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ing us that a man must be born again, spiritually, through the agency of water.' Thus the explanation precedes the doctrine! Your church propounds the doctrine, and Christ gives the explanation! I know not which to admire most—the decency or the probability of such a statement. I presume you will not deny that it is adult baptism to which our Saviour here alludes. If you doubt it, I refer you to the fact, that Scripture presents us with no one instance of any other species of baptism-nay, that no other species of baptism is, anywhere, contemplated by the doctrine of Scripture. Now if, 'by the bare action of water, applied, with certain words, to the body, the soul can be cleansed from sin, and placed in a state of grace before God,'- if such a result, I say, can be accomplished by the bare action of water applied with certain words;' that result is manifestly independent of any other agency whatsoever! Admit contingency, and your dogma is not worth a rush! Either your dogma is false-or one of the most outrageous fictions that was ever palmed off upon human credulity as a truthi - or the consent of the person baptized, the previous state of his soul, his belief in Christ, or his disbelief in Christ, his belief even in God, or his disbelief in God-yea, his very knowledge of the name of God are superfluous-contribute not a jot towards the cleansing of the soul from sin,' and the placing of it in a state of grace! The result is accomplished independently and exclusively, 'by the BARE action of water, applied with certain words ! Where did your church discover this dogma ? In her tradition; and her tradition is derived from the apostles! Can't you see that by assigning such an origin to it she damns her tradition? Will it be credited by any man, woman, or child-unvisited by strong delusion'—that, what the apostles neither practiced nor taught, can possibly be derived from the apostles ? Point out a single instance in which baptism was administered by any one of them previous to the conversion of the recipient! Point out a single sentence in which any one of them recommends, of countenances, such a proceeding. I defy you! You appeal to Christ—Unless a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' Why do you hlink the context ?-You don't? But you do! Habit—inveterate habit-may render you unconscious of it; but you do it! If your explanation of the text be true-if the text is manifestly,' as you say, 'an explanation of the doctrine'--that is, of your doctrine—that a man must be born again, spiritually, through the agency of water-what becomes of the context in Mark—He that believeth, and is baptised, shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned ?' Is this your reading of the text of John? Interpret that text as you interpret it, and what becomes of the context? The context and the text won't agree! Christ is at odds with Christ! In one place-according to your sh ,wing-He attributes the second birth to water alone; in another, He establishes the condition that belief must precede baptism-and He makes this sufficiently clear. In the second clause, He says—He that believeth not is damned' –He leaves out baptism altogether! Why? Because baptism is void unless it be preceded by belief. You may objectSo is belief without baptisni. Granted; but baptism must follow belief! Is it within the scope of possibility that He should attribute to mere baptism-or, as you put it, 'to the bare action of water, applied with certain words,* to the body'—the spiritual regeneration of the sinner? What is baptism? What can it possibly be but the sign of that regeneration—the washing of the body, representing tlie washing of the soul ? Without being preceded by belief, baptism would pass for as much as a seal attached to a blank piece of parchment, and vouching for what? For nothing!"—Here is PROTESTANTISM against ROMANISM.
Where, in Scripture, did the Roman Catholic Church find these words ?
MR. FRENCA versus DR. CUMMING.
In the discussion between Mr. FRENCH and Dr. CUMMING, Mr French remarks, on the fifth and eighth evenings of the debate,-5th Evening ,—"As to the BAPTISTS, I will say this in their favour, chat if tradition is to be discarded, and the BIBLE ALONE is to be the rule of faith, THEY ARE, in their practice as to the rite of baptism, entitled to the profound respect of every reflecting Christian in the universe.”
8th Evening.-" Again, my friends, I ask of my antagonist, who seems to keep the Bible in his hand this day but with a slippery hold, where, 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, that cannot give the answer, that caunot exclaim, • I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?' See ye not, my friends, that my antagonist in argument lies prostrate at my feet?”
9th Evening.—“The Baptist, (and I candidly confess, that if spurning away tradition, I took the Bible for the sole rule of faith, I would rather be baptized in his way than in any other,)-the Baptist, I say, tells me that I must be plunged into water, according to the unquestioned practices of the primitive Church, and to the true meaning of the word Bantizm, in the New Testament.”
