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´╗┐Title: Dorothy Page
Author: Hatcher, Eldridge B.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Dorothy Page" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

                         Dorothy Page

                     ELDRIDGE B. HATCHER

                          AUTHOR OF
                     THE YOUNG PROFESSOR
                         THE HITTITES

                       LOUISVILLE, KY.

                       Copyright, 1912,


             I. DOROTHY ARRIVES                     5

            II. DOROTHY'S CONVERSION                9

           III. STERLING STATES HIS CASE           19

            IV. GETTING INTO DEEP WATER            29

             V. HANDLING THE THREE THOUSAND        37

            VI. ONE POINT GAINED                   55


          VIII. WRONGING THE LITTLE ONES           75

            IX. CIRCUMCISION TO THE RESCUE         83

             X. THE DISCIPLE PREACHER              95


           XII. DISCOVERY                         139



            XV. CROSSING THE RUBICON              179

           XVI. STERLING SCORES                   189

                         TO THOSE WHO
                           E. B. H.



"You may see her tonight," said Mrs. Sterling to her son Gilbert.

"When does she arrive?"

"At six-twenty this afternoon. They say, son, she is beautiful."

"From what point of the compass does the lovely paragon come?" asked
Sterling with a smile.

"She has just graduated from some college in the North. Her father and
mother went to be with her in the closing exercises and will bring her
home today."

The subject of this conversation was Dorothy Page, whose palatial home
was next door to the home of the Sterlings. The two families had become
friends as well as neighbors.

"Come over this evening, Sterling, and help me to celebrate the arrival
of the family," called out Roland Page from his porch.

Sterling agreed.

At half past eight o'clock, as he entered the library of the Page home,
he looked upon what seemed to him the most beautiful girl his
imagination had ever pictured. He knew in a moment that he was a
captive. As he walked down the front steps after his visit he felt sure
that an epoch in his life had occurred.

"A splendid young fellow!" remarked Mr. Page after Sterling had left.
"Although he is only twenty-nine years of age, he has in his own right a
cool two million-dollar fortune. He inherited it from his father and he
himself is one of the most progressive business men in the state and
seems bent on using his fortune for the good of society."

"He was very quiet," remarked Dorothy.

Mr. Page's statements concerning Sterling were very true. He might have
added that Sterling was an elder in the Presbyterian church and was one
of its most devoted members.

Sterling found his mother in the sitting-room on his return home that

"Well, son," she said, "how do you like your new neighbor?"

"Mother, don't ask me to describe her," he replied; and then for half an
hour he continued talking about her. Before retiring he said:

"Mother, how is it that I have never been told about Miss Page before?"

"Well, son, I have known very little myself. The Pages, you know, have
lived here less than a year and Dorothy has never been here before. A
few days before Mrs. Page left to bring Dorothy home she told me a good
many things about her."

"How long was Miss Page at the college?"

"Three years. The Pages were born in Virginia, but when Dorothy was six
years old the father, because of failing health, purchased a large
ranch in the West and he moved his family there and became very

"She is a child, therefore, of the South and West," said Sterling.

"Yes, she has Southern blood and Western experience. Mrs. Page said
their home was ten miles from the nearest store and the nearest neighbor
was seven miles distant."

"That must have been a dismal life for Dorothy. You say she lived on the
plains from six years of age until three years ago, when she went to the
college? Did she have no other schooling?"

"Oh, yes. Her education was directed at home by a governess of unusual
culture and refinement. I learned also from Mrs. Page that none of the
family make any pretensions to religion, and that the governess was as
irreligious as they."

"What a home!"

"She said that there was no church near them in the West and that
Dorothy had never been in a church up to the time she went off to the
college, and that she doubted if she had ever attended church while

"You make her out a wild girl of the plains," remarked Sterling with a
smile. "I could easily see the traces of it tonight in her open, eager,
almost wild manner, and yet through it all there was a culture, a
sweetness, a loveliness that is indescribable."

Mrs. Sterling continued: "Mrs. Page said that Dorothy, perfectly at home
on the wildest horse, roamed untrammeled over the ranch, and reveled in
its beauty and its freedom. But let me continue the story. At seventeen
she went to Carrollton College and at the end of three years she won her

"I'll venture she came out at the head of the list, mother; she is as
bright and sparkling as a diamond."

"You are right, for she took the honors of her class. A year ago Mr.
Page sold his ranch and came here to Kentucky to live, but this is
Dorothy's first sight of her Kentucky home."



"Oh, a tennis court! How glorious!" exclaimed Dorothy next morning as
she stepped out on the porch and caught her first glimpse of the side

Sterling considered it a special providence that no intervening fence
separated the two residences, and nearly every afternoon found him on
the tennis grounds, an eager contestant in the game with Dorothy.

"Good-bye, Mr. Sterling," she said to him one afternoon at the close of
the game. "I must hurry in and do some packing. I shall turn traveler

"What--going away?" he asked with a startled expression.

"Yes, I am going to Chicago for a few weeks to visit a girl friend."

The light fled from the sky for Sterling. For the next three weeks not
only Dorothy, but the center of the universe seemed to him to be located
in Chicago.

During Dorothy's visit a crisis occurred in her life. While attending a
church service with her girl friend she heard a strange sermon. How new
and startling it sounded. The preacher's theme was "Salvation Through
Christ", and she heard things she had never dreamed of before. Wild
questionings set her heart aflame and there was no rest for her that
night. Her soul's destiny was a subject to which she had never given
serious reflection.

She felt that the man whose sermon had thrown her into this dark
confusion was the only one who might give her light. She sought him out.
A father in Israel he was--Rev. Dr. Moreland, one of the most eminent
ministers in that city. He saw that as a little child she was eagerly
groping in the dark, and with the Bible as a lamp he led her step by
step into the light. She saw herself in God's sight a sinner, guilty and
condemned, and how helpless and hopeless to her seemed her condition.

The story of the Gospel sounded to her like music from Heaven. The love
of Christ for sinners melted her heart and she yielded herself in
child-like trust to him. In her own room at night the surrender was made
and it was complete.

"Son, I could easily tell that Dorothy is coming tomorrow," said Mrs.

"How do you know, mother?"

"By your face. You would have passed for an undertaker during the past
three weeks, and I have tried by every art, but in vain, to chase away
your funereal countenance."

Sterling broke into a hearty laugh.

"Mother, your imagination is out on a frolic. You will have to put a
bridle on it."

Mrs. Sterling was right. Gilbert had learned that Dorothy would arrive
on the morrow.

Dorothy had written her parents about her new-found joy, but they
understood it not. They thought that it was some girlish emotion that
her home life would quickly dissipate.

The news of her conversion came to Sterling as a burst of sunlight. In
speaking of it to his mother he said:

"Of one thing I am sure, and that is that she will make a glorious
Christian. What a light she will be in her home. And, mother, how fine
to have her in my church!"

Dorothy had shortened her visit that she might hurry home and tell her
loved ones of the change in her life. She could not explain the change,
but she knew that for her old things had passed away and all things had
become new.

She was anxious to tell her parents the simple story of Christ's love
and sacrifice for sinners. She recited it almost immediately after her
return, but their eyes seemed holden that they could not see. Possibly
they did not want to see. At any rate, Dorothy received her first biting
disappointment in the reception that her parents gave to her report
about her new-found Savior.

With Mr. Sterling it was different, and in him she found a sympathetic
listener to her story. Not that she impulsively bared her secrets to
him; he was eager to know it all, and his keen interest in contrast to
the utter lack of responsiveness on the part of the parents encouraged
her to confide in him, and to Dorothy, with her new and trembling
faith, Sterling was a friend in need.

A week had passed after her return, and one afternoon Sterling said to
her at the close of a tennis game that her coming into his church would
make their membership exactly 300.

"Mr. Sterling," she replied, "I am anxious to talk with your pastor, Dr.
Vincent, about which church I ought to join."

Her words smote him. The possibility of her uniting with any other
church than his own had not occurred to him, and the bare thought of it
put a load on his heart. He asked her what she meant by her remark
regarding Dr. Vincent.

"Dear old Dr. Moreland," she said, "whose church I attended in Chicago,
and who so kindly led me into the light, told me that I must be sure to
join some church, and when I asked him what church it should be he told
me that I must study my New Testament and let that guide me. I have
carefully read it through twice, and I cannot see that it has helped me
at all to decide about my church membership. I really do not know what
he meant."

Sterling was relieved and the load rolled off his heart, for he felt
sure that with her New Testament as her guide she would turn her steps
towards the Presbyterian church.

By this time they had reached the front porch, where the rest of the
family were seated, and when Dorothy made her last remark the brother,
who was sitting nearby, heard and said:

"What's the need, sister, of your joining any church? You don't think
the church will take you to Heaven, do you?"

"Hold on, son," spoke up the father, "I am not an expert on religious
matters, but it is a plain proposition to me that if Dorothy has
accepted Christianity and become a Christian, the place for her is the

"But what good will it do, father?"

"I believe in a person being one thing or the other," said Mr. Page. "If
you are not a Christian, then of course keep out of the church; if you
set up to be a Christian, then take your medicine; if you claim to be a
soldier, then march up and put on the uniform and join the army."

"Oh, I never thought of not joining a church," said Dorothy.

"But I still hang to my point," said the brother. "Why does Dorothy have
to join the church? Do you think, sister, joining the church will save

"What a question, brother! Of course not. I hope I am saved already. I
have faith in Christ and I am looking to him for my salvation. Simply
having my name entered as a church member will not save me; I am very
ignorant about these matters, but Dr. Moreland told me that Christ
founded the church as the place in which he wished all who believed in
him to be gathered. If he formed the church for his believers, then is
it not the place for me?"

"Daughter, you are right there to a dot. If Christ organized the church
for his followers and you have given yourself to him, then if you
should refuse to enter the church I should doubt whether you had given
yourself to him; but I think you are wrong on one point. You spoke just
now about studying the Bible to learn what church you ought to join.
That's one on me. I never knew the Bible told a person what church he
ought to join; in fact, I did not think it made any difference what
church or denomination a person selected. I thought it was just pay your
money and take your choice."

"I thought," said the mother, "that all the churches were aiming in the
same direction and that all claimed to be founded on the Bible. Do you
think, daughter, that the Bible will tell you to join one particular
church or denomination rather than some other?"

"Mother, you are right there, as you generally are," said the father.
"Here is the Presbyterian church, the only strong church in town, and it
seems to be a mighty good one from all that I can hear of it. Do you
imagine, daughter, that you must study the Bible to learn whether it
will tell you to join this church or some other church that may be off
somewhere nobody knows where?"

Dorothy seemed lost in reflection.

"I wonder what Dr. Moreland could have meant?" she said. "I notice there
are different names by which the churches are known: for example, the
Presbyterians, the Methodists, etc. They call them, I believe,
denominations. Are these denominations the same? Why do they have the
different names, and why do some people join one denomination and some

"That is not strange, daughter," spoke up the father. "There are
different kinds of dresses, and one woman prefers one kind and another
another. Some people like the Presbyterian church, some the Methodist
church and so on. It is not a Bible question, simply a question of

"Miss Dorothy, the denominations differ in matters of doctrine," said
Mr. Sterling.

"You mean, then," said Dorothy, a light coming into her eye, "that the
people who believe that the Bible teaches certain doctrines go into one
church, and the people who believe that it teaches another set of
doctrines go into another church, and that each one joins the church of
his own beliefs?"

"You are entirely correct," said Sterling, confident that when she
compared the denominations his church would win the day. "The
Presbyterian church is founded on the bed rock of Scripture and draws
its life blood from its sacred pages."

"Do you not see, father," said Dorothy, "that in order for me to decide
which church I ought to join I must study the Bible for myself and then
join the church that seems to come nearest to what the Bible seems to me
to teach?"

"I don't agree with you, sister," said Roland. "You say you must join
the church that comes nearest to what the Bible seems to you to teach.
But you know very little about what the Bible teaches. Had you not
better take what old Dr. Vincent, who has been a life-long student of
the Bible, says the Bible teaches than to take what you, after a few
readings, decide it teaches? Why, certainly. I'd rather a thousand times
trust him to tell me what that Book teaches than for me to decide

"But, brother, I think you miss the point. Dr. Vincent can tell me what
he thinks the Bible teaches, but some learned minister in another
denomination might tell me the Bible taught something different. Mr.
Sterling says each denomination has its own doctrines which it believes
the Bible teaches. If I am going to take what some learned Bible student
says, then which one must I follow? One will tell me that the Bible
teaches the Presbyterian doctrines and another will tell me it teaches
the Methodist doctrines."

"Exactly; and no matter what you do you cannot be sure you are right. I
think one is about as apt to be right as the other. The only thing is to
take a man that you believe is an honest and wise student of the Book
and ask him to tell you its teachings."

"Oh, brother, that doesn't appeal to me at all. I dare not take another
person's word for what this Bible teaches. I can take his counsel and
the counsel of everybody else that I can secure, but I must give the
final decision, I must study this Book for myself. Dr. Vincent is a good
and wise man, of course, but I cannot look into his heart for all the
thoughts that have led him to his decision. The question before me is
not what church does Mr. Vincent think comes nearest the Bible, but what
church do I think comes the nearest."

"Daughter," said Mr. Page, "you are on the right track. You can get all
the light possible from Dr. Vincent and anybody else you choose, but you
are the judge that must bring in the verdict, and when you make the
decision there is no court of appeals. But you have a huge job on your
hands. You must first study all the denominations and then you've got to
master your Bible to see which one of all the denominations squares with
the Book."

"Oh," said Dorothy in a tone of despair, "how can I ever decide such a
big question? Won't you help me, Mr. Sterling?"

Sterling felt that he would like to spend several centuries, beginning
with that very second, in the single matter of helping her. He remarked
with a smile: "Miss Dorothy, I think you need not be alarmed; you are
not as much in the wilderness as you imagine. Suppose on examination you
find that the doctrines of our church are in accord with the teachings
of the Bible, then your duty is plain, is it not?"

"Yes," she replied with a sigh of relief, "and won't you tell me what
are the doctrines of your church?"

His eyes answered her request before his lips had an opportunity to

"Now you are getting out into the road," said the father. "Tell it to
her, Friend Sterling, and I guess she will find that your church plumbs
the track. In fact, I reckon most of them do."

"Dinner is ready," called the mother.

"There, now," said the father, "that breaks up the meeting at the
critical point, but come in to dinner, Sterling, and we will open the
campaign again after dinner."

"Yes, please do come, Mr. Sterling," said Dorothy. "I am so anxious to
know what are the doctrines of your church."

Sterling was compelled to decline, inasmuch as he had promised to be at
home for dinner to meet a business friend of his father's, but he
assured them that he would be on hand for the discussion very soon after



At eight o'clock they gathered in the library.

"Now, Sterling," said Mr. Page, "we are all attention. Open up your
Presbyterian treasures, for you have our curiosity aroused."

Sterling was anxious to bring to Dorothy's attention the facts about his
denomination. He felt confident that the history and doctrines of
Presbyterianism would prove very attractive to her and lead her into his

"I fear I cannot do my denomination justice," he said. "It deserves an
abler champion. It has had an illustrious history and on our honor roll
are such notable names as John Calvin, John Knox, Thomas Chalmers and a
host of others."

"What are the doctrines of your church, Mr. Sterling?" asked Dorothy.

"We believe in God as the creator and preserver of the world, in Christ
as the Savior of sinners, and in the Bible as the Word of God."

"How about those doctrines, daughter?" asked Mr. Page. "Can you accept

"Of course, father. The Bible teaches them plainly."

"Good! Give us some more, Sterling."

"We believe that Christ offered himself on the cross as a sacrifice for
the sins of men, that he was buried, rose from the dead and ascended to
Heaven, where he sits at the right hand of the Father. We believe in the
Holy Spirit as being sent by the Father to convict men of sin and
righteousness and judgment to come."

"What about that, daughter?"

"Father is pinning me down, Mr. Sterling, as we go along," she said with
a smile. "I think I can accept those doctrines because the New Testament
teaches them--at least that is my recollection from my reading of the
New Testament."

"We believe that Christ in organizing the church gave two ordinances,
baptism and the Lord's Supper; that baptism is a sign and seal of God's
regenerating grace and that the Lord's Supper is a memorial of his
death--the bread typifying his broken body and the wine his shed blood.
We believe that Christ speaks of his church as his bride."

"Yes, I remember that."

"Sterling, you seem to be making good progress," said the father. "Do
you accept the doctrines as he has announced them thus far, daughter?"

"I think so. They seem to be in accord with what I have read. I have
only read the New Testament through twice."

"In mentioning our doctrines," he said, "I am not attempting a logical
order, nor am I confining myself to strict theological terminology. I am
giving our doctrines just as they come before my mind."

"Go ahead," said the father. "I think Dorothy will soon find herself a

"I ought to have stated," continued Mr. Sterling, "that we believe that
salvation comes by faith in Christ. All of the redeemed in Christ will
be received by him when he shall come again and shall live with him in
everlasting happiness, but the unbelievers will be banished into
everlasting punishment."

"Hold on," said Mr. Page; "you don't endorse that last awful doctrine,
do you, daughter?"

"It is awful, father, but I have to endorse it, for I have read it in
the Bible with my own eyes and I remember it was declared by Christ

Sterling was delighted at the progress he was making. The thought of
Dorothy coming into his church filled him with joy.

"Another doctrine," he said: "We believe in Christ's words concerning
the little children--'of such is the Kingdom of Heaven'--and that, as
Peter said, God's promise is unto his people and to their children and
their children's children, and as baptism is the door to the church--"

"Oh, yes," exclaimed Dorothy, "I saw a baptism once. Do I have to be
baptized, too, Mr. Sterling?"

"Yes, indeed."

"That was a very interesting baptism I saw in Nebraska, where I was
visiting. It was in a river and they put the people under the water."

"Oh, Miss Dorothy, that was not baptism," exclaimed Sterling, apparently
horrified by her remark.

"It was not? What was it, Mr. Sterling?"

"It was merely an odd practice observed by certain curious sects. I beg
that you will get that well fixed in your mind."

"Well, you know I have to learn about these things. What do you mean
then by baptism?"

"Baptism is performed by having water sprinkled or poured gently upon
the head of the candidate. It is a very impressive ceremony."

"That is strange, for do you know I saw in the Bible just the kind of
baptism that I witnessed that day in Nebraska?"

"Oh, never. Bible baptism is by sprinkling and sprinkling alone."

"Well, I read in one or two places about people being baptized by being
put under the water; that is, unless I am very much mistaken."

"Hold on," said the father. "I guess you had better clear up that point
about baptism before you go any further."

"Not at all," said Sterling very earnestly; "there is nothing to clear
up. It is a plain fact of history as well as of Bible teaching that
baptism was done by sprinkling."

"Do the denominations differ about baptism?" asked Dorothy.

"Not worth talking about; nearly all the denominations agree that the
baptism of the Bible is by sprinkling or pouring."

"Daughter, get your Bible and let's see that passage where you say the
people were put under the water."

"I must not be too sure," she replied. "I know so little about the Book
that I may have been mistaken, but I don't think I can be."

The Bible was brought in, and as Dorothy opened it and began turning its
pages she said: "One passage was the account of the baptism of Jesus."

"What!" exclaimed Mr. Page. "Was he baptized--Jesus Christ? Well, well,
that's one on me."

"Oh, father, how can you speak so?"

"I beg your pardon, daughter. I surely did not mean to be irreverent.
But let us have that passage telling how he was baptized. That ought to
be mighty interesting."

"It is the third chapter of Matthew," said Mr. Sterling.

Dorothy read: "'Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be
baptized of him.'"

"The Jordan was a river, was it not?" asked the father.

"Yes," replied Sterling.

"And you say that Jesus went to that river to be baptized?" asked the

"Yes," answered Sterling.

"And you say he went there to have some water sprinkled on him instead
of being put under the water?"

"Certainly he did."

"Do people generally go to rivers now to be sprinkled?" asked Dorothy.

"I do not know that they do, but they could certainly do so if they
should so desire."

"Did you ever hear of anybody doing so?" asked the father.

"Why, possibly not; but that doesn't prove that it never has been done;
but let us have the rest of the passage."

She read: "'And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of
the water.'"

"Hello!" said the father, "that sounds curious. Why did he go down into
the water, Sterling, if he was simply to be sprinkled?"

"Why, he simply walked a little way into the stream and stood there
while John gently sprinkled the water on him. It must have been a
beautiful ceremony."

Dorothy was consulting her concordance.

"Here is another passage in the third chapter and twenty-third verse."

"Let us have it," said the father.

She read: "'And John also was baptizing in Aenon, near to Salem, because
there was much water there.'"

"Much water!" exclaimed Mr. Page. "What about that, Friend Sterling?"

"I think that is plain. There were great multitudes following John and
camping around him, and he selected a place where there would be
abundant water for the cattle. The country was dry in many places."

"But it says he was baptizing there because there was much water there,"
said Dorothy.

"That simply means that he did his baptizing in that section because of
the abundance of the water for the cattle," insisted Sterling.

"What is your reason, Mr. Sterling," asked Dorothy, "for saying it was
the cattle that John had in mind?"

"You mentioned the passage as indicating immersion," continued Sterling,
"and I replied that the mention of much water did not necessarily prove
immersion, because it may have had reference to the cattle rather than
to the mode of the baptism. And besides, the dryness of that Oriental
country is another fact that indicates that John selected the place for
watering the cattle."

"But is it necessary to have a place of much water in order to water
cattle?" asked Dorothy. "Would not a small stream be sufficient for many

"Come, come, children," said the father, "why not take the words as you
find them? By the way, did John do anything for the crowds except
baptize them?"

"Oh, yes," said Sterling, "he was a great preacher for the crowds. That
was his principal work. Baptism was a very small and almost
insignificant part of it. They did not make the ado about it then that
certain sects do now."

"Exactly; that is what I am getting at. You say preaching was the main
thing John was doing. I should think, then, that if it was the cattle
that made him select the place, it would have read 'John was preaching
at Aenon because there was much water there'. But it says he was
baptizing there, and that would indicate that the baptizing part of his
work brought him to that place. He could have preached where there was
not much water. You think, Sterling, that his baptizing had nothing to
do with his selecting that place. Why, then, did it say he was baptizing
there because of the much water? It looks mighty plain to me that the
baptizing was mentioned because of the much water."

Dorothy was puzzled.

"I don't see how I am ever to get at the meaning of the Bible," she
said, "if I am not to take what seems to be the natural meaning of the
passages, but must rather suppose that something else was intended."

"Evidently we can't agree on that verse," said Sterling with a smile.
"Let us have another, Miss Dorothy."

"Here is a passage, Acts 8:35-39: 'Then Philip opened his mouth and
began at the same Scripture and preached unto him Jesus. And as they
went on their way they came unto a certain water and the Eunuch said:
"See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" Philip said:
"If thou believeth with all thy heart thou mayest." And he answered and
said: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." And he commanded
the chariot to stand still and they went down both into the water,
Philip and the Eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of
the water the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip that the Eunuch saw
him no more, and he went on his way rejoicing.'"

"You see they stepped down to the water's edge," said Sterling, "and
Philip sprinkled him."

"But it says they both went down into the water and both came up out of
the water. Why did they go down into the water if the Eunuch was simply
to be sprinkled?"

"Look here," said the father; "life is too brief to be squandering it on
debating a question like that. That's as plain as a chimney on a house.
You could never make me think that all that going down into the water
and coming up out of the water was simply to have a few drops of water
sprinkled on the man. Sterling, I know you don't mean to do so, but it
looks as if you are afraid of the natural meaning that lies on the

"But the surface meaning in the Bible is not always the true one. We
know from other passages that baptism was by sprinkling, and when we
come to one like this, that may mean either kind of baptism, we know
from the general teaching of Scripture that sprinkling and not immersion
was the mode here intended."



"Here is another passage about baptism," said Dorothy, "in Luke 12:50:
'I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it
be accomplished?'"

"But hold on, Miss Dorothy," said Sterling. "Why should we be spending
so much discussion simply on the question as to the quantity of water in
baptism? It seems a waste of effort. There are far more important
doctrines than this."

"It is not simply the quantity of water we are considering, Mr.
Sterling. We are trying to find out how baptism is performed. Surely we
ought to try to get it right."

"That's good logic," said the father. "Get one point settled before you
proceed to another."

"All right," said Sterling with a smile, "I'm all attention. Read that
passage again, Miss Dorothy."

She read: "'I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I
straitened till it be accomplished!'"

"Who is that talking?" asked Mr. Page.

"It is Christ," said Sterling, "and he is talking about his coming
sufferings which were to end in his death."

"And what is it he says about his sufferings? Read it again, daughter."

She read it once more.

"You say, Sterling, that Christ here speaks of his future sufferings and
said he was to be baptized in them?"

"No, he does not say he will be baptized 'in' them, but 'with' them,
thus showing that he was not to be immersed but sprinkled."

