- A Just and Necessary Apology.
- Chapter I.: Of the Largeness of Churches.
- Chapter II.: Of the Administration of Baptism.
- Chapter III.: Of Written Liturgies.
- Chapter IV.: Of the Ecclesiastical Presbytery.
- Chapter V.: Of Holy Days.
- Chapter VI.: Of the Celebration of Marriage By the Pastors of the Church.
- Chapter VII.: Of the Sanctification of the Lord's Day.
- Chapter VIII.: Of the Exercise of Prophecy.
- Chapter IX.: Of Temples.
- Chapter X.: Of Things Indifferent.
- Chapter XI.: Of Civil Magistrates.
- Chapter XII.: Of the Church of England,
- Notice Respecting the Two Letters.
- On Religious Communion
- The Preface.
- Chapter I.: Of Private Communion.
- Chapter II.: Of Public Communion.
- Chapter III.: Of Flight In Persecution.
- Chapter IV.: The Outward Baptism Received In England Is Lawfully Retained.
- Chapter V.: Of the Baptism of Infants.
- Chapter VI.: A Survey of the Confession of Faith Published In Certain Conclusions By the Remainders of Mr. Smyth's Company After His Death. *
- The People’s Plea For the Exercise of Prophecy
- An Answer to the Arguments Laid Down By Mr. John Yates, Preacher In Norwich , to Prove Ordinary Prophecy In Public, Out of Office, Unlawful; Answered By John Robinson.
- A Treatise On the Lawfulness of Hearing Ministers In the Church of England
- On the Lawfulness of Hearing the Ministers of the Church of England. By John Robinson.
- A Letter to the Congregational Church In London
- An Appeal On Truth's Behalf.
- To Our Beloved, the Elders and Church At Amsterdam , Grace and Peace From God the Giver Thereof, and In Him Our Salutations .
- An Answer to a Censorius People
- Letter By Rev. Joseph Hall, B.d., Rector of Halstead, Called By Mr. Robinson “a Censorious Epistle.”
- An Answer to “a Censorious Epistle.”
- A Catechism
- An Appendix to Mr. Perkins’ Six Principles of Christian Religion.
- No I.: The Church In Southwark.
- No. II.: The Exiles and Their Churches In Holland.
- Chronological Index of Mr. Robinson's Works.
- Index of Subjects.
- Index of Authors Referred to Or Quoted, With Occasional Brief Notices of Their Works and Lives.
- Index of Important Texts of Scripture Illustrated Or Quoted.
the outward baptism received in england is lawfully
And to prove our profession of Christ false, and us, the teachers, false prophets he takes his first ground out of our Apology, where a true visible church is described, “a company of people called and separated from the world by the Word of God,” &c.; and thereupon concludes peremptorily, pages 133, 124, of his “Mystery,” that we are all mere infidels, unbelievers, and without Christ; and taking it for our own grant, that before our separation we were of the world, that is, of them that hate Christ, and cannot receive the spirit of truth, and that believe not in Christ, but lie in wickedness, John vii. 7; xiv. 17; xvi. 9; xvii. 25; 1 John v. 19; he goes about to prove, that if then we were of the world, we arc so still, because we have not been joined to Christ by amending our lives, and by being baptized, and so by putting on of Christ by baptism. Acts ii. 88; Gal, iii. 27.
The effect, then, of all is, that, because we have not taken up a new outward washing, or baptism, for that of amendment of life, he but adds for fashion, as he hath done, therefore we are of the world, infidels, haters of Christ, and what not.
For answer, then, first, we grant that, remaining in the assemblies, we were not separated from the world, to wit, in our fellowship; but doth it follow, thereupon, that till our separation we were of the world, namely in our persons? Which is as if he should conclude, that because in a confused heap, as are the assemblies, the good stones are not severed from the rubbish, therefore even they, as the rest, are rubbish also. Were such of the Corinthians as through error, or evil custom, or other infirmity, continued communion with the idolaters in their idolatrous feastings in the idol temples, (whom the apostle therefore exhorts to separate themselves, and to come from among them, 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18,) were they, I say, infidels and darkness? or, doth not the same apostle there expressly call them believers, light, righteousness, notwithstanding that their great failing and evil of ignorance, or human frailty, out of which the Lord did call them? Or was Mr. Helwisse himself, all the while he was unseparated, an infidel, without Christ and his spirit, and hating him? If so Ire were, considering the great show he made of faith and love, in and to Christ, and the singular manifestations of the Spirit, he was a notorious hypocrite as the earth bore: but if, on the contrary, he did not then hate Christ, but had faith and grace, though in never so small a measure, his proof is of no force, but he himself proved a vain man, that would deny the grace of God in himself, to advantage an error against other men; which is a kind of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, though not of malice, as was that of the Pharisees, yet of preposterous and perverse zeal, of which I wish all the Lord's people may beware.
Secondly, It is not true he saith, that none can come and be joined to Christ without baptism. The Scriptures testify, that so many as believe in Christ, receive him, are engrafted into him, having him living in them, and dwelling in their hearts. John i. 12; Rom. xi. 20; Gal. ii. 20; Eph. iii. 17. Which faith is before baptism, in some men a longer time, in some, a shorter, and in some, also dying unbaptized. Matt. viii. 10; xv. 28; Acts x. 4, 36; Luke xxiii. 40, &c. And according to this was the tenor of Christ's commission to his apostles, by teaching to make disciples or Christians, and to bring men to believe, and afterwards to baptize them. Matt. xxviii. 19; Acts xi. 26; Mark xvi. 16. And to baptize any of years, but being before joined to Christ by actual faith, and so making manifestation, were to profane God's ordinance. Neither is it Paul's meaning, where he tells the Galatians, that “they which had been baptized into Christ, had put on Christ,” that they were not joined to Christ before their outward baptism, but to show that their baptism was a lively sign of their union with, and incorporation into Christ, and participation of the washing of his blood and Spirit, as also an effectual means more and more to apply the same unto them; being all their life long to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the new man, as the same apostle teacheth, Rom. xiii. 14; Eph. iv. 24. And for Acts ii. 35, it shows, indeed, that they who believe and repent are to he baptized, to wit, being unbaptized before, as they then were, and as we now are not; God having also added to the outward washing or baptism, though in the false church, the inward washing of the Spirit torepentance and amendment of life.
To his inference, pages 127, 128, that “if England be Babylon, out of which the Lord's people are to come, and baptism the seal of the covenant of grace, as we teach, then we retain the baptism of Babylon thereby to be sealed unto the covenant of grace:” I answer, that we retain the seal of the covenant of grace, though ministered in Babylon; and not the baptism of Babylon, but the baptism of the Lord in itself, and by the Babylonians Spiritual, usurped and profaned; but, by faith and the Spirit, now sanctified to our use. Which we therefore retain, as we do the same gospel or covenant, by the same men and means there taught and administered unto us; bringing both the one and other thence, as were the holy vessels of the Lord's house of old, brought out of Babylon civil, after their profanation there. Dan. v. 1–4; Ezra i. 7–9. And as well may the doctrines of faith, there ministered and thence brought by us, be called the stolen bread of Babylon, as he, in wantonness of wit, calls the baptism the stolen waters of Babylon.
So that it is neither true he saith, that we were infidels, and without Christ, till our separation: nor that men are made Christians by baptism: nor that we retain the baptism of Babylon. Neither yet, though we ought to receive a new outward washing, which we neither think nor he proves, it being but our failing of ignorance in an outward ordinance, were we thereby debarred from being true Christians, no, nor from being a true visible church.
And as I have elsewhere proved against others, with whom these men consort, and both of them, herein, with the Papists, that the church is not gathered, nor men thereinto admitted, by baptism; so will I here for the same purpose further add these reasons.
And, first, The church is not given to baptism, but baptism, on the contrary, to the church: as are all other the Lord's public ordinances and oracles. Rom. iii. 2; Psa. cxlvii. 19, 20. And since baptism is a public action, it cannot be performed but by public authority in and of the church, which church, therefore, must be presupposed and before it.
2. John the Baptist did, as we know, baptize many, hut yet neither gathered churches, nor received men into them, Matt. iii. 5,6; but lived and died himself a member of the Jewish church. Matt. xi. 11. Therefore the church is not gathered by baptism.
3. If men be received into the church by baptism, then must they, as occasion is, be cast out by being unbaptized; and so if God again give them repentance, they must be received in by a second baptism, and so by a third or fourth, if occasion be. The truth is, such men must renew their covenant with God and his church, by which they were at the first received, but not their outward baptism, to which these and other men's fancy leadeth.
4. To receive in and so to cast out members, are dispensations of Christ's kingly office: whereas, baptism is a work of his prophecy; which is, indeed, to be joined with men's admission into the church, and to follow upon it immediately, if the persons be not before baptized.
Lastly, If the church be gathered by baptism, then will Mr. Helwisse's church appear to all men to be built upon the sand, considering the baptism it had and hath: which was, as I have heard from themselves, on this manner: Mr. Smyth, Mr. Helwisse, and the rest, having utterly dissolved and disclaimed their former church state and ministry, came together to erect a new church by baptism; unto which they also ascribed so great virtue, as that they would not so much as pray together before they had it. And after some straining of courtesy who should begin, and that, of John Baptist, Matt. iii. 14, misalleged, Mr. Smyth baptized first himself, and next Mr. Helwisse, and so the rest, making their particular confessions. Now to let pass his not sanctifying a public action by public prayer, 1 Tim. iv. 4, 5; his taking unto himself that honour which was not given him, either immediately from Christ or by the church, Heb. v. 4; his baptizing himself, which was more than Christ himself did, Matt. iii. 14: I demand, into what church he entered by baptism? or, entering by baptism into no church, how his baptism could be true by their own doctrine? Or, Mr. Smyth's baptism not being true, nor he, by it, entering into any church, how Mr, Helwisse's baptism could be true, or into what church he entered by it? These things thus being, all wise men will think that he had small cause either to be so much enamoured of his own baptism, or so highly to despise other men's for the unorderly or otherwise unlawful administration of it.
The next clamour he raiseth is against our prophets, whom he so falsifieth, as if by oft and much so calling them, he would make them such, viz. that to draw people to separate, we call and prove England, Babylon, Sodom, and Egypt, out of which God's people must come; but after, when we. would persuade to the retaining of the baptism there received, we call it rebellious and apostate Israel, whose circumcision was not to be repeated, when upon their repentance they came unto the passover. For the reproof of which our doctrine, he affirmeth some, and inferreth sundry other untruths. As, first, that we teach men to retain the first and chief badge or mark of Babylon, which is their baptism, the seal of the covenant of grace as we say.
This challenge I answered even now; and shall further, hereafter, justify, the Lord assisting me, the retaining our outward washing without repetition: as I have also disproved that his second affirmation, that there cannot be a church of unbaptized Christians.
Besides, it is not true he saith, that we have no other seal for our whole Christianity, than the baptism we received in England. We have, besides the inward seal of the Spirit, and faith, the promises of the gospel, and supper of the Lord, with many experiments of the love of God, sealing and confirming unto us, that we are Christ's.
His peremptory affirmation, page 129, that “we might have cried long enough, Come from Israel, and separate yourselves from Israel, before any fearing God, or having understanding of his truth, would have followed us,” is but his wild guess, without warrant. And the fear of God being the same, in the hearts of his people now, and of old, yea, greater conscience of sin being required now, according to the greater measure of revelation, why should not the conscience of the like estate of England as well persuade men to separate themselves from the apostacy thereof, to the true church and ordinances, as it did such of all the tribes of Israel, as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel, to separate themselves, with the priests, and Levites, from Jeroboam's apostacy, to Judah and Jerusalem? 2 Chron. xi. 13,16.
Of like truth with the former, is his after-affirmation, page 1S9, that if we were true Israelites before our separation, then all we left behind us are true Israelites: for so all the ten tribes under Jeroboam were true Israelites: and all we in the assemblies before our separation were in one estate, &c.
It is true, that the ten tribes in their apostacy, were true Israelites, naturally, and so were the Ishmaelites, and Edomites Abraham's true natural seed. But what is this to our question, which is not about men's natural estate, but about their religions, and church-state? The church is not a natural estate, neither was Abraham and Israel God's peculiar people and church by nature, for they were by nature children of wrath, as well as others, Eph. ii. 3, but by grace, and because God loved them above other people, and separated them into covenant with himself. Deut. vii. 6–8. Our question then being about religion, and men's religious estate, and as they are worshippers of God, Christ our Lord teacheth us in Nathaniel's person, who are true Israelites: namely they in whom there is no guile. John i. 41. And Paul telleth us, that he is not a Jew, who is a Jew outwardly, nor that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh, but that he is a Jew, who is one within, and that circumcision, which is of the heart, &c. But for the ten tribes, or other Abraham's natural seed, in their rebellion against the Lord they were of true plants, degenerate, and changed into the plants of a strange, or false vine. Jer. ii. 21. They were true Israelites, as a thief is a true man, to wit, naturally; but not he, morally; much less they, spiritually, or in the consideration of religion, of which we speak.
And for us, it followeth not, that because we came from the parish assemblies, therefore all that we left behind us were true Israelites, as we. For then the main cause of our separation had been taken away. We did even there, by the great mercy of God, receive grace to be in our measure Nathaniels, and without guile: and so to serve God, and walk with men, though we were ignorant of many of Christ's ordinances, as was Nathaniel without guile, when he was ignorant of his person, which to say of all in the assemblies, and that they are Nathaniels, were false and foolish. Neither could Mr. H. without being reproved by his own heart, say that, when he was a professor in England there was no difference between him, and the atheists, and epicures in the parishes, though in that confused state of things they, and he were of one and the same visible church.
Lastly, To pass by his misputting the words, and misinterpreting the meaning of them that wrote the Apology, by taking that, as meant of the members of the assemblies, which was spoken of such as were separated; as also his bitter upbraiding them with ignorant dissimulation and flattery, through his own rash ignorance, that which he affirmeth of Judah's never denying Israel to be her sister, is his saying, without proof or explanation.
What Judah thought of her, appears by the speech of Abijah the king, 2 Chron. xiii. 4–7, &c: and what the Lord thought of her, we shall show hereafter; howsoever they are called sisters sometimes in respect of their joint estate before the division, Ezek. xxiii. 2–4, and so Edom also was called Israel's brother, in respect of their first fathers, Numb. xx. 14; Obad. x. 12: sometimes in respect of their concurrence in iniquity, and so Sodom also is called a third sister with them. Ezek. xvi. 46. And yet were not their estates alike, no not the two likest of them, though both evil. For there is, besides good and evil, as was Judah in her integrity, and Israel in her apostacy, evil, and worse, both in persons and things, though both evil, compared together. And so as the evils in England are of divers degrees, and kinds, we do proportionably, by way of resemblance, term it apostate Israel, Babylon, Sodom, and Egypt, spiritually so called. In respect of the spiritual external government there, not in the hands of the son of David, Christ, the King of saints, but of his usurping adversary, the prelacy, and of the apostate priesthood thence derived: of the will-worship, though of the true God: of the forged holy-days, and other the like defections, we call it apostate Israel; in regard of the great and monstrous confusion there both of persons and things, with the spiritual bondage of the Lord's people to the prelacy, Babylon; in regard of the same bondage, together with the Egyptian darkness spiritual, with other the spiritual botches, and plagues, upon the souls of the body of that church, Egypt: and lastly Sodom, in respect of the iniquity of Sodom abounding there, as pride, fulness of bread, idleness, and want of mercy towards the poor, Ezek. xvi. 49: with contempt of heavenly admonition. Gen. xix. 9, 14.
The next thing he reproveth is our distinction of churches, and so of sacraments into true, false, and none. And having in the first place liberally reproached us, he inveighs greatly against our distinctions in general, and the several respects we put of things: betraying plainly therein his tumultuous ignorance, by which ho would confound, and blunder all things together: whereas there is nothing more necessary for the just knowledge of things, and ending of controversies, than distinctions, and respects, rightly and seasonably put: which are in disputations, like that distributive justice in many suits of law. For whereas both parties would have all, for some right, which either hath to a part, a just distinction gives unto either his several right, and satisfieth both.
And having spent his breath in reproaching our distinctions of true, false and none, he for our conviction begins with a distinction of worldly things: in which he grants a difference between false and none: as that there is a false hour-glass, and no hour-glass, a false looking-glass, and no looking-glass, &c. whereas, in the ordinances of God (saith he, page 134) as the church, and baptism, there is no such difference; and in so saying he doth indeed offer to the view of all wise men; who have their eyes in their heads, Eccl. ii. 14, a looking-glass, wherein both the ill-favoured face of his own distinction, and the vanity of his exception may appear.
The use of a looking-glass is to show what manner the native face of a man is. James i. 23, 24. And the reason why we call such a one false, is, because it doth not that, in truth, which it makes show of, but deceives him that looks in it, for the fashion and portraiture of his countenance. So the use of an hour-glass is to show when the hour is just come about: which we therefore call false, when it doth not so indeed, but deceives him that looks unto it, either by running short, or over. Hence common-sense teacheth, that if there may he a church, or assembly of people making a profession and show of Christ, and Christian baptism, and religion, but not being, and having that indeed, which in show and appearance it seems to be and have, and so but deceiving him that regards it, then may there also be, and so rightly be called, a false church. If reply be made, that this false church is no church, it may as truly be answered, that that false hour-glass is no hourglass: as in truth, and indeed, it is not an hour-glass, but a three, or five-quarter glass, or over, or under. It is evident by the same common reason of both, that there may be as well'a false church, which is not no church, as a false looking, or hour-glass, which are not none: and other conviction needs he not, than by his own instance.
The scriptures he brings for his purpose, which are, “They said they were apostles, and were not, and Jews, and were not,” Rev. ii. 2, 9, and iii. 9, he corrupteth very audaciously, though, I hope, much of ignorance: instead of “not,” putting “none:” whereas between these there is great difference. For “not” only denieth that which they said they were; whereas “none” extendeth further, as lie also intends it, and denies them to be apostles, or Jews at all, or of any sort. They said they were apostles, that is true apostles, sent, and set a work by Christ immediately; but they were not, that is not these, or such, as they pretended themselves to be. They were false apostles, setting themselves a work, and deceitful workers, not, no workers, as elsewhere the apostle calleth them, 2 Cor. xi. 13. They said they were Jews, and were not, that is not Jews within, nor the circumcision of the heart, as Paul expounds the phrase of speech more at large, Rom. ii. 28, 29. For Jews, without doubt, they were, and circumcised in the flesh; for which circumcision, with other Jewish ceremonies, they contended. It is usual with the Scriptures to speak of things in religion, as if they were not at all, when they are not, as they should be; and the reason is, because God doth not accept of them, nor they themselves receive the right fruit thereof. Thus it is said of the inhabitants of Samaria that they feared not the Lord, though it be said immediately before, they feared the Lord, 2 Kings xvii. 32 —34: thus Paul saith that he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly, nor that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh, Rom. ii. 28: as he also tells the Corinthians that they cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils, 1 Cor. 10, 21. They did drink of both outwardly, but unlawfully, and of the better without fruit: as he also tells the same Corinthians ch. xi. 17, 18, 20, 21, that by reason of their contentions, and other abuses, their eating the Lord's Supper was not to eat the Lord's Supper, that is, as he expounds himself, not with profit, or for the better, but for the worse. Even so these were not apostles, that is sent of Christ, and whom the churches ought so to receive; nor Jews, that is such as whom God would praise.
The same I answer to Eph. iv. 4, 5, which is after objected, of one body, one church, one faith, one baptism: that is one true faith, church, and baptism. And to hold that, besides that one true, justifying and saving faith, there are not other false faitbs, is itself a special point of a false faith, and persuasion. The apostle, 1 Tim. i. 5, speaks of faith unfeigned, from which love springeth: showing therein that there is a feigned, or false faith, which James calleth a dead faith, for the want of this love, and the fruits thereof, the works of mercy. James ii. 17, 20. Yea, the devils themselves believe, and have a kind of faith, ver. 19, as have also some wicked men such a faith, as by which they cast out devils, and do many miracles in Christ's name. Matt. vii. 22, 23. And both the Scriptures and experience teach, that wicked men have a faith, or persuasion of God's favour, and salvation, which is no true faith, and therefore a false faith, or persuasion, and so rightly called. The same may be said of the church, and sacraments, and much more. The consideration of one God, and one Christ, is something different, but directly against these men: for there may be, and are assemblies of false worshippers, of this one God, and one Christ: and therefore false churches, and so their sacraments, accordingly, false sacraments.
And thus much to show how vain his distinction is between God's ordinances, and worldly things, though, even, they be also God's ordinances, as he applieth it: and to prove, that false may as well, and by the same reason, be applied to the outward ordinances of the church, as unto worldly things; as also to answer the scriptures he brings to disprove that part of our distinction, touching a false church. It now remains I prove by the Scriptures, and good reasons grounded thereupon, that there are false churches, and false church ordinances: and that such a church the ten tribes were in their defection, and division from Judah.
And first, Since false is nothing but that which deceiveth under a show, and appearance of that which it is not, (as the knowledge of three Latin words would have taught Mr. Helwisse) and that such churches, or assemblies there are too many, which under a profession of the name, and sundry truths, and ordinances of Christ, do deceive; it followeth necessarily, that there may be, and are, false churches. And thus much in effect he grants elsewhere, viz. that “a false church are they, that say, and make show, they are a true church, and are not.” Only he labours upon his ordinary disease in misinterpreting these words, and are not, as if they were and are none; whereas they only deny the thing affirmed, which is, a true church, and no more.
Secondly, In his entrance against us, and everywhere, he condemns our profession, as a false profession, and us as false prophets; as he doth also the profession and prophets of the prelates, and Puritans, as he calleth them, and therein yieldeth necessarily, that the churches making this false profession, under these false prophets, by him so deemed, are false churches. Neither can he turn off the matter, as his custom is, by saying we are no churches, and no prophets; for he knows the prophets, or teachers teach, and the people with them, profess the main truths in the gospel: which he therefore cannot say to be no prophets, or to make no profession.
Thirdly, The apostle, 2 Cor.xi. 26, complains of his perils amongst false brethren, and Gal. ii. 4, that false brethren were crept into the church. Now if there may be (as the apostle expressly teacheth) false brethren., and the same also baptized outwardly, then is a church consisting of such in the body thereof, a false church, and their baptism answerably, false baptism.
