An Answer to a Book, Etituled Vindiciæ Fœderis,
Published by Mr. MENCE.
Whose Arguments have been weighed in the Ballance of the Sanctuary, and found too light to prove all the Children of Believers in the Covenant of Grace: And on the contrary demonstrating, that none but the Elect, and all true Believers are in that Covenant.
And is a full ANSWER to Mr. Michael Harrison of P's P. his Book, Entituled Infant Baptism God’s Ordinance. Together with a NARRATIVE, which contains the Foundation of the Controversie.
By HERCULES COLLINS,
An Unworthy Servant of Christ and his Church in Wapping
י הו ה א ש ד ר ב א ת ־ ר י ב ח ד פ ת י.
Δ ι α δ ο ξ η ς χ ι α τ ι μ ι α ς δ ι α Δ ν σ φ η μ ι α ς χ α ι ε ν φ η μ ι α ς ω ς π λ α ν ο ι χ α ι α λ ν θ ε ι ς
To Which is added a LETTER by a Private Hand, with a PREFACE and APPENDIX, containing, I. The Pedigree of Infants Habitual Faith. 2. The Judgment of Learned Men against it.
By RICHARD CLARIDGE.
LONDON, Printed for the Author, and are to be Sold by Will. Marshall, at the Bible in Newgate-street, and John Marshall, at the Bible over against the Spread-Eagle-Inn in Gracious-street, near Cornhill. 1695.
To all the Faithful in CHRIST JESUS.
Dearly Beloved in the LORD!
IT is the Earnest Entreaty of the Apostle, that the Saints would walk worthy of the Vocation wherewith they are called; with all Lowliness and Meekness, with Long-suffering, forbearing one another in Love: Endeavouring to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace, Eph. 4. 1 2, 3. And I would make it mine to all the Followers of the Lamb, that they would imitate him in Meekness and Gentleness; and putting away all Bitterness, Wrath, Anger, Clamour, Evil Speaking, with all Malice, be kind one to another, speak every Man Truth with his Neighbour, and walk in Love, as Christ hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an Offering and a Sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour, Eph. 5. 2. For tho' our Understandings vary about some things, wherein we have not received an equal measure of Light, and which are not of the same nature with Faith, Love and Holiness; yet agreeing in the great and fundamental Truths of the Gospel, let us love one another, as children of the same Heavenly Father, tho of different Complexions and Statures. “That which renders Christianity (as one well says) truly beautiful and amiable in the eyes of Beholders, is, that it teaches the Professors thereof, to love one another with a pure Heart fervently, tho' under different Perswasions, as to modes of Divine Worship and Discipline; that their Hearts are larger to receive one another Persons, then their Heads are to conceive one anothers Notions”1. Love is a prime Evangelical Vertue, commanded by Christ to all his Disciples, A New Commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another, Joh. 13. 34, Christianity is an empty Name without it. That Man who fails in love, fails in the princpal part of Religion; for true Religion is, Scientia affectiva, non speculativa, a loving of God, and our Neighbour as our selves, not the bare Theory of the Gospel. And our Blessed Lord not only enjoyn’d it his Disciples, but hath made it their Characteristical Badge of Discrimination from others, By this shall all Men know that ye are my Disciples, if ye have Love to one another, Joh. 13. 35. The Words are emphatically spoken, Ε ν Τ ο τ ο for δ ι α Τ ο τ ο saith Brugensis, By this as your proper Symbol or Cognizance, ye shall be known to be my followers. The Disciples (saith Grotius upon the place) of the Jewish Doctors, were distinguished by some received Sayings and Traditions, and those of John the Baptist by their austere Lives and Fastings: And the Disciples of Christ should be known by imitating their Master, namely, by an extraordinary and reciprocal Affection. The Primitive Believers were famous for this Divine Quality, being of one Heart and one Soul, Acts. 4.32. Tertullian in his Apolog. says, Nobis notam incurrit apud quosdam, vide, inquiunt, ut invicem fe diligant. It is a mark set upon us by some Heathen, behold, how the Christians love another! So Octavius in Minucius Fœ1ix tells Cæcilius the Heathen, Mutuo, quod doletis, amore diligimus, &c. We love with mutual Love, which is your Trouble, because we know not what it is to hate; we call Brethren, for which you envy us, because we are all Children of one God the Father, Partakers of the same Faith, and Coheirs of the same Hope 2. Julian the Apostate in his Letter to Arfacius the Pagan High-Priest of Galatia, gives this Testimony of the Christians, whom he scornfully calls Ga1ilæans, that they gave up themselves to Humanity and Kindness. And Lucian that Atheistical Scoffer at Religion, observes that the Christians Master had instill'd the great Principle of Love into them. But alas! what would those Christians say, if they saw our Days, wherein this Divine and Amicable Vertue is almost banisht from among Men, that profess to be under the Noblest Institution in the World? Pardon this Warmth, (my Dear Brethren!) for 'tis Love I am pleading for, and the woful decays thereof that I write against; Love is a Fruit of the Holy Spirit, the special Livery of the Children of God; tis impossible to be a true Believer without it, for the right Faith worketh by Love, Gal. 5. 6. But Hatred, Variance, Wrath, Strife, Envyings, are works of the Flesh, Gal. 5.20, 21. Where Love is, God is, for God is Love, 1 Joh. 4.8. And he that dwelleth in Love, dwelleth in God, and God in him, v. 16. But where Strife and Division are, God is not; for he is not the Author of Contention, but of Peace. “Love (saith one) is not an Appurtenance of my Religion, but my Religion it self; Love is the End of Faith, and Faith is but the Bellows to kindle Love; Love is the fulfilling of all the Law; the End of the Gospel; the Nature and Mark of Christs Disciples; the Divine Nature; the Summe of Holiness to the Lord; the proper Note by which to know what is the Man, and what is his State, and how far any other of his Acts are acceptable unto God: without which, if we had all Knowledge and Belief, all Gifts of Utterance and highest Profession, we were but as sounding Brass, and as a tinkling Cymbal. And if all our Goods were given to the poor, and our Bodies to the fire, it would profit nothing. Love is our foretast of Heaven, and the perfection of it is Heaven it self, even the State and Work of Angels and of Saints in Glory. And he that is angry with me for calling Men to Love, is angry for calling them to Holiness, to God and Heaven. Holiness which is against Love, is a Contradiction: it is a deceitful Name which Satan putteth upon Unholiness. All Church Principles, which are against Universal Love, are against God, and Holiness, and the Churches life. And he that saith he loveth God, and hateth his Brother is a Lyar”.
