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have appointed this, and we are supplying a defect in thy wisdom or goodness. Such is the spirit of every in novation in Divine worship.
20, It has carnalized and secularized the church more than any other innovation since the first defection in Christianity. The actual tendency of infant sprinkling, is to open the gates of the church as wide as the gates of the world, and to receive into its bosom all that is born of women. That this may appear as obvious as the light of the suo, the reader has only to reflect, that if the pedobaptist system prevailed, so that all the fathers and mothers in any country, or in all countries, were determined to have their infant offspring “ initiated into the church's as soon as born, by the rite of sprinkling, then, in that. country, or in all countries so acting, the discrimination between the world and the church would be lost; its gates would be as capacious as those of the world, and without the necessity of regeneration, every member of the human family in that region or country, would have a place in the church. About one hundred years ago, the whole kingdom of Scotland, with the exception of, say two or three thousand individuals, was one great pedobaptist society. In those days the church engrossed all that were born, and initiated them into its of course, all the enormities committed in the realm were commit. ted by members of the church 3.90 that none of the apos... tolic admonitions in which the difference betwixt the church and the world is pointed out, would apply to them.
In the year 1300, and for several centuries before, al the citizens of Germany, France, Spain, England, and indeed all the western Roman Empire, with the excepation of a few baptists, were initiated into, what was then called, the church, as soon as the parents could have the rite performed. In those days and while those principles prevailed, the church was secularized, the church and state completely amalgamated ; and all the follies. and vices of childhood, manhood, and old age, were engrafted upon the stock of Christianity. In those days perlo-baptist principles triumphed, and there never was a period, in which the church was so completely and universally carnalized and secularized. Let it not be said, that this was owing more to other traditions than to infant baptism or sprinkling; for when we grant that there were manyöther innovations and traditions besides this
we must insist that this contributed more than they all, to Introduce that awfully corrupt system called anti-christ; to nurture, tu mature, and to perfect it-It introduced all good and bad, into the church, and as bad men invented errors, and propagated heresies in the church, sve have only to ask how they got in, and then the true cause of the enormous mass of error of those days appears. It is a fact evident from church history, that the prevalence of corruption in the church, bore pace with the preva. lence of intant baptism, and the triumphant days of the one, were the triumphant days of the other.
The description we have of the church, in the sacred scriptures, leads us to consider all the members of it as " a peculiar people," as born from above, as being all taught of God. Hence we read a willing people in the day of thy power will come to thee," all thy children shall be taught of God, and great shall be the peace of thy children"-" Every one that hath heard, and hata learned of the Father, cometh unto me,"-" To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God; even to them that believe on his names which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, Dor of the will of man, but of God. Power or privilege to become the sons of God, was given to such only, as were born of God." How unlike this to the practice of pedo-baptists, who endeavor to crowd all into the church, which are born, not of God, but of the will of the flesh, and of the will of man. Again, when we read the descriptions given of the churches of the saints in the Epistles, they will not apply to a church that admits all the infants born of the members, to membership. The ma. jority of any such church, must be of a character essen. tially dissimilar to the following descriptions of the church of Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 6, 11- Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God." 2 Thess. 2¥3, 6 Brethren beloved of the Lord, God hath from the beginning, chosen you to salvation, through sanctifica, tion of the spirit, and belief of the truth." i Pet. 25, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ," 9th verse . But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people ; that ye should shew forth the praises of Tim, who bath called you out of darkness ipto his makin
vellous light : which in time past were not a people ; but are now the people of God; which had not obtained mer. cy, but now have obtained mercy.” These and a hundred other addresses to the Christian church are totally inapplicable to any pecu-baptist church, composed of a great many members incapable of distinguishing their right hand from the left. When the question is proposed., what has rendered pedo-baptist churches unworthy to be address: el in this way, the answer is--because they have received as members many, very many, that were merely children of the flesh, nay the nine tenths of all pedo-bapo tist churches became members by natural birth, and as the children of the flesh were constituted members. In. fant sprinkling has then carnalized and secularized the church, and hence all pedo-baptist sects have become na. tional churches, when they had it in their power ; for their views of the church are carnalized, as well as the members ; hence, papacy is the established religion of Italy, Spain, France, &c. Episcopacy, of England and Ireland, and Presbyterianism of Scotland. In the United States, the principles of civil policy being better an. derstood, than in any other country in the world, not
any form of religion has obtained the exclusive patronage of the State ; and may it continue so, till all sects shall be abolished, and all the children of God, united in faith, and hope, and love, shall know no bond of union but Christ; when party names, party love and party zeal, shalt all be buried in one common grave, to rise no more forever,
The second evil I have specified, being sufficiently stated and established, I proceed to mention a third evil resulting from, and inseparably connected with infant sprinkling--viz.
3. Infant sprinkling imposes a religion upon the subjects of it, before they are aware of it, and thus deprives them of exercising the liberty of con science in choosing that which they have examined, and in refusing that which they disapprove. It is despor tism of the worst kind, to impose upon the conscience. It is the most despotic act, in the life of the greatest despot, to impose a religion upon his new born infant bee fore it is aware ; and, as soon as it can reason, to tell it, that it vowed so and so in baptism, and that it would be a sin, of the deepest dye, if it should not, as soon as possible, attend to the things that it vowed. This is to fetter the exercise of reason, to rivet on the conscience a super
stition of the worst kind, and as far as the parent can, for', ever deprive it of any thing worthy to be called liberty of conscience. Hence it is, that all pedo-baptist sects increase more by natural generation, than by any other means. Very few are added to Romanists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Seceders, &c. in any other way than by ordinary generation.
There is nothing more congenial to civil liberty, than to enjoy an unrestraini.l, an unembargoed liberty of ex. ercising the conscience freely upon all subjects respecta ing religion. Hence it is, that the Baptist denomination, in all ages,
and in all countries, has been, as a body, the constant asserters of the rights of man, and of liberty of conscience ; they have often been persecuted by pedobaptists, but they never persecuted, though they have had it in their power:
If the conscience becomes once enslaved by any una due or early imposition upon it; it is impossible, or next to impossible, ever to assume or enjoy any thing like that noble independence of mind, which our Saviour taught in these words, “ call no man master or father upon earth, for one is your father in heaven, and ye are brethren. This was in a conscientious point of view. The dearest liberty on earth is liberty of conscience, and this lost, all other liberty is but a name, a charm that lulls to. sleep. It is an awful encroachment, to encroach upon the liberty of conscience, and how awful to encroach upon, nay, to deprive an infant of this liberty, before it can appreciate the greatness of the blessing, or calculate the magnitude of the loss. O ye pedo-baptists, if ye would but reflect on the cruelty of the practice, and observe what an engine of despotism it is in the hands of some of those sects you despise, how would you blush, and forever abandon the tradition ! Can you suppose it is the spirit of God, that adds one million annually to the Church of Rome? Or can you suppose that it is the spirit of God that adds an hundred thousand annually to the church of England ? Or can you believe that it is the same spirit, that adds a hundred thousand to the different grades of Presbyterians, in the same space of time ? Seeing they are all added by natural generation and infant sprinkling ! ! No; if you think as rational beings, you cannot think so. It is this rite, and the vows they are taught to consider themselves under thereby, that is the powerful cause of such extensive additions. Infant sprinkling is
then an enthralling, despotic and cruel rite, destructive of liberty of conscience, and injurious to civil liberty.This will be further manifest from the following item.
4. Infant sprinkling has uniformly inspired a persecuting spirit. This is a heavy charge, and requires to be well supported. I do not, however, mean to say, that every pedo-baptist has a persecuting spirit, or that every such church is, necessarily, a persecuting church. No;fur I know many honorable exceptions, but I mean to say, that infant sprinkling has, as a system, inspired all the parties that einbraced it with a persecuting spirit at one tine or other, and they have manifested it, as far as the civil authority supported them. ' Nor do I mean to go back to tell of the persecutions of the church of Rome in old tunes, which every body knows nor of the persecutions of countries far reinote, but I will support the fact with documents more striking, because inore niodern, and because more within our country. I shall begin with my own state ; the good old state of Virginia.
Anno Domini 1659, 1662 and 1663, several acts of the Assembly of this state made it penal in parents to refuse to have their children baptized, and probibited the Quakérs froin assembling, and made it penal for any master of a ship to bring a quaker into the state. By the laws pasSed about this time, every person was compelled to yo to church every Sunday, under the penalty of 50 lbs. of tobacco. But Quakers and non-conformists were liable to the penalties of the statute of 230 Elizabeth, which was 201. sterling for every months' absence, and, inoreover, for 12 months absence, to give security for their good behavior. Quakers were farther liable to a fine of two hundred pounds of tobacco, for each one found at one of their ineetings, and in case of the insolvency of any one of them, those who were able were to pay for the insol. vents.* The persecution of the Baptists in Virginia, did not extend so far as in some other states, at least I can find no documents to authorize me to say, that it extended further than fines, imprisonments, and the unguarded use of the tongue. James Ireland, a baptist, was imprisoned in Culpepper jail and treated very ill in other res. pects, for his tenets. A Mr. Thomas also, an active and useful minister, was much persecuted. The object of
* See Henging's Statutes at large, Vol. 1 and 2, for the above Izvs as quoted by Mr. Semple: