LAWFUL SUBJECTS OF BAPTISM
Wherein are handled these Particulars:
- The Baptizing of Infants Confuted.
- The Covenant God made with Abraham and his seed handled.
- The Baptism administered by an Antichristian power confuted, as No Ordinance of God.
- If either Church, or Ordinance be wanting, where they are to be found, and how recovered.
- The Covenant, and not Baptism, forms the Church, and the manner how.
- There is no Succession under the New Testament, but what is spiritually by Faith in the Word of God
The Second Edition Corrected and enlarged by the Author
Go Teach all Nations, Baptizing them, Matt. 28:19.
He that Believes, and is baptized, shall be saved, Mark 16:16.
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, I Cor. 12:13.
Prove all things, and hold fast that which is good, I Thess. 5:21.
Lord God, the strength of my salvation, cover thou my head in the day of battle, Psa. 140:7.
London, Printed and are to be sold by Henry Hills in Fleet-Yardover
against the Prison,
The birth of John Spilsbery occurred in 1593, according to Mr. James R. Lynch, Director of the Library of the American Baptist Historical Society, Rochester, N. Y., in a personal letter to me, dated July 3, 1990. John Eccles preached His funeral sermon in 1699. We can only assume that he lived to be about 106 years old. The internal evidence in his funeral sermon shows his involvement in the conflicts between the Baptists and the Pedobaptists during the 1690s.
He moved from Wapping, near London, to Bromsgrove of the Midlands, sometime before 1660. His early life we know little or nothing about. According to the hostile historian, Lewis, someone baptized Spilsbery in Holland during the early part of the 1600s. John T. Christian also lists his successor at Wapping, John Norcott, as being among the refugees from England who fled into Holland during the early 1600s. Crosby, the English Baptist historian, questions this. Crosby had an incorrect view of Spilsbery’s denial of personal succession. Crosby didn’t know the difference between the denial of personal succession and the denial of church and gospel succession. John Taylor, another hostile historian, makes fun of Spilsbery’s baptizing and giving “holy orders” unto Sam Eaton in the mid 1630s. Sam Eaton was one of the ministering brethren in the Wapping church gathered in 1633 by John Spilsbery. We must remember this was one of the most difficult times for the baptized saints since the Protestant Reformation. Archbishop Laud’s Reign of Terror was at its highest point. The Star Chamber, with all its honors, was in full force. Therefore, the baptized people were a secret and scattered people.
His settlement near Bromsgrove was an effort to escape the Episcopal Church’s persecutions. These started again with the Stuarts and their re-establishment near 1660. John Spilsbery preached in several places. Some sources lately furnished to us seem to suggest that he preached in the Perish church near that area for a time. It was often the custom of these old brethren to INFILTRATE the Perish churches and therein preach to lead out the elect of God. Thomas Edwards, Presbyterian, records this in his infamous Gangerea published in the mid 1640s. One of the baptized people, Benjamin Coxe, a gifted brother, answered this in his An After Reckoning with Mr. Edwards, London, 1646. They would even hold mock baptismal services by dressing up newly born animals in infant’s clothing and baptize kittens, puppies and even a newly born calf or foals as Paul Hobson and some of his soldiers were reported to have done. In his concluding remarks to this work on Baptism, Spilsbery reminds his readers that he was then, in 1653, still suffering persecution because of his preaching and teaching the baptism of adult believers by dipping.
So far as who baptized John Spilsbery or when and where, we will never know in this world. The old brethren consider such data as numbering Israel and keeping human records. One ministering brother who preaches the true gospel and brings the saints into the gospel order is just as capable to baptize as any other gifted brother. The always present threat of persecution caused much secrecy. Thomas Crosby’s remarks are not safe when we study the origins of the First Generation of Particular Baptists in England. This is discussed at large in a forth coming separate work entitled The Particular Baptist Treasury, Vol. 1. In addition, a Welsh Baptist minister, Able Morgan, who went into America in the early 1700s, records that those who resorted adult immersion in England received it from the old Waldenses, in his Anti-Pedo-Rantism, Philadelphia; 1747, p. 172-173.
John Spilsbery considered infant’s baptism as totally unnecessary for any reason. It is a part of Antichrist’s system. It had no part in either the Old or New Covenants. Infant’s baptism did not answer to circumcision. The natural seed of church members is not entitled to any privileges of grace simply because of “the birth privilege.” He did not affirm infant damnation. His position on the infant’s state is clear and represents the early Baptist position. The ridiculous insertion of elect infants as found the Second London Confession was totally unknown to the arguments and faith of John Spilsbery and those who follows him as he followed the Apostle Paul who followed Jesus Christ. The maintenance of infant’s baptism rested upon the incorrect assumption that the covenant made with Abraham contained only one seed. This was a natural seed. This natural seed had enrights into the Covenant of Grace. These were by means of visible signs and seals. The inclusion of the natural seed of church members is a curse to all religions and has contributed to the decline and death of most Baptist churches in America today. I am not saying they practice infant’s baptism. They practice the baptism of young children who know nothing about an experience of grace or the new birth but are simply made church members after or by dipping because they don’t want to go to hell. This is the modern Baptist’s birth privilege
The Distinction of the Covenants and the Different Seeds
John Spilsbery distinguished rightly between the First and Second Covenants. He showed that there were indeed two covenants rather than two administrations of one covenant. Thomas Patient’s Baptism and the Distinction of the Covenants, Dublin; 1654, enlarges this truth ever further. Patient’s work owes much to Spilsbery’s remarks hereon. The failure to distinguish between the covenants also has caused great evils among the people walking in the baptized way with Jesus Christ. By a proper understanding of the covenants and their distinctness some of the following doctrines will be cleared up:
law or grace, which is the rule of life for the believer;
sanctification by Christ or progressive sanctification by a person making himself more holy;
the true and proper concept of modest clothing in distinction from women and others, being forced to wear Old Testament types of clothing;
the nature of natural Israel, their land, their worship and their standing now before God;
the understanding and correct interpretation of O. T. Prophecy;
the future conversion of the Jews into the gospel faith, order, worship and works of their true and proper Messiah;
the nature of the gospel church and its members, ministers and ordinances.
Conditionalism, that is-do and live and be blessed, or Unconditionalism, do because Christ has made you alive and works in you both to will and to do;
Some even affirm that the saints are under two-covenants now, a covenant of works and a covenant of Grace.
The Pedobaptist idea of one covenant and two administrations was unknown among the Baptists until the John Gill era. Gill’s views were entirely Jewish and Pedobaptist. John Spilsbery’s views represent the historic and old Baptist views.
Baptism Administered by an Antichrist Power Confuted
and Seen As No Ordinance of God
In this age it seems impossible to us that anyone would affirm that the ordinances of Jesus Christ were maintained in Babylon under Antichrist. Yet, that is just what the Puritans, Protestants and Anglicans affirmed. That is also what many Baptists affirm today.
In the early 1640s, as many brethren separated from Jacob’s Separatist Church the conflict over right baptism grew. Praisegod Barebones affirmed in several publications that infant’s baptism was proper baptism. He admitted that it had been maintained in Babylon by Antichrist from his rise to the present. Richard Barrow, a member of one of the churches established by Sam Eaton, answered some of his works in a small reply. Then, later, John Spilsbery answered in this work first issued in 1643. NO THE LORD’S ORDINANCES HAVE NOT BEEN PRESERVED BY ANTICHRIST IN BABYLON. This is not settled among many modern Christians. This is the foundation upon which the entire structure of all none Catholic Pedobaptists is built. Further, when the laying on of hands on newly baptized believer arose among the Particular Baptists in the late 1600s, a former General Baptist, Benjamin Keach affirmed that the ordinance of the Lord had been preserved by the Bishops and others in Babylon until the baptized saints could take it up again. In addition, many modern Baptists hold to this concept. I have heard and read statements from modern Baptists to this effect: while we were in the Southern Baptist Convention or in the A. B. A. or B. M. A. A., we were in Babylon but the Lord has brought us out. Yet, what have they come out with but their Babylonian baptism, their Babylonian ordinations and their Babylonian church constitutions? They are in the same place as the Pedobaptist Protestants and Puritans.
John Spilsbery affirms his reasons why Antichrist’s baptism is not proper baptism. By taking his negatives together with his positives you can find a true administration and administrator of baptism. In his work, God’s Ordinances the Saints Privileges, London; 1646, Magazine, Ar. 1993, he discusses such subjects as identifying a true minister of baptism, church succession and the succession of the ordinances. By taking these two works together, any reader can see Spilsbery’s concepts on these matters.
If Either Church, or Ordinance be Lacking, Where They are to be Found,
and How Recovered
When God called His people out of Babylon, many of them had no idea there were any baptized people in existence. See for example Thomas Patient’s remarks in his Introduction to his Baptism and the Distinctions of the Covenants. They had discovered their lacking of true baptism but were at a loss as how to find it. Most of them received it from the hands of those who went over to the old Waldenses and brought it back into England. The Pedobaptists charged one person with self baptism, John Smith, a General Baptist. Certain seekers, such as Roger Williams, formed a particular church while unbaptized and then was baptized by one of the unbaptized
In his The Unlimited Authority of Christ’s Disciples Cleared or The Present C++*-hurch and Ministry Vindicated, London; 1651, Thomas Kilcop answered the false charge that the baptized people of his days started from an unbaptized administrator. An anonymous writer had issued A Sober Word to a Serious People. Kilcop maintained that while some others had taken up baptism from an unbaptized administrator neither he nor any of those in their fellowship had done such a thing, pages 14-17. The charges then were that all the baptized people in England started from John Smith, the General Baptist, who baptized himself. The Particular Baptists had no such connection with John Smith nor any other General Baptists. In addition, many of the General Baptist Churches in England in the 1640s dated back into the 1500s. Therefore, the charge that any Baptists came from John Smith was a groundless charge and only a slander.
John Spilsbery did in fact affirm that the baptized people he walked with did start from an unbaptized administrator. That unbaptized administrator was John the Baptist. Jesus Christ, through His Holy Spirit, had brought all the baptized people into one union with Him, His Scriptures and His mystical body. Therefore, the baptized people of England in the 1640s, were one with the baptized people of Christ’s times. They all came from an unbaptized administrator, John the Baptist.
In Spilsbery’s days, the baptized people in England identified John, his message and baptism, as being one with Jesus Christ’s, His Apostles’ and the early churches’. All the baptized people were one with Jesus Christ, His Apostles, the early churches and all others who had received baptism from the unbaptized administrator, John the Baptist. This great union of all the baptized people has been free from the corruptions of any minister of Antichrist.
The Covenant, Not Baptism, Forms the Church
John Spilsbery taught that the Everlasting Covenant of Grace, not baptism, forms the church. They knew of no gracious work that failed to bring the elect into saving faith in Jesus Christ and following, into gospel-order and gospel profession. Gospel profession is baptism. In his God’s Ordinances, Spilsbery makes this plain. Later, the Keach led generation of Particular Baptists, (see my introduction to the First London Confessions of Faith in Parallel Forms) maintained the Puritan-Pedobaptist concept that baptism makes a person a member of the church.
Because of this distinction, the earlier brethren did not vote on baptisms. The church commissioned their administrators and sent them out. John Gill also held this position.
The entire church with its members, its ordinances, its faith, and its ministers, are all the certain, sure and visible fruits of the everlasting Covenant of Grace. Therefore, the church is consider in two ways, the General, Visible Church made up of all the Particular Churches, and the Gospel or Particular Churches made up by gospel faith and gospel baptism. These brethren knew nothing of the invisible church. The general church, yes, but the invisible church, no. I Cor. 12:13 is always considered as water baptism into the General Church, or the Particular Church. The unfailing rule for Particular Churches is faith and baptism. Jesus Christ brings His people into this manifested performance.
Consequently, these true and historic old Baptists new nothing of any unconverted or invisible elect except those yet uncalled. God would call them into visible faith and order in His own time. The purpose of the Everlasting Covenant is to make known or visible who the saints are and unto Whom they belong. Effectual calling did not finish in the new birth, but lasted throughout this life, bringing the elect, all of them, into faithfulness and conformity into the image of Jesus Christ. This is what the Everlasting Covenant is all about. The Covenant, not baptism, forms the church. The Everlasting Covenant causes the elect to be joined as one with Jesus Christ, and then with one another in a true and proper gospel church state walking under all, not just one, of the gospel ordinances of Jesus Christ.
There is No Succession Under the New Testament,
But What is Spiritually by Faith in the Word of God.
John Spilsbery did not deny, but affirmed the true and proper succession of the gospel church and its ministry and ordinances. Thomas Crosby was wrong on this and many other points about John Spilsbery in particular and the Particular Baptists in general. By reading Spilsbery’s remarks herein, and those in his God’s Ordinances, you will become very aware that John Spilsbery was a seccessionist.
What type of successionist was he? He did not believe in a personal succession of administrators back to Jesus Christ. This is the Pedobaptist view. Each bishop or minister must have a valid personal succession of ordinations back to Jesus Christ to be a valid administrator. This succession has been maintained by the power of the civil government in some ages and by the man of sin and Babylon in other ages. For an example of this foolishness, Spilsbery cited the lady Pope, Pope Joan. Pope Joan miscarried and died while in a Papal Procession. She was in the streets of Rome. This happened in the late 1400s. So much for personal succession.
John Spilsbery did not believe in natural succession. This is the succession of the so-called birth privilege. This succession enrights the natural offspring of church members to baptism, church membership and the Covenant of Grace simply because they are the natural offspring of church members. These infants are the elect infants. This was not the succession of Jesus Christ which John Spilslbury maintained. Natural succession, and its rights and privileges by natural birth, are a curse to any church. Natural succession is the cause of most evils in Christianity. It makes God the author of men believing a lie and holding such things as falling out of the Covenant of Grace, because all the children of the believing and unbelieving Jews were members of the Old Testament church state by their natural succession from their natural parents. Did those who were reprobates, but natural church members, fall out of the Covenant of Grace?
John Spilsbery believed in the true and proper succession of the gospel system of Jesus Christ. This system included the gospel, the gospel church, the gospel ordinances and the gospel ministers. John the Baptist, an unbaptized administrator, started this system in the days of Jesus Christ. All true saints are in this succession. The Holy Spirit maintains it. The true gospel faith and order manifest it. The saints know a true administrator by his gospel faith and order and not by some university or college degree or human title. A true minister is the direct creation of Jesus Christ and is a gift to Christ’s church. This minister follows Jesus Christ, speaks His words and administers His Ordinances. He receives all His power and authority from the Son of God. John Spilsbery maintained this type of church succession.
This is not to say that Spilsbery denied true and proper gospel order. He did not. Christ brings His elect into order by dipping. God’s Ordinances clearly maintains this. The gospel churches could take out from themselves a sheep and commission him by church vote and make him into a shepherd. This is the commission the gospel church gave to its able ministers of the New Covenant. See the Spilsbery-Bakewell Debate. This did not make anyone into a minister anymore than the university classroom did. Jesus Christ did this.
This able ministry is a gift of Jesus Christ to His gospel churches. The Holy Spirit maintains this gift. The gospel faith and order manifest His ministry and His churches. Those who have faith in Jesus Christ shall know the faith of Jesus Christ. He will bring them into the discovery of the true succession by understanding the Word of God. The Spirit of God will bring them into the oneness of the Gospel truth. They, when they are one with the truth, will see they are in the succession of the truth. The Holy Spirit maintains the succession of the truth, on this earth, as a witness to the continued exhalation of Jesus Christ.
In conclusion to this introduction, I must say that the writings of John Spilsbery have had the most impact on me, other than the Sacred Scriptures, than any other writings I have ever read. I have been over fifteen years studying them, outlining them and now placing them into modern English.
In spite of our human efforts, we realize there are still errors in formatting, spelling and grammar. If you find them, please let us know. John Spilsbery and the other old brethren, and their works, deserve our best effort.
To place this work into near modern English, we have changed the spelling and punctuation parts in many places. Our word processing systems have done this for us. If you would like to read this in the microfilm photo-copy of the original, let us know and we shall be happy to send to you a photo copy of what we have. Our copy has come from the Historical Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The text we have produced is on the 14th grade reading level according to the Flesch Grade Level index. Most newspapers are on the 4th grade level. Therefore, if you are having trouble reading this work, first please read the table of contents, then read the main headers next, all the way through, and then, read the body of the text. In this way you will have an overview of the work.
In the original there are no paragraph headers. I supplied them. John Spilsbery’s statements are so profound and so different from modern Christianity that I felt it is necessary for us all to be aware of his points in each paragraph, before we enter into each paragraph. The paragraph headers come from the following paragraphs in most cases. They serve to introduce the contents following. In some places there is emphasis placed on these headers. That is mine also. This is not a facsimile reprint. It is a teaching reprint. I hope this will help you understand the most profound writer of that or any other era.
In addition, there was no table of contents in the original. I have given you a very large one to help you understand John Spilsbery’s points. I hope you will benefit by the table of contents and all Spilsbery’s writings just as we have here.
A Debtor to Mercy
R. E. Pound II
Table of Contents
The Distinction of the Covenants
Baptism by an Antichristian Power
If Either Church or Ordinance be Lacking
The Covenant, Not Baptism, Forms the Church
The Succession of Faith
The Epistle To the Reader
1. Causes of This Work, Those Suffering in New England
2. The State of Infants
3. Concerning Baptism Administered by an Antichristian Church
4. The Definition of Baptizo
5. Truth was Before Error
6. No Biblical Example for Infant’s Baptism, it is Will Worship
7. Do not Oppose the Gospel as the Jews did
8. The Gentiles are the Greatest Enemies of Christ and His Gospel
9. Gentile Acts Against the New Jerusalem, the Mystical Body of Christ, His Gospel Church
10. The Coming Judgments of God Against the Gentiles
A Treatise Concerning the Subject of Baptism
1. Basic Truths
2. The Abolition of All Types and Shadows
3. The Objection-Children are Capable of the Spirit and Grace
4. The Answer-What is Mean by Children?
5. What is Mean by being Capable to Comply with the Spirit?
6. The Blessings of Grace Under the New Covenant
7. The Visible Declarations of the Covenant
8. Objection- Concerning John the Baptist Being Filled With the Holy Spirit from his Mother’s Womb
9. The Answer-
10. What Is Understood by Our Union with Christ?
11. Union With Christ Concerns Three Things
12. Objection-If Infants are not Capable of These Graces, Then They are not Elect
13. The Answer
14. Election to a Means as Well as to an End
15. The Salvation and Resurrection of Infants
16. Objection-Baptism is Not the First Grace, but the Second, therefore faith and grace must be presupposed
17. The Answer-Baptism Confirms and Seals
18. Objection- Now in Baptism More is Required of Adults Than of Infants
19. The Answer-God only Requires Repentance and Faith
20. Pedobaptists Claim the Covenant is Now the Same as In The Old Times
21. The Answer-Effectual Believing of the Gospel, not the Preaching of It Proves Persons Are In The Covenant
22. Believing Gentiles are the Seed of Abraham as well as Believing Jews
23. Objection-We Gentiles as Well as The Jews All Stand The Same as Abraham
24. The Answer-This Teaches Falling Out of God’s Eternal Covenant
25. When God Made the Covenant with Abraham there was a Double Seed
26. Some of the Branches of the Old Covenant
27. Objection-Covenant Made Only With One Seed in Abraham
28. The Answer-Fulfilled Only in Christ and Believers in Him
29. Some Contrasts Between the First and Second Covenants
30. Objection-Consequences of the Covenant Being One and The Same, Infants in The First so also They are in the Second
31. Answer-The Sad and Evil Consequences of Making Both Covenants One and the Same
32. What the Covenant Is
33. Man and God Meet Together and Agree in Christ
34. The Believer is in God’s Covenant and Church Fellowship
35. What It Is That Enrights Into the Covenant
36. First, Grace in the Agent of the Covenant, God
37. Secondly, Faith in the Subject, Man
38. The True Approved Subjects of This Covenant
39. All Persons Now Under the Gospel Have the Same Way into the Covenant
40. The Essentials of the Covenant
41. Christ is the Only Way Into Covenant with God
42. If Any Are Born into the Covenant or Members of it by Natural Standing, Then Christ is not the Door There Into
43. Objection-First, If This Were Not so, Then This Covenant Would Not be the Same with that of the Old
44. The Answer-See The Differences Between The Covenant Then and the Covenant Now
45. Objection-The State of the Grace of God Should be Straightened and Made of Less Extent by Christ’s Coming then it was Before, Whereas It is more Enlarged and of Greater Extent, There Being Nothing More Required in the State of the Persons to Interest Infants into the Covenant Then, than is Now
46. The Answer-Since Christ’s Coming in the Flesh there are no Covenant Blessings Because of the Flesh
47. Objection- Of the Old There was no More Required in Infants than to Interest Them into the Covenant, than there is Required of Infants Now
48. The Answer- The Sense in Which Abraham is the Root of the Jews and The Gentiles
49. Abraham is a Pattern only in Respect to his Faith and Faithfulness
50. Objection-That the Jews and Gentiles, being Incorporated into one Body in Christ, under the First, Even so they must also be in the One Body under the New
51. The Answer-
52. True Faith and Holy Obedience
53. The Comparison of the Seed Under the Gospel and Under the Law
54. The Seed of the Flesh
55. The True Seed of The Covenant
56. The Allegory of These Two Covenants or Bodies of People
57. The Gospel Seed of the Believer and the Church of Christ
58. The Believer’s Seed, Spiritual, Through the Gospel, not the Natural, is the Ground of the New Covenant in Distinction from the Old Covenant of the Flesh
59. The New Covenant Makes All Things New
60. The Second Argument
61. The Answer-
62. God Took unto Himself the Family of the Jews After the Flesh
63. The Meaning and Contrast of Baptism unto Moses and Unto Christ
64. The Internal and Spiritual Part of Baptism
65. The Third Argument-
66. The Answer-
67. The Fallacy of This Proposition
68. Romans 11:19
69. The Distinctions Between the Two Covenants, Two Peoples and Two Seeds
70. National Israel Considered in a Two-Fold Respect
71. The Double Seed, Children of the Flesh, and Isaac
72. The Children of the Promise are Called in God’s Own Time That It May Appear unto Whom They Belong
73. The Elect Stood as Branches in their Root, Jesus Christ
74. The Faithfulness of God in the Promise of Grace and the Effectual Power of the Gospel
75. The End of Election is Conformity to Jesus Christ
76. Objection-The Elect were First Infants, and as Infants so Elected, Beloved of God and Holy in their Infancy
77. The Answer-Baptism Invests the Elect, Who are Believers, Into all the Privileges of Grace
78. Concerning the Root and the Branches
79. The Jews Were Cut Off From the Lump, Christ Mystically Considered
80. The Mystical Body of Christ
81. The Holy Spirit in the Ordinances Issues Forth the Sap and Fatness of Christ to the Branch
82. Jesus Christ and His Gospel Order is the New Covenant Which the Jews will be Converted Into
83. Concerning the Branches
84. The Church or Mystical Body of Christ Defined
85. Objection- Matt. 18:6 Teaches That Some Little Ones Believe
86. Answer-This Deals with Visible Acts of Faith
87. Objection-The Church of the Jews of Old and the Church of the Gentiles now are one in Nature, Therefore, Infants are Included
88. Answer-The Church Under the Old Covenant Contrasted with the Church Under the New Covenant
89. Romans 11:6 is no Argument for Infant’s Baptism Because the First Fruits are God’s Election of Grace, and The Lump are the Hebrew Elect
90. The Root and the Branches are Christ, Mystically Considered, and Believers Out from Among the Gentiles
91. Election is Not Grounded in the Seed of Believers, but in God’s Will
92. I Cor. 7:14 Considered
93. Christ’s Holiness in Contrast to Believing Parent’s Natural Holiness
94. This is a Civil Holiness
95. The Holiness of the Unbelieving Partner and the Children is One and the Same
96. Objection-The Holiness of the Children is Questioned Here
97. The Answer
98. Who to Keep Company With and Who Not to Keep Company With
99. Their Problems with Unbelievers in Marriage
100. Argument 4-If Baptism Succeeded Circumcision, than as Infants were to be circumcised, so are Infants to be Baptized
102. The Spiritual Succession of the New Covenant Over the Old Covenant
103. Give to Christ His Baptizing of Believers and to Antichrist His Baptizing of Infants
104. Baptism is not the Womb of Regeneration and is not the Spirit of Grace in Regeneration
105. A Dead Infant Cannot Feed Upon the Church’s Breasts
106. Concerning Infant Salvation and Infant Damnation
107. Reasons to Reject Infant’s Baptism
108. No Biblical Command or Example
109. Not to Join a Natural Wife to Christ
110. It Overthrows and Destroys the Body of Christ, Or Holy Temple of God
111. It is a Ground of Both Ignorance and Error
112. Fifthly, It Keeps Up the State of Antichrist
113. Infant Baptism Builds Faith Upon Human Testimony
114. It Makes Void the Commandment of God
115. Infant Baptism Makes the Holy Ordinance of God a Lying Sign
116. The Subject of Baptism is to be Passive
117. Infant Baptism Opposes Being Born Under Wrath
118. Objection-That as the Covenant was Made to the Jews and Their Seed Under the Old Testament, So in the Same Manner does the Apostle Apply the said Covenant to Believers and Their Seed in the New Testament, Acts 2:39
120. The Promise is Not the Covenant
121. The Gospel Holds Forth Christ to All Who Have Faith
122. Evils that Attend Infant’s Baptism
123. Makes Void the Stability and Absoluteness of the Covenant of Grace
124. Teaches Falling Out of God’s Grace
125. Is A Ground of Universal Redemption
126. Is a Ground of God’s Revealing a Lie
127. Bringing the Little Children to Jesus Christ
128. Objection-The Baptism of Households
130. The Apostles Walked by the Same Rule
131. Objection-Christ Sent Out His Apostles to Teach and Baptize the Nations, in Which Nations There Were Infants as well as Men of Years, to they are Commanded to Be Baptized
132. Answer-Baptizing the Nations is not Taught
133. The Sealing and Confirming Ordinances
134. Objection-God Commanded Infants to Be Circumcised, Therefore He Now Commands them to be Baptized
135. Objection- Grounded Upon the Second Commandment
137. What If There Were No Commandment for Any Baptism
138. Objection-Did Christ Exclude Infants Before His Death
140. Washed Inwardly by His Blood, Washed Outwardly by His Baptism
141. The Visible Right To Baptism
142. An Examination of Antichristian Baptism Showing that the Baptism Administered by an Antichristian Power is No Ordinance of God
143. Reasons for my Dissent From Antichrist’s Baptism
144. I Cannot Approve of Antichrist’s Matter and Form and the State Itself
145. Faith and Baptism are Constitutional Ordinances For a Gospel Church
146. Christ and His People are in Total Separation from the Man of Sin
147. God’s Word is to be Taken Above Human Testimony
148. This Would Force Men To Continue in Antichrist’s Baptism
149. To Justify Antichrist’s Baptism Makes Two Reasons Against Christ’s Baptism
150. Christ Left His Rule and Order for the Constitution of His Church, Faith and Baptism
151. Objection-There was no Re-circumcision after the Recovery of Israel from their Apostasy, so no Re-baptism now
153. Baptism is Confined to the Hand of the Ministry in Opposition to Circumcision
154. Baptism as Administered by Antichrist is in error on all 4 major points
155. Objection-The Scriptures are the Ordinances of God, which He has ever preserved, and still owns for His Ordinances in the hand of Antichrist, and so does God of Baptism there also
156. Answer-The Constitutional Order of Christ’s Church and His Ministry are Always in His Hand
157. Baptism is an Institution of Christ as a Rule for the Lord’s People to Walk By
158. God has Communion with None in His Word, but by His Spirit and Faith
159. Neither can any man constitute, and so administer an Ordinance of God Without Authority from Christ the Lord and King of His Church
160. Objection, There is Only One Baptism, and Having Received it We Cannot be Baptized Again
161. Answer-There is One True Baptism and Church, but Antichrist’s Are Not of That One Therefore, Christ’s True Baptism is Not Re-baptism
162. Antichrist Sets Up His Own Church, Ministry and Ordinances
163. Antichrist Has Not the Substance of God’s Holy Ordinances, They Are Understood Only By Such as Have God’s Spirit
164. The Matter of Baptism is the Subject, The Matter of The Church is the Saints and the Matter of the Ministry is the Prophets of the New Covenant
165. The Form of Words Used by Antichrist in his Baptism are Rejected
166. True Baptism Considered
167. Objection-The Vessels of God, even in Babylon, were still His Vessels, therefore so is His baptism even in the hands of Antichrist
169. The Antichrist’s Form of Worship and Ordinances Is Not of God
170. All That Have The Baptism of the Whore of Babylon are Those Who Have Her Ordinance of Infant’s Baptism, They Are Her Harlot Daughters
171. Objection-Antichrist as a thief, has Stolen God’s Ordinance out of His Church and Has Not Yet Repented of the Theft, but the Ordinance is Valid
173. Antichrist Cannot Steal Away Christ’s Baptism Out of Christ’s Church
174. What is Meant by Stealing Baptism Out of Christ’s Church
175. Objection-Rev. 174 speak of the Ordinances of God held forth by Antichrist
177. Either Come All the Way to Baptism Or Return Back to Rome
178. The Reformed or Protestant Churches, those still Retaining Infant’s Baptism are Just as Much Against The Rules of Christ’s New Testament as the Church of Rome Is
