A PRECEPT FOR THE Baptisme OF INFANTS Out of the NEW TESTAMENT.

Where the Matter is First proved from three severall Scriptures, that there is such a word of Command.

Secondly it is vindicated, as from the excepti­ons of the Separation, so in special from the Cavils of Mr. Robert Everard in a late Trea­tise of his intituled Baby-Baptisme routed.

By NATHANIEL STEPHENS Minister of the Gospel at Fennie-Drayton in Leicester-shire.

London Printed by T.R. and E.M. for Edmund Paxton, Nathanaell Webb and William Grantham; and are to be sold in Pauls Chaine neer Doctors Commons, and at the Greyhound in Pauls Church-yard. 1651.

Imprimatur.

Edm. Calamy.
January 13. 1650.
[...]

Christian and Conscientious Reader,

THough Presses in the present age are much oppressed, and many fools will be medling, that they may be fools in Print; Yet we think this Treatise should have much wrong, and so should Christian Infants, if it should be concealed from publick veiw. For this we hope may muzzle their mouthes, who have long cryed out, give us a Precept for Infant-Baptisme. If such do not winke, here they may see it. And if their wits be not quicker to devise shifts, then their con­sciences to receive truth, here we conceive is satisfaction sufficient.

For Mr. Everards Pasquill (no nick-name for such sheets of Satyrical invectives) how can it but be nauseous to all sober minds? If a truth should be so disguised, it would look unlovely; how much more his er­ror? Which error of his is so abundantly refuted by this sober and judi­cious tract, which makes the way so clear for little Children to come to Christs Baptisme, as they did to his armes, and blessing: that unlesse their adversaries blush to recant and repent, (as the Emperor Heraclius did, when the Heresie of the Monothelites, with which he was tainted, was condemned,) they will henceforth wash those children with teares, which they have craftily and cruelly kept from Baptismal washing.

To returne to this Book, we apprehend that the substance and argu­mentative part of it doth sincerely and soundly hold forth the truth: and that in the evidence or power of the spirit of truth. If there be now and then redundance of words, let it be looked upon as the Authors affection to make the matter clear to the meanest judgments.

And glad we are that in this reply to Baby-Baptisme routed, the Re­verend Author hath followed the Apostles rule, 1 Pet. 3.9. and not rendred rayling for rayling. We can be confident that as it savours much of the Spirit of God, so it will have the more influence upon the spirits of Gods people.

Our own experience hath found this in our answering the challenge made us of disputation in this point four years since by Mr. Knollis and Mr. Kiffin. Which challenge we received and answered (may we speak [Page]it with modesty) with moderation towards them from whom we recei­ved provocation enough. And with what happie successe, we can com­fortably referre to those thousands who heard the dispute, but chiefly to the happy standing fast of our own great people in this truth of Infant-Baptisme. Though we confesse we daily fear the lot of other great pla­ces, that seducers will creep in amongst us.

We have sometimes heard that our Antagonists at their returne gave thanks in their Congregations for the good successe of their long jour­ney. But if deservedly, as to the point disputed, we wonder then, that we within a moneth sending them a copie of the disputations, written by their own scribe Mr. Coppe, and withall the Presse all this while keeping open doores, they have not committed it to publick veiw and vote: nor sent us their hands that we might do it, according to Articles before the dispute.

What wrong they have done us and the truth by clancular and defe­ctive narratives of the businesse, as we have cause to fear, so we leave to their own bosomes to judge. Reader, let not this convenient digression tire thy patience in the perusall of this Reverend Authors work, whose worth, we already assure our selves, will with much clearnesse appear to thee, as it does to us; and we doubt not will to those of his opposites who (as Synesius Bishop of Cyrene his expression was) had not rather lose their hearts then their conceits. Now, together with the book, we are thine in the truth as it is in Jesus.

  • John Bryan. Ministers of Coventry.
  • Obadiah Grew. Ministers of Coventry.

The Epistle to the READER.

Courteous Reader.

BEfore I come to the discourse it self, it shall not be unprofitable to shew the cause that first moved me to enterprise this businesse, and the severall steps by which I have been carried on. For the cause (alas is too manifest!) many people among us, and some of good hope, have been drawen aside to follow the way of the separation. Things standing thus, I could not but as a private Christian, by the band of love; but more especially as a Minister of the word, by relation of office; I could not (I say) but rise, and look after such neighbours and friends of mine, who (in my aprehension at least) were as sheeep gone astray. Therefore about the end of January last, I took occasion to go to Earles-Shilton, a neighbouring town in Leicester-shire, where the Masters of Division have played their principall game: My pur­pose was by conference with them to know the reasons of their departure from us. When a competent number of that way were gathered together, some plea­ded errors in our Doctrine, others corruptions in our Ministery, and a third sort faulted our Churches constitution. But in conclusion of that days discourse, I found that the point which they did bind very much upon, was this; That there word was no word of command for the Baptisme of Infants in the New Testament. I found that this principally moved them to renounce the old, and to take up a new Baptisme; to leave the old, and to joyn themselves to a new Church. Hereupon I told them, that however others look to the ancient use of the Church in the Baptisme of Infants, I was perswaded that there was a word of institution: and had I time more fully to study the point, I hoped I should make it appear. They desired me to take time; and our agreement was that before my next coming I should give them a weeks warning: which I did accordingly, and appointed the 27th. of March for the particular day of our conference. I desired that some of their more solid and principal men would be there, for the tryal of truth: and this I signified by letter a week before. But when I came, I did not find the men I looked for. Whether they were absent on set purpose, or whether there was a real cause of their absence, I cannot tell. Therefore I did publickly, according to that light I had, Preach a Precept [Page]for the Baptisme of Infants before the People: and when I had done, I did leave one brief Argument behind me in writing, for the freinds of the separa­tion to consider of. Since that time I acknowledge that I have received two answers, the one upon the first of May, and the other upon the fifth of Septem­ber, And I could wish that the last Answerer (which was one Mr. Robert Everard) had not been so hastie to put his Answer in Print: but rather that he and I had gone on in the way we were in, to try the matter by writing each to other. Sure I am, by this friendly and private way of enquiry, he and I might have gained very much, at least the one might have come forth more ripe for the publick veiw. What his secret reasons were, I know not; His way of life being itinerary from place to place, it is a question whether such a narrow and set disquisition of truth would not have fixed him too long to one place; Or whether (according to the title of his book) he did inwardly beleeve that he had given a totall rout to the Baptisme of Infants: Or whether it were to ease his own shoulders of the burden, and to call in more of the party to his assistance. For my own part, I beleeve the matter being now brought into Print, I am not now to deal with this or that particular man, but with the whole nation of them that are against a Precept for the Baptisme of In­fants: And this I take to be no small number. For I beleeve the piety of former times (as they then called it) was not greater to set up high altars, then it is now to divide into new Churches. And therefore to a man who maketh it one of his cheif designes to set up a new Church, to erect a new Mi­nistery, and to cast all into a new mould, what better principle can he have to begin withall then a new Baptisme? I do expect therefore when I go about to shew a Command for the Baptisme of Infants, that I shall not want ex­ceptions against me, both from principles of conscience, and from principles of interest. However, I am resolved, (being cast upon it) to put the mat­ter now (by the Lords assistance) unto publick triall. One member of the disjunctive must needs be true; either there is a Precept for the Baptisme of Infants, or there is not. For my part I beleeve there is; and therefore I shall be the more willing to shew the grounds on which I build. If any one be of opinion that the world is too full of books in this kinde, and that little more can be said then hath been already; I would intreat such a one to look upon the doubts that are in the Consciences of godly men every where, and to con­sider the present necessities and divisions of the Church: And I beleeve when he hath done so, he will have small reason to complain of too much water, seeing all is on fire. For that speech of the wise man, The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be, and there is no new thing under the Sunne, Eccles. 1.8. I acknowledge that there is a truth in it, yet not as it is too ordinarily [Page]applyed. For I can avouch by experience (and I speak the words of truth and sobernesse) that in many hidden Prophesies, and in some subtill contro­versies, when I have read all on both sides, the truth hath not so clearly ap­peared unto me as when I came to canvasse the Scriptures, to dive into the sense of them by meditation, and to compare Scripture with Scripture. This hath some way happened in the present controversie. It may be then that which hath been to mine own, may (by the blessing of God) be satisfactory to the conscience of another man. Reader, thou hast now the reasons that moved me to this work. Thus desiring the help of thy prayers, that the thing I la­bour in, may tend both to the clearing of the truth, and (as much as may be) in these times of division to the preserving of the peace of the Church. I rest

Thine in the Lord, NATHANIEL STEPHENS.

The Generall heads contained in this Treatise.

  • HOw the Precept is proved from the words of the Commission, Matth. 28.19. Teach all Nations, baptizing them: How the Children are compre­hended under the word (them). pag. 1.
  • How the Precept is proved from Acts 2.38, 39. For the Promise is to you and to your Children: Whether the Argu­ment be of force, the word of Promise is to Beleevers and their Children; therefore the word of Command is to baptize Father and Child pag. 13
  • How the Precept is proved from John 3.5. Except a man be born of Water and of the Spirit, &c. Where it is shewed how far forth it is necessary for the Children of Beleevers, which are borne in Originall sinne, to receive Baptisme the seal of Regeneration. pag 18
  • What the particular Argument was which the Author gave to the partie of the separation to prove a Precept for the Baptisme of Children. pag. 28
  • What their first answer was to the argument. ibid.
  • How it was renewed again in both the parts, and in the whole sense: because the children of Beleevers have a right to Baptisme by the word of Promise, they must have a right by the word of Command. ibid.
  • How it was particularly renewed in the first part by shewing the con­vertibility between the word of Promise and the word of Command in the Sacramental action. pag. 29
  • How it was renewed in the second part, by shewing that the [Page]Promise to Beleevers and their Children is not meant of extra­ordinary gifts, but of the Covenant of grace. pag. 30
  • What their second answer was to the argument forealledged. pag. 31
  • How the argument is vindicated from the exceptions of Mr. Everard, the Author of the last answer. pag. 33
  • How it is shewed to be truly grounded upon the words of the Text. pag. 35
  • How it is evidenced to be right in the frame of it. pag. 58
  • How the Children may be said to professe in their Parents that do undertake for them; And therefore there is no danger of tearing the words, be baptized every one of you, Father and Child, from the words Repent and be baptized. pag. 36
  • How Mr. Everard by denyall of Infant-Baptisme doth tear the word of Promise from the word of Command. pag. 43
  • Whether Peters hearers were true Beleevers, when he exhorted them, be baptized every one of you; and so consequently whether their Children were capable of the Seal. pag. 46
  • Of the maine Objection of Mr. Everard, viz. Then the whole nation of the Jewes ought to be baptized, because the Promise was made unto them and to their Children. pag. 47
  • What the answer to this Objection is, by shewing that not a right to the Promise in generall, but a right that Beleevers and their Chil­dren have to the Promise in the last exhibition, doth bring a right to baptisme. ibid.
  • What are the three exhibitions of the Promise, and how in each ex­hibition the Promise doth still hold to Father and Child. pag. 48
  • The question is resolved in speciall, that a true Beleever of the heart that may be saved in his own dispensation, cannot be capable of another Seal till be hath received the Promise in that particular exhibition to which the Seal is annexed. pag. 50
  • The Appendix of Mr. Swayne, in which he showeth that the Brethren of the Separation have neither precept nor example for their Ba­ptisme, for want of a true Administrator. pag. 63

A PRECEPT for the Baptisme of Infants out of the New Testament.

THat this matter may be the more clearly understood, I will first alledge those particular places of Scripture from whence the Precept is proved. Secondly, I will vindicate the argument which I gave to prove a Pre­cept, from the exceptions of the Brethren of the Sepa­ration, and especially from the late Treatise of Master Everard. For the places of Scripture, there are three texts in the New Testament which (as farre as I apprehend) being right­ly expounded and cleared, will prove a Precept.

The first is Matth. 28.19. where our Saviour speaketh to his Apo­stles, Go teach all Nations, baptizing them, &c. He would have them now go to al Nations, that were formerly outcasts of the Covenant, and stran­gers from the Common-wealth of Israel, Epbes. 2. verse 11, 17. He would have them go teach, disciple, and covenant all Nations in the Faith; and when the Nations shall come to be discipled, taught, covenanted, and brought so farre to own the faith of Christ come in the flesh, then the commission is, baptize the discipled Nations: to wit the beleeving parents, and the children, so farre forth at least as they live under that education and tuition. Now contrarily, whereas many late Writers will have a Disciple able to make actuall profession in his own person, the only sub­ject of Baptisme; They are (to my understanding) greatly deceived in this point. For if the words of the text be literally, truly, and grammati­cally read, not Nations onely, nor Disciples onely, but discipled Nations are the subject of Baptisme. When our Saviour saith, Teach all Nations, baptizing them, who are they that he doth mean by the word (them)? doth he not mean the Nations, the beleeving Nations, the parents and their children? If it had been his minde that his Apostles should baptize such onely as did actually beleeve and professe in their own persons, and none [Page 2]of their children, what could have been more easily said then this, Go make Disciples out of all Nations, and such persons that ye have made Disci­ples baptize them onely? If this had been his meaning, he could easily have exprest himself, that persons so and so qualified are the onely subjects of Baptisme. But seeing he saith Go teach all Nations baptizing them, he doth look here to a progeny and to a posterity of beleevers; he doth here look to the Nations so farre forth as they consist of beleeving pa­rents, and children under their education. Seeing in the affirmative a discipled Nation is the subject of Baptisme, in the negative a Nation not discipled is excluded from Baptisme.

Now if any man shall say, where have you in the New Testament a Precept for the baptism of infants? I will say, In the words of the Com­mission. If he shall reply, that there is no mention made of children in that text; My answer is, though they be not expressed in so many letters and syllables, yet they are contained in the word (them). When our Sa­viour saith Teach all nations baptizing them, his meaning is to baptize them parents that professe, in their own persons, and their children so farre forth as they live under their Christian education. Both together make a discipled Nation; and both joyntly are the subject of Baptisme by the word of the Commission. But that the children are contained in the word (them), Go teach all Nations baptizing them, I prove thus;

  • First, laying down the most remarkable circumstances of the commision.
  • Secondly, by compating it with other places of the New Testament that have a near relation to it.
  • Thirdly, by showing the absurdities that will follow in case the infants are not included where the Nation doth professe.

For the circumstances, there are three remarkable and speciall ones that show the children to be contained in the word of Institution.

  • First, when our Saviour saith Go teach all Nations, there all Nations are set in immediate opposition to one Nation; all Nations in Covenant to the particular Nation of the Jewes in Covenant. And therefore as the parti­cular Nation of the Jews had the Covenant and the Seale, to admit them and their Infants into the Church, in the time of their own dispensation: So it is the minde of Christ in that sence of the Commission, that when the Nations receive the faith, they should have the Covenant and the Seale for themselves and their children in the time of the new dispensation. If this be so, that the opposition is between Nation and Nation, all Nations and that particular Nation, we may build upon it that in these words go teach all Nations Baptizing them, the children are comprised in the word Nations, but more particularly in the word [Page 3] them; and are in the sence of the Commission, together with their pa­rents, the proper subjects of Baptisme. If this be not so, what will be­come of the opposition betwixt all Nations in Covenant and that one Nation?
  • Secondly, by the time when the Commission was given. It was at that instant when circumcision ceased to be the Seale of admission into the Jewish Church, after it had stood for two thousand yeers together; At that very instant the Lord did appoint Baptisme as an initial Seal to come in the place of Circumcision; to performe the same office in the Churches of the Gentiles as Circumcision did before in the particular Church of the Jewes. So then, if Circumcision (as all do know) was the door to let in Father and Child into the Jewish Church, in all the time of that administration, we can judge no other but that it was the minde of Christ in his Commission, that his Apostles should teach all Nations: and such of them as should receive the faith, they should by Baptisme be let into the Church, beleeving Parents and their Children, after that manner as they were admitted in all the time of the admini­stration going before.
  • Thirdly, when our Saviour gave Commission to his Disciples, Go teach all Nations, the doctrine that he would have them teach, was no other but the doctrine of the Gospel delivered unto Abraham in the nature of a Covenant. The Scripture fore-seeing that God would justifie the Heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel to Abraham, saying, in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed, Gal. 3.8. being compared with Acts 3.24, 25. Rom. 4.11. Ephes. 2.11, 12, 13. If ther­fore it was the minde of Christ, that through the Apostles preaching, the blessing of the particular families of Abraham should be conveighed to all the beleeving families of the earth; what can be more rational to conceive according to the Commission, but that the Promise and the Seale are to be applyed to the beleeving families of the earth, to Father and Child, as it was formerly to the particular family of Abraham? The blessing must needs go from family to family, from the particular family of Abraham in the times of Circumcision, to all the beleeving fa­milies of the earth in the times of Baptisme.

So then, the chief circumstances of the Commission being laid toge­ther; First, all Nations in Covenant, standing in immediate opposition to one Nation of the Jewes. Secondly, the circumstance of time, that Baptisme did precisely begin at that instant, to be the Seale of admissi­on into the Church gathered out of all Nations when Circumcision ceas­ed. Thirdly, the substance of the doctrine, by preaching the Gospel the [Page 4]Apostles were to bring the blessing of the particular family of Abraham into all the beleeving families of the earth. All these circumstances laid together plainly prove, that Baptisme is to be applyed to the Church gathered out of all Nations after the same manner (respecting beleeving parents and their children) as Circumcision was applyed to the particu­lar Nation of the Jewes. And therefore when our Saviour saith Go teach all Nations baptizing them, &c. we can conceive no other from the circumstances of the Commission, but that by positive right, and by the appointed will, the children in a beleeving Nation together with their parents are comprehended in the word (Them) as the true and proper subject of Baptisme. So then we have a word of command cleared from the Commission, from the scope of the text, and the principal cir­cumstances do agree. Let us now go to parallel-Scriptures.

