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4 repentance, Wds baptized by John; i suppose, to mi

* tiate him into his office, as the great Messiah. The

* circumcision of Abraham was to him, who was a be

* liever, the seal of the' righteousness of that faith, which

* he had before he was circumcised. But Could not be

* the seal of faith unto infants at eight days old, to whorn 'it wits" nevertheless commanded to be admrnistred, 'merely as the" initiating ceremony. Many Christians ar

* gue in like manner, about christian baptism, and sup

* pose that it may signify some thingsy when applied to 'the adult, different from what it can signify, when ap

* plied* to infants. To the last they look upon it as a 4 mere initiating ceremony, by which a christian parent,

* of sponsor, ingages fn a solemn manner to train up that

* Child in' what he apprehends to be a rational religion. 4 By that external rite such a child is entered into the 4 school of Christ, to be trained up in his religion i that

* he may learn she nature' and evidence of it4 as bis under

* ftartdirig opens, and be taught to live in all that purity

* which the outward Washing with water, denotes, and

* which Christianity requires. There are some, who re4 present baptism as absolutely necessary to salvation y

* who speak of persons as actually saved, upon the strength 4 of the mere ceremony; who make children commence 'believers upon" the" imputed faith of their bondsmen, or s sureties; and make the sponsor say,; I believe, and it it *' mydeftre to Be baptized; when he hath no design to be 4 baptized himself, But hath actually been baptized many

* years before; who pretend to baptize not with war ter" only, but'also with the tissy Cthojf; or to connect

* With baptism the conserring" of* grace, or of the Holy

* Spirit; as was actually done, after baptism, by the

* Apostles; but Which no other persons since have had *: the power df doing*

Ih alljthis,6hly these twelve words, tsuppofetto initiate Mint into bis office, as the great" Htfejjiab, can with certainty be taken as Mr. Benson's own judgment and persuasion: and therefore, whether he has here given us-his own notion1 of infant-baptisrn, I know not; but this is manisests he' does not mention any one notion of it as agreeable to" scripture, nor pretend to bring any proof for that practice from thence. He is so far from attempting this, thaChe" freely condemns most, if not all the notions, which" some churches have had' concerning baptism, together with their' forms* of administration, as unscriptural, in

i

the following words, 4 But as to those who hold such

4 opinions, and make use of such forms' [namely the opinion! and forms abovementioned] 4 let them answer for them.

* Such things do not appear to me to be according to the 'pleasure and ordinance of God himself in this point.

* All 1 can do is, out of a sincere concern for Christi4 anity itself, most humbly to breathe out my wishes and 4 ardent prayers, that such stumbling-blocks may be taken 4 out of the way; and that all parties of Christians

* would endeavour to cut oft" occasion from those who are

* perpetually seeking occasion to blaspheme that holy

* name, by the which we are called!' [in the number of which occasions, he allows, that infant-baptism is one, and theresore he adds] 4 However, the New Testament itself is

* a stranger to any such sentiments, or practices; and

* therefore Christianity is not, in the least, affected by this 4 objection.'

I freely subscribe to what Mr. Benson here says, when he pronounces those notions and forms, made use of in infant-baptism, no part of Christianity I 0s that objccliont against it, founded on that practice, are what real Christianity is not in the least affecled by.- because the New Testament itself is a stronger to any such sentiments or practices. But I must likewise observe that these questions were properly asked, and the responses rightly made in the primitive times, when none were admitted to baptism, but those only, who had been first instructed in the knowledge of Christianity, and made a personal profession of repentance from dead works, and of faith towards God. Heb. vi. i, 1, And I cannot but add, that some churches still retaining these ancient forms, is a plain consession, that they have changed the proper subject, and is also a standing proof of the antiquity of adult-baptism. And this appears very clearly from the liturgy in the apostolical constitutions, the most ancient now in being; and which, according to Mr. Whiston, I contains the true original baptismal creed, from whence that, which is commonly stiled the apostles creed, is only an abridgment. The office of baptism in them begins thus.:

4 Book VII. Sect. LXIII. Now afte* what manner 4 those ought to live that are initiated into Christ, and < what thanksgivings they ought to send up to God, thro* 4 Christ, has been laid in the foregoing directions: But

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7 BJfay on the Constitution/, p. ZI5.

4 ft is reasonable not to leave even those who are not yet

* initiated without assistance.

* XXXIX. He therefore who is to be catechized in the 4 word of piety, let him be instructed before his bap4 tism in the knowledge of the unbegotten God, in the

* understanding of his only begotten Son, in the assured

* acknowledgment of the Holy Ghost: let him learn 4 the order of the several parts of the creation, the series

* of providence, the difserent dispensations of the laws:

* let him be instructed why the world was made, and

* why man was appointed to be a citizen therein; let

* him also know his own nature, of what sort it is; let

* him be taught how God punished the wicked with wa

* ter, and did glorify the saints in every generation, I

* mean Seth, and Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham, and 4 his posterity, and Melchifedeck, and Job, and Moj'esy

