CHAP. IV. An answer to Mr. Tombes's view of my Conclusion and therein the sense of Antiquity in this Question.
Sect. 1. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, 1 Cor. 7. infant children. The Jewes practice. Their notion of [holy] Baptisme a priviledge of believers children, yet is communicated to others whose guardians are believers. The several sorts of holyness all vainly mentioned by Mr. T. His denyals of the Conclusion. The place in Tertullian vindi∣cated. S. Hieromes answer to Paulinus. Institutionis di∣sciplina in Tertullian. Candidati Damoniorum. A 3d denyal of the Conclusion. The use of baptisme to regenerate &c. No prejudice to the founding it in the Jewish practice. His art of diversion to put off answering of testimonies. The way of Testimonies insisted on.
[ 1] AFter this examination of my paraphrase of this text to the Corinthians, he proceeds to the conclusion which I deduce from thence, which is no other then my premisses, viz. my con∣firmation of that interpretation, had regularly inferred, that the infants of Christian parents were by the Apostles received to baptisme.
[ 2] But to this he will object also, not onely by referring to his former performances in validating the premisses (to which I shall not need to now advert, having refuted his answers, as they were produced) but by denying the consequence in case my inter∣pretation were granted, and that upon these accounts, 1. Because it is not clear that [your children] are [your infants] the Corin∣thians having (for ought yet hath been shewed) other children be∣sides infants, and the Jewes baptizing proselytes, children females Page 85 under 12. and males under 13. years old, not according to their will, but of the Father or Court. 2. Because if the Apostle should by [holy] mean a priviledge whereupon they were baptized he should conceive otherwise then the Jewes did, who conceived all un∣clean whom they baptized, till by baptisme they cleansed them, and made them holy. 3. Because there is no priviledge attributed by the Apostle to the Christians infants, which would not belong to the infants of heathen, or if there were yet it might not be baptisme.
[ 3] To the first of these I have incidentally answered already, by making it evident, not that the Corinthians had no other children beside infants (I have no want of such ridiculous evasions) but that the children which are there spoken of were infant children, as appeared both by the express words of Tertullian, and the Au∣thor of Answers ad Antiochum, and the agreeableness of Nazian∣zen's expressions, by the general doctrine of the Fathers in this matter, and by the inconveniences which were consequent to the interpreting it of any other but infant children, meaning by them such as are either strictly infants, new born, or such as are pro∣portionable to these, having not arrived to maturity of understan∣ding, and capacity of professing personally for themselves. For this I must refer the reader to that place-
[ 4] And for the practice of the Jewes, which I acknowledge to be as is here suggested, not to baptize any proselytes children by their own wills or professions, till they be, the female at the full age of 12. the male of 13. years, sure it makes nothing against me, for they that thus baptized the proselytes children, all under that age, by the profession of others, did also baptize their infant children in the same manner, and all that I pretend from that place is, that the believers infants were admitted to baptisme, if in∣fants they were, not doubting but if they were of greater years they were baptized also, if before they were fit to profess for them∣selves, then by their parents or the Churches, but if fit to answer for themselves, then by their own profession.
[ 5] To the 2d I say, that by [holy] the Apostle means the privi∣ledge of admission to baptisme, because in baptisme they were re∣ceived into the Church, and so made relatively holy; And the very same was the Jewes notion of holyness, when they called Page 86baptismes, Sanctifications, and conceived those that were unclean to be made holy by that means, This holyness is the terme of the motion in both their usages of the word.
[ 6] To the 3d, 1. I suppose it evident by my interpretation, that the holyness which belonged to the believers children was a priviledge, and that not common to the unbelievers children, unless they were by the charity of the Church or some member thereof (having power, and assuming to make use of that power, to bring them up in the knowledge of their baptismal vow) brought to baptisme, and then those supplied the place of the parents, and the children equally received the same benefit by that charity, as if their own parents had done it for them; and there being no reason here offe∣red to the contrarie, but a reference to another place, which I have not commodity to consult or examine, there is nothing that exacts any farther reply from me.
[ 7] The same will satisfie the latter part of this last suggestion, for to prove that if there were a priviledge, yet it might not be baptisme, he produceth this reason, that baptisme according to the fathers opi∣nion and practice belonged to unbelievers children also, if they were brought: which being willingly granted, & so the matter cleared, that the children of believers were to be admitted to baptisme, when the very unbelievers children, if brought & assumed for by others, which were not their parents were to be admitted, It certainly followes not from thence, that the believers children were not admitted, or that their admission was not a priviledge of believers children, For so still it was, though by parity of reason, and by the charity of the Church it was communicated to some others: viz. those that were brought by friends or guardians, though not by parents, for so still this priviledge belonged not to those unbelievers children, who lived in their parents power, & were not thus undertaken for by believers.
[ 8] The short is, baptisme was a priviledge of the believers infants undertaken for by their parents, and by analogie communicated to those who were undertaken for by others, whose charitie and pietie supplyed the place of believing parents, but was not com∣municated simply or indifferently to all children of unbelievers, and herein the priviledge consisted.
[ 9] As for the other imagined priviledge, which he names, belong∣ing to infants, If it be that of real, actual, inward holyness, I Page 87 discern not Mr. T. hath any kindnesse to it, (nor can he without destroying his own hypotheses) and therefore it matters not what others imagine; If it be federal external holynesse, that I sup∣pose to be the same with baptismal holynesse, baptisme being the entrance into that Covenant, And for holynesse in hope and ex∣pectation, 1. that cannot denote actually holy (as 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 here notes) unlesse by holy we mean in the relative sense, consecration or designation to holynesse, and then it is all one with baptisme a∣gain, the solemnity of that consecration.
[ 10] Before he leaves the survey of my conclusion, he will again resume what he had said without all degree of truth in the begin∣ning, and yet doth it with great incitation, First, saith he, it is false that Christ founded his institution in the Jewish practice.