“To be holy without Love, is to see without Light, to live without Life. Holiness and Love to God, are but two Names for one thing. Love to God and Man are like Soul and Body, that are separated no way but by Death; but when Love is dead, and yet Religion seemeth to survive, and to be encreased by it, it is lamentable to think what a Degenerate, Scandalous, Hypocritical Religion that will be, and how odious and dishonourable to God. To preach without Love, and to hear without Love, and to pray without Love, and to communicate without Love, to any that differ from you, O what a loathsome Sacrifice is it to the God of Love!3” From hence it is that we have so many Rare Achitects at this day, that can build Christ's House by plucking it in pieces, and raise themselves and their party a Triumphant Name, out of the Contumelies they cast upon others. Pride and Hatred have so elated their Minds, and exulcerated their Spirits, that they openly defie all that differ from them; and that they may make themselves seem wise and good, they undervalue the real Worth of others, and reproach them for Fools and Madmen. But they who take these Methods for the aggrandizing themselves, always fail of the expected Success: for they are ever so much the less in the Judgment of good and humble Men, by how much the more they aim at Greatness by scornful Insults over their Brethren; for they proclaim themselves thereby, to be Scoffers, Revilers and profess'd Enemies of Love, Peace and Humility. The true way to be great is to love the Lord Jesus Christ, to be little in our own Esteem, and pittiful and courteous towards all Men. But to hate our Brethren, by rendring their Doctrine odious, and branding their persons with such black Characters as our own Pride and Passion suggest, is to tell the World we have not learnt Christ in the Truth and Love of him, are not the Men we would be taken for, but are truly deserving of that Reproach and Contempt, we pour out upon them.
‘Tis a manifest Argument we have lost our first Love, when we thus inveigh against those that dissent from us; and whosoever is guilty hereof, not only wounds his own Soul, and grieves the Hearts of the faithful, but stumbles sober Enquirers after the ways of the Lord, and exposes Religion to the Scoffs of Atheists and carnal Worldlings. The Provocations of Enemies and Solicitation of Friends, are no sufficient Pleas for Rayling and Satyr. When we are reviled, we ought not to revile again; and when persecuted, we should suffer it. The Communication of Christians should be yea, yea, and nay, nay, not rendring evil for evil, or railing for railing; but
contrary wise blessing. Their Speech should be always seasoned with Grace, and the healing dews of Charity, Meekness and Long-suffering, should drop from their Lips, as sweet smelling Myrrh. They should not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. The more they are provoked, the more patience and moderation they should express.
But O how prone are many men to break forth into furious Outcries, and let the Reins loose to their ungovernable Passions! and that too upon very small Occasions. For when they find themselves unable to defend their Opinion by solid Argument, rather then yield themselves vanquished, they’l fall to wrangling and Calumny, that they may detain their Proselytes in Ignorance, by silencing their Opponents with noise whose Reasons are undeniable. What concerns Mr. Mence and his Book, and how far he is culpable, I shall give no particular Judgment, only say in the general, I could heartily have wished, It had not been his. For having heard an Honourable Character of him before, and thereupon expecting something correspondent, I have been greatly troubled to see my self and others so strangely disappointed; I looked for Solidity of Argument, Strength of Reasoning, Gravity of Style, and a courteous Treating of his Opponent; but behold Fallacies instead of Arguments, Railing instead of Reasoning, Facetiousness instead of Gravity, and Tragical Declamations instead of Gospel Eloquence. I understand it is the first that ever he published, and that it may not be the last, I would intreat him to write one more, viz. A Retraction of this.
And here I would inform all the Readers of Mr. Mence's Book, that whereas he charges Mr. Collins for maintaining Infant-damning Doctrine, it is altogether a mistake; for Mr. Collins is rather inclined to think, That all dying Infants are saved by the imputed Righteousness of Christ.
And whereas he clamours against him for omitting Inherent Holiness, I cannot see any cause for it. For Mr. Collins was not speaking of the Gracious Qualifications which the Holy Spirit works in all justified and saved ones, but of the material and formal causes of Justification and Salvation. Wherein Mr. Collins does not vary from the Scriptures, which sometimes speak of Justification and Sanctification apart, tho' they are never separate in the same Subject. All who are actually justified are also sanctified, but none are saved for their inherent Holiness, but for Christs imputed Righteousness, tho' none are saved without it.
Mr. Collins's Answer is plain, but sound and weighty, he having Truth on his side, needeth no Art or Paint to set it off; and let me tell you, who ever impartially considers the two Books, Mr. Collins's true Reasoning and fair Language will soon convince him, how far the other hath deviated both from the Truth and Loveliness of the Gospel.
I close this Discourse with earnest Supplications to God, that laying aside all Wrath, Contention, and Bitterness, we may put on as the Elect of God, Bowels of Mercy, Kindness, Humbleness of Mind, Meekness, Long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and Forgiving one another; and above all these things put On Charity, which is the Bond of Perfectness, Col. 3. 12, 13, 14.
From my House in Georges-Court, near Hick’s Hall, the 22d. of the 12th Month, 1695.
The Reader is desired to amend some few ERRATA's which have been let slip, but more particularly these following, viz.
P. 10 1. 32. Ist. col, for believing read Believers Infants.
P. 34. Ist. col. l. 36. & 2d. col. 1.31. for Habitual-Faith read Infant Habitual-Faith.
TRUTH and INNOCENCY Vindicated:
An Impartial Account of the late Proceedings between Mr. Mence and Mr. Collins, concerning the Salvation of Infants by the Imputation of Christ's Righteousness.
Intended for the Information and Satisfaction of the Godly about Wapping, or elsewhere.
