CONFIDENCE Corrected, ERROR Detected, AND TRUTH Defended; OR Some farther REFLECTIONS Upon the TWO Athenian Mercuries, Lately Publish'd about INFANT-BAPTISM.

By Philalethes Pasiphilus.

Mar. 16.16.

He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved.

Act. 8.12.

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.

Act. 18.8.

—Many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized.

Col. 2.8.

Beware lest any Man spoil you through vain Deceit, after the Traditions of Men, and not after Christ.

Mar. 7.7, 8,

In vain do they worship me, teaching for Doctrines, the Commandments of Men. For laying aside the Commandment of God, ye hold the Tradition of Men, as the washing of Pots, and Cups: (and as we are now told, Men, Women and Children too) and many such like things ye do.

London, Printed in the Year, 1692.

Confidence Corrected, &c.

IT is a sad Thing, and much to be lamented, that there should continue to this Day, not only so many Differences in point of Judgment amongst Christians, but also so much Pride, and Pre­judice of Spirit one against another, by Reason of the same; insomuch, that there can hardly be the least Difference imagi­nable amongst Professors of Christianity in Matters of Judgment, but they are too readily turn'd into so many Marks of Reproach, and Causes of Malignity, one against another. This has been very sadly experimented in this Nation, for many Years past; and, to this Day, finds but too much Entertainment in the Minds of many, who still reckon themselves Men in Reputation, for Wisdom and Honour. But, though it may justly be expected, do what we can, that there will still remain Differences in Judgment, and Controversies among Christians in some things; yet of all the Controversies that ever ap­pear'd upon the Stage of Christianity, I cannot but most of all admire at this Controversy about Infant-Baptism: And that chiefly upon two Accounts.

First, That ever it should become such a Controversy as it has done.

Secondly, At the strange Effects that it has produced.

First, I cannot but admire, how this ever became such a Contro­versy amongst Christians, as it hath done; especially amongst such Christians, as do daily profess and declare, that the Scriptures are the only Rule of Faith and Worship, the only Guide to all Duty and Obe­dience, relating to everlasting Happiness; whenas there is not the least Word, nor shadow of a Word (and that by the Confession of Parties) for Infant-Baptism, in all the whole Book of God. I cannot imagine what the matter should be, that Men should make a Trade, of straining their Wits, to find out so many Tricks and Inventions, to maintain and defend a Practice, and count it part of God's Service and Worship, that they know, and are convic'd in their Consciences (as appears by their frequent Acknowledgments) is no where to be found in God's Word. There is scarcely any other Controversy, that ever [Page 4]happen'd in the World among Christians, but makes a greater pre­tence to Scripture than this doth, or can: It is not so much to be won­dred at, that there has happened such a Difference among Christians about the Tenets of Arminius and Calvin, about Absolute and Respe­ctive Election and Reprobation, and all the Appurtenances belonging thereunto; because there pretty plainly seems to be some considera­ble Glances in Scripture in favour of both Opinions: yea, the very Socinians themselves, (which deny the Deity of Christ) challenge a far fairer Pretence to Scripture, than any Pedo-baptist can do; be­cause the Text plainly saith, My Father is greater than I: Which as little as it is, if the Pedo-baptists could but produce such a Glance as that, in Scripture, for Infant-Baptism, it would be more than ever yet was done upon that account. Yea, the very Papists are less to be wondred at, in their Plea for Transubstantiation; because the Text saith plainly, This is my Body, &c. Which is a Plea, beyond what any Pedo-baptist can pretend unto, in the behalf of that which they make such a stir about. Yet how is the Weakness and Folly of Socinians and Papists, and others, condemn'd and censur'd by many Pedo-baptists, whilst they magnify and bless themselves in that for which they cannot produce even so much seeming Authority from Scripture.

I question not, but I may presume, that if a hundred of the most Learned and Judicious Men in the World, should read the Bible o­ver forty times from one end to the other, they would never so much as think of Infant-baptism, by virtue of that Reading, and their best Consideration into the Bargain, if the Voice of Tradition and Custom had not possest them with it beforehand: and if so, how justly may it be wonder'd at, that such a thing should ever become a Con­troversy amongst Pretenders to Scripture? — The Baptists say, In­fant-baptism is no where to be found in Scripture: The Pedo-baptists frequently confess the same thing. — The Baptists say, that whatso­ever is not to be found in Scripture, is no Part of Divine Worship: — All Protestant Pedo-baptists, do freely acknowledg this also. Now who can tell where the Controversy lies? Is it not strange that Men should pretend to differ, yea, and to differ greatly too, in that very thing wherein they seem to be so plainly and fully agreed? Who can give any good Reason now, why this Conclusion should not necessarily be agreed to by mutual Consent, namely, that Infant-baptism is no part of Divine Worship? Which if it were, the whole Controversy would be gone at once. — The Baptists do from time to time assert, [Page 5]that there is neither Precept for, nor Precedent of, nor Promise unto, Infant-baptism, in all the Word of God: And their most Learned and Judicious Adversaries, do frequently grant and confess the same thing; and yet strive to maintain and uphold the Controversy in the World. This is one Part of my Wonder, with respect to this Matter.

Secondly, I cannot but wonder at the strange Effects it has produ­ced, and they are many; but I shall only touch upon one, namely, That though the Principle and Practice of the Baptists (so called) is in the point of Baptism, so plainly and plentifully laid down in Scrip­ture, and holds such an undeniable Correspondency and Agreement with Primitive Purity, yet that they should be loaded with so much Contempt and Reproach, as they have been, and yet are, by many in this Nation, for no other thing than this honest and harmless, yea, Honourable and Heaven-born Practice. Who is it that is any whit wise and judicious, that knows not that Christ and the Primitive Christians were baptiz'd, as they now plead and practise? Yet how have they for many years, in this Christian Kingdom, been not only slighted, but rendred odious, and counted as the very Dreggs and Off-scouring of the World, even for this very thing? Yea, the worst and vilest of Men, have been counted worthy of more Honour and Re­spect amongst People than they; insomuch, that Highway-men and Anabaptists, have been almost Titles of equal Dignity. Is it not strange that any that pretend to be the Disciples of Christ, and the Followers of Jesus, should dare so boldly to throw downright and naked Reproach upon the Practice of their Saviour; and cast all man­ner of Dirt and Scorn in the Faces of any, meerly for endeavouring to follow him in that which he has not only commanded, but set them an Example in his own Person? — Though blessed be God, through the gracious Influence, and benign Aspects of our Chief Rulers, this Spirit at this day is somewhat corrected and abated; yet to this moment, there are but too many that still strive to foment and cherish it. This is the second Part of my Wonder, with respect to this Controversy, above any other, that ever happen'd among sober Christians. — Now how far our Athenian Gentlemen have contributed towards the Removal of this Wonder, I shall take upon me the Bold­ness a little to remark: — Wherefore now I shall direct my Discourse to them.

Gentlemen, I will not say, that you have so much bespatter'd us with Dirt and Reproach, as some others have done before you; yet [Page 6]I cannot but observe that you, at least, seem to have a good mind, (if I may use such a Soloecism) to be nibbling at it; and that appears chiefly, if we consider these three things.

1st, How liberally and tartly you bestow that silly and idle Nick­name of Reproach [Anabaptist] upon us, so often repeated in your Papers? Though you know 'tis a Name we disown and deny, espe­cially too to do it at the same time that the Question is militating betwixt us: Which indeed, besides the Malignity that seems to be in it, is an implicite begging of the whole Question. For what do you else, when you aforehand briskly take it for granted, that we are a Parcel of Anabaptists, making no Question of that, when you know you are a disputing that very Question, which ought to determine whether we are so or no? Pray, Sirs, why may not we as justly make a trade of calling you, and all of your Party or Perswasion, An­ti-baptists or Cata-baptists? for you cannot but know, that according to our Principles, you do as much deny Baptism, and abuse it too, as we can possibly, according to your Principles, be twice Baptiz'd; but we reckon it below any that pretend to Wisdom and Ingenuity, to make such beggarly things any part of their Refuge: Wherefore, Sirs, I think I may safely conclude, you have not dealt so candidly with us in this Particular, as you ought to have done.

2dly. In that you very unworthily, if not proudly, insinuate, that there are none, nor ever were any among the Baptists, that are so knowing in the Customs of Nations, Linguisms, Radixes, or Original Significations in Languages, as you are; and that may perhaps be the great Cause of Disputes upon this Subject: When, Sirs, it is very well known, that there have been, and are to this Day, many amongst them, of very great Parts and Learning, and excellently well skill'd in all those Matters you talk of. Wherefore, Gentlemen, if you are Ignorant herein, you might have done better to have kept your Igno­rance to your selves: But if you are not Ignorant hereof, there's no­thing can excuse you from an invidious and spiteful Insinuation. And you farther politickly expose them to popular Prejudice, by giving them a Paraliptical Bite, and by an Apophasis cunningly charge them with a Spirit of Contention; which may also be a great cause of Dis­putes upon this Subject: As if your Opinion and Practice about Infant-Baptism, was so manifestly clear and evident, that it's scarce possible for any Body to make the least Doubt or Scruple about it, if they be not afore-hand troubled with a Spirit of Contention; or else ignorant of the Customs of Nations, &c. But pray, Sirs, Why a [Page 7] Spirit of Contention in the Baptists, any more than in your selves? What's the Matter, Gentlemen, that they must needs presently be sup­posed to be Criminals in this Case for disputing, any more than their Antagonists that dispute against them? Really, Sirs, if there must needs be a Spirit of Contention on one side, it may with a little Considera­tion easily be perceived, that it lies rather at your Door than at theirs; if you do but seriously reflect upon the Darkness of your own Practice, and the Clearness of theirs with whom you contend, Adversaries themselves being Judges.

3dly. In that you so impertinently and boldly mention several Persons, whom you call Ring-leaders amongst Anabaptists, who are supposed to be guilty of several Crimes, and remarkable Enormities; for no other end that can rationally be thought of, but to expose your Antagonists to farther Contempt and Prejudice. Here, Gentlemen, I cannot but admire at your Wisdom, (if I had said Folly, I think it had been no great matter) that you should be so inconsiderately hardy, to venture upon such an Argument as this.

When, in the First Place, we have just cause to question the Truth of those Things, as to Matter of Fact, being, as may rationally be suppos'd, first promoted by Lying and Malicious Papists, who speak as bad things of Calvin and Luther, and the Waldenses before them: And may justly be thought, to be taken from them, by some inveterate Protestants, which bore them as little good Will as the Papists did, or Mr. Ross himself. Alas! What strange Work have we seen, even in our own Nation, upon this account? How many good Men have been miserably misrepresented before our Faces, when there have been Thousands alive, at the same time, that were able to have detected the Scandal, but durst not attempt it? How many Men in England, have even been Diaboliz'd in the Face of the Sun, that in some time af­ter have been little less than Canoniz'd for Saints? and had it not been for remarkable Revolutions, had never recovered out of the shape of Devils. And amongst many other Things, Mr. Ross's Brother Edwards his Gangrena, is too fresh in Memory to be forgotten.

Secondly; If all were unquestionably true, you cannot chuse but know there is no Argument in it, it is not only the weakest, but the worst of Arguments; it greatly reflects upon the Wisdom of any that shall venture to use it. For tho Hind, Hannam, Cutting Dick, and the Golden Farmer were all Villains; yet who doubts but there are many Pedo-Baptists in England, and other Countries too, that are honest Men? and not only so, but their Principles too may be good, notwithstand­ing any thing in this Argument against them.

Thirdly; If there were any thing of Argument in it, who need matter it? Pray, Gentlemen, consider, who do you think has most cause to fear it, if there were any thing in it, they, or your selves? If they were dispos'd to draw the Saw against you here, you may easily foresee what dreadful and bitter work might be made with you, by virtue of this Argument. Really, Sirs, it argues you are heavily put to [...], and in a desperate Case, that you dare venture up­on such dangerous and self-killing Methods: But you had better suffer a Famine of Arguments for seven Years together, than to meddle with such Noli me Tangere's as these; for you cannot but know, that we might in this Case, give you Argumentum ad Hominem, at least forty for one: And if so, then how wisely you have done in this Matter, you may upon farther Thoughts become your own Judges. But I care not to insist any farther upon this, unless we be farther fool­ishly provok'd.

I now come to consider how you answer the Questions about Infant-Baptism, chiefly in your First Mercury, and the Second occasionally, as there may be any fresh matter worth regarding.

The first Question you undertake to answer, is, Whether (as is commonly taught) Baptism is the proper and natural Antitype of Circumcision? &c. Your positive Answer is, that in many Cases it will bear the Affirmative; which you endeavour to prove, from some fol­lowing Considerations.

And your first is, from the Custom amongst the Jews, in prosely­ting the Gentiles into their Religion: So far indeed (say you) Cir­cumcision was not properly a Type, but rather the Continuance of a Custom, that by St. John, our Saviour and his Apostles, had added unto it, all that was necessary to make it a full, proper, and pertinent Type of Baptism. Now, Sirs, what a strange, loose, unintelligible and un­satisfactory Answer is this?

For first; Your positive Answer is not so positive as it ought to have been; for you do not positively answer the Question at all, ei­ther that Circumcision was, or it was not a Tyye of Baptism: Now this I humbly conceive you ought to have done, namely, positively to have asserted, that Circumcision was a Type of Baptism, if you had look'd upon it so to have been, notwithstanding they might have differ'd in some Circumstances, as indeed all Types and Anti­types do in something or other, otherwise they could not have been two, but one and the same thing: for things that differ not at all, cannot be different things. And divers things may agree with other [Page 9]things, under some general Considerations, of which they never were Types, as well as those that were: Isaac and Ishmael, were both Sons of Abraham; therein there was an Agreement. 2dly, They were both Subjects of Circumcision, there they agreed again, &c. yet Ishmael was no Type of Isaac. A Horse is a Substance, so is a Man, there's an Agreement; a Horse is a Living Creature, so is a Man, there's an Agreement again; a Horse eats and drinks, so does a Man, there's another Agreement; yet neither of them was ever a Type of the other: So that your positive Answer, does as strong­ly imply that Circumcision was not a Type of Baptism, as it does that it was.

But secondly, Is it not strange that such Pretenders to Ingenui­ty as you are, should bring a Consideration to prove Circumcisi­on a Type of Baptism, which as soon as ever you have laid down, you plainly confess and acknowledg it proves no such thing, but rather the contrary? For do not you plainly tell us, that you shall endeavour to prove the Affirmative, by these following Considerati­ons?

And the first is, From the Custom amongst the Jews; and yet in the very next Words, you tell us as plainly, it proves no such Mat­ter: for so far it was no Type, but the Continuance of a Custom. Pray, Gentlemen, why then did you urge this Consideration for such a Purpose, when you knew beforehand, it was not capable of per­forming that Service? Methinks, you should never be in love with such a Cause, as doth so strangly captivate your Intellects; as not only appears in this, but in other things that follow: Circumcision (say you) was rather the Continuance of a Custom, &c. Now, Sirs, here I must of necessity be puzzled to find out your Meaning? Your Words are so unintelligibly laid down, that it will be hard for me to know what you intend by them; and if I should, without any more ado, take that to be your Meaning, that the Order and Grammar of your Words here do imply, I know not but I might wrong you in your Meaning, which I would not willingly do if I could help it: I must be forc'd therefore, to guess at 2 or 3 things, and hit upon it if I can: Some one or other of which, I think must be your Meaning, or else I am like to continue ignorant of it till fur­ther Revelation. Certainly these words Continuance of a Custom here, must refer either to Circumcision it self, or else to that other Custom a­mong the Jews you speak of; if to Circumcision, as one might justly be under a Temptation to think it may, when you so plainly tell [Page 10]us both Negatively and Positively, what it was not, and what it was; not a Type, but a Continuance of a Custom; who can think but you must mean Circumcision all this while? For how Circumcision could be the Continuance of another thing, I do not well understand: if you had said a Cause or Occasion of Continuance, there might have been some small matter in it, though not very much; but to be the Conti­nuance it self of another thing, is not easy to be perceiv'd. Now then, if this Passage of yours be referr'd to Circumcision, then you on­ly tell us, that Circumcision was a Continuance of Circumcision: Which is such a gross Identity, as is not much incident to ingenious Men: But if we refer it to the Custom among the Jews, then in the first place I ask, how could Circumcision, which was a Precept of God, be the Continuance of another thing, that was only a Custom among Men? Was the Practice and Continuance of the one, the Practice and Continuance of the other? or how would you be understood?

Secondly; If your word Custom here, relates to the Custom of the Jews aforesaid, then you seem to say, it was that Custom that St. John, our Saviour and his Apostles, made a full, proper, and pertinent Type of Baptism; and then it's so far from appearing that Cir­cumcision was a Type of Baptism, which was the thing to be proved, that after all, it falls to the lot of this Jewish Custom, to be this Type: Which our Saviour it seems, was so much in love with, that he and his Apostles, make it a Type of their own Baptism: Which is not only a very strange thing, but wonderfully remote from your Purpose.

But because I would do you all the Justice I can, there is another thing which I have thought on, which may be your Meaning, for ought I know, but whether it is or no, that I cannot determine; but if it be, it is very far fetch'd, and must needs have a very uncouth Reference. However, the Supposition is this, namely, that St. John, our Saviour and his Apostles, added to the old Custom of the Jews, all that was necessary to make Circumcision a Type of Baptism: And if so, then it's a plain Case, that Circumcision was never ordain'd or intended by God, neither in its Original nor Progress, to be a Type of Baptism, till Baptism was made a Gospel-Ordinance by Christ and his Apostles; which is a very strange and Self-contra­dicting Notion. For if Circumcision was ever a Type a Baptism, it must be so before ever Baptism, as a Antitype, could have a Being; for upon the Coming of the Antitype, the Type ceases: As soon as ever the Antitype lives and is in force, the Type dies [Page 11]and is out of date: how then could Circumcision be made a Type of Baptism, by Baptism it self? when according to this Supposi­tion, it must continue all its Life-long without such a Title, and when it was dead, it could never come at it. If Circumcision were not the Type of Baptism before Baptism came, how then could Baptism be the Antitype thereof? It could not come as an Anti­type, because it seems there was no Type before it came. — If you had told us, that a Man cannot properly be said to be born, till he is properly said to be dead; or that the Father cannot properly Be, till the Son lives and begets him, it had been just such a piece of Philosophy, as this is of Divinity. — But if it be said, that Circumcision did not expire upon the coming in of Baptism, for they were both in force for some Years together: I answer, it's very true, but then it's a good Argument to prove, that Circumcision and Baptism were never Type and Antitype. And this Supposition our Gentlemen do as good as grant, for they tacitly tell us, it was no Type before Baptism came, and how it should be a Type afterwards, I know not.

You say further, Had John the Baptist, Christ, &c. undertook any new Way of proselyting the Jews to the Gospel, they had not only struggled with the Oppositions of a new Doctrine, but also of a new Practice, &c. Really, Sirs, your Words here seem to imply, that it was some old Trade to proselyte Men to the Gospel long before it began; for if it was not some old Practice before, then it must be a new Practice, when St. John and our Saviour began it. And if the very proselyting of Men to the Gospel, were a new Practice, and the Doctrine leading there­unto, a new Doctrine, what force can there be in this Objection of yours? However, Gentlemen, this Suggestion of yours, seems to be very raw and inconsiderate; for the great and principal Struggle of the Jews with our Saviour, was about his Divinity and Authority; his being the Son of God, and sent by his Fa­ther, to teach and instruct the World, by virtue of that Autho­rity which none ever before him had: And accordingly, when­ever our Saviour taught amongst the Jews, he very frequently, not only reprov'd their vicious and enormous Lives, but corrected and condemn'd their false and erronious Doctrines, their idle and vain Traditions, and foolish Superstitions, wherein they taught for Doctrines the Commandments of Men. And herein lay the chief Quarrel of the Jews against our Saviour, who instead of own­ing [Page 12]of him in that Divine Capacity he justly challeng'd, they counted him a Samaritan, a Devil, and a Mad-man, contradicting, opposing, and charging of him with Blasphemy, for making himself equal with God, and condemning them in their Ways, as one that had Authority from Heaven so to do. — It was no part of our Saviour's Business, to countenance or encourage any in their vain Inventions and superstitious Fooleries, which were never ap­pointed nor approved by God; but to enlighten their Minds, and take them off from all such Dotages, and settle them upon such things as were purely of God, and such things as he had in Com­mission from his Father to teach them. — And give me leave to tell you, that if your Notion in this case, were suppos'd to be true, it cannot rationally be thought, that our Saviour could have made any great Earnings upon the stubborn Jews, by virtue of that; for if he had only taken their old Custom, and alter'd it, or added any thing to it of his own Pleasure, and made it what it was not before, (as you say) and given it out in his own Name, re­quiring Obedience to it by his own Authority, even of the Jews themselves, which never submitted to it before, and that too in order to their being proselyted or initiated into a new, or ano­ther Religion; he would in so doing, have declar'd and asserted his Authority to them and over them, altogether as much as if he had requir'd a down-right new Practice of them; and have cross'd their Humours and Inclinations as much in the one as in the other. And as for those that were inclinable to fall in with his Authority, and to own his Divinity, as he himself asserted it, it may readily be taken for granted, that they would give him leave to give out what precepts he pleas'd, without struggling with him about it: Those that receiv'd his new Doctrine, would never contend with him about new Practice; for indeed, all Practice is comprehended in Doctrine: so that the ground of your Notion is altogether groundless.

That Expression of yours also, I must a little remark, as ano­ther piece of crabbed Intricacy, which I cannot make very plea­sant Sense of. When you tell as, that therefore this Custom was continued, (namely, to please the Jews) and had the Superaddition of the full force of Baptism, viz. a Consignation, or a Seal of the Co­venant: — Do not these Words now seem strongly to imply, that there was some other Baptism in force as a Seal of the Covenant, which the Jewish Baptism had not the force of, till our Saviour [Page 13]takes it, and gives it now the full force of Baptism, viz. makes that Custom a Seal of the Covenant as well as Baptism, Baptism being the very Rule and Standard, unto which that Jewish Custom was brought? for how could that Custom have the full force of Baptism added, or given to it, if there had been no Baptism then in force, unto which this Jewish Custom is now said to be advanced? — And if so, then People may take their choice, whether they will have this last made Jewish Baptism, or the first made Christian Baptism; for it seems, though they are two distinct Baptisms, yet they are both Seals of the Covenant. Really, Sirs, it is not usual for Men, in the face of the Sun, to speak Daggers at this rate; No more would you, I conceive, if your undeserving Cause did not force you to it. — I see it is not for nothing that you so freely acknow­ledg, in your second Mercury upon this Subject, that you deliver'd your Assertions a little darkly. Indeed, Gentlemen, I think you were greatly in the dark when you wrote them, and therefore no wonder you were deliver'd of such a dark Issue: Which though you seem to be sensible of, yet you seem to have no Inclination to come into the Light, that you may see to make better work. But, Sirs, after all this, I might justly enquire, how you came by all this Confidence? Gentlemen, I beseech you, who told you, or where did you read such a piece of Christian Divinity, as you so boldly dictate to the World; namely, that John the Baptist, Christ and his Apostles, did so highly approve of this old Jewish Custom you talk of, as to take it, and put a Divine Sanction upon it, and make that very Custom a Con­signation, or a Seal of the Covenant, and so it became a proper Anti­type of Circumcision? Does the Scripture, which we all pretend to be our Rule in Matters of Divine Worship, tell you any such Story, or teach you any such Doctrine? Is there the least Whisper of any such thing in all the New-Testament? if there be, pray be so kind as to tell us where; if not, what signify your Dictates? Nay, Sirs, I am very apt to think, that your great Friend Maimonides, nor yet any of the Jewish Rabbies, ever told you such a linsy-woolsy Story as this; yet here seems to lie the greatest shew of your Proof that Circumcision was the Type of Baptism. Sirs, if you did not seem to be a little proud and obstinate in this Matter, I could hear­tily pity your Distress: but why should you strive, thus to impose your vain Crochets, and Scriptureless Notions upon us; and seem to be angry with us, that we do not greedily swallow them?

As for the three Texts you bring, further to prove Circumci­sion a Type of Baptism, which you call undeniable Texts; I confess, it might be worth any ones while, to take these three Texts, and read them well over; for they are, as the Gentlemen call them, undeniable Texts: But withal, do but remember for what purpose these Gentlemen quote them, and then forbear smiling if you can. The Gentlemen, I confess, were very much in the right, when they call'd them undeniable Texts: But they were extreamly in the wrong, when they thought these Texts would prove Circum­cision a Type of Baptism, or do them any service for Infant-Sprinkling. The first Text is, Col. 2.11, 12. In whom also ye are circumcised with the Circumcision made without Hands, in putting off the Body of the Sins of the Flesh, by the Circumcision of Christ; buried with him in Baptism, wherein also you are risen with him, through the Faith of the O­peration of God, &c. Now in the reading of this Text, any one might be ready to think, that certainly, if any thing here spoken of, may be suppos'd to be the Antitype of Circumcision with Hands, it must be the Circumcision here mention'd, made without Hands, in putting off the Body of the Sins of the Flesh; and this is very so­berly, not only suggested, but (one would think) also very ratio­nally and fairly proved, by the Gentleman in his Animadversions, as also in his Rejoinder: And also in that other Gentleman's Answer to your two Mercuries. And indeed it lies so fairly in the Text, so easy to be understood, and so rational in it self, that one may justly admire how any understanding Man could miss it. But, say our Gentlemen, in their second Mercury, The Scope of the Apostle here was to take off the Colossians from the Rudiments of the World, (then I hope, by the way, it was not to settle them in any old Custom) especially Circumcision, which troubled most of the Churches; so far indeed, I shall not dispute: And therefore, the Apostle very wisely and rationally gives them to understand, that they had not the least occasion to dote upon these weak and beggarly Rudi­ments; for, saith he, ye are compleat in Christ; (without them) in whom also ye are circumcis'd (if that be it you would have) with the Circumcision made without Hands, in putting off the Body of the Flesh, which is far better than your old outward Circumcision; and this is plainly signify'd and confirm'd to you, in your being buried with Christ in Baptism: So that you have no reason in the World, to hanker after these unprofitable things, but rather much reason to be content in your Gospel-Station, and keep where you are: being not [Page 15]only in a better Condition, in being deliver'd from that Yoke of Bondage, but also strongly oblig'd to persevere in the Christian Re­ligion, by being listed under the Captain of it, by your being buried with him in Baptism, wherein also you are risen with him, through Faith, &c.

But say you, they might object, We want the outward Circumci­sion to us and our Children. No Sirs, they might not now object at this rate, for this was the Objection that was supposed to go before, unto which the Apostle had given a very fair, full and satisfactory An­swer, by telling them that they were Circumcised with the Circumci­sion made without Hands, as aforesaid: So no room for that Objection now. But this Interpretation is rejected, and condemned, by our Athenian Gentlemen; and Circumcision must, even by this Text, be the Type of Baptism when all's done: But for what Reason I cannot imagine, unless it be meerly because they find these two Words in the Text, Circumcision and Baptism; and therefore conclude one must be a Type of the other. But, Gentlemen, if you will but let our Interpre­tation pass for Orthodox till you are able to give us a better, we shall in this Case desire no more. Moreover, Sirs, If we should grant you your own Exposition here, and give it you for Truth, I do not yet un­derstand what great matter you would gain by it; unless we give you also what you please to beg for into the Bargain: What if I should grant you, for Argument-sake, that Baptism supplies the place, or came in the room of Circumcision, and that Christians are in effect Circumcised because Baptized (as you say:) All this might be, and yet this Text signify nothing for Infant-Baptism, unless it were also plain in the Text that Infants are the Subjects of it; but there is not the least glimmering of such a thing in the Text, but rather plainly the con­trary: There's nothing in the Text but what is rationally exclusive of Infants. It cannot be supposed that the Apostle is to be understood of Infants, when he tells the believing Colossians, that in Christ they were Circumcised with the Circumcision made without Hands, in putting off the Sins of the Flesh, and were buried with Christ in Baptism, wherein also they were risen with him through Faith, &c. What therefore, if I should now grant you that the Apostle in this Text should intimate, that in the place and room of Infant-Circumcision, Christ has now appointed Be­lievers Baptism; that instead of Abraham's Fleshly Seed that were wont to be Circumcised, he will now have only Abraham's Spiritual Seed bap­tized? As in the case of the Passover and the Lord's Supper, most judi­cious Christians do suppose and believe that the Lord's Supper came in the room of the Passover, and that tho Infants did partake of the one, [Page 16]yet they are excluded from the other. Where then would your Ad­vantage be, if we should grant you that Baptism might come in the room and stead of Circumcision? you would still be as far to seek for Infant-Baptism as ever you were. For you know, it is not Cir­cumcision and Baptism, running parallel in some things, that will make them parallel in every thing; and by the same Rule you grant them to differ in the case of Women, why may they not also differ in the case of Infants?

Your other two Texts, is 1 Cor. 10.2. and 1 Pet. 3.21. the one speaks of the Israelites being baptized unto Moses, in the Cloud, and in the Sea; and the other of Noah and his Family being saved in the Ark, &c. Now let all the World judge how these Texts prove Circumcision to be a Type of Baptism. What course shall we take to frame an Argument from these Texts for such a purpose? Gentlemen, because I perceive you are such Friends to a Syllogistical way of argu­ing, I'le try how well I can do your work for you, which you seem to have no Stomach to do for your selves.

First, thus, If the Cloud and Sea were a Type of Baptism, then Circum­cision was a Type of Baptism: But this Text implies, That the Cloud and Sea were a Type of Baptism: Ergo, Circumcision was.

Again, If Noah's Ark were a Type of Baptism, then Circumcision was so: But Noah's Ark was a Type of Baptism: Ergo.

But if you think this Hypothetical way of Syllogizing is not so good as the Catagorical way; I'le try how they will look when they are laid down Catagorically.

Then thus it must be; The Cloud and the Sea were a Type of Baptism: But Circumcision was the Cloud and the Sea: Ergo, Circumcision was a Type of Baptism.

Again, Noah's Ark was a Type of Baptism: But Circumcision was Noah's Ark: Ergo, Circumcision was a Type of Baptism.

If our Gentlemen should not like these Arguments, I would advise them to study a better Cause, that they may know how to mend them: In the mean time, whoever is in love with such Logick, let them go to these Gentlemen to learn it.

But Gentlemen, I have not yet done with your Jewish Custom, I am willing to paraphrase a little farther upon it before I pass it: Where­fore, in the first place, I must needs tell you, that I see no reason but why we may yet question the very Truth of it, even with respect to matter of Fact; for although 'tis true I lay no great stress upon the Business, for I do not much care whether it be true or false; yet I can­not [Page 17]but reckon it is at least lawful to question whether your Story be true or no, especially a Truth of such an ancient standing as you talk of, and not only so, but a Truth sufficient to make the Bottom and Founda­tion of a Gospel-Ordinance. You had need of good Evidence, Sirs, to palliate your Boldness; but if you had far better Evidence than you have, as to Matter of Fact, it will not excuse you in imposing it upon us as a Gospel-Duty: How great is your Folly then if it should hap­pen to be but a Fiction, which seems at least to be likely, if we seriously consider these two or three Things?

First; Because there is not the least mention of such a Thing in all the Old and New Testament; the Scripture knows nothing of such a Story, which is a very probable Argument to prove it false: For if there had been such a remarkable Custom amongst the Jews so long ago as you intimate, Is it not strange, that neither Moses, nor any of the Old Testament Writers, nor our Saviour, nor any in the New Te­stament, should ever give us the least hint of such a Thing? And yet you confidently dictate, that our Saviour took that Custom, and turn'd it into a Gospel-Sacrament, and yet never gave us the least Signification that ever there was such a Custom in the World: Which does, at least, very strongly imply one of these two Things. First, That either there never was such a Custom in the World in those Days; or if there was, our Saviour had nothing to do with it, at least in your Sense; your choice of either (Gentlemen) wholly destroys your Cause.

But Secondly; Matter of Fact may yet be doubted, because, as far as I can yet perceive, this Story is originally taken out of the Jews Fictitious and Lying Talmud; in which is contain'd such a Bundle of fabulous and ridiculous Stories, which almost every Man in his Wits is so far from believing, that they must rather conclude them to be abominable Falshoods.

Thirdly; Because, as Sir Norton Knatchbull observes, (as I find him quoted by Mr. Danvers) there is a difference in this Matter even be­tween the Jewish Rabbies themselves: two eminent Rabbies that were Contemporaries, plainly contradicting each other in this Point, even as to matter of Fact; Eliezer affirm'd that the Proselytes were Circumcised and not Baptized, and Rabbi Joshuah attested the quite contrary, that they were Baptized and not Circumcised: Whereupon Sir Norton de­mands to which of them must we adhere, to Eliezer that affirms what the Scriptures teach, or to Joshuah that asserts what the Scriptures no where teach? All these things well consider'd, it seems to be more than probable to be but a lying Invention.

I confess, had you not brought this Story as a Basis of that which all Christians count part of Divine Worship, I should not so much have concern'd my self in questioning the Truth of it, neither had your Weakness been so apparent, whether the Story had been true or false; we might have believ'd just what we had listed in it without being one jot better or worse. But now, Sirs, with respect to what you bring it for, nothing less than Scripture-Testimony ought to serve the turn; therefore your Disingenuity (to say no worse) appears to be exceed­ing great in going about to put us off with the Story of Alexander the Great, Cato and Hannibal. Alas! Sirs, we may make a pretty good shift to believe such things as these, if Human Testimony do but hang well together about them, because they are of the same Nature and Con­cernment with the Testimony that gives them; and if they should happen to be false, yet our Souls have no Dependency upon them. But if any Body shall tell me that Alexander, or any Body else, consul­ted the Apostle Paul about Baptizing Bells and Pots, and the Apostle's Answer was that it is a Christian Duty so to do, 'tis part of God's Di­vine Worship, and it ought to be done in the Name of the Sacred Tri­nity; and should refer me to some old Human History to prove it by as a Divine Truth; I shall only say, that he that takes this for good pay, deserves to be cheated.

But Secondly; If your Story, as to matter of Fact, were unque­stionably true; and that it's so certain that the Jews had such a Custom, that none needs doubt it, this would be far from being satisfactory to the matter in hand: For first, Who bad them do it? Did they come honestly by this Custom? Was it appointed and approved of by God, or was it not? If you say it was, you cannot but reckon your selves oblig'd to prove it: And if it was not of God, but their own Super­stitious Invention, what does it signify to us Christians, any other­wise than to admonish us to take heed that we do not provoke God by our foolish Inventions as they did? And can it be imagin'd that God should abolish his own Appointments, and ratify and consecrate one of their God-provoking Customs, as a Divine Sacrament in the room and place thereof, to be a binding Duty upon all Christians? Sirs, if you dare assert such a thing, you had need to have special Evidence to bear you out in it; and yet behold you have none at all, notwithstanding you can venture very boldly to tell us that there was no need to have this expresly set down, in what Method and what Persons, whether Infants or not, the Custom being so well known before-hand; when it may not only be question'd, whether Christ and his Apostles knew [Page 19]any thing of it, or whether you know any thing of it your selves from good Authority? But it's evident there are many thousand in the Chri­stian World that know nothing at all of this Custom; What must all these poor Creatures do that have nothing to inform them into their Duty in this matter, but the Scriptures? Do not you a little too plain­ly give us to understand, that the Scripture signifies nothing to our In­struction or Direction herein? And if it be our Duty to baptize our Infants, we are like to know nothing of it from thence? But those that are ignorant of the Customs of Nations, (as you intimate many are) must of necessity remain ignorant how to serve and please God in this particular, unless by consulting the Jewish Talmud they can arrive at that Happiness; for it seems by this Passage of yours it is in vain to consult the Scriptures about it, Res stupenda & horrenda! &c.

The Second Question you undertake to answer is this, What certain indubitable Grounds can we have for the practice of Infant-Baptism?

Your Answer is now direct and positive, from the Scripture. Gentlemen, I do assure you, I am very glad of this Answer; for then, I hope, we shall hear no more of that old Jewish Custom, which has lain so long in our way: If you had thought of this sooner, you might have sav'd your selves and me too, a great deal of Labour: for hitherto, the Jewish Custom has been the only Oracle that one would have thought, might have been sufficient fully to have decided the Controversy: for it does not only prove Circumcision a Type of Baptism, but it goes further, and answers the main Ob­jection in that case; for though Women were not circumcis'd, and so one would think should have been excluded from Baptism: No, not so; this old Custom take, that quite off: for, inasmuch as Men, Wo­men and Children, among the Heathen, were baptiz'd by the Jews, it wholly answers that Objection; and one would think, should fully prove the whole Controversy, that Men, Women and Children, are all the Subjects of Baptism. Who could imagine, that after all this, we should need to be beholden to the Scripture for Infant-baptism? But however, the case it seems is alter'd, the Scripture must now do the business: And I freely confess, that if it do but appear from Scrip­ture, that either Infants were baptiz'd by God's Appointment, or ought to be Baptiz'd, we ought to be silent in the Case. But what Scriptures are these, that thus certainly and indubitably prove Infant-baptism? Why the first is, Matth. 28.19, 28. Good Reader, do so much as read the Text, and see else if it do not: Thus it reads, Go ye therefore, and teach all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Fa­ther, [Page 20]and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. Certainly, Sirs, you must be Gentlemen by your Boldness, else you durst not have ventur'd up­on such a Text as this, to have prov'd Infant-baptism: Sure you can­not but think, that any Text in the Bible will prove it as much as this; and there are abundance of Texts that have less in them against it. I wonder why you did not urge them by Dozens! But, Sirs, what reason had you to bring this Text for Infant-baptism? Does not the Text rather plainly exclude them, when it saith, Go, teach all Nations, and then baptize them? Pray, Sirs, consider, and answer plainly, if you dare venture to be ingenuous; Is any more, or any other, here commanded to be baptiz'd, than what are first commanded to be taught, and that too, by the Apostles preaching of the Gospel to them, as it is express'd in Mark 16.15, 16. a parallel Place, where this same Commi [...]ion is repeated? If this be not exclusive of Infants, I wish you would let us know what is. But, say you, the Order of Words in the Commission, does your business: Well, Sirs, if it do, we are well contented; for we are very well pleas'd, with that Or­der that our Saviour has here laid down: And I plainly perceive, that with all your Art and Learning, (though you seem to have a great mind to it) you are not able to disorder them, to serve your purpose. The words in the Commission, you say, is, Mathetéusate pánta ta ethne, disciple all Nations; and then follows, Baptizontes kai didáscontes, and this you say, in your second Paper, you shall ever stand by, (as the Sense and Scope of this Commission) to wit, disci­ple all Nations, Baptizing and Teaching them. Good now, Sirs, stand your ground; mean but honestly, and there's no danger of Discord from any that I know of. What do we say, or plead for, more or less, than you have thus far plainly given us? We freely grant, that the Word Mathetéusate signifies to discipulize, disciple, or make Disciples: and this must be done, by this Commission, before Persons are to be baptiz'd: and when that's done, they are to be baptiz'd, and after that, still to be taught, to grow in Grace and Knowledg, that they may go on to Perfection. Now, Sirs, if this be the thing you resolve to stand by, we bid you God speed; you will hardly meet with any Dis­senters among the Baptists. Yet though you not only grant, but plead to this purpose, in your first Paper, and tell us you are resolv'd to stand by it, in your second: You have no mind we should take this Sense into our hands, though you know not well how to keep it in your own; neither have you any mind to keep to it your selves, when [Page 21]all's done; for you strangely strive to shrink away from it, as soon as ever you have laid it down; and very odly make these two incon­gruous Observations from the Text so read:

First, Infants are not excluded from Baptism, as is generally believ'd by Anabaptists.

Secondly, A Person may be baptiz'd before he be taught.

Certainly, Sirs, you can never think, that these two Propositions receive Countenance and Confirmation from this Text: For first, If Infants are not excluded from Baptism by this Text, good now do so much as tell us who are. Secondly, If Persons may be baptized, by this Text, without being first taught, pray be so kind as to tell us, who by this Text, are not to be baptiz'd. If you think none are ex­cluded, or if there can be none in the World, that are not to be bap­tiz'd, I wish you would tell us so in words at length, that we might readily give you the Reputation of extraordinary Doctors of Divinity. Pray, Gentlemen, tell us also plainly, how you think the Apostles, by virtue of this Commission, were to make Disciples of Christ, in order to their being baptiz'd: Were they to make People Disciples of Christ, meerly by looking upon them, without speaking a word to them? This indeed seems to be the Design of your struggle in your two Papers; namely, that the Apostles were to disciple People to Christ, where-ever they came, without teaching them any thing in order thereunto. Which he that can believe, certainly need stick at nothing: for if People may be Disciples of Christ, without being taught, then they may be Disciples of Christ without learning any thing at all; and if so, then sure one would think, that all the World should in every, or any Capacity, ipso facto, be Disciples of Christ. And yet again, they were to be made Disciples before they could be so; and the A­postles were to do something in order to the making them so: but what that was, who can imagine, for they were not to speak a word to them, to teach them any thing about it. Sirs, why do you strive thus, by your confused Confidence, to deceive People, and bring them into a miserable Maze? Besides, if this were the Design of the Commis­sion, that the Apostles were to make Disciples without Teaching, then these two things will follow: First, That our Translators of the Text, were either very Ignorant, and knew not how to translate the Words as they should have done; or else very unfaithful, that they did not: For they have, by their Translation of the Text, given us occasion to believe, almost whether we will or no, that Teaching must precede Baptism: and really, it seems to agree so mightily, not on­ly [Page 22]with Reason it self, but also with other Scriptures, that we can do no less than think it true. 2dly, If this were the Sense and Design of the Place, then if the Apostles had ever presum'd to preach the Gospel to any Body, before they had baptiz'd them, they had gone quite besides their Commission, and broke the Command of their Ma­ster: for either they were to teach People by this Commission, be­fore they baptiz'd them, or they were not: if they were, then all your strange Prattle to the contrary is gone; if they were not, then that which I have said must follow: Or else there must be two Com­missions in this one, contra-distinct to each other, given out in the self-same Words, which can be but of one Signification, and yet must be understood in two, quite contrary to each other; that is, you shall, and you shall not, teach People before you baptize them: And how consonant these things are to Scripture and Reason, let all the World judg. But, alas! were it not for the sake of the poor Ig­norant World, that are apt to be taken with any thing you say, we need not take any pains to confute you; for after you had been ped­ling a while, to make Folks believe, that the Apostles were to make Disciples without Teaching, you presently, even in the Prosecution of your Proof, contradict and confute your selves: for you say, Ma­thetéusate, which signifies, to disciple all Nations, is a general Word, and contains in it the other two that follow: viz. Baptizontes kai di­dáscontes, Baptizing and Teaching; the Commission is to disciple, and the Manner how, is Baptizing and Teaching; both it seems, as well as one; without which a Disciple cannot be made. Is not this a clear Confession, that Teaching is as necessary and essential to the making of Disciples, as Baptizing? And if so, what will you do for Infant-Disciples? Are you not as far to seek now, as ever your were? What are you the nearer, if this be true, to baptize your Infants, unless you teach them too? you even leave them as you found them, no more Disciples of Christ, than they were before: and if so, had not you better still let the Needle go before the Thrid, (or Teaching before Bap­tizing) than thus to strive to teach the World a ridiculous Trade, and take a deal of Pains to no purpose? Though when all's done, it's very plain from Scripture, that Persons may be made Disciples of Christ be­fore Baptism, as indeed they ought, even by this Commission of our Saviour; and that by Teaching too, and then to be baptiz'd: and this is not only agreeable to the Current of Scripture in many other places, but particularly most exactly to Joh. 4.1. Jesus made, and baptiz'd more Disciples than John: first made them Disciples, then they were baptiz'd.

Secondly; You say, Children are capable of Proselytism, as may be ob­serv'd from our Saviour's Words, Suffer little Children to come unto me; which your great Skill in the Greek, tells us is the same with, to proselyte. Now how you would be understood here I know not, whether you reckon that their bare coming to Christ were their Proselytism; or, whether they come to Christ with a design and purpose to be prosely­ted to him some other way? If the former, then all that came to Christ (when he was upon Earth) upon any account whatsoever, (tho it was to betray him) were immediately by that very Act proselyted to him, the Act it self was their Proselytism; but if they came with a de­sign and purpose to be proselyted to Christ by any other way, as he pleased to direct and instruct them, then certainly they could not be such eight-days-old Proselytes as you frequently baptize. Now, Sirs, we deny not, but when Christ was personally upon Earth, little Children might either come to him, or be brought to him, upon divers occasions, as well as others; and so far as that very thing made Prose­lytes of them, such Proselytes let them be, who shall hinder it? But then that Act must be perform'd, or else that Proselytism has no being. But now Christ is not upon Earth; Ergo, there's no insisting upon this now: And whoever is capable of coming to Christ now, with a Design and Purpose to be proselyted to him, by Faith, Repentance, Love, &c. let them be young or old, we are so far from hindring them, that we had rather do all we can to help them forward. But, if this don't please you, good now do so much as tell us plainly, what you mean by Proselytism, when you say, Children are capable of Proselytism; wherein lies their Capacity, or what is it they are capa­ble of doing? or whether there is any thing requir'd of them in or­der thereunto? If any thing, what? If nothing, why are not all Proselytes as well as any? or how shall we do to know the Capacity of a Believer's Child, from an Ʋnbeliever's? If they are both alike in Capacity, then there is no difference: If there is a difference in the Capacity of the Children of Believers and Ʋnbelievers, pray tell us where it lies; especially, since the Children that came to Christ, were Children indefinitly: or whether it be any Child's Vertue to be a Proselyte, or fault that it is not? or whether this young Proselyte, you talk of, understands any thing more of the Mind of God in Bap­tism with it, than it or another did, or may without it? For if it be no fitter for Baptism with it, than it or another is without it, pray what is it you talk of? For we say none are fit for Baptism, that know nothing of it, or care nothing for it. But if its Qualifications [Page 24]for Baptism be increased by it, tell us by what means? Truly for ought I know, you may even intend as little by it when you say they are capable of Proselytism, than as if you had told us they are capable of Sleeping. But to enlarge no farther upon this, I shall only say that it's a very plain Case, that this Text will do no Service for Infant-Baptism.

First, Because there is not one Word of Baptism spoke of in the Text, tho recorded by three Evangelists; and it is not likely that a Text that makes nothing for any Body's Baptism, should make any thing for Infant-Baptism.

Secondly, Because our Saviour makes no improvement of such an Argument as this to your purpose; and yet doubtless he knew as much of their Proselytism as you can pretend to know: And if he did not, pray, why should you? He saw nothing in it for their Baptism, I marvel how you came to be so strong-sighted: Yet you are so far from being able to prove that Christ baptized these Children, that we are able to prove he baptized them not; as appears, Joh. 4.2. Jesus himself baptized none. And if so, this Text rather affords an Argu­ment against Infant-Baptism than for it. And if you will not believe me, I shall leave you to struggle with Dr. Taylor about it; who tells us, The Conclusion would with more probability be derived thus; Christ blessed Children, and so dismissed them, but baptized them not: Therefore Infants are not to be baptized. Let us see, Sirs, when you will be able to give us a better Argument for it, than this is against it.

You tell us you meet with Instances of Children that have been so young, some before they could either go or speak, that have had strange Exits into another World: Well, and what then? pray, what's all this to Infant-Baptism? Certainly, their going out of this World, let it be by what Exit it will, can be no Argument for their Baptism; unless you will suppose that they ought to be baptized after they are dead, or else in the next World, by virtue of their strange Departure out of this: For you cannot make use of this Argument till you have it, and you cannot have it till you see and know their Exits into another World; and then you have no sooner got it, but you have lost it. Besides, you cannot but know, that a thousand such Stories as these are not at all to the Question between us; for the Question in this Case between you and your Antagonists, is not concerning the State of Infants, but rather concerning their Duty, if there is any such thing in the World; and if there be, whether Baptism be any part of it: If there be not, then we think we may safely conclude Infant-Baptism to be no Duty. For we [Page 25]say, all the true Subjects of Baptism are bound in Duty and Conscience to yield Obedience to God in that Ordinance, which Infants cannot do, neither is it required of them, neither do they lose any Priviledg, or one jot of God's Favour through the want of it. But if you say the Duty lies not upon the Infants, but upon the Parents; then if you would defend this Argument, you are bound to prove that God re­quires all such Parents, whose Children make such Exits at their Death, to baptize their dead Children; for they cannot come at this Argument sooner: But as for all other Parents and Children, this Argu­ment concerns them not. And yet in the strength of this miserable Argument, you can valiantly trample upon your Antagonists, and boldly tell the World, that you may (by virtue of this rare Argument) with all the Indignation imaginable, explode that uncharitable Position of the Anabaptists, that say, Children have no more Right to Baptism than un­reasonable Creatures: When, alas! this Position, let it be what it will, appears to be not one jot better or worse, either for your Indignation, or for the Argument from whence it flows. However, Sirs, we only say Infants have no Right to Baptism by God's Appointment, for God re­quires no such thing of them, nor from them: if you say they have, for my part I should be very well pleased to see you able to prove it: But if you cannot prove it, you ought to be as well pleased to let it be otherwise, without reflecting upon any Body. Now, indeed, there is a Consequential Truth in it, which I know you love dearly to aggra­vate, if by any means you may render us obnoxious to the Hatred and Displeasure of the Foolish. For I confess, it cannot properly be said that they that have no Right at all to a thing, can have any more Right to that thing, than any other thing that has likewise no Right to the same. And yet we have not the least uncharitableness in our Breasts or Thoughts against Infants; for we say they are not one tittle the worse for having no Right to Baptism, nor any thing the less in the Love and Favour of God without it: It only argues that Baptism is be­yond their reach and capacity; and as it is so, God neither requires nor expects they should be concern'd about it. And pray, Sirs, what's that to you, or to me either, if it be so? If this be the Case, who is it you quarrel with? Now, Sirs, 'tis you Pedo-Baptists rather that are so uncharitable toward poor Infants, that unless you may have your own Wills, and have them baptiz'd (as you miscal it) not only whether they themselves will or no, but even whether God will or no, you presently grow so Surly and Ill-condition'd towards poor harmless Babes, that there's scarce one in forty of you can afford them a good [Page 26]word; and not only so, but condemn, censure and sentence them far beyond what they dare pretend to do by any unreasonable Creature. Be­sides all this, Gentlemen, you forget that you your selves are guilty of the self-same Crime, or at least a Crime of the same Nature, which you here pretend with so much Indignation to explode: And why may not we reflect upon you, as well as you upon us, by telling you, That we may with all the Indignation imaginable explode that uncharitable Positi­on of Pedo-Baptists, that say Infants have no more Right to the Lord's Sup­per than unreasonable Creatures? Is not this altogether as sayable from your practice, as the other is from theirs? and is not this as bad and as uncharitable a Position as the other? What's the Matter, Sirs, that you seem to be so quick-sighted abroad, and so very blind at home?

But above all things, I perceive, I must not forget the Instance of the Ruler's Daughter; for it seems there lies so much strength in that for Infant-Baptism, that it must be reckon'd a piece of Cowardise to evade it. You say, you would ask such Persons who deny Infants uncapable of Baptism, because they can shew no actual Sign of it. By the way, Sirs, I must demand of you who are the Persons you mean here, that deny Infants to be uncapable of Baptism? Surely you cannot mean the People you call Anabaptists; for they plainly say, that Infants are uncapable of Baptism: and if any will say that they can and do give Actual Signs and Demonstrations of their Incapacity in that Case, I shall not reckon it worth my while to contradict them. Here, Sirs, you seem to be so eager in the discharge of this Mortar-piece, that you have miserably over-shot your selves, which you it seems look'd upon to be so formi­dable, that because the Gentleman in his Animadversions thought it had been empty, and so passed it by as a useless thing; you reckon it was because he was afraid to come near it. Well, however, some Body it is you have a mind to ask what they think of the Ruler's Daughter? Our Saviour, say you, bid him only believe, and it should be done. Would not any now be ready to think, that surely this must be some plain Instance of Infant-Baptism? when they that are suppos'd to deny it are so briskly and closely call'd upon to tell their Thoughts of such a particular Instance, that is in short, without any Paraphrase, brought to confute them. Certainly if it chance to prove a Story of another Nature, and relate to another thing, and not at all to Infant-Baptism, our Gentlemen then must needs be strangely impertinent, and deserve to be corrected in their Imperious Confidence. Now let any body, for tryal-sake, but read the Story as it's recorded by three Evangelists, in Mat. 9. Mark 5. and Luke 8. and they will find it to be only a Story, wherein is compre­hended [Page 27]an excellent Relation of our Saviour's Power and Compassion towards poor Mortals, manifested in restoring a young Damsel to Life and Health, even when she was supposed to have been dead. And now, Sirs, my Thoughts of the Ruler's Daughter, is, that she was recover'd by our Saviour from a very dangerous Distemper, and given as it were again to her Father, as a fresh token of our Saviour's Kindness to him. And for you only to say (as you do in your Second Paper) this shews that believing Parents Faith avail for their Children. What is it you talk of? you must needs know 'tis nothing to your purpose: For, in the Sense of this Text, who ever deny'd it? We deny not, but the Father's Faith, Humility and Love to Christ might and did greatly avail herein, as to the Recovery and Restoration of his Daughter: but still we deny, that she immediately became a true and proper Subject of Baptism, by her Father's Faith; there is not the least Shadow of such an availment in the Text: Our Saviour doth not say, believe, and thy Daughter shall be baptized, nor any thing tending thereunto. And, Sirs, you ought to know, that if you plead for Infant-Baptism upon the Parents Faith, nothing short of such a-like Instance will, or can, do your Business: You know very well, that whether a good Man's Faith, and pious Endeavours, may or may not be available, in the behalf of a Child, a Wife, a Servant, a Neighbour, a Friend, yea or an Enemy ei­ther, in some respects, is no part of the Question in Debate. And if you should affirm that it may, and sometimes is available, who do you think will be your Enemy therein? Now for you to clap your Wings, as it were, and crow as if you had got some famous Victory, by dis­charging this Piece, when you know you have not so much as kill'd a Flea in your Enemies Quarters; What strange Men are you? Pray, Sirs, why were you not so publick-spirited as to bring in the Centurion's Servant to take his share of Right to Baptism, out of the common stock of second-hand Faith? Was not his Master's Faith as available to him, as the Ruler's was to his Daughter? Pray read the Story in Mat. 8. and Luke 7. and you may easily perceive it was so. Now what Rule is this for you to baptize any of your Servants, whether they believe or not believe, meerly because you your selves believe, and plead their Right to Baptism by virtue of your Faith? Besides, If this Argument were good for the purpose you bring it, I cannot imagine who must be ex­cluded from Baptism: For it will not only take in any ungodly Person whatsoever, upon whose account a godly Man may, in some respects, prevail with God; but it will take in whole Cities of ungodly Men by the Lump, and make them all immediately true Subjects of Baptism, [Page 28]without any Change or Alteration at all in themselves. For you know God, upon Abraham's Request, offer'd to spare the whole City of Sodom, if there could have been but Ten Righteous Persons found in it: And it had certainly been sav'd from that fearful and amazing Ruin and Destruction that befel it, if only Ten had been there found. Now the Argument is the same in its Nature and Consequence, tho they were not found as if they had been found; and if they had been there found, pray tell us what you would have to be the Consequence of your Argument, concerning all the rest of the Inhabitants? And if God should shew any Kindness to any City, Place or Kingdom now a-days, upon the account of the Faith and Prayers of some Righteous Persons, as there's no doubt but he doth, Would not this Argument turn all the Inhabitants immediately into Subjects of Baptism? And who knows but in your next you may improve it to the utmost; and why not? For it is of the same Stamp with the Ruler's Daughter: And we know you are Valiant, and dare venture upon very great Under­takings.

You likewise tell us, That 'tis a great Weakness to believe Children not baptized from the example of the Jaylor. Indeed, Sirs, I rather think 'tis a greater Weakness for any to believe they were: If by that am­biguous Term, Children, you mean little Infants, such as you frequent­ly baptize: And 'tis not your Syriac Latiniz'd that will help you at this turn. For pray, Sirs, what great Discovery have you made by going to Syria, and there hearing of the Jaylor's Sons? You need not have taken that pains, (especially since 'tis to no purpose) for we can freely grant you, without putting you to struggle for it, that the Jaylor might have several Sons, yea and Daughters too: And if he had had ten Sons, and as many Daughters, I readily acknowledg that in all probability they were all baptiz'd. I will not so much as suppose that any of his House, let them be Sons or Daughters, or Servants, or what else you please, were here exempted from being baptized. But yet still, Sirs, you cannot chuse but know (or else you must be horribly ignorant) that all this does you no Service at all for Infant-Baptism; you are still but where you were, you have gain'd nothing at all by this Syriac Bargain, tho you seem as great upon it, as if you had been at some profitable Market: For surely nothing can be more evident, than that all that were here baptized in, or of, the Jaylor's House, were grown Persons, and famous Converts, not only Actual, but Active, Lively, and Spiritous Believers. For how plainly does the Text tell us that they spake the Word of the Lord to the Jaylor, and to all that were in his House. [Page 29]Here it seems teaching went before baptizing, however it came about. But do we hear of any Infants yet? Altho we should suppose them all to be Sons, which is not probable, for there might be Daughters as well as Sons, and Servants as well as either: But not an Infant amongst them all. And when he and all his were baptized, he brings his welcome Prisoners into his House, and like a good Christian, set Meat before them, and rejoyced, believing in God, with all his House. Suppose it were all the Sons of his House still, it's the same thing, it's plain they were All Believers, let them be whose Sons they will. What a strange thing it is, that our Gentlemen cannot understand them to be Believers, meerly because it's thought they might be Sons: When alas! the Jaylor himself, no doubt, had a Father, and was certainly Some-body's Son. Now it seems it lies within the reach of our Gentlemens Under­standing, that the Jaylor himself might be a Believer, but they can­not think that his Sons should be such: Pray, Sirs, why might not the Jaylor's Sons, if he had any, be Believers as well as their Grand-Father's Son? 'Tis true any Body would be ready to think they might, and not only so, but that in reality they were so too. But then this quite spoils our Gentlemens Business, for they must have Infants, or they die. And therefore, rather than they will admit of this, they'l ven­ture to tell you, 'tis Nonsense to urge from the consequent Text, that those which were baptized, glorifyed and praised God, which Children could not do: And that which proves it Nonsense, is, because it only means such as were capable of doing it. Gentlemen, 'tis very true; you are now in the Right, 'tis only meant of such as were capable of doing it: But then 'tis as true, that it means all of the Jaylor's House that were bap­tized; for it's certain that all that were here baptized, were capable of so doing, and did so do. If I be so honest as to grant what you say in the former, I hope you will not be so dishonest as to deny what I and the Text both say in the latter: For it's a plain Case, that there were no more baptized of the Jaylor's House than what were first Converted by the preaching of the Word of the Lord; and glorifyed God in the strength of their Faith: But Infants are not capable of this: Ergo, All your Infants are lost.

There's one profound Observation more which you make hereabouts, which I shall a little Remark, and so proceed to something else. At their Rate, say you, we shall have all the Children of Anabaptists starved: For 'tis said, he that will not work, let him not eat: But Children must eat, tho not capable of working, &c. But why I beseech you at their Rate, any more than at your Rate? What is it that makes them so guilty in [Page 30]this sad supposed Murder any more than your selves? You have not in any measure made it appear, how they stand chargeable with such a Crime, whilst your selves remain Innocent: I wish you had attempted it, for assuredly, Sirs, such a Charge requires a Demonstration. But in­asmuch as many ignorant People will be apt to take it for granted, meerly because you tell them so, tho they know no more why than a Post: I shall guess at your meaning as well as I can, and either clear the Baptists of this frightful Suggestion, or else bring you in guilty along with them. Now, I hope, we may take this Proposition for granted without any more a-do; Namely, that you are not at all guilty of this strange Plot against all the Infants in the World. Now if I can but make it appear, that if you be Innocent, they cannot be Guilty; or if they be Guilty, you cannot be Innocent: I hope you will be willing to dismiss them without Damage. Your meaning then certainly, I think, must be to this purpose; That forasmuch as the Baptists say that In­fants are not to be baptized, because not capable of believing; They may as well, and do in effect say, that Infants must not eat, because not capable of working; for tho Faith is required of grown Persons in order to Baptism, so is Working required of them in order to Eating. But now Infants may either be baptized without believing, or else it will follow that they may not eat without working. Herein I reckon I have done you the utmost Justice imaginable, in stating your Proof to the full, which you ought to have done your selves; but perhaps you durst not, lest your Folly should have been the more easily disco­vered. Now, Gentlemen, I intend to join Issue with you, and see what Conclusion we can bring it to. Sirs, why may not I as well conclude, that because you say that Infants are not to be admitted to the Lord's Supper, because not capable of Self-Examination, or discerning the Lord's Body; you may as well say that Infants must not eat, because not capable of working: For tho Self-Examination &c. is required of grown Persons, as previous to the Lord's Supper, and working required of them in order to eating; But as for Infants they must either be admitted to the Lord's Supper, without Self-Examination, or else it will follow that they must not eat without working: And therefore at your Rate all your Children must be starv'd, and not only so, but the Race of all Christians, nay of the whole World, must soon be extirpated, as you very boldly tell us in your Paper. Now, Sirs, your Charge is very fairly return'd upon your selves; What say you, Guilty or not Guilty? To suppose you will plead Guilty here, would be little less than to commit Sacriledg; yet if you say Not Guilty, you do in so saying fully acquit your Anta­gonists: [Page 31]For now it appears, that if you be Innocent, they cannot be Guilty: And so I hope this dreadful Tattle of starving Infants is blown over, and come to nothing. Yet, Sirs, I think you ought to take some blame and shame too, to your selves, for being so mighty willing to expose and condemn your Neighbour for nothing. I shall only say thus much more for the present to this matter, and so leave it, viz. If you had but clearly prov'd that God has given you the like Com­mand and Authority to baptize Children in their Infancy, as he hath done to Fathers and Mothers to feed them in their Infancy, you had then said something to the purpose; otherwise you had far better have said nothing.

But the Text saith, Act. 2.39. The Promise is to you, and to your Chil­dren. Well, Sirs, it doth so: But how comes this Text to be any­thing to your purpose for Infant-Baptism? especially, unless you were able to prove, that by Children here is undoubtedly meant Infants, which I doubt you will find such a Task, as you will hardly ever live to finish: What, Sirs, do you take it for granted that Infants must here be understood, meerly because you find the Word children [...] the Text? What strange Reasoning is this? Is this one of your ne­cessary and unavoidable Consequences you talk of in your Paper? Why may you not as well conclude, that because the Text tells us, Josh. 22. That the Children of Reuben and the Children of Gad built them an Al­tar: Ergo, The Infants of Reuben and Gad were Masons and Stone-Cutters. And because it's said concerning the Vertuous Woman, Prov. 31.28. Her Children rise up and call her Blessed: Therefore her Infants of eight Days old did so. And our Saviour saith of Jerusalem, How often would I have gather'd thy Children together, as a Hen gathereth her Chickens under her Wings, and ye would not? Can it rationally be supposed that our Saviour here means Infants in the Cradle? And yet a little Consideration will make you capable of discerning that Infants are not more excluded by these Texts, than they are by this Text now in Hand. For if Infants are here intended, then the Promise here men­tion'd, let it be what Promise it will, is not Conditional, but must be Absolute: But the Promise here spoken of is not absolute, but conditi­onal: Ergo, &c. Repentance and Baptism is here plainly requir'd, as the Means or Condition leading to the Promise, unto which the Promise is annexed; without which the Promise is not to be claim'd. And the Promise is here mention'd as a Motive or Encouragement to perform the Duties or Condition requir'd. And who is it, that in the reading the Text is not able to discern this? If you were not strangely biassed, or [Page 32]devoted to an Error, methinks you might easily perceive, that by you and your Children in this Text, is meant the Jews and their Posterity af­ter them, as they should come to close with this Doctrine now taught them: Wherein they are all encourag'd to fall in with Christ upon the Terms of the Gospel, for Remission of Sins and Salvation, notwith­standing their great and unparallel'd Wickedness, in killing the Lord of Life, and imprecating that dreadful Curse upon themselves, and their Children, or Posterity, the cutting Sense whereof, now upon their Hearts, might have been apt to have driven them to Despair, had it not been for Peter's Cordial: Wherefore the Apostle gives them to understand that God would not be so severe as to take such Advantage thereby, but that upon their hearty Repentance, and Submission to the Terms of Salvation required in the Gospel, they and their Children, or Posterity after them, upon the same Terms, should certainly be re­ceived to Mercy. All that I shall say more to this at present, shall be only to recommend to you the Sayings of two eminent Church of Eng­land Doctors, in Reference to this Text and Matter, Dr. Hammond, and Dr. Taylor.

If any, saith Dr. Hammond, have made use of that unconcludent Ar­gument, I have nothing to say in defence of them: I think, saith he, the Practice is founded upon better Basis than so; and the word Children there, is really the Posterity of the Jews, and not particularly their Infant Chil­dren.

And Dr. Taylor, upon this Scripture, saith; That the words menti­on'd in St. Peter's Sermon, are interpreted upon a weak Mistake: The Promise is to you and your Children, therefore Infants are actually receptive of it, in that Capacity; that's the Argument: but the Reason of it is not yet discover'd, nor ever will: for to you, and your Children, is to you and your Posterity: to you and your Children, when they are of the same Capacity, in which you are receptive of the Promise: But he that, whenever the word Children is used in Scripture, shall by Children understand Infants, must needs believe, that in all Israel there were no Men; but all were Infants. And if that had been true, it had been the greater Wonder they should overcome the Anakims, and beat the King of Moab; and march so far, and discourse so well, for they were all called the Children of Israel. Now, Gentlemen, I leave you to your liberty, whether you will, in this case, contend further, or submit.

But you say, Children are in the Covenant, and they are holy, and of such is the Kingdom of Heaven, &c. I might here justly enquire, what you mean by Infants being in the Covenant; and whether you mean [Page 33] all Infants in the World, or but some; if all, I wish you would tell us so; if but some, then which are they? or whether any thing is requir'd of them, or is to be done by them, in order to their getting into the Covenant? if any thing, what? if nothing, how came they in more than others? or whether it is their Vertue to be in, and the Sin of others to be out? or whether there is any difference in the Ca­pacity of those that are in, and those that are out? Is their Wisdom, Knowledg, Judgment and Understanding, Increas'd by it, or not? if you say it is, you must make it manifest: but if not, then there is no difference betwixt them and others, in respect of their Fitness for Baptism, &c. I say, I might enlarge and insist upon several things of this kind: Which I confess, I could be glad to be resolv'd in: But for the present I shall not here insist, but shall rather take you at all Adventures; and mean what you please by all these Allegati­ons, I shall endeavour to shew you, that there is nothing at all in them for your purpose. For what if I grant you all you say in these cases, that Infants are in the Covenant, and Holy, and such as shall be saved, &c. what then? if you infer, that then, or therefore, they ought to be baptis'd, I deny that Consequence: for by this Rule, Moses might have baptis'd Infants as well as you, if a bare being in the Covenant, &c. were sufficient to warrant the Practice: however, Sirs, he might have circumcis'd them, the first, second, or third Day after they were born, as well as to have staid till the eighth Day: for certainly, they were as holy, and as much in the Covenant, and as fit for the Kingdom of Heaven the first or second Day, as they were the eighth: and what's the reason think you that he did not? He might also have circumcis'd Females, if this had been good Rea­soning, for there's no doubt to be made, but they were holy, and in the Covenant, and such as should be saved, as well as the Males. But if he had done so, would he not (think you) have been a Trans­gressor rather than a faithful Servant? Yet he might have taken up your Plea, and defended himself altogether as well as you do or can, in the business of Infant-baptism: but it's a plain case, he did not like this Argument. But, Sirs, you ought to remember that the Will and Pleasure of God, ought in a special manner to be heeded in all such Cases: for it is the Command of God that gives Life and Being to all Duty, without which, all your Allegations are in vain: with which, we should gladly cease to contend; and that's the reason why Infants were circumcis'd precisely upon the eighth Day, either before, or after, would certainly have incurr'd Displeasure. And this was [Page 34]that which kept Females from Circumcision, tho holy and in Cove­nant, as well as Males. Nay, if Christ had not commanded Believers to be baptis'd, their being Believers would not have justified the Practice, neither will it now justify any other Practice that he never commanded or appointed to be done. Besides, Sirs, do you not herein sin, because Grace abounds? for is God so good and gracious, as to place our Infants in Covenant with himself, must we therefore take the holy Name of God in vain, and sprinkle Water upon their Fa­ces, as if we suppos'd the Covenant worth nothing, unless we confirm it with our own Inventions, and clap a Seal to it of our own making, without any order from him so to do? Sirs, if Infants be in Covenant, be content there to let them rest, without disturbing or interrupting them in it: be content with that, till you are able to make them sen­sible of the Obligations that may lie upon them, by virtue thereof to discharge Duty towards God.

I have only two Demands to make, and then I shall leave this to Consideration:

First, Pray, Sirs, tell us, do you think Christ and his Apostles did not know as much of this Nature, concerning Infants, as you do? do you think they were not as well acquainted with their being holy and in the Covenant, and such as should be sav'd, as you are? I hope, as Learned as you are, you will hardly venture to say they did not: yet where did Christ, or any of his Apostles, give either Command or Permission, to any Body, to baptise their Infants upon any of these accounts? Where is thee the least Sign or Shadow of such a thing, in all the New-Testament? If you know of any, pray produce it, and let us see it, that we may read and understand such a thing as well as your selves; and in so doing, the Controversy would soon be ended: but if there be no such things signify? if you should argue and write for three seven Years together, what is it all worth, unless you bring Scripture-warrant for what you affirm and practise?

My second Demand upon this account, is as followeth: Supposing all these things to be unquestionably true that you talk of; that In­fants are in the Covenant, holy, and such as shall be saved, and what you please of that kind: How comes this to intitle them any more to Baptism than it doth to the Lord's-Supper? What's the reason, (I be­seech you) you do not receive them to the Lord's Table upon these Accounts, as well as admit them to Baptism? Are you able to give us an Instance in all the New-Testament of any that were accepted as fit [Page 35]Subjects of Baptism, and at the same time, as such, reckon'd and known to be unfit for, and uncapable of the Communion of Saints in the Supper of the Lord? I marvel, Sirs, what you make of Baptism, that you should think Infants so fitly and fully qualify'd for that, and yet dare not venture to plead, either Right, or Obligation to any other Gospel-duty: Is not Baptism a Gospel-requirement as well as the Lord's Supper? a Command of Christ, an Ordinance of Heaven, and part of that Service and Obedience which Christians owe to God, in and under the Gospel? And do you think it ought not to be done with more Knowledg, Judgment and Reverence, than Infants of seven Days old are capable of? What Subjection, or Obedience to God, is there, or can there be, in a little Infant in the performance of that which you call its Baptism, when it knows nothing at all of the thing com­manded, nor of the Law-giver commanding, nor any reason in the World why it should, or should not submit; neither is it capable of thinking either well, or ill, concerning any thing relating thereunto? How then can it be done as a Duty, in Obedience to Christ, as the answer of a good Conscience towards God, when the Subject knows nothing of these things, and is altogether uncapable of the least motive to Subjection? But if you say, Infants must notwithstanding all this, be admitted to Baptism, certainly you must needs wrong them greatly, in debarring them from the Lord's Supper. Gentlemen, these things deserves to be well consider'd; and then take Advice, and speak your Minds.

As to what you say about universal consent of Churches, and Antiquity for Infant-Baptism, I shall not so much as concern my self to enquire after the Truth or Falshood of the matter; because, let it be true or false, all the while it is Scriptureless, there is not the weight of a Fea­ther in it: It neither hurts us, nor helps you, in this Case. For what does all the Consent you talk of signify, unless you can clearly prove the thing consented to, to be Truth without it? And if you can, then you have no need of its help; but if you cannot, it has no help for you; for it is not the greatest Consent imaginable that can make a Falshood Truth: It must either be Truth previous to that Consent, or else it remains a Falshood notwithstanding that Consent: The Consent it self can be no Argument to prove it Truth. So that all that appears from this Argument, if all that you say were suppos'd to be unquesti­onably true, is only this, That a great many People a great while agoe held Infant-Baptism; but whether they did well or ill, in so doing, still remains the Question, as much as ever: And if it want the true [Page 36] Primitive Mark of Antiquity, let it be as old as it will, 'tis never the bet­ter for that, but indeed the worse; for that only serves to prove it an old over-grown Error. As old as it is, it is not old enough to be Truth, because from the beginning it was not so. 'Tis in vain to talk of Antiquity, all the while you want the true ground thereof; for if that be wanting, all your talk of Antiquity is so far from being an Argu­ment for it, that it is clearly an Argument against it: For if it be very old, and of a long standing, and yet not old enough to be Truth, it's high time for us, even for that Reason, to reject and explode it with Indignation. As a Learned Church of England Doctor well ob­serves and directs, speaking of old Popish Pretensions, When they ob­trude (saith he) their Revelations, or teach for Doctrines of God the Com­mandments of Men; we must ask them every one how they read in the Be­ginning: We may not draw out of their Ditches, be the Current never so long, whilst we have Waters of our own of a nobler taste, which we can easily trace back to the Chrystal Spring, &c.

The next Question you undertake to Answer, is, Whether Infant-Baptism is to be found in Scripture? Your Answer is not expresly in the Letter, but from necessary and unavoidable Consequences, as, say you, we have already shewn, &c. Now, Gentlemen, if the latter part of your Answer here were but as true as the former is, I should very readily give you the Case, and Dispute no more; for I am clearly of the Opi­nion, that whatsoever is truly prov'd by necessary and unavoidable Con­sequences from Scripture, is sufficiently prov'd, as you say, to all dis­interested Persons. But the misery of it is, we could never yet see these necessary and unavoidable Consequences; but your Consequences are all so grievous sick of one Distemper or another, that all the Doctors in Christendom will never be able to make them sound: And this we have pretty well found by your Consequences hitherto produc'd, unto which I refer, having not now time to repeat. Besides, Gentle­man, if it be true, that there is nothing of Infant-Baptism to be found expresly in the Letter of the Scripture, I cannot readily understand how you can come by those necessary and unavoidable Consequences you talk of: for tho it is true you may lay down a Proposition in such Terms as cannot be proved verbatim from Scripture, and yet I confess it may be well enough prov'd from very good Consequences. But if there is nothing at all expresly in Scripture about it, not one Word in the Letter concerning it, I'me afraid you must be content to go without those necessary and unavoidable Consequences. Sirs, will you say that there is nothing of the Doctrine of the Trinity, or three in one, to be found [Page 37] expresly in the Scripture? Is there nothing expresly of the God-head of Christ, or of his being born of the Virgin Mary, to be found in the Scripture? If there is not, for my part I know no Reason in the World they should be received for such Great and Orthodox Truths: But if there is, What strange Men are you to talk at this extravagant Rate, as if the Scripture spoke nothing expresly about these Matters? And how boldly do you insinuate and endeavour to make the World believe, that Infant-Baptism is at least altogether as plain in Scripture, as Christ's being born of the Virgin Mary; and that altogether as dark and as hard to be prov'd from Scripture as Infant-Baptism. Now, Sirs, this Insinuation is either true or false: If false, don't you deserve to be severely corrected for such Imperious Tricks? But if you stand by it, and say it is true, How do you think you would come off if we should join Issue with you about it, and bring the matter to a Tryal? But I confess I have been so large hitherto, beyond my first Thoughts or Intentions, that I shall say no more to this at present, and not much to what remains.

There is no less than three Questions following which you undertake to answer, which I reckon so inconsiderable and insignificant, both Questions and Answers, that I count it not worth my while to spend one Line about them. I therefore purposely omit them (time being precious with me) for the sake of something else which I judg more worthy to be noted; wherefore I wave the Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Questions, and pass on to the Eighth, and shall take some small notice of the Fifth, last of all, and so draw to a Conclusion.

The Eighth and Last Question you undertake to answer, runs thus: Whether Children have Faith or no, since Faith and Repentance are pre-requisite to Baptism? To which you answer and say, That you have al­ready shew'd that according to the Words of the Commission, Baptizing goes before Teaching: Therefore there is no such pre-requisiteness as some dream of, &c. But, Sirs, I tell you plainly this is a meer idle swagger, for you have shewed no such matter, but the contrary does most evident­ly appear; therefore there is a greater pre-requisiteness of Faith and Repentance than you dream of. Why you refer us to Acts 9. and tell us our Saviour was born King of the Jews, I cannot imagine: I wish I did but know your Inference. But you say further, Admit Faith as pre-requisite to Baptism, you could answer that Children have Faith po­tentia, tho not in actu visibili; as an Artist, when he is indispos'd or a­sleep is potentially an Artist, tho not actually. Sirs, it's a plain Case that you meerly speak what you list, not knowing what you say, nor whereof [Page 38]you affirm: What is it that you may not say Infants have, and are, if this kind of talk be allow'd you for good? Whatsoever you have a mind your Infants shall have, or be, put but potentia to it, and it's done. What if you had been in the Humour to have told us that Infants have the Greek Tongue and the rest of the Oriental Languages, and are as good Preachers as any in the World, potentia, tho not in actu visibili; as an Artist when he is a-sleep, is potentially an Artist tho not actually? Could you have expected that any Body in their Wits should have re­garded you? And why not in this. I marvel, as well as in the other? Besides Sirs, what can you mean by Childrens having Faith potentia? You do not mean that they do actually and visibly believe; no by no means, that is not to be imagin'd. Well, but what then do you mean? For my part I think it is partly the same thing, at if you had told us only that they have Power, Might, Strength and Ability to believe; but yet, whatever the matter is, they do not believe: Notwithstanding this potency of believing, they neither do, nor can make any improve­ment of it so as to do the thing. And if this be true, good now what is it you talk of when you say Infants have faith potentia? And yet if they have Power and Ability to do it, it must needs be their Sin if they do it not. So that our Gentlemen's great Plea for Infants seems to prove a very Fatal Charge against them, for the damning Sin of will­ful Unbelief must needs lye upon them, if they have Strength, Might and Ability to believe, and make no use of it to act accordingly.

Moreover, What reason have you to conclude any Man to be an Artist, tho but potentially so, when you see him asleep, if you never saw, nor knew any thing at all of his being an Artist before? if he had been asleep all the Days of his Life, you would have had small cause to have counted him an Artist, tho you had put the word potentia to it. But now Infants have (to follow your Simile) been asleep all their Life-time, in this case: You never, so much as saw, or knew of a time when they were so far awake, as to shew themselves Believers, as the Artist was to shew himself and Artist: So that as you have no reason to conclude any Man to be an Artist potentially when asleep, that you never knew to be any thing of an Artist actually, at one time or another before; so you have no reason to conclude Infants Believers potentially, unless you had seen or known them at one time or another to have been actually such. So that I think you had as good blot out potentia (unless you will put it to their Baptism too); and let your Children rest without Actual Baptism, till you can write upon their Faith Actu visibili.

But you say, our Saviour is full to the purpose, who assures us, as you tell us in your Second, that Children have Faith, when he saith, Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones, which believe in me, &c. Sirs, I do plainly confess that our Saviour is full to the purpose, but not to your purpose; for he does assure us, that the Persons here spoken of, were such as did really, properly, and actually believe in him: he does not so much as intimate any thing of their having Faith, poten­tia, but not in actu visibili; but in down-right terms tells us, they are such as do believe in him; which little Infants, I think, by your own Confession, cannot do: therefore, little Infants not here intended by our Saviour in this Passage; but only such as were converted, and be­come as little Children, in Plainness of Spirit, Humbleness, Innocency, and freedom from Malice. Our Saviour does not only assure us, that such shall be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven; but also plainly tell us, that whosoever shall offend, or scandalize, one of these, thus con­verted, little ones, which believe in him shall certainly incur great Displeasure from God. And this is easily discern'd, with a little Con­sideration, in reading the Text, and Coherence of the same: That after our Saviour had call'd a little Child, and taught his Disciples how they should be converted, and become as little Children, and humble themselves as that little Child; he under that Consideration, gives the Denomination of little ones, even to such as should so learn and so do, which did truly believe in him, from that Analogy, that was and ought to be, between little Children and them: therefore, whereas you argue thus, or to this purpose, [These little ones which believe in me;] therefore Infants do believe. I argue the direct contrary from the same Text, thus; Those of whom Christ here speak, did really believe in him: but little Infants neither do, nor can believe in christ: Ergo, Christ speaks not here of little Infants. To prove the Minor here, I thus rea­son; Faith in Christ, comes by hearing the Word of God understandingly: but little Infants cannot hear the Word of God understandingly: Ergo, Little Infants cannot be Believers in Christ. Again, if little Infants nei­ther do good or evil, nor so much a know good or evil, then they can neither hear the Word of God understandingly, (for if they can, they must of necessity be capable of knowing good;) nor be Believers in Christ, for if they be, they must of necessity do good; for believing in Christ is one of the best things that can be done in the world. But the Scripture it self, besides Experience, plainly tells us concerning Infants, that they neither do good, or evil; nor know good or evil: Ergo, Rom. 9.11. Deut. 1.39. Isa. 7.14, 15, 16. See the Assembly Annotations on this [Page 40]Passage of our Saviour; and Reverend Diodate on the same: See al­so these Scriptures, where this Phrase, little ones, or little Children, is us'd to grown Believers, and Disciples of Christ; Mat. 10.41, 42. Joh. 21.5 Gal. 4.19. 1 Joh. 2.1, 12, 13, 18, 28. & 3.7, 18. & 4.4. & 5.21.

Besides, Gentlemen, if you must and will have little Infants here intended, then it must and will, of necessity, be but a Prosopopoeia however; and so do you no Service at all, tho we should out of Cha­rity give you what you so earnestly beg for.

A few words to your Answer to the fifth Question, and so I draw to a Conclusion. The Question is only thus; Why Sprinkling, and not Dipping? To which you answer and say, Our Church denies not the latter to any one that desires it; but looks upon it as a clear Representa­tion of our Saviour's descending into the Grave, abiding there, and rising up again; according as the Apostle makes use of it, when he says, we are buried with him in Baptism. Sirs, it's a clear case, that Dipping or Co­vering the Body under Water, was the true Primitive, Apostolical and Scriptural way of Baptizing: and you and your Church both, seems plainly to be convinc'd of the Truth hereof; by this free and full Con­fession and Acknowledgment which here you make; that it is a clear Representation of our Saviour's descending into the Grave, abiding there, and rising up again: and this you deliver, not as a Conceit that may come into a Man's Brains by chance; no, but 'tis very seriously given us, as a thing by your own Acknowledgment, which is according to Scripture, as the Apostle himself makes use of it, when he tells us, we are buried with him in Baptism. Now, Sirs, stand by this, and all's well; but if you will be so unfaithful, as to dissert these true primitive Co­lours, you certainly run away from Truth and Substance, to close with Falshood and Vanity: for either this is the mind of God, which you have here ventur'd to give us, or it is not: If it be not, wherefore did you urge it as a thing, not only acceptable to you and your Church, but even acceptable to God himself, as being according to Scripture? If it is the mind of God, what's the reason that you tattle of a dispensing Power in your Church with respect to this matter? As if the Mind of God, were altogether insignificant with you; that let God command what he please, you will be so stately as to conceit, that you may by virtue of your dispensing Power, do just what you list. And if he don't think good to accept of what you please to give him, as the re­sult of your Power, tho 'tis but Sprinkling, for Baptizing or Dipping, he's like to get nothing else from you. Yet in your Plea for this Power, you do as good as dwindle it into nothing too: for you en­deavour [Page 41]to make us believe that it only relates to Circumstantials, and the manner of Acting, but not to the Act it self. Really, Sirs, if this be true, you had better have kept where you were, without the least pretence to this dispensing Power, for it can do you no Kindness at all: For if Dipping or Burying in Water, be the thing that God requires, then according to your own grant, your Church has not Power to dispense with this Act, and turn it into another, which can­not by any means be the same Act; which is certainly the Case of Dipping and Sprinkling: For Sprinkling and Baptizing are certainly two different Things, two different Actions, having two different Forms, and cannot by any means properly be called the same. All that you can fairly pretend to, if you be true to your Plea, is, That the Ad­ministrator is at liberty to dip, or put the Person under Water, divers manner of Ways, as forward, backward, sideway, toward the Right-Hand, or toward the Left, quickly, or slowly; all these Things be­ing meerly Circumstantial; yet all this while Dipping, or putting under Water, is the Act or Thing to be done: Which if it be done, the Person may truly be said to be baptized, notwithstanding these dif­ferent Circumstances; because the Essential Form of Baptism, viz. Dipping in Water, is to be found in all these ways. But if you only sprinkle a little Water on his Face, that is quite another Thing; not another Circumstance in which the same Thing is yet done, but clearly another Act, in which not the same but another Thing is done; and the Person thereby is no more truly baptized, than as if you had given him a Flip or two with a wet Finger: For here is differentia essentialis, the very Formality of Baptism is absent. So that you had better continue your first Compliance with us, than strive as you do in your Second, to run away from us; for 'tis certainly true, that if our Practice be Right, (as you know it is) yours must of necessity be Wrong: And all your idle Greek Struggles will never be able to make it otherwise.

I must, before I conclude, take a little notice of your great Argu­ment so formally laid down in your Second Paper; which I had like to have over-look'd and forgot: I confess it is here a little out of due place, but it's no great matter, better here than no where, lest you should think a meer Sense of its Strength frighted me from it. The Argument in form appears thus, An Ordinance once enjoyn'd, and never repeal'd, is always in force: But the Ordinance of Childrens incovenanting was once in the Old Testament enjoyn'd, and was never repeal'd. Ergo, 'Tis yet in Force. Good now, Sirs, do so much as tell us, what is the Questi­on [Page 42]this Argument relates to? or what is it brought to prove? Sirs, Do you urge this Argument to prove Infant-Baptism, or do you not? If not, what Business has it here? If you do, certainly such an Argu­ment was hardly ever laid down for such a purpose, by any that pre­tended the least Skill in Logick: For there is not the least mention of Infant-Baptism in any part of the Argument. If you had intended the Proof of Infant-Baptism by it, it ought to have run thus, An Ordi­nance once enjoyn'd, and never repeal'd, is still in force: But the Ordinance of Infant-Baptism was once enjoyn'd, and was never repeal'd: Ergo, Infant-Baptism is still in force. Now if you had argued thus, and prov'd your Minor, you had then done your Business. But now, Sirs, what is it you have done by this Argument? What Ordinance is this that was once enjoyn'd and never repeal'd? One would think you must of necessity mean either Circumcision or Baptism: If Circumcision, then that's in force still, and 'tis Circumcision you plead for: If you mean Baptism, then I deny your Minor, and put you to prove that Baptism was ever enjoyn'd as an Ordinance upon Infants. But if you mean neither, but only a meer Incovenanting, as you call it, altho I do not well know what you mean by it, neither do I understand any thing of such an Injunction separate from Circumcision; yet, for Discourse-sake, I give it you, pray take it and make your best of it: Incovenant your Children as much as you will, or can, who shall hinder you? But then you must not speak a Word of their Baptism, by virtue of this Argument, for it's now suppos'd that this Argument neither men­tions or means Baptism, much less does it prove their Baptism: So that you are as far to seek for Infant-Baptism as ever you were, unless you had produc'd a Precept, or an Appointment of God for that purpose; otherwise all the Inconvenanting you talk of will do you no good: For if God had never commanded Infants to have been Circumcised, who durst have done it, notwithstanding this Plea? So if he had no where commanded Infants to be baptized, who shall dare to do it, not­withstanding the same Plea? Altho you were sure you had it, which I do not in the least believe, tho I will not at this time dispute it: Be­sides, what need you care whether you have it or no? for you that dare baptize your Infants without being enjoyn'd, what need you care whether the other be enjoyn'd or no? what need you trouble your selves, whether Childrens incovenanting were once enjoyn'd or no? or if it was, what matter is it if it should be repeal'd? You may as well baptize them of your own pleasure, without this Plea, as with it. For if God never appointed it, there's no Plea for it; but if he has [Page 43]appointed it, there's none against it: So that if it be your pleasure, that Infants shall be baptized, you had as good insist upon your Churches Power, and never trouble the World with an Argument about it. And that will be the easiest way for you to answer the three Sheets and a half already publish'd (as you it seems are inform'd) by the joint Consent of the principal Anabaptist Preachers in London, or any other of their Papers: Because you know you have publickly oblig'd your selves to give a full answer to all the Questions in them, or to any other Que­stions or Objections that can be sent to you in the mean time. And the Remark that you make at the same time, is so Remarkable, that I shall make a Remark upon it. Your Remark is this, That surely had not the Anabaptists thought you had advanc'd something of moment, in your two Mercuries about Infant-Baptism, they would never have call'd in such assi­stance for the answering of them, or made such a stir about them.

Really, Sirs, I plainly perceive, that you are fully resolv'd, that every thing shall make for your Credit, let it be what it will: For here, because some few of them consented and thought good, your two Mercuries should be answer'd, and accordingly were so; you meerly make that an Argument of the Strength and Moment of your Matter contain'd therein: And yet, because the Gentleman in his A­nimadversions, did but omit that impertinent Passage of the Ruler's Daughter, tho we may reasonably suppose it was, because he almost thought it below a Man to take notice of it; how bravely could you improve that poor Omission against him, and make that too an Argument of the great Strength and Moment of that Passage? So that you are the most fortunate Men alive. Your being answer'd sig­nifies Greatness in you; not answering you, signifies the same? Every thing, it seems, works for the Reputation of the Athenian Society: What is it that Men so priviledg'd may not venture upon? You say likewise, If any Anabaptists are disoblig'd by your Reflections upon those call'd Anabaptists in Germany; you promise, or threaten, (for my part I know not which) to put the Matter in its true Light, which has never been done yet. Sirs, the main thing, I think, that they commonly mind in that case, is to observe the very great Folly and Weakness of you Pedo-baptists, who generally are mighty apt and forward to make a clutter about the Anabaptists in Germany, when you ought, in­stead thereof, to give us a good sound Argument for Infant-Baptism. We cannot imagine what you mean in so doing, or what should make you so silly, from time to time, without the least Occasion, Provoca­tion or Reason, to be so miserably impertinent. Good now, Sirs, do [Page 44]so much as tell us seriously, what it is you propound to your selves in your so doing: Do you give it us as an Argument for Infant-Baptism, or do you not; if not, then you your selves don't look upon it as any thing to your purpose, with respect to that Controversy; if you do, you are as much out in your Methods, as the Man was in his Tools, that bought a Hammer and a Chizzel to make his Neighbour a Dubblet. But I'm afraid there is something worse in it yet than all this; and that is, you urge these things commonly, for no other rea­son, than thereby to expose the Baptists to the Contempt and Hatred of ignorant and undiscerning People; whom you are willing to hope, will believe you in all you say, without examining any thing: And from their great skill in Logick, will conclude, that all Anabaptists must be such, or one way or another as bad. If this be your design, Sirs, 'tis very bad; and 'tis no marvel, if those you call Anabaptists should be disoblig'd at it: but if you can clear your selves, pray do; for my part, I should be very glad herein to be mistaken. And that which aggravates your Folly herein, (to say no worse) is, that you cannot but know, that if your Antagonists were in the humour to re­criminate, what an Augean Stable might soon be made of your un­clean Oxen: such a one as all the River Alphaeus would never be able to cleanse.

Moreover, if this true Light you talk of, be a new Light, as your words seem to imply, it may then justly be suspected to be your own Invention, and so nothing but meer Darkness; but if it be an old Light, then it will be the same as it was before, and I'm afraid too near a kin to Guy Faux's Dark-Lanthorn, to be good for any thing. However, Gentlemen, use your Pleasure, do what seemeth good in your own Eyes; only remember, that for all these things God will bring you to Judgment.


HAving a little Paper-room left, which I was not aware of till the Press convinc'd me of it, I shall a little reflect upon two or three things, which hitherto I have wholly omitted.

The First is, that strange and prodigious Ignorance, you seem to be guilty of, when you insinuate to the World, that there is not one In­stance of Female-Baptism in all the Scripture. Sirs, Is it likely that you should be fit Persons to manage such a Controversy, satisfacto­rily and convincingly, wherein, and concerning which, you appear to be so astonishingly ignorant? yet this strange Ignorance of yours, is at­tended with as strange a Confidence, with which you boldly, and in the face of the Sun, challenge your Antagonists to shew where they have one Instance of Female-Baptism. Really, Sirs, in my opinion, it is (at least) a very great shame for any Man, or Woman either, (pre­tending to Christianity) of the meanest parts imaginable, to be so horridly ignorant, as here you appear to be: How much more then is your Shame and Blame increas'd and aggravated, when we consider with what Magnifying Glasses you look upon your selves, and what publick Pretences you make to Parts, Learning, Wit, and almost, if not altogether, universal Understanding? You confidently insinu­ate, that Infant-Baptism is as plainly to be found in Scripture as that of Adult Females. Now, Sirs, if this did but appear to be truth, we should then immediately have done disputing; but it is so far from appearing to be truth, that the contrary is not only easily demon­strated, but you your selves shall be my Witness, that it is directly false: for you plainly confess, in words at length, that Infant-Bap­tism is not expresly to be found in Scripture. Now then, if Womens being baptiz'd, is expresly to be found in Scripture, then you are Wit­nesses against your selves of the Falseness of that Suggestion: But the Baptism of Women is expresly to be found in Scripture; Ergo. See Act. 8.12. & 16.14, 15. All that I shall say more to this particular, is only this; that as you have publickly abus'd, and endeavour'd to deceive the World, by your ignorant, rash, and false Insinuations, especially in this matter, wherein you are so easily detected and con­victed; [Page 46]so you ought at least to make as publick an Acknowledgment and Recantation, of this Injury done to the World by this blind, yet bold Attempt of yours: for it's no small matter thus to abuse the World, and make no conscience of making Compensation.

The second thing I would a little note, is a piece of Divinity and Logick, somewhat agreeble to the Ignorance just now complain'd of. When you tell us, that if Children do behold the Face of God in Hea­ven, as (say you) our Saviour says; then it follows, that they have Faith in Heaven; and (consequently) why not on Earth? To which I an­swer, That Children do, or may behold the Face of God in Heaven, I will not deny; yet I profess, I do not remember where our Saviour tells us so: however, it does not in the least follow, that therefore they have Faith in Heaven; but it rather strongly implies the con­trary; because Faith and Sight, are plainly oppos'd to each other, 2 Cor. 5.7. where the Apostle plainly tells us, that here, while we walk by Faith, we walk not by Sight: Implying, that while Faith continues, Sight is absent; consequently, when Sight comes, Faith disappears. Tho 'tis true, here, whilst we are in the Body, we are absent from the Lord; and to see him that is invisible, must needs now be an Act of Faith, according to the Text you quote, Heb. 11.27. But the time will come, when Faith will be turn'd into Vision, and Promise, which is the ground of Faith, into Fruition, which is the end of Faith. When we shall see Face to Face, see him as he is, and know as we are known, 1 Cor. 13.12. 1 Joh. 3.2. So that it's so far from being evident, that Infants have, or shall have Faith in Heaven, that it is, at least, a very great Question, whether such a thing can fairly be said of the greatest actual Believer in the World. But further, suppose we should give you the Premises, and grant you that Infants may have Faith in Heaven; your Conclusion is not a little to be admir'd, or rather your selves, for your strange skill in Theological Logick. Sirs, do you indeed look upon this to be good Reason­ing, that because a thing is, or may be, thus or so, in Heaven, therefore it is, and must be so here on Earth? If you do not, why do you talk at this extravagant rate; and endeavour to impose that upon others, which you do not believe your selves? If you do, I must acknowledg, that all the Wit I have is not sufficient to dis­cover the Greatness of your Folly; yet take a taste however: In Heaven, the Saints shall be wholly freed from all Sin, Sorrow and Trouble, of what nature soever: Ergo, Why not so here on Earth? In Heaven Saints shall be immortal: Ergo, Why not so here on Earth? [Page 47]In Heaven, the now vile Bodies of Saints shall be changed, and be made like unto the glorious Body of Christ: Ergo, Why not so here on Earth? with much more of this nature. Certainly, Sirs, there's none could ever have thought you so preposterously ridiculous, if you had not your selves proclaim'd it upon the House-top. What a strange thing it is, that Men so manifestly weak, should yet be so conceitedly strong, as to suppose themselves able to answer all the Questions, Arguments and Objections, that can be sent them from the People call'd Anabaptists? But I hope you may yet live to see your Vanity, and so get into the Road of learning more Wisdom.

Thirdly; I cannot but note, how strangely sometimes you abuse your Antagonists, in asking them such kind of Questions, as imply an Absurdity in them, when they are no more concern'd in the Questi­ons than your selves. As for instance, you very reprehensively ask them, How the Faith of the Parent can put the Child further off from God: and how Children can lose by Christ's Coming, who came to take a­way the Sin of the World, &c. Now, would not any Body be apt to think, that the Baptists must needs hold the Affirmative here, in both these Questions; or else you must needs be very impertinent and in­jurious to them, thus unworthily to insinuate? Now, Sirs, I challenge you, to give an Instance if you can, of any amongst the Baptists, that ever told you, either in Word or Writing, that the Faith of the Pa­rent put the Child further off from God; or that Children lost any thing by the Coming of Christ: for certainly, either you do know of some such, or you do not: if you do, you ought to put it out of question, for your own Vindication; and then I shall reckon them as weak in that, as you are in some other things: But if you know of none such, what Shame ought you to take to your selves, for thus disingenuously misrepresenting your Antagonists to the World, as if those very things were the Questions in debate betwixt you?

In the last place, I shall take a little notice what a strange Faculty there is generally in you Pedo-baptists, of fawning one upon another; how apt you are to magnify and extol one another, for every little no­thing you do upon a Publick-Stage. This has been a Fashion of a long standing amongst you; that whoever carries the Thing, you still re­solve to carry the Thank: and whoever loses, you must still ride Tri­umphant. And this is the Case of your Postscript-Gentleman, towards Mr. Elliot of New-England: Not that he so much as attempts to prove, that Mr. Elliot did merit or deserve any Honour for what (he there says) he did; but meerly, because Mr. Elliot did something, [Page 48]with which that Gentleman was pleas'd, therefore Honour will for ever redound to Mr. Elliot of New-England: Whereas, 'tis ten to one if the merit of the Cause were but throughly examin'd, and impar­tially consider'd, the Honour might rebound from Mr. Elliot, and re­dound to them which oppos'd him: and why not? for he only tells us, that he openly and earnestly maintain'd the Cause of Infant-Bap­tism against a sort of Persons, who forget that in the Gospel-Church, the Promise is to Believers and their Children; and are un­willing to reckon Children among the Disciples of Christ, &c. He scarcely so much as tells us, much less does he prove, that Mr. Elliot was in the Truth, and his Antagonists in an Error: so that still for ought we know, the Honour might belong to the other side, to them who openly and earnestly opposed the Cause of Infant-Baptism, against a sort of Persons, who forget that in the Gospel-Church, the Pro­mise, he alludes to, is any otherwise, to any Body, than it is to every Body; or to Believers Children, any otherwise than it was to Believers themselves: namely, upon Condition of their believing, and performing the Conditions required in order thereunto; as their Parents before them were fain to do, before they had any Interest therein; for the Promise belongs to all the World, upon those Conditions, and to none in the World without them. For if it belong to any without Condition, then the Promise is absolute, and belongs as much to Ʋnbelievers and their Children, as it can do to any Body else. And it's worth obser­ving that these very Persons, unto whom Peter speaks these Words, were not themselves Believers as yet, but Ʋnbelievers, when Peter spake these Words unto them, &c. Neither has this Gentleman told us at all, what Infants are the better for Mr. Elliot's reckoning them Disciples of Christ: he has not so much as told us, that Mr. Elliot proved them so to be: And pray what Advantage can it be to poor Infants to be miscalled, and reckoned what they are not? What if Mr. Elliot of New-England had reckoned Children of Believers to be Lawyers, Counsellors, and Judges, would this have done the poor Chil­dren any Good, or have provoked any wise Man to have carried any of them a Fee to plead his Cause? Or, what Honour would have been due to Mr. Elliot for such an idle Encomium, any more than to those that should oppose him therein? But what kind of Folks those are that are unwilling to grant that of such is the Kingdom of Heaven, for my part I know not: Certainly there's no People in the World more guilty of such a thing than Pedo-Baptists. I am very much of the Mind that the Gentleman that talks of it, never met with a Baptist [Page 49]in his Life, that could justly be charg'd with such a thing: But you Pedo-baptists generally say what you list, (especially in this Contro­versy) and matter not what you charge your Antagonists with; for if you did, you would either not do as you do, or else often be a­sham'd where you are not: For it's well known, that there are a great many of the Baptists so far from what's here insinuated, that they do stedfastly believe that all Infants in the World, dying in Infancy, shall certainly be saved; and some of them have writ Books to the same purpose, against the Cruelty of some Pedo-baptists that damn them by Millions: And tho there may possibly be some of the Bap­tists, that may not be of that Perswasion, yet the worst of them believe as well as the most of you, concerning them.

It may also be worth while to enquire wherein lay the Greatness and Worth of that thing in Mr. Elliot, to be so earnest to bring Infants under the Bond of the Covenant? May we suppose, that Infants being brought under this Bond, was really the Act and Deed of Mr. Elliot? for so indeed the Words plainly seem to imply; and if so, then it seems they never were under this Bond before, neither would it have been so now, if it had not been for earnest Mr. Elliot: Let any one judg then of the Excellency of this Act. Besides, what the Gentleman means by the Bond of the Covenant, who can imagin? unless by Bond of the Covenant, he means the Duties which the Covenant binds and obliges People to perform towards God, I cannot guess at his Meaning: and if so, then what Honour is due to Mr. Elliot, may soon be discern'd, for bringing poor uncapable Infants under an Obligation to perform the Duties of the Covenant, and affording them no more Strength to perform them, than they had before they were brought under this Obligation; and so through Mr. Elliot's Earnest­ness, poor Infants are undone for ever. But the best of it is, this is all false, a meer idle Conceit that has nothing in it; or else Mr. Elliot's Honour had been rais'd upon the Ruin of Infants.

I have now done, when I have only told you, that the principal Anabap­tist Preachers in London, (as you call them) were not at all concern'd in the drawing up of these few Sheets: for I can assure you it was done by a very mean and private Hand, by one, and one only, that is so far too from being a principal Preacher, or any Preacher at all, as that he is not accounted worthy to be a Member amongst them: neither had they, whom you call principal Preachers, nor any in a publick Capacity, any hand either in the Composing or Publishing of these Lines: But the Author was so hardy, as to get it printed of his own accord, and upon [Page 50]his own account, without being concern'd who were pleas'd or dis­pleas'd at his so doing. Wherefore, whatsoever Defects appear to be in them, they are all his own; it is not fit, that any Body should so much as share with him in any thing that may be justly due upon that account; and whatsoever mean or unworthy Apprehensions you may have either of the Author or his Work, if you think it worth your while to take any publick Notice of it, pray speak directly to him, and to the Matter in hand, without disingenuous and impertinent Re­flections: for I must signify to you, that as mean as the Author is, he is not altogether so silly, as to take idle and impertinent Reflections for solid and satisfactory Answers; but looks upon all such Persons, as the greatest and worst Sort of Fools in the World, that take Sanctuary in such rotten and desolate Buildings. Gentlemen, I do not charge you with any such thing aforehand, but only give you this timely Admoni­tion, that if you should happen to act at that rate in your Answers to me, or any Body else, you might appear to be the more inexcusable: But if there should appear to be any little Strength in these Lines, pray do not think that you have yet got, either all, or the principal Strength that you may expect from the People you call Anabaptists, if further occasion require: For so long as the Way of the Lord continues Strength to the Ʋpright, you may not expect to see an end of their Strength.

Here I fully design'd to have ended, but unless I had written some­what less in my Postscript, I plainly perceive I must be oblig'd to write a little more, because my Postscript has bespoke a little more Paper than I first intended. I shall therefore briefly offer two or three Arguments to Consideration, against Infant-Baptism, without any enlargement at all, to defend or secure any part thereof, till I plainly see or know what Objections or Exceptions our Antagonists shall please to make against them.

Arg. 1. The New Testament doth plainly, fully and sufficiently declare to us who are the true Subjects of Baptism: But the New Testament doth neither plainly, fully nor sufficiently declare to us that Infants are the true Subjects of Baptism. Ergo, Infants are not the true Subjects of Baptism.

Arg. 2. None ought to be Baptized without knowing what they do, and consenting thereunto: But Little Infants are not capable either of Knowledg or Consent in that matter. Ergo, Little Infants ought not to be Baptized.

Arg. 3. That which there is no Precept for, nor Precedent of, nor Promise unto in all the Word of God, is not of Divine Authority: But [Page 51]there is no Precept for, Precedent of, nor Promise unto the Baptizing of Infants in all the Word of God. Ergo, Baptizing of Infants is not of Divine Authority.

Arg. 4. If Infant-Baptism be of Divine Authority, then it is (by the appointment of God) for some good Ends and Purposes: But Infant-Baptism is not (by the appointment of God) for any good Ends and Purposes. Ergo, It is not of Divine Authority.

Arg. 5. That Doctrine and Practice, that is not agreeable to the Doctrine and Practice of John the Baptist, Christ and his Apostles, is not of Divine Authority: But the Doctrine and Practice of Infant-Baptism, is not agreeable to the Doctrine and Practice of John the Baptist, Christ and his Apostles. Ergo, The Doctrine and Practice of Infant-Baptism, is not of Divine Authority.

Arg. 6. If Infant-Baptism be of Divine Authority, then it is a Sin in Parents to omit baptizing their Infants: But it is not a Sin in Parents, to omit baptizing their Infants. Ergo, Infant-Baptism is not of Divine Authority.

Arg. 7. That which is substantially and severely forbidden by the Word of God, is not of Divine Authority: But baptizing Infants in the Name of the Lord, is substantially and severely forbidden by the Word of God. Ergo, Infant-Baptism is not of Divine Authority.

I shall say nothing at present in the Defence of these Arguments, on­ly leave them (thus briefly and nakedly laid down) to the Conside­ration of any that shall please to peruse them: But when I perceive what it is that my Antagonists have to say against them, or where their Answers or Exceptions will be chiefly concern'd, I shall then reckon my self oblig'd to prove whatsoever is deny'd, or else submit to the Strength and Authority of the Answers given.



Pag. 23. l. 6. r. came. P. 24. l. 5. r. will do you no service.

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