[ 11] But this I suppose in Mr. T. to be no other then a mentiris Bellarmine, or that most inartificiall thing, the denying a conclu∣sion which had been inferred by competent premisses. And for the reason added to his negation, that it would utterly overthrow all baptisme after the first conversion of progenitors, that hath been largely answered here, and grounds laid for it in the resolution of the Quare, by the Jewish practice of baptizing the children of natives, as well as of proselytes, and so of those that are born ne∣ver so many ages after the first conversion. And I must not again so often repeat the same thing.
[ 12] In the same causelesse fit of incitation, he farther goes on, 2dly. saith he, It is false that there is any evidence in the Apo∣stles words, 1. Cor. 7.14. of such a Custome of baptizing Chri∣stians and their children. But that I humbly conceive, is the deny∣ing my conclusion again, having all this while laboured to clear this evidence in the tract, and here vindicated it from all objecti∣ons, which seemed to have the least force in them: And where∣as he here addes no other reason to his negation, but his own not thinking that ever any of the Fathers did interpret the Apostles words as this Doctor doth, adding that Tertullians words de Anima, c. 39. are not an exact parallel to the Apostles speech (which I must suppose I have now shewed it is) that Ambrose and Hierome interpret them of legitimation in birth, Augustine what way soever, not to baptisme (of each of which I have spo∣ken already also) all that I shall need adde, is onely this.
Page 88 [ 13] 1. That still if this argument were exactly true, yet it is but a negative argument à testimonio, which never was availeable in any dispute: 2. That if the Fathers do not fully interpret this place as I now do, yet I have brought some suffrages and other com∣petent grounds out of the Fathers for my way of interpreting it: 3. That what he hath said for the invalidating the Testimonie out of Tertullian, hath certainly no force in it, as shall now briefely appear by this view of what he saith.
[ 14] It is this, 1. That the termes candidati sanctitatis, or designati sanctitatis, or candidati fidei in Hieroms Epis. 153. to Pauliniu, do note not that they were baptized, but that they were in designation of being believers and baptized, intended to be holy by the parents, to be bred up to the faith and so baptized. 2. That what the Doctor talkes of Tertullian as saying they were holy, i. e. baptized, ex semi∣nis praerogativâ, it is a manifest mistake, for 1. The holynesse he ascribes to believers children was not onely by prerogative of birth but also ex institutionis disciplinâ by the discipline of their instructi∣on which is afore baptisme. 2. The prerogative of birth the very words of Tertullian shew to be no more but this, that believers children were born without those idolatrous superstitions which were used in the birth of infidels children, which he there principally recites.
[ 15] To this I answer by degrees, 1. By viewing the place in S. Hierom, to which he referres me for the explication of the phrase, candidati or designati sanctitatis. That Epistle to Paulinus is hastily written in answer to two questions of Paulinus his propo∣sing. To the later, being this, quomodo sancti sint qui de fidelibus, i. e. baptizatis nascantur (which plainly referres the matter to these words of the Apostles, how the children born of believing parents are holy] he gives a very short solution, being taken off by the hast of the post and the multitude of other letters, he had to write. All that he is permitted to say is this. De secundo proble∣mate tuo Tertullianus in libris de monogamiâ disseruit, asserens sanctos dici fidelium filios quòd quasi candidati sint fidei, & nullis Idololatriae sordibus polluantur. Simúlque considera quòd & vasa sacra in tabernaculo legimus, & caetera quae ad ritum ceremonia∣rum pertinent, cum utique sancta esse non possint nisi ea quae sen∣tiunt & venerantur Deum. Idioma igitur Scripturarum est ut interdum sanctos pro mundis & purificatis & expiatis nominent, Page 89 sicut & Betsabee sanctificata dicitur ab immunditia sua, & ip∣sum templum sanctuarium nominatur. Of your second probleme Tertullian hath discoursed in his Books de monogamia, affirming the children of believers to be called holy, because they were as it were candidates of Faith, and not polluted with any of the filth of idolatrie. Withall consider that also we read that the vessels in the tabernacle are holy, and the other things which belong to the rite of ceremonies, when yet nothing can (really) be holy but what have sense, and worship God. It is therefore an idiome of the Scri∣ptures to use the word holy for those that are clean, and purified and expiated, as Bathseba is said to be sanctified from her un∣cleannesse and the temple is called the Sanctuary. And so he is abruptly broken off, meaning to have said much more on that subject, this, as he solemnly protests (testis est mihi conscientiae meae Deus) being but the procinctus & exordium, the preparation and beginning of his interpretation.
[ 16] If he had gone on to have perfected his answer to Paulinus's quaere, he would probably have more perfectly cleared the whole difficulty. As it is, here is nothing in the least wise to our pre∣judice, nor to the proving that which Mr. T. undertakes, that Tertullians words de Anima do not affirme the baptizing of the believers children.
[ 17] For 1. This of Tertullian is not the place that S. Hierome re∣ferres to, but some other in his Bookes de Monog. that one Book which we now have under that title affording us no such discourse on that subject, as S. Hierom mentions.
[ 18] 2dly. All that S. Hierom cites out of that (not this) place of Tertullian, is very reconcileable with what Tertullian saith in this place, and with his opinion that the infants of Christians were baptized, for, saith he, they were quasi candidati fidei, as it were candidates of faith, Candidates were they that stood for any office qui candida sumptâ veste consulatum▪ praeturam &c. postu∣labant, who putting on white garments sued for any office, and so candidates of faith, they that sue, for this condition in the Church of God, that of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉believers, to which by baptisme they are assumed, and accordingly were to be brought to the font, like such candidates, in white garments as they that were to be sanctified, i. e. baptized, among the Jewes, Exod. 16.10. Page 90 were also to wash their clothes or put on clean garments.
[ 19] Again when he saith of them that they were holy as the vessels of the Temple were holy, though they had no sense, this is the clear laying of a ground, whereby children may be deemed ca∣pable of this relative holynesse, which is to be had by baptisme, though as yet they are not capable (for want of understanding) of inherent holynesse.
[ 20] Lastly, when he mentions it as an idiome of Scripture to call them holy, who are cleansed, purified, expiated, speaking of those legal lustrations or purifications, this gives an account of S. Pauls using the word in the Christian Church for the Christian lustra∣tion, purification, expiation, i. e. for baptisme.
