THE question - running through all of Christendom, and underlying all the church forms of this and past ages - Are we children of God by faith or by baptism? distinguishes Baptists from all others. SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND infants were made members of the Roman Catholic establishment called the church, in these United States during the year 1889.* These infants were in the estimation of Romanists regenerated, made children of God and stamped with a spiritual character - captured in their cradles and enslaved to the pope and his church, to be taught that this capture and enslavement is
* According to statistics published by the bishop of Kansas City.
regeneration and adoption into God's family. An equal number, or nearly so, were made members of Christs' body, his church (in the estimation of protestant Pedo-Baptists), during the same period. Over against these six hundred thousand unconscious infants made children of God by baptism, were ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND persons baptized on a public profession of faith in the Lord Jesus, - baptized because they were children of God by faith. There stands the contrast, and the conflict. Are men regenerated, pardoned, brought into covenant with God, made members of the church, or children of God by faith or baptism? It has been the conflict of the ages. It is the battle of the churches. It will continue to be the dividing line till Christ comes. To make this clear, we give first the doctrine and then the form of baptism in the Roman church.
Doctrines of Rome Concerning Baptism
“Why,” says the Romanist catechism “do you say that men are regenerated and sanctified to life everlasting?
“Because in Baptism we are not only cleansed from all sin but are also transformed, in a Spiritual manner made holy, children of God and heirs of heaven.”
This answer, which the child must repeat as a part of his day school education, is according to the Council of Trent which says:“If one says that the sin of Adam . . . . is taken away, either by the powers of human nature or by any other remedy than the merit of the One Mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . . or denies that the merit of Jesus
Christ, duly conferred by the sacrament of baptism in the church form, is applied to adults as well as to children - let him be accursed.” - Sess v. 4. “If any one deny that the imputation of original sin is remitted by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, or even asserts that the whole of that which has the true and proper character of sin, is not taken away, but only not imputed— let him he accursed.” - Sess. V. 8.
“If any one say that grace is not given by sacraments of this kind always and to all, so far as God’s part is concerned, but only at times, and to some, although they be duly received - let him be accursed.” “If any one say that by the sacraments of the New Covenant themselves, grace is not conferred by the efficacy of the rite (opus operatum), but that faith alone is sufficient for obtaining grace—let him be accursed.” “If any one say that in three sacraments, i.e., baptism, confirmation, and orders, a character is not impressed upon the soul, i. e., a certain spiritual and indelible mark (for which reason they cannot be repeated) - let him be accursed.” - See. vii., cap. 7–9.
“By baptism, putting on Christ, we are made a new creation in Him, obtaining plenary and entire remission of all sins.”The gross materialism - “the efficacy” of a touch, a rite, “impressing on the soul an indelible mark,” is magic. The ancient magicians taught that spells, by the efficacy of the rite, a brute might be changed into a man or a man into a brute, and still the degrading superstition is held by so-called “learned priests,” in this nineteenth century.
But here is the unvarnished doctrine of Rome - not half uttered and obscured as in the Episcopal catechism - “Wherein I was made a child of God and heir of Christ and inheritor of the kingdom of heaven,” but plainly avowed “By baptism we are made new creatures " children of God by baptism, and not as the Bible teaches, by faith in Jesus Christ.
The Manner of Romanist Baptism
Corresponding with the cabalistic magics attached to baptism are the pompous and ridiculous ceremonies attached to it.
