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No. 45. 












NUMEROUS EXTRACTS F R O ill fej?.* I N d'n ^ -VVRJITHns; ; 

mi^itfi nn ^pptnp,% ; i : > ; 



Thpse were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word 
with all readiness of mind, and searched the sckiptures daily, whether those 
things were so.— Acts xvii. 11. 

Whatever pretends to exceed the direction of the Word may safely be rejected ; 
caunot safely be admitted.— Dr. Owen. 




18 3 7. 



I DO not know that I can better introduce the following pamphlet to 
the reader than by stating the origin of it ; its reference to my own case 
and circumstances, he will kindly excuse. 

From my earliest childhood, I was taught to say, that, " in my bap- 
tism, — I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor 
of the kingdom of heaven."* My instructers would readily admit, and 
in effect taught, the following sentiments, lately given to the world by 
different writers : — 

One affirms — " With the water of our baptism, the grace of regene- 
ration, the seed of the Holy Ghost, the principle of a higher existence is 
committed to the soul ; it grows with us as an innate impression of our 

being As long as the believer trusts to his baptism as the source of 

spiritual life, all is well."f 

Another adds — " On a topic so interesting, I might have well enlarged. 
I might have told you that only by baptism we are admitted into Christ's 
flock on earth ; by baptism we are adopted into his covenant, incorpo- 
rated into his church. . . .that in baptism all our sins are pardoned, and 
the Holy Ghost bestowed."^: And another — " Baptism brings its pri- 
vileges along with it — is a seal of the ic;p^ei:ra'n'; — flo<j's noV lofee iis etd' 
through the indisposition of the receiver^^<) ' \,",' '•' ", / '>'■>*> 

These sentiments, as far as I receive'd them, were* very gratifying* ' I* 
seem to have been put, by the kindness of' r^^ p*arei\to an'd ."feponsors, 
into a situation of unspeakable advantages,^ an-l^ alcove ^ all, »il^^ heaven 
was secured, and I had nothing to fear in li^e or deatji. ' , , ' , , 
. Being, however, afterward brought un^jler ji; fjiit^ifiil .tfjin)? iJry, J ob-' 
served a most ASTOifisHiNo difference lHj?(fefe'3ii't'i6'.6faie\piei^4;s bf the 
pulpit and the sentiments I had been taught in childhood, as given above. 
Here I was taught ' that all mankind were by nature sinners, depraved, 
and guilty, — that unless they be brought to repent of sin, to believe in 
Christ, to seek and Jind mercy from God through the Saviour, they must 
inevitably perish !' — As to what was done for me in infancy, I was 
assured it profited me nothing. My excellent minister would not hesi- 
tate to appeal to his congregation, in the inquiries which recently ap- 
peared in a public paper : — 

^' Is not the sponsorial part of the baptismal service a fragment of 
popery, without the shadow of a foundation in the Holy Scriptures 1 

" Aje not thousands* of children, who show no signs whatever of spi- 
ritual regeneration, taught to repeat a deliberate falsehood, from 
week to week, when, according to the instructions of their catechism, 
they declare that at baptism they were made ' members of Christ, child- 
ren of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven V 

<' Are not multitudes of young people brought to the rite of confirma- 

♦ See the Church of England Catechism, and Baptism of Infanta. 

t Mr. W. Harness, minister of St. Pancras' chapel, London, in a sermon oa 
Baptiavml Regeneration, pp. 135. 138. 

t W. B. Knicjhi, Perpetual Curate of IVJaream, and Examining Chaplain to th« 
4<ord Bishop of Llandatf, In a Letter on Baptism, p. 26, 

8 In Adam Clark's Commentary, at the end of Mark. 

61 3 


tiofi, merely that they may renew the solemn farce which was performed 
by their sponsors at baptism ; and that they might take a vow which 
they never intended to fulfil ]"* 

What these questions implied, and the preceding remarks expressed, 
appeared to me awfully serious; and the coNTUAniETT of sentiment 
which prevailed, and which the foregoing quotations exhibit, was ex- 
ceedingly perplexing. My highest and best interest for time and eternity 
was here involved. On the one hand, I was told that by my baptism 
" all was well," and on the other, that the ordinance, as observed upon 
me, was a " solemn farce !" 

What should I do in this case ? Why this, I resolved, I would do : 
I would take a New Testament, and go through it, and mark down and 
distinguish in the margin, all those passages which related to baptis7n ,■ 
and when I had done so, I would read them all over in succession, as 
one chapter, with care and attention ; and as I knew this blessed book 
was the only original and divine authority on the subject, here, I in- 
fered, I should learn correctly what this ordinance did fur children — 
what was the office of sponsors — and how the ordinance sealed to me 
the blessing of the covenant. 

To my surprise, the New Testament was entirely silent upon 
ALL these points ! I could not find a single passage relating to the bap- 
.tigirupf ijifajit^ — por^ one ^relating to sponsors — nor one about baptism 
Wingfn^ m^, jfnto'.tlTp foveijam/,; or sealing to me its blessings ! Every 
. passage* I 'cotjld firftl, vi'esqrjptp'e; of the persons baptized, either by John 
or the^discjple^ q^ .Qhrist, represented them as persons grown up, in- 
striictedj^hd Ufili ei^i\ig'fii,e\ gospel ,• nor could I find any passage relative 
to X\\Qti'br\n^ihg fh'ej.v' chUdren with them, or at any period to be bap- 
//cfV- .' J' ;*o Wtl? • alsG>,' -that all the commands and instructions given 
reapei^tiij^gihra^'tis^nieJ'itij-Qly related to its administration to believers, and 
not dne'inciud<!^d ihe lluf^ bf parents in securing, by this all-important 
ordinance, the spiritual and eternal well-being of their children ! 

Now, when I considered the unbounded benefits said to be consequent 
upon children's baptism, and the solemn manner in which I was required 
to repeat these statements in early life, as if they were the plainest sub- 
jects in Scripture, the reader may judge of my surprise in finding them 
entirely destitute of that sacred authority ! 

In the end, I was brought to believe that the institution was altered — 
that it was not noiu observed, where I was early instructed, as originally 
appointed of Christ. Yet to alter Christ's institutions appeared to me 
a VERT presuming act: it was derogatory to the authority of Christ, 
and a reflection on his wisdom ; and as I remembered how God mani- 
fested his displeasure against any alteration of what he had appointed, 
under the Old Testament, so I inferred he must be equally displeased 
with any alteration of the New Testament ordinances. A passage I 
met with in Matthew Henry's Exposition, respecting the conduct 
and awful fate of Aaron's sons in taking common fire, instead of fire 
from the altar, to burn incense, I deemed very impressive, and quite 
appropriate to this subject : — 

* In " The Record," (a paper in llie Church of England interest.) for Novem- 
ber 30, IS^S, heailed, ' Questions fur the Consideration of the Ecclesiastical 
Authorities of the llealm.' See also Mr. Hyatt, cited at p. 63. 


"Not being holy fire, it is called strange Jire ; and, though not 
expressly forbidden, it was crime enough that God ' commanded it not J 
For, (as Bishop Hall well observes here,) ' It is a dangerous thing, in 
the service of God, to decline from his own institutions ; we have to do 
with a God who is wise to prescribe his own worship, just to require 
what he has prescribed, and powehfui. to revenge what he has not 
prescribed.' Now that the laws concerning sacrifices were newly made, 
lest any should be tempted to think lightly of them, because they de- 
scended to many circumstances which seemed very minute, these that 
were the Jirst transgressors were thus punished for a warning to 
others, and to show how jealous God is in the matters of his worship. 
Being a holy God and sovereign Lord, he must always be worshipped 
exactly according to his own appointment ; and if any jest with him, it 
is at their peril." — On Lev. x. 

My mind was considerably exercised upon this subject. * Not willing- 
ly,' I was constrained to say, ' would I jest with Christ's ordinances, or 
would I support any alteration of his institution. If I knew his will, I 
would observe and keep it ; for the time is coming when I must stand at 
his bar to give an account of the deeds done in the body ,- and if I was 
one of those \\\io altered his ordinances, or countenanced such a daring 
presumption, I should have cause to anticipate his divine displeasure.' 
With these impressions I came to the determination, that, at any risk, 
what the Scriptures taught on baptism I would endeavour to receive and 
hold, — that as Christ was to be my •>n1.Y'j^'P'>{: tft itie,' b;5*^ ^t)'h# , 
should be my onlt Guide upon this si^^j^ct." H.j^",<}bmn:f£in(l to ii^>.t$\ 
disciple is, " follow me ;" and to enable hini to 'do so he adc?ed,'**'Se'arfcI\ 
the Scriptures, for they are they that testify 'of; {nefV 'JRere'J^s&w the 
path of duty plainly marked out by the footstepfe ofl iry"! SaVivur, and 
instructions of his word; and his unbounded love 'and his infinite dig- 
nity rendered obedience to him unspeakably soJemn ai))i dvlightfiil.^'* 

I resolved, also, to read whatever authors I coji.d /neb}; wi-th upon* this 
subject, and though I was soon brought to decide, and acted upon that 
decision, guided, I hope, by the word of God ; yet for several years there 
was not an author that fell in my way, whether treating of the subjects 
of baptism, or the mode of it, or the spiritual intention of the ordi- 
nance, but I felt disposed to examine his arguments. Nothing surprised 
me more than the strange diversity and opposition of sentiment which 
I observed between different very eminent writers. What one labored 
to establish, another as zealously exploded ; and I am thoroughly con- 
vinced that the only wat for an inquiring mind to obtain solid satis- 
faction upon the subgect is to lay aside all preconceived sentiments and 
prejudices, and to come, with a teachable spirit, to the fountain-head of 
information, — to take the New Testament and to go through it, allow- 
ing one passage to assist in the understanding of another, and here, on 
Heaven's authority, to form his opinions, and to come to a decision. 

But those portions of Scripture which relate to this ordinance are in- 
terspersed throughout almost the whole of the New Testament, and for 
the use of an iNauiRER upon this subject, a Tract, containing a com- 
PLKTE Collection of all those passages, appeared to me exceedingly 
desirable. Being called, by the grace of Christ, to the all-important 
work of the ministry in the body of Christians, with which, from con- 


Bcientious principles, upon giving up my early views in favor of infant 
baptism, I became united, I felt the want of such a pamphlet when 
referring inquirers to the divine and infallible source of information. 
Not finding such a work in existence, I resolved to prepare it. My first 
effort was well received ; and I afterwards enlarged it, by subjoining to 
each section of Scripture a few explanatory observations, and supported 
the sense I had given by extracts from the works of eminent ptedobap- 
tist writers. This work is now before the reader, and the following i» 
its arrangement. 

The various portions of Scripture relating to baptism, I have here 

arranged as Three Chapters. 

Chap. I. The several passages in the Four Gospels, divided into VII 
sections, as they occur ; page 9 to 27. 

Chap. II. The several passages in the Acts of the Apostles, divided 
into IX sections, as so many successive instances of baptizing ; p. 27 to 44, 
Chap. III. The several passages in the Epistles, divided into III sec- 
tions, as they have special allusions ; p. 45 to 52. 

To these Scriptures and their illustration,! have subjoined an APPEN- 
DIX, containing a biiief Examination, I. Of the common Reasons 
and Argurnen^s \iy wh\c|;i,^hp ^aptism of Infants is urged and defended, 
vi^.tft JO*. 'II*. Of litie/EyidfRCe in favor of Immersion as the Mode, 
• J. .7 1 fo. SO.; III.VOJ* the S)&?sign of the Great Head of the Church in 
the appointment .q^,th\s pjdinance, p. 80 to 81. And, finally, offering a 
few generjil 0/)Ufci.JjD3tar/i Observations upon the subject, p. 81 to 86. 

ir'amf .riot cprisfflQVisr jhatjl have written a single sentence, but as the 
dictate* of 'sincrt-e' cfcmvicfihJn ; and, I hope, not one inconsistent with 
Christian candor. I love my brethren in the faith, notwithstanding 
upon this particular subject they may differ from me ; and though I have 
seen no small portion of sarcastic wit brought into the controversy, I 
have not once borrowed from that treasury ; my cause wanted not that 

I take this opportunity af expressing the satisfaction I have felt in 
the kind recommendations which numerous ministers have given to 
this little work, not only in Britain, but in India, and especially in the 
United States of America, where it has gone through several large 
editions. But, most of all, my gratitude is due to the Author of all 
goodness, for the testimonies I have received that " the publication has 
been eminently useful to many of the disciples of Christ, in freeing 
their minds from the mists of error, engendered by the doctrines and 
commandments of men, and leading them into scriptural views of this 
important institution of the kingdom of heaven." (New Baptist Mis- 
ceflany, for 1828, p. 109.) I hope the alterations and additions made 
in the present edition will render it still more acceptable and u*eful. 

Newcastle icpon Tyne, Jan. 1, 1836. 



Passages in the Four Gospels. 


Sect. 1. The Mission, Preaching, and Baptizing of John the 

Baptist, _-._.. 9 

Of the Mode of John's Baptism, - - - 12 

2. The Baptism of Jesus Christ, from the four Evan- 
gelists, ------- 16 

Christ Baptizing, by his Diseiples, in Judea, 18 

4. John's last Baptizing in ^non, - - - 20 

5. References of Jesus Christ to John, his Baptism 

and success, - - . ,t , ,- „ , - , ,^- , , , 2,1 

6. Christ represents his SuflfGrings under t^e ^gart ,df ." 

" a Baptism," ^- ^' ' ' > '^' '•' i • . ^1 ' \ ! ?,2 

7. The Commission which our Lord ^^7^ his Apostles 

about the Time of his A^xJc'nsi^ii'lipto Heaven, 
containing the formal IiistitaiiOii o^ Christian 
Baptism, - - ' ■^'•''.r'] .V ;'•-, , 23 

Conclusion of the Four Gbsp.eis,'^^ .'V .* .-. * '! '7 26 


The Acts of the Apostles. 

Sect. 1. The Baptism at the Feast of Pentecost, - 27 

2. Philip Baptizing at Samaria, - - - 29 

3. The Baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch, - 31 
Of the Mode of the Eunuch's Baptism, - 31 

4. The Baptism of the Apostle Paul, - - 33 

5. The Baptism of Cornelius and his Friends, 34 

6. The Baptism of Lydia and her Household, - 36 

7. The Baptism of the Philippian Jailer and House- 

hold, 39 

8. Paul Baptizing at Corinth, - - - 40 
Reflection on the Baptism of Households, - 42 

9. Certain Disciples at Ephesus baptized, - 43 
Conclusion of the Acts, - - - 44 



The Epistles. 


Sect. 1 . Passages which contain an express Allusion to the 

Mode and Spiritual Desig-n of Baptism, 45 

2. Occasional mention of Baptism, - . 48 

3. Baptism illustrated by Events recorded in the Old 

Testament, -._.,.. 49 

Conclusion of the New Testament, - - 51 

Appendix, Part I. 

On the Grounds of infant Baptism, its Rise and 
supposed Benefits, ----- 52 

Appendix, Part II. 
On the Scriptural Mode of Baptism. - - 71 

.'*', \/ '• '^fT^Jxmpf Part III. 

'On tiie SpirVtud' bfesfgn of Baptism, - - 80 

.'Cfncl^ddiijg- Obsfirvations, - - - - 81 

O^jecfihftfirtore'iMusive Believers' Baptism, 81 

' 'Rea^jl^Vis 'fbr f he Baptism of Believers only, 85 

/ finai. ACl*di-s«s9 io the Reader, - - - 85 

Appendix, Part IV. 

Note on 1 Cor. vii. 14. Prepared by John L 
Dagg, 87 


&C. &C. 


§ I. The Mission, Preaching, and Baptizing of John the Baptist. 

The first place of Scripture, where the ordinance of baptism is found, is in the 
account given of the ministry of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ. The 
surname of " Baptist" was most probably given him because he was "sent to 
baptize" by Divine authority, and was the first so authorized and employed. As all 
the four evangelists have given some account of John, I shall unite the testimony 
of the four, and present it'to the reader in a continued relation. 

Mark i. 1. The beginning of the gospel of Jesus 
Christ, the Son of God. John i. 6, 7. 

There was a man sent from God, whose name ivas John : 
the same came to bear witness, 'of the ^Li^ht,4ha.t Jtll t/htn 
through him might believe. Matt.Mii - 3. ' For tlas is.lre that 
was spoken of by the prophet Esai^^s-, sayii^g, TJie voice 
of one crying in the wilderness, prepa^"e yj^ihe w4y of the 
Lord, make his paths straight. , , , ' ]] '\' \[^ '^ 

Luke i. 16, 17. And many c^ th^.^cbildit^n^^Nf Xsrael 
shall he turn to the Lord their God^; And lie ohall go before 
him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of 
the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wis- 
dom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the 
Lord. iii. 1, 2. Now — the word of God came unto John, 
the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. 

Matt. iii. 1. Li those days came John the Baptist, 
preaching in the wilderness of Judea ; Luke iii. 3. And he 
came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the bap- 
tism of repentance for the remission of sins ; Matt. iii. 
2. And saying, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is 
at hand. 

Acts xiii. 24. John preached the baptism of repent- 
ance to all the people of Israel ; xix. 4, saying unto the 
people, that they should believe on him which should come 
after him, that is, on Christ .Tesus. 

John i. 19 to 31. And this is the record of John, when 
the Jews sent priests and Levites to ask him, Who art 


thou ? He confessed, I am not the Christ. I am the voice 
of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of 
the Lord. And they asked him. Why baptizest thou, if 
thou be not that Christ? John answered, I baptize with 
water: but there standeth one among you — who, coming 
after me, is preferred before me. That he should be 
manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 
33. [For God] sent me to baptize with water. 

Matt. iii. 5. Then went out to him Jerusalem and all 
Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6. And 
were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. 

Mark i. 4. John did baptize in the wilderness, and 
preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins ; 
5. And there went out unto him all the land of Judea and 
they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river 
of Jordan, confessing their sins. 

Luke iii. 12. Then came also publicans to be baptized, 
and said unto him. Master, what shall we do ? 13. And 
he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is 
'iip.pbjntfed'.you.'- : • ^« • .; 

«' j Miifu. iii.; 7. \feitt wh^jh". he saw many of the Pharisees 
and Saddiice«^ his baptism, he said unto them, O 
generatibii of yipers, syho hath warned you to flee from the 
wrath' to 'cotiiet '8. Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for 
repeji/t'arnee : .9i"A'n(J vthmk not to say within yourselves. 
We ha-ve Abraham 'to our father: fori say unto you, that 
God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abra- 
ham. 11. I indeed baptize you with water unto repent- 
ance ; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, 
whose shoes I am not worthy to bear : he shall baptize 
you with the Holy Ghost and with tire : 12. Whose fan 
is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and 
gather his wheat into the garner ; but he will burn up the 
chaflf with unquenchable tire. 

Christian Readkr : There are THREE INQUIRIES, in relation 
to the ordinance of baptism, upon which, I shall imagine, you are 
desirous of obtaining satisfaction of mind, purely deduced from the 
Scriptures ; namely, — - 

I. Who are proper subjects oi Christian baptism, according to the 
authority of Christ, and the practice of his harbinger and apostles 1 

II. By what mode should the ordinance be administered, according to 
the same authority and practice ] 


III. What is the spiritual design of baptism, and in whom is that 
design realized 1 

These three inquiries will be kept constantly in view in the following 
pages. In the foregoing section of Scriptures you have a full account 
of John the Baptist, with reference to his practice, in which you may 
notice, — 

1. His mission was divine. He was " sent from God." He was 
raised up by the special purpose and power of God, and employed in a 
work entirely his own; succeeding to no one who had gone before him, 
and followed by no one in the same office. His instructions for his 
work he obtained by Divine revelation : — " The word of God came 
unto John," and thus his entire work was of God's immediate appoint- 

% The great object of his ministry ivas to "prepare the way of the 
Lord;" i. e. of Christ, who was immediately to follow him, according 
to the prediction of the prophets; Isa. xl. 3. Mai. iii. 1. This great 
design John was to accomplish, 1. By proclaiming repentance — 
impressing on the minds of his hearers their guilt before God ; the 
necessity of being sensible of it, and confessing it ; and thus, with con- 
trition of heart, " to turn to the Lord their God." 2. By announc- 
ing the immediate approach of the long-promised Messiah ; assuring 
the Jews that his "kingdom was at hand;" and, 3. By seriously 
charging and exhorting them to " Believe on him who should come 
after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." By these labors, attended with 
the blessing of heaven, he was " to make ready a people prepared for 
the Lord." And this was happily accomplished, inasmuch as the first 
disciples of Christ were previously disciples of John. John i. 35 — 47. 
It does not appear, therefore, that the design of John's mission could 
be realized in any but in adult persons, or persons come to the years 
of understanding ; none else could repent of sin ; none else could 
embrace the glad tidings of the coming Saviour, and thereby be " a 
people prepared" for the service of Christ; who, within one year, was 
to follow John, and receive the people so prepared. 

3. His ministry was to be followed by the administration of the 
ordinance of baptism. His commission from heaven included this ordi- 
nance. Baptism, as a divine institution, was unknown in the church 
of God previous to the mission of John. But he informed his hearers, 
that the same God who sent him to prepare the way of the Lord, " sent 
him to baptize with water," John i. 33, and this too was preparatory 
to the ministry of Christ, as it was fitted and intended to teach the guilt 
of sin, and the penitent sinner's purification in the way which the 
gospel of Christ should bring more fully to light. Of that blessed work 
of purification baptism was an appropriate and impressive bmblem. 
In accordance with these remarks,* we have the excellent 

* In this work I shall introduce numerous extracts from the writings of eminent 
PiEdobaptisl authors, who,thouch they practised differently from what is contended 
for in these pages ; yet, some upon one part of our inquiry, and some upon others, 
have fully s^ranled and allowed the Divine authority of what I shall endeavour to 
point out as having that authority, to the attention of the reader. As, however, I 


Matthew Hen^ry. " Baptism with water made way for the mani- 
festing of Christ, as it supposed our corruption and filthiness, and signi- 
fied our cleansing by him, who is the Fountain opened" Of John's 
express commission from heaven for baptizing, Mr. Henry adds, " See 
what sure grounds John went upon in his ministry and baptism. He 
did not run without sending ; God sent him to baptize. He had a 
warrant from heaven for what he did. . . God gave him both his mission 
and his message ; both his credentials and instructions." Expos, on 
John i. 6—14, and 29—36. 

4. The persons John baptized had received his ministry, and were 
professed penitents. One particular circumstance is expressly asserted 
by Matthew, and repeated again by Mark, descriptive of the persons 
whom John baptized, and by the latter it is asserted of " all" of them ; 
namely, that they confessed their sins. He had preached repent- 
ance — exhorted to repentance — and of the Pharisees and Sadducees 
demanded the " fruits of repentance ;" while he peremptorily rejected 
every plea they might urge, particularly that, in which they generally 
gloried, that they were the children of Abraham ; and hence in accord- 
ance with that repentance which John \h.\\s preached and demanded, 
" they were all baptized of him, confessing their sins." Thus his bap- 
tism is expressly called by Mark i. 4, by Luke iii. 3, and twice by 
Paul, Acts xiii. 24, and xix. 4, " the baptism of repentance." This being 
admitted, it will follow, that the persons, yea all the persons, whom 
John baptized, were those who had received and believed his 
MINISTRY ; and, as the " fruit" of their conviction, they openly pro- 
fessed repentance toward God, and faith in the approaching Saviour. 

Mr. Erskine. "John's baptism was termed the baptism of repent- 
ance, and baptism to repenta7ice ,- because he required of all, whom he 
admitted to baptism, a profession of repentance, and exhorted them to 
such a conduct as would demonstrate their repentance genuine." In 
Booth's Pasdobap. Exam. Vol. II. p. 241. Ed. 2. 

Mr. Scott. " It does not appear that any but adults were baptized 
by John . . . adult Jews, professing repentance and a disposition to become 
the Messiah's subjects, were the only persons whom John admitted to 
baptism." Commefit. on Matt. iii. 5, 6. 

Mr. Burkitt. " John's baptism was the baptism of repentance, of 
which infants were incapable." Expos. Notes on Matt. xix. 13 — 15. 


My reader will, no doubt, be aware that the ordinance of baptism is 
administered THREE different ways, in diflerent countries, and by 
different bodies of Christians; namely, by dipping — pouring — and 

shall make my work as brief aa possible, these extracts must necessarily be short, 
but care shall be taken to give the real meanins; of every writer in the passages 
cited. Their brevity can form no objection ; or the same objection might be mad© 
against passages cited by the apostles in the New Testament, 


SPRINKLING. He will also be aware, that in whatever way the water 
be employed, it cannot take away sin. No spiritual benefit can be con- 
veyed by any one mode more than by another ; but, notwithstanding 
this, it is a serious and interesting question, which of these has divine 
AUTHORiTT 1 How did the harbinger of Christ, having God's com- 
jnand upon the subject, administer the ordinance 1 By which of 
these modes was Jesus baptized ? and his disciples by his sanction 1 
There can be but one mode that has this divine authority ; a devi- 
ation from this, is a deviation from the revealed will of God, and can be 
nothing better than a mere human invention. What is that one 
authorized mode ] Will the Scriptures afford an inquiring mind satis- 
faction on this subject 1 No doubt ; they were intended for that pur- 
pose, on this as well as on every other subject, in which our obedience 
to God is required. 

Turn then your eye, reader, from the diversified and often varying 
practices of men, to that unerring and unchangeable source of informa- 
tion, which, in these pages, we propose to examine. Two inquiries 
here suggest themselves : — 

I. What does the word in the original language, employed by the 
Spirit of God to express this ordinance, signify 1 Does it express the 
action of dipping, pouring, or sprinkVcng ? 

ir. What mode do the circumstances attending the ordinance most 
evidently favor 1 

I. To express the action by which this ordinance is to be adminis- 
tered, the word so chosen is Ba.;TT/^a ; which our translators have not 
rendered into English by a verb of our own language expressive of the 
same action, but adopted the original Greek word, which with us is to 
baptize. To obtain therefore the se7ise of this word, we will turn to a 
Lexicon, where the word in question is explained.* The following is 
from the excellent Greek and English Lexicon of Dn. John Jones, 
which gives the plain sense of words without refining or accommo- 
dating : — 

" BaTTTO), I dip ; — / dye, stain. 

Bun-ri^ai, I plunge ,- I plunge in water, dip, baptize ; bury, over- 

B^Trrt^cjuau, I am plunged ; plunge myself in sorrow ; ubmit to, 

BuTrritrjuA, immersion, baptism ,- plunging in affliction.*^ 

To the unlearned reader it may be proper to observe, that the first 
of these words is the theme or root of the three following, and gives 
the primary idea of all ; the first sense of which is to dip. The 
second is the word chosen by inspiration, to express the action by 
which the ordinance is administered, to baptize, i. e. to plunge. The 

* We mi^hthere call to our assistance lexicographers and other learned writers 
out of number; but I may with confidence affirm, that in citing one, we cite every 
competent authority on the subject ; for. in the proper and primary sense of the 
word baptize, learned men of all classes and countries are agreed, as I shall show 
iu the Appendix. 

VOL. II. — 6 B 


third is the same, in the passive form, used by our Lord respecting his 
sufferings, in Matt. xx. 22, 23, and Luke xii. 50. The last is the 
Scripture name of the ordinance, baptism ,- the first sense of which is 

According to this authority, to baptize, is, to plunge, to plunge in 
water, to dip ,- and then, figuratively, to plunge or overwhelni, as in 
sorrow, suffering, or afil^iction ; and also, that baptism is immersion. 
I refer my reader to the Appendix, at the end of this pamphlet, (Part 
II.) for a confirmation of the sense here given ; and requesting him 
to associate tiiis sense with the words baptize and baptism, when they 
occur in future sections of Scripture, in order to observe whether that 
sense harmonizes with other statements connected with the ordinance, 
we pass on to notice 

II. What mode do the circumstances attending the ordinance, as 
now administered by John, most evidently favor] 

I. We should notice the place where John administered this ordi- 
nance. It was " the river Jordan." If, in reference to the people of 
Jerusalem, a situation where water might l>e easily obtained for sprink- 
ling or pouring was what John required, we read of our Lord at this 
place, directing the man that was born blind to go and " wash in the pool 
of Siloam ;" so we read of the " pool called Bethesda," and " the brook 
Cedron ;" all in or near Jerusalem, (and we read of others in the Old 
Testament) ; and, without doubt, at some of them the penitent Jews 
of that city and neighborhood might have received the ordinance, if 
such were the mode by which John administered it; and it cannot rea- 
sonably be imagined he would have required those persons to go the 
distance of several miles for the convenience of the river Jordan: more 
reasonable to suppose he would have baptized in every town and village 
where his ministry had its intended effect ; and, especially, at or near the 
metropolis. This strongly favors the opinion, that immersion was 
his mode. Thus, 

Mb. Towi:nsox. " For what need vi^ould there have been of the 
Baptist's resorting to great confluxes of water, — were it not that the 
baptism — wrs to be performed by an immersion 1 A very little water, 
as we know it doth with us, sufficing for an effusion or sprinkling." 
In Booth's Pxdobap. Exam. Vol. I. p. 209. Ed. 2. 

