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THE EVILS OF INFANT BAPTISM

By Robert Boyt C. Howell

CHAPTER 8

INFANT BAPTISM IS AN EVIL BECAUSE ITS PRACTICE PERPETUATES THE SUPERSTITIONS BY WHICH IT WAS ORIGINALLY PRODUCED.

Causes which produced infant baptism; hypothesis by which it was justified; Protestants adopted it with all its ancient absurdities; its original superstitions still prevail.

INFANT baptism is the offspring of superstition. Nor has any of the progeny of that most prolific mother been more productive of evil to the cause of truth and salvation. In these respects it has amply justified its origin. It is not the eldest born, but it is the most popular and insidious of them all.

During the apostolic age, and until two hundred years of the church had been told, infant baptism was wholly unknown. The history of that period, whether sacred or profane, makes not the remotest allusion to such a practice. This of itself, is sufficient proof that it did not exist. But it is not the only testimony. The fathers in the church who then lived and wrote, often speak of baptism, and always in such terms as to convince us that it was not administered to children. One of them?Justin contrasts the state of Christians at their birth with their state at their baptism. "Then [at their birth, says he] they were involuntary and unconscious of what they experienced; but at their baptism they had choice, and knowledge, and illumination."1 And Tertullian observes:?The laver of baptism is the seal of faith, which faith begins from penitence. We are not washed [baptized] in order that we may cease from sinning, but because we have ceased, since we are already cleansed in heart."2 Infant baptism, therefore, could not have as yet been introduced. Origen, who lived in the middle of the third century, was the first who defended it. It was, as he tells us, a subject of "frequent inquiry among brethren."3

Consequently it must have been a new topic. "Brethren" did not understand it. Up to this time evidently, none received baptism, but such as with "choice and knowledge," made a credible profession of their "faith." In this ordinance they publicly "put on Christ." But now, whether infants, or persons too young to understand the rudiments of religion, should be baptized, excited "frequent inquiry among brethren." Thence onward the practice rapidly gained ground, and soon acquired universal prevalence

Why, I may ask, should such a thing as the baptism of infants ever have suggested itself to the minds of men? It is not intimated in the word of God. Reason does not approve it. To religion it is plainly repugnant. From whence did it arise? It owes its existence, I answer, exclusively to blind superstition, which first persuaded men that there is a mysterious, secret, inexplicable efficacy in baptism, which conveys the grace of God to the soul of the recipient; then, that without baptism no one, whether adult or infant, could be saved; and lastly, that infants really do, by some incomprehensible power of God, repent of their sins, believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore, according to the gospel, are entitled to receive baptism! We will examine each of these propositions separately.

1. The opinion began to prevail as early as the middle of the second century, that there is in baptism some mysterious, secret, inexplicable efficacy which conveys the grace of God to the soul of the recipient!

Of this fact testimony so ample has already been submitted that you need not here be detained with its repetition. This superstitious absurdity seems to have been first taught by the Gnostics, borrowed doubtless from the "Eugenia"4 of the pagan Greeks. Gnosticism was a popular and inveterate heresy,5 As a sect, it was nominally put down, and destroyed; but its dogmas lived. Many of them were embraced by the teachers reputed orthodox, and perpetuated in the faith of all subsequent ages. Among them, this is not the least striking or conspicuous. The spiritual benefits they attributed to baptism were supposed not to be in the ordinance itself, but through that as a medium conveyed to the soul by the administrator, in virtue of the prayers, and the faith of the church, and as readily to one individual as to another. No one, whether adult or infant, was considered safe who should die. without having obtained the benefits of these cleansing influences. Gregory Nazianzen, for example, supposing, in one of his discourses, that he might be requested to express his opinion in the premises, proceeds to advise that in case of any apparent danger of death, children should be baptized, "Inasmuch," says he, "as it were better they should be sanctified without knowing it, than that they should die without being sealed and initiated." In all other cases he prefers that baptism should be delayed until those who receive it are of sufficient age to allow the impression intended to be made by the recital of the mystic words.6 On these accounts the ordinance continued to grow in importance until it assumed all the consequence with which it has been invested in subsequent ages.

