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A DEFENCE OF THE ANSWER and ARGUMENTS OF THE SYNOD Met at BOSTON in the Year 1662. Concerning The SUBJECT OF BAPTISM, AND CONSOCIATION OF CHURCHES. Against the REPLY made thereto, by the Reverend Mr. JOHN DAVENPORT, Pastor of the Church at New-Haven, in his Treatise Entituled, Another ESSAY for Investigation of the Truth, &c.

Together with AN ANSWER TO THE APOLOGETICAL PREFACE Set before that ESSAY.

By some of the ELDERS who were Members of the SYNOD above-mentioned.

1 Thess. 5. 21.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 Chron. 28. 8
Keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord your God, that ye [...] possess this good Land, and leave it for an Inheritance for your children after you for ever.

CAMBRIDGE: Printed by S. Green and M. Johnson for Hezekiah Usher of Boston. 1664.

[Page 1]

AN ANSWER TO THE APOLOGETICAL PREFACE Published in the Name and Behalf of THE BRETHREN that DISSENTED in the late Synod, And set before the Reverend Mr. Davenports Treatise, called, ANOTHER ESSAY, &c.

HOw loth we are to enter the Lists of publick Debate with Brethren, and such Brethren as we love and honour in the Lord, with whom we are Exiles in the same Wilderness for the same Truth, is known in some measure to our selves, and would be to others, did they know the many thoughts of heart that this matter hath occasioned, and what a grief it is to be thus constrained thereunto. Neither was it so hard to finde what to say, as to determine whether to say any thing. For it hath been a Doubt among us, Whether we should not leave, not onely those Reflexions upon our persons that we finde in the late Writings published by our Brethren, but also those Mists that are therein cast upon the face of Truth, unto the Discoveries of Time, and the Readers own further Consideration, rather then to toss the Ball of Printed Disputes, or to trouble our selves or others with new Discourses of this kinde. But when we per­ceived, that by these Writings lying unanswered, our Work (and, as we believe, the Work of Christ) in our Churches is obstructed, the Truth disadvantaged, the Weak stumbled; and that the Lords Name, as concerned in us, and in his Work among us, may suffer by our silence: We have been willing to say something, lest we should seem Unfaithful or Negligent in that Cause which we are perswaded is the Lords.

Had Divine Providence so disposed, that the Lot of our Dissenting Brethren had been Ours in a case circumstanced as this is; we are ready to think, that after our Reasons given, and Arguings in a Synod (the most proper place of Publick Disputation where Churches walk in order, Acts 15. 7.) we should have looked at it as our Duty to sit down in silence, and not to amuse and trouble the People by Printing a Dissent, at least not un­till some way constrained thereto, and till all other means (as by Verbal or Written Disputes, &c.) had been first used to render the Difference among their Leaders as small and little as might be. But seeing it hath pleased our Brethren to take this course (of Printing in Opposition to the late Synod) we humbly submit to the Lords holy Providence herein. And let none of his poor People in this Wilderness be offended at it, to see Differences and Disputes, even among the Godly-Learned, about such things: It is the wonted Lot of all the Births of Truth, to be brought forth in Travel▪ and such a Travel as occasions Pain in the Churches own Bowels. Every Stage of Truths progress, since the first dawning of Reformation, hath been accompanied with sharp Debates, even among the godly Professors of it, and so it was foretold, Rev. 15. But God will bring Light and Good out of all. The face of Truth is now muffled with many Clouds, but let us with Faith and Patience wait on Him, it shall shine in its naked beauty and glory one day. And though it cost us here some, yea many Thro [...]es, even in the day of our Infirmity in [Page 2] this Wilderness; yea [...]f▪ the Man-childe of Truth, and of the whole genuine Frame of Christs Government and Order in his Churches be at last born among us, the Joy thereof will make us forget those Sorrows.

But seeing so it is, that Different Apprehensions and Argumentations are found among us about these things, we heartily concur [...] with our Brethren in that desire. That Unity of Affection may be preserved and continued notwithstanding; and therefore, that as much as may be, all Expressions and Reflexions may be forborn that tend to break the Bond of Love. Indeed such is our Infirmity, that the naked Discovery of the fallacy or invalidity of anothers Allegations or Arguings, is apt to provoke. This in Disputes is unavoidable. But further then this, we hope we shall carefully abstain from all matter of provocation. The Lord help us all to seek not Victory, but Truth, and save us from mingling our own Pride and Passions with the holy things of God.

Now for the Apologetical Preface of our Brethren above-mentioned, their Discourse therein which we shall consider of, lies in two parts.

  • 1. Their Answer to sundry Objections said to be made against them.
  • 2. The Reasons of their Dissent from the Synod.

As for the first: Where or by whom these Objections have been made against our Brethren, we shall not trouble our selves to enquire: But themselves are here pleased [...] Propound and Answer several Objections, which we shall take notice of onely so farre as any thing therein toucheth the Cause in [...]and.

To the first Objection, concerning their Fewness▪ they tell us, That Truth is not bound up to Number: the fewer and farre lesser part may be in the right, as in the case of Luther, John Huss, Paphnutius, &c.

Ans. We readily grant that a Few may have the Truth, and the Greater part may erro, and that so it hath sometimes been, neither do we insist upon our Numbers. But yet 1. As the Major part may erro, so may the M [...]ner also. 2. So farre as Respect is to be given to men (or as the Authority of mens judgements will go) therein the greater part are (c [...]ter is paribus)to be preferred before the lesser. If you will set men against men (as the Vulgar too commonly do; though alas what are all men but Liars?) surely the lesser part may not expect to weigh down the other. 3. In reforming times, and in a Synod orderly called by Reformed Churches; and where the one part does equally profess to ground their Sentence upon the Scripture, and to make that the onely Rule, as well as the other, and are equally and impartially studious of Truth and Refor­mation: It is not so ordinary (though possible) for the Smaller number to have the Truth, and the Greater (after all Ventilations and Consideration of the others Arguments) to miss it. Hence to compare the present Case, with the case of Luther or John Huss, who had to do with men engaged in the dregs and darkness of Popery, ignorant of the Scriptures, and scarce so much as pretending to ground their conclusions thereuponConstantien [...]oncilii Can­ [...]a hac fuit, [...]nsi à Christo [...] sub utrá (que) [...] administra­ [...]; quum [...] diversa [...] do ab [...] is [...] introduct a [...] me [...] a sit [...], [...] Parker. [...] Eccl. lib. 3. P. 155. [...] Norton to [...] p. 118, [...]0., is somewhat too odious a comparison. Well might Paphnutius with that plain Scripture, (Heb. 13.4.) oppose the rest of the Nicene Council, who yet had not concluded any thing in the matter, but were in debate about it, and in conclusion approved of what was suggested by him. Magdeburg. Centur. 4. pag. 656. amp; 1088. Had such evidence of Scripture-light been presented by any of our Brethren in the Case in question, it would have been readily entertained. 4. Hence, what Ministerial Light is to be expected from men regularly assembled, and acting in an Ordinance of God, with earnest imploring of Divine Assistance, and with the promise of Christs presence, after Hearing, Discussing and considering of all the Notions and Reasonings out of the Scripture that various ap­prehensions have suggested (which what it is, and of what force it ought to be, we shall not now dispute; but surely as on the one hand not infallible, nor forbidding all after-disquisitions; so on the other hand greater then many are willing to own) what­ever it be, we say, it is found with the Major part (but especially with the generality) with whom the Synodical conclusion lies. And in point of Order, their conclusion stands as the Answer from Gods word, which the Churches sought in such an Ordinance. Their conclusion is at least the Truth in. joro, or the Truth of Order, and so remains till God shall otherwise discover and reveal it by his own w [...]ies and means (b). Among which means, mens being stirred up to further search, and unto after-disquisitions and examina­tions, we readily acknowledge to be one, and do willingly allow it, so it be done Orderly [Page 3] and Peaceably. It may be doubted whether it be so Orderly to do it by Printing ( [...] where the Circumstances of the Case do make any other way unfeizible) until all other means have been first used to render the difference among the Godly-learned [...] narrow as may be, and it appears to be necessary and for Edification to publish a Dissent. Printing of the Synods Conclusion is necessary, for how else shall the Churches receive the Answer which they sought for in such an Ordinance of God? But hasty Printing in oppositum, hath sundry inconveniences in it. It does hastily (and haply needlesly) discover a difference among the Godly-learned; It makes t [...]e People the Judge of the Case, who are incompetent: It stumbles them, in stead of edifying, to see such Write and Print one against another: It raises up and foments Divisions, &c. yet it is no grief to us (if▪ it be none to Christ, and no prejudice to the Churches peace and welfare▪) to see our Brethren (whom we Love and Honour) Printing their Exceptions and Animadversions. Truth fears not Tryal: Nor does a sincere studiousness in searching after the Truth (wherein we trust we have some share) shun, but gladly imbrace all manner of Helps in that Disquisition.

We suppose there were not Five twice told that did in any thing Vote on the Negative in the late SynodIn the Third Proposition (which some think carries the whole cause) there appeared not a­bove Three that dissented. But if it had been so, the Conclusion of the rest (in a Synod consisting of above Seventy) after they had heard and considered all that the Dissenters had to say (or were pleased to say) both by way of Writing, and Verbal Dispute, may well pass for the Synodical Sentence, and is to be so received according to Order. Hence that Prin­ciple out of Seneca, mentioned in the Second Page of this Preface [He that judgeth a Cause before be hath heard both parties speaking, although be should judge rightly, is not a righteous Judge] which is meant of taking a private party's word in his own cause, in a matter of Fact; is most unsuitably applied to this case, wherein after hearing of both Parties speak at large, and of their Pleas and Reasonings, a Publick Judge, viz. A Synod, hath orderly determined. Why did they of Lystra and Iconium, &c. receive the Decrees of the Synod at Jerusalem (Acts 16. 2, 4, 5.) before they had heard the Objecters of An­tioch speak? Yea, when Truths are delivered by the ordinary Ministry, if we should tell the People, That they must not receive them till they have heard and considered all that Opposites say (as in what Point of Faith are there not many and subtile Opposites that say much?) we should introduce a strange and destructive Confusion, and evacute a special end of the Lords appointing Pastors and Teachers, who are to study and search out the Truth, and recover it from the fallacies of gainsayers, but to deliver it in a plain and positive manner to the People suitable to their Edincation. Let thus much be here said for the preservation of Order (without which we shall soon lose both Truth and Peace) But for ourselves personally considered, we are most willing and desirous, that all Respects to men (or to their Numbers) on either hand being laid aside, the Cause may impartially and nakedly be tried by the Scriptures, and Scripture-arguments, and let them carry it. To the Law and to the Testimony we do wholly referre our selves, as in the Preface to the late Synods Propositions we have publickly professed.

But to prevent the Imputation of Singularity, our Brethren alledge here some Testi­monies from M. Cotton, Burton, Beverly, and the Practice of the gathered Churches in England. Mr. Cottons words here cited out of his Way of the Churches, p. 81. are these, Infants can­not claim right unto Baptism, but in the right of one of their Parents or [...]oth; where neither of the parents can claim rights to the Lords Supper there their infants cannot claim right to baptism.

Ans. 1. Mr. Cotton there expresly speaks in reference to such Parents as are neither of them joyned to the Church, and are under no Church-power or Discipline any where (see pag. 76, 77 and the same, pag 81.) and to such the Synod also denieth Baptism for their Children, Propos. 1, 2. 7. and pag. 28.

2. It is most true, that where neither of the Parents hath a Right of Membership, or not so much right to the Lords Supper as to be a Church-member (not jus ad Rem) their Children have no right to Baptism. And it's plain [...] that Mr. Cotton in that place speaks not of the Parents right of Actual fitness for the Lords Table, (as if that were simply necessary to intitle the Childe to Baptism) but of the Right of Membership. For in the same place, a few lines after the words here cited, he expresly saith, That the third Rea­son he had mentioned, viz. of a Parents lying under offence (which hindred his Actual fitness for the Lords Table: Compare pag. 76, 78, 79.) reacheth not Infants, but onely the former, viz. the Churches want of due Power over the Parent (i. e. through his, want of [Page 4] Membership with them; or in any particular Church with whom he was capable of Com­munion.) So that if the Church have due Power over the Parents, i. e. if they be Mem­bers, and under Discipline in any particular Church, then their Children may be baptized, according to Mr. Cotton's judgement. And when as in Answer to the Objections, pag. 81—88? he reasoneth onely against baptizing the Children of Non-Members, or of [...] persons▪ or Children born in Fornication, till the Parents acknowledge their [...] it plainly implies, That he [...] the baptizing of such whose Parents stand Members of the Church; and are neither Excommunicate, nor [...] so to be.

3. When as Mr. Cotton's express words in his later years, and long after the Publish­ing of that Book (and so the result of further thoughts) which are alledged in the Pre­face to the late Synod, do speak fully and distinctly to our Assertion; Is it not some dis­ingenuity, and want of that Reverence to him, which this Preface in words expresseth, here to cite Mr.Cotton against Himself, and against what was all edged there, and that out of a Book Printed by an Imperfect Copy, as in the Epistle before that [Way of the Churches] is acknowledged?

Touching Mr. Burton's Testimony. 1. If all the Male-infants descended from Abra­ham were to be circumcised (whether their Parents professed the Faith of Abraham, or no) how came the Children of Ishmael, Esau, and of the rejected Ten Tribes, to lose their right to Circumcision? [...] 2. We plead for the Baptism of none but those whose Parents do profess the Faith of Abraham, and do not visibly refuse Christ. Mr. Burton in the place here cited, speaks against baptizing the Children of such Parents as do Refuse Christ for their King, as the Jews did, Luke 19. 14. and refuse to be in visible Covenant, as in the same Page he speaks; which the Parents whom the Synod (in the Controverted Fifth Proposition) describeth, are farre from: for in stead of Refusing, Burton Vindic. of Independent Churches, p. 62. they Subject themselves to the Government of Christ in his Church, and so to Christ as their King, and do own the Covenant. If then Parents do not cut themselves or their children oft from the Covenant, until they refuse Christ as their King, and refuse his Covenant (as it seems by Mr. Burton's words they do not) then the Parents in question are not cut off, nor their Children, but do stand and continue in the Covenant, and so have a right to Baptism the Seal thereof.

But not to weary our selves or the Reader with prosecuting all that might be said to every particular PassageFor Beverly, let some Pas­sages in his Answer to Timson, p. 80. and in his Examen Hoornb. p. 43, 45. be considered, and see whether the Principles there pointed to would gainsay the bap­tizing of such as our Synod plead­eth for. But if he did indeed differ from us, it is answered in the following Discourse.. If Testimonies in this case might be regarded, Let it be considered,

1. That there can no Orthodox Protestant Divine, before these late unhappy Differences between the Presbyterians and Independents grew up, no nor Ancient neither, be produced, that hath held for such a Restri­ction of Baptism as our Dissenting Brethren plead for, and as hath been practised in the late Gathered Churches; but all with one Consent are for a farre greater Latitude.

2. That those Worthies in the next foregoing Times (The good Old Non-Conformists, and others) from whom our best Congregational Leaders have professed to receive their Light and Principles (and not from theProfitentur hujns nostra [...]aus [...] filii se tum ab Antiqu [...]ssimis, ab Apostolis, patribus tum inter Modernos ab Amesio, Cartwrito, Pareo, Parkero, Bainesio, simi­libus (que) post S. Scriptur [...] fontes sua hausisse principia; minimè omnium à Brownistis. Bev. Exam. Hoornb. Pag. 22. Separatists) do fully and clearly go before us in that Latitude of Baptism (or rather greater then that) which we plead for.

Judicious Cartwright in his first Reply (pag. 137.) even when blaming Whitgift for too much Laxness in allowing Baptism to all sorts, hath these words: If one of the Parents be neither Drunkard nor Adulterer, the Childe is holy by virtue of the Covenant for one of the Parents sakes: If they be Both, and yet not obstinate in their sin, whereby the Church hath not proceeded to Excommunication, themselves being yet of the Church, their. Childe cannot, nor ought not to be refused.

Jo [...]annes à Lasco, that worthy Reformer, who gathered and officiated in a Church of Strangers in London, in the dayes of King Edward the Sixth, (an Author of whom our New-English Writings have long since made an Honourable mention) sheweth at large, how they Baptized the Children of such as made publick confession of their Faith (he means, of the Doctrine of Faith, as his discourse shews) and subjected themselves to the Disci­pline of the Church; and how they accounted their Children Members, and subject to Discipline when grown up, even to the censure of Excommunication, yea though they had [Page 5] never yet been admitted, to the Lords Table. Forma [...] Ratio Ecclesiast-Miniss [...] ­ [...] P [...]regrinor. Ecclesi [...] institut [...] Londini, &c. Pag. 117—123, 135▪ with Pag. 8 [...], 104, 10 [...], 106.

Holy Baynes accounts, that Children are a part of the Church, Dioces. Tryall, pag. 84. And the Principles pointed to in his Christian Letters; Letter 15. pag 125, 126. and Letter 24. pag. 199, 202. Edit. 1637. Also in his Exposition of the Epistle to the Ephesians, on Chap▪ [...]. 1. Doct. 5. and on Chap. 2. 12. Pag. 276, 277. and other places, may easily [...] improved [...] to a Confirmation of the Doctrine of the Synod.

Dr. [...] (whom the Preface [...]alls for- [...]ver Famous, Judicious, &c. and [...] very de­servedly) how large his Judgement is as to the Subject of Baptism, may be seen by any that have his [...] of Conscience, Lib. 4. Cap▪ 27. He requires no more unto the most proper right or a Child to Baptism, but that the Parents of one of them be [...] Ecclesia [...], within the Church; though he thinks that others also may be baptized, if any godly per­sons will undertake for their Education. And how plainly [...]e holds forth the Doctrine of the Synod in his M [...]duli [...], Lib. 1. Cap. 32. Thes. 12, 13. & Cap. 40. Thes. 11, 12, 13. is easie to be Collected.

We may well here take up the words of worthy Mr. Cotton, in his Preface before Mr. N [...]rtons Answer [...] Apollonius, where having named Cartwright, Pare [...], Baynes, and Ames, those Chariots and Horsemen of Israel, and Leaders in the Cause of Reformation, he addes, Ab [...] [...]ive [...], [...]ive principi [...]s si no [...]itatis studio [...], jure mero [...] desermur ut deser [...]ores. Quod si in viz. illorum ambulamus [...] progredimur (quod [...]d [...] re [...] [...]) qudm ab il [...]orum L [...]mine Divinitùs collustrati, cer [...] non nos ill [...] sum [...], qui ca [...]sam Reformation is des [...]ruimus, sed illi poti [...]s (quos lubens nollem dicere) qui nos [...]t Deserto [...]s de [...]erunt & detestantur. So here: If we out of any changeable Inclinations, or Spirit of Innovation, slave departed from the footsteps or principles of those Blessed [...] of Reformation (such as were now named, and others of [...]he good Old Non-Con­formists, who both with Prayers, Tears and Sufferings, and with as much judicious Learning and Piety as the World hath yet seen, have handed down to us the Work and way of Re­formation) then let us be, and well might we be deserted and censured as Desertors or Aposta [...]es (as we are by too many) But if we adhere to the Principles, and tread in the steps or those Worthies, and go no further then they, or then the Light which God hath communicated by them doth lead us, surely we have not deserted nor departed from the Cause of Reformation; But they rather (though unwillingly we speak it) who desert and dislike us as Desertors.

The Elders and Messengers of the Congregational Churches in England, in the Preface to the Result of their meeting at the Savoy, do profess a full concurrence throughout in all the substantial parts of Church-government with their Reverend Brethren the Old [...]uritan Non-Conformists, citing in the Margin [...]ox, Dearing, Greenbam, Cartwright, [...]enner [...] Ful [...], Whitak [...], Reynolds, Perkins, &c. Now let the Judgement of these (such of them as have left any thing written about this Question, by which we may judge of the mindes of the rest) be considered; and see if they do not abundantly confirm such a Latitude of Baptism as we plead for. What if our Congregational Brethren in England have not yet, by reason of the Infancy of their Churches, had so much occasion to look into this question (as our selves for a long time had not) nor yet so much need to trouble themselves about the full extent of Baptism, in a place where there were enow that would baptize those whom themselves left unbaptized? yet when the Lord shall incline any of those Able and Worthy Persons to set themselves to the study of this point: why should we think that they will not be willing to receive Light from, or that they will be willing easily to go against the Judgeme [...]ts of those Old Non-Conformists, whom they professedly concurre with in other parts of Discipline? So much for the Discourse upon the first Objection.

In Answer to to the Second Objection, The Apologist gives this warning, Let us not for fear of A [...]baptism, do worse, even defile our selves with Antichristianism. And makes this Profession, We are willing to pro [...]ess that we look upon it as great a sin to Baptize all Children, as to baptize no Children.

Ans [...]. [...] We should not chuse to put Anabaptism as contradistinct to Antichristianism. [Page 6] Take Antichristianism for all that which is against Christ his Mind, Rules and Kingdome, so surely Anabaptism is a part of it▪ Take it for the corruptions of the Papacy, how near a-kin the Doctrines and Principles of the Papists and Anabaptists are, is shewed in [...] late Preface to Mr. Shepard's Letter. The Anabaptists are indeed ready enough to call every thing that they [...] Antichristian; as if none were Enemies to Antichristianism so much as they. But if to oppose, obstruct, and undermine the Kingdome of our Lord Jesus Christ, be an Antichristian thing, let Scripture, Reason, and Experience speak, whe­ther their Tenents and Wayes be nor highly Antichristian. Does not their cutting off so great a part of the Subjects of Christs Kingdome, as the Children of the Faithful are (Mat. 19. 14.) their changing the Frame of the Covenant, whereby his visible Kingdome in his Church is constituted and continued &c. give (though secretly, and under plausi­ [...]le pretences) a most deep and dangerous Wound to the Interest and Progress of Christs Kingdome? And hath not Experience shewed Anabaptism (with its wonted concomitant Errours) to be the Vexation and Clog of Reformation ever since the beginning of it.

2. To speak here of baptizing the Children of Infidells and Pagans, as if any did in­c [...]me to that, would be a strange absurdity: but if by [All Children] be meant the Children of All that are named Christians, though we think it too great a Laxness to baptize all such, yet we are past doubt, that so to do is farre neerer the Rule and Mind of Christ, when he sayes [Dis [...]iple all Nations, baptizing them] then to baptize no Children. Let us be farre from making Bucan, Zanchy, Calvin, Perkins, and many other Eminent and Worthy Divines, who are for such a Latitude of baptizing, to be equally erroneous with the Anabaptists. Let no one make it a Temptation to himself or others, to run to Anti­poedobaptism, because he hears the Assertors of Infant-Baptism plead for a greater Latitude of Baptism then he thinks is (or perhaps then indeed is) meet. Errour in particular Ap­plications of the Rule, is farre less then errour in a Principle. Anabaptism erres in a Prin­ciple, and principal Rule of Church constitution. And he that narrowly observes the frame of Christs Rules and Dispensations about this matter, will find much of that Maxime in them, Favores sunt ampliandi. We see the Lord takes in the Children as Holy, if but one of the Parents be a Believer; he appoints us to Receive the weak, as well as the strong. We find not that the Apostles refused any that were willing to come in, and to be Subjects of Christs visible Kingdome: neither are persons or people utterly Broken off from a portion in the visible Church, till after all means and long patience used, &c. As if Christ studyed and Inlargement of his visible Kingdome among men (i. e. as much as may be with the honour or his Holiness and Government) rather then the straitning thereof. Many pious-minded persons among us are very fearful of Inlarging, and of Corruption that way: But why should we not also be afraid of grieving the heart of Christ (Mark 10. 14) by too much straitning, and by keeping or putting out those whom Christ takes in? For we may not take away or diminish from the Word of God, no more then we may adde thereto, Deut. 12. 32. The Lord keep us from extreams on either hand, and guide us in the right middle way that is according to his will. But the Preface goes on;

Neither can we plead Guilty unto that Charge, That we deny all Church-membership unto any Infants; we onely deny that they are Personal and Immediate Members. Indeed as per­sonal Membership is taken subjectively, It is no very good signe of truth, when there are many curi­ous, nice, & dark distinctions used to defend a thing Vid. Ames Bellar. Enerv. Tom. 2. 1. 6. cap. 5. quest ult. And his Fresh Suit, par. 1. pag. 63, 83, 134—138. so we say it is in Infants, i. e. their persons are Re­cipients of the Adjunct of Church-membership: But as personal Membership is taken for­mally, i. e. for such as have by themselves in their own persons entred into Covenant with God and his People, so Infants are not capable of personal Church-membership.

Ans. It is pity to clog and cloud the plain things of Christ with intricate distinctions, which do rather bemist and puzzle the Readers understanding, then enlighten it. One would think it should suffice men to know that their Children are (by the Lords rich grace and appointment) in their own persons within the Covenant, and so Members of the Church, without disputing whether they be so subjectively or formally, &c. And should such distinctions pass for currant, what other use they would be of, we know not; but sure we are, they would do great service to the Anabaptists, though we believe that is not the Intendment of our Brethren, to comply with, or build up Anabaptism. But we are not now speaking to Intentions or Persons, but to Arguments and Distinctions in them­selves considered. For, suppose one give this Argument for I [...]fant-Baptism (and in­deed [Page 7] we know not a better) Members of the visible Church are to be baptized: Infants of Consederate Parents are Members of the visible Church: Ergo. How readily may it be answered, that Personal and Immediate Members (or they that have personal Membership formally) are to be baptized; but not Mediate and Not-personal Members, or they that have it (not formally, but) subjectively onely. We have known an Antipoedobaptist [...] to this as his Shea [...]-Anchor [Infants are Members; but how? Why, not personal Members, but Members in their parents; and so let them be baptized (mediately) in their Parents, and not in their own persons.] And indeed, why should the Seal of Membership be imme­diately and formally applied to their own persons, if they be not in their own persons immediate and formal (or formally) Members?

But let us search a little into this Distinction between Personal Membership as taken subjectively, and the same as taken formally, and see what there is in it, with reference to the matter in hand. For, that Children are personal and immediate Members, is asserted and proved by the Synod, but denied by our Brethren: And this Distinction is here brought to bear up that Deniall, or to tell us in what sense they deny personal Member­ship to Infants. It was sometimes roundly denied, that Infants are personal Members; now it is denied with a Distinction: They are personal Members (say they) subjectively, but not formally.

Answ. 1. If Infants be Members, they are forma [...]y so: for, Forma est▪ per quam res est [...]d quod est. If we say, Such an one is a Man, a Father a Master, &c. we must mean that he is formally a man, or hath the form of a man, &c. He is not a Member, that hath not the form of a Member. To say he is a Member, and to deny him the form of a Member, is to say and unsay.

2. It is here said, that, As personal Membership is taken subjectively, so it is in Infants, i. e. their persons are Recipients of the Adjunct of Church-membership. We demand, whe­ther this does not fully yield the Cause, and give us as much as we need to the matter in hand? For, if the person of the Infant be Recipient of the Adjunct of Church-member­ship, then of formal Church-membership, (it is not Church-membership, if it want the form) then formal (or proper) Church-membership, doth cleave to the person of the In­fant; then the person of this Infant is formally a Church-member, or, He is a personal formal Member. He needs no more to render him a personal formal Member (or formally a personal Member) then to have the Adjunct of Church-membership upon him, or cleaving to his person. For Membership (as all such li [...]e relations, Fatherhood, Sonship, &c.) is but an Adjunct; it enters not into the Essence of any man, but cleaves to him as [...]n Adjunct. And so no man is more then subjectively a Member (the most formally per­sonal Member that is, is but subjectively a Member in this sense) i. e. He is a subject Re­cipient of Membership, or one that hath the Adjunct of Membership cleaving to him. If therefore the person of the Infant be Recipient of the Adjunct of Church-membership, then he is a personal formal Member, or formally a personal Member, for his person hath the form of Membership upon it, or cleaving to it.

3. When it's said, [But as personal Membership is taken formally, i. e. for such as have by themselves in their own persons entred into Covenant with God and his People, so Infants are not capable of personal Membership] What Logick is this, to put the Efficient for the Form, or to make it a part thereof? It is wont to be said, Efficiens non ingreditur Essen [...]iam. The act of Covenanting on our part, whereby we are brought into the Church, is but an Efficient (yea, but an instrumental Efficient: the Book calls it a Procreant cause, pag 37. that is still but an Efficient; yet consider it in contradistinction to Divine Insti­tution, it can but instrumentally procreate) But the form, or formalis Ratio of Member­ship, is to be within the Covenant, or within the Church, 1 Cor 5. 12. Whatever causa­lity our Act in professing and Covenanting do contribute to bring us in, it can be but an Efficient: And hence it doth not denominate or constitute the formality of our Membership.

Object. But [Formally] here is referred to personal, not to membership.

Ans. If so it be, yet still the same Answers hold, unless it mean no more then every one grants, and so be nothing to the purpose. If the meaning onely be that Infants do not enter into Covenant by an act of their own proper persons: who ever said or thought they did? what need we labour in finding out distinctions to deny them that which no [Page 8] body ever challenged for them? or to what purpose is that? But the Question is, Whether Infants be not personal members (or personally and formally members) although they never yet put forth an Act of covenanting [...]n their own persons? we affirm it, because they have the forme of Membership (or the adjunct of formal membership) cleaving to their own persons by Divine Institution. And so we say they are personally and formally Members, though they have not yet acted any thing in their own proper persons. You seem to deny it, and bring a distinction to clear your meaning: the former Branch of which distinction, as your selves explain it, grants the t [...]ing that we plead [...]; the la [...]ter Branch, as you also explain it, denies no more than we deny, viz. That they enter by their own proper per­sonal Act. But the mistake lies in making this [viz. Entring by ones own proper Act] to be formally personal membership: whereas that is formally personal membership, [...] doth formally and properly constitute the person a member; and so. [Being within the Covenant] doth the Infants in question, though they never yet acted in their own per­sons. The distinction should rather stand thus; As personal membership is taken properly and formally, to it agrees to Infants, i. e. their persons are Recipients of [...] adjunct of or▪ per formal Church-membership, but as personal membership is taken improperly (and very improperly indeed) i. e. for the membership of such as have by themselves or by their own personal profession entred into Covenant, so Infants are not capable of personal membership. Thus it might be granted. But why should we use personal membership in so improper a sence, or insist on a sence that toucheth not the cause in question? The sum is, that if by [Personal membership taken formally] be meant onely, entring by their own proper personal act, then the distinction is needless and not ad Rem. But i [...] it be meant so as to deny what we affirm, then it is overthrown by your selves in the former Branch. Grant them to be personal Members subjectively, you therein grant them to be so formally: deny them personal membership formally, you deny it subjectively. These do mut [...]ò s [...] p [...]nere & [...]ollere, being used in any sence that is proper and pertinent to the present Dispute. But consider whether it would sound rationally to say, that Paul was not formally a personal Roman (or not formally a Roman free-man in his own person because he did not buy his freedome with his own money; or that a Childe who hath an Inheritance left him, is not formally a personal owner thereof, because himself did not purchase it: or, that Infants are personal Subjects in such a Kingdome, Members of such a Family, subjectively onely, not formally, because they did not become such by their own previous personal act. These and such like shew how improper and incongruous it is▪ to make ones own personal act to be that which constitutes the formality of personal membership.

Preface. It's strange to us to con [...]ive, that they should have this personal formal member­ship, and yet that they should not be Subjects capable of formal personal Censures.

Ans. They are capable in regard of their Relation and state in the Church, though not in regard of natural Capacity, nor in regard of demerit; for an Infant cannot Eccle­siastically deserve publick Censure. It is not strange to conceive Infants to be Subjects of such a Prince, though at present uncapable of civil Tryals and punishments. It suf­fices that Infant members are in a state of subjection to Church Discipline, and I [...]aged thereto for afterward, though at present naturally uncapable of the exercise thereof. The new born Infant is not capable of Domestical Discipline (either Red or Rebuke) but that hinders not his being a formal personal Member of the Family.

Preface. We neither do, nor ever [...] that, the persons of Infants of believing con­federate Parents, are brought under the Covenant, onely we conceive that their membership is conjunct with, and dependent upon the Membership and Covenant of their Parents, so as to live and dye therewith—Hence when the Parents are Excommunicated, the membership of the Infant childe is cut off because Excommunication puts an end to the outward Covenant (which Death it self doth not do) and if the Root be destroyed, the Branches cannot live.

Ans. That the childes membership depends upon the membership of the Parent, as the Instrumental Cause or Condition of the childes first Entrance into the Church, or be­coming a Member, we readily grant (because Divine Institution admitteth onely the Children of Members to be Members) and so much Mr. Cottons words here alledged in the Preface do truly teach. But that the childes membership is so wrapt up in the mem­bership of the Parent, as to live and dye therewith, as if it had no proper and distin't [Page 9] membership of its own, is surely a deep mistake, and will (if followed) overthrow that subjective personal membership before granted unto Infants, and that which is here also owned, viz. that their persons are brought under the Covenant: If the persons of the Infants be brought under the Covenant, then their persons are within the Covenant, or their persons are Con [...]ederate, then not onely the person of the Parent, but the person of the childe hath the formality of membership upon it. And as the person of the childe in regard of its natural being, though for the first existence thereof it depended under God upon the Parent, yet when once it is born into the World, it is not so conjunct with, and dependent upon the person of the Parent, as to live and dye therewith; so why should the membership of the childe be [...] dependent? seeing the Book (to which this Preface is prefixed) affirmeth, P. 37. that the Parent is a procreant Cause, as of the Childes natural Being by his generating him, so also of his Church-membership by his confederating for him, and this by Gods Institution. And seeing the person of the Childe hath a membership of its own affixed to it (as the foresaid grants import) and that from God (from Gods Covenant and Institution) as well as the person of the Parent; why should we say, that the mem­bership of the Childe doth after this, depend upon the Membership or Covenant of the Parent, and not rather upon Gods Covenant and Institution, so as to live and dye accor­ding to the Order and appointment thereof, and not otherwise? hence the Membership wherewith the person of the Childe is clothed by Gods Institution, dyes not till either the person of the Childe dye, or till by some Institution and Appointment of God he be cut off from his Membership for his own sin. Neither must it be yeided, that the Excom­munication of the Parent, doth properly and formally cut off the Infant-childe that was born before such Excommunication▪ We say, properly and formally, for Consequentially and Eventually it may bring the Childe to be cut off also; as in case the Parent desperately go away from the Church among Hereticks and Infidels, and bring up the Childe to serve other Gods: But so it may be with a wife carried away by such an Husband, yet that does not hinder her from having a personal, distinct, proper and immediate Membership, nor make his cutting off to be hers also. But suppose a Parent and Children that live and continue among us; the Parent having a company of Children, all in their minority, is for his wickedness cast out, and continuing impenitent, dyes in that estate: to say that all these Children (who were Born and Baptized in the Church) are cut off from Mem­bership hereby is a strange Assertion.

For 1. This would make an Infant-childe to be a subject of Excommunication, which was before (and in regard of natural capacity and demerit, rightly) denied.

2. If a Parent in Israel was for his sin cut off from his people, were the Children that he left behind him therefore excluded from the Commonwealth of Israel? to be sure, in Crimes capitally punished (of which cutting off from their People is sometimes plainly meant, Exod. 31. 14, 15. Levit. 17. 4. & 18. 29. & 20. 18.) the Childe was not to dye for the Fathers sin, Deut. 24. 16. 2 Chron. 25. 4. Jer. 31. 30 Ezek. 18. 20. and is there no [...] the like reason of other punishments, whether Ecclesiastical or Civil? yea, that cutting off from their People appointed in the Law,Vid. Rivet. in Genes. 17. 14, is conceived by judicious Interpreters to be in some places most properly meant of an Ecclesiastical Death, or cutting off from the People and Church of God by Excommunication; But however, it held a proportion with Excommunication now under the Gospel. The Childe may be barred from a Right or Priviledge that he never had, by the sin or condition of the Parent: so Heathen Chil­dren are unclean and without, because their Parents are so. (Hence Children born after the Parents Excommunication are not of the Church:) But to be deprived of a Right or Priviledge which he once had, and was possessed of (which is the case of Children formerly born in the Church, and owned as Members by the seal of Baptism) this hath in it the na­ture of a proper formal Punishment of Censure, and this is inflicted upon none but for his own sin. A Parent Civilly or Naturally dead, cannot after that bring forth Children to the Commonwealth; nor can a Parent Ecclesiastically dead ( [...]e so continuing) bring forth Children to the Church. But the Children that are already Members of the one Society or of the other, are not to be cut off therefrom for their Parents sin.

3. That, If the Root be destroyed, the Branches cannot live, is a truth in nature of Branches growing on the same Tree: But if these Branches be taken and set upon a Stock, and Root of their own, (though but as in a Nursery) then they do not die when the old [Page 10] Tree dies, or is cut up by the Roots. And so is the Case in hand. These Children are inserted and implanted into the Church, the Body of Christ, in their own persons (as was but now granted, when it was said, The persons of these Infants do receive the Adjunct of Church-membership, and that their persons are brought under the Covenant) and have so farre taken root therein, as to receive (not from their Parents, but from the Church, and from the Soil and Fatness thereof) the Sap and Nourishment of Baptism, which is also a Seal of the establishment or rooting of their Membership. Branches included and con­tained in the Root (as Children yet unborn, or not born till after Excommunication) are broken off (or rather left without) together with their Parents: But not such Branches as are already severed from the Root, and planted in the House of God, in the Vineyard of the Lord of Hosts, as through the grace of the Covenant our Children are, Isa. 5. 7.

4. That Death does not put an end to the outward Covenant, which Excommunication does, is a No [...]ion that we understand not: We should have thought that outward Mem­bership (or Membership in the visible instituted Church) as well as the use of all outward Ordinances,Ames. Medul. Lab. 1. cap. 41. Thes. 7. or instituted Worship▪ had everlastingly ceased at Death. The Ends, Duties and Enjoyments of outward Membership▪ do then cease, and so the Membership it self. The Lord knows how many may from outward Membership in the visible Church, drop to Hell; and does not their Death put an end to their Membership? And if Death put an end to outward Membership, it puts an end to outward Covenant in the sense of the Question, i. e. as to the person that dies. Indeed it does not hinder the continuance of the Covenant to others that are in Covenant, and are surviving: And neither does Ex­communication so do. But the person of the Parent loses his Membership in the visible Church when he dies, as well as when he is Excommunicated. And hence if the Member­ship of the Childe did live and die with the Membership of the Parent, there would be a Ce [...]sation of it in the one case, as well as in the other. A Parents Faith, Prayers, and Covenant may live, though himself be dead: But how? i. e. Virtually, in the virtue and effect them: And how is that? why, the promise made by God to the Faith, Prayers, and Profession (or Covenanting) of a godly Parent, that lives, and abides, and takes effect. So then it is neither the Parent, nor his Membership, but Gods Covenant that lives, taking in the Children that are begotten or born of Confederate Parents, to be Members of his visible Church, and so continuing them, till by some Rule or Appointment of his they be cut off. In like manner, though the Parent by his sin and wickedness have deprived him­self of a portion in Israel, and [...]e cut off by the Censure of Excommunication; yet the Covenant of God lives and stands to the Children whom he had before taken into Cove­nant, and planted in his House. To call it The Covenant of their Parents, and to say that Childrens Membership is dependent upon that, is too crude a phrase, and too much abused by many, ascribing that to the Parents, and to their Profession (or Act in Covenanting) which belongs most properly to God, and his Grace. 'Tis Gods Covenant that takes in both Parents and Children. Alas, what are Parents! and what could all their Profession, and Faith, and Actings do, if God did not vouch safe to take them into Covenant? Now God taketh the Childe into his Covenant, as well as the Parent: And 'tis Gods Covenant and Institution that the Membership of the Chide depends upon, and with which alone it lives and dies. But it follows in the Preface:

True it is, that we have made much use of that Distinction of Immediate and Mediate Members which seems to us to carry a mighty and constraining Evidence of Scripture-Light along with it, &c.

Ans. We must needs say this seems strange to us, when as there is not so much as one Scripture brought (either here, or in the Book following) to make good or old forth such a Distinction. In stead of Scriptures, here are some Authors streight named [...] to A [...]est the Distinction of Immediate and [...] (it seems that cannot be found, no not so much as in Authors) but of Compleat and Incompleat. To which the Answer is ready:

1. If some Authors have so distinguished Members, yet where is such a distinction of Membership? at least purposely so intended, as to make several [...]sorts or [...] of Mem­bership specifically differing, as is expresly said of the Distinction here pleaded for in the Book, p [...] [...]7. Dr. Ames in the place here cited, does not say of I [...]f [...]nts. Non sun [...] [...] Membra, but Perfecta Membra: Neither does he say, Non sunt perfecta, but [Page 11] Non sunt adeo perfecta Membra: They are not so perfect Members (saith he) of the Church, as that they can exercise acts of Communion, or be admitted to partake of all the Priviledges thereof: Plainly referring the Imperfection or Incompleatness, not to the Essence of their Membership, but to the Degree of their Communion and Priviledges. Hence,

2. Their Distinction of Members into Compleat and Incompleat, is (being candidly taken) as much as our Distinction of Members into such as are in full (or compleat) Com­munion, and such as are not yet in full Communion; which Distinction we have (and we hope justly) made great use of. And for such a distinction Res [...]ipsa lequitur. All that are within (of, or belonging to) such a Society, whether Family, Commonwealth, or Church, are truely and properly said to be Members of that Society; but all are not equal in participation of Priviledges therein: Some have a more full (or compleat) share and portion therein, and some have less. All Christs Scholars (or Disciples) are not of the Highest Form; nor are all his Subject, betrusted with the Keyes of his Kingdome; nor all his Children past their Non-age, &c. But yet they are all Disciples in his School, Subjects of his Kingdome, Children of his Family, i. e. Members or the visible Church. But such a Distinction as maketh several sorts of Membership specifically different, we have not yet seen cleared and confirmed, either from Scripture, or Auth [...]rs, or from sound Reason. Sundry distinctions or sorts of Members, might easily be given; as, Some Mem­bers are in Office in the Church, some out of office; some parta [...]e of the Lords Supper, but not of the Power of Voting (as Women) some of hath; some have onely Initial Pri­viledges, some Act. (Ames Meaul. Lab. 1. Cap 32 Thes. 13.) But these are but distri­butions ex Adjunct is, and do not touch or vary the Essence of Membership, nor make several sorts thereof. Nor do these Distinctions and Degrees of Members in the Church, arise simply from the nature of Membership, or from any difference therein, but from something superadded unto Membership: As an Officer is not more a Member then another; but his dignity and place in the Church ariseth from somewhat superadded unto Membership, viz, His Office. A man is not more a Member then [...] woman, though he hath a power and privi­ledge in the Church (besides and above bar Membership) which the woman hath not. So men and women that partake of the Lord, Table, are not more (or more truely, properly, immediately and personally) Members of the Church, then Children are; but they having attained to more and further qualifications, (or to a greater degree of growth in the Church) are by Rule admitted to mor Priviledges then they. Thus in a Kingdome or Commonwealth, there are many sorts of Subjects: some bear Office, some not: some ad­mitted to Election of Officers, some not; some capable of Pleading and answering for themselves in Law, some are not: But yet they all agree in the relation of a Subject. And who ever made a spceifical distinction of that, so as to say (in that sense) some are Mediate Subjects, and some Immediate? The same may be said of a Family, where the youngest Childe is as truely, properly, personally and immediately a Member of the Fa­mily, as the most grown person though as to power and priviledges therein there be a vast difference. So in the Natural Body: All the parts are not an Eye, an Hand, &c. but all are Members; and the meanest part is as well a Member, as the most noble, I Cor. 12. 12—25. Now there is the like reason, as to the general nature of Membership, in a Church-Society, which is set forth by that of a Kingdome▪ Family, and of the Natural body, in the holy Scriptures. And so much for the Discourse upon the second Objection.

In the third place, our Brethren set down this Position or Opinion, as that which is objected against them, That a person who is a Church-member may become no Member by an act or defect or his [...], without any Church-act in Censuring of him; and to this they say, most true it is, that we do main at: [...] And for [...] they suppose [...]e Instances of an English F [...]gitive of [...] Turk, who was never Censured by any Church.

Ans. The Position object [...] against [...], if it be perti [...]ent to the ma [...]ter in hand, must run thus: That a person who is a Church-member m [...]y become [...] Member by an act or defect of his own, without any Church-act in Censuring of him, and without desert of [...]en­sure on his part; or though he do not so much [...]s deserve any Church censure, and be not censurable by any Rule of Gods Word. For so the words of the Synod (in defence of the Controverted [...]nfth Proposition) do expresly speak, putting that as an A [...]urdity, that [Page 12] A person admitted Member, and Sealed by Baptism, not cast out, nor deserving so to be, [...] (the Church whereof he was, still remaining) become a Non-member, and out of the Church, and of the unclean world, pag. 26. Now put but this into the Objection here mentioned [Without desert of Church-censure] which is manifestly the case of the persons described in the Synods fifth Proposition; and then all the discourse in Answer to this Objection (wherein not a little confidence and spirit is expressed) falls to the ground as not reach­ing the case in hand; though besides there are sundry mistakes in it as may after appear. For, suppose it should be granted, that in Churches where Discipline is not in use, and in a case notorious, wherein a person does apparently lose the Essentials of Christianity (as by turning Turk or the like) a man may be cut off from Membership by his own Apostacie and Wickedness, though the Church did not (through her sinful neglect) formally censure him. Yet this on the other hand is also a sure and clear Truth, that no act of a mans own, will or can cut him off from Membership, but that which deserves a cutting off by censure, and for which the Church should cut him off by censure if she did her Duty. This is plain, because when a man is once in the Church, he cannot be ou [...]ed, till God out him: God does not out him, till some Rule or appointment of his in his word does out him: but there is no Rule that appoints any man to be put out of the visible Church, or made as an Heathen and Publican, but for and upon such wickedness of his as is Censurable by the Church; and in that case the Rule does appoint and injoyn the Church to Censure him, or to put him away from among them by censure, Mat. 18. 17. 1Cor. 5. 5, 13. When some Divines do so speak as if persons might be broken off from the Church without a formal Censure in some extra­ordinary cases; the meaning is, not that a man doth by his own wickedness, be it never so notorious, immediately so become Felo de se, or Un-member himself, as that the Church hath nothing to do with him to Censure him; yes, she may and ought to censure him for his wickedness and Apostacy; and so if a Church-member turn Turk or Papist, the Church to which be belongs ought to lay him under Censure for it. And for such a one to be a Mem­ber till Censured, i. e. A rotten Member fit to be cut off, is no contradiction nor absurdity. See Mr. Cottons Holiness of Church-members, Pag. 15.His words are these: Any such notorious offender (having na­med Athiests, Mockers of Religi­on, Witches, Idolaters, Papists) may have the essence and being of a member of the Church, as visible, to wit, in this sense, a corrupt and rot­ten member, fit to be cut off. A member of the visible Church (though formerly are in offensive professor of the faith) may afterwards fall away into any of these notorious Scandals, and yet for a while still re­tain the essence and being of a mem­ber of the Church as visible, to wit, till the Church have orderly pro­ceeded against him; otherwise the Church should want power to pro­ceed to the excommunication of such a notorious delinquent. For what hath the Church to do to judge men without? I Cor. 5. 12. But such within the Church are to be cast out, I Cor. 5. 11. And did all Churches in the world do their duty, there should no man living, that ever was a Member of a Church yet in Being, be looked upon as a Non­member, but he that is so Censured or Excommunicated, at least unless some extraordinary and rare circumstances of a case do render the Chur­ches cognizance thereof impossible. But the meaning onely is, that where men have palpably and notoriously lost the Essentials of Christia­nity, And a Church, through the sinful want or neglect of Discipline, never looks after then (onely by her Doctrine declares against such) but haply continues in that neglect from age to age, there the Notorious­ness of the Case, and the Evidence of the Rule, does supply the defect of a Judicial Sentence, and the Churches Doctrinal Declaration may be looked at as an implicite Excommunication. And hence other Churches may justly carry toward such as Non-members: And hence also in the day of the Reformation of such Churches, after deep and long-conti­nued Corruptions, such persons may be set by without a formal Censure. But what is all this to the Children of our Churches? who being admit­ted in minority, in stead of notorious Wickedness and Apostacy, when grown up do in some measure own the God and Covenant of their fathers, and are neither cast out, nor deserve so to be; whom no Rule in all the Scripture appointeth to be put out of the visible Church: And hence they stand and continue Regular (i. e. according to the Appointment and Allowance of the Rule) Members of it, being neither Excommuni­cate, nor by Rule to be Excommunicated. Where shall we finde either Scripture of sound Reason to tell us, that these have cut themselves off from Membership, or are now become Non-members?