I Am to inform thee in the Year Ninety and One I published a Book, which contained my Conscientious Grounds for the Baptizing of Professed Believers only; in which Treatise there was an Indication, or an Account of one of the first Arguments for Infant Baptism; namely, That in it the Grace and Mercy of God was given, and that it was to save an infant in apparent Danger of imminent Death from perishing: And moreover, that it wast away Original Sin; see the Malivetan Council, and the Fifth Council of Carthage, in the Year four hundred and sixteen; which Error was about that time confirmed by the Pope and his Council. Now forasmuch as I have asserted in my Book of Baptism, page 70, 113, 114. that we know a better way to wash off Origina1 Sin from dying Infants, namely, the Blood of Christ, and the Imputation of his Righteousness: This very passage just before mentioned, hath been the principal Cause of Difference between me, Mr. Shute, and Mr. Mence; and that because I did not add, that Infants have Faith in our Lord’s Righteousness, my Opponents have drawn this Conclusion, as if it naturally followed my Position, then Infants must be Damned. Whether this be not a non sequitur, I leave to a judicious Consideration. And doubtless to count this Doctrine Mountebank-Divinity; that is to say, Dying Infants being saved by the Imputation of Christ's Righteousness, calls for suitable Repentance: And is it not a thing unaccountable, that Mr. Mence hath made such a stir about Infant Habitual-Faith, and yet hath not given his Reader one solid Argument to inform his Judgment about it in his whole Book.
Moreover, because I asserted, That the Infants of Believers, as they are their fleshly Seed, are not in the Covenant of Grace, Mr. Mence has suggested to his Auditory, from his Pulpit, as if I held this Tenet, That the Seed of Believers are absolutely shut out of the Covenant of God; and draws this Conclusion before the People, as if it were the Emanation of my Principles, then Infants must be Damned. I suppose some Turks and Pagans would have abhorred thus to deal with Innocent and true Principles, and from true Premises draw such false and ridiculous Conclusions; and from asserting Infants being saved by Christ’s Righteousness, he insinuates as if that Position denyes them Sanctification, and so could not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. What can be a greater Reflection upon the purifying Merits of our Blessed Saviour? can they want Sanctification that are washt in his Blood? surely No.
I did always believe Justification and Sanctification in the same subject, in Conformity to the Apostle's Doctrine, But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified, &c. (1 Cor.
6. 11.) The holy Prophet Jeremy predicts, that the Name wherewith Christ should be called, shall be, the Lord our Righteousness; would it not be disingenuous for any to infer from these words, that he denyed Sanctification in the same Subject, because he doth not mention it; yet this my Antagonist has done by me. It hath been no Doubt with me many Years, that the Father's Election, Son's Redemption, and the Spirit's Sanctification, all savingly affect the same subject. Concerning the Truth of the Matter of Fact mentioned none can question, if they consider that I have by me the Hand-writing of the very Person who took it as it was delivered in the Pulpit; and to anticipate any undue thought, as if it were written by one prejudiced against Mr. Mence, I do assure you he hath a very great Veneration and Respect for him, and if I am not mistaken, is his constant Auditor. Thus I have given you a fair Oppertunity to consider whether my Opinion gave Mr. Mence any just ground to Preach and Print as he has done, (namely,) That my Principle inevitably excludes dear Infants out of the Kingdom of God, and that I am audaciously cruel to them, sending them by swarms into Hell, calling my Principle Infant-destroying-matter; and that the Darts I would strike into their Hearts and the Hearts of their Children, discovers me more to be an Inveterate Enemy than a kind Brother, as he saith in his Book. My Reader is to judge whether such Invectives are the Emanation of my Principles, or rather of a distempered Mind.
Those things aforesaid thro' my Opponents Preaching spread all about the Town, and hath dolefully rung in my Ears as I have walkt the Streets; There goeth Mr. Collins, who holds the Damnation of Infants; tho' probably I am larger in my Charity than he, being inclined to be1ieve all dying Infants in the Election and Covenant of Grace, tho' secret things belong to God; so that if the good Providence of God had not prevented, my Throat might not only have been cut with a Feather, which was his own saying, but might have been more effectually done another way. I could have given too great a probability of this Matter, which would have made your Ears tingle, but that I am tender of the Honour of the Gospel, and my Opponent's Reputation, though he hath endeavoured to ruine mine. I having been thus greatly abused, it came to the Ears of my Brethren in the Ministry, who upon hearing of the same in a Christian Spirit, sent for Mr. Mence, and when he came, they received him as a Minister of the Gospel; at which time three things he mentioned to us as his trouble: First, That his words were misrepresented; to which Answer was made, that they suspended the total Crediting of what was declared to them 'till they spake with him himself. Another thing which displeased him was our keeping an Anniversary day, that is, one Day in the Year, for to preach up the Ordinance of the Gospel; it was told him, that was rather a Virtue to be commended than a just ground of complaint: Moreover, my Reader is to know, that that Practice bath been maintained by the Church between twenty and thirty Years, long before either Mr. Mence or Mr. Collins came to Wapping: And if this be to be Vile in the Eyes of Men, let us be yet more Vile, for I am sure God and Man in this are of differing minds. A Third thing offended him, was my joining Transubstantiation with Infants in Covenant, and Infants Habitual-Faith, in my Book, The Antidote proved a Counterfeit, page the 4th. The reason of my uniting those so alike in shape, and of so near akin, you'll hear more of hereafter in Answer unto his Book. Much Discourse there was pro and con between the Ministers and him. And when the Ministers desired Mr. Mence to give his Reasons why he called my Doctrine before his Congregation Mountebank-Divinity? he gave no direct Answer, but evaded it; and at his parting I told him that I expected satisfaction for several Abuses which I then mentioned unto him, which you will find contain'd in the Letter at the end of this Account.
Moreover, it was there shewed him how Unconclusive it was to infer Infants must be Damned, if they have no Habitual Faith: And further shewed him, that if Infants have habitual Faith, they must have Patience, Long-suffering and Repentance, which are all if the same Subject where Faith is. Again he was also askt, who was the Object of an Infant's Faith? unto which he made no solid Answer. 'Tis most certain, that the Ministers Carriage to Mr. Mence deserved better from him, if he had considered that some there present came not behind him in Piety, Parts or Learning; and some old enough to be his Father. Neither did that unchristian and unmannerly Speech become his Function, when upon two Brethrens happening to speak together, he replyed, If ye intend to Bait me, dea1 fairly, and slip your Doggs one by one, and afterwards boasted of it among his Friends. And whereas Mr. Mence in his Book more than twice or thrice calls me Challenger, and Bold Challenger, let me give you a plain Account of that matter: When he was with our Ministers, I sate silent for a considerable time, and being about to offer something to him concerning the matter in Debate, he interrupted me with these words, "Mr. Collins, I will Dispute these Points with you at any time; unto which I replyed, Sir, as soon as you please. Now I having been thus greatly wronged, as you have heard, upon the ending of my three Sermons on Acts the 2d. in the hearing of his Son, who writ my Discourses in Short-hand very curious and speedy: I declared then that I was willing to accept of Mr. Mence his Proposition which he made before the Ministers, to discourse the Points in Controversie, which you have in the Letter at the latter End, whether this was any more than accepting of his own Challenge, let the Reader judge.
