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ligion, which ever appeared in the world; a religion in itself every way worthy of God, and fit for men, every way salutary and beneficial to the virtuous and good, should, by the unwarrantable additions, alterations, and unscriptural practices of its proseflbrs, and in some measure to their own shame and confusion, be thus exposed to the contempt, and derision of its avowed enemies, in these words?'
7" Where is reason concerned, when babes accept the "terms of salvation by deputy, and are intitled to all the 44 privileges of the most extensive faith by another's act? "By the baptismal ceremony they commence true be44 lievers at once, axid are made heirs of heaven, you 44 know, by the faith of their bondsmen." (page o.) 4 And to the same purpose, in your 69th page,' "The 44 merits of the most finished conviction are already 44 theirs by imputation, &c."
This is all that the doctor quotes from this writer's objection on the head of baptism, but if my readers turn back to page 14. they will there see it more at large: tho* to this the doctor replies, very honestly indeed, but in such a manner, as if he was conscious, that his own practice of infant-sprinkling was also indesensible. For he says,4 Now 4 here, Sir, I am obliged to fay, that if there be any 4 form of baptism in the christian world, which justifies ( such inserences and such a manner of speaking, I am
* extremely sorry for it. Bat I am very confident, the 4 scripture teaches nothing of this kind ;' [no, nor yet the doiler's own method and pleas for infant-baptism, any more than those of our ejlablijhed church, the kirk of Scotland, or the church of Rome.] 4 And,' as he very jujily obJerves, 4 it is by that, [viz. the scripture'] and not by the 4 rubrick [or customs'] of any particular church, whether « Popish or Protestant, that the merits of this cause are
* to be tried.' 4 Nor, as he elsewhere asserts, 8 is this po
* sition only inconsistent with the pertinency of any rea4 soning whatsoever, but particularly inconsistent with
* that footing on which you prosess to place Christianity,
* when its rational proofs are [attacked or] given up.' But the doctor proceeds thus, 4 I cannot see, how any
'sponsor, whether he be, or be not a parent, can pre
* tend to answer for a child, that he shall believe, or obey
* the gospel: Nor does the bringing children to baptism,
I Third Letter, p. 55. \ First Letter, p. 10.
* by any means imply it.' Surely the doctor had forgotten the rubric of our established church, which positively asserts it, as much as he had forgotten himself immediately after, when he tells us; they are thereby lifted under the banners of Christ, so far as they could be lifted by the aft of another; so that they must either confirm, or, in cjfcft at least, renounce what was then done. But certainly the doctor must know, there are great numbers of sober persons, who neither confirm nor renounce what was then done; who can never be prevailed upon to join in communion with any Christian society, nor yet openly, and prosessedly renounce and deny Christianity. And many others there are, who never think, nor concern themselves at .all about the matter. He himself tells us of tristers in religion, such as are in doubt; but not solicitous to bring their doubts to an issue. Does the doctor mean any or all of these, when he speaks of some, who, in effeft, renounce what was done? Surely he should have ascertained his meaning a little more clearly, that we might not mistake him. And does the doctor think, that tho' he gives up the unfcriptural ceremonies practised by our established church, and the kirk of Scotland, that he can maintain his own? This he will find impossible. Besides, his own concessions arc so many and so strong, that he cannot evade them. 9 He hath 4now risen [up to] ple.id the in
* jured cause of God and virtue, against all the wretched 4 train of sophistry[which this infidel ivritcr hath laid together] 4 ami I will venture to say, that the arguments 4 and the distinctions, by which he confutes [him] shall
* be [his] own answer,' for which reason I shall bestow very little else upon him. He bespeaks his infidel thus:
* 4 As you take it for granted, in the whole of ycuf letter,
* that infant-baptism is a christian ordinance, you will al4 so allow me to mention it as a common principle, tho' 4 little of mvargument will depend upon its being so.'
Here the doctor is very willing to agree with the Infidel, in taking that for granted, which ought first to be proved, but there is a vast difference between them ; for the Infidel may be thought excusable enough in doing so, because, as he does not believe the scriptures to be of divine authority, he cannot be under so great obligation to examine them upon that point, as the doctor is. Moreover, as he forms his judgment of Christianity, and likewise of the
'Second Letter, p. 56. 1 First Letter, p. I J.
positive duties therein required, from what lie observes to be the belief and practice of Christians in general; how should he be supposed to think any otherwise about it? On the contrary, the doctor acknowledges, 1 4 That his business is with the law, and with the testimony, by which only the merits of this cause are to be tried, and therefore it is absolutely inexcusable in him to practise it, and yet evade the proof of it, as he does, by saying, 4 What reason * we have to conclude infant-baptism a rite of divine 4 institution, I shall not now enquire. It is enough if 4 I shew, that admitting it to be so, (which I really think 4 it is very reasonable that we should admit) it by no 4 means implies this absurd consequence.'