But to come to a plain and distinct close in this matter, we assert this Position:

That in Churches wa [...]king in the Order of the Gospel, and Exercising Discipline according to the Rules thereof; no person can (while be lives among them) cease to be a Member of the visible Church but by Excommunication, or, without a Church-act in Censuring him with the [Page 13] Censure of Excommunication. The sum of the Proof of this, is, Because we finde this way of cessation of Membership (viz. By Excommunication) plainly prescribed and ap­pointed by the Lord in Scripture: And we finde not any other, while the Church and the person continues in Being [See a more particular Proof of it in the Preface to Mr. She­pard's Treatise of Church-membership of Children, lately Published] But if any do affirm there is another way, it lies on them to shew and prove it. Let us now consider whether that be done by all that is here further said.

Preface. When Whitgift said, That Papists and Atheists might still remain Members of the visible Church, Mr. Parker tells him, That even a Vorstius would condemn him. And it is no new Doctrine in the Schools, to say, that, An Heretical Apostate is no more a Mem­ber of the Church of Christ, then a Wound, a Sore, a Brand, is a member of a man; as every one knows that is mediocriter doctus in Scholastical Divinity. Therefore we conclude, That Church-members may become no Members by their own defection.

Ans. Surely he that is but mediocriter doct [...] in Scholastical or Po [...]emical Divinity, may easily know that here is the shew of in Argument, or of Authority of Writers, without the substance of either. For, when our Divines against the Papists do so often over say, that Wicked or Unregenerate persons are but equivocally or improperly Members of the Church, [...] Nails, Hair, Sores, and superfluous Hu [...]urs, or as a wooden Leg, a glass Eye, &c. are mem­bers of the living Body of a man; they mean it properly, with reference to the invisible mystical Church, or to the visible Church considered in its internal spiritual living stateEadem Ec­clesia & plus ba­bet secun [...] u [...]far­man internam ad se pertinentes, & impies at (que) hypo­critas secuna [...]m externam adna­scentes. Jun. A [...]imad. in Bel­larm. p. 111 3., not with reference to mens external standing (or Membership) in the visible Church: Nor did they ever dream that men are by the want of internal gracious quali­fications cut off from Membership in the visible Church, without any Church censure. It is well known, that they reckon Hypocrites [...]nd secretly unregenerate persons (as well as Heretical Apostates, or the openly wicked) to be but equiv [...]cally of the Church (viz. in comparison and contradistinction to the true and living members of the Body of Christ; and as Paul distinguishes between Israel, and them that are of Israel, Rom. 9. 6. and sayes, He is not a Jew, i. e. not a Jew indeed, and accepted in the sight of God, who is but outwar [...]ly one, Rom. 2. 28, 29.) But would you therefore say, that a close Hypocrite un-Members himself, and falls out of the visible Church without any Church-censure? In the place here cited out of Parker de Polit. Eccles. lib. 3. cap 10. pag. 169. Vorstius con­demns Bellarmine, because he affirmed such—(ad Ecclesiam Christ [...] pr [...]pr [...]e d [...]c [...]am revereâ pertinere) to be indeed of the true Church. How strangely is this misapplied to the mat­ter in handIt might af­ford Parker an Argument as to (manifestar [...] pec­cateres) the no­toriously wicked that they should not be tolerated in the Church, but (as excremen­titi [...]ns things) be purged out by the vigoro [...]s use of Discipline, as he there discour­ses: but it tou­ches not out question.? as if one should say, that all that want true saving Faith have lost their Church-membership without any Censure, and then alledge for the Proof of it the Pro­testants Doctrine, that the true [...] or Catholick Church consists onely of Elect Believers: how evident is it [...] is not ad Rem?

For, as for an Extern [...] Membership in the Church (which is the matter that we have in hand) what is more know [...] then that all our Divines do unanimously acknowledge it to be the portion of multitude [...] that have not saving Grace? and that even such as have been born and brought up in the Church, if they fall into manifest incorrigible wickedness, they should be removed out of the Church by Excommunication; but otherwise they are still within, although many of them be destitute of those inward qualifications that should render them living and true Members of the Church mystical: Falsum est (saith Dr. Ames, Bel. Enerv. Tom 2. L [...]b. 2. Cap. 1.) Internas virtutes requir [...] (i. e. absolutè requiri) à nobis ut aliqu is sit in ecclesiâ que [...]d visib [...]lem ejus statum. And see Ames Med. L b. [...]. Cap. 32. Thes. 11. They that are Christians by profession onely (saith Junius) are truely of the Church, according to the external consideration thereof, though not according to the inter­nal, wherein lies the truth of Christianity. Animad. in Be [...] de Eccles. Cap. 10. Art.. 8. And in Cap. 9. Art 1. be saith, We acknowledge there be grievous sinners in this (viz the visible) Church, in which if they were not, [...]e should in vain trouble our selves about their Correction and Excommunication; vid. Calvin institut. Lib. 4. Cap. 1. Sect. 7, 9, 13. Polan. Syntag. Lib. 7. Cap. 8. But it were a needless labour to cite many Testimonies in so manifest a case. When Whitgift had said, that the Church is full of wicked persons, Drunkards, Idola­ters, Papists, Atheists, &c Cartwright Answers him (as Parker in the very place here quoted notes) that, what was because the Discipline of Christ was not attended; shewing that he would have even such not to be left to their own self-felony. (if, being Church-members [Page 14] they fall to such evils) but to be cut off by Christs appointed Discipline. And Cartwright in his second Reply. Part. 1. p. 246. upon that in 1 Cor. 5. 11. among other pas­sages hath these words. It is one case of him that hath given his name to the Gospel & afterward slideth from that profession to Idolatry; and another of him that never gave it, but hath been from his Infancy an Idolater; for the first cannot be severe [...] from the Church without solemn Sentence of Excommunication, see also Pag 242, 247, 248. But the Preface addes:

And [...]e humbly conceive that thus much is held forth by these Scriptures Heb. 10. 25. I Joh. 2 19. Jud. 19.

Ans. That the sin of those who forsake Church-assemblies, separate themselves from them, wander into wayes of Heresie and Apostacy, is grievous (and consequently calleth for Church admonition, and incorrigibleness therein for excommunication) this may be gathered from those Scriptures; but to gather thence, that such forsakers, separatists and wanderers, do thereby become Non-members, so as that the Church should not, need not, or may not follow them with any Censure, is a strange Collection; and would (if granted) at once overthrow all Discipline. For what is more easie then for an offender to forsake the Assembly, to separate himself, &c.? and then the Church shall have no more to do with him; so the process of Discipline appointed in Mat. 18. should never take place. What though there be no mention of Church censure in the Texts alledged? must we binde the Holy-Ghost to mention all Truths and Rules together in one Text or Context? what the sin of such persons is, those Texts shew; but what Discipline is to be used to Church-sinners, this is held forth in other Scriptures. If the Apostle in 1 Job. 2. 19. have reference to Ebion and Cerinthus, and such like Hereticks (as is commonly con­ceived: vid. Magdeburg. Centur. 1. Lib. 2. p. 485) surely he was not without care to have due Testimony by Church-censure born against them, yea when as he does so strictly injoyn all Christians absolutely to avoid them, 2 John ver. 7—10. doth not that import an injunction to the Churches unto which they did belong, to Excommunicate them, if they had not already done it? as when Paul forbids them to eat with such an one, I Cor. 5. 11. he means it, as a consequent upon (and so implying an injunction of) Church-censure. vid. Dickson in 2 Thes 3. 14. & in Rom. 16. 17. & in 2 Tim. 3. 5.

Preface. Againe, how came Esau to lose his Membership? We read not that he was excom­municate, therefore it remains that he discovenanted, and so dis. Membered himself. And how came the Children of Abraham by Keturah to lose their Membership? It was not by Censure.

Ans. 1. Should We thus Reason, you would call for Gospel-Rules and Proofs; which we may with more reason do in this case, because proper Excommunication is plainly and expresly ordained under the Gospel: Concerning the use of which, there is not so much clearness in the Old Testament. 2. The particular extraordinary Revelation of Gods minde concerning Esau, together with his being denied the Patriarchal Blessing, of which the Apostle saith [He was rejected] Heb 12. 17. may well be looked at as equivalent to an ordinary Excommunication under the Gospel. 3. The Posterity of Abraham by Ke­turah, did in process of time lose their Membership, by losing the Essentials of true Re­ligion; and to expect personal Excommunication, when a whole People falis away to Ido­latry, and so becomes Lo-am [...], is a vain thing. But it is a great mistake to think that the particular persons mentioned in Genes. 25. 2, 3, 4. yea or their next generations did cease to be Members of the visible Church. They were Providentially removed out of the Land of Canaan, which was reserved for Israel, and were permitted by degrees to lose Re­ligion, which was by Promise to be continued and established in the line of Isaac, and Ja­cob, so as that in the time of Moses (the Nations being by that time generally fallen to Idolatry) Religion and Worship was so fixed in the Nation and Church of Israel, as that all that would serve God aright must become Proselytes to it, which before that time was not necessary. But Religion and Salvation, and consequently Church membership, ac­cording to the Domestick way of administration then used, did for a considerable time continue among the Children of Abraham by Keturah, as the story of Job intimates; he and his Friends being justly conceived to have been partly of that Stock. And concerning Jethro, who was of Midian, and so of Keturah, see Rivet on Exod. 2. and on Exod. 18 12.

Preface. In like sort when persons under the Gospel do not come up to the terms of the [Page 15] Covenant, [...] shew themselves to be Abrahams Children, by holding forth his Faith, and walk­ing before the Lord in simplicity and Godly sincerity, we suppose that they are justly deemed breakers of the Covenant, and have justly put themselves out of that Covenant which their Parents made for them.

Ans. 1. The persons in question (i. e. the persons described in the Synods fifth Pro­position) do in some degree hold forth their Faith and godly walking, while they are pro­fessed Christians, or professed Believers and followers of the Truth and Wayes of God, wherein they have been educated from their Infancy; do constantly attend the Ordinan­ces and Worship of God; live under, and do not cast off the Government of Christ in his Church, and when called thereto do readily profess their Assent to the Doctrine of Faith, and Consent to the Covenant: Do these (putting all this together) in no sort shew themselves to be Abrahams Children, by holding forth the Faith of Abraham and walking in his steps, i. e. in Charitable and Ecclesiastical Reputation [...] Surely Mr. cotton accounts such as these (yea all the Children of the Faithful that do not grow up to Aposta­cy and open Scandal, or that are not excommunicable) to continue in a visible profession of the Covenant, Faith and Religion of their Fathers; as in those passages of his that are pointed to in the Preface to the late Synod may be seen. And where shall we finde ground in all the Scripture to exclude such as these from being within the compass of the visible Church, or the Covenant thereof?

2. If the meaning be, that they do not yet hold forth such an Experimental work of Faith, or lively discerning and exercise thereof, and so much of the Power of Godliness in their life, as may [...]it them for a comfortable approach to the Lords Supper: Let it, be shewed from the Scripture, that the bare defect or want hereof is such a Violation of the terms of the Covenant, as puts men out of it. We know that every Transgression, [...] falling short of Duty required in the Covenant, is not accounted in Scripture an absolute Breach of the Covenant (or a forsaking and rejecting thereof) such as for which God) gives unto persons or people a Bill of Divorce. Do but compare these persons in question, whom the hasty and rigid Severity of Man here pronounces to be justly deemed Breakers of the Covenant, and to have put themselves out of it, with those whom the Holy, but Merci­ful and Gracious God does in Scripture call and account such Breakers of the Covenant: see Jer. 11. 9, 10. Ezek 16. 8—59. Deut. 29. 25, 26. 2 Chron. 7. 22. 2 King. 17. 15—20. and he that would not cut down (no not the Barren) Fig tree, till further patience and means were used: he that warred on the Jews (whose entrance into the Church was by a Membership received in Infancy) in the Ministry of Christ and the Apostles, with as clear light of the Gospel as ever shone, till utter incorrigible rejection, thereof appeared, before he accounted them broken off, Rom. 11. 16—20. with Act 13. 45, 46. & 18. 5, 6. & 19. 8, 9. 1 Thes. 2. 15, 16. he that followed Jerusalem with means and dispensations of Grace, till they Stoned him away, Mat. 23. 37, &c. can we imagine that he will reckon our poor Children to be broken off as soon as they are adult, if then presently they do not bold forth fitness for the Lords Table? yea, when many of them are it may be secretly following after God, though haply they have not yet attained so much as to make their approach to that Ordinance comfortable; or have not yet the confidence to put forth themselves thereunto? surely the Lord does not make so light a matter of his holy Co­venant and seal (whatever men through mis-guided apprehensions may do) as to enter into a solemn Covenant with Children, take them into his Church, and seal up their taking in before Men and Angels, and then let them goe out so easily, or drop off one knows not how.

3. If they have justly, i. e. meritoriously put themselves out of the Covenant, or so vio­lated the Covenant on their part, as to deserve a putting out, yet still one might ask, how they come to be Actually put out, seeing the Church hath not proceeded, nor seen cause to proceed to any Censure? But if it be indeed so, that they do deserve (i. e. in foro Ecclesi [...]; we speak not of desert in the sight of God) to be put out; if they may be justly deemed Breakers of the Covenant, and are guilty of that which justly puts them out, then it is the Churches duty actually to put them out, or cut them off: for Ecclesiastical justice, as well as Civil, rendreth unto all their due and just deserts: and those that are (Ecclesiastically,) Breakers of the Covenant ought to be cut off, Gen. 17. 14. Hence it will follow upon these Principles, that we ought to cast out and cut off all the adult Children of our [Page 16] Churches that are no [...] come up to full Communion; which thing, how horrid it is to think of, let the Reader judge: or be it that we forbear any formal Censure, and Content our selves onely Doctrinally to declare, that all such Children are put out and broken off, (which Doctrinal) Declaration ****is indeed contained in the Assertions of our Brethren) yet the harshness, and horrid Severity of such a Declaration, is [...] inf [...]rio [...]r to the other, and very contrary to the Patience and Grace of Jesus Christ expre [...]ed in the Scriptures.

Preface. Wherefore that all may know, that there is neither Danger nor Singularity in this our Assertion, That a Church member may possibly become no Member, without any Act of the Church in formal Censuring of him, give us leave to produce some Testimonies to prove it. Judicious and blessed Dr. Ames [...], That in case of pertinacious separation such persons, though [...] may be of the Invisible yet they are not to be accounted Members of the visible Church.

Ans. 1. Suppose you, should prove that a Church member may [Possibly,] become no Member without a Censure; yet we are still utterly to seek of Proof that [...] Children in question do so. 2. How can a Separation be properly [...] and incurable, [...]or appear so to be, till the means of Church discipline have been used? 3. Ames his meaning may be, that such are not to be, accounted [...] and approved Members, as in the close of that Chapter (De Conse. Lib. 5. Cap 12.) he saith, a S [...]bi [...]matical Church is not to be accounted for a lawful and approved Church. 4. We shall not deny but that some good Divines do seem to hold, that in some cases of notorious Wickedness and Apostacy, and so in case of absolute and universal Schism (of which Ames there spe [...]s) especially in places and Churches where Discipline is not used men may be looked at as Non-members, though the Church did [...] a form. I Censure: wherein we shall not trouble our selves with being their Opp [...]nents. It s [...]fficeth us, that in Churches, regularly using Di­scipline there is no ordinary way whereby offenders lose Church-membership, but by Excommunication: And that none can lose it while they lives that are not guilty of such evil as is censureable, or is matter of Excommunication; which the persons in question are not.

Another Testimony here alledged, is from Mr. Cotton in his Way of the Churches, p. 9. where he saith, that Many in Churches have [...]ut themselves off.

Ans. Had the whose sentence been set down, every Reader would have seen the impertinency of the Allegation, as to the Persons and Case in question, Mr. Cottons, words are these: Many in other Churches have [...] themselves off from the Covenant by their [...] wickedness and profaneness. And with all in the same place he [...]addes, that Arel [...]psed Church, with all the Members of it, are bound to renew their Covenant in order to Reformation: which shews, that they were not wholly cut off before, though their Membership was but by being born in the Church, and baptized, for of that he there speaks. We [...] not, but among the Members of such Relapsed Churches might be found many much [...] degenerate, then those described in the Synods Fifth Proposition; much less therefore [...] those Discovenanted, but being in Covenant, are bound to renew it in order to full Com­munion.

The next Testimony here produced, is from those words in the Discourse of Church-Covenant, pag. 17. viz. That if men [...] not promised and also performed in [...]san [...] me [...] of truth, the duties of Faith and obedience unto God, they had not taken hold of the Covenant, but had Dis [...]oven [...]ted the [...] notwithstanding all the Promises, of God unto their Fathers and others. Thus though God promised Abraham to be a God to him, and to hi [...] seed in their generations, Genes, 17 7. yet the Ish [...]aelites and [...] descending from Abra­ham, were Discovenanted by not promising nor performing those duties of Faith and Obedience which God required on the peoples part. [...] the Apologist) were, Truth in the year 1629. ( [...] Approbation of the [...] we see no reason why it should not be Truth in the [...] semp [...]r eadem est. Either this was a Mistake then or else it is a Truth at this day.

Ans. Let the words here cited be [...] interpreted, and they contain nothing re­pu [...]nant to the present Doctrine of the Synod. For, it is true, that if men do not promise, or do not perform in some measure (yea in some measure of truth i. e. visibly, and in Cha­ritable and Ecclesiastical reputation) the duties of Faith and Obedience into God, they do [Page 17] Discovenant themselves, i. e. they do it meritoriously, and do what lies in them on their part to destroy their Membership: And they so do it, as will inferred the absolute loss or their Membership, viz. either by formal Excommunication, it you speak of particular persons, and [...]f the church do her duty; or by the [...] giving them [...] of Divorce, it you speak of whole Bodies of People, as here the [...] and [...] are spoken of. But what is all this to the Children of our Churches, described in the Synods Fifth Pro­position, who do promise, and do in some measure (though not in so full a measure as were to be desired) perform the duties of Faith and Obedience. This might be true in 1639. and in 1662. also. And yet our Assertion may be true, and yours fal [...]e notwithstanding, Let our Children appear to be such as the Edomites and [...] were; o [...] let them ap­pear to be such as do in no measure, (yea, in no measure of truth, i. e. as to Church-visibility, or charitable hope; for the Church can [...]g [...], no further) perform the duties of Faith and Obedience, and we will with you plead to have them put out of the Church. But till then, i. e. as long as they do in some measure (though yet but in a small and [...] measure) perform the Duties, and retain the Essentials of Christianity or of Faith and Obedience; they continue (yea regularly continue) in the Church, for ought that hath yet appeared, either in 1639, or in 1662. We are loth so take notice of the in­sulting Expressions that are here used, which are too too uncomely; especially there where the [...] Commandment requi [...]eth Special Honour: But the intelligent Reader [...] will easily, see the vanity of this Confidence, to bring a Testimony concerning the discovenanting of the [...] and Ed [...]mites, (for they are expresly instanced in, as the Expl [...]ation of the not- [...]miting, no [...] performing the duties of Faith and Obedience in­tended by the Author) and then to triumph in it, as if that proved the Discovenanting of our Hopefull and Non-excommunicable children, or thwarted the Doctrine of the synod.

When it is here added, [This is the main thing wherein we Dissent from the major part of the Synod] If by [This] be meant the Assertion which is before expressed; viz that [...] may possibly become no Member, without any act of the Church in [...] him; then it is a great and strange misrepresentation to say, that this is the main [...] of your Dissent. For, there be them that do heartily consent to all, the Conclusions of the synod, and yet do hold, and did in the synod express as much. That in some notorious cases, and where the Church neglects her duty (as hath been before said) persons may be broken off, and looked at as Non-members, though not formally, Censured; or that a Church-member may possibly, in some cases, become no Member, without a formal Censure: The Reader therefore is greatly mis-led, and mis-informed, when he is told [...] This is the main Point of our Dissent. But when you assert, that the Children in question are became no Members, or that persons, who were before Members, do become no Members as soon as ever they are adult, meerly by want of fitness for shall [...], though they neither have nor deserve to have any Church, censure p [...]ised upon them: This we confess is a main Point wherein you Dissent from the Synod, and (we suppose) from Scripture, and sound Reason [...].

Preface. Here [...]et us adde the words of Mr. Cotton, in [...] Excellent Treatise of The Ho­liness of Church members, which are these following: [Such as are born and baptized. Members of the Church, are not o [...] [...]ly continued and confir [...]ed Members, unless when they grow up to years they [...] before the Lord and his People pro [...]ess their Repentance and Faith in Jesus Christ]

Answ; It is manifest, that by Confirmed Members all along in that Book, Mr. Cotton meaneth such as are admitted to full Communion or [...]o the Lords Supper, and Voting (and so he doth expresly explain himself Pag. 19.) and for that, it is well known, we stand [...] for the same qualifications that Mr. Cotton intendeth according to Platform of Discipline, Cap. 12. Sect. 7. The word [Continued] is it deed added in pag. 19. (though not so in pag. 41.) of that Book; but it is added in a Copulative way, [Continued and Confirmed] where all the parts must be taken together, to make up the truth of such an Axiome: Besides that, the persons in question do make some profession of Faith and Repentance, i. e. in an Initial and Educational [...] so as [...] to their continuance in the visible Church, thought it, may not at pres [...]n [...] suffice to full communion. Mr. Cotton was f [...]rre from con­ceiving that such non-scandalous persons as are the Subject of▪ our Question are to be ou [...] [Page 18] [...], or looked upon as cut off from continuance in the Church; as (besides what is [...] of his in the Synods Preface) may appear plainly out of this very Tre [...]tise (which is [...]ell called by one Brethren An Excellent Treatise) of the Holiness of Church-members; for pag. 3. mentioning a distinction of Mr▪ Rutherfurds. That a Church may be [...] no Church, no Spouse jure & merit [...], & quoad vocationem Passivam, in respect of bad deser­ving, and their not answering to the Call of God, on their parts; and yet the same Church remain de facto, for [...]aliter, & quoad vocationem [...] the Spouse and Bride of Christ: He saith, This Distinction I can admit, if it be understood of a Church that hath formerly answered the [...] of God, and submitted to the Ministry of the Gospel, at least in out­ward profession of the fundamentals of sound Doctrine, and pure Worship: for such a Church, thought: of or their children may afterward degenerate, and go a [...] from [...] Do­ctrine and Worship, yet God in his patience and bounty is not [...]ont so [...] to cast off them, [...]. The next generation after Joshua went a whoring from Go [...], and for­sook [...] Lord God of their fathers, and served B [...]alim yet still the Lord accounte, them his People, and sent them Judges and Prophets a restore and recover them. And pag. 19, 20. he mentions distinctly by way of Consectary from the Proposition here ci [...]d by our Bre­thren, two or three sorts of persons who are not to be continued in the Church, though born and baptized in it; viz. 2. The grosly Ignorant of the first Principles and Foundations of Religion—3. Persons notoriously Scand [...]ous for any gross crime, as [...]olatry, Adul­tery, &c. but not a word of such an inference as our Brethren seem to make, viz. the dis­continuance unchurching of such a sort of persons as are the Subject of [...] Question. And it is observable all along in that Book; that he pleads not for the un-membering of any that are once in the Church, yea though they came in but by a Membership received in Infancy (for of such he often expresly speaks, and such were the Members of those Churches he disputes upon in Answer to his Opponents) but onely such as are scanda­lous and wicked, and deserve Excommunication, and he would have them also un-membered by Excommunication, and no [...] by a Self-felony onely: See pag. 8, 15, 28, 32, 56, 57, 60.

Preface. Renowned Parker, speaking of the interpretation of those words [Laying on of Hands] in Heb 6.2 [...] many judicious Writers, whose judgement be expresseth in words to this purpose; That they who were baptized in minority, when they are grown up, after that the Church had approved their faith by the Symbol of Imposition of Hanas, they were admit­ted Members of the Church: this was according to sound Doctrine in the Primitive times (as Parker saith.) Now we demand, how they can be admitted as Members, who are already as compleat, and perfect Members as any in the Church? But the Ancient Doctrine was, That Children who were baptized in minority, after they shall come to profess their faith so as to be accepted of the Church, may be admitted a Members: Therefore according to the Ancient Doctrine, such Children are not as compleat and perfect Members at any in the Church.

Answ. Whether the words [Tanquam membra Admittebantur] be Parkers own words or Calvins (for he speaks as if he cited only Calvins words; yet we finde not those expres­sions used by Calvin either on Heb. 6. 2. or in his Institutions. De Confirm [...]tion [...], though in both places is the substance of the thing which Parker alledgeth from him) the matter is not great. It is manifest from the whole discourse, that Parker is there speaking of such as are admitted to full communion, as we call it. If he there used the term [Mem­bers] for Persons admitted to the Lords Table, and to all church-priviledges, it is no harder [...] then hath been used in this Country for many years, yet that argues nor that [...] or that Parker [...] Children to [...] no members before. It is observed of the An­cients that they spake more securely before the Rise of Pelagius; men are less [...]rious in [...], when they speak about Points of which no Con [...]versie is moved and wherein their judgements are otherwise sufficiently known. As what is more abundantly and uni­versally agreed [...] among all our Divines, then this, that The Children of Believers are Members of the Church, or a part of it [...] Parker, within six Lines of the place cited, calls them [in Ecclesiâ [...]nati] Born in the Church; and opposeth them to [Extrane [...]] i. e. to such as are without. Dr. Ames gives it as the Doctrine of the Protestants, [...] En [...]ru [...]tom. [...] 2. cap. 1. The Infants of the faithful unless they were to be accounted Members of the Church, they cu [...]ht not to be baptized. Ursin and Par [...]us say Omnesil (que) soli, &c. All and onely those are to be baptized by, Christ, Command, who are his Disciples (Mat. 28. 19.) i. e. those that are, and [...] [...]ole [Page 19] accounted Members of the visible Church, whether they [...]e adult persons professing Faith and Repentance; or Infants [...] the Church. Again, The Infants of Christians do as well [...] the adult belong to the Coven [...] and Church of God, and are therefore to be baptized, because the whole Church ought to [...] baptized. [...] Expli [...]at. Pag. 367. This Truth is joyntly acknowledged by the Protestant [...] Churches, as appears in the H [...]rmony of their Confessions; The [...] Gods peculiar people, and in the Church of God, ( [...] in the number of Gods people. (Bohe­mian Confession, pag. 399.) [...] the Parents account their posterity also to be of the Church: [...] They condemn the Anabaptism, who hold that Infants be not with in the Church of God. (Convention of Auspurg, pag. 404.) Infants belong to the Covenant and Church of God, [...] adult, saith the Palatinate Catechism, Quest 74.

Now this being so, that it is the manifest Doctrine of all our Divines, that Children are Members of the Church; and neither did they imagine, that when adult they drop off by a Self-felony, or we know not how: For [...] had said, that Children being grown [...] if they, being askt, would not stand to what had been promised in their behalf, they were to be left to themselves: Calvin [...] as the saving of a man not well exercised in Church-governmentCalvin [...] pu [...]d pag 346. See also [...]hemnit-Ex [...]m. Cont. [...] ver. 2. de Baptis, Can. 14. &c. de Con [...]rmat. sub Can. 3. whose words is the former of these places, the Reader may find Engli [...]ed in the beginning of Mr Shepards Treatise about the Church membership of Children lately Printed. And Cartwright to that Question, What are the Duties of the rest of the Church, that are present at a Childes Baptisme? Answers,Cartwright Ca­tech. pag. 185. 1. To Rejoyce and be glad at the increase of Gods Church—3. When the childe cometh to age to do such duties as one Member oweth to another: he did not think its Membership ceased with Infancy, but (saith he) when it cometh to age, such duties are to be done to it as one Member oweth to another. Hence we say, is it rational so [...]ound [...] Parker or Calvin, as if they did think (or, approved it as sound Doctrine in others to think) that they who were Baptized in minority, when after they are grown up, they have approved their Faith, they are then first admitted Members, as if they were no Members of the Church before? as the Reader would think that that were the scope and sense of the Testimony here cited. But to cite [...] of passages in Authors in a sense contrary to those Authors known and declared judgement, is very injurious both to them and to the Reader. He that reads what this Pre­face here saith, would think that it is the Judgement of many judicious Writers cited by Parker, that Children do then first enter into Church-membership when their Faith is ap­proved by the Church, after they are grown up, and that they are not Members at all be­fore that: when as it is most certain, and evident, that neither Parker, nor any judicious Writer cited by him, nor any one heretofore approved for a judicious Writer, either Ancient or M [...]dera, did indeed so judge, but the contrary. And Parkers words are clearly in­tended in another sense, viz. with reference to full Communion. And so speaking of the very same matter in the first book of his Ecclesiast [...] Cap. 10. he saith, That in the Refor­med Churches the adult are examined by the Presbytery, approved by the consent of the People, and received by the whole Church as Members of their Communion in a special manner, and so are as it were confirmed before they be admitted to the Lords Supper; where [Members of their Communion in a special manner] is the same with [Members in full Communion] in our Language: and so his words, together with the known practice of the Reformed Churches, do plainly confirm our distinction between Initiated Members and Member [...] in full Communion; but they are far from intending or holding forth either a denial of Chil­drens membership, or a collation thereof as soon as they become adult.

As for the Inference that is here made from Parkers Testimony; Therefore ac­cording to the Ancient Doctrine such Children are not as compleat and perfect Members as any in the Church.

Ans. If his words do hold in the sense in which they are here alledged, then Children are not onely not as compleat and perfect Members as any in the Church, but they are not Members at all, or Non-members, seeing they are not (it seems) admitted Members, till when adult they have made their Profession. As for their being compleat and perfect Members its well known we say and hold that they are not compleat or perfect in point of Communion, or Priviledge, but onely in regard of the Essence or Relation of Membership, [Page 20] i. e. they are properly and compleatly with [...] [...] Church; and not half i [...], and half [...]. To be (according to divine Institution) [...] the Church, is to be a Member of the Church, as the Boo [...], (before which this Preface is [...]) [...] owns; pag. 4 [...] and [...] any man [...]ew us one Orthodox Divine, or Judicious Writer, before or [...] Parkers dayes, that ever said that the Children of the Faithful are ( [...]ther while infants, or when adult, supposing them not excommunicate nor deserving [...]o to be) not within the Church. But withal we hold, and so did Parker, and the Reformed Churches, that there are many [...] the Church, who may not have compleat or full communion in all the Priviledges thereof, and so are not compleat or perfect Members in that sense, and [...] Ames M [...]du [...] ▪ Lib. [...] Cap. 32. Thes. 13. It is not we but you, that will have Children (at least all adult Children) to be as compleat, and perfect Members (in this sense) as any in the Church, or else to be no Members at all, seeing you acknowledge none that are adult to be Mem­bers unless they be in full Communion.

It is further added; That when they are adult, in case they do not joyn unto the Church, their they do not retain their Membership [...] they [...] in minority Now to joyn to the Church is the act of one that [...] not) [...], or is not a Member▪ so that unless they own themselves to be not Members (or unless they own themselves to have lost their Member­ship) they do not retain [...] Members [...] this [...] confess we do not-understand. But so much for the discourse upon the [...] Objection.

In the Answer to the Fourth Objection, there is an (thigh Profession of much zeal for Church care and Watch [...] be extended toward Children, and much clearness there­in (even as the light at Noon, and as if in were written with the beams of the Sun) [...] so as that the Reader would expect to finde very ample▪ s [...]tisfiction in that matter; but when it comes to, it falls flat to no more but this; That the watch over the [...] is to be mediate ac­cording to the state of their Membership: the Church [...] [...]o see that the Parents [...] their, [...] toward their Children [...]

Now we [...] whether this be any more then the Church should extend, to a Negro, Or Indian living in the Family of one of their brethren, [...] should they out see that he do his duty toward him, and that in reference to the things of Religion? yea, we might further ask whether this mediate watch (viz. by seeing that the Parents do their duty, doth not belong as much to Children when they are rejected and [...] by the Church, as our Brethren would have them? And what s [...]ll become of Children when their Parents are dead (as how many Fatherless and Motherless Children are an or [...] us?) or farre re­moved; and when Children are sui jur [...], and not under the wings [...] their Parents? and why also should not Baptism and Cate [...]iz [...]ng (as [...] as other Church benefits) be dis­pensed onely mediately [...]d not immediately unto Children? [...] Reader may here see [...] the difference about mediate and immediate Membership is more then a notion, it contains under [...] thing of great moment. This mediate Membership is made medium to put ou [...] poor Children from under the Government [...] or [...] did to set them (in their own persons) as Lambs in a large place. For by this the Church [...] nothing to do with them, nor can put forth in any act (either of Watch o [...] Censure) immediately upon them, but upon their Parents onely. But that Church-watch Government, no Discipline is to be exten­ded and administred to our Children personally and immediately (i. e. according as in regard of age, and understanding they are capable there if viz. Instruction and Inspe­ction, and that in an official way▪ even in younger years, and [...] Ce [...]sur [...]s when adult, if they f [...]ll into such offences as d [...]nt [...]d and deserve the same) the Reader [...] finde confirmed in the Synods Arguments▪ and in the following Defence [...] Discipline subjacent omn [...]s in Unitate [...]. Ra [...] Disci­p [...]in. pag. 7 [...]. H [...]ply the A [...]errion here about this mediate Church-care, is [...] under that Clause [Those Children that are in Minority.] But [...] 1. [...] (by Instructions Counsels, Warn­ings, Reproofs, Exhortations &c) and that i [...] an [...] and upon the ac­count of their Memberly Relation, may head [...]i [...]stred unto Children themselves imme­diately in their own persons (besides looking to Parents that they do their duties to them) even while they are in their Minority, though [...]ot yet capable of publick Censures. 2. They are in the same state and Relation to the Church (though not of t [...]e same capacity) when in minority and when adult: If therefore (not because of their natural in capacity, but) because of the nature of their membership, onely mediate, and no Immediate [Page 21] Church-care, Watch and Government belong to them, while in minority neither doth▪ it belong to them when adult: and therefore this notion excludes all our Children, both younger and elder from being under any Church government immediately in their own persons. So that let them run on in never such vil [...] courses t [...]e Church cannot deal with them but with their Parents onely; and yet the case may often so be, that the Parents are neither bl [...]meable for their [...], nor able to return the same.

But is mediate as the [...] Membership is, here is some what added, that shall touch these adult Children themselves; and what is that? Why, If [...] they shall be adult they do not bring first fruits of Repentance, and Faith, then the Church is to disown them, [...] [...]avin▪ no part in the Lord.

Ans. 1. Is t [...]is according to the Spirit of Christ, or like the Lords proceeding with his Covenant-people in the Scripture, presently to disown them, and cast them off, if some evil [...] its, nay if want of good fruits he [...] in them, then at first step to call them [...] and tell them they have no part in the Lord? Hath the Lord vouchs [...]fed to take [...] persons into his glorious Covenant▪ and to real it- [...]o them in Baptism before Men and Angels; and doth it c [...]me but to this? that i [...] poor Children, as soon as the day of ripe understanding dawns upon them, do not, bring for [...] fruits of Faith and Repentance, yea such fruits as may fit them for full Communion, they are [...] presently declared to [...]e Discovenanted, and to be turned adults as those who have no part in the Lord? It is true, the most hopeful Childe, yea the best of us all, might [...] be Discovenanted by the Lord, should be strictly mark what is ami [...]s and deal according to our deserts, but he is gra­ciously pleased not to proceed with [...] severity, but with much [...] and long suffer­ing towards those whom he once takes into Covenant. And who or what is man, that he should be more holy then [...] Lord! Let but that one Scripture be looked upon (among many [...]) [...] the barren Fig-tree. which is here cited, as if it gave some coun­tenance to this present Disowning. in case of barrenness. The Lord comes in the time and season of fruit, and [...] none, and yet he waits another year after that▪ and a [...] after that (i. e. a long time, and with great demonstration of patience▪ before he speaks of cutting it down; and then the [...] (acted therein by the Spirit of God) cries (not Cut it, down presently, but) Lord, let it alone one year more (i. e. till it appear ut­terly hopeless, and incureable) that I may dig about it, and dung it: He chooseth rather to make it a Subject of Labour and Culture, then to ease himself by riding his hands of is. Also that Parable [...] [...]o the people [...]f the Jews, [...] and among whom [...] preached: Now the following story of the New Testament tells us▪ that Christ and his Apostles waited on them, till they appeared altogether incureable and inc [...]rr [...]g [...]ble, and till their [...] discovered it self by positive fruits of wicked opposing and rejecting the Gospel before they were cut down, or broken off: And the Apostles when they preached to the Adult, and yet impenitent Jews, did not tell them they [...] no part in the Lord, but on the contrary expresly told them, they had a part in the Lord, and in his Co­venant-dispensations, and urged that as an Argument to draw them to repent and believe, though they had not yet done it, Acts 3. 19, 25, 26. Act. 13. 26. 46. They were farre from [...] an occasion of making them cease from [...]earing the Lord, by telling them they had no part in him.

2. Suppose any of these Children when adult do bring forth some fruits of Faith and Repentance▪ (is those described is the Synods fifth Proposition, Can hardly be denied in charitable reputation to do) though not so full and ripe fruits as were to be desired, and [...]aply not such, as themselves do finde encouragement to approach to the Lords Table; what shall be done to these? shall they be Owned or Disowned? are they In the Church, or Out? If in why is Baptism denied to their Children? If Out, how come they so to be [...] of where doth God in his Word say, or allow us to say to such hopeful young men and women, as through grace many of our Children are (though not yet in full Commu­nion) That they have no part in [...] Lord?

3. What is this Disowning? and where shall we have Scripture-warrant for such a Church [...] as is not Excommunication? for That, our Brethren [...] not warrant to proceed unto; but [...] down this Rule [The Church is to disown them▪ as having no part in the Lord] If any man speak (especially if he speak Rules according to which the Church is to practise) let him speak at the Oracles of God. It were needful that this dis­owning [Page 22] (contradistinguished to Excommunication) should be cleared from thence. Ad­monition and Excommunication we hear plainly of in the Scripture, and in Orthodox Divi­nity; but a Disowning, that is a kinde of publick Church-censure, and yet is neither Ad­monition, nor Excommunication, this seems to be a new invented piece of Discipline. We demand, whether this Disowning be not a putting one out of the Church, that was be­fore in it? If so, what is it but Excommunication, which the Apostle expresseth by that [Put away from among you, 1 Cor. 5. 13.] if not, is it not a vain thing? The person whom you are about to Disown is either within the Church, or without; a Member, or not a Member Contradiction caret simpliciter omni medio. [...]eck. Log. pag. 281. Hookers Survey, pag. 17. If he be within why may you not judge and censure him with the Censure of cutting off, or casting out, i. e. Excommunication (1 Cor. 5. 12, 13.) there being cause for it? If he be without, why should you disown him, any more then you d [...] Nonmembers, or such as were never joyned to the Church? Would it not seem a strange and vain thing, if the Church should put forth a solemn publick Act to disown a company of Non-members that are without the Church? to what purpose should this be? How Acts 8. 21. here cited in the Margin, should make for this disowning, we understand not. Peter there tells Simon Mag [...] that he was farre from having any part or lot in the matter of conferring the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, which he never had, but ambi­tiously aspired after; but doth not declare that he had Discovenanted himself, or [...]ad loss his Membership which he once had. And whatever became of Simon Magus afterward (of which the Scripture is silent, and stories uncertain) there is no ground to think, that he was then put out of the Church, or lost his Membership. But rather the Apostle (by grave Apostolical Rebuke and Counsel) applies himself to him, a [...] to one in the Church, to bring him to Repentance, and to that sincerity of grace, which he yet wanted, Verse. 22, 23.

As for the Reason here rendred, why Excommunication agrees not to the Children in question, viz. because It is applicable to none but those who have been in full Communion. This is but a begging of the Question,Catabaptist [...]e decent non posse Exommunicationem in Ecclesiam reduci, [...] baptizentur qui Sci­entes jugo Christ [...] Collum submit­tant. Bucer in Joh. fol 45. and carrieth not Evidence of Truth with it. For Excommunication (i. e. the utmost Censure, so called) doth not properly or nextly debarre or exclude from full Communion, but it cutteth off from Membership (rendreth a per­son as an Heathen and Publican, Mat. 18. 17.) and so from that Com­munion that belongeth to a Member as such. See Mr. Cotton expresly holding forth Excommunication to be ap­plicable to such as the Children in question, in Holiness of Church-members, pag. 57. When a person that hath stood for some time Admonished, is afterward, for his contumacy, ex­communicated, it is not Excommunication that doth immediately and properly put him out of full Communion, for that was done by Ad­monition; whereby, being Ecclesiastically unclean, he was justly suspend­ed from eating of the Holy things: but Excommunication cuts him off from Membership, which Admonition did not. Hence it is not full Communion, but Membership that doth properly, and formally render a person a subject capable of Ex­communication: Hence it agrees to all that are Members though they have not been in full Communion; and every Member hath some Communion though not full Communion, and therefore may be excommunicated. Paul when he is speaking of the Churches judicial proceeding, and that unto Excommunication, makes it applicable to all that are within, 1 Cor. 5. 12. if in full Communion, yet Church-judgement falls upon them not as in full Communion, but as within, The casting out of Cain and Ishmael, the cutting off of the born Members of the Church of Israel from their People (an expression often used) the casting out of the children of the Kingdome, Matth. 8. 12. do at least by conse­quence, and by proportion, and par [...]y of Reason, shew that the Children in question may be cast out, and cut off from the Church by the Censure of Excommunication.

As for that term of [Formal] Excommunication, we know not that we are limited to this or that precise form of words, in Excommunicating one sort or other; but the formal nature of the thing (viz. a putting of one out of the Church that was before in it.) This well agrees to the persons in question.

We pass by the fifth and last objection (which chargeth our Dissenting Brethren with Weakness, Ignorance, &c.) as containing nothing that is Argumentative to the matter in hand. Neither do we own the Objection, unless it be against our selves, who are (as we [Page 23] have acknowledged in our Preface to the Synods conclusions) poor, feeble, frail [...] desiring not to trust unto, or boast of any strength of our own (which is none at all) but onely to the strength and grace of Jesus Christ, withall acknowledging that grace of his, whereby he doth vouchsafe sometimes to reveal his Truth unto Babes. We tender onely Scriptures and Scripture-arguments, for that which we maintan, desiring that they may be impartially considered, without challenging to our selves, or pleading for the Reputation of Strength or Wisdome. In Disputes of this nature, it is impossible but that each part should look upon the Arguments on either hand, as strong or weak, ac­cording as they are perswaded. But can we not deal with Arguments, without being sup­posed to reflect upon the Persons each of other? We suppose you do not see sufficient strength in our Arguments (for then you would judge as we do) and in that sense you do impute weakness to them. In the like sense do we unto yours, but desire to do it with­out any harsh reflexions upon the Persons of our Brethren, and without liftings up in our selves, who have cause enough to lye in the dust before God and man.

But here our Brethren take occasion to set down the Reasons of their Dissent from the Synod: which make up a second main Part of this Preface. The Consideration whereof we shall now address our selves unto.

Reason 1. The Synod did acknowledge, That there ought to be true saving Faith in the Parent, according to the judgement of rational Charity, or else the Childe ought not to be baptized. But they would not let this (which themselves acknowledged) be set down, though our Unity lay at the stake for it.

Answ. The regular receiver of the Truth, is one that divides the Hoof, as well as chews the Cud; one that doth not take all in a Lump, but distinguishes, and rightly di­vides between things that differ. We are to distinguish here,

1. Between Faith in the being or first beginning of it, whereby one is, or is reputed to be in the state of a Believer, the charitable judgement whereof runs upon a great Lati­tude; and Faith in the special exercise of it, whereby one is fit for that special Commu­nion with, and active Fruition of Christ, which is the scope of the Lords Supper: unto the visible discovery whereof, more lively Fruits, and more experienced Operations of Faith are requisite.

2. Distinguish between the internal Grace it self, which is required of them that par­take of Sacraments in the sight of God; and those external signs of that Grace which the Church is to proceed upon in her Admission of persons unto Sacraments. These two Di­stinctions being attended, and rightly applied, will help to clear both the Truth it self in this matter from mistakes, and the Proceedings of the Synod from those uncomfortable Reflexions that are here cast upon them.

The former of these Distinctions, and the application thereof to the matter in hand, we have in Dr. Ames; Medul. Lib. 1. Cap. 32. Thes. 13. And see cap. 40. Thes. 6, 10, 11, 12, 16, 18. And M. Shepards late Printed Letter, pag. 16, 17. Children (saith he) are not to be admitted to partake of all Church-priviledges, until first increase of Faith do appear, but from those which belong to the beginning of Faith, and entrance into the Church, they are not to be excluded. Where the Doctor di­stinguisheth between (Initium Fidei) The beginning of Faith; and (Incre [...]entum Fidei) The increase or growth of Faith, and makes the former to suffice unto Baptism, but the latter to be requisite to full Communion, or to the Lords Supper. An initial Faith en­titleth to the Seal of Initiation, but a grown Faith (i. e. a Faith of some growth, though yet farre short of Perfection, and needing to grow still) a Faith growing up unto some sensible and lively exercise, is requisite unto the Sacrament of growth and fruition. They were Believers, yet but initial Believers, that John baptized, in the first dawning or begin­ning of the Gospel, Mark 1. 1—4. The Apostles constantly baptized persons upon the first beginning of their Christianity, but the Lords Supper followed after, as annexed to some progress in Christianity.

