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THE NEW YORK
PUBLIC LIBRARY

155848

THDEN FOUNDATIONS.
1899.

SOME perfon, acquainted with my defign, announced in a publick News-Paper, in the beginning of the laft fummer, my intention to publifh a Treatife on the Subjects and Modes of Baptifm. The work was then commenced, but its completion and publication have been greatly retarded by the prevalence of Sickness and Mortality, within the limits of the Parish with which I am connected.

Diftria of Maffachusetts, to wit:

it remembered, that on the Twenty-fixth day of March United States of America, John Reed, of the faid District, hath depofited in this Office the Title of a Book the Right whereof he claims as Author in the words following, to wit; "An Apol

66

ogy for the Rite of Infant Baptifm and for the ufual modes "of Baptifing-in which an attempt is made to ftate fairly "and clearly the arguments in proof of thefe doctrines; and "alfo to refute the objections and reafonings alleged againft "them by the Rev. Daniel Merrill and by the Baptifts in gen"eral. By JOHN REED, D. D. Paftor of a Church and Con"gregation in Bridgewater."

In conformity to the Act of the Congrefs of the United States, entitled "An Act for the encouragement of Learning, "by fecuring the copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the

Authors and Proprietors of fuch copies, during the times "therein mentioned ;" and alfo to an Act entitled, " An A&

fupplementary to an Act, entitled an Act for the encourage"ment of Learning, by fecuring the copies of Maps, Charts "and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of fuch copies "during the times therein mentioned; and extending the ben"efits thereof to the arts of defigning, engraving and etching. "hiftorical and other prints."

N. GOODALE, Clerk of the District of Massachusetts.

A true copy of Record.

Atteft,

N GOODALE, Clerk.

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INTRODUCTION.

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with the refpectable Friends and Acquaintance, I now prefent the Publick with an Apology for the Rite of infant Baptifm, and for the ufual modes of baptizing. My intention is to fhow, that thefe Do&rines, which have been so strenuously oppofed, or wholly neglected by fome, are of great importance, and clearly authorised in the facred fcriptures.

Although the understanding ought always to control and regulate the paffions, yet in common experience, we often fee the reverse. We fee reafon dethroned and enflaved. The paffions predominate and draw afide rational creatures into fuch opinions. and practices as are unreafonable and immoral.

Many perfons, who profefs a regard for moral obligation, and the great duties of morality, are ready to imagine that they may with the utmoft fafety and propriety, treat with indifference or contempt, those inftitutions of Heaven, which are of a pofitive and facramental nature.

We readily admit that a competent degree of evidence is requifite, in order to convince us rationally, that an external Rite or Sacrament is of divine appoint

ment; but voluntary ignorance or unbelief, through inattention, prejudice, pride, or any other criminal defect or caufe, will never excufe us from guilt.

A fincere and prevailing difpofition to know the will of God, and to obey his requirements, whether of a pofitive or moral nature, is effential to true holiness. That person, therefore, who confiders and treats pofitive inftitutions, in a contemptuous or negligent manner, commits a crime of the moft heinous and daring nature. He impiously arraigns the Wifdom, Goodness, and Authority, of Almighty God.

"Sacraments are pofitive Rites, and in "themselves different from moral virtues ; "but a difpofition to obey God and Christ, " is a moral virtue, and there can be no mo"rality without it. To obey the divine "Commands, is a moral excellency, al"though that obedience may confift in a "conformity to pofitive Rites."

Abraham was commanded to facrifice his Son. This was an unnatural and pofitive order; but his obedience to that hard command, was a moral virtue of a moft exalted and excellent nature. The Ifraelites were commanded to fprinkle the blood of the pafchal Lamb, upon the posts of their doors. This was a pofitive order, and not in itself neceffary to their prefervation; but it was made the indifpenfable condition of

being spared. They who neglected to comply, were expofed to the fatal and inevitable ftroke of the deftroying Angel.

Inftitutes of a pofitive nature are evidently important; and to obferve them, is our incumbent duty. The Christian Baptifm is an ordinance of great importance; inftituted by Chrift himself, and conftituted the difcriminating Token of regular admiffion into his vifible Kingdom.

Chriftians of every denomination, will allow that our Saviour exprefsly commanded his Apoftles to baptize; and that baptifm was adminiftered by them, and by their fucceffors, in the times of primitive Chrif tianity.

The Quakers are the only fect who pretend that the ordinances of Water Baptifm and of the Lord's Supper, ought to be dif continued. Their principles and practice in these refpe&ts are fingular and ftrange, but not unaccountable; for they hold that the Spirit of God is of higher authority than his Word, and a fuperior rule of faith and practice.

I have not, however, in the following Apology, undertaken to confute the Quaker fyftem. My fole object has been, to vindicate the doctrine of infant baptifm, and the ufual modes of baptizing, by endeavouring to state in a fair and confpicuous manner, the arguments in favour of thefe practices;

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and by attempting to answer and confute the objections and reafonings alleged against them, by Mr. Merrill, and the principal Baptift writers.

The Work is divided into four principal parts.

The 1ft Part has reference to the fubjects of Baptifm.

The 2d Part has reference to the Modes of Baptizing.

The 3d Part is a brief account of the evidence refulting from hiftory, and especially in proof of the right, of the infant children of believing parents, to baptifm.

The 4th Part is an Appendix, confifting of familiar queftions and answers, adapted to perfons of different prejudices and capacities, and fuited to the present flate and circumftances of the controversy.

In executing this plan, I have expreffed my thoughts with refpect to three of the former parts, in a series of letters addreffed to the Rev. DANIEL MERRILL, now the Paftor of a Baptist Church in Sedgwick.

I have preferred the epiftolary method of writing, fuppofing it would be the most interefting and intelligible. I have addreffed thefe letters to Mr. Merrill, because that gentleman, having been a Congregational Minifter for feveral years, has of late altered his principles and practice, and has publifhed a number of fermons, &c. against the

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