- Memoir of Rev. John Robinson.
- Section I.: Mr. Robinson, a Puritan In Norfolk. (1575—1604.)
- Section II.: Mr. Robinson a Separatist At Scrooby. (1604—1608.)
- Section III.: Mr. Robinson an Exile At Amsterdam. (1608, 1609.)
- Section IV.: Mr. Robinson a Pastor At Leyden. (1609—1625.)
- Section V.: Mr. Robinson, His Character and Writings.
- The Preface.
- Prefatory Notice By the Editor.
- Chapter I.: Of Man's Knowledge of God .
- Chapter II.: Of God's Love.
- Chapter III.: Of God's Promises.
- Chapter IV: Of the Works of God, and His Power, Wisdom, Will, Goodness, Etc., Shining In Them.
- Chapter V.: Of Created Goodness.
- Chapter VI.: Of Equability, and Perseverance In Well-doing.
- Chapter VII.: Of Religion, and the Differences and Disputations Thereabout.
- Chapter VIII.: Of the Holy Scriptures.
- Chapter IX.: Of Authority and Reason.
- Chapter X.: Op Faith, Hope, and Love: Reason, and Sense.
- Chapter XI.: Of Atheism and Idolatry.
- Chapter XII.: Of Heresy and Schism.
- Chapter XIII.: Of Truth and Falsehood.
- Chapter XIV.: Of Knowledge and Ignorance.
- Chapter XV.: Of Simplicity and Craftiness.
- Chapter XVI.: Of Wisdom and Folly.
- Chapter XVII.: Of Discretion.
- Chapter XVIII.: Of Experience.
- Chapter XIX.: Of Examples.
- Chapter XX.: Of Counsel.
- Chapter XXI.: Of Thoughts.
- Chapter XXII.: Of Speech and Silence.
- Chapter XXIII.: Of Books and Writings.
- Chapter XXIV.: Of Good Intentions.
- Chapter XXV.: Of Means.
- Chapter XXVI.: Of Labour, and Idleness.
- Chapter XXVII.: Of Callings.
- Chapter XXVIII.: Of the Use and Abuse of Things.
- Chapter XXIX.: Of Riches and Poverty.
- Chapter XXX.: Of Sobriety.
- Chapter XXXI.: Of Liberality and Its Contraries.
- Chapter XXXII.: Of Health and Physic.
- Chapter XXXIII.: Of Afflictions.
- Chapter XXXIV.: Of Injuries.
- Chapter XXXV.: Of Patience.
- Chapter XXXVI.: Of Peace.
- Chapter XXXVII.: Of Society and Friendship.
- Chapter XXXVIII.: Of Credit and Good Name.
- Chapter XXXIX.: Of Contempt and Contumely.
- Chapter Xl.: of Envy.
- Chapter Xli.: of Slander.
- Chapter Xlii.: of Flattery.
- Chapter Xliii.: of Suspicion.
- Chapter Xliv.: of Appearances.
- Chapter Xlv.: of Offences.
- Chapter Xlvi.: of Temptations.
- Chapter Xlvii.: of Conscience.
- Chapter Xlviii.: of Prayer.
- Chapter Xlix.: of Oaths and Lots.
- Chapter L.: of Zeal.
- Chapter Li.: of Hypocrisy.
- Chapter Lii.: of Sin, and Punishment From God.
- Chapter Liii.: of Rewards, and Punishments By Men.
- Chapter Liv.: of the Affections of the Mind.
- Chapter Lv.: of Fear.
- Chapter Lvi.: of Anger.
- Chapter Lvii.: of Humility and Meekness.
- Chapter Lviii.: of Modesty.
- Chapter Lix.: of Marriage.
- Chapter Lx.: of Children and Their Education.
- Chapter Lxi.: of Youth and Old Age.
- Chapter Lxii.: of Death.
- Introductory Notice By the Editor.
- Chapter I.: Of Predestination.
- Chapter II.: Of Election.
- Chapter III.: Of Falling Away. Adversaries. (page 78.)
- Chapter IV.: Of Free-will.
- Chapter V.: Of the Original State of Mankind.
- Chapter VI.: Of Baptism. (pages 129—176.)
In the next place they come to baptism, in which they think themselves in their element, as a fish in the water. And beginning with John's baptism, they will have it so called, as Paul calls the gospel his, Rom. ii. 16, but they mistake. It was so called, because John was (under God) the first both instituter, and exerciser of it. By their rule John Murton might be called John Baptist. Secondly, they err in saying, baptism is repentance for the remission of sins, &c. Repentance goes before baptism, Acts ii. 38; 2 Tim. ii. 25: repentance is inward; the baptism outward, of which our question is. God gives repentance; men confer baptism: repentance is man's work; for it is man that repenteth by grace; baptism (considered as inward) is God's work; as outward, the minister's under God, They affirm, that the baptizing, or washing, of which we speak, is “an action of the hand.” Is repentance so with these men? Indeed, that repentance upon which they baptize, is rather the work of their hands, than of God's.
The Scriptures alleged, show what is required of men of years, before they be baptized; but are misapplied, as a bar, to the infants of believers. Divers of them might more colourably, though alike untruly, be brought to prove, that no infants could be saved; as elsewhere hath been shown them.
Their answer to the objection, is but the fencing of their own stroke. We willingly acknowledge, that the doctrine and practice for baptizing men of years, brought to believe by preaching, and unbaptized before, is perpetual. This was the state of the persons instanced; and this alone the places cited do prove.
scripture authority for infant baptism.
Against the baptizing of infants, they allege, that there is “neither commandment, example, nor true consequence for it in all Christ's Testament, which is perfect,” &c.
The perfection of Christ's Testament we avow, and that the estate of the church under the ministry, and institution of the apostles, those great master-builders, was more perfect as otherwise, so in respect of ordinances. But in saying that we grant, “that there is neither commandment, nor example for baptizing infants,” they take their own presumption for our grant. We grant that the Scriptures nowhere say, in express terms, Baptize infants, or that infants were baptized: but withal they should consider with us, that whatsoever can by just consequence be drawn out of the Scriptures, expounded in their largest extent, is contained in them first: else how could it truly be drawn out of them ? Whatsoever then can be drawn by true consequence out of a commandment, is commanded in it, though not expressly, yet truly, and as well, as if it were expressed. Else how could all duties towards God and our neighbours be commanded in the Decalogue, called the Ten Commandments ? Surely not; except things be commanded which are not expressed, if by consequence they can be gathered. Else how could Christ say from Deuteronomy, “It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve”? Matt. iv. 10. Whereas the word only, upon which the special weight of Christ's answer lieth, is not expressed, but the thing only included, and thence to be truly, and necessarily collected.
But let us trace their footsteps in disproving manifestly our consequences, and taking away clearly all our objections to every man's conscience, in the sight of God: if bold promises may be taken for. due performances.
And first, in observing what baptism is, they again untowardly confound the inward and outward baptism. Which though they ought not to be separated by God's appointment, yet are too oft by man's default, and should always by us be distinguished: the outward, as the work of man's hand, as themselves elsewhere confess; from the inward, as the work of God alone: the former being with water, the latter with the Holy Ghost, Matt. iii. 11; as John expressly distinguisheth his baptizing, and Christ's that came after him. John i. 31, 33.
The meaning of the English Primer, and of Ursinus, they mistake. They speak of the inward and outward baptism jointly: whereas our question is, of that which is outward, and in man's power to give, or withhold. So the faith and repentance, which they require in persons to be baptized, is actual indeed, in men of years, but in infants only in disposition. Neither doth Ursinus simply say, that the sacraments are no sacraments in an unlawful use, as they cite him, but that they are not sacraments, but to them that receive them with true faith, only they have benefit by them. In like manner, the apostle tells the Corinthians, that their coming together, was not to eat the Lord's Supper, 1 Cor. xi. 20; that is, not for the better, as ver. 17; else they did eat the Lord's Supper outwardly. So elsewhere, he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh, that is, not, that wherein God took delight; else, he was a Jew, and that was circumcision, after a sort. Rom, ii. 28.
I demand of these baptizers, whether Simon Magus, being baptized by Philip, and yet remaining in the gall of bitterness, and without all part in the ministration of the gospel, Acts viii. 13: and so whether those false brethren creeping in unawares, Gal. ii. 4; Jude 4, and being, without doubt, baptized by the apostles, or others, had that inward, and greater baptism or no ? If not, as is plain, how were their baptism a sacrament in the lawful use ? And if God gave any of them repentance afterward, were they to be baptized anew as being unbaptized before, because they wanted the inward and greater baptism, when they received the other ? I suppose no, even in these men's judgments. If any object, that the fault here was only in the baptized's unfitness in God's sight, he saith truly, but must withal remember, that notwithstanding the inward and greater baptism wanted, which by their ground should have made a mere nullity of the other. And note herewith as of special consideration, that baptism is most corrupted by an unworthy receiver: since both the baptism is ministered, and the baptism ministereth for the baptized's sake; who being impure himself, all things are impure unto him, Tit. i. 15: and that his baptism, no baptism of the Lord to him in right use, but rather a profane usurpation, till by his faith and repentance, God afterwards giving them, it become the Lord's baptism to him, for the confirmation of his faith, in the blood-shedding of Christ for his sins.
Neither is it requisite, that we prove, as they require of us, that infants have faith and repentance: but let them prove, which they presume, but prove not, that the actual having, and manifesting of these graces, being conditions requisite for men of years, are to be exacted of infants, if they be admitted to baptism. May they not as reasonably, and charitably, conclude, that infants are not to eat, because they work not, from 2 Thess. iii. 10? and are to be damned, because they believe not, from Mark xvi, 16 ? And was there not that required at Abraham's hands for his circumcision, which was not required at Isaac's for his ? Or not more of such heathenish men, of years as became proselytes, than of their infants, to be circumcised with them ? The ground of this error in so many is, that they understand not the true nature of the gospel, and ordinances thereof. The gospel aims not at the exacting upon man, as made after God's own image, obedience due, as a natural debt from the creature to the Creator, as the law doth, but considers him as a most miserable creature, drowned in sin, and altogether unable to help himself: neither yet serves it, and its ordinances, primarily to declare and manifest, what man in right owes, and performs to God; but what God in mercy, proposeth, and doth, and will perform to man: being ἔυΑγγελιον, a joyful message, or glad tidings of salvation by Christ. So, to apply ‘this for the baptizing of infants, albeit they on their part, can for the present, make no manifestation or declaration of obedience or thankfulness, or any other goodness: yet sufficeth it for evangelical dispensation, that God, according to the covenant of grace, “I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed,” can and will make manifestation and declaration of his gracious mind of washing them, with the blood and Spirit of his Son, from the guilt and contagion of sin: they also, being bound in their times, to reciprocal duties. Let us not think scorn, as proud free-willers do, of God's taking, both of us, and our infants, to be his people, going before our, or their taking of him to be our God: but let us rather magnify his mercy in this regard, both towards us, and them.
Next, they undertake to prove, “that infants are not regenerate, and so not to be baptized.” Their reason is, because they have not faith and repentance. This regeneration they define to be a turning from sin to God: which they would prove from Rom. vi. 11.
The apostle, Rom. vi., speaks not of regeneration itself, which is God's work: but of our living to God, as an effect thereof. For as our natural life is an effect of our first generation, or begetting by our parents: so is our spiritual life an effect of our regeneration by God, and his Word, and Spirit. Turning from sin is man's work, by God's grace: regeneration is God's work, not man's. So for repentance, they rove about it on all sides, but scarce touch the true nature of it. Repentance, to wit, evangelical, required for baptism in men of years, is neither a sight, and knowing of sin by the law, for that the wicked also do: nor a confessing of sin, for that is outward, and follows repentance in the heart: nor a sorrow for sin, for that goea before it: nor a promise to forsake sin, for that follows after it, as an outward effect: no, nor yet properly, an endeavour to forsake it, though that come nearest. 2 Cor. vii. 10. Repentance is properly, a growing wise afterwards, and changing of the mind from sin to God, in the purpose of the heart, having an effectual endeavour to forsake sin accompanying it as the effect thereof.
