A sermon of the baptizing of infants preached in the Abbey-Church at Westminster at the morning lecture, appointed by the honorable House of Commons
Marshall, Stephen, 1594?-1655.
Page  1

A SERMON OF THE BAPTIZING of INFANTS.


1 PET. 3.21.

The like figure whereunto, even Baptisme, doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God) by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

IN this Morning Lecture, I have formerly in my course out of severall Scriptures handled the Doctrine of the Sacraments in Generall, and then proceeded to speake of the Sacraments of the Old Testament, and therein their number, their agreement and disagreement, with those of the New Testa∣ment; And now lately have begun to open the Sacraments of the New Testament.

The first of them is now in hand; And I have already out of this Text, made foure or five Sermons, concerning the nature and use of the Sacrament of Baptisme, wherein I Page  2 have cleared unto you: First, Who was the Authour and Institutour of it: Secondly, Who is to bee the 〈◊〉 of it: Thirdly, The Essence of it, the matter and forme of it; both the res terrena, and the res Coelestis, the earthly, and the spirituall part: and now Fourthly, it remaines, that I treat of the subject of it, or the persons who are to be Bap∣tized; and they are of two sorts; either grown men, who being instructed in the Doctrine of Christ, and professing their Faith in him, and their willingnes and readines to live according to his will, and do desire to bee partakers of this blessed Sacrament; These whether Jews or Gentiles, Male or Female, bond or free, are to bee admitted to the partici∣pation of this Ordinance; of the Baptizing of such as these there is no question. The other sort are Infants, of whose right to this Sacrament, I shall (by Gods assistance) treate this day.

And concerning these, there are two sorts of questions:

First, Whether any Infants at all are to bee Baptized?

Secondly, Supposing some have right to it, yet it's great∣ly disputed,*whose Infants may bee Baptized? viz. Whe∣ther the Infants of Excommunicate persons, of Hereticks, of Profane men, of meerly civilly Righteous; whether Bastards, whether the Infants of Heathens, who are to bee brought up by Christians; and whether these may not be Baptized, with some caution used, thereby to make distinction betwixt the pure and the impure? I shall for the present baulk all these latter questions, and handle only the former, viz. 〈◊〉 any at all are to bee Baptized? or, as the Question uses to bee stated.

Whether the Infants of beleeving Parents, the Infants of Saints, are to be admitted to the Holy Sacrament? And here also ariseth another question, Who are to bee meant by Beleevers and Saints, whether only such as have the in∣ward vertue of faith and holinesse, who are really beleevers Page  3 and sanctifyed ones, or whether by Beleevers and Saints, may be meant such a faith and sanctity as is outwardly pro∣fessed, although possibly the inward grace it selfe (which only God can judge of) bee altogether wanting?

Concerning which question,* although for my owne part I beleeve wee are to understand it of that which man may judge of, and that God hath not made that the condition of his servants applying his Ordinances, which can be infal∣libly known to none but himselfe, and that therefore the profession of Faith and holinesse, is sufficient to make men passe for Beleevers, and Saints in the Churches judgement, yet I shall at the present baulk the handling of this also, and will take it in the surest sense, in the Apostles sense, what the Apostle means by Beleevers and Saints, when he writes unto the Churches, that I will take to bee the state of the Question: if by Beleevers and Saints the Apostle meane vi∣sible professors of faith and holinesse; then the Question is, whether their Infants are to bee baptized; if the Apostle by beleevers and Saints, mean such onely as are inwardly holy, inwardly beleevers, then the question is, whether their In∣fants are to be Baptized: in a word, whether the Infants of such as were or might have been stiled beleevers and Saints in the Apostles daies and writings, are to be admitted to the Sacrament of Baptisme.

This priviledge of the baptizing of such Infants the Chri∣stian Church hath been in possession of for the space of fif∣teen hundred yeers and upwards,* as is manifest out of most of the Records that we have of antiquity, both in the Greek and Latine Church; which I the rather mention in the be∣ginning, because many of the Anabaptists blush not to say, that the Antients, especially the Greek Church, rejected it for many hundred yeers: Justine Martyr, who lived about Anno 150 (in a Treatise which goes under his name) Que∣stion 56. disputes the different condition of those children, Page  4 who dye baptized, and of them who dye unbaptized.

Ireneus, who lived in the same Century, lib. 2. cap. 29. saith, Christus venit per seipsum omnes salvare; omnes, 〈◊〉, qui per eum renascuntur in Deum, Infantes & parvulos & pueros, &c. Now it's well known, say the Glossers upon that Text, renascentiae nomine, Dominica & Apostolica phrasi, Baptismum intelligi.

Origen, who lived in the beginning of the third Century, in his Treatise upon Rom. 6. lib. 5. saith, The Church received this tradition of Baptizing of Infants from the Apostles: and Homily 8. upon Leviticus, Secundum Ecclesiae observantiam, Baptismum parvulis dari concedit, Hom. 14. in Lucam, Parvuli baptizantur in remissionem peccatorum: he cals it indeed a Tra∣dition, according to the expression of the Ancients, who ordinarily called the greatest points of Faith, by the name of Traditions received from the Apostles. Traditions be∣ing onely such things as are delivered from one to another, whether writen or unwriten. And so did the Apostle him∣selfe, 2 Thess. 2.15. when he charged them to hold the Tra∣ditions which they had been taught, either by word or Epistle. However his calling it a Tradition received from the Apo∣stles gives us a sufficient proofe, that time out of mind, it had been received in the Church, that it was delivered over to the Church in his time, and was of antient use in the Church before his time.

Gregory Nazianzen, Orat. 40. in Baptismum, cals Baptism signaculum vitae cursum ineuntibus, and commands children to be baptized, though afterward he seemed to restraine it to the case of necessity.

Cyprian, one of the Antientest Writers amongst the La∣tines, handles it at large, in Epist. 59. Ad Fidum, upon this occasion; Fidus denyed not the Baptisme of Infants, but de∣nyed that they ought to be Baptized, before the eighth day; Cyprian assures him that by the unanimous consent of 66. Page  5 Bishops gathered together in a Councell, Baptisme was to be administred to Infants, as well as to growne men, and not to be restrained to any time, and proves it by such Argu∣ments as these: They are under originall sinne, they need pardon, are capable of grace and mercy, God regards not age, &c. This testimony of Cyprians is cited and approved by August. Epist. 28. & lib. 3. de Merit. & Remiss. pecca. cap. 5. & lib. 3. contra Pelag. and by Hierom contra Pelag. lib. 3. Of the same judgment was Ambrose, lib. 2. cap. 11. De Abraham Patriarcha, and many other of the Ancients, which I relate not to prove the truth of the thing, but onely the practise of it: and indeed, although some in those times questioned it, as August. grants in his Sermons, De Verbis Apostol. yet the first that ever made a head against it, or a division in the Church about it,* was Baltazar Pacommitanus in Germany in Luthers time, about the yeere 1527. and since that time multitudes in Germany have imbraced his opinion, who because they opposed Paedo-baptisme, were forced to re∣iterate their owne Baptisme, and thence were called Ana∣baptists, and soone proved a dangerous and turbulent Sect against that Reformation; not onely working a world of mischiefe about Munster and other parts of Germany, but have with this opinion, drunk in abundance of other dange∣rous Heresies and Blasphemies, and quickly grew into such divisions, and sub-divisions among themselves,* that Bullen∣ger notes that they were growne to no lesse then fourteene severall Sects in his time:* which in truth is the common lot of all Sectaries; who when once they have departed from the Church, upon every small occasion they come to bee divided againe among themselves, and one from another: As the Ecclesiasticall Story lets us see in the Novatians, Ma∣cedonians, Eunomians, Arians, &c. which divisions also opened a way to their totall destruction in the end: their mutuall bickerings among themselves, being as the beating Page  6 of the waves of the Sea one against another, till all were changed, as the Historian notes of them. And because this Opinion, and divers others which depend upon it, begins unhappily to take place and spread among our selves in this Kingdom; and so the work of Reformation (without Gods mercy) likely to bee much hindred by it; I shall (God willing) handle this Question more largely, then I have done any other in this place; and the rather because of three other great mischiefes which goe along with it.

*First, I see that all who reject the Baptizing of Infants, doe and must upon the same ground reject the Religious ob∣servation of the Lords day, or the Christian Sabbath, viz. because there is not (say they) an expresse institution or com∣mand in the New Testament. Verily, I have hardly either knowne, or read, or heard of any one who hath rejected this of Infants, but with it they reject that of the Lords day: now God hath so blessed the Religious observation of the Lords day in this Kingdome above other Churches and Kingdomes, that such as indeavour to overthrow it, de∣serve justly to be abhorred by us.

Secondly, the Teachers of this Opinion, where ever they prevaile, take their Proselytes wholly off from the Ministry of the Word and Sacraments, and all other acts of Chri∣stian communion, both publick and private; from any, but those who are of their owne opinion, condemning them all as Limbs of Antichrist, worshippers and followers of the Beast: And so not onely labour to cast the godly Ministers out of the hearts of those people whom they have wonne to Christ; but leave the people whom they insnare with∣out any hope of recovery, whilst they impose upon their consciences to heare none but such as may confirme them in their errors; An old trick of Satan which hee taught the Papists long agone, a meere politick device to keep their Disciples fast unto themselves: which unchristian course, Page  7 how prosperous soever it may seeme to bee at the first, can∣not bee blessed by God, nor indeed is it, the Lord giving them up almost every where, to other most dangerous, vile, and abominable opinions. I deny not but some few who are of this opinion are otherwise minded, but all our expe∣rience teacheth us that the generality of them doe runne this way.

Thirdly, this opinion puts all the Infants of all Beleevers into the self-same condition, with the Infants of Turkes and Indians, which they all readily acknowledge; and from thence unavoidably one of these three things must fol∣low. 1. Either all of them are damned who die in their Infancy, being without the Covenant of grace, having no part in Christ. Or, 2. All of them saved, as having no ori∣ginall sinne, and consequently needing no Saviour; which most of the Anabaptists in the world doe owne, and there∣with bring in al Pelagianisme, Universall grace, Free-will, &c. Or, 3. That although they bee tainted with originall cor∣ruption, and so need a Saviour, Christ doth pro beneplacito, save some of the Infants of Indians and Turkes, dying in their Infancy, as well as some of the Infants of Christians; and so carry salvation by Christ out of the Church, beyond the Covenant of grace, where God never made any pro∣mise: That God hath made a promise to bee the God of believers, and of their Seed, wee all know; but where the pro∣mise is to bee found, that hee will bee the God of the seed of such Parents who live and die his enemies, and their seed, not so much as called by the preaching of the Gospel, I know not. These men say the Covenant of grace made to the Jewes, differs from the Covenant of grace made with Us; but I desire to know, whether in the one, or in the other, they find any promise of salvation by Christ to any In∣fants dying in their Infancie, whose Parents no way belonged to the Family of GOD, or Covenant of Grace.

Page  8The matter then being of such consequence, and many amongst us in such danger of being seduced, further then is easie to imagine, through the subtilty, activity, and diligence of such as with a great shew of Scriptures, and under a pre∣tence of zeale, doe creepe into Houses; yea, proclaime these things openly in Pulpits: I take my selfe bound upon this occasion to shew you upon what grounds the Ortho∣dox Church hath hitherto retained this practise, and shall bring all that I intend to speake of it under two Arguments, and under them shall indeavour to Answer whatsoever I have found of any moment objected to the contrary.

My first Argument is this, The Infants of beleeving Pa∣rents are foederati,*therefore they must bee signati: they are within the Covenant of grace, belonging to Christs body, king∣dome, family; therefore are to partake of the seale of his Co∣venant, or the distinguishing badge between them who are under the Covenant of grace, and them who are not.

The ordinary Answer to this Argument is, by denying that Infants are under the Covenant of Grace; onely some few deny the consequence, that although they were with∣in the Covenant, yet it followes not that they must bee sea∣led, because (say they) the Women among the Jewes were under the Covenant, yet received not Circumcision, which was the seale of the Covenant; but this receives an easie answer, the Women were Circumcised in the Males, else could not God have said, that the whole house of Israel were Circumcised in the flesh, else could not the whole Na∣tion of the Jewes bee called the Circumcision, in op∣position to all the World beside, who were called the Uncir∣cumcision.

