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Infant baptism leads, in moral and religious training, directly into deceptions regarding the way of salvation

Infant baptism leads, in moral and religious training, directly into deceptions regarding the way of salvation.

These baptized children will, as soon as they are capable of thought, inquire, if they care to think at all on the subject, what relation this ordinance has given them to Christ and salvation. They can find in the Book of God no answer. The Bible is silent. To what quarter, then, must they look for information? To their catechisms, of course. And what do these same catechisms teach them? If they are Calvinists, they teach them that they were born in the covenant of grace, and members of the church of Christ, and that in their baptism they had, sealed and made over to them, “all the benefits of the death of Christ!” If they are Methodists, their catechisms teach them that their baptism cleansed them from the defilements of original sin, united them with the church, and enrolled them among the faithful people of God! If they are Episcopalians, (and so in substance of Catholics, Lutherans, and others,) that by “their baptism they were made members of Christ, the heirs of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.” A great portion of their moral and religious training consists in teaching them these very catechisms, together with their creeds, confessions, and other standards. If they believe them, they are unquestionably deceived as to the great principles of true religion. They must conclude that they are safe. What more is necessary? If now they live moral and correct lives, they cannot fail of heaven! And is this true? No. It is wholly false. Their minds are miserably perverted! They have mistaken the very nature of vital Christianity. If they would look into the Bible, they would find its teachings on this subject the opposite of those contained in their catechisms. And would they examine their own hearts and lives, they would find them, in the light of the holy word, not pure, not sanctified, but still depraved, sinful, criminal. Their moral and religious training has betrayed them! It may lead them to ruin.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 11- Infant Baptism is an Evil because of the connection it assumes with the Moral and Religious training of Children

Are we told that they will “bring them up in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord?”

November 26, 2021 3 comments

Are we told that when the children are baptized, sponsors, or parents, or both, come before the church, and there in the presence of God and men, enter into the most solemn vows that they will “bring them up in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord?” All this we know. And we know more than this. Sponsors, it is plain, must be conscious when they assume these vows, that they cannot redeem them. It is notorious that not one in fifty ever even attempt it. The whole paraphernalia of sponsorship is in fact, a mere matter of form and show, without authority, and without benefit. But what of the vows of parents? Are they not substantial, and valuable? Upon them surely, every reliance may be placed. And what do they vow? Why, that they really will do what God Almighty has commanded them to do; in other words, that they will discharge an obligation which no vows of any kind can either absolve, or render more binding! Who has required this at their hands? To me it is most evident that if without these vows they will not obey the divine injunction, they will not obey it at all. If the authority of the Most High is not sufficient of itself, vows and pledges will add nothing to its force. But even if the vows in question were effective and desirable, why connect them with baptism? For this relation I can perceive no especial reason. No benefits, therefore, on this ground are, or can be, secured to the children.

These baptized children, however, are members, we are told, of the church. They have, in consequence, thrown around them a strong moral influence, which without this relation, they could not enjoy. This is looked upon as giving them superior advantages. But are they, after all, any more intimately associated with the people of God, or under the influence of the church, than they would have been had no such proceedings ever have transpired? Certainly they are not. In either case they are under precisely the same control and direction. The children of Baptists are surrounded by all the moral influences and Christian associations, that are enjoyed by those of pedobaptists, and their salutary results are felt to fully as great an extent. We have therefore all the benefits which have been supposed to attach to infant baptism, without incurring any of its evils.

It is most evident that no good arises from the engagements of sponsors, from the promises of parents, from associations with the people of God, from the moral influence of the church, from any circumstances or sources whatever, connected with their baptism, which they would not have enjoyed, and which our children do not enjoy without it. On the contrary, they incur the most serious and dangerous evil, in two respects: they are deceived on vital tenets relating to salvation, and they are thereby placed in circumstances extremely unfavorable to the reception of gospel truths.

