A few Notes upon the Querist Examined.
YOur Anti-Queries, very lately sent me by one of your party, as [A full Answer to the Fifty Queries,] I have considered imparti∣ally, I hope; and cannot think them worthy of a Book in Answer: Yet that you might not take my Silence either for consent, or for a contempt, I have written these few pages here.
Now in the first place I must tell you, Those Fifty Queries will remain unanswered, until that Book of Mr. Baxters be answered, to which every Query refers, which, for ought I know, you never yet lookt into. * And whe∣ther your Anti-Queries, so far as they concern the main point in Question, be not cut off, and answered again and again in that Book, and divers other extant, and common, I leave to the judgment of indifferent Readers.
Page 2 Further I might tell you of your playing upon the word, [Church,] Antiq. 1. p. 1. which is immediately ex∣plained in my first Query, by Kingdom of God, which prevents your exception. And I might take notice of your new∣covn'd Term, [Practical Ordinance,] which you have so often, as if there were some other Ordinances, specula∣tive, or not practical. I might take notice of your Illogical distinction, of being a Member of the Church Essen∣tially, and being a Member Formally, Anti. 18. p. 14. And your not allow∣ing an universal Visible Church, Antiq. 16. p. 12. I might take notice how you misunderstand, or misapply those Texts, Except ye eat the Flesh of—(Joh. 6. 53.) And, Except a man be born of water—(Joh. 3. 5.) As if the former spake of the Lords Supper, and the latter of Baptism, (vid. Antiq. p. 5.) Again, I might take notice of your shooting short, in many of your Anti∣queries. As because there was a time when Infants within the Church were not devoted to God by any such en∣gaging sign, as Circumcision, or Bap∣tism, no such engaging sign being then Page 3 instituted; therefore Infants are not to be so solemnly devoted to God, when such an engaging sin is instituted, and belongeth to all within the Church. And your shooting wide is plain in some others. I might tell you, how you have the same things over and over again. Though you accuse me of con∣tinual tautologizing, Antiq. 38. p. 30. I am willing, the Impartial Reader should judge, whether of us be most guilty here. Turpe est Doctori, &c. I take notice of your citing Mr. Baxters Cure of Church-Divisions, p. 7. no less than thrice, (soil. in Preface, and p. 10. and p. 32.) yet a man may turn thrice to p. 7. in that book of Mr. Baxter for that which you refer unto, and lose his labour. So I take notice of your vain flourishing, and braving it with Mr. T's confident challenge, both in the end of your Preface, [And know this, &c.] and again, Antiq. 49 p. 38, 39. (when also you shoot wide, not one word to my Query.) As concerning Mr. Baxter, I may say, Know this, that others that are sober and judicious, tell him, he hath clear'd those points sufficiently, that any further debatePage 4 concerning them is needless. Further I might take notice of the many [Et caetera's] you have put to my Queries, sometimes leaving out what was most lively to pinch; yea, you cut off the chief part of fiftieth and last Query, without so much as an &c. unless it was the Printers fault. Again, I might take notice where you are not very consistent with, but rather contradict your self One or two places I may have occasion to observe.
But I must take notice of your fair concessions, and I thank you for them. I will not dispute it with you, whether these of yours be properly called, Anti∣queries? Let the preposition〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 be either pro or con, with you, I should not spend time in criticising on the word. But whether in composition, the word of an Apostle or Messenger of the Churches, (as I have heard, some do call you) should be both yea and nay, may be a question.