Secondly, if we compare parallel Scriptures in the New Testament, we shall finde, by comparing Scripture with Scripture, that the children must needs be comprised in the word of the Commission. For the par­ticular Scriptures, because they are so largely handled by the late Writers, Mr. Cotion, Mr. Marshal, Mr. Blake, and (as I hear) by some others late­ly come forth, I shall spare my paines, and referre the judicious Reader to their learned Treatises. Only to the purpose in hand, I desire to lay down this as a sure rule, that from whatsoever text in the New Testa­ment the Baptisme of Infants may be proved, whether it be proved di­rectly or indirectly, mediately or immediately, severally by one place, or joyntly by comparing many places together, which was soever it be pro­ved, the matter will come to this, that if the children have a right, they must be contained in the general command. And therefore when our Saviour saith teach all Nations baptizing them, we must needs suppose, that he speaketh comprehensively, that in the word (them) he doth in­clude every person that hath a right to the Seale under the new dispensa­tion. And therefore if in any of the aforenamed Authors any one text will hold good for the Baptisme of Infants, we may argue that In­fants are contained in the head precept. Let us come to give two or three instances. The Apostle in that famous place speaking of the chil­dren of beleevers, doth use these words, The unbeleeving husband is san­ctified by the wife, and the unbeleeving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children uncleane, but now are they holy. 1 Cor 7.14. Here the Apostle speaketh of the natural children of beleevers that they are holy? I demand then, in what sence doth he say they are holy? It is a­greed upon on all sides that it is not meant of inward holinesse, because the children are said to be holy as being propagated from beleeving pa­rents. [Page 5]Therefore it must be one of these two wayes, either by Cove­nant holinesse, (as we affirm,) or by legitimation of issue, as the follow­ers of the Separation. But I say, the text cannot possibly be understood in the latter sence; for then why may not the children of Turks and Tar­tars be said to be holy, seeing many of them are borne in lawfull wed­lock? Secondly, if any text of Scripture may be found out where the children may be said to be holy, because lawfully borne, yet how can such a sence agree to the present text? Here only is mention made of beleeving and unbeleeving parents, of a clean or unclean issue as the parent is either beleeving or unbeleeving. Upon these considerations when the Apostle saith that the children are holy, this must needs be meant of federal and covenant holinesse. He speaketh of the time [Now] are the children holy to wit, in the last exhibition of the promise. And therefore, in the sence of the Commission, when our Saviour saith, teach all Nations baptizing them, his command was to baptize the Corinthians children, so farre forth as the parents did beleeve through grace. In this sence, because the parents did beleeve, the progeny was holy, as a part of a discipled Nation; and, according to the meaning of the Commission, a lawfull subject of Baptisme. The Corinthians children being fede­rally holy, must needs be contained in the word them, teach all Nations baptizing them, &c.

Secondly, from the maine scope of Rom. 11. it is plaine that the Gen­tiles have now the same graffing into the Olive tree that the Jewes had before; and that the present graffing in of the Gentile is answerable to the casting out of the Jew. So then if when the Jew was graffed in, he was graffed in and his children, it will follow, the Gentile being ingraffed in his place, he must needs be graffed in and his children. Again when the Jew was cast out, he was cast out and his children; and therefore when the Gentile was received in his roome, be must be received and his children. If this be not so, where will be the analogie between the break­ing off of one linage and the implantation of another? the breaking off of some branches, and the ingraffing in of others? If the beleeving Gentile did not come in with his children in the place of the Jew cast out, what shall we make of the whole sence of the chapter? what shall become of the opposition between Nation and Nation? To whom may the Apostle be said to direct his speech when he speaketh (Thou) art cut out of the Olive tree wild by nature, Thou bearest not the root, but the root (thee). He that spared not the naturall brunches, take heed that he spare not [thee.] Be­hold the severity of God, but on (thee) goodnesse. ver 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24. Now who is this (thou) and (thee) to whom he doth so frequently [Page 6]speak? It can be no other but the beleeving Gentile and his children, op­posed to the Jew, cast out of covenant and his children. If you apply this to the Commission Go teach all Nations, baptizing them, what can be more naturall to affirme then that the children with their beleeving parents make up a discipled nation? and that both together are the lawfull sub­jects of baptisme? In Rom. 11. the beleeving parents with their children are contained in the words (them) and (thee), and they are also compri­sed in the word (them) in the commission: Go teach all Nations, baptizing (them,) &c.

I might bring more places to prove that the children together with their parents doe make a beleeving nation. And for such also that shall say that the children cannot be members in the Gospel Church-state, I might alledg the ensample of the Jewes at their call in the last times. For according to the prophecies it is cleare as they have been cast out and their children, so at their call they shall be received and their children in a glorious manner. But these few instances may serve to parallel the Commission, and to shew that the children are maintained in the word (them), teach all Nations, baptizing them. Now I come to instance the absurdities in case the Children be excluded.

Thirdly, If beleevers children be not contained in the word (them) teach all Nations, baptizing them, these absurdities will ensue. First, whereas in the two former dispensations father and child entered into the Church together, in this last, best, and most large edition of the Cove­nant the parents shall be taken in and the children shut ou [...] ▪ Secondly, If the children be not contained in the word (them), teach all Nations bap­tizing them, there will be a change in the extent of the Covenant as to the particular of infants, and in respect of the subject the Lord Christ will varie from the usuall way of administring the seal, and yet give no warning of so great a change. Thirdly, If the Children be not contained in the word (them) teach all Nations, baptizing them, what difference will there be between the children of such that professe the Christ come in the flesh, and the Christians of Turks his absolute enemies? For if we take it as granted, that the children in the last dispensation have no right to Church priviledges, nor to the seale, let any shew the difference between the children of beleevers, and the Children of out-casts of the Covenant, If they differ not in inward graces, nor in outward Priveledges, in what then do they differ? Fourthly, If the children be not contained in the word (them); teach all Nations, baptizing them, what shall we say in speciall by those of the Jewish Nation that were brought to the faith by the preaching of the Apostles? will it not necessarily follow, that [Page 7]such as did beleeve and receive the Christ come in the flesh, by their be­leeving the promise in the last exhibition bring losse to their Children? Will it not necessarily follow, that the Children formerly Church mem­bers, shall come to be spoyled of Church membership; the Children for­merly Sealed, shall come to be devested of the Seal; the Children for­merly in the Covenant, shall come to be expunged out of the Covenant? And all these dammages will follow upon the Jew his beleeving the Christ come in the flesh. Fifthly, If the Children be not contained in the word (them,) teach all Nations, baptizing them, what will become of the comfort of Beleevers in this last dispensation? There is no true Beleever in these times, but he doth look upon his Children as borne in Originall sin: where is then His comfort? His comfort is in the Cove­nant. But what if the Children must not be baptized? What if they have no right to the Seal of the Covenant? Can he presume that they have a right to the Covenant it self, and to Salvation by vertue of the Covenant? Where there is no title to the Seal (especially in such a di­spensation where a Seal is annexed to the Covenant) what title is there to the Covenant it self? Sixthly, If the Children be not contained in the word (them) teach all Nations, baptizing them, there will be a change in the heart of Christ; by his last words he will exclude them from the Seal and Church-membership, of whom he said in his former exhortations, Suffer little Children to come to me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven, Matth. 19.14. These and many other absurdities may be alledged in case Infants be excluded from Ba­ptisme.

Now then, if this be so; what will become of those ordinary speeches of the adverse partie? We want a precept, we have no word of Com­mand from Christ, &c. To them I may reply that they make their case worse then it is; they have a word of institution to baptize Parents and Children. When our Saviour saith, Teach all Nations, baptizing them, the Children living under the Christian education are inclusively contained in the word (Them). We have proved this: First, from the remarkable circumstances of the Text: Secondly by comparing the Commission with other Scriptures: Thirdly by shewing the absurdities in case the Children are not contained collectively with their Parents in the Word (Them,) Teach all Nations, baptizing them. Now I proceed to answer some Objections.

Object. 1. If they say that the Word (ethne) Nations, being a newter, cannot be substantive to (autous) Them, a word of the Masculine gender.

Sol. They that shall so reason, let them peruse the Originall in the Old and New Testament, and they shall every where find this Enallage, or change of Gender. To let passe all that might be brought, let them consider that one Scripture concerning the loosing of Satan to seduce the Nations: And he shall go forth to deceive, (ethne) the Nations, that are in the four quarters of the Earth, God and Magog, to gather (autous) them together to battell. And they went up in the bredth of the Earth, and compassed the Camp of the Saints, and the beloved City, and fire came down from God out of Heaven, and devoured (autous) them. And the Devill that deceived (autous) them, was cast into the lake of fire, &c. Rev. 20: vers. 8.9, 10. Now here it is plain that the word (autous) them, is three times together set in relation to the word (ethne) nations. From whence I gather in the sence of the Commission that the word (autous) them, must by the like reason necessarily answer to the word (ethne) nations: and this is the naturall construction of the words.

Object. 2. Secondly, If they shall object that then the Nations as Na­tions will be the lawfull subject of Baptisme.

Sol. Not so neither. It will necessarily follow, that the Nations as dis­cipled, as taught, as beleeving, as professing Nations, in this sence will be the proper subjects of Baptisme. All Nations as Nations since the breaking down of the partition wall, have a generall interest in preach­ing the Gospel; Mark 16.16. compared with Matth. 10. vers. 5.6. but this generall interest doth not intitle to Baptisme. All Nations have a right to the Gospel preached as Nations, but they have a right only to Baptisme, Parents and Children, so farre forth as they are under disci­pling and teaching, and do yeeld to discipling and teaching.

Object. 3. Thirdly, if they alledge that the Commission is to be ex­pounded by that place, Joh. 4.2. Jesus made and baptized more Disciples: therefore a Disciple actually made, is the only subject of Baptisme.

Sol. That such a one is the lawfull subject of Baptisme, I do willingly ac­knowledge; but that he is the only subject of Baptisme, to the excluding of Infants under the Christian education, this I deny. And I know no reason why we should tye up the sence of the Commission (a law to con­tinue in all ages) to that particular instance of our Saviours making and baptizing Disciples in those first times. Give me leave to proceed in the like manner, and see whether by the rigor of some examples (in appea­rance at least) I may not be able to break the force of any generall rule. Therefore let us take it as a granted maxime, that a Disciple outwardly professing, that every such a one is the lawfull subject of Baptisme. In such a case as this is, what if a man would be peevish against Disciple-bap­tisme, [Page 9]might he not find out many colourable showes? What if he should say that such as are able to speak with divers languages, by the ex­traordinary gift of the Holy Ghost, such only ought to be baptized? Will he not have a fair plea from the example of Cornelius and his com­pany? They were not baptized till the Holy Ghost fell upon them, Act. 10.44, 45, 46, 47. Again, what if he should say, that a Minister at the entrance of his function, that he is the only subject of Baptisme? Was not our Saviour baptized at 30 years of age, at the beginning of his Mi­nistery? Further, what if he should affirme, that they that have tasted of the spirit of bondage, ought only to be baptized? Did not Ananias baptize Paul after great horrors? And were not the body of the peo­ple baptized by John in Jordan confessing their sinnes? Last of all, what if he should stand upon it, that only a beleever of the heart can be baptized? How plausibly may he reason from the speech of Philip to the Eunuch? What doth hinder me to be Baptized? If thou beleevest with all thine heart, thou mayest. Act. 8.36, 37. So then if you take 500 Disciples of the Doctrine in ordinary experience, you will scarce find 50 that have a true faith in the heart. By the strictness of this Rule not only Infants, but the greater part of Disciples that make outward pro­fession, must needs be excluded from Baptisme. For of the greater part that make outward profession, who can rationally or probably, or in the judgment of Charity (at least by their fruits) conceive that the greater part have a true faith wrought in the heart. And thus you see how Dis­ciple baptisme, (which the Separation themselves allow,) is torne down by the precisenesse and rigour of particular examples.

I say then, that there lyeth a truth in all the forenamed examples; there lyeth a particular truth, that men so and so qualified, were the lawfull subjects of Baptisme: but it doth not prove them to be the ade­quate and full subjects of Baptisme. He that doth beleeve in the heart, with a true faith, may lawfully be baptized; but we must not say, that a true justifying faith is necessarily required to the administration of Bap­tisme. So in the present case, when our Saviour first made, and then baptized Disciples in the first plantation of the faith, there is no doubt but he did lawfully baptize such as made actuall profession. But the Question is in the severall successions of the Church; when Religion is once planted, whether such actuall profession is necessarily required in all them that are baptized? In this case I say, the Apostles and their successors having the whole of the Nations to bring to the faith, they must needs carry on the work by degrees, by the joynt acts of teaching and baptizing. In this sence, teaching must needs go before baptizing [Page 10]when the Gospel is to be planted; and baptizing before teaching after the first plantation; And so both acts teach baptizing, and baptize teach­ing, are to continue together in fluxe and succession in all Christian Nati­ons to the end of the World. Therefore when our Saviour gave forth the Commission, teach all Nations, baptizing them; we are not to think that he did look only to the time being, but to the continuation of a Christian progenie and posterity upon the Earth. If this be so, a Disci­pled Nation is the lawfull subject of Baptisme; and the beleeving Father (in the sence of the Commission) is to be baptized with his Child.

But seeing they that dissent from us are so willing to expound the Commission by parallel Scriptures, I am content to apply my self to that method. And therefore when the Prophets all along speak of the call of the Gentiles, and of the bringing in of the body of the Nations; I would know the time when these Prophecies did begin to be fulfilled: They that dissent from us must needs say, at that time when our Saviour bid his Disciples go teach all Nations, baptizing them; they must needs say at that particular time he did begin to put the forementioned Promises and Prophecies in execution. If this be so, we cannot imagine when he said teach all Nations baptizing them, that his meaning was to gather a few Disciples out of all Nations by teaching and baptizing. This might have been done in two or three of a Nation, only without the bringing in of the body of the Nations. But the words of the Commission con­taine a Promise a swell as a Precept: for our Saviour doth promise that the body of the Nations, first or last, should be brought to the faith, and this we find more particularly declared in the whole book of the Revela­tion, and verified in our own experience.

From all that hath been said we gather that not only all Disciples, so made by actuall Teaching, but all Nations, so far forth as they are un­der Discipling and Teaching, and so far forth as they submit themselves to be discipled and taught, they and their Children living under the Christian education, are a Discipled Nation, and in the sence of the Commission the lawfull subject of Baptisme.

Object. 4. Fourthly, If it be demanded what certain rule can be given to know a Discipled Nation?

Sol. There is nothing more easie to know then the publike profession of a Nation. We may easily discerne how far forth they do acknowledge the Christ come in the flesh, how far forth they look to have remission of sinne by his blood, how far forth they are willing to have their Chil­dren brought up in the Faith. These things are in the publike veiw of [Page 11]men, and therefore as of old in one Nation of the Jews, when the Fa­thers were made proselites by teaching, there was a command in that dispensation to circumcise Father and Child as members of a discipled Nation. So in the Church gathered out of all Nations, as the Parents do now receive the Faith, and do enter into Covenant to professe the Christ come in the flesh, so far they and theirs must go under the account of a discipled Nation. And for the evidence of this to the administrator of Baptisme, they may be known to be such by the badg of their outward profession.

But yet neverthelesse for a more clear understanding of things and the taking away of doubts that may arise, let us distinguish between a Nati­on under Paganisme, and a Nation where Christian Religion is set up in the throne. If you speak of a Nation under Paganisme, we may say that such a Nation is so far discipled, as any part of it doth submit to the Faith. As for example, when Paul came to Rome to preach the Gospel, by his preaching he did not make the whole people of Rome a discipled people. But they were so far forth made a discipled Nation as any par­ticular men in that City did beleeve, and did engage themselves to bring up all under their education in the faith of the Christ come in the flesh: so far they became a discipled Nation, and no further. And this is the reason wherefore in those first times we read only of the Baptisme of Be­leevers and their housholds, because then the Christian education was only in the houses of the Faithfull; the Roman Emperour being as yet but a step-father and an enemy to the Church.

Secondly, If you consider a Nation so far forth as the Christian Faith is set up as the Religion of the State, in this sence we take a discipled Nation in a larger extent. For not only the families of those that truly beleeve, but the families of others also that are willing to yeeld to the Christian education, and to live under the tuition of a godly Magistra­cy in the Common-wealth, and the instruction of a powerfull Ministery in the Church; so far forth as they are willing to be guided by the Lawes and the Government of the Church of Christ, and are no worse, so far they must go under the notion of a discipled Nation: and Parents and Children both be the lawfull subject of Baptisme. If this be not so, let any man shew a reason why God should tye his grace only to the Chil­dren of those that truly beleeve, when the Children of others also are willing to live under the shadow of his Ordinances; and therein to wait for the in-coming and influence of his grace. In Abrahams family, not only they that were borne in his house, but they that were bought with his money, were esteemed to belong to that education, Gen. 17.12, 17. [Page 12]If any shall say, that this was the time of the Jewish Church state to take in all under that Government. He that doth so reason, let him shew the meaning of the Spirit in the Revelation, when he speaketh of the reign of Christ upon the Earth, ch. 20. and of the Kingdoms of this world, that they became the Kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, ch. 11. ver. 15.17. What is the meaning of this, but that the Kingdoms of this world being before the Kingdomes of the Beast, and yeelding sub­jection to his universall Headship, they became the Kingdomes of Christ, to live in subjection under the Gospel as the Regent Law. By all that hath been spoken, a discipled Nation may be known by their subjection to the Gospel, at least by their outward profession of the Faith to which they do submit.

I have stayed the longer upon this point by reason of a Question that was put to me when I was at Earle-shilton. For being there, and insi­sting upon the Baptisme of Beleevers and their Children, and that from the words of Peter, Act. 2.38, 39. a Question was then put to me in these words; By what right do you baptize the Children in your Parish, do you take all your Parishioners for true Beleevers? My Answer then was, and now is; That I do baptize them as branches of a discipled Nation. For seeing the Parents do outwardly professe the Christ come in the flesh, and because they are willing that I should teach their Children the prin­ciples of the Faith, upon this consideration I do baptize the Children aforesaid. So far as I understand I have a word of command for it: The Children being contained in the word (them,) teach all Nations bapti­zing them.

Now whereas some godly People in these times impute the evils a­mong us to Infant-baptisme, in this they are deceived; it is for want of a Discipline to hold us unto that which we do professe. Let any man take away a Coercive-government out of a Common-wealth, a Disci­pline from an Army, a Rod out of a Schoole; and then let him see whe­ther he may not count as many disorders in those wayes, as now he doth see in Parish-Churches.

To say the truth, we have had never an Excommunication, at least none rightly used, and this hath been a great cause of the evill in the Pa­rochiall-Church-way, in which now we stand. Therefore if things be out of order among us, (as indeed they are,) I do willingly confesse that this doth arise from the want of a Discipline, to make a separation between the Precious and the Vile: It doth arise from want of diligent Catechising of Children according to the strict trusts of their Baptisme when they were first admitted: It doth arise from the want of a power­full [Page 13]and spirituall Ministery, as formerly in greater measure, so now also in too too many places. It doth arise also from the want of Communi­on of Saints to carry on the work of grace in one anothers heart,

These are the causes of disorder, by which all the rest is put out of frame. They then that impute these mischiefes to Infant-baptisme, they do impose upon us with a Sophisme, they put that for the cause which is not the cause. That this may appeear, let us take it as granted; That a Disciple able to make outward profession in his own Person, is the only sub­ject of Baptisme. I say then by their own rule, the Masters of Division cannot deny Baptisme to a Child of eight or ten years old, when he is able to repeat the principles of the Faith. If they deny it to such a one, they must deny Baptisme to a Disciple; and what is this but to crosse their own-principles? Again, if they admit such a one to outward Baptisme, (as admit him they must,) what true difference is there be­tween such a one and an Infant of three dayes old, especially such an In­fant whose Parents will faithfully promise and ingage for his education? For my part I am not acute enough to see a difference, at least such a dif­ference, that men should demolish Parishes, overturne Foundations, tear Churches and Congregations in peices, disturb the peace of the Church and the Common-wealth, and set all on fire (as I apprehend) for bables and trifles. I have done with the first place, I come now to the most speciall Scripture to prove the Baptisme of Infants from the pro­mise made to Beleevers and their Children.

