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Now either the order of words in Scripture does not always imply the same order of things; or it follows, that John baptized before his hearers either confessed or repented. But, 2. The words are manifestly mistranslated. For if we read, “Go and teach all nations, baptizing them--teaching them to observe all things, it makes plain tautology, vain and senseless repetition. It ought to be translated (which is the literal meaning of the words) Go and make disciples of all nations, by baptizing them. That infants are capable of being made proselytes or disciples, bas been already proved. Therefore this text, rightly translated, is no valid objection against infant-baptism..

2. Their next objection is, “ The Scripture says, "Repent and be baptized ;' • Believe and be baptized.' Therefore repentance and faith ought to go before baptism. But infants are incapable of these. Therefore they are incapable of baptism."

I answer, repentance and faith were to go before circumcision, as well as before baptism. Therefore, if this argument held, it woul prove just as well, that infants were incapable of circumcision. But we know God himself determined to the contrary, commanding them to be circumcised at eight days old. Now if infants were capable of being circumcised, notwithstanding that repentance and faith were to go before circumcision in grown persons, they are just as capable of being baptized, notwithstanding that repentance and faith are in grown persons to go before baptism. This objection, therefore, is of no force: for it is as strong against the circumcision of infants as infant-baptism.

3. It is objected, thirdly, “There is no command for it in Scripture. Now God was angry with his own people, because they did that, which he said, 'I commanded them not.' (Jer, vii. 31.) One plain text would end all the dispute." I answer, 1. We have reason to fear it would not.

It is as posia tively commanded in a very plain text of Scripture, that we should

teach and admonish one another with psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with grace in our hearts,' (Eph. v. 14,) as it is to honour our father and mother. But does this put an ond to all dispute! Do not these very persons absolutely refuse to do it, notwithstanding a plain text, an express command ?

I answer, 2. They themselves practise what there is neither express command, nor clear example for in Scripture. They have no express command for baptizing women. They say indeed, “Women are implied in all nations." They are; and so are infants too: but the command is not express for either. And for admitting women to the Lord's Supper, they have neither express command nor clear. example. Yet they do it continually, without either one or the other. And they are justified therein by the plain reason of the thing. This also justifies us in baptizing infants, though without express command or clear example.

If it be said, “But there is a command, (1 Cor. xi. 28,). Let a. man, ey@gwios, examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread:.

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the word for man in the original signifying indifferently either men or women.” I grant it does in other places ; but here the word himself immediately following, confines it to men only. “But women are implied in it, though not expressed.” Certainly: and so are infants in all nations.

“But we have Scripture example for it: for it is said in the Acts, • The apostles continued in prayer and supplication with the

True, in prayer and supplication; but it is not said, in communicating Nor have we one clear example of it in the Bible.

Since then they admit women to the communion, without any express command or example, but only by consequence from Scripture, they can never show reason why infants should not be admitted to baptism, when there are so many scriptures which by fair consequence show they have a right to it, and are capable of it.

As for the texts wherein God reproves his people for doing what he commanded them not:' that phrase evidently means, what he had forbidden; particularly in that passage of Jeremiah. The whole verse is, “They have built the high places of Tophet, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I commanded them not.' Now God had expressly forbidden them to do this; and that on pain of death. But surely there is a difference between the Jews offering their sons and daughters to devils, and Christians offering theirs to God.

On the whole, therefore, it is not only lawful and innocent, but meet, right, and our bounden duty, in conformity to the uninterrupted practice of the whole church of Christ from the earliest ages, to consecrate our children to God by baptism, as the Jewish church were commanded to do by circumcision.

Nov. 11, 1756.

THE

DOCTRINE

OF

ORIGINAL SIN:

ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE, REASON, AND EXPERIENCE.

THE PREFACE.

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1. A FEW years ago a friend put into my hand Dr. TAYLOR' “ DOCTRINE OF Original Son;" which I read carefully over and partly transcribed : and have many times since diligently considered. The Author is doubtless a person of sense, nay, of unusually strong understanding, joined with no small liveliness of imagination, and a good degree of various learning. He has likewise an admirable command of temper, so that he almost every where speaks as one in good humour. Add to this, that he has a smooth and pleasing, yet a manly and nervous style. And all these talents he exerts to the uttermost, on a favourite subject, in the treatise before us : which he has had leisure for many years, to revise, file, correct, and strengthen against all objections.