"You mean, then," said Dorothy, "that Christ said he was to be sprinkled
with his sufferings?"


"But is it not far more impressive to think of Christ being immersed in
his terrible sufferings than simply of his having a few drops of
suffering sprinkled on him?"

"Certainly," said Mr. Page; "we often speak of people being plunged,
overwhelmed, in sorrow or suffering, and that is nothing but an

"But," said Sterling, "if he had meant immersion, why did he not say he
had a baptism that he had to be baptized 'in'? But no; he said he had a
baptism to be baptized 'with'."

"I don't think it makes any difference whether you use the word 'in' or
'with'," said Dorothy. "When a person is immersed he is baptized 'with'
water as well as 'in' water, and when Christ said he had a baptism to be
baptized with--and Mr. Sterling says he referred to his sufferings--why,
it is far more natural to think he had in mind an immersion, an
overwhelming, rather than a mere sprinkling."

"Have you any more passages, daughter?"

After some examination she answered: "Here is a strange passage, Romans
6:4: 'Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like
as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father even so
we also should walk in newness of life.'"

"Isn't that a wonderful passage?" exclaimed Dorothy; "'buried with him
by baptism'. That looks like immersion."

"That verse seems to be against you, Sterling," remarked Mr. Page.

"Not at all. Christ is not talking here about water baptism."

"What is that?" asked Mr. Page quickly; "not talking about water
baptism? Have you got still another kind of baptism?"

"Certainly. The Bible speaks of a baptism of the Spirit. It is mentioned
in several places."

"All correct," said Mr. Page, "and now proceed with your argument to
show that the passage just read about baptism does not mean water

"Paul here speaks of a spiritual baptism."

"Why do you say that?" asked Dorothy.

The fire of questions seemed to stun Sterling somewhat. He had never had
these passages pressed upon him in this fashion, but all his life he had
had an open track for his Presbyterian tenets. He continued his
explanation of the passage:

"Paul is here writing to people about their conversion and he is trying
to show them that if they have been truly converted they must forsake
sin. He says here in the verse: 'We who died to sin, how shall we
longer live therein?' You see he speaks of dying to sin, and that brings
him to the idea of a burial. He wants to show them that when they were
converted--if they were really converted--that their conversion was a
baptism of the Spirit; that just as Christ died, was buried and rose to
a new life, so the converted soul through the work (or the baptism) of
the Spirit on him died to his old life and rose to a new life, and
therefore such an one must not sin. The passage therefore reads:
'Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as
Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we
also must walk in newness of life.'"

"Well, now, let me see," said the father. "You say the writer compares
the conversion of a soul to a baptism of the Spirit?"

"Yes, he speaks of it as a spiritual experience; not a mere outward
reformation, but an inward spiritual experience, and when he says buried
with him by baptism he means a baptism of the Spirit."

"Why does he call it a baptism?" asked Dorothy.

"That's the point exactly," said the father. "Sterling says the writer
is not talking about a water baptism. Well, I don't see why it may not
be a water baptism. It says nothing about a spiritual baptism. But
anyhow let it be a spiritual baptism; the important point in this
argument is that he calls it a baptism, and note carefully he calls the
baptism a burial. No matter whether it is a water or a spiritual baptism
that he is talking about, he shows what his idea of a baptism was. It
was like a person being buried and being raised again."

"I think, Mr. Sterling," said Dorothy, "that the verse shows that the
important thing about baptism is the way it is performed; that it is not
water that makes the baptism; that it may be water, or it may be the
Spirit, or possibly it may be something else; but that the important
thing is the way it is performed. In other words, it must be like a
burial and a rising again. It looks to me as if Paul is showing what a
wonderful experience a person's conversion is."

"Exactly," said the father, "and I suppose the writer could not express
that spiritual change in conversion better than to call it a baptism by
the Spirit, and he showed mighty clearly his notion about baptism; to
him it was a burial and a rising again.'

"I think there is something more wonderful still about that passage,"
said Dorothy. "I think you can see two baptisms in the verse, the water
baptism and the Spirit baptism. Paul draws a picture of the conversion
of a soul. It is a change worked in the soul by the Spirit, and as the
Spirit works on the soul the soul dies to his old life and rises to a
new life. But that is just like what takes place when the person is
baptized in water. He is buried out of sight in the water and then rises
again, and the water baptism is an exact picture of the spiritual
baptism. Surely Paul must have had the two baptisms in mind when he
wrote this."

"It looks mightily that way," said Mr. Page.

"Another thing," said Dorothy, all aglow with her interpretation of the
passage, "doesn't this show why Christ commanded baptism? You see, he
knew that every true Christian must pass through this spiritual
experience at conversion--the baptism of the Spirit--and he decided to
give his people an outward ceremony that would be a sign, or picture, of
the inward spiritual change that they must have, and so he commanded
immersion, as if he would say: 'Here is a picture of what I command of
everyone--this burial in the water and rising again; it is the picture
of that spiritual change that must occur in everyone that would be my
follower'. He commands two things, a spiritual burial and rising and a
material burial and rising; two baptisms, one of the Spirit to come
first and a baptism of the water to come second as a sign of the first

"If that is true, Friend Sterling," said the father, "then it would seem
a pretty serious thing to change the form of the baptism. If the founder
of Christianity commanded these two baptisms, one a picture of the
other, then it looks to me mighty risky to tamper with either of them.
Now, if you put sprinkling in the place of immersion you destroy the
whole meaning in the work of conversion. The two don't go together at
all. You don't have a burial by sprinkling a few drops of dirt on a
person. It is not a matter of much water or little water. The important
thing is that it be a burial and rising again."

It was a new experience for Sterling, He had begun the discussion with
the thought that Dorothy would be delighted with the doctrines of his
great church. She had seemed on the point of joining. He was irritated
that the conversation had been hung up on the baptismal controversy.
Besides, the passages in favor of immersion bewildered him. His
religious life had been spent largely among close adherents of
Presbyterianism and he had rarely heard his doctrines called in
question. Whenever he had heard allusions to the Baptists and their
beliefs it was generally accompanied with a smile or a sneer and he had
come to regard the dippings of the Baptists as a joke. The passages
which they had just considered unveiled New Testament baptism before him
in a new light, and while he could not believe that immersion was Bible
baptism, yet he felt that he could never as formerly treat immersion in
a joking manner.

The discussion was becoming exciting for him. He saw that the battle was
on. As he thought of Dorothy drifting away from his faith and his church
he had a sinking of heart, and yet he also felt that if he could not win
her by the truth to his position he would not win her in any other way.
Consequently he warmed to the fray.

He had promised to join the family circle on the next evening and resume
the discussion. His work kept him closely confined at his office during
the morning. He hurried home for a tennis game in the afternoon, and
promptly that evening he appeared in the library at the Page's ready for
the contest.



That evening Sterling opened the discussion: "Miss Dorothy, I have
listened in these discussions to what are evidently stock passages of
the immersionists. But let us go deeper into the matter."

"But why do you call them stock passages of the immersionists?" asked
Dorothy in surprise. "I did not get them from any immersionists. I told
you I thought I saw passages in the Bible teaching immersion and you
said no. I was asked to show these passages and I have been showing

"Very well, we will not dispute on that point, my fair debater, but I
will try now to show you that it was impossible that immersion could
have been intended in these Bible passages. I think I can show you that
certain baptisms could not have been immersions."

"Good for you," said the father. "Now the contest is getting spicy. Show
that immersion was impossible and you have won the day."

"Father, you speak as if Mr. Sterling and I were engaged in a battle. My
only desire is to learn what the Bible teaches about baptism, and I
shall certainly follow its command as nearly as I can, cost what it
may. Why do you say immersion was impossible, Mr. Sterling?"

"Because in the account of the baptisms on the day of Pentecost we are
told that three thousand persons were baptized and that of course could
not have been done by immersion in one day."

"Were they all baptized in one place?" asked Dorothy.

"Yes, all were baptized at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost after a
great sermon by the Apostle Peter."

"How many persons did the baptizing?" asked Dorothy, as if she was
trying to picture the scene.

"That is not stated."

"Let us have the passage, Sterling. My curiosity is excited," said Mr.

Sterling read from Acts 2:41: "Then they that gladly received his Word
were baptized and the same day there were added unto them about three
thousand souls."

Dorothy read the verse over carefully and then remarked: "Why, that
doesn't say they were all baptized on the same day. Notice it says there
were added to them on the same day about three thousand. Why may not
some of the number have been baptized before that and during Christ's

"That is a fact," said the father, looking over the passage. "The verse
does not say that they were all baptized that day; but do you suppose,
Sterling, that it would have taken a great deal longer to immerse them
than it would to have sprinkled them? Not if the sprinkling ceremony
that I saw was a sample of the way the three thousand were baptized. Do
you not have a ceremony connected with sprinkling just as they have one
connected with immersion?"

"Oh, yes, there is always a little ceremony connected with the

"Who did the baptizing that day?" asked Dorothy.

"Good for you, daughter," said the father. "That is a stunner. One man
would have had quite a job on his hands whether he sprinkled or dipped
that host of folks. But with several baptizers it was a different

"Oh, father, why do you speak so jokingly about these Bible matters?"

"You are right, Dorothy. Forgive me. I always make a muss of it when I
tackle religion. I'd better call in my tongue before I get into

"I repeat my question," said Dorothy: "Who did the baptizing on that

"I guess that Peter, one of the apostles, did it."

"Oh, yes," said Dorothy, "there were twelve apostles, were there not?
And if they all took part in the baptizing, that would have made it much
easier. And I notice back here in the fifteenth verse of the preceding
chapter it says there were one hundred and twenty disciples there when
Peter preached his sermon and that three thousand were converted."

"Hello," said the father with a smile, "you keep on and you will get
more than enough people to baptize two or three times three thousand

"You don't imagine," said Sterling with a smile, "that the one hundred
and twenty disciples all took a hand in putting the three thousand under
water? That would have been a spectacle indeed."

"I think it would have been a spectacle no matter how it was done," said

"Another thing," said Sterling: "Supposing that they had enough
administrators for the ordinance that day, where could they have
performed the baptisms? Do you think they all marched off to the river
Jordan? Of course not. But they did not need to go off anywhere in order
to be sprinkled. Besides, what about a change of clothing for the three
thousand persons if they were all put under water? Remember most of
them--according to the account--were strangers from different countries
visiting Jerusalem."

"I hope," said Dorothy, "that they had not come from their different
countries without some change of clothing."

"Isn't it true," asked the brother, "that over in these Eastern lands,
with their loose garments and their sunny climate, they could have
arranged for a dipping if they had so desired it? But that other point
mentioned by Mr. Sterling has not been answered."

"What is that?" asked Dorothy.

"He asked where in Jerusalem could so many have been baptized?"

"Does it say they were baptized in Jerusalem?" asked Dorothy.

"No, it does not say so, but do you think they went off to a river?"
asked Sterling.

"The passage does not state. But are you sure there were not places in
Jerusalem where they could have been immersed?" asked Dorothy.

"Wait," said the brother, "let me get an encyclopedia." He went to the
shelf and was soon examining the article on Jerusalem. "Here is a long
article on Jerusalem," he said, running his eye down the pages. "Hello,
here is something about its water facilities. Here is a reference from
Strabo in these words 'Jerusalem a rocky, well-enclosed fortress;
within, well watered; without, wholly dry'."

"Now you are making discoveries, son," said Mr. Page. "Give us some more
about the water."

"Here is another statement. Dr. Robinson states there were six immense
public pools in the city, the largest being five hundred and ninety-two
feet long and two hundred and seventy-five feet broad."

"That is enough, son," exclaimed the father. "Sterling, history seems on
the side of the immersionists there. I think that five hundred and
ninety-two foot pool could have taken care of the whole three thousand."

"I think the important question," said the brother, "is the meaning of
the Greek word originally used for baptism. In other words, does the
word baptize mean to sprinkle or to immerse? When the people in Christ's
day used the word, what did they mean by it--sprinkle or immerse?"

"That hits the target exactly," said the father. "What does the word
baptize mean? Let's see, I think you said that the Bible was written in

"The New Testament was," said Sterling.

"The question is, then, what word did the people use in Christ's day in
talking about a baptism? When Christ told the people to be baptized,
what word did he use and what did that word mean? Did the Greek word
which he used for baptism mean for the people in that day 'immerse' or
'sprinkle'? When they heard the word from him, did they think of
immersion or of sprinkling?"

"'_Baptizo_', or baptize, is the word which he used," said Sterling.

"But baptize is our English word that we use. What was the Greek word
which Christ used and which meant baptism?" asked Roland.

"That is the point," said Sterling. "'_Baptizo_' is the Greek word, and
the people who translated our English from the Greek Bible did not
translate the Greek word '_baptizo_' into any English word, but simply
put the Greek word '_baptizo_' or baptize into our language as it was
without translating it. You see, if they had translated it 'immerse',
that would have made the Presbyterians mad, and if they had translated
it 'sprinkle' that would have made others mad, and so they did not
translate it at all, but simply put the Greek word '_baptizo_' in the
English Bible, leaving each person to translate it as he thought

"But why did they not translate it?" said Dorothy, as if vexed by their
neglect. "It must mean something, and if they translated the other
words, why did they not translate this word right, no matter who might
have liked it?"

"They ought to have done so," said Sterling, "and they ought to have put
the English word 'sprinkle' instead of the Greek word '_baptizo_'."

"Oh, I see," said the father. "I guess the Presbyterians, when they came
to translate the word into English, would put it 'sprinkle', and those
who believed in dipping would translate it 'dipping'."

"That's it exactly," said Sterling. "The translators, in order not to
offend the different denominations, agreed not to translate the word at
all, but simply to put the Greek word '_baptizo_' in the English Bible
and let each one translate it for himself as he thought proper."

"Can't we find out what that Greek word '_baptizo_' means?" asked

"Certainly, here is the Greek scholar," said Mr. Page turning to his
son. "Tell us, Roland, what did the Greeks understand by that word
'_baptizo_' when they used it?"

"I must get my Greek lexicon for that." And upstairs he hurried and soon
returned with Liddell and Scott's Greek and English Lexicon. He turned
to the word "_baptizo_" and read its meaning as follows: "To dip
repeatedly, to dip under."

"What is that?" exclaimed the father, almost bouncing out of his chair,
"'to dip under'?"

"Here it is on page 130."

"It seems to me," said the father, "that would settle it. If the Greek
word that Christ used meant to dip under, what right has anyone to say
that baptism is to be done by sprinkling?"

"What do you do with a passage like this in 1 Cor. 10:2?" said Mr.
Sterling--"'were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.'
They were all baptized, but do you see any immersion in that? It refers,
you know, to the time when the Israelites passed through the sea dry
shod with a cloud over them. They were baptized, but they were surely
not immersed, for they would have been drowned."

"I did not know of such an event," said Dorothy. "What do you mean by
saying that they went through the sea dry shod?"

"God banked up the waters on both sides and let them walk through
untouched by the water."

"Did you say the waters were banked on both sides of them and that a
cloud covered them?"


"Isn't that a picture of immersion? The ground was under them, the water
on both sides and the cloud covered them. It was much more like an
immersion than a sprinkling."

"Hold on," said Sterling. "The cloud was not over them, but back of
them. The cloud was always either before or behind them, but never over
them; consequently they were not covered up and the water did not even
touch them--unless perhaps they were sprinkled by the spray from the
wall of waters."

"Let me see the passage," said Dorothy. She turned to Exodus 14:21. "But
look!" she exclaimed, "it reads, 'and the children of Israel went into
the midst of the sea'."

"You don't think, Miss Dorothy, that they actually plunged into the
middle of the sea?" asked Sterling with a smile.

"Of course not, Mr. Sterling; and yet their position in that sea gave
the idea to the writer of their being in the midst of the sea. To his
mind it looked as if they were covered or buried in the sea, and that is
immersion. The Old Testament writer calls it a baptism and the Old
Testament historian speaks of them as being in the midst of the sea.
Which does that look more like--sprinkling or immersion?"

Sterling was getting excited. It seemed to him that Dorothy was moving
further and further away from him, and he imagined he saw a chasm
opening between her views and his own. But he braced himself for the
struggle. To him the mode of baptism was by no means a life and death
matter, but Dorothy seemed to recoil from the practice of sprinkling.
Sterling cheered himself with the thought that he had certain passages
to show her that would turn the tide. He said to her with a confident
ring in his voice:

"Miss Dorothy, I have an arrow here from the Bible quiver which I think
will give the death blow to the immersion theory and prove beyond the
glimmer of a doubt that pouring is the scriptural mode of baptism."

"I thought you believed in sprinkling; why do you say 'pouring'?"

"We make no distinction between sprinkling and pouring. They are
practically the same thing. I want now to show you a statement from
Christ himself indicating that he believed that pouring was the mode of

"Do let us have it," said Dorothy.

"In the first chapter of Acts Christ said to the apostles: 'Ye shall be
baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.' The day of Pentecost,
which came not many days hence, was the day which he was talking about.
He tells them they would be baptized on that day with the Holy Ghost,
and I can show you that this baptism was done by pouring."

"Hold a bit," said the father. "Let me see if I get that point. You say
Christ promised that the apostles would be baptized on a certain day
with the Holy Ghost, and that when this promised baptism came to pass it
came not by immersion, but by pouring. Is that your claim?"

"You have it exactly correct."

"All right, and now for your proof."

"Ten days after Christ ascended to Heaven this baptism of the Spirit
came. The disciples were in an upper room and were waiting for this
baptism of the Spirit that had been promised, when suddenly the Holy
Spirit came. But how did it come and in what way were they baptized? It
was poured on them. Don't forget that. When the outsiders, bewildered at
the strange manifestation, asked what it meant, Peter stood up and
explained it by saying: 'This is that which was spoken by the prophet
Joel.' In other words, Peter said it was what Joel the prophet long ago
had prophesied would come to pass. And what did Joel say would happen?
Listen to Peter: 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God,
that I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.'"

"Hello, daughter, he has the dots on you there. The verse declares for

"Certainly," exclaimed Sterling. "He does not use the word immerse, but
says 'I will pour out of my Spirit'. That was the form that the baptism
took--pouring--and Peter was quoting the prophecy to explain the
baptism. And look here in the thirty-third verse; he continues in the
same strain by saying 'having received of the Father the promise of the
Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth, this which ye now see and hear."

"Let me see that passage," said Dorothy. She looked it over intently and
in a few moments said: "Mr. Sterling, notice the whole account. It
doesn't read as if the Spirit was poured on them as you would pour a
little water on a person in baptism. A previous verse reads: 'Suddenly
there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled
all the house where they were sitting.' And in the fourth verse it
reads: 'And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.' Think of that,
Mr. Sterling. The Holy Spirit came not in a few drops by pouring, but
came so abundantly that it filled the house and they were all filled
with the Holy Spirit. I guess if you were to pour water on a person as
the Spirit came upon these persons the person would be drowned. The
disciples were surrounded by the Spirit, and that looks like immersion
rather than like pouring."

"But not too fast," said Sterling. "It does not say that the Holy Spirit
filled the house. It speaks of the wind, but it does not say even the
wind filled the house, but simply a sound as of a wind. It was
therefore only a sound that filled the house, and sound could not fill
the house because sound has no existence except in the ears of those who
hear it. Where, then, is your immersion? You say they were immersed in
sound that day, and you call that baptism of the Spirit?"

"Mr. Sterling," said Dorothy in surprise, "you amaze me. The writer must
mean that the Spirit filled the house. I saw in my reading this week a
foot note that the wind in Scripture often symbolizes the Spirit."

"Certainly," spoke up the brother. "_Pneuma_ in Greek means both
'spirit' and 'wind'."

"Is that so?" exclaimed Dorothy eagerly. "That makes it plain. It was
the wind that filled the room and they knew it by sound. They heard this
sound like a wind and it filled all the house--notice, 'all the
house'--and this wind symbolized the Spirit and it was called the
baptism of the Spirit, and it certainly looked more like an immersion
than a pouring. Why, Mr. Sterling, I think it would lose all its
impressiveness if you make it simply the coming of a few drops of the
Spirit on them."

"Just listen to that," said the father with a laugh. "She is actually
trying to turn your guns on you, Sterling, and to make this verse prove
immersion rather than pouring."

"I note one striking fact," said Sterling, "and do not forget it. The
passage speaks of pouring, and I do not see the word immersion."

"But I see the picture of immersion," said Dorothy. "The important fact
about that scene seems to me to be the abundant way in which the Spirit
came. It was a rushing, in fact, a mighty wind. It filled all the house.
Suppose some people were in a room and water was poured on them in such
a deluge that the room was filled with the water. Wouldn't that look
like an immersion rather than like pouring?"

"No," said Sterling; "you don't immerse people by pouring water on them
and covering them up. You don't put the water around them, but you put
them in the water. You must put them in the water to have an immersion,
but nothing like that was done on that day. Besides, in an immersion you
not only put the person in the water, but you bring him up again out of
the water to show a resurrection as is claimed. There was nothing like
this on the day of Pentecost in the baptism of the Spirit. The disciples
were not plunged into the Spirit and they were not taken immediately up
out of the Spirit again. If you should use water in baptizing people as
the Spirit was used that day, then you must pour water on the candidate
until he is covered up, and then instead of taking the candidate
immediately up out of the water you must let him remain submerged."

"Sterling," said Mr. Page, "you are getting in some good licks. I don't
see that that baptism that day was exactly like either pouring or
immersion. It was like an immersion in that they were surrounded by the
Spirit, but not like it in any other respect; and it was like a pouring
because it came down on them."

"Why, Mr. Page," exclaimed Sterling, "it is actually called a
'pouring'. The word 'pour' is used. Joel prophesied that the Spirit
would be poured out on them. How could you wish it plainer than that?
And it was called a baptism of the Spirit."

"Daughter, what have you to say to that?"

"But let me add another word," interrupted Sterling. "People are
mistaken in saying that baptism was intended to be a picture of a burial
and a resurrection. The real truth intended to be taught in baptism is
that the power and grace comes from above, comes down on the person and
has its origin in Heaven, and I think the idea of divine grace coming
down from above is a higher truth than the idea of something that the
person himself experiences."

"I think the truth pictured in immersion is much greater," said Dorothy.
"It is not only the idea that the person has died to his old life and
risen to a new life, but it also points to Christ's death and
resurrection and puts the two together and says that, as Christ died and
was raised, even so the Christian must have the same experience. I don't
see how you can have a more glorious truth than that. Your idea in
pouring is that grace comes on the person and comes in a few drops, but
in immersion you have not merely grace come down, but the giver of
grace, Christ himself come down--in fact, come down to death and rising
again. Oh, I think it is a wonderful double picture showing Christ and
the converted soul bound together in these experiences of death and
resurrection. Besides, Mr. Sterling, where does the Bible say that
baptism was intended to show forth that truth about grace coming from

"I don't know that it says so in express terms, but the ceremony of
pouring indicates it and the descent of the Spirit shows it."

"Of course the Spirit when he first came had to come down," said
Dorothy. "If Christ promised to send the Spirit from Heaven to baptize
the disciples, of course the Spirit had to come down before he could
surround them, but it does not seem to have been the fact of his coming
down that was the impressive fact that day, but the overwhelming way in
which the Spirit came and surrounded them. That is what the writer used
a good many words to describe."

"You will notice," said the father, "that it says that not only was the
house filled, but the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit."

"Yes," said Dorothy, "it says that the wind filled the house and the
disciples were filled with the Spirit. The idea seems to be that the
Spirit came so abundantly that day that he not only filled all the
house, but filled the disciples themselves. That was the great fact, the
overwhelming abundance of the Spirit."

"I still remind you that Peter calls it pouring," said Sterling.

"Dorothy, he has not surrendered, you see; his guns are still firing,"
said the father with a smile.

"Mr. Sterling," said Dorothy, "but your pouring is not like the pouring
that day. When you pour the water in your baptism, does it come down
with a rush and fill the house? The passage does not teach your form of
baptism, because you do not imitate it."

"Immersionists do not imitate, in all respects, the baptism of Christ,"
said Sterling, "for they do not all baptize in a river as he was."

"Neither did the apostles when they baptized in Jerusalem on the day of
Pentecost," said Dorothy. "We have seen that they probably baptized in
some of the immense pools in the city. And look here," examining the
passage about which they had been arguing, "isn't this interesting? Here
in the margin of the passage which we have been discussing are the words
'in the Spirit' as if he had promised to baptize them in the Spirit."

"What is that?" exclaimed the father.

"Here where Christ promised that he would not many days hence baptize
them with the Holy Spirit it reads on the margin 'in the Holy Spirit',
and a baptism 'in' the Spirit was surely by immersion."

"I guess," said the brother, "that the Greek word translated 'in' there
on the margin is the word 'en'. Let's see your Greek Testament, Mr.
Sterling." He examined it and found that the original word was "en."