The second Scripture to prove a precept, is from the words of Peter in the first solemne administration of Baptisme, Act. 2.38, 39. Now that this may be more fully understood, I will take the liberty to open the Text in a plain and familiar way, by question and answer. And therefore to begin with the first question.

The Question is, who are the Persons to be baptized, when the Apo­stle saith, be baptized everyone of you?

Answ. The Persons to be baptized are Beleevers and their Chil­dren.

Question How prove you that Beleevers Children are to be bap­tized?

Answ. Beleevers Children are to be baptized, because the promise is to you and your children, these words immediately follow the word of Command, and are added as a reason of the Command.

Quest. How will that appear?

Answ. It will appear in the coherence of the Apostles speech, and particularly in the word (For), which doth joyn the parts of the Text [Page 14]together. He exhorteth them, be baptized every one of you, and giveth this reason, For the promise is to you and your children. Therefore the promise is here repeated as the ground of the command.

Quest. So you plead indeed for the Baptisme of children by the word of command: but how do you prove the word of command?

Answ. I prove it thus, seeing there is such a near relation between the word of promise and the word of command in the Sacrament of Bap­tisme, we may safely conclude, that if the children of Beleevers have a right to be Baptized by the word of promise, in the last exhibition, they have a right to Baptisme by the word of Command. If they have a right to be baptized by the one part, they must have a right to Baptisme by the Counterpane, or the other part of the word of institution. In this matter we build the word of command upon the word of promise.

Quest. Yea, but the great doubt lyeth in this, what the Apostle meaneth, when he saith, for the promise is to you and your children.

Answ. There is no question to be made but he meaneth the grand promise of Christ, as may appear by his words in the chapter following, ye are the children of the Prophets and of the Covenant, which God made with Abraham, saying, in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed, Ʋnto you first hath God raised up his Son Jesus, and hath sent him to blesse you, in turning every one of you from his ini­quities, Acts 3.24, 25. Therefore when the Apostle saith, For the pro­mise is to you and your children, he meaneth to the promise of Christ made to Abraham.

Quest. Admit this be granted, what do you gather from thence?

Answ. I gather this, as that promise made to Abraham and his seed was the ground formerly on which the Lord did build the command to circumcise father and child in all the time of that administration: So the Apostle doth speak to these Jewes who had crucified Christ, that if they would receive him as the particular Messiah, the same promise should still continue to them and their children in the new dispensation. And on this doth he build the word of command to baptize father & child.

Quest. But you do here argue from infant-Circumcision unto infant-Baptisme: by this way of reasoning why do you not plead the Baptisme of the males only? Why do you not plead for the particular eight day, and so carry the wholy analogy together?

Answ. I do not argue from the bare analogy of Circumcision, but herein lyeth the force of my reason, because the promise is, one and the same in the last exhibition to beleevers and their children as it was in the times of Circumcision, the same word of promise exhibited in the last [Page 15]times doth draw in the word of command to baptize father and child. And this I stand upon is the sence of Peter in the words of the Text. For the particular of the Males, the eight day, and such like circumstan­ces, it doth not hold in these, as in that one particular of infancie. These (as all know) are of a perishing nature, but for the particular of infancy, because the promise to beleevers & their children doth hold from age to age, from beleevers of the Jewes to beleevers of the Gentiles; from belee­vers in the time of the Circumcision to beleevers in the times of Bap­tisme; Because the promise doth still hold one and the same in substance to beleevers and their children in the last dispensation. Upon this ground doth the Apostle build the word of command, be baptized every one of you, &c. Therefore the word of promise to the children, now in the last exhibition, doth bring in the word of command, to baptize infants, or to baptize in infancie.

Quest. Well, let it be admitted that the promise is to beleevers and their children, now in the last dispensation, it maketh not to the purpose, for the Apostle saith, To as many as the Lordour God shall call, therefore the promise shall belong to them and to their children at the time of the call only.

Answ. I yeeld that they that live in Gentilisme or Judaisme must be called before the promise, and the Seale may he rightly applyed to them; but the question is when they are once called, when they once receive the Christ come in the flesh, is not the promise to them and their children in the last as well as in the two former exhibitions? I do affirme that the promise in the last exhibition doth appertain to beleevers and their chil­dren, as long as they are no worse then such before the time of their call. For

  • First, the natural seed of beleevers were called children of the Cove­nant in all the time of the former dispensation, and that before calling, Acts 3.24, 25. How then can the promise in the times of the Gospel appertaine to the children only at the time of their call?
  • Secondly, how can the Apostle avouch that the same promise to be­leevers and their children, that the same promise in substance, as to the children, doth descend out of the times of Circumcision into the times of Baptisme; if the promise, as to the children, in the times of Bap­tisme shall be limited and circumscribed to the time of the call onely?
  • Thirdly, what encouragement is this to them he spake to, that they should leave the Old to come under the New Administration? This were no encouragement if the promise to the children under the New Administration should belong to them at the time of the call only?
  • [Page 16]Fourthly, what peculiar priviledge doth he promise to the children of Beleevers more then to the children of Pagans? sith the promise shall be to the children of Pagans at the time of their calling. The promise, as to the children of Beleevers, by this account will be just nothing at all.
  • Fifthly, when he saith as many as the Lord our God shall call, this doth relate to the words going before (to them that are afarre off,) to wit, to the Gentiles, Ephes. 2.11, 12, 13. When it shall please the Lord our God to call them, to wit, the Gentiles out of paganisme, the pro­mise, as exhibited in the last times, shall be to them and their children, as formerly it was to beleevers amongst the Jewes to them and their chil­dren in their own dispensation. This is the meaning of the text, that the promise doth belong to the children of Beleevers, whether Jewes or Gentiles, whether in the second or in the third dispensation, the pro­mise doth belong to the children when the parents come to embrace the faith. On this ground doth the Apostle urge the word of command to father and child, be baptized every one of you, and this I take to be the true meaning of the text.

Quest. So you say, but what sufficient reason can you bring to assure the conscience?

Answ. That which doth much assure me is the Apostles own inter­pretation in the chapter following, for there he showeth that the bles­sing in the particular family of Abraham shall be applyed to all the be­leeving families, kindreds, and nations of the earth, Acts 3.25, 26. with Gal. 3.8. Gen. 12.3. Now what is this but that the promise shall be one and the same to them that beleeve among the Gentiles and their fami­lies, as to them that did beleeve among the Jewes and their families. He doth not speak onely of Beleevers in person, but of Beleevers and their children; why else doth he say concerning Christ, the promised seed, all the families shall be blessed in him? Why else doth he use this expressi­on, But that the promise now in the last times is still one and the same to Beleevers and their families? On this ground doth he build the word of command to the parents that did beleeve and to their children, Be baptized every one of you.

Quest. If this be the meaning of the command, why is there no more frequent mention of the Baptisme of children in the New Testament?

Answ. Because the Apostles after the giving forth of the commission had principally to deal with the Jewes, to bring them out of Judaisme, and with the Gentiles to bring them out of Gentilisme, their work did lye especially in this, For this cause we read more often of the Baptisme [Page 17]of such that did beleeve and professe in their own person. Yet neverthe­lesse we find it again and again repeated in the story of the N. Testament, that such and such a one beleeveth, and was baptized, he and his house. So farre therefore as I can discern, the ordinary baptizing of housholds in those dayes is a plain example to illustrate the word of command in the Apostles words, to baptize beleevers and their children.

Quest. For the baptisme of housholds though we do read this again and again repeated, yet we are to understand it of such only that did make out­ward profession.

Answ. True, The Apostles did baptize such as did professe in their own persons, yet they did baptize the housholds, in relation to the fa­thers engagement. For the proof of this I do offer these ensuing rea­sons, First, it was the general practise of the Church going before when the father did beleeve and professe, he was received with his houshold, Exod. 12.48. Therefore when the Apostles did baptize in the new Ad­ministration, we can conceive no other but they did follow the common use in receiving the father that did beleeve with his children. Secondly, when they did preach the Gospel they did bring the blessing of Abra­ham into the beleeving families of the earth. If they did this, they must needs in the last dispensation apply the promise and the seale gene­rally to all beleeving families of the earth, in the same manner as for­merly it was applyed to the particular family of Abraham. Now what is this but to take in the professing parent with his children? Thirdly, in those times those that were brought out of Judaisme or Paganisme did at the time of their entrance into the Church make a solemne league and covenant with God to professe the faith, they and their families, Acts 16.14. 1 Cor. 1.12, 13, 14. Ephes. 6.4. Therefore when the Apostles did baptize the housholds of beleevers, we cannot conceive that they did this only in relation to some persons that made actual profession, but in re­lation to the fathers ingagement that did undertake for himself and for his children. Fourthly, they that say the Apostles did baptize the hous­holds, and such in the housholds only as did actually beleeve and professe, they that say this let them show a reason why the houshold of Lydia was baptized; for we read only of her that the Lord opened her heart to beleeve the Christ. If you will say that her family was baptized in re­lation to her undertaking, then the reason will lye cleare in the text, Ly­dia was judged faithful to the Lord, and so was baptized, she and her hous­hold. Acts. 16.14.

All these reasons put together plainly demonstrate the Apostolical practise to baptize beleevers housholds, in relation to their undertaking [Page 18]for themselves and for their children. If this be so, there must needs be an example to answer the Apostolical precept; Be baptized every one of you (Father and Child) for the Promise is to you and to your children. And so from the words of Peter, compared with the practise of other Apostles, we have both a precept and an example for the Baptisme of Children in the New-Testament, and (as I think) our task is done. I come now to the third Scripture to prove the necessity of Infant-baptisme.

Thirdly, In the conference with Nicodemus, our Saviour doth insist much upon the pollution of the Naturall birth, and the necessity of Re­generation, both by Water without, and the Spirit within. Now in this Scripture there is included a Precept to Beleevers to apply the out­ward washing to their Children (born in Originall sinne) the Seal of the inward washing. That this may bee made manifest I will

  • First clear the Text from two ordinary mistakes.
  • Secondly, from the words rightly expounded, I will show how the precept is deduced by necessary consequence.

For the mistaks, in the first place they do over shoot themselves that plead from hence an absolute necessitie of the Baptisme of infants. In­deed there is an absolute necessitie that all that are borne in Originall sinne, if they be saved, they must be saved by the Covenant, but there is not a like necessitie of the Seal. In the times of the first dispensation to comfort Beleevers in respect of their Children born in Originall sinne, the promise then was, The seed of the woman shall break the Serpents head. Gen. 3.15. Yet there was no Seal of this Promise, no initiall Seal for two thousand years together, from Adam to Abraham. Further there was not such absolute necessity of the Seal in the times of Circumcision for those that died before the eight day.

There was then (as now is,) an absolute necessity of Salvation by the Promise and the Covenant: but the necessity of the Seal was only con­ditionall, so far forth as it might be well had. Therefore, when the ancient Writers (Fathers and Schoolmen) speak so much of the neces­sity of Baptisme, and of the Salvation of Infants, strictly and precisely upon terms of Baptisme, to my understanding they ascribe too much to the outward Ordinance, and so do erre in the other extreme. For the hope of Salvation doth not lye so much in the Seal, as in the Promise to which the Seal is annexed. Indeed the Lord having made a Promise, to Beleevers concerning their Children born in Originall sinne, That he will be their God and the God of their seed, in this case they must beleeve his [Page 19]word, and where he hath ordained a Seal for the confirmation of their Faith, they must take heed how they neglect to apply it, they must not (as more then too many do in these dayes) think it a superfluous, or an idle figure. All that we plead is this, that there is a necessity that lyeth upon beleeving Parents to baptize their Children born in Originall sinne. But how? the necessity is not absolute but conditionall. In case the Child dye before Baptisme, he may be saved by the Covenant and by the Promise of God; yet I think such a Parent that doth carelesly omit his duty, he will very hardly answer his neglect to God himself, his Church, and I think at last to his own conscience.

Secondly, To my understanding also they go too far, whosoever they be that do conclude that Baptisme doth Regenerate, or that it doth confer grace by the work done. It is a difficult point rightly to divide the matter between two extremes. If therefore I may deliver my thoughts concerning this matter, I do beleeve that as the Word preached, so the Seals administred, according to the minde of Christ, in this they are the conduit pipes to carry the Spirit into the soules of men. But how? not alwayes, in all men, and at all times; but only when it pleaseth the Lord to work by them. But as to the particular of Baptisme, what that Ordinance doth conferre we will resolve, in answering these severall Quaeries.

Quaer. 1. What doth Baptisme conferre to the pardon of Originall sinne in Infants?

Answ. It is certain all that are born in the ordinary way since the fall of Adam, are born in the guilt of Originall sinne, Rom. 5.12.13, 14. Now this is the comfort to Beleevers, that in Christ the promised Seed there is pardon of this sinne to their naturall Seed. Therefore if the Children of Beleevers dye before Baptisme, there is hope of their Salva­tion by the Promise: But if they dye after Baptisme, the hope is not on­ly grounded upon the Promise, but it is also ratifyed by the Seal. There­fore the Infants that dye unbaptized, the hope of their Salvation is by Promise; but the baptized Infants of beleevers have hope of Salvation both by Promise and by Seal. Thus far (as I conceive) Baptisme doth conferre to the pardon of Originall sin in Infants.

Quaer. 2. What doth Baptisme conferre to the pardon of Actuall sinne in men of ripe years?

Answ. It is a sure rule, that Baptisme doth not only Seal the pardon of Originall, but also the pardon of Actuall sinne, Ananias said to Paul, Why tarriest thou? arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sinnes, calling upon the name of the Lord. Act. 22.16. So then, if the person baptized [Page 20]continue after Baptisme in clensing and purging out of sinne, in judging and condemning himself daily for sin, he may be fully assured that the Lord will continue a daily pardon of sinne. As sinne is daily confessed, so it shall be daily pardoned upon true confession. If any doubt should arise in the Conscience concerning the continuation of pardon by the blood of Christ, whether the Lord would continue to pardon such sinne as is committed after justification, the Apostle saith; If we confesse our sinnes, he is faithfull and just to forgive us our sinnes, and to clense us from all unrighteousnesse. 1 Joh. 1.7, 8, 9. Why doth he say that he is faithfull and just to forgive sinne? This doth imply that he hath som­where bound himself by Promise to forgive sin to them that truly repent. It is true, he hath bound himself to the Person baptized, at the time of Baptisme to forgive and to pardon sinne, so far forth as sinne is repented of. The Person baptized may say, I am assured of this, I have had it Sealed to me fourty, fifty, sixty years ago, at the time of my Baptisme. Where the Conscience doth make a question, whether God will continue to pardon sinne; the washing of Baptisme doth Seal the assurance thereof.

Quaer. 3. What doth Baptisme confer to the taking away of the pollution of Originall sin in Infants?

Answ. Though the Pelagians of old, and Mr. Everard, (pag. 127.) of late do strongly dispute, that Children have no naturall pollution derived from Adam; yet in this we cannot yeeld to them. It is plaine from the Scope of Scripture that assoone as men have a being, they have a polluted and a sinfull being. In case therefore they die in infancie, how is this pol­lution done away? In this we leave them to the extraordinarie grace of God. He can clense them in an extraordinarie way whom he will not suffer to come in the ordinary way to Salvation. And this is all that we will say of that Question.

Quaer. 4. What doth Baptisme confer to the taking away of the pollution of Nature in men of ripe years?

Answ. It is plaine by experience that all that are baptized, are not Re­generate: Therefore we cannot look upon Baptisme, but only as on a Seal of Regeneration. Forasmuch as the Lord for his part doth promise to give his Spirit to the Person baptized that he may be regenerated; The Person baptized for his part doth solemnly ingage himself, that he will look for the Spirit which the Lord hath promised to give, that so he may come to the inward washing. In this (as I conceive) the efficacy and the use of Baptisme doth principally stand. It doth principally stand in the agreement betwixt God and the Beleever, the Lord for his part, [Page 21]in the first place, under his Seal, doth promise to give inward grace to the clensing away of the pollution of Nature; and the partie baptized doth set to his Seal, that he will endeavour to clense and wash, by the power and help of grace received. The reason that moveth me so to think, is this. When the Lord saith, Circumcise the foreskin of your hearts, and be no more stiff-necked. Deut. 10.16. Here if you go strictly to work, how could he require the circumcising of the heart, as spirituall and super­naturall duty, how could he require this to be performed by weak and sin­full men? To speak truly, in all the time of that administration he did never require them to circumcise the foreskin of their hearts by their own naturall ability; but he required them to look to the Promise sealed to them in the outward Circumcision of the flesh. Because he required them to circumcise the foreskin of their heart in the word of Command, He doth say, I will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed in the word of Promise, Deut. 30.6. And therefore the Psalmist finding by experi­ence that he was conceived in sin, and born in iniquity, he did pray to the Lord, that he would create in him a clean heart, and renew within him a right Spirit, Psal. 51.5, 10. In this he did but pray for the inward circumcision of the heart, according to the word of Promise, to which he had already obliged and bound himself to look after in the time of his out­ward circumcision. The like reason may be given of the times of the New-Testament, where the Lord doth command us to be renewed in the spirit of our mindes, to wash, to clense our selves from all pollution of flesh and spirit. In this case we are not to take it as though we had an inward power to wash or clense our mindes, but we are to consider when the Lord doth lay such a Command upon us, it is in correspondence and rela­tion to the Promise sealed in the Sacrament of Baptisme. Because he hath promised to give his Spirit inwardly to wash and clense our Natures when we receive the outward washing, we for our parts do oblige and bind our selves, inwardly to wash by and through the supply of his holy Spirit. Therefore, to shut up all, though Baptisme doth not confer Regenerati­on; yet by that Ordinance the Lord doth bind himself to give his Spirit toward that inward Regeneration, so far forth as we do and shall endea­vour to look after his Promise.

And thus far I have gone in clearing the Text from two great mistakes. I do not plead from the words (except ye be born of Water and of the Spirit) an absolute necessity of Baptisme by the outward Element of Water, but only a conditionall. I do not plead that all who are outwardly baptized, are inwardly Regenerated: But that the Lord doth enter into Covenant with them to give his regenerating Spirit, so far forth as they look and [Page 22]wait for it in the use of those means which he hath appointed. This is all that I do desire to speak concerning this matter, and I do it the rather, because I would not give offence. I hope then that I shall be more wil­lingly heard when I prove a precept both for the Baptisme of Infants, and for the necessity of their Baptisme from this Scripture.

The probation of the Precept doth lye in two particulars: First, by Water, is meant the outward water in Baptisme, as it doth referre to the inward washing of the Spirit. Secondly, because children are born in Originall sinne, there doth lye a necessity upon the Parents to bring them to Baptisme, the Seal of their Regeneration.

That the outward Baptisme of Water is here meant, the reasons that move me so to judge are these: First, the generall consent of all antiqui­ty; together with many late Writers, agree in it, that the externall ele­mentarie Baptisme is here intended as a Seal of the inward washing. Secondly, it is more immediate to the words of the Text to take the washing of water as the outward signe, and the washing of the Spirit as the inward grace. Thirdly, other places of Scripture do carrie but one and the same sence. The washing of Baptisme is called the washing of Regeneration, Tit. 3.5. And the reason is this, because the inward washing of the Spirit in Regeneration, is sealed with the outward washing in Baptisme. Now is this all one with the birth by Water and by the Spirit? But if any man shall stand in it, that these and many other Scriptures cannot be meant of water-Baptisme, then I would intreat him to show me the reason why the work of Regeneration in the New Te­stament is so often called by the title, and by the name of washing? There is a purging by fire, so mettalls are refined; Mal. 3.3. There is a pur­ging by wind, so the corn is clensed; Math. 3.12. Why then is the clensing, and purging, and the inward renewing of the heart so frequent­ly set forth by the washing of water? I think all will easily agree in it, because the outward washing is appointed as a Seal of the inward wash­ing of the new birth. If this be so, the birth by water must needs refer to the water of Baptisme as to the outward signe. Fourtly, that which hath moved some late Writers to depart from this interpretation, for the reason that hath moved them, we can clearly make it appear, that other Scriptures have the like show of dfficultie of which no question is to be made but they speak of outward Baptisme. If some of them apprehend that the present text, (Except a man be borne of water and of the spirit) can­not be meant of outward baptisme, because then the baptisme of water would be absolutely necessary to salvation. He that is troubled with this difficulty, let him consider that place, He that beleeveth and is bapti­zed [Page 23]shall be saved, Mark 16.16. In these words no man doubteth but the Lord Christ doth point to the outward baptisme by water, and in a sort he doth say that this baptisme is necessary to salvation. How then are the words to be expounded? We must take them in this sence, that faith is more absolutely necessary to salvation, yet in a sort it is true, that baptisme is necessary as the outward meane; Why else should our Savi­our say, He that beleeveth and is baptized shall be saved. We may in the present case give the same exposition. According to the manifest course of divine dispensation, we come to salvation by the new birth, and in the ordinary way so farre as it may conveniently be had, the outward washing is a seale of the inward washing of the Spirit. These and ma­ny more reasons might be brought to prove that the outward Baptisme is intended in the words, Except a man be borne of water and of the Spirit. But in so plaine a case these shall suffice. Now we come to prove the Precept.

First, If it be granted that the outward elementary baptisme is here intended, I think it will easily follow, in the conscience of every belee­ving parent, that there is a necessity lyeth upon him to bring his child to baptisme. For if the Lord Christ that giveth salvation, doth require the outward baptisme of Water, and the inward baptisme of the Spi­rit, both these as the ordinary meane to salvation in such a case for a pa­rent that is mindful of the salvation of his infant, it is not for him cu­riously to dispute, whether an Infant unbaptized may be saved? But it lyeth upon him to do that which is required, and so to avoid the danger. But let us more particularly insist upon the Baptisme of Infants, the word of command must necessarily be applyed, because of the pollution of their natural birth. The scope of the text is chiefly concerning these three particulars.

  • First, that all by nature are defiled with Original sin:
  • Secondly, there is a necessity of the new birth.
  • Thirdly, the outward washing in baptisme is a seale of the inward washing.

This being laid as a ground, that the Infant is borne in Original sin, and that the outward baptisme is a seale of the washing away of the pol­lution of sin by the Spirit of Christ; upon such a supposition I think we may not use many arguments to the beleeving parent, to bring his Infant to the washing of baptisme. No man can be ignorant, where the disease is, there is a need of the remedy. And therefore when our Savi­our doth presse a necessity of washing both by Water and the Spirit, he doth not urge this so immediatly in reference to actual sinne, as in refe­rence [Page 24]to birth-sinne, and to the naturall pollution in which infants are born. The consideration of the guilt, and the pollution of the birth-sin, doth draw in the necessitie of Infant-Baptisme. And therefore in the former ages of the Church we shall find all along that they that vnder­stood the vilenesse of the naturall pollution, (as Augustin and others) they were more forward for baptisme in infancie. On the other side, those that thought infants to be free from all Originall pollution, as derived from Adam, (for of this Judgment were the Pelagians of old and Mr. Everard and his followers of late) they both were and now are most laxe and carelesse in the performance of that dutie to their own children.

But if this will not convince, let it be considred in the feare of God, wherefore there was such a strict command given to the Jewes to circum­cise their infants in their dispensation. If the like reason doth hold that Infants have now one and the same need of the seal of the new-birth, vn­der this last, aswell as they had under their dispensation, why should not parents now make the same conscience to bring their children to the seal of regeneration or the new birth now as well as then.

That the Lord did so strictly command circumcision, and that the foreskin should be cut off, by this the Jewish infant did declare, that the verie nature was defiled which he received by carnall generation from his parents, and which by generation he was like to traduce and conveigh unto his children. By this the Jewish infant did signifie the pol­lution of his naturall birth, and that he needed to have Originall corrup­tion, or the uncircumcision of the flesh to be done away by the Spirit of Christ. Now is not the case all one with the Christian Infants born in Originall sin? have not they the same need of the washing of Regene­ration, whereof the washing in Baptisme is a Seal? The reason being the same, I know nothing to the contrary but that a Beleever in the last dispensation, may take these words (Except a man be born of Water and of the Spirit) as a Precept for Infant-Baptisme.

Now that Circumcision in the former, and Baptisme in the latter dis­pensation, do point to one and the same thing, to the clensing away of the pollution of the naturall birth by the Spirit of Christ, we have a clear testimony for this from Col. 2.11, 12, 13. In the words immediatly go­ing before the Apostle did exhort them, beware lest any man spoyle you through Philosophy, &c. By Philosophy we are not to understand the spurious and the bastard kind, but he doth mean the best Ethicall Philo­sophy in Aristotle or Plato when men put it in the place of a Christ. The principles of the best Philosophy are these, That a man new born into the world is like a white sheet of Paper; that he hath no Originall pollution; [Page 25]that he hath in him the seed of all morality; that he hath liberty of will; that the habite of vertue is attainable by the repetition of many acts. These are the cheif elements of the best morall Philosophy. Now the Apostle showeth that these Rudiments of Philosophy are most destructive to the faith of Christ. For the prime foundation of the Christian faith, is con­trarily to beleeve that all are defiled with Originall sinne by the naturall birth, that there is no other way of clensing but by the regenerating spi­rit of Christ. For the consirmation of this he doth referre them to the first Rudiments of Baptisme in this last, and of Circumcision in the for­mer dispensation. For circumcision, he saith in effect, that the foreskin of the flesh was cut off, to signifie the putting away of the uncircumcision of the flesh in the heart. Ye also are circumcised with a Circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the lusts of the flesh by the circum­cision of Christ. And for Baptisme he saith in effect, that they were doused and washed in water, to signifie the washing and clensing of the naturall birth by the regenerating spirit of Christ. Therefore Circumci­sion and Baptisme do both agree in this, that Infants are born in their naturall pollution, and that this pollution is only to be done away by the clensing vertue of the holy Spirit. Therefore if any man demand of us a Precept for the Baptisme of Infants; I cannot see but in a sence it is true that the same necessity doth lie upon us to baptize our Infants born in Originall sinne, as did upon them to circumcise. For though we are not to follow the Jew in things peculiar to his own dispensation; yet those actions that are done by him upon such grounds that are of mo­rall, perpetuall, and common concernment to one person aswell as ano­ther, to one Church aswell as another, in one age aswell as another, none can deny these actions to be obligatory to all as a standing Rule for after generations. Therefore seeing the birth in Originall sinne, and the clensing of nature by the Spirit of Christ, are of common concernment to the Jewish and to the Christian Infants, there is a morality in it, that our Infants should be made partakers of the Seal of Regeneration in In­fancy as well as theirs. If the reason did not hold one and the same, something might be said to the contrary; But seeing that Infants are now born in Originall sinne, and Baptisme is now also the Seal of the new-Birth, I cannot see but the same necessity in substance, as upon them to Circumcise, so it doth lie upon Beleevers now to baptize their infants. The necessity (so farre as I apprehend) doth lie couched in these words, Except ye be born of Water and of the Spirit: Therefore Infants, being involved in their naturall pollution, have now a need of the Seal of the new-Birth.

But if all this will not satisfie, I will come to the Original Promise in the institution of circumcision. The promise is contained in these words, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed, Gen. 17.7. Here (I say) how could God be a God to Abraham and to his natural seed, see­ing the seed of Abraham is no better by nature then the rest of the lost sons of men? seeing the seed of Abraham must needs be brought forth in Original sin, how could God be a God to such a polluted seed, that had equally the pollution of the whole corrupted masse? The answer is plain, that he did never make this promise to Abraham and to his natu­ral seed, but with a double proviso; the first is, that they should be­leeve the grand promise of Christ, In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Gen. 12.3 By the intervening or coming between of Christ the promised seed, Abraham was to look that God would be his God and the God of his natural seed. Secondly, when the Lord did promise to be his God, and the God of his seed, it was upon a condition that they would keep his Covenant, that they would confesse their na­tural pollution, and that by receiving the outward Circumcision in the flesh, they would binde and ingage themselves and their children to look after the inward circumcision of the heart, Gen. 18.9, 10, 11, 12. with Ezek 44.9. Deut. 10.16, & chap. 30.6. Jer. 4.4. Rom. 2.28. Upon these two considerations did the Lord promise to be a God to Abraham and to his natural seed. Now if we apply this to the New Testament, the promise is still one and the same to Beleevers and their children as it was to Abraham and to his particular family; how else could this beright­ly said, In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. There­fore God is a God to Beleevers, and to their natural children in the last, upon the same termes as he was to Beleevers and their children in the former dispensation: and the termes are these, First, that they beleeve the general promise of Christ, In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed, Acts 3.25, 26. By the intervening of this promise the blessing doth hold one and the same to all the beleeving families of the earth, as it did before to the particular family of Abraham. Secondly, the promise to beleevers and their children doth now hold upon these termes, that the parents by the outward washing in Baptisme will ingage themselves and their children to look after the inward washing, that so they may be cleansed from the pollution of their natural birth. Upon these termes God is now a God to beleevers and their naturall seed, and upon these considerations there is now a necessity of precept to bap­tize beleevers and their children. And this I take to be vertually included in that general expression, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, &c.

Thus I have gone through the three places of Scripture from which I did undertake to prove a precept for the baptisme of infants in the New Testament. We have seen, first that the children are comprehended inclusively and collectively in the word (them) teach all Nations, baptiz­ing them, Matth. 28. Secondly, we have declared that the children are contained in the word of command, be baptized every one of you, because they are expressed in the word of promise, Act. 2, 38, 39. Thirdly, we have proved, because infants are born in Originall sinne, they have now the same need of the regenerating seal by outward washing, Except ye be born of water and of the Spirit. John. 3.5.

All these put together, plainly show that there is a word of Command to satisfie the Conscience; and though the Children are not named in let­ters and syllables, it is all one if they be contained in sence. There be many things comprehended in a Command that are not literally decla­red. Take for example the Command Honour thy father and mother, there is more contained in this Precept then only to give honour to naturall Parents. So take the Command, Thou shalt do no murder; this doth reach further then the bare letter of the word. Even so in the Scriptures forealledged we have proved Infants to be vertually included in the word of Command, though they are not expressed in the formali­ty of letters and syllables. But if you will say, the more literally and distinctly things are set down the more easily, we come to know and be­leeve that these things are commanded us of God. This I did acknow­ledge to be true in a sence; but yet it is as true, that things which the Lord doth require us to beleeve from the harmony of Scripture, are as binding to the Conscience, as if they were set down in so many letters. Let us take for instance that Scripture, Act. 9.21. where it is said, that Paul did confound the Jews dwelling at Damascus, proving out of the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. Here I demand, how did he con­found the Jews aforesaid? For if he had been put upon it to bring any one particular Scripture out of the Old Testament, to prove in so many letters that Jesus was the Christ, he could never have done it. Yet ne­verthelesse he is said to confound the Jews by the harmony of Scripture, ( [...]) by comparing one Scripture with another. Further, we do assuredly beleeve, that the Bishop of Rome from that very time in which he was declared universall Head, from that very time he began to be the solemne Antichrist spoken of in the Revelation. If a Papist should ask how this is proved, we cannot prove it by letters and sylla­bles; for the Bishop of Rome is not once named in so many letters, in the whole Prophecie; but if you go to the Scope of Scripture, it may be [Page 28]proved that he is the Beast, that the universall Headship is the name of the Beast, the profession of the Catholicisme or universall headship is the mark of the Name: and this we can prove from the harmonie of the Prophecie. In a word, they that will beleeve nothing but what is expres­sed in so many letters and syllables, they will by the same reason raze out of the Bible the use of all typicall Scriptures in a manner. For in them for the most part the matter is expressed by dark figures, and expounded by Circumlocutions. And to these absurdities will they be unavoidably deduced that do adhere so strictly to letter and syllables. Now let us re­turne to the Baptisme of Infants, and here we trust we have made it appear from the harmonie of Scripture, but especially from the places forealledged, that there is a word of Command for the Baptisme of Children. And I would intreat the godly to do as the men of Berca sometimes did, To examine the Scriptures whether these things be so or no. Having finished the Positive part I come now to the Polemical, to show what the argument was which I first gave to the Brethren of the separa­tion; as also to show their severall answers with my respective replyes.

For the argument which I left with them in writing at Earle-Shilton from Acts 2.38, 39. It is as followeth;

Be baptized every one of you, &c. Here must needs be a Command to baptize Father and Child, because the Promise is to you and your children. The argument doth thus proceed; If the Children of Beleevers have a right to be baptized by the word of Promise, they must have a right to be baptized by the word of Command; But the Children of Beleevers have a right to be baptized by the word of Pro­mise: therefore the Children of Beleevers have a right to be baptized by the word of Command. And so consequently there is a word of Command in the New Testament, to baptize Beleevers and their Children. The connexion is proved from the convertibility and mu­tuall relation between the word of Promise and the word of Com­mand; and therefore if the Children of Beleevers have a right to be baptized by the one, they must have a right to be baptized by the o­ther. The consequence is clear: and for the assumption, it is proved by St. Peters own words, For the Promise is to you and your children. This is my argument.

To this on the first of May, I received a certain Paper by way of answer, the substance of which was briefly this; For the convertibility of the word of Promise, and the word of Command, they said I took it as granted, I had affirmed it only, but had not proved it; therefore there was no such mutuall relation. And for the assumption, they said that the Children of Belee­vers [Page 29]have no right to be baptized by the word of Promise, seeing that the Promise is meant only of extraordinary gifts. vers. 16, 17. Seeing that In­fants in these our dayes, are not capable of such gifts, they knew no right they had to be baptized by vertue of that Promise. This was the substance of the Paper which they sent to me on the first of May. And my returne to them on the third of June, was briefly this;

Whereas they did deny the convertibility between the word of Pro­mise, and the word of Command, I did endeavour to prove it by these reasons that follow.

  • First, from particular examples; in the Sacrament of Circumcision, the word of Promise is, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed; in relation to this Promise the Lord did command Abraham to circumcise all his Males, Gen. 17.7, 8, 9. In this institution there is a mutuall relation and convertibility between the word of Promise and the word of Command. For as many as had a right to be circumcised by the word of Promise, had a right to be circumcised by the word of Command. Again, as many as had a right to be circumcised by the word of Command, had a right to be circumcised by the word of Promise; there must needs be then a convertibility between these two in the Sacramentall action. A­gain, in the Institution of the Passover, the Lord was pleased to make a gaacious promise to the children of Israel, When I see the blood, I will passe over you, and the plague shall not be upon you when I smite the land of Egypt, Exod. 12.13. In relation to this Promise the Lotd comman­ded them to take the blood, and to strike it upon the two side-posts and upon the upper door-posts of the houses where they should eat the Lamb. This was a Type of Christ; where his blood is, there will be deliverance from wrath. Now in this as in the former institution, there is a Con­vertibility between the word of Promise and the word of Command. For as many as had a word of Promise to escape the plaguing Angel, had a word of command to strike the blood upon the door-posts. And as many as had a word of Command to strick the blood upon the door-posts, so many had a word of Promise to escape the plaguing Angel. The converti­bility between these two, might be further proved from such Promises, which it hath pleased the Lord to signifie to the sons of men by outward signes and figures. But these are sufficient.
  • Secondly, This is made manifest by the generall nature of Covenants between men and men. There must needs be a convertibility between these two parts that do contract, as may appear by the Indentures be­tween them. If this be so in the general nature of Covenants, it must necessarily hold in the Sacramental Covenant betwixt God and man. [Page 30]There must needs be between the word of Promise, which is Gods part, and the word of Command that doth contain the duty of man in the Sacramentall action, there must needs be (I say) between these two a near relation.
  • Thirdly, this is evident from the very definition of a Sacrament; For the form and being of a Sacrament, by and through which it is defined, doth stand in the analogie, proportion, correspondence, mutuall relati­on between the outward signe, set forth in the word of Command, and the inward grace contained in the word of Promise. Now then, if there be no mutuall habitude and relation between these two, we shall take a­way the very being and form of a Sacrament.
  • Fourthly, this doth appear from the weaknesse of that which is usual­ly alledged to the contrary; and therefore though it may be true (as some say) that a Promise may be without a Seal; Yet when men have once put their Seal, it is necessary that there must be a correspondence between the Seal and the Covenant. In like manner it is not absolutely necessary that the Covenant of grace, or the word of Promise, should be set forth by outward signes that appear to the sences; yet the Lord having once in the word of Institution, appointed the outward sign to signifie the inward grace, in such a case as this is, it is necessary that there should be a mutuall relation between the word of Promise and the word of Command. They that deny this (to my understanding) do not only go against the experience of Beleevers, but also against the common sense of men.

