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Ad 28.-It remains that I consider their own arguments by which they support themselves in their mispersuasion. First, it is against the analogy of the Gospel : for besides that Christ never baptized any infants, nor his apostles, there is required to baptism, faith and repentance; of which because infants are not capable, neither are they capable of the sacrament. To these things I answer, that it is true Christ never baptized infants, for he baptized no person at all: but he blessed infants, and what that amounts to I have already discoursed; and he gave a commandment of baptism which did include them also, as I have proved in the foregoing periods, and in other places. That the apostles never baptized infants, is boldly said, but can never be proved. But then as to the main of the argument, that faith and repentance are prerequired; I answer, it is in this as it was in circumcision, to which a proselyte could not be admitted from Gentilism or idolatry, unless he gave up his name to the religion, and believed in God and his servant Moses; but yet their children might: and it might have been as well argued against their children as ours, since in their proselytes and ours there were required predispositions of faith and repentance. 2. But it is no wonder that these are called for by the apostles of those whom they invited to the religion: they dealt with men of reason, but such who had superinduced foul sins to their infidelity ; which were to be removed before they could be illuminated and baptized; but infants are in their pure naturals, and therefore nothing hinders them from receiving the gifts and mere graces of God's holy Spirit before mentioned. 3. But we see also that, although Christ required faith of them who came to be healed, yet when any were brought, or came in behalf of others, he only required faith of them who came, and their faith did benefit to others. For no man can call on him on whom they have not believed, but therefore they who call must believe; and if they call for others, they must believe that Christ can do it for others m But this instance is so certain a reproof of this objection of theirs, which is their principal, which is their all, that it is a wonder to me they should not all be convinced at the reading and observing of it. I knew an eminent person amongst them, who having been abused by their fallacies, upon the
'm Matt. ix. 28. Mark, ix. 23. Matt. viii. 13. John, iv. 50.
discovery of the falsehood of this their main allegation, was converted : and I know also some others who could not at all object against it; but if they had been as humble as they were apprehensive, would certainly have confessed their error. But to this I can add nothing new beyond what I have largely discoursed of in the treatise of baptism before mentioned.
Ad 30.- The next argument is,- If baptism be necessary to infants, upon whom is the imposition laid ? to whom is the command given: The children are not capable of a law, therefore it is not given to them : nor yet to the parents, because if so, then the salvation of infants should be put into the power of others, who may be careless or malicious.— I answer, that there is no precept of baptizing infants just in that circumstance of age; for then they had sinned who had deferred it upon just grounds to their manhood. But it is a precept given to all, and it is made necessary by that order of things, which Christ hath constituted in the New Testament; so that if they be baptized at all in their just period, there is no commandment broken : but if infants come not to be men, then it was accidentally necessary they should have been baptized before they were men. And now to the inquiry, upon whom the imposition lies, it is easy to give an answer: it lies upon them who receive it, and therefore upon the parents : not so that the salvation of infants depends upon others, God forbid ; but so, that if they neglect the charitable ministry, they shall dearly account for it. It is easy to be understood by two instances. God commanded that children should be circumcised, Moses by his wife's peevishness neglected it; and therefore the Lord sought to kill him for it, not Gershom the child. It is necessary for the preservation of children's lives that they eat, but the provision of meat for them is a duty incumbent on the parents; and yet if parents expose their children, it may be the lives of the children shall not depend on others; but",when their father and mother forsake them, the Lord taketh them up :" and so it is in this particular; what is wanting to them by the neglect of others, God will supply by his own graces and immediate dispensation. But if baptism be made necessary to all, then it ought to be procured for those who cannot procure it for themselves; just as meat and drink, and physic, and education. And it is in this as it is in blessing ; little babes cannot ask it, but
their needs requireit; and therefore as by their friends they were brought to Christ to have it, so they must, without their asking, minister it to them, who yet are bound to seek it as soon as they can. The precept binds them both in their several periods.
