand clearly proves that little children are entitled to the blessings of His reign. Baptism is one of these blessings. Therefore little children are entitled to it.
"Now what the conduct of Christ clearly proves is this: that during His earthly life, little children might be brought to Him and receive at His own hand a blessing, of the nature and import of which we know nothing. But what His conduct does not prove is this: that because little children might receive that blessing, which is not known to be a blessing of His reign, therefore, they may be baptized. That is what His conduct does not prove. That blessing was one thing - the blessings of His reign are different things. A person may enjoy all these and not have that, or he may have that, and not be entitled to these. That blessing was bestowed before Christ's reign commenced, and therefore is not necessarily of it. The blessings of His reign were subsequently appointed, and are not known to include that; hence in no sense can the bestowment of one be construed as entitling to the other. The argument is at fault in two respects. First, and chiefly, the main assertion is false. It is not true that the conduct of Christ proves that infants are entitled to all the blessings of His reign. This may be so; but then it can never be deduced from the conduct in question. A right to all the blessings of His reign can never be inferred from the bestowment of a single blessing before His reign began. Second, the minor premise affirms that baptism is a blessing. When baptism is classified as a blessing, the classification is utterly faulty. True, the duty may involve blessings; blessings may depend on it; but then the duty itself is not a blessing - especially is it not a blessing in the sense in which Christ blessed little children. The second argument may be stated thus:
"All whom the kingdom of heaven contains are entitled to baptism. The clause 'of such is the kingdom of heaven,' implies that it contains infants. Therefore they are entitled to baptism.
"A more complete misconception we should find it difficult to adduce. And yet there is a subtle danger in the assertion. Can it be possible that there are any in the kingdom of heaven who are not entitled to baptism? Let us imagine a sanguine Paedobaptist putting the question to himself. Not for a moment can he believe it. The flattering thought now flashes home to his heart, that if his children are in the kingdom, then conclusively are they entitled to baptism. With him it is folly to reason further. Now, of course the real question on the assertion is this: Does the kingdom of heaven contain any who are not baptized? The answer is, not one. All in the kingdom have been already baptized. Without baptism they had never been in it. The assertion if therefore incorrect. Hence, the proper method of treatment is to deny, and thereby devolve the proof upon the affirmant, which compels him to shift the ground of controversy to the minor. Then arises the question of fact - does the clause, 'of such is the kingdom of heaven,' imply that the kingdom contains infants? To this, the advocate of infant baptism replies in the affirmative. How now, in order to sustain himself, must he construe the clause? He must assume that the phrase, 'of such,' expresses not likeness or resemblance, but identity; in other words, that the phrase, 'of such,' is wrong, and should give place to the phrase of these. The passage would then read, of these, that is, of little children, is the kingdom of heaven. But to this, though the exact ground the proponent of the argument must take, there are insuperable objections. The word rendered 'of such' means, of this kind, of such as these, denoting likeness or resemblance. To assert that the kingdom of heaven is composed of those who are like little children, who resemble them in one or more respects, and that it is composed of little children, is to assert two very different things. The kingdom of heaven does not consist of little children. Paedobaptists themselves do not believe it. They believe that the kingdom of heaven is composed of both adults and infants."
It is then clear that in this narrative there cannot be found command, example, or inference to sustain baby-baptism. And this has been long admitted by Paedobaptist authorities, of whom a number might be cited, but one must suffice:- Olshausen, commenting on the parallel passages, Matt. xix. 13-15, says, "Of that reference to infant baptism, which it is so common to seek in this narrative, there is clearly not the slightest trace to be found." Thus, then, we leave the infants presented to Jesus, as unable to afford the slightest support to our opponents. On this point, as on every other, they fail, and fail they must, because their practice is not only unscriptural but anti-scriptural. Not only is there no trace of baby-baptism in Scripture, but in principle it stands opposed to main elements of Christianity.
V. - INFANTS AND CIRCUMCISION, page 20
REV. T. DWIGHT, S.T.D., LL.D. - "Infants were circumcised in the Church under the Abrahamic dispensation; circumcision was the same ordinance with baptism; therefore infants are to be baptized."
"There are two Sacraments in the ancient Church - circumcision and the passover. There are two sacraments in the Christian Church - baptism and the Lord's Supper. It follows, therefore, that baptism is the same sacrament with circumcision."
"Hence, the conclusion appears to me unavoidable, that as infants were circumcised under the former dispensation, they are to be baptized under the present." - System of Theology.
HERE are logic and assumption, hand in hand. "Infants were circumcised in the Church under the Abrahamic dispensation." Query - Was there, in any proper sense of the word, a Church under any dispensation prior to the present? But this will come before us in another chapter.
"Infants were circumcised under the former dispensation." Some infants were circumcised, but not all. Male infants only. "Circumcision was the same ordinance with baptism." Indeed! One was a cutting of the flesh, the other is the application of water. Remarkable sameness! But the Doctor does not mean exactly as he says. Understand him to intend that "Baptism has come in the place of circumcision." If so, then it should be applied to males only; but the apostles baptized females, and, therefore, the one does not occupy the place of the other. Circumcision was administered to servants, bought with money, without regard to faith or piety. Baptism, then, if in the place of circumcision, must be granted to the same class of persons - that is to servants, or slaves, without faith or piety, and to their male offspring; females, however faithful, being denied the ordinance.
"There were two sacraments in the ancient Church - circumcision and the passover. there are two in the Christian Church - baptism and the Supper. It therefore follows that baptism is the same sacrament with circumcision." "Therefore" indeed! There were two coins in my old purse - one shilling and a half-crown. There are two coins in my new purse - a sovereign and a penny. It therefore follows that the penny is the same coin as the half-crown! Yet, notwithstanding the "therefore," we suspect that neighbour Paedo would not be satisfied to accept the penny as payment for two-and-sixpence. The chestnut horse and the horse-chestnut logic is really the better of the two.
"The conclusion is unavoidable that as infants were circumcised under the former dispensation they are to be baptized under the present." Why so! If the dispensations are two, why must the subjects be the same in both? Could not he who formed the dispensation determine otherwise? Could he not? Is it not possible that he may have done so? It is possible, to say the least. Then those who say that he has not changed the subjects must prove their position. Bold affirmation will not pass current. But this belongs rather to another section. The proposition really before us is -
Baptism has come in room of circumcision - infants were circumcised - therefore they ought to be baptized.
It has been well said that "a more humiliating proof of the extent to which human reason has been wrecked and man made the dupe of error could hardly be adduced than is found in the fact that this argument has ever found a human being to propound it. Yet, by many it has been relied on as though it were an oracle from heaven. On the score of merit it is entitled to no notice whatever. The sole reason for referring to it is its popularity with those who practice infant baptism. 'Baptism has come in the room of circumcision.' Is this true? And if so, how can we know the fact? Has baptism come in the room of anything? A more groundless assumption cannot be imagined. As truly could it be said that baptism came in the room of Aaron's calf. Baptism has come in the room of nothing. Hence it cannot have come in the room of circumcision."
The one text generally referred to in support of this baseless theory is Col. ii. 11-12, where in one verse the Christian is said to be "Circumcised with the circumcision made without hands," and in the next, he is buried with Christ in baptism. This text is of course selected because there is no other in which circumcision and baptism are brought within a few lines of each other, and because there is no passage in which the one is made to stand for the other. The thing assumed, without a shade of foundation, is, that the circumcision of the one verse is the baptism named in the next verse. But not only are we destitute of all intimation that they are one, but nowhere is the one presented as a type of the other. Circumcision may have its anti-type, but baptism is not that antitype. If found at all, it appears in Rom. ii., "For he is not a Jew, who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." Circumcision, then, of the heart, and not immersion of the body, has come in the room of the outward circumcision. And truly thus we have a circumcision "made without hands," but never yet has baptism been administered without hands. When it is so performed we may think that Col. ii. 11 may refer to it.
Nothing can be more fallacious than an attempt to establish the identity of any two institutions from the real or assumed similarity of a few particulars. John and Robert may be perfectly similar in a dozen particulars, still they are not one person. So with kingdoms, dispensations, churches, and institutions. Baptism and circumcision are dissimilar at so many points and correspond in so few, that nothing but the most perverse determination to find, somewhere, Bible authority for baby-baptism can account for the asserted identify.
1. Males only were subjects of circumcision. The apostles baptized both men and women.
2. Circumcision was required on the eighth day. Baptism has no fixed day, and, in the Bible, nowhere appears, except as administered to persons who confess faith in Christ.
3. Baptism admits its proper subject into the kingdom of God, and entitles to all the privileges of the Church. Circumcision did not admit the infant Jew into any kingdom, Church, or society under heaven. It was not, to the Jew who was its primary and most proper subject, an introductory ordinance. Birth placed him under the covenant and in the nation. If not circumcised he was to be cut off from the people, clear proof that circumcision was not contemplated as an introductory rite. All Abraham's descendants were circumcised because they were already in the Commonwealth. All the properly baptized were baptized not because they were in the kingdom, or in the Church, but that - having been made by change of heart fit for induction - they might be translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son. The one is the opposite of the other.