Fourthly, The Scriptures, and common-sense teach, that there are false worshippers, of God. Christ our Lord saith of the Samaritans, who feared the Lord and worshipped the God of Jacob, after a manner, and had a temple in Mount Gerizim, 2 Kings xvii. 32, that they worshipped they knew not what: opposing them to true worshippers, and therein calling them false worshippers, and their assembly a false church. John iv. 12, 20–23. And when a Papist prayeth unto God in an unknown tongue, or in the name, or merits of the Virgin Mary; or when any other man “draweth nigh unto God with his mouth, and honoureth him with his lips, but having his heart far from him:” or teacheth for doctrines, men's commandments, Matt. xv. 8, 9; he worshippeth, though in vain, and his prayers, are prayers and sacrifices, though abominable. Prov. xv. 8. He is not then no worshipper, but a false worshipper; and so by consequence, a company, or congregation of such, so combining, and continuing, are falsely called no church, or congregation, but most truly a false church, congregation, or assembly, which are all one.
Lastly, That Israel in Jeroboam's apostacy was a false church, though others have done it sufficiently, I will plainly prove, (God assisting me) against mine adversary, page 135; answering, in the first place, what he objecteth to the contrary. Which is, that the ten tribes then apostate, were the true seed of Abraham, separated from the world, under the covenant of God, which was the covenant of circumcision, Gen. xvii. 7, 15, as well as Judah in Hezekiah's time, when they came to the passover.
If the church of God had been in those days a natural state, and the covenant a natural covenant, and circumcision a natural sign, or seal, then had the ten tribes, indeed, been within that covenant, and of the true church: into what apostacy, idolatry, or other wickedness soever they did, or could fall: and with them the Ishmaelites, and Edomites also, for they all were alike Abraham's natural seed: yea, with the one and other, the whole world; for there is one common state of nature, and the Jews by it, children of wrath, as well as others. Eph. ii. 3. But since the Lord's covenant with Abraham, and his seed, was 110 natural or universal covenant, but a covenant of God's special love and promise with his peculiar people, Gen. xvii. 1, 7: in which he bound himself to be their God, that is, all happiness, unto them; and them to perfect, or upright walking before him, Psa. cxliv. 15; having circumcision annexed, as a seal of the righteousness of faith, Rom. iv. 11, it is ignorance too gross thus to measure them by natural respects: or to think that any had a part in that covenant by nature, or natural generation: by which, as before hath been proved, and shall be hereafter, more at large, all are under God's curse, and children of wrath. Neither is it true, that the ten tribes (in their apostacy) were separated from the world under the covenant of God, which was the covenant of circumcision. They were by, and in their apostacy separated from God, his church, ordinances, and worship. 2 Chron. xv. 3. And since the world lieth in wickedness, having the devil for the prince thereof, how were they separated from the world, who served devils in all idolatry, and wickedness? 1 John v. 19; Eph. ii. 2; 2 Chron. xi. 15. Neither is the consequence of any force, because faithful, and obedient Abraham, with his seed in his time, and so successively continuing in his faith, and obedience, were in that the Lord's covenant, and had right to all the gracious promises thereof, that therefore, unfaithful and rebellious Israel, the fathers with the children, so remaining incorrigible, were in, and under the same covenant, and promises of grace; of which more, hereafter.
But, saith he, page 135, “If they had been the false seed of Abraham, then had their circumcision been false, and they a false church.” I answer, that, coming of Abraham naturally, and pretending the same faith, and religion with him, and so the same right to the gracious covenant of God, and seal thereof, hut being indeed without either the one or other; both believing, and worshipping after a false, and feigned manner; they were, though his true seed in respect of nature, yet in respect of faith, religion, the covenant, and worship of God, his false, and adulterous seed, and even bastards, and the children of whoredoms, as the prophet speaketh, yea, the children of the devil, doing his works, and serving him, and so by his own confession, and undeniable truth, a false church, to the deceiving of themselves, and others. Hos. ii. 4; 2 Chron. xi. 15.
2ndly. Every true church is truly, and rightly gathered, and constituted, for thereby it is, that which it is: whereas Israel considered in her apostacy, and separation from Judah, and as we now speak of her, was not truly, nor rightly gathered, but by most sinful schism, and rebellion both against God, and man: and therefore was no true visible church.
3rdly. The Lord expressly testifieth by his prophets, that he had for her wickedness, and rebellions, wherein she was incorrigible, given her a bill of divorce, and put her away: that she was not his people, nor wife, nor he, her husband: in which respect also it is, that he called Samaria, Aholah, that is, her own tabernacle: as on the other side, he calleth Jerusalem, Aholibah, which is my tabernacle in her. Jer. iii. 8; Hosea i. 9; ii. 2; Ezek. xxiii. 4.
4thly. There was at that time but one only, true, visible church, one temple, one priesthood, one altar, one sacrifice, one kingdom of the Lord, in the hands of the sons of David. And so, the ten tribes in this their apostacy, and division, being neither this church, nor any part of it, but actually divided from it, and that also by a special hand of the Lord's providence, for the punishment of both, could not be the true visible church of God, nor any part of it, whatsoever good, either person, privilege, or thing, is still retained above other people. Deut. xxii. 5,6; 1 Kings viii.; 2 Chron. xi. 4; xiii. 5, 6.
Lastly, The covenant with Abraham on God's part was, that he would be his God, and the God of his seed, Gen. xvii. 7; and thereof their circumcision was a sign, ver. 8–10. Now we read, 2 Chron. xv. 3, that Israel had been a long time without the true God. By which it appeareth, that Israel, was without the Lord's covenant: and that unto them circumcision could not possibly be a sign, that God was their God. It was by them merely usurped, and in that their usurpation, a false and lying sign, and like a seal set to a blank, yea, like the king's broad seal treacherously usurped, against his express will.
Wicked men, and such as hated to be reformed, and cast God's Word behind them, had nought to do with God's covenant, Psa. 1. 16, 17; nor with circumcision, the seal thereof: nor with any other of God's ordinances. Their sacrificing of a lamb was, as if they had cut off a dog's neck, Isa. Ixvi. 3; and so consequently their circumcising their children, as if they had cut the foreskin of their dogs: notwithstanding they were true Israelites, yea, true Jews, naturally. They were expressly forbidden by the Lord to meddle with his covenant; and in that their abuse of it, it was a lying sign in the ends, and uses thereof, and no way affording that, which it pretended: neither could they so using it, be by it, at all confirmed, that God was their God. And yet was not the outward cutting afterwards to be repeated, if God gave repentance: neither is the outward washing in the name of the Trinity now, though merely usurped by them, who are forbidden to meddle with it. Neither matters it whether such persons be in true church, or false, which Mr. Helwisse calls none. Both, profane and usurp it, and have the bare outward lying sign, as it is said of Ephraim, or Israel, that she compassed about the Lord with lies, and deceit: whereas Judah ruled with God, and was faithful with the most Holy. Hos. xi. 12.
But for conclusion of this point. If any of the heathen joined themselves unto Israel in her apostacy, and so were circumcised, they being neither Abraham's true seed, by nature, nor by faith, but merely false, and counterfeit, their circumcision must be false circumcision by Mr. Helwisse's own grant: which notwithstanding was not afterwards to be repeated, if God gave them repentance, and to come to Judah to eat the passover. There was one law for the eating of the passover, to him that was home-born, and to him that was a stranger, or sojourner. Exod. xii. 49. And. here appeareth a direct warrant for our retaining the outward baptism received and usurped, in the like apostate estate, and assemblies, wherein they, and their families, and synagogues were.
I add, that either the outward baptism received out of a true church must be retained, or else all other churches must be able certainly to discern, what day, and hour a true church falling by degrees, into notorious heresy, idolatry, or other impiety, and still baptizing notwithstanding, becomes a false church, as we hold; or, as Mr. Helwisse will have it, no church. For except other churches can certainly know, and discern this, they cannot with faith receive such members, as unto whom God may give grace, to leave that apostate synagogue, and to come unto them. Such of them, as were baptized, whilst it remained a true church, they must not rebaptize: but such as were baptized after it ceased to be a true church must, say our adversaries, be received in by baptism. But it being impossible for other churches thus to discern of the day, and hour of the removing of a church's candlestick, especially for such as are far off, and have had little, or no meddling with her, it followeth necessarily, that the outward baptism administered in a church or assembly degenerated from a true church into a false, which they call, no church, must be retained upon the party's repentance, without reiteration.
