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THE METHOD OF BAPTISM. I be contended that it would be seemily or To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine.
reverent to represent the body of our Lord,
which was so tenderly cared for by his DEAR SIR,– Will you allow a few re
affectionate female followers, as lying promarks in addition to those already inserted strate with the face downwards; and, to the in reply to your correspondent who advo. best of my knowledge, no nation ever prac. cates the administration of baptism by
tised such a method of burial. Nor would bending the body forward. The word em the proposed plan be desirable in order to ployed by Tertullian, upon which your cor increased expedition, since such expedition respondent mainly relies, means, by its
would destroy the solemnity of the adetymology and composition, simply to let
ministration. down or to descend. This no one will ques.
If we were to follow Tertullian's aution for a moment. When used in such
thority, and that in a point in which no phrases as demisso capite, demisso vultu,
one has suggested a doubt as to his meanthe forward movement is only a necessity ing, we should not only be far less expediarising out of the structure of the human tious, but should have to supplement the form, and does not reside in the words commission of the Saviour. * Immerse," themselves. The words used by Tertullian said the Redeemer. “We are thrice im. are demissus and tinctus ; but there is mersed,” rejoins Tertullian. Christ's law nothing to show that their action was is our one guide. Subordinate matters are simultaneous. The phrase is equivalent to left to be regulated by the general precept, that in Acts viii. 38: * They went down both “Let all things be done decently and in into the water, both Philip and the eunuch ; order.” Why should we enslave ourselves and he baptized him.”
to the customs of any men? Already But one instance from a classical author scrupulous consciences are beginning to will suffice to show that the force ascribed think themselves bound by the custom of to the word by Robinson does not reside the primitive Christians as to the hour and in it. Ovid must surely have known how the posture of worship, and the very names to use his own language, yet he writes of of the places in which they meet. Such Jupiter in the form of a bull carrying triflings as these would, if unchecked, soon Europa across the sea,
impair our Christian freedom, and reduce “Sæpe Deus prudens tergum demittit in undas, the spirituality of our simple services to Hæreat at collo fortius illa suo."
the grievous drudgery of a traditional “ Often the sly God lets down his back ritualism. into the waves, that she may cling the more One statement in the letter of your first tightly to his neck."
correspondent on this subject is new to me, Again, as to the symbolical propriety of and information upon the point would be the present mode, while admitting that the a great service. “Wherever,” he writes, word ontw, and therefore its compound “the mode of baptism is alluded to in CuvOntw, will apply to any mode of sepul- the writings of the earliest Fathers, it is ture, we would remind your correspondent, described as bending the body forwards." who advocates a change in our practice, Will your correspondent furnish a list that in Christian baptism the reference is of references to a few of these passages ? to the burial of Christ himself, Rom. vi. 4, This would enable the less learned among Col. iii. 12 ; and that the heathen customs us to come to a satisfactory conclusion of burning the dead and inurning the in reference to this interesting point of ashes are therefore excluded from considera- Christian antiquity, though it might not tion, We are, in fact, limited to that method affect our present practice in the adminisof immersion most fitly and conveniently tration of believers' immersion. representing the burial of Christ's body.
I am, And, surely, if the sitting and upright postare be out of the question, it will scarcely
Yours sincerely; w.
That very eccentric old gentleman, Henry Drummond, Esq., M.P., the height of whose ambition appears to be to succeed to the late Colonel Sibthorp as buffoon of the House of Commons, has recently published a letter to John Bright, in which, after vilifying Dissenters very heartily, he says, that no person, however poor, is allowed to receive the Sacrament, or any of the ordinances of religion in their places of Worship, without paying for a sitting, which in Scotland is charged six shillings per annum !! This statement The Press, the
weekly organ of the present Government, quotes with entire assent and warm approval. Upon this we desire to make just two remarks :--Ist. Mr. Drummond is himself a Dissenter of the Irvingite sect; and “it is an ill bird which fouls its own nest." 2nd. The assertion is, as all our readers know, an unmitigated falsehood, a pure and simple lie. Mr. Drummond, we believe, holds the office of prophet in the hierarchy of the body to which he belongs. His position has been accurately defined many centuries ago—“ The prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.”
