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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Edward T. Hiscox
From The Baptist Short Method, 1868
The baptism of unconverted children, and unconscious infants, has become common through the Christian world. The Romish Church, the Greek Church, and most of the Protestant churches, practice it. Yet Baptists condemn it as unscriptural, unreasonable, and injurious. They believe that repentance and faith should always precede baptism and that whenever one exercises these, whether old or young, then he should be admitted to the holy ordinance of baptism, but never till he has believed. Infants, incapable of faith, are unfit for baptism.
Baptists make the following assertions respecting this practice:
1. That there is neither precept nor example found in the New Testament to authorize or sanction infant baptism. Nor indeed is there even an allusion to it in the Scriptures — very naturally because it did not exist.
2. That Christ did not command it, nor did either the apostles nor early Christians practice it.
3. That it arose with, and was a part of, the early corruptions of the Christian churches in after ages.
4. That the practice is presumptuous and censurable on the part of parents, sponsors, and administrators; and productive of evil, both to the child that receives it, and to the church that allows it.
If these statements be correct, how can the custom be maintained by intelligent Christians?
NOT OF SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY
Nearly all the advocates and defenders of infant baptism have, with considerable candor, admitted that it was not instituted by Christ, nor practiced by the apostles or their immediate successors.
DR. WALL, of the English Church, who wrote the History of Infant Baptism, a work so able, that the assembled clergy, in convocation, gave him a vote of thanks for his learned and able defence of this custom, says: "Among all the persons that are recorded as baptized by the apostles, there is no express mention of any infants." (Hist. Inf. Bap., Introd., pp. 1, 55)
FULLER says: "We do freely confess there is neither express precept nor precedent in the New Testament for the baptizing of infants." (Infants' Advoc., pp. 71, 150)
BP. BURNETT says: "There is no express precept or rule given in the New Testament for the baptism of infants." (Expos. 39 Articles, 27 Art)
BAXTER says: "I conclude that all examples of baptism in Scripture do mention only the administration of it to the professors of saving faith; and the precepts give us no other direction."(Disput. of Right to Sacra., p. 156)
LUTHER says: "It cannot be proved by the sacred Scriptures, that infant baptism was instituted by Christ, or begun by the first Christians after the apostles." (Vanity Inf. Bap., part 2, p. 8. See Booth's Pedo. Er., part 2, Ch. i)
DR. GOODWIN says: "Baptism supposeth regeneration sure in itself, first. Sacraments are never administered for to begin, or to work grace; you suppose children to believe before you baptize them. Read all the Acts, still it is said, “They believed, and were baptized." (Works, vol. i., part 1, p. 200)
CELARIUS says: "Infant baptism is neither commanded in the sacred Scriptures, nor is it confirmed by apostolic examples." (Shyn. Hist. Mennon., p. 168)
LIMBOROH says: "There is no instance can be produced from which it may indisputably be inferred that any child was baptized by the apostles. (Com. Syst. Divin., B. 5. Ch. xxii., sec. 2)
DR. FIELD says: "The baptism of infants is therefore named a tradition, because it is not expressly delivered in Scripture that the apostles did baptize infants; nor any express precept there found that they should do so." (On the Church, p. 375)
NEANDER says: "Baptism was administered at first only to adults, as men were accustomed to conceive of baptism and faith, as strictly connected. We have all reason for not deriving infant baptism from apostolic institution." (Ch. Hist., vol. i., p. 311. Torrey's Trans. Also, Plant. and Train., vol. i., p 222)
OLSHAUSEN says: "We cannot in truth find anywhere a reliable proof-text in favor of infant baptism." (Comment. Acts 15:14, 15)
HAHN says: "Neither in the Scriptures, nor during the first hundred and fifty years, is a sure example of infant baptism to be found." (Theology, p. 556)
ROBERT BARCLAY says: "As to the baptism of infants, it is a mere human tradition, for which neither precept nor practice is to be found in all the Scriptures." (Apology, Prop. 12)
WILLIAM PENN says: There is "not one text of Scripture to prove that sprinkling in the face was the water baptism, or that children were the subjects of water baptism in the first times." (Def. of Gospel Truths, p. 82)
PROF. LANGE says: "All attempts to make out infant baptism from the New Testament fail. It is totally opposed to the spirit of the apostolic age, and to the fundamental principles of the New Testament." (Inf. Bap., p. 101. Dune. Hist. Bap., p. 224)
HAGENBACH says: "The passages from Scripture cited in favor of infant baptism as a usage of the primitive church, are doubtful, and prove nothing." (Hist. Doct., pp. 190-193)
PROF. JACOBI says: "Infant baptism was established neither by Christ nor by the apostles." (Art. Bap., Kitto's Cycl. Bib. Lit.)
