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exclude the supposition of their containing infants, such as “ rejoicing in God," and "addicting themselves to the ministry of the saints;" but leaving this part of the argument and supposing these passages not to have been written, nay, supposing it proved (which however is impossible) that the families referred to did contain infants, it would still be perfectly agreeable to scripture phraseology to conclude that those infants were not baptized; for, in the Old Testament, we find families spoken of which undoubtedly contained infant children, yet ihe fainilies are said to do things of which, infants are incapable. In Deut. xv. 19, 20, we read, “All the firstling males that coine of thy herd and of thy flock, thou shalt sanctify unto the Lord thy God; thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy bullock, nor shear the firstling of thy sheep; thou shalt eat it before the Lord thy God year by year in the place which the Lord shall choose, thou and thy household.” To the same effect see Deut. xii. 7; Numbers xviii. 31. Here the Jewish families in general, which of course must have contained infant children are commanded to eat the flesh of sacrifices, which no one can imagine sucking children would do, they are therefore not intended in the command to the families. In 1 Sam. i. 21, 22, we have an instance of a whole family being mentioned when the context shows that one of the wives and one child were not included. “And the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice and his vow; but Hannah went not up, for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him.” In the New Testament two households are said to have believed: first, the nobleman whose son Christ healed, “himself believed and his whole house.”—John iv. 53. Again, “ Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue believed on the Lord with all his house.". Acts xviii. &. In these two cases we have nothing to guide us whether there were infant children in the families thus. mentioned or not; but if there were they could not be included among
those who believed. Now, as the baptized are described in the Scriptures as. “confessing their sins," repenting, being buried with Christ, and rising with him to newness of life, “ putting on Christ, &c. it follows that had the Scriptures mentioned even a huna dred families as baptized, and had it been quite established,
that they all included infant children, it would still no more follow that those infants were baptized than that the Jewish infants above-mentioned ate of the sacrifices. Let it not be thought a harsh phraseology that the whole sbould be put for the greater part; it is common in our own language; we. often use such terms as
“ the town,"
“ the country, people, "“ the family," when we do not mean to include: every individual thereto belonging. Thus also the Scriptures have numerous instances of the like kind, such as " ye shall be hated of all men.” Matt. x. 22, where it is evident we must except their own brethren in Christ from those who hated them. “And there went out unto him all the land of Judea and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.”—Mark i. 5. Here the word all implies only the greater part, or a great many; for it is certain from another Scripture (Luke viii. 29) that the Pharisees and lawyers were not
baptized by John.
- The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim vi. 10), where we must not understand all kinds of evil, or a great many evils, for there are clearly some vices which do not spring from the love of money. Instances of a similar phraseology are numerous; see Matt. xxiii. 3; Luke xv. 1, xxi. 35; John xii. 32; Acts iv. 21; Phil. ii. 21, in all which instances, a little consideration will show that the word all is used in a qualified sense in many cases; it is therefore perfectly agreeable to the style of Scripture to say that a man was baptized with all his household when only the adults of that family are intended, just as families are represented in the same Scriptures as believing and eating sacrifices when only that part: of the family could be intended who were capable of the things predicated of them.
J. G. C.
THE ASSEMBLY'S CATECHISM. In the Assembly's Catechism we have the following question and answer :-Question 94. “ What is baptism?” Answer.
Baptism is a sacrament wherein the washing with water in. the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost doth signify and seal our engrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord's.”. Now I would not have troubled you with any remarks of mine respecting the errors in this question, ifthese errors had not been retailed as truths by some of our dearly beloved brethren unthinkingly. What 1, the authority of Scripture, and common sense assert is, that immersion does not signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, but that it really ingrasts us.
Circumcision was a sign and seal of the righteousness of faith to those who were members of God's congregation when that rite was unrepealed (Rom. iv. 10, 11); but immersion is the very ordinance by and through which the penitent believer is made or constituted a child of God (John iii. 5). This is the very rock on which Babylon perishes. They read, Mark xvi. 16, “ He that believeth and is saved shall be baptized," whereas they should read it, “ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Does not common sense teach us that a thing must have an existence before it can be recognised or sealed; and how then can baptism seal us, as Christians, when we are not Christians until we are raised out of the water. We often read of believers rejoicing after but never before they are immersed. Let those who say
that baptism is a seal or a sign produce their Scripture authority.
