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« be a blind and foolish obstinacy to a present notion, a dis4 avowing all future use of reason for our security. . . . He 4 declares, that that person best enjoys the true and genuine 4 faith, who never ajked himself one single question about it,

* and never dealt at all in the evidence of reajon And

4 tho' he observes, that we are ordered to be taught the 1 faith in our childhood, yet he expressly affirms, that faith 4 and religion can never be a thing that is to be taught, and

* that it mufl needs be something that dots not require time to 4 attain.' 4 1 That the christian faith cannot be a rational

* thing, [because] that we are ordered to be baptized into

* it. This he represents as the known original of faith, the

* great root whence all our religious impressions notoriously 4 spring, and that, by the baptismal ceremony, men com

* mence true believers at once: And this, even whilst they

* have not the least share or symptom os understanding. He 4 seems to lay great stress upon this, and returns to it in

* several parts of his pamphlet.'

This, I think, is all, except one line, that the doctor hath any where cited from this author's objection about infant-baptism; whether because it appeared to him too difficult to answer it, and vindicate the practice therein exposed, or from an unwillingness in express terms to give it up and disavow it, I shall not pretend to say. For, as to what he fays about the education of children, I take that to be no plea at all for infant-baptism; since the children of those, who oppose that practice, may have the same advantage of a christian education. Besides which, they are in no danger of having their minds prejudiced against the truth by such human traditions, to which the others are exposed, and is the true reason, why many sincere persons are kept from yielding a personal and voluntary obedience to Christ in his own appointed way. However, this is sufficient to shew, that if the practice of our Pædobaptist brethren be not a stumbling block in the way of Infidels; yet it certainly gives them a very great handle to expose, and is now made the occasion of their sneering at and deriding, Christianity, as if infant-sprinkling was really a part of it, and contained in the New Testament: tho' as the doctor expresses himself,

*4 Nothing can be more contrary to plain and undeni4 able fact, more contradictory in all its parts, and more 4 evidently subversive of itself, than the scheme here ad

* vanced

1 Ibid. p. 28. * Second Letter, p. 55.

4 vanced by this writer. I am sensible this GentlemaO

* will be ready to sneer at the charge. For undoubtedly 4 he does not intend that the world mould look upon it as

* a thing which he himself believes. It is the true scrip4 tural and revealed account of the matter, and the scrip

* ture alone must answer for it. And therefore the more

* contradictions are proved upon this scheme, the better

* it will answer his design, which is to expose Christianity

* to the derision and contempt of mankind.' And elsewhere,

J 4 I do not think there can be a more complete scheme

* of absurdity and enthusiasm, than what this Gentleman

* here puts upon us for the true scripture account of faith,

* and of the spirit, and of the nature of gospel-evidence;

* which he undoubtedly intends for exposing the sacred

* writings.' * 4 But if it be made appear, that this is all 4 gross misrepresentation; that the account he is pleased to

* give us [of baptism] is as contrary to scripture, as it is to

* reason and common sense, then the contradictions and

* absurdities are to be charged upon the author himself,' [or upon those churches, whose corrupt practices furnish him with so jujl an occasion for it, and they are] 4 justly 4 accountable for them. And this attempt of his must

* only pass for a proof of his readiness to take any methods, 4 how unfair and disingenuous soever, to expose the reli

* gion of Jesus.'

The doctor's reply to all his objection on the head of baptism, tho' not in direct and express words, is yet, in my judgment, a clear and manisest giving up their practice in this particular, as an unfcriptural thing; for he fays,

5 4 The strength of his argument here depends upon

* the sneering account he gives of the nature of baptism. 4 But there needs no more to (how the weakness and fal4 lacy of it, than to state the case of baptism according to 4 the gospel notion of it; in which alone Christianity is 4 concerned. At the first founding of the christian

* church, the first work was to bring persons over to the 4 faith of the gospel, by setting before them the evidence

* whereby it was confirmed; and then, when they were 4 once converted to the faith, they were, accoiding to

* the divine appointment, to be baptized, which was a

* solemn

J First Letter, pi 14: * Second Letter, p. 55. I First Letter, p. 29

* solemn taking upon them a prosession of the christian

* religion, and a bringing themselves under the most sa4 cred obligations to obey its laws. And there is nothing

* in this, but what is persectly consistent with faith's being

* founded-upon good and rational evidence; nor can so

* much as a shadow of an argument be brought from it

* to prove, that because persons were ordered to be bap

* tized after they believed, therefore they did not, or

* could not, use their reason Or intellectual faculty to lead 4 them into that belief.'

All this is every way agreeable to the practice of the Baptist churches at this day, but is not consistent with Pædobaptism. For this true Jlat'tng the case os baptism according to the gospel notion os it, in which alone the doctor affirms Christianity is concerned, is an absolute exclusion of every other way of proceeding in relation to that ordinance, as no part of Christianity: so that infant-sprinkling, by the doctor's consession, miist be an unchristian practice, because according to what he here gives us as the gospel notion os baptism, there cannot so much as a shadow of an argument be brought frame thence to prove it. And therefore I heartily wish, that our established church, and that of Scotland, may be herein reformed; and settled upon this true scripture plan according to the divine appointment, and thereby become proof against the attacks of Infidels.

