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can enter into the kingdom of God except he be regenerate and born anew of water and the Holy Ghost." It must therefore be the leading desire of these Parents' hearts that their Children should be partakers of covenant mercies, and should be interested in all the blessings connected with that name, than which there is none other given "under heaven whereby we must be saved." And as Baptism has ever been considered by the Church of Christ as that initiating Sacrament, by which the Child receives the solemn investiture of his privileges as a believer in Christ; and as it is eminently so considered by that portion of the Church to which they belong; while they will hope for no blessing upon their Child but as faith draws it from the promise of a gracious God, so they will be desirous that every blessing of the promise should be sealed to him by that Sacrament which is its sign and pledge.

It might be expected, that, as our Church takes for granted, that all the Infants of her members will be presented for the sign and seal of their Church-membership, in the initiatory Sacrament of Baptism, any formal mention of the grounds of Infant-baptism might be spared, and that nothing more was necessary than to insist on the privileges and duties of this Sacra

1 Acts iv. 12.


ment, and to encourage all within the pale of the Church to enjoy the one and to discharge the other. Our Church assumes that all who are engaged in the ordinance, are "persuaded of the good-will of our heavenly Father towards this Infant, declared by his Son Jesus Christ: and" are "nothing doubting but that he favour-ably alloweth this charitable work of ours, in bringing this Infant to his holy Baptism. It assumes, therefore, that all such are convinced of the excellence of the rite, and of the propriety of its institution. And to such all further mention of the grounds of Infant-baptism might seem superfluous. But so low is the general estimate of Baptism among us, that it is to be feared, that few have taken pains to inform themselves of the grounds on which the Baptism of Infants rests. The introduction, therefore, of the more obvious reasons for the administration of Baptism to Infants seems indispensable.

I say "the more obvious reasons," for it would be quite inconsistent with the plan of this letter, as well as unjust to the subject itself, to attempt any thing like a complete statement of all the grounds that may be adduced in favour of Infant-baptism, within the short compass proposed. What I shall offer, by the blessing of God, are such as are conclusive in deciding my own mind on the subject; and if they should appear to be insufficient to any who may favor

them with a perusal, I must refer such to the authors who have written professedly on the question.

I am aware that the acceptance which this subject will find, will vary with the quarter from which it is presented. If it come from the regions of controversy, and address itself dryly to the mind, apart from those circumstances in which fallen man is found as a rebel to his God, desirous of reconciliation to his favour, and anxious for every mark and pledge which may assure to him and his, the possession of that favor; it will meet with a cold reception probably, and produce no greater effect than the attempts which have preceded it. From those regions of controversy, therefore, where mere mind reigns devoid of feeling, and intolerant prejudice banishes the kindlier dispositions of the heart, I make no approach. Religion is only really acceptable to a mind rightly disposed, or what the Scripture calls an "understanding heart." We do not so much need the logical acuteness of the head to comprehend ideas, as the kindly disposition of the heart to approve and to embrace them. With all the advantages ever yet ascribed to it, I am one, who have long thought that controversy has done more harm to the Church than it has ever done good. Truth

'If the proverbial allusion to express the bitterness of human hatred, is not—the hatred of philosophers, or the hatred of poli

spoken in opposition, and therefore too often under irritation, prejudice, or party-feeling, was never yet a just exhibition of the Gospel; it was counteracting in spirit what it was asserting in the letter. I utterly renounce, therefore, all approach to controversy, and take my stand in that station of domestic life, where the kindlier affections have their freest exercise-where, in the bosom of a Christian family, the religion of Jesus presents its fairest exhibition, and where it both originates and matures the sweetest character of grace.

That we may view the subject then in its due bearing, let us place ourselves in the family of two Christian Parents, whose conjugal affection has been blessed with a living Child. It is not only received as the pledge of their affection to each other, but of God's love to them. They

ticians, or of rivals, or even that of those whose trade is war,— but odium theologicum, the hatred of divines; it is surely time for the honour of our common Christianity, that theological discussion should exhibit the essence of that choicest gift of God, the name of which it bears. That man knows but little of himself, who, even in his honest ardour to establish truth, does not feel "the abundance of his own sense" of a subject ever inclining him to intolerance of every differing sentiment. I would avail myself of this opportunity of requesting my reader to pardon what he may deem excessive in the course of this work; and to attribute it rather to the infirmities of a nature over-sanguine in effecting its object, than to any intention of trenching upon the sentiments of another, by the undue enforcement of my own.

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receive it in faith; believing his word, that "children are an heritage of the Lord, and " that "the fruit of the womb is his reward; that “happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them ;" and that the blessings of a religious household, so beautifully described by David, are among the richest gifts, both in providence and grace, that the bounty of our heavenly Father can bestow. His wife seated in the chair of domestic respect, 66 as a fruitful vine by the sides of" his "house;" his "children, like olive-plants, round about the " same "table," orderly, affectionate, and taught to love God-surely such a scene whether witnessed or anticipated, must impress the grateful husband who fears God with the conviction, that "thus blessed," he is blessed "out of Zion;" that these blessings are his as he fears God; and he trusts to "see the good of Jerusalem all the days of" his "life," even to " see his children's children, and peace upon Israel." 1 Thus connecting both his present and future happiness as well as that of his Child with the fear of God, he is most desirous of securing to him every spiritual blessing: and while it is his object to train him up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, as his truest happiness, it is also his object to assure himself, that God to whom he has devoted his Child, has a favourable

1 Psalm cxxviii.


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