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resolve on the extinction of her offspring; urged on one fide by the dread of the certain infamy to the wonian who fhould be known to have produced a natural or illegitimate child, and restrained on the other fide by natural affection, and the great danger and fatal consequences of detection; yet the Christian laws rigorously ordain that the poor unhappy desponding mother, who shall be convicted of such an act, shall suffer an ignominious death, (nray Heaven ever preserve me from being in any way instrumental in such a verdict !) while the man before mentioned, whio destroys his thousands in a day, is extolled as a hero, or a God; the act is appauded as highly meritorious, and largely recompensed with riches and honours.-- This once provoked a Chriftian poet, who is now a bifhop, to exclaim,
“One murder makes a villain,
Judging of your Majesty's talents and virtues from general opinion and report, I have presumed that only plain truth would be acceptable, and have therefore cautiously avoided the ordinary style of European dedications, which contain little more than fulsom flattery; and as a personage of your distinguished abilities must agree in opinion with the English Bishops, that kings are but men, and all men are brethren, whether their origin be founded on the ancient Chinese, or modern Mofaic chronology ;) it being in my humble opinion of far less confequence to establish the date, or place, of the origin of our first Fathers, than to find out if possible for what purpose we are placed here, and to firive to answer the presumed end of our creation, as rational beings.
With traly cordial and fraternal affection I falute your Majefty; and when these my feeble essays Hall be laid
at your feet, I pray you to receive them with brotherly kindness and indulgence; and to be pleased to recollect, that the Author is a Citizen of a country whole laws and constitution are as free from religious prejudices a3 thote of China, and the people as little disposed to invade the peace, happiness, or territory of other nations, either for the purpose of poffeffion, or conversion, being content with the abundant portion of blessings which bounteous Heaven has already lavished on them.
E. CHURCH-AN AMERICAN.
Baptism, a Greek word, fignifying immersion : men being ever led by their senses, eafily came to fancy that what washed the body likewise cleansed the foul. In the vaults under the Egyptian temples we large tubs for the abolutions of the priests and the initiated. The Indians, from time immemorial, purified themselves in the Ganges, and the ceremony still fubfifts among them.The Hebrews adopted it, baptizing all profylites who would not submit to be circumcised; especially the women, as exempt from that operation, except in Ethio. pia only, were baptized ; it was as regeneration; it imparted a new foul among them, as in Egypt. Con, cerning this, see Epiphanius, Maimonides, and the Gemára.
John baptized in the Jordan; he baptized even Je. Tus Christ himself, who, however, never baptized any one, yet was pleased to consecrate this ancient ceremoa, ny. All figns are of thenifelves indifferent, and God annexes his grace to such as he thinks fit to choose. Bap. tism foon became the principlerite, and the feal of Christianity. The first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem were all circumcised, and there is no certainty of their having ever been baptised.
In the first ages of Chriftianaty, this facrament was abused, nothing being more common than to delay baptism till the agony of death; of this the Emperor Conftantine is no flight proof. This was his way of rea- . soning: Baptism waihes away all sin, fo that I may kill my wife, my fon, and all my relations, then I'll get myself baptifed, and so go to Heaven; and he acted ac. cordingly. Such an instance carried danger with it. and, by degrees, the custom of delaying the facred lae ver till death, wore off.
The Greeks always adhered to bapism by immer. fion; but the Latins, towards the end of the eight century, having extended their religion over Gaul and Germany, and seeing that immersion in cold countries did not agree with childrm, fubflituted in its stead af. persion, or sprinkling, for which they were often anathematized by the Greek church.
- St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, being asked whether they, whose body had been mly sprinkled, were really baptised; he answeres, in his yoth letter, that several churches did not hold them to be Christians; that he does, but withal, what grace they have, is infinitely less than that of those who, according to the primitive rite, had been dipped three times. ... After immersion a Christian became initiated; whereas before he was only a catechumen; but initiation requited fecurities and fponfors, who were called by a name answerable to that of godfathers, that the church might be sure of the fidelity of the new Christians, and the sacred mysteries be not divulged. Where fore during the first centuries, the Pagans in general, knew as little of the Christian mysteries, as the Chriftians did of the mysteries of llis and Eleufis.
Cyril of Alexandria, in a writing of his against the Enıperor Julian, delivers himself thus: " I would speak a word of baptifm, did I not fear, that what I say migh: come to thefe who are not initiated.” 20 Children were baptized so early as the second century, sit being, indeed, very natural that Christians fhould be folicitous for tlais facrament to be administered to their children, as without it they would be damned ; and, at length, it was concluded that the time of administration should be at the end of eight days, in imitation of the Jews administering circumcision. The Greek church ftill retains this custom. However, in the third century, the custom prevailed of not being baptized till near death.
SUPERSTITIOUS CREDULITY- IN CASES OF
MURDER An opinion has prevailed for many ages, that if the real murderer of a perfon were to touch the dead body, fupernatural proofs of guilt would immediately appear by the issuing af blood from the deceasede, This opinion is exposed to the most insurmountable objections, and ought never to be received in any cafe whatever. In September last a boy was murdered in the city of Baltimore, and a neighbouring boy was suspected to be the perpetrator of this horrid act. Recourse was had to the ancient ordeal of blood ; appeal was made to supernatural power to de. cide the important queftion of guilt or innocence. The account which has been published in the newspapers states, that the experiment terminated in a popular demonstration of guilt against the suspected boy. He placed his hand upon the wound, and fresh -blood is said to have issued; other persons are said to have done the same but without producing the same effect. Hence credulity becomes confirmed and rivited in the errors of antiquity. It is impossible in the nature of the case that any luch evidences of guilt fhould appear ; The circulati. ons had stopped and nothing short of a miracle could have revived their action so as to discriminate between the real murderer and those who were innocent. If it is presumed that God would interpose in such a case, why not make the dead body speak at one and delare in an audible voice, that's the man who murdered me. This would place the matter beyond doubt, and would be a very important miracle worth working. But it will
be fäid that the issuing of blood is equally convincing ; this is not the fact. In the first place no blood ever ifsued from a dead body upon the limple touch of the fingers, unless the pressure was made upon the place previonfly wounded ; in such case there might be a difcharge of blood or fomething like it. If it should be asked why this should happen from the touch of one person and not from another, the answer is, that guilt or even the fufpicion of guilt gives to the hand a tremulous agitation which does not exist in the hand of unsuspected innocence. This circumstance of itself might cause something like blood to issue from the wound; but such a fact ought not to be admitted as evidence of guilt, Perhaps the same manner of laying on the hand and the fame degree of pressure from another person would produce the same effect. In some cases all the hands of guilt and innocence would produce no effect at all; in others only for a few times, and in others peculiar positions, and circumstances not immediately under the eye of the spec, tators might decide the eternal destiny of an innocent man. So long as society will listen to this kind of evi dence there will be no positive safety for virtue, and the most accomplished villían will sometimes go unpunished. We had better go back at once to the age of chivalry Fire and water ordeals, and to all the nonsense of antia quity.
New-York :: Published every Saturday, by ELIHU
PALMER, No. 26, Chatham-street, Price, Twa