4. Servants, and their infants, were circumcised as property, and without regard to faith. Servants have no claim to, and no fitness for, baptism, irrespective of faith.
5. The qualifications for circumcision were flesh and property. But in Christianity "the flesh profiteth nothing, but a new creature."
6. Circumcision, requiring neither intelligence, faith, nor any moral qualification, neither did, nor could, communicate any spiritual blessing. No one ever professed to put on Christ in circumcision. The opposite holds of baptism.
7. Circumcision was a visible mark, as all signs are. It was an abiding indication of connection with the flesh of Abraham. Baptism leaves no mark and serves no such purpose.
8. The duty of circumcision, after the first generation, was not personal, but parental. The precept was, "circumcise your children." But in baptism it is personal - "Be baptized every one of you."
9. Circumcision was not connected in any way with introduction into a new name and relation to the Deity. Baptism, as an instrument, inducts into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The list of discrepancies might be enlarged, but enough! A fact or two from the history of the Primitive Church may not be out of place.
1. The baptized thousands for some seven years after the day of Pentecost were all Jews. If baptism came in the room of circumcision why were those baptized who had been already circumcised?
2. It is assumed that circumcision was done away. But when? Those Jews who were baptized and added to the Church continued to circumcise their offspring, which, too, might be used in proof that they did not baptize them, for they never could apply both circumcision and its substitute to the same subject. There is no evidence that the circumcision of the children of Abraham according to the flesh was "done away" during the period of New Testament history. About the year 60 it was reported that Paul forbade the Jews to circumcise their children and he was brought into trouble thereby. Did he admit the charge? Not at all. He went out of his way to show the contrary and to make it understood that the Gentiles who believed were free from circumcision and the requirements of the law.
But here the question must be left. Though our business was not that of proving that baptism did not come in the room of circumcision, perhaps we have so proved. But if any think we have not, let them remember that there is nothing but assumption on the other side. Our business is to examine proof in support of their affirmation - none is produced and there is none to test, and, therefore, purely from want of anything to refute, we have demonstrated the absurdity of the plea.
But here, as in the former instances, Paedobaptists of repute repudiate the argument we have shown to be invalid. In this case, Dr. Dwight is corrected by the Rev. W. Alexander, D.D., and by Professor Stuart. Dr. Alexander, in his "Life of Dr. Wardlaw," pp. 237-239, observes:- "It may be conceded to the author that the Abrahamic covenant, in its spiritual aspect, was identical to the covenant of grace, and that circumcision stood related to the covenant as a whole, and not only its temporal part, as distinguished from its spiritual; but after all, it does appear startling that, on the ground of this, we should be asked to admit that because that covenant recognized a connection between a child and his father as one of the natural posterity of Abraham, it also recognized a connection between a child and his parent, whether father or mother, as one of the spiritual seed of Abraham. How this follows from the premises I confess I have never been able to see. I can understand how a certain class of privileges should run along the line of natural descent, and how another class should run along the line of spiritual descent, but how the two should interlace so as that natural descent should entitle to privileges which belong only to spiritual descent, I find nothing in the reasoning of this book that helps me to comprehend. Suppose a nobleman had received his lands and his titles on the condition that all his natural posterity, as such, should inherit his lands, but that his titles should be borne only by such, whether his natural descendants or not, as resembled him in character; and, suppose that, after some generations, a man claimed to sustain the titles, not on the plea that his character resembled that of the head of the succession, but on the ground that he was the son of one who possessed that resemblance; would his plea be admitted? I judge not; and is not this case exactly analogous to that of one claiming privilege under the Abrahamic charter, on the ground that he is the natural descendant of a person whose title to its privilege was not natural descent but spiritual character.
"I would advance with diffidence when I venture to charge the reasoning of such a logician as Dr. Wardlaw with a fallacy. And yet turn it as I may, this argument from the Abrahamic covenant in favour of infant baptism always presents itself to my mind as fallacious. The fallacy seems to me to lie in a petitio principii, an assuming of the thing to be proved, viz., that the children of believers are, in virtue of their parents' faith, under the covenant. Let this be proved and there can be no further question as to their title to receive the sign of the covenant - be it circumcision or be it baptism. But I confess it does appear to me a paralogism to argue that because the natural seed of Abraham received the sign of the covenant, in virtue of their descent from him, by which they were brought, undoubtedly, under the covenant, therefore the natural seed of Gentile believers are also to be held as included under the covenant, and as entitled to receive the sign of this. There may be a logical consequence here, but I confess it is as yet hid from my perception.
"I do not wish to obtrude my own views on the reader by entering at large into this question here, but I may be permitted to observe that, to my mind, if baptism is to be regarded as having come in the place of circumcision, the argument from the Abrahamic covenant lies altogether with the Baptists and not with us. For in virtue of the relation of type and antitype, the natural descent of the Israelites corresponds to the spiritual descent of believers, that is, their succession through one becoming the spiritual father of others: and consequently as natural descent entitled the son of a Jew to circumcision as the sign of the covenant, it is spiritual descent which alone entitles a man to receive baptism as that which, under the spiritual dispensation, has come in the place of circumcision. Hence, as descent from Jewish parents must be proved before a child could be circumcised of old, so spiritual descent by faith from those who have conveyed to us the Gospel - in other words, real conversion - must be proved before a man is entitled to be baptised." Professor Stuart remarks:- "How unwary are many excellent men in contending for infant baptism on the ground of the Jewish analogy of circumcision! Are females not proper subjects of baptism? And, again, are a man's slaves to be all baptized because he is? Are they Church members when they are so baptized? Is there no difference between engrafting into a politico-ecclesiastical community and into one of which it is said that it is not of this world?"
In this way at almost every point learned Paedobaptists repudiate each other's arguments, and when doctors thus disagree, what can we do but fall back upon the Bible, and, not finding baby-baptism there, dismiss it as an untaught question.
VI. - THE CHURCH IN THE DAYS OF ABRAHAM, page 26
REV. T. WITHEROW. - "The infant children of God's people were acknowledged by a religious ordinance to be within the covenant, and in visible membership with the Church of God, for nearly two thousand years before the coming of Christ."
"The church, into whose membership infants were introduced by the express command of God, is the same in all essential particulars with the church that now exists. ... It was the same kingdom that was taken from the Jews that was given to the Gentiles, etc. It was the same fold, only with other of Christ's sheep brought into it. The Church, therefore, into whose membership infants were at the beginning introduced is essentially the same Church that exists in the world now." - Scriptural Baptism - Its Mode and Subjects.
IN this, as in the foregoing authors, there is neither example nor precept cited. The one-church argument finds its way into almost every Paedobaptist pamphlet. Put it into few words it stands thus -
The Church of Christ has existed from the days of Abraham to this day. Infants were in the Church in those days. Therefore, they are entitled to Church membership now.
In argument nothing can be more worthless. The major premise has not even a shadow of truth in it. Nowhere in the Bible do we read of the existence of the Church in the days of Abraham. The term Church in its New Testament application denotes the body of Christ. The members of His body, the Church, consist of twice-born persons. None are entitled to membership until quickened by the Word of Truth. Never in this sense is the Word applied to any combination which existed in the days of Abraham. The truth has been well and with much brevity stated by a writer cited on a former page.
But even granting both premises of the argument to be correct the conclusion is merely probable. It is by no means certain that infants should be in the Church now because they were in it in the days of Abraham. The conclusion assumes, not only that the conditions of entering the Church have never been changed, but that the same persons who entered then may enter now; but this, even on the hypothesis of a Church in the days of Abraham, is not true. Indeed, it is not even claimed by the advocates of the doctrine that the conditions of entrance are the same. The conclusion consequently amounts to nothing. This defect is fatal to the argument as a basis for infant baptism; for as a practice claiming to be of heaven, it cannot rest on a merely probable basis.
The only way in which the preceding argument can be made to wear even the appearance of plausibility is to construct a purely arbitrary definition of the word Church - such a one as may be applied to a state of things existing in the days and in the family of Abraham; and then claim for it that it is the true definition of the Church of Christ. And this has actually been done. The following is the definition of the term Church by one of the most subtle, persistent, and determined opponents of the true baptism:- "The Church is a body of people separated from the world for the service of God, with ordinances of divine appointment, and a door of entrance, or a rite by which members shall be recognized." Such is the definition - now for its application. The family of Abraham was a body of people separated from the world for the service of God, with ordinances of Divine appointment, and a door of entrance, or a rite by which members shall be recognized. As a loose, flimsy description of the family of Abraham, this might be accepted. But is this the definition of the Church of Christ? This is the fatal question. That family, as thus defined, and the Church of Christ are not identical, hence the definition of the one is not the definition of the other. First: The family of Abraham was a body of people - granted; and the Church of Christ is a body of people; but is that body and this body one and the same body? Of this, proof is impossible. Second: That body was separated from the world; and so is the body of Christ. But was that body separated in the sense in which the body of Christ is separated? That body was separated from the world, i.e., from the nations, but still was of the world in the strictest sense of the phrase - it was fleshly, not born again. The body of Christ is not only separated from the world, but it is not of the world - it is a new creation. Third: That body had ordinances of Divine appointment; and so has the body of Christ. But were the ordinances of that body identical with the ordinances of this? Alas, for the blindness that can so think! Fourth: That body had a door of entrance, or a rite by which members were to be recognized; and so, in a loose sense, has the Church of Christ. But what of it? That body had one rite, this body has a different rite, are they therefore the same? Such are some of the inconsistencies which mark the ground on which infant baptism is defended.
