On a bright summer
evening, about the middle of June, as I was sitting with my wife in the front
yard of the parsonage, Mr. William Meadows, a promising young lawyer, passed
very leisurely, as if enjoying an evening walk. As he reached the gate, I
thought I noticed an indication of a half-formed resolution to stop; but
politely bowing, he passed on. In a few minutes he returned, and at the gate
the same motions were repeated. About fifteen minutes later, we saw him again
returning with a firm step and somewhat accelerated speed. But his speed
slackened as he approached us, and after a hasty glance he turned his face
towards the opposite side of the street, and seeing his friend K. seated in
his front yard, quietly reading a newspaper, he leisurely crossed ever, and
standing at the gate entered into a friendly chat with him. His movements had
already attracted my attention, and somewhat excited my curiosity, and I
determined to watch and wait. I noticed that he frequently cast a look over
his shoulder towards us. It was, perhaps, ten minutes after he had taken his
position at the gate, that my wife was called to attend to some domestic duty.
No sooner was her absence noted than he bade his friend good evening, and
hastened across the street to where I was sitting. The cause of his movements
was soon explained. In one week from that evening, he desired my presence at
the house of one of my members, to unite his fortunes with those of Miss Dora
G, a young lady of rare excellence and cultivation, and one of the most active
and efficient members of my charge.
cannot say that I was surprised, for such a thing had been whispered as a
probability. I cannot say that I was pleased or displeased at the
announcement. This undecided state of mind did not arise from any indifference
to my young friend, Dora. Mr. M was a young man, about four and twenty, of
excellent family; of decided mental endowments, had graduated with the highest
honors at one of the best colleges in the land; had attended a law-school, and
was now well established in his profession.
Dora was a Presbyterian; one of my most useful members abounding in every good
work. Mr. M, though not a member of the church, yet was in principle a most
zealous Baptist, proselyting in his disposition, always ready to contend for
the peculiarities of this church, even to a disagreeable degree. This
peculiarity in his disposition had been developed at an early period, when he
was a youth of fourteen or fifteen. The occasion of it, or the time when it
first manifested itself, was a public discussion on the question of baptism,
in which he took a deep interest. The whole community had become interested;
discussion was rife, and no one was a more active disputant than the youthful
William. When the discussion had been dropped by others, and the subject had
lost most of its interest to them, the zeal of young William seemed to grow
stronger. His zeal gave him such prominence as a defender of Baptist
peculiarities, that, by common consent, he was known as "William THE
BAPTIST. The sobriquet was not displeasing to him. He regarded it as a reward
for his youthful zeal. He may have become weary of the title, but it followed
him to college, and so universal was its use that grave professors, in
speaking of him, designated him as William the Baptist. It clung to him in the
law-school, and as the promising practitioner, it was "William the
the appointed time, a pleasant company was assembled at the house of Mr. G,
and our young friends, William and Dora, were duly united as husband and wife
according to the ordinance of God.
I left the happy company, I wondered what manner of life awaited them; she an
intelligent, devoted Presbyterian; he, though not a member, yet, in principle,
an over-zealous Baptist. I remembered the question of old, "can two walk
together except they be agreed?"
was, to human view, no hope that he would ever unite with the Presbyterian
Church, and I supposed there was as little probability that she would ever
consent to become a Baptist.
would seem that Dora guessed my state of mind, and, knowing the interest I had
always felt in her welfare, about two weeks after marriage she called at the
parsonage, and in a short time introduced the subject herself, when the
following conversation was held:
"I am sure you are curious to know how such people, so different in their
religious views, and so set in them, expect to get along as husband and
"I confess it has been a matter of great solicitude to me. But there is
no impossibility in your living together in peace, if you both can agree to
"And that we have agreed to do. We talked that matter over, and came to a
definite understanding before our marriage. We agreed not to discuss our
"Domestic peace is assured so long as this covenant between you is kept.
But the bond of love, uniting husband and wife, will prove but a rotten hempen
cord to the bitter jealousies engendered by religious controversy."
