THE Right Method For the proving of INFANT-BAPTISM.

With some REFLECTIONS On some late Tracts against INFANT-BAPTISM.

By JOSEPH WHISTON, Minister of the Gospel.

LONDON, Printed for Ionathan Robinson, at the Golden-Lion in St. Paul's Church-Yard, MDCXC.

The Right Method for the proving of INFANT-BAP­TISM, &c.

THAT Sacred Adagy delivered to us by the Wise Man, Prov. 17.14. is sadly verified, not only in Temporal, but in Religious Contentions. Contenti­ons once begun, be the Object or Subject Matter what it will, are seldom soon composed or sup­pressed, but often grow to greater Violence, and in respect of those that are religious, unsuppres­sible, unless by the interposal of a Divine Hand. One Reason whereof is, because the Parties li­tigant, act under the Inforcement of Conscience, either regularly, guided by Divine Light, or misguided by some Mistake the Understand­ing lies under. 'Tis the unquestionable Duty of all Christians, especially the Ministers of the Gospel, who are Christ's Stewards, intrusted with the Preservation as well as Dispensation of his Truth to the World, to contend for it as well as preach it, see Jude 3. Now the litigant Parties on both Hands suppose, at least pretend, they are his Truths they contend for. Neither are all Contentions of this Kind absolutely reproveable; the Sin usually is rather in the manner of Management, than in the [Page 4]Contentions themselves, as absolutely consi­dered. All Truths (as must be granted on all Hands) are not revealed so evidently in the Scriptures, as to admit of no Debate about them. Now till Men discern what is Truth, it may be useful, yea a Duty, to contend for what at present they apprehend to be so. Yet this must be said, that it is Matter of much Admi­ration, as well as great Lamentation, that after a long ventilation of disputable Doctrines and Practices, all sincere and intelligent Christians, who have received any measure of that Unction from the Holy One, whereby the Laws of God are put into their Minds, and written in their Hearts; that is, an inward Principle and Dispo­sition is wrought in them, inclining them to a ready compliance with, and submission to the whole revealed Will of God, should not dis­cern on which side Truth lies, so as to coalesce in the same Judgment and Practice. Shall we impute it to an Obscurity in Divine Revelati­ons? That would be a Reflection upon the Knowledg, Wisdom, or Faithfulness of our Lord Christ, in whom, as the Apostle tells us, are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledg; and who, as the same Apostle assures us, hath been faithful in all his House; the Fault there­fore must lie on the part of Christians them­selves. For instance, That the Doctrine and Practice of Infant-Baptism have been of a long time controverted in the Church, is known to all. Now whence it should be that this Contro­versy is not come to an Issue, considering what hath been said on the one and the other Part, [Page 5]but fresh Contentions should arise, may justly require the most sedate and serious Enquiry; but I shall not at present enlarge upon it. Two things I would only say;

First, That on the Part of those that have pleaded the Cause of Paedobaptism, I cannot but conclude, that many Mistakes they have lain under, both about the Tenour of the Co­venant, on which they have duly founded their pleas, and about the Benefits accruing to Infants by their Covenant, Interest, and Baptism, did at the first in a great measure give Rise to this Controversy, and have contributed not a little to the long continuance of it. Had the true Tenour of Abraham's Covenant been clearly discovered, asserted and established by Scripture-Light, and the full Good and Benefit accruing to Infants from their Interest therein, and their Baptism, as the present Token of it, allowed to them in a consistency with all the Truths of the Gospel, I cannot but think that this Con­troversy had been, if not wholly obviated, yet quickly suppressed among all sincere and intel­ligent Christians. To me 'tis past doubt that Mistakes on the part of Paedobaptists, have greatly promoted the Cause of Antipaedobap­tism: this sufficiently appears by some late Tracts by the Men of that Perswasion.

Secondly, On the part of the Antipaedobap­tists, I shall only say, that I do heartily wish, that if the Lord had seen it meet, there had been a more equal Dividend, that those among them that are men of greater Parts and Abili­ties, had a greater share with their Brethren of [Page 6]lower Parts and Abilities, in their Sincerity, Simplicity, and Love unto Truth, and those weaker Ones had a greater share with their Brethren in those Parts and Abilities they have attained to. Some seem sufficiently furnished with Abilities for the finding out, at least dis­cerning Truth when set before them, and yet by one Means or another comply not with it, but on the other hand do oppose it: Others have sufficient Sincerity and Love to Truth, to ingage them to a compliance with it when dis­cerned, but have not such acuteness of Under­standing, nor solidity of Judgment, as is neces­sary for the finding out or discerning a Truth that lies at all below the very Surface of the Scriptures. I shall therefore, that I may re­duce this Controversy into as narrow a com­pass, and thereby lay the whole of it within the view of the shortest and narrowest-sighted, as possibly I may; and also obviate all unne­cessary Digladiations or Impertinences on the one Hand or the other, present, as it were, in a short Scheme, the Method I have proceeded in, in the Pleas I have made on behalf of the Co­venant-Interest and Baptism of the Infant-Seed of Believers, and in which I judg it abso­lutely necessary, that whoever will successfully plead the same Cause, do proceed. And thus in the general I have laid the Foundation to the Pleas I have made in that Covenant entered with Abraham, recorded in Gen. 17.7. For though there be much in the New Testament strongly perswading that it is the Mind and Will of our Lord Christ, that the Infant-Seed of his [Page 7]People should be by Baptism solemnly dedicated to him, as joint Confederates with their Pa­rents, yet it must be granted that his Mind and Will is not so fully and clearly revealed there­in, as to admit of no Debates about it. Will we have full Satisfaction about the Mind and Will of our Lord Christ, with reference to this Practice, we must enter at the Revelations he hath made thereof, in the first establishment of that Covenant with Abraham.

Yet let me add, that I suppose there is a Mistake in the Recommenders of a late Tract, passing under the Name of Mr. Philip Cary to the World, when they say that some of the Paedobaptists themselves do confess, that Argu­ments taken from the Baptizing of whole Fami­lies, from Christ's blessing little Children, and from 1 Cor. 7.14. have no weight in them. I remember not that any have confessed so much, I am sure they had no Reason so to do. We only say, that those and the like Scriptures, as taken abstractly by themselves, do not make such a full, clear, and convincing discovery of the Mind of our Lord Christ in this. Matter, as to set this Practice above all rational Doubts. There is undoubtedly much, yea very much Weight in them, especially when added as a farther Confirmation of what is pleaded from this Covenant: and let any Baptists pretend what they will, they never have, nor will be able to answer some of those Arguments Mr. Baxter hath urged from that 1 Cor. 7.14. But this I was saying in order to a full Establishment of this Practice, 'tis absolutely necessary that a [Page 8]Foundation be laid where I have laid it, viz. in the fore-mentioned Covenant. But more particularly that this Foundation may be surely laid, as I have done, so all others ingaging in the same Cause, must do these five things.

(1.) It must be solidly proved, that this Co­venant is not the Old Covenant which the Apostle tells is done away, but that it is the Covenant of Grace, that very Covenant under which Believers still are. And I fear not falling under the Censure of over-Confidence in the Minds or Judgments of judicious and unbiassed Persons, if I say this is fully done already. See among others my Answer to Mr. Cox, p. 95, to the 139. with the places there referred un­to, where I have demonstrated these three Positions.

1. That God in those Transactions with Abraham, recorded Gen. 12. at the beginning, did not make or establish the Covenant of Grace with him: My meaning is, he did not then compleat the Covenant of Grace with him. This I grant, that God did then begin to deal with Abraham with reference to his establishing his Covenant with him; did as it were draw the first Lines of that Covenent he intended afterwards in a more formal express manner to enter with him. Hence the Apostle Peter, telling the Jews that they were the Children of the Covenant, cites one Promise then made to Abraham, Acts 3.26.

2. That the Covenant recorded in Gen. 17.7. is not the Old Covenant, nor had any re­ference or relation thereunto.

3. That that Covenant is the Covenant of Grace, the same which Believers are still under. And would our Opposers satisfy the World in their Judgments and Practice, they ought to return solid and satisfactory Answers to those Arguments pleaded in Confirmation of each of those Positions; their Silence wherein renders all their Discourses utterly insignificant in the Judgment of all Men of a competent Understanding. Alas! can they think a loose Discourse, however filled up with Scripture-Quotations, can be of any use to such Persons, so long as those Arguments remain unanswered? And it seems strange to me that Men of any Judgment, Gravity or Conscience should re­commend to the World any Discourses so ex­cessively defective in that regard, in the Ma­nagement of the Cause they plead. It being evinced and demonstrated past all rational Con­tradiction, that this Covenant is not the Old Covenant, said to be done away, but the Co­venant of Grace. The most copious Harangue of Words, how many Scriptures soever are alledged therein, signifieth nothing, save only to shew how tenacious Men are of Error; and how they will wrest and pervert the Scriptures, to confirm themselves and others therein, when once embraced by them.

But it may be some will say, There are two Treatises, the one of Mr. Grantham's, the other of Mr. Philip Cary's, wherein there are several irrefragable Arguments to prove the contrary, viz. That that Covenant is not the Covenant of Grace. To that I answer, It is true, that [Page 10]there are such Books abroad; but so long as those Arguments remain unanswered, here is only the opposing of Arguments to Arguments, and which are the most valid and demonstra­tive, possibly Men of weaker Capacities are not able to determine to the Satisfaction of their own Consciences. Hence such Methods of Pro­cedure serve only to confirm those that are be­fore resolved, and puzzle weak consciencious Christians that are sincerely inquiring after Truth. I shall only add, that the Arguments I have laid down are unanswerable, is undoubted to me, the sure-footing they have in the Scrip­tures of Truth assures me of that; neither is the Silence of our Adversaries after their so long Presentation to publick View, any small Addition to that Assurance. I shall now try whether those Arguments laid down by the two fore-mentioned Authors be so or no.

To begin first with those laid down by Mr. Grantham; he attempts to prove two things.

  • 1. That Circumcision was not a Gospel-Ordinance.
  • 2. That that Covenant recorded Gen. 17.7. is not a Covenant of Grace. For the

1. What he means by a Gospel-Ordinance, is to me difficult to determine; and therefore I shall only declare what I mean by a Gospel-Ordinance; and in brief, I mean an Ordinance or Act of Worship instituted in the Covenant of Grace, having an immediate and direct [Page 11]Respect thereunto, for the Confirmation, ob­taining or conveying the Good therein pro­mised. Now let us see the strength of his Ar­guments, and they are these three.

1. That which could profit no Man, except he kept the whole Law, was no Gospel-Ordinance: but Circumcision could profit no Man, except he kept the whole Law, Ergo, &c. And he cites Rom. 2.25. for the Proof of his Minor Proposition.

Before I answer to either part of his Argu­ment, I must distinguish of these two Terms [Law and Keep.]. Thus by Law may be meant either the Moral Law, and that taken in a strict and proper Sense, as the Law or Cove­nant of Works, the Sum of which the Holy Ghost reduces to a Do this, and live. Or,

2. That Term Law may intend the whole Revealed Will of God concerning Man's Duty; and then under this Term Law, we are to in­clude both the Moral, Ceremonial, and Judicial Law, and that in their utmost Extent and La­titude.