For conclusion then of this point also, I demand, whether a man cast out of the true church for some notorious sin, and for impenitence therein, have true baptism, or no? They will not, neither can they say, he hath, writing of it, as they do: neither indeed hath he true baptism, in the ends, and uses thereof. He must then either have a false baptism, or none. Not none, for then upon his repentance, and re-admission into the church he must be rebaptized: he hath therefore upon him a false baptism. There is then contrary to their doctrine false baptism, which is not none, and the same also to be retained, and by the person's repentance becoming true baptism. Neither matters it, that such a man was baptized in a true church at the first, since by his transgression, his circumcision is made uncircumcision. Rom. ii, 25. In his obstinate iniquity he cannot enjoy the fruit, or benefit of his baptism: which serveth only to make him the more inexcusable, and a more profane covenant-breaker with God. He hath only remaining the outward washing, and that much more without right, than many thousands in England have, or in Rome either.
And thus much for the justifying of the difference in the Apology, between a true, false, and no church, and sacraments; as also for the applying of the same distinction to our present occasion.
The particulars following in his book do more specially concern myself, and writings: against whom, and which, through high persuasion of his own knowledge, and most unrnortified affections, together with that zeal of God, which I bear him record he had, though not according unto knowledge, he letteth loose his tongue into most intemperate rage.
And first he reproacheth me, page 138, for the use of that, for the want whereof I have just cause to blame myself: which is my logic, and philosophy, as being none of the gifts, wherewith Christ endued his apostles: wherein he verifieth the old saying, that, Knowledge hath no enemy but ignorance. Logic is nothing but the right use of reason: as is philosophy the love of wisdom Divine and human. And did the apostles want these? Or doth Mr. Helwisse envy unto me my small pittance in them? Would he have me a new Nebuchadnezzar, with an ox's heart in a man's body ? Indeed, this his judgment against those arts of wisdom, and reason, well agrees with his ignorant, and brutish dealing against me, and the truth. And for my terms of art, which he also blameth, they are neither many, nor without cause: nor yet so dark, but that an ordinary reader may, as they are explained by me, understand them.
But I come to the points themselves, against which he dealeth: the first whereof is a double consideration I put of baptism: the one taking it, in itself, and as I speak nakedly, and in the essential causes or parts, to wit, washing with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: the other, in respect of the manner of administering it: namely, the minister by, and the person upon whom, and the communion wherein it is administered. In the former respect I affirm the baptism true, both in England and Rome: but not so in the latter, but on the contrary false, and idolatrous, as being against the second commandment, which forbids nothing but idolatry, and false worship.
Against the former of these respects Mr. H. speaks angrily, as himself confesseth, and ignorantly, as I shall manifest, God assisting me. Yea, I did so manifest in the same place of my book, by the holy vessels of the temple, carried to Babylon: and yet still remaining such in their nature, and right, though in their use, or rather abuse, they became Belshazzar's quaffing bowls. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 7; Ezra i. 7; Dan. v. 3. Likewise the circumcision of the Shechemites was in in itself true circumcision, and they circumcised in the flesh, as Jacob, and his sons were circumcised, Gen. xxxiv. 13, 22. But to call this true circumcision in the right ends, and administration, were to call darkness, light; and profane hypocrisy, the true worship of God. So is there also a true outward baptism, or washing with water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, both in England and Rome also, notwithstanding the unworthy profanation of that ordinance, in the one, or other place.
The things he objecteth, page 139, for substance, are these. That baptism is a spiritual ordinance; which water, washing, and words are not. That they that are baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. Gal. iii. 27 That there is one baptism of Christ. Eph.iv. 5. That the baptism of Christ is the baptism of amendment of life, for the remission of sins. Mark i. 4. That, except a man be born of water, and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John iii. 5; Heb. x. 22. That we ought to have our hearts pure from an evil conscience, and to be washed in our bodies with pure water; and that, here is the true matter, wherewith men must be washed, which is, water, and the Holy Ghost: and that we cannot divide the water, and the Spirit in this baptism, being joined together by Christ: and that he that denies washing, or is not washed with the Spirit, is not baptized: and that he that denies washing, or is not washed with water, is not baptized.
That which must be first, and chiefly considered for answer, and as the ground of the rest is that, that one baptism mentioned, Eph. iv. hath in it two parts: the sign, and the thing signified: either of which is also in the Scriptures called baptism: the one, the,'baptism with water, wherewith John baptized, Matt. iii. 11; Mark i. 8, and wherewith all ministers do baptize; which is the outward baptism, and sign of the inward: the other, the baptism with the Holy Ghost, wherewith only Christ, and God do baptize: as there is in like manner, an outward teaching by the Word, and an inward teaching by the Spirit: an outward eating of the Lord's Supper in the use of the signs, and an inward eating of the thing, by faith in the heart. And even this outward washing with water in the name of the Trinity, which he calls “water,” “washing,” and “words,” is in itself a spiritual ordinance, though he take the contrary for granted, as being properly subordinate to man's spiritual estate, and appointed of God to signify, and confirm the inward washing of the soul by the blood, and Spirit of Christ.
And this ground laid, I grant, first, that the outward, and inward baptism are joined together by Christ, and so ought not by men to be separated, but joined together in their time, and order: but deny that, therefore, where the inward baptism by the Spirit is not actually manifested, as in the infants of believers, there the outward is not to be ministered: or that being administered unlawfully in apostate churches, it is no outward baptism at all, nor spiritual in itself, though carnally used, nor to be held upon repentance, without repetition.
The outward circumcision of the flesh, and the inward circumcision in the heart, which it signified, and whereof it did admonish the circumcised, were joined together of God, and so were to be by men, and might not be severed without great iniquity, Deut. x. 16; Jer. iv. 4: were the infants therefore of the true church debarred it? Or being profanely administered amongst the idolatrous, and apostate Israelites, or to the idolatrous proselytes amongst them, did their abuse change the nature of it in itself ? Or was it no circumcision at all, and so to be repeated, when the Lord vouchsafed to add the circumcision of the heart?
The law of God, (and these words, Thou shalt not lust, and so all, the rest) is spiritual in itself, though received, and used never so carnally, Rom. vii. 14: so is the gospel with all the ordinances thereof much more: and the power of God, in itself to salvation, whatsoever use men make of it, or them. Rom. i. 16. The apostle teacheth us, that all the Israelites, coming out of Egypt were baptized in the cloud, and in the sea, under Moses, that is, under his ministry, and that they all ate of that spiritual meat, namely manna: and all drank of that spiritual drink, namely the rock, or water flowing out of it, which was Christ. And yet with many of them God was not pleased: neither were they baptized with the Holy Ghost, or effectually made partakers of Christ. 1 Cor. x. 1–5. Where also these two things are plainly manifested. The one, that the outward ordinance, or sign, may be spiritual, to wit, in itself, though the inward power, and thing signified be wanting. 2nd, that there is sometimes an outward baptism, and the same so to be reputed, where there is not the inward baptism by the Holy Ghost: as there is also sometimes an outward eating of the Lord's Supper unworthily, that is, without discerning the Lord's body, or any inward participation thereof, or profit thereby. 1 Cor. xi. 20, 27, 29. The same apostle, as I have formerly noted, complains elsewhere of false brethren creeping into the church, Gal. ii. 4: who, being unbaptized before, were also baptized at this their entry. Take Simon Magus for one: who being convinced of the truth of the gospel, and believing after a sort, did deceive Philip, through hypocrisy, and was by him baptized: remaining notwithstanding in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity all the while, as Peter afterward perceived. Acts viii. 13, 23. And I would know of these double-washers, whether if a man professing the same faith with them in holiness outwardly, but in hypocrisy, should be baptized by them: and that afterwards his heart should strike him, and God give him true repentance, (let it be the person they know of, that fled from us under admonition for sin, and joining to, and being baptized by them, was presently after by themselves found in the same sin, and so censured) whether, I say, they would repeat their outward washing formerly made, as none, because there was not joined with it the inward washing of the Spirit? Or if they think it none, and so the fore-mentioned person not, indeed, received in by baptism, as they speak, wherefore did they then excommunicate the same person?