2. So finished a piece surely deserves the consideration of all those masters of reason which the age has produced. And I have long hoped, that some of those would attempt to show, how far the doctrine there laid down is true. And what weight there is in the arguments which are produced, in confirmation of it. I know not how to believe, that all the clergy in England, are of the same opinion with this author. And certainly there are some whom all his skill in Greek, and even in Hebrew, does not make afraid. I should rejoice had any of these undertaken the task, who are in many respects better qualified for it; particularly in this, that they have time upon their hands ; they have full leisure for such an employment. But since *none else will, I cannot but speak, though lying under many peculiar disadvantages. I dare not be silent any longer : necessity is laid upon me, to provide those who desire to know the truth with some antidote against that deadly poison, which has been diffusing itself for several years, through our nation, our church, and even our universities. Nay, one (i hope, only one) father of the church has declared, “That he knows no book more

* Since the writing of this, I have seen several tracts, which I shall bave occasion to {ale notice of hereafter. There are likewise many excellent remarks on this subject, in Mr. HERVEY'S Dialogues.

proper than this, to settle the principles of a young clergyman.” Is it not time then for the very stones to cry out?

3. For this is not a point of small importance; a question that may be safely determined either way. Ôn the contrary, it may be doubted whether the scheme before us, be not far more dangerous than open deism itself. It does not shock us like bare-faced infidelity: we feel no pain, and suspect no evil while it steals like “ water into our bowels,” like soil into our bones.” One who would be upon his guard in reading the works of Dr. Middleton or Lord Bolingbroke, is quite open and unguarded in reading the smooth, decent writings of Dr. Taylor : one who does not oppose (far be it from him !) but only explain the Scripture, who does not raise any difficulties or objections against the Christian revelation, but only removes those with which it had been unhappily encumbered for so many centuries !

4. I said, “ Than open deísm.” For I cannot look on this scheme as any other than old deism in a nero dress : seeing it saps

the very foundation of all revealed religion, whether Jewish or Christian. “Indeed, my Lord, said an eminent man to a person of quality, I cannot see that we have much need of Jesus Christ." And who might not say, upon this supposition, “I cannot see that we have much need of Christianity.” Nay, not any at all; for “they that are whole, have no need of a physician;" and the Christian revelation speaks of nothing else, but the great Physician of our souls : nor can Christian philosophy, whatever be thought of the Pagan, be more properly defined than in Plato's words: it is Orçambie yuxns.

The only true method of healing a distempered soul. But what need of this, if we are in perfect health ? If we are not diseased, we do not want a cure. If we are not sick, why should we seek for a “ medicine to heal our sickness ?” What room is there, to talk of our being renewed in knowledge or holiness, “after the image wherein we were created,” if we never have lost that image ? If we are as knowing and holy now, nay, far more so, than Adam was immediately after his creation ? If therefore, we take away this foundation, that man is by nature foolish and sinful, fallen short of the glorious image of God, the Christian system falls at once : nor will it deserve so honourable an appellation, as that of a “cunningly devised fable."

5. In considering this Confutation of the Christian system, I am under some difficulty from Dr. Taylor's manner of writing. It is his custom to say the same thing (sometimes in different, sometimes in nearly the same words) six or eight, perhaps twelve or fifteen times, in different parts of his book. Now | bave accustomed myself for many years, to say one and the same thing once only. However, to comply with his manner as far as possible, I shall add at proper intervals, extracts from others, expressing nearly the same sentiment, which I have before expressed in my own words.

6. I am sensible, in speaking on so tender a point as this must needs be, to those who believe the Christian system, there is danger of a warmth which does no honour to our cause, nor is it at all countenanced by the revelation which we defend. I desire neither to show, nor to feel this, but to “speak the truth in love,” (the only warmth which the gospel allows,) and to write with calmness, though not with indifference. There is likewise a danger of despising our opponents, and of speaking with an air of contempt or disdain. I would gladly keep clear of this also ; well knowing that a diffidence of ourselves, is far from implying a diffidence of our cause : 1 distrust myself, not my argument. O that the God of the Christians may be with me! That his Spirit may give me understanding, and enable me to think and “ speak as the Oracles of God,” without going from them to the right hand or to the left!

LEWISHAM, Nov. 30, 1756.

THE

DOOTRINE OF ORIGINAL SIN, &c. &c. &c.

PART I.

The past and present State of Mankind.

BEFORE we attempt to account for any fact, we should be well assured of the fact itself. First, therefore, let us inquire what is the real state of mankind ? And in the second place endeavour to account for it.

I. First, I say, let us inquire, What is the real State, with regard to Knowledge and Virtue, wherein mankind have been from the earliest times? And what state are they in at this day?

I. 1. What is the state, (to begin with the former branch of the inquiry,) with regard to knowledge and virtue, wherein, according to the most authentic accounts, mankind have been from the earliest times? We have no authentic account of the state of mankind in the times antecedent to the deluge, but in the writings of Moses. What, then, according to these, was the state of mankind in those tiines ? Moses gives us an exact and full account: God then “saw that the wickedness of man was great, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. vi. 5. 12, 13.) And this was not the case of only part of mankind ; but “all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” And accordingly God said, “ The end of all flesh is come, for the earth is filled with violence through them.” Only Noah was righteous before God." (ch. vii. 1.) Therefore he and his household were spared, when

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