The question of “infant salvation” and “non-elect infant damnation”, also rests upon the dogma before us. “Orthodoxy” sends some infants to hell and some to heaven; though many “orthodox” persons are getting heartily ashamed of this part of the creed.
The apprehension of the damnation of their “immortal souls” on account of “original sin”, has given rise to the Romish conceit of the rhantismal regeneration of infants by the Holy Spirit in the scattering of a few drops of water upon the face, and the use of a certain form of words. This has been recently declared to be regenerative of infant souls by an English court of law! This question was actually gravely discussed by bishops, priests, lawyers and ministers, in the year of grace 1849! So true is it that “great men are not always wise; neither do the aged understand judgment”.
Job 32:9 (ESV): 9 It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right.
As far as the infant is itself concerned, this Romish ceremony is of no importance, for it does it neither good nor harm. In one sense, however, the subject of “the ordinance” is deeply injured. He is indoctrinated by system into the notion that he was truly baptized when rhantismally “regenerated”: and, therefore, when he is grown he troubles himself no more about the matter. Alas, what havoc the apostasy has made with the doctrine of Christ! Believers’ baptism transmuted into rhantizing an unconscious babe for the regeneration of its “immortal soul”! Would such a thing ever have been thought of but for the Nicolaitan “oppositions of science” “which”, says the Lord Jesus, “I hate”? I trow not.
Revelation 2:6 (ESV): 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Revelation 2:15 (ESV): 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
– Thomas, D. J. (1848-1849/e-ed.1990). Elpis Israel: an exposition of the Kingdom of God (electronic ed., pp. 30–31). Birmingham, UK: The Christadelphian.
“Out of the ground wast thou taken; for dust thou art.”
That “the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath”, is a truth of general application to all the institutions of God. Upon this principle, man was not made for religion, but religion was made for him. If this be true, then it follows that it was adapted to man as God had formed him. Hence, the institutions of religion, if it be of God, will always be found in harmony with his constitution and not at variance with it. They are devised as a remedy, for certain irregularities which have invaded his intellectual and moral nature; by which, phenomena have been superinduced which are destructive of his being. Now the exact adaptation of the Bible religion to the curative indications suggested by the intellectual, moral, and physical infirmities of human nature, which everyone who understands it cannot fail to perceive, proves that the mind which framed it is divine; and that the religion of the scriptures, and the constitution of man, are the work of one and the same Creator. God is truly the only wise physician, whose practice is based upon perfect knowledge; for He alone (and they to whom He hath revealed it) knows “what is in man”. [(John 2:24-25)]
Hence, no incongruities are discoverable in “His way” when His method of cure is understood.
In medicine, a scientific practice is directed, and founded, upon a knowledge of the structure or mechanism of the body, the motive power thereof, and of the functions which are manifested by the working of this power on its several parts. The absence of this knowledge in a professional, constitutes empiricism*; and is one cause of such vast multitudes “dying”, as it is said, “of the doctor”. Being ignorant of the motive power of the living creature, they are as unsuccessful in correcting its irregularities as a watchmaker, who was ignorant of the principles and laws by which a timepiece was moved, would be in rectifying its errors. Now this may be taken in illustration of the predicament of others who undertake the “cure of souls”. To treat these as “a work-man that needeth not to be ashamed”, a man should be acquainted with “souls” as God hath formed and constituted them. He should know what “a living soul” is; what its condition in a healthy state; what the peculiar morbid affection under which it languishes; what the nature of the cure indicated; and what the divinely appointed means by which the indications may be infallibly fulfilled. An attempt to “cure souls” without understanding the constitution of man as revealed by Him who created him, is mere theological experimentalism; and as bootless, and more fatally destructive than the empiricism of the most ignorant pretenders to the healing art. What! men undertake to “cure souls” and not to know what a soul is; or to imagine it a something, which it is admitted cannot be demonstrated by “the testimony of God”. This is like pretending to repair a timepiece without knowing what constitutes a watch or clock, or while imagining it to be a musical box, or any other conceivable thing.
Speculation has assumed that the soul is something in the human body capable of living out of the body, and of eating, drinking, feeling, tasting, smelling, thinking, singing, and so forth; and of the same essence as God Himself. In times past some have busied themselves in calculating how many such souls could stand on the point of a needle; a problem, however, which still remains unsolved. A vast deal is said in “sermons” and systems about this idea; about its supposed nature, its wonderful capacity, its infinite value, its immortality, and its destiny. I shall not, however, trouble the reader with it. We have to do with “the law and the testimony”; and as they are altogether silent about such a supposed existence, we shall not occupy our pages in superadding to the obsolete print concerning its attributes, which has already merged into the oblivion of the past. I allude to so much as this, because it is made the foundation corner-stone, as it were, of those experimental systems of spiritual cure, which are so popular with the world, and so utterly exclusive and proscriptive of the divine method.
Upon the supposition of the existence of this kind of a soul in the human body are based the current notions of heaven, hell, immortality, infant salvation, purgatory, saint-worship, Mariolatry, spiritual millenniumism, metempsychosis*, etc., etc. Its existence both in the body and out of the body being assumed, it is assumed also to be immortal. An immortal disembodied existence requires a dwelling place, because something must be somewhere; and, as it is said to be virtuous or vicious according to its supposed life in the body, and post mortem rewards and punishments are affirmed — this dwelling-place is exhibited as an elysium, or, as an orthodox poet sings, “a place of goblins damn’d”.
– Thomas, D. J. (1990). Elpis Israel: an exposition of the Kingdom of God (electronic ed., pp. 27–29). Birmingham, UK: The Christadelphian.
Empiricism: thedoctrinethatallallideasandcategories, knowledge of matters of factderivesfromexperienceandthatthemind is notfurnishedwith a set of concepts in advance of experience or thatknowledgecannotextendbeyondexperience,includingobservation,experiment,andinduction.Compareintuitionism, rationalism
Metempsychosis: [LateLatinmetempsȳchōsis, fromGreekmetempsūkhōsis, frommetempsūkhousthai, to transmigrate : meta-, meta- + empsūkhos, animate (en, in; seepsūkhē in Indo-European roots).] = themigration of a soulfromonebody to another or theentering of a soulafterdeathupon a newcycle of existence in a newbodyeither of human or animalform; thetransmigration of thesoul,esp.thepassage of thesoulafterdeathintothebody of anotherbeing; therebirth of thesoul at death in anotherbody,eitherhuman or animal.Cf.creationism. — metempsychic,metempsychosic,metempsychosical,adj.