Now their argumentation in this place, that because infants have not faith, and repentance, to wit, actual, and that in manifestation also, which are the conditions required in men of years for their baptism, and the inseparable fruits of regeneration, therefore they are not regenerate, and so not capable of baptism, is, as if some idiot would affirm, that infants are not born, nor to be reputed reasonable creatures, nor endued with the faculties of understanding and reason, because they make no manifestation thereof, no more than brutes do.
Their proof against the regeneration of infants thus disproved, I manifest the contrary, as followeth:—
Christ the Lord teacheth, that “except a man be born,” or, as the word more properly imports, begot “again, he cannot enter into God's kingdom.” John iii. 5. Either, therefore, regeneration is to be granted infants, or God's kingdom to be denied them. If any say this is meant of men of years only, the text convinceth him; which opposeth the first birth, or generation, which is of infants, to the second regeneration. The first, as ver. 6, being of the flesh, making them so born incapable of God's kingdom, without ihe second, by the Spirit.
Secondly, They confess, elsewhere, that all, by Adam's fall have, that “weak flesh,” Rom. viii. 3, “by which they cannot keep the law,” &c. Now I demand, whether infants to be glorified, carry this “weak flesh,” hindering thus effectually true holiness, into heaven with them, or no ? If not, as is. certain, then it must be purged out of their souls, and hearts, as the seat, and subject thereof. But nothing can purge out that which is contrary to holiness, save the Holy Spirit of God, the spirit of regeneration, which “lusts against the flesh, and is contrary unto it,” Gal. v. 17: either therefore, they must be regenerated, or not glorified.
Thirdly, The Scriptures teach, that by “the spirit of Christ, which is the spirit of life for righteousness, dwelling in us, our bodies shall be quickened, and raised up unto glory.” Rom. viii. 10, 11. Children, therefore, by their grant, being to be raised again, and glorified by Christ, must have Christ's spirit, which is the spirit of sanctification, and regeneration, dwelling in them.
Lastly, Join with these things, that all are by nature, I say by nature, with the apostle, not by act alone, as say the adversaries, “children of wrath,” Eph. ii. 3, having right to wrath, as children to their father's inheritance; and therewith, that “baptism is the lavacher (laver) or washing of regeneration,” Tit. iii. 5; it will follow, that children, if to be freed from the wrath to come, and glorified, are to be regenerated and baptized also. Christ saves, and so glorifies, his body only, which is the church; which he sanctifies with the washing of water, and the word, Eph. v. 25, 26; and there is “one body, and one baptism.” Eph. iv. 4, 5.
(Pages 134, 135.)
Their answer to the scriptures, brought for the baptizing of the infants of believers follow. To Acts ii. 38, 39, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you, &c. for the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord shall call:” they answer, that this is meant of such fathers of the Jews, and their children, and fathers of the Gentiles, and their children, as believe, viz., both fathers and children, and that by children are oft meant men of years, in the Scriptures, specially Abraham's children.
That such are sometimes meant, we grant: but deny that meaning in this place. And first, by them “afar off,” are not meant the Gentiles far off in state, as Eph. ii., but the Jews far off in time, as the original τοîς εἰς μΑκρὰν carries it. Besides neither was Peter himself, as yet, sufficiently persuaded of the calling of the Gentiles, Acts x.: neither if he had, was it, as yet, seasonable to mention that matter to the Jews.
Secondly, In saying, “the promise is made to you and your children,” he speaks of some solemn promise made to them all, and the same to have its fruit and effect in them, and their children with them, upon their repentance. This could be no other, than that promise made to Abraham, “I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed,” in that blessed seed Christ.
Thirdly, He exhorts the Jews to repent, and to be baptized, “for that the promise was unto them and their children;” and, therein, shows, that he speaks not of a promise made to Abraham's children, upon their faith and repentance, as they mistake; but on the contrary, exhorts to repentance, upon a promise made. The promise is the ground of the exhortation, and presupposed by the apostle, as going before it. Hence also it is, that he calls the Jews, which had denied and killed the Lord of life, and not yet repented, as appears, Acts iii. 19, “Children of the prophets,” ver. 25, “and of the covenant, which God made with the fathers:” with which accords that, Acts xiii. 32, 33. They were not therefore here called, the children of the promise because they repented; for that they did not: but because they came of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and so had Christ promised unto them as their king and saviour: and so were by faith and repentance to receive the fruit of the same promise, and the confirmation, or seal thereof, by baptism to them and their children. Of which here, and everywhere, they are exhorted not to deprive themselves and theirs. Neither is this exhortation to repent, and be baptized, made to the children, but to the parents, for the obtaining of the benefit and confirmation by baptism of the promise both to parents and children.
If any demand, was not Christ promised to the Gentiles also ? I answer, not as to the Jews: he was promised to the Jews, indefinitely, as the church of God, and Abraham's seed, as being their king, Matt. xxi. 5—43; Luke xix. 12, 14; but to become the king of the Gentiles: the Jews were his citizens; the others were, by faith, to become his citizens, and of the household of God. Eph. ii. 19.
children considered as holy.
To 1 Cor. vii. 14, “Else were your children unholy, but are they clean,” they answer, “that the believer's children were no otherwise holy, than as their unbelieving wires were holy, namely, to be used by their parents.”
Here first, as commonly, they treasonably clip the Lord's coin in leaving out, for their advantage, “to the believing husband,” and “to the believing wife.” The apostle saith. simply, the children are holy; so saith he not simply, that the unbelieving wife is holy; but holy to her believing husband; and the unbelieving husband sanctified, or holy, to the believing wife; as all things are pure to the pure. Tit. i. 15.
Now for the better clearing of the place, the apostle's drift is to be considered: which was to teach believing husbands, that they might lawfully, and without scruple, keep, and converse with their unbelieving wives, (and so believing wives with their unbelieving husbands) as being sanctified to them, though not in themselves. This he proves by an argument taken from their children, “Else were your children unclean, but now are they holy:” that is, if the believing husband might not lawfully retain his unbelieving wife, then the children so born should be unholy: but they are holy. Whereupon it follows, that he may lawfully keep, and converse with her. This word ἐπεì, else, or otherwise, ever includes in it a causalty: as Matt. xviii 32, “because thou desiredst me:” and ch. xxvii. 6, “because it is the price of blood.” So 1 Cor. v. 10, “Else,” or for then “you must go out of the world:” as if he had said, Seeing Christians are not to go out of the world, but to live in it, they may, therefore, eat with the fornicatcors of the world: so here, seeing your children thus born are not unclean, but holy; therefore, you may and ought to retain your, though unbelieving, wives. The apostle, therefore, making the children holy, and their holiness a ground of the husband's lawful keeping, and conversing with his wife, can have respect to no other thing than the covenant with Abraham, “I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed;” as a known and received ground by the Corinthians, and all other churches. This will yet be the more plain, if we bear in mind, that the question propounded to Paul by the believing Corinthians was, not whether they might keep their children or no, but their wives. He had, therefore, no occasion of mentioning the children, as he doth, but to fetch from them an argument for the retaining of the wives. Now, if his meaning were, as they say, that the children were holy to the believer's use, as the wife was, then he should have argued from the holiness of the wife, to prove the holiness of the children: but this he doth not, but the clean contrary. Besides, if the apostle had argued as they would have him, where had he laid the foundation of his proof? or how had he removed the scruple out of the Corinthians' hearts ?
They add, that the Corinthians made no question of their children. True; and that overthrows their exposition; as showing, that the apostle argues not from the wives to the children, as they make him; but from the children to the wives. Secondly, the apostle disputes not from the Corinthians' supposition, or persuasion, but from the truth of the thing, the holiness of their children. “But now are your children holy.”
They object, that these children must be holy, either as the believing, or unbelieving part is holy. We say they are holy as the believing part, in regard of that federal holiness and the spirit of regeneration. Then, say they, “They are separated from common uses in which they were used, and are set now apart to God's use.” We say they are, as were the infants in Israel, set apart, or severed, from the world, and taken into the number of God's people. They themselves affirm, a few lines before, that Israel was sanctified and set apart from common and profane uses to the service of God. And were not the infants part of Israel, thus set apart and sanctified ? And yet could they not testify any purity of heart, or other grace. That which in the very same period they build with one hand, they pull down with another. Secondly, if, as they say, infants be no otherwise sanctified, than to the use of others, and as unbelievers are, then can they not be saved: except the unholy can enter into God's kingdom.
They object further, that then all the children of believers, though of age, and unbelievers, should be holy also. But why rather holy, than innocent, which they will have all infants be? By their unbelief, they are cut off from God's covenant, as the Jews were, and from all holiness thereby. Rom. xi. 16—21.
The next objection is ill framed, as they set it down; and the answer, worse. The error in both is, that they consider not John's Baptism, and Christ's according to their distinct parts; John's as outward, Christ's as inward. John's outward baptism, and Christ's outward baptism were the same: for Christ was baptized by John, thereby sanctifying baptism to us, as circumcision to the fathers by his being circumcised. The inward baptism is not common to all, but peculiar to the elect: the outward, whether by Christ or John, is not peculiar to the elect only, but common to others with them: witness Simon Magus. The outward baptism by John, and all other ministers was, and is, only with water, opposed to Christ's, as the inward with the Holy Ghost, Matt. iii. 11; John i. 33. Which baptism with the Holy Ghost, being understood of extraordinary gifts, sometimes went before the other, as Acts x. 47, but commonly followed upon it: but understood of ordinary graces, did, or should, always go before it in right order of things.
baptized into moses.
Next follows, 1 Cor. x. 1, 2, &c. The meaning of the Holy Ghost herein they take upon them to explain to others, not understanding it themselves, as is evident, in that they will have this “baptizing unto Moses in the cloud, and sea,” &c., to have been only for bodily deliverance, and the offer of Christ. But the apostle looks upon those things with a more piercing and spiritual eye: as appears, first in that, ver. 1, he calls the Israelites indefinitely, his and the Corinthians' fathers. “Moreover, brethren, I would not have you ignorant, that all our fathers,” &c. As if he should have said, Let not the children look for more privilege from punishment, if they sin, than their fathers have enjoyed. He, therefore, considers the Church of Israel here, as in the state of a spiritual fatherhood to the Corinthians. Secondly, he expressly saith, that they were all baptized to Moses, and that the meat was spiritual which they eat, and the rock of water, which they drank spiritual, even Christ himself, to wit, sacramentally and mystically. Thirdly, the apostle's argument, that it may go in full force, must thus be framed: They that are alike for substance in God's benefits, shall alike be punished, if they sin alike: but you Corinthians now, and Israel of old were, and are alike in those spiritual benefits mentioned; therefore, if you sin, as they did, you shall surely be punished, as they were. If the apostle had propounded unto the Corinthians, the tokens of God's love and protection only for bodily things, as they carnally conceive, there had been no force in his reason against the security of the Corinthians, especially occasioned by their enjoying the Lord's ordinances of baptism, and the supper as signs, and tokens of God's love for spiritual blessings in heavenly things. Might they not easily have answered Paul, that the Israelites indeed might well perish, and be destroyed for such things as they practised, having only God's love tokens for bodily deliverance: but for them, they were better secured against dangers, as having the tokens of God's love for spiritual and eternal deliverance, by the body and bloodshed of Christ?
I conclude, therefore, that all Paul's and the Corinthians' fathers, being baptized with the baptism signifying deliverance by Christ, and many of them being infants, the infants of Israel now are to be baptized also.
They object, that “the meaning of the Holy Ghost is not, that Moses did at all wash them with water in the cloud and sea.”
Neither say we he did; but with the apostle, that they, were “baptized to Moses in the cloud and sea: “God not only preserving them bodily thereby from Pharaoh; but also moistening them with the cloud “arising out of the sea, and showering down waters upon them,” as the Lord's peculiar people, and for spiritual use, the apostle himself in this place bearing witness, under the ministry of Moses their pastor or shepherd; procuring with this, the other blessings, even of the meat which was spiritual from heaven; and drink which was spiritual, even Christ mystical out of the rock.