VII. - THE COMMISSION - INFANTS IN THE NATIONS, page 28
WILLIAM URWICK, D.D. - "It has been said that we have no command for baptizing infants. We maintain the contrary. We affirm that the phrase 'all nations' includes infants, as well as adults. True, the word infant does not occur in the command to baptize; but neither does the word 'adults.' The plain fact is that the command regards both. The phrase 'all nations' embraces all men, women, and children in the population." - A concise view on the Ordinance of Baptism.
REV. JOHN GUTHRIE, M.A. - "We have the required command in the commission, as sure as the word nations includes children." - Infant Baptism Vindicated.
REV. JAMES BRADLEY, M.A. - "Our Lord's commission - 'Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them,' etc. (Mat. xxviii). The correct rendering (see authorities) is - 'make disciples of all nations by baptizing them,' etc. Does 'all nations' mean only adults?" - Plain Words on Baptism.
No Sir! The phrase "all nations," taken alone, does not mean "only adults." But, then, phrases are qualified by the known requirements of commands with which they stand connected. For instance, suppose a commission thus - "Go make soldiers of all nations." Should we understand the enlisting of women and babes, because they are found in "all nations?" Certainly not! The making soldiers of all nations limits itself to those in each nation who are capable of bearing arms. So in the commission, "Go teach all nations." The command limits itself to those who are capable of instruction. In the case of soldiers, women and infants are excluded, because incompetent, and in the command to teach all nations, babes are excluded for the same reason. By their interpretation our friends of the other side are carried too far - "Infants are in the nations, and, therefore, to be baptized." Very good! But drunkards, deists, and atheists, are in the nations, and therefore, to be baptized. The argument is as good in the one case as in the other. It proves too much, and, consequently, nothing.
But surely we may reasonably expect that the commission to baptize would, in itself, determine who are proper subjects for baptism. It does this, to the exclusion of babes and unbelievers. It is no part of our business to prove this exclusion. The other side is bound to show that babes are included, and failing, as they do, our work is done. We stand ready to examine their proof, but they have none to offer and, therefore, lose the case. Not, then, because it can be demanded, but with the understanding that were we to fail in an attempt to show that the commission excludes babes, our opponents would gain nothing (as the command might not absolutely express exclusion and yet contain no authorization to include) we advance to show that exclusion.
"Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." This is the commission recorded by Mark. Now, if babes are not included then baptism is not for them. On the other hand, if they are included, then, whether baptized or unbaptized, their damnation is affirmed, for they believe not, and "he that believeth not shall be damned." But infant damnation is not Christian doctrine, therefore babes are not included in the commission to baptize.
"Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded you." Now, as Mark's statement of the commission clearly excludes babes, it is impossible that Matthew can include them. So then, if the words of Matthew, taken alone, admit of two or more interpretations, one of which includes them, it is certain that that one cannot be right, and it must yield to the one and only sense of the words used by Mark, which words, when applied to persons who hear the Gospel and believe not, state an awful truth (they shall be damned), but which when applied to babes assert that which is unquestionably not true. We say not that the text can be grammatically interpreted so as to include babes, but that, if it could, such interpretation must be rejected if other grammatical exposition be possible - that the words of Mark render its rejection necessary. Let us, then, look at the text in its natural and unbiased import. All admit that the word translated teach should be rendered disciple, or make disciples, according to the marginal readings of our Bibles. The command then stands, "Go, disciple all nations, baptizing them," etc. Our purpose is to ascertain who are proper subjects, or who are represented by the pronoun them. Holding that the grammar of the text determines this, we hope to be excused for citing Lindley Murray:- "Pronouns must always agree with the nouns for which they stand, in gender and number, as, 'This is the friend whom I love'; 'The King and Queen put on their robes;' 'The moon appears, and she shines, but the light is not her own.' The relative is of the same person as the antecedent, and the verb agrees with it accordingly; as, 'Thou who lovest wisdom;' 'I who speak from experience.'" But having to do rather with the original of the text, let us hear Buttman, whose authority will not be questioned. "Everything joined to the substantive of the nature of an adjective, whether adjective, participle, pronoun, or article, must agree with it in gender, number, and case."
Where, then, are we to find the noun, in the text under notice, represented by autouV [them]? The only antecedent noun is in the phrase tauta ta eqnh [all the nations] is neuter, and cannot, therefore, agree with the masculine autouV. "Baptising them" does not, then, stand for "baptizing the nations," and the conceit, that babes and unbelievers of all grades are included in the commission, is exploded. But, as the pronoun does not stand for nations, for what word does it stand? There is no other antecedent noun expressed in the text, and therefore we fall back on another rule, given by Buttman:- "Pronouns are often found without any substantive" (with which they agree) "the latter having been omitted, or being easy to be supplied by the mind." This rule gives a result altogether certain, for there is but the one foregoing verb, maqhteuw [to disciple], and that suggests and implies its own noun, maqhtaV, [disciples], which agrees with the pronoun, in number and gender, as the rule demands. The Lord's commission, then, required the apostles to make disciples in all nations, and to baptize them - the disciples thus made - which requirement agrees with John vi., where it is said that "Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John." He made and baptized disciples. How did He make those disciples whom he afterwards baptized? By teaching? The commission, therefore, requires the baptism of those who hear, believe, and willingly accept the Christ as their Teacher and Lord, and of such only.
In accordance with the foregoing refutation of Dr. Urwick and Messrs Guthrie and Bradley, let us hear another revered Paedobaptist.
Dr. Wardlaw, upon the "Commission," says:- "Let the reader observe, there are three things enjoined to be done - 'disciple,' - 'baptize,' - 'teach.' .... 'Go, disciple, baptizing,' I must contend, limits the latter to the measure of success attending the attempt at the former. 'Disciple' is the charge - 'all the nations' is the extent of the charge. But the charge does not imply any assurance that all the nations were to be actually made disciples; or a command to effect what depended not upon them, but upon the grace of God accompanying their ministry. It expresses only the amplitude of the range to be embraced by them in the execution of their trust; amounting, in effect, to much the same thing with the parallel charge, 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.' The charge to 'disciple' is manifestly equivalent to a charge to preach with the view of making disciples; and this was to be done, not among the Jews only, but among the Gentiles - among 'all the nations.' And 'disciple, baptizing,' I repeat, limits the baptizing to the extent of their success in discipling. Separate the one from the other, and what have we? A charge surely very unlike the Saviour's ordinary style; very unlike the spiritual character of His kingdom, and the 'reasonable service' required of its subjects. Understand the commission as meaning - 'Baptize all the nations,' independently of their being discipled, and we may well ask Cui bono? What end could it serve? What good could this opus operatum do them? But take the three parts of the commission together, in their connection with one another, and all is intelligible, consistent, beautifully appropriate. The Gospel is preached; disciples are made; those disciples have the rite of initiation administered to them; and then these baptized disciples are instructed in all the observances and duties, personal and social, of the Christian economy. This is rational; but the charge - 'Go, baptize all nations' - taken in this abstract and independent form, seems to me to require a very close search to find in it either reason or common sense.
"The sense we put upon the words may be confirmed by the simple phraseology of the evangelist John, when stating the comparative success of John the Baptist's ministry and Christ's: - "When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John' (John iv. 1). Here is the same order - the disciples are first 'made,' then 'baptized.' They are baptized as professed disciples. This leads me to observe what is really meant by a disciple. And the question here is not whether according to its etymology, the word may mean simply one that learns. This is not denied. But throughout the New Testament the designation is used for one who professes to have received the distinguishing tenets of the teacher whose disciple he is. I am not in the recollection of a single instance to the contrary; and this, as all are aware, is in harmony with universal usage; the disciples of any philosopher or political leader being those who profess adherence to his peculiar principles. It was those who were made disciples who were baptized. They were initiated by baptism as the professed adherents or followers of John or Jesus." - Dissertation on Infant Baptism.
Of course it is not for us to state how with these avowals Dr. Wardlaw could defend the baptism of babes. But we have already shown that another Paedobaptist Doctor repudiates the argument upon which he depends, and thus the balls rolls on - one is tripped up by his own friend, and he by another of the same party, and so on till the end.
VIII. - ALL THE HUMAN FAMILY ELIGIBLE FOR BAPTISM, page 32
R. W. DALE, LL.D. - "The institution of Christian baptism, and the commission of the Church to make disciples of all nations, rests on the same foundation. 'All authority' had been given to Christ in heaven and in earth; therefore His followers were to baptize and teach. ... Every child born into this world is born a subject of Christ. Christ is our King - not by our own choice - but by God's appointment. In baptism Christ claims us as His subjects."
2. "Baptism does not create a new relationship between Christ and the baptized person: it affirms a relationship which already exists."