Moreover, let me inform you further, that a little time after my first mentioning in publick that I was willing to accept of his Proposal made before the Elders, he sent me this little Line of Latin, i.e. An Infantes fidelium sint temporibus Evangelij in fœdere Gratia? affimatur; which in English is thus, Whether the Infants of Believers in the Times of the Gospel are in the Covenant of Grace? It is affirmed. Which Question doth not take in the Terms of the Controversie; for, who ever deny'd that the Infants of Believers, viz. such as are elected, are in the Covenant of Grace? of which hereafter. Note, that which adds Pleasantness to this Passage is, that quickly after he had sent me this Line of Latin, it was reported, by a Minister of his own Perswasion, that Mr. Mence sent me a LATIN LETTER.
And whereas Mr. Mence tells us in his Epist1e, that he hath a Black Catalogue of Lyes committed to Writing: And further adds, that Lies are our Armour of Proof, and Weapons of Defence: I would have him know, my Innocency is better Armour against such threatning Calumnies. I hope that I abhor that Practice as much, if not more than himself; he knows best who it was that reported amongst his Friends when they were together, an also apart, that when he charged me with the Conjunction of Transubstantiation with Infants in Covenant and Infant-habitual-Faith in my Book aforesaid, before the Ministers, that I deny'd I had wrote any such thing; and it appearing I had so written, the Ministers hanged down their Heads, and were ashamed on't. That this Deserves not only the Name of an Hyperbole, but a great untruth, as will be evidenced if any Godly Persons require it, by seven or eight Elders and Ministers, as well as by his own Friend, who was with him at the same time, being asked if he knew of any such Carriage of the Ministers, and of my denying what I had writ, he replied, I know nothing of it; neither is it very probable this should be so, when the Manuscript was read among them, before it felt the weight of the Press. And let my Reader know, I was so far from denying this thing, that when Mr. Mence took out a Script of Paper to read the matter aforesaid, that he might do it the more effectually, I took the Book out of my own Pocket, turned to the Page, and gave it him to make the most of it; for all which we have undoubted Testimony at Hand.
Now how his Conscience can digest such things as these are, I know not; but I praise God they will not go down with me, neither would I have the weight of them on my Conscience for more than I shall now mention. Oh how sad is it for a Person to endeavour to raise his own Reputation by ruining of his Neighbours Credit, in bearing false witness against him, which is so contrary to the Ninth Commandment.
And whereas Mr. Mence would have the World believe him to be a Man of a Peaceable Temper, whist he cal1s me a Publick Annoyer, the head of an over-grown Schism, and a Troubler of Israel; saying, that I have put this Spot into an Inflamation, well nigh a Conflagration, and that he had lain quiet fix or seven years together, until he was forced to arise, as he saith, with his Bucket to quench the flame: But indeed he hath been so far from casting Water in to quench it, that he hath been pouring on Oyl to inflame it: And therefore some thinking men judge that it had been far better if he had lain asleep still, unless he had awaked in a better Temper, and to a better Purpose. Now I would have the Reader to take notice, that if Mr. Mence had not been of a Diotrephean Spirit, and had contributed as much towards the keeping us in Peace as others have done, we had certainly enjoy'd our Quiet in this Spot till this day: For it is well known how chearfully I have served that Congregation, by preaching amongst them in the time of his Predecessor, the late Reverend Mr. Knight.
Finally, as I esteem Peace with God, Peace in Conscience, and Peace in the Church a Choice Jewel, which I would not exchange for many Worlds; and also knowing that the eternal Transaction between the Father and Son is called the Council of Peace, and the Covenant the Covenant of Peace, God the God of Peace, Christ the Prince of Peace; the Gospel the Gospel of Peace, and Angels the Messengers of Peace, and that Heaven is a Place of Peace: In a Word, because I know where Peace is God is, and that that Grace is essential to the Kingdom of God in the Saints, and also a glorious fruit of the Holy Spirit, as it shall be my earnest Endeavour to promote it in the Churches of Christ, so it shall be my fervent and constant Prayer, as one of Zions Watchmen, to cry, Peace be within thy walls, and Prosperity within thy Palaces for ever and ever, Amen.
A LETTER sent to Mr. Mence from Mr. Collins, wherein he requires Satisfaction for the great Abuse offered him; also signifying his Willingness to accept of his own Proposition to discourse these Points which you have mentioned in this Epistle following.
YOU having both in Publick and Private asperst and greatly wronged me, as I have before, so now I do again call for Satisfaction.
For suggesting to your Auditors from Pulpit and elsewhere,
Sir, I call for as publick Satisfaction as I have had an Aspersion; but if you shall deny it, as you have done, and rather stand upon a Vindication, I must take the best measures I can to clear my Innocency, because my Function doth oblige me to maintain a good Name in the World, and good Principles, in order to success in my Work; and I hope I can truly say, it is more for the Honour of God and the Gospel than mine own, I am thus concerned. And, Sir, if you please, I will accept of your Proposition before the Ministers, and discourse these following Points, you spending one hour and ha1f, and I another, for the Investigation of the Truth, and leave the whole to the Blessing of God, and the Judgment of the Auditory.
Your Faithful Friend,
In the following Discourse you have not only Truth asserted, but Mr. Mence his Errors detected, in his handling the same Subject. Act. 2. 39. For the Promise, &c.
For the Promise is unto you, and to your Children, and to all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call.
