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are not members of any particular church thing. Besides, are baptized infants detill they have united to the other church in nominated godly, Christians, spiritual, sons form. 'A minister by his ordination, is con- and daughters of God, and children of God? stituted not a minister of a particular church, Our opponents will not contend it; consebut of the Christian church at large: hence, quently, though persons (or individuals in a person may be a member of the church the exercise of their understanding, and at large, and not a member of a particular under the influence of genuine piety,) may church.' When the eunuch was baptized, be so designated, the description is totally he became a member of the church general inapplicable to infants. only, not of a particular church. Thus per- We may further demand, what is the sons baptized in intancy, are members of church general, as distinct from the collectthe church of Christ, that is, of the church ive bodies of particular churches ? In what general. Baptism renders any person ca- conceivable sense can it be said, that a perpable of membership in a particular church, son belonging to no one of the churches if he is disposed, and otherwise prepared; that constitute the church general, neverbut neither this, nor his profession of relig- theless is a member of that church general ? ion will constitute him such a member; this And what is the church general if it be not is to be done only by means of a covenant the family of God? And yet, it is presumbetween him and the church. Persons ed, that an individual may be actually a baptized in infancy, are baptized on the member of this family, and yet not qualified ground of that profession of religion which to be a member of it! If any thing is here their parents have made-whenever they maintained, it is that a person may be a themselves make the same profession, they member of the family of God, and not a become entitled to communion at the sacra- godly person ; which is certainly not a very mental table. I have, therefore, shown intelligible statement for so distinguished that a profession of religion is necessary to a divine. constitute us members of the church of Dr. Dwight, and many of our PædobapChrist, and that what may be called a tist friends, continually assume that an inchurch covenant is indispensable to consti- fani a member of the visible church, or tute us members of particular churches. church general; but where do they find
Reply. At the very outset of this state- the proof? It is assumed, as necessary to ment, our opponent is guilty of the most the support of Pædobaptism, and of Episcoglaring sophism. He dexterously changes palianism, of which the former is an essenthe term, baptized infants, to persons, add-tial pillar, and without which a national ing, they are introduced into the family of church could not easily be founded. On God, and are called godly, christians, spir- the other hand, we assume nothing in our itual, sons and daughters of God, and child- argument without positive demonstration ren of God. But who are so introduced, and demonstration which even our oppoand so called ? Baptized infants, or per- nents admit to be conclusive in its nature. sons? Dr. Dwight himself, at the conclu- For instance, we assert and substantiate by sion of the passage, denies that the former an evidence which all parties acknowledge are introduced into the family of God, for to be valid, that adults were baptized, and he declares, that baptism only renders a that they were baptized upon a declaration person capable of membership if he is dis- or an evidence of their faith. The narraposed. Perhaps, it may be said, that he live of the eunuch, and the rest of the cases limits the statement here to a particular in the Acts are precisely in point, and will church : be it so; will our Pædobaptist be admitted as proofs of this statement! if brethren admit, that baptized infants are our brethren proceed to aver, that infants introduced into the family of God? Here were also baptized, of course without prois, in fact, another sophisnı, lurking under session, and when incapable of it
, and made a change of expression; for the argument members of the visible church, the onus would fail
, even upon his own principles, probandi devolves upon them, and it is a unless the phrases, church general, and burden which they cannot sustain. If
, in family of God, were to be deemed synony- the New Testament, persons of any class, mous. But even a profligate may be a baptized children or adults, are represented member of the church general, if baptized as members of the church, either general in infancy using the term in the vague sense or individual, while destitute of faith in in which our author employs it; for, accord-Christ, let the paragraph be cited; for ouring to him, that is sufficient to constitute selves we distinctly affirm, it is no where to such membership; but, is a profligate there-be found ; and if it be not, Dr. Dwight's fore introduced into the family of God! If whole statement is sophistical and utterly not, then baptized infants are not so intro- fallacious! duced, although adult persons may, by giv-l Having thus noticed several objections ing evidence of their piety: in this case, without refuting them, our author proceeds however the two phrases have different sig- to “direct arguments for infant baptiem.” nifications, and yet are applied to the same Three are specified; of which the first
relates to the Abrahamic covenant. The the universal representation throughout its reasonings here are similar to those of Dr. hallowed pages of the personal nature of Wardlaw and others.
religion? How is an unbeliever purified The second consideration adduced "is, by a believer? The apostle moreover, is that “all the observations made on this not writing upon the subject of baptism, subject in the New Testament accord with but obviating the scruples of Christians his view of it, and confirm the doctrine of about the continuance of their marriage infant baptism." What are these? The relation with infidels. The children, he expression of Christ, in Mark ix. 31, to says, would not be holy unless the parents “receive a child in the name of Christ," were so; the holiness mentioned therefore is, he affirms, " to receive him because he must be of the same nature in both cases, belongs to Christ,” which is “no other and the meaning is, the marriage continuthan that of receiving insants into the ed to be lawful, and neither party should church." His own brethren differ from be discarded on account of the Christianihim in this interpretation; besides, the ex- ty of the other, because this would produce pression is not as here quoted, but “who endless difficulties and litigations with resoever shall receive one of such children gard to posterity. The argument is, “You in my name; and the Syriac, Arabic, and must not put away your unbelieving wives, Persic versions, agree in rendering it one if they are willing to remain with you, othlike to this child. Our Lord also refers erwise you must also discard your children, afterwards expressly to “one of the little as the law of separation from the heathen ones who believe in him.” Two other pas- obliged the Israelites to do with regard to sages, (Mat. ix. 13-15; and Acts ii. 38, the children who were conjoined with the 39,) have been often explained, and seen unclean party (Deut. vii. 3. Ezra x. 3.) perfectly plain. How Christ's blessing Under the Gospel dispensation, both the them in the former case, and speaking of unbelieving party and the children are to the posterity of the Jews in the latter, im- be retained." plies either baptism in the one instance, or Dr. Dwight also maintains, as a third infants in the other, is inconceivable! Mr. direct argument, that infant baptism was M'Lean has most forcibly argued, with uniformly practised by the early Christians. regard to the former passage, that so far It is singular enough, that Dr. Dwight, and from countenancing infant baptism, it is a others, who profess to trace infant baptism clear example to the contrary. “Here are to the apostles, quote only incidental alluchildren brought to Christ, declared of his sions from one or two writers of at least a kingdom and blessed, and thus became century or more afterwards, and from pasvisible subjects; yet we read nothing of sages of questionable authenticity and their baptism. We are sure that Christ doubtful meaning ! did not baptize them, for he baptized none, In the last discourse upon the subject (John iv. 2.) and it is certain his disciples (Sermon 159) there is little to require parhad not baptized them formerly, else they ticular animadversion; the former part of would not have forbid their being brought it consists, in fact, of a repetition of the to Christ; nor did our Lord command sentiments already discussed; the latter them then to baptize them, though he de- part respects the mode of administration. clares them of his kingdom, and blesses The point of difference regard the asserthem. Hence we learn, that infants may tion, that “water may be administered be acknowledged to be of the kingdom of indifferently, either by sprinkling, affusion, God without baptizing them.” The only or immersion.” He affirms, that“ the body remaining example is taken from 1 Cor. of learned critics and lericographers devii
. 14. "The unbelieving husband is sanc- clare, that the original meaning of Battisw tified by the believing wife, and the unbe. and Barto, is to tingë, stain, dye, or color, lieving wife by the husband, else were and that when immersion is meant, it is your children unclean; but now are they only a secondary and occasional sense.” holy.” It denotes, says our author, that This is passing sirange, and I confess, that the unbelieving parent is so purified, by the only way in which, upon the principles means of his relation to the believing pa- of Christian charity, I can account for so rent, that their mutual offspring are not untrue a statement is, by concluding that unclean, but may be offered to God; or, as Dr. Dwight never examined them! Let he before explains it, may come into his any one look at Scapula : the first meantemple. The children of believing parents ings are mergo seu immergo, to dip, to may therefore be offered to God in bap- plunge: let him consult Stephanus, Hedcric, tism. The Doctor has evidently here lost Suicerus, Schleusner, all the authorities. Í sight of the distinction between the legal demand only a simple inspection of them, and evangelical senses of the term holy. as an answer to this strange and erroneThe unbelieving parent is purified by the ous representation. believing one! Is this a doctrine to be I pass over several citations, which are found in scripture? Does it accord with 'refuted in the discussion of Mr. Ewing's statements, and I omit to comment on the ordinance, not a simple expression of huremarks, that it is incredible that John mility. should have immersed the people, and im- It was in every sense a common washing possible that Peter and his companions of the feet, and not a symbolical rite: inshould have done so on the day of Pente-tended solely to give a practical exhibition cost, as really unworthy of a serious refu- of the spirit which it became the disciples tation.