Besides our adversaries hold back the better part of God's love, in saying, he offered them Christ in the drink out of the rock. If the rock were Christ, and they drank of the rock, then God not only offered, but they also received, and drank of Christ's blood, as the Corinthians did, in mystery. Secondly, the apostle's argument, as they put it, had been too blunt to have pierced the Corinthians' consciences; who might easily have answered themselves and him, that the Israelites indeed had Christ in their time offered; but for themselves they received him also, and so were better fenced against God's plagues; yea, though they sinned, than the others were.
Thirdly, It is neither true, which after they affirm, that Noah's Ark is called the figure of baptism, but that the saving of eight souls by water (to wit, bearing up the ark) had baptism, that now saveth, &c., for a like figure, or antitype: much less is it said, that Noah and his family were baptized in the ark, or water, as it is expressly said, that the Israelites were baptized in the cloud and sea. Every type of baptism, is not baptism, but hath only something necessarily which resembles it. But the more agreement there is, between Noah's ark, and the baptism now, the more firm argument may be gathered for the baptism of infants. It is evident that Noah through faith prepared the ark for the saving of his household, and not of himself alone. Heb. xi. 7.
To their objection, that there is as much warrant to enjoin infants to suffer persecution, because it is called by the name of baptism, as to baptize them, because the cloud and sea is called baptism: I answer, passing by their incongruities of speech, that infanta may be persecuted, as well as men of years. Witness Christ himself, persecuted on his mother's lap by Herod. Besides, the Israelites, and their infants with them, are here said to have been baptized by water in spiritual use, and consideration.
Their next answer to such scriptures, as show that whole households have been baptized, and therefore infants, as a part of the household, is, that “there are many households in which there are no infants;” and that, therefore, except we prove such households to have had infants, it is nothing. Secondly, that “it is most true, that as the apostles practised in one household, so they practised in all;” and that therefore they baptizing in the jailor's house such as believed, did not baptize infants.
We grant, that the apostle's practice was the same, where there was the same reason: but as some families had in them infants, and some not; so all of years in some believed, and in some not: according to which diversity of persons, they administered baptism diversely; and not alike in all households. Secondly, if these men would have taken any sound course for the clearing of things, they should here have given answer to such scriptures, as elsewhere have been brought against them, to show, how the tenor of the Lord's promise, and blessing, runs upon godly governors, and their families with them: and more specially to that about Lydia, Acts xvi. 14, 15, of whom it is testified, that she “having her heart opened to attend and believe the gospel, both she and her household were baptized.” But it is easier for these men to repeat over the same things many times, than once to justify them.
infants brought to jesus.
(Pages 144, 145.)
To the Scriptures' record, that “little children were brought to Christ, that he might lay his hands on them, and pray, or bless them;” and that whereas his disciples would have hindered them from him; even upon the same ground, without doubt, upon which these men exclude them, he being therewith displeased, bids “Suffer them to come unto him, for that of such is the kingdom of heaven; and takes them in his arms and blesseth them:” and to our collection hence, they answer; first, that he saith not, that “infants are of the kingdom of heaven, that is, obeyers of the gospel; but that they that enter into the kingdom of heaven, must beoome as little children, for of such,” &c. And that his main end was to declare the innocent estate of infants, and to teach all to be like unto them by conversion: and withal, that “Christ baptized them not;” and lastly, that his blessings are manifold to infants in their creation, life, and bodily benefits.
Let us examine the particulars: First, they presume, but cannot prove, that only such are of the kingdom of heaven, as obey the gospel. Shall infants (which they affirm elsewhere) be glorified in the kingdom of heaven, and yet are they not of it ? There are not two kingdoms of heaven; but one, begun in grace, and perfected in glory. Secondly, they to make more colourable their erroneous construction of the evangelist's words, and Christ's work about those infants, cite for Matt. xix. 14,15; and the like places, Matt. xviii. 2—4: and so the slight readers, such as their disciples are, might conceive that Christ had no other meaning in the other places by us alleged, than in that by them, Luke ix. 46—48,-xviii. 15; and that he spake not of a child personally, but in condition, as David was, Psa. cxxxi. Whereas in that place, Christ's meaning was to reprove the ambitious contentions amongst his disciples, by the contrary disposition in a child, which he therefore took, and set in the midst of them; but in the other, his purpose was to show what interest the children of the church had in him, and in his blessing, for which they were brought unto him by their parents. Against these depravers, both of the word and work of God, I thus argue: That which the parents, which brought their infants desired, that the Lord did for them: but it is plain, that their desire in bringing them was, that he might pray for them, and bless them, as the Scriptures expressly teach he did.
But, say they, “He baptized them not.” True; for he baptized none, John iv. 2, though actual believers. It sufficeth, that he did that by which he declared that they had right in him, and in his blessing, and that it was his will they should come unto him. Let them show a way, how they can now come to Christ, save by baptism; or how they can have right in his blessing, and yet have no right in his bloodshed, and in baptism, for the signifying and applying it ?
They add, that Christ healed the sick, and gave bodily blessings of life, growth in stature, and the like. But as it is merely, and vainly imagined, that these children were brought for the healing of any bodily diseases: so are we taught expressly by the Holy Ghost, that Christ's blessing them was not for bodily benefits, but because, the kingdom of heaven was of such: that is, appertained to them, and to such as they were.
To our next argument, taken from the circumcision of Abraham's infants, they answer: “First, there is no commandment for baptizing of infants now, as there was for circumcising them then:” Secondly, that “that commandment included males only, children, or servants, though unbelievers;” thirdly, that “circumcision was to be performed on the eighth day:” so as, “there is no proportion between circumcision and baptism.”
He that pleaseth to read the former passages between them and us, which they have in their hands, but answer not, shall see how weightless this exception is; and how we have proved against them, that the Church of Israel, and ours, is one in substance; the covenant the same which God made with them in Christ to come, and with us in Christ come in the flesh; and withal, how our baptism succeeds their circumcision. They trifle in objecting the legal difference, of days, and sexes, which the Scriptures expressly teach to be abolished. Gal. iii. 28, iv. 10. Are not pastors now the Lord's ministers, as the Levites were of old, Isa. lxvi. 21, and their successors therein: and yet are they not tied to any certain tribe, as they were ? Is not our Lord's Supper the same in effect with their passover? Both the one and the other, the mystical eating of the Lamb of God: which yet is not tied to any certain day or month, as was the former.
Lastly, They err grievously in saying, that “unbelieving servants, and children were commanded to be circumcised.” The Lord would have all the wicked cut off from his people, Deut. xvii. 12; 2 Chron. xv. 12, 13; Psa. ci. 8; and would he have unbelievers received unto them ? Hath God entered covenant with unbelievers to be their God, as he hath done with all to whom circumcision appertained ? Was it “the seal of the righteousness of faith,” Gen. xvii. 7—10; Rom. iv. 11, and yet due to the faithless? Rather than these adversaries will admit the seed of the faithful to be of God's people now, they will have very infidels and unbelievers of old, to have been of his peculiar ones. If their heresy were detestable, who made the God of the law worse than the God of the gospel; surely their's is not light, nor small, who thus contumeliously speak of him in his people, which he took near unto himself, and whose God he became; and of that special ordinance, by which he differenced them from the profane world, as holy unto him; in which they interest the unbelievers, and unholy.
the abrahamic covenant.
(Pages 145, 146.)
Now followeth our main foundation, that “as the infants of Abraham, and of the Israelites' posterity, were taken into the church-covenant, or covenant of life and salvation, as they call it (and rightly in a true sense) with their parents, and circumcised: so are the infants of the faithful now, and to receive accordingly the seal of baptism:” to which they say, and prove, as they say that “neither circumcision was, nor baptism is a seal of the covenant of salvation, but the spirit of promise which is ever the same.”
Their dispute from the seal of the Spirit, to prove that there is no other seal, is as if a man should deny all teaching, direction, and comfort by the Word and sacraments; because the Spirit teacheth, directeth, and comforteth the faithful. This point I have elsewhere proved at large against them; neither are they either able, or do they go about to give any show of answer; and yet, without modesty, they repeat their former bare sayings, fully answered and refuted.
Where the apostle, 2 Cor. i. 22, and Eph. i. 13, and iv. 30, speaks of the seal of the Spirit, means he, that the Spirit makes a material print in the soul, as a seal doth in wax? or not this only, that it helps to confirm, and comfort a Christian inwardly in the love of God, and hope of salvation ? And are not the sacraments outward helps of comfort and confirmation of a believer's heart in the same love of God, and hope of glory ? Upon the same ground, that the apostle calls it a seal inwardly, we call them seals outwardly.
the seal and the seed of the covenant.
(Pages 146, 147.)
To show that the covenant in question was the covenant of the law, and Old Testament, and not the covenant of salvation: and so circumcision the seal thereof, and not the sign and seal of life and salvation; they discourse at large upon Gal. iv. and of the two seeds of Abraham, the one after the flesh, unto which the covenant appertained, whereunto circumcision was annexed.
First, They err greatly, in denying the very covenant of the law to have been the covenant of life and salvation. For “the commandment was ordained to life.” Rom. vii. 10. And “the man that doth the works of the law shall live in them.” Lev. xviii. 5; Gal. iii. 12. And if the law promise not life and salvation, then neither doth it threaten death and condemnation. The covenant then is of the same things, but the condition divers: the law exacting perfect obedience of, and by ourselves: the gospel requiring true faith, and repentance, which it also worketh in the elect.
Secondly, It is most untrue, that circumcision was the sign or seal of the Old Testament, or law, taking it properly, as they do. The apostle expressly calls it, the seal of the righteousness of faith, Rom. iv. 11; opposed to the righteousness of works, or of the law; of which more hereafter: elsewhere showing, that the same law was given four hundred and thirty years after the covenant, or promise to Abraham and his seed, confirmed before in Christ, through the preaching of the gospel, that they which are of faith might be blessed with faithful Abraham. Gal. iii. 16—19. How preposterous are these men's ways, who will have the seal so long before the covenant.
Thirdly, Circumcision was the seal of that covenant, by which Abraham, and his posteritry became the Lord's peculiar people, separated from all the uncircumcised heathen unto him for his inheritance, and therein blessed: for “blessed is the nation whereof the Lord is God,” Psa. xxxiii.12; “the people that he hath chosen for a possession to himself;” and “blessed is the people, whose God is Jehovah.” Psa. cxliv. 15. Now will these gainsaying spirits have men blessed by the law whether God will or no? Saith not the Scripture, that “by the law all are accursed?” and that “as many, as are of the works of the law are accursed;” as being unable to keep it ? The covenant then by which Israel became God's people, and therein blessed, of which circumcision was a sign, and seal, was not the covenant of the law, but of the gospel, and so of grace, and salvation by grace.
Lastly, How wide, and wild are they in expounding the allegory of Abraham's two sons? Gal. iv. 22—31, making Abraham's children after the flesh, the infants of the faithful: never considering the apostle's general scope, unto which the particulars are to be applied. Doth he in that place deal against the infants of the Galatians, or against the men of years, though children in knowledge ? who had begun in the Spirit, but would be made perfect in the flesh: that is, would be justified by the law, specially by circumcision in the flesh: by which they made Christ of none effect and fell from grace. Were they infants to whom he saith, “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law,” &c. So where he addeth, “He that is born after after the flesh persecutes him, that is born after the Spirit,” Gal. iii. 3, 11; v. 2, 3, 4; iv. 21, 29, 30, doth he mean that infants are persecutors ? Or is not his meaning plain, that such as glory in the flesh, and in circumcision, and other fleshly prerogatives, and so despise the free promise of grace in Christ, and them that rest under it, as Ishmael did both in truth of person, and type of others, are these persecutors, at all times, to be cast out, with Ishmael; as having no right to the inheritance of grace or glory ? Are the infants of believers to be cast out for their persecutions ? Out of what, I marvel, and for what persecutions ? These men in opening this allegory, or parable verify that of the wise man, “As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.” Prov. xxvi. 9.
That the covenant, Gen. xvii. whereof circumcision was a sign was the same, which we have now in the gospel, we have not only said, as they say we have done; but proved by so clear arguments, as that, had they only set them down, there had needed no further confirmation of them, notwithstanding anything that they could have excepted. But they have cunningly passed them by in silence, as if no such thing were in the book; and do only repeat over, and again, the same things with great irksomeness, specially to those, that have formerly confuted them.
the new and better covenant.