2. A kindred doctrine grew up with this, and soon took possession of the general mind, that no one, of whatever age, without baptism could be saved.

And if indeed baptism conveys grace and salvation, which without it cannot be received, how can any one be saved to whom it has not been given? On this subject, Cyprian, the Bishop of Carthage, says:7?"As far as in us lies, no soul is to be lost. It is not for us to hinder any person from baptism, and the grace of God. Which rule, as it holds to all, so we think it more especially to be observed in reference to infants, to whom our help, and the divine mercy, are rather to be granted." Ambrose also, the Bishop of Milan,8 remarks:?"No person comes to the kingdom of heaven but by baptism. Infants that are baptized, are reformed back again from wickedness to the primitive state of their nature." And Chrysostom, the Patriarch of Constantinople 9 observes:?"The grace of baptism gives us cure without pain, and fills us with the grace of the Spirit." "If sudden death seize us before we are baptized, there is nothing to be expected but hell." Thus do these great men express the doctrine, which in their age prevailed among all who were considered orthodox. They believed that salvation without baptism was impossible. The effect upon the minds of parents and others, may readily be imagined. All, as we may suppose, were baptized without delay.

Concurrent with these movements arose an institution in the church, the workings of which had a powerful influence in hastening infant baptism. I allude to Catechumenical Schools, of which a full account may be seen in any extended ecclesiastical history. Concerning them I shall state but two or three facts. They originated in the second century, and were attached, as Sabbath-schools now are, to the several Christian congregations. They proposed to instruct children, and proselytes in the principles of religion, preparatory to their admission to baptism and membership in the church.

For several centuries they enjoyed boundless popularity. Into these schools were received children of all classes, and persons of all ages and circumstances. None of them, however, were baptized, except in cases of "danger of death," until they had passed through their regular novitiate, and could answer intelligibly the questions proposed in the rubric of the times. But as we have seen, the impression of the importance and necessity of baptism was constantly increasing in intensity, and the result was, proportionally to shorten the catechumenical period. The qualifications for baptism were also of course diminished in their number and extent, and finally, if the children could not themselves answer the questions, their friends were permitted to answer for them.

The liturgy then, as now, required that all who were baptized should, preparatory to receiving the ordinance, renounce the world, the flesh and the devil, profess their faith in Christ, and promise to walk in obedience to the gospel all the days of their life. This of course infants could not do. But the deficiency was supplied by sponsors, who did all this in their names, pledging themselves to the church and her ministry, that these little ones should subsequently receive the necessary instruction, admonition, and guidance, and at a suitable time, be brought before the bishop to be examined, and confirmed in their Christian profession. In these facts we have the true history of the origin of sponsors, or sureties for infants, in baptism. Such sureties had previously been employed only for older, or adult catechumens, having been first used for Pagans, and afterwards for others on their baptism. Ask you for testimony in proof of this statement? It is abundant, and at hand. We satisfy ourselves with one only. The Edinburgh Encyclopaedia says:?"In the second century Christians began to be divided into believers, or such as were baptized, and catechumens, or such as were receiving instruction to qualify them for baptism. To answer for these [last] persons, sponsors or God fathers were first introduced."10 By this device the consciences of all were quieted. Infant baptism thus gradually extended itself. And since preparatory instructions were no longer necessary the catechumenical schools were not wanted, and they at last ceased to exist. Murmurings were doubtless uttered occasionally, by those who knew any thing of religion as taught in the word of God. But for these there was a ready remedy. They were all silenced, and the policy of the Catholic church fixed, by decrees such as the following established at the Council of Trent:?"Whoever shall affirm that the sacraments of the new law [the gospel] are not necessary to salvation," "and that they do not contain the grace they signify," "let him be accursed."11

3. Infant baptism was now established, and justified, by the grace conferred in the ordinance, its necessity to salvation, and the expedient of sponsors to answer for the child.