The latter Distinction also is obvious and necessary. Who ought to come, and, Who ought to be admitted, are two distinct Questions, say Ursin, andCatech. Ex­plic. in qu [...]st. 81. pag. 426. Pareus. We grant that true saving Faith and Repentance is required by God of those that partake of Sacraments for themselves, or for their Children: But the Question is, what are the external signs and tokens of that Grace, which an Ecclesiastical charitable Reputation may proceed upon; for we can go no further then the judgement of rational Charity (as here our Brethren ac­knowledge) and that proceeds upon outward probable signs, leaving the infallible know­ledge [Page 24] of the heart to God onely. The distinction between a Jew outwardly, or a visible Jew that hath praise of (or approbation among) men, and a Jew inwardly that hath praise of God, is a Scripture distinction. Rom. 2. 28, 29. and is necessary to be attended [...] for, De [...]occult is non judical Ecclesia, l Cor. 4. 5. And here also we conceive, that the same strictness, as to outward signs, is not necessary unto a charitable probable judgement or hope of the being of Faith, or of that initial Faith that entitleth to Baptism, as is unto the like judgement of the special exercise of Faith that is requisite to the Lords Supper; there be many things that do both really, and in the just reputation of men, binde the exercise of Grace, and so hinder from the Lords Supper, which yet do not take away a charitable hope of the Being of Grace, or the state of a Believer. If a man be un­der offence in the Church, he is suspended from the Lords Supper (till a renewing or exercise of Repentance do appear) yet we still repute him to be in the state of a Believer, or to have the Being of Grace.

Now then to apply this to the Synods proceedings, for Answer to what is here sold, viz. [That the Synod did acknowledge there ought to be true saving Faith in the Parent to the judgement of rational Charity, or else the Childe ought not to be Baptized; yet could not be prevailed with to set this down [...] a Conclusion.]

1. We did and do acknowledge, that in Ecclesiastical Charitable Reputation; there must [...]e Faith, (yea true saving Faith: those words hurt us not, provided they be not so strained, as to turn Charity into Rigid Severity) i. e. the being of Faith whereby a person is accounted to be in the state of a Believer (Baptism being, as was in the Synod alledged, annexed properly to the state of a Believer, or to the Covenant-state of a person, and not to the present act or exercise of Faith; and hence though there be no Parent alive to act for the Childe, and the Childe cannot at present act for it self, yet that hinders not its Baptism:) but we did not acknowledge, It was necessary there should be Faith in the l [...]vely and special exercise of it, such as we justly require an appearance of unto rational Charity, in order unto full Communion, which is that our Brethren aim at, and stand for, in all whose Children they will have Baptized. And to set down a conclusion in general terms, when the nature of the case calls for distinctness, is not rational.

2. Our main Work was to consider of, and pitch upon such external Signs and Characters, as the Churches Charity might and should proceed upon in this case. We all own, that onely visible Believers, or visible Saints, are to have their Children Baptized; but the Question is, Who are to be accounted visible Believers; and we say that those described in the fifth Proposition are of that number. To have put it in such a general term, as [Those that profess, or hold forth Faith and Repentance unto the satisfaction of rational Charity] had been to leave the matter as obscure as we found it, and in stead of giving light to the Churches (which is the end of Synods) to leave them in the dark without any help to discover their way: for still they are to seek, who those are that are to be accounted Professors of Faith and Repentance, and what Profession that is, that Charity may accept in order to their Childrens Baptism. Besides, it is well known, that those expressions [Or holding forth Faith and Repentance, &c.] have been constantly to taken in this Country, as to hold forth the qualifications required for full Communion: and that was it which our Brethren strove for, so to screw up the Expressions for Baptism, as that all that have their Children Baptized must unavoidably be brought to the Lords Table, and to a power of Voting in our Churches, wherein we cannot consent to them: and however we are charged with corrupting the Churches, yet we believe time will shew that that Principle that over inlargeth full Communion, or that will have all, of whom we can have any hope that they have any good in them, to come to the Lords Table; this (we say) will prove a Church-corrupting Principle, and those that have laboured to keep up the partition here, will be found to have been seriously Studious of the Purity and safety of the Churches.

3. But when it is said, that the Synod could not be brought to express what themselves acknowledged, viz. that the Parent whose Childe i [...] baptized must have Faith to the judgement of Charity, or (which is all one) must be a visible believer: we desire it may be considered with what Truth this can be said: for it was offered again and again, to express it more plainly, and particularly, if that would have satisfied, as these that were present at those agitations (too long here to be inserted) may remember, and the Proposition made▪ was [Page 25] refused by some of themselves that dissented; but it is competently expressed in the Synods Result, as now Printed; for when we limit the Baptizable to confederate visible believers, and their Inf [...]nt-seed, in Propos. 1. & 2. and then say, that those described in Propos. 5, 6, & 7. are to have their Children Baptized, doth it not imply, that the Pa­rents there described are Confederate visible believers, unless you will make us to speak in­consistencies? Again, it is expresly made one Argument to prove the fifth Proposition, that The Parents there described are Confederate visible believers. And do we not then express [...], that the Parent whose Childe is to be Baptized must be a Confederate visible Believer? and is not that all one, as to have true Faith in the judgement of Charity? How then is it here-said, that the Synod would not let this which themselves acknowledged, be ex­pressed, though our Unity lay at the stake for it? surely such misrepresentation of things with so much injurious reflexion [...]ould be for born by Godly Brethren. If that would have United us, to own that the Parent must be a visible Believer, it was owned, and granted toties quoties, and is contained in the Propositions and Arguments, as any Intelligent Reader will easily see. But the disagreement lay here, that your selves would not consent to any such acceptation, or to any such Characters or Expressions of a visible Believer, but such as should unavoidably bring Him into full Communion. And we di [...]ered about this, Who are visible Believers? Not whether the Parents that have Baptism for their Children must be such. In sum, the Reason of our disagreement, was not because we would not own our [...] Principle, (as is here strangely represented) but because we could not Consent to yours, and because you refused to have a common Principle any way expressed but so as might suit with your own Notion, though our Unity lay at the stake for it.

Reason 2. The second Reason which our Brethren here give of their dissent from the Synod, stands thus;

There is no warrant in all the Scripture, to apply the Seal of Baptism unto those Children, whose Parents are in a state of unfitness for the Lords Supper. But the Parents in question are in a state of unfitness for the Lords Supper; therefore there is no warrant in all the Scripture to Baptize their Children: this we suppose is the Assumption, and Conclusion that is understood, if this second Reason be intended as a Reason of their dissent from the Synods fifth Proposition. Unless it be intended onely as a dissent from that which is couched and contained in the Synods Discourse, viz. that Some may have their Children Bapti­zed, who yet are short of actual fitness for the Lords Supper: But the Answer to it will take in both. And the Answer will easily be given, if once we understand distinctly what is meant by [A state of unfitness] for the Lords Supper: now by a state of unfitness, must be meant, either Non-membership, and that is indeed a state of unfitness for the Lords Supper, which belongs onely to the Church, (though not to all in the Church, yet onely to it.) and in this sense the Assumption above mentioned is denied; for the Parents in question are Members of the Church, and in that respect in a state of fitness for the Lords supper: i. e. being in the Church (or Members thereof) to them belong all Church-Privi­ledges, according as they shall be capable thereof, and appear duely qualified for the same; they have jus ad rem, though not jus in re, as a Childe hath a right to all his Fathers Estate, though he may not (ought not to) have the actual use and fruition of it, till he become to years, and be qualified with abilities to manage it. A Freeman is in a state of fitness to be a Mag stra [...]e or Deputy, (or in some other office proper to Freemen) though for want, of Particular qualifications, or orderly admission by Election, he may haply ne­ver be one. In such a sense every Church-member is in a state of fitness for the Lords Supper.

Or else by [A state of unfitness for the Lords Supper] is meant [Want of actual quali­fications fitting] for it, whereby a person either is in himself short of actual fitness for the Lords Table, or wanteth Church approbation of his fitness, and so wanteth an orderly admission thereunto. Now in this sense we deny the Major (or I [...]roposition) of the Ar­gument above mentioned and do conceive that there is warrant to be found in Scripture for the applying of Baptism to Children, whose Parents do want actual qualifications fitting them for the Lords Supper Among sundry other Scripture evidences of it, one is from the Analogie of the passeover, and Circumcision in the Church of I [...]real. where the parent might want actual fitness for the Passeover, by manifold Ceremonial uncleanness, and yet that [...]indred not the Circumcising of the Childe.

[Page 26] Now a liberty of arguing from thence to the Gospel passeover, and Gospel-circumcision (i. e. to the Lords Supper and Baptism) is here granted and allowed: but 'tis Answered, that Unless the Father were in a state of fitness for the Passeover, he was not fit to have his Childe Circumcised.

Reply. What state of fitness was the unclean Jewish Parent in, but onely a state of mem­bership? He was a Member of the Church, and so are the Parents in question; and they need not, do not enter into a new Membership when they are admitted to the Lords Ta­ble, no more then the Jewish Parent after his cleansing did. But in two things the case of the Ceremonially-unclean Jewish Parent, holds proportion with the case in hand.

1. He must have other, and better qualifications then he hath at present, before he eat of the Passover; he is at present in a state of Legal impurity (and so, in regard to actual qualifications, in a state of unfitness) but he must be in a state of Legal purity and clean­ness, before he partake of the holy things.

2. He must (especially after some uncleannesses of a more remarkable nature) be judged and pronounced by the Priest to be clean, and so free to partake of the holy things, Levit. 13. 6. So the Parents in question must have their fitness for the Lords Table judged of, and approved by those in the Church, to whom the power of such judgement and approbation doth belong: And having these two things (Personal qualifications, and Church-approbation) then (and not before) they are to come to the Lords Table; and those two are all they need: they do not need a new admittance into Membership (as if they were before not of the Church) no more then the Israelitish Parent did. If any one object, that this Legal uncleanness was but an accidental and ceremonial thing, and did not import the want of any Moral or Essential fitness for the Passover: Let him consider, That as the Discipline then was mostly Ceremonial Ames Medual. Lib. 1. cap. 38. Thes. 41. and hence Legal purity was then an essential qualification unto a regular fitness for the Passover, and other holy things, and the want of it a reall barre; so those Ceremonies pointed unto Moral and Spiritual things to be attended by us now. Their Legal cleansings, washings, &c. did import, and signifie a special exercise of Faith and Repentance; which therefore we may well require in those whom we admit unto full Communion in the holy things of the Gospel; yet the present defect hereof doth not put the Parent, out of the Church, nor exclude his Children from Membership, or from the Initiatory seal of it, no more then a-like defect did then. We might also minde the case of one that hath been in full Communion, but falling into Offence is under publick Admonition for it; Is not he in a state of unfitness (taking it for want of actual sitting qualifications) for the Lords Supper? yet this will not debarre his Childe from Baptism, because he is not yet cut off from Membership. Neither doth his having once been in full Communion alter the case, or render him more [in a state of fit­ness] then the Parent in question is; for the one is a Member as well and as truely as the other: and to be declined, and fallen off from Supper-qualifications, and debarred from the Lords Table for open Offence, is worse then for a young man simply not to have attained thereunto (it is, at least, Ecclesiastically worse. We speak not of what the inward state before God may be; but that it is worse in foro Ecclesia, appears, Because the Church hath had and seen cause to dispense a publick Censure in the one case, but not in the other) Now if a person may retain his Membership, and so derive Baptism-right to his Children, not withstanding his personal unfitness for the Lords Supper in the former case, why not as well, nay much more in the latter?

But let it seriously be considered whether there be any warrant in all the Scripture to make the baptizing of the Childe to depend upon the Parents actual fit­ness for, or admission to the Lords SupperThe Scripture order is to make the circumcising of the child a part of the Parent fitness for the Passover, and for admission thereunto [Let all his Males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it] Exod. 12. 48. ra­ther then to make his admission to the Passover a pre-requisite to the childes Circumcision. P. 31. [...] What fitness for the Lords Supper had those that were baptized by John Baptist, and by Christs Disciples at his appointment in the beginning of his publick Ministry? What fitness had the Jaylor, when himself and all his were baptized after an hours instruction; wherein (probably) he had not so much as heard any thing of the Lords Supper? The teaching of which followed after Discipling and Baptizing, as is hinted by that [...] in Matth. 28. 19, 20 and by the ancient practice of not teaching the Catechumen [...] any thing about the Lords Supper till after they were bapti­zed; as is witnessed by Hanmer of Confirmation, pag. 13, 14. Albaspi­naus apud Bax [...]er of Confirmation, pag. 132.

[Page 27] We constantly read in the story of the Acts that persons were Baptized immediately upon their first entrance into Membership, but we never read that they did [...] upon their first Membership receive the Lords Supper; which strongly argues that Membership, and Baptism the se [...] thereof, is separable even in the adult from full Communion. And that a man may have his Children baptized (as the Jaylor, and others had) and yet not presently come (but need further instruction and preparation before he come) to the Lords supper. So farre is Baptism from being inseparable from immediate admission to the Lords Supper, that we reade of no one, (no not of the adult) in all their [...] esta­ment that was admitted to the Lords Supper immediately [...] Baptism, from the first Ba­ptism of John, to the end of the Acts of the Apostles. There is but one place that founds as if it were quickly after, viz. Acts: 2. 41, 4 [...]. which is here alledged by our Brethren: But to that; 1. There is no word about the Lords Supper in Peters Sermon, the Heads whereof are in that Chapter set down, though there is some what of the other Sacrament of Baptism, ver. 38. and upon glad receiving of his word they were baptized immediately, ver. 41. 2. Hence there must be some time afterward for instructing them in the doctrine and use of the Lords-Supper (as Paul had some time for that-at Corinth, 1 Cor. 11. 23. with Acts 18. 11.) before their admission thereunto, or participation there­of; and so much is intimated in the Text, when its said, They (after their being added, and baptized) continued in (or gave sedulous attendance to) the Apostles [Doctrine] first, and then [Breaking of Bread.] There was sometime of gaining further acquaintance-with Christ, and with his Wayes and Ordinances (and with this in special) by the Apostles Do­ctrine and Instruction, between their baptizing, and their participation of the Supper: some time (we say) more or less, and that that was attained in a very little time then under those plentiful pourings forth of the spirit, requires usually a much longer time now in ordinary Dispensation.

The Preface proceeds to strengthen their-second Reason by Testimonies; and the Asser­tion which they seem to intend the Proof of by these Testimonies, is a very strange one▪ viz. this: [Neither do we reade that in the [...] times [...] of a greater Lati­tude, [...] to the Subject thereof, then the Lords Supper [...] but the contrary] These words, as they are here set down, do speak as if in the Primitive times Baptism was not extended un­to Infants; or at least no more, nor sooner then the Lords Supper was given unto them (which is here presently well acknowledged to have been a grievous Errour) Well might the Anabaptist triumph if this could be proved, which indeed never was, nor can be: But we are willing to believe that our Brethrens meaning is (though it be not so expres­sed) that the Subject of Baptism in Ancient times was not of a greater Latitude [or [...] Adult] then the Lords Supper, i. e. that no adult persons might have Baptism for them­selves or for their Children, but such as were also admitted to the Lords Supper. But of this also we must say; That we finde not any thing that proves it, but much to the con­trary. And though we have not met with any that have purposely handle [...] this Point touching the different extent of these two Sacraments, yet we finde enough to shew us, That the Churches of Christ in all, especially in the best Ages, and the choicest Lights there­in, both Ancient and Modern, have concurred and met in this Principle (as a granted and undoubted Truth) that Baptism is of larger extent then the Lords Supper: so as that many that are within the visible Church may have Baptism for themselves or at least for their Children, who yet ought not presently to partake of the Lords Supper, or who do at present want actual fit­ness for it. The Witnesses above cited tell us that in Ancient times they did not so much as impart any thing to the Catechumeni [...] about the Lords Supper, till after their Baptism: And, if Hanmer have rightly observed, even the Adult, after their Baptism, must have Confirmation before they partaked of the Lords Supper. p 20 Hanmer of Confirmation, page 15—22. And vid. pag. [...]9. [...]or perfect us among the Ancients, is as much as (with us) one in full Communion; but none were by them reckoned to be perfecti (in the Rank of perfect Christians) that had not received the holy Ghost either in extraordinary Gifts, or in special confirming Grace. See Hanmer of Confirmat. pag. 17. Now it's evi­dent, that even in the Apostles times sundry were baptized that had not so received the holy Ghost, Acts 8. 15, 16, 17. & 19. 2—6.

But there are sundry further Evidences at hand (were there room here to [...]) [Page 28] which shew that in those first Ages of the Church, there were many within the Church, [...] were debarred from the Lords supper, who yet had their Children baptized. In after [...] how large Baptism was, may eas [...]ly be gathered: But that there was (though too much laxness) some more restraint in the Lords Supper, appears by the Canonists old Verse,

Ebrius,
Gerhard. de [...], P 184.
in [...]amis, [...] at (que) Furentes,
Gum [...]uer [...], Domini non debent sumere corpus.

As for the times since the Reformation, it is most evident that Godly Reforming Divines have in a heir Doctrine unanim [...]nly taught, and in their Practice (many of them) endea­voured a strict Selection of those that should be admitted to the Lords Supper, when ye [...] they have been more large in point of Baptism; and they still [...]o upon this principle, that Not [...] Christians, nor all baptized and generaly-professing Christians, but onely [...] are able [...] (or may be reputed able and careful) [...] examine themselves, and discern the Lords Body, are to be admitted to the Lords Supper. But they reckon that An Christians (a [...] that are, in their account, within the visible Church) are to have their Children baptized. Be it that in Practice they were, many of them, too lax and large in both the Sacraments, chiefly through want of a due and effectual use of Discipline (by defect whereof many were sinfully tole­rated in the Church, who should have been cast out and [...]ur off, and many suffered to come to the Lords Table, who should have been debarred and suspended) of which themselves do oft sadly complain See Ratio Discipline Fra­ [...]m Bobe [...]. in Hist. [...], p. 3—35. & 39—3 [...] 52, 53. Yet it shews thus much (which is that we aim at) that they held a [...] of the two Sacraments; as to the Subjects thereof (even in the very sense of our Question) denying the Lords Supper to many Parents, whose Children yet they scrupled [...] to baptize: This goes for currant among all our great Divines as a granted Principle; whereof many large and fall Testimonies might easily be produced.

Calvin in his Geneva-catechism, Opuscul. pag.37. to that Question, Whether Pastors may give the Sacra­ment, to all? Answers, Quod ad Baptismum pertinet, quia non nisi Insantibus bodie con­ferrior, [...] in [...] debet Minister [...] porrigat, [...]. If Edvin would Baptize all Children born among them [...] (looking upon them as born within the visible Church) and yet not give the Lords Supper to all, then he would Baptize some Children whose Parents he would not admit to the Lords Supper.

Enerv. Syntag. Theolog. pag. 11 [...]9. with pag, 1167, 1168. Crocius describing the Subjects of Baptism, saith, Infantes verb ownes, &c. All such Infants as are either born of Christian Parents, or brought into the society of Christians are to be Baptized. But of the Lords Supper, S [...]l [...] quidem Christiani, &c. Onely Christians are to be [...] to the Holy Supper yet not promiscuously all Christians; but onely those who both can and miss examine themselves, rightly discern the Lords Body, and celebrate this Sacrament unto [...] of the Death of Christ—but there are many in the Christian church [...] either [...] or will not do those things, and th [...]se are not to be admitted.

[...], [...] the Lords Supper, [...]aith Est Sacramentum, &c. It is a Sacrament ap­pointed for such in the Christian Church or are already [...]aptized and Adult, and do examine themselves Lee Com. de Can [...]acirc; Dom quest. 2. pag. 651. And in another placeQu [...]st. 137. pag. 7 [...]0 & vid. Qu [...]st. 142. pag. 743. unto this Question, To whom is the Lords Supper to be given? He Answers, To all the Faithful Members of the Church, who can examine themselves, [...] instructed in the Mystery [...] Faith, and can [...] forth the Lords Death. For unto this Mystery there is required examination of ones self, and Annunciation of the Lords Death. And therefore it is not to be given to Unbelievers, not to Infants, not to di­str [...]ted persons, not to those that are ignorant of the mysteries, not to the impenitent, not to those [...] are by the orderly judgements of the Church excommunicate not to such as [...]ye [...] either [...] manifest errours [...] with any [...] until they have first satisfied the Church, and given Testimony of their Repentance, Compare herewith his Latitude for Baptism, expr [...]ly granting that to sundry of those sorts, to whom he denies the Lords SupperDe Baptism [...] Qu [...]st. 33 & 34. Pag 624, 625. See the Leyden Divines, Synops. Disput. 45. Thes. 14. & Disput. 48. Thes. 35, 36. Compared with Disput. 44. Thes. 50.

[...], concerning the Question who are to be Baptized? saith. All that are comprehended within the Tables of the Covenant, &c.Quaest. & Resp. de Sword [...] Quaest. 120, 122. But to that Question, Would you admit all sorts to the Lords Supper? He Answereth with great zeal for strictness and care there in, and among other expressions, These (saith he) whose very age s [...]ren [...]e [...]h them not to be of ability to examine themselves are to abstain, though not as unworthy, but as not yet fit, but of the adult no one is to be [...], except he h [...]e one way or other so given account of [...] Faith as that the Pastor may probably gather (nor onely that he was born in the Church but also) that he is indeed a Christian, Ibid, Quaest. [...]45. [...]

[Page 29] [...], Syntag. Lib. 6. cap. [...]6. with cap. 55. touching the Subjects of the Lords Supper, saith, Unto the Lords Supper may be admitted onely Christians already Baptized and adult, and such as can examine themselves, with thankful mindes remember Christ, and shew forth Vid. Dutch Annot. on 1 Cor. 11. 26. his death. But of Baptism, All that are in Covenant with God—Infants born of Christian Parents are to be Baptized.

Gerbara in his Common Places, asserts, That Salt Christians, &c. Onely Christians (i. e. such as embrace the Doctrine of Christ, [...] received the Sacrament of Baptism, and [...]are implanted into the Christian Church) yee not [...] Christians are to be admitted to the holy Sup­per; but according to Paul [...] Rule. [...]hose onely that examine themselves, discern the Lords body, and shew forth the Lords death. 1 Cor 11. 26, 28, 29. All these therefore are excluded, who either will not or cannot examine themselves De Sacra canâ, pag. 180. But he extends Baptism to all Chil­dren born of (one or both) Christian Parents, or that come into the power of suchDe Baptism [...] pag. 581, 582.

The like may be observed in the Confessions of the Reformed Churches, when as they de­clare for a Special selection of those whom they admit to the Lords Supper: see the [...] of [...]. Harmony of confess. Pag. 425. of belgia, Pag. 432. of Auc [...]urge, Pag. 438, 440. of Saxony, p. 447, 448. and the confession of Scotland in the end of that Harmony, Pag. 24. comparing this with the deep silence of them all touching any such Selection, in point of Baptism, as to the Children that are born among them▪ and it is known to be their ordinary practice to Baptize many Children, whose Parents they would not admit, to the Lords Supper.

All which, with many more Testimonies that might be alledged, do abundantly shew it to have been the concurrent judgement of Protestant Divines, that Baptism is of greater Latitude then the Lords Supper: and that all that do bring their Children to partake of the former, may not therefore themselves presently partake of the latter; but that many may have their Children Baptized and yet regularly be debarred from the Lords Supper.

We might also mention the Concurrence of Divines with us in particular [...] Ex­plications, and Assertions relating to this matters [...], That Baptism is annexed to the being or beginning of Faith, the Lords Supper to the special exercise of it: That Baptism belongs to all Members, but the Lords Supper to [...] onley that are so and so qualified that all visible Believers, (who in a latitude of Expression, and Ecclesiastical reputation are such, as are all that are within the Church) are not to be admitted to the Lords Supper.

Ursin and Parens, answering that Objection against the Baptism of Infants, that Then they must be admitted [...] the Lords Supper; have these words: Magnum discrime [...], &c. There is a great difference between Baptism and the Supper. Far, 1.Baptism in a Sacra­ment of Entrance and Reception into the Church. But the Supper is a Sacrament, of [...] in the Church, or a Gods [...] of the Reception [...] made—2. It [...] by the hely Ghost and Earth, or [...] to Faith and Repentance, suffice [...] unto Baptism: But in the Supper it is required, 1. That they that use it, do shew forth, the Lords death. 2. That they examine themselves whether they have Faith and Repentance Explicat. catech. in quest. 74. pag. 372, And in another place, in Answer to that Question, What the Supper differs from Baptism? they thus speak, E [...]si e [...]dem Beneficia. &c Although the same Benefits are reached forth and sealed to us in Baptism, and in the Supper. viz. Fellowship with christ,—and [...] whole bene­fit of Salvation, &c.—Yet there [...]e various and man [...] differences between these two Sa­craments. Further differ—3. In their proper (or next) ends [...] Baptism i [...] a [...] of Rege­neration, and of Entrance into the Church and Covenant of God: The [...] of the Nutrition, [...], and Conservation of them who are [...] church—In Baptism, the Lord confirms our Admission into the Church: In the Supper, [...] Conser­vation and growth. 4. In the way and manner of using or partaking of them. Unto the lawful u [...]e of Baptism. Regeneration suffoeth; and therefore it [...] whom the Church esteemeth (or [...]) for regenerate: such are all adult persons professing Faith and Re­pentance, and Infants born in the Church. But the Supper require [...] so a probation of. [...] Faith of partakers, a commemoration of the Lords death and [...] (Luke [...]. 10. 1 Cor. 11. 26, 28) Baptism therefore pentains to the whole Church, i. e. so infant [...] to the adult: But the Supper onely to the Adult [...] can examine themselves [...] the Lords death. 5. In the order of [...] Baptism [...] to [...] Lords Supper to follow, i. e. the Supper ought not to be give [...] to any▪ [...] such as are first baptized▪ [Page 30] and not to them presently, but after that they have held forth a confession of Faith and Re­pentance In quest. 75. pag. 380.

Also it may be minded, that it is the currant and constant expression of our Divines, that they call, and count all that are within the compass of the visible Church (whether Infants, or adult) Fideles, Vocati, (Faithful, called &c.) And they will tell you that they are for Baptizing no Infants but such as are (Infantes fidelium) the Infants of the Faithful or of Believers, Infantes non omnes, sed duntaxat fidelium, i. e. Baptizator [...], sunt Baptizandi. Chamier. Tom. 4. pag. 130. So Daneus, Infantes ex [...], i. e. Baptizandi nati, possunt Baptizari in Ecclesia. Lib. 5. De Sacram. pag. 538.

And yet they do not look at all these (no not at all the adult that come under this de­nomination, and whose Children they Baptize) to be regularly admittable to the Lords Supper, which plainly shews their judgement to be that all adult Persons who are in a Latitude of expression to be accounted visible Believers (or in Ecclesiastical Reputation to be lookt at as Fideles) are not therefore to partake of the Lords Supper.

Dr. Ames, accounts that a person may be a Believer on Christ and yet be unfit for the Lords Supper, being not sufficiently instructed thereunto. Bellar. Enerv. Tom. 3. Lib. 4. Cap. 1. and he expresly saith that Church-children are to be numbred among the Faithful, and reckons them to have the beginning of Faith, yet not to be admitted to all Ordinan­ces till increase of Faith appear, Medul. Lib. 1. Cap. 32. Thes. 12, 13.

Mr Hooker takes it for granted as a clear case, That one may be a Convert soundly brought home to Christ, and yet through his weakness not able to discern the Lords Body [...]right, nor fit to partake of the Supper. Survey. part. 3. pag. 16.

And in his Sermons on Gen. 17. 23. Pag. 21. He hath these words, Baptism is the entrance into Christs Family; there is much more to be looked at to make a person capable of the Supper of the Lord, a man must be able to Examine himself, be must not onely have Grace, but growth of Grace; he must have so much perfection in Grace as to search his own heart, and he must be able to discern the Lords Body, or else he is guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ; so as there is more required in this, for there must be a growth. But Baptism is our entrance, and the lowest degree of Grace will serve here in the judgement of Charity.

Worthy [...]ildersam on Psal. 51. 5. pag. 257. saith, The Infants of the Faithful are said to be Holy, not because they are without sin, but because (in the judgement of the Church) they are to be esteemed not Infidels as other Children of Pagans, but Christians and Believers, and holy and true Members of the Church of God. And Hence 1. So soon as they are Born they have [...]ir [...]e to the Seal of Gods Covenant, and the Church▪ may not deny it unto them.—And [...] by may not the Church deny Baptism to any childe of a Believing Parent? surely because the Church is bound to esteem every such childe not an Infidel, but rather a believer and a true Christian. 2. When they dye we are in Christian Charity to judge that they dye in Gods favour, and in the state of Salvation. And all this because of the Covenant, Gen. 17. as he there addes: Yet the fame [...]ildersam would not admit such as these (who were born and grew up in the visible Church) to the Lords Table, without a strict Examination not onely of their Knowledge and Lives, but of their Spiritual Estate. Doct. of Lords Supper, pag. 8—14.

All which we produce, not as if the Testimony and concurrence of Authors were the Basis that our judgement in this matter stands upon, but because this Preface doth, both in this place and in other parts of it, insinuate to the Reader as if Authority of Writers were for the Dissenters, and against the Doctrine of the Synod, which is farre from being so: the contrary being abundantly, and undeniably evident. And as we bottom our Faith in this point, wholly and onely upon the Scriptures, and do referre the decision of this and of all other Theological controversies to the Law and to the Testimony: so we acknow­ledge it to be no small confirmation to us, to finde that we have the Concurrence of the Godly-learned. The substance of the Congregational-Way may be gathered from the Doctrine & Principles of our best and ablest Reforming Divines So much Parkers learned La­bours among others shew, and our Congregational Brethren in Eng­land met at the Savoy, in their Preface do well express: And see [...]everly Examen Horr [...]b. pag. 43.: which doth not a little confirm us in it, and delivers it from the Imputation of Novelty or Singularity. But should we limit Baptism to so narrow a scantling as our Brethren strive for, we should therein go against the whole stream of Divines, even of those that have been most eminent in their generations for Learning, Holiness, and [Page 31] Studiousness of Reformation; yea, of those from whom our Congregational Leaders have professed to receive their Principles, as was abovesaid. And we confess our selves con­scious to so much of our own weakness, that unless we have very clear Light, and undeni­able Argument constraining us, we are flow and fearful to go alone, or to go contrary to the concurrent Judgement of our best Divines, who (if we may use our Brethrens phrase) have been Stars of the first Magnitude, incomparable Champions for the Truth, and have been raised up by Christ to light the [...] of Reformation in these later Ages.

Now as for what is here alledged by our Brethren as favouring their Cause; To say, That the Cateckumeni were not (in the Primitive times) to be baptized, before they were fit for the Lords Supper. v. 2 [...]. Consider how it can consist with the above mentioned practice of Antiquity, in not so much as teaching the Cateckumeni any thing about the Lords Supper, till after they were baptized. Indeed, as the Darkness and Corruption of the times in­creased, Baptism was not onely deferred till Easter (as is here said) but till death, which is justly taxed as an abuse by Cartwright in his Catechism, pag. 182. and we suppose will not be approved by any. The Aransi [...]can Councils, 19 Canon, doth not concern the mat­ter of Baptism, as it is set down by the Magdeburg Centurists (Cent. 5. pag. 907.) But however it be, it is of small moment. The over-long holding off of adult Converts from Baptism, that we sometimes reade of in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries, was a manifest de­viation from the Apostolical practice. We finde also that in Austin's time, and some ages after, they gave the Lords Supper to Infants, yet then we suppose they would give both Sacraments to some Infants, whose Parents they debarred from the Lords Supper. But if it was indeed a grievous errour to administer the Lords Supper to Infants (as is here right­ly said by our Brethren) how then is Baptism of [...] greater Latitude, as to the Subject there­of, then the Lords Supper? Yea, let any man shew a reason why Baptism should be regu­larly extendible to Infants, and not the Lords Supper, if the very same qualifications be absolutely requisite to the one as to the other; we say, absolutely requisite: for no man doubts but that the better qualifications a person who receiveth Baptism for himself, or for his Children, is endued with, the better and the more comfortable it is.

As for that of Juel, That Baptism is as much to be reverenced, as the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. And that which follows, That former Ages have been farre from looking upon the Lords Supper as being of a more [...] nature then the other Ordi­nance of Baptism.

Answ. To assert that Scripture Rules make the Subject of Baptism larger then the Subject of the Lords Supper, this doth not detract from the Reverence of Baptism, nor render it an Ordinance of a less sacred nature, as is here insinuated. The Word and Prayer are Ordinances of a very sacred nature, and to be highly reverenced, and yet many may be admitted un­to them, that may not be admitted unto Sacraments. The Sacredness of every Ordinance, lies in the holy and religious application of it to its proper ends and uses by Divine Institution: But the proper ends and uses of one Ordinance may, by Divine Institution, [...] such as may admit more to partake of it then of an­other, and yet the sacred nature thereof be no whit impairedConsider whether it be not a greater de­tracting from the sacredness of Baptism, when we make but a light matter of that Membership and Covenant that was sealed therein. If men have been once admitted to the Lords Supper, they count their Membership stands firm & good (through all decayes and degeneracies) until excommunicate. But the Solemn Covenant & Engagement between God and the Baptized, that was ratified in holy Baptism, wears away, and is a kinde of forgotten thing by that time they become adult. To be dif­ficult in admissions unto Baptism, and yet easie in letting go the benefit of Baptism (or the Member­ship thereby sealed) and to alledge the Sacredness of the Ordinance for the former, and forget in the latter, seem not well to cohere..

But the Preface addes: Indeed of late there have been those who have made Baptism of a farre larger ex­tent then the Lords Supper: This hath been one Pra­ctical Difference between Congregational-men and Presbyterians.

Answ. Whether it have been onely a late or novell Notion, to make Baptism larger then the Lords Supper, let the Reader judge, when he hath considered the Testimonies before alledged, with many more that might have been added thereunto: But we are so farre from looking upon a different Latitude of these two Sacraments to be a Presbyterian Principle,24. or Anti-Congregational, as that we perswade our selves, the Congregational way cannot long stand without it. For, if we deny this, and administer Baptism to none [Page 32] but those whose Parents do partake of the Lords Supper, and so are in full Communion▪ then we must either make full Communion very large, which in the Congregational-way, where Brethren have so great an interest in Church-transactions, will soon ruine all: or else make Baptism, and consequently the Compass of the visible Church so strait, as will never stand before Rational and Scriptural men; yea, we shall put multitudes out of the visible Church, that are in a visible state of Salvation, which is absurd: for to deny persons Baptism for themselves or Children, is to deny them to be within the Compass of the visible Church, seeing Baptism ought to run parallel with Church-Membership. But how shall we deny them a room in the visible Church, who were once in, and are by no Rule to be put out, nay whom God (as we may charitably hope) taketh into Heaven when they die, and that as a fruit of his Covenant grace? which is the case of many of our Children who are not yet come up to full Communion. But so much for the second Reason of our Brethrens Dissent. The third follows.

3. The Parents of the Children in question, are not Members of any Instituted Church, ac­cording to Gospel-rules; because they were never under any explicite and personal Covenant. Which is further proved; Because if they be Members, then they would be a true Church though all their Parents were dead, and then they must have power of Voting in Church affairs, which is denied to them by the Synod.

Ans. 1. It seems, by what is here said, that our Children were never under any expli­cite and personal Covenant, and that all that never were so, are not members of any Institu­ted Church according to Gospel-rules. If this be so, then what is become of Childrens Mem­bership, which the Apologist before, in Answer to Objection Second, took it as an injury to be charged with the denial of? It seems our Children neither are nor ever were Members of any instituted Church according to Gospel-rules because they were never under any explicite and personal Covenant. Is it come to this, that Children are not Members of any Insti­tuted Church? How then? are they Members of the Catholick visible Church? or are they no Members at all? the former our Brethren fancy nor, as it seems by their Anti-Synodalia, pag. 19. the latter then remains to be the conclusion. Neither will it salve it to say, they were Members in Minority, though they be not Members now when they are Adult; for if all those that were never under any explicite and personal Covenant, be no Members of any Instituted Church, and if Children were never under any explicite and personal Covenant (both which are here said) then no Children (no not while in Mi­nority) are Members of any Instituted Church. For our parts we doubt not to affirm with Dr. Ames in his Chapter de Ecclesiâ institutâ, Medul. Lib. 1. Cap. 32. that Children are Members of an Instituted Church according to Gospel-rules, and that they are under personal Covenant, i. e. personally taken into Covenant by God, according to his Gospel-rules, though they have not performed the act of Covenanting in their own persons. Yea, under explicite Covenant also, if the Parents Covenanting was explicite, Deut. 29. So Ames, They are partakers of the same Covenant, and also of the same profession with their Parents. Though we take it for a Principle granted by Congregational men, with one consent, that Impli­cite Covenant preserves the being of a true Church, and so of true Church-mem­bership.

2. The Consequent of our assertion here urged as absurd, viz. [That then, in case all the pro-parents were dead, this second Generation would be a true Church of Christ without any further act or covenanting] is no absurdity but a manifest Truth, i. e. taking that Phrase [Further act, or covenanting] to be meant of a particular formal act of Explicite Verbal covenanting. For otherwise, there is a further act, ye [...] an act of (implicite) covenanting in their constant and publick profession of the Religion of their Fathers. But we say this second Generation, continuing (to use Mr. Cottons Phrase in Grounds of Baptism, pag. 106.) in a visible profession of the Covenant, Faith, and Religion of their Fathers, are a true Church of Christ, though they have not yet made any explicite per­sonal expression of their engagement, as their Fathers did. Even as the Israelites that were numbred in the Plains of M [...]ab were a true Church, and under the Covenant of God made with them in Horeb, though their Parents with whom it was first made in Horeb, were all dead, and that before the solemn renewing of the Covenant with them in the plains of Moab, Deut. 29. see Dent. 5. 2, 3. with Numb. 26. 63, 64, 65. and so [Page 33] Mr. Hooker roundly and expresly affirms this which is here by our Brethren denied, Survey. Part. 1. pag 48.

3. As for our denial of the liberty of Voting in Church-affairs to the persons in question, till they be fitted for, and admitted to the Lords Supper, it stands good and rational without my prejudice to their being a true Church in the case supposed. For there is no difficulty in it, to conceive that the case of a true Church may be such (by degeneracy, or loss of their best Members, &c.) as that they may be at present unfit to put forth or exercise a power of acting in Church-affairs (though it be radically in them) till by the use of needful means they, or a select qualified number among them, be brought up unto a better and fitter capacity for it. And examples hereof are not farre to seek: let that way of reforming corrupt and degenerate Churches be attended which is partly suggested in Mr. Allin's, and Mr. Shepard's Preface, before their Defence of the Nine Positions (which Preface Beverly saith is Infear omnium) Pag. 10, 18, 19, 20. viz. Examen [...] pag. 20. that they be ac­knowledged true Churches, and called by the powerful Preaching of the word to Humilia­tion. Repentance, and agreement unto Reformation: and then that such as do so agree, and submit to Discipline, being owned to be of the Church; among them a select number who are found upon tryal able to examine themselves, and discern the Lords body, and do walk according to Christ, do solemnly renew or enter into Covenant, and so electing offi­cers, &c. enjoy full communion, and carry on all Church-affairs in the Congregational way. This shews that a Church may be out of case for the present exercise of a proper Church power, and may need much preparation, and reducement into order before it come up thereunto: and yet this doth not hinder it from being a true Church, nor from having that power radically in it, and which in a way of due order it may come to the ex­ercise of. Have not the late times had experience of many Congregations unto which it was fa [...]n to be a publick care to send Ministers, and they to preach to them, many years before they found a number fit for full Communion and management of Church-affairs? and yet they retained the being of true Churches, and Church-members all this while. See also Mr. Shepards late-printed Letter about the Church-membership of Children, pag. 18. We might also ask whether such a manner of reasoning as is here used would prove Women to be no Members of an Instituted Church? Because if all the Men were dead, they could not then be a Church, nor Vote in Church-affairs, chuse Officers, &c.

But that which is said may suffice: onely let us adde, that as the case that is supposed, viz. of all the Parents (or all that were in full Communion) being dead, at once, is rarely, if ever heard of; so also the case we added, viz. for the whole body to be fallen into an unfit­ness for full Communion, by corruption and degeneracy, would be (we may hope) as rare, if Discipline and other Ordinances he kept up, in their use and vigour. God will so bless his own Ordinances, if duely attended, as that a considerable number shall from time to time have such Grace given them as to be fit for full Communion, and to carry on all the things of his House with competent Strength, Beauty, and Edification.

The fourth Reason of our Brethrens Dissent, is this: It is not meer Membership (as the Synod speaks) but qualified Membership that gives right unto Baptism: for John's Baptism might not be applied unto the standing Members of the visible Church, till they were qualified with Repentance. This (say they) seems to us to cut the sinews of the strongest Argu­ments of the Synod for enlargement of Baptism: for neither doth the Scripture acknowledge any such meer Membership as they speak of; nor is it meer Membership, but qualified Mem­bership that gives right unto this divine and sacred Ordinance.

Answ. This term or distinction of [Meer Membership] is here, as also in the Book to which this Preface is prefixed, much exagitated, and harshly censured: but let the plain meaning of the Synod therein be attended, and there will appear no cause for such ex­agitation. When the Synod said, that persons are not therefore to be admitted to full Communion meerly because they are and continue Members; and that Meer Membership (or Membership alone) doth not suffice to render men Subjects of the Lords Supper Propos. 4. p. 17, 18. the meaning is, That full Communion doth not belong to a Member as such, or to a person meerly because he is a Member, for then it would belong to all Members, which it doth not. A person may be a Member (or in memberly Relation) and yet not be in full Communion. Now to say that meer Membership (in this sense) the Scripture acknowledgeth not, is as if [Page 34] one should say, that the Scripture acknowledgeth not Logical Distinctions between things in their Abstract and general Nature, and the same things as clothed with various [...]d­juncts and Accessions; which to say, were strangely to forget our selves. But when it i [...] hence inferred and put upon us, That we set up a meer Membership, and a sort of meer Members in the Church; this is an unnecessary Reflexion. As, if we should say that Riches do not belong to men meerly a [...] men, or meerly because they are men; would it be a good inference to say, that we set up a sort of meer men (or a meer Humanity existing alone) or that we distinguish men into Meer men, and Rich men? There is no individual man in the world that is a meer man, i. e. that hath a naked Humanity without Adjuncts; yet Logick distinguisheth between Humanity and its Adjuncts, and between what belongeth to a man as such, and what accrew [...]th to him other wayes,. So in the Church; Member­ship, or memberly Relation, is not existent in particular persons, without some Commu­nion [...] from it, nor yet without some Qualifications (unto Charity) under it, more or less, at least ordinarily; though it may, and often does exist without those special and peculiar qualifications that fit men for the Lords Table. But surely we may well distinguish, especially between the memberly Relation and those special superadded Qualifications, and between what belongs to persons in the one respect, and i [...] the other. For some Pri­viledges in the Church belong to persons by virtue of their memberly Relation, or meerly because they are Members; they belong to a Member as such: so does Baptism, Matth. 28. 19. the Benefit of Church-watch and Discipline (viz. according to Natural capacity in regard of age, there is no other [...] capacity but that of Membership requisite to a Subject thereof) Acts 20. 28. 1 Cor. 5. 12. and a share in the common Legacies of the Covenant, Rom. 3. 1, 2. & 9. 4. Acts 3. 25, 26. Meer Membership, or Membership alone, gives right to these things. But there be other Priviledges in the Church that do not be­long to Members as such (or to persons meerly because they are Members) but to Mem­bers as clothed with such and such special qualifications. So the Passover and other holy things of old, and so the Lords Supper now, 1 Cor. 11. 28.

Now thus to distinguish, does not distribute Members into meer Members and others, but it distributes Priviledges unto their proper Subjects, and states the immediate, Right unto each sort of Priviledges upon its proper basis. If we say that Government of a Family does not belong to persons meerly because they are Members of the Family; do we there­by set up a sort of meer Members thereof, that have no Family-benefit, but onely a Tiru­lary Relation to it, &c? Indeed such a saying would import, that in a Family there are some that are Governours, and some that are not Governours of it; as also that one may be a Member of a Family, and yet have no hand in the Government thereof. So the distin­ction in hand implies, That in the Church some are in full Communion, and some are not; and that one may be in Memberly Relation, and yet not be in full Communion: and surely the truth of this cannot be doubted of. If Children in minority be Members (as our Brethren acknowledge them to be) then there are some Members that are not in (nor yet fit for) full Communion. And for the Adult, when a man is by Admonition debarred from the Lords Table, and yet not Excommunicated; does [...]e not continue a Member (yea, a personal Member in our Brethrens account) and yet is not in full Communion? This demonstrates that Membership and full Communion are distinct and separable things. It is clear enough, that our Non-excommunicable Children do continue Members of the Church; yet many of them are not in full Communion, nor will our Brethren say that they are fit for it. So then, neither the Logical distinction between what belongs to persons simply as Members (or by their meer Membership) and what belongs to them as further endued with such and such special qualifications; nor yet the Assertion flow­ing from it, viz. [That some may be and continue Members, and yet not be in full Com­munion] can justly be objected against. The sum is; The persons in question have by virtue of their memberly Relation (or meerly by their Membership) a proper right unto the Priviledges that are desired for them; yet withall, they have some qualifica­tions, and some Communion (and so are not meer Members in contradistinction here­unto) though they have not yet such full qualifications as to come into full Commu­nion.

But thus much being said concerning that distinction which the Synod useth, and the meaning of it: Proceed we to the Assertion here laid down by on [...] Brethren, and their [Page 35] Proof thereof. Their Assertion is, That [...] Membership, but qualified Mem­bership that gives right to Baptism.

Remember here, [...]at ou [...] dispute properly is of Membership de jure, or regular Mem­bership, (i. e. wherein the Rule appoints or allows one to be, or to be continued a mem­ber of the visible Church) not of Membership do facto onely. Now Membership de jure, or regular Membership, implies some qualification, as, viz. that a person being a Church-member is not under such gross, and incorrigible Ignorance, Heresie, Scandal or Apostacy, as renders him an immediate Subject of Excommunication; hence meer Membership is not so to be opposed to qualified Membership, as if it were destitute of all qualifications. Those whom the Lord doth, and whom the Church, acting regularly, may own, and con­tinue as Members, they are so farre qualified as that the Rule hath accepted them into Covenant, and doth not appoint us to put them out. Now then, understanding meer Membership for [Meerly this, that a man is regularly a Member] and qualified Member­ship for [Super added qualifications, over and above what is essentially requisite to regular Membership] the [...] said Assertion is thus much; It is not sufficient to give a person right to baptism, that he be regularly a Member of the visible Church, but he must have some further qualification then [...], else he [...] not right thereunto. This Assertion (or to say, in this sense) that it is not meer Membership, but qualified Membership that gives right to Baptism, is indeed an Antisynadalian Assertion, and we doubt not to affirm it is Anti­scriptural.

