Sent: Sunday, May 23, 2004 10:45 PM


"Christ did not personally baptize; the disciples were not in the habit of baptizing infants, or else they would not have rebuked the parents; Christ did not speak about baptism on the occasion, and he did not baptize the little ones."

One website advertises Pedobaptist Iain Murray's booklet against public invitations as "The definitive critique of the modern 'invitation system.'"

And, as we have noted, those who write against public invitations have certianly misappropriated C. H. Spurgeon in the effort to have his influence in support of their assertions. We now have a more accurate representation of Spurgeon our website at the following URL --


At the same website, we have our article entitled A Reply Regarding IAIN MURRAY'S Anti-Public Invitation Booklet: The Invitation System.

Paradoxically, in the case of Pedobaptists who misappropriate Spurgeon, the ONLY "public invitation" which we have ever read Mr. Spurgeon to condemn is the invitation practiced by Pedobaptists [those who baptize infants].

It is the practice of Pedobaptists, based on the supposed "covenant" they have for their offspring with God, to invite the believing parents of children to bring their offspring before the church for baptism. Some Pedobaptists evidently even think that baptism has some type of attachment or function in relation to a supposed "regeneration" of children. I will not enter into those "mysteries" which some allege are conjunctive with baptism, but I do wish to point out in this article that --


The "Altar Call," if you will, of Pedobaptists such as Brother Murray to bring children forward before the congregation to be baptized was opposed by Mr. Spurgeon.

We have a booklet in print, composed of two of Spurgeon's sermons which deal with the practice of infant baptism and also the view of some Pedobaptists that it has something to contribute in "regeneration." Those sermons are as follows:

Baptismal Regeneration -- Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 10, Year 1864, sermon #573. <> <>

Children Brought to Christ, Not to the Font --
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 10, Year 1864, sermon #581. <> <>

Here some of Spurgeon's remarks on the text, Mark 10:13-16, which demonstrate that he opposed the INVITATION FOR PARENTS TO BRING THEIR CHILDREN BEFORE THE CHURCH FOR BAPTISM AND CHURCH MEMBERSHIP:


My attention has been specially directed to this passage by the fact that it has been quoted against me by most of the authors of those sermons and letters which are, by a stretch of imagination, called "replies" to my sermon upon "Baptismal Regeneration." . . .

The Scripture before us is by several of the champions on the other side exhibited to the people as a rebuke to me. Their reasoning is rather ingenious than forcible: forsooth, because the disciples incurred the displeasure of Jesus Christ by keeping back the little children from coming to Him, therefore Jesus Christ is greatly displeased with me, and with all others like me, for keeping children from the font, and the performance there enacted; and specially displeased with me for exposing the Anglican [pedobaptist] doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration!

Observe the reasoning—because Jesus was much displeased with disciples for hindering parents from seeking a blessing upon their children, therefore he is much displeased with us who do not believe in godfathers and godmothers, or the signing of the cross on the infant brow. I must say at the outset that this is rather a leap of argument, and would not ordinarily be thought conclusive, but this we may readily overlook, since we have long ceased to hope for reasonable arguments from those who support a cause based upon absurdity. . . .

In this incident the very heart of Christ is published to poor sinners, and we may clearly perceive the freeness and the fulness of the mighty grace of the Redeemer of men, who is willing to receive the youngest child as well as the oldest man; and is greatly displeased with any who would keep back seeking souls from coming to him, or loving hearts from bringing others to receive his blessing. . . .

THIS TEXT HAS NOT THE SHADOW OF THE SHADE OF THE GHOST OF A CONNECTION WITH BAPTISM. There is no line of connection so substantial as a spider's web between this incident and baptism, or at least my imagination is not vivid enough to conceive one. . . .

It is very clear, Dear Friends, that these young children were not brought to Jesus Christ by their friends to be baptized. "They brought young children to him, that he should touch them," says Mark. Matthew describes the children as being brought "that he would put his hands on them and pray," but there is not a hint about their being baptized; no godfathers or godmothers had been provided, and no sign of the cross was requested. . . .

In the next place, if they brought the children to Jesus Christ to be baptized, they brought them to the wrong person; for the Evangelist, John, in the fourth chapter, and the second verse, expressly assures us that Jesus Christ baptized not, but his disciples: this settles the question once for all, and proves beyond all dispute that there is no connection between this incident and baptism.