"I never did discuss such matters with anyone, and I have no desire to
discuss them with William; for apart from the evil consequences of which you
speak, I know I could effect nothing with him."
invoked the blessing of God on them, and earnestly besought him that they
might live long and happily together, and thus our interview on this subject
ended. They lived in a house not far from the parsonage, and we saw Dora
almost every day. She was, as before, a regular attendant at church, at the
morning and evening service. William usually accompanied her, especially at
the evening service. Thus the weeks and months passed on, and no couple in S.
were happier than they.
pastor of the Baptist church was an excellent man, unusually liberal in his
views, and seemed to sympathize with Paul in his statement, "God sent me
not to baptize, but to preach the gospel." His church was in a
flourishing condition. He was loved and respected by all. He was always ready
to unite with all in every good work.
he soon found himself beset with difficulties. A member of his church, who had
married a young lady in connection with the Methodist church, during a
protracted meeting in the latter church, had, on a communion Sunday,
celebrated the Lord's supper with his wife. At a church meeting of the
Baptists, the matter was brought up for the purpose of disciplining the young
man for his departure from the faith.
of the members were free in their use of harsh language in condemnation of the
offense. They thought there was a limit to Christian charity, and that limit
had been passed in the present instance, and in other cases that might be
mentioned, and their only hope to put an end to such departures was to deal
summarily with the offenders. The pastor listened to the discussion for some
time, and perceiving that the zeal of some was not according to knowledge,
ventured to quote to them the language of Paul: "Brethren, if a man be
overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the
spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted." As
the offender was absent, he suggested the propriety of appointing a committee
of prudent brethren, who should wait on him, and hear what he had to say in
extenuation of his offence, and for the committee to report at the next church
meeting. Scarcely was the pastor seated when it became evident that a storm
was approaching. One, hastily arising, repeated, in a derisive tone, the
language of the pastor, "to see what he has to say in extenuation of his
offence," and continued, "if that is to be the object of the
committee, we need wait no longer." The pastor soon learned that the
"other instances" in which the bounds of charity had been passed
referred to his fellowshiping with other denominations. It was the pastor's
turn now to become excited; at least, he felt it to be his duty to administer
a merited rebuke to some of the brethren for their excess of zeal.
led to recrimination, and it soon became apparent that the great transgressor,
in the eyes of some, was the pastor himself. Some of the more zealous were
inclined to excuse the offence of the young brother, affirming that he had
been led into the commission of the offence by the example of the pastor.
Thus, affairs took an unexpected turn. The result of that church meeting was,
the pastor soon had to seek a new field of labor.
a year after the marriage of William and Dora, a new pastor filled the pulpit
of the Baptist Church. He was a man of learning, of pulpit ability, ultra in
his views, and proselyting in his disposition. He was a frequent visitor at
the house of William. It was not long till Dora was frequently seen alone at
the Sabbath night service. The new pastor was exerting a decided influence on
William; and Dora, though compelled to go to her own church alone, consoled
herself with the hope that her husband might be led to make a public
confession of his faith in Christ. She did not indulge a hope that he would
ever become a Presbyterian, and her first desire was that he might become a
Christian, and would greatly prefer that he should be a member of the Baptist
Church to his having no connection with any.
making a short call one evening and finding William absent, the new pastor, as
he was about to leave, made some remark about religious differences between
husbands and wives, and, in a joking manner, asked her if she could not make a
good Presbyterian out of William.
reply, in the same tone, was, "What! William the Baptist? No indeed; I
would as soon undertake to make a Presbyterian out of you."
seemed to please him, and after speaking a few words in commendation of her
husband's intelligence, and the importance of his making a public-profession
of his faith, as he gave evidence, he thought, of being a converted man, he
took his departure.
the next Sunday night, William asked his wife if she would like to accompany
him to the Baptist Church.
readily consented to do so. The sermon was on the text, "But Caleb
followed the Lord fully." The discourse was an able one, in which the
preacher showed what it is to follow the Lord fully, drawing a beautiful
picture of a man or woman devoted, soul and body, to the Lord and his service.