The Apostle in his divine Discourse or Sermon, having asserted v. 36. That God had made that same Jesus whom they had crucified both Lord and Christ: The Holy Ghost setting in with this Doctrine, in the Accomplishment of the Promise which Christ made, that the Spirit should convince the World of sin, they were immediately pricked at the Heart in a powerful Conviction, which made them to cry out, Men and Brethren what shall we do? The Apostle being full of Compassion upon this Cry, gives them a most comfortab1e Cordial to support their fainting Souls, and lays Duty and Promise before them; saying, Repent, and be Baptized every one of you, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the Remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost: For these Promises are to you, tho' you have Crucified the Lord, and to your Children too, if ye and they believe and own that Messiah ye have crucified; and also to them afar off, even the poor Gentiles and Heathens, if they give Christ the Glory of their Salvation; for the Partition Wall of Separation is broken down, and now the Children of the Flesh are not the Children of God, but the Children of the Promise; that is, true Believers are the spiritual Seed of Abraham, being now through believing all one in Christ. And it is worthy our Consideration that Mr. Mence and others do build upon a sandy Foundation, for they suppose those Parents here in this Text actual Believers, which is apparent were not yet such, though under Conviction; for had they been such, why should the Apostle have exhorted them to Repentance in the verse before? for where saving Faith is there is true Repentance, so that this Promise unto the Parents at this time was upon the Terms of Repentance and Faith, and upon the same Terms their Children, yea, and the Gentiles afar off had a Right to the Promise of Remission of sins, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Observation we ought to raise from these Words is this:
Doct. The Promise of Remission of Sins and Gift of the Holy Ghost, is freely made unto the vilest of sinners, whether Parents or Children of Jew and Gentile, which are effectual1y called and qualified with the Grace of Faith, Repentance and Obedience.
This is the full Scope and Design of the Apost1e in mentioning these Promises, to prevent their Desperation; therefore tells them, tho’ they had been such great Criminals as to crucifie the Lord of Glory, yet if they did fall in with his Exhortation, they might yet be a happy People.
In the handling of this point I shall observe this Method: (1st.) Shew what is meant by Children in the Text. (2ly.) Enquire whether there be not some special Reason for the Apostles mentioning the Children of the Jews. (3ly.) Enquire whether the Promise there belongs to this Chapter, or some other part of the holy Scripture; and whether there be an Identity or Oneness in this Promise, and that made to Abraham and his Natural Seed, Gen.17.7. (41y.) I shall prove that God made two Covenants with Abraham, as he was a twofold head. (5ly.) I shall demonstrate from Scripture Arguments, that the Covenant which God made unto Abraham and his Seed according to the flesh, in Gen. 17.7,8. is not the Covenant of Grace. (61y.) A Survey of Mr. Mence his Book Findiciæ Fœderis, upon the same Text.
(1.) What Children may the Apostle mean, when he saith, the Promise is to you and your Children.
Answ. The Apostle cannot intend Infant Children as such, but as such they are excluded; because Infant Children are not capable of the Qualifications here required, which gives a Right to the Promise; namely, Repentance, Obedience, and Effectual Calling; therefore they must be adult Children, and such as can give a rational Account of their Faith. My Child is my Child when twenty or thirty years old as much as when 8 days old, therefore there's no Argument in this for the Pedo-Baptists, forasmuch as the whole Body of the Jews are called the Children of Israel, Rom. 10. 28. The Promise here made to their Children are upon the same Terms as made to their Fathers, and no other; for the Promise of Remission of Sins, and Gift of the Holy Ghost, are made to those Parents and Children, and them only in this Text, who have the Qualifications of Repentance and Obedience; and the Gentiles afar off have an equal Right under these Considerations; and whatever any of their Infant Children might be with reference to Gods Love of Intention, yet none of them grown up could actually partake of these Promises until so and so qualified as the Context mentions.
(2.) But is there not some special Reason why the Apostle should say, The Promise is to you, and to your Children?
Answ. No doubt but there is some peculiar Reason for it, but the Reason is not because there was any more fœderal Holiness or Habitual Faith in those Children of the Jews than in others, for We all go astray from the Womb, telling Lyes; but the special Reason why the Apostle thus speaks, was in Answer to their Interrogation, verse 37. When they were convinced they had been the Murtherers of the true Christ, they cry out, Men and Brethren, what shall we do? The Apostle exhorts them to Repent and be Baptized, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, for the Remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost: But methinks I hear them say unto Peter, but what will become of our Children? for we called for Christs Blood to be upon us and our Childrens Heads, Mat. 27. 25. The Apostle gives them a Plaister as broad as their Sore, and tells them, that the Promise is to them and their Children, if they own that Messiah whom they Crucified: And this Sense of the place my Opponent often gives his Book, yet in page the 19th. tells us, there are some I know for a shift will urge that Imprecation in the aforesaid Text, as the principal Reason why the Apostle saith, The Promise is to you, and to your children; so that when Mr. Mence pleaseth, this shall be a good Exposition, and when he pleaseth, not; surely he will not Monopolize the Opening of Scripture to himself, that he thus dealeth with us: So that you see the special Reason why the Apostle phraseth it thus, The Promise is to you and your Children, it was to comfort their Souls, in telling them that Christs Blood should neither lye on their Heads nor their Childrens, which they in madness desired to fall upon them, rather than the Son of God should go uncrucified, if they and their Children did believe in Christ, and were effectually called; and ‘tis very probable that some of their Children might cry, Crucifie him, Crucifie him, as their Fathers did, and so were actually concern'd in his Blood-shed, and so the Children stood in need of as comfortable a Promise as the Fathers; however this Promise reacheth all their Children, one and the other, who are capable of the Qualifications of Repentance, Faith, and Obedience, mention'd in the Context.
Thirdly, Let us enquire, where is the Promise the Apostle referrs to: I know many, with my Antagonist, do not only think, but too confidently affirm, that the Apostle referrs unto the Promise made to Abraham and his Natural Seed, but this is not very probable, seeing he gives us not the least Intimation of it, which was the practice of Christ and his Apostles, when they mention'd any thing contain’d in the Law and the Prophets, to give us any Account who they were, and where it was written, Luk. 24.49. Acts 2. 16,17, 18.
