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Praying that the God and Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift may give you to see the rifing church, as now coming up from the wilderness, showing herself in gofpel beauty and fimplicity, and to efpoufe her cause with your whole heart,

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ITH pain and pleasure I continue in the field of theological controverfy. It is painful to me, that the time, talents, and zeal of good men, fhould be occupied to give currency and continuance to error. In the mean time, it is grateful to my feelings to discover the fame good men relinquishing, by little and little, their indefenfible ground. The conceffions and profeffion, which are found in your Letters to me, furnish hope that you will yet dif cover truth and embrace it.

You concede,

1. That the present controverfy cannot be settled by an appeal to the Greeks or Romans; to the monk of Palestine, Jerome; to the reformer of Geneva, or to the English defender of the Baptists; or even by an appeal to church hiftory, or to any other writings which are merely human.*

2. That when baptifm was introduced among the Jews, in the days of John, and in the days of Christ and his apoftles, it was not adminiftered to infants; and that the evidence for infant baptifm does not, in our day, amount to demonstration.t

3. You concede, that the Bible is the only book by which the prefent controverfy must be fettled.

4. You concede, that our English tranflation of the Bible is so perfect, that every argument, which is founded in any degree upon a different tranflation than what is found in our common Bibles, "has an objection at its foundation."§

*Pages 66, 107 of the Letters to the author.

+ Pages 7, 75,

t Page 108. $ Page 72

This last conceffion has its importance, not as it refpects either you or me, but as it respects common readers, that they may reft fatisfied that the prefent tranflation is fufficiently accurate and explicit. Some other conceffions I may mention, as the fubject thall require.

Your profeffion, Sir, is excellent, and worthy of a Chrif tian, in every conteft. It is this: "As for me, I confider truth infinitely preferable to any party intereft, and promise to you, that I will yield to evidence as foon as it is prefented."

It is now expedient that I notice another conceffion, which you give to the public, in page 7 of your Letters; and in the following words:"Through the most of my miniftry, though I prevailingly believed that the doctrine and practice of the Pædobaptifts, generally confidered, were authorized in the Scriptures, I had not that full convidion on these points which I had respecting many other articles.. It is not more than three years, fince by fome particular incidents, my attention was called up afresh to the fubject: I then determined to investigate it as clofely as my abilities would allow : I accordingly examined the Scriptures from beginning to end-got into my hands and read all the publications on the fubject which I could command, and the refult of my inquiries was just the reverfe of yours. It appears to me that no determinate mode of applying water in baptifm was clearly pointed out in the Scriptures, or made effential to the valid ity of the ordinance."

This conceffion of yours, Sir, together with its iffue, inclines me to relate to you, in this place, and through you to the public, fome of the providences which led to my conviction, and in the refult, to my converfion from fome of my


For nearly ten years after I entertained fome hope that I was born of the Spirit, I do not recollect of its being once fuggefted to my mind, that there was any confiderable difficulty in fupporting fprinkling for baptifm, and infants for the fubjects. In the year 1790, whilft in purfuit of theo

ical knowledge, I had put into my hands a fhort hiftory of infant baptifm, written by a gentleman in New York. This pamphlet produced its witneffes for infant baptism, century preceding century, till it came nearly to the apof tolic age; but it left a blank, as all other hiftories of the fame kind have done, between the period in which we first hear of infant baptifm, and the apoftles. This deficiency of historic evidence I fenfibly felt. This chain of evidence was at the time quite pleafing to me, fo far as it went; but it

wanted a few more links to reach to the apostles, so as to unite their practice and ours together: however, the author did as well as he could, in the cause which he was labouring to defend. I was now left to believe, without evidence, if I could, that infant baptifm came down, in regular fucceffion, from the apostles to us. This I believed. Not only fó, but I confidered infant baptifm a Bible doctrine, though not quite fo explicitly expreffed as I could have wifhed. From this time I had occafionally fome fmall difficulties; but they were, for the most part, but quite fmall, and of fhort continuance. The Bible I believed to be full of the doctrine of infant baptifm, though I knew of no particular place which was fully to the point. I confidered it to be a very fingular thing, that we had no example of infant baptifm. Said I to myself, Had there been one example, it would have put the matter beyond a doubt. Whether example or not, ftill I concluded it must be a Bible doctrine: for I fuppofed that the greatest of men, that the wifeft of men, and that the most learned alfo, had always practifed it: befides, I took it for granted (for there was no evidence for it) that baptism had fucceeded circumcifion, and that the fame fubjects which were of old circumcifed, were now to be baptized. Moreover, there are several paffages of the New Teftament, which have been thought, by great, good, and learned men, to favour infant baptifm. I thought the fame. If you, Sir, will have patience with me, I will mention fome of these fcriptures, and especially those which I viewed as cardinal texts upon the fubject. I will also tell you how I then understood them, likewife what are my prefent thoughts refpecting them. The texts which were confidered to be, more than any other, in favour of infant baptism, and which appeared fufficient to authorize the practice, are the following.

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1. Mat. xix. 13, 14, 15. Then were there brought unto him little children, that he fhould put his hands on them, and pray; and the disciples rebuked them: but Jefus faid, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me, for of fuch is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence."

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2. The parallel text, Mark x. 13, 14, 15, 16. ' And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them; and his difciples rebuked those that brought them: but when Jefus faw it he was much displeased, and faid unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them

not, for of fuch is the kingdom of God. Verily I fay unto you, Whofoever fhall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.' 3. The fame account, as related by Luke, xviii. 15, 16, 17, was thought to afford fome additional light. Luke fays, They brought unto him alfo infants, that he would touch them; but when his difciples faw it, they rebuked them: but Jefus called them unto him, and faid, Suffer little chil dren to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of fuch is the kingdom of God. Verily I fay unto you, Whofoever fhall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no wife enter therein.'

4. A&s ii. 39. For the promise is unto you, and to your

children, and to all that Lord our God fhall call."


afar off, even as many as the

5. 1 Cor. vii. 14. For the unbelieving husband is fanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is fanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean, but now are they holy.'

Upon these texts I reafoned in the following manner.

Little children, young children, and infants were brought to Chrift; he approved of their being brought; he was difpleased with fuch as forbade them; we fhould bring our children to him; what way fo fuitable as to present them in baptifm: besides, Chrift faid, Of fuch is the kingdom of heaven. How could infants be of the kingdom of heaven, otherwife than by being baptized, and fo admitted members of the vifible church? It was alfo my thought, that the promise mentioned Acts ii. 39. was the fame that was made to Abraham, Gen. xvii.: and, in addition to the above, Paul tells us, that when one of the parents is a believer, the children are holy. Hence, my conclufion was, that infant baptifm was warranted by Scripture, when not one of the texts fays fo much as a word about baptifm; but each one relates to quite a different fubject, as you may fee by examining the connexion of each.

Should more evidence be required, my erroneous judgment was, that household baptifm, as recorded Acts xvi. 15 and 33. and I Cor. i. 16. would make up any deficiency; when in neither of the paffages is there a word faid of any child or adult being baptized upon the faith of another. Upon this foundation, if it may be called a foundation, my faith with refpect to infant baptifm, or with refpect to what is of late years so called, rested, with little interruption, till

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