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Q: 1. What is Christian baptism?
Å. It is a special or positive ordinance of Christ, and consists in the application of water to a person into the name, that is, the authority, faith, profession and obedience of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.(*)
Q. 2. When was this sacrament instituted?
A. After Christ's resurrection from the dead, and just before His ascension into heaven. And it is a publick and formal abrogation of the Mosaic economy, and an authoritative establishment of the Christian dispensation. It marks a new era in the history of the Church?(6)
Q. 3. What is signified by baptism?
A. It represents the necessity of the sprinkling or washing of the soul from sin and pollution by the Holy Spirit, in his purifying and cleansing influences. It is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. It is not regeneration, but the symbol of it. It is also a seal of the covenant of grace, both on the part of God, and of him who is baptized, and of the parents, who offer their children in baptism. It is an initiatory ordinance, an appointed prerequisite of admission into the
(a) Matt. 28. 19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
(b) See reference (a).
visible Church. And it is a solemn dedication to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.(
Q.4. By whom should baptism be administered?
Ă. By a Minister of the Gospel-one who has been properly baptized and inducted into the ministerial office. He administers the ordinance in his official capacity.
Q. 5. Who are the proper subjects of baptism?
A. All who profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to Him, and the children of such as are members of the visible Church, if in a state of minority, or so many of them as are.
What is the evidence, that believers are proper subjects of baptism?
A. The fact, that the Scriptures require of adults, or those who can believe, faith in order to baptism, and that such as did believe, were baptized. This was the case with the three thousand, converted on the day of Pentecost, with the Eunuch, the Jailor, Lydia, and the people of Samaria. This argument, which proves that adults, who can believe, must believe in order, that they may be baptized, does not prove, that infants, who cannot, and do not believe, are not proper subjects of baptism. If it does, then the same mode of reasoning will prove, that all infants are lost. For it is expressly said in Scripture, that he that believeth not shall be damned. But infants cannot believe; therefore, upon this reasoning, they must all perish. But this none will say. The truth is, that when the Scriptures speak of faith as necessary to baptism or salvation, they refer solely to adults, those who are capable of believing. They have not the least respect to infants who cannot believe. The fact, then, that faith is
(c; Titus 3. 5. Not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, Acts 1.5. For John truly baptised with water; but ye shall be baptised with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
necessary in adults, in order to qualify them for baptism, is no argument for, or against, the baptism of infants.
Q. 7. What is the evidence, that the children of believers in covenant are proper subjects of baptism?
A. Here let it be observed, that in Scripture there is no command not to baptize infants, and no evidence, that infants should not be baptized.The baptism of the children of believers in covenant, may be argued,
1. From the covenant God made with Abraham. This was the covenant of grace, and it extended not only to Abraham, and his children, and his household, but to all his posterity, especially his children by faith, for an everlasting covenant. The seal of this covenant, under the Jewish dispensation, was circumcision, and was affixed to males only of the Jews and proselyted Gentiles. The seal of the covenant, under the Christian dispensation, is baptism, and is to be applied to both males and feniales, for they are all one in Christ Jesus. The children of believers, under the Jewish dispensation, received the seal of the covenant, which was circumcision. So the children of believers, under the Christian dispensation, should receive the seal of the covenant, which is baptism. This is a token of their covenant relation. The Christian Church is a continuation of the Jewish church. Consequently, baptism comes in the place of circumcision, and they both agree in design. The covenant remains the same, though the seal of it is altered.(a)
(c) Ps. 50, 16. But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Acts 2. 41. Then they that gladly received his word were baptised, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 8. 37. And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Acts 16. 31, 33. And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptised, he and all his, straightway. Acts 16. 14. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us, whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. Acts 8. 12. But when they believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised, both men and
(d) Gen. 17.7, 9, 10, 11, 12. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant; to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou and thy seed after thee, in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep between me and you, and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old, shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations; he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy, seed. Gen. 17. 26, 27. In the self-same day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son, and all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him. Gen. 21. 4. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac, being eight days old, as God had commanded him. Rom. 15. 8. Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision fir the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers. Gal. 3. 17, 7, 20. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law which was four hun-' dred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. Know ye therefore, that they which are of faith the same are the children of Abraham. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Rom. 4. 11, 16. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had, yet being uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed unto them also. Therefore it is of faith that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. Acts 2. 38, 39. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you and to your children, and
2. Another argument for the baptism of the children of believers is derived from the conduct of Christ towards them, and His declaration concerning them. He approved of their being brought to Him for His blessing, when forbidden by His disciples. He spoke of them with the tenderest affection, took them in His arms and blessed them, and declared that of such was His kingdom, either in its state of grace on earth, or in its state of glory in heaven. Surely, then, they are within the pale of the covenant, and consequently, have a right to the privileges of the covenant, and to baptism the seal of the covenant.)
3. The next argument for the baptism of children is the fact, that the Apostles baptized households. Their practice should be considered a rule for us on this subject. The households of the Jailor, Lydia, and Stephanas, were baptized, and on the faith of these persons.(")
to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Rom. 11. 16–20. For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou being a wild olive tree wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches; but if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, the branches were broken off that I might be graffed in. Well because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Eph.3. 6. That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel. Jer. 30. 20. Their children shall also be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them. 1 Cor. 7. 14. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean; but now they are holy.
(e) Luke 13.15, 16. And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them, but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him and said, Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.
(f) Acts 16. 33. And lie took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptised, he and all