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Baptism

What is baptism? Let any good Greek Lexicon be taken and it will be found that the verb Baptizo means, "to dip in or under water." This word is derived from Bapto which means "to dip in water," or in dye." Hence Baptismos, baptism, means " dipping" or" immersion," and Baptisma, "what is immersed." In no place does the word mean sprinkling. Of course in an English dictionary you may find the following, "Baptism, the initiatory rite or sacrament of the Christian church, by solemn immersion in or sprinkling with water (Gr. Bapto, to dip in water)." A child knows that "to dip", does not mean "to sprinkle." The question is, Has God two ways in baptism, "dipping in water," and "sprinkling with water," and He leaves it to man's choice as to which way he shall choose to be baptized? Those who have some little knowledge of God's word know that to choose for ourselves is the very essence of the meaning of heresy.

Then again, we have different views of who should be baptized. In the large sects of Christendom,. Infant Baptism or rather Infant Sprinkling is practised as though this were the Lord's will. A leading German writer (Hahn) says, "Neither in the Scriptures nor during the first one. hundred and fifty years is a sure example of Infant Baptism to be found."

We are told that "not until the third century, and then springing from Africa, do we get in history the Baptism of Infants."

Olshausen, another German writer, says

"The condition of the Church since the third century imperatively demanded the introduction of Infant Baptism. Christian Baptism sank, as it were, to the grade of John's Baptism, and the whole Church had sunk down to the legal state. Again (1 Corinthians 7.14), it is clear that Paul would not have chosen this kind of proof had Infant Baptism been in use at the time."

This writer draws a distinction between Infant Baptism and Christian Baptism. The statements of these German writers are of very great importance to all in whose hearts the fear of God is and love for His word; if the baptism (or sprinkling) of infants is not taught in the Scriptures, and there is no example of it found in history for the first one hundred and fifty years of this Christian era, and also that it was introduced in Africa in the third century when things spiritual were at a low ebb, when the apostacy had swept over Christendom, what has the God-fearing believer to do with it? Nothing at all, if he will take God's word as his guide. Yet despite what we say, the evil introduced in apostate times still has its numerous votaries and adherents. A writer over sixty years ago wrote-"I am persuaded that so long as Infant Baptism is practised Popery will have a door set wide enough for its return. It is one of those nests which must come down, or the foul birds will build again in it. As long as you give baptism to an unregenerate child, people will imagine that it must do the child good; for they will ask, If it does not do any good, why is it baptized? The statement that it puts children into the covenant, or renders them members of the visible Church, is only a veiled form of the fundamental error of baptismal regeneration."

These are very forceful and wise words. But have men believed that Infant Baptism brings some good to the child? Think of the following statements. "Baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven." Church of England.

"Not only persons who are come to the use of reason, but also little children,

and infants newly born, if they die without Baptism, do go into everlasting fire." Augustine.

"If infants are guilty of original sin, in the ordinary way, they cannot be

saved unless this be washed away by Baptism."

John Wesley.

"But how God will deal with persons unbaptized we cannot tell."

G. Whitfield.

"Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament... whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church."

Presbyterian Catechism.

"I only add that your Baptism in the midst of confusion was bona fide, the same as your child's. I was exercised in the same way; but I felt I was introduced in good faith into the church as a public profession in the world, and that is what Baptism is-I was christened."

"The good done to them [infants] is that they are brought within, into the House, where the Holy Ghost dwells, to be brought up."

"The state of individuals in their souls has nothing to do with it,'

J. N. Darby, " Letters," Vol.11, pp.838, 889.

"If a child is baptized as a ceremony without faith, it is of no value. On the other hand, if I bring my child in faith to Christ in it, who shall deny my

right to the blessed assurance that He does receive him?"

F. W. Grant.

F. W. Grant in order to prove the faith of the parent giving value to the baptism of his infant, alludes to the healing of the palsied man in Matthew 9., and says,

"And when Jesus saw their faith He saith unto the sick of the palsy. 'what? rise and walk? Nay, blessed be God! 'Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.' And I have no right to ask, But, had he not faith in himself? Scripture, perfect in all things, tells me it was faith in them, not faith in him, that Jesus saw. And I cannot be wrong in saying, therefore, that here we have express assurance of the fact that He does give forgiveness of sins itself to one on the faith of others."

Here is a bold theory which is utterly at variance with the teaching of this miracle and with all New Testament teaching as to the need of personal faith in Christ on the part of the person who is forgiven his sins. We cite two scriptures only, but there are many of like kind - Acts 10.43, and Acts 13.38, 39, to prove that forgiveness of sins is the portion of a believing sinner and is never given through the proxyship of another's faith. One might think that Greek scholars would support F. W. Grant, but here is what

Alford says:

"Auton [their] must be supposed to include the sick man, who was at least a consenting party to the bold step which they took."

Bengel says:

"Ten Pistin Auton, 'their faith '-i.e., of him who was borne, and of them

who bare him."

F. W. Grant's contention is destructive of the faith of the gospel. As stated above, he says:

"Here we have express assurance of the fact that He does give forgiveness of sins itself to one on the faith of others."

No more blighting, withering doctrine could be propounded to bolster up Infant Baptism.

F. W. Grant further says:

"Baptism was the reception out of the Kingdom of Satan, the world of which he was prince, into the Kingdom of Heaven, where Christ was the acknowledged Lord. Holiness characterised the latter, as sin the former. True, men might come into the Kingdom and be unholy; they might sleep, and tares be sown among the wheat; but this did not alter God's Word as to what was His."