2. For that Term Keep, it may be meant either of a perfect, sinless keeping, so as the Persons so keeping the Law, shall live therein, according to that of the Apostle, Gal. 3.12. Or,

2. It may be meant of a sincere and upright Keeping, so as not willingly or wilfully to fail in doing any thing required, or doing any thing so bidden. Now if Mr. Grantham takes these Terms in the first Sense, (which in case he doth) Law here can only refer to, or be understood of the Moral Law, and that as a [Page 12]Law of Works; seeing God never required of, or expected from his People a perfect sinless Obedience to the Ceremonial Law, no, nor to the Moral Law, as the Rule of that Obedience he requires of his People. And then I deny the Minor Proposition, and say, those words of the Apostle prove it not; and my Reason is, because the Apostle there speaks of the Law as considered under another Notion, and of ano­ther manner of keeping than is intended by Mr. Grantham. But,

2. If Mr. Grantham understood these Terms [Law and Keeping] in the latter Sense, then I deny the Major Proposition, and affirm on the other hand, that that (take it of Circumcision in particular) might be and was a Gospel-Ordinance, which yet would not profit Men except they kept the whole Law, seeing it might and did profit them who did so keep the Law. Thus the Apostle affirms it did profit them that kept the Law. What is here said of Circumcision may be alike said of Baptism. It profits not those that keep not the Law in the latter Sense before-mentioned; but as for those that do so keep the Law, it doth profit them. No Ordinance will profit any Men in case of their failing in that Obedience indispensably required in the Covenant they are under, which is no Argument at all that it is no Gospel-Ordinance. Gospel-Ordinances will not profit Men, as of themselves, in case they are Hy­pocrites, and do not walk up to that Profession they make; which is all that the Apostle in­tends in that place.

2. His second Argument is this, If Circum­cision bound Men to keep the whole Law, then it was no Gospel-Ordinance, &c. Before I return an Answer to this Argument, I shall premise, that by Law in Gal. 5.3. which he cites to prove his Assumption, we are (as I suppose is granted on all hands) to understand the Mosaical Law, the Law given by Moses at Mount Sinai, and that in the utmost Latitude and Extent of it. Now this Law may be considered two ways,

  • 1. As given by God to the People of Israel.
  • 2. As after misinterpreted and misunderstood by them.

1. As given by God, it had only a Subserviency to the Covenant of Grace, and answerably as in it there was a Revival of the Law given to Adam in Innocency; so there were various Sacrifices and Ceremonial Observations anew instituted, that so the People, seeing the Ex­actness and Severity of the Law, and finding their own Inability so to perform it as to live therein, they might be engaged to flee un­to Christ, and take hold of the Covenant of Grace confirmed, (as the Apostle speaks, Gal. 3.17.) in him, whereunto they were guided by the Sacrifices, and those other Ceremonial Ob­servations. Hence the Law is said to have been a School-Master, to bring them unto Christ, Gal. 3.24. whether we read as in our Transla­tion, or only a School-Master unto Christ, it is all one, seeing a School-Master it was. Now take the Law, as thus given by God him­self, and Keeping in the latter Sense before­mentioned, [Page 14]I grant his Assumption, but deny the Consequence in the Major Proposition; and affirm, That tho Circumcision did bind Men to keep the whole Law during its continuance in the Church, yet it might be and was a Gospel-Ordinance: and supposing the Apostle only intends this Term [Law] in this Sense, yet he might justly argue against Circumcision, as laying them under this Obligation to keep the Law, because there was now a change and alteration in the Law. The whole Cere­monial Law was abrogated and laid aside: and for them to put themselves under an Obligation to keep a Law that was now abrogated, was sinful, and would have deprived them of any Benefit by Christ, tho they obliged themselves to keep it in that Sense in which the Jews un­der the first Testament were bound to keep it, and their keeping of it was acceptable to God, and profitable to themselves.

2. Take the Law as misinterpreted and mis­understood by the Jews, viz. as tho it had been a Law through their meer keeping of which they should be saved, without the Mediation of Christ; (as it is evident they did so under­stand it) then I deny the Assumption, and affirm, that Circumcision never bound any Man so to keep the Law: and then the Apostle in arguing against Circumcision, deals with the Galatians, according to that false Notion of the Law they had imbibed from their false Teachers, and tells them, that in case they were circumcised, that is, as obliging themselves to the Law in the Sense now mentioned, they [Page 15]would be Debtors to do the whole Law, not only uprightly and sincerely, but to do abso­lutely all things written therein, seeing neither their Sacrifices nor Ceremonial Observations ap­pointed in that Law, would yield them any Re­lief, in case of their failing to do all things writ­ten in the whole Law, and their returning and adhering to the Law in this sense, would de­prive them of any Benefit by Christ. And thus I judg we are to understand the Apostle in that place: So that take the Apostle's Sense which way we will, the Argument is of no force. Take the Sense the former way, then the Con­sequence is unsound; if we take his Sense the latter way, the Antecedent is false. And a greater Absurdity can hardly be vented by Men, than to say, That God ever designed Circumci­sion as an Obligation unto the Jews, thus to keep the Law, or any part of it. But,

3. His third Argument is this, That which was always in comparison of the Gospel a weak and beggarly Element, was never a Gospel-Ordinance; but Circumcision was such, Ergo, &c.

Answ. Here I shall positively deny the Conse­quence in the Major Proposition, and affirm, That that might be in the Apostle's Sense said to be a weak and beggarly Element; which yet, during the First-Testament-Administration, might be a Gospel-Ordinance. Will Mr. G. say, That the Jews had no Gospel-Ordinances? Yet all their Ordinances come within the com­pass of these weak and beggarly Elements. Take it of the Passover, surely that was a Go­spel-Ordinance, [Page 16]and yet one of these weak and beggarly Elements.

But to hasten; As a close of this, and to make way to what follows, I shall offer this one Argu­ment to prove, That Circumcision was a Go­spel-Ordinance, it is this, If Circumcision was the Token of the Covenant of Grace, and as such a Representation and Seal to those to whom it was applied of those great Gospel-Blessings, Righteousness, Interest in God, and Sanctification, then it was a Gospel-Ordinance; but the for­mer is true, therefore the latter. I am aware Mr. G. will deny the Assumption; but I prove it thus, If that Covenant, Gen. 17.7. be the Covenant of Grace, and Circumcision was the Token of that Covenant, and, as such, a Re­presentation and Seal to those to whom it was applied, of those forementioned Gospel-Bles­sings, then it was a Gospel-Ordinance.

The Minor or Assumption in both Arguments, consists in two Branches; both which I know will be denied: But it is the former Branch that at present falls under our Consideration, and supposing that be sufficiently proved, the latter will hardly meet with any opposition. Now that being already demonstrated, I shall at pre­sent add no more; only consider what Mr. G. hath said to prove the contrary, ‘That that Covenant is not the Covenant of Grace, but the Old Covenant, or that Covenant said by the Apostle to be done away; and this he saith will appear three ways:’

1. From the recital of the Covenant it self.

2. From the Nature of Circumcision; and chiefly because the Covenant of Grace was not peculiar to Abraham and his Seed, but common to others, though they were not circumcised.

He begins with the First, and thus expresseth himself; ‘Whosoever shall diligently read it, (that is, the Covenant recorded Gen. 17.4 to 15.) will not find one word of the Promise of Bles­sedness to all Nations.’ So that it seems he doth not find in this Covenant, as there set down, any thing positive that makes it appear to be the Old Covenant, only Negatively he can­not find what he supposes should have been in it. Had it been the Covenant of Grace, he cannot find one Word of the Promise of Blessedness to the Nations.

To which I say, 'Tis exceeding strange. Are not the Promises of God's being a God to the Nations, yea and with them, to their Seed; and a Promise of Heaven included, and princi­pally intended in the Promise of Canaan, Pro­mises of Blessedness to the Nations? What can be called a Promise of Blessedness, if the one or the other of these be not so? See Psalm 144. ult.

But it may be said, These Promises are not made to the Nations, but to Abraham's Seed in their Generations.

To that I say, It is granted. But then let it be remembred, That in Abraham's Seed, all that in or from among the Nations do believe in Christ are intended. So that here is an express Promise of Blessedness to all Nations, upon condition of their Believing. And upon no other Terms is [Page 18]that Promise, Gen. 12. at the beginning, made to the Nations, as Mr. G. himself acknowledges, pag. 4.

The Truth is, in that of Gen. 12. we have only a more general and indefinite Promise of Bles­sedness to the Nations, not expressing wherein that Blessedness shall consist. But when God comes in a more express and formal Way to establish his Covenant with Abraham, as he doth in this Gen. 17. he not only promises Blessedness to the Nations upon their Believing, but parti­cularly declares wherein that Blessedness shall consist, and who among the Nations shall be the Subjects of it; and these are Abraham's Seed in their Generations. Now then how any should suppose that this is not the Covenant of Grace, because of a supposed Defect in it of the Pro­mise of Blessedness to the Nations, is to me un­imaginable. But this is all that Mr. G. can find in the Covenant it self, as a Reason inducing him to think it is not a Covenant of Grace, but must needs be the Old Covenant: Whereas the Reason why he cannot find what he looks after, is, because he will not see it: and indeed none so blind as they that will not see.

2. He argues from the Subjects of this Cove­nant. And he argues thus; ‘If the Covenant of Circumcision had been the Covenant of Grace, and Circumcision the Sign of the Co­venant of Grace, then had all true Subjects of it, as such, been new Creatures in Christ Je­sus: but the true or right Subjects of the Co­venant, (I suppose he means this Covenant) [Page 19]and Sign as such, were not new Creatures in Christ Jesus.’

Before I return an Answer to this Argument, I shall only ask Mr. G. this one Question, and that is, Whether he judges, that to be a New Creature in Christ Jesus, was indispensably ne­cessary to the Salvation of Men under the First Testament? If he say it was, then I deny his Minor Proposition, and affirm on the other hand, That all the true and right Subjects of this Covenant, (I mean of such as were of ripe Years) ought to have been New Creatures, and then as such had the Promises to them in their Generations, including their Infants with themselves. If Mr. G. say it was not necessary, then I shall only say, Let him say what was ne­cessary to their Salvation, the same was necessa­ry to their Admission into this Covenant, and having the Token of it applied unto them. But for a further Answer to this Argument, I shall refer the Reader to my Answer to Mr. Dan­vers, p. 98, & 117.

3. He argues from the Author of Circumcisi­on. And thus he conceives Circumsion could not ‘be a Gospel-Ordinance, because (as he thinks) Moses gave it as an Obligation to keep the Ce­remonial Law.’

Answ. Mr. G. seems to be proving, That the Covenant of Circumcision could not be the Co­venant of Grace; but here he returns to prove, That Circumcision was not a Gospel-Ordinance. But let us see the Strength of his Reasoning. He had before argued from the Obligations Circumcision brought Men under to keep the [Page 20]whole Law: So that the Strength of this Rea­son lies only in this, That it was given by Mo­ses; and this he would prove from John 7.22. where saith our Lord Christ, Moses gave you Circumcision. But let it be observed, that our Lord Christ himself qualifies that Assertion, and therefore immediately adds, Not because, or ra­ther, as I judg, [...] there should be read; not that, or not as though Circumcision was of Mo­ses; and so here is a plain denial that Circumci­sion was of Moses. And hence when our Lord Christ adds, vers. 23. If any Man on the Sabbath receive Circumcision, that the Law of Moses should not be broken; he seems evidently to deal with the Jews according to their own Sentiments a­bout Circumcision. They looked upon it as ap­pertaining to the Ceremonial Law; but saith Christ, It was not of Moses, but of the Father. However (for this is of no great Consideration) it is certain, Circumcision was long before Mo­ses: It was given to Abraham, and that as the Token of the Covenant of Grace, and so might and did continue, although on the account of somewhat Ceremonial in it, it was inserted in the Sinai-Covenant; and answerably the Com­mand was repeated by Moses. But for further satisfaction to this, see my Answer to Mr. Cox, p. 117. But,

4. There is yet one thing more that Mr. G. seems to lay great weight upon, and that is this; ‘That the Covenant of Grace was not pecu­liar to Abraham and his, but common to o­thers, though they were not Circumcised.’ Which after he expresseth thus; ‘The Obliga­tion [Page 21]to be circumcised, was peculiar to Abra­ham, and to his Seed or Family, in such a sense, as none but they were obliged to be cir­cumcised.’

