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This is the kind of testimony that pedobaptists attempt to sustain themselves with, after they have confessed that there is no scripture to prove infant baptism. While they esteem the traditions and assertions of Roman Catholics of this age as most fabulous and ridiculous, how can they go back to the darkest ages of Romish superstitions, and credit their falsehoods? Can this end of the same stick be rotten basswood, and that end be sound hickory? But it is in proof that infant baptism did not prevail, even in the Romish church, till long after Cyprian's council, for,
It is abundantly evident, that many persons who were born of Christian parents, and educated in the Christian faith, were not baptized until they came to adult years, and made a personal profession.
Helena the mother of Constantine, was a very devout and zealous Christian, yet he was not baptized upon her faith. Nor did he dedicate his own children to God in baptism by virtue of his faith : for we are informed by Socrates, that his son Constantius, who succeded his father in the empire, was baptized by Euzoius when he was preparing for his expedition against Julianus, and immediately after ended his life at Mopsucrenia twenty-five years after the death of his father, -Eccl. Hist. Lib. 2, chapt. 47.
Basil, the son of Basil, Bishop of Nicene, was bap tized in Jordan when far advanced in years.
Gregory the great, the son of Gregory, bishop of Nazianzen, was born while his father was bishop, and yet not baptized until he was twenty, some say thirty, years old. See Osander's book, Cent. iv. L. 3, and Robinson's Hist. p. 250.
Grotius says, that Chrysostom was born of believing parents, and was educated by Melitius, a bishop, yet not baptized till the age of twenty-one.
Erasmus testifies, that Jerom was born in the city of Stridon, of Christian parents, was brought up in
the Christian religion, and was baptized in the thirtieth year of his age. :
Vossius affirms, that Nectarius was chosen bishop of Constantinople before he was baptized. . Theodosius, the emperor, was born in Spain ; his parents were both Christians, and from his childhood had been trained up in the Nicene faith ; was baptized at Thessalonica by Achalio, when he was npwards of thirty years old. -- Vide Junius, Junior, p. 68. Rob. p. 250, Eccl. Hist. Lib. v. Chap. vi.
Add to this the fact, that in the 3d, 4th, and 5th centuries, there were large and numberless schools of catechumen, (the children of church members.) who were under a course of instruction preparing for baptism, and that as infant baptism increased, catechetical schools vanished; and the evidence is incontrovertable, that infant baptism was not practiced by the Apostolic churches, or those which immediately succeeded them.
"All the earlier traces of infant baptism are very uncertain. Tertulian is the first who mentions it, and he censures it." - Von Coln, vol. 1, p. 469.
"'The first traces of infant baptism are found in the Western church, after the middle of the second centary."-Rhienwald's works, p. 313.
"In the first two centuries, no documents are found which clearly show the existence of infant baptism at that time."- Mathies on bapt., p. 187.
Dr. Neander says, “It was only in the course of the third century, that infant baptism was acknowledged as an Apostolic institution." -- Judd's reply to Stewart, p. 196.
“Neither in the Scriptures, nor during the first bundred and fifty years, is a sure example of infant baptism to be fouud, and we must concede that the numerous opposers of it can not be contradicted on gospel ground."-Prof. Hahn's Theology, p. 556.
It is thus clear, that all the writers of the first and second centuries, inspired and uninspired, speak of a believer as the only subject, and of immersion as the only baptism. In the third century in faut baptism was introduced, but only in certain cases; that Jerome, Athanasius, Epiphanius, the Council of Laodicea, of Niocesaria, in the fourth century; Chrysostom, Faustus, Regiensis, and Evegrius in the fifth; Gregory and the Council of Agatha in the sixth ; the Bracaren's Council, and that of Toletanus, Paulinus, and his associates in England, in the seventh; Bede, Haine, the Council of Paris, and that of Laodicea, in the eighth; Rabanus and Albinus in the ninth : Smaragdo in the tenth, Anslem, the Waldenses and Albigeuses, Peter de Bruis and his numerous associates in the eleventh; Alburtus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas in the twelfth ; Jacob Merningus records that many in Poland, Lom. bardy, Germany, and Holland in the thirteenth ; Carlous, bishop of Meyland, the Thaborites, and many Bobencians in the fourteenth; the Hungarians and Waldenses in their coufession of faith, A. D. 1521 avd hosts in the 16th century have advocated the Baptists' sentiments and practice.