2ly. The Promise in the Text is Spiritual, and not Typical and Temporary, as that made to Abraham and his fleshly seed; the Promise is in the verse before the Text, which is spiritual Blessing, to wit, The Pardon of Sin, and Gift of the Holy Ghost. Its not the Promise of a Deliverance from a litteral Egypt, nor the Promise of a temporary Canaan, but of spiritual and eternal good things; and had all Abraham’s natural seed these Promises made to them, it should certainly have been fulfilled, for God is faithful. Let me give you one Argument upon it before I pass it; If God hath made a Promise of remission of Sins, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, to all the fleshly seed of Believers, it would be performed, but it is not so perform’d; all their fleshly seed have not these Benefits, therefore God never promised it to them, for God is faithful, and cannot deny himself. Such Promises aforsaid are only made to the Elect, as Dr. Owen on the Hebrews, 3d. Vol. page 256. “The Covenant of Grace in Christ is made only with the Israel of God, the Church of the Elect, page 291. The New Covenant is made with all, who effive1y and eventually are made partakers of it; and if they are not so with whom the new Covenant is made, it comes short of the Old in Efficacy, who were actual partakers of the Benefit of that”.
0bject. What can be a more spiritual Blessing than that, I will be a God to thee, and to thy seed, Gen. 17. 7, 8.
Answ. There is a great deal of Difference in the Scripture concerning Gods being a Peoples God: God is said to be a God of the Spirits of all flesh, this is not to be understood in a special manner, but as God in common to his Creatures; so when God said to Israel, Exod. 20. 1. I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the Land of Egypt: Mark, wherever God is mention'd in such a Relation to a mixt People, as these were, it always respects external Priviledges; so was this Promise of God to Abraham and his Natural Seed, he would be their God, and his Attributes should be exerted, and his Glorious Arm stretched out, to carry them into the good Land of Canaan, flowing with Milk and Honey: But when God makes over himself in the Covenant of Grace to be a Peoples God, the Subjects in that Covenant have the Promises of Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification, which none will say all Believers Natural Seed partake of these Blessings.
31y. The Promise in the Text cannot be the Abrahamical Covenant, to him and his Carnal Seed, because that Covenant was to him and his Seed, in their successive Generations from Isaac. God was not only a God to their immediate Seed, but to their remote Seed. Mark, if God doth take thy immediate Child into Covenant, as thou art a Believer, then you must conclude he will be a God to your remote Generations, for this is his Covenant with Abraham, and he made it good for many hundred years to their successive Generations, till that Covenant was broken and totally expired; and until that the Covenant stood fast with the Infants of the ungodly, as well as those of the Godly Parents; so that the Promise in the Text cannot be the Covenant with Abraham, because it doth not extend to successive Generations; for the Line of Election, whatsoever my Opponent may say or think, is not limited unto Godly Families, as appears from Abraham, Abijah, Hezekiah, Josiah, Asa, whose Parents were ungodly Roots, and yet had a godly Offspring.
4ly. This cannot be the Covenant made with Abraham, Gen. 17.7. because that was made to him in his fleshly Seed from Isaac only, but this Promise in the Text is made to all the spiritual Seed of Jews and Gentiles. Now mark, the Child of a believing Gentile, as his fleshly Seed is not the Seed of Abraham in any sence, he is not the Natural Seed, because born of a Gentile, not a Jew; nor he cannot be as such his spiritual seed until he believes, therefore this Promise in the Text cannot be the Covenant made with Abraham and his seed, because this Promise belongs only to a spiritual seed.
51y. This Promise could not be the Abrahamical Covenant, because that Covenant was broken before this Time, which was shew'd unto Zachary, Chap. 11. by the breaking of the Staff of Beauty and the Staff of Bands, for their Betraying and Crucifying the Messiah, foreseen by a Spirit of Prophecy; this could not be the Covenant of Grace broken, for that's immutable, therefore 'twas that peculiar Covenant God made with Abraham and his natural seed.
Secondly, That the Abrahmical Covenant must be repeal'd, appears, because whatever Interest Infants had in the Jewish Church whilst that Oeconomy stood, it could not give them right to a Gospel-ministration; the old way of Initiating Members is repeal'd; therefore the old covenant is repeal’d then Infants were admitted members, who could make no Profession of Faith, but now none but such as can; then their natural seed, now a spiritual seed.
Thirdly, None are accounted now the seed of Abraham but such as actually believe, Gal. 3. ult. Abraham's seed is distinguished into three sorts: 1st. Meerly natural, who walked not in the steps of Abraham, as Ishmael and Esau, &c. 21y. His Seed spiritual and natural, which was twofold: (1.) Extraordinary, so Christ was born of a Virgin, who descended from Abraham’s Loyns. (2.) Ordinary, so all believing Jews were all Abraham's natural and spirtual seed. 31y. His seed meerly spiritual, such were all believing Gentiles who walkt in the steps of their Father Abraham, they are called his Children, as he was called the great and high Father of the faithful, and because we have the same spiritual and eternal Inheritance, Rom. 4.
Fourthly, The Covenant with Abraham and his natural seed was only shadowy and typical, both in the sign Circumcision, and in the Inheritance, the Land of Canaan; the Substance being come, the shadow flies away, Col. 2. 16. Heb. 10. 1. Moreover, the sanction of that old Covenant is antiquated both in the Promises and Threatnings, for upon Obedience they were to enjoy the Land of Canaan, and upon a wilful Neglect of Circumcision they were to be cut off from the People; but we are to expect no such promises, nor are there any to inflict such a Punishment, therefore that Covenant must be repeal'd. Moreover, seeing all Abraham’s natural seed were not in Covenant, why should any Believers now conclude all their Children in Covenant, for neither Ishmael, nor Esau, nor the Children Abraham had by Keturah were in it; for God said, my Covenant will stand fast with Isaac. And whereas our Brethren will have all the immediate seed of Believers included in the Covenant, as here they are too large, because all Abraham's immediate seed were not in it, as you see, so in another respect they are too strait, by restraining it to their immediate Offspring, which in Abraham's Covenant was not so restrain’d, but came as fully upon remote Generations: They straiten it also by excluding the Servants and Slaves of Christians, with the Children born of them, from that priviledge which they suppose them to have enjoy'd under the Old Testament, in being seal'd with the sign and token of the Covenant of Grace. Moreover, let it be consider'd, that though Lot, Melchezedeck and Job, were Be1ievers, yet neither they nor their Children were under an Obligation of Circumcision, because limited by a special Command of God to Abraham’s Family, to such a Sex and such a day, except Prose1ytes; so that Circumcision was limited unto Abraham's Family, and tho' those good men were in the Covenant of Grace, yet this Rite nothing affected them nor their seed, because of its special Limitations, no more can Baptism concern any, persons whatever, but those unto whom God hath by a special Command limited it, namely, profest Believers, and them only.