Now, what do these following Que∣ries o• yours imply, [Antiq. 5. p. 4. Whe∣ther the Baptists do not as clearly assert Infants right to the grace of God in the first Edition of the Covenant made withPage 5 Adam as any whatsoever? Antiq. 10. p. 9. As for the gracious Covenant made with Adam, do we not grant that it extends to Infants? yea, we say with Mr. Baxter, it was never abrogated. Antiq 19. p. 14. Whether the Blessing of Abraham (if you understand it of Eternal Life) was not the Blessing of the Fathers that were be∣fore him? And whether that Blessing did not belong to their Infants? (which is not at all opposite to my 19 Query. And in what follows there, you plainly shoot short, as I noted before.) And Antiq. 23. p. 17. you fairly grant, that Promises made to the Seed of the Righ∣teous, to the children of them that Love God, &c. are unrevoked, you doubt not but these Promises yet remain. (Though I confess, I do not well under∣stand what you mean by those words, Antiq. 21. p. 16. Whether all men that follow the rules of Morality, are not with∣in the reach of these Blessings also? These you speak of, are either Righteous, and such as love God, or they are not. If they be such, then certainly they be∣long to the Universal Church, and are real Members of it; if they are not such, then they have not an interest in Page 6 the promise made to such as love God, neither can they lay claim to Blessings promised.) But to go on with your concessions: Antiq. 11. p. 9. And whe∣ther the difference between the Baptists and Paedobaptists, be not chiefly (if not only) about imposing Ceremonies upon Infants? Antiq. 12. p. 10. Seeing the Baptists may and do in a good sense ac∣knowledge Infants to be related to the Church, viz. by Redemption, pious De∣dication to God, &c. Antiq. 30. p. 23. And who denies Infants to be capable of Infant-Relation, Obligation, or Right? Or who opposeth their being devoted to God in their capacity? Antiq. 31. p. 24. Whether you do not greatly wrong your self, and those you call Anabaptists, in saying, they vehemently plead against devoting their Children to God? yea, sure they do it actually, as far as Gods word requires.—Prove if you can, that you your selves do consent to the Covenant of grace for your Infants, more than we, whom you call Anabaptists.] Here we have (as you say in your Preface) your
You grant, Antiq. 6. p. 4. and Antiq. 22. p. 16. That Infants are of the Re∣deemed Church. And in the close of Antiq. 25. p. 19. That Infants still re∣tain Member-ship in the Invisible Church. And Antiq. 16. p. 13. They are Mem∣bers of the Universal Church (invisible, you mean, for you like not of an Uni∣versal Church Visible.) And otherwise (as you say) How shall they be saved, seeing Christ is only the Saviour of hisPage 8Body. Only I query whether it be not a contradiction, when you say, Antiq. 28. p. 21. How can Infants be said to be a spiritual Seed: Are any but a spi∣ritual Seed, Members of the Invisible Church? Are not they a spiritual Seed that are of Christs Body, and saved by him?
But if Infants be not Members of the Visible Church, how can you prove they are Members of the Invisible Church? To be probably Members of the Invisible Church, is to be Members of the Visible Church, or Visible Church-Members. Further, you say, The Bap∣tists do in a good sense acknowledge In∣fants to be related to the Church, viz. by Redemption, pious Dedication to God, &c. (Antiq. 12. pag. 10. before-cited) now do but make sense of it, and I have enough. Either these Infants visibly belong, to the Kingdom of Christ, or to the Kingdom of Satan: (for these two Kingdoms divide and share the whole world, that such as are not of the one, are certainly of the other; and such as are not visibly of the one, are visibly of the other) And will you say, that such as are of the Page 9Redeemed-Church, related to the Church by Redemption, and further related by Pious Dedication to God, &c. are vi∣sibly the seed of the Serpent, and of the Kingdom of Satan.
But this [Pious Dedication] leads me to another of your self-contradicti∣ons. Antiq. 30. p. 23. Where are Chri∣stian Parents required to devote their children, by consenting to any Covenant for them? (Though you grant there, the Jews were required to Covenant for their children in matters of Religion.) And yet under the next Anti-query, p. 24. you say, Prove if you can, that you your selves do consent to the Cove∣nant of grace for your Infants, more than we. How properly may these be cal∣led Anti-queries? Or to get off, will you say, you consent to the Covenant of grace for the Infants? but not as a thing required?
I gave you thanks before, for some things granted concerning Infants, and I here promise more thanks, if you will prove the same of all Infants. This you insinuate, p. 5. Seeing then all Infants (for ought you know) have the same right—But I doubt, your proof of this Page 8〈1 page duplicate〉Page 9〈1 page duplicate〉Page 10 point will be as lame and weak, as your sentence there is imperfect, and abrupt. You should not wrong us, To say, we restrain the love and grace of God to such Infants as (in your new phrase) partake with Parents in practi∣cals of Religion, (Antiq. 3. p. 2.) as if we held, that no Infant (dying unbaptized) could be saved, is a charge, you can∣not prove. Antiq. 4. p. 3. Whether the Parents consent to wickedness is the childs consent?] Peruse Mr. Baxter of Origi∣nal Sin. You your self do not deny, (Antiq. 7. p. 6.) but the wickedness of Parents may expose their Infant-children to external calamities. Yea, Antiq. 21. p. 16. whoever doubted, but that Infants are—greatly disadvantaged by the wick∣edness of their Parents, even so as to bear their Fathers iniquities many times, as is evident in the overthrow of the old World, &c.) Now God is not injust in what he inflicts on such children. If they bear the Fathers iniquities, they are some way guilty with their Pa∣rents.
You enquire further, Antiq. 4. p. 3. And whether this do not give the Parents power to save, or damn their Infants?Page 11 But you will not say, I suppose, that you are your own Saviour, when you per∣form the condition of the Covenant, to which Salvation for Christs sake is graciously promised. Neither will we say, that any Infants perish purely for anothers sin, or the Parents sin only imputed; but for their own contracted. (As Mr. Baxter of Original Sin, p. 135.)
The overthrow of both those Gene∣rations in the deluge, (spoken of Gen. 6.) is a strange Medium to prove the Salvation of all their Infants, which you hint at, Antiq. 7. p. 6 And Rom. 5. 18. which you there cite, will no more prove, that all Infants (that die Infants) are saved; then that all men are saved. The free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. This [all] must be limited to all in Christ.
Antiq. 22. p. 16. Whether God hath not said, that His ways are all equal? And whether this do not secure Infants of Gods mercy—when God saith, that the Son shall not bear the Iniquity of the Father, and every one shall bear his own Iniquity, whether this be not a promise of Mercy to Infant-children, and that in respect of Eternal Life?] Here you im∣ply, Page 12 that Gods ways are not equal, if he shew not Mercy on all Infants, if he give not Eternal li〈◊〉e unto all that die Infants. And if you take these words [every one shall bear his own Ini∣quity] to be a promise of Eternal life to all Infants, as such; you must hold, that no Infant hath any iniquity to bear, and so wholly deny the doctrine of Original sin, (which I perceive you do; though you will never be able to answer the Arguments, and Scripture-evidence brought to prove it.) But you misapply the Scripture. What is spo∣ken of the Adult, you apply to Infants, (a very common mistake of those of your way and perswasion.) In the 18. of Ezek. the Lord pleads with men that had too good a conceit of them∣selves, and would cast the blame on others, if they suffered, as if they themselves were guiltless, Vers. 2. The Fathers have eaten sour Grapes, and the childrens Teeth are set on edge.] q. d. Our Fathers have sinned, and we their children smart, and suffer for it. Now the Lord, to shew that his ways are e∣qual, declares, that he that is righte∣ous, shall live, vers. 5. &c. But if such Page 13 a one hath a Son that proves wicked, that Son shall die, vers. 10. &c. Again, if the Son of a wicked man sees, and abhors his Fathers wicked courses, if he be righteous, he shall live, and shall not bear his Fathers iniquity, v. 14. &c. yea, if a man have been never so wick∣ed, yet if he repent, and turn, he shall surely live, vers. 21. &c. But in all this there is no promise of Eternal life to all the Infant-seed of the wicked.
Antiq. 37. p. 29. And where are we taught to doubt the Salvation of the In∣fants of Pagans?] Sometimes we are troubled at some of your way, that they seem to allow us no more ground of hope, concerning the Seed of the Faithful, then concerning the Seed of the Heathen and Pagans. But if it be so clear, that none are to doubt the Salvation of the Infants of Pagans, we should rest satisfied, and think it enough that the children of the faithful are put into so good a condition. But I told you (in my Treatise of the Cove∣nants, p. 359.) That to assert the Sal∣vation of all that die in Infancy, seems to imply, that Gods destroying the old world, and Sodom, &c. were eminent Page 14Acts of Mercy, rather then of Justice; wherein such multitude of Souls were sent to Heaven together, who if they had lived, had probably (at least the greatest part of them) gone to Hell. I desire you would remove this doubt of mine. So likewise I cannot yet recon∣cile your opinion with that Reason the Lord gives for his sparing Nineveh, Jonas 4. 11. (which I also there took notice of.) Had there not been more Mercy, suppose the Lord had taken a∣way above sixscore thousand little ones, that were not come to the use of reason, if then they had all been undoubtedly saved; then in sparing them with the City, whereupon pro∣bably not one of very many of them was saved. Help me over this doubt. And if the Salvation of Pagans-Infants is not to be doubted, (as you suggest) then suppose the French King should have power to over-run all the Pagan countries in the world, though he spoil∣ed, plundered, fired all the Towns where he came; yet provided he did but withal slay all their little ones, then will it not follow, that he might be looked upon as a greater Blessing than Page 15 Scourge to the world? Had the world your light and knowledge, they must conclude, that they ought not to be so sorry for the spoiling of their Coun∣tries, (a temporal calamity) as they should rejoyce, (have cause of rejoy∣cing indeed) that all their little ones were undoubtedly saved, certainly sent to Heaven. And then what shall we make of Eph. 2. 3. And were by nature the children of wrath, even as others? And v. 12. That all that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the Common-wealth of Israel, and stran∣gers from the Covenants of Promise, ha∣ving no hope, and without God in the world. Having no hope.] If there be no ground to doubt of the Salvation of their Infants? is not here some hope?
But have you not forgotten that you told us, you do not doubt, but the promises made to the Seed of the Righteous, and the promise of shew∣ing mercy to the children of them that love God, &c. remain unrevoked? How are those promises made to their Seed, as such, if as great mercy be ensured, and secured, procured by the Page 16 death of Christ, to and for all Infants that die Infants, (as you intimate An∣tiq. 37. p. 14. and in other places? And when you would have the blessing of Abraham (understanding it of eternal life) to belong to the Infants of the Gen∣tiles, (as Antiq. 19. p. 14.) if you un∣derstand, and take in the Infants of the unbelieving, as well as believing Gen∣tiles; then do not you forget that Ex∣pression, Gal. 3. 14. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles. As to their Infants, you here suppose it to have been on them all along, and not to come on them, by their Parents receiving the Promise through faith. According to your opinion, all Infants are, and ever were blessed with faith∣ful Abraham, notwithstanding many of the Parents have been, and are Pagans, Infidels, and such as the word Pro∣nounces under a Curse. Now, how may divers of your own party (such as you call Baptists) justly object that to you, which without ground they are wont to object against us? you would make the promise of Salvation run unto a fleshly line indeed, (as Mr. Baxter notes in his Review, p. 33.) And Page 17who can forbid water, (now that Bap∣tism is the initiatory Sign and Seal of the Covenant) to any dying Infant of a Pagan, since he may be confident the Blessings of the Covenant belong to it?
You query ubi supra, (Antiq. 37. p. 29.) Will not the second Adams obedi∣ence salve the first Adams disobedience? And Antiq. 38. p. 30. Whether the me∣ritoriousness of Christ is not as avail∣able to save Infants, without any mans acceptance thereof for them?] I doubt not, but the second Adams obedience and merits are available, so far as was intended, and agreed betwixt the Fa∣ther and him. But it lies on you to prove, that it was so intended and a∣greed, that all Infants, so dying, shall absolutely be saved.
Antiq. 37. p. 29. Whether it be his will, that the grace of that Covenant should depend upon others observation of the condition for them? And whether this be not to put the Salvation of Infants out of his own hand?] Infants are not saved by the Covenant of grace, which is [to Believers and their Seed;] if they neither be Believers, nor the Seed of Page 18 such. Only that I be not misunder∣stood, I add, If any that enjoy not the Gospel, that never heard that joyful sound, come up to the terms of the Covenant of Grace made with Adam and Noah, I rank not them and their Seed with Infidels.
To what you say of Gods, [putting the Salvation of Infants out of his own hand:] I need say but this, you might as well query, whether God put not the Salvation of the Adult out of his own hand, if their Salvation be sus∣pended on performance of the condi∣tion required.
One thing more I cannot but ob∣serve, (wherein I suppose you are a lit∣tle singular also) In Antiq. 26. p. 19. You make your Imposition of hands as generally pertaining to Members of the Church, as Baptism. (Where I might note, that you seem to grant, Bap∣tism generally pertains to the Mem∣bers of the Church. (But that by the way.) Now elsewhere * you tell us, that [In this holy Ordinance of Prayer and Imposition of hands, we are in a so∣lemn manner ushered into the promise of the holy Spirit.] You go on, [ImpositionPage 19of hands doth put us in a better capa∣city to seek daily for the gifts and graces of the Spirit; because now solemnly inte∣rested in the promise, by that very way the primitive Saints were interested therein, Act. 8. 15, 17. Act. 19. 2, 6. 2. Tim. 1. 6. Heb. 6. 1, 2.—What shall I say? The Scriptures (or, these Scriptures) are evidence sufficient, that this Crdi∣nance is of Divine Institution, is from Heaven; the promise which it leads to, is perpetual, and universal, it belongs to the whole body. There is one Body, and one Spirit, &c. This is the conclusion of the Sermon, (p. 96, 97.) And what gifts of the Spirit you speak of is very plain, throughout the Sermon. For brevity, I will mention but one place, (p. 77.) Thus you see the Church being under perpetual Exhortations, to seek for spiritual gifts [without any restri∣ction,] necessarily infers her perpetual right to them, and every of them; which consideration alone is sufficient (as I con∣ceive) to satisfie any Christian, that the promise of the Spirit (even the same that was given to the first Churches) in re∣spect of gifts as well as graces, belongs to the Church of Christ throughout all Ages.
Page 20 Now if Imposition of hands generally pertains to all the Members of the Church, and solemnly interesteth them in the promise of the Spirit, methinks it should follow, that all such Mem∣bers, on whom you lay your hands, (supposing you have right to do it, as you take up the practice, if I be not mis-informed) should have some ex∣traordinary gifts of the Spirit. And I have reason to think, you encourage your followers to submit to this Impo∣sition, by working in them such a per∣swasion and expectation. For (p. 88. of the forecited Sermon) you have these words, As the promise of gifts (as well as graces) [pertains to us as we are the called of God] we ought to stir one another up, to seek with all dili∣gence, and [full assurance] for the Spi∣rit of promise. And p. 95. 'Tis well known (and I think granted on all hands) that they (i. e. the Primitive Churches) used the solemn Ordinance of Prayer and Imposition of hands, for obtaining the promised Spirit, at least with respect to these gifts.—Then seeing these gifts are promised to us as well as unto them, and are attainable, and in part (at least) at∣tainedPage 21by many, what should hinder the Churches, but that now they should tread in this path, with faith, and [full assu∣rance] that a blessing is in it? But while you call for full assurance here, I am full of doubt, that you have no such Promise, nor Commission for your practice [of Imposition of hands, for con∣ferring the gifts of the Holy Ghost.] Take heed of pretending a Commission from Heaven; take heed of counterfeiting Heavens Seal. Oh, be afraid of tak∣ing Gods Name in vain. Will you herein imitate the Apostles? May it not be said of you, you know not what Spirit you are of? May you not as well take upon you, to lay hands on the Sick to heal them? Because of that, Mark 16. 18. They shall lay hands on the Sick, and they shall recover: or, anoint them with Oyl in the Name of the Lord, because of what you read, Mark 6. 13. Jam. 5. 14. I dare not limit God or his holy Spirit: and I desire, that you may not tempt him. When you have pleaded all you can for the con∣tinuance of those extraordinary gifts, and for the promise of them being per∣petual universal to the whole body, Page 22 and pertaining to us as we are the cal∣led of God, (whereupon it follows, that they should pertain to all that are cal∣led of God) yet experience will con∣fute you, and prove, they are not so ordinary. When you make Prayer and Imposition of hands, The means ordained of God to obtain those gifts, (Ser. p. 94. * 95.) I might retort some of your own words, Antiq. 33. p. 25. Shew us what benefit, &c. And Antiq. 39. pag. 31. Name one—Name one that hath re∣ceived those gifts of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of your hands. If the gift of healing, &c. was seen to follow, these might draw in more to you then your Writing or Disputing. And I wish you would be advised, ere you encou∣rage all your hearers to seek for Spi∣ritual gifts, without any restriction; lest Women seek to Prophesy; or men seek new Revelations, and so turn En∣thusiasts, and think themselves above Mans teaching.
There is enough to be said against your Imposition of hands; though I have nothing to say against Confirmation, being duly and orderly performed; but have long wisht for the Restoring Page 23 of it. So I have nothing against Im∣position of hands, in setting apart per∣sons that are proved, and fitted to the work of the Ministry. But this per∣tains not to every Member of the Church.
I can pass by what you say of me, that I am worse for my Baptism in In∣fancy, as resting upon that, &c. Antiq. 40. p. 32. Doth not your Conscience tell you, that the Baptism of Men and Wo∣men upon profession of faith and repen∣tance, is beyond the reach of contradi∣ction?] The Baptising of such as were without the Church, or were first of the Jewish Church, and to be afterwards admitted into the Christian Church, upon the profession of Faith and Re∣pentance, is plain in Scripture, not to be contradicted. But this contradict∣eth not the Baptising of the Infants of such, being also to be acknowledged Church-Members. Neither can you shew in all the New-Testament one instance of any Baptised upon their profession, who deferred their Chil∣drens Baptism (if Infants) till they were grown up, and able to make the like profession.
Page 24 But to come a little nearer to you; would you have none but Men and Women Baptised? Then do you not forget your self again? and what you said, Antiq. 39. p. 31. Who is against as early an engagement of children to God, as can lawfully be made?] Now this one concession of yours, that you are for as early an engaging them to God, as can lawfully be, will prove your way not so certain, not altogether clear, (as you would perswade your Readers in your Preface) not beyond the reach of contradiction, but full of doubts, full of difficulties. If the children of Christians are not to be engaged, and devoted to God in their Infancy, you can none of you tell, (how then are you like to agree) at what age they are to be so engaged, and devoted to God? What think you? Is it not sinful to neglect and put it off, when once it might lawfully be done? Now what word, what Example can you produce out of Scripture, to sa∣tisfie Conscience how early you may do it? What was the youngest Age that ever any Christians child was Baptised at? And if you could tell us the Page 25minimum quod sic, and quod non, the youngest age at which any child was Baptised, and under which age none might be Baptised, it would be some guide to us. Because you put the matter to my Conscience, I would speak seriously. And so I must say, was I off from the grounds of Infant-Baptism, I cannot see, how Conscience would be well satisfied about the time of Bap∣tizing my own Children. To defer it after they are come to make a visible profession, by your own Principles, should be concluded sinful, against the Rule of the Gospel; but how soon a Childs profession may be taken for a sufficient visible profession, I should not know how to resolve, or how to de∣termine.
I have one request to you, that you would take into your more serious thoughts that part of the last Query which you left out. Think how much of it you have granted unto. And let us study the things that make for Peace, and whereby we may edifie one another.
What you seem to hide from your Readers, I shall give you the substance Page 26 of (more briefly) out of Mr. Baxters Review, p. 27.
The Lord direct all his professing people into the way of Truth, and Peace, so prays
Your Friend J. B.