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the child may be baptized, and the minister uses such a form of words, I bap'tize thee in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the holy Ghost'; but what * dedication is here made by the one, or by the other? However, seeing there is no warrant from the word of God, either for such baptism, or dedication ; -a renunciation of it need not give any uneasiness to any person so baptized and dedicated.
2dly, To embrace adult-baptism, and to renounce infant-baptism, is to vacate the covenant into which a person is brought by his baptism, page 4. by which covenant the writer of the dialogue means the covenant of grace, as cappears
from all his after-reasonings from thence to the right of infants to baptism.
1. He supposes that unbaptized persons are, as to their external and visible relation, strangers to the covenants of promise; are not in covenant with God; not so much as visible christians ; but in a state of heathenism ; without hope of salvation, but from the uncovenanted mercies of God, p. 4, 5, 6. The covenant of grace was made from everlasting; and all interested in it were in covenant with God, as early, and so previous to their baptism, as to their secret relation God-wards; but this may be thought to be sufficiently guarded against by the restriction and limitation, “ as to external and visible relation :” But I ask, are not all truly penitent persons, all true believers in Christ, though not as yet baptized, in covenant with God, even as to their external and viâble relation to him, which faith makes manifest ? Were not the three thousand in covenant with God visibly, when they were pricked to the heart, and repented of their sins, and gladly received the word of the gospel, promising the remisfion of them, though not as yet baptized ? Was not the Eunuch in covenant with God? or was he in a state of heathenism, when he made that confession of his faith, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, previous to his going down into the water, and being baptized ? Were the believers in Samaria, or those at Corinth, in an uncovenanted state, before the one were baprized by Philip, or the other by the apostle Paul? Was Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened, and who atended to the things that were spoken ; and the Jailor, that believed and rejoiced in God, with all his house, in an uncovenanted state, before they submitted to the ordinance of baptism? Are there not some persons, that have never been baptized, of whom there is reason to believe they have an interest in the covenant of grace? Were not the Old Testament saints in the covenant of grace, before this rite of baptism took place ? Should it be said, that circumcision did that then, which baptism does now, enter persons into covenant, which equally wants proof, as this; it may be replied, that only commenced at a certain period of time; was not always in use, and belonged to a certain
people only; whereas there were many before that, who were in the covenant of grace, and many after, and even at the same time it was enjoined, who yet were not circumcised; of which more hereafter : From all which it appears, how false that assertion is.
2. That a man is brought into covenant by baptism, as this writer affirms; seeing the covenant of grace is from everlasting; and those that are put into it, were put into it fo foon ; and that by God himself, whose sole prerogative it is. Parents cannot enter their children into covenant, nor children themselves, nor ministers by sprinkling water upon them; it is an act of the sovereign grace of God, who says, I will be their God, and they shall be my people : The phrase of bringing into the bond of the covenant, is but once used in scripture; and then it is ascribed to God, and not to the creature ; not to any act done by him, or done to him, Ezekiel xx. 37. and much less,
3. Can this covenant be vacated, or made null and void, by renouncing infant-baptism: The covenant of grace is ordered in all things, and sure; its promises are Yea and Amen in Chrift; its blessings are the sure mercies of David; God will not break it, and men cannot make it void ; it is to everlasting, as well as from everlasting; those that are once in it can never be put out of it; nor can it be vacated by any thing done by them. This man must have a strange notion of the covenant of grace, to write after this rate; he is said to have wrote against the Arminians with some success; if he has, it must be in a different manner from this; for upon this principle, that the covenant of grace may be made null and void by an act of the creature, how will the election of God stand sure ? or the promise of the covenant be sure to all the feed? What will become of the doctrine of the saints perseverance ? or of the certainty of salvation to those that are chosen, redeemed, and called ?