Now to gather up all into one summe, it is clear; First from particu­lar examples; Secondly, from the general nature of Covenants; Thirdly, from the definition of a Sacrament standing in relation: Fourthly, from the weaknesse of that which is usually alledged to the con­trary. From all these it is evident that there is a mutuall relation be­tween the word of Promise and the word of Command. And so I came to confirm the union of the copulative proposition. If the children of Beleevers have a right to be baptized by the word of Promise, they must have a right to be baptized by the word of Command. The consequence is firme, and there is a necessary union between both parts. And thus I did endeavour to prove to the Brethren of the Separation, the truth of that which I did affirm. I came to the assumption.

Secondly, whereas they say, the promise to you and your children, is meant principally of extraordinary gifts, and Infants in our dayes are not capable of these. For the more effectuall proof of the point I did endea­vour to show that this Promise could not only or principally be meant [Page 31]of extraordinary gifts, but in a positive sense it pointed to the Covenant of grace, and was the very promise made to Abraham. The arguments which I did alledge were these.

  • First, If the promise to you and your children be only and principally meant of extraordinary gifts, let any man show what kind of comfort this would minister to men of a troubled spirit, that they should speak with divers kinds of languages? What a weak support would this be, if this be all the comfort contained in the Promise? On the contrary, if you take the Promise for the Covenant of grace, for the ordinary word of promise concerning free remission of sinne by the blood of Christ, sealed in the Sacrament of Baptisme, there is nothing more proper then to comfort a languishing spirit by such a Promise.
  • Secondly, if the Promise (to you and your children) be meant of ex­traordinary gifts, how will the parts of the Text agree with each other? The Apostle doth exhort them, be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sinne: And then he giveth this reason, for the Promise is to you and your children. If therefore the Pro­mise be meant only or principally of extraordinary gifts, then the Com­mand, be baptized every one of you, will stand in immediate relation to such a Promise. And so the matter will come to this issue, that all that are baptized, and particularly they that renounce their old to take up a new Baptisme, they will have a promise made to them and to their children, to speak with divers kinds of languages. On the other side, if the Promise be taken for the Promise of Christ, and for remission of sinne by his blood, in this case it will be easie to shew the connexion of the words. For what can be more aptly spoken then this, Be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of your par­ticular sinne; for the promise of the pardon of sinne, by the blood of the Christ, doth belong to you and your children?
  • Thirdly, if the promise to you and your children be only meant of extra­ordinary gifts, how can the words of the Apostle be made good when he saith, to all that are afar off, to as many as the Lord our God shall call? Will any man avouch that to as many as the Lord our God shall call, the Promise shall be to them and their children to speak with divers kinds of tongues? then the Promise will be to all the Saints from the comming of Christ to the end of the world, that they shall speak with divers kinds of languages. On the other side let the Promise be taken for that promise made to Abraham, In thy seed shall all the families of the Earth be blessed, this Promise (at least in the general priviledges, of­fers, tenders, and workings,) doth passe to all that do beleeve and their [Page 32]children, whether they be near, as beleevers of the Jews; or whether they be afar off, as beleevers of the Gentiles: the Promise doth passe to all as long as they are no worse then Beleevers Children. These were the reasons that moved me to affirm that the Promise (to you and your children) could not be meant of extraordinary gifts. First, this Pro­mise alone could not comfort Peters hearers in their trouble. Secondly, it could not answer the word of Command, be baptized every one of you. Thirdly, it could not be said to extend to as many as the Lord our God shall call. On the other side, if this be applyed to the Covenant of grace, all circumstances will agree that the Promise is to Beleevers and their Children: And to this doth the Apostle referre the word of Command to Fathers and Children, bee baptized every one of you.

For the words, (Ye shall receive the holy Ghost) I confesse they are meant of extraordinary gifts, the appendant annexed to the primitive Baptisme, which were peculiar to those times of the Church only. For the Apostles having to do either with Gentiles, to bring them out of Paganisme, or with Jews to bring them out of Judaisme, these extraor­dinary gifts were given to men for their more abundant confirmation in that Faith which they were to receive. Acts 10.44, 45, 46. with Acts 11.15, 16. This I do willingly confesse; but when the Apostle saith, for the Promise is to you and your children, he doth point here to the grand fundamental Promise made to Abraham; In thy seed shall all the families of the Earth be blessed. His meaning, is that if these Jews, which had crucified Christ, would come in, and take him as the promised Seed, if they would take him as the Messiah, the Promise should still continue to them and to their natural seed aswell as in the former dispen­sation. This is his meaning when he saith, for the promise is to you and your Children, and in relation to this Promise, did he exhort them to be baptized Father and Child. Thus far I went in the vindication of both propositions, and in restoring of the force of my argument against the first assault. On the third of Junne I delivered the substance of this re­ply into the hands of Mr. Everard; since that time he hath been known to me, and hath undertaken the matter. But to say the truth I received no answer from him till the fifth of September. Then I received a Paper, full fraught with scornfull language; and the next newes, (about three or four weekes after,) was that we had put his answer in print with a title prefixed, Baby Baptisme routed. In this I take my self to have none of the best usage from him. First, that he should put the matter publickly. In print, when wee were onely in a private way of inquirie. [Page 33]Secondly, that he should give his pamphlet the title of Baby Baptisme routed, before we came to the tryall. Thirdly, that he should slight the maine body of my paper, with all the inforcements, and yet glory of a totall conquest, when of many parts he had scarce brought one to the incounter. For these reasons I think he hath not delt well with me. Because his Book was lately printed for WILLIAM LEARNER at the Blackmoor in Bishops-gate street, and because now it is in the hands of all men, I will forbear to insert it. Only my reply to the cheif particulars of his answer, is as followeth.

The Argument of Nathaniel Stephens Minister, for the Baptisme of Beleevers Children, recruited and vindicated from the exce­ptions of Mr. Robert Everard in his book, intituled Baby-Ba­ptisme routed.

GOod Sir, since the arrivall of your answer I have taken it into consi­deration, and so far as I apprenend, it may be conveniently divided into three parts.

  • First, you endeavour to prove that my Argument hath no ground from the words of Peter.
  • Secondly, you would bear me in hand that the structure of it is not good; and that the premises do not hold due proportion with the conclusion.
  • Thirdly, you do lay down terms of consent, how far we agree; and terms of dissent, how far we disagree. And so state the Question in the close of all.

Sir, This is a strange kind of method that hath been in part the cause of your Wilde Discourse. Yet neverthelesse, as the course of the matter doth require, I will only take the liberty to lay down the state of the Question, as you your self do expresse it in your own words. pag. 14.

Mr. Stephens, That there is a Convertibility in Gods word, whether it be in Promise or Command, shall never by me be denyed; therefore I shall not only grant it, but maintain it. Because all the words of God are sacred, or holy and righteous altogether: therefore I hope we differ not concerning the congruity of Gods Promises and Commands; for doubtlesse there is an harmonie: But here is the difference, I deny that there is any word of Pro­mise that ever God gave to baptize Beleevers Infants, or any word of Com­mand for that purpose. For if there were a right by Promise or Command, then we should grant that Children ought to have it. But because there is no right, neither by Promise nor Command, therefore we deny the Infants [Page 34]of Beleevers Baptisme, &c. And thus farre you have spoken.

From these words of yours I gather, that there is a convertibility be­tween the word of Promise and the word of Command. You say, that you will not only grant it, but also maintain it. Sir. What is this, but in sense to yeeld the maine consequence of my Argument? This is the force of my reason, If the children of Beleevers have a right to be baptized by the word of Promise, they must have a right to be baptized by the word of Command. In this case seeing you deny not the convertibility between the Promise and Command of God, you do in effect allow the conse­quence. Therefore all the burden of the proof doth lye upon the assum­tion, Whether the children of Beleevers have a right to be baptized by the word of Promise? If this can be proved, we shall easily draw in the right of Baptisme by the word of Command, in case the Premises be true; The one by your own grant, and the other by necessary consequence; I hope then it is reasonable that I should carry the conclusion. Seeing you speak of the sticking of the Chariot wheels, that you cannot drive on, nor many thousands to Infant-baptisme: If you stick anywhere, your must stick at the word of Promise. Sir, Your cheif businesse had been to overthrow the right that Beleevers children have to Baptisme by the word of Promise in the last exhibition thereof. If you had done this, you had performed the work in two cheif points.

  • First, You had resolved me in point of conscience; for I will assure you, that which moves me to beleeve that these words (be baptized eve­ry one of you) are a Command to baptize Father and Child, is the near relation that they have to the words that follow; For the promise is to you and your children. Because the Children are expressed in the word of Promise, they are contained in the word of Command. And for my part, I dare not (however you falsly accuse me) tear asunder the Promise from the Command, or the Command from the Promise in Peters words. You know that there is a curse that belongs to them that do adde to or take from the word of God. You your self have applyed it to them that do clip and cut, and tear asunder the foregoing words of Peter from those that follow after.
  • Secondly, Had you spent your force upon this Proposition, to wit, That the children of beleevers have a right to Baptisme by the word of Pro­mise; Had you taken this away, you had taken away the word of Com­mand. As long therefore as this is a firme truth, That the children have a right to be baptized by the word of Promise, in its last and best exhibition; I will ask you no beleef for the right to Baptisme by the word of Com­mand. The right to be baptized by the word of Command is the truth [Page 35]of the conclusion: Now such a Logician you are to spend your whole an­swer in a manner upon the deny all of the Conclusion. You insist much upon my tearing asunder the Command, be baptized every one of you, from the words, Repent and — be baptized. If these words be torn asunder, it is to hold correspondence with the words that follow; For the pro­mise is to you and your Children. But Sir (whatsoever you suggest to the contrary) I trust I shall show that I do not tear these words asunder, if you go to the right sense.

Further, it is manifest from your own grants and concessions, that the foregoing answer of your Brethren is of no value at all. They deny a Convertibility between Gods word of Promise, and his word of Com­mand; you allow it: They hold the Promise (to you and your children) to be meant of extraordinary gifts, and you say that one word in their vin­dication, whether such a promise is principally intended, yea or no. Thus, you who are so earnest to deny the Baptisme of Infants, and the use of the Church, the world may see how well you agree among your selves.

But leaving that which may be gathered from your own grants and concessions, I will now come to the points of difference as they lie in de­bate between us. To begin therefore with your reasons, by and through which you endeavour to prove that my argument is not rightly grounded on Peters words. If I may be so bold with your Method, that which you have said, may be reduced to these five heads.

  • First, You endeavour to show that I tear the words of Peter; the words be baptized every one of you from the words Repent and—.
  • Secondly, You say that these words be baptized every one of you, can­not be spoken to Infants, as being not capable of such a command.
  • Thirdly, You affirme that the Persons to whom Peter directed his speech, were no Beleevers. If the Parents themselves were no Belee­vers, their Children could not be the Children of Beleevers.
  • Fourthly, You endeavour to show that seeing the promise to you and your children, did belong to the whole Jewish nation, why was not the whole nation baptized?
  • Fifthly, Like a compassionate man, you conclude with advice, that I carrie my argument to some other Text, seeing it can have no re­leef from Peters words. This Sir, (setting aside your jeeres and mocks) is the pith of your answer. I shall therefore desire to bring the afore­mentioned particulars into question, and to go along with you point by point.

To begin therefore with the first particular, viz. my tearing asunder [Page 36]the words of Peter, I do willingly agree, that whosoever readeth the words of the Apostle, he is not to pluck them out of joynt, not to tear out the middle of the verse where the words have a necessary dependance. I do agree in the generall truth with you, that the foregoing words are not to be torn asunder from those that follow. But whether this is done by you or by me, let that now come to the tryall. You stand upon it (pag. 1. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.) that I do pluck asunder the words, be baptized e­very one of you from the words repent and— Sir, if you go to words and syllables, and to literall formes of expression, I have said, and do say, be baptized every one of you, is a word of Command to beleeving Parents and their Children; but that I tear these words from the true sense and meaning of Peter, this I deny. For in a federall or covenant sense, the children are said to repent in their Parents that do undertake for them. And therefore if you will have the Text to be read according to Peters true meaning, it must runne after this tenour; Be baptized eve­ry one of you [and your children,] for the promise is to you and your chil­dren. According to this construction the children may be said to repent, and Covenant with God in their Parents, and the Parents may be said to Covenant for their Children. If this be so, you may easily discerne, that the words (be baptized every one of you) are not plucked and torne from Repent and

Now that the Children may be said to repent, to professe, to Cove­nant, either with or in their Parents, I can bring many proofs for the same out of Scripture. If I can prove this, I hope you will have no such cause to accuse me of felony, of stealing the words be baptized every one of you, from the words Repent and.— You might have spared your paines to come after me with a printed Hu-an-cry (as you call it) thir­teen weeks and three-dayes after the pretended theft was committed. You do no lesse when you use these words (pag. 5. lin 30.) Mr. Ste­phens, now I have finished my Hu-an-cry, and it hath been so serviceable, that you are catched with the words which you stole out of the pocket of that Text, Act. 2.38. Sir, this is a hard charge if you could prove it. But to clear my self of this imputation, I will prove, that in a federall sense, Children may be said to repent and Covenant in their Parents.

To begin with the example of the Children mentioned Deut. 29. because this is a plain and pregnant place, I will draw it out more at length for your better information. In these words note first a Covenant; se­condly the motives, thirdly the Covenanters, or the persons that did Covenant.

For the Covenant, it is this, that the people should chuse the Lord to be their God, and that they should not turn from him to serve the gods of the nations. And the Lord on his part did Covenant to choose the people for his people, to performe the promise made to Abraham, vers. 9.12, 13, 17, 18. This was the substance of the Covenant. Secondly, the motives to move them to Covenant, because the Lord had delivered them out of Egypt with great signes and temptations, he had led them through the Wildernesse fourty years, their clothes waxed not old upon them, nor the shoe waxed old upon their feet. Besides, he had fed them in an extraordinary manner, he had given them drink out of the Rock, and had delivered them out of the hands of mighty Kings. These were the arguments to induce them to Covenant. vers. 2, 3, 4. &c. Thirdly, (to come to the point we are upon) let us consider the persons who they were that were Covenanters, and they are expressed in these words: Ye stand all of you this day before the Lord your God, your Cap­taines of your Tribes, your Elders, your officers, with all the men of Israel, [your little ones,] and your wives, and the stranger that is in thy Camp, from the hewer of thy wood to the drawer of thy water: That thou shouldest enter into Covenant with the Lord thy God. vers. 10.11, 12. From these words you may gather, that Children may Covenant, and that together with their Parents the Lord may look upon them as Covenanters. If this be so, pray tell me of what value your argument is, when you say, (Re­pent and be baptized every one of you) cannot be spoken to Father and Child. You bind upon this, that Children cannot repent, because they have not the first principle of profession, (pag. 3. lin 32.) Now pray, Mr. Everard, tell me plainly and sincerely, what do you think of the little ones expressed in the Text? Were they not Covenanters? Had they not the first principle of profession? If that be true which you say, that little ones have not that first principle, that they cannot professe; Why did they then stand before the Lord, before the Arke of the Testimony, with the most publick and representative persons, with the Elders of the Tribes to enter into Covenant? If you shall alledge, that this is an instance out of the Old Testament, and then was the Church state of the Jews: I do confesse as much; but this doth not void the force of the reason. For when you say that Children cannot Covenant, that they have not the first principle of profession, you do not reason only against the particular Children of this or that dispensation, but against the chil­dren of any dispensation. Therefore I say on the contrary, if the chil­dren of Beleevers in the Jewish Church state may be said to Covenant, there is nothing doth exclude but that Beleevers children in these last [Page 38]times may be said to professe, repent, Covenant, and come into the Church together with their Parents.

Further, let us look into the reason wherefore in that dispensation the Lord did so strictly and universally call upon all sorts to enter into Cove­nant. The reason is expressed in these words, Lest there should be among you any man, or woman, or familie, or tribe, whose heart turneth this day away from the Lord our God, to go and serve other gods of these nations: lest there should be among you a root that beareth wormwood or gall. vers. 18. The Lord did so strictly cal upon all, yea upon little ones, to enter into Co­venant, they and their Parents together, that there should not be a branch or a root among them that might depart from the Lord. Now Sir, do you think that it was to no purpose to engage the children, because they had not (as you say) the first principle of profession? Do you think that in processe of time these children might lawfully go after other gods without breach of Covenant, and then plead what you alledge; to wit, that in their minority they could not bind themselves, they had not the first principle of profession? But to come to our own times; there are (as you know) many Christian men carried prisoners into Turkie, and when they are there, they are strongly urged to deny the Faith, and to turne Mahumetans. In this case they dare not yeeld for fear of the breach of Covenant, for fear of violating their promise made to the Lord Christ in their Baptisme. In this exigency, Sir, I do desire to put the question to you, whether this may be said to be breach of Covenant, yea or no? I do it the rather, because in the Postscript of your Answer, you jeer at Mr. Angel of Leicester, for saying, that witches after convicti­on say that the Devil perswaded them to deny their first Baptisme. There­fore Sir, I do put it upon you to answer whether this be breach of Cove­nant, yea or no. If that be true which you say, that Infants can make no Covenant, they can break no Covenant. And therefore though it it be evil otherwise to deny Christ, and to turne Turk, to deny Christ and enter into confederacy with the Devil, with you it can be no breach of Covenant, in Baptisme at least. For where no Covenant was ever made, no Covenant can be broken. If Infants cannot Covenant or pro­fesse in Infancie, there is no reason to tye them to that, where they wan­ted ability to engage.

But yet further to let it appear that children may Covenant in their Parents, or (if you will have it) that father and child may Covenant together, consider the practise of the Jewish Church in the dayes of Je­hosophat. When the children of Moab and the children of Ammon came against them to battel, all Judah stood before the Lord, with their [little [Page 39]ones,] their wives and their children. 2 Chro. 20.13. If any shall ask, why did the little ones stand before the Lord if it be true as you say, that they had not the first principle of profession? The reason is clear, the people of the Jews in those times having no strength of their own to deal against such a multitude, they came to humble themselves and to pray for help, by vertue of the Covenant and the Promise made to Abraham and his seed, vers. 7. This is the reason wherefore the Beleevers in that dispensation stood before the Lord, they and their little ones. It was to this end that he might see not only Covenanting Parents, but also chil­dren in Covenant with him: and that both together might implore help by vertue of the promise made to Abraham and to his seed. These and many other examples might be brought to prove that children may re­pent, professe, Covenant in their Parents that do undertake for them and with them. But least you might plead that these are extraordinary cases, I will make it appear in all times of the Jewish Church state, for two thousand years together, from Abraham to Christ, that the chil­dren did usually professe and covenant in their Parents that did under­take for them. This is true in the naturall Jew, but it is more clear in the Proselyte and his children.

