Edward Hiscox's New Directory For Baptist Churches

17 Infant Baptism

The baptism of unconverted children and unconscious infants has become common through the Christian world. The Romish Church, the Greek Church, and most of the Protestant churches practise it. Yet Baptists condemn it as unscriptural, unreasonable and pernicious. They believe that repentance and faith should always precede baptism. Without these baptism has no significancy, and serves no religious purpose. Whenever these gracious exercises have been experienced, whether in young or old, the subject may be admitted to the holy ordinance of baptism. But never till he has believed. Infants incapable of faith are, therefore, unfit for baptism.

Manifest Propositions.

Baptists make and defend the following propositions respecting this practice:

Prop. 1.—That there is in the New Testament neither precept nor example found to authorize or sanction infant baptism. Nor, indeed, is there even an allusion to it in the Scriptures—very naturally, because it did not exist when the New Testament was written.

Prop. 2.—That Christ did not institute it, nor did either the Apostles or early Christians practise it.

Prop. 3.—That it arose with, and was a part of, the corruption which in subsequent ages crept into the churches, having its origin in the belief of a sacramental efficacy possessed, and a saving power exerted, by baptism on the soul of the child.

Prop. 4.—That the practice is unauthorized, presumptuous and censurable on the part of parents, sponsors and administrators, and productive of evil both to the child that receives it and the Church that allows and practises it.

Prop. 5.—That it perverts the design and falsifies the profession of the Church as the spiritual body of Christ by introducing to its membership a carnal element of unconverted persons.

Prop. 6.—That it originated with the unscriptural dogma of baptismal regeneration, so it must still be held by its advocates to have some saving or sanctifying power on the child, or else it can have no significancy, and be of no avail.

If these statements be true—and their truth will be shown—how can the custom be defended and continued by intelligent Christians?

I. Not of Scriptural Authority.

Nearly all the learned and scholarly supporters cf infant baptism have, with commendable candor admitted that it was not instituted by Christ, nor practised either by His Apostles or their immediate successors.

Dr. Wall, of the English Church, who wrote a History of Infant Baptism, a work so thorough and able that the clergy, assembled in convocation, gave him a vote of thanks for his learned defence of this custom, nevertheless says:

“Among all the persons that are recorded as baptized by the Apostles, there is no express mention of infants.”—Hist, Inf. Bap., Introd., pp. 1, 55.

Fuller, the historian, says:

“We do freely confess there is neither express precept nor precedent in the New Testament for the baptizing of infants.”—Infant’s Advoc., pp. 71,150.

Bishop Burnett says:

“There is no express precept or rule given in the New Testament for the baptism of infants.”—Expos, 39 Articles, 27 Art.

Baxter says:

“I conclude that all examples of baptism in Scripture do mention only the administration of it to the professors of saving faith; and the precepts give us no other direction.”—Disput. of Right to the Sacra., p. 156.

Prof. Lindner says:

“Christian baptism can be given only to adults, not to infants. The Holy Spirit, which is given only to believers, was a prerequisite to baptism.”—On Lord’s Supper, p. 123.

Goodwin says:

“Baptism supposeth regeneration sure in itself first. Sacraments are never administered to begin or to work grace. You suppose children to believe before you baptize them. Read all the Acts: still it is said, ‘They believed, and were baptized.’”—Works, Vol. I., part 1., p. 200.

Cellarius says:

“Infant baptism is neither commanded in the sacred Scriptures, nor is it confirmed by apostolic examples.”—Shyn. Hist. Mennonites, p. 168.

Limborch says:

“There is no instance can be produced from which it may indisputably be inferred that any child was baptized by the Apostles.”—Comp. Syst. Divin., B. V., ch. 22, sec. 2.

Field says:

“The baptism of infants is, therefore, named a tradition, because it is not expressly delivered in Scripture that the Apostles did baptize infants; nor any express precept found there that they should do so.”—On the Church, p. 375.

