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III, Moral influence of Baptism on the Church
The author of the following pages lays no claim to skill in the apologetic art; and is therefore happy that its exercise is not required on the present occasion.
The volume now offered to the public has been urgently demanded. This demand has been made by the people of his charge; to whom, under Christ, (and to whom alone,) he owes spiritual obedience: it has been also urged by his brethren in the ministry by whom he is surrounded—primitive episcopi ; primitive in the extent of their labours—the simplicity of their livingand the devotedness of their sacrifices; and to them he offers these pages as the best proof of his high esteem and fraternal affection.
The author is aware that the impression exists in the minds of some of his brethren, that the baptismal question has been adequately discussed, and is in all its important evidences and bearings well understood by the members of our denomination generally. He apprehends, however, that this impression is not well founded. The learned works of those venerable men concerning whom we hăve to say, “ The fathers, where are they?" testify to the enlightened and laborious zeal of a former age. Their valuable works are, however, in possession of very few; it is long since they have been reprinted, nor have any volumes been issued, calculated to supply their place in the polemic literature of the denomination. They are indeed too voluminous and expensive for general circulation ; and it is the design of the present volume, to place within the reach of every member of oưr denomination, and every inquirer after truth, in a condensed form, and with a lucid arrangement, the information the treatises of those able advocates of the truth contain, as well as to disperse abroad the important additional light which recent investigations have thrown on this interesting branch of ecclesiastical history.
In numerous local contests, very valuable “ Sermons” and “Replies" have been issued from the press; as the productions of his highly esteemed brethren, Elders W. F. BROADDUS and R. B. C. Howell, and many others with whom the author has not the pleasure to be personally acquainted, testify. The following pages will also show that the author has not been unmindful of the acute and talented Replies of PROFESSOR RIPLEY and the late Mr. Judd. Nor would he omit to mention the admirable tract of PENGILLY, which has been extensively circulated. The reasons for their change of
a The re-publication of some of them has recently been commenced under very respectable auspices.
• Letters to the Rev. Mr. Slicer, in reply to his Appeal on Infant Baptism.
c Three Sermons on Baptism.