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Testimony from Paedobaptists that infant-baptism is not found in the Word of God

But we have testimony in proof of our proposition still stronger if possible, than any which has yet been submitted. Very many of the most learned and pious Pedobaptist Biblical critics, themselves candidly confess that infant baptism is not distinctly enjoined, nor directly taught, in the word of God. Some of these I will now proceed to specify.

Martin Luther, the great father of the Reformation, says:

“It cannot be proved by the scriptures, that infant baptism was instituted by Christ, or begun by the first Christians after the apostles.”[1]

John Calvin testifies thus:

“It is nowhere expressly mentioned by the evangelists, that any child was by the apostles baptized.”[2]

Bishop Burner avers:

“There is no express precept, or rule given in the New Testament for the baptism of infants. “[3]

Strarck says:

“The connection of infant baptism with circumcision deserves no consideration, since there were physical reasons for circumcising in infancy.”[4]

Augustine says:

“The parallel between circumcision and baptism is altogether foreign to the New Testament.”[5]

Bishop Jeremy Taylor thus writes:

“For the argument from circumcision, it is invalid from infinite considerations. Figures and types prove nothing, unless a command go along with them, or some express to signify such to be their purpose.” [6]

Dr. Woods of Andover remarks:

“It is a plain case that there is no express precept respecting infant baptism in our sacred writings. The proof then, that it is a divine institution must be made out in some other way.”[7]

Prof. Stuart says:

“Commands, or plain and certain examples in the New Testament, relative to it [infant baptism] I do not find.”[8]

And finally Dr. Neander declares:

“As baptism was closely united with a conscious entrance on Christian communion, faith and baptism were always connected with one another; and thus it is in the highest degree probable, that baptism was performed only in instances where both could meet together, and that the practice of infant baptism was unknown”

to the apostolic age.[9]

In another work Neander says:

“Baptism was at first, administered only to adults, as men were accustomed to conceive baptism and faith as strictly connected. We have all reason for not deriving infant baptism from apostolic institution. ” [10]

Multitudes of other similar declarations could, were they necessary, be readily produced, but these are amply sufficient. It is acknowledged that the word of God does not teach infant baptism. This acknowledgment is made candidly, by those who ought to know, since they were among the most learned men, and best Biblical critics the world has ever produced, made against themselves, voluntarily, freely, and of their own accord, and ought therefore to be considered decisive of the question. Infant baptism is not found in any form in the Bible. Every effort to deduce it from the sacred records, no matter how ingeniously conducted, has proved a wretched failure. It is confessed by its advocates that it is not found in the inspired pages. Infant baptism is therefore, unsupported by the word of God.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 1- Infant Baptism is an evil because its practice is unsupported by the Word of God

Paedobaptists cannot agree among themselves on the class of infants divinely authorized to be baptized

The authority demanded, has however often been essayed. Learned, ingenious, and protracted efforts have been attempted by every sect into which Pedobaptist Christendom is divided. But as if God had determined to defend his own truth by the individual conflicts of its adversaries, it has turned out that no two of them have been able to harmonize either as to what may be regarded as testimony in the premises, or the class of infants divinely authorized to be baptized! Each is in collision with every other. Wall, Hammond, and others of that school, claim that Jewish proselyte baptism is its broad and ample foundation. Owen, Jennings, and many more, repudiate Jewish proselyte baptism, and predicate it upon circumcision as taught in the Abrahamic covenant. Beza, Doddridge, and their associates, teach that children are holy, and are therefore to be baptized. Wesley, and his disciples, teach that they are unholy, and must be baptized to cleanse them from their defilements. Burder, Dwight, and their class, permit no other infants to be baptized but those of Christian parents, all of whom they contend, are born in the church, and are therefore entitled to its ordinances. Baxter, Henry, and those of similar faith, baptize infants to bring them into the covenant and church of the Redeemer. The evangelical divines of the Church of England, and of the Episcopal Church of America, tell us that the doctrine of infant baptism is deduced by analogical reasoning, from statements of scripture applying more expressly, to the case of adult baptism.” But those of the opposite character teach that baptism gives to the infant the regeneration of the Holy Ghost, and must therefore be administered. Many others receive and practice it, because, as they say, “It is in consonance with the general spirit of religion!” Each of these theories shows all the others to be wholly destitute of scriptural support. Among the several classes of religionists now indicated, are to be found very many men of the most extensive learning and research. Why are they all thus in hopeless conflict on the subject? The moment one brings forward his scriptural proofs of infant baptism, all the others clearly show them to be utterly false. Could this be the case were the ordinance anywhere enjoined or authorized? Every unprejudiced mind must see that, taken together, the arguments of all classes of Pedobaptists, destroy one another throughout. Like the builders at Babel, no two of them speak the same tongue, although every one protests that he utters the language of the Bible! It is true consequently, for any thing that yet appears to the contrary, that infant baptism is unsupported by the word of God.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 1- Infant Baptism is an evil because its practice is unsupported by the Word of God

