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William the Baptist





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. 


I 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.  


But 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 Baptist." 


At 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.  


As 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?"


There 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.


It 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:


DORA.-- "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 wife."


PASTOR.-- "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 disagree."


D.-- "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 differences."


P.-- "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."


D.-- "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."


I 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.


The 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.


But 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.


Some 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.


This 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.


About 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.


In 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.


Her reply, in the same tone, was, "What! William the Baptist? No indeed; I would as soon undertake to make a Presbyterian out of you."


This 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.


On the next Sunday night, William asked his wife if she would like to accompany him to the Baptist Church.


She 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 RIGHTEOUSNESS."


He 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 righteousness.


After 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.


The 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."


But 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 views.


Early 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.


Her pastor heard of the rumor, but felt sure that it was without foundation.

One 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.


Not 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.


She was silent -- was sorry that she had referred to the matter.


He 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.


But 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?


Her 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 child.


Not 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.


He 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.


To 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.


Dora 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.


He 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.


A 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 with her.


Dora 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.


William 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.


As 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 him.


His 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"


Mr. R.-- "Do not despair; let patience have her perfect work. Did you tell her that you would, on any conditions, unite with her?"


W.-- "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 condition."


Mr. R.-- "But I have known Presbyterian ministers who would immerse, rather than fail to secure a desirable member."


W.-- "But Mr. C. will not."


Mr. 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."


William 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.


He 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 his choice.


After 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."


Dora was startled. She was not prepared for such an announcement. She knew not what to think, nor how to reply.


At last she said, "I am afraid, my dear husband, you have reached this conclusion without mature deliberation."


It 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: --


"Wife, I do not understand you, you will have to explain your meaning."


"I 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."


Every 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.


But 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."


DORA.-- "But, my dear husband, how about your reception -- your baptism?"


W.-- "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."


Dora saw no solution of their troubles. She felt very sure that her pastor would not favor him in that particular.

From 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.


These 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.


But 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.


With 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.


On 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."


The 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.


William's mind was too full of the business for which the visit had been made to allow a long delay in introducing it.


But 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 congregation.


To 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:


"I have been wondering for some time why you do not take in hand the all-important question of your soul's eternal interest."


W.-- "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."


PASTOR.-- "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."


W.-- "I hope I have done so. My only hope is in his righteousness; and this is my only plea."


P.-- "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?"


W.-- "Yes, sir; I have put it off till I feel it can be postponed no longer. But what to do I know not."


P.-- "Why delay?"


W.-- "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 immersed."


P.-- "And what is to hinder you? I do not see how that can prove a hindrance."


By 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.


The 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:


"I 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."


W-- "What could be worse?"


P.-- "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 baptism."


Just 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."


But 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.


“Examine 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 reached."


William 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."

P.-- "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.


On 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.


The question that had so troubled them seemed at last solved, and the solution seemed the very best possible under the circumstances.


The 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.


Mr. R., interpreting this as favorable omen, received him with the same manifestation of cheerfulness.


W.-- "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?"


W.-- "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."

W.-- "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?"


W.-- "No; but to go to the Bible, and to that alone."


R.-- "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?"


W.-- "No; nothing was said about that. He gave a very good reason for refusing."

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 your head?"

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 yet."


William was soon on his way home, thinking -- "How vain are all things here below, How false, and yet how fair!"


His 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."


Dora.--" My dear, what new turn have affairs taken? Has Mr. R. convinced you that you should not unite with our church?"


W.-- "No; he did not attempt it."

D.-- "Did he urge you to endeavor to persuade me to join his church?"


W.-- "No; he said nothing about that."


D.-- "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."


In 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 me."


Mr. C. manifested no surprise at his change of purpose, nor did he make any inquiry as to the cause of the change.


He expressed his willingness to have a free conversation on the subject, as suggested by William, but thought one evening would not be sufficient.


He invited William to the parsonage on the Monday evening following.




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