2. It is moreover affirmed, that not only was the river Jordan 
chosen by John for his baptism, but Matthew states, the people " were 
baptized of him IN Jordan," and Mark adds, "IN the hivkr of 
Jordan." The idea of going into the water of a river for the pur- 
pose of baptizing in it, by sprinkhng on the face, or pouring on the head, 
is too absurd to be entertained. 

3. John also states himself, "I indeed baptize you (iv CJati,) that is, 
" isr water ;" not" with water," as it is rendered in the English author 
rized version. The passage was translated in water, in some of the 
early versions of the New Testament into our language. It is in water 
in the Vulgate, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions ; it is so rendered 
by Montanus, and recently, in our own country, by that pre-eminent 
scholar, G. Campbell, (Principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen,) whose 


judicious and, in ray opinion, unanswerable note upon the place I will 
lay before my reader. 

Mr. C ampb kll. " So inconsistent are the interpreters last mentioned 
[i. e. certain Protestant] that none of them have scrupled to render tv 
TOO Jc^(f3iv», in Jordan,- though nothing can be plainer than that, if 
there be any incongruity in the expression in water, this, in Jordan, must 
be equally incongruous. But they have seen that the preposition in 
could not be avoided there, without adopting a circumlocution — which 
would have made this deviation from the text too glaring. The word 
^xTTTt^'jv, both in sacred authors and in classical, signifies to dip, to 
plunge, to immerse, and was rendered by Tertullian, the oldest of the 
Latin fathers, tingere ; the term used for deying cloth, which was by 
immersion. It is always construed suitably to this meaning ; thus it is, 
a vS'j.Ti, iv Tu JcgS-JiViu^' (that ia, in wafer, in the Jordan.) " But I 
should not lay much stress on the preposition &, which, answering to 
the Hebrew (bath), may denote with, as well as in, did not the 
WHOLE PHRASEOLOSY, in regard to this ceremony, concur in evinc- 
ing THE SAME THING. Accordingly, the baptized are said to arise, 
emerge, or ascend, ver. 16, and Acts viii. 39, from or out of the water. 
When, therefore, the Greek word [baptizo] is adopted, rather than 
translated into modern languages, the mode of construction ought to be 
preserved so far as may conduce to suggest its original import." Let 
the reader seriously consider what follows. " It is to be regretted that 
we have so much evidence that even good and learned men allow their 
judgments to be warped by the sentiments and curftoms of the sect 
which they prefer. The true partisan, of whatever denoraination, 


OF THE PARTY." Four Gospels, Note oji Matt. iii. 11. 

Tertullian, who lived within a century after the apostle John, men- 
tions expressly the people (quos Joannes in Jordane tinxit) "whom 
John dipped in Jordan." In Stennetfs Answer to Russen, p. 144. 

Would it not be absurd to render the passage "John baptized luith 
the Jordan 1" and if, of necessity, it must be " in the Jordan," then it 
undeniably follows, it must be " in water ;" and baptism in water or 
m a river, wherever so observed throughout the world, is baptism by 
immersion. But I hope to satisfy any candid inquirer on this subject 
in the Appendix. 

Mr. Hervky, when contending that r/ signifies in, adds, "I can 
prove it to have been in peaceable possession of this signification for 
more than two thousand years'^ '* Every one knows," he observes in 
another place, that with " is not the native, obvious, and literal mean- 
ing ; rather a meaning swayed, influenced, moulded by the preceding or 
following word." Letters to Mr. Wesley, X. and II. 

LiGHTFooT AND Adam Clakke. "That the baptism of John 
was by plunging the body (after the same manner as the washing 
unclean persons — was) seems to a])pcar from those things which 
are related of him ; namely, that he baptized in Jordan, that he bap- 
tized in Enon, Ijccause there was much water thtre^^ S^c. In A. Clarke's 
Commentary, at the en<l of Mark, 


Inference. If, then, I am a sincere inquirer after the will of God, 
and disposed to gather that will from what God has been pleased to 
reveal in his word for that purpose, I am constrained, from the foregoing 
Scriptures, to draw the following inference, namely, 'that John baptized 
none but those who gave him satisfactory evidence of being conscious 
of their sin and guilt before God, and whom he exhorted to repent and 
to believe in Jesus ; and as to the Mode, that he immersed them in 
water, in the Jordan.^ 

§ II. The Baptism of Jesus Christ, from the four Evangelists. 

Our Lord's baptism we next find immediately following the foregoing account of 
Joiin. This place attaches to it infinite interest, by the infinite dignity of the 
Person baptized. 

Matt. iii. 13. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jor- 
dan unto John to be baptized of him. 14. But John for- 
bade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and 
comest thou to me? 15. And Jesus answering, said unto 
him, Suffer it to be so now : for thus it becometh us to 
fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Mark i. 9. 
[Thus] Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was 
baptized of John in Jordan. 

Matt. iii. 16. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went 
up straightway out of the water. Mark i. 10. And — 
coming up out of the water, Luke iii. 21. and praying, the 
heaven was opened, 22, And the Holy Ghost descended 
in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice 
came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son ; 
in thee I am well pleased. 23. And Jesus himself began 
to be about thirty years of age. 

John i. 32. And John bare record, saying, I saw the 
Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode 
upon him. 29. 36. And looking upon Jesus as he walked, 
he saith. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the 
sin of the world ! 34. And I saw, and bare record that 
this is the Son of God. 28. These things were done in 
Bethabara, where John was baptizing. 

What, my pious reader, shall we say of the Persott baptized in this 
case ! What an honor is hereby attached to the ordinance, and con- 
sequently to all that duly follow the example of the Redeemer in it! 

Let the man who slights and contemns this sacred institution, calling 
it "an useless, unmeaning ceremony, incapable of washing away sin, 
or of effecting any good," let him read these verses, and view the un- 


maculate Sox of God, who had " no sin" to wash away, proceeding 
from Galilee down to Jordan "to be baptized." Let him see the "Wis- 
dom of God" entering the streams, and bowing beneath them, 

" The emblem of his fuiure grave !" 

This, we should suppose, would induce a different sentiment of the 
ordinance, and silence every objection to the practice of it. And if a 
sight of CHRIST in Jordan had not that effect, let him hear and see 
the approbation of the FATHER and SPIRIT testified on this very 
occasion, and immediately upon his submission to this sacred rite. 
Never was an ordinance so honored ! Here is a dignity given to it 
infinitely exceeding any of the rites of the Old Testament. Each Per- 
son of the sacred TRINITY is specially present, and each Ditine 
Person gives it the testimony of his approbation ! The blessed Re- 
DEEMEit submits to be baptized; the Father, at the instant of his 
rising from the water, calls him his beloved Sou, in vihose conduct he 
was well pleased ,• and the Divine Spirit, at the same instant, de- 
scended upon him in a visible form ! 0, to have witnessed this scene, 
how overwhelming ! Nothing, since the commencement of time, has 
equalled in sublimity and glory this wonderful event. 

Four things are to be noticed in this place. 1. The Reason why 
Christ would be baptized ; upon which, hear the celebrated and excellent 

WiTsius. " Our Lord would be baptized, that he might conciliate 
authority to the baptism of John — that by his own example, he might 
commend and sanctify our baptism — that men might not be loath to 
come to the baptism of the Lord, seeing the Lord was not backward 
to come to the baptism of a sertrmt — that, by his baptism, he might 
represent the future condition both of himself and his followers ; first 
humble, then glorious ,- now mean and low, then glorious and exalted ; 
ihat represented by immersion, this by emersion — and, finally, to 
declare by his voluntary submission to baptism, that he would not delay 
the delivering up of himself to be immersed in the torrents of hell, yet 
with a certain faith and hope of emerging." — In Fasd. Exam. Vol, 1. 
page 147. 

2. The Time chosen for fulfilling the promi?e of pouring forth the 
Spirit upon Christ. This is noticed and improved by the pious 

DoDBRiDPE. "Jesus had no sin to wash away, yet he was bap- 
tized ; and God owned that ordinance so far as to make it the season 
of pouring forth the Spirit upon him. And where can we expect this 
sacred effusion, but in a conscientious and humble attendance upon 
divine appointments ?" Faryt. Expos. Improv. of the place. 

3. The Langucrrc of Christ, in answer to John; which is thus 
explained by an esteemed commentator ; 

Mu. Scott. Thus it becometh us, Sfc. " We never find that Jesus 
spake of himself in the plural number ; and it must therefore be allowed 
he meant John also, and all the servants of God. in a subordinate 
sense. It became Christ, as our surety and our example, perfectly to 
fuljil all righteousness ; it becomes us to walk in all the command- 
ments and ordinances of God, without exception, and to attend on 
6* b3 


eveiy divine institution — as long as it continues in force. Thus far 
Christ's example is oulioatory." Commentary m Matt. iii. 13 — 15. 

4. The Circumstance immediately following his baptism, namely, 
his " comiiig up OUT OF the water," which evidently implies that he 
went down into it, (as is expressly said of Philip and the eunuch. Acts 
viii, 38 ;) a circumstance required in no mode of baptism but immer- 
sion, and hence we infer that Jesus was buried or immersed in the 
water. To this mode of baptism our blessed Saviour plainly alludes 
when referring to his overwhelming sufferings, in Luke xii. 50, which 
we shall come to presently. 

Campbell's Translation. "Jesus, being baptized, no sooner rose 
out of the water than heaven was opened to him." Four Gospeky 
Matt, iii, 16. 

Doddridge's. " And after Jesus was baptized as soon as he ascended 
out of the water, behold, the heavens were opened unto him.'' In loco. 

Mackxioht. Jesus *' submitted to be baptized, that is, buried under 
the water by John, and to be raised out of it again, as an emblem of his 
future death and resurrection." ApostoL Epis. Note on Rom. vi. 4. 

Bishop Taylor. " The custom of the ancient churches was not 
sprinkling, but immersion ; in pursuance of the sense of the word in 
the commandment and the example of our blessed Saviour." In Paed. 
Exam. Vol. I. p. 199. 

I never, my reader, can think of the baptism of this glorious and 
divine Person — the Son of God — the Lord from heaven — the righteous 
Judge of the last day — the Author of our salvation, and the Giver of 
eternal life, but with feelings of the deepest interest. We observe him 
here proceeding on his long journey, (for Nazareth was three days* 
journey from Jerusalem, and not less from Bethabara,) the object of 
which is, "to be baptized," We observe him admitting of no argu- 
ment against his submission to that rite^, and we ought never to forget 
how he associated his people, his followers, with himself, " thus it be- 
cometh us !" the servant as well as the Lord, the members as well as 
the Head, "to fulfil all" practical "righteousness;" all that God en- 
joins and i-eijuires. How strong is the obligation to realize what the 
Saviour hero intended ! Who will not concur in the pious decision of 
Mr. PolhillI "the pattern of Christ and the Apostles is more to me 
than all the human wisdom in the world." Nor can any one deny me 
the following 

Inference. The Baptism of Jesus, as an Example, is fulfilled in the 
baptism of a Believer by Immersion, and in no other case. 

§ III. Christ Baptizing, by his Disciples, in Judea. 

This is the only mention of oiir Lord's baptizing, or of the disciples by his 
authority and direction, dnrin;? iiis corporeal presence with them; and, conse- 
quently, it claims our very serious attention. 

John iii. 22. After these things came Jesus and his 
disciples into the land of Judea ; and there he tarried with 


them and baptized. 26. And they came unto John, and 
said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jor- 
dan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same bap- 
tizeth, and all men come to him. 27. John answered and 
said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him 
from heaven. 30. He must increase, but I must decrease. 
Chap. iv. 1. When, therefore, the Lord knew how the 
Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more 
disciples than John, 2. (Though Jesus himself baptized 
not, but his disciples,) 3. He left Judea, and departed again 
into Galilee. — x. 40. And [he] went away again beyond 
Jordan, into the place where John at first baptized ; — 42. 
And many believed on him there. 

The import of this passage is simply this, " Jesus went into the land 
of Judea and baptized certain disciples, — many hearing of him, and 
remembering what John had preached concerning him, flocked to him, 
— and soon it was generally known and said, as the happy fruit of his 
labors, ' That Jesus made and baptized more disciples thayi John ,-' 
upon which the Saviour departed, and went into Galilee. He again, 
however, visited this interesting place, and many more believed on him 

The only thing to be noticed here, and it is certainly of some im- 
portance as to our first inqxiiry, is this, that Christ made disciples 
before he baptized them. He did not begin by baptizing, and afterwards 
instructing ; but he fiist taught them his gospel, and they believing 
and embracing his word, are thereby "made his disciples;" and hence 
they are said to " come to him," to conform to his commandments, and 
then, secondly, he baptized them. As this is all the Evangelists have 
recorded respecting Christ baptizing, through the whole of his ministry, 
this is, consequently, all in which the Practice of Christ is given for 
the guide of his people. What we are to understand by " disciples," 
or " making disciples," is thus described by 

Mr. Owex. " By the disciples of Christ, I intend them, and them 
only, who profess faith in his person and doctrine, &c. This is the 
method of the gospel, that first men, by the preaching of it, be made 
DISCIPLES, or be brought unto faith in Christ, and then to be taught 
to do and observe whatever he commands." In Paed. Exam. Vol. II. 
p. 275, and 287. 

Mn. Baxter. " A disciple and a Christian are all one." Ibid. p. 288. 

Our LoKD, however, may be heard for himself, as to what is intended 
by his disciples : " Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come 
after me, cannot be my disciple." Luke xiv. 27. Whatever, there- 
fore, may be said in favor of infant baptism, it cannot be said, that 
either Christ's Example or Practice affords it any support; and we 
shall presently come to his Command on the subject. But, in passing 
from noticing the Practice of Jesus, let me cite the words of one of the 


most eminent Psedobaptist Commentators on the Bible England has 
ever witnessed : — - 

Mr. Scott. " The baptism of Jesus was, doubtless, of adults alone." 
Commentari/y on John iii. 22 — 24. 

4 IV. John's last Baptizing, in JEnon. 

The next passage we find on our subject, ia contained in few wordi. It is, how- 
ever, of powerful import relative to the Modh. 

John iii. 23. And John also was baptizing in ^non, 
near to Salim, because there was much water there ; and 
they came and were baptized. 

Of the Persons here alluded to, as baptized by the Harbinger of the 
Redeemer, nothing is said descriptive of them, except that " they came" 
to John, as the penitent Jews had before done at Jordan, and, like them, 
" were baptized ;" which fairly implies, that it was their own voluntary 
act thus to seek this holy rite; and if so, they must have been pre- 
viously instructed. 

But, ill reference to our inquiry on the Mode of baptism, this passage 
is of great weight. We have here the Reason assigned, on account 
of which John chose the place where we now find him pursuing the 
object in which he is divinely employed. He is baptizing in ^non, 
" because there was MUCH WATER there." No candid Christian, I 
think, can object to the following 

Inference. If John chose a place for the purpose of baptizing, on 
account of one circumstance, necessary for that ordinance, namely, 
" because there was much water there," then his Mode of baptism re- 
quired much water : But much water is not necessary for any Mode 
of baptism but Immersion, and hence, without doubt, that was his 
practice. The same inference was drawn, with as little doubt, by the 
illustrious Pawlobaptists following : — 

Calvin. " From these words, John iii. 23, it may be inferred, that 
baptism was administered, by John and Christ, by plunging the whole 
body under water." In I'scd. Exam. Vol. I. p. 194. 

WiiiTBT. " Ot/ C^jlta TroW'j. XV iKU\ Because there was much tvater 
there, in which their whole bodies might be dipped ; for in this manner 
o/i/y was the Jewish baptism performed, by a descent into the water, 
Acts viii. 38, and an ascent out of it, ver. 39, and a burial in it. Rom. 
vi. 3, 4. Colos. ii. 12." Annot. on the place. See Lightfoot and A. 
Clarke, at p. 16. 

My reader scarcely need be told, that those who practise sprinkling 
never go to rivers, or places of much water, to administer the ordi- 
nance ; anil, if they should do so, the great qtiantitif of the water 
could not be assigned as the reason for choosing such places; because, 
in their Mode, a very small qiuintity only is required. Not much 


candor is necessary to admit the truth so plainly conveyed as in this 

§ V. References of Jesus Christ to John, his Baptism, and Success. 

As ihe passage in the preceding section contains the last record of John's bap- 
tizing, it appears proper to follow it by the testimony Jesus bore to his Harbinger 
and his labors. 

Luke vii. 24. And when the messengers of John were 
departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning 
John. What went ye out into the wilderness for to see ? 
26. A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a 
prophet. Matt. xi. 10. For this is he of whom it is writ- 
ten, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which 
shall prepare thy way before thee. 1 1 . Verily I say unto you. 
Among them that are born of women, there hath not arisen 
a greater than John the Baptist. John v. 35. He was a 
burning and a shining light. 

Mark xi. 29. And Jesus answered and said unto them, 
I will also ask you one question. 30. The baptism of 
John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me. 31. 
And they reasoned with themselves, saying. If we shall 
say. From heaven ; he will say, Why then did ye not be- 
lieve him ? 32. But if we shall say, Of men : (all the peo- 
ple will stone us : Luke xx. 6,) they feared the people ; 
for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. 
33. And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. 

Luke vii. 29. And all the people that heard him, and 
the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the bap- 
tism of John. 30. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected 
the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized 
of him. 

Here observe, 1. The Redeemer, in the first of these passages, gives 
John a pre-eminence above all the servants of God, of the former dis- 
pensation ; not excepting Abraham, Moses, or Isaiah. His revelations 
were more signal ; his preaching of more vital importance, and his suc- 
cess greater. Thus was he more than a prophet. 

* The answer that some have made that the words, " much water," should be 
" many waters," and refer to 7na7i!/ shallmo streams, is sufficiently answered by 
the learned Psedobaplist ExfX)3itor, who thus rentiers and explains the passage: — 

Doddridge. "John was also at that time baptizing at ^non; and he parti- 
cularly chose that place, because there was a great qudntity of water there, which 
made it very convenient for his purpose." " Nothing, surely, can be more evident, 

than that [_v6ara iroXAa] mantj waters, signifies a large quantity of mater, it beinji 
sometimes used for the Euphrates. Jer. li. 13. (Sentiuiguit.) To which, I suppose, 
there may be an allusion, Rev. xvii. 1. Compare Ezek. xliii. 2, and Rev. i. 15; xiv. 

z; XIX. 6; whore the voire of many waters does plainly signify the roaring of a 
high sea." Fam. Erpos. Paraph., and Note on the Place. 


2. From the question which the Redeemer proposed to the Jews, 
Whether the baptism of John was from heaven or of men 1 in order to 
convict them of their guilt in treating John's labors as they had done ; 
it will evidently follow, that it was " From heaven." Had John's bap- 
tism been borrowed from Jewish proselyte baptism, it would have been 
of men, (for that is unknown in the word of God,) and then the ques- 
tion might have been answered without hesitation, and tim design of 
our Lord, in that case, could not have been realized. 

3. The common people, who heard John's ministry, (the Saviour 
adds,) "justified God," i, e. approved of the Divine conduct in John's 
ministry and baptism ; and this they evinced in " being baptized with 
the baptism of John ;" while classes of higher religious repute, " the 
Pharisees and lawyers," in contempt of this messenger of God, and his 
message too, " rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not 
baptized of him,.^' Here our Lord plainly indicates that the ordinance 
of Baptism was a part of " the counsel of God," i. e. his mind and will ; 
and, as far as this rite is contemned, so far the counsel of God is 
" rejected ;" and it is, emphatically, " against themselves" who thus 
oppose what God enjoins. 

Inference. If John, who was hut a man, is to be so highly regarded, 
and his baptism considered "the counsel of God ;" so that neglect of it 
thus meets the marked disapprobation of our Kedeemer ; — how much 
more may the Divine indignation he expected on them who slight this 
sacred ordinance in that still more interesting form, in which we shall 
presently find it, — enjoined by Hi:m, whose name is written " King of 
kings, and Lord of lords !" Surely I may add, "If they escaped not 
who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, 
if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven /" Heb. xii. 25. 

§ VI, Christ represents his Sufferings under the Figure of " a 

Matt. XX. 22. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know 
not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I 
shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I 
am baptized with ? They say unto him. We are able. 
23. And he said unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my 
cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized 
with : but to sit on my rii^ht hand, and on my left, is not 
mine to g"ive, but it shall be given to them for whom it is 
prepared of my Father. 

Luke xii. 50. But I have a baptism to be baptized with ; 
and how am I straitened till it be accomplished ! 

Our Lord, in these affecting and impressive passages, is referring to 
the greatness of his approaching sufferings, — and, by a metaphor, he 
calls them " a Baptism.^' An interesting question from hence arises 


in reference to our second inquiry, Does sprinkling a little water on 
the face, or being totally immersed and overwhelmed in a large quan- 
tity, most appropriately exhibit an image of the severity of the suffer- 
ings of Christ 1 The following extracts will, I have no doubt, contain 
my reader's opinion c — 

DoDnRiDGE thus paraphrases the places : " Are you able to drink 
of the bitter cup of which I am now about to drink so deep, and to be 
baptized with the baptism, and plunged into that sea of sufferings with 
which I am shortly to be baptized, and, as it were, overwhelmed for a 
time I" " I have, indeed, a most dreadful baptism to be baptized with ; 
and I know that I shall be shortly bathed, as it were, in blood, and 
plunged in the most overwhelming distress." Fam. Expos, on the 

WiTsius. " Immersion into the water, is to be considered by us, as 
exhibiting that dreadful abyss of Divine justice, in which Christ, for 
our sins, was for a time, as it were, absorbed ; as in David, his type, he 
complains, Psalm Ixix. 2, I am come into deep waters, where the 
Jioods overjlow me." CEcon. of the Cov. L. IV. C. xvi. § 26. 

Mr. James Hervkt expresses himself, on this subject, with great 
energy. "He longed, (beneficent, blessed BEING !) he longed for the 
fatal hour. He severely rebuked one of his disciples who would have 
dissuaded him from going as a volunteer to the cross. He was even 
straitened, under a kind of holy uneasiness, till the dreadful work was 
accomplished ; till he was baptized with the baptism of his sufferings, 
bathed in blood, and plunged in death !" Tlieron and Aspasio, Vol. 
II. Let. 7. 

" Sir H. Trelawnet, under whose impressive ministry," says the 
late amiable Mr. Dore, of London, " my first religious feelings were 
invigorated, referring to those words of our Lord, exclaimed to this 
effect: 'Here, I must acknowledge, our Baptist brethren have the 
advantage : for our Redeemer's sufferings must not be compared to a 
few drops of water sprinkled on the face, for he w as plunged into dis- 
tress, and his soul was environed with sorrows.' " Sermons on Bap- 
tism, by J. Dore, p. 39. 

Inference. If our Lord intended the ordinance of baptism to exhibit 
an image of the overwhelming sorrotvt of his soul, in the garden and 
on the cross, his intention is frustrated by the change of immersion into 
sprinkling ! And if this be admitted, (and it cannot be denied,) what 
devout Christian can think of this change but with deep regret ! 


Which our Lord gave his Apostles about the time of his Ascension into 
Heaven, containing the formal Institution of Christian Baptism. 

We have already seen that Baptism, as a New Testament ordinance, was insti- 
tutHd of God, and enjoined uyMn John as the herald and precursor of Christ. It is 
evident, also, that John administered it upon an a«<iniited or profp««pd acknow- 
ledgment of fiiith " in him who teas to come afior him." Acts xix. 4. But 
after our Redeemer had come, and finished his work, an alteration was ncces- 
flary in this particular circumstance. None on earth, but Jesus, cwuld make thai 


alteration ; and he, as Head antl Lord of the church, now does it ; requiring it to 
be administered from this hour, " In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and 
of the Holy Ghost." This I consider as a renewed institution of the same 
sacred rite, altered only in its reference to the coming of Christ lo set up his king- 
dom. And, what adds greatly to the solemnity of it in thi.s renewed form, our 
Lord delayed its institution till his last mmnejits om earth, and then united it with 
his final parting and solemn charge, given by Matthew and Mark in the verses 

Matt, xxviii. 16. Then the eleven disciples went away 
into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed 
them. 18. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, 
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19. 
Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in 
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost : 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatso- 
ever I have commanded you : and, lo, I am with you 
always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 

Mark xvi. 15. And he said unto them. Go ye into all 
the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16. 
He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved ; but lie 
that believelh not, shall be damned. 19. So then, after 
the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into 
heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 

How solemn and interesting was this occasion ! The Redeemer had 
undergone the baptism of his sufferings, last described — he had been 
bathed in blood in the garden ! — he had sunk into death on the cross, 
under floods of wrath, due to mankind ! But now he is risen triumph- 
ant, and is about to ascend to his glory. 

He had appointed his disciples to meet him on a mountain of Galilee, 
where he was to give them his last most solemn and important charge, 
contained in the verses above. The interesting hour is come ; we may 
be sure the disciples are eager to catch every word from their ascending 
Tjord, and that he would give them his directions in the plainest lan- 
guage possible. 

He begins by encouraging their sorrowful minds, with a view of his 
supreme power in heaven and earth — in heaven, to give them the Holy 
Spirit; to employ the angels in their behalf ; and, finally, to bestow the 
kingdom of heaven upon them. So he had all power in earth, to 
gather his church out of all nations ; to subdue or restrain his enemies ; 
and to reign over and dwell with his people as Lord and King of Zion. 
Hence the Saviour gives them the " Commissiox" for preaching and 
baptizing, which you, ray reader, cannot too attentively consider. If 
you conceive there is any obscurity in the one Evangelist, the other 
will explain him ; and this explanation you will, no doubt, esteem pre- 
ferable to ten thousand criticisms. By uniting the words of both, 
they may be thus disposed: "Go ye, therefore, into all the luorld / 
" teach all nations, and preach the gospel to enery creature ; him that 


" believefh baptize, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of 
*'the Holy Ghost, and he shall be saved ; but he that believeth not 
" shall be damned" 

Our great Legislator, who only has right to enact laws for his church, 
to whom we must submit, and who will have nothing taken away from, 
or added to his word, Rev. xxii. 19, has here described to his apostles 
the person to whom they are to administer this his ordinance, namely, 
the BELIEVER ; the person who shall cordially believe the gospel which 
they shall preach. And if we allow him to have expressed his mind 
clearly and fully, he restricts the ordinance to the believer alone. He 
has given no direction to admit any other to it ; and who will dare to 
speak where He is silent 1 Who shall enlarge or extend the limits He 
has prescribed 1 or, who will dare to go beyond, or attempt to remove, 
the boundaries He has fixed and established ] Surely the mind of a 
true disciple recoils at the thought ! Let us now hear the remarks of 
some eminent Paedobaptist writers on these passages : — 

Mr. Arc HI B ALB Hall, Predecessor of Mr. Waugh, of London. 
" How grand and awful is that weighty preface to the institution of 
Christian baptism ! Matt, xxviii. 18, 19. Who is that daring, inso- 
lent worm, that will presume to dispute the authority, or change the ordi- 
nances of HIM who is given to be head over all things to the church 1 
The solemnity of this ordinance is complete ; and all the purposes of 
its institution are secured by the authority and blessing of Christ. His 
laws are not subject to any of those imperfections which are attendants 
of the best contrived systems among men, and frequently need expla- 
nations, amendments, and corrections. It is most dangerous and pre- 
sumptuous to add any ceremony, or to join any service, on any pre- 
tence, unto Heaven's appointment."* Gospel Worship, Vol. I. p. 
325, 326. 

Saurix. " In the primitive church, instruction preceded baptism ; 
agreeable to the order of Jesus Christ, Go, teach all nations, baptizing 
them,'' &c. In Paed. Exam. Vol. II. p. 274. 

Mr. Baxter has a very forcible passage on the same place. " Go, 
disciple me all nations, baptizing them. As for those who say they 

* Mr. Simeon, of Cambridge, has given us a skeleton of a sprmon on this Com- 
mission of Christ, in which he proposed lo consider, "I. The authority he claimed, 
n. The commission he gave to his Apostles. 1. They were /o /eo'/j all nations. 
I. They were lo baptize their cmiverts in the name of the sacred Three." Then, 
he adils, "But though they first tauirht adults, and then baptized them, thby 
REVERSED thts order with respect to infants." 

On readin? this Inst sentence, the inquirer with surprise misht ask, \Mio re- 
versed this order? The answer here is, the Apostles. Reversed what order? The 
answer is, the order of Jesus Christ; \first, to teach, and serond, lo b.-\puze.' Awful 
ihought ! that mortal worms shouhl presume to alter the institutions of the Lord of 
Glory ; yea, to reverse the order He ordains i 

Here is a candid confession that the order of Jesus Christ is " reversed, with re. 
^pect to infants." A fact, alas ! too plain to be denied. 

