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We have now seen that all children who die in infancy, are saved by the grace of God

We have now seen that all children who die in infancy, are saved by the grace of God; that they are saved through the redemption of Jesus Christ; that this redemption is applied to them personally, and directly, by the Holy Ghost; and that we have many instances of their salvation recorded in God’s word; it remains only to be proved that their salvation is unconditional.

They are involved, it is true, on account of their connection with Adam, in the consequences of his fall. But provision has been made for their unconditional deliverance, in the satisfaction of the second Adam. One among the clearest demonstrations of this truth is presented to us in connection with the doctrine of their resurrection in the last day. “Since by man came death,” says Paul, “by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die; even so in Christ, shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22.) — raised from the dead. (pa>ntev zwopoihqhsontai) It is true, then, that in the resurrection of the body, all will be raised. The righteous and the wicked, the Christian and the idolater, the adult and the infant, will alike participate in that glorious event. Here there is no condition but that of humanity. Those who live to the age of personal responsibility, are saved only upon the conditions of repentance, and faith. The wisdom of this provision no one can fail to perceive. They have a conscious being, a personal accountability. Yet it is not for their repentance, and faith; nor by their repentance, and faith, as a procuring cause, that even they are saved. They, too, obtain salvation by the grace of God in Jesus Christ:

For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9.) But repentance and faith are acts of a mind enlightened, and comparatively mature. They are not demanded of infants. Infants are saved unconditionally.

Thus is the salvation of infants fully, and satisfactorily established. Wherever in the wide world, and whenever, any child dies in infancy, it enters immediately into the joys of eternal life in heaven. It thenceforth dwells forever with the Redeemer. How full of the richest consolation is this glorious truth! In no form more delightful, has Jehovah manifested to us his abundant mercy, and grace. “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.”

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

One other instance on record, of infant salvation, is worthy of our attention

One other instance on record, of infant salvation, is worthy of our attention. The murder of all the children of Bethlehem and its vicinity, by the jealous Herod, perpetrated in the hope that thereby he might succeed in destroying Messiah, was a horrible tragedy. It was foreseen, and predicted by an ancient prophet, in language full of mingled pathos and encouragement:

A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping. Rachel weeping for her children, refused to be comforted, because they were not. Thus saith the Lord: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears.” “They shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.” (Jeremiah 31:15-17.)

Is the design of this passage difficult to perceive? Does it refer merely to the captivity in Babylon, under which the Hebrews were then suffering? Is the Mother of Israel represented as weeping in her tenderness, only over the woes of her children in a distant land, writhing under the oppressions of their masters? Does God comfort her merely with the assurance that they shall yet return from their bondage, and inhabit, in peace and prosperity, the fields and the cities of Judea? Whatever may have been the primary sense of the prophecy, inspiration itself has given it a still higher, and more exalted meaning. The evangelist Matthew furnishes the interpretation. He says:

Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men; was exceeding wroth, and sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under.” “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning. Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” (Matthew 2:16-18.)

This cruel act of Herod, therefore, was in the mind of the prophet. Of the children slain by him, consequently, it was more especially said, They shall escape from the enemy; there is hope for them; they shall possess their land! For these reasons their bereaved parents were exhorted to “ refrain their voice from weeping, and their eyes from tears.” But how was it possible to fulfill such promises? These children were all dead! They remained in their graves. Literally, these promises could never be fulfilled. The prophecy must therefore necessarily refer to another life. It evidently teaches the three following facts:

First, that all these slain children should be delivered from the great enemy, eternal death;

Secondly, that there was hope for them, since they were all redeemed by Christ, that they should enjoy eternal life; and

Thirdly, that they should possess the heavenly land, of which the earthly Canaan was a type.

These are the grounds upon which our Heavenly Father offers comfort to their parents, and exhorts them to subdue their sorrows. Their children had been foully murdered. The jealousy of the king had, with bloody and relentless violence, torn them from their bosoms. By this means, however, they had gone speedily, and safely, to eternal life. I have selected and laid before you these instances of infant salvation recorded in the word of God, and have drawn them from the children of the good and the pious, such as David; from the children of the idolatrous and wicked, such as Jeroboam; and from the children of all classes, such as were the bereaved parents “in Bethlehem, and all the coasts thereof,” in order to prove to you that all infants are saved, without any regard to the character of their parents, or the circumstances under which they were removed from the present life.

