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being of these corporations, the word had been in use, and applied to ecclesiastical and civil-law purposes. Applied to literary bodies, it was a mere accommodation, and readily, instantaneously made: and the disputes of some learned men about the origin and antiquity of our oldest universities are a mere strife of words with little of meaning These learned men cannot even inform us, where the history of their universities begins: it is involved in at least as much obscurity as lufant Baptism is; taking both of them, as I do, for human institutions. Your correspondent, too, seems perhaps only seems) to be held in surprise at the obscurity of certain phænomena, which may be clearer to persons of as pure an organ of intellectual vision as his own.

So, again, the English Constitution is to be recognized rather as an effect, than a cause. From whatever point we contemplate it, whether at the Revolution or Restoration, at the Reformation or the Conquest, at the giving or confirming of Magna Charta-from whatever point we choose to contem plate it, we are compelled to consider it not as a standing, but as a flowing point; as a consequence, not as a precedence; as a gradual process from something in existence, not as a subitaneous contrivance of consummate wisdom at a given time; as a constitution of things, of which we can no more ascertain the beginning, than we can foresee the catastrophe. Montesquieu, therefore, after all bis eulogiums on it, is obliged to leave it abruptly and in confusion. "This noble system," says he, "was found in the woods."

Even of that part of this system that we are accustomed to admire so much, the representative part, we should find it no easy matter to ascertain the origin. It is full of obscurity, and writers of much thought and learning, who have differed in their opinions about it, have appealed to the same statutes, in favour of their opposite opinions; in the same manner as the Jesuits and Jansenists, the Lutherans and Calvinists, and all the various opposing sects, appeal to the same primitive authorities, to the same original Scrip

posent existence. Origines de l'Université de Paris, par Mons Crevier. Observations exactly similar to these will apply to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. * Esprit des Loix, Ch. vi. L. ii.



tures; and in the same manner as we have seen Mr. Robinson and Mr. Belsham appeal to Tertullian.

Remarks similar to these would apply to the origin of most Christian Churches, how celebrated soever they afterwards became in history. The beginning of them rests in an obscurity not unlike that which involves Infant Baptism. Mr. Robinson sensibly remarks, "The obscurity of the history of almost all ChristianChurches affords a high degree of probability that the first disciples of Jesus were a few plain men, beneath the notice of the magistrate and the historian." No one can ascertain when the first African Church was formed. Churches grew up sensim sine sensu, and were not visible till they reached to a certain size.

And here, by the bye, while alluding to the obscurity of the origin of Infant Baptism, I am reminded of another significant remark of Mr. Robinson's.

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Strictly speaking, it lies upon those who practise Infant Baptism, to shew how they came by it." I think it must have appeared how little can be said for its origin on Augustine's ground of apostolical authority, particularly as Tertullian turus the argument quite the other way; for he positively ascribes the origin of the Trine Immersion of Adults to apostolical tradition. Did they both, then, though opposed to each other, as well in mode as subject, originate in apostolical authority? Trine Immersion of Adults was unquestionably practised both among Unitarians aud Trinitarians, and more generally than Infant Baptism; and I should think it better to speak, as I think most of your readers will, after St. Basil on this subject, than after Tertullian. +

* Hanc si nulla Scriptura determinavit, dubio de traditione manavit.-This pascertè consuetudo corroboravit, quæ sine sage, by the bye, is itself a proof that Tertullian could know nothing of an apostolical tradition in favour of Infant Bapitsm.

Fluxit igitur à traditione consuetudo illa ecclesiastica, quæ quantumvis corroborata potuit tamen infirmari. Basilius quidem incertus undè fuerit inductus ille ritus rogat undè traditum sit hominem ter immergi debere. Non igitur velut apostolicum, ant ipsius Christi mandatum perpetuâ observatione colenda fuit Trina Immersio. See Robinson's Hist. Bapt. p. 168, Notes.

Again, what shall we say of the doctrine of the Trinity? Those who are professedly Trinitarians, finding, as they conceive, this doctrine in the Old or New Testament, or in both, have something of firm footing on which to rest-some fixed point, at which their reasonings can commence. But what will Unitarians say? They deny that the doctrine has any foundation either in the Old or New Testament. Where, then, will they trace the origin of this doctrine? It will not do to derive it from General Councils; for General Councils did but find and establish the doctrine; they did not invent it. We find a something at least very like it in the writings of all the earliest Fathers, the Patres Apostolici, Irenæus, Tertullian and Justin Martyr. Plato had his Bonum, his Boni Filius and Anima Mundi; Orpheus his Phanes, Uranus and Chronus, his Toropov Oc-the Magi among the Persians, their Orimasdes, their Mithras, and their Arimanes, their Oromasdes Toπλάσιος,

Παντι γαρ εν κοσμῳ λαμπει Τριας, ης

Μονας αρχει.