1. It is Antisynadalian, or directly opposite to the Doctrine of the Synod, and we will readily grant that if this could be proved, it cuts asunder the sinews of the Synods strongest arguments; for this is that which the Synod stand and build upon, That it is Covenant-interest, or Federal holiness, or visible Church-membership (within are but several expressions of the same thing) that properly gives Right to Baptism, or, that Baptism belongs to a Church-member [...] such and so to all Church-members. And hence by the way, let it be minded that the Synod in their fifth Proposition have comprized both the Right to Baptism, and the manner of administration: the distinstion between which two, was often-over mentioned in the Synod; though they put both together in the Proposition for better concurrence sake, and that they might at once familiarly set down what is to be attended in such a case. The [Right] stands upon [Membership] where­by the parent, and so the Childe is regularly within the visible Church; so as no more qualification in the Parent is simply necessary to give the Childe right to Baptism, but what is essentially requisite unto regular Membership. As for other and further qualifica­tions pointed to in the Proposition (as Giving account of their assent to the Doctrine of Faith, Solemn owning of the Covenant, &c) they properly belong to the manner of Admi­nistration. Yet these are not therefore needless things, nor may they be disregarded, or boldly slighted and refused by any (because Membership alone gives Right) for God hath made it one Commandment of four, to provide for the manner of his Worship, requiring that all his holy Ordinances be attended in a Solemn, Humble, Reverent and Profitable manner: and it cannot be denied to be meet and needful that persons should both know and own the Covenant-state they are in, and the state of subjection to Christs Government, which the Covenant placeth them in, especially when they partake of such [...] of the Cove­nant as Baptism for their Children is: that they should do Covenant [...] when they, come for Covenant priviledges; that they should both s [...]k and attend the Lords holy Or­dinance (though it be their Right never so much) in Humility and Fear: and it being one Branch of the Covenant, that they give up their Children to the Lord, and do promise to take care for their Christian Education, it must needs be suitable that they be minde [...] of it when they present them to Baptism, and the more explicitely they do so promise, it is the better. Hence all Reformed Churches do in their Directories, and Practices, [...] Professions and Promise not [...] those that present the Childe to Baptism, and ap­point a solemn manner of Administration, and stand upon it as a needful duty. Though they unanimously own and grant, that the Childe hath a f [...]ll and clear Right to [...] its being born within the visible Church. See English [...] of the administration of Baptism. Directory. pag. 31. Late Petition for Peace, pag 6 [...], &c. [...] pag 128. & pag. 147—150. Alas [...], pag. 1 [...]1—137. Ratio [...] pag. [...]3. Hence also no man will doubt but that it is [...] [...]nd! des [...]reable things that [...] [Page 36] Parent [...] himself in the most solemn, serious, and spiritual manner to draw [...] to God upon such an occasion as the Baptizing of a Childe, by humbling himself before God for all neglects and Breaches of his Covenant, by taking hold of the incouraging promises of Grace in Christ, in reference unto the Children of the Covenant; and by pouring out earnest Prayer to God for his Childe, and for an heart to do the duty of a Christian Parent toward his Childe, as doth become him, &c. And such things as these, Parents may and ought to bestirred up unto in the Ministry of the Word, as their duty. But still we most distinguish between what belongs to the manner of Administration, or to the better and more comfortable attendance thereof, and between what is essentially requisits to give right and [...] to the Ordinance before the Church. This latter, meer Membership (or Membership alone) doth. A state of Membership in the visible Church, is that unto which the right of Baptism is annexedIt is not the qualifications of one in full Communion, but his Membership that gives his Childe right to Baptism; for sup­pose he decay in qualification, and grow formal and loose, yet while he continues a Member uncensu­red▪ he hath his Childe baptized as well as the best in the Church., as no onely the Synod, but the Scri­pture teacheth. And so,

2. The Assertion before-mentioned (viz. That it is not meer Membership, but qualified Membership that gives right to Baptism: in the fense above given) is also Antiscriptural; 3. Because it directly overthroweth Infant-baptism, which the Scripture establisheth: for what have Infants more then Membership (or Federal holiness, or Covenant-interest) to give them right to Baptism? i. e. What have they more then this, that they are regularly (by the Rules of Gods Word, and his Institution therein) within the visible Church? If this will not suffice, but there must be some other qualifications besides, and super­added unto this, what shall become of them? For our parts, we know no stronger Ar­gument for Infants baptism then that; Church members, or Foederati, are to be baptized [...] the Infants of the Faithful are Church members, or Foederati: Erg [...] But if the foresaid assertion hold, this Argument fails, and falls short: for now Church-membership, or to be in Covenant, or Federal holiness, [...]ill not serve the turn, but there must be more then thi [...] to give right to Baptism. How the [...] of the strongest Arguments of the Synod for Enlargement of Baptism will fare, we know not; but sure we are, that this cuts in sunder the sinews of the strongest Arguments for Infant-baptism, which must fall if this stand. But fall it never will (through Grace) while the Lords Appointment in the Cove­nant of Abraham stands, viz. to have the Initiating Seal run parallel with the Covenant, Gen. 17. or Christs Commission, Matth. 28. 19. viz. to Baptize [...] Disciples, or all Members of the visible Church under the New Testament. Let this Assertion therefore full, which makes the extent of the Initiatory Seal shorter then the Covenant, and denies Baptism to run parallel with Church-membership under the Gospel. Hence, 2. It contradicts that which the Harmony of Scripture, and all Orthodox Divines acknowledge for a Prin­ciple, viz. That the whole visible Church (i. e. now under the New Testament) ought to be baptized; or that all Church members are Subjects of Baptism: for, if not meer Mem­bership (or Membership alone) but qualified Membership gives right to Baptism; then not all Members, but some onely, viz. those that be so and so qualified, are to be bapti­zed. If Baptism do not belong to meer Membership, or to a Member as such, then not to all Members: as à quatenus ad [...], so à non quatenus ad non omne valet consequentia. This denies not onely the Fifth, but the First Proposition of the late Synod (which yet the Antisynodalia, pag. 17. seem to consent unto.) But let the Arguments that are given from Scripture to confirm that First Proposition, be duely weighed, and they will be found to be of greater weight then to be shaken by this Assertion.

Now for the Proof of this Assertion; viz. Because John's Baptism, which was Chri­stian Baptism, might not be applied to some who were standing Members of the visible Church, because they were not qualified with Repentance, Luke 3. 8. & 7. 30. Therefore Christian Baptism is not [...]o be applied unto such as stand Members in the visible Church, of they be not qualified with fruits of Repentance.

Answ. Let this be answered with reference to Infant-baptism, which lies upon our Bre ­thren to do, as well as on us, seeing they above declared. Antip [...]dobaptism to be a sinful Opinion, and do profess to hold and maintain the baptizing of Infants: though indeed the Reader could not gather so much from these words [Christian Baptism is not to be ap­plied unto such [...] stand Members in the visible Church, if they be not qualified with fruits of [Page 37] Repentance▪] This seems directly to gainsay Infant-baptism 3 for Infants do indeed stand Members of the visible Church, but how do they or can they shew that [...]hey are qua­lified with fruits of Repentance? for it seems that neither is Repentance it self sufficient without [Fruits] of Repentance. But we are to suppose our Brethren do not intend to oppose Infant-baptism, and therefore that their meaning is not to require these fruits of Repentance (or qualifications superadded to Membership) of the Children or persons to be baptized, but of their Parents; though it be not so expressed. But, let this Ar­gument from John's requiring of qualifications over and above Membership, be answered, with reference to Infant-baptism, and that will answer it as to the case in hand. We remember in Debates between the Elders and an Antip [...]dobaptist many years since, this very Argument was urged by him, and the same Answer that was given then, we shall give here; Viz.

1. That meerly to be a Member of the Old-Testament Jewish Church, or simply to be in Covenant (or Con [...]iderate) under the Old-Testament manner of Administration, sufficeth not to Baptism: but to be in the Church and Covenant of the New-Testament, to be a Mem­ber of a Gospel Church, stated and setled under the Gospel manner of Administration, this is that which Right to Baptism stan [...] upon, and have Membership alone sufficeth thereunto▪ When we say, that Members of the visible Church, Confederates &c are to be, Baptized we must needs be understood to speak of the visible Church (or of Covenant-interest) under the New Testament, and Gospel-administration, which is founded upon Christ already come. And it were most absurd and irrational to understand us otherwise; we having now no other Church or Covenant to speak of, but that. Old Testament Church-membership gave right to Circumcision; New Testament Church-membership gives right to Baptism. But at the transition from Old to New, or at the first setting up of the Gospel-administration (or Kingdome of Heaven, as 'tis called) and of Baptism, the entring seal thereof in John Baptist's and Christ's time, well might more be required then bare Membership in the Jewish Church (which was then also under great corruption, and degeneracy.) Hence all the Members of the Church of the Jews were not Baptized, but onely those that in some degree embraced the new and reformed Administration: in order to which, a special Repentance was then necessary, Mat. 3. 2. But to inferre from hence, a necessity of qualifications superadded unto Membership in stated Christian or Gospel-Churches, in order to Baptism-right, will not bold; there is a wide difference between the case of Ecclesia Christian [...] Constituenda, and Constituta. In those first beginnings of the Gospel, even Pious persons, and men fearing God, such as the Eunuch, and Cornelius, Acts 8. 27, 28, 36, 37. & 10. 2, 22, 47, 48. must have further Instruction, and preparation, before they could be Baptized: may a man thence inferre, that now in the Christian Church Constituted, a Christian or Church-member that feareth God, is not Baptizable without further qualifications?

2. Much of what was required by John Baptist of the Members of the Jewish Church before he Baptized them, may be referred to the manner of Administration, and was upon that account attended in a case so circumstanced, as that was; for that by reason of their Church-state (though so degenerate as they were) they were in a farre other and neerer capacity then Non-members; and that thereby they had a Right to the ministrations of John and Christ among the [...] is plain from many Scriptures, Luk. 1. 16. John 1. 11. Mat. 10. 6. & 15. 24, 26. Rom. 15. 8. But those that were then to be Baptized (at that first Institution of Baptism, and beginning of the Gospel-administration) being adult persons, and they defiled with Scandal, and Degeneracy, yea having much lost the Truth of Doctrine in many points, hence they could not be brought to entertain that beginning of the Gospel (as 'tis called, Mark 1. 1, 2.) and Baptism the Sign and Seal thereof, without previous convictions, and penitential preparations by the powerful Ministry of the Baptist. But it doth not appear that more was pre required of them, then what was necessary to an humble submitting to the Ordinance, and to that new and reforming. Administration then on foot, which was betokened and sealed thereby. And he that shall consider the multitudes that were Baptized by John, Mat. 3. 5, 6 Luk. 3. 7, 21. in the short-time of his Ministry, and in those glimmerings of Gospel-light that they then had, together with the great weakness, and rawness of some that he Baptized, John 3 25, 26. Act. 19. 1—5. will not think that the persons Baptized by John did excell those whom the Synod descri­beth in their fifth Proposition; of which our Brethren were so sensible in their Anti­synodilia, [Page 38] pag. 18. that there they chose rather to wave Johns Practice, and to seek for [...] presidents, though here they plead, (and that rightly and truely) that John's Baptism was Christian Baptism, and holds forth a Rule unto us. As for that Confession of sins in Mat. 3. 6. when our Children do in their Assent to the Doctrine of Faith, and Consent to the Covenant, acknowledge their sin, and misery by nature, their perishing condition without Christ, &c. are willing to submit to Instruction and Government, for the Re­formation of their sins (as those that were Baptized by John shewed their penitential frame by that, viz. a submission to his Instructions and Counsels, Luk. 3. 10—14.) they cannot be denyed to have somewhat of that confession or sin. So Chemnit. on the place, They acknowledged themselves to be sinners, Chemnit. in Mat. 3. 6. and [...]oth in words, and by their action in desiring to be baptized, they professed their fear of the wrath of God, and desire to escape it. But if any do stand guilty of Open Scandals, we know not why they should not make particular Confession of their sin therein, when they come to present themselves before God, and de­sire Baptism for their Children, if they have not done it before (so saith the same Chemniti [...]s in the same place of them; Moreover, such as stood guilty of more grievous falls, did also confess them in particular.) To be sure, they should by the Discipline of the Church be brought to that, whether they had Children to be baptized or no, but then may be a [...]itting season for it.

Thus there may be cause and call for a special Repentance in special cases (when persons have so carried it, as to shake their standing in the visible Church) and although the R [...]le owns the Childe to be a Member of the Church, and so a Subject of Baptism, while it allows the Parent to be a Member not cut off; yet it is a Covenant-duty of the Parent to confess his sin in such a case; and so shall Baptism be administred with greater honour to God, and comfort to all that are concerned. But otherwise, while the Parent that was born in the Church, regularly continues in it, without Scandal, he is Ecclesiastically accounted to have the being of Repentance, and so to have the thing which John required of them, though not the [...]ame [...] of Manifestation, and discovery thereof.

Now follows the fifth Reason of our Brethrens Dissent, which is this; That which will not make a man capable of receiving Baptism himself, in case [...]e were unbaptized, d [...]th not make him capable of transmitting right of Baptism unto his Childe: but a [...] that the Synod hath said will not give a man Right to Baptism himself in case he were unbaptized; therefore all that the Synod hath said [...]s not enough to make a man capable of transmitting right of Baptism unto his Childe. Whereunto is added somewhat out of [...], Parker and Mr. Cotton, as concurring with the judgement of our Brethren.

Ans. Taking [Capable of receiving Baptism himself, or Right to Baptism himself] for a state of Baptism-right, o [...] Capacity, we may grant the Major but the Minor is manifestly to be denied. But taking it for a frame of actual fitness to receive Baptism, we cannot say that we may grant the Minor, but surely the Major will not hold.

It is true, that [...] into a state of right to Baptism for himself in case [...]e were unbaptized (i. e. into a state of Church-membership) will not enable him to give Baptism right to his Childe. If the Parent be not a Member, or not in a state of Co­venant interest, none of us plead for the Childes Baptism. And if he be a Member, surely he is in the state of a Subject of Baptism, or in a state of right to it (as all the Members of the visible Church are) whatever may de facto hinder it. But it is possible for on adult person, being in the state of a Member, and so of right to Baptism, to have something fall in which may hinder the actual application of Baptism to himself (in case [...]e were unbaptized) or his actual fitness for it: And yet the same thing may not hinder a person already baptized, and standing in a Covenant-state, from conveying Baptism-right to his Childe. The reason is, because the right of the Childe depends upon the state of the Parent (that he be in a state of Membership: for if so, then Divine Institution carrieth or transmitteth Membership, and so Baptism-right to the Childe) but the Parents regular partaking of this or that Ordinance for himself, depends much upon his own actual fit­ness for it. As suppose an unbaptized adult person admitted into the Church, who be­fore he is baptized falls into force great Offence (though such a case could hard'y fall out, [...] Baptism were administred according to the Rule, and Apostolical Practice, i. e. im­mediately upon first Admission. Matth 28. 19. Acts 16. 33. much more is it an h [...]ril and strange supposition for a Parent that ought to have been, and was baptized in his Infancy, [Page 39] to be supposed to be yet unbaptized: but allowing the supposition, that a person admitted i [...] adult age falls into Offence before he is baptized) he may be called to give satisfaction for i [...], and to [...]ew himself in a more serious and penitent frame before himself receive Baptism; but suppose he [...] before he do that, and leave Children [...], shall not they be baptized? In like manner, if a person already baptized, yea or already in full Communion, [...] fall into offence, you would say that would put a stop to his own Baptism, in case (upon an impossible supposition) he were yet unbaptized; but what Rule o [...] [...] is there for it, to make a parti­cular offence in the Parent, to cut [...] [...] right to Baptism, when [...]s the Parent is (not­withstanding that offence) [...] Member, and with [...] the Church, and doth no [...] shew any such incorrig [...]ble [...]ess, as that he is by [...] to be put out? when as the offence doth not cut [...] the Parents Membership, is there any reason it should cut off the Membership of the Childe? and if it cut not on the Childes Membership, it doth [...] cut off his right to Baptism. Whatever may be said for requiring the Parent to confess his sin before his Childes Baptism, in reference to the more expedient and comfortable manner or Administration (therein we oppose not) yet where doth the Scripture all [...]w us to [...] the Childes right to Baptism upon a particular offence in the Parent, especially when it is nor such as doth [...]o [...]ch upon the Essentials of Christianity, and notwithstanding which, the Parent is regularly and or­derly continued a Member of the Church? It remains therefore that there may [...] to a Parents receiving Baptism for himself, in case he were unbaptized, which do not, [...]capaci­tate a baptized Parent to transmit (if we may attribute i [...] an [...]itting to a Parent, which is pro­perly the act of Gods Institution and Covenant) right of Baptism unto his Childe.

But for [...]he Minor or Assumption of the Argument in hand, it will not hold in either of the senses of the Proposition above given. For,

1. We will readily grant, that if the Parent be not in a state of Baptism-right himself, i. e. in [...] state of Membership, he cannot convey Baptism-right to his Childe; but how manifest is it, that that which the Synod hath said in their fifth Proposition, doth render the persons there described in a state of right to Baptism for themselves, in case they were unbaptized, viz. In a state of Membership in the visible Church; for the Proposition speaks of Church-members, such as were ad­mitted Members in minority, and do orderly and regularly so continue: and that a state of Mem­bership is a state of Baptism-right, or that all Church members are in the state of Subjects of Baptism, is an evident Truth that cannot be denied by any that grant the Synods first Proposition; for which there is Sun light in Scripture, and never was Orthodox Divi [...]e heard or that questi­oned it. Hence according to that Ruled Case here mentioned, the Parents in question having themselves a title to Baptism, may intitle others; they have not onely a title to it, but regular and actual possession of it, for they are baptized, and in case they were yet unbaptized, they would, being Church-members, have a title of right [...]nto it (they would stand possessed of an interest in a title to it, as Mr. Hooker in the place here alledged speaks) whatever might de facto hinder their enjoyment of it. And as à non haben [...]e potestatem, acts are invalid; so ab ha­bente potestatem they are valid and good: but God hath full power to give forth what Grants he pleaseth, and he hath in the order of his Covenant in the visible Church, granted a Membership, and so Baptism-right unto Children born of Parents that are Members, and so the Parent that stands Member of the Church, hath as an instrument under God, and from his Grant, power to convey such a right unto his Childe. Children are within the Covenant, because they come from Parents within the Covenant, in which they were included, and so received also by God, [...]aith Mr. Hooker in the place that is [...]erecited. Survey, p. 11. 3. pag. 18.

2. It is not to be yielded, that the Parents described by the Synod in their fifth Proposition, would not have right to Baptism themselves in case they were unbaptized, though you take [Right to Baptism] for actual and immediate fitness for the same in [...] Ecclesia. Surely he will have an hard talk, who shall undertake out of Scripture, or Orthodox Divines, to shew, that Adult persons understanding and believing the Doctrine of Faith, and publickly professing the same, not scandalous in life, and solemnly taking hold of the Covenant, wherein they give up themselves and theirs to the Lord in his Church, and subject themselves to Christs Government therein; That these (we say) may be denied or debarred from Church-membership or baptism upon their desire thereof. It is not easie to believe, that the multitudes baptized by John Baptist and by Christ, (i. e. by his Disciples at his Order) in the time of their Ministry; or the many thousands of the Jews that were counted Believers, and baptized after Christs Ascension (too much addicted unto Ju­daism, Acts 21. 20. & 15 1.) or the Numbers baptized by Philip in Samaria, and by the Apo­stles in other places, upon a short time of Instruction, and when they were moved and taken [Page 40] with the Miracles they saw wrought, and of whom many proved corrupt and degenerate after­ward (as the Epistles to the Galatians, Corinthians, and other places shew) That they did (we say) (at least many of them) excell the persons described in the Synods fifth Proposition, taking all things together: or that they had more to render them visible Believers upon a just account then these have.

But it is a strange Reason that is here rendred by our Brethren, why that which is set down by the Synod would not render a person a Subject of Baptism, viz. Because [a man may be an unbeliever, and yet c [...]me up to all that the Synod hath said in their fifth Proposition] We suppose [...] Magus, [...] and Sapphira, and many others, not onely might be, but were unbelievers, and yet were regularly baptized. We marvel what outward signs and professions of Faith which the Church may proceed upon, can be given, but a man [may be] an unbeliever, and yet come up unto them? If it be said, that a man may come up to all that the Synod hath said, and yet be Ecclesiastically judged a visible unbeliever, shew us any ground for such a judgement.

Touching the Opinion of Bucer & Parker, here cited out of Park de Polit. Eccl. lib. 3. p. 181, 182.

1. In the first passage the word [Apparent] is here added, the words in Parker are onely [Signes of Regeneration,] and the other passage in pag. 182. runs thus; A confession of Faith though publick and solemn, may not be received in Churches, quando nulla neces [...]aria Fidei signa apparent, when as no necessary Signs of Faith do appear: where by necessary Signs of Faith, are not meant such signs as have a necessary Connexion with Faith, or do necessarily (i. e. infallibly, and certainly) Argue that there is Truth of saving Faith in the heart; such Signs men cannot see or judge of, but when there is such an appearance, as that if that be in reality which doth appe [...] to be (or which seems to be in outward appearance) then there is true Faith; this is that ap­pearance of necessary Signes of Faith which he means; hence within seven lines of the place cited, the fame thing is thus expressed; quamdin nullo probabiti Arguments, &c. when as we are by [...] probable Argument given to believe that it is in the Heart.

2. The thing there specially blamed by Bucer and Parker, is, when a bare Verbal Profession is accepted, though accompanied with a Scandalous life; and when there is not regard had to the conversation, as well as to the Oral Confession, as the Discourse in the place cited at large shews.

3. But that which we would chiefly insist on for Answer, is, That Bucer and Parker do there plainly speak of such a Confirmation (or owning men as confirmed Members) as doth import their Admission to the Lords Table, or into full Communion (as we Phrase it) and hence do blame the Prelatical way for so much slightness therein: so Mr. Cotton cites this place of Bucer Holin. of Church-members, pag 41. And so Parker a little before this his citation of Bucer complains, That although by the English order (if I mistake not, saith he) be that is confirmed, is capable of the Lords Supper; yet notwithstanding such are confirmed, if they can but say the Catechism, who cannot examine themselves, nor rightly prepare themselves for the Table of the Lord. Now it is well known, that in our Admissions unto full Communion, we are not behind in any thing that Bucer and Parker do require, but do expect positive comfortable Signes of Regeneration already wrought, and some experienced fruits thereof; whereby persons may be in some measure fit for that special and comfortable Exercise of Grace that is required in preparation for, and participation of the Lords Table. But suppose that persons born in the Church, and baptized, be not yet come up to this, is there any word to be found in Bucer or Parker, or in any Judicious Orthodox Divine, that they lose their Membership, Benè autē sterare not in genere, de i [...]s omni­bus qui ex fidelibus nascuntur, & [...]oederis formula in­definita ju­bet, & cha­rit as monet Bez. quaest. de Sacram. [...]. 122. and are put out of the Church meerly because they are not come up to this, when as no censurable wickedness is found with them? And while the Parent stands in the Church, his Infant-childe is in the Church also, and therefore Baptizable. Yet withal we say, with the consent of judicious Divines, that while persons have a regular standing in the Church, they are in Ecclesiastical account to be looked upon as having the B [...]ing of Regeneration, or as Fideles, vocati, and so regenerati, i. e. by reason of their federal Holiness, though not by par­ticular, present, evident Signs of a work of Grace already wrought in them: in this case we take their Covenant-estate, Christian Education, Hopeful Carriage general Profession, &c. for Signs of Regeneration in this sense, i. e. such as shew that there may be Grace, there is nothing incon­sistent with Grace, and none knows but a seed of Grace (which in the first infusion, and beginnings of it, is marvellous secret and small) may lye at bottom; and hence the Church is to carry toward them as Heires of Grace. But, it is a further thing for Grace to appear above-ground in such Exercise and sensible Signs, Evidences and Experiences, as may sit them for comfortable Communion with Christ in the Supper.

But Fourthly, if the judgement of Bucer and Parker may be taken in this Controversie, it will [Page 41] soon be it an end▪ for, notwithstanding all that is here, or can be cited of theirs, it is evident enough that F [...]ous Martin Bucer, and Renowned Parker, (as the Preface styleth them, and that deservedly) do fully concurre with the Synod in extending Baptism to such as the Synod describes, or to more then so. Vid. Bucer de regno Christi, Lib. 1. Cap. 2. pag. 14. And in his Commentary upon John, in an excellent discourse concerning Infant-Baptism, among many other useful Passages, he hath these following. Sunt quidem sape inter puer [...]s Reprobi, &c. There are indeed asce [...]t among Children some that be Reprobates, but while that does not appear to us, we ought nevertheless to reckon them among the People of God; and we shal [...] time enough cast them out, when by their evil fruits they shall openly shew me what they are Bucer in Jo [...]. so [...]. 43 And in another place, [...] eq [...]idem assequi possum, &c. As far as I can gather (saith he) the Anabaptist's onely reason why they dislike Infant baptism, i [...]. Because they fancy to themselves that the Church would be more pure, if we baptized none but the adult, and such as bo1d forth eviden­ces of the Spirit: and so they think but a few would have place in Churches. But by this means doubtless it would come to pass, that many of Christs Sheep would be neglected as Goats: neither would all Parents be so careful as they think, in educating their Children unto piety. And yet this bur [...]an [...] thought (which savours of too much esteem of our own works) doth so possess them, that they bring all to this, and turn off all that can be said, and hereby they run themselves into very great errours. I called it an humane thought, for no Scripture doth command such a curious circumspection, best any Goats should be received into the Church. The Apostles often baptized persons with whom they had scarce had an hours speech concerning Christ; because, according to the Pa­rable of the Gospel, they would bring in all they met with to the Marriage (Mat. 22. 10.) For by Baptism they only took them into the School of Piety, and Trained band of Christians; and they were wont then to cast them out again, when it was evidently enough perceived that to labour in teaching them was in vain. Ibid. fol. 53.

As for Parker, his speaking mainly against the admitting or tolerating of [Manifestarii pecc [...]tores] The notoriously wicked, and pleading to have them debarred from the Lords Table, or cast out by the use of Di­sciplineDe Polit. Eccles. Lib. 3. pag. 168, 169.: His frequent approbation of the Principles of the Refor­med Churches De Polit. Eccl. Lib. 1. cap. 29. & Lib. 3. pag. 167. Protestat. before Treat. of the Cross.; And in special his approving of their admitting Mem­bers (not before of their Body) upon such like qualifications as are con­tained in the Synods fifth Proposition De Polit. Lib. 3. pag. 171.. Also his earnest and perempto­ry rejecting the Opinions and Principles of the Anabaptists and Separa­tists, and declaring himself and the Non-Conformists, whose Cause he act­ed, to be farre from themIbid. Lib. 1. cap. 13. & 14. & Lib. 3. pag. 166. And of the Cross, Cap. 9. sect. 2.. These and such like do clearly shew that Worthy man to be no Opponent of such an extent of Baptism as is contained in the Conclusions of the Synod.

But here our Brethren will needs take notice, that the judgment of that worthy and for ever famous Mr. Cotton was as theirs is, because he hath these words, (in Holiness of Church-members, pag. 93) I conceive (under favour) more positive fruits of Regeneration are required in the Church-members of the New Testament then of the Old.

Ans. The Reader will take notice of what hath been before said, and cited to shew Mr. Cottons judgement in the Points controverted between our Brethren and the Synod, and will easily thereby judge whether Mr. Cottons judgement was as theirs is: but it is strange they should make such a Collection from what is here set down. Mr. Cotton might say those words that are here expressed, and yet his judgement be farre enough from being as theirs is in any of the Points that are controverted: for we shall not gainsay this Conception of Mr. Cottons [That more positive fruits of Regeneration are required in the Church members of the New Testament, then of the Old] but concur with it in two respects, or for two causes: 1. Because the Light now is greater and clearer then it was then, and where more is given, more is required, Luke 12. 48. 2. Because the Discipline appointed under the Old Testament was mostly Ceremonial (Ames Medul. lib. 1. c. 38. Thes. 41.) And whether Excommunication for Moral evils, was then used, at least out of the Na­tional Church, is by some doubted: As also whether persons were debarred from the holy thing [...] simply for Moral evils, if they were ceremonially clean; as Mr. Cotton in the place here alledged saith, It is true, that it is a question whether sins very scandalous did keep men ceremonially clean from the Temple and Sacrifices: But under the New Testament we have a plain and undoubted Rule, for the Censure of Excommunication for Moral evils persisted in: hence persons might haply run further into Moral evils (and so further off from the fruits of Regeneration) then, and yet not be put out of the Church (yea haply not be debarred from the holy things) then they can do now▪ But what is all this to the matter in hand? for still it is not secret [...], nor the bare w [...]nt of such and such positive fruits of Regeneration without positive [...] fruits of Irregeneration, that will (according to any Rule God hath given us) put [...] [Page 42] the Church, which he is once in. Nay, Mr. Cotton in the very place here cited, expresly saith, that Irregeneration alone will not keep a man out:Holiness of Church members, pag 92. His words are these [Neither amongst us doth Irregeneration alone keep any from Church-fellowship with us: not Irregeneration alone (I say) unless it be accompanied with such fruits as are openly scandalous, and do convincingly manifest Irregeneration.] Moreover, still the parallel between the Church of the Old and of the New Te­stament, stands and holds in this, that when a person is once by Gods appointment taken into the visible Church (whether in adult age or in infancy, it comes all to one for that) he continues in it, and doth not lose his Membership, till by some Rule or Appointment of God in his Word he be cut off or cast out. What the particular Rules and wayes of cutting off were in the Old Testament, we need nor here dispute, but to be [...]re the plain Rule in the New Testament for the cutting off of particular persons, is by the Censure of Excommunication for Moral evils.

But while we grant that in some respects more positive fruits in regard of degree might be re­quired in the Old Testament, let none so understand it, as if Regeneration was not required as all unto the Constitution and Continuation of the visible Church in the Old Testament:, but that a meer carnal succession was then allowed of without regard to Regeneration. For they stood by Faith, and were broken off by Unbelief as well as we; Rom. 11. Circumcision was a Seal of the Righte [...] of faith, as well as Baptism. Faith and Repentance do not now more constitute the Covenant of God, then it did in the time of Abraham; who was the Father of the Faithful, saith Dr. Ames Medul. Lib. 1. cap. 40. thes. 13.. Yea, our brethren do in their Antisynodalia, pag. 17. expresly say, That the Cove­nant made with Abraham, and the Circumcision of his seed, was appointed upon the same terms that Baptism was, i. e. that he should walk with God by Faith and Obedience. And it is observeable, that no, where is Regeneration, and the fruits thereof, required of God Covenant people in stricter and fuller terms then in the Old Testament, Gen. 17. 1. Deut 10. 12. & 26. 16, 17. 1. Kings 8. 23. Psal. 103. 17, 18. Isa. 56. 4, 6. And yet the Lord, who is the best interpreter of his own Rules, continued them in the Church, and accounted them among the number of his holy peo­ple, till palpable, and incorrigible fruits of Irregeneration were found with them: and so he doth now.

In the sixth Place: The Application (saith the Preface) of the Seal of Baptism unto those who are not true Believers (we mean visibly, for de occultis non judicat Ecclesia) is a profana­tion thereof, and as dreadful [...]sin as if a man should administer the Lords Supper unto unworthy re­ceivers—We marvel that any should think that the blood of Christ is not as much profaned [...] by undue Administration of Baptism, as by make administration of the Lords Supper.

Ans It will be hard for the Reader to gather out of all that is here said, a Reason of dissent from the Synod: for we readily grant and say, that Baptism is not to be applied to any but visible Believers (taking visible Believers as a term equivalent to [1. Federally Holy] as the term Be­liever or Faithful is sometimes in Scripture so taken, Isai. 1. 21. 2 Cor. 6. 15. and often in An­thors) but that the persons in question, both Parents and Children, are visible Believers, is also by the Synod asserted and proved; and here is nothing said to disprove it. But when as our Brethren here say, that the Application of the Seal of Baptism unto those who are not visibly true Believers, is a profanation thereof (in which, being rightly explained, we gainsay them not) and yet in their Antisynodalia, pag. 201 do hold fort [...], That Infants member have nor can have Faith; it will lye upon them to shew how they apply the seal of Baptism to infants without a profanation thereof. It is pity that so many passages are dropt here and there, that do (though we hope not in their intention) [...] with the baptizing of Infants. Here is also exprest a marvel, that any should think, &c. But we may Answer with a marvel that any should speak as if any of us did thi [...] that the Blood of Christ is not profaned by undue administration or Baptism, as well as by undue administration of the Lords Supper: whether as much or no in point of degree, we will not trouble our selves to dispute; though we suppose the degree of sinful pollution or profana­tion of the Lords Name in any Ordinance, will be intended by the degree of special Communion that we have with Christ in that Ordinance, and, by the danger that such pollution inters to the whole Church, as well as to the particular partaker, which will hardly be denied to be more in the Lords Supper then in Baptism But whether the profanation he as great [...], to be sure it is very great, and so great as that every Pious Conscientious person should sear to have any hand in the undue administration of Baptism. But where is there any thing to shew that the administration of Baptism, pointed to by the Synod, is [...]? or tha [...] it i [...] an undue Administration of Baptism to extend it further then the Lords Supper? or to administer Baptism to some unto whom we do not administer the Lords Supper? If the Rule and Institution concerning these two Sacra­ments [Page 43] do extend the one further then the other, as it plainly doth, when it appoints Baptism to all Disciples, or to run parallel with federal Holiness, Mat. 28. 19. but the Lords Supper onely to Self-examining Disciples, 1 Cor 11. 28. then the one may be extended further then the other, and yet the administration of the one no more undue, or irregular, and polluting then the Administration of the other. Surely he that holds, That Baptism may, and the Lords Sup­per may not be administred unto Infants (as we suppose our Brethren do) he grants that Bap­tism may be extended further then the Lords Supper, without any such sacrilegious impiety, dreadful profanation or prostitution of the Blood of Christ, as is here (harshly enough) exprest­ [...] either did judicious Calvin (part of whose zealous expression against the promiscuous Ad­ministration of the Lords Supper, is here cited in the Preface) ever imagine or conceive that it was any such profanation to extend Baptism further then the Lords Supper, yea and further then the Synod doth, when as he set down that Answer in his Catechism that is above alledged, and practised accordingly. It is well-known the Synod doth not plead for that largeness in either of the Sacraments that Calvin allowed: But to extend the one further then the other, was never accounted sacrilegious impiety in Orthodox Divinity.

It is here added; that Austin pleads for strictness in the Administration of Baptism, and Ter [...]ullian be ore him. But did either of them plead for greater strictness then the Synod doth? unless where Tertullian erroneously and weakly pleads for the delaying of Baptism, which is notedMag­deb. Cent. 3. pag. 83. for one of his navi. Certainly men will say when they look upon what is published by the Synod, and their [...]ary qualifying of the fifth Proposition (about which the controversy is) that they were for much strictness in the administration of Baptism, and many will think us too strict. We doubt not but we may safely say, that no man can shew anything out of Austin that will speak him to be against the baptizing of such as the Synod pleadeth for: yea, [...]e requireth not more of adult Converts from Heathenism, for their own Baptism, then is in the Parents who are described by the Synod. This Book of his de Fide & Operibus, is against the baptizing of notorious scandalous livers, whom he would not have baptized (though seemingly turned from Heathenism) till they seriously promised reformation. But that Austin (in stead of being for more strictness) holdeth for a larger extent of Baptism then the Synod doth, might easily be evincedSicut ergo tempore illius Sa­cramenti, de Circumcise qui nascere­tur, circumcidendus fuit: sic nun [...] de Baptiz [...] [...]to qui natus fuerit, ba­ptizandus est. August. tom. 7. cont. Pelag. Lib. 2. cap. 25. See also Tem. 2. Epist. 23. ad Bonifacium; & Epist. 75. ad Aunilium. And De Grat. & Lib. Arbitr. cap. 22..

How strange is it to see their Authority still alledged against us, who are not onely fully with us in this matter, but go further then we!

The seventh Reason of our Brethrens dissent, is this; It hath in it a natural tendency to th [...] bardning of unregenerate Creatures, in their sinful natural condition, when Life is not onely promi­sed, but sealed to them by the prech us Blood of Jesus Christ. Baptism is a Seal of the whole Cove­nant of Grace, Ames Medul lib. 1. cap. 40. thes. 6. as well as the Lords Supper, and therefore those that are not interested in this Covenant by Faith, ought not to have the Seal thereof applyed to them.

Ans. 1. The Lords Truth and Grace, however it may be abused by the corruption of mans perverse and sinful nature, hath not in it self any natural tendency to harden any, but the contrary. And how can the Doctrine in hand have any such natural tendency? when as men are told over and over, that onely outward advantages and dispensations are sealed to them in Baptism more absolutely (Rom. 3. 1, 2. & 9. 4.) but the saving benefits of the Covenant (or Life Eter­nal) conditionally (see Mr. Shepards late Printed Letter, pag. 3—6.) so that if they fail of the condition (viz. effectual and unfeigned faith) they miss of Salvation, notwithstanding their Baptism, and external Covenant-estate: And hence, that there is no [...], but onely a pro­bable connexion between federal Holyness (as applied to particular persons) and Salvation; that Thousands are in the visible Church that shall never see Heaven; That outward Priviledges are not to be re [...]ed in, but improved as helps and encouragements to the obtaining of internal and special Grace; that the Church is to accept of probable signes, but no man for himself is to rest without certain Signs of Grace: Hence the indefinite promise, and other general indefinite tokens of a good estate, i. e. such as decypher that sort of persons that are gracious, and many of whom are so, though many are not, (as Children of the Covenant, Professors of the Faith, &c.) These are grounds for the Church to proceed upon in the dispensation of outward Ordinances, especially that of Baptism, that is annexed to the first being of Grace; but they are not grounds for any to rest or acquiesce in, as to the Salvation of their own soules. In sum, while we keep a due distinction between the outward and inward dispensation of the Covenant, and between the respective conditions and grounds of each, there is no tendency unto ha [...]dning therein: but in­deed [Page 44] when men confound these two, and do tye visible Church-interest unto such conditions and qualifications, as are reputed enough to Salvation, this may tend to harden men, and to make them conceit, that if once they be got into the Church, they are sure of Heaven, when as alas it may be they are far from it.

2. The Scriptures give us a contrary Assertion to this of our Brethren here; for they tell us, that to deny the Children of the Church, to have any part in the Lord, hath a strong tendency in it, to make them cease from fearing the Lord, or to harden their hearts from his fear, Josh. 22. 24, 25, 27. and that on the other hand the incouragements and awful obligations of Covenant-in­terest do greatly tend to soften and break the heart, and to dra [...] it home unto God. Hence the Lord often begins with this, that he is their God (viz. in outward Covenant) and they his People, when he would most powerfully win and draw them to Faith and Obedience, psal. 81. 8, 10. Levit. 19. 3, 4. Deut. 14. 1, 2. Hosen 14. 1. Act. 2. 38, 39. and the Experiences of many can through Grace witness unto this, of what use the consideration of the Lords preventing Grace in his sealed Covenant, and their engagement to him thereby hath been in the day of their turn­ing unto God, so Jer. 31. 18. & 3. 22. Gal. 1. 15.

3. There is a natural tendency in mans corrupt heart (not in this, or any other Truth or Or­dinance of God▪ that leads him to turn Grace into wantonness, and to abuse outward Priviledges and Ordinances, unto a self-hardning security and carnal confidence, Jer. 7. 4. Mat. 3. 9. Rom. 2. 17. Phil. 3. 4, 5, 6, 7. but is this any Argument against the Lord's or the Churches giving men a por­tion in his Temple and Ordinances, because they are prone so to abuse them? Confidence in outward visible qualifications for full communion, is but a vain and carnal thing; yet men are prone enough to it, and had need by the Ministry be taken off from it. But shall we there­fore deny or scruple their Admission thereunto?

4. If one should bring such an Argument as this against the baptizing of Infants, viz. That it will harden them, and [...]olster them up in their sinful natural-condition; we suppose it would be counted a poor Argument, and of no validity; and yet it holds as well against the baptizing of any Infants, as of these in question. If it be said, that the baptizing of these in question hardens the Parent? Ans. Not at all (in the way we go) any more with reference to his Childes Baptism, then in reference to his own Baptism which he received in Infancy. For it doth not necessarily affirm that he hath any more then federal Holiness, and that he had, when he was an In­fant, on that ground was he Baptized then, and on the same ground is his Childe Baptized now. If he have any more, he may have the more comfort in it; but simply to have his Childe Bapti­zed, on the grounds we go upon, affirms no more but this, because we ground all upon federal Holiness, or Membership in the visible Church.

It is true, that Baptism is a Seal of the whole Covenant of Grace, as well as the Lords Supper. But it is as true, 1. That it is a Seal of the Covenant of Grace, as dispensed in the visible Church, or it is a Seal of the Covenant of Grace, as clothed with the external dispensation or administra­tion thereof, and so it doth nextly and immediately Seal the external dispensation, or the Promi­ses and Priviledges that belong thereto (which are a part of the whole Covenant of Grace) and then it seals the inward and saving benefits of the Covenant as included in that dispensation, and upon the Conditions therein propounded. Baptism seals the whole Covenant, and whole dispensation thereof, i. e. 1. The dispensation of it Outwardly, to all that have an external standing in the Church. 2. The dispensation and communication of it inwardly, Effectually and Savingly to all that truely do believe.

2. That Baptism is a Seal of Entrance into the Covenant thus considered. It seals the whole Covenant, but by way of Initiation; so Dr. Ames in the place that is here quoted, Medul. Lib. 1. Cap. 40. Thes. 5, 6. Baptism is the Sacrament of Initiation, or Regeneration, for although it do at once seal the whole Covenant of Grace to the Faithful, yet by a singular appropriation it repre­sents and confirms our very Ingrafting into Christ, Rom. 6. 3, 5. 1 Cor. 12. 13. And Thesis 10. Those Benefits are sealed by way of Initiation in Baptism: And from thence the judicious Do­ctor makes that Inference that suits and clears the matter in hand, Thes. 11. Hence Baptism ought [...]o be administred to all those, unto whom the Covenant of Grace belongs, because it is the first Seal of the Covenant now first entred into. Baptism is the Seal of Entrance into Covenant, sealing up unto the party baptized, all the good of the Covenant to be in season communicated and en­joyed, from step to step, through the whole progress of Christianity, from this first beginning thereof, according to the Tenour and Order of the Covenant. Hence it belongs to all that are within the Covenant, or that have but a first entrance there into Children as well as others, though they have not yet such faith and growth, as imports that progress in the Covenant, and fruition [Page 45] of the Comfort and Fruits thereof that is sealed up i [...] the Lords Supper.

We readily grant, and say [That [...] ought to [...] the Seal of Baptism applied to them, but those that are interested in the Covenant] and that by Faith, unless you can [...] us any other way of interest in the Covenant, but by Faith. But withall, we affirm and prove, That the Chil­dren in questions have interest in the Covenant, according to the known [...] thereof, Gen. 17. 7. and therefore that the Seal of Baptism is to be applied to them. In all this therefore we se [...] no sufficient Ground or Reason to necessitate a Dissent from the Synod.

Our Brethren have one thing more yet to adde; viz. That there is Danger of [...] Corruption and Pollution creeping into the Churches, by the Enlargement of the Subject of Baptism.

Answ. 1. And is there no danger of Corruption by Over-straitning the subject of Baptism? Certainly it is a Corruption to take from the [...], as well as to adde to it; and a Corruption that our weakness is in danger of. And it is a dangerous [...]aing to be guilty of breaking Gods Covenant, by not applying the Initiating Seal unto those it is appointed for, eve [...] unto all that are in Covenant, Gen. 17. 9, 10, 14. Moses found danger in it, Exod. 4. 24. Is there [...] danger of putting those out of the visible Church, whom Christ would have kept [...] and depriving them of those Church-advantages (Rom. [...]. 3, 2.) that might help them toward Heaven? Even Christs own Disciples may be in danger of incurring His displeasure, by keeping poor little-once away from him, Mark 10. 13, 14. To go pluck [...] was a [...]lous motion, and had a good intention, but the H [...]sholder concludes, there's danger in it of plucking up the Wheat also.

2. If the enlargement be beyond the bounds of the Rui [...], it will bring in corruption, else not; our work is therefore to study the Rule and keep close to that, as the onely true way to the Churches P [...]rity and Glory. To go aside from that to the Right hand will bring corruption as well as to go to the less: The way of Anabaptists, viz. to admit none to Membership and Bap­tism but adult Professors, is the strai [...]est way, and one would think it should be a way of areas Purity, but Experience hath abundantly shewed the contrary; that it hath been an Inlet to great corruption, and looseness both in Doctrine and Practice, and a troublesome dangerous [...] ­derminer of Reformation. It is the Lords own-way, and his Institutions onely, which he will bless, and not [...] Inventions, though never so plausible: neither hath God (in his wisdome) so instituted the frame of his Covenant, and the constitution of the Church thereby, as to make a perfect separation between good and bad, or to make the work of Conversions and initial Instru­ction needless in the Churches. Conversion is to the Children of the Covenant a fruit of the Co­venant, saith Mr Cotton Grounds and Ends of Infant-baptisim, p. 23, 29.. If we do [...] keep in the way of a Converting Grace-giving Covenant, and keep persons under those Church dispensation wherein Grace is given, the Church will dye of a Ling [...]ing, though not of a Violent death. The Lord hath not [...]et up Churches onely that [...] few old Christians may keep one another warm while they live, and then carry away the Church into the cold grave with them when they dye▪ no, but that they might, with all the care, and with all the Obligations, and Advantages to that care that may be, nurse up still successively another Generation of Subjects to Christ that may stand up in his Kingdome when they are gone, that so he might have a People and Kingdome successively continued to him from one Generation to another. We may be very injurious to Christ as well as to the Souls of men, by too much straitning, and narrowing the bounds of his Kingdome or visible Church here on Earth. Certain­ly enlargement, Prov [...]r [...]. 28. Psa.110. [...]. so it be a regular enlargement thereof, is a very desirable thing: it is a great honour to Christ to have many willing Subjects (as these are willing and desirous to be under the Government of Christ that we plead for) and very suitable to the spirit and Grace of Christ in the Gospel. In Church-reformation it is an observable Truth (saith Pare [...] on the Parable of the Tares) That these that are for too much strictness, do more hurt then profit the Church: See Di [...]date on Matt. 13. [...]9. Cyprian Epist. 51.

3. There is apparently a greatar danger of Corruption to the Churches by enlarging the Subjects of full Communion, and admitting unqualified, or meanly qualified persons to the Lords Table and Voting in the Church whereby the interest of the power of Godliness will soon be preju­diced, and Elections, Admissions, Censures, so carried, as will be hazardous thereunto. Now it is evident, that this is, and will be the Temptation, viz. to over-enlarge full Communion, if Baptism be limited to the Children of such as are admitted thereunto. And it is easie to observe, that many of the Reasonings of our Brethren, and others▪ are more against the Non-admission of the Parents in question to full Communion, then against the Admission of their Children to Baptism. How unreasonable is it then to object against us as Corrupters of the Churches, when we stand for [Page 46] a greater strictness then they in that wherein the main danger of Church-corrupting lyes? We doubt not to affirm, That that Principle which hath been held forth by our Brethren, viz. [That if the Church can have any hope of persons, that they have any thing of Forth and Grace in them, though never so little, they ought, being adult, to be admitted to full Communion] this we say will, if followed, bring corruptions and impurities into Churches: for he must abandon all the Rules of Charity, that cannot hope this of multitudes [...] young persons that grow up among us, who yet if they were presently admitted to full Communion, we should soon [...]eel [...] [...]ange in the management of Church-affairs; and the Interest of Formality and common Profession, would soon be advanced above the Interest of the power of Godliness. Whether we be in the right in this matter of strictness as to full Communion, Scripture and Reason must determine (and were this the place of that dispute, we have [...] to say in it, and to be sure, the Practice of these Churches hitherto hath been for it, as also their Profession in the Synod in 1648. Ha [...]form of Discipline, Cap. 12. Sect 7. Hence to depart from that, would be a real departure from our former Practice and Profession: Whereas to Enlarge Baptism to the Children of all that stand in the Church, is but a progress to that Practice that suits with our Profession) But cer­tain it is that we are, and stand for the Purity of the Churches, when as we stand for such qu [...] ­lifications as we do, in those we would admit to full Communion; and do withstand those No­tions and Reasonings that would inferre a Laxness therein, which hath apparent peril in it. But we can hardly imagine what hurt it would do, or what danger of spoiling the Churches there is in it, for poor Children to be taken within the verge of the Church, under the wings of Christ in his Ordinances, and to be under (Church-care, and Discipline and Government for their Souls good; to be in a state of Initiation and Education in the Church of God, and consequent­ly to have Baptism, which is the Seal of Initiation; when as they shall not come to the Lords Table, nor have any hand in the Management of Church-affairs (as Elections of Officers, Admis­sions, and Censures of Members) untill as a fruit of the foresaid help and means, they attain to such qualifications as may render their admission into full Communion safe and comfortable, both to their own Souls, and to the Churches.

In sum, we make account, that if we keep Baptism within compass of the Non-excommu­nicable, and the Lords Supper within the compass of those that have (unto Charity) somewhat of the Power of Godliness (or Grace in exercise) we shall be near about the right Middle-way of Church-Reformation. And as for the Preservation of due Purity in the Church, it is the due Exercise of Discipline that must do that, as our Divines unanimously acknowledge, for that is Gods own appointed way (and the Lord make and keep us all careful and faithful therein) not the Curtailing of the Covenant, which may be man's way; but is not the way of God where­in alone we may expect his Blessing.

The good Lord pardon the Imperfections and Failings that attend us in these Debates; accept of what is according to his Will, and establish it; save us from corrupting Extremes on either hand, and give unto his People one Heart and one Way to fear Him for ever, for the good of them and of their Children after them.

ERRATA in the Book following.

PAge 12. Line 18. their Infancy, reade from Infancy. pag. 22. lin. 16. he added r. here added. pag. 49. lin. 4. there r. here. pag. 53. lin. 35. his r. this. pag. 60. lin. 7. of that r. of the pag. 66. [...]. 1. do run r. do not run. pag. 98. lin. 11. do administer r. so administer.

In Answ. to the Preface. pag. 11. lin. 33. mor.. more, pag. 16. lin ult. into r. unto.

[Page 1]

A DEFENCE OF THE ANSWER and ARGUMENTS of the SYNOD, Met at Boston in the Year 1662. Concerning The Subject of Baptism, and Consociation of Churches: Against the REPLY made thereto, by the Reverend Mr. John Davenport, in his Treatise, Entituled, Another ESSAY for Investigation of the Truth, &c.

THE Reverend Author in this his Essay, before he come to speak to that which the Synod delivered, doth pr [...] ­mise Eleven or Twelve Positions, by which (he saith) the determinations of the Synod are to be Examined, and so far, and no further to be approved and received, as a consent and harmony of there with these may be cleared, &c. pag 8.

Concerning which Positions we will not say much, because the Intendment in this Defence, is onely to clear what is said by the Synod, against what this Reverend Author saith against the same in his Reply; and therefore untill he speak to what the Synod deli­vered, we think it not needful to insist long upon these premised Positions. Onely this we may say concerning them, That though sundry things in them be sound and good, yet the Positions them­selves being not Scripture, but his own private Collections, there­fore [Page 2] we do not see that we are bound to take these Positions as the Standard and Rule, by which to judge of what the Synod saith: But if the Synods Doctrine be agreeable to Scripture, we think that may be sufficient for defence thereof, whether it agree with the premised Positions, or not. And when himself, pag. 1. doth commend it as a good Profession in the Synod, that, [...]o the Law and to the Testimony they do wholly referre themselves; had it not been also commendable in him to have done the like, rather then to lay down Positions (though he conceives them rightly deduced from Scripture.) and then to say, Nothing is to be approved further then it consents with those Positions? Himself may please to consider of this.

But to leave this of the premised Positions, and to come to the main Business; Concerning The Subject of Baptism, the first Pro­position of the Synod is this, viz.

They that according to Scripture are Members of the visible Church, are the Subjects of Baptism.

The second is this; viz.

The Members of the visible Church according to Scripture, are Con­federate visible Believers, in particular Churches, and their Infant-seed, i. e. Children in minority, whose next Parents, one or both, are in Covenant.

Now what saith the Reverend Author to these? That which he saith, is this: I cannot approve the two first Propositions, without some change of the terms: Is the first, thus; They that according to Christs Ordinance, are regular and actuall Members, &c. The second, thus; The actuall and regular Members of the visible Church, according to Christs Ordinance, &c. pag. 9.

Answ. So that the Alteration required, is, That in stead of [Scripture] it be said [Christs Ordinance] and in stead of [Mem­bers] [Actuall and regular Members.] But a necessity of this Alteration doth not appear: for, as for the one particular, can we think, that there is any such difference between the Scripture, and the Ordinance of Christ, that men may be Members of the visible Church, and so Subjects of Baptism, according to the former, and yet not ac­cording to the latter? If, it be according to the Scripture, may it not be said to be according to Christs Ordinance? Sure, when Christ him­self [Page 3] bids us Search the Scripture, Joh. 5. 39, and when the Bereans are commended for searching the Scripture, whether those things were so, which were Preached by Paul, Acts 17. 11. and when all the Scripture is for our learning, Rom. 15. 4. and doth contain a perfect Rule in all things that concern Gods Worship, whether Natural, or Instituted, as this Reverend Author saith, in the first of his pre­mised Positions; upon these grounds it may seem, that what is ac­cording to Scripture, needs not to want our approbation, for fear left it agree not with the Ordinance of Christ. And indeed, how can that be taken for an Ordinance of Christ, which is not according to Scripture? that being considered also, which is said by the Reve­rend Author in his second Position, That whatsoever Christ did insti­tute in the Christian Churches, he did it by Gods appointment, as Moses by Gods appointment, gave out what he delivered in the Church of Israel. Now if all that is instituted by Christ, be according to Gods ap­pointment, and that the Scripture contains a perfect Rule concerning all Instituted Worship, and so concerning all Gods appointments; it may seem a needless thing to withhold our approbation from that which is according to Scripture, as if it might be so, and yet not be according to the Ordinance of Christ. Besides, how shall we know a thing to be an Ordinance of Christ, if it be not according to the Scripture?

And for the other Alteration desired, that in stead of [Members] it be [Regular and actuall Members] may we think that men may, or can be Members according to Scripture, and not Regular, nor actuall Members? If the Scripture be the Rule, and a perfect Rule, then they that are Members according to Scripture, are Members according to Rule, and so are Regular members. And if Actuall be contra­distinct form Potentiall; then they that are Members according to Scripture, are Actuall members, and not onely Potentiall, or poten­tially such: for, such potential Members the Scripture approveth not. Upon these grounds, we see no necessity of the Alteration fore-mentioned.

Propos. 3. The Infant-seed, &c. when grown up are personally un­der the Watch, Discipline, and Government of the Church.

Arg. 1. Children were under Patriarchall and Mosaical discipline of old, &c.

[Page 4] ‘Reply. The Texts alledged (Viz. Gen. 18. 19. & 21. 9, 10 1; and Gal. 5. 3.) do not prove the A [...]ecedent, viz. That children was under Patriarchal and Mosaical discipline, p. 10.

Ans. And yet for the one of these, the Reverend Author confe [...] ­seth, in Answer to this Argument, pag. 11, 12. That the members o [...] the Church in the Patriarchs Families, were to continue in communion with the Church from their being circumcised, all the dayes of their life, untill they were cast out, as Ishmael—or voluntarily departed from it, as Esau.’ And doth not this sufficiently imply, That children in those Churches, when adult, were under Discipline in those Churches? For, can we think that those Churches had no Church-discipline in them? or that the Members of them were not under that Discipline? or the children, when grown up, were not Mem­bers? Sure, if they continued in communion with the Church from their being circumcised, all the dayes of their life, untill they were cast out, or did voluntarily go away; then it was not meer growing up to be adult, that caused their Church-relation, or communion with the Church, to cease. And if their communion with the Church did not cease, but continue, how can it be avoided but they were under Church-discipline? Where shall we finde ground from Scri­pture or good Reason, that these children, when adult, did still con­tinue in communion with the Church, and yet were not under the Church-discipline that then was? It seems to us, that the one of these, which the Reverend Author doth expresly affirm, doth un­avoidably imply the other, which is affirmed by the Synod. There might be many children in those Families of the Patriarchs, who when they were adult, were neither cast out, as Ishmael, nor departed, as Esau; and these continuing in communion with the Church all the dayes of their life, from their being circumcised, as the Reverend Author saith they did, they were therefore under the Church-disci­pline that then was. And if they might be cast out, as Ishmael was, Gen. 21. as the Reverend Author confesseth; it cannot be denied but that there was Discipline in those Churches, and that children, when grown up, were subject thereto: For, as for that which the Re­verend Author suggesteth, pag. 11. That Ishmael being thirteen years old when he was circumcised, was then admitted into Church-fellowship [Page 5] and full communion by his personal Covenanting, being at years of discretion. The Answer is, That it is very unusual that children at thirteen years of age should be fit for full communion. And as for Ishmael, there is no such thing testified of him in the Scripture; but on the contrary, when the Lord saith, He should be a wilde▪ man, and his hand against every man, and every mans hand against him, Gen. 16. & when as he soon after became such a Mocker and Persecutor, Gen. 21. Gal. 4. as that for it he was cast out, Gen. 21. it is therefore not very probable that he at thirteen years of age had so much goodness in him, as that upon the profession thereof he should then be admitted to full communion. It seems to us more probable, considering the things mentioned, that he was admitted as a childe in minority, by virtue of the Covenant with Abraham and his seed: and yet, when grown up, he was so under Discipline, as to be cast out for his wickedness.

And for that other of Mosaicall Discipline, the Reverend Author confesseth, p. 11, 12, That all the grown members of the Church of Israel were brought under such Discipline, as was established in that Church by a solemn Covenant, whereof all adult persons were to take hold personally. And if all the grown members of that Church were brought under such discipline as was then established, then the other par­ticular in the Antecedent, That children were under Mosaicall discipline, is here also confessed by the Author. Indeed, he conceiveth they were brought under Discipline by Covenanting personally; but that is not clear: but for the thing it self, That they were under Discipline, this we see is by him confessed; which is that which the Synod affirmed And why may not that Text, Gal. 5. 3. be a sufficient proof thereof? If they that were circumcised, were bound to all the duties of the Law, as the Text affirmeth; then they were bound to that Ecclesiastical Discipline that the Law of Moses appointed: and therefore chil­dren being circumcised, were so bound, even when they were adult, for then they remained circumcised. There are good Expositors who upon that Text do teach, That Circumcision was an obligation [...] the keeping of all the Commandments of the Law in the Old Testament, and that Baptism is the like for all the Commandments of the Gospel. See Paroeus, and Perkins in loc. Whereby it appeareth, That what [Page 6] Discipline was under the Old Testament, children circumcised in Infancy were subject thereto, when adult, as being bound by their Circumcision to all the Commandments of the Law.

So much for Defence of the Antecedent in this Argument.

But, saith the Reverend Author, though the Antecedent were more manifestly true, yet the Consequent is not good; for there is not par ra­tio, the like reason of those Patriarchal and Mosaical Churches, and of Congregational Churches under the Gospel, page 11.

Ans. And yet the Reverend Author confesseth in Position the fifth and sixth, That the Covenant of Abraham was the same in substance under the Law, and under the Gospel: and, that the Kingdome of God, is the same in substance which is taken from the Jews, and given to the Gentiles; yea, and that Baptisme is come in the place of Circumcision, and therefore Infants of Confederates are now to be Baptized, as then they were to be circumcised, they being both outward seales of the same Covenant in substance. So that here seems to be a plain acknow­ledgment that there is par ratio, though in the place in hand it be de­nied. For, if the Covenant be for Substance the same now as it was then, and that therefore Baptism may be now dispensed to Infants, as circumcision was then, those ordinances being both seales of the same covenant for Substance; is not this an acknowledgment of a par ratio between them? and if so, what should hinder but that Children, when grown up, may as well be under Church-discipline now, as under the Old Testament? for, may they be now Baptized in their infancy, as then they were Circumcised, because there is in both par ratio? and might they be then under Church-discipline, and yet now not so, because here there is not par ratio? Is Poedobap­tisme in the new Testament, rightly inferred from the Circumcision of Infants in the old Testament, because here there is par ratio be­tween them? and is not their subjection to Church-discipline, when adult, in the new Testament, rightly inferred from the like subjecti­on in the Old? It doth not appear that there is any want of par ratio in the one case, any more then in the other.

As for that which is here immediately brought in pag. 11. to prove that there is not par ratio; viz. Because the members of the Church, in the Patriarchs families, were to continue in Communion [Page 7] with the Church all the dayes of their life, until they were cast out, as Ishmael, or voluntarily departed from it, as Esau.’ We conceive this is no proof at all of the disparity alledged; and the reason is, because we say the very same concerning the Children of Church-members in these dayes, viz. that they still continue in the Church all the dayes of their life, if they be not cast out in a Gospel way, which he doth not disprove. And therfore in this there is no want of par ratio.

And for the proof of disparity between the Church of Israel, and our Churches, viz. ‘1. That we do not read of any Ordinance given them, for casting out Members for sins against the Moral Law. And 2. That the grown Members of that Church, were brought under such discipline as was established in that Church, by a solemn Covenant, whereof all adult persons were to take hold personally.

The Answer is; Touching the former of these, that sundry thing [...] may be said to shew, that it is very probable that in Israel there was appointed of God an Ordinance of Church-censure or discipline, not only for sins against the Ceremoniall Law, but also against the Moral; For, the Lord doth so often, and earnestly command Holi­ness and purity to that People, and so often and severely reproveth the contrary, and that not only in the offenders themselves, but also in them that suffered it, and this not only in Ceremonial matters, but also in sins against the Moral Law, that it is not very probable that he would have no Church-discipline used for such matters as these, but only for Ceremonial. Is it likely, that if a man should eat Leavened bread in the time of the Passeover, that for this he must be cut off from the Congregation, as Exod. 12. 15, 19. or if a man should touch a dead body, or a bone of a Man, or a grave, &c. that this were such uncleanness, as that he must not then enter into the Tabernacle or Temple▪ but, if he did, it would be a defiling of the Sanctuary of the Lord, and therefore such offenders must be cut off from their People? and yet nevertheless, if a man had killed another man, or had commit­ted the sin of Whoredome, or Drunkeness, or other abomination, that yet there was no such uncleanness in these as to defile the Sanctuary, or to cause a man to be kept out, or cut off, or cast out for the same? This seems to us not very probable.

[Page 8] And yet if it were certain and clear, that so it was in those times, the purpose for which this is alledged is not gained thereby, but the Consequence questioned may be sound and good for all this. The Consequence is, That if children were under Mosaical Discipline of old, then they are under Congregational Discipline now: This is the Synods argument. But, saith the Answer, This Consequence is not good, because Mosaical Discipline was not to cast men out [...] sins against the Moral Law: But, say we, The Argument and Conse­quence may be good for all this; for, Suppose there were this dif­ference between the Mosaical Discipline that was then, and the Con­gregational Discipline that is now, that the former were onely for Ceremonial uncleanness, and the latter for Moral; yet, if children were under the Discipline that was then, we conceive they are there­fore under the Church-discipline that is now: and we think this argu­ing to be better, and more strong, then to say, That because they are not under such Discipline as was then, that therefore now they are under none at all. And plain it is, that the Apostle argueth for the maintenance of the Ministry now under the Gospel, from the mainte­nance of the Ministry that was under Moses, 1 Cor. 9. 13. and shew­eth the danger of unworthy receiving our Sacraments, from the evil that befell many who were partakers of the Baptism, and the spi­rituall meat and drink that was then, 1 Cor. 10. 1, 2,&c. and if he argue from the Ministry and Sacraments that were under Moses; why is not the Argument also good from the Mosaicall Discipline? We cannot think the Apostle's Consequence might be denied, because we have now no such holy things; no such Temple and Altar as was then; no such Baptism in the Cloud, and in the Sea; no such Manna, and Water out of the Rock, as they had: To deny the Consequence of the Apostle's Argument upon any such ground, we think were very insufficient; and therefore why may not the Consequence be good, from the subjection of children to Mosaical Discipline, to prove their subjection to New-Testament-discipline; although it were granted, that their Discipline were onely for Ceremonial matters, and that we have none such, but onely for sins against the moral Law? For ought we see, the Argument and Consequence is good in this case, as well as in the other.

[Page 9] The other particular alledged by the Reverend Author, to shew a difference between the Church of Isràel, and our Churches, and that therefore children, when adult, might be under Mosaical Disci­pline, but not under Congregational, is this: Because in that Church grown members were brought under such Discipline as was esta­blished in that Church by a solemn Covenant, whereof all adult persons were to take hold personally, p.12.

Ans. It is not clear, nor at all said in the place alledged, viz. Deut. 26. 16, 17, 18. that by the Entring into covenant there mentioned, they were brought under the Church-discipline in that Church, but they might be under Church-discipline otherwise, even by the Com­mandment and Ordinance of God, and not meerly by that Cove­nant, or by means of it. For, if that Covenant were entred into in the day of their bringing the Tythes of the third year, which is spoken of in the Verses immediately preceding, viz. ver. 12, 13, 14, 15. then it could not be that Covenant that brought all adult per­sons under Discipline: for, a man might be adult, and yet not have any Tythes to bring, as not having yet any personal estate or pos­session of his own, as we see it often is with us; yea, a man might be adult, and have estate and Tythes two years afore this, for this that is here spoken of was the Tythes of the third year. Now if a man were adult and had personal estate afore this time, or adult and had yet no estate, and that this Covenant was onely entred into at that third year of Tything, then it cannot be that by this Covenant they were brought under Discipline, for they were adult, and so under Disci­pline afore. Or if the Covenant here mentioned, were not entred into at the third year of Tything; then why might it not be of all the people joyntly together, and not of any particular persons severally by themselves? there is nothing in the Text contrary to this, but rather for it, in that the Covenan [...]er here spoken of, is avouched that day to be the Lords peculiar people, ver. 18, 19. which title of [People] is not suitable to any particular person. And sure it is, that Covenant Deut 29. 10, 11, &c. was of all the people joyntly together, for it was a Covenant not onely with Men, but with Women, yea with Little children, and with such as were not there that day, but with posterity that should be afterward born; and therefore this was not [Page 10] onely a Covenant of the adult, to bring them under Church-disci­pline, as if else they had not been under it, but being also with [...] ones, that were then in minority, it might suffice to bring them un­der Discipline when they should be grown up. So that nothing doth yet appear, to prove that adult persons in Israel were not under Discipline in that Church, but by their taking hold of the Covenant personally; but for ought that doth yet appear▪ they might be under Discipline afore they had thus done. Therefore we yet see not any such disparity between the Patriarchall and Mosaicall Churches formerly, and the Congregationall Churches under the New Testament, but that from the subjection of children, when adult, unto Church-discipline in the former, may be justly inferred their subjection thereto in the latter.

So much for Defence of the Synods first Argument, to prove That children of Church-members, when adult, are under the Watch, Discipline, and Government of the Church.

To the second Argument, to prove Children when adult subject to Church-discipline; viz.

Because they are within the Church, or Members thereof, and there­fore subject to Church-judicature, 1 Cor. 5. 12.

The Answer that is given, is, That the Argument is to be denied, and the Text alledged doth not prove it.

Ans. The words of the Text are express and plain, What have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do ye not judge them that are within? but them that are without God judgeth. By which it is plain, and undeniable, That though those that are without be not sub­ject to Church-judicature, or Church-discipline, yet for those that are within it is otherwise: and therefore, if these children be within, to deny them to be subject to Church-judicature, is to deny the words of the Holy Ghost.

As for that which is here said; that By [them within] is meant Members in full communion, such as are in full membership, as well of all other Ordinances; as of Censures:

Our Answer is, That this should be Proved, as well as Affirmed, for, affirmants incumbit proba [...]. It was wont to be said▪ Non est [Page 11] distingu [...]nd [...]m [...]bi lex non distinguit: Distinctions should be warrant­ed by the Word; therefore when the Word saith, Such as are within are subject to Church-judicature, to restrain this being within, to those that are in full communion in all Ordinances, and to exempt many others, though adult persons, and within, the Church, onely because they are not so within, as to be in full communion; we say, to exempt them upon this ground from Church-judicature, is more then we see any sufficient proof for.

As for the Reason here rendred, That Excommunication is a cast­ing out from communion, and therefore how can any be formally Ex­communicated, who were never in communion, and so within the Church?

The Answer is, That the Synod doth not here expresly speak of Excommunication, and that the children are subject to that Ordi­nance; but onely saith, They are under the Watch, Discipline and Government of the Church, and therefore there was no need here to answer, That they cannot be Excommunicated: for, if that were so, (which we are farre from granting) yet what the Synod here saith, may be true for all this.

And though it be true, that such as were never in Church-commu­nion at all, cannot properly be Excommunicated; yet the Reverend Author, we suppose, doth not, nor will deny, but that many who have never yet been partakers of all Ordinances, or of the Lords Supper, as chil­dren in minority, yet may be counted Church-members, and so have much Church-communion, and enjoy much benefit thereby; as the Covenant, and Baptism the Seal thereof; the Prayers, and Blessing of the Church; Church-watchfulness, to excite them, and encourage them to, and in good, and to reclaim them from evil: Such Church-communion as this, they may be partakers of, who yet have not been admitted to full communion; and therefore what impossibi­lity is there in it, but that men may be Excommunicated, viz. from such communion as they had, though they never had such full commu­nion as others. If a Parent in full communion be justly, for some delinquency, Excommunicated, we suppose the Reverend AuthorSee Essay first, pag. 13, [...]4. in exam. of prop. 4. will say, that his children in minority are cut off from their member­ship with him, and so are Excommunicated with the Parent. And if [Page 12] so, then there may be Excommunication, where there never was the enjoyment of full communion. And so for all that is here said, [That persons not in full communion cannot be Excommunicated] yet what the Synod saith may be true, That persons not in full communion may be under the Watch, and Discipline, and Government of the Church: and how much more if even such persons may be cut off from their Church-membership, and so from what Church-communion they had?

To the third Argument, to prove Children of Church-members, when adult, to be under the Watch, Discipline, and Government of the Church; viz.

Because they are Disciples, and therefore under Discipline in Christs School.

The Reverend Author's Answer hath in it a Concession, and an Exception: The Concession is, That all Church-members are Disci­ples, Infants foederally, &c, and therefore both are under the Disci­pline of the Church suitably to their membership. Now if all Church-members be Disciples, and therefore under Discipline, and even Infants so in their way; it is strange, that these that their infancy are now become adult, should now be no Disciples, nor Church-members, and so not under Church-discipline, which before they were under; when as they have neither been cut off from their Membership and Discipleship, nor deserving any such matter: One would think i [...] were more rational to say, That as they were in Church-relation when Infants, so they continue therein, though adult; except in some way of God they be cut off therefrom, and do so deserve.

But though the Reverend Author yield, as is said, yet he puts in this Exception; That he findes not any where in Scripture, that such adult persons are styled Disciples, or accounted Members.

Ans. Suppose such Term or Title were not found applied to the Persons spoken of, yet sith for the thing it is confessed that they were Disciples and Members when Infants, is it not more rationall to confess they are so still (except the Scripture said the contrary) and that they so continue (though the Term and Title be not found) untill they be upon desert cut off, or cast out, rather then to say, that now being adult, they have lost the Relation and Priviledge [Page 13] which they had when they were Infants, though they have not been cut off from it, no [...] ever so deserved before men? For, if they incur such loss by becoming adult, it may seem, it were good for Members Children to dye in their Infancy, and never live to be adult; sith in their Infancy they had Church-relation, and Covenant-state, which now they have lost, though without their desert.

The adult Disciples, in Mat. 28▪ 20. must observe, and do all Christs Commandments, therefore the Disciples there intended, with reference to adult persons, are Members in full Communion, pag. 13.

Ans. This Arguing is but too like to that of the Antipoedobaptists: for it is well known how they would exclude Infants by this Text, from being partakers of Baptism, because they are not Disciples so made by Teaching, or by being taught to observe all Christs Com­mandments; because Infants cannot do this, therefore, say they, they are not Disciples to be Baptized. But the Reverend Author con­fesseth, that Infants are Disciples; and, as such, are to be Baptized. Why then should he say that now, when they are become adult, they are Disciples no longer, as not observing all Christs Commandments, not being in full communion? The Arguing of the Antipoedopaptists, from this Text is to this purpose, viz. All 'Disciples that are to be Baptized, are taught to observe all Christs commandments; but this doth not agree to Infants: therefore Infants are not Disciples that are to be Ba­ptized. And is not the Arguing of the Reverend Author much like it? viz. All adult persons that are Disciples, do observe all Christs Com­mandments: but this doth not agree to such adult persons as are not in full communion: therefore adult persons that are not in full communion are not Disciples. The Conclusion in the former arguing, the Reve­rend Author we are confident will not own; and therefore the Con­clusion in the latter, being so like unto it, one answer may serve for both the Arguments; which is this, That the major Propositions in both do not universally and absolutely hold, but onely so far as the persons are capable; so far all Disciples that are to be Baptized, and all adult persons that are Disciples are to observe all Christs Com­mandments: but as this doth not exclude Infants from being Disci­ples, and from being Baptized; so neither are the adult persons spoken [Page 14] of excluded from being Disciples, though neither the one nor the other be yet fit for observing all Christs Commandments, in full communion, in all the Ordinances.

To the fourth Argument; They are in Church-covenant, therefore subject to Church-power, Gen. 17. 7. & 18. 19.

The Answer is, That they are not in covenant de jure, being adult, and not admitted into Church-communion in all Ordinances.

Ans. And yet the Text saith, the Covenant of Abraham is with him, and his seed in their generations, Gen. 17. 7. and this Reverend Author will not deny, but that Those that are in the covenant in their Infancy, are thereby left under engagement to service and subje­ction to Christ in his Church, when they shall be grown up, and that this engagement upon them is strong—To know the God of their Pa­rents, and to serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind, p. 44. so that if they do it not, but live in neglect or contempt of the Ordi­nances, or unsuitable conversation; they hereby live in the breach of that covenant, whereby they were left under engagement in their Infancy, pag 43, 44, 45. Now if this be [...]o, it plainly appeareth here­by, that as they were in the Covenant in their Infancy, they are like­wise so when adult; for else, how could their sins of Omission or Commission be breach of that Covenant? can a man be guilty of breaking covenant, when he is not in it? but the sins of these adult persons are breach of covenant, therefore they are in the covenant: therefore that cannot stand which is here said, That these adult per­sons, that were in covenant in their Infancy, are not now in covenant when adult, until they be admitted into Church-communion in all Ordi­nances.

To the fifth Argument, viz. They are Subjects of the Kingdome of Christ, and therefore under the Laws and Government of his Kingdome, Ezek. 37. 25. 26.

The Answer is, That this Argument may be retorted against themselves, and the proofs of it, thus: The Subjects of Christs King­dome have full communion in all the priviledges of Christs kingdome, but these adult persons have not so, [...] confesso, therefore they are [Page 15] not Subjects of Christs Kingdome, and so are not under the Laws and Government of [...].

Ans. The sum is, The Subjects of Christs Kingdome have full communion in all the Priviledges of Christs Kingdome: But the adult persons spoken of have not such communion: Ergo. But is this true, that all the Subjects o [...] Christs Kingdome have full commu­nion in all the Priviledges of it, even in all, and not in some onely, i. e. in all Ordinances? What shall be said then of little children? must they have communion in all Church-priviledges, and all Ordinances, as the Lords Supper, Voting in Elections, &c. or else be no Sub­jects of Christs Kingdome? It is plain, that such communion they cannot have; and yet it is as plain, that Of such is the Kingdome of God, and of Christ, and therefore he would have them to be brought unto him, and rebuked those that would have kept them from him, Mark 10. and therefore persons may be Subjects of Christs Kingdome, and yet not have communion in all the Ordinances, or Priviledges of that Kingdome. And therefore the adult persons, spoken of, may be Subjects of Christs Kingdome, though not yet fit for all Ordinances; and yet being Subjects, must be subject to such Laws of that King­dome as are suitable to their state, as Infants and little children to such as are suitable to theirs. Exclude these adult persons from being un­der the Laws and Government of Christs Kingdome, because they have not communion in all the Priviledges of it, and by the same rea­son we may exclude infants: allow infants to be Subjects of Christs Kingdome, and partakers of some priviledges of it, viz. such as they are capable of, though not of all; and then why may not the like be yielded concerning the adult persons spoken of?

To the sixth Argument, the Answer returned, is, That this is the same with the third, and therefore the same Answer may serve for this also.

Ans. If this were so, then our Defence of the third, may be a Defence of this also: Nevertheless, it seemeth this Argument is not the same with the third, but distinct from it, the Mediums in them not being the same, but distinct: for in, the one, the Argument is from their being disciples, or Scholars, and therefore under discipline in [Page 16] Christs School; but this here is from their being Baptized, and that therefore they are in a state of subjection to the authoritative teach­ing of Christs Ministers, and to the observation of all his command­ments, and that therefore they are in a state of subjection to discipline: for thus the Argument stands; They that are Baptized, are thereby left in a state of subjection to the authoritative teaching of Christs Ministers, and to the observation of all his Commandments, and therefore in a state of subjection to Discipline: But the adult persons spoken of are persons Baptized: Therefore, &c. The Proposition is grounded on the Text, Mat. 2 [...] 19, 20. where Christs Ministers are required to Baptize, and to teach the Baptized to observe all his com­mandments. The Assumption is plain of it self.

To the seventh Argument, viz. That Elders must feed, i. e. both Teach and Rule all the Flock; and that children are part of the Flock.

The Reverend Author answereth, That this concerneth not such grown persons as are not in full communion, for without this they are not to be accounted of the Flock or Church.

Ans. If this that is here said were sufficiently and clearly proved, it would be very acceptable to many Elders in this Country, as clearing them from a great part of the burthen which they suppose them­selves to be under. And when the Holy-Ghost saith, that they must take [...]eed to themselves and to all the flock, Act, 20 28. and that they must watch for their Soules, as they that must give account, Heb. 13. 17. to say, that these Soules, and this flock, are only such as are in full communion, and Infants or Children in minority; and that these last mentioned, who then were of the flock, do now cease to be of it, when they become adult; and that now the Elders are not charged to watch over them any longer, nor to give account of their Soules, we fear this would be an undue straitning and limiting of the Texts alledged, and would be no good plea before the Lord; and therefore with­out better proof, we dare not ass [...]nt unto it.

For what the Synod alledgeth, "That the Apostle writing to the F [...]k or Church at Ephesus, doth also write to children, Eph 6. 1. as counting them part of the flock:

[Page 17] We do not see that this is sufficiently taken off, by what the Reverend Author answereth, viz. That those Children were either Children in their Minority, or if adult, they were personally joyned to the Church, and so in full Communion. For, let the words and scope of the Text be considered, and we conceive it will appear, that this exposition of the place is too narrow; for the Children there spoken of, are such as were bound to obey their Parents in the Lord, this being right, and such as were under the fifth Commandment; the words whereof the Apostle doth there alledge, Honour thy Father and Mother, &c. Now how shall it appear, that though Children in minority, and children when admitted into full communion in the Church, are bound to obey their Parents, and to Honour Father and Mother, yet other children are not so bound? Is there any ground for it, that children now adult, if not in full communion in the Church, are exempted from this Commandment of Obedience to their Parents, and of Ho [...]ouring of them? we conceive there is none: and if there be not, then the children there spoken of are children adult as well as others, whether in full communion or not. And if so, then these children, as well as others, are part of the Flock and Church of Ephe­sus, to whom that Epistle is written, and then the whole Flock being under the charge of Elders to feed them (i. e. both to Teach and Rule them) it appeareth thereby, that what the Synod here saith, That these children are under the Watch, and Discipline, and Government of the Church, is sound and good, and so stands, for all that is here alledged to the contrary.

In Answer to the Eighth Argument, From the danger of Irreligion and Apostacy breaking into Churches, and the want of any Church­way to prevent and heal the same, if these children of Church­members be not under Church-government and Discipline, and that through want hereof, many Church-members would be brought un­der that dreadfull judgement of being let alone in their wicked­ness. Hos. 4. 16, 17.

The Reverend Author nameth sundry other means for preventing these evils [...], That no adult persons be received into personal mem­bership, [...] fit for all Church-communion; and that the Keyes of [Page 18] the Kingdome of Heaven, which Christ hath left to bind [...] and loose, be rightly managed toward Delinquent-members that are orderly admitted into Church-communion; and for others that are not thus joyned to the Church, that authority in Families and Common-wealth be wisely and faithfully managed toward such, pag.15, 16.

Ans. All these we acknowledge may, by the blessing of God be much available in their way for the purpose alledged: and, Oh that there were due care and watchfulness in Churches, Families, and Common-wealth, for the faithful and due exercise thereof! Never­theless, we conceive all these are not sufficient for the purpose de­sired;

1. Because some of them are not Church-wayes at all, of which the Synods Argument speaketh; though it is not so expressed by the Reverend Author: and therefore though government in Fami­lies and Common-wealth were carefully used in the manner ex­pressed, yet Church-way may be wanting for all this.

2. Those Church-wayes that are mentioned, viz. Care in admit­ting into the Church, and due managing the Keyes of Discipline to them that are so admitted, these are not sufficient to prevent the evils spo­ken of; and the reason is, Because there is a great multitude of per­sons who were either born in the Church, or were admitted there­into in their infancy or minority, who if they be not under Church-discipline when adult, are let alone in their wickedness, in respect of any Church-way to heal them; and by want of this Church-discipline toward these persons, Irreligion and Apostacy may break into the Churches, notwithstanding all Church-wayes toward others, and all other wayes in Common-wealth and Families toward these: for, Church-way for the good of these there is none, if they be not under Church-government and Discipline.

As for that which is here said by the Reverend Author, That the Churches censuring of adult persons, admitted before they be qualified for communion in all Ordinances, will not prevent or heal those evils, seeing the Lord blesseth onely his own Institutions, not mens Devices; and that Humane Inventions usually cause the evils which they pretend to cure, pag. 15.

This Reason may have in it self a truth; viz. that Gods Insti­tutions, [Page 19] and not mens Inventions, are the way wherein men may expect a Blessing. But, if such a thing be affirmed of Church-discipline toward the persons spoken of, that such Church discipline is an Humane [...], why should this be affirmed and not proved? for, as for the persons spoken of, they were not first admitted when adult, but before they were adult, even in their infancy or minority; and now being adult, and yet never cut off, or cast out from their Church-relation, if by sin they deserve Church-censure, and yet it be not applied to them, but that, in respect thereof, they be let alone, are they not then under that judgement, Hos. 4. of be­ing [...] alone in their wickedness? And doth not this Neglect make way for Irreligion and Apostacy in Churches, no Church-way being used toward these for preventing thereof? for we do not see any ground to think, that the use of Church discipline toward such is an Hu­mane Invention. For these particulars to us do seem plain:

1. That Church-discipline should be used toward all that are within the Church, as there may be occasion and need of it, and as in respect of understanding and age they are capable.

2. It is plain also that the persons spoken of were once within the Church, and, a [...] such, were baptized in their infancy; this can­not be denied, but by joyning with the Antipoedobaptists, in denying the Baptism and Church-membership of little children.

And lastly, it is plain also, that the persons spoken of, though now they be adult, were never yet, in any way of God, cast out, or cut off from the Church, and the relation to it which they former­ly had; and many of them are far from deserving any such matter. Now though Church-government and Church-discipline toward such as were never in the Church, might be counted an Humane Device, yet for such as were once according to Order and Divine In­stitution within [...], as Members thereof, and never were since cast out of it, or cut off from tha [...] relation (which is the case of the persons spoken of) to say, That Church-government and Church-disci­pline toward such, is an Humane Invention, we see no sufficient Reason either so to say or think; but do rather conceive, that this Church-discipline is so far from being in Humane Invention, that the neglect thereof, is a neglect of a Divine Institution; and that disowning [Page 20] of these persons, and declaring of them to be Non-members, (which some speak for) if this be not a Church-censure, what is it other then an Humane Invention and Device?

So much for Defence of what is said by the Synod in their third Proposition, to prove, That the children of Church-members, when grown up, are under the Watch, Discipline, and Government of the Church.

Propos▪ 4. The fourth Proposition of the Synod, is, That these adult Persons are not therefore to be admitted to full communi­on, meerly because they are and continue Members, without such further qualifications as the word of God requireth thereunto.

By which Proposition of the Synod, there is a preventing of an usual objection from the danger of polluting the Ordinances by unwor­thy partakers, if the children of Church-members be counted mem­bers, and to be (as such) under Church-watchfulness and govern­ment when adult; for some may think, that if this their relation to the Church be granted there will then be danger that they will also come to the Lords Supper afore they be duely qualified for that Or­dinanace: now the scope of this fourth Proposition is to prevent this evil; and therefore it is the more to be admired, that the Propositi­on should not be granted by the Reverend Author, and by all that desire the Lords Supper may be preserved from unworthy partakers, as we do not doubt but he doth. But why then is this Propositi­on stuck at? if it may not be granted, that these adult persons are not to be admitted to full communion without such qualifications as the word of God requireth thereunto, which is what the Synod saith; must the contrary to this be granted, that they may be admitted thereunto without such qualifications at all? we suppose the Reverend Author would not grant this: and yet he doth not consent to the other, but excepts against the proofs of it.

For, saith he, Though this Proposition seems to them plain, yet it [...] not sufficiently cleared by their Proofs: 1. From 1 Cor. 11. 28, 29. where it is required, that such as come to the Lords Supper, be able to examine themselves, and discerne the Lords body, else they will eat and drink unworthily, and eat and drink judgement to-themselves, [Page 21] when they partake of this Ordinance: But this ability is too often seen to be wanting in the children of the covenant that grow up to years, pag. 16, 17.

To this Argument the reply of the Reverend Author is by way of Concession, and of Exception.

His Concessions are two: ‘1. That the want of such abilities in the children of the covenant, is indeed too often seen, through the too frequent neglect of Parents in their Education, and of Ministers and Churches in their Institution, (or Instruction) and Catechizing, and watching over them, pag. 17.

Ans. It seems then that the children of Church-members, even when they are grown up to years (for▪ it is of such that the Synods Argument here speaketh, and so the Reverend Author doth express it) are not only under the Education of Parents; but also under the Institution, Catechizing and watch of the Ministry, and of the Church; how then will that stand which was said before, pag. 10. That when they are grown up, they are not under the watch, discipline and government of the Church? for here it is granted, that they are un­der the watch of the Church (and if under Church-watch properly as such, then under Discipline) and that the neglect of Ministers and Churches herein, is one cause of their want of ability to examine themselves, and to discern the Lords body. Now can the neglect of Church-watchfulness be a cause of this evil, if the Lord have not appointed them to be under the same? these things seem not well to agree. Again, if the want of such abilities be too often seen in the children of the covenant when grown up, as is here acknowledged; then what the Synod here saith seems to be true, and stand good, that such grown persons, though children of the covenant, or Church-members, are not therefore to be admitted to full communion: the reason is, because notwithstanding this, they may want that ability that is requisite to such full communion.

2. The second Concession here is, That Membership is separable from, yea destitute if such ability in the Infant-seed or children of the covenant, in their minority, and therefore they are not to be admitted to▪ the Lords Supper; and that Text (viz. 1 Cor. 11. 28, 29.) proves it.

[Page 22] Ans. Doth that Text prove that Infants, and children in minori­ty, though members of the Church, are not yet to be admitted to the Lords Supper, because they are not able to examine themselves and to discerne the Lords body; and doth it not also prove the same con­cerning children when adult, if this disability be sound in them also? Sure Infants and Children in minority, are not expresly mentioned in the Text, no more then Children when adult or grown up; and if the Logicians rule be good which [...]aith aquatenus ad omne valet conse­quentia, then if infants and children in minority must not be admit­ted to full communion, because of their want of the ability spoken of; it will follow, if the like inability be found in the adult, that these also must not be admitted, and that for the like Reason. And if that Text 1 Cor. 11. be sufficient to prove the one, it is sufficient for proof of the other also; and so this Argument of the Synod stands good.

The Exception he added, is, That yet it may not be granted, that when they are grown up to years, they are, and continue Members re­gularly, being through want of that ability not fit for Church-commu­nion, (i. e. for full communion.)’

Ans. If it may not be granted that they continue Members, why should not something be produced to prove the contrary? Why should such a thing be barely affirmed, and not proved? It is sure they were once Members, and, as such, were Baptized; and it is [...]ear, that though now they be adult, or grown up, yet they were never, in any way of God, out off, or cast out from their Membership: and therefore we think it more rational to say, that they still continue to be Members, then to say that they do not; and this without al­ledging any proof at all.

As for that which here followeth, That if persons being unbapti­zed should desire to have the Covenant and their Church-membership sealed by Baptism, they must hold forth faith in Christ wrought in their hearts, before they may be baptized, as Philip required the Eunuch, Acts 8. So, by par [...]ty of Reason, if one baptized in infancy, being grown unto years, desires to be joyned to the Church, he must hold forth his person all faith in the Son of God, &c.’

The Answer is, That there is not, as is said, parity of Reason be­tween [Page 23] the cases alledged, but great disparity: for, in the one case the persons spoken of are unbapitized; in the other, baptized already: in the one case, the persons desire to have the Covenant and their Church-membership sealed by Baptism; and in the other case there is no such desire, the persons having had the Covenant, and their Membership sealed by Baptism already, even in their infancy or mi­nority long since: in the one case, the persons seem as yet to be Non-members, though they do desire that Priviledge; but in the other case, the persons were Church-members long ago. For, as for that term that is used concerning these of desiring to be joyned to the Church by their own personall right; we conceive this word of [joyning] to the Church if it be meant of their first joyning thereto, is very impro­per, because these persons are not now to be so joyned, but were joyned to the Church long since: Nor is the Church now to admit them to Church-membership, for the [...] were admitted thereto long since.

The second Argument of the Synod for proof of this fourth Pròposition, is From the Old Testament, where though men did continue Members of the Church, yet for ceremoniall uncleanness they were to be kept from full communion in the holy things; yea, and the Priests and porters had speciall charge that men should not partake in all the holy thing: unless duely qualified for the same, notwithstanding their Membership, &c.

To this the Reverend Author Answereth, ‘1. That the invalidity of Proofes from the Old Testament, being applyed to Gospel-Ordinances, and so this of Baptism under the New Testament, in things whereof there is not the like reason, hath been declared in the fourth, sixth, and eighth Positions, with which this proof doth not agree.

Ans. To this we Answer, 1. That there is validity, and much weight in proofs from the Old Testament, for confirming and clearing things under the New▪ for even those Scriptures were written for our learning, Rom. 15. 4. and Christ himself bids us search them, as those which did Testifie of Him, Joh. 5. 39. and brings many Proofs out of those Scriptures for confirming and clearing things under the Gospel, Luk. 24. 44, 45, 46. & 16. 29, 31. and so do the Apostles like wise, even in main & fundamental matters, Act. 17. 2, 3. & [Page 24] 28. 23. and so from the maintenance of the Ministry that was un­der the Old Testament, to the maintenance of the Ministry now, 1 Cor. 9. 13. from their Sacraments to ours; and from the danger of unworthy receiving those, to the danger of unworthy receiving ours, 1 Cor. 10. 1, 2. &c. By which, and much more that might be ad­ded, it is plain, that the Scriptures of the Old Testament have much validity in them, for confirming and clearing Truths in New Testament-times.

2. The Reverend Author doth acknowledge, as was noted before, That the covenant of Abraham is the same for substance, now under the Gospel, as it was under the Law; and that the Kingdome of God is the same to the Jews formerly, and to the Gentiles now; and that Bap­tisme of Infants, under the New Testament, may be rightly proved from the Circumcision of Infants under the Old. Which passages do sufficiently witness, that in his judgement there is validity in Proofs from the Old Testament, for things under the New.

3. It is a great weakness and mistake in sundry of the Antipoedo­baptists, that they would limit the Proofs for Infant-Baptism, and for the Covenant-interest of children, unto the Scriptures of the New Testament, as if the Covenant of Abraham, and the Circumci­sion of Infants in the Old Testament, were of no validity for the purpose mentioned. And it is not comfortable that the Reverend Author should so often harp upon this string, and so often men­tion this matter of the invalidity of Old Testament-Scriptures for proof of matters in Gospel times; as if he did concur with them, in their Tenet against Poedobaptism, which he frequently professeth a­gainst, albeit in this, his language seems but too like theirs, which we could wish were otherwise.