But for the better clearing of this whole Argument; I shall indeavour to make good these five Conclusions.*

First, that the Covenant of Grace hath alwayes for sub∣stance been one and the same.

Page  9Secondly, God will have the Infants of such as enter in∣to Covenant with him, bee counted his, as well as their Parents.

Thirdly, God hath ever since Abrahams time, had a Seale to bee applied to such as enter into Covenant with him.

Fourthly, by Gods owne order the Seed, or Infants of Covenanters before Christs time, were to be sealed with the seale of admission into his Covenant, as well as their Pa∣rents.

Fifthly, the priviledge of such as are in Covenant since Christs time, are as honourable, large, and comfortable, both to themselves and their children, as they were before Christs time: and these five Propositions made good, the Argument will be strong and undeniable.

The first is, That the Covenant of grace, for substance,*hath alwayes been one and the same,*both to the Jewes and to the Gentiles. Which to understand, know, that the new and li∣ving way to life was first revealed to Adam immediately after his fall, and that blessed promise concerning the Seed of the woman was often renewed, and the Patriarchs faith therein, and salvation thereby, recorded plentifully in the Scripture: but the first time that ever it was revealed under the expresse name of a League or Covenant was with Abra∣ham; and therefore we shall need looke no higher then his dayes: who because he was the first explicite Covenanter, is called the father of the faithfull; and ever since clearly hath all the world been divided into two distinct bodies or fa∣milies; the one called the Kingdome, City, Houshold of God, to which all who owne the way to life, were to joine themselves; and these were called the Children of God, the Sons of Abraham, the Children of the Kingdome: all the rest of the World, the Kingdom of the Devill, the Seed of the Serpent, Strangers from the Covenant of Grace, without God Page  10 in the world;* &c. Now I say that this Covenant of Grace hath for substance been alwayes the same; for substance I say, for wee must distinguish betwixt the Covenant it selfe, and the manner of administration of this Covenant: The substance of the Covenant on Gods part was, to be Abrabra∣hams God,* and the God of his Seed, to bee an Al-sufficient porti∣on, an Al-sufficient reward for him, to give Jesus Christ to him, and Righteousnesse with him, both of Justification and of Sanctification, and everlasting life. On Abrahams part the substance of the Covenant was,* to beleeve in the promised Messiah, to walke before God with a perfect heart, to serve God according to his revealed wil, to instruct his family, &c. The manner of administration of this Covenant at the first was by types,* and shadowes, sacrifices, &c. And foure hun∣dred and thirty yeeres after the Law was added with great terrour upon Mount Sinai, not as a part of this Covenant, but as the Apostle saith expressely, it was added because of Transgressions, to bee a Schoolemaster to whip to Christ; Plainly in that giving of the Law, there was something of the Covenant of workes made with Adam in Paradise; yet in order to the Administration of the Covenant of grace, there was a rehearsall of the Covenant of workes, under which all men lie by nature, untill they bee brought under the Covenant of grace: and this was delivered with great terror, and under most dreadfull penalties, that they who were prone to seeke justification in themselves, by finding the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the impossibility of their keeping the Law, might be driven to seeke for a better Mediator, even the Lord Jesus Christ, as was excellently shadowed out, Exod. 20.18, 19, 20. Deut. 5.24. when they cryed out to Moses; that they might no more heare this dreadfull voice, which would kill them, but that they might bee spoken unto by a Mediator: and GOD said, they had well spoken, and pre∣sently accepted Moses for their typicall mediator, and by him Page  11 gave them the Gospel in their Tabernacle Ordinances. And there was also somthing of the administration of the Cove∣nant of grace; partly, because all the threatning and cursing part of it was intended as a preparative and meanes to fit them for Christ; and partly because the directing part of it, containes that very rule whereby Abraham, and all his Seed were ordered to walke in obedience towards God.

To conclude this, All their externall promises in case of obedience, all outward blessings which were to bee injoy∣ed by them, the Land of Canaan, and all the good things in it, all outward punishments and threatnings, losse of their Countrey, going into Captivity, all their Sacrifices▪ their Washings, their Sprinklings, their holy Persons, holy Feasts, and holy things, were all of them but so many Ad∣ministrations of the Covenant of Grace; Earthly things then, were not onely promised or threatned more distinctly and fully, then now they are to them who are in Covenant, but were figures, signes, types and Sacraments of spiritu∣all things, to bee injoyed both by them and by us; as might bee cleared by abundance of particulars: Take but that one instance of the Land of Canaan, which albeit in it selfe it was but like other Lands▪ yet was it by the Lord sanctified to spirituall ends, where he would have his Taber∣nacle pitched, and Temple built, out of which Land, when the ten Tribes were carried captive, hee is said to have put them out of his sight: the very Land being figuratively ho∣ly, and a signe of Gods presence,* the resting of Gods peo∣ple there, a signe of their eternall rest in Heaven, into which not Moses the Lawgiver, but Joshua, or Jesus, the type of their true Jesus was to bring them:* neither did the Lord promise them entrance into, or continuance in that Land, but upon the same conditions upon which hee promiseth eternall life, as true Faith in the Gospel,* with the love and feare of God, and obedience of his Commandements: Page  12 Godlinesse having then, as it hath now and alwayes, the pro∣mise of good things for this life,* and the life to come, of earthly things, then more distinctly, and fully, and typical∣ly, but of heavenly things more generally and sparingly; whereas now on the contrary, there is a more cleare and full revelation and promise of heavenly things, but the pro∣mise of things earthly, more generall and sparing: Now this externall Administration of the Covenant is not the same with us, as it was with them, but the Covenant is the same; they were under the same misery by nature, had the same Christ, the Lambe slaine from the beginning of the World, the same conditions of Faith and repentance, to bee made partakers of the Covenant, had the same graces pro∣mised in the Covenant, Circumcising of their heart, to love the Lord, &c. Theirs was dispenced in darker Prophe∣cies, and obscurer Sacrifices, types, and Sacraments, ours more gloriously and clearely, and in a greater measure: the cloathes indeed doe differ, but the body is the same in both.

As is apparent, if, First, you look but into the Prophe∣cies that were made,*Jer. 31.33. Isaiah 59.21. Joel 2.32. and many other places, where the same things are promised to the Gentiles, when the Gospel should bee preached unto them, which were first promised to Abraham, and to his seed; but more fully,* if you looke into the New Testament, where you shall find, Luke 1.54, 55, 69, 70, 72, 73. Luke 2.31, 32. that Christ and the kingdome of grace by him, is ac∣knowledged to bee the summe of the oath and Covenant, which God had promised to Abraham, and to his seed: So Matth. 21.41, 43. the same Vineyard that was let to the Jewes, should afterward be let to the Gentiles; the same kingdome of God which was formerly given to the Jews, should be taken from them, and given to the Gentiles: So Rom. 11. the Gentiles were to bee ingraffed into the same Page  13 stocke in which formerly the Jews had growne, and from which they were now to bee cut off,* and into which in the end they should bee ingraffed againe: So Gal. 3.8.14.16. Abraham had the same Gospel preached to him, which is now preached to us, the same blessing bestowed upon Abra∣ham, comes on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that they (as well as he) might receive the promise of the Spirit through Faith; they who receive the promise of the Spirit through faith, have the blessing of Abraham come upon them: as cleare is that, Ephes. 2.13. to the end of the Chapter, the partition wall which severed us from the Jewes, is now broken downe, and the Gentiles who formerly were a∣farre off, are now taken in, and made Inter-Commoners with the Jews; the Apostle alluding to the manner of the Jewish worship, where beyond the Court wherein the Jews did worship, there was another Court divided from it by a sept or wall, which was called, Atrium gentium & immun∣dorum, the Court of the Gentiles and of the uncleane, nea∣rer then which none of them might approach unto the Temple; but now saith he, The partition wall is broken downe, and wee are no more Strangers and Forainers, but made fel∣ow-Citizens with the Saints, and of the houshold of God; and with them grow up unto an holy Temple in the Lord; all which shews, that the very selfe same priviledges formerly made peculiar to the Jews, are now through Christ communica∣ted to the Gentiles. And this will yet more fully appeare, if wee consider how St. Paul to the Galatians, shews that the same seed of Abraham, so much spoken of in the Covenant made with him, is now found among the Gentiles, as 〈◊〉 was formerly among the Jews, there you shall find three sorts of Abrahams seed: First, Christ, Gal. 3.16. the root and stock, the head, and Elder brother of all the rest. Secondly, all true beleevers are Abrahams seed, cap. 3.29. these onely are made partakers of the spirituall part of the Covenant. Page  14 Thirdly, you shall find another seed of Abraham, who were onely circumcised in the flesh, and not in the heart, who though they were either borne of Abrahams seed or professed Abrahams faith, and so were Jews facti, though not nati, made though not borne Jews, becomming Proselytes, yet ne∣ver came to make Abrahams God their All-sufficient porti∣on, but placed their happinesse in somewhat, which was not Christ, either by seeking justification by the works of the Law, being ignorant of Gods righteousnesse, and going about to establish their own righteousnesse did not submit themselves unto the righteousnesse of God,* or placed their happinesse, in satis∣fying the lusts of their flesh, going a whoring after the crea∣ture; and so though they were Abrahams seed by profession and outward cleaving to the Covenant, yet were to be cast off with the rest of the uncircumcised, of whom Ishmael and Esau were Types, Gal. 4.22. &c. Even so is it now in the times of the Gospel, we have now Jesus Christ, the Elder brother, the first-born of the Covenant, we have also true beleevers, who are brethren and Co-heires with him, who are properly the heires by promise, and wee have also some who are onely a holy seed by externall profession, Gal. 4.29. who either with the false Teachers,* which Paul there speaks of, mingle justification by the Law and Gospell together, or with others, 2 Tim. 3.5. though they have a forme of godlinesse; yet deny the power of it in their lives and conversati∣ons. So much for the first Conclusion, that the Covenant of grace, for substance, was alwayes one and the same.

Ever since God gathered a distinct, select number out of the world,* to bee his Kingdom, City, House-hold, in oppo∣sition to the rest in the world,* which is the kingdom, city, house-hold of Satan, he would have The Infants of all who are taken into Covenant with him, to bee accounted his, to belong to him, to his Church and Family, and not to the devils. As it is in other Kingdoms, Corporations, and Families, the chil∣dren Page  15 of all Subjects borne in a Kingdome, are borne that Princes Subjects, where the Father is a free man, the childe is not born a slave; where any are bought to be servants, their children born in their Masters house, are born his ser∣vants. Thus it is by the Laws of almost all Nations, and thus hath the Lord ordained, it shall be in his kingdome and family; the Children follow the Covenant-condition of their Parents, if he take a Father into Covenant, he takes the Children in with him; if hee reject the Parents out of Covenant, the children are cast out with them; Thus with∣out all question it was in the time of the Jews,*Gen. 17.9. &c. and when any of any other Nation, though a Canaanite or Hittite, acknowledged Abrahams God to be their God, they and their children came into covenant together.

And so it continues still, though the Anabaptists boldly deny it: Act. 2.38, 39. when Peter exhorted his hearers,* who were pricked in their hearts, to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, he useth an Argument to perswade them, taken from the benefit which should come to their po∣sterity, for the Promise (saith he) is unto you and unto your children, and to all that are afarre off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call: if once they obey the call of God, as A∣braham did, the promise was made to them and to their chil∣dren, whether they who obey this call were the present Jews to whom he spake, or were afarre off: whether by afarre off, you will meane the Gentiles, who as yet worshipped afar off, or the Jews or any who as yet were unborn, and so were afarre off in time, or whether they dwelt in the remotest parts of the world, and so were afarre off in place, the Ar∣gument holds good to the end of the world, Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost; For the Promise is made to you and to your chil∣dren, they shall bee made free of Gods City, according to Abrahams Copy; I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed. Let Page  16Zacheus the Publican once receive Christ himselfe, be he a Gentile, as some thinke he was, be he a great sinner, esteem∣ed as a heathen, as wee all know he was, let him professe the faith of Christ,* and the Covenant of Salvation comes to his house; for now he is made a sonne of Abraham: that is, Abra∣hams promise now reacheth him.