179. If Either the Church or Ordinances by Lacking Where They are to be Found, and How They are to Be Recovered
180. Going to the Scriptures is as Going to Christ and His Apostles
181. The Orderly Way to Come to the Lord’s Baptism
182. Objection- If any Object, How can Such Receive Others into the Gospel Order, That Were Never in it Themselves?
183. Gospel Order Stands Firm Unalterable
184. Jesus Christ Makes His Own Into a Spiritual House and a Holy Priesthood
185. The Power of the Truth is Effected by Jesus Christ Who is Not Tied to Any Instrument
186. Objection, Concerning Personal Succession and Baptism as the Form of the Church
187. Concerning Those Who Hold to a Personal Succession
188. Those Who Hold To Baptism Administered by a Personal Succession Must Come Through Antichrist
189. The Succession of Baptism in the Defection of Antichrist
190. The Folly of A Personal Succession Through the Chain of Antichrist
191. No Place For Schism or Self-Baptism
192. John the Baptist Baptized Without Being Himself Baptized
192. Understanding Matthew 16:18
193. Must Not Trace Baptism Through the Succession of Antichrist
194. Christ’s Succession is Through the Truth Which is Maintained by the Power of God
195. The Word of God Gives Being to All Order and All Actions
196. Objection-Baptism is the Form of the Church
197. Answer-The Definition of the Church
198. The Matter of the Church
199. The Form of the Church
200. Objection-But Some Will Say that the Word Speaks of No Church Before Baptism
201. God’s Gracious Covenant Gives Being to The Church and Not Baptism
202. Answer-Distinguish Between the Truth of Baptism and the Outward Administration of Baptism
203. The Outward Administration of Baptism Ever Follows Faith
204. Only a Church Before Baptism in that She is Formed to Take Up Baptism and all the Other Ordinances of Christ
205. Some Will Say from Acts 2:41, They Were Added to the Church After They Were Baptized
206. Adding to the Church After Baptist is in Respect to Particular Churches and Not the General or Universal, Visible Church Which is Before Baptism
207. Persons are Baptized into that One Body, the Church, Therefore the Church is Before Baptism, I Cor. 12:13; Rom. 6:2-4
208. Objection- Baptism Signifies Our Regeneration and New Birth, so That a Child Must be First Born, and Brought Forth in Baptism Before It can Be Made a Living Member in Christ’s Body the Church
209. Baptism signifies our Regeneration and New Birth, So that a Child Must be first Born, and Brought Forth in Baptism Before It can be Made a Living Member in Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church
210. Answer-Baptism is Indeed a Sign of the New Birth
211. The Constitution of the Church
212. The Constituting Causes Which God Ordinarily Uses to Effect This Work
213. First, the Word of God
214. Secondly, The Confession of Faith
215. The Third Constituting Cause
216. The Final Cause, the Spirit of Grace and Power Joining Together
217. The Gospel Church is Now Come Into Her Own Land
218. Objection-Do I Condemn All Churches?
219. Answer-None that God Approves of in His Word
220. John Spilsbery’s Personal Confession of Faith
1. Of the Holy Trinity
2. The Creation and Fall of Man
3. The Doctrine of Election
4. The First Coming of Jesus Christ
5. Effectual Calling
6. The Holy Scriptures
7. The Message and Ministers of Antichrist, (Arminians, and General Baptists)
8. The Resurrection of the Dead
9. Concerning the Civil Power
10. Concerning the Gospel Church and the Communion of the Saints
The Epistle to the Reader:
Christian Reader, have a favorable construction of my so bold attempts, of so great a work, upon such weak ability, which may possibly seem to savor as deeply of pride to some, as David’s undertaking the challenge of Goliath did to his brother Eliab, I Sam. 17:28. But I am contented to walk naked before the world and to under go the censure of men, to perform any service to God or His people.
Those Suffering in New England are The Cause of this Work
The Occasion that pressed me on chiefly to this work, was by reason of some godly persons, whose consciences were scrupled about the baptizing of children before they came to know what they did in the same; and others coming to hear of it, did much insult upon them in a reproachful manner, with much reviling and dispising of them; as I understood by a letter received from them; and did, as it were, make the challenge upon them, with certain reasons and arguments, gathered up against them. Upon which occasion the said Reasons and Arguments were sent to me from beyond the Seas to be answered, and pressed me with letter after letter to the same, which at length I intended to, only in a private way, until some here at home had published their evil affections in a reproachful manner; casting such unseemly aspersions upon the truth of God, and godly persons for the truth’s sake, to make the same hateful in the eyes of all men, in what them lays. And others also in resemblance of the truth, going on in such a confused way, both in respect of corrupt doctrine, and as bad order; by reason of which disorder, the blessed name of God, and His holy truth are exposed unto much suffering. And thus the Glory of God, and the honor of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, lying as it were at the stake; and His people grieving and suffering together with the same. I thought in such a case that I was bound in conscience to come forth to the help of the Lord against the mighty, and to free myself from the sin of withholding the truth in unrighteousness, and according to that ability Christ has given, to speak a word in the defence of His blessed truth, against those ungodly aspersions cast upon the same.
The State of Infants
And thus having showed you, courteous Reader, the grounds forcing me to attempt so great a work with so weak means, I trust you will sparingly consider, rather than rashly censure, as the manner of too many is. And to judge as you would be judged, remembering that there is a righteous judge, before whom we must all appear, and give account every one for himself, as Rom. 14:10, 12; 2 Cor. 5:10. The Subject controverted in the following Treatise, one part of it is about infant’s Baptism, and where as I oppose the same as an unwritten tradition, yet I would not be understood that I oppose Infants in respect of either their person or age, or salvation itself, between God and then invisibly, but honor them with all natural respects, desiring their safety and well being here, and glory hereafter. But as the same appears by some effect of faith, until which time, as I condemn none, no more dare I justify any, but leave them all to the good pleasure of God, that only knows who are His. And which shall unavoidably come to glory, as Ephesians 1 and Rom. 8:30 shows. But whose those be, that I do not know until God reveals the same by some effect of his grace appearing in them. And all that I intend by opposing Infant’s baptism, is only to forbear and wait upon God in the use of means, until faith appears to meet with God in His holy Ordinance, without which the same is void and of no effect; but profaned, God provoked, and the party endangered. Friend how came you in here, not having a wedding garment, take him, & c. Matt. 22:12, 13.
Concerning Baptism Administered in An Antichristian Church
That baptism which is administered in an Antichristian Church, and by the same power, is no ordinance of God. All such who are so baptized, are to submit to the Lord’s ordinance of Baptism, whensoever God calls them to believe and to receive the Gospel. And yet not holding any rebaptizing, for he that is once baptized with the Lord’s true Baptism, needs no more. Nor yet a new way of baptizing, as some, to please themselves, so call it; but only that good old way, which John the Baptist, Christ and His Apostles walked in before us, and left the same as a Rule under command in the Holy Scriptures, for such as will be followers of them to walk by.
The Definition of Baptizo
As it is recorded by the Holy Ghost in the Scriptures of God, even so it is the judgment of the most and best learned in the land, so far as I have seen, or can come by any of their writings, and in all the Common Dictionaries, with one joint consent affirm, that the word Baptism or Baptizo, being the original word, signifies to dip, wash, or to plunge one into the water, though some please to mock and deride, by calling it a new found way, or what ever they please.
Yet Truth Was Before Error.
Indeed it is a new found truth, in opposition to an old grown error, and so it is a new thing to such, as the Apostle’s Doctrine was to the Athenians, Acts 17:19. But this being no part of the following discourse, I shall leave it, and turn such who are so mocking over to consider of these Scriptures, Isa. 28:22, Prov. 17:5, Isa. 57:4, Acts 17:32, Heb. 11:36, Jude 18: and Gen. 21:9 with Gal. 4:29. And I doubt not but the wise hearted Reader will try and examine things of so high a nature by the Word of God, and not to build upon dark unsound consequences and false inferences, and lay by the plain testimony of Scripture that must decide all doubts and controversies in matters of Religion.
No Example for Infant’s Baptism, It is Will Worship
For sure I am, there is neither command, or example in all the New Testament for any such practice, as I know, (infant baptism) and whatsoever is done in the worship of God, in obedience to Christ, without His command, or apparent example approved of by Christ, is of man, as a voluntary will-worship, after the commandments and doctrines of man; the which Christ testifies against as a vain thing. This way the Gentiles are more forward in, than ever the Jews were, and more bitter against such that do oppose their traditions, than ever they were. Col. 2:20, 21, 22; Mark 7:7, 8.
Do Not Oppose the Gospel as the Jews Did
And therefore I beseech thee, Good Reader, beware of opposing the Gospel, and Christ’s Holy Order in the same. For which thing God fell out with His ancient people, the Jews, and threatens to make the Gentiles drink of the same cup, if they oppose the power and authority of His Son Jesus Christ, as they did. And do not the Gentiles do this? Yea, and much more than ever the Jews did. Romans 11.
The Gentiles Are The Greatest Enemies of Christ and His Gospel
The Gentiles are set forth in the Scripture to be the greatest enemies that Christ and His Gospel has in the World. For they rage, and bend up their forces against Christ, and His people. And the Gentiles compass the camp of the Saints to devour them. Of them is the bottomless pit, out of which come the Locusts with a King over them. And of them is the bloody Dragon that stands against the Church to suppress and devour Christ’s Holy Order, Government, and her subjection to the same. Of the Gentiles rises that beastly State, with which the Kings of the earth join their powers against Christ’s Kingly power and subjects.
Gentile Acts Against the New Jerusalem, and the Mystical Body of Christ, His Gospel Church
And, they tread under foot the Holy City. Not the Earthly City Jerusalem, as some weakly affirm, but the holy and heavenly order of the Gospel, and the true subjects thereof. The Gentiles crucify Christ in His mystical body, which is more than to slay Him in His human body; Psa. 2; Ezek. 38; Rev. 10:8,9; Rev. 9:1-11; Rev. 12:4; Rev. 13:1,2; Rev. 17:13,14, 17; Rev. 11:2; Rev. 11:8; Rev. 17:17; Rev. 11:2; Luke 21:24; Rom. 11:2; Luke 21:24; Rom. 11:20, 21, 22.
The Coming Judgments of God Against The Gentiles
There is a time set for the long suffering of God toward the Gentiles, which time being once expired, God will have as strict account of the Gentiles, as ever He took of the Jews. Which day shall be as black and dark over the Gentiles, as ever it has been to the Jews. And more so, because their sin has been greater against grace and Christ and His members, by many more degrees, than ever were the Jew’s sins. And therefore, woe, woe, unto the Gentiles, because the day of their account draws near. Therefore good Christian Reader, be well advised, and do not take part with any that shall oppose Christ in His sweet and comely order among His Saints, and kingly Government over His subjects. We see by apparent example, how dangerous a thing it is to oppose Kings, but Christ is the King of Kings. Therefore, kiss the Son least He be angry, Psa. 2:12.
Concerning the Subject of Baptism
Wherein is handled, and also disproved,
For a more orderly proceeding in the following Discourse, I shall first lay down the Arguments and Objections, and then give answers to the same. And for some things in the beginning, I shall pass over briefly, they not much concerning the point in hand.
As the Scriptures being a perfect rule of all things, both for faith and order; this I confess is a truth;
And for the just and true consequences of Scripture, I do not deny;
And the Covenant of life lying between God and Christ for all His Elect, I do not oppose.
And that the outward profession of the said Covenant, had differed under several Periods, I shall not deny;
And of the Scriptures speaking of the disannulling and abolishing the old Covenant, and making a new, is to be understood of the Period from Moses to Christ, and not of that from Abraham to Moses. This also in part I confess, but not the whole; because the abolishing of the old Covenant or Testament, reached unto all the outward form of worship, under any type of shadow, by which the people professed their faith and obedience to God.
The Abolition of All Types and Shadows
So that the abolishing of types and shadows, must reach so far as any types and shadows were, and beyond that was unto circumcision itself; unto Abraham’s Period, beyond, even to all those sacrifices in any part of the Old Testament, wherein God testified His pleasure unto His people in any dark and typical way, or they, their faith and obedience to Him by the same.
So that the opposition the Scripture holds forth between Covenant and Covenant, is between Testament and Testament, with reference to the order and form of profession thereof. But I leave this as little concerning the matter in hand, and come to that which follows. And the first to any purpose is laid down thus:
Objection: That children are capable of the Spirit of God, and of the grace of the Covenant, and whatsoever men of years are capable of, though not wrought in the same way, and by the same means, yet the same things, and by the same Spirit, so far as is necessary to union with Christ, and justification to life thereby, else children were not elected, or raised up again in their bodies, and be saved, nor yet the judgment we can have of men of years be infallible, but we may be mistaken, as in the case of Simon Magus, and others in the like nature.
What is Meant by Children?
In answer to this, let it be in the first place considered, what is here meant by children, because the Scriptures speak of children in several respects.
If such children as the Scriptures call so, through weakness in the faith, as Matt. 18:6; I John 2:12, 13; I Cor. 3:1; Heb. 5:13.
Now if such Children as these, then I confess, that such are capable of the Spirit of God, and so of the rest, as afore said.
But if by children be meant of Infants, then we are to consider what it meant by being capable of the Spirit, the grace of the Covenant, and the rest. If capable of the Spirit, so as opposed to the power of the Spirit to work upon them, so is a stone as well as a man, as Matt. 3:9.
What is meant by Capable to Comply with the Holy Spirit?
But if capable to comply with the Spirit, in hearing, receiving, and believing the Spirits testimony; and so of regeneration, faith and repentance &c. This I shall deny, until some proof be produced from the Word of God for the same.
And to affirm this to be God’s way to bring persons to the faith, by working so upon them by His Spirit in their infancy, argues some ignorance of the true nature and work of grace, as the Gospel holds it forth.
And to be capable of the grace of the Covenant, which must be understood of the promise containing the blessings and privileges thereof, in the holy dispensations of the same.
The Blessings of Grace under the New Covenant
We shall find in the Scriptures of God, all the sweet promises of Grace under the New Testament, holding forth their blessings, and blessed privileges only to such as believe.
The Visible Declarations of the Covenant
And that to the Elect themselves, as they are considered in Christ, and appear so by some effect of grace declaring their faith, and they to be such as God approves of in His Son, and so to have visible right to those privileges they are visibly justified by, and possessed in, as such that have a visible right unto the same, Which can come to us Gentiles no other way then by Christ, and Faith in His Name.
Objection: And if any shall object from the testimony of John the Baptist, that he is said to be filled with the Holy Ghost from his Mother’s womb, & c, and hence conclude, that Infants may have faith.
What Infants May Have and What They Do Have is Different
To this I answer in a word;
First, what infants may have is one thing, and what infants can be proved to have from this Scripture is another. For if any thing from this text can be proved for infants, it will be, that they are filled with the Holy Ghost from their Mother’s womb, as John is said to be, which is another thing then to believe, Acts 6:5; & 4:31.
Secondly, all such so testified of by God, as He did of John, I shall acknowledge as much as is here meant to be in him, to be also in them so testified of by the Holy Ghost. But to affirm, because God so testified of John the Baptist in the womb, therefore the same holds true upon all other infants likewise, this is indeed weaker than infancy so to affirm, and grosser than ignorance for any to believe. Job is said to be a Guide to the distressed from his mother’s womb. Shall it be concluded thence, that he was a Guide to such when he was an infant? Or if he were so, must it needs follow, that all infants are capable guides, because it is said so of him? Job 31:18.
And lastly; I am not against any that have faith, but absolutely for all that believe; whether infants or others; so that their faith appears by such effects as the Word of God approves of. Otherwise what have I or any to do, to meddle with the secret and unrevealed things of God, either to justify or condemn?
And whereas in the former Proposition, there seems a restraint made of the word of Grace in an Infant over what there is in other persons, by saying, only so far as is necessary to union with Christ, and justification to life thereby.
What is Understood by Christ and then Our Union with Christ?
Now for an answer to this, we shall first consider what in this sense is to be understood by Christ, and secondly, what by union with Christ, so as to be justified thereby.
By Christ here, I understand Him so, as the Gospel holds Him forth in the work of man’s Redemption, in reference to His death and resurrection; and the only righteousness that commends such to God as believe in the same. And so Christ thus considered is the only subject of life to every soul that shall be united unto Him by faith.
To which union with Christ, these three things must be minded, as essential to the same:
First, God’s revealing and tending of Christ, as the all sufficient and only way to life.
Secondly, a heart fitly disposed by faith to apprehend and receive Christ so tendered.
And lastly, The Spirit of grace uniting and knitting of the heart and Christ together, as aforesaid.
And this I understand to be that effectual and substantial union with Christ, to justification of life, which the Word of God approves of; that must decide all differences in matters of Religion. For justification to life ever presupposes apprehension of Christ, as the subject of life, and a true application of the same by faith, as aforesaid. The Gospel holds forth no other justification to salvation, but what is of faith; and faith ever presupposes the party”s knowledge of the thing believe, Rom. 10:14, Heb. 11:6.
Now, let this be well examined by the rule of truth, and then let the Reader judge, how capable Infants are of union with Christ, and justification to life thereby. Now for to darken and obscure this truth, there are these evil consequences, as absurdities brought in, as to follow upon the same.
Objection, First, If infants should not be capable of those graces aforesaid, then they were not elected.
Secondly, Then their bodies should not be raised again to life.
And lastly, we have not infallible judgment, but may be mistaken, as in the case of Simon Magus, &c.
To this in a Word:
First, I would know of such, whether Infants, with reference to their non-age, are capable subjects of glory?
Secondly, If Infants so considered, are capable subjects of glory?
Election to means as well as to end
And if not, as I suppose none will affirm, then why any more in grace than in Glory? And for any to appoint God a way how to save Infants, or to draw out to themselves a way how the Holy Spirit of Grace must sanctify them to salvation, above what is written, I think it is somewhat too much boldness. God will have His creature to keep only to His Word, as the Rule by which man must judge all things; and the Word of God shows that he has elected persons to the means as well as to the end, being the way unto the same. And that was the Adoption of Sons, to be called and justified by believing in Jesus Christ, as Eph. 1:4,5; Rom. 8:29, 30; I Pet. 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:13, 14. And therefore the ground of God’s calling us, and our believing is attributed unto our Election, Acts 2:47; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:28; Rom. 11:7. And to the glory of God, as the cause of all, by the dispensation of His grace upon His chosen in Christ, and their free obedience unto Him again, Rom. 9:23, 24; Eph. 1:6, 12.
These things God has revealed in His Word, and further, I dare not go, but leave the secret things to God, Who gives not account of all His ways.
The Salvation and Resurrection of Infants
And for the raising of Infant’s bodes, do none rise but such as are in visible union with Christ? As for invisible things we meddle not with. It is the power of God that raised the dead, and not union with Christ, I Thess. 4:16. And when any of God’s elect can, by the Scripture, be showed to die in infancy, then it will be granted that their bodies are raised to life eternal, only as they are Infants. Not that I hold all that die in their infancy to be damned, but being a secret thing, I leave the same to God. And though that we have not infallible knowledge to judge aright of the hearts of men, which thing is proper to God alone, shall we not judge at all therefore? We are to go on as near as we can by the a rule of God’s Word. And in so doing, we discharge our duty, which binds us to judge of the tree by His fruit. And though we are not infallible Judges, but may be mistaken, yet this will not follow, that we should justify a tree upon which no fruit appears, but rather to go on by the rule of judgment, and if we do miss, to be humbled for our weakness rather then leave all undone, because we are not sure to do it infallibly. But I would not be understood to oppose Infants so, as to exclude them from salvation, no, I am so far from this, that I do not so much as impose any such work of grace upon them, as essential to life, in this or that way, as many do, but leave all in respect of them, as a secret thing to the wisdom and grace of God in Christ, by whom the sin of all the Elect are forever done away at once.
And for faith, that I press for in all that challenge right to any privilege of Grace, is only to have some warrantable ground to judge by, and so to know Who God does approve of; as those unto whom such privileges belong. Seeing He has proclaimed, that all by nature are children of wrath, Eph. 2. And I cannot believe that any are naturally born in grace, and so believers from the womb, though the opposite doctrine teaches and affirms the same. And, so I come to another Proposition, laid down thus:
Ob. That Baptism is not the first grace, but the second, neither does it confer grace, but is given to confirm the former; which therefore must be presupposed, or else not to be administered. And it is the seal of the New Testament, or of the Righteousness of faith, now to all that are partakers thereof; as of old Circumcision was unto them, Rom. 4:11. Only understand by baptism, the outward part administered by a lawful Minister of the Church, which may, and too often is, separated from the inward, though it ought not to be so, and yet remains true Baptism so administered; or else Simon Magus, and those false brethren, Gal. 2, being not baptized, and if they had repented, must have been baptized anew.