3. "The child is born to a dark and terrible inheritance: it will have its share in the sorrows, the sicknesses, the temptations of the race. But baptism declares that it is also an heir to an inheritance in the infinite love of God: that by its birth it belongs to the kingdom of Christ."
4. "We have, according to the commission, no more right to limit the command to baptize to those who are taught, than we have to limit the command to teach to those who are baptized."
SINCE the publication of our previous edition, Dr. Dale, at the request of the Congregational Union of England and Wales, issued "A Manual of Congregational Principles," from which the foregoing quotations are taken; in which he repudiates the arguments common in defence of the baptism of babes, and entirely rejects the construction of Matt. xxviii., cited on the preceding pages from Dr. Wardlaw.
The quotations commencing this section may best be noticed in their order, as numbered:-
1. That the possession of "all authority" no more justifies baptizing all on earth than all in heaven. And further, universal authority does not render all commands universally applicable. The authority of a monarch extends over all his subjects, but his command to make soldiers of all the nation would not include women and babes.
2. "Baptism does not create a new relationship between Christ and the baptized." The Lord required disciples to be baptized into the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Name denotes relationship. Entrance into a name necessarily changes the relations of those who attain to that name. The bride marries into the name of the bridegroom. By the appointed ceremonial comes the name of her husband, and with it the relation of wife. Precisely so in baptism - with baptism into the name, comes changed relationship to Him into whose name the baptized are inducted. Hence we read:- "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ" (Gal. iii).
3. "The child is born to a dark and terrible inheritance. ... But baptism declares that it is also an heir to an inheritance in the infinite love of God: that by its birth it belongs to the kingdom of Christ." The Bible contains no proof that baptism declares anything concerning new-born infants, there being neither command for, nor example of, the baptism of babes, nor necessary inference. Believers are heirs with Christ, but that is not applied to babes.
Then Dr. Dale very seriously confounds two widely different subjects - the universal authority of Christ over the whole race, and His special kingdom of twice-born sons. "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God," appertains not to the present universal supremacy of Christ, but to His headship over His Church, and to that kingdom concerning which the apostle gave thanks (as to the Colossian Christians) that they had been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son.
4. The commission contains its own limitations. Both the baptizing and the subsequent teaching are limited. "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," embraces all that appertains to the Church of Christ, and is here applied only to the baptized disciples, who alone are called to observe (to keep) the ordinances committed to the Church by the apostles of Christ. The previous word teach, properly rendered in the R.V. "make disciples," is applied to the nations - Go, make disciples, in or through all nations. But how? By teaching those elementary facts and truths of the Gospel, which must be heard, believed, and confessed in order to discipleship. This teaching, in the nature of the case, is limited to those capable of understanding and being influenced thereby. The confusion, at this point arises from the faulty rendering of the Lord's words, wherein we have two entirely different words translated so as to express only teaching instead of the thought expressed by Him - make disciples of (in, through, or from among the nations) teaching them to observe all His apostles were commanded to enjoin upon the Church of Christ.
IX. - BAPTISM INTO MOSES - IN CLOUD AND SEA, page 34
REV. W. THORN. - "Under the term 'our Fathers,' said to have been baptized in the cloud and in the sea, Paul really, necessarily, and intentionally included numerous infants and young children. The term, 'Our Fathers,' is used for remote ancestors, or for national and ecclesiastical predecessors, and not in its literal sense, for immediate adult progenitors. This is manifestly and necessarily the case, as the circumstances of the Israelites when baptized fully testify. Such an application of these words is common both in the Old and New Testament."
"It is unquestionable that the little ones were placed precisely in the same position, in respect to the baptizing act and element, as their fathers and mothers, consequently what was done to the sires was done to their sons; while the women and their female offspring shared in this rite precisely alike. By this one baptismal covenant act, the whole congregation was bound and benefited in exactly the same degree." - Infant Baptism Pleaded and Practised by the Apostle Paul.
MR. Thorn also declares that "such obscurity rests upon the whole affair (baptism) as detailed by the evangelist and apostolical writers that, without recurring to the baptisms administered in the Red Sea, and afterward among the Jews, which must have been well known by their descendants in the time of the Baptist, we cannot possibly or properly understand it." So, then, our great champion for baby-baptism depends solely upon the Red Sea and tradition. But the latter, we have already seen, is worthless, and he will no more bring infant baptism safely through the former than did Pharaoh his host.
Two points assumed by Mr. Thorn cannot be granted:- 1. That the phrase "All our Fathers" necessarily includes all that passed through the sea. 2. That the baptism into Moses was merely a bodily act.
He urges that the phrase "Our Fathers" may be so used as not to indicate only "immediate adult male progenitors." This may be granted, but then he does not properly allow for the frequent use of such like phrases in cases where certain classes are evidently not included although the phrase used is that by which the whole might be designated. For example, "Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted." Certainly "remote ancestors" are here referred to, but all are not included. There were pious men and women and plenty of children who had no hand in the persecution. Again, "And all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai. ... And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness." This took place in the second month after their departure from Egypt. Of course all the babes which came through the sea are included in the whole congregation. It then follows, if we are shut up to Mr. Thorn's mode of understanding these phrases, that the babes as certainly joined in the murmurings as that they were baptized into Moses. "O dear, No!" Mr. Thorn would say, "It refers only to those of the congregation who were competent so to act." Certainly! And the baptism of the fathers into Moses is affirmed only of those who were qualified for such baptism, and that babes were thus qualified Mr. Thorn has not proved, for the apostles tells us that "By faith they passed through" (Heb. xi.).
In view of the second point, he insists that the water sprinkled upon the parents from the cloud necessarily fell upon the children also, and that, therefore, the baptism was as complete in the one case as in the other. Yes, but not their children only, but their cattle are also expressly named as passing through the sea and under the cloud, and, if the mere fact of passing through and sharing the rain drops determines that the children were baptized into Moses, so also were the cattle. But as to "water from the cloud" and "spray from the sea," there is no intimation of either. The cloud was evidently that dry cloud which guided them by day and was a pillar of fire by night. The waters were congealed (so we are told by the Psalmist) and, we read, that they went over on dry ground. There is no reason to suppose that any one of the whole multitude came in contact with a single drop of water. Why, then, are they said to have been baptized? If there is any reference to the bodily act, it is so said because the walled up waters and the covering cloud completely buried them. But we conclude that Paul used the word baptized figuratively, and that baptism in its transitional, not in its immersional aspect, was before his mind. His thought would then be, that believers, who determine to follow Christ, give themselves up to Him by going, at His command, into the water, so the Israelites, having faith in Moses, perfected that faith by following him into the bed of the Red Sea; and that as believers in their baptism are baptized into Christ, so the believing Israelites consummated their surrender to Moses, and are, therefore, figuratively said to be baptized into him. But, then, baptism into Christ supplies the figure, and as baptism into Christ was no mere bodily act, but an act of faith, consequent upon believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth, and as baptism without that faith is not baptism into Christ, so baptism without faith in Moses would not be baptism into Moses, and, therefore, the babes were no more baptized into him than were they, two months afterwards, guilty of murmuring in the wilderness.
But were it not so, and were we to grant that all who went through the sea were baptized into Moses, and that, therefore, babes were thus baptized. What then? Just nothing, in any way, to serve Mr.Thorn's cause! If it pleased God under one dispensation to adopt an entire nation and to covenant to all born of that nation certain blessings, and, therefore, to decree that at a given time and place, male and female, adults and infants, should, by baptism or some other rite, enter into, or acknowledge, some particular relation to a leader, mediator, or lawgiver (Moses or any other), it would by no means follow that under another and subsequent dispensation, having a new covenant, another mediator, better promises, a superior priest, an entirely different worship, and spiritual qualifications not demanded in the former - it would, we say, by no means follow that that rite of the old dispensation would remain. In fact, it is certain that it would not remain unless re-enacted; and, if it were re-imposed, it would not follow that change as to qualification, on the part of its subjects, would not ensue. In this way, had it pleased the Lord even to retain circumcision, it would by no means follow that in the new dispensation babes would have been proper subjects. Under Moses the election embraced the Nation - it was of the flesh and, therefore, had baptism been instituted for that dispensation, it would most certainly have embraced infants and young children. But as the baptism we have to do with is not Jewish, but Christian - was not instituted by Moses, but by Christ - as it has to do with an election which is not of the flesh, and in regard to which "the flesh profiteth nothing," the attempt to bring it under Old Covenant law is absurd in the highest degree, and for so attempting there is no word of authority in all the Book of God. Mr. Thorn is virtually made to confess this, when he says that "Such obscurity rests upon the whole affair as detailed by the evangelists and apostolical writers, that without recurring to the baptisms administered in the Red Sea we cannot possibly understand it." What can we not understand? We can understand that believers are proper subjects - we can understand that sinners are to "repent and be baptized" - we know that thousands of such confessed their faith and were baptized - we can understand all this, without ever thinking of the Red Sea. And finding all this in the writings of the evangelists and apostles, we have Divine authority for our entire practice, which Mr. Thorn admits. What, then, is it that cannot be understood without going to the Red Sea and to tradition? Baby-baptism! That, according to Mr. Thorn, cannot be understood, and therefore cannot be known, except we dig it out from the bottom of the Red Sea, or eliminate it from unreliable Jewish tradition. This brief statement settles Mr. Thorn's six hundred pages, even after conceding that all who passed through the Sea were baptized into Moses, which has not been proved.
X. - THE LORD'S DAY, page 37
REV. T. WITHEROW. - "The argument by which we prove the right of children to baptism is strictly analogous to that by which we prove the perpetual obligation of the Lord's day. The Anabaptist is compelled on that subject to adopt the same line of argument that we do on baptism. He goes back to the Old Testament Dispensation to find the principle of one day's rest after six days' work, in the same way that we go back to find the principle of the Church Membership of Infants." - Scriptural Baptism.
TRULY this Anti-baptist is greatly mistaken. Those who assert that we are now under the law of the Jewish Sabbath may need the Old Testament Dispensation for proof, but those who know that Gentiles were never under it, and that Christians are "not under law," have no need to appeal to the Old Dispensation for authority to observe the Lord's Day. Those who go to the old law for that purpose are grossly inconsistent. The law requires that THE SEVENTH DAY (the Saturday) shall be the day set apart. This requirement Mr. W. never attempts to observe. Then the law is equally explicit and peremptory as to the character of the observance. "No manner of work shalt thou do, nor thy servant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates" - beyond a Sabbath day's journey thou shalt not travel, and no fire shall be kindled in all thy dwelling. December Sabbaths in Great Britain, kept in this fashion, would be anything but popular, even with those who are ever ready to run to the Old Testament for authority. If we go there for the law, the law we must keep. But none keep it, and those who understand Christianity go for instruction to the apostles of Christ and not to Moses. We observe a Lord's Day, and Mr. W. observes baby-baptism. He says our authority for the one is the same that he has for the other! Let us see:-
1/ The Lord's Day is expressly mentioned in the New Testament. Baby-baptism is never mentioned therein.
2/ The commemoration of the Lord's death on the first day of the week has apostolic example. Infant baptism has no Bible example at all.
As we know there is a table, designated "The Lord's," and, therefore, set apart and distinguished from every other table, so we also know that one day of the seven has the Lord's name given to it, by which it is distinguished from every other day. What we may do or what we may not do on that day is not recorded. But we know that the Lord's Day is not properly observed when the Lord's Table is not spread, and as to the rest, love to Christ and common sense give us to understand that a commemorative day, devoted to Him and bearing His name, should be made our own, only to the extent that necessity and mercy demand. A man who is half a Jew may go to the Old Testament for the law of Baptism and the Lord's day, but a well-instructed Christian will know only Christ and his apostles.
XI. - WOMEN AT THE LORD'S TABLE, page 39
WRITERS of small note have urged that Baptists are inconsistent in admitting women to the Table of the Lord, as there is only the same authority for so doing as there is for baptizing babes.
This statement is self-evidently unsound. But for having been requested to notice it, on the ground of its free use in misdirecting unthinking minds, it would not have place here.
It has been replied to thus:-
"It is not denied that when the Samaritans believed Philip's preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women (Acts viii. 12). It is not disbelieved that women became members of churches (1 Cor. xi., etc.), that Christians, male and female, 'are all one in Christ Jesus' (Gal. iii. 28; Acts i. 14); and that men and women, members of Christ's body, were admitted to the Lord's Table; but it is thought the precedent is not expressly recorded in Holy Writ. We believe not only that the record of the baptism and membership of women, and of their oneness in Christ Jesus with the other sex, is evidence of their admission to the supper of the Lord, but that we have express precedent recorded. Let any one looking back to Acts i. 13, 14, say what is the antecedent to 'they' and 'all' in Acts ii. 42, 44, 46. 'And they continued daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness,' etc. Will our friends dare to deny the relevancy of the noun for which the pronoun stands; or of the record 'These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren?' (Acts i. 14). Again we maintain that in the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians there is a record of precedent, if not of precept also. The verb 'show' in the 26th verse, may be rendered in the indicative or the imperative mood, as the margin testifies to the English reader, the word in Greek being exactly the same for both. But that the apostle, in the former part of the chapter, is speaking of men and women is evident; and to us it appears that he is certainly referring to the same persons when he says, 'that ye come together' (verse 17); 'when ye come together in the church' (verse 18); 'I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you' (verse 23). 'For any man,' in the 16th verse, the original is simply tis, meaning any one, male or female. Though none but male disciples, the apostles, were present at the institution of this ordinance, the apostle applied the words of Christ, 'Do this in remembrance of Me,' to the disciples of Christ, the members of the church at Corinth, male and female. The apostle refers to the manner of observing the Lord's Supper, having just spoken of what is decorous on the part of the males and females when assembled for worship and edification.
XII. - CHILDREN OF CHRISTIAN PARENTS HOLY, page 40
N. L. RICE, D.D. - "There is a passage in 1 Cor. vii. 14, which has been almost universally understood to authorise the baptism of the children of believers: 'For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean, but now are they holy.' The words holy and clean have in the Bible two prominent meanings. 1. They are used in the sense of consecration. Thus the temple and all its vessels were holy or clean; and the priests were holy in the same sense. 2. They signify moral purity. Now what does Paul mean by saying, that when one of the parents is a believer, the children are holy; and when both are unbelievers they are unclean? He cannot mean that they possess moral purity more than others. The obvious meaning, then, seems to be, that they are holy in such sense, that they are proper subjects to be set apart by baptism and trained up for the service of God. Dr. Gill, the Baptist commentator, understands the words holy and unclean in the sense of legitimacy! This, however, only shows how difficult it is to give the passage even a plausible interpretation which will not involve the doctrine of infant baptism; for every careful reader of the Bible knows, that these words have no such meaning in the Scriptures. Besides, it is not true, that when both parents are unbelievers, their children are illegitimate." - Debate on Baptism.
GRANT this and what follows? That as Paul pronounces the unbelieving wife holy in precisely the same sense in which he declares the children to be so, the wife of a believing husband, however destitute of faith, is also a proper subject for baptism. This of course will not be admitted and baby-baptism gains no support from the text under notice. Not only so, but the evidence is completely the other way. The case is this, "A question arose in Corinth, whether persons intermarried, one a Christian the other a pagan, ought to continue as husband and wife. Paul takes up the matter, and using the words clean, sanctified, and unclean, in the current ecclesiastic and Jewish sense, affirm that 'the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the believing husband, and the unbelieving husband in the believing wife; otherwise your children were unclean but now they are holy.' As our food is said, by Paul, to be 'sanctified by the Word of God in prayer,' so he uses the word here, not to denote real holiness, but that kind of lawfulness, or holiness, in the use of persons and things, authorizing such use of them, and an intimate civil connection with them. It is not, then, legitimacy of wives, husbands, and their children; but whether believing and unbelieving persons might, according to the law of Christ, continue together. Paul's response is briefly this: They may live together - they are sanctified or clean persons, as to one another, in this relation. If you may not do so, you must put away your children also - for all your children stand to you as do those unbelieving, unholy persons. If you must reject your unchristian, unprofessing husbands and wives, you must, for the same reason, reject all your unprofessing, unbelieving children. Does not this passage, then, conclusively prove that infant membership and infant baptism had never occurred to any one in Corinth? for in that case Paul's proof would have been taken from him by one remark, such as - 'No, Paul, we may retain our children, for they have been baptized, and are not at all like our unbaptized and unsanctified wives and husbands.' In 1 Cor. vii. 14, we have a clear and invincible evidence that infant sanctification, or dedication, or affusion, or immersion, or baptism, had never entered the mind of Jew or Gentile, that all the children of the members of the church in Corinth, stood in the same ecclesiastic relation to the church as did their unbelieving, unsanctified, unbaptised fathers and mothers.
"Paul does, most indisputably, place all the infant children of the church in a state of such cleanness as unbelieving parents occupy towards believers. To recapitulate this argument, let it be observed that the main question turns upon your children, and their, the parties' children. That the children of all the members of the church at Corinth stood in the same relation to the church as did their unbelieving parents - and that if it would be lawful to baptize the children upon the faith of one of the parents, because of being sanctified to their parents, then it would be equally right to baptize the unbelieving party on the faith of the other, or because sanctified in, to, or by the other. Paul teaches that all the children of Christians, in their unconverted state, were just as ecclesiastically unclean as those unsanctified, unbelieving husbands and wives; and if the believing party may not, in civil life and in the same family, live with an unbelieving and ecclesiastically unclean partner, they must, for the same reason, put away their children!" Answer this who can. Thoughtful Paedobaptists feel that no help can be obtained from this quarter. Professor Stuart remarks:-
"It cannot mean that children are made the proper subjects of baptism, for it this were the case, then the unbelieving husband or wife would be made so by the believing party. Further, such a sense would be inapposite to the course of reasoning." Albert Barnes, in an exposition of the passage, agreeing in the main with Professor Stuart, remarks:- "There is not one word about baptism here; not an allusion to it; nor does the argument, in the remotest degree, bear upon it." From this very text the historian, Neander, argues that infant baptism was unknown to the Corinthian Church, and Professor Jacobi affirms, "That a pretty sure indication of the non-existence of infant baptism in the apostolic age may be inferred from 1 Cor. vii. 14, since Paul would certainly have referred to the baptism of children for their holiness."