But to that I would say, I grant, That the Covenant of Grace might be common to others, though they were not circumcised, as Mr. G. himself affirms. But yet I would willingly know, how far Mr. G. will extend that Term [Fami­ly], whether he only intends Abraham's natural Lineage or Posterity; and so Seed and Family are of an equal extent. And if he thus under­stand that Term [Family], then how notori­ously false his Assertion is, is obvious unto all. But if he extend it to all that were adopted in­to Abraham's Family, as those bought with Mo­ny, or born in his House, and the Proselites; how the restraining Circumcision to them should in the least intimate, and much less prove, That that Covenant was not the Covenant of Grace, nor Circumcision a Gospel-Ordinance, is impos­sible to imagine. But that which I suppose he drives at, is this, There were some in the Cove­nant of Grace which were not circumcised, nor under an Obligation to be circumcised. Now in Answer to this, I would only demand of Mr. G. Whether he is sure the Covenant now entred with Abraham, was so far promulgated, as that the Persons he talks of had knowledg of it? Or suppose they had some notice of it, Whether their Duty to be circumcised was made known unto them? Either of these things being gran­ted, how their not being circumcised, should in­timate that this Covenant is not the Covenant [Page 22]of Grace, nor Circumcision a Gospel-Ordi­nance, is as much above the Reason of Man to apprehend as the former. I would commend to Mr. G. the Case of Cornelius in Acts 10. the latter end.

There is only one thing more that I would take notice of in Mr. G's Discourse. And thus he argues against that Covenant, its being a Covenant of Grace, from the Date of the Pro­mise. But I have returned so satisfactory an Answer to that in my Answer to Mr. Cox, that I shall and no more; see p. 97, and so on.

I shall now come to what Mr. Cary hath said in pursuance of the same Design, namely, to prove, That that Covenant, Gen. 17.7. is not the Covenant of Grace, but on the other hand, that it is the Old Covenant, or a Covenant of Works: only I shall premise, that at present I design not a full Answer of his Book; that I have already done in my Answer to Mr. Cox. Neither do I know how I could more effectually answer his Book, than by laying down and pro­ving those three Propositions there laid down and proved.

I shall now only take notice of what is Ar­gumentative in his Book, and considering the Commendation it hath by Five (as I suppose) of the chiefest of that Perswasion, and a Com­mendatory Epistle by a Sixth, I might justly expect something extraordinary; and I shall not deny but that my Expectations were some­what high. But if ever that Proverb, Partu­riunt Montes, were verified, it is here. Alas! [Page 23]what do I meet with but Ridiculus Mus? For I have yet observed but two Arguments syllogi­stically framed, by which he attempts the Con­firmation of his Notion, and the very recital of them may, in the judgment of all unbyassed Persons, be a sufficient confutation of them.

There first is in his p. 120. and it is this; ‘If that Covenant (he means that recorded in Gen. 17.) was as much a Covenant of Works as that Covenant of Mount Sinai, and that Covenant mentioned Deut. 29.9. nay, as much as the Covenant made with Adam be­fore his Fall; then it is not a Covenant of Grace: But it was as much a Covenant of Works as either of the Covenants before-mentioned were; Therefore, &c.

A lusty Argument, if it would stand. But truly I might with sorrow say, as the Apostle, of some, that would be teachers of the Law, There are some that would be Teachers of the Gospel, neither knowing what they say, nor whereof they af­firm. But to the Argument:

I positively deny the Minor Proposition, as that concerns the Covenant made with Adam, and that entred with the People of Israel at Mount Sinai. As for that Covenant mentioned Deut. 29. 'tis the same with this in Genesis, both which I affirm to be one and the same Cove­nant of Grace.

But Mr. Cary attempts to prove his Minor thus; ‘It must needs be as much a Covenant of Works, as that entred with the People at Mount Sinai, yea as that made with Adam in Innocency; because although God promised [Page 24]to be a God to Abraham and his Seed, yet it was upon condition of Obedience, with an answerable Threatning.’ But can Mr. Cary, or any other Man of common sense, think that the bare requiring of Obedience in any Cove­nant, or Threatning of Judgments in Case of Disobedience, makes it presently a Covenant of Works? Is it not expresly said, That our Lord Christ is the Author of Salvation to all that obey him? and doth he not say, according to the Co­venant of Grace? Yea, and is not Faith it self an Act of Obedience, and yet the Condition of the Covenant of Grace? Mr. G. expresly grants that it is; and (if I do not mistake) so doth Mr. Cary also. And for Threatnings, doth not the Apostle tell us, If we live after the Flesh, we shall die? Rom. 8.13. Yea, doth not our Lord Christ give us the Sum of the Gospel-Covenant, in his Commission to his Apostles, Mark 16. and yet doth he not say, He that believeth not, shall be damned? But not to waste time, Mr. Cary must know, that it is not the bare requi­ring of Obedience, nor yet the denouncing Threatnings, that makes a Covenant a Cove­nant of Works, but the commanding a perfect sinless Obedience to all that is written therein, and threatning Death unto all, in case of the least failure in such an Obedience. And there­fore to proceed. His,

2. Argument, which is of a like validity with this, we have, p. 204. and it is this, ‘That Covenant in which Faith was not reckoned to Abraham for Righteousness, could never be a Covenant of Faith, (of Grace I suppose he [Page 25]means).’ And this Argument he takes to be ir­resistible. Strange Confidence! And not to spend Time in shewing the Insufficiency of his Proof, that speaking of Circumcision when his Argument speaks of the Covenant; and sure there is a wide difference between the Covenant, and Circumcision the Token of it. So that this Argument of it self falls to the ground for want of Proof. But yet let me ask this one Question of Mr. Cary, and that is, Whether Faith was reckoned to Abraham for Righteous­ness by a meer Act of Soveraign Grace, without Respect had to any Covenant he was then un­der? Or, was it reckoned to him by virtue of some Promise of any Covenant that he was then under? If he say the former, Then I shall only say, how his having his Faith reckon­ed unto him for Righteousness, by such an Act of Soveraign Grace, should be an Argument that this Covenant after entred with him, was not the Covenant of Grace, is above the reach of Man's Understanding to apprehend. But if he say the latter, then I shall affirm, That was the Covenant of Grace; the same for substance with this now entred with him, only before less compleat, but now fully com­pleated: and how the Institution of Circum­cision could either cast Abraham out of it, or alter the Tenure of the Covenant, so as that before he had Faith reckoned to him for Righ­teousness, by virtue of the Promises contained in it, but after neither had nor could have Faith alike reckoned to him for Righteousness by virtue of the same Promises, is as much [Page 26]above the Understanding of Man as the former.

We will suppose an Heathen or a Pagan converted and enabled to believe: Now upon his very first Conversion and Believing, he hath his Faith reckoned to him for Righteousness; but afterwards this Man is baptized, shall we now say that the Covenant he is received into, and of which Baptism is a Sign or Seal, neither is nor can be the Covenant of Grace, because he had his Faith reckoned to him for Righte­ousness before his Baptism, or while in an un­baptized Condition; how absurd would that be? So that this Argument is so far from being ir­resistible, that it hath not the least weight in it. But to proceed. Having removed out of our way these feeble Argumentations, whereby these two Authors endeavour to prove, That that Covenant Gen. 17.7. is not the Covenant of Grace, but the Covenant of Works, (the di­rect contrary whereunto I have affirmed) whereby the Arguments I have laid down for the Proof of my Assertion, may be rendred somewhat doubtful in the Judgments of Persons of weaker Capacities, seeing Propositions lying so diametrically opposite the one to the other cannot both be true. I doubt not those Argu­ments laid down by me will be seen in their full force.

And therefore I shall return to my first De­sign, which is (as I have said) to direct to the laying a sure Foundation to the Practice of Infant-Baptism in this Covenant established be­tween God and Abraham, and his Seed in their Generations.

2. The second thing then to be done is, to determine the true and proper Subjects of this Covenant.

The first (as I have said) is convincingly to prove, that it is indeed the Covenant of Grace, the very same Covenant under which Believers still are.

2. The second thing (I now say) is to de­termine the true and proper Subjects of it: And that they are and were Abraham and his Seed in their Generations, the very words of the Covenant do assure us; for so the Covenant runs, I will establish my Covenant between me and thee, and thy Seed after thee, in their Generations. Here let it be observed, That it is not said, I will establish my Covenant between me and thee, and thy Seed in thy Generations, but between the and thee, and thy Seed in their Generations, to be a God unto thee and thy Seed. Now the Question is, Who we are to understand by Abraham's Seed? and who are intended and included in that Phrase, Their Generations?

For the first, I answer, That by Abraham's Seed, we are undoubtedly to understand all that is Scripture bare that Denomination of his Seed: And these are of two sorts, 1. His Natural Seed. And, 2. His Spiritual Seed. All those who through their taking hold of, and Reception into this Covenant, were, or are adopted into his Family, as the Proselytes un­der the first Testament, and Believers under the New. As for Believers under the New Testa­ment, (whom at present we are only concern­ed in) that they are to be accounted as Abra­ham's [Page 28]Seed, is expresly according to the Letter of the Scripture; Rom. 4.16. Gal. 3.29. Now I say, this Covenant God promiseth to esta­blish between Himself and Abraham, and all his Seed, whether Natural or Spiritual: Here is no Exception of the one or the other kind of his Seed, but the words are absolute, I will establish my Covenant between me and thee, and thy Seed after thee, in their Generations: And when God makes no Exception, we ought to make none.

2. But who are intended and included in this Clause [Their Generations]? Who are these Generations of Abraham's Seed? To that I say, they are the natural Infants, or natural Seed of Abraham's Seed. And that we are to understand the Infant-Seed naturally descending from this Seed of Abraham, I have (as I hope) sufficiently proved formerly, and have as yet met with no Contradiction. And indeed, un­less we include the Infant-Seed of Abraham's Seed in that Clause, [Their Generations] there can be no Reason assigned of God's adding it; nor can it be interpreted in any other Sense, in a Consistency with the Truth and Faith­fulness of God in his Covenant. But,

3. That which is to be done in pursuance of the End mentioned is, to settle and establish the true Tenour of this Covenant, as here esta­blish'd between God and Abraham, and his Seed in their Generations. And for this we must observe that this Covenant, as here esta­blished, may be considered two ways.

1. As having a more general Respect to all Abraham's Seed.

2. As having a peculiar and special Respect to those who heretofore did, or yet do stand immediately related to him as his Seed. Such were the Children immediately descended from his own Loins, as Isaac, Ishmael, &c. and such are his Spiritual Seed, viz. Believers: they stand in as an immediate Relation to Abraham, as his Seed immediately descending from his own Loins did: And the Covenant, as esta­blished with these, gives them a present actual Right to, and Interest in the Good promised in it. And for the more clear understanding the true Tenour of this Covenant, these three things must be observed.