Baptism is said to Confirm Faith and to Seal
I shall not say much to this particular, because our chiefest work lies yet behind, only this much let the Reader observe, that here Baptism is said to be given of God, as an Ordinance, to confirm faith in the subject baptized, and so to be presupposed, or else not to be administered. Now, if God have it to that end for to confirm faith, then He never intended the same to be administered upon any, but only such as have faith. And so much the next words affirm, which say, That it must be presupposed, or else not administered. Now I suppose it is meant, that faith in such is to be presupposed from some ground or visible effect of faith in appearance at the least. For no man can properly presuppose a thing, without some appearing ground from whence his supposition must arise, and specially in weighty matters. But what ground any man has to presuppose a child in the womb, or one that is newly born, to have faith, and so capable of a seal, as to be confirmed by baptism, I cannot conceive, but rather think it to be great weakness in such that shall so presuppose or affirm. For it is a doctrine that confirms the opinion of such as hold faith to be natural, and in a man from the womb, and as some say, they have been believers ever since they were born. And so it is here, for when an Infant is once baptized, it goes ever afterwards for a believer, as well as any that are never so clear in the faith unless he comes to commit such sin as to be excommunicated, until which time he was ever a believer before. But I pass from this, to the next particular, thus:
Objection: That as of old, more was required of Abraham and men of years when they were circumcised, then of Ishmael and Isaac, or of other infants, continually circumcised afterwards; so now in the administering of Baptism, more is required of men of years, than is of infants: of Abraham God required faith in the blessed seed; but not the same of Isaac, of men of years faith is to be required, and must be, that a man may be baptized, but not the same of Infants,
The substance of this particular lies thus; That more is required of men of years, for their receiving of Baptism, than is of infants; and all the proof is from the example of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, and others in like manner after them in the order of Circumcision. I shall give a brief answer to this by an argument drawn from the same, thus; upon the same ground that Abraham, Ishmael, and all the rest of his household had right to circumcision, all have now right to baptism. But only God’s command gave Abraham, Ishmael, and all the rest of his household right to circumcision, not requiring any thing more of one than of another, as Gen. 17:10; 11, 12, 13, 14, 23, 25, 26, 27. Therefore the command of God only gives persons (now under the Gospel) right to baptism, which requires not more of one person than of another, but faith and repentance in all alike, Mat. 28:19; Mark 16:15, 16; Acts 16:31, 32, 33, 34; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:12, 13, 37; Acts 10:47.
And where as it is said, that faith in the blessed seed was required in Abraham, but not in Isaac, who was to be circumcised at eight days old, it is more than I find the Scriptures reveal, that such a faith was required of Abraham at the time of his circumcision, or else he must not have been circumcised; or that the same faith in the blessed seed Jesus Christ, was so required of all his household at the time of their circumcision, Gen. 17:25, nor of the Shechenites being men of years Gen. 34. So that this Proposition falls in itself, and so I leave it, and come to the reasons and Arguments themselves.
The Pedobaptists Claim that the Covenant Now is the Same as in the Old Times
The first Arguments lies thus; If the Covenant now under Christ, be the same that was before Christ, with Abraham and his posterity in the flesh; then as Infants were partakers of the Covenant then, and received the seal there of Circumcision, so are infants now partakers of the Covenant, and ought to receive the seal there of Baptism. But the Covenant now under Christ, is the same that was before Christ with Abraham and his posterity in the flesh. Therefore, as Infants were then in the Covenant and received the seal thereof; even so are Infants now in the Covenant, and ought to receive the seal thereof. Three things are to be cleared in this Argument.
First, That the Covenant made with Abraham and his posterity in the flesh before Christ, and that now are under Christ, is the same.
Secondly, As Infants were in that Covenant, so are Infants now.
Thirdly, As Infants were sealed then, so they ought to be now. Now for the proving of these aforesaid, there are three other grounds laid down as follow:
First, The Gospel is the doctrine of the Covenant, but this being one, was preached to Abraham, as Gal. 3:8, 17, 18, Rom. 4:11, and so to the end, and to the Jews, in the Wilderness, Hebrews 4:1, 2; and so in David’s time, Hebrews 4:7, &c. Therefore the Covenant is the same.
Secondly, If Abraham be the father of the Jews and Gentiles, and equally as he believed the righteousness of faith, and they his children equally as so believing, and no otherwise, then the Covenant is the same. But Abraham is the father of the Jews and Gentiles, and equally as he believed, Rom. 4:11, 12, 16, 17, 23, 24. Gal. 3:3, 9, 26, 29. Therefore the Covenant is the same.
Thirdly, The standing of the Jews in the Grace of God was the same with Abraham; as is clear from God’s often expressing of himself to be the God of Abraham and His seed, and praying to God for to remember the Covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and acknowledging the accomplishing of the same to them, as Luke 1:73, 74; Luke 1:54, 55. And ours is the same with the Jews, as is clear from Matt. 21:41, 43, and 22:1.
Thus lies the Argument, and the grounds to back it, and all to prove the Covenant God made with Abraham and his seed, to be the same now to the believing Gentiles and their seed, and Infants to be in this now, as they were in that then.
It is the effectual believing of the Gospel that proves what persons are in the Covenant.
In answer to which, I shall only touch at the three last grounds, briefly in a word, as I come to the Covenant itself.
The first is, because the Gospel is the doctrine of the Covenant, and was preached to Abraham, and to the Jews, &c. therefore the Covenant is the same. For the first, if the preaching of the Gospel, being the doctrine of the Covenant, can prove the Covenant to be the same to them as to us, then all to whom the Gospel was and is preached, are in the same Covenant. But I think it is the effectual believing of that which the Gospel holds forth in the doctrine of it, because many have the Gospel preached among them, and yet not be in the Covenant. And for the second, that Abraham is the equal father both of the Jews and Gentiles, only as he did believe, and they his children only so believing as their father Abraham did, and not else.
Believing Gentiles Are The Seed Of Abraham As Well As Believing Jews
In respect of which, the Covenant is the same to the one as it is to the other. This in a sense I confess is a truth, that none are accounted children of Abraham, but only as they believe as did their father Abraham. And if this be true, as the ground affirms it is, then let the Reader judge, how infants can be said to be the children of Abraham, and in the Covenant, and so to have right to Baptism, as the seal to confirm their faith, and whether they do believe as Abraham did? But that Abraham may be said to be an equal father both of Jews and Gentiles, I think not so in all respects, the Jews were the seed of Abraham, as they descended from his loins, as well as from his faith. But for the Gentiles, they are called the seed or children of Abraham, only as they walk in the steps of his faith, and not else, as I Pet. 3:6; Rom. 4:11, 12.
Objection: And lastly, that the standing of the Jews in the grace of God, was the same with Abraham’s and ours the same with the Jews, therefore the Covenant is the same.
This Doctrine Teaches Falling Out of God’s Eternal Covenant
This doctrine so generally laid down without distinction or exception, holds forth a man’s falling from grace, or out of God’s gracious Covenant of life eternal. A doctrine to be testified against by all that truly fear the Lord. For Abraham’s standing was the same without exception, then the Jews that did oppose Christ, and were cut off for the same, fell out of this Covenant of Grace.
In Abraham there was a double seed when God made this Covenant
But I shall further clear that which follows. And so I come to the Covenant itself, and to see how that which God made with Abraham, and this under Christ, will agree. In the handling of which, in the first place this must be well observed, that there was in Abraham a double seed when God made his Covenant with him and his seed, and confirmed the same by the seal of Circumcision. There was in Abraham at that time a spiritual seed and a fleshly seed. Between which seeds God has ever distinguished through all their Generations. And as there was a distinction thus made by God in Abraham’s seed before they were circumcised, and yet admitted to the seal of the Covenant by God’s special command. For Ishmael and Esau were by God commanded to be circumcised as well as any of the rest of Abraham’s seed, Gen. 17:10, 13. Even so there must be the same respect observed also in the Covenant, and that because the Covenant comprehends divers things, and Circumcision was a seal unto them all. Some of which were proper unto both the seeds, and some not, as may be gathered from the several branches of the Covenant expressed by God, Gen. 17.
Some of the Several Branches of the Old Covenant
As first, for the multiplication of Abraham’s seed, Gen. 17:2, this was proper to his spiritual seed as well to his fleshly seed, Gen. 21:13; Deut. 10:22; Isa. 48:19.
Secondly, The land of Canaan, Gen. 17:8. This was proper also to both the seeds of Abraham. And as it was only a temporal inheritance, the same was conditional, as Heb. 3. And so confirmed by circumcision upon both the seeds of Abraham, as Gen. 21:9, 10; Deut. 30:18, 19, 20. And as it pointed at a spiritual inheritance, shadowed out under it, now thus considered, it was absolute, and confirmed only upon the spiritual seed, as Gen. 17:19, 21. Gen. 21:12; Gal. 3:17.
Thirdly, that from Abraham’s loins should come a seed, in whom all the Nations of the earth should be blessed, Gen. 17:16 & 18; 10:18 & 21:2. This blessed branch of the Covenant was proper only to the spiritual seed, considered either in the cause, or in the effect, as Acts 3:25, 26; Gal. 3:7, 8, 9-16.
Fourthly, Abraham’s fatherhood of the faithful, as Gen. 17:4, 5. This was only proper to faithful Abraham and his seed, as they are found walking in the steps of his faith, Rom. 4:11, 12,13,16; Rom. 9:7, 8; Gal. 3:6, 7, 9, 29; I Pet. 3.
Lastly, To be a God to Abraham, and to his seed after him in all their generations, as Gen. 17:7. That was faithfully to perform all that He had promised, either to Abraham in particular, or his seed in general, as Neh. 9:8; Psa. 105:9-14 and 42; Luke 1:72, 73, 74. In token of which God annexed Circumcision, as a seal to confirm the same, as Gen. 17:11. These are the several parts and branches of the Covenant that God made with Abraham and his seed, and Circumcision in the flesh as a seal to confirm every part to each seed, as was proper to the same.
Objection: But if any shall say, the Scriptures deny many seeds, and approve only of one seed in Abraham, with whom the promise was made, as Gal. 3:16.
The Fulfillment of the Promises only in Christ and only to Believers
To this I answer and say, that this place well considered, will help forward the truth, for the Apostle here speaks of the Covenant, so as comprehending Christ the substance of the same, and the Elect in him for eternal life, in which sense the Covenant of grace was not made to Abraham and to all his seed without exception, for then all his seed must either be saved, or else such as are not, but perish, must fall out of the said Covenant of Grace. For I suppose no man will say, that all the seed of Abraham without exception were saved. And if not, then there was some of Abraham’s seed comprehended in the Covenant in one sense, and admitted to the seal thereof, whom God excepted against, in another. Some of which were Ishmael and Esau, signifying in Abraham’s generation, a fleshly seed as well as a spiritual, between which seeds God ever held forth a distinction through all their generations, from Abraham until Christ, who put an end to the type and the flesh, and all privileges of that nature thereunto belonging, as 2 Cor. 5:17; Phi. 3:3, 4, 5; Col. 2. So that now all is laid up in Christ, as God’s storehouse and treasury, and in him only for such as believe, and therefore now first in Christ by faith, and then to the Covenant and the privileges thereof, as Gal. 3:29. And none by the Gospel are approved of now to be the children of Abraham, but only such as walk in the steps of his faith. For as none are invisible before God, so none are by Him approved to have a right to any privilege of grace, but only as they appear to be in Christ by some effect of faith declaring the same. And so much the more, in that God excludes all from His holy Covenant, as to have right in the outward dispensation thereof, but only such as believe, Rom. 11:20; Heb. 3:18,19; Heb. 4:1-3; Heb. 11:5, 6; Rom. 9:7,8; Gal. 3:22, 26, 29; John 3:5, 6.
Let all this be well considered, and I doubt not but the difference between the Covenant God made with Abraham before Christ, and this under Christ, will appear very great, both in respect of persons and things. Herein our descent chiefly lies, that covenant admitted of a fleshly seed, but this only of a spiritual, Gen. 17:13 with Jer. 31:33, Rom. 2:28, 29. The seal and ordinances of that Covenant, confirmed faith in things to come, but the seal and ordinances of this Covenant confirm faith in things already done.
Contrasts Between the First and Second Covenants
That Covenant was national, and admitted all of the same to the seals thereof; but this is personal, and admits of none but such as believe.
That Covenant begot children after the flesh, as all Abraham’s natural posterity. But this only begets children after the Spirit, and only approves of such as are begotten and born from above, in whose hearts God writes His laws, Jer. 31, Ezek. 36, Heb. 8, John 3:5, 6.
That Covenant with Abraham and his posterity before Christ, comprehended a civil State, and a worldly Government with the like carnal subjects for the service of the same. But this covenant now under Christ comprehends only a spiritual State, and a heavenly Government, with the like spiritual Subjects for the service of this also.
That Covenant held forth Christ in the flesh to a heart vailed, but this Covenant holds Him forth after the Spirit to a face open, 2 Cor. 3. In all, understand the visible profession of the covenant, in the outward dispensation of the privileges thereof.
Objection: And now I come to the consequences gathered from the Covenants being one and the same, as afore said, that as Infants were in that Covenant then, and circumcised, so are infants in this now, and to be baptized.
In answer to which, I shall commit, in the first place to the Reader’s consideration, these particulars, for the further clearing of the aforesaid truth.
The Sad and Evil Consequences of Making both Covenants One and the Same
First, What the Covenant is. Secondly, What is that which admits into the said Covenant. And lastly, Whether all have not one and the same way of entrance into the said Covenant; and to each of these a word.
What The Covenant Is
First, the covenant itself, is a covenant of grace and salvation, by which God, of His grace, takes a person or a people to Himself for His own, above all others, to be their God, and to manifest upon them the riches of His grace and glory. The manner of which is, in effect, but only this much, God’s calling of a man to an agreement with Himself in His Son, wherein He promises to be His God, and to give him life and happiness, and all things in Christ, and that he shall believe and rest upon His faithfulness and truth, and so take Him for his God, &c.
Man and God meet together and agree in Christ
And thus I say, God and man come to an agreement in Christ, upon something passing between them, wherein they both agree, and this is called a covenant. And I call it the Covenant of Grace, when the person agreed upon is a subject of grace, as God’s giving to that subject, life, peace, and all things in Jesus Christ. And that He will be his God, upon Whom the subject shall rely, and believe the accomplishment of all things in God’s due time. The subject of this covenant shall know God’s will by His Son, and obey Him in the same, and the subject’s free consent to God again, that he likes all this well, and concludes with God that it shall be so.
The Believer is in God’s Covenant and Church-Fellowship
For a covenant presupposes two persons at least, and also something to agree upon, or covenant upon. This did God with Abraham, and so He does with every believer and chiefly when God takes any into a Church-fellowship.
So that the Covenant consists of these essentials:
First, the persons disposed to agree,
Secondly, something to agree upon,
Lastly, their mutual consent, which is the agreement itself.
And so much for the covenant, and what the same is.
What It Is That Enrights Into The Covenant.
Secondly, What it is that gives right to enter, or admits any into the said Covenant, and that is the promise of God in Christ, and faith in the same, that gives right of entrance, and only admits into Covenant with God, as Neh. 9:8. The Covenant aforesaid, has these essential parts, and visible branches.
First, Grace in the Agent of the Covenant, God.
Secondly, Faith in the Subject, Man.
Thirdly, a uniting or closing of these together, which is that mutual consent and agreement by faith in the same grace, revealed by the Gospel, which is the word of Reconciliation. So that it is the blessed word of life, and faith in the same that gives right, and admits into Covenant with God.
The True Approved Subjects of This Covenant
Thirdly, Who are the true approved Subjects of this Covenant? They are only such as believe. For God approves of none in covenant with Him by His Word out of Christ, nor of any in Christ without faith. Nay, God denies His approving of any in fellowship or communion with Him that do not believe, as John 3:5, 6, 37; Heb. 11:6; Rom. 8:9. Thus God approves of none as Subjects of His gracious Covenant, but only such as He has elected and chosen in Christ, so appearing by some fruit and effects of the same, as these Scriptures, (with many others) witness, Romans 8:29, 30; Rom. 11:7; Eph. 1:4, 5, 6; 2 Thess. 2:13, 14; I Peter. 1:2; Acts 2:47; Acts 13:48. So that such as are the chosen and called of the Lord, are the only approved Subjects by Him in His saving and ever-blessed Covenant of life.
All Persons Now Under the Gospel Have the Same Way into the Covenant
The fourth and last point is this, Whether that all persons now under the Gospel, have not one and the same way of entrance into the foresaid Covenant?
For answer to this, the holy Word of God must be Judge, and I find the Gospel of Christ to approve of none in the Lord’s holy Covenant of Grace, but such as believe. Neither are any approved of, as to be in the way of life, but such as are in Christ by faith. And, therefore, no other way to come into the Covenant of Grace and salvation (as the Scriptures reveal) but only by Jesus Christ. For in Him are all the promises confirmed, and made over only unto such as believe, as 2 Cor. 1:20; Rom. 10:4; I John 5:11, 12; Rom. 8:9.
The Essentials of the Covenant
The holy Covenant of life consists of these three essentials for entrance thereinto:
First, the word of God to reveal the same.
Secondly, Christ to open the way, and to inright the party therein.
And lastly, faith, without which none can enter thereinto.
So that as there is but only one way of entrance into Covenant with God, that the Scripture reveals now under the Gospel, and that is by Jesus Christ, and faith in His name.
Christ is the Only Way of Entrance into Covenant with God
Then all must enter this way that can be approved of as being in Covenant with God. For none can come to the Father but by the Son, nor any to the Son, but by faith, as John 14:6; with John 6:44, 45; Heb. 11:6. Let all this be well considered, and then see how Infants are discovered to be in this Covenant, and what way of entrance God has by His word appointed for them to come in, and denied the same unto others, except they be naturally begotten and born in the covenant, and so were never out of the same. Which thing indeed the opposite doctrine affirms. For in Infants be in the Covenant of Grace, and that by virtue of their bring born of believing parents who are in the same, then such infants are born in a saving estate of Grace, and were never out of the same. This doctrine makes void many heavenly and divine truths that speak to the contrary, which lay all under sin and wrath for the same; as conceived in sin, born children of wrath, and so under the curse, until Christ, by His blood and death redeemed them, and by His heavenly voice calls them, and by His Holy Spirit of Grace, begets them unto a living hope, working faith in their hearts, to lay hold upon Christ, God’s arm of Salvation, that carries them up to glory. Thereof, all are said to be born again from above, of water and of the Spirit, before they can enter into the Kingdom of God.
If Any Are Born Into The Covenant Or Members Of It By Natural Standing, Then Christ Is not The Door There Into
Now for such as are begotten and born in the covenant, being the seed of believers, as is affirmed, then such were never out of the same, which doctrine disables them of any of the former privileges by Christ. For none can be under grace, wrath and the curse, at one and the same time, in the outward dispensation of the same; upon the which all our discourse intends. For invisible things belong unto God. And so I come to some other grounds intending to prove Infants to be in the covenant now, as they were of old, and they are these.
Objection, First, if this were not so, then this Covenant would not be the same with that of Old.
And for an answer to this, I shall refer the Reader to what has been aforesaid concerning the differences between the Covenant then, and this now:
They are not the same in a typical way,
nor the same in a fleshly seed,
nor the same in the outward privileges,
nor the same in the visible profession thereof, &c.
all which I have spoken to already, and shall add more hereafter.
Objection, Another ground is this, else the state of the Grace of God should be straightened and made of less extent by Christ’s coming then it was before, whereas it is more enlarged, and of greater extent, there bring nothing more required in the state of the persons to interest Infants into the Covenant then, than is now.
Since Christ’s Coming in the Flesh There Are No Covenant Blessings Because of The Flesh
This particular consists of two part. The first is to this effect, if infants be not in the covenant now as they were at the first, then the covenant is of less extent since Christ’s coming, than it was before. The answer is, that indeed it is of less extent in respect of the flesh, by Christ’s coming, then it was before. Because that by Him is taken away all fleshly respects, either in regard of persons or privileges in matters of grace, which is a further enlarging of the covenant in a spiritual sense. For the nearer the covenant comes to perfection, the larger it is, and the perfection of the covenant in one sense is this, to have nothing contained in it, but what is truly of it. The contrary is a straitening of the same and a bondage unto the true Subjects thereof.
Again, in cannot properly be said, that the Covenant in the full accomplishment of the same in glory, will be more strait and of less extent than now in grace, and yet there shall be none but only such as truly appear to be of the same.
Objection: The second part of the Proposition lies to this effect: There was no more required in Infants then to interest them into the covenant, than there is required of Infants now.
For answer to this in word, let the Reader consider well what was required to interest Infants into the covenant then, and see if there be the same to interest Infants into the covenant now.
Infants and the Covenant
There was required then, first, a male only of 8 days old, secondly of the seed of Abraham, and lastly, a special command from God for the same in particular. For though the covenant had been ever so firm between God and Abraham, yet if he had not had a command in special to circumcise, I suppose he would not have done it. If the command had been only to have preached the way of God to the people, and to circumcise such as believe, and embraced the same truths as preached unto them, and no other express word of command for an Infant of 8 days old, and, the practice of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, had been the same, without any direct and apparent example of their circumcising Infants, I do believe that none of the Jews that truly feared God, would have been so bold as to have circumcised their Infants, or if they had, let the indifferent reader judge by the word of God, if it had not been a sin of presumption to go be beyond what was commanded. And for their personal interests in the covenant, this kind of commandment is required now, as was then, to be of the seed, or children of Abraham, and visibly to appear so now, as they did then. And who these are, I appeal to the Word of God for righteous judgment, Rom. 4:11, 12; Rom. 9:7, 8; Gal. 3:7, 8, 9, 16, 22, 26, 29. This I have showed before, and shall more clearly hereafter, and so I come to another Proposition thus:
Objection: Abraham being the root, and the Jews and Gentiles the branches, when the Jews were broken off, Infants as well as men of years were broken off also, the like will happen when the Jews shall be planted in again, Infants as well as men of years shall be in.
The Sense in Which Abraham is the Root of the Jews and Gentiles
To pass over the difficulties, and things that will not be granted about the Jews coming in, that this argument seems to import in the laying down of it, I shall only speak a word to what is intended, or implied. And for the better understanding of it all in a word, let the Reader well consider, in what sense the Gospel holds forth Abraham to be the root of Jews and Gentiles. Secondly, how the Jews and Gentiles may be said to be Abraham’s branches, Thirdly, the way of their breaking off. And lastly, what way this will make for the Gentiles and their infants to come in, and for the Jews and their infants coming in, I shall let that stand by, until the time comes, or for some Scripture to reveal how the same shall be.
Abraham is a Pattern only in Respect to His Faith and Faithfulness
And first, to see how the Gospel holds forth Abraham for a root of Jews and Gentiles, and that is only in respect of his faith and faithfulness, and so he is the pattern and father of the faithful, that resemble him in the same, otherwise Abraham is not the root of the Gentiles, for they descended not from his loins as the Jews did. So that the Jews and Gentiles are Abraham’s branches, only as they spring out of the same root by faith, which declares them to be his true, natural branches, so far as they only appear to be of the same faith as he was. This I have been upon somewhat before, and shall be more fully hereafter. But now for the Jews breaking off, this was only for lack of their believing the Gospel, as Romans 11 shows, and their opposing the same, Acts 13:46. Even so were the Gentiles received in, only upon their believing and receiving the same. And as God rejected none of the seed of the Jews that believed, for their parent’s unbelief, no more does God admit of the Gentiles’ seed that do not believe, but with respect to actual sin, no more does the word justify any, but with respect to actual faith. And as every one’s own faith in Christ enrights to life, so everyone’s own faith in Christ enrights to the privileges of life.
Objection: That the Jews and Gentiles being incorporated into one body in Christ, as Ephesians 2:11 -20 shows. As the Jews’ Infants were in the same body, even so must the Infants of the Gentiles be also, Ephesians 3:6.
I answer, in a word, that the church of the New Testament consists both of the Jews and Gentiles. This is a truth, and admits of all that believe, and rejects none. And for the Gentiles’ and Jews’ infants being both alike; in the Church of the New Testament, though it consists of Jews and Gentiles, yet the church never admitted of any Infants as members in her body, or to the privileges thereof, but as they appeared to believe, and so were capable of the same.
Objection, Another Proposition lies thus; If by this word to Abraham, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed, Infants are included, and therefore as of old circumcision, and the same promise be continued in the same state to the Gentiles, then the Gentiles’ Infants are in the same also; but the first is true, and therefore the second, and so Infants are to be baptized.
For answer to this, let the Reader consider well, that for a man to take this unto Abraham, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed, for a ground of circumcision, this cannot be so but only the world of command that enjoined the thing. For if God had but only made his covenant with Abraham, and of a commandment to him to circumcise, it had been sin for him to circumcised any. So that it was not the promise, but the command that was the ground of Abraham’s, and the Jews circumcising their Infants. And so the same ground must serve the Gentiles to baptize their Infants, which is not the covenant, but the like express command from Christ for the same. But as there is none, therefore the first, yet the second is not true, and so Infants are not to be baptized.
First, let it be minded, in what sense God did covenant with Abraham to be his God, and the God of his seed.
Secondly, How we are to consider Abraham’s seed, with whom God made His covenant.