10th Evening.--"When he attempts to prove the necessary baptism of infants, my friend must give something more solid than he has done—something more solid han such a text as he was baptized with all his household.' Suppose the text aid, such and such persons were confirmed with all their household, would it follow that the babies were confirmed that were just born? Suppose it said, “They were all confirmed reading their Bibles,' were the little babies in the cradle reading their Bibles ? Was there any instance, before that verse appeared in the Bible, of nfants being baptized ?” This is ROMANISM against PROTESTANTISM.
These two examples strikingly illustrate “how extremes meet,” when each consider they have truth on their side! SHERIDAN KNOWLES and Mr. DANIEL FRENCH, the advocate, both most distinctly advocating the same sentiments.
(Page cxlv.) 1. As Foreman of our Jury, we call upon NEANDER, the wellknown Church Historian, with whom no Englishman will presume to compare himself in knowledge of Christian Antiquity. In his “ History of the Planting of the Christian Church by the Apostles," he says,
“Since Baptism marked the entrance into Communion with Christ, it resulted from the nature of the rite, that a confession of faith in Jesus as the Redeemer wonld be made by the person to be baptized ; and in the latter part of the apostolic age, we may find indications of the existence of such a practice. As baptism was united with a CONSCIOUS entrance on Christian communion, faith and baptism were always connected with one another; and thus it is in the bighest degree probable, that Baptism was performed only in instances where both could meet together, and that TKE PRACTICE OF INFANT BAPTISM WAS UNKNOWN AT THIS PERIOD." He goes on to refute the “household argument,”-to show that Paul must have alleged the baptism of the children of the Gentiles, kad it existed, against those who demanded their circumcision, had baptism really come in its place,—to show also that there was no class of Christians among whom it could have arisen in apostolic times,-and that the apostle's not reasoning from the baptism of the children in 1 Cor. vii. 14, necessitates the conclusion that the thing did not exist. (See Rylands Translation, vol. 1, pp. 187 – 193.)
Further, in his “ History of the Times subsequent to the Apostles,"
“Baptism was at first administered only to adults, as men were accustomed to conceive of faith and baptism as strictly connected. We have all reason for not deriving Infant Baptism from apostolical institution; and the recogniiion which followed somewhat later (in the third century), as an apostolical tradition, seems to confirm this hypothesis.” (Vol. 1, p. 424, Clark's Foreign Theological Library.)
2. GIESELER, a Church Historian, second to Neander only, in writing of the second century, says what implies the same
"Baptism was preceded by instruction, fasting, and prayer. The baptism of children was not universal, and was occasionally disapproved.” (Page 174, Clark's Library.)
3. HAGENBACH, a Theological Professor of high reputation, in his “ History of Doctrines,” says —
“ Infant Baptism had not come into general use prior to the time of Tertullian," ri. e. the close of the second century.) “The passages of Scripture which are thought to intimate that Infant Baptism had come into use in the primitive church, are doubtful, and prove nothing." (pp. 190—193, Clark's Library.) 4. Professor HAHN says
Baptism, according to its original design, can be given only to adults, who are capable of knowledge, repentance, and faith. Neither in the Scriptures, nor during the first hundred and fifty years, is a sure example of Infant Baptism to be found; and we must concede, that the numerous opposers of it cannot be contradicted on gospel grounds." (Theology, p. 556.)
5. Professor LANGE says"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 prin. ciples of the New Testament.” (Infant Baptism, p. 101.)
6. OLSHAUSEN, one of the most devout and learned of German Commentators, and one whose Lutheran views of sacramental efficacy would strongly incline him to find Infant Baptism in the New Testament, shows repeatedly in his very valuable Commentaries that the language of the New Testament is irreconcilable with its existence, and that passages adduced by English Pædobaptists are wholly irrelevant. Thus
On Matt. xix. 13, 14, "No trace of the often sought for reference to Infant Baptism in this passage, can be found in it.” On Rom. vi. 3, 4, “ This working of baptism can be ascribed to the baptism of adults only, in whom baptism and the new birth meet together." On Acts xvi. 13, 14, “Her baptism followed immediately on her confession of faith in the Messiah ; hence it is bighly improbable that infants can be included under the term household.' Relations, servants, or grown up children, must be understood. Indeed, we are utterly destitute of any sure passage in favour of Infant Baptism in the apostolic age; nor can its recessity be deduced from the idea of baptism. The condition of the church since the third century imperatively demanded the introduetion of Infant Baptism; only, Christian baptism sank as it were to the grade of John's baptism. But both baptism and the whole church had sunk down to the legal state!” Again, on 1 Cor. vii. 14, “ It is clear that Paul would not have chosen this kind of proof, had Infant Baptism been in use at that time."
