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My apology for offering these few pages to the public, is found in the history of the recent glorious revival of religion in this city. Soon after I came to this place, God poured out his Spirit upon the Baptist church and congregation, and many were converted. The first Lord's day in April, I baptized 27; the second, 54, and so on, until near 200 were added by baptism, and 20 or 30 by letter. At this time, sprinkling, pouring, dipping, and close communion became the topic among our opponents. To put a stop to this, and turn the attention of the people to the Bible, I made public this proposition : “I will put myself under legal bonds, to pay as a free reward, $3000, for finding in any of the received versions of the Bible, sprinkling or pouring for the action, and infants for the subjects of baptism,--$1000 to be paid on finding each of the above. To decide this impartially, the texts supposed to contain the doctrine shall be submitted, without debate, to Dr. TAYLOR, of Yale College, and two learned pious Quakers. This proposition must be accepted by some clergyman or respectable member of one of the churches of this city." No one accepted the offer; but directly, pulpits, presses, pamphlets and newspapers, like so many guns from a common battery, were made to bear upon the Baptist church and her doctrines, and every movement in the religious community indicated a war of words. I made application to respond through the “ Chronicle," but was promptly refused. These, with other circumstances and events of the time, furnish at once an occasion and an apology for my present effort.
It is obvious that error often changes its connection, assumes new positions, and accommodates itself to prevailing customs and prejudices; therefore we must be ready to meet it with weapons corresponding with the mode of attack. For instance, the editor of the Chronicle, professing to be wise, gives us the meaning of the word Bartığw, thus : Bantığw : Beezu, to wet, moisten, bedew. In turn, I will give him the meaning of the phrase, “ Editor of the Chronicle," thus: “EDITOR OF THE CHRONICLE :" BAT: a fiying mouse ; a quadruped weighing about one ounce. See John iii. 19, 20.
In judicial controversies, much depends on good evidence. Suppose there were two associations or companies of men in this city, of ten each, which were obliged to appeal to a legal tribunal to establish their respective claims, and all the evidence they have is within themselves. You will see at once there can be nothing done, on the principles of law or equity, except one company can draw testimony from the adverse party. This principle of jurisprudence must be carried into all polemic religious discussions. Now the world is divided into Baptist and Pedobaptist bodies, and the line of demarcation is visible, and testi-mony to sustain their respective claims to evangelical truth must be drawn from one or the other of these bodies. Reason says, not from our own, but from the adverse.' I have been amused, however, while examining the course pursued by our pedobaptist brethren; they never quote Baptist evidence to prove that pouring and sprinkling are baptism, and infants the subjects; and for the best of reasons: they can find no such concessions. The testimony which they urge, is the faith and practice of Roman Catholics and modern pedobaptists; but while they present me with nothing but pedobaptist evidence, they only prove to me that their cause is indefensible. In proving that be
lievers are the only, subjects, and immersion the only action of Christian baptism, we design not to introduce one modern Baptist evidence. We will accept of no testimony, but Divine revelation, and the most popular pedobaptists. If these show the Baptists to be right, and exclusively right, I shall rest satisfied. Should we appear with self-interested testimouy, we must fail at every impartial tribunal; but if we present ample evidence from the Scriptures, and from the adverse body, we must secure our claims, or impeach the judge. No man is compelled to bear testimony against himself; but when men, free from duress, make concessions in favor of truth, we can not pass it in silence, and do justice to the cause we sustain..
Replying to any individual pedobaptist, is a matter of secondary importance; for when we have done with one, a second appears, with not only a new, but an opposite theory. This is evident from the two last productions of this city; and if the one that follows this is not different from both the preceding, I shall think the laws of motion in the pedobaptist world are reversed. When the Savior was on earth, the Scribes and Pharisees took two methods to put down his doctrine : 1st, they charged him with teaching and practicing contrary to the law of God; 2d, being stung with his truth, which they could not answer, they resorted to ridicule. Had they convicted him of the first, his cause would have suffered ; but their practice of the second did but injure their own. The ignorance of that age was an apology for them; but the light of this, demands sound argument.
Much has been said ahont brotherly love, charity, and Christian union. The substance of these is a heaven-born treasure; but their shadow is a mere illusion. Should Christians and ministers act kindly toward each other, by frequently exchanging pulpits, and entering into a work of revival in a neighboring sanctuary as they would in their own, irrespective of denominational differences,-having the glory of God and the salvation of souls for their motive; their practice would go further to promote Christian union, and remove stumbling-blocks from the path of the unconverted, than many pompous sermons on Christian charity, without such example.
SECTION I. A Brief Review of “A CRITICAL DISSERTATION
on the Scripturai Mode of Baptism, proving the Exclusive Divine Authority of Affusion and Sprinkling. By LEICESTER A. SAWYER."
I wish it distinctly understood, that I undertake this review at the request of Mr. Sawyer.
Mr. Sawyer says, p. 1, " There is a scriptural mode of baptism, which is capable of being fully ascertained and triumphantly established. It can not for a moment be supposed that this matter is left in impenetrable darkness. Such a supposition is inconsistent with the perfection of the word of God as a rule of action, and ANNIHILATES the institution of baptism itself, in as much as we can not be bound to do what we can not learn how to do."
This statement is truth in its native simplicity; and the God of truth on earth and at the last judgment will show it to be such.
1. The testirnony of the Lord.
“ The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”—Psalm xix. 7.
2. The testimony of the apostles. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and