XIII. - CHILDREN ADDRESSED AS CHURCH MEMBERS, page 42
WILLIAM COOKE, D.D. - "Accordingly, we find children addressed by St. Paul as members of the Church of God, and as inheritors of God's covenant promises. 'Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise' (Eph. vi. 1, 2). In the same manner are children addressed in Col. iii. 20. Now, here children are recognised along with their parents as 'in the Lord,' and as eligible, like them, to the promises of the covenant; in all respects they are treated as members of the Christian Church, under its discipline, bound by its obligations, entitled to its blessings, and, like their parents, subject to pastoral authority; but no persons, young or old, were in this position, except the baptized; and the only legitimate inference is, that these children had been already subject to this ordinance. This conclusion is the more evident from the fact, that though the apostle exhorts them to other religious duties, he does not exhort them to baptism. And why not? If exhorted to other duties, why not to baptism? Plainly, because they had been baptized already." - Sermon on Baptism.
THERE are certainly no writings more replete with unreason that those devoted to the support of infant baptism. Paul calls upon children to honour their parents, therefore babes are to be baptized. Children are to obey their parents, therefore infants that cannot understand a command, however simple, are proper subjects for baptism. This is the logic of Dr. Cooke and of other Paedobaptist writers.
Of course all the children addressed in the Apostolic Epistles were members of the church and had been baptized. But it is equally certain that they were all able to do the things commanded, which proves they were not babes. Can a mere babe honour and obey its parents? The writer, in instructing churches, speaks as often and as directly to children as to parents, and all the children he thus addresses are immersed believers and members of the church. He requires to use all the apostolic exhortations to children, as he does those to masters and servants, and he finds none that will not apply; not one redundant, yet in the membership of the churches with which he is associated there were no babes. The apostolic exhortations are, indeed, proof that children were baptized, but no one objects to the baptisms of children. Our sons and daughters frequently remain under the parental roof till they attains to manhood and, by the law of God, are required to obey their parents so long as under their control, and to honour them as long as they live. Such addresses to children no more imply that the children addressed are babes, or too young to have believed, repented, and obeyed the Gospel, than that they are birds, beats, or fishes. Children properly trained may be brought savingly to know and love the Saviour. Whey they do so they are fit subjects for baptism, and should then intelligently take their place in the church, to be henceforward exhorted to obey their parents and to serve the Lord in everything. The proper subjects, then, for baptism are not men, women or children, as such, but persons who confess repentance toward God and faith in Christ.
XIV. - THE EARLY FATHERS, page 43
DR. BUSHNELL. - "It has never been questioned that Infant Baptism became the current practice of the church at a very early date. It is mentioned, incidentally and otherwise, in the writings of the earliest Church Fathers after the Age of the Apostles. This it is testified by Justin Martyr, who was probably born before the death of the Apostle John - 'There are many of us, of both sexes, some sixty and some seventy years old, who were made disciples from their childhood.* And the word, 'made disciples' is the same that Christ used when he said 'Go teach (or disciple) all nations, baptizing,' etc., the same that was currently applied to baptized children afterwards." (* Justin used the phrase ek Paidoon, from Childhood, not from Infancy. The children may have been ten or fifteen years old.)
THAT the word was so applied "afterwards" is freely admitted. But was it so applied then? Of this Dr. Bushnell has no proof. Then the Doctor makes improper use of the word mentioned. He says Infant Baptism is mentioned thus early, which it is not, for even if his interpretation were correct, it is only alluded to. This use of the word is far too common, and the unlearned are deceived - they come from their teachers believing that Justin Martyr and others actually name infant baptism, which would prove its then existence, but they do not name it, and we have only the assumption of its hard-driven supporters that certain sentences, in which it is not named, allude to it. In regard to the passage in question, Dr. Doddridge (a Paedobaptist) says:- "This may only refer to their having been early instructed in the Christian religion." It is exactly the language we would use in speaking of children of Christians who had been early taught the great verities of the faith.
Justin Martyr was born somewhere between A.D. 90-118 and was martyred between 163-168. If he had mentioned the baptism of babes it would have shown that the custom began very soon after the death of the apostles. But, in another place, this same Justin shows that he knew nothing of baby-baptism. In his second apology, he says, "We were born without our will, but we are not to remain children of necessity and ignorance, but in baptism we have choice, knowledge, etc. This we learned from the apostles." Thus we have from the earliest witness for infant baptism a clear testimony against it - positive assertion that the baptism which had come down from the apostles was one in which its subjects exercise choice and knowledge. It is, then, not correct that Justin Martyr mentioned infant baptism, nor is there proof that he alluded to it, but it is in evidence that he used terms incompatible with it.
Dr. Bushnell next introduces Irenaeus, who was born about A.D. 130, and died about 197. He says, "Christ came to redeem all by Himself; all who through Him are regenerated unto God; infants and little children, young men and older persons." The Doctor says, "In the phrase 'regenerated to God,' which is thus applied to infants, expressly named as distinguished from little children, he refers, it cannot be doubted, to baptism."
But certainly baptism is not mentioned in the passage. Then in place of admitting that the reference to baptism "cannot be doubted" we know that it is questioned even by Paedobaptists. Dr. Doddridge says:- "We have only a Latin translation of this work; and some critics have supposed this passage spurious; or, allowing it to be genuine, it will not be granted that to be regenerate always in his writings signifies to be baptized." Mr. Sears, after an elaborate investigation of the use Irenaeus makes of the word "regenerated," has concluded, that if in this passage it is used to denote baptism, it is the only instance in which it is so used in all the writings of that Father. Thus, then, the second boasted early mention of infant baptism does not name it - it is only a supposed allusion, found in a translation, supposed to be spurious, and which, if genuine, does not necessarily refer to baptism at all.
Who, then, is the earliest writer known to have named it? No one for two hundred years after the birth of Christ ever named infant baptism, so far as evidence has reached our time. No Greek or Latin Father of that period ever used the word baptism with allusion to babes. Tertullian, who flourished about two hundred years after the apostles, is the earliest writer who mentioned the baptism of infants, and he names it to oppose it. "Our Lord says indeed, Do not forbid them to come to Me. Therefore let them come when they are grown up; let them come when they understand; when they are instructed whither it is they come; let them be made Christians when they know Christ." These, with similar sentences, were used by Tertullian in reference to the baptism of infants, and therefore the first known mention of infant baptism was at least two hundred years after the apostles, and was a protest against it.
But were it otherwise - had it been named as early as the time of Justin Martyr, what then? Nothing of any consequence, for our Bible ends with the Book of Revelation and neither includes the books of Origen nor the Apologies of Justin. If it were proved that baby-baptism was practised soon after the death of the apostles nothing but the very early existence of an element of the apostacy would be thereby established. Even in the lifetime of Paul the "Mystery of iniquity" had commenced to work, and when the apostles were removed, its growth was no doubt rapid. In view of this truth the author of Spiritual Despotism, Isaac Taylor, wrote:- "The opinion that has forced itself upon my own mind is to this effect; the period, dating its commencement from the death of the last of the apostles, or apostolic men, was altogether as little deserving to be selected as a pattern as any one of the first five centuries of Church history ... The grossest errors of theory and practice are to be traced to their origin in the first century." Another author of distinction has well written:- "Romanists quote the Greek and early Roman Fathers of the first four centuries, in proof of monastic life, the celibacy of the clergy, the merit of perpetual virginity, the Pontificate of Peter in Rome, and infant communion in the Lord's Supper. Protestants quote the same authorities for infant baptism, and argue from them in the same manner as the Romanists for their traditions. But Protestants repudiate the Greek and Roman Fathers as competent and credible witnesses for infant communion, monastic life, and a bachelor priesthood; yet they quote with confidence and hear with gladness the same authors in favour of infant baptism. This we regard as an indefensible aberration from sound logic and fair play."
Thus, then, baby-baptism and baby-communion come to us from the same period and supported by appeal to the same authorities. Neither the one nor the other has the authority of Christ's apostles.
So much then for the appeal to history outside the Bible. It hands us over to some of the worst errors of Romanism and leaves us no escape so long as we cumber ourselves with the baptism of babes.
Having thus tested, and found wanting, the strongest and most depended-upon arguments in support of baby-baptism - having thus seen that it is not of Divine appointment but purely an invention of men, we may notice the admissions of some of the wiser and more candid of its supporters.
XV. - PAEDOBAPTIST ADMISSIONS, page 46
NEANDER. - Church History, vol. 1. - "Tertullian appears as a zealous opponent of infant baptism, a proof that the practice had not yet come to be regarded as an apostolic institution, for otherwise he would hardly have ventured to express himself so strongly against it." "When the notion of a magical influence, a charm, connected with the Sacraments, continually gained ground, the theory was finally evolved of the unconditional necessary of infant baptism. About the middle of the third century this theory was generally admitted in the North African Church." "But if the necessity of infant baptism was acknowledged in theory, it was still far from being uniformly recognised in practice. Nor was it always from the purest motives that men were induced to put off their baptism." ... History of Planting, vol. 1. - "It is certain that Christ did not ordain infant baptism. We cannot prove that the apostles ordained infant baptism from those places where the baptism of a whole family is mentioned, as in Acts xvi. 33; 1 Cor. i. 16. We can draw no such conclusion, because the inquiry is still to be made, whether there were any children in these families of such an age that they were not capable of an intelligent reception of Christianity, for this is the only point on which the case turns."