3dly, Another consequence said to follow, on espousing the principle of adultbaptism, and renouncing that of infants, is a renouncing all other ordinances of the gospel, as the ministry of the word, and the sacrament of the Lord's supper, practically denying the influences of the Spirit in them, and all usefulness, comfort and communion by them. All which this author endeavours to make out, by observing, that if infant-baptism is a nullity, then those, who have received no other, if ministers, have no right to administer sacred ordinances, being unbaptized; and, if private persons, they have no right to partake of the Lord's supper, for the same reason; and so all public ordinances are just such a nullity as infant-baptism; and all the influences of the Spirit, in conversion, comfort, and communion, by them, must be practically denied, p. 5, 6. To which may be replied, that though upon the principle of adult-baptism, as necessary to the communion of churches, it follows, that no unbaptized person is regular
ly called to the preaching of the word, and administration ordinances, or can be a regular communicant; yet it does not follow, that a man that renounces infant baptism, and embraces believers baptism, must renounce all other ordinances, and look upon them just such nullities as infant-baptism is, and deny all the comfort and communion he has had in them; because the word may be truly preached, and the ordinance of the Lord's fupper be duly administered, by an irregular man, and even by a wicked man; yea, may be made useful for conversion and comfort; for the use and efficacy of the word and ordinances, do not depend upon the minister or administrator ; but upon God himself, who can, and does sometimes, make use of his own word for conversion, though preached by an irregular, and even an immoral man; and of his own ordinances, for comfort, by such an one, to his people, though they may be irregular and deficient in some things, through ignorance and inadvertency.
4thly, Another consequence following upon this principle, as supposed, is, that if infant-baptism is no institution of Christ, and to be rejected, then the promise of Christ, to be with his ministers in the administration of the ordinance of baptism, to the end of the world, Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. is not made good; since for several ages, even from the fourth to the fixteenth century, , infant baptism universally obtained, p. 6—8. To which the following answer may be returned; That the period of time pitched upon for the prevalence of infant-baptism is very unhappy for the credit of it, both as to the beginning and end; as to the beginning of it, in the fourth century, a period in which corruption in doctrine and discipline fowed into the church, and the man of fin was ripening apace, for his appearance; and likewise as to the end, the time of the reformation, in which such abuses began to be corrected: The whole is a period of time, in which the true church of Christ began gradually to disappear, or to be hidden, and at last fied into the wilderness; where she has not been forsaken of Christ, but is, and will be, nourished, for a time, and times, and half a time ; this period includes the gross darkness of popery, and all the depths of Satan ; and which to suffer was no ways contrary to the veracity of Christ, in his promise to be with his true church and faithful ministers to the end of the world. Christ has no where promised, that his doctrines and ordinances should not be perverted; but, on the contrary, has given clear and strong intimations, that there should be a general falling-away and departure from the truth and ordinances of the gospel, to make way for the revelation of antichrist; and though it will be allowed, that during this period infant-baptism prevailed, yet it did not universally obtain. There were witnesses for adult baptism in every age ; and Christ had a church in the wilderness, in obscurity, at this time ; namely, in the valleys of Piedmont ; who were, from the beginning of the apostacy, and witnessed against it, and bore
their testimony against infant-baptism, as will be seen hereafter, and with these his presence was ; nor did he promise it to any, but in the faithful-ministration of his word and ordinances, which he has always made good; and it will lie upon this writer and his friends, to prove the gracious presence of Christ in the administration of infant-baptism.
