It will be said by those who oppose the views of Baptists—for it has been said a thousand times—that if infants are not to be baptized because they cannot believe, they will not be saved because they cannot believe. If the salvation of infants depends on their faith, they cannot be saved. They are incapable of faith. They are doubtless saved through the mediation of Christ, but it is not by faith. Our opponents fail egregiously to accomplish their object in urging this objection to our views. They must intend to make us admit the propriety of infant baptism, or force us to a denial of infant salvation. But we make neither the admission nor the denial. As soon as we say that infants are saved, not by faith, but without faith, their objection is demolished” (pp.84-85)
The allusions to baptism in the apostolic epistles forbid the supposition that infants were baptized. Paul refers to the “baptized” as “dead to sin”—rising from the baptismal waters to “walk in newness of life”—as “putting on Christ,”—as “baptized for the dead,” or in the belief of the resurrection. Peter defines baptism to be “the answer of a good conscience toward God.” This is a general definition which precludes the idea that baptism was, in apostolic times, administered to any except accountable agents. What conscience has a speechless infant? There is no operation of conscience prior to accountability. Baptism, then, in its administration to infants, cannot be what Peter says it is.
Without enlarging on these topics, what is the conclusion of the whole matter? Clearly this: The commission of Christ, as understood and exemplified in the apostolic age, requires the baptism of believers, disciples; and the baptism of all others, whether adult unbelievers or unconscious infants, is utterly unwarranted (p.88).
–J.M. Pendleton, Church Manual Designed for the Use of Baptist Churches, Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, .