But they tell us, that the covenant under the gospel is a new and better covenant than the old, &c.
We grant it: but affirm withal, that the covenant with Abraham was not the covenant of the law, or old Testament, as they mean. The covenant with Abraham was confirmed of God in Christ, that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ. The covenant of the law, or Old Testament was four hundred and thirty years, after, and was added for transgression, till the seed should come, to whom the promise was made: Gal. iii. 9—19: that is, to detect and manifest men's sins, and cursed state thereby; that so they might fly the more earnestly to the promise of Christ, the blessed and blessing seed, made formerly to Abraham. Neither do the Scripture in this matter ever oppose Abraham and Christ; but Moses and Christ. “The law was given by Moses; but grace and truth by Jesus Christ.” John i. 17. So Heb. x. 28, 29, the law of Moses, and covenant of the Son of God, are opposed: and Moses made the mediator of the Old Testament, and covenant, established in the blood of bulls and goats: and Christ the mediator of the new by his own blood. Heb. ix. 11, 15. And I would know of these men where the law is ever called the law of Abraham, as it is everywhere, the law of Moses: which law or Old Testament, opposed to, the new, was written and engraven in tables of stone, and had therefore, not Abraham, but Moses the mediator of it. 2 Cor. iii. 7.
Lastly, for the ceremonial part of the law, Old Testament, or covenant, the author to the Hebrews makes it plain, that it was received under the Levitical priesthood, having a worldly sanctuary and ordinances, and divers washings for the purifying of the flesh, but not of the conscience from dead works: Heb. vii. 11; ix. 1, 2, 10, 13: whereas by the promise and covenant to Abraham and his seed, the blessing of justification came, both upon the Jews in their time, and Gentiles in theirs, through Christ, Jesus, in whom it was confirmed. Gal. iii. 11, 14, 16, 17.
In adding, that the old “taught that Christ was not come in the flesh,” “nor into their hearts at their circumcision:” they make the Lord's covenant negative, as teaching what is not, and not what is. A covenant is a promise upon condition; and a testament, or will, that, in which legacies are given. But by this doctrine, here should be nothing either given or promised. It is, besides, very ungodlily said, that Abraham, in whom principally we are to consider both of the covenant, and seal thereof circumcision, had not Christ in his heart, when he was eircumcised. Both Moses in Abraham's history, and the apostles, who well understood it, affirm the contrary, and that he was justified in uncircumcision, by believing in Christ: in which respect he is called the father of them that believe, not only circumcised, but uncircumcised also. Rom. iv. 9, 10, 11. Have his children that which he for substance had not; even in that wherein he was their father ? This thing they grant in the very next page; and that Abraham “had the covenant of grace promised him, by which promise he had salvation in the Messiah to come;” and therein, that the covenant made with Abraham, whereof circumcision was a seal, was the covenant of the gospel, and the same with ours now. It is strange that these men, who so magnify baptism, as they will have men made Christians by it; should so vilify circumcision, as to make it of right to appertain to godless and wicked men: for such were and are all, at all times, since Adam sinned, that had, and have not Christ in their hearts. Was it not an holy ordinance of God ? and therefore not to be prostituted to the unholy, and impure, as all unbelievers; that is, all into whose hearts Christ is not come, are: and unto whom nothing is pure or holy. Tit. i. 15. Could it be to any a sign that God was their God; a seal of the righteousness of faith; Gen. xvii. 7, 11; Rom. iv. 11; a pledge of God's protection; and note of distinction between God's people and others: and yet belong to such as were wholly without Christ, and so without God in the world ? When any of the heathens became proselytes, they chose God to be their God, came to trust under the wings of the Lord God of Israel, and separated themselves from idolators to the law of God: and of all this, they made solemn profession by circumcision: Judges xiv. 3; Ruth i. 16; ii. 12; Neh. x. 28: which they must either do without faith, and so not please God therein, Heb. xi. 6, which is absurd to say they did, which did it, lawfully: or else with faith, by which Christ, though not come in the flesh, was come into their hearts.
Of the ceremonies of Moses, and so of circumcision, which Moses took of the fathers, John vii. 22, into the body of the ceremonial law; and of their divers considerations, I have elsewhere written at large, and do refer the reader thither for satisfaction in that point.
That none of the church of Israel, called by them affectedly Abraham's seed in the flesh, had the ordinances of the new covenant, is not true. They had John's baptism, which even now these men avowed as the baptism of the New Testament; and Christ's also, who baptized more disciples than John; and with them, the twelve had the Lord's Supper also, and all these, whilst the Jewish church and ordinances stood in their full strength. It is true, that John's was not in the kingdom of God, as Christ speaks, Matt, xi., that in the state of the church and ordinances dispensed under Christ glorified: otherwise, the Jews had the kingdom of heaven, which else could not have been taken from them and given to others: Matt. xxi. 43, 45: neither could Christ have been, as he was, the king of Sion. So the Patriarchs received not the promise, that is, Christ come in the flesh; to which purpose the apostle saith, before faith came, &c., Gal. iii. 23. Shall we therefore say, that before Christ's coming in the flesh none had true faith to salvation; or that true believers received not Christ, though to come, as we now receive Christ come in the flesh ? They, Christ promised and prefigured, by the word and ordinances then: we, Christ manifested and remembered by the word and ordinances now; properly called the New Testament, as founded in the actual death of the testator. Heb. ix. 16, 17.
the covenant in jeremiah xxxi., and hebrews chapter viii.
Here follows an exception against me in particular: which is, that by the old covenant mentioned Jer. xxxi. 31, and Heb. viii. 8, is not meant, aa I affirm, that which was made on Mount Sinai, Exod. xix., but the covenant mentioned, Exod. iii. ver. 6, &c. Their reason is, for that God made that covenant with them, when he “took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which is mentioned Exod. iii. and not Exod. xix.,” for then, say they, “did God appear to Moses, and commanded him to take them by the hand, and lead them out of the land of Egypt, where the covenant is mentioned, I am the God of thy fathers, Abraham,” &c.
First, to let pass, that though they bid, “mark the words,” yet they cite them not: I answer, that these words “in that day,” as the text hath it, cannot be restrained to that particular day when God appeared to Moses; seeing the Lord did not that particular day take them by the hand to bring them out, but divers days after, as it is expressly affirmed, Exod. xii. 51; Psa. lxxvii. 12; and cv. 27, 43. By that day therefore is not meant, any particular day, but indefinitely the time of their transporting out of Egypt into Canaan: as, elsewhere, by the day of their birth, Ezelx. xvi. 4, 5, is meant the whole time of their foregoing misery. So many hundred times, in the Scriptures, by the day or that day is meant indefinitely the time in which a thing happeneth, or is done. Besides, where the prophet speaks of the day in which God took them by the hand; they speak of the day in which God appeared unto Moses, and commanded him to take them by the hand; which was, whilst he was in the land of Midian. God indeed then showed his will to Moses, but stretched not out his hand for their deliverance, till many days after.
They say further, that Exod. iii. 6, the covenant is mentioned, I am the God of thy father Abraham, &c. But is every mentioning of a covenant, the making of it? And did God make a covenant with, and become the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, at that time ? That is, when they were now dead divers hundred years before. What can be more plain, than that the Lord doth not there make a new: but remembers the old covenant made before with Abraham, &c., of which the bringing his posterity out of Egypt into the promised land, was an appurtenance ? God promised to be Abraham's God, and the God of his seed, that is, all-sufficient for the good things, not only of this world, but also of- the world to come, as Christ expounds his Father's words, Matt. xxii. 32, 33, and so gave them accordingly the land of Canaan, as a store-house of earthly good things; and figure of heavenly. These men. therefore, in this place, unskilfully transform the fulfilling of an old promise into the making of a new, which they also confess, in effect, in the very same place, in saying, that the promise, that is, the covenant on God's part, was made to Abraham, Gen. xvii. 7.
The word “everlasting,” Gen. xvii. 7, I urge not further to prove the covenant with Abraham perpetual; than as the nature of the same covenant carries it. It was that by which God became Abraham's God; and more he is, or can be to none: and that which Christ himself extends to the very resurrection of the bodies of Abraham, &c., Matt. xxii. 31, 32, whose God the Lord was, and is. Two reasons I will annex to justify mine exposition of the prophet Jeremy, and apostle after him; and to prove that by the old covenant, they meant the covenant of the law given on Mount Sinai. The former from the opposition, between the old and new covenant, expressly made in the general; and particularly insinuated in these words, “I will write my law in their hearts, and will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sins no more:” Jer. xxxi. 31, 32, 33: which was, not according to, but most unlike to the old covenant, or law given on Mount Sinai, written in tables of stone, and by which sin, and transgression was not forgiven, but quickened and increased. Rom. vii. 8; Gal. iii. 19. A second reason is, for that the old, and first covenant, opposed to that in Christ, “had ordinances of divine worship, and a worldly sanctuary,” or tabernacle, wherein was the table, and candlestick, Heb. ix. 1, 2, 3, 4, &c. which no man that believes the Bible, can make doubt to be meant of the law, and covenant given on Mount Sinai, to and by Moses. By the old covenant is meant, that of the law by Moses on Mount Sinai, unto which the other is opposed.
Their exception, that “Abraham's children of eight days old could make no covenant, nor agreement,” is too childish to exclude them from it; and that, by which they should have been in no covenant at all with the Lord, nor he with them; new, nor old; legal nor evangelical: for they could make none. It is not required, that every one comprehended in a covenant, should actually stipulate, or promise. Witness the covenant with Noah, in which, both all his seed, and every living creature, both fowl and cattle, were included. Gen. ix. 9, 10. It was therefore sufficient to bring Abraham's seed into the Lord's covenant that God in grace made, and Abraham by faith received, the promise that he would be his God and theirs.
That every faithful man and his seed, is (as) Abraham and his seed, the Scriptures prove, in teaching, that every believer is of the faith of Abraham, and walks in his steps. Rom. iv. 12, 16. For if Abraham did by faith receive the promise, that God would be his God, and the God of his seed, without which, no promise had belonged unto them, Gal. iii. 6, 9; then, where the same faith is for substance, there is the same promise for substance to every believer; though a son of Abraham as following his example, yet as Abraham himself in believing as he did. And this is most manifest, in that by this very covenant God was not only the God of Abraham, and his seed Isaac; but of Isaac, and his seed Jacob; and of Jacob, and his seed the Patriarchs, and so successively; not by fleshly descent of the children from their parents (as they absurdly cavil) but by spiritual and divine promise of grace; which they ungraciously despise for their children, because they cannot be doing something to God again, by their free-will, to require him withal.
Next comes to be examined that notable place, Rom. iv. 11, “Abraham received the sign of circumcision, the seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, being un-circumcised, that he might be the father of all that believe, though uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed unto them also.”
abraham the father of the faithful.
Their evasion is, that by faith here, is not meant faith in the Messiah, by which he was, and we are justified; but, say they, circumcision sealed up Abraham's “fatherhood of the faithful;” that is, was a seal of his faith in believing God, that he should be the father of many nations.
And this faith, say we, was the faith of the Gospel, and faith in the Messiah, which the Apostle expressly saith, “was imputed to him for righteousness,” and by which he was justified; as is plain, from ver. 17, “I have made thee a father of many nations,” compared with ver. 22, where he infers thereupon, even upon that faith, “and therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness;” which also, that it was the same in substance with ours now, the words following manifest. “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but to us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe in him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our sins,” &c. Ver. 23, 24, 25.