I conclude, therefore, that there is an outward baptism by water, and an inward baptism by the Spirit: which though they ought not to be severed, in their time, by God's appointment, yet many times are by men's default: that the outward baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, administered in an apostate church, is false baptism, in the administration, and yet in itself, and own nature, a spiritual ordinance, though abused: and whose spiritual uses cannot be had without repentance: by which repentance, and the after baptism of the Spirit it is sanctified, and not to be repeated.
The second part of the distinction followeth, page 140, which respects the manner of administering the outward ordinance of baptism: and namely the person by whom, the subject upon which, and the communion wherein it is to be dispensed. In which respects I approve it not as true, either in Borne, or England. And here Mr. H. falls into one of his hot fits of raving against me after an outrageous manner, for justifying such a baptism: where also to make it worse, he adds as my words, these of his own, “that the Spirit of God is not there.”
I answer, that there is a great difference between the justifying of the manner of doing a thing (good in itself:) and die holding the thing done (though unlawfully) not to be nothing. Zipporah's wrathful circumcising of her son, and the Israelites' profane circumcising of their children having nought to do to meddle with the Lord's covenant, could not be justified; and yet they were not no circumcision, nor to be reiterated upon them, Exod. iv. 25; Psa. 1. 16; Isa. i. 11–13, &c. Simon Magus's receiving baptism, being in the gall of bitterness, and the Corinthians' receiving the Lord's Supper, one hungry and another drunken, could not be justified, and yet the baptism of the one, and Lord's Supper of the other, was not no baptism and no Lord's Supper: nor such as whereof there could be no right use upon the repentance of the persons having so profanely usurped them. The apostles Peter and Paul, teach no such thing, but exhort the one and other to repentance, that so they might have the sanctified use of those very holy things, by them formerly abused so unholily. These, our adversaries, do not justify their marriages in the assemblies, celebrated by the parish priest, as a part of the solemn worship of God: and in that respect against the second commandment, and idolatrous: neither yet account they them no marriages at all, nor cast them away as idols of Babylon: though they can esteem them no other, in the administration there.
But saith he, page 141, if this ground were true, then a Turk baptizing a Turk with water, and these words, in any assembly whatsoever, it is the true baptism of Christ.
It is true, outward baptism profaned and abused; as is also that of midwives and children. Also touching stage-players, of which he speaks in the next leaf, I affirm, that if any parts of the Scripture, or other particulars agreeable thereunto, or any forms of prayers contained therein, be by them uttered upon the stage, they still remain in themselves, and own nature, the truths of God, and forms of prayers conceived by holy men; yea, their prayers, notwithstanding that sinful profanation of them: although that uttering of them be nothing less than true preaching or true praying. So may there be, and is too commonly, true outward baptism, that is, the very outward thing for substance done, where there is no true baptizing, that is, no true, and lawful manner of administering it. And if the washing with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of a fit person, by a lawful minister, in a lawful communion, and manner, be true baptism truly, and lawfully administered: then is washing with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by an unlawful minister, of an unfit subject, and in an unsanctifled communion, and manner, true baptism unlawfully, and falsely administered. The thing done is the same in both: the difference is only in the manner of doing it.
But between the baptism of a Turk upon a Turk, and of a midwife, I put this difference: that whereas that of a Turk is not done as a religious action, but merely in mockery; (as is that of a child, in sport;) the latter, by a midwife, is performed as a religious action upon a member of an apostate church; of which there is, therefore, another consideration to be had, than of that which is done in sport, and mockery, which common sense teacheth to be as nothing: as we may see in an oath, which being taken in jest bindeth not at all, but if taken in earnest, and for a thing lawful, (though profanely) bindeth him that took it.
For the shutting up, then, of this point, let the reader observe, that the baptism which we repeat not, is that, which hath been ministered upon the members, and according to the order (how corrupt soever) of such a church, as wherein the Lord hath his people, and for their sakes, many of his truths, and ordinances, which he so far blesseth unto his elect, as by them (notwithstanding all the confusion there,) he doth communicate, and confirm his saving grace unto them. Of the number of which his elect, we have also, by his grace, testified ourselves to be, as otherwise, so in particular, by coming as his people out of Babylon, or confusion, at his call. And we rather think it our duty to acknowledge the great goodness of God towards us, in passing by the sins of our ignorance, and in blessing unto us, what was of himself, and his own there: than unthankfully to disclaim the least, either inward work of his grace, or outward means by which he wrought it.
In the next place Mr. H. raiseth himself upon his tiptoes, and in vain confidence of his mighty strength, threateneth terribly to strike me with a rod of iron, and to break me in pieces like a potter's vessel. And because he chooseth as his ground of best advantage, a point of our profession, viz.: that baptism comes in the stead of circumcision, which neither he, nor they with him, will in another case acknowledge, I will therefore in the first place prove that ground, by the Scriptures, and reasons unto them agreeable, and so come toward his so sore threatened stroke.
And, first, The apostle dissuading the Colossians, ch. ii. 8–11, from Jewish ceremonies, and in special from circumcision, teacheth them, that in Christ's person dwelleth all fulness: and that in him as the head thereof, the church hath all perfection: who by his circumcision hath abolished the former, as the shadow by the substance: by whom also, and whose circumcision the faithful have their hearts circumcised. But whereas it might be objected, that faithful Abraham had his heart circumcised, and yet, he had withal the outward sign, and seal annexed; the apostle answereth, ver. 12, that they are baptized into Christ: (the effects of which baptism he also noteth down in the same place) and therefore needed not circumcision, as the false apostles bore them in hand: therein directly teaching, that our baptism is instead of their circumcision: as is also our Lord's Supper instead of their passover: which Supper no unbaptized person may eat of, as could no man uncircumcised eat of the passover. Their circumcision was not to be repeated, nor our baptism now, though our eating the Lord's Supper be, as their passover also was. Likewise the Israelites in the wilderness wanting the ordinary sacraments of circumcision and the passover, and having instead of them the extraordinary sacraments of baptism in the sea and cloud, and of manna, and the rock; and that baptism signifying our baptism now, and that manna, and water of the rock, the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ now, 1 Cor. x. 1–4; it is evident that our baptism cometh instead of their circumcision. Besides circumcision was their first, and solemn ordinance of initiation, or entrance, by which, say our adversaries, they were received into the church: so is baptism our first and solemn ordinance of initiation, by which also (say they) men are received into the church now. How then do not they succeed one another, as doth the church now, the church then?
Lastly, Their circumcision then was a sign or seal of the covenant of God; so is our baptism now of the same covenant, as shall be proved hereafter: their circumcision admonishing them of that original corruption of all that came naturally of Adam, not to be purged but with the shedding of the blood of the promised seed: as doth also our baptism admonish us of our original spiritual filthiness, not to be washed away but by the blood of Christ poured upon us: the same outward circumcision yet further signifying the inward circumcision of the heart, as doth our baptism with water the inward baptism of the Spirit: which circumcision was also unto them a note or badge of distinction from the world, as is also baptism now; though by many usurped, as that also then was.
