« AnteriorContinuar »
a stranger that hath no power to do it) but, &c.-- That they did it not themselves is undeniable: that they did it not by any person empowered by God to do it for them they prove, 1. Because godfathers are the persons by whom i the infant is said to promise; but godfathers have no power from God, (1.) Not by nature. (2.) Not by Scripture. 2. Because the parents are not only not included as covenanters, but positively excluded, (1.) In that the whole office of covenanting for the child from first to last is laid on others. (2.) In that the twenty-ninth canon saith, ‘No parent shall be urged to be present; nor admitted to answer as godfather for his own child :' by which the parent that hath the power is excluded : therefore our children are all unbaptized.
To all this I answer, 1. That the parent's consent is supposed, though he be absent. 2. That the parent is not required to be absent, but only not to be urged to be present; but he may if he will. 3. That the reason of that canon seems to be their jealousy, lest any would exclude godfathers. 4. While the church hath nowhere declared what person the sponsors bear, nor any further what they are to do, than to speak the covenanting words, and promise to see to the pious education of the child, the parents may agree that the godfathers shall do all this as their deputies, primarily, and in their steads, and secondarily as friends that promise their assistance. 5. While parents really consent, it is not their silence that nullifieth the covenant. 6. All parents are supposed and required to be themselves the choosers of the sponsors or sureties, and also to give notice to the minister beforehand: by which it appeareth that their consent is presupposed. And though my own judgment be, that they should be the principal covenanters for the child expressly, yet the want of that expressness, will not make us unbaptized persons.
Quest. XLII. But the great question is, How the Holy Ghost is
given to infants in baptism? And whether all the children of true Christians have inward sanctifying grace? Or whether they can be said to be justified, and to be in a state of salvation, that are not inherently sanctified? And whether any fall from this infant state of salvation ?
Answ. Of all these great difficulties I have said what I know, in my Appendix to Infant Baptism, to Mr. Bradford and Dr. Ward, and of bishop Davenant's judgment. And I confess that my judgment agreeth more in this with Davenant's than any others, saving that he doth not so much appropriate the benefits of baptism to the children of sincere believers as I do. And though by a letter in pleading Davenant's cause, I was the occasion of good Mr. Gataker's printing of his answer to him, yet I am still most inclined to his judgment; not that all the baptized, but that all the baptized seed of true Christians are pardoned, justified, adopted, and have a title to the Spirit and salvation.
But the difficulties in this case are so great, as drive away most who do not equally perceive the greater inconveniences which we must choose, if this opinion be forsaken: that is, that all infants must be taken to be out of the covenant of God, and to have no promise of salvation. Whereas surely the law of grace as well as the covenant of works included all the seed in their capacity.
I. To the first of these questions, I answer, 1. As all true believers, so all their infants do receive initially by the promise, and by way of obsignation and sacramental investiture in baptism, a 'jus relationis,' a right of peculiar relation to all the three persons in the blessed Trinity: as to God, as their reconciled, adopted Father, and to Jesus Christ as their Redeemer and actual Head and Justifier, so also to the Holy Ghost as their Regenerator and Sanctifier. This right and relation adhereth to them, and is given them in order to future actual operation and communion. As a marriage covenant giveth the relation and right to one another, in order to the subsequent communion and duties of a married life: and as he that sweareth allegiance to a king, or is listed into an army, or is entered into a school, receiveth the right and relation, and is so correlated, as obligeth to the mutual subsequent offices of each, and giveth right to many particular benefits. By this right and relation, God is his own God and Father; Christ is his own Head and Saviour; and the Holy Spirit is his own Sanctifier, without asserting what operations are already wrought on his soul, but only to what future ends and uses these relations are. Now as these rights and relations are given
immediately, so those benefits which are relative, and the infant immediately capable of them, are presently given by way of communion : he hath presently the pardon of original sin, by virtue of the sacrifice, merit and intercession of Christ. He hath a state of adoption, and right to Divine protection, provision and church-communion according to his natural capacity, and right to everlasting life.
