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This is the more arbitrary and illogical, inasmuch as "the pro. mise” is expressly said by Peter to be “the promise of the Holy Spirit,” which is extended to all that are near and “afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call.” It is Joel that Peter quotes, and not Moses, as Dr. Kurtz imagines. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the immediate antecedent to "the promise"- as any one may see from the slightest attention to the passage. Again, both the children named in the text and those afar off are restricted by Joel to “as many of both as the Lord our God shall call."
It appears unnecessary to show how perfectly imaginative these expositors are in their comments. The term "children” here used applies no more to infants than to the present generation of the Jews; for these are all the children of Abraham, though from eight days to eighty years old!
I need scarcely again, except for formality, allude to the household or family baptisms reported in Acts of Apostles. These have already been, we think, fully disposed of. We name them here in making a full exhibit of all that is alleged from the New Testament on this subject. Much reliance has been placed upon them by the defenders pf infant church membership, although the circumstances and details of their families forbid the presumption that there was an infant in one of them; and if there were even a plausible presumption, we have shown that to found a positive institution upon such a presumption would be alike without reason and authority from God's own Book.
I have sometimes alluded to the fact, that were half the families in a given district baptized, there would not be an infant in one of them. This would have always been the case around my residence and in most of the neigborhoods of my acquaintance. It is, therefore, the most precarious basis on which any one could found an argument for infant baptism.
The only remaining passsage in the New Testament on which the advocates of this rite rely, is Ist Corinthians vii. 14.-—“Else were your children unclean, but now they are holy;" a passage which, in our review Dr. Miller of Princeton, we have shown to be against, rather than in favor of infant baptism. See Tract No. 13. The sophism, we have unanswerably shown, in that case, is the Pedobaptist assumption that the children here named were the children of those married to an unbelieving party; whereas the letter of the passage is not their children, but “else were your children unclean,” Corinthians, “but now they are holy”! Consequently they were unbaptized, else the Apostle's argument is a
palpable sophism: for to prove that an unbelieving and unbaptized wife was sanctified to the other party by the fact that a baptized child was holy or sanctified, would be as glaring a sophism as the annals of criticism record. There is not, then, in all the passages adduced from the New Testament the shadow of a reason or argument for infant baptism.
But before dismissing this subject from our pages for the present, there are two arguments against the position of our Pedobaptist friends, to which I specially invite their attention. The first of these respects their method of constructing an argument for a positive in. stitution, and the other is an apostolic inhibition of their whole system of reasoning from the Old Testament or Covenant in favor of infant church membership. A word or two on these may yet be apposite on the present occasion.
First, then, as to the method of constructing an argument for a positive rite. Be it, then, emphatically stated, that their method is not to produce either a precept or a precedent for infant baptism, but to infer it from sundry passages of scripture; never presuming to find in any one passage premises for the whole rite, but for a part of it. Then, by putting these parts together, supposed to be logically inferred from sundry sayings, they construct positive authority for a positive rite. This is, most certainly, as unprecedented among men as it is inconclusive in point of logical propriety.
Who ever heard, in any other case, of inferring a part of an ordinance from one sentence in one passage, and from another sentence in another passage, referring to something else, and then, by converting these two inferences into one, make it a positive and explicit authority for a Christian institution? Were lawyers and public debaters to act in this way, they would expose themselves rather to the derision rather than to the admiration of their opponents. One scripture saith, "Judas went and hanged himself;” another saith, “Go and do likewise.” Put these together, and what'an inference!
These special pleaders for infant baptism in one passage find the Messiah "blessing little children;" in another they, find him commanding his Apostles to "convert the nations,” and observing little children in nations, and the Saviour blessing them, they found an ordinance called infant baptism! They even go beyond one testament: for finding Abraham circumcising his boys in one dispensation, and Peter in Jerusalem commanding thousands of men and women to be baptized, they infer that Christ intended infant bap. tism. The law of circumcision they find in one testament, and the law of baptism in another; and because the cutting off of flesh is somewhat adumbrative of separation, and because water in baptism takes
away the filth of the flesh, putting these together, they infer the latter came in room of the former, and immediately set about instituting a new divine ordinance for putting away the filth of the fiesh!
Can any one name a passage that either commands infant baptism or gives a precedent for it? Can ary one give an instance of a divine ordinance founded on two passages of scripture, and resting upon the relevancy of two inferences? Can any one adduce two passages, spoken or written a thousand years apart, as being on any occasion made the foundation of a divine institution? We fear. lessly challenge Christendom for such a case.
Until that is produced, we must regard infant baptism as we do "extreme unction," “clerical celibacy,” “prayers for the dead,” or any other Papal fancy sustained by Cardinals, Popes, and Ecumenical Councils.