When the Proselyte came in himself, he could not be admitted unlesse he did actually repent, and actually professe Faith in the promise, in the time of that dispensation. Exod. 12.48. 2 Chro. 6.32, 33. Ruth. 1.16. You will say then, why were the children admitted, seeing they had not (to use your words) the first principle of profession? It is clear that the children did professe in the Parents that did undertake for them. Exod. 12.38. If this be true in the Proselyte and his children, in all times of the Jewish Church, why should not we judge the like of the children of such as were converted from Gentilisme or Judaisme, in those first times of the Christian Church? Why Mr. Everard, should it be a thing incre­dible with you, when Peter said, Repent and be baptized? why should it be so strange a thing to say the children did repent and beleeve in their parents that did undertake for them or with them?

Now that it may more clearly appear, I will further prove it, that children may repent and professe in their Parents. I will clear it from the Text it self: for when Peter exhorted his hearers to repent, the sinne they should repent of was their crucifying the Lord of life. As there­fore the nation of the Jews by crucifying of Christ, and by rejecting of the Gospel, as by this act of the Parents the children were cast off; So when it shall please the Lord to open their eyes to see that sinne, to mourne over it, then the children shall come in, and together with [Page 40]their Parents shall repent of that national sinne of crucifying the Messiah. For proof of this let that Text be considered, I will pouer upon the house of David, and the inhabitants of Hierusalem, the spirit of grace and suppli­cations, and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Hierusalem, as the mourning of Hada­drimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourne, every familie apart, &c. Zach. 12.10, 11, 12. This Scripture is to be applyed to the call of the Jews; for the Prophet speaketh of the Spirit of grace that shall be poured upon that people in the latter times, and when the whole nation should look to him whom they have peirced, and should mourn for it. But the question is, when that nation shall be called to repent of their sinne in the last times, under the Gospel Church-State? Shall not the children be said nationally to repent in and with their Pa­rents? If you shall deny it, then show me, First how the body of the nation may be brought to the Faith? Secondly, how will you salve the words of the Prophet which saith plainly, every familie shall mourn apart, and their wives apart? If they shall mourn family by family, the mour­ning shall be of fathers that see their sinne with their children. Thirdly, If the children have been cast away many hundred years for their parents sin, and with their parents, shall we not think at the time of their call, that the children shall repent of this sinne, and come in at the time of the comming in of the whole nation? If this be true at the general call of the Jews, (as I think you cannot well deny) then it must be true also in those that did repent at the hearing of Peters Sermon. For the three thousand that did then beleeve, repent, and come into the Church, were but a pattern of that future call of the Jews that shall be in the latter times. And therefore if it be true in the general conversion of that na­tion, when the parents repent and mourn for their sin of crucifying the Christ, that the children may be said to repent in their Parents; I do not see but it may be some way true also in the partiall conversion at Pe­ters Sermon. When the parents did mourn for their sinne of crucifying the Lord of glory, we can judge no other in a Covenant sense, but that the children did mourn in them and with them. And therefore for the three thousand that were added to the Church, the whole company of souls that were baptized, they were no other but beleeving parents and their children. But if you shall reply, that there were no children in that company; because it is said, that they who gladly received the word were baptized. vers. 41. I answer as before, though the children could not gladly receive the word in their own persons, yet they might gladly receive it in the persons of them that did undertake for them. In a strict [Page 41]sense, little children cannot be said to come to Christ; yet our Saviour doth expound it as though they came themselves when they were brought in the armes of others. Why else should he say, suffer little children (to come to me) and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdome of Heaven? Mat. 19 13. There were seventy souls that came with Jacob into Egypt: What did they all come in person? were there no children in the com­pany? The text is plain, Every man came with his houshold. Exod. 1.1. Even so among the three thousand that did gladly receive the word, there might be many children in the company, because the Parents (as then the manner was) might embrace the Gospel with their housholds. But that there were children in that company, together with the beleeving Parents, I am moved so to judge from these reasons.

  • First, The Apostle speaketh so universally, be baptized every one of you; this (as I understand) in a Covenant sense must needs be spoken, to them and to their children.
  • Secondly, The motive to receive Baptisme, (for the promise is to you and your children) sheweth that the promise doth hold to beleevers and their children in the last aswell as in the two former exhibitions: how else could it be the ground to baptize?
  • Thirdly, It is said of these Beleevers, that they did continue in break­ing of bread from house to house, vers. 46. I cannot see how they could well do this, from house to house, how they could sell their goods and have all things in common; but that the families and houses of Beleevers in those dayes must be accounted as belonging to the Church; and so consequently the children must be admitted to the Seal.
  • Fourthly, The generall practise of the Church going before, which was, ever when the parent was admitted, the children had the Seal of admission. Exod. 12.48. And shall we think in the first solemne admi­nistration of Baptisme, that Peter did not follow the common use?
  • Fifthly, The Apostle himself doth expound what the promise is, to be­leevers and their children, In thy seed shall all the families or kindreds of the earth be blessed. Act. 3.25. If all the families of the earth shall be blessed in Christ, the promised Seed, he doth say in sense, that the blessing un­der the last dispensation shall universally be brought into all the belee­ving families of the earth after that manner as it was formerly to the pa­ticular familie of Abraham. And do you think, that the Apostle him­self would not practise according to his own Principles? Would he not receive beleeving parents and their children into Church fellowship in the time of the last dispensation, after that manner as they were received in the time of the administration going before?
  • [Page 42]Sixthly, In the small portion of the story of the Apostles now extant, it is again and again repeated, that such a one received the promise of the Christ, and was baptized, he and his houshold. This moveth me to think that the three thousand soules that were baptized and added to the Church, were beleevers and their children.

But, Mr. Everard, Let it only stand as probable, whether or no there were children in that company. This is that which I affirm from Peters words, that the children of beleevers have a right to Baptisme, both by the word of Promise, and the word of Command. And for your objection, that the children cannot repent, that they have not the first principle of profession, I have shewed many examples that in a Cove­nant sense they may be said to repent and to professe in their beleeving parents. It is my judgment, if beleevers and their children be baptized, they must before Baptisme make profession of repentance. But how? The parents in their own persons, and the children vertually and inclu­sively in the parents that do undertake for them. Now, Sir, I leave it to your own conscience, and to all the world beside, to judge what reason you had so to accuse me of tearing the words of Peter asunder, the words be baptized every one of you, from the words repent and—. You might have spared your accusations of felonie, your instances of mangling the words of David, The fool hath said in his heart there is no God. Psal. 14.1. and such like Scriptures. You might have spared your Rhetoricall amplifi­cations; for I do hold that the children in a Covenant sense did repent and professe in their parents. In saying, be baptized every one of you, Father and Child, I have not torne the sentence, neither have I taken the words that come after, from the words going before, repent and— &c.

But now, Sir, having freed my self of that false and untrue imputation, I come to turne that which you have said upon your own head. Seeing you are so apt to accuse, I would intreat you seriously to consider that which our Saviour spake sometime to the Pharisees, when they asked him why do thy Disciples transgresse the tradition of the Elders, for they wash not their hands when they eat bread; His answer was, why do you transgresse the Commandement of God through your traditions? Mat. 15.2, 3, 4, 5. In like manner when you condemne me for tearing asunder letters and syllables and such like trifles, I may truly reply; why do you tear asun­der the Promise from the Command, and the Command from the Pro­mise of God; and spoyle the Scope, Union, and necessary dependance of Peters words? God hath said to Beleevers in the last and best exhi­bition ot the Covenant, the promise is to you and your children: And for their greater encouragement he doth exhort them, Parents and Chil­dren [Page 43]to be baptized in relation to the same promise, Now you (to re­turne your own language home again) do clip, cut, and pluck the chil­dren of Beleevers as it were by the ears out of the word of Command, when they are plainly and expressely mentioned in the word of Promise: And so by consequence in matter of Baptisme, you make Gods word of Promise and Command of none effect through your traditions. You are further pleased to liken me to a theevish Gleaner that draggeth out the corn by the ears, and looseth the band of the sheaf, (pag. 4. lin. 17.) Sir, if I have done (as you say) with the words of Peter, if I have torne the foregoing from the following words, then let me bear the blame with all pious men. But I hope I have said enough to purge my self of that crime; and if need shall so require, much more may be said to the sati­faction of any reasonable man. On the contrary, If every man had his own right, the similitude doth more fitly appertain to you, and to such as you are. For if any man shall put the question to me; How do you prove out of the words of Peter that beleevers children ought to he baptized? I will answer, the children ought to be baptized, because these words for the promise is to you and your children, do immediately follow the pre­cept be baptized every one of you, and are annexed as the ground of the precept. If he shall say, how do you prove that? I will reply, I prove it from the union of the Apostles words, and especially from the word (For) which as a band doth unite and couple the two parts of the Text together. He exhorteth them first, be baptized every one of you; and then useth this motive, for the promise is to you and your children. Now on the other side, if your assertion be true, that the words be baptized every one of you, cannot be spoken to Father and Child; how will this answer to the motive, For the promise is to you and your children? And what will become of the word (For), the band or the connexive par­ticle, that knits the parts of the sentence together? Sir, By this time you may understand who the man is that may be likned to a theevish Gleaner, that doth dragge out St. Peters words by the eares, and doth spoile the union of the sentence. I will conclude with your own words, (pag. 5. lin. 22) Sir, I desire you to take heed that place do not fall upon your head, Rev. 22.18. for I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the Prophecy of this book, If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this Prophecie, God shall take away his part out of the book of Life, and out of the holy City, and from the things which are written in this book. I come now briefly to your other particulars.

Secondly, You say that these words, be baptized every one of you, were spoken to the same You which the Apostle directed his speech unto, [Page 44]and you never read of any Command given to Infants; but on the contra­ry, Deut. 11.2. (pag. 6. lin. 15.) I answer, these words were mediatly, and secondarily spoken to the children, though they were primarily and immediatly directed to the Parents that did engage for them. In the institution of circumcision, the Lord saith, This is my Covenant which you shall keep betwixt me and you, and thy seed after thee; every manchild among you shall be circumcised, and ye shall circumcise the flesh of the fore­skin, and it shall be a token of the Covenant betwixt me and you. And the uncircumcised manchild, whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, he shall be cut off from his people, he hath broken my Covenant. Gen. 17.10, 11, 14. Here in these words the Command is principally and explicite­ly given to the Parents; yet so as it is secondarily and inclusively spoken to the children that do enter into Covenant, either in or with their Pa­rents. If this be not a truth, how can it be said, the uncircumcised man-child shall be cut off from his people, he hath broken my Covenant? If he may be cut off from his people for breach of Covenant, he may be suppo­sed to Covenant, and the Lord may look upon him in the notion of a Covenanter. Whereas you say, you never read of any Command given to Infants, but on the contrary, Deut. 11.2. I pray you let us read the Text, And I know you this day; for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatnesse, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arme, and his miracles, and his acts which he did in the midst of Egypt, &c. Here I demand, shall we absolutely conclude, that God did not speak at all to the children of these parents who only were eye-witnesses of his mi­racles done in Egypt? Surely then we must conclude, that all the exhor­tation in Moses his law, did concerne the Parents only that were then alive, and not the children in after generations. Doth not this glosse crosse the whole scope of Scripture? Do we not read everywhere that the Parents were to teach their children, and that the children were to remember the wonders and miracles which the Lord had done in Egypt? For the Text, the scope of it is this, Moses doth more specially exhort them that were alive to love the Lord their God, to keep his charge and his statutes, vers. 1. because their eyes had seen all the great acts which he had done. vers. 7. Now, Sir, Whereas it is said that the Lord did not speak to the children, you cannot conclude this absolutely, that he did not speak to them at all, but only respectively, in that particular sense. Now, what is this but a fallacy as Logicians terme it, à dicto se­cundum quid ad dictum simpliciter? But supposing that these words could not be spoken to the children, you go on and enquire whether they [Page 45]were spoken to the Apostles: when you say to me (pag. 6. lin. 23.) But happily you conceive that in these words a Commission was given to the A­postles to baptize Father and Child; but (be baptized every one of you) cannot help you there neither: For if these had been words spoken to the A­postles, then the Apostles had been commanded to repent and be baptized. Such a dexterity you have to make difficulties where none be. Therefore to the clearing of this matter from this mist which you would purposely cast over it, you are to note, in the administration of Baptisme there is the administrator, and the person baptizing; and there is the subject and person baptized. Now I say the Command doth extend to both, it doth extend to the Administrator to minister Baptisme from the Com­mission of Christ; and it doth appertain to Beleevers to receive Ba­ptisme, they and the children under their education when they come to professe the Christ come in the flesh. In case the Parents neglect the bringing of their children to Baptisme, they do in sense omit the publick profession of the Faith, a considerable part of which is to engage them­selves and those that live under their education to the Lord Christ. But now to the third point.

Thirdly, You say it is a great mistake to judge these Jews to whom Peter spake to be Beleevers; they are your own words. If there were no beleeving Parents, there could be no Beleevers Infants. Sir, I do agree with you that the Consequence is good; but that these men who were ex­horted by the Apostle to be baptized, they and their children, that they were not looked upon by him in the notion of Beleevers before Baptisme, this I deny. Indeed according to the usuall method of your partie (whose cheif designe is to make the people) you bring in two or three simple reasons of your own to prove them Beleevers, and patch them up­on my back as if I were the author of them.

But first, I do not say because the Promise did belong to them, that therefore they were Beleevers, for then all the seed of Israel would be Beleevers of the last dispensation.

Secondly, Neither do I say, because they were cut to the heart, and had the spirit of bondage, that therefore they were Beleevers: for to speak truly, a Beleever doth make speciall application of the general promise; but the spirit of bondage doth arise from the particular assent to the general threats. Yet neverthelesse in the particularity of the sin from whence the spirit of bondage doth arise, I should (for my part) be more warie then absolutely to conclude, that these men as such were unbe­leevers. To me it is a strange thing, that a man should be [...] to the heart for crucifying the Christ, and yet not [...]leeve him to be the Christ. [Page 46]There are some other strange passages of yours concerning the spirit of bondage, and concerning the meaning of Revel. 21.8. which show you to be very rude and unexpert in the true sense of the Scriptures: When the spirit saith, but the fearfull, and the unbeleeving, and the abominable, and mur­derers, and whoremongers, &c. Would any man besides your self expound the (Fearfull) to be meant of all those that lie under the spirit of bon­dage, that all such should have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone? By this reason you must needs condemne many ten­der soules, and put them under a heavy condition. But, Sir, that you may not be deceived, the word (Fearfull) must be expounded according to the Analogie of the whole Prophecie, which is concerning the suffe­rings of the Saints under the Antichristian state. The word (Fearfull) then is to be applied to them that deny Christ in the time of persecution for fear of man. How crossely then do you apply it to them that are under the spirit of bondage through fear of the justice of God? But in this case you do no better with this Scripture, then many others do with the raign of Christ upon the Earth. They take it, that the glory of his Kingdome doth lie in plucking down of Magistracy and Ministery, and laying all things level; whereas if they did rightly understand the Scri­ptures, and the scope of the Prophecy, they would find that the Lord Christ doth begin to raigne when a godly Magistracy is set up in the Common-wealth, and a powerfull Ministery (assigned to preach the Gospel by vertue of office) is seated in the Church; But this by the way. Now, Sir, that Peters hearers were true Beleevers, of the last dispensati­on, I am moved to beleeve it from this double ground.

First, From the tender of the Promise. The Promise was not only offered to them as it was revealed to Abraham, and beleeved in all the times of the Jewish Church, to wit, that the promised Messiah should come; but the promise tendered to them, was remission of sinne by the blood of the particular Jesus already come, whom they had crucified and slaine.

Secondly, I take them to be Beleevers from the receiving of the Pro­mise: For as remission of sinne was tendered to them by the blood of the particular Christ: So when they on their part did receive the pro­mise so exhibited, they were Beleevers. And in this sense, I say, the word of Command was that they and the children under their education should be baptized.

Fourthly, (pag. 9. lin.) 32. You come to the main point; to wit, that a right to the Promise doth not inferre and bring in a right to Baptisme. You argue thus, If Peter had a Commission so large, to baptize all to whom [Page 47]the Promise did belong, then he must have baptized the whole nation of the Jewes, and particularly the persons to whom he spake before the word came unto them, or before their Conscience was awakened by the word. Here, Sir, I do acknowledge that you speak punctually to the assumption in my argument. Therefore for the more clear illustration of the words of Peter, and for the more full discovery of the force of the argument which I have alledged, I will stay the longer upon this point.

And to begin with the ground of all, I do not say (though you are willing to mistake my meaning) that a right to the Promise doth abso­lutely inferre a right to Baptisme: for then all beleevers from the begin­ning of the world would have had a right to Baptisme. But I say this, that the right which Beleevers and their children have to the Promise (as exhibited, revealed, and declared in the last times under the New Testament,) this doth inferre and bring in a right to Baptisme. And in this doth the force of my argument consist.

That this may more evidently be declared, and that you may judge aright, I would intreat you to distinguish between the Promise it self, and the severall revelations, exhibitions, manifestations, and editions of the same Promise. The Ocean sea is one and the same, but yet as it beats upon the Spanish coast, it is called the Spanish sea; as it beats upon the French coast, it is called the French sea; and upon the English coast, the English sea: So the Promise is one and the same to Beleevers and their children; yet according to several dispensations it is various & manifold.

To begin therefore with the Promise it self. There is but one way of salvation, by Christ the promised Seed, according to that saying of the Apostle, Jesus Christ yesterday, and to day, and the same for ever, Heb. 13.8. But for the degrees of revelation, there are three remarkable ex­hibitions and editions of the Promise.

  • The first is, for the space of two thousand years, from Adam to A­braham.
  • The second is, for the space of two thousand years, from Abraham to Christ.
  • The third is, from Christ to the end of the world.

These severall exhibitions of the Promise ought carefully to be distin­guished: for from hence do arise the differences of Faith, the differen­ces of profession of the Faith, the difference of Church states, the diffe­rences of the seals of admission, the differences of right to the seals of admission. Yea the differences are so great, that a true beleever of the heart under one dispensation cannot have a right, as such, to the Church state, or the seal of admission under another dispensation. I say, he can­not [Page 48]not have a right to the Church state, or the seal of admission, till he hath received the Promise as exhibited and revealed under that particular dis­pensation. Yet neverthelesse, let there be never such great diversitie, this will still prove a firme and an undoubted truth in all exhibitions and dispensations, that when a man beleeveth the Promise, and doth come in, the right to Church-membership shall belong to him and to his chil­dren. Let us now come to instance.

The first edition of the Promise is for two thousand years from Adam to Abraham; and here though God did not show the sonnes of men the Messiah in person as he doth to us, nor of what particular familie or na­tion he should come, as he did to the people of the Jewes; yet in the general he did make so much of the truth thereof known to them, that the Seed of the woman should break the Serpents head. Gen. 3.15. He did re­quire them to beleeve the promise so generally revealed, and to make publick profession thereof: and to such as did beleeve and publickly pro­fesse, the priviledge did belong to them to be called the people of God; and in those times the promise was to beleevers and their naturall seed. For proof of this, let us consider that Scripture; The sonnes of God saw the daughters of men were faire. Gen. 6.2. By sons of God you are not to understand them in that sense as they are meant Rom. 8.14. There it is said, If ye be led by the spirit of God, then ye are the sons of God. The sons of God in the Text of Genesis cannot be taken in this sense that they had the Spirit of God, and were led by his Spirit; but they are called the sons of God, because they were the naturall posterity of beleeving Pa­rents, because they were the children of Seth, and other holy men, who in those times are mentioned to call upon the name of the Lord, Gen. 4.26. This sheweth plainly in the time of the first exhibiti­on of the promise, that Beleevers children, as such, had a right to Church-membership with their Parents; and I may say also to the seal of admissi­on, if any such had been in those first times.

The second edition of the Promise is for two thousand years from Abraham to Christ. And here though the Lord did not go so far with them as to show the promised Seed in person, as he hath done to us: yet he went further with them then with the Beleeevers of the first dis­pensation. He did not only show them the blessed Seed to come, but the particular familie and nation from whence he should come. And there­fore they that did beleeve under this dispensation, were not only bound to beleeve the general promise made to Adam concerning the lost sonnes of men; but they were to beleeve the promise made to Abraham; they were more particularly bound to joyn themselves to that familie, and to [Page 49]make publick profession of the Promise, as revealed in the time of that exhibition. They that did this, the promise did belong to them and to their children, and so consequently the children had a right to be ad­mitted into the Church that then was, by the initiall seal, or by circum­cision the seal of admittance.

Now the third edition of the Promise is from Christ unto the end of the world. And here the Lord doth not only show the general promise made to the lost sons of men, nor the promised Seed to come of the par­ticular familie of Abraham; but he goeth further to show the Messiah individually, and in person, who he is. Iesus Christ, conceived by the holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, &c. he is the promised Seed. They therefore that beleeve under this dispen­sation, they are not only bound to receive the Promise as generally made in the two former dispensations; but they are further required (as may appear by the Apostles Sermons) to beleeve the Christ come in the flesh, and that he is the promised Seed. Now they that do receive the Pro­mise as exhibited in this manner, have a right to Baptisme, the seal of admission into the Church in the times of the New Testament. And not only so, but as to beleevers in the two former dispensations, so in this last and best exhibition of the Covenant, the Promise doth hold one and the same in substance to Beleevers and their Children. This is the true sense of Peters words, and this is the force of my argument.

Having thus laid down the several exhibitions of the Promise, and how in each exhibition the Promise variously dispensed, is the ground of Faith, Faith the ground of Profession, Profession the ground from whence Beleevers in any dispensation have a right to Church member­ship, and so consequently to the seal of admission in each dispensation respectively; Having laid down these grounds, I come now to answer your objections.

You say (pag. 9. lin. 32.) If the Commission be so large to baptize all to Whom the Promise doth appertain, why doth the Apostle lay such a precise ta [...]k upon them to repent before they could be baptized? Seeing the Promise did belong to the Nation of the Iewes, Rom. 9. Why did not the Apostle ba­ptize the whole Nation? Why did he not baptize these particular Iewes that had crucified Christ before they were awakened by the word? Why did not hee his endeavour to baptize them against their wills, and to take them napping while they were asleep, as you do with your Infants in England? Sir, this is the substance of your cavils. To all which I answer, those priviledges mentioned Rom. 9. to wit, The Covenants, the giving of the Law, the service of God and the promises, all these priviledges dib be­long [Page 50]to the Jews, not as they were a Nation, but as they were a Cove­nanting Nation.

For you may find by the scope of the Scripture, that these things did not only belong to the naturall Jews, but also to the Proselytes and their children, as well as to them Exod. 12.48.

Secondly, When you have all done, the naturall Jews were but be­leevers, and so capable of the seal of admission in their own particular dispensation. Nay, for the most part, these Jewes that looked for the promised Messiah, that had the promise and the seal of the promise in their own dispensation, formerly they were, and as yet are, the cruci­fiers of the particular Messiah, and the greatest enemies of the promise, as exhibited and revealed in the last times. For this very cause Peter did bring the word so sharply home to the conscience to awaken them, seeing they could not possibly receive the promise in the last exhibition, who had been before the crucifiers of the particular Christ. Whereas you say. That the Apostle might have baptized them against their wills, and have taken them napping as we do with our Infants in England;

Sir, Your comparison will not hold, for the Infants of this Church, though they have no actuall understanding, yet they are the children of such as do beleeve, at least such as professe they do beleeve the particular Christ. They do not only beleeve the promised Messiah, that he should come of the stock of Abraham, as did the Beleevers of the Jewish Church; but they beleeve, at least they professe they beleeve the parti­cular Christ, which the Jewish Nation had crucified and slaine. Further they professe that they will bring up their Infants, at least they are wil­ling that their Infants should be taught by the publick Ministery under which they live by and through it to be brought up in the Christian Faith, and so to look after the Christ. For this reason Sir, your comparison will not hold betwixt the Infants of this Nation, and the Jews that were the crucifiers of the Christ.

Further, you go on and reason (pag. 10. lin. 17.) If the promise did belong to the Jews and their children, why did not the Prophets baptize? this is to call the Prophets accursed for the neglect of the dutie that appertained to them. To which I answer, I should have called the Prophets accursed if they had neglected to call upon the people to beleeve the promise, and to apply the seal of the promise to themselves and to their children, so far as it did appertain to their own dispensation. But I think that no sober man will say, it was the dutie of the Prophets to call upon the peo­ple to beleeve the promise, and to receive the seal of the promise, in such and such a particular dispensation, before the promise as such came [Page 51]to be revealed to them. But to come a little more closely to you, though the Prophets were righteous men, and saved by Christ to come, Heb. 11.39, 40. Yet God never required them to go any further but to be­leeve the Promise only; and to receive the seal as exhibited and revealed in their own dispensation. The words of the Apostle are clear and preg­nant to this purpose, Of which salvation (saith he) the Prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophecied of the grace that should come unto you. Ʋnto whom it was revealed, not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister this grace. 1 Pet. 1.10, 11.

Nay further, to come to the times of the manifestation of Christ in the flesh; I say then, the true beleevers of the two former dispensations, who might have been saved by their faith in their own dispensation; I say, these very beleevers themselves could not be baptized till they had received the promise as set forth in the last times. To come to particu­lar examples; we read when the Eunuch demanded of Philip, Here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized? Philip said, if thou beleevest withall thine heart thou mayest. Act. 8.36, 37. From these words some gather that not a Disciple of the doctrine, but a Disciple in a more strict sense, a true beleever of the heart, is the only subject of Baptisme. Now for the clearing of this point, I ask, did not the Eunuch beleeve before the preaching of Philip? If he were not a Proselyte, how could a man of his employment be said to come from so remote a country to worship at Hierusalem? Therefore it must needs be presumed, that he was a true Beleever of the second dispensation. But you will say, what doth Philip mean when he useth these words. If thou beleevest thou mayest? The scope of Philip was not only to show the promised Messiah, but par­ticularly and individually to declare the Christ in the last exhibition of the promise: Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at that Scripture, and preached to him Jesus. vers. 36. Hereupon the Eunuch beleeving, not only a Messiah to come, but also that Jesus was that particular Messiah, and professing to beleeve this with all his heart, he was baptized imme­diatly: And if he had twenty children there present, they had been ca­pable of the seal of Baptisme, Father and Child together. To make this more clear, we will go to the example of Lydia; Of her it is said, that the Lord opened her heart, Act. 10.14. I ask then, was that the first time of opening the hear of Lydia? No, she was a worshipper of God before: The words of the text are plain, Lydia a seller of purple, of the City of Thyatira which worshipped God, heard us. She could not worship God, but she must some way or other beleeve his Promise, either in the first or the second exhibition thereof. You will say then, what is [Page 52]the meaning of the words, The Lord opened her heart? The meaning is this, the Lord opened her heart to receive the promise in the third exhi­bition, to beleeve the particular Christ that Paul preached: And when she had done this, she was baptized immediatly. Now that it may ap­pear to you that the promise doth appertain to Beleevers and their chil­dren in the last, as in the two former dispensations, she and all her hous­hold were baptized together.

Further, what should be the reason, that St. Paul should say to the Gaoler beleeve in the Lord, and thou shalt be saved and thine house, Acts 16.31? Why doth he speak of the salvation of the house upon the termes of the Gaolers beleeving; but that the promise doth hold to be­leevers and their children in the last exhibition thereof? But if it be re­plyed, That the Apostle spake the word of the Lord to all that were in the Gaolers house; vers. 32. He did so; but how doth this prove that they had true faith wrought in their hearts? They were all Pagans and Infi­dels over-night, and the bare preaching of the word doth not make men beleevers, as we see by experience. Therefore we must conclude, that the Gaoler himself only had an inward work, and by a speciall evi­dence did receive the Christ come in the flesh: hereupon he and all his, servants and children, as we may expound it, were baptized immediate­ly. vers. 33.

And thus far, Mr. Everard, I have gone in answering your severall exceptions. Now, before I see how you conclude, it shall not be a­misse for me to adde two or three parallel Scriptures, for the confirmati­on of the exposition which I have given.

If you stand upon the expression (every one of you,) that the children cannot be intended in the Apostles words, be baptized every one of you, if your doubt doth lie here, you may read such places of Scripture where the command is given to the Parent as to the head of the houshold, both for himself and for his children. Take for example those words in the institution of the passeover, speak unto all the Congregation of Israel, that they take every man a Lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a Lamb for an house. And if the houshold be too little for the Lamb, let him and his neighbour, next to his house, take it according to the number of soules; e­very man according to his eating shall make his accompt for the Lamb. Exod. 12.3, 4. Here in these words the Command is that (every man) take a Lamb, that (every man) according to his eating make his accompt for the Lamb. By (every man) if you argue strictly, is only meant every head of an houshold; for the nation of Israel was divided into Tribes, the Tribes into Families, and the Families into Housholds; and every [Page 53]Head is here commanded to take a Lamb. Now seeing the word of com­mand is only to all heads of housholds, will you say that the children and the houshold are not included? If you will affirme this, it is plain from the scope of the Text, though the Command was laid upon the Parent or Head to provide, yet the houshold were to eat the provisions of the Passeover. So in the like case I say, though the words (be ba­ptized every one of you) be spoken to the Parents primarily and chiefly, yet the Children are contained in the Command, and the word of Com­mand is given in a federal and Covenant sense for themselves and for their Children. If you peruse the storie of the Acts of the Apostles, you shall find that the truth of this was made good: Such a one did beleeve and professe, and was baptized, he and his houshold.

Secondly, If your doubt lie in this, that the Children are not named in so many letters and syllables in the word of Command; To my under­standing, this should satisfie, that they are afterward plainly expressed in the word of promise. It is a usuall thing in Scripture to supply the meaning of the words that go before, by the sense and construction of the words that follow after. Many instances might be brought to prove such a supply; but I will choose one rather which is proper to the case of Baptisme. And so you will come to have not only a precept, but also a convenient number of examples in the New Testament for the Baptisme of Infants. The place is this, Crispus the chief ruler of the Synagogue be­leeved on the Lord withall his house. And many of the Corinthians hear­ing beleeved, and were baptized. Acts 18.8. Now out of these words Mr. Everard, I do desire to put a double question to your consideration. The first is this,

Whether in the sense of this Scripture, was not Crispus and his house baptized, as well as the rest of the Corinthians that did beleeve?

Here if you go to the strictnesse of the Letter, the other Corinthians that did beleeve were only baptized; As for Crispus and his houshold they are said to beleeve. Crispus the chief ruler of the Synagogue beleeved on the Lord with all his house. Here only is mention made of their belee­ving, but not the least word of their Baptisme. What then shall we say, that they were not baptized at all? He that will affirme this, let him show a reason why the other Corinthians beleeving should be baptized, and Crispus a prime Beleever, with his houshold, should be exempt from Baptisme? Secondly, to put all out of doubt, whosoever they were of the beleeving Corinthians that were baptized, whosoever the persons were that did baptize them, it is clear from another place, that Crispus the chief ruler of the Synagogue was baptized with Pauls own hand. [Page 54] I thank God I baptized none of you (saith Paul speaking to the Corinthi­ans) but Crispus and Gaius. 1 Cor. 1.14. If this be so, it is manifest that the Text in the Acts must be read with a supply; the latter part must expound the meaning of the former. The words must needs go after this tenor. Crispus, the chief ruler of the Synagogue, beleeved on the Lord with all his house and was baptized: and many of the Corinthians beleeving were baptized. Here that which is wanting in the former part of the verse must be supplied with the sense of that part which commeth after; or else how shall we reconcile the Scriptures? Now in the like case, let us have liberty when we read (be baptized every one of you) to supply the former with the sense of the words that follow after: and we shall have a plain precept from the Baptisme of Beleevers and their Children. The words must runne thus, Be baptized every one of you and your children; for the Promise is to you and your children. But now, Mr. Everard, supposing that Crispus and his houshold were baptized (as you can suppose no other if you will prove constant to your own principles of Beleevers Baptisme) I say then in the second place,

Whether among the Corinthians that did beleeve through grace, was the houshold of Crispus the only houshold that was baptized?

If we go to the precise Letter of the Text, there is only mention made of the houshold of Crispus, and not any word of the houshold of any other Beleever in the City of Corinth What then shall we say? That no other Beleevers houshold was baptized in that City? This cannot be; for though Crispus was a prime Beleever, yet we may well imagine that other houses of Beleevers had the same priviledge. To put the matter out of question, whosoever they were that did administer Baptisme to the rest of the Corinthians, it is evident that the houshold of Stephanas was baptized with Pauls own hand: For he speaking to the Corinthians, thus saith, I baptized the houshold of Stephanas, and I know not whether I baptized any other. 1 Cor. 1.16. Therefore to reconcile one Scripture with another, we must needs read the forementioned place in the Acts after this manner: Crispus the chief ruler of the Synagogue beleeved on the Lord, and was baptized, he and his houshold; and many of the Corin­thians hearing beleeved, and were baptized, they and their housholds. If this interpretation be true (as I know not how else to make the Scriptures to agree) then we have not only one, or two, or three, but many ex­amples in the New Testament for baptizing Beleevers with their hous­holds.

Further, I may collect also, in those times it was a usuall manner a­mong the Corinthians when the Parent did beleeve and professe, it was [Page 55]ordinary for him and his houshold to be baptized together. And there­fore when particular mention is made of the houshold of Crispus, we are not to take it in that sense as though they were the only beleeving Familie in the Citie of Corinth; but the meaning is this; As Crispus, a leading and a prime Beleever, the Ruler of the Synagogue, was baptized, he and his houshold: So the rest of the Corinthians, (after the pattern of Crispus) beleeving were baptized, they and their housholds. From whence we gather; That a beleeving houshold, in the third and last dis­pensation, is to be taken in that sense and notion as ever before in the two former Administrations of the Promise. In the two former Administra­tions for two thousand years from Adam to Abraham, and for two thousand years from Abraham to Christ, a beleeving houshold was that where the Parent did professe himself, and did engage his Familie to the profession of the Faith. And in this sense must we needs take a belee­ving houshold in the third dispensation, when Crispus the Ruler of the Synagogue did beleeve with all his houshold, and when many of the Corinthians did beleeve with all their housholds. We are not to take it as though every one did in person beleeve and professe; but that they did every one live under the education and instruction of the Christian Faith. But if any shall urge, that the words of the Text are for actuall professi­on, and for actuall faith before Baptisme, because it is said, Many of the Corinthians hearing, beleeved and were baptized; If any shall urge, that the Corinthians only that did hear and beleeve, were baptized: he that shall so argue, I would intreat him to show me in what place, or in what ranke he will set the children of these Corinthians that did beleeve through grace.

If he will say that the Children in their Families were out-casts of the Covenant, then let him show the meaning of this Scripture, The unbe­leeving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbeleeving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean, but now are they holy. 1 Cor. 7.14. There must needs be a sense assigned how the children of the Corinthians and other Grecians, being profane by nature, may be said to be holy by the Parents beleeving. Though much hath been written and said to finde out this or that interpretation; yet for my part I can­not possibly find out a sense how the Children of the Corinthians, as born of one or two beleeving Parents, may be said to be holy, if this be not meant of Covenant holynesse. In the two former dispensations, for four thousand years together, the children of beleevers were accounted the sons of God, Gen. 6.2, 3. The holy Seed, Ezra. 9.2. The holy People, Dan. 8.24. The Children of the Kingdome, Matth. 8.11. The [Page 56]Children of the Covenant, Act. 3.25. And such like expressions. Therefore when the Apostle speaketh of the Children of the beleeving Corinthians, that because one or both Parents did beleeve and professe, therefore the Children were holy, I cannot understand this any other way, but of the Birth-priviledge of Beleevers Children now in the last, aswell as in the two former editions of the Promise. Therefore when it is said in the Text, that many of the Corinthians beleeving were bapti­zed, I cannot see how the words can bear any other sense but this; Many of the Corinthians beleeving were baptized, they and their hous­holds; as Crispus the chief ruler of the Synagogue beleeved, and was baptized, he and his houshould. The Analogue doth stand between Crispus and other Beleevers, between the houshold of Crispus and the housholds of other Beleevers: and this I take to be the true meaning of the Text. I have stayed the longer upon this point, to show that we have not only a Precept, but a competent number of examples out of the New Testament, for the Baptisme of Beleevers and their Children. But now Sir, lest you should take occasion to cavill at examples, aswell as at the Precept; I will insist upon the former part of the verse, and urge you only with this question, Whether do you think that Crispus beleeving on the Lord with all his house, was baptized with the rest of the Corinthians, yea or no? If you deny it, how will you prove constant to your own principles of Beleevers Baptisme? Why should not Crispus, a prime Beleever be baptized aswell as the rest of the Corinthians that did be­leeve through grace? But if you affirme it (as affirm it you must) then it is necessary (seeing his Baptisme is not expressed in so many Letters) that you supply the former part of the Verse with the sense of the words that follow after. Now let me do the like with Peters words, and you shall find an excellent harmonie; Then Peter said, repent and be bapti­zed every one of you (and your children), in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the remission of sinne; for the Promise belongs to you and your children. So I beleeve the words of Peter, and desight to hear their sweet agreement; I do delight to read the Children in the word of Command, seeing they are so plainly expressed in the word of Promise. Now, Sir, let us see how you conclude.