With respect to the Apostles, however, the charge is not true. They never re. 
versed any order or appointment of Christ. He enjoined upon them, in his last 
^•ords, to '-teach men to observe whatsoever he had commanded them;" and any 
adding or taking away, u> say nothing of reversing, he solemnly prohibited. Rev. 
xxii. 15, 19. The order of Christ is reversed, but it was not till the Apostles and 
primitive Disciples were long in the dust; as I shall show in the Appendix. 
VOL. II. — 7 C 


are discipled by baptizing, and not before baptizing, they speak not the 
sense of the text ; nor that which is true or rational ; else, why should 
one be baptized more than another ? — This is not like some occasional 
historical mention of baptism ; but it is the very commission of Christ 
to his apostles, for preaching and baptizing ; and purposely expresseth 
their several works in their several places and order. Their first task 
is, by teaching, to make disciples, which are, by Mark, called believers. 
The second work is, to baptize them, Vvhereto is annexed the promise 
of their salvation. The third work is, to teach them all other things 
which are afterwards to be learned in the school of Christ. [Observe 
what follows.] To contemn this order, is to renounce all rules of order ; 
for where can we expect to find it, if not here ? I profess, my conscience 
is fully satisfied from this text, that it is one sort of faith, even saving, 
that MUST GO BEFORE BAi'TisJi ; and the profession whereof, the minis- 
ter must expect." In Pied. Exam. Vol. II. p. 270. See also other 
authors below.* 


The last Scriptures we cited, close the information which the Four 
Gospels afford us on the subject of Baptism. Before we pass to i\\e 
subsequent books, I beg to remind the reader, that we have had before 
us the practice of John; and the Example, Practice, and Command of 
our Lord Jesus Christ. As yet, we have not met with a single passage 
or word, which can fairly be interpreted as indicating that any persons 
should receive this ordinance, or are proper subjects for it, but those 
who have been first taught the gospel, and who profess to believe it. 

But I am most anxious to impress on the attention of an inquirer 
the words of Jesus in the Commission, which we have just read. Re- 
member, reader, that this Jesus is to be our Judge at the last great and 
awful day ; and that He will not judge us according to the opinions or 
practices of men, but according to his own word. Upon this command 
of our Saviour, I would, therefore, beg briefly to add, and leave to the 
reader's deliberate meditations : — 

\. That we have here the enactment of the Divine Law, in refer- 
ence to Baptism : and this Law we find dehvered in language the most 
solemn, and in circumstances the most interesting and affecting. 

* Jerome, the most learned of all the Latin Fathers. "They_;?rs/ teach all the 
nations; then ichen they are taught, they I aptize them with water; for it cannot 
he tiiat the body should receive the sacrament of baptism, unless the soul has be- 
fore received the true faith." In Gale's R<Jle<tions on Wall, p. 319. 

Poole's Continuator.s : " Go ye, therefore, cnid teach all ?wtions. The Greek 
is, make disn'ples all nations; but that must be first liy preaching and instructing 
them ; and Mark expounds it. Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to 
everi/ creature; that is, to every reasonable creature capable of hearing and re- 
ceivmg it. I cannot be of their mind who think that persons may be baptized 
before they be taught: we want precedents of any such baptisms in Scripture." 
Annot. in loc. 

Calvin. "Because Christ requires teaching before baptizing, and will hava 
believers only admitted to baptism, baptism does not seem to be rightly adminis- 
tered, except faith precede." /w Pad. Exam. Vol. II. p. 272. 


2. That this Law of Jesus is not like human laws, which admit of 
alterations or amendments. None but Jesus has authority to alter : 
and, coming from the Fountain of heavenly Wisdom, who will presume 
to improve upon his appointment 1 And 

3. This Law is as delightful to the mind of a Christian, os it is so- 
lemn. The words, " baptizing them iiito the name of the Father, Son, 
and Holy Spirit," imply a public recognition of the glorious change 
•which has taken place in the spiritual circumstances of true converts, in 
their having passed from the family of sin and Satan, into the family 
of the Tki-une God ! A change, not of the ordinance, but of the 
power and grace of God. 

We now pass on to the Acts of the Apostles. Here we have an his- 
torical relation of the labors of the Apostles, for above thirty years after 
the ascension of Christ ; and here we shall find the baptism of many 
thousands of persons. If we have misunderstood the will of Christ on 
this subject, the Apostles sukelt did xot, and their obedience to 
his command will correct our error ; but if, on the contrary, we have 
rightly interpreted his will, their obedience will confirm our opinion. 



"The penman of this Scripture," the Assembly of Divines, in their argument to 
it, assures us, " was Luire the Evangelist, (as appears from the first words of it,) for 
the most part an eye-witness to the things he records, bein» constanily a fellow- 
laborer with Paul. His purpose," they add, "in writing this narrative was, as he 
intimates in his first preface, that the Church might have the certain knowledi^e of 
Christ, his gospel, ami kingdom ; that our faith might not be built on the uncertain 
reports of pretenders to truth." Hence, admitting the writer to be a faithful and 
pious historian, and writing purposely for the direction of the Church of Christ in 
all following ages ; and, above all, under the influence of the Spirit of God, we may 
safely rely, not only on the accuracy of the accounts, but on the fulness and suf- 
ficiency of the information to answer the professed purpose. 

We have here, on infliUible record, NINE INSTANCES of the administration 
of baptism, which we will examine in their own order. 

§ L The Baptism at the Feast of Pentecost. 

On this memorable occasion, which was but ten days from the ascension of 
Christ, when the Apostles and Disciples were together at Jerusalem, it pleased 
God to accotn[)lish the promise of sending them the Holy Ghost. By his miracu- 
lous power they were enabled to sppak in dilferent languages to the multitude 
then assembled at Jerusalem from different nations : so that every one heard, in 
his oicn tongue, the irowJerfnl xcorks of God. Peter delivers to the multitude an 
impressive discourse, in which he charged the Jews with having crucified the Lord 
of glory; but added, that God had raised him from the dead, and exalted him to 
his right hand, as the only Lord and Christ. Upon this follow the verses relating 
to the ordinance, and descriptive of the subjects of it. 

Acts ii. 37. Now when they heard this, they were 
pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter, and to the rest 
of the Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do ? 
38. Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized 


every one of you in tlie name of Jesus Christ, for the re- 
mission of sins ; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy 
Ghost: 39. For the promise is unto you, and to your 
children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the 
Lord our God shall call. 

41. 'J'hen they that gladly received his word, were bap- 
tized ; and the same day there were added U7ito them about 
three thousand souls. 42. And they continued steadfastly 
in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking 
of bread, and in prayers ; 47. Praising God, and having 
favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the 
church daily such as should be saved. 

Here we must observe how the apostle Peter obeys his Lord's direc- 
tion in the Commission. He begins by preaching, and never men- 
tions a word about baptism, till he evidently found some of his hearers 
answering the character, " he that believeth." Hence, the persons who 
were baptized are thus described, — 1. Their hearts were deeply pene- 
trated by the truth they heard, so that they cried, What shall we do ? 
2. They are exhorted to repent of their sins. 3. They at length 
" GLADLY RECEIVED THE w^oiiD," and thcrcon were baptized, and added 
to the church. 4. They afterward continued steadfast in the doctrine 
of the gospel, and in the practice of its duties. Not a word of this 
will apply to infants. 

There is, however, one clause in the 39th verse of the above scrip- 
tures, " The promise is to you, and to your children," which is com- 
monly urged in favor of infant baptism ; as if the apostle alluded to 
some promise, on the ground of which, infant children were deemed 
proper subjects of Christian baptism. To answer which, let the three 
following things be considered : — 

1. The promise, to which the apostle alludes, hns no relation to /)?- 
fant children, it being the promise of the gift of t!io Holy Ghost, joined 
with its eflects, of which infants are incapable. My reader will observe 
that the people, on this occasion, were astonished at the effects produced 
by the gift of the Spirit. The apostle assures them, verses 16 — 18, 
that it was the fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel ; which prophecy is 
thus expressed, chap. ii. 28 : " / ivill pour out mi/ Spirit upon all 
flesh : and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy," &c. The 
apostle having delivered an impressive discourse, observing his hearers 
deeply affected and amazed at the gifts of the Spirit, in order to turn 
their amazement into hope and joy, refei-s them a second time to this 
promise, and to their own interest in it, in the following words, ver. 
38, 39, " Repent, &c. and you [yourselves] shall receive the gift of 
the Holy Ghost ; FOR [by this I assure you of it] the promise is to 
you and to your children." Now, as the gift of the Spirit, with his 
miraculous powers, is the object of the promise, and, as infant cliildren 
are incapable, of that gift, children in infancy cannot be intended.. 


WHrrBT, " These words wUl not prove a right of infants to 
receive baptism ; the promise here being that only of the Holy Ghost, 
mentioned in verses 16, 17, 18, and so relating only to the times of 
the nAraculous effusion of the Holy Ghost, and to those persons who, 
by age, were capable of these extraordinary gifts." Annot. on the 

Doddridge. *' TAe promise is to you and to your children. 
Considering that the gift of the Spirit had been mentioned just before, 
it seems most natural to interpret this as a reference to that passage in 
Joel, which had been so largely recited above, ver. 17, &c. where 
God promises the elTusion of the Spirit, 07i their sons and their 
daughters" F^m. Expos. Note on the place. 

3. The word, in the original, ratv^, rendered children, signifies pos- 
terity ,- and does not necessarily imply infancy. 

Hammond. " If any have made use of that very unconcludent 
argument [referring to this passage, Acts ii. 39,] I have nothing to say 
in defence of them. — The word children there, is really the posterity of 
the Jews, and not peculiarly their infant children." Works, Vol. I. 
p. 490. 

LiMBoncH, a learned divine of Amsterdam. "By tvivu. the apos- 
tle understands, not infants, but posterity ; in which signification the 
word occurs in many places of the New Testament ; see, among others, 
John viii. 39. [If ye were Abraharri's childuex, ye would do the 
works of Abraham.] Whence it appears, that the argument which is 
very commonly taken from this passage, for the baptism of infants, is 
of s^o FORCE, and good for nothing." Comment, in loc. 

3. The words of the apostle immediately following, explain his own 
meaning in the most decisive terms : '• The promise is to you, and to 
your children, and to all that are afar oft', even to as many as the 
Lord our God shall call," — ' to as many of you and your children, 
and the Gentiles afar off, as God should call by his word and Spirit to 
this great privilege,' 

Matthew Henry. " To this general, the following Umitation must 
refer, even as many of them, as many particular persons in each nation, 
as the Lord our God shall call effectually into the fellowship of Jesus 
Christ." Expos, of the place. 

Inference. From the whole, it appears most evident, that none 
were, in this case, encouraged to hope for Christian baptism, but such 
■as gave evidence of being called effectually by grace ; and none were, 
IN FACT, baptized, but such as " gladly received the word.'' So far, the 
word of God is our plain guide. 

§ n. Philip baptizing at Samaria. 

Acts viii. 5. Then Philip went down to the city of Sa- 
maria, and preached Christ unto them. 6. And the people 
with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip 


spake, hearing, and seeing the miracles which he did. 
8. And there was great joy in the city. 

12. But when they believed Philip preaching the things 
concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus 
Christ, tliey were baptized, both men and women. 13. Then 
Simon himself believed also ; and when he was baptized, 
he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the 
miracles and signs which were done. 

In this instance, as in the former, the commission of Christ is lite- 
rally fulfilled. Philip began his work by preaching Christ to them ; 
and when they had heard the doctrines and saw the miracles, they wero 
filled with joy. Not a word about baptizing, till some of the peoplft 
" believed'^ the things concerning Jesus Christ ; then " they were hap 
tized, both men and women." 

Now, if it were the will of Christ that infants should be baptized, 
and it were true that the Apostles, (like Psedobaptist Missionaries 
among the Heathen,* ) were accustomed to baptize children together 
with the parents; then, \i any of those "men and women" at Samaria 
had children, (which surely is highly probable,) Philip must have bap- 
tized them : but, had he baptized men, women, and children, is it to be 
imagined that the inspired historian, writing, (as he says,) " of all that 
Jesus began to do and to teach," and " having had perfect understand- 
ing of a// things from the very first;" and his avowed design being that 
his reader "might know the certainty of things;" is it to he imagined 
that he tuoiihl particularize thetux), out of the three descriptions of the 
baptized, and omit the third? This I conceive impossible; and there- 
fore draw this 

Inference. When the Evangelist states, " they were baptized, both 
men and women," had infants also been baptized, he must have added, 
to have completed the record of the circumstance, " and children ;" but 
not making that nalural and necessary addition, I infer, that men and 
women only were baptized ; and that no infants received the ordinance 
with them ; therefore, that the practice at that time did not exist. 

* In ihe accnunis we aroofipn receiving from Psedobaptist Missionaries among 
the hf^allien, our brethren nainrally inform i)S of the children, as well as ihe adults, 
Ihcy baptize. For example, in the ^- Missiirnari/ Register^' for the year 1821, at 
page 19, a Report from South Africa, stales—" During the year 1819, 20 adults and 
21 children were baptized " At pnsp 293, a Missionary in Western Africa, states 
— " September 3d, Sunday— I preached, &c. and then baptized 23 adults and 3 in- 
fants." Patre 294, Nov. 29ih,— "On the first Sunday of this month I baptized 34 
adults and llieir children; 48 in all." 

Rev. C. Mault writes from A'af^erroil, East Indies, in March, 1826: "Last month 
I baptized ') adults and 4 children." Rev. C. Bartf writes from Hnahine, South- 
Sea Islands, June 5, 1S25, "30 were added to the church durinsr our visit, and a 
nuiTiber baptized. Among those baptized were 16 infants." — Missionary Chroni- 
cle, for Novonber, 1826. 

Are not such accounts quite nalural where infant baptism prevails ? And why 
IB there a perfect silence throughout the history of apostolical labors on ihiB sul)- 
ject 1 Their practice surely was not the same. 


§ III. The Baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch. 

The eunuch described in this chapter was a person of hi^h authority in the 
kingdom of Ethiopia, but it would seem a proselyte to the Jewish religion. He is 
here returning from Jerusalem. Philip is directed to meet him in his way. He 
found the eunuch reading, as he proceeded in his chariot, the prophet Tsaiah, chap, 
liii. 7. " He was led as a sheep to the slaughter," &c. He is desirous that Philip 
should explain to him. Whether the prophet, in that place, spalce of himself or of 
some oiher? and he took him up into his chariot for that purpose : upon which the 
Evangelist adds: 

Acts viii. 35. Then Philip opened his mouth and be- 
gan at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 
36. And as they went on their way, they came unto a cer- 
tain water : and the eunuch said. See, here is water ; what 
doth hinder me to be baptized ? 37. And Philip said. If 
thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he 
answered, and said, 1 believe that Jesus Christ is the Son 
of God. 38. And he commanded the chariot to stand 
still ; and they went down both into the water, both Philip 
and the eunuch ; and he baptized him. 39. And when 
they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the 
Lord caught away Philip, and the eunuch saw him no 
more : and he went on his way rejoicing. 

My reader will not need to be reminded of the Commission of his 
Redeemer, alter perusing these verses. We have here a plain example 
of the practice of the apostlee:, before they admitted a person to bap- 
tism. Philip might have deemed the Eunuch, after having heard the 
gospel, a proper subject for baptism, by being directed from heaven to 
teach him, — he might have inferred it also, from his sincere request of 
it ; yet he does not, he dares not, baptize him, until he openly profess 
to " believe xcith all his heart ,•" remembering, no doubt, that Christ 
had appointed the ordinance for such, and for such only. Nothing can 
demonstrate more clearly than this, that a declaration of faits was 



We have, in this case, the circumstances attending the administra- 
tion of baptism more minutely described than in any other instance re- 
corded in the New Testament. The reader is requested to observe the 
following things : — 

* Those who contend, that servants and children were all baptized in those 
days, with, and on account of, their masters and parents, would find it difficult to 
support their hyp<Jthesi3 in this case. It is the greatest absurdity to supiwae thai 
Philip would admit the eunuch's servants to baptism, without any profession, or 
even instruction, when he would object to the pious master, after he requested it, 
unless he was able to give a frank and open profession of faith in Christ. But he 
baptized none but the eunuch ; and, therefore, we may safely conclude, the apos- 
tles had " no such custom, neither the churches of God." 


1. If sprinkliyig or pouring were the mode of baptism ordained by 
Christ, and practised by the apostles, we are assured, by the best autho- 
rity, that travellers through those deserts " never omitted" to furnish 
themselves with vessels of water for their journeys ; that this provision 
was "absolutely necessary;" and, if so, the eunuch had all that was 
required for the ordinance, without ivuiting till they came to a place of 
water. See Doddridge, as presently cited, and Shaw's Travels, as 
referred to by him. 

2. We are here, however, informed, verse 36, that they proceeded 
on their journey till "they came" (rr/, ad) "unto a certain water." 
And it appears that it was the sight of this place of water, that sug- 
gested to the eunuch his immediate submission to the ordinance. 
"See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" How 
unmeaning would this be if he had the requisite water before ! 

3. If we admit that the eunuch was not previously provided with 
water, noiu when they were "come to a water," it would have been 
easy, and natural to be expected, for one of the attendants to have con- 
veyed to him as much water as was required, without his, or Philip's, 
proceeding farther. But, though " he commanded the chariot to stand 
still," no command is given upon this point, — of bringing water to 
him. But, 

4. Leaving the chariot, verse 38, " they went down INTO the 
water ;" («;? to vJa>^, in aquam.) Here the reader will remark. It was 
not sufficient to come to the water, (which we are often told is all that 
the original means,) for this they had done before ; but here is a second 
circumstance, — after they had come to it, they went down into it. 

5. The inspired historian also adds, that it was not the eunuch alone 
that went into the water, but " they went down both ;" and this is 
repeated again, as if to make quibbling or doubting on this subject im- 
possible, " both Philip and the eunuch." Such was the mode of bap- 
tism, as now established by the Son of God, that it could not, in this 
case, be administered unless Philip attended the eunuch into the water. 

6. While in this situation, both of them in the water and surrounded 
therewith, " he baptized him ;" that is, if the word be translated, " he 
immersed him," in the name of the Tri-une Jehovah. For this solemn 
act, the circumstances before noticed were necessary, but for any other 
mode they would be absurd. 

7. The sacred rite being performed, it is lastly added, " when they 
were come up, {tx. tou CJ-mc) OUT OF the water," they were parted 
asunder ; probably to meet no more till they should enter the presence 
of Him to whom they now rendered this act of prompt and cheerful 

It is not easy to imagine how the mode of this sacred ordinance 
could be more minutely described. That we have here an example of 
Immersion, is allowed by the learned and candid of all denominations. 

Mr. Towerson. " For what need would there have been of — Philip 
and the eunuch going down INTO this [water] were it not that the 
baptism — was to be performed by immersion, a very little water, as wo 


know it doth with us, sufficing for an effusion or sprinkhng." In Psed. 
Exam. Vol. I. p. 209. 

Calvix, in his Comment on this place, observes, " Here we per- 
ceive how baptism was administered among the ancients, for they 
immersed the whole body in water." Rid. p. 194. 

DoDBRinGE. " Tkei/ both went down to the loater. Consider- 
ing how frequently bathing was used in these hot countries, it is not to 
be wondered that baptism was generally administered by immersion, 
though I see no proof that it was essential to the institution. It would 
be very unnatural to suppose, that they went down to the water merely 
that Philip might take up a little water in his hand to pour on the eu- 
nuch. A person of his dignity had, no doubt, many vessels in his bag- 
gage, on such a journey through a desert country ; a precaution abso- 
lutely necessary for travellers in those parts, and never omi^tted by them. 
— See Shaw's Travels, Preface, p. 4." Fam. Expos. Note in loc. 
See numerous other authors in Booth's Peed. Exam. Vol. I. p. 191 
to 224. 

Inference. If I find one sufficient proof of the mode of baptism in 
the days of the apostles, whatever that mode may be, I infer that I have 
ascertained what was their invariable practice. Because it cannot be 
imagined that the apostles (having probably witnessed, and certainly 
knowing well, the mode by which the Lord Jesus was baptized, and 
having all received the same i77structio7is from their Lord and Master,) 
could be divided either in sentiment or practice. And if immersion be 
proved in one case, and from thence it be granted that Jesus was thus 
baptized, and that He coivimanded the ordinance thus to be adminis- 
tered, would not the amiable and pious Doddridge, who grants above, 
" baptism was generally administered by immersion," allow me to infer, 
(from the authority of Christ's example and command.) that this mode 
is "essential to the institution 1"' Here I have an instance of immer- 
sion, and from this I am authorized to conclude, and I do it with the 
utmost confidence and satisfaction of mind, that immersiox was what 
Christ ordained, and his obedient apostles and disciples i>'^yAHiA- 
BLY PRACTISED ; and, consequently, any departure from this practice, \:i 
a departure from the revealed will of Christ ,- and such an act can be 
viewed in no other light than an act of rebellion against his Divine 

§ IV. The Baptism of the Apostle Paul. 

Saul, while breathing out ihroaleninjis against the disciples of Christ, is me!, 
in his career of persecution, by the Lord himself, at whose exceeilimic j-'lory he 
falls prostrate on the ground. Ananias, a devout disciple, is directed of God to go 
to him, and teach him wliat he is to do; and for his encouragement in visitinii the 
persecutor, he is informed that Saul was prai/ifig, and that God had made him a 
chosen vessel to himself 

Acts ix. 17. And Ananias went his way, and entered 
into the house ; and putting his hands on him, said, Bro- 
ther Saul, the Lord, eveii Jesvis that appeared unto thee in 


the way as thou earnest, hath sent me, that thou mightest 
receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 
Chap. xxii. 14. And he said, The God of our fathers 
had chosen thee, that thou shouldst know his will, and see 
that Just One, and shouldst hear the voice of his mouth. 
15. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what 
thou hast seen and heard. 16. And now why tarriest thou? 
arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on 
the name of the Lord. Chap. ix. 18. And immediately 
there fell from his eyes as it had been scales ; and he re- 
ceived sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 

The promptitude of Ananias in baptizing Saul, * who also is called 
Paul,' as soon as he had received the message from his Saviour, and the 
restoration of his sight, shows how strictly this ordinance was observed 
in the days of the apostles; and, consequently, how it should be olv 
served to the end of time. Paul is exhorted to arise, and be baptized, 
and wash away his sijis, <^c. He was to arise, and yield obedience to 
the command of Christ, in baptism, and, at the same time that his body 
received the washing of water, he was to call on the name of the Lord, 
that his soul might be washed and purified by being, through faith, 
bathed in the " fountain opened for sin." This spiritual purification, 
immersion in water would strikingly represent. Thus the pious poet, 

CowpER.— " Thpre is a fountain fiU'd with blood, 
Drawn from Immanupl's veins: 
And sinners phnig\i beneath that flood, 
Lose all ihoir guilty stains." 

In this instance, we have the spiniTUAx, desigk of the ordinance 
very plainly referred to. " The meaning is not," says an excellent 
writer, " as if remission of sins were obtained by baptism ; but that, by 
means of the ordinance, they might be led to the suiferings, death, and 
bloodshed of Christ represented in it." 

All our three inquiries are answered in the baptism of this illustrious 
man. 1. Respecting the Person to be baptized, — Paul was a believer in 
Christ. 2. To the Mode, — he himself refers when speaking of his 
baptism, and that of others, comparing it to a burial ; " Therefore we 
are buried with him by baptism." Rom. vi. 4. And, 3. The Spi- 
ritual Design is to represent a washing away of sin, obtained in 
" calling on the name of the Lord." 

§ V. The Baptism of Cornelius and ?iis Friends. 

The next instance records the baptism of the first Gentiles received into tha 
Christian Church. Cornelius was " a devout man, and ono that feared God, with 
all his house." He is directed fmm Heaven to send for Peter the apostle; and 
against his coming, he called together his kinsmen and near friends. The apoetl« 
having taught them the leading doctrines of the Gospel, concludes bv repeating 
what Christ had commissiened his aposiles to do as their first and chief work, an3 


the testimony of the prophets concerning him, in the two first verses below; after 
which we have the ordinance in question. 

Acts X. 42. And he commanded us to preach unto the 
people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of 
God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead. 43. To 
him gave all the prophets witness, that, through his name, 
whosoever believeth in him, shall receive remission of 

44. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost 
fell on all them which heard the word. 45. And they of 
the circumcision which believed, were astonished, as many 
as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was 
poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46. For they 
heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then 
answered Peter, 47. Can any man forbid water, that these 
should not be baptized, which have received the Holy 
Ghost as well as we ? 48. And he commanded them to 
be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they 
him to tarry certain days. 

The order of the commission is here also observed. Peter began by 
preaching ,- and never a word of baptism is found, till the people had 
heard the gospel, and had given certain evidences of their conversion. 
Then, and not till then, Peter pleads for their baptism ; and, what 
should be particularly observed, he pleads for it upon the ground of 
their being, most evidently, true believers, and as having received the 
Holy Ghost. His language, in verse 47, implies that, if they did not 
appear to be regenerate persons, any one might object to their baptism ; 
but, as they had given evidences that could not be disputed, he infers, 
no one could deny the propriety of their being baptized. Hence, they 
wore converts to the faith of Christ. Accordingly, 

Mr. Holland had infallible authority for his observation. " In the 
first plantation of Christianity among the Gentiles, such only as were 
of full age, after they were instructed in the principles of the Christian 
religion, were admitted to baptism." In WaWs Hist. Inf. Bap. Vol. II. 
c. ii. § 14. 

As to the manner by which these persons were baptized, nothing is 
said of it, by the sacred historian, beyond the simple fact. It has been 
suggested, however, that Peter, by the words, " Can any man forbid 
water," intimates that he required a little water to be brought to him, 
in a cup or basin, for the purpose of sprinkling ;* but the apostle neither 

* If this suggestion were a fact, it is highly improbable that Peter, receiving a 
cup of water, wouhl command others to ba|)lizp, as he might himself administer in 
the same lime that he was jiiviag the instructions toothers; and I should certainly 
think he would prefer doing so on so iiiterpsiing an occasion, when the first fruits 
of llie Gentile world were to be received into the church. Instead of this, hw 
assigns that office to some other pei-son. To mo, the idea of any man (servant or 


Speaks of little nor much water, nor about bringing it, but simply of 
water, and, no doubt, he intended as much as the ordinance required. 
It is most improper to form conjectures upon inconclusive statements 
of Scripture, against that which, by other Scriptures, is evidently con- 
firmed and established. When persons are said to be baptized, we are 
bound to infer that they were baptized according to the Pattern and 
Authority of Christ. This, I conclude, was the case in this, and in 
every other instance. 

§ VI. The Baptism of Lydia and her Household. 

The three following instances, as they relate to " /loi/se/ioMs," are commonly 
urged in favor of infant baptism; and, indeed, as being the principal support of 
that practice in the New Testament. The reader will, therefore, the more parti- 
cularly examine the Scriptures below in reference to the persons that constituted 
ihese households, and if he find recorded the baptism of one infant, or any thing 
in the text which evidently indicates it, he will consider the jxiint as settled for 
ever in favor of infant baptism ; but if the text does not contain such an indication 
of infants, but describes the baptized households as consisting of persons arrived 
at the years of understanding, and so capable oi hearing and believing the gos- 
pel,— a^nA especially if what is recorded implies that they actually did /icar and 
believe, then it must be granted that adult and believers' baptism receives all the 
support these instances afford. The first is of Lydia and her household. 

Paul, whose baptism we have just considered, is now become an apostle ol 
Christ. He, with Silas, (and with them, probablv, Luke, the writer of this history,) 
are commissioned from heaven to proceed to Macedonia, and to Philippi, a chief 
city of it, to preach the gospel. Having arrived, they began their worlt in the fol- 
lowing way, and with the following success :— 

Acts xvi. 13. And on the Sabbath we went out of the 
city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made ; 
and we sat down, and spake unto the women which re- 
sorted thither. 14. And a certain woman named Lydia, 
a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worship- 
ped God, heard us : whose heart the Lord opened, that 
she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 
15. And when slie was baptized, and her household, she 
besought ws, saying. If ye have judged me to be faithful to 
the Lord, come into my house and abide there. And she 
constrained us. 

40. And they [that is, Paul and Silas, who afterward 
had been imprisoned at Philippi] went out of the prison, 
and entered into the house o/* Lydia; and when they had 
seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed. 