4. For that expression of [Things whereof there is not the like reason] being a limitation, or explanation of the invalidity spoken of, let this be applyed to the case in question, and we conceive it will not weaken the Argument in hand, nor shew any Invalidity therein, but rather the contrary; for if Ceremonial uncleanness did hinder men from full communion in the Ordinances in the Old Testa­ment, notwithstanding their Membership; is there not the like reason, or rather much more, that Membership alone should not suffice for [Page 25] full communion in these dayes, if Moral fitness and Spiritual quali­fications be wanting? It seems in this case there is the like reason, or rather much more: and therefore the Synods Argument in the pre­sent case, and their proof from the Old Testament, cannot be laid aside, or refused, for any invalidity therein, through want of the like Reason

2. The Reverend Author saith, If the Texts alledged by the Synod were applicable to Church-members in Gospel-times, yet they suit not the case in question. And why not? the reason rendred, is, Because all men that were members of the Jewish Church, had full communion in all Legal Ordinances, even they that were ceremonially unclean had so before their uncleanness, and after they were healed of their unclean­ness [...]s, as well as others. So then the unsuitableness is that ceremoniall uncleanness did debar men from full communion, though they had been partakers of it afore, and might be again after their cleansing: whereas the case in question is of such as yet never had such full com­munion. But what weight is there in this, to weaken the Synods Argument? If ceremoniall uncleanness did then hinder men from full communion, who had formerly had it is there not as much reason that want of spir [...]uall qualifications should now hinder men from such full communion, who yet have never had it? one would think such a matter as would suffice for the debarring of one from full communion, who had formerly enjoyed it, might suffice for hindring one from such communion who never yet was partaker thereof. And if the Priests and Porters in Israel had charge, that men should not partake of all the holy things, unless duely qualified for the same, notwithstanding their membership in full communion with the Church (for so the Reverend Author, 1. 19. understands that place in 2 Chro. 23, 19.) doth it not much more follow, that such as yet never had such full communion may justly be kept therefrom, untill duely qualified, notwithstanding their Membership? For ought we see, this Consequence is strong and undeniable, and so the Synods Argument in this place from the Old Testament is not at all overthrown, but rather more strengthned.

As for what the Reverend Author saith, pag 18, 9. to the parti­cular Texts here alledged, viz. Levit. 7. 20, 21. Numb. 9. 6, 7. & 19. 13, 20. Ezek. 44. 7, 8, 9. which he understandeth to signifie and [Page 26] teach, That in Gospel-times men should be removed out of Church-communion by Excommunication, if they were scandalous and impeni­tent sinners; and that such scandalous persons, such as were visibly un­circumcis [...] in heart, and spiritually unclean, should not be admitted into the Church: We shall not insist upon these particulars, for it is our desire that no unworthy persons may be admitted into the Church, nor suffered to continue therein.

Onely before we leave this second Argument, it may be observed, That whereas the Synod had said, More was required to adult persons eating the Passover, then meer membership; therefore so there is now to the Lords Supper.

The Reverend Author answereth, It is true, more then that mem­bership which they had in infancy or minority, was required in adult persons to eat the Passover: For first, when they became adult, they were to covenant solemnly with the Lord and his People in their own persons, whereunto Heart-fitness was necessary, that their persons and services might be accepted of God—Secondly, This Heart-fitness was also to be exercised when they were to eat the Passover, p. 19, 20.

Wherein there is a consent to what the Synod had said, about more then membership to be requisite to the eating of the Passover. And if this ground of the Synod be true and good, is not their in­ference from it good also, viz. That more then membership is also re­quisite to the receiving of the Lords Supper?

The third Argument of the Synod for confirming this fourth Proposition, is taken From the different nature of Baptism and the Lords Supper; the former firstly and properly sealing Cove­nant-holiness, Church-membership, and planting into Christ, and so Members as such are the subjects of that Ordinance: But the Lords Supper is a Sacrament of growth in Christ, and of speciall communion with him, and so supposeth a speciall renewing of Faith and Repentance in them that partake of that Ordinance.

The Reverend Author making answer to this, saith nothing at all touching the different nature of these two Ordinances, on which this Argument of the Synod is built; and so Baptism may be for all Church-members as such, and the Lords Supper not for all, but onely [Page 27] for some, for any thing that the Reverend Author saith to the con­trary. For, as for the different nature of these two Ordinances, he saith nothing thereto at all: But his Answer is about the communion that is inferred from Church-membership, viz. That the member­ship of children in minority infers church-communion, so far as they are capable—and so they are to be baptized; but the Church-membership of adult persons infers communion in all Ordinances, and particularly in the Lords Supper.

Which Answer, as it medleth not with the different nature of Baptism, and the Lords Supper, from which the Synod argueth; so it is an Answer which being considered in it self, is nothing but a pet [...] princip [...], or a begging of the question, affirming that which is the thing to be proved: For, the Synods Proposition is, that these adult persons are not therefore to be admitted to full communion, meerly because they are and continue Members—and they give three Argu­ments for this. Now the Reverend Author in Answer to the third of those Arguments, saith, as here we see, that the Membership of adult persons, infers communion in all Ordinances, the Lords Supper, &c. The Synod saith in effect, This Membership alone doth not infer full communion; and the Answer here given, is an affirming of the con­trary, viz. that it doth infer [...]; which Answer cannot goe for a suf­ficient overthrow of the Synods Proposition, unless we shall say, that a meer affirming of the contrary, is sufficient for that purpose. But if a contrary affirmation, be a sufficient confutation, it were easy in that way to confute the things that are most strongly proved.

For a conclusion of this fourth Proposition, and the Arguments for it, the Synod doth infer, That if Persons when adult may be, and continue Members, and yet be debarred from the Lords Supper, until meet qualifications for the same be found in them, then may they also (until like qualifications) be debarred from that power of voting in the Church, which pertaines to males in full communion:—for how can they who are not able to examine and judg themselves, be thought able and fit to discern and judge in the weighty affairs of the House of God?

Now what saith the Reverend Author to this? one thing he saith, is this, That Church-membership in adult Persons, infers communion [Page 28] in all Ordinances, in the Lords Supper, and in Voting, and in Censures; Which is nothing but an affirmation of the contrary to the Synods Proposition, which they had confirmed by Arguments, and of their Inference therefrom: but until their Arguments be taken away, their Proposition, and their Inference from it, stands good: and therefore this affirmation of the contrary may not be admitted.

Another thing the Reverend Author here saith, is this, That no adult person may be received into meer Membership regularly, until he be qualified fitly for other Ordinances, and for Voting, and judging in Church-affairs.

Where, if by receiving such into Membership be meant, that they were not members before now, when they are adult, but are now first received into that estate; Then the Answer is, That the adult persons spoken of are not now first received into Membership, but have been in that estate long since, even from their Infancy or minority, and therefore they cannot properly be said to be Now re­ceived into Membership: but if hereby be meant, That they can­not regularly be acknowledged to be Members, until they be fitly qualified for all Ordinances, for Voting, and for judging in Censures, then this is but the same which we had before, even an affirmation contrary to what the Synod had said. But till the Synods Proposi­tion, with their Arguments for it, and their Inference from it, be remo­ved, the Reader may judge what is to be thought of a meer affirma­tion to the contrary.

So much for Defence of the Synods fourth Proposition.

Propos. 5. For the fifth Proposition, viz. Church-members who were admitted in minority, understanding the Doctrine of Faith, and publickly professing their assent thereto; not scandalous in life, and solemnly owning the Covenant before the Church, wherein they give up themselves and their children to the Lord, and subject them­selves to the Government of Christ in the Church, their children are to be Baptized.

The first Argument of the Synod for confirming this Proposition, is; Because the children here spoken of are partakers of that which is the main ground of baptizing any children whatsoever, and neither [Page 29] the Parents nor the children do put in any barre to hinder it. Of which the former Branch is proved; Because interest in the Covenant is the main ground of Title to Baptism, and this these children have; and that Interest in the Covenant is the ground of baptizing any, the Synod proves; Because in the Old Testament this was the ground of Title to Circumcision, Gen. 17. 7, 9, 10, 11. to which Baptism now answers, Col. 2. 11, 12 and because in Acts 2. 38, 39. they are on this ground exhorted to be baptized, be­cause the Promise (or Covenant) was to them and to their children.

Now what saith the Reverend Author to these Proofs? truly no­thing at all that doth appear; and therefore the Argument & Proofs of it, stand good, for ought that is here said to the contrary. And in­deed, how can it be otherwise? sith nothing is more plain, then that the Covenant was the ground of Circumcision; and that they in Acts 2. are therefore exhorted to be baptized: I will establish my Co­venant, saith God, Gen. 17. between me and thee, and thy seed after thee—Ye shall therefore keep my Covenant: and this is my Covenant which you shall keep, Every male among you shall be circumcised: and, saith Peter, Repent, and be baptized: wherefore, or on what ground must they be so? Because (saith he) the Promise is to you, and to your children: whereby it is undeniably plain, that the Covenant was the ground of Title to Circumcision, and is now of Title to Baptism. Nor can this be denied by the Reverend Author, because he plainly yields in ▪Position fifth and sixth premised, That the Covenant of Abraham was the same in substance under the Law, and under the Gospel; and that Baptism is come in the place of Circumcision, and therefore Infants of Confederates are now to be baptized, as then they were circumcised, they both being outward Seals of the same Covenant in substance, pag. 3, 4. So that in his judgement, Title to Circum­cision then was, and to Baptism now is, rightly inferred from interest in the Covenant: which is the very thing here affirmed by the Sy­nod. What then doth the Reverend Author here say? why, that which he saith, is this, That men must be duely qualified, before they may be admitted to covenant with the Lord and his Church for themselves and their children—and, that the Primitive Churches looked for this qualifi­cation in the men whom they admitted into Church-membership—which [Page 30] doth not at all enervate what the Synod here saith. For, suppose▪ men must be duely qualified before they be admitted to Covenant and Membership, doth this prove, that interest in the Covenant is not the ground of Title to the Seal? it seems not to prove it at all; and the reason is, Because this speaks not to the thing in question, but to another point. For, whether interest in the Covenant do prove right to the Seal, is one thing; and how men should be qualified afore they be admitted to Covenant, is another; and the former be­ing that which is here affirmed by the Synod, it cannot be over­thrown by what the Reverend Author affirmeth concerning the latter, except we shall say, that a thing may be sufficiently confuted by speaking to another point, when one doth not speak ad idem. Whether the Parents of the children here spoken of, be duely qualified for Covenant, and unto Membership, is not the thing here in que­stion, nor spoken of by the Synod; but here is the thing they affirm, that Interest in the Covenant gives Title to Baptism—Besides, suppose the qualifications here mentioned by the Reverend Author of being "S [...]nts, Sanctified, and Faithfull in Christ Jesus, and the rest, suppose these be requisite in men that are to be admitted to Covenant and Membership, yet this concerns not the Parents of the children here spoken of, because they are not now to be admitted into the Covenant and Church membership, but are therein already, and have been long afore now, even from their minority or birth; and therefore this also is another Reason, why that which is here spoken by the Reve­rend Author is beside the question.

Further, whereas the Synod here addeth, That a Member, or one in Covenant as such, is the Subject of Baptism, was further cleared in Propos. 1.

The Reverend Author answereth, That the light which that Proposition holdeth forth for clearing this, is in one clause, which is here omitted, viz. [According to Scripture] They that according to Scri­pture are Members of the visible Church, are the Subjects of Ba­ptism.

Ans. Then let that clause be here added, which was there ex­pressed by the Synod in that first Proposition: if then the Re­verend Author do consent thereto, as it may seem by his [Page 31] manner of alledging it, that he doth; then what the Synod here affirmeth, is gained, viz. That interest in the Covenant is the ground of Title to Baptism: and indeed the Synod gave five Argu­ments for clearing of that first Proposition, which the Reverend Author doth not there meddle withall, much less remove; and therefore they still stand in force.

Only it may be observed, that whereas here he seems to consent to the Proposition, if that term [according to Scripture] be added, yet when he spake to that first Proposition, he consented not thereto, unless this term [according to Scripture] might be changed into this [according to Christs Ordinance] otherwise [...]e could not then concur with that Proposition and this term in it, though now it seems he doth: But whether it be expressed the one way or the other, with the term of [Members [according to Scripture] or [according to Christs Ordinance,] if it be granted that such Members are the sub­jects of Baptisme, then the Doctrine of the Synod in this point is granted. As for what is here said to that Proposition, if this term [according to Scripture] be not omitted, but taken in, viz. That according to Scripture, the Covenant was differently administred in diffe­rent times of the Church; which different manner of administration is here, pag. 22. and in the tenth Position, which is here cited, said to be this in sum, That the Church was once in Families, or domestical; under Moses, National; and under Christ, Congregational.

Ans. What if all this were granted? Is there any thing in this (for we would willingly keep to the Question) to overthrow the Synods first Proposition, or their saying that is here under debate, viz. That Interest in the Covenant is the main ground of title to Baptism? It seems nothing at all. For, if according to Scripture there have been different administrations of the Covenant in different times, and that the Church was heretofore Domestical, afterward National, and now Congregational; all this may be granted, and yet it may be a Truth that is here said, That Interest in the Covenant is the main ground of Title to Baptism.

That these Children are in Covenant, the Synod saith, appears;

1. Because if the Parent be in Covenant, the Child is so also: but the Parents in question are in Covenant.

[Page 32] To this the Reverend Author Answereth, That if this being in Covenant, be understood of being in it according to Gospel-rules, and that the Childrens being in Covenant, be understood of Infant Chil­dren, or Children in minority, then the Proposition is true, or else it must be denied.

Ans. Concerning the one of these Particulars, viz. of being in Covenant according to Gospel-rules, it may be granted that it is so to be understood, and that it is not to be imagined, that the Synod meant it any otherwise. But for the other particular, that the Chil­dren in Covenant are only Infants or Children in minority, this is a limitation that needs further consideration, and will be spoken to afterward.

Whereas the Synod, to prove the Parents in question to be in Co­venant, alledgeth, That they were once in Covenant, and never since discovenanted; the former, because else they had not warrantably been Baptized; and the latter, because they have not in any way of God been discovenanted, cast out, or cut off from their Covenant-relation.

The Reverend Author in his Answer hereunto, saith, That they are discovenanted, by not performing that whereunto they were engaged by the Covenant,for which he alledgeth Rom. 2: 25.

Ans. 1. It seems then the Covenant doth not only re [...]h unto Children during their minority, but also when they are become adult; for else how could they when adult, be faulty in not per­forming that whereunto the Covenant engageth? can men be faulty for not performing Covenant-engagements, when they are not com­prehended in the Covenant? this seems not possible: therefore here seems to be a concession that the Covenant reacheth further then to Infancy or minority, and that they who were in Covenant in their Infancy by m [...]nes of their Parents covenanting for them, are also in that Covenant when they are become adult.

2. Not is it clear, that mens not performing what the Covenant requireth of them, doth forthwith discovenant them, if by being discovenanted, be meant their not being in that Church-relation in which they were before, for God is wont to be patient, and long­suffering toward them that a [...]in Covenant with him, and to bear with [Page 33] them long afore he give them a bill of Divorce, as it is said in N [...]hem. 9. 30. Many years [...] forbear them; and therefore it may seem more rigour then the Word alloweth, to think or say, that such as were in covenant with God in their infancy or minority, are forthwith fallen out of that estate, if they do not, as soon as ever they become adult, perform what that Covenant requireth. The long-suffering of God will not allow us so to judge, unless we had more clear warrant for [...] doth the Text alledged, viz. Rom. 2. 25. prove [...] but when it is there said, Thy circumcision is made [...], the meaning is it shall not profit thee at all in such a [...] to eternal benefit: and so Baptism may be said in such [...] no Baptism; and Covenant, and Church-relation, to be [...], no Church-relation, i. e. not to yield any such profit in that estate: But yet if such should afterward be brought to Re­pentance and New-obedience, would any say, that now such per­sons must be circumcised again, or baptized again▪ as if the former, in respect of the external act, were become null? We suppose this could not be said justly, though in respect of any profit to their Souls, their Circumcision and Baptism in their former estate was as none: and so we may say their Covenant and Church-relation is as none, in respect of any Spiritual saving benefit to their Souls, if they perform not what the Covenant bindes them unto; and yet it can no more be said, that in respect of their Church-relation, and external visible state, they are not in the Church, or not in the Co­venant, then in the other particulars it can be said, that they are not circumcised, or not baptized. It is one thing to be in the Covenant, and in the Church, in respect of external state, and another thing to enjoy all the spiritual and eternal benefits of such a relation; and though this latter be the portion of none but such as come to be truly regenerate, yet the other is, and so continues, the right of all that have once had it, untill in some way of God they be cut off from it, and so deprived thereof.

The Synod having said, That persons once in covenant are not bro­ken off from it, according to Scripture, save for notorious sins, and incorrigibleness therein, which is not the case of these Parents.

The Reverend Author enswereth, That if they break off them­selves, [Page 34] by breaking the Covenant which was sealed by Baptism in their infancy or minority, they ther [...]y deprive themselves of the bene­fits and Prviledges of the Covenant, and in such case are to be looked at [...] those in 1 Joh. 2. 19.’

Ans. If by breaking off themselves, were meant no more, but that they do this meritoriously, i. e. that by their sin they deserve to be broken off, then it may be granted, that in this sense persons may (though not that those [...]) break off themselves from their Cove­nant-relation; and so also may persons that have been in full commu­nion, even these by their sins may thus in [...] off themselves, in which sense it is said, Hos. 13. 9. [...] thou hast destroyed thy self, i. e. that their sins were the procuring or meritorious cause of their destructi­on. But it hereby be meant, that the persons spoken of do break off themselves from their Church-relation not onely meritoriously, but actually and really, then it may be justly questioned▪ whether Church-members can thus break off themselves. Sure Israel did not thus destroy themselves, because all judgement and punishment is from the Lord, whose work it is to [...] make alive, to wound, and to heal, to create peace and evil; so that there is no evil in the city, but the Lord doth it, even the Lord doth all these things, Deut. 32. 39. Isa. 45. 7. Amos 3. 6. And therefore, if breaking off from Church-estate, be an evil of Punishment, men cannot in this sense break off them­selves without God. Besides, men cannot of themselves alone bring in themselves into the church, but there is requisite the Consent of the Church thereto; and therefore if they cannot, of themselves alone, bring in themselves into the Church, how is it credible that of themselves alone they should break themselves off from the Church? One would think, that such as cannot of themselves alone open the door for their Entrance into the Church, should no more be able to open it for their going out. And further, it seems not rational, that Delinquents in the Church should have it in their power, whether they will be censured with Church-censure, or no; and yet it must be so, if men that have been Church-members may un-Member themselves at their pleasure: for sure it is, Church censures cannot be dispensed to any, but to such as are within the Church, 1 Cor. 5. 12. If therefore a Church-member, suppose one that hath been [Page 35] in full communion, shall commit the most enormous and scandalous wickedness that can be named; yet if men may break off themselves from Church-relation at their pleasure, such an one may have it in his choice whether he will be censured, or no: for, if he can but say, I am no Member of your Church, nor will be, but do forsake the Church-relation in which I was, it shall then be in the power of such a notorious Delinquent [...] the Churches hands from censuring him, and so make the Rule of Christ to be of none effect which saith, Deliver such a man to Satan, 1 Cor. 5. which makes it very impro­bable, that men can of themselves break off themselves from the Co­venant and Church-relation. As for them in 1 Joh. 2. 19. of whom it is said, They went out from us, but they were not of us, &c. why may not this going out be understood of a local departure, or of a departing from the company, and communion of the Saints, and such Duties and acts of Love as that Church-relation requireth, ra­ther then of a going out from the relation it self? It is plain, men may of themselves (if they have no more grace) neglect the duties which their nearest relations require, and depart from them in respect of place and duties; as David and Job were thus forsaken by the [...], kindred, brethren, and mothers children, &c. Psal. 38. 11. & 69. 8. Job 19. 13, 14. but doth this prove, that those brethren and mothers children, who thus neglected the duties which their relation required, were now no longer in the relation at all? were these brethren and mothers children, now become mothers children no longer, nor bre­thren any longer, because now they were gone from the duties which they should have performed? This doth not follow at all: How then doth it follow, that those who went out from the Saints in re­spect of place and performance of duties, were thereby gone out from their Church-relation? they might by this departure of theirs deserve to be cut off by Church censure from their Church-estate; but that by this their departing they did cut off, or break off them­selves from their Church-estate, any otherwise then meritoriously, doth not appear.

The Synod having said, That the Parents in Question are in Cove­nant, because the Tenor of the Covenant is to the Faithful and their seed after them in their Generations, Gen. 17. 7.

[Page 36] The Reverend Author in his Answer hereto, pag. 24. saith, That the sea [...]ing of this covenant to the posterity of Isaac and Jacob by circumcision, was to continue throughout their Generations, till the coming of Christ; and that the Covenant is for the substance the same to us as it was to them, it being established by the Blood of Christ, Luk. 1. 69, 72 73. Heb 13. 20.’

Ans. Here is then a consent to the Synods Argument, and the Proof of it: for, if the Covenant be for substance the same to us as it was to them, and was then to the Faithful and their seed in their Generations; doth it not then follow, that these Parents being the Seed of the Faithful, are hereby proved to be in the covenant? this seems a plain granting of the Synods saying, and of their Proof of it.

Whereas the Synod said, That the Parents in Question are keepers of the Covenant, because they are not forsakers, and rejecters of the God, and Covenant of their Fathers; and alledged for this Deut. 29. 25, 26. 2 King. 17. 15—20. 2 Chron, 7. 22. Deut. 7. 10.

The Reverend Author Answereth, That keepers of the covenant, the Parents in Question are not; for though they are not such forsakers, and rejecters of it, as they who are spoken of in the Texts alledged; yet besides that gross Idolatry, there is a spiritual Idolatry in scandalous covetousness, Col. 3. 5. Worldly-mindedness, whereby men forsake and reject God and his Covenant to serve the World—and such may they be who answer all the terms of their fifth Proposition, externally and visibly.

Ans. Now herein is a marvellous thing, and not eas [...]e to be un­derstood; for the Proposition saith expresly, that the persons spoken of are not scandalous in life; and the Answer is, That men may An­swer that, and all the other terms of the Proposition externally, and visibly, and yet be guilty of Scandalous covetousness, and Worldly-mindedness. Now that men may be not Scandalous in life, and yet guilty of Scandalous covetousness; guilty of Scandalous covetousness and worldly-mindedness, and yet not Scandalous in life; these things seem contradictory and inconsistent, Capiat qui capere potest. It seems to us more rational to think and say, That though it be [Page 37] possible for men to be not Scandalous in life, and yet to be guilty of Worldly-mindedness, and other secret sins, and heart-wickedness; yet if they answer this and all the terms of the Proposition, it seems not im­probable but they may be truely godly, and sincere, sith they are not only not Scandalous in life, but do give up themselves and their children to the Lord, and subject themselves to the Government of Christ in his Church; and all this not Ignorantly, but with understanding; not slightly, but Solemnly and Publickly before the Church: for, doth not all this make their sincerity hopeful? we conceive it may. But that they should do all this, and in such manner as is said, and yet for all this to be so far from probability of grace, as to be Forsakers and Rejecters of God and his covenant, to serve the World, and this not onely secretly, and in heart, but so outwardly, and visibly, as to be scandalous therein; how this can be, we must confess we do not understand.

To that of the Synod, where they say, That the Parents in que­stion do not put in any barre to hinder their children from Ba­ptism: and that this is plain from the words of the Proposition, where they are described to be such as understand the Doctrine of Faith, &c.

The Reverend Author in his Answer, saith, That notwithstanding this, the Parents may put in a barre to hinder their children from Ba­ptism, because a man may do and be all that is required in that Pro­position, and yet have no faith in Christ, but be an unregenerate person—’

Ans. It is one thing what a man may do, and yet be an unregene­rate person really and in the sight of God, who knoweth the heart; and another thing to be visibly so in the view of men, and in their ratio­nall judgement: for, it is granted, that a man may be and do out­wardly and visibly all that the Proposition mentioneth, yea and all that can be named further, and yet be really, and in the sight of God, an unregenerate person; but yet this needs not to hinder his childe from Baptism before the Church: for such was the case of Judas, Ananias and Sapphira, Simon, Magus, and others, who had a name to live, and yet were dead, Rev. 3. 1. and yet for all this dead­ness and unregeneracy of theirs, the Church did warrantably admit [Page 38] them and theirs to Baptism, because visibly, and for ought that the Church could discern, they were regenerate, sith De occul [...] no [...] judicat Ecclesia. But that a man may do, and be all that the Pro­position mentioneth, and yet be unregenerate, and without Faith, not onely in the sight of God, but also visibly, and to the Churches judgement; this seems not very probable. Even one of the par­ticulars which the Proposition mentioneth, viz. that of [Giving up themselves to the Lord] is spoken of by the Apostle, as a token of the grace of God bestowed on the Churches of Macedonia, 2 Cor. 8. 1, 5. And when the Synod mentioneth not onely this particular, but five or six others in the Proposition, must we for all this say, That men may do this, and all that is mentioned in that Proposition, and yet have no grace of God bestowed on them, but be, even quoad n [...]s, without all faith in Christ; and in an unregenerate estate, and so put in a barre to hinder the Baptism of their children? we cannot but fear such judgement is more rigorous then Charity will allow; for the Scripture tells us, that the tree is known by its fruit, Mat. 12 &c 7. and, that even a childe is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether is be right, Prov. 20. 11. and therefore when there are so many things for the Parents in question, as are mentioned in the Pro­position, and nothing appearing to the contrary, we think such Pa­rents, having been Members of the Church in their minority, may justly be looked at as those who do not put in any barre to hinder their children from Baptism.

The Reverend Author further saith, pag▪ 25. Though these P [...] ­rents are not Scandalous in life, but Solemnly own the covenant before the Church, wherein they give up themselves and their children to the Lord, and subject themselves to the Government of Christ in the Church, yet all these may be affirmed of many who have a form of Godliness, and deny the power thereof: from such Paul warned Timothy to Turn a­way, 2 Tim. 3. 5.’

Ans. But is it credible, that those in 2 Tim. 3. could answer all that is said in this Proposition? were they not Scandalous in life, but did give up themselves to the Lord, and subject themselves to the Govern­ment of Christ in his Church? what then means the many Scandalous sins mentioned ver. 2, 3, 4. and what was this denying the Power of [Page 39] Godliness that is charged upon them? it is most like it was such a denying as that in Tit. 1. 16. where they are said to profess to know God, but by works to deny [...], being [...], disobedient, and to every good work reprobate; and if so▪ then they were far from answering what is said of these Parents: for, these Parents are not Scandalous in life; but those the Apostle speaks of are Scandalous, and abomina­ble for wickedness; these Parents are commendable for sundry good things in them, and good duties done by them; whereas those the Apostle speak of are not so, but disobedient, and to every good work reprobate. And when the Apostle bids Timothy, [...] away from such; doth not this imply that they were Scandalous persons, and appa­rently wicked? it is not likely that the Apostle would else have com­manded to [...] from them, si [...]h he himself did so lovingly converse with so many sorts of men, that he might gain them to the Lord, 1. Cor. 9. 19, 20, &c. and gives Commandment to receive the weak, Rom. 14. 1. and to instruct with meekness such as oppose themselves, i [...] God [...] may give the [...] Repentance, &c. 2 Tim. 2. 25. which things do strongly argue, that those whom be Commands in 2 Tim. 3. to turn away from, were not such as are described in the Proposition, but far worse, being apparently and grosly wicked. For otherwise, how could the Apostle in commanding to Turn away from them, be cleared from direct contradicting both his own Do­ctrine and his own Practice? But let those in 2 Tim. 3. whom he commands to Turn away from, be understood of persons grosly vici­ous and Scandalous, and then the appearance of contradiction is easi­ly cleared, and so the Parents in question cleared from being such persons, as must be Turned away from.

So much for Defence of the first Argument.

But before the Reverend Author proceed to the next, he is some­thing large in suggesting, that the Elders do admit persons into Mem­bership, who are not qualified according to what is said in this Pro­position, so that if their Doctrine in this matter were right, yet it is here pag. 25, 26. frequently intimated that their Practice is other­wise. For, saith he, they cannot prove that all adult persons whom they admit into personal and immediate Membership, are such as the Pro­position describeth: For, I demand, do they all understand the Doctrine [Page 40] of Faith? what course do they take to know it? Are all the adult per­sons, whom they admit into Membership, such as the Proposition de­scribes? do they take a right course to know they are such? that they are not Scandalous in life, &c.

Ans. The Proposition speaks of such as were admitted in minori­ty, and therefore what is done towards these when they are adult, is not fitly called admitting into Membership. For, as Mr.Cotton saith, It is one thing to enter into the Church, (for that agreeth to such as were sometime without) another thing to speak of the Infants of Be­lievers, who were never out of the Church, and so cannot be said to enter into it. Grounds and Ends, &c. pag. 132, 133. and therefore it is a mistake to say or think of such Elders, as concurred with the Synod, That what is done by them towards the children of Church-mem­bers, being now adult, is an admitting of them into Membership, for this those children had afore they were adult, and therefore they are not now admitted into it.

But to leave this: Why should the Reverend Author suggest such a thing into the mindes of his Readers, That the Elders in their Practice do differ from their Doctrine, and teach one thing in the synod, and in their Practice do contrary? Were it not more suitable to Love (which thinketh not evil, 1 Cor. 13. nor receiveth a reproach against ones Neighbour, Psal. 15.) to endeavour to bring such Elders, as are thus faulty (if indeed there be any) to Repentance for their failing therein, rather then to give occasion of mis-appre­hensions against them, by writing thus of them? It may well be called misapprehension; for there are few of the Elders, in comparison, that have yet put the children of Church-members to a publick owning of the covenant, afore the time of their admission to full communi­on: and for those few that have done it, as this was not an admit­ting of them into Membership, for that they had before; so it would be hard to prove, that when this was done, that their Infants might be Baptized, which is the case the Synod speaks of; it would be hard (we say) to prove that the parents, who so did were not qualified ac­cording as the fifth Proposition describeth. And therefore to give oc­casion of other thoughts, not only against some few of the Elders▪ but even of all, for what is here intimated, is not of some onely, but of all [Page 41] alike without difference; what may be thought of this, we leave to the further consideration of the Reverend Author.

To the second Argument of the Synod. That the children of the Parents in question, are either children of the Covenant, or strangers from the Covenant; either holy, or unclean; either within the Church, or without; either such as have God for their God, or are without God in the world: but he that considers the Proposition, will not affirm the latter concerning these children; and the former being granted, infers their right to Baptism.

To this the Reverend Author answereth, That the more he con­siders the Proposition, the less he findes in it to evince the former, and the more to conclude the latter.

Ans. Now the latter is, that the children of the Parents in question, are strangers from the Covenant, not holy, but unclean, and without the Church, and such as are without God in the world: And if the Reverend Author finde so much to conclude thus of the children of Church-members, which Members understand the Doctrine of Faith, and pub­lickly assent thereto; are not scandalous in life, but thus and further qualified, as in the Proposition is expressed: if he finde much to conclude thus of these children, if he he had expressed any part thereof, it might have been taken into consideration; but nothing being expressed, how can it? A meer contrary Affirmation, how can it go for a sufficient Confutation?

As for that which he addeth, That if a man have no more then the Proposition holds forth, he may be a stranger from the Covenant, unclean, and without the Church, &c. Is not this spoken of grown persons, and therefore how is the Synods Argument hereby touched, which speaketh of little children? Nor is it easily proved▪ that a grown person, who was admitted in minority, and is now qualified as the Proposition expresseth, that such a grown person is now a stranger from the Covenant, and without the Church, and without God in the world, and this in respect of his external state, or being in the Church-visible; we see not that this is proved at all. For, as for Rom. 9. 6, 7, 8. which is here alledged, They are not all Israel, which are of Israel, &c. the Text may prove, that they are not all elected of God, [Page 42] or sincere Believers, who in regard of external relation are Members of the visible Church; and this will be easily granted: but for Membership in the Church-visible, of which is our question, that text hath nothing in it at all to prove, That men who were members of this Church in their minority▪ being now qualified as the synod expresseth, that these are now [...] externall state; this is not proved at all by this Text. For, if we shall so say, we shall make the Apostle to contradict himself; for, of these very persons and people of whom be saith, They are not all Israel, not all children, not all the children of God, &c. of these very persons and people he said, ve [...]. 4. that they [...] Israelites, to whom [...] to the Adoption, and the Glory, and the Covenants, and the giving of the [...], and the Service of God, and the Promises; that is, they were Gods adopted children in regard of external Covenant, and were Mem­bers of the Church-visible, and yet these were not all Israel, that is, they were not all Gods Israel by election and spiritual regeneration. Thus the Apostles words are easily reconciled. But how shall they be reconciled, if the latter, as well as the former, be meant of the Church-visible? Can they be Israelites, and not Israel, in the same respect? Can they in respect of external state be partakers of A­doption, Gods Covenant and Promises, &c. and so be Church-mem­bers, and yet in regard of the same estate, be no Church-members at all, nor in the Church-covenant at all? It is not easie to conceive how this can be; and therefore the words in Rom. 9. 6, 7, 8. are not fitly applied to prove that men, who were Church-members in their minority, may be qualified as the fifth Proposition expresseth, and yet now be strangers from the Covenant, and without the Church, in respect of their visible and externall state.

Whereas the Synod, for a third Argument, saith, That to deny this Preposition, would be 1. To straiten the grace of Christ in the Gospel-dispensation, and to make the Church in New-Testament-times, in worse case, relating to their children successively, then were the Jews of old. 2. To render the Jews, when they shall be called, in a worse condition then under the Legal administration: contrary to Jer. 30. 20. Ezek 37. 25, 26. 3. To deny the application of the [Page 43] initiatory Seal to such as regularly stand in the Church and Cove­nant, to whom the Mosaical dispensation, nay the first Institution appointed it to be applied, Gen. 17. 9, 10. Joh. 7. 22, 23. 4. To break the Covenant, by denying the initiatory Seal to those that are in covenant, Gen. 17. 9, 10, 14.

To this the Reverend Author answereth, That the contrary to all and every one of these is true: for, 1. It enlargeth the grace of Christ in the Gospel-dispensation, by shewing that Christian Churches are in a more spiritual and gracious frame then the Jews of old were, under Legal dispensations, &c.’

Ans. Suppose that Christian Churches be in a more spiritual and gracious frame then were the Jews under the Legal dispensation, yet if then such Parents as the Proposition describes, might have the in­itiatory Seal applied to their Infants, and now may not; how can it be denied, but that now the Christian Churches are in a worse case, relating to their children successively, then the Church of the Jews was? For then such Parents might have their children circumcised, but now they may not have them baptized, if this Proposition be denied. And though the grace of Christ may be now enlarged in other respects, yet in respect of children it is not enlarged, but straitned, by denying this Proposition: except we shall say, that for Parents to have the Seal of the Covenant applied to them and their children, is no testimony of Gospel-grace at all, which cannot be said truly; and therefore the Synods Argument in this particular stands good.

2. Saith the Reverend Author, It declareth that the state of the Jews, when they shall be called, will be far better then it was under Legal dispensations—for under the Law their light and holiness was defe­ctive—but when they shall be called, they shall have a farre greater measure of light and holiness then was to be found in former ages—’

Ans. Suppose this be granted, the question is not about their Holiness and light, but about their children, of whom it is evident, that if the Parents were qualified as this Proposition expresseth, those children might then be circumcised: and the Texts alledged, viz. Jer. 30. 20. Ezek. 37. 25, 26 do shew, that when they shall [...]e called, their children shall be in as good estate as formerly: but [Page 44] how can this be, if the Parents may be qualified as is expressed, and yet may not have their children baptized? Is not this a rendring of them, in respect of their children, in a worse condition then for­merly?

For the third Particular, the Reverend Author answereth, That the deniall of the Proposition doth not deny (in sum) what the Synod saith it doth, but the contrary.

Ans. In what the Synod here saith, there are three Particulars contained or included: 1. That the Mosaicall dispensation, and first Institution of the initiatory Seal, did appoint that Seal to be applied to such as stood regularly in the Church and Covenant. 2. That the chil­dren in question do regularly stand in the Church and Covenant. 3. That the deniall of the Proposition, doth deny the application of the Seal to such as the Mosaicall dispensation appointed it to be applied unto. Of these Particulars, the first cannot be denied; for it is undeniably proved by the Texts alledged, viz. Gen. 17. 9, 10. Joh 7. 22, 23 and the third Particular is plain of it self: all the doubt therefore must be about the second, viz. Whether the children in question do regularly stand in the Church and Covenant: But for this the Synod hath given divers Proofs in their first and second Arguments; which Proofs we do not see taken off by what the Reverend Author hath said thereto.

The fourth Particular is answered by a plain deniall of what there the Synod affirmeth, viz. That to deny the Proposition, doth not break Gods Covenant, by denying the initiatory Seal in those that are in Covenant.

Ans. Yet nothing can be more plain, then that denying Circum­cision to them that were in the Covenant, was a breaking of Gods Covenant; for it is expresly so called, Gen. 17. 9. 10, 14. If there­fore the children spoken of be in the Covenant, how can the deniall of Baptism to them be any other then is said? and that they are in the Covenant, the Synod gave sundry Proofs in their first and second Arguments.

So much for Defence of the third Argument.

The fourth Argument of the Synod for confirming this fifth Pro­position, is this: Confederate visible Believers, though but in the [Page 45] lowest degree such, are to have their children baptized. But the Parents in question are such, at least in some degree. For, 1. Cha­rity may observe in them sundry positive arguments for it, witness the terms of the Proposition, and nothing evident against it.

To this the Reverend Author answereth, by denying the minor in the Argument, and affirming the contrary to the first Reason here mentioned; viz. That all that is said in the Proposition, is no suf­ficient ground for Charity to account these Parents to be Believers in the least degree.

Ans. But if there be sundry positive arguments for Charity thus to judge of them, and nothing evident to the contrary, as the Synod argueth; why then should we judge otherwise of them? When such Church-members, as were admitted in their minority, do understand the Doctrine of Earth, and publickly assent thereto, are not scandalous in life, but do solemnly own the Covenant, wherein they give up them­selves to the Lord, &c. is all this nothing for Charity to go upon in accounting them Believers? no, not in the least degree? we conceive Charity wants sufficient ground to judge otherwise. See more in Defence of the first Argument.

But, saith the Reverend Author, Let them shew how faith was wrought, and how it works in them, and then the Church will have ground for their charitable judgement concerning their fitness, &c.’

Ans. What proof is there, that except this be done, there can be no ground for the charitable judgement that is mentioned? Sure it is, there is no mention that such a thing was performed by the Eunuch, nor required of him by Philip, Acts 8. and yet he was baptized upon Profession of his Faith in Christ, though there is no men­tion, that to shew how his Faith was wrought in him, was either done by him, or required of him: and therefore we see no reason to the contrary, but that when that is done which is mentioned in the Pro­position, there may be ground for Charity to account them Believers, though they come not up to what the Reverend Author requireth, of declaring how their Faith was wrought in them.

2. The Synod saith, The children of the godly, though qualified but as the persons in the Proposition, are said to be Faithfull, Tit. 1. 6.

[Page 46] The Reverend Author answereth, Nor are the children of the godly, qualified but as in the Proposition, said to be Faithfull in Tit. 1.’ So his Answer is an express deniall of what the Synod here saith. But to say the children in Tit. 1. are not called Faithfull, is directly to gainsay the Text, which doth expresly so call them: and that these Children that are called Faithful in Tit. 1. were qualified above what the Proposition requireth, is not proved at all. For the Text that calls them Faithful, saith no more of them, but that they are not accused of Riot, or unruly. And if this be sufficient for account­ing them Faithful, those whom the Proposition describeth may much more be so accounted; because they are not only free from Unruliness and Riot, but partakers of sundry other good qualificati­ons, which do amount further.

3. Whereas the Synod saith, Children of the covenant, as the Pa­rents in Question are, have frequently the beginnings of grace wrought in them in younger years, as Scripture and experience shew. Instance Joseph, Samuel, &c. hence this sort of Persons shewing nothing to the contrary, are in charity, or to ecclesiastical reputation, visible Believers.

The Reverend Author answereth, That the Parents in question were indeed children of the Covenant in their infancy or minority, but if when they are adult, they do not covenant for themselves and their seed, being fifty qualified, they cannot then be fi [...]ly called Children of the Co­venant, but Transgressors of the Covenant, and breakers of it.

Ans. 1. If they be breakers of it, then sure they are comprehen­ded in it: for, how can men break the Covenant, which they are not in? therefore, as it is here expresly confessed, that they were children of the covenant in their minority, so the same is by Conse­quence confessed of them being adult; for otherwise, how could they be then said to break the Covenant?

2. If the Parents in question were Children of the Covenant in their Infancy and minority, as the Reverend Author acknowledgeth they were, this suits well enough with the purpose and scope of the Synod in this place, which is expresly said to be this, that such children have frequently the beginnings of grace wrought in them in their younger years; and such as had grace begun in them in their younger years, [Page 47] why should not charity think it is there still, when nothing appears to the contrary? for he that once begins that good work of grace, is not wont to forsake [...] work of his own lands, but to perfect it un­till the d [...]y of Christ, Psal. 138. 8. Phil. 1. 6.

Further, saith the Reverend Author, This Argument is fallaci­ous, because it argues from some particulars, to infer a general af­firmatively. Some children of the Covenant have had the beginnings of grace wrought in them in their younger years, therefore all persons if this [...], &c. If the Reverend Author had expressed the Synod Argument as they expressed it, it would not then have appeared to fallacious, as the alteration of their words may make it

For, whereas they said, Children of the Covenant have frequently th [...] [...] of grace wrought in them in their younger year▪ for which they produced eight or nine Instances from Scripture: all these In­stances, and that [...]equency, for Proof of which they were alledged, are now all left out, and in stead thereof it is rendred some Children of the Covenant, &c. and whereas the inference which the Synod makes is thus expressed, viz. hence this sort of Persons &c. now the term All, which was not in before, is expresly put in thus, All Persons of it is sort, &c. which alteration may indeed obscure the strength of the Argument. But let it be reduced to what it first was, and then let the judicious Reader consider whether it be [...]all [...] ­cious, or fi [...]me, whether there be weakness or weight in it. Thus it was; If Children of the Covenant have frequently the beginnings of grace wrought in them in their younger years, then this sort of Persons shewing nothing to the contrary, are in charity, or to ecclesiastical repu­tation, visible Believers: But so it is. Ergo. The Assumption here is manifestly proved by those many Instances in Scripture alledged, and by Experience; and the Consequence we hope is not f [...]ll [...]cious, but found and good: for if it be frequently thus, why should not chari­ty believe it is thus in this sort of persons, where nothing appears to the contrary.

4. The Synod having said, That they that are regularly in the Church, (as th [...] Parents in question be) are visible Saints in the account of Scripture: for the Church is in Scriptures account a [Page 48] company of Saints, 1 Cor. 14. 33. & 1. 2.

The Reverend Author Answereth, That both the Assertion and the Proof of it are to be denyed. The Assertion is not true, that the Parents in question are regularly in the Church: Infants, and Children in minority of confederate believers, are in the Church by their Pa­rents Covenanting for [...], 1 Cor. 7. 14. But Parents are not so, till &c.

Ans. It is here again confessed, that Infants and Children in mino­rity, are regularly in the Church, but not so when they are adult and come to be Parents: but of their continuing in the Church, not­withstanding their coming to be adult, something hath been said be­fore, and more may in the sixth Argument, Part [...]. 3.

But whereas it is said, "The Proof is to be den [...]ed, and is not apposite: we conceive, it cannot be denied to be very apposite for the purpose for which the Synod doth alledge it, which is to prove, that they that are Regularly in the church, are in Scripture account visible Saint [...]; and the words of the Texts alledged, are so plain and apposite for this purpose, as we conceive no [...]hing can be more Whether the Pa­rents in question be such, or no; regularly in the Church, and so Saints, or not is another thing, for which we conceive much hath and may be said: but the Texts alledged were not produced by the Synod for that purpose, and therefore though they be not plain for Proof of that yet if they be plain and apt enough for the purpose for which they were produced by the Synod, that may suffice, though they prove not this other, to which the Reverend Author doth apply them.

5. Saith the Synod, Being in Covenant and baptized, they have Faith and Repentance indefinitely given to them in the Promise, and sealed up in Baptism, Deut. 30. 6. which continues valid, and so a valid Testimony for them, while they do not reject it.

To this Reverend Author in his Answer makes mention of a distinction Between the grace of the Covenant, and the Covenant of Grace, in regard of externall means; between the Elect, in whom God works the Grace promised in the Covenant so powerfully, that they shall not reject it, and the rest who have the outward means of grace till they reject them, as did Esau—and concludes, that Such as reject [Page 49] the offers of grace, and living under the means of grace, do remain un­believers, cannot be said to have Faith and Repentance indefinitely given to them in the Promise.

Ans. But is there any Proof of the contrary to what the Synod affirmeth? It seems none at all. For, when the Synod saith, The Covenant which promiseth Faith and Repentance is a valid Testimony for them, while they do not reject it; and the Reverend Author saith, That such as do reject the offers of grace, have not Faith and Repentance given to them in the Promise: These are not contrary, nor at all inconsistent. For the Synod never said nor meant, that the grace of Faith and Repentance are given by the Covenant to them that are breakers of the Covenant, and reject the offers of grace, and living under the means of grace, do still remain unbelievers: the Synod never said, that the grace of Faith and Repentance are given to these by the Promise; but by that word, while they do not reject it, do plainly im­ply the contrary. And therefore what the Synod here saith, may be sound and good, for all that the Reverend Author alledgeth. If their Doctrine here be not right, then it must be said, that the Cove­nant, in which God promiseth to circumcise the hearts of his people, and of their seed, Deut. 30. 6. is no Promise that God will give them Faith and Repentance, nor any valid Testimony for them that he will do it though they for their parts do not reject it. And we sup­pose none will say this. What may be said of them, who when adult, are Breakers of the Covenant, and do reject the offers of grace, is one thing; and what may be hoped and said of them who do not so reject, is another. The Synod speaks of these [...]atter, and the Reve­rend Author of the former; and therefore the one cannot overthrow the other.

The Synod concludes this fourth Argument, by adding as follow­eth; viz. Yet it doth not necessarily fellow, that these persons are immediately fit for the Lords Supper; the Reason rendred, is, Because though in a latitude of expression they are to be accounted Believers, or in numero fidelium, as even Infants in covenant are; yet they may want that ability to examine themselves, and that spe­ciall exercise of faith, which is requisite to that Ordinance, as was said upon Propos. 4.

[Page 50] To this the Reverend Author saith, 1. If any man speak, let him speak as the Oracles of God, 1 Pet. 4. 11. The New-Testament no where alloweth that latitude of expression, to call men Believers, who, &

Ans. Though it be the duty of all, if they speak, to speak as the Oracles of God, yet it doth not follow from thence, that none may have the term Believers applied to them, except the term be found so applied in the New Testament: for then the name Trinity, sacra­ment, and many other, would be unlawful, as not being found in the New Testament, no nor in the Old; yet we suppose the Reverend Author would not count the use of these terms unlawful. How often doth himself use the terms of Par ratio, Personall membership, Mediate, and Immediate members, and others, and yet they are terms not found in all the Scripture: and therefore if the term Believers be not found applied in the New Testament to the persons spoken of, yet if the thing it self be found, and the matter be so delivered as becomes the Oracles of God, that is, with such reverence, Purity, &c. as is meet, we suppose that Rule of speaking as the Oracles of God, is not violated, though the term it self were not so used in the New Testament, nor yet in the Old. And for the thing it self, the Synod hath given four or five Arguments to prove, that the persons spoken of are visible Believers; which Arguments we do not see satisfied by what the Reverend Author saith thereto.