Yet the difficulty was not entirely overcome. In those early days, repentance for sin, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, were acknowledged as indispensable preliminaries to baptism. These conditions are so plainly set forth in all parts of the New Testament, that no Pedobaptist then pretended to call them in question. They felt, on the contrary, that they were obliged to comply with them. They knew also that the repentance and faith of the sponsor, were only those of the proxy or substitute, and not of the child. But it was the child who was to receive the ordinance, not the sponsor, and the Bible requires these conditions of the very person to be baptized himself. Here, it would seem, was an insuperable impediment. What was to be done? A most convenient discovery was now made and announced to the world. It was an effectual remedy. It was found that infants do, by some unexplained and incomprehensible power of God imparted to them, really possess, truly exercise, and acceptably profess repentance of sin and faith in Christ, and are therefore, according to the conditions prescribed in the gospel, the proper subjects, and legally entitled to receive baptism!

This assumption is so monstrous that many may doubt whether it was ever made. Since then it may, perchance, be called in question, I shall here pause until the amplest proof has been submitted. When first announced, it is not surprising that the proposition did not, at once, command universal assent. It seemed, even to some high ecclesiastics, to be an absurdity. Bishop Boniface, for example, wrote on the subject, to St. Augustine, as follows:?"If I should set before thee a young infant, and should ask of thee whether that infant, when he cometh to riper years, will be honest and just," "thou wouldest, I know, answer, that to tell in these things what shall come to pass, is not in the power of mortal man. If I should ask what good or evil such an infant thinketh, thine answer would be with the like uncertainty. If thou neither canst promise for the time to come, nor for the present pronounce any thing in this case, how is it that when such are brought to baptism, their parents there undertake what the child shall afterwards do? Yea, they are not doubtful to say it doth [believe], which is impossible to be done by infants; at least there is no man precisely able to affirm it done. Vouchsafe me hereunto some short answer, such as not only to press me with the bare authority of custom, but also instruct me with the cause thereof." To this very modest and sensible address Augustine thus replies:?"In the infant there is not a present actual habit of faith.

There is delivered unto them that sacrament a part of the due celebration whereof consisteth in answering to the Articles of Faith, because the habit of faith that doth afterwards come with years, is but further building up the same edifice, the foundation whereof was laid by the sacrament of baptism. For that which we professed without any understanding, when we afterwards come to acknowledge, do we any thing else but only bring into ripeness the very seed which was sown before? We are then [in infancy] believers, because we then begin to be that which process of time doth make perfect. And until we come to actual belief, the very sacrament of faith [baptism] is a shield as strong as after this, the faith of the sacrament, against all contrary infernal powers, which whoever doth think ?impossible? is undoubtedly farther off from Christian belief, though he be baptized, than are those innocents who at their baptism, albeit they have no concert or cogitation of faith, are notwithstanding pure and free from all opposite cogitations, whereas the other is not free. If, therefore, without any fear or scruple, we may account them, and term them believers, only for their outward professions? sake, who inwardly are farther off from faith than infants, why not infants much more at the time of their solemn initiation by baptism the sacrament of faith, whereunto they not only conceive nothing opposite, but have also that grace given them which is the best and most effectual cause out of which our belief doth grow. In sum, the whole church [infants and all] is a multitude of believers, all honored with that title, even hypocrites for their professions? sake, as well as saints because of their inward sincere profession, and infants as being in their first degree of ghostly motion towards the actual habit of faith. The first sort are faithful in the eyes of the world; the second faithful in the sight of God; the last in the ready, direct way to become both."12