4. I shall shew, as Abraham was a twofold Head, so God made with him a twofold Covenant; he was a spiritual Head to all believing Jews and Gentiles; hence he is stiled the Father of us all, Rom. 4. 16.
2ly. He was a Natural Head to those issued out of his Loyns; as he was a Believer, and spiritual Head, God made a Covenant and promise of Grace to him and his spiritual seed: As he was Natural Head, God made with him and his Natural Seed a Covenant of Peculiarity.
Our Brethren which differ from us, for want of distinguishing, and by their mixing and confounding those Covenants, run themselves, Auditors and Readers, into many Inconveniencies, clouding and darkening their Understanding; and making a Gospel- Church unavoidably National, as the Jewish Church was; it runs them upon the use of many unsound Topicks and Mediums, forceth them to draw unnatural Inferences, and so fill their Books and Sermons with Nonsequiturs, Incoherences, Selfcontradictions. In a word, it runs them into many gross Absurdities, as may too quickly appear.
Now its plain God made two distinct Covenants with Abraham, both of a differing Nature; the right Understanding of it may be as a Key to open this Controversie.
In Gen. 17. from 7, to 21. You have the peculiar Covenant with Abraham and his Natural seed from Isaac, which no way affects Believing Gentiles and their natural seed, because they are not the seed of Abraham in any sense, as aforesaid; they are not Abraham’s natural, because born of a Gentile, not a Jew; nor spiritual seed, because they are Infants, and no actual Believers, therefore this covenant can no ways affect Believing Gentiles and their seed.
Moreover, in that Transaction with Abraham, there are Promises, Precepts, Threatnings, which no way affect us under the Gospel, as was before hinted; what is litteral Canaan or Egypt to us? what is Circumcision to us? nothing at all; yet were principles in this peculiar Covenant. Neither do we deny there was any Grace or Favour in this Transaction with Abraham and his natural seed; for I am inclined to believe, the very Covenant of Works was not without Favour and Grace in some sense, but I deny this Covenant was the Covenant of Grace. Seeing you and others insist so much upon it, let us give a Definition of the Covenant of Grace, which is God’s Promise of Justification, Sanctification and Glorification, unto all the Elect, upon the Account of Redemption and Satisfaction by Christ, in his Death and State of Humiliation; the Sum of this Covenant we have in Heb. 8. 10, 11, 12. God becomes a Peoples God for Christs sake, hence his Blood is ca1led the Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant, because it was procured and ratified by it, the Essence of this Covenant is, that God makes over himself in Christ, with a11 his Attributes, Christ and all his Offices, the Spirit and all his saving Operations; the Elect by virtue of this Covenant of Grace have a Right to all the precious Promises, and are by it secur'd; all Providences shall work for their Good, and Eternal Glory their Reward at last. Now is it not hard for any to believe, that every Believers Child is in this Covenant? surely it is.
2. God made with Abraham a Covenant and Promise of Grace, as he was a Believer, and so a Head and Father of a spiritual seed, this was quite of another Nature to the Covenant of Circumcision: The Promise and Covenant of Grace is more general and universal, for that comprehends all Nations, Gen. 12. 3. In thy seed shall all the Nations of the Earth be blessed: But the Promises in the Covenant of Circumcision belonged to one Nation only, namely, the Jews, but now in the New Covenant it is in every Nation, He that fears God and worketh Righteousness is accepted, Acts 10. 35. This is one Material Difference, and here Abraham is not only a Father to Believing Jews, but also to Believing Gentiles. (2.) These Covenants differ in their Promises as well as the Subject, for the Promises of the Covenant of Grace are called better Promises, Heb. 8. 6. as well as the Covenant a better Covenant than that Covenant; Circumcision obliged them to those Promises were temporal, tho’ we do not deny but they were typica1 of better things; but the Promises in the Covenant of Grace are better, there is the Promise of a new Heart, Justification, Sanctification and an Eternal Inheritance. (3.) These Covenants differ in the mode and manner of Performance, for in the Covenant of Circumcision God was their God in their successive Generations, without Interruption, but in the Covenant of Grace it is not so, for here one of a City and two of a Family are called, and others of a City and Family 1eft; sad Experience sheweth that the Line of E1ection runs not through Religious Families, for tho’ Election reached Abraham, yet not Ishmael his Son, and Isaac, yet not Esau his Son, and David, yet not Absalom; from hence we may see how unconclusive that Consequence is. Our Brethren frequently make use of that, as God was a God in Covenant with Abraham and his seed, who were circumcised, so he is a God unto Believing Gentiles and their seed, therefore they ought to be baptized: Pray then go the End of the Chapter, let it be only Males, for such were only Circumcised; and by the same Argument your Children may expect a Possession in Jerusa1em, which is now inhabited by the Turks and Mahumetans. Moreover, you must baptize upon the Eighth Day, and never fail, for that was a Breach of Abraham's Covenant, to circumcise sooner, or defer it longer; so that such Consequences cannot be of God, because it crosseth the Doctrine and Commands of the Gospel, which Gospel obligeth none to he baptized but such as can make profession of their Faith; thus you see there were two distinct Covenants made with Abraham. Indeed pag. 40. He tells us, there are two ways of being in the Covenant of Grace, viz. Externally and Internally; this is a humane Device, Gods Word knows nothing of it, for this is to be in the House and out of the House at the same time; is there any such thing in he Rule of Faith, as to be outwardly and inwardly in the Covenant of Grace? When God saith, This Covenant shall stand fast with Christ and his spiritua1 Seed, he doth not say, the internal or external part of the Covenant shall stand fast with him, but the Covenant of Grace, without distinction of outward and inward. If our Brethren say, there was but one Covenant made with him, and that Circumcision was the Administration of that Covenant, as Baptism is now; if so, there is great deal must be recalled, which is, that believing Infants are in the Covenant of Grace, whereas it seems it is but the Administration of that Covenant: And here again our Brethren run upon a Rock, for if we ask what they mean by Infants of Believers being in the Covenant of Grace? they answer, they are in the External part of the Covenant; if you ask, what is that? they say, the Administration of the Covenant; if you ask, what is that? they will tell you it is Baptism; so that the whole amounts to no more than this, such Children they ought to be baptized, because they ought to he baptized; thus you may see what little Reason there is for making such a stir about Infant-Incovenanting, and whether it be not a horrible slander, to report we do what we can to shut our Infants out of the Kingdom of Heaven, and send them by Swarms into Hell: For when all comes to all, they confess this is no more but denying them Baptism, which they own if they have, it may notwithstanding lye scorching in Hell with Dives; so that by their own Confession, seeing Baptism will not open Heavens Gate to them, nor shut Hells, to prevent their Entrance in, its more than probable these Persons do act against Light of Conscience, when they do charge such dreadful things upon our Opinion, that we shut Heavens Gate against Infants, and send them to Hell, because we deny them Baptism; yet confess, that those that have it, are neither nearer Heaven, nor the further off from Hell: And tho' we dare not grant all the natural seed of Believers in the Covenant of Grace, yet we do all allow such Children have great Advantages which the Children of ungodly Parents have not, as a good Education, a Holy Example, together with a stock of Prayers that is going for them, but for all this we know of no Ground to baptize them. I hope our Brethren will a1low us a share of Natural Affections to our Children with them, that if we knew of any thing that would contribute to their souls good, we would not deny them; but to fancy they have an Advantage, when there is no ground for it, is equivalent to a Person dreaming he eats Dainties, but when he awakes he is very hungry, and finds it was but a Dream.
