Quest. 12. Whither or no doe some warrantably teach, that baptisme should be administrated onely to Infant• borne of one at least, of the nearest Parents, knowne to be a be∣liever, and within the covenant? And who are to be admit∣ted to the Lords Supper?
NOt only these of the Separation, but also others whom we doe most unwillingly oppose in this, hold, that Baptisme is to be denyed to Infants, whose nearest Pa∣rents, one at least, are not knowne to be within the co∣venant: That our mind may be knowne in this, we pro∣pose these distinctions to the learned and godly Reader to be considered.
- 1. There is an inherent holines, and there is a federall holi∣nes, whereby some are holy by covenant, that is, have right to the meanes of salvation, which right Turks and Pagans have not.
- 2. People or persons are two wayes within the covenant. 1. Truly, and by faith in Christ, and according to the election of grace. 2. In profession, because the word of the covenant is preached to them, as members of the vi∣sible Church.
- 3. There is a holines of the covenant, and a holines of co∣venanters, and there is a holines of the Nation, flocke and people, and a holines of the single person.
- 4. There is a holines of election in Gods mind, and a holines reall, and of the persons elected.
- 5. There is a federall or covenant-holines, de jure, by right, such as goeth before Baptisme in the Infants borne in the visible Church, and a holines de facto, a formall cove∣nant-holines after they are baptized.
Hence our first Conclusion, All the Infants borne with∣in the visible Church, what ever be the wickednesse of their nearest Parents are to be received within the Church by Baptisme.
Page 165 1. Argument.* If the children of wicked parents were circumcised, all without exception, notwith∣standing the wickednesse of their parents, then the chil∣dren of these who are borne in the visible Church of Christians, are to receive that same seale in nature and substance of that same covenant of grace, which is bap∣tisme. But all the children of most wicked parents, were circumcised without exception. Ergo, so are the children of Christians borne in the visible Church. The proposition cannot be denyed by our brethren. 1. They say circumcision was given only to members of the visible Church, to whom the doctrine of the covenant, Gen. 17. 7, 8. was preached, and these were professors only within the visible Church of the Jewes,* as M. Best saith, and if children were to be circumcised because God said (I will be your God and the God of your seed) then because this promise is made to Christians, and to their seed in the new Testament, Acts 2. 38. they should be baptized. ver. 38. be baptized every one of you, &c. ver. 39. for the promise is made to you, and to your children. Whence it is cleare, as these who were externally in covenant, were onely to be circumcised, so these, who are externally in covenant in the christian Church, are to be bapti∣zed. I prove the assumption, that all the male children were to be baptized without exception. 1. From Gods commandement, Gen. 17. 10. Every man-child amongst you shall be circumcised, ver. 11. Every man-child in your generation, he that is borne in the house, and bought with money of any stranger, that is not thy seed, the un∣circumcised must be cut off from his people, he hath broken my covenant. Here is no exception, but all must be circum∣cised. 2. Also many must be circumsed, as these to whom the Lord gave the Land for a possession, and was Abrahams seed, according to the flesh, but the land was given to the most wicked of Abrahams seed, so cap. 8. 3. That all the children of the wicked are circumci∣sed is cleare, Josh. 5. Because Joshuah at Gods comman∣dement circumcised the children of Israel, ver. 2. 3, 7. whose Page 166 wicked parents the Lord had consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord, unto whom the Lord sware that he would not shew them the Land which the Lord sware to their fathers. And Heb. 3. 10. of that generation the Lord said, They doe alwayes erre in their heart, and they have not knowne my wayes, there was in them an evill heart, an hard heart, an unbeleeving heart, ver. 13. 15, 18. and yet God commanded Joshuah to circumcise their children, therefore there was no more required of the circumcised, but that they were Abrahams seed accor∣ding to the flesh, and by that same reason there is no more required of infants that they may be baptized, but that they be borne in the christian Church, for the Chri∣stian baptisme, and the Jewish circumcision in substance are all one. Rom. 6. 4. Col. 2. 11. Jer. 9. 26. Jer. 4. 4. 1 Pet. 3. 21, 22. This is so true, that circumcision is put for the Nation of the Jewes, Acts 11. 2. Rom. 2. 26, 27. Gal. 2. 7. Gal. 6. 15. which speech could not stand, if most part of the children of the Jewes, for the parents wickednesse were to be uncircumcised: neither doe we reade in Gods word, that ever the children of wicked Iewes were uncircumcised, and if their circumcision had beene a prophaning of the covenant, and dishonouring and polluting of the holy things of God, the Prophets who rebuked all the sinnes of that Nation, would not have passed in silence that which should have beene a Na∣tionall sinne in them: and as God determineth the qua∣lity of these that eate the Passeover, that they be cir∣cumcised people, and so Iewes, so doth he determine the quality of these that are to be externally circumcised, Gen. 17. every male child. Some answer that these in∣fants, Iosh. 5. circumcised, were the infants of parents dead in the wildernesse, and so they were not now under the care and tutorie of their parents, but under the care of others, and so they might be circumcised.
Answ. But the death of the parents did not change their Church-state, for they were still the children of wicked parents, whose carcases fell in the wildernesse, and Page 167 that in Gods wrath, Hebrews 3.
2. Argument.* If John Baptist Mat. 3. 5. baptized Je∣rusalem, and all Judea, and all the regions round about, and that without any further examination of the aged, so they would confesse their sinnes, and yet he called them a generation of vipers, and so the seede of murtherers and evill doers, such as are vipers, and Christ said Mat. 18. that of their children, and such like was the Kingdome of God; then the children of Pharisees and Publicans and wicked persons are to be baptized, so their parents professe the doctrine of the covenant, but the former is true, Ergo.
3. Argument.* If Peter, Acts 2. 38, 39. command every one of the Iewes to be baptized by this argument, because the promise (saith he) is made to you, and to your children, and to as many as the Lord shall call, then all are to be bap∣tized, to whom the promise of the covenant, and ex∣ternall calling by this covenant is made, but the promise of the covenant is made to the seede of the wicked with∣in the visible Church, Ergo the seale of that promise is to be conferred upon them, I prove the assumption. When God said to Abraham, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed, by the seed of Abraham he cannot meane the nearest of Abrahams seed only, to wit, the nearest sonnes, for so by that, he should have been Abrahams God, and Isaacks God only, and not Iaacobs God, and the God of the seed of Jacob, which is against the tenour of the covenant, now if God be the God of Abrahams seed farre off, and neare downe, to many generations, the wickednesse of the nearest parents cannot breake the covenant, as is cleere, Ezech. 20. 18, 19. v. 22. v. 36, 37. v. 42, 43. Psal. 106. v. 40, 45, 46, Rom. 3. 3. Lev. 26. 44, 45. spoken of the sonnes of wicked parents, and if these children stand in the covenant, for Gods names sake, and God say expresly, Ezech. 20 18, 19. to the sonnes of wicked parents who grieved his holy spirit in the wildernesse: walke in my statutes and walke not in the statutes of your fathers, I am the Lord your God, then Page 168 they were in covenant notwithstanding of the wicked∣nesse of their fathers, and therefore by our bretherens ar∣gument, the seales of the covenant should be bestowed up∣on them.
4. Argument.*If the Lord shew mercy to the thousand generations of them who love him, and keepe his comman∣dements, then the wickednesse of the nearest parents, doe not remove the mercy of the covenant from the chil∣dren, because the mercy extendeth to the thousand ge∣nerations: But the former is said, Exod. 20. in the se∣cond commandement, and therefore for the sinnes of their nearest parents, they are not excluded from the mercy of the covenant, and therefore neither from the seales of that mercy. If our brethren say, we have no as∣surance of faith, that their thousand generation upward hath been lovers of God and keepers of his commande∣ments, and so the children in faith cannot be bapti∣zed.
I answer first, by this argument you cannot deny bap∣tisme to them in faith.
2. You have not certainty of faith,* which must be grounded upon infallible verity, that their nearest parents are beleevers, you have for that only the judgement of charity, as Camero saith well: and this faith you have infallibly, that the sinnes of no one, or two, or foure persons doe interrupt the course of Gods immutable co∣venant in the race of covenanters borne in the visible Church, Rom. 3. 3, 4. Iosh. 5. 2, 3, 4. Levit 26. 41, 42, 43, 44. Ezech. 20. 14, 17, 22.
5. Argument.* The infallible promise of the covenant, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seede: which is made to us Gentiles, as well as to the Jewes, Gal. 3. 10, 11, 12, 13. must make a difference betwixt the seed of Chri∣stians, and the seed of Turks and Pagans, and these that are without the true Church of Christians. But if so, that the sinnes and wickednesse of the nearest parents cut off their children, from the mercy of the covenant, and hinder God to be their God; then these infants are in no Page 169 better case through the covenant made to their grand∣fathers and generations upward, then the sonnes of Turks and Pagans; for they are strangers to the covenant, and have no right to the seales of the covenant, no more then the children of Turks. I prove the proposition (I will be thy God and the God of thy seede) extendeth the covenant to the seed of the faithfull to many generations downeward, untill it please the Lord to translate his Sonnes Kingdome, and remove the candlestick from a people; Neither can the meaning be, (I will be thy God and the God of thy seed, except the nearest parents of thy seed be unbeleevers,) for that is contrary to the Scriptures a∣boved cited. Neither can they say, that the children of unbeleeving parents borne within the christian Church, have right to the covenant and the seales thereof, when they come to age, and doe beleeve and repent, for so the children of Turks, if they beleeve and repent have that same right, as is cleare, Isaiah 56. 6, 7. Acts 10. 34, 35.
6. Argument.* If God in the covenant of grace and Evangell, will not have the sonne to beare the iniquity of the father, except the sonne follow the evill wayes of his parents, and so make the fathers iniquity his owne: then cannot the children of wicked parents be excluded from the covenant, and the seales of the covenant, for the sinnes and wickednesse of their nearest parents; But the former is said, Ezech. 18. 4. The sonne shall not beare the iniquity of his father: Now infants as yet being free of actuall sinnes, have not served themselves heires to the iniquities of their fathers. Neither can it be said, as some say, the children of Turks are not to be baptized, because their parents are without the covenant, and yet these children being free of actuall transgressions beare the iniquity of their fathers.
I answer, God keepeth a legall way with Turks and all that are without the Church, and covenant of grace, and we suppose the child borne of wicked parents to be in the case of election, and so really within the covenant, Page 170 and it is ordinary enough that chosen and redeemed in∣fants be born of unbelieving parents, in that case who can say that God layeth their fathers iniquities on them in spirituall and eternall punishments, such as is to be re∣puted without the covenant, and dying in that estate, to be damned for ever.
7. Arg.*If the root be holy, so also are the branches, Rom. 11. 16. Now this holinesse cannot be meant of personall and inherent holinesse; for it is not true in that sense, if the fathers and fore-fathers be truly san∣ctified and beleevers, then are the branches and chil∣dren sanctified and beleevers, the contrary wherof we see in wicked Absalom borne of holy David, and ma∣ny others: Therfore this holinesse must be the holines of the Nation, not of persons; it must be an holines, because of their elected and chosen parents the Patri∣arches and Prophets, and the holy seed of the Iewes: and so the holinesse federall, or the holinesse of the co∣venant. If then the Iewes in Pauls time were holy by covenant, howbeit for the present the sons were branches broken oft for unbeliefe: much more seeing God hath chosen the race and Nation of the Gentiles, and is be∣come a God to us and to our seed, the seed must be holy with holinesse of the chosen Nation, and holinesse exter∣nall of the covenant, notwithstanding the father and mo∣ther were as wicked, as the Iews who slew the Lord of glory.
8. Argument.* If the speciall and only reason, why Baptisme should be denied to the children of nearest Pa∣rents who are unbelievers, be weake and contrary to the Scriptures, then is this opinion contrary to Scripture al∣so; but the former is true, Ergo, so is the latter: for not only the speciall, but the only argument is, because these children are without the covenant, seeing their nearest Parents are without the covenant, but this is most false many waies.
1. God commandeth (as I shewed before) that the children of most wicked Parents, Josh. 5. should be cir∣cumcised. Page 171Ergo, God esteemed them within the cove∣nant, notwithstanding of their fathers wickednesse.
2. The Lord tearmeth the children of those who slew their sonnes to Molech, and so ostered them to Divels, to be his sonnes, Ezech. 16. 20. Moreover thou hast taken my sonnes and my daughters, which thou hast borne to me, and these hast thou sacrificed to them to be devoured: is this of thy whooredomes a small matter, v. 21. That thou hast slaine my children, &c. So Ezek. 23. 37. If they be the Lords sonnes, and borne to the Lord, howbeit their Parents were bloody murtherers, and sacrificers to •Di∣vels; then God esteemed these sonnes within the cove∣nant, and who are we to exclude them out of Gods cove∣nant?
3. The sonnes of most wicked Parents dying in their i• fancy may be saved, and of them God hath his owne chosen, as we see in many aged ones borne of wicked Pa∣rents. Ergo, the wickednesse of the Parents is a weake ground to say they are without the covenant, especially seeing we affirme, God hath his decrees of Election and Reprobation of infants, Rom. 9. 11. no lesse then of aged, the contrary whereof wee know Arminians teach.
9. Arg.* If externall profession be sufficient without longer examination to baptize the aged, as we see in Simon Magus, Act. 8. 13. and in Ananias▪ and Saphira, Act. 2. 38, 39, 44▪ 45. compared with Act. 5. 1, 2. by the Apostles practise: Then the profession of faith in the fore-fathers is enough for us to judge their fore-fathers with∣in the covenant, and consenters to the covenant; for when many thousands at once are said to enter in cove∣nant with God, as is cleare, Deut. 29. 10, 11, 12, 13. Josh. 24. 24, 25. 2 Chron. 15. 9, 10, 11, 12. they could not give any larger proofs or evidences of their faith of the cove∣nant, then a solemne assembling together, and a verball oath or a saying (Amen, or So be it) as Deut. 27. 14▪ 17. after which they were reputed in the covenant, and so their seed also in the covenant.*Augustine his mind Page 172 is that such infants are not to be excluded from bap∣tisme,* so Bucan, Calvin, Wallens, the Professours of Leyden.*
Let us heare shortly what our brethren say on the con∣trary.* M. Best and others object, Those only are to receive the seale of the covenant, whose Parents, at least one of them, in externall profession, are within the covenant; but infants borne of wicked and pro∣phane parents, are not borne of parents in externall pro∣fession within the covenant,*Ergo, the infants of wic∣ked parents are not to receive the seale of the covenant. The proposition he proveth from Genes. 17. 10. This is my covenant,*and every man-childe amongst you shall bee cir∣cumcised, and Rom. 4. 11. He received the signe of circum∣cision,*a seale of the righteousnesse of Faith. The assump∣tion he and others proove,*because murtherers, drunkards, swearers, and whose children we baptise, declare themselves not to be Christians, nor faithfull, nor Saints by their wic∣ked life, and so not within the covenant. This argument also the Separatists use.
Answ. The Major is false, and not proved from Gen. 17. or Rom. 4 for neither of these places speake of nearest Parents, father and mother one at least; the Text beareth no such thing, but the contrary. These are to receive the seale of the covenant whose fore-fa∣thers are in externall profession within the covenant; for God commandeth not Abraham only to circum∣cise his sons, but all parents descended of Abraham to circumcise their seed, the seed of Abraham carnally de∣scended to all generations: and so the nearest parents on∣ly are not to be looked unto.
2. This argument doth either proceed according to this meaning, that these infants only are to receive the seale of the covenant whose parents are within the co∣venant by an inward ingrafting and union by true faith, besides the externall professing therof; or then there is no other thing required, but only externall professi∣on, that the Church without sinne may conferre the Page 173 seales; if the former be said, it will follow that God speaketh, Gen. 17. only to Abraham and his sons by faith, according to the promise, and only to believers; but God speaketh to all Abrahams sons according to the flesh. 2. Because God should speake an untruth, that he were a God by reall union of faith to all that are commanded to be circumcised; for he comman∣ded thousands to be circumcised to whom he was not a God by reall union of faith: therefore these words must import, that nothing is more required, that the Church without sin may conferre the seale of the co∣venant, but the children to be descended of parents professing the truth and faith, although the parents indeed, as concerning any reall union of faith, be plain strangers to the covenant, and members of the Church only as an arme of wood is a member of the body, which being true, as it must be said, the assumption is weake and sick. •or the question is, what it is to be externally within the covenant, it is not to slee all knowne sinnes, to be a chosen people, a people taught of God (for then God would not have commanded Joshua Chap. 5. to circumcise all Israel, because their fathers externally were within the covenant) as this argument would say; for their fathers were a generation of un∣believers who knew not God, who tempted him and grie∣ved his holy Spirit in the wildernesse, and professed them∣selves by their murmuring never to be truly within the covenant. Then to professe the doctrine of the cove∣nant is but to be borne Iewes, and avow the Lord in externall profession, and Deut. 29. sweare a covenant with him, when the heart is blinded and hardned, v. 4. And so by this it is cleare Joshua had commandement of God to give the seale of the covenant to their chil∣dren, who were as openly wicked against the Lord, as murtherers, drunkards, swearers, &c. 3. This ar∣gument will prove circumcision could lawfully be gi∣ven to none, but the children of parents within the covenant, that is, professedly knowne to be faithfull, Page 174 holy, and se•arated from the prophane world in the judgement of c•arity: this hath no warrant of the word. For 1. The children of the mo•t wicked were circum∣cised, Iosh. 5. 2. We desire to know whom God forbad to be circumcised that were carnally descended of Abraham? Or shew us ex•mple or precept therof in the Word? 3. What God required in the parents, whose Infants the Church might lawfully and without sin circumcise, so they were borne Iewes: O saith Mr. Best, they be∣hooved to be members of the Church whose infants might lawfully be circumcised. I answer, that is, ignotum per ignotius, Shew me one person being a borne Iew, whose child the Lord forbad to circumcise? 2. What is it to be a member of the Iewish Church? Is it to bee a visible Saint and taught of God? I true, that was re∣quired indeed to make men acceptable before God; but to make one a visible member of the Iewish Church visible, nothing was required, but to be a borne Iew, and professe Gods truth, and keepe them from externall ceremoniall pollutions, I mean to be a member of the visi∣ble Church, to keep externall and Church-communion with the rest of Gods people.
Secondly,*they object, Not onely must they be in pro∣fession within the covenant; but also members of some vi∣sible Church and particular congregation, that is, that they be within the Church;* for we have nothing to do to judge them that are without. 1 Cor. 5. 12. And this M. Best Pro∣veth by the order required in Gods Church, putting a difference betwixt Church-communion and Christian-com∣munion, A man may be a just, peaceable, quiet man, and so meet to be a Citizen in a City, but he hath not right to the priviledges of the brughe, untill he come to them by due order; so must a man not onely be a Christian ere his childe be baptized; but also a member of a visible Church.
Answ. 1. This Objection proceedeth from a great mistake, as if Church-communion with a particular in∣dependent congregation were more, and a better and Page 175 nearer ground of baptizing, then Christian-communion, which we judge to be false; because the Catholick Church is by order of nature, and first and more prin∣cipally the body, spouse, redeemed flocke of Christ, then any particular independent congregation, that is but a part or member of the Catholike Church; and therfore the covenant, promises of grace, the power of the keys, the seals of the covenant belong first & principally to the Catholike Church, & to these that are in Christian communion with her, before they belong to this or that visible part of the Ca∣tholick Church, and so all ecclesiastick power of the keys must be first & more principally in the Catholick Church, then in a particular congregatiō, as a reasonable soul by or∣der of nature is in man, before it be in Peter, Thomas or Iohn.
2. I believe these are within, that are professours of the true faith, suppose they be not members of the Church of Corinth, or of any setled Church, it is e∣nough if they be within the covenant, and these are without only, who are Infidels and Pagans, not profes∣sing the true and sound faith, as the Apostle meaneth, 1 Cor. 5. 12. Baptisme is a priviledge of the Church, not a priviledge of such a particular independent Church, and the distinction betwixt Christian-communion and Church-communion in this point is needlesse and fruit∣lesse; for none are to be refused of baptisme, whose parents professe the faith and Christian-communion: Howbeit, they by Gods providence may be cast into a country where they are not, and cannot be (without due examination) members of a setled Church, as one may heare the word and joyn in publick prayer with any true Church he cometh unto, and so having Christian-commu∣nion with a true Church, he hath by that same also Church communion. For baptisme is not like Burgess• freedome in a city, a man may be a free Citizen in one Towne or City, and not be a free citizen to have right to the priviledges of all other Cities, but he who is Christs free-man in one Church, hath Christian freedome and right to communion therby in all Churches, and may Page 176 have Church-communion in all true Churches; but hee that is a free Burgesse in one City, is not free in all.
Thirdly, they object, If Baptisme be given to all pro∣miscuously, the Church shall not be the house of God, to receive only Gods family, but a common Inne to receive all cleane and uncleane. So Best citing Cartwright.* Bap∣tisme is to be administred (say the Separatists) onely to the seed of the faithfull, because such only are accounted to the Lord for a generation, which he begetteth and re∣ceiveth in his Church to declare his righteousnesse in Christ, Psalm. 22. 30, 31. Rom. 4. 11. and Rom. 11. 16. Math. 10. 13, 16.
Answ. Cartwright in that place is only against the baptizing of infants of excommunicate parents who are cast out of the Church;* but as the Church is a house, so there are in the house of baptized ones, both cleane and uncleane: Neither are they all barnes of the house, who are within the house: the profession of cleannesse and holinesse, and of the faith of Christ, maketh it a house different from the society of Pagans and In•idels.
2. Wheras M. Best urgeth that none should be bapti∣zed, but members of the visible Church: he maketh all baptized members of the Church, how then must they be all visible Saints, clean persons and holy? For baptisme maketh not the thousand part that are baptized to be vi∣sible Saints.
3. This Generation begotten of the Lord and received into the Church to declare his righteousnesse, Psal. 22. is not such only as are to be baptized; for that generation, v. 30. is a seed that serveth the Lord, and v. 31. decla∣reth his righteousnesse: All infants whether of faithfull or unfaithfull parents doe alike service to God, and alike de∣clare his righteousnesse, that is to say, infants of what e∣ver kinde can doe no service to God. If their mea∣ning bee the infants of faithfull parents circumcised shall serve God, and declare his Righteousnesse, when Page 177 they come to age: First this Text saith not they are the seed of the faithfull onely that shall serve God: For the seed of the faithfull, such as Ammon, Absolom, and Davids seed often refuse to serve God, and declare his righteousnesse, and the seed and children of wicked Parents, as Hezekiah the sonne of wicked Ahaz, and Josiah the sonne of wicked Amon, doe often serve God, and declare his righteousnesse: So they cite Scriptures, that by no force of reason doe speake for them, as Rom. 4. 11. and Rom. 11. 16. say nothing; but if the root be holy with the holinesse federall, and of the ex∣ternall profession: So are the branches; but the place speaketh nothing of true inherent holinesse; for then all holy Parents should have holy and visible Saints com∣ming out of their loines, which is against Scripture and experience.
Fourthly,*they object, By this our Divines lose their best Argument against Anabaptists;* namely, that children of Christians by that same warrant are to be baptized, that Infants under the Law were circumcised; but none was circumcised but a member of the visible Church under the Law. Now this ye gain-say, who would have all cleane and uncleane baptized, and so you leave your pat∣terne.
Answ. We leave our patterne in no sort: For all were circumcised that were borne of circumcised Parents within the Church of the Jewes: so all are to be bap∣tized that are borne of Christians, and baptized Parents professing the faith. But (say they) Drunkards, Mur∣therers, Sco••ers, Swearers, and ignorant Atheists both Fa∣thers and Mothers, whose children you baptize, doe not professe the •aith; for in works they deny and belye their pro∣fession.
Answ. Then you will have the children of none to be baptized, but those whose parents are sound and sin∣cere professors in the judgement of charity; but so Jo∣shuah failed who circumcised the children of all profes∣sing themselves to be Abrahams sonnes carnally; how∣beit Page 178Joshuah knew, and was an eye-witnesse that their Fa∣thers did deny and belye their profession. And John baptized the •eed of all, Mat. 3. that professed the faith of the Messiah, although he knew them to be a gene∣ration of vipers.
2. They often require that one of the Parents be a beleever, or else the childe cannot be cleane, nor law∣fully baptized, and they repose on that place, 1 Cor. 7. 14. For the unbeleeving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbeleeving wife is sanctified by the husband; Else (that is, if both were unbeleevers) were your children uncleane (that is not within the covenant) but now are they holy. And they alleadge Beza and Pareus for this.
Answ. But they mistake the word (unbeleeving) for by (unbeleeving) in that place (as the Professors of Leyden doe well observe) is meant Infidell Gentiles that are without the Church,* and professe not Christ, as is cleare from the Text: For where the husband that be∣leeved was married on a Pagan-wife;* or a Jew hee thought being converted to the Christian faith, he be∣hooved to sunder with his Pagan-wife; and the wife converted to the Christian faith married to a heathen and Pagan-husband thought she behoved to divorce, and that the marriage could not be sanctified. The Apo∣stle answereth this case of conscience: Suppose the Fa∣ther be a Pagan, if the Mother be a beleever, that is, a professour of Christianity (for a Beleever is here op∣posed to a Pagan) yet the children are holy by the Mo∣thers or Fathers profession of Christianity. Hence the Argument is strong for us, Profession of Christianity opposed to Paganisme maketh the children cleane and holy before God by the holinesse of the Covenant; there∣fore Infants borne of parents professing Christian Reli∣gion are to be baptized: For that this troubled many converted, that they were married to heathen, and bond∣men to them, and in such and such callings as they thought inconsistible with Christian Religion is cleare Page 179 from verse 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.* And Beza on that place saith, it was never heard in the ancient Church that every Infidell child was to be baptized. And Pareus saith,* the children of Christian parents are holy before Baptisme by a Covenant and externall holinesse, iure, by Gods right being borne of Christian parents; And after Baptisme they are holy, de facto, formally and actually.* So say Melancthon and Keckerman. But I feare that these who will have none baptized but the chil∣d•en of beleeving parents,* aime at this, That the faith of the father is imputed to the children, which indeed reverend Beza doth maintaine:* Or then a worse, that Infants are not to be baptized at all, seeing they op∣pose the places that we cite for the lawfulnesse of bap∣tizing Infants.* The authors of Presbyteriall government call the baptizing of children a untimous anticipation. Our brethrens mind is, that the Infants of both Parents knowne to be unbeleevers, are not to be baptized un∣till they come to age, and can give proofe that they are within the covenant of grace, what Anabaptists thinke here is knowne.* Some say that Boniface the 4. in the yeare 606. began the Baptisme of infants. M. Best saith too nakedly. I beleeve at Augustine, Cyprian, Origen, Cyrill, Nazianzen, Ambrose, and many other Fathers affirme, that the Church hath received the Bap∣tisme of Infants from the Apostles. What? doth he not beleeve that it is most evidently in Scripture? and hath he no better warrant then the •athers?
Fourthly,*M. Best objecteth, If there be no precept nor example for baptizing of Infants begotten of both Parents unbeleeving; then there is no promise of blessing made unto it; but the first is true, Ergo, the second.
Answ. 1. We aske with what faith, and by what pre∣cept or example was ever circumcision in the whole old Testament denyed to any male-childe of the most wic∣ked Jewes; and by what precept and example is Bap∣tisme denyed to any Infant in the New Testament for his Parents wickednesse? the Fathers professing the Page 180 Christian Faith: Yea, seeing Baptisme is denyed to In∣fants upon a suspition, that their Parents are destitute of faith, and not within the Covenant; Now this sus∣pition is not faith, nor grounded upon any word of God, or certaintie of faith; for whether an other man beleeve, or beleeve not, it is not faith, nor knowne by faiths certaintie to me, but by the judgement of cha∣ritie.
Fifthly,*they object, If all promiscuously be baptized, Gods name is taken in vaine, and the holy Sacrament greatly abused, Mal. 1. 12. Heb. 10 29.
Answ. This is to accuse God, as if he had not found sufficient wayes out to save his owne name from blas∣phemy. Nor can our brethren by their Doctrine save his name from dishonour, nor the Sacrament from pro∣phanation; because multitudes of Infants borne of be∣leeving Parents are reprobates, and yet God hath com∣manded to baptize them, who being reprobates must be without the covenant, and so the covenant is pro∣phaned, and many Infants of wicked Parents are cho∣sen, and within the covenant; yet are we forbidden by our brethren to give them the seales of the cove∣nant untill they come to age, which also should be gi∣ven to them, and needs force by their doctrine that Christ hath commanded a certaine way of dishonouring his name (which is blasphemy) •or we have not such a cleare way to know Infants cleane and uncleane, as the Priest had to know the polluted bread, and the pol∣luted sacrifices, Mal. 1. 7, 12. as he citeth: For what Infants are within the covenant indeed, and chosen of God; and what not: We neither know, nor is it re∣quisite that we know further then that we are to know, that they are borne within the visible Church.
Sixthly,*they say, The Church of God is defiled, Hag. 2. 14, 15. Ezech. 44. 7.* If all Infants promiscuously be bap∣tized; for then the people and every worke of their hand, and their offering is uncleane. So M. Best.
Page 181Answ. We deny that children borne within the vi∣sible Church are an uncleane offering to the Lord, and that the baptizing of them polluteth the Nation, and all the worship of the Nation, as they would gather from Haggai: For being borne of the holy Nation, they are holy with a federall and nationall holinesse, Rom. 11. 16. If the root be holy so are the branches: For our brethren baptize children of Parents who are hy∣pocrites and unbeleevers, and so the uncircumcised in heart come into the Sanctuary: Yea Peter in bapti∣zing Simon Magus, and Ananias and Saphira brought in the uncircumcised in heart and the strangers to Gods co∣venant, as Best alledgeth from Ezech. 44. borrowing such abused testimonies of Gods word from Separatists, as they borrowed them from Anabaptists: For we preach and invite in the Gospell all the uncircumcised in heart, and all the wicked to come and heare and partake of the holy things of the Gospell, and receive the promi∣ses thereof with faith: And when many come to this heavenly banquet without their wedding garment, Mat. •2. 12, 13. 2 Cor. 2. 16. Mat. 21. 43, 44. It follow∣eth not, because they prophane the holy things of God, that Ministers who baptize the Infants of hypocrites, and prophane persons, are accessarie to the prophaning of the holy things of God, and that we bring in the polluted in heart to the Sanctuary of God. It is one thing whom Ministers should receive as members of the Sanctuary and Church; and another thing, who should come in, and what sort of persons they are obliged to be who come to be members. To say that Ministers should receive none into the Church but those that are circumcised in heart, and cleane and holy, and cloathed with the wedding garment of faith is more then our brethren can prove: Nay, we are to invite to the wed∣ding good and bad, chosen and unchosen, Mat. 22. 9. As many as you find bid to the wedding. But that all that come to be received members of the unvisible Church are obliged to be circumcised in heart, and holy, and Page 181 cloathed with the wedding garment, else they pro∣phane the Sanctuary and holy things of God) is most true: But we desire that our brethren would prove this; The Porters that held out the uncircumcised and the strangers out of the Sanctuary, were types of the Ministers and Church of the New Testament, who should receive none to be Church-members, and in∣vite none to the wedding of the Gospell, but such as have their wedding garment, and are circumcised in heart, and are cleane, and holy, else they prophane and defile the Church of God, as M. Best saith. We beleeve this latter to be an untruth, and yet the strength of this Argument doth hang upon this: They are obliged to be such who enter into the Church, else they defile the Sanctuary, Ergo, the Church and Ministers of the New Testament are obliged to invite none to any Church-com∣munion, or receive them into a Church fellowship, but only the circumcised in heart: Wee utterly deny this con∣sequence. It is one thing, what sort of persons they ought to be, that should be members of the Church (doubtlesse they should be beleevers) And another thing, whom the Church should receive in (these should be professors.)
Seventhly,*M. Best reasoneth thus, The Minister is made a covenant-breaker, Mal. 2. 8. who baptized the childe of prophane Parents, and why? because he offereth the blinde for a sacrifice to God.
Answ. What if the Parents be esteemed beleevers, and are but hypocrites indeed, as is too ordinary: There is then a blinde sacrifice offered to God, and that by Gods commandement. 2. It followeth no way that the Minister is accessary to this sacrifice: Suppose it were blinde, as none can judge that but God; but the Minister doth what his Master commandeth him, to preach unto all, and baptize all that are borne within the visible Church; the sacrifice may be blinde by their doctrine and ours also; but that it is a sacrifice blinde to the Minister, and he a Priest to offer that blinde sa∣crifice, Page 183 is not hence concluded.
Eighthly,* Best saith, Divine wrath is kindled for the prophanation of holy things.
Answ. That this is the Ministers or Churches pro∣phanation of holy things is not proved: It is not wrath procured by the Ministers, or those who receive them into the Church, but wrath procured by the vnworthy incommers.
Ninthly,* Separatists reason thus: If all be baptized pro∣miscuously,* unbeleevers and prophane, together with their children shall be counted in that state to be Abrahams seed, and heires of the promis•, and so to be Christs, contrary to Gal. 3. 7, 29. with Gen. 15. 6. and 17. 7.
Answ. 1. A promiscuous baptizing of all we deny: It may import a baptizing of the Infants of Turkes, or of Papists, who avow they will bring up the childe baptized in the Romane faith: In which case, it would seeme Baptisme should be denied,* as the learned Wal∣leus thinketh. 2. There is a double counting on in Gods seed. 1. One according to Election, and so onely the elect are counted in the seed, as is cleare, Rom. 9. Paul expoundeth, Gen. 15. This counting in the seed is not well counted to be common to all circumcised: Sepa∣ratists doe ordinarily miscount and abuse Scriptures, not caring what they cite, so that the Margen swell with citations. 2. There is an Ecclesiasticall and conditionall counting, whereby all baptized are in the judgement of charity counted Abrahams heires; but with the con∣dition, that they have Abrahams faith, and be inter∣nally in Abrahams covenant, and so are counted in th• seed, and all baptized. Hence the Separatists other two Arguments doe not conclude: For they inferre, if all must be baptized, that unbeleevers have alike interest with beleevers in the seales and priviledges of the Church, and must be counted in that same body and state with beleevers: For to the externall priviledges and visible body of the Church all professors (for they are not to be reputed unbeleevers) have alike interest; Page 184 but to the inward favours and graces sealed in the Sa∣craments, and in the true and mysticall body of Christ they have not all alike interest who are baptized. 2. Se∣paratists doe ignorantly and uncharitably in this dispute take the children of the nearest Parents that are pro∣phane and wicked, and unbeleeving and uncleane In∣fants for all one: For because their Fathers many ge∣nerations upward were within the covenant; therefore are such children in externall prof•ssion within the co∣venant, as the Lord did shew favour to his people for Abraham and Davids sake many yeares after they were dead, when their nearest Parents were wicked and pro∣phane, Psal. 106. 45, 46. Psal. 105. 41, 42. Ezech. 20. 2•. and chap. 36. 21, 22.