"It is 'en' and it means 'in', and the right reading of that passage is
'ye shall be baptized in the Holy Ghost'. Here, look at this. In this
Revised Version it reads just that way. If you had read it that way at
first in your King James' Version of the Bible it might have saved you
all this argument."

"You must remember, Mr. Sterling," said Dorothy, "that I did not bring
this passage up to prove immersion, but you brought it up to prove
pouring. You spoke very positively about it, but I think you found that
if it represented the coming down of water it was like a cloudburst more
than anything else."

Sterling was compelled to admit to himself that the Pentecostal baptism
was more a picture of immersion than of pouring. He turned the
conversation now into another line.

"Even granting," he said, "that immersion is the baptism practiced in
New Testament times, it has never seemed to me to be such a prodigiously
important matter."

"Oh, Mr. Sterling," said Dorothy with some impatience, "I can't
understand such a remark. What do you mean by the word important? If
Christ was immersed and commanded it of his followers; if the early
Christians were all immersed, and immersion, as Paul indicates, was
selected as an outward picture of the spiritual baptism that takes place
in conversion, then how can you say it is not important?"

"The fact is, Miss Dorothy, I have never made an exhaustive study of the
matter of baptism. I never thought Christ laid any stress upon form, but
rather upon the condition of the heart."

"If it is simply a matter of the heart, why baptize at all? Maybe the
whole matter is unimportant," said Dorothy. "Would your church like to
give up baptism altogether?"

"By no means."

"Would your church accept any kind of baptism except sprinkling or

"No, I am sure it would not."

The matter had reached a puzzling stage for Sterling. The question
stared him in the face as to whether he had been Scripturally baptized.
In infancy he had been sprinkled, but he had to confess to himself that
the Bible teaching seemed to lean towards immersion. In fact, in the
recent investigation and discussions he had hardly been able to see
anything else but immersion.

He did not return to his office that afternoon, but spent the time at
his home searching through the Bible. The discussions at the Page's had
filled his mind with passages about immersion, but upon later reflection
he felt sure that the trend of Scripture pointed strongly to sprinkling
and pouring, and with this thought in mind he turned to his Bible



In their discussion on the next morning Dorothy remarked: "Mr. Sterling,
let me tell you what I did. I looked up the passages that had the word
'baptize' in them and in each case I put the word 'sprinkle' in the
place of the word 'baptize' and it surely made curious reading."

"Good for you, daughter," said Mr. Page. "That was an ingenious
procedure. Let us have the passages to see how they sound. It ought to
be a perfectly fair method, because if baptize means to sprinkle then
you ought to be able everywhere to put the word 'sprinkle' for the word
'baptize' and it would read all right. That's a fine idea, and now for
the passages."

Dorothy began with the account of Christ's baptism: "'Then cometh Jesus
from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be sprinkled of him'."

"That sounds all right," said Sterling.

"Here is the next one," said Dorothy: "'I have a sprinkling to be
sprinkled with and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!' Just
imagine Christ speaking of his sufferings in that way, Mr. Sterling. His
sufferings were not a sprinkling. But here is another: 'And John also
was sprinkling at Aenon near Salem because there was much water there.'

"Again: 'John truly sprinkled with water, but ye shall be sprinkled with
the Holy Ghost not many days hence.'"

"That doesn't sound natural," said the father, "to be sprinkled with the
Holy Ghost. That would have been a rather light affair."

"Mr. Sterling," said Dorothy, "you remember you said the baptism on the
day of Pentecost was by pouring. Suppose you put the word 'pour' in this
passage and read it, 'John truly poured with water, but ye shall be
poured with the Holy Ghost not many days hence'. You could not speak of
anybody being poured. You could speak of water or the Spirit being
poured, but not of a person being poured. It would not be proper to say
you shall be poured with anything. Something could be poured upon you,
but you could not be poured with something. That is another reason why
the baptism of the Spirit at Pentecost could not have had reference to
pouring, because from this passage, you see, it would not make sense to
put the word 'pour' in it. And besides, Mr. Sterling, I think you are
uncertain whether baptism is by pouring or sprinkling."

"Give us another passage," said the father; "they are quite

Dorothy continued: "'And they went down into the water, both Philip and
the eunuch and he sprinkled him."

"Let us have another passage," said the father.

Dorothy continued: "'Therefore we are buried with him by sprinkling into

"Oh, my," said Mr. Page, bursting into a laugh, "where did you ever see
anyone buried by sprinkling a few drops of earth upon him? Say, Friend
Sterling, how did this idea of sprinkling get into so many churches? It
certainly does not seem to have a single leg to stand upon."

"I can give you some passages where the word sprinkle would sound
natural; for example this passage: 'Go ye into all the world and preach
the Gospel unto every creature, and he that believeth and is sprinkled
shall be saved.' That sounds just as natural as if it read 'he that
believeth and is immersed shall be saved'."

"Maybe so," said Mr. Page, "but it sounds just a little limp to me.
Besides, you could hardly put the word 'pour' in that passage. If you
want to make a real point you must give some passage where the word
'sprinkle' would sound natural and the word 'immerse' would seem out of

"Yes," spoke up Dorothy. "Can you give us such a passage, Mr. Sterling?"

"I have such a passage and it will show that immersion could not have
been the mode of baptism."

"Out with it," said Mr. Page.

"It is the words spoken to Saul. It reads: 'Arise and be baptized.' Now
that baptism could not have been an immersion. Saul was evidently seated
and he was told to arise or to stand up. What was he to stand up for? To
be sprinkled, of course. You would not ask a man who was seated to
stand up to be immersed."

"He would have to stand up before he could be immersed," said Dorothy.
"Why could it not read, 'Arise and be immersed'? Maybe they went off to
be immersed. And notice the first part of the verse. It reads: 'Now why
tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on
the name of the Lord.' Those first words 'why tarriest thou' explain the
other part. In the first place, he had to arise; that is, to get up in
order that he might go off to some place where he could be immersed. In
the next place, he tells him not to tarry, not to wait, but to arise and
be baptized."

"Good for you, daughter. It does look as if you were telling him not to
delay his baptism, but to get up and attend to it."

There was a lull in the conversation for a moment, and then the father
asked: "What kind of baptism did they have in the churches just after
the apostles died? Don't we find anything in history about the kind of
baptism that was practiced?"

Dorothy spoke up promptly: "I was reading in the library yesterday in
some of the encyclopedias about baptism and I copied something about
that very point you mentioned. Let me get it."

She hurried to her room, brought the book and read as follows: "'Not
less than sixty of the ancient baptisteries are found in Italy alone, of
which seven belong to the fourth century, four to the fifth, eleven to
the sixth and fourteen probably to the seventh.' Then after describing
these baptizing pools found in these ancient church buildings the writer
continues: 'Now baptisteries such as described above are found in all
parts of ancient Christendom, and their presence makes it impossible to
doubt the form of baptism in the patristric and medieval churches. Such
structures were plainly intended for immersion. Their size and form and
arrangement entirely preclude the idea of their use for sprinkling or

"That is a great point. What were those baptizing pools doing there in
the churches if they were not for immersion? If the churches in the
fourth century baptized by immersion, it surely must have been because
that mode had been handed down to them from the beginning."

"There is one argument against immersion that I have not mentioned,"
said Sterling.

"Exactly," said the father with a smile. "You are going now to bring out
your Imperial Guards. You've been holding them back for the last
assault, I suppose. All right, trot them out, Sterling."

"Oh, father, what awful figures you use about these Bible matters."

"That's right, daughter, call me down. I will jump the traces every now
and then, and I beg pardon. And now, Sterling, what is that argument
against immersion that you have not mentioned?"

"It is this: Immersion cannot be right, for it would make infant baptism

"Infant baptism," exclaimed Dorothy with a very puzzled look. "You
don't mean that you baptize infants?"


"Why do you baptize infants?" asked Dorothy, with an expression almost
of horror on her face.

"It is one of the sacred ordinances of the church and is really one of
the most beautiful and effective."

"Do you mean little children just two or three years old?" asked

"Yes, indeed, and often only a few weeks old. Where have you been that
you have never heard of infant baptism?"

"I never heard of it. You know I have been to church very little in my
life and have known almost nothing about church matters and have had no
one to tell me. I am very sorry it has been so, for I feel I have missed
a great deal. But, Mr. Sterling, I do not remember seeing anything in
the Bible about sprinkling infants. I must have overlooked it."

"You must have overlooked it, for it is taught very plainly."

"Infant baptism?" she said in a questioning, puzzled tone. "Mr.
Sterling, the little infants do not know what you are doing to them. I
thought the baptism of a person was a picture of what had already taken
place in that person. It looks strange to baptize an infant, and besides
I should think you would drown the little things to put them under the

"Ha, ha," exclaimed Mr. Sterling with a laugh. "Not too fast. We do not
put them under the water; we sprinkle them."

"Of course. I ought to have known that, for you baptize by sprinkling.
But do tell me some more about it. Why do you do it, Mr. Sterling?"

"It is one of the most sacred ordinances of the church. I wish you could
witness the ceremony. But I see we will not have the time to go into the
subject as we ought. It is a great subject, and if you do not object we
will take it up tomorrow night. I hear no objection and so the motion is
unanimously adopted."

Sterling felt as if the battle had been going against him so far as
winning Dorothy was concerned. But he did not despair. He girded himself
afresh for his task. He decided, however, that instead of attempting
single-handed to defend the doctrine of infant baptism, he would seek
reinforcements and call in his pastor, Dr. Vincent.

The Doctor was regarded as an encyclopedia of Presbyterian lore.
Sterling visited him and told him that Dorothy Page, the daughter of his
friend and neighbor, had recently been converted and was concerned about
the subject of baptism, and that she was strongly turning towards
immersion. "I am dreading, Doctor," said Sterling, "that if she insists
on immersion she will be drawn into the Baptist church and we would all
regard that as a disaster."

"Did you mention infant baptism to her?" inquired the Doctor. "You know
the Baptists would deny to infants this rite and would deny to parents
the privilege of such dedication of their children in baptism. That fact
ought to keep her from the Baptist heresy, and if that fails to save her
from it then surely their doctrine of close communion will settle the
business with her."

"We are to take up the subject of infant baptism tonight. We began it
last night, but were interrupted before we got fairly launched upon the
discussion, and yet not before Miss Dorothy had made some remark about
infant baptism showing she thought it a curious practice. I am sure,
Doctor, you could set her right."

"I will come if you think I can be of service," he said, for he saw an
anxiety on Sterling's face that he could not understand.



That evening Sterling and the old Doctor arrived. The Doctor was
acquainted with all the Pages except Dorothy. After a preliminary
skirmish in the conversation Dorothy remarked:

"It is very kind in Mr. Sterling to be trying to instruct me in these
church matters, for I feel very ignorant. He and I have not agreed on
all points, but the discussion has helped me greatly."

"I think Miss Dorothy is afraid to take me as her guide as she is trying
to climb these heights of Bible truths," said Sterling with a faint
smile, "and I have brought over a more skilled and experienced leader."

"Maybe she will not endorse your selection," said the Doctor with a
smile at Sterling.

"I see you are making me out as being not only hard to please, but also
very ungrateful to my friends. You will find me a very interested and
appreciative listener, Doctor, to anything you may be kind enough to say
to me."

"We are to talk about infant baptism tonight, and, Doctor, if you are
willing, I suggest that you give the reasons for this practice," said

"You are laying out quite a program for me. I will attempt, however, to
bring it within brief compass. The first fact I would mention is
Christ's treatment of the little children."

"Did he baptize them?" broke in Dorothy.

"Hold on, daughter," said the father. "You open up your artilleries too
soon. The Doctor was merely making a skirmish."

"Pardon me, Doctor Vincent. I ought not to have broken into your remarks
so abruptly, and yet I am sure you understand that I ask because I am
deeply interested."

"Break in at any time and I shall be glad."

She repeated her question: "Did Christ baptize the little children?"

"We are not told expressly that he did, but we read in Matthew 19:13
that when the little ones were brought to him the disciples sought to
prevent it."

"Just as a good many people would do today," said Sterling.

"Yes," continued the Doctor, "but Christ said, 'Suffer little children
and forbid them not to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of

"Maybe they were bringing the little children to him for him to baptize
them," said the father. "What about that, Doctor? Doesn't it tell what
they brought the children for?"

Dorothy had turned to the passage and remarked: "Yes, it tells what they
brought the children for. They brought little children to Christ that he
might put his hands on them and pray. There is nothing there about
baptism. It looks plain that they did not bring them to be baptized,
because it simply says 'to put his hands on them and pray'."

"At any rate," said the Doctor, "it showed Christ's tenderness for
little children. The point is this: He said 'of such is the Kingdom of
Heaven'. Think of that. It is a remarkable statement about the little

"What did he mean by the words 'of such is the Kingdom of Heaven', and
what have they to do, Doctor, with baptism?"

"A great deal, my daughter. They mean that the little child has the
heavenly nature."

"I think that is a beautiful idea, but what has that to do with the
baptism of infants?"

"Why, this: If anybody is entitled to baptism, surely a little child
with its heavenly nature is. We may make mistakes in baptizing old
persons who claim the right of baptism, but never can we be mistaken in
the case of a little child."

"I can understand about the beautiful nature of a child before sin has
taken hold of its will," said Dorothy, "but why that little helpless one
should be baptized I cannot understand."

"I thought you were deciding all these questions by the Bible," said the
father. "What does the Book say about it, Doctor? Do you baptize them
because you think it is appropriate to baptize the sweet little ones or
because you think the Bible commands it?"

"It is from the Bible alone that we get the authority."

"Where is it commanded in the Bible, Doctor?" asked Dorothy.

"It is not definitely commanded, but it is implied in many ways. We
baptize grown people who profess to be born of the Spirit of God and to
be regenerated by his grace. How much more, therefore, should we baptize
an infant who does not need to be regenerated, because, according to
Christ's own words, it possesses the heavenly nature. It is often
claimed by our opponents that infants must not be baptized because faith
and repentance--in other words, regeneration--must come before baptism.
All right, I answer; the infant possesses those necessary qualifications
for baptism. It does not need regeneration. It already, according to
Christ's own words, possesses the heavenly nature and needs not to go
through the process of regeneration. In another place Christ said:
'Unless ye become converted and become as a little child ye cannot see
the Kingdom.' There you see conversion is compared to the condition of
the child nature. Christ said a person desiring conversion must become
like a little child. Now we know that a converted person is entitled to
and must receive baptism. Why, then, could not a child be baptized?"

"Doctor Vincent," said Dorothy, "it seems to me that the whole matter
hinges on the question as to who was commanded in the Bible to be
baptized. Does Christ say that all persons having the heavenly or
child-like nature must be baptized? If so, why did he not baptize the
little ones the day they were brought to him? It looks as if the
disciples did not know anything about baptizing the little ones."

"No, they seemed to know very little about Christ's attitude towards

"Let me ask this question, Doctor," said Dorothy. "You spoke of the
heavenly nature of the infant. When an infant is baptized and grows up,
does the baptism cause the heavenly nature to stay with the child?"

"Not necessarily."

"What good, then, does the baptism do? Do you mean that a baptized
infant might grow up to be a fearful villain?"

"Yes, it is possible."

"Well, do the baptized infants have a less tendency to sin than the
unbaptized infants?"

"No. I can't say that the baptism itself has any effect on the infant.
Neither does it have any effect on the grown person that is baptized and
disgraces his baptism received in later life."

"But is there not this difference, that in the case of grown people you
baptize only those who desire baptism, but in the case of infants you do
not make such distinction?"

"It seems to me," said the father, "that the important question is, who
in the Bible are commanded to be baptized? Does the Bible say that
infants must be baptized or not?"

"No," replied the Doctor, "it does not say that."

"Well, who are entitled to baptism?"

"Let me get my concordance," said Dorothy, rising from her seat, "and
look at the passages about baptism so as to see who are commanded to be

She began with the aid of the concordance to pick out the passages
having the word "baptize" in them. She read: "'He that believeth and is
baptized shall be saved.'"

"Hello!" said the father. "Who said that?"

"Those are the words of Christ," said Doctor Vincent.

"That looks as if a person had to believe before he could be baptized.
But give us another one, daughter."

"Here is one: 'When they believed Philip preaching the things concerning
the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both
men and women.'"

"There it is again," exclaimed the father, "believing coming before

"And notice," said Dorothy, "it says they were baptized 'both men and
women', but it does not say 'and children'. But here is another: 'See,
here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized? And he said, if thou
believest with all thy heart thou mayst be baptized.'"

"There it is again," spoke up the father. "If he believed then he could
be baptized. Evidently that writer considered believing essential to

Dorothy read on: "'Many of the Corinthians hearing believed and were
baptized.' Isn't it strange? Every time it is those that believed that
were baptized. Here is another: 'Then Simon himself believed also, and
when he was baptized he continued with Philip.' And again: 'Then they
that gladly received his Word were baptized.' They do not use the word
'believe' in that passage, but the words 'gladly received his Word', and
these are practically the same; they not only heard his Word, but
received it, and received it gladly."

"Oh, they were genuinely converted," said the Doctor. "There can be no
doubt about that. It occurred on the day of Pentecost and those converts
continued in the apostles' doctrine and bore good fruit."

"You see, Doctor," said Dorothy, "that those who were baptized in New
Testament times first believed. You say that infants ought to be
baptized because they have the heavenly and converted nature; but the
Bible does not say that. Those who were baptized first believed. Now an
infant cannot believe. I do not feel, Doctor, that I know a hundredth
part as much of the Bible as you know, but don't you think that Christ
meant by those words about little children and the Kingdom of Heaven
that they must cultivate the qualities of a little child and that the
child nature was a type of the heavenly nature? He did not connect this
with baptism."

"Did you know that whole families were baptized?" asked the Doctor.
"Many times baptisms were administered in homes not simply on those who
believed, but on the whole family, young and old."

"But are you sure, Doctor, that there were infants in those families?"

"Not absolutely sure, but almost; at any rate the burden of proof is on
those who deny that infants were in any of those families."

"Show us some of the accounts of family baptisms," said the father. "It
does look a little curious, daughter."

They turned first to Acts 16:13-15: "'And a certain woman, named Lydia,
a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, which worshiped God, heard
us, whose heart the Lord opened that she attended unto the things that
were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized and her household she
besought us, saying.'"

"How do you know there were any infants in her household? It does not
even say she was married," said Dorothy. "She was a seller of purple and
maybe she was an unmarried woman working for her living. At any rate I
do not see that you can prove that she had any infants in her

"It looks to me," said the father, "as if that woman was a working woman
and as if her household were her fellow-workers, and that there were
probably no infants among them."

"Here is another passage," said the Doctor, "in 1 Corinthians 1:16: 'And
I baptized also the household of Stephanus.' Will you affirm there were
no infants there? How many households do you think I could baptize
without hitting upon an infant? Why do you exclude infants?"

The brother was busy looking through the concordance to see if he could
find out something more about this Stephanus and his household, and in a
few moments he exclaimed: "Here is some light on the household of
Stephanus in 1 Corinthians 15:15. It reads: 'Ye know the house of
Stephanus.' There you have it again--'the house of Stephanus'. That must
have been an interesting house: 'Ye know the house of Stephanus, that it
is the first fruits of Achaia and that they have addicted themselves to
the ministry of the saints.'"

"You see, Doctor," said Dorothy, "it seems that that household were
intelligent people and acted for themselves, and therefore were not
infants. Just notice what it says--that the house of Stephanus were 'the
first fruits of Achaia'. What does that mean--'the first fruits'?"

"Why, the first fruits are the first grain that is gathered in a

"Oh, I see. Then the members of Stephanus' household were the first ones
to accept Christianity in Achaia, and if they accepted Christianity of
course they were not infants."

"But it may have meant that they were the first ones in Achaia to be
baptized--'the first fruits' in that sense--and if so, there could have
been infants in the house."

"But notice what comes in the next verse: 'And that they have addicted
themselves to the ministry of the saints.' You don't think, Doctor, he
would speak of infants addicting themselves to the ministry of the
saints, do you?"

"It looks as if you will have to surrender on that point, gentlemen,"
said Mr. Page. "I am a novice in Bible teaching, and yet it does seem
plain that that household were intelligent folks--the first to be
converted in Ach----"

"Achaia," spoke up Dr. Vincent.

"Thanks for the word, the first fruits of Achaia, and they also
'addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints'. I don't think you
had better look for any young ones in that bunch."

"I give you another household," said the Doctor. "It is in Acts 16:33.
It is in the story of Paul and Silas' experience in prison and the
conversion of the jailer at midnight. It reads: 'He took them the same
hour of the night and washed their stripes and was baptized, he and all
his straightway.' Now, my fair debater, I suppose you will declare in
most solemn tones that there were no infants in the jailer's family. May
I ask for your verdict on that point?"

"Look here," said Dorothy, who was examining the passage: "It says
plainly that all of them 'did believe'."

"Stop, daughter," said the father. "You are joking about that."

"Listen to the next verse," she said: "'And when he had brought them
into his house he set meat before them and rejoiced, believing in God
with all his house."

"Take down your flag, gentlemen," exclaimed the father impulsively.
"Your guns are silenced. The jailer believed in God with 'all his
house'. Well, I guess that means that all his house believed with him,
and they must have been very sprightly infants and quite overgrown to
have joined their father in that believing."

"It says they all rejoiced also," said Dorothy. "And look at the verse
preceding: 'And they spake the Word of the Lord to all that were in the
house.' That came before they were all baptized. They 'spake the Word to
all'. Notice the 'all', to all that were in the house. I guess that
'all' that were in the house must have been old enough to understand his
preaching if he spoke the Word to all of them. Doctor," she asked, "do
you think you can find an infant in that attentive, believing, rejoicing

"Read us about another household baptism," as she noted that the Doctor
seemed to be closing the Bible.

"This completes the list of household baptisms. I think they are

"But, Doctor, not one of these households are said to have had children
in them, and if they did have children the children must have been old
enough to believe, because it is stated in the case of every one of them
that those that were baptized believed or received the word that was
spoken. They were all old enough to hear, to understand and to believe
the Word."

"From all the passages which I have heard in these discussions," said
the father, "one thing seems to stand out very plainly about baptism,
and that is that in the Bible times faith had to come before baptism."

"If this is so," said Dorothy, "then infant baptism is unscriptural,
because it is a baptism without faith. Infants can not exercise faith."

"Daughter," said the Doctor, "you are mistaken. I can show you that in
the case of every infant baptism there is always a faith that precedes
the baptism."

"What do you mean, Doctor?" asked Dorothy in great perplexity.

At this moment the telephone bell rang and Dorothy was called to speak
to a girl friend, who extended to her an invitation for a carriage ride
on the next afternoon. In a few moments the conversation was resumed.



"Doctor Vincent," said Dorothy on her return to the room, "you were
saying that the baptism of an infant is always preceded by faith. How
can that be? Can an infant exercise faith?"

"Not the infant, but the father or mother."

"Oh, you mean it is the parent that has faith! And do you baptize an
infant because the parent has faith?"

"Yes. Either the parent or the god-parent must have faith."

"The god-parent!" exclaimed Dorothy in a puzzled tone. "What is a

"If the child has not a parent, then some Christian man or woman
believes for the child and is thus called its god-father or god-mother."

"And so the infant, in order to have baptism, must have some person to
believe for it?"

"Yes, my daughter, you catch the idea exactly."

"I thought you said just now that infants ought to be baptized because
of their heavenly nature, and now you say they cannot be baptized unless
they can get some Christian man or woman to believe for them."

The Doctor for a moment was startled as he saw where his arguments had
brought him. He saw in a flash that both of the statements could not be

"Doctor, which fact must I accept?" she asked. "Must we baptize infants
because of what they are in themselves with their heavenly natures, or
must we baptize only those infants who can come and have somebody
believe for them?"

"I see your point, and it has a show of logic in it."

"Oh, Doctor," she said, almost impatiently, "why do you say a show of
logic? Can both of these positions be true? If the child's nature
entitles it to baptism, then all children are entitled to baptism; but
if it is the faith of some parent or some god-parent that entitles the
child to baptism, then it is only a certain class of infants that can be
baptized and the baptism is put on the basis of the faith of another."

"That sounds a little strange to me," said the father. "I did not know
that one person could be religious for another. I thought that every tub
had to stand on its own bottom in religion. This thing of one person
believing for another person so that the other person, especially a
little infant, is entitled to baptism--well, that sounds very new and
strange. How can the parent make the child fit for baptism? Do you mean
to tell me that if I had a little infant and I should believe in
Christianity that that would be a reason why not only I should be
baptized, but my little infant also?"

"Is it thought, Doctor," asked Dorothy, "that the baptism does the
infant any good?"

"Oh, no," said the Doctor, "the baptism has no power in itself."

"I think the baptism does the infant a wrong," said Dorothy. "Baptism
is a religious ceremony which everyone ought to obey of his own will and
accord. In the Bible it comes after believing and is a sign of what has
taken place in the person's heart. Now, when you baptize an infant you
force on him a religious ceremony. Suppose he grows up and is converted
and desires to obey Christ in baptism and then learns that baptism was
forced on him in infancy. Instead of believing and then being baptized
he is first baptized and then many years afterwards he believes."

"And suppose, Doctor," said the father, "he never believes; then what
have you got? You have a person walking around baptized who ought never
to have been baptized, though he is not to be blamed for it. If the
baptism does no good, why do you baptize him? Why not follow the regular
course and get him first to believe and then to be baptized?"

"I have an idea," said the brother, "that infant baptism started with
parents with dying infants who they thought would be lost if they were
not baptized."

"Oh, never," said the Doctor.

"Well, I remember in a house where I was boarding while at college that
a mother thought her little infant was about to die and she sent off
immediately for the preacher to baptize her child, for she said she was
afraid it would be lost if it died without baptism. Now, if that mother
had that idea about baptism, why may not many others have the same idea
about baptism?"

"Since I come to think of it," admitted the Doctor, "I myself have had
quite a number of excited mothers to ask me to baptize their sick
infants because they were afraid for them to die without baptism; but
they are the exceptions and of course their fears were entirely
groundless. This is a Catholic doctrine. The Catholics teach, that
baptism saves the infant, but we teach no such doctrine."

"But is it not natural for the mother to get such an idea about
baptism?" asked Dorothy. "They come to think that it keeps the child
from being lost and the child, as it grows up, would get the idea from
the mother that it was saved because of its baptism in infancy. If the
mother thought the baptism saved her child, why would she not be apt to
tell this to the child, and how awful it would be for a child when grown
to think that it was saved when actually it was lost. Doctor Vincent,
this doctrine seems to me to be a frightful one. It looks as if it might
do a world of harm, and I cannot see where it does a particle of good;
and besides, it is so different from that principle which father said
just now was one of the characteristics of religion, and that is that
religion must be a personal matter. Each soul must be accountable to
God, and it is what I do and not what somebody else does for me for
which I shall be held responsible."

"My daughter," said the Doctor, "I have let the discussion run along for
awhile in this fashion without mentioning the main feature and benefit
of infant baptism. It is a dedicatory ceremony. The parent brings the
child and offers or dedicates it in baptism to God; and not only that,
never forget that the baptism does not stop with that."

"With what?" asked Dorothy.

"With the sprinkling of the water."

"You say the baptism does not stop with the sprinkling of the water?
What else, then, Doctor, is added?"

"Why, the parent not only dedicates the child to God, but solemnly
promises to watch over the child and to seek to train it up in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord."

"Ought not every parent to do that?" asked Dorothy.

"Exactly; that is what I am contending for, that every parent--I mean
every believing parent; we could hardly expect an unbelieving parent to
do so--every believing parent ought to dedicate in baptism his infant
and to make the promise for its religious training."

"Is it necessary to baptize the infant in order for the parent to make
the promise?" asked Dorothy.

"Miss Dorothy," said the Doctor, with a faint smile, "you amuse me; you
almost astonish me. What grudge have you against the simple baptismal
ceremony? Do you think there is anything wrong when the parent brings
its little one to dedicate it to the Lord to have a few drops of water
sprinkled upon the little one?"

"Certainly not. Sprinkle as many drops upon the infant as you please;
sometimes the more the better. But why call it baptism? I think the
wrong consists In calling it Bible baptism."

"Oh, you object to the sprinkling. Do you think we ought to plunge the
infant in water?"

"Not at all, Doctor. It is true I do not believe sprinkling is baptism,
and in that respect I do not think you have even baptized the little one
when you sprinkle it; but admitting that sprinkling is scriptural
baptism, I think it is wrong to call the ceremony baptism. It is all
right for a parent to dedicate its child and to use water with it in any
shape, but do not let the parent call it baptism. Baptism is something
that the person receives of his own accord, and that comes after
believing and as a sign that the person has had a change, that the
person has died to his old life, as we read the other night, and has
risen to a new life; but don't call the sprinkling of water on an infant
baptism and thus deprive that child ever afterwards of having a regular
Bible baptism, performed on himself by his own choice. I find myself all
confused, Doctor, as I try to understand your reasons for infant
baptism. You must let me tell you frankly how it appeals to me. At first
you said the child deserved baptism because of its own heavenly nature,
and next you said it deserved baptism not because of its own condition,
but because of the faith of its parent, and now you mention this other
idea of dedication and pledging on the part of the parent. This last
characteristic seems to have more reference to the parent than to the
child, and seems to make the baptism something that is used for binding
the parent to do his duty to the child. In that case you make the
baptism a matter of the parent doing his duty, and if there is any
religion in the ordinance it seems to be on the part of the parent
instead of the child. If you call that Bible baptism, I think you put
baptism in the wrong place."

Sterling presented a picture. He had hung his hopes high on the Doctor's
arguments. In fact, he came to the house with a feeling of triumph and
wondered why he had not thought of bringing the Doctor into the
discussion earlier. But as he had tried to follow the Doctor in his
different arguments, he had found himself lost in a wilderness. He kept
up his courage, however, believing that ultimately victory would come.

"Doctor," said Dorothy after she had remained thoughtful for awhile, "is
there not great danger in infant baptism that people will get the idea
that salvation comes through a ceremony rather than from Christ? You
spoke of the mothers thinking baptism would save their infants. If those
mothers think so, then do you not see that the practice of infant
baptism in a community helps to spread abroad in that community the idea
that salvation comes by some outward magical performance?"

At this point Dorothy was called to the door by a party of young people,
who were returning from a walk, and who, seeing a light in the Page
home, had run in for a few minutes.

"Father," said Dorothy, "you must listen to the Doctor for me and give
me the points when I return."



"Let me say," continued the Doctor, "that I have not yet mentioned the
strongest reason for infant baptism."

The remark waked new hope in Sterling.

"What is that reason, Doctor?" asked the father.

"It is the argument of circumcision. In the Old Testament times the
command was that every male child of Jewish parents should be
circumcised. This circumcision made the child a member of the Jewish
church and of the covenant of grace. Now in the Christian dispensation,
after Christ came, circumcision was done away with and baptism was put
in its place, and it is now baptism instead of circumcision that admits
one into the church."

"You are getting into deep water for me, but let me make the effort to
catch your point. You say that in the olden times--"

"Yes, in the days of the Old Testament."

"Well, you say that in those days every male child of Jewish parents was
circumcised and thereby admitted into the Jewish church, and so in the
Christian church every male child--"

"No, not simply every male child, but every child, both male and
female, who was baptized was admitted into the Christian church."

"Well, why this difference? If they circumcised only the males in the
old church, why do you not baptize simply the males in the Christian
church if baptism is put in the place of circumcision?"

"There is no reason why the females, as well as the males, should not be
baptized, but there was a difference in the matter of circumcision."

"This is surely a new kind of argument for infant baptism."

"I think it is a very natural one. God does not change his plans of
dealing with his people. In the first covenant all Jewish children were
admitted into the covenant simply because their parents were members of
the commonwealth or church, and the condition of their admission was
their circumcision. Now if God would admit the children in the old
dispensation, would he not admit them also in the new? And what is the
sign under the new dispensation? Is it circumcision? Oh, no; it is
baptism. That seems plain and unanswerable."

"So then it is not the inherent heavenly nature of the child, but the
fact that one of the parents is a Christian that makes you baptize his
little ones."

"Yes, that is the reason. The parent must of course promise to train the
child aright. Circumcision was the door to the Old Testament church,
while baptism is the door to the New Testament church."

"Here is a foot note in this family Bible on this passage," said the
father. "It says that 'in the old dispensation all the natural children
of Abraham were by circumcision admitted into the Jewish church; so now
all who are the spiritual children of Abraham are by baptism admitted
into the Christian church'."

"Exactly so," exclaimed the brother. "The contrast is between the
natural and the spiritual children of Abraham. The natural descendants
of Abraham, who were of course Jews, were admitted by circumcision. I
think if you wish to run the parallel you must follow that line. In the
Old Testament it was a natural relationship and in the New Testament it
is a spiritual relationship."

"Son, you are surely on the right track. This foot note here says 'all
believers are the spiritual children of Abraham'. Christ said he could
raise up children unto Abraham, who was the father of the faithful.
Every such believer is entitled to baptism and church membership. Why,
that is plain. It runs this way: In the old dispensation all natural
children of Abraham were admitted by circumcision. In the new
dispensation all spiritual children of Abraham--that is, all
believers--are admitted by baptism; but you will notice, Doctor, if the
spiritual children are believers there can be no infants among them."

The brother was busy looking in the subject index of the Bible for
passages about circumcision in the New Testament, and he soon remarked:
"Here is an account of a discussion in a council concerning
circumcision. It is found in the book of Acts, the fifteenth chapter."

"Read it," said the father. "We want light on this subject."

"That council met in Jerusalem and was made up of the apostles and other
disciples to consider certain doctrinal matters," said the Doctor.

Roland began to read the account of the council: "'And certain men which
came down from Judea taught the brethren and said except ye be
circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.'"

"Now you are getting at the core," said the father. "You see they are
discussing whether they have to be circumcised. I guess the apostles
will say they need not be circumcised because baptism has been put in
its place. Read along and see if it does not say that."

He ran his eye down every verse, but could find no such statement.

"Do I understand that they came together in that council to discuss
whether circumcision was necessary for salvation, and that nothing was
said about baptism having been put in its place?" asked Mr. Page.

"It certainly looks that way," said Roland.

"What did that council decide?" asked the father.

"The council decided that it was not necessary for the Gentiles to be
circumcised," answered Mr. Sterling.

"Who were the Gentiles?" asked the father.

"They were all the people who were not Jews."

"You mean that they were discussing whether it was necessary for the
Gentiles to be circumcised, and that it was decided that it was not
necessary, and now do you say that nothing in this discussion was said
about baptism having taken the place of circumcision?"

"Oh, this may have been said in the discussion, but there is no record
of it."

"They would hardly have left it out of the record if there had been any
mention of it in the discussion. I notice here in this chapter they give
the different reasons for their views; but the word baptism is not
mentioned. If baptism had taken the place of circumcision, would it not
have been natural for one of the apostles to have said something like
this: 'Why, of course it is not necessary to be circumcised, because
baptism has taken the place of circumcision.' That would have settled
the question."

"I have another point," said Doctor Vincent, "but let's wait a few
moments for Miss Dorothy's return."

In a few minutes Dorothy rejoined the party and the Doctor remarked:

"I can show you that the Bible teaches plainly that God will take the
faith of the Christian parent for that of the child."

"Do show it to us," said Dorothy, eagerly.

"Paul declares that the faith of a parent makes the child holy and
sanctifies the child."

"I don't know what you mean by sanctifying the child, but show us that
passage, Doctor."

"Let me see if I understand your point, Doctor Vincent," said Mr. Page.
"You assert that the Bible declares that the faith of a parent will make
the child holy?"


"I want to see that passage."

The Doctor turned to 1 Cor. 7:14 and read: "'For the unbelieving husband
is sanctified by the wife and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the
husband; else were your children unclean but now are they holy.'"

"Hello," said Mr. Page, "that sounds like it."

"It is very plain," said the Doctor. "The apostle has said that a
believer must not marry an unbeliever; but then someone may say:
'Suppose a believer has already married an unbeliever, must the
believing wife leave her unbelieving husband?' 'No,' says Paul. 'The
believing wife sanctifies the husband and thus the marriage is not
unclean, but a proper one.' The fact that one of the parties is an
unbeliever does not make the union an unclean one, but he says the child
of such a union is holy. Note that. What does he mean by that word
'holy'? The Jews, according to the old covenant, regarded all who were
not Jews as unclean or unholy; that is, as not partakers of the holy
covenant. But all of Abraham's descendants were holy; that is, were
partakers of the covenant, and Paul here states that the children of
Christian parents, even though only one of the parents was a believer,
were holy."

"But, Doctor," said Dorothy, "I do not see anything about infant baptism
in all that."

"This is related to infant baptism. The point before us now is as to
whether the faith or belief of a parent makes the child holy, and Paul
says it does. The question was asked where the Bible taught that the
faith of the parent was taken for the faith of the infant, and I
mentioned this passage."

"But does this passage teach that?"

"It undoubtedly does. It declares that one believing parent sanctifies
the child; that is, makes the child holy, and that is the same thing."

"I am not much on Scripture," broke in the father, "and I guess I had
better keep my hands off of this part of the argument, and yet that
passage sounded to me as if the writer was trying to keep married
couples from separating simply because one of them might be an

"That is correct," said the Doctor.

"Exactly," continued Mr. Page. "The writer wanted the Christians who
were married to those who were not Christians to understand that their
marriage was O. K., and that their children were also O. K. Otherwise a
Christian wife might feel that her marriage and her children were
unclean. Is that right, Doctor?"

"Yes, but do not lose sight of the main point, which is that the faith
or holiness of the parent makes the child holy."

"But look here!" exclaimed Dorothy, as if she had made a discovery. "It
says that the believing wife sanctifies not only the child, but also the
unbelieving husband. Do you believe that a believing wife sanctifies an
unbelieving husband?"

"Of course not the husband. A believing wife cannot make an unbelieving
husband holy and a member of the covenant of grace."

"But it says here that the believing wife sanctifies the unbelieving
husband," insisted Dorothy.

"That means that in the case under consideration the marriage must not
be considered an unclean relation so as to make the wife leave the
husband or consider herself involved in an unclean relation."

"When it says the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing
wife, does his sanctification mean becoming a member of the covenant?"
asked Dorothy.

"No, not at all."

"Why, then, do you say that the child who is made holy by the parent is
made a partaker of the covenant? Do the words 'holy' and 'sanctified'
mean the same thing?"

"Yes, they are practically the same."

"It seems clear as a sunbeam to me from that passage," broke in the
father, "that whatever was done to the child by the faith of the
believing parent was also done to the unbelieving husband, for it
plainly says so. Let us have that passage again, daughter."

She read: "'For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing

"There you have it plain," said the father. "And the unbelieving wife is
sanctified by the believing husband, else were your children unclean but
now they are holy."

"And look here!" exclaimed Dorothy, examining the passage closely. "In a
verse or two below it says: 'For how knowest thou, Oh wife, whether thou
shalt save thy husband?'"

"There, now," said the father, "'save thy husband'. He evidently was
not saved by his believing wife. It shows that, even though he was
sanctified by the faith of his wife, yet he was not saved.
Sanctification did not mean much for him, and maybe it did not mean much
either for the children. The writer was trying, I think, to keep those
marriages intact, and I guess he had a hard time of it sometimes. Even
though that husband was sanctified, yet he needed saving. That looks
mightily as if the sanctifying part had reference to the marriage
relation of that husband and wife and not to any spiritual or religious
condition of the husband, and therefore not to anything spiritual as
regards the child."

"Look here," said the Doctor with a smile, "I think Mr. Page will have
to start a commentary."

"I see you have a twinkle in your eye," retorted Mr. Page, "and
consequently I will not extract any compliment from your remark."

The conversation ended at this point. The Doctor stated that an
engagement compelled him to hurry from what to him had been a very
interesting discussion, and that he would be glad to renew it. He bowed
himself out and Dorothy remarked:

"Father, I cannot tell you how strange I feel. I appreciate Doctor
Vincent's efforts to help me to know my duty, but this conversation
tonight has made one thing clear to me, and that is that I can never
join a church that teaches and practices sprinkling and infant baptism."

"Miss Dorothy," said Mr. Sterling, "I think you could join my church,
and I think you ought to do so, even though you do not believe these two

"Daughter, if you won't join the Presbyterian church, I don't know which
way you will look."

"But why, Miss Dorothy, can you not join my church?"

"Because I feel it would be wrong for me to join your church believing
as I do about these matters."

"Wrong for you to join that church, daughter? I can't see where any
wrong would be involved in your joining any decent church."

"Don't you think, father, that it would be wrong for me to join a church
that teaches that infants ought to be baptized and that sprinkling is
baptism, when the Bible seems so clearly to me to teach that infants
ought not to be baptized and that only immersion is baptism? What about
my baptism? I would have to be sprinkled if I joined your church, would
I not, Mr. Sterling?"

"I think you ought to be sprinkled," he replied.

"Do you think I ought to be sprinkled when I think the New Testament
teaches so clearly that immersion is baptism?"

"But, Miss Dorothy, will you set your judgment up against the judgment
of the learned divines and scholars of the churches?"

"I do not set myself up against them, but Dr. Moreland said that each
one of us must study our Bible and go where it led us; and besides, Mr.
Sterling, I have considered all your arguments for sprinkling and all
Dr. Vincent's arguments for infant baptism, and I take for granted that
you have brought out the strongest passages on that side, and yet in the
face of them it seems to me that none of the passages point to
sprinkling and infant baptism, while many passages point clearly to the
baptism only of believers and to immersion as the only baptism. I must
not put away my judgment and go directly against that to follow the
judgment of another, must I? Suppose I should join your church,
believing that your church was doing wrong in putting something else in
the place of Bible baptism; think how uncomfortable I would feel. I
would either have to keep silent about what I believed or else I would
be constantly engaged in argument with the members."

"Maybe that would be a good thing. You might convert some of us to your
way of thinking."

"But is that the right basis on which to select a church? Do you choose
a church without reference to what they or you believe, or do those who
believe other things go together in another denomination?"

"You will never find a church where everybody in it believes exactly the
same thing about Bible teaching."

"Of course not; but I thought you were mentioning the principal
doctrines of your church about which all your members are agreed."

"You are correct about that."

"I cannot get away from the belief that I ought to join that church that
seems to come nearest to holding those truths that I hold."

"Maybe there is no such church, daughter," said the father. "What other
churches are there, Mr. Sterling? I know of a few--the Methodist, the
Episcopal, the Catholic--"

"I am sorry I must leave this charming circle, but let us take up the
other denominations tomorrow evening."

"Good," said the father. "We shall expect you, then, tomorrow evening."



The next morning was spent by Dorothy at the library searching through
encyclopedias and making full notes. On the next evening the discussion
was resumed.

"Well, here we are," said the father, coming into the library a short
while after supper. He had heard Mr. Sterling's voice. "Now let us take
up the subject of the other churches."

Sterling was anxious to get into that subject, for he felt confident
that the result would be that Dorothy would find it as easy to decide
for the Presbyterians as for any of the others, and probably more so. He
began with the remark:

"The other denominations--the Methodist, the Episcopal and the
Catholic--which you mentioned last night believe just as we do about
sprinkling, and infant baptism."

"There now," said the father, "you are shut out of four denominations at
the start."

"That may be true," said Dorothy, with a troubled look on her face, "and
yet what else can I do? Is there no church, Mr. Sterling, that believes
that only immersion is baptism and that only believers ought to be

"Yes, there is one denomination--the Campbellites, or rather the
Disciples--for they do not like the first name. The Disciples believe
only in immersion and the immersion of believers. They are the only
denomination that teach this except, I believe, the Baptists; but of
course you would not join them."

"It looks, daughter, as if you are shut up to the Disciples."

"But think, Miss Dorothy, these Disciples have just started up not a
great many years ago. They are a small denomination and with few

"That does not make any difference. Believing as I do about the Bible, I
would certainly feel more comfortable with them, than with some other
denominations whose doctrines I could not accept. It seems to me I would
have to cry out and not keep quiet."

"But how do you know that you would believe the other doctrines of the
Disciples? You seem to have fallen suddenly in love with them."

"What do they believe?"

"They believe in baptismal regeneration."

"My, those are words!" said Dorothy with a smile.

"What do you mean by that, Mr. Sterling?" asked Mr. Page.

"They believe that a person's sins are washed away in baptism."

"Washed away in baptism?" asked Dorothy with amazement. "Are you sure
they believe such a strange doctrine?"

"I know it. I have heard their ministers say that a person was not saved
until he was baptized."

"What, even though the person had believed in Christ?"

"They say that such a person is only partly saved and not completely
saved until he is baptized."

"I can't understand, Mr. Sterling, what you mean by being partly saved.
Don't you reckon you have been misinformed about these people?"

"I have been told that there is a Disciple preacher that lives here in
town," said the father, "and that he has two churches out in the county,
but makes his home here. Suppose you capture him, Sterling, and march
him up here to speak for himself, and tell him you have a prospective
member for him." The last remark was accompanied with a smile at
Sterling and a wink towards the daughter.

"No, indeed, you must not tell him that," spoke up Dorothy. "And yet I
should like to hear about the doctrines of his church. I want to know my
duty and I desire all the light I can get."

Sterling felt sure that Dorothy would recoil from the doctrines of the
Disciple church.

On the next evening at eight o'clock Mr. Sterling arrived, bringing the
Rev. Mr. Garland, the Disciple minister. He was a striking figure.
Young, tall and with classic face and fluent speech, he commanded
attention at his first word. Sterling saw that he was captured
immediately by Dorothy's beauty, and he thought that he also noticed
that the handsome young preacher was not entirely unobserved by
Dorothy. But the shadowy suspicion flitted out of his mind as rapidly
as it had slipped in. Not a great many words were spent in
preliminaries. Mr. Sterling soon remarked:

"Miss Dorothy, I have told Mr. Garland about the earnest study you are
making of the different churches. The question came up, Mr. Garland, as
to the doctrines of your church. I told them your church believed in
immersion as baptism and also in the immersion of none but believers."

Mr. Garland with a bow indicated that Sterling had stated the case

"I also said that your church believed in baptismal regeneration."

"Oh, never!" replied Mr. Garland.

"I thought you believed that a person was not saved until he was

"Yes, but that is a very different statement from your first one."

"What is the difference? If he is not saved until he is baptized, then I
should think his baptism must have something to do with his salvation."

"Here is my position: 'The Bible declares that he that believeth and is
baptized shall be saved'. Note that not he that believeth shall be
saved, but he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. That shows
that it takes both believing and baptism to save a person."

"How about the thief on the cross? He was saved without baptism, don't
you think so?"

"Baptism was impossible for him, and God does not require
impossibilities. Besides, that was an unusual case and Christ made an
exception in his conversion and salvation."

"But does the Bible say it was an exceptional case? If he could be saved
without baptism, why not others? But let me remind you that you did not
read to the end of that passage that you quoted just now. You read a
part--'he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved'--but read the
remainder of the verse."

Mr. Garland repeated the other part of the verse as follows: "He that
believeth not shall be damned."

"Exactly," said Sterling. "That seems to teach that believing is the
important thing. He does not say that a person is lost if he leaves out
both believing and baptism, but simply if he leaves out believing, as if
believing was the necessary thing for salvation. If baptism had been a
necessary part of salvation, Christ would have said 'he that believeth
not and is not baptized shall be damned'."

"Not at all. There are two things necessary to salvation, believing and
baptism, and leaving out either one of them is sufficient to cause a
person to be lost. You have to mention both of them in stating what is
necessary for salvation, but you need mention only one of them which, if
neglected, will cause a person to be lost."

"You think, then, Christ could also have said 'he that is not baptized
shall be damned'? Would a believer in Christ be lost if he were not

"If he could be baptized and would not be, then I think he would be

"Mr. Garland," said Dorothy, "really I cannot understand what you mean.
Mr. Sterling said that he thought your denomination believed that in
baptism the water washed away a person's sins. You say you do not
believe that. Do you think the water has any magic about it? If Mr.
Sterling should immerse a person, would that water help to make him a
saved person?"

"No, not that. I do not believe the water has any spiritual cleansing or
saving efficacy, and I don't think it does anybody any good whatever
unless the person first believes in Christ. I think believing is one
part and that baptism is the second part."

"You don't think, then," asked Mr. Sterling, "that a person is saved
simply by believing?"

At this point a message came for Mr. Sterling that he was wanted at his
home on an important matter. "Too bad," he said, "for this discussion is
getting mighty interesting. I hate to miss any of it."

"We will hold it until your return," said Dorothy. "I will try to keep
Mr. Garland contented during your absence."

Sterling could not understand why she should be so contented to have him
leave and should so happily accept Mr. Garland's company. The thought
that he might not be able to return that night irritated him.
Fortunately, he was successful in attending in a few minutes to the
matter that called him home, and in less than twenty minutes he was
hurrying back across the lawn to the Page library.

"Hello," said the father, "you must have chartered the lightning
express. But we held up the proceedings until your return and are now
ready to get down to business again. Where were we when you left?"

"I had just asked Mr. Garland if he believed a person was saved simply
by believing, and he remarked that he did not. I would like to ask Mr.
Garland this question: What about the inquiry that the Philippian jailer
put to Paul and Silas? You remember that when the jailer was converted
he came in trembling before Paul and Silas and said: 'Sirs, what must I
do to be saved?' And what did they answer? Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ and thou shalt be saved.' Not one word, you see, about baptism."

"You would think," said Dorothy, "that they would have said 'believe on
the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized and thou shalt be saved', would
you not, Mr. Garland?"