This ground then being cleared, I come to that which must strike this stroke so terribly threatened: which is, that in my granting, and proving in my book, that Rome and England were never in the covenant of God, as Judah was, I do therefore debar myself from bringing my baptism from apostate Israel; and therefore must prove, that circumcision, and so baptism, received in a Babylonish assembly, by a Babylonian, upon a Babylonian, might be retained: and a man so circumcised, eat the passover, page 142. To disprove this he quotes Ezra x. 3, and Nehem. xiii. 23–25, for the putting away of the children, though circumcised, born of the strange wives in Babylon.
I profess, as before, that neither the Catholic, so called, Church of Rome, consisting of many countries and nations, nor the national Church of England, was ever within the covenant of the gospel, or new testament; as was Judah, and with her, Israel before the division; notwithstanding either the particular holy persons that are, or particular churches which happily have been there. Neither of both, therefore, saith Mr. H. can be apostate Israel, which was before her apostacy, the true church, or of it, by our grant. I deny the consequence; and his ignorance it is to think, that only they can be apostate Israel, who were formerly of Judah. For then such of the heathen, as joined to Israel in her apostacy, were not of apostate Israel, because they or their parents were never of Judah. And, by his ground, neither the national English, nor Catholic Romish Church should be antichristian, for neither of both were ever the temple of God, in which Antichrist at first raised himself. 2 Thess. ii. 4. But, as they are apostolic churches, which have received and do keep the faith, and order delivered by the apostles, though the apostles did not gather them personally; so are they answerably apostatical churches, which have taken up, and received an apostatical state, and condition from others, though they were never true in themselves: the rule of nature here having place; which is that the accessory followeth the nature of the principal. We do, likewise, most properly, and immediately call that a schismatical church, which was once either of, or a true church, and hath causelessly made a division: but yet if any other assembly, though having never been of, or a true church, do take up a schismatical profession, and walking, even it is also, though secondarily, a schismatical church, and so to be reputed. So that, though England never was, either in the whole nation, or several parishes, a true visible church, or churches, yet, having taken up the apostate communion, worship, government, ministry, and order of Rome, with the doctrines which defend them; and Rome, of that particular church, which was once planted there, having degenerated by degrees from the primitive constitution, it is truly called by us apostate Israel, for the purpose in hand: and that outward baptism there received, rightly by us retained, as was the outward circumcision in apostate Israel of old.
The scriptures he brings, which are Ezra x. 3; Nehem. xiii. 23–25, make much against him in the general cause, and nothing for him in the particular.
For to let pass other oversights. 1. They prove, that to he of Abraham's seed, carnally, was not enough to make one a member of the church, and within the Lord's covenant of circumcision. For these very children thus “put away,” as having no part therein, were, and so are by Mr. H. acknowledged, the males of the Israelites. 2. If any of them thus “put away,” had afterwards chosen the Lord God of Israel to be their God, should they have been re-circumcised? Or is there in the Scriptures any syllable tending that way? 3. He is utterly deceived in saying, those “children were born in Babylon:” upon which notwithstanding, he layeth all the weight of his argument. They were born in Canaan, and of the wives of the people near adjoining, as in the same places is expressed: and so their circumcision nothing at all to the circumcision ministered in Babylon: and yet is he more peremptory in this his error, than a wise man would be in the truth. And thus all may see how his rod of iron is proved a broken reed, whose shivers have pierced his own hands.
The next thing he comes to, is, that other ground of ours, for with his by-babblings, and revilings, I will neither trouble myself, nor the reader, thus by him related, that baptism is the vessel of the Lord's house; and as when the house of the Lord was destroyed, and the vessels thereof together with the people carried into Babylon, they remained still the vessels of the Lord's house, in nature, and right, though profaned by Belshazzar; and being brought again out of Babylon to the house of the Lord, were not to be new cast, but being purified, might again be used to holy use: so this holy vessel of baptism, though profaned, in Babylon, being brought again to the house of the Lord, remains still the holy vessel of the Lord's house.
Against this he allegeth, page 144, 1st. That our baptism seeing it was administered upon us all in the assemblies was performed, moulded, and made, in Babylon. 2nd. That the true doctrine, or ordinance of baptism either carried to Rome, or England was by way of comparison the vessel of the Lord's house, and so to be brought back, and used.
The administration of baptism is not the framing, or moulding of it, but the applying, and using of it, being formerly moulded, and made: and this common sense teacheth: otherwise there should be a new vessel made and moulded, or a new ordinance brought into the church every time that baptism is administered. The outward washing, then, with water “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” was first framed and moulded in the true churches, by John Baptist, Christ and the apostles, and there, at the first, rightly applied, and administered: and was afterwards usurped, and misapplied by, and in the apostate churches, and so is in England amongst the rest: whence we also by the grace of God, have brought it into the Lord's house, built of living stones, orderly laid together, for a spiritual building unto him, 1 Pet. ii. 5: and there have the rightful use of it, being purified by repentance.
More particularly. If the true doctrine of baptism be the vessel of the Lord's house, then, cannot this vessel of the Lord's house be brought out of the mother Babylon, which Rome is, because the doctrine of baptism there is most false in itself: as that, baptism doth by the very work done, confer grace, and wholly abolish original sin: that it imprinteth in the soul of the baptized a character, or mark indelible, by which even the damned in hell, which have been baptized, are differenced from the unbaptized: that it is of absolute necessity to salvation: that such infants are to be baptized as neither of whose parents are sanctified, or faithful: and that it is only to be administered by the Pope's anointed ones, save in the case of necessity, and that then the midwife may do it, with the like. How then can the vessel of the doctrine of true baptism be brought from Babylon, where it is not? And so far as the doctrine is true, so far the baptism is true also, being administered according unto it.
The truth then, is, that, as there were, in the material temple, both the vessels, and doctrine teaching their use, so is there, by proportion, in the church now the vessel of baptism, or thing ordained, which is most properly called the ordinance, Lev. v. 17; Rom, xiii. 1, 2, and the doctrine ordaining, and teaching it: which are two several things in all men's eyes, which have sight in them. And since baptism administered, besides the doctrine which teacheth it, is appointed of God, as a means, to signify, and apply the blood, and Spirit of Christ thereby signified, it is very absurd to deny it to be a vessel for the service of the Lord's house, and of the holy things therein: rightly used in the temple; usurped in Babylon, or elsewhere.
Lastly, Mr. Smyth, and Mr. H. with him in their Character of the Beast, &c., page 51, confess, that if the Antichristians had baptized persons, confessing their sins, and their faith into the name of the Son of God, and the Trinity, it had been true baptism, though in the hands of the Anti-christians, as the vessels of the Lord's house in the hands of the Chaldeans, and therefore, needed not repetition, as the vessels needed no new casting: therein acknowledging not the new doctrine, but the outward washing in the name of the Trinity to be the vessel of the Lord's house in Babylon: as also, that there might be baptism so far true, without out either lawful communion, minister, or subject, (for all are Antichristian,) as that it might be retained without repetition: which is also justly proved from circumcision, administered in a profane usurping family, though naturally Israelitish, either in Babylon, or Canaan, or elsewhere, it matters not, and not to be repeated upon repentance.
In the things following, being partly more general, and partly already handled, I will be the briefer.
He first tells us, page 149, that if we be Judah, and come from Israel, then we must not war against her as against Babylon, since she is the ten tribes, our brethren, which were not false Israelites, but the true seed of Abraham. 1 Kings xii. 24.
