Page images
PDF
EPUB

as a little child, he shall not enter the Kingdom of Mcaven.- This is the doctrinal use that our Lord makes of it; and as often as children, little children, are spoken of by him, in the New Testament, it is for some similar purpose.

The antiquity of infant baptism, is far from the weakest argument by which it has been supported. My opponent lays peculiar stress on the antiquity of the practice for which he contends, and seems fond of referring to Ecclesiastical History, as furnishing strong evidence in his favor. To it we have no objection to appeal-we find ourselves able to shew from the best sources of ecclesiastical antiquity, that the practice of Infant Sprinkling, or even of infant baptism, was commenced many years after the Apostolic age.

[Here I read some fragments of ecclesiastical history; but as the argument, from that source, was fully discussed on the second day of the debate, I postpone the insertion of them until I come to that time in wbich this subject was fully investigated.]

Mr. W. in his last reply, observed, that the breaking of the two tables by Moses, was not a type or emblem of the breaking of that covenant or laws, but an emblem of the breaking of the covenant of works. This appears a novel idea on the subject of the Jewish emblems. I have always understood, that every thing in the Jewish state, that was emblematical, was emblematical of the future, not of the past time. Commemorative institutions had a retrospective view to past events, such as the passover; yet they were emblematical of future events—but the breaking of the two tables, was not commemorative of the past, but emblematical of the future. These two tables were never, in scripture, called the Covenant of Works, but are expressly called the two tables of that covenant made with Israei, according to the flesh, Heb. 9, 4. Paul, speaking of the first covenant, or the covenant made with all Israel, and the tabernacle with its furniture, says, that in the 6 holiest of all," in the ark of the covenant of the Jews, were deposited the two tables of the covenant." No language could more precisely identify the two tables of the law with the covenant made with Israel, than these words--yet the apostle Paul, in this, only follows the language of Moses, Deut. 9, 9.

66 When I was gone up into the Mount, to receive the tables of stone, even the

tables of the covenant which the Lord made with you.Is it not strange, that Mr. W. is so biassed and warped by an irrational and unscriptural system, as to make assertions as opposite to the plain and express word of God, as the East is opposite to the West. In discussing the subject thus far, he has failed to support any one thesis which he assumed, by any testimony from the ora. cles of Heaven-But that he may have another trial, I give place to him,

[Here the first day drawing to a close, we spoke once er twice each, in a great measure repeating over the substance of what had been said. I shall, therefore, now bring forward any things new, or not fully discussed before, which Mr. W. delivered in the two last times he spoke, and afterwards collect any thing new in my repies to them and present it all together; and so conclude the first day's work.]

Mr. W. after having gone back to the 11th to the Romans, and having again repeated his comment on that Chapter, proceeded to shew that in the first 2500 years of the world, the period before the erection of the Jewish nation upon their covenant into a pecular nation ; that infants were accounted members of the chureh ; that Seth the son of Eve, was born in the place of Abel, whom Cain slew; consequently was a member of the church in lieu of Abel.-Mr. W. then proceeded to shew that infants were holy. He cited 1 Cor. 7, 14, “ the unbelievo ing husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by her husband, else unclean, but now are they holy.” It is obvious, said he, that the children of believers are in some sense holy by virtue of their parent's faith.--Now what is this holiness which results from the parent's faith ?-It is not real but federal holiness; it is a holiness resulting from their covenant relation, or from the covenant relation of their parents. It is such a holiness as the Jewish nation possessed, an holiness proceeding from their covenant relation to God, on the footing of the Abrahamic Covenant. This verse, continued he, may be rendered so as to justify this interpretation of it. It may be rendered in, or to, the believing party as correctly as to say by them. If, then, the infants of a believing parent are federally holy, er by covenant holy as the Jews were, they should be

were

your children

ed.

baptized, for it was on account of federal holiness the Jewish infants were circumcised.

The above is the substance of any thing new that was advanced in addition to the repetitions already mention

To these items I briefly replied: Mr. W. has, by his ingenuity, found an infant in the first 2500 years of the world, which he can easily bring into the church. This is Seth, who was born after the martyrdom of Abel. What a pity that Mr. W. could not find some few more infants, or even another to put along with Seth into the church, that existed in the days of Cain and Abel!!! How extremely fond is Mr. W. to find infant membership in the Bible, and in what a sad plight was he when in 2500 years of the world he could not find a companion for Seth. His witty come off on this occasion, deserves rather laugh than a reply.