"Yes, but you notice that just a little while afterwards that very night
the jailer was baptized. You see the baptism had to come. In fact,
baptism always came immediately after believing. It was a necessary
part, and the work was not complete until the baptism had taken place."

"But does that prove that the baptism was a part of the man's conversion
or salvation?" asked Sterling. "Suppose the person had fallen dead just
after he had believed and before any baptism was performed on him, would
he not have been saved? If so, I think it proves that he was saved
simply by believing, and that baptism is simply a matter of obedience."

"By the way, Mr. Sterling," said Dorothy, "you remember that passage in
Romans where it speaks of being buried by baptism. We found that baptism
was a picture of something that had already taken place in the person's
heart and life--that he had been buried to his old life and risen to a
new life. It is not baptism, therefore, that helps to make the change in
a person, but it simply pictures the change that has already taken

"What is the use of a person being baptized?" asked Mr. Garland, "if he
can be saved without being baptized?"

"Mr. Garland, I trust that I have already been saved by believing in
Christ. I want to be baptized, however, not to help me to be saved, for
if I am not saved now I certainly do not think my going down into the
water will make me any more saved. I simply want to be baptized because
Christ was baptized and because he commands all who believe in him to be
baptized, and because all those who claimed to believe in him in the
days of the apostles were baptized. I reckon I will find from the Bible
that there are a great many other things besides baptism that I must do,
but that does not mean that the doing of all these things is a part of
my conversion or salvation."

"I guess you take up these duties because you are already a Christian
and already saved. If you were not already a Christian I guess you would
not feel like doing them," said the father.

"I do not exactly agree to that," remarked Mr. Garland, "and yet I do
not think we are very far apart. There are some people of our
denomination who go to an extreme and declare that the water does wash
away sins, and they seem to put more stress on the baptism than on the
believing. My doctrine is that every believer must be baptized, and that
unless he does become baptized he has no right to consider himself

"But that is different," said Dorothy. "Of course, if a person refuses
to be baptized, although he believes that Christ commands it, why, such
a person has no right to claim to be converted. I can't imagine a
converted person flatly refusing to do what he believes Christ commands.
I cannot understand, Mr. Garland, just what your doctrine about baptism

"We have another doctrine which I am sure you will like," said Mr.

"What is that?" asked Dorothy, who was eager to learn everything
possible about the denomination.

"We believe in what is called open communion rather than in what is
called close communion."

"I don't understand what you mean."

"I mean this. The Lord gave two ordinances to the church, baptism and
the Lord's Supper."

"Yes, that is what Mr. Sterling told us."

"Now as to communion, one of the questions of the day about which
Christians are divided is the question as to who ought to be admitted to
the communion."

"Let me understand clearly about the Lord's Supper. I have read about it
in the New Testament, but I wish you would explain it to me fully."

"Christ, on the last night that he spent with his apostles, instituted
this supper of bread and wine."

"Yes, I have read that."

"He told them that the bread typified his body that was that night to be
broken for them, and that the wine poured out typified his blood that
was that night to be poured out for them, and that when he was gone they
must repeat that ceremony, and they must do that in remembrance of him;
and that as often as they did that they would show forth his death until
he should come again."

"What a beautiful thought! And so that is why the people in the church
have the communion? I see it clearly now. What, then, do you mean by
open communion?"

"I mean that we throw the door to the communion table open. We do not
say that nobody but members of our denomination should come to our
communion table, but that anybody who loves the Lord may come."

"You mean anybody who is a Christian?"


"Well, that would certainly seem proper. Does the Bible specify who
ought to come to the communion?"

"We simply have to take the practice of the apostles and early
Christians. It looks as if all people who loved the Lord were welcome to
the table."

"Don't all people believe alike on that point?" asked Dorothy.

"Yes, all except the Baptists. They believe that none but Baptist people
have any right to the communion."

"Oh, how selfish!"

"They believe that unless you have been immersed you must not come to
the table," said Mr. Sterling, "and they will not let anybody come to
the table when they have it in their church unless he has been baptized
in their way."

"Why not?"

"I don't know, unless it be because they are so ignorant and narrow."

"Maybe they believe," ventured Dorothy, "that a person ought to be
baptized before he takes the communion."

"Of course," said Sterling, "that is just what they do believe; and
since I come to think of it, our church holds the same position as to
baptism. Our church believes that a person must first be baptized."

"You mean," said Dorothy, "that your church and the Baptists believe
alike on the communion question?"

"Not exactly. We both believe that baptism must come before the
communion, but we differ as to what constitutes baptism."

"Does the Bible teach that a person must be baptized before he can

"The Bible teaches that all who believed were immediately baptized. That
always seemed to be the first thing they did."

"It seems the natural thing to me," said the father, "for baptism to
come first, and before the other duties of the Christian life. In the
passages which we have studied baptism seemed to follow on the heels of
believing. The question is, however, does the Bible have anything to
say on that subject? Does it teach that baptism must come before the

"I think it would look strange for a person to be going to the communion
table before he was baptized," said Dorothy.

"Excuse me, Miss Page," said Mr. Garland. "Is it a question as to what
you or I might think ought to be done, or is it a question as to what
the Bible teaches? I affirm that the Bible does not state that baptism
is a prerequisite to the communion."

"That is a somewhat new question to me," said Dorothy, looking at Mr.
Sterling, as if he were the proper one to give the answer.

"We do not have from the lips of Christ the actual words," said Mr.
Sterling, "'ye must be baptized before partaking of the communion', but
I think it is definitely implied in Scripture. In the first place, take
the command of Christ: 'Go ye into all the world and disciple all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy
Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
you.' There you have first baptism, and next observing all things that
Christ has commanded, and the Lord's Supper is one of these things."

"Very true," said Mr. Garland, "but you exclude the great body of
Christians from the table simply on your interpretation of that one

"Isn't this the proof?" asked Dorothy. "In nearly all the passages about
baptism we have read we found that baptism always came immediately after
the believing; and father, I feel that I must not delay my baptism.
What shall I do, and whom shall I ask to baptize me? I think, Mr.
Garland, that I ought not to go to the communion table until I have been
baptized. That seemed to be the custom in the days of the apostles."

"Suppose people in the days of the apostles did become baptized quickly
after conversion," said Mr. Garland, "would that prove that no one has a
right to commune before he has been baptized?"

"I think it does, if we find that in every case the first thing people
did after believing was to be baptized. It must mean that they were
instructed by the apostles that baptism came first."

"Do you mean that it would have been wrong for them to have done
anything whatever before baptism?"

"Of course they could not cease all activity."

"Why, then, do you pick out the Lord's Supper as something they must not
engage in until they were baptized?"

"Because," said Sterling, "there are two ordinances, and if the
ordinance of baptism always came first, then the other ordinance must
not come first, and so I think it is clear that only baptized persons
had the right to the table. Don't you remember about the people
converted on the day of Pentecost? It reads 'then they that gladly
received his words were baptized', and then in the next verse we read
that 'they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrines and prayer
and in breaking of bread'. Notice 'breaking of bread' came after

"Does the Bible say anything about who ought to commune or who did
commune in those days?" asked Dorothy.

"Get your concordance, daughter," said the father.

Dorothy did so and soon turned to a passage about the Lord's Supper. "In
First Corinthians, chapter nine, the writer is writing to some people
about celebrating the Lord's Supper."

"Is that so!" exclaimed the father. "Find out then whom he is writing to
and who are taking part in that supper, and that will answer your

"It was the Corinthian church," said Mr. Sterling.

"If it was the members of the church who were taking communion, then
they must all have been baptized, don't you think so, Mr. Garland?"
asked Dorothy.

"I guess the members of that church at Corinth which was founded by Paul
were all baptized."

"It does look plain, then," said Dorothy, "that all those early
Christians were first baptized and then took the communion and then
performed the duties that came up."

"Yes," spoke up Mr. Sterling, glad to join the forces with Dorothy
against Garland, "baptism was a duty to be performed once and for all
time and in the beginning, but the communion is something that is to be
observed right along through the Christian life at regular times."

"Mr. Garland," said Dorothy, "I can't understand why anyone should want
to come to the communion table before he is baptized. Why does he not do
the first duty first?"

"I don't see the point in all this," said the father. "I think it is a
clear proposition that baptism always comes first after believing and
before communion. But all the churches baptize--Presbyterians,
Disciples, Methodists and the rest. Why, then, cannot they all commune

"Ah!" said Mr. Garland with a smile, "there is the point. These other
denominations have been sprinkled, but according to the Bible they have
not been baptized. Now if I believed that baptism had to come before
communion, I would not commune with the Presbyterians, Methodists and
others who sprinkle, because I do not believe they have been
scripturally baptized; but even though I think them unbaptized, yet I
would invite them to the communion, because I do not think baptism is
necessary to the communion."

"That certainly sounds strange," said Dorothy. "Why, I thought you
considered baptism so important that a person could not be saved unless
he was baptized; and now you say baptism is not necessary for the
communion. That seems contradictory. I should think if baptism is
essential to salvation it surely would be essential to taking the
communion. Do you think a person ought to take the communion who has not
been converted?"

"Of course not."

"This is what puzzles me," said Dorothy. "You say a person can't be
converted without baptism. If an unbaptized person should come to your
communion table claiming to be converted, would you not have to deny his
conversion because he had not been baptized? You say you do not require
baptism before communion, and yet when you require conversion before
communion you thereby require baptism before communion, because you say
there can be no conversion without baptism. In other words, you must
hold that an unbaptized person cannot come to your table."

"That does look like a clear proposition, daughter," said Mr. Page.

"Let me ask you this question, Mr. Garland," said Dorothy: "Why do you
admit members of other denominations to your table?"

"Because it is not my table, but the Lord's table, and I have no right
to shut any of his people out."

"You think the members of other denominations are Christians, then, do

"Certainly they are; probably as good Christians as we are. We do not
set ourselves up as being better than others."

"How can you think they are Christians? You do not think with their
sprinkling and pouring they have been scripturally baptized, do you?"

"No, I do not."

"How, then, can you think them converted? I understood you to say that
none are perfectly converted and saved until after baptism, and you say
that sprinkling and pouring are not Scriptural baptism. Therefore you
must think they are not Scripturally converted and saved."

"But such people think they have been scripturally baptized, and they do
what they consider right."

"But do you think it is right?"

"It is right for them."

"Do you think anybody will be saved if he will only do what he thinks is
right for him? Suppose a person should come up and say that he believed
that touching the tip of the little finger in the water was baptism,
would you say that baptism would be all right for him?"

"Well, hardly," he said with a laugh.

"I declare, Mr. Garland," said Dorothy, "you confuse me. I really don't
understand what you believe. It may be my stupidity. I wish I did
understand. One thing, however, seems clear to me, and that is that in
the Bible teaching the first thing that comes after conversion is
baptism. I certainly do not think that I ought to go to the communion
table in a church before I have been baptized."

"You don't seem to be able to accept the views of Mr. Garland's
denomination," said Sterling.

"I want to say," said Mr. Garland, "that there are variations within our
own ranks. In some sections of the country our denomination is more
radical in its views than in other sections. In the East our people are
not so pronounced as we of the West are in regard to the relation of
baptism to salvation."

In response to Sterling's remark to Dorothy about her accepting the
doctrines of the Disciples, she replied:

"No, I cannot accept the views of Mr. Garland. I am not sure that I
understand clearly what his doctrines are, and yet from what he has said
about free or open communion and baptism I must say they do not seem to
me to be in accordance with the Bible teaching. I am speaking frankly,
Mr. Garland. I have been interested in your statement of the doctrines
of your church, and I thank you for telling me about them."

"I am sorry that you have not had an abler champion of our doctrines to
present them to you," said Garland with a smile. "If you can't join us
you can't join the Methodists, nor the Presbyterians, nor the
Episcopalians. You are therefore shut up to the Baptists."

"Oh, I do not think I could join them, either. What do you mean, Mr.
Sterling, exactly by their close communion?"

"I mean that they think they are better than anybody else, and that
nobody but Baptists have any right to partake of the Lord's Supper. They
are an ignorant, bigoted set and think that nobody can be saved who is
not put under the water."

"Well, the Disciples believe that, don't they, Mr. Garland?"

"Ah, but not in the way the Baptists believe it," spoke up Sterling.
"Miss Dorothy, there is a little Baptist mission here in the eastern
part of town. I will take you over there that you may take a look at
their base of operations, and I think a sight of it will set at rest any
further inquiries as to the Baptists."

The members of the little Baptist mission to which Sterling referred
worshiped in a plain, unsightly frame chapel. The city had raised the
street that ran in front of the building so that the lot on which the
chapel stood was left several feet below the level of the pavement and
could be reached only by a rough board stairway from the street to the
door of the building. Here a Baptist minister had been ministering to a
small and struggling flock in connection with two other churches out in
the county. The members were poor and many of them unlearned, and the
pastor with such a poor building equipment found his task a difficult

"Daughter, I think you want to keep away from that Baptist crowd," said
Mr. Page. "They are very small fry and I would hate to see you tied up
with such folks."

"I have no intention of joining them, and yet I am much bewildered over
this matter of church membership. What must I do? I cannot unite with
any of these denominations that I have heard about without doing wrong
to my conscience."

"Miss Dorothy, you do not have to endorse all the beliefs that every
member of your church holds," said Sterling. "Where will you find such a
church? Each person must interpret the Bible for himself and be
accountable to God only. If a church is composed of Christian people,
why is not that the essential thing, and why can you not join with them?
You will have to live in Heaven with them, and why can you not live with
them here?"

"I am living with them here. I mingle freely with them, but when
Christians divide themselves up and group themselves according to their
interpretations of Bible teaching, then I must join myself with those
who interpret the Bible as I do."

"But suppose you cannot find any church group or denomination that
interprets the Bible as you do; what will you do? You have not found
such a people yet. Suppose you do not find such, will you stay out of
all the churches?"

"That is a puzzling question. I am not sure just now what I ought to do
if I find no denomination believing as I do. But really, I would rather
stand alone, keeping loyal to my convictions regarding the Bible, than
to compromise them in order to join some church. This is all very new to
me, but I am determined to stand alone rather than go against my
religious convictions. I know that each individual must interpret the
Bible as best he can, and it must be his own conclusion, his own
conviction, and I certainly shall not join a church whose doctrines I
think are contrary to the Bible. Such a church is no place for me. I
would be uncomfortable and I would be in constant controversy with the

"Well, there is no sin in controversy," said Sterling. "Our discussions,
I hope, have not been very wicked. In fact, such discussions are often
the best means for bringing people to see the truth. Why not come into
our church simply on the ground that we are Christians like yourself,
and then try to teach the other members the truths which you hold and
which you think we ought to embrace? In other words, I should think you
would have the best reason for coming in among us because we need the
truth--according to your view--and you could come and sow the good seed
among us."

"Oh, Mr. Sterling, what a strange thing you are saying. You surely don't
mean it. Do you say that your church will take in people no matter what
they believe?"

Sterling saw in a flash that in his eagerness to save Dorothy from
joining some obscure sect he was advocating an impossible procedure.

Dorothy continued: "Your church has its own special doctrines, does it

"It does," said Sterling, seeing in advance the point to which she was

"Would your church accept a person who should apply for membership who
should declare he could not accept the teachings of your church because
he thought them unscriptural?"

"I surrender on that point, my fair antagonist," said Sterling with a
smile. "But I will take down the church bars any fine morning for you
and help you over the line into our ranks whenever you decide to come. I
think I could swallow my Presbyterian doctrines or lay them on the shelf
for a few days under those conditions, because I think in a short while
after you had come in and gotten well acquainted with our denomination
you would discover we are not far apart after all."

"Oh, Mr. Sterling, how can you talk in that fashion? I like a person who
believes something, and though I may not agree with him, I can respect
him for his convictions."

"That's a straight thrust you are giving me, and I guess I deserve it,
but it was the thought of the fair recruit for our ranks that got my
logic and my Presbyterianism into a mixup. So if I was guilty of
inconsistency I must blame my accuser. But seriously, it looks as if you
are shut up to joining the Baptists."

"No, Mr. Sterling, I do not have to join any denomination unless my
convictions lead me to them. But why do you keep mentioning the
Baptists? Are my beliefs nearer to theirs than to those of any other

"Oh, no; I was joking that time. You do not believe as they do. Please
consider them out of the question."

"Mr. Sterling, you make me curious to know what these Baptists do
believe. Could we not get the pastor to explain their doctrines?"

"Miss Dorothy, that is not at all necessary," with a show of impatience.
"I can give you their views. It is true they believe in immersion, but
they have a horrible view about it. They believe that unless you are
dipped you are doomed. They think infant baptism was born in the lower
regions, and as for the communion they are as close as a clam, and in
addition to this they have achieved brilliant success in the matter of
ignorance and bigotry."

"Daughter," said Mr. Page with much earnestness, "keep on the other side
of the road from that gang. There are some things that a father knows
better than a daughter."

"Father, you would not object to my hearing a Baptist preacher tell
what his denomination believes, would you?"

It occurred to the father that that would be the quickest plan for
curing Dorothy of any curiosity she might have about the Baptists. He
thought that a sight of that preacher would show her the impossibility
of her linking herself with his people, and so he said:

"Yes, daughter, that will be all right. Hear the preacher. Let us all
hear him and get his side of the question."

"Mr. Page," said Sterling, "I think it would be humiliating to you and
your family to be entering into negotiations with that preacher about
the views of his sect."

"Mercy, are they so very terrible?" asked Dorothy.

"They are not a wicked people, so far as I know," said Sterling. "They
are a fairly good sort of people probably. In fact, our country is a
fruitful soil for all manner of sects, with all sorts of peculiar

"Are the Baptists a regular denomination like the other denominations?"

"In a sense I guess they are, and yet they are not in a class with the
other prominent denominations."

"Sterling, suppose you get hold of that Baptist preacher and march him
up for our investigation," said Mr. Page.

Mr. Walton was the pastor of the little Baptist church. He was also
pastor of two country churches, each of them several miles from town,
but as the town was about midway between the two points, Mr. Walton
chose the town as his home.

He was much surprised next morning to receive a visit from the rich
young Presbyterian elder, and still more surprised when Mr. Sterling
told him the object of his visit. He listened with interest as Mr.
Sterling told of Miss Page's desire to know the beliefs of the different
denominations, "and of course", continued Mr. Sterling, "she does not
wish to leave out any denomination." He said this in a tone that seemed
to hint that, while the Baptists were hardly worth considering, yet they
called themselves a denomination and therefore could not be omitted. Mr.
Walton stated that he held himself ready always to give a reason for the
faith that was in him, and that if Miss Page desired to know the
doctrines held by his people he would cheerfully explain them to her. He
was unwilling, however, he said, to force his views upon the young lady.
It was finally agreed that Mr. Walton would call at Mr. Sterling's
house, and that together they would go next door to the Pages'.



At eight o'clock that evening Mr. Sterling and Rev. Mr. Walton were
ushered into the library of the Page mansion. Mr. Walton was fifty-three
years of age, a man of native gifts, a certain degree of culture and
also with college and seminary training. He could not exactly explain
it, but he had not been put entirely at his ease by the bearing of Mr.
Sterling on that morning in their first conversation. He had determined,
however, to make the visit and meet the issue as it came. The family
soon appeared and a battery of curious glances were opened upon the
preacher in his plain but neat garb. Mr. Page thought that Dorothy's
first view of the brother would settle the question for her. There was a
self-containment and a lack of self-consciousness on the part of the
preacher that was not unnoticed by Sterling. Soon after the arrival of
Mr. Walton, Rev. Mr. Garland, the Disciple preacher, also appeared. On
the previous evening he had been invited by Dorothy to return and join
the circle on the next evening, when Mr. Walton was to tell about his
denomination. After some preliminary chatting the conversation was
turned into the main channel.

"Mr. Walton," said Mr. Sterling, "in our discussion last evening I
stated that the Baptists believe that immersion is the only form of
Scriptural baptism. Did I state your position correctly?"

"You did," quietly replied the visitor.

"I also stated that your denomination teaches that infant baptism is
wrong. Is that a fact?"

"It is."

"Next as to communion. Your denomination believes, does it not, that
none but Baptists will be saved and that therefore only Baptists can
come to the communion table?"

"Mr. Sterling, I am sure you do not intend it, but your statement
woefully misrepresents my denomination. We hold no such theory. I am
aware that we are often charged with having a lofty opinion of ourselves
and a contemptuous opinion of other denominations. Such a statement does
us great injustice. We do not think ourselves better than others; in
fact, they may reach higher standards of piety than we do. Certainly we
have no words of praise for ourselves. We love all our brethren in
Christ and are happy to join with them in different forms of activity."

"What about the communion?" asked Mr. Sterling. "Are you willing to let
other denominations commune with you?"

"That is a matter they must decide for themselves."

"Would you permit a member of another denomination to come to your
communion table?"

"If the person considered himself qualified to come I would not seek to
put him out."

"Why, that is startling, Mr. Walton," said Mr. Sterling. "I understood
that Baptists thought the other denominations were not qualified to come
to the table."

"Very true," said Mr. Walton. "But you asked me first if I would permit
such a person to come to the table, and I said I would not seek to keep
such a person out. We keep no policeman to guard the Lord's table, but
if you ask me whether I think such a person is qualified to come and
ought to come, that is another question and I answer, no."

"Why not?"

"My reason is this. The Bible teaches that all who partook of the Lord's
Supper in the days of the apostles first believed in Christ and next
were baptized upon a profession of faith. In other words, the New
Testament seems to lay down these steps--first faith in Christ, next
baptism and then the partaking of the communion and the other duties of
the Christian life."

"We invite to our table all who love the Lord," said Mr. Garland. "We
care not what church a person belongs to if only he is a consistent
church member."

"Would you invite me to your table in your church, Mr. Walton?" asked

"You speak of my inviting you to my table as if it were a table in my
dining room. But remember, it is not my table at all. It is the Lord's
Supper spread in my church. The members of my church anxious to carry
out the command of Christ that we observe this supper in memory of him
come together at regular intervals for that purpose. I have never felt
called upon to look out over the entire community to decide whom I
would invite to this table."

"But is it not your duty as a Christian minister to invite the people to

"It is my duty to explain the nature of the supper and also to state the
qualifications that ought to be possessed by those who come to the
table. I am always willing to try to make it plain who I think are
entitled to come to the table, but I hardly think I am commanded to pick
out a list of people to be invited to the table. I state the conditions
and each one must decide whether he ought to come."

"Well," said Mr. Sterling, "I will put my question in another form. Do
you think I am entitled to come to the Lord's table in your church and

"In reply I would say that, while I have respect for your Christian
profession, yet I think you are not entitled to come to the communion
because I do not think you have been baptized."

"Yes, I know you think that, but why do you not leave the communion
matter to me? If it is the Lord's table, and if I am satisfied with my
baptism and am baptized in the manner in which the Bible seems to me to
teach, why should I not commune?"

"That is for you to decide, Mr. Sterling, but I think you have left out
one of the steps that, according to the Bible, ought to precede the
supper, and that is baptism. I am bound to think you have left out that
step, and therefore I think the thing for you to be interested in is not
the taking of the communion, but the being properly baptized. For me to
invite you to the table would be wrong. If I felt called on to invite
you to anything it would be to the proper Scriptural baptism. If you
come to my table I will not put you out. You are responsible for your
actions, but if my opinion is asked about your action I can only say I
think you would be communing without having taken the previous step of
baptism which the Bible requires."

"But according to my best judgment, I have taken the step of baptism. I
have chosen the form of baptism which I believe the Bible teaches. Would
you ask more of me than that?"

"I endorse your sincerity, Mr. Sterling, but you surely would not expect
me to say I believe that you have followed the Scriptural baptism. I am
bound to believe that you have not met the Scriptural requirements for
coming to the table. I do not try to force my opinion on you. I simply
have my opinion, which of course I am ready at any proper time to state.
People who have not been immersed know that we have this opinion
regarding their baptism, and they seem to take offense because we hold
such a view regarding their baptism. Because we think they have omitted
one of the preliminary steps to the table they call us close in our

"It looks as if you are close in your baptism rather than in your
communion," said Dorothy. "And is that what is meant by the close
communion of the Baptists?"

"I do not know what our critics always mean when they speak of our close
communion," said Mr. Walton, "but that is our position. I know that here
and there in our own denomination there are those who are open in their
communion--that is, they will invite Christians of all denominations."

"What, whether they have been immersed or not?" asked Dorothy.


"Oh, I can't see any consistency in that. If I were a Baptist I would
certainly be a close communion Baptist in the sense that Mr. Walton has
explained it; that is, I think that people ought to be Scripturally
baptized before coming to the communion table, and I certainly don't see
anything so terrible in holding such an opinion."

"It is a very ugly doctrine in the eyes of many," said Mr. Walton, "but
I take this view of it. If the Bible had given us the two ordinances,
baptism and communion, and had said nothing at all about the order in
which they were to be observed and we were left free to choose their
order, then we would not be able to speak so positively; but when we
find in the Bible that baptism is always put immediately after
believing, and that the Lord's Supper is never put in this order, then I
think it is clear that baptism is expected always to come first. And if
it came first in Bible times, why should anyone now wish to reverse the

"Let me ask you a question," said Sterling. "You say a person ought to
be immersed before coming to the table. Suppose a person has believed in
Christ and been immersed and joins a Methodist church. You would then
have a Scripturally baptized Christian. Would you permit such a person
to commune with you?"

"You speak of my permitting such a person to commune with me. In the
first place, I doubt whether such a person would want to commune with
me. I never find such people coming to our church asking to commune with
us. We do not have guards before our table. We simply have our views as
to those who are properly qualified and the people know it."

"Would you think that this immersed Methodist ought to commune with

"Why do you say 'commune with me'?"

"I will change the question, then. Do you think that an immersed
Methodist ought to partake of the communion anywhere?"

"I think not, as long as he occupies that position. But of course he can
follow his own convictions. If, however, he should ask my opinion, I
would tell him I think he is living in disorderly fashion. He believes
that immersion only is the Scriptural baptism, otherwise he would not
have sought immersion when the prevailing mode in the Methodist church
is sprinkling. Believing thus about baptism he yet throws his membership
with a church that seeks to put another form of baptism in the place of
the Scriptural baptism. I think that is wrong. He is a Baptist by
conviction, and yet for social or other reasons he joins a church of a
different faith. Why does he not join the church of his own faith?
Besides, in joining that church he is linking himself with an
organization that teaches and practices not only sprinkling in the place
of immersion, but also infant baptism. I would have to say to such a
person, if he should ask my opinion, 'Sir, I think your first duty is
not to go to the communion, but to get the matter of your church
relationship straightened out'."

"But suppose he should say he believed in infant baptism and therefore
could not join the Baptist church? Suppose he should say he believed in
all the other doctrines of the Methodist church except their view of
sprinkling, and that even on the point of baptism the Methodists
believed in immersion as one form of baptism, else they would not have
immersed him. What would you say to him then? There you would have a
person Scripturally baptized and joining the church that came nearest to
his convictions, and now do you say that such a person ought to keep
away from the communion?"

"Mr. Sterling, I think that is an impossible case. In the first place,
how could that person believe in infant baptism if he believed in
immersion? Infant baptism is only by sprinkling. Could that person
endorse the sprinkling of infants? I doubt whether you will find a
person believing that only immersion is baptism and yet believing that
infant baptism is Scriptural. But granting this, you ask if that person
ought to keep away from the table. I answer that if that person thinks
his position is correct, and he desires to commune, let him take the
responsibility. I think he is violating the Scripture. I do not believe
the apostles would have advised such a person going to the communion. I
think they would have instructed him on the subject of infant baptism
and any other important Bible doctrines that the person was neglecting,
and they would have sought to set him right on these things before
advising him to go to the communion, and if he had refused to follow the
Scripture, even though he was sincere in his action, I do not believe
the apostles would have countenanced his partaking of the communion.
That is simply my view of it. The responsibility rests with him, and he
must follow his conscience; only let him be sure that he studied the
Bible teaching on the point as thoroughly as possible. I certainly would
not invite such a person to our table, because if such a person were a
member of my church and should accept and practice the infant baptism
and give his influence to propagating that and the other doctrines of
the Methodists, he would have to be excluded from our membership; and if
such a person would have to be excluded from our membership he surely
could not be invited to our communion table. There would be no
consistency in that."

"That seems plain," said Mr. Page, who had been a silent, interested

"This is what we believe on the subject, but, as I said a moment ago, we
do not force our views on others. They are generally brought up against
us. They attack us about our close communion and thus compel us to state
our views as to the communion. People know that we have positive
convictions about the relation between baptism and the Lord's Supper,
and yet they seem horrified if we stand by these convictions and follow
them to their logical conclusion."

"Well, well," said Dorothy, "I think this abuse of the Baptists is much
ado about nothing. I do not see how the Baptists could occupy any other
position than they do about the communion as long as they believe as
they do about baptism."

"Mr. Walton, what about myself?" asked Mr. Garland. "Would you permit me
to commune at your table?"

"Permit you? Mr. Garland, I have stated that we do not turn anybody

"Exactly. But you make it plain whom you want and it amounts to a
prohibition. Nobody wants to go where he is not wanted. But tell me, do
you think I have taken the necessary steps before communion? I have
accepted Christ as my Savior, I have been immersed and am a member of a
church that believes in immersion as the only baptism and that does not
believe in infant baptism. These are the same doctrines as those held by
the Baptists. Would you therefore say that I am qualified to come to the

"I have always understood, Mr. Garland, that your view of baptism was
not the same as ours; that you regard baptism as a necessary part of
conversion, and in that respect we think you have made a mistake
regarding baptism. Scriptural baptism is one of the steps laid down to
be taken before the communion, and consequently I think you have not
taken that particular step. Those who partook of the communion in
Christ's day were baptized because they had believed and were already
saved, but you have been baptized in order to be saved. Yours is a
different kind of baptism from the Bible baptism."

"I thought immersion constituted baptism?"

"Ah, that is a mistake very frequently made. There is something else in
baptism besides the form. There must be the right motive as well as the
right mode. I think that when you go down into the water, not that you
may typify your death to your old life and your rising to a new life--a
change that has already taken place within you--but in order that in
some way your baptism may complete your salvation, you rob baptism of
its chief glory. It is not the same baptism that Christ commanded. He
did not go down into the water in order to be saved nor in order that it
might work any change in him, but simply to show forth certain truths
and to fulfill all righteousness."

"I don't believe you have answered my question," said Mr. Garland. "Do
you think I am entitled to partake of the communion?"

"I am not your judge, but if you ask my opinion I am bound to say that I
do not think your baptism was after the Scriptural order--that is, if in
your baptism you regarded it as completing your salvation."

"But do you think I have a right to commune?"

"You must follow your conscience on that point."

"Would you yourself commune with the Disciples, Mr. Walton?" asked

"Why ask such a question, Mr. Sterling? Why should I go to their church
to commune with them? I have my own church in which to commune."

"I know, but suppose that while visiting in a community you attended
service at a Disciple church, and they had the communion and the
elements were passed around. Would you partake of the supper there?"

"I have never been placed in such a position."

"What would you do, Mr. Walton?"

"There are many who claim that my communing with you would endorse not
only your act in communing, but also your baptism as you teach and
practice it. If my act would be a practical endorsement of your
communion and your baptism, then I certainly ought not and would not
join with you."

"I think you would endorse them," said Dorothy, "if you should sit with
them and commune with them."

"I think not," said Mr. Garland. "Each one would be acting for himself
and your act would not be misunderstood."

"Why should he commune with them?" asked Dorothy. "Must not a person
always have a reason for communing? Must he commune every time he may
see the table spread before him in any church? If Mr. Walton should
retire from the communion in the Disciple church, or simply should not
take the supper, the people would understand that he differed from them
as to the Scriptural steps required before communion, and it is a
person's duty to let his beliefs about Bible teaching be known."

"No, the people generally would not understand Mr. Walton's act in that
way," said Sterling, "but would simply think Mr. Walton thought himself
too good to commune with them, and this would have a bad effect, and
this is the harm of close communion. None of us are perfect, Mr. Walton.
We Presbyterians may fall short in some particulars; the Baptists also
may not hit the mark at every point. Why not recognize this, and with
charity for each other come together around the table of the Lord and
avoid making such unbrotherly distinctions?"

"Mr. Sterling," said Dorothy, "that does not appeal to me at all. If a
thing is right it is right, and I do not believe we will gain anything
by putting that aside just to come together. If I believe that the
Disciples' baptism is not the Bible baptism I do not know of any better
way I could say that to them than by not joining with them in their
communion. I should think that such loyalty to conviction would do no
harm and ofttimes might do good."

"Is it not a fact, Mr. Garland, that the different denominations very
rarely commune with each other?" asked Mr. Walton.

"You are correct," said Mr. Garland. "Although we practice open
communion, it is the rarest thing in the world for a member of another
denomination to commune with us or for any of our members to commune in
the church of any other denomination."

"I can respect a person who differs from me," said Dorothy, "but a
person who seems to be so anxious to appear on good terms with me as to
be willing to smooth over or minimize his convictions--oh, I want none
of that. If we differ in our views and think the other is not keeping
the Scripture requirement, then let us differ and not pretend that we
are together or that our differences do not amount to anything."

"I think that their doctrine of close communion has greatly hurt the
Baptists and kept from them many who would otherwise have joined them,"
said Mr. Garland.

"I must differ with you," said Mr. Walton. "If the Baptists abandon
their position on the communion question they could not hold their
position on immersion. You know that in England, where the Baptists are
not gaining, many of the open communion Baptist churches also have open
church membership, thus admitting people to the church who have not been
immersed. Do you know why the Baptists of the South have grown so much
more rapidly than the Baptists in all other parts of the world?"

"No, I do not," answered Mr. Garland.

"It is because they are strict in their views and stand loyally by their
denominational convictions."

"What is another doctrine of your denomination, Mr. Walton?" asked

"Another doctrine is the 'independence of the local church'."

"Independent of what?" asked Dorothy.

"I mean that no pope, priest, presbytery nor bishop, nor any
ecclesiastical power has any authority over any local church, but that
the church in the conduct of its affairs is entirely independent."

"That sounds like pretty good democracy," said Mr. Page.

"It is democracy, pure and simple," said Mr. Walton. "The Baptist
doctrine is that every individual has equal religious rights with every
other individual, that all members are on a level, that the local
members are capable of managing their own affairs. And, by the way, Mr.
Page, did you know that Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of
Independence, got his ideas of democracy largely from a little Baptist

"What is that?" asked Mr. Page, leaning forward in his chair. "You say
that a Baptist church gave to Mr. Jefferson his ideas of democracy? If
you will prove that, Mr. Walton, you will be giving us the livest bit of
sensation that I have gotten hold of for many a day."

"I have the newspaper here in my pocket that proves what I say. The
writer is Rev. Dr. Fishback, of Lexington, Ky., and he writes for the
Christian Watchman, and he tells of a conversation he had with Elder
Andrew Tribble, who was a Baptist preacher and whose church was near the
residence of Thomas Jefferson, and it was this Baptist church of Mr.
Tribble that gave to Mr. Jefferson his ideas of democracy."

"Do you have in that paper a letter from Mr. Tribble about it?" asked
Mr. Page.

"No, but I have a letter from Mr. Fishback telling of the conversation
he himself had with this Mr. Tribble about the matter."

"All right, let us have it."

Mr. Walton opened the paper (The Christian Watchman, a paper that bore
the marks of age) and said: "Here is Dr. Fishback's letter:

"'Mr. Editor: The following circumstances, which occurred in the state
of Virginia relative to Mr. Jefferson, was detailed to me by Elder
Andrew Tribble about six years ago, who since died about ninety-two or
ninety-three years old. The facts may interest some of your readers.

"'Andrew Tribble was the parson of a small Baptist church which held
monthly meetings at a short distance from the Jefferson home nine or ten
years before the American revolution. Mr. Jefferson attended the
meetings of the church several months in succession, and after one of
them asked Elder Tribble to go home and dine with him, with which he
complied. Mr. Tribble asked Mr. Jefferson how he was pleased with their
church government. Mr. Jefferson replied that it had struck him with
great force and had interested him much, that he considered it the only
form of pure democracy that then existed in the world, and had concluded
that it would be the best plan of government for the American colonies.
This was several years before the Declaration of Independence.'"

"Well, well," exclaimed Mr. Page, "that is mighty interesting. That
surely is a big tribute to the Baptists, and that does seem the natural
form of government for a church."

"But does the Bible say that a church ought to be governed that way?"
asked Dorothy.

"I think the Presbyterian form of government is taught in the
Scriptures," said Mr. Sterling; "in other words, that a church ought to
be governed by a body known as the presbytery."

"That means that a larger body should be governed by a smaller body,
does it not?" asked Mr. Page.

"Yes," answered Mr. Walton.

"That may be Scripture," said Mr. Page, "but I don't like it."

"I think it is wise as well as Scriptural," said Sterling. "You know
that today in all great bodies it is a few leaders that do the thinking
and planning and directing. Even in the Baptist church, that claims to
be a democracy, I'll venture that a few men in each church hold the
reins. How much better to have a body of wise men to whom all important
questions shall be submitted and who shall have general oversight over
and direction of the affairs of the church."

"I must differ with Mr. Sterling as to the Scriptural plan of church
government," said Mr. Walton. "I think the Bible clearly teaches that
each local church in the days of the apostles managed its own affairs.
Where have you any record in the Bible, Mr. Sterling, of any presbytery
or smaller body of men controlling the affairs of any local church?"

"I can cite you a case."

"Good," said Mr. Page. "Let us have it."

"The council at Jerusalem drew up a list of requirements that were to be
binding on the churches. That looks very much like a body of men
legislating for local churches."

"Of course the apostles in their day gave direction for the churches,"
said Mr. Walton. "They were inspired to give directions to the
churches. In fact, they were the founders of the churches. Christ gave
through them the rules for the churches not only of that day, but of all
succeeding days."

"It looks as if the apostles directed the churches, and why do you say
the churches managed their own affairs?" asked Sterling.

"No, I do not think the apostles managed the churches. The apostles at
the first had to give rules for the founding and starting of the
churches, but even in the first days the apostles threw upon the
churches the responsibilities of their own government. You remember that
when an apostle was to be chosen to take the place of Judas he was not
chosen by the other apostles, but by all the disciples just as if they
were all, disciples and apostles, on a level when it came to voting for
anything. They cast lots, and I have seen it stated that this casting of
lots was simply a voting by ballot, and that is the democratic, Baptist
way. You remember that Christ said that a person having a grievance
against another person must, as a final step, tell it to the church, and
if the offender would not hear the church then he must be as a heathen
and a publican. There you see the ultimate authority was lodged in the
church to deal with the offender and not in some presbytery or in some
ecclesiastical council. How were the deacons elected? They were told to
look out seven men of good report. This was said to the multitude of
disciples, and this multitude was to look out from among them the seven
men who should be appointed for the purpose. Notice it was not the
apostles that picked out the men, but they made the selection the work
of the people. In fact, in every church mentioned in the New Testament
it is plain that there was no ecclesiastical interference in the affairs
of the church. Even Paul, the founder of the churches, in his letters,
throws upon the churches the responsibility of dealing with their
problems. In the case of the incestuous man he said 'when your church is
come together' cast out this man; that is, 'get your church together and
let them act on it'."

"I think you make out a good case, Mr. Walton, and this principle of
democracy is the best thing about the Baptists that I have yet heard,"
said Mr. Page.

"There are other interesting facts about the Baptists," said Mr. Walton,
"but I find I must leave at this point. If you should care to learn more
about our denomination I should be glad some time to give you further

"Can't you come again tomorrow night?" asked Dorothy in an eager manner.

"An engagement will prevent this, but I could come on some other night."

It was so agreed, though the Pages did not suspect the surprises that
were in store for them.



After the party broke up after their last discussion Mr. Page
complimented the Baptists on their democratic principles of church
government. "But, daughter," he said, "it will be impossible for you to
mingle with that class of people. I am glad for you to know about the
different denominations, but joining one of them is a horse of a very
different color, and I am sure you could never be happy tied up with
these Baptist people. They may be good folks, but they are evidently a
poor and obscure folk. I guess they have sprung up mostly in country
districts. I remember in the valley of Virginia where I was reared there
was a little Baptist church in the country five or six miles from us.
The Presbyterian church, I think, was the strongest and the Baptists cut
very little figure in that section, though I confess I did not pay much
attention to any of them."

A large part of the day was spent by Dorothy at the public library
ransacking the encyclopedias searching for something about the Baptists.
To her surprise she found a great deal. She was amazed as she read of
the part that the Baptists had played in history. Knowing that the
people at her home would be interested, she made copious notes during
her reading.

She hurried through her lunch that day and informed her mother that she
was getting some very important information about the Baptists, and that
by dinner time she hoped to have it in shape to lay it before the

The mother thought that of course she was unearthing unfavorable
information about the Baptists that would show Dorothy that she could
never identify herself with them.

That evening Mr. Page, when he reached home, was greeted with the words
from Dorothy: "Oh, father, I have made a discovery!"

"Is it a gold mine under the front porch?"

"It is a discovery about these Baptist people. But wait until Mr. Walton
and Mr. Sterling come and I will tell you."

Soon after dinner the two visitors were gathered in the parlor and

"Dorothy announces a big discovery," said Mr. Page. "Let us have it,

"I don't know that any others will be interested in it, but it greatly
surprised and interested me. I have learned that these Baptists have had
a remarkable history."

"Remarkable for what, daughter? For obscurity?"

"No. They have played an illustrious part in this world's history."

The father's face darkened. The thought of his daughter falling in love
with the Baptists struck him in an unpleasant point of his anatomy. The
little Baptist chapel with its plain-looking people and pastor put the
denomination in a sorry light before the public.

"Father, I have been in the library hunting for facts about the
Baptists. I have read their doctrines and they surely seem to believe
exactly what the Bible teaches, and their history is a noble and
inspiring one."

"What did you find out about these Baptists? Where did they come from?"

"That is the interesting part. Do you know they are next to the largest
denomination in the world except the Catholics?"

"What is that, daughter? You evidently got into some fairy tales in the
library. Why, the Methodists are as large as all the other denominations
put together, and as for the Baptists, they are but a drop in the
bucket. Look at them in this town, and I guess the bunch here is a
pretty good sample of them everywhere."

"Oh, father, either those books in the library are wrong or else you and
lots of other folks are terribly mistaken. The Baptists and the
Methodists are the two largest denominations in the world, except the

The father wore an incredulous and bewildered look.

"There may possibly be a lot of Baptists scattered over the earth,"
admitted Sterling, "but you must have quality as well as quantity, and
quality is what the Baptists have not."

"You are prodigiously mistaken," replied Dorothy in a vehement manner.
"I could hardly believe it myself as I read it; but it is a fact that
the Baptists hold a high place in history. One writer says that the
Baptists are in the front ranks in the matter of education. Two writers
say that the great Foreign Mission movement of the present and the past
century was started by the Baptists of England. Another book says they
have led in founding and perfecting Sunday schools."

"England?" said the father. "I didn't know that any Baptists had ever
found their way across the seas to England."

"Why, father, England owes much of her present greatness to the
Baptists. In the Puritan movement that saved England from Catholicism
and kept her Protestant the Baptists are said to have played a large

"When did they come into existence?"

"They claim that they have always been in existence since the days of
the apostles."

"Well, well, that is a clincher sure."

"Father, it does look as if the truths which the Baptists hold are the
truths which Christ taught and which the first Christians practiced; and
if so, then the first churches were in that sense Baptist churches."

"All of the other churches knocked out at the first blow," said the
father with a laugh, "and Christianity starting off with only Baptist

"This history which I read also said that all through the centuries
since Christ there seem to have been bands of Christian people
believing substantially what the Baptists of today believe. This was not
proved with absolute certainty, but all the evidence points that way.
The great Roman church came into power and ruled the religious world,
but there were always bands of Christians protesting against Catholicism
and standing up for those truths and practices which they believed the
Bible taught. Baptist historians say that these persecuted churches held
very largely what the Baptists of today believe."

"Exactly," said Sterling. "You say that the Baptist historians claim
that these Christian sects who in every century protested against
Catholicism and stood up for Christianity were Baptists. Of course
Baptist historians claim that these Christians were Baptists. Suppose,
however, you had read Presbyterian histories; who knows but that you
would have read that there were in every century Presbyterian churches?"

"But how could this be? I read in two or three places that the
Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians and many of the other
denominations were the fruit of the Reformation, and came after the
sixteenth century."

"Daughter, you seem to have these histories at your finger ends."

"I do not know very much about them, but I have read everything in the
library that would throw light upon the matters that we have been
discussing, and I have made full notes from my reading."

"Your statements sound strange, Miss Dorothy," said Mr. Sterling, "for
the Baptists evidently were one of those numerous sects that sprang out
of and were a part of the Protestant Reformation."

"Two or three of the books that I examined said that the Baptists
existed before the Reformation and helped to bring about the
Reformation, and that they did much to shape the Reformation both in
Holland and in England and in other places."

"Miss Dorothy," said Mr. Sterling, "the idea seems preposterous to me
that the Baptists existed before the Reformation."

"Here is a statement that I read in 'Mosheim's History of Antiquity', in
which he says 'the origin of the Baptists is lost in the depths of

"Does Mosheim say that?" asked Mr. Sterling. "Why, he was a noted

"I found that three or four hundred years ago the Baptists were called
Anabaptists, and that they gradually dropped the first part of their

"What does the word Anabaptist mean?"

"It means a rebaptizer. It seems that they insisted when a person who
had been baptized in infancy was converted in later life that he should
be baptized on profession of faith. They claimed that his infant baptism
was not Bible baptism, and so the people called them rebaptizers or
Anabaptists. And here is one statement that I read: 'It is said that two
of the presidents of Harvard College were Anabaptists'."

"What is that!" exclaimed the father, almost bouncing out of his chair.
"Two of Harvard's presidents Baptists? Where did you find that

"On page 338 of Gregory's 'Puritanism in the Old World and the New'."

"And you say the Baptists and the Anabaptists are the same?"

"Yes, indeed. I find that the names are used interchangeably in the
histories, and gradually the shorter name took the place of the longer."

"Two presidents of Harvard? Well! Well! If that Gregory knows what he is
talking about, then that is a stunner. I would never have thought it.
But go ahead and give us some more."

"Here is something about the Baptist soldiers in Oliver Cromwell's army:
'The men who made up the new army of Ironsides, which won the victories
of Naseby and Dunbar, the men who smiled only as they went into battle
and never counted the odds against them, were not Presbyterians, * * * *
they were Independents, the Baptists forming the largest element, men
who believed in self-government in the church as well as in the state'."

"Where do you find that?" asked Sterling with an interested expression.

"It is on pages 394 and 395 of Campbell's 'The Puritan in His Three
Homes, Holland, England and America'. And listen to this from the same
author: 'Thus it came about that the persecuted Anabaptists of Holland,
taking their doctrines from the early Christians, gave birth to the
powerful denomination of Baptists, which has played so important a part
in the history of England and America'."

"Miss Dorothy, you amaze me," said Sterling.

"I learn from my reading that the religious liberty which the Christian
world is enjoying today is largely due to the Baptists."

"Julius Caesar!" exclaimed the father. "What do you think of that,

"Do you mean to say, Miss Dorothy," asked Sterling, "that you found in
your reading that the great blessings of religious liberty that are
enjoyed in this country, and to a certain extent in Europe, are due to
the Baptist denomination?"

"I find that fact positively stated in many places. Here is something
from the same book of Campbell, 'The Puritan in His Three Homes,
Holland, England and America', which I mentioned just now. It is on
pages 202 and 203: 'But no words of praise can be too strong for the
services which the English Baptists rendered to the cause of religious
liberty. They went down with Cromwell and suffered a relentless
persecution after the restoration of the Stuarts, but they have never
lost their influence as a leaven in the land. In purity of life and
substantial Christian work they have been surpassed by the members of no
other religious body. Having been the first British denomination of
Christians to proclaim the principle of religious liberty, they were
also the first to send out missionaries to the heathen.'"

"Just listen to that!" exclaimed Mr. Page.

Dorothy continued: "'In fact, if the Anabaptists had done nothing more
for the world than to beget such offspring they would have repaid a
thousand-fold the care shown for their liberties by the Prince of
Orange in his contest with some of the narrow-minded Calvinists among
his associates.'"

"Hold on there, you take my breath away," said the father.

"Please note what that says," remarked Mr. Walton. "Those words call
attention to the purity and high Christian character of the Baptists,
and to the fact that they were the first in these centuries to send out
missionaries to the heathen. It is a fact that the great Foreign Mission
movement now encircling the world was first started by the Baptists a
little over a hundred years ago under the lead of William Carey, a
Baptist. Notice it gives to the Baptists the honor of being the author
of religious liberty for the world."

"But who is that Campbell?" asked Sterling.

"His book is one of the great books of the day."

"Of course," said Sterling with a smile.

Dorothy read on. "Here is another statement from Gregory. He is writing
concerning the Anabaptists: 'The history of that remarkable people is
yet to be written, and when it shall have been written an heroic chapter
shall have been added to the history of the world. The Dutch Anabaptists
were Puritans before Puritanism had sprung into recognized existence and
held all that Puritanism afterwards contended for.'"

"Think of that," said Mr. Walton. "We all know one of the greatest
religious movements of the past was Puritanism. It saved England from
the blight of Catholicism and made and kept her Protestant. But there
were two wings of the Puritan movement; one wing stayed in the English
church and sought to work reforms within the church, and the other wing
fought the battle on the outside of that church, and of this party the
Baptists were the foremost fighters. They sounded clear and strong the
demand for absolute religious liberty."

