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profeffing faith in Christ, which is a prerequisite to it, and of exercising it in it? Are they capable of answering a good conscience to God in it? Are they capable of submitting to it in obedience to the will of Christ, from love to him, and with a view to his glory ? They are not : what benefit then can they receive by baptism ? and to what purpose is it to be administered to them? If infants receive any advantage, benefit, or blessing by baptism, which our infants have not without it, let it be named, if it can; if none, why administered ? why all this zeal and contention about it? a mere noise about nothing.
4. A fourth and most common objection, it is said, is, that “ faith and re
pentance, or a profession of them at least, are mentioned in the New Testa“ ment as the necessary prerequisites of baptism, of which children are incap" able, and therefore of the ordinance itself.” To this it is answered ; that children are capable of the habit and principle of faith : which is not denied, nor is it in the objection; and it is granted by our author, that a profession of faith is a prerequisite to baptism in adult persons, who embrace christianity ; but when they have embraced it, and professed their faith, in the apostles times, not only themselves, but their housholds, and all that were theirs, were baptized. It is very true, those professing their faith also, as did the houshold of the Jailor, of whom it is said, that he was believing in God with all his house : His family believed as well as he, which could not have been known, had they not professed it. The instance of a professing stranger embracing the Jewish religion, in order to his circumcision, which, when done, it was always administered to his family and children, makes nothing to the purpose; since it is no rule of procedure to us, with respect to a gospel-ordinance.
Ninthly, The performance under consideration is concluded with observing many absurdities, and much confusion, with which the denial of Infant-baptism, as a divine institution, is attended. As,
1. It is saying the covenant made with Abraham is not an everlasting one ; that believers under the gospel are not Abrabam's seed, and heirs of his promise; that the ingrafred Gentiles do not partake of the same privileges in the church, from which the Jews were broken off; and that the privileges of the gospeldispensation are less than those of the law: all which are said to be flat contradictions to scripture. To all which I reply, that the covenant of grace made with, and made known to Abraham, is an everlasting covenant, and is sure to all the seed; that is, the fpiritual seed; and is not at all affected by Infantbaptism, that having no concern in it. The covenant of circumcision, though called an everlasting covenant, Gen. xvii. 7. was only to continue unto the times of the Messiah ; and is so called, just in the fame fense, and for the same reason,
3 0 2
the covenant of priesthood with Phineas has the same epithet, Numb. xxv. 13. Believers under the gospel are Abraham's spiritual feed, and heirs of the same promise of spiritual things; but these spiritual things, and the promise of them, do not belong to their natural feed as such; the believing Gentiles, ingrafted into the gospel church-state, partake of all the privileges of it, from which the unbelieving Jews are excluded, being for their unbelief left out of that state. The privileges of the gospel-dispensation are not less, yea far greater than those of the law; to believers, who are freed from the burdensome rites and ceremonies of the law, have larger measures of grace, a clearer ministration of the gospel, and more spiritual ordinances ; nor are they less to their infants, who are eased from the painful rite of circumcision, have the advantage of a chriftian education, and of hearing the gospel as they grow up, in a clearer manner than under the law; which are greater privileges than the Jewish children had under the former dispensation ; nor are all, nor any of these affected, or to be contradicted, by the denial of Infant-baptism.
2. It is observed, that to deny the validity of Infant-baptism, is saying that " there was no true baptism in the church for eleven or twelve hundred years “ after Christ; and that the generality of the present professors of christianity
are now a company of unbaptized heathens," p. 52. fo p. 10. To which I reply, that the true baptism continued in the church in the first two centuries; and though Infant-baptism was introduced in the third, and prevailed in the fourth, yer in both these centuries there were those that opposed it, and abode by the true baptism. Besides, in the vallies of Piedmont, as many learned men have observed, there were witnesses from the times of the apostles, who bore their testimony against corruptions in doctrine and practice, and
whom Infant-baptism did not obtain until the sixteenth century; so that the true baptism continued in the church till that time, and it has ever since ; see the Reply, p. 31, 32. As for the generality of the present professors of christianity, it lies upon them to take care of their character, and remove from it what may be thought disagreeable; and clear themselves of it, by submitting to the true baptism according to the order of the gospel. As to the salvation of persons in or out of the visible church, which is the greater number, this author speaks of, I know nothing of; salvation is not by baptism in any way, but by Christ alone.
