On the Decline of Infant Baptism, see Vedder, in Baptist Review, April, 1882:173-189, who shows that in fifty years past the proportion of infant baptisms to communicants in general, has decreased from one in seven to one in eleven. Among the Reformed, the proportion has decreased from one in twelve to one in twenty, among the Presbyterians it has gone from one in fifteen to one in thirty-three. Among the Methodists it has dropped from one in twenty-two to one in twenty-nine and among the Congregationalists it is from one in fifty to one in seventy-seven.
(f) The evil effects of infant baptism are a strong argument against it:
First, in forestalling the voluntary act of the child baptized, and thus practically preventing his personal obedience to Christ?s commands.
The person baptized in infancy has never performed any act with intent to obey Christ?s command to be baptized, never has put forth a single volition looking toward obedience to that command. See Wilkinson, The Baptist Principle, 40-46. Every man has the right to choose his own wife. So every man has the right to choose his own Savior.
Secondly, in inducing superstitious confidence in an outward rite as possessed of regenerating efficacy.
French parents still regard infants before baptism as only animals (Stanley). The haste with which the minister is summoned to baptize the dying child shows that superstition still lingers in many an otherwise evangelical family in our own country. The English Prayerbook declares that in baptism the infant is ?made a child of God and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.? Even the Westminster Assembly?s Catechism, 28:6, holds that grace is actually conferred in baptism, though the efficacy of it is delayed till riper years. Mercersburg Review: ?The objective medium or instrumental cause of regeneration is baptism. Men are not regenerated outside the church and then brought into it for preservation but they are regenerated by being incorporated with or engrafted into the church through the sacrament of baptism.? Catholic Review: ?Without baptism, these little ones go into darkness but baptized, they rejoice in the presence of God forever.?
Dr. Beebe of Hamilton went after a minister to baptize his sick child but before he returned the child died. Reflection made him a Baptist and the Editor of The Examiner. Baptists unhesitatingly permit converts to die without baptism, showing plainly that they do not regard baptism as essential to salvation. Baptism no more makes one a Christian than
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