Neander says:

“Baptism was administered at first only to adults, as men were accustomed to conceive of baptism and faith as strictly connected. We have all reason for not deriving infant baptism from apostolic institution.”—Ch. Hist. Vol. 1., p. 311: Torrey’s Trans. Plant, and Train., Vol. 1., p. 222.

Olshausen says:

“We cannot, in truth, find anywhere a reliable proof-text in favor of infant baptism.”—Comment, Acts 15:14,15.

Hahn says:

“Neither in the Scriptures, nor during the first hundred and fifty years, is a sure example of infant baptism to be found.”—Theology, p. 556.

Robert Barclay says:

“As to the baptism of infants, it is a mere human tradidition, for which neither precept nor practice is to be found in all the Scriptures.”—Apology, Propo. 12.

William Penn says:

There is “not one text of Scripture to prove that sprinkling in the face was the water baptism, or that children were the subjects of water baptism in the first times.”—Defence of Gospel Truths, p. 82.

Prof. L. Lange, of Jena, says:

“All attempts to make out infant baptism from the New Testament fail. It is totally opposed to the spirit of the apostolic age, and to the fundamental principles of the New Testament.”—Inf. Bap., p. 101; Duncan’s Hist. Bap., p. 224.

Dr. Hagenbach says:

“The passages from Scripture cited in favor of infant baptism as a usage of the primitive Church, are doubtful, and prove nothing,”—Hist. Doct., Vol. II., p. 200.

Dr. Jacobs says:

“Notwithstanding all that has been written by learned men upon this subject, it remains indisputable that infant baptism is not mentioned in the New Testament.” “There is no trace of it until the last part of the second century.”—Eccl. Polity of the N. T., pp. 270-71.

Prof. Jacobi says:

“Infant baptism was established neither by Christ not by the,Apostles.”—Art. Baptism. Kitto’s Bib. Cyclop.

Dr. Hanna says:

“Scriptures know nothing of the baptism of infants.”—North Brit. Review, Aug., 1852.

Observe that none of these authorities cited were Baptists. Many more witnesses from the ranks of Pedobaptist scholars and divines could be adduced to the same effect; but let these suffice.

II. Household Baptisms.

Some, however, have supposed that the “house-hold baptisms” mentioned in the New Testament must have included children, and thus constitute a warrant for the baptism of such.

This argument, like the others in its support, is founded on the faintest and most illogical inference. It is inferred that these households certainly had infant children in them, and that such children certainly were baptized; both of which are wholly gratuitous. There probably are but few Baptist churches in the world, of any considerable standing and numbers, that do not have one or more entire households in their communion, each member of which was baptized on a profession of faith.

1. Lydia and her Household.

The case of Lydia, baptized at Philippi, mentioned in Acts, 16th chapter, is especially relied on as a strong case. Now observe, Lydia was a merchant woman, “a seller of purple,” from “the city of Thyatira,” and was at Philippi, some three hundred miles from home, on business, when she heard Paul preach, was converted, and then “she was baptized, and her household.” There is not the least evidence that she had either husband or children. If she had a husband why was she so far from home on mercantile business? If she had infant children, they would not likely have been with her on such a journey, so far away, and for such a purpose. Her “household,” doubtless, were adults, and employed by her in her business—her company. The most reckless sophism alone could build infant baptism on such a case. A poor cause it must be that relies for support on such evidence as this.

Dr. Neander says:

“We cannot prove that the Apostles ordained infant baptism: from those places where the baptism of a whole family is mentioned, we can draw no such conclusion.”—Planting and Training, p.162. Ed.1865.

Prof. Jacobi, with reference to these household baptisms, says:

“In none of these instances has it been proved that there were little children among them.”—Kitto’s Bib. Cyclo., Art. Bap.

Dr. Meyer says:

“That the baptism of children was not in use at that time appears evident from 1 Cor. 7:14.”—Com. on Acts 10:15.

Dr. De Wette says:

“This passage has been adduced in proof of the apostolical authority of infant baptism; but there is no proof here that any except adults were baptized.”—Com. N. T., Acts 10:15.

Dr. Olshausen says:

“Baptism ensued in this case, without doubt, merely upon a profession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah. But for that very reason it is highly improbable that her house should be understood as including infant children.” And he adds: “There is altogether wanting any conclusive proof-text for the baptism of children in the age of the Apostles.”—Com. Acts 16:14,15, Kend’s Trans.

Most manifestly, all of her household, whether old or young, believed, as she herself did, before they were baptized. Of this opinion, also, were Whitby, Lawson, the Assembly of Divines, and other Pedobaptist authorities.

2. The Philippian Jailor and his Household.

The case of the Philippian jailer and his household, mentioned, also Acts, 16th chapter, is often referred to as of force by the advocates of this practice.

Now observe that Paul and Silas, being released from their confinement, spoke the word of the Lord to the jailer, “and to all that were in his house.” Whether adults or infants, any one can judge; the Gospel was preached to them. And the jailer “was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” Then “he rejoiced, believing in God, with all his house.” Observe, the jailer’s family was baptized; but first, they listened to the preaching of the Word, then they believed in God; and then they rejoiced in their new found hope. Who believes that such a record as this could ever have been made of unconscious infants? There is not the remotest allusion to children, and the narrative does not fit them at all. Those who were baptized were those who believed and who rejoiced. It was therefore “believers’ baptism,” beyond which fact the particular age of the subjects is of no consequence whatever.

Bloomfield says:

“It is taken for granted that his family became Christians, as well as himself.”—Com. On Acts 16:31. Greek N. Test.

Such is the faith of Baptists, and such the command of Christ: “Believe and be baptized.” Calvin, Doddridge, Henry, and other Pedobaptist scholars, declare that in this case they all believed, and therefore were baptized.

3. The Household of Stephanas.

Paul speaks, in 1 Corinthians, 1st chapter, of having baptized “the household of Stephanas.” This is also quoted as giving some support to the infant baptismal theory. The course of argument, or inference, is the same. It is supposed that the household contained children, and that these children were baptized. How entirely gratuitous! Households are constantly being baptized and admitted to the fellowship of our churches, but without infants in them. Doddridge, Guise, Hammond, Macknight, and others, consider this case as giving no countenance to the custom of baptizing infants.

This same family of Stephanas, Paul, in 1 Cor., 16th chapter, says were “the first fruits of Achaia;” and he adds, “they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.” This could not have been spoken of baptized infants, but well describes the Christian activities of adult believers. No infants can be found in the household of Stephanas.

III. Rise of Infant Baptism.

But, it will be asked, if the baptism of unconscious infants and unconverted children was not appointed by Christ, nor practised by his Apostles, nor known in the primitive age, from whence was it, how did it arise, and when did it come into use?

These questions are readily answered by the testimony of its friends.

Tertullian is the first writer who mentions it in history, and he opposes it. [Neander supposes that the much-disputed passage of Irenaeus has reference to this custom—a little earlier than Tertullian’s mention of it. See Neander’s Ch. Hist.. Vol. I., p. 311.] This was at the close of the second century, or about A.D.200. His opposition proves two things. First, that it was in occasional use, at least. Second, that it was of recent origin, and not generally prevalent. For it must have been in use to be discussed and opposed, and had it been long prevalent, it would have been earlier mentioned.

Bingham, with all his scholarship and industry, could find no earlier allusion to it than that of Tertullian, though he believed it to have previously existed. Had there been any earlier historic record he would surely have found it. It must therefore, as is generally admitted, have arisen about the beginning of the third century after Christ.

Venema says:

“Nothing can be affirmed with certainty concerning the custom of the Church before Tertullian; seeing there is not anywhere, in more ancient writers, that I know of, undoubted mention of infant baptism.”—Eccl. Hist., Vol. III., ch. 2, sees. 108,109.

Curcellaeus says:

“The baptism of infants in the two first centuries after Christ was altogether unknown, but in the third and fourth was allowed by some few. In the fifth and following ages it was generally received.”—Inst. Christ. Religion, B. I., ch. 12.

