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BETWEEN A FATHER AND HIS SON.
Son. Father, I have been down to the river, and seen such a sight as I never saw before in all my life!
Father. Indeed!' Why, what have you seen?
S. I have seen ever so many folks, I think there were a thousand, -who stood looking at a man in a black gown, as he went down into the water, up to his middle, and another man led several women in after him, all in white, and the man in black took them, and dipped them all over head in the water; then the other man led them out, and some women took them into a tent, to clothe them in dry apparel.
F. You have seen a sight, indeed, my Son. I hope you did not laugh at it.
S. Not much, Father; but I could not help laughing a little, for many folks laughed who were there.
F. I am sorry for that; you should never laugh at those who profess to be religious; especially in doing that which they believe to be an ordinance of Jesus Christ. I desire you never do so any
S. Why, do you think this is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, Father?
F. Baptism in some way is, undoubtedly; but the persons who should be baptized, and the manner in which it ought to be done, are disputed among the learned. Did not the preacher tell
S. O yes; he talked about it a long while, and I remember a good deal of what he said ; but some folks stood laughing and talking all the while, Father.
F. That was very wrong indeed; they ought to have given him a fair hearing. Laughing was no proof that he was wrong: but it was a certain proof of their profaneness. A fool may laugh at the wisdom of Solomon. Can you remember any of the reasons which he brought for his conduct?
S. Yes, Father, but not very perfectly. I remember he said, that the New Testament was the law of christianity, and the only
rule for christians to observe; and that to alter it, to add to it, or to take from it, was highly presumptuous, and looked as though we thought ourselves wiser than Christ, and having more author. ity than Christ, and therefore took upon us to reform his religion.
F. Indeed! This was very forcible, if it applied to his subject. Did he bring any proofs ?
S. Yes; Deut. xii. 32, “What thing soever I command you? observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.' Matl. xxviii. 20,“ Teacbing them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you.” Luke xi. 28, “ Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.” And to prove the detestation which God has for human inventions in religion, be cited Matt.
. 9, “In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.' He said it required as high authority to alter an Act of Parliament as to make a new one. think it does, Father?
F. Certainly. Did he bring anything in proof of his dipping?
S. Yes; he said that to baptize was, literally, to dip, or to plunge, and that our great Reformers so understood it, and that our learned dictionaries so explain it, and be referred to sume part of scripture, where it is called a burying.
F. That, I suppose, was Rom. vi. or Col. ii.
S. The question in the Catechism, “What is the outward visible sign or form in Baptism? Answer. Water, wherein the person is baptized,” &c. He then referred to the form for them of riper years, which, says, he “Shail dip him in the water, or pour water upon him.” He then went to the conclusion of private baptism, which says, “Saving that at the dipping of the child," &c.
F. And what did he bring next?
S. The public baptism of infants—“If they shall certify him that the child may well endure it, he shall dip it in the Water, discreetly and warily.” Again, it is said, “To be buried with Christ in his death," &c.
F. I hope church people did not laugh at him after all this. S. But they did, Father.
F. Then they ought to bave been ashamed of themselves. But how did he prove that men and women ought to be baptized ?
S. I think he said Jesus Christ was about thirty years old when he was baptized, Luke iii. 23. But he did not say that they must be men and women only,- they must be such as could repent, believe, gladly receive the word, and profess to do this before they were proper subjects for baptism.
F. How did he prove this?
S. I think he brought ten passages of scripture to prove what he said; but I cannot remember them all.
F. Can you repeat some of them?
S. He first brought Matt. iii. which says, they repented and confessed their sins. Then Matt. xxviii. 19, 20; and Mark xvi. 15, 16, where they are to be taught and believe, before they are baptized. Then Acts ii. 37–41. They cried out, repented, and gladly received his word, before they were baptized. Acts viji. 12. The Eunuch confessed his faith before he was permitted to go down into the water to be baptized, ver. 36, 37. Acts ix. Saul was converted before he was baptized. Acts x. Cornelius and his friends received the Holy Ghost, and glorified God, before they were baptized. And Acts xvi. Lydia and the Jailor were also instances to the same purpose. He said that baptism was a profession of faith, and how could a person prosess faith before he had any ? —that it was the answer of a good conscience towards God; but how could he give such an answer before he had any conscience at all?
F. This is very scriptural and rational; I hope he did not bring the Prayer Book to confirm it.
S. But I am sure he did, Father.
S. The answer to the question, "What is required of persons to be baptized ?"—“Repentance, whereby they forsake sin; and faith, whereby they steadfastly believe the promises of God,” &c.
F. Did he bring any other passage?
S. Yes; he said there was “an inward and spiritual grace" required in baptism, of which there could be no evidence in a mere child. When, said he, do infants manifest "a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness," as the Catechism requires in the sixteenth question ?
F. And what did he bring next?
« Dost thou renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the carnal desires of the flesh ?" &c. I renounce them all." “ Dost thou believe in God the Father, Almighty Maker of leaven and earth ?" &c.-“ All this I steadfastly believe." Does not all this show, said be, that repentance, faith, confession, and a desire to be baptized, are necessary to baptism, even in the judgment of your great Reformers, and demanded by your own liturgy?
F. And pray what use did he make of this ?
S. He observed how absurd it was for churchmen to ridicule and reproach the baptists, seeing they demand as much in principle as the baptists do in practice. And he begged of them to reflect, and candidly to judge, which acted most agreeably with the rules of christianity,—the baptists, or the established church.
F. Very fair. Nothing could be said against this.
S. But there was: a man at my elbow said, pretty loud, so that I think the minister heard him,
66 I wish he would give over, he makes so much of it."