Sect. 3. Discipleship before instruction. What knowledge of the Master is required to discipleship. Two sorts of disciples, Some come, others are brought.
[ 1] HIS reasons for the disproving of my interpretation of Mat. 28. being thus evidenced to have no force or validity in them against our pretensions, and so indeed his whole fabrick demolished, (that place of S. Mat. being the one main (if not on∣ly) ground of Antipaedobaptists structure) I might well spare the advantages of the 26, 27, 28. §§. to which he makes some kinde of answer in the remainder of his 25 Chapter: But there is so little weight in his answers that they will be speedily dis∣patched.
[ 2] First then to my 26 §. he saith, that were it all granted me, yet it would no whit avail to prove that an infant may be a disciple appointed by Christ to be baptized. To this I reply, that the 26 §. being most of it spent for the explaining an hard place 1 Pet. 3.21. concerning baptisme, and for assigning the due notion to 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a question, or addresse as to an Oracle, for instruction for the future life, I pretended not to conclude in∣fant baptisme from thence, nor any more then this, that baptisme being the entring of a disciple, and not praerequiring actual in∣struction, but consisting in coming to Christ and his Church to re∣ceive it for the future, 'tis certain that by this account children are capable of baptisme, because they may by the care of their parents be thus brought early to Christ, and entred into his school by them, before they themselves have faculties either to desire, or know what is done to them, the proportion holding in this be∣twixt infants and other scholars that are entred by their parents in any school before they know one letter in the book, or have actual willingness to acquire any knowledge; And this is there il∣lustrated by the example Philip, Joh. 1.44. and of the Jews, Ex. 19.8. which have again been mentioned, and are clear eviden∣ces, Page 51 that those may be received into discipleship which have not yet had precedent instruction.
[ 3] Against this all that he hath to pretend is set down by him in these words, Let putting to school be as early as the Doctor will imagine, yet none is put to school till he doth know his teacher, and so none is Christ's disciple in the Scripture language till he know Jesus to be Christ, and take him for his Lord, which infants being not capable of, they are not disciples, nor to be baptized according to Christ's appointment.
[ 4] To this I answer, 1. That the example which I had used of chil∣dren being brought to School by the care of their parents, was designed to shew no more then this, that they may be delivered up to be scholars, who as yet know nothing of what they are to learn, nor have actual willingnesse to acquire knowledge, and consequently that entrance into discipleship referres onely to sub∣sequent, supposes not any precedent instruction.
[ 5] And this is competently evidenced by that example, though it were supposed of the child that goes to school, that he knowes his teacher, this bare knowledge of the person of his teacher, being none of the documents which he comes to school to learn, but the good letters that are profest and taught in the school, nor indeed is it imaginable why a blind child which is brought to school, or put to an instructer, and so cannot be deemed to know the Ma∣ster, before assuetude hath acquainted him with him, should not yet be said, with as full propriety of speech, to come to school, as he that useth his own eyes as well as feet to direct him thi∣ther.
[ 6] 2dly. It is as true, that children that are brought to School do not always know their Masters before their entrance, no not by the most superficiall knowledge; Many are brought to publick Schools, who never so much as saw their Masters, till they are by their parents delivered up into their power and discipline; If this be not plain enough, then change the similitude from the Schoolma∣ster to the parent or guardian, or the very nurse, every one of these are to feed and nourish, and, as he shall be capable, to in∣struct the child, and so doth Christ in a Spirituall sense, whoso∣ever is intrusted (by being brought) to him in baptisme. And we know God and Nature doth thus bring a child to the parent, to Page 52 the nourse or Guardian, when the child knows none of these, nor understands any more of all these transactions, then the infant doth at the font conceive what is done to it there. And so still this evidenceth the vanity of this answer concerning the childs knowing his teacher.
[ 7] But then 3dly. This so imperfect superficial knowledge of the teacher is in no wise worth considering in this matter; For I shall demand, doth such very imperfect knowledge of Christ, as a Schoolboy hath of his teacher, the first hour he comes into the School, qualifie him for discipleship to Christ, or no? If it do, then his countrymen and kinsmen, before he revealed himself to be the Messiah, and the Pharisees, which believed not his miracles, were sufficiently qualified, and then tis evident that those might be admitted to discipleship, which were not believers, and so all Mr. T. his hypotheses are destroyed, and then infants may be di∣scipled and baptized, though they be not believers.
[ 8] As for that which he here interposes [the knowing Jesus to be Christ, and taking him for his Lord] this bears no proportion with the childs bare knowing of his master, but is farre above it, equal to his making it his own choice to have this Master, ra∣ther then any other, and promising exact obedience to him, which is much more then is to be found in most young scholars, or in∣deed in any that are brought by their parents or guardians, who alone are the persons who bear proportion with the infants brought by others to baptisme.
[ 9] So that this reasoning of his is soon salved by distinguishing of disciples, that they are either such as come, or such as are brought to School, proselytes of their own choice, or children under the care of others, of the former sort there are none but such as have some rude imperfect knowledge of Christ, upon which they make this choice, and without it would not probably be expected to make it; But for children which as minors in their guardians hands, have no will of their own, there is no necessity they should have know∣ledge to move their will, they may very reasonably be acted by the will of others, and by their charity be made partakers of those priviledges which are communicated from Christ, in his Church to all true members thereof, and to that end be discipled and, baptized, entred by this ceremonie into the Page 53Church of God, where instruction is to be had, as soon as they are capable of it, and in the mean while partake of those other advantages, of which their condition is capable.