At the close, in a very ingenious manner, he drew a picture of Christ
descending into the Jordan, and there, by the hands of John, "to fulfill
all righteousness," was buried beneath the wave. He said there were many
who desired to follow Christ, and did follow him in what they conceived to be
the spirit of his commandments, but who did not think it necessary to follow
him "beneath the wave." They followed him, but not like Caleb,
fully. Such persons, he said, should remember the words of the Savior as he
was about to enter the watery grave, "Thus it becometh me to FULFILL ALL
assumed that all acknowledged that Jesus "entered the watery grave,"
but that some persuaded themselves that it was not essential to follow him
there; they thought that some other mode of baptism would answer the purpose;
and again reminded them that Caleb was commended because he followed the Lord
fully; and Jesus himself was immersed in the Jordan to fulfill all
the benediction was pronounced, there was a rush of the sisters to express
their kindly feeling for William and his wife. Her little arms fairly ached
from the numerous hand-shakings.
pastor, with a peasant smile, greeted them, and jokingly said to her,
"Remember what I said to you about this husband of yours. Do not despair;
make a trial, and you may succeed."
to this Dora made no response. The very thought of their opening a discussion
of their differences in religious matters filled her with horror. She had no
desire to attempt to make a Presbyterian of her husband, and had just as
little desire that any such attempt should be made to effect a change in her
in the fall, there was a festival for the purpose of raising money to
re-furnish the Baptist church. William intimated that it would please him if
Dora would render some assistance, which she cheerfully consented to do. As
was her custom in all good works, she entered into it with all her soul,
manifesting as much interest in its success as if it had been for the benefit
of her own church. Some of the Baptist friends misinterpreted her zeal. Her
activity at the festival, and her frequent attendance at the Baptist church
with William, afforded an occasion for the rumor that she would soon join
them, with her husband.
pastor heard of the rumor, but felt sure that it was without foundation.
circumstance, however, seemed unaccountable to him, and that was, she had
never manifested any concern about the baptism of her child, now about six
months old. He was unwilling to make any allusion to the matter, as he thought
it probable her husband would be decided in his opposition to her presenting
her child for baptism; but he expected that she would, at least, speak of it,
and express her sorrow that circumstances were such as to render it impossible
for her to discharge that pleasing duty.
long after such thoughts had filled her pastor's mind, Dora presented herself
at the parsonage, manifestly under some excitement. The occasion of her
excitement was soon explained. She had spoken to her husband about the baptism
of her child, and the mere suggestion of the question seemed greatly to annoy
him. He expressed his contempt for that "relic of popery, baby
sprinkling." The feelings of Dora were wounded as they had never been
before by him.
was silent -- was sorry that she had referred to the matter.
soon saw that he had, without any reason, spoken harshly, and after some time
of mutual silence he told her he had no objection to her having the child
baptized, as he knew it would gratify her, and could do the child no harm.
she determined to say nothing more about it. It was not long, however, before
he again referred to it, and urged her to do it if it would gratify her. And
now she wanted advice; what should she do under the circumstances?
pastor told her that if she thought her husband was sincere in urging her to
present the child, though his motive was only to gratify her, as he expressed
it, yet he thought she should do so. As a result of this interview, the
mother, on the next Saturday, presented her child, and in the solemn ordinance
of baptism, dedicated it to God. It was a solemn service. As the mother took
upon herself the vows to bring up the child for Jesus, to whom it was
consecrated, she wept, and many, knowing her peculiar circumstances, wept with
her; and from many a heart there went up a silent "amen," as the
pastor besought the covenant-keeping God for blessings on the mother and
long after this, the Baptist minister, in one of his visits, took occasion
again to ask her about her success with her husband in "making a good
Presbyterian of him." She told him the subject had never been mentioned
by either of them, and could not be without the violation of a solemn pledge
they had mutually made to each other before marriage.
said he sympathized with her, and agreed with her that it was a very delicate
subject. But he feared these differences in their religious views resulted in
evil to her husband, keeping him out of the church, as he was unwilling to be
in connection with one church and his wife in another. This touched a tender
chord in Dora, and its vibrations were manifested. She believed her husband to
be a Christian, and had long wished that he would unite with the people of his
choice, as she had no hope that he could ever be anything but a Baptist.
this the minister replied that such separation between husband and wife was,
on many accounts, a very unpleasant state of things. He had no disposition to
proselyte; that, he thought, was a most contemptible work; and rather than
William should longer continue out of the church, he would use his influence
to have him unite with her.
