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way; and, since baptism is now the appointed ceremony of dedication, it shews, that they should present their children to him in baptism.”
* If it could be proved, which certainly it never can, that John baptized only adults, yet no argument could hence be deduced against the right of infauts to baptism under the gospel dispensation; for the baptism which John administered, was not properly christian baptism. Though before Christ's time, baptism was in use among the Jews, yet it was not made the only initiating seal of the covenant, until after his resurrection. John was sent to preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, and thus to prepare men for that new dispensation of God's kingdom, which was not yet come, but was then at hand.—Christ instituted his baptism after this dispensation was come. John's baptism materially differed from this. The baptism, which Christ instituted was, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. John did not baptize in the name of the Holy Ghost; for some who had received his baptism, confessed that they had not so much as heard, whether there were any Holy Ghost. He did not baptize in the name of the Son, or in the faith, that Jesus was the Christ; but with the baptism of repent. ance, saying to the people, that they should believe on him who should come after him ; that is, on Jesus Christ Nor did he baptize into Christ's death, for this event had not then taken place. Had John taught that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, and baptized the people in his name, and into this faith, they would not have mused in their hearts, whether John were the Christ; nor have asked him, Why baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ 2 Nor would Jesus have cautioned his disciples, to tell no man, that he was the Christ, till after his resurrection. John's baptism was designed to prepare men for the faith in Christ, when he should be made manifest to Israel.
6. The incapacity of children for the ends of baptism, or for any benefit from it, is of ten urged as an argument against their being baptized.
But what is decisive in the case is, that some who had received John's baptism, were afterwards baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Among the many thousands from all Judea and Jerusalem, to whom Peter preached on the day of pentecost, it cannot be doubted, that there were multitudes, who had been baptized by John; for there went out to him all the land of Judea and they of Jerusalem, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him. And yet Peter says to them, without distinction, Repent and be baptized, every oue of you in the name of Jesus Christ. An instance still more plain we have in the beginning of the 19th ch. of Acts. Paul finding at Ephesus twelve disciples, said to them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed 2 And they said to him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.—And h; said to themu, Unto what then were ye baptized 2 And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him, who should come after him, that is, on Jesus Christ. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, &c. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. The meaning cannot be, that when the people heard John they were by him baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus; because then it will follow, that Paul laid his hands on all the people whom John baptized; for they, who are here said to be baptized, are evidently the persons on whom Paul laid his hands. But the sense must be, that when these twelve disciples who had been baptized by John, now heard Paul, they were baptized by him. It follows then that John's bsptism, being neither in
But really the question is, whether there be any divine warrant for their baptism? If there is, it becomes us to practise accordingly, and not to arraign the wisdom of God. That there are some rational ends to be answered by infant baptism, and that it is a gracious and beneficial institution, I trust, will appear under another head, where this objection will receive a full answer. In the mean time it may suffice to observe, that infants are now as capable of the ends of baptism, as they were anciently of the ends of circumcision. They may be brought into covenant with God—may have privileges made over to them—may receive the seal and token of privileges—may be laid under obligations to obey the gospel, as the Jewish infants by circumcision became debtors to obey the law—and may become subjects of that justification through Christ's blood, that renovation of the Spirit, and title to
the name of Christ, nor of the Holy Ghost, was different fiora that which Christ instituted; and no arguments can be drawn from the former, to determine the mode, or subjects of the latter j nor can the repetition of christian baptism be justified from this example of Paul. •
eternal life, which are signified and represented in baptism.
I have now given you a view of all the material arguments, which are brought to disprove infant baptism. And what has been said in answer to them is, I think, sufficient to shew, that they have no real weight. The way is now prepared to bring forward our arguments in vindication of this point, which was the second thing proposed.
II. We will here take a distinct view of the principal arguments in defence of the right of believer's infants to baptism, and endeavour to establish them against the cavils of our opponents, and particularly the author of the letters before mentioned.
1. Our first argument shall be taken from the Abrahamic covenant, together with the Apostle's explanation of it.
In the 17th chap, of Gen. we find,.that G«>d made a covenant with Abraham and his seed, into which his infants were expressly taken, together with himself, by rhe same rite and token. This covenant comprehended not only his natural seed, but the stranger who was not of his seed. It was a
spiritual covenant. The capital promise of it was, I will be a God to thee and thy seed after thee.—This was the same covenant, which now subsists, and which we are now under in this gospel age, as the Apostle expressly teaches us, in the 4th chap. to Rom. and 3d chap. to Gal. where he argues from the covenant with Abraham, to shew the nature and extent of the gospel covenant. He testifies, that all believers under the gospel, whether Jews or Gentiles, are the spiritwal seed of Abraham, and consequently heirs of the promise made to him—that the covenant made with Abraham was confirmed of God in Christ—that the law which was given afterwards did not disannul the covenant, or vacate the promise—that the gospel was preached to Abraham, in that promise of the covenant with him, In thee shall all nations be blessed—that the blessing of Abraham is come upon the Gentiles through Christ— that the promise made to Abraham is sure to all the seed, not only to that which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, I have made thee a father of