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Bible Dictionaries

The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia

Infant Baptism

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If the Church were simply a voluntary society founded on the Bible, as is commonly supposed, there would be no special reason why Infants should be baptized, except as a matter of sentiment. If, on the other hand, the Church is a Divine Institution, founded on Christ and His Apostles, and is declared in Holy Scripture to be the Mystical Body of Christ, in which we are united to Him, admitted into covenant with God and so brought into a new relationship with God, then Infant Baptism is not only one of the most reasonable, but one of the most urgent doctrines of the Christian Religion, because it is in Holy Baptism that all these blessings are vouchsafed to us. (See BAPTISM, HOLY.) By this Sacrament the youngest infant is lifted up, so to speak, out of the world of nature and transplanted into Christ's spiritual kingdom. It becomes thus a child of grace. Its little life is made right with God. The old evil of our race has been rectified. It is henceforth not only a child of Adam, but also a child, or member of the second Adam, Jesus our Lord. By its new Birth in Holy Baptism, the child becomes as fully incorporated into the new and spiritual race of which Christ is the Head, as ever it was incorporated into the race of mankind by its natural birth. It may not be conscious of this, any more than it was conscious of its natural birth, but it has, nevertheless, made a right beginning through the thoughtful care of others. It has, by this ministration, been grafted into the Body of Christ. It has been put in the way of true spiritual growth and training. Henceforth it may be brought up as "the child of God" and not as an alien. To this end the church gives it spiritual caretakers, whose duty it is to see that this child is virtuously brought up to lead a Godly and a Christian life according to this beginning. This is the meaning of Infant Baptism; and the Church has always regarded such Baptism as a reasonable and benevolent work, as is exemplified by her universal practice from the beginning. The "Mercy to Babes" in the Old Dispensation has not been lost out of the New, the Dispensation of the Spirit of love, which brings to all, even to the infant, as well as to its parents, God's mercy which "He promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed forever." (See NAME, THE CHRISTIAN.)

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Bibliography Information
Miller, William James. Entry for 'Infant Baptism'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. 1901.

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