"Here is something from Masson's Life of Milton," said Dorothy.

"Let us have it," said Sterling. "That is a standard book."

"On page 90, Vol. III., find this: 'Not to the Church of England,
however, nor to Scotch Presbyterianism, nor to English Puritanism at
large does the honor of the first perception of the full liberty of
conscience and its first assertion in English speech belong. That honor
has to be assigned, I believe, to the Independents in general and to the
Baptists in particular.'"

"Well, well," said Mr. Page. "Sterling, this daughter of mine has indeed
made a discovery. I think it is an eye-opener for both of us. But go
ahead, daughter. You seem to have yet other surprises up your sleeve."

"Here is something very interesting."

"And where does it come from this time?" asked the father.

"It is also from Masson's Life of Milton, and it is on page 101, Vol.
III.: 'In a confession of faith or declaration of faith, put forth in
1611 by the English Baptists of Amsterdam, just after the death of
Smith, this article occurs: "The magistrate is not to meddle with
religion or matters of conscience, nor compel men to this or that form
of religion; because Christ is the King and the Lawgiver of the church
and conscience." It is believed,' continues Masson, 'that this is the
first expression of the absolute principle of liberty of conscience in
the published articles of any body of Christians'."

"Just think of that publication by the little Baptist church in
Amsterdam," said Mr. Walton. "Consider the circumstances. The religious
world was at that time under the domination of the Catholic hierarchy.
The church and the government locked arms in absolute control of men's
forms of worship as well as of every phase of human action. The king and
pope prescribed the prayers, the Scripture readings and the forms of
worship of every citizen; and in the face of it all this little band
drew up its declaration of faith to the effect that the government had
no right to meddle with a man's religion nor to compel men to any form
of worship because Christ was the King and Lawgiver. Think of the
boldness of such an announcement. It was an ultimatum hurled by that
little flock at the king, the pope and the civil government and the

"That explains all the horrible persecutions of the Baptists in Holland
that I read about this morning,' said Dorothy.

"Very true," said Mr. Walton. "Of course the thunderbolts of the higher
powers fell upon the heads of the rebellious Baptists, but persecution
only fanned the flame of their faith and zeal. They grew and spread.
They planted the seeds of their faith on English soil, and we read that
after 1660 the English prisons were full of Baptists, and Miss Dorothy
has already read of the brave Baptists who formed the flower of
Cromwell's Ironsides."

"What do you mean exactly by saying that the Baptists have given
religious liberty to the world?" asked Mr. Page.

"I mean this," said Mr. Walton. "Up to the sixteenth century the
Catholic Church held the so-called Christian world in its grip,
controlled men's consciences and decided how every man was to worship.
The Baptists rebelled against any interference with the religious life."

"I thought it was Martin Luther with his Reformation who broke the power
of the Catholic Church and thus gave birth to religious liberty," said

"The Reformation under Luther did strike a prodigious blow at
Catholicism, but it was not a fight for absolute religious liberty.
Never forget that. Lutheranism simply threw off Catholicism to
substitute a state church of its own. In the Reformation in England the
church broke from Catholicism, but it sought to set up a state Episcopal
church. In Scotland a Presbyterian state church was set up, but during
all this time the Baptists were ever sounding their demand for absolute
religious liberty without any interference or help from the government
and for complete separation of church and state."

"Did not the Baptists bring these principles to this country?" asked
Dorothy. "I think I read that they did."

"You are right, Miss Dorothy. Roger Williams, who was a Baptist--"

"What is that!" exclaimed Sterling. "Roger Williams a Baptist?"

"He surely was, and he was the apostle of religious liberty for America.
And how did the clause in the Constitution of the United States granting
religious liberty get in there? It was brought about by the Baptists of
Virginia, who pleaded for it and fought for it and suffered for it.
Bancroft, the historian, states that the Baptists gave religious liberty
to America, and John Locke states that the Baptists were the authors of
religious liberty. And, gentlemen, it is a fact to be borne in mind
that, while all Protestant denominations in America today practically
believe in religious liberty, yet it was not always so. The Baptists in
this country, single-handed, took up the cause and fought it through to
a finish, and now all denominations are enjoying the benefits of it."

"By the way, Mr. Sterling," said Dorothy, "I read today that John Milton
and John Bunyan were Baptists."

"Hold on, Miss Dorothy," said Mr. Sterling.

"It is a fact," said Mr. Walton. "They agreed with the Baptists in their
fundamental doctrines. You must remember another thing, and that is that
the principles of democracy that are sweeping over the world are largely
the trophies of the Baptists."

Mr. Page, with a laugh: "There he goes gathering up some more of our
treasures and claiming them for the Baptists."

"Come, let us vary the exercises with some ice cream," said the mother.

"You think the discussion is getting too warm, do you, mother?" asked

They adjourned to the dining room and a recess was taken.



"Now let us have the facts about the part the Baptists have played in
giving the principles of democracy to the world," said Mr. Page.

"History shows," said Mr. Walton, "that up to the sixteenth century the
Catholic Church, in league with the government, not only controlled the
religious life, but also the civil life of the people. There was neither
religious nor civil freedom. The king and the pope ruled all. Then came
the demand of the Baptists for absolute freedom, and although their
demand had reference to religious freedom, yet the inevitable result of
this principle is civil freedom; and in the wake of this came democracy,
which is simply the rule of the people."

"But I do not see that religious liberty necessarily leads to
democracy," said Mr. Page.

"I think it does. Where absolute religious liberty exists for every
individual you then have equal rights for all the people, and this is
democracy. Besides, coupled with the doctrine of religious liberty is
also the doctrine of the Baptists regarding church government. They
believe the Bible to teach that every local church is independent of
every other local church and of any higher government. They believe not
only in the independence of the local church, but also of the
individual. In other words, each local church was a democracy in which
all members were on a level, each entitled to a vote in its management
and the majority controlling. This is democracy. These principles of
democracy have, like a leaven, penetrated the nations."

"You remember, father," said Dorothy, "it has already been mentioned how
Thomas Jefferson got his idea of democracy from a little Baptist

"You are right, daughter; all this is mighty interesting. Go ahead with

"See the rapid strides that these Baptist principles are making,"
continued Mr. Walton. "They are on a world-wide tour of conquest. In
England the Baptists have been in the front of the fight for freedom.
Their household goods have been sold again and again in these latter
days. Look at Russia. What mean those uprisings of the people against
tyranny? It is the stirrings of democracy, and the Baptists are bearing
the brunt of the battle. I saw at the Baptist World Alliance in
Philadelphia some of the Russian Baptists, and I tell you they were
stalwart-looking heroes indeed. See how in Spain and Portugal the power
of the hierarchy and of the monarchical government is crumbling. Behold
China! What does it mean except the rule of the people supplanting the
rule of the monarch?"

"Yes," said the father, "I noticed in the paper yesterday that the new
president, Yuan Shi Kai, had announced religious liberty for the new

"Think of that. And whence came that boon of religious liberty which the
new Chinese president is so generously offering to his great nation?"
asked Mr. Walton. "Who deserves the largest credit? I believe the
Baptists, who suffered, who fought, who died that they might win it and
bequeath it to the world, and but for the Baptists I doubt whether there
would be any absolute religious liberty--and I had almost said no pure
democracy--in the world today. At least that is my conviction, and I
believe that had it not been for the Baptists we would be having today a
state religion in Europe and in America in the sections which are not
dominated by the Catholic Church. The Baptists refused to creep under
the shelter of the government or to receive any benefits whatever from
it, but declared themselves in their religion absolutely independent of
the government."

"Well, gentlemen," said the father, "if all these statements are facts
of history--and of course I do not deny them--then this is the biggest
eye-opener that I have ever encountered. I could only wish that the
Baptists in this part of the country--present company excepted, of
course, Mr. Walton--had only remained true, in quality, to the original
stock. But maybe my opinion, Mr. Walton, may also be due to my
ignorance; don't you reckon so?"

Mr. Page spoke with a smile, and Mr. Walton smiled back.

"Another interesting thing I found in my reading--" Dorothy remarked.

"Hello, is there something else?" asked the father. "I guess this time
we will be told that the Baptists took part in the creation of the world
and in the illumination of most of the stars."

"Father, don't make fun of me. These facts deserve serious

"Good, daughter, go ahead. I really feel very solemn about it all."

"The other thing I found about them was their fearful suffering."

"Yes, that has already been alluded to."

"I know, but you have no idea what a chapter in the world's history
these sufferings make. I saw two volumes filled simply with an account
of the persecutions and sufferings of the Baptists of Holland. They were
subjected to all manner of cruelties and tortures to make them give up
their faith, but they stood firm and thousands and thousands in Holland
alone were put to death. John Milton and John Bunyan were both
imprisoned for their faith. It was a time when the governments were
bitter in their punishments and the Catholic Church, and later on the
other denominations also, were back of these persecutions."

"Yes," said Mr. Walton, "it is a fact that all the denominations were
against the Baptists, and in a sense that has been the case ever since.
In this country grievous punishments were visited upon the Baptists
during their fight for religious liberty. They began their fight alone,
but the world is gradually accepting their beliefs. Other denominations
may not take our name, but they are taking our doctrines. I have spoken
about religious freedom. Take the case of infant baptism. And, by the
way, our doctrine of infant baptism has not been picked up by accident.
It is logically connected with the doctrine of religious liberty."

"How can that be?" asked Sterling. "I fail to see any connection between
infant baptism and religious liberty."

"The doctrine of religious liberty means that every individual is
accountable to God only, and that each man's religion must be an act of
his own free choice, and therefore no religious ceremony must be forced
upon anyone, infant or adult, without his own consent. Infant baptism
violates the principles of religious liberty and individual
accountability. In fact, I think you will find that there is a logical,
as well as Scriptural, connection between all our Baptist doctrines.
This, however, is parenthetical. I started to speak of the spread of
Baptist principles among other denominations. Three or four hundred
years ago the Baptists were almost the only ones to lift their voices
against the universal practice of infant baptism. How is it today?
Though it is still on the creed books of the other denominations, yet it
is a fact acknowledged on all sides that the practice is becoming rarer
and rarer. The Baptist teaching about this practice is permeating the
other denominations."

"What is that?" asked Mr. Sterling. "Infant baptism going out of use?"

"I do not say that it is on the point of going out of existence, but I
do say that under the influence of Baptist teaching it is becoming rarer
and rarer."

"Even though it should be somewhat on the wane--which I do not at all
admit, Mr. Walton--yet supposing it to be the case, what have the
Baptists to do with it?"

"I thought such questions might come up and so I came prepared," Mr.
Walton replied, drawing a newspaper clipping from his pocket. "Here is
something written by Lyman Abbott in the Outlook of November, 1897."

"Is he a Baptist?" asked Dorothy.

"No, indeed," replied Sterling.

"Does he believe in infant baptism?" she asked.

"Yes. What is your quotation from Dr. Abbott, Mr. Walton?"

"Dr. Abbott is writing about the Baptist Congress that had held a recent

"The Baptist Congress?" exclaimed Dorothy. "What is that?"

"It is a meeting where Baptist men from different parts of the country
come together once a year and discuss different religious subjects, and
they call it a Baptist Congress, but of course they make no laws. Now,
Dr. Abbott was writing about one of these Baptist Congresses, and he
says: 'They (the Baptists) all hold, and hold as strongly as ever, that
apostolic baptism was a symbolic expression of repentance and faith, and
that to baptize infants that can neither repent nor exercise faith is a
change of the original ceremony from its original purpose. Historical
scholarship abundantly confirms this contention. Infant baptism was
unknown in the apostolic church. The change can be justified only on the
ground that no rite is of the essence of Christianity, and that the same
spirit of Christian liberty which allowed the Christian church to
dispense with circumcision allowed it to change baptism from a symbolic
act of faith by a penitent to a symbolic act of consecration by a
parent.' This is not directly connected with the matter of infant
baptism going out of existence which we were talking about just now, but
I have read it as showing what this noted advocate of infant baptism has
to say. He declares that infant baptism did not exist in the early
church, but that the church has changed it."

"I can't understand that at all," said Dorothy, in a perplexed tone. "I
thought we went to the Bible to learn about Christianity and to the
teachings of Christ and his apostles for our guidance. I thought that
being a Christian meant taking Christ as our Master and the Bible as our
guide; and now to say that we can change these commands and put
something else in the place of them--why, suppose Christ does not want
them changed? If we can change one command, why not any of the commands?
If it is not important to obey one of the commands, why is it important
to obey any of them? Let others do as they please, but I have taken that
Book as my guide and I shall stand by it as closely as I can. If I break
from it at one point I fear I will start adrift out to sea."

"Here is the quotation that I was looking for showing the decadence of
infant baptism," said Mr. Walton. "I read from the Congregationalist of
January 18, 1882. This is not a Baptist publication. It reads: 'The
simple fact appears to be that the doctrine of the evangelical
denominations as to infant baptism is in a transition state and has at
present a materially loosened hold upon the popular conviction. * * * *
Congregationalists, under the attrition of Baptist friction on the one
side and the force of their own principles of individualism on the
other, have become a good deal demoralized in this particular.' Think of
that," continued Mr. Walton. "You have this Congregationalist paper
saying of the practice of infant baptism by its own denomination that it
was diminishing partly because of the influence of Baptist principles."

"If infant baptism is wrong," said Dorothy, "it is a good thing you see
to have these Baptist principles, for they work against the unscriptural
infant baptism."

"Here is another quotation. It is stated that at one of the presbyteries
of the Dutch Reformed church held in 1879: 'In view of the great neglect
of infant baptism'--notice that--'in view of the great neglect of infant
baptism a paper was requested by Rev. F. H. Van Deveer, D.D., on that
subject'. There you have a Dutch Reformed presbytery, because of the
great neglect of infant baptism, requesting one of its distinguished
members to write a paper on the subject. Baptist principles, you see,
are at work among other denominations. This is also true as to
immersion. The Baptists have won the fight for immersion also. Here and
there you will find some that deny that immersion is Bible baptism, but
the scholarship of the world has yielded that point."

"Mr. Walton, you amaze me," exclaimed Mr. Sterling. "Are you not
mistaken about prominent men of other denominations agreeing that
immersion was the original Scriptural mode of baptism? Can you give us
the names of them?"

"I can, for I brought along a copy of some of these statements. For
example, I have the words of John Wesley, John Calvin, Martin Luther and
Cardinal Gibbons."

"What is that!" exclaimed Mr. Sterling. "Why, three of these men are the
founders of their own denominations and the other is the head of the
Catholic Church in America, and all of their denominations practice
sprinkling and not immersion."

"I will read their own statements, and I can give you the very place
where you can find their words in print."

Sterling held his breath as Mr. Walton began to read.

"Here are the words of John Calvin. I believe he is regarded as the
founder of your denomination, Mr. Sterling."

"Very well, what does he say?"

"He writes as follows in Book IV of his Institutes, Chapter XV: 'The
very word "baptize" signifies "to immerse"; and it is certain that
immersion was the practice of the ancient church.'"

"Mr. Walton," said Sterling, looking at him with an intense gaze, "do
you assert that John Calvin, the great champion of Presbyterianism,
wrote that?"

"I do, and you will find it just where I have quoted it. Listen to John
Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church. You will find his
statements in his Notes on the New Testament in his comments on Roman
6:4, 'We are buried with him, alluding to the ancient manner of
baptizing by immersion'. In other words, Wesley says that Paul in this
passage about baptism was referring to immersion, and I guess Paul was
pretty good authority. Martin Luther, the founder of Lutheranism, says
in his works, Witten Ed., Vol. II, page 79: 'For to baptize in Greek is
to dip, and baptizing is dipping. Being moved by this reason I would
have those who are to be baptized to be altogether dipped in the water
as the Word doth express and as the mystery doth signify.'"

"You mentioned Cardinal Gibbons, the head of the Catholic Church in this
country," said Mr. Page. "Do the Catholics immerse?"

"Oh, no," said Mr. Sterling. "What does Cardinal Gibbons have to say?"

"In his book, 'Faith of our Fathers', page 275, he writes: 'For several
centuries after the establishment of Christianity baptism was usually
conferred by immersion, but since the twelfth century the practice of
baptism by affusion has prevailed in the Catholic Church, as this manner
is attended with less inconvenience than baptism by immersion.'"

"Well, gentlemen, I am amazed," said Mr. Sterling.

"Mr. Sterling," said Dorothy, "can it be a fact that the founders of
these denominations declare for immersion and yet the denominations
follow some other mode? Do you suppose that it is possible that these
denominations, like the Catholics, have adopted pouring because it was
more convenient?"

"That is just how the practice has come into existence," said Mr.
Walton. "Cardinal Gibbons lets the whole secret out when he states that
in the twelfth century pouring was adopted as the mode of baptism
because of its convenience. Now remember that at that time there were no
Presbyterians, nor Methodists, nor hardly anybody except the
Catholics--except, of course, the Baptists," Mr. Walton remarked with a
smile in which all the others joined.

"Yes," said Dorothy, "you remember it was stated tonight that in every
century there were bands of Christians worshiping by themselves and
protesting against the practices of the Catholic Church, and that these
people seemed to believe, in substance, the principal doctrines held by
the Baptists today."

"The point I was making," continued Mr. Walton, "is that all of these
Protestant denominations, either directly or indirectly, came out of the
Catholic Church three or four hundred years after the twelfth century,
when the Catholic Church abandoned immersion, and when they did come out
they brought with them the custom of pouring, which at that time was
practiced in the Catholic Church. If the Reformation had come, however,
before the twelfth century, then the Protestant denominations would be
practicing immersion, because before the twelfth century the Catholic
Church was practicing immersion. That is the history of the change, and
explains, Mr. Sterling, why you and your church practice pouring. You
inherit it from your Catholic ancestors. You have it because the
Catholics abandoned immersion and put their seal on pouring. I do not
say it in any unkind spirit, but am simply giving you some ancient

"Father, it does look as if the main part of the Christian world is
using a substitute for the baptism which Christ has given us, and that
they received this mode from the Catholics. Mr. Sterling, how can you be
willing for the Catholic Church to dictate your baptism in that way?"
Dorothy's eyes flashed as she uttered the question and she seemed
horrified at the thought.

"Mercy alive, let me run out and catch my breath," said Mr. Sterling.
"These are startling things that I am hearing tonight. If it is true
that we have sprinkling or pouring simply because the Catholic Church
happened to have it when the Reformation came, then I must confess it
puts our denomination in the attitude of having our baptismal ceremony
foisted on us by the Catholics, and we are now seeking from Scripture to
justify our position. But, Mr. Walton, that cannot be so."

"I refer you to history. I have given you the places where these
statements can be found."

"How did we get back into the subject of immersion?" asked Mr. Sterling.

"I was stating," said Mr. Walton, "that the truths of the Baptists were
gradually permeating the ranks of the other denominations, and I
remarked that the principal scholars in the different denominations
admitted that immersion was the original Scriptural mode, the
implication being that, though it was the original mode, yet the
church--and you see it was the Catholic Church--had the right to change
it. It is a fact that members of other denominations are asking for
immersion at the hands of Baptist ministers. Only last fall I baptized a
very prominent Methodist minister who had become convinced from his
study of the Scriptures of the evils of infant baptism and the
scripturalness of immersion."

Mr. Page, with a smile and a wink at Mr. Sterling, remarked: "Exactly,
and you had better be on the lookout, Sterling; these Baptists will have
you under the water yet."

Mr. Sterling colored considerably, for Mr. Page's banter had struck
deeper than Mr. Page thought.

"What I can't understand," said Mr. Page, "is how these Baptists can be
such wonderful people and yet occupy such an obscure position in this
part of the country."

"But they are not obscure in America," said Mr. Walton.

"No," said Dorothy. "Don't you remember, father, how I told you that the
figures state that the Baptists are next to the largest denomination in
the United States except the Catholics?"

"In Georgia," said Mr. Walton, "one person out of every four is a
Baptist, and it is almost that way in Virginia, North Carolina and
South Carolina. I understand that the Baptists of Georgia pay over half
the taxes of that state. They are a mighty army in the South and in the

All of these things were a revelation to Mr. Sterling. As to Dorothy,
her mind had been made up many days ago, and her path of duty was as
clear as a sunbeam to her, and it led straight to the Baptist church.
Mr. Sterling had within him a storm of thoughts that he could not still.
His efforts to win Dorothy for his faith and his church seemed to have
utterly failed, and she appeared to be drifting further and further away
from him. He was tortured by the thought that he might lose her.
Besides, there was the chaos in which his mind had been left by the
recent discussions and disclosures. The evidence in favor of immersion
as the Bible mode of baptism, and the violation of Scripture teaching in
the case of infant baptism, as well as the Bible teaching regarding
church government, stared him in the face. It rose above all his ties of
kindred and church and above all arguments that he could summon to his
aid in favor of his position, but he dared not let anyone suspect his
state of mind.

He was eager to follow the matter still further, though he felt as if he
were moving towards a precipice. It may to some thoughtless ones seem a
trifling matter for one to abandon a position as to doctrinal matters
and accept other truths. Men are constantly altering their opinions: but
for a Presbyterian elder--especially one filled with an ambition for
high usefulness in his church, whose ancestors on his father's and
mother's side have been of his faith--for him to come out before his
church and before the public and acknowledge that he was wrong, to give
up his doctrines and his church and his prospects and his large circle
of kindred and friends and link himself with an obscure and almost
despised band of people meant a crisis, and he did not even permit
himself to consider it. He merely tried to regard the restlessness in
his mind as transient and to think that soon he would settle into his
former composure and confidence. That night as he sat in his room he
remembered having seen in the afternoon paper the statement that Dr. R.
L. Boardman, one of the most learned professors in the Princeton
Theological Seminary, a leading Presbyterian institution, was to lecture
that evening in the adjoining town about ten miles distant. In a moment
Sterling decided on his plan. He determined upon a desperate attempt.
Next morning by telephone he gained Dorothy's consent to a conversation
with Dr. Boardman in case he could persuade him to come over for that
purpose. Before nine o'clock the next morning Sterling had reached the
Doctor by telephone and made an engagement to meet him, and in less than
an hour his automobile had whirled him to the next town, and there
Sterling told the Doctor of his friend who was seeking to know her duty
as to church membership, and he besought him to return with him and in
the evening to visit with him his friends at the Page home and to set
the young lady right on the matter of sprinkling and infant baptism and
church membership.

Sterling won the day and a few hours later he and the Doctor were
speeding along the road to Sterling's home. Sterling hung his hopes high
on the Doctor, who was a noted authority on Presbyterian doctrines. He
felt as if he were staking everything on the conversation of that

Mr. Page, when he learned that the Princeton professor and the Baptist
preacher would both be on hand that evening, knew that the discussion
would be lively.



That evening after dinner Mr. Sterling brought over his distinguished
friend. Dorothy had invited Mr. Walton to return and form one of the

"Doctor," said Mr. Page, with a smile and a wink at Mr. Sterling, "I
guess you will have to set us all straight. Mr. Walton here is about to
enlist Dorothy and Mr. Sterling under the Baptist flag."

"Miss Dorothy seems to think the Bible commands her to be put under the
water," remarked Sterling, "and she does not believe at all in infant
baptism. She insists that these things prevent her joining our church,
and she talks as if the Baptist doctrines are nearest to the doctrines
which she believes the Bible to teach."

"Am I stating it correctly?" asked Sterling of Dorothy.

"Mr. Sterling is right in saying that I believe in immersion and not in
infant baptism, and therefore I do not feel it would be right for me to
join his church."

"May I ask why you feel that you cannot join his church?" asked the
Doctor in a gracious manner.

"If I think the doctrines of the church are wrong, do you think I ought
to select that as the church for me to join?"

"May I ask another question?"

Sterling's hopes rose as he saw the Doctor entering upon the discussion.
He felt there could be but one result.

"Mr. Sterling has mentioned that you thought very favorably of the
doctrines of the Baptists. One of the cardinal doctrines of the Baptists
is religious liberty. That means they believe in the right of every
individual to interpret the Scripture for himself. Do you believe in
that doctrine?"

"Certainly. Don't you, Doctor?"

"I see you are putting me on the witness stand," he said with a smile.
"I answer that I assuredly do believe in such individual liberty; but it
seems to me that the Baptists are inconsistent. They demand individual
liberty and yet they cry out against us Presbyterians because we
interpret the Scriptures in a way different from them. You say, Miss
Page, you cannot join the Presbyterians because of their beliefs, but I
should not think that that ought to concern you. If you hold that
everyone must interpret the Bible for himself, then that is what the
Presbyterians are doing. In doing that they carry out the Baptist
doctrine of individual accountability to God."

Sterling was delighted. It was just as he had expected. He saw in a
flash that if the Baptists were true to their doctrine of religious
liberty they could not demand that he change his faith, but must accord
him a perfect right to his belief.