[ 21] And by the way, it appears by S. Hierome that he useth pro∣miscuously sancti and sanctificati, and so that gives us authority to interpret [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] in the end of the verse, in the same sense in which [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] is used in the beginning, for those that are brought and received to baptisme. All which are farre enough fom ser∣ving any of Mr. T. his interests, and might have inclined him to have omitted that testimonie of S. Hieromes, if he had more mature∣ly considered of it.
[ 22] Nay 3. I must adde, that Mr. T. his rendring of candidati and designati sanctitatis, and candidati fidei, by being in designation of being believers and baptized, intended to be holy by the parents, to be bred up to the faith and so baptized, is a most groundlesse inconvenient interpretation: For if by holynesse and faith be meant inherent holynesse and faith, then baptisme it self is the ce∣remony of consecrating and designing them to this, and so prece∣dent to that holynesse (not subsequent to it, as Mr. T. sets it) and accordingly in the Church writings the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉believers, is never bestowed on any, though of mature age and knowledge, till after they be baptized,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉illuminate and believers being all one, promiscuously used for those that have received baptisme, in opposition to catechumeni, those that have not yet attained it: But if holynesse and faith be the relative holy∣nesse, then infants being as capable of that as vessels in the Temple, they might be presently designed and consecrated to that, and not first bred up in the faith, before they were partakers of it.
Page 91 [ 23] The children of believers, I willingly grant, are presumed to be by them intended to be bred up to the faith, but it that inten∣tion of theirs bring forth no present effect, if they do not bring them thus early, and enter them into the Church by baptisme, why should that bare intention of the parents give them the style of holy or sanctified, or how should these infant children, which may dy before they come to those years, receive any present priviledge or benefit, by that which is thus farre removed from them?
[ 24] Now for the 2d part of this suggestion, that what I say from Tertullian, that they were holy, i. e. baptized in seminis praero∣gativâ, is a mistake, I must answer by viewing of the proofs of his assertion, First, saith he, the holynesse was not onely by pre∣rogative of birth, but ex institutionis disciplinâ. This sure is a strange proof, It is not so, because it is not onely so, Tis certain that Tertullian saith they are holy ex institutionis disciplina, and as certain that they are as much so by prerogative of their birth, the words are most clear, tam ex seminis praerogativâ quàm ex in∣stitutionis disciplina, and I that never denyed the second, could not be mistaken in affirming the first.
[ 25] Some difficulty I suppose there may be, what Tertullian (who did not excell in perspicuity of expressions) meant by institutionis disciplina. My opinion (gathered from the observation of his language in other places) is, that he meant the doctrine of bap∣tisme instituted by Christ in his Church; for by this it is that baptisme was allowed to those that were ex alterutro sexu sancti∣ficato procreati, born of parents of which either of them was Chri∣stian.
[ 26] Thus in his Book De Bapt. c. 12. he uses a like phrase tingi disciplinâ religionis, to be sprinkled with the discipline of religion, meaning evidently being baptized.
[ 27] By this interpretation of that phrase, the whole place will be most clear, in reference to the antecedents, thus, The birth of all men by nature brings impurity into the world with them; the children of heathens have this mightily inhansed to them by the Superstitions that are used before and at, and soon after their birth, inviting the devil to come and take possession of them (who is himself very ready to catch them) and so making them as soon Page 92 as born, candidatos daemoniorum, candidates of the devils, am∣bitious to be admitted thus early into their service; Thus every one hath his genius, i. e. his devill assigned him from his birth, and so no birth of any heathen can choose but be polluted, Hinc enim Apostolus— for from hence, saith he, it is that the Apostle affirmes that whosoever is born from either parent Christian, is holy both by prerogative of seed, and by discipline of institution, i. e. hath one priviledge by nature, by his very seed (by being born of a Chri∣stian, not an heathen) that he is not so polluted by their idolatrous ceremonies, and so is in some degree holy, in that respect, not so polluted as heathen children are; another priviledge he hath by the orders and rites, which Christ instituted and left in his Church, viz. that of reception to baptisme, whereby he is consecrated to God, whereas heathen children are desecrated to devils, and in that respect also they are called holy by the Apostle, citing that place, 1 Cor. 7. Caeterum, inquit, immundi nascerentur, else were your children unclean, but now are they holy, adding that the Apostle in those words means, that the children of believers are designati sanctitatis, that sure must signifie that they are initiated into Christ by the Christian rite or sign or ceremonie of baptisme, as those which had the heathenish ceremonies used upon them, were candidati daemoniorum, candidates of the devils, in the for∣mer, thus early admitted and initiated into their sacra.
[ 28] How farre now this is from intimating any discipline of their instruction (the word their is clearly inserted by Mr. T. and in∣stitutio rendred instruction, and so Christs institution turn'd in∣to their instruction) I shall not now need farther to declare, nor to adde ought concerning his other reason taken from the idolatrous Superstitions, without which they that are born are said to be holy, for how farre that hath here place, I have already manifested also.
[ 29] In this fit of incitation he yet farther proceeds, 3. Saith he, it is false that the Jewish practice in baptizing proselytes and their children, laid the foundation of infant baptisme: But as this is like the former, a meer denying of my conclusion, and so against all rules of discourse, in the first place, so is it not attempted to be proved, save onely by the negative argument à testimonio, Neither the Scripture, saith he, gives any hint thereof, nor any of the Page 93 antient Christian writers, no nor any of those the Doctor cites, ever derives it from the Jewish practice.
[ 30] But certainly this is of no force; for 1. So long as none of all these deny it, to be so derived, and when the matter it self speaks it and the agreement between what we find in the Chri∣stian Church with what we find among the Jewes, there is no want either of truth or sobriety in my assertion, that Christs insti∣tution of baptisme was founded in the Jewish practice of bap∣tizing their natives and their proselytes, and that their custome being to baptize infant children, Christs institution also being by the Apostles understood to belong to the infant childrens baptisme was in that respect also conformable to the Jewish copy, and so still the Jewish practice the foundation of the Christian.