Again:?"Infants do profess repentance by the words of those who bring them, when they do by them renounce the devil and this world."13 Mr. Bingham of the Episcopal denomination, in his learned work on the Antiquities of the Christian Church, writing of this early period, says:?"Another sort of names given to baptism were taken from the conditions required of all those who received it, which were the profession of a true faith, and a sincere repentance. Upon this account baptism is sometimes called the sacrament of faith, and the sacrament of repentance. St. Austin uses this name to explain how children may be said to have faith, though they are not capable of making any profession of themselves." "And upon this account, when the answer [in the. church] is made that an infant believes who has not yet the habit of faith, the meaning is that he has faith because of the sacrament of faith; and that he turns to God because of the sacrament of conversion." Fulgentius uses the same terms in urging the necessity of baptism:?"Firmly believe and doubt not, that excepting such as are baptized in their own blood for the name of Christ, no man shall have eternal life who is not here first turned from his sins by repentance and faith, and set at liberty by the sacrament of faith and repentance, that is, by baptism."14

Such are the teachings of the fathers on this subject. But we have still more indubitable authority. The whole doctrine, in all its absurdity, is embodied unmistakably, in the liturgy of the ancient church. The priest there asks the child, and the sponsor answers, as follows:

"Question.?Dost thou [the child] renounce the devil and all his works, all his angels, and all his service, and his pomps?"

"Answer.?I [the sponsor in his name] do renounce."

"Question.?Dost thou [the child] believe in Christ? "

"Answer.?[By sponsor] I do believe."

And he repeats the creed. The infant, after some other ceremonies, is baptized, and of course baptized as a penitent believer in Christ! Thus the proof is complete that neither the ancient church nor the papacy ever abandoned the great truth that repentance and faith are unchangeable gospel preliminaries to baptism, and that from the fourth century up to the Reformation, infants were believed to possess the required repentance and faith, upon a profession of which they were baptized.

These were mainly, the superstitions that originally produced infant baptism; the belief of a mysterious cleansing power in baptism itself; the necessity in all cases of baptism in order to salvation; and the plea that infants who are baptized have the necessary preliminaries demanded in the gospel. From this accumulation of theological impurities, like Python from the mud of the deluge, sprang infant baptism.

I now proceed to the other branch of the proposition, and shall show conclusively, that the practice of infant baptism perpetuates the superstitions by which it was originally produced.

That all the Sects of Protestant Pedobaptists are under the influence at this moment; to a greater or less extent, of the first, and the second, of these forms of superstition, is a fact that no man can successfully deny. Their standards and other authorities teach unquestionably, that baptism carries with it some mysterious cleansing power, and that it is connected somehow, with grace and salvation! The ancients believed, moreover, that little children brought to baptism are endowed with the graces of repentance and faith, and have therefore the gospel preliminaries required for baptism! Do modern enlightened Protestant pedobaptists credit this absurdity? The inquiry is worthy of our attention.

We turn, first, to the great, and, in some respects, incomparable Martin Luther. He practises no concealments, but expresses himself boldly, and without equivocation. He remarks:?"We here say and conclude that the children believe in baptism itself, and have their own faith which God works in them, through the intercession and hearty offering of the sponsors, in the faith of the Christian church, and that is what we call the power of another?s faith; not that any one can be saved by that but he thereby (that is, through another?s intercession and aid) may obtain faith of his own from God by which he [the infant] is saved." This faith is, he declares, the infants? "own faith in which they believe, and are baptized for themselves."15 In his larger Catechism, published 1529, he further says:

"The great efficacy and usefulness of baptism being thus understood, let us further observe what sort of persons it is that receive such things as are offered by baptism. This, again, is most beautifully and clearly expressed in these words: ?He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.? That is, faith alone makes a person worthy to receive with any profit, this salutary and divine water. Without faith baptism profits nothing, although in itself it cannot be denied to be a heavenly and inestimable treasure." "We bring a child to a minister of the church to be baptized in this hope and persuasion, that it certainly believes, and we pray that God may give it faith." And again. In the "Conference at Wittenberg," in 1536, when called upon to explain how infants who do not think at all, can believe, Luther answered?.?"As we even when asleep, are numbered among the faithful, and are in truth such although we are actually thinking nothing of God, so a certain beginning of faith (which nevertheless is the work of God) exists in infants according to their measure and proportion, of which we are ignorant."16 Thus we have the doctrine of Lutheranism on this subject. It cannot be mistaken. That church holds that it is lawful to baptize those only who exercise repentance of sin, and faith in Christ; that infants do exercise repentance of sin, and faith in Christ; therefore it is lawful, and indeed obligatory, to baptize infants!