Infant baptism leads, in moral and religious training, directly into deceptions regarding the way of salvation.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 11- Infant Baptism is an Evil because of the connection it assumes with the Moral and Religious training of Children

The principles to be instilled are all contained in the “sacred oracles”

November 19, 2021 Leave a comment

The principles to be instilled are all contained in the “sacred oracles.” They ought to be preserved as far as possible from all evil influences, to have constantly before them a pure and holy example, and every opportunity should be improved to fix in their hearts the lessons of heavenly wisdom. The great object must be’—since piety includes morality, and fits them both for the duties of this life, and the glory of the life to come—to lead them to Christ, and to seek for them pure vital religion. Until this end is gained, very little comparatively, has been accomplished. The manner in which the proposed end is to be sought, is perspicuously stated by God himself:

These words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children; and thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7.)

On this general subject there is, as far as known to me, among Christians of all classes, no difference in sentiment. The moment, however, we descend to particulars, we are the poles asunder. Baptists insist that the successful moral and religious training of children can only be fully attained by adhering strictly to the teachings of divine inspiration. And since their baptism and reception into the church in infancy, are measures not authorized in the gospel, nor consonant with reason, they must be productive not of good, but of evil. Pedobaptists, on the contrary, earnestly insist that it is essential to a happy result in the premises that all infants be baptized, received into the church, and be there brought up with the people of God. Here we join issue, and shall proceed to examine the merits of the controversy. I consider myself the more imperatively called upon to do this, because Baptists have heretofore thought it scarcely worth their while on this topic, to defend their opinions, or practice, with any special carefulness. We have been, and are, fiercely attacked, and violently denounced, in sermons, books, tracts, newspapers, everywhere, as wanting in affectionate attentions to our children, and paying little or no regard to their moral and religious training! This odious charge is rung perpetually in the public ear, and it is thought to be sufficiently proved by the fact that we refuse to baptize, and receive them into our churches. The clamor has been kept up from age to age, and with so much zeal and pertinacity, that out of our own circles the calumny is almost universally believed! Justice and truth demand of us a temperate but firm defense.

Baptists wanting in affectionate attentions to their children! Pay very little regard to their moral and religious training! Let facts speak. Do the children of Baptists in their general conduct, evince less moral, propriety than others? Are they, when of the same social grade, less polished in their manners, less intelligent as men, or less patriotic as citizens? Are a smaller number of them in proportion, found to be truly religious, and active, and useful as followers of Christ? Who dare affirm any of these things? No man certainly, who has any respect for his own character, or veracity. By reliable statistics, collected at different times, and in several cities of our Union, it has repeatedly been proved, that a much larger proportion of the children of Baptists become religious than of the children of Pedobaptists. During the early part of last year, a report was made, after accurate examination, by the Baltimore Sabbath-school Superintendents and Teachers Association, with the following results:

In the Protestant Episcopal Church Sabbath-schools of that city, among all the pupils, about one in every forty-one had professed religion; in the Sabbath-schools of the Presbyterian church, Old School, about one in ninety, and New School, about one in fifty; in those of the Lutheran churches one in fifteen; in those of the Methodist Episcopal churches, one in twenty; in those of the Baptist churches, ONE IN FIVE.[128]

A similar investigation has been made in Cincinnati, with like results. In New York some years since, a scrutiny was instituted in a large number of families of all the prevailing denominations, and it was found that very many more of the Baptist than of any others, had been brought savingly to Christ. These are facts. What do they prove? Not that the baptized children around us have an advantage over ours, but the contrary. Every theory must be judged by its results, and both the reasons and the facts in this case, prove that of infant baptism is worse than useless. The public mind is beginning to be enlightened on this subject, and will not much longer bear with patience, the reproaches, and defamations with which we are so untiringly pursued.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 11- Infant Baptism is an Evil because of the connection it assumes with the Moral and Religious training of Children

Infant Baptism is an Evil because of the connection it assumes with the Moral and Religious training of Children

November 12, 2021 Leave a comment

CHAPTER 11

INFANT BAPTISM IS AN EVIL BECAUSE OF THE

CONNECTION IT ASSUMES WITH THE MORAL

AND RELIGIOUS TRAINING OF CHILDREN

Importance of correct training for children; how infant baptism connects itself with it; the injuries thus inflicted.