The proposition- infant baptism is not supported by the Word of God

It is assumed that infant baptism is unsupported by the word of God. This is the subject of the proposition. If, upon examination, it be found true, the predicate, that it is an evil, follows as a matter of course. The forms and bearing of that evil may then be considered. Is infant baptism supported by the word of God? I aver that it is not. It is nowhere commanded. It is nowhere, in any form, divinely authorized. Examine the holy record, from first to last, and you will discover not a trace of infant baptism. If it is anywhere commanded, or authorized, the passages in which that fact appears, can be produced. Where are they? Let them be forthcoming. We have a right to see, and to examine them, for ourselves. We demand the texts. But this demand has before been often made, and always in vain. They have never been produced. They have not yet been found. They never can be found. They do not exist. The word of God, in all its length and breadth, contains not a syllable of authority for infant baptism, in the form of command, of precept, of permission, of example, or in any other form whatever. In that sacred book not one word in relation to it, is anywhere uttered. He who claims divine authority for infant baptism, must justify himself by adducing it. Until he does so, the least that can be said of it, is that “it is unsupported by the word of God.”

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 1- Infant Baptism is an evil because its practice is unsupported by the Word of God

However, has it afflicted the cause of truth and salvation more grievously, than in that of infant baptism

Proposition stated; no authority in the Bible for infant baptism; confessions or its advocates; the great Protestant rule in religion; their arguments; it is no baptism; forms of the evil.

PERFECTION on earth, in its absolute form, unhappily no longer exists. “Man’s first disobedience” brought sin into the world. Evil was its attendant. And since that fatal hour, evil has been connected with all that pertains to our race! It is like the air we breathe, an ever present influence. It corrupts all that is pure, and impairs all that is beautiful. Where are the natural beings whose perfection’s it has not disturbed? What rule of moral action is there, from compliance with which it has not turned men aside? But these are not its most lamentable developments. Evil is found prevailing even in the professed churches of Christ! Nor is its presence in the sanctuary seldom apparent. Scarcely is there a feature in our holy religion, which it has not somewhere, marred or distorted! In no form, however, has it afflicted the cause of truth and salvation more grievously, than in that of infant baptism; a rite generally prevalent, but without divine authority; repulsive in itself, and in its consequences always injurious. This declaration I hold myself bound, in the following pages, to sustain by adequate testimony. At present I solicit your attention to the proposition announced: “Infant baptism is an evil because it is unsupported by the word of God.”

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 1- Infant Baptism is an evil because its practice is unsupported by the Word of God

Preface

December 27, 2019 Leave a comment

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

MY gratitude is due to God, and to his people, for the kindness with which this little work has been received. A second edition is demanded at a much earlier period than I had anticipated. I have prepared it with as much attention as my circumstances would permit. Some portions of the book, as will be seen, have been recast, and a new Chapter has been added, on Infant Salvation. More perspicuity and con-elusiveness have, as I think, been thus given to some of the arguments, and the whole work made much more complete. Again I send it forth, with the earnest prayer that it may prove a blessing to the cause of true religion.

ROBERT BOYT C. HOWELL.

Richmond, Virginia, Dec. 17th, 1851.

PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION

THE following pages were written with the specific design of considering, not the “mode of baptism,” nor “the subjects of baptism”, but the EVILS of INFANT baptism.” What baptism is, and who are authorized to receive it, have been questions of controversy during fifteen hundred years. The last two centuries have been especially prolific of essays and books on these subjects. Great learning and zeal have been called in requisition on both sides of the discussion. The conflict, as time passes, loses nothing of its interest, but grows each year, more and more warm. Nor will it ever cease until all Christians fully understand the divine teaching in the premises, and submit themselves to the guidance of the word of God. The evils of infant baptism seem, however, to be a topic which has attracted heretofore, but very little attention. I have seen an occasional allusion to it in books, and periodicals, and sometime a paragraph or two, affirming and sustaining the mischievous results of the rite. I myself wrote a small tract on the subject, more than twenty-five years ago, entitled “Plain Things for Plain Men,” suggesting most of the propositions contained in this work. Beyond these almost nothing, so far as I know, has been published.[1] Consequently the advocates of infant baptism, driven from every other quarter, have here felt themselves safe. They affirm, and expect us to admit, that “If it does no good, it does no harm.” It is innocent, and therefore may be practiced. It was this very apology, offered in its behalf lately, by a friend in my presence, and which I had before so often heard, that called forth the book now before you. I thought it wrong to permit the public mind longer to remain involved in this error; and as I knew of no one who was likely soon to expose it, I determined to undertake the task myself. I have attempted, with what success my readers will judge, to show that infant baptism is far from being harmless. On the contrary, that it is one of the most calamitous evils with which the church has ever been visited.