1. That the Covenant was and is established between God and all these his immediate Seed, universally one as well as the other. That it was so established between God and Abraham's natural Seed, I have fully proved; and that it is so established between God and his Spiri­tual Seed, will certainly be readily granted by all that lay claim to this Spiritual Relation unto Abraham.

2. That it was and is established between God and every one of these that were or are the Seed of Abraham in their Generations, in­cluding (as I said) their Infant-Seed with their Parents, between God and whomsoever this Co­venant hath been established, it always hath been, and is established between him and them in their Generations: this is according to the express words of the Covenant: So that suppo­sing it to be granted (as I judg it is pass'd all ra­tional Contradiction proved) that in that Clause [Page 30] [Their Generations] the natural Infants of A­braham's Seed are included, it must be granted, that all the Infant-Seed of Believers are (as such) in Covenant with God, and answera­bly have a present Right and Title to the Good promised in it.

3. That this Covenant indispensably requires a personal Acceptation of, and Closure with it, by all between God and whom it hath been or is established. As for grown Persons, their first Admission into it doth indispensably require it: as for Infants, whether naturally descended from Abraham, or from his Seed, such a personal Ac­ceptation of and a Closure with it, always hath been and is indispensably required upon their coming to Years of Discretion, and there­by they did and do become Abraham's Spiri­tual Seed; and as such convey Covenant-Inte­rest to their Seed. And from these three things we may infer these two Colloraries.

1. That all Abraham's natural Posterity im­mediately or mediately descending from him, did, as grown up to Years of Discretion, hold their Interest in the Covenant, and Right to the Good promised, not as his Natural Seed, but as his Spiritual Seed. And the like must be said of Believers Seed, I mean of such who have their Covenat-Interest continued to them.

2. That however the Covenant might have a more general Respect to all Abraham's Na­tural Seed mediately descended from him, yet none of them could merely as his Natural Seed, lay a just Title to the Covenant, nor did the [Page 31]Covenant secure to them any part of that Good contained in it. Their Parents failing to take hold of the Covenant, did forfeit both their own and their Childrens Interest; the like is still true under the New Testament.

4. In pursuance of the same Design, the Terms of the Covenant including both the Stipulations or Promises made on God's part, and the Restipulation or Duty required of those with whom it is made. And this Stipula­tion on God's part in the general consists in these two Promises:

1. That he would be a God to them. And,

2. That he would give them the Land of Canaan, including and principally intending the Heavenly Inheritance, viz. Heaven it self. So that whosoever God doth enter this Covenant with, as he engages himself to be a God to them, so to give them the Land of Canaan, either literal Canaan, or the Heavenly Inheri­tance typified thereby. And hence these Pro­mises being made both to Abraham and all his Seed in their Generations, including both Pa­rents and Children, it sufficiently appears, that the Good, or the Benefits and Blessings accrew­ing to Infants by their Covenant-Interest, are vastly more than meerly Nominal, as Mr. Cary will still needs suppose them to be. But see my Essay, p. 99, to 163.

2. The Restipulation on the part of those with whom this Covenant is entred in the ge­neral is, that they keep the Covenant, so Gen. 17.9. And for a more clear understanding of this, and the improvement of it to the End [Page 32]mentioned, these four things must be carefully observed.

1. That by Keeping the Covenant is firstly intended, the Application of the Token, Sign or Seal of the Covenant, and that as obliging to the performance of the whole of what God requires of those 'tis entred with. Token, here we must not take abstractly in it self, but in­cluding its Use and End. And hence,

2. Under this Command, To keep the Cove­nant, is required the performance of all that Duty specified in the Covenant, according to the Capacity of the Subjects of it.

3. That this Command, as more generally laid down, obligeth all the Subjects of the Co­venant universally: and answerably as it ob­ligeth Parents, so their Seed; as it obligeth all them taken into Covenant under the first Te­stament, whether of Abraham's Natural Seed, or Proselytes, always including Parents and Children, so it still obligeth Abraham's Spiritual Seed, viz. Believers, still including Parents and Children. And hence,

4. We must necessarily distinguish between this Command as more generally express'd, and the Designation of the Token to be kept. The Command is absolute, and extends to all Abra­ham's Seed in their Generations, and being ne­ver repealed, must needs extend to Believers under the New Testament, and that in their Generations, that is, both Parents and Children: So that tho there hath been an alteration in the Token of the Covenant, it was formerly [Page 33]Circumcision, but now Baptism, yet the Com­mand is the same, that still abides in its full force; and answerably here we have an express Command for the Baptism of the Infant-Seed of Believers, tho not eo nomine as Baptism, yet as the Token of the Covenant: as take the Com­mand abstractly by it self (as we ought to do) it did not require Circumcision eo nomine as Cir­cumcision, but as the Token of the Covenant. God first gives out a Command to keep his Co­venant, intending, though not only, yet prima­rily, the Token of it; and as so given out, it obligeth all Abraham's Seed in their Generati­ons, whether those under the first, or Believers under the second Testament: and then he spe­cifies what should then be the Token of it, and that was Circumcision. But when our Lord Christ comes in the Flesh, he lays aside that Token, and intimates another, which is Bap­tism: but the Command to keep the Covenant, as abstractly taken, abides in its force through­out all Ages. This indeed our Opposers seem unwilling to understand: but let things be seriously and impartially weigh'd, and Truth will appear and prevail.

Lastly; In pursuance of this Design, the Scriptures must be throughly search'd, and whatever is found in them for the further Discovery, and assuring us of the Mind and Will of our Lord Christ, relating to the Practice under Consideration, must be taken in, and improved for this End and Purpose. The full Mind and Will of our Lord Christ is not held forth in a single Scripture, or in any [Page 34]part of the Scriptures, but the Revelations of it lie scattered throughout the whole Scrip­tures; and whoever will make a thorow and impartial search, they will find much, possibly much more than yet hath been brought to light, clearly manifesting and assuring us, that this is indeed his Mind and Will, viz. That the Infant-Seed of Believers, as taken into the same Covenant with their Parents, should be baptized. Those that see meet, may per­use what I have written of this import in those small Tracts, here referred to. And to sum up all in brief, If any Man ask me what War­rant I have to baptize the Infant-Seed of Be­lievers? they may take it thus:

1. I find that that Covenant recorded Gen. 17.7. was a Covenant of Grace, the very same Covenant under which the Church and People of God ever since have been and still are. This to me is past all rational Contra­diction.

2. I find that God did establish this Cove­nant between himself and Abraham, and his Seed in their Generations.

3. I find that in this Clause [Their Gene­rations] the Infant-Seed of Abraham's Seed were and are universally included.

4. I find that this Covenant, as actually con­veying a present Interest in, and Right to the Good contained in it, did only extend to Abra­ham's immediate Seed, whether those naturally descended from him, or those who became his Seed by taking hold of the Covenant, and an­swerably that all his mediate Seed held their In­terest [Page 35]in the Covenant, not as his Natural (tho many of them were so) but as his Spiritual Seed; as having personally taken hold of the Covenant themselves. And,

5. I find that this Covenant was always en­tred with Abraham's Seed, whether Natural or Spiritual, in their Generations, including their Infants with the Parents. It was so du­ring the First-Testament-Administration, and answerably must needs be alike so under the New.

6. I find that God did expresly command, that both Abraham and his Seed in their Ge­nerations, should keep this Covenant, intend­ing thereby, tho more, yet firstly, that they should observe and apply the Token of it, as Parents should have it applied to themselves, so that they should take care that it be applied to their Children as Joint-Heirs of the Pro­mises with themselves.

7. I find that Baptism is the present Token of the Covenant; and consequently is the To­ken now to be applied by virtue of that Com­mand, obliging all Abraham's Seed in their Ge­nerations to keep the Covenant. And,

Lastly, I find variety of other Scriptures fully assuring me, that I do rightly understand his Mind and Will as thus revealed in his first establishing this Covenant with Abraham, the Father of the Faithful, and his Seed in their Generations. And from the whole, I would now ask, Where are those far-fetch'd Conse­quences that our Opposers talk of, that we are forced to make use of for the Proof of [Page 36]Infant-Baptism? Let but Abraham's Covenant be rightly understood, taking in all other Scrip­tures confirming the Practice we plead for, and here will be found no other Consequences, than what are necessary to a right Use and Improve­ment of any Command or Promise whatsoever contained in the Scriptures: And what should hinder then, but that this Controversy at last should come to a Period?

I have only further to touch in brief upon a Sheet of Paper lately come forth, in opposition to the Practice of Infant-Baptism, by an Ano­nymous Author; the desire of some that I should return an Answer unto which, hath occasioned the foregoing Pages. Who the Author is, I have as yet no intimation: I shall only say, That if he be one that hath assumed the Work of a Teacher among the Men of his Perswasion, he hath done prudently in concealing his Name; but if he be a private Member of any of their Congregations, (as I suppose he may be) he might have made himself known. For who will expect from any, more than they have received, or might justly be expected to have attained to? He seems to be (and I hope is) one of those for whom I have heartily wished that they had a greater share in those Abilities, that some of that Perswasion have attained to. But (be he who he will) he attempts to prove these two things:

1. That Baptism ought to be administred universally, by Dipping or Plunging the whole Body under Water.

[Page 37]

2. That grown Persons professing their Faith and Repentance, are the only true Sub­jects of Baptism.

As to the first, I shall say but little, did not he, or any other of his Perswasion, make that man­ner of Baptizing simple and absolutely necessary to the Truth and Validity of that Ordinance, and annul it when otherwise administred, they should meet with little opposition from me. I doubt not but Baptism, as so administred, is true Baptism, and was (at least sometime) so administred in Primitive Times, and a conside­rable Time after; but that our Lord Christ doth indispensably require it to be so admini­stred universally, that I deny: and doubt not but that Baptism administred, either by pouring Water on, or washing the Face with Water, yea, or sprinkling Water upon the Face, sup­posing the right Form of Baptism to be obser­ved, is true Baptism, and valid to all its Ends and Purposes, and need not be repeated: and I judg that our Lord Christ expresseth Baptism by a Word that will admit of a different man­ner of administring it. But for this I shall re­fer this good Man, and all others that desire Sa­tisfaction, to my Answer to Mr. Danvers, pag. 143, to the end. All that he hath added to what others have said, is an Observation he hath made, that in the Dutch Testament, John the Baptist is called John the Dooper. But of how little Consideration that is, is obvious unto all: The utmost that can be made of it is only this, That one Man, or at least very few that tran­slated the Bible into Dutch, judged it best so to [Page 38]render the word [...], and what signifieth the Judgment of One, or a few Men? Suppose our English Translators had ren­dred it John the Washer, (as they might have done) would this Man have taken their Tran­slation as a certain Determination of this Con­troversy? But I shall refer the Reader to the Place mentioned: as also to Mr. Walker's Trea­tise of this Subject, the best that I judg is ex­tant. And if any be yet unsatisfied, they have the liberty from me to act according to the Light they have received, provided they do not plead the Manner of Administring that Ordinance a­gainst the dueness of Infant-Baptism. The Manner of administring that Ordinance, con­cerns not the Subjects of it. Whence it is most unreasonable and absurd to plead the Manner of Administring Baptism against our Practice. Let the Subjects be determined, and let every one act according to his own Light in the Manner of Administring that Ordinance.