But to use the doctor's own words immediately before, / am very confident, thescripture teaches nothing of this kind; and it is by that, and not by the rubric of any f&rticuia* church, whctbtr Popish orProttstant, that the nur itS cf this cause are to be tried, and t here sure i r we do admit it vriitiout any proof ixv.u theace, notwithstanding adult-baptism alone is so \uy plains and clearly, taught there; so these very absurd, ajjd molt pernicious consequences must necessarily ai tse ;rom it, namely, that the laws of Christ in this institution arc not much to be regarded; that the wisest and belt dispensation, which was ever given to men by the greatest law-giver, that ever appeared, -ana was sent from God, is so very desective, that the impersections thereof are forced to be supplied, according as the various fancies of men shall iiictaie, or suggest: notwithstanding one of the most eminent ambassadors of Christ could, in a solemn manner, appeal to (jod, that he had not Jhunned to declare unto his church all the counsel of God; and kept back nothing that was profitable unto them. Atts xx. 20—27; and hath warned us, in the strongest terms, not to admit any other gospel than that which he had preached, even tho' it mould be brought by himself, or by an angel from heaven, upon pain of the severest anathema, Galat. i. 6—9.
It may indeed be very reasonable for the doctor, with all such as practise it, to admit it, because otherwise their own consciences must condemn them, as much as their own words, and concessions do: but what is this to them, who absolutely deny, there is any reason to conclude, that infant-baptism is a rite of divine inilitution; on the contrary, arc well persuaded that there is all the reason in
J Third Letter, p. 10.
the world to conclude, it is not? And what will the doctor's admitting it in this manner, signify to an Infidel, who must thereby see it is a mere begging the question; and only taking that for granted, which ought first to be clearly proved from that very rule, by which Christians pretend to walk, and to be guided in all matters of religion. This the doctor never attempts, for in all his letters, where he occasionally mentions it, he takes it fcr granted, as I have already shewn in some, and might add more instances.The dodtor imagines indeed, that4 other ends
• might be answered by it, valuable enough to justify the wisdom
* os the ordinance;' but let it be considered, as the christian rule assures us, i Cor. i. ii. iii.That God will destroy the wisdom os the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wife? where is the scribe? where is the difputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom os this world? Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weaknejs of God is stronger than men. For ye fee your calling, brethren, how that not many wife men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wife; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the mighty; and the base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not [esteemed ] to bring to nought things that are; that no fefh should glory in his presence. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power os God. Not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacoeth, but which the Holy Ghost teachetb; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. Whereby St. Paul according to the grace of God given unto him, as a wife master builder, laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For otherfoundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which ts Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, stiver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: every mans work shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by sire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what fort it is. If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall /> • burnt, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so, as by fire. Let no man deceive hims elf: If any man am. <g you feemetb to be wife in this
.world, world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wi/dom of this world is foolishness with God: for it is written, he taketh the wife in their own craftiness. And again, the Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wife, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. I Cor. i. ig. to ch. iii. 21. I shall leave the application of these scriptures to the doctor, because, with a long train of mays and may be's, he fays, 4 other ends might be answered by it, 4 valuable enough to justify the wisdom of the ordinance: 4 As for instance, hereby parents may give a public token 4 of their faith in Christianity, and their consequent de4 sire that their children may partake of its benefits, and 4 answer its demands: hereby they may solemnly declare 4 their resolution to train them up in the institutions of 4 our blest'ed master, and their resignation of them to the 4 disposal of divine providence, if God should see fit ear4 ly to remove them: This also may remain, throughou 4 all generations, as a memorial of the tenderness which 4 our Lord shewed to little children, and of the perpetuity *- of that covenant, the efficacy of which reaches from 4 one generation to another: and to add no more, it may 4 lay a foundation for affectionate addresses to the children 4 afterwards, as being already listed under the banners of 4 Christ, so far as they could be listed by the act of another; 4 so that they must either confirm, or, in effect at least, 4 renounce what was then done.'
But how should they renounce that, in which they never engaged themselves? As they never consented to the act, can they be at all bound by it? Besides, the practice of these things, which are no where appointed, or required in the word of God, but are only the fancies and contrivances of men, mere human traditions, are attended with this ill effect, that the commandments of God are thereby made void, Matt. xv. 2—9. Mark vii. 2—9. By these thousands of sincere Christians are kept from submitting to Christ's own institution of baptism, to which they would otherwise have yielded themselves, in the uprightness of their hearts; if their minds had not been forestalled with this error, their judgments milled, and their obedience hereby prevented. This is the great, I must not fay valuable, end, which is answered by infant-baptism; and in this they, who practise it, have no just cause to glory, as this wily Infidel has now shewn them. And therefore, without entering into a more particular discussion of the doctor's valuable ends, 4 I must' in bis ownwords upon another point, 4take leave to premise
I 4 one