A survey of the Survey of that summe of church-discipline penned by Mr. Thomas Hooker ... wherein the way of the churches of N. England is now re-examined ...
Rutherford, Samuel, 1600?-1661.


Whether Covenant-right to Baptisme be derived from the nearest Parents only, or from the remoter, the Grand-Fathers.

MR. H. It belongs not to any •…d ••ssors, either nearer or*further off removed, it is from the next Parents,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and firstly to give Covenant right of Baptisme to their Child 〈◊〉 when I say Pred•••ssors near e•…r further off, I include and com∣prohend all, beside the next parent—Now covenant right agrees*not to all other fo them, nor can the P•…〈◊〉 this 〈◊〉 out the next parent (in Church covenant) who is the adequate••s of deriving these priviledges

Ans. 1. When Mr. H. saith, it belongeth not to remote Pa∣rents〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and fistly to convey Covenant right to the chil∣dren, he would make the Reader believe that remote Parents have some causative influence, but not primary, as the first sub∣ject. But the truth is, if the nearest parent be the adequate cause of conveyance (as e saith) then shall he not leave any in∣fluence at all to remote parents.

2. It is not the nearest parent as visibly in the covenant of * grace, but as visibly in Church-covenant Independent wise, by Page  446 Mr. H. his Doctrine: for (saith Mr. H. ibid.) the next parents can give the priviledge and title to Baptism, without any help of the pred•••sso.

Hence 1. more weight is laid upon the Church-covenant * than upon the Covenant of Grace; and the Traditions of men are heightned above the Gospel and command of God. For suppose that Iudas, Magus, Iezabel, who are under the Church-covenant, be never discovered, nor judicially cast out, they con∣vey covenant-right to Baptism. But

1. These of approved godliness and visible Saints, who can∣not in conscience submit to their Church-covenant, are secluded from the Seals, and their seed from Baptism, as the places in the margin clear, and Magus and Iezabel their children are ad∣mitted to Baptism for the new Church-covenant, and others, famously known to be godly to the Brethren of the congregational way, and who bring sufficient testimonial with them, (as their own words are) though the testimonial be from private Chri∣stians; yet because the testimonial is not from a Church, a Church known to them to be under a Church-covenant either implicitly or explicitly, are not admitted to Church-ordinances, and so neither their seed to Baptism.

2. Godly so journers known to be such, and visible members broken off from Church-membership through no sin or scandal * in them, but either through violence of persecution, or some stroke of judgement, as Pestilence, that hath scattered them, and removed the Elders by death, can have no Baptism to their children, though they be visibly in the Covenant of Grace, yet the seed of Magus and Iezabel, upon the sole account of the Church-covenant; so that opus operaum, the deed done, the want of the formality of their membership, without the con∣tempt, reigns here as in Popery.

3. Then by this they cannot have a wedding-garment to mens discerning, who are not inchurched their way.

4. They are not in the Covenant of Grace, nor the visibly called of God. Nor

5. Members visible of Christs Body, but as Pagans and Pub∣licans, who are not thus inchurched in the nearest parent, and their seed unclean and Pagan-seed.

Page  447 6. Then the seals were never administred according to the Rule of the Gospel until the Independent Churches arose.