True Faith and Holy Obedience
For the first, God sets forth Himself to Abraham, to be the Almighty God, and so an All-sufficient God, Gen. 17:1; for Abraham to repose Himself, and build his faith upon; from which ground Abraham is commanded to walk before God, and to be upright; which implies true faith, and holy obedience, with reference to which God made His covenant with him, being a fit and capable subject for the same, as Neh. 9:7,8. And with respect to which faith and faithfulness, God took in with Abraham, all his posterity for a people to Himself under circumcision, and other Ordinances, by which God did distinguish them from all other nations in the world. And to be a God to Abraham and to his seed after him, Who was faithfully to perform His promise, in making of him great, and giving him a seed, in whom all the Nations should be blessed, with which seed He would establish His covenant, for an everlasting covenant. And so He would be a God to his seed after him, in doing for them all that He had promised, to multiply them, to give them that fruitful Land of Cannan, and so to bless them with great prosperity. And also I will be their God, that is, their God Whom they shall believe and obey, upon Whom they shall depend for the performance of all that I have promised unto them, by which faith and obedience they shall acknowledge me to be their God.
Now these being the particular expressions of the covenant, and as they lie barely in the letter, they are figurative speeches, and so considered only as they were temporal, for so was Canaan a temporal inheritance, and so were the other outward blessings, under which were figured out spiritual substances, only to the like Subjects. And as they were outward or temporal, so considered, they were both general and conditional, for as the people did then believe God, and obey him, so they did enjoy them, and not else, as Heb. 3. Unto which covenant circumcision was added, as a token, to put the people always in mind of the said covenant, as Gen. 17:11, and so to perform the same condition of faith and obedience, as Abraham their father did. And to walk as such circumcised in heart, unto which they were engaged by that ordinance, as Rom. 2: 25-29. Otherwise the covenant stood not enforce for their outward prosperity, that was the glory of that people in general. In which respect only, the covenant, the seal, and the inheritance, are all of a like extent; as Gen. 17:7, 8, 13. And so ended in Christ, in whom all stands firm only to such as believe, as Gal. 3. This Covenant was accomplished by God upon the Jews at three several times, as they were Abrahams’ seed.
First, in bringing them from Egypt to Canaan, Secondly, from Babylon to Jerusalem, and Lastly, Christ’s coming in the flesh, as the seed in whom all Nations should be blessed. This blessed seed according to the covenant God made with Abraham, was sent first to Abraham’s seed, the Jews in general (as Matt. 10:5,6; Matt. 15:24; John 1:11.) to bless them, by calling them to repentance, and so to turn them from their sins, as Acts 2: 38, 39; Acts 3:25, 26; Acts 13:23-33. Thus the King of heaven offered His Son first in marriage to the Jews, as Matt. 22, and being refused by them, He sought Him a wife among the Gentiles, Acts 13:46; Acts 15:14; Rom. 11. And so much for the promise or Covenant God made with Abraham and his seed, which for the right understanding of it, must be considered in a several respect, according to the seed. But not so to the Gentiles and their seed. The Covenant lies not to them in a figurative way, nor in any fleshly or temporal respect, as it did to Abraham’s seed in the flesh, but to the Gentiles in substance, only as they are in Christ by faith, and so upright as Abraham was when God made a covenant with him. And if otherwise, then the Gentiles must be considered as the Jews, then they must also have a fleshly seed, under the same conditional respect as Abraham had, and have only one public head, as Abraham was to bring them in, and all stand in the same relation as Children to a Father, to that one head, as Abraham’s seed did unto him, and come in the same way, both for covenant, and command, as Abraham and his seed did. All which the Scriptures deny to the Gentiles for coming in such a way.
The Comparison of the Seed Under the Gospel and Under the Law
The Seed of The Flesh
And so I come now to the seed, and first to begin in the fountain and head-spring of all, at Abraham and Sarah, and see the Gospel’s discovery of their seed, compared with the Law, by which it will appear what the seed of Abraham is, that God approves of to be in the covenant with Him, and so to have a right to the seal thereof. There was under the Old Testament a general stated people in an outward form of profession amongst whom God owned but a remnant to belong unto Him in His gracious covenant of life, Isa. 10:21, 22; Rom. 9:27. Against some of which in the general God excepted, as not so approved of in His covenant, and yet admitted them lawful members of that body, and so to the privileges thereof, they being the seed of Abraham after the flesh, Gen. 17:10, 20, 21, 23; Gen. 21:12, 13; Gen. 25:23; with Romans 9:11-13.
The True Seed of The Covenant
So likewise under the New Testament, there is also a stated people whom God approves of for His own chosen and true spiritual worshippers. Against these He lays no exception, but He owns them as such whom He has purchased with His own blood, and so approved of as the Subjects of His gracious Covenant of life, as such who are called, chosen and faithful, John 4:23; I Peter 2:5, 9; Ephesians 2:19, 20, 21, and 4:16; I Cor. 12:12, 13, 25, 26, 27; Eph. 5:25-27; Acts 20:28; Rev. 17:14.
The Allegory of these Two Covenants or Bodies of People
Now unto these two stated of bodied people, there is in the Scripture two typical heads, namely, Hagar and Sarah, as Gal. 4:22, 23, 24, 25. Here Hagar and Sarah, as the two Mothers, type out the Two Testaments, even so their two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, type out the subjects of the same, the one by the bond-woman born after the flesh, but he of the free-woman was by promise, v. 23. Now as Hagar the Mother, signified the old state in general, so Ishmael her son, signified the children of the same state, born after the flesh, as he was. For through that he was of the seed of Abraham, yet he was no child of promise. Now for Sarah. She was the lawful wife of Abraham and so a free-woman, with whom the Apostle compares the state of the Church of the New Testament, the true spouse and wife of Christ, who is free from all servitude and bondage, and stands only in subjection to Christ her Husband, as Sarah did to Abraham. And Isaac her son, signifying the true holy and blessed seed. Of this holy stock according to the Spirit, and so as Isaac was true heir according to promise, for the Gospel approves of none as true heirs of the blessing, and so the right seed, and truly in the covenant, but only such as the promise produced and brings forth, as it did Isaac, for Isaac came not by an ordinary course of nature, but by virtue of the promise of God, and faith in the same, which raised nature above itself to bring him forth, Gen. 18:10, 11, 12; Gen. 21:1, 2; Rom. 9:9; Heb. 11:11, 12. By this the wisdom of God in the Apostle holds forth as in a figure, who are Abraham’s seed, approved of in the Gospel, and they are such as are brought forth by a power above nature, which is by the promise of God, and faith in the same, as Isaac was. And therefore, such are said to be as Isaac was, children of the free woman, the true seed of Abraham, after the Spirit, and so heirs according to promise, Gal. 4:28, 29, 30, 31; Gal. 3:29; Rom. 9:8.
Now the promise in the letter, the land of Canaan, an earthly profession answerable to the heirs natural, and circumcision in the flesh, as a seal to confirm the same upon condition of the like faith and obedience, so as to walk as such circumcised in heart. So God would be their God, to bless, increases, and to bring them into their promised inheritance, as Deut. 1. But in the substance, the heavenly Canaan, a spiritual inheritance, answerable to the heir spiritual, and circumcision in the heart, as the seal of the Spirit, to confirm faith in the free and absolute promise of life, and faith required not of man, as a condition, but in man, as the work of the Spirit of grace in the heart, by the which the same is made capable to join in covenant with God by faith. And though that Infants were in the first, yet not in the last, as visibly to appear in the covenant aforesaid, until their faith so declares them.
And further, consider of it thus: first, that no believer now can so stand to be his seed, as Abraham of old did unto his seed, except he assumes the place of Abraham, and also his fatherhood over all the faithful. But if any believer should so far presume as to assume Abraham’s place, and fatherhood upon him, yet another cannot do so, except we make many Abrahams and so all fathers and no children.
And if it be said, that every believer in his own family is an Abraham.
If it be so, then he is the same unto his servants as well as to his children, for so was Abraham.
The Gospel Seed of the Believer and the Church of Christ
But some will say, that a believer would have a greater privilege then ever Abraham had, for the covenant was not founded upon Aberham’s personal seed, for had it been so, then the privileges thereof would have reached to all Abraham’s personal seed, as well as to Isaac. But this it did not, for Abraham begot many children of his own body besides Isaac, who shared not with him, neither in the covenant or privileges thereof, as Gen. 25:1-6. The like it is with the believer’s seed, to which the covenant lies, not in any respect, as to a particular seed, but jointly considered together as a body, and so the Church of Christ, and their off-spring, seed, or children, as aforesaid, considered, are the generation of the righteous, succeeding them in the faith, not in the flesh. And this is the seed that God so highly exalted in Scripture, and promises so many blessings unto.
The Believer’s Seed, Spiritual, Through the Gospel, not the Natural, is the
Ground of the New Covenant in Distinction from the Old Covenant of the Flesh
And secondly, it was not Abraham personal being in the covenant, nor yet his faith that brought in his seed, or admitted the same to the seal thereof, but only God’s special commandment, for both Abraham and many others were in the covenant of grace long before Circumcision was administered, and the reason why such were not sealed with circumcision before that time, was because that God no where had commanded the same. No more can a believer’s being in the covenant now, bring in his seed, nor admit of the same to Baptism, without God’s special command for the same now, as Abraham had then, otherwise they proudly assume a privilege above their father Abraham. And though that believers are in some sense under the same covenant (of grace REP) now, as then, yet in no sense under the same command, for then they must circumcise, and not baptize, and that males only, and not females also.
The New Covenant Makes All Things New
But as there is a new King, so there must be a new Law, and as a New Covenant, so a new subject, a new Church must have a new state, and a new ordinance, a new commandment, so that as all things are become new, even so must all be of God, whose will is to be obeyed in whatsoever He commands, which is the only ground of all man’s obedience. For no man can be said to obey God in doing that which he has not commanded. Therefore, seeing there is not a command from the Lord for baptizing of Infants, as there was for the circumcising of Infants, although by Abraham they were circumcised, yet by Christ, they shall not be baptized. And so I come to the second Argument:
The Second Argument
If in the whole body of Israel, as well infants as men of years, were to be baptized, and with the same baptism as ours is, then infants are now to be baptized, as then they were. But in the whole body of the Israelites, infants were baptized, and that with the same baptism spiritually that ours is, therefore, infants are not to be baptized, as then they were. That it was the same baptism with ours spiritually is evident? The other Ordinances that mentioned were the same spiritually with ours; for they ate the same spiritual meat, and drank the same spiritual drink with us, I Cor. 10:1, 2, 3, 4. Therefore they were baptized with the same spiritual baptism. Otherwise the Apostle’s arguments were not of force against the Corinthians, if they were not the same Sacraments with ours, nor the conclusion contained that the Corinthians should be punished with the like punishment, if they committed the like sins. Therefore the argument is firm.
In answer to this, I shall endeavor to be brief, therefore let the Reader consider well these particulars:
God took unto Himself the Family of the Jews after the Flesh
First, here God took unto Himself the whole body of these people, the Jews, who were His own people before by a Covenant, for they were they seed of Abraham and the family of Jacob that came into Egypt to sojourn there, Gen. 46; Acts 7. Now let the like be made to appear that God ever took unto Himself the whole body of the Gentiles, as He did the Jews, and then it will be somewhat the same with the Gentiles, and their seed, as it was with the Jews and their seed. But if the one cannot be proved, then the other will not be granted. And so this argument falls already.
The Meaning and Contrast of Baptism unto Moses and Unto Christ
Secondly, here was no ordinance of the New Testament, much less Baptism, administered upon any of the Israelites at their departing out of Egypt, but only God’s great power and goodness, declared by the leading of His people through the Sea, in and by the which God did preserve them, and so delivered them up as it were to Moses, and to his government and direction, as a people preserved in death. As in and by baptism, the party being by the grace and power of God preserved, he is delivered up to Christ, to His government and direction, as one risen from death, with a new life to God, as Rom. 6;, Col. 2 and Gal. 3. The Israelites’ Baptism in the Cloud and in the Sea, was only in the type or shadow, and so in the Letter of the Old Testament, as opposed to the Ministration of the Spirit in the New Testament, 2 Cor. 3. And so is ours only so far as the type and figure may agree with the truth, and no further. So that in the type and figure it was theirs, but in the truth and substance it is ours. Therefore, that baptism which they had in the Old Testament under a vail, was not the same baptism that we have in the New Testament with the open face, 2 Cor. 3. And though that Infants were baptized with their baptism, yet Infants are not to be baptized with our baptism, for we have an Altar whereof they have no right to eat which serve the Tabernacle, Heb. 13:14.
The Internal and Spiritual Part of Baptism
Thirdly, that Infants were then baptized with the same baptism spiritually that ours is, this I somewhat question, because to be spiritually baptized, is to have the internal and spiritual part of baptism, and so the substance as well as the external part, and then all such so baptized (as I think), must be saved. But many of them that were baptized in the Cloud, and Sea, were overthrown in the Wilderness, as a testimony of God’s wrath against them, as Heb. 3. Therefore, such though they had the outward, external part, and so the shadow, yet not the internal and spiritual part, the substance, and so not the same baptism with ours spiritually as affirmed.
Again, they were not spiritual simply in themselves considered, for then the Egyptians and the cattle that went out of Egypt with them, should have so partaken of them, for the Egyptians ate of the Manna, and the cattle drank of the water, and all passed through the Sea. Therefore, they were spiritual only as they served to some spiritual end or use appointed by God, and that was as they signified and held out some spiritual thing. So that such are said to eat of the same spiritual meat, and to drink of the same spiritual drink, which are capable so for to eat and to drink of them, as they are spiritual things. And so the blessed Apostle applies the same unto Fathers, as men of years and so capable, and not unto Infants, neither do I find Infants punished among the Israelites in the Wilderness, nor yet threatened by the Apostle among the Corinthians in the Apostles sense. And this way carries the Apostle’s Argument in force against the like sinners among the Corinthians, or any other people. For the scope of the Apostle’s argument is to inform the Corinthians, and so al others as well, that no outward privilege whatsoever, shall secure any people from punishment, that go on in sin. And to make this appear to be true, he presents them with an example of God’s dealing with His own people of old, even our fathers, who had as great outward privileges as any the Corinthians had, and yet for all this, upon their going on in sin, God punished them accordingly.
But what for all this, Suppose all be granted, that the whole body of the Israelites, together with their Infants, passed through the Sea, and were all baptized unto Moses in the Cloud, and in the Sea. What can this make for the proving of the Gentiles baptizing of their Infants now under the New Testament? If this prove anything for Infant’s Baptism, it must be upon the like occasion, unto the same end, and by the like command, as all the former was, for the Israelites had a special command from God for all they did, to depart with their Infants out of Egypt by name, and to pass through the Sea, and to follow the Cloud, and to do whatsoever was done either by them, or their Infants. Now if there be not the like occasion, end, and command from the Lord, to the Gentiles, for them to baptize their Infants, as here was for the Israelites, the Argument is infirm, and of no worth, but there is no such command from God for the same. Therefore, though that the Israelites‘ Infants were baptized then, yet the Gentiles’ Infants must not be baptized now. And, so I come to the third Argument.
The Third Argument
That there is one and the same consideration of the first fruits, and the lump, the root and the branches, but the first fruits and root being Parents are holy, and must be baptized, therefore Infants, the lump and branches are also holy, and must be baptized also. The first part is clear from the Law, of sanctifying the rest of the fruits, by offering the first fruits, there being nothing more required. The second is clear from Romans 11:16, with I Cor. 7:14. Both which places are of a like consideration, and have the same sense and meaning. And for the latter, it is I suppose, mistaken, when it is expounded to be the same with that which is spoken before, of Infidels person sanctified to the believer, so as that the believer might dwell with the Infidel daily. For if the meaning were so, then the Apostle’s argument were none at all. For this might be questioned in the nature of the thing as well as the former, and therefore if he intended nothing else, he said nothing to clear the General, and the scruple from thence. Besides the Apostle said two things, first, that to the pure, all things are pure and sanctified, therefore a believing husband or wife might dwell with an Infidel yoke-fellow.
The second thing is, that by virtue of a believer’ election in grace, all his fruit is holy, and partakers of the same state of grace with him, unless they do by some evil act of theirs deprive themselves of it, as Esau and Ishmael, and such like have done. The Apostle speaking therefore of a twofold holiness, the one not in the thing itself, but to another use. The other is of the thing itself, it cannot be but sinful for to confound them. Thus lies the Argument, and the grounds proving the same word for word.
In answer to which, I shall first call over the argument itself, and speak a word to that, and then more fully examine the truth again of it in the grounds alleged to prove the same.
The Argument is thus: There is one and the same consideration of the first fruits and the lump, the root and the branches. But the first fruits and root, believing parents, are holy, and must be baptized. Therefore, infants, the lump, and branches are holy also, and must be baptized.
The Fallacy of This Proposition
Let the wise hearted Reader observe the fallacy in this Proposition, and the strength which bears up all the building that is laid upon the same, is only taken for granted without proof. First, for the root, that is here taken for granted, but no way proved, to be believing parents, which I deny, as thereafter I shall manifest to the contrary by God’s assistance. Secondly, that Infants are put for the lump and branches, which I also deny, as in due place will appear. These being presupposed, the argument is grounded upon the words of the Apostle, Romans 11:16, As the first fruits are holy, so is the lump, and the root being holy, so are the branches. Gathering from hence, that as the first fruits to God did sanctify all the rest of the same lump; so believing parents sanctify all their seed that proceeds from their loins. And so, as the first fruits and the root being parents, are holy, even so, the lump and branches being their Infants are also holy, and so to be baptized as their parents are. This is mere fallacy, and far from the intent of the Apostle in those words. And for our better understanding of the same, let us a little examine the Scriptures alleged.
For the first is Romans 11:19. The general scope of the Apostle’s discourse in this Chapter is concerning the Jews breaking off, and the occasion of it, as also their calling by the Gospel, who were the people of God in a two-fold consideration.
The Distinctions Between the Two Covenants, Peoples and Seeds
First, as they were a national people according to the flesh, which many outward privileges suitable to the same, by which God declared Himself to be their God, and they to be His people above all others in the world.
Secondly, some of them God owned in a more special manner, with reference to His gracious covenant made with Abraham, and established with Isaac, and his seed after him for an everlasting covenant, as Gen. 17, which consideration cannot be of the Jews nationally considered, as I have formerly proved.
For if so, then all the whole nation must have been in a true and saving estate of grace. And so all of them to have been saved, or else to fall from an estate of grace. So that as God had then a national Church and people, even so had He for the same also national privileges both for order, ordinances and government. Which order cannot now be expected for us Gentiles under the New Testament. And though that God admitted them all alike to the outward privileges in the type, yet God has another consideration of them in respect of the substance, as not to approve of them all in His holy Covenant of grace.
Yet of that whole body in general, Abraham according to the flesh was the stock or root from which they sprung as natural branches, as John 8. Which national people must be considered in a two-fold respect.
National Israel Considered in a Two-Fold Respect
First a civil state or common-wealth under a civil government, as Kings Judges, and others of the like, as Governors of that nature.
Secondly, a Church consisting of an Holy Assembly of worship and worshippers. And so a spiritual state with the like government and governors as Priests, Prophets and the like of that nature.
The Double Seed, Children of the Flesh, and Isaac,
All which held fellowship and communion together, because God took into one body that whole Nation for His own people. Or rather one head comprehending them all, which was Abraham, from whom they descended as children springing from the loins of a father. All which so springing out of his loins did assume to themselves an equal right and privilege in God’s gracious covenant made with Abraham and his seed, supposing God had bound His Covenant generally upon him and his seed in his natural generation of the flesh.
The Children of the Promise are Called in God’s Own Time
That It May Appear unto Whom They Belong
But God respecting in the same, only His chosen in Christ, with whom he confirmed His Covenant with Isaac in reference to Christ, Gen. 17; Gal. 3. Who in God’s own time He calls them to the faith, that they might appear to whom they belong, Rom. 8:28-30; Gal. 4:4-6. These the Apostle ever defends against the general rejection of that Nation.
The Elect Stood as Branches in their Root, Jesus Christ
For though such were rejected as were not elected, this made not the promise of God of none effect to those who stood firm in the Covenant by Grace in Christ Jesus, as branches in their root. Which grace the rest opposed, and were cast off for their unbelief, and when the fullness of God’s time is come to call them to belief, they shall be received again into their former estate as alive from the dead, as Rom. 11:23, 24; Luke 15:24.
The Faithfulness of God in the Promise of Grace And the Effectual Power of the Gospel
Therefore, the Apostle, after he had proved the rejection of the Jews, labors to make good the faithfulness of God in His promise of grace, and the effectual power of the Gospel in the saving effects thereof in such as believed through grace, though the Jews in their national respect were rejected. And so only a few of them gained to the truth, Rom. 3:3, 4; 9:6 and chapter 11. And he gives a reason of it thus, though that the Jews were all under an outward form of profession of God’s name and truth, and so His people in that respect, yet there was but a remnant that He approved of in the Covenant according to His election of grace, unto whom the promise of life did belong, Rom. 9:6, 7, 8; Rom. 11:26; 2 Pet. 3:9.
The End of Election is Conformity to Jesus Christ
Now the lump generally considered, comprehends all, both the first fruits and the latter, for except the first fruits were part of the lump, it could not give testimony that the lump was holy, which lump so considered is God’s elect; those chosen in Christ, with reference to their believing in Him, and so the approved subjects of God’s gracious Covenant, and heirs apparent to the Kingdom of Christ. In which sense God had one and the same respect unto all, and every part of the same lump, that was as He considered the same in a conformity to His Son, as the end of His election, Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:8, 4-6; I Peter 1:1, 2. So that there is in the substance of truth one and the same consideration in the first fruits and the lump, according to what is laid down in the proposition, the lump being as a foresaid, a remnant according to God’s election, with reference to faith, and so approved subjects in His holy Covenant, appearing in Abraham’s, Isaac’s and Jacob’s believing as the first fruits of the same.
Now as those first fruits of that blessed crop in God’s holy Covenant were holy only so appearing (for we speak of visible things) so is the lump out of which these first appeared by faith, as a part of the same also holy in the same consideration. Again, the lump which the Apostle spoke of, is to be understood of the Jews, and not of the Gentiles, as here he applies it. For in the Chapter before, he labors to provoke the Jews to receive the Gospel, as verse 14 shows. Therefore, he intends the Jews by the first fruits of the lump. The first fruits, the believing fathers, as a foresaid, that first appeared in the Covenant of grace, in such a way by faith, and so holy was that remnant which God had still among them, with reference to the same state the first fruits were in, and so holy, the same considerations to be had of the lump, with reference to that which God, in His time, shall call them unto by His Gospel, and so are holy also. For this must respect a visible holiness suitable to that in the first fruits, otherwise it makes nothing for the thing in hand.
All of which well considered, will leave no place for Infants in this lump according to the Apostles’ intent for look what where the subjects of God’ election, the same are the subject matter of this lump. But the first were persons considered in Christ by faith, as has been proved, and therefore these the same, and not Infants, as Eph. 1:4 shows.
Objection: But if any will say that such as are elected, and after come to believe, they were first Infants, and then elected, and beloved of God and so holy in their infancy.
Baptism Invests the Elect, Who are Believers, into all the Privileges of Grace
So it may be said of the reprobate, that he is first an Infant, and the same in his infancy. But we are to walk by a rule, and to judge of persons by the Word of God, and there in to see who they are that God by His word approves of, and we are to do the same. And then, as the Word of God condemns none but with respect to sin, no more does it justify any without respect to faith. And so to see in the Gospel what persons the same approves of to be the true subjects of grace, such as may be justified, and justly imputed members of the body of Christ, redeemed by His blood, and so true heirs of glory, and to be invested into all the privileges of grace by baptism.
Now whether the Gospel inrights or admits any persons unto these holy privileges, without respect to their believing in Christ, but this no where appears in the New Testament, which is the only will of Christ that is now in force, for the approving or declaring the lawful subjects of the same. Therefore, no infants are here admitted, until they appear believers in Christ, and so the second fruits of the lump, answerable to the first fruits. For the first fruits ever imply a second of the same kind, see I Cor. 15:20, 23; Rev. 14:4; Rom. 16:5 and 8:23.
Concerning the Root and the Branches
Now for the root and branches, a word of two of them also.
The Jews Were Cut Off From the Lump, Christ Mystically Considered
By root here, is that from which the Jews were cut off, and the Gentiles were granted in, and that is not only believing parents, and so the same with the first fruits, as the arguments affirms, but Christ mystically considered, with reference to the rules or order, ordinances and government, laid down in the New Testament, for all such to believe, and submit unto, that God approves to be the true subjects of the same. In respect of which Christ is called a Vine, a root, and the foundation, John 15:1, 5; Rom. 15:12; Rev. 5: 5; 22:16; Isa. 28:16; I Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2:20. Upon which foundation the true, prepared matter for the building is laid, which are such as have a discernible principle of grace and faith, by which they are only capable sciences to be grafted into the stock or root, and to be joined as members to their head, and so to become an orderly body, as I Cor. 12. In which respect it is called the household of faith, the Church of God, and the body of Christ, Gal. 6:10; Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:24.
