Wordsworth, The Excursion, 596, 602 (book 5) ? ?At the baptismal font. And when the pure And consecrating element hath cleansed The original stain, the child is thus received Into the second ark, Christ?s church, with trust That he, from wrath redeemed therein shall float Over the billows of this troublesome world To the fair land of everlasting life...The holy rite That lovingly consigns the babe to the arms Of Jesus and his everlasting care.? Infant baptism arose in the superstitious belief that there lay in the water itself a magical efficacy for the washing away of sin and that apart from baptism there could be no salvation. This was and still remains the Roman Catholic position. Father Doyle, in Anno Domini, 2:182 ? ?Baptism regenerates. By means of it the child is born again into the newness of the supernatural life.? Theodore Parker was baptized, but not till he was four years old, when his ?Oh, don?t!? ? In which his biographers have found prophetic intimation of his mature dislike for all conventional forms ? was clearly the small boy?s dislike of water on his face. See Chadwick, Theodore Parker, 6, 7. ?How do you know, my dear, that you have been christened?? ?Please, mum, ?cos I?ve got the marks on my arm now, mum!?
Fourthly, in destroying the church as a spiritual body, by merging it in the nation and the world.
Ladd, Principles of Church Polity: ?Unitarianism entered the Congregational churches of New England through the breach in one of their own avowed and most important tenets, namely that of a regenerate church membership. Formalism, indifferentism, neglect of moral reforms and, as both cause and results of these, an abundance of unrenewed men and women were the causes of their seeming disasters in that sad epoch.? But we would add that the serious and alarming decline of religion, which culminated in the Unitarian movement in New England, had its origin in infant baptism. This introduced into the church a multitude of unregenerate persons and permitted them to determine its doctrinal position.
W. B. Matteson: ?No one practice of the church has done so much to lower the tone of its life and to debase its standards. Godly and regenerated men established the first New England Churches. They received into their churches, through infant baptism, children presumptively but alas not actually, regenerated. The result is well known swift, startling, seemingly irresistible decline. ?The body of the rising generation,? writes Increase Mother, ?is a poor perishing, inconverted, and, except the Lord pour out his Spirit, an undone generation.? The ?Halfway Covenant? was at once a token of preceding, and a cause of
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