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TRACTS FOR THE PEOPLE. 82. Is this true of any infants after baptism? No; it never was, nor in the nature of things can it ever be.
83. What is the necessary qualification to all parts of Christian practice? Faith.
84. Is there no Christian duty to be performed without faith in the subject? None.
85. Why so? Because “without faith it is impossible to please God." Heb. xi. 6.
86. Can it then be pleasing to God to baptize or sprinkle infants? No, seeing that without faith it is impossible to please God.
87. Can the infant itself, in receiving this rite, please God? No; for it is destitute of faith.
88. How do you know that infants are destitute of faith? Because they cannot believe in him of whom they have never heard? As saith the Apostle, Rom. x. 14, “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?"!
89. But may there not be two kinds of baptism-one suited to believers, and one to infants destitute of faith? No; for the scriptures speak only of one baptism.
90. Why did John baptize at Enon? “Because there was much water there." 91. Would not a few quarts of water baptize hundreds?
No; a few quarts might sprinkle hundreds, but could not baptize one.
92. Who appointed the sprinkling of infants? The Clergy.
93. When did sprinkling become general amongst Roman Pedobaptists? The Pope, in the year 1311, declared sprinkling or immersion as indifferent-either would do very well. But in England it did not become general lill after the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
9 t. Why do you sprinkle water upon the face? Because thus the Clergy have ordained.
95. Why do they not sprinkle the foreskin, seeing the Jews circumcised it? Because it would be indecent and impolite.
95. Was not, then, circumcision indecent and impolite? No; for it was commanded of God.
97. Can you give no better reason for sprinkling the face than that given? No; the Clergy have pitched upon it, and perhaps they had some reason for it.
98. To what is baptism compared in the New Testament? To a burial and resurrection. Rom. vi. 4-6.
99. Does sprinkling the face resemble a burial? No.
100. Does immersing the whole person resemble a burial? Yes: “We are buried with him in baptism."
101. Does a child carrying away from the preacher resemble a resurrection? No.
102. How, then, is a resurrection exhibited? After the subject has been immersed in water and completely overwhelmed in it, his rising up out of the water is an emblem of a resurrection.
103. Is baptism compared to any thing else in the scriptures? Yes; to the regenerating influences and operation of the Spirit of God. Hence we read of “the washing of regeneration” and of the “baptism of the Holy Spirit.”
104. Is sprinkling an emblem of the operation of the Spirit? No.
105. What is there in immersion in water that is an emblem of the regenerating operation of the Spirit? The application of water to the whole person of the subject, and the consequent “putting off of the filth of the flesh,” is an emblem of the operation of the Spirit upon the whole soul of man, affecting the understanding, will, and affections, and the consequent “putting off of the sins of the flesh,” or “the old man with his deeds." This, immersion beautifully exhibits; but sprinkling cannot.
106. How shall an illiterate man know the meaning of the Greek word baptism? By inquiring how the Greek church practise this rite. It is certain they ought to understand their own language best.
107. And how does the Greek church administer this ordinance? Even to this day they immerse every subject, in all climes, and in all cases in which they may be placed.
108. Has not immersion in cold water been a dangerous practice? No; in the frozen regions of Russia and Canada, in the midst of the coldest winters, and in the warmest climates of the torrid zone, it has been practised without danger, and with manifest saiety to the administrators and subjects.
109. Why was sprinkling substituted for immersion? To gratify the caprice, the pride, and the carnality of the human mind.
110. Why were infants baptized or sprinkled, seeing there is no such command or precedent in the Bible? Why did the Israelites make a golden calf-Uzzah touch the sacred ark—and Nadab and Abihu offer strange and uncommanded fire upon the altar of the Lord? From the same principle, and for the same reason, was this practice first introduced.
111. Did you ever read of infant church membership? Yes, in books of baptism, but never in the Bible.
112. What do you understand by "infant church members?" I
understand the phrase to mean, that infants are members of the visible church.
113. Are there any directions given in the scriptures for the proper discipline and management of infant members? None; the Bible knows of no such members; it addresses all members as equally qualified by faith and grace to attend to all the ordinary duties of Christianity.
114. Do we ever read of any members of the church who are qualified for one or two of the ordinances of the church, and dis. qualified for attendance on the other institutions of it? None.
115. Can infants, then, be considered as members of the visible church, seeing they are not qualified for the observance of the ordinances of it? By no means.
116. Is Jesus Christ represented as King of his kingdom or church? Yes. Rey. xix. 16.
117. Wherein does the honor and glory of a King consist? In reigning over a willing people; a people who love and esteem him, and serve him as volunteers, and in governing them in wisdom and justice.
118. Where is Christ spoken of as a King? Psalm cx. 1, 2, 3; John xviii. 37.
119. What is the character of his subjects? They are said to be “a willing people”_"of the truth”—“taught of God”—“born from above”-and “true and faithful.”