was pleased with the unselfish interest manifested for her husband's spiritual
welfare. She thanked him, but told him that, however painful it would be for
them thus to be separated, yet there was no help for it, and she hoped William
would, without delay, make public profession of his faith in Christ, and unite
with the Baptist Church.
then suggested that there could be no harm in talking the matter over with
him, to see if they could not make some compromise, and if she would give her
consent, he would talk the matter over with her husband, and urge him to go
with her. She again expressed her gratitude for his kindness, and agreed with
him that no harm could result from the attempt. It was agreed that he should
present the matter to William, and if circumstances were favorable, all
should, at an early period, talk the subject over together.
few days after this, Dora was greatly surprised to hear William introduce the
subject as they were seated quietly in their room after supper. He told her
that it had been his wish -- as he had felt it to be his duty -- to be
numbered with the people of God, but was greatly troubled by the differences
in their religious views, and hitherto he could not mention his trouble
because of the pledge they had made; but now, as he supposed, they were both
released from that agreement. He expressed a willingness to make almost any
sacrifice to have the differences removed, but thought it would require less
sacrifice on her part to go with him to the Baptist Church, than for him to go
in this language saw fresh troubles. She saw that the way had been opened for
profitless controversy. She did not wish to discuss the question in any such
form. She could not be received into the Baptist church without repudiating
her baptism, and this she could not and would not do. But she did not desire
to argue the matter, and heartily wished she had not given her consent to have
the subject mentioned to William. But what could she do? She must make some
reply. After a moment's pause, she told him she thought they had better not
discuss the subject, but to do as they had agreed before marriage, "agree
to disagree," and urged him to discharge his duty, and apply at once for
admission into the Baptist Church.
was not prepared for such a response. He wanted to talk the matter over with
her; he felt sure that he could convince her that he was right, and that she
ought to go with him to the Baptist Church.
she manifested such a decided aversion to discuss the subject, though
disappointed, he dropped it. But he could not dismiss it from his mind. He
felt sure that, if he could gain her consent to go over the whole subject of
baptism with him, she would see and acknowledge her error, and readily go with
difficulties seemed to increase. He had hoped; now he despaired. After
striving for some time to dismiss the subject from his thoughts, and failing,
he arose, put on his hat, and leisurely walked out. But no sooner had he
reached the pavement than his speed was accelerated, and in a few minutes he
found himself at the house of Rev. Mr. R., the Baptist minister. To him he
told his troubles; said his condition was like that of the Israelites in Egypt
after they had mentioned their troubles in hope of getting some relief.
Afterwards it was worse with them than before. He then told of his interview
with his wife, and the result of it; "and now," said he, "what
am I to do P"
R.-- "Do not despair; let patience have her perfect work. Did you tell
her that you would, on any conditions, unite with her?"
"No, I did not. I would not except on an impossible condition, and that
is that they would immerse me. I know they would not receive me on such a
R.-- "But I have known Presbyterian ministers who would immerse, rather
than fail to secure a desirable member."
"But Mr. C. will not."
R.-- "His refusal may have a good effect on Dora. It will enable her to
see how unreasonable it is; to see that the compromise must be all on one
side. It could not fail, I am sure, to have a good effect her; better than any
argument you can advance. Besides, it is an argument to which she will be
compelled to listen."
was again encouraged. He felt sure that he would be safe in offering to unite
with the church of his wife on the condition named; and being refused, he felt
sure, as Mr. R. suggested, that it would prove a powerful argument to induce
his wife to go with him.
was soon again seated by her side, with hope stronger than ever that his
troubles would soon be over, and that Dora would be with him in the church of
some general conversation carried on in a pleasant tone, fixing his eyes on
her, and smiling, he said, "Dora, I have some good news for you. As it
seems impossible for you to become a Baptist, I have made up my mind to apply
for membership in your church."
was startled. She was not prepared for such an announcement. She knew not what
to think, nor how to reply.
last she said, "I am afraid, my dear husband, you have reached this
conclusion without mature deliberation."
was his turn to be surprised. He had expected that his announcement would be
received with joy, and that she would encourage him to carry out his
resolution. But her remark was calculated to cause him to hesitate, to
reconsider and to change his purpose. After a little pause, recovering from
the astonishment her remark had produced, he said: --
I do not understand you, you will have to explain your meaning."