You bid me, as I tender the life of my argument, to have him to some other place for relief; You tell me (pag. 12. lin. 1.) that you have recei­ved an order from Quarter-Master Generall, that the tent of my argument be removed from the Text, that it may no longer cumber the holy ground, it being appointed for a piece of service more honourable. Surely, Sir, when you wrote these things, I cannot otherwise think but that you had [Page 57]some high opinion of your own performance, Whereas you advise me to have my argument to some other place; belike you would have me to understand that you had (according to the title of your book) conquered all before you. But I will assure you Sir, (to deal plainly with you, and that you may not flatter your self) you are so far from taking my chief Fort (as you pretend) that you have not at all, or at least in small de­gree given an assault thereunto. And then let any Logician in the world judge what reason you had to glory in your conquest. You stand much upon my rending and tearing asunder the words, be baptized every one of you, from the words Repent and——. Now this is not so, for in a Covenant sence the Children do repent or make profession of repentance in the Parents that do undertake for them. But if this could be proved, what is it to the force of my Argument which you undertake to answer? The medium, the middle terme, or the reason from the words of the text, is not from the words, be baptized every one of you, as you would make the reader beleeve; but from these words, for the Promise is to you and your Children. Because the Children are plainly expressed in the word of promise; this is to me a true ground wherefore they are contained in the word of Command. Now let any man judge that reads Baby-Ba­ptisme routed, or the taking of the chief Fort, as it is in the title of your Pamphlet, what you have done in the body of your answer against the principall medium; against the right that the Children have to Baptisme by the word of Promise. Seeing you did grant the Proposition, it was needfull to spend your force upon the assumption. Again, Mr. Everard, you insist upon this, that the Jews, the whole Nation of them, because they had a right to the word of Promise, why had they not a right to Baptisme by the word of Command? Here you make a faire flourish up­on the generality of the promise without any distinction at all. But whosoever he is that will distinguish the severall dispensations of one and the same promise, and the right that Beleevers and their Children have to the Seal in each dispensation, he shall find that you have said just no­thing. And you that talked so much of taking the chief Fort, have stol­len away secretly from it, as the enemy did from the seige of Bergen-ap-Zome, in the smoake of Gun-powder.

Further, suppose there had been some weaknesse in my Argument, yet there is no such cause (as you advise) to remove its Tent from the coasts of the Text; for I will assure you as long as I read these words, For the Promise is to you and your Children, as long as I read these words in the last exhibition of the Promise, and a promise answering the word [Page 58]of Command; as long as I read a convertibility between the word of Command, and the word of Promise, in Baptisme aswell as in other Sacraments, I shall be loath to obey the order which you say you have received from Quarter-Master Generll to discharge me of the Text. But seeing you will needs be so pitifull to a poor Argumeet (in your appre­hension) beaten upon the Ice, I would intreat you that you would not deal so unkindly with him, as to remove him from the Text. For if I be not greatly mistaken, this Scripture is not so barren to afford one on­ly Argument, but it is a wel-spring and Fountaine of Arguments for the Baptisme of Beleevers and their Children. When you come to tryall, you will sind always when you take away one, another will spring up.

But Sir, let the worst fall out that can be, if you should imagine that there were no footing for my Argument in the Text, and the Text (as you say) (pag. 12. lin. 10.) would claime no acquaintance or kindred with it; yet the Argument may be true in the general, and may be made good from other Texts of Scripture. For if the Promise to Beleevers and their Children doth hold in the times of the last exhibition, aswell as in the two former, then necessarily the word of Promise will draw in the word of Command, and the right to the Promise in its last and best exhi­bition will inforce a right to the Seal. And so we shall have a Precept for the Baptisme of Beleevers and their Children proved from the scope of Scripture, and do you your worst.

Now Sir, in the last place, let me come to the structure and frame of my Argument. You say (pag. 12. lin. 28.) that the premises do not hold due proportion with the conclusion; you say, either the premises are superfluous, or the conclusion is wanting. I do willingly yeild in e­very lawfull Syllogisme, that the premises must have due correspondence with the conclusion. But how? The correspondence must not alwayes be in letters and syllables, but in sense and meaning. But why is there such a disproportion betwixt the premises and the conclusion? You say, that the Premises speak that the children of Beleevers must have a right; the Conclusion is, they have a right. You say that must have a right, and have a right, are not all one: after a while is not yet. There be many that are heires in England, can say they must have, with caution, but they had ra­ther say they have in possession. (pag. 13. lin. 3.) Sir, these are but cavils at words, as any man may plainly see: For have a right, and must have a right are all one in the sense of the Argument. Now that I did put in the word (must) it was to show the union and necessary connexion be­tween [Page 59]the two parts of the conditional proposition. For your instance of an heire in England, we are not now upon the division of Lands, but upon the union of the parts of a proposition. But to show that this is a true hypothetical Syllogisme, I will according to the rule of the Logici­ans, reduce it to a Categorical forme, and put it in the first figure, as fol­loweth.

They that have a right to be baptized by the word of Promise, have a right to be baptized by the word of Command.

But the children of Beleevers have a right to be baptized by the word of Promise.

Therefore the children of Beleevers have a right to be baptized by the word of Command.

And so consequently there is a word of Command to baptize Belee­vers Children in the New Testament. Now by the rule of reduction I leave it to your self, and to any other man to judge, what cause you had to except against the stucture of my Syllogisme.

You go on, and cavill against the Major proposition, and reason thus (pag. 13.) If the Children of Beleevers have a right to be baptized by the word of Promise, there is no need of a right to be baptized by the word of Command. Sir, I confesse that God is not bound alwayes to adde a Seal to the confirmation of his Promise, we may beleeve his word without addition of Seals. But I speak in a Sacramental relation; where he hath once appointed a Sacrament for the use of his Church, they that have a right to the Promise, have a right to the Seal.

As for example, The body of the faithfull have a right to remission of sin by the blood of Christ, aswell as their guides and teachers: And therefore under that title, they have (let the Papists say what they will) a right also to the cup of the New Testament in Christs blood, 1 Cor. 11.25. So in the like case, seeing the Promise is to Beleevers and their Children in the last and best exhibition therefore, do what you can, if the Children of Beleevers have a right to the Promise so exhibited, they must have a right to the Seal.

Further, You call the right that Beleevers children have to baptisme by the word of Promise, a cloudy, saying, (pag. 13.) The saying is a clear Scripture truth, but it may be a cloudy saying to such as will not see what they may see. It is a cloudy saying at this day to the Jew, that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah spoken of in the Prophets; and it is a cloudy saying to the Papist, that a man is justified by Faith alone: and so it is a cloudy saying to you, that the Children of Beleevers have a right to [Page 60]Baptisme by the word of Promise, as revealedin the last times. But you are to consider that the darknesse is not in the sayings, but the clouds are in your own blind mindes, that cannot or will not see the truth.

You go on, and further except against the right that the children of Be­leevers have to Baptisme by the word of Promise: And because you will put some absurdity upon the saying, you argue thus (pag. 13.) If there be such a necessity to baptize the children of Beleeveers, it is either for God to baptize them, or for his servants to baptize them. To speak briefly and plainly, there is a necessity of Precept that lieth upon all Christian Parents, that do beleeve the Christ come in the flesh to pro­fesse the Faith, and to baptize their Children; For herein lieth a consi­derable part of the Christian profession, not only for the Father to in­gage himself by Baptisme to Christ come in the flesh, but he is bound also to bring in his children, and those that live under his education into the same ingagement. Therefore, Sir, I do much question, if either you or any man else shall refuse to oblige your infants to the Lord Christ, whether you do hold forth the whole confession of the faith of Christ come in the flesh. I will make no particular application, but sure I am, St. John saith in the general, Every spirit that confesseth not Christ come in the flesh is not of God, and this is the spirit of Antichrist. 1 Joh. 3.3. But now to shut up all, as I began, so I conclude, that there is a Precept in the New Testament for the Baptisme of Infants. My Argument (as it was formerly) is still the same with some amplification, I argue from Peters words after this manner.

They that have a right to Baptisme by the word of Promise, as exhi­bited in the last times, they have a right to be baptized by the word of Command.

But the children of Beleevers have a right to Baptisme by the word of Promise, as exhibited in the last times.

Therefore the children of Beleevers have a right to be baptized by the word of Command. And fo consequently in the New Testament there is a Precept to baptize Beleevers and their Children.

I hope now, Mr. Everard, your chariot wheels will not stick, but you and the many thousands in this land which you speak of, will now drive on to Infant. Baptisme. You have seen. or at least you may see by all that which I have spoken, that the Promise doth hold to beleevers and their Children in the last dispensation.

This is the scope of Peters words. Now then, if the Promise doth [Page 61]hold to the Children in the last dispensation, this will draw in the word of Command to baptize Father and Child: And, for want of better friends, you your self have told us, for the convertibility of Gods word of Promise, and his word of Command, you will not only grant it, but also maintaine it. And this is my answer to all yours that came to me in Ma­nuscript.

Now a word or two concerning your Postscript that came to me only in Print, and here you thus admonish mee; Is you have any thoughts left that incline you to sprinkle Infants, declare it as soon as you will, and I shall bee ready to take a veiw of it, and give it entertainment an­swerable.

Sir, The question between you and me is not concerning sprinkling or dipping, this is but an [...] as Logicians call it, or a leading away from the point. My purpose is to follow our businesse in hand to prove a Precept for the Baptisme of Infants. When this is done, there will be no great matter of difficulty concerning the manner of the thing. I do yeeld that dipping is Baptisine, but whether are they only baptized that are dipped?

Further, you advise me, that I pollute not the Scripture with Infant-Ba­ptisme, but confesse with the rest of my Brethren of the Clergie that disputed in Hardwick Steple-house, that there is no command or example from Scripture for it. For the rest of my Brethren, though I know not some of the men, and for others that I do know, though I am not well ac­quainted with the passages between you and them; yet if I might pro­bably conjecture, you have not dealt with them by your dealing with me. Their words perhaps being taken in a right sense, and it may be in their own meaning; they do not stand contradictory to mine. I do agree with them, that there is a Precept impsicite, and examples impli­cite for the Baptisme of Intants. I do agree with those, that say Chil­dren may professe in their Parents: and with others also that hold the Baptisme of Infants by tradition; for Lam verily perswaded with Au­gustine, that there hath been a continued series of the Baptisme of In­fants from the utmost antiquitie, from the Aposties age to this very day. I do agree with Mr. Angel of Leicester, that the first Baptisme is of great moment; and that a man cannot well make a compact with the Devil, but he must renounce the Christ to which he hath obliged himself in In­fant-Baptisme,

Thus Sir, I have gone through your whole answer, I have, to the best of my understanding, left out nothing of moment. I would there­fore [Page 26]intreat you in your next to do with me as I have done with you, that is, to go thorough the whole body of the Treatise; not to catch at letters and syllables, but to answer point by point in that which concerns the maine. Before I go off, I cannot but put you in mind of your scoffing way of writing, in so grave and serious a matter. What miseries are now in the Land? What troubles are now in the Consciences of the godly? And what fears are every where by reason of the breaches of the Church, and yet you must have your mocks and jests at me? If it were proper in those times of the troubles of the State to set up a Mer­curius Britannicus against a Mercurius Aulicus; I know no reason why in these times of the division of the Church, it would not be every way as proper to set up a Mercurius Baptists against a Mercurius Cata­baptists. But in this, Sir, you are like to take your rest for me. Untill some Mercurius Baptists doth arise, you may injoy your veine. It is e­nough that I have declared my conscience, that there is a Precept for the Baptisme of Infants in the New Testament. And it is my comfort also that I have delivered it in a manner some way convenient to the dig­nity of such a cause. For the rest I leave you to Master Swayne.

The Answer of William Swayne Preacher of the word at Withibrook, near Coventry, to the late Postscript annexed to Mr. Everards book, intituled Baby-Baptisme routed; With a discovery of his practise and principles, with others of his judgment.

HAving met with a printed paper intituled Baby-Ba­ptisme routed, at the close of which is annexed a Postscript, in which the Author Mr. Everard doth advise Mr. Stephens, not to pollute the Scripture with Infant-Baptisme, but rather, with his Brethren, who disputed in Hardwick Steeple-house, confesse there is no example or precept for it in Scripture. For Mr. Stephens his polluting of the Scriptures with Infant-Baptisme, that lieth to be proved. But sure I am, Mr. Everard and his partie did pollute the Sabbath (and in polluting the Sabbath, did pollute the Scriptures) in putting his book against Mr. Stephens to sale in the Congregation at Withibrook on the Lords day: contrary to a late Act of Parliament. By, and through which they did dishonour God, affront the present Govern­ment, forfeit their goods, and grieve the poor Heathens (for so they call us) to see them so to profane the Lords day. For the Brethren of the Clergie in Hardwick Steeple-house (as he pleaseth to call them) that they should say that there was neither Precept or Example for the Baptisme of Infants in the New Testament: In this he doth them manifest in jurie. For I (as being one that there was present) do affirme the Contrary. And to use Mr. Everards own words to Mr. Stephens, he like a theevish Gleaner draggeth out the Ministers words by the ears from their fellowes. For this was the expression, we confesse that we have no expresse command [Page 64]or example, but we have both implicitely, and sound argument for it. These words were spoken by Mr. Potter, Minister of Radford, one of the Mini­sters that did conferre with Mr. Everard. The truth of this the Notaries, the whole Congregations, and I think his own conscience can witnesse. He goeth on, in these words; Or as Mr. John Moore, Minister of West-leak and East-leak, being demanded by what authority he did it? An­swered, by Tradition; resusing to give any Scripture for it. And Mr. Angel of Leicester denying Tradition, saith that Witches after their conviction, say the Devill perswaded them to deny their first Baptisme: Ergo, it was good, otherwise he would not perswade them from it. Mr. Wilson, Minister of Seagrave differs from them all, affirming that Repentance is required before Baptisme, and being demanded how Infants could be capable of Baptisme; he affirmed, they ought to repent before they were borne. The like argu­ments have Mr. Swan and Mr. Bosse. So far Mr. Everard. Here now if by Mr. Swan he intends me, I am sure, neither he, nor his partie ever heard any such arguments from me for the baptizing of Infants: and I am sure (if he were put to it) he cannot prove what he affirmes. There­fore (Reader) take notice that Mr. Everard will not stick to Print fals­hoods for his advantage and glory, and the plucking down and disho­nouring the partie which he doth oppose. That I do him no wrong, ob­serve these passages following. He came to Withibrook Congregation, with others of his partie of Esen-hall, the sixth of October (the day when they sold their books aforesaid) thither they came to require satisfaction; for he then said I had aspersed him. At which time I offered him satisfa­ction, if he came to deal with me as a Brother. I urged his breach of our Saviours rule, If thy Brother sinne against thee, &c. Mat. 18.15. He said he knew the Text, and further he and others answered, I was no Brother but an Heathen. They also said, All out of the Order they wal­ked in, were Heathens.

Against which I thus argue, If all out of their order be Heathens, then strangers to the Covenant of Promise, having no hope, without God in the world. So is an Heathen defined, Eph. 2.12. And if without God, and without hope, then without salvation, and then indeed no true Church. But doth Mr. Everard and his friends think that all out of their order are Heathens? or did they not go against their light when they thus said? If their conscience speak the same language, that all are Pagans, they must judge them so, either because they are strangers from the Covenant of Promise, or because they are not baptized after their manner. If Heathens, because strangers from the Covenant of Promise; [Page 65]then no hope of salvation, then a necessity of condemnation to all out of their order. But if Heathens, because not baptized after their manner, then their Baptisme only will make Christians of Heathens: and none can be saved without their Baptisme.

Secondly, If they say, all are Gentiles out of their order, because the outward court is troden down by all those out of their order. This will help nothing, because it will follow upon their own principies, that there was no outward Court nor Church ministeriall, nor Ordinances to be troden down all along the times of Antichrists reigne. For if all out of their order were and are Heathens, then there were none but Hea­thens to be troden down, and so Heathens must tread down Heathens; except they will yeeld a Church visible, and an outward Court. And in so doing they lose their Cause.

Again, If Heathens, because not baptized after their manner, and consequently no Church; thea Mr. Everard and those of his judgment, were no Church before they received this new Baptisme; but they were Pagans aswell as others. If they were no true Church, their first Admi­nistrator was no true Administrator, because there was no Church to conferre an office upon him. Therefore they must say, he had his first Commission immediatly from heaven, unlesse they will affirme that Heathens have a power to make an Administrator of Baptisme. Now this is contrary to the Scripture, which saith, they ordained Elders in every Church, Acts 14.23. Therefore in the ordinary way the Church is be­fore Elders or Administrators. But if they shall say there was an Admi­mstrator before a Church. as John Baptist: and therefore by the like reason they may have such a one. If they say this, they must prove from the Prophets that the Gospel-Churches must have two Baptists, be twice planted: which supposeth to Gospel-Church in the world before the coming of the second Baptist to plant a new Church.

Further, also they must say, that there is a second Christ before whom the second Baptist must come as a forerunner; And so new institutions, and foundations of Ordinances, Baptists, Apostles, Miracles; and whi­ther will not this conceit runne?

But if they say, that the Commission Matth. 28.19. was their first Administrators rule, then he must be a Disciple made by ordinary prea­ching and teaching, before he had authority to Minister their new Ba­ptisme, whosoever he was. And was he taught by some Heathen (think they) or by a Disciple? By an Heathen they cannot say. And if by a preaching Disciple, then Christ had a Disciple before their new [Page 66]Baptisme. Therefore they that want their new Baptisme, cannot bee stated Heathens. And how foule then was their assertion at Withibrook, to call all Heathens out of their order? And yet have neither command nor example in Scripture for their Baptisme, in reference to their first Ministers Commission or authority.

And doth not this their practise come here to be condemned, which continueth judging our Churches, and all out of their order, to be Hea­thens, for want of their Baptisme? Therefore let all tender-hearted Christians take heed how they are intangled in such a society and practise, as will be a continuall condemning and judging of all out of their order, though never so godly. But if Mr. Everard and his friends are still of the same mind, let them with tendernesse consider two things: First, upon what a poor foundation their Baptisme stands, which must necessarily be upon an Heathenish foundation, or upon extraordinary revelation. The second thing I would intreat them to consider, is, how they, both in judgment and practise, continue condemning the generation of the just to hell, at least all living and dead, that are not of their society. What not one Saint by calling in all England, neither in Magistracy, Ministery, nor People, that is not of themselves? all strangers to God and his Christ? Then surely there is no hope that any thing will be done for the Kingdom of Christ by such a Magistracy or Ministry.

Therefore let me intreat them not to be offended if I put a question to them; What would they do with such an Heathen Magistracy, Ministry, or (as one calleth them in his late book) officiating Priests, in case the power were wholly in their hands? For the Ministry it is clear to all the world. And for the Magistracy, I leave it to his judgment. For my part, I fear it.

I do not intend in these lines the Moderate of those that dissent from me in point of Baptisme, but Mr. Everard and those of his judgment, and the rest that are so bitter against the godly of the Ministry. From them I shall expect an answer; in which they may do well to prove that their practise is grounded upon a Precept, in reference to their first admi­ministrators authority to baptize: And when it comes to my hands, I shall consider it.

FINIS.

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