When this completely driven off from both Bible and history,the last resort of the pedobaptists is to plead that infant baptism is a church custom, and as it does no harm, it is well enough to practice it; but we reply, it is not harmless, for,
1. It is a mere act of will worship, which is positively forbidden, Col. ii. 11–23: Isa. i. 12, 13: Matt. xv. 3–9: John xv. 14: 2 John 6.
2. It destroys believers baptism, and should infant baptism universally prevail, believers baptism could do longer exist.
3. However sincerely and devotionally some parents may offer their children in baptism, it is evident, that with the priests, the whole fabric of infant baptism is
a mere proselyting scheme. They sprinkle infants, and call themn church members, that when they are converted they may the more effectually resist their uniting with any other church. But should I put a pen into the hand of an unconscious babe, and inove that hand to sign a legal qnitclaim to its temporal interests, would that be an honest conveyance ? No more does the priest's or parent's act of sprinkling, destroy the convert's claim to believers baptism.
4. Baptism is said to be, 1 Peter ii. 21, “ The answer of a good conscience towards God.” But infant baptism destroys all this. 1. The minister knows he is acting without the least divine anthority; therefore he can have no goud conscience toward God in the act. 2. The infant is totally unconscious. 3. And a great majority of the parents act, one to please the other, or both to please the clergyman, while they are wholly indifferent or totally opposed.
5. The legitimate result of the practice is to make invidious distinctions in the same family, or haptize unbelievers. Suppose a family of ten unconverted children from the age of one to twenty years. The parent is converted and unites with the church. Now if none of these children are baptized and joined to the church, then the law of the church is broken; if all are baptized, &c., then the law of God is broken; if a part only is to be baptized, who will draw the line of separation. I could relate facts, arising from such dilemmas, too shocking to publish.
6. “It goes to establish the sword of contention in the same house— not long since and not far from where the author lives, (Rochester N. Y.) a respecta ble member of the church, went to his wife in the congregation, for the purpose of getting his child from her arms to have it baptized; but she had such a mighty conscience upon the subject, that she obstinately
refused to give it up, and her husband had the mortification of a defeat."-E. House on bapt. p. 74.
7. " The adoption of the plan of infant church membership under the gospel, is attended with anoiher difficulty, viz: it naturally leads to the membership of the wife upon the faith of her husband, as well as of the children ; for in the Jewish church the membership of the former was as fully determined as that of the latter; the husband, if a native Jew, was in the church with his whole family; if a proselyte, he entered with his whole family, wife, children and servants. This is too evident to be denied."--Chadwick on bapt., p. 133.
"Let every parent who has presented his child to God in baptism, bear this in mind, whether he intended it or not, he did in that act, openly declare the Lord to be his God, and acknowledge bimself bound to obey all of God's commands. Can he after this, refuse to sit down to the Lord's table?" W. T. Hamilton on bapt., p. 110.
8. However desirable Christian union is, those who practice infant baptism are the immediate cause of existing divisions in the church of God; and while they know that the true church can not fellowship pedobaptism, yet they will not abandon it, that we may unite. Rom. xvi. 17:1 Cor. i. 10: . 3: xi. 18, 19.
9. The Roman Catholics are making fearful inroads; yet pedobaptist opposition is powerless, for when they attempt to prove the falacy of purgatory, prayers for the dead, huly water, image worship, prayers to the saints, infant communion, the sign of the cross, exorcism, salt, spittle, Peter pence, indulgences, auricular confession, &c., the papists uniformily, and justly reply, we have as much Bible for each and all of these, as you have for infant baptisın; and our saints and Fathers whom you quote as sound authority,