But to proceed; The other Thing that he attempts to prove, is, ‘That only grown Per­sons, professing Faith and Repentance, are the true Subjects of Baptism.’

And as for this I shall not say much: Those that will impartially peruse and weigh what I have already said, (they imitating the Noble Bereans, Acts 17.) will (as I judg) see it whol­ly needless. Indeed, for such as Mr. Grantham, who cannot see Blessedness promised to the Na­tions in that Covenant, Gen. 17.7. I shall de­spair of their discerning the Mind and Will of our Lord Christ contended about, though ap­pearing [Page 39]in the clearest Noon-Light of Divine Revelations. But for those who have Eyes to see Truth when brought to Light, I shall not be so uncharitable to suppose, that what this Honest Man hath said, will raise the least Hesi­tations in their Minds about the Interest of the Infant-Seed of Believers in the Covenant, or their Right to Baptism on the account of that their Interest. But yet let us take a brief view of what he hath said to prove his Assertion. And he attempts to prove it three ways.

  • 1. From Scripture.
  • 2. By Reason grounded upon Scripture.
  • 3. From certain Absurdities which he suppo­ses will follow upon our Practice.

1. For Scripture. And thus he would prove his Assertion two ways.

1. From the Scriptures recording the Baptism of grown Persons, without making mention of the Baptism of their Infants. And he Instances in those that were baptized by John Baptist, the Disciples of Christ, and Philip. To which I will say only two Things.

1. Supposing that some of them had Infants, How doth our Author know but that they were baptized, though the Scripture records it not? We find no record of the Apostles Baptism, and yet undoubtedly they were baptized. But,

2. Suppose that they had Infants, and they were not Baptized, that doth not at all preju­dice the Cause of Paedobaptism. For let it be considered that all these, excepting the Eunuch, who undoubtedly then had no Infants, at least [Page 40]with him, whose Baptism we have now respect unto, their Infants as well as themselves had been before circumcised: and the Parents might, and it was necessary they should be baptized, but their Children might not, neither was it ne­cessary that they should, having already the To­ken of the Covenant applied to them, which as yet was not laid aside.

But it may be said, So had their Parents. But to that I say, 'Twas necessary that their Pa­rents should be Baptized, as an Obligation to, and whereby they did in a special manner visi­bly own and acknowledg, That that very Per­son, viz. Jesus Christ, was the true Messias pro­mised to their Fathers. Hence it is no way ab­surd, nor the least prejudice to the Cause of In­fant-Baptism, to grant, that none of the Infant-Seed of believing Jews, till the absolute abroga­tion, and laying aside of Circumcision, was pub­lished and fully, made known to the Church, were baptized: But now after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, when Circumcision was wholly laid aside, we still find when Parents were Baptized, their Housholds, peculiarly in­cluding their Children, were Baptized with them. But it may be our Author will say, he doth not argue meerly from the Scriptures not mentioning the Baptism of Infants, but from that taken in Conjunction with John's Preaching Repentance, and Christ's making Disciples by teaching them, and the Apostles requiring Faith of those that they Baptized. But to that I An­swer; Both John Baptist, our Lord, and the Apostles, having to do with grown Persons, they [Page 41]did, and it was necessary they should preach Repentance, teach and instruct them before they baptized them, and upon their professing their Faith and Repentance, administer that Ordi­nance to them: But what is that to Infants? They might have, and had, by virtue of their Parents Faith, an Interest in the Covenant, and upon that account had a right to Baptism, which when Circumcision was laid aside, and Baptism instituted, was applied to them. But,

2. He would prove his Assertion from the Commission given by our Lord Christ to his Apostles. But to that, having so fully proved that the Commission doth not exclude, but on the other hand include Infants, supposing their Interest in the Covenant, and yet the fitness and meetness of our Lord Christ's expressing the Commission as he hath done, that it is whol­ly superfluous to add any thing more. See my Plain Proof of Infant-Baptism, p. 73. as also my Answer to Mr. Danvers, Chap. 2. p. 25. and there­fore shall proceed.

Our Author offers two Reasons why Bap­tism is by Dipping, Washing, or burying the Bo­dy all over in Water, only to Believers upon a profession of their Faith and Repentance.

1. ‘That it is the Positive Law and Soveraign Will and Pleasure of God.’

In Answer to which: As to the Manner of Administring Baptism, which his two Reasons seem to have a peculiar respect unto, having spoken to that already, I shall add no more, but take his Reasons as respecting the Subjects of Baptism; and as to this First I say, in a direct [Page 42]Opposition to what he saith, That it is not the positive Will or Pleasure of God, that Belie­vers only should be baptized, but it is alike his positive Will and Pleasure that their Infants should be baptized with them. This I have ful­ly proved, which I refer him unto; and pro­ceed to his

Second Reason, and that is taken from two Ends of Baptism.

To which I say, that there are other Ends of Baptism, with reference to which it is the Will and Pleasure of God that it should be applied to Infants. To instance only in these two:

1. That by it they may be by a solemn Right or Ordinance of his own Institution, dedicated, given up, and engaged unto God in Christ.

2. That in and by it, the Benefits and Bles­sings of the Covenant may be represented and signified, and the Promises wherein they are contained, ratified and confirmed, both to Parents and Children, which when they come to Years of Maturity, they are to improve, as to encou­rage, so to engage themselves personally to close in with the Covenant, and give up themselves to God in Christ, according to the Tenour of it; and thereupon strengthen and confirm their Faith in a believing Application of the Promi­ses to themselves. Hence what he saith of all Worship, which he saith is not commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ in his Holy Word, is vain Worship, &c. It concerns not us, seeing we affirm it is according to the Will of God re­vealed in his Word, That Infants should be bap­tized. But,

3. He argues from certain Absurdities, which (as he supposes) will follow upon our Practice. Of which I must say in the General, that they are all mere Mistakes and Scare-Crows, the Effects of a clouded Fancy. As,

1. That we go to Moses for an Institution of Baptism. When as we go not to Moses, but to the Covenant of Grace established with our Fa­ther Abraham and his Seed in their Generati­ons, and confirmed of God in Christ, 430 Years before the Law was given by Moses. For his Second, viz.

2. That our Practice lays a Foundation for a National Church: 'Tis still a gross Mistake. 'Tis well known that there are in England, and New-England, who plead for and live in the Practice of Congregational Churches, and yet maintain the Doctrine and Practice of Infant-Baptism, and that in a perfect consistency with their Principles and Practice. For the Third, viz.

3. That it affirmeth the Children of Belie­vers, were by Virtue of their Parents Faith in the Covenant of Grace, united or ingrafted into Christ, contrary to Eph. 2.

But that our Practice should contradict the Apostle, in that Eph. 2. where all are said to be Children of Wrath, which are the Words, I suppose, he hath reference to; supposing our Principles rightly understood, is unimagi­nable. Yea, it is because we believe them to be Children of Wrath as well as others, that we so earnestly contend for their Covenant-Interest, and the Dueness of their Baptism up [Page 44]on the Account thereof. They may be, and are, Children of Wrath by Nature, as ha­ving sinned in Adam, and being shapen in Ini­quity, and conceived in Sin; and yet upon their Birth into the World, be, as the Seed of Believing Parents, taken with their Parents into the Covenant of Grace; and hereupon have a Right to be implanted into Christ's Mystical Body, whereby they are secured, du­ring their pure Infant-State, from the Effects of that Wrath they were by Nature the Children of: And who can assign any shew of Reason, why it may not be so? They are not the Chil­dren of Wrath, and in the Covenant of Grace, at one and the same instant of Time: their State, as Children of Wrath, precedes their State, as in Covenant with God.

4. As for the Fourth Absurdity, it's deceiv­ing of Souls; I shall only say, That if any such thing doth happen, 'tis from the igno­rance or neglect of Parents, or those that should instruct them. We only affirm, That their Covenant-State secures them from the Effects of Wrath during their pure Infancy. The Covenant indispensably requiring their personal Faith and Repentance, when they come to Years capacifying them to Believe and Repent. And what Deceit is here put upon any? For his

Last Absurdity, that still is but his own Fan­cy, proceeding from his Ignorance of the true Doctrine of Infants Covenant-Interest and Bap­tism. Will he but peruse what I have writ­ten in my Essay, p. 143. &c. he may see this [Page 45]Absurdity fully removed out of his Way. But,

Lastly, This Our Brother (for so I shall own him) comes to answer some Objections against what he hath said.

1. As for that Objection he raiseth from what we are taught concerning the Doctrine of Baptism in the Liturgy of the Church of England, not being concerned in it, I shall say nothing to it. But for his,

2 Object. I shall briefly touch upon that, and hasten to a close. 'Tis raised from the Pleas we make for Infant-Baptism, from the Cove­nant made with Abraham and his Seed in their Generations. And as a Reply to what he saith in Answer to this Objection, or these Ob­jections: he pretends to answer Two Ob­jections, the One raised from Acts 2.38. the Other from Gen. 17.7. But they may be re­duced into One. I shall referr him, and all others, to what I have written, to shew the Sureness of the Foundation laid in this Co­venant entred with Abraham for the Practice of Infant-Baptism, a Summary of which may be seen in the fore-going Pages: and shall only take notice of what he saith of a Covenant of Election, unto which both Abraham, be­fore he was called, and also many Children, both of Believers and of Unbelievers, did be­long. But as to that I say, That a Cove­nant of Election is a meer Chimaera: there is no such thing revealed in the Scriptures. That there is an Election of Grace, the Apo­stle is express; but of a Covenant-Election [Page 46]we find not the least mention throughout the Scriptures: and possibly our Author means no more than what we affirm. Which if it be so, I shall let the Unscripturalness of his Ex­pression pass: but shall affirm, That none, whether Old or Young, ever were, are, or shall be (so far as is revealed unto us) saved meerly by virtue of their Election. I shall not determine what Reserves God hath kept secret in his own Breast concerning the Sal­vation of Infants descending from wicked Pa­rents, whether Heathens or nominal Christi­ans: Secret things belong unto God. Nei­ther doth the Case of such Infants at all concern the present Controversy. But this I say, According to what is revealed in the Scriptures, None ever were, are, or shall be saved by virtue meerly of their Election; but all that are saved (so far as God hath revealed unto us) must be, and are saved by Virtue, and according to the Tenour of the Covenant of Grace, viz. This Covenant esta­blished with Abraham as the Father of the Faithful, and his Seed in their Generations. Hence I shall aver (how cruel soever I may be judged to be by Mr. Grantham), That no Unbeliever can, according to any Divine Re­velation, have any assured Hope, either of their own, or of their Childrens Salvation who die in their Infancy. But this is a Con­troversy excentrical to my present Design, neither do I desire to engage in it. This I am satisfied in, That all the Seed of Believ­ers, at least that do own their Childrens Co­venant-Interest, [Page 47]and do not, out of contempt to the Ordinance of God, neglect their Bap­tism, are infallibly saved (if they die in Infan­cy); as for others, let the Day declare it. As for him that will undertake to reprove God, in case he do not save all Infants, I shall only say as God himself doth in a like Case, Let him answer it.

But to have done. As for what our Au­thor enlargeth upon that Supposition, That that Covenant entred with Abraham, was the Old Covenant, it is utterly insignificant, seeing I have so fully proved, That that Covenant is not the Old Covenant, nor had any Relation to it, but indeed is the Covenant of Grace, that Covenant-Believers are still under, and there­fore I have no Reason to take any notice of it.

