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Let us next look at the proposition itself. Children
in a sense, included in the faith of their parents.” As far as we can understand this, it must mean one of two things: either, first, that the parents, in their exercise of faith, consciously include their children; or, secondly, that, when parents exercise faith, God includes their children in the benefit of it. Can either of these positions be scripturally maintained ?
When a person, being a parent, exercises faith in Christ for salvation, it is, we conceive, necessarily an act—we are sorry Dr. Bushnell dislikes the word-of individualism. He himself is the sinner who needs salyation, and under the consciousness of his own need he comes for himself to receive salvation. He has no warrant to receive it, or to expect it, for another; nor is it possible for him to do that on which the salvation of another must depend. His salvation, moreover, is the only thing which in his faith he contemplates, or which he expects to obtain by it. Antecedently a rebel under the curse, his faith is the act of his reconciliation to God, and it issues entirely and exclusively in his peace with God through Jesus Christ. No children, past, present, or future, either do enter, or can enter, into this solemn transaction.
Does God, then, include children in their parents' faith, or, according to a subsequent phrase of Dr. Bushnell's, “graciously include children in the covenant with them”? Undoubtedly, we would believe this if God had ever said so; but this even Dr. Bushnell does not maintain. We are not ignorant of such passages as these : "I will be a God to thee, and to thy seed after thee," Gen. xvii. 7 ; " Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt he saved, and thy house,” Acts xvi. 31; but without going further into the argument, it is enough to observe here that, if any benefit attaching to the parent extends to the child, it is the entire benefit, and not a part of it—a sentiment which Dr. Bushnell disowns by his careful use of the phrase, “ children are, in a sense, included in the faith of their parents.” Of any secondary sense in which God includes persons in his covenant of redeeming mercy, the Scripture says absolutely nothing. On the contrary, it is laid down beyond question that the exercise of a personal faith-we hope Dr. Bushnell will excuse this inveterate Baptist individualism-is as necessary for children of believing parents as for any other portion of mankind.
We think, therefore, that the position that " children are included in their parents' faith" in any sense, is altogether without truth. Now the fabric is, of course, as frail as the foundation, and the whole falls together. Let us look, however, a little further.
“On this ground,” says the doctor, children “receive a common seal of faith with their parents in their baptism." Very good, if the faith were common; but since it is not so, there is neither truth nor reason in applying a common seal. “And God, on his part, contemplates in the rite the
fact that the chilren are to grow up as Christians, or spiritually renewed persons." We are afraid that, in this case, God is liable to be very much deceived; but let us go on. “ As to the precise time or manner in which they are to receive the germ of holy principle nothing is affirmed. Only it is understood that God includes their infant age in the womb of parental culture, and pledges himself to them and their parents in such a way as to offer the presumption that they may [let our readers mark the hesitancy of this phrase] grow up in love with all goodness, and remember no definite time when they became subjects of Christian principle.” So the benefit of infant baptism, according to Dr. Bushnell, really thins itself down to this, that by it God includes the infant age of the children of pious parents within the sphere of parental culture, and authorises an expectation of his blessing on their endeavours. It is the most homeopathic quantity, we think, to which the benefit of baptism has ever been reduced. If this be all, we may well ask, what need was there of the institution of a world-wide ordinance for this? Or where, indeed, is the use of it at all? Is not the fact quite as clear without baptism as with it, that the infant age of children is within the sphere of parental culture ? And is not the expectation as distinctly authorised without baptism as with it, that God will bless such parental endeavours ? May not a Baptist devote himself with as much assiduity, and as much hope, to the early spiritual culture of his children as a Pædobaptist? Yet Dr. Bushnell seems to say that it is only baptized children -nay, that it is only the baptized children of believing parents-nay, more, that it is only the baptized children of believing parents who have had baptism administered on his theory-who are either open to early Christian discipline, or may be expectants of a Divine blessing; all other children in the world, baptized and unbaptized, being, of course, doomed to a condition of abandonment, both human and Divine. Such a position surely cannot be maintained.
Such is the value of the last attempt we have observed to give to the practice of infant baptism an intelligible and satisfactory aspect. Why, this is worse than ever. And while thus setting himself broadly in opposition to the views generally held throughout Christendom on this subject, Dr. Bushnell gravely says, "This view is the only one that gives household baptism any meaning, or any real place in the Christian system”! There, take that, gentlemen! London.
J. H. HINTON.
A PRAYER. STRENGTI from above, O Father! I invoke. To weary years of sorrow, grief, and Submission like my Saviour's, Heavenly care; Helper! send,
Dark, dreary nights, where sleep is wooed Unmurmuringly to bow beneath Thy
in vain ; stroke;
Wilt thou exclaim, ''Tis more than flesh To know no will but Thine, till time can bear!'
shall end. By Thine own agony, my Saviour ! hear! Pardon, O Lord! Thy weak and erring Be Thy blest presence near me in my
one, hour of pain ;
Who fain would put aside the bitter Take from my coward heart this shrinking cup; fear,
Deeming her meed of duty well-nigh done, And bid my trembling soul grow strong
Nor dare to drink its nauseous portion again.
Be this my prayer! unwavering faith to Through suffering up to Thee!
say, Up to my home of heavenly, perfect My times and seasons lie at Thy comrest.
mand, O, had I but an eagle's wings, to flee Be every breath a throb of agonyAnd lay this aching head my So I but feel my loving Father's hand. Redeemer's breast.
Come life, come death! -But stay! A low voice whispers,
Come darker death in life“ Peace! be still!
Crushed hopes! lost friends! no ray of Is this compliance with my high behest? health ! Seek'st only refuge from thy present ill, So humble, self-subdued, I may look up, O Ask'st naught of Heaven but an eternal God! rest?
Cheerful look up, and meekly “kiss the What if I doom thee to long life of pain,
THE DYING CHILD.* A LITTLE daughter, ten years old, lay on her death-bed. It was hard to part with the pet flower of the household. The golden hair, the loving blue eyes, the bird-like voice—the truthful, affectionate, pious child! How could she be given up! Between this child and her father there had always existed, not a relationship merely, but the love of congenial natures. He fell on his knees by his darling's bed-side and wept bitter tears. He strove to say, but could not,
Thy will be done!" It was a conflict between grace and nature, such as he had never before experienced. His sobs disturbed the child, who had been lying apparently unconscious. She opened her eyes and looked distressed.
Papa, dear papa," said she at length.
how much-do I cost youevery year?”
"Hush, dear, be quiet!" he replied, in great agitation, for he feared delirium was coming on.
“But please-papa, how much do I cost you ?"
• Because, papa, I thought-maybe-you would lay it out this year—in Bibles—for poor children—to remember me by.”
With what delicate instinct had the dying child touched the springs of comfort! A beam of heavenly joy glanced in the father's heart, the bliss of one noble loving spirit mingled with its like. Self was forgotten—the sorrow of parting, the lonely future. Nought remained but the mission of love, and a thrill of gratitude that in it he and his beloved were co-workers.
“I will, my precious child,” he replied, kissing the brow with solemn tenderness.
“Yes,” he added, after a pause, “I will do it every year as long as I live. And thus
Lillian shall yet speak, and draw hundreds and thousands after her to heaven."
The child's very soul beamed forth in a long, loving smile-gaze into her father's eyes; and still gazing she fell asleep. Waking in a few minutes, she spoke in a loud clear voice, and with a look of ecstacy :
“O, papa, what a sweet sight! The golden gates were opened, and crowds of children came pouring out. O, such crowds! And they ran up to me, and began to kiss me, and call me by a name. I can't remember what it was, but it meant, Beloved for the Father's sake!”
She looked up, her eyes dreamy, her voice died into a whisper, “Yes, yes, I come! I come !" and the lovely form lay there untenanted of the lovelier spirit. John Lee arose from his knees with a holy triumph on his face.
" Thank God,” said he, “I am richer by another treasure in heaven!”
So often as thou rememberest thy sinnes without griefe, so often thou repeatest those sinnes for not griefeing; he that will not mourne for the evil which he hath done, gives earnest for the evil which he means to doe; nothing can asswage that fire which sinne hath made, but only that water which repentance bath drawne.- Quarles.
* From the “Macedonian, ” of Boston, U. S.
RECENT WORKS ON BAPTISM.
Christian Baptism Spiritual, not Ritual. By ROBERT MACNAIR, M.A.
Edinburgh: Paton and Ritchie. “To whom is Baptism to be administered ?" By RICHARD GAVIN, M.A.
Aberdeen : George Davidson. London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co. Christian Baptism : is it the immersion of believers, or the sprinkling of infants, as testified by Pædobaptists? By DavID WALLACE. London: Houlston and
Wright. A Vindication and Rejoinder in a Letter to A. G., respecting his “ What is
Christian Baptism ?” By David WALLACE. The Mode and Subjects of Christian Baptism, comprehending a special reply to the late Rev. Dr. Wardlaw's Dissertation. Second Edition, with an Appendix in reply to Archbishop Whately and Lord Lyttelton. By
SCRUTATOR. London: Heaton and Son ; Trübner and Co. We have here a goodly array of publications on Baptism. They are characterised by three interesting circumstances : first, they have all issued from the press north of the Tweed ; secondly, they have all been written by men who belonged to some branch of the church holding the Presbyterian polity; and, thirdly; they are all the products of authors who felt bound to renounce Pædobaptism. These circumstances-not to mention others indicating the spirit of healthful vicissitude at present abroad in the ecclesiastical world-clearly show that light is being shed on what we cannot help regarding as “the gloomy hills of darkness ” that still environ the friends of infant sprinkling.
The first work proceeds from the pen of a gentleman who was originally a minister of the Established Church of Scotland in Prince Edward's Island, and who subsequently held a pastoral charge at Gourock, on the banks of the Clyde. During both pastorates his mind was exercised by practical difficulties in connection with the administration of ordinances. These difficulties were suggested by his perusal of Theological Essays by the late William Thomas Wishart, who advocated the non-perpetuity of water-baptism. This view, however, was not hastily adopted by our Author. He was anxious to “ do nothing rashly;" and that he might, at once, have ample opportunity of studying the subject, and at the same time do no violence to growing conviction, he entered, for a season, on a comparatively subordinate position, where he was not required to discharge all the functions of an ordained minister. He afterwards accepted the office of chaplain to the hospitals of Scutari, where he anticipated devoting himself exclusively to preaching and visiting. On his return from Scutari he refused to have anything to do with the administration of ordinances. A residence abroad for nearly a year, with entire freedom from ministerial work, afforded him sufficient leisure for reconsidering the whole question, and on again reaching Scotland, in August, 1857, he intimated to the Moderator of the Presbytery of Paisley his inability longer to subscribe to " the whole doctrine of the Confession of Faith.” A committee from the Presbytery failed to shake his faith in his new views, and on his making this known, the Presbytery intimated to him, last February, that lie was no longer “a minister or licentiate of the Church of Scotland.” He now felt at perfect liberty to give his sentiments to the public, and this he has done in a little work that is distinguished by fervent piety, a truly catholic spirit, and no contemptible scholarship. He distinctly cautions his readers against supposing that he intends discussing such questions as these :
“Is water baptism a wide-spread fact? Does it exist in many, or in all Christian churches ? Had it a being in the sixteenth century? Did it exist in the seventh? Can it be clearly traced to the first ? and, Was it administered by the apostles themselves-except in so far as their solution might be supposed to effect the reasonings by which the meaning of the command is determined ?"
The point to which he addresses himself is this :
“Is Christian baptism a rite? When Christ said, 'Go, baptize all nations,' did He ordain the administration of a rite? or has the Society of Friends, after all, reason for maintaining that a ritual baptism with water is no part of the Christian system?"
The latter query he answers in the affirmative. If he is right in doing so, what follows ? Why, that untold reams of paper, numerous gallons of ink, countless golden hours, and many splendid talents, have, during hundreds of years, been literally wasted by writers who, sometimes in good temper, and sometimes in bad, have broken lances with each other on the battle-plain suggested by “the subjects and the mode of baptism"-a result not very complimentary, certainly, to authors on either side of the water.
Mr. Macnair prosecutes the task he has assigned himself, viz., that of demonstrating “Christian baptism to be spiritual, not ritual,” in no cursory manner. He enters upon an elaborate process of proof, sustained by a wide induction of Scripture quotations, which he interprets, to say the least, with great ingenuity. He examines those passages in the historical books of the New Testament in which the subject of baptism is mentioned, and relating to events before the crucifixion-similar passages relating to events after the crucifixion, but before the day of Pentecost-similar passages relating to events on and after that day-similar passages in the Epistles, and passages bearing on the subject of baptism, but not mentioning it by name. Having done this he states the following as the general conclusion at which he has arrived :
“Christian baptism is the baptism of the Spirit—there is no authority in the New Testament for a ritual baptism in the present dispensation, but when Jesus said, 'Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,' he inculcated upon disciples the duty of imparting spiritual influences, of converting sinners, and building up converts in their most holy faith.
While giving our author the fullest credit for sincerity, we cannot affirm that he has convinced us of the erroneousness of the views we have long held on the subject. We like him for the candour he evinces when treating of some passages that, even to him, present very considerable difficulties, but we find his logic not unfrequently limp very awkwardly indeed. Did space permit, we could, we think, convict him of more than one grievous non sequitur, but we prefer handing him over to Theophilus, who more than twenty years ago published “Seven Letters to the Society of Friends on the PERPETUITY, Subjects, and Mode of Baptism.” That writer, when referring to the Commission as proving the perpetuity of the baptismal rite, cogently remarks :
"Our Lord could not intend the baptism of the Holy Ghost, because in that case He would require his disciples to perform AN IMPOSSIBILITY. God only has the Spirit to give : God alone can give it, and it never was in the power of the highest order of created beings in heaven or earth to bestow the Divine Spirit upon their fellow-beings.
And, further, that this cannot be the baptising intended in this commission of Christ, is evident, because that sense if expressed, would be baptizing them with the Holy Ghost-in the name of the Holy Ghost;' which is absurd.”