Hippolytus, bishop of Pontus, writing in the first half of the third century, bears this testimony:

“We, in our days, never defended the baptism of children, which had only begun to be practiced in some regions.'”—Hippol. And his Age. Vol. I., p. 184. See Duncan’s Hist. Bap., p. 115 ; Curtis Prog. Bap. Princs., p. 101.

Bunsen, the learned translator of Hippolytus, declares that infant baptism, in the modern sense,

“was utterly unknown to the early Church, not only down to the end of the second century, but, indeed, to the middle of the third century.”—Hippol. And his Age, Vol. III., p. 180.

Salmasius says:

“In the first two centuries no one was baptized except, being instructed in the faith and acquainted with the doctrines of Christ, he was able to profess himself a believer.”—Hist. Bapt. Luicer. Thesaur., Vol. II., p. 1136.

Such testimony, and from such sources, is quite conclusive. Infant baptism was unknown until the first part of the third century after Christ. Had it existed earlier, some trace of, or allusion to, it would have been discovered. But the most labored and learned research has failed to make any such discovery.

It should be added that when the baptism of children did begin to be practised, it was not the baptism of unconscious infants at all, but, as Bunsen says, of “little growing children, from six to ten years old.” He declares that Tertullian in his opposition to infant baptism does not say a word of new-born infants. Cyprian, an African bishop, at the close of the third century urged the baptism of infants proper, because of the regenerating efficacy which the ordinance was supposed to exert. He and his associates were the first to take this ground.—Hippol. and his Age, Vol. III., pp. 192-5; Curtis Prog. Bap. Prin., p. 125.

IV. From What Cause Did It Spring?

If it be asked from what cause did infant baptism arise, the question is not difficult to answer.

It is well known that at a very early period in Christian history the notion began to prevail that the ordinances possessed some magical virtue. It was believed that baptism conveyed saving grace to the soul; that by it sins were washed away, and the spirit fitted for heaven. Thus the sick were thought to be prepared for death, and salvation secured, or made more certain by its efficacy. Anxious parents therefore desired their dying children to receive baptism, and thus, “washed in the laver of regeneration,” be secured against the perils of perdition. Such was one of the errors of a superstitious age. Hence arose infant baptism, as one of the many perversions which early corrupted the doctrines and ordinances of Christianity.

Vitringa says:

“The ancient Church, from the highest antiquity after the apostolic times, appears generally to have thought that baptism is absolutely necessary for all that would be saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. It was therefore customary in the ancient Church, if infants were greatly afflicted and in danger of death, or if parents were affected with a singular concern about the salvation of their children, to present their infants or children in their minority to the bishop to be baptized.”—Observ. Ad Sacra., Vol. 1., B. II., ch.4, sec.9.

Salmasius says:

“An opinion prevailed that no one could be saved without being baptized; and for that reason the custom arose of baptizing infants.”—Epist. Jus. Pac. See Booth’s Pedobap. Ex., ch. 3, sec. 3.

Venema says:

“The ancients connected a regenerating power and a communication of the Spirit with baptism.” He further asserts that the early fathers believed baptism to possess a saving efficacy, and cites Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clemens, Tertullian and Cyprian as of that opinion, the last-named of whom has been called “the inventor of infant baptism.”—Eccl. Hist., Vol. IV., p. 3. sees. 2, 3, 4.

Chrysostom, writing about A.D. 398, as cited by Luicerus, says:

“It is impossible without baptism to obtain the kingdom. It is impossible to be saved without it.” And, as cited by Wall, he says: “If sudden death seize us before we are baptized, though we have a thousand good qualities there is nothing to be expected but hell.”—Luicer. Thesaur., Eccl. Vol. I., p. 3.

Waddington, in his Church History, declares, touching the opinions of the third century:

“The original simplicity of the office of baptism had already undergone some corruption. The symbol had been gradually exalted at the expense of the thing signified, and the spirit of the ceremony was beginning to be lost in the form. Hence a belief was gaining ground among the converts, and was inculcated among the heathen, that the act of baptism gave remission of all sins committed previously.”—Hist. Of the Church, ch. 2. P. 53.

