« AnteriorContinuar »
Believers proved to be the only proper subjects of Christian
CHAPTER 1: -Containing the argument from the apostolick commission for the
CHAP. II.--The baptism of John shown to be distinct from Christian baptism,
and only preparatory to it; yet it reflects light upon the present question, as
it was applied to believers only.
CHAP. III.-Christian baptism shown to have been instituted by Christ during
his life and personal ministry.
CHAP. IV.-The various attempts to include infants in the apostolick commis-
sion for baptism, considered and refuted.
CHAP. V.-Circumcision shown to be of perpetual obligation to the Jews, and
hence baptism cannot be considered as a substitute.
CHAP. VI.- The fact that the kingdom of heaven was set up, or the New Tes-
tament dispensation introduced during Christ's life and personal ministry, par.
ticularly illustrated and proved.
CHAP. VII.—The memorable passage, Acts üi. 38-41, particularly examined.
CHAP. VIII.-The three instances of the baptism of a houseħold, recorded Acts
xvi. 14, 15, 33, and I. Cor. i. 16, particularly examined.
CHAP. IX.-The right of believers only to baptism confirmed by the constitu-
tion of the apostolick churches.
CHAP. X.--Containing an examination of Mark x. 13—16, Rom. xi. 16, 17, and
CHAP. XI.--The nature of positive institutions illustrated and established.
CHAP. XII.--The Abrahamick covenant, though a gracious covenant, or a dis-
pensation of the covenant of grace; yet, shown to be distinct from ihe cove-
CHAP. XIII.-The argument for the baptism of infants, grounded on the interest
which they are supposed to have in the promise of the Abrahamick covenant,
CHAP. XIV.—The inconsistency between the belief and practice of Pedobap
tists, respecting the church-membership of infants, exposed. CHAP. XV. Containing additional evidence that there is such a change in the
constitution of the church, under the gospel, as excludes the membership of
infants CHAP. XVI.--The argument in favour of infant baptism, from ecclesiastical
history, examined, and shown to be insufficient and inconclusive. CHAP. XVII.--Containing remarks on female communion, and the change of
The different modes of administering the ordinance of baptism
in use among the churches shown to be valid.
CHAP. I. --Containing an examination of the Greek word, baptizo.
note the ordinance of baptism. CHAP. III.--The figurative import of baptism examined. CHAP. IV.–The circumstances attending the administration of baptism con
CHAP. V.-Containing an examination of the argument in favour of immersion ,
from ecclesiastical history. CHAP. VI.-Concluding arguments in favour of the validity of all modes of
Open communion with all evangelical Christians illustrated and
CHAP. I.-The subject explained.
Christian experience and character.
ciple that the mode of baptism is not essential. CHAP. IV.-Containing the argument for open communion based upon the right
and privilege of private judgement. CHAP. V.-Containing the argument for open communion based upon the con.
sideration that, although baptism was manifestly intended to precede, in the order of nature, the commemoration of Christ's death in the ordinance of the supper, il does not appear that we have a warrant to insist upon it as an indispensable prerequisite, in all cases,
The question, who are to be baptized, has received, and continues to receive, different answers. Some affirm that believers in Jesus are the only proper subjects of this ordinance; others insist that not only believers, but their infant children, or households, are proper subjects.
It is obvious, that the one or the other of these opinions, and of the respective practices founded thereon, must be wrong. Either the former class fail, in part, to do what Christ has solemnly required to be done; or the latter go beyond his order, and baptize multitudes who do not come within the compass of their commission.
Taking unauthorized ground, whether it be done by the one, or the other, materially alters the course prescribed by our Lord, and deranges the order which belongs to his kingdom.
Not that I would represent the errour, in either case, as futal. There are doubtless Christians among both Baptists and Pedobaptists. Nevertheless, the errour of the one, or of the other, is extremely hurtful, and ought to be relinquished.
The subject of Christian baptism is one of great practical importance. This is evinced by many considerations : some of which are the following, viz: its being a positive institution, and one of the two Christian sacraments, or New Testament ordinances; its being a badge of discipleship, and a door of entrance into the visible church; its forming, of course, a dividing line between the visible kingdom of Christ and the world; its being a bond of union among Christian professors; and its laying the baptized under peculiar obligations to a holy life. There is, also, a peculiar prominence given to this ordinance in all the New Testament records.
It is therefore, as above stated, a subject of great practical importance. The authority and glory of Christ, and the good of Zion, are seriously affected by the manner in which this subject is viewed and treated.
The duty and proper employment of Christians is to obey the precepts of Christ, their Lord and Master.
16 Ye are my
friends," said he, “if ye do whatsoever I command you."?" Again;" he that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me." To each ot bis disciples, he says,
" follow me.” Moreover, we are particularly cautioned and warned not “to take from,” por “add to bis words.” It, therefore, becomes every one, and especially, every minister of the gospel, to make himself acquainted with the mind of Christ concerning this matter, and to do the thing, and the only thing, which he has enjoined.
Christ certainly intended that infants should, or should not be baptized. And he has either commanded that they should be baptized, or he has not. If the former be the fact, we ought to know it: and if the latter, we ought to know it, and act accordingly.
Moreover, whatever be the will of Christ in relation to this point, it is reasonable to suppose that it is so plainly revealed, that the humble and honest inquirer may discover it. It would be a reflection upon him and upon his word, to say that his will cannot be gathered from what is written.
He has, surely, not left this matter in uncertainty. He has not intrusted the business of legislating thereon, either to his church, or to his ministers He is Lord over his own house and kingdom. The Father testified from the cloud of glory, " This is my beloved son, hear him.” No one, therefore, who is not inspired by his spirit, has a right to make laws to bind the consciences of men, or, in any measure, to lessen, or enlarge his appointments.
If we admit the scriptures to be a sufficient and infallible rule of faith and practice, we must, (to be consistent,) allow that they contain clear and satisfactory light upon this subject. Consequently, if we err, it is because we do not thoroughly examine and understand the scriptures, and the fault is our own.
Christians ought to be more thoroughly awake to this subject.
Much, indeed, has been said and written on it. But so long as errour prevails, and the followers of Jesus are divided, and the church marred and rent asunder; the subject should still excite a deep and prayerful interest, and lead to a candid and laborious investigation: not with a view to gain the mastery; but to fiod out the real will of Jesus. How shall errour be rooted up, and the deplorable evils which exist in relation to this sub-. ject be removed, except by honest inquiry, and diligent research ? and by a willing subrission to the testimony of the scriptures?
In this investigation, it is of high importance to be willing to receive light from any instrument whom the Lord may raise up for that purpose-i. e. from any one whom the Lord may