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deed hath restrained the grace of baptism to the infants of believers; and the English directory fays; 4 That juch children by baptism are solemnly received into the bosom of the visible church, .... that they are Cbri/lians, and federally holy before baptism, and therefore are they baptized. Innocent infants they are; but holy Christians is an epithet, which no such infants deserve. But tho' they do esteem them so, yet the kirk requires the parent and one godfather to engage for the child ; for the order of baptism used

by them is as follows

4 The infant which is to be baptized, shall be brought

* to church on the day appointed, to common prayer and

* preaching, accompanied with the father and godfather. 4 So that aster the sermon, the child being presented to 4 the minister, he demandeth this question.'

4 Do you present this child to be baptized, earnestly

* desiring that he may be ingrafted in the mystical body of

* Jesus Christ ?4 The answer «,Yea,we require the same.* Then follows a long discourse, in which the minister says, 4 Our infants appertain to him [God] by covenant, 4 and therefore ought not to be defrauded of those holy 4 signs and badges, whereby his children are known 4 from infidels and pagans.' Here I beg leave to ask what special marks this distinguishing badge leaves upon a newborn infant, by which it may be known from an Infidel's child that never was sprinkled? 1 am apt to think the wisest minister would be wholly at a loss to tell the one from the other in two minutes time, if both were of an age, and dressed alike. Nor would he be able to tell, whether any other child was ever sprinkled or not, if he was to view it ever so long, and with the utmost care and attention. But when men are so zealously determined to establish their own human traditions upon the ruin,of Christ's solemn institution, they have not a due regard to his truth, or they durst never have asserted what follows:

4 Neither is it requisite, that all those that receive this 4 sacrament, have the use of understanding and faith.' If they meant here the sprinkling, or washing the infant's face, as their own human institution only, I should agree with them; but if they mean, that those things arc not needful, or requisite to baptism, as instituted by Christ, a greater reproach cannot be cast upon it; nor any thing said more contrary to truth. For does not the commission fay, He that believeth and is baptized, fl^allbe saved. Mark xvi. l6. Did not Philip insist upon the eunuch'? believing , F with with all his heart, as a necessary requisite for his being baptized? Alls viii. Do the scriptures any where speak of one soul baptized, who was destitute of understanding and faith? Or, do they give the least hint, that such may be received to that sacred ordinance? If not, how durst they assert such things? Is it not directly contrary to the scripture, which assures us, that without faith it is impojfihle to please God; for he that eometh to God mujl believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently feet him. Heb. xi. 6. See also vi. i, 2. And moreover St. Peter assures us, that even where the external part of baptism is rightly administered, it will avail nothing, if it be not accompanied with the answer of a good conscience in the person baptized, 1 Peter iii. 21.

Our established church knew the truth of this much better, than the kirk of Scotland appears to have done; and was so fully convinced hereof, that (he has honestly, and faithfully told us, that repentance, whereby Jin is forsaken ; and faith, whereby the promises of God made over in that sacrament are Jledsajlly believed, are required of persons to be baptized. And for this reason it was to be lure, that she hath obliged rtie sponsors to do it for infants, chusing rather to load herself with a gross absurdity, than to deny so plain a truth, as the kirk of Scotland has done: which must therefore, in the sight of God, be guilty of a much greater evil in performing her human ceremonies; at which her ministers proceed and tell the people, that 4 Without injury they [infants'] cannot be debarred from 4 the common sign of God's children. And yet is not

* this outward action of such necessity, that the lack 4 thereof should be hurtful to their salvation, if that,

* prevented by death, they may not conveniently be pre4 sented to the church.' And the directory drawn up by the assembly of divines, and established by an ordinance of parliament, fan. 3,1644, says, 4 That outward baptism is

* not so necessary, that thro' the want thereof the infant is

* in danger of damnation, or the parents guilty, if they do 1 not contemn or neglect the ordinance of Christ,when and

* where it may be had:' which however strongly implies that where this is so neglected, that the children die without it, it may be hurtful to their salvation, and put them in danger of damnation, notwithstanding their being holy Christians. And this indeed hath very often been asserted by some ministers, as if an innocent babe could be damned for the parents neglect. Such are the absurd, unworthy thy notions which they entertain of God the most righteous, most wise, and best of beings.

After this the minister proceeds and tells them, 4 All 4 that is meant and signified by [baptijm] the scrip

* ture calleth our regeneration, which flandeth chief4 ly in these two points, in mortification, that is to fay, 4 a resisting of the rebellious lusts of the flesh, and in 4 newness of lise, whereby we continually strive to walk

* in that pureness and persection, wherewith we are clad 4 in baptism.' But the assembly's directory fays, 4 That 4 infants are Christians, and sederally holy before baptism, 'and therefore are they baptized.' The contrariety of these things is manisest enough. For if infants are holy Christians before baptism, what is the pureness and perfection, wherewith they are clad in baptism; or of what benefit can it be to them, since by the kirk's own consession, if the parents are not negligent, the child may be saved without this imaginary pureness and perse flion? But what proof can be given, that an infant receives the least benefit by their unscriptural ceremonies, either in body, or in mind? If an Infidel's child, which was never sprinkled, and which by their own principles ought not to be baptized, was placed under the fame education, is it not as likely to make as good a man, and as devout a Christian i And would it not be much more likely to yield a personal obedience, from a principle of conscience, to that holy ordinance, which our Lord requires, that every believer in him should observe, on condition of being esteemed his friend and disciple? John viii. 31. and xv. 10—15. In this view therefore, their infants are much more likely to be injured, than benefitted, by their superstitious practice, in teaching for doHrines the commandments of men, Mark vii. 7, 13. founded in wild enthusiasm, quite destitute of good sense, and all rational evidence. But it seems any jargon of words will pass with high esteem, and please some people, if the name of the church, or the assembly of divines be tacked to them.