Dr. HANNA says:" Scripture knows nothing of the baptism of infants." (North Brit. Review, Aug. 1852)
A great number more from the ranks of Pedobaptist scholars and divines have borne similar testimony, which could be cited to the same effect. But, on this specific point, let these suffice.
RISE OF INFANT BAPTISM
If the baptism of children was not appointed by Christ, nor practiced by his apostles, what was its origin, and when did it come into use?
TERTIILLIAN is the first who mentions the custom, and he earnestly opposes it. This was at the close of the second century, or about A.D. 200. His opposition to it proves two things. First, that it was in occasional use at least; and second, that it was of recent origin. For it must have been in use to be mentioned at all, and if it had long been in use, it would have been earlier alluded to.
BINGHAM could find no earlier allusion to it than this of Tertullian, though he believed it to have previously existed. Had there been any earlier historic record, he would have found it. It must, therefore, as is generally agreed, have arisen about the beginning of the third century.
VENEMA says: "Nothing can be affirmed with certainty concerning the custom of the church before Tertullian; seeing there is not anywhere in more ancient writers that I know of undoubted mention of infant baptism." (Eccl. Hist., vol. iii., ch. ii., secs. 108, 109)
CURCELLAEUS says: "The baptism of infants in the two first centuries after Christ, was altogether unknown, but in the third and fourth, was allowed by some few. In the fifth and following ages it was generally received." (Inst. Christ. Relig., B. 1, Ch. xii)
HIPPOLYTUS, bishop of Pontus, writing in the first half of the third century, bears this testimony: "We in our days never defended the baptism of children, which in our day had only begun to be practiced in some regions." (Hippolytus and his Age, vol. i., p. 184. See Duncan's Hist. Bap., p. 115.—Curtis' Prog. Bap. Principles, p. 101)
BUNSEN, the learned translator of Hippolytus, declares that infant baptism in the modern sense "was utterly unknown to the early church, not only down to the end of the second, but indeed to the middle of the third century." (Hipp. and his Age, vol. iii., p. 180. See Curtis' Prog. Bap. Prin., p. 101)
SALMASIUS says: "In the two first centuries no one was baptized, except, being instructed in the faith and acquainted with the doctrines of Christ, he was able to profess himself a believer." (Hist. Bap. Suiceri Thesaur., vol. ii., p. 1136)
CURCELLAEUS says: "The custom of baptizing infants did not begin till the third age after Christ was born. In the former ages no trace of it appears, and it was introduced without the command of Christ." (Dissert. de Pecc. Orig. Dis. 2, sec. 56)
Such testimony is quite conclusive. Infant baptism was unknown in the churches until the first part of the third century after Christ. Had it existed before, some trace of, or allusion to it, would have been discovered. But the most labored and learned research has failed to make any such discovery.
It should be added that when the baptism of children did begin to be practiced, it was not the baptism of unconscious infants at all, but as Bunsen declares, of "little growing children, from six to ten years old." He declares that Tertullian, in his opposition to infant baptism, does not say one word of newborn infants."
CYPRIAN, an African bishop, at the close of the third century, urged the baptism of infants proper because of the regenerating efficacy of the ordinance. He and his associates were the first to take this ground. (Hippol. and his Age, vol. iii., pp. 192-5. See Curtis' Prog. Bap. Prin., p. 125.
FROM WHAT CAUSE DID IT RISE?
From what cause did infant baptism rise? That question is not difficult to answer.
It is well known that at a very early period the notion began to prevail, that the ordinances possessed some special virtue. It was believed that baptism had a sanctifying, saving power that in it sins were washed away, and the soul by it was fitted for heaven. Thus the sick were thought to be prepared for death, and salvation secured, or made more certain, by its efficacy. Anxious parents, therefore, desired their dying children to receive baptism, to secure them against the perils of perdition. Such was the error of a superstitious age. Hence arose infant baptism as one of the many perversions which early corrupted the doctrines and ordinances of Christianity.