2. The Synod having said, That the persons spoken of may be count­ed in numero fidelium, as even Infants in Covenant are.

The Reverend Author answereth, They cannot be so accounted, because Infants are looked at onely in the Parents covenant, being not capable of covenanting for themselves, as men are: so that there is not Par ratio between them.

Ans. Though Infants be not capable of covenanting for them­selves, as men are, yet their covenanting, or being in Covenant, is not the thing here intended by the Synod, but their being Believers, or in numero fidelium; of which the Reverend Author saith nothing. But the thing the Synod here intimateth, is this, that as [...] Infants in [...] are counted Believers, or in numero fidelium, so may the Parents spoken of.

[Page 51] 3. Whereas the Synod saith, They may want that ability to ex­amine themselves, and that speciall exercise of faith which is requi­sue to that Ordinance.

The Reverend Author answereth, That visible want of this, abi­lity, and of this exercise of faith, doth argue a visible want of that faith which is to be examined and exercised, and is a just barre to the ad­mittance of such into immediate and personall Church-membership, as well as to the Lords Supper.

Ans. Admittance into Membership is not here spoken of at all by the Synod: for the persons spoken of, are counted by the Synod to have been in the state of Membership long afore now, even in their infancy or minority; and therefore if the want of the ability mentioned, were a just barre to such admittance, yet this concerns not the persons spoken of. But is this which is here affirmed cer­tain and clear, that want of the ability and exercise spoken of, doth argue want of the very being of Faith? May there not be the being and truth of that grace, even there where the exercise of it is much wanting? Plain it is, that our Saviour blames his Disciples, and Peter, for the want of the exercise of faith, Mat. 8. & 14. Mark 4. Luke 8. 25. and yet it were hard to say, that the being of faith was now wanting in them: for then we must say, either that faith once had, may afterwards be lost and gone, or else that these Disciples before this time never had faith; neither of which, we conceive, can be said truely. [...] plain is it, that some for their weakness and small ability in grace, and the exercise of it, are compared to a bruised R [...]ed, and to smoaking F [...]ax, Mat. 12 20. and yet when it is said Christ will not break such R [...]ed, nor quench such Flax, it appeareth thereby, that notwithstanding all this weakness, there may be the being and [...] of the thing in such Souls. And for ability to examine them­selves, cannot this be wanting but the want of the being of faith must be interred thence? What shall we then say to Souls in such a case as Heman, Psal. 88. who complains, that Gods wrath lay [...] upon [...], and that he was sh [...]t up, and could not come forth; that God seemed to cast off his Soul, and to hide his face from him; that Gods fi [...]ce wrath went over him, that Gods terrours had cut [...] off; and that hereby he was as distracted, and this even from his youth up▪ Now [Page 52] can we think that in such case he was able to examine himself? Can distracted persons do so? it seems nor: and yet this Heman was not without the grace of fai [...]h for all this. And therefore we cannot say that wan [...] of ability to examine one's self, or of the speciall exercise of faith, doth always argue the want of that faith which is to be ex­amined and exercised: and therefore what the Synod here saith may still stand. That the persons spoken of may be Believers, and yet want that ability to examine themselves, and that speciall exercise of faith which is requisite to that Ordinance of the Lords Supper.

So much for Defence of the fourth Argument for confirming the fifth Proposition.

The fifth Argument of the Synod for confirming this fifth Pro­position, is this: That the deniall of Baptism to the children in question, hath a dangerous tendency in it is Irreligion and Apostacy; because to deny them to have any part in the Lord, is the way to cause them to cease from fearing the Lord; witness Josh. [...]2. 24, 25, 27. But to deny them, and so their children successively, to be in the Church, or Members of it, and so to have right to Baptism, is to deny them to have any part in the Lord; and therefore it tends to cause a ceasing from fearing the Lord, and so tends to Irreli­gion and Apostacy.

Now what saith the Reverend Author to this in his Reply? that which he saith, is, 1. The children in question, being children of Pa­rents who are not in full communion with the Church, if such be denied to have any part in the Lord, it is the degenerate Parents fault, and not the Churches. 2. The children in question are not children of the Church, for the Parents have cut off the entail of the Covenant from themselves and their seed, by not confederating for themselves and theirs regularly.

Ans. 1. Here then is an acknowledgement, that the children in question, when Baptism and Church-membership is denied them, are thereby acknowledged to have no part in the Lord, and so to be in a way of ceasing from fearing the Lord: and is not this the very thing affirmed by the Synod?

2. Whereas the Reverend Author saith, That these children are [Page 53] now in such a state, through the fault of the degenerate Parents, who do not regularly enter into full communion: It hath been shewed be­fore, That these Parents, though not yet in full communion, do not put in any barre to [...]nder the Membership and Baptism of their children: and indeed, when the Parents are such as the Proposition describeth, viz. Not scandalous in life, but understanding and essenting to the Doctrine of Faith, and solemnly owning the Covenant, and therein giving up them­selves and [...]heir children to the Lord, &c. how, for all this, these Pa­rents should be the cause that their children have [...] the Lord, but do cease from fearing him; how this can be we confess we do not understand. Can Parents, by giving up themselves and their children to the Lord, be notwithstanding the cause that their children have no part in the Lord, though they be Parents that thus do, and be qualified for it, as in the Proposition is expressed? Is their giving up themselves and their children to the Lord, a cause to cut off their chil­dren from having any part in the Lord? or is their present unfitness for full communion, a cause of such loss and misery though they be and do what is mentioned. and all that the Proposition expresseth? we see no sufficient ground to apprehend so: but when the Parents are and do as is mentioned, we fear it is not they that are the cause of their childrens loss and misery expressed, but they rather, who deny their Baptism and Church-membership.

3. Saith the Reverend Author, That this denial hath a dangerous Tendency to Irreligion and Apostacy, is not proved by them, nor can be.

Ans. But if this denial do deny them to have any part in the Lord, and so make them cease from fearing the Lord, how can it be but as is said? can men cease from fearing the Lord, and from having any part in [...], and yet this not tend to Apostacy and Irreligion? Now the Reverend Author confesseth, that these children have no part in the Lord, though he say it is through the parents fault; though if the Parents be so qualified as is said, it will be hard to prove that this comes to pass through their fault; and then whence is it, but from them that causl [...]sly deny their Baptism and Church-membership? and if his denial do cause that they have no part in the Lord, doth it not also cause their Irreligion and [...]postacy?

[Page 54] That Text Josh. 22. 24, 25. saith the Reverend Author; speaks nothing for their advantage in this case.

Ans. Let it be considered for what purpose the Synod alledgeth that Text, and then it will appear that it speaks for them. Now the purpose of the Synod in producing that text, is plainly this, that to deny such children to have a part in the Lord, is the way to make them cease from fearing the Lord: and what can be more plainly spoken, then this is spoken in that Text? But why doth this Text speak nothing for the advantage of the Synod? The Reason that is given for this, is, Because the men there spoken of, were Members in full Communion; and their children, when they were grown up, were joyned in Covenant by a solemn Covenant every third year, Deut. 26. 17, 18. so that they had a part in the Lord successively, from which if they had even excluded causlesly, it might have caused their Children to cease from fearing the Lord.

Ans. Suppose all this be so, this seems not to weaken the intent of the Synod in producing this Text, but to strengthen it: For, if, denying them that have been in full Communion to have any part in the Lord, may cause even such to cease from fearing the Lord, how much more may this be caused in them that have not yet had this full Communion? may not one think, that such as have enjoyed Communion with God in all his Ordinances, will not be so easily drawn away from fearing the Lord, as those that never had such full Communion? and yet Reverend Author doth acknowledge this might have befallen the former, and therefore how much more may this be found in the other, of whom the Synod speaketh? which things considered, it seems plain that when it is said, that Text Josh. 22. speaks nothing for the Synods advantage in this case, that this saying will not hold.

The Synod having said, That the owning of the Children of those that successively continue in Covenant to be a part of the Church, is far from being destructive to the purity and prosperity of the Church, and Religion therein as some conceive.

The Reverend Author Answereth, That they who so conceive, have such grounds of that per, w [...]sion, as will not easily be removed, nor are so much as shaken by anything said by the Synod,

[Page 55] Ans. If such a perswasion, That the children of those who continue in Covenant, are no part of the Church, be a perswasion upon grounds that cannot be removed nor shaken; then it must follow, that the Church and the Covenant, which is the formalis ratio of the Church comprehends not Children, but Parents onely, or grown per­sons: and then the Antipoedobaptists have won the day; for by what right can Children be Baptized, if they be not in the Covenant, nor any part of the Church, though their Parents be? Sure to us it seems a well-grounded perswasion, that if the Parents be and continue in Covenant, the Children of such are part of the Church, and ought to be so owned, and that this is no wayes destructive to the 'Purity and 'Prosperity of the Church, and Religion therein. If the Parents did not continue in the Covenant, then there might be some question, whether the Children be part of the Church: but it is plain, that the Synod speaks of the Children of those that continue in the Covenant; and if any think it to be a well-grounded perswasion, that the Parents may continue in the Covenant, and yet the Children of such Parents are no part of the Church, we confess we see no sufficient grounds for such a perswasion. For, the Reverend Author doth here confess, That it is true, that the frame of the Covenant runs to us, and to our Seed after us in their Generations, pag. 32. And if this be true, is it not then true, that if the Parents continue in the Cove­nant, the Seed of such Parents are also part of the Church? for how can they be said to be in the Covenant, which is the constituting Form of the Church, and yet be no part of the Church, which is con­stituted thereby.

But, saith the Reverend, Author, This must be understood and ap­plied suitably to the different constitution of Churches, under different administrations of the Covenant, under the Old-Testament, and under the Gospel.

Ans. Let this be granted, yet as long as thing it self is not de­nied, which must not be denied, for he confesseth it to be true, viz. Th [...] the covenant runs to us, and to our Seed after us in their Gene­rations: So long as this is not denied, the difference in other things between the Old-Testament and the New, will not weaken our Cause at all. For, though for constitution of Churches, the Church [Page 56] was then National, and now Congregational; and though the admi­nistration of the Covenant was then under many Types and Cere­monies, which are now removed: and notwithstanding any other dif­ference that can be named, yet if there be not this difference also, that the Covenant did run to them, and their Seed in their Generations, but not to us, and our Seed in like sort; if this difference also be not asserted, we see not how it can be avoided, but even now as well as then, if the Parents Continue in covenant, the Children do so also, and so are part of the Church: and so what the Synod affirmeth is gained. For it cannot be said, that though it was so then, yet it is not so now, except we shall deny what the Reverend Author confesseth to be true, that the frame of the covenant (did not onely run to them and to their Seed, but also) runs to us, and our Seed in their Generations. And if this be true, then what the Synod gathereth from it is true also, that God hath so framed his covenant, and the constitution of his Church thereby, as to design a continuation and propagation of his Kingdome there­in, from one Generation to another. For it must needs be so, if the Covenant runs to us, and to our Seed after us in their Genera­tions.

Whereas the Synod saith, That to keep in the line, and under the influence and efficacy of this covenant of God, in the true way to the Churches glory.

The Answer of the Reverend Author, in sum, is this, That it is so indeed, when there is a succession of Faith made visible to the Chur­ches charitable judgement; but not so, when such a Membership is set up in Christian Churches, whereby Infants shall be Baptized by right from such Parents as are not in full communion: for what influence and efficacy hath the Covenant upon such Parents?

Whereto the answer is, That if the Parents be qualified as this Proposition expresseth, there is manifest influence of the Covenant upon them, though yet they be not come so far as to be fit for full communion. For, when they being admitted in minority, are now, when adult, not onely free from scandal in life, but also endowed with a competency of knowledge in the Doctrine of faith, and solemnly assent thereto, and own the Covenant, and therein give up themselves and their children to the Lord; we conceive all his doth import some [Page 57] influence and efficacy of the Covenant upon them: but if for all this, they shall be disowned from having any part in the Church and Co­venant of God, how then can that be denied which the Synod here saith, That by this cutting off▪ and disavowing the Covenant, Sion is hin­dred from being an Eternal Excellency, and the joy of many generations? For, whatever joy it may be to the first generation, yet if all that follow, though qualified as the Proposition expresseth, be never­theless denied to have any part in the Covenant and Church of God, till fit for full communion, we do not see how such following genera­tions can be any great excellency or joy at all.

The Synod having said, That this progress of the Covenant esta­blisheth the Church, Deut. 29. 13. Jer. 30. 20. and that there­fore the contrary doth disestablish it.

The Reverend Author answereth, That the Argument is to be de­nied; for it will not follow, that if God did establish the Church of the Jews by such a successive progress of the Covenant, Deut. 29. 13. therefore he doth so now, pag. 33.

A. Why doth it not follow, that if God did establish the Church of the Jews by a progress of the Covenant, that therefore he doth so now? Is not that true, which the Reverend Author confesseth to be true, That the frame of the Covenant runs to us, and our seed after us in their generations? and is not that true also which the Synod here saith, (though the Reverend Author saith nothing to it) That God was an holy god, and loved the purity and glory of the Church in the Old Testa­ment, when he went in this way of a successive progress of the Covenant? we suppose this cannot be denied; and therefore if a progress of the Covenant did establish the Church then, why not so now Shall we think that the holy God did not so regard the purity of his Church in those times, and therefore did then establish the Church in this way, which now he will not do, as being now more carefull of the purity of his Church? we fear that to say this, would be to the dis­honour of Gods Holiness and Glory. And plain it is, that it is the same Kingdome of God, that is, the same Church-estate for substance and kinde, which is taken from the Jews, and given to the Gentiles, Mat. 21. 43. and therefore the Gentiles are said to be fellow-heirs, and of the same Body with them, Ephes. 3. 6. And therefore what [Page 58] should hinder, but that if a progress of the Covenant was a means to establish the Church then, it may be the same in these dares also?

The Synod having said▪ in the conclusion of their fifth Argument for confirming this fifth Proposition, That the more holy re­forming, and glorious that the times are or shall be, the more emi­nently is a successive continuation, and propagation of the Church therein designed, promised, and [...] And having for this al­ledged these Scriptures, Isa. 60. 15. &. 59. 21. Ez [...]k. 37. 25—28. Psal. 102. 16—28. Jer. 32—39 [...]

The Reverend Author applies all these very Texts to the Church of the Jews under the New Jerusalem; which Church, he saith, must consist, for the matter of it, of elect and sincere Believers onely both they and their children successively to the end of the world: for which he alledgeth the Texts [...] mentioned, pag. 33 [...]

[...] Ans. It is freely granted, that the Church of the Jews, when they shall be called and converted, shall be very holy and glorious; and yet it may be questioned, whether that Church shall have none in it, but onely elect and sinc [...]re Believers, both they and their children to the end of the world For, when Christ shall come, the Kingdome of Heave [...], that is to say the Church, though it be compared to Virgins, in respect of much Ecclesiastical Purity, yet those Virgins are some of them foolish Virgins, that [...] [...]oyle in their vessels with their lamps, and so must have the door of the Marriage-Chamber shut against them, Matth. 25. therefore they were not all sincere Believers and elect; and therefore it may be a question, whether the Church of the Jews at that time will be so free from Hypocrites, as is said [...]

2. If these Scriptures, Isa. 60. 15. & 59. 21. and the rest, do prove, that when the Jews shall be called, it shall be with them as is said; then what the Synod here saith is gained, and stands good, viz. That in holy, reforming, and most glorious times, there shall be a con­tinuation [...] propagation of the Church from parents to children, from generation to generation▪ which is the very thing which is here af­firmed by the Synod:

3. Though the Reverend Author do here suggest this difference between that Church of the Jews under the New Jerusalem, and the [Page 59] Gentile Churches; that these latter shall have Close Hypocrites creeping into them, and the children of Believers, by their degeneracy when adult, stopping the successive progress of the Covenant, which in the Church of the Jews shall be otherwise: yet [...]ith the Scripture saith, that the [...] of them that are saved, shall walk in the light of that New Jerusalem, Rev. 21. and that then the Lord shall be king in all the earth; and that there shall be one Lord, and his Name one, Zech. 14. and that the Name of the▪ New Jerusalem shall be written upon Philadelphia, a Church of the Gentiles, Rev. 3. it may seen upon these considerations and the like, that there will at that time be good conformity between the Church of the Jews, and Gentile, Churches, and no such disproportion or difference, that in the one there should be a continuation and propagation of the Church and Covenant from Parents and children successively, but in the other not so, We see no ground for believing such [...] but for ought that doth yet appear, if there shall be such a glory in the [...] as that there shall be a successive progress of the Covenant therein there shall or may be the like in the Gentile, Churches also, And to conceive any essential dif­ference between either Jews or Gentiles then, and Gentiles now, as to the frame of the Covenant it self (whatever difference there may be as to the measures of grace, &c. as is said in the Synods Result, p. 9.) is a conception that we see no ground for in Scripture.

Whereas the Reverend Author saith, pag. 34. That the children of Church-members in this Country are commonly known to be Pro­fane Vain, Licentious, VIcious, Stubborn, Proud, &c. and complains, That yet these are accepted into immediate 'Personall Membership.

The Answer is, I. As before, That we think there is no accept­ing of Members children, when adult, into Membership, but an ac­cepting of them unto full Communion, when they are fit for it; and an acknowledging of such and others to be Members already, as having [...]ad it from their birth or minority, and having not since been regularly, in any way of God, cut off from the same. To call this an [...] of them into Membership, we think is very improper.

2. If the children of Church-members generally were commonly known to be so Vicious and Profane, as is said; this were matter of [Page 60] great humiliation and grief to us all: but we hope it is too much to say so of the generality, or greatest part of them, there being better thing appearing in many.

3. Be it that they are so Vicious, or not, we think there is great reason that they should be carefully watched over by Elders of Churches, and all Superiours, that so their corruptions and sins might be mortified, and they furthered to the attainment of that saving grace of God in Christ Jesus.

And whereas the Reverend Author makes an Objection, That if they be so Vicious, they have the more need to be under the Watch, Discipline, and Government of the Church. And in Answer thereto, saith, That it cannot rationally be expected that they will submit themselves thereto, but will disregard and slight the same; and that acceptance with God, or blessing on such means cannot be expected, be­cause God limits his Blessing to his own Appointments, p. 34, 35.

The Answer is, That hath been proved afore by seven or eight Arguments in Propos. 3. That these children are by Gods appointment under the Watch, Discipline, and Government of the Church; which Arguments have been formerly vindicated and cleared from what the Reverend Author hath said against the same: and therefore for what is here said, That the exercise of Church-discipline towards such, cannot be expected to be accepted of God, or blessed by him, because it wants his Appointment; we know not how to entertain this saying, except there were some better proof for it, which here is but naked­ly delivered, without any proof at all: and therefore the exercise of Church-discipline towards the children spoken of, may be appointed of God, accepted of him, and blessed by him, for ought that is here said to the contrary.

And whereas it is said, That it cannot rationally be expected, that such persons will submit themselves to Church-discipline.

Though we know but little of the exercise of Church-discipline towards such, yet experience doth testify, that to some it hath, by the blessing of God, been profitable, and that they have submitted to it, and been bettered by it.

Lastly, The Reverend Author did a little afore in this same Page, Pag. 34. mention the Vigilancy and Faithful Care and Endeavour [Page 61] of Church-Elders towards the Children mentioned, as a way or means for conveying Religion down to after-Generations, which we for our parts conceive to be sound and good. But then how can this stand which is there said, that such persons are not under the Watch, Discipline and Government of the Church▪ For, doth not the Vigilan­cy of Church-Elders, import some kinde of Church-watchfulness? Can there be such Vigilancy, Care and Endeavour towards such as are not under the watch of the Church at all [...]or can such Vigilancy, Care and Endeavour of Church-Elders, be a means to convey Religion down to after-generations, and yet Church-watchfulness toward such be without ac­ceptance with God, and without any blessed fruit, either to the Church or to the persons spoken of? It seems these things do not well cohere.

So much for Defence of the fifth Argument, for confirming this fifth Proposition.

The sixth Argument which the Synod here useth, is Because the Parents in question are personal, immediate, and yet-continuing Members of the Church. 1. That they are personall Members, or Members in their own persons, they say appears, 1. Because they are personally holy, I. Cor. 7. 14. 2. Are Baptized in their own persons. 3. Are personally under Discipline. 4. Are personally, by means of the Covenant, in a visible state of Salvation. 5. When they commit iniquity, they personally break the covenant, Jer. 11. 2, 10. Ezek. 16. therefore they are personally in it.

To this the Reverend Author answereth, That three of these Proofs belong onely to infants, and the other two to adult Persons regu­larly admitted into Church-membership▪ which therefore do not concern the Parents in question: which two he saith are, 1. That they are personally under Discipline, and liable to Church-censures in their own persons. 2. That when they commit iniquity, they personally break the covenant.

Ans. Let us then consider the Particulars. For the first, that they are personally Holy, according to 1 Cor. 7. 14. though this be meant, as the Reverend Author saith, that they are thus Holy federally and relatively, yet it is, as he acknowledgeth, in their own persons; and if so, doth it not then follow, that they are Church-members in their own persons? [...]an persons be truly called Holy, as in the Text al­ledged, [Page 62] or an Holy seed, as Ezra 9. and yet not be Members of the visible Church? whether this holiness be inherent, or only federal and relative, yet sith they are thus Holy in their own persons, we conceive they must therefore be granted to be Church-members in their own persons. And though they first received this holiness in their minority, yet for ought we see their persons are still partakers of it, until in some way of God they be cut off from the same: which the Parents in question have not been, but being qualified as the Proposition expresseth, are far from deserving any such matter.

For the Second, That they are Baptized in their own Persons; though this be, as the Reverend Author saith, By and for their Parents Covenanting for them, they being uncapable of Covenanting for themselves; yet this being regularly done, how can it be avoided, but, as the Synod saith, It is a divine Testimony that they are in their own persons Members of the Church. For, we conceive, the Lord hath not appointed Baptism, the Seal of Membership, to be ap­plied to such as are not Members: And to say They are not Members in their own persons, but in their Parents, would infor, That they should not have been baptized in their own persons, but in their Pa­rents, their Parents receiving Baptism for them; which the Reve­rend Author, we are perswaded, is far from affirming. And therefore they being regularly baptized in their own persons, how can it be a­voided but that they are Church-members in then own persons, untill they be regularly cut off from the same?

For that other Particular, That by meanes of the Covenant they are personally, in a visible state of Salvation; The Reverend Author saith nothing hereto, but onely repeats it with this addition or ex­planation, "While nothing appears to the contrary: which clause may be added, and yet the purpose of the Synod in this Particular not at all hindred thereby. For i [...] the persons spoken of be in their own persons in a visible state of Salvation, while nothing appears to the contrary; doth it not then follow, that so long they are visible Church Members in their own persons: will any body say that they are saved in their Parents, and not in their own persons? The Synod conceived that none would so say: and that therefore it could not be said, that they are not Members in their own persons but in their [Page 63] Parents; when to the Reverend Author saith nothing. As for that Clause, "While nothing appears to the contrary, let the terms of the Proposition be considered, and we conceive it cannot rationally and charitably be denied, but that the person spoken of, as they were in a state of Salvation when Infants, so they are so still for ought appears to the contrary. For the contrary cannot be evinced and [...] against them, either by Ignorance, or Scandal, or forsaking the Covenant, or any such thing, they being such as understand the Doctrine of Faith, and publickly [...] thereto, out Scandalous in life, but commendably further qualified, as is there expressed; so that for ought that appears to the contrary, they are in a visible state of Sal­vation, and consequently they are personally Church-members, and so herein the purpose of the Synod is gained.

For the other two Particulars which the Reverend Author saith, Do belong to adult persons regularly admitted into Church-membership, and so do not concern the Parents in question; the one is, That they are personally under Discipline, and liable to Church-censures in their own persons. For Answer to this, he refers to his Examination of Propos. 3. and we refer the Reader to out defence; of that Proposition against what he there said▪

The other Particular, which is the last here mentioned, viz. That when they commit Iniquity, they personally break the Covenant; his answer to it is, That this is not proved concerning Infants, nor [...] be.

Ans. Suppose it cannot, yet if that be proved for which the Synod brings it, why may not that suffice, though this other be not proved, to which the Reverend Author applies it? Plain it is that the Synod neither spake nor meant this of Infants, but of such as are now Parents, and therefore past their Infancy: and therefore if these Parents, when they commit iniquity, do break the covenant, then the purpose of the Synod is gained, though-such a thing could not be affirmed of Infants. But if proofs for this or that may not be accepted be­cause they are not sufficient for confirming some other things Where­to they were neither alleged nor intended, let the judicious and im­partial Reader consider whether this be equal and fair, and whether Arguments in such a way be sufficiently answered.

[Page 64] For the Particular in hand the Synod argueth, That the Parents in question are personally in the covenant, because when they commit iniquity, they personally break the covenant; alledging for this, Jer. 11. 2, 10. Ezek. 16. where breaking of covenant is expresly charged upon the persons there spoken of. Now doth not this prove the thing intended? sure, if their committing iniquity be break­ing of covenant, either such persons were in the covenant, or else we must say a man may be guilty of breach of covenant, when he was not in it. And that the committing iniquity by the persons spoken of, is a breaking of Covenant, the Reverend Author doth more then once acknowledge and testify, pag. 23, 28, 33, 43, 45. It were too long to transcribe all the words that are to this purpose in the Pages quoted, but, in sum, there is thus much there affirmed and taught, That the covenant in which Children are comprehended in their minority, leaves them under engagement to duty and obedience, when they become adult, which if they do not accordingly perform, they are then transgres­sors of the Covenant, and breakers of it. Now if they be breakers of it, is it not thereby clear that they are comprehended in it? and so what is here said by the Synod stands good.

Thus of the first Particular, That the Parents in question are personal Members.

The second is, That they are immediate Members, as to the Essence of Membership, (i. e. that they themselves in their own persons are the immediate Subjects of this Adjunct of Church-membership) though they come to it by means of their Parents covenanting. For Proof whereof, one thing alledged by the Synod, is that Josh 22. 25, 27. where the children are said to have a part in the Lord, (to which Church-membership is equivalent) as well as the Parents; and nothing coming between this Subject (The Children) so as to sever it from the Adjunct (A part in the Lord) therefore they conclude, That the children are Immediate Subjects of Church-membership, or immediate Members.

Now what saith the Reverend Author unto this? why, that which he saith, is, That though nothing come between to sever that Adjunct from the Subject, yet something comes between to bring that Subject and Adjunct together, viz. The Parents covenanting for the childe: [Page 65] [...] as they are in other children.

Ans. But what is there in this to overthrow the Synods Asser­tion? Do not they expresly grant, in terms as plain as can be spoken, and that more then once, That the children come to this Adjunct of church membership by meant of their Parents covenanting? See their words in their pag. 23. and therefore this can be no removing of what they have said, being nothing but the very same with that which they have said before. The question is not about the way or means of childrens Membership, for it is freely yielded that in this respect it is [...], that is, they come unto it by means of the Pa­rents covenanting; but the question is about the Essence, Nature or Kin [...]e of their Membership: whether in this respect it be not he same with the Parents, and they as well as the Parents the immediate Subject, of it; and the granting of the forme [...], is no deniall of this other. If a Parent have room or place in such or such an house, and his childe be there also, though he come thither in the Parents arms, yet may it not be said that this childe hath a place and being in the house, as truly and as properly as the Parent, although he came unto it by the Parents means? Even so it is in the case in hand; the child comes to be in Covenant, and so in the Church, by the Pa­rents covenanting, yet now he is the Church, and in the Covenant, and hath a room and place therein, as truly and as properly as the Parent.

Again, the Synod having said, That their visible ingrassing into Christ the Head, and so into the church his Body, is seated in Ba­ptism: and that in ingrassing, nothing comes between the graft and the stock; their union is immediate.

The Reverend Author answereth, That yet it will not follow that they are immediate Members of the visible Church.

Ans. And why will not this follow? If their union with the Church be ingraffing, and that in ingraffing nothing comes between the graft and the stock, doth it not then follow, that their union with the Church is immediate, and they immediate Members of it?

For, as for that which is here said, That this union is not pro­perly, but metaphorically called ingraffing, because is some simili­tude [Page 66] here, but Similitudes do run on four feet: in sufficeth that they agree in the main point.

Ans. But how do they agree therein, if for all this ingrassing there be something between the stock and them? Is it not a main point in ingraffing, that the union between the branch and the stock be immediate, and that nothing lye between them? Who knoweth not, that if it be not so, but that some stock or stone, or something else be between them, so that their union be not immediate; who knoweth not that in such case the ingraffing is spoiled, and the bene­fit of the branch interrupted, because its union with the stock is not immediate? If then the union of Members with the Church be ingraffing, how can it be avoided but it must be immediate, and so they be immediate Members?

As for that which is here subjoyned, That infants and children in minority do partake of Baptism and other Priviledges, by means of their Parents covenanting for them, but adult persons by their perso­nall covenanting for themselves and their seed. This is nothing to the Essence of their Membership, but onely speaks to the way and means how they come to it, which is not the thing in question: for it may be granted, That children come to be Members by their Pa­rents covenanting for them, and the Parents by their own covenant­ing and yet their Membership, notwithstanding this different way of attaining it, may be one and the same for Essence and Kinde, and both have immediate conjunction with the Church.

For that where the Synod saith, That in Deut. 29. 11. the chil­dren were personally and immediately part of the People of God, or Members of the Church of Israel, as well as the Parents.

The Answer of the Reverend Author is, That the Text doth not prove it.

Ans. And yet the words are express and plain, that they did all stand before the Lord, to enter into covenant with him, that [...]e might establish them a people to himself; and the persons of whom this is said, are not onely the men of Israel, but also their wives, and their little ones: So that if men of Israel, and their wives, were personally and immediately Members of that Church, their little ones, for ought that appears, were so also; for they are all alike spoken of without difference.

[Page 67] Whereas the Synod said, That to be in Covenant, or to be a Cove­nantee, is the formalis ratio of a Church-member; and the chil­dren being in the Covenant, are therefore the immediate Subjects of the formalis ratio of Membership, and so immediate Mem­bers.

The Answer of the Reverend Author is, That though to be in Co­venant be the formalis ratio of a Church-member, yet it will not fol­low, that every Covenantee doth immediately covenant for himself, nor that every Member of the Church is an immediate Member, Page. 39.

Ans. For the one of these, viz. of Covenanting immediately for themselves, the Synod never said nor meant that little children did so covenant, nor inferred any such thing from their being in covenant, and so being partakers of the formalis ratio of Church-membership; but a little afore, and also in this very place do acknowledge, that one may come to be in covenant one way, and another in another: and therefore though children do not covenant immediately for themselves, yet what the Synod inferreth from their being partakers of the formalis ratio of Church-membership, is not at all infringed by this Branch of the Reply.

But for the other, of being Immediate Members, why doth not this follow from their being partakers of the Covenant, the formalis ratio of Membership? Can one be partaker of the Form, or forma­lis ratio of this or that, and yet not be immediately partaker of the Effect, or thing [...], but something must first intervene and come between? If [...] reasonable Soul, and its conjunction with the Body, be the formalis ratio of a man; can there be this, and yet no man imme­diately, but something more must come between to make a man? we suppose it cannot be denied but here is a man immediately, as being partaker of the formalis ratio of a man. And even so it may be said in the present case, That children being partakers of the Covenant, the formalis ratio of Church-members, they are therefore immediate Members.

The Synod having said, That to act in covenant, is but the instru­mentall means of Membership, and yet children are not without this neither: for the act of the Parent (their public person) is ac­counted theirs

[Page 68] The Reverend Author answereth, That the Parents acting in co­venanting for their infant-seed, hath been before proved to be the pro­creant cause of the childes Membership, pag 39.

Ans. It was indeed before said, viz. pag 37. that He looked at believing confederating Parents, not as the instrumentally but as the pro­creant cause; as of the childes Being, by his generating of him, so also of his Church-membership, by his confederating for him. This was said indeed in the Page mentioned, but that it was so proved, we can­not lay; if this word [Procreating] be taken as it is expressed, not onely as contradistinct from the instrumentall cause, but as a deniall thereof, for so his expression runs viz. Now as the instrumentall, but as the procreant cause, &c. Now that it hath been proved, that the Parents act in covenanting is not the instrumentall cause, but the procreant of the childes Membership, this indeed hath been said once and again but we do not see it proved at all. And indeed how can it [...] for this procreant cause, sith it is not an instrumentall, must then be the principall cause: and is this proved, That the Parents act in covenanting is not the instrumentall, but the principall cause of the childes Membership? what shall then become of Gods institution in this matter? If the Parents act herein be such a procreant cause as is not instrumentall, then it must be the principall [...] and then what place is there left for Gods institution? and how doth the Reverend Author agree with himself, who saith This is the procreant cause, and that by Gods Institution, and yet is not the cause instrumentall? If the Pa­rents act be the cause of the childs membership by Gods institution, how can it be avoided but it must be instrumentall, as the Synod said: but if it be so procreant, as not to be instrumentall, how then can it be by Gods institution, as he saith it is. These things need reconciling. For [...] parts, we see no reason to the contrary, but that, that of Logicians it right, who place the [...] cause under the held of the [...], and this act of the Parents that is here spoken of, be­ing not the principall efficient of the childs membership, must needs be the instrumentall, as the Synod hath said; and therefore such a procreant as is not instrumentall, no [...] yet principal [...], we confess we know not where to place it.

Besides, when the Reverend Author in pag. 37. makes this [Page 69] Covenant-act of the Parent to be the procreant cause of the childs mem­bership, even as the [...] is he cause of the childs being, by his gene­rati [...] of hi [...]; doth not this plainly infer that which yet he denieth, that such a Parent is the instrumental cause of the childs member­ship? For, is any Parent such a procreant cause of his child. Being by generation, as not to be instrumental under God therein? how, then are children said to be by the gift and blessing of God, Ps [...]. 127. 3. Genes. 29. 31 & 30. 22. & 33. 5. and the want of children even in married persons to be by Gods restraining bane, and shutting up the [...] 16. 2, [...] 20. 18. & 30. 2. doth not his plainly shew that Parents are but Instrumental under God in the begetting of Children? and therefore of the Parent be the cause of the childs membership [...] sort, as of the childs natural Being by his genera­ting of [...], then it must be granted, that in this of his Church-membership he is no otherwise a procreant cause of it, but as instru­mental; for in that of the childs natural being it is certainly so: and that of membership being as the Reverend Author saith, like unto this other, therefore in this of the childs membership it is so also. Moreover, i [...] this w [...]ll hold, that the Parent is such a procreant cause of the child [...] membership by confederating for him, as he is of the childs natural [...] by [...]; then lo [...]k as the child which the Pa­rent generates, is personally, immediately formally and actually a man, ( [...]r [...]one of mankind as well as the Parent; so by the membership which the Pa [...]ents confederating procreates for him, he is a personal, immediate, formal and actual Church-member.

The Synod, to shew that Children are actual, compleat, and imme­diate members, asketh, what do they want hereunto? Is it covenant interest, which is the formalis ratio of membership? No, they are in covenant. Is it divine grant, and institution, which is, the principal efficient? No, God hath clearly declared that he grants them a portion [...] his Church, and appoints them to be Members thereof. Is it an act of covenanting, which is the instrumental means? No, they have this also reputatively by divine appoint­ment, making the Parent a publick person, and accounting them to covenant in his covenanting. The sum is, they want nothing that is requisite to compleat and immediate membership.

[Page 70] Now what saith the Reverend Author to this? That which he saith, is this, That all that is here expressed, doth not supply what is wanting to invest little children with such membership. For, though they are in covenant, which is the formalis ratio of their member­ship, yet it is media [...]e parentum foedere, and so their membership is mediate.

Ans. But this speaks nothing to the nature and kind of their membership, but onely to the way and means of attaining it, which may be different from that of adult persons, and yet the thing be the same. If the chief Captain obtain by a great sum to be a freeman of Rome, and Paul be free born, Act. 22. 28. yet Pauls free­dome is either better then the other, or at least no worse; and so it may be said of the Church-membership of little children.

There is wanting unto children in minority to make them such mem­bers, a personal fitness to act in covenant for themselves.

Ans. But this is nothing to the nature of their membership, but onely speaks of the way of attaining it by their own act. But shall we say that Paul wanted something to make him a free Roman, be­cause he had no personal fitness nor ability to procure that freedome to himself by his own act, but onely was so born? or shall we say that 'David and others mentioned in Psal. 22. 10. Isa [...]. 46. 4. wanted something of compleat, proper and immediate interest in God, because they had their interest from their mothers womb, and did not attain it by their own personal act? for our parts we dare not so say, and by like reason dare not deny, but that the interest of little children in the visible Church, may be proper, compleat and immediate, though they have not come to it by their own act, but have had it from their minority or birth. For, to have God for their God is as great a blessing, as to be an actual [...] immediate member of the visible Church; and yet we see want of personall [...] fitness to act for themselves, did not hinder from the one, and why then should it hinder from the other?

Synod. A different manner and means of conveying the covenant to us, or of making us members, doth not make a different sort of members; we are as truly, personally and immediately members of the body of fallen mankind, and by nature heirs of the condemnation [Page 71] pertaining thereto, as Adam was, though he came to be so by his own personal act, and we by the act of our publick person, Pag. 24. 25.

The Reverend Author in his Answer hereto grants, That in the case of Adam it is so, as is said; but, saith he, this doth not suit the cafe of Infants in question. For, 1. Adam stood as a publick person for all mankind; no Parents is so for all his posterity, but for his infants and children in minority. 2. Adams covenant was onely with the Lord, and not with any Church, as the covenant of confederate Pa­rents is. 3. The Parents breaking the covenant doth not make his children heirs of condemnation, as Adams did all mankind, Pag. 40, 41.

For Answer whereto, we may remember what himself did former­ly express, that Similitudes do not run on four feet; if they agree in the main point that may suffer, though in other things they differ. If there­fore there were these three differences, and as many more, between the cases alledged yet where is there any difference in the main point? Are not we as truely, personally, and immediately Members of the Body of fallen Mankinde, as Adam was? This the Reverend Author doth not deny, but in plain words doth grant it: And is not then the purpose of the Synod, in alledging this instance, clearly gained? Doth it not plainly appear thereby, that a different way and means of being in Covenant, doth not make a different sort of Membership? Adam was a Member of fallen Mankinde, and so are we, though he came to be so by his own personal act, and we by him, or by his act for us: which doth clearly shew what the Synod saith, That a different way and means of being Members, doth not alter the na­ture and kinde of Membership; which we see doth hold as touch­ing being a Member of fallen Mankinde, and we see no reason but it may also hold as touching being a Member of a visible Church.

There is not any to be accounted a publick person, as Adam was, but onely Jesus Christ for all that are in him, Rom 5. 14, to 20. pag. 41.’

Ans. Yet it is evident, though Jesus Christ was a Publick Person for all that are in him, as Adam was, yet in the number of persons there is difference; Adam standing for all mankinde, and Christ stand­ing [Page 72] onely for his Redeemed, the Elect. Now if Christ may be truely called a publick Person for all his, as Adam was, though Adam was for them that were farre more in number; why may not then a con­federating Parent be counted a Publick Person for his children, though they be farre less in number then the other? But herein the cases seem parallel; Adam for all, in him, Christ Jesus for all in him, and the confederating Parent for all in him. We see not how this can justly be denied by the Reverend Author, sith he calls these Parents Undertakers for their children, pag. 40. And again, pag. 41. And such undertakers, that the children are bound by their Parents acting to perform that Covenant, when they shall become capable: which seems to us to be the same, or as much as is meant, when they are called Publick persons for their children.

Another Similitude used by the Synod to illustrate the thing in question, is from A Prince giving Lands to a man and his heirs successively while they continue loyall; in which case the following [...]heir is a true and immediate Owner of that Land, and may be per­sonally disinherited, if disloyall, as well as his father before him.

To this the Answer is, That this Similitude doth not suit the case in question; for, as for infants they cannot be visibly disloyall, and adult person [...] not regularly joyned to the Church, have cut off the enta [...] of the Covenant from themselves and their posterity by their personall dis­loyalty.

Ans. But for all this; the Similitude may suit the case in question, though the Reverend Author say it doth men. For, as the follow­ing heir is an immediate Owner of that Land till for disloyalty he be disinherited; so the following children are immediate Church-members, till some of them for their [...] be cut off from their Mem­bership. Is not here plain s [...]tableness in the similitude? we co [...]r­ceive it is apparent and manifest. For, if infants [...], and if adult persons be cut off for [...] is it not manifest that both are immediate owners till they be cut off? which is the thing the Synod affirms. Concerning infants, it seems they are such [...] and immediate owners of Church-membership, as that they cannot be cut off therefrom, because they cannot be so [...] as to deserve such a thing: and for adult persons, if the entaile of the covenant [Page 73] be cut off from them and their posterity by their personal disloyalty; doth not this clearly shew, that they were truely and immediately in the Covenant, till their disloyalty cut them off? And so the Similitude stands suitable and good for the purpose for which the Synod brings it.

But as for this "cutting off the entail of the Covenant which is here spoken of; we must confess we do not see how such a thing can justly be charged upon the persons spoken of in this Proposition? For, they understand the Doctrine of Faith, and give their Assent thereto; they are not scandalous in life, they solemnly own the Cove­nant, and therein give up themselves and their children to the Lord: and is this such disloyalty, as to be a cutting off the Covenant and entail of it? we think it were hard to prove such a thing, and do fear that Cha­rity will not allow to affirm it. Nor that which is here said in this pag. 41. That nothing is given to them and theirs by the Covenant, which they presume to usurp without warrant from God. For,

1. By the Covenant God gives himself to be a God to his People, and to their seed in their generations, Gen. 17. and shall we say this is nothing? God is Almighty, and All-sufficient, and is it nothing to have such a God to be a God to us, and to our seed?

2. And when the persons in question are such as were Regularly in Covenant in their infancy, by means of their Parents covenanting for them, as the Reverend Author doth acknowledge, how can their owning this Covenant, when they become adult, be justly counted a presuming to usurp the Covenant without warrant from God? We reade of them that are blamed, and that justly, for forsaking the Co­venant which God made with their fathers, Deut. 29. 25. Judg. 2. 20. but that owning this Covenant should be a forsaking of it, and an usurping of it without warrant from God, and a presuming, we do not see how this can be proved. To some indeed the Lord saith, What hast thou to do to take my covenant in thy mouth? Psal. 50. 16. but doth the Lord say this to such as were qualified as in this fifth Proposition? The contrary is most clear: for these in this Psal. 50. are expresly called Wicked, such as did hate to be instructed and re­formed, were culpable for consenting with Thieves, Partaking with Adulterers, slandering, and all evil speaking, &c. whereas the per­sons [Page 74] in question are not culpable for any such thing, being expresly said to be Not scandalous in life; but on the contrary furnished with many good and commendable qualifications, and were regularly admitted into-the Covenant in their minority; and therefore being so unlike the persons that are blamed for taking Gods Covenant into their mo [...]th, we see no ground to say they have cut off the entail of the Covenant by their disloyalty, and that nothing is given to them and theirs by it, but that they presume to usurp at without warrant fr [...] God: we see no warrant from God so to say or think of such persons.

A Memeber (saith the Synod) is one that according to Rule, or Divine Institution, is within the visible Church.

They say [...] saith the Reverend Author: but that refutes no­ting that I have said concerning Mediate and Immediate Members, for both are within the Church, though both have not full communion with the Church in all Ordinances.

Ans. The Synod never said, that all that are within the Church have such, full communion, and therefore this is nothing against them: but if all Members be within the Church according to Divine Institution, how can it be avoided but they are all immediate Mem­bers of the Church? For, if they be all within the Church, then there is nothing as a Medium between the Church and them, or any of them, and so they are all immediate Members, & the Synod saith. Whether all have full communion, is [...] thing, and whether all be immediate Members, is another; and the denying of the former, is no infringing of the la [...]tter.

The Synod having mentioned an Objection, That if children be com­pleat and immediate Members as their Parents, they shall then imme­diately have all Church-priviledges as their Parents have: And ma­king, this, Answer, That if followeth not [...] all priviledges that belong to Members as such, do belong to the children as well as the Pa­rents; but all priviledges do not so. A Member as such (or all Member,) may not partake of all priviledges, but they are to make progress both in memberly duties and priviledges, as their age, capa­city, and qualifications do sit them for the same.

To this the Reverend Author answereth, That their Answer to the [Page 75] Objection is insufficient; for the best Members have need to make pro­gress in memberly duties and qualifications, yet all have that commu­nion that suits their membership: Infants in Baptism, &c. and adult persons in the Seals, Voting, &c.’ pag. 41, 42.

Ans. By this it seems the difference lies here, that whereas some Church-members have communion in all Church priviledges, and others not in all, but onely in some; the Synod apprehends the reason of this difference to be, because [...] are yet defective in qualifica­tions, and fitness for such full communion, though not wanting compleat and immediate Membership: But the Reverend Author makes the reason of the difference to be from the different kinde of Membership, the one sort being onely Mediate Members, and the other Immediate. All have that communion for which they are quali­fied, saith the Synod; All have that communion which suits their Membership, saith the Reverend Author. For clearing of which Point, it may not be amiss to consider of other Societies, and how it is in them; as that of the Family, and of the Civil State: in both which it is clear, that all have not like communion in Priviledges; but who can say that this ariseth from their different Membership in the Societies of which they are? or how can it be denied, but that this ariseth from their different qualification? An Infant, an Idiot, one Distracted, or Distempered with Frenzy, &c. such cannot enjoy all priviledges in the Family, or Civil State, as others may; and the reason is, Because they are not fi [...]ly qualified: but who can say they are not compleat, and proper, and immediate Members of the Family o [...] State; as well as others? He that doth injury to such an one, doth injury to one that is as truely and properly a member of the So­ciety, as those that are better qualified; and such injuries are punish­able with Death, or otherwise, as the nature of the offence doth require, as being injuries to one that is truely and properly a per­sonal and immediate Subject and Member of the Common wealth, though there might be many other subjects better qualified? In like sort in Church-society, some may enjoy more full communion then others, and yet not as being more truely partakers of proper, a per­sonal, and immediate Membership, but because they are better qua­lified.

[Page 76] Thus of the second Particular, That the Parents in question are Immediate Members.

The third is, That their Membership still continues in adult age, and ceaseth not with their infancy; 1. Because in Scripture per­sons are broken off onely for notorious sin, or incorrigible impeni­tency and unbelief, not for growing up to adult age, Rom▪ 11. 20.