[ 31] What he addes from several antient testimonies, shortly pointed at, that they shew that the Fathers took the baptisme of infants not to have foundation in the Jewish practice, but in the conceit they had that baptisme did regenerate, give grace and save, and was necessary for them to enter into the kingdome— hath nothing of weight in it, For 1. Their conceiting that baptisme had this force from Christs institution, no way prejudges Christs founding his institution in the foregoing Jewish practice.
[ 32] Tis as if he should thus argue, the Fathers conceived the Sacra∣ment of the Lords Supper to be usefull for the confirming of our faith, therefore they took that Sacrament not to be sounded in the postcoenium of the Jewes. They conceived imposition of hands to conferre a Character on those that were thus ordained to holy orders, therefore this was not founded in the Jewish cu∣stome of receiving Doctors into the Sanhedrim by laying on of hands. The foundation of the institution is one thing, and the benefits of it being instituted is another, and yet both these are found to belong to the same thing.
[ 33] 2dly. Their very opinion that baptisme did regenerate, and was necessary to enter into the kingdome, as it is taken by the Fathers from the words of Christ to Nicodemus Joh. 3. Except a man be born again, v. 3. and that of water— v. 5. (by baptisme) he can∣not enter into the kingdome of God, so was that speech of Christ, taken from the customary doctrine of the Jewes, among whom baptisme was said to regenerate, and to enter into the Church,Page 94 as that was the portal to the kingdome of God, and accordingly when Nicodemus seems not to understand it, Christ appeals to the Jewish doctrine or tradition, Art thou a Ruler, a Master in Israel and knowest not these things? and therefore again those perswasions of the Fathers are far from unreconcileable with that which I have affirmed of the founding the Christian in the Jewish baptisme.
[ 34] Nay 4. That the Fathers in their discourses of baptisme do ordinarily lay the foundation of it in Moses or the baptisme of the Jewes (and so might as well found the baptisme of Christian in∣fants there, the Jewes baptisme, as hath appeared, belonging to such) hath formerly been evidenced from Gregorie Nazianzen, Orat. 39. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉— and so from others also.
[ 35] What he now addes of womens baptizing among Papists and the allowance thereof formerly among us, of private baptisme, of the use of propounding questions to the infant which he is pleased to style ridiculous, of the sureties answering in the childs behalf, and expressing their desire to be baptized into the faith recited, of the custome of baptizing onely at Easter and Whitsontide, of sprinkling or powring water on the face, of a confession in the Pract. Cat. that all men were instructed antiently before they were baptiz∣ed, is all amast together, if it might be, to make up one accumu∣lative argument, but is utterly insufficient to do so. All that he con∣cludes from the mention of all these, is but his own resolution not to answer the testimonies which I had alledged from the Fathers, to prove that Infant baptisme was an Apostolical tradition. His words are these, upon the mentioning of those particulars▪ [And therefore for the present I shall put by the answering of the stale and rotten allegations out of the Fathers for infant baptisme brought by the Doctor, because having said so much.
[ 36] Here indeed by his [therefore] I am told the reason why he was willing to mention those other particulars so causelesly and unseasonably, viz. by way of diversion (as dextrous persons are wont to do for the removing of difficulties) to put by the answer∣ing of the allegations out of the Fathers.
[ 37] But I must not thus farre complie with Mr. T. The main issue of the whole dispute must divolve to this, the doctrine of the anti∣ent Page 95 Church in this matter, For. 1. baptisme being instituted by Christ long before his crucifixion, and 2. The forme wherein he instituted it being not set down in the Gospels, and so 3. The Apo∣stles practice being our onely guide for the resolving such difficul∣ties as these, whether infants were admittable or no to baptisme (the foundation thereof among the Jewes visibly belonging to in∣fants, but it being still possible that this might be changed in Christs institution) it is not now imaginable what way should be open to us of this age (1600 years after those times) to discern Christs institution in this matter, but by the words or actions of (or some kind of intimation from) the Apostles, how they understood Christs institution.
[ 38] Of this one place we have 1 Cor. 7. which comes in incidentally, speaking to another matter, and notifies the Apostles sense by their practice visibly enough, and defines for the baptizing of in∣fants in those dayes; But to them that will not acknowledge this sense of those words, how fair and easy soever, there is but one possible method remaining in this, as in all other questions of fact (as evidently this is, whether in the Apostles times and by their appointment children were received to baptisme or no) viz. to ap∣peal to those that could not be ignorant of this matter, who by succession and tradition, the one from the other, had the Apostles practice, the interpreter of their sense of Christs institution, con∣veyed and handed down unto them, and are to us, their late poste∣rity, the only competent witnesses of this matter of fact, and so are in all reason to decide the controversie, and give a final con∣clusion to the debate between us.
[ 39] This therefore being the last part of my method in the positive part of the Resolution of that Quaere, I professe to have laid the most weight upon it (according to the grounds set down in the first Quare concerning the deciding of such controversies) and consequently must still insist upon it, and not be put off by Mr. T. his dexteritie, and that in this matter I may not fail of giving the Reader some evidence, I shall again resume it, and give him a com∣petent series of testimonies, some formerly mentioned, and now put more into forme of evidence, and others added to them, so as to inferre an uniforme concordant tradition of all the ages of the Church of Christ even since the Apostles times unto this day, for Page 96 the receiving infants to baptisme; and that shall be the last part of this Replie to Mr. T. and the Antipadobaptist whose preten∣sions are the contrary, that infants must not be thus admitted.
Sect. 2. A Catalogue of Testimonies of the first ages for Infant bap∣tisme, and the Apostolicalness thereof.
[ 1] FIrst then I begin with the words of the Apostle so long insisted on, and vindicated from Mr. T. his exceptions, and by so anti∣ent a writer as Tertullian &c. applyed to this matter.
[ 2] And that first Epistle to the Corinthians being written at the end of his three years stay in Asia Act. 20.31. i. e. An. Chr. 54. I shall there place my first testimonie.