*Neither can the evidence of this place be eluded by say∣ing, the promise here meant, is of the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, to speake with tongues, &c. For we all know that all who then beleeved and were baptized, did not re∣ceive those extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, and beside this Argument remaines still in force to be used to the end of the world, Who ever beleeves and is baptized, shall receive remission of sinnes, and the gift of the Holy Ghost: Which was not true, if by the Holy Ghost was meant onely those extraordinary gifts.

*Nor, secondly, can it be avoyded by that shift of others who interpret it thus, To you and your children as many of them as the Lord shall call, that is (say they) whether your selves or your children, or any other whom the Lord shall call. if they repent and be baptized, they shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, for it is plaine that the strength of this Argument lieth in this, That if they did repent and were baptized, the promise should be made good to them and to their children and what comfortable argument can this be taken from respect to their children, if the Apo∣stle must be interpreted as these men would have him? viz. You and your chldren have hitherto beene an holy seed, but now if you beleeve in Chrst your selves, your children shall bee in no better condition then the rest of the Pagan world, strangers from the Covenant of God▪ but if afterward any of them, or any of the Heathen shall for their parts beleeve and be baptized, their perticular persons shallbe tooke into Covenant, but their children still left out: Had this thinke you beene a comfor∣table Page  17 Argument to perswade them to come in, in relati∣on to the good of their children after them? The plaine strength of the argument is, God hath now remembred his Co∣venant to Abraham, in sending that blessed seed, in whom he pro∣mised to be the God of him and his seed; doe not you by your un∣beliefe deprive your selves and your posterity of so excellent a gift. And except in relation to the Covenant, there was no occasion to name their children, it had beene suffici∣ent to have said, a promise is made to as many as the Lord shall call.

As plaine it is out of the 11. of the Rom. 16. &c. where the Apostles scope is to shew that we Gentiles have now the same graffing into the true Olive which the Jewes for∣merly had, and our present graffing in,* is answerable to their present casting out, and their taking in in the latter end of the world shall be the same graffing in (though more glo∣riously) as ours is now: Now all know that when they were taken in, they and their children were taken in, when they were broken off, they and their children were broken off, when they shall be taken in, in the latter end of the world, they and their children shall be taken in, and that because the root is holy, that is, Gods Covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, extends yet unto them when their unbeleefe shall be taken away. The root being like Nebuchad∣nezzars tree, the tree hewen downe, and the root bound with a band of yron untill seven times were passed over it, and then the bands should be broken, and the root should spring, and the tree should grow againe: so their present Nation, like this tree, is cut downe, and this holy root the Covenant made with their forefathers, is suspended, bound with an iron barre of unbeliefe, blindnesse being come upon them, untll the fulnesse of the Gentiles be come in, and then all Israel shall be saved. And marke that in all this discourse, the holinesse of the Branches there spoken of, is not meant of a Page  18 personall inherent holinesse, but a derivative holinesse, a ho∣linesse derived to them from their Ancestors; the first fruit is holy, the lumpe holy, the root holy, the braches holy, that is, the Fathers holy accepted in Covenant wth God, the children beloved for their fathers sake; and when the vaile of unbe∣liefe shall be taken away, the children and their posterity shall be taken in againe, because beloved for their fathers sakes. Now then if our graffing in, be answerable to theirs in all, or any of these three particulars, we and our children are graffed in together.

Ob. But here is no mention made of our Infants graffing in.

Answ. We must not teach the Lord to speake, but with reverence search out his meaning, there is no mention made of casting out the Jewsh Infants, neither here nor else∣where: when he speakes of taking away the kingdome of God from them, and giving it to the Gentiles who would bring forth fruit, no mention of the infants of the one, or of the other, but the one and the other for these outward dis∣pensations, are comprehended in their parents, as the branches in the root, the infants of the godly in their parents, according to the tenor of his mercy, the infants of the wicked in their parents, according to the tenor of his justice.

And yet plainer (if plainer may be) is that speech of the Apostle in 1 Corinth. 7.14.*The unbeleeving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbeleeving wife is sanctified by the husband, else were your children uncleane, but now they are holy; the plaine scope and meaning whereof is this; the beleeving Corinthians, among other cases of conscience which they had sent to the Apostle for his resolution of, had written this for one, whether it were lawfull for them who were converted, still to retaine their infidell wives, or husbands: their doubt seemes to arise from the Law of God, which was in force to the Nation of the Jewes; God had not onely forbidden such marriages to his people, but Page  19 in Ezra's time, they put away not onely their wives, but all the children that were borne of them,* as not belonging to the Common-wealth of Israel; and it was done accor∣ding to the Law, and that Law was not a particular Edict which they did agree upon, but according to the standing Law of Moses, which that word there used signifieth; and in Nehemiahs time,* the children who were borne of such marriages were accounted a Mungrell kind, whom Nehemi∣ah cursed.* Now hereupon these Corinthians doubted whe∣ther their children, as well as their wives, were not to be ac∣counted uncleane, and so to be put away according to those examples; to which the Apostle answers, No, they were not to be put away; Upon what speciall reason soever, that Law was in force to the Jewes, beleeving Christians were not in that condition, the unbeleeving wife was sanctified in the beleeving husband, quoad hoc, so farre, as to bring forth an holy seed; were it with them as when both of them were unbeleevers, so that neither of them had a preroga∣tive to entitle their children to the Covenant of grace, their children would be an uncleane Progeny; or were the chil∣dren to be reckoned in the condition of the worser parent, so that the unbeleever could contribute more to Paganisme then the beleever to Christianity, it were so likewise; but the case is otherwise, the beleeving husband hath by Gods ordinance a sanctified use of his unbeleeving wife, so as by Gods speciall promise made to beleevers and their seed, they were invested, in,* and to the most spirituall end of Mar∣riage, the continuance of a holy seed, wherein the Church is to be propagated to the worlds end: and the case is here in Relation to the posterity for spirituall priviledges, as in other marriages, for civill priviledges, as suppose a Prince, or No∣bleman marry with a woman of base or meane birth, though in generall it be true, that the children of those that be base, are borne base, as well as the children of Nobles are borne Page  20Noble, yet here the issue hath honour from the Father, and is not accounted base by the basenesse of the Mother. This I take to be the plaine meaning of the Apostles answer: But because the Anabaptists doe very much indeavour to weaken the evidence of this Argument, I shall indeavour to cleare it from their exceptions. They utterly deny that this place is meant of any Federall holinesse, but of legitimation, which they call civill holinesse, and so interpret the Corinthians doubt to bee, whether their marriage with Unbeleevers were not now a nullity, and their children thereupon to bee spu∣rious, illegitimate, or Bastards, and the Apostles answer to bee, that because the unbeleeving wife is sanctified to the be∣leeving husband, that is, their marriage remaines lawfull, therefore their children are not spurious, but lawfully be∣gotten. But that this cannot be the meaning, I clearly prove by these foure Arguments.

First, uncleannesse and holinesse, when opposed one to the other,* are never taken for civilly lawfull; uncleannesse indeed, when opposed to cleannesse, may be taken in severall senses, an uncleane vessell, an uncleane cloath, an uncleane garment; when opposed to cleane, may signifie nothing but dirty or spotted; but when uncleannesse is opposed to holi∣nesse, it is alwaies taken in a sacred sense, referring to a Ta∣bernacle use, to a right of admission into, or use in, the Ta∣bernacle or Temple, which were types to us of the visible Church; and holinesse is alwaies taken for a separation of per∣sons or things from common to sacred uses* Even the meats and drinkes of beleevers sanctified to them, serve for a religious end and use, even to refresh them, who are the Temples of the Holy Ghost; so that they have not onely a lawfull, but an holy use of their meat and drinke, which Unbeleevers have not, to whom yet their meat and drinke is civilly law∣full.

Page  21And whereas some say,* 1 Thess. 4.3, 4, 5. that chastity a morall vertue found among Heathens, is called by the name of Sanctification; Let every one possesse his vessell, not in the lust of concupisence, but in sanctification and honour.

I Answer, Chastity among Heathens,* is never called San∣ctification, but among Beleevers it may well bee called so, being a part of the new creation, a branch of their sanctifi∣cation, wrought by the Spirit of God, a part of the inward adorning of the Temple of the holy Ghost. So that the meaning cannot be, your children are holy, that is, now they are not Bastards; but rather, whereas before, both you and they were uncleane, and might have nothing to doe with the Temple of God, now both you and your Children are a holy seed, according as was shewed to Peter in his vision, where God shewed him, that the Gentiles formerly no better then uncleane beasts, and creeping things,*should upon their con∣version to Christ bee no longer esteemed common or de∣filed.

Secondly, this being so, had this beene the meaning,*else were your Children uncleane, but now they are holy, else had your children been Bastards, but now they are legitimate; the Apostles answer had not been true, because then if one of the Parents had not been a Beleever, and so by his be∣ing a believer, sanctified his unbeleeving Wife, their chil∣dren must have been Bastards: whereas wee know their children had been legitimate, being born in lawfull Wed∣locke, though neither of the Parents had been a beleever: Marriage being a second Table duty, is lawfull, (though not sanctified) to Pagans as well as to Christians, and the legi∣timation or illegitimation of the issue depends not upon the Faith, but upon the marriage of the Parents; let the mar∣riage be lawfull, and the issue is legitimate, whether one, or both, or neither of the Parents be beleevers or infidels: take but away lawfull marriage, betwixt the Man and the Wo∣man, Page  22 and the issue is legitimate, whether one, or both, or neither of the Parents are beleevers or infidels: withall, if the children of Heathens be Bastards, and the marriage of Heathens no marriage, then there is no adultery among heathens, and so the seventh Commandement is altoge∣ther in vaine in the words of it as to them.

Besides, St. Pauls reason had no strength in it, supposing the Text were to be interpreted as these men would have it;* Their doubt (say they) was, that their marriage was an un∣lawfull wedlocke, and so consequently their children Ba∣stards; now mark what kind of answer they make the Apo∣stle give, Were yee not lawfull man and wife, your children were Bastards, but because the unbeleeving wife is sanctified in the husband, &c. because your marriage is a lawfull marriage, your children are legitimate. What strength of reason is in this? if this had been their doubt or question, whether their mar∣riage were not a nullity, the Apostle by his Apostolick au∣thority might have definitively answered, without giving a reason, your marriage is good, and your children legitimate; but if Paul will go about to satisfie them by reason, and prove them to be mistaken, it behoved him to give such a reason which should have some weight in it, but this hath none; set their doubt (as these men frame it) and the Apostles an¦swer (as these men interpret him) together, and you will ea∣sily see the invalidity of it; We doubt, say the Corinthians, we are not lawfull man and wife; and that therefore our chil∣dren are bastards. No, saith Paul, you are mistaken, and I prove it thus, Were ye not lawfull man and wife, your children were bastards; but because ye are lawfull man and wife, your children are not bastards. Is there any Argument or proofe in this?

Fourthly, according to this their interpretation, the A∣postles answer could no wayes have reached to the quieting of their consciences;* there doubt was, whether according Page  23 to the example in Ezra, they were not to put away their wives and children, as not belonging to God, as being a Seed whom God would not own among his people; now what kind of quiet would this have given them, to tell them that their children were not Bastards? We know the Jewes did not put away their Bastards, as not belonging to the Covenant of God; Phares, and Zarah, and Jepthah, and innumerable others, though bastards, were circumcised, and not cut off from the people of God.

And whereas some object out of Deut. 23.2.* That Bastards did not belong to the Covenant among the Jews, because God there forbad a bastard to come into the Congregati∣on of the Lord.

I Answer, that is meant onely of bearing Office in the Church, or some such like thing, and not of being under the Covenant, belonging to the Church: as is manifest, not only by what hath been now said of Jepthah and others, who were circumcised, and offered Sacrifices, and drew nigh to God, as well as any other; but the very text alledged gives sufficient light, that it cannot be meant otherwayes; be∣cause in that place who ever is an Eunuch, or wounded in his stones, hath the same exclusion from the Congregation of the Lord: and I hope no man will dare to say, that none such are holy to the Lord; if they should,* the Scripture is full e∣nough against them: That putting away in Ezra was of an higher nature then bare illegitimation; and therefore it be∣hooved the Apostle to give another manner of satisfacti∣on to there doubtfull consciences, then to tell them their children were not bastards: Therefore I conclude, that this holinesse being the fruits of one of the Parents being a belee∣ver, must be meant of some kind of holinesse, which is not com∣mon to the seed of them whose Parents are both Unbeleevers, and that is enough for our purpose.

Yet there remaines two Objections to bee answered, Page  24 which are made against this our interpretation.

*First, The unbeleeving wife is here said to bee sanctified, as well as the childe is said to be holy, and the Originall word is the same for both, one the verb, the other the noune: if then the childe is holy, with a federall holinesse, then is also the un∣beleeving wife sanctified with a federall sanctification, and so the wife, although remaining a heathen, may be yet counted to belong to the Covenant of Grace.

I answer; Indeed there would be weight in this objection if the Apostle had said the unbeleeving Wife is sanctifyed,** and no more, as hee simply says, the children are holy; but that he doth not say, he saith indeed the unbeleeving wife is sanctified in the beleeving husband, or to the beleeving hus∣band: that is, to his use, as all other creatures are, as the bed he lies on, the meate he eats, the cloathes he weares, the beast he rides on, are sanctifyed to him, and so this sanctify∣ednesse of the wife is not a sanctification of state, but only of use, and of this use, to be sanctifyed to the beleeving husband; whereas the holinesse and sanctification that is spoken of the children, is a holinesse of state, and not only a sanctification to the Parents use.

*That holinesse of the Children is here meant, which could not bee, unlesse one of the Parents were sanctifyed to the other, which is the force of the Apostles arguing, the unbeleever is sanctified to the beleever, else were not the chil∣dren holy, but unclean: but federall holinesse of children may be where the Parents are not sanctifyed, one in or to the other, as in bastardy, Davids childe by Bathsheba, Phares, and Zarah, Judahs children by Thamar, the Israelites chil∣dren by the Concubines, Abrahams son Ishmael by Hagar, &c. in which cases the children were federally holy, and accordingly were circumcised, and yet the Harlot not san∣ctifyed in or to the Adulterer or Fornicator, though a belee∣ver.

Page  25I answer, we must attend the Apostles scope, wch is to shew that the children would be unholy,* if the faith or beleever-ship of one of the Parents could not remove the barre, which lies in the other, being an unbeleever, against the producing of an holy seed, because one of them was a Pagan, or unbeleever, therefore the childe would not be a holy seed, unlesse the faith or beleevership of the other Parent, could remove this bar. Now this can have no place of an Argument, in any case, where one of the Parents is not an Infidell: but this was not the case a∣mong the Jews; Hagar, and Thamar, and the Concubines, however sinfull, in those acts, yet themselves were beleevers, belonging to the Covenant of God, and that barre lay not against their children, as did in the unbeleeving wife: indeed if a beleeving man or woman should adulterously beget a childe upon a Pagan, a Heathen, or Unbeleever, there this ob∣jection deserves to bee further weighed, but here it comes not within the compasse of the Apostles Argument.

Before I passe from this second conclusion, let me further shew you why the Lord will have the children of beleeving Parents reckoned even in their Infancy,* to belong to him. First his own beneplacitum, his free grace and favour which moves him to shew mercy to whom he will, is a sufficient answer to all: But secondly, he will have it for his owne glo∣ry. It is the honour of other Princes, that all who are born in their kingdome should be accounted borne their Subjects; and the honour of great Masters, that the children of their servants born in their houses should be born their servants:*Solomon counts it a peece of his glory, that he had servants born in his house. And on the other side, it is a dis-honour to a King not to be able legally to lay claime to those born in his kingdome, but that another King, yea, an enemy might legally challenge them to be his Subjects. So is it with the Lord, he having left all the rest of the world, to be visibly the devils kingdome, will not for his owne glories sake per∣mit Page  26 the devill to come and lay visible claime to the sonnes and daughters, begotten by those who are the children of the most High. And thirdly, he doth it both for the com∣fort and duty of those who are in Covenant with him, partly, I say, for their comfort and priviledge, while they may see their children visibly to be provided for by a better Father, under a Covenant of Grace, to whose care, and under whose wing they may leave them, when themselves shall faile; and partly to be an obligation to bring them up for God, not to themselves, much lesse to the devill, but ever to look upon themselves in the education of their children, to be but nursing Fathers and Mothers to train them up in the nurture and feare of the Lord, unto whose kingdome, family and Covenant they thus belong.

I have been the larger upon these two first Conclusions, because indeed the proving of these, gains the whole cause, if the Covenant be the same and children belong to it, then they are to be owned as Covenanters, and to be admitted to the distinguishing or discriminating sign betwixt Gods peo∣ple and the devils, and this the most learned of the Ana∣baptists doe professe, that if they knew a childe to be holy, they would baptize it. In the other Conclusions I shall be more briefe.

*The Lord hath appointed and ordained a Sacrament or seale of initiation to be administred unto them who enter into Co∣venant with him, Circumcision for the time of that administra∣tion which was before Christs incarnation, Baptisme since the time of his incarnation; both of them the same Sacrament for the sprituall part, though differing in the outward Elements; both appointed to be distinguishing signes, betwixt Gods people and the devils people; both of them the way and means of solemne entrance and admission into the Church; both of them to be administred but once, and none might be received into the Communion of the Church of the Jewes,Page  27 untill they were circumcised, nor into the Communion of the Church of the Christians untill they be Baptized; none but the circumcised might eat of the Paschall Lamb, none may, but those who are baptized, be admitted to eat the Lords Supper, which succeeds in the room of the Passeover, and this our Lord himselfe taught us by his own example, who was circumcised, as a professed Member of the Church of the Jews, and when he set up the new Christian Church, he would be initiated into it, by the Sacrament of Bap∣tisme.

Of this Conclusion there is no great doubt, but because some of the Anabaptists doe deny the Sacrament of Bap∣tisme to succeed in the roome, place,* and use of Circumcisi∣on, be pleased to observe how plaine the Apostle makes it, Coloss. 2.8, 9; 10, 11, 12. where the Apostles scope is to disswade the beleeving Christians from the rudiments of the world and Jewish Ceremonies, and observations upon this ground, that we are compleate in Christ, and that in him as in the head, the Church hath all perfections, and because he would take them wholly off from Circumcision, the use wherof ingaged them to the use of the rest of Jewish Ceremonies, he tels them,* that in Christ we are circumcised with a Circumcision made without hands (a better Circumcision then the Jewes was) in putting off the body of the sinnes of the flesh by the Circumsion of Christ. And whereas the Jewish tea∣chers would be ready to object that the receiving of the inward grace of Circumcision, did not make them so com∣pleate as Abraham and his seed was, because they also had an outward sensible signe whereby they might be far∣ther perswaded, comforted and confirmed; to this he answers, ver. 12. That neither is this priviledge wanting to Christians who have as excellent and expresse a Sacrament of it, being buried with Christ in Baptisme, the effect whereof he there sets downe, and therefore they needed not Circumcision, Page  28 as their false Teachers insinuated, thereby directly tea∣ching that our Baptisme is in stead of their Circumcision. And the Analogy lies betweene two Sacramentall types of the same substance [regeneration] to both Jews and Gen∣tiles. And in truth had not Baptisme come in the roome of it, the Apostle could not have pitched upon a worse in∣stance then that of Circumcision, which was so much va∣lued by them, and was so great and usefull a priviledge un∣to them: Nor had there been any reason to have here na∣med Baptisme, but that he meant to shew Baptism to Chri∣stians was now in the roome of Circumcision to the Jews.

That by Gods owne expresse order, infants as well as growne men were in the time of the Jewes to be initiated and sealed with the signe of Circumcision:* Whether Jewes by nature, or Proselytes of the Gentiles,* one Law was for them al, if they receive the Covenant, they and their children receive Cir∣cumcision: and although, as I touched before, this signe was actually applyed onely to the Males, yet the females were virtually circumcised in them, as is apparent both because the whole Church of the Jewes were called the Circumci∣sion, and because by Gods expresse order, no uncircumci∣sed person might eate of the Passeover,* which we are sure the women did as well as the men. And whereas some who see which way the strength of this Conclusion ben∣deth,* doe alledge, that though Circumcision was to be applyed to their Infants, yet it was not as a seale of the spirituall part of the Covenant of Grace, but as a nationall badge, a seale of some temporall and earthly blessings and proviledges, as of their right to the land of Canaan, &c. and that Ishmael though he was circumcised for some tem∣porall respects, yet he was not thereby brought under the Covenant of Grace, which was expresly said to be made with Abraham in relation to Isaac and his seed.*

*I answer, there is nothing plainer then that the Covenant Page  29 whereof Circumcision was the signe,* was the Covenant of Grace; Abraham received Circumcision a signe of the righteousnesse of faith, and the Jewes received it not as a Nation, but as a Church, as a people separated from the world, and taken into Covenant with God: It is true in∣deed, that Circumcision bound them who received it to conforme to that manner of administration of the Cove∣nant which was carried, much, by a way of Temporall blessings and punishments, they being types of spirituall things; but no man can ever shew that any were to receive the Sacrament of Circumcision in relation to these out∣ward things onely, or to them at all, further then they were administrations of the Covenant of grace; sure I am, the Prosolytes and their children could not be circumcised in any relation at all to the Temporall blessings of the Land of Ca∣naan as they were temporall, because notwithstanding their Circumcision they were not capable of receiving, or pur∣chasing any inheritance at all in that Land, sojourne there they might, as other strangers also did, but the inheritance of the Land, no, not one foot of it could ever bee alienated from the severall Tribes to whom it was distributed as their possession by the most High: For all the land was divided unto twelve Tribes,* and they were not any one of them allowed to sell their lands longer then till the yeare of Jubilee, Levit. 25.13, &c. Yea, I may boldly say that their Circumcision was so farre from sealing to them the outward good things of the Land, that it occasioned and tyed them to a greater expence of their temporall blessings by their long, and frequent, and chargeable journeyes, to worship at Hierusalem. And as for what was alledged concerning Ishmael; the answer is easie, God indeed there declares that Isaac should bee the type of Christ, and that the Covenant of grace should bee established and continue in his family; yet both Ishmael and Page  30 the rest of Abrahams family were really taken into Co∣venant, untill afterward by Apostasie they discove∣nanted themselves, as also did Esau afterward, though he were the Son of Isaac, in whose family God had promi∣sed the Covenant should continue.

*Fifthly and lastly, the priviledges of beleevers under this last and best administration of the Covenant of grace, are ma∣ny wayes inlarged, made more honourable and comfortable, then ever they were in the time of the Jewes administration; many Scriptures speake of the inlargement of their privi∣ledges, not one for the diminishing or depressing, or extenua∣ting of them; that yoke, that hard and costly way of admi∣nistration, which neither they nor their Fathers were able to beare, is taken off from our shoulders; our Covenant is said to be established upon better promises,* the glory of theirs had no glory in respect of ours, they were under the bon∣dage of Infants under age, in comparison of our freedome, we as well as they are called a holy Nation, a peculiar people, a chosen generation, separated to him from all other people, to whom, as well as to them, belongs the adoption, the Cove∣nant, the promises; we as well as they injoy him to be our Father, and with his dearest Son our Lord, are made Co-heires of the Kingdome of glory; we have all these things with advantage, not onely in the clearnesse of the admini∣stration, but in some sense in greater extent to persons with us, there is neither male nor female.

*Some indeed goe about to shew, that in some things the Jewes had greater priviledges then Wee have, as that Abra∣ham had the priviledge to be called the Father of the faith∣full, that Christ should bee borne of his flesh; Mary had the priviledge to be the Mother of Christ, and the whole Na∣tion this priviledge, that God will call in their seed againe, after they had been cast off for unbelief many hundred yeers, which priviledges, say they, none of the Gentiles have, or can have.

Page  31Answ. But these things have no weight:* we are in∣quiring for priviledges which are branches of the Covenant of grace, which every man who is in Covenant with God, may expect from God by vertue of the Covenant, were he a Jew or a Proselyte, not for any particular or peculiar favour to a particular man or woman, or family, or tribe: All these forementioned things, and many other of the like kind (as the Ministery of the Tabernacle and Temple to belong to one Tribe, the Kingly office to one family; such and such men never to lack a man of their house to stand before God) pro∣ceeded indeed from Free-grace, but were no parts of that Covenant of grace which God made to Abraham, and all his Seed: For could every man in Covenant challenge these things at Gods hand, and that by vertue of the Covenant? Could every one of them promise to himself that Christ should be born of his flesh? Or every one of their women that she should be the Mother of Christ? Could every one whom God owned to be in Covenant with him, promise by vertue of the Covenant, that their children, if cast off by unbeleefe, should after many hundred yeers be again called in? We speake only of such priviledges as were universall, and common to all who were in Covenant, for which by ver∣tue of the Covenant they might relie upon God; Let any man shew out of the Scripture where our priviledges under the Gospel are cut short in any of these things, and he saith somwhat; and in particular for the Case in hand, concer∣ning our Infants right to the Covenant of grace, and the seale of it, once we are sure the Infant Children of all Cove∣nanters were within the Covenant, and the seale also be∣longed to them, and by vertue of the Covenant (which is still the same) we plead their interest in it. Let any man shew when and where this was taken away, when the In∣fant-children of beleevers were expunged out of the Cove∣nant of grace; certainly whoever will go about to de∣prive Page  32 them of it, to cut off such a great part of the comfort of Beleeving parents, must produce cleare testimonies, before they can perswade beleevers to part with either of them, ei∣ther their right to the Covenant, or to the seale of the Cove∣nant.

For, first, their Infants interest in the Covenant, next to glory of God, and the salvation of their own souls, is the greatest benefit of the Covenant of grace; even this (I say) to have their Children belong to Gods family and kingdom, and not to the Devils: certainly, the greatest treasure of Parents is their children, and in them the salva∣tion of their souls: Now how uncomfortable a thing were this to Parents, to take away the very ground of their hope, for the salvation of their Children? and I dare affirm it, that we have no ground of hope for any particular person, un∣till he be brought under the Covenant of grace. All the world, as I have formerly touched, is divided into two king∣doms, the kingdom of Christ, which is his Church; and the kingdom of Satan, which is the rest of the world; now so long as any person is visibly a member of the kingdom of Christ▪ we have no cause to doubt their election & salva∣tion, until they visibly shew the contrary, although we know that there are some reprobate among them; so on the other side, although we know Christ hath many of his elect to be gathered out of the Devils kingdom, yet we have no cause or ground to hope that any particular person is any other then a reprobate, being a visible professed member of Satans kingdom, untill he give hope to the contrary: now what a most uncomfortable abridgment were this of the Covenant of grace, thus apparently to cut off the Seed of Beleevers from their visible right in the Church of Christ, and to put them in the visible Kingdome of Satan?

And, Secondly, as really unwilling must they look to Page  33 find Parents, to part with their childrens right to the Seale of the Covenant; this their right to the Covenant being all the ground of hope that beleeving Parents can have that their Infants who die in their Infancy, are saved rather then the Infants of Turkes, had need bee sealed, if they live untill they are grown men, and give other signes of grace, they may conceive good hopes of them, though they were not sealed with a Sacramentall seale: This therefore is appa∣rent, that the cutting off our priviledges and comfort in these two were a great abridgment of the priviledges of the new Covenant, and would put the Seed of Abrahams faith into a farre worse condition in regard of their posterity, then the Seed of his flesh were in: And the Jews in Acts 2.39. if this Doctrine had been preached to them, might have re∣plied unto St. Peter, when he exhorted them to be baptized for their Childrens good; Nay, Peter, even therefore we will not be baptized, for as yet we are sure our Children are in Co∣nant with God, and reckoned to his family; but if we re∣ceive your new way, our children must be counted to the kingdom of the Devill; and so might they in Coloss. 2. when Paul told them they need not be circumcised, because Bap∣tism came in the room of it, they might have replied, that though they need not be circumcised themselves, yet they would still circumcise their children, because Bapism was not to be applied to them according to these mens Do∣ctrine.

Upon these five Conclusions, 1. That the Covenant of grace is alwayes the same. 2. That the Infants of those in Covenant are alwayes reckoned Covenanters with their Parents. 3. That our Baptisme succeeds in the room and use of their Circumcision. 4. That by Gods expresse or∣der, their Infants were to be Circumcised, as it was a seale of the Covenant. And 5. that our priviledges for our selves and our Children are at least as honourable, large, Page  34 and comfortable as theirs were: The Conclusion follows undeniably, that therfore the Infants of beleeving Parents are to be baptized.

Against this Argument the Anabaptists object many things. They say the Covenant was not the same; some of them say, the children of the Jewes were not under the Covenant in relation to spirituall things: They say, Circumci∣sion and baptism served not for the same ends and uses: They say Circumcision was administred as a nationall badge, and properly sealed temporal blessings: They say, whatever privi∣ledges Infants of Beleevers had before Christs time, they have now none at all; and many such like things: All which I have so fully cleared in this former Discourse, that I sup∣pose I need not adde any more; the main and only Obje∣ction remaining, which hath any colour of weight in it, is this,

There is no command, no expresse institution, or cleare exam∣ple in all the New Testament of baptizing of Infants:* And in the administration of Sacraments,* we are not to be led by our owne reason or grounds of seeming probability, but by the expresse order of Christ, and no otherwise.

If by institution, command and example, they meane an expresse syllabicall command,**&c. I grant that in so many words it is not found in the New Testament; no expresse com∣mand in the New Testament that they should be baptized; no expresse example where Children were Baptized; but I also adde, that I deny the consequence, that if in so many words it be not commanded in the New Testament, it ought not to be done,* this is not true divinity, that Christians are not tyed to observe that, which is not expresly and in so many words set down in the New Testament; there is no expresse reviving of the Laws concerning the forbidden degrees of marriage in the New Testament, except of not having a mans fathers Wife 1 Cor. 8. no expresse law a∣gainst Page  35 Polygamy, no expresse command for the celebration of a weekly Sabbath; are therefore Christians free in all these cases? Yea, in the Point of Sacraments there is no expresse command, no example in all the New Testament, where Women received the Sacrament of the Lords Supper; there is no expresse command that the Children of Beleevers when they are grown, shoud be instructed and Baptized, though instructed by their Parents; expresse command there is, that they should teach the Heathen and the Jewes, and make them Disciples, and then baptize them, but no command that the Children of those that are Beleevers should be baptized when they are grown men; nor any example where ever that was done; will any man therfore say, that Christian women are not to be partakers of the Lords Supper, nor the children of beleevers when growne men be baptized? I think none will be so absurd as to affirm it. If it be said, though these things be not expressely, and in ter∣minis in the New Testament, yet they are there vrtually, and by undeniable consequence; I confesse it is true,* so have we vertually, and by undeniable consequence sufficient evidence for the baptizing of children, both commands and examples; For first we have Gods command to Abraham, as he was the Father of all Covenanters, that he should seale his Children with the seale of the Covenant. Now this truth all our Di∣vines defend against the Papists, that all Gods commands and institutions about the Sacraments of the Jewes, bind us as much as they did them, in all things which belong to the substance of the Covenant, and were not accidentall unto them: as because circumcision is called a seale of the Covenant, therefore our Sacraments are seales of the Cove∣nant▪ because circumcision might be administred but once, being the seale of initiation; therefore Baptism being al∣so the seale of initiation, is also to be administred but once. But that circumcision was to be administred upon the eighth Page  36 day onely, was an accidentall thing, and therefore bindes not us; the Jewish Passeover being to be yearely repeated, binds us to have a repetition of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, which came in roome of it, because this belongs to the substance of the Covenant, both of them being Sacraments for spirituall nourishment, growth and continuance in the Co∣venant; (as the other was for birth and entrance) but that their Passeover was to be eaten in an Evening, and upon one set Evening in the yeare was accidentall, and so binds not us. The like instance I give in our Christian Sabbath: the fourth Commandement binds us for the substance of it as much as ever it bound the Jewes; There God once for all separated one day of seven to be sacred to himselfe, and all the world stood bound in all ages to give unto God that one day of seven, which should be of his owne choosing. Now untill Christs time God chose the last day of the se∣ven to be his Sabbath, and having by the death and resur∣rection of our Lord Jesus, put an end to the Saturday Sab∣bath, and surrogated the first day of the weeke in stead thereof to be the Lords day, we need no new Command∣ment for the keeping of the Lords day, being tyed by the fourth Commandment to keep that day of seven which the Lord should choose, the Lord having chosen this, the fourth Commandment binds us to this, as it did the Jews to the for∣mer: so in like manner I say in the Sacrament of Baptisme.

When God made the Covenant with Abraham, and promised for his part to be the God of him and his seed, what God promised to Abraham, we claime our part in it, as the children of Abrahams, and what God required on Abrahams part for the substance of obedience, we all stand charged with, as well as Abraham; we as Abraham are tyed to beleeve, to love the Lord with all our heart, to have our heart circumcised, to walke before God in upright∣nesse, to instruct our children, and bring them up for God Page  37 and not for our selves, nor for the Devill, to teach them to worship God according to his revealed will, to traine them up under the ordinances and institutions of Gods owne appointment: all these things Gods command to Abraham charges upon all the children of the Covenant, though there were no expresse reviving these commands in any part of the New Testament, and therefore consequently that command of God to Abraham which bound his seed of the Jewes, to traine up their children in that manner of worship which was then in force, bindes the seed of Abraham, now to traine up their children in conformity to such ordinances as now are in force.

And the same command which injoyned Abraham to seale his children with the seale of the Covenant, injoynes us as strongly to seale ours with the seale of the Covenant, and that command of God which expressely bound Abraham to seale his with the signe of Circumcision which was the Sacrament then in force, pro tempore; doth vertually binde us to seale ours with the signe of Baptisme, which is the Sa∣crament now in force, and succeeds in the roome of the other by his owne appointment.

There is one command by cleare consequence, another you shall find,*Matth. 28. where our Saviour bids them goe and teach all Nations, Baptizing them in the name of the Fa∣ther, and of the Sanne, and of the Holy Ghost. Where you have two things: First, What they were to doe; Secondly, To whom they were to doe it. They were to preach and teach all things which he had commanded them, that is, they were to preach the whole Gospel, Mark. 16.15. The whole Covenant of Grace, containing all the promises, whereof this is one, viz. that God will be the God of beleevers, and of their seed, that the seed of beleevers are taken into Covenant with their Parents. This is a part of the Gospel preached unto Abraham, and they were to Baptize them, that is, to ad∣minister Page  38 Baptisme as a Seale of the Covenant to all who re∣ceived the Covenant. Secondly, wee have the persons to whom they were to doe this, all Nations, whereas before the Church was tyed to one Nation, one Nation onely were Disciples, now their Commission was extended to make all Nations Disciples, every Nation which should receive the faith should be to him now, as the peculiar Nation of the Jewes had beene in time past. In a word, Na∣tions here are opposed to the one Nation before. Now we know when that one Nation of the Jewes were made Di∣sciples, and circumcised their infants were made Disci∣ples, (made to belong to Gods Schoole) and circum∣cised with them, when that nation was made Disciples in Abrahams loynes, and circumcised, their seed also was the same, when that Nation was taken out of Egypt, and actually made Disciples, their children were also with them; and we know that in every Nation the children make a great part of the Nation, and are alwayes included under every administration to the Nation, whether promises or threatnings, priviledges or burthens, mercies or judge∣ments, unlesse they be excepted; so are they in Cities, in Families, it being the way of the Scripture, when speaking indefinitely of a People, Nation, City or Family, to be either saved or damned, to receive mercies or punishments, expresly to except Infants when they are to be excepted, as we see in the judgement that befell Israel in the Wilder∣nesse, when all that rebellious Company that came out of Egypt, was to perish by Gods righteous doome, their little ones were expresly excepted, Num. 14.31. and in the Covenant actually entred into by the body of the Nation,*Neh. 10. it is expresly limited to them who had knowledge and understanding. And the Disciples who received this Commission knew well, that in all Gods former admini∣strations, when any Parents were made Disciples, their Page  39children were taken in with them to appertaine to the same schoole, and therefore it behooved the Lord to give them a caution for the leaving out of Infants in this new admini∣stration, that they might know his mind, if that he intends to have them left out, which that ever he did in word or deed, cannot be found in the Scriptures.