3. It is said, if Infant-baptism is a divine institution, warranted by the word of God, then they that are baptized in their adult age necessarily renounce a divine institution, and an ordinance of Jesus Christ, and vacate the former covenant berween God and them. If it be; but it is not a divine institution, nor an ordinance of Jesus Christ, as appears from all that has been said about it in the foregoing pages s wherefore it is right to renounce and reject it, as an human invencion: and as for any covenant between God and theni vacated thereby, it will not, it need not give the renouncers of it any concern; being what they know nothing of, and the whole a chimerical business. Nay, it is farther observed, that renouncing Infant-baptisın, and making it a nullicy, is practically saying there are no baptized persons, no regular ministers, nor ordinances, in all professing churches but their own, and as elsewhere, p. 41. no gofpel-church in the world, and that the administrations of the ministers of other churches are a nullity, and the promise of Christ to be with his ministers in the administration of this ordinance to the end of the world, must have failed for hundreds of years, in which Infant-baptism was practised. But be it so: to whom is all this owing to whose account must it be put ? to those who are the corrupters of the word and ordinances. Is it suggested by all this, that “God “ in his providence would never suffer things to go such lengths ?” Let it be observed, that he has given us in his word reason to expect great corruptions in doctrine and worship, and that though he will always have a feed to serve him, more or fewer, in all ages, yet he has no where promised that these shall be always in a regular gospel-church-Itate ; and though he has promised his presence in his ordinances to the end of the world, it is only with those ministers and people among whom the ordinances are administered according to his word; and there was for some hundreds of years, in the darkness of popery, such a corruption in the ordinances of baptism, and the Lord's supper, in the administration of which the presence of God cannot be thought to be; nor were there any regular minifters, nor regular ordinances, nor a regular gospel-church, but what were to be found in the vallies of Piedmont; and with whom the presence of God may be supposed to be ; who bore a teftimony against all corruptions, and among the rest, against Infant-baptism P.
ordinance fucceflors See Reply, p. 11, 12.
This writer further urges, that “if Infant-baptism is a nullity, there can be u now no regular baptism in the world, nor ever will be to the end of it; and “ so the ordinance must be loft, since adult baptism cannot be traced to the apor“ tles times, and as now administered, is derived from those that were baptized « in infancy; wherefore if Infant-baptism is invalid, that must be so too; fo
in p. 42." To which it may be answered, that the first English Antipædobaptists, when determined upon a reformation in this ordinance, in a consultation of theirs about it, had this difficulty started about a proper administrator to begin the work, when it was proposed to send fome to foreign churches, the
successors of the ancient Waldenfes in France and Germany; and accordingly did send some, who being baptized, returned and baptized others : chough others were of opinion this too much savoured of the popish notion of an uninterrupted succession, and a right through that to administer ordinances; and therefore judged, that in an extraordinary case, as this was, to begin a reformation from a general corruption, where a baptized administrator could not be had, it might be begun by one unbaptized, otherwise qualified to preach the word and ordinances; which practice they were able to justify upon the same principles the other reformers justified theirs; who without any regard to an uninterrupted succession, set up new churches, ordained pastors, and administered ordinances. Nor is it essential to the ordinance of baptism, that it be performed by one regularly baptized, though in ordinary cases it should; or otherwise it could never have been introduced into the world; the first administrator of it must be an unbaptized person, as John the Baptist was. All which is a sufficient answer to what this writer has advanced on this subject !
9 See the Divine Right of Infant-baptism examined, &c. p. 13---15. 8ve Edi.
Being a SERMON Preached at the BAPTISM of several Persons
in BARBICAN, November 2, 1750.
JEREMIAH VI. 16.
Thus faith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways and fee, and ask for the old
paths, where is the good way, and walk therein ; and ye fall find rest for your souls.
and foretold, and the causes of it alligned, in general, the great aboundings of sin and wickedness among the people, and in particular, their neglect and contempt of the word of God; the sin of covetousness, which prevailed among all sorts ; the unfaithfulness of the prophets to the people, and the peoples impenitence and hardness of heart; their want of shame, their disregard to all instructions and warnings from the Lord, by the mouth of his prophets, and their obstinate refusal of them ; which last is expressed in the clause following the words "read; and which, though an aggravation of it, shew the tender regard of the Lord to his people, and may be considered as an instruction to fuch who had their doubts and difficulties in religious matters; who were haleing between two opinions, and like men in bivio, who stand in a place where two or more ways meet, and know not which path to take ; and in this light I shall consider them; and in them may be observed,
I. A direction to such perfons what to do; to stand in the ways, and fee, and
ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein. II. The encouragement to take this direction; and ye shall find rest for your