Calvin next demands our attention. What did he teach, and what do his followers now hold, on this subject?

Two incompatible and contradictory theories struggled in his mind. The infants of believing parents, and these only, he taught, are to be baptized. He says:?"This principle must always be maintained," "that baptism is not conferred upon infants in order that they may become the children and heirs of God, but because they are already [their parents being such] in that rank and position. Otherwise Anabaptists would be right in excluding them from baptism."17 The grace conferred upon children, and the faith upon which they are baptized, are therefore hereditary! This is the former theory. The latter refers to his doctrine of election. He taught that some infants are elect, and some non-elect, and that only the elect children receive any benefit by baptism! He remarks:?"We diligently teach that God does not put forth his power without distinction to all who receive the sacrament, but only to the elect."18 "How, it is inquired, are infants regenerated, who have no knowledge either of good or evil? We reply, that the work of God is not yet without existence, because it is not observed or understood by us."19 Calvin says:?"Though these graces [repentance and faith] have not yet been formed in them, the seeds of both are nevertheless implanted in their hearts by the secret operations of the Spirit."20 The grace and benefit are therefore elective! But if they be hereditary how can they be elective? And if elective how can they be hereditary? These two theories are radically the opposites of each other, and never can be harmonized, unless, indeed, God has elected to salvation only the infants of believing parents, whose faith and election are the faith and election of their offspring; in which case faith and election are propagated by natural generation, and no man can be saved whose parents before him were not believers in Christ. Thus does infant baptism overwhelm and destroy the scripture doctrine of Predestination!

Apart, however, from these considerations, the Calvinistic doctrine on the subject before us, may be stated in a few words, thus:?"Faith is necessary to baptism. No child can be baptized without it. The parents of the child have faith. What belongs to the parents belongs to the child. Therefore the child has faith, and upon that faith is baptized!" So taught Calvin, and so teach his disciples at this time. Of this fact I could introduce instantly a hundred witnesses. One, however, is sufficient. Dr. Miller, the late distinguished Professor at Princeton, to whom I have before several times referred, remarks:?"After all, the whole weight of the objection [to infant baptism] in this case, is founded on entire forgetfulness of the main principle of the Pedobaptist system. It is forgotten that in every case of infant baptism faith is required, and if the parents be sincere is actually exercised. But it is required of the parent, not of the child. So that if the parent truly present his child in faith, the spirit of the ordinance is really met and answered." The Calvinistic doctrine is therefore substantially the same as that of the Papists and the Lutherans. Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and the others, arrive, although by a different route, at the conclusion that the gospel does require faith on the part of all those who are baptized as an indispensable condition of their receiving the ordinance; that the children to be baptized have faith, since their parents? faith is their faith; and that infants are therefore baptized upon a profession of their faith.

The only other great parent class of Protestant Pedobaptists whose principles remain to be examined, is the Episcopal, embracing Methodists of all sects. Turn, if you please, to the liturgy of that church, whether of England or America, and you will find the doctrine distinctly and unequivocally taught, that infants are baptized upon a profession of their own faith! "The office" of baptism prescribes that the minister shall ask, and the sponsor answer as follows:

"Minister?Dost thou in the name of this child, renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the sinful desires of the flesh, so that thou wilt not follow nor be led by them?"

"Answer?I renounce them all, and by God?s help will endeavor not to follow, nor be led by them."

"Minister?Dost thou believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith as contained in the Apostles? Creed?"

"Answer?I do."

"Minister?Wilt thou be baptized in this faith?"

"Answer?That is my desire."

"Minister.?Wilt thou then obediently keep God?s holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of thy life?"

"Answer.?I will by God?s help."

Will it be pretended that in these answers the sponsors speak only for themselves? This is a common plea, and very often made, but it is plainly preposterous, since it is the child and not the sponsor that is to be baptized, and it is the child who is asked, "Dost thou believe;" "wilt thou be baptized;" "wilt thou obediently keep God?s holy will." It is the infant, therefore, that renounces the world, the flesh, and the devil; it is the infant that believes "all the Articles of the Christian Faith;" it is the infant that desires to be baptized; it is the infant that binds itself to perpetual obedience! These facts are so obvious, that no intelligent man will, I persuade myself, upon mature reflection, venture to call them in question. These are the professions of their infants, upon which they are baptized. The fathers of all the Protestant Episcopal churches maintain infant repentance and faith at great length. Bucer, and Peter Martyr, taught the doctrine in the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and Archbishops, Bishops, and inferior clergy, in all the pulpits of the land. But it is necessary to particularize.

Cartwright, a distinguished divine of the Calvinistic school, thought proper to "admonish" the British Parliament on this subject, and in a learned address, expressed his doubts whether all the infants baptized were elect, and in case any were not, he insisted that they could not with propriety be said to believe. "It can," he avowed, "no more be precisely said that it [the infant] hath faith., than it may be said precisely that it is elected."21 This paper called forth a spirited reply from the famous Hooker, in which he severely rebukes the presumptuous Presbyterian. "Were St. Augustine now living," says Hooker, "there are [those] who would tell him for his better instruction, that to say of a child that it is elect, and to say. it doth believe, is all one, for which causesith no man is able precisely to affirm the one of any infant in particular, it followeth that precisely and absolutely, he ought not to say the other. Which precise and absolute terms are not necessary in this case. We speak of infants as the rule of piety alloweth both to speak and to think." "Baptism implieth a covenant or league between God and man, wherein as God doth bestow presently remission of sins, and the Holy Ghost, binding himself also to add (in process of time) what grace soever shall be further necessary for the attainment of everlasting life, so every baptized soul receiving the same grace at the hands of God, tieth itself likewise forever to the observation of his law, no less than the Jews by circumcision bound themselves to the law of Moses. The law of Christ requiring, therefore, faith and newness of life in all men by virtue of the covenant of baptism, is it toyish that the church in baptism exacteth at every man?s hands [infants included] an express profession of faith, and an irrevocable promise of obedience by way of stipulation? " 22 Bishop Beveridge asks, "Why are infants baptized?" and answers thus:?"The reason is, not only because they have the seeds of repentance, and faith in them, which may afterwards grow to perfection, but chiefly because they then promise to perform them, which is as much as we know adult persons, or those of riper years do."23

We may, however, appeal to still higher authority than that of Bucer, or Peter Martyr, or Hooker, or Beveridge, or all these together. Cranmer the Archbishop, and Primate in his day, of all England, speaks thus:?"In baptism are our sins taken away, and we from sins purged and cleansed, and regenerated in a new man to live a holy life, according to the spirit and will of God." "They [the Anabaptists] say that those that should be christened, must first believe, and then be christened. Children, they say, cannot believe, for faith is gotten by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. So children cannot have faith, say the Anabaptists. Wherefore they say that infants should not be christened.24 To this reason I answer and say that children may have faith, although they have it not by hearing, yet they have faith by the infusion of the Holy Ghost, as the holy prophets had, and many holy men in the old law had. Also faith is the gift of God and the work of the Holy Ghost. Who should let [hinder] God to give his gifts where he will, seeing faith is the gift of God? He may give faith as well to children as to old men. Faith also is the work of God, and not of man, of man?s will or reason. Who will let God to work where he lists? Therefore it is not impossible for children to have faith, as these Anabaptists falsely suppose." "God regardeth no persons, but giveth his gifts without all regard of persons. A child, or an old man, he counteth as a person in scripture. Wherefore it followeth plainly that he giveth not faith to an old man, or denieth faith to a child, because he is a child, for then God should regard persons, which he doth not." "And when they [the Anabaptists] say they must express faith before they be christened, what will they do with deaf and dumb men, that get not faith by hearing, nor express their faith by words? Will they exclude them from baptism, and condemn them to hell-pit?"25 "Christ took little children in his arms and blessed them, and said, ?Of such is the kingdom of heaven.? Here are tokens that God loved these children, that they pleased him, and that they had faith, for without faith no man can please God."26