VITRINGA says: "The ancient church, from the highest antiquity, after the apostolic times, appears generally to have thought that baptism is absolutely necessary for all that would be saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. It was, therefore, customary in the ancient church, if infants were greatly afflicted, and in danger of death, or if parents were affected with a singular concern about the salvation of their children, to present their infants or children in their minority to the bishop to be baptized." (Observ. Sacr., vol. i., B. 2., ch. iv., sec. 9)
SALMASIUS says: "An opinion prevailed that no one could be saved without being baptized, and for that reason the custom arose of baptizing infants." (Epist. Jus. Pac. See Booth's Pedo. Ex., Ch. iii., sec. 3)
VENEMA says: "The ancients connected a regenerating power and a communication of the Spirit with baptism." This writer asserts that the early Fathers believed baptism to possess a saving efficacy, and cites Justin Martyr, Tremens, Clemens, Tertullian, and Cyprian, as of that opinion; the last named of whom has been called the inventor of infant baptism. (Eccl. Hist., vol. iv., p. 3, secs. 2, 3, 4. See Booth's Pedo. Ex.
CHRYSOSTOM, writing about A.D. 398, as cited by Suicerus, says: "It is impossible without baptism to obtain the kingdom. It is impossible to be saved without it." And as cited by Wall, he says: "If sudden death seize us before we are baptized, though we have a thousand good qualities, there is nothing to be expected but hell.” (Suicer. Thesau. EccI., vol. i., p. 3)
WADDINGTON, in his Church History, declares touching the opinions of the third century: "The original simplicity of the office of baptism had already undergone some corruption. The symbol had been gradually exalted at the expense of the thing signified; and the spirit of the ceremony was beginning to be lost in the form. Hence a belief was gaining ground among the converts, and was inculcated among the heathen that the act of baptism gave remission of all sins committed previously." (Hist. of the Church, Ch. ii., p. 53)
Thus we discern plainly why, as well as when, this custom arose. An invention of men, based on a perversion of Scripture doctrine, it is now boldly claimed to be an ordinance of God. How can honest and pious men make such a claim?
We are reminded of the words of the pious CHARNOCK: "The wisdom of God is affronted and invaded by introducing rules and modes of worship different from divine institution." And we will venture to ask, with the devout BAXTER, though both had reference to other subjects: "What man dare go in a way which hath neither precept nor example to warrant it, from a way that hath full current of both."
We have already seen that the baptism of infants, with that of the sick and the dying, originated in a belief of the saving efficacy of the ordinance. Thus the unscriptural device of infant baptism grew out of the false dogma of baptismal regeneration. A dogma as pernicious as possible, and as repugnant to common sense, as it is to the Bible, but one to which the advocates of pedobaptism have ever clung.
EPISCOPIUS asserts that the Milevitan Council, A.D. 418, declared pedobaptism to be a necessary rite. (Theol. Inst., B. 4, Ch. xiv)
DR. WALL says: "If we except Tertullian, Vicentius, A.D. 419, is the first man on record that ever said that children might be saved without baptism." (Hist. Inf. Bap., p. 1., Ch. xx., p. 232)
HAGENBACH says: "The Church of England taught the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, yet with cautions." He cites Jewel, Jackson, Hooker, Taylor, Pearson, and Waterland, to justify the assertion, which the baptismal service of that church plainly proves. (Hist. Doctrines, vol. ii., p. 366)
The words of our Saviour, "Verily, verily, I say unto you; except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," (John 3:5) were almost universally applied to baptism, and supposed to teach that there was no salvation without it.
WALL declares that, "from Justin Martyr down to St. Austin," this text was so understood. "Neither did I ever see it otherwise applied in any ancient author." And he adds, "I believe Calvin was the first man that ever denied this place to mean baptism." (Hist. Inf. Bap., p. 2, Ch. vi., p. 354)
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH held to baptismal regeneration, and in the Council of Trent thus declared it: "If any one shall say that baptism is not necessary to salvation, let him be accursed." (Cat. Coun. Trent, p. 165, 175)
THE GREEK CHURCH holds the same dogma. Cyril, patriarch of Constantinople, and declares: "that both original and actual sins are forgiven to those who are baptized in the manner which our Lord requires in the gospel." (Confes. Ch. Faith, Ch. xvi. 1631)
STAPTERUS says: They hold the absolute necessity of baptism, and that, "without it, no one can become a real Christian, and that it cannot be omitted in respect to infants without endangering their salvation." (Theol., vol. v., p. 82)
THE PROTESTANT CHURCHES generally have held, and to a degree do still hold, the same unscriptural dogma. Booth cites the following Protestant confessions, which embrace it: the Confession of Helvetia, that of Bohemia, of Augsburg, of Saxony, of Wittemburg, of Sueveland, of the Church of England, and of the Westminster Assembly. (Pedobap. Ex., ch. iii., Ref. 3)
A large number of Pedobaptist divines and scholars are cited by the same author, as holding this doctrine, including Luther, Gerhardus, Vossius, Deylingius, Fiddes, Whitby, Wilson, Scott, John Wesley, and Matthew Henry. (Ibid.)
Do its advocates and defenders now take the same ground, and make the same claim for the saving efficacy of baptism? If not, on what ground, and for what reason do they maintain and defend the baptism of infants? Have they any reason for it, only that they have been accustomed to it, and taught to believe it right.
REASONS FOR INFANT BAPTISM
1. Some good and honest people verily believe that infant baptism is taught in the Bible. Certainly they have not examined for themselves. A very little effort will show how utterly without foundation is such a supposition, and that neither precept nor example, intimation nor allusion, is found in the New Testament, to authorize or sanction it. Read the sacred record through from beginning to end: and nothing of the kind appears.
2. Its antiquity commends it to many. It has been a long while in vogue, and very generally practiced by the various branches of Christendom. We have seen when and why it arose, and how long and how generally it has been in use. But does that prove it right? Is a usage necessarily good and true because it is old? Then we should adopt and practice many absurd superstitions of the early corrupted churches; such as the worship of images, invocation of the saints, prayers to the Virgin, oblations for the dead, consecration of baptismal waters, and many others; not a few of which came into use about the same time as this ; and some of which are even older.
Not what is old, but what is true, should be our rule; not what antiquity, but what the Bible teaches, should we obey. Not tradition, but as Chillingworth declares, "the Bible only,” is true religion. We should say, as said Basil, "It is a manifest mistake in regard to faith, and a clear evidence of pride, either to reject any of those things which the Scripture contains, or to introduce anything that is not written in the sacred pages."
3. Others acknowledge that while there is no positive command or authoritative example for infant baptism in the New Testament, yet the general principles on which it rests are there found; the fundamental truths are there taught, from which this custom may be inferred. This is a strange mode of reasoning. For if we may, by remote deduction and vague inference, originate ceremonies, call them gospel ordinances, and impose them on the consciences of men, then the whole Jewish ceremonial, and the entire ritual service of the Papal Church, may be adopted and used and taught as of divine authority and binding on believers.
But what a reflection is this on the wisdom and goodness of God that he should have left positive institutions, designed for universal observance in his churches, to be vaguely inferred from supposed general principles, rather than to have been plainly and explicitly taught in his word. Such reasoning will not serve in matters of religion. Let this maxim of Tertullian have its due weight, especially as applied to religious rites: "The Scripture forbids what it does not mention." And with Ambrose we may ask, "Where the Scripture is silent, who shall speak?"
4. Some suppose that the household baptisms mentioned in the New Testament must have included infants, and hence constitute a warrant for baptism. Here again is mere inference, a foundation quite insufficient for positive institutions to rest upon. It is inferred that these households had infant children in them, and that such infant children were baptized, both of which are wholly gratuitous. There are probably few Baptist churches in the world of any considerable standing and history that have not one or more entire households in their communion, each member of which was baptized on a profession of faith.
The case of Lydia and her household, baptized at Philippi, and mentioned in Acts 16, is especially relied on. Now observe: Lydia was a merchant woman, "a seller of purple, "from "the city of Thyatira," and was at Philippi, about three hundred miles from her home on business when she heard Paul preach, was converted, and then "she was baptized, and her household." There is not the least evidence that she had either husband or children. If she had a husband, why was she so far from home on business? If she had infant children, they would not likely have been with her on such a journey, for such an object. Her "household," doubtless, were adults, either members of her family, or persons employed in service such as her business required. The most reckless sophism alone could build infant baptism on a case like this. A poor cause it must be, that relies for the defense of a permanent religious ordinance on such evidence.
Dr. NEANDER says: "We cannot prove that the apostles ordained infant baptism: from those places where the baptism of a whole family is mentioned, we can draw no such conclusion." (Planting and Training, p. 162, NY ed. 1865)
PROF. JACOBI says, with reference to these household baptisms "In none of these instances has it been proved that there were little children among them." (Kitto's Bib. Cyclo., Art. Bap.)
DR. MEYER, in his commentary, says: "That the baptism of children was not in use at that time, appears evident from 1 Cor. 7:14. (Comment., Acts 16:15)
DR. DE WETTE, in his Exposition, says of Lydia's baptism: "This passage has been adduced in proof of the apostolical authority of infant baptism, but there is no proof here that any except adults were baptized." (Comm. N. T., Acts 16:15)
DR. OLSHAUSEN says: "Baptism ensued in this case, without doubt, merely upon a profession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah. But for that very reason it is highly improbable that her house should be understood as including infant children." And he adds: "There is altogether wanting any conclusive prooftext for the baptism of children in the age of the apostles." (Comm. N. T., Acts 16:14, 15. Kendrick's Trans.)
Most manifestly, all of her household, whoever they were, or whatever their age, believed—as she herself did—before they were baptized; of this opinion also were Whitby, Lawson, the Assembly of Divines, and other Pedobaptist authorities.
The case of the Philippian jailer, and his household, mentioned also in Acts 16, is another often referred to by the advocates of this rite. Now, observe that Paul and Silas being released from their confinement, spake the word of the Lord to the jailer, "and to all that were in his house." Whether adults or infants, the gospel was preached to them. And the jailer "was baptized, he and all his, straightway." Then, "he rejoiced, believing in God, with all his house." Observe the jailer's family was baptized; but first, they listened to the Word; then they believed in God; and then they rejoiced in their new-found hope.
Such a record could never have been made of unconscious infants. Not a word is said of children; there is not even the most remote allusion to them. But the language most conclusively implies that those who were baptized were those who did believe and did rejoice. So that, whether the persons were old or young, it must have been believers' baptism.
BLOOMFIELD says: "It is taken for granted that his family became Christians, as well as himself." (Comm. on Acts 16:31)
Such is the faith of Baptists, and such the command of Christ: "Believe and be baptized." Calvin, Doddridge, Henry, and other Pedobaptists, declare that in this case they all believed, and, therefore, they were baptized, and did rejoice.
The household of Stephanas, baptized by Paul, and by him mentioned in 1 Cor. 1, is also quoted in support of this baptismal theory. Paul says: "And I baptized also the household of Stephanas."It is inferred here, in like manner, that because a household was baptized, therefore, that household had infants in it, incapable of faith, and they too were baptized. How entirely gratuitous is such an inference, and how utterly without foundation must be a theory based on such an assumption. If there were children, why not somewhere some mention of them? Households are constantly being baptized, and admitted to the fellowship of Baptist churches, but without infant baptism. Doddridge, Guise, Hammond, Macknight, and others, regard this case as giving no countenance to the custom of baptizing infants.
Of this very family of Stephanas, Paul, in the sixteenth chapter asserts, were "the first fruits of Achaia;" and he adds: "they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints." This sounds, not as if said respecting infants, but as describing the Christian activities of adult believers. And such beyond all question were the household of Stephanas.
5. Again, some have claimed that baptism came in the place of circumcision. Hence it is inferred—only inferred—that as all the male Jewish children were circumcised, so all Christian children, both male and female, should be baptized. What the connection is between the two would require a sage to discover. Reasoning becomes unreliable when facts are perverted, resemblances forced, and unfounded assumptions accepted as arguments to sustain a theory supported neither by facts nor authoritative teachings. Baptism did not come in place of circumcision, has no connection with it, and no reference whatever to it. For consider these things:
a If baptism, a Christian ordinance, was designed to take the place of circumcision, a Mosaic rite, would not Christ so have stated, or the apostles have mentioned the fact? But they never alluded to any such design.
b. Circumcision applied only to males. If baptism takes its place, why are females baptized?
c. Circumcision was an external sign of an external union with a national congregation, to secure the separation of the Jewish people from all other nations and races, and their unity as a nation. Baptism is an external sign of an inward and spiritual work of grace, already wrought in the heart; and indicates, not the separation of races, but the unity of the true people of God, of all races as believers in Christ, without distinction of blood or tongue.
d. If baptism did take the place of circumcision, evidently the apostles did not know it; else they would have made some mention of it, either in the council at Jerusalem, or in epistles written for the guidance of the churches, or on other occasions, when both these subjects were discussed, and directions given respecting them. But no allusion is anywhere made to any such substitution.
e. Jewish Christians did not understand that baptism had taken the place of circumcision; otherwise, they would not have insisted that converts to the Christian faith should receive both these rites. Indeed the whole attempt to found a Christian ordinance on a Jewish ceremony is unreasonable and absurd.
