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Pedobapist brethren have yet another method of satisfying themselves that infant baptism is scriptural

February 14, 2020 Leave a comment

It is proper to remark in passing, that our Pedobapist brethren have yet another method of satisfying themselves that infant baptism is scriptural. When, as we have seen, Dr. Woods stated that since, “It is a plain case that there is no express precept concerning infant baptism in our sacred writings,” and that consequently, “The proof that it is a divine institution must be made out in some other way,” you were perhaps, at a loss to conceive what that “other way” could be. By what process can any ordinance be proved “a divine institution,” in regard to which not a word is said “in our sacred writings?” No such thing can be done. Since the Bible is our only authority in all cases, the proof proposed is clearly impossible.

We will, however, hear Dr. Woods. He obtains his proof thus:

“It cannot with any good reason, be denied, or doubted, that those Christian writers who have, in different ways, given testimony to the prevalence of infant baptism in the early ages of Christianity, are credible witnesses. Nor can it be denied that they were under the best advantages to know whether the practice commenced in the times of the apostles. On this subject, as they were not liable to mistake, so their testimony is entitled to full credit!”[11]

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

 

Thus it is seen that if the inspired apostle knew where of he affirmed, and reasoned not illogically, it is unquestionably true that the gospel requires to be obeyed

Thus it is seen that if the inspired apostle knew where of he affirmed, and reasoned not illogically, it is unquestion-ably true that the gospel requires to be obeyed, not with less, but with more carefulness, particularity, and fidelity than did the law. To no commandment of the gospel therefore, may you add any thing whatever; neither may you diminish aught from it. You are obliged to obey, and in the manner en joined, all that Jehovah has there revealed for your guidance. It is “the word of God,” and that “is a perfect rule of faith and practice.”

But we are constantly told that the gospel, unlike the law, is in many respects, indefinite in its instructions, giving only the outlines, and great principles of religion, and leaving the details to be filled up by the wisdom and pious discretion of the followers of Christ. He who has arrived at this conclusion has wholly mistaken the subject. If the word of God is a perfect rule of faith and practice, then the assumption cannot possibly be true. It is unreasonable in itself; it is in conflict with the inspired teachings just recited; and it proceeds on the false assumption that the gospel is less perfect than the law! On the contrary, in the gospel every duty required is distinctly enjoined. No one need mistake its authority, or its nature. That rule is certainly not perfect, to whatever department of life it may pertain, which only sketches general principles, and great outlines, and leaves the details to be supplied by each individual in such manner as may seem to him most proper. The word of God is no such rule. It is perfect. It is disfigured by neither redundancy nor defect. It must be obeyed in all things, without addition, diminution or change. You can never depart from it in any particular, without incurring imminent peril.

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 word of God is a perfect rule of faith and practice

May I now, in view of all these facts, and considerations, solicit your attention to the great Protestant principle in religion, so familiarly known to all who are in the least conversant with sacred literature? “The word of God is a perfect rule of faith and practice.” To this maxim every evangelical denomination professes to bow with entire submission. It avows the scriptures to be not the supreme authority only, but also the sole authority, in all that pertains to religion. It repudiates all tradition. It looks not to the Fathers of the church of whatever period, except in so far as they are sustained by the divine word. It relies exclusively upon the scriptures. If any doctrine or practice be there clearly taught, it must be received heartily, and fully. If otherwise, you dare not admit it. “The word of God is a perfect rule of faith and practice.”

For myself, and for my brethren, although we are not Protestants, I declare for this Christian law in religion the sincerest reverence. We receive it fully, and conform to it in every respect. We do this however, not simply because it is wise in principle, and safe in practice, but because it is really an embodiment in another form, of the law of God himself. It comes to us with the sanction not of men only, but of God. The language of Jehovah on the subject is this:

What thing soever I command you, observe to do it. Thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:3.)

And in another place he says:

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2.)

Is not this a plain declaration, in other terms, that, “The word of God is a perfect rule of faith and practice,” Does any one suppose that since these precepts had a more direct reference to the law of Moses, that they are not equally applicable under the gospel? To such it may be replied, that the law was much less perfect than is the gospel. Did our Heavenly Father enforce the obligations of the former with the most jealous particularity, and is he less careful as to our compliance with the demands of the latter? Such an objection is unreasonable. It is. also in direct conflict with apostolic teaching. To this very topic Paul refers, when he says:

“God, who at sundry times, and in diverse manners, spake in times past to the fathers, by the prophets hath in these last days spoken unto us, by his Son.” (Hebrews 1:1)

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels [messengers, in the law] was steadfast, and every transgression, and disobedience received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him, God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost?” (Hebrews 2:1-4.)

“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape if we refuse him that speaketh from heaven.” (Hebrews 12:25.)

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

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