BAPTISM NO USE TO INFANTS. To learn and remember that sprinkling is not baptism and that infants are not believers is of great importance; I shall therefore briefly lay before your readers, if you think it will do them good, a few brief arguments against infants being either sprinkled or baptized.
First. Baptism is for salvation (Mark xvi. 16); if, therefore, infants are baptized it must be for salvation. If baptism is necessary for the salvation of one infant, then it is so for all; therefore all infants who die unbaptized must perish. So reasons Babylon, the mother of barlois : will her daughters follow her thus far ? They must do so or read Mark xvi. 16,“ He that believeth and is saved shall be baptized," instead of “ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”
Second. Baptisın is for the remission of sins, (Acts ii. 38). But infants have no sins to be remitted ; therefore baptism is not instituted for them.
Third. Baptism gives the answer of a good conscience, as we see in 1 Peter iii. 21. But infants have no conscience,
good or bad; therefore baptism is of no manner of use for them.
Fourth. Baptism is for admission into the kingdom of God (John iii. 5). But all who are in the kingdom can cry
Abba, Father,” knowing that their sins are forgiven. But children neither can cry nor know anything; therefore baptism is not instituted for them.
Fifth. Those who are baptized are commanded to walk in newness of life (Rom. vi. 4). But infants are under no necessity, neither is it in their power to obey this commandment; therefore they should not be baptized.
Many specious pleading and plansible objections might be urged against these arguments; but let the reader remember that the Jews reasoned themselves into perdition. (John vii. 37–53.)
REPLY TO JETHRO. I HAVE (wo grave accusations to bring against Jethro, and I will do it distinctly, not merely for his sake, but that others inav take heed in the matter and manner of quotation and application.
The first charge is one of dishonesty, and this is a moral consideration. The second is one of confusion, and this relates to the mental region. If these two charges be substantiated it will be manifest that Jethro is scarcely the man for the discussion of so serious a subject.
The first is a serious charge and requires to be properly and distinctly proved. In the artiele where the controverted sentence occurs,* I was reviewing the work of a celebrated man, who contends that the governments of this world from their paternal character, have the authority to select and endow a religious apparatus for the moral and spiritual training of the governed. Among other considerations I denied the paternity by asserting that government was the child not the parent of society. But what kind of government the reader may respond. Surely the kind under con. sideration in the context! I was not stating a moral and metaphysic canon of universal application in all time and space, or throwing an abstract idol to be worshipped by all classes of saints, sinners, and archangels. I therefore deliberately accuse Jethro of tearing a passage out of its context, and preaching a popular sermon from a tortured text. It is by this shameless kind of dishonesty that the popular divines have dislocated and disjointed the divine form of Christianity, until people, starving for the bread of life, can get nothing from the leader but the rattle of a man of bones. Any attempt among reformers to sanction this procedure by their own practice, merits the severest reprobation, and, sorry I am, that a thinking man like Jethro, should be one of the first convicted. I have put him in the pillory that others may take warning.
* Christian Messenger, vol. vii. p. 202,
As to whether the church of God on earth should be governed like the angels, or like a theocracy, or according to the plan of popular election in free nations, or whether the elements of each may not be blended together, I have not meddled with or anticipated this question. Even if Jethro proves his point, my assertion and argument remain unbroken.
Second. The charge of confusion may easily be confirmed, it is only necessary to compare and contrast two of his own statements.
One of his statements in a foot-note reads as follows: “That society is the parent of government is as old, at least, as the Commonwealth of Rome, and has been the practice of dissenters for centuries past. I myself have held the sentiment as orthodox and irrefragable during the whole course of my religious career, until driven from it by experience and my Bible.”
Now let us set in contrast with this, a passage from the starting point of his demonstration.
“ From our earliest recollection up to the moment when first we read the sentiment under review, we were impressed with the idea, that Jehovah was the origin and archetype of all goverment and governors; that from eternity to eternity he was God, and that beside him there was none else. But if government be the child of society, then society must have had an existence before Jehovah."
So then, here is a man who during the whole course of his religious experience, until he was driven from it by experience and the Bible, held as an orthodox sentiment, that ** society was the parent of government." And yet from