Permit, if you please, a word of explanation in the outset, regarding some terms, and phrases, of frequent occurrence. I have spoken of it as baptism, when only sprinkling was used, and infants were the subjects, not that I suppose any such thing really baptism, or that others than believers are capable of the ordinance, but simply as a matter of courtesy, and in compliance with common usage. In the same sense I have spoken of the church, “the churches,” and “the churches of Christ.” In the use of these, and like expressions, I shall certainly, by all intelligent people, be perfectly understood. One other prefatory remark will be pardoned. In this, as in every other book I have written, I have carefully sought the utmost simplicity and plainness. I write for “the million,” and I have determined that “the million” shall understand me. I am unwilling to sacrifice force and directness to elegance of style. I do not enter in the presence of my readers, into labored criticisms, nor abstruse disquisition’s, but give them the results simply, without fatiguing them with the process; and they have them in the plainest Saxon I can command. It has been my purpose to present the truth fully, fairly, and candidly, but at the same time, with all proper respect for the opinions of others. I have not introduced an argument which I do not believe to be logical and conclusive, a single passage of scripture which I am not persuaded is relevant, nor an authority from any writer, ancient or modern, which I am not assured is justly adduced, and applicable to the subject. My sole desire is the honor of truth, and the salvation of men.

With these observations premised, I send forth this little volume, earnestly praying that God our Heavenly Father, may make it a blessing to his cause and people.

ROBERT BOYT C. HOWELL

Richmond, Virginia, March 24th, 1851

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Innfant Baptism

 

[1] Since the first edition of this work went to press, I have seen Dr. Gill’s Tract, “Infant Baptism a Part and Pillar of Popery,” edited by George B. Ide, D. D., and published in a handsome little volume, by the American Baptist Publication Society. This volume has a chapter by Dr. Ide on “The Influence of Infant Baptism on Protestant Churches, Historically considered.” This is an able and conclusive chapter, of which, in this second edition, I have fully availed myself.

Contents

December 20, 2019 Leave a comment

CONTENTS

PREFACE

CHAPTER 1 – Infant baptism is an evil because its practice is unsupported by the word of God

CHAPTER 2 – Infant baptism is an evil because its defense leads to most injurious perversions of Scripture

CHAPTER 3 – Infant baptism is an evil because it engrafts Judaism upon the gospel of Christ

CHAPTER 4 – Infant baptism is an evil because it falsifies the doctrine of universal depravity

CHAPTER 5 – Infant baptism is an evil because the doctrines upon which it is predicated contradict the great fundamental principle of justification by faith

CHAPTER 6 – Infant baptism is an evil because it is in direct conflict with the doctrine of the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration

CHAPTER 7 – Infant baptism is an evil because it despoils the church of those peculiar qualities which are essential to the church of Christ

CHAPTER 8 – Infant baptism is an evil because its practice perpetuates the superstitions that originally produced it

CHAPTER 9 – Infant baptism is an evil because it subverts the scripture doctrine of infant salvation

CHAPTER 10 – Infant baptism is an evil because it leads its advocates into rebellion against the authority of Christ

CHAPTER 11 – Infant baptism is an evil because of the connection it assumes with the moral and religious training of children

CHAPTER 12 – Infant baptism is an evil because it is the grand foundation upon which rests the union of church and state

CHAPTER 13 – Infant baptism is an evil because it leads to religious persecutions

CHAPTER 14 – Infant baptism is an evil because it is contrary to the principles of civil and religious freedom

CHAPTER 15 – Infant baptism is an evil because it enfeebles the power of the church to combat error

CHAPTER 16 – Infant baptism is an evil because it injures the credit of religion with reflecting men of the world

CHAPTER 17 – Infant baptism is an evil because it is the great barrier to Christian union

CHAPTER 18 – Infant baptism is an evil because it prevents the salutary impression which baptism was designed to make upon the minds both of those who receive it, and of those who witness its administration

CHAPTER 19 – Infant baptism is an evil because it retards the designs of Christ in the conversion of the world

CHAPTER 20 – Recapitulation, with concluding addresses

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism

The Evils of Infant Baptism

December 13, 2019 6 comments

THE EVILS

OF

INFANT BAPTISM

BY ROBERT BOYT C. HOWELL

AUTHOR OF

‘The Terms of Communion at the Lord’s Table and The Deaconship’

TO THE SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH,

AND CONGREGATION IN THE CITY OF RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

THIS VOLUME IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

BY THEIR DEVOTED AND OBLIGED PASTOR

Charleston, SC: Southern Baptist Publication Society, 1852