THE correct moral and religious training of children, is immeasurably important. No subject is more worthy of our careful attention. We are all, and especially those of us to whose charge these little ones have been providentially committed, called upon to study it with prayerful assiduity. The great business of parental life is the proper training of the next generation. Material errors here must always result more or less disastrously, while true principles, prosecuted with fidelity, invariably secure the richest blessings. This most interesting and responsible work, however, is not permitted to proceed unembarrassed. With it infant baptism boldly connects itself, and confidently claims to be necessary to its faithful and successful prosecution. This connection, and the evil it inflicts, it is my purpose in the present chapter, briefly to consider. On the general subject of the moral and religious training of the young, Paul thus exhorts:

Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.(Ephesians 6:1-4.)

Regarding the benefits to be expected from compliance with this injunction the wisest of men instructs us thus:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.(Proverbs 22:6.)

In approval of the domestic fidelity of Abraham Jehovah said:

I know him that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord.(Genesis 18:19.)

All those upon whom our heavenly Father has devolved this great duty, are held accountable to him, and to society, for its true and faithful performance. How strong, too, are the other motives which impel them! Who can look upon the children around him, and especially upon his own offspring, without feeling in his heart a firm purpose, for their sake, to discharge the obligation to the utmost extent? These infant minds are so many blank sheets upon which you may write almost whatever you please. Ere, however, the work is commenced, let the startling fact be duly weighed that impressions, when once given, can never be entirely effaced. They are to a greater or less extent indelible. If evil, or adverse to purity, and truth, an injury, probably an irreparable injury, is done to the children themselves, to all the social interests with which they may afterwards be connected, and to whatever pertains to human happiness in this world, and in the world to come.[127]

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 11- Infant Baptism is an Evil because of the connection it assumes with the Moral and Religious training of Children

Infant baptism prevents the obedience to Christ of believers

4. Infant baptism prevents the obedience to Christ of believers.

He commands all believers, as believers, and when they become believers, to be baptized; but many who have been sprinkled in infancy, refuse to obey him; and they refuse upon the ground expressly that they have been sprinkled in infancy. Now infant sprinkling is certainly not baptism. And it prevents true baptism in a variety of ways.

Multitudes among sprinkled Christians will not think, or converse on the subject. They are offended if it is even mentioned in their presence. A sermon they will not hear; a book they will not touch, unless it is designed to confirm them in their errors. If any one venture to present to them the truth, and admonish them to obedience, they will be at no pains to conceal their displeasure, and will probably never forgive him! They live and die unbaptized.

But there are many, very many who read the scriptures for themselves, and who cease to entertain pedobaptist sentiments. They would, if they might, most gladly be baptized. Will their own chosen and loved pastors baptize them? Never! Often have they been besought to do so, but they will not. They are immovable. What! refuse to administer the laws of Christ? How dare they refuse? His commands are upon them. “Teach,” says the Redeemer, “and baptize those who believe.” But no; they have sprinkled them in their infancy; therefore when they believe they will not baptize them! Infant baptism thus turns the professed ministers of Christ into rebels against him, and brings them, too, into collision with his authority!