This will yet the more clearly appear, if we consider what is meant by these promises, “I have made thee a father of many nations, and so shall thy seed be,” recited by the apostle for the purpose in hand: in these words, “I have made thee a father of many nations,” he opposeth many nations to that one nation of the Jews. Of these many nations, he was the father, even of all that believe, though uncircumcised, ver.11. And how a father? By way of example, that, as he was justified by faith in the promise of God, and of the promised seed Christ, even when he was uncircumcised: so they, believing the same promise of God in Christ, now come of him, though uncircumcised, should in like manner, be justified as he was. Which is yet further confirmed, where it is said, that he is the father of all them, though not of the circumcision, that walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham, which he had yet being uncircumcised. Whence I gather, that if we be justified by the same faith that Abraham was justified by, and that he was justified by faith in that promise, that then that promise was made of, and in, the Messiah, Christ, the blessed and blessing seed; as it is said: “So shall thy seed be: and Abraham believed, and he counted it to him for righteousness.” And again, “In thee shall all nations, or families of the earth be blessed.” Gen. xv. 5,6; xii. 3; xviii. 18. Now of this faith the apostle here speaks, and of it he testifies circumcision to have been a seal to Abraham. Rom. iv. 17, 18. It cannot be denied, but that the apostle in this whole discourse, speaks of faith to justification; proving partly, by the example of Abraham and partly by the testimony of David, that we are justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law. And to what end, or with what order should he thrust in an impertinent discourse of any other faith? To affirm this, is no better than to defame the Holy Ghost with equivocating. Or to what purpose should he mention the sign of circumcision, as a seal of faith, if not of that faith, of which he treats? For whereas it might be objected, that if Abraham were justified by believing before he was circumcised, as is said, ver. 3, 9,10, then what needed he after to have been circumcised? The apostle answers, ver. 11, that he “received the sign of circumcision, as a seal of the righteousness of faith which he had yet being uncircumcised,” which faith, ver. 9, “was reckoned to him for righteousness:” that by it the covenant of grace between God and him might be confirmed, as covenants among men formerly agreed upon are, by the seals thereunto annexed.
Lastly, Who endued with common sense, and modesty can deny, that by the “righteousness of faith,” whereof circumcision was a seal, is meant the righteousness which is by faith, as ver. 3, “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness,” and ver. 9, “Faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness;” which righteousness of faith, in this whole discourse, he opposeth to the righteousness of works by the law, as is expressly to be seen, ver. 3, 14, 15, 16.
But now what say our adversaries to these things ? As men in a maze, and not knowing how to find the way out, go sometimes backward, sometimes forward, and sometimes leap unorderly from one place to another; so do they in expounding this scripture. In their outleaps about Abraham's fleshly children, I shall not need here to follow them. Where, after, they say, that circumcision was a seal of Abraham's “faith in believing God that he should be the father of many nations,” and “that this was imputed to him for righteousness;” they say as much as we do, or desire they should. But where they say, in the very same place, that he “received not circumcision to seal up his faith in the Messiah,” they go backward most dangerously, to bring in a faith to justification, imputed for righteousness, which yet is not in the Messiah. Was righteousness ever, or is it imputed to any for justification, but by faith in Christ, then promised, now exhibited? The reason insinuated by them is a pleasant one; namely, for that “Abraham had faith in the Messiah twenty-four years before he was circumcised.” Whereas on the contrary, it could not have been a seal of such faith, except he had had the faith before, whether longer or lesser time, it matters not, but is, as it pleaseth him who bestoweth both the one and the other. Signs and seals are not to be set to blanks; neither do they make things that were not before, to be? but serve only to confirm things that are.
These things thus cleared, the reader must be requested not to measure our arguments from Abraham and Isaac's circumcision, to the baptism of infants, by the crooked line which these men draw between them; but by the right rule of sound reason, applied as followeth in three particulars.
First, That the covenant unto which circumcision was annexed, was the covenant of the Gospel, and not of the law and Old Testament, as they take it. For then it could not have been to “Abraham the seal of the righteousness of faith,” any way, Rom. iv. 15; but of unrighteousness and condemnation every way: for righteousness is not by the law, which worketh wrath, and by which sin revives, and becomes exceeding sinful. Rom. vii. 9, 13. And surely it is more than strange, that any believing the Scriptures, should believe that the Lord's covenant made with Abraham, and so with Israel in him, by which he “took them to be his peculiar people, from among all other peoples, because he loved their father and them,” Deut. iv. 37; vii. 6,7, 8; by which they were “a blessed nation,” having Jehovah for their God, Psal. xxxiii. 12; in “remembering of which covenant with Abraham,” &c., Lev. xxvi. 42, he so often showed them mercy, and did them good; and in time, gave his Son Christ to save them from their enemies, Luke i. 71, 72; and lastly, by which covenant they shall again be called “when the fulness of the Gentiles is come in; and so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, There shall come out of Sion a deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant with them when I shall take away their sins.” As concerning the Gospel they are enemies for the Gentiles' sake; but as concerning the election, they are beloved for the father's sake: for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance, Rom. xi. 25—29: that this covenant of love and mercy, making them blessed which are taken into it, and procuring the giving of Christ, and of salvation, should be the covenant of the Old Testament and law: of the law, I say, and Old Testament, which is the “ministry of death;” “the letter that killeth,” 2 Cor. iii. 6, 7, “which worketh wrath,” Rom. iv. 15, “was added for transgression,” Gal. iii. 19, 20; by which “sin reviveth, and all die, and are accursed,” Rom. vii. 9. What is this else but to bring the current of gracious mercy, into a channel of severe justice, and to curse where God blesseth, as Balaam purposed to have done?
Secondly, We conclude hence, that the church of the Jews, and church now is one in substance, though diversely ordered: one “vineyard,” Isa. v. 1; Jer. ii. 21, in which there are both grown trees, and young plants; one “kingdom” which was taken from them, and given to us, Matt. xxi. 33, 34; the “branches of one olive tree,” holy in the same holy root Abraham, from which most of them were broken off for unbelief, and we by faith planted in their place, Rom. xi. 16; “one body,” Eph. iii. 6, and therefore having infants in it now, as then, and the same therefore to be baptized (there being also “one baptism,” as “one body,” Eph. iv. 4, 5,) as they were circumcised of old: baptism (as elsewhere I have proved at large, to their silencing in that point) coming in the place of circumcision.
Thirdly, That all their disputes against infants' baptism, because they cannot manifest faith and repentance, are but the same quarrels which might have been picked of old against infants' circumcision.
That there was something in Abraham's circumcision extraordinary, is true: for he first received it for his posterity; and for the proselytes with them, which joined themselves to the Lord: so was there also in his faith, as he was the father, by example, to all that should believe after him.
Their profane assertion, that “faith was required of none, to wit men of years for circumcision,” I have formerly disproved. How can it come into the hearts of reasonable men, that the Lord in whose eyes the prayers, sacrifices, and all other services of ungodly men were so abominable, should like of their circumcision ?
Lastly, For Abraham's children of the flesh, according to their misunderstanding of them, they were by nature children of wrath as well as others, and had thereby no more right to circumcision, than the infants of Sodom. It was of grace, and not of nature, that they were within God's covenant. Of Gal. iii. and Rom. ix. we have spoken at large formerly, and of their misconstructions of the apostle's meaning.
Lastly, We neither run, as they say, nor go “to the Old Testament, law, or Moses for the baptizing of infants;” but to the covenant of the gospel solemnly made with our father Abraham long before the law was given, the Old Testament established, or Moses born.
Their discourse about Rome is vain, except they can prove that the outward baptism there administered (though unlawfully) is not to be retained by such, as unto whom the Lord afterward vouchsafeth the inward baptism of his Spirit; and so answer our reasons to the contrary, which they have, and have had so long time in their hands.*
lawful and unlawful administrators of baptism.
These things thus cleared, it remains we come in the next and last place to examine their defence of that their own unhallowed baptism in use amongst them: formerly proved by me a mere nullity by their grounds, and practice set together. Their ground is, that “baptism unlawfully ministered is no baptism,” their practice, that “he who ministering his gift,” poorly as their manner is, “doth convert,” in truth pervert, “another: may also baptize him without any special calling.”
For foundation of my proofs I laid down these two rules.
1. “There is no lawful baptism, but by him that hath a lawful calling to baptize.” 1 Thess. iv. 11; Heb. v. 4, 5. And unto this they assent.
2. “Only he hath a lawful ordinary calling to baptize (and extraordinary they challenge not) who is called thereto by the church.” This their first baptizer Mr. Smyth had not, neither have they, that now administer baptism amongst them; neither do they account, that more is requisite for power, and right to baptize, than a personal gift of teaching, and making thereby one of their proselytes, and supposed converts. Whereupon it follows, that they themselves being baptized by such, as want a lawful calling, are not lawfully baptized; and so by the verdict of their own quest, unbaptized persons.
Their defence they begin with the perverting both of my words, and meaning, very dishonestly, in setting down the state of the question; which yet seems not strange unto me, considering their licentious dealing in like sort, with the Holy Ghost in the Scriptures. They frame the question; “whether any but pastors or elders may baptize?” and my charge upon them; that they “are unbaptized,” because “wanting pastors.”
But where have I so spoken? Or how gather they that to have been my meaning? had it so been, why could I not as easily have said, that none but pastors (for of baptism by others, “elders which labour not in the word and doctrine,” 1 Tim. v. 17, we approve not) may lawfully baptize; as, that none but such as are lawfully called by the church may baptize? which are my words. My meaning was not to deny, that a church wanting pastors may not appoint a member able to teach (though out of office) to baptize: for which much may be said, and hath been by some so minded. Which though I do not simply approve of; yet neither did, neither had I occasion to deal there against, but only against the wild course of these All-alikes; of whom any that can wrest a few scriptures, intended of men of years only, against the baptizing of infants, to the corrupting of some simple man, or woman, thinks himself another John Baptist, as their practice and profession manifests. Now whether they have thus altered my words, and perverted my meaning out of bold rashness, as being more hasty to answer, than to understand their adversary; or out of cunning for their advantage, the Lord and themselves be judges. Only this any may see, and I shall make appear, that the most, and most colourable of their arguments are against their misconceived, and not mine intended sense; which gives occasion to suspect, that they have rather been cunning, than careless in the thing.
church members: how constituted - by baptism, or faith, or both?
Let us come to the particulars; and first to their first and main ground, and foundation of their course which is, that “members and churches of Christ are so made by faith, and baptism even by both,” and not by the one only.
This their foundation in respect of baptism is sandy; seeing it serves both to signify, and confirm what was before; but makes nothing to be that was not. The scriptures, being many, cited by them are partly impertinent, and partly against them, some of them expressly, and the rest truly.
Some of them indeed speak of being “baptized into Christ,” Gal. iii. 26, 27; and “into his death,” Rom. vi. 3; and “into one body,”1 Cor. xii. 13, with him, and make baptism “a foundation,” Heb. vi. 2: but mean not to show, that men are made Christian souls by baptism, as ignorant persons think and speak; but only that they are confirmed, and furthered thereby in that which they were before. Some of the places join with baptism the “Lord's Supper,” 1 Cor. xii. 13; Heb. vi. 2; others the “laying on of hands,” which yet rather is meant by the doctrine, than manifestation of those things. Now do they conceive, that such as were no true Christians before, are in part made Christians by the Lord's Supper, and laying on of hands ? When the Scriptures affirm anything of an ordinance, they must be interpreted according to the nature of the ordinance. As where Christ saith of the bread, “This is my body; “or of the rock, “and the rock was Christ;” or the apostles here, that “we are baptized into Christ,” and draw near unto Christ by baptism, and the like; we must understand the speeches as sacramental, so far as they applied to ordinances; that is, as intending those things, for signs, and seals, and means of confirmation, and not otherwise.
Others of the scriptures brought by them are so plainly against them, as it is marvel that in setting them down, they thought not of the Lord's answer to the evil servant, Luke xix. 22. For example, Matt, xxviii. 19, “Go teach,” or as they well turn it, “Make all nations disciples baptizing them,” &c. The apostles then were first to make, to wit, by their teaching, disciples, that is Christians; and after to baptize them. Is it not the Scriptures' constant voice, and these men's plea true in itself, but to a wrong end, that men must first believe and repent, and upon manifestation thereof, be baptized? Acts xi. 26. Are not they that believe, and repent Christians with them? Otherwise, how do they baptize them ? But thus it is with men in all sects, that are led by passion and appetite, more than reason: they doat upon some one thing truly or apparently good: and labour above measure, to magnify it, esteeming all things without it, as nothing. Thus these men esteem of baptism, others of church government, others of separation, others of imposition of hands by bishops; and so, according as men have advantage by particulars, or suffer for them, or are otherwise prejudiced towards them, they set high valuation upon them. But as grace teacheth us to acknowledge better things in Christians than any out ward ordinances; so must wisdom warn us not to ascribe too much to any one, as fond folks use to do to the person or thing which they affect.