"Excuse me, Doctor," said Dorothy, "I do not think you understood me. I
do not blame the Presbyterians for drawing their own conclusions about
the Bible and believing just what they think the Bible teaches rather
than what somebody else thinks it teaches. I grant them this right, but
it does not follow that I must therefore join their church. I say let
the Presbyterians follow what they consider to be the teachings of the
Bible; but let me do the same and let me not feel that I must join their

"No, my young friend, I would not say you must join the Presbyterian
church; but may I ask why you should find it impossible to join that
splendid body of Christian people? If everybody must follow his own
convictions of Bible teaching, would you say you cannot fellowship those
who do not interpret the Bible as you do?"

"Doctor, I do not say I could not fellowship the Presbyterians, or
anybody that may understand his Bible differently from me. I can respect
them and believe them to be better Christians than I am. But I don't
think I ought to join their church unless I believe their doctrines."

"Well, my daughter, you will never find a church with every member
believing just as you believe."

"What does a denomination mean, anyhow, Doctor? Does it not mean a body
of people believing a certain set of doctrines?"


"It seems to me to be somewhat after this fashion. I guess I have no
right with my small knowledge about these things to be theorizing, and
yet is it not this way? Here in the world we find a multitude of
Christians. As they read the Bible some understand it one way and others
understand it another way, and still others another way, and those
therefore who understand it one way get together in one great company
and those understanding it another way get together in another great
company and so on, and these large groups are the different
denominations, and this simply means that people believing alike
naturally come together and fall into line under one name."

"Why, yes; that certainly sounds sensible, daughter," said Mr. Page. "I
guess that those people who believe as Mr. Walton believes about baptism
and other matters are called by the name Baptists, and that those who
believe the doctrines that Dr. Boardman believes call themselves
Presbyterians. Now of course you would not respect a person believing as
the Baptists do and joining the Presbyterians. He is not a Presbyterian
in belief and he ought not to call himself such nor be known as such."

"Doctor," asked Dorothy, "would you want a person to join your church if
he would not accept the doctrine of your church?"

"Since I come to think of it, my fair questioner, I don't think we would
take in such a person. If you cannot accept the teachings of the
Presbyterian church, then probably you ought not to join, though I
confess I am not as strict as some of my brethren. If a person is with
us in the fundamentals, then we can overlook such minor matters as
baptism and the like. I think the trouble with the Christian world
today is that we are magnifying the non-essentials and neglecting the
weightier truths."

"You say baptism is a minor matter?" asked Dorothy with some surprise.

"Why, certainly, my daughter. Christ himself must be pained when he sees
his people so anxious about external forms rather than about matters of
heart, of life."

"That greatly bewilders me, Doctor. It has been intimated several times
that these matters about immersion and infant baptism and church
government are minor matters, that there are other doctrines that are of
greater moment; but let me ask, are we to disregard and treat these as
we please? Must we not try to obey these commands as they were
originally commanded and practiced? Besides, Doctor, it seems to me that
this beautiful ordinance with its impressive teachings was given great
prominence by Christ. His last great command to the apostles had baptism
in it, and when people were converted under the preaching of the
apostles the first thing they always did was to be baptized, as if
baptism was one of the things that had to be done and done at once.
Christ was himself baptized and he commands us to be. I don't see how
you could wish it to be plainer than that. I cannot understand how a
person can say that one command of Christ is not as important to be
obeyed as another. When you talk that way about a command, does it not
sound as if it did not make much difference whether we obeyed the
command at all?"

"Well, my daughter," said the Doctor, "I glory in your zeal and courage
and I bid you follow your convictions; but you must remember one thing,
and that is that you will probably never find a church all of whose
members believe exactly alike. Suppose you find some in the Baptist
church that believe something that you do not believe. How can you
conscientiously stay in with them?"

"I do not think it is a question as to what every individual member
believes, but what are the doctrines by which that particular
denomination is known? There are certain truths which the Baptists
believe, and when you say you are a Baptist people know just what you
believe. As I understand it, there are certain truths which all
Christians believe, and on those points we are all one; and although we
may not be in the same organization, yet I think we are like soldiers,
all fighting in the army of our King."

"Yes, my daughter," said the Doctor, "we all belong to what is called
the church universal."

"But," continued Dorothy, "there are other matters about which there are
differences, and this makes the army break up into different regiments;
but we all still have the same Commander."

"You are quite a little theologian," said the Doctor with a smile. "May
I ask my young theologian a question? How do you manage to swallow the
Baptist doctrine of close communion?"

"They do not seem close in their communion," promptly replied Dorothy,
"not any closer than you Presbyterians."

"You surely are a valiant defender. How do you prove that?"

"You believe, do you not, Doctor, that no one ought to come to your
communion table who has not first been baptized?"

"Yes, that is our rule. I certainly would not advise one who has not
been baptized to come to the table."

"The Baptists believe that, too."

"But the Baptists do not think I ought to come with them, and yet I have
been baptized."

"Yes, but you have not been Scripturally baptized--so the Baptists

"But what have they to do with my baptism? I am satisfied with it. I
believe it is Scriptural. I thought the Baptists contended for
individual freedom in interpreting the Bible. I follow my conscience
with my Bible and decide that I must be sprinkled, and now you say the
Baptists say I ought not to commune because I have not been baptized the
way they prefer. In other words, the Baptists want me to interpret the
Bible not as my conscience decides, but as their conscience decides. If
I have followed my conscience about baptism, what more could you ask of
me as to my baptism, and why should the Baptists therefore refuse me a
place at their table?"

"Doctor, I don't think they refuse anybody a place at their table. I
expect that is where so many people get the wrong idea about the close
communion of the Baptists. Mr. Walton says that they keep no policeman
at their table to keep people away. I think that is very important to
remember. They believe that everybody must interpret the Bible according
to his own conscience, but that does not mean that they think that
everybody that does this will interpret the Bible as was originally
intended. But they do leave it to every man's conscience."

"Ah, you are mistaken there, my little lady. That is just what the
Baptists do not do. They do not leave it to other folks' conscience,

At this point the Doctor turned to Mr. Walton and said:

"Mr. Walton, I think it is one of the calamities connected with the life
of the Christian church today that so much of her energy is expended in
arguing about differences rather than in discoursing on their
agreements. I think denominationalism is a blight on Christianity, and
if we could banish it and unite our forces, presenting a solid front to
the enemy in heathen lands as well as in our own land, we would sweep
the field for our Lord and Master."

"But, Doctor, how can we get rid of denominationalism?" asked Dorothy.
"Can we ever get all men to think alike and to interpret the Bible

"It is not that, my daughter," said the venerable man. "We must all have
our individual peculiarities, but we must subordinate these to the great
mission before the church of Christ."

"What do you mean by subordinating our beliefs?" asked Dorothy. "I do
not see how it weakens the Christian army for Christians to have their
own individual beliefs. It seems to me it makes Christians a stronger
people for them to be people of conviction and not for each one to treat
Christ's commands lightly. Let us not weaken at the point of conviction
in order to strengthen at the point of courtesy and friendship. Why, I
should think that the greatest success would come by each denomination
pressing forward along its own convictions."

"Will you let me say," remarked Mr. Walton, "that I believe that the
next epoch in the life of the Christian church will be a move not
towards denominational unity that is so much talked about now, but
rather towards an emphasized denominationalism in the highest sense of
that term? The church in her march of conquest loses rather than gains
in many of her attempts at union. Mark you, I do not say in all her
attempts at union, but in many of them. True denominationalism means
that the Christian church falls into certain divisions according to
their interpretations of the Bible. The trouble with many efforts at
Christian union is that the chief effort is not towards bringing the
church to one view of the Bible truth, but the pressure for union is
often along the line of expediency. A thousand times better is it for
each denomination to press along the path of its own individual
convictions as to Bible teaching; then will each denomination be
stronger. There will be higher mutual respect. Some of these
denominations may be, and undoubtedly are, mistaken in many of their
views, but by such loyalty they at least exalt the Bible to the loftiest
place. They put the emphasis on its study, and if true union ever comes
it will come from such focusing of study on the Bible. Under the light
of its teaching the denominations that are in error may see and abandon
their error. Intenser denominationalism in the truest sense of that word
is the secret of success. When the slogan is 'one denomination as good
as another', the Bible truth fades into minor importance; expediency,
custom and other current considerations assume control and Christianity
is the loser. If each denomination surrenders its differences in order
to come together, they may find after they have come together they have
not much left that is worth coming together for. If they put a light
value on some of Christ's commands, the danger is that they will come to
look lightly upon all of Christ's commands."



The path seemed perfectly clear to Dorothy, and she announced to her
parents that she must join the Baptist church. The decision was a blow
to them. It is true that the discussions of the past two weeks and the
remarks dropped by Dorothy had indicated that she was moving towards
that point and yet neither of the parents had believed that she would
actually take the step. The father had been greatly surprised at the
facts that had been brought out in favor of the Baptists, but when the
thought of Dorothy identifying herself with the little Baptist band in
the town came into his mind his prejudice assumed control and he became
rebellious. To him and his wife the announcement of their daughter put a
blighting disappointment on their ambitions regarding her future. They
had rejoiced in her growing popularity in the best social circles of the
town. Besides, they were not entirely unaware of the admiration of the
young Presbyterian millionaire for Dorothy and a union with that
influential family was a prospect not unpleasant to them. That their
daughter should cut herself off from social opportunities and tie
herself up with an obscure people that held meetings in one of the
cheaper parts of the town--that was to them almost worse than her
funeral. They said nothing to her when she announced her decision. She
understood what it would probably mean for her, but her convictions
pressed her forward. In fact, she felt an eagerness to see and get
acquainted with the little Baptist band, for she felt sure that, while
that particular church might for some reason be obscure and ignorant,
yet they came of royal lineage with an illustrious record behind them
and she was glad to link herself with such a people. The parents did not
forbid her joining the Baptists, but their silence, their lack of
sympathy and their manifest disappointment and grief over it made her
burden far heavier than if they had openly opposed it. She felt that she
could have braced herself against such opposition and thereby showed her
love for Christ above her love for her parents, but their suffering
multiplied her own.

A pall of gloom seemed to have settled over the thought of their
daughter picking her way along the narrow streets around to the cheap
section of the town and down the rough steps from the sidewalk and into
the plain chapel to mingle with the even plainer people was a
humiliation that seemed crushing, and they were speechless. This was an
experience that Dorothy had never counted on. Her joy in finding what
seemed to her the truth, and in following it had not knew what church
she expected to attend. The home on that Sunday morning when Dorothy
came down to the library dressed for church. The parents prepared her
for this cross that rose up in her path. At first she was inclined to
resent such lack of sympathy from her parents; but the sight of their
disappointed faces put a lock on her lips and a load on her heart. She
wavered not, however, in her sense of duty. On to the little Baptist
church she wended her way, and it was a sensation indeed for the members
when the door of the little chapel opened and in walked the beautiful
daughter of the rich and honored, though worldly, Mr. Page. Her entrance
was not met by intrusive and impertinent glances. The worshipers were
stunned by her arrival, for they had no idea what it meant. But they
were too well trained in worship to be ill-mannered in their wonderment.
The simplicity of their worship went to her heart and she found herself
entering into the spirit of the hymns, although she was not familiar
with many of them. In fact, the entire service gave her much joy.

At the close of the service Mr. Walton walked down to Dorothy, gave her
a hearty welcome and proceeded to introduce her to some of his members.
How genuine seemed their welcome! The thought that their faith was her
faith made her feel at home. It is true that the plain room and the
exceedingly plain attire of nearly all the people presented an almost
shocking contrast to what she was accustomed to. It made her wince under
it, but her better thoughts soon got the mastery. Her sense of duty held
her firm and gave her a peace and even a joy in what she was doing.

She told the pastor she had come to ask for baptism and membership in
his church. He was not greatly surprised, though much delighted. He
stated that he would be glad at the conclusion of the night service to
receive her for baptism.

That evening, when she started down the steps of her house to go to
church, she found the automobile at the curb at the front of the house
and the chauffeur told her that her father had told him to have the
machine ready to take her to the church, that he did not wish her to
walk around to that section alone. She was touched at the thoughtfulness
of her father, and yet the silence of it all cut her to the heart. She
felt that she was almost an outcast from her parents; but then she
judged that they could not understand her and that they were simply
keeping aloof with their disappointment. The meals had been eaten in
almost perfect silence that day. The mother did not care for dinner and
the father ate and talked but little, and then to the other members of
the family.

That night Dorothy was received for baptism and it was announced that,
on the following Sunday night she would be baptized. By the next Sunday
her parents began to relent. At first they were inclined to be indignant
with the Baptist preacher, as if he were largely responsible for their
daughter's action; but as they recalled the discussions of the past
month they realized that their daughter had reached her conclusions
largely through her own study of the Bible.

Gradually they came to see that she must have her convictions and they
ought not to interfere with her religion. They saw that she was firm,
and they decided to accept the inevitable. Husband and wife talked it
over and the husband said: "Wife, I think it is a clear proposition.
Dorothy has taken the step and the die is cast. It is not according to
our fancy or hope, but it is according to her convictions, and I guess
we would rather she should be a woman of convictions than for her to be
one with no convictions, but tossed about by every kind of influence. I
think we must try to make the most of it. Opposition, I fear, would only
make matters worse for her and for us. Let us tell her we shall not
oppose her."

And so it was agreed, and that evening Mr. and Mrs. Page talked frankly
with Dorothy and the burden rolled from her heart. The parents said they
never could attend that church, but that they would not stand in her

How her heart yearned to have them present at her baptism, but she dared
not ask them, and she knew they would not come! Two of her girl friends
went with her, partly out of curiosity and partly out of devotion to
Dorothy. Mr. Page told the chauffeur to take Dorothy and her friends to
the church first and then to return and take him and his wife for a

As Mr. and Mrs. Page were being driven home in the automobile, after
their ride something impelled the father to tell the chauffeur to turn
the corner and go up the third street. The little Baptist chapel was on
that street. It was a summer evening and the windows of the church were
raised and the door was open, and as they approached the church Mr. Page
told the chauffeur to slow up. They heard singing, and there through the
open door they saw the pulpit and the open baptistry. The machine
stopped and they sat quiet as they listened to the singing, and soon
they saw a picture that chained them to their seats. Out into the water
to the front moved Dorothy at the side of the pastor. The parents were
sure that Dorothy never looked lovelier than at that moment, and on her
face was a happiness that they had never seen before. It smote them to
the heart. They heard the words of the minister as he said: "Dorothy
Page, do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior?"

She bowed her head in assent and they saw her lips move. The pastor then
said: "Upon a profession of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in
obedience to his command I baptize you, my sister, in the name of the
Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen."

They saw her fade from their sight under the water, and then from the
water they saw her rise as the congregation struck up the hymn:

  "O happy are they
  Who their Savior obey
  And have laid up their treasures above."

That was all. Dorothy turned and was led by the pastor out of the
baptismal waters and the father bade the chauffeur move on; but an arrow
had entered the hearts of the parents.

A new light shone in Dorothy's eyes after that Sunday. Those who saw her
as she emerged from the baptismal waters declared that her face looked
like that of an angel. Many times during the week she was heard singing
in happy tones. The thought that she had put obedience to Christ's
commands above every earthly consideration filled her with peace and
gladness. To her parents her new joy was a mystery. Association with a
band of poor and obscure people suggested to their minds not happiness,
but isolation and almost disgrace.

Dorothy's chief thought now seemed to be her church. Not a day passed
that she was not in conference with the pastor or some of the members
seeking to familiarize herself with the condition of the church, its
needs and its work. To the request of the superintendent that she would
take a class in the Sunday school she replied with a startled
expression: "Oh, Mr. Randall, I must have someone teach me the Bible
before I can teach others." She finally yielded to his appeal and
decided to go out among the poor and neglected of the town and gather
some girls into a class.

It was an interesting spectacle that she presented on the next Sunday
morning as she marched into the Sunday school with four girls whom she
had ferreted out during the week, and who had promised to come with her
on the following Sunday if she would come for them. The sight of
Dorothy--beautiful in face but far more beautiful in soul--bending with
such loving tenderness over her little quartette, put new zeal into the
other teachers.

At the first visit that Dorothy made to the church she noticed its bare
furnishings, but she gave no sign that she saw these things. Many plans
had already begun to form in her mind as to improvements that might be
made. When she heard the pastor announce a meeting of the Ladies' Aid
Society for the next Tuesday afternoon she determined to be on hand. At
the meeting she asked the ladies to tell her what work the society
sought to do. They replied that they tried to raise money for different
purposes; sometimes for coal, sometimes for pastor's salary, and that
they had been hoping to raise something for improving the church
building, but the other expenses were so heavy their money was needed to
meet them.

At the next meeting she suggested that they make special effort to raise
money for painting the church, and the plan she advised was that they
make bonnets and aprons for sale. They agreed to this and set about the
task. The women said they had very little money to give. They decided
that in addition to the little money that they could donate they would
also give some of their time and labor that could be turned into money.
They determined to rent an empty store and offer their goods for sale.
This was done. It had already been well advertised and the whole town
was talking about the enterprise of the little Baptist church, and the
happiest of all was Dorothy as she labored with the other women.

It was the announced purpose of the society that every article must be
up to the standard in quality and that every purchaser must get the full
worth of his money. They asked no buyer to be a benefactor. The women
considered they were giving as much, if not more, than they were
receiving. The giving and the sacrifice were not on the part of the
buyers, but on the part of those women who had given their time and
labor. When they counted up their gains they found they netted over a
hundred dollars. But some good news awaited them. A paint dealer in the
town, hearing of their brave purpose to paint their chapel, asked the
privilege of donating a part of the paint. Two of their own members
agreed to do the painting by working in the early hours of each day.
'Twas a happy day for Dorothy and for the church when the last touch of
the brush was put on the church and the work was completed. They next
decided that the church building must be lifted to the level of the
street, and the ladies assumed that as their task. The men promised
their labor at their off hours. A lumber merchant heard of their valiant
struggle and made them a large gift of lumber, and thus the skies
brightened for them. Dorothy's fingers, as well as the fingers of the
older ladies, were busy making garments to be sold. Without going into
details, let it be stated that the little church found itself at last on
a level with the street and with an excellent Sunday school room in the

Dorothy's class had grown to a band of twenty girls and it was a picture
worth going far to see--that of Dorothy surrounded by her girls, and
herself the happiest of them all.

During all this time Sterling was wrestling with a racking experience.
It had become apparent to him that convictions had arisen within his
soul that were at variance with the cardinal doctrines of his church.
He loved his church and her history; he was devoted to the work in his
Sunday school and his church. He determined, however, to remain with his
people, even though he felt that his church was in error on certain

Thoughts of Dorothy filled his mind day and night. The past few weeks
had been doleful ones for him. When Dorothy joined the Baptists he felt
as if he had lost her forever. A gulf seemed to open between her and
himself. In a way she seemed to have stepped into a higher realm, far
above him.

Her work for her church and her Sunday school occupied the largest part
of her time, and it was only occasionally that he had the pleasure of a
tennis game with her.



At this time Sterling found it necessary to take a trip through the West
visiting his branch houses. It was a doleful trip for him. The spell of
Dorothy was on him and he had never realized how dependent he was on her
being near him. It was with a happy step that he bounded from the train
at the end of his trip and hastened home with the thought of seeing her
that evening.

Dorothy could hardly have explained it, but things had not seemed just
right during Sterling's absence. That she was missing him she had not
admitted to herself, but it is a fact that she found herself looking
forward to his return with eager pleasure.

Each day Sterling sought an excuse for a few words with her. If he could
not make an engagement for a tennis game or an automobile ride in the
country he would ask for a drive with her on one of her rounds of
visiting among her scholars. In fact, it was one of his greatest treats
to go with her on such visits. He was sure that no lovelier sight had
ever been presented than that of Dorothy in her happy ministrations to
her scholars. She found comfort in confiding to him her plans regarding
her class and her church, and in them he was keenly interested. Many of
his suggestions were helpful to her.

He told her one day that his convictions as to Bible doctrines were the
same as hers, that the investigations through which they had gone had
brought him to that point, but that he did not think that was a reason
for his abandoning the church in which he had spent all his life--the
church in which there had been a long line of his ancestors before him.
He said he expected to remain there and work, but that he would feel
free to state his convictions whenever he thought it proper, and he
would rejoice if the day should ever come when his church would see and
abandon its error.

When Sterling found it necessary again to be absent--this time for a
week--Dorothy found herself counting the days until his return. The
sympathetic interest that he had shown in her new experience had made
his company very acceptable. She started a game of tennis with her
brother on the third afternoon after Sterling's departure, but she soon
grew tired of the game and announced that she must do some visiting, and
she immediately set out for the homes of her scholars. Sterling cut
short his trip and arrived home on the third day after his departure. As
he went speeding up to his office from the depot he espied Dorothy on
the street. What a shock she received as she saw him stepping out of the
machine to greet her.

"I know what you are up to!" he exclaimed. "You are off on another one
of those angel visits to your neglected ones, and you must let me go
with you. My machine will enable you to make twice as many of them
happy as you could with your walking."

Dorothy yielded to his insistent invitation and she found herself
whirled along to the other section of the town; and after the visit
Sterling headed the machine for a spin into the country.

Thus the days sped by, but there was never a day on which Sterling was
not with Dorothy. Into his ear she told all her experiences and her
plans in her new church life.

Sterling was called away one morning by a telegram to Louisville.
Dorothy knew nothing about it, and when he did not appear on the tennis
grounds that afternoon, and she had not yet heard anything from him, she
thought it strange; and when bedtime came and still no news, she was
first surprised and then resentful that he should act in such neglectful
fashion. When she heard nothing from him on the next day she found
herself nervous and uneasy. She could not get her consent to make
inquiries about him, and when she retired that night it was with a

She was standing in her front porch next morning when his automobile
dashed up to his gate and Sterling stepped out. He saw her and hurried
over and gave her an almost hilarious greeting. He noticed an apparent
reserve in her manner, and yet the thought passed from his mind.

"It seems like a small century since I saw you, Dorothy. A telegram
pulled me off for Louisville early Tuesday morning, and from that moment
until I boarded the train I have been in a mad dash to finish my work
and get back, and I tell you I am prodigiously happy to be here."

If Dorothy had studied his eyes during the last remark she might easily
have read the reason for his desire to return.

"And now I must make up for lost time. I have had no pleasure ride since
I left and I must have one this afternoon. Don't deny a dilapidated
traveler the pleasure, but be ready at two-thirty for a ride, and after
that for a tennis game." Before she could give her answer he decided it
for her and told her that he would be on hand at the time mentioned.

For two hours that afternoon they sped along the country road in happy
converse. In fact, their ride was lengthened into nearly three hours.
That evening found him again at her side. The clock struck eleven. He
had started to leave a half hour before the time, and still he lingered.
Suddenly he turned his eyes upon her and said:

"Dorothy, do you know why I dashed through my Louisville trip at such
break-neck speed this week?"

"Why, you had to get back to your business, did you not?"

"Dorothy, it was you that pulled me back, and I tell you there can be no
real life for me without you, and I must have you mine forever. From the
first moment of our meeting I have been yours. God intended us for each

"You speak very confidently," she said with a smile, but with her heart
filled with a strange new happiness.

"Speak, Dorothy, do we not belong to each other?"

"I do not deny it."

Never had the town witnessed a more beautiful marriage than that of
Dorothy Page and Gilbert Sterling. That was the verdict of the people
when the blissful pair smiled their adieus at the depot and moved off on
their wedding tour.

It amounted to a sensation when the rich Presbyterian elder severed his
connection with his great church and joined the Baptists. It meant a
bright era for the Baptist church. Before a year rolled around a
handsome new building had been erected on a commanding lot in the center
of the town. Without offering any opposition to his old Presbyterian
church, Sterling plunged into the work of his new charge with
whole-hearted devotion. He made a study of the Baptist denomination in
the state of Kentucky and in the South and North. One of his first acts
was to subscribe for several Baptist papers, and it was interesting to
Dorothy to note with what eagerness he read everything in the papers,
and each time his reading was punctuated with exclamations of surprise
at the world-wide activities of the Baptists as he saw them recorded in
the columns of the papers. He found himself enthusiastic about their
history and their present enterprises The efforts of the State Mission
Board greatly interested him, and he determined to get into close touch
with it. He told his wife that he intended to identify himself with all
these denominational movements and share their burdens.

The Baptists of Kentucky and of the whole country have reason to be
grateful for the day when Gilbert Sterling enlisted in their ranks. He
is as yet on the threshold of his usefulness. He is studying the needs
and tasks of his denomination, seeking to know how he can devote his
strength and his possessions most effectively to its upbuilding. There
is no happier Baptist family in Kentucky and none destined to a wider
usefulness than that of the Sterlings.

                              (THE END.)

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