Lydia herself, it is evident, had a right to be baptized, according to 
the order of Jesus Christ, being a Belikveu. But of what does it 

vxaxler) forbidding a cup of loaier to be brought, for the use of the master of the 
house, at this interesting time, is most absurd, and never could have entered the 
aposilH's mind. The meaning, I think, certainly is, " Can any man forbid the use 
tf xnater for the baptism of those persons to whom God has given, whai is inf.' 
nitely more important, the' baptisin of the Holy Ghost ?" 


appear, from the text, did her household consist 1 of children, or grown 
persons 1 Before we answer this question, we observe, there are Four 
things which a Paedobaptist must admit and take for granted, before he 
can urge this place in his favor ; but if he can prove none of them, his 
argument (to use the learned Limborch's phrase) " is good for nothing,'* 

1. That Lydia had, at this time, or lately, a husband. 

2. That she had children, and children then in infancy. 

3. That these children were with her at Philippi. 

4. That such children were actually baptized. 

The whole of these admissions I strongly question ; for, 

The 1st is improhahle ; for, had she a husband, she was not likely 
to be thus engaged in business : and especially as no mention is made 
of him, though the apostles were repeatedly at her house. 

The 2d is uncertain ,- because there are thousands of households 
where there are no infant children. 

The 3d is incredible ,- for if, as the text indicates, Lydia was come 
from Thyatira (a journey, including both sea and land, of probably not 
less than 300 miles) o.x business, it is not to be believed she would 
bring young children with her, if she had any. 

The 4th is inconclusive ,- because the word household or house is 
used in Scripture when the whole of the family is not included, but the 
principal part only. See 1 Sam. i. 21, 22. 

The argument, therefore, for infant baptism, grounded upon the bap- 
tism of Lydia's household, is extremely weak, as there is no evidence 
SHE HAD EITHER HUSBAND 07* CHILDREN : and Certainly, before any 
such custom can from this case be supported, as an ordinance of the 
New Testament, it ought to be undeniably proved, from the text, 
that she had infant children, and that they were actually baptized. 

Should it be replied, in favor of infant baptism, that Lydia at this 
time was probably a resident at Philippi, although originally from Thy- 
atira, and that consequently her infant children must be with her, — 
this I would answer, by asking, Must not then her husband be with 
her] But this evidently was not the case, for this reason, — If Lydia 
had a husband with her, he surely must be one of the "household" — 
if he was one included in this household, he must have been baptized, 
because the household was, — if he was baptized and joined in the 
same union with Paul and Silas as Lydia, would she say, " Come into 
MT house!" or would Luke say, "they entered into the house of Lydia" 
supposing there was a believing husband at the head of the family 1 
Impossible. The language employed by the inspired historian evidently 
implies, 'a single female at the head of a family, and at the 
head of a business.' And the fair conclusion is, that her household 
were her servants ; or, if her children, that her husband was deceased, 
and her children so far advanced in life as to join in her journey, her 
business, and her worship ; and thus they would be capable of instruction, 
faith, and baptism, as Christ commanded ; and as in elTect plainly stated 
of the household in the next section. 

But, more satisfactory to the pious reader than ten thousand sur- 
mises, the question of the persons of Lydia's household may be an- 

VOL. II. — 8 P 


swered, with the greatest probability, from the last verse above cited. 
Paul and Silas, being delivered from prison, and quitting the jailer^s 
house and family^ according to his own request, ver. 34, 36, they " en- 
tered into the house of Lydia," (for my reader will remember, this was 
the only other Christian house in the city, and in this family the only 
other persons baptized ;) and here, undoubtedly, they would meet with 
her ' household' which they had baptized : having entered, we read, 
"when they had seen the buethuen, they co3ifouted them, and 
departed." If then Lydia's household be denominated " brethren," and 
were capable of being " comforted" by the word, they must have been 


Mr. Whitby seems to consider this unquestionable. "And when 
she, and those of her household, were instructed in the Christian faith, 
in the nature of baptism required by it, she was baptized and her house- 
hold." Paraphrase on the place. 

LiMBORC'H. "An undoubted argument, therefore, caimot be drawn 
from this instance, by which it may be demonstrated, that infants were 
baptized by the apostles. It might be, that all in her house were of 
a mature age ; who, as in the exercise of a right understanding they 
believed, so they were able to make a public profession of that faith 
when they received baptism." Comment, in loco. In Psedobap. Ex. 
Vol. II. p. 359. 

Mr. T. Lawsox, referring to this argument, says, " Families may be 
without children ; they may be grown up, &c. So it is a wild infer- 
ence to ground infant baptism upon." Baptismalogia, p. 92. 

Assembly of Divines. " Of the city of Thyatira — a city of 
Asia — here dwelt Lydia, that devout servant of God." — " Atid entered 
into the house of Lydia: doubtless to confirm them in the faith which 
they had preached to them — Lydia and HERS hearing of their miracu- 
lous deliverance, could not but be comforted and confirmed in the truth." 
Annot. on Acts xvi. 14. 40. 

The place at which Lydia was taught and baptized must have been 
remarkabl}^ convenient for immersion. The people were " by a river 
side," ver. 13, and at a place frequented by the Jews for religious puri- 
fication, by washing in the water. Thus 

Mr. Doddridge. " On the Sabbath day we went out of the city to 
the side of the river Strymon, where, according to the custom of the 
Jews, there was an oratory, or a place of public prayer." — " It is certain 
that the Jews had a custom of building their oratories or proseuchas, or 
places of public prayer, by the sea side, or near rivers, for the sake of 
purification." Fam. Expos, on the place. 

Joheph Johx Gurxey. " Although the baptism practised by John, 
and by the apostles, did not, in all its circumstances, resemble those 
Jewish washings to which I have now adverted ; yet it was precisely 
similar to them in that main particular of imjiersion in water." Ob- 
serv. on the Pecul. of Friends, p. 61. 

Inference. If the Divine word which records the baptism of Lydia 
and her household, and subsequently refers to them, is to be my only 


guide upon the inquiries before us, I must infer, * that they were all 
believers in Jesus, and were baptized as their Saviour was.' 

§ VII. The Baptism of the Philippian Jailer and Household. 

Paul and Silas, having been cast into prison at Philippi, are delivered from 
their confinement at midnight, by the miraculous interposition of God. An earth- 
quake shook the foundations of the prison, the doors of it were opened, and the 
prisoners' bands loosed. The jailer, suspecting the escape of the prisoners, drew 
nis sword to destroy himself, but which Paul prevented, by assuring him the pris- 
oners were all there. Then follow his conversion and baptism :— 

Acts xvi. 29. Then he called for a light, and sprang" in, 
and came tremblhig, and fell down before Paul and Silas. 
30. And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do 
to be saved? 31. And they said. Believe on the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 
32. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and 
to all that were in his house. 33. And he took them the 
same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was 
baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34. And when he 
had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, 
and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. 

Here observe, 1. The jailer, bringing Paul and Silas out of the 
prison, being persuaded that they were the servants of the true God, 
and were now delivered by his power from their unjust and cruel pun- 
ishment ; and deeply convinced, at the same time, of his own guilt and 
danger, urges them to tell him iclLat he should do to be saved? To this, 
greatest of questions, he received a direct answer. Believe on the Lord 
Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. It is probable, 
many, if not all the jailer's family, alarmed at this awful event, ran to 
his assistance, as his life, they would consider, imminently in danger, 
both by the prisoners in order to escape, and especially by the law, if 
any had fled. Hence Paul indirectly spake to the whole. Believe, and 
thou shalt be saved, yea, and thy house too, in the same way. 

Doddridge. " Thou shalt be saved and thine house. The 
meaning cannot be that the eternal salvation of his family could be 
secured by his faith ; but that — if they also themselves believed, they 
should be entitled to the same spiritual and everlasting blessings with 
himself; which Paul might the rather add, as it is probable that many 
of them, under this terrible alarm, might have attended the master of 
the family into the dungeon." Fam. Expos. Note on the place. 

2. We may next learn, from the text, in the most satisfactory manner, 
of what the jailer's household consisted ; that they were not infants, or 
persons so young as to be incapable of being taught the gospel, and of 
believing it; for thus we read, ver. 32, " They spake urttohim the word 
of the Lord, axd to ALL tii.vt weue is his house." This house- 


hold is instructed, instructed all, and then baptized. Infants, there- 
fore, cannot here be included. 

3. Luke further describes the jailer and his household, and shows 
thereby how the Lord's commission was still strictly obeyed. Paul and 
Silas first preached the gospel to the whole house, as observed above ; 
and now we read, verse 34, the jailer ^^ rejoiced, believinr in God, 
WITH ALL HIS HousK." Then it follows, he had no infant children, 
or those words cannot include them ; for of this faith they would be 

Matthkw Hexrt. "The voice of rejoicing, with that of salva- 
tion, was heard in the jailer's house, — He rejoiced, believing in God, 
with oil his house : there was none in his house that refused to be 
baptized, and so made ajar in the ceremony, but they were unanimous 
in embracing the gospel, which added much to the joy." Expos, on 
the place. 

Calvin is still more expressive. " Luke commends the pious zeal of 
the jailer, because he dedicated his whole house to the Lord ; in which, 
also, the grace of God illustriously appeared, because it suddenly brought 
the WHOLE FAMILY to a pious consent." Comment, in loco. 

Inference. As the same pre-requisites to baptism are here specified, 
in relation to the jailer's family, as to himself, viz. 1st, that theivordof 
the Lord was spoken to them as to him ,- and, 2d, that he and they 
equally believed in God, I must, on inspired authority, conclude, that 
we have here nothing more or less than a plain example of a believ- 
ing HOUSEHOLD BAPTIZED, the whole being EauALLx disciples of 
Christ ; and as to the mode, that it was what the Lord sanctioned by his 
example and command, and nothing different therefrom.* 

§ VIIL Paul baptizing at Corinth. 

The next Instance is the baptism of several persons at Corinth, where we now 
find the same apostle exerting himself to the utmost fnrtho spread of the Messiah's 
kingdom. Here, tliougli many opposed themselves a/i'l h/u^phemed, yet he zeal- 
ously persevered, and liis labors were crowned with success; for thus we read: — 

Acts xviii. 4. And he reasoned in the synagogue every 
sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. 5. And 

* Some, in opposing the practice of immersion, have imagined great difficulties 
in this case. They cannot conceive where the jailer could find a suitable place, 
and especially in the night, to receive llie ordinance in this form. It is not for us, 
at this distance of time, to state the plwe, as the sacred historian has nc)t done so. 
The Scriptures affirm that " he and his were baptized :" what do these words 
mean 1 We reply (from the sense of the word, and from the other scriptures) 
" they were immersed in the name of the Lord Jesus." Then it falls to the part 
of our opponents to prove that they were not baptized in this way. These irmir- 

gined difficulties ha.\e not a particle of weight upon that mind that admits that 
HRiST's AUTHORITY was Paul's Only guide. 

It may not be improper, however, to remind the reader how exceedingly com- 
mon the practice of cold bathing was, and still is, in the East. That frequent 
bathing was usual amonii the Grecians, Romans, and now is in Turkey, in which 
country this city Philippl stood, is testified by 
Lord Bacon, " It ia strange that the use of bathing, as a part of diet, is left. 


when Silas and TLmotheus were come from Macedonia, 
Paal was pressed in the Spirit, and testified to the Jews 
tJiat Jesus was Clarist. B. And Crispus, the chief ruler of 
the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; 
and many of tfee Corinthians heaiing, believed, and were 

A church bang formed in this place, Paul afterwards writes them 
two epistles. In the first of these, he laments the unhappy divisions 
that prevailed amongst them, in contending for different ministers, as if 
they had so many Saviours, and had been baptized in their separate 
jjames. Upon which he reasons.:— 

1 Cor. i. 13. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for 
you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 14. I 
thank God thai I baptized none of you, but Crispus and 
Gaius. 15. Lest any should say that J had baptized in 
mine own name. 16. And I baptized also the household 
of Stephanas : besides, I know not whether I baptized any 
other. 17. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to 
preach the gospel. 

Chap. xvi. 15. 'Ye know the house of Stephanas, that 
it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted 
thenjselves to the ministry of the saints. 

Paul at Corinth, as at all other places, begins his work by " testify- 
ing" to the people "tlie things concerning Jesus Christ," and by teach- 
ing, not by baptizing, he makes disciples to Christ. He continued his 
labors at Corinth a year and six ajoHths, in which time, " many hear- 
ing" his preaching, " believed, and were baptized." He himself bap- 
tized but few, namely, Crispus, Gaius, and the household of Stephanas, 
and in this he afterwards rejoiced, as none of them, in their angry con- 
tentions, and excessive |)artiality, could say, " they were for Paul ; for, 
Paul baptized th,em, and that in his own name ;" for, he adds, the first 
and chief work for which Christ sent him, was, " not to baptize, but to 
preach the gospel.'"* 

it is aot said, the household of Crispus were baptized, though, had it 
been so, it is certain they were proper subjects of the ordinance, 
agreeably to the words of the institution ; for, he " believed on the Lord, 
WITH AtL HIS HOUSE." Their baplism, if obedient to Christ, was a 
matter of course. 

With the Romans and Grecians it wa.9 as usual as eating or sleeping ; and so it is 
amongst the Turks at this day." hi StennelVs Answer to Addington, p. 34. 

GR0TIT7.S, (the most learned and best informed man in Eurojie in his time) held 
it as highly probable, from the practice of the country, that the jail at Philippi 
was provided with ba).he, which would admit of the ordinance in this form without 

8» d2 


The persons who composed " the house of Stephanas," (the last 
household said to be baptized.) are not described where their baptism is 
recorded ; and had nothing, in any other place, been said of them, this 
would have been the only house left in such uncertainty; but, as if it 
were the design of the Holy Spirit to leave no room for dispute, as to 
the proper persons to receive the ordinances of Christ, we find this fa- 
mily also described at the end of this epistle, as cited above : they were 
the " first fruits" of the word of God in Achaia, and " they addicted 
themselves to the ministry of the saints." They exerted themselves in 
acts of zeal and charity, in reference to their fellow, but poorer, or more 
afflicted disciples ; and hence, (we scarcely need add) could not be in- 
fant children. 

Doddridge. " They have set themselves, SfC. This seems to imply, 
that it was the generous care of the whole family to assist their fellow 
Christians; so that there was not a member of it which did not do its 
part." Fam. Expos. Note on the place. 

Guise. " It therefore seems that the family of Stephanas were all 
adult believers, and so were baptized on their own personal profession 
of faith in Christ." On the place. 

Hamimond. " I think it unreasonable that the apostle's bare mention 
of baptizing his [Stephanas'] household, should be thought competent 
to conclude that infant's were baptized by him ; when it is uncertain 
whether there were any such at all in his house." Works, Vol. I. 
p. 492. In Psed. Exam. Vol. II. p. 358. 

Mac KNIGHT. "The family of Stephanas seem all to have been 
adults when they were baptized, for they are said, chap. xvi. 15, to have 
devoted themselves to the viinistry of the saints.^' Apos. Epis. Note 
on 1 Cor. i. 16. 


We have now found the record of Three Households baptized by the 
apostle Paul, or Silas, his companion ; Lydia^s, the Jailer's, and Ste- 
phanas'. If it were tlie constant practice of the apostles to baptize children 
with their parents, (as our Ptedobaptist friends maintain,) we should 
reasonably have expected, and, no doubt, should have found, in various 
places of scripture, after naming the baptism of believers, the words 
added, 'and their children,' or 'and their little ones;' as families of 
young children are expressed in the Old Testament. And I infer that 
this must have been a tact in maxt instances, because we find in this 
book MANY THOUSANDS of adults believing, and being baptized, or 
added to the Lord. See Acts ii. 41, iv. 4, v. 14, &c. Would it, then, 
be probable that tlo-ee families only would be specified as families, 
while hundreds, or, it may be, thousands of other families, are not re- 
ferred to in the most distant way ? This, I conceive, next to impossi- 
ble ; and, therefore, infer that the baptism of families was compara- 
tively of rare occurrence. 

But in these three cases we have not the words ' and their little ones ;* 


nor yet ' and their children ;' (and this expression might be used with- 
out necessarily implying infants,) but the term " house" or " household" 
is used, which conveys no idea as to the age of the persons intended, 
nor whether they were the children or the servants of the heads of the 
families ; and, therefore, had nothing been said descriptive of them, it 
would have been exceedingly inconclusive to have inferred a prece- 
dent FOR iNFAXT BAPTISM from the use of the word household; be- 
cause there are thousands, yea, millions of families that have no infant 
children. The writer of this pamphlet has baptized households ; and, 
among others, a " Lydia and her household," and yet never baptized a 
child. From the word " household," therefore, to infer the baptism of 
infants, is completely begging the question. But, as my reader has 
seen, there is something said of these three households, which describes 
the constituents of them: from this it is demoxstuably certain, 
that the jailer's and Stephanas' were professedly believers in Christ, 
and that which is said of them is of infants impossible. And as to 
Lydia' s, if "the brethren" Paul and Silas "comforted" in her house 
were her household, (and there were no other Christians in the city but 
the family they had just quitted,) there is no more uncertainty respect- 
ing them. Thus while households out of number are referred to in the 
Scriptures, and nothing is added by which we could learn of what they 
consisted, it has pleased God to give such information of the baptized 
households, as to lead the reader to infer, that they all were (as the same 
apostle testifies of the church, of which Stephanas and his household 
were members,) "called of God to the fellowship of his Son Jesus 
Christ our Lord." 1 Cor. i. 9. 

The celebrated Paedobaptist writers I have cited, candidly allow that 
the Scriptures, regarding these households, teach nothing further upon 
our inquiries than what I have endeavoured to make plain to the reader. 
To his own judgment I cheerfully leave his decision. 

§ IX. Certain Disciples at Ephesus Baptized. 

This is the ninth and last place, in the Acts of the Apostles, relative to our 
present inquiries. Tlie question whether the persons here referred to, were bap- 
tized twice, first witli John's baptism, and now Christ's, does not affect the object 
of our examination. 

Acts xix. 1. Paul, having past through the upper coasts, 
came to Ephesus; and finding certain disciples, 2. He said 
unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye be- 
lieved ? And they said unto him, We have not so much as 
heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3. And he said 
unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they 
said, Unto John's baptism. 4. Then said Paul, John 
verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying 
unto the people, That they should believe on him which 
should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5. When 
they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the 


Lord Jesns. 6. And when Paul had laid his hands upon 
them, the Holy Ghost came on them ; and they spake with 
tongues, and prophesied. 7. And all the men were about 

That in these persons we have an example of adult baptism is clear ; 
For, 1 . They are called " disciples." — 2. They " believed." — 3. They 
"received the Holy Ghost." — 4. They "spake with tongues and pro- 
phesied;" and were in number twelve mex. We need not, therefore, 
add another word respecting them. 


We have now, Christian reader, passed through all the Acts of the 
Apostles, and examined all the instances of the administration of this 
ordinance recorded in this sacred history, and to this place, we can con- 
fidently assert, That we have no where found a single place or passage, 
that describes, records, or implies the baptism of any infants. The 
reader will not suppose this a hasty conclusion, when he hears the fol- 
lowing Paedobaptists : — 

Goodwin. "Baptism supposes regeixeration sure in itself first. Sa- 
craments are never administered to begin, or imrk grace. Read ALL 
the Acts, still it is said, they believed, and loere baptized.^'' Works, 
VoL L P. L p. 200. 

Mr. T. BosTOTf. " There is no example of baptism recorded in the 
Scriptures, where any were baptized but such as appeared to have a 
saving interest in Clxrist." Works, p. 384. 

LiMBORCH. " There is no instance can be produced, from which it 
may indisputably be inferred that any child was baptized by the apos- 
tles." Complete Syst. Div, B. V. Ch. xxii. § H. 

Mr. Baxter. (The appeal he makes to Mr. Blake, in this place, 
might be made, with all confidence, to every Paedobaptist.) " I con- 
clude, that all examples of baptism in Scripture do mention only the 
administration of it to the professors of saving faith ; and the precepts 
give us no other direction. Ann I provoke Mr. Blake, as far as is 
seemly for me to do, to name ONE precept or example for baptizing 
any other, and make it good if he can." Disptit. of Right to Sacram. 
p. 156. In Pxd. Exam. Vol. II. p. 29. 




We now proceed, lastly, to examine those passages in the Apostolical 
Epistles which refer to this ordinance. 

§ I. Passages which contain an express Allusion to the Mode, and the 
Spiritual Design of Baptism. 

Rom. vi. 3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were 
baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death ? 
4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into 
death ; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by 
the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in 
newness of life. 5. For if we have been planted together 
in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness 
of his resurrection. 

Colos. ii. 12. Buried with him in baptism, wherein also 
ye are risen with hhn through the faith of the operation of 
God, who hath raised him from the dead. 

The object of the apostle Paul in these places, and their connection, 
is to show the churches to which he is writing, the necessity of a holy 
walk and conversation. To this end he puts them in mind of their 
baptism, the profession they made in it, and the obligation they took 
upon themselves to live according to those truths symbolically taiiahtbv 
and in the ordinance. * Know ye not^ says he to the Romans, ' that so 
many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ,' into a profession of 
his religion, ' we7'e baptized into his death,' into a reliance upon, and 
conformity to his death, the great design of which was to take away 
sin; and, consequently, as our Lord died, and was buried on account 
of it, so should we die and be buried to the love and practice of it. 
Then follows this plain and striking allusion to the particular act by 
which the rite in question is administered, in verse 4, which, with the 
same allusion in the Epistle to the Colossians, reads to this eftect : — 

* Therefore (that is, to express this very design) we are BURIED 

* BY and IX BAPTISM, with Christ our Lord; and as He was raised 

* UP from the dead by the glory of the Father, so are we at our baptism, 

* WHEREIN we likewise are raised up to walk thenceforth in new- 
' ness of life ; and this is not of ourselves, but through the faith of 
' the operation of God, who thus raised up his Son from the sepulchre 

* to live and reign for ever.' 

In these places the apostle does twice describe baptism as effecting a 
burial and a resurrection, and as such to be a continued representation 
of the burial and resurrection of Christ, our Pattern and Lord ; and this 
is realized only in immersion. 


By these plain allusions to the Mode of the ordinance, the sense of 
the word " baptize," is most plainly exhibited and confirmed ; and the 
necessity of " going down into, and coming up out of the water" — of 
"baptizing IN thk Jordan," and where "there was much watkh ;" 
(which phrases we found in connexion with baptism,) is here evidently 
explained. Psedobaptist divines, of the greatest celebrity for learning 
and information, have frankly allowed what we have above asserted. 
We have no difficulty but in making such a selection as would be most 
highly esteemed by the reader. The following are, perhaps, the most 
unexceptionable that could be produced. 

Mn. Wall, ViciM- of Shoreham, in Kent, and author of that famous 
work, ' The. History of Infant Baptism,' for luhich he received the 
thanks of the whole clergy in convocation. " As to the manner of 
baptism then generally used, the texts produced by every one that 
speaks of these matters, John iii. 23, Mark i. 5, Acts viii. 38, are un- 
deniable proofs that the baptized person went ordinarily into the water, 
and sometimes the Baptist loo. We should not know from these ac- 
counts whether the whole body of tlie baptized was put under water, 
head and all, were it not for two later proofs, which seem to me to put 
IT OUT OF auESTioN : One, that St. Paul does twice, in an allusive 
way of speaking, call baptism a BURIAL ; the other, the custom of the 
Christians, in the near succeeding times, which, being more largely and 
particularly delivered in books, is known to have been generally, or 
ordinarily, a total immersion." Defence of the History of Infant 
Baptism, p. 131. 

Archkishop Tillotson. "Anciently, those who w^ere baptized, 
were immersed and buried in the water, to represent their death to 
sin ; and then did rise up out of the water, to signify their entrance 
upon a new life. And to these customs the apostle alludes, Rom. vi. 
i—^r Worm, Vol. I. Scrnt. vii. p. 179. 

Archbishop Secker. " Burying, as it were, the person baptized 
m the water, and raising him out again, without auESTioN, was 
anciently the more usual method ; on account of which Saint Paul 
speaks of baptism as representing both the death, burial, and resurrec- 
tion of Christ, and what is grounded on them, — our being dead and 
buried to sin, and our rising again to walk in newness of life." Led. 
on Catechism, L. xxxv. 

Mr. Sam. Clarke. " We are buried with Christ by baptism, &c. 
In the primitive times the manner of baptizing was by immersion, or 
dipping the whole body into the water. And this manner of doing it 
was a very significant emblem of the dying and rising again, referred to 
by St. Paul, in the above-mentioned similitude." Expos, of the Church 
Catechism, p. 294, ed. 6. 

Mr. Wells. " St. Paul here alludes to immersion, or dipping the 
whole body under water in baptism ; which, he intimates, did typify 
the death and burial (of the person baptized) to sin, and his rising up 
out of the water did typify his resurrection to newness of life." lllusl. 
Bib. on Rom. vi, 4. 

Mb. Nicholson, Bishop of Gloucester. " In the grave with Christ 


we went not ; for our bodies were not, could not be buried with his ; 
but i7i baptism, by a kind of analogy or resemblance, while our bodies 
are under the water, we may be said to be buried with him." Expos, 
of the Church Catechism, p. 174. 

Mr. Doddridge. " Buried with him in baptism. It seems the 
part of candor to confess, that here is an allusion to the manner of 
baptizing by immersion." Fam. Expos. Note on the place. 

Mr. George Whitefield. " It is certain that in the words of our 
text, Rora. vi. 3, 4, there is an allusion to the manner of baptism, which 
was by immersion, which is what our own church allows," &c. Eighteen 
Sermoiis, p. 297. 

Mr. John Wesley. '' Buried with him — alluding to the ancient 
inanner of baptizing by immersion." Note on Rom. vi. 4. 

Mr. Whitby, author of a Commentary on the Neiv Testament, and 
more than forty other learned works. " It being so expressly declared 
here, 4, and Col. ii. 13, that we are buried with Christ in baptism, 
by being buried under water ; and the argument to oblige us to a conform- 
ity to his death, by dying to sin, being taken hence; and this immersion 
being religiously observed by all Christians for THIRTEEN 
CENTURIES, and approved by our Church, and the change of it into 
sprinkhng, even without any allowance from the author of this institu- 
tion, or any license from and council of the church, being that which 
the Romanist still urges to justify his refusal of the cup to the laity; it 
were to be wished that this custom might be again of general use, and 
aspersion only permitted, as of old, in case of the Clinici, or in present 
danger of death." Note on Rom. vi. 4. 

The apostle uses the figure of Planting, as well as of Burying, in 
allusion to baptism, verse 5. '' If we have been planted together in the 
likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrec- 
tion." This also is in perfect agreement with the same Mode of ad- 
ministering it. The circumstance in nature, from which the figure is 
borrowed, is the same as that employed by our Lord, John xii. 24. 
" Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, 
but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." The seed to be planted 
must be buried in the soil ; so the Christian in baptism is ' planted in 
the likeness of the death, that he may be also in the likeness of the 
resurrection of his Lord.' 

Mr. Macknight. " Planted together in the likeness of his death. 
The burying of Christ, and of believers, first in the water of baptism, 
and afterwards in the earth, is fitly enough compared to the planting of 
seeds in the earth, because the effect, in both cases, is a reviviscence to 
a state of greater perfection." Note on Rom. vi. 5. 

Assembly of Divines. " If we have been planted together, Sex:. 
By this elegant similitude the apostle represents to us, that, as a plan 
that is set in the earth lieth as dead and immoveable for a time, but after 
springs up and flourishes, so Christ's body lay dead for a while in the 


grave, but sprung up and flourished in his resurrection ; and we also, 
when we are baptized, are buried, as it were, in the water for a time, 
but after are raised up to newness of life." Annot. in loco. 

Inference, With certainty I may gather from the Scriptures at the 
head of this section, That the outward form of baptism in the apostolic 
age was a burial in watku. It is made infinitely interesting to the 
heart of a Christian by that which it was intended to represent, viz. the 
death, burial, and resurrection of the Redeemer ; and here too I may 
infer the infinite and irresistible obligation the baptized person is under 
to devote his life to that Lord to whose death and resurrection he is thus 
emblematically conformed in the baptismal rite : and I see also in these 
verses, by what principle and power this is all to be realized, " through 
faith, which is of the operation of God." In none destitute of that 
living principle can this intention of the ordinance be fulfilled. If 
sprinkling were the mode, and infants the subjects, these passages never 
could have been written. To the baptism of believers alone, and that 
administered by immersion, will these passages apply. 

§ II. Occasional Mention of Baptism. 

Eph. iv. 5. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. 

1 Cor. xii. 13. For by one Spirit we are all baptized into 
one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether tve be 
bond or free ; and have been all made to drink into one 

Gal. iii. 27. For as many of you as have been baptized 
into Christ, have put on Christ. 

1 Cor. XV. 29. Else what shall they do which are bap- 
tized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are 
they then baptized for the dead ? 

