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We proceed still further to illustrate and confirm it, by the history and present state of the Pedobaptist world

We have now established our proposition by scripture, reason, and facts. We proceed still further to illustrate and confirm it, by the history and present state of the Pedobaptist world.

Infant baptism swept the primitive churches into popery, with all its darkness, and horrors. The earthly “Head and Ruler,” thus brought whole nations into the church, and made them subject to his authority. National governments were within, and subordinate to his, and all the people of which they were composed owed to the “Holy See” their personal and primary allegiance. Thus the Pope ruled the nations with “a rod of iron.” That all this is due to infant baptism is demonstrated by these two facts: in the first place, that he exercised this authority solely upon the ground that the people, and princes, were all members of his church; and in the second place, we all know that they never could have been of his church, but for infant baptism. May I not add, that it is by the same means that he still retains his influence over nations, and communities, keeps them in awe of his spiritual prerogatives, and holds them in servile subjection to his will? For what other purpose than to force them under his authority, does he so sedulously inculcate the pernicious dogma, that by their baptism received in infancy, they are brought into the fold of the church, within which they will be saved, and out of which they will be damned; and that therefore, if they renounce their baptism, or apostatize from Popery, their everlasting destruction is certain? Do any of these nations, or communities, dare at any time, to oppose his authority, or disobey his orders? He immediately lays them under an interdict, suspending the sacraments, all public prayers, burials, and baptisms, the obsequious priests implicitly obeying his mandates. A superstitious dread of these prohibitions, and particularly of that which withholds baptism from their children, soon reduces the people to an humble compliance, since to parents it seems most horrible that their children thus deprived must, if they die, be inevitably lost. Whole kingdoms therefore yield to his exactions, however arbitrary or oppressive, because thereby, as they suppose, they save their own souls, and the souls of their children, which would be lost if they did not submit to the “Vicar of Christ!” What a tremendous influence does infant baptism give to Popery! How cunningly is it adapted to uphold its power?[88]

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 7- Infant baptism is an evil because it despoils the Church of those peculiar qualities which are essential to the Church of Christ

To observe the encouragement, motives, and reasons given to keep this ordinance, as well as others

III. To observe the encouragement, motives, and reasons given to keep this ordinance, as well as others,

1. The apostle says, this is the love of God; that is, this shews love to God; it is a plain case, that a man loves God, when he keeps his commandments; this is an evidence, that he loves not in word, and in tongue only, but in deed and in truth. Others may say that they love God and Christ; but this is the man that truly loves them, even he that hath my commandments, says Christ (John 14:21), and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me: and it is a clear care, that such a man has a sense of the love of God and Christ; the love of the Father is in him; and the love of Christ constrains him to observe his ordinances, and keep his commands; and such may expect greater manifestations of the love of God and Christ unto them; for of such that keep the commandments of Christ, he says, I will love him, and manifest myself to him; — and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him (John 14:23); which is no small inducement and encouragement to an observation of the ordinances and commands of Christ, and among the rest this of baptism.

2. Another encouraging motive and reason is, the commandments of God and Christ are not grievous, hard and difficult to be performed. The Lord’s supper is not; nor is baptism. What is baptism in water, to the baptism of sufferings Christ endured for us? And yet how desirous was he of accomplishing it? (Luke 12:50). And therefore why should we think it an hardship, or be backward to comply with his will, in submitting to the ordinance of water-baptism? When Naaman was bid by Elisha to dip himself in Jordan, and be clean; which he relented as too little and trifling a thing, and thought he might as well have stayed in his own land, and dipped himself in one of the rivers of Syria; one of his servants took upon him to allay and repress the heat of his passion and resentment, by observing, that if the prophet had bid him do some great thing, which was hard and difficult to be performed, he would have gone about it readily; how much rather then, he argued, should he attend to the direction of the prophet, when he only bid him wash in Jordan, and be clean? (2 Kings 5:13). There are many that will go into baths, and plunge themselves in them for pleasure or profit, to refresh their bodies, or cure them of disorders; but if plunging in water is directed to, as an ordinance of God, then it is a grievous thing; and, indeed, no ordinance is grateful to a carnal mind; but to believers in Christ, wisdoms ways are ways of pleasantness, and her paths of peace. Christ’s yoke, if it may be called so, is easy, and his burden light.

John Gill – Baptism: A Divine Commandment to be Observed, Being A Sermon Preached At Barbican, October 9, 1765 At The Baptism Of The Reverend Mr. Robert Carmichael, Minister Of The Gospel In Edinburgh.