7. SCHLEIERMACHER, a devout man, and of world-wide reputation as a philosopher and scholar, both classical and sacred, says very decidedly
"All traces of Infant Baptism which one will find in the New Testament, must first be put into it.” (Christian Theology, p. 383.)
8. AUGUSTI (“ Handbuch der Christlichen Archäologie," vol. 2) considers Infant Baptism to rest on apostolical tradition ; but states also that the practice was gradually introduced into the church. Having quoted passages from Origen (third century,) and Augustine (end of fourth and beginning of fifth century,) be adds
“The certainty with which this is assumed (namely, that it was a church prac. tice in their times, and rested upon apostolic authority) is a pledge of the universality of the tradition, that Infant Baptism has its foundation in the arrangements of the apostolic church.” (pp. 328, 329.) He afterwards speaks of alterations in the form of baptism, owing to the prevalence of Infant Baptism. (The passage is given almost lite. rally in Riddle's Christian Antiquities, pp. 444, 445, first paragraph under sec. 2.)
9. LINDNER (Dr. F. W.) in a treatise entitled “ Die Lehre vom Abendmahle nach der Scrift,” &c. (Leipz., 1831,) says
“For whom is baptism appointed ? For adults, not for children; for adults of all times, not only of those times. Schleiermacher rightly says (Dogmatik, vol. il. p. 540,) 'Baptism is only then complete and right, when it is performed under the same conditions with the same spiritual pre-requisites, and the same influ. ences as were found in those who were baptized in primitive times (bei den ersten Tauflingen,) from religious communities not Christians. According to this, it follows that 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 to new-born children. The children of Chris. tians are, by nature, formed just as those of Jews or heathens. The formula concordiæ says truly, Christiani non riascuntur sed fiunt-- Men are not born, but become Christians.' They need the new birth just as Jews or heathens do yet whilst they are infants they are not capable of it."
He goes on to say that some consider Infant Baptism an act of initiation, and then concludes thus
“All such views would certainly not be brought forward, if we held fast by the Scripture. (pp. 275, 276.)
10. Von CÖLLN (Dr. D. G. C.), in his “Biblische Theologie, &c., Von Dr. D. Schulz" (Leipz., 1836), after saying that baptism is outward sign of the inward living conviction which the baptized person has of the truth of the doctrines of the new religion to which he goes over,” adds
“These convictions pre-suppose, if they are genuine, previous instruction. That Jesus required this, is shown iu Mark &vi. 15, where he makes the announcing of doctrine to precede baptism. It is involved in this, that baptism can be fulfilled on those only who are capable of instruction, or only on the adult; and that it was certainly not the design of Jesus to introduce Infant Baptism. Its la er introduction into the church, was an effect of the erroneous notions which were entertained of the connexion of baptism with salvation." (vol. ii. p. 145.)
11. DE WETTE, a first-rate translator of the Bible, in his “ Kurzges fasstes exegetisches Handbuch zum Neuen Testament," on Acts xvi.
“In this passage, as well as in verse 33 ; xviii. 8; 1 Cor. 1. 16, proof has been found of the apostolical authority of Infant Baptism ; but there is no evidence here that any, except adults, were baptized. Against Infant Baptism, see Theol. Stud. and Krit. 1830, p. 671. Neander, i. 204, &c. Meyer on the passage, Remarks on 1 Cor. vii. 14, p. 110."
12. To the above I may add GESENIUS, the well-known lexicographer, who, when a friend of mine, then a student, described to him the views and practice of English Baptists, exclaimed “Why, how exactly like the primitive Christians !"
THE SUM is, that all these first-rate Pædobaptists, whom we quote, of course, not as authorities, but as necessarily impartial jurors, pronounce that tradition, not Scripture, is our authority for Infant Bap. tism; and no set of men in the world have studied both tradition and Scripture more fully and accurately than they. I need hardly add, that assertions of its being an apostolical tradition, not only show that the early fathers who made them, could not (any more than candid moderns) justify it from Scripture ; but that as it was so common in the third century, and onwards, to attribute men's inventions to the apostles, no Protestant historians can rely on such assertions.