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

Another instance of infant salvation occurred in the family of Jeroboam

Another instance, equally instructive, occurred in the family of Jeroboam. He, too, was a king of Israel, but a vile apostate, and wicked idolater. His child, also, was stricken with a deadly malady. He was greatly beloved, and his distressed father sought earnestly, but in vain, to save his life. The little sufferer sunk into the grave! In the midst of the tumult of sorrow produced by this event, the prophet Abijah, sent of God for the purpose, disclosed to the weeping mother, the designs of God in his removal at a period so early.

All Israel,” said Jehovah, “shall mourn for him, and bury him. He only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave. In him there is found some good thing.” (2 Kings 14, et seq.) This child, therefore, was removed, when so young that nothing of his personal history is recorded, as an act to him, of love, and blessing. But how could this be? Had he lived he would probably have been a king. If children, those of wicked parents, and of idolaters, as well as others are not saved, he was lost. It is surely no blessing to a child, to take him away from the prospects of a kingly throne, and send him to destruction! It is implied in scripture that it was an act of kindness to this child to remove him from all these prospects. Therefore God received him to himself in heaven. And if he was saved, then the children who die in infancy, of other wicked men and idolaters, are also saved.

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

There are instances of infant salvation on record in the word of God

There are, I observe in the third place, instances of infant salvation on record in the word of God.

Disease had laid his withering hand upon the infant child of David. He fasted, and wept, and prayed for the life of his beloved boy. All was in vain. It pleased the Lord to order otherwise than as he desired.

The child died. Now his servants were alarmed on account of their master. They were afraid to communicate to him the melancholy intelligence:

For they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice. How will he then vex himself if we tell him that the child is dead! But when David saw that his servants whispered, he perceived that the child was dead. Therefore he said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. Then David arose from the earth, and washed and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped. Then he came to his own house, and when he required they set bread before him, and he did eat! Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? Thou didst fast and weep for the child while it was yet alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst arise and eat bread! And he said, While the child was yet alive I fasted and wept; for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious unto me, that the child may live? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him; but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:15- 23.)

What is the lesson taught us by this touching incident? David did not certainly console himself with the thought that he, too, should go to the grave whither his child had gone. This consideration could surely, have afforded him no special pleasure. The grave is cold, and silent, and dismal. Nor could it have been a grateful reflection that since God had taken him away, he must submit to the necessity. If these, or any similar feelings governed him, why were they not equally influential, since they were all fully as applicable, in the case of another son, slain in battle? When tidings of that unhappy event reached David, how then did he deport himself? Did he with calm and resigned acquiescence, say to those about him, Wherefore should I lament him? “Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him; but he will not return to me? “On the contrary, he was wholly inconsolable. Overwhelmed by the blow, he turned away from his friends, and trembling with agony, he “Went up to the chamber over the gate of the city. And as he went, thus he said: O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33.)

Why now this insupportable grief? The reason is obvious. Absalom was of mature age. He was a sinner against God. Besides, therefore, his affliction as a father on account of his death, he could entertain no hope for him in another life. Regarding his infant child the case was different. He had full confidence that he would, when the scenes of this world were over, “go to him” in the paradise above, where they would be associated in eternal glory. Therefore said he, in other words, He is happy now. He is in heaven. I will not grieve on his account. I also shall go ere long. Then I shall join him on high. This hope is most consolatory. It “is stronger than the grave.” It is all radiant with joy and brightness. David undoubtingly believed that his child was saved.

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

All infants are depraved and sinful, how then can they be saved?

But all infants are depraved and sinful. How then can they be saved? To prepare them for happiness, it is evident that the redemption of Christ must be applied by the Holy Spirit, to their purification from sin. Otherwise they would be incapable of eternal life.

Every one is obliged to exclaim with David,

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5.) Truly may it be said,

The wicked are estranged from the womb. They go astray as soon as they are born.” (Psalm 58:3.)

