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It is presumable, that in the beginning Christ, Christianity, or the Christian profession, was commonly put on, or begun, with the ceremony of baptism after an audible exhortation by the baptist or his assistants enforced, as we may suppose, by an inaudible, but not ineloquent commentary, and generally before the baptized had been to school, they being for the most part as untaught as their Leader; though some of them might know their letters, as he did, most likely, by self-instruction. (John vii. 15.) Some of the baptized might also be older than the baptist; some, much younger, as well in age, as in wisdom and experience. It would be quite another thing to distinguish nicely between the respective qualifications of candidates only at one of our Christenings, from what it would be at an inspection of recruits for the temporal army; the constitution and stature of the mind not being so conspicuous or subject to observation and measurement as those of the body: and it would be another thing still—a much harder part, to distinguish such points in all the multitude that came first to John, (Luke iii. 7,) and next more abundantly to Jesus (John iv. 1)-to be baptized of them. Who could distinguish in such a crowd, whether one man or another was duly impressed and convinced by the baptist's arguments or by his Master's either, and so offered himself for baptism sincerely, or whether he did not rather come for fashion's sake, or from some other indirect motive? It was enough for a beginning, that the comers to the fountain were willing to be baptized, if there appeared no particular reason to the contrary; for if there did, the baptist would put them back with a suitable reproof; as John did some of the multitude, together with a portion of their rivals or enemies, the tax gatherers and the police. “O generation of vipers, (said he, meaning the vipers of society,) who hath warned you, to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves We have Abraham to our father ; for I

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say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; ery tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.” (Luke iii. 7-9.)

We read of no Triers in those days; godfathers and godmothers were also then to be dispensed with; perhaps they were not even so much as thought of at that busy period; and other circumstances, as there might be some still more minute, would also be overlooked; which shews that they were not of prime necessity : while little children, notwithstanding their ignorance, were admitted by our Lord himself, differing as it would seem in this respect from some who would have them put back too. the little children to come unto me, (said he,) and forbid them not.” (Mark x. 13, 14.) Considering indeed, that in putting on Christ, good witnesses, such as charity, humility and sincerity, for example, are as necessary as good professions,—“ that (as he says) in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established," (Matt. xviii. 16, the presumption of a legal baptism would generally be most favourable to infants; though there is one case of adults with which theirs would not bear

any comparison, being that of a contrite heart. And we cannot wonder at our Lord's decision on the case of infants, on hearing his reason, “ For of such is the Kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein ;” (Mark x. 14, 15;) while of the other sort he has said, “ No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him; and I WILL RAISE HIM UP AT THE LAST DAY.” (John vi. 44.)

Therefore the baptism of infants having been practised in the church originally, as well as their circumcision, a sign of similar engagements, and implicitly allowed, if not expressly ordained by our Lord himself while such infants could not have been capable of instruction, if they could even lisp his name,-it may be inferred, that baptism ought to precede discipline or instruction in some cases; as when either the party is not capable of instruction, like very young children, or instruction is not to be bad for want of competent teachers; also, that good dispositions are as important to the ceremony as either good information or good professions, if not more indispensable. And as no Christian seminary, or recruiting establishment for the church could consistently receive any member, even for common discipline or instruction, before he had been regularly baptized, so it should be the first object of all such seminaries to ascertain this point on their admission and keep them closely to it till they left.

It is not, as I have already signified, to be expected of persons embarked only in this common circle or degree of discipline even when they are trained therein, and consequently not before, to be adepts or divines-men of many creeds, wbo“ have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge;" but being to be united as it were in one body, it may be expected that they shall be also of one mind in a general way; or if not of one mind, at least-of one principle, homogeneous subjects, not one half of God and the other, as it is unfortunately, and more than half,-of Mammon; they should all be of one principle, which is Jesus Christ—" the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.” (Heb. xiii. 8.) And having all been dipped in one dye, if it be so, and “made to drink into one Spirit,” (Cor. I. xii. 13,) like wool in the cauldron, and then woven, as we may say, into one piece, we shall be so far equal, whatever may be the farther discipline and consequent destiny of any of us; as the apostle says, writing to those under common discipline, “ Ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus "_" Ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. iii. 26, 28.) Then it

may queried,

2-Whether Women may be lawfully baptized, as well as Men and Children ?


There is no particular authority in Scripture that I know for the fact of Women having been baptized originally, as well as men; and from female baptism, or the baptism of females having been particularly attributed by the author of the Acts to a later period, namely to the second or apostolic age, some may be inclined to doubt, whether it was practised indeed from the beginning. For this author, speaking of the Samaritans who were rescued from a common delusion by the ministry of Philip, relates, that “ when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God, they were baptized both men and women.” (Acts viii. 12.) But to my mind there can be no question about the matter; 1, because the little children who were brought to our Saviour were brought most likely in their mothers' arms; 2, because of the little children so brought some were boys, and some were girls, most likely; but 3, more especially, because our Saviour and his gospel, unlike some heathen authorities, make no distinction between the rights of man and woman in any other respect, (Gal. iii. 28,) except that women are not allowed “ to speak in church ;" (Cor. I. xiv. 34, 35;) and therefore may be presumed to make no distinction in this.

It is the glory of our religion, or we may say, of the Christian reformation, as far as it goes, and what proves the excellence of its spirit and discipline—to elevate and raise into consideration the depressed of every class, to “ lift the poor out of the mire,” (Ps. cxiii. 6,) and bring into play the more neglected members of society; of which number was nearly the whole female sex in former times, as a large proportion of the same, and in heathen countries especially, is at present. This is an improvement that we owe to the superior light of the gospel: “ because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” (John I. . 8.) And this superior light, the light of the gospel, is owing to superior charity; whose estimate of persons and things is generally found to be more correct even than that of knowledge, the generally reputed basis of judgment. For we fancy, that we all have knowledge ; and who can deny it? Yet we may all be mistaken: as knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” (Cor. I. viii. 1.)

And the way is this: we are all of us, men as well as women, but women more especially-very unequal in our constitution and temperament; so that, viewing the sex in different lights, as it might and would be viewed by different judges --judging each perhaps according to his own humour and inclination, as well as the merits of the subject,—the pure and benevolent Christian would see a worthy partner for life, where the savage and unnatural heathen could only find a slave for his impure lusts. Now a slave is one that has been acquired by theft, by violence, or else by fair purchase, if such a purchase be possible: but the subordination of the woman to the man with an equality of rights, as aforesaid, does not depend on any human act or deed in the main, however she may seem to be bought and bound in a part of our marriage ceremony. Her subordination to man is a primitive relation by the order of nature and providence, allowing to the man not only a priority of birth in that he was first created, but also a priority of allegiance, as receiving the commands of his Maker first-even before the woman existed, and communicating them to her, as to a subordinate, though not inferior subject---being equally and independently amenable with man, as it unhappily proved in the first case of offending. (Gen. iii. 16.)

I must not therefore be understood by any means to insinuate, that women are intellectuals of a middle stature between the man and the child, as many appear to think by their fondling and familiar way of addressing them; but that they are partakers in various degrees of the peculiarities of either character, the man and the child, in respect of the other.

Hence their occasional inferiority, WHEN THEY HAPPEN TO PARTAKE TOO MUCH OF EITHER; and it may be by great luck their superiority in partaking


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