Thus we see plainly why, as well as when, infant baptism arose. An invention of men, based on a perversion of Scripture doctrine, it is now boldly claimed to be an ordinance of God. How can honest and pious men make such a claim? We are reminded of the words of the pious Charnock: “The wisdom of God is affronted and invaded by introducing rules and modes of worship different from divine institution.” And we venture to ask, with the devout Baxter, though both had reference to other subjects, “What man dare go in a way which hath neither precept nor example to warrant it, from a way that hath full current of both?”

V. Baptismal Regeneration.

We have seen that the baptism of infants, with that of the sick and dying, originated in a belief in the saving efficacy of the ordinance. Thus, the unscriptural device of infant baptism grew out of the unscriptural dogma of baptismal regeneration—a dogma as pernicious as presumptuous, and as repugnant to common sense as it is to the Bible; but one to which the advocates of pedobaptism have ever clung.

Episcopius asserts that the Milevitan Council. A.D. 418, declared pedobaptism to be a necessary rite.—Theol. Inst., B. IV., ch. 14.

Dr. Wall says:

“If we except Tertullian, Vincentius, A.D. 419, is the first man on record that ever said that children might be saved without baptism.”—Hist. Inf. Bap., part I., chap. 20, p. 232.

Hagenbach says:

“The Church of England taught the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, yet with cautions.” He cites Jewell, Jackson, Hooker, Taylor, Pearson, and Waterland, to justify the assertion, which the baptismal service of that Church plainly proves.—Hist. of Doct., Vol. II., p. 366.

The words of our Saviour,

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” were almost universally applied to baptism, and supposed to teach that there was no salvation without it.

Wall declares that,

“From Justin Martyr down to St. Austin,” this text was so understood.” Neither did I ever see it otherwise applied in any ancient author.” And he adds, “I believe Calvin was the first man who ever denied this place to mean baptism.”—Hist. Inf. Bap., Part II., ch. 6, p. 354.

The Catholic Church held to baptismal regeneration, and in the Council of Trent thus declared it:

“If any one shall say that baptism is not necessary to salvation, let him be accursed.”—Catechism Coun. Trent, pp. 165, 175.

The Greek Church holds the same dogma. Cyril, Patriarch of Constantinople, declares,

“That both original and actual sins are forgiven to those who are baptized in the manner which our Lord requires in the Gospel.”—Confes. Of Faith, ch. 16, 1631.

Stapferus says:

They hold the absolute necessity of baptism, and that “without it no one can become a real Christian; and that it cannot be omitted, in respect to infants, without endangering their salvation.”—Theology, Vol. V., p. 82.

The Protestant Churches generally have held, and to a degree do still hold, the same pernicious doctrine.

Booth cites the following Confessions which embrace it:

“That of Helvetia, of Bohemia, of Augsburg, of Saxony, of Wittenberg, of Sueveland, of the Church of England, and of the Westminster Assembly.”—Pedobap. Examined, chap. 3. ref. 3.

A large number of Pedobaptist scholars and divines are cited by the same author as holding this doctrine, including Luther, Gerhardus, Vossius, Deylingius, Fiddes, Whitby, Wilson, Scott, John Wesley, and Matthew Henry.

Do its advocates and defenders now maintain the same ground? Do they make the same claim for its saving efficacy? If not, on what ground, and for what reason do they hold to the baptism of infants? Have they any reason for it, except that they have been accustomed to it?

VI. Reasons for Infant Baptism.

Now, since this rite was not instituted by Christ, nor practised by the Apostles, nor known among Christians until about A. D. 200, how is it justified as a Christian ordinance by those who practice it? And by what reasons is it sustained and defended?

1. Some good and honest people really believe, after all, that infant baptism is taught in the Bible, and are greatly astonished, if they examine the subject, not to find it there. A very little effort will show how utterly without foundation is such a supposition. Read the sacred records through, from beginning to end, and no allusion to such a practice appears.