All are depraved, and depravity necessarily incapacitates those who are under its influence for the enjoyment of happiness. From infants it must therefore, to secure their salvation, be removed, and their nature must be cleansed, and purified. This great work can be done only by the Holy Ghost. The work of God the Spirit is therefore, equally as necessary to their salvation, and ours, as the work of God the Son. None are saved by the abstract redemption of the Son, irrespective of the personal application of that redemption by the Spirit. Since, however, Christ died for all, and consequently for infants; and since the work of the Spirit is necessary to complete the designs of grace thus commenced; his sanctification is given in full measure, to every departing child. In all such instances, his merits and righteousness are thus applied personally, to fit them for the change. The scriptures nowhere teach that this is done through baptism, nor any other ordinance; nor that it is withheld for the want of it. Will not the Holy Ghost “quicken even your mortal body” Romans 8:11.) sleeping in the grave, to prepare you for the resurrection of the last day? “Why then should it he thought a thing incredible,” and especially since they are redeemed by Messiah, that he should sanctify the spirits of departing children, and thus “make them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light?”

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

Infants, redeemed by the blood of Christ, are saved by the infinite grace of God

The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [Christ] was made a quickening spirit. How be it that is not first which was spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterwards that which was spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Corinthians 15:45-49.)

Both, therefore, according to this apostolic exposition, are heads of mankind as man. The first Adam was the author of sin; the second Adam was the author of deliverance from sin. The same terms are employed to designate those who are involved in ruin by the former, and those to whom deliverance is offered by the mediation of the latter. Both events concern the whole race, of whom some reach maturity of life, embrace Christ by faith, and are saved; others reach maturity, do not receive Christ, and are lost; but great multitudes die in infancy, and do neither good nor evil. These last stand, according to Paul, in as strict a relation to Christ, as they do to Adam, with this difference, that “Where sin abounded, grace does much more abound.” In bringing them into this world, divine sovereignty has justly, and without any act of theirs, entailed on them the depravity and corruption of the first Adam. In taking them away from the world, the same divine sovereignty has graciously, and without any act of theirs, conferred on them the salvation of the second Adam. Thus it is that, redeemed by the blood of Christ, they are saved by the infinite grace of God.

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

Infants are redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ

But infants are, I remark secondly, redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ, and must therefore be saved.

Their redemption is thus taught by an apostle:

Death” [natural death] “reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” In other words, infants, who have not committed actual offenses, as Adam did, have nevertheless all inherited his depravity, and are, therefore, subject to physical suffering and death. “As,” however, “by the offense of one [Adam] judgment [sentence] came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one [Jesus Christ] the free gift [the offer of deliverance from condemnation under a better covenant] came upon all men, [upon as many as were involved in the consequences of Adam’s sin] unto justification of life.” (Romans 5:12-19.)

Christ Jesus suspended the execution of the sentence of death under which men had fallen, and introduced another covenant in the place of the first, and so changed the relations of things that to man, though a sinner, destruction is not inevitable. The remedy is found in the satisfaction made to divine justice by Messiah, the promised “seed of the woman.” In consideration of his atonement the ground of condemnation is changed. His interposition has placed the whole subject in an entirely new aspect. Previously, if I may so speak, all men were condemned. Their relation to Adam had involved them all in the curse. Subsequently the case was different.

This is [now] the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19.)

Ye are condemned,” “because ye have not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18.)

Not now it is not so much because of your relation to Adam, disastrous as that relation may be, as because you do not embrace Christ by faith. Hence all the counsels, the warnings, the commands, the invitations, the promises of divine revelation, are addressed to those who are capable of exercising intelligence. And its denunciations are hurled only against willful rebellion, impenitency, and unbelief.

What are we here taught concerning infants? They have not the capacity to know any thing of the gospel. They are not impenitent, or rebellious. They have not rejected Christ. They are clearly included in his mediation, since “by his righteousness the free gift came upon all men to justification of life.” That free gift must of course have come upon them. They are redeemed by Christ. And again. The relation to us of our Lord Jesus Christ in the work of redemption, is clearly, to man as man. Adam and Christ, are alike, heads of the race,

The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [Christ] was made a quickening spirit. How be it that is not first which was spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterwards that which was spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Corinthians 15:45-49.)

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

Infant salvation is guarantied by the nature of the divine government

Infant salvation is guarantied, in the first place, by the nature of the divine government.