In our country, however, there are large numbers who become enlightened, and consequently unhappy on this subject. They feel as if they must obey Christ, but how can they? In Europe, such an act was, for many a century, and in most transatlantic countries is now, a serious offense against the laws of the land. Both administrator and subject would this day, be persecuted, imprisoned, and, if they could not escape, be hurried by suffering possibly to an untimely grave.: But in our own free land there are no such restraints. May not every one here do what he shall think to be his duty? Yes, it is his unquestioned right. But after all, is the exercise of that fight practicable? Few who have no experience in the premises, or whose attention has not been especially called to the subject, can imagine how almost insurmountable are the difficulties such an one finds in his way. He cannot be baptized, as we have seen, in his own church. But he is at liberty to leave that, and join the Baptist church. Dare he venture such an act? Few, unless favored by peculiar circumstances, find themselves possessed of the requisite courage. He reject infant baptism! If he dare essay so bold an act, he is taunted and ridiculed as presuming to be wiser than the thousands of the great and the good who have gone before him. Reproached! Insulted! Scoffed! He shrinks appalled. He dare reject infant baptism! He is upbraided with a want of respect for his parents and friends, who believed in it, and who had him baptized in his infancy. Will he shame and scandalize those who of all others are dearest to his heart? He reject infant baptism! In this act he will renounce his family, and relatives, who will pursue him ever after with scorn and contempt, as unworthy and degraded. He leave his own church! He loves his church devotedly, and cannot abandon it. He think of forsaking his own, and uniting with another church! If he dare he will be at once denounced as weak-minded, vacillating, and unstable. It will be rung in his ears that not much confidence is to be placed in the religion or intelligence of those “renegades,” who are going from one church to another. He join the Baptist church! For that church, above all others, he has been taught to cherish disrespect! He believes its members to be mostly ignorant fanatics, with whom intercourse must always be painful. All this, and only to be baptized! Had he not better give it up at once? These are some of the barriers that infant baptism throws in the way of obedience. They show that what our Lord Jesus Christ said on a memorable occasion, to the multitudes who surrounded him, is still true of all classes—

If any man come to me, and hate not [love less than me] his father and mother, and-wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.(Luke 14:26, 27.)

I have known many, and from my heart have pitied them, who lamented in secret the obstacles in their way. They were always unhappy. Their consciences were perpetually upbraiding them. But they remained in disobedience!

There are persons, however, and I thank God that their numbers are rapidly multiplying, who rise superior to every restraint, and obey our Lord Jesus Christ at whatever hazard. They know, and dare do their duty. To them nothing is so precious as a consciousness that they please God. They are characterized by strong and independent minds, firmness of purpose, deep piety, and a readiness to sacrifice all for Christ. They count not their lives dear to themselves in comparison with the approbation of their adorable Redeemer. These can, and do, burst the bonds of infant baptism. But the thousands remain through life in slavery! They cannot move.

These are some of the forms in which infant baptism develops the evil inherent in its character; it leads directly to rebellion against the authority of Christ in regard to the persons to be baptized, receiving those he has prohibited, and rejecting those he has received; it dispenses with the profession of faith as a condition of baptism, which he has in all cases imperatively demanded; it has perpetuated the change of form in baptism, a form divinely instituted and commanded, and thus abolished baptism altogether; and it prevents those who have been sprinkled in infancy from obeying Christ when they become believers. It is now seen to be most true, that infant baptism is an evil because it brings its advocates into direct rebellion against the authority of our adorable Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 10- Infant Baptism is an Evil because it leads its advocates into rebellion against the authority of Christ

It also perpetuates the change of form, and thus wholly abolishes baptism itself

3. It also perpetuates the change of form, and thus wholly abolishes baptism itself.

As we have but “one Lord,” and “one faith,” so we have but “one baptism.” There is no other. That “one baptism” is the burial in water, and raising again, by a true minister of the gospel, of a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ, upon a profession of his faith, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. So ably and conclusively, by numerous writers, is this proposition established, that I deem it unnecessary here to enter into the argument. This is the form of Christian baptism. It is its invariable form. Baptism itself is but a form. The form is the thing. Take away the form, and nothing is left. Destroy the form, and you destroy baptism. He who in baptism is not immersed, is really not baptized. The change of its form is the abrogation of baptism. But, except in the Greek church, infants are never immersed. They have water sprinkled, or poured upon them. The form is changed. No one, I presume, imagines that this desecration would ever have become general, had it not been to accommodate infants. “Men and women” who read, and believe the scriptures, who are governed by them, and act for themselves, would never think of submitting to any other than the scripture form. But to immerse infants would be, to say the least, very inconvenient, and not always perhaps entirely safe. Infant baptism has, therefore, perpetuated the change of form, and thus wholly abrogated baptism itself. Infant baptism is thus also in conflict with the authority of Jesus Christ.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 10- Infant Baptism is an Evil because it leads its advocates into rebellion against the authority of Christ