2. Conclusion.* These onely are to be admitted to the Supper of the Lord, whom in charity we judge, can and doe trye and examine themselves, and rightly dis∣cerne the Lords body, and who in faith can annuntiate the Lords death, unto his second comming againe: And therefore children and infants, ignorants, and scan∣dalously flagitious persons, and mad persons are to be debarred. But that none should be Church-members of Christs visible body, but such as we can, and dare ad∣mit to the Lords Supper, is most false: For we put a manifest difference betwixt those that are admitted in∣to Christs visible body, as ordinary hearers of the word, such as are ignorants, and many unconverted profes∣sors; and the excommunicate who are admitted to be ordinary hearers of the word, but are not to be ad∣mitted to the Supper of the Lord; for so we should prophane the holy things of God, and be accessary to the prophaning of the Lords body and precious bloud. Here a doubt ariseth, seeing Christ crucified is the sub∣stance and object of faith in the word preached, as well as in the Sacrament of the Lords Supper; and in no sort are Ministers to be accessary to the prophaning of the holy things of God, or of casting pearles before swine, Mat. 7. 6. Mat. 15. 26. Heb. 10. 29. Hag. 2. 14, 15. Page 185 Num. 5. 2, 3. and Levit. 19. 22. How doe we admit the ignorant and unbeleevers, yea the excommunicate, Mat. 22. 9. 2 Thess 3. 15. to the holy things of the Gospell preached, which we know they shall, and doe pro∣phane? For to them the word is the savour of death un∣to death, 2 Cor. 2. 16. and Christ is a rocke of offence, and a stumbling stone, a ginne and a snare, Isa. 8. 14. 1 Pet. 2. 8. and yet we are accessary to their prophaning of the Lords Table if we admit such to the Table.
Answ. There are great odds betwixt a possible and necessary meane of salvation prophaned, and a meane of salvation not necessary nor possible to reach its end for the which it is ordained: If these of the Separa∣tion would distinguish this as Gods word doth, they should not so stumble about the constitution of a visi∣ble Church: For the word preached is the necessary and possible meane of conversion to the most flagitious and wicked hearers; And howbeit they prophane the word, promises, and despise Christ and his covenant in the word preached; yet Ministers in receiving such into Church-communion are not accessary to the pro∣phaning of Gods holy things; because they are under a necessity of offering Christ preached, as the onely or∣dinary, necessary, and possible meane of salvation; Therefore we admit them to the hearing and beleeving of the word, per se, and kindly; but to the stumbling at the word by accident, by their abuse comming from themselves. But the Lords Supper being a Seale of our nourishment and spirituall growth in Christ, it pre∣supposeth faith, and the begun life of God, and the new birth, and so to those who are openly flagitious and knowne unbeleevers, it is neither a necessary meane of salvation, nor yet a possible meane: Not necessary; for meat and drinke and these elements cannot nou∣rish those who have no life of God in them at all: As bread and wine are not means at all to a dead man, Infestment in the husbands lands, and a dowry is no meane necessary at all to an unmarried virgin remai∣ning Page 186 unmarried. Also untill the communicant beleeve in Christ, it is not a possible Seale; for it can seale nothing to one that is not capable of nouri•hment, see∣ing the unbeleever by no possibility can be sealed up in a growing communion with Christ. And this Supper is not a formall meane of conversion, but a formall meane of the further growth and nourishment of these who are already converted; and therefore when Mi∣nisters are accessary to admit to the Lords Table these whom they know are unbeleevers, they have there a kindly influence in the prophaning of the holy things of God, in giving a meane of salvation to these to whom it is neither necessary nor possible: But in admittance of members of the Church to be ordinary hearers of the word, their influence is not kindly, and their co∣operation onely accidentall. The sinne is in the abu∣sers of the word onely, which is a meane both neces∣sary and possible, and the fault is not in the Ministers. For this cause are we to be more strict in admitting to the Lords Supper, then in receiving of Church-members to Baptisme, and the hearing of the Word. But as we are to take care that the holy things of God be not prophaned in this Sacrament: so also that none be debarred by the under-stewards and servants whom the Master of the house hath admitted. And 1. none are to be excluded from the Table, but such as are un∣der the Church-censures, except the impediments be naturall, not morall, such as age and distraction. 2. That none are reputed uncapable, but such as are juridicè, and in the Church-court, under two or three witnesses convicted; for why should the Church punishments be inflicted blindly, such as is debarring from the Lords Table? therefore the Minister hath no power of the Keyes himselfe alone, without the Eldership to de∣barre any; for then he himselfe useth the Keyes by cen∣suring, Pope-like, without the Church. 3. Grossely ig∣norant are to be censured by the Church, and debarred: But it may perhaps be here said, I make no evidence Page 187 of conversion required to goe before, as seene to the Church, before they dare admit to the Lords Table, but such as may be in hypocrites.
Answ. And so did the Apostolike Church, I doubt not but the Apostles did, Acts 2. 46, 47. admit Ananias and Saphira to the Lords Table: And so did Paul esteeme of Demas, and would once have admitted Hymeneus, Alexander and others; and this is cleare, 1 Joh. 2. 19. If they had been of us, they would no doubt have cont•∣nued with us: Then they remained for a space commu∣nicators with the true Church in the word of the co∣venant and seales. We are against Separatists, who will have the number of aged persons that are members of the Church, and the number of those who are to be admitted to the Sacrament, equall. We thinke multi∣tudes are members of the visible Church, and must be hearers, as knowne unbeleevers, who are not to be admit∣ted to the Sacrament.