To the Epliesians and Corinthians the apostle is recommending 
peace and unity ; that they should be all of one heart and mind, so that 
there be no schism in the body, as all were one in Christ. To urge 
which, he puts them in mind of what they had been uniformly taught, 
that there was but " One JiORi), one Faith, one Baptism ;" and that 
"all were baptized into one bodt, whether Jews or Gentiles." We 
should here observe, (what we have so frequently noticed before,) that 
the apostle places faiih befoue baptism, as Christ the great Lawgiver 
had done. He that believeth, and is baptized. " One faith, one bap- 
tism." If this passage were to be expressed according to the general 
practice of the present day, the order both of Christ and the apostle 
must be " reversed.'' See Simeon, at p. 28. 


In the above verse to the Galatians, the apostle is thought to be 
alluding to the change of garments which must necessarily take place 
after the administration of the ordinance ; to which may allude the 
expressions, " putting off the old man with his deeds," and " putting on 
the new man," Eph. iv. 22, 24 ; Col. iii. 9, 10 ; and especially, as here, 
"putting on Christ," as "the Lord our righteousness." 

Adam Clarke. " When he [the person baptized] came up 
out of the water, he seemed to have a resurrection to life. He was 
therefore supposed to throw off his old Gentile state, as he threw off 
his clothes, and to assume a new character, as the baptized generally 
put on new or fresh garments." Comment, on Rom. vi. 4. 

The last verse cited above, 1 Cor. xv. 29, has obtained many inter- 
pretations, as the meaning of the apostle in the words, " for the dead," 
is not certain. 

John Edwards. " Some of the fathers hold that the apostle's 
argument in the text is of this sort : If there should be no resurrection 
of the dead hereafter, why is baptism so significant a symbol of our 
dying and rising again, and also of the death and resurrection of Christ. 
The immersion into the water was thought to signify the death of 
Christ, and their coming out denotes his rising again, and did no less 
represent their own future resurrection." In &iennett's Answer to 
Aiddington, p. 105. 

Mac KNIGHT. "Christ's baptism was — an emblem of his future 
death and resurrection. In like manner, the baptism of believers is em- 
blematical of their own death, burial, and resurrection." Apost. Epis. 
Note on Rom. vi. 4. 

Inference. If faith prkceded baptism in the apostles' days, and the 
persons who received that ordinance had imbibed the influence of that 
oxE Spirit, and had pnt on Christ as the robe of righteousness, the 
spiritual adorning of their souls, hoping for their part in the first resur- 
rection at His appearing and glory, it is most manifest, that none but a 
genuine convert to Christ could thus be baptized, or enjoy such high 
and delightful privileges. 

§ III. Baptism illustrated by Events recorded in the Old Testament. 

These are the last passages we find in the New Testament which relate to 
^e subject of our examination. 

1 Cor. X. 1. Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye 
should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the 
cloud, and all passed through the sea ; 2. And were all 
baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 

1 Pet. iii. 20. The long suffering of God waited in the 

days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, 

that is, eight souls, were saved by water. 31. The like 

figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not 

VOL. II. — 9 E 


the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of 
a good conscience towards God,) by the resurrection of 
Jesus Christ. 

The better to understand the apostle Paul, in the first passage above, 
the reader would do well to peruse the account, in the Old Testament, 
in Exod. xiv., to which he refers. In verse 22, we are told, that the 
Israelites " went into the tnidst of the Red Sea upon dry ground,'^ that 
the water divided, opening a passage for them, and forming "a loall 
unto them an the right hand and on the left." We also learn, that 
"the cloud" which had conducted them, now removed its situation; 
stood between the two armies, and overspread- and concealed the Israel- 
ites from their enemies; that it was bright, and ^^ gave light" io the 
former, while it was " darkiiess'^ toward the latter. It does not appear 
that any water actually touched the Israelites in aiiy sense whatever; 
and hence, the word " baptized" must be used hy the apostle in s figura- 
tive sense ,- and if it has a reference to the mode, we have only to ask, 
Does the situation of the Jews, " ix the cloud, and in the sea," best 
agree to sprinkling with water, or a total burial in it ? Paedobaptists of 
the highest celebrity will answer : — 

" WiTsius (says Mr. Booth) expounds the place to this effect. ' How 
were the Israelites baptized in the cloud, and in the sea, seeing they 
were neither immersed in the sea, nor wetted by the cloud ? It is to be 
considered, that the apostle here uses the term ' baptism,' in a figura- 
tive sense, yet there is some agreement to the external sign. The sea 
is water, and a cloud differs but little from water. The cloud hung 
over their heads, and the sea surrounded them on each side ; and so the 
water in regard to those that are baptized.' " In Fsed. Exam. Vol. I. 
p. 185. 

Whitby. "They were covered with the sea on both sides, Exod. 
xiv. 22; so that both the cloud and the sea had some resemblance to 
our being covered with water in baptism. Their going into the sea 
resembled the ancient rite of going into the water ; and their coming out 
of it, their rising up out of the water." Ibid. p. 187. 

By the apostle Peter, in the passage cited, we are taught that as 
Noah and his family " we7-e saved by ivater," so baptism, the antitype 
of the water of the deluge, "now saves" the believer; not by a wash- 
ing of his person, or a ceremonial purification, which cannot take away 
gin ; but the water being a " like figure" in both cases, that is,EXHiBiT- 
I3VG Christ and his merits, the believer is saved by the sacred 
KEALiTT signified. In this case, baptism is " The answer of a good 
conscience toward God :" both the answer given to inquiry at baptism, 
and the subsequent testimony of the mind to God, are conscienfiouSy 
being in accordance with a sincere and heartfelt faith in the merits of 
the dying and rising Saviour. 

OwKx. " I deny not but that there is a great analogy between sal- 
vation by the ark, and that by baptism, inasmuch as the one did repre" 


sent, and the other doth exhibit Christ himself." On Hebrews, Vol. IV. 
p. 138. Williams's Abr. 

Mackxight. " This answer of a good conscience being made to 
God, is an inward answer, and means the baptized person's sincere 
persuasion of the things which, by submitting to baptism, he professes 
to believe ; namely, that Jesus — arose from the dead, and that at the 
last day he will raise all from the dead to eternal life, who sincerely 
obey him." Apost. Epist. Note in loc. 

Inference. If the exercise of " a good conscience" is associated with 
the ordinance of baptism, in none but a believer in Christ can this 
union be realized. 


Havix (J now, my reader, completed the chief design of this pamphlet 
In transcribing, and laying before you every passage of this sacred 
volume that relates to the subject of our inquiry, and contains any in- 
formation, whether on the subjects, mode, or spiritual design of bap- 
tism, I have, I humbly hope, fulfilled the title I have assumed, in pre- 
senting you with •' THE SCRIPTURE GtiiDE TO BAPTISM." Our Divinc 
Master commanded us to "search tiie Scriptures," and I have no doubt 
but that it would meet with His gracious approbation if this plan were 
adopted, in reference to any subject pertaining to His cause or kingdom. 
" To the word and to the testimony," is an inspired maxim in theology, 
and one from which no Protestant will dissent. " Ye do err," said our 
Redeemer, "not knowing the Scriptures." 

Vl^'e ought, therefore, now to be able to answer the three inquiries 
proposed at the beginning : — 

I. Who are proper subjects of Christian baptism, according to the 
authority of Christ, and the practice of his apostles 1 

Answer. We have met with the baptism of many thousands of 
persons, ai>d the ordinance administered on many different occasions ; 
but we have no where found, through all this sacred book, any one per- 
son baptized (Christ excepted) that we have the slightest reason to 
suppose was not first instructed in the doctrines of the gospel, and 
had professed to beliete ; but this is either expressly testified, or so 
implied of all, as to leave no just ground of dispute. 

II. By what mode should the ordinance be administered 1 

Answer. W^e have no where met with a single verse, word, or cir- 
cumstance, which indicates the application of water, by pouring or 
sprinkling ; but wherever any thing is found descriptive of this ordi- 
nance, immersion (as the word baptism undeniably signifies) is 
plainly implied in circumstances, and confirmed by allusions. 

III. What is its spiritual design, and in whom is it realized ? 
Ansiuer. The passages that kav^ been feefore -us plainly indicate, 


that it was the Divine intention that this ordinance should exhibit and 
teach the important change produced by the efficacy of grace on a sin- 
ner, namely, his purification /row sin, and buiiial as to the love 
and practice of it; his kesukiiection to a new and religious life; the 
UNION and fellowship into which the Christian enters with the Tri- 
une God ; and his rising from the dead, through his risen Lord, at his 

Here my pages might close : but when the subject of baptism was 
first brought under my own examination, and I had read with care these 
portions of Scripture ; being taught from early childhood to consider in- 
fant baptism of Divine authority, I felt anxious to propose a few auES- 
TioNs to those competent to answer me : and I conceived the generality 
of inquirers on the subject would feel a similar solicitude. On these 
questions I have obtained satisfaction to my own mind ; and being de- 
sirous the reader, if disposed to propose the same questions, should 
enjoy the same satisfaction, I shall employ an appendix to the fore- 
going pages, in expressing those questions, and giving such answers as 
to me appeared conclusive and satisfactory. Whether the reader may 
consider them so or not, I leave to his own judgment and conscience, 
and to the influence of that Spirit, whose office it is to " guide into all 

I shall support the answers by citations from eminent Paedobaptist 
writers, as I have done my foregoing observations ; and sometimes give 
such extracts alone, as the best and most conclusive repTies. 


On the Grounds of Infant Baptism, its Rise, and sup- 
posed Benefits. 

1. Question. Although in the passages of Scripture 
you have cited, I have not found an express authority, 
either by command or example, for tlie baptism of infants, 
yet will Paedobaptist divines allow that no such authority 
is to be found in the New Testament ? 

A72swer. Bishop Burnet. "There is no express precept or rule 
given in the New Testament for baptism of infants." Expos, of the 
Articles, Art. xxvii. 

Mr. S. Palmer. "There is nothing in the words of institution, nor 
in any after accounts of the administration of this rite, respecting the 
baptism of infants : there is not a single precept for, nor example of, this 
practice through the whole New Testament." Aninver to Priestley on 
the Lord*s Supper, p. 7. 

Luther, " Jt cannot be proved by the sacred Scripture, that infant 


baptism was instituted by Christ, or begun by tke first Christians after 
the apostles." {In Psed. Exam. Vol. II. p. 4=.) See also Good-wiit, 
Bosxox, LiMB-oacH, aud Baxtkr, at page 44 of this pamphlet. 

2. What then are we to make of those words of our 
Saviour, and his subsequent conduct? Mark x. 14, 16. 
"Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid 
them not ; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he 
took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and 
blessed them." 

Answer. If, when our co»descending Saviour took these children in 
his arms, it had been added "and he baptized them," instead of the 
words "and blessed them," then this passage with propriety might be 
adduced, and, indeed, would have decided the subject; but as the Holy 
Spirit has recorded the circumstance, it no more refers to infant baptism, 
than to infant communion, or infant circumcision. — It is certain Christ 
did not baptize these children, for he never baptized at all, John iv. 2 ; 
and if liis disciples, who baptized for him and by his authority, had 
been commanded by their Lord to baptize infants, it is certain they 
would not have " rebuked" the parents or frieniis of these children for 
bringing them. 

But this passage, by fair mference, and implication, contains an ar- 
gument against infant baptism. Here you observe parents bringing 
their children to J^sus to crave his blessing upon them ; or, at least, 
that he would " pray," Matt, xix. 13, that the blessing of heaven might 
attend them. 

Now let me ask. If baptism would have brought these children into 
the covenant of grace, or into Christ's church, or secured to them any 
spiritual benefit, would the Lord Jesus have concealed that circumstance 
from these parents, and from his disciples 1 Would he * take them in 
his arms and bless them,' and give them back to the parents tvithout bap- 
tism, and without a word upon that ordinance ? Was it ever known 
that any spiritual benefit was sought from him and he bestowed it not "? 
Here the spiritual good of these children was sought at his hands, and 
if baptism was the key, the seal, the door to all the spiritual blessings 
-of the covenant of grace, (as Psedobaptists often describe it,) would the 
Lord Jesus refuse it, — or send them ?iway without it ] This is impos- 
sible ; and, therefore, I infer that infant baptism is no part of the will 
of Christ, that it can communicate no good, and ought not to be ob- 
served. Some of the most learned Paedobaptists are aware that this 
passage serves not their cause^ 

Poole's Coxtinuators. " We must take heed we do not found 
infant baptism upon the example of Christ in this text ; for it is certain 
that he did not baptize these children. Mark only saith, He took them 
up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them/* Annot. on 
the place, in Matt. xix. 14. 

Bishop TAXLon. " From the action of Cbrist';s blessing infants, to 
9* E? 


infer they are to be baptized, proves nothing so much, as that there is a 
want of better arguments ; for the conclusion would with more proba- 
biUty be derived thus : — Christ blessed infants, and so dismissed them, 
but baptized them not ; therefore, infants are not to be baptized.** — 
Liberty of Prophecy, p. 230. 

3. If the New Testament does not afford an authority 
for infant baptism, upon what grounds do Paedobaptist 
divines practise and defend it ? 

Answer. Mr. Edav. Williams, (one of its most zealous advocates,) 
affirms, " The champions [for it] are by no means agreed upon this 
question. On what is the right of infants to baptism founded!"* 

Their grounds are various and contradictory. The early fathers who 
practised it, urged the virtue of the ordinance in taking away sin, and 
securing eternal life ; adding, the certain ruin of those that neglected 
it.j- — The church of Rome holds, " If any one shall say that baptism 
is — not necessary to salvation, let him be accursed.":j: — The Greek 
chufch, by Cyril, patriarch of Constantinople, affirms, "We believe 
that baptism is a sacrament appointed by the Lord, which except a 
person receive he has no communion with Christ."§ — The Lutheran 
church, and the church of England, hold both the ordinances " as 
generally necessary to salvation." 'J'he former, agreeing with Calvin 
and Melancthon, ' own a sort of faith in infants,' affijrding them a 
right; while the English church hesitates not to baptize them, " Because 
they (the infants) promise by their sureties" repentance and faith, 
** which promise, when they come to age, themselves are bound to 

Many learned writers, as well as churches, have expressed their views 
upon this inquiry. Mr. Wall, Mr. Hammond, and many others, hold 
that the practice of ' Judish proselyte baptism' is the foundation of the 
Christian rite, and as infants received the former, so they should the 
latter: but Mr. Owen, Mr. Jennings, and others, have proved that no 
such practice existed among the Jews to afford such a pattern till gene- 
rations after Christ.^ — Sir N. KnatchbuU assumes circumcision as the 
proper foundation. — Beza, and after him Mr. Doddridge and others, con- 
sidered the holiness of the children of believers, as making them proper 
subjects.** — Mr. Matt. Henry and Mr. Dwight contended that * the 
profession of faith made by the parents' to be their children's right.-|-f- — 
Mr. H. F. Burder affirms, " The identical principle which pervades and 
unites the whole of the argument — is that infants are to be baptized 
SOLELY on the ground of connexion with their parents " and this he 
explains, — " It is a connexion in the covenant of grace, the covenant of 
redemption, the everlasting covenant, embracing all that man can desire, 

* Notes on Mordce's Social Reliirion, p. 68.— t See OriirRn, Cyprian, and Am- 
brose in Mr. Wall's Hist, of Infant Bap. Vol. I. chap. 6. 13. 14.-t Calpchism of the 
Council of Trent, Part. 11. p. \M.—% Confess. Christ. Fidei, cap. xvi.— |I See Church 
CatPchisni, and P^dobap. Exam. Vol. II. p. 491, et seq.— IT Mr. Judson's Serm. oa 
Christian Baptism, pp. 62, 63.—** See Beza and Doddridge on 1 Cor. vii. 14.— 
tt Treatise on Baptism, p. 76, and Dwight's Theology on the subject. 


or all that Jehovah can impart."* — An anonymous writer affirms that 
" children by baptism are actually brought into the covenant of grace " 
This is denied by another, who replies that the " children of believers 
are really and truly in the covenant of grace before their baptism."-j- 

4. Some of the grounds assumed by those churches and 
eminent men, appear to have weight. Does not the *' ho- 
liness" referred to, existing in the children of believers, 
and founded on 1 Cor. vii. 14, afford the ground required? 
" For the unbelieving Kusband is sanctified by the wife, 
and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband ; else 
were your children unclean, but now they are holy.*' If 
holy,, they are surely proper subjects of baptism. 

Answer, So many good men have thought : but holiness is no 
where required in God's word as a pre-requisite to baptism. And is 
there not an absurdity in the thought that baptism, which is the out- 
ward sign of washing away sin, Acts xxii. 16, should be administered 
to infants, because they are holy ? 

But what is the holiness intended in the above passage 1 The apos- 
tle says, it results from an uxbelievek being sanctified. Now this 
sanctitication cannot be spiritual ,- for that is the work of the Holy 
Ghost upon the mind and heart, and in which an unbeliever has no 
share or part. Acts viii. 21. If attention be paid to the subject upon 
which the apostle is speaking, his meaning can readily be perceived. He 
is advising the Corinthians upon the question, ' Whether, if a husband 
or wife who is converted to Christ, has an unbelieving partner, either 
Jew or idolater, the believer should separate from the connexion ;^ as 
in Ezra x. 1 — 14. The apostle advises, ' If the unbelieving partner be 
pleased to dwell with the believer, the believer should not cause the 
separation.' Then follows the passage before us, " For the unbelieving 
husband is sanctified by the wife ;" or, as Doddridge renders it, " is 
sanctified to the wife," dec. 

Now, in wliat sense can any thing, or person, be sanctified, in which 
there is no moral or spiritual holiness communicated, and the sancti- 
fication is not the work of the Holy Spirit ] The Scriptures afford the 
reply : The temple, the altar, the offerings, the official garments, &c., 
under the law, were expressly said to be sanctified, when they were 
appointed by God's law, and set apart to certain specified purposes. 
Apply this to the subject before us. Marriage is an appointment of 
God ; and when a man or woman enters into that contract, he or she, 
by God's law, is set apart, or sanctified, to stand in the relation of hus- 
band or wife; and hence the union is lawful, becoming, and pleasing to 
God, and shall continue to be so, though one of the parties shall be 
converted and the other be an unbeliever.^: 

* Sermon of the Rishl of Tnfanis to Baptism, pp. 7, 25; cited by Mr. I. Bin in 
Strictures on ditto, p. 18.— t In Paedobap. Exam, as tipfore. 

$ Mr. Gill, on the verse in question, cites a numl)er of passages from Jewish 
writings, in which the word sanctified, in the phraseology of common use, is used 
for legally espoused. If iliis reading were adopted in this passage, it would not 


Taking this, which appears to me to be the sense of the passage, the 
inference which the apostle draws from this sanctification, or legal 
appointment and constitution by Divine law, is natural, " else were your 
children unclean, but now are they holy." i. e. If the marriage union was 
not according to the law of God, your children would be the fruit of un- 
cleanness ; but now, the union being in harmony with God's will, they 
are " holy ;" they are free from illegitimate impurity. So some of the 
greatest and best Paedobaptist writers understand the apostle. Thus 
among a multitude of others : — 

Mr. T. Williams, of London. " The unbelieving husband is sanc- 
tified by the (believing) wife, &c., so that the connexion is perfectly 
lawful, and the children are legitimate, or in a ceremonial sense, holy.''^ 
Cottage Bible, on the place. 

Melancthojt, the Reformer. " The connexion of the argument 
is this, ' If the use of marriage should not please God, your children 
would he bastards, and so unclean ,• but your children are not bastards, 
therefore the use of marriage pleaseth God.* How bastards were un- 
clean in a peculiar manner the law shows, Deut. xxiii." la Psedobap. 
Exam. Vol. II. p. 375. 

■SuAREs AND Vas<iues. "The children are called holy, in a civil 
sense : that is, legitimate, and not spurious. As if Paul had said, * If 
your marriage were unlawful, your children would be illegitimate. But 
the former is not a fact ; therefore not the latter.' " Ibid. p. 373. 

Cam>;ro. " The holiness of which the apostle speaks is not opposed to 
that impurity which by nature property agrees to all on account of Adam's 
offence, but to the impurity of which believing wives were apprehensive 
from their cohabiting with unbelieving husbands." Ibid. p. 372. 

Inference. If the holiness which is merely legitimacy of birth, is 
no title to baptism, then tihe passage we have considered favors not the 
baptism of infants. 

5. From this interpretation, it would appear that the 
children of believers are no better, or more /?o/y by nature, 
than the children of unbelievei's. Is this in accordance 
\vith the Scriptures ? 

Answer. Most unquestionably so. Thus Psalm li. 5, <' Behold, 
•(saith the son of pious Jesse,) I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did 
my mother conceive me." Eph. ii. 3, " We (says the apostle Paul, 
for himself and all the primitive Christians,) were i»r xature the 
<;hildren of wrath, even as others." Romans v. 12, " Wherefore, as 
hy one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; so death 
passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Chap. iii. 9, 10, 
**■ What then, are we better tSian they 1 No, in no wise : for we have 

only convey good sense, hut make the reasonin<; of tlie apostle evident. If the 
word hoi 1/ must be taken in a^spiritual sense, and infant baptism inferred from it, 
the word sa7iitified, being evidently hereof a kindred meaning, would unquestion- 
ably afford equal ground for the baptism of the unbelieving parent ! Nor siiould 
it be forgotten, that the word children in this place, as in Acts ii. 39, signifies 
posterity of any age. 


before proved both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin ; as 
it is written, there is none righteous, no not one." And our Saviour 
adds, " That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born 
of the Spirit is spirit. Ye must be born again." John iii. 6, 7. 

Church of EjfGLAJf d. " Original sin is the fault and corruption of 
the nature of every man ; and therefore in every person born into thi^i 
w-orld it deserveth God's wrath." Articles, Art. ix. 

Mr. DoRRiNGTois^. " Although the parents be admitted into the 
new covenant, the children born of them are not born within that cove- 
nant, but are, as all others, born in a state of rebellion and misery."* 
Vindlcat. of the Cliurch, p. 44. 

Mr. Adam Clarke. " All are born with a sinful nature, — there has 
never been one instance of an immaculate human soul since the fall of 
Adam. Through his transgression all come into the world with the 
seeds of death and corruption in their own nature ; all are sinful — all 
are mortal — and must die." On Rom. v. 12, 13. 

Mr. Doddridge, " As we all proceed from a corrupt original, we 
do not more evidently bear the image of the earthly Adam in the in- 
firmities of a mortal body, than in the degeneracy of a corrupted mind." 
Farn. Expos. Improv. on John iii. 1 — 10. 

6. But God was pleased to promise to Abraham to be 
" a God to him and to his seed." Gen. xvii. 7. Now 
believers in Christ are Abraham's spiritual seed ; must not 
they, therefore, and their seed, be included in that promise, 
and possess the same spiritual benefits ? 

Answer. The statement introducing this question is an important 
truth, that God promised to be 'a God to Abraham and to his seed ;' 
and so it is true that believers in Christ are Abraham's spiritual seed, 
and also that the God of Abraham is equally their God : but it would 
be not only not true, but an alarming and dangerous error, to assert 
that the children of believers are, on that account, also the spiritual 
seed of Abraham, and enjoy the same benefits. The children of believers 
must themselves become believers, must possess the same faith with 
their parents, and be Christ's genuine disciples, in order to be included 
in that promise and blessedness. 

Hear the apostle Paul, Gal. iii. 6, 7, " Abraham believed God," i. c. 
in reference to the coming Messiah, " and it was accounted to him for 
righteousness. Know ye, therefore, that they which are of faith, the 
same are the children of Abraham :" ver. 29, " and if ye are Christ's, 
then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." And 
ver. 9, " So then they which be op faith are blessed with faithful 

No doctrine can be more dangerous, (because calculated to be fatally 
lelusive,) than this, ' That because persons are bom of pious parents 
they are therefore under gome peculiar spiritual and advantageous dis- 

• ♦ See Appendix, Pan IV. 


tinction, on account of which they are entitled to sacred privileges, and 
do not need equally with others the same converting grace and mercy, 
and the same atoning sacrifice.' John the Baptist applied the axe to 
the root of this tree, at the dawn of this dispensation. " Think not 
to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our Father." Ye are 
a " generation of vipers ! Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath 
to come ?" So our Redeemer, when the Jews uttered their usual vaunt, 
" We be Abraham's seed," repHed, " I know that ye are Abraham's 
seed. If God were your Father, ye would love me. Ye are of your 
father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." John viii. 33, 
37, 43, 44. Such is Christ's testimony of the carnal circumcision ! 

If, then, Abraham's own descendants were not his spiritual seed, while 
destitute of faith and love, surely none can contend that the unbeliev- 
ing descendants of believing Gentiles can be that spiritual seed. 

Mn. Edw. Williams exposes this error in strong terms, in his 
Notes on Morrice's Social Beligion. " Our author takes considerable 
pains to maintain a favorite point, which I shall pronounce a very pre- 
carious hypothesis. It is that of hereditary grace, if I may so express 
the notion, — that all the children of the godly are absolutely interested 
in all new covenant blessings. . . . But that interpretation of the Abra- 
hamic promise, Gen. xvii. 7, which Mr. M. and some others have 
adopted, and which considers the words in their undistinguished appli- 

surely, was not the God of Abraham and of his unbelieving descen- 
dants in the same respects. . . . The New Testament saints have nothing 
more to do with the Abrahamic covenant than the Old Testament 
believers who lived prior to Abraham." Notes, p. 312 — 317. 

Matt, Henry. " Grace doth not run in the blood, nor are saving 
benefits inseparably annexed to external church privileges ; though it 
is common for people thus to stretch the meaning of God's promise to 
bolster themselves up in a vain hope. . . . The children of the flesh, as 
such, by virtue of their relationship to Abraham — are not therefore thie 
children of God." Expos, on Rom. ix. 6 — 13. 

7. But did not circumcision bring those that received it 
into the covenant of grace ? 

Answer. No : in no case whatever. The covenant of grace (as 
Mr. Border expresses it, cited at p. 54,) is ' the covenant of redemption, 
the everlasting covenant.' Nothing can bring into that covenant but 
the grace of God in Christ Jesus. It existed from the beginning of the 
world, and righteous Abel enjoyed its blessings. It has been an ever- 
flowing river, communicating its saving streams to the church of God 
THHouGH ALL AGES, and ALL DISPENSATIONS. Enoch, Noah, and, no 
doubt, thousands of others, though uncircumcised, enjoyed the blessed- 
ness of this covenant before Abraham was born. Circumcision, there- 
fore, is no part of the ' covenant of grace ;' and that it did not bring 
Abraham into it is undeniably clear, for he enjoyed it and all its blessed- 
ness many years before circumcision was instituted ; when he was, says 
the apostle, " not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision." Rom. iv. 10. 


\nd that this rite did not bring children into the covenant of grace is 
equally evident, from the addresses of all the holy prophets and apos- 
des, and of Christ himself, to those who had thus received that rite, and 
i!vho are addressed a.s persons entirely destitute of the grace of God, and 
being by nature the children of wrath even as others. See, among 
innumerable passages, Isa. i. 2 — 15, John viii. 42 — 44, Eph. ii. 3, Acts 
vii. 51, 52. 

8. In what sense, then, is circumcision ' a seal of the 
covenant,' if it had not this efficacy ? 

Answer. Common as it is to denominate circumcision a seal of the 
covenant, it is no where so denominated in the word of God. In one 
place, Rom. iv. 1 1, it is called a seal of righteousness ,• but except the 
whole verse be cited, the sense of the apostle is entirely lost. The 
words are these : " And he (that is, Abraham) received the sign of 
circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet 
being uncircumcised." In no other place is circumcision called a seal ; 
and let my reader try, after carefully looking at the whole passage, to 
make this applicable to infants, or to infant circumcision or baptism, or 
to unbelievers in any case, if he can. He will remark, 

1. Circumcision is here spoken of, not in reference to its general 
administration to the Jewish nation, but to Abraham in particular. 
2. It is spoken of, not as it might be received by a person destitute of vital 
piety, for it is called " a seal of the righteousness of faith, &c." 3. It 
is not spoken of as sealing what was in future to be bestowed or en- 
joyed, but of a blessing lojig before possessed — " of the faith which he 
had, yet being uncircumcised." 

I appeal to the serious judgment of the reader, what a perversion of 
the sense of God's word it must be, to call circumcision, from this 
passage, ' a seal of the covenant,' or, ' a seal of righteousness,' thereby 
referring to the national administration of that rite to the Jews, and as 
sealing to them the blessings of salvation, when the apostle so guar- 
dedly expresses himself as sealing only what a true ano lia'ino faith 
had previously obtained ! This passage can a: ply to none but to Abra- 
ham, and those of his posterity, who, like their progenitor, possessed a 
converting and saving faith. 

Venema. " Circumcision was a seal of the righteousness of faith, 
as the apostle affirms ; but this only in respect of such Israelites as were 
believers." In Psedobap. Exam. Vol. II. p. 268. 