If it be said, they are not capable of being Disciples:*

I answer, even as capable as the Infants of Jews,* and Proselytes were, when they were made Disciples: and be∣side, they are devoted to be Disciples, being to be trained up by the Parents, who are from their infancy to teach them the knowledge of Christ, and at the present, they are ca∣pable of his owne teaching: and sure I am in Christs owne dialect, to belong to Christ, and to be a Disciple of Christ,* or to beare the name of Christ, is all one; and that such In∣fants do belong to Christ, and beare the name of Christ, I have sufficiently proved already.

And I desire it may be seriously weighed whether that expression, Act. 10.15. Now therefore why tempt ye God to put a yoke upon the necks of the Disciples, do not necessi∣tate us, to give the name of Disciples to Infants, as well as to grown men: for I reason thus, All they upon whose necks those false Teachers would have put the yoke of circumci∣sion are called Disciples, and to be called Disciples: but they would have put the yoke of circumcision upon Infants, as well as grown men: therefore Infants as well as grown men are called Disciples and to be called so. The major is unde∣nyable, the minor I prove thus: They who pressed circum∣cision to be in force, according to the manner of Moses Law, and would put it upon their necks after the manner of Mo∣ses his Law, they would put it upon Infants of those who were in Covenant with God, as well as upon the necks of those who were grown men, for so Moses Law required: but these fals teachers pressed circumcision to be so in force, as is apparent, Act. 15.1.

Page  40Another command by good consequence for the bapti∣zing of Infants, you shall find in that forementioned place where the Apostle exhorted them to repent & be baptized,* &c. Because the promise was made to them and to their children, which, as I shewed you, clearely proves that the Children of such who beleeve and are baptized, are taken into Co∣venant, and therefore by good consequence they also are to receive the seale of the Covenant. The Text not onely shewing that they are within the Covenant, but also that a right to Baptisme is a consequence of being within the Cove∣nant. Thus for Commands: for Examples, though there should be none, there is no great argument in it, when the rule is so plain, yet we have examples enough, by good con∣sequence, for you shall finde the Gospell took place, just as the old administration, by bringing in whole families together; when Abraham was taken in, his whole Family was taken in with him; when any of the Gentiles turned Proselytes, or∣dinarily their Families came in with them: so in this new Administration, usually if the Master of the House turned Christian, his whole Family came in and were baptized with him; The whole household of Cornelius, the first con∣verted Gentile, Act. 11.14. the household of Stephanus; the household of Aristobulus; the household of Narcissus; the household of Lydia; the household of the Gaoler; these are examples not to be contemned.

And whereas some object against this Argument, taken from whole Families, that the argument is at least as strong to prove that the Jewish Infants did eat the Passeover, be∣cause not only severall Families might, but did, and that by Gods appointment, eat the Passeover.

I Answer, by denying the consequence, the argument is not so strong, for the one as for the other, because no other Scripture shews that the Passeover doth belong to Infants; but we have other plaine Scriptures proving that Baptisme Page  41 is in the room of Circumcision, which belongs therefore to Infants, as well as grown men: If any can instance of any families of Gentiles who were circumcised, the consequence were good, Therefore Infants were, if there were any Infants, because other Scriptures shew that circumcision belongs to Infants as well as grown men, but in this case the argument is not good.

So much for my first and main Argument, they are foe∣derati, and therefore must be signati, they are under the Covenant of Grace, and therefore are to be signed with the seale of admittance into the Covenant▪

The second Argument,* To whom the inward grace of Bap∣tism doth belong, to them belongs the outward sign, they ought to have the signe, who have the thing signifyed; the earthly part of the Sacrament must be granted to them who have the heavenly part: but the Infants of beleevers, even while they are Infants are made partakers of the inward grace of Baptisme, of the heavenly and spirituall part, as well as grown men: therefore they may, and ought to receive the outward sign of Baptism.

The major Proposition, that they who are made partakers of the inward grace, may not bee debarred of the outward signe, is undeniable, it is Peters argument,*Act. 10. Can any man for∣bid water that these should not bee baptized, who have receved the Holy Ghost as well as wee? and againe, Act. 11. For as much as God gave them the like gift as hee did unto us, what was I that I could withstand God? And this is so cleare, that the most learned of the Anabaptists do readily grant, that if they knew any Infants to have received the inward grace, they durst not deny them the outward signe,* and that the parti∣cular Infants, whom Christ took up in his Armes and bles∣sed, might have been baptized. And for the assumption or mnor, That the Infants of Beleevers, even while they are In∣fants, do receive the inward grace, as well as grown men, is as Page  42 plaine, not onely by that speech of the Apostle, who saith, they are holy,* but our Saviour saith expressely, Mark. 10. That to such belongs the kingdom of God, as well as to grown men:* And whereas some would evade it, by saying that the Text saith not, to them belongs the Kingdome of God, but of such is the kingdome of Heaven, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, of such like, that is,* such as are graced with such like qualities, who are humble and meek, as children are, and that Luk. 18. is pa∣rallell to this, in the meaning of it, Whosoever doth not re∣ceive the kingdome of Heaven as a little childe, hee shall not en∣ter therein.

But I answer, though it be true that in other places this is one use that Christ makes of an Infants age and condition, to shew that such as receive the Kingdome of Heaven, must be qualifyed with humility, &c. like unto children; yet here it cannot be his meaning, because his argument is, suffer them to come to mee and forbid them not, because of such is the Kingdome of God, that is, my Church and Kingdom is made up of these as well as of others. This was the very cause why the Disciples rebuked those who brought the children to Christ, because they were little, not fit to bee instructed, and therefore not fit that Christ should be troubled about them; this Christ rebukes in them, and tels them that the littlenesse of children, is no argument why they should be kept from him: Suffer them, said he, to come, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdome of God: and what kind of argument had this been, if the Text should be interpreted as these men would have it, Suffer little children to come unto me, that I may touch them, take them up in mine armes, put my hands upon them, and blesse them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to them, who have such like qualities, who resemble children in some select properties? By the very same ground, if any had brought doves, and Sheep to Christ, to put his hands upon them, and blesse them, the Disciples had Page  43 been liable to the same reproofe, because of such is the King∣dome of God, such as are partakers of the Kingdom of God, must be indued with such like properties.

Beside,* what one thing can be named belonging to the initiation, and being of a Christian, whereof Baptisme is a seale, which Infants are not capable of, as well as grown men? they are capable of receiving the Holy Ghost, of union with Christ, of adoption, of forgivenesse of sins, of regeneration, of everlasting life, all which things are signifyed and sealed in the Sacrament o baptism. And it is further considerable, that in the working of that inward grace, of which baptism is the sign and seale, all who partake of that grace, are but meere pa∣tients, and contribute no more to it, then a childe doth to its own begetting, and therefore Infants as fit Subjects to have it wrought in them as grown men, and the most grown men are in no more fitnesse to receive this grace when it is given them, in respect either of any faith or repentance, which they yet have, then a very little childe, it being the primary intention of the Covenant of Grace, in its first worke, to shew what Free Grace can and wil do to miserable nothing, to cut miserable man off from the wild Olive, and graffe him into the true Olive, to take away the heart of stone, to create in them a heart of flesh, to forgive their iniquities, to love them freely, what doth the most grown man in any of these, more then an Infant may do? being onely passive in them all; and of this first grace is the Sacrament of Baptism properly a seale: and who ever will deny, that Infants are capable of these things as well as grown men; must deny that any In∣fants dying in their Infancy are saved by Christ.

Against this Argument severall things are objected: which I shall indevour to remove out of the way.

First, It is said,* that although Infants are capable of these things, and they no doubt are by Christ wrought in many Infants, yet may not we baptize them, because, ac∣cording Page  44 to the Scripture pattern, both of Christs command, Matth. 28. in his institution of Baptisme, where this was in∣joyned; and John the Baptist, Christs Disciples, and A∣postles, They alwaies taught and made them Disciples by teaching, before they baptized any.

*I answer, First, that of Matth. 28. is not the institution of Baptisme, it was instituted long before, to be the Seale of the Covenant; it's only an inlargement of their Commissi∣on, whereas before they were to go onely to the lost sheepe of the House of Israel, now they were to go unto all the world. And beside, it is no where said, that none were baptized, but such as were first taught, and what reason we have to be∣leeve the contrary, you have before seen.

Secondly, It is said indeed, that they taught and baptiz∣ed, and no expresse mention made of any other: but the reason is plain, there was a new Church to be constituted, all the Jews who should receive Christ, were to come un∣der another administration, and their Infants were to come in only in their right, and the Heathen Nations who were to be converted to Christ, were yet wholly without the Co∣venant of Grace, and their children could have no right untill themselves were brought in; and therefore no mar∣vaile, though both John, and Christs Disciples, and Apo∣stles, did teach before they baptized, because then no other were capable of baptism: but when once themselves were instructed and baptized, then their children were capable of it, by vertue of the Covenant. If any in the Jewish Church had received Commission, to go and make other Cities, Proselytes to them, their Commission must have run thus, Go teach and circumcise, would it therefore have followed, that none might be circumcised, but such as were first taught?

*But it is expresly said, That hee that beleeves and is baptiz∣ed, shall bee saved; Faith in Christ is the Condition, upon Page  45 which men may be baptized: and this is the most common objection among the Anabaptists: Unbeleevers may not bee baptized, children are unbeleevers, therefore they may not bee baptized. We have, say they, cleare evidence, that Faith is a condition required in those that are to be baptized, no e∣vidence of any other condition that makes them capable of Baptism. Others of them adde, that under an affirmative command, the negative is to be included, beleeving is the affirmative, unbeleeving is the negative, therefore where be∣leevers are commanded to be baptized, unbeleevers are forbidden to be baptized: this objection they much glory in, and some of them dare all the world to answer it.

I Answer first,* but if this argument have any strength at all against the Baptizing of infants, it hath much more strength against the salvation of infants; it is said expresly, he that beleeveth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that be∣leeveth not, shall bee damned:* there yee have both the nega∣tive and affirmative set downe, Hee that beleeves shall bee saved, hee that beleeves not shall bee damned; now I frame their owne argument thus against the salvation of infants, All unbeleevers shall bee damned, all infants are un∣beleevers, therefore they shall bee damned; now look at what doore they will goe out, for the salvation of infants, at the same will we go out, for the baptizing of infants; how ever they will evade the one, we shall much more strongly evade the other, if they say this Text is meant of growne men, of the way which God takes for the salvation of grown men, Infants are saved another way, upon other conditions; the same say we of infants baptisme, the Text means of the con∣dition of baptizing of grown men, infants are baptized upon other conditions; if, they say, infants though they can∣not have actuall Faith, they may have virtuall Faith, Faith in the seed and roote, the same say we; if they say, though infants have not Faith, yet they may have that which is Page  46Analogous to faith, the same say we, they have somwhat which hath analogy to faith, and as effectuall to make them capable of baptism, as of salvation.

Secondly, I answer, it is no where said Unbeleevers, (or rather Non-beleevers it should be said) may not bee baptized; it is said indeed, hee that beleeveth and is baptized, shall bee saved; and it is said, that he that beleeveth with all his heart, may be baptized; it is no where said, that he that beleeveth not, may not be baptized: Therfore I deny the consequence, if all beleevers must be baptized, then no Unbeleevers, or Non-beleevers may be baptized; these two are not here intended by way of opposition, Christ excludes Infants neither from baptism, nor from salvation for want of faith, but positive Unbeleevers, and such as refuse the Gospel he excludes from both: The stone upon which these men stumble, is the ignorance in the opposition in the Scripture they bring, which is not betweene beleevers, and their Children, but betweene them, and Unbeleeving and profane persons who are shut from the Lords Covenant, Baptisme, and Sal∣vation.

