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PÆDOBAPTISM EXAMINED,

ON THE

PRINCIPLES, CONCESSIONS,

AND

REASONINGS

OF THE

MOST LEARNED PÆDOBAPTISTS.

BY ABRAHAM BOOTH.

“ As certain also of your own poets have said.”—Paul.

“ This testimony of theirs, to me, is worth a thousand others; seeing it comes
from such as, in my opinion, are evidently interested to speak quite other-
wise.”- Daille'.

“ How happy it is to have to do with people that will talk pro and con! By
this means you furnish me with all I wanted; which was, to make you confute
yourselves."-PASCAL.

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PREFACE.

Having observed, for a course of years, that many of the most learned and eminent Pædobaptists, when theological subjects are under discussion, frequently argue on such principles, admit of such facts, interpret various texts of scripture in such a manner, and make such concessions, as are greatly in favour of the Baptists; I extracted a number of passages from their publications, and made many references to others, which I thought might be fairly pleaded against infant sprinkling. On reviewing these quotations and memoranda, I concluded, merely for my own private use, to employ some leisure hours in transcribing and arranging them, under different heads of the Pædobaptist controversy.

When I had made a considerable progress in the work of transcription and arrangement, Mr. Henry's Treatise on Baptism fell into my hands.f Prepossessed of a high regard for the character of that worthy author, I perused the treatise with care. Not convinced, however, by any thing contained in it, that the sprinkling of infants is an appointment of Christ; and being fully persuaded that Mr. Henry had employed his learning and zeal in defence of an unscriptural ceremony;

* N.B. As the terms infant sprinkling, wherever they occur in this Treatise, are used merely by way of distinction, and not of contempt; so the expressions, Pædo-baptism, and infant baptism, are used in compliance with general custom; not because the author thinks an infant is baptized, on 'whom water has been solemnly poured or sprinkled.

+ The Monthly Reviewers, after pronouncing this " the most popular defence of infant baptism and of the mode of sprinkling that hath appeared," very justly add; “Some reflections, however, which he casts on their [the Baptists] mode of baptism (which, perhaps, the editor might as well have omitted,)--are scarcely consistent with that candour and liberality which might have been expected from the author, and which, had he been now living, he would probably have discovered." Monthly Review, for April 1784, p. 313. My reader may see in what an iliiberal manner Mr. Henry has reflected on the baptismal immersion, and some animadversions upon it, Vol. I. Chap. IV. Reflect. VII. p. 231, this edition.

I determined to prosecute the subject with greater application, and to publish the result of my enquiries and thoughts concerning it. Such was the occasion of this publication.

The method of arguing here adopted, is far from being either novel or unfair: it has been used by the spirit of infallibility against Pagans ;* by Christians againsts the Jews;t by the Reformed against Roman Catholics; and by Protestant Dissenters against our English Conformists. I It is, in a particular manner, employed and pursued by the author of Popery confuted by Papists; a book, indeed, which I had not seen, till the far greater part of these pages was composed. The following words of that anonymous writer may be justly applied, mutatis mutandis, to the present subject. “I will call the church of Rome for a witness to our cause; and if she do not plainly confess the antiquity of our tenets, and the novelty of her own; if she herself do not proclaim the universality of our faith; if she do not

* Acts xvii. 28; Titus i. 12.

+ So Witsius, for instance, in his Judæus Christianizans, p. 276– 402; and Hoornbeekius, Contra Judæos, 1. ii.c.i.; 1. iv. c. ii.

A remarkable instance of this kind, is mentioned by Mr. Peirce, who having informed us, that Bp. Hoadly and Mr. Ollyfe wrote against Dr. Calamy, in defence of their own Conformity, adds; "It happened, as is very usual with our adversaries, that these two defended conformity upon different principles. Dr. Calamy, therefore, in his answer, set their arguments one against another, and so handsomely defended our cause- that the Dissenters looked upon themselves obliged, not only to the doctor for his defence, but to his antagonists, who gave him the occasion of writing." Vindicat. of Dissent. part i. p. 292.

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confess that we are both in the more certain and safe way in the Protestant church, I will neither refuse the name”*— of an Anabaptist, nor any part of that censure which is due to such a character.

Though I do not approve of every sentiment contained in the following quotations produced on behalf of the Baptists, yet, as the generality of those Pædobaptists, from whose writings the extracts were made, must be considered as persons of learning and eminence in the several communions to which they belonged; and as no small number of them were famous professors in Protestant universities, their declarations, in the argumentum ad hominem, cannot but have the utmost weight. Nor can their testimonies, concerning the signification of Greek terms, or the practice of the church in former ages, be hastily rejected, without incurring the imputation of gross ignorance, of enormous pride, or of shameful precipitancy. Considering the quotations adduced, and the characters of those writers from whom they were taken, it is presumed, 'that the leading ideas of another paragraph, in Popery confuted by Papists, may be here applied. “If these witnesses had been ignorant and unlearned men, or excommunicate persons in their own church — there might be some plea why their testimonies should not be admitted. But when the points in question are articles of their own creed; when they are witnessed by popes, by councils, by cardinals, by bishops, by learned doctors and schoolmen in their own church, on our behalf, and against their own tenets; I see no cause why I should not demand judgment in defence of our church, and trial of our cause. It is the law of God and man, ‘I will judge thee out of thine own mouth.'”+ Thus also Mr. Claude, when confuting the Roman Catholics; “I will make their authors that are not suspected by them

* Popery confuted by Papists, sect. viii. p. 43. + Ut supra, sect. x. p. 152.

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