9. Why, then, was circumcision administered to infants 
at all? 

Answer. It pleased God to enter into z. particular covenant with 
Abraham, which he had not done with the other patriarchs, though 
they equally enjoyed the blessings of the covenant of grace ; in which 
particular covenant, described in Gen. xvii. 1 — 14, the Almighty prom- 
ised to Abraham, " I will multiply thee exceedingly — make thee 
" exceeding fruitful ; and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall 
"come out of thee. — And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after 


«*thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for 
" an everlasting possession ; and I will be their God." 

My reader need not be told, that an kauthlt kixgdom is here 
promised to Abraham and his seed. He was to multiply into a nation, 
*r nations, and kings were to arise amongst them ; the land of Canaan 
was to be their country, and their perpetual residence. In it they were 
to dwell from generation to generation, and to continue a separate people 
from all other nations, until the special promised seed, that is 
Christ, should appear, in whom, as afterwards declared. Gen. xxii. 
17, 19, " all the nations of the earth shall be blessed." 

To this covenant it pleased God to append the institution of circum- 
cision. Thus it is given. Gen. xvii. 9 — 23 : — " Thou shalt keep my 
" covenant, therefore ; thou, and thy seed after thee, in their generations. 
" This is my covenant which ye shall keep, — Every man child amongst 
" you shall be circumcised ; he that is eight days old, he that is born 
" in thy house, or bought with money of any stranger, must needs be 
" circumcised ; and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlast- 
" ing covenant. And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that vv'ere 
" bom in his house, and all that were bought with money, every male 
" among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of 
*' their foreskin in the self-same day, as God had said unto him." 

My reader will here perceive how the rite of circumcision pertained 
to Abraham's household. Every 7nale from eight days old, and every 
servant, or picrchasedslave, of any age, willing or unwilling, must submit 
to this rite ; and if he refused, " that soul (it is added,) v. 14, shall be cut 
off from his people." Can this rite, thus indispensably administered to 
all the males of a house, because the master received it, be to them the 
seal of the covenant of grace 1 This, I think, no enhghtened Christian 
can for a moment imagine. 

The Divine intention in making this ordinance a national rite, and 
requiring it to be so strictly observed upon all the male offspring of 
Abraham, and to those who were incorporated among them, appears 
evidently to be, their separation as a people from the kest 
OF THE w^oRLD, that in them, in after ages, God might accomplish 
his wise and gracious purposes ,- first, in the coming of the promised 
Seed, the Saviour of sinners ; and beyond that event, in what the 
prophets have foretold of Israel, to be fulfilled at a period yet to come. 
For these designs, God was pleased to separate the Jews, by this indel- 
ible sign upon their persons : and as it was to be a national distinction, 
it must necessarily be a national rite, and in ctlecting this separation 
the Divine wisdom appears in applying it in early infancy. 

WiTSius. " The descendants of Abraham were separated by cir- 
cumcision from other nations, and renounced their friendship; as appears 
from the open declaration of the sons of Jacob, Gen. xxxiv. 14, 15. A 
circumcised person, say the Jews, ' has withdrawn himself from the 
whole body of the nations.' And, indeed, circumcision was a great 
part, and as it were the fouxdatiox of the middle wall of 
partition." Econ. of the Cov. Book iv. ch. 8. § 20. 


Mr. Erskine. " V/hen God promised the land of Canaan to Abra- 
ham and his seed, circumcision was instituted for this, among other 
purposes, to show that descent from Abraham was the foundation of his 
posterity's right to those blessings." Theolog. Dissert, p. 9. 

10. In what sense then are we to consider the Abra- 
hamic covenant as continued into the gospel dispensation, 
and enjoyed by Christians ? 

Answer. My reader, by comparing Gen. xv. 5, 6, 18, and chap, 
xvii. 1 — 14, will observe that the covenant (or rather covenants) made 
with Abraham were two-folh. 1. Spiritual and internal, pertaining 
to Abraham's acceptance with God, and salvation, as a believer in the 
coming Messiah ; and which was ail realized in Abraham's believing 
posterity, as we have already shown. 2. Worldly and external, pertain- 
ing to the land of Canaan ; with which were to be united the services of 
the temple, a worldly sanctuary, a material altar, carnal sacrifices, and 
a changing priesthood ; and the whole of this was intended as " a sha- 
dow of good things to come." See Heb. vii. 23, ix. 1 — 10, and x. 1. 

Now, all that is spiritual and internal in this covenant, and as 
enjoyed by Israel under it, is what is called 'the covenant of grace' and 
is continued in the Christian church by the Holy Spirit ; while what is 
worldly, external, and typical, is fulfilled and done away in the coming 
of Christ, and in the spiritual privileges of his church. "We have 
now, as Christians, no worldly kingdom, nor have we a temple, altar, 
or sacrifices, as the Jews; nor are we required to be separated from the 
nations of the world, so as to be one distinct nation ; and hence no 
carnal distinction is necessary. — " My kingdom (said Christ) is not of 
this world." John xviii. 36. It is not worldly in its nature, seat, form, 
government, or privileges ; but spiritual, and, as such, denominated 
" the ministration of the Spirit ;" and consists " in righteousness, peace, 
and joy in the Holy Ghost." Rom. xiv. 17. 2 Cor. iii. 7. 

Veistema. " Circumcision, according to a two-fold covenant, inter- 
nal and external which then existed, had likewise a two-fold aspect, 
spiritual and carnal. The former referred to the internal covenant 
of grace ; the latter to a legal, typical, and external covenant. That 
was concerned in ' sealing the righteousness of faith,' as the apostle 
asserts: this in the external prerogatives of Judaism, and in conferring 
external benefits. That was peculiar to the believing Israelites ; this 
was common to the whole people." In Psed. Exam. Vol. II. p. 243. 

11. Is there, then, nothing typical in the rite of circum- 
cision ? 

Answer. In replying to this question, it is my happiness to be able 
to refer my reader to an authority which, as a Christian, he will esteem 
decisive and infallible. Circumcision was a type, but not of baptism, 
(a figure, a type of a figure!) but of ' the circumcision of the heart' and 
* the putting off the sins of the flesh.' And this blessed work is 
accomplished, not on babes in age, but ' babes in Christ ,•' born from 
above, and children of God. Hear the infallible authority to which I 

VOL. II.— 10 F 


refer, Rom. ii. 28, 29, " For he is not a Jew, (an Israelite indeed,) which 
"is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision, (in God's ultimate 
" design,) which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew which is one 
"inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heakt; in the spirit 
" and not in the letter, whose praise is not o( men but of God." Phil, 
iii. 3, " For we are the circumcision which worship God in the spirit, 
" and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." 
Col. ii. 11, " Circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, 
" in the putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circum- 
"cision of Christ.'' 

12. According to this, baptism was not instituted in the 
ROOM OF CIRCUMCISION, and so became its end and fulfil- 

Answer. It is certain that this was not the case. 1st. Because 
when the apostles and elders were assembled at Jerusalem, to consider 
the question, Whether those wh.o were tamed to God from among the, 
Gentiles should be circumcised '? Acts xv., not a word was said about 
the end and fulfilment of the Jewish rite in the Christian : and had 
this been the known appointment of Christ, this must have been the 
decision of the subject. 2d. Because had this been the appointment of 
the Saviour, it would have been an aftront to his authority to continue 
circutncision for another day after he had substituted baptism in its 
place ; but circumcision v^as observed, even by the apostle Paul, long 
after Christ had instituted the New Testament rite. See Acts xvi. 3. 
This would have been a similar impropriety to the offering of 'a sacri- 
fice for sin,' according to the law, after Christ had ' put away sin by the 
sacrifice of himself!'* 

13. As you allow that circumcision was a seal in re- 
ference to Abraham as a believer ; is not baptism equally 
a seal under the New Testament, in a believer's case ? 

Answer. If it be so, it must be understood in the same sense in 
which the apostle expressed it in the case of the patriarch ; and then 
it would be " a seal of the righteousness of the faith which the believer 
had, yet being unbaptized." But we cannot do better than allow the 
New Testament to answer our inquiries ; and here I am no where 
taught that any external ordinance is a seal of the covenant of grace, 

* The aVsurdity of urcine the baptism of infants from the iustitntion of circum- 
cision, vviU appear l)y oV)S('rviiig, 1st, That male children wily were to receive that 
rite; and 2(1. That men servants ami slaves w^ere equally commamied to be cir- 
cumcised when the master was, and that upon pain of being cut off, or put to death. 
If that Divine command, thorefore, be applied as descriptive of the subjects of 
baptism, it will equally require the baptism of servants and purchased slaves, will- 
ing or unwilline, as well as of infants ; and it would restrict the Christian ordinance 
to the male sex alone. This being so plainly contrary to the revealed will of 
Christ on baptism, proves the fallacy of the doctrine. 

In the word of God I see no connexion or resemblance between circumcision anil 
t)aptiBm, except in this, that they were both initiartf oriUnnnres ; the one into the 
body politic of Israel of old, the subjects of which rite are all the male inhabitants 
—the other into the bocly cf Christ, which is his church, and the subjects of which 
are all believers in him. To this the apostle seems to refer in Col. ii. 11—13. 


but most plainly instructed, (in beautiful harmony with the spiritual 
nature of the Messiah's kingdom,) that the luork of the Spirit on the 
heart is the only seal of that covenant. 

2 Cor. i. 22. " Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of 
the Spirit in our hearts." 

Eph. i. 13. " Ye were sealed wdth that Holy Spirit of promise." 

Eph. iv. 30. " Grieve not that Holy Spirit, whereby ye are sealed 
unto the day of redemption." 

Chahnock. " God seals no more than he promises. He promises 
only to faith, and therefore only seals to faith. Covenant graces, there- 
fore, must be possessed and acted, before covenant blessings be ratified 
to us." Works, Vol. II. p. 781. ed. 1. 

ViTRiJfGA. " The sacraments of the New Covenant are of such a 
nature as to seal nothing but what is spiritual, nor to be of any 
advantage, except in regard to those who really believe in Jesus Christ." 
In Pasd. Exam. Vol. II. p. 268. 

14. How, then, is the doctrine of the Church of Eng- 
land to be understood, by which we are taught, that a child 
by baptism is " incorporated" and " grafted into the body 
of Christ's Church ;" and in another place, '♦ made a 
member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the 
kingdom of heaven ?" 

Answer. To support that doctrine by any thing said in the Scrip- 
tures of this ordinance, (as the reader of the preceding pages must be 
aware,) is impossible : to make it agree with the analogy of faith as 
taught by the concurring testimony of the whole of Divine revelation 
is equally impossible. What is here attributed to baptism, the Scrip- 
pires ascribe to the omnipotent agency of the Holt Ghost in regene- 
ration, and to the infinite efficacy of the Redeemer's cross in securing 
eternal life!! See 2 Thes. ii. 13. 1 Pet. iii. 18. Baptism, then, is 
here said to do, what nothing short of the power and grace of God is 
able to perform ; and that children, as they advance in life, should be 
taught to express and believe such a doctrine, and to consider themselves 
in the possession of such spiritual advantages, merely by having re- 
ceived this external rite, destitute as it is of all saving efficacy, is inex- 
pressibly lamentable and dangerous ; because it might prove, as it is 
fitly calculated to be, fatal to their souls ! 

Mn. JoHX Htatt, (the late excellent minister of the Tabernacle, 
Lomlon.) "If the church of Christ is his body, and every real be- 
liever is a member of that body, how important the question, Are we 
members of the body of Christ? Millions have been taught to say, 
that in baptism they are made memljors of Christ, who have given 
indubitable proofs that they uttered falsehood ! ! The members of the 
body of Christ are united to him as a head ; and there are no dead, no 
unsanctified meml)ers. All are useful, active, and obedient. Ah ! my 
hearers, beware of deception — beware of substituting the name for the 
reality — tlie form of godliness for the power. Surely, licentious cha- 
racters cannot presume that they arc members of the mystical body of 


the Son of God. A holy head, and impure members ; a pure fountain, 
and corrupt streams ; a good tree, and bad fruit ; — these are anomalies. 
If you are united to him, you are of one spirit with him." Sermons 
on various Subjects, p. 363. 

15. But if infants are not to be received into the Church 
by baptism, and they should die in infancy, is not their 
salvation endangered ? 

Answer. By no means. How can the want of that endanger sal- 
vation which God hath nowhere enjoined or required 1 Did not our 
Lord receive unbaptizeo children into his arms, when on earth, and 
bless them, and send them away unbaptized ; and without uttering a 
word about baptism 1 See question 2. And who then will say that 
baptism is necessary that He should receive them to himself in heaven ; 
especially when they remember his gracious declaration in reference to 
these unbaptized children, " Of such is the kingdom of heaven "?" See 
Mark x. 14, and Matt, xviii. 10. 

Persons dying incapable of faith in Christ, are without doubt saved» 
not by wafer, nor by the work of man ,• but by the blood of Christ, 
and by the power of the Spirit. In like manner persons dying in faith, 
but having no opportunity of being baptized, as the penitent on the 
cross, are saved by the same infinitely efficacious, and the only suffi-- 
cient means. 

If we do for our children what God hath required, we shall find this 
quite sufficient, without attempting to do what God hath 7iot required. 
And should it please God to remove them from us in infancy, it is bet- 
ter to commit their souls to the merits of Christ, than to the unautho- 
rized application of water to their bodies. The former we are sure saves ; 
1 John i. 7. And we are equally sure baptism cannot save ; Acts viii. 
13, 23 ; and is not necessary to salvation, Luke xxiii. 43. To apply 
baptism yor salvation, therefore, is making a false saviour of the ordi- 
nance, and implies a criminal unbelief in the all-sufficiency of Christ. \ 

16. Admitting the want of Scripture authority for infant 
baptism, on what other authority is it supposed te be ori- 
ginally founded ? 

Answer. Some have urged in its behalf apostolical tradition. 
Others, a council of bishops, held at Carthage, A. D. 253. Higher 
authority it has not ; and neither of these can Protestants admit. 

Mr. Field. "The baptism of infants is therefore named a tradition, 
because it is not expressly delivered in Scripture that the apostles did 
baptize infants ; nor any express precept there found that they should 
do so." On the Church, 375. 

Bishop Prideaux. " Paedobaptism — rests on no other Divine right 
than Episcopacy."* Fascicul. Contro. Loc. iv. § iii. p. 210. 

* In the Edict drawn up in the year 1547, by command of Charles V. Emperor 
of Germany, to allay disputes between the Romanists and the Reformers, 7Va- 
dUion is expressly slated as the ground of infant baptism: " Habet prseterea Eccle- 


17. If this be granted, when was infant baptism sup- 
posed to be introduced ? 

Answer. There is no certain evidence of it earlier than the begin- 
ning of the third century, after Christ. At that period it was practised 
in Africa, and is mentioned, for the first time, by Tertullian, about the 
year 204, in his work entitled " De Baptismo," which I shall cite pre- 

Curceli,;eus, (a learned divine of Geneva, and professor of Divinity.) 
** The baptism of infants, in the two first centuries after Christ, was 
altogether unknown ; but in the third and fourth was allowed by some 
few. In the fifth and following ages it was generally received. The 
custom of baptizing infants did not begin before the third age after 
Christ was born. In the former ages, no trace of it appears — and it 
was introduced without the command of Christ." In Pasd. Exam. 
Vol. II. p. 76. 

Salmasits a>-d SncEnus. " In the two first centuries no one 
was baptized, except being instructed in the faith, and acquainted with 
the doctrine of Christ, he was able to profess himself a believer ; because 
of those words, He that believeth, and is bupiized." Ut supra. 

Venema. ^'Tertullian has no where mentioned paedobaptism among 
the traditions or customs of the church, that were publicly received, and 
usually observed. — For in his book, De Baptismo, he dissuades from 
baptizing infants, and proves the delay of it to a more mature age is to 
be preferred. Nothing can be affirmed with certainty, concerning the 
custom of the church before Tertullian, seeing there is not any where, 
in more ancient writers, that I know of, undoubted mention of infant 
baptism." Ut supra, p. 74. 

The passage alluded to, containing the FIRST MENTION of in- 
fant baptism, is the following : — 

Tertullian. " Pro cujusque personse conditione ac dispositions, 
etiam state, cunctatio baptismi utilior est, precipue tamen circa parvu- 
los. Quid cnim necesse est sponsores etiam periculo ingeri ? Quia et 
ipsi per mortalitatem destituere promisiones suas possint, et proventu 
malffi indolis falli. Ait quidem Dominus, Nolite illos prohihere ad me 
venire. Veniant ergo dum adolescunt, veniant dum discunt, dum quo ve- 
niunt decentur : fiant Christiani, dum Christum nosse potuerint. Quid 
teetinat innocens JEtas ad remissionem peccatorum ] Cautius agetur in 
sascularibus ; ut cui substantia terrena non creditur, divina credatur. 
Norint petere salutem, ut petenti dedisse videaris. ... Si qui pondus 
intelligant baptismi, magis timebant consecutionem quam dilationem : 
fides Integra secura est de salute." De Baptismo, cap. xviii. 

«»ifi traditiones, &c. quas qui convellit, is ne^at eandem columnam esse et firma- 
ifienlum veritaiis. Hujus eeneris sunt Bantisimis parvulorum et alia." i. e. "The 
f'iiurch moreovor has tracfilions haiuird down to ihcso liyncs from Christ and the 
aposilos, through the hands of the hishops : which whoever would overturn, he 
must deny the same (viz. the Church) to Le the pillar and cround of truth. Of this 
fl'.rt are the baptism of little ones, and other things." In Dr. Ryland^s Candid 
Slateinenl. Notes, p. 28. 

10* F 2 


" The delay of baptism may be more advantageous, either on account 
of the condition, disposition, or age of any person, especially in refer- 
ence to little children. For what necessity is there that the sponsors 
should be brought into danger ? because either they themselves may 
fail of the promises by death, or be deceived by the growth of evil dis' 
positions. — The Lord, indeed, says. Do not forbid them to come to me. 
Let them, therefore, come when they are grown up ; when they can 
understand ; when they are taught whither they are to come. Let 
them become Christians when they can know Christ. "Why should this 
innocent age hasten to the remission of sins 1 Men act more cau- 
tiously in worldly things ; so that Divine things are here intrusted with 
whom earthly things are not. Let them know how to seek salvation, 
that you may appear to give to one that asketh. . ..If persons understand 
the importance of baptism they will rather fear the consequent obliga- 
tion than the delay : true faith alone is secure of salvation." 

Now I request my reader to observe — 1. That there is confessedly no 
mention of infant baptism in the writings of any of the Fathers, before 
TertuUian, in the beginning of the third century ; though the baptism 
of believers is repeatedly found, in various authors ; some of which I 
shall cite in the next part of this appendix. 2. That when infant bap- 
tism is first mentioned, in the Christian Father above quoted, it is in a 
passage where the rite is referred to, not as of something of universal 
practice and approbation ; but where it is opposed and reasoxed 
A&AixsT as something unknown in the age of Christ and the apostles, 
and destitute of their authority, for with him their authority would not 
have been questioned for a moment ; and as something implying daU' 
f^er in reference to sponsors, and absurdity relative to children. Thus, 

Regaltjus, the learned annotator upon Cyprian. " In the Acts of 
the Apostles we read that both men and women were baptized when 
they believed the gospel preached by Philip, but not a word of infants. 
From the age of the apostles therefore, up to the time of TertuUian, the 
matter remained in ol>scurity, [or doubtful, in ambiguo ;] and there were 
some who from that saying of our Lord, Suffer little children to come 
unto me, to whom the Lord nevertheless did not command water to be 
administered, took occasion to baptize even new-born infants. And as 
if, (seculare aliquod negotium cum Deo transigeretur,) they transacted 
some secular business with God, they offered sponsors or sureties to 
Christ, who engaged that they should not revolt from the Christian 
faith when grown up ; which indeed displeased TertuUian." In Sten- 
netCs Answer to Russen, pp. 69, 73, and in Mr, WaWs Hist. Vol. II. 
chap. 3. 

18. Tradition from the apostles, is declared by the 
church of Rome to be the authority for infant baptism ; is 
this said to be its authority where the practice is first men- 
tioned ? 

Answer. No such authority is ever once hinted at. 

Yen EM A. " TertuUian dissuades from baptizing infants — which he 


certainly would not ha^e done, if it had been a tradition, and a public 
custom of the church, seeing he was verx tejtacious of traditions ; 
nor, had it been a tradition, would he have failed to mention itl" See 
after next question. 

19. Do Ve find any other innovation introduced into the 
Church of Christ, about the same period ? 

Answer. Several. We never read of — 1. The consecration of the 
baptismal water ; 2. The use of sponsors ; 3. The imposition of hands 
at baptism ; 4, The use of material unction at confirmation ; 5. Offer- 
ing prayers and oblations for the dead, &c. ; we never read of any of 
these in any Christian writer before TertuUian ; and hence, learned 
Psedobaptists infer that they were introduced about that time. Thus, 
Mr. Pierce, speaking of the third of these, says, that TertuUian is " the 
most ancient author that mentions this rite ;" and adds, " We make no 
doubt it began about the time of TertuUian." Vindicution of Dissenters^ 
Pt. III. cb. vii. pp. 173, 175. We come to the same conclusion, for 
the very same reason, respecting the baptism of infants. The celebrated 
aTid learaed divine i cited in the former question seems willing to admit 
this : — 

Venema. *'I conclude, therefore, that psedobaptism catikot be 
plainly proved to have been practised before the time of TertuUian ; 
and that there were persons in his age who desired their infants might 
be baptized, especially when they were afraid of their dying without 
baptism; which opinion TertuUian opposed, and, by so doing, inti- 

Vol. II. pp. 79, 80. 

20. Did the first Christian Fathers, who supported the 
baptism of infants, suppose that some spiritual benefit was 
communicated to them by that ordinance ? 

Answer. They did. — They held that baptism was necessary to sal- 
vation ; that forgiveness accompanied it ; that infants by it were purged 
from the pollution of original sin; and that aU persons dying without 
baptism were lost. Thus, 

CrpRiAX, A. D. 253. "As far as lies in us, no soul, if possible, is 
to be lost. It is not for us to hinder smy person from baptism and the 
grace of God ; whjch rule, as it holds to all, so we think it more espe- 
cially to be observed in reference to infants, to whom our help and the 
Divine mercy is rather to be granted ; because by their weeping and 
wailing at their first entrance into the world, they do intimate nothing 
so much as that they implore compassion." 

Ambrose, A. D. 390. " For no person comes to the kingdom of 
heaven, but by the sacrament of baptism. — Infants that are baptized are 
reformed b.K^k again from wickedness to the primitive state of their 

CiiRTSosTOM, A. D. 398. " The grace of baptism gives cure without 
pain, and fills us with the grace of the Spirit, Some think that the 
heavenly grace consists only in the forgiveness of sins ,- but I have 


reckoned up tbx advantages of it." " If sudden death seize us before 
we are baptized, though we have a thousand good quahties, there is no- 
thing to be expected but hell." See the original of these passages in 
Mr. Wairs Hist, of Inf. Bap. Vol. I. ch. 6, 13, 14 ; and II. eh. 6. 

These extracts, which I might have increased a hundredfold, are 
sufficient to prove that some of the Fathers, from about the middle of 
the third century, considered baptism as essentially necessary to salva- 
tion ; and in this false view of the ordinance, the baptism of infants 
originated. To this agree the following learned writers : — 

SuicERUS, Professor of Greek and Hebrew at Zurich, "This opi- 
nion of the absolute necessity of baptism arose from a wrong under- 
standing of our Lord's words, Except a man be born of water and of 
the Spirit he cannct enter the kingdom of heaven." In Paed. Exam. 
Vol. II. p. 129. 

Salmasius, the very learned historian and critic. "An opinion 
prevailed that no one could be saved without being baptized ; and for 
that reason the custom arose of baptizing infants." Ibid. p. 128. 

21. But if a profession of repentance and faith was al- 
ways required before baptism in the apostolic age, how 
could Christian ministers, or churches, so early as the days 
of Tertullian, admit of the baptism of infants, by whom 
no such profession could be made ? 

Answer. The deficiency, in reference to infants, was ingeniously 
supplied by introducing " sponsors." They would not dispense ivith 
the profession, but they would admit it by proxy. Two or three per- 
sons, and, in the case of an infant of high rank, from twenty to an 
hundred, were admitted as "sureties," who professed, in behalf of an 
infant, to repent, renounce the devil and his works, and to believe the 
doctrines of the gospel. These sureties are first mentioned by Tertul- 
lian, A. D. 204, in the passage I have copied, pp. 65, 66, where they are 
called " sponsors," i. e. persons who answer, and make themselves 
answerable for another. 

Here is religion by proxy ; real, personal, experimental religion ! a 
thing unheard of before since the world began. But when so many 
strange absurdities were introduced into the church, as those before 
mentioned, p. 67, we need not be much surprised at this. To a reader, 
however, who knows by his own experience, and by the concurrent 
testimony of every part of the Bible, that there is no religion but that 
which is between God and the soul, and is God's gift, and in which 
another can have no share or part, it is grievous to reflect seriously on 
this alarming innovation. 

22. But do modern Paedobaptists entertain the same 
view as the ancients, as to the necessity of baptism to 
salvation ? 

Ayrswer. The MAJonirr of professed Christians have ever avowed, 
and do still avow, the same doctrine I The church of Rome has 
honored those who dare deny it with an " anathema ;" and the Greek 


church, though not so ready to anathematize, entertains the same 
opinion. The reformed churches, and the different denominations of 
Protestant Psedobaptists, whether bearing the name of EpiscopaUans, 
Presbyterians, Independents, CongregationaUsts, or Wesleyans, while 
they generally disavow that doctrine, yet they hold opinions, which, 
when fairly carried out to their consequences, come little short of the 
same amount. They have seen in the doctrine of the ancients, and of 
Rome, ' that no one can be saved without their baptism,' too plain a 
demonstration of the ' little horn' of antichrist,* — the mystery of ini- 
quity which began to work in the apostles' days.j- — to avow that doc- 
trine in the same terms. But let me ask. my respected brethren in these 
communities. If baptism makes its subjects, as some of them say ,4: 
" children of God and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven ;" or, as all 
of them, by their leading writers, have said, that it brings its subjects 
" into the church of Christ" or " into the covenant of grace," or " seals 
to them the benefits of that covenant," and which is " the covenant of 
redemption, embracing all that Jehovah can impart ;" whether this is 
not tantamount to the doctrine guarded by Rome's anathema 1 If bap- 
tism brings into, or seals the benefits of, the covenant of grace, it will 
bring to heaven ; for God hath joined these two together. And if there 
be not another way of bringing into this ' covenant of grace and 
redemption' what must become of those who are not brought in, and 
•who die in that situation 1 Thus pressed to consequences, I see no 
other conclusion to be come at from these premises, but that of Chry- 
sostom, just cited, horrible as it sounds ! Let my brethren who would 
recoil at the thought of that conclusion, examine rigidly and honestly 
whether the virtues they join to the rite of baptism afford not the just 
and fair ground of it. And if the conclusion be denied, let them deny 
the premises from which it is drawn ; but while they avow the pre- 
mises, I must be allowed to insist upon the conclusion. 

23.. If no spiritual or saving benefit necessarily attend? 
the ordinance of baptism, (which evidently is, and ever has 
been, conceived as the basis and reason of infant baptism, 
by the majority of those that have practised it,) why is the 
ordinance administered at all ? and of what use is it in the 
church of Christ? 

Answer-, " God is his own interpreter." The ritual ordinances 
appointed of God in his church were never, under any dispensation, 
intended by him to carry salvation with them. For that purpose 
" neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision," as the 
apostle affirms ; and the same may be said of baptism and the Lord's 
supper. Salvation proceeds from a source entirely distinct and separate 
from these ordinances. It may be fully enjoyed without them ; and 
they may be administered, and repeated a thousand times over, without 
it. The penitent malefactor was saved without baptism : Simon Magus 
was baptized without part or lot in salvation* 

♦ Daniel vii. &-21. t 2 Tlies. ii, 3-10. $ S«e AuthoriUeu at pp. 54, 55. 


What, then, you inquire, is the use of baptism ] I reply, It is a 
solemn, sacred institution of Jesus, intended by him, as I have before 
observed, to exhibit and to teach the way of salvation. It saves 
in no way of itself; but it presents a figurative and an impressive 
representation of saving, — of that real saving, which is through the 
purifying merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. As such Christ 
instituted it ; and as such it is the duty and privilege of his followers 
to observe it, till he come. Thus the apostle Peter, cited p. 49, when 
he says, Baptism saves ; he immediately guards against error upon this 
subject, — it is not the putting away the filth ofthejlesh, or impurity, 
or sin of any kind, which can only be cleansed by the blood of Christ. 
But it saves as a " figure ;" it symbolically presents " the fountain 
opened for sin and uncleanness," and to that fountain it directs the 
penitent to flee, and therein by faith " to wash away sin, calling on the 
name of the Lord." Acts xxii. 16. When this is realized, then baptism 
aftbrds the answer of a good conscie/ice, satisfied that Christ is obeyed, 
guilt purged away, and the soul saved through the blood of the Lamb. 
Pjedobaptist divines affirm the same. Thus, 

Mr. David Davidson, on 1 Peter iii. 21. " Lest any should imagine 
spiritual deliverance secure by the external rite, in any other sense 
than figuratively, the apostle adds, that the baptism he chiefly meant 
was the cleansing of the conscience, which is by faith in Christ. The 
same figure and reality are repeatedly thus stated. See Eph. v. 26 ; 
Tit. iii. 5 ; Heb. ix. 14," Comme}itart/ on the New Test. p. 459. 

