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I might, when illustrating the meaning of baptism, review thein to more advantage.
I deny that baptism has a respect to the blood of sprink. ling, but that it denotes the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the holy ghost, and is emblematical of the burial and resurrection of Christ, and of our death and bus rial with himn unto siv, and of our resurrection with him to a new life.
Thus saith the Apostle, Rom. 6, 4-6, 6 Buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together, in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." To the same effect speaks the Apostle in his Epistle to the Colossians, 2, 12, and Peter in his 1st Epistle 3, 21. The like figure whereunto (viz. Noah's being saved in the Ark) even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting off of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In all the Apostolic expositions we have of the doctrinal import of baptism, there is notone, that in the least favors Mr. W's. representation of it. But on the contrary its meaning is, that we are dead and buried with Christ, and must rise with him, which is figuratively called “the renewing of the Holy Ghost." Not one reference to the blood of sprinkling--that is another subject, and had and still has, a memorial and representation of it, namely, in the Lord's supper. I am again confirined in the belief that one ereprve always leads to another, and Mr. W. in maintaining his human tradition, is compelled to abandon the scripture import of baptism, and to substitute a conjecture of his own, to make his system hang together, this is what I most of all deplore in the error of infant sprinkling; that it misleads and bewilders those who receive it, in respect of the true meaning of the sacred institutions. Each of the Christian positive institutes, has a primary respect to some leading part of the Christian faith. Thus, the Lord's Day is conmemorative of the day of Christ's res. urrection-the Lord's Supper, of the breaking of his body, and the pouring out of his blood, to make atoneinent fur the sins of many, and to bring in a justifying righteousness, in behalf of the guilty. The ordinance of baptism, has respect to events subsequent to his death, namely, his burial and resurrection. So that the whole outlines of the
Christian faith, are exhibited, illustrated, and enforced, in the positive institutes of Christianity. But take Mr. W's view of it and what does it represent? That which other positive rites inculcate; It is a repetition without a meaning of that already exhibited in the Lord's supper.
I do not meao to say that the Lord's supper, in due form, exhibits the sprinkling of blood, but it exhibits that more fully, which the sprinkling of blood denoted, viz. the pardon of our sins, and the acceptance of our persons through the righteousness of Christ, « brought in" by the shedding of his blood and our joint participation of it denotes our joint interest in that blood, as much, yea, and more fully, than the sprinkling of the blood of ani. mals on the congregation of Israel denoted their joint interest in that typical blood.
When baptism is spoken of, in relation to the influ. ence of the Holy Spirit, it denotes the overwhelming influence of that Almighty agent, in consequence of which all the faculties of the human mind are imbued with it. Such always was the effect produced on the ininds of those who had, in the primitive age of Christianity, received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Hence « the renewing of the Holy Spirit," is a phrase that denotes the influence of the Holy Spirit, exerted on the whole soul of man; and implied a death unto sin, and a new life unto righteousness. But the Apostle illustrates this subject in the most clear and convincing manner, in those passages I have read from him. He shews it to be a spiritual discovery of the import of the death and resurrection of Christ, that produces this change upon the mind; and which leads the subject of this gracious work to submit to u be buried with Christ in baptism," " to be planted in the likeness of his death, that he may be in the likeness of his resurrection." The outward rite, then, must bear an analogy to the doctrine exhibited in and by it. Hence immersion in water, is a beautiful and striking representation of our faith in the death and burial of Christ; and our immerging out of it, a suitable emblem of his resurrection from the grave, and of our obligations to a new life: so that the sprinkling of a few drops of water has no analogy to the thing signified in baptism.
The meaning of the word baptise, as fully ascertained in the preceding disquisition the places where this rite wag administered in rivers, and where there was auch
water--the circumstances connected with the administer.. ing & receiving of it, such as their going down into, and their coming up out of, the water ; together with the doctrinal import of it, as respecting the burial and resurrection of Christ, all concur in demonstrating that immersion, and immersion only, is the baptism taught in the scriptures. So that the result of our whole investigation issues in this, that the immersion of believers, or of profese sed disciples, is the only baptism of divine appointment.
Thus, my friends, I have followed Mr. W. through all his meanderings, and at last I am safely moored in a secure haven. It would be culpable in me, if, from a false modesty, I should hesitate to avow my feelings on the close of this debate. The triumph of truth and argument over error and sophistry, is, to every upright mind, a source of present joy, and a pleasing prelude of that complete and universal victory, which truth shall ultimately achieve over all error and deceit: I have very lit. tle to ascribe to myself on this occasion. I ascribe the victory, this day obtained, to the goodness of my cause, and neither to my ingenuity por dexterity. My opponent manifested considerable ingenuity on certain occasions, and his complete failure is to be ascribed to the badness of his cause, not to his want of genius or expression.