The following is the circular referred to in Notices to Correspondents :
The Trustees of the BAPTIST MAGAZINE ask attention to the following statements respecting that periodical :-
1.- For fifty years the Magazine has held its ground as the Literary Oryan of the Denomination. During this period it has passed through many changes, and becn conducted with various degrees of efficiency. But through all these changes it has been distinguished by honesty, independence, and sobriety, and would at any period of its history bear comparison with contemporary Magazines.
II.-Under its present editorial management its improvement has been marked and decided. What is thought of the Magazine by parties having no immediate connection with it, will be seen from the following passages extracted from a large number of unsolicited Testimonials. With the majority of these gentlemen the Trustees have not even a personal acquaintance.
“THE BAPTIST MAGAZINE.'-The Baptist serial literature of England has received an infusion of new life; indeed, never did it stand on such high vantage-ground as at present. The venerable • Baptist Magazine' commenced a new series with January, under the auspices of its new editor, Rey, Samuel Manning, of Frome. The Baptist Magazine' is now the best denominational Maga. zine in England."-Christian Watchman and Reflector (Boston, U.S.)
« In monthly periodicals some improvement is visible. This is particularly the case with the Baptist denomination. Their large Magazine, of which the Rev. S. Manning became the editor at the commencement of last year, is now regarded as the very best monthly published by any
hurch in England. Mr. Manning has done much to bring this about by his own pen; and, in addition to this, he has the happy art of being able to secure contributions from the ablest men of his community." Morning Star (American Methodist.)
" The Baptist Magazine is edited with much vigour and ability. The original articles are well written, and the selections are excellent. An article, entitled 'Infidelity in 1858- The Westminster Review,' exhibits some of the extravagancies uttered by that journal in its usual lofty, overbearing tono. Other statements of a similar kind are grouped together and ably exposed." -Ners of the Churches (pullished by the Religious Tract and Book Society of Scotland).
"Though personally unknown to you I make no apology for addressing you as Editor of the • Baptist Magazine,' which finds its way to this remote part of the earth, and which you have rendered worthy of the body it represents. Allow me to bear my humble testimony to the literary ability with which the work is conducted, whilst its interest for the general, and even unlettered, reader is increased."- Extract from Letter to the Editor from the Rev. C. Spurden, Frederickton, New Brunstcick.
“I must express my personal obligation to you for the wondrous improvement effected in our Denominational Organ. I may speak, however, not for myself only, but in the name of the Jamaica brethren. We are bighly gratified with the Magazine."- Communication from the Rec.
D. J. East, President of Calabar Inslitution, Jumaica. III.-The assistance afforded from the profits of the Magazine to the destitute widows of deceased Ministers gives it an additional claim to the support of the Denomination. The following extracts from letters received in acknowledgment of grants will speak for themselves :
(1.) “I this morning received your enclosed cheque, for which I feel grateful. I assure you it came unexpectedly, in the ways of Providence, in a time of peed, for which I feel thankful to the Almighty, and to you for your kindness in sympathieing with the Widowg and Orphans."
(2.5 " I received this morning a bank order for £1, and am most truly thankful for the same. It came in time of need, and gladdened my heart. But for the very seasonablo supply which your remittance brought my little stock of furniture MUST hace been sold."
(3.) " I beg to return my humblest thanks to those who have sent me the thirty shillings, which I received by the post on Friday last. When it came I had not a penny in the house, and the bread was tery nearly all gone, and I did not know where to look for more. But, tbank the Lord, he provided for me in good time."
(4.) I do not know which most to admire, your unexpected generosity or the manifest interference of that generous God who, faithful to his promise, has always proved himself the Husband of the Widow. The eum thus distributed amounts to nearly £7,000.
In consideration of these facts the Trustees appeal to the Denomination at large to aid them in promoting the circulation of the Magazine. They do this the more earnestly because it will be difficult, nay, impossible, with the present amount of circulation, to maintain at once its degree of literary efficiency and the grants made to the Widows, Unless its eale be increased one or other of these objects must suffer. In the present position of our body its Magazine should be sustained in the highest degree of vigour. And now that the question of making provision for the necessitous among our Ministers and their families has taken so strong a hold upon the public mind, the diminution of the fund for Ministers' Widows cannot be thought of. Let a few individuals in each congregation endeavour to increase its sale, and both these objects will be secured.