Where, then, will an Unitarian, on his hypothesis, begin the history of a Trinity? They are, and they must continue out at sea. Yet the doctrine has been (like that of Infant Baptism) professed with great piety; it is of very remote antiquity; it has been defended by learned men of great authority; it has been made the key-stone of most Christian establishments; and, on the principles of our Unitarians, the origin of this most popular, this widely-extended doctrine, must be involved in the thickest mists, in the most impenetrable clouds of darkness.

Objects of equal magnitude and extent in human affairs, have been in similar or greater obscurity. People, who fill the page of history with their celebrity, have been small in their beginning, though of prodigious size in their maturity; gradual in their growth, but uncertain, and even mistaken, as to their origin. The Roman nation, so illustrious through many ages for their love of liberty, and their examples of public virtue, so extensive in their conquests, so bound

Inquiry into the Nature of Subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles, 2nd Ed. p. 298.

less in their dominions, by laying claim to a divine origin, did but proclaim that they were ignorant whence they first sprang. Their fame is imperishable in the annals of history, but it rises on a monument, the foundation of which is buried in fable.

In like manuer the Atheniaus, who first among the Grecian states gave themselves to the study of science, seem to have been acquainted with almost every thing but their own descent; and on this point they did not choose to acknowledge their ignorance. They laid claim to a primeval antiquity: and through a disdain of being indebted to foreign nations for their birth, rather chose to say that, like grasshoppers, they sprung out of their own soil. †

These examples will, I hope, shew, how what is ancient very frequently sinks into shade; that some matters of fact in history are often, like others in philosophy, more visible in their effects than in their causes; and that it is unnecessary, as well as suspicious, to trace them to foreign, super-human


That would appear to me a most strange objection to Adult Baptism, which should arise from the consideration of its not being received in national churches, and as strange au

origin of the Romans, hac venia antiquiDatur, says Livy, speaking of the tati, ut miscendo humana divinis, primordia urbiam augustiora faciat. Præfat. And the author of the "Romance Historiæ Breviarium," thus makes out the fable: Romanum Imperium, quo neque ab exordio ullum ferè minus, neque incrementis toto orbi amplius humanâ potest memoriâ recordari, à Romulo exordium habet: qui Vestalis Virginis filius, et (quantum putatus est) Martis, cum Remo Fiatre, uno partu editus est.

Hence Thucydides, in the famous funeral oration, makes Pericles say, Try γαρ χώραν αει δι αυτοι οικούντες, διαδοχή δι' αρετήν παρέδοσαν. Συγρ: Β. λδ. In των επιγιγνομένων μέχρι τούδε ελευθεραν Plato's Ewrappios Aoyos, they are described as Αυτοχθονας,-τρεφομενους, ουκ ὑπὸ μητρυιας, ὡς ἄλλοι, αλλ' ὑπὸ μήτρος, της χώρας εν η ώκεν. Menexenus. And in reference to this notion of their antiquity, some of the nobler Athenians, as Thucydides tells us, used to wear golden grasshoppers in their hairs, insects which,

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argument in favour of Infant Baptism, from its being readily and generally adopted in national churches. This argument, I see, is made use of by Mr. Belsham, in his pamphlet on Infant Baptism, and is taken, like most of his unfortunate criticisms, from Mr. Wall. I hope it will make his pamphlet sell among the clergy of the Established Church, and therefore I most generously notice it. But I fear the argument will have little weight with his dissenting friends, notwithstanding his candour and his compliments. I should call this a strange objection and a strange argument, because they appear to me, on truly Christian principles, to defeat their own object. Ecclesiastical, like civil establishments, take their sanction from human law; things indifferent in themselves derive all their consequence from the civil magistrate. His object is utility, not truth, as Bishop Warburton states. I shall take leave to add, that under his (the civil magistrate's) direction, religious rites lose their nature, and become civil ones. Religious establishments, under a weak though confident plea of the unity of the faith, assumed (whether rightly or not is of little consequence) on the authority of primitive antiquity, cripples and disfranchises personal religion, disqualifies for the exercise of private judgment, and, in short, aims to erect one great church monarchy, whose members are not citizens but subjects; whose consciences are not to be consulted, but controlled; not to be liberalized, but restrained; not to be tolerated in their own opinions, but to be bound, by a sure pledge, to the public faith,

