Primary Sources for the Presbyterian Masses

Miller on Baptism, reviewed by C.C. Jones

In Uncategorized on 16/10/2012 at 17:45

For the Charleston Observer.

[Vol. X, no. 32 (6 May 1836): 126.

MILLER ON BAPTISM.

            My Dear Sir.—While a student in Princeton Seminary [1829-1830], I prized most highly the Lectures of Dr. Miller, especially those on Church History and Government. He has been justly styled “an accomplished Lecturer.” It always appeared to me that his aim was to communicate distinctly and pointedly, to his class, all he knew or deemed of most utility, on the subjects which he took in hand, and in this he succeeded. I heard his closing lecture to his several courses that it was my privilege to attend, with regret.

            The Lecture which he delivered on “Infant members” of the Church, was received by the class with most marked satisfaction. At its close, with several others, I went to his seat, and we requested his Lecture in manuscript, as well as expressed a wish that it might be published. My gratification was great when I received by order from New York his Sermons on Baptism, which treat both of the subjects and the mode.

            His first sermon answers the question “who are to be considered the proper subjects of Christian Baptism?” In this sermon he proves that Infant Baptism is Scriptural and reasonable, by arguments which must be satisfactory to every candid mind, stated briefly and clearly. The second sermon answers objections to the doctrine of Infant Baptism.—This sermon with its closing practical inferences, should be carefully studied. His remarks on the two points, that, the “baptism of a child is one of the solemn transactions pertaining to our holy religion,” and that “Paedo-baptist Churches have much to reform in regard to their treatment of baptized children, and are bound to address themselves to that reform with all speed and fidelity,” are most searching and true.

            The third and fourth sermons respect the mode of administering Baptism; and the additional notes are on “Giving a Name in Baptism”—“Baptismal Regeneration”—“Sponsors in Baptism”—“Confirmation”—“Vote of Westminster Assembly respecting Baptism.”

            I would not protract a notice of this work of Dr. Miller. It is unquestionably one which our Clergy would do well to procure and circulate in their respective Congregations. Dr. M. has been as brief as the nature of his subject, and his design permitted him to be, and the book could very well be taken as a Text Book, and enlarged upon in familiar lectures by Pastors; for Dr. M. has given the outlines of the argument, and of the truth, as we believe it to be Scriptures.

            The book is not large, it is about 150 pages 12 mo. and the price low. Its size and cost recommend it as a manual. Very respectfully yours,

                                                  C. C. J. [i.e., Charles Colcock Jones, 1804-1863.]

Rev. Jones wrote in review of Infant baptism scriptural and reasonable : and baptism by sprinkling or affusion, the most suitable and edifying mode, in four discourses, with additional notes (Philadelphia, PA: Joseph Whetham, printed by William S. Martien, ©1834, 1835), 148pp.; 19cm.  [Originally delivered in two sermons at the church in Freehold, Monmouth county, New Jersey, 29 September 1834, then revised and enlarged for publication.]  [cf. Life of Samuel Miller, Vol. 2, pp. 255-258.] This work is available on the web, here.

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