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INTRODUCTION.

SINCE I have been long in the practice of baptizing infants by sprinkling, and have confined the ordinance to visible believers, and those of unadult age under their immediate care, it might well be expected by the people with whom I stand connected, that I should in public state, the scriptural reasons on which my practice is founded. In doing this, I would sincerely hope and pray to act in the fear of the all-seeing and heart-searching God, to whom I am accountable, and at whose awful bar I am to answer, for every action and every syllable I utter.

In the ensuing dissertation, I would be peculiarly guarded against casting any unkind, unchristian-like reflections on those who differ with me in sentiment on this practical subject. We should ever have the same tender regard for the welfare and salvation of those who disagree with us in religious opinions, as we have for ourselves. The errors of men ought never to lessen our desires for their present and future felicity. To guide us in religious principles and practice, we are not, however, to take man for our author. ity. “To err is human." Man is fallible. We must try every sentiment by God's holy word" To the law and to the testimony."

It is my most ardent desire, that you, my dear hearers, be not in the least influenced by any thing I shall advance on this or any other subject, beyond what is obviously and evidently revealed in the holy scriptures. Just so soon as a sentiment is communicated unsupported by the combined sense of the divine word, it ought to be rejected, though it come from the highest human authority. By the scriptures we are to be judged, and by these we shall be condemned or acquitted on the great day of final account.

In this very interesting inquiry, I shall not follow the usual method of sermonizing, by dividing the work into separate heads from any one text of scripture.* * This, perhaps, in the present case would be attended with some inconvenience as the subject is made up of distinct parts, interspersed in the scriptures, which deserve separate discussion and elucidation.

That the truth, as comprized in the holy scriptures might be brought fully into view, and be made as luminous and clear as possible to the understanding of every person, I have thought fit to divide the work into separate chapters or sections, arranged in due order, that the mind may with little labor have a clear understanding of the subject in all its bearings and implications.

After I shall have gone through with the sections proposed, I shall then endeavor to sum up the whole in a few words, that the argument may lie before you at once, so that you may judge of its weight in the light of unerring truth, and be prepared, either to receive or reject it, according to its real deserts. I shall then conclude with Three solemn addresses, in which I hope to enforce the truth by the most interesting and weighty considerations. To what I shall offer

* The fubstance of the ensuing treatise, was delivered in a series of discourses from the desk

on this subject, I ask no more than an unbiased,
prayerful and candid hearing. Truth when

pre-
sented with evidence from scripture is entitled
to a cordial reception. God requires of us,
that we receive the truth in the love of it ; the
rejection incurs his displeasure. +

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} 91. Conenant

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