2. Its antiquity commends it to some. It has been a long time in vogue, and very generally practised by various Christian communions. But does that make it right? Is a usage necessarily good and true because it is old? Heathenism is older than the institutes of Christianity. Shall we adopt and practise all the absurd superstitions of the early corrupted churches—the worship of images, invocation of saints, prayer to the Virgin, oblations for the dead, baptism of bells, and many others; not a few of which came into use about the same time as this, and some of which are still older; any one of which has as much scriptural authority as infant baptism? Why do Protestants preserve this relic of popery alone, and reject the others?

Not what is old, but what is true should be our rule. Not what antiquity, but what the Bible commends should we obey. Not tradition, but, as Chillingworth declared, “the Bible only is the religion of Protestants.” As Basil said, so should we say, “It is a manifest mistake in regard to faith, and a clear evidence of pride, either to reject any of those things which the Scripture contains, or to introduce anything that is not in the sacred pages.”

3. Some there be, who confess that there is neither clear precept nor example in the New Testament to commend this practice, yet hold that the general spirit of the Gospel favors it; fundamental truths are there taught, from which the practice may be inferred. A strange mode of reasoning, surely. For if we may, by remote deduction and vague inference, originate ceremonies, call them gospel ordinances, and impose them on the consciences of men, then the whole Jewish ceremonial, and, indeed, the ritual of the Papal Church entire may be adopted, used, and taught as of divine authority, binding on believers.

But what a reflection is this on the wisdom and goodness of God; that He should have left positive institutions, designed for universal observance in His churches, to be vaguely inferred from supposed general principles, rather than to have been plainly and explicitly taught in His Word! Such reasoning will not serve in matters of religion. This maxim of Tertullian should have due weight, “The Scripture forbids what it does not mention.” And with Ambrose we may ask, “Where the Scripture is silent, who shall speak?”

4. Some have claimed that baptism came in the place of circumcision. Hence, it is inferred—only inferred—that as all the male Jewish children were to be circumcised, so all the children of Christians, both male and female, should be baptized. What connection there is between these two institutions would require a philosopher to discover. And yet this has been the argument chiefly relied on by theologians, scholars, and divines in this country especially, for generations past, to prove the divine authority of infant baptism. More recently this stronghold of the tradition has been less confidently resorted to by learned men, and it may be said the tradition itself is being slowly abandoned. It cannot well endure the light of Christian intelligence.

Baptism did not come in the place of circumcision nor in the place of any other previously existing institution. It has no connection with, and no reference to, circumcision whatever. The following considerations will make this plain:

(1) If baptism, a Christian ordinance, was designed to take the place of circumcision, a Mosaic rite, would not Christ have so stated, or the Apostles have mentioned the fact? But no allusion is to be found to any such design.

(2) Circumcision applied to males alone. If baptism was its substitute, why are females baptized?

(3) Circumcision was an external sign of an external union with a national congregation, to secure the separation of the Jews from all other nations and races, and their unity as a people. Baptism is an external sign of an inward spiritual work of grace already wrought in the heart. It indicates not the separation of races, but the unity of the true people of God, of all races, as believers in Christ, without distinction of blood or tongue.

(4) If baptism did take the place of circumcision, as is claimed, evidently the Apostles did not know it, else they would have made some mention of it, either in the conference at Jerusalem or in Epistles written for the guidance of the churches, or on other occasions, when both these subjects were under discussion, and directions given respecting them. But no allusion is anywhere made to such a substitution.

(5) Jewish Christians for a time insisted on the practice of both circumcision and baptism; which proves they did not understand the one to have displaced the other. With their strong Jewish predilections they wished to retain circumcision as the sign and seal of their fellowship with the Church of Israel, and at the same time received baptism as a sign and seal of their adoption into the faith and fellowship of Christ and His kingdom.

The attempt to found a Christian ordinance on a Jewish ceremony is unreasonable, futile and absurd.

VII. Objections to Infant Baptism.

1. It is founded on a falsehood. It claims to be a Gospel ordinance, when it is an invention of men. Christ did not appoint it; the Apostles did not practise it; the Scriptures do not sanction it. This is a sufficient reason why it should not be held as a Christian rite.