THE MISSIONARY HERALD.
INDIA UNDER QUEEN VICTORIA. We cannot refrain from placing on record in the pages of the "Missionary Herald,” the following passages from the Indian Proclamation of the Sovereign of " Great Britain and Ireland, and of the colonies and dependencies thereof in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australasia." With the assumption of the direct administration of the empire of Hindustan by our gracious Queen, a new era commences in that magnificent realm. It is true that as yet no change has been made in the laws or the mode of government; but the proclamation enunciates principles of the highest value, especially in their bearing on the future progress of the kingdom of Christ. The paragraphs which directly concern the religious rights and mutual obligations of the Queen and her subjects are the following:
"We hold ourselves bound to the natives of our Indian territories by the samə obligations of duty which bind us to all our other subjects; and these obligations, by the blessing of Almighty God, we shall faithfully fulfil.
"Firmly relying ourselves on the truth of Christianity, and acknowledging with gratitude the solace of religion, we disclaim alike the right and the desire to impose our convictions on any of our subjects. We declare it to be our Royal will and pleasure that none be in anywise faroured, none molested or disquieted, by reason of their religious faith or observances, but that all alike shall enjoy the equal and impartial protection of the law; and we do strictly charge and enjoin all those who may be in authority under us, that they abstain from all interference with the religious belief or worship of any of our subjects, on pain of our highest displeasure.
"And it is our further will that, so far as may be, our subjects, of whatever race or creed, be freely and impartially admitted to oflices in our service, the duties of which they may be qualified, by their education, ability, and integrity, duly to discharge.
"When, by the blessing of Providence, internal tranquillity shall be restored, it is our earnest desire to stimulate the peaceful industry of India, to promote works of public utility and improvement, and to administer its government for the benefit of all our subjects resident therein. In their prosperity will be our strength, in their contentment our security, and in their gratitude our best reward. And may the God of all power grant to us, and to those in authority under us, strength to carry out these our wishes for the good of our people."
In these remarkable sentiments there are a few things worthy of note. 1. There is an entire absence of the usual phrases by which the Govern. ment of the East India Company was wont to specify its religious policy. No promise of " neutrality” is given, only to be broken whenever some native religious custom that stands opposed to the rights of humanity, or is offensive to public decency, is set aside. There is no pledge to preserve untouched “the laws of the Shastre and the Koran," as was enacted by the third Regulation of the Bengal Government in 1793. It cannot be said of this state paper, as was said, by the late Mr. St. George Tucker, of
VOL. 111.- NEW SERIES.
the rule of the defunct company : “ We have formally guaranteed to the people the maintenance of all rights exercised under their religion, laws, and established usages." There is nothing in the sentiments of the Queen to justify the language of a speaker in the great debates in the House of Commons in the year 1813, who stated, that “the Government was pledged to afford protection to the undisturbed exercise of the religion of the country,' that it was contrary to the duty of protection “to obtrude upon the great body of the people, by means of printed works, exhortations involving an interference with their religious tenets.". There is, throughout this remarkable document, a studious avoidance of terms which would hamper the future lawgivers of India, in effecting those changes which the progress of intelligence and good government may demand.
2. For the first time in the history of the British occupation of India, a distinct allusion is made to that religion which is the faith of its ruler. Obligations founded on Christian duty are at length recognised. By the "blessing of Almighty God,” the Queen hopes to fulfil, “ faithfully and conscientiously,” her common obligations to all her subjects. She relies on the "truth of Christianity," and gratefully finds solace in its doctrines.“ By the blessing of Providence" she hopes to foster industry, and to administer the government for the benefit of all her people. She breathes an earnest prayer to the “God of all power" to grant her and her officers“ strength to carry out” her wishes for the people's good. Never before have such sentiments proceeded from the British rulers of Hindustan. Whatever desire the East India Company may have felt and expressed for the well-being of their subjects, never did they permit themselves to be betrayed into an expression of their faith in Christianity, or their dependence upon God for strength to discharge the arduous duties which the government of that vast empire imposed upon them. In this respect we receive the language of the Queen with gratitude. It might indeed have been warmer in tone, and more explicit in its reference to the religion of the only Saviour of men. But even as it is, this royal edict stands in marked and refreshing contrast to the proclamations which the Indian authorities have published in past days. We rejoice in the salutary and auspicious change.