*But suppose they are capable of the inward grace of bap∣tisme, and that God doth effectually work it in some of the Infants of beleevers, is that sufficient warrant for us to bap∣tize all the Infants of Beleevers? if we knew in what Infants the Lord did work this, we might baptize those Infants, say some of them, but that he doth not make known to us, we cannot know of any one Infant by any ordinary way of knowledge, that they are inwardly baptized with the holy Ghost; and therefore we may not baptize any of them, but wait to see when and in whom God will work the thing signi∣fied, and then apply the signe to them.

*Answ. Our knowledge that God hath effectually wrought the thing signified, is not the condition upon which wee are to apply the signe, God no where requires that we Page  47 should know that they are inwardly and certainly conver∣ted, whom we admit to the Sacrament of Baptism, the A∣postles themselves were not required to know this of those whom they baptized, if they were, they sinned in baptizing Simon Magus, Alexander, Hymenaeus, Ananias and Saphira, with others: we are indeed required to know that they have in them that condition which must warrant us to administer the signe, not that which makes them possest of the thing signifi∣ed; fallible conjectures are not to be our rule in administring of Sacraments, either to Infants of grown men, but a known rule of the word, out of which rule we must be able to make up such a judgment, that our administration may be of faith, as well as out of charity: In baptizing or grown men, the Apostles and Ministers of Christ administred the signe, not because they conjectured that the parties were in∣wardly sanctified, but because they made that profession of faith and holinesse of which they were sure, that whoever had the thing in truth, were received by Christ into inward Communion with himself, and that whoever thus made it; that Christ would have them received into the communion of his Church, though possibly for want of the inward work they were never received into the inward communion with Iesus Christ, indeed when such a confession was made, Chri∣stian charity which alwaies hopeth the best, and thinketh no evill, bound them to receive them, and think of them, and converse with them, as with men in whom the inward work was wrought, untill they gave signes to the contrary; but this their charity, or charitable conjecture was not the groud of their admitting them to the ordinance, but the profession and confession of the party, made according to the Word, which they were bound to rest in; yea, I great∣ly question, whether in case Peter or Paul could by the spirit of revelation have known that Ananias or Alexander would have proved no better then hypocrites, whether they either Page  48 would, or ought to have refused them from Baptism, whilst they made that publike profession and confession, upon which others were admitted who in the event proved no better then those were. So that I conclude, not our knowledge of their inward Sanctification, is requisite to the admitting of any to baptism, but our knowledge of the will of Christ, that such who are in such and such condition, should by us be received into the communion of the Church: and in this the rule to direct our knowledge, is as plain for Infants as for growne men, the rule having been alwaies this, That growne men who were strangers from the Covenant of God, Unbelee∣vers, Pagans, Heathens, should upon their being instructed, and upon profession of their faith and promise to walke accor∣ding to the rule of the Covenant; bee received and added to the Church, and made partakers of the seale of their en∣trance, and their Infants to come in with them; both sorts upon their admission to be charitably hoped of, untill they give signes to the contrary, charity being bound from thinking of evill of them, not tyed to conclude certainly of any of them, because they ought to know that in all ages, all are not Israel who are of Israel, and that many are called, but few are chosen.

But all who enter into Covenant, and receive the seale of the Covenant,* must stipulate for their parts, as well as God doth for his, they must indent with God to perform the beleevers part of the Covenant, as well as God doth to perform his part, as even this Text, 1 Pet. 3. requires, That Baptism which saves us must have the answer of a good con∣science to God;* now although it be granted, that Infants are capable of receiving the first grace, if God be pleased to work it in them; yet what answer of a good conscience can there be from Infants unto God? they having not the use of reason, and not knowing what the Covenant meanes?

Page  49Answ. The Infants of the Jewes were as much tied as the Infants of beleevers under the Gospel,* every one who was circumcised was bound to keepe the Law, Gal. 5. and these men professe that Israelitish Infants were within the old Covenant, when yet they knew not what it meant, nor could have the same use of it with their Parents and others of discretion. Looke what answer they will make for the Jewes infants, if true, will abundantly satisfie for the In∣fants of beleevers under the Gospel.

Secondly, God seales to them presently, their name is put into the deed, and when they come to yeers of discreti∣on, to be adulti, then in their own persons they stand obliged to the performance of it; in the meane time Jesus Christ,* who is the surety of the Covenant, and the surety of all the Covenanters, is pleased to be their surety; we know when severall parties stand obliged in the same bond, they may seale at severall times, and yet be in force afterward toge∣ther; or even a child sealing in infancy, may aguize and re∣cognize that sealing, when they come to yees of discretion; if then they will renounce it, as done when they under∣stood not, they may free themselves if they please, if they find the former act an inconvenience or burden to them: so is it here, God of his infinite mercy is pleased to seale to In∣fants while they are such, and accepts of such a seale on their parts, as they are able to give in their Infant age, ex∣pecting a further ratification on their part, when they are come to riper yeers, in the meane time affording them the favour and priviledge of being in Covenant with him, of being reckoned unto his kingdom and family, rather then of the Devils; if when they are grown men they refuse to stand to this Covenant there is no hurt done on Gods part, let them serve another God, and take their lot for time to come.

But what benefit comes to children by such kind of sea∣ling Page  50 as this is? it seems then (say they) by your own con∣fession, that this is but a conditionall sealing on Gods part, viz: that they own it, and ratifie it when they come to age, and if they then refuse to stand to it, all is then nullified, were it not therefore better to defer it to their years of dis∣cretion, to see whether they will then make it their own vo∣luntary act, yea, or no?

Answ. 1. This objection lay as strongly against Gods widsome in requiring the Jewes Infants, even in their In∣fancy thus to seale; and therefore argues no great wis∣dome or modesty in men, who would thus reason with God about his administrations. 2. God hath other ends and uses of applying the seale of the Covenant to them who are in Covenant with him, then their present gaine, it's a Homage, Worship, and Honour to himself, and it behoves us even in that respect, to fulfill all righteousnesse: when Christ was bap∣tized and circumcised, he was as unfit for the ordinance, through his perfection, as children through their im∣perfection, being as much above them, as children are below them.

3. I Answer; The benefit and fruit of it at the present is very much, both to the Parents and to the children; to the Parents first, whilst God doth hereby honour them to have their children counted to his Church, to his kingdome, and family, to be under his wing and grace, whilest all the other Infants in the world have their visible standing under the Prince, and in the kingdom of darknesse, and consequently whilest others have no hope of their childrens spiritual wel∣fare, untill they be called out of that condition▪ these need not have any doubt of their childrens welfare, if they die in their Infancy, nor if they live untill they shew signes to the contrary: God having both reckoned them unto his people, and given them all the meanes of salvation, which an Infants age is capable of.

Page  51Secondly, here is much priviledge and benefit to the children, when as (beside what inward secret worke God is pleased to worke in them) they being Members of the Church of Christ have their share in the Communion of Saints are remembred at the throne of Grace, every day by those that pray for the welfare of the Church, and per∣ticularly in those prayers which are made for his blessing upon his Ordinances.

And lastly, it's no small priviledge to have that Seale be∣stowed upon them in their Infancy, wch may afterwards plead when they are grown and come to fulfill the condition.

But if their being capable of the spirituall part,* must in∣title them to the outward signe, why then doe we not also admit them to the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, which is the seale of the Covenant of Grace, as well as the Sacra∣ment of Baptisme? And this is urged, the rather, because (say they) the Infants of the Jewes did eate of the Passeo∣ver, as well as were circumcised; now if our Infants have every way as large a priviledge as the Infants of the Jewes had, then can we not deny them the same priviledge which their Infants had, and consequently they must partake of the one Sacrament, as well as the other.

I answer,* that Infants are capable of the grace of Bap∣tisme we are sure, not sure that they are capable of the grace signed and sealed in the Sacrament of the Lords Sup∣per, for though both of them are seales of the new Cove∣nant, yet it is with some difference; Baptisme properly seales the entrace into it, the Lords Supper properly the growth, nourishment and augmentation of it; Baptisme for our birth, the Lords Supper for our food; now Infants may be borne againe while they are Infants, have their Originall sinne pardoned, be united to Christ, have his Image stampt upon them, but concerning the exercise of these graces and the augmentaton of them in Infants, while they are Infants, Page  52 the Scripture is altogether silent, and for what is said con∣cerning the Infants of the Jewes eating the Passeover, to which our Sacrament of the Lords Supper doth succeed, there is no such thing mentioned in all the Booke of God, it is said indeed that the severall families were to eate their Lambe, if the household were not too little for it, and that when their children should aske them what that service meant, they should instruct them about the meaning of it; but no word injoyning, nor any example witnessing, that their little children did eate of it.* If they say (as some of them doe) that those little ones, who were able to enquire concerning the meaning of that service, and capa∣ble to receive instruction about it, did eat of the Passeo∣ver with their Parents; I answer, (although the Scripture speakes nothing of their eating, yet if that be granted) it is no prejudice to us, because the Gospel prohibites not such yong ones from the Lords Supper, who are able to exa∣mine themselves, and discerne the Lords Body.

*Thus have I according to my poor ability made good this second argument also, and vindicated it from all Objecti∣ons of any weight wch I have met with all to the contrary, it remains that I winde up all,* with a briefe Application.

And first it serves for just reproofe of the Anabaptists, and all such as by their rash and bloody sentence condemne Infants, as out of the state of Grace; it's a great sinne to passe sentence upon any particular person for any one act, as was that of Eli, concerning Hannah, how much more heinous is it to condemne ail the Infants of the whole Church of Christ,* as having nothing to doe with the Co∣venant of Grace, or the seale of it? We read of Herod the Tyrant,* that he destroyed all the children in Bethlehem, and the Coasts thereof from two yeares old and under; is not this a farre more cruell sentence, to set these in no better state then Pagans and Infidels,*Without Christ, aliens Page  53 from the Common-wealth of Israel, as strangers from the Cove∣nant of promise, having no hope, and wthout God in the world? can any sober Christian thinke this a small fault? Our blessed Saviour saith, It is not lawfull to take the childrens bread and give it to dogs, but these men take Children, and in their judgement, conclude them for no better then dogs; baptisme is the bread of the Lord, which he would have gi∣ven to his children, and to deny it to them as none of their right, is to make them no better then dogs. The Prophet Elisha wept when he looked upon Hazael, because he fore∣saw that he would dash the infants of Israel against the wall, and even Hazael thought himselfe worthy to be esteemed a dog if ever he should do such a thing. But certainly, thus to dash all Infant children of beleevers out of the Covenant of Grace (as much as in them lyeth) & to deprive them of the seale of it, is in a spirituall sense farre more heavy. And I dare appeale to the tender bowels of any beleeving Pa∣rents, whether it were not easier for them to thinke that their Infants should be dashed against the stones, and yet in the meane time to die under Christs wing, as visible Mem∣bers of his Kingdome, Church and Family, rather then to have them live, and behold them to have a visible standing onely in the Kingdome of the Devill: These men know not how much they provoke Christs displeasure against them∣selves; He was greatly displeased with his owne Disciples for forbidding little children to come unto him; & one day such men will know, that he is much more displeased with them, who with so great violence oppose the bringing of beleevers children unto his holy Sacrament, that with unspeakable wrong, injury, and slander, they prosecute all the Ministers of Christ, who give Infants this their due, condemning them for Ministers of Antichrist, and limbes of the Beast; yea, some of them proceeding so farre, as condemning all the Churches of Christ, to be no Chur∣ches, Page  54 who cast not their children out of the Covenant of Grace, and the seale of it, and doe cry out upon the Bap∣tizing of Infants, as one of those great sinnes which bring and continue all our judgements upon us. The Apostate Emperour Julian is justly cryed out upon for his cruelty against the Christians, for denying to their bodies humane Sepulture; how much more cruell is it to deny to the souls of Infants the just priviledge and benefit of the Covenant of Grace? We know he did it out of hatred to Christianity, which I am farre from charging upon these men; but if we compare the sentence and fact of the one with the o∣ther, we shall find the latter (be their principle what it will) farre more injurious to the Church of Christ then the other: The Lord in mercy give them to see how unjust that sentence, and how heavy that doome is, which they thus passe, not only upon Infant Children, but upon all the Churches of Christ; and seriously to consider, whether the Lord, who once in his displeasure threatned to dash their Infants against the Stones, who had dasht the Infants of the children of Israel against the Stones,* will indure it at the hands of any to expunge the Seed of the faithfull out of his Covenant, and to drive them from his City and King∣dom after this cruell manner.

