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dren are indeed unable to worship God. But they are capable of receiving the grace of God, which is secured to them by baptism ($ 110). And in this respect, at least, they may be said to be made disciples of Jesus by baptism, that they are, by this ordinance received into the nursery of God's church, into the school established for the purpose of training up worship
pers for him.
IV. The silence of the New Testament concerning the baptism of children, accounted for.—The Jews had always been accustomed to seeing children admitted as members of the church, and had never heard of the contrary custom.
Hence it was altogether unnecessary for Jesus to mention little children in particular in his command. Matth. 28: 19.
Matth. 28: 19. On the contrary, had he intended that they should be excluded, it would have been much more necessary for him to mention the particular and new exception. For this same reason it cannot be regarded as strange, that the children are not mentioned specifically in the accounts of baptisms, contained in the New Testament; for their reception among the people of God was nothing new or unexpected, and they are also not mentioned particularly in the command of circumcision (Acts 15: 1, 10. Gal. 6: 12, 13), although no one will contend that they were not meant to be included in it. And in perfect accordance with this, is the fact, that the baptism of women is particularly mentioned (Acts 8: 12), for it was something strange, as the old initiatory ceremony, circumcision, was not extended to them. Nor is it singular, that the few fragments of the works of uninspired writers of the earliest age which have survived the desolations of time, should contain nothing specific on this subject; for they well knew that the practice was no where objected to and occasioned no dispute. Some passages, however, are found in these writings, which do not indeed, particularly discuss infant baptism, but which speak of it as a custom universally known and prevalent.
Thus Irenaeus in speaking of this subject, uses the following language:1 “Omnes venit (Christus) per semetipsum salvare, omnes, qui per eum renascuntur in Deum, infantes, et parvulos, et pueros, et juvenes, et seniores,” i. e. “Christ came to bestow salvation upon all men, upon all who are dedicated to God in baptism, who are regenerated unto God, whether they be infants, or youths, or aged persons.” Schroeckh, in his “history of the christian church,” (Pt. III. ed. 2. p. 203 &c.) remarks, that the word renasci commonly signifies” baptism in the writings of Irenaeus and Justin, and adduces other proof of the early existence of pedobaptism. Wall's History of infant baptism, which was translated into Latin by Schlosser, with notes, deserves particular attention on this subject, Pt. I. ch. III. See also Suicer's Thesaurus (Tom. I. p. 647); Bingham's Origines ecclesiasticae (L. XI. c. 4), and Seiler's Theolog. dogm. polem. (p. 609).
V. Baptism was instituted in place of circumcision.—We find that baptism was compared to circumcision, even as early as the days of the apostles, as is evident from Col. 2: 11 &c. περιετμηθητε εν τη περιτομη του Χριστου-συνταφεντες αυτω εν τω βαπτισματι in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision of Christ-being buried with him in baptism &c. In the Dialogue of Justin with Trypho the Jew (edit. Colon. p. 261), we find the following passage : “ We have not received bodily circumcision, but spiritual circumcision through baptism; and all are equally at liberty to receive this ordinance, Taow οφελον ομοιως λαμβανειν.” It is evident from another passage (p. 241), which treats of the fact that females were not circumcised, that the meaning of this sentence is, that baptism is of
1 Coatra Haereses, L. II. c. 22. ! 4.
* For a clear and satisfactory proof of this point, the reader may conat she learned Dr. Mosheim's Sittenlehre, Tom. II. p. 99. III. p. 275. zizah Wall's Hist, of Baptism, Tom. I. p. 38.
much more extended application than corporeal circumcision, which was performed only on males; that this ordinance is to be performed, not only on the male part of the race (which includes children), but also on all, without exception, even on females (as to children there is not even any question). It is, moreover, evident, from the nature of the case, that in the institution of baptism, Christ had a reference to circumcision, just as he had to the Passover, in the institution of the Holy Supper (§ 109. III. 4). Just as instead of the Paschal supper, which was a new ordinance under the old covenant, and was instituted in commemoration of the cardinal ? blessing bestowed by God on his people, at the time when the Passover was celebrated the first time just as instead of this Paschal supper the Lord introduced the Holy Supper, as a new ordinance under the new covenant, in commemoration of that chief blessing which was given to his new people at the time when it was first celebrated ;3 so also did he introduce a rite, which had been known before, and by which persons were to be admitted to the new people of God, and set apart for christian instruction, instead of the more ancient ceremony, which had existed previously to the time of Moses, 4 and by which, according to the command of Moses, the members of God's ancient people were to be set apart for instruction in the doctrine and precepts of Moses.6
VI. The testimony of Origen on this subject, is found in his Comment. in Epist. ad Rom. 6:5—7. Tom. III. fol. 178,
1 Ex. 20: 2, “ I am Jehovah, thy God, who brought thee out of Egypt;"> with these words the publication of the Law begins. 2 Ex. 12: 17, 14, 24–27.
3 1 Cor. 11: 23. Luke 22: 20-22. 4 John 1: 25-28. 3: 22. Comp. $ 109. Ill. 4. 5 John 7: 22, 23. Lev. 12: 3.
6 Gal. 5: 3, s. Every one that is circumcised, is bound to fulfil the law.” Rom. 2: 25. John 9: 28.
Thus Irenaeus in speaking of this subject, uses th
all who are dedicated
V. Baptism was instituted in plac
des them from
Se admits that it is bodily circumcision, but spiritual ci e infants, when he and all are equally at liberty to
cy) hastens to obtain οφελον ομοιως λαμβανειν.” It is us aetas ad remissionem (p. 241), which treats of the fact lege that infant baptism cised, that the meaning of this his advice by arguments
s case, if
in the earrives addiof Tertullian, ifant baptism, he custom, if it ast effect on this uestion was agita'n on the second or ved; or whether, in o be baptized before irica, not even Cyprian Tertullian's views, even or hinted that a minister i only entertained different Japtism of children, but who . Finally, our position de.e case of the Pelagians in the
very difficult to reconcile infant and, if they had been able to asubtedly have done so. le utmost zeal against the charge of ronounced it false with the greatest nought of alleging that the custom was ty.
history of infant baptism during the first three cher's Dogmengeschichte, Vol. 2, p. 341-353.