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ing of all that have been baptized into Christ, and have
and incorrigible son. They were to bring him, with a
complaint to the judges, who were to judge and con
demn, and cut him off, by death, from the congregation of the Lord. Under the present, as well as under the Mosaic dispensation, it would be acting the part of benevolence and faithfulness, for the church to assist in the government of the rebellious son ; especially in cases where complaint is made by the parents. And beyond a doubt, in such cases as this, it belongs to the brethren of the church, if the rebellious son proves irreclaimable, to cut him off, by a public act, from all further connection with them, or relation to them. As to those who are past the age of minority, and of subjection to family government ; it must be agreeable to gospel rule, either to admit them as members, or to reject them as covenant breakers. . But, as they cannot be received to divine ordinances, without christian qualifications, neither can they be rejected from their present relation to the church, without a regular course of discipline. . In the present languid and feeble state of the church, household baptism, practically, stands for almost nothing. As matters are now conducted, or rather neglected, in the church, baptists are emboldened to say, that infant baptism amounts to little or nothing. If it be asked what is our first and immediate duty in this deplorable case P, the answer is difficult. Neither the church nor individuals are bound to do things which are impossible. With regard to the subject of christian dis. cipline, the Apostle admonished the feeble and o church of Corinth, in these words : “ Having in readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” On the whole, as respects the treatment of persons baptized in infancy, we ought, first of all, to be agreed, and to be correct in theory on the subject; and in the second place, to use all our influence, to effect a reformation in practice ; not expecting, by a single effort, to effect a complete reformation of such an accumulation of errors and difficulties.
Respecting the mode of Baptism, provided it be done in the use of water, and in the name of the sacred Trinity, the candid part of christian professors are not very strenuous. The truth, on this point, however, is of some importance. And does it appear probable, that the kind and merciful Saviour would insist on a mode of baptism, which is most hazardous of life 2 Thousands of shining converts, on the bed of death, who have as good a right as others to this ordinance; and to leave their names enrolled with the followers of Christ, are utterly deprived of these privileges, by the arduous mode of baptism by immersion. But where do we learn the doctrine of immersion ? Certainly, not from John’s baptism. For his baptism was before Christ made his appearance; and it was preparatory to his coming. It was before the distinct names of Father, Son, ans Holy Ghost were known. Apollos, a famous preacher under John's baptism, did not know, till he was taught by Paul, whether there were any Holy Ghost. Do we learn the doctrine of immersion from the transactions of the day of Pentecost P No. How could three thousand be baptized by the Apostles, in three or four hours, by immersion P Especially, when the
event was unexpected, and without any preparation.
The thing was impossible. Insuperable difficulties also attended the baptism of the jailor and his household by immersion. The transactions were in the night; and the events named were numerous. Much must be said and done, preparatory to going abroad in the dark, to find, or prepare, a place for the unexpected solemnity. Paul and Silas were greatly mangled with stripes; utterly unfit for such a service. The converted family hasted to relieve their distresses; and previous to the baptisms, the jailor took them, the same hour of the night, at midnight, and washed their stripes, and was baptized, he and aft his straightway. All this was done, before he brought them into his house. . All was done in the outer, or common prison. All was done straightway. All was done about midnight; and then he brought them into his house, and set meat before them. This whole story is perfectly inconsistent with baptism by immersion, Nor
do we find evidence in the scriptures, of a single instance of baptism by immersion.
1. From the doctrine of infant baptism we infer, that infants are morally polluted and defiled. Were they, from their birth, pure and undefiled; what propriety would these have been in an ordinance, importing spirit. ual cleansing? Had there been no need of the washing of regeneration; what need was there of a symbol of this holy washing F and what need was there of receiving anciently, the bloody ordinance of circumcision? This and baptism are unmeaning ceremonies, upon any suppo. sition, but that of the native moral depravity of infants, Consequently, they who hold, that children are born in a state of purity, are guilty of a gross absurdity, in the prac. tice of infant baptism. Infant baptism is perfectly inconsistent with Arminianism.
2. From the view we have taken of the promises in the covenant of grace, and of the import of infant baptism, and of the relation which baptized infants bear to the church, and of the duties o result from this relation; we infer that God did actually reveal, and }. to fallen man, in the day of his apostacy, a plan of salvation, calculated to secure the restoration of all his posterity from their salien and condemned state. Had Adam been as faithful as Abraham, would he not have equally secured the salvation of his household P And had the next, and every successive generation, been equally faithful; why would they not have been equally successful ? Nothing, it is conceived, but the want of parental faith and faithfulness, has prevented the salvation of the whole human family Can any subject then, be more interest. ing than this P. Can any person, any parent especially, contemplate this subject with indifference?" That parent, we have reason to fear, “has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
Having discussed, at considerable length, the ordinance of baptism, about which there is a diversity of opinion; we proceed to a brief view of the ordinance of the Lord's supper : in which we may hope for a greater harmony of sentiment and practice. The Lord Jesus, on the night, in which he was betrayed, partook of his last passover with his disciples ; and the scene was unusually solemn. For at this feast, he gave them to understand, distinctly, that one of them should betray him. All began to suspect themselves, and to say, one by one, Lord, is it I ? Even Judas, to conceal his treachery, said, Lord, is it I ? Jesus, then divulged the secret; and Judas, being exposed, went immediately out, and collected an armed force. In the absence of Judas, Jesus instituted the sacramental supper. Having finished the passover, “He took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them saying, Drink ye all of it. For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins.” The broken bread represents the body of Christ, “ wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities;” and the wine poured forth, represents the blood of Christ, shed in the garden, and on the cross, to make an atonement for our sins, and to redeem us from the curse of the divine law, “being made a curse for us.” A plain example of the celebration of this ordinance was exhibited ; to which was added the command of our divine Lord and Saviour, “ This do in oremembrance of me.” The remembrance of Christ, as he is set forth crucified before our eyes, is calculated to excite in our minds a lively sense of his infinite condescention and grace ; as well as a solemn sense of our own sinfulness and ill desert. Infinite must be the evil of