The Baptists are the most ancient portion of the christian church, having existed upwards of 1800 years; from the beginning of the christian dispensation, through the dark ages, to the present period.
The Author of Christianity, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, and the Judge of all, was a baptist. The baptists own no mere man as their founder, but the Head of the Church himself. He was himself buried beneath the waters of the Jordan by his forerunner, John the Baptist, Matthew iii. 13-17. He requires all his followers to be buried with him in baptism, Matthew xxviii. 19. The apostles and primitive christians were all baptists, Acts ii. 41; ix. 18; Romans vi. 4; Colossians ii. 12. Those called the Greek and Latin fathers were originally baptists. Some of them had believing parents, and yet they were not baptized till manhood. The first British christians, for upwards of 400
years, were baptists, from the introduction of Christianity into this island till the introduction of popery, about 600 years after Christ.
Infant baptism and Popery were introduced into this country at the same time; and while infant baptism remains, Popery will fall; they rose together, and they will both fall together. Infants cannot obey the command to be baptized, and none is required to obey for them; nay more, they cannot be baptized, for baptism without the faith and obedience of the individual baptized is no more than bathing, and goes for nothing, as it cannot possibly be accepted of God, Romans xiv. 23. There is no such thing in the word of God as religion by proxy, Ezekiel xviii. 19, 20. Children have no claim to religious ordinances, whether they have believing parents or no, Matthew iii. 8, 9. The child of a savage, an idolater, a Mahommedan, or an infidel, has as much right to baptism as the child of the holiest man in the world; that is to say, none of them have any right at all. We cannot give baptism to our children, because there is no command nor example for it in the word of God. We do not read in all the New Testament of one child being baptized. Christ did not baptize babes, he only took them up in his arms and blessed them. Let the ministers of Jesus Christ, if they think this a duty, only do the same. Repentance, faith, and the new birth must go before baptism, Acts ii. 38; viii. 37.
The burial of the body in water is essential to baptism. Sprinkling is no more baptism than drinking is baptism. Sprinkling is not dipping, but dipping is baptism; therefore sprinkling is not baptism. The person on whom water has been only sprinkled is not baptized, no more than the person on whom a few drops of water have been sprinkled is not bathed. Baptism is a figurative death, burial, and resurrection; in which the person consciously and voluntarily goes down into the water, and gives himself up to be buried in it, showing forth his union with Christ, his death unto sin, and his resurrection unto a new life, Romans vi. 3, 4; Galatians iii. 27. Dipping has been practised in every age from the days of John the Baptist until now. Sprinkling or pouring was not brought into use till long after the days of the apostles; and dipping was the practice in Britain till the days of John Knox and Thomas Cranmer, not 300 years ago, when sprinkling by degrees crept in. And still dipping is the rule of the Church of England, and the universal practice of the Greek, Russian, and Abyssinian, and other eastern churches. The baptists are not of yesterday; their antiquity is coeval with the antiquity of Christianity. Ye who love the Lord Jesus, keep his commandments, and follow the Lamb whithersover he goeth.
[From Joseph Folks Winks, editor, Baptist Reporter and Missionary Intelligencer, Volume 20, London, England, 1846, pp. 159-160. Document from Google Books On-line. Scanned and Formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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