The present form of administering baptism in the church of Rome is as follows: - When a child is to be baptized, the persons who bring it wait at the door of the church for the priest, who comes thither in his surplice and his purple stole, surrounded by his clerks. He begins by questioning the godfathers, whether they promise in the child's name to live and die in the true catholic and apostolic faith; and what name they would give to the child. Then follows an exhortation to the sponsors, after which the priest, calling the child by its name, asks, “What dost thou demand of the Church 2". The godfather answers “Eternal life.” The priest proceeds, “If thou art desirous of obtaining eternal life, keep God's commandments, - “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God,' etc.; after which he breathes three times in the child’s face, saying, “Come out of this child, thou evil spirit, and make room for the Holy Ghost.” Then he makes the sign of the cross on the child's forehead and breast, saying, “Receive the sign of the cross on thy forehead and in thy heart,” upon which, taking off his cap he repeats a short prayer, and laying his hand gently on the child's head; repeats a second prayer, then he blesses some salt, and putting a little of it into the child's mouth, he says, “Receive the salt of wisdom.” All this is performed at the church door. Afterwards, the priest, with the godfathers and godmothers,
come into the church, and advancing toward the font, repeat the Apostles' Creed and the Lord's Prayer. Arrived at the font, the priest again exorcises the evil spirit, and taking a little of his own spittle, with the thumb of his right hand rubs it on the child's ears and nostrils, repeating as he touches the right ear, the same word Ephphatha, “be thou opened,” which our Savior made use of to the man born deaf and dumb. Lastly, they pull off its swaddling clothes, or strip it below the shoulders, during which the priest prepares the oil. The sponsors then hold the child directly over the font, observing to turn it due east and west; whereupon the priest asks the child whether he renounces the devil and his all works, and the godfather having answered in the affimative, the priest anoints the child between the shoulders in the form of a cross; then taking some of the consecrated water, he pours part of it thrice on the child's head, at each perfusion calling on one of the persons of the Holy Trinity. The priest concludes the ceremony of baptism with an exhortation.
The reasons for these priestly and indeed pagan ceremonies, are given in Deharbe's Catechism - used among Romanists in America.
4. “What is Baptism? Baptism is a Sacrament in which, by water and the word of God, we are cleansed from all sin, and regenerated and sanctified in Christ to life everlasting.
5. Why do you say that we are baptized by water and the word of God’? Because Baptism is administered whilst water is poured over the head or over the body of him who is baptized, and whilst, at the same time, these words are pronounced: “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
6. Why do you say that ‘in Baptism we are cleansed from all sins'? Because in Baptism original sins and all the sins committed before Baptism, are forgiven.
7. Is also the punishment due to sin remitted? Yes; the temporal as well as the eternal punishment is remitted in Baptism.
8. Why, then, are we, even after Baptism, still subject to some effects of original sin, as death, concupiscence, and many tribulations and infirmities? I. That we ourselves may experience how punishable and pernicious sin is; and hate it so much the more; and II. That we may increase our merits for Heaven by our Combats and sufferings.
9. Why do you further say that we are ‘regenerated and sanctified to life everlastings”? Because in Baptism we are not only cleansed from all sin, but are also transformed in spiritual manner, made holy, children of God and heirs of Heaven.
10. By what is this regeneration and sanctification effected? It is affected by the grace of sanctification, which, together with the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, the Holy Ghost infuses into the soul in Baptism.
11. And why do you say that we are regenerated and sanctified “in Christ"?
To signify that all these graces are given to us, because by Baptism we are united with Christ and incorporated into His Church.
12. When did Christ give the commandment to baptize?
Before His Ascension, when He said to His Apostles: ‘Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Holy Ghost.”
13. Who can validly baptize?
Any person; but, except in cases of necessity, only priests, who have care of souls, are allowed to baptize.
14. Is the Baptism given by non-Catholics also valid?
Yes; it is valid, if they strictly observe in it all that is necessary for Baptism.
15. What sort of water should be used in Baptism?
Any natural water will do for the validity of Baptism. However, when possible, baptismal water, or water blessed for the purpose, should be used. - Art. Baptism, p. 249.
Such are the teachings and forms of the Romanist Church in regard to the six hundred thousand captured infants during 1889 in these United States. Contrast it with the statement of their faith by the Baptists of Switzerland, quoted by Zwingle, at the dawn of the Reformation, before the times of Simon Menno, and as affirmed in his dungeon by De Roore, as given in our last number.
The Manner of Romanist Baptism
“Baptism ought to be given to all who have been taught repentance and change of life, and who in truth believe that through Christ their sins are blotted out (abolita) and the sins of all who are willing (volunt), to walk in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and who are willing to be buried with him into death, that they may rise again with him. To all, therefore, who in this manner seek baptism, and of themselves ask us we will give it. By this rule are excluded all baptisms of infants, the great abomination of the Roman pontiff. For this article we have the testimony and strength of Scripture, we have also the practice of the Apostles; which things we simply and also steadfastly will observe, for we are assured of them.” We repeat the words with which we commenced this article: Children of God by Faith or by Baptism, that is the question,
the battle word, the boundary and the essential difference between Baptists and all others. Baptists cling to God's truth. - We are all children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, and without this, no church membership, No BAPTISM, NOTHING.
( To be continued.)
[S. H. Ford, editor, The Christian Repository, 1890, pp. 113-119. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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