Four causes, continually acting upon them all, have hitherto preserved them, in a great measure, from falling into the same destruction which has overwhelmed others

But is not this an overstatement of the case? Would not a laudable Christian charity draw a much brighter picture than the one I have now sketched? I am reminded that the Methodist church, the Presbyterian church, the Congregational church, and several other churches in this country, and in England, are, in their numerous divisions, highly evangelical. All these, with infant baptism, still hold and teach the great fundamental truths of the gospel. I am happy to concede that this is true. It is, however, the result of a peculiar condition of things, and cannot, therefore, discredit any argument which has been submitted on the subject. Four causes, continually acting upon them all, have hitherto preserved them, in a great measure, from falling into the same destruction which has overwhelmed others.

The first is the great Baptist principle, with which they are unceasingly in contact. In North America the Baptist churches contain a million of communicants. Four millions more, at least, are of their opinion, and under their influence. Nearly one-fourth, therefore, of all our population are strongly Baptistical. All these regard infant baptism, and infant church membership, as wholly unauthorized, and treat them as nonentities in religion. These Baptists are diffused in all the families of the land, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free, learned and unlearned. They are associated with their Pedobaptist brethren upon equal, and most intimate terms. As a consequence of this state of things, the influence of infant baptism is, to a very great extent, neutralized, and destroyed.

The second of these causes is the universal diffusion of the Bible. The word of God is now carefully studied, in Sabbath-schools, in Bible-classes, in families, and in the closet, not by scholars only, but also by all classes of our people, and it is probably better understood by them all, than it has ever been at any period since the days of the apostles. The masses are enlightened; they exercise their own judgment; and their religious opinions are approaching, consequently, much nearer the scriptural standard. In all the teachings of that holy book they find not one word to justify infant baptism.

Thousands, consequently, who have received the rite, refuse utterly, to act in accordance with it. They do not regard themselves as church members, or in any way privileged spiritually, because of their infant baptism. That, say they, was only a form. And indeed, so far has this conviction proceeded, that many, very many members, even of Pedobaptist churches, do not hesitate to avow their entire disbelief in the whole theory. Hence its wide-spread neglect throughout our whole land. In proportion as the Bible is understood, loved, and obeyed, does infant baptism, in all its relations and bearings, dwindle, and recede from public view.

The third cause is found in the character of our Pedobaptist ministry. The great body of them, and especially of those connected with the denominations I have named, are converted men. Their religion and good sense lead them involuntarily to discard, except in its forms, the puerilities of their distinguishing rite. They preach to all alike, and boldly declare to sinners of every class, that if they are saved at all, it must be alone by the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord, whom they can approach only as penitent believers, and whose Spirit must renew and sanctify their hearts. Thus preaching the fundamental truths of the gospel, they falsify infant baptism, keep it out of sight, and avert in part its deleterious influence.

The fourth and last cause is the revivals of religion which have so long, and so extensively prevailed in our country. Of these, in common with our churches, theirs have largely, and happily partaken. These revivals call the thoughts of men directly to the corruptions of their own nature, to the light of the word of God, to the cross of the Redeemer, to regeneration by the Holy Ghost, and to pardon, justification, and salvation, through faith in Christ. True religion is thus everywhere spread abroad, and many, notwithstanding the errors of their standards, and other authorities, whose forms they still observe, are converted, and saved.

These, mainly, are the causes which in America, and the British dominions, have thus far averted from them, its natural and inherent evils, and preserved their churches from total overthrow. Take these away, and nothing can save them from utter disaster.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 7- Infant baptism is an evil because it despoils the Church of those peculiar qualities which are essential to the Church of Christ

Secondly, Next let us consider in what manner the ordinance of baptism is to be kept and observed

II. To shew that the ordinance of water-baptism, being a divine command, it ought to be kept, and observed, as directed to in the word of God.

Secondly, Next let us consider in what manner the ordinance of baptism is to be kept and observed: and,

1. It should be kept in faith; for without faith it is impossible to please God; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin (Heb. 11:6; Rom. 14:23).

