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defended. If it be at any time otherwise we are not at present conscious of it.
The style adopted in the following speeches is, we believe, little or nothing better than that in which they appeared upon the stage. On my part they were extemporaneous, as all my public addresses are; and therefore the style is of the familiar and diffuse character, such as might be expected from a person who did not know, till the evening before the discussion, whether he was to open the Debate or to respond; whether he or his opponent was to introduce the matter to be discussed. My health, too, for some time before, and during the Debate, as well as through the greater part of the winter, was peculiarly delicate, so as to forbid much close thinking or
lose application to my pen. It moved in my fingers with very little regard to elegancies, and as I soinetimes felt doubtful, whether I should live to accomplish this work, I was more concerned about the matter than about the manner, about what I published than about the style in which it should appear. But as I had reason of grateful thanksgiving for the improvement of my health, during the seven days of the discussion, so also I have abundant reason of gratitude and praise to HIM in whom we live, and move, and have our being, for a similar, or greater improve. ment, during the time that I have been employed in writing it. I hope, however, the style will be plain and intelligible to all.
We feel glad to learn that mr. M. has been preaching very generally on this subject since the Debate, in different parts of Kentucky, in order, as he says, in the above mentioned paper, that the people of “all denominations may have a specimen of the contrast which I know will be seen between my real arguments and the spurious production now in the press, and that these preachings have been notified in the public prints by mr. M. as being" on the existence of a visible church in the family of Abraham and the ecclesiastical identity of the Jewish and Christian Societies;" because we have no doubt, but, in so doing
he has been obtaining for this work additional evidences of its correctness; being assured that every argument he can urge on these topics, with its proof, will be found precisely stated in bis speeches in this volume : and also all those argumenis, which indeed are substantially the sanre with his, used by Mason, Pond, Campbell, Ralston, and Walker, on the same subjects. It will be evident to the impartial reader, that, if the whole of this work were a forgery, it combats every argument advanced by the Paido-baptists; and if the arguments impugned in this volume are refuted, he may rest assured that there are no others to exhibit. So that whether it represent the Debate correctly or incorrectly, it is all one as respects the merits of the question. These things we urge knowing the opposition that will be made from what has been said before the book is laid before the public. We know that every umpire that heard the discussion, and those who were on the other side when the Debate commenced, but who were convinced by hearing it, that infant sprinkling is a human tradition, and we have no doubt but that even some of those who are still Paido-baptists, will concur with us in declaring, that it is as fair and full a representation of the controversy, as four hundred pages of these dimensions could exhibit.
We have only to remind the reader that there is but one infallible standard of the Christian religion, and this is the New Testament. To this let him ever appeal as the supreme judge of all controversies about Christian faith and practice. By this standard let our arguments be tried, his views guided, and inis conscience ruled. And if unlearned, in the science and philosophy of men, let him remember that those Rev. philosophers who composed the Westminster Confession of Faith declare, that the scriptures are so plain" that not only the learned but the unlearned, by a due use of the ordinary means inay attain to a suflicient understarding of them." May every student of this sacred volume grow in grace, and in the known ledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:
Augusta, Bracken County, Ky. May 17th, 1823. Mn. CAMPBELL-The subject of this communication is your pub; lication on Baptism, and particularly your proclamation to the multitude at the close of your debate at Mount Pleasant. It is found in the last paragraph of the 144th page of your book, entitled, “Infant Sprinkling proved to be a human tradition :” printed in Steubenville, Ohio, 1820. You there say, “I conceive it is my time to give an invitation or challenge to any Pedo-baptist minister ; and to return the compliment with the utmost ceremoniousness, I this day publish to all present that I feel disposed to meet any Pedabaptist minister of any denomination, of good standing in his party, and I engage to prove, in a debate with him, either viva voce, or with the pen, that Infant Sprinkling is a human tradition, and injurious to the well being of society, religious and political. “I have to add that I must have an equal vote in determining the time and place. This is the only restriction I attach to the challenge I now publish.”.
Some copies of your book came to this village immediately after ito publication. As the topics which it discusses had been matter of controversy amongst us, those who espouse your opinions, set on foot a plan, (as I was informed,) to procure a visit from you, for the purpose of encountering me in public debate. What was the cause of their failure I cannot tell : but rumours of your intending to visit this country, and probably this place, are lately renewed, and I am encouraged by your friends to hope that a letter from me might accelerate such an event. The ansiety which they manifest for
our meeting, appears like a call of Providence, for me to solicit your approach, which, in other circumstances, my conscious weakness and natural timidity might cause me to deprecate. If
, however, you should gratify our wishes, it is not necessary that you should consider this as a challenge, but only as an acceptance of your invitation copied above. Nothing more was needed from mex after the publication of a general challenge by yourself.
Neither is it necessary that you should understan me as profess. ing a willingness to confer with you on the truth or falsehood of the statements in your proclamation; i. e.“ that Infant Sprinkling is a human tradition, and injurious to the well being of society, religious and political.” In order to eome at the merits of a controversy, there are three things at least to be desired. The first is to lay hold of the most important points in dispute, whether they be principal or auxiliary, doctrinal or historical. A second is, that they be clothed in language, every way suitable; possessing the qualities