The Mystical Body of Christ
Which body consisting of particular members, as so many branches abiding in their olive tree, vine and root, Christ their head, who as the root, feeds the whole body, so with nourishment and fatness, that every branch receiving of the same, by faith becomes fruitful, as John 15:5; with Romans 11:17; Col. 2:19; Eph. 4:15, 16. That the root is meant Christ as a foresaid, with reference to the rules of the Gospel, and so as He is laid as the foundation of the New Testament appears in this:
First, in that He is the root or Olive Tree, out of which the Jews were cast out and the Gentiles were grafted in, Romans 11:17, 19, 23, 24.
Secondly, in that the Apostle charges the Gentiles if they boast in themselves against the Jews, they bear not the root, but the root, them, v. 18, that is, they appear not to have the truth of grace, and so not the true nature of the root and life of Christ in their heart, but only an outward form of the profession of him, as John 15:2.
Thirdly, from the consideration of that which the Jews refused, and the Gentiles received, which was Christ aforesaid.
The Holy Spirit in the Ordinances issues forth the sap and fatness of Christ as the Branch
Therefore, it is Christ in his mystical order, and government among His Saints that is here the root and Olive Tree, with His Spirit in His Ordinances, issuing forth sap and fatness of life and comfort into every believing heart, as a branch of the same.
This will yet more clearly appear, and consider what was the Jews own natural root and Olive tree, whereof they were natural branches, only by faith, as the Apostle so declares them, ver. 20-24, which was union and communion only with God in all His divine ordinances of worship, the manner and form of which was that mosaic and typical order of the Old Testament, in which respect the Jews were the first that ever God took in communion with Himself in such a holy way of worship, and therefore called the first fruits of His love in that respect, and natural branches.
Jesus Christ and His Gospel Order is The New Covenant which The Jews Will Be Converted Into
Which order and manner of worship (but not the matter) being changed at the coming of Christ in the flesh; and a new form and order set up by Him, called the Gospel or New Testament, which order they opposed and were rejected. Thus was Christ the precious tried corner stone, and sure foundation laid in Sion, as Isa. 28:16; I Cor. 3:11; I Pet. 2:6. And was to the Jew a stumbling stone, and a rock of offense, as I Peter 2:7, 8; Acts 4:11. For which the Kingdom was taken from them, as Matt. 21:41, 42, 43. That is, they were cast out of fellowship and communion with God, in respect of His worship and service for this their unbelief, and the Gentiles that did submit to the gospel were taken in for the worshipers of God under the New Testament, and so stand in a relation to God, as heirs of the Kingdom both of grace and glory by faith in Christ. And when God pleases to call them by the gospel to believe in His Son, and submit unto him, as He is the Mediator of the New Testament, then shall they be received again into their old fellowship and communion with God, as of old, to serve and worship Him again, according to the orders and rules of Christ in the Gospel, as of old they did according to the order and rules of Moses in the Law.
And thus the Apostle proves their first estate to be holy, as first fruits of that holy and blessed relation they stood in to God by faith. Even which for their unbelief they were cut off, and the Gentiles according to God’s election in their line by faith admitted in, o mere grace, and not to boast. And yet there is a remnant of them to be called as the lump, and a second fruit, which are also holy in reference to the first fruit of the same holy root, as afore said. And as the root itself is holy, so shall these branches be when they come to be grafted in again to their own root or olive tree, as at the first, which is union and communion with God in His holy way of worship, under the Gospel as of old under the Law. And so much for the root or olive tree, which must be understood of Christ mystically considered, and not of believing parents, as aforesaid.
Concerning The Branches
Now a word of the branches, which cannot be meant of Infants, but believers only in the Apostles sense, being holy.
First, they are branches only in the same consideration as they submit and grow in the root or Vine, and so appear as the true nature of the same, by which they appear to be holy, by the fruits thereof. Christ, as aforesaid, being the root or vine, the branches can no way be said to subsist and to grow in Him as their root, but only by faith, and He in them by His Spirit, without which there is no holiness in the Apostle’s sense, who speaks of such a holiness, as is produced in the branch, by the holy root, in which it grows, and so partakes of the nature of the root, by virtue of the union, and communion it has with the same, all which is by faith, as the Word of God reveals.
Secondly, there is no branch that is alive in the Vine, but partakes of the life and sap of the same, by virtue of which the branch though ever so young and small, is discovered to be alive, and enabled to bring forth, in its season, such fruit as by which the same may be discerned. So it is here by these spiritual branches, they cannot properly be called branches in the Apostle’s sense but as they partake of the life and grace of Christ, their true vine and olive-tree, by which they appear at the least to be alive in Him by faith, and enabled by the same, to bring forth such fruits, as man discover them to be in the Covenant of grace, and so to be admitted unto the privileges thereof, as John 15:1, 7. Nature itself teaches as much, for no man will admit of dead plants to be set in his vineyard, or grafted into a stock, but only such as are capable to comply with the same, in the sap, and nourishment thereof, to the end it may grow and bring forth fruit. And so it is with Christ, Who comes not short of nature, and therefore He admits not of any dead plants to be set in His spiritual vine-yard, or dead members to be joined to His mystical body, but only such as by faith are capable to comply with the head. Neither took He for Himself a compounded body, consisting of both living and dead members, which all are that have not a living principle of grace and faith in Him, which all believer’s infants have not, nor any at all, until they are born again of the Spirit, as John 3:5, 6.
The Church or Mystical Body of Christ Defined
The Church of God, which is the mystical body of Christ, is not a mixed company, but only one substantial and royal substance, suitable to her head and matter, by which she was produced, being the immortal seed of the Word, and thereof one holy spiritual uniform composed body, both for nature and form, Can. 6:9; Mal. 2:15; Eph. 2:`14-22; John 4:2, 3. All which considered, proves the body of Christ, or Church of God under the New Testament, not to consist of infants, neither in whole nor in part; and so the branches afore said, not to be understood of Infants, but of believers.
Objection: And if any object from the word of Christ, Matt. 18:6, speaking there of some little ones that believed in Him, and from thence gather that Infants have faith, ect.
Matthew 18:6 Considered as Those Who Are Made Visible By Acts of Faith
The Answer is this; That I am for all that believe, but only for them, whether they be infants or others, so that their faith be visible, as it may be discerned, otherwise it concern nothing of the point in had, for we are upon visible things, such as may be judged of by the Word of God. Again, little children that believe, in the Scripture’s sense, are such as be little and weak in the faith, and so babes in Christ, as I John 2:12; I Cor. 3:13; Heb. 5:12, 13.
Objection: But if is said, that the Church of the Jews of old, and the Church of the Gentiles now, are one in nature, as they are both the Church of God, and so infants in the one, as they were in the other, and the same privileges to the one, as to the other, ect.
The Church Under the Old Covenant Contrasted with The Church Under the New Covenant
I have before showed the large differences between the Jews and the Gentiles, in respect of their outward privileges, but a word or two more, and so end.
The Church of God under the Old Testament, and that now under the New, for nature are one, in reference to the Elect of God, called to the faith, and by the Spirit of Grace united to Christ, as the branches to their Vine, and so an holy plant of God’s planting. Of which indeed the true Church of Christ consists, and therefore God did ever put a distinction in Abraham’s seed, even from Abraham to Christ; as in Abraham, between Isaac and Ishamel, Gen. 17:20, 21; Gen. 21:11, 12, 13; In Isaac, between Jacob and Esau, Gen. 25:23; Rom. 9:11, 12; in Jacob, between Ephraim and Masasse, Gen. 48:13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19. And thus the Holy Ghost figuratively pointed at a difference in Abraham’s seed, between the children of the flesh, and the children of God, Rom. 9:6, 7, 8, 9. And though God did thus distinguish in Abraham’s posterity, yet there could not be the like dividing in the same, they being a national people, consisting both of a Church, and so spiritual and of a common-wealth, and so all under a civil worldly government.
Which Nation God crowned with many outward privileges, as He ever took into covenant with Himself in such a way, by whom He raised Himself a name and fame in all the world, and so His special treasure, to whom He committed great matters of trust, as Psalms 135:4; Rom. 3:1, 2, and 9:4; Eph. 2:12. Of whom came Christ the Savior of man, and therefore salvation is said to be of the Jews, as Romans 9:5; John 4:22; In respect of which there was a blessed promise passed upon the Jews, for the bringing forth of the Messiah, and the promised seed in whom all Nations should be blessed. And therefore, all of that Nation were admitted to the outward privileges as figures of Him Whom that Nation was to bring forth, so that a fruitful womb was counted a great blessing among the Jews, not knowing who might be so honored as to bring forth that blessed and all blessing seed. And therefore, God honored the natural birth among the Jews, with such outward blessings and privileges that belongs not to the Gentiles at all. The Gentiles now are to look for their bringing forth of Christ according to the Spirit, as the Jews did then according to the flesh, and likewise their birth, and their seed in all things suitable to the same, John 3:3, 5, 6; John 1:12, 13; and therefore we are said now to know no man after the flesh, no not Christ Himself, as the Jews did, not Christ Himself after the flesh, 2 Cor. 5:16, and circumcision was one privilege of the flesh, as Phil. 3:4, 5. Therefore though that the Jew’s infants were admitted to all those outward privileges being a national people, and so a national body, with a natural birth, and the like seed in general, yet the Gentile’s infants cannot be admitted to their spiritual privileges, they being a personal people, called by the Word of Grace, and so a spiritual body, with a spiritual birth, and the like seed.
Rom. 11:6 Is No Argument For Infant Baptism Because The First Fruits
Are God’s Election of Grace, The Lump are the Hebrew Elect
And so much for the meaning of the Apostle, Ro. 11:16, which makes nothing for the baptizing of Infants, but altogether against the same. The words not being well considered, and therefore misapplied, the first fruits being such as first so appeared of God’s elect by faith in such a way of grace by God’s receiving and approving of them in His holy Covenant, under so many gracious promises. The lump, such a remnant in the election of grace, chiefly of the Jews, with reference to the same state of grace and faith in Christ, as the first fruits were in, when God so approved of them. And so a second fruits following the first fruits of the same king, which first fruits of the same kind, which first fruits did ever presuppose the same.
The Root and the Branches are Christ, Mystically Considered,
and Believers Out from Among the Gentiles
And so for the root and the branches, the root, Christ mystically considered as aforesaid, as the Scriptures hold forth. The branches such as grow in Him by faith, and He in them by His Spirit, by which they are live in their Vine. All which are understood of believers, and not of Infants, and so with respect to their calling and not to their infancy, as Acts 2:39, which promise is in no other sense to the children then to the parents, and that is either to turn them form their sins by calling them to repentance, Acts 3:13, 20, 25, 26. Or to comfort them so turned, or repenting, by tending and applying to them the promised Savior Christ Jesus, as Acts 13:23, 26, 32, 38, 39.
Election is Not Grounded in the Seed of Believers, but in God’s Will
Now as God has not grounded His election of grace, in the seed of believers, but in the good pleasure of His will, Acts 13:48, Eph. 1:4,5, no more has He the dispensation of the same in His gracious Covenant, but in His free and effectual call to believe in His Son, in Whom they were elected to the same, which call to the faith makes the only difference between them and others, and not their bring the seed of believers by a natural birth. For we are alike by nature, children of wrath as well as the seed of believers as any others, considered in any personal respect, Rom. 3:9; Eph. 2:3. Whose happiness depends upon that blessed change, and spiritual birth by which they are born again, and called to believe in the Lord of life, and not their being the seed of a believing parent, for so one may die and perish as soon as any others.
I Cor. 7:14
And now for the other Scripture, I Cor. 7:14. If this be of the same consideration with the former, then the same is answered with that, and so they are both void in respect of the end for which they are alleged, namely, to prove the holiness of infants being in the Covenant of grace and life, by virtue of their bring the children of believing parents, and so to have a right to baptism. But I do not understand this Scripture to be of the same consideration with the former, and therefore a word of two of this also, and for the better understanding of the Apostle in the same, let it first be considered, what that holiness of God’s Holy Covenant is, that inrights persons to the privileges of grace, or of the gracious covenant, and truly, to me it is no less then those holy terms of the covenant-Maker laid down in the same, and that is, a holy, sanctified heart, believing in Jesus Christ, in Whom God looks upon all His children, and approves of them holy in His Son, in whom they have right to all things, both in grace and glory, Heb. 8:10; Heb. 10:10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 22; John 1:12, 13; Rom. 8:16, 17; Gal. 3:29; I Cor. 3:21, 22, 23. And also this Holy Spiritual frame of heart, inwardly wrought by the Holy Spirit of regeneration appearing in some holy fruits and effects thereof, by which they may appear to have right unto the foresaid privileges before men, who are to judge of the tree by his fruit, and both by the Word of God, Acts 8:36, 37; Rom. 10:9, 10; Matt. 12:33; Isa. 8:20; Rev. 11:1; 2 Pet. 1:18, 19; with Rev. 22:18, 19.
Christ’s Holiness In Contrast To Believing Parents’ Natural Holiness
And for any other holiness, that proceeds from God’s Holy Covenant of Life, to enright persons unto the privileges of grace, now under the Gospel, I know none, for whatsoever can truly inright persons to the privileges of grace, upon God’s account, the same inrights to glory. For no less inrights to the privileges of grace, then what inrights to glory, upon the state of Christ’s New Testament, by which all things must be tried, that tend either to grace or glory.
So that if this be such Holiness, and from God’s Holy Covenant of Life, that inrights all believer’s children to baptism, or to the administration of baptism, then also to glory. For no person that is holy by virtue of God’s Covenant, shall ever be deprived of eternal glory.
But this cannot be such a Holiness, and therefore it must be some other Holiness that the Apostle here means, other than that which tends to eternal life.
The Right Understand Of The Holiness Herein Is A Civil Holiness
And now for the right understanding of the Holiness which the Apostle herein speaks of, it is very meet that his words, together with the occasion of them, be well and duly observed. He said that the unbelieving Wife is holy or sanctified (which is all one here) and that by or to the Husband, and the unbelieving Husband by or so the Wife. So that they may lawfully live together and enjoy each other in their marriage relation, which is a holy relation, appointed by a Holy God, to an honorable end, though the one be an infidel, common, or unclean, as unbelieving, &c. Yet by or to the wife or husband, the unbeliever is sanctified, to that honorable end or use of that holy ordinance of God, and if it were not so, your children would be unclean, but in that the unbelieving husband and wife are sanctified or holy, so are your children by the same holiness also. For by the same way the children would be unclean, by the same Rule of contraries they are holy. For the unbelieving husband, being sanctified by (or to the wife) so as they may lawfully continue together in that honorable way of marriage and the bed undefiled, hence your children are holy, which holiness of the children, and the sanctity of the unbelieving parents is the same for nature, as the one is a civil uncleanness, so is the other a civil holiness, Acts 10:15, 28 with 2 Cor. 13:12 as I Sam. 21:5.
The Holiness of the Unbelieving Partner and the Children is One and the Same
And for the twofold holiness that is noted in the argument, to be considered in the Apostles words, the one not in the thing itself, but to another’s use, and the other of the thing itself, and therefore not to be confounded. This is partly true, for the holiness of the children is not such a holiness as to another’s use, as the unbeliever, to the believer’s use, and no more, but the holiness of the children rests in themselves, as the subjects thereof by nature, being the fruit of that honorable marriage bed, undefiled, and so holy, as the Apostle said, for that which is undefiled, in respect of answering the end by God appointed, is in that sense said to be holy.
Objection; and whereas it is said, that if this were the meaning of the Apostle, then he said nothing for the clearing of the scruple, because this holiness of the children might be questioned as well as their own.
To which I answer, and say no, for I do not understand their scruple to lie about their marriage, whether they were married or not, but whether the persons they had married, being unbelievers, were fit for them to live with in so near a relation and communion, as that was of husband and wife, and that because it seemed to them, that the Apostle had forbidden the same, in an Epistle to them before, from which seems their scruple did rise, for mark the words of the Apostle, I wrote, said he, unto you in an Epistle, not to company with fornicators, yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extoritorers, of with Idolaters, drunkards, railers, and the like, for then must you needs go out of the world, I Cor. 5:9, 10, 11.
Who To Keep Company With and Not to Keep Company With
But now I have written unto you, not to keep company with any man that is called a brother, and be such a one; thus the Apostle pressing them on to holiness in their communion of religious worship, which they understood of their civil commerce with the world, and so of their own unbelieving husbands and wives, upon which they scrupled, to company with them, in their civil commerce, which now the Apostle tells them, that he meant only of such as were brethren in their religious worship, and not of their civil commerce with the world, and so their own relations.
Their Problems with Unbelievers in Marriage
Now their scruple laying not about their marriage, but the unfitness of the persons whom they had married, as unbelievers, and such as they understood the Apostle forbid them to keep company with, for that wherein they failed, if it had been so as they were in doubt of, was not whether they were married, or were unlawfully married, but were so unequally yoked with unbelievers, and so, as 2 Cor. 6:14.
Again which the law of marriage simply excepts not, that being honorable to all men, and the bed undefiled, but rather their failing lay against some other law of convenience, which they understood the Apostle in. Now that may be against the parents in such cases, for their not well observing the honor of God, and their own comfort, and well-being that their children may be clear and free from, they coming forth in that honorable way appointed by God, and so holy in opposition to all uncleanness opposing the same.
And thus the Apostle informing them of his meaning in that which scrupled them, and of their lawful relations, and the good effect thereof, as the holiness of their children, all which in my judgment is the only way in force to clear the scruple.
And thus having labored to satisfy and confirm them in their lawful relations, he now draws this consequence, else were your children unclean, that is, if the unbelieving husband and wife were not sanctified each to other, as to continue together, but must now be put away, as unsanctified, common and unclean, Acts 10:14, 15, 28, then your children would be in the same case, unclean also, for the word (else) shows if it were not so, they were unclean, but now they are holy, and why so? Because the unbelieving husband is sanctified, by or to the wife, (else) if not, then were they unclean, but being so, are holy; what is more plain than this, that the holiness of the children is here (by the Apostle) as a consequence from the unbelieving wife’s being sanctified by or to the husband, and so from that lawful commerce the parents have each with other, and not from any religious Covenant-holiness at all.
For in all the Scriptures, both in the Old and New Testaments, I never find any person admitted to any ordinance of God’s worship, either by Covenant, or holiness, but only by the observing the law of the same ordinance; for Abraham was in Covenant with God, Gen. 15:18, and yet not circumcised until Gen. 17, and then also by a command of God, and not by a Covenant-holiness, Gen. 17:10.
The Jewish women were holy, and in Covenant also, and yet not circumcised, and why so? Surely only the want of a rule and command from God for the same, otherwise they might have said more for their privilege in that ordinance of God, that ever the proud Gentile can say for the Baptizing of his Infant.
This is also to bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing, which is contrary to the Scripture of truth, and common reason does dictate that the Effect cannot be a higher or more noble nature than its Cause, but the holiness of the children is but an effect that does arise and spring from the sanctification or holiness of the unbelieving husband or wife, which as I have said cannot be of a higher nature than a matrimonial holiness. And unless the wife by her marriage-union can bring her unbelieving husband, or the husband his unbelieving wife, into the holy Covenant, as to partake of that holy ordinance of Baptism, there can be n solid ground rendered why the children should be made partakers thereof. But this may suffice to undeceive such as are not willing still to be deceived.
Argument 4: If baptism succeeded circumcision, than as infants were to be circumcised, so are infants to be baptized.
But baptism succeeds circumcision; as Col. 2:11, 12.
Therefore as infants were circumcised, so are infants to be baptized.
This Argument is somewhat weak, and therefore a weak answer will serve. What though Baptism succeeds Circumcision, must it needs follow that as infants were circumcised, they must of necessity be baptized?
The Spiritual Succession of the New Covenant Over The Old Covenant
The New Testament succeeds the old, must it needs follow therefore that the same order be observed now, as was then? All the whole household of every family among the Israelites in Egypt, as well children as others, were to eat the Passover, as Ex. 12:2,3,4? And the Lord’s Supper succeeds that, and yet infants are not approved as fit Communicants in the Lord’s Supper, because they are not capable subjects. But it is a double mystery, how persons are fit and capable of union in a State of Grace, that are not fit and capable of communion in the ordinances of the same state. And more mystical how one should be a capable subject of Baptism and not of the Supper. I can see no rule for such a practice in all the Book of God. And it is against the rule of nature, that when a child is born, to keep it from good. The Church of the New Testament succeeds the Old, but it will not follow that the like order and subjects succeeded each other also, for no rejected Ishmaelite or Esau are to be admitted either to union or communion in the Church under the New Testament by Christ’s appointment, therefore though that Baptism succeed Circumcision, yet the same subjects do not. The two Testaments are as Wills containing certain Legacies given and bequeathed to such only whose names are expressly set down in the same, as Rev. 21:27. In the Old Testament as the first Will, a male of eight days old, or a proselyte, Ex. 12:48, 49; Gen. 17:10-14, 23:25; John 8; Phil. 3:4, 5. So in the New Testament, as the Last Will of Christ, the Legacies therein contained, as the privileges and blessings of Abraham, are given only to such as believe, and to none else, Gal. 3:14, 22, 29; Rom. 8:17 &4:11, 12; & 9:7,8; Gal. 3:6,7. These are such as are begotten again by the immortal seed of the Word, born of the Spirit, and so children of God, and the only true heirs of the Kingdom of Christ, with the privileges thereof, as James 1:18; I Peter 2:23; John 1:12, 13; John 3:5, 6; I John 3:9, 10; Rom. 8:17. These are the holy seed, which God so approves of in the Scriptures, as subjects of grace, and heirs of life, and being in the Covenant, they only have right to the privileges thereof, and their children or off springs are such as succeed them in the same faith and truth, and so are called the Generation of the righteous, as succeeding each other in the way of righteousness, and not their infants or personal seed proceeding from their loins by carnal generation, as Isa. 43:5 and 44:3; and 54:3; and 59:21; 66:22; 61:9; and 65:23; compare Rev. 12:17; Gal. 4:26-31.
Give to Christ His baptizing of Believers and to Antichrist His Baptizing of Infants
These and the like Scriptures show what is the right and true approved seed, unto which the privileges of grace belong, so that although Baptism succeeds Circumcision, yet the difference is great, both in matter and manner, in persons and things. Circumcision sealed to things temporal and carnal, as well as spiritual, and so were the subjects, and things to come, as under types and shadows, and so in a cloud and darkness. Whereas baptism has for its subjects children of the light in the clear evidence of the Spirit, with the face open, and confirms faith in things come, and already done. For baptism seals only to faith in Christ, and grace in the new birth, which cannot be, where there is not first a begetting by the immortal seed of the word of life; for which end God has ordained in the Gospel preaching and believing to go before baptizing, as Matt. 28:19; with Mark 16:15, 16. And that way or order, which has not God for its Author, and is not found in the records of Christ, with His image and superscription upon it, let us say as sometime He did, give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and to God that which is God’s. So I say, give to Antichrist his baptizing of infants, and to Christ His baptizing of believers.
Baptism is not the Womb of Regeneration and is not the Spirit of Grace in Regeneration
What advantage will it be to infants to come before they are called, to have a name to live, and yet be dead for ought anyone knows, and to come to the Marriage-Supper without a wedding Garment? Shall the only things of God be forced upon such, as neither believe, know, or once desire them? Will men set seal to a blank? Are children capable to receive meat before they are born? Except we make baptism the womb of regeneration and born again of the Spirit of grace in baptism, whose doctrine is of the same stamp and authority, as he that sent them so to preach.
A Dead Infant Cannot Feed Upon the Church’s Breasts
What can be more natural, then the betting and bringing forth of the infant, before feeding it at the Mother’s breasts? It is not sacrilege to press such upon the wife of Christ, the church, for her Paps, with whom she never traveled, or bare of her body? Christ will deny Himself to be food and nourishment to any, where He has not been first seed to beget. Let men take heed how they impute such folly to the wisdom of God, as to give the milk of His breasts unto any that are still-born or to set dead twigs in His heavenly and divine flock, or natural branches in His holy and spiritual vine. Let such beware how they fight against the God of order, least instead of finding the breast to feed, before the womb to bear, they meet with a curse upon the singly emptiness of Christ, with a double bareness, that will admit of no conception or spiritual birth to succeed the natural.
Concerning Infant Salvation and Infant Damnation
Not that I intend in the least to deny salvation unto infants, no, I am so far from this, that I testify against all such doctrine, nor yet affirm all infants to be saved, neither do I know among infants, which shall be saved, and which shall not be saved, therefore I leave it as a secret thing to God, until He makes the same appear by some visible effect of faith, which only gives a visible right unto any ordinance of the New Testament. And therefore I cannot see by the Gospel, how infants void of visible faith, should have visible right unto the privileges of grace, neither ought they to be admitted thereunto, as has been approved, and also for these, and the like reasons following.
Reasons To Reject Infant’s Baptism
No Command or Example
First, because there is neither command nor example for the Baptizing of Infants in all the New Testament. The order and government of which, in the administrations thereof, is no way inferior to the old, but in the old Testament there was an express Rule, by the commandment from God, what communicants were to be admitted to Circumcision, and other ordinances of that nature; but this order is no where found in the New Testament for the Baptizing of Infants, and therefore the same is not to be practiced.