BUNSEN. - Hippolytus and his Age, vol. iii. - "Paedobaptism, in the more modern sense, meaning thereby baptism of new-born infants, with the vicarious promises of parents or other sponsors, was utterly unknown in the early Christian Church, not only down to the end of the second century, but indeed to the middle of the third." "Tertullian's opposition is to the baptism of young grown children; he does not say one word about new-born infants; neither does Origen, when his words are accurately weighed." Again - "The Church instituted Paedobaptism in the sense of children from six to ten years of age." "The baptism of new-born infants grew out of that of children advancing towards the age of boyhood." Cyprian being the first father who, impelled by a fanatical enthusiasm, and assisted by a bad interpretation of the Old Testament, established infant baptism as a principle."
LUDOVICUS VIVES (Lutheran). - "No one, in former times, was admitted to the sacred baptistery except he was of age, understood what the mystical water meant, desired to be washed in it, and expressed that desire more than once, of which practice we have yet a faint resemblance in our baptism of infants; for an infant only a day or two old is yet asked (in the Lutheran Church) whether he will be baptised, and this question is asked three times; in whose name the sponsors answer, 'He does desire it.'"
MOSHEIM - Church History. - "Then (first century) NONE were admitted to baptism but such as had been previously instructed in the principal points of Christianity, and had also given satisfactory proofs of pious dispositions and upright intentions.
"The sacrament of baptism was (in the second century) administered publicly twice every year, at the festivals of Easter and Pentecost, or Whitsuntide, either by the bishop or the presbyters, in consequence of his authorization and appointment. The persons that were to be baptized, after they had repeated the creed, confessed and renounced their sins, and particularly the devil and his pompous allurements, were immersed under water, and received into Christ's kingdom by a solemn invocation of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, according to the express command of our blessed Lord."
MAGDEBURG CENTURIATORS.* - "In this age (the first century) they baptized only the adult or aged, whether Jews or Gentiles; and as to the manner of baptizing, it was dipping or plunging in the water, into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. ... It doth not appear from any approved authors that there was (in the second century) any mutation or change in respect to Baptism from the first century. ... As to the rite of baptism in the churches of Asia, we have (in the third century) no testimony of any alteration; but concerning the African churches, there were great corruptions, in opinion at least, if not in practice," (of which they instance the introduction of the baptism of infants).
[* Soon after the Reformation, a project was set on foot by the Paedobaptist Protestants of Germany, to embody in a permanent form all the known and reliable facts in the history of the early Christian churches. A great number of the most learned and eminent men of Europe engaged in the work. They had access to all the stores of ancient learning, and were fully competent to explore and appropriate them. Lutheran princes were patrons of the work, and neither labour nor money was spared to make it a faithful picture of the ancient churches. It proposed to give the history of each century by itself: and as it was published at Magdeburg, its authors are commonly called the "Magdeburg Centuriators."]
GIESLER - Church History, vol. ii. - "The baptism of infants did not become universal till the time of Augustine" (Bishop of Hippo, in Africa, who died in the year 430).
RHEINWALD - Coleman's Christian Antiquities. - "Though the necessity of infant baptism was asserted in Africa and Egypt in the beginning of the third, it was, even to the end of the fourth century, by no means universally observed - least of all in the Eastern Church; and finally became a general ecclesiastical institution in the age of Augustine."
ERASMUS - "Paul does not seem, in Rom. vi. 4, to treat about infants. It was not yet the custom for infants to be baptized."
LEIBNITZ - System of Theology. - "It must be confessed, that without the authority of the church, the baptism of children could not be adequately defended. For there is no example in its favour in the sacred Scriptures, which appear, besides the water, to demand faith also. To attribute faith, however, as some do, to those who cannot yet use their reason, is far too arbitrary and delusive, and quite destitute of probability."
DR LANGE - Infant Baptism, p. 101. - "All attempts to make out infant baptism from the New Testament fail. It is totally opposed to the spirit of the apostolic age, and to the fundamental principles of the New Testament." History of Protestantism. - "It must now be granted by every unprejudiced reader of Holy Scripture and Christian antiquity, that the baptism of new-born children was altogether unknown to primitive Christianity."
DR LINDNER - Lord's Supper, p. 275. - "For whom is baptism appointed? For adults; not for children: for adults at all times - not only of those times. There can be no question about any infant baptism if the Christian Church will remain true to the Gospel. Neither the baptism of John nor Christian baptism can be fulfilled in respect of new-born children."
OLSHAUSEN - Biblical Commentary on the Gospels and on the Acts of the Apostles; for preachers and for students. - On Matt. xxviii. 16-20 - "Paedobaptism is not apostolic for certain." On Acts xvi. 15 - "There is altogether wanting any conclusive proof-passage for the baptism of children in the age of the apostles. In the words describing the institution of baptism, in Matt. xxviii. 19, the connection of matheteuein with baptizien and didaskein appears quite positively to oppose the idea that the baptism of children entered at first into the view of Christ." On Matt. iii. 1 - "The baptism of infants which the CHURCH for wise reasons introduced subsequently." On Acts xvi. 15 - "The condition of the church after the close of the third century imperatively required the introduction of infant baptism."
LUTHER - Paed. Exam., vol. ii. - "It cannot be proved by Scripture that infant baptism was instituted by Christ, or begun by the first Christians after the apostles."
BISHOP BURNET - Ex. of Art. - "There is no express precept or rule given in the New Testament for baptism of infants."
BISHOP BARLOW. - "I do believe, and know, that there is neither precept nor example in Scripture for infant baptism, nor any just evidence of it for above two hundred years after Christ; that Tertullian condemns it as an unwarrantable custom, and Nazianzen, a good while after him, dislikes it too. Sure I am, that in the primitive times they were first CATECHUMENI, then ILLUMINATI, or BAPTIZATI; and that not only Pagans and the children of Pagans converted, but children of Christian parents. The truth is, I do believe, Paedobaptism, how or by whom I know not, came into the world in the second century, and in the third and fourth began to be practised, though not generally defended as lawful, from the text John iii. 5, grossly misunderstood; and upon the like gross mistake of John vi. 53, they did, for many centuries, both in the Greek and Latin churches, communicate infants, and give them the Lord's Supper; and I do confess they might do both as well as either."
BISHOP JEREMY TAYLOR - Dis from Popery. - "It is more certain that the church did not in all ages baptize all the infants of Christian parents than that they did in the first age. St. Ambrose, St. Hieron, and St. Austin (Augustine) were born of Christian parents, and yet they were not baptized till the full age of man, and more."
SCHLEIERMACHER - Christian Theology, p. 383. - "All trace of infant baptism which one will find in the New Testament must first be put into it."
COLERIDGE. - Aids to Reflection, p. 322. - "The texts appealed to as commanding or authorizing infant baptism are all without exception made to bear a different sense neither designed nor deducible; and likewise (historically considered) there exists no sufficient positive evidence that the baptism of infants was instituted by the apostles in the practice of the apostolic age."
CANON OF A ROMAN CATHOLIC COUNCIL, held in Paris A.D. 829.- "In the beginning of the holy church of God, no one was admitted to baptism unless he had been instructed in the sacrament of faith and of baptism, which is proved by the words of St. Paul, Rom. vi. 3, 4."
STRABO - Catholic Historian of 9th Cen. - "It should be observed that in the primitive times, the grace of baptism was usually given to those only who were arrived at such maturity of body and mind that they could understand what were the benefits of baptism; what was to be confessed and believed; and, finally, what was to be observed by those who are regenerated in Christ."
PASCAL - Thoughts on Religion. - "Formerly it was necessary to come out from the world in order to be received into the Church; whilst in these days we enter the Church almost at the same time that we enter the world. ... But we must not impute to the Church the evils that have followed so fatal a change; for when she saw that the delay of baptism left a large portion of infants still under the curse of original sin, she wished to deliver them from this perdition by hastening the succour which she can give; and this good mother sees, with bitter regret, that the benefit which she holds out to infants becomes the occasion of the ruin of adults."
DISCUSSION ON ROMANISM - (Dr. Cumming and Mr. French, Barrister). - Mr. French said: "In what book is to be found one word relative to the baptism of infants? 'If thou believest with all thine heart,' says Scripture, 'thou mayest be baptized.' What was the answer? 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.' Now, I ask, unless tradition come to the rescue of my learned friend, by what refining ingenuity will he call upon the Bible to protect him in baptizing infants who cannot answer, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? See ye not, my friends, that my antagonist in argument is in practice in actual hostility with the very Book which he holds up as the fountain of all his tenets, as the rule of all his actions!"