Edom also was Israel's brother, and the true seed of Abraham naturally, against whom he was forbidden to war, as against Canaan, Numb. xx. 14, 21; Deut. ii. 4, 5, &c.: was Edom therefore the true church or interested in the Lord's covenant, as well as Israel then? And though Judah was, at that one time, by special restraint, to forbear fighting against the ten tribes, as there was a time also, when she might not fight against Babylon, yet not so at other times; but she was, contrariwise, holpen of the Lord, to make a very great slaughter amongst them. 2 Chron. xiii. 3, 14–17. But for our fighting against England, it is only by the spiritual weapons of our testimony, the Word of God, our practice of Christ's ordinances and sufferings, against the confusion, clergy, and superstitions there: and thus we must war against all iniquity, whether of apostate Israel, or Babylon, it matters not.
His reasons to prove Judah as well as Israel a false church, are of no weight. And 1st, it is not true he saith, that the calves set up at Dan and Bethel did no more make them a false church, for in speaking of false Israelites, as he doth, he betrayeth too great ignorance, than the setting up of the calf in Horeb. For that calf was forthwith taken down again, burnt in the fire, and beaten to powder, the chief authors of the idolatry destroyed, and the rest brought to repentance, by which the wrath of the Lord was pacified, Exod. xxxii. and xxxiii.: whereas the ten tribes continued their idolatry, and with and for it, their schism from the true church Judah, and Jerusalem: and so were for their obstinacy and irrepentance joined with their sin, cast out of God's favour.
Alike frivolous is his second argument: from Solomon's following Ashtoreth, Milcom, and other idols: of which he also repented, as appears by his writing the Book of the Preacher, besides other arguments, and whom Judah is nowhere said to have followed in his idolatry, as did the ten tribes Jeroboam, in his. And not only so, but they went on also from evil to worse: adding to the false worship of the true God the worship of false gods, Baal and others. 1 Kings xvi. 25, 31.
Thirdly, Though Jerusalem was at a time (in the body) called by the prophet, an harlot, and her sins said to be greater than either Samaria's or Sodom's, to wit, considering her estate, and means of bettering (for otherwise her sins in themselves were not comparable to theirs) yet, were there many in her abiding faithful in the Lord's covenant, and the other brought again into the bond thereof, by repentance, after the rod of the Lord's correction had passed, over them, and that he had taken the chief rebels from amongst them, Ezek. xx. 37, 38; and in those the true church consisted; the rest not being true members thereof: but a false seed, the plants of a strange vine, by right to have been cut off from the Lord's people, Jer. ii. 21: whereas the ten tribes went on in their sin, without repentance, or return out of their captivity, into the land of Canaan, the proper seat of the church. But of these things I have spoken before at large, as also of the outward baptism received in England, which he here calls the mark of the beast, and us for it, what he pleaseth: whereas, though he, that receives any doctrine, or ordinance of God ministered by the power of Antichrist, may therein be said to receive the mark of the beast, yet that doctrine, or ordinance is not in itself, the mark of the beast, but an holy thing of God, how unlawfully soever administered.
His mistaking the speech in the Apology of the seven thousand in Israel, I have formerly manifested. The peremptory doom which here he passeth upon all in England, and us with them, as out of the state of grace, and salvation, is a fruit of his rashness. Well is it for us, that he is not our judge: and better much had it been for him, if he had judged himself more severely, and others more charitably.
Touching Gal. v. 1, and 2 Cor. iii. 17, teaching, that, “where the Spirit of Christ is, there is liberty:” and that we must “stand fast in the liberty, wherewith Christ hath freed us,” I do answer, that as for ourselves, we stand for, and enjoy the liberty of Christ in all things, to our knowledge, and power: so doubt I not but there are thousands in England truly partakers of the liberty of Christ, both, from the guilt, and tyranny of sin in their measure, not withstanding that spiritual external bondage in their church order, and ordinances, through human frailty. Wherein if they, or any of them, either affect ignorance, or pretend it, being “condemned of their own hearts,” because they would avoid the cross of Christ, or for any other carnal respects, “God which is greater than their hearts,” and searcheth, and knoweth them, will condemn them much more, though we, through love, be persuaded better things of them. 1 John iii. 20.
It is true he addeth, that all who come not out of Babylon, or receive the least mark, or print of the beast, that is yield the least submission unto Antichrist, are threatened with her plagues, and under the Lord's curse. Which shows how greatly the Lord abhorreth, and how all his people ought to abhor from those sins, and also unto what wrath they stand subject without repentance. But, withal, it must be remembered, that as God requireth particular repentance for sins known, so doth he pardon the unknown sins of his servants upon their general repentance arising from true faith in Christ, and having joined with it, an honest and earnest desire, to know, and do the whole will of God: otherwise no flesh could be saved: for no man knoweth how oft he offendeth. Psa. xix. 12. And he who believes not, that as other men may, so God doth know much evil by him, even against all the commandments, which he knows not by himself, (of which he can only repent in general) neither hath learnt to know God aright, nor other men, nor himself, how much soever he presume of his knowledge, which alas, was too, too much this vain man's malady.
His other two affirmations, pages 152–155, that, if the faith of the Church of England be true faith, then the church is a true church; and that, if the church be not a true church, then is it a company of infidels, have alike truth in both, and indeed none in either. Cornelius and his family show the falsity of both; who had true faith, and, therefore, were not a company of infidels, and yet, were not a true visible church, of which we speak. Acts x. True faith maketh a true Christian person: but the covenanting, and combining of a company of such into Christian order doth immediately make the church.
And for John xv. 19, and Matt. xii. 30, I do answer, that a man may truly in his person be “chosen out of the world, and for Christ,” in his measure, though he be not of a true visible church. There must be true faith, and holiness before the true church; for of faithful persons the church must be gathered: and in reason, the parts must he before the whole to be made of them, and the stones, and timber before the house.
But he adds, that since all in the Church of England drink of one cup, 1 Cor. xi., they are all one body, and so no double respect to be had, nor putting of difference of persons.
It is true, they are all one body, and there should be no such contrary spirits: but all the members of one body should be led by one spirit in a measure: for there is (to wit, in right) “one body, and one spirit,” Eph. iv. 4, but who, having in him any light of the Spirit, seeth not the contrary; and that, in that one body of the national, and parishional church, and churches, two contrary spirits rule? By right, there is none but led by the Spirit of Christ in the true church and body of Christ: nor any led by that Spirit, out of it, or in any other society. But that good, whether in persons or things, which Satan hath not had power to destroy, he hath laboured to confound, and mingle with evil, what he possibly could, both by thrusting false brethren into the true church, and by keeping godly persons out of it. So that the servants of God Stand in great need as first, of spiritual discerning to know good, and evil, so after, of true zeal on the one side, that they be not for the good's sake entangled with any evil; as also of godly moderation, and sobriety, on the other side, no way to wrong that which is good for the evil's sake, mingled with it: as this man hath done in the frowardness of his heart instead of zeal, making no difference between himself, and others, so walking in his and their best profession, in England: and the most desperate crew of atheists, and epicures in their professed contempt of God.
His plea which followeth, that the Pope and Papists are not true believers, we do receive: and profess withal, that no infants of such, or of any other parents, the one whereof is not faithful, is to be baptized: and practise accordingly, as he knew well. Gen. xvii. 7; 1 Cor. vii. 14. And his accusation that we hold all infants, whether of believing, or unbelieving parents to be baptized, and so practise, is unjust, and but a mere presumption inferred upon our not rebaptizing the baptized formerly in the assemblies. Which our practice, I hope, is sufficiently justified, against his loud, and licentious clamours, (although by them he have affrighted two, or three simple people, from that their baptism so received,) as also, that his peremptory position, that whatsoever is not done aright, is to be accounted as not done at all, and is to be cast away, notwithstanding any after-repentance, is but a short cut of his haste, and fruit of his ignorance: which two being coupled together, cannot but gender many monsters.