3. Perfect liberty of conscience and of worship is assured to the people of India. None are to be favoured, none “molested or disquieted by reason of their religious faith or observances." Equal and impartial protection is promised to all. Emphatically does the sovereign disclaim all right or desire to impose Christianity upon her people, and in this she only expresses the common sentiment of every evangelical Christian community in Britain. Protesting, as missionaries and their supporters have often had to do, against the opposition and discouragement their labours have received, and the direct maintenance of idolatry and. Mohammedan imposture by the English Government, they have never desired more, than "equal and impartial protection for all classes alike.” It has been the dishonourable trick of the advocates of the “ traditional policy,” which, in practical working, was a perpetual patronage of idolatry, to represent the friends of Christian missions as desirous of the compulsory imposition of Christianity on the Hindus.. Nothing can be further from their wish. That which the Queen declares to be the prin, ciple of her future government, is the precise desire of every Christian and of every missionary. It is our hope that, in the administration of the Indian government, Christians as well as Hindus and. Mussulmans will for
the future enjoy the “equal and impartial protection " so long denied them by the servants of the East India Company
We could, however, have wished that the "interference with religious belief or worship," from which the Queen commands all in authority under her to “abstain,” had been more clearly defined. Beyond doubt, men of the school of Lord Ellenborough and Sir George Clarke, or the authors of the despatch of 1847, will endeavour to interpret the language as a prohibition, forbidding the servants of the Queen, both civil and military, to promote the cause of Christ. Any attempt to impose such a condition on the sovereign's officers we are sure will fail. The Havelocks, Lawrences, Montgomerys, and others, by whose Christian devotedness and prowess India has been recovered for the British Crown, are not men to endure or to be trammelled with this degrading tie. In their official character they will doubtless abstain from all “ interference" with the religious beliefs of Hindustan, and will be among the most strenuous denouncers of the impolicy and sin of any attempt to “impose" their convictions on the people over whom they rule. But they will undoubtedly claim the right of every British citizen to foster and support, in his private capacity, the religion he conscientiously receives. They will not be satisfied with less than the liberty which is the right of every Hindu amlah, of every Mohammedan darogah, to build a sanctuary for his god and to encourage the spread of his faith. The terms of this proclamation are not to be interpreted by the policy of a political party, the fears of a Court of Directors, or the hostility of adversaries to the faith of Christ. This important state paper is the enunciation of the policy of the monarch of a great empire, and not that of a clique or party. Its declarations must be understood in accordance with the principles which rule in all parts of the Queen's dominions,-and those principles embrace perfect freedom of conscience and action, for the rulers as well as for the ruled, for the officers of Government as well as for those over whom they exert authority. The Queen disclaims for herself all right and desire to impose her convictions on her subjects, and she can require no more from those whom she delegates to the exercise of her power.
4. The principles of this proclamation are fatal to the institution of caste, so far as its observance interferes with the administration of justice, or the tenure of office under the crown. The sovereign cannot set aside, if she would, those social distinctions which regulate the relations of different classes of society. But before the law, and in employment in public duties, she can, and has the right to enforce the utmost impartiality. Equal justice is the birth-right of all classes, and fitness is the sole qualification for official employment. In these matters our sovereign simply enunciates the principles of the English monarchy.
On the whole we accept this important proclamation with thankfulness and gratitude to God. It is a long step in advance of the past, and ushers in, we trust, a period of peace, progress, and prosperity for our Indian empire. We would urge on all our readers to join in the devout prayer of its close, to make the welfare of India a frequent subject of supplication, to implore for our beloved Queen all needful grace for the mighty task before her, and finally, to cry to God for the speedy conversion of the people to the cross of Christ, through the instructions of godly men. Thence will undoubtedly proceed that “prosperity which will be our strength," that " contentment " which will issue in our "security." and that “gratitude” which will be “our best reward,” in the government of the empire of Hindustan by Queen Victoria.