As for what he saith in Answer to that Que­stion, Whether Baptism came in the Room or stead of Circumcision? It is enough for us, that Baptism is the Token or Seal of the Co­venant; (which our Author acknowledges,) and answerably doth correspond with, and come in the stead of Circumcision, in the Ge­neral Notion of it, viz. as the Token of the Covenant. Hence whatever other Differences may be assigned, they concern not this Contro­versy.

I have only this to desire of this good Man, That he will be perswaded that he hath not as yet looked half the way into this Contro­versy. And shall add, that if any will yet agitate this Controversy, I earnestly beg of [Page 48]them to do it, so as to approve themselves unto him that searcheth their Hearts, and is ready to judg the Quick and the Dead, and shew themselves to be Men.

FINIS.

The Author hath published these Treatises also about this Subject, viz.

1. INfant Baptism from Heaven, and not of Men; or a mo­derate Discourse concerning the Baptism of the Infant-Seed of Believers.

2. Infant-Baptism from Heaven, and not of Men, the 2d Part: Or an Answer to Mr. Danvers's Treatise of Baptism. Wherein Infants Right to Baptism is further confirmed.

3. An Essay to revive the Primitive Doctrine and Practice of Infant-Baptism, in the Resolution of Four Questions. 1. What are the Reasons of God's appointing the Token of his Covenant to be applied to the Infant-Seed of his People. 2. What is the Good or Benefit they receive thereby. 3. What is the Duty of Parents towards their Children, as bearing the, Token of the Covenant. 4. What is the Im­provement that Children, as grown up to Years of Maturity, may and ought to make of the Token as applied to them in their Infancy.

4. Infant-Baptism plainly proved. A Discourse wherein certain Select Arguments for Infant-Baptism, formerly syllo­gistically handled, are now abbreviated, and reduced to a plain Method for the Benefit of the Unlearned. With a large Epistle to the Pious and Learned among the Antipaedobaptists, especially the Authors of the late Confession of their Faith.

5. A brief Discourse concerning Man's natural proneness to, and tenaciousness of Errors. Whereunto are added, some Arguments to prove, That that Covenant entred with Abra­ham, Gen. 17.7. is the Covenant of Grace.

All sold by Jonathan Robinson at the Golden-Lion in St. Paul's Church-Yard. Together with several other Treatises in Defence of Infant-Baptism, by Mr. Baxter, Mr. Wills, Mr. Barret, &c.

A POSTSCRIPT: Being a further Defence of INFANT-BAPTISM, against Mr. Keach.

WHEN the foregoing Sheets were just wrought off the Press, a little Tract came to my hand, put forth by Mr. Benjamin Keach, one of the Epistolers to Mr. Cary's Book, which I have perused; and although I find not my self, in the way wherein I have proceeded, farther proof of Infant-Bap­tism much concerned; neither do I fear but that any who shall truly weigh what I have writ­ten, will see what he hath said is sufficiently ob­viated, and therefore I might well, and at first view of his Book, have thought to have let it pass without taking any notice of it. Yet be­cause it is possible something that he hath sug­gested, or rather repeated from others, may somewhat obstruct Persons of weaker Capaci­ties, in their compliance with that Practice I have pleaded for; I have, upon second thoughts, judged it meet to consider what he hath writ­ten, so far as I conceive necessary; for I would not willingly leave any thing behind me unre­moved out of the way of the weakest of sin­cere Christians, complying with the Mind and Will of our Lord Christ, in reference unto that practice wherein his Interest and Kingdom, the Glory of God, the Good of Children, and the Comfort of their Parents, is so nearly con­cerned; [Page 50]and the rather, because our Lord Christ seems in a special manner to have allotted me, with some others, the maintaining of this Pro­vince: And it may not be unuseful, at least to Mr. Keach himself, to remark some few things in the general, before I come to a particular consideration of what he hath said; and,

First, It may be remarkable how confident he is, when the Grounds he proceeds upon are so slight and trivial, and which have been afore fully removed, giving us too much ground to suspect, he hath as yet looked but a very little way into this Controversy. How slight and tri­vial his Grounds are, and where he might have seen them before removed, shall be shewed after. Yet see how he expresses himself, pag. 65. in an Apostrophe to our Lord Christ; ‘Lord, says he, that Man should be so bold and pre­sumptuous, as once to attempt to alter or change any thing (he hath respect unto the Subject of Baptism) of this Holy or great Commission, or adventure to do things contrary to what is given forth here by Jesus Christ, as King and Law giver of the New Testament.’ When he might, and it is somewhat hard for me to perswade my self, that he hath not seen it ful­ly proved, that in the Pleas we make for Infant-Baptism, we make not the least alteration or change in that Commission, but affirm that it was necessary, that although it be the Will of Christ that Infants should be baptized, yet he should express himself therein as he hath done. I shall only say at present, it's easy, and not un­usual for Men, Cynick-like, by crying out of [Page 51]other's supposed Evils, to discover the same more prevailing in themselves.

Secondly, It may be remarked, how partial he is in his own Cause; it appears that he takes it for granted, as indeed we all do, that Christ hath power to preserve, protect, and uphold all grown Persons, in their being Baptized by Dipping or Plunging, how aged, weak, and in­firm soever they are, and that in the coldest Climates, and sharpest Seasons; and he would perswade himself, yea, is very confident, none ever received the least hurt or damage by being so baptiz'd, (yea, he concludes, as he may just­ly do, That our Lord Christ would not institute any Ordinance to destroy the Lives of any Per­son) thus pag. 66. and yet he pleads it as an Evidence, ‘That Infants cannot be the Sub­jects of Baptism, because their tender Bodies cannot bear it in these cold Climates without palpable danger of their lives.’ And tells us again, ‘That Christ never appointed any Or­dinance to destroy the lives of any of his Creatures;’ thus Page the 4th of his Epistle, and 32d of his Book. But let me say, Why cannot Jesus Christ preserve, protect, and up­hold Infants, as well as grown Persons, whose Age, Weakness, and Infirmities, in conjuncti­on with the tender and delicate way and man­ner of living, renders their Bodies alike ten­der as, if not more tender than the Bodies of Infants, and whose Baptism by Immersion would as palpably in danger their lives, as the Immer­sion of Infants would indanger theirs. But it seems, in the conceit of our Author, that is an [Page 52]Argument against the Subjects of Baptism, which is none against the manner of baptizing, when as the thing it self is indeed as strong an Argument against the one, as against the other: And for mine own part, were there a necessity of Baptism by Immersion, I could as easily trust our Lord Christ with the preserving the lives of Infants, as of grown Persons, viz. such as those aforementioned: But our Author here gives as a hint why they so zealously plead for baptizing by Immersion, it is, that they might exclude Infants from Baptism.

Thirdly, I cannot but remark Mr. Keach his great disingenuity, (that is the mildest term I can give it) for indeed 'tis very bad, exceeding bad, and a very great disparagement, both to him­self and his Cause. I shall only give a two-fold Instance: First, in his quoting Mr. Baxter, and other Paedobaptist Assertions, concerning the Use and End of Baptism, and the Qualifica­tions of the Subjects to be baptized, as though they were contradictory unto their practice; whereas what they say, is indeed no way con­tradictory thereunto, but fully consistent there­with; and in particular, as for Mr. Baxter, he hath fully vindicated himself, which yet Mr. Keach hath the ingenuity to take no notice of: And it is certain, the Use and End of Baptism are not such, but that it may be fitly applied to Infants; and how unreasonable and absurd is it to conclude, that because such and such Qualifications are required in the Adult, there­fore Infants are not to be baptized? that there were certain Qualifications required in the [Page 53]Adult Heathens to their Circumcision which their Infants were uncapable of yet, and that their Infants were circumcised with them, is undeniable. Now suppose any of the Priests or Levites, whose Lips were, as the Holy Ghost speaks, to preserve Knowledg, should preach or write of those Qualifications; for any from thence to conclude against the circumcising their Infants, how absurd would it be? It may be our Author will say, they had an express Command for their Circumcision. To which I answer, It is granted, and we affirm that we have, if not an express Command, yet that which is equi­volent thereunto, for the baptizing of Infants: of which more immediately.

2ly. Our Author's Disingenuity appears in his frequent Citations out of Mr. Danvers Book (a Book of which it must be said, it hath been and for ever will be a Reproach to the Cause it pleads; and I cannot but hope himself hath repented, as others of that Perswasion are a­shamed of it) without taking notice of the Answers long since returned unto it; yea, such is the Disingenuity of our Author, that he cites some Testimonies against Infant-Baptism, which have been past all Contradiction, proved to be meer Falshood and Forgeries, take that In­stance, pag. 91. where he quotes the Magdebur­genses, as cited by Mr. Danvers. It is true, our Author has the Wit to leave out part of Mr. Danvers's pretended Citation, wherein that Falshood did particularly lie, but he has the Disingenuity to conceal part of what those worthy Authors say, which had he produced, [Page 54]would have quite spoiled their Testimony, see­ing they positively affirm, that Infants as well as the Adult, were in Primitive Times baptized. Now how Men of any Conscience can use such disingenuous Methods, is to me a Riddle. I shall only add, O my Soul, enter not thou into their Secrets. But to come to the Book: as for what he says in his first Chapter, we are fully of the same mind with himself; the four next Chapters are wholly taken up in Attempts to prove, that it's only Baptism by dipping or plunging the whole Body into Water, which is true Baptism. I shall not say much to this, having already given a clear account of the Grounds on which I judg that our Lord Christ hath not indispensably tied up his Church to that manner of administring that Ordinance, which Mr. Keach may consider if he please. At present I shall only observe a few things in those Attempts made by our Au­thor, and pass on.

First, I cannot but observe how he will needs oppose Rantism or Sprinkling, to Dipping, or Plunging, or immerging the whole Body under Water, as tho that were, if not the only, yet the main and most principal used manner of Pedo-Baptists administring that Ordinance: hence he strenuously applies himself to prove that there is a difference between [...] and [...], and that the word [...] cannot signify to sprinkle; and this I suppose he doth ad faciendum populum, seeing he cannot but know that many, if not most, or all Pedo-baptists, especially who conscienciously make the Word their Rule, administer that Ordinance by wash­ing, [Page 55]or pouring Water upon the Face of the Party baptized, whether Infant or Adult.

