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scripture rule, and complying with their tradition, in sprinkling infants, I then added, "May it not be justly seared, that deists observing men, who prosess a sacred regard to the scriptures, and yet nevertheless contradicting them in so plain a case as the positive institution of baptism, may thereby be tempted to think such men only pretend to believe the scriptures, but in their hearts do not believe them? Or if they do in reality believe them to be of divine authority, and yet deviate from one of the plainest precepts thereof, it is not to be supposed that those, who are in doubt of that authority, can ever be prevailed upon by such persons to receive and acknowledge them as a guide to eternal happiness; but, on the contrary, may by this means be confirmed in their infidelity. Protestants therefore should well consider, that by their practice of infant-sprinkling they weaken the force of all their argumentsagainst deism." And I now find my apprehensions were but too just. For, they are so strongly pushed upon this point by a late writer, not only suspected of deism, but publicly charged with being an Infidel, » the most wily enemy of the Christian religion, that the members of our two Universities, those renowned seminaries of literature, and some eminent ministers amongst the dissenting Pædobaptists, in their several desences of Christianity against what he advanced, have all in effect been competed to give up infant-baptism, if indeed they have any such thing amongst them, asserting unanimously as follows: J That it is no where expressly revealed in the New Testament, the forms and modes of wor/hip, the manner of administring the sacraments, the definitions and decrees relating to doctrines, as far as they are human appointments, do not belong to our confederation, with original Christianity only is our present concern. * The reason of the infants themselves is no way concerned in it. They have no reason, nor are they therefore capable of religion. 5 An absurdity which the christian religion, or the rational believers of it, have nothing further to do with .... than to disown and

disavow, as a heap of absurdities, gathered

from some modern formulas of religious doctrines, or the modern practice of some religious societies, which are for the most part full of them, and falsly charged upon Christianity.

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gutty. 6 But I am very confident, the scripture, by which the merits of this cause are to be tried, teaches nothing of this kind. Nor from any thing we could have met with there, could we ever have thought of it. "> But as to those who holdsuch opinions, and make use of suchforms, let them answer for them. Such things do not appear to me to be according to the pleasure and ordinance os God himself in this point. . . . The New Te/lamcnt itself is a Jlranger to any such sentiments, or practices; and therefore Christianity is not, in the least, affected by this objection. These are some of their own expressions concerning infant-baptism, in answer to what this wily Infidel said upon the subject; whose words Mr. Benson in his Dialogue has thus introduced, p. 94.

* But there is an objection, p. 9. which is repeated, p. * 69. and which it will require all your skill to resolve,' viz. "Can a man be baptized into a rational religion? "Or, where is reason concerned, when babes accept "the terms of salvation by deputy, and are intitled to 44 all the privileges of the most extensive faith by ano44 ther's act? By the baptismal ceremony, they com"mence true believers at once, and are made heirs of 44 heaven, by the faith of their bondsmen, while as yet ** t,hey have not the least share or symptom of understand*4 ing themselves; and, they cannot well give a rational 44 aflent by proxy. Yet such is the pleasure and ordinance "of God himself in this point. And p. 69. he inquires, 44 can any thing be more natural, upon hearing of a ra*4 tional faith, than to interrogate, with'the greatest sim44 plicity, after our church-catechism; why, then, are u infants baptized; when by reason of their tender age, 44 they cannot possibly pretend to know any thing of the 44 matter? For they article without knowing it, to be44 lieve they know not what: and this act, which is pro44 perly no sct at all, is received as something to all in tents and purposes compleat in itself, and comprising the 4t whole sum and extent of a just persuasion. Their 44 living longer, to be capable to be informed what it is 44 they have promised to believe, may possibly endanger, 44 but cannot add to, the terms of their contracted happi44 ness. The merits of the most finished conviction are 44 already theirs by imputation. Their claim to heaven

44 stands

6 Dr. Doddfidge'j Third Letter, p. 55, 57. 7 Mr. BensonV Dialogue, p. 96, 97.

"stands already allowed. And millions are accordingly, "we know, actually saved upon the strength of the "mere ceremony, without ever having had the capacity •*- of exerting one single thought upon that, or any other subject. So far are they all the while of knowing any ** thing why, that they do not so much as know what "they believe; or indeed, that they do believe any thing *• at all." 4 Now, is not this a most formidable argument 4 against a rational faith; in as much as they have allowed

* it impossible to believe without ideas, or understanding;

* and consequently impossible to give a rational assent by

* proxy.'