OBJECTIONS TO INFANT BAPTISM
1. Its assumptions are false. It claims to be a gospel ordinance, when it is an invention of men. Christ did not appoint it; the apostles did not practice it; the Scriptures do not sanction it. This is sufficient reason why it should not be held as a Christian rite.
2. It impugns divine wisdom, and insults the divine authority because it claims to be needful, or useful in the church, though Christ, by not appointing it when he instituted the church, virtually decided it to be neither needful nor useful. And also by binding this service on the consciences of Christian parents, as of religious obligation, when God has not commanded it, there is an unwarrantable assumption of authority, and a grievous wrong is committed. Divine wisdom knew best what positive institutions to ordain, and what positive commands to lay upon the people.
3. It deprives Christian converts of the pleasure and privilege of believers' baptism. For having received the rite in their unconscious infancy, without their knowledge or consent, when in after years they become regenerate and truly united to Christ, they cannot go forward in the voluntary discharge of this duty, and be baptized on a confession of their faith, without discrediting and rejecting their earlier baptism.
4. Because it appears like a solemn mockery, for parents and sponsors, to become sureties for the child about to be baptized, and declare for it, that they believe in God's holy Word, and the articles of the Christian faith, as contained in the Apostles' Creed; that they will renounce the vain pomp of the world, the devil and all his works, with all covetous and sinful desires of the flesh.
5. Because it requires the officiating minister to declare what is false in the very performance of what should be a most sacred service. He declares what is false when he says: "I baptize thee;" since he rantizes, or sprinkles, and does not baptize at all. Still more, and if possible more recklessly, when he asserts that in this act the child, "is regenerate, and grafted into the body of Christ's church;" and also when in prayer he thanks God, "that it hath pleased thee to regenerate this infant, with thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for thine own child by adoption; and to incorporate him into thy holy church." This is solemnly declared, when no such thing is done, and when the minister who says it, and all who hear it said, know that no such thing is done:—unless indeed, they do, in their hearts, believe in baptismal regeneration. But the child is not regenerate, nor adopted of God, nor incorporated into the church of Christ by this act. The service falsifies the facts.
6. But, and perhaps worst of all, infant baptism teaches still, to a certain extent, baptismal regeneration; of which false and dangerous dogma this rite was born. It is more than a false statement —it is a pernicious and destructive error to teach, or allow the notion, that a few drops of water on the face with any form of words, no matter what, can make that child regenerate, a child of God by adoption, and a member of Christ's church. If the child when grown believes all this,--and why may he not believe it, if thus solemnly taught by parents and minister? He believes himself a child of God and an heir of heaven, sealed and sanctified by the Spirit, and in the narrow way of life, while blind to the fact that he is still unregenerate, in the gall of bitterness, a child of sin, an heir of wrath, and in the broad road to death. Such perversions, —such blind leadings of the blind,—are too serious, and too sad, to be countenanced by Christian men or Christian churches.
7. Infant baptism, in some sense,—though its advocates are not agreed in what sense,—makes the child a church member, and thus introduces an unsanctified, unregenerate membership into the nominal body of Christ, making that body carnal instead of keeping it spiritual, thus destroying the distinction which the Founder of the church designed should be maintained between it, and the world. For even if the infant, as such, is not a member, yet when grown to maturity he is admitted to full membership, with no other demand for, or evidence of, regeneration. The purely spiritual character of the church is thereby destroyed, and like other associations, the spiritual and the carnal indifferently make up its communion.
The words of Prof. Lange are weighty, and, should be pondered by Protestant defenders of this Papal emanation: "Would the Protestant Churches fulfill and attain to their final destiny, the baptism of new-born children must of necessity be abolished. It has sunk down to a mere formality, without any meaning for the child." (Hist. Protestantism, p. 34)
There may be other objections to this practice, but these are sufficient, it would seem, to deter any candid and conscientious Christian, who takes the Bible for his guide from giving it any countenance or support.