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taken place in total silence , without the smallest opposition , without one single voice being heard , without a single line being written , in defence of the original apostolic divinely authorized practice * No : all that these worthy good-hearted true Christians , with the learned Christian Politician at their head , have to sav for themsel ves is this , " We believe that there is no foundation for it /'
Although , however , this may be a very concise way of disposing of the question , it is possible that some speculative persons may not be altogether satisfied witli tins solution of the case . But happily our Christian Politician
has , with great ingenuity , devised a hypotheses which , if admitted , completely relieves his pious and believing brethren , " the true Christians , " out of all their difficulties . It is , indeed , perfectly original : none will dispute the honour of the invention it could
only occur to an adventurous and enterprising mind , perfectly free from the trammels of vulgar prejudice . It is this : " Had the tradition been well grounded , viz- that infant baptism was
an institution of the apostles , and the universal practice of the primitive church , this could no more justify the practice than it would justify Peter ' s error , who was by Paul so justly condemned /*
Now it appears that the offence for which the apostle Peter was publicly and severely rebuked by the apostle Paul , was doing a thing which , at the time , he knew to be wrong . See Gal . ii . 11 . And upon the Christian Politician ' s principles , by parity of
reason , if the apostles instituted infant baptism , they knowingly contravened the explicit orders of their great Master ; they promulgated a strange fancy of their own as an ordinance of Christ ; they did what they at the time knew to be wroner , and instead
of being approved and obeyed , as it appears they were by the universal primitive church , they ought to have been severely rebuked , and publicly censured , as Peter in a similar case had been condemned by Paul-This is an argument so novel and unexpected , that I frankly acknowledge that I am not prepared to answer it . I had always been accustomed to regard tiie apostles as authorized interpreters of their Master ' s will : and
I had the simplicity to believe that whatever was taught by the apostles , * and received unanimously by the primitive church , constituted a vital part of the Christian revelation . And
having traced infant baptism to this sacred source , I was content to leave it there : nor is it in my power to add any thing further to the argument . If , however , through weakness of
judgment , I have unfortunately erred in assuming this principle , I have only to request , not in my own name only , but in that of many others , who would be " true Christians , " if they could , that the Christian Politician will have
the goodness to embrace an early opportunity of stating all those doctrines and institutions which , having been taught by the apostles and universally acknowledged by the primitive church , are now discovered to be " strange
fancies , " which endanger men ' s salvation , and ' * by which no true Christian can be led away : " and for the promulgation of which , in opposition to their better knowledge , the apostles deserve to be severely rebuked as Peter
was by Paul . A communication of such importance cannot but be most gratefully received by multitudes , as well as by , Sir , Your Constant Reader , T . BELSHAM .
Sir , Palgrave , Oct . 6 , 1817 . AM very happy to find , by a late I Number of the Repository , [ pp . 503 , 5 O 4 , ] that the Unitarians of Kent and Sussex have petitioned Parliament to be permitted to marry among themselves , in conformity with their religious principles ; in the same manner as Jews and Quakers have been
for sometime permitted to do . And I should hope , that if this boon be granted , and I can hardly see upon what grounds it can be refused , that our Unitarian divines will not introduce into their service any of the ludicrous and really indelicate observations which pollute the present
established marriage ceremony , and are quite sufficient to suffuse with blushes the face of female modesty . But before the question is carried before Parliament , so far as to come to discussion , would it not be well to consider , how far it might be desirable to endeavour to remove the solemnization of the marriage contract alto-
Marriage Ceremony , as it respects Unitarians . 60 g
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Oct. 2, 1817, page 609, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2469/page/37/