24. Who is the first Christian writer that defended the 
baptism of infants ? 

Answer. The first that mentioned the practice at all was Tertullian, 
A. D. 204. li, was named next by Origen, A. D. 230. But the first 
■writer that defended the practice was Ctpbiax, A. D. 253, At this 
period the plan of e.dir.itting a prox'ession oy sponsors became so general- 
at least in Africa where it commenced, and the security the rite afibrded 
of eternal life was deemed so important, that the practice of it became 
general. Hence Synods and Councils were held to sanction the prac- 
tice, and to consider the time after birth when the ordinance may be 
properly administered. Thus, the very learned writer cited before — 

Regal Tius. " Most men thinking this opinion of Tertullian unsafe, 
were of Cyprian's mind, that even new-born children ought to be made 
partakers of the laver of salvation ; which was pitched upon in the 
decree of this Synod, and so the doubt was taken awat."* Jn 
SiennetVs Answer to Russen, pp. 69 — 73, and in Mr. WalPs Hist. 
Vol. IL ch. 2. 

• Rcffaltins here refers to a Synod, the decision of which took awau anv farther 
doubt as to the propriety or necpssify of infant baptism. The reaitpr snould be 
informed that during the lives of the A'frican Fathers, Cyprian and Augustine, seve- 
ral eeneral meetinps of the ministers of that district, which were called Councils 
or Synods, were held at Carthage, and Mile vis, to consult and decide on certain 
subjects. At the first of these, held at Carthage, A. D. 2:)3, si.xty-six of those mi- 
nisters, or bishops AS they are called, being present, with Cyprian for their president, 
one Fidus, a country bishop, submitted two questions f ir decision, the latter of 
which was " Whether an infant, before it was eijjhl days old, n)ight be baptized, if 


On the Scriptural Mode of Baptism. 

Ix my first section, I promised my reader to refer again to the Modk 
of Baptism, and expressed my hope to satisfy any candid inquirer on 
the subject ; and this I conceive I shall do, not by the quantity of 
what I shall write on the subject, for I shall be very brief, but by stating 
arguments, which I consider irresistibly convincing and decisive. In 
this part, as in the former, I shall suppose my reader disposed to put 
inquiries involving all the leading points of the controversy. 

1. Question. Are the most learned and competent 
writers agreed, that the sense you have given, at p. 13, of 
the words chosen of God to express this ordinance, 
{baptize and baptism,) is theif ordinary and most proper 
sense ? 

Answer. More competent authority the learned world does not 
aftbrd than the following : — 

WiTsius. " It cannot be denied that the native signification of the 
words ^u.Trh.y and ^u.7rli^uv, is to plunge, to dip." Econ. oftlte Gov. 
L. IV. c. xvi. § 13. 

Calvtx. "The word baptize, signifies to immerse, and the rite of 
immersion was observed by the ancient church."* 

Zanchius. " The proper signification of baptize is to immerse, 
plunge under, to overwhelm in water." 

Alstedius. " To baptize, signifies only to immerse ; not to wash, 
except by consequence." 

rieetl required 7" Heur?ed his objections, from which the reader may form some 
idea of these African bishops, 1. "That an infant in the first days after its l)irih is 
unclean, so that any of us al)hors to kiss it !" This kiss of pea' e was an African 
accompaniment of baptism. 2. He questioned " Whfjlher so young an infant be a 
PERFECT HUMAN CREATURE!" The CouncIl decided against him, as seen in Cy- 
prian's Letter to Fidus, of which, at p. 67, is an extract." 

In the councils over which Augustine presided, from A. D. 416 to A. D. 420, the 
bishops were disposed to go much farther than at any former period. Tliey en- 
acted their canons, and pronounced their anathemas, in the pure spirit of antichrist. 
Thus in the IMilevitan council, fourteen or fifteen being present, as depulifs from 
the whole, they decreed "Placuit ergo omnibus episcopis," &;c. ''It is therefore 
the pleasure of all the bishops, that whosoever denielh that infants newly torn of 
their mothers are to be tiaptized ... let him be accursed." And in the " Synodial 
Kpi.stle of the Council of Carthage to Innocent" of Rome, the same imprecation 
occurs. "Quicunque negat parvolos per haiaismum Christi a perditione lili<rari," 
&c. '• Whoever denies that infants are by Christian baptism delivered from per- 
dition, and brought to eternal salvation, let him be anathema." In Mr. Wall's 
Hist, of Inf. Bapt Vol. I. chap. xix. § 28. Robinson's Hist, of Bapt. chap. xxii. 
Mr. Gill's Argument from Apost. Trad, rotisidered, p. 22. The authority of these 
canons bein^ admitted at Rome, "the doubt of infant baptism" yielded co-exlen- 
slvely with that authority. 

• See this author and those that follow cited at srealer lentrih and their works 
referred to, in Booth's Padob. Exam. Vol. I. pp. 44 lo 65. Eighty-two such autho- 
rities are there adduced. 


BszA. " Christ commanded us to be baptized ; by which word it 
is certain immersion is signified." 

ViTRiwoA. " The act of baptizing is the immersion of believers in 
water. This expresses the force of the word." 

H. Altingius. " The word baptism, — properly signifies immer- 
sion ; improperly, by a metonomy of the end, washing.^^ 

ScAPXTLA. " To baptize, — to dip or immerse, as we immerse any 
thing for the purpose of dying or cleansing in water." 

Mr. Lkigh. "The native and proper signification of it {baptizel 
is, to dip into water, or to plunge under water." 

BossuF.T, bishop of Meaux. " To baptize signifies to plunge, as is 
granted by all the world." 

To the above I might add many living authors : — 

Mr. EwiJfG, of Glasgow. " Bx^7.'^a), in its primary and radical sense, 
I cover with water. It is used to denote, 1st. I plunge, or sink com- 
pletely under water''' Gr. Lexicon, sub voce.* 

Edinburgh Reviewers. "They tell me, (says Mr. Carson,) that 
it was unnecessary to bring forward ^ny of the examples to prove that 
the word signifies to dip, — that I might have commenced with this as 


Edin. Prcsbyt. Review, p. 9. A. D. 1832. 

2. As in one branch of the Christian church, the Greek 
language has been continued from the age of the apostles, 
and with them the words I^x7rli^a> and (izTrlta-fx*. (baptize and 
baptism), remain unaltered, and in common use to this day, 
— let me ask, How do ?/ie^ understand the words? and 
how administer the ordinance ? 

Mr. R. Robinson. "The native Greeks must understand theii 
own language better than foreigners, and they have always understoo(i 
the word baptism to signify dipping ,- and, therefore, from their first 
embracing of Christianity to this day, they have always baptized, and 
do yet baptize, by Tinmersion. This is an authority for the meaning 
of the word infinitely preferable to that of European lexicographer*. 
In this case the Greeks are unexceptionable guides."-f- Hist, of Bapt. 
pp. 5, 6. 

* Mr. Ewing, the author of a very useful Greek lexicon, gives several other 
sense? to the word, and at leninh conlemls that it will admit oi sprinkling . If this 
were inie, it would not niaipriHlly airccl our present inquiry ; because we cannoi 
admit I hat our Lord would employ a word to express this ordinance, which, in ihtj 
first, plain, and most ctmimon use of it, sisnifies immersion, if he intended sprink- 
ling, supiiosiui the word would bear that sense in a distant and unusual interpre- 
tation of it. But it is demonstrated by Mr. Carson, in his recent elaborate work 
on bapvisni, that the word has but one proper sense, namely, that which Mr. Ewino 
admits above as its first sense. — Mr. Cox makns the following appeal to Mr. E. : — 
" I now once azain demand of Mr. Ewing to point me out the lexicon, which does 
NOT eivR dipping, plunging or immersing as the unquestionable, seuled, and uni- 
versally admitted primitive signification of the contested terms." On Baptism, 

t Mr. Robiason was an Anii-paedobaptisl. 


3. But what is denominated the " Greek Church'* is 
now extended over an immense portion of the globe ; is 
the same mode of baptism observed in all the nations 
included in it ? 

The Pantalooia, under the article * Greek Church,' thus explains — 
" That part of the Christian church which was first established in 
Greece, and is now spread over a larger extent of country than any 
other estabUshed church. It comprehends in its bosom a considerable 
part of Greece, the Grecian isles, Wallachia, Moldavia, Egypt, Abys- 
sinia, Nubia, Lybia, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Cilicia, Palestine. . . . 
It may be observed, that amid all their trifling rites, they practise trine- 
immersion, which is unquestionably the primitive manner."* 

Mr. Wall. "The Greek church, in all the branches of it, does 
still use immersion." Hist, of Inf. Bapt. Vol. II. p. 376, Ed. 3. 

Sir p. Ricaut. " Thrice dipping or plunging, this church holds 
to be as necessary to the form of baptism, as water to the matter." In 
Paed. Exam. Vol. I. p. 26S. 

4. Is there any evidence in the writings of the first 
Christian fathers after the apostles, respecting the mode 
of baptism as administered by them, and in their times? 
for it is not likely that the mode observed by Christ and 
the apostles would be immediately changed. 

Answer. The first Christians after the days of the apostles could 
never bring themselves to make so great a change in an institution of 
Christ, as to substitute sprinkling for immersion. Such a change 
would require several ages to bring the public mind to receive it ; as 
every one, acquainted with church history, knows was the case. There 
was a disposition early manifested to make cerenionlul additions to 
Christ's appointments, such as consecrating the water, &c., but there is 
no evidence whatever of altering the mode of this ordinance, except as 
a recourse or expedient for dying persons, «fec., for above 1000 years, as 
I shall attest presently. 

If then we can ascertain the mode of baptism in the first centuries 
following the apostles, without doubt it will be what the liord ordained. 
And happily there is abundance of evidence upon this subject. I shall 
cite a few short passages, and the references may lead the reader, if 
disposed, to a deeper investigation : — 

Barnabas, Paul's companion. An epistle ascribed to him has 
escaped the ravages of time. Two passages refer to baptism ; in one 
he says, " Blessed are they, who, fixing their hope on the cross, have gone 
" down into the water." The other, " We descend into the water, . . . 
"and come up out of it, bring forth fiuit, having in our hearts reve- 
rential fear, and hope through Jesus." Epist. cap. xi. 

* * Trine-immersion,' or immersing the person three times, once in the name of 
each of the Divine Persons, was in use in the beginnini of the third century. It 
was practised in Enijland till the sixteenth century ; and is still rigidly observed 
in the eastern churches. 

VOL. IX. — II G 


Herhas, honored by Paul's salutation, Rom. xvi. 14. A Latin 
version of his work, entitled, * the Pastor,' or Shepherd, is extant. In 
it he speaks of the apostles accompanying the persons to be baptized 
into the water. " The apostles and teachers — preached to them that 
*' before were dead, and gave them this seal ; for they, (apostili, &c. 
" dcsccnderunt in aquam cum illis,) went down with them into the 
water, and came up again." See this and other allusions ih Lib. 1. vis. 
8, sect. 7 ; and Lib. III. similit. 9; 

Justin Mauttr. About A. D. 140, Justin Martyr wrote ' An Apo- 
logy for Christians, addressed to the Emperor, the Senate, and people of 
Rome.' In this work he describes the doctrines and ordinances of the 
Church of Christ ; and on baptism has the following passage : — " I will 
" now declare to you also after what manner we being made new by 
" Christ have dedicated ourselves to God, lest, if I should leave that 
"out, I might seem to deal unfairly in some part of my apology. They 
"who are perstiaded and do believe that those things which are taught 
" by us are true, aud do promise to live according to them, are directed 
" first to pray and ask of God with fasting, the forgiveness of their former 
" sins ; and we also pray and fast with them. Then we bring them to some 
" place where there is water, and they are baptized by the same way of 
" baptism by which we were Iiaptized : for they are washed (fv ra CJuri) 
"ill ike water in the name of God the Father, Lord of all things ; and 
" of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit." Justin Mart. 
Apolog. 11. sect. 79.* 

Teutuli lAX, A. D. 204. " Because the person [to be baptized,] in 
" great simplicity ... is let down in the water, and with a few words 
" said, is dipped." Homo in aqua demissus. et inter pauca verba tinctus. 
Again, when speaking of the vain anxiety to be baptized in the Jor- 
dan, — " There is no difl'erencc whether one is washed in a sea or in a 
"pool, in a river or in a fountain, in a lake or in a channel ; nor is 
" there any difl'erence between them whom John dipped in Jordan, and 
" those whom Peter dipped in the Tiber :" quos Joannes in Jordane, et 
quos Petrus in Tiberi tinxit. He also uses the words, " In aqua nier- 
gimur," i. e. " we are immersed in the water." De Baptismo, cap. 
2, 4, 7. 

Gregoiit Naziaxzen, a. D. 3G0. " We are buried with Christ 
•' by baptism that we may also rise again with him ; we descend with 
" him that we may also be lifted up with him ; we ascend with him 

* Upon this passairn of Justin Mn. Wall remarks, "Tliis is the most ancient 
nccixinl of the way of bapiizin;.', next to the Scripture; and shows the plain ami 
Biinple manner of aihninisiprinq it." Anil Mr. Reeve.?, the learned translator 
i.f Justin, adds, in a note. " 'Tis evident from this place of Justin and that of Ter- 
liillian,(de Cor. Mil. c. 3.) thai Pond.s and Kivers were the only Baptisteries or 
Fonts the church had for the first two hvmdred yrars. The Catechumen being 
brouohl to the baptistery, was thus interroiiaied, Doal thou reiwumc the devil ?— 
Dosllhou renounce the tcorl'i ? &c. &c. Ans. Tdo renounce them.—^f^xi he made 
an open contession of the faith, the bishop asking him, Dost thou believe <« God? 
&c., U) which the person answered, I do believe. And this form of interrogation 
the apostle is ihoushl to refer to when he sivUs baptism the ansirer of a good cori.- 
gcieme towards God."'—M\.OT this confrssion is made, the candidate (Mr. Reeves 
adds) was "thrice plunged under water at the naming of the Three Persons m 
the blessed Trinity." Apologies, Vol. I. p. 97. Nolo. 


" that we may also be glorified with him." Orat. 40. In Sfenndfs 
Answer to liussen, p. 144. 

Basil, A. D. 360. " ¥.v t^io-i t^li; HurAfuTuri," &c. <* By three im- 
" raersions the great mystery of baptism is accomplished." In Slen- 
nett, as above. 

Ambrose, A. D. 374. "Thou wast asked. Dost thou believe in 
"God the Father Almighty'? Thou saidst, I do believe, and wast im- 
" mersed, that is, thou wast buried, (mersisti, hoc est, sepultus es.) Thou 
" wast asked again. Dost thou believe on our Lord Jesus Christ and his 
" crucifixion 1 Thou saidst, I believe, and wast immersed again, and 
so wast buried with Christ."* 

Ctril, of Jerusalem, A. D. 374. " As he, l e^Jwuv a- rote CJxiriy^who 
" is plu7iged in the water, and baptized, is encompassed by the water 
" on every side ; so they, that are baptized by the Spirit, are also wholly 
covered all over :" &c.* 

Chrtsostom, a. D. 398. "To be baptized (x-^u KctruSuiT^dn) and 
plunged, and then to emerge or rise again, is a symbol of our descent 
into the grave, and our ascent out of it ; and therefore, Paul calls bap- 
tism a burial." Homil. XL. in 1 Corin. 

5. Do learned Paedobaptists grant that this practice of 
immersion was the general, and esteemed the only legiti- 
mate, mode of baptism, among the early Christians ; and 
that in this they were obediently following the instruction 
of Christ and the apostles ? 

WiTSius affirms, — " It is certain that both John the Baptist, and 
the disciples of Christ, ordinarily practised immersion ; whose example 
was followed by the ancient church, as Vossius has shown, by produc- 
ing many testimonies from the Greek and Latin writers." Eco7i. of the 
Cov. Lib. IV. cap. xvi. § 13. 

Mb- Bower. " Baptism by immersion was undoubtedly the aposr 
tolical practice, and was never dispensed with by the church, except in 
case of sickness,'' &c. Hist, of the Popes, Vol, II. p. 110. 

G. J. Vossius. " That the apostles immersed whom they baptized 
there is no doubt. . . . And that the ancient church followed their exam- 
ple is very clearly evinced by innumerable testimonies of the fathers." 
Disputat. de Bap. Disp. I. § 6. 

Mn. Reeves. " The ancients carefully observed trine-immersion, 
insomuch that by the ' Canons Apostolical,' either bishop or presbyter 

♦ The sense oT immersion is so clearly conveyed in these passages, and repeated 
over in so many forms of exjyression, that it is quite impossible Co misunderstand 
the ancients U()on llie subject. I will transcribe the Latin of Ambrose, and the 
Latin version that accompanies the Greek of Cyril. 

Ambrose. " inlerrogatus es, Credis in l>eum Patrpm Omnir<otentem I Dixisti, 
Credo: ei mersisti, hoc est, sep»iUu8 es. Iterum intprrogalus p.s, Credis in Domi- 
num nosinnn Jesum Chri.slum, et crycem ejus? Dixisti, Cjedo, et meraisli : ideo 
et Christo es sepultus." De swram. Lib. II. cap. vii. Paris, 163-2 

Cyril. " Sicut en 

im IS qui 
cineitur; sic et illi a Spiiiiu 
S XJv. Paris, 17-20. 

in af^uis immereitur et baptizatur undlmiaque abaquia 
baplizali et obvoluii perfecte suot." Catechis, XV/I. 


who baptized without it was deposed from the miwistrt." See the 
Canons, 42 to 50, Reeves' Apologies of Justin, &c. Vol. I. p. 97. 

Enctclop.kdia Ecclesiastica. (This splendid work, now publish- 
ing, A. D. 1835, under the patronage of the highest authorities in the 
British nation, both in church and state, after stating the reasons urged 
in defence of sprinkling, proceeds,) " Whatever weight, however, may 
be in these reasons as a defence for the present practice of sprinkling, 
IT IS evident that during the first ages of the church, and for mant 
centuries afterwards, the practice of immersion prevailed; and which 
seems indeed never to be departed from, except where it was adminis- 
tered to a person at the point of death, or upon the bed of sickness, — 
which was considered indeed as not giving the party the full privileges 
of baptism, — or when there was not a sufficient supply of water. Ex- 
cept in the above cases, the custom was to dip or immerse the whole 
body. Hence St. Barnabas says, We go down into the water," &c. 
&c. Article, Baptism. 

6. Admitting this evidence as demonstrative of the ori- 
ginal practice, must it not be a display of ignorance and 
tveakness to oppose or contradict it ; and, indeed, to ridicule 
that mode, as some do, a profane contempt of the wisdom 
and authority of Christ? 

Mr. Wall, (who explored all the voluminous writers of antiquity in 
search of evidence of infant baptism,) says, " This [immersion] is so 
plain and clear by an infinite number of passages, that as one 
cannot but PITY the weak endeavors of such Psedobaptists as would 
maintain the negative of it, so we ought to disown and show a dislike 
of the PROFANE SCOFFS which some people give to the English Anti» 
pjedobaptists merely for the use of dipping ; when it was, in all proba- 
bility, the way by which our blessed Saviour, and for certain, was 
the most usual and ordinary way by which the ancient Christians did 
receive their baptism. 'Tis a great want of prudence as well as 
of HONESTY to Tcfusc to grant to an adversary what is certainly 
TRUE, and may be proved so. It creates a jealousy of all the rest that 
one says." — " The custom of the Christians in the near succeeding 
times [to the apostles] being more largely and particularly delivered in 
books, is KNOWN to have been generally or ordinarily a total immer- 
sion." Hist, of Inf. Bapt., Pt. II. ch. ix. §2. And its Defence, p. 131. 

Professor Campbell. " I have heard a disputant, in defiance of 
etymology and use, maintain that the word rendered in the New Testa- 
ment baptize, means more properly to sprinkle than to plunge ; and in 
DEFIANCE OF ALL ANTiauiTT, that the formcr was the earliest, and — 
the most general practice in baptizing. One who argues in this manner 
never fails with persons of knowledge to betray the cause he would 
defend ,- and though with respect to the vulgar, bold assertions gene- 
rally succeed as well as argument, and sometimes better ; yet a candid 
MIND will always disdain to take the help w/falsjehood, even in the 
support of truth." Lectures on Pulpit Eloquence, Led. x. p. 304. 

Edinburgh I^eviewers, " We have rarely met, for example, with 


a moie weak and fanciful piece of reasoning, than that by which 
Mr. Ewing would persuade us that there is no allusion to the mode by 
immersion, in the expression ' buried with him in baptism.' Thia 
point ought to be franklt admitted, and indeed cannot be denied 
with any show of reason." In Mr. Carson's Answer, as before, p. 40. 

7. How long was immersion continued as the general 
practice among all Christians ? 

Bishop BossuET. " We are able to make it appear, by the acts of 
Councils, and by the ancient Rituals, that for THIRTEEN HUN- 
DRED YEARS, baptism was thus [by immersion] administered through- 
out the whole church, as far as possible." In StenneWs Answer to 
Uussen, p. 176. 

Stackhouse. "Several authors have shown, and proved, that this 
immersion continued, as much as possible, to be used for thjrteex 
HUNDRED TEARS after Christ." Hist, of the Bible, P. 8, p. J234. See 
also Mr. Whitby, cited at p. 47. 

8. At what period, and on what accounts, was the cus- 
tom of pouring, or sprinkling, first introduced ? 

Ansiver. There is no earlier record, that Mr. Wall could discover, 
than in the case of Novatian, about the middle of the third century. 
This man while unbaptized, as Euscbius records, (Eccles. Hist. L, VI. 
c. 43,) " fell into a dangerous disease, and because he was very likfi to 
die, was baptized in the bed where he lay," {iv KXivri Tnoi ;;(iid-ivr:t, j. e. 
sprinkled over in bed; or water poured all over him, the word signi- 
ties,) " if that might be termed baptism," Novatian recovered ; and by 
the following circumstance we have remarkably preserved the view 
which the Christian church generally took of bis baptism, 7'he See 
of Rome became vacant, A. D. 251. Two per,sons were ch.osen to 
succeed, namely Cornelius, ' chosen by the major part,' and this Nova- 
tian, in a ' schismatical way.' Cornelius writes a long letter to Fabius, 
Bishop of Antioch, in which he describes the case of Novatian, and 
says, (as Mr. Wall translates it,) " that Novatian came not canonically 
to his order of priesthood, much less was he capable of being chosen 
bisliop:" Let the reader mark the reason assigned, " For that all thf. 
" CLERGT, and a great ?rANT of the Laity, were against his being 
"chosen Presbyter; because it was not lawful, (tbey said) for any one 
"that had been baptized in his bed, [Greek, as aho\e, poured aver,] as 
"he had been, to be admitted to any office of the clergy." WaWs 
Hist. Pait II. ch. ix. § 2. 

Here is the first recorded case of affusion, either pouring or sprink- 
ling, for baptism ; and here we have a serious objection taken against 
the person so baptized on account of it; an objection in which "all the 
clergy" were united. What was the objection 1 Was it against his 
situation, as being sick in bed T or against the mode of the ordinance ? 
This is important to be ascertained. I answer, It was against both ; 
for soon after this time these two olijoctions against such a baptism 
were exhibited. 1. There was an objection against a person sick, 
because, as the Council of Neoca^sarea allirmed by the 12th canon, 
11* o2 


" He that is baptized, when he is sick, ought not to be made a priest, 
for his conjing to the faith is not voluntaut, but from necessity." 
And, 2. As to the mode, while Novatian was Uving, one Magnus sub- 
mits this question to Cyprian — " An habendi sint Christiani legitimi, 
eo quod aqua sulutari non loti sunt, sed perfusi ?" i. e. " Whether they 
are to be ksteemed iurht Chkistians, who are not washed in the 
water, but only sprinkled .'" Cyprian answers, that the baptism was to 
be esteemed good, " necessitate cogente," " necessity compelling to it, 
and God granting his indulgence." I leave the reader to reflect on the 
force of this evidence. 

From this period, A. D. 250, onward, sprinkling was permitted, but 
only in a case of necessity, and in prospect of death ; originating in a 
false view of the necessity of the ordinance to salvation. " France 
(says Mr. Wall) seems to have been the first country in the world where 
baptism by affusion was used ordinarily to persons in health." This 
affusion, or pouring, in the church of Rome, was first tolerated in the 
eighth century, while immersion was still the established law of the 
church ; and so things stood for several hundred years. In the six- 
teenth century, pouring was generally adopted. The Rituals of that 
church prove this to a demonstration. See Robinson's History of Bap- 
tism, p. 525 ; and Bishop Bossuet, just cited. 

The Church of England held the original practice of dipping longer 
than those of the continent. " Perfunduntur (says Erasmus, A. D. 
1530,) apud nos, merguntur apud Anglos." i. e. " With us (the Dutch) 
they have the water poured on them ; in England they are dipped." 
The Rubric to this day instructs the clergyman, " he shall dip in the 
water discreetly and warily ;" but it allows an exception, "but if they 
shall certify that the child is weak, it shall suffice to pour water upon 
it." The Catechism requires the youth to express the form of baptism 
only as by immersion, " Water wherein the person is baptized." In 
the early history of this church " the offices or liturgies (says Mr. 
Wall) did ALL ALONG ... enjoin dipping, without any mention of pour- 
ing or sprinkling." In A. D. 1549, first appeared the exception for 
' weak' children : four years afterward the word thrice, after the order to 
dip, was omitted. Sprinkling began to prevail about A. D. 1550, and 
"within the time of half a century, from A. D. 1550 to 1600, pre- 
VAiLK!) TO BE THE MORE GENEUAL ; as it is uow almost the only way 
of baptizing." Mr. Waifs Hist, of Inf. Bap. Pt. II. ch. ix. § 2. 

9. In what proportion of the Christion world has im- 
mersion been continued down to the present lime ? 

Ansiver. Mn. Wall. " What has been said of this custom of 
pouring or sprinkling water in the ordinary use of baptism, is to be 
understood only in reference to these western parts of Europe: 
for it is used ordinarily nowhere else. The Greek church does still 
use immersion ; and so do all other Christians in the world except the 
Latins. All those nations of Christians that do now, or formerly did 
submit to the authority of the Bishop of Rome, do ordinarily baptize 
their infants by pouring or sprinkling ; hut ail other Christians in the 
world who never owned the Pope's usurped power, bo and kver did 


DTP their infants in the ordinary use. ... Ail the Christians in Aaia, ail 
in Africa, and about one-third part of Europe, are of the last sort." 
Hist, of Inf. Bap. Part 11. eh. ix. p. 37G. Ed. 3. 

Does my reader wish me to proceed any further 1 To my mind the 
subject is perfectly settled ; because the evidence adduced before us has 
been, not in criticisms upon words, but in plain historical facts ; facts 
admitted by every Christian writer that has examined the subject ; and, 
as they include the practice of the apostoUc age, they are decisive upon 
the subject. 

The contention, therefore, that the word Baptize has other senses 
beside to immerse, and that the prepositions rendered into and out of 
in the baptism of the eunuch, may be rendered to and from the water; 
all this is perfect quibbling and trifling when the fact is conceded, that 
Jesus, and his apostles, and the primitive Christians, observed and 
authorized the ordinance in this form. Thus the late editor of Calmet, 
after warmly contending against the views of the Baptists, adds, " Here 
again, I say, let me not be misunderstood ; I believe that immersion was 
practised by John." Why, granting this, he grants me oil: for if this 
was the form in which ' the Lord of glory' was baptized, and what he 
authorized, I want no more. 

To a person disposed to question the evidence for immersion, I would 
beg to propose the following inquiries, founded upon those historical 
facts briefly given in the foregoing pages, and which he may more fully 
examine in the works I have referred to : — 

1. How came it to pass, that the early Christian writers expressed 
the rite of baptism by such Greek and Latin words and phrases (ex- 
clusive of baptizo) as signify, to be plunged; to be buried .• to be 
dipped; to be immersed; to be let down in the ivater, and to be 
encompassed by the water on every side ? 

2. How came it to pass, that when affusion or sprinkling was had 
recourse to, as an expedient in prospect of death, and the person re- 
covered, he was not deemed so properly baptized as to be admissible to 
any sacred office ? 