2. In love, and from a principle of love to Christ, and which is the end of every commandment, and of this; If ye love me, says Christ’s, keep my commandments (John 14:15 3). It should be kept as it was at first delivered and observed: the manner in which it is to be performed and submitted to, is immersion, or covering the whole body in water; and which agrees with the primary sense of the word βαπτιζω, which signifies to dip or plunge, as all learned men know;[7] and he must be a novice in the Greek language, that will take upon him to contradict what has been ingenuously owned by so many men of learning. Had our translators thought fit to have translated the word, which they have not in those places where the ordinance of baptism is made mention of, for reasons easily to be guessed at, but have adopted the Greek word baptize in all such places; had they truly translated it, the eyes of the people would have been opened, and the controversy at once would have been at an end, with respect to this part of it, the mode of baptism; however we have proof sufficient that it was performed, and ought to be performed by immersion, as appears,

1. By the places where it was administered, as the river Jordan, where John baptized many, and where our Lord himself was baptized; and AEnon, near Salim, which he chose for this reason, because there was much water there (Matthew 3:6, 13); now if the ordinance was administered in any other way than by immersion, what need was there to make choice of rivers and places abounding with water to baptize in?

2. By the instances of persons baptized, and the circumstances attending their baptism, as that of our Lord, of whom it is said, When he was baptized, he went up straightway out of the water (Matthew 3:16); which manifestly implies that he had been in it, of which there would have been no need, had the ordinance been administered to him in any other way than by immersion; as by sprinkling or pouring a little water on his head, as the painter ridiculously describes it. The baptism of the Eunuch is another instance proving baptism by immersion; when he and Philip were come to a certain water, and it was agreed to baptize him, it is said, they went down both into the waters both Philip and the Eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip (Acts 8:38, 39). The circumstances of going down into the water, and coming up out of it, manifestly shew in what manner the Eunuch was baptized, namely, by immersion; for what reason can be given why they should go into the water, had it been performed in any other way?

3.[8] The end of baptism, which is to represent the burial and resurrection of Christ, cannot be answered any other way than by immersion; that it is an emblem of the burial and resurrection of Christ, and of the burial and resurrection of believers in him, is clear from Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12 buried with him by baptism, and in baptism. Now only an immersion or covering of the whole body in water, and not pouring or sprinkling a little water on the face, can be a representation of a burial; will any man in his senses say, that a corpse is buried, when only a little dust or earth is sprinkled or poured on its face?

4. The figurative baptisms, or the allusions made to baptism in scripture, shew in what manner it was administered; the passage of the Israelites under the cloud, and through the sea, is called a being baptized in the cloud and in the sea (1 Cor. 10:1, 2); and with great propriety may it be called a baptism, as that is by immersion; for the waters standing up as a wall on each fide of them, through which, and the cloud over their heads, under which they passed, they were like persons immersed in water:[9] likewise the over-whelming sufferings of Christ are fitly called a baptism, in allusion to baptism by immersion. I have a baptism to be baptized with, says he; and how am I straitened until it be accomplished? (Luke 12:50); and which sufferings of Christ, in prophetic language, agreeable to baptism by immersion, are thus described; I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me (Ps.119:1, 2). Once more; the extraordinary donation of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, is called a being baptized with the holy Ghost (Acts 1:5); the emblem of which was a rushing mighty wind, which filled all the house where they were sitting (Acts 2:2); so that they were as if immersed into it, and covered with it, and therefore very properly called a baptism, in allusion to baptism by immersion.[10] I go on,

John Gill – Baptism: A Divine Commandment to be Observed, Being A Sermon Preached At Barbican, October 9, 1765 At The Baptism Of The Reverend Mr. Robert Carmichael, Minister Of The Gospel In Edinburgh.

The doctrine taught by pedobaptists would bring every child upon earth into the church as soon as it is born

Nor does the evil of infant baptism terminate even here. It blots out every vestige of the church itself, by wholly destroying its visibility! This proposition may seem startling. Let us give, it a candid investigation.