The Reverend Author answereth, That this Reason doth not prove, that the membership of all baptized in infancy continues in adult age.

Ans. Nor did the Synod so say, nor produce that Reason and Scripture for such purpose; but their purpose therein was this, viz. To prove that the Parents in question do still continue members which may be true, though all that are baptized in infancy do not. For thus their Arguments lies: If persons be not broken off but for no­torious sin, or incorrigible impenitency and unbelief; then the Pa­rents in question are not broken off, but do still continue members: for any such notorious sin, &c. cannot justly be charged upon them, witness the terms of the Proposition. To this purpose is this Rea­son alledged by the Synod▪ and therefore though the membership of all baptized in infancy do not continue in adult age, the Synod loseth nothing thereby, as having never affirmed any such thing.

But why doth not this Reason and Text prove the thing intended by the Synod? The Reverend Author gives this Reason; Because that Text Rom. 11. 20. speaks onely of such as have been received into membership by their personal faith, and covenanting with the Church visibly.

A. The text clearly speaks of the people or nation of the Jews, of whom it is said, that they were a disobedient and gainsaying people, Rom. 10. 21. that they, as concerning the Gospel, were enemies, Rom▪ 11. 28. that they killed the Lord Jesus, and their own Prophets, and persecuted the Apostles, pleased not God, and were contrary to all me [...], amp;c. 1. Thess 2. 15, 16. and shall we say, that notwithstanding all this, they were received into compleat and immediate membership by their personal faith, &c? Besides, it is not very credible, that all the members of the Jewish Church were received into compleat and immediate mem­bership [Page 77] by their personal faith, if that be true which the Reverend Au­thor said, pag. 6. that That Church was to be propagated and con­tinued by natural generation in a lineall descent from Abraham, by Isaac and Jacob, till the coming of Christ; and that there was no Ordinance for casting out their members for sins against the Morall Law, as there is under the Gospel, pag.12. Which things (if true) do import, that visible faith was not the thing looked for in receiving the members of that Church, nor in continuing of them, but their natural generation, and lineal descent, might suffice: How then can that stand which is here said, that the persons spoken of in Rom.11. 20. were such as were received into membership by their personal faith, when as that Text speaks of the members of the Church of the Jews, who (if the Reverend Authors apprehension be right) were not so re­ceived, but by lineal succession, by natural generation; Christian Churches differing from that Church, and being of another sort, as be­ing to be propagated and continued by regeneration, made visible by a right Confession, and Profession of Faith, pag. 6. The sum is this, in the one place he makes it peculiar to Christian Churches to be propagated by Regeneration, and faith visibly professed; and that in the Church of the Jews it was otherwise: and in the other place, which certainly speaks of the Church of the Jews, he saith it speaks of members received by their personal faith▪ wherein there seems to be a repugnancy.

Our question is of adult persons that break off themselves from the covenant by prophane neglect or contempt of the Ordinance or unsuita­ble conversation, pag. 43.

Ans. Then the Parents in question are not broken off at all, but their membership still continues, as the Synod saith; for the terms of the Proposition will not suffer such prophaneness and [...] of Ordi­nances, and bad Conversation, to be justly charged upon them; and if these be the causes for which men are broken off, is not then this reason of the Synod plainly confirmed and made good? for they ar­gue, that the persons in question do still continue members, because not broken off for notorious sin, impenitency, incorrigibleness, and the like; and here it is said, that men are broken off by prophaneness, contempt of the Ordinances, and unsuitable conversation; which sayings are in effect [Page 78] the same, or little different, and both of them do witness, that the persons spoken of are not broken off, as not being guilty of any such wickedness or misdemeanours.

Who ever said that any were broken off for growing up to adult age?

Ans. If the persons described in the Proposition be said to be broken off, what is this less then the thing that is so disowned? It cannot be denyed but they were once within the Church, and it can­not be said that they are broken off for any Scandal in their conversati­on; but coming up to the terms in the Proposition are far from such evil, and on the contrary are furnished with many good and commendable qualifications, as Knowledge, Profession, Subjection to Christs Government, owning the Covenant, and the like. Now if notwithstanding all this, they be declared to be no Members of the Church, but broken off from it, though they were once in it; what is this less then to say, they are broken off by growing up to adult age? And see Reply of the Reverend Author to this Argument, p. 42.

2. Saith the Synod, The Jews Children circumcised did not cease to be Members by growing up, but continued in the Church, and were by vertue of their membership received in Infancy, bound unto various duties, and in special to those solemn personal professions that pertained to adult Members, not as then entring into a new mem­bership, but as making a progress in memberly duties, Deut. 26. 2—10 & 16. 16, 17. Gal. 5. 3.

To this the Answer is, ‘1. That the Jewes children circumcised were bound to various duties, and to those solemn professions mentioned, is clear enough by the Texts alledged, and sundry other: whereunto I willingly add [...], that Baptisme also bindeth the infant-seed of confederates to va­rious Gospel-duties, and especially this of using all mean; &c.

Ans. And do not both these shew that which the Synod expres­seth, That children do not cease to be Members by growing up, but do still continue in the Church for if it was so with the Jews children, is it not also so with ours, according to the Synods arguing? and if by vertue of that membership received in infancy, the circumcised then did, and the Baptized now do stand bound to various duties when adult, how can it be avoided, but that membership received in infancy then did, and [Page 79] now doth continue in adult age? for, when & as long as one stands bound by a covenant, then and so long that covenant must needs remain in being, for otherwise how could one stand bound by it? can one be bound by that which is not in being? one would think this were not possible. Therefore by this being bound by the covenant and mem­bership received in infancy▪ 10 various duties when adult, it appear­eth, that the covenant and membership received in infancy doth still continue in adult age, and so the purpose of the Synod is gained.

But 2. saith the Reverend Author, It is not proved by those texts, that when they were adult they did not enter into a new membership; rather the contrary appears by Deut. 26. 17, 18.’

Ans. If so, then they did every third Year enter into a new mem­bership: for the Reverend Author conceives that what is said to be done in Deut. 26. 17, 18. was done every third Year, as before p. 31. but who knows not that the same persons or people may many a time enter into covenant, or renew their covenant with God, and yet not thereby enter into so many new memberships? It seems by Psal. 50. 5. where it is said, They have made a covenant with me by sacri­fice, that so oft as sacrifice was offered, so oft there was a covenant made between God and them; and yet it will not follow, that at every time of sacrificing there was an entring into a new member­ship: it may suffice to say, as the Synod doth, that at all such times there was a progress in memberly duties.

But why should we think that the Covenant in Deut. 26. was entring into a new Membership? The Reason rendred, is this; Because they entred into the Covenant personally and immediately, not in and by their Parents, as they did in infancy, Gen. 17. 7. And if Covenanting be the Form of Church-membership, then a different Form of Covenanting, makes a different kinde of Membership; Mediate and Immediate Covenanting, makes Mediate and Immediate Members.

Ans. But is this certain, that a different way of covenanting, makes a different kinde of membership? In Gen. 15. there is covenanting by dividing the heifer, the go [...], &c. in the midst, and passing between the pieces or parts; and so in Jer. 34. In Gen. 17, there is covenanting by [Page 80] silence, and falling upon the face; in Nehem. 9. 38. there is cove­nanting by Writing and Sealing of it; in 2 Chro [...]. 15. by Swearing with a loud voice, and by engaging, that whosoever should not do as is there promised, should be put to death. Here we see are various wayes of covenanting; but shall we say that these do infer divers kinds of membership? then it would follow, that if the same persons or people should divers times enter into Covenant, or renew their Covenant, and this sometimes in one of these wayes, and sometimes in another, if a different form of covenanting do make a different kind of membership, it would follow, that the same persons and people might many times over, again and again enter into a new kind of membership; which we suppose none will affirm, and therefore this that is here said will not hold: the thing for essence and kind may be the same, when the way and manner of doing may be various. Moreover, covenanting taken for our act in making or renewing the covenant, is not the form of membership (this is but the instru­mental efficient) but covenant-interest, or to be in covenant, is the formalis ratio of membership (that is it which the Synod affirms pag. 24.) and that is the immediate, actual, and proper portion of the children, as well as of the Parents.

The third Argument of the Synod, is, From the Relation of born [...]ervants and Subjects, by which the Scripture sets forth the state of children in the Church, Levit. 25, 41, 42. Ezek. 37. 25. which relations (as all men know) do not cease with infancy, but do con­tinue in adult age: and hence it also follows, that one special end of membership received in infancy, is to leave persons under engagement to service and subjection to Christ in his Church when grown up, &c. pag. 25, 26.

The Answer to this, is, That the one of these Texts is typical, figuring the time of grace, whereby no [...] Christ hath freed us from the servitude of Sin and Satan, &c. the other Text is a Prophecy of the calling of the Elect nation of the Jews, and of the state of the Church under the New Jerusalem: and therefore these do neither of them suit the thing in question.

Ans. But for the present nothing appears to the contrary, but [Page 81] they may be suitable; yet, if the thing it self for which those Texts are alledged, be sound and good, the Inference which the Sy­nod makes is so also, though the Texts were not so apt. For, if the children in the Church be in state as born Servants and Subjects to Christ, then this state and relation, and so their membership, doth not cease with infancy, but continues in adult age. And we hope the Reverend Author will not deny, but for state they are as born Servants, and Subjects to Christ, though he thinks the Texts quoted are not apt Proofs for it; but if the thing be not denied, the Argument of the Synod stands good for the continuance of their membership. Grant them to be in the state of born Servants and Subjects in their infancy, and then it must be granted, that this state continueth when they are adult, and so their membership doth not cease with their in­fancy: deny that their membership continueth when adult, and then it must be said, either that their state in infancy is not as born servants and Subjects, or that such relations do cease with infancy. But for the Reverend Author, he expresly grants, That one special end of mem­bership received in infancy, is to leave persons under engagement to service and subjection to Christ in his Church when grown up, when they are fittest for it, and have most need of it, pag. 43. which is the very same th [...]t [...]is here affirmed by the Synod: and doth not that hence follow which the Synod inferreth, That therefore their mem­bership did not cease with infancy, b [...]t doth still continue? It seems to follow unavoidably: for how can they when adult, or grown up, be under engagement to service and subjection, as the end of member­ship received in infancy, if that membership do not still continue, but together with their infancy be now past and gone? If they be still under engagement, then their Covenant doth still continue, and conse­quently their Membership.

Yet, when all this is done, neither can the Parents nor the Church give grace unto the children, that when they become adult they may be spiri­tually fit for personal and immediate membership: and to bring them into it without such fitness visibly, is to prophane the Ordinances, and to pollute the Lords Sanctuary, pag 44.

Ans. It is true, none can give grace but God, who is the God of all grace: but for bringing the adult persons spoken of into membership, [Page 82] we conceive there is no such thing here intended by the Synod, nor can be spoken of in any propriety of speech concerning the persons in question; they being such as were Members from their infancy, and are accounted by the Synod still to continue members now when adult, and therefore there is no bringing of them into membership. That which is here spoken of, were more aptly called an acknow­ledging of them to be members: and how the acknowledging of such persons, as the Proposition describes, to be and continue members, can be judged a prophanation of the Ordinances, or a polluting of the Lords, Sanctuary, we confess we do not understand: for we know they were brought into membership by Gods own Institution and Appointment, and we do not know that they have in any way of God been put from it; nor, considering the term in the Proposition, can be justly judged to deserve any such matter, but the contrary: and therefore the acknowledging of them to be members, can be no such prophaning and polluting, as is spoken of.

The fourth Argument of the Synod, to shew that the persons spoken of do still continue members, is this: Because there is no ordinary way of cessation of membership, but by Death, Dismis­sion, Excommunication, or 'Dissolution of the Society; none of which is the case of the persons in question.

Whereto the Reverend Author answereth, That the ennumera­tion is insufficient; there is another ordinary way, i. e. Desertion. Thus Esau's membership ceased; and so may theirs, who being adult, regard not to joyn with the Church by their personal and immediate confedera­tion, &c. And if forsaking the Church may suffice to deprive those of Church-priviledge, who were before in personal and immediate Church-fellowship, I. Joh. 2. 19. how much more those who never had such membership? &c. what can the mediate membership which such had in infancy, advantage them for continuing in membership, when being adult they live in the breach of that Covenant, whereby they were left under engagement in their infancy unto service and subjection to Christ in the Church?

Ans. If the Ennumeration were not sufficient, but that that of Desertion were needful to be added, yet this would not avail to prove [Page 83] the contrary to what the Synod here saith, but the membership of the persons in question may still continue for all this: for, being qua­lified as the Proposition expresseth, they are farre from being guilty of such Desertion, or forsaking of the Church of God; and there­fore it is not this, though it were added to the Particulars in the Argument, that can hinder their still continuing to be Members. Nor can they be justly charged as guilty of such things as are here expressed, viz. Not regarding to joyn with the Church by their personal and immediate confederation, nor to fit themselves for it, but to despise the Church of God, not desiring nor endeavouring after spi­ritual fitness, but living in the breach of that Covenant, &c. These things we cannot see how they can justly be imputed to the persons qualified as the Proposition expresseth, but they may still continue to be members, as not being culpable of any such things, as these here mentioned, to un-Member them.

Here also it may be observed, how the Reverend Author doth again acknowledge, That the sins of adult persons, who were ad­mitted in infancy, are a breach of that Covenant in which they were then comprehended, and which left them under engagement unto service and subjection to Christ in the Church: which sheweth that they are still in the Covenant, though now they be adult; for otherwise, how could their sins be breach of covenant? and if they be still in Covenant, then they still continue members, and their mem­bership did not cease with their infancy, which is the thing here af­firmed by the Synod.

For that of Esau, whose membership is said to cease by Desertion, the Reverend Author may remember, that he hath more then once told us of invalidity of Proofs from the Old Testament for things in Gospel-times: which Proofs, though we cannot say but they may be valid, yet why should himself use them against us, (for this of Esau is from the Old Testament) if his apprehension be right, that such 'Proofs are not valid? But for the thing it self, of the [...] of membership by a mans own act, this hath been spoken unto before, pag. 34. 35. in Defence of the first Argument for this fifth Proposi­tion. Where also was considered that Text 1. Joh. 2. 19. which is here alledged again: To which former place we refer the Reader; [Page 84] onely adding thus much, that the cessation of membership which the Synod here speaks of, is such cessation as is ordinary, but if Esau's were by his own act alone, why may we not say that there was something in it extraordinary? Though it is not any where said that it was by his own act: if any affirm that it was, it stands upon them to prove it, for affirmanti incumbit [...]. And though it be not said that the Church had any hand in it, yet negative Arguments in matter of Fact are not cogent, though in matters of Faith they be: but for matter of Fact, we know many things were done that are not written, Jo [...]. 20. 30. & 21. 25. and therefore though this be not written, that there was any Church-proceedings against Esau for his departing from the Church, and therefore we do not say there was; yet they that say there was not, must prove there was not, because the meer not mentioning that there was, is no sufficient Proof that there was not: And for any further Proof, that Esau's falling off from his Church­membership was by his own act alone; any further Proof for this, then meerly the not expressing of any Church-proceedings against him, we finde none.

The fifth Argument of the Synod for confirming this Particu­lar, That the persons spoken of do still continue Members, is this: Because otherwise a person admitted a member, and sealed by Baptism, not cast out, nor deserving so to be, may (the Church whereof he was, still remaining) become a Non-member, out of the Church, and of the unclean world; which the Scripture acknow­ledgeth not.

Whereto the answer in sum is this, That as a Freemans childe of some Corporation is free-born, and may in his minority trade under his father; yet being grown up, must personally enter into the common Engagement of Freemen, or else may not trade for himself, but is a Non-freeman by his own default, and hath lost his Freedom by not en­tring in his own person into the common Engagement, &c. So, and much more justly, an adult person makes himself to become a Non-member by not covenanting personally as his father did.

Ans. It may be justly questioned, whether this Comparison do suit the case in hand. For, 1. All the Priviledge of this Freemans [Page 85] childe that is mentioned, is this, that he may in his minority trade under his Father; which priviledge doth not at all arise from his be­ing the childe of a Freeman; and the reason is, because one that is not a childe, but onely a servant of such a Freeman, may trade under the Freeman, as his Master. This being the priviledge of such Free­men, that their Servants, and others belonging to them, though they are not free, yet may trade for them, and in their names: which is upon the matter no priviledge at all to the childe or servant, but onely to the Freeman himself under whom they trade. But will any say, that to be a childe of a Church-member is no priviledge at all to a childe, but onely to the Father? or will any say, that the childe hath no more priviledge then the servant, sith in the case al­leged, the servant may trade under the Freeman, as well as the childe may? we suppose none will say this; and therefore in this the Com­parison doth not suit the case in hand. The Orders and Priviledges of Corporations are various, according to the tenour of their several Charters; but what the Charter of the Church is, we know,viz. That in Gen. 17. it takes in children into the Church with their Parents, and doth not allow them to be put out, till censureable iniquity do appear.

2. If in some Corporations one that is free-born do lose his Pri­viledge when he becomes adult, if he do not then enter personally into the Engagement, yet it is not certain that it is so in all. Sure no such thing is said of Paul, who yet pleads his Priviledge of being a Freeman of Rome, because he was so born, without mention of any personal act of his own for attaining that Priviledge, Acts 22. And if paul, being free-born, did retain his Freedome when adult, with­out any personal act of his own for that end, why may it not be so in respect of Church-membership, though in all Civil Corporations it be not so? It is evident, that the Scripture speaks of the children of bond-servants, as bound also, and of the children of the free, as free also, without mention of any act of the children to procure that relation or state, in the one case or in the other, levit 25. 46, 54. And we see no reason but it may be so also in the visible Church, that if the Parent be a member, the childe is so also, and so continues, till he be cut off, not losing his membership by the meer not performing of [Page 86] what might fit him for full Communion.

3. If it were so in all Corporations, that a Freemans childe doth lose his Freedome when adult, if he do not then in his own person en­ter into the common Engagement; and if it were also so in the Church, that a Members childe should lose his Membership when adult, if he do not then personally Covenant, (though this is more then we see proved) yet if it were so, we see not how this can be prejudicial to the persons spoken of in this fifth Proposition. For of them it is ex­presly said, that they do solemnly own the Covenant before the Church, and therein give up themselves and their children to the Lord, &c. and therefore though Freedome in a Corporation, and Membership in the Church, might be lost by not entring personally into the Common Engagement, and Covenant; yet, except we shall say it may be lost, though this Personall Engagement and Entring be performed and done, except we shall say this, we cannot say that the membership of the persons in question is lost at all, but doth still continue, sith they are such as do thus personally engage and cove­nant.

As for that Text, Rom. 2. 25. If thou be a breaker of the Law, thy Circumcision is made no circumcision, which is here alledged again: we refer the Reader to what hath been said touching this Text before in Pag. 33.

Lastly, whereas the Reverend Author saith, Those Texts in Rom. 11. 16. 1 Cor. 7. 14. Gen. 17. 7. are not applicable to the adult persons in question, but onely so infants and children in minority.

The Answer is, that the Synod doth not at all apply them to the adult persons in question, and therefore it is a great mistake so to think: but having said, that these persons are personall, immediate, and yet-continuing Members, they do thence infer, that their children are therefore also Members, in covenant, and holy, and consequent­ly are the Subjects of Baptism; which Inference and Consequence the Reverend Author we are perswaded will not deny, if the ground thereof be good, That the Parents in question are Members of the Church, as the Synod apprehends that they are. And therefore although the Texts alledged be not applicable to the adult persons in question, yet if they be applicable to such infants and little chil­dren [Page 87] whose Parents are personal, immediate, and yet-continuing Mem­bers, they do then sufficiently serve the purpose for which they are here alledged by the Synod.

So much for Defence of the sixth and last Argument for con­firming this fifth Proposition.

Propos. 6. The sixth Proposition of the Synod, is this, Such Church-Members who either by death, or some extraordinary Providence, have been inevitably hindred from publick acting as aforesaid, yet having given the Church cause in judgement of charity to look at them as so qualified, and such, as had they been called thereunto, would have so acted, their children are to be Baptized.

To this the Reverend Author Answereth, That this Proposition may not be granted, for it granteth the priviledge of Church-member­ship to such as are not actually and regularly Church-members.

Ans. And yet the Proposition, in the very first words of it, doth expresly declare, that what Church-priviledge is here mentioned, is not granted to such as are not Church-members, but to such as are: Such Church-members, saith the Synod, who, &c. their Children are to be Baptized. So that though Church-priviledges may not be granted to such who are not Church-members, yet to the persons here spoken of, the Baptism of their Children may be granted, without any such undue granting of Church priviledges, sith the Synod doth not say these persons are not Church-members, but doth expresly say they are. All that can be said against these persons, is, that they have not acted according to the fifth Proposition: and yet it is said, they have been inevitably hindred therein, and have given the Church cause in judgement of charity to look at them as willing to have so acted, and therefore having been Church-members from their birth or minority; how can the applying of Baptism to their children, be the granting of a Church-priviledge to such as are not Church-members? If they had not been hindred from acting as in the fifth Proposition, but had indeed so done, yet this is not the thing that would have made them members, they having been mem­bers afore; and though they be now adult, yet it hath been proved, afore in the fifth Proposition, Arg. 6, Part. 3. That their membership [Page 88] doth still continue; and therefore the granting of Church-priviledges to such as are not Church-members, may be yielded to be unwarrant­able, without any prejudice to the persons here spoken of, or to what the Synod here [...]aith concerning them.

And whereas the Reverend Author doth here lay down two In­ferences: ‘1. That an ordinary Minister cannot orderly do an act of Office to such as are not regular and actual Members of the visible Church; but, if he do, it will be usurpation. 2. That the Church may not receive into any priviledge of Church-communion, such as are not actually in publick Church-order.

These may both be granted, and yet what the Synod here saith not be at all infringed thereby. For, considering that the persons spoken of were Church-members long ago, and have never since been cut off or cast out from that Relation, nor deserve any such matter, but do still continue therein, as was shewed in the fifth Proposition, there­fore we cannot see how it can be any usurpation in the Minister to do acts of his office towards them, nor unlawful in the Church to re­ceive them to such a priviledge of Church-communion as is spoken of; nay rather the persons being and still continuing Members, the per­formance of the thing in question may seem to be so far from being usurpation, as that the neglect thereof may be counted an unwar­rantable omission or transgression.

The first Reason of the Synod of confirming this Proposition, is, Because the main foundation of the right of the childe to priviledge remains, viz. Gods Institution, and the force of his cove­nant carrying it to the Generations of such as are keepers of the covenant, i. e. not visibly breakers of it, &c.

Whereunto the Answer of the Reverend Author is, That the Parents of the children in question are visibly breakers of the covenant, which was sealed to them by Baptism in their Infancy, which obliged them to covenant personally for themselves and theirs, &c. P. 47, 48.

Ans. But is this certain, that the Parents in question are visibly breakers of the covenant? sure this, if it be affirmed, had need to be soundly cleared. For either they be such as do personally own the cove­nant, being qualified with knowledge and blameless life, &c. as in the [Page 89] fifth Proposition, or else if they have not so acted, they have been inevitably hindred therein, as is said in the sixth Proposition: and is it reasonable, that for all this they must be counted visibly breakers of the Covenant? Are they such breakers of it, who do publickly own it, and therein give up themselves and their children to the Lord, being not culpable for any contrary practice in their coversation? or are they such breakers of it, who if they have not publickly acted as aforesaid, the reason hath been, because they have been inevitably hindred? we cannot see that Rule or Reason will allow or give war­rant for such apprehensions. Put case a person who was born a Church-member, and hath been sound in judgement, and unblame­able and commendable in his conversation all his dayes, but hath been, like Joseph sold for a slave, and kept in bondage, suppose to the Turks, or others, for many a year: suppose also that after a time he be restored to his liberty, and thereupon do return homeward with his childe or children born to him in his exile and bondage, intending to present himself and his children to the Lord in the Church where he was born, but before he reach home, he dieth by the way; this man is inevitably hindred from entring into Covenant personally, though willing to have done it, and sit for it: But will any Reason or Charity permit to count this man a visible breaker of the Covenant, because he did not personally enter thereinto? we suppose this can­not be said, he being inevitably hindred from so acting. Why then should the Parents in question be judged to be visibly Covenant-breakers for not entring into Covenant personally, when it is ex­presly said they have herein been inevitably hindred, though willing to have done it, if there had been opportunity? For our parts, we dare not judge them to be visibly Covenant-breakers, as not seeing any ground or warrant so to do.

The second Reason of the Synod for confirming this sixth Propo­sition, is, Because the Parents not doing what is required in the fifth Proposition, is through want of opportunity, which is not to be imputed as their guilt, so as to be a barre to the childes Privi­ledge.

Now what saith the Reverend Author unto this? Doth he deny [Page 90] that it is want of opportunity that hinders the Parents from doing what is required in the fifth Proposition? No, we do not see that he de­nieth this at all? Doth he then say, that though want of opportunity hindred, yet for all this want of opportunity, the not doing, though through that want of opportunity, is nevertheless a barre to the childes Priviledge? Not so neither; we do not finde that he so saith, any more then the former: And therefore what was said in the former Reason about being inevitably hindred, may be applied to this par­ticular for want of opportunity, viz. That such not doing what is men­tioned in the fifth Proposition, can be no barre to the childes Privi­ledge.

But if the Reverend Author saith nothing touching this want of opportunity, which is the main thing which is mentioned by the Sy­nod in this their second Reason, what then doth he say in his An­swer to this Reason?

That which he first saith, is, That it hath been already proved in his Examining the fifth Proposition, That more is required to fit one that is adult for Church-membership, then is there expressed, viz. Faith in Christ made visible to the Church, without which they are not regularly Church-members.

Ans. But the Question here is not, Whether more be required to Membership then is expressed in that Proposition; but, Whether want of opportunity in Parents to do what is there expressed, be a just barre to the childes Priviledge. It is evident that this is the question here in hand, whereto the Answer of the Synod is Negative, That this want of opportunity is not a just barre. But whether it be a just barre, or be not, the Reverend Author saith nothing at all to that, but speaks to another thing, That more is required to Church-membership then that Proposition doth express: So that the thing in question seems not to be touched. Yet let us a little consider of this other whereto he leads us, and return back with him to the fifth Proposition.

Concerning which, first, here seems to be a manifest mistake con­cerning the scope of that fifth Proposition, which is not at all as is here intimated, whether what is there expressed be enough to fit one that is adult for Church-membership: but the scope of it is plainly this, to shew, That such Church-members as were admitted in minority, if [Page 91] they be qualified as is there expressed, may have their children Baptized: but for fitness for Membership, that Proposition doth not discuss that Point at all, but expresly speaks of such as are Members already, and were admitted long ago, even in their minority. As for that which is here said concerning his Examining that fifth Proposition, we referre the Reader to What hath been formerly there said in Defence of that Proposition.

Further, the Reverend Author saith, That Baptism administred by ordinary Officers to such as are out of Church-order, is profaned; as Circumcision was by the Shechemites, and would have been by the Ishmaelites and Edomites, if it had been administred to their chil­dren, when their Parents were not joyned to the Church, or abode not in it in the Families of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’

Ans. Still this makes nothing against administring Baptism to the children spoken of in this fifth and sixth Propos. except it could be proved that their Parents are not in Church-order. For the Synod thinks, that as they were admitted into church-membership in their minority, so they still continue therein; and the contrary we have not [...] proved. As for the Shechemites, &c. Circumcision might [...] when administred to them, and yet Baptis [...] not so, when administred to the children in question. For, if the former were not in the Church, yet these are: and whereas the for­mer were vile and vicious in their lives, these other are farre from any such thing; and therefore there is no comparison between the former, and these spoken of, but a vast difference. And we may adde further, That as there is difference between those Shechemites and the rest, and the persons spoken of, both in respect of Church­relation and Conversation; so in respect of this latter, these are farre better then sundry that abode in the Family of Jacob, to whom he will not deny but Circumcision was lawfully administred. We may instance in Simeon and Levi, who committed that odious Cru­elty and Blood-shedding for which their Father laid such a Curse upon them a little afore his death, Gen. 49. And if Circumcision was lawfully administred to the children of these, they abiding in the Family of Jacob, how can Baptism lawfully be denied to the children in question, or be said to be profaned when administred to [Page 92] them, sith they are children of Parents who were [...] in the Church of God, and were never cast out, nor deserving any such thing, but do still continue therein, and for life and conversation are farre from any such Scandal and Crime as was [...]ound in the Sons of Jacob afore­said.

One end of Baptism now (as it was of Circumcision then) is, to seal Church-communion, 1 Cor. 12. 13. and is a testimony of the admis­sion of the party baptized into the Family of God, The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,&c.

Ans. This is no just ground of denying Baptism to the children in question, except it could be proved that neither they nor their Parents are in the Church of God, nor of his Family, which yet we have not seen proved.

The regular and lawfull use of Baptism now (as of Circumcision of old) presupposeth both Gods Promise, and his Faith (viz. Faith for justification with Abraham) who is to use it, either upon himself, or upon his infant. To use [...], being not so qualified visibly, is it not a treacherous usurping of the Great Seal of the King of Heaven and Earth?

Ans. Neither doth this make against the Baptism of the chil­dren in question; forasmuch as their Parents and they are under the promise of God, I will be a God to thee, and to thy seed in their gene­rations: and the Parents being qualified as in the fifth Proposition, cannot be denied to have Faith visibly, as was shewed by the Synod in their Arguments for Confirming that Proposition, and in this De­fence formely. Sure it is, these Parents may as well be thought to have Faith visibly, as the Sons of Jacob. afore-mentioned, and as many in the Church at Corinth, of whom it is said, that they were cul­pable for carnall Dissentions, going to Law, Fornication, Uncleannesses, and not repenting thereof, 1 Cor. 1. & 3. & 6. and 2 Cor. 12. and yet being in the Church and professing Christianity, we suppose the Reverend Author will not deny but their children might be baptized, and the children of Jacobs Sons circumcised, and that this in them was no treacherous usurping of the Seal of the King of Heaven and Earth; and therefore much less can such a thing be imputed to the persons qualified as in the fifth Proposition, though [Page 93] the Seal of Baptism be administred to their children. For it is evi­dent, these persons are farre from such offensiveness as was in those Corinthian, and in Reuben, Simeon and Levi, but are much more innocent, yea commendable.

So much for Defence of the second Reason of the synod for confirming this sixth Proposition, against what the Reve­rend Author, in his Answer thereto, saith in his Digression, and turning back to the Proposition foregoing.

The third Reason of the Synod for this sixth Proposition, is, Because God accepteth that as done in his service, to which there was a mani­fest desire and endeavour, albeit the acting of it were hindred; as in David to build the Temple, 1 Kings 8. in Abraham to sacrifice his Son, Heb. 11. 17. and in that of A [...]ms, 2 Cor. 8. 12. As in such as are said to be Martyrs in voto, and Baptized in voto, because there was no w [...]nt of desire that way, though their desire was not actually accomplished.

To which the Answer of the Reverend Author is, That this may [...]old in private service, so that there God accepts the will for the deed, when the acting of it is hindred; but in publick service, he doth not accept of that as done, which is not done; so farre as to bring them into publick state and order, whatever their desires and endeavours have been. And he instanceth in one that desireth to be a Mi­nister, and yet may not do the acts of that Office, afore he be in Office; and in such as desire to joyn to the Church, but may not be received to the Seals afore they be so joyned.

Whereto the answer is, That what is here said is insufficient, as being not suitable to the case in hand, which is not concerning such as are out of Church-state and order, as if de [...]res after that state were enough to bring them into it, though their actual entring were hindred. For it is evident, that the Synod speaks not of such, but of such as are Church-members already, onely have been inevitably h [...]dred from such actings as are mentioned in the fifth Proposition; which actings are not at all spoken of for [...] Church-member­ship, for that state the Synod accounts that they have attained al­ready: but the actings mentioned are clearly spoken of for another [Page 94] purpose, viz. for the more orderly, clear, and edifying manner of administration of baptism to their children; themselves, though being in the state and order of Church-members, having not yet been received to the Lords Supper. It is evident, that the Synod speaks of such persons, and of actings for such an end, viz. of per­sons already in Church-estate, and acting for the end aforesaid; and here in this sixth Proposition of obtaining that end, though their actings▪ as aforesaid, have been inevitably hindred. Whereas the Reverend Author speaks of such as are not in Church-State and order at all, though they do desire it; and of them he saith, that these de­sires are not sufficient for their admission unto Church-Priviledges, when their actual entring into Church-state is hindred: between which, and those spoken of by the Synod, there is great difference; so that if what he saith were granted, yet what is delivered by the Synod is nothing hindred thereby: but though desire of office, or of Church-estate, be not sufficient for doing the duties of the one, or obtaining the priviledges of the other, when actual entring into that office and state is hindred; yet when such as are in Church-estate already, do de­sire to act as in the fifth Proposition, but are inevitably hindred from so acting, what should hinder but they may have their children Bap­tized, as if they had so acted indeed? And why may not the in­stances of Gods accepting of Abrahams offering his Son, of Davids building the Temple, and the other mentioned by the Synod, be suffi­cient Proofs hereof? we see nothing to the contrary but they may. Whereto may be added that in 2 Chron. 30. where the people that prepared th [...]r hearts to seek God, are accepted of God in the Passeover, though they were not cleansed according to [...] purification of the Sanctuary: yet whatever it was that hindred their cleansing, their preparing their hearts did imply that they did desire it, and here­upon at the Prayer of Hez [...]k [...]h they are accepted. And in 1 Sam. 30. when two hundred of Davids men were by faintness hindred that they could not go over t [...]e break Befor, as he and others did, yet he will not yield but that they shall have part of the spoil, as well as others that went [...]own to the ba [...]tell; considering that it was not want of will, but want of ability that hindred their acting as others did: and He, as he was in other things, a man after Gods own heart, even so he [Page 95] was in this; and they that would not have had the will of these two hundred accepted, when their deed▪ was so inevitably hindred, are called wicked me [...], and men of [...], By all which the Argument of the Synod is further confirmed and cleared, when they say in this their third Reason, that God accepts that as done in his service, to which there was a manifest desire and endeavour, albeit the acting of it were hindred. And, if God accept those as Martyrs who are such onely in voto, as the Reverend Author seemeth to acknowledge, pag. 49. why may not the like be said of those who are onely Bap­tized in voto: we see no reason but that if in the one case God▪ accept them as Martyrs, he doth also in the other as persons Bapti­zed.

And whereas he saith, To be Baptized in voto, will nothing ad­vantage any, as to Church-fellowship, because de occultis non judicat Ecclesia, and things are not manifested to the Church otherwise then by congruous actings.

The Answer is, 1. That the thing here spoken of by the Synod, is not at all of receiving into Church-fellowship, as the Reverend Au­thor carries it, but of Baptizing the Children of such as are in Church-estate already, and have been so even from their minority.

2. Nor is the desire they speak of so hidden and unknown, that the Church cannot judge of it, but so manifest, that they have given the Church cause in the judgement of charity to look at them as so quali­fied, as is said, and that had they been called thereto, they would have so acted. So that if it were true, that men could not be received into Church-fellowship by meer desire of such state, when that desire is secret, and not manifest to the Church; yet men that are in Church-estate already may have their Children Baptized▪ when their desires to act, as is mentioned, are sufficiently known to the Church, though their acting hath been [...] ably hindred. For these cases do appa­rently differ; so that what the Synod saith in the one, is not over­thrown by what the Reverend Author saith in the other.

3. It is conceived by some, that those who of the Ancients are said to be Baptized in [...], were so spoken of, because they were Martyred before they could actually receive Baptism, and yet that their children were after the death of the Parents actually Baptized [Page 96] and accounted of the Church: which if so, doth testifie, That they counted it a great matter to be Baptized in voto, sith in such case they would actually apply Baptism to the children, when the Parents had not received it actually, but onely in voto, or in desire. And how much more may Baptism be applyed to the children in question, whose Parents are not onely Baptized actually, and not in desire onely, but have been actually members of the Church even from their birth or minority? onely they have not acted as in the fifth Proposition, but have been inevitably hindred therein, though they have been known to the Church to desire so to have acted.

Fourthly, Saith the Synod, The termes of the Proposition import that in charity, that is here done interpretatively, which is mentioned to be done in the fifth Proposition expresly.

The Reverend Author Answereth, Its an unwarrantable charity that makes such an interpretation, for it is without warrant of any Rule in Scripture, or in good Reason.

Ans. But is this certain, that neither Rule in Scripture, nor good Reason, will give warrant for such charity as is mentioned? If men have been by death, or some extraordinary providence, inevitably hindred from so acting as in the fifth Proposition, and yet have given the Church cause to look at them as such as would have so acted, if they had been thereunto called, and not inevitably hindred, is there yet for all this no warrant in Scripture or good Reason for such charity as is spoken of? For our parts, when God Almighty accepts the will for the deed, when the parties inability hinders from doing so much as he would, 2 Cor. 8. 12. and when Scripture tells us, that Charity think­eth not evil, but believeth all things, hopeth all things, &c. 1 Cor. 13. 5, 7. we cannot but think it better to retain and exercise such charity as is here spoken of, then to be driven or depart from it, as if no Rule of Scripture or good Reason would warrant it.

If that which is mentioned to be done in the fifth Proposition ex­presly, is here done interpretatively, both being put together, will not avail to put the Parent regularly into Church-fellowship in any sense, and to give the infant a right to Baptism thereby.

Ans. For putting into Church-fellowship, the things here mentioned [Page 97] by the Synod are not by them alledged for that end; and therefore if this that is said by the Reverend Author were granted, the Do­ctrine of the Synod is not at all weakned thereby: But if the things mentioned be sufficient for the Baptizing of the children of Parents who are in Church-fellowship already, the purpose of the Synod is sufficiently gained.

But why do not the things mentioned avail to put the Parent into Church-fellowship? The Reason rendred, is, Because by Christs Ordinance onely adult persons, who have true Faith and Holiness, are adult Members of the invisible Church; and the same persons making profession thereof outwardly in the Order by him appointed, may be Members of the visible Church, and they onely can give their infant-seed a right unto Baptism.

Ans. And is this certain and clear, that onely they who have true Faith and Holiness, and so are Members of the invisible Church, may be Members of the visible Church, and so their infant-seed have right to Baptism? If this were so, we may question whether it can be lawful for Ministers, or any men, to dispense Baptism to any per­sons at all: and the reason is, Because they cannot certainly know who have such true Faith and Holiness, and so are Church-members. For what the Reverend Author said a little before in pag. 49. That though God search and know the heart, yet the Church doth not, de occultis non judicat Ecclesia; this we believe to be very true: and therefore if this hold, that unto may be Members of the visible Church, and give right to their seed unto Baptism, but onely they who have true Faith and Holiness, and so are Members of the Church in­visible; we say, if this hold, how can we know who are to the Ba­ptized, sith none can certainly know but God onely, whether men have this true Faith and Holiness in their hearts and souls? Therefore we think it more safe to say, that where there is a profession of true Faith and Holiness, and nothing contrary thereto appearing, whereby that profession can be disproved, such persons may be Members of the visible Church, and so have Baptism for their children, whether they be of the invisible Church, or no. And if the persons described in the fifth Proposition be tried by this Rule, we cannot see but as they were in Church-fellowship from their minori­ty, [Page 98] so they still continue therein, and so may have their Children bapti­zed, in as much as now they make a good profession before many wit­nesses, even the whole Church, and do no way contradict their pro­fession by any Scandalous practice in their lives. And therefore, though that be true which the Reverend Author here saith, pag. 50. That without Faith it is impossible to please God, and that therefore there must be true Faith in them whom he priviledgeth to baptize their Infants: that is, as we understand him, whom he priviledgeth to pre­sent their Infants to Baptism; yet for all this it may be lawful enough to administer Baptism to the Children of Parents qualified as in the fifth and sixth Propos. and they that do administer, may have Faith to please God therein, because of the Church-relation and good profession of the Parents, though the Parents cannot please God in presenting their children to that ordinance, if themselves be de­stitute of the grace of Faith: yet this we must still say, that for any that are so qualified as is said, we see no Scripture-Rule or Reason that will warrant us to judge them so destitute.

So much for Defence of the sixth Proposition.

Propos. 7. The Members of Orthodox Churches, being sound in the Faith, and not Scandalous in life, and presenting due testimony thereof, these occasionally coming from one Church to another, may have their children baptized in the Church whither they come, by vertue of communion of Churches; But if they remove their habitation, they ought orderly to covenant and subject themselves to the government of Christ in his Church where they settle their a­bode, and so their Children to be baptized. It being the Churches duty to receive such unto communion, so far as they are regularly fit for the same.

For confirming of this Proposition in both the Pares or Branches of it, the Synod giveth sundry reasons, whereto the Reverend Author saith nothing in the particulars; but in general, That he looketh a [...] the regular communion of approved Churches as in Ordinance of Christ: But further then so he saith nothing, either by objection against the Proposition, or by consent unto it? But all he said, is by way of propounding [...], to the number of half a score, or more; [Page 99] and then concludes, That when these and the like Questions are clearly Answered, he shall then understand the true and full sense of this Proposition, and what to say to it. But when the Synod shall come together to Answer these Questions, whether ever or never, we do not know, nor do see any great probability of such a thing; and therefore no more being here said against this Proposition, we may conclude that it yet stands firm and good. And, as he concludes, that Thus much may suffice, for the present, for Reply to the Synods Answer to the first Question; So may we conclude, That thus much may suffice, for the present, for Defence of the Synods Answer a­gainst what he saith to the contrary in his Reply.

COncerning the Reverend Author's Discourse upon the second Question touching Consociation of Churches, we shall not trou­ble the Reader with any large Reply: and we hope it needeth not, because there appeared no Dissent or Dissatisfaction in the Synod about that matter. Our Brethren that Dissented in the former Question, readily and fully Concurred in this, as themselves declare in Antisynedalia, pag. 12. Besides, part of the Reverend Author's Exceptions referring to the Platform of Discipline, concluded on with great Unanimity in the Synod held at Cambridge, Anno 1648. (sundry Principal Members whereof, as Mr.Cotton, Shepard, Rogers, Norton, &c. are now at rest with God) we shall not now after so many years, wherein we heard of no Opposition, make that a sub­ject of Debate.

But if the Reader please to take along with him these three or four Considerations, they may serve to take off what is here Ob­jected against as by the Reverend Author.

1. That we never said nor thought, that there should be a Withdrawing from other Churches upon Differences, Errours or Offences of an inferiour and dub [...]ous nature, yea though continued in. We are [Page 100] farre enough from Hastiness or Harshness in that matter, being pro­fessed Adversaries to a Spirit of Sinfull and Rigid Separation: we hope there is no word in the Synods Conclusions that favoureth thereof, if candidly interpreted. And for Withdrawing from Bre­thren because of Dissent from what is here held forth by this Synod, both our Practice and our Profession in the Preface to that Book, do sufficiently shew us to be farre from it. This may answer what is said this way in Pag. 54, 55, 57, 63.

2. That we account not Consociation of Churches to be another thing then Communion of Churches, but onely an Agreement to Practise that Communion, as is expresly said in Propos. 5th. & 6th. And there­fore we understand not why the Reverend Author should so often praise Communion of Churches, as pag. 58 59, 60, 61. and yet dis­praise and dislike Consociation. Is Regular Communions so good and excellent, and can it be hurtful for Churches to agree and consent to Practise it? Neither do we mean by that Agreement, a Vow (as is suggested pag. 56, 57.) or a formall Covenant in a strict sense (though Mr. Cotton doth not refuse to call it a Covenant, in Keyes, P. 54. 59.) but onely a declared Consent (as is expressed Propos. 7.) of each Church to walk in Regular Communion with their Neighbour-Churches. And if the Reverend Author doth approve of the Acts of Communion here set down for the substance of them, as it seemeth he doth by what he saith pag. 52. why should it be thought a dangerous mat­ter to agree thereunto for the Substance thereof?

We have indeed found in our Experience much good and benefit by Communion of Churches, as the Reverend Author acknowledgeth, pag. 58, 61. and his acknowledgement thereof we gladly accept; but we have also found, that the want of ready Agreement timou [...]dy to attend and exert the Acts of Communion, hath hazarded the Peace and Well-being of sundry Churches, and exposed them to great Troubles. We do not desire by our proposed Consociation, to adde anything to the Communion of Churches, but onely a vigorous and ti [...]ous exercise thereof.

3. That we expresly disclaim the subjecting of a Church unto any other Ecclesiastical [...] f [...]saction whatsoever, Propos. 1. and therefore it is strange that the Reverend Author should put that upon the [Page 101] Consociation by us intended, That it is a subjecting of Churches un­der Classicall Jurisdiction, pag. 59. It is nor the bare Consent, or mutual Agreement of Churches, but the nature of the thing consented to, [...], viz. The Power they agree to be stated under, that makes it a Classical Combination, or puts those Churches under a Classical Ju­risdiction. What though the voluntary Combination, mentioned [...] by Mr. Rutherford, in his sense doth inferre a Classical Membership and Jurisdiction? Surely it doth not follow that ours does so, when as we expresly disclaim it. But is it true, that where-ever there is a voluntary Combination of Churches, they become a Classical or Presbyterian Church, and the Members by [...] thereto, become Members of a Classical Church, and under the Power of it, so as to be Excommunicated by it, &c. as is said pag. 59? what then shall be thought of that known Position of Dr.Ames, Medul. Lib. 1. cap. 39. Thes. 27. which is expresly cited and approved by the Re­verend Author in his Reply to Paget, pag. 224, 225?

Surely it is no new thing with Congregational-men, but their professed Doctrine, with one consent to own some kind [...] of Combi­nation and Consociation of Churches; but withall we constantly afirm with Dr. Ames in the same place, that This Combination doth neither constitute any new Form of a Church, nor ought it to take away, or in any measure to diminish that Liberty and Power which Christ hath left to his Churches, but onely it serves to direct and promote the same.

4. Let the Reader please to peruse and consider the Reverend Author's Eleventh and Twelfth premised Positions, pag. 6, 7, 8. and compare them with what the Synod hath published touching Con­sociation of Churches, and we suppose he will finde such an agree­ment between them, as that he will wonder (as we do) to see the Reverend Author appearing as an Antagonist in this matter. It seems strange, that Brethren should be willing to contend both where they do differ, and where they do not. Also it may be consi­dered, how many Reflexions here are upon us, (as if we would cast a Snare upon Churches, by straitning them in the use and exercise of their Church-power within themselves in re prepriâ as if we would absolutely binde Churches not to administer Censures will in [Page 102] themselves, &c.) for which nothing published by the Synod did give any just occasion.

And whereas Mr. Cotton is represented as being against our Con­sociation, pag. 60, 61. Let his Printed words be viewed in the Keyes, pag. 54—59. his Solemn Speeches of it to sundry be remembred, and his Draught of it a little before his death be con­sidered, and the Reader will see whether he can joyn in belief with the Reverend Author about that matter. The Lord guide us by his Spirit into all Truth, and help us to follow the Truth in Love.

FINIS.

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