Not To Join A Natural Wife To Christ
Secondly, it is a high contempt and injury to Christ, as He is the Husband of the Church, His holy Spouse, to force upon Him a Natural wife, himself being Spiritual, and desires the like associate, as such a Church is founded upon the natural birth, namely Infants, because commonly to one that is born of the Spirit, there is twenty born of the flesh.
It Overthrows and Destroys the Body of Christ, or Holy Temple of God
Thirdly, it is a practice that overthrows and destroys the body of Christ, or Holy Temple of God, for in time it will come to consist of Natural, and so a national Generation, and carnal members, amongst whom if any godly be, they will be brought in bondage, and become subjects of scorn and contempt, and the power of government rest in the hands of the wicked, and so a direct ground of persecution.
It Is A Ground of Both Ignorance and Error
Fourthly, because it is a ground both of ignorance and error, for it holds people in blindness, that they cannot come to know the nature of that holy Ordinance, nor what the same requires, in the subjects thereof, and also it causes the simple to conceive that Baptism is of necessity to salvation.
Fifthly, it Keeps Up the State of Antichrist
Fifthly, it keeps up the state of Antichrist, by granting him this so chief a corner-stone of the Lord’s House to lie in his foundation. For that Church were Baptism is the true ordinance of God, in the administration thereof, is by the Rules of the Gospel a true Church, so that, if Antichrist’s Baptism which he administers be God’s ordinance, then that Church wherein he does so administer the same, must be also the Church of God, and such in sin and refuse communion with it.
Infant Baptism Builds Faith Upon Human Testimony
Sixtly, because it builds faith upon human testimony in matters fundamental, for such as are baptized in their infancy, have no other way to satisfy either themselves, or others, but the bare word of man, that must stand in the place of the word of God, for such to believe their true receiving of so holy ordinance of God, which ought to be obedience of the faith, in all that receive it.
It Makes Void The Commandment of God
Seventhly, it makes void the commandment of God, which requires all that believe to submit to God’s ordinance of Baptism, as the obedience of faith, Matt. 28:18, 19; Mark 16:15, 16; Acts 2:28; Acts 10:47, 48; Rom. 16:25, 26 with Mark 7:7, 8, 9; Acts 2:28; Acts 10:47, 48; Rom. 16:25, 26, with Mark 7:7, 8, 9. Now, this commandment lying on believers, for their obedience of faith, is made of none effect by Baptizing of Infants, a mere tradition of men, in opposition to God’s command.
Infant Baptism Makes The Holy Ordinance of God a Lying Sign
Eighty, to baptize Infants, makes the Holy Ordinance of God a lying sign, because none of those things can be expected in an Infant which the said ordinance holds forth or signifies in the administration thereof, which is the parties Regeneration and spiritual new birth; a dying and burying with Christ in respect of sin, and a rising with Him in a new life to God, and a confirmation of faith in the death and resurrection of Christ, and a free remission of sin by the same, as in I Cor. 15:29; Rom. 6:3, 4; Col. 2:12; I Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38; none of all which can be expected in an Infant
The Subject of Baptism Is To Be Passive
Ninthly, because the subject of Baptism is to be passive, but an Infant is no way passive, as that ordinance requires. I mean a passive subject threefold:
1. A Thing incapable, and thus is a stone;
2. A Thing forced, and this is an infant, who opposes its baptism to the utmost of its ability, so far is it from being passive in the same;
3. A Thing is passive by a subjecting power producing the same in the subject, by bringing it to a free and voluntary subjection; and thus is the true subject of baptism. None can be passive to receive grace, but by grace, because it consists of self-denial.
Infant Baptism Opposes Being Born Under Wrath
And lastly, this doctrine of infant’s baptism opposes directly the express word of God, by teaching that infants are in the covenant of grace, being born of believing parents, and so an holy seed, by virtue of which they have a right to baptism as a privilege of grace. Against which the Holy Ghost affirms, that all are conceived in sin, brought forth in iniquity, and so by nature children of wrath, and under the curse, and except they be born again from above, they cannot see the kingdom of God, Psa. 51:5; Eph. 2:1, 2, 3; Rom. 3:9; Gal. 3:10, 13, 14; John 3:3, 5, 6; John 1:12, 13. Here man says that infants are clean and holy, and from the womb, and so are the proper subjects of grace and glory, but God said they all infants as well as another, are first in sin, and unholy, and so are subjects of wrath, until the second birth makes the difference, John 3:5, 6. And now which to believe, let the upright heart before God judge.
Objection: But it is said, that as the Covenant was made to the Jews and their seed under the Old Testament, so in the same manner does the Apostle apply the said Covenant to believers and their seed in the New Testament, as Acts 2:39.
The words are not, unto your seed, but unto your children, wherein there is a great difference. For by seed in the Scripture is very often meant a natural generation, begotten and born after the flesh. And by children, a spiritual generation, walking in the steps of the faith of such as have gone before them, as Acts 3:25; Acts 13:26, 32, and so John 8:37, 39; with Romans 9:7, 8, and so the words import as much, which is to you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. So that the promise is only to such as God shall call, and to none else.
The Promise Is Not The Covenant
Again, its called the promise, and not the Covenant. And we know that every promise is not a covenant, there being a large difference between a promise and covenant. And now let it be well considered what is here meant by the promise and that is God’s sending of the Messiah, or the seed in whom the Nations should be blessed, and so the sending of a Savior or Redeemer unto Israel, as these Scriptures manifest compared together, Isaiah 11:1; Jer. 23:5, 6; with Luke 1:62, 68; Acts 13:23; Acts 3:25, 26. This was performed by Christ’s coming first in the flesh, in which respect the came both of and to the Jews only by promise, as John 4:22; Rom. 9:5; Matt. 10:5, 6; Matt. 15:24; John 1:11.
The Gospel Holds Forth Christ To All Who Have Faith
Secondly, in the preaching of the Gospel, by which He was held forth as a Savior to all that by faith laid hold upon Him, as the arm of God’s grace stretched out unto them, and this way also Christ was first tendered to the Jews for a Savior, to save them from their sins, Acts 4:12. And to be their King, so as to save them, so unto whose state and government they were to submit, Luke 19:14, 27; Acts 2:39. In which sense the Apostle speaks when he said, The promise is to you and to your children, and to all far and near, as God shall call, that is, the promise or promised Savior is come, and is now according to God’s promise tendered to you by the Gospel, calling you, and your children, and all else where the word of grace shall come, to believe and receive Him by faith, who is now come to save you, and all that believe, from their sins, Acts 3:25, 26. And therefore it is said, as many as gladly received, or believed this glad tidings, the same was sealed, or confirmed unto them by baptism, Acts 2:41, according to John 1:11, 12, 13. By all which it is manifest, that the promise, Acts 2:39, is meant the sending of the Messiah, or a Savior to the house of Israel, to call them to repentance, and to save such as believe from their sins, is as clear also by these Scriptures, Isa. 59:20; Acts 13:23, 26, 32, 38, and 39. And thus the promise is unto you and your children that is, the promised Savior is offered, and offers Himself freely to save you, which is the way of preaching the Gospel, and not an absolute conclusion of persons to be in the Covenant of grace and life, whether they have faith or not. What is this but to keep the wicked from leaving of his way by promising him life? This God did not in making of His Covenant at the first, nor the Apostle by his applying of the same at the last. Otherwise to bring all the personal or natural seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and so of all believers, into the Covenant of Grace, and that by God’s appointment, whose word is like Himself, both true and stable as a word of faith, purely tried as gold seven times in the fire.
Evils That Attend Infant’s Baptism
Hence observe the evils that attend this doctrine unavoidably.
Makes Void the Stability and Absoluteness of the Covenant of Grace
First, it makes void the stability of God’s Covenant of Grace itself, thus: If the Covenant of Grace be absolute and stable, then all within the same must be saved. But all with the said Covenant were not saved. Ergo, the Covenant of Grace is not absolute and stable. The Major is confessed, that a believer’s seed is in the Covenant of Grace without exception. The Minor is proves from Ishmael, Esau and the rejected Jews, all which were the seed of believers, and yet not all saved.
Teaches Falling Out of God’s Grace
Secondly, it is a ground of falling from grace, thus All that God took into His Covenant of Grace, where in an estate of grace. But all that God took into His Covenant of Grace, did not therein continue. Ergo, such fell from an estate of grace. I prove this the same way with the former.
Is A Ground Of Universal Redemption
Thirdly, it is a ground of universal redemption, for it makes the death of Christ equal as well to such as perish as to such as are saved, thus: All that are in the Covenant of Grace, Christ died for. But all that were in the Covenant of Grace were not saved. Ergo, Christ died for such as were not saved. The proof of this is the same with the former, if God took Abraham and his seed into His Covenant of Grace without exception.
Is A Ground of God’s Revealing A Lie
Fourthly, it makes God the Author of man’s believing an untruth, by enjoining him to believe the salvation of such as He Himself knows, and reveals to the contrary: as Ishmael, Esau, and but the remnant among the Jews; nay none at all but such as believe, Gen. 17; Gen. 25; Gen. 48; and Romans 9:27. Against which opinion and evils aforesaid, I argue thus. The Covenant of Grace is absolute and saving unto all once within the same. But all the personal seed of believers are not saved. Therefore all believer’s seed are not in the Covenant of Grace. The Proposition is clear from these Scriptures, Jer. 32:40; Isa. 49:21; Jer. 31:3; John 13:1; Matt. 3:6; John 10:28, 29. The Assumption from these, Gen. 21:10, with Gal. 4:29, 30; Gen. 25:23; with Rom. 9:11, 12, 13, 27. God requires no man to believe an untruth. But for a believer to believe that all his seed is in the Covenant of Grace is to believe an untruth. Therefore God requires no such thing. This Argument is fully proved in the former. And so much for the promise of Acts 2:39, which being well understood, men would never go about to build the baptizing of the Gentiles infants upon that Scripture.
Bringing the Little Children To Jesus Christ
But it is said that Christ admits of little children to come unto Him, blessing them, and acknowledging their right unto the Kingdom of God, Mark 10:14, therefore such many be baptized.
To which I answer briefly thus. That the blessing of Christ upon these children was for bodily cures, as is manifest by the desires of those that brought them to Christ, which was not that He should baptize them, but that He would touch them, and lay His hands upon them, and pray, as Mark 5:23; Matt. 19:13, 15. This was the ordinary way of healing in the time of the Law, by such as were enabled by God thereunto, as is clear by these Scriptures compared together, 2 Kings 5:11; with Matt. 19:13; Matt. 8:3; Matt. 9:18; and Luke 4:38, 40. Never were any so brought to Christ but for some cure, and for His blessing of them, that was in respect of that temporal mercy He bestowed upon them according to what they came to Him for; and to show His bounty and humility, that He was no respector of persons, as such might seem to be that suffered others to come, and would have kept back children. And for such to belong unto the Kingdom, so those children did, and therefore they ought to come as well as any other. For they were children of the Jews, and at that time members of that church, and so of that Kingdom; and had as much interest in Christ for outward blessings as anyone else.
And further, Christ is pleased to make use of children’s humility and innocence to reprove the high-mindedness of His disciples, and to draw them forth as a pattern from the same. As Matt. 28:1-4; I Cor. 14:20; with Mark 10:5. So that all this makes nothing for the baptizing of infants, they being not brought to Christ for baptism.
The Baptism of Households
But is further objected, that the apostles baptized whole households, as the household of Stephanas, Lydia, and the Jailer, I Cor. 1:16; Acts 16:15, 33; and infants being a part of the household, therefore infants were baptized.
Though that infants are a part of the family when there be infants in the same; yet this makes nothing for the baptizing of infants, except it be first proved that infants were there in those households. And also upon the same ground we may prove that the Jailer had a wife, and Lydia had a husband, because that husbands and wives are commonly in a household or family, and being there they are a part of the same, and that the Jailer’s wife, and Lydia’s husband, and servants, though never so wicked, were all baptized. But if it be said that faith was to be required of them being of years, hence it will follow, that no infants were then baptized, because that one and the same condition is required of all that are baptized, and so it is said of the Jailer, that the Word was preached to him, and to all that were in his house, and that he believed, and all his house: and these are said to be baptized, Acts 16:32, 34, and thus the Apostle preached, and they believed; and such only were baptized, and none else.
The Apostles Walked By The Same Rule
And what the Apostles order and practice was in this family, it was the same in all other households and families; for they walked always by one rule; and therefore their order was not to baptize infants.
Objection: It is said, that Christ sent out His Apostles to teach and to baptize all Nations, Matt. 28:19, in which Nations there were infants as well as men of years, and so commanded to be baptized.
Baptizing The Nations is Not Taught
In a word briefly to this: for the Scripture being well considered, and rightly understood, would stop men’s mouths for ever having a word to say for the baptizing of infants. This blessed commission of Christ to His Apostles was chiefly for us Gentiles, saying, All Power is given me in heaven and in earth, Go ye therefore and teach all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, &c. As if Christ had said, go now into all Nations, and preach the Gospel freely, as well to one Nation as to another; for the Gospel shall not now be confined any more to one place or people, than to another. God is now a God of the Gentiles, as well as of the Jews, go therefore as well to the Gentiles as to the Jews, even unto all Nations, and there preach the gospel, and so make disciples by teaching them, and such so taught, them baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that is, into the true and orderly profession of that which they have been taught and believed. So that here teaching goes before baptizing, and presupposes understanding and faith in that which is taught, this being the only place of Christ’s instituting the ordinance or baptism, and further explained, Mark 16:15, 16; Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature, he that believes and is baptized shall be saved.
The Sealing and Confirming Ordinances
So that from these Scriptures brought to prove the baptizing of infants, it is clearly manifest that infants are not the subjects of baptism appointed by Christ, for all the external benefits and privileges of the gospel are only given to external and visible faith. And so the sealing and confirming ordinances of Christ, ever presupposes faith in the subject, to seal unto, and to be confirmed. So that here is no ground for the baptizing of infants, but the contrary.
Objection: But it is affirmed by some, that as God commanded infants to be circumcised, and the same command remaining still unrepealed, stands in force for infants to be baptized.
To which I answer, and say, if that commandment must serve now without alteration, then we must circumcise and not baptize, and that males only, and not females: but if it be altered, then it has not the same way to hold infants forth in baptism, as it had in circumcision; but that command which enjoined circumcision, is repealed by a direct command to the contrary, as Gal. 5:2; I Cor. 7:18; Rom. 2:28, 29.
Objection: If any object from the second Commandment, enjoining the worship of God through the said worship of God be changed in respect of the manner and outward, yet the same commandment continues still in force for the worship of God now as it did then.
The answer is, These two commandments will no way agree so to be compared; the second commandment directly enjoined God’s worship, as the substance thereof, and so still remains, and also retains the same thing it first commanded, being the worship of God. But now for the command that enjoined circumcision, which was the substance of that command, is now clean made void, for circumcision in the flesh is not abolished, and that in the hear came in the place; as Rom. 2:28, 29; Col. 2. Again, as the old outward form of God’s holy worship under the Old Testament was abolished and done away, so likewise the new order and form of God’s worship was erected and set up again by special command; and when the manner of it is once set down, then the commandment comes on again, and not before, and binds only to that order and manner so erected, and set up, and to none else, so that now the new state of the Church and Worship of God being established, and the subject of baptism in the same, expressed to be a believer, now if that commandment comes on upon this state, then it binds to this subject only and to none other. And to hold the subject of baptism by the same command that enjoined circumcision, without the said subject being expressly set down, and so confirmed and established by the New Testament, this is more than will be granted in any other part of God’s worship enjoined, or comprehended in the second commandment. All which say we, is so far approved of by God, as is expressly set down in the New Testament, or everlasting Gospel of Christ.
But let us examine a little wherein the authority of that commandment of circumcision may be, that is brought to bear out the baptizing of infants: Circumcision it does not, for all agree that we are now to baptize, and not to circumcise; the parties circumcising it does not, then the Master of the family to circumcise, but now one authorized by Christ to baptize; the same part of the body it does not, that the foreskin, Baptism, does the whole man; the age it does not, that the eighth day, and this any day; the subject it does not, that a male only, this both male and female. Now in that it does not enjoin none of all these, wherein can the authority of that command consist now in Baptism, so as to enjoin Infant to be baptized; for either it must be a thing indifferent, or else it must enjoin something. And whereas men cry from that command, Infants, Infants, Infants must be baptized, as they were commanded to be circumcised; why this command if it should be so, serves for none but only males; of that if they will have the female to be baptized, they must look out for another commandment for them, and so there must be two commandments meet in one ordinance.
What If There were No Commandment For Any Baptism
But I will demand of such as hold the baptizing of Infants from the command that enjoined circumcision, that if in case there had been no word or command given for baptizing of any, whether that they, or any other, might have baptized either infants or any others from that commandment; but I suppose they will not so affirm, and if not, what do men wander under the clouds of their own ignorance, when as the light shines so clearly? For what is more clear than this, that the New Testament has sufficient express commands and rules for the administration of baptism, both for matter and manner, without any reference, much less dependency upon the law of circumcision, they being two distinct institutions? At two several times there is given command for Baptism; the first was John the Baptist, who received his authority not from the command of circumcision, but had his Commission expressly from God, Who sent him to baptize, as John 1:32, 33. And those that he baptized are said by the Holy Ghost to be such as manifested their faith and repentance, Matt. 3:6. The second Commission which serves for us Gentiles, is that which Christ gave to His Apostles, Matt. 28:18, 19. Which has no reference to the command of circumcision, but by virtue of that power and authority given Him of the Father, for the ordering and disposing of all things in heaven and earth, for His own glory and His people’s good. In which commission the subjects of Baptism are expressly set down, who they should baptize, and they are only such as first were to be taught, and had faith to believe the same, as I have sufficiently proved.
And now having these express commands, so fully held forth by Christ Himself, together with the whole practical order of the Apostles, and others following the same in their administrations, and to go about to bring authority or command from the commandment of circumcision, for the baptizing of infants, is more than ignorance, and to plead the baptizing of Infants, because that command is not repealed, which enjoined Infants to be circumcised, is too weak for faith to build upon. But now I hope the removal of the same appears, in that there is not only a command in the New Testament directly against the same, but also a new command, and so a law from Christ the King of Saints, and Lord of the New Testament, for the ordinance of Baptism, and all the circumstances of the same. And yet for the further repealing of that law which enjoined Infant’s naturally born, and so from the womb to be circumcised, without minding any other Spiritual birth, but only that which brought forth the child in the world; for eight days after it must be circumcised by command from God; which order is opposed by the Gospel, as John 3:3, 5, 6. Where Christ opposes the two births, the Spiritual to the Natural birth, and excludes the natural from any admittance into the Kingdom of God, without the Spiritual birth. And that He might not be mistaken, He further explains Himself saying, That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. And further to know Christ’s meaning in these births, which He opposes the one to the other, He fully holds forth, John 1:13, in these words, of such as received Him, which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
This way and order the commandment of circumcision spoke nothing of, neither required the same, but only the first birth, for no child of eight days old was capable to be born again of the Spirit, in our Savior’s sense. And thus the Gospel excludes that which the Law of circumcision commanded, even the first birth which is natural, without the second birth which is Spiritual. And it is in vain for any to say that Christ speaks here of men of years; for He opposes the two births, as aforesaid, and not the age of any, and so the whole universe of mankind, for this place is generally taken for the doctrine of regeneration, from whence many hold that children are regenerated in Baptism. But generally those that baptize their infants, hold that they are regenerated before, for they baptize them as being holy before. And if any shall say, that the Kingdom Christ speaks of, is meant the Kingdom of glory, and not of grace; and therefore though He excludes such out of the one, yet not out of the other. The answer is, that it is no where found in the Gospel, that any are excluded the Kingdom of glory, and yet are admitted into the Kingdom of Grace. The door of grace is this sense, is no wider than the gate of glory by God’s appointment: and what men do through ignorance, that alters not the truth of God, Rom. 8:30.
Objection: And if any say, that Christ at this time had opposed God’s ordinance of circumcision, if such a truth had been put in execution, as is gathered from His words, to exclude and put by an infant of the first birth, until some effect of the second birth had appeared.
To this I answer, and say, that Christ speaks of many things before His death, which did not concern the time present, but of the order and government of His Church under the New Testament. And so He speaks here of the qualification of His subjects and worshippers in His new Kingdom that was at hand, all which was to be spiritual, and therefore to be born of the Spirit, as Christ affirmed. In which sense circumcision in the flesh ceased, and that of the heart only remains, as Rom. 2. Add to this the words of the Apostle, Eph. 2:3, We are, said He, all by nature children of wrath: Now if this be true, then so long as nothing else appears, how can we judge otherwise, without gainsaying the Holy Ghost? And by the words of Christ, we are first born of the flesh, and so in an estate of nature, until grace recover us, and the effects of Christ’s redemption take hold upon us. Until which time we are judged of the Apostle to be the children of wrath, and of the flesh, and so unclean, and no unclean thing must come into the Holy City of grace and glory, Rev. 21.
Washed Inwardly by His Blood, Washed Outwardly by His Baptism
All which being well considered, I think will put a stop to the commandment of circumcision, from having any footing in the ordinance of Baptism, or for any to take a ground from these to justify their Infants in their baptism, until some evidence appears of their being inwardly washed in the blood of Christ, and so the same may be confirmed unto them by that outward washing with water; otherwise the ordinance is no way available to them, but sin in such as impose the same upon them, who do neither desire it, nor know what is done unto them, which is to set a seal to a blank, a thing condemned in nature.
And so I pass from this subject, of infant’s Baptism, desiring the Lord abundantly to extend His saving grace unto as many as belong to Him, that the praise may ever abound to His glory, and their everlasting comfort in all happiness and safety here, and glory hereafter.
We know no man after the flesh, 2 Cor. 5, We are the circumcision, that worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, Phil. 3. Marvel not that I say a man must be born again, before he can enter into the Kingdom of God, Joh. 3.
And this I desire to have infants even in honorable and reverent respect, so far as honor and reverence belongs unto them, and so leave them to the grace and good pleasure of the God of all grace, who only knows who are His, and has the disposing of them, and all His creatures, to His own glory. So Be It, AMEN.
The Visible Right to Baptism
And now having examined the visible right that infants have to baptism, and finding none by the word of God, but the contrary, I come now to a second sort, and they are such as have been baptized in a false Antichristian estate, as they say, and so challenge right to enter upon or assume a true Church with the same baptism they received of the man of sin. So that the thing I deal with now is only that opinion which holds a state to be false and Antichristian, and yet baptism there admitted by an Antichristian power to be the true ordinance of God, and so leave the state as false, and to train their baptism received there as a true ordinance of God. And for a more orderly proceeding in this discourse, I shall first set down my dissent and the causes of it; and then examine those grounds that are brought for the proving of the contrary.
AN EXAMINATION OF ANTICHRISTIAN BAPTISM
SHOWING THAT THE BAPTISM ADMINISTERED BY
AN ANTICHRISTIAN POWER IS NO ORDINANCE OF GOD.
And first for that ordinance of baptism, which as aforesaid has been administered, and received in a false Antichristain estate, and retained as the true ordinance of God, and such so baptized by the power of the man of sin, to be admitted into the Church of Christ with the same baptism as the Lord’s ordinance, this I cannot assent to, because I see no such thing in the word of God, by which I must be guided here, and judged hereafter. So that I dissent from that baptism administered by the power of Antichrist, and cannot own the same for God’s ordinance appointed by Him, and instituted by Christ in the New Testament, and that for these and the like reasons.
Reasons For My Dissent From Antichrist’s Baptism
I cannot approve of antichrist’s matter and form and the state itself.
First, because is so doing, I shall approve of Antichrist’s matter and form, and so of the state itself. As an infant for his matter, and the words with water applied, his form. I have already proved that an infant is not the subject of baptism appointed by God, though it be the child of a believer; but how much less such who are the carnal seed of the wicked? The covenant of grace and the parents faith is alleged to enright the former unto baptism; but what enrights those unto it, and how came they by it?
Faith and Baptism are Constitutional Ordinances for a Gospel Church
Secondly, the ordinance of baptism instituted by Christ is so essential to the constitution of the Church under the New Testament that none can be true in her constitution without it. Neither can that be a false Church where baptism is truly the Lord’s ordinance in the administration thereof, as I Cor. 12:13. with Gal. 3:27. So that to approve of Antichrist’s baptism to be God’s ordinance, is to approve of his Church to be also the Church of God. For as the eaters of the sacrifice were of old partakers of the Alter, I Cor. 10. 17,18. and to receive him that is sent is a receiving also of him that sent him, Mat. 13.40, so it is with this essential ordinance of baptism in the Church of Antichrist, that whosoever approves of the one, by the same he approves of the others also. For the ground and pillar that bears up the truth, and that truth so born up, stands and falls together, as I Tim. 3:15. So that where there is not a true constituted Church, there is no true constituted Church-ordinance: and where there is a true Church ordinance in its constitution, there is at least presupposed a true Church also. And, therefore, to condemn a Church to be false, and altogether Antichristian, and yet baptism there, and by the same administered, to be the ordinance of God; this I can see no rule for in the Scripture: and therefore I dissent.
