SINCE writing the above, the following additional facts have come to our knowledge:
This question was recently up before the Free Church Presbytery of Kingston, Canada, and after discussing the question they came to the conclusion "that it ought not to be considered Christian baptism, and that when converts from Romanism are admitted into the Church, they ought to receive the rite anew."
The validity of Romish baptisms was likewise discussed in the Presbytery of Montreal, and it was decided that such baptisms were invalid. But the vote was a "tie vote," and this result was only secured by the casting vote of the Moderator!
We take the following facts from the public journals:
"The Portuguese Protestants who came to this country several years ago, and settled at Springfield and Jacksonville, Illinois, are still in trouble--the Old School Presbyterians requiring that they shall be baptized by a Presbyterian clergyman, and they, or a large portion of them, including Rev. Alphonso Demattos, insisting that the baptism received by them in the Roman Catholic Church, before leaving Madeira, is sufficient. The matter is now before the committee appointed by the Presbytery."
Will the Old School Presbyterians receive their baptism in the face of the decision of the General Assembly, given in 1845?
But the most recent case is that of the celebrated Father Chiniquay, of Kankakee, Illinois, who recently protested against, and came out of the Catholic Church, with about two thousand of his flock. Within the present month,* he, with most of his people, have been received by the Kankakee Presbytery, (Old School Presbyterians,) with their Romish baptisms, and this Father Chiniquay has been appointed to a charge by the Presbytery, without either baptism or ordination!
What will be the final result of this act on the part of this Presbytery? Will not, other Presbyteries take an appeal to the next General Assembly? And if the question is again taken, then will the Assembly "back down," and reverse its former decision, or will it reaffirm it with a formidable schism threatening it?
It strikes me that the next Old School Assembly will find itself in a dilemma.
A HISTORICAL FACT. POPE STEPHEN THE AUTHOR OF SPRINKLING.
The Rt. Rev. J. T. M. Trevern, D. D., Bishop of Strasburg, a high dignitary of the Catholic Church, in 1847, wrote a book in defense of his Church, called "The Discussion Amicale." It was addressed in the form of letters to the clergy of every Protestant communion but especially to those of the Church of England. The object of the work was to show the inconsistencies of Protestants in proclaiming the word of God as their only rule, while they follow the traditions of Rome. On page 147, vol. i, he says:
"The clergy of Elizabeth, in unison with the innovators of the continent, and, like them, in opposition to the sacred books and antiquity, declared accordingly, that the holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, or can not be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. But, without going any further, show us, my lords, the validity of your baptism, by Scripture alone! Jesus Christ there ordains that it shall be conferred, not by pouring water on the heads of believers, but by believers plunging into water.
"The word baptizo, employed by the Evangelists, strictly conveys this signification, as the learned are agreed, and at the head of them Casaubon, of all Calvinists the best learned in the Greek language. Now baptism by immersion has ceased for many ages, (among those whom this man esteem Christians, we, Anabaptists, who always used immersion, he did not esteem Christians,) and you yourselves, as well as we, have only received it by infusion. It would, therefore, be all up with your baptism unless you established it by tradition and the practice of the Church, (i. e., Roman Catholic.) This being settled, I ask you from whom have you received baptism? Is it not from the Church of Rome? And what do you think of her? Do you not consider her as heretical, and even idolatrous? You can not then, according to the terms of Scripture, prove the validity of your baptism, and to produce a plea for it, you are obliged to seek it with Pope Stephen, and the Councils of Arles and Nice, in Apostolic tradition."
This is the testimony of one of the most distinguished scholars in the Catholic Church, bearing testimony to a historical fact. Can his testimony be set aside?
The Reformed Reader Home Page
Copyright 1999, The Reformed Reader, All Rights Reserved