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. practice, and you adopt another. In our mode of practice, we baptize the believer and his infant -seed'; in your mode of practice, you baptize the -believer and exclude his infant seed. Each of the different modes of practice relates to a positive institution. Why, then, is not explicit warrant as necessary to justify your practice as ours? And have you, Sir, any explicit warrant for that part of your practice which EXCLUDES THE INFANT SEED ? Does the bare want of explicit warrant for our practice amount to a Thus saith the Lord · for yours? Or have you a whit of support for this part of your own practice but that of inferential proof? . Moreover, if explicit warrant be necessary to · justify what we do respecting positive institu
tions, I think it should be considered as necessary to justify what we say. Will you then, Sir, be so kind as to produce your Thus saith the Lord for saying that explicit warrant is necessary to justify all we do respecting positive institutions. Either I am under a mistake, or you have assum
ed, and taken for granted, the principle on which - the whole weight of your argument rests. First i prove that explicit warrant is necessary, and I will
then yield to the force of your argument. But this, it may be presumed, you cannot do from the Bible, either by explicit testimony, or fair de
duction. • Something farther may yet be remarked, which
in my view, amounts to a great inconsistency on your part. For the support of infant baptism we depend on implicit warrant and inferential proof. This you reject, and demand a Thus saith the Lord, or explicit warrant. Yet on your own part,
explicist, and cant ali
you depend on precisely the same mode of reasoning as that to which you object.
In your second argument it is obvious, at first view, that you depend on the same made of rea- . soning which we adopt. You state your premises from Scripture, and then draw your inference or conclusion. It is very true, that your conclu. sion is not implied in your premises ; but still it is evident, that you depend on the same mode of reasoning which is adopted by us.
With regard to your first argument, it may not be so obvious to all, at first view, that in this you depend on inferential proof. I will therefore take the liberty to reduce the argument to a logical form. And if I mistake not, it will stand thus-Explicit warrant is necessary to justify the practice of infant baptism : but we have no explicit warrant for baptizing infants ; therefore the practice of infant baptism cannot be justified.
What is this, Sir, but attempting to support your theory by inferential proof? And have you, Sir, obtained an exclusive right to this kind of proof, that you deny it to Pedobaptists?
I will now attempt clearly to state my views of the difference between your reasoning and ours on the subject of infant baptism.
On our part we state Scriptural premises, and ourconclusions naturally result from our premises.
On your part, in your second argument you have fair Scriptural premises ; but still there is this defect, your conclusion is not implied in your premises. In your second argument, your conclusion fairly results from your premises, but there is this infelicity attending the argument, your premises are not to be found in the Bible.
Is it not, Sir, very remarkable, that while you would deny us the privilege of supporting infant baptism by inferential proof from Scripture premises, you should take the liberty to assume a principle for one of your premises which has no foundation in the Scriptures, and by the help of this assumed principle draw a conclusion against infant baptism? . - It, in the last paragraph, my meaning be not obvious, I will endeavour to make it so by requesting of you Scriptural ground for this principle, viz. Explicit warrant is necessary to justify the practice of infant baptism. Let this principle be fairly supported from Scripture, and the controversy on my part will cease for ever. ... • Such, Sir, being my views of the arguments against and in favour of infant baptism, can you wonder that I fear to change my ground ?.
LETTER VI. : . Rev. Sir,
MY fear to take ground on which I must make use of fallacious and inconclusive arguments, operates against my becoming even an open communion Baptist. But when I contemplate the idea of becoming a close communion Baptist, my fears are greatly multiplied. Hence I may observe, . · 3. That I fear to take ground on which I must set at nought, as heretical, unauthorized, and sacrilegious proceedings, my own solemn ordination, and all my administrations of divine ordinances. And much more, if possible, do I fear to do the same by the ordinations and adminstrations of all the pious Pedobaptist Ministers,
in all ages. But all this I foresee I must do, if I should become a Baptist of the popular class. For what less than this could be implied in my re-ordination, and in my withdrawing from the fellowship of Pedobaptist churches ?
4. I fear to take ground on which I must say and do things which will imply the idea that for many centuries Christ had no church in this world ; or, in other words, that the adorable BRIDEGROOM was for many centuries without a bride on earth; unless I should admit the horrid supposition that, during that period he accepted of an Antichristian bride.
According to Mr. Merril, " not so much as a single branch of the church, in any place or age of the world, hath ever adhered to infant baptism;" and "infant baptism is peculiar to Antichrist.? ,
And according to Dr. Gill, from the eleventh century back to the fourth he was “not able to find one instance of an opposer of infant baptism."
It is clear, from Dr. Gill's testimony, that, though a Baptist himself, he could find no evidence of a Baptist church during the space of seven hundred years. And if Mr. Merril's. testimony is worthy of credit, no other than a Baptist or Anti-pedobaptist church is a church of Christ. According to him the whole Pedobaptist church is "Antichrist.”. What then, Sir, is the conclusion which results from the testimony of your two brethren ? Is it not plainly this, that so learned a man as Dr. Gill could find no evidence that Christ had a church on earth during a period of seven hundred years ?
." Many other witnesses might be produced, as
credible as Dr. Gill, to extend the period of the non-existence of a church on earth to a much greater length of time, on the supposition that Mr. Merril's testimony, which has been quoted, is to be received for truth.
I am willing, Sir, to admit, that the ground Mr. Merril has taken in calling the Pedobaptists “Antichrist,” is perfectly consistent with the practice of close communion. But I fear, Sir, to take that ground; and in a future letter I shall tell you why. ' . . - Yours, &c.
LETTER VII. Rev. Sir, .: ACCORDING to promise I must say,
5. I solemnly fear to become a public reviler of God's gracious covenant, his church, and people.
That gracious covenant which God made with Abraham, by which he was constituted the Father of all them that believe, does, in my view, contain all the provision which God has ever re: vealed for the salvation either of Jews or Gentiles. And for me to talk or to write respecting that covenant, as some of your denomination have done, would border hard on blasphemy. . • To speak in the degrading manner which some have done, of the ancient church and Zion of God, would in me be abominable slander. And to denominate the whole Pedobaptist church from the days of the Apostles to the present time, by the name of "Antichrist," implies such a degree of reviling, as in my view is perfectly inconsistent with the christian character.