But the minister proceeds saying, « Finally, to the in

* tent that we may be assured, that you the father and

* the surety consent to the performance hereof, declare 4 here before God and the face of his congregation the

* sum of that faith, wherein you believe, and will in

* struct this child.'

4 Then the father, or in his absence, the Godfather,

* {hall rehearse the articles of his saith: [the apostles creed)

F 2 4 which

4 which done the minister explaineth the same which explanation is too long, and unnecessary to be transcribed here, bur after that is done, then followeth a short prayer, and after that, the Lord's prayer; and 4 when they have

* prayed in this sort, the minister requireth the child's

* name, which known, he faith,

4 N. I baptize thee in the name of the Father, of the

* Son, and of the Holy Ghost. And as he speaketh these

* words, he taketh water in his hand, and layeth it upon

* the child's forehead, which done, he giveth thanks:' the form of which I need not transcribe.

And yet, notwithstanding the human inventions here recited, it is, under the head of sacraments, affirmed by publick authority; whereby this order of baptism was further commanded there to be practised in the said kirk, Anno 1641, that,

4 To Christ Jesus his holy gospel truly preached, of 4 necessity it is, that his holy sacraments be annexed, and 4 truly ministered, as seals and visible confirmations

* of the spiritual promises contained in the word; and 4 they be two, to wit, baptism, and the holy supper of 4 the Lord Jesus, which are then rightly ministered, . ..

* when farther to them is nothing added, from them no4 thing diminished, and in their practice nothing changed

* besides the institution of the Lord Jesus, and practice 4 of his holy apostles.

* And albeit the order of Geneva, which now is used in 4 some of our churches, is sufficient to instruct the dili

* gent reader how that both these sacraments may be 4 rightly ministered, yet for an uniformity to be kept, we 4 have thought good to add this as superabundant.

4 In baptism we acknowledge nothing to be used ex4 cept the element of water only (that the word and de4 claration of the promises ought to precede we have said 4 before) wherefore whosoever presumeth in baptism to

* use oyl, salt, wax, spittle, conjuration and crossing,' [and J may also add, any other human inventions whatsoever, even sprinkling or washing of the face, or of godfathers, &c. above-mentioned] 4 accused) the perfect institution of 4 Christ Jesus, of impersection. For it was void of all

* such inventions devised by men, and such as would 4 presume to alter Christ's perfect ordinance, you ought

* severely to punish.'

With this severe censure, which may justly be applied to her own practice, she breaths the true spirit of persecution. tion. And persuant to an order of assembly, her ministers oblige the parent and surety solemnly to promise, that is the child live, they will teach and injlrucl it, in both the assemblies catechisms: by which an early bias is thrown upon the mind, in favour of false principles, and very corrupt doctrines, such as are even contrary to the first principles of natural religion, as well as to the sacred scriptures, in their just consequences very hurtful to men, and utrerly inconsistent with the moral persections of God. For they represent him, as the real and cruel author of all fin, 1as if he had by an eternal immutable decree unchangeably fore-ordained whatsoever comes to pass; and without any foresight of faith, or the least regard to good works performed by men, or to their perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the

crea

1 N. B. The assembly's consession of faith, from whence they composed their catechism, on the article of God's decrees, fays, 'God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel 4 of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever

• comes to pass: Wf By the decree of God for the ma

'nisestation of his glory, some men and angels are predesti'nated unto everlasting lise, and others fore-ordained toeverlast'ing death.

'These angels and men thus predestinated, and fore-ordained, 'are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number 'is so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or

* diminished.''

If these articles are true, nothing can be more inconsistent, than for those zealous Christians, who prosess stedfastly to believe them, to anathematize their brethren, who disbelieve many of them ; and openly to declare, as they are too ready to do, that we cannot poffibly be saved, that we must necessarily be damned: As a minister sometime ago was pleased to say of me, only because I difsered from his sentiments about some points of faith. My reply was to this efsect; that he did not understand his own principles, for if God decreed and fore-ordained every thing, or whatsoever comes to pass; he then decreed me to believe, as I do, and likewise fore-ordained me to own and profess that belies. And if the number of his elect were so particular, so certain and definite, that none of them could possibly fail of salvation, it was impossible for my belief, or disbelief of any article to alter God's decree; and therefore for any thing he could tell, even upon his own principles, I might be one of God's dear children, whilst here, notwithstanding my present belief, and may, by his grace, be for ever happy in the enjoyment of hiin.hcrea£tct.

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