With all these testimonies before you, and the number might be increased indefinitely, can you doubt the teachings of the Episcopal church, in itself, and in all its sects? They hold with Lutherans, and Calvinists, that infants who receive the ordinance, are divinely endowed with repentance of sin, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ; upon the reputed profession of which they are baptized!

The fact is now incontrovertibly established that the practice of infant baptism perpetuates the superstitions by which it was originally produced. Protestant Pedobaptists, on all hands, still adhere to the old Popish dogmas that baptism contains some mysterious divine efficacy, and that through it the spiritual state of infants is materially affected, both as regards their union with Christ in this world, and their salvation in the world to come.

The evil thus brought upon all the interests of truth and salvation is incalculable. Religion itself is degraded and caricatured. The minds of its rotaries are besotted with miserable logomachy, such as that we have just examined. Fanaticism and bigotry reign triumphantly. Who that has not resigned his reason, can believe that the baptism of an infant conveys to its soul the quickening grace of God? Or that it is possible for an infant, at the age at which they are usually baptized, to exercise repentance, and faith in the Redeemer? All this is taught in the Papal church, and in the Protestant church, by the Catholic fathers, and by all the great Reformers. They were on many subjects wise and learned. On this subject they were neither. Do not, I pray you, oblige me to credit absurdities of any kind, and especially in religion. Not more insane than this is priestly pardon, the invocation of saints, transubstantiation, or purgatory. Infant baptism must, and does still look for support to the superstitions by which it was originally produced. Who ever submits to such superstitions in one department of religion, will soon be ready to give up his judgment, and common sense, in all the others.

Thus a downward progress is commenced which cannot be arrested short of the dark caverns of Popery.


  1 Christian Rev., No. 22.
  2 De Penitentia, sect. 5, p. 123.
  3 There is great uncertainty whether Origen wrote what is attributed to him. His works have been wholly
     vitiated by interpolations.
  4 eugenia. Vide Stovel on Discipleship.
  5 Vide Neander?s Eecl. Hist.
  6 Turney on Bapt., p. 138.
  7 Anno Dom. 250.
  8 A.D. 390.
  9 A.D. 400.
10 Art. Sponsors.
11 Cone. Trid., Art. Bapt.
12 Hooker?s Works, vol 1, pp. 630-637.
13 Wall. Hist. Inf,.vol. 2., pp. 435-438.
14 Antiq. Chris. Church, vol. 3., p. 120.
15 Hinton?s Hist. Bapt., p. 39.
16 Bucer?s Notes of the Conf. in Goode on Bapt.
17 Agreement at Zurich, 1549.
18 Ut Supra.
19 Calvin?s Inst., xvi., 18
20 Institutes, 16, 20. Examine Bushel, p. 28; also p. 60.
21 Admonition to Parliament.
22 Hooker?s Works, vol. 1., pp. 633-637.
23 Church Catechism Explained, pp. 128-129.
24 And they say truly, and reason conclusively.
25 It is not at all surprising that this argument had no influence upon the hated Anabaptists. They would have been in a pitiable condition if they had had no more common sense on this subject than was shown by the Archbishop.
26 Richmond?s Fathers of the English Church, vol. 2, et seq.

 
 
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