Such is the nature, such are the aims of all ecclesiastical establishments, such the primary end and secret springs of all alliances between church and state. And to their several purposes what could administer so efficaciously as Infant Baptism?* It has been the

The ground of its adoption in the Greek and Latin established churches, might be easily accounted for on principles very far from being reasonable and just'; though, being once established, it would of course become permanent. Yet provision was even then made for the baptism of adults. At the Reformation it is well known that most of the Protestant churches, as the Latin and Greek churches

very root as it were of this majestic tree. Thence was derived its great vigour and ample spread, which has occasioned the triumph of ecclesiastical dominion and despotic power.

Christ, according to the account given of him in the four Gospels, does not appear ever to have been in a situation for exercising authority on the principles of the Jewish hierarchy, or of the Roman civil power. He was far removed from both. If from the former he was not wholly a seceder, we find him much at variance with the maxims and practices of its priests; and if he did not directly oppose the latter, we find him warning his followers against mixing their state polity with the morality and religion which he taught. Thus we read that Christ called his disciples to him, and said, "Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant. Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Matt. xx. 25. And though we find him making a clear distinction between the obligations of religion and the claims of civil government-" Render therefore unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and unto God the things that are God's"—yet, when agreeably to some vague notion of his being accused of calling himself the King of the Jews, Pilate put the question, "Art thou the King of the Jews," we hear him appropriate it to himself in a very different, even in a spiritual sense: "Thou sayest: but my kingdom is not of this world. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into

had been before, were united together by harmonies and confessions of faith. See Quick's Synodicon. But it will be recollected, that these confessions contained other doctrines, which many Christians do not therefore reckon reasonable or scriptural. In the 17th Article of the Church of England, the baptism of infants appears to be mentioned with some caution, "The baptism of young children is in any wise to be retained in the church." See Bishop Burnet's Exposition of this Article. And there has always been a service for the baptism of those of riper years.


the world, that I should bear testimony should we call it a National Church. to the truth. Every one that is of It is, properly speaking, considered the truth, heareth my voice." John politically, a peculiar corporation. xviii. 36, 37. In the above testimony, This peculiar corporation-church has therefore, of the King of Martyrs, as by-laws, creeds, canons and articles, Christ has been called, he explains which are so far constitutional as they his doctrine to his first followers, and are consistent with national law, but, exhibits his own character and ulti- properly speaking, it is not the Namate pretensions. tional Church, still less is it exclusively a National Church. All the different sects are parts of the National Church; and each denomination, acknowledged and protected by the state, and receiving into its communion members of any parts of the nation, is, properly and logically, a national church, and not exclusively one sect only, however favoured and distinguished by peculiar privileges. The Presbyterian, Independent, Quaker Churches, are each a national church, as well as that other church, and so are the Baptists. It is not true then, I apprehend, logically true, that all national churches have admitted the sprinkling of new-born babes for baptism.

But nothing is so insinuating, so encroaching, as power. As soon as opportunity offered, and it offered very early, those who called themselves his disciples, first formed an hierarchy on Judaizing principles, and, soon afterwards combining it with the power of the civil magistrate, formed a Jewish civil establishment of Christianity; and on principles so opposite to those at first laid down by Christ, that it has been by way of contrast, with great significancy called "that spirit of Antichrist" which began, we are told, to work in the times of the Apostles. And all national established religious calling in the sword of the civil magistrate, eminently partake of this character, and must do so from their very nature. To appeal, therefore, and as your Correspondent, I perceive, has done, to the practice of such national churches, in favour of the purity of Baptism, or of any other Christian institution, or doctrine, would have rather a sus picious than a flattering aspect; and instead of furnishing an easy solution to any particular difficulty, would, in my humble opinion, only tie the knot more indissolubly tight and strong.

But to return to Mr. Robinson and Mr. Belsham. The Roman Church, having absorbed in itself all the religious rights, privileges and pretensions of the nations with which it came into contact, called itself the Church; and we use the term in courtesy and custom, but contrary to its proper meaning, as used in the New Testament, where it stands for an assembly of persons formed for Christian purposes, or, as the established Church of England speaks, "an assembly of faithful men.' In a way of similar accommodation we call, though incorrectly, a large corporation among us, the Church, the Church of England.