By dispensing with the appointed profession of faith as a condition of baptism

2. Infant baptism offers an indignity to the authority of Christ by dispensing with the appointed profession of faith as a condition of baptism.

The previous profession of faith in Christ is made by the gospel itself, an indispensable condition of baptism. It can never be disregarded without a violation of the commandment of God. The apostles, and primitive Christians, never departed from this principle in a single instance. So plainly is this fact set forth in the sacred word, and so firmly has it ever been fixed in the public mind, that, as we saw in a previous chapter, it has always been demanded even of infants! Papists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and others, to this day, farcically pretend that little children do believe; and, since they cannot themselves make their own profession of faith, sponsors are appointed to make it for them! But who that thinks at all, does not know that this is all a miserable fiction? It is absurd. It is ridiculous. Infants have no repentance, no faith, no religion. They are baptized without any profession of their own whatever. The law demands of all who are baptized a previous profession of faith. Infants make no such profession. Therefore infant baptism is rebellion against the law, and an indignity to the authority of Jesus Christ.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 10- Infant Baptism is an Evil because it leads its advocates into rebellion against the authority of Christ

In regard to the persons to be baptized

1. Infant baptism leads its advocates into rebellion against the authority of Christ in regard to the persons to be baptized.

These are described definitely, in the apostolic commission. When last the voice of Messiah was heard upon earth, it was in the utterance of the command, Go, and make disciples, not among the Jews only, but among all nations. Teach them the gospel, and those who believe it baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This duty imposed upon them is obligatory upon all their successors in the ministry “unto the end of the world.” But infant baptism has introduced a condition of things that renders rebellion inevitable. In Pedobaptist countries, such as Italy and Spain, an instance of compliance with the command of Christ has not occurred in a thousand years. In those lands, or among Pedobaptists anywhere, who can “make disciples, and baptize them?” All the people have been baptized in their infancy. There are, it is true, among them many unbelievers; multitudes who are still “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bonds of iniquity;” they ought to hear and believe the gospel; but they have all been baptized! They are all in the church! Shall we exhort them as Peter, in his day, did those of the same character, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you?” This would be inappropriate. They have “every one” of them been baptized without repentance! Have any of them, a rare event, been instructed, and obtained faith? May we then say to them, as Philip did to an interesting convert, “If thou believest with all thy heart thou mayest be baptized?” No; they have all been baptized without faith! And if any zealous preacher of righteousness should undertake to baptize one of these baptized infidels, after his conversion, he would subject himself to the disgrace and the civil penalties of being an Anabaptist. The Savior requires that men shall first believe, and then be baptized. But the order he established is now reversed. The impenitent and unbelieving, as well as the holy and faithful, all have long ago been baptized. Thus infant baptism subverts the authority of Christ. It baptizes exclusively UNBELIEVERS, AND BELIEVERS! In proportion as it prevails the apostolic commission is contemned and violated. This remark may be illustrated by referring to a fact in the history of our fathers. In England, until after the restoration of the Stuarts, there was not in the established church, even a liturgy for the baptism of adult persons. During the Commonwealth, the citizens had enjoyed under Cromwell, a liberty of conscience before wholly unknown. With the Bible in their hands, great numbers of the people became Baptists. Their children were of course not baptized. After the return of the monarchy, these were compelled to submit to the ordinance, and for this purpose the liturgy was remodeled, and an “office” inserted, then for the first time, for adults. Dr. Wall narrates these events thus:

“It was by reason of this [the prevalence of the Baptist] opinion in those times, that the Convocation that set presently after the restoration of Charles II., when they made a new book of Common Prayer, found it necessary to add to it an office for the baptism of those who, having been born in those times, had not yet been baptized, whereof there were many that were now grown too old to be baptized as infants, and ought to make profession of their own faith. They gave in the preface to the said book an account of the occasion which made this necessary then, though not formerly, in these words, “Together with an office for the baptism of such as are of riper years.” Which, although not so necessary when the former book was compiled, yet by the growth of Anabaptism, through the licentiousness [freedom of conscience] of the times, is now become necessary.”[126]

From the period, therefore, that Popery took possession of Britain in the seventh century, up to the reign of the second Charles, no believers, unless in secret, were ever baptized in all that realm! Thus completely and effectually, as to the persons appointed to receive this ordinance, does infant baptism lead to rebellion against the divine law, and subvert the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ!

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 10- Infant Baptism is an Evil because it leads its advocates into rebellion against the authority of Christ

Infant Baptism is an Evil because it leads its advocates into rebellion against Christ

CHAPTER 10

INFANT BAPTISM IS AN EVIL BECAUSE IT LEADS ITS

ADVOCATES INTO REBELLION AGAINST THE

AUTHORITY OF CHRIST

Christ’s authority paramount; infant baptism contemns it, in regard to the persons to be baptized, the required profession of faith, and the form of baptism; it prevents the obedience of believers.

THE authority of Jesus Christ is everywhere absolute. in his church he is the sole lawgiver, and ruler. His known will is, in all cases, decisive of your duty. His right to govern is unquestionable. He is your Creator and Redeemer, infinitely wise, good, and merciful. You are his people, ignorant, imperfect, and dependent. To enlighten and guide you he has given his most holy word, in which you have instructions on all subjects, and to the utmost extent. This perfect revelation you are obliged to receive as it is, and be governed by it in your heart, and your life. To attempt evasions in any respect; to practice as his what he has not commanded; or to substitute in place of his institutions any of your own; is to come directly into collision with his authority. Infant baptism offends in all these respects. It leads to the violation of divine commandments regarding the persons to be baptized, the preliminary profession of faith, the form of the ordinance, and the obligations to Christian obedience.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 10- Infant Baptism is an Evil because it leads its advocates into rebellion against the authority of Christ

Infant baptism subverts, and falsifies the true scripture doctrine of infant salvation

Infant baptism, as these facts and considerations amply evince, subverts, and falsifies the true scripture doctrine of infant salvation, and thus proves itself an appalling evil, by denying the teachings of the word of God on that subject, and placing it upon fictitious grounds; by requiring that infants shall be in the church in order to be saved; by making baptism the means of removing original sin, and the medium of conveying to them “the merits of Christ’s life and death;” by proclaiming that the purification of the Holy Spirit is obtained for them only through this ordinance; and by keeping out of sight the great truth that all infants are saved unconditionally, by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. For all this evil inflicted upon the truth, and for the boundless distress and anguish created by the falsehood, Pedobaptists of all denomi-nations are responsible to God, and to men. Infant baptism has produced it all. They, not the Baptists in, are the men really, who “hold the damnation of infants!” We would, if we could, heal the festering wound they have inflicted. We repudiate the doctrine of infant baptism, and of infant damnation. We denounce all their accompaniments, and consequences. If God is just and good, if reason deserves respect, if the gospel is true, if the merits of Christ are efficacious, if the Holy Spirit is not bound by the control of men, and tied down to forms and ordinances, then all children dying in infancy, irrespective of any relation with the church, and without regard to baptism, or any other ordinance, are saved with an everlasting salvation, by the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord, whose merits and righteousness, to fit them for the glorious change, are personally and effectually applied by the Holy Ghost.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 9- Infant baptism is an evil because it subverts the true doctrine of infant salvation