5thly, It is said, that, upon these principles, rejecting infant-baptism, and espousing believers-baptism, it is not possible there should be any baptism at all in the world, either among Pædobaptists or Antipædobaptists; the reason of this consequence is, because the madmen of Munster, from whom this writer dates the first opposition to infant-baptism; and the first Antipædobaptists in England, had no other baptism than what they received in their infancy; that adult-baptism must first be administered by unbaptized persons, if infant-baptism is no ordinance of Christ, but a mere nullity; and so by such as had no claim to the gospel ministry, nor right to administer ordinances; and consequently the whole fuccellion of the Antipædobaptist churches must remain unbaptized to this day; and so no more baptism among them, than among the Predobaptists, until there is a new commission from heaven, to renew and restore this ordinance, which is, at present, loft out of the world, p. 6, 8, 9. As for the madmen of Munster, as this writer calls them, and the rise of the Antipædobaprists from them, and what is said of them, I shall consider in the next chapter. The English Antipädobaptists, when they were first convinced of adulc-baptism, and of the mode of administering it by immersion, and of the neceflity of setting a reformation on foot in this matter, met together, and consulted about it: when they had some difficulties thrown in their way, about a proper administrator to begin this work ; some were for sending messengers to foreign churches, who were the successors of the ancient Waldenses in France and Bohemia; and accordingly did send over some, who being baptized, returned and baptized others. And this is a sufficient answer to all that this writer has advanced. But others thought that this was a needless scruple, and looked too much like the popish notion of an uninterrupted succession, and a right conveyed through that to administer ordinances; and therefore judged, in such a case as theirs, there being a general corruption as to this ordinance, that an unbaptized person, who appeared to be otherwise qualified to preach the word, and administer ordinances, should begin it; and justified themselves upon the same principles that other reformers did, who, without any regard to an uninterrupted succession, set up new churches, ordained pastors, and administered ordinances : It must be owned, that in ordinary cases, he ought to be baptized himself, that baptizes another, or preaches the word, or adminifters other' ordinances; but in an extraordinary case, as this of beginning a reformaVOL. II.
tion from a general corruption, where such an administrator cannot be had, it may be done ; nor is it eflential to the ordinance that there should be such an administrator, or otherwise it could never have been introduced into the world at all at first, the first administrator must be an unbaptized person, as John the Baptist was. According to this man's train of reasoning, there never was, nor could be any valid baptifin in the world; for John, the first administrator, being an unbaptized perfon, the whole succession of churches from that time to this day must remain unbaptized. It will be said, that he had a commission from heaven to begin this new ordinance; and a like one should be Thewo for the restoration of it. To which I answer, that there being a plain direction for the administration of this ordinance, in the Word, there was no need of a new commission to restore it from a general corruption; it was enough for any perfon, sensible of the corruption, to attempt a reformation, and to administer it in the right way, who was fatisfied of his call from God to preach the gospel, and administer ordinances, according to the word. I shall close this chapter with the words of Zanchy'. a Protestant Divine, and a Pædobaptist, and a man of as great learning and judgment, as any among the first reformers : “ It is a “ fifth question, he says, proposed by Augustin. contra Parmen. I. 2. C. 13. col. 66 42. but not folved, whether he that never was baptized may baptize an« other; and of this question he says, that is, Austin, nothing is to be affirmed “ without the authority of a council. Nevertheless, Thomas (Aquinas) takes
upon him to determine it, from an answer of Pope Nicholas, to the inquiries “ of the Dutch, as it is had in Decr. de Consec. dift. 4. can. 22." where we thus read; “ You say, by a certain Jew, whether a christian or a heachen, you know “ not, (that is, whether baptized or unbaptized) many were baptized in your country,
you desire to know what is to be done in this case ; truly if " they are baptized in the name of the holy Trinity, or only in the name of “ Christ, they ought not to be baptized again.” And Thomas confirms the same, by a saying of Isidore, which likewise is produced in the fame distinction, can. 21. where he says, “ that the Spirit of Christ ministers the grace of bap« tism, though he be a heathen that baptizes. Wherefore, fays Thomas, if “ there should be two persons not yet baptized, who believe in Christ, and
they have no lawful administrator by whom they may be baptized, one may, « without fin, be baptized by the other; the necessity of death obliging to it. « All this, adds Zanchy, proceeds from hence, that they thought water-baptism “ absolutely necessary; but what cannot be determined by the word of God,
we should not dare to determine. But, fays he, I will propose a question, « which, I think, may be easily answered ; supposing a Turk in a country
« where Quinta quæstio proponitur ab Auguftino, &c. Explicat. Epift. ad Ephes. c. 5. p. 125: