Baptism Of Infants, And Their Church-Membership -- By: G. Frederick Wright

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 031:122 (Apr 1874)
Article: Baptism Of Infants, And Their Church-Membership
Author: G. Frederick Wright

Baptism Of Infants, And Their Church-Membership1

Rev. G. Frederick Wright

There are some who regard the subject of this Article as puerile, and pertaining to the mere externals of religion — a question which is scarce worthy the attention of masculine intellect at any time, least of all after it has been worn so threadbare as this is supposed to have been. If any such read as far as this, we trust they will read two or three sentences more. For we would remind them that it is the part neither of humility nor of wisdom to treat as unworthy of our notice any question which has stirred the Christian world so profoundly as this has done. For oftentimes the importance of a subject does not appear on the surface, but in its connections with truths that are underneath it, and which it represents.

It will be found, on close inspection, that the question of baptism connects itself with one’s whole system of divinity. Infant baptism, as we regard it, is a sacrament which has objective significance, and into which is compressed one half the New Testament theology. Theology is taught by it.

The faith of the church is expressed in it. The favor of God is pledged in connection with it. It is the symbolic language in which the faith of the church may rise to its highest degree of strength. That faith, where it is faith, and not superstition, places the baptized person in such relations to God’s plan of operations, that God can wisely, and will, according to his promise, do more to secure his salvation than he otherwise could.

In the economy of grace, prayer for the salvation of men puts them in the way of receiving more abundant ministrations of the Spirit. Infant baptism is, on the part of parent and church, a confession, a prayer, a pledge, and a hope, embodied in one sacrament. It is a confession of the universal reign of sin, except where grace abounds, a prayer for the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, a pledge of faithfulness in Christian nurture, and a monument of the hope that the prayer will be answered, and that, through the divine blessing, the nurture will accomplish its designed results. As being the most objective and public expression of this faith that can be made on the part of the parent and the church, God, on his part binds himself in this act more than in any other, to fulfil his promise, and bestow peculiar blessings upon the children thus consecrated to him. Not that we can presume upon the conversion of all on the mere fact of their having been baptized. But we can safely presume that where infant baptism is properly defined and held up before the church, and is intelligently practised, children will have, in...

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