to cultivate: “If I then, your Lord and “Christ has expressly taught us,” says Master, have washed your feet, ye_also the Doctor, " that immersion is unessen- ought to wash one anothers' feet." From tial to the administration of this ordinance." the cleansing nature of the water, the SavThe attempted proof of this assertion is iour takes occasion to advert to the general founded on the narrative in the thirteenth purity of his followers, and to the lamentachapter of John, respecting the condescen- ble exception which existed in the particusion of Christ in washing the feet of Peter; lar case of Judas. But are we justified in particularly the words of our Lord, “He denominating this action a “symbolical that is washed, needeth not save to wash washing,” because our Lord availed himhis feet; but is clean every whit.”. The self of the favorable opportunity of alargument is, that symbolical washing, that lusively communicating some important is, sanctification, of which the act in the truths? And if we were, has this any present instance is considered to have connection with the rite of baptism? The been the sign, is perfect, although applied argument of Dr. Dwight would amount to only to the feet; as perfect as if applied to this: “because Jesus washed the feet of the hands and head; but the expression the disciples, and because washing the extends to every other symbolical washing, feet was as good an emblem of sanctificaand therefore to baptism.
tion as washing the whole body, therefore A remark or two will suffice to show the baptism may be administered by sprinkling entire fallacy of this statement.
or pouring!” Is it possible to conceive of any 1. Christ has not expressly taught us statement more illogical and inconclusive? any thing, in this passage, upon the subject If, however, it were even conceded, that of baptism, if by the word expressly, we there is an allasion to baptism, it might adare to understand “in direct terms,” which mit of another inference which would not is its essential signification. If any thing be at all gratifying to our opponents, but is taught, it is obvious by implication only; which would certainly be much more natubut that the implication is, that “immer- ral and obvious than that which Dr. sion is not essential to baptism,” cannot be Dwight endeavors to establish. The infermaintained.
ence would be, not, as he says, that immer2. Were it admitted, that any thing is sion is unessential to baptism, but that taught by inference respecting baptism, the washing the feet is essential. We might fair deduction would be in favor of the sen- demand of our opponents, why they pour, timent which Dr. Dwight opposes. There and sprinkle, and do not wash? And why is an allusion in the narrative to washing they pour or sprinkle, or simply touch with a the whole body, and to washing the feet; drop of water the face, and not the feet, or the but, in either case, the washing is of a kind hands? Where is their symbolical washto imply immersion. Bathing, the practice ing, when they never attempt to wash at all? alluded to in the former case, will be allow- The last citation intended to substantied to have been performed, by immersion; ate the Pædobaptists doctrine of the mode washing the feet is also an act of immer- of administering baptism, is from the thirtysion, as commonly performed, and as spe- sixth chapter of Ezekiel: “Then will I cifically represented in this passage. Je- sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye sus “poured water,—not upon the feet, shall be clean; and will put my Spirit but—" into a basin, and began to wash the within you, and cause you to walk in my feet of the disciples.” If this action, there- statutes.” “It cannot be denied,” says fore, be considered as symbolical of bap- Dr. Dwight, “ that this is symbolical lantism, so far as the mode is concerned, it guage, in which God thought it proper to would require immersion.
denote regeneration, by the affusion of the 3. There is a lurking sophism in the use Spirit upon the soul." But it is obvious, of the expression, "symbolical washing.” that so far from representing the affusion It may be true, that the washing represent- of the Spirit upon the soul, God is declared ed sanctification, or rather sincerity of to put his Spirit within his people. Whatheart; but, it is not said, to represent bap- ever interpretation be given, it must be tism; it was not therefore baptism. admitted, that pouring upon, or sprinkling,
If there were any propriety in the phrase. are very different acts from putting in, or " symbolical washing," or any such signi- implanting. Instead of this statement, befic:ince in the conduct of our Lord as ing uudeniable, one would suppose it to be would sustain ihe Pædobaptist objection, impossible not to perceive its entire inconthis must have been the performance of an|clusiveness and fallacy.