But you will say, "Perhaps they brought the children to be baptized by the disciples?"

Brethren, the disciples were not in the habit of baptizing infants, and this is clear from the case in hand. If they had been in the habit of baptizing infants, would they have rebuked the parents for bringing them? If it had been a customary thing for parents to bring children with such an object, would the disciples who had been in the constant habit of performing the ceremony, have rebuked them for attending to it? Would any Church clergyman rebuke parents for bringing their children to be baptized? If he did so, he would act absurdly contrary to his own views and practice; and we cannot therefore imagine that if infant baptism had been the accepted practice, the disciples could have acted so absurdly as to rebuke the parents for bringing their little ones. It is obvious that such could not have been the practice of the disciples who were rebuked.

Moreover, and here is an argument which seems to me to have great force in it, when Jesus Christ rebuked his disciples, then was the time if ever in his life, to have openly spoken concerning infant baptism, godfathers and godmothers, and the whole affair. If he wished to rebuke his disciples most effectually, how could he have done it better than by saying, "Wherefore keep ye these children back? I have ordained that they shall be baptized; I have expressly commanded that they shall be regenerated and made members of my body in baptism; how dare you then, in opposition to my will, keep them back?"

But no, dear friends, our Saviour never said a word about "the laver of regeneration," or, "the quickening dew," when he rebuked them—not a single sentence. . . .

To close all, Jesus Christ did not baptize the children. . . .  No; but "He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them," and dismissed them without a drop of the purifying element.

Now, if this event had any connection with baptism whatever, it was the most appropriate occasion for infant baptism to have been practiced. Why, it would have ended for ever the controversy. . . .

I, my brethren, would sooner be dumb than speak a single word against an ordinance which Christ himself instituted and practiced; and if on this occasion he had but sprinkled one of these infants, given him a Christian name, signed him with a cross, accepted the vows of his godparents, and thanked God for his regeneration, then the question would have been settled for ever, and some of us would have been saved a world of abuse, besides escaping no end of mistakes, for which we are condemned, in the judgment of many good people, for whom we have some affection, though for their judgment we have no respect. So you see the parents did not ask baptismal regeneration;

Christ did not personally baptize; the disciples were not in the habit of baptizing infants, or else they would not have rebuked the parents; Christ did not speak about baptism on the occasion, and he did not baptize the little ones. . . .

I do not hesitate to say that I could prove any earthly thing, if I might but have such reasoning granted to me as that which proved infant baptism from this passage. There is no possible connection between the two. The teaching of the passage is very plain and very clear, and baptism has been imported into it, and not found in it. . . .

Still hundreds will catch at this straw, and cry, "Did not Jesus say, 'Suffer the little children to come unto me?'"

To these we give this one word, see that ye read the Word as it is written, and you will find no water in it but Jesus only. Are the water and Christ the same thing? Is bringing a child to a font bringing the child to Christ? Nay, here is a wide difference, as wide as between Rome and Jerusalem, as wide as between Anti-christ and Christ, between false doctrine and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . .

Dear little one, Jesus will not despise your lispings, nor will his servant keep you back. Jesus calls you, come and receive his blessing. If any of you say a word to keep the young heart back, Jesus will be displeased with you. Now I am afraid some do that; those, for instance, who think that the gospel is not for little children. Many of my brethren, I am sorry to say, preach in such a way that there is no hope of children ever getting any good by their preaching. I cannot glory in learning or eloquence, but in this one thing I may rejoice, that there is always a number of happy children here, who are quite as attentive as any of my audience. I do love to think that the gospel is suitable to little children. There are boys and girls in many of our Sabbath-school classes down below stairs who are as truly converted to God as any of us.

Then there are others who doubt whether children ever will be converted. . . . Others begin to doubt the truth of juvenile conversions. They say, "They are very young, can they understand the gospel? Is it not merely an infantile emotion, a mere profession?"

My brethren, you have no more right to suspect the sincerity of the young, than to mistrust the grey-headed; you ought to receive them with the same open-breasted confidence with which you receive others when they profess to have found the Saviour. . . . You must not, unless you would displease my Master, keep back the smallest child that longs to come to Christ. . . .