Secondly, It may be observed, That whereas our Author insists so much upon the word [...], to prove that baptizing must necessarily be by slipping or plunging under the Water, and that as essential unto true Baptism: It is certain, and himself acknowledges it, that this word is of a large Signification: First, It sig­nifies to Die, and this seems to be its first and most native Signification. This some of his own Authors, and others might be mentioned, do affirm; and answerably it signifies to plunge, Tingendi causa, in order to Dying or giving some new Colour; the primitive word being taken from a Dyers Fat. Hence we read in Prophane Authors [...], tingere lanas, to die Wool; so [...], double-dyed Purple. Hence it will follow, that barely to dip or plunge into Water, is not the first or primary Signification of the Word; It notes something more than a bare dipping or plun­ging into Water; it notes such a Dipping or Plunging as whereby the thing dipped or plung­ed may receive a new Die or Colour which it had not before. 2ly, It signifies barely to dip or plunge, and it signifies dipping or plunging; because things died are dipped or plunged into that Liquor or Liquid Matter they are dyed in. 3ly. It signifies to wash, so Mr. Lee (one of the Authors cited by Mr. Keach) tells us, that the word [...], as Hesychus, Stephanus, Scapula and Budeus, the great Masters of the Greek Tongue, make good, by very many Instances and [Page 56]Allegations out of Classick Writers, importeth no more than Ablution or Washing; so that according unto these great Masters of the Greek Tongue, Ablution or Washing, is as [...]roper a Signification of this word, as dipping or plun­ging. Hence for any to argue meerly from the Signification of the Word, is exceeding weak, and utterly unconvincing. But,

3dly. It may be observed, that whereas our Author saith, that when it signifies Washing, it is such a Washing as is done by dipping so much as is washed; it must be said it is otherwise. Take it only of washing the Hands, tho other things might be mentioned, so the washing the Hands or the Feet of the Priest under the Law is included in those [...], mentioned Hebrews 9.10. compared with Exod. 30.18. So the Pharisees washing their hands before Meat, is called Bap­tisme, Luk. 11.38. where it's said they mar­velled that he, meaning Christ, [...], that he had not been baptized. Now it is certain in washing their Hands they did not always, if ordinarily, dip or plunge them into the Water, but had Water poured upon them: see 2 Kings 3.11. So that the word, ac­cording unto its use in the Scripture, may be rendred very fitly to wash; and signifies such washing, as is by pouring Water on the Party or Subject washed. I shall not fear to affirm, that the washing one Part of the Body by pouring Water, is according to the Scripture-Acceptation of the word, true Baptism. Doctor Owen, who understood the Greek as well as most [Page 57]in his Day, if not as any in any former Age, tells us, That Baptism is any kind of washing, whether by dipping or sprinkling, putting the thing to be washed into the Water, or applying Water unto it, see Heb. 9.10. And how invalid then is his Argument taken from the bare signi­fication of the word.

4thly. It may be observed, that whereas our Author tells us, that Dr. Du-Veil affirms, that the constant Practice of the Universal Church till about the Year 1305, was to baptize by Immersion, it must be said, that suppose Mr. Keach doth faithfully cite him, he was un­der a very great Mistake, the contrary may be evidenced past all rational Contradiction, only to instance in those at present, called Clinici, which were such as were baptized on their Beds, of whom we read at least 1000 Years before that; and hence note,

5thly. The utter Improbability that our Lord Christ should bind up his Church to such a manner of administring this Ordinance, as would necessarily exclude many thousands from it, or expose them to apparent danger of Life, as in the case of Infants, the dueness of whose Baptism I hope hath been sufficiently proved; so in the case of Persons in extream old Age un­der lingring Sickness and Weakness, especially such who have lived Valitudinarian Lives all their days; but he seems evidently to have used this word [...], which admits of different Modes of administring this Ordinance, either by dipping, or plunging, or washing, whether by pouring Water upon the Subject, or other­wise [Page 58]applying Water unto it, and a liberty of administring it either way, hath constantly been maintained in the Church.

I shall only further note, in the last place, that whereas our Opponents generally insist upon John 3.23. where the Evangelist gives the Rea­son of John's baptizing in Aenon, to be the muchness of Water being there; and it must be granted, they are somewhat countenanced in their Notion by our late Annotators, and some others; this I would say, that neither the Learned Annotator upon that Book, nor our Brethren seem duly to consider the Original, for it is not, there was [...] much Water, but [...] many Waters, many Streams or Rivolets of Waters; and Travellers tell us they were so shallow as not to reach above the Ankle, (see Sandys Travels) so that the Evange­list giving that as the reason of John's baptizing there, viz. because there were many Waters, seems rather to imply that several were im­ployed in baptizing, than that Baptism was administred by Immersion, the small quantity of Water there hardly admitting that way of ad­ministring the Ordinance. But I design Bre­vity, and answerably shall refer both our Author and all others to what I have said in my Answer to Mr. Danvers, and also to Mr. Walker's Trea­tise of this Subject afore referred unto, and come to the main Controversy between us and our Brethren, and that concerns the Subjects of Baptism. And I call this the main Controversy, because neither my self, nor, so far as I know, do any Pedo-baptists deny the Validity of [Page 59]Baptism by Immersion; neither shall I deny that Baptism was sometime so administred in Primi­tive Times; that it was always so is altogether uncertain; yea, there is a very great probabi­lity that it was not. See our new Annotations, that Mr. Keach often cites upon John 3.23. Therefore, I say, the main Controversy is a­bout the Subjects of Baptism; and the Que­stion is, Whether only Adult Believers are the Subjects of this Holy Sacrament? or, Whether their Infant-Seed are not the joint Subjects of it with themselves? The former is affirmed by our Brethren, we affirm the latter. Our Author attempts to prove the former Two ways.

1. More laxly.

2. More Strictly and Syllogistically. And what he saith in a more lax or loose Way, he afterwards reassumes and forms into Argu­ments. And therefore, I shall pass that by, and the rather, because I have already fully ob­viated all that he saith in my Answer to Mr. Danvers, who argues from the very same To­picks that our Author doth, (which he might have, and I suppose hath seen, tho' for Reasons that may be guessed at by others, but are best known to himself, he hath taken no notice of) and come to his Arguments; the four first of which are but a repetition of what he had in a more lax or loose way formed up into Syllogisms, so that I might justly pass them also by, but yet briefly to touch upon them.

The First is this; ‘If there be no Word of Institution, nor any thing in the Commission of Christ, for the baptizing of Infants, but of [Page 60]Believers only; then not Infants, but Belie­vers only ought to be baptized: but the for­mer is true, therefore the latter.’

Answ. I find Mr. Keach himself takes (as he ought to do) Authority from Christ, equivalent to a Word of Institution, or the express men­tion of Infants in the Commission. And that being granted, I deny his Minor Proposition, and affirm, That we have full Authority from Christ to baptized Infants. This I have so fully and demonstratively proved already, (some ac­count of what I have said in proof of it, may be seen in the foregoing Sheets) that it is su­perfluous to add any thing more. I have pro­ved that they are joint Subjects of the Covenant with their Parents, and as such, the proper Sub­jects of Baptism. If Mr. Keach will satisfacto­rily answer the Arguments I have offered, he will do both the Church of God and my self no little Service.

As for what he adds in confirmation of his Minor Proposition, it is meer trifling; in brief, it is this, ‘'Tis evident and owned by the Lear­ned, That those who are enjoined to be bap­tized in the Commission, are first to be taught, or made Disciples.’

To which I shall say, Suppose we have suffi­cient Authority from Christ to baptize Infants, how evident soever it be, that those who are enjoined to be baptized, are first to be taught and made Disciples, we have sufficient Warrant for their Baptism, that Authority of our Lord Christ is our Warrant.

2. We say, that Infants are Included in the Commission. All that are to be baptized, their Baptism is enjoined in the Commission: But In­fants are to be baptized, Ergo, &c. As for those Learned Men he speaks of, if he means that they own, That all those universally who are enjoined to be baptized, must be taught, or made Disciples, he must certainly intend the Learned of his own Perswasion; which now few they are, is sufficiently known; neither is it of any great concern what they own or dis­own in this Controversy. As for others, what they own, concerns only the Adult; which makes nothing against the baptizing of Infants, whose right to Baptism comes in another way, viz. from their Covenant-Interest, as having the Promises made unto them as the Seed of Be­lieving-Parents. And as for what our Author says in Answer to that Objection of some Paedo-Baptists, viz. ‘That Children are part of the Nations commanded by Christ to be baptized,’ I shall pass it by (not being concerned at all in it) and proceed;

2. He Argues from the Scriptures requiring Faith and Repentance, as Prerequisites of all them that are to be baptized.

Answ. I shall only say, this requires better Proof than what our Author hath here given; which I shall expect ad Graecas Calendas. He only cites Acts 2.36, 37. and Acts 8. I suppose he hath respect to the 37th Verse, and an Answer to a Question in the Rubrik; but to how little purpose, is obvious unto all. That Faith and Repentance are required as Prerequisites of all [Page 62]the Adult that are to be baptized, is granted; but that they are required of all universally, neither is nor can be proved. Therefore to pass this, and,

3. The Sum and Substance of his Third Ar­gument is this, ‘As there is no Precept, so no Precedent in Scripture, that any besides such as professed Faith and Repentance were bap­tized, therefore not Infants; but only such ought to be baptized.’

Answ. In Answer whereunto, I doubt not it hath been fully proved, that we have a Pre­cept for Infant-Baptism. See my Infant-Baptism from Heaven, First Part, pag. 114. And besides the other Revelations our Lord Christ hath made of his Will, are obliging and equivalent to a Precept. And this being granted, That because there is no Precedent in Scripture that any Infants were baptized, therefore they ought not to be baptized, is a non sequitur; a Pre­cept is enough without any Precedent. But,

2. I say, We are not altogether without Pre­cedents: Thus, in all those Housholds that were baptized, when yet only the Parents, or chief Governors, are recorded to have belie­ved.

4. His Fourth Argument is this, ‘Because Paul, who declared the whole Counsel of God to the Churches, and Primitive Christian, never declared any thing of Infant-Baptism; there­fore they are not to be baptized.’

Answ. I shall not at present enquire how, or in what sense Paul is said to have declared the whole Counsel of God. Two things I would only say:

1. That it is certain, so far as the Declara­tions Paul made of the Counsel of God are re­corded in Scripture, he did not declare absolute­ly and universally his whole Counsel. This is too evident than to need proof: neither is it absurd to say, that the Apostle declared much more of the Counsel of God, than what is con­tained in any of his Sermons or Epistles, it being contained in other parts of Scripture. And for the Pen-men of the Holy Scriptures, to have set down the whole of what every Prophet, or our Lord Christ, or any of his Apostles declared to the Churches, had been superfluous: 'tis enough that the whole Counsel of God is contained in one or another part of the Scriptures; and we are sure they contain this part of his Counsel, that Infants ought to be baptized. But,

2. I say, that the Apostle did declare some­thing, yea, much of this part of his Counsel. For,

1. He declares, That if either Parents are Believers, then their Children are Holy, that is, Holy foederally.

2. Paul declared, That the Infant-Seed of Believers do appertain to the Mystical Body of Christ. He expresly declares, that that Pro­mise, Gen. 17.7. was made unto Christ, Gal. 3.16. that is, Christ Mystical; and that Pro­mise extended unto Infants, it being made to Abraham's Seed in their Generations, (as is be­fore proved) and this the Apostle perfectly un­derstood.

3. He declares this as part of the Counsel of God, that all that appertain to this Mystical [Page 64]Body, ought to be admitted or incorporated there into by Baptism. This is doubt not but Mr. Keach will readily grant.

6. He argues thus; ‘Whatsoever is necessary to Faith or Practice, is left in the written Word, or made known to us in the Holy Scriptures: but Infant-Baptism is not con­tained therein; therefore Infant-Baptism is not of God.’

Answ. This Argument hath been already suf­ficiently anticipated. I shall only say at pre­sent, That Infant-Baptism is contained in the Scriptures; and must say, the Reason why our Adversaries see it not, is their too evidently shutting their Eyes against that Light held forth unto them: Hence all our Author's Quotations are impertinent, soeing we ground our Practice upon the Scriptures. Let our Author satisfa­ctorily Answer what we have said, and then let him triumph. But,

6. He argues thus; ‘If no Man or Woman, at any Time or Times, were by the Almighty God, Jesus Christ, nor his Apostles, neither commended for baptizing any one Child, or Children, nor reproved for neglecting to baptize such; then Infant-Baptism is not of nor from God.’

Answ. This Argument our Author seems to have borrowed from Mr. Ives; and he might have seen it sufficiently baffled long since: See my Infant-Baptism from Heaven, First Part, p. 300, to 310. I shall only add, as it is formed by Mr. Keach, That the Consequence in the Major Proposition needs proof. Why should we im­pose [Page 65]upon the Spirit of God? Is it not enough that he hath revealed our Duty? What neces­sity is there that he should leave upon Record a Commendation of any for the Practice of it, or a Discommendation for the Neglect of it? And therefore for our Author to say as he doth, pag. 69. is exceeding weak. He should have proved that it is universally true, with respect to all Gospel-Duties, at least Ordinances: and that it must necessarily be so, let him produce a Commendation given to any Woman for parti­cipating in the Lord's Supper, or Discommen­dation for the Neglect of it. But not to stay upon such Trifles.

7. Our Author argues, from a supposed Re­flection, ‘That the Doctrine and Practice of Infant-Baptism make upon the Honour, Care, and Faithfulness of Jesus Christ, our Blessed Mediator, and Glorious Law-giver; he sup­poses they render him less faithful than Moses, and the New Testament in one of its great Ordinances, nay Sacraments, to lie more dark and obscure in God's Word, than any Law or Ordinance in the Old Testament did, and therefore cannot be of God.’

Answ. But to this, I say, Our Lord Christ hath perfectly revealed his Will relating to this practice; and it must be said, it is from the Darkness and Ignorance, if not wilful Blind­ness of our Opponents, that they do not, or ra­ther will not see it, and consequently doth not at all reflect on the Honour, Care, or Faithful­ness of Christ, it rather reflects upon themselves; and this I shall add to speak, with utmost holy fear and trembling in such tremendous Matters, [Page 66]that it had vastly more reflected upon the Ho­nour, Care, and Faithfulness of our Lord Christ, had he not declared his Will to us, that Infants should not be Baptized, supposing that had been his Will, then his revealing it no plainer than he hath done, when it is his Will that they should be Baptized doth: But for this, see my Answer to Mr. Danvers, pag. 56, & 57.

But to come to our Author's last Argument, which is this; ‘That Ordinance God has made no Promise to Persons in their Obedience thereto, nor denounced any Threatning or Punishment on such who slight, neglect, and contemn it, is no Ordinance of God; but God has made no Promise to Persons that Baptize their Children, nor denounced no Threatning nor Punishment; therefore Infant-Baptism is no Ordinance of God.’

Answ. As previous to an Answer to this Argu­ment, it may be inquired what Mr. Keach means here by an Ordinance of God? if he means any Act or Part of Worship that is contra-distinguished from all other Acts or part of Worship, as preaching the Word is an Ordinance contra-distinguished from the Celebration of the Sa­craments; then I shall readily grant his Conclu­sion, and do affirm, That Baptism, as applied to Infants, is not distinct Ordinance from Baptism as applied to grown Persons, no more than Bap­tism as applied to Women, is a distinct Ordinance from Baptism as applied to Men; or as it is applied to young Men, is a distinct Ordinance from Baptism as applied to old Men; 'tis not any Consideration or Circumstance relating to the Subjects of an Ordinance, that makes that [Page 67]an Ordinance distinct from the same Ordinance, as the Subjects of it fall under other Considerati­ons or Circumstances; Circumstances relating to the Subjects of Ordinances, diversifies not Ordi­nances. And therefore if Mr. Keach understand this Term Ordinance in this sence, let him make the utmost he can of his Argument, we are not concerned in it. But, 2dly. If he mean by Ordi­nance, any Duty injoyned by God respective to his Ordinances, take it of Baptism in particular; then I deny the Consequence in his Major Pro­position, and affirm, That that may be a Duty, unto the Performance of which no particular, explicite or express Promise is made, or against the Neglecters or Contemners of which no par­ticular or explicite Threatning is denounced; 'tis enough that God hath revealed our Duty, and promised Rewards in the general to the Obedient, and denounced Threatnings and Pu­nishments on the Disobedient; and how many Duties might be mentioned that have no parti­cular, explicit or express Promise made to the Performance of them, nor any such Threatning or Punishment denounced against those that neglect or contemn them. But to hasten, having, tho briefly, yet I hope satisfactorily shewed the Invalidity, yea Vanity of these Reasonings of Mr. Keach, to prove, that the Adult are only the proper Subjects of Baptism; I shall now briefly consider what he hath said to inva­lidate our Argument for Infant-Baptism taken from the Covenant entred with Abraham, Gen. 17.7. which, he rightly saith, is the main and great Argument which we bring for our Pra­ctice. Indeed he in reciting our Argument [Page 68]hath confusedly jumbled several things together, which I suppose he will not find so jumbled together in any Pleader for Infant-Baptism: In brief, our Argument is this; If the Infant-Seed of Believers are in common with their Parents the true and proper Subjects of the Covenant of Grace, then they are the true and proper Subjects of the Token of that Cove­nant, which now is Baptism: but the former is true; therefore the latter. Now let us see what our Author has said to this Argument; and it may be observed, that he doth not at least ex­presly deny that Covenant to be the Covenant of Grace, yea, implicitly he grants it so to be, wherein he leaves, if not the most of those who, especially of late, have pleaded the same Cause with himself: I suppose he hath seen the un­successfulness of their Attempts, and therefore was not willing perdere oleum in proving what he knew could never be proved. But he offers four things to invalidate our Argument: 1. He saith, and is very positive, That this Covenant was not made with Abraham, and his Carnal (he should have said Natural) Seed according to the Flesh: But that it was made with him and his Spiritual Seed, and such who had the Faith of Abraham. And he seems greatly to wonder that all Men should not be convinced by those three Scriptures compared together, Gal. 3.16. & 29.9. Rom. 7.8. that is, to see how con­fidently he expresseth himself, pag. 100. one would think the Apostle might be believed in his expounding that Text, meaning that in Gen. 17.7. Pag. 106. when he had feigned an Ob­jection that some might make, which he thus [Page 69]frameth, ‘Say what you will, the Promise and Covenant of Grace was to Abraham, and his Natural Off-spring. He returns this Answer, Why, Do you not believe the Apostle who tells you the quite contrary?’ So once again, after he had cited those fore-mentioned Scriptures, he adds, ‘Could the Apostle in plainer terms have detected the Error of these Men?’ he means those who say that Covenant was made with Abraham and his See according to the Flesh. Strange Confidence! But who so blind as they that shut their Eyes? But in Reply unto this, I shall only say, Or Author lies un­der a double Mistake; the former is about what we affirm, the latter about the mind and mean­ing of the Apostle in those places. 1. The Mistake he lies under about what we affirm, is this; he supposes we say, that that Covenant was made with Abraham and all his Natural Off-spring, whether immediately or mediately de­scended from him meerly as they were his Natural-Off-spring, whereas both my self and many others, both formerly and of late, do affirm, that that Covenant was actually entred only with Abraham and his Natural Seed, imme­diately proceeding from his own Loins, and that all his Natural Seed mediately descended from him, held their Interest in the Covenant, either as his Spiritual Seed, or as their Infant-Seed; and that Abraham's Natural Seed immediatly descending from his own Loins, were taken into this Covenant with Abraham himself, is made evi­dent past all rational Contradiction: See my Infant-Baptism from Heaven, first Part, Pag. 2. and so on; neither doth the Apostle in any of [Page 70]the places mentioned in the least contradict this.

2. Our Author mistakes about the mind and meaning of the Apostle in this Scripture, he supposes that he excludes both Abraham's Natu­ral Seed, whether immediate or mediate, as also the Infant-Seed of all Believers, from this Co­venant and the Promises of it, which never en­tred into the Thoughts of the Apostle to do. As for that in Rom. 9.7, 8. see my Infant-Baptism, Part 1. Chap. 7. throughout, where I have proved that the Apostle is so far from excluding Abra­ham, or any Believer's Natural Seed from this Covenant, or any Promises of it, that as to Abra­ham's immediate Natural Seed he necessarily supposes their Interest in it. And for Gal. 3.16, 29. I shall only say, that in case that Covenant was entred with Abraham and his Natural Seed immediately descending from him, and all his Spiritual Seed in their Generations, including their Infants with them, which I have demon­strated that it was; the Apostle is so far from excluding them, that it's past all rational Con­tradiction he doth include them; the Promise is made unto Christ, that is, Christ Mystical, as our Author himself acknowledges, but the Pro­mise was made to Abraham and his Seed, in their Generation, including Infants with their Parents, therefore will we believe the Apostle, Infants with their Parents are included in that term Christ; it is Christ Mystical, including himself as Head, Abraham and his Seed in their Genera­tions, that the Covenant was entred with: For the Lord to say unto Abraham, I will be a God unto thee, and unto thy Seed, in their Generations, is all one, as the Apostle Expounds it, as to [Page 71]say, I will be a God unto Christ; so that Abra­ham and his Seed in their Generations, still including himself as Head, constituted and make up Mystical Christ. Now then those two Mis­takes of our Author being rectified, his first Consideration vanishes, and makes not the least head of Opposition against our Arguments. But, 2. he puts a Supposition that we could prove all the Children of Believers to be in that Covenant made with Abraham, yet our Author thinks it doth not from hence follow, that they may be baptized, unless we can show the Lord Christ has injoyned them so to be. But to this I would say, Would he really grant this, the main of our Controversy were at an end. And will he grant this, as will he yield unto Truth he must do, then I shall refer him to these three Arguments I have laid down to prove, That they not only may, but ought to be baptized. See my Infant-Baptism, Part 1. Ch. 9. Till which Arguments are answered, which Mr. Keach may do at his Leisure, if he pleases, it is ut­terly superfluous to add any more. We shall not deny what he hath said, viz. That it's not enough to say Children are in the Covenant, therefore they ought to be baptized: yet let me say, this would carry a fair probability in it; but this I say, If our Lord Christ hath assured us, that it is his Will that being in Co­venant they ought to be baptized, as those Ar­guments fully prove he hath; Then that is enough to warrant our Baptizing of them. Hence as to our Author's two other Considerati­ons, they only designing the Confirmation of this Assertion, I shall say nothing especially [Page 72]having touched upon what he saith in them in my Answers to Mr. Grantham, and therefore shall come to a Close, not finding my self con­cerned in his Answers to the other Scriture-Proofs and Arguments Pedo-Baptists produce for the baptizing of Infants. I shall only fur­ther desire both Mr. Keach, and those others whose Books I have now considered, seriously and impartially to weigh what I have said in Answer to what they affirm concerning Circum­cision, its being only a Seal unto Abraham of the Righteousness of Faith, and not so to any of his Seed, in my Infant-Baptism from Heaven, Pag. 228, unto 236. and shall only add my hearty Desire our Opponents will truly and im­partially weigh what hath been offered unto them, and determine, as they will answer it at the great Day of Accounts, which we all profess our selves Expectants of; and in case any of them will return any Answer to what I have written upon this Subject, I desire they would do it with what speed conveniently they may: My Age now tells me my appearing before our Lord Christ cannot be very far off, and I would glad­ly, either be convinced of my Error, suppose I have erred, (Infallibility I pretend not unto) which yet at present I am above any suspicion that I have done, or may have opportunity to shew them the Insufficiency of the Answers re­turned by them.

FINIS.

ERRATA.

PAge 23. line 10. read some. P. 31. l. 10. after made, add must be fixed. P. 33. l. 19. read institutes.

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