When I see learned Bishops and hoary Doctors carrying one limb of an institution from Ur of Chaldea; another, from a mountain in Galilee; and a third, from a Philippian Jailor; and hear them, with a Westminster Assembly, call it "a New Testament ordinance ordained by Jesus Christ,” I am led to pray for another Luther to take the veil off the face of such blear-eyed Rabbies—to make a new scourge of very small cords and drive them out of the temple! For it has never happened, from the days of Adam till now,
that God gave a positive institution to man whose scattered inembers were spread over a field of revelation fifteen hundred years from end to end, and then to be gathered, ploughed, and grooved by modern Theologians who nerer had the use of tools, or were taught by God on Sinai's summit to rear a new tabernacle for pilgrims to worship at. I have neither time nor space to push this matter farther. Since it has occurred to me, I only wonder why it is that these new authors of divine institutions were not long since called to give some authority for this their new art and mystery of manufacturing them.
But when all argument fails, it is gravely said, “Infants were once members of the Jewish church, which was a church of God, and that by virtue of a divine covenant. Now the question is, When were they cast out?”
Infants were never cast out of the Jewish church, as some call it; because it was a commonwealth, and the only excommunication from it was death. It was a church of this world, a great commu. nity, called out of Egypt; and under Moses in the wilderness, God made a covenant with them after they had all-men, women, and children-been baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;" yet with many of them God was not well pleased, for “there fell in one day three thousand souls.” There was no regeneration preached by Moses in order to an adoption which was national and political as well as religious. They were all, in virtue of natural birth, without regeneration or a second birth, entitled to the rank and relation of members of the Jewish national church. Flesh, and not faith, was the only prerequisite. It was, therefore, a "worldly sanctuary,”—a kingdom of this world—a holy nation, or a people outwardly sanctified or set apart for a special purpose. They were as political as the English nation. Their saints were kings, generals, and military captains. Their ministers, priests, and high priest, were men in the flesh, and they served in the "oldness of the letter," and not in newness of spirit. They were, however, a typical people, and their institutions, national existence, privileges, and honors, were all shadows of good things to come. God has, however, provided some better things for us, that they, without us, Christians, “should not be perfect.” He promised that he would one day “make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like that at Sinai, made with their Fathers.” It is, then, very easy for us to answer the question, “If infants were once members of the Jewish church, when were they cast out?” First, then, they were cast out when the whole nation were divorced or separated from their covenant relation to God. When the nation ceased to be God's only nation and people, then were parents and children cast off or cast out. We shall, then, hear Paul discuss the question in his masterly and divinely authorized way:-"Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bond inaid, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bond woman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless, what saith the scripture? Cast out the bond woman and her son; for the son of the bond woman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond woman, but of the free.” Here in the person, relations, and history of Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, and Israel, are described with peculiar circumstantial exactness the two covenants, the two churches, the privileges, honors, and immunities of the subjects of these two divine institutions.
Abraham, as a son of God and the father of all believers, is introduced as the founder of both churches. He had two wives-one free, and one a bond woman. These two women, Paul says, represent two institutions or two covenants-constitutions of societyand are by him converted into an allegory. They are allegorized in the following manner: The two women, both wives, one free, the other bond, have each a son to Abraham. Oue is supernaturally, the other naturally born. Sarah never would have been, by the course of nature, a mother. By grace, through faith, and not by nature, she brought forth Isaac, the son of promise. Hagar's son was born, like the Jews, according to the flesh. He was by simple nature, without grace, a son of Abraham. But, according to immemorial usage, the son follows the mother as respects freedom or bondage; therefore, Isaac was free born Ishmael a bond servant.
Next were introduced two Jerusalems-one resembling Sarah and her son; the other, Hagar and her son; the latter, earthly; the former, heavenly. Like Hagar and her son, the Jerusalem on earth was in bondage when Paul wrote to the Galatians. Like Sarah and her son, the Jerusalem above was then free. She, the Lord be praised, is the mother of all Christians, as the former was the mother of all Jews.
Isaiah lends his aid to Paul just at this point, when portraying in heaveninspired strains the great increase, the superior progeny of the barren Sarah in contrast with that of the youthful fleshly Hagar: “Rejoice, thou barren woman, that bearest not; break forth and shout, thou that travailest not”in birth; for thou, the deserted woman, forsaken for a time by Abraham for the sake of Hagar, now “hast many more children than she who had (your) husband.” “We then, brethren,” says Paul, “as Isaac was, are the children of promise." We are children by believing the promisethey were children without faith-children of the flesh. Such was the Jewish church by virtue of the old Sinai church covenant, Paul being judge and expositor.
It deserves to be emphatically noted here, as both illustrative and corroborative of one of the characteristics already noted, of a community that embraces, as members of the church, all born of woman. I allude to its persecuting character. We have Paul with us here; for, says he, “as then,” in the case of Ishmael's insults to Isaac and Sarah, "he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so is it now.” The Jewish church, as such, with her elders, scribes, and priests, persecuted even to death the Lord of glory, some of his Apostles and Evangelists, and ultimately drove the whole church out of the Jerusa