HERE then is a fair sample, but only a sample, of the admissions of Paedobaptists. On their own showing baby-baptism is neither from Christ nor His apostles. But can men who admit all this still contend for and practice it? They do! But can they in so doing stand upon Protestant ground? They cannot. But still they profess to stand there. That they do admit all we thus allege and yet defend infant baptism is seen in the foregoing pages and is most plainly declared, as instanced by Dr. Jacobi and Henry Ward Beecher.
DR. JACOBI. - (Approved by Neander.) - "Infant baptism was established neither by Christ nor His apostles ... Nature and experience teach us to retain the baptism of children, now that it is introduced."
HENRY WARD BEECHER. - Sermon on Baptism. - "I concede and I assert, first, that infant baptism is nowhere commanded in the New Testament. No man can find a passage that commands it; and if it can stand only on that ground, we may as well give it up first as last. Secondly, I affirm that the cases where it is employed, as in the baptism of whole households, are by no means conclusive and without doubt; and that, if there is no other basis for it than that, it is not safe to found it on the practice of the apostles in the baptism of Christian families. Therefore, I give up that which has been injudiciously used as an argument for infant baptism. And, thirdly, I assert that the doctrine, that as a Christian ordinance it is a substitute for the circumcision of the Jews, is a doctrine that is utterly untenable, to say nothing more. If there was no other argument than this for it, I should not blame those that rail at it, and set it at naught. It is not commanded by Scripture; there is no well-attested case of its administration in the New Testament; and it is not brought down as a substitute for circumcision.
"'Well,' say men, 'you have knocked the whole moral argument in favour of infant baptism from under your feet.' I beg your pardon; I stand more firmly in my advocacy of it than I should if I held to those views. Is there no liberty for a Christian assembly to do anything that experience shows to be beneficial? If you ask me 'Where is your text?' I answer you by saying that I do not want a text. Show me a thing that experience proves to be good, and I fall back on the liberty which is vouchsafed to every Christian, and which is set forth in the New Testament, and say, 'By this liberty I do it. There is my warrant, and there is my authority.'"
And to this pass, discerning men, who will not affirm a basis for infant baptism, which they know has no existence, are being fast driven. The ignorant, will of course, cling to old pleadings after the intelligent have abandoned them. But there cannot be found a better and stronger basis than that presented by Jacobi, Neander, and Beecher - namely - There is no Bible authority - it comes not from Christ or His apostles. We fancy that "Nature and experience" commend it - in a word, we like it, and, therefore, practice it. Then what harm is there in it? It does the child no injury and the parents are pleased.
XVI. - EVILS OF BABY BAPTISM, page 51
1. Proclaims a gross Falsehood. In a few exceptional cases, as with Mr. Beecher, where it is declared without Scripture warrant and done wholly because the parties like it, this charge may not stand, but rarely is it so administered. The creeds claim for it the authority of God - that it is done "in the name of the Lord." Greek, Roman, and Anglican Priests, Independents, and Wesleyans, are heard repeating over babes "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," which declaration is absolutely false, as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, never authorised baby-baptism.
2. Enslaves the Child. It imposes a religion upon its subjects before they can judge for themselves. Subsequently they are taught that already they have given solemn promises and been made members of a church, from which it is a dire offence to turn away. This is to fetter reason and fasten upon conscience a superstition of the worst kind.
3. Fearfully Distresses Parents. Thousand of mothers have endured agony both before and after the death of an unbaptized child - some from fear as to the child's salvation, and others in regard to its exclusion from Christian burial. Only a month or so back, a mother gave birth to three children. The curate was sent for to baptize them, but delayed his coming until two were dead. The survivor he baptized, and it died next day. The three were placed in one coffin and conveyed to the graveyard, but before the clergyman would read the service he had the unbaptized two taken out of the coffin and placed on the gallery stairs. The one blessed baptized babe was consigned to the grave, and after the "Rev." gentleman had retired, the coffin was taken up and the other two restored. What must have been the feelings of these parents? Outrages of this class occur, because men pervert the truth of God, and change one of Christ's ordinances.
4. Makes void a Divine command. Christ has ordained the baptism of those who confess His name. No other baptism has He appointed. Infant baptism is another baptism, and that other takes the place of His, for the subject of it is required to submit to no other. Where infant baptism completely prevails believer's baptism is unknown, because all having been baptized in infancy, there are none to require it, and thus the ordinance of Christ is entirely set aside. That we may not overstate the case we shall express it in the words of a recent number of a Paedobaptist magazine:- "Infant and adult baptism are both right in their place. Adult baptism is right in Turkey, Africa, China, and the South Sea Islands, where Christianity was never known. But infant baptism is right in England, where Christianity has been so long accepted. The whole argument forces us to the conclusion - that all parents who refuse their children baptism do cut off their infants from the rites and privileges of our holy religion, and sink them to the level of the wandering and obstinate Jew, the sensual Mahometan, the unnatural and blood-thirsty cannibal, the debauched and benighted heathen." - (The Eye Glass.)
5. Destroys the Unity of the Spirit. We are required to "Keep the Unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." That unity is described by Paul as consisting of seven items, the "One Baptism" being of the number. Now infant baptism is not the one baptism instituted by Christ, but another, altogether different. The division of the church into sects, of necessity results from its existence - the Unity of the Spirit being broken. Those who know it to be another baptism dare not sanction it and therefore withdraw from those who do, because they make void the law of Christ, by changing His ordinance and substituting "Will worship," (self chosen worship) for that of Divine appointment. Thus the prayer of the Lord - that all those who believe in Him might be manifestly one body - is thwarted and infidelity advances by reason of the broken condition of those who believe in Christ.
6. A Main Pillar of the Roman Church. The membership of the Papal Church is kept up by water, not by preaching. That church is not sustained by converts, but by infant membership. Almost entirely its members are thus made. Without infant baptism it would not have been, and without it could not continue. Protestants support Romanism by their sanction of this Roman rite and weaken their own plea for the sufficiency of the Bible as the rule of faith and practice, by keeping up a ceremony for which they have no Bible authority.
7. Confounds the Church with the World. The Greek, Roman, Anglican, Presbyterian, and other churches, baptize babes into membership. Converted or unconverted in after years they remain members of the church. The world is thus openly in the church. Then, in times and places, when and where, infant baptism has completely prevailed, there has been no world outside the church, and all the manifest wickedness of those places stand as against the recognised members of the church. No wonder that infidelity points the finger of scorn at the, so-called, Christianity!
8. Endangers the souls of its thousands. Not that a pious person will be lost on account of a mistake concerning baptism. But thousands grow up with the belief that in infancy they were made Christians - they speak of "Our Saviour" and go now and then to church. That they are not Christians never enters their heads. Tell them so, and they indignantly ask whether you think them Jews or Pagans? Were they not born in a Christian land? and were they not made children of God in holy baptism? But for this delusion they might be brought to discern their true condition - without God, without Christ, without pardon, without hope - and such discernment would lead in many instances to deep concern and true conversion. But the lie is upon their forehead and in their heart. They perish, sacrificed to infant baptism and infant membership, as completely as are the crushed worshippers of Juggernaut sacrificed to their idol.
These are some of the evils consequent upon baby-baptism. If it be of God let it be honoured, but if not harmless and indifferent it is not, but a dire evil, afflicting both children and parents, church and world.
And now, dear reader, having in the first place clearly shown that it devolves upon the Paedobaptist to produce his positive proof, or to abandon his practice, we have led you to the examination of every important argument which, by extensive reading, we have been able to meet with. We have endeavoured to do justice to the other side by using their own words, hence in our pages you hear Dr.Clark, John Wesley, Burkett, Dwight, Witherow, Urwick, Guthrie, Bradley, Dale, Thorn, Rice, Bushnell, Neander, and others. These defenders of baby-baptism have placed before us their arguments from - the Silence of Scripture - Jewish proselyte baptism - the Households - the Promise to the Children - Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven - Baptism in the place of Circumcision - the Church in the days of Abraham - the Commission - the Baptism into Moses - the same ground as for observing the Lord's Day - the admission of Women to the Lord's Table - the Children of Christians holy - Children addressed as in the Church - the Testimony of the Early Fathers, etc., etc. Over this ground, of their own selecting, we have carefully gone and, though our words are few, we confidently submit, that in every instance the argument is fairly met and refuted. Though not called to do so we have also shown, that baby-baptism is excluded by the Lord's commission and opposed to the first principles of Christianity. In addition we have given the testimony of many Paedobaptists to the fact that infant baptism did not originate with Christ or His apostles. These men retain it because they think it good to do so, as the Church has added it to the things instituted by the apostles. The weight of this combined testimony is irresistible. In conclusion, we have glanced at some of the evils resulting to the Church and the world, and though the few words we have used only admit of a mere mention, without the slightest colouring, yet is the picture frightful in the extreme. What then remains? Only that we exhort you to yield yourself to the ordinance of Christ - that is, if you feel yourself a sinner and in need of the remission of sins (Acts ii. 38); if you believe that Jesus in the Son of God and rely on Him as your only Saviour (Acts viii. 37); if you are willing to forsake all unholiness and to devote your life to the service of the Redeemer. If this is your case then -
"Why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptised and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts xxii.)