Did they imagine that these little children could not receive the blessing? Perhaps so, for they thought them too young.

Now, brethren, that was a wrong ground to go upon, for these children could receive the blessing and they did receive it, for Jesus took them in his arms and blessed them. If I keep back a child from coming to Christ on the ground that he is too young, I do it in the face of facts; because there have been children brought to Christ at an extremely early period.

You who are acquainted with Janeway's "Tokens for Children," have noticed very many beautiful instances of early conversion. Our dear friend, Mrs. Rogers, in that book of hers, "The Folded Lamb," gave a very sweet picture of a little son of hers, soon folded in the Saviour's bosom above, who, as early as two or three years of age, rejoiced and knew the Saviour. I do not doubt at all, I cannot doubt it, because one has seen such cases, that children of two or three years of age may have precocity of knowledge, and of grace; a forwardness which in almost every case has betokened early death, but which has been perfectly marvelous to those who have talked with them.

The fact is that we do not all at the same age arrive at that degree of mental stature which is necessary for understanding the things of God. Children have been reported as reading Latin, Greek, and other languages, at five or six years of age. I do not know that such early scholarship is any great blessing, it is better not to reach that point so soon; but some children are all that their minds ever will be at three or four, and then they go home to heaven; and so long as the mind has been brought up to such a condition that it is capable of understanding, it is also capable of faith, if the Holy Spirit shall implant it.

To suppose that he ever did give faith to an unconscious babe is ridiculous; that there can be any faith in a child that knows nothing whatever I must always take ground to doubt, for "How shall they believe without a preacher?"

And yet they are brought up to make a profession in their long-clothes, when they have never heard a sermon in their lives. But those dear children to whom I have before referred, have understood the preacher, have understood the truth, have rejoiced in the truth, and their first young lispings have been as full of grace as those glorious expressions of aged saints in their triumphant departures. Children are capable, then, of receiving the grace of God.

Do mark by the way, . . . we say it again, that little children are not regenerated, nor made members of Christ, nor children of God, nor inheritors of the kingdom of heaven, by solemn mockery, in which godfathers and godmothers promise to do for them what they cannot do for themselves, much less for their children. That is the point; and if they will please to meet it, we will answer them again, but till such time as that, we shall probably let them talk on till God gives them grace to know better. . . .

How does a child enter the kingdom of heaven? Why, its faith is very simple; it does not understand mysteries and controversies, but it believes what it is told upon the authority of God's Word, and it comes to God's Word without previous prejudice. It has its natural sinfulness, but grace overcomes it, and the child receives the Word as it finds it. You will notice in boyish and girlish conversions, a peculiar simplicity of belief: they believe just what Christ says, exactly what he says. If they pray, they believe Christ will hear them: if they talk about Jesus, it is as of a person near at hand. . . .&nbsf;

The most cheerful Christians we have are young believers; and the most cheerful old Christians are those who were converted when they were young. . . .  Of the many boys and girls whom we have received into Church-fellowship, I can say of them all, they have all gladdened my heart, and I have never received any with greater confidence than I have these: this I have noticed about them, they have greater joy and rejoicing than any others; and I take it, it is because they do not ask so many questions as others do, but take Jesus Christ's word as they find it, and believe in it.

Well now, just the very way in which a child receives Christ, is the way in which you must receive Christ if you would be saved. You who know so much that you know too much; you who have big brains; you who are always thinking, and have tendency to criticism, and perhaps to skepticism, you must come and receive the gospel as a little child. You will never get a hold of my Lord and Master while you are wearing that quizzing cap; no, you must take it off, and by the power of the Holy Spirit you must come trusting Jesus, simply trusting him, for this is the right way to receive the kingdom. . . .

O labour for souls, my dear friends! I beseech you live to win souls. This is the best rampart against error, a rampart built of living stones—converted men and women. This is the way to push back the advances of Popery, by imploring the Lord to work conversions.
. . .

"The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

I do trust there may be encouragement in this to some of you. I pray my Master make you feel it. If he be angry with those who keep you back, then he must be willing to receive you, glad to receive you; and if you come to him he will in no wise cast you out. May the Lord add his blessing on these words for Jesus' sake. Amen.

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