Here is baptismal regeneration root and branch. The change effected in Infant Baptism delivers the infant out of the Kingdom of Satan into the Kingdom of Heaven. See Matthew 13. as to the parable of the tares of the field, and it will be seen that the wheat are the sons of the Kingdom and the tares the sons of the evil one, so that if an infant is out of the Kingdom of Satan, then the infant must be a saved person, which is just what F. W. Grant says about the forgiveness of sins, that such is the portion of one on the ground of the faith of others, so that if the child is baptized on the faith of the parents then it is secure from divine punishment, for it is comparable to wheat.

J. N. Darby says, as we have quoted above, that the infant by Infant Baptism is brought within, "into the House where the Holy Ghost dwells." No unregenerate person can be in the House, which we understand to mean God's house, as will be clearly seen from 1 Peter 2.2-5, that only such as have tasted that the Lord is gracious, and who are described as living stones, having received eternal life from Christ by faith, are built up a spiritual house. No unregenerate infant or adult can be in God's house. Also it will be seen in 1 Corinthians 3.9-17 that those who form God's building or temple, when their works are tried by fire at the judgement seat of Christ, may have all their works destroyed by fire, yet they themselves shall be saved. J. N. Darby's teaching is nothing less than baptismal regeneration. It is this old lie of the Devil dressed up in another way. Well the Devil knows that many of God's children would reject at once the teaching of Rome, that unbaptized infants, and adults as well, go to everlasting fire, and that of the Church of England, that infants become children of God by baptism, but they are deceived by men like Darby, Grant and others who taught what is actually the same thing by different phraseology. Darby says that the infant is brought by baptism into God's House, and Grant that it is in the Kingdom of Heaven, and if Grant's logic means anything, the faith of the parents brings to the Infant the forgiveness of sins, sins yet uncommitted, or is it original sin? This is Rome's teaching again, and the teaching of others also.

But, we ask, how can the parents of an infant have faith in the baptism, or sprinkling, of their infant? Faith we are told comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10.17). There is no scripture for Infant Baptism, hence there can be no faith in God ii, regard to it.

Hear what C. H. Mackintosh wrote in a letter to Andrew Miller of London, which was printed in "Things New and Old," Vol. XV., 1872.

"I am glad you have called my attention to my little book, 'Thou and Thy House.' I am aware of the use which has been made of it in a recent tract on the subject of Baptism-a use which I consider to be aught but disingenuous.

With the theory of that tract I have no sympathy whatever; still less with its monstrous statements. I believe the course of some of our friends in urging on the question of Baptism will, unless God in His mercy interposes, lead to disastrous results. I complain not of any who conscientiously hold this or that view on the subject; but I do complain of those who, instead of preaching and teaching Jesus Christ, are disturbing the minds of God's people by pressing Infant Baptism upon them. For my own part seeing the question has thus been forced upon me-I can only say I have for thirty-two years been asking in vain for a single line of Scripture for baptizing any save believers, or those who profess to believe. Reasonings I have had, inferences, conclusions and dedictions, but of direct scripture authority not one tittle. I may further add that there is not a word about Baptism from beginning to end of my book, 'Thou and Thy House.'"

C. H. Mackintosh a most voluminous and illuminated writer of the early brethren who was in fellowship with Mr. Darby, called from 1840, for thirty-two years, for one line of Scripture in proof of Infant Baptism, but got none, nor is one line of Scripture forthcoming yet, though one hundred and twelve years have rolled by. It was unknown as we have quoted earlier in this article, for the first one hundred and fifty years of this Christian era. Why then do the most of the Exclusive brethren hold, teach and practise this unscriptural form of baptism, so-called? The answer is, that they are dutiful followers of J. N. Darby. They are Darby's, not the Lord's disciples, for Darby never was baptized, but Christ was. He says himself, " I was christened." Christened I have no doubt in the Church of England, and that to him was as good as disciple baptism commanded by the Lord in Matthew 28.19, and good also to an exclusive brother who follows Mr. Darby. If he were sprinkled by Romish priest, and so saved, according to Rome, from everlasting fire, or by a Church of England clergyman, and was made, according to them, a child of God, that is to J. N. Darby and his followers scriptural baptism, and accepted by God, so they say. Alas! alas!

The Scriptures say that "there is none that doeth good, no, not so much as one" (Romans a. 12), which means that no unregenerate person can do good in God's sight. No one can do good until saved by grace, and "created in Christ Jesus for good works" (Ephesians 2.8-10). But here, in this exclusive theory, baptism, which is part of God's will for disciples in this dispensation, may take place when the persons are unregenerate and later be put to their credit as obedience to His will when they have been saved by grace through faith. Such reasoning is the height of folly and entirely contrary to God's word.

In order to bolster up this teaching of Infant Baptism they have recourse to what is called" Household Baptism." Here is yet another kind of baptism. We have " Disciple or Christian Baptism " (Matthew 28.19), Infant Baptism (no scripture), and "Household Baptism" (Acts 16. is cited as proving this) and Paul the apostle, of all persons, is saddled with the responsibility of instructing Lydia and the jailor of Philippi that their infant children and the unsaved members of their households should be baptized. This is that Paul who teaches that unsaved people are dead in trespasses and sins, that they are children of wrath and sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2.1-8), that not one of them can do any good, that their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit (see Romans 3.9-18 as to the charge that is laid against the unregenerate), these are to be baptized if they are in the household of a believer in Christ, simply because they are in such a household, either children or servants. Such are to be brought on to Christian ground, to be brought into the House of God where the Holy Spirit dwells, according to J. N. Darby, and into the Kingdom, according to F. W. Grant. Darby has the effrontery to say, "The state of individuals in their souls has nothing to do with it." Satan himself could not deny more definitely what the Lord said in Matthew 28.17 regarding making disciples and then baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Saved and unsaved are to be baptized according to Darby's dictum, for the state of their souls has nothing to do with baptism, so says Darby, but the Lord says that they are to be disciples. Whom are we to believe? The answer is obvious.