I am sorry that I cannot compliment Mr. Findley, Mc. Walker's moderator, for his impartiality on this occasion. His partiality has been so manifest to you all, as to require no comment from me; I merely wish to let you: know that I am conscious of it, and that my not speaking of it sooner, was not from the want of perception, but to preserve that decorum in the course of the debate, which I considered comely, and from which I was determined not to be forced, even by treatment still more flagrant. I would rather have suffered still more unbecoming treatment, than to have transgressed the bounds of propriety, which I hope ever to prescribe to myself... I freely forgive him; attributing it to a misguided zeal, and hope you will also forgive him.
Mr. w. in his concluding remarks, observed, that he never argued with any person, who scemed more to feel the force of his remarks, than I did. What success he may have had heretofore, I know not, but I must confess te " force” of bis remarks at this time was casily felt.
and as easily repelled. The force which they may have in his own mind, I conceive is altogether factitious, and therefore it is confined to the regions of fancy, and cannot surmount the real obstacles, which reason must present to its progress. I came here under high assurances of the force that was to be exerted to convince and silence me; and if I had been very credulous, I might have hoped to be convinced of my errors, which are so unprofitable to me, in a pecuniary point of view; and to be so far converted from them, as to open the way to my union witli the respectable paido-baptists; but alas ! I must return to the "poor baptists,” and take up iny abode with them a while longer and this too, not for the want of a desire to be convinced of my errors, but for the want of the force of evidence, to even produce a suspicion that I was wrong; nay, verily, such has been the force of my opponent's reasoning, that I am more confirmed in the correctness of my views on this subject, and of the fallacy and deceptious tendency of all reasoning in support of the cause my opponent endeavors to maintain.
But, my friends, let une address a few remarks to you on the whole matter. You have heard, and patiently attended to this tedious debate. What are you now to do?-I will answer this question for you go home and read your Bibles-examine the testimonies of these holy oracles-judge for yourselves, and be not implicit followers of the clergy-amongst the clergy of different denominations I charitably think there are a few good men: but as a body of men they have taken away the key of knowledge from the people." And how, do you say? By teaching you to look up to them for instruction, as children to a father-by preventing you from judging for yourselves; through an impression that you are not competent to judge for yourselves. This is a prevailing opinion with many. Of what use, then, is the Bible to the bulk of mankind, if you are not to presume to examine it for yourselves or to think yourselves capaple of judging of it? This is to make you the dupes of haughty leaders who will cause you to err. To attempt directly or indirectly to dissuade you from thinking and examining for yourselves, by putting creeds already framed into your bands, or the works of men instead of the pure word, is, in my opinion, so far depriving you of the key of knowledge. I do not say that all the clergy are doing so, but I ain aware that a vast inajority of them are doing so.
Because I have taken this course which I recommend to you, I have been stigmatized with many opprobrious epi. thets. Sometimes, as being very changeable. Although, I have to this day undeviatingly pursued the same course, which I commenced nearly as soon as I was of age,
and have pow prosecuted it for almost ten years, viz. to teach, to believe, to practice nothing in religion, for which i cannot produce positive precept, or approved precedent, from the word of God. Assuming this principle, and pur, suing it, made me a baptist, and I continue to practice it unto this day. Because I say that all christianity is contained in the New Testament, as the Patriarchal and Jewish religion is contained in the Old, with many predictions of New Testament times; I say, because I maintain that the New Testament scriptures are a perfect, complete and perspicuous rule of faith and practice, as far as respects christianity: I am called an Antinomian, and am impeached with utterly throwing away the Old Testament scriptures. These, and many other insinuations as malicious and unfounded as these, have been suggested against me, which are as far from my sentiments and practice, as the east is distant from the west. These vile slanders may serve the cause of a party for a little while, but will ultimately fall upon the heads of the fabricators of them. If you then should think of judging for yourselves, and of following the dictates of the Divine word and your own consciences, enlightened by it, you must not think that any strange thing has happened unto you, if you should become the objects of reproach. But remember “the triumph of the wicked is short.”—“ And if ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye.”
I have now accepted the invitation or challenge of the Seceders, and having now fully satisfied their most eager desires for an interview of this kind, I conceive it is my time to give an invitation or challenge to any pedo-baptist minister; and to return the compliment with the utmost ceremoniousness, I this day publish to all present, that I feel disposed to meet any pedo-baptist minister of any denomination, of good standing in his party, and I engage to prove in a debate with him, either viva voce, or with the pen, that Infant Sprinkling is a human tradition and injurious to the well being of society, religious aad political. I have to add, that I must have an equal vote is