mean," said she, "that in religion we should be governed entirely by
our convictions of duty, and not by a desire to please any mortal, though it
be father or mother, husband or wife. Do you not remember the language of
Paul, 'Do I now persuade men or God? or do I seek to please men? For if I yet
please men, I should not be the servant of Christ.' In religion, however
painful it may be, yet if necessary, we must forsake father and mother,
husband and wife."
word she spoke served to increase his astonishment. After her last utterances,
his hope was not as bright as when he had, a short time before, reached his
home, and taken his seat by her side.
she must, he thought, hear my proposal. "I have," he said,
"carefully considered the matter. As I told you, I am ready to make
almost any sacrifice that I may be with my wife in the church. As you well
know, my decided preference is for the Baptist Church. But I can, with a good
conscience, live in the Presbyterian Church. They do not require their members
to subscribe to all their doctrines, as I heard your pastor say from his
pulpit not long ago."
"But, my dear husband, how about your reception -- your baptism?"
"That is the only difficulty; but that is a very small one. As I am
willing to go more than half way in the compromise, your pastor would not be
so exacting and unreasonable as to refuse to favor me in that small
particular. I have known Presbyterian ministers that would immerse."
saw no solution of their troubles. She felt very sure that her pastor would
not favor him in that particular.
her own brief examination of the subject, she had reached the conclusion that
it is very questionable whether a Presbyterian minister can, with consistency,
administer that sacred rite by immersion.
views she kept to herself, as she wished to avoid discussion; but she told her
husband that in all probability he would meet with disappointment, if he
expected Mr. C. would immerse him.
William insisted that they should call on Mr. C., make a plain statement of
all their difficulties, and that he would make application for membership, and
see what the result would be.
reluctance Dora consented: she not only felt that it would result in no good,
but greatly feared that it might make matters worse; for she felt certain her
pastor would refuse to immerse her husband, and such refusal would serve to
render him more determined in his opposition to her church.
the following Monday evening, the proposed visit was made. They found Mr. C.
in a happy mood, and, from appearances, it was evident that he had been
romping, in what some might regard a rather unclerical manner, with his
children. Almost immediately after they were seated, a little three-year-old,
with handkerchief in hand, approached him and said, beseechingly, "Now,
pa, you be blindfolded adain, and let us hide. I know you tant find me, for ma
said she would put me in de tubboard."
little ones looked disappointed at their coming, as it seemed to put an end to
their evening sport. Mr. C. said Monday was his rest day, and very frequently
on Monday night he gave himself up to the children, to be as one of them in
all their childish amusements. William and Dora began to think that they were
intruding, but were soon made to feel perfectly at ease, as provision was made
in an adjoining room for the children to amuse themselves; and judging from
their childish laughter, they soon forgot that strangers had broken into their
arrangements for their evening sports.
mind was too full of the business for which the visit had been made to allow a
long delay in introducing it.
just how to begin he did not know. On the day preceding, there had been five
or six additions to the Presbyterian Church, and William took occasion to say
that it seemed there was some interest on the subject of religion in Mr. C.'s
this Mr. C. replied, and gave some account of the interest manifested, and
expressed a hope that there would be a general awakening. And, greatly to the
relief of William, addressing him personally, he said:
have been wondering for some time why you do not take in hand the
all-important question of your soul's eternal interest."
"That subject has occupied my attention for a long time. For some months
past especially, it has been the occasion of no little trouble to me."
"The matter is very simple. Your condition as a sinner is very plain, and
your only hope is to accept of the Lord Jesus as your Savior."
"I hope I have done so. My only hope is in his righteousness; and this is
my only plea."
"Then you are a Christian; for we are 'all the children of God by faith
in Christ Jesus,' and pleading the righteousness of Jesus is the faith that
secures our acceptance."
W.-- "My present cause of trouble is
in reference to my making a public profession of my faith in Jesus."
P.-- "Do you not feel that it is your
duty to take this step, and without delay?"
"Yes, sir; I have put it off till I feel it can be postponed no longer.
But what to do I know not."