The doctrine taught by pedobaptists would bring every child upon earth into the church as soon as it is born! We will suppose, for the sake of the illustration, that from this hour, the gospel is known in every land, and these principles universally prevail. What would be the practical effect? Evidently that in one generation the whole world would be in the church! The Presbyterians would baptize all the children of believing parents; the Episcopalians would baptize “upon the faith of the church,” all those for whom sponsors could be secured; and the Methodists, and others, would baptize the remainder! Not a living being would be out of the church! What now is the condition of things? The church is the world; and the world is the church! They are identical! Either there is no church; or there is no world! If the world is not the church, and we know that it is not, then there is no visible church of God upon earth! Its visibility is destroyed; and is destroyed by infant baptism. What do we now see? The spirituality of the church is gone! The purity of the church is gone! The visibility of the church is gone! The church itself is gone! It is despoiled of those peculiar qualities which are essential to the church of Christ. If there is no other than a Pedobaptist church, then there is no true visible church of Christ upon earth! But is not this an overstatement of the case? Would not a laudable Christian charity draw a much brighter picture than the one I have now sketched? I am reminded that the Methodist church, the Presbyterian church, the Congregational church, and several other churches in this country, and in England, are, in their numerous divisions, highly evangelical. All these, with infant baptism, still hold and teach the great fundamental truths of the gospel. I am happy to concede that this is true. It is, however, the result of a peculiar condition of things, and cannot, therefore, discredit any argument which has been submitted on the subject. Four causes, continually acting upon them all, have hitherto preserved them, in a great measure, from falling into the same destruction which has overwhelmed others.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 7- Infant baptism is an evil because it despoils the Church of those peculiar qualities which are essential to the Church of Christ

First, I shall shew, by whom it is to be kept and observed.

II. To shew that the ordinance of water-baptism, being a divine command, it ought to be kept, and observed, as directed to in the word of God.

First, I shall shew, by whom it is to be kept and observed.

1. By sensible, repenting sinners. Johns baptism was called the baptism of repentance (Mark 1:4); because repentance was previous to it; and the very first persons that were baptized by him, were such who were sensible of their sins, repented of them, and ingenuously confessed them; for it is said, they were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins; and whereas others applied to him for baptism, of whom he had no good opinion, he required of them, that they would first bring forth fruits meet for repentance; and not to think with themselves, we have Abraham to our father (Matthew 3:6-9); since such a plea would be of no avail with him; and the very first persons that were baptized after our Lord had given to his apostles the commission to baptize, were penitent ones; for under the first sermon after this, three thousand were pricked in their heart, and cried out, Men and brethren, what shall we do? To whom the apostle Peter gave this instruction and direction: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38); and accordingly, on their repentance, they were baptized.

2. This command is to be kept and observed by believers in Christ; he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved (Mark 16:16). Faith goes before baptism, and is a pre-requisite to it; as the various instances of baptism recorded in the scriptures shew. Philip went down to Samaria, and preached Christ there to the inhabitants of it; and when they believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women (Acts 8:12).

The same minister of the word was bid to join himself to the chariot of an Eunuch, returning from Jerusalem, where he had been to worship, and whom he found reading a prophecy in Isaiah; and said unto him, Understandest thou what thou readest? To which he answered, How can I, except some man should guide me? And being taken up into the chariot with him: from that scripture, Philip preached Jesus to him, his word, and ordinances, as the sequel shews; for when they came to a certain water, the Eunuch laid, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. Otherwise not, it seems; for notwithstanding his religion and devotion, without faith in Christ, he had no right to that ordinance; He answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 8:36, 37); upon which profession of his faith, he was baptized. The apostle Paul preached the gospel at Corinth with success; and it is observed by the historian, that many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized (Acts 18:8). First they heard the word, then they believed in Christ, the sum and substance of the word, and upon the profession of their faith, were baptized.

3. The ordinance of water-baptism is to be attended to, and observed by such who are the disciples of Christ; it is said that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (John 4:1). First made them disciples, and then baptized them; that is, ordered his apostles to baptize them; with which his com-mission to them agrees, Teach all nations, baptizing them; make disciples, and baptize them that are so made. Now, what is it to be disciples of Christ? Such may be said to be so, who have learned to know Christ, and believe in him; who are taught to deny sinful self, righteous self, and civil self, for his sake, and to take up the cross and follow him, in the exercise of grace and in the discharge of duty: and,

4. Such as have received the Spirit of God, are proper persons to observe the ordinance of baptism, and submit unto it: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the holy Ghost as well as we? (Acts 10:47); as a Spirit of illumination and conviction, as a Spirit of sanctification, faith and consolation, and as a Spirit of adoption.

John Gill – Baptism: A Divine Commandment to be Observed, Being A Sermon Preached At Barbican, October 9, 1765 At The Baptism Of The Reverend Mr. Robert Carmichael, Minister Of The Gospel In Edinburgh.

It not only excludes spirituality and purity from the church, but it introduces corruptions of the most destructive character

But the evil influence in the connection in which I now speak of it, is not negative merely, it is positive, and overwhelming. It not only excludes spirituality and purity from the church, but it introduces corruptions of the most destructive character.

