Imágenes de páginas

they who deny it, are heretics; and such are not to be endured, because they deny to infants hopes, and take away the possibility of their salvation, which is revealed to us on no other condition of which they are capable but baptism. For by the insinuation of the type, by the action of Christ, by the title infants have to heaven, by the precept of the Gospel, by the energy of the promise, by the reasonableness of the thing, by the infinite necessity on the infants' part, by the practice apostolical, by their tradition and the universal practice of the church, by all these God and good people proclaim the lawfulness, the conveniency, and the necessity, of infants' baptism.

12. To all this the anabaptist gives a soft and gentle answer, that it is a goodly harangue, which upon strict examination will come to nothing; that it pretends fairly, and signifies little; that some of these allegations are false, some impertinent, and all the rest insufficient.

13. For the argument from circumcision is invalid upon infinite considerations. Figures and types prove nothing, unless a commandment go along with them, or some express to signify such to be their purpose. For the deluge of waters and the ark of Noah were a figure of baptism, said Peter; and if therefore the circumstances of one should be drawn to the other, we should make baptism a prodigy rather than a rite. The paschal lamb was a type of the eucharist, which succeeds the other as baptism does to circumcision; but because there was in the manducation of the paschal lamb no prescription of sacramental drink, shall we thence conclude, that the eucharist is to be ministered but in one kind ? And even in the very instance of this argument, supposing a correspondence of analogy between circumcision and baptism, yet there is no correspondence of identity. For although it were granted, that both of them did consign the covenant of faith, yet there is nothing in the circumstance of children's being circumcised that so concerns that mystery but that it might very well be given to children, and yet baptism only to men of reason. Because circumcision left a character in the flesh, which being imprinted upon infants, did its work to them when they came to age; and such a character was necessary, because there was no word added to the sign: but baptism imprints nothing that remains

on the body; and if it leaves a character at all, it is upon the soul, to which also the word is added, which is as much a part of the sacrament as the sign itself is. For both which reasons it is requisite that the persons baptized should be capable of reason, that they may be capable both of the word of the sacrament, and the impress made upon the spirit. Since therefore the reason of this parity does wholly fail, there is nothing left to infer a necessity of complying in this circumstance of age any more than in the other annexes of the type. And the case is clear in the bishop's question to Cyprian: for why shall not infants be baptized just upon the eighth day as well as circumcised s? If the correspondence of the rites be an argument to infer one circumstance, which is impertinent and accidental to the mysteriousness of the rite, why shall it not infer all ? And then also females must not be baptized, because they were not circumcised. But it were more proper, if we would understand it right, to prosecute the analogy from the type to the antitype by way of letter, and spirit, and signification; and as circumcision figures baptism, so also the adjuncts of the circumcision shall signify something spiritual in the adherences of baptism. And therefore as infants were circumcised, so spiritual infants shall be baptized, which is spiritual circumcision: for therefore babes had the ministry of the type, to signify that we must, when we give our names to Christ, become výmiot év trovnplą, “ children in malice;" “ for unless you become like one of these little ones, you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven,” said our blessed Saviour; and then the type is made complete. And this seems to have been the sense of the primitive church: for in the age next to the apostles they gave to all baptized persons milk and honey, to represent to them their duty, that though in age and understanding they were men, yet they were babes in Christ, and children in malice. But to infer the sense of the pædo-baptists, is so weak a manner of arguing, that Austin, whose device it was (and men use to be in love with their own fancies), at the most pretended it but as probable and a mere conjecture.

14. And as ill success will they have with the other arguments as with this. For from the action of Christ's blessing infants to infer that they are to be baptized, proves no

& Lib. 3. Epist. 8. ad l'idum.

thing so much, as that there is great want of better arguments. The conclusion would be, with more probability, derived thus: Christblessed children and so dismissed them, but baptized them not; therefore infants are not to be baptized. But let this be as weak as its enemy, yet that Christ did not baptize them is an argument sufficient that Christ hath other ways of bringing them to heaven than by baptism, he passed his act of grace upon them by benediction and imposition of hands.

15. And therefore, although neither infants nor any man ‘in puris naturalibus' can attain to a supernatural end, without the addition of some instrument or means of God's appointing ordinarily and regularly; yet where God hath not appointed a rule nor an order, as in the case of infants we contend he hath not,—the argument is invalid. And as we are sure that God hath not commanded infants to be baptized; so we are sure God will do them no injustice, nor damn them for what they cannot help.

16. And therefore let them be pressed with all the inconveniences that are consequent to original sin, yet either it will not be laid to the charge of infants, so as to be sufficient to condemn them; or if it could, yet the mercy and absolute goodness of God will secure them, if he takes them away before they can glorify him with a free obedience. Quid ergò festinat innocens ætas ad remissionem peccatorum ?" was the question of Tertullian". He knew no such danger from their original guilt, as to drive them to a laver, of which in " that age of innocence” they had no need, as he conceived. And therefore there is no necessity of flying to the help of others for tongue, and heart, and faith, and predispositions to baptism : for what need all this stir? As infants without their own consent, without any act of their own, and without any exterior solemnity, contracted the guilt of Adam's sin, and so are liable to all the punishment, which can with justice descend upon his posterity, who are personally innocent; so infants shall be restored without any solemnity or act of their own, or of any other men for them, by the second Adam, by the redemption of Jesus Christ, by his righteousness and mercies applied either immediately, or how or when he shall be pleased to appoint. And so Aus

þ De Baptism.

tin's argument will come to nothing, without any need of godfathers, or the faith of any body else. And it is too nar. row a conception of God Almighty, because he hath tied us to the observation of the ceremonies of his own institution, that therefore he hath tied himself to it. Many thousand ways there are, by which God can bring any reasonable soul to himself : but nothing is more unreasonable, than, because he hath tied all men of years and discretion to this way, therefore we, of our own heads, shall carry infants to him that way without his direction. The conceit is poor and low, and the action consequent to it is too bold and venturous. Mysterium meum mihi et filiis domus meæ.” Let him do what he please to infants, we must not.

17. Only this is certain, that God hath as great care of infants as of others; and because they have no capacity of doing such acts as may be in order to acquiring salvation, God will, by his own immediate mercy, bring them thither, where he hath intended them: but to say that therefore he will do it by an external act and ministry, and that confined to a particular, viz. this rite and no other, is no good argument, unless God could not do it without such means, that he had said he would not. And why cannot God as well do his mercies to infants now immediately, as he did before the institution either of circumcision or baptism? ': 18. However, there is no danger that infants should perish for want of this external ministry, much less for prevaricating Christ's precepts of “ Nisi quis renatus fuerit,” &c. For first, the water and the Spirit in this place signify the same thing; and by water is meant the effect of the Spirit, cleansing and purifying the soul, as appears in its parallel place of Christ 'baptizing with the Spirit and with fire. For although this was literally fulfilled in Pentecost, yet morally there is more in it; for it is the sign of the effect of the Holy Ghost, and his productions upon the soul; and it was an excellency of our blessed Saviour's office, that he baptizes all that come to him, with the Holy Ghost and with fire : for so St. John, preferring Christ's mission and office before his own, tells the Jews, not Christ's disciples, that Christ should baptize them with fire and the Holy Spirit, that is, “all that come to him,” as John the Baptist did with water; for so lies the antithesis. And you may as well conclude, that infants


must also pass through the fire as through the water. And that we may not think this a trick to elude the pressure of this place, Peter says the same thing: for when he had said that baptism saves us, he adds by way of explication, “not the washing of the flesh, but the confidence of a good conscience towards God;” plainly saying, that it is not water, or the purifying of the body, but the cleansing of the Spirit, that does that which is supposed to be the effect of baptism. And if our Saviour's exclusive negative be expounded by analogy to this of Peter, as certainly the other parallel instance must, and this may,--then it will be so far from proving the necessity of infants' baptism, that it can conclude for no man that he is obliged to the rite; and the doctrine of the baptism is only to derive from the very words of institution, and not to be forced from words which were spoken before it was ordained. But to let pass this advantage, and to suppose it meant of external baptism, yet this no more infers a necessity of infants' baptism, than the other words of Christ infer a necessity to give them the holy communion ; “ Nisi comederitis carnem filii hominis, et biberitis sanguinem, non introibitis in regnum cælorum :” and yet we do not think these words sufficient argument to communicate them, If men therefore will do us justice, either let them give both sacraments to infants, as some ages of the church did, or neither. For the wit of man is not able to shew a disparity in the sanction, or in the energy of its expression. And Simeon Thessalonicensis derides “inertem Latinorum” lentologlav, as we express it," the lazy trifling of the Latins," who dream of a difference. Βαβαι της αλογίας άμα και ατοπίας. Kal diá Ti Battials; “O the unreasonableness and absurdity! For why do you baptize them?” Meaning that, because they are equally ignorant in baptism as in the eucharist, that which hinders them in one, is the same impediment in both. And therefore they were honest that understood the obligation to be parallel, and performed it accordingly: and yet because we say they were deceived in one distance, and yet the obligation (all the world can reasonably say but) is the same; they are as honest and as reasonable that do neither. And since the ancient church did, with an equal opinion of necessity, give them the communion, and yet men now-a-days do not, -why shall men be burdened with a prejudice and a

« AnteriorContinuar »