2. It impugns divine wisdom and insults the divine authority, because it claims to be needful, or useful, to religion; though Christ, by not appointing it when he instituted the Church, virtually decided it to be neither needful nor useful. Also, by binding the service on the consciences of Christian parents, as of religious obligation when God has not commanded it, there is an unwarrantable assumption of authority, and a grievous wrong is committed. Divine wisdom knew best what institutions to ordain, and what commands to lay upon His people.

3. It deprives Christian converts of the pleasure and privilege of believers’ baptism. For having received this rite in their unconscious infancy without their consent or knowledge, if in after years they become regenerate and truly united to Christ, they cannot go forward in the discharge of this duty and be baptized on a profession of their faith without discrediting their earlier baptism—if baptism it may be called.

4. Because it appears like a solemn mockery for parents and sponsors to become sureties for the child about to be baptized, and declare for it that they believe in God’s holy Word, and in the articles of the Christian faith as contained in the Apostles’ creed; that they will renounce the vain pomp of the world, the devil and all his works, with all covetous and sinful desires of the flesh.

5. Because it requires the officiating minister to declare what is false, in the very performance of what should be a most sacred service. He declares what is false when he says, “I baptize thee,” since he rantizes, or sprinkles, and does not baptize at all. Still more, and still worse, when he asserts that in this act the child “is regenerated and grafted into the body of Christ’s Church;” and, also, when in prayer he thanks God “that it hath pleased Thee to regenerate this infant with Thy Holy Spirit; to receive him for Thine own child by adoption, and to incorporate him into Thy holy Church.” This is solemnly declared, when no such thing is done, and when the minister who says it knows that no such thing is done, unless, indeed, he believes in baptismal regeneration. The child is not regenerated, nor adopted of God, nor incorporated into the Church of Christ by this act. The service falsifies the facts most flagrantly.

6. But, perhaps, worst of all, infant baptism still teaches, to an extent, baptismal regeneration. It is more than a false statement, it is a pernicious and destructive error. What could be more reckless than to assert, even by inference, that a few drops of water on the face, with any form of words—no matter what—can make one regenerate, and a child of God? If the child, when grown, believes all this—and why should he not believe it, when thus solemnly taught by parents and minister?—he believes himself an heir of heaven, sealed and sanctified by the Spirit, while blind to the fact that he is still in the gall of bitterness, a child of sin, an heir of wrath, and in the broad road to death. What blind leadings of the blind! too sad to be countenanced by Christian men and Christian churches.

7. Infant baptism, in some sense—though its advocates are not agreed in what sense—makes the child a Church-member, and thus introduces an unsanctified element into the nominal body of Christ, making that body carnal instead of keeping it spiritual. It thus destroys the distinction which the Divine Founder of the Church designed should be maintained between it and the world. For even if the infant, as such, is not a member, yet, when grown to maturity, he is admitted to full membership, with no other evidence of, or demand for, regeneration. The purely spiritual character of the Church is thereby destroyed, and, like other associations, the spiritual and the carnal indifferently make up its communion. “A regenerated Church-membership” cannot be the motto or the watchword of the advocates of pedobaptism.

Prof. Lange’s protest should be pondered by Protestant advocates of this papal emanation:

“Would the Protestant Church fulfill and attain to its final destiny, the baptism of new-born infants must of necessity be abolished. It has sunk down to a mere formality, without any meaning for the child.”—Hist. Protestantism, p. 34.

Other objections than these mentioned may be urged against this unscriptural practice. But these would seem sufficient to deter any candid and conscientious Christian, who takes the Bible for his guide, from giving it any countenance or support.

Edward Hiscox (1814-1901) was an American Baptist pastor and theologian. He was converted to Christ in 1834 and began to preach the gospel four years later. He served as the pastor for several congregations, including the Stanton Street Baptist Church, New York (1852). He is best known for authoring the “Standard Manual for Baptist Churches” (1890) and the “New Directory for Baptist Churches” (1894).