Christ and His People are in Total Separation from the Man of Sin
Thirdly, Christ has disclaimed and denied all communion with the man of sin, both in respect of himself and his subjects; and has also proclaimed open war against him and all his dominions: and therefore He calls home His subjects, as Jer. 51.6.45. Revel. 18:4. Christ refuses to be laid as a chief corner stone under Antichrist’s building, as He must be if He in His holy ordinance of baptism be granted to lie in his foundation: For baptism is no otherwise Christ’s ordinance but as it depends upon Him the ordainer. But Christ denies Antichrist any such privilege, and also forbids His people from taking a stone from Babylon to lay in the foundation of the Lords building, as Jer. 51.26 But if Antichrist’s church be of himself, and so false; then all the parts thereof must be of his own devising and false also. For if in opposition to a true Church of Christ, there is a false church of Antichrists: which thing cannot be, if there be not in opposition to true ordinances of the one, false ordinances of the other, that are essential to the same, as the ordinance of baptism is. And so the like ministry proportional to the same, as I Cor. 10. 21, 2 Cor. 11.13,14,15. Rev. 2.2. according to Mat. 24.24. with 2 Thes. 2.9,10.
God’s Word Is To Be Taken Above Human Testimony
Fourthly, I cannot approve of that baptism in the church of Antichrist to be God’s ordinance, because in so doing I shall advance human testimony above the Word of God. For I have no way to satisfy my conscience whether I have that ordinance or no, but only Antichrist’s Church-book, or my Godfathers, or Godmothers: which if the one be dead, and the other lost, then where am I to seek my baptism. But as the best, if any should demand of me whether I were baptized or not: all that I can say is, that men tell me so; in all which Christ must have no voice, and the word of God put to silence, as knowing no such thing: and Antichrist’s Church-book come in the place, as a ground of my faith in a truth so essential. Which thing I dare not approve of.
This Would Force Men To Continue In Antichrist’s Baptism
Fifthly, to justify baptism in the Church of Antichrist to be God’s ordinance, is to force men to sin against conscience; for if any man comes unto such for fellowship in the truth, he must either justify the baptism he received of the man of sin, as God’s ordinance, or else continue in that sinful way in which he is, and desires to leave; I speak now in their sense whose practice it is, which I cannot at all assent unto for a truth.
To Justify Antichrist’s Baptism Makes Two Reasons Against Christ’s Baptism
Sixtly, I cannot justify Antichrist’s baptism for God’s ordinance, because it makes against Christ’s baptism in these two respects. First, for the power by which the same was constituted, and so authorized in the hand of the Minister, being the power of the man of sin, rejected of God as an enemy to the Crown and Dignity of Christ the King of Saints. Secondly, in respect of that body into which the party was baptized, and also by the same made a visible member, that was in the body of Antichrist. In both which respects the baptism administered in the false Antichrist state, in my judgment cannot be the ordinance of God.
Christ Left His Rule and Order For The Constitution of His Church, Faith and Baptism
And lastly, I dare not go from that RULE AND ORDER WHICH CHRIST LEFT IN HIS LAST TESTAMENT, FOR THE CONSTITUTING OF HIS CHURCH, AND TAKING MEMBERS INTO THE SAME, WHICH IS BY FAITH AND BAPTISM. All which grounds being well considered, I cannot see by any rule of truth to approve of the baptism administered in a false Antichristian church to be God’s ordinance, instituted by Christ in his New Testament. That being there administered under a false power, by a false Ministry upon a wrong subject, in a false body, and yet the same God’s ordinance, this is more than I can find by the Word of God from which rule I dare not go.
Thus having showed my judgment, and some reasons why I so judge that the baptism administered in a false Antichristian estate, cannot be the ordinance of God, instituted by Christ in the Gospel. And now I come to give answer to some of the chief grounds brought for the proving of the aforesaid baptism in then hand of Antichrist to be the ordinance of God.
Objection: And first it is said, That as Circumcision administered in Israel’s great Apostasy remained still the ordinance of God, so that when any of them did repent and turned unto the Lord, they were received without being circumcised again; and the like is now to be considered of baptism in the Apostasy of Antichrist.
The answer is, First, it is like to a bad cause that must be maintained from the corruptions of other persons or states: Is the order and government of Christ’s new state and kingdom under the New Testament more weak and imperfect than that under the Old, as we must go still unto Circumcision for a rule to make out our baptism? Is the light of the Moon become now more bright than the light of the Sun; and the heart veiled to see clearer than the face open, and the Servant to teach the Son? Again, it is worth our consideration, from what Church Antichrist did Apostate, and go away from, as the ten Tribes did under Jeroboam, I Kings 12. But I pass this.
Baptism Is Confined To the Hand of The Ministry in Opposition to Circumcision
Secondly, I answer, that Circumcision was not confined in the hand of the Priesthood then under the Old Testament, as the administration of baptism is to the Ministry of Christ now under the New Testament.
Thirdly, Circumcision was then taken by them administered according as God had commanded the same to be, both in respect of the matter, and manner.
1. The same order;
2. A right subject;
3. The due time;
4. The true place;
5. And lastly, a lawful Minister.
But now the baptism administered by Antichrist is contrary in all the foresaid respects, which is:
1. by a false power,
2. upon a wrong subject,
3. by a false Minister,
4. in a false body.
The like cannot be showed in circumcision, nor yet in baptism; and God approving of the same to be His ordinance.
And now to oppose this, Zipporah the wife of Moses is brought for an example, to prove that the baptism administered by a false Minister may be true baptism, as circumcision was being administered by a woman, Exodus 4:25.
The answer is, first, that Moses’ wife was in that action the hand of her husband for the preserving of his life: for had not Zipporah circumcised her son, it seems that God would have slain her husband, as v. 24-26 compared together.
Secondly, herein God sets forth His wisdom and justice in the subjecting of His Creature, to bring her so far to submit unto His will in that ordinance, as for to do the thing herself, for whose sake it is like the same was so long neglected, because there was nothing so contrary and opposite unto her as Circumcision.
Thirdly, I see not but that in a case of necessity a woman might lawfully circumcise, she being no where prohibited.
And, lastly, what of all this? say she did it unlawfully, and in so doing she was a false Minister, all which is more than God said, yet this was not done in a false Church, upon a wrong subject, authorized by a false power, as baptism administered by Antichrist is, and therefore at the worst it makes nothing at all for that which it is pretended, namely to prove baptism administered by Antichrist the ordinance of God, though the same be also administered by a false Minister.
Objection, Again it is said, That the Scriptures are the Ordinance of God, which He has ever preserved, and still owns for His Ordinance in the hand of Antichrist, and so does God of baptism there also.
The Constitutional Order of Christ’s Church and His Ministry are Always in His Hand
Answer, to which I answer and say, that God indeed does preserve the Scriptures, wherein is contained all God’s Holy Ordinances, as they are therein comprehended, and laid forth in their instituted rules, and that in the hands of wicked men, and so in the hands of Antichrist Himself. But never in their constituted order and forms out of the hand of Christ, His Church and Ministry.
And though that in many things Antichrist has corrupted the Scriptures, yet they remain still in themselves the ordinances of God. But for the false expositions, glosses and doctrines they gather from the Scriptures, with the church ministry, worship and government they build upon the Scriptures, and so their ordinances which they seem to constitute by them: now these I cannot see to be the ordinances of God any more the one than the other. So that if baptism with Antichrist, as they say, be God’s ordinance, then why not upon the same ground also is the Supper, the Church and their Ministry be God’s ordinances also, seeing they have the Scriptures as well for the one as for the other?
Baptism is an Institution of Christ as a Rule for the Lord’s People To Walk By
And for baptism, as it is an institution of Christ, and contained in the Scriptures, as a rule for the Lord’s people to walk by in their obedience to Him; only so considered as it is an ordinance of God, in whose hands soever the Scriptures are.
But now for a false Antichristian Church, to constitute and administer the like out of or a part from the Scriptures, now so considered, it is not the Ordinance of God, but men’s invention, composed from the Scriptures, as a pattern drawn forth in the likeness or resemblance of God’s Ordinance, but not the same.
For God has communion with none in His word, but by His Spirit and faith;
neither of which has Antichrist: and therefore though he has the written letter of the Scripture, yet no communion with God in the same, so as to receive His ordinance of Him:
Neither can any man constitute, and so administer an ordinance of God without authority from Christ the Lord and King of His Church; which authority Antichrist has not, and therefore God’s ordinance of Baptism cannot be administered by Antichrist in his false Antichristian Church and state, as some do affirm.
Objection: But it is said, that there is but only one Baptism, and having once received that, though it be by Antichrist, we need not to receive it anymore; for we can have but the same again, and that which we have in the same for substance with Christ’s institution, which for the matter, there is water, and for the form, there is the same words used as Christ’s instituted the same ordinance of Baptism in.
There is One True Baptism and Church, but Antichrist’s Are Not of That One
Therefore, Christ’s True Baptism is Not Re baptism
The answer is, first, that there is but one true Baptism, that is a truth, and a man being once baptized by the same, he needs not to be baptized again, this is also true: for I do not approve of rebaptizing. But now to conclude from thence, that there cannot be a resemblance of that one true Baptism, and yet not the same, this will not follow: there is but one true Church and Ministry of Christ as the Word of God reveals, but it will not follow therefore, that Antichrist cannot resemble the same, and set up one of his own like unto that, or if that he do, the same must be a true Church and Ministry; because God approves but of one.
Antichrist Sets Up His Own Church, Ministry And Ordinances
But if Antichrist (as you affirm) may resemble the truth, and set up a false Church and Ministry, which is the greater, upon the same ground do I affirm that he may, nay, that he must also resemble the true Ordinances, by setting up false Ordinances, which are the lesser, like unto the true; otherwise he could not put off his ware, for none would trade with him in his merchandise.
Antichrist Has Not the Substance of God’s Holy Ordinances They are
Understood Only By Such as Have God’s Spirit
Antichrist has not the substance of God’s Holy Ordinances in his Baptism, though he use, or rather abuse the words of Christ’s Institution in his administration, for then he should also have the substance of all other Ordinances of God, because he uses the words of the Scripture, wherein they are instituted and contained. It is not the bare letter of Scripture only, but the true mind of Christ there set down, that bears an Ordinance, which none can know, but only he who has the Spirit of Christ, as Rom. 8; I Cor. 2, and this has not Antichrist.
The Matter of Baptism is the Subject, The Matter of The Church is The Saints and
The Matter of The Ministry is The Prophets of The New Covenant
Thirdly, I deny the water to be the matter, but only the instrument in baptism. For as fire is the instrument of burning, even so is water of washing. And as the matter of burning is the fuel that is burn, so the matter of washing is the party washed; for as the matter of the Church is the Saints, and the matter of the Ministry, the Prophets, so the matter of baptism, are the persons upon whom the same is conferred.
The Form of The Words Used In Baptism by Antichrist Rejected
Fourthly, I deny the form of words, with the use of water, in a false Antichristian Church, to be the form of the Lord’s baptism, instituted by Christ in the New Testament; for then every foolish using of those words with water, must be the true ordinance of God, as many ignorantly do affirm.
True Baptism Considered
But for the form of Baptism, that is,
1. an authorized person,
2. baptizing the true matter
3. into the true and orderly profession of Jesus Christ, as Matt. 28:19; I Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27.
This being thus done by a true power and authority from Christ, is the form of baptism in the administration thereof; but this does not Antichrist, and therefore his baptism is not God’s Ordinance.
Objection: The next ground alleged to prove baptism administered in a false Antichristian Church, to be the true ordinance of God, and so to be retained, is the vessels of God’s House in Babylon, that as those vessels remained still the Lord’s Ordinance being in the hand’s of God’s enemies; and so may baptism as a vessel of God’s House, bring in the hands of Antichrist, which is spiritual Babylon, though the Mother of Harlots.
I shall answer to this in brief, First, for the vessels of the Lord’s House, they were God’s Ordinance, and that while they were in Babylon, but now so as they only consisted in their instituted forms, and not in respect of their constituted use: that is, as Belshazzar, the King and his Princes made them their drinking cups, Dan. 5:2, 3. Thus considered with respect to this use and service that the Babylons applied them unto, they were not the ordinances of God for, God never ordained them for such a use. Though in themselves simply considered they were God’s ordinance, ordained by Him to holy use. In which consideration Baptism may be said to be God’s ordinance in the church of Antichrist, or wheresoever the Holy Scriptures of God are, only as an instituted Rule in the Word of God, for His own people to observe and obey Him, by using it in that way, and to the same end, as God ordained, and appointed the same ordinances unto.
The Antichrist’s Form of Worship and Ordinances Is Not of God
But now for Antichrist to take the Scriptures, and according to his right of authority and spirit, from the same to compose a form of worship, with ordinances suitable thereunto, among which baptism must be one, without which all the rest are nothing worth. Now though that baptism as a holy institution of Christ, contained in the Scriptures, be the ordinance of God, yet considered in Antichrist’s constitution, and a false administration, it is not the ordinance of God, no more than the Princes of Babylon’s drinking in the vessels of the Lord’s house was His ordinance.
Again, Secondly, God is said in the Scriptures to give or to send the vessels of His House to Babylon, as 2 Chron. 36:17, 18, 21; Jer. 27:21, 22; Dan. 1:2. Now let the like be showed, wherever God is said to give or send His ordinance of baptism unto Antichrist, until then the vessels of God’s house remaining His ordinance in Babylon, shall make nothing for them to prove Antichrist’s sprinkling of water on the face of an infant, to be God’s ordinance of Baptism, and for her being the MOTHER OF HARLOTS IS TRUE, Rev. 17.5 WHO HAS ALL FOR HER DAUGHTERS THAT DERIVE HER BAPTISM FROM HER, AS DO ALL THAT UPHOLD HER DOCTRINE OF INFANT-BAPTISM.
Objection: But here it is said by some, That Antichrist is as a Thief has stolen away God’s ordinance of Baptism out of His Church, for which He is said not to have repented of his theft; Rev. 9:21.
If this should be true, herein they condemn themselves, for whosoever communicates with the thief in the thing stolen, he is as deep in the thing as the thief himself.
Objection: But it will be said, That they having repented of the evil, God has accepted of that, though they retain his baptism, as His Ordinance.
How can this be? Which day does their pretentance appear? So long as they retain the thing that is stolen, for nature reaches this much, that so long as any man keeps in possession that which he knows was stolen, he is guilty of the theft.
Secondly, how do they know that God has accepted of their repentance, while they still retain the thing stolen, and justify the same; and how can they make it appear by the Word of God, that He approves of that baptism for His ordinance, which they have received at the hand of Antichrist that had stolen it? All which is worth the consideration how these things can be made to appear, that are so commonly taken for granted truths.
Antichrist Cannot Steal Away Christ’s Baptism Out of Christ’s Church
Again, Thirdly, Though Antichrist should steal away the Lord’s baptism out of His Church, yet he could not steal away the power and authority of Christ, for to administer the same upon any other; for though he should bring away Christ’s baptism, yet it was but only in his own person; which thing he could not pass from himself upon any other, as an ordinance of God, without the power and authority of Christ.
What Is Meant By Stealing Baptism Out of Christ’s Church
And lastly, let us consider a little what may be here meant by theft, together with the help of other Scriptures, and that is, men’s bringing in their own inventions, and human traditions, and pressing the same for truth upon the consciences of men, by which means the truth of God is displanted, and the way of the Lord obscured, and so comes to lose its esteem and authority in the heart of man, Gal. 1:6, 7; and 4:17. In which sense the false Prophets are said to steal the word of God every one from his neighbor, Jer 23:30, that was by setting up their own traditions, and pressing the same for truth upon the people, by which means the commandments of God were made of no effect; Matt. 7:13. Of which the Lord complains that the fear by which the people feared Him was taught by the precepts of men; Isa. 29:13. This way Satan in his instruments lies at all advantage to disable and prevent the word for taking effect upon the hearts of men; Matt. 13:19. And this is the theft, that the aforesaid thieves and robbers had not repented of, and not Antichrist’s stealing of the Lord’s baptism out of His Church.
Objection: But it is thought by some, that the gold and rich attire, by which Antichrist is planted, and the golden cup in the Gentile woman’s hand, are the ordinances of God, Rev. 17:4.
As there is little matter in this to any purpose, I shall answer in brief to the same. And first, that this is a comparative speech, with reference to that outward pomp and glorious state, wherein she sits triumphing as a Queen, Rev. 18:7. And withal, the same wisely and cunningly composed by human policy, under a general form of an outward profession of religion, yet opposing the truth and power thereof, Song. 5:7, under a show of humility and pretense of zeal, by her forwardness in the executing of her power against all such as refuse subjection to her holy orders, and to worship God according to that image and form which she has set up, Col. 2:8, 18, 20-23; Rev. 13:15, 16. And therefore such are best excepted of her, that are the strongest for reason, and the most skillful artificers to paint and to trim her up, and to set her forth in her glory and beauty to the eyes of men. And by this means she has a harlot deceives the simple, and bewitches the nations, Prov. 7:16, 17; Nahum 3:4; Gal. 3:1; Rev. 18.
All which is to be understood in a spiritual sense, and in matters of Religion, and the her golden cup, and all her rich attire will appear to be only of the Gentlewoman’s own devised painting, and not any of the Lord’s ordinances, Jer. 51:7 and Jer. 2:33, with Jer. 4:30 and Rev. 18:12, 13, 16. So that here the Holy Ghost sets forth her state to be Babylon spiritually considered, as Rev. 11:8 and her Ministers are set forth under the name of Merchants, because they buy and sell and trade for her in all the Merchandise of her Religion, wherein all things are set at sale, as much as the souls and bodies of men, Rev. 18:13, that is, the penal laws imposed to the forcing of their consciences, and the Merchants are stilled or called The Great Men of The Earth, verse 23., That is, great for human learning, arts, and policy, to keep up her state and trade, and make out the same against all gain-sayers, and what they want in skill, they have it in power of the sword, and so able to bear down all before them, for they are the great men of the earth, and who is able to make war with the beast. The things they merchandise withal, are all manner of precious stones, and the life, which holds forth the curious art of nature, for the ordering and composing of all those things concurring for the making up of that state and form, in so near a resemblance to truth. All which is without substance, for at length no man will buy their ware, which causes great lamentation among the Merchants, Rev. 18:11. And so I shall now leave this subject to the wise and godly Readers consideration, to mind well the truth of such a practice, that leave a Church as false and Antichristian, and yet approve of that baptism there administered by a false and Antichristian power, to be the true ordinance of God.
Either Come All the Way to Baptism Or Return Back to Rome
I must here conclude and say, that either such must go forward to baptism, or else turn back again from whence they came; for there is no middle way, not the least light in the word of God to bear up the same, but the contrary.
You shall not do whatsoever is right in your own eyes, for you are not as yet come to your rest, and to the inheritance which the Lord your God gives you, Deut. 12:8, 9. Arise and depart, for this is not your rest, because it is polluted, Micah 2:10, I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believes on me, shall not abide in darkness, John 12:46. And now why tarry ye, arise and be baptized, and wash away your (antichristian) sins, calling on the name of the Lord, Acts 22:16. They resisted the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him, Luke 7:30. Arise therefore and obey the Lord, and think not within yourselves, we are baptized already, and that by Antichrist, for I tell you, that you are never able to prove yourselves to be under the Lords holy ordinance of baptism, by all the light in Scripture, and art in nature, in that way you go, namely to deny the state as false and Antichristian, and yet retain your baptism there administered by the same power as the Lord’s ordinance, and assume a Church to yourselves upon the same baptism. I speak in subjection, I think THE LAST CHURCH OR CHURCHES, THAT IS, ALL THE REFORMED CHURCHES, STILL RETAINING INFANT’S BAPTISM, ARE AS MUCH AGAINST THE RULES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT AS THE FORMER.
For certainly, where there is a false state, constituted by a false power, all that stative ordinances essential to the same, and constituted by the same power, must be also of the same nature together with the rest, which is all alike false; therefore if you take hence a cornerstone to lay in your foundation, and build you a resting place upon the same, know this, that it will not lie firm, but ever be rolling under you, that you shall not rest upon it, therefore arise and depart, for this is not your rest, because it is polluted, it will destroy you, even with a sore destruction, look betimes, the higher you build, the greater the fall will be, if it be not right upon the true foundation. I do believe that God will cause His truth to shine forth with power, both to clear the dark clouds of ignorance off the hearts of His people, and bear down that which stands in opposition to the same; and if such have been so hard put to it, in the dark as it were, that they are forced to leave the holy and blessed word of God, and betake themselves to Antichrist’s power and testimony, to prove them under God’s holy ordinance of baptism, though the whole body of the Scripture lies against them, what will such do when more light comes? They will then yield, or self appear to be willful opposes of the truth. The Lord give them hearts to consider, and to put their cause to the trial of the holy and pure Word of God, and to bring all His people into one unity of faith, and uniform order of truth, that God may have glory, the Gospel honor, the Saints comfort; and so to roll away the reproach of Antichrist, by giving of all His people hearts to submit unto His ordinance of baptism, John 5:9.
If Either The Church Or Ordinance Be Lacking Where They
Are To Be Found, and How They Are To Be Recovered.
The subject of the former discourse has been about the right subject of Baptism, and that the Word of God has discovered to be a believer, only in the proving of which truth, there is also disproved two sorts of persons, and they are either believer’s infants, or such that received their baptism of Antichrist, and yet all in their infancy: both which are by the Scriptures disapproved, the one being incapable, and so without any Rule from God for the same; and the other also unlawful, and so directly against the Word of God, which disclaims all communion with the man of sin, in any of His divine ordinances, who receives nothing of the Lord, and therefore all that he can administer unto any, is both of himself, from himself, and for himself, and so not to be justified, nor retained as the Lord’s ordinance. And this falling out so, it follows that we are now to seek for the Lord’s true baptism, and for a case so difficult, as some would make it, two things in special are to be inquired into:
First, how, or where to find it;
Secondly, how it may be obtained, being found.
Going To the Scriptures Is As Going To Christ and His Apostles
For the first, if any ordinance of God should be so deceased in its constitution, as that we do not know where it is a foot in God’s way in the world, so as to come by it with a good conscience, a people in such a case, being convicted of the truth, and the necessity of their obedience to God in the same, and yet know not the way, or manner how to accomplish their holy desires, in the finding and obtaining the same, they are to go, as of old, to Christ and His Apostles, as the godly then did; that is, to the Holy Scriptures, which are the lively Oracles of God; the spirit speaking in them unto a believing heart; so they stand in the place of Christ and His Apostles, with the same ability and authority, to furnish a man with all truth, as these Scriptures compared together sufficiently prove, 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Pet. 1:19, 20; Rom. 16:25, 26; John 5:39; Matt. 22:29; Luke 24:25, 27, 44, 45, 46; I Cor. 15:3, 4.
By all which we see, that all things contained in the Scriptures, unto which the Holy Ghost leads men to prove and find all things concerning faith and obedience to God and man, which are the prophetical mouth of Christ, that all must have recourse unto, that will have anything to do with Him, Acts 3:22, 23. And the rule by which all must be tried, though an Angel from heaven, and the Apostles themselves, Gal. 1:8, 9. So that the Holy Scripture is the only place where any ordinance of God, in the case aforesaid, is to be found, they being the fountain-head, containing all the instituted rules both of Church and Ordinances, so that, when, or wheresoever any of these are lacking in their constitution, and cannot be found in their outward orderly form, we are to go directly unto its institution, and recover the same again from thence, as Song. 1:7; Isa. 8:19, 20; Rom. 10:6-8.
The Orderly Way To Come to The Lord’s Baptism
And thus having found the place or subject, wherein baptism ever subsists, as an ordinance of God, we are in the next place to know how such as want it may come orderly by it; for though that God has joined His word and ordinances together, yet He has also ordained an orderly way for His people to come to enjoy them, which orderly way, as of old, even so now, if any be convicted of the truth, such may receive baptism from the hands of whose whom God used as instruments to bring His truth and their hearts to be one, this being ever the way that persons came unto the administrations of Christ’s New Testament, as these Scriptures do witness, Matt. 3:5, 6; Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 8:12, 35, 38; Acts 10:46, 47, 48.
For where the blessings of God go together with His word to call persons to the knowledge of truth, there is also power to admit such unto the obedience of the same, John 1:22; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 8:36-38; & 10:34-47; I Cor. 3:5, 7.
Objection: If any object, How can such receive others into the Gospel order, that never were in it themselves?
Gospel Order Stands Firm Forever Unalterable
The answer is, where there is a beginning, some must be first, and our obedience to God depends only upon His word, that gives being to all order of worship, and the Gospel order once instituted stands firm for ever unalterable, for all that believe to obey and submit themselves thereunto, by a practical profession of the same, Acts 2; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Rev. 22:18-20.