* and Joshua, and Caleb, and Pbineas the Priest, and

* those that were holy in every generation; and how

* God still took care of, and did not reject mankind, but

* called them from their error and vanity, to the ac4 knowledgment of the truth at various seasons, reduc4 ing them from bondage and impiety unto liberty and 4 piety, from injustice to righteousness, from death eter

* nal to everlasting lise. Let him that ofsers himself to

* baptism, learn these and the like things in his catechiz

* ing; and let him who lays his hands upon him adore

* God, the Lord of the whole world, and thank-him for 4 his creation, for his sending Christ, his only begotten 4 Son, that he might save men, by blotting out his trans

* gressions; that he might remit ungodliness, and sins, 4 and might purify him from allfillhiness of fitjh and spirit,

* and sanctify man according to the good pleasure of his 4 kindness, that he might inspire him with the knowledge 4 of his will, and enlighten the eyes of his heart toconli

* der of his wonderful works, and make known to him 4 the judgments of righteousness; that so he might hate

* every way of iniquity, and walk in the way of truth s 4 that he might be thought worthy of the laver of rege4 neration, to the adoption of sons, which is in Christ, 4 that being planted- together in the likeness of the death of

* Chrift, in hopes of a glorious communication, he may « be mortified to sin, and may live to God, as to his 'mind, and word, and deed, and may be numbered toge

* therin the book of the living: and after this thanksgiv

- - 4ing * ing, let him instruct him in the doctrines concerning

* our Lord's incarnation, and in those concerning his 4 paslion, and resurrection from the dead, and asiump4 tiun.

* XL. And when U remains that the catechumen is to 4 be baptized, let him learn whit concerns the renuncia

* tion of the devil, and the joining himself with Christ:

* for it is fit that he should first abstain from things con4 trarv, and then be admitted to the mysteries; he must 4 before hand purify his heart from all wickedness of dis4 position, from all spot and wrinkle, and then partake 4 of the holy things: for as the skilfullest husbandman 4 does first purge his ground of the thorns which are 4 grown up therein, and does then sow his wheat, so 4 ought you also to take away all impiety from them, and

* then to sow the seeds of piety in them, and vouchsafe

* them baptism. For even our Lord did in this manner 4 exhort us faying, first make disciples os all nations, and

* then he acids this, and baptize them into the name of the < Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Let

* therefore the candidate for baptism declare thus in his

* renunciation:

4 XLI. I renounce Satan, and his works, and his pomps,

* and his worships, and his angels, and his inventions,

* and all things that are under him. And after his re

* nunciation, let him in his association say, And I associate

* myself to Christ, and believe, and am baptized into 4 one unbegotten being, the only true God, Almighty, 4 the Father of Christ, the creator and maker of all

* things, from whom are all things; and into the Lord

* Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, the first-born of the

* whole creation, who before the ages was begotten by the 4 good pleasure of the father; by whom all things were

* made, both those in heaven, and those on earth, visible 4 and invisible, who in the last days descended from 4 heaven, and took flesh, and was born of the holy Virgin

* Mary, and did converse holily, according to the laws of

* his God and father, and was crucified under Pontius Pi

* late, and died for us, and rose again from the dead'after

* his passion the third day, and ascended into the heavens, 4 and sitteth at the right hand of -the father, and again is 4 to come at the end of the world with glory, to judge

* the quick and the dead, of whose kingdom there (hail

* be no end. And I am baptized into the Holy Ghost,

M 4 that * that is the comforter, who wrought in all the saints from 4 the beginning of the world, but was afterwards sent to

* the apostles by the father, according to the promise of

* our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ; and after the

* apostles, to all those that believe in the ho)y catholic

* church. Into the resurrection of the sleih, and into

* the remission of sins, and into the kingdom of heaven,

* and into the lise of the world to come.'

These rules justly deserve the most serious regard of every Christian. And, notwithstanding what Mr. Benson fays, it is my humble opinion, that the surest way to remove these stumbling blocks is not to lay aside the ancient forms, but to restore primitive baptism, both as to the mode and subject. However, if the Baptist churches, or as Mr. Benson here expresses it, if pure and primitive Christianity is not in the least affected by this objection; yet 1 am sure Mr. Benson himself, with all his Pædobaptist brethren, even every denomination of Christians, except those who utterly disown and renounce infant-baptism, must be so greatly affected by it, that they can never desend pure and primitive Christianity, I don't say with the least, but with that consistency, which it is neecstary, and most to be wished, that they could. And is it not greatly to be lamented, that such excellent abilities, and such distinguishing endowments, as many of them possess, should be rendered ineffectual for the conviction and conversion of Papists and Infidels, by their practice of that tinscriptural ceremony in any form whatsoever? For Mr, Benson affirms, 1 4 That, before men are capable of im

* derstanding, no faith can be required of them; any

* more than reason or virtue can be expected of infants,

* before they become moral agents.' And of infants the Oxford Reply fays; 9 < They have no reason, nor are they 4 therefore capable of religion.' And we are assured by a

to please God. Heb. xi. 6. But if instead of renouncing and giving up such things, ministers will on the contrary practise, as a solemn act of religion, 1 What is BO where expressly revealed in the New Testament, 1 What

Btii/im's dialogue, p. 95. J Mr. Male's Grounds, p. 56.

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