Argu. 5. If all Believers Children are in the Covenant of Grace, they are in it either absolutely or conditionally. None will dare to say, they are in this Covenant absolutely, because then they should all be saved; and if they are there conditionally, viz. upon the Terms of Repentance and Faith, then the Children of Unbelievers have an equal Right with them in this Covenant, under these Considerations, and so an equal Right to the Seals of the Covenant; yea, and a Right before them, if they have these Qualifications, and the Believers Child wants them.
5.Gen. Head is to prove that that Covenant God made with Abraham and his Natural seed, was not the Covenant of Grace, Gen. 17. 7, 8, &c. which Mr. Mence and many others assert.
Argu. 1. The Covenant of Grace extends unto all Nations, the Covenant of Circumcision was limited to one Nation, Ergo, the Covenant of Circumcision is not the Covenant of Grace.
That the Covenant of Grace extends it self unto all Nations, I think none will deny, See Gen. 12. 3. Chap. 15. 5, 6. Gen. 17.4. Chap. 22.16, 17, 18. Gal. 3. 14. Acts 10. 33, 34, 35. Rom. 4. 16, 17. and that the Covenant of Circumcision was limited to the Nation of the Jews only, as a Nation, is confest by all, therefore the Consequence follows roundly, that the Covenant of Circumcision is not the Covenant of Grace, but some other Covenant, which I call a Covenant of Peculiarity unto that People; and for two Covenants of Grace I suppose none ever did imagine, for that Promise which God made unto Adam, Gen. 3. 15. and that to Abraham, Gen. 12. 3. for Substance was the same we are now under, being never but one Covenant of Grace.
Argu. 2. That Covenant which obligeth to keep the whole Law is not the Covenant of Grace, but the Covenant of Circumcision obligeth to keep the whole Law, Ergo, the Covenant of Circumcision is not the Covenant of Grace.
The Major is undeniable, for that which obligeth us to keep a Law of Works for Justification and Life, must necessarily belong to that Law of Works, and not to the Law of Grace; and for the Minor, that the Covenant of Circumcision did oblige to the keeping the whole Law, the Apostle is express in Gal. 5. 2, 3, 4. For I testifie unto every Man that is circumcised, that he is a Debtor to the who1e Law, and that Christ profits them nothing that ate circumcised: From hence the Consequence follows, that the Covenant of Circumcision is not the Covenant of Grace; for we see it is here direct1y opposed unto Christ and the Covenant of Grace, and called in Gal. 5. 1. and Acts 15. 10. a Yoak of Bondage which they nor their Fathers were able to bear: And saith the Apostle, if you do think you are justified by the Law, which Circumcision obilgeth you unto, ye are fallen from Grace.
3d. Argu. That Covenant which is abrogated and repealed is not the Covenant of Grace, but the Covenant of Circumcision is abrogated and repealed, Ergo, the Covenant of Circumcision is not the Covenant of Grace. As for the Minor, there are few in the World but such as are Judaizing will deny, and such generally disown Christ for a Saviour; and for the Major none that I have to deal withal do suppose there can be a Repealing a Covenant of Grace, therefore the Consequence follows, that Circumcision was not the Covenant of Grace; for the Covenant of Grace is the last Dispensation, and admits of no repeal; read Gal. 5. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. which fully informs you about the repealing the Covenant of Circumcision, and Rom. 4. also the Apostle asserts Rom. 11. The Branches were broken off; that could not be from the Covenant of Grace, for that is permanent, Ergo, it is from the Covenant of Circumcision and peculiarity, the breaking of Zachariah's Staff of Beauty and Bands did signifie Gods breaking that Covenant with them, upon Rejection of Christ; and now the partition-wall is broken down, we are all one in Christ, Eph. 2. 12, 13, 14. Col. 3. 11, 12. Further, this Covenant of Circumcision might be broken, 'tis supposed from Gen. 17. 14. But the Covenant of Grace is like the Covenant God made with Noah, an immutable and absolute Covenant, not to drown the World any more; neither will he be so wroth with his to cast them off for ever, Isa. 54. 7, 8, 9.
Object. Are there not many cast out of the Churches in Gospel-times?
Answ. Persons may profess to be in Christ, and in the Covenant of Grace, but this is barely a Profession of what they never had, for they never were in the Covenant of Grace really; but our Brethren say, their Children are indeed in the Covenant of Grace, and yet some such may have the hottest place it Hell; this we do not believe, and though it be really true; Abrahams Natural Seed from Isaac was really in the Covenant of Circumcision, yet every Believers Child is not really in the Covenant of Grace.
Argu. 4. Justification doth not belong to the Covenant of Circumcision, Ergo, the Covenant of circumcision is not the Covenant of Grace: The Antecedent appears from Rom. 4. 9, 10, 11, 12. here the Apostle opposeth one to the other, and tells them, that Abraham was accounted a Believer, and righteous, not in Circumcision but in Uncircumcision, and therefore they had no cause to boast as if Abraham had been justified by the Law of circumcision, or a Law of Works: No, saith the Apostle, It was before he was circumcised; and he received the sign of Circumcision, a seal