How it corrupts the church in her membership is sufficiently apparent. Its corrupting influence upon her doctrines has been seen in previous chapters. I will here recapitulate. It perverts the word of God to bring it apparently into its support; it engrafts Judaism upon the gospel of Christ; its principles contradict the doctrine of justification by faith; they are in conflict with the work of the Spirit in regeneration; and they falsify the doctrine of universal depravity. What fearful destruction it has thus wrought in all that is revered and holy! What now must be her general temper, and disposition? Will she be as designed by Jesus Christ, and represented by his apostles,

A glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy, and without blemish?” (Ephesians 5:27.)

Will she “crucify the flesh, with its affections and lusts?” Will she “live in the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit,” bringing forth the fruits of “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, temperance?” Will she not rather be guided by ambition, pride, and vainglory, relying for her advancement upon measures of mere worldly policy? Will she not prefer a learned, or an eloquent, to a converted ministry? Will she not be ready to embrace any false doctrines, or unscriptural practices, which may be found congenial with her unsanctified nature, and suited to her purposes of dominion, and power? With such a spirit infant baptism has always been found inspiring the church. Nor is this less true of Protestantism than it is of Popery. Whence originated the Neology of Lutheranism, the Puseyism of Episcopacy, and the Unitarianism and Universalism of Calvinism? Had these churches adhered to the laws of membership established by Christ Jesus, and admitted, or retained in their communion, none but the truly converted, could these miserable dogmas ever have covered them with shame and misery? They are all, therefore, the legitimate offspring of infant baptism. Its advocates have “sown the wind,” and as a natural consequence, “they have reaped the whirlwind.”

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 7- Infant baptism is an evil because it despoils the Church of those peculiar qualities which are essential to the Church of Christ

Does it not, to the extent that it prevails, throw the whole population of the country into the church?

December 25, 2020 Leave a comment

We are now prepared to inquire into the effect produced upon the character of the church by infant baptism. It sets aside all the laws of membership enacted by Christ for her preservation and glory; it proceeds upon others of its own creation, and substitution; it brings into the body, not the spiritual and pure only, but also all classes of men; and it thus impresses upon it such a character as effectually destroys its claims to be regarded as the true visible church of Christ. It is thenceforth necessarily carnal and unholy. It is not the church of Christ.

Infant baptism, I have said, necessarily leads to this melancholy result. Let this proposition be further considered. Does it not, to the extent that it prevails, throw the whole population of the country into the church? This fact no man will deny. Is it not also true, that great multitudes of these baptized children grow up to maturity in the church, worldly, sensual, wicked men? They are all members, and some of them ministers, and other officers, in the church! If, as we have seen, the character of an association as a body, is necessarily that of the individuals of which it is composed, then it follows with certainty, that infant baptism must soon despoil the church of its spirituality and purity, and render it carnal and unholy, since it is by this rite, filled with members, officers, and ministers, who are not themselves spiritual and pure, but carnal, unholy, and worldly. The church is what the members are of which it is composed.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 7- Infant baptism is an evil because it despoils the Church of those peculiar qualities which are essential to the Church of Christ

Baptism is the outward form in which this membership is given and assumed

December 18, 2020 Leave a comment

In accordance with these facts, and corroborating their truth, the laws of membership enacted by our Lord Jesus Christ, are fixed with the greatest possible plainness and particularity. Baptism is the outward form in which this membership is given and assumed. This ordinance is essential to admission into the visible church, and of that church all who receive it are members. Paul so teaches us when he says:

As many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27.)

All the denominations around us receive, and act upon this truth. At the baptism of a child in the Episcopal church, the minister says: “We receive this child into the congregation of Christ’s flock.”[85] The Methodist minister says when a child is baptized, it is done that: “He [this child] being delivered from thy [God’s] wrath, may be received into the ark of Christ’s church.”[86] And the Presbyterian says: “Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament,” “whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church, and enter into an open and professed engagement to be wholly and only the Lord’s.”[87] The laws of baptism, therefore, are confessedly included in the laws of membership, Let these laws, as enacted by Messiah, now be indicated. “Teach,” said he, and “baptize” the instructed. “Preach the gospel,” and “him that believeth” the gospel “baptize.” In all your administrations let the fact be remembered, that

My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:26.)

The kingdom, and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.” (Daniel 7:27.)

The language of the New Covenant describes truly, without doubt, the character of those who are in that covenant, and such only are legitimately, church members.

I will,” says God, “put my laws into their mind, and write them in their heart; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” (Hebrews 8:6.)

By the laws of Christ, therefore, only those are to be admitted into the church who have been taught, who believe, who are not of this world, who are saints, in whose mind and heart the law of God is incorporated, and who know the Lord as their God. This character is required of them also by their relations to Jehovah. The church of God offer him acceptable worship, but this can be done by no others than those described;

for God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (Romans 8:2-6.)

It is also demanded by their relations to mankind.

Ye are the salt of the earth. But if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-17.)

These are some of the laws of membership in his church as fixed by Christ himself. How definite! How precise in all things! They describe, with the utmost clearness, the spiritual, and the pure. None others can enter his church, since it is his purpose to perpetuate in the body these holy qualities. The execution of these laws is confided to his ministers and people. If they swerve from their duty, the result is lost. The strictest obedience on their part, is consequently commanded, and enforced by the most solemn sanctions. He who fails in his fidelity, no matter who he is, or what may be his official position, sins against God, by disregarding his solemn injunctions; sins against the church, by corrupting and degrading it; sins against the world, because he removes and extinguishes the light by which it is to be guided to salvation; and sins against his own soul, covering himself with crime, and condemnation.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 7- Infant baptism is an evil because it despoils the Church of those peculiar qualities which are essential to the Church of Christ

THE true visible church of our Lord Jesus Christ upon earth, is necessarily spiritual, and pure

December 11, 2020 Leave a comment

Qualities essential to the church; how destroyed by infant baptism; examples drawn from Protestantism in its various forms; recovery of the church hopeless.

THE true visible church of our Lord Jesus Christ upon earth, is necessarily spiritual, and pure. If deprived of these qualities, it is evidently no longer his church. Its form, and organization, may still be retained; it may be great, and powerful, and honored; but it is a mere worldly corporation. It is not the church of Christ.

Do you inquire what I mean by spirituality, and purity? By spirituality I mean, that disposition of mind implanted by the Holy Ghost, by which men are inclined to love, delight in, and attend to the things of the Spirit of God. Those who are spiritual seek spiritual blessings, engage in spiritual exercises, pursue spiritual objects, are influenced by spiritual motives, and experience spiritual joys. Paul describes their character in terms, as clear as they are comprehensive.

They that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally-minded is death, but to be spiritually-minded is life, and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:5- 8.)

Such is spirituality. And purity is a fixed habit of abhorrence of whatever holiness forbids, whether in the heart or in the life. It is the disposition that discovers itself by a cautious fear of all that leads to sin, and by perseverance in prayer, devotion, and the service of God. Where these two qualities exist, all the others that distinguish true Christians, will ever be present. A congregation of such will be

living stones, built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5.)

All those from whom they are absent, are carnal and unholy. And can men of this class legitimately compose Christ’s church upon earth? The supposition is preposterous. Spirituality, and purity, must distinguish those who are entitled to a place in the sanctuary of God.

Of this character were all those who formed the church in its original organization. The King in Zion intended and required that the holiness of his church should be preserved, and perpetuated. But how can this be done? Its accomplishment demands evidently, the strictest regard to appropriate laws of membership. That the required character cannot otherwise be attained must, to every thinking man, be perfectly obvious. Who does not know that the character of any association, among men, is determined, and ever must be determined, by its laws of membership? These laws decide the qualifications of the individuals of whom the association is composed. The aggregate is made up of the individuals. The character of the individuals will inevitably be the character of the association. This truth is self-evident.

That would not be a Temperance society, however vehemently it might demand the name, which should receive, and retain, large numbers of men who continue in the daily use of ardent spirits as a beverage.

A Literary society would not remain such, in any proper sense, when filled up with uneducated men, who neither study, nor intend to study literature. Nor would a Medical society deserve the name, if composed mostly of planters, merchants, and lawyers, who designed to give no special attention to medicine. If the specific character of the association is preserved and perpetuated, those only must be admitted to membership, and retained in the body, who are qualified by the necessary acquirements, and disposed to prosecute the objects had in view in its formation. These great truths are especially applicable to the church of Christ. Her spirituality and purity as a body, can be preserved and perpetuated no otherwise than by admitting to membership, and retaining in communion, those individuals only who are spiritual and pure.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 7- Infant baptism is an evil because it despoils the Church of those peculiar qualities which are essential to the Church of Christ