He next adduces federal holiness as a ground or reason for the administration of baptism to infants. What a labor would it have saved, had he brought forward one express command or precedent for the administration of sprinkling an infant. He argues, from 1 Cor. 7, 14, that as infants are called holy in soine sense, they should be baptised. This syllogism stands thus :

All holy persons have a right to baptism
But infants are holy persons

Therefore infants have a right to baptism.
Now hear the Catholic Pedo-Baptist:
All holy persons have a right to eat the Lord's sup,

perBut infants are holy personsTherefore infants have a right to eat the Lord's sup

per. Can you, my friends, discover any difference betwixt Mr. Walker's and the priest's argument? I can assure you, that I am too dull to discover the thousandth part of a difference between them. But they are both sophistical : to expose their sophistry, I must give you another syllogism.

All persons really holy have a right to baptism :
But infants are federally holy-

Therefore infants have a right to baptism. In this syllogism, the middle term is taken twice particularly, consequently there are four terms in the syllo.

gism, which converts it into a sophism of the first magnitude. It is the same in effect as if I should say:

All persons really holy have a right to baptism-
But infants are not really holy,

Therefore infants have a right to baptism.
This is a contradiction in terms.

But should Mr. W. contend that all persons that are federally holy have a right to baptism, then the argument stands thus

All persons federally holy have a right to baptism:
But the whole Jewish nation was federally holy-
Therefore the whole Jewish nation had a right to

baptism. This proves too much for his system-consequently no argument can be drawn, in favor of infant baptism, from this passage.

But to expose the fallacy of his reasoning still further, let it be observed, that infant baptism was not the subject of inquiry on which the Apostle reasons; but, may those Christians who have unbelieving partners, retaia them in the married relation. This was Paul's subject of investigation. Mr. W.'s is, may intants be baptised ? He quotes the Apostle contrary to his design: the Apostle told them that they might retain them, provided they were willing to stay with them. This he proves, by shewing that the unbelieving party was sanctified to, in, or by, the believing party, and that the children born in this connection were lawful or holy-whereas, should they separate, the children would, according to the marriage covenant, be unclean or unlawful. Paul, elsewhere, in one of his epistles to Timothy, uses the word sanctify, which is synonimous with make holy, in this sense « Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refu. sed if it be received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified fi. e. made lawful) by the word of God (authorising the use of it) and by prayer. Marriage is spoken of, in the scriptures, as a covenant relation between the parties-Mal. 2, 14, “She is thy companion and the wife of thy covenant." There is, then, an holiness or a legitimacy in this relation-there is also an uncleanness or unlawfulness in any departure from it. “ Marriage is honorable in all,” consequently lawful, 6 and the bed undefiled.The character of the parties in this relation affects, and has ever affected, their progeny. Children are either

clean or unclean, defiled or undefiled, holy or unholy, lawful or unlawful, according to the conduct or character of their parents with regard to this relation.

The most consistent solution of this passage is, that the Corinthians had a scrupulosity, in retaining their unbelieving companions, on account of the manifest disapprobation shewn by the Almighty in the Old and New Testaments, against them who had intermarried with those of no religion, or of a false religion. Particularly in the time of Ezra, it was ordered that those who had married strange wives should put them away with their children as being unholy or unlawful. If we should suppose, with the Pedo-baptists, that this holiness or sanctity entitled children to church membership, and consequently to baptism, then the unbelieving husbands or wives are members alsu, for they are said to be sanctified or made holy in the same manner as the children; nay, their holiness is the root from which springs that of the children. The holiness of the children depends upon the ganctification of the parties, their parents ;--so that, if infants should be baptised on this account, so ought their unbelieving fathers and mothers-As is the root, se is the fruit. This text, then, viewed in whatever light it can consistently be placed, either proves too much or too little for Mr. W. To evade the force of this conclusion soine have said, the unbelieving wife is only sanctified to the husband, but the little infants are sanctified to the Lord. They might, with as much evidence, have said, the little children may be baptised, and eat the Lord's supper, and the unbelieving mother sanctified to her husband, may be baptised, but must not commune with the church.

[Afer these things, there was a repetition of former replies to such things as Mr. W. had repeated, from Rom. 11-moral and positive institutionsthe Covenants

-the Promises. But as there was nothing new on either side, I consider it unnecessary to transcribe them again. So stood the controversy at the end of the first day. An adjournment was agreed on till Tuesday at nine o'clock,

A. M.]

« PreviousContinue »