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That those who become members of his church must believe in him, and acknowledge him to be the Son of God and the Saviour of the world; that such believers shall be baptized, according to the words of Christ and his Apostles: He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved. Mark 16: 16.-Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins-Then they that gladly received his word were baptized. Acts 2: 38, 41. -But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Acts 8: 12.-And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house: and many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized. Acts 18: 8.-And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women. Acts 5: 14.--And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to* all that were in his
*Some contend that, as the Apostles baptized whole houses, or households, of course there must have been young children among them, which also were baptized. But this inference cannot justly be drawn from either of the above quotations for it is expressly said of Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, that he believed on the Lord with all his house; and of the household of the keeper of the prison, it is said that the word of the Lord was spoken to him and to all that were in his house. Infants, or little children, as they are not capable to understand and receive the word, not knowing their right hand from their left, it would be useless
house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. Acts 16: 31, 32, 33.-That such believers only are fit subjects to receive the administration of Christian baptism; that little children or infants, not being capable of believing, and being freely saved from the transgression and sin of our first parents, by the atoning merit and blood of Jesus Christ, the immaculate Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world, have no need of baptism in their infancy, neither are they capable of receiving it, until they arrive to maturer years, and be capable of thinking for themselves, and of believing on the Son of God, and by faith to behold that Saviour who bled and died on Calvary to redeem them from sin and death, and in whose name they are to be baptized. Also, that we have no commandment or intimation from Christ, or his Apostles, for infant baptism, but rather the reverse. For, when they brought young children to Jesus that he should touch them, and his disciples rebuked those that brought them, he showed great regard for them, and said to his disciples, to suffer the little children to come unto him and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. Mark 10: 13, 14, 16. But neither did he baptize them him
to speak it to them. Hence it is inferred: that there were no infants there.
self, neither commanded he them to be baptized. Hence it is believed that Jesus Christ, by taking those children which were, brought to him up in his arms, laying his hands upon them and blessing them, that thereby the whole infantile race of the children of fallen Adam are blessed, saved, washed and cleansed, by his atoning blood, from the pollution of Adam's transgression, and thus made heirs of eternal glory, to the inexpressible consolation and joy of all believing parents. And, furthermore, That all manner of oaths are prohibited, according to the commandment of Christ, to Swear not at all: neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King: neither shalt thou swear by thy head; because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea, Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil. Matth. 5: 34-37.-But above all things, iny brethren, swear not; neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath : but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. James 5: 12.
The preceding doctrines and religious tenets were believed, acknowledged, adhered to, taught and inculcated, both by precept and example, by many ancient believers and faithful witnesses of the truth; many of whom sealed it with their blood, in those times of darkness, superstition, idolatry and persecution; when the light.
of the glorious Gospel was obscured and darkened, by that harlot, and mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, the church of Rome, who was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and was drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.These ancient Christians, and faithful witnesses of the truth, being persecuted and dispersed into different countries of the then known world, were called by different names. Some were called by the names of their founders; others were called by the names of the different places of their residence; and again, others had a name given them in derision. As Waldenses, Albigenses, Paulicians, Henricians, Petrobrusians, Bohemians, Apostolics, Lollards, Arnoldists, Leonists, Insabbatati, Gazares, and many more such names, which are not necessary to mention.
Now, it is probable that the above named tribes or denominations of Christians were, some more and some less, genuine in the confession of their faith, and in their practice; and that some, in consequence of the bloody persecutions having been dispersed into different countries, may have retracted from their first tenets; yet, so far as we can learn, their different creeds converge to this point; that wars of all kind are to be abolished among Christians; that adult persons are the only, fit subjects for the administration of Christian baptism; and that oaths of all kind are prohibited by Christ and his Apostles.
Also, that a non-conformity to the world, and its vain and fleeting fashions, is a characteristic of a true Christian.
The above account is given to prove that the succeeding articles of our Christian Confession of Faith are no new thing; but, that they are based on a foundation as ancient, we presume, as any that can be produced by any Christian denomination. Yea, as we have the confidence to believe that they are based on the doctrine of Christ and his holy Apostles, may we not say, that their foundation is as ancient as the days of the Apostles? Notwithstanding,
We freely acknowledge that we derived the name Mennonites, from that famous reformer, MENNO SIMON-of whom we are not ashamed to say, that he was a shining light in the time of the reformation, proclaiming loudly against the superstitions, idolatries and abominations, of the church of Rome; and that we adhere to the doctrine which he, by the co-operating influence of the Divine Spirit, advanced, taught and inculcated both by precept and example. But, at the same time, many circumstances prove that the doctrine which Menno taught, was but an echo to that which was advanced and taught by those ancient witnesses of the truth above described, and in perfect unison with it. So that his sentiments on the subject of religion and true piety may be considered materially the same, and in perfect concordance with theirs, save that it was then, in Menno's time, reduced