Matt, xviii. 20, is against them. To be gathered together in Christ's name there, presupposes a church state. So is John iv. 1, Christ “made and baptized” discinles: they were made disciples by preaching, and after baptized. John iii. 5, speaks of regeneration by the Spirit, compared in that place to water, as elsewhere to fire for its property in purifying. And admit, it speaks of the ordinance of baptism: yet must it follow regeneration, as a means of confirmation.
As therefore Christians are not made by the ordinance of baptism; so much less are churches. This I have elsewhere proved against them by many firm arguments; to which seeing they neither give answer, nor show thereof: (though this be a main matter in question between them and us) what should I say more to them ? These they may answer if they be able, as I am sure they are not; nor, I think, will ever go about it. Only, I here add this one thing: If members and churches be made by baptism, I demand, when J. M (urton) alone, baptizeth one of his converts alone, what church, or member of what church is here made ? And if one alone may receive or make members of the church, why not also cast them out, and excommunicate them without the church's presence or privity ? Such is the confused course of these men.
Here they cite sundry scriptures, but proving only that which we willingly grant: viz. that men and women converted from heathenism and Judaism, to the faith of Christ, and so to be added to the church, and being before unbaptized, were to be baptized. But how proves this, that they were made either churches or Christians by baptism ? When any of the heathens became Jews, that is, embraced the Jewish religion, and separated themselves from the other idolaters of the land to the law of God, and came to put their trust under the wings of the God of Israel, Esth. viii. 17; Nehem. x. 28; Ruth ii. 11; and were to be circumcised: did their circumcision make them such ? Or did it not only, declare and confirm that state of grace, in and unto which God had called them ? Neither yet could the things forementioned be performed by their infants: and yet were they made partakers of circumcision with them.
the first church of christ.
(Pages 156, 157.)
But mind here a further matter. They say, “the church at Jerusalem was the first church of Christ; “and by faith and baptism made a church': and in the next words, that the twelve were so made also.
If the church at Jerusalem were the first church of Christ (as in a sense it may be so called), I would know how the baptism of Christ before that time, and of John's before Christ's (having also joined with them faith in the baptized) made churches ? Were any made before the first? Or what, and which were the churches which they so made, and gathered ? Both the one and the other living and dying members of the Jewish Church. I add, considering how it is said of John, “that Jerusalem and all Judea, and the regions round about Jordan were baptized of him confessing their sins,” Matt. iii. 5, 6; and of Christ, that “he made and baptized more disciples than John,” John iv. 1; it is very evident, that thousands, afterwards made members of the churches in Jersusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, were baptized long before, by John and Christ; and were made members of the church, in our sense, long after their baptism. Here then we see baptism administered, and yet no church made: and again, churches made, and yet many the members thereof, not then, but long before baptized.
We grant, as they say, that Rome is that “Egypt,” “Sodom,” and “Babylon,” in mystery, mentioned in the Revelation: but deny which they adjoin, as being both untrue, and uncharitable, that “all in that church are in God's account as the worst pagans,” &c. God hath his people, considered in their persons, in Babylon, unto whom he saith, “Come out of her, my people,” &c. Rev. xviii. 4; being held captive there, by her craft and cruelty. Neither is Babylon called a “habitation of devils,” Rev. xviii. 2, for that the devil possesseth men, but to show its desolation after the day of the fall thereof: the evangelist in that speech, alluding to the forms of speech used by the prophets before against Babylon civil, in regard to her utter ruin, and desolation shortly to follow. Isa. xiii. 19—21, xxi. 9, 10; Jer. 1. 2, 8, 39, 40, &c.
Neither is the “baptism in Rome, a Babylonish, or Egyptian washing,” as they calumniate; no more than the doctrine of baptism, in the name of the Trinity is a Babylonish doctrine; but it is as a vessel of the Lord's house, though profaned there. Much less can that vitupery agree to the Church of England, where the faith is found for justification and salvation, and effectual for obtaining the same in those that truly profess it. The circumcision of God's people, though too much infected with their sins, in Egypt, and Babylon, was not Egyptian and Babylonish, Ezek. xxiii. 8; no more is the baptism in Egypt and Babylon spiritual: specially in regard of God's people there; as not a few also show themselves to be by coming out thence at the Lord's call; though some more slowly than others; as of old they did out of Babylon civil, as Ezra and Nehemiah testify.
That the everlasting gospel commands believers to be baptized; to wit, if unbaptized before, we grant; but that men “become a habitation of God by his Spirit, and water;” is as if they said; Water dwells in men, as the Spirit of God doth ! It is hard to say, whether the Papists' bread, or these men's water, be made the greater idol. Neither do we in retaining the baptism received at Rome, take a corner-stone out of Babylon, either for foundation, or wall, but bring thence a vessel of the Lord's house there captived with the Lord's people. I know not but that the very circumcision of the Shechemites, Gen. xxxiv. 24, might have been retained, if any of the males had survived and embraced the truth of religion; which yet Was far from being lawfully administered.
Lastly, though all were true which they say for anabaptizing in the general; yet were their particular practice not justified thereby, nor our exception cleared, being against their manner, and the same singular, from all other of their sect, in all places, of baptizing, by persons uncalled thereunto, either by God immediately, or mediately by the church, or otherwise than by their own particular and personal motion.
baptism and the ministry.
To their objection arising from the supposed proportion between baptism and the ministry; and their demand, why I cast away my “Popish priesthood,” and retain “my Popish washing for my Christianity,” as they please to speak, I have answered elsewhere at large; neither have they been able, to this day, or now are, to say against my answer anything at all, either true, or colourable; and yet neither have they the humility to suffer themselves to be taught better; nor the modesty to hold their tongues in the matter; but do irksomely demand anew the things of old answered. For the present, I will only note these differences. First, it is absurdly said, that a man is made a Christian by his baptism, as he is made a minister by his outward calling. He that is not a Christian before he be baptized, becomes not one thereby. But by the outward calling of the church, he that was no minister before, becomes such properly and immediately. Secondly, a man is to be baptized but once; and God adding to the outward washing with water that which is inward, and by his Spirit, sanctifies the former, and covers many failings in the manner of administering it, 2 Chron. xxx. 18—20; but a man may on the contrary, upon occasion, be called divers times to a ministry, in divers churches, one after another. Thirdly, the ministry is the church's, 1 Cor. iii. 21—23, xii. 28: and depends upon it, as the adjunct upon the subject, so as if the church dissolve, the ministry ceaseth; which the same church also that gives it may take away, and make him that was a minister no minister: besides, that in the meanwhile his ministry is bounded within the precincts of that church whereof he is an officer. But in the ordinance of baptism the case is clean otherwise. For neither can the church which hath given it, take it from him; neither ceaseth he to remain a baptized person, though alone, and without either church, or other Christian in the world with him; nether is he in any church where he comes, to be barred from the privileges of his baptism, or use of anything depending upon it.
(Pages 161, 162.)
For the justifying of the matter of their rebaptizing, and to prove that the disciples of Christ, though no pastors (they must add, nor having any church-calling) may baptize: their first instance is from John Baptist, who was no pastor, and yet baptized,
We grant it; no more was Christ himself a pastor in our sense, nor his apostles. But we say John, as they, had an immediate and extraordinary calling, not only to exercise, but also to introduce the ordinance of baptism: being expressly prophesied of before by Isaiah, ch. xl. 3, and Malachi, ch. iv. 5, 6, promised to his father Zachariah, by “an angel of the Lord, and filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb,” Luke i. 11, 13, 14, 15. Will these men compare their conceited gifts of converting, with John's divine and extraordinary charter and endowments ? We say with Christ our Lord, that John was a prophet, and more than a prophet, Matt. xi. 9: they answer us, that the least disciple, or that hath John's doctrine, in the kingdom of God is greater than he. But we reply, that Christ doth not there mean the least disciple, but the least able minister of the New Testament, whereof these anabaptizers are none. When Christ asked the Jews, if they went out to see a prophet, think we he meant of any ordinary Jew, having a poor gift of expounding the Scriptures, like these men's ? Or not rather of some, both of singular abilities, and special calling? So, by “the least in the kingdom of heaven,” he means the least minister of the New Testament, furnished with special abilities, and calling. Besides, his meaning is not that the least minister, no nor the greatest neither, was greater than John the Baptist in respect of power of ministering baptism; for none was comparable to him this way, being under God the instituter of it, and the Baptist, which neither Peter nor Paul was. But the greatness here, is in regard only of the more full knowledge of Christ, not only come in the flesh, and entered upon his ministry, as in John's time; but having finished his work upon earth, and being dead for our sins, and risen again, and ascended into the heavens; whence he did, and doth, most graciously, and powerfully administer his kingdom amongst men. Is it not enough for John Murton, and his consorts, to be equal with John Baptist in the power of baptizing, but they will needs perch above him therein, and be greater than he ? But it is no new thing for the bramble to advance itself above all the trees, even the vine, olive, and fig trees. But such pride will have a fall. Judges ix. 7—15. The Lord grant it may be by, or with repentance, to prevent the downfall to perdition !
To their instancing the disciples of Christ, and Ananias's baptizing, what shall I say more than I have done in the very writing which they undertake to answer? Wherein I have proved, that these instances are so far from helping them, as that they make plainly against them, as the reader that will, may see. To my proofs they answer nothing at all, nor confirm their own tenets further, by any circumstance of the text. Only they tell us in the general, that “these things were written for our learning.” We grant it, and therewith affirm that amongst other things, we are to learn this from them: that such as are to baptize are to be furnished with (besides, and above the gift of teaching) a special warrant and calling from Christ, either, extraordinary and immediate, as had these disciples, and Ananias; or ordinary, and mediate by the church: which alone is delegated by Christ the Lord, with authority to call men to the ministering of his solemn ordinances; whereof baptism is one, and not the use of a gift, as bare teaching is.
the apostolic commission.
(Pages 162, 163.)
In opening Matt, xxviii. 16, “Go teach all nations,” &c., they show a strange strain of wit; in gathering from thence, that any disciple of Christ may baptize, from whence all others of learning or judgment, of all sects, do gather the contrary, and that none, but such as have special calling to teach may baptize. Let us examine things particularly.
And first, I affirm, that the Lord in that place gives an apostolical commission properly; which I thus prove. First, because he bids them “Go,” or go forth, “and teach all nations,” opposing the apostles' going forth, and teaching all nations then, to the prophets' tarrying, and teaching that one nation of the Jews formerly. Do, or can these men, though their feet abide not in the house, Prov. vii. 11, go to, and teach all nations? Their answer is frivolous, that every disciple is to do this according to his best ability, seeing the Lord calls none to a state or work, but such as he furnisheth with answerable abilities. By such answers, the calling of any, how unfit soever, to any place or state how excellent soever, might be justified. Secondly, if not in this place, I would know when, and where Christ gave the commission properly apostolical.
Where they add, that the “apostles have left their power wholly behind them, and that nothing is dead but their persons,” they err not a little; for not only their persons are dead, but their office also is ceased. If any now have the power of apostles, they have then the office of apostles first, from which the power is, and in which it is to be exercised. If they say they are apostles; they are not, but are easily found liars by plain direction of the Scriptures. Besides they expressly contradict themselves in the same place, in saying, The commission was given to such, as whose persons remain to the end of the world. Gal. i. 1; 1 Cor. i. 9, iv. 9. If their persons be dead, how remain they ? But they add, as their corner-stone, that this commission was given to the succeeders of the apostles in their doctrine from time to time, with whom Christ promiseth to be present always, even to the end.
If I should answer, as I know not but I might lawfully, that these words of Christ, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” are to be expounded as those of the apostle, 1 Thess. iv. 15, 17, “We which are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord,” &c.; and that the meaning of both is, that all should so walk, as if that day of the Lord were to come every day of our lives, what would they reply ?