God is infinitely good. His benevolence forbids the infliction of unnecessary suffering upon any of his creatures. Misery is never permitted, but when demanded by justice, as either the consequence, or the penalty of sin. The government of God is designed, not only to benefit his creatures, but also to manifest his glory. Through this medium, as well as through his works, and his word, he reveals his true character to all intelligent beings. Infants have no personal, or individual accountability. For the condemnation of the deliberate and impenitent rejecter of the gospel, and also of the wicked despisers of God, who violate the laws of nature, and of their own conscience, I can perceive ample reasons. In such a case I can readily comprehend how God, as the governor of the universe, will glorify his infinite righteousness. But I cannot see how this could occur in the case of infants. It is infinitely more in accordance with all our conceptions of God, to conclude that in them he will evince his special beneficence. It is, in truth, abhorrent to every feeling of kindness and love, to suppose that he will cast them off, or that he will not receive, and save them. There is no want of fullness in the redemption of Christ. The power of the Holy Spirit is not limited. God is infinitely gracious. What then is to hinder their salvation? Rather, does not every consideration connected with him, with his government, and his glory, seem imperatively to demand the salvation of infants?

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

Infant baptism subverts the true doctrine of infant salvation

INFANT BAPTISM IS AN EVIL BECAUSE IT SUBVERTS THE TRUE DOCTRINE OF INFANT SALVATION

Doctrine stated; argument in proof; manner in which subverted by infant baptism; authorities; conclusions.

DEATH is a relentless destroyer. He assails, without distinction, all classes and conditions of men. The young and the old alike fall beneath his power. Upon infancy, however, his shafts descend most frequently, and with a deadlier aim. How large the proportion of mankind who are hurried into eternity during the first years of their being! Where is the family that has not mourned infants loved, and lost? Bleeding hearts, and flowing tears, in all lands, tell of sorrows which no words can ever adequately express!

Millions of infant spirits have gone into the unseen world. Each is an immortal intelligence. In that world they all possess the sensibilities common to humanity. With these facts before us, one question of surpassing interest, presses itself upon us all. Of departed infants what is the eternal destiny? Are they happy, or miserable? Parental affection implores, Christian sympathy earnestly solicits, and ministerial faithfulness demands, that these inquiries receive a prompt, intelligible, and scriptural answer. We believe that all infants are saved unconditionally, through the application to them, by the Holy Ghost, of the redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ. No matter whether they are in the church or out of the church, whether they are baptized or unbaptized, whether they are the children of believers or unbelievers, of heathens, Mohammedans, or Christians, their everlasting blessedness is equally, and in all cases, secure.

These, and all other such like circumstances, are irrelevant, and never can affect their relations with Christ. Consequently they can have no bearing upon their future destiny. Every child dying in infancy is saved. This is the doctrine of the Baptist denomination. Not of a few only, nor of our churches, and people, of the present day alone. It is the doctrine which has been invariably held by us in all countries, and in every age. It is the doctrine taught by the word of God. Having thus stated our position, I proceed at once, to the proofs of its truth.

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

The practice of infant baptism perpetuates the superstitions by which it was originally produced

The fact is now incontrovertibly established that the practice of infant baptism perpetuates the superstitions by which it was originally produced. Protestant Pedobaptists, on all hands, still adhere to the old Popish dogmas that baptism contains some mysterious divine efficacy, and that through it the spiritual state of infants is materially affected, both as regards their union with Christ in this world, and their salvation in the world to come.

The evil thus brought upon all the interests of truth and salvation is incalculable. Religion itself is degraded and caricatured. The minds of its rotaries are besotted with miserable logomachy, such as that we have just examined. Fanaticism and bigotry reign triumphantly. Who that has not resigned his reason, can believe that the baptism of an infant conveys to its soul the quickening grace of God? Or that it is possible for an infant, at the age at which they are usually baptized, to exercise repentance, and faith in the Redeemer? All this is taught in the Papal church, and in the Protestant church, by the Catholic fathers, and by all the great Reformers. They were on many subjects wise and learned. On this subject they were neither. Do not, I pray you, oblige me to credit absurdities of any kind, and especially in religion. Not more insane than this is priestly pardon, the invocation of saints, transubstantiation, or purgatory. Infant baptism must, and does still look for support to the superstitions by which it was originally produced. Who ever submits to such superstitions in one department of religion, will soon be ready to give up his judgment, and common sense, in all the others.

Thus a downward progress is commenced which cannot be arrested short of the dark caverns of Popery.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 8- Infant baptism is an evil because its practice perpetuates the superstitions by which it was originally produced