[ 3] In the middle of the first Centurie S. Paul delivered these words, Now are your children holy, i. e. your children new-born (as appears by the context and Tertullian) are sanctified, as that sig∣nifies baptized, in the style of the New Testament and the antient Church, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 they are vouchsafed the good things that come by baptisme, saith the Author of the Respons: ad Orthod: whether that were Justine the Martyr, who suffered Anno 163. or another very antient writer under that name; And this of that Apostle is an evidence of the practice of the first, [ 4] or Apostolical age, soon after Christ, and is not contradicted by any that wrote in that age.
In the next age after the Apostles flourished S. Irenaeus, said to be martyred at Lyons (the seate of his Bishoprick) the 5t of Seve∣rus, An. Chr. 197. he had been an auditor of Polycarpe Bishop of Smyrna (styled by that Church an *Apostolical and Propheti∣cal Doctor) and is by * S. Hierome lookt on as a man of the Apostolical times, and by *Tertullian as a most accurate searcher of all doctrines, and so is a most competent witnesse of the Aposto∣lical doctrine and practice; and thus he speaks l. 2. advers. har. c. 38. Omnes venit Christus per semet ipsum salvare, omnes in∣quam qui per eum renascuntur in Deum, Infantes, & parvulos, & Page 97 pueros, & juvenes, & seniores▪ Christ came to save all by him∣self, all I say who are born again unto God by him, Infants and little ones, and children, and young men and older men, where it is evidently his affirmation, that infants (expressely) are by Christ regenerate unto God, and that must be in baptisme, that laver of regeneration, and so they are not, in his opinion, excluded from baptisme. And so this is a testimonie of the second Century, not found or praetended to be contradicted by any other of that age.
[ 5] Immediately after Irenaeus followed Tertullian in the end of the 2d, and beginning of the 3d Century, a man of great learning, and a diligent observer and recorder of the customes and practices of the most antient Church. And he lib. de Animâ c. 39. affirmes it from the Apostle, ex sanctificato alterutro sexu sanctos pro∣creari, that when either parent is sanctified or believer, i. e. baptized, the children that are born from them are holy, and this tam ex seminis praerogativâ, quàm ex institutionis disciplinâ, both by praerogative of their seed, and by the discipline of the insti∣tution, i. e. (as hath been shewed) by baptisme, adding from the same Apostle that delivered those words, 1 Cor. 7.4. that his meaning was that the children of believers should be understood to be designati sanctitatis ac per hoc salutis, and evidencing what he means thereby, by the following words, of Christ's definition, Joh. 3. Ʋnlesse a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdome of God, i. e. non erit sanctus, shall not be holy, where baptisme is manifestly the thing by which these children are said to attain that sanctity; and more he addes in the beginning of the next chapter to the same purpose. And so he is a competent witnesse for the beginning of that third age, and is not found contradicted by any other passage in his works, or by any of his time; But on the contrary,
[ 6] Origen, who died at Tyre, An. Chr. 254. hath three most irre∣fragable testimonies for it; first on Luke Hom. 14. Parvuli baptizantur in remissionem peccatorum, little ones are baptized into the remission of sins; and quomodo potest ulla lavacri in par∣vulis ratio subsistere, nisi juxta illum sensum de quo paulò autè diximus, Nullus mundus à sorde &c. How can the account of baptizing little ones bold, but according to that which before was Page 98 said, none is clean from pollution, no not if he be but a day old, and per baptismi sacramentum nativitatis sordes deponuntur, propterea baptizantur & parvuli, by the sacrament of baptisme the pollutions of our birth are put off, and therefore little ones are baptized.
[ 7] Secondly, on Leviticus Hom. 8. Requiratur quid causae est cum baptisma Ecclesiae in remissionem peccatorum detur, secundum Ecclesiae observantiam etiam parvulis baptismum dari— Let it be considered what the cause is when the baptisme of the Church is given for the remission of sins, that baptisme should according to the observation (or custome) of the Church be given to little ones.
[ 8] Thirdly, on the Epistle to the Romans, l. 5. Ecclesia ab Apo∣stolis traditionem suscepit etiam parvulis baptismum dare — the Church hath received tradition from the Apostles to give baptisme to little ones also, such little ones still (as by the former words ap∣pears) as those of a day old and the like. And so here is a full con∣cord of testimonies both for the practice of the Church, and tradi∣tion received from the Apostles for baptizing of infants, and so is a farther evidence of the doctrine of the third age, not contra∣dicted by any of that time.
[ 9] About the same time, or without question soon after, wrote the Author (under the name of Dionysius Areopagita) de Eccl. Hie∣rarch. For, as by *Photius it appears, Theodorus Presbyter about the year 420. debated the question, whether that writer were Dionysius mentioned in the Acts or no. And of this no doubt hath been made but that he was a very antient and learned Author. He therefore in his * 7. chap of Eccles. Hierarch. proposeth the question, as that which may seem to profane persons (i. e. heathens) ridiculous, why 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉children which cannot yet understand divine things are made partakers of the sacred birth from God, i. e.* evidently of baptisme (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 concerning the baptizing of infants, saith Maximus his Scholiast) adding to the same head also, that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, others in their stead pronounce the abrenunoia∣tions and divine confessions,* And his answer is, 1. that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉many things which are Page 99 unknown by us why they are done, have yet causes worthy of God, 2. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that we affirme of this the same things which our divine officers of the Church, being instructed by divine tradition, have brought down unto us, and again, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 — our divine guides (i. e. the Apostles,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, saith Maximus) considering this, appointed that infants should thus be admitted according to the sacred manner, nothing can be more clear then that the Apostolical tradition is by this antient and elegant wri∣ter vouched for the baptizing of infants, as a sufficient account of that matter, against the reproaches and scoffes of profane, or heathen men, who deemed it unreasonable. And so there is a most convincing testimonie for that time, wherein that author wrote, which must needs be in the fourth Century before Theodorus Presbyters debating the question concerning him, but most pro∣bably more antient, and so to be placed in this third age.
[ 10] In the midst of this third age, An. Chr. 248. was S. Cyprian made Bishop of Carthage, and ten years after he suffered mar∣tyrdome, i. e. 158 years after the age of the Apostles. In the year 257 he sat in Councell with 66 Bishops (see Justellus in his Preface to the African Canons p. 21.) and their decrees by way of Synodical Epistle are to be seen in his Ep. 58. ad Fidum fratrem, which is now among his works. Pamel. Edit. p. 80. The Councell was in answer to some questions about baptisme, and accordingly▪ he there sets down his own opinion, together with the decrees of that Councell of 66 Bishops which were assem∣bled with him; And so this, as it is an antient, so it is more then a single testimonie, that of a whole Councell added to it; and yet farther, to increase the authority of it, S. Augustine cites this Epistle* more then once, and sets it down almost intire, as a testimony of great weight against heretikes, and so tis cited by S. Hierome also, l. 3. dial. contr: Pelag.
[ 11] In this Epistle the question being proposed by Fidus, whether infants might be baptized the 2d or 3d day, or whether, as in circumcision the 8th day were not to be expected, he answers in the name of the Councel, Ʋniversi judicavimus, twas the reso∣lutionPage 100 or sentence of all, nulli hominum nato misericordiam Dei & gratiam denegandam, that the mercy and grace of God was not to be denyed to any humane birth, to my child, though never so young, (by that phrase [mercy and grace of God] evidently meaning baptisme, the rite of conveighing them to the baptized) adding, that tis not to be thought that this grace which is given to the baptized, pro atate accipientium vel minor vel major tribuitur, is given to them in a greater or lesse degree in respect of the age of the receivers; and that God as he accepts not the person, so nor the age of any, confirming this by the words of S. Peter Act. 10. that none was to be called common or unclean, and that if any were to be kept from baptisme, it should rather be those of full age, who have committed the greater sins, and that seeing those when they come to the faith are not prohibited baptisme, quanto magis prohiberi non debet infans, qui recens natus nihil peccavit, nisi quòd secundum Adam carnaliter natus contagium mortis antiqua primâ nativitate contraxit? qui ad remissam peccatorum accipi∣endam hoc ipso faciliùs accedit, quòd illi remittuntur non propria sed aliena peccata, how much more ought not the infant to be for∣bidden, who being new born, hath no sin upon him, but that which by his birth from Adam he hath contracted as soon as he was born, who therefore should more easily be admitted to pardon, because they are not his own, but others sins which are then remitted to him. Con∣cluding that as none were by the decree of that Councel to be refused baptisme, tum magis circa infantes ipsot & recens natus obser∣vandum atque retinendum, so this was the rather to be observed and retained about infants and new born children.
[ 12] Thus much and more was the sentence of that antient Father and that Councel, and as the occasion of that determination was not any antipaedobaptist doctrine (there had no such then so much as lookt into the Church, that we can hear of) but a conceit of one, that it should be deferr'd to the 8th day, which was as much infancy as the first (and so both parties were equally contrary to the Antipaedobaptists interests, the condemned, as well as the Judges) so that it was no new doctrine that was then decreed, or peculiar to S. Cyprian (who had one singular opinion in the mat∣ter of baptisme) appears also both by the concurrence of the whole Councel that convened with him, and by the expresse words of Page 101 Saint Augustine Ep. 28. ad Hieronym: Beatus Cyprianus non aliquod decretum condens novum sed ecclesiae fidem firmissimam servans — mox natum rite baptizari posse cum suis quibusdam coepiscopis censuit, Blessed Cyprian, saith he, not making any new decree, but keeping the faith of the Church most firme, decreed with a set number of his fellow Bishops, that a child new-born might fitly be baptized. Which shewes it the resolution of that Father also, that baptizing of Infants was the faith of the Church be∣fore Cyprians time, not onely the opinion, but the Faith, which gives it the authority of Christ and his Apostles.
[ 13] In the next or fourth Century, about the year of Christ 370. flourished Gregorie Nazianzen, and dyed in the year 389. who though he be by Mr. T. affirmed to dissuade from it but in case of necessity by reason of apparent danger of death,* will yet give an evi∣dent testimonie of the doctrin of the Church of that age in this matter.
[ 14] In the * 4th oration written on this subject of Baptisme having gone through all the ages of man (to demonstrate a proposition pre∣mised by him, *〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that it belongs to every age and sort of life) he at length comes to the consideration of infancy, in these words, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. If thou hast an infant, let not iniquity get time,*let it be sanctified (certainly baptized) in infancy, let it in the tender age be consecrated to Gods spirit, and whereas the heathens use amu∣lets and charmes to secure their children,*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, do you give it the Trinity (the Fathers the Sonne and the Holy Ghost in baptisme) that great and good phylacterie, or preservative. A plain testimonie of the Churches doctrine at that time.
[ 15] Afterwards in the * same oration he returns to this matter again, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, what, saith he, will you say concerning those that are yet children, and neither know the losse nor are sensible of the grace of baptisme, shall we also baptize them? And his answer is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Yes by all means, if any danger presse, tis better they should be sanctified (baptized) when they have no sense of it, then that they should dy unsealed, uninitiated, adding for proof of this the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Page 011〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉circumcision on the eighth day, which was, saith he, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉an initial seal, and yet 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, used to those that had no use of reason, and (in a lower degree) the anointing of the posts, which were insensible also, was yet a means of saving the first-born.
[ 16] After this, tis true that he proceeds to consider those children, that are not in any danger of death, and of them he gives his opi∣nion (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in the style which S. Paul useth, when he speaks his own sense, as that is other from the revealed will of Christ) that staying about three years, at which time they may be taught to answer somewhat, though they understand it not per∣fectly, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, by this means they may be baptized, souls and bodies, by this great Sacrament of initiation.
[ 17] But of this, 1. It is is clear that it no way prejudges the doctrine and practice of the Church formerly set down, and approved by him, that infant children, indefinitely considered, might be bap∣tized, and if danger approched, must, how young soever they were; which is as contrary to the Antipaedobaptist, and so to Mr. T. as any thing.
[ 18] 2dly. That it is but his 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or private opinion pretending not so much as to any part of the Church of that, or former ages to authorize it.
[ 19] 3dly. That the state of children being so weak and uncertain, that tis hard to affirme of any that they are not (for the first three years) in any danger, his counesl for deferring will hardly be ever practicable to any.
[ 20] 4thly. That the deferring, of which Nazianzen speaks, is most probably to be understood of those whose parents are newly con∣verted, and themselves doubt whether they shall be yet baptized or no, for to such he speaks in that place from p. 654. A.
[ 21] Lastly, That the deferring till three years old, if it were allowed, would no way satisfie the Antipaedobaptists praetensions, and so still the former passages ought be of force with all, and no heed given to the whispers of Mr. T. and others, as if this holy Father dissuaded baptisme in any age unlesse in case of danger, when he clearly saith, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, let him in the tenderest age be bap∣tized and consecrated to the Spirit.
Page 103 [ 22] In the same Century S. Ambrose must be placed, being a wri∣ter about the year 380. he in his 10th Book, Ep. 84. ad Deme∣triad. Virg. speaking of those that made Adams sin no otherwise hurtfull to posterity, then by the example (exemplo non transitu no•uisse) he presseth it with this principal absurdity, Hinc eva∣cuatio baptismatis parvulorum, this evacuates the baptisme of infants, which should then be capable of adoption onely, but not of pardon.
[ 23] And in like manner on Luke, by Jordans being driven back, saith he, are signified the mysteries of baptisme, per quae in primor∣dia naturae suae qui baptizati fuerint parvuli à malitia refor∣mantur, by which the little ones that are baptized, are reformed from their malignity to the first state of their nature.
[ 24] In the beginning of the next or fift age, flourished S. Chryso∣stome, that famous Bishop of Constantinople whose death is placed in the year of Christ 407. he in his homilie to the Neophyti hath these words, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉for this cause (i. e. because there be so many benefits of baptisme, there recited, ten in number) we baptize children, though they have not sins.
[ 25] Which words are the more worth remembring, because they had the hap to be made use of by the Pelagians, and consequent∣ly vindicated by S. Augustine, The Pelagians urged them in this forme, Hac de causa etiam infantes baptiz•mus, cum non sint coin∣quinati peccato, for this cause we baptize infants, when they are not polluted with sin, understanding it of original sin, but S. Augustine appealing to the Greek, shewed that the right rendring was, quamvis peccata non habentes, although they had not sins, i. e. propria, their own or actual sins, of which these infants were not supposed to have any.
[ 26] So in his * 4th Homilie on Genesis, speaking of baptisme as of the Christian circumcision, among other things he affirmes of it, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, it hath no determinate time but 'tis lawful both in the first age (the childhood, so 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifies, with him, * else where applied to the time of circumcision on the 8th day, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 —) and in the middle, and in Page 104 old age it self, to receive this circumcision made without hands.
[ 27] In the same Centurie, very few years after, if not before Chry∣sostome, S. Hierome must be placed, born in the year 342. and deceased in the year 420. And he in Ep. 7. to Laeta telling her that whilest the child was yong and not come to Pythagoras's Y. the bivium or two wayes, the knowledge of good and evil, tam bona ejus quàm mala parentibus imputantur, his good or evil deeds are imputed to the parents, addes that this must needs be acknowledged, nisi forte existimas Christianorum filios, si bap∣tisma non receperint, ipsos tantùm reos esse peccati, & non etiam scelus referri ad eos qui dare noluerint, maximè illo tempore quo contradicere non poterant qui accepturi erant, sicut è regione salus infantum majorum lucrum est. Ʋnlesse, saith he, you believe that Christians children, if they receive not baptisme, are the onely per∣sons that are guilty of the sin, and that the offence is not charged on them which would not bring them to baptisme, at that time espe∣cially, wherein they that were to receive could not contradict, as on the other side the salvation of infants is the gain of the elder, adding that the parent which was thus to prepare his child for the Kings i. e. Christs embraces, si negligens fuerit, punietur; shall, if he be negligent therein, be punished.
[ 28] Words of no very conformable aboad to the opposers of Paedo∣baptisme, I wish Mr. T. who thinks fit to make use of S. Hieromes name (it now appears how luckily) would be at leisure to consider them.
[ 29] So lib. 3. contr: Pelag. the question being asked by Crito, Qua∣re infantuli baptizentur, why infants are baptized, the answer is made by Atticus, Ʋt eis peccata in baptismate dimittantur, that their sins may be pardoned in baptisme, and again, qui [ 30] parvulus est, parentis in baptismo vinculo solvitur, the infant is freed in baptisme from the band of Adams sin.
Paulinus, we know, was his Contemporarie, and from him we have this testimonie, Ep. 12. Inde parens sacro ducens de font• sacerdos, Infantes niveos corpore, corde, habitu— The Priest brings the infants out of the font white as snow in body, in heart, in habit.
[ 31] Next to these succeeds S. Augustine, who died in the 30th year of this 5t age, and was the great champion of the Church against all the invaders of the depositum committed to it. His passages on Page 105 this subject are to many to be enumerated, and some of them have already been set down in the Resol. of the Quaere p. 217. making it the perpetual doctrine of the whole Church of all ages before him, and expressly including that of the Apostles.
[ 32] So de Bap: contra Donat. l. 4. c. 23. Quod traditum tenet universitas Ecclesiae cum parvuli infantes baptizantur, qui certè nondum possunt corde credere ad justitiam, & ore confiteri ad salu∣tem— & tamen nullus Christianorum dixerit eos inaniter bapti∣zari. This is held as tradition by the Ʋniversal Church, when little infants are baptized, which are sure yet unable to believe with the heart or to confesse with the mouth, and yet no Christian will say that they are baptized to no purpose: (a severe sentence again for the Antipaedobaptist) adding the Ecclesiastical rule by which to judge of Apostolical tradition, and evidencing the be∣nefit of infant baptisme by the example of circumcision, that as in Isaac, circumcised the eighth day, the seal of the righteousnesse of faith preceded, and the righteousnesse it self followed in his riper age by his imitating his Fathers faith, ita & in baptizatis in∣fantibus praecedit regenerationis Sacramentum, & si Christia∣nam tenuerint pietatem, sequitur in corde conversio, cujus my∣sterium praecessit in corpore, so also in baptized infants the Sa∣crament of regeneration praecedes, and if they hold fast Christian piety, conversion in the heart followes, the mystery whereof had been formerly received in the body.
[ 33] So De verb: Apost. Serm. 14. being come to handle this sub∣ject of the baptisme of infants, he begins thus, sollicitos autem nos facit non ipsa sententia jam olim in Ecclesiâ Catholicâ summâ authoritate fundata, sed disputationes quorundam— The doctrine it self gives us no trouble, being long since founded in the Catholike Church by the highest authority (that sure must be by Christs and the Apostles) but the disputings of some men— and again, Non enim quaestio est inter nos & ipsos, utrum parvuli baptizandi sint, Baptizandos esse parvulos nemo dubitat, quando nec illi hinc dubitant qui ex alterâ parte contradicunt — the question betwixt them and us is not, whether infants are to be baptized; Let no man make doubt of this, seeing neither do they doubt of this which contradict us in the other question concerning the benefit of it.
Page 106 [ 34] And again, in a farther process with those disputers, Dic mihi, obsecro te, parvulis baptizatis Christus aliquid prodest, an nil prodest? Necesse est ut dicat prodesse, Premitur mole matris Ec∣clesiae. Doth Christ profit infants that are baptized, or doth he not? He must needs say that he doth profit, he is prest with the weight of the Church our mother.
[ 35] And again, authoritate reprimuntur Ecclesiae, si enim dixerint Christum nihil prodesse baptizatis infantibus, nihil aliud dicunt quàm superfluè baptizantur infantes. They are represt by the authority of the Church, for if they say that Christ profits not in∣fants baptized, they plainly affirme that infants are superflu∣ously baptized, but this those very heretikes (the Pelagians) di∣cere non audent, dare not say, and so were faine to secure their hypothesis by another evasion, viz. that they were baptized not for salvation but for the kingdome of heaven.
[ 36] And yet farther, Hoc habet authoritas matris ecclesiae, hoc fundatus veritatis obtinet canon, contra hoc robur, contra hunc inexpugnabilem murum quisquis arietat ipse confringitur. Fundata ista res est, ferendus est peccator errans in aliis quae∣stionibus — non tantum progredi debet, ut & fundamentum ipsum ecclesiae quatere moliatur. This the authority of our mother the Church is possest of, this the grounded Canon of truth holds fast; against this fort, this invincible wall whosoever makes assault, is broken to pieces. This is a grounded thing: Hee is to be born with who erres in other questions, but he must not proceed thus far (as the Antipaedobaptist certainly doth) as to indeavour to shake the very foundation of the Church, i. e. cer∣tainly a doctrine laid by the first planters of the faith, Christ and the Apostles themselves.
[ 37] So Ep. 89. Non est superfluus baptismus parvulorum, ut qui per generationem illi condemnationi obligati sunt, per rege∣nerationem ab eâdem liberentur. The baptisme of infants is not superfluous, that they who by their birth are bound to that condem∣nation which came by Adam, should be freed from it by regene∣ration, and more to the same purpose in that place.
[ 38] So in Enchirid. c. 42. à parvulo recens nato usque ad decrepi∣tum senem, sicut nullus prohibendus est à baptismo, ita nullus est qui non peccato moriatur in baptismo. From the infant new Page 107 born to the decrepit old age, as none is to be kept from baptisme, so there is none who dyeth not to sin in baptisme.
[ 39] Which words are soon after transcribed by Leo (ad Episc. Aquileg:) who was advanced to the Papacie about the year 440.
[ 40] About this time was the Epistle of the Councel of Carthage written to Innocentius (made Bishop of Rome about the year 400.) In which these words we find by way of Decree, Quicunque negat parvulos per baptismum Christi à perditione liberari & salutem percipere sempiternam, anathema sit. Whosoever denyes that Infants are by the baptisme of Christ freed from perdition and receive eternal life, let him be anathema.
[ 41] About the same time, whilest Innocentius lived (and to the same purpose) was the Milevitan Canon, at which S. Augu∣stine was present, a Bishop in that Councel. This hath been set down in the Resol: of the Quaere, p. 219. and is an evident te∣stimonie that this doctrine was such as Ecclesia Catholica ubique diffusa semper intellexit, the Catholike Church every where diffused, alwaies understood and asserted, and so it is that Councels witness of the Apostolicalness of it.
[ 42] To these it were easy to adde Theodoret also, and Leo (alrea∣dy cited) soon after him, both falling within the former part of that fift Centurie, and in every age after this, store enough. But the question is not, and in any reason cannot be extended to those times, the clear definitions through all those first ages, being all that could be required to decide the controversie concerning the matter of fact, whether it were practised or not practised by the Apostles.
[ 43] And having so largely deduced them, it is not imaginable what should be now wanting to the completing of the evidence, when I have onely added, that there is no one testimonie of dissent, either pretended or producible from the writings of all those first ages, nor consequently the least appearance of obstacle, why the recei∣ving of Infants to baptisme should not be resolved the doctrin and practice of the first and purest ages of the Church, avouched and testified to be delivered to them by the Apostles of Christ, who could not mistake his meaning in the Institution.
[ 44] What artifices the Antepaedobaptist can make use of to cast a Page 108mist before our eyes, in the midst of so much light, I can no way divine: sure I am that the prejudices which Mr. T. hath in few words indevoured to infuse (as that some are counterfeit authors, some suspected, some misinterpreted; that some maintained infant baptisme but in case of danger of death, that others which avouched this, avouched either Rebaptization or Communion of Infants also) are all of them unjust and causeless, and have severally and punctually been prevented in one or both of these discourses, and so there remains not the least scruple of difficulty, that I can fore∣see in this matter, to adde to the bulke of this vindication.
[ 45] God assist it with his blessing to the disabusing those that are seduced, and regaining them to the waies of Peace.