*Secondly, how much may this comfort the Soule of every beleeving Parent,* to behold this great love and good∣nesse of God in his Covenant of Grace to them and their posterity, that not only themselves, but even their Infants for their sakes, should be reckoned to the household of God, put into the Arke, wrapped up in a Covenant of love, brought under the wing of God? When God had promised to David, that he should have a son to whom God would be a Father, and that all his posterity, should after such a gracious manner be regarded, his heart was even ravished with it, O Lord God (said he) what am I, and what is my Page  55 house, that thou hast brought mee hitherto? and this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God,*but thou hast spoken also of thy servants house for a great while to come, and is this the manner of men, O Lord God? And even so should Christian Parents break out into admiration of his goodnesse, in ta∣king their children into that gracious Covenant, which is not only the womb and vessell, but also the well-head of so many mercies, which are terminated, not in themselves, but flow down to their posterity from generation to gene∣ration.

And this is yet more admirable in our eyes, when we se∣riously consider, how uncleane and filthy, how viperous a brood they are, as proceeding out of our loines, empty of all goodnesse, full of all wickednesse, an uncleane leprosie having bespread them from the crown of the Head to the sole of the Foot, fit only to be cast into the open field, to the loathing of their persons, in the day that they are born,* as all the rest of the world are; and that God should set his heart upon such as these, to take them thus neere unto Himself, when he passes by both Parents and Infants of all the world beside, now would our hearts melt in his praises, if we could consider these things?

2. How should this ingage all Christian Parents to look to the education of their Children,* to bring them up in the nurture and feare of the Lord? It's a wofull thing, to consi∣der the wretched carelesnesse of many Parents; yea, not one∣ly carelesnesse, but ungodlinesse of many Parents; who pro∣stitute their children to the Devill and his service, after they have consecrated them to Christ by baptisme;* train them up in ignorance, profanenesse, &c. To whom God may say, as he did to that Harlot, Ezek. 16. Thou hast taken my Sonne and my Daughter, whom thou hast born unto mee, and these thou hast sacrificed unto Devils. A generation of wretched men, who take more care of their Hogs and Dogs, then they doe Page  56 of their Infants immortall soules, nourishing the former, murdering the latter; that we may say of them, as Augu∣stus did of Herod, that it is better to be Herods Dog then his Son. I have often heard a sad Story of a wretched Woman, who perswaded her Daughter to yeeld to the lust of a rich man, in hope he would marry her, as he had promised to doe; which she did, and presently after fell sick and died; The wretched mother hereupon grew distracted, and in her madnesse cryed out, O my Daughters soule, my Daughters soule, I have damned my Daughters soul: Verily, thus may many Parents cry out upon themselves for murthering their childrens soules; and their children may wish that they had beene either dogges, or swine, rather then their Sons or Daughters; miserable children, of miserable Parents; what will such Parents answer God, when he comes to demand his children of them? Suppose a Prince or Noble man should put a Child to Nurse unto some mean man, and pay them well for the education of it; or rather suppose a Great man should adopt the child of a poor man to be his own, and should say unto this poore man, as Pharaohs daughter said to Moses mother, Bring up this Child for mee,*and I will give thee thy wages; & afterward comming to see this Child, should find they had lamed the Child▪ and taught it nothing but to speake evill of them, and to fight against them:* thinke I pray you what they would say, or doe to this wretched man. How much more abomina∣ble is the sin of many Parents, who by their own careles∣nesse, and vile example, leaven their children with princi∣ples, and lead them in wayes quite contrary to the Cove∣nant of grace, tending to nothing, but to dishonour God, and to their own destruction. If any of you have been guilty of it in time past,* be deeply humbled for it, crave mer∣cy and pardon; and for time to come, indeavour to do the part of a nursing Father or Mother for Christ, looking upon Page  57 thy children as being Christs more then thine, yea, as not being thine, but Christs, to whom thou hast consecrated them, and therefore (as wise and loving Nurses use to doe) carry them often to their father for his blessing, and he will blesse them, and reward thee also; we find in the second of Joel, that in the day of their Fast, they were to bring their children and set them before the Lord,* that he might be moved to compassion for the childrens sake whom he used to call his owne; set thou thy children often before him, intreat him as Joseph did his father for his two sonnes, and as they did our Savi∣our, Marke 10. that he would put his hands upon them and blesse them; Doe it heartily, humbly, frequently, tell him how deare they are to thee, and the dearer because he is pleased to owne them, tell him their wants, and thy own inability to supply them in any thing, and how easie it is for him to doe it by his Spirit and Grace; Oh that Ishmael might live in thy sight, said Abraham; Say thou so also, Lord let these children live before thee, thine they are, and thou gavest them me to bring up for thee, Oh blesse my labour among them, and make them such as thou wouldest have them to be.

And doe not onely pray for them,* but discipline them and instruct them, acquainting them with the Scriptures, and Catechising them in the Principles of Religion; as the Mother and Grandmother of Timothy did him, training him up from his infancy, in the knowledge of the holy Scripture; and be assured, if thy children may learne from thee to know their heavenly Father, to beleeve in him, to love him, and feare him betimes, that being taught the trade in their youth, they may not forsake it when they are old, they will then more blesse God for thee, then if thou couldest leave them all the world for their inheritance; it was for this that So∣lomon gloried in his father and mother,*Prov. 4.2, 3. and for Page  58this will thy children rise up and call thee blessed. Thus shalt thou approve thy selfe a true sonne of Abraham; Thus shall thy children be blessed with faithfull Abraham, Thus shall the Covenant, the spirituall part and benefit of it, as well as the outward, rest upon thy posterity from gene∣ration to generation.

*Thirdly, and lastly, This serves for use to all children whom God honours so farre, as in their Infancy to bring thus neare unto himselfe, and to use them thus as his owne, and that three severall wayes; First, to incourage and com∣fort them to beleeve in him, and rest upon him, for all the good things which he hath promised in the Covenant of Grace. The Papists, as in some things they give and as∣cribe too much to Baptisme, making it to take away origi∣nall sinne, ex opere operato: So in other things they rob Gods people of the comfortable use of it, because they say that when once we commit actuall sinnes we make ship∣wracke of Baptism, and then Penance must be secunda tabula post naufragium, a Cockbot after our shipwrack; but this blessed Sacrament seekes for a more durable and comforta∣ble use, even to be an Arke, as my Text cals it, to carry to heaven. Know then that whensoever thou findest thy selfe at a losse, sensible of thy undone condition, findest thy guilt, and filth, and bondage, through sinne, and flyest unto Christ, and thy conscience witnesseth with thee, that thou wouldest walke for time to come, accor∣ding to the rule of the Covenant, in uprightnesse, to make God in Christ thy portion, and his word thy guide; So often I say as thou doest this, maiest thou fly to thy Bap∣tisme, and plead it for thy comfort, as we may plead the Rainbow in foule weather against the worlds destruction by water. I have often heard a story of a great Queen, who gave a Ring to a Nobleman, while he was her Favourite, and willed him to send it to her when he should stand in Page  59 greatest need of her favour; who afterward falling into her displeasure, sent the Ring, which through the treachery of the bearer was not delivered till it was too late: But it shall never happen so to thee, doe thou in all thy extremity, shew or send by the hand of faith thy Seale, which God hath gi∣ven thee, plead it confidently, and to thy dying day, it may be an Arke unto thy soule in all cases of relapse, desertion, temptation, or whatever else may betide thee, upon the re∣newing of thy repentance and faith in Christ Jesus.

Secondly,* This great love of God in taking us thus neare into his own Family, as his own Children, should make many of us blush, to remember our unworthy conver∣sation, in times past; yea, it might make our very hearts to bleed, and make us not only wish we had been unbaptized, but even unborn, rather then to pollute the holy Covenant, and the seale of it, as we have done with our unhallowed lives: Can it seem a light thing in our eyes, that when God hath left the greatest part of the world, as strangers from his Family and Kingdom, to be under Satans kingdom, and taken us (no better by nature than they are) to be his pecu∣liar ones into Covenant with him, that he should sweare unto us, to be our God, and hitherto to train us up under such heavenly Ordinances, and we to walk in the meane time as rebels and enemies unto him, like the unbaptized world? can we think our condemnation not to be greater then theirs? Let me a little reason the case with you, Doe you know into what a Covenant the Lord hath taken you? what he hath done for you, and expects from you? have not your Ministers and Parents instructed you in it? Now tell me what is the reason of your unanswerable conversa∣tion, is it because you renounce the Covenant, as being made when you understood it not? if so, that you do in∣deed renounce it, Take your course, serve the God you have chosen, yet tell me (I beseech you) what iniquity is in the Page  60 Lords Covenant? what hurt is there in it? what disad∣vantage have you met withall? or where and how do you hope to find better things, then God to be your Father, Christ Jesus to bee your Saviour, the Spirit to bee your Comforter? to have your sins pardoned and healed, to be adopted, justifyed, sanctifyed, and every way comfortably provided for here, and saved for ever? Doe the Gods you have chosen to serve, provide better things then these, that you renounce Christ for their sakes? If you say, God forbid you should re∣nounce Christ; No, you hope to bee saved by Christ, as well as any other: Then tell me in good sadnesse, doe you expect that Christ should stand bound to perform his part of the Covenant, and you left at liberty for your part? that he should love you, and you hate him? that he should bee your God, and you remain the Devils servant? that he should pro∣vide Heaven for you, and you walk in the way which leads to Hell? O how much are you deceived! I tell you he hath sworn the contrary, he hath heaped up tribulation and wrath for every soule which doth evill, for the Jew first, for the baptized first; and you will one day find, that it had been better you had never lived in his house, nor been trai∣ned up under his Covenant, then thus to profane it, and make the blood of it as an unholy thing.

*This great priviledge should ingage us all for time to come, to make our Baptism a continual motive to an answe∣rable conversation, to live as men who are dead unto sinne, and alive unto God; to account that it ought to bee as strange, to see a baptized man walke in a sinfull course as to see a Spectrum a walking Ghost: Wee are bu∣ried with Christ in Baptisme; and how can wee who are dead to sinne live any longer therein? We are planted into his fa∣mily, made his Children, have his Spirit dwelling in us; yea, thereby made one with Christ: All this, we lay claim to, by our Baptism, shall not this inforce us to live answe∣rably? Page  61Luther tels a Story of a gracious Virgin, who used to get the victory over Satan when he tempted her to any sinne, Satan I may not doe it, Baptizata sum, I am Bapti∣zed, and must walk accordingly: So should we argue, Let base persons live basely, noble and generous men must live nobly; let Turkes and Pagans live wickedly, the holy seed must live holily and righteously: keepe it daily in thy thoughts, what thy Baptism ingageth thee unto, and that if thou walk otherwise, it will rise up extreamly to aggravate thy condemnation in the last day. It was a custome in the latter end of the Primitive times, That such as were bap∣tized, did weare a white Stole (a humane Ceremony, to signifie their purity of life which the baptized was to lead, Fulgentes animas vestis quo{que} candida signat.) Now there was one Elpidophorus, who after his baptism turned a per∣secutor; Muritta the Minister who baptized him, brought forth in publick the white Stole which Elpidophorus had worn at his Baptism, and cryed unto him; O Elpidopho∣rus! this Stole doe I keep against thy comming to Judge∣ment, to testifie thy Apostasie from Christ; doe thou in like manner assure thy selfe the very Font wherein thou wast baptized, the Register wherein thy Name is recorded, will rise up against thee, if thou lead not a holy life: The Co∣venant is holy, the Seale is holy, let these provoke thee to study to be holy, yea to draw holinesse from them. Con∣sider what I say, And the Lord give you understanding in all things.

FJNIS.