"I am in trouble on the question of baptism. My views on this subject are
very decided. I feel that it is my duty to follow the Savior fully, and be
"And what is to hinder you? I do not see how that can prove a
this time William had become sincerely desirous of uniting with the
Presbyterian Church, in order to be with his wife, if he could do it without
sacrificing his convictions of duty in reference to baptism.
last statement of the pastor was interpreted by him to indicate that his
request for admission by immersion would be granted, and he felt encouraged.
There was a momentary pause, after which Mr. C. continued:
have sometimes regarded it as providential that there are different churches,
as people have such different views. You will find the Baptist Church just
suited to your views. And if you will permit me to give you advice, it is that
you will, at the earliest opportunity, apply there for membership."
W.-- "But my wife is a member of your
church, and I can not bear the thought of being thus separated from her."
P.-- "It is, indeed, an undesirable
state of things, but it is not as bad as something worse."
"What could be worse?"
"For your wife to be immersed against her convictions of duty; or for you
to have water applied to you while believing that immersion only is
then the pastor's wife suggested the propriety of letting William read a small
volume on the subject of baptism, and "perhaps," said she, "he
may be relieved from his troubles."
the pastor said, "No, I would not advise such a course. If he has
immersion in his head as firmly as I suppose it is, my advice is, as before,
go at once and seek admission into the Baptist Church. Or if your views on
baptism are not entirely satisfactory; if you wish to re-examine the whole
subject, take the Bible as your only book.
the subject in the light of God's word alone, asking for the guidance of His
Spirit, and after such examination, act in accordance with the conclusion
listened attentively, and after a short pause, said: "I do not feel
inclined to examine the subject, as my views are settled, fixed. I got them
from the Word of God, and no ingenuity of man can, by any species of argument,
induce me to change them."
"Then your duty is plain; you are shut up to the one course."
W.-- "But would you have me thus separated from my wife?"
P.-- "My reply is as before. Such
separation is unpleasant. But it is not as bad as something worse."
W.-- "But why can we not be together?"
P.-- "How can you?"
W.-- "Very easily, if you will immerse me."
P.-- "That I cannot do, without doing as great violence to my conscience
as you would to yours in being baptized by our mode."
W.-- "Then there is no help for me?"
P.-- "Yes; there is one way by which your wishes can be gratified."
W.-- "And what is that?"
P.-- "Unite regularly with the
Baptist Church; then get a certificate of membership, and apply for admission
into our church."
William was thoroughly aroused on the
subject of uniting with the church and being in the same church with his wife.
He saw that no way was practicable, except that suggested by Mr. C., and he
resolved that by this method his wishes should be gratified.
their way home, William expressed himself as satisfied with the result of
their visit, and declared his determination to unite at once with the Baptist
Church, get a certificate of membership, as Mr. C. had suggested, and with
that apply for membership in the Presbyterian Church.
question that had so troubled them seemed at last solved, and the solution
seemed the very best possible under the circumstances.
next evening he visited the house of Rev. Mr. R. William felt relieved of a
great burden, and the state of his mind was clearly depicted on his
countenance, which had a most cheerful aspect.
R., interpreting this as favorable omen, received him with the same
manifestation of cheerfulness.
"I think, my dear sir, that the question which has so troubled us has, at
last, found a solution."
Mr. R.-- "Did Mr. C. agree to immerse you?"
"No, sir; he most emphatically refused, and advised me, as my views on
the subject of baptism are so fixed, to unite with the Baptist Church."
R.-- "Better advice than I expected him to give. I am surprised that he
did not offer you half a dozen volumes on Baptism to read, to try and convince
you that Romish sprinkling is baptism."
"No; his wife suggested something of the kind, but he opposed it, and
said, if I was not satisfied with my views --"
R.-- "To let him talk to you about it?"
"No; but to go to the Bible, and to that alone."
"I am as much surprised at that as at his advising you to unite with our
church. He knows well enough there is no baptism in the Bible but immersion.
Strange advice indeed. But Dora saw the unreasonableness of his refusing to
immerse you, as I told you she would?"
"No; nothing was said about that. He gave a very good reason for
R.-- "And has Dora consented to unite with you?"
W.-- "No, sir; I have said nothing more to her on the subject."
