Infant Baptism -- By: Horatio B. Hackett

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 06:1 (Spring 1963)
Article: Infant Baptism
Author: Horatio B. Hackett

Infant Baptism

H. B. Hackett1

The passages in the New Testament, which have been mainly relied on as proving the existence of infant baptism in the time of the Apostles, are Acts 16:15; 18:8; and I Corinthians 1:16. No decision in Biblical criticism, not absolutely unanimous, can be considered as better established at the present time, than that of the utter insufficiency of these passages to prove, or to justify the practice referred to, as an Apostolic institution. The following testimonies of men, who are admitted to possess the highest authority in regard to inquiries of this nature, may be taken as representing the attitude in which this subject now stands, as viewed in the light which the present state of Biblical learning has shed upon it. It gives weight to these testimonies, that they proceed from men whose ecclesiastical position would naturally dispose them to adopt a different view; who belong to a church that practices infant baptism, and who, for the most part, contend that it is proper to adhere to it, notwithstanding their acknowledgment that the usage has no Scriptural warrant.

Meyer (H. A. W.), in his Commentary on the Acts, remarks On 16:15 as follows:

Appeal is made to this passage, to 18:8 and I Corinthians 1:16, in order to prove the custom of infant baptism in the Apostolic age, or, at least, to

show its probability; but without reason. For that the baptism of children was not in use at that time

appears evidently from I Corinthians 7:14, where Paul could not have written, “Else were your children unclean…, but now are they holy…” if the children had been ecclesiastically holy by virtue of their baptism (For, according to this view, the Apostle could not have reasoned from the case of baptized children to that of the unbelieving, and consequently unbaptized, husband or wife, connected with a believing wife or husband.). Hence, if there were children in the families mentioned in the above passages, who were incapable of attaining to a perception of faith by means of instruction, (which it is very precarious at least to deny, i.e., that such children belonged to these families,) we must decide that they were excluded from the baptism which the other members of the household received. The readers understood that exclusion as a matter of course, since they knew the custom was ...
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