7. Nor can Egypt, Assyria, the Kingdoms of the world, be the Kingdoms of of the Lord, and of his Son Christ, as Isa. 19. 25. & 2. 1, 3. Rev. 11. 15. except onely in the nearest father and mother inchurched by the Church-covenant; The ••ed of the Gentiles and their offspring blessed of the Lord, Isa. 61. 9. their seed and their seeds seed. Isa. 59. 21. the enduring seed of Christ, Psa. 89 29, 36. Isa. 53. 10. Gen. 13. 15. Isa. 45, 25, by our Brethrens way are but onely the nearest sons and daughters * of the onely nearest father and mother in Church covenant. So Christ is not Davids seed, for David was not (I judge) his near∣est father according to the flesh. When it is said, the seed of the godly is blessed, Psal. 37. 26. his seed is mighty on earth, Ps••. 12. 2. it must be onely his nearest sons and daughters, not the thousand generations, Exod. 20. And when it is said, Praise him all ye seed of Iacob, Psal. 22. v. 23. none are then invited to praise God, but the nearest sons and daughters of the nearest parents: for our Brethren (from whence is the marrow of Mr. H. his Book) tell us, the 1 Corinth. 7. 14. seems to limit the foederal sanctity or holiness to the children, whose next parents, one or both, were belie∣vers—for if we go one degree beyond the next parents—we might baptize the children of all the Turks, and of all the Indians: and if so, all the huge multitude of sons and daughters coming in to the Church, that make an eternal excellency, Isa. 60 4 15. and the joy of many generations, who shall inherit the land for ever, v. 21. to whom the Lord shall be an everlasting light, v. 19. shall be the children onely, whose next parents, one or both, are believers. But we think the second Command, Exod. 20. takes the Brethren off that Scripture.

8. And such ups and downs, and leaping like Locusts and Frogs from earth to water, and from water to earth, hath not been heard: for how often are Independent members in the Covenant of Grace, and Christians, and out of it again as Pagans, and their seed Pagans, and their seeds seed Pagans? If all the fastning of an everlasting covenant to a Kingdom, be onely nearest parents, and if they break the Charters of Hea∣ven, all Covenant-mercies are cancelled to the seed, and the seeds seed.

Page  448 9. If we speak with Scripture, the adequate cause of cove∣nant * love to fathers and sons, is the free grace of God, Deut. 7. 7, 8. & 10. 15 2 Sam. 7. 23. 24. Luke 1. 50, 68, 69. Eph. 2. 4. the conveying subordinate cause, is sometime a family, as Abra∣ham, not as a physical parent onely, to convey the covenant∣right onely in the direct blood threed or blood-line from parent to childe, but as both Physical and Moral, or Oeconomick pa∣rent; for Abraham getteth the covenant-charter given to him, and not onely to his blood-seed, but to strangers and servants born under him, to the sons of his servants, Gen. 17. 7. 12. Its given to Cornelius and his house, Act. 10. 48. & 16. 33. some∣times to Samaria a great city, Act. 8. to Macedonia, to a great kingdom: Exod. 3. I am the God of thy fathers, the God of A∣braham. Now Abraham was not their next parent: Deut. 10. 11. He gives the land promised to the fathers. Luke 1. 72. He saved us, to perform the mercy promised to our fathers; v. 73. to remember his holy covenant; v. 74. The oath which he sware to our father Abraham. Acts 2. The promise (v. 39.) is to you, and to your children: What? onely to your nearest children? yea & to all that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 2 Cor. 6 16. I will be their God, and they shall be my people;* according to that, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed, Gen. 17. 7. Either must this fail in the New Testament, or we have no more right to the promises made to Abraham, then the children of Pagans have; for if their nearest parent believe. they have covenant right, but that is but a yesterdays charter: yea, though the children do worse, and corrupt themselves more than their fathers, Judg. 2. 19, 20. Deut. 29. 25. Ezek. 2. 3. yet if they repent, Lev. 26. 42. then I will (saith God) remember my covenant with Iacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember, and I will re∣member the land—I will not cast them away, &c. Nor is this a Tempore••rcy onely, 〈◊〉Ezek. 38. 24, 25. 1 Kings 11. 32. & 8 19. 〈◊〉 Kings 19. 34. & 20. 〈◊〉. Psal. 132. 10 Isa. 37 35. Now if the Parent nearest be the adequate cause, the mercy is not conveyed by David, ofor Davids sake, as the Scripture saith, more than to the wildest Pagan. And that 1 or. 7 14. must be meant of the farther off children, as Rom. 11. 16. If the Page  449 root be holy, so are the branches; he means the branches to be graffed in again, v. 23. the branches beloved for the fathers sake, v. 28. far off branches, not yet ingraffed again, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, v. 25, 26.

Mr. H. In the place Exod. 0. the Lord ies not himself to a law, but walks in breadth, as best be••om his Wisdom; so e ex∣imes some from the threatning, and withhelds the expression of his love from others.

Ans. The expressions of the Lords love and mercy, is one thing, (the Lord useth the latitude of soveraignty here) and the ex∣tending of covenant-mercy to the thousand generations, is a far other thing.

2. When Mr. H. saith, that the Lord withholds the expressions of his love from others in the thousands mentioned, if he mean the expressions of his covenant-love, (as he must, what is this from contradicting the words of the Text? Calvin (whom Mr. H.* misciteth) saith, its meant of covenant-mercy to be propagated to the thousand generations, according to that, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed. Now neither Scripture nor Calvin ever meant by seed, the nearest seed of the nearest parent onely: Quod D•… gratia (inquit Calvin) in fam•… porum aeterna resi∣deat. Perkins is as clear in this. I wonder that Mr. H. was not afraid to cite these worthy servants of God, for an opinion so repugnant diametrally to the letter of the Scripture: and

10. To the longanimity and patience of God. For an earthly Prince making a covenant of grace with a man and his family, were it grace and gracious dealing to cut off all his posterity for the fault of onely the nearest parents, so as all the rest of the blood-line should be to him as damned Traitors and Re∣bels? And

11. It close everts the liberty of God in his free election of grace; for doth not Scripture and Experience teach, that the Lord never sent his Gospel to a Nation, but he had there among them his chosen ones, both of the seed of the Elect and Re∣probate, Acts 18. 9, 10. and therefore the Nation called of God Page  450 by the Gospel, is also the chosen of God, and the loved of God, according to the most precious part: So the Scripture, Deut. 7. 7, 8. & 10. 15. Eph. 1. 1, 2, 3. 1 Cor. 1. 26, 27. Psal. 132. 13, 14. 15. & 147. 19, 20. Now if he should e••t off men from the covenant for the real defection of the onely nearest parent, he must remove the Gospel for the same defection, and conclude himself that he should not choose to life the children of some Reprobates, contrary to Scripture: and its as great a wonder to me, that Mr. H. should claim to Zanchius for this opinion, * for he expresly refutes it.

Mr. H. They who imitate the sins of parents may expect plagues, they that follow the obedience of faithful parents may ex∣pect mercies.

Ans. Its impertinent; for such as follow the sins of parents are none of the thousand generations of them that love God, not the latter, of them that hate God.

2. Though both these be true, Mr. H. must prove that mer∣cies promised Exod. 20. are covenant-mercies derived from the nearest parents onely, else he saith nothing for his owne cause.

Mr. H. The mercies here promised are not all the particular blessings and priviledges that the parents were possessed of. Israel wanted circumcision fourty years in the wilderness, and in the time of the Iudges, and in the 70 years captivity they wanted sundry priviledges they enjoyed under David and Solomon; the mercy here must be grace and glory.

Ans. 1. This is for me: But when Mr. H. would have In∣fants of nearest parents excommunicated, to be excluded both from Baptism and Covenant-mercy, and have them in the case Page  451 wholly with the Infants of Pagans, they must be excluded from grace and glory; else Mr. H. must shew, with Anabaptists, some way of Salvation of Infants who are without the covenant, and so have no share in that onely precious Name by which men are saved.

2. I hope Mr. H. will not say, Israel wanted circumcision in the Wilderness for the sins of their nearest parents onely; there was a physical impediment; the Lord, who loves mercy better than sacrifice, would not have Infants wounded in that eari∣some journey: Nor was it for their nearest parents Idolatry onely, but because they and their fathers from Egypt until that day, Ezek. 2. 3. rebelled, they were deprived of this other pri∣viledge.

3. Mr. H. must prove, that the people in the Wilderness, in * the time of the Judges, a stiff-necked generation, who did worse than their fathers, despised, mocked and killed the Prophets, were all of them visible converts, a generation of lovers of God, and such as kept his commandments.

Mr. H. This being the meaning, as Calvin, Zanchius, Junius, Perkins, what inference can be made for the conveyance of the right of Baptism from remote parents to children, I know not; for how doth this agree to children to love the Lord, and keep his com∣mandments, who are not yet capable, being not come to years to put forth such acts?

Ans. I shall not invite Anabaptists to triumph in pulling this * Argument for Infant-baptism from our Divines; for if the words must be expounded of actual love to God, and actual obedience in Infants; so that, if Infants be not capable of actual love and obedience to God, the covenant-mercy must be bro∣ken off in all Infants who die before they can come to years to actually to love the Lord, and keep his commandments; And if the flux of covenant-mercy be suspended, while Infants come to be capable to actually love God and obey him; where then shall be covenant right in the males of the Jews to be circumcised, and in the Infants born of covenanted parents under the New Testament to be baptized? For the Argument, if any be, must be thus:

To such as cannot actually love God and keep his command∣ments Page  452 for want of age, there be no covenant-right to Baptism * conveyed. But this want of age and capacity to love God and actually obey him, is in all Infants in Old or New Testament; except Mr. H. mean, that nearest parents can supply the want of capacity, and infuse actual understanding to Infants, that they may actually love God, and keep his commandments, which remote parents cannot do, which is a mystery I am yet to learn. But to the Reader it is clear, that Infants have no right to Baptism until they come to years to actually love God; Ergo, they should not be baptized until they be converted. But again, no Anaba∣ptist teacheth, that any are to be baptized by covenant-right from parents near or remote, except they personally believe and profess actually: and the very like Mr. H. saith.

Mr. H. Where shall we stand if a thousand generations have interest in Baptism? Then the children of Turks cannot be ex∣cluded, for some of them are found between us and Adam.

Ans. Is not this to cavil at the Lords words, not at us? so they set this Conjecture down as a part of their Discipline; Its not above 66 generations from Noah to Christ,—and if Gods mer∣cy to a thousand generations may fetch in the children of excom∣municated*persons, the same promise may fetch in all Turks and Infidels at this day. But I pray you are Turks such as love God and keep his commandments? are not Turks avowed enemies to Christ and the Gospel-covenant? and so for many generations have deserted the covenant and visible Church, so that they are no visible Church, the Lord having removed the Candlestick: Can this be said of children born in the visible Church, either of the Jews or of Christians professors, because their nearest parents are extreme wicked or excommunicated, since they are yet born in the visible Church where the Candlestick is? shall the children be cut off from circumcision, since the Lord for Abraham, for Davids sake, for the holy Roots sake (not the nearest, who were most unholy, and cast out, Rom. 11. 7.) gives circumcision and Church-room to the branches, Rom. 11. 16? And if the child of nearest parents excommunicated be born in*a believers house, or resigned to a believer, to be brought up as his own, he is to be baptized, say our Brethren; but the being so born, hinders not the childs cutting off from the covenant. Page  453 Where then is his covenant-right to baptism? Its either from his remote parents, which we say; I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed: or from his nearest excommunicate parents. This latter Mr. H. denies: or from the Beleever, in whose house he was born. If so, we shall not contend, then the covenant∣right is not broken and removed, because the nearest parents are excommunicate. Some parental covenant-right is conveyed to this Infant, which is not conveyable to the Infant of a Turk.

2. Mr. H. hath the words of the second Command for his party: for, i the nearest parents excommunication deprive the children of all covenant-mercy and right to the seals, the words should be false, and the Lord should be less in shewing mercy, in extending it to one generation only, to the nearest children only, for their nearest parents loving of God, and keeping of his Commandments, and more abundant in severity of justice, in visiting the sins of the Fathers upon the Children, unto the third*and fourth Generation of them that hate him. But this turns the promise and the threatning of the Command upside down, for mercy is so extended to Fathers nearest & nearest Children, and punishing justice to four, and the command extends mercy unto thousands, & justice to only four Generations. Now two Gene∣rations, as they are fewer then four, so are they far more fewer then a thousand Generations: as also, if mercy extended to a thousand Generations, only be upon condition, they imitate their godly parents (saith Mr. H.) by loving (actually) and obey∣ing (actually) his Commandments, especially that of the truth of his worship, then is mercy not extended to the nearest one ge∣neration of Infants; for it is certain the nearest one generati∣on of Infants cannot be yet capable (saith Mr. H. with the same * breath) being not come to years to put forth such acts of actual love and obedience in worshipping the true God, as he hath commanded in his word: and if mercy be not extended to one generation, nor Covenant-seals to Ishmael, for Abrahams, nor to Esau for Isaacs sake, contrary to all Scripture: the Lord shews not mercy to thousands of generations, because not to one generation. And so again, the promise of mercy is de∣stroyed, for the condition of actual love, and of actual obedi∣ence Page  454 is physically impossible to all sorts of Infants, both of Parents loving or hating God.

And 3. the sweet and merciful proportion is destroyed, for God punisheth Infants Children of Achab, of the Amlakites, of Ieroboam in the cradle, though these Infants be as uncapable to bow the knee to Idol gods, or to imitate the Idolatry and actual abominations of their Fathers, as the Infants of godly parents are to imitate the actual love and obedience of their pa∣rents: and yet the Scripture and experience teach, that justice proceedeth to four generations against the one: And Mr. H. denies that mercy goes along to the thousand generations with the other, because poor Infants on the breast cannot bow their knee and pray in faith to God, and do the like acts of true worship, as their godly parents do: and yet Mr. H. fathers his meaning upon Calvin, Zanchius, Iunius, Perkins.

Mr. H. The next parents being excommunicate, cannot give to the child the right which they have not themselves.*

Ans. I grant, because they are not the sole and adequate cause of conveying covenant-right to the children. But where then (saith Mr. H.) shall we stand, how shall it be conveyed to re∣mote parents? The answer is easie, so long as the nearest chil∣dren * of excommunicate parents are born in the visible house, where the King yet dwells, and the golden candlestick is not removed, the children are heirs to the remote parents, the children are followed with covenant-mercy, passing by the nearest parents: (saith the Lord) for my servant Davids sake, 1 King. 11. 32, 34, 36. he would not destroy Iudah for his servant Davids sake, 2 King. 8. 19, 2 King. 19. 34. 2 King, 20 6. for the promise is not laid down in the hand of the nearest parents on∣ly, but in their hands with whom first God signally covenants, as with Abraham, David, with the three thousand baptized, Act. 2. 39. and their children, and all that are afar off, and as many as the Lord shall call with the seed, with Samaria and theirs, Act. 8. so long as a calling Gospel is there: This shall not fetch in the Turks. How will Mr H. with so short a good night of Christ break off the longanimity of God to the seed for their nearest parents, if they break a new congregational covenant? Yea, if by persecution, and through no sin of the nearest parents, Page  455 they be broken out of congregation-state, presently the Can∣dlestick is removed from the seed, and a bill of Divorce sent to the whole race, and they banished out of the house, and decla∣red Pagans. O Scriptureless cruelty, to make God to break the covenant first, the parents continuing in covenant-obedi∣ence and suffering for Christ!

Mr. H. Men of approved piety in covenant with God visibly, are to be admitted to the seals (saith Mr. R.) but (saith Mr. H.) gracious men be pertinacious.

Ans. Pertinacy in a scandal marrs approved piety; but be∣cause they approve not your way, are they therefore pertina∣cious?

Mr. H. To be a member of the visible Church in general, and*have no particular existence of membership in any particular con∣gregation, is a fansie, as to say there is a part of manhood not existing in John, Thomas, or any Individuals.

Ans. Mr. H. fansies there is a promise of continuing on the Rock made to the congregation in general, and yet this or that congregation falls off the Rock.

2. Mr. R. his Church-general is no abstract generick nature, but an individual integral Catholick body, existing in all the earth; and one is baptized a member to all congregations jure, and exists and dwells in one only: as a man may have right to all City-priviledges, and yet may reside, and actually enjoy only the City priviledge of London. Mr. H. imagines that our Catholick integral Church is genus, and the Congregation species: and if so, the Church of Boston should be the whole integral Catholick Church, and the little finger the whole body of Iohn.