Jesus Christ Makes His Own Into a Spiritual House and Holy Priesthood
And so to enter upon it, as living matter upon the foundation, which is Jesus Christ, Who calls all that have faith in Him, as living stones to come unto Him, to be built upon Him, a spiritual house, and an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Him, Who has by His own blood made a free and open way for all that believe to come with boldness unto the most holy place, and if so, then much more to enjoy all those privileges of grace inferior to the same, and when any lay short of their obedience to the holy rules of the Gospel, it is only the Spirit of truth, that brings up any man to the obedience of truth, by what instrument, or means He pleases, and such as God so works in by His Spirit, as to enlighten the understanding in the truth, the conscience convicted by it having faith in it, as a duty to obey it, with the way open to it, such by their mutual Agreement with truth, are by faith one together in the truth, which gives being to the practice of it, for the which Christ prayed, Heb. 10; John 17:20, 21. God approves, Matt. 18:19, 20; and believing hearts obey, Acts 8:12, to such Christ freely opens, John 10:3, 9, and receives them into the fellowship of His own body, I Cor. 1:9; Col. 3:15; I Cor. 12:12, 13, and 27.
The Power of The Truth Effected by Jesus Christ Who is
Not Tied To Any Instrument
And thus by the power of truth, persons through faith, come to be one in Christ with the God of truth, and so it is the Lord that receives any into fellowship with Himself, and so consequently, each other, by what instruments He pleases, Who has tied Himself to none, Matt. 15:13; John 4:23; I Cor. 12:18, 24; I John 1:3, 6, 7; I Cor. 3:6, 7.
So that such as were never in it, may and ought in communion with others, enter into it, the gate or door being opened unto them, and they by Christ invited in, seeing our obedience to God lies upon no other conditions but to believe and obey the Gospel.
I shall yet further clear up this truth, by showing the manner of the foresaid constitution in the causes of it.
Objection: But before I can do this, I must give answer to two sorts of person that oppose the aforesaid truth; first such as stand for a personal succession; secondly such as will make baptism the form of the Church.
Concerning Those Who Hold To a Personal Succession
Those Who Hold to Baptism Administered by A Personal Succession Must Come Through Antichrist
As for the first, those that hold baptism by personal succession, they have received a sufficient answer, in proving of that baptism administered by Antichrist to be none of God’s ordinance; only a word or two to such as hold a succession in the defection of Antichrist, as they call it.
The Succession of Baptism In The Defection of Antichrist
If they mean by defection, the outward form of worship and Government Ecclesiastical, as I think they do, then all the power and authority that ever has carried out any administration, or constituted ordinance, has taken its being thence, and depends upon the same; and if so, then the power and ordainer, and the ordinances so ordained, must be both of one and the same stamp, as I have already proved; if the one be Antichrist’s, the other must be also Antichristian; and to dream of any approved Church by the word of God in or under this defection, and yet a part of the same, is to look for a man in the Moon, and to suppose a Church to consist in such matter that is destructive to the form, and therein to hold a succession of truth, is against the very light of nature, and to keep the Pope upon the throne of Christ, whether he will nor not; but to lay the chain of succession of truth this way, namely through the Popedom of Rome, as all such must do that hold a personal succession, or the Church, and ordinances to consist in the same, from the Apostles’ time until now, what will such do, and where will the succession of truth lie, when the same comes to the woman Pope, of whom the Papists themselves are ashamed?
The Folly Of A Personal Succession Through the Chain of Antichrist
For when we speak of a personal succession of truth, as in reference to Church, and Church ordinances, I look upon this in the power and authority that bears the same. And to hold a Church to be true, and the ordinances there administered to be the true ordinances of God, and to leave this, and set up a way of worship apart from it in opposition, and deny communion with it, is in my dark understanding, a mere schism, and the overthrow of all order in Religion. So far as I have learned Christ, men are to stand in their place, and use all means to reform and reclaim or disclaim by the Word of Truth; and all being done, and of necessity I must by the Word of God, leave off communion with them.
No Place For Schism Or Self-Baptism
I think by the same rule, I must disclaim them, and so separate away from them, if they do not repent, and not to leave a true Church, and true ordinances, and go apart and erect another Church, ordinances and worship of ourselves apart from it, in opposition to it, this in my judgment is as far from any Rule in the Gospel of Christ, as for a MAN TO BAPTIZE HIMSELF. Neither of which do I approve of.
John The Baptist Baptized Without Being Himself Baptized
Yet a word by the way, because of such an error that some make, and how far off from any rule or example, for a man to baptize others, and himself unbaptized, and so thinking hereby to shut up the ordinance of God in such a strait, that none can come by it, but through the authority of the Popedome of Rome. But for the opening of this cloud that seems so to darken the sky, let the reader consider who baptized John the Baptist, before he baptized others, and no man did, then whether he did not baptize others, he himself being unbaptized, and if he was baptized, whether it were not by an unbaptized person; and all Scriptures being written for our learning, and this being one, we are taught by this what to do upon the like occasion.
Understanding Matthew 16:18
And for the continuation of the Church from Christ’s words, The gates of hell shall not prevail against it, ect. I confess the same with this distinction: which Church is to be considered either with respect to her instituted state, as it lies in the Scripture, in the rules of the foundation, or in her constitution, or constituted form in her visible order.
Against the first hell’s gates shall never prevail, the foundation stands sure, but against the last it has often prevailed, for the Church in her outward visible order, has been often scattered through persecution, and the like, in which sense she is said to be prevailed against, as Dan. 7, Rev. 12; and Acts 8:1. Otherwise, where there was a Church, before it came under the defection.
Again, That which once was in such a way of being, and ceases for a time, and then comes to the same estate again, is, and may truly be said, to have ever a continuance, as Matt. 22:31, 32 with Luke 20:38. In which sense the Church may truly be said ever to continue, for though she be cast down at one time, yet God will raise her up at another, so that she shall never be so prevailed against, as to be utterly destroyed. And this way, I suppose, Christ may have and enjoy as good a wife as any can be preserved for Him under the defection of Antichrist. Though some have so wide mouths open against such as ever wished them well, but I leave them to God, to Whom they shall give account of all their hard words against the Lord, and those that fear His name, and out of conscience obey Him in that way, as some please to call error, in a reproachful manner.
But men do in these days somewhat like to be like the Tyrants in the ten persecutions, whose cruelty was such, that they exposed the Christians to be devoured of wild beasts, and God so overpowered the creatures cruelly, that at length they ceased to hurt them; and when those bloody Tyrants saw that, they put Bear’s skins upon them, thereby to incense and to stir up the nature of those beasts to fall upon them; thus I have heard reported. But whether this be true or not, sure I am that such men can be little better minded that labor so to cover the godly with such filth, as they vomit out of their own-self-sick-stomachs; but I desire the Lord to pass by all, and to give men more love and patience to bear one with another.
Must Not Trace Baptism Through The Succession of Antichrist
And to conclude, I fear men put more in baptism than is of right due unto it, that so prefer it above the Church, and all other ordinances besides, for they can assume and erect q Church, take in and cast out members, elect and ordain officers, and administer the Supper, and all anew, without any looking after succession, any further than the Scriptures, but as for baptism, they must have that successively from the Apostles though it come through the hands of Pope Joan.
Christ’s Succession is Through the Truth Which is Maintained by the Power of God
What is the cause of this, that men can do all from the Word, but only Baptism? And that must come by man, yea, and that by the man of sin? But we are to know this, that truth depends not upon Churches, nor any mortal creature, but only upon the immortal God, Who by His Word and Spirit, reveals the same, when and to whom He pleases. And for succession of truth, it comes now by the promise of God, and faith of His people, whom He as aforesaid, has taken out of the world unto Himself, in the fellowship of the Gospel: to whom the ordinances of Christ stand only by succession of faith, and not of persons; for the same power and authority the Apostles had in their time for direction in godliness, the Scriptures have now in the hand of Christ, as the head of His Church, which make up but one body, I Cor. 12:12, 27; Eph. 1:22, 23; Eph. 4:15, 16. So that what the Church and the Apostles together might do then, the same may the Head and Body, together with the Scriptures do now, the Scriptures having the same authority in the Church now as the Apostles then had, the same Spirit being present now to reveal them, as then to write them, I Cor. 5:4, 5; 2 Tim. 3:15, 16.
The Word of God Gives Being to All Order and All Actions
The Scriptures remaining in the place of the Apostles for us to have recourse unto, and serve as the mouth of Christ to all believers, as the Apostles did before they were written, Matt. 28:20; 2 Peter 1:19, 20, 21; Rom. 10:6, 7, 8. And as the people of old conferred with the Prophets and Apostles about their great affairs, so have the Lord’s people now Moses and the Prophets, Christ and His Apostles in their writings, Luke 16:29, 30, 31. Which are to us with the Spirit of life in them as effectual, as their personal presence, if not more, as John 6:62, 63, 2 Peter 1:18, 19; Rev. 11:3, 5, 11. And thus all succession from the beginning came to Christ, and from Christ to the Apostles, and from them to the Scriptures, which are the headsrping of us to all, so that, all succession now is only spiritual, according to faith, and follows not the personal succession of any, but only the word, that gives being to all order and ordinances that are of God.
Objection: And so I come to such as will make baptism the form of the Church, I shall be brief in this, because the truth of this will appear in the causes constituting the Church.
The Definition of a Church
This I think we all agree in, that matter and form constitute a Church.
The Matter of The Church
The matter is a company of Saints, or persons professing faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and living accordingly, that is, in holiness of life.
The Form of the Church
The form is that by which these are united and knit up together in one fellowship, and orderly body, and that is the Covenant of Grace which lies between God and His people; by which God visibly becomes the God of such persons, and they His people above all others.
That this is the form of a Church, and not baptism, I prove thus; That by which God and a people become each others apart from all other people, that is the form of them. But the Covenant is that by which God owns a people for His, they own Him for their God; Therefore the covenant is the form, Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10; Acts 2:41; Gen. 17:11; Luke 1:71; Acts 3:25.
That which makes a member to be a member or not member of a Church, that makes a Church to be a Church or no Church, and so that is the form of it, for there is the same reason for the whole, that is, for every part; But the covenant is the that which makes a member, and so the rest, as Isa. 56:4, 6. Therefore the covenant is the form.
That which persons may have, and yet be no Church, that cannot be the form of a Church; but persons may have baptism, and yet be no Church. Therefore it is not the form. The Church being the greatest ordinance of God, and the very center of all ordinances, as Psa. 87:7; with I Tim. 3:15, cannot be formed by any particular ordinance, no not by any less than that which comprehends all the essential parts and properties of a Church, which is God’s gracious Covenant, that gives being to all true Churchs both first and last.
Objection: But some will say, that the word speaks of no Church before Baptism.
For answer to this I must distinguish in baptism between the truth in the doctrine of Baptism, and the outward administration of the same. In the first sense baptism is one branch of the Covenant, as a truth to be revealed, and by faith to be received, as an essential truth, together with other truths, for the constituting of the Church, and no Church according to the order of Christ’s New Testament, either without it, or before it.
But for the last, namely, the outward administration of baptism, that ever follows the Saint’s mutual faith and agreement in the doctrine, wherein consists the covenant, which ever goes before the administration of baptism. So that in the first sense, the Church is not before baptism, but in the last sense, the Church is before baptism, though not in her visible order.
Again, a church is only so a Church before baptism, as that the end of her union is for communion, and so an immediate proceeding to the practice of the same truth she agreed upon by a free and mutual consent in her conjunction, whereof baptism is one, for a people must first agree upon truth in judgment, before they practice the same.
Some say from Acts 2:41, They were added to the Church After they were baptized.
Adding To the Church After Baptism Is In Respect to Particular Churches And
Not the General Or Universal, Visible Church Which Is Before Baptism
To which I answer and say, If it should be so, that they were after baptism added to the Church, then they should neither put on Christ by baptism, nor yet be baptized into one body, nor to the true profession of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, directly against these Scriptures, Gal. 3:27; I Cor. 12:13; Matt. 28:19, 20. And for Acts 2:41, the words are these; Then they that gladly received His Word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls; which is nothing else but to show how many they were that received the truth, and so by the same were added to them, holding forth the power and goodness of God, in making His word so fruitful, in bringing in so many by one Sermon to the truth, As Acts 2:47, which is only a repeating over the number of Persons God at that time added to the rest. Again, adding to Churches after baptism is in respect of particular Churches, unto which persons may be recommended, but not of the Universal Church and Body of Christ, into which they are baptized, I Cor. 12:12, 13; Rom. 6:2-4. Now that into which any are baptized, must be before baptism: But persons are baptized into that one body the Church; Therefore the Church is before baptism.
Objection: Again it may be said, That Baptism signifies our regeneration and new birth, so that a child must be first born, and brought forth in baptism before it can be made a living Member in Christ’s Body the Church.
Baptism indeed is a sign of the new birth, and so holds forth the same as a thing done, and not as a thing to be done, and, therefore, baptism requires the appearance of the same, as faith and repentance, to go before the administration thereof, which cannot be unless a man be born from above, and such as are spiritually alive are the only subjects of baptism.
The Constitution of The Church
This will be further cleared in the constitution of the Church, which now follows, which constitution is the orderly collection of conjoining of persons into the New Covenant or visible union with Christ their head, as their mutual faith and agreement in the truth to the practice of it, and so consequently into an orderly body among themselves; wherein the Saints are the matter, and the covenant is the form; from which these two concurring, the Church arises, and is by them constituted, as Ezek. 16:8; Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10; Gal. 3:18, 29; Heb. 6:17; Zech. 1:3, 9; with Deut. 26:16, to 19; Deut. 29:12, 13; & Romans 9:8; with Gal. 4:28. By which it appears, that it is the promise, or the Covenant of Grace, that produces a Christian, and gives him a being in such an estate of grace, and so consequently the Church itself; for that which is true in a part, is the same in the whole.
The constituting causes which God ordinarily uses to effect this work are:
Now for the constituting causes by which God ordinarily uses to effect this work, they are these:
1. The Word of God, which is to fit and prepare the matter for the form;
2. The Confession of Faith, which is to declare the fitness of the matter for the form;
3. The free and mutual consent and agreement of the particular persons, upon the practice of the same truth believed and confessed, as aforesaid.
4. And lastly, the Spirit of Christ, uniting and knitting up their hearts together, in and by the same truth; and of each of these a word.
First, of the Word of God, fitting and preparing of the matter; and this appears in the Ministry of John the Baptist, who was to go before Christ in the spirit and power of Elisas, for to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedience unto the wisdom of the just, and to make ready a people prepared for the Lord, as Luke 1:17, compare with this Luke 3:4, 5, 6; where he is said to prepare the way of the Lord, and to make His paths straight. And now the manner how this is to be done, is to fill up every valley, and to bring down every mountain and hill, and to make the crooked ways straight, and the rough ways smooth. And so verse 6, the valleys are to be understood of such whose hearts were possessed with fear, either of God’s displeasure against them for sin; or fear of the dangers, straits, and difficulties, that attend the Gospel of Christ, in the true profession of the same. From both which the hearts of such are to be freed, that are fit to follow Christ, and prepared subjects for His Kingdom, Luke 14:26. In which sense the Gospel is a preparative means to fill up such valleys, by pouring in the great abundance of God’s rich grace, and free love in Christ towards all such as believe and His all-sufficiency to preserve such as suffer for His name’s sake. And for laying low the Mountains and hills, that is, to humble and bring down the proud heart of man, that exalts himself, and cannot submit unto the simplicity of the Gospel, and to that low and mean condition of Christ upon His cross, as Isa. 2:11, 22; with 2 Cor. 10:4, 5,6; And for the crooked to be made straight, that is, the crooked and Serpent-like nature, and evil dispositions of men, these shall be changed; and made conformable to Christ. And so for the making of the rough smooth, that is, the hard and rough turbulent spirits of men, that will admit of no rule, order, or peaceable society, at all, shall by the Word of God be made soft, smooth, and of such a meek temper of spirit, as that all such shall live together in love, innocent and harmless, with unity, peace, and uniformity to Christ in all things, as Isaiah 11:6, 7, 8, 9. All which Christ Himself often affirmed, that except a man deny himself, he cannot be His disciple. All which charge thus upon the hearts of men, is by the power of the Word of God, by which they as matter are fitted and prepared for the form, James 1:18.
The second constituting cause, is the confession of faith, which declares the fitness of the matter for the form; which confession of faith is produced by the power of the Gospel, shinning into the heart of man, and draws away the same after that which is by the gospel revealed. Which truth is of such a working nature, that it will not be kept in, but like unto leaven which so seasons and sweetens the whole man, that as fire at length it breaks forth and discovers itself, or rather such as have it, and not only so, but it brings them together by which they come now to confer about the same, so that at length they come to be one and the same mind and judgment in it, and withal convinced of their obedience thereunto.
And upon this, here follows a third constituting cause, which is their free and mutual consent and agreement upon the practice of that truth so by God revealed, and by faith received, as His will in their obedience thereunto; which agreement is between God and them in His truth, Who by His power subjects them to Himself by the same, and where this is in truth. Matt. 3; Mark 16; Acts 2; Acts 8; Acts 10; Psa. 110:3; Eph. 2; Eph. 4; Col. 2.
Now comes the cause in the last place, which effects and concludes the whole work, and that is the Spirit of grace and power, going forth in their hearts by faith, uniting and knitting them up together in one, for the manifestation of their obedience to God, in their practical subjection to Christ in the said truth, by them received and agreed upon as aforesaid, and this is the Covenant that forms the Church, which ever goes in order before the external administration of any other ordinance than the matters agreement together for orderly practice; for persons must be informed of the truth in judgment, and bound by the same in conscience, and agree upon the practice, before the same can orderly be put into execution; which union is the Holy Ghost’s conjoining and uniting the said persons together in one and the same truth by faith, and so consequently into an orderly body among themselves, immediately under Christ their Head. Which conjunction is called in Scripture the unity of the Spirit, Eph. 4:3; and the gracious covenant, by which God becomes their God, and they His approved people in such a visible relation, Gen. 17; as Deut. 29:12, 13; with Deut. 26:17, 18; Ezek. 16:8; Jer. 31:3. This is called also a joining to the Lord, as Jer. 50:5. They shall ask the way to Sion with their faces thither ward, saying Come let us join ourselves unto the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten. And the son of the stranger that joins himself to the Lord, to serve, Him, and to love His name, and to be His servant; &c. Isa. 56:6. And he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit, I Cor. 6:17. And of the rest durst no man join himself unto them, Acts 5:13. And when Paul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself unto the Disciples, Acts 9:26. And the whole body fitly joined together, &c. Eph. 4:16. And fitly framing of matter together for a house or habitation of God, as Eph. 2:21, 22. All which is the Saints entering covenant with God, which covenant is their form that gives them a being in such a relation or fellowship, Isa. 43:21; I Peter 2:9. And so much in brief of the constitution of a Church, and the causes producing the same.
The Gospel Church is Now Come Into Her Own Land
And now being come into her own land, as of old was signified, Ezek. 26:24, 25; which is, into a visible covenant with God, or union with Christ, and so becoming His own, she is now to be washed with water in baptism, as Ezek. 16: 8, 9; Matt. 28:19; Eph. 4:5. And thus being in Covenant with God by faith in Jesus Christ, in which their state consists, and so the agreement made, and the covenant passed between them, now the seal is set to, which is the outward ordinance of Baptism, to confirm the same; which being done, she is then to enter upon her holy communion in all the rest of God’s holy ordinances thereunto belonging, for her comfort and well being, so that communion in any thing is from union first with the same.
And thus I have by God’s gracious assistance done with this subject charged upon me, partly by such as fear the Lord in a far Country beyond the Seas; and partly by my own conscience for the truth’s sake at home. And good Reader, consider well before you judge, and what I see not, teach thou me, &c. Job 34:37. But let not my unwary Reader be offended with we, though I speak a word of two more.
Objection: It may be some will ask me, If I condemn all Churches, but only such as I have described.
To which I answer, that I condemn no Church that God approves of in His word; for I go not about to show who are false, but what is true, and it is enough for me, if such a Church as has been spoken of be granted to be true, and let all others alone, to stand and fall to their own Master; and in regard of those reproachful clamors cast upon all without exception, that seem to be of my judgment about baptism, I shall yet make bold with my Reader, briefly to declare a word of my faith, what I believe and hold to be truth, and desire to practice the same, and so leave all to God, and for the godly Reader to judge, what difference there is between him and me, in the main, that men should be so incensed against me, as to seek my life, as some have done, the Lord in mercy forgive them, and lay it not to their charge. And now for my faith briefly in a word.
1. I do believe that there is only one God, who is distinguished in 3 persons; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; yet but one in nature, or essence, without divisions, and incommunicable, who made the world, and all things therein, by the word of his power, & governs them by his wise providence.
2. I believe that God made man in his own Image, an upright and perfect creature, consisting of soul and body: which body God framed of the earth, and breathed into the same the breath of life, and man became a living soul. To whom God gave a law, upon his keeping of which depends all his happiness, and upon the contrary attended his misery, which took effect; for he breaking that law, he fell under the curse, and wrath of God lay upon him and all his posterity. By which fall man lost the knowledge of God, and utterly disabled himself of all ability ever to recover the same again.
3. I believe God out of the counsel of his will, did, before he made the world, elect and choose some certain number of his foreseen fallen creatures, and appointed them to eternal life in his Son, for the glory of his grace: which number so elected shall be saved, come to glory, & the rest left in sin to glorify his justice.
4. I believe that God in the fullness of his own time, did send his son, the 2d. person, who in the womb of the virgin Mary, assumed mans nature, and in the same he suffered death upon the cross, only as he was man, to satisfy his Fathers justice, for the sins of his elect, & that he lay 3 days and 3 nights in his grave, from whence he arose the third day by the power of his Godhead, for the justification of all for whole sins he died, and that in the same body Christ died, he arose from the death, and afterwards ascended into heaven, the place of glory, where he was before, and there to remain until he comes at the last day to judge the world in righteousness.
5. I believe that God of his grace, in his own time, effectually calls such as shall be saved to the knowledge of the truth, who is said, of his own will to beget us by the word of truth: in which work of grace, nature is as passive, as a child in the parents begetting of it; and so God by His Spirit works faith in the hearts of all such to believe in Christ, and his righteousness, only for justification. And thus they are made righteous before God in Christ, and so conformable to the will of God the Father through the Son; and also made holy through the work of regeneration, and the holy Spirit of grace dwelling in them; yet all such have still, as long as they live here in the flesh, remaining in them, an old man, that original corruption, the flesh that wars against the spirit, which hinders them in their obedience both to God and to man, and many times draws them to that which is evil, and contrary to their intentions; yet all of them shall through Christ overcome, and safely be brought to glory at last.
6. I believe the holy Scriptures to be the word of God, and have the only authority to bind the conscience to the obedience of all therein contained, and are the all sufficient rule, by the Spirit of God to guide a man in all his obedience both to God and man.
7. As for the absence of original sin, and power in the will to receive and refuse grace and salvation being generally offered by the Gospel, and Christ dying for all persons universally, to take away sin that stood between then and salvation, and so laid down his life for a ransom for all without exception, and for such as have been one in God’s love, so as approved of by him in Christ for salvation, and in the Covenant of Grace, and for such to fall so as to be damned eternally, and all of the like nature, I do believe is a doctrine from beneath, and not from above, and the teachers of it from Satan, and not from God, and to be rejected as such that oppose Christ and his Gospel.
8. I do believe the resurrection of the dead, that all shall rise and come to judgment, and every one give account of himself to God, and receive according to the things done in their bodies, whether they be good or bad; therefore no conscience ought to be forced in the matters of Religion, because no man can bear out another in his account to God, if in case he should cause him to sin.
9. I do believe the powers that are, as the civil Magistrates, and so, are of God, to whom God hath committed the Sword of justice, for the punishing of evil doers, and for the good of such as do well, in which respect they ought to be honored, obeyed, and assisted by all men, and of Christians especially, and that out of conscience to God, whose ordinance and ministers they are, and bear not the sword in vain, Rom. 13, I Pet. 2, Tit. 3.
And lastly, I do believe that there is an holy and blessed communion of Saints, that God of his grace calls such as belong to life by election, unto the fellowship of his Son by the Gospel, of which matter, God by his word and Spirit joins them together in his Covenant of grace, and so constitutes his Church, as I have before showed: And as God hath thus built for himself an holy habitation of such pure matter, and also after so holy a manner, even so hath he provided a way of preservation and safety for the same; as Isa. 26:1. We have a strong City, salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks: which City is said to have a wall both great and high, and built upon twelve foundations; great, that none shall break through, and high, that none shall overtop or get over, and strong in the foundation, that nothing shall shake it, and God hath said, that he will be a wall of fire round about, and the glory in the midst of it, and that he will keep it, and watch over it by night and by day, that nothing shall hurt it; and as God hath built himself a house after his own mind, and is a guard to the same; even so he is also said to beautify the same with salvation, and to make the place of his feet glorious, and that he will lay all her stones with fair colors, and her foundations with Sapphires, and her windows of Agars, and her gates of Carbuncles, and all her boarders of pleasant stones, and all her children taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of her children. And as Christ does thus signify unto us the nature of his church both in respect of her matter, her form, her grace, and comely order in him her head; even so he holds forth his love to her, and delight in her, by these and the like expressions of comfort and solace. The Lord hath chosen Zion, &c. Pas. 132.13,14; Eph. 2:21,23. Pas. 87.2,3; Gal. 4:26,31. Isa. 2.2; Isa. 62. 1,12, Ezek. 48:35. Rev. 21. 12,14, Zech. 2.5, Isa. 26.3, Isa. 4. 11,12,13. Rev. 21. 11,18,21, Cant. 4.7, Psal. 45.13.