This objection is not formed against the private opinions and practice of particular Christians only, but against the judgment and established ordinances of several Churches; whose most learned divines prosess to believe and practise infant-baptism, as a right appointed for admitting children members of the church of Christ; and these children, when they are grown up, are many of them taught to believe, that they were thereby made members of Christ, the children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven. This ceremony, as it has been so eagerly and so zealously contended for, by almost the whole christian world for several ages, so from hence alone our modern Infidels, who are not over careful in their examinations of scripture, to distinguish and find out, which opinions and practices amongst Christians are really taught there, and which only pretended to be so, may be willing to believe and take for granted, that these things are indeed what Christ himself taught, and what the scriptures set forth, as many weak Christians do to this day. And from thence'apprehending a considerable advantage given them against Christianity, they have here laid fast hold of it. And therefore I hope those Christians,who give them such a handle against themselves, will now consider it, and act suitably to what the nature of this attack requires and demands from them. For as Mr. Benson observes,

8 4 Such repeated attacks upon rational Christianity 4 must of course lead rational believers to a more careful 4 and exact inquiry into the nature and evidences of their

* faith; which cannot fail of ending to the advantage of

* truth and virtue. It is possible that, upon examination,

* it may be found that Christians have mixed some of their 4 own private sentiments with the pure doctrine of Christ.

* And,

J Preface to bis Dialogue, p. 5.

* And, as such things cannot be desended, they had mucft 4 better part with them, [and infant-baptism in particular, 4 as bis answtr to this objection flews] than give up rati< onal Christianity, or load it with those difficulties, which 4 afford the most plausible objections against itj tho' in 4 reality they do not belong to it. Such authors as this 4 (whatever be their design) will, perhaps in the issue, 4 help us to get rid of such difficulties and incumbrancCs,

* which is, doubtless, a very desirable thing.'

Besides, as Mr. Mole very justly observes, when treating of Christian education j 9 4 Reviewing the grounds of 4 our knowledge and conduct, so far from misbecoming 4 us, will be what we shall be disposed to by such an edu

* cation, and what we are not only allowed at any one 4 particular time, but obliged to do often, over and over 4 again, as long as we live. How far imposture and hu4 man imposition might suffer by their votaries taking

* such a liberty, is easily seen; and why those, who are 4 for supporting them, should be apprehensive and sear4 ful from it: but christian faith and virtue must take 4 firmer hold of the minds of men, and flourish more 4 in their lives by it.'

These great and good effects mentioned by Mr. Benson and Mr. Mole, seem also to be most earnestly desired by Dr. Doddridge in these words, 1 41 would hope, the at

* tacks made on common Christianity, are in some mea

* sure leading us to this: and I earnestly pray, that infi4 nite wisdom may over-rule that evil, to the production 4 of so great a good.' For as he elsewhere adds, 1 4 It is 4 thus that meat often comes out of the eater, and sweet4 ness out of the fierce j and the subtile are taken in their 4 own craftiness. The grossness of such visible and pal4 pable snares engages prudent people to avoid the path in 4 which they lie, and so secures them from others of a 4 finer contexture, and a more dangerous form.*

With these views therefore, and for this end only, agreeable to Mr. Barker's advice in his introductory Sermon to the Lectures preached against Popery at SaltersHall, I have taken upon me to publish these remarks j and if they may in the least contribute to so neceflary, and desirable a reformation, I {hall greatly rejoice, little regarding

» Grounds, Use. p. 75, 76. I Third Letter, p. 44. * First etter, p. 32.

gardmg what angry persons bigottcd to human forms and corrupt traditions may fay, or think of them.

Had the practice of our Pædobaptist brethren been ridiculed after the manner of this objection by one of the Baptist persuasion, they might perhaps have been greatly displeased, and returned very different answers to us. But coming from an Infidel, it appears so just, and of so much weight, that our brethren seem greatly alarmed by it: and in order to desend Christianity, they have, in effect, given up infant-baptism, as an human appointment only, and as such entirely indesensible by scripture and antiquity. Hereby they have manisested a true love and regard for the religion of Jesus, above their own forms and traditions, so long joined with it, and practised as a part of ir. A good step this towards that reformation, which hath been so long wanted, as the most certain way to prevent such objections, and the most likel^means of uniting all Christians; but is now become absolutely necessary for their own vindication, to secure themselves from the charge of inconsistency, or being self-condemned in carrying on a solemn farce, doing that in the name of the Lord, which they own, the Lord hath not commanded them; an acknowledged absurdity no where expressly reveel d in the New Testament, which is also said to be so much a stronger to any such sentiments or brattices, that the rational believers of Christianity have nothing further to do with, but to disown and disavow them. And this appears so clearly in their several answers to this objection, that I shall give them my readers at large, adding thereto some lew remarks. And as our famous Universities claim precedency, I will begin first with theirs.

SECT. I.
Remarks cn the Cambridge Letter.

THE Cambridge young gentleman introduces his answer to the objection above, with the following remarkable paragraph. And if what is therein contained, had been strictly attended to by all, who have assumed the christian name, I am persuaded there would have been no room for answering such objections.

D 4 Writers

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