. Ad 31.But their next great strength consists in this dilemma. If baptism does no good, there needs no contention about it: if it does, then either by the opus operatum' of the sacrament, or by the dispositions of the suscipient. the former, that is worse than popery: if the latter, then infants cannot receive it, because they cannot dispose themselves to its reception. I answer, that it works its effect neither by the ceremony alone, nor yet by that and the dispositions together, but by the grace of God working as he please, seconding his own ordinance ; and yet infants are rightly disposed for the receiving the blessings and effects of baptism. For the understanding of which we are to observe, that God's graces are so free, that they are given to us upon the accounts of his own goodness only, and for the reception of them we are tied to no other predisposition, but that we do not hinder them. For what worthiness can there be in any man to receive the first grace ? Before grace there can be nothing good in us, and therefore before the first grace, there is nothing that can deserve it; because before the first grace there is no grace, and consequently no worthiness. But the dispositions which are required in men of reason, is nothing but to remove the hinderances of God's grace, to take off the contrarieties to the good Spirit of God. Now because in infants there is nothing that can resist God's Spirit, nothing that can hinder him, nothing that can grieve him, they have that simplicity and nakedness, that passivity and negative disposition, or non-hinderances, to which all that men can do in disposing themselves, are but approaches and similitudes; and therefore infants can receive all that they need, all that can do them benefit. And although there are some effects of the Holy Spirit which require natural capacities to be their foundation; yet those are the èvegynuara or powers of working: but the xaplouara, and the inheritance and the title to the promises require nothing on our part, but that we can receive them, that we put no hinderance to them: for that is the direct meaning of our blessed Saviour, “ He that doth not receive the kingdom of God as a little child,
shall in no wise enter therein;" that is, without that naked. ness and freedom from obstruction and impediment, none shall enter.
Upon the account of this truth, all that long harangue that pursues this dilemma in other words to the same purposes, will quickly come to nothing. For baptism is not a mere ceremony, but assisted by the grace of the Lord Jesus, the communication of the Holy Spirit; and yet it requires a duty on our part when we are capable of duty, and need it; but is enabled to produce its effects without any positive disposition, even by the negative of children, by their not putting a bar to the Holy Spirit of God, that God
be glorified, and may be all in all.
Two particulars more are considerable in their argument.
The first is a syllogism made up out of the words of St. Paul, “ All that are baptized into Christ, have put on Christ"." The minor proposition is, with a little straining some other words of St. Paul, thus, but they that put on Christ,' or
the new man, must be formed in righteousness and holiness of truth ;' for so the Apostle, “Put ye on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holi
But infants cannot put on Christ to any such purposes; and therefore cannot be baptized into Christ. I answer, that to put on Christ is to become like unto him, and we put him on in all ways by which we resemble him. The little babes of Bethlehem were like unto Christ, when it was given to them to die for him who died for them and us: we are like unto him when we have put on his robe of righteousness, when we are invested with the wedding-garment, when we submit to his will and to his doctrine, when we are adopted to his inheritance, when we are innocent, and when we are washed, and when we are buried with him in baptism. The expression is a metaphor, and cannot be confined to one particular signification : but if it could, yet the Apostle does not say,
that all who in any sense put on the new man, are actually holy and righteous; neither does he say, that by the 'new man' is meant Christ, for that also is another metaphor, and it means a new manner of living. When Christ is opposed to Adam, Christ is called the new man;' but when the new man is opposed to the old conversation, then by the new man’ Christ is not meant: and so it is in this
Eph. iv. 24.
D Gal. iij. 27.'
place, it signifies to become a new man, and it is an exhortation to those who had lived wickedly, now to live holily and according to the intentions of Christianity. But to take two metaphors from two several books, and to concentre them into one signification, and to make them up into one syllogism, is 'fallacia quatuor terminorum; they prove nothing but the craft of the men, or the weakness of the cause. For the words to the Ephesians were spoken to them who already had been baptized, who had before that in some sense put on Christ, but yet he calls upon them to put on the new man; therefore this is something else; and it means that they should verify what they had undertaken in baptism: which also can concern children, but is seasonable to urge it to them, as St. Paul does to the Ephesians, after their baptism.
But yet after all, let the argument press as far as it is intended, yet infants, even in the sense of the Apostle, “ do put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness:” for so are they ; they are a new creation,' they are 'born again,' they are efformed after the image of Christ, by the designation and adoption of the Holy Spirit: but as they cannot do acts of reason, and yet are created in a reasonable nature ; so they are anew created in righteousness, even before they can do acts spiritual ; that is, they are designati sanctitatis,' as Tertullian's expression is ; they are in the second birth as in the first, instructed with the beginnings and principles of life, not with inherent qualities, but with titles and relations to promises and estates of blessing and assistances of holiness ; which principles of life, if they be nourished, will express themselves in perfect and symbolical actions. The thing is easy to be understood by them who observe the manner of speaking usual in Scripture. We are begotten to a lively hope,' so St. Paul : the very consignation and designing us to that hope, which is laid up for the saints, is a new birth, a regeneration, the beginnings of a new life: and of this infants are as capable as any.
The other thing is this, that the infants' vow is invalid till it be after confirmed in the days of reason; and therefore it were as good to be let alone, till it can be made with effect. I answer, that if there were nothing in the sacramont but the making of a vow, I confess I could see no necessity in it, nor any convenience, but that it engages chil