R.-- "And yet your troubles have found a solution? I do not believe that
I understand you."
W.-- "It is this way. I will unite with your church, and you can give me
a simple certificate of membership; this I will take to the Presbyterian
Church, and be admitted on it."
R.-- "Well, I must say, this is a solution! How came such a thought into
W.-- "Mr. C. suggested it."
R.-- "And well he might. But I am surprised that a man of your
intelligence could not see the gross inconsistency of the man, in one breath
refusing emphatically to immerse you, and, in the next, agreeing to take your
immersion as valid baptism when administered by me. That is outjesuiting the
Jesuits. Do you not see how grossly inconsistent it is?"
W.-- "I confess I did not; but since you mention it, it does strike me as
somewhat remarkable. I am sorry I did not ask him for an explanation. But if
he is willing thus to receive me, the responsibility is on himself. I will go
on those terms."
R.-- "But, my dear sir, I hope you will excuse me from taking any part in
anything so filled with trickery as that."
W.-- "Will you not immerse me for that purpose?"
R.-- "Emphatically, NO. But let me tell you: you have the advantage of
him; and if you will take my advice, you will follow it up. Seek an interview
with him, as if you would hear his views on the subject of baptism, and take
pains to fasten on him the inconsistency of which he is guilty. Take Dora with
you, and let her witness his confusion, and mark my word, it will be well
was soon on his way home, thinking -- "How vain are all things here
below, How false, and yet how fair!"
depression was equaled only by his previous exaltation. On his reaching home,
Dora at once noticed his gloomy appearance. She wondered what the cause could
be, but feared to ask. He sat for some time silent, and was evidently
meditating. At last he broke the silence by saying: "Well, wife, the
problem I thought solved is no nearer a solution than at first."
My dear, what new turn have affairs taken? Has Mr. R. convinced you that you
should not unite with our church?"
"No; he did not attempt it."
D.-- "Did he urge you to endeavor to persuade me to join his
"No; he said nothing about that."
"What, then, is the trouble?"
W.-- "He positively refuses to immerse me that I may unite with the
Presbyterian Church, and I am inclined to think he is right. Do you not see
how very inconsistent it is in Mr. C. to refuse to immerse me, and yet offer
to take me on my immersion, if I first join the Baptist Church? I am
astonished that I did not think of it when he suggested it."
D.-- "My dear, it is customary for Presbyterians to receive, without
re-baptism, those who apply for membership from the Baptist Church."
W.-- "But think of the inconsistency of it. I will make Mr. C. feel and
acknowledge its inconsistency. He will be careful hereafter never to give
another such advice as he gave me."
D.-- "My dear, let us drop the subject, and say nothing more about it. It
has given us nothing but trouble ever since it was first mentioned. This is
what I feared, and often have I been sorry that I ever gave my consent to Mr.
R. to speak to you about it. Let me beg you to dismiss it from your mind; say
nothing more to Mr. C., but go quietly and unite with the Baptist Church, and
God will bless us both in the conscientious discharge of duty."
W.-- "I confess your advice is most excellent. I now see there is no
possible hope of our being together in the same church. I will take your
advice in all particulars, save one. I must show Mr. C. the inconsistency of
his proposal. Religion should be freed from all appearance of trickery, and I
feel it to be my duty, not only to let him know that I see his inconsistency,
but I intend to make him acknowledge it. I will try and get him to go over the
whole question of baptism, especially in the manner he advised me to consider
it,-- from the Bible alone. I do not think he has given much attention to the
subject, and I may accomplish a good work by convincing him that I have a
reason for insisting on immersion."
a few days William met Mr. C, on the street, and told him he had changed his
mind on the question of uniting with the Baptist Church in order to get a
certificate to unite with the Presbyterian Church. "And with your
permission," he continued, "I would like very much to have a
conversation with you on the whole question of baptism. I would come to your
house on any evening you could find is convenient to go over the subject with
C. manifested no surprise at his change of purpose, nor did he make any
inquiry as to the cause of the change.
expressed his willingness to have a free conversation on the subject, as
suggested by William, but thought one evening would not be sufficient.
invited William to the parsonage on the Monday evening following.
the Baptist (index)