3. How came it to pass, that the fathers should name, as suitable 
places for baptizing, " the sea, a pool, a river, a fountain, a lake, a chan- 
nel, the Jordan, the Tiber ;" and that the baptism may be alike " in" 
any one of them 7 

4. How came it to pass, that by the authority of the * Canons Aposto- 
lical,' if a Bishop or Presbyter baptized by any other way than immer- 
sion, yea, trine-immersion, he should be deposed! 

5. How comes it to pass, that those Christians with whom the com- 
mand of the Lord Jesus to baptize is in their native tongue, have, 
in all ages of their history, observed this mode 1 

6. How comes it to pass, that the ancient rituals of those 
churches in which pouring and sprinkling now prevail, solemnly 
enjoined, or do still enjoin, the mode of immersion ? 

7. How came it to pass, that the whole Christian world, however 
afterward divided, uniformly observed immersion, except in sickness, 
for TiiiUTEKN hundred ycars 1 


Now, though the evidence I have produced upon these points from 
ancient and modern writers be brief, which it would have been much 
easier to have extended than to have thus compressed, it is beyond 
doubt, that ivhat the above inquiries state, are 


And if the New Testament contained no decisive evidence on the 
subject, the above facts afford a most indisputable proof that immer- 
sion was the original, and if so the divinely authorizkb mode; 
and consequently that which should be invariably and unaltera- 
bly observed to the end of time ; for who can alter what Christ 
ordains 1 


On the Spiritual Design of Baptism. 

That this sacred ordinance was intended by the Great Head of the 
Church to be symbolical, and to teach by an expressive and visible 
sign what the gospel taught by the word preached, is a truth too evi- 
dent in the New Testament to be doubted ; and that the particular form 
or mode of it was to be indicative of some important truths, and that 
its observance was to have a beneficial influence on the Christian 
church, are equally clear. We liave now in few words to state, what 
the ordinance was intended to teach, what to exhibit, and what practi- 
cal influence it shouid have on the church of Christ. 

1. It was to teach the S!nfulnesf< of man, and the necessity oi puri- 
fication from sin, in order to eternal life. These tr\i«hs are implied in 
Peter's words, when exhorting to the ordinance, "Repent and he bap- 
tized for the remission of sins ;" and in Ananias', " Arise, and be bap- 
tized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." 
Act* ii. S'S. xxii. 16. 

2. Baptism was intended to teach and to signify the Christian's 
entire abandonment of a Ife (f impiety, and his entrance upon a new 
life of devotion and dedication to God. The metaphors of a diath and 
burial express the former, and a resurrection the latter. Hence the 
apostle, RoMu vi. 8, declares the Christian "dead with Christ;" and 
not only dead, but " buried with him -^ and here Christ's own institu- 
tion is introduced to confirm the apostle's doctrine; " therefore we aro 
buried with him by baptism into death," &c. See the Scripturen 
at p. 45. 

3. Baptism was intended to exhibit our Lord's overiohelming 
sufferings — 'J^o this most interesting circumstance our blessed Re- 
deemer does himself allude in affecting terms. See pp. 22, 23. 

4. No less does baptism pre-represent what the (i^hristian anticipates 
as the destiny of his own human nature, when he shall descend hke 


his Redeemer into the grave, and at his Saviour's second coming be 
raised to glory. So the apo-stle, " Else what shall they do who are 
baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all." In no way but 
immersion does the ordinance answer this and the foregoing designs. 

5. And, finally, this sacred rite, in reference to its subjects, appears 
evidently designed to form a Ihie of separation between the world and 
the church. A baptized person, in the primitive age, was considered as 
having come out from the ungodly, and assumed the character and 
profession of a follower of Christ. " As many of you as have been 
baptized into Christ, have put on Christ." Gal. iii. 27. Just as when 
a person, entering the service of an earthly prince, puts on the attire 
by which the servants of that prince are distinguished, so the Christian, 
by baptism, puts on, as a garment, an open profession of his Lord and 
Master ; declaring that he is no longer his own, or the servant of sin 
and Satan, but bought with a price, and now surrenders himself to him 
that loved him and died for him. This entire separation of the church 
from the world our Saviour most plainly taught in John xv. 19. xvii. 6, 
9, 20, 21, and xviii. 36. As did also the apostles; see, as an example, 
2 Cor. vi. 14 to 18. In none but believers can this practical use of 
baptism be realized. 


In closing my little work I must Request my reader*s 
attention to a few thoughts, suggested by the general 
objections of opponents to the practice for which I have 
contended ; and add my reasons, in a summary form, for 
abiding strictly by that practice. 

I. Objections to exclusive Believers' Baptism. 
1. In the form of objection to the principles of the Bap- 
tists, relative to this ordinance, it has been remarked that 

* The MAJORITY of Christians, with whom are associated an 
immense number of great, good, and learned men, have 
held, and do hold, the opposite views ;* and (it is asked) 

* Can they all be wrong V 

Answer. I admit that a large majority of the professed Christian 
inhabitants of the world, with whom are joined many most eminent 
writers, are against us. But is a majority never wrong, — never found 
on the side of error 1 Let my reader, whoever he may be, ask * Whe- 
ther the majority of professed Christians do not think differently from 
him upon some equally important points 1 and how little does he think 
of the consequence of numbers upon those points !' The Chinese 
plead their majority against Christians ; the Catholics against Pro- 
testants ; «fec, <Scc., but who feels the force of an argument in the plea 1 
— And " as to great men and great names (says Mr. A. Clarke) we 


find them enrolled and arranged on the side of all controversies;" 
and I will allow my opponent to reckon them up by hundreds, or thou- 
sands, and place them all on tlie side of infant baptism ,- — I will take 
and place on the other side, Christ and his apostles, and then I appeal 
to my reader, 'Who has the bkst suppokt, though my number be but 
' a little Hock' in the comparison 1 

Now I must be allowed to ixsisx vvos it that I have Christ and 
the apostles with me, giving their sanction to believers' baptism ; and 
all will admit, that their sanction is not to bk fouxu on the opposite 
side. Much then as I venerate the great, good, and learned men 
referred to, as not they, but Christ is my Lord and Master, and is to be 
my sole Judge at the last day, I hesitate not to quit my connexion v^'ith 
any majority, or with any particular eminent men, supposing I am 
found in a minority, if Chkist is with me thkhk, 

2. It has also been objected ' That our principles are of 
recent origin ; and were unknown previous to the appear- 
ance of certain enthusiasts in Qerrnany, at the time of the 

Answtr, Our principles arc as old as Christianity. We acknow- 
ledge no founder but Christ. With enthusiasts in Germany, or in any 
age or country, we have no connexion, and our forefathers never had. 
Enthusiasts may be designated by the same name, but that proves 
Nothing. — Persons holding our distinctive principle, i. e. ' the baptism 
of believers only' have appeared in all ages of the Christian era. From 
Christ to nearly the end of the second century there were "so others ; 
at least, if there were any, their history is a blank.* After infant bap- 
tism was introduced, many did not receive it, and many opposed it. 

How else can we account for the case of Ambrose, Jerome, Augus- 
tine, and others, who, says Bishop Taylor, " were born of Christian 
parents, and yet not baptized until the full age of man, and more ]"■(• 
How else can we account for the pressing exhortations found in early 
writings, addressed to professed Christians, to come to baptism ?4: 
How, especially, can we otherwise account for the awful anathemas 
pronounced at different times by the dominant party, upon those that 
denied infant baptism ? 

If ray reader has opportunity to make himself acquainted with the 
history oi the numerous bodies of Christians which appeared at differ- 
ent periods, while popery was dominant in Europe, he will find that 
there w^re many mtriads of persoxs, who, for several centuries 
before the Reformation, lifted up their voice against that spiritual domi- 

* It may be proper to slate, that Mr. Wall thought that there was a passage in 
Irenaens, in the second century, favorable to infant baptism. " Christ," says Ire- 
naeus, " came to«aye all persons by himself; all, I mean, who by him (renascuu- 
tur in Deunj) ar« regenerated to God; infants, and little onrs, and youths, and 
elder persons." Now, if the word regenerated had no other sense than baptized, 
and Cnrist came to save only thope who received that ordinance, and by it, then 
this passage would l)e, what Mr. Wall calls it, " the first express mention of infant 
baptism." But as it is, it is beg^iug the question to cite it at all on the subject. 

t Dissuasive from Popery, Pt. II. p. 117. 

X See Basil's" Ora/to Extiovt. ad litipt. ia Mr. Wall's Hist. Pi. I. ch. xii. § 3. 


nation ; and that those several sects held the distinctive principle of the 
Baptists, given above; or in their own words, as recorded by Mr. 
MosHEiM, " That no persons whatever were to be baptized before they 
came to the full use of their reason :" " Because to all infants, that 
know nothing of faith, in whom there can be no desire of regeneration, 
or confession of faith, &c., the will, faith, and confession of another, 
seem not in the least to appertain." Eccles. Hist. Cent. XII. ch. v. 
§ 7. and m Stennett's Answer to Russen, p. 84. 

Such was the avowed sentiment of the followers of GtrxnuLPHCS 
in Italy ; of the Bkrengarians in France ; of the Paterikes in the 
Dutchy of Milan ; of the Petrobrusians and Henricians in Lan- 
guedoc and Provence; and of the followers of Arnold, of Brescia, 
who suflered at Rome, A. D. 1155. — All these are sometimes included 
in the general name of Waldenses, and their history may be traced 
backward from the time of the reformation through several centuries. 
"Some of the popish writers own (says President Edwards) that tbat 
people never submitted to the church of Rome. One says ' The heresy 
of the Waldenses is the oldest heresy in the world.' It is supposed 
that this people betook themselves to this secret place among the moun- 
tains, to hide themselves from the severity of the heathen persecutions 
which were before Constantine the Great. And thus the woman fled 
into the wilderness from the face of the serpent. Rev. xii. 6 and 14." 
{History of Redemption, Period III. Ft. ii. 1.) To this agrees Beza, 
who says, "As for the Waldenses, I may be permitted to call them the 
seed of the primitive and purer church." On baptism their confession 
is given in these words — " We believe that in the ordinance of baptism, 
the water is the visible and external sign, which repiesents to us — the 
renovation of our minds through Christ Jesus, and by this ordinance 
we are received into the holy congregation of God's people, niKviousLy 
PROFEssixR A>'D DECLARixo ouu FAITH, and chaugc of life." See 
Jones' Hist, of this people. Vol. II. pp. 49, 50, 70. 2d Ed. 

To the Waldenses succeeded the Mensonites ; i. e. the Baptists, 
or Anabaptists, as they are sometimes contemptuously called, at this 
time an extensive body in various nations on the continent of Europe. 
Thus, the learned Mr. Mosueim says, " The true origin of that sect 
which acquired the denomination of Anabaptists. .. and derived that 
of Mennonitcs from the famous man to whom they owe the greatest 
part of their present felicity, is hidden in the depths of AXTiauixr .. . 
The Mennonites are not entirely in error when they boast of their 
descent from the Waldenses, Petrobrusians, and other ancient sects, 
who are usually considered as witnesses of the truth in the times of 
general darkness and superstition." Eccles. Hist. Cent. XVI. Sect. III. 
pt. ii. ch. iii. My reader may judge from this of the nature of tlic 
objection as to the recent origin of Baptist principles.* 

* In reference to Great Britain, in particular, during the first cenuirir?, it ma^ 
be affirmed, that from the first introduction of Clirisiianity into it, until Popn Gre- 
gory (A. D. 596,) sent over Austin to this country wiih a nun. I.e.- of monlfs to con- 
vert the people to the Catholic faith, wo have good reason for Ijolieviiig that 
believers' baptism alone prevailed in this country ; fir Austin, finding diffi rencfs 
to exist between his viows and ihe Briiisii ('hrisiians, called their niinistfrs {.•>- 
gether, and proposed "Three things," in order to their having his favor and pro- 


3. On the mode, it is objected ' That it is more trouble- 
some, and inconvenient than the usual mode of sprinkling; 
and quite a cross to submit to it.' 

Answer. I admit this, as certainly the feeling of human nature : 
but, I beg to inquire, Is the trouble and inconvenience too great, and 
the crose loo heavy to be borne, if I have proved that Christ sanctioned 
that mode by his command and his example? Who, as a Christian, 
if present on the banks of Jordan when Christ was baptized, would 
refuse or object to be the next person to be baptized after Clirist, and 
in the same way ? And if then, when the Holy Spirit was visibly 
descending, and the Father's voice was heard, you would cheerfully 
have entered the streams of Jordan, is not the ordinance the same now, 
equally binding, endearing, and as much under the eye and the bless- 
ing of heaven \ Without doubt : and surely your Redeemer has done 
enough, and suffered enough for sinners, to entitle him to this act of 
obedience from them, supposing it does give them a measure of trouble, 
and inconvenience, and a cross to bear after him. Hear his own words, 
— " He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy 
of me." Matt. x. 38. 

4. But, it is added, ' The quantify of water can matter 
nothing ; any more than the quantity of wine or bread in 
the Lord's supper.' 

Answer. This is granted, providing only there be a sufficient 
quantity to fulfil Christ's command. It is not the quantity that is con- 
tended for, but a conformity to the pattern of Christ ; and any dejjarture 
from that pattern renders the act no longer an act of obedience to him. 

5. But, objects another, ' I have, I hope, received t!ie 
baptism of the Holy Ghost, which is the thing signified ; 
and I do not see the necessity of submitting to this rite, as 
it cannot take away sin, or do me any good.' 

Answer. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is made, by the apostle 
Peter, the very reason why those that received it should receive this 
ordinance — " Can any man forbid water that these should not be 
baptized which havk RECKivEn the Holy Ghost as well as we ]" (See 
p. 35.) And as to the good the ordinance can do, and its inability to 
take away sin, I again refer to him who had no sin to take away, and 
needed no good from religious services, yet travelled a long journey ' to 
be baptized,' and silenced every objection against it by affirming, 
" Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." 

lection. The second of these things was, " That yb givb Christbndome to 
CHILDREN," i. e. that ihey should baptize them: good proof that they did not do s t 
before. And it is known that Pope Gregory, above referred to, decreed as follows : 
— " Let all young children be baptized, lis they ought to be, according to the tradi- 
tions of the Fathers." What an evidence is this of the omission of infant ba(>- 
tism, and the kind of authority by which it was authorized and urged! Seo 
Ivimey's Hist, of the English Baptists, Vol. 1. r'P- 42—45. 

The reader should also be informed, that infant connnunion began about the 
same time as infant baptism, and attended it lill alwut A. D. 1000. It was admi- 
nistered for the same reason, i. e. on account of its saving efficacy. In the East it 
iff still continued. 


II. Reasons for the Baptism of Believers only. 

1. Because I am quite suke that I have plain Scripture autho- 
rity for believers' baptism ; but to authorize the baptism of infants 
not a word, in inspiration, is to be found. 

2. Because the baptism of believers is in harmony with the doctrines 
of the gospel, and the nature of Christ's kingdom, which 'is not of 
this world,' but spiritual, and extends no further amongst men than 
FAITH and Christian experience extend. John i. 11 — 13. 

3. Because baptism, being an act of obedience to Christ, must have 
Christ's command, or authority ; the baptism of believers only has 
this ; (see p. 26.) " Can that be obedience," inquires Mr. Baxter, 
"which hath no command? Who knows what will please God but 
himself: and has he not told us what he expects from us ?" 

4. Because the doctrine of infant baptism, namely, ' that children by 
it are brought into the covenant of grace, which is the covenant of re- 
demption, or ' the benefits of that covenant sealed to them,' is opposed 
to all the leading doctrines of the gospel, whether according to the views 
of Arminians or Calvinists. What, in this case, becomes of the doc- 
trine of God's Election ? of the necessity of Repentance ? of the New 
Birth ? of Conversion ? of Faith in Christ 1 and of Justification 
through Faith ? &c. «fec. All these are superseded by baptism, if the 
above doctrine be true. 

5. Because of the dangerous practical tendency of infant baptism. 
If children, advancing into life, believe the above doctrine, they are 
likely to ref^t satisfied in the * benefits sealed,' and without any further 
concern, without faith or piety, live in the hypocrite's hope, and perish 
with ' a lie in their right hand !' 

6. Because infant baptism goes to unite the world with the church of 
Christ. Have not the vilest infidels in Christendom received ' the seal 
of the covenant, and been grafted into the church, the body of Christ V 
How grossly absurd ! How lamentable, that they should have cause 
to pour contempt upon Christianity by the errors and follies of its 
professors ! 

7. Because I would not have the impression on my mind while in 
this life, or the remembrance at the Bar of future Judgment, that I had 
♦ reversed' Christ's order, which is the case in inf mt baptism, (see Si- 
meon, p. 25,) or altered the mode which his wisdom ordained ; pre- 
ferring to follow my Saviour's plain and endeared example, and to abide 
by his sacred and authoritative instructions. 


I WILL now imagine that you, my reader, are convinced that I have 
the truth with me on this subject : allow me, then, in behalf of Christ, 
to exhort you practically to attend to this sacred institution. Do you 

VOL. II.— 12 H 


ask, Wliat is prerequisite to baptism ? I answer, these three things .- 
(I.) To see and feel that you are a sinner, and need the remission 
of sins, Acts ii. 38. (2.) That you believe that Jesus is the Son of 
God, and rely on him as your only Saviour, Acts viii. 37. (3.) That 
you feel willing to forsake all ungodliness, and to devote your future 
life to the service and glory of your Redeemer ; willing, and not 
ashamed, to put on Christ, and follow him to the skies. Rom. vi. 4 ; 
Gal. iii. 27. 

If these things are found in you, and you are convinced of the will 
of Christ, delay not doing his will. " If ye love me, (said he,) keep 
nty commandments." Do not entertain frivolous excuses. 

1. Do not say ' you are too young.' At twelve years of age your 
Lord appeared in public, doing the will of his Father ; if you have 
reached that age, it is high time to commence a life of dedication to 
Christ. Go, youthful reader, and follow the Lamb in the morning of 
life. Who knows but your sun may go down at noon ! His promise 
is, " They that seek me early shall find me." 

2. Do not say ' you are too old.' If you have far exceeded the age 
above mentioned, and yet hear the Saviour's voice, ^follow me,^ you are 
not too old to obey his endeared and binding commands. 

3. Do not say ' what good can it do you V Behold your Lord enter- 
ing the waters of Jordan ! Are you wiser or better than he 1 Beware 
that you reflect not on his wisdom. 

4. Does the ordinance appear a cross to you ] and especially so, as 
it is something that does not fall in with the taste Sind fancy of the 
world ? Thank God for that. Christ never intended his religion, or 
his ordinances, to suit the fancies of unregenerate men ; and the more 
objectionable this ordinance is to such persons, so much more effectual 
is it as a line of demarcation between the world and his church, as the 
Lord Jesus intended. And as to the cross, — do you think it is too 
heavy 1 Behold him passing through the baptism of his inconceivable 
sufferings ^or you / Behold him carrying the cross upon which he 
was suspended for many hours ; and thereon, by his dying pains, work- 
ing out eternal redemption for you ! And will you, turning from 
these unparalleled scenes, say ' the cross of baptism is too heavy for 

To bear his name — His cross to bear, 

Our highest honor this ! 
Who nobly suffers now for him. 

Shall reign with him in bliss. 



Note on 1 Cor. vii. 14, prepared by John L. Dagg, late Pas- 
tor OF the Fifth Baptist Church, Philadelphia, approved 


Tract Society. 

In the controversy about infant baptism it is agreed on 
both sides, that none should be baptized but those w^ho have 
a scriptural right to the ordinance. It is moreover agreed, 
that all believers have a scriptural right. The issue of the 
controversy depends therefore upon the decision of this 
point. Do the holy Scriptures any where allow the right 
of being baptized to some who cannot claim it as believers, 
namely, the unbelieving infant children of a believer? In 
conducting the controversy to its issue, the Paedobaptists, 
who affirm that such infants have this right from Scripture, 
are bound to prove their affirmation. By no rule of fair 
reasoning are the Baptists bound to prove the negative. 
Nevertheless the negative can be proved ; and, strange as 
it may seem, it can be proved by this very text, which has 
been so frequently and so confidently urged in support of 
the Paedobaptist cause, and has been relied on by many as 
the chief pillar of that cause. The word of God is the 
sword of the Spirit, with which truth may at all times 
successfully defend herself; but error, awkward and imbe- 
cile, is in danger of committing suicide, when essaying to 
use this effective weapon. 

Before we proceed to prove what has just been proposed, 
it may be necessary to admonish the reader that if, in his 
judgment, we should fail in our attempt, still our cause 
will have lost nothing. The laws of controversy do not 
require us to explain this text. We can readily prove 
that the doctrine of infant baptism is not in it ; and when 
we have done this, nothing more can be demanded of us. 
A Paedobaptist might adduce Rev. xiii. 18, to prove his 
doctrine, and then call upon us to explain the mystery of 
this text, laugh at our attempts, and triumph at our 
failures, as if liis cause were thereby established : yet 
every one would perceive his triumph to be vain, and that 
a text does not prove infant baptism merely because we 
<*annot explain it. 

Although Paedobaptists have generally agreed in suppos- 


ing, that the holiness of the children mentioned in this 
text (1 Cor. vii. 14) refers to church membership, and ex- 
presses either the fact of their having been baptized or their 
right to that ordinance ; yet they have differed consider- 
ably in their attempts to adjust the other parts of the verse 
to this sense. The truth is, that no such adjustment is 
possible. If holiness means a right to baptism, then the 
unbelieving parent, who is expressly said to be sanctified 
or holy, ought to be baptized as well as his children. It 
is therefore doing violence to the passage to press it into 
the cause of infant baptism. According to the plan of our 
author, the testimony of a paidobaptist writer shall be given 
on this point. 

Macknight. " Our translators seem here to have un- 
derstood the terms sanctified, unclean^ and holy, in a fede- 
ral sense, which, indeed, is the common opinion. But, first, 
it is not true in a federal sense, that the unbelieving party in 
a marriage is sanctified by the believing party ; for, evidently, 
no one hath a right to the blessings of the gospel covenant 
by the faith of those to whom they are married. In the 
second place, it is as little true, that the children, procreated 
between believing and unbelieving parents, become unclean 
by the separation of the parents, and clean by their continuing 
together, as the apostle asserts, if by unclean we under- 
stand exclusion from the covenant, and hy clean, admission 
into it. For the title which children have to be members 
of the covenant, depends not on their parents living to- 
gether, but on the faith of the believing parent." 

Note, in loc. 
Baptists have generally coincided with Mr. Pengilly, in the 
interpretation which he has given of this text. Much respect 
is due to it, because it has obtained the general suffrage of 
our learned men, and also of learned Paedobaptists, as he 
has shown by quotations from their writings. Yet against 
this interpretation the following objections may be urged. 
— 1. Lawfully begotten is, to say the least, an unusual 
sense of the term holy. 2. The unlawfulness of matri- 
monial converse, after the conversion of one parent, would 
not prove that the children, before that event, had been 
unlawfully begotten. 3. Nor is it clear that it would prove 
this with respect even to the younger children, since such 
converse might be unlav/ful as against ceremonial purity. 


and yet not unlawful as against the seventh commandment. 
4. To prove that the parents are lawfully married, because 
their children are lawfully begotten, is to prove a thing by 
itself. There is another view of this Scripture, which we 
consider more satisfactory than any of the preceding. We 
shall attempt to lay it before our readers. 

The Jews considered all Gentiles to be unclean, and 
thought it unlawful for a Jew to be in the house, keep 
company, or eat with, or touch a Gentile. By some 
means, possibly from the influence of Judaizing teachers, 
the church at Corinth seems to have been agitated with the 
question whether the same rule ought not to be established 
to regulate the intercourse of the members of the church 
with other persons ; that is, whether the church ought not 
to decide, that all who were without were unclean to them 
who were within ; just as Gentiles were unclean to Jews ; 
and that therefore it was inconsistent with Christian purity 
to dwell, keep company, or eat with, or to touch them. 
While this question was undergoing discussion in the 
church, it was perceived that it involved a very important 
case. Some of their members were married to unbelievers, 
and if such a rule should be established, these members 
would be compelled to separate from their unbelieving 
husbands or wives. Although the lawfulness of the mar- 
riage was not questioned, yet it would be unlawful for a 
believing husband to dwell with his wife, until God had 
converted her. The church resolved, probably after much 
discussion of the question, to write to the apostle respect- 
ing it. This letter he had received, as appears from the 
first verse of this chapter. On the general question of 
intercourse with unbelievers he treats in the fifth chapter, 
and decides that, to keep company or eat with persons who 
make no pretension to religion is not unlawful, and that, 
were all such persons to be esteemed unclean, and their 
touch polluting. Christians must needs go out of the 
world. On the particular case of those members of the 
church who were married to unbelievers the apostle treats 
in the chapter before us. He decides in ver. 12 and 13 
that they may lawfully dwell together, and in ver. 14, for the 
conviction and silencing of any members of the church, 
who might object to his decision, he in substance says, the 
unbelieving husband is not unclean, so that his ivife may 



not lawfully dwell with him : the unbelieving loife is not 
unclean, so that her husband may not lawfully dwell with 
her. If they are unclean, then your children are uncleany 
and not one parent in the ivhole church must dwell with 
or touch his children, until God shall convert them ; and 
thus Christians will be made to sever the ties that bind 
parents to their children, and to throw out the offspring 
of Christian parents into the ungodly world from their 
very birth, without any provision for their protection^ 
support, or religious education. 

It will be perceived in the preceding interpretation that 
the phrase your children is talven in a different sense from 
tliat which it obtains in any of the interpretations usually 
offered. It is here supposed to refer to the whole church. 
Had the apostle designed to speak of those children only, 
who have one parent a believer and the other an unbeliever, 
he would have said (Tatv:t mtZv) their children, instead of 
(tbiv* y^uwy,) your children. In addressing the church, and 
in giving general precepts, he uses the pronouns ye and 
you. See preceding chapter throughout, and verses I and 
5 of this chapter. But in ver. 8. where he gives directions 
applicable to particular cases, although he introduces the 
phrase, "I say to the unmarried and widows," he makes 
reference to these persons, not by the pronoun you, but 
them: "It is good (or them to abide even as 1." The 
same mode of speaking he continues to use as far down as 
to the verse in question: "let them marry, — let /lim not 
put her away, — ^let her not leave him." After the same 
manner he would have said, " else were their children un- 
clean," had he intended only the children of such mixed 
cases of marriage as are referred to in the preceding part 
of the verse. What further confirms this opinion, is, that 
in the original text the substantive verb is in the present 
tense ; *' your children are unclean," — a mode of speaking 
more suited for the stating of a parallel than a dependant 

The general principles of the preceding interpretation 
fall in precisely with the course of the apostle's argument 
commenced in the 5th chapter. When these principles 
have been established, it is not of vital importance to the 
sense of the passage to determine the translation of the 
preposition «. Many have translated it to as it is in ^9 


very next verse. This sense accords well with our inter- 
pretation. The unbelieving husband is sanctified to the 
w^ife,just as it is said in Titus i. 15, *■'• unto the pure all 
things are pure." But perhaps the more literal rendering, 
m, will give the apostle's sense more accurately. While 
both parents lived in unbelief they were unclean to them- 
selves, and to each other : "unto them that are defiled and 
unbelieving is nothing pure, but even their mind and con- 
science are defiled." Titus i. 15. According to the Jewish 
rules respecting ceremonial cleanness, the conversion of 
one party would not render the other party holy. But in 
gospel ceremonies it is different. By the abrogation of 
the Jewish ceremonial law, and by the conversion of the 
wife, the unbelieving husband (hyisLo-Tsu) has become holy^ 
not in himself, but (svtm ywcuKi) in the wife. That the Jews 
considered Gentiles unclean as stated above, may be 
proved from various passages of Scripture. See Acts x. 
28, xi. 3. John xviii. 28. Gal. ii. 12. Mr. Adam Clarke 
states in his note on John xviii. 28, " The Jews considered 
even the touch of a Gentile as a legal defilement." 

It may now be asked, where is the proof which we pro- 
pose to draw from this text against infant baptism ? We 
have already proved that it makes nothing for it. On the 
contrary, it is clearly implied, in the apostle's argument, 
that all the children of the Corinthian Christians had no 
nearer relation to the church than the unbelieving husband 
of a believing wife. He declares that their cases are pa- 
rallel; and that rules of intercourse, whicli would require 
the believing husband to separate from his unbelieving 
wife, would require believing parents to separate from their 
children. But there is no conclusiveness in this argument, 
if the children had been consecrated to God in baptism, 
and brought within the pale of the church : for then the 
children would stand in a very different relation to the church 
and to their parents from that of the unbelieving husband 
or wife. Therefore, unless we charge the apostle with 
arguing most inconclusively, infant baptism and infant 
church membership were wholly unknown to the Corinthian 
church, and if to the Corinthian church, unquestionably to 
all the churches of those times. 

Sec also Tract No. 44, page 24. 






This book is under no circumstances to be 
taken from the Building 



form ^l„