120. Are infants of such a character? No; consequently cannot be subjects of his visible kingdom.
121. In what point of view are we to consider infants? As inheriting an evil nature—"conceived in sin"-"brought forth in iniquity”—“prone to evil”-guilty and subject to death,“the wages of sin.” See Psalm lviii. 3, li. 5; Job xiv. 4; John iii. 6; Eph. ii. 3.
122. Can any or all of them be saved who die before they are capable subjects of instruction? Yes; by the merits and atonement of Christ.
123. As our greatest concern is with them that live, how shonld we manage them during childhood with regard to their spiritual concerns? We should "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”-that is, we should make them well acquainted with the scriptures of truth; make them commit to memory the most plain and striking parts of it, respecting their present state and condition, the character of God, and of his son Jesus Christ our Lord, and the doctrine of Christ. Above all, we should exhibit a good example before them for their illumination, renovation, and salvation, without endeavoring to force a profession of religion upon them, or the views of any particular party or sect.
124. Should we ever urge them to profess Christianity? No. We should teach them what it is to be a Christian, and the awful consequences of rejecting the gospel and dying in infidelity, but leave it to their own conscience when and how to prosess Christianity.
125. Would the sprinkling of them in infancy tend to accelerate their conversion-would it secure that they ever would be Christians, or confer upon them any Christian benefit? Not in the least.
126. Have not many Christians had their infants sprinkled or baptized in infancy? I make no doubt but there were, and there are Christians in this practice.
127. But would you make this a reason why we, who are convinced that the thing is a mere tradition of men, should practise it? No; for then might we pray to the Virgin Mary, believe in purgatory, make the
of the cross in baptizing, swear to “the solemn league,” believe the doctrine of consubstantiation, or transubstantiation, go into a monastery or take the vow of celibacy; because some good men have done some of these things.
128. Is not the same action alike good or bad to all who practise it? No: for there is a great difference between a person perforning an action, thinking it right, and one performing the same action, doubting of its propriety or knowing it to be wrong. The former is a simple mistake; the latter, a wilful transgression. Even civil law discriminates between the different degrees of demerit in the action, arising from the knowledge and determination of the agent. Hence we have different kinds of murder, and different punishments annexed to each, according to circumstances.
129. Are there not two kinds of sins of ignorance? Yes; there is an unavoidable ignorance and a wilful ignorance. The former exists where the subject has no possible means of information; such as the Indian's ignorance of the Saviour; the latter exists where the subject might know, if he would avail himself of the means of knowledge which he possesses, such as the Pedobaptist's ignorance of the true subject and action of baptism. Whatever excuse can be plead for the former, there is no extenuation of the latter.
130. If infant baptism be an evil thing, as it is often represented, it appears strange that the Almighty should have tolerated its continuance so long and suffered it to extend so far with impunity. How do you 'account for this? The Almighty has suffered many errors to exist for a much longer time. The whole system of Antichrist is now more than 1200 years old, and Paganism is several
thousand years old. The future state only will exhibit the reasons of this.
131. How do you view all Pedobaptists with regard to this ordinance of baptisın? Can you, according to the scriptures, consider them baptized persons, or do you consider them as unbaptized? There is but one baptism, and all who have not been immersed into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, after having professed the faith of the gospel, have never been baptized, and are now in an unbaptized state.
132. What is the design of baptism? Besides our putting on of Christ, and having the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit put upon us, we are baptized for the remission of all past sins, through faith in his blood. Thus Peter, Acts ii. 38, commanded three thousand Jews“to be baptized, every one for himself, for the remission of sins;" thus Ananias told Paul to “be baptized and wash away his sins.” Hence, baptism “is the washing of regeneration;" thus the church is cleansed through the bath of water by the word, and thus "the like figure" to Noahs being saved by water in the ark, “baptism does also now save us, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God through the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
133. Why are many good people so much divided in their viewe of scripture, seeing they have but one Bible, and all read it in the same language? Because they belong to different sects and have different systems, and they rather make the Bible bow to their own systems, than make their systems bow to the Bible; or, in other words, each man, too generaily, views the Bible through the medium of his system; and, of course, it will appear to him to favor it. Just as if A, B, and C should each put on different colored glasses: A puts on green spectacles; B, yellow; and C, blue. Each one of them through his own glasses looks at the Bible. To A it appears green; to B, yellow; and to C, blue. They begin to debate on its color. It is impossible for any one of them to convince another that he is wrong; each one feels a conviction next to absolute certainty that his opinion is right. But D, who has no spectacles on, and who is standing by during the contest, very well knows that they are all wrong. He sees the spectacles on each man's nose, and easily accounts for the difference. Thus one professor reads the Bible with Juhn Calvin on his nose; another, with John Wesley; a third with John Gill; and a fourth, with some one else. Thrice happy the man who lists the Bible as if it had dropt from beaven into his hand alone, and who with a single eye, reads for himself!
134. Who is most likely to understand it? He who practisee what he already knows.