Newspaper Articles for Fermanagh Times for Feb - March, 1907
The Church Without a Name, The Truth, Two By Twos, 2x2s
THE FERMANAGH TIMES
NOTE: This newspaper is no longer being published.
1907 The Fermanagh Times, Co. Fermanagh, N. Ireland (no longer in business)
1907, Feb 07, Pg8 - Correspondence: The Pilgrims at Ballycassidy
1907, Feb 14, Pg6 - Correspondence: The Pilgrims at Ballycassidy
1907, Feb 21, Pg2 - Correspondence: The Pilgrims at Ballycassidy-John West's reply
1907, Feb 28, Pg3 - Correspondence: The Pilgrims at Ballycassidy
1907, Mar. 7, British Library advises none published for this date (letter of 5/25/95)
1907, Mar 14, Pg 2 - Correspondence: The Pilgrims at Ballycassidy-Question of Infant Baptism
1907, Mar 21, Pg 7 - Correspondence: The Pilgrims at Ballycassidy-Question of Infant Baptism
1907, Mar 28, Pg ? - Correspondence: The Pilgrims at Ballycassidy-Question of Infant Baptism
1907, Apr 4, Pg 6 - Correspondence: The Pilgrims at Ballycassidy-Question of Infant Baptism
1907, Apr 11, Pg 7 - Correspondence: The Pilgrims at Ballycassidy-Question of Infant Baptism
1907, Apr 18, Pg 7 - Correspondence: The Pilgrims at Ballycassidy-Question of Infant Baptism
1907, Apr 25, Pg 7 - Correspondence: The Pilgrims at Ballycassidy-Question of Infant Baptism
1907, May 2, Pg 3 - Correspondence: The Pilgrim Controversy-Question of Infant Baptism
1907, May 9 - (no article printed)
May 16, 1907, Pg 2 - Correspondence: The Pilgrim Controversy-Question of Infant Baptism
May 23, 1907, Pg 3 - Correspondence: The Pilgrim Controversy-Question of Infant Baptism
May 30, 1907, Pg 6 - Correspondence: The Pilgrim Controversy-Question of Infant Baptism
June 6, 1907, Pg 7 - Correspondence: The Pilgrim Controversy-Question of Infant Baptism
June 13, 1907, Pg 6 - Correspondence: The Pilgrim Controversy-Question of Infant Baptism
June 20, 1907, Pg ? - Correspondence: The Pilgrim Controversy-Question of Infant Baptism
(Ended with: "This controversy is now closed.")
We in no way identify ourselves with the sentiments expressed by our various correspondents.
PILGRIMS AT BALLYCASSIDY
Mr. West Replies to Criticism
To the Editor of the Fermanagh Times
Crocknacrieve, 5th Feb., 1907.
SIR – In last week’s issue of FERMANAGH TIMES under the above heading, your correspondent writes what is untrue and misleading regarding the meeting in the schoolhouse and the Sunday afternoon meetings on Ballycassidy bridge. Allow me to state briefly what did take place, which, according to your correspondent, seems to have upset the peace of the community. On hearing that Mr. Ward was going to lecture on the doctrine of Infant Baptism, I thought, as did some others, I would like to hear a man try and prove from the scriptures what they did not teach. I have heard the sects on almost everything else, but never heard them attempt to prove this doctrine as scriptural, so I went and heard for myself. Your correspondent says that Mr. Ward refused to allow me to ask a question. Mr. Ward did allow me to ask him a question, but up to the present he has not answered it.
After hearing him state that a child was made “a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven in baptism, also that Jesus was sprinkled by John, and that Jesus did not have time to change His clothes nor take a cup of tea, until he went to the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, also that men had to get authority to do those things, etc. etc. –
On hearing statements like the above, you won’t think it such an awful crime, as someone would make out, to ask a simple question.
The question I asked was, “Is it Infant Baptism of Believer’s Baptism that is taught in the scripture?”
Mr. Ward said in a gruff sort of way, “I will ask you a question.”– Does belief come before or after Baptism? I said, “It comes before, according to the Scriptures.” He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.– Mark xvi 16.
Mr. Ward then shouted, “Go home Sir, and learn your grammar.”
Of course this was the signal for a cheer for the lecturer, which lasted a considerable time. When the noise had subsided I was about to repeat my question, but was refused permission. He then gave out a hymn and pronounced the benediction.
When passing out I stopped to speak to Mr. Ward and asked him a few more questions upon the subject of his lecture, but failed to get anything like a straight answer to any questions I put to him.
I said if he would show me in God’s Word where there was a child sprinkled, or where it was taught to have it done, I would allow him to sprinkle mine on the following day, or if he has yet found it out I will allow him at any time to do so. I have no doubt Mr. Ward felt his position to be similar to that of a cleric who called to sprinkle the baby of a mother who knew her Bible. Now said she, “Show it to me in the Bible and then you must perform the ceremony.” I need not say he had to leave without doing so.
With reference to police protection at the bridge, we have not asked it nor is it needed. There is much more need for it in loyal Ballymallard, where we are stoned nearly every night we meet in the hall. The bawling and noise has been kept up at the bridge by a few boys.
Thanking you in anticipation for giving both sides. – Your obedient servant,
The Pilgrims at Ballycassidy
The Question of Infant Baptism
[To the Editor of the Fermanagh Times]
Sir—I read the letter of Mr. John West to your issue of February, the 7 th, concerning the AnaBaptist ministrations and the whole pith of the manifesto seems to centre on one point—the recital of the dramatic incident, viz…
I have no doubt Mr. Ward felt his position to be similar to that of a cleric, who called to sprinkle the baby of a mother who knew her Bible. She brought him the infant, the water, and the Bible. “Now,” she said, “Show to me in the Bible, and then you may perform the ceremony.” I need not say that she had to leave without doing so.
This statement to be of any value, must be shown to be true, and as Mr. West professes to have a stern love of Bible truth, he is fairly called upon to answer four short questions.
I-To state WHEN the event took place.
II-WHERE it took place.
III-To give the name of the cowardly cleric who ran away.
IV-The name of the virtuous matron who caused the ignominious flight.
When the evidence required is forthcoming I may have something to say. Meanwhile—I am,
To the Editor of the Fermanagh Times
Ballycassidy, February 9 th, 1907
SIR—In reply to Mr. West’s letter in last week’s issue of Fermanagh Times, it is not my intention to challenge the accuracy or inaccuracy of his statements re your correspondent of previous week, as in my opinion when both are compared there is merely a distinction without a difference. I would rather draw the attention of your readers to his ignorance, or shall I say willful misrepresentation of the subjects treated of in the other parts of his letter.
No clergyman in the Church of Ireland “sprinkles” at baptism. Had Mr. West read, or if he will take the trouble to read the Rubric at Infant Baptism, he will there see explicit directions laid down as to how the rite must be performed. Mr. Ward could not therefore, and I know he did not, make the statements attributed to him by Mr. West in the light he wishes to place it before the public.
Again take the text Mr. West quotes—Mark xvi. 16: “He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.” Both “believeth” and “is baptised” are in present tense; how could both happen at the same time? If Mr. West’s explanation is right, then it should read, he that believed and is baptised, or he that believeth and shall be baptised, but the original does not and cannot be translated in either of these ways. Besides if Mr. West takes the trouble to ask a Greek scholar to translate the original into Modern English he will find it would rather by implication be “He that believeth and has been baptised.” Is it any wonder, therefore, Mr. Ward requested to first learn his grammar.
Again, Mr. Ward’s subject was not the WHEN but the HOW, and he certainly proved to the satisfaction of his hearers from Scripture, Eastern customs and early Church history, that “dipping” could not be proved by any of these. Had Mr. West been there at the beginning instead of coming in at the tale end (as I have been told), he would have left if not a sadder certainly a wiser man.
Mr. West has attended Ballycassidy Bridge for the past three Sundays, for the ostensible purpose of proving this doctrine of “dipping” from Scripture, but he has wisely refrained from even referring to it, and why? Because it cannot be proved from Scripture. If so, where?
Instead of asking Mr. Ward some questions on the subject of his lecture, he tried to confuse the […?] by referring to Infant Baptism, Dipping, Believer’s Baptism, seals of His Ministry &c. Mr. Ward was therefore justified in refusing to go beyond his subject, hence the unsatisfactory answers Mr. West complains of.
The story Mr. West relates reminds one of that trumped up by the Sadducees when trying to entangle our Lord. I refer to the woman having each of seven brethren successively as her husband, and I think from his statements and public utterance we are justified in drawing the same conclusion, Jesus answering, said unto them, “Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God.” Mark xii 24.
Yours very truly
To the Editor of the Fermanagh Times
Dear Sir—It has been entirely overlooked in this controversy that the teaching of the Church is in perfect accordance with the views of Mr. West on the subject, namely that faith should always precede baptism; or, in other words, that none except a believing adult is eligible for baptism.
This is the teaching of all branches of the Anglican Church, and in this they agree with the various Baptist Communities over the world, which probably number the largest membership of any Non-Conformist denomination. Mr. West thus stands in good company as the advocate of adult Baptism.
The proof of what I have stated is not far to seek, and is plain for all men to see.
In the Catechism, which is an exponent of the teaching and ritual of the Church, we have the broad question: “What is required of persons to be baptixed?” And the answer is as broad as the question, namely: “Repentance, whereby they forsake sin, and Faith, whereby they steadfastly believe the promises of God made to them in that Sacrament.”
This question and answer cover the entire ground and prove to demonstrate that no one is eligible for baptism according to the teaching of the Church except a penitent believer, so that infants are ruled out of the case.
But it will be said that “infants are nevertheless baptised.” I answer they are not baptised as infants, but as adults. Repentance and Faith are not dispensed with in their case; these conditions are required from the infant as in the case of an adult, and the infant is thus baptised not as an infant but as an adult and a believing adult.
It is assumed on the part of the infanct that it will fulfill the conditions of baptism here set forth when it arrived at proper understanding—its Repentance and Faith are, so to speak, antedated and it is by virtue of these antedated conditions that it is baptised—its baptism is, therefore, in theory, the baptism of an adult, and it is also on the ground of these antedated conditions that the child is pronounced “Regenerate.”
The rite of “Confirmation” thus becomes a supplemental part of the Baptismal rite, and, theoretically, the baptism is not completed until the act of Confirmation is accomplished.
Mr. John West Replies to His Critics.
To the Editor of the Fermanagh Times
18th February, ‘07
SIR – It is highly amusing to read the attempts made by your four correspondents last week to either ignore or whitewash the Unscriptural doctrine of Infant Baptism – or to give it its proper name – “Baptismal Regeneration”. No 1 asks me certain questions and wants names, etc. I will answer him when he has the manliness to write over his own signature. I will, however, tell him a secret – a similar case happened not three miles from Enniskillen town clock.
The other correspondents try to prove, disprove, agree and differ with the truth as it is in Jesus, and the untruths of tradition and false prophesy. The court of appeal is the Sacred Record: in the which, wayfaring men, tho fools, need not err. In contradiction to this truth, I notice all your correspondents sneer at the ignorance of those who dare to expound Gospel truth without the poison of tradition and call us fanatics, etc. Allow me to point out that there is no Scriptural record of where God ever used the Divinity student or the College don as such to speak His truth. Moses was sent to the back of the desert 40 years and made a nobody, before God could use him to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. We have also Elijah, John the Baptist, the Shepherds of Bethlehem, the Fishermen of Galilee, the Carpenter of Nazareth, and Paul who persecuted the Church as a scribe – was struck to the earth – humbled to the dust – and compelled to confess the Jesus way was right before God could use him.
Jesus said – “We thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes.” – Luke x 21
“All that ever came before me (or superior to me) are thieves and robbers. – John x 8. I am sure the sympathies of your Ballycassidy correspondents would have been altogether with the Chief Priests. They should not, however, forget “That Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.” – Hebrews xiii 8.
Now, sir, to turn to the main point of this controversy, one seldom meets a layman of any of the sects who holds the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration. They will tell you frankly they don’t believe it.
Clerics, however, have their intellects so distorted by the teaching of the Divinity schools that they are incapable of thinking for themselves. They dare not differ with traditional teaching lest their craft should be endangered and their stipend stopped. They do not deny it. Nevertheless most of them refrain from openly teaching it.
It’s sufficient for all right-thinking people to know that this doctrine has no Scriptural foundation – that such a ceremony as baby sprinkling has no place in the Bible.
That to hold and teach that such a doctrine would undermine and upset all the teaching of the Apostles and Our Lord Himself. If Mr. Ward and correspondent No. 2 were right in their contention, Matt xxviii 19 would read – “Go ye, therefore, into all the world and sprinkle all the babies and teach them their grammar.” Had Paul, the half clad, hungry tramp preacher known of this mode of making disciples, I am sure he would have saved himself a great deal of trouble and persecution, for had he set aside God’s plan and adopted this one the god of this world had provided him with a manse and a salary, and he would have been known as the Very reverend Paul, MS LLD, and retired on the supernumerary list full of years and honours. But, no – Paul fought the good fight, he kept the faith, and got the martyr’s crown.
It may be asked how came Infant Baptism to be so extensively practiced since the Scriptures give neither command nor example. The answer is simple. It originated with other innovations when men began to lay aside the Word of God, and substitute therefor their own traditions. It is said to have been introduced about the end of the Third Century, when the very foundations of the Gospel were being frittered away, and when the wretched theory of Baptismal Regeneration was made to take the place of fundamental doctrine of the New Birth – Infant Baptism was supposed to eradicate original sin. Then followed penance for actual sin, and Purgatory completed the purification after death. This is the doctrine of the Church of Rome.
For the true meaning and significance of Baptism we must again appeal to the Sacred Record. That it was done by complete immersion and no other way the word “Baptism” itself fully proves – as well as the following passages – “They were Baptised by him in the River Jordan.” – Matt. iii 6; Mark 1, 5. “Phillip and the Eunuch went down into the water.” - Acts. viii 30, 34, 39. “Jesus went straightway out of the water.” – Matt iii, 16; Mark 1-10; etc. etc. Why go to the River Jordan at all, why not have a Baptismal font and get it consecrated. The answer is obvious.
Immersion is a typical ordinance – not a meaningless ceremony – in being buried under the waters of Baptism. The believer testifies to the world his death and burial with Christ. Rom. vi, 1. His separation from the world. - Gal. ii, 29. and his end as a sinner in the flesh. - Gal. ii, 29. In being raised out of this mystic grave he confesses his resurrection with Christ to newness of life – Romans vi, 5-9. and his desire henceforth as a “Risen Saint to seek things above.” Col. iii, 1. That it was believers only who were baptised the examples recorded in the Acts of the Apostles proved beyond a doubt. “They that gladly received the word were baptised.” – Acts ii, 41. The receiving of the words preceded Baptism. “When they believed Phillip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised, both men and women.” Acts viii,12. They believed they were baptised. We have also Saul of Tarsus. Ch. ix 18; Cornelius. – Ch. 34, 43; Lydia – Chap. xvi, 15; the Corinthians, Chap viii, 8. Last and most important of all is the initiation of the convert into the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship. – Acts ii, 42. In this connection it is interesting to notice that the Ephesians were Baptised into this fellowship although previously Baptised by John the Baptist. – Acts xix, 4,5.
I have no more belief in adult Baptism than in infant sprinkling – except where true repentance and faith has precedence. Then it is called Believers’ Baptism.
To turn to personal matters, and in reply to correspondent No. 4, I was never connected with either the “Salvation Army or “The Brethren.” I was nominally a member of the Church of Ireland before my conversion. After that needless to say, I could not remain a member of that sect. True, I was for some time connected with Methodism, but when I rebuked sin in the pulpit, I soon found myself outside the camp.
I can, however, honestly praise God for heart fellowship with His true prophets, who have the seal of Apostleship, and who have taken God’s plan for their guide instead of the traditions of men. I desire to remain a member of this Sect that’s everywhere spoken against (Acts xxviii, 22), and to be numbered with those who are now, have been and ever shall be called heretics, blasphemers and movers of sedition, for which cause all the prophets suffered and Jesus was put to death. I can truly say I esteem all His prophets concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way. – Psa. cxix, 128.
Your obedient servant.
The Question of Infant Baptism
SIR—In a long letter to the Fermanagh Times of the 17th instant, Mr. John West made the following statements, viz: “I have no doubt Mr. Ward felt his portion to be similar to that of a cleric who called to sprinkle the baby of a mother who knew her Bible. Now, said she, show it to me in the Bible and then you may perform the ceremony. I need not say that he had to leave without performing the ceremony.”
In a letter, dated February the 14th, I said: “This statement, to be of any value, must be shown to be true, and as Mr. West professed to have a stern love of Bible truth he is fairly called upon to answer four short questions, viz:
1-To state WHEN the event took place.
2-WHERE it took place.
3-To give the name of the cowardly cleric who ran away.
4-The name of the virtuous matron who caused the ignominious flight.
When the evidence is forthcoming I may have something to say.”
In last week’s issue Mr. John West presented your readers with a wondrous letter of upwards of one hundred and sixty lines of letter press, but not one word of evidence in support of his dramatic incident of the 7th instant.
My personal name, whether worthless or worthy, has no bearing on the truth or untruth of Mr. John West’s statement, and this point is a matter which I leave in the hands of the intelligent readers of the Fermanagh Times as a jury. In the civil law an accuser’s evidence would not be received unless the conditions specified above were complied with, and the same honesty is required in a newspaper controversy.
Moreover, whatever my infirmities may be, I have no temptation to write a letter to the newspaper for the sake of seeing my name in print. My vanity on that point is more than gratified, for my name is inscribed in a dozen of authorized publications.
Old wives’ fables invented and circulated by the dupes of quasi-religious vanity to the detriment of Church folk are common enough. And I still think it will be an act of mercy to give Mr. John West the opportunity of showing that his story is not of this class. And when the evidence is forthcoming, it will be quite time enough to say something on the points.
I am, sir, A CHURCHMAN.
SIR—I never thought that my lectures in Ballycassidy Schoolhouse would excite such interest and wrath in such a religious leader as Mr. West. Religious leaders are always sensitive, their pet theories cannot be touched upon, or spoken against but a challenge is the result. I am sure I had a right to hold a religious service in Ballycassidy Schoolhouse, and teach what I believe to be the doctrine of the Christian Church and of the Word of God without being disturbed in my calling.
Mr. West had plenty times and opportunities for calling upon me while I was in Trory to exchange views and proofs of our positions in regard to religious subjects, if he had common manners. But bullies must be bullies to the end of time. A man less acquainted with law than Mr. West ought to know what was right, and the legal aspect of the affair. I put it then down to his ignorance and impudence, as I do now. I must feel sorry that my gruff voice sounded so harshly on Mr. West’s melodious ears. He has the advantage of having his ears harmoniously, tuned to clarionet hautboy or perhaps vox coeleste. But though my voice was coarse, my words had the desired effect. They have lighted a flame in Mr. West’s mind, which all the waters of the Ballycassidy Jordan have not yet quenched. My gruff voice, I am sure, is not my fault, but my misfortune. Mr. West does not boast to be as strong as Sampson, or as rich Oroseps?, or own as much land as his landlord. Still that is not Mr. West’s fault, but his misfortune. I know he is ambitious. And no one finds faults with what a person cannot help.
Mr. West came into Ballycassidy Schoolhouse towards the close of my lecture and immediately commenced to write. It was not what I was speaking on at the time that I got the questions about. The question asked by Mr. West is the following--Was there any one baptized in Scripture first before being saved? The question in Times of February 7th is quite different.
Now, Mr. West tries to give himself an advertisement by stating what is not true. I took his questions down on a slip of paper a few moments afterwards, and the paper is now before me. My questions also shows what I stated is true. I repeated St. Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.” I asked Mr. West which comes first? He said believing. I then told him to go and learn his grammar, and if he had the same opinion still, I tell him now also.
If Mr. West had answered that question, he would have answered himself. Then I closed the meeting. Then Mr. West said something about payment. The Apostles were supported by those they saved. I asked Mr. West does ____? Then Mr. West quoted St. Matthew 18:2-3. I asked him, how does a little child enter the Kingdom of Heaven? I suppose he can answer now. He did not answer then. Here is another of Mr. West’s falsehoods. I wrote these things down at the time, or a few moments afterwards. I had remembered Mr. West’s context with the Rev. Mr. Rudd. That the former wanted another article in the Times about his greatness as an advertisement.
Now I come to paragraph two of Mr. West’s letter, and to __which makes him wonder. In St. Mark 1:10 we read “Straightway coming up out of the water; and in verse 12 we read “Immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.” Now the adverbs “straightway” and “immediately” admit of no delay or loitering, no changing of clothes, hot tea of coffee, no mustard plasters for four weeks after the dipping, which some of Mr. West’s disciples must get. Now, if any person wants to know the meaning of straightway or immediately, let him look at verse 29 and ______“forthwith,” that admits of no delay. The conclusion I have come to is that our Lord was not dipped. Again, when we take into consideration the preposition which govern the accusative ________. The Ethopian Eunuch was not dipped. Let Mr. West prove he was. Let him prove that into the water is necessarily under the water.
What I undertook to prove was that the Baptism instituted by our Lord and practiced by the Apostles and Apostolic men is not the same as used by the Dippers.
The Dippers’ rule is first saved then baptized or no one ought to be baptized who is not first saved. This rule would exclude infants and all humanity. I would wish to know who on this earth was constituted the judge of another’s salvation. For it is written, “We must all stand before the Judgment seat of Christ,” Romans 14:10. Christ is judge of quick and dead, Acts 10:42. When and where did any sinner get the authority to pronounce, “Down to Hell” on another, whether baptised or unbaptised, whether dipped, poured or sprinkled.
1st—I undertook to prove the Dippers are wrong from analogy. By comparing circumcision with Baptism, God made a covenant with Abraham. Abraham believed, Isaac could not believe, he was admitted into the covenant by God’s command. Abraham circumcised when 99 years old, Isaac when 8 days old, Genesis 17. The soul who would not receive, the covenant [was] cut off from his people. The Lord’s Supper superseded the Passover. St. Matthew 26:26-27. So the Cornelian?? baptism superseded the Israelitish circumcision.
Here is analogy for those of riper years, also analogy for infants: Abraham made a pr___ Isaac made none, and was not asked. It was made for him in his father. The first Christians like those in heathen lands who are converted to Christians made a profession, none is required of their children. In Joel 2:16, the children that sucked the breasts were required to join in the repentance and the fasts to avert God’s Judgment. Are they capable of repentance? Yet God required them to join in the fasts and in mourning.
2—Those parties are wrong from our Lord’s command as Institution of the Sacrament of Baptism. The order is Matthew 28:19. 1st baptism, then teach, from verse 20. 1st baptism, then teach and observe. The order in St. Mark 16:16 is 1st baptism, then believe. Again our Lord’s command is: Baptise all nations. Are there no infants in all nations? Were there no infants in Cornelius household? No infants in that of Philippian gaoler in the household of Stephanus. St. Peter expressly says—This promise is to you and to your children, Acts 2:39. Will Mr. West prove those whom St. Peter addressed had no children, and they should not enter into the Christian covenant. Mr. West’s children can inherit the promise if he brings them into the Christian covenant. In 1st Corinthians 7:14, how were the ---------? To become the --------? The children of the idolatrous parents to become holy. The only way by being brought into a holy covenant through the means of a Holy Sacrament. Remark children not young men or young women.
3rd—Mr. West’s position is not one was baptized in Apostolic times but those who were first saved. Now we have a man mentioned in Acts 8:13, of one who made a profession of religion, and we read he was in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity. Here is a disciple after Mr. West’s standard. He was aged, made a profession. Was he saved shall we say? Yet in the gall of bitterness. Where is the inspiration Philip ought to have, and not have dipped him if Mr. West affirms? He was dipped. What about those Asians who forsook St. Paul and the Christian religion, 2 Tim 1:15. What about Demas, 2 Timothy 4:10, who loved the things of the present world better than Christ. If he was saved before baptized, he would not have left his religion and Saviour. Here St. John’s complaint in his old age 1st John 2:19. They went out from us that it might be made manifest they were not of us. Were these saved before they were out of us? The Galatians were called foolish for leaving the Christian doctrine and Apostolic teaching. Were they saved before baptized? They received the Christian baptism, and not Mr. West’s version of it.
Now will any one be so bold as to say they were not baptized at all. If these Apostates were idolaters or Jews no cause of complaint. But because they were brought into the Christian covenant and joined the Christian Church and then fell away, hence the complaint of the Apostles. It proves plainly they were not saved before baptized.
What shall we say about the ____in Corinth, who received baptism from Apostles and Apostolic men. Were those people saved before baptized? If they were they need their salvation badly. I prefer still to be a learner, and to have hope of salvation that maketh not ashamed. St. Paul was not quite as sure as Mr. West is. Those elders and episcopals? who received baptism, ordination, &c. at his hands, were they saved? Acts 20:30, Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Again, all the baptisms which I read of in the New Testament were administered by the Apostles or those who had Apostolic authority. Matthew 28:19-20, go ye &c.—only spoken to the eleven Apostles. Philip had Apostolic ordinance, Acts 6:6. Paul had a miraculous call, and especially sent by our Lord, Acts 26:18. Ananias especially sent by our Saviour to work a miracle on Paul and to teach him. Now let Mr. West find out a case in the New Testament under the Christian dispensation in which a person took upon himself to baptize without authority. Let him under the Christian religion find a person who was dipped. Let him find a household in which it is said no children or infants were baptized.
Let him get a command from Christ or His Apostles in which it is said infants or children should not be brought into the Christian Covenant. Let him tell that mother that a little child can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. St. Matthew 18:2-3. That there are children in all Nations and the command is to go and baptize, Matthew 28:19-20. Let him tell that mother that the promise is to her children if they receive the Sacraments of Baptism, Acts 2:39. Tell her these promises are the grace of the Holy Spirit and forgiveness of sin. Let him tell her while outside the covenant her children are impure, inside the covenant they are holy, 1 Cor. 7:14.
I hope Mr. West will not advertise me for the future. I do not doubt my belief. It is only those who doubt their faith who seek for advertisement. I have not time for this kind of controversy at present. I am a greater pilgrim than Mr. West. I am far removed from books and other things with which to carry on a newspaper controversy.
I remain, Mr. Editor, yours faithfully,
THOMAS B. WARD
PS. I have omitted historical evidence and the practice of the Churches of 1st and 2nd centuries. I have also omitted to ask Mr. West who were his predecessors in the dipping. Is he able to prove a succession of dippers from the Apostles down to himself, and from whom did he get his orders, or which of the Apostles example has he followed? T.B.W.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
Dear Sir—I, in common with many other readers of your valuable paper, deeply deplore the discussion that has been carried on for some time in which Mr. West figures so prominently.
I would like to add a word in the interests of peace. It is strange that men will not realize that it is quite possible that there may be another side to the argument in which they are engaged and that others may be quite as sincere and honest as themselves, and possibly hold some truth that they may have overlooked.
I believe Mr. West is quite in keeping with the Word of God when he states that dipping, as it is sometimes called, was a form of baptism used in the early days of Christianity.
We know that John the Baptist used this form of baptism. We also believe that the Eunuch was immersed by Philip, but it was equally clear that it was not the only form, as it would be idle to contend that the Apostles baptized 3,000 at one time in an upper room in Jerusalem. Imagine the sensation that would have been caused if even they had gone in a body to, say, the Pool of Siloam. He is equally scriptural, I believe, in his contention, that it was the custom to baptize those who had already professed their faith in Christ, but I think neither can we get away from the fact that whole households were baptized though there is nothing to lead us to support that they were all adults, or were all equally clear as to their views of Christ’s redemption. But really this matter gets very little prominence in Scripture. At one time our Lord heard that a report had been raised that he was baptizing more disciples than John. He knew that a discussion of this kind would distract men’s minds from what was of more vital importance, so He left the district altogether.
Paul regarded baptism as being of so little importance that he thanked God that he baptised none ____ a few that he could scarcely remember. I think Mr. West, however, is wrong in taking a fling at educated men, and I think he takes an unfortunate example for his own position because Paul was the graduate of the best Theological College of those days, and his writings bear the unmistakeable stamp of an educated man. And where would our Bible be today, but for those educated men who were used by God in its translation.
The Bible teaches very clearly that in the Church of God there must be those who are especially set apart for the express purpose of preaching and teaching; it furthermore enjoins the duty to minister to their support. In 1 Cor 9:14 we read “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” And also that they are to be held in honour. 1 Tim 5:17 we read “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”
I think it is very foolish for those who hold fast to the Old D____ and who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only and all sufficient Saviour of mankind to be quarrelling amongst themselves and fighting side ___ when the enemy is at the ___ in the form of what is called the New Theology, not which should be named the Old N_____y, for we have heard of A___ism and Pantheism before. We have also another enemy with which ______ in Ireland—a more aggressive one seeking to ___from us our liberty—A foreign religion which I need not name.
Let me appeal to Mr. West to __________Christ’s kingdom in the way he believes right, but to allow others to serve their Master in the way they believe to be in accordance with the Scriptures.
Aplogise again for __ so much upon your space. I am, yours truly,
W. J. MAY
We in no way identify ourselves with the sentiments expressed by our various correspondents
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
Sir--I will not attempt to follow Mr. West in his mud throwing. I have been taught "to keep my tongue from evil-speaking, lying and slandering," and I know from observation a ball once started from top of the Hill of Rectitude accumulates in volume and increases in rapidity so quickly that long before it reaches the bottom it becomes highly destructive.
In my letter I appealed solely to God's word. I did not sneer or call anyone out of their (sic) name. I considered the subject too sacred to write for the gallery. These letters are written with the earnest prayer, that they may add light to some at least who are less advantageously situated.
I asked Mr. West "how could baptism and belief be simultaneous?" This he has not answered, why your readers can judge. That my interpretation was right is further proved. See John iii, 5. "Jesus answered, except a man be born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven, "clearly placing baptism first. Mr. West should adopt our Lord's command, Matt vii, 1-2.
"Baptismal regeneration" is not the point at issue. Where did Mr. West get the phrase? I am sure it will be a revelation to both clerics and laymen if he would kindly give the information. The same may be said of "baby sprinkling." Things must be in a desperate way when imaginations has to be brought to the rescue.
Matthew xxviii, 19, does not read as Mr. West puts it, but reads "Go ye, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," clearly proving that the rite of baptism made disciples, and was administered when under tuition. Will Mr. West tell us the meaning of disciple?
I really, Mr. Editor, had to rub my eyes, when reading Mr. West's
historical reference, to
make sure I was making no mistake. Were it not for the seriousness of the question at issue, his attempts are laughable. It may be news to him to hear that infant baptism was not questioned for the first 1,100 years. The question was then raised by Peter de Bruvs, who taught that infants could not be saved, and therefore, should not be baptized, and he based his argument on latter part of Mark xvi, 16. Just the verse Mr. West makes the foundation of his propaganda. Does he believe the same? But infant baptism was not really attacked until the year 1521, when One Storch a German draper founded the sect of Anabaptists.
Probably Mr. West heard some one talk of Tertullian who some time about the beginning of the third century advised the delay of infant baptism because he thought that baptism washes away all sins previously committed. It ought therefore, he said, to be delayed as long as possible. Is this Mr. West's reason? Thus for 1,000 years infant baptism was recognized throughout christendom.
What text in Scripture gives us the true meaning and application of baptism? In several places it has a truly distinct meaning. Thus in Luke xi, 38, it means to pour upon. In Matt iii, 2, it means to cleanse. In I Cor x, 1-2, it means to initiate into discipleship, while in Isaiah xxi, 4 it is used in the sense to frighten. In all these places the word baptism is in the original. Where does it mean to immerse or dip? Give a single text in which the word "embapto" is used. You can't!
Mark i, 5, They were baptized of him in the River Jordan, but not under the river as Mr. West would make us believe. Would they not be in the river if they only wet the soles of their feet, Acts viii, 36, "and they both went into the river, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him there." Did they both go under the water, they must if into means under. The word is "eis" and you can't find a single instance in the Bible where it is translated under. In Matt iv, 6, the devil asked our Lord for an unnecessary exhibition of his power. His answer was "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." In Mark i, 10 the word "straightway" is used, in verse 12 "immediately," so that no time elapsed between one act and the other. Would not this imply that our Lord committed an act which He already had condemned if he went the journey in dripping clothes? But fortunately there is no necessity for any surmising as the Greek word is "apo" and reads "When He was baptized He came straightway from the river" (RV).
Baptism as practiced by the pilgrims is no type of our Lord's death and burial, for he was buried above ground not under.
Moses was not sent but fled to the land of Midian--Ex ii, 15--and was 40 years in the service of the Priest of Midian, whose advice and teaching was afterwards followed--Ex xviii, 13. Elijah spoke only as personally directed by God. John Baptist spent 30 years in the wilderness--Luke i, 80. The fishermen of Galilee were three years under the direct tuition of our Lord before they were sent. The same may be said of the others. Paul was one of the best educated of the Jews. There is not a single instance of God using Ignorance for the furtherance of His Kingdom. To sum up I have proved
1--Mr. West would make our Lord contradict Himself.
2--Would make our Lord commit an act He Himself condemned.
3--He falsely quotes history.
4--Mr. West, for the purpose of raising dusts, coins phrases.
5--That in no part of the Bible does the word immersion occur.
6--That all God's ambassadors in both Old and New Testament received special training for their work.
7--That the texts quoted by Mr. West implies that baptism was administered by water being poured on the recipient.
The subject under discussion was--Dipping cannot be proved from Scripture. To this I will confine myself in future until settled. I am then ready to prove infant baptism to be in accordance with Bible teaching. That there is no such thing as believer's baptism. That Anabaptists deny original sin. That they believe part are destined to be saved and part lost. That the creed of the Pilgrims is a mixture of Truth and Error, and, therefore, dangerous. But one thing at a time.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
4th March, 1907.
I observe by your notes in last week's issue that you have held over some letters on the above controversy.
Under the circumstances I will not trouble you with a reply to Mr. Ward and my numerous critics till next week's issue, when (D V) I will reply.
-- Your obedient servant, JOHN WEST.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
--I have with very great pleasure indeed, read a thoroughly conciliatory letter that you published last week from the able pen of Mr. W. J. Maye, re the West theological controversy, and to which I might be permitted to add that I am surprised at Mr. West--a gentleman of great zeal and undoubted ability--wasting thought and argument on a few clerics who are evidently jealous of the divine prerogative, and fearful that their craft might be endangered--vide (sic) Acts xix, 25
- Respectfully yours, A T ELLIOTT.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
--I did not reply to Mr. Ward last week knowing that you had other letters re the above crushed out for want of space. I now beg to thank you for your courtesy in sending me a proof of the letter of "Amicus Veritatis." This letter, with Mr. Ward's may be taken as their reply to mine of February 16, in which I gave full Scriptural proof of my argument that--
(1)--Infant Baptism has no place in the Scriptures.
(2)--That it is really the foundation alone for the absurd theory of Baptismal Regeneration.
(3)--That both are contrary to the Word of God and contrary to every command of our Lord and His apostles.
(4)--That Believer's Baptism was taught, practiced, and preached by Jesus, John the Baptist, and all the New Testament preachers.
Neither of your correspondents attempt to answer me, both prefer to descend to personalities and to avoid the issue. I have long since learned that abuse is not argument, and that to try to twist the truth of God to prove an unscriptural, absurd, and nonsensical doctrine or practice always defeats its own ends. When reading both replies one must be struck with their sameness and their disregard for plain Scriptural truth. I therefore have come to the conclusion that both must have graduated at the same theological seminary because both seem past masters in the art of proving white black and black white. I did not, however, consider Mr. Ward capable of so deliberately misrepresenting my interview with him in the Schoolhouse. Many persons then present have, since reading his letter, expressed surprise and astonishment at his utter disregard for facts.
However, Mr. Editor, I'm not sorry I went to the Schoolhouse to hear his lecture. I'm glad because a few people have got to see--through this controversy--that the plan laid down and lived out by Jesus should never have been altered by men.
How little regard men who profess to be teachers of the people have for the truth as it is in Jesus, who would dare to attempt to prove (1) infant sprinkling Scriptural. (2) that Baptism comes before belief, that (3) it takes the place of circumcision as the new covenant, etc. How truly we may say with Paul, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the darkness of this world against spiritual wickedness in high places--Eph vi, 12. I notice Mr. Ward refers to the three households mentioned in the New Testament as having been baptized, stating that they must have contained babies; to say the least of it, this is a slender thread to hang such a far-reaching doctrine upon. When we must bring supposition to the rescue at every corner---it shows how hard up we must be for proof. The Holy Spirit, however, does not leave us in the dark in these three cases, for if we read carefully, we find (1) the Philippian jailor's whole household believed--Acts xvi. 24. (2) The house of Stephanus addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints, Cor xvi, 15--babes don't generally minister, they need to be ministered unto. (3) The house of Lydia--We are told there were brethren in the house of Lydia who were comforted by Paul and Silas. Now if there were babes in these households (1) they were believing ones, (2) they were capable of ministering (3) and of being comforted, and, therefore, all proper subject for baptism.
Both correspondents argue that baptism should come before belief, and seek to give us proof from the New Testament by retranslating certain passages from its original. I must, however, prefer the common translation given in the authorized and revised versions to either Mr. Ward's or A V's. I always understood that these translations engaged the attention of the best scholars in the world for generations, and I, therefore accept their rendering with thanks in preference.
The following writers will, I have no doubt, be accepted as authorities on this subject, which all go to prove that infant baptism had its origin long after the days of Jesus and the apostles of His time.
Luther--It cannot be proved that infant baptism was initiated by Christ, or by the first Christians after Christ.
Calvin--It is nowhere expressed by the evangelists that infants were baptized.
Erasmus--It is nowhere in the apostles' writings that they baptized children.
Jeremy Taylor--It is against the perpetual analogy of Christ's doctrine to baptize infants.
The Oxford (Church of England) Helps to Study of the Bible gives the following definition of Baptism--"A symbolic rite practised by John the Baptist and adopted by the Christian Church with the sanction of our Lord. Signifying repentance from sin and the entrance upon a new life of holiness. The word means immersion or submersion, and this, no doubt, was the original mode of baptism."
Dean Stanley, Dean of Westminster--It was an entire submersion in deep water.
After all it is hardly necessary to give these proofs; it is sufficient to know that there is no instance from Genesis to Revelations of a baby being sprinkled, and it is not likely that God would leave us in the dark on a question of such vital importance. It is also an absurd and ridiculous argument to say that when we are not forbidden to do it, it may or should be done. With regard to the wretched and senseless theory that baptism comes before belief; it's an insult to the intelligence of your readers to use such an argument. Every example given in the New Testament goes to prove without doubt and without exception that belief comes first; for instance, observe how careful Philip was that the Eunuch believed before he went down into the water. It's pure waste of time to argue this question, and sand throwing to blind us to what is really behind it all. Mr. Ward has let the fat into the fire by his references to the covenant, and his telling us that unsprinkled babies are outside that covenant. I admire the skill with which he tries to coat this pill. However, murder will out, and he might just as well have said that in the case of death babies outside this imaginary covenant must perish. Here we have a Protestant clergyman--at the beginning of the 20th century, subscribing to this most awful doctrine, that unless some priest--be he Protestant or Catholic--sprinkles water in the face of the unconscious little innocent, it must suffer the pains of eternal death. Such a doctrine at once places the Priest as the Saviour and God as the monster--I must here tell another secret. In the year of Grace 1907, a Protestant priest baptized an abortion who had only a few minutes to live in the enlightened County of Fermanagh--Lucky job the priest was so near!! Had this infant died without him it would have been denied the right of Christian burial--a right freely accorded to all baptized persons be they drunkards, thieves or libertines--no questions are asked as to their faith or morals so far as I ever heard--provided they have been baptized as babies wherein they were made members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven. Who is it that has not asked himself the question as he stood beside the open grave of the impenitent drunkard, or blasphemer--is there such a thing as genuine religion at all, when he heard the "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in sure, and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life "recited in the most solemn tones of the funeral dirge!
We have, however, to go to old mother Babylon herself to get this doctrine openly taught and strictly carried out to its logical conclusion. We are told that at childbirth, where it is a question of save either the mother or the babe, it is enjoined that the child's life must be saved in order that it may be baptized. The mother of course being baptized already is a fit subject for the Kingdom of Heaven-- therefore her life would not be such a loss as the soul of the child. (See M'Carthy's Priest and People in Ireland, page 414.) The mother is, therefore, murdered in order that this doctrine may be strictly and impartially carried out.
The devil is never so angry as when his pet theory (as old as you like) is touched upon. This doctrine must be as precious to him as the apple of his eye, else he would not fight so wickedly in it defence.
Ordinary intelligence might tell us that where God is silent on any point of doctrine it's not our business to be prying into it. God has never told us anything as to the future state of the child who dies in infancy, or the imbecile, hence we should be content to leave these things in His hands. Should we not rather fear and tremble at the thought of how the cunning, craftiness, and slight of men for some ends of their own, have distorted His plain word, and doctrine, and thereby have deceived and damned millions of our fellow-creatures.
Mr. Ward tells us that baptism takes the place of circumcision, because the Lord's Supper succeeded the Passover. Have you no further proof, Mr. Ward. I doubt if you can prove this. I don't believe it. There is no proof from the Word that this is so; if so, where? As a proof that it did not take the place of circumcision we find that Timothy was circumcised long after baptism--Acts xvi, 3. We find also "The apostles, elders and brethren" of the Church at Jerusalem had to come together to consider the question of circumcision being forced upon converted Gentiles. If Baptism took the place of circumcision that would have been Paul's opportunity for saying so, but not a word was said about baptism during the whole controversy. Of course Mr. Ward had to come along later and make the discovery. A Jewish man child received circumcision as a sign he entered the family by natural birth. It was God's covenant with Abraham that he would make the Jews a great nation--and related only to earthly greatness, hence it was for males only--Gen xvii, 10. We find the new covenant at Hebrews viii, 10, and is spiritual, Behold I will make a new covenant with my people; I will put my laws in their hearts, and on their minds I will write them; I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people. Both male and female can enter the new covenant. Both covenants are mentioned in Jeremiah xxxi, 31-34. It was the seed of Abraham that were circumcised. It's the seed of God, born from above, through the preaching of the Gospel by apostolic ministry that were baptized by immersion. Circumcision was outward to teach the need of true circumcision of the heart--Jer iv, 4. In conclusion, let me point out to Mr. Ward that apostolic authority never came through Church Synod or Sanhedrin. I know he claims this mystic prerogative; let me tell him, however, the Bishop of Rome would say "you went out from us because you were not of us." Then his claim of apostolic ancestry would fall through. I will tell him when he tells me who sent John the Dipper. Jesus the Dipper, Peter and Paul, all dippers--all of whom were denied and cast out as evil by the clergy of the day, and who were continually questioning their authority to cast out devils, etc. and trying to hinder them on every hand. Let me tell Mr. Ward there were practically nothing but dippers for the first four centuries until the mystery of iniquity developed itself, and the devil succeeded in deceiving almost all Christendom by setting up a way other than God's way. However, there has (sic) always been a few dippers outside the ecclesiastical camp, and will while Jesus, the Chief Dipper, sits at God's right hand and reigns in the hearts of honest man (sic). A word for Mr. Maye--I did not begin this controversy. I cannot, however, keep silent when it is sought to teach error for truth much as I dislike the task. And if Mr. Maye would begin and stand for truth he would soon find himself where I am and perhaps worse. Read, Gal i, 8-9; 3 John i, 10, 11; Isa ix, 15, 16. I am sorry for the necessity of this letter.
--Your obedient servant, JOHN WEST.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
I do not intend to enter into the above controversy on either side. However, in the interests of truth I must say I am astonished at the statements made by Mr. Ward in your last week's issue with regard to what happened in Ballycassidy Schoolhouse on the night Mr. John West was there.
The words quoted by Mr. West in his letter of 7th Feby, re his question to Mr. Ward, were quite correct in every particular, and the words quoted by Mr. Ward in your last issue are entirely wrong and misleading. I may say I took particular notice of the words used on both sides, and I was so thoroughly ashamed and disgusted with the unscriptural arguments and the nonsense talked by Mr. Ward that I left the meeting determined to never again subscribe to a Church that permits and sanctions such a doctrine. I stated so openly in the meeting before leaving. I may say I was a subscriber to the Church of Ireland up to that night, and I can now rejoice that I got my eyes opened in some measure to what is false and traditional and what is in accordance with the Word of God.
A service was held by the Pilgrims at the part of the river running through Francis Reid's farm at Dongary, between Fivemiletown and Brookeborough, on Sunday evening. Between four and five hundred people had assembled.
After a few short addresses delivered, amid cheering and boohing, eighteen converts were baptized.
A force of police from Fivemiletown and Brookeborough were in attendance.
A large meeting was afterwards held in the Hall at Derrymavogie.
We in no way identify ourselves with the sentiments expressed by our various correspondents
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
Glasgow, March 16.
A cutting out of Fermanagh Times was posted to me this morning, containing last letter of "Amicus Veritatis." I notice in it he quotes-- John iii, 5, to prove that baptism in water should precede belief. This is misleading as the passage "Except a man be born of water and of the spirit" does not refer to baptism at all.
Jesus himself, in the next chapter, explains to the woman at the well what he meant by being born of water. She made the same mistake as Amicus Veritatis, and thought that Jesus referred to physical water. Jesus corrected her and showed her he spoke of the spiritual water alluded to in John vii, 38, words which flow from the midst of the prophet, or believer, through whom God speaks. If any honest reader will compare John iii, 5, with John iv, 10 to 34; John vii, 38, he can easily see that Jesus refers to spiritual and not physical water.
Amicus Veritatis rightly quotes Matt xxviii, 19--"Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them," &c, but he wrongly infers what he states, viz that the rite of baptism makes disciples. Jesus Christ's command according to passage quoted was--1st, make disciples; 2nd, baptize; 3rd, teach them all things whatsoever I have commanded you. A V then asks Mr. West to tell him the meaning of disciple. I will tell him in the words of Jesus, who when great multitudes came to hear him, turned and said unto them "Whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath he cannot be my disciple." See Luke xiv, 33, R.V. Clearly from this we learn that there must be a conscious letting go claim to all we possess, so that he whose we are by right may have us and our possessions before we can become Christ's disciples. Those who have unprejudiced minds can see that unconscious babes cannot become disciples of Jesus, and are in no sense responsible for their acts until they arrive at the age when they can refuse or comply with Christ's conditions of discipleship mentioned in Luke xiv, 25 to 34.
Amicus Veritatis alludes to the edu-cation of Paul fitting him to be a preacher, but seems to forget that Paul's education by the theological professor, Gamaliel, made him like Amicus Veritatis, an opponent of the destitute ministry of Jesus. It was not until he got converted and became one of those destitute preachers that he was right. It was a wonderful miracle that one belonging to the college--bred clerical class of that day could get converted and become poor enough and low enough to be a sent one of Jesus. It was the educated preachers of Christ's day that opposed him, while the common people heard him gladly.
I shall close by quoting Paul's words to the Corinthians--"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty: and base things of the world, and things which are despised, had God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things which are: that no flesh should glory in His presence"; or, as the Twentieth Century transla-tion puts it, God hath chosen the world's nobodys to set to naught the somebodys. I Cor i, 27 to 29.
--Yours faithfully, EDWARD COONEY
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
Mr. John West has expressed himself at great length in last week's issue concerning his ideas on matters Theological. But he has failed to produce any evidence in support of his statement respecting the runaway cleric. Thoughtful people will draw their own conclusions from this failure.
He now mentions Calvin, Erasmus, Luther, Jeremy Taylor, and Dean Stanley as being Anabaptists. Whether they were so or not does not affect the question of baptism. But he brings no evidence in support of the assumption.
From a controversial point of view the proper course would be to ask him to quote chapter and verse from the writings of those distinguished men to show that they rejected infant Baptism. But this request might lead to "old wives fables." So I think it will be instructive to Church folk and non--church folk alike to take the first named writer, John Calvin, of Geneva--practically the founder of the Presbyterian form of religion, and see what he says on the subject of infant baptism, and its accompaniment, regeneration. The writings of Calvin are so voluminous that touching them alone is quite enough, and the others may "stand by" for future research if necessary.
The following extracts are from the real Calvin, now before me, and not from any imaginary Calvin of local creation:--"Calvin's Tracts, vol. ii, page 113 (Edinburgh, Calvin's Translation Society), from his original French and Latin, by Henry Beveridge."
It is particularly necessary to know that infants are to be brought for baptism either on the Lord's Day at the time of catechizing, or at public service on other days, that as baptism is a kind of formal adoption into the Church, so it may be per-formed in the presence and under the eye of the congregation.
Our help is in the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Amen.
Do you offer this infant for baptism?
Answer--We do, indeed.
Minister--Our Lord demonstrates in what poverty and wretchedness we are all born by telling us that we must be born again. For, if our nature requires to be renewed in order to gain admission to the Kingdom of God, it is a sign that it is altogether perverted and cursed. By this then, he admonishes us to humble ourselves . . . and seek for His grace, by which all the perverseness and malediction of our first nature may be abolished.
Page 114. But, when he has demonstrated our wretchedness, He, in like manner, consoles us by His energy, promising to regenerate us by His Holy Spirit to a new life, which forms a kind of entrance into His kingdom.
This regeneration consists of two parts. First, we renounce ourselves...Secondly, we therefore follow the light of God, seeking to be agreeable to Him, and obey His good pleasure, as He manifests it by His word, and conducts us to it by His Holy Spirit.
All these graces are bestowed upon us when He is pleased to incorporate us into His Church by baptism; for in this Sacrament he attests the remission of our sins. And he has ordained the symbol of water to figure to us, that as by this element, bodily defilements are cleansed, so he is pleased to wash and purify our souls. Moreover, he employs it to represent our renovation, which consists, as had been said in the mortification of our flesh, and in the spiritual life which it produces in us.
Page 115--By declaring that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them (little children), laying hands on them and recommending them to God, his Father, he clearly teaches that we must not exclude them from his Church. Following this rule, then, we will receive this child into his Church, in order that it may become a partaker of the blessings which God has promised to believers. (A Rubrio)
At all events we have a form of baptism, such as Jesus Christ instituted, the Apostles kept and followed and the Church put in practice, and there is nothing for which we can be blamed, unless it be for not being wiser than God himself.
From these extracts from Calvin's Office of Infant Baptism prepared by him for the Church in Geneva, his teaching can be plainly seen.
That he held and taught Infant Baptism, and Baptismal Regeneration as necessary accompaniment is beyond doubt, and so did the Reformers. Most severely, Calvin denounced the Anabaptists, and yet Mr. John West thinks Calvin is on his side.
It is wonderful how delusions are cherished once men forsake the sober faith and practice of the Church
--I am, sir, A CHURCHMAN.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
It (sic) said that in the multitude of counsellors there is safety, but in the multitude of controversial letters there is very often gross confusion.
The points in debate on the above subject can be reduced to a very narrow issue, but I fear your readers are rather bewildered than informed by all that has been written.
A writer, who signs himself "Amicus Veritatis" in your least issue quotes John iii, 5, to prove that baptism should precede belief. But neither the word baptism, nor the idea of baptism is to be found in the text. Christian baptism was not then instituted. The word "water" in the text is used as in many other passages both in the Old and New Testament, as symbolic of the Spirit. The verse if correctly translated would read-- "Except a man be born of water, namely the Spirit, &c."
A similar faulty translation represents our Lord as riding into Jerusalem on two asses. The passage should be rendered--" Behold thy King cometh unto thee riding upon an ass," namely, a colt the foal of an ass.
Any Greek scholar will know that the Greek word translated by "and" in the above passages must, in many instances, be translated by such words as "even" or "namely."
The same writer informs us as "news" that infant baptism was not questioned for the first eleven hundred years! Well, if he reckons from the foundation of the world he is probably correct, but if he calculates from the commencement of the Christian Era, then it is "news" indeed, but it is not history. And until he informs himself a little on Church History we will leave him to his romancing.
As for the supposed connection of circumcision and baptism there is not a single text of Scrip-ture which would establish the assumption, the two rites are wholly distinct and dissimilar. Circumcision was not instituted as a rite for introducing the recipient into the Jewish Church, it was practised before the organization of the Jewish Church. It was rather national than Ecclesiastical. A master was obliged to circumcise his heathen manservants (sic), but there was no obligation expressed or implied which required those heathen servants to abandon their heathen worship.
If Mr. Ward could produce evidence either from Scripture or from Apostolic practice to prove that baptism is the Scriptural and Christian successor to circumcision, then he would prove that the teaching and ritual of the Irish Church, and of all Anglican Churches, were entirely unscriptural and wrong.
We have now the issue narrowed to a very small compass. Mr. West is in perfect harmony with the teaching of the New Testament and with the teaching and ritual of the Irish Church, and of all branches of the Anglican Church, in stating that faith should precede baptism, and that faith is an essential qualification for baptism, the sole remaining point in dispute being the mode of administration.
Mr. West, I understand, asserts that immer-sion is the only mode admissible, but the question is--Has he Scripture or reason for this assertion? Any Greek scholar will know that the word which we translate to baptism, does not always in the New Testament imply immersion. I need not give instances, nor do the classic writers always use the word in that restricted sense.
Now as there is no Scripture warrant for making immersion essential, can Mr. West furnish us with a good reason?
No one can say that to baptize by immersion is wrong, but to assert that no other mode is valid is a different thing.
In fact what is the essential difference between sprinkling and immersion? Simply this that immersion is an enlarged form of sprinkling, nothing more. In sprinkling a portion of the body is brought into contact with the water, in immersion a larger portion of the body is reached, but if a person be immersed twenty times in succession, there will still remain many parts of the surface of the body untouched by the water. Sprinkling is therefore quite as valid as immersion, and the gain of immersion is a matter only of arithmetic!
In conclusion it will be seen that Mr. West, strange to say, has developed into an extreme Ritualist of the most ultra type.
The essence of ritualism consists in attaching undue importance to rites and ceremonies--where the spirit is lost in the letter.
Mr. West's idea of Christian baptism makes it depend upon the quantity of water used. The small vessel which contains enough for sprinkling does not, in his estimation, convey this grace which is only to be found in the caldron, and with all the exclusiveness characteristic of the Ritualistic bigot, he would exclude from the benefits of Christian Church the Quakers, who use no form of baptism; and he would deny the benefits of baptism to the thousands of Laplanders and inhabitants of northern regions, who could not possibly melt as much snow as would make an immersing bath.
His Christianity is only for temperate and torrid regions.
The Apostle John saw nearly two thousand years ago heaven opened, and around the throne he saw gathered an innumerable host from every nation and kindred and tongue, who had never so much as heard of either sprinkling or immersion.
--Yours etc. SCRUTATOR.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
March 16, 1907.
Mr. John West has no one to blame only himself for starting this controversy, which it appears will continue should the courteous editor of the FERMANAGH TIMES afford him space to do so. I think he should be played out, as his letters are full of empty verbiage. The doctrine of baptism is either too big for a gentleman of his calibre, who admits he knows neither Latin or Greek, in which the New Testament was originally written. In fact Mr. West reminds the writer of what the venerable Wesley said to a young man who came to ask him questions in theology. Do you know Greek, said Mr. Wesley to this pedant. His answer was no. Do you know Latin, said Mr. Wesley? I do not was his reply; then said Wesley you had better mount my carriage and sit in the box with my coachman. Mr. West's ideas of Christian baptism are simply ridiculous, in fact, in his last letter bordering on blasphemy. I ask again, what business had John West to try to disturb the good feeling existing between the pastor and the congregation. He testifies plainly his object. He brought his henchman with him, a Christian of many sects like himself. Mr. Wm. Glen says he was disgusted and took such nausea as to leave in a pout when the Rev T. Ward condescended to reply to his impertinent, ungrammatical interrogator. It happened well. Mr. Ward has since left the parish. As Mr. Glen's support might financially have compelled him to do so, he (sic) Mr. West, is joyful in finding that this controversy has been carried on in a spirit of love. I cannot imagine for a moment that love prompted him to rush into the Schoolroom in Ballycassidy to interrupt the proceedings. I would ask him to read a passage bearing on this point in Acts 8 chapter, wherein we are told that when Peter and John, two of the most eminent of the Apostles, came down to Samaria to witness the great revival affected by Philip the Evangelist, did Peter enter into any compromise with Simon the Sorcerer who wanted to give him money for obtaining power to work miracles. Did he on that occasion enter into any argument with him? Only by intimating to him in unmistakable language his abhorrence of his guilt saying to him "thou has neither part or lot in this matter," although Simon had been baptized. Well might the poet say:
If Mr. West had continued in connexion (sic) with his own Church, and Mr. Glen followed in his wake there would be no necessity for having to defend Christian baptism; nor should he have had for want of a better argument to incriminate a minister of the Gospel for giving a name to a dying child. The Apostle says, let all things be done decently and in order, and I think every true Christian will admit that calling a baby William or Mary would neither be sinful or improper. Hoping, sir, this controversy will terminate after all in preventing the professed followers of Christ from departing from the faith.
--I am, sir, yours truly, CORRESPONDENT
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
The greater part of Mr. West's letter, in last week's issue of your popular journal, is tuned to the refrain, "Thank God I am not as other men are, not even as poor, A V," but as I have never tried to analyse the motives which actuated any individual in their private or public capacity, I must on the present occasion decline the bait with thanks.
However, when I come to weigh his letter on the balance of accuracy, I find it sadly deficient, the false statements, inaccuracies and inconsistencies far outweighing the truth, and is highly suggestive of a mind ill at ease.
1st, for his false statements: I did NOT retranslate a single passage. I accepted the authorized version. I took the text he himself quoted, Mark xvii, 16--the text upon which the Pilgrims build their fabric--and I showed him the construction of that text in plain English implied baptism first, and I proved this to be the correct meaning from another of our Lord's directions, John iii, 5, where water is placed first, and remember both are our Lord's quotations. I also told him this was more clear in the original if he took the trouble to enquire from anyone who knew. If this was not so I further asked him to explain how baptism and belief could be simultaneous. This he has passed by.
Again, I asked him to give me one single text from Genesis to Revelation where the word baptize (embapto) means to immerse. Another failure.
I ask him again, remembering our Lord was perfect man, to explain the words "immediately" and "straightway," in Mark i, 10, 12. Silence again.
I further asked him if the word "into" in Acts viii, 38, means under, to give any other instance where the Greek "eis" is so translated. Remember it occurs frequently in same chapter. If Mr. West's ideas were correct, it would follow that both baptizor and baptized went under the water. Let him tell his own child to go into the room, will it look for some way to get under the floor? A schoolboy of 12 would feel ashamed of such reasoning. All this Mr. West has passed over, probably a little light is beginning to dawn.
Is not all this silence plain admission of his inability to prove dipping from Scripture. But let us go a little further. On the day of Pentecost 3,000 were baptized. How could they be dipped in one day by the small number of Apostles? Where could they be dipped? Anyone who has read anything worth knows the Brook Cedron is nothing but a dry river bed at that season. Again take Acts x, 47, Peter said--" Can anyone forbid water that these should not be baptized." Unmistakably showing that water was brought to the individual, not the individual to the water. The Philippian gaoler is another case in point. We are told, Acts xvi, 33, "He was baptized he and his straightway"--and at night. Will Mr. West make us believe that gaols in those days were supplied with modern comforts. Anyone knowing the strict exclusiveness of eastern habits--if it were only from the leaflets distributed by the different missionary societies--would know that baptism of women by immersion was--more so then than now--an impossibility. In I Cor, x, 2, we read, "And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea." In Exod xiv, 22, we are told they passed over on dry ground, and in verse 28 that the Egyptians who were immersed were drowned. How were they baptized? Do not all those prove, beyond doubt, that baptism was not by immersion, but that it was administered by water being poured on the individual?
Now for his inaccuracies. 1st, He tells us the Philippian gaoler's whole house believed. Now, we are NOT told any such thing. Here is what we are told. Acts xvi, 33 (R V), he rejoiced greatly, with all his house, having believed God. No believer mentioned but himself. 2nd, He says the house of Stephanus addicted themselves to the ministry of the Saints. Not a bit of it. Hear what the Bible says, I Cor i, 16, "And I baptized the house of Stephanus." What Mr. West refers to is in I Cor xvi, 16, where there is not a single word about baptism not even in the chapter. 3rd, He says there were brethren in house of Lydia, who were comforted by Paul and Silas. Readers please open your Bibles at Acts xvi, 14-15, and you will find the following words--" And a certain woman...whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things that were spoken by Paul. And when she was baptized and her household, she besought us saying: If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord come into my house." Not a word about brethren. Shame, Mr. West, even you are in a corner. Verse 40 simply tells us that the brethren met at Lydia's house after Paul got out of prison. His quotations being wrong, it follows that his deductions are wrong also.
Just a look at his inconsistencies. 1st--In his last letter he told us infant baptism was introduced in the third century; now he says in the fourth century. What an historian! Yet Paul tells us infants were baptized 1500 years before the birth of Christ, unless Mr. West can prove there were no infants in that great Jewish multitude which came up out of Egypt. I Cor x, 1-2. The Bible tells us there were little ones with them. See Exod x, 9, 10, 24, 2nd--He told us in his last letter that after his conversion he could not remain in the Irish Church. Now he accepts the doctrine of men in communion with that Church. 3rd--He says circumcision related only to earthly greatness. Yet a little further on he says circumcision was outward to teach the need of true circumcision of the heart. Please reconcile these two. Again, he says it was a sign he entered the family by natural birth. Was the name of his family impressed on his flesh? Of what use then was the family genealogy? Whose family was Abraham circumcised into? How about Ishmael? If, as he says, circumcision only admitted to political privileges, how was it that uncircumcision excluded from religious privileges. See Exod xii, 48. When you answer these, Mr. West, there are more waiting upon you. Answer these, Mr. West, there are more waiting upon you.
Mr. West, the Reformers not only admitted infant baptism, but they practiced it. If you read a little further on you will find that they are proving there was no necessity for our Lord to initiate a rite that had already been in existence--that his silence sanctioned it. Please read on. Anyone asserting the Reformers and Jeremy Taylor did not both preach and practice infant baptism is guilty of a deliberate falsehood.
Now let us see what the Bible says about the admission of infants.
In Rom xi, 17-24, we are distinctly told that the Church of the New Testament is a continuation and enlargement of the Church of the Old Testament. Children were capable of being brought into covenant with God in the Church of the Old Testament. See Deut xxix, 10-11-12. If children were less privileged in the New, would not our Lord have said so. If they were admitted then, why exclude now? St. Paul tells us distinctly that Baptism has taken the place of circumcision. In Col ii, 11-12, he says "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands in putting off the body the sins of the flesh. By the circumcision of Christ buried with Him by baptism." Again, Rom iv, 8-11, we are told the sign of circumcision is the seal of the righteousness based on faith. If the Jewish child was circumcised, although he could not exercise that faith, why exclude the Christian's child? In Acts ii, 38-39, Peter tells us the promise is to their children. See also Gal iii, 16.
Now for a few of the early Christian writers.
Irenaeus, born in the year 97 A D, the disciple of St. John, says (Book iii, chap 22) Christ came to save all by Himself, all who are baptized to God, infants and little ones, etc.
Justin Martyr, who wrote about the year 140 (Apol 1 Chap xv) says many men and women, 60 and 70 years, who were made disciples from their childhood continue uncorrupted. (These would be baptized about 70 A D)
Origen, in the Second Century, writing says "Infants are baptized, etc." (Homily on Luke chap xiv).
Again the Council of Carthage in the year 253 A D, discussed the question "whether infants should be baptized on the eighth day or earlier."
Now take Peter's declaration on the day of Pentecost--Acts ii, 38-39--the evidences of the early Christian writers, and Mr. West's own admission, do they not prove beyond dispute that infant baptism was always administered? But more again. If sprinkling and baptismal regeneration is taught by the Church of Rome I know not. Mr. West may. He had already admitted a wide experience.
We in no way identify ourselves with the sentiments expressed by our various correspondents
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
Mr. Cooney's definition of a disciple comes at a very opportune moment. He quotes the words of Jesus "Whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath he cannot be my disciple. "See Luke xiv, 33, R.V. Mr. West is the "Pilgrim's" champion about Ballycassidy. Let us test him by this definition. Has Mr. West renounced "all that he hath"? Is this the same Mr. West who has been instructed by the Go Council to do what he declares is blasphemy. If so has Mr. West renounced that snug, well-paid situation. If he cannot answer yes to both these questions, either Mr. Cooney is misinterpreting Scripture, or Mr. West is a hypocrite and not a disciple. I shall be glad if Mr. West clears his position next week.
Then Mr. Cooney tells us "Amicus Veritatis" rightly quotes Matt xxviii, 19, but wrongly infers, &c, and then he, himself, turns round and rightly quotes 1st Cor i, 27 to 30, but wrongly infers that it is only foolish or uneducated men that God uses in his work. The entire teaching of Scripture from Genesis to Revelations is against such an inference. Paul, writing to these same people says, "Lest no man think me a fool"--2 Cor ii, 16. Paul does not contradict himself, so the inference is bound to be wrong. But Mr. Cooney can settle the matter by giving me a single passage in which Paul says he was hindered after his conversion by his education.
Was God displeased when Solomon asked for Wisdom? No. "The speech pleased the Lord"--1st Kings iii, 10. This same Solomon says---"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction "--Prov i, 7. Now, if Mr. Cooney still infers that the passage he quoted only refers to every day education, these other passages label him a fool for he apparently despises wisdom and instruction. But we see the farce of Cooneyism when Mr. Cooney despises all theological learning, at the same time that Mr. West is calling up the shades of these same theologians to prove his pet theory. Poor Mr. West! You must not rely on such authorities according to your leader, Mr. Cooney.
This sect would make us believe they are consistent and living according to the letter of the New Testament. They will not accept inferences; they must have definite commands.
Where then, I would like to ask, is the command given to raise money to buy timber and also to build a church house like the one at Ballinamallard?
Where is the command to use instrumental music, as I can prove some of the Go-preachers have done, and which Mr. Cooney upholds? Where is the command to pass over the inspired Psalms, and use instead the unscriptural Go-preachers' hymns.
In face of Paul's repeated declaration that he "suffered not a woman to speak in the Church." Where is the command for sending forth women tramp preachers?
Where even is the definite command to change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday? And amongst this sect's organization where do we find the ordained deacons to correspond with Acts vi, 6, or the ordained elders to correspond with Acts xiv, 23?
When Mr. Cooney gives me a definite command for each of these from the New Testament, I will be able to give him the same for Infant Baptism and an educated ministry.
I leave "Amicus Veritatis" to deal with Mr. Cooney's references to baptism, and whether these "unconscious babes," which Mr. Cooney says, "are in no means responsible for their acts, "are not fit subjects for baptism. I wonder would Mr. Cooney say he is "in no means responsible" for an act committed by Adam when Mr. Cooney was still unconscious.
I think these questions of mine will test the consistency or inconsistency of Mr. Cooney and this entire sect, and prove whether or not they are only labouring this one point to suit their own purpose, viz--Stir up bad feeling in the Churches. Therefore I trust you will find space for this letter.
Thanking you in anticipation.
--Yours faithfully, CORRAGARRY. 26 March, '07
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
My last letter evidently touched the spot. It's wonderful the effect the plain unwatered Word of God has always had on those who seek to pervert His way. What a howl, what a storm of abuse, from Churchman--Cor and A V, but still no proof for their infant regeneration, no hole to creep into in either the old or the New Testament. All seek to misrepresent my statements in previous letters, and it's impossible to answer them all in a letter like this. I must, however, with your kind permission try and prevent them from misquoting Scripture and twisting my arguments. Now, I did not refer in my last quotations to what Luther and others "PRACTISED" I and A V were honest enough to admit that infant sprinkling was neither taught, nor practised by Jesus and the 12 apostles. I have nothing to do with what these authorities themselves practised and taught? I stand by the truth of God, and what Jesus and the Apostles both SAID and DID. To Scrutator, I do not attach a superstitious or ritualistic importance to Baptism in any form, as I have already stated. I now repeat that the ceremony is meaningless unless preceded by genuine repentance towards God and saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ to baptise under any other conditions is solemn mockery. The fundamental conditions, always have and always will be genuine repentance and faith. Where these conditions are fulfilled I dare not subscribe to any other creed than "Burial with Christ in baptism, and like as He was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, the person baptized might rise to walk with him in newness of Life"--Rom vi, 4; Col ii, 12. Typical of our Lord's death, burial, and resurrection, I maintain that no true Apostle or prophet dare put before his converts any other conditions that Peter put before his on the day of Pentecost. Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost--Acts ii, 38. How dare any one be he Quaker, Salvationist or Methodist tamper with this truth of God--this Divine plan laid before the foundation of the world. No man that fears the Lord Jesus Christ and seeks to follow him at all costs dare do so. He that saith I know him and keepeth not His com-mandments is a liar and the truth is not in him--1 John ii, 4. The verse the promise is to you and your children and to those that are afar off &c. has nothing whatever to do with the lie of baptismal regeneration. It simply means that the promise is perpetual and that future generations and all humanity may be saved and receive the Holy Ghost if they fulfil the same conditions. They must repent and be baptized. How blind carnally-minded reasoners are to the meaning of the simple truth, and how the Devil seeks to darken counsel with words.--Rev ix, 2.
We are asked to believe that it would be impossible to baptize 3,000 on the day of Pentecost. I wonder who told them? If they used the form that John used when he baptized Jesus in the Jordan it would not, as a simple sum in arithmetic will show. According to this plan one baptizer would do at least 20 in an hour; 120 would at that rate do 3,000 in less than an hour and a half. If they used the Anglican Church form, let us see how long it would take. There are in this ritual five collects, eleven prayers, eight questions, fifteen [--??--], the Lord's prayer, the Creed, the sign of the cross, a thanksgiving for the infant's regeneration and numerous other items. If the priest was good at the intoning business it would take at least half-an-hour. These Ritualists believe that none but the twelve had "authority." Take them at their word and give them a ten hour day--it would mean 12 days hard work and 230 still unbaptized, and, remember, no time for a smoke or a game of hockey. I wonder where those 3,000 got godfathers and godmothers. Perhaps A V can tell us. I don't know Greek.
To proceed I notice "Correspondent" shuts his little heaven against all who don't know Latin and Greek, even Wesley's coachman, who sat on the box. Had Wesley been a true prophet he would have had neither carriage nor coachman. The disciple is not greater than his Lord. What a conception this narrow-minded individual must have of our great God when he thinks that in order to know His truth we have got to learn the Dead Languages. Does he not know that God's ideal was--in the first Adam---a gardener--and the second Adam (Christ)--a carpenter. Leave your Latin and Greek Mr. Cor and read your Bible: perhaps it does not suit you to walk in the light of God's truth. So we leave you in the [-----] candle light of the [----].
Re Amicus Veritatis, I did not particularly notice A V's letter in your previous issue, because when I glanced it over I could see he was hopelessly blind to the truth as it is in Jesus. Evidently he considers I slighted him; however, when he reads E. Cooney's and Scrutator's in your last it may begin to dawn upon him that his light is darkness. It would be wasted time to follow him through his muddle of misquoted and misapplied texts; he evidently has something on his brain about baptism and belief being simultaneous. I never said so, nor does the Scriptures--Belief always first, A V. The meaning of "Immediately" and "straightforward" would do you no good. All your reasonings are silly. You should learn to avoid profane and vain babblings and oppositions of science falsely so called. I Tim vi, 20. Don't attempt to twist my quotations, Mr. A V. Any person who reads what the Scriptures say about the three households baptized by Paul can see that my conclusions are quite correct. I say it's unfair and contemptible conduct on your part to try to twist my quotations as you did. To follow your reasonings about circumcision is laughable; do you not know that circumcision was an earthly covenant made with faithful Abraham and his seed, and had nothing to do with salvation. The persons who would urge that Paul said baptism took the place of circumcision is guilty of a deliberate falsehood. Col ii, 11-12 proves that the putting away of sin by faith in Christ is necessary before being buried with Him in baptism and nothing more--another proof against infant regeneration.
Your quotations and questions prove you to be either ignorant of the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures, or, what's worse, putting forth what you know to be untrue, for the purpose of perverting truth. Away with such men and unprincipled practice; it's unworthy of this controversy. Take care Mr. A V you may wrest the Scriptures to your own destruction. I never said there were no baby sprinklers before the 4th century. I know there have been false prophets since the beginning. What I sought to prove was that the true apostolic ministry after the Matt x pattern had the pre-eminence during the first few centuries. We find in I John iv, 1 that even then false prophets had gone forth. Paul was troubled with them. Writing to the Galatians he says, "I marvel you are soon removed from the faith," and tells them "that though he or an angel from heaven came and preached any other doctrine to them let him be accursed," and emphasizes it by repetition--Gal i, 6, 8. What a warning to baby regenerators and all preachers after Matt 23 pattern "who teach their own tradition for the truth of God, despise every precept of our Lord, and go after the desire of their own hearts, giving heed to fables and commandments of men that turn from the truth."--Titus i, 13 14.
It has been the Devil's purpose in every age to set aside God's plan. In the garden he preaches to Eve under a nom-de-plume, and tells her that God did not mean what He said--Gen iii, 1--and succeeded in deceiving her. We find after the flood the people building a way to heaven other than God's way.--Gen xi, 3, 5. But God found them out and confused their language. Typical of the 600 sects of today, all building ways of their own and all ignoring God's simple plan of salvation. What a weight of ceremony and tradition hangs around the different ways planned by the god of this world's preachers. What a multitude of consecrated buildings made of hands--spires, clocks, fonts and graveyards--and how few consecrated human temples for the Holy Ghost to dwell in.
Paul tells us that as the Devil succeeded in deceiving the bride of the first Adam, he may suc-ceed in deceiving the bride of the second Adam by corrupting the simplicity that is in Christ.--II Cor xi, 2-3. After all why waste so much time over infant regeneration? Is not theological teaching responsible for far more departures from the divine plan? Does it not teach that poor means rich; hungry means well-fed; half-clad soft clothing; no certain dwelling, a rectory or a manse? Provide neither gold nor silver nor brass in your purses. Get a Sustentation Fund, an Auxiliary Fund, a Centenary Fund, a Twentieth Century Fund, a Superannuation Fund, a Widows Fund, a Childrens Fund, a Poor Parish Fund, an Education Fund, get brewers and distillers money---the price of lost souls ruined by their traffic--get all you can, no matter where it comes from. You know we must obey Matt x, and we must be independent of God and man. Go means squat and let the millions die without Christ. Suffer means reign; weep means laugh; no reputation means leaders of fashion and politics; Bishop means a gentleman in a palace with a seat in the House of Lords, salary ,15,000 a year down instead of a working man saved and baptized, and spending his spare time and money for the salvation of others.
"Woe to them for they have gone in the way of Cain and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward and perished in the gainsaying of Cora," Jude i, 11. What gainsaying of God's truth. What awful greed. Funds and collections, bazaars and lotteries---all in the name of the meekest man that ever lived---Christ Jesus. Horrifying! Reader, what road are you travelling. Don't be deceived by the preachers of the stained-glass window Jesus. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Jesus Christ is God's pattern man for all men and every age. God never changes; man's heart is just the same. The Devil the same. The Scribe and Pharisee the same as always. They will try and tell you that Jesus is not the pattern for to-day. Remember, "many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an anti-christ...whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God"--2 John i, 7, 9.
"If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house neither bid him Godspeed"--2 John i, 10.
Fellowman, you must be born again. Born of God. You were born into the natural that you might be born into the spiritual. Unless you are a partaker of the Divine nature and conformed in heart and life to the image of His Son--where God is you never can go. Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon Him while He is near.
--Your obedient servant, JOHN WEST
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FERMANAGH TIMES
The Nonconformists who have adopted the theory of Infant Baptism are in great straits for an argument when they can find nothing in the New Testament to support their views, save the assumption that in the households who were baptized by the Apostles there were infants.
In the instance of the Philippian jailer, the household "believed," and in the case of Cornelius, that Centurion told Peter that all who were assembled at his house were hearers, and therefore adults, and we read that while they heard the preaching of Peter the Holy Spirit fell on them all, and they spake with tongues--all this was prior to their being baptized.
The argument therefor derived from baptized households must be assumed against infant baptism, as we have not a single instance of an infant being baptized to set against those households of believers exclusively.
The argument from circumcision is quite as illusive, the oft quoted text Col ii, 11 is most unfortunate for the case. "The circumcision of Christ" there mentioned is expressly stated to be made "without hands" and cannot therefore be baptism, which in no case whether by sprinkling or immersion, is administered without hands.
If the Apostle teaches us that "the circumcision of Christ" is baptism, then he teaches that baptism is salvation, for in that circumcision of Christ he tells us there is the putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, or in other words, there is the renewal of our moral nature.
"The circumcision of Christ" is spiritual regeneration, which is an operation wrought not by human hands or human agency, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Buried with Christ in baptism comes after that circumcision without hands as it is placed secondary in the order of the passage above referred to. Now the fact that the Anglican Churches require repentance and faith as the essential conditions or qualifications for baptism in all cases whether the persons to be baptized are infants or adults is strong proof that these conditions have been required in unbroken procession from apostolic times. Whatever we may think of "apostolic succession" as far as the ministry is concerned there is no room for doubt that apostolic practice and ritual in substance have come down through all succeeding ages.
We have for instance in the New Testament the Apostles requiring a profession of faith from all persons who were candidates for baptism--we have all branches of the Anglican Churches today requiring the same conditions whether those persons are infants or adults--we can through the history of these churches trace up the selfsame conditions to the early centuries, and thus we have the best reasons for concluding that the baptism of believers and of believers only has been the unbroken theory and practice of the church from apostolic times to the present. Now the fact that infants are baptized in the Anglican Churches, but not as infants, but as adults is additional proof that the baptism of believers and believers only was the practice in apostolic times.
If infants had been considered by the Apostles or their successors eligible for baptism they would have been received and baptized as infants; it would have seemed absurd for an Apostle to have required an infant to make a profession of repentance and faith, and if at whatever subsequent time infants were admitted to the rite, they had been considered eligible for baptism, they would have been received and would have been baptized as infants but they were not considered eligible. The qualifications for baptism which had so long been as a headline for the direction of the Church could not be altered and thus the plan of sponsorship was adopted, by means of which the infant could be brought into the Church as an adult and as a believing adult.
It was assumed on the part of the infant that it would repent and believe on reaching the years of understanding, and on that assumption it was admitted to baptism. Thus the rite of confirmation is the supplement of baptism and strictly speaking the rite of baptism according to the Anglican teaching on the subject is not completed until the act of confirmation has taken place.
--Yours faithfully, SCRUTATOR
Go to: April, 1907 of this series in Fermanagh Times