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CHAP. 11. Mr. Stennet, ‘Answer to Russen,' p. 85, one Macaire, Year after who should say, that in the church of Alexandria,
no infants were in the first ages baptized. It is the unhappiness of vulgar readers, that if they see a strange name quoted, they think it a great authority: but it is a very disingenuous thing to take advantage of this their weakness. It is like putting off bad wares upon ignorant chapmen. For Boemus, I could never hear who he was, nor when he lived. (P. S. I find, since the first edition,
that he is a late author of no note or regard for 656. learning.) Macaire (as Mr. Stennet says) was bishop
of Memphis in Egypth, anno 756. But we have no account from him, how or when this new-found book of his came to light, or how it appears to be genuine. This is certain, that at that time there was no such place as Memphis, and that the Saracens had above a hundred years before that overrun all Egypt, whose custom was to destroy all Christian books and learning. And can we think that this unknown man, in such a time of ignorance, is able to tell us any news of the primitive practice, which Origen (who lived in Alexandria five or six hundred years before that) and the other Fathers who had a clear light of history to their own times, had never heard of? Such authors serve only to fill up a crowd of names, and to put an abuse upon a plain honest reader : the prevention of which is my only excuse for mentioning these, who are by no means to be reckoned among learned
b (And secretary to Cosmus III. the 58th patriarch of Alexandria : Mr. Stennet quotes from Vansleb’s Histoire de l'Eglise • d'Alexandrie,' part i. c. 23.]
There is also a passage in the former English CHAP. II. editions of Camden's Britannia,' which, if every year after reader knew who is the author of it, would for the same reason have no need of being mentioned here. But many readers take all that is there put into the text, for Camden's own: whereas Dr. Holland the translator bas inserted abundance of his own additions. And, among the rest, he has in Cumberland interpolated among Camden's words, a fancy of his own against the antiquity of infant-baptism. Camden is there speaking of the font at Bridekirk in that county, · Which is,' he says, ' a large open • vessel of greenish stone, with several little images *curiously engraven on it;' having also an inscription which he could not read. He guesses it to have been made originally for a font, (to which use it is still employed,) and (to account for the images engraven on it) he says, We read that the fonts “ were anciently adorned with the pictures of holy * men, whose lives were proposed as a pattern to
such as were baptized for which he quotes in the margin Paulinus. Then follows in the text this addition of Dr. Holland's. For in the first plantation * of Christianity amongst the Gentiles, such only as • were of full age, after they were instructed in the
principles of the Christian religion, were admitted * to baptism.
Camden's words, quoted from Paulinus, do intimate no more than this; that there were in ancient times many baptisms of adult persons; but that such only were admitted, is said only by Dr. Holland, who seems to have concluded it too hastily from what Camden quoted.
But it appears since by a more accurate view
CHAP. II. taken by the present bishop of Carlislei of the Year after inscription, and of those which Camden calls images
on the said font-stone, that the contrary to what Dr. Holland thought is proved from them. For he, in a letter to sir William Dugdale, (printed in the additions to the last edition of that book,) explains both the inscription and the images : by which latter he says, “We have there fairly represented ' a person in a long sacerdotal habit, dipping a child • into the water; and a dove (the emblem, no doubt, • of the Holy Ghost) hovering over the infant,' &c.
XV. Of the professed antipædobaptists, (for all that I have yet mentioned were pædobaptists, notwithstanding some of their sayings concerning the ancient use,) Mr. Tombes was a man of the best parts in our nation, and perhaps in any; but his talent did not lie much in ancient history or reading. All that I have seen of his of this nature has been considered, in speaking of the authors to whom he refersk
Mr. Danvers has heaped together a vast rhapsody of quotations l; but having seldom consulted the authors themselves, but taken them at second hand, and out of any sort of writers, such as he calls by the names of Twiskm, Frank", &c., and a book called
i [Dr. W. Nicholson. See above, at vol. i. chap. 3. §.9. p. 86. and the note there.]
k Part i. ch. 4. §. 8. ch. 5. §. 7. ch. 6. §. 1, 2, &c. ch. 21. $. 5, &c.
1 Treatise of Baptism.
m [Mr. Danvers frequently cites as authority • Twisk Chronic. 'p. &c.' What book that is, I have not yet been able to ascertain.]
= [Sebastian Frank, a fanatical author of the sixteenth century; who, among sundry strange and paradoxical works, published
Dutch Martyrology, &c., books of no kind of credit, CHAP. II. he has for the most part. strangely misrepresented Year after them.
He was publicly accused by Mr. Baxter°, and Mr. Willsp, for a wilful forger of quotations; and the book would tempt one to think so. second thoughts, I hope it was partly his authors, and partly want of good heed or skill that misled him. Mr. Wills went so far as to put in an appeal to his own party against him, that they ought to renounce him: and he printed it. But he and they answered as well as they could, and made the best of a bad matter. And indeed Mr. Wills in that appeal (for want of books I suppose) made not his best advantage of the charge that might have been brought against him : for he instanced in some of his false quotations that were of the least consequence; omitting those of greater, and such as it bad been impossible for him or them to reconcile : and also in some of them was mistaken himself.
Most of the rest of them do, as much as may be, avoid speaking of the practice of the primitive church, and do except against any argument brought from thence as a human authority. A method, which, if they be resolved to continue in their a Chronicle, Annals, and History of the Bible,' first printed in 1331, and reprinted in 1536, 1538, 1543, 1585.)
• Confutation of the strange Forgeries of H. Danvers, [being the second part of his · More Proofs of Infants,' &c. 80. 1675.]
P (See · Infant-baptism asserted and vindicated by Scripture ‘and Antiquity; in answer to a treatise of baptism lately pub- lished by Mr. Henry Danvers : together with a full detection of • his misrepresentations, &c. by Obed. Wills, M. A.' 30. 1674. Also, · Vindiciæ Vindiciarum,' &c. and · An Appeal to the • Baptists, against Mr. Danvers, &c. by the same.' 89. 1675.)
CHAP. II. opinion, is much for their purpose ; provided they Year after meet with adversaries so weak as to let it so pass
XVI. I have produced all the modern learned men that I know of, that have thought that infantbaptism either was not from the beginning, or was not universal. And though I proposed to manage impartially, yet I hope no reader that is a pædobaptist will expect that I should do the like with those learned men that give their verdict for it. Instead of that, I must declare that all the rest that I have seen, that have occasion to speak of this matter, are of opinion, that the sayings of the Fathers are a sufficient evidence that it was always in use, and that as the general practice of the church of Christ.
Indeed they will many of them say thus: that there may perhaps be produced here and there a singular instance of a person, that did omit it through carelessness, or some accident, &c., and that Tertullian also is an instance of one man that advised the delay of it till the age of reason, in case there appeared no danger of death in the meantime: and that this is ordinary in all customs, however allowed and established, that some one in an age happens to speak or act against them: and that a few such straggling instances are not to be esteemed of force sufficient to weaken the authority of a general rule.
But it seems to me that the instances which the antipædobaptists give, of persons not baptized in infancy, though born of Christians, are not (if the matter of fact be true) so inconsiderable as this last plea would represent.