But admit this be spoken mediately to the successors of the apostles, not in their power apostolical, for that ceaseth. with their office apostolical, and their office with their persons; neither is there left in the church any authority or direction for the choosing of apostles, but in the performance of such ordinary works, in lawful order, as the apostles were to exercise themselves in, specially of teaching and baptizing there mentioned: I thus prove, that by those successors are not meant, as they conceive, disciples, but such as have special commission, and authority, and so specially pastors.
And first, Christ here opposeth them to whom he speaks, as the makers of disciples (as the words are) to disciples to be made by them. Secondly, if every disciple of Christ; then why not women also, which are disciples as well as men, and whereof there are divers to be found better gifted than any of this fellowship ? Neither can they object the apostle's prohibition of women, 1 Cor. xi. and 1 Tim. ii. seeing they hold baptism no church action, but personal only; and so administer it as privately, as midwives use to do. Thirdly, if pastors be most rightfully the apostles' successors in other works of their apostolical commission here given; by name, in administering the Lord's supper, and over-seeing the flock, and defending the same in the truth, which they grant: why not, in teaching, and baptizing also, which alone are expressed ? Matt, xxviii. 19, 20. .
baptism an official act.
(Pages 162, 163.)
But this they account “a mere fiction, seeing converting and baptizing is no part of the pastor's office, which is to feed, watch and oversee the flock of Christ, and defend the same in the truth:” than which they deny further charge to be laid upon him by his office: quoting for that purpose, Acts xx. 28; Tit. i. 9, proceeding also to challenge it as an “imagination, that he is to preach by virtue of his office:” yea, adding “that any disciple having ability is authorized, yea commanded to preach, convert, and baptize, as well, and as much, if not more, than any pastor.” To this height of usurpation are these Korahites come.
First here, as always, they alter the state of the question, which between them and me is not whether only pastors, but whether only such as have a special church-calling, may baptize. Secondly, it is true, that pastors in the right state of things, are not to be set over herds of goats and swine, but over flocks of sheep: yet doth it not follow thereupon that pastors, in no sort, convert. For first, there may be in the church hypocrites undetected, or after detection, yet uncensured, which they may by God's blessing effectually convert. Secondly, the pastor, as pastor of the flock, and feeding it, may convert a stranger coming in, and why then not baptize him by their own ground ? The person so converted publicly, may and ought to be baptized publicly; and should not the pastor do it, by whom also he is converted, rather than by a private member ? Thirdly, it is not all one, though they confound them, to convert, to wit, from being wicked to become godly, and to make a disciple. Children born in the church may be made disciples, yet not so converted; as, it may be, never having been such, as of whom it could be said, that they were wicked. Fourthly, it is their ignorance to make converting of men, and the baptizing of them, actions of the same nature, seeing only men and women before converted, and repenting are to be baptized. Acts ii. 38. Lastly, in granting, according to the Scriptures, that the pastor is by office to feed the flock, 1 Cor. iv. 15: they cannot deny, but that he is to baptize thereby: seeing baptism is a part of that feeding properly, serving to confirm the faith of believers in the washing away of their sins by the blood of Christ; begetting is by the seed of the Word, the Word of truth, James i. 18; 1 Pet. i. 23: and so whatsoever means follow thereupon, if but for feeding and nourishing the so begotten.
preaching not an official act.
But that which followeth is admirable, viz. that “the pastor is not required to preach, nor doth perform it by virtue of his office, when he doth it.”
Many men, and these with the rest, have spoken many absurd things in religion: but these in this exceed them all, yea and themselves. They, from Acts xx. 28, affirm that the pastors are to feed the flock from their office. And can the flock be fed as it ought without preaching, and where the bread of life is not broken unto it ? They also grant in the same place, from Titus i. 9, that he is to defend the flock in the truth against all gainsayers. But why to defend the flock, &c., as their cunning and corrupt gloss is, rather than as the words of the text are, by sound doctrine both to exhort, and convince the gainsayers ? Are exhortations and convictions by sound doctrine no preachings with these men? yea, are they not directly for the conversion of gainsayers ? And how then belongs it not to pastors, to whom these things belong, to convert ? So where it is required that the bishop, to be called, be apt to teach, 1 Tim. iii. 2, is he not by his office to do that which is requisite in him for his enabling unto it ? I say for the enabling of him unto his'office, and not for the adorning of it only, as hospitality is: which though he only want ability to perform, yet that disables him not; as the want of aptness to teach doth.
Join with these the apostle's exhortation, that the elders that rule well be had in double honour; specially they that labour in the word, and doctrine; “for the labourer is worthy of his reward,” 1 Tim, v. 17: and what can be clearer, than that the pastor is to preach by his office, and that as being the special work, for which his wages are due unto him? Is not to labour in the word and doctrine here spoken of, for him to preach, and that as an elder; as the former rule as elders? Strange it is that, a pastor or teacher, Eph. iv. 11, by office, should not teach and preach by office; that is, not exercise their office or ministry, the teacher in teaching, and exhorter, or pastor, in exhortation. Rom. xii. 5, 7, 8. And see we not here, what new patrons dumb ministers have gotten, of whom the old almost everywhere are ashamed? If it be not required of the pastor to preach by his office, then though he never preach at all, yet it cannot be said to Archippus, “Fulfil thy ministry, which thou hast received in the Lord.” Col. iv. 17. The pastor might, by their canon, most faithfully perform and fulfil his office, though he never preached one sermon all his life long.
But as all errors have some truth either in them, or nigh unto them, and so are raised upon mistaking of one thing for another, with which it hath some affinity: so is it in this case. For first the ability or gift to teach is not by the office, but before it, and merely personal, and so remains even in the officer; and the same greater in one than in another, though the office be the same in both. Yet because the gift fits for the office, and enables to the performing of it, many unskilfully confound them. Secondly, there is both a liberty, and duty of using the same gift in time and place, before and without the office. But herewith, the office concurring, is joined, and added a bond of authority, and special charge upon the officer to wait upon his office, the teacher in teaching, the exhorter or pastor in exhortation, as the apostle speaks.
Here amongst sundry scriptures not so much as looking towards the matter in hand, but speaking of the general liberties of Christians, and graces of Christianity, common to women with men, and to such men as want all gifts of teaching with others, they allege 1 Cor. xiv. 1, and the apostle then commanding every believer to covet to preach.
But first, why put they preaching and not prophesying, as the text, and all translations have it ? Secondly, it is their presumption, that he speaks of every believer. Was every believer to covet spiritual gifts, to wit, all both extraordinary and ordinary there mentioned? And are there not many in all churches, who, without a miracle, cannot possibly attain to any competent ability to teach publicly in the church? But let them stretch the words to their own size, what follows hereupon? All are to desire the gift of exhortation, &c., and such as have it, to use it in time and place: ergo, it is not required of pastors by virtue of their office to exhort. Why not then thus ? It is required of every member of the church in his place, to watch for the good of the whole, and to defend the same against gainsayers in the truth: and therefore it is an imagination, which these men in the page beforegoing affirm, that the pastor is by his office to watch, and defend the flock against gainsayers. Or thus: It concerns every Christian, being able, to distribute to the necessities of the saints, Rom. xii. 13, and therefore not to the deacons by virtue of their office; which yet for the very thing are called distributers in the same place. Rom. xii. 8. Every citizen and subject is bound to defend his city and country against the enemy in his place and standing; and therefore by their consequence, not the magistrate by virtue of his magistracy. Their conclusion therefore, that a pastor is not bound to teach by his office, because he might after a sort, and in an order, teach without it; it is, as if they should tell us, that he who is bound to a post with one cord, cannot be bound with two.
the duty of churches when without officers.
They add, that “the church may receive in members, without officers, or when they are sick, or in prison, and so baptize them, as the primitive churches were gathered by faith and baptism, and that being without pastors a good while, which the apostles afterwards placed amongst them.”
They oft say, but never prove, that churches are gathered by baptism. Baptism is an ordinance and service given to the church, as were the statutes and services of old, given to Israel, and circumcision, Rom. ix. 4; Psa. cxlvii. 19; John vii. 22, amongst the rest. If the church receive in men by baptizing them; then it is to cast them out by unbaptizing them. For they are to be put out or excommunicated by the undoing of that, by the doing of which they were taken in.
Besides, receiving in, and casting out of members are dispensations of Christ's kingdom; baptism of his prophetical office.
Thirdly, as both infants might be born in the church, and men of years received into it, and both the one and the other be baptized afterwards, as God afforded fit and lawful means; so can it not be proved, specially in the plenty that then was, that the apostles still left not behind them some extraordinary officers, prophets, or evangelists to water, where they had planted, and to order things unperfected. 1 Cor. iii. 7—9; 1 Tim. i. 3; Tit. i. 5.
Lastly, let it be observed, how in this place, they make it a work of the same power, to baptize, and to receive members into the church: and whereupon it must follow unavoidably, that baptism administered by one alone, and without a church power, which theirs was, and is, is unlawful: seeing one alone is not a church, nor hath power to receive in, or cast out members.
To conclude the point about the apostles' successors. The apostle Paul, calling unto him at Miletus the elders, or bishops of the church of Ephesus, and charging them “to feed the flock whereof they were made overseers by the Holy Ghost,” Acts xx. 17—19, 28; and for their direction therein, propounding unto them his own apostolical example to be followed by them in so many particulars, shows who are the apostles' ordinary successors in their several charges. The same also doth the apostle Peter, in calling himself a sympresbyter,1 Pet. v. 1, or fellow-elder with the ordinary elders. And truly what man, not at utter defiance with common sense, will deny that a pastor in his charge is more properly an apostle's successor, than a private brother.
In answering mine exceptions, they build amiss upon my foundation, and father their bastards upon me: knowing that I both put, and have proved against them, elsewhere, a difference between no baptism, and baptism unlawfully administered, in divers respects; and that the latter, though it ought not so to have been administered, or received; yet ought not to be iterated; specially, if God have added thereunto the inward baptism of the Spirit of regeneration.
1. Now my proofs, howsoever by them vilified, confirm, that besides and above the personal ability to teach, a special calling is requisite for him that dispenseth the ordinance of baptism. This special calling ordinary is by the church, which alone hath Christ's delegated power for ordinances. The argument I thus frame. That which by many proofs of Scripture appears to have been done by special calling, and commission from Christ, and never otherwise; that not being done by such special calling, and commission, is unlawfully done, 1 Cor. iii. 21—23; Matt, xviii. 17—20; but by the proofs by me brought, it appears that baptism hath still been ministered by special calling, and commission, and not otherwise; therefore, these men's baptism not so administered, was, and is, unlawfully administered: and so they by their own grounds, which they vainly make mine, unbaptized persons.
Neither can they make an escape by saying, that they in whom I instance had “no calling by the church, nor were pastors of particular flocks:” seeing our question is not of pastors, but of such as have a church-calling: and that John Baptist, Christ's disciples, Philip, and the rest, had a calling extraordinary. These adversaries neither have the former, nor challenge the latter. And indeed, by this defence, so oft renewed by them, they make it evident to all the world, that they neither consider of their own practice seriously, nor of mine exceptions.
Of the difference between teaching and baptizing, I shall speak in the fourth rule: as I have also formerly, both in this treatise, and elsewhere at large cleared their exception about ordination: which they cunningly dissemble. Here I only demand of them, whether one man alone, without either presence, or preceding election of the church, may ordain a pastor as is their manner of baptizing. And for me, do they not know in their consciences that I was ordained publicly upon the solemn calling of the church, in which I serve, both in respect of the ordainers, and ordained ? Whilst then they account me wilfully blind in putting difference between my church ordination and their baptism; they show themselves witlessly blind in making them alike.
2. To my proof, from Matt. iii. 13, that Christ in coming to John to be baptized of him, fulfilled all righteousness, &c., they answer, “That this is still done, when any disciple,” &c: wherein first, they make both John and Christ disciples of Christ. Secondly, if Christ had herein considered John as an ordinary disciple only, what needed he to have come from one country to another, even from Galilee, to Jordan in Judea, to have been, baptized of him ? Why might he not as well have used some ordinary disciple near at hand ? Christ therefore, in being baptized by John, fulfilled all righteousness, in consecrating unto us baptism, as circumcision to the fathers, in his own person, “who of God is made unto us righteousness,” 1 Cor. i. 30: and that by John's ministry, who had a most solemn and singular calling thereunto. Lastly, it is not likely, which they take for certain, that John in these words, “I had need be baptized of thee,” meant not, to wit, at all, of the baptism with water, considering that the question between our Lord and him, was about that baptism and none other. The words therefore insinuate, that some special state and calling is required in the baptizer above these men's common discipleship.
3. Here first in answering John i. 19, 25, for their own credit they disgrace the priests and Levites, as blind and ignorant Pharisees, for demanding of John, by what authority he baptized. But considering both the places, and John's practice in bringing a new ordinance of religion into the church, they did nothing herein not well sorting with their office.
Secondly, their answer, that John proves his authority to baptize, by proving his authority to preach, from Isaiah the prophet, Isa. xl. 3: shows, how short their wits are in gauging the depth of the Scriptures. He doth not prove his authority to baptize, by a common authority or liberty to teach, which any of Israel, gifted, might use; but he justifies his whole ministry, in all the parts of it by his special calling, as the harbinger and forerunner of Christ, plainly foretold by Isaiah, and Malachi. Do they think, that the prophet's words “the voice of one crying in the wilderness,” &c., appertained to every Israelite that could teach; as they ascribe power to baptize to each of their teaching disciples ? Or might John, without a special calling, have instituted and brought into the church, as he did, a new ordinance ? Yea I would know, which of John's disciples ever offered to baptize ? Of whom yet it cannot be doubted, but divers were able to teach.
4. As cowards most vilify in words, where in deed they dare do least, so do these men account this proof most vain, against which they have nothing to bring, saving an equivocation in the word “ordinances,” and a cunning course in leaving out that which I allege from Rom. xii. 3, which would discover the fallacy. The different nature of baptism and teaching, merely by a personal gift, is evident. A man becomes a prophet, and able to teach, by the gifts of the Spirit, knowledge, and utterance,1 Cor. i. 5. But I would know by what gift of the Spirit any becomes a baptizer, or able to baptize ? 2. Besides the scriptures, 1 Pet. i. 12, &c.; the light of nature, and general law of love, shows, that he who knows anything profitable for another, should in his place, and upon occasion declare it to him; so as teaching by him that hath ability, hath its plain foundation in nature: but so is not baptism by the light of nature; but merely ordained and instituted of God by supernatural revelation; in which respect I call it an ordinance. And this consideration alone, if there were nothing else, will with reasonable men, oversway all their presumptions. Actions of religion are some of them performed immediately from a personal gift, and grace of the Spirit in the heart, as preaching, or prophesying, and prayer, out of a special state or office; others, by no special gift of the Spirit at all, but by authority conferred upon some special person; as the ministration of sacraments, censures, ordination, and the like; and lastly, some others by both, as pastoral preaching, prayer, &c.: the gift ministering ability; and the office charge to use the gift, for feeding of the flock committed to the officer.
5, In answering my fifth proof, they allege things partly impertinent, and partly unreasonable. Of the former sort is their discourse about the eunuch's being a member of Christ, and his remaining in any particular church: whereas they should have answered directly, whether by his faith and baptism he had been made a member of any particular church, or not.
But they seeing what would follow upon a direct answer, have rather chosen an indirect evasion. Of like hue is that which they add of Israel's renewed covenant, conceiving Israel as a true church, which we meddle not with in this business.
Absurd it is in itself, and a slandering of our practice, which they affirm of one casting out another, where there are but two of a church. Which of us ever so held or practised ? One man, or woman either, may upon just ground, separate from a whole church: may he, or she, therefore, excommunicate a whole church ? Or hath John) M(urton) excommunicated the whole Church of England ? Separation, where lawful, only shows the liberty, which every Christian hath to keep himself pure from the sins of others: excommunication imports a judiciary power and state of authority to execute a solemn censure and punishment; which appertains only to the church gathered together in Christ's name; Matt, xviii. 19, 20; 1 Cor. v. 4, 5; which one cannot be. Two may join together, and so receiving one another mutually may become a church: or may, upon just occasion, part asunder, and so dissolve: but cannot receive in, to speak properly, or cast out one another, by solemn ordinance. This imports authority; the former, liberty only. But thus it becomes the new builders of Babylon, to use brick for stone, and lime for well-tempered mortar.
6. Their answer to my sixth proof about witnesses of the baptism, that Philip baptized the eunuch, and Ananias, Saul, none else being by, is presumptuous. It is apparent, Acts viii., that the eunuch had divers in his retinue, and most probable, that some of them were godly also, and baptized with him, though the story mention him alone. Neither is it like, that Ananias in that city, where so many Christians were, was not accompanied with some or other of them. Besides, those baptisms were administered by extraordinary, and miraculous direction, and assistance; and therefore not to be drawn, for the manner, into ordinary example. Lastly, these instances overthrow their main ground, which is, that all particular churches are gathered by faith and baptism. One alone cannot be a church; neither is a church gathered by that which may lawfully be performed without a church gathering. Paul's own manifestation of the grace of Christ received, was sufficient testimony of his conversion; and the church's weakness it was, to stand need of further witness.
In their answer to mine other demand, that any “disciple present, though no instrument of conversion, may baptize,” they raise their own main ground, which how sandy soever, yet is theirs, from Matt, xxviii. 19, that every disciple, that can teach, or make disciples, according to his best ability, may baptize; and, whosoever makes a disciple may baptize; and that Christ hath coupled them together, and that no man should separate them, &c.; yet here themselves separate them, in affirming that any disciple, though making no disciple, nor being instrument of conversion, may baptize. Their instances of Christ's baptizing none, but leaving that to his followers, and Paul's baptizing few in Corinth, are too presumptuous. It is too much vanity for base persons to play on stages the parts of kings: what is it then for John Murton, to play Christ and Paul, if yet Paul had not evangelists in his company', in commanding others of his disciples to baptize his converts, as Christ our Lord did his ?
About woman's baptism, they are like a bird in a net, seeking many holes to get out, but finding none. First, they answer, that “women may neither teach nor baptize in the church.” True: but why not, as they do ? which is, not in the church; but out of it, and in a corner, where, it may be, none is present but the baptizer and baptized ? They say further, that “women have been, and may be, worthy instruments of converting of others.” I grant it, and that even of men. But may they therefore baptize them ? This they dare not say, nor do; and yet except they say it, they must unsay their so oft repeated lesson, “that they that may convert, may baptise.”
Their dispute from my former plea out of Mr. Perkins, that where God gives the word, he gives the power also, helps not: for first, “both Mr. Perkins and I speak of a church having this power of the Lord, and not of a single person. If all the body were one member, where were the body, 1 Cor. xii. 19, or church ? saith the apostle. These men make all the body, and one member the same. One and all, and all and one, is all one with them. Secondly, we speak of having and using the power of the Lord, according to the Lord's order; and not in their confused fashion. Which order of the Lord is, that men first be called, ordinarily, by the church, and so minister baptism as the stewards of the mysteries of God.
Lastly, they most wrongfully accuse Peter Martyr, and me from him, as pleading for women's baptism: the reader that pleaseth, may see the contrary.
I do not, as they here challenge me, in answering their objection, that because men, by virtue of their gift, without other calling, may do the greater which is teaching, they may do the less, which baptizing is, wrong them; as saying, having no calling, but no other calling but by their gift. If they have any other calling, though not pastoral, let them show it; and so renounce their former plea raised from their personal gifts alone.
Their proof that “he that may do the greater may do the less,” is taken from Matt, xxiii. 16, 17, 19, 20, &c., wherein they say, Christ proveth plainly, that either it was not lawful for them to swear by the gold, and the offerings, which were lesser: or that it was lawful for them to swear by the temple, and altar.
Nothing less. It was lawful to swear by none of them all, but by the Lord only. The meaning of Christ was to reprove the hypocrisy and covetousness of the Pharisees, that bare the people in hand, that if they sware by the altar, and temple, it bound them not, at least, in comparison; but if they swore by the gold, or offering, that oath bound them to performance, that by this means, they might possess the people's minds with an high opinion of the offerings, and gold, which turned to their proper ad, vantage and profit. If from hence they would conclude anything lawful from the greater to the less, they must argue thus: If it be lawful to swear by the greater, then by the less, much more: but it is lawful to swear by the greater, and greatest, God himself, that dwelleth in the temple: therefore it is lawful to swear by the temple, altar, sacrifice, heaven, earth, &c. If they would be ashamed of this conclusion, so may they be of their argumentation.
My plea for the power of calling ministers, and censuring offenders by the church where officers are wanting, which here again they bring in, is in their hand, like a sword in a child's hand, wherewith he sooner hurts himself, than his enemy. For, to let pass the difference between the power of receiving in, and casting out of members, and so of choosing of ministers, on the one side, and of baptizing on the other, elsewhere manifested; they here strike through their own course, in confessing that these things must be done by the church's power and right, by which they baptize not, but merely by a personal liberty: by which yet they themselves, I suppose, would be loth to avow the calling of ministers, and censuring of offenders.
That my collection from Scripture is their conviction, and makes plainly against their corner-stone, that he which may do the greater may do the less, they may see, if they please to consider it. For if the prophets in Israel, not being Levites, though preaching God's word, might not carry the ashes from under the altar; but the Levites only, Numb. iv. 13, then their rule holds not absolutely, that he that may do the greater, may do the less; and so they must confess, except they will deny the preaching of God's word to be a greater thing than the carrying of the ashes out of the temple.
The former part of their first answer; that the priests only, they should say the Levites, were appointed to this, makes against them, as showing, that we are not to measure our liberty or power by the greatness or smallness of the thing, but by God's appointment, who hath allotted to every one his portion. Their second answer is of admirable device, that “as the priests might meddle with all the services of the Old Testament; so all the saints being priests unto God, no men excepted, may meddle with all the services of the New Testament,”
But why might, and may; and not ought, and must? The priests under the law were bound, leaving unto the high-priest his functions, and to the Levites, theirs, in their courses, to all the services of the tabernacle, and temple. So by their crooked rule, every Christian, no men excepted, not only may, in liberty, but must in duty, minister not only baptism but the Lord's supper also, and all other ordinances, in his turn: and so all must be alike for public ministrations; for all are priests to God alike. “All the congregation are holy every one of them, and the Lord is among them, and you, Moses and Aaron, take too much upon you;” said Korah of old. Numb. xvi. 3. They err grossly therefore in making all priests for all public ordidances in the church: whereof some appertain to Christ's prophetical administration, as the sacraments, which are seals of the covenant dispensed by preaching: others to his kingdom, as the appointing of officers, and censuring of offenders. Our Christian priesthood stands only in our offering of spiritual sacrifices of praises, and prayer from a broken heart, works of mercy, and the like.
That baptism is a service of the temple, that is, an ordinance of the church, we have formerly proved. And surely strange it is, that I should need to prove, that there is any ordinance of religion which the church is not to administer. Paul, and Apollos, and Cephas are the churches, and is not their baptism theirs? This whilst they compare to the hewing of stones in the mountains, they lay in common for ministration to very unbelievers, with disciples: for the Sidonians, or other of the heathens, as well as Israelites, might either square stones, or hew wood for the temple. 1 Kings v. 18.
Lastly touching my similitude. As it cannot he denied, but that the setting of the seal unto the king's pardon granted to a malefactor, is a matter both of more solemnity, and authority, than the bare manifestation and making known of the same pardon; which any, ordinarily, may do to any, as opportunity serves: so have I proved long ago against these adversaries, by many arguments, hitherto by them unanswered, and I assure myself unanswerable, that the outward baptism, of which we speak, is an outward seal of the covenant of grace: that is, an holy outward sign ordained of God, as a means by the work of the Spirit, to confirm the faith of the church in her washing, both from the guilt and contagion of sin, by the blood of Christ Jesus. More than this, we mean not in calling the sacraments seals, Rom. iv. 11, with the apostle; and less none can yield them, that hath learned their right use, either from his own fruitful experience, or the Scripture's information. Glory be to God, and good men!
END OF VOLUME I.