But if the assertion of the kirk of Scotland, that the use os understanding, andfaith, is not requisite in all those that receive this sacrament; or if the last clause of the xxvii article of the church of England were true, that the baptism os young children is in any wife to be retained in the church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ: surely the doctor might have proved it from Christ's institution, and not have been forced to make use only of mere human suppositions, instead of plain scripture, for the vindication of his practice, and the best support of his own cause, as he does in what follows. 4 Our author is 4 sensible of this, and therefore he lays the stress of his 4 argument upon the baptism of infants, which he re

* presents in his own way. Let us therefore argue with 4 him upon the Supposition, that it was the will of

* God, that not only adult persons, who themselves em

* braced the christian saith, but that their children too

* should be baptized.'

Had

Had this been the will of God, certainly we should have met with it in his holy word; because the apostles did not shun to declare unto his church all the counsel of God, and kept back nothing that was profitable unto them. Acts xx. zo, 27. Besides, the order of the kirk of Scotland affirms, that * baptism, and the holy supper of the

* Lord Jesus are then rightly ministred when fur

4 ther to them is nothing added, from them nothing di4 minished, and in their practice nothing: changed besides

* the institution of the Lord Jesus, and practice of his 4 holy apostles And that such, as would presume to

* alter Christ's persect ordinance, ought severely tofepu

* nished:' and the xiv article of our established church says expressly, that 4 Voluntary works, besides, over and 4 above God's commandments .. . cannot be taught with4 out arrogancy and impiety :' both which may be understood, as a severe censure of the doctrine, and practice of infant-baptism, as well as of other things not commanded in scripture.

However the doctor proceeds thus: 4 And I cannot see

* how it follows from this, that therefore faith is not a 4 rational thing. For as to adult persons, their being 4 commanded to be baptized upon their believing does 4 not in the least prove that they did not embrace the 4 christian faith upon a rational conviction.' Had the churches of England and Scot/and restrained baptism to adult persons only, their ministers would never have been thus prelled by such objections; nor could infidels ever have suggested, as this writer has done, that their members did not embrace the christian faith upon a rational conviction: because their being commanded to be baptized upon their believing necessarily implies a rational conviction; which the doctor is here compelled to own, that infants have not, when he adds. * And as to infants, they have

* no faith at all; nor does their being baptized suppose 4 they have any. All that it supposes, is not that they do 4 themselves believe, but that they are the children of

* believers; and are by that sacred rite entered into the

* visible society of Christians, solemnly dedicated to God, 4 and commended to his grace and blessing by such as do

* themselves believe; and who solemnly undertake to see

* that they be carefully instructed in the principles of the

* christian faith, when they come to years capable of it, 4 and that they be trained up to a holy and a virtuous 4 practice.'

But

But must we account intents members of Christ's visible church, before they are believers? Of what use or credit can they, as such, be to any church? And from what authority could the doctor imbibe these scriptureless notions, but from the kirk of Scotland, and the Englijh directory ? The kirk, in her form of baptism, says,4 Neither

* is it requisite, that all those that receive this sacrament, 4 have the use of understanding and faith;' and the directory says, that 4 such children by baptism are solemn

* ly received into the bosom of the visible church; that 4 they are Christians, and sederally holy before baptism,

* and therefore are they baptized.' See my remarks hereon, p. 33, 35. From these last words one would have imagined, that our Englijh Presbyterians believed, that infants have faith; tho' I find the doctor does not understand them so, and yet seems implicitly to receive what goes before. But is it at all becoming a Protestant, or in the least worthy of a wise and learned minister, to rest upon such authorities as these? 1 am sure the authority of our established church is equally as good; and in her catechism baptism is said to signify an inward and spiritual grace in the person baptized, together with a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, as the fruits of repentance whereby they forsake fin; and os faith, whereby they sledsaslly believe the promises of God made to them in that sacrament. And her xxvii article fays, 4 Baptism is not

4 only a sign of prosession, but it is also a sign of

4 regeneration, or new birth, whereby, as by an instru

* ment, they that receive baptism rightly are grafted into 4 the church: the promises of the forgiveness of sin,

* and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy

* Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed: faith is confirmed, 4 and grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God.' And therefore the questions are asked, and the answers made in the infant's name. The prayers are put up for the infant in express words, and the minister fays, that the child is regenerate, and grafted into the body of Christ's church.

These things are abundantly more, than what the doctor fays is all that the baptism of infants supposes; in which he widely differs from our established church, whose sentiments are so entirely contrary to his assertion, that she supposes infants to be regenerated, that they have faith, and make prosession of it likewise; tho' indeed it is madeafter a very strange manner, and without the least evidence of

faith.

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