In a political point of view we call this church in England the National Church, but, strictly speaking, in correctly, and still more incorrectly

In America, all the different Christian congregations constitute the National Church, being all by the laws of the Union protected by the civil magistrate, and under the authority of the legislature qualified for public services; and as the whole assemblage constitutes the National Church, so each sect is a National Church, into which any one may be chosen out of the nation, and from which any individual may proceed to the national advantages. The Baptist churches in the Union form a National Church of Baptists among the Americans. This, perhaps, may be called too nice a distinction, but we must distinguish when we wish to ascertain the truth. Rectè distinguendum, si rectè concludendum.

But if the entire toleration of churches, by the national authority, should not suffice to constitute them National Churches, perhaps the entire subjection to the sovereign civil power may. Let us consider the Greek Church. This church, of such prodigious extent, was settled, in ancient time, according to the ordinances of the emperor of the East, and still it is kept in obedience to the Grand Seignior and the king of Persia, or the princes of the provinces: they always were, no individual church excepted,

Baptists, that is, they always baptized by immersion, and they still continue to do so. The learned father Simon, who had so thoroughly studied the religion and customs of the Eastern nations, and who derived his information from the most authentic sources, says, "They delay the baptism of children until the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, tenth, and eighteenth year of their age." The Melchites followed the common opinions of the Greeks, being in all things true Greeks.† The Georgians or Iberians" are not very pressing to receive baptism; but they re-baptize those who return to the faith after apostacy: with baptism they administer to children confirmation and the eucharist:" a proof by the bye, that the Greek Church never administered baptism to newborn babes; for they always gave the eucharist immediately after bap. tism, and gave it to children in a spoon. "The Mingrelians administer baptism after the manner of the Georgians." In his supplement concerning the Georgians and Mingrelians, father Simon adds, "Baptism is deferred till the child be about two years old, then they baptize it, dipping it in hot water;" at length they give it bread that hath been blessed, to eat, and wine to drink, which appears to have been the ancient way of baptism. Observations similar to these he makes of other Greek Christians, as to the performance of the three sacraments, baptism, confirmation and the eucharist, with a little variety of some few ceremonies accompanying them, but not at all affecting baptism.

"The Greek Church, subject to the patriarch of Constantinople, was not always of that vast extent to which it attained after that it pleased the Eastern Emperors to lessen other patriarchates for greatening that of Constantinople; which they could the more easily do, because their power, as to things of that nature, hath been far greater than the Emperor of the West, and that for erecting new bishoprics, or granting new rights and jurisdictions, they stood but very little on the consent of patriarchs." "They

Critical Hist. of the Religion and
Customs of the Eastern Nations. Done into
English by A. Lovel, A. M. 1685, p. 5.
† Ibid. pp. 61, 62. Ibid. p. 66.

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profess obedience to the Oriental canon law, and the ordinances of the Emperor " They (the Georgians or Iberians) obey not the patriarch, who takes the title of Catholic or Universal; and yet it is not he who is the chief in spiritual affairs, but the prince, who is supreme in spirituals and temporals. The prince has his voice with the bishops in the election of the patriarch, and all choose him whom he desires; and the will of the several lords within their territories stands for law." "The Abys sines or Ethiopians, who in all things follow the religion of the Cophlites, (who were of the Greek Church,) are under subjection to him, who is called the Emperor of the Greater and Upper Ethiopia." Some of the Oriental Churches are now in civil subjection to the Grand Seignior, the Armenians to the King of Persia.

Now the established Greek Church never, in any instance, practised the sprinkling of new-born babes; and if Mr. R.'s account is well-founded, the Greek rituals were first composed only for adults, and afterwards adapted to the circumstances of children. But, without the advantage of this latter argument, all their churches being Baptist and (except those who afterwards became Latinized) Anabaptist, (all baptized by immersion,) being under the canon laws of the Eastern Church, and the civil imperial laws; under, too, the protection, authority, and supremacy of reigning sovereigns and princes; with this constitution of ecclesiastical and civil arrangements, what can there be wanting to denominate them, even according to the common acceptation of the word, National Churches?

I am surprised, I own, that a Unitarian (though I ought to beg pardon of him for wandering out of my record, by referring to his own book on Infant Baptism, as your Correspondent will perceive I ani) should have employed such an argument, it being, as I humbly conceive, not only not founded in truth and fact, but cutting both ways, like a two-edged sword, against his Infant Sprinkling, as well as his Unitarianism. I do not say, however, that because any particular doctrine has not been the established religion of any country, therefore it is not true, but only that if this gentle

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