2. It must be carefully noted, that the relative union between Christ the Mediator and the baptized persons, is that which in baptism is first given in order of nature, and that the rest do flow from this. The covenant and baptism deliver the covenanter, 1. From Divine displicency by reconciliation with the Father: 2. From legal penalties by justification by the Son : 3. From sin itself by the operations of the Holy Ghost. But it is Christ as our MediatorHead, that is first given us in relative union; and then, 1 The Father loveth us with complacency as in the Son, and for the sake of his first beloved. 2. And the Spirit which is given us in relation is first the Spirit of Christ our Head; and not first inherent in us: so that by union with our Head, that Spirit is next united to us, both relatively, and as radically inherent in the human nature of our Lord, to whom we are uniteds. As the nerves and animal spirits which are to operate in all the body, are radically only in the head, from whence they flow into, and operate on the members as there is need (though there may be obstructions); so the Spirit dwelleth in the human nature of our Head, and there it can never be lost; and it is not necessary that it dwell in us by way of radication, but by way of influence and operation.
These things are distinctly and clearly understood but by very few; and we are all much in the dark about them. But I think (however doctrinally we may speak better,) that most Christians are habituated to this perilous misapprehension (which is partly against Christianity itself,) that the Spirit floweth immediately from the Divine nature of the Father and the Son (as to the authoritative or potestative conveyance) unto our souls. And we forget that it is first given to Christ in his glorified humanity as our Head, and radicated in Him, and that it is the office of this glorified Head, to send or communicate to all his members from himself, that Spirit which must operate in them as they have need.
y The Spirit is not given radically or immediately to any Christian, but to Christ our Head alone, and from him to us.
This is plain in many texts of Scripture. “He that spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things ? ? ” (when he giveth him particularly to us.)
“And this is the record that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son: he that hath the Son hath the life, and he that hath not the Son hath not the life a.”
“ If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his b." • “And gave him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all c."
“ The Advocate or Comforter whom I will send unto you from the Fatherd,” &c.
“If I depart, I will send him unto you.”
“The Comforter, whom the Father will send in my name f.”
“ And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father 8.”
“I live : yet not I, but Christ liveth in meb;" (I know that is true of his living in us objectively and finally, but that seemeth not to be all.)
- “ For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God; when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Col. iii. 3, 4. I know that in verse 3. by 'life’ is meant felicity or glory; but not only; as appeareth by verse 4. where Christ is called “our life.'
“All power is given unto me in heaven and earth”—“ I am with you always i__” “ The Father hath given all things into his hands k.”
“Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him, and this is life eternal to know thee!," &c,
him in glory Felicity or go
lled our ; “The Son quickeneth whom he will : ” “ For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself m.”
. Rom. viii. 32.
a 1 John v. 11, 12.
6 Rom. viü. 9.
“ Labour for that meat which endureth to everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you, for him hath God the Father sealed.-- He giveth life unto the world.—– Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life-- dwelleth in me and I in him—- my flesh is meat indeed -- As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. It is the Spirit that quickeneth : the flesh profiteth nothing.”
“This spake he of the Spirit which they that believe in him should receiveo.” “God giveth not the Spirit to him by measure P.”
"He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit 9."
“The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty".".
“Through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christs."
"Abide in me and I in you: as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches : he that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me (or, out of me, or, severed from me) ye can do nothing.”
I will add no more: all this is proof enough that the Spirit is not given radically or immediately from God to any believer, but to Christ, and so derivatively from him to us. Not that the Divine nature in the third person is subject to the human nature in Christ; but that God hath made it the office of our Mediator's glorified humanity, to be the cistern that shall first receive the waters of life, and convey them by pipes of his appointed means to all the offices of his house : or to be the head of the animal spirits, and by nerves to convey them to all the members.
3. We are much in the dark concerning the degree of infants' glory; and therefore we can as little know, what degree of grace is necessary to prepare them for their glory.
m John v. 21.26. in John vi. 27. 32, 33. 53–56. 63. • John vii. 39.
9 1 Cor. vi. 17. ? Cor. iji. 17.
Phil. i. 19.
+ John xv. 4,5.
P John iii. 34.