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19 from top,
10 from top,
10 from bottom,
7 from top,
2 from bottom,
6 from top,
for they read in. for is read are. after for read not. 15 from bottom, for sit red fit.
that is superfluous.
for or read on.
for their read the.
for as these, of pedo-baptists, read of pedo-baptists, as these.
for Corinthians read Cerinthians. for has read have.
for dedification read dedication. 178 read the 6th, 7th and 8th lines thus-The covenant at Sinai was to the covenant of circumcision, what the New Testament is to the Covenant of God in Christ promised to Abraham.
2 from top,
for a ting read to tinge.
for obtinct read obtinet.
for immerging read emerging.
for sware read sure.
IT is usual, and in many instances necessary, that he who writes for public inspection and edification, first introduces his subject, and sometimes himself, to the consideration of his readers, by a few preliminary observations. With this custom, I feel it my duty, on the present occasion, to comply. And in the first place, I would make my readers acquainted with the causes, that led to the discussion which is committed to the following pages.
A Mr. John Birch, a Baptist minister, and the elder of a Baptist church which meets on Flat Run, a few miles from Mount Pleasant, during last fall, baptized a more than usual number of professed believers. Mr. John Walker found it his duty to preach up infant Baptism, as an effectual mean to prevent the prevalence of Baptist principles. On one of those occasions, Mr. Birch accidentally heard Mr. Walker preach on this topic; and, hearing some quotations made by Mr. Walker, from Dr. Baldwin's Works, which Mr. Birch thought uhfair, he took the liberty, after sermon, of asking Mr. Walker, to what part of Mr. Baldwin's works he had referred. This gave rise to a short dispute, on the meaning of the quota. tion, and, after some further interviews or correspond ence upon the subject, it finally issued in Mr. Walker challenging Mr. Birch, or any regular Baptist minister, * of good moral character and of good standing, whom Mr. Birch might choose, to come forward to a public debate upon that topic. Mr. Birch accepted the challenge, and immediately solicited my attendance. I hesitated for a little; but my devotion to the cause of truth, and my being unwilling even to appear, much more to feel, afraid or ashamed to defend the cause of truth, overcame my natural aversion to controversy, and finally determined me to agree to meet Mr. Walker, at the time and plage. above specified.
It is not to be expected that I could give, in detail, every word that was spoken during the debate: nor would this be profitable to the reader. If this could be done, it would exhibit much vain repetition, and many little things unconnected with the main subject of debate. The documents which I possess, will, however, authorise me to say, that a fair and full exhibition of all the arguments used on both sides, will be faithfully given; and, in many instances, the precise words. I have been fa vored with the notes taken by Salathiel Curtis, Esq. and with those taken by Mr. Thomas Campbell. I have also the minutes of Mr. Walker's arguments, which I noted down for reply whilst he was speaking. From all which documents, together with my own recollection, I hope and promise, to present to the public a correct and satisfactory detail of the whole proceeding.
It may be naturally supposed, that as there were so many witnesses, and from regions considerably remote, that a regard to my own character, (were I actuated by no higher motive) would induce me to give as accurate and as full a detail as possible. If any person on the opposite side of the question, should say that I have omitted some things, or given some unfair colorings, let him remember that the press is open-let him come forward and shew the public_any unfairness of which he may suppose me guilty. I pledge myself that, when I am convinced, I will confess my error. If he cannot, if he does not do this, let him be silent, let him admit my statement and abide by the consequences resulting therefrom.
There are partizans, on all sides, who will ever have their own way of representing matters. There are some, however, that are not enlisted under the banners of any party. From these, alas! too generally, the most correct testimony on subjects of dispute is to be obtained. I am happy to say, that there was a considerable number of this class present at the late debate.
If any readers of the following sheets should complain that there is more recorded of what I have spoken upon the subject, than of the words of my opponent, I would inform him, that there are sundry reasons why more of what I have said should be recorded, than of the things spoken by him. These will appear more obvious in the sequel, One, however, I shall mention at present : I
spoke longer, and rather faster than my opponent-neither of us usually occupied the 40 minutes assigned us but I, for certain reasons which will be obvious in the detail, occupied, excepting in one or two instances, a greater portion of them than Mr. Walker. Besides, the, person who supports the negative of any question, has generally occasion to speak more than he who supports the affirmative. To illustrate this, I would suppose that A. undertakes to prove that the moon is made of green cheese; B. undertakes to shew that it is not. A. is called upon by B. to prove it. A. then proceeds to prove it; and adduces, in support of the affirmative, that as the moon is obviously the same size, the same shape, and the same color-ergo, it is a green cheese. Now B. who supports the negative, will require much longer time to open and expose the fallacy and sophistry of A.'s argument, than A. required to state it.
On my side, or rather the Baptist side, of the question, there is nothing to be proved. The Pedo-Baptists themselves, admit that the Baptisin which we practice, is Christian Baptism: they also maintain, that infant sprinkling is Christian Baptism; this we deny. A Baptist can present, in five minutes, a Divine warrant, an express command, authorizing his faith and practice; but, a Pedo-Baptist requires days to prove his practice, and finally fails in the attempt. When we argue, or rea son, with a Pedo-Baptist, we have to wade through thick and thin after him, to pull him out of the mire of his own arguments. In every interview with him, we are engaged, when Baptism becomes the theme of discussion, in exposing to him the sophistry of his own reasoning; not in proving our own principles and practice. We only attempt to unloose the snares in which he has entangled himself; and it is, usually, more easy to entangle, than to disentangle any subject.
As there was a frequent recurrence to arguments, that seemed to have been obviously refuted; so the same argu. ments, sometimes in the same, and sometimes in a new dress, were brought forward. Sometimes, at intervals of hours, the same argument was resumed: which would render this record very confused and topsy-turvey, to take up in this way sometimes five or six things would come together, in almost as many sentences. To instance this, I would mention, that the Covenant of Circumci
sion, and the arguments drawn therefrom, occupied three fourths of the whole time of the debate. Mr. Walker introduced this on Monday, in his very commencement, and continued at it, now and then, until Tuesday at about 2 o'clock P. M. 'Tis true, there were sundry other things mentioned during this time; but the sweet theme and rallying point was the Covenant of Circumcision. Perspicuity and precision, as well as time and edification, require that I should bring together all that was said upupon each topic, and let it all make its appearance together, in one place.
I was considerably disappointed in the temper and deportment of Mr. Walker-He conducted himself in a much more gentlemanly manner than I had anticipated; indeed, I had no sooner arrived in Mount Pleasant, than hints and insinuations were given, that an undue advantage was to be taken by Mr. Walker. By letters, some of which were anonymous, by cautions from persons unknown, on all hands, I was informed, that I might expect a complete brow-beating-All statements from strangers and acquaintances, concurred in this: that Mr. Walker had represented me as very irascible, and intended to throw me into a rage on the first onset, and thus triumph over me. In view of this, I understood the Seceders were elated, in the hopes of a speedy victory. But I can exhibit the plan proposed, and the feelings of the Seceders, much better, by transcribing one of those anonymous epistles which I received, by the hands of judge Martin, from some unknown person:
"Mt. Pleasant, June 16, 1820. SIR-Although you are an entire stranger to the writer of this note, yet he feels willing to apprize you of the advantage Mr. Walker designs to take, in the proposed debate on the subject of Baptism. We are told, by the friends of Mr. W. that he will have a decided advantage of Mr. Campbell. They say that Mr. C. is very irritable and easily thrown off his guard, and that Mr. W. is cool and dispassionate, and will, at the onset, endeavor to irritate, by using such language as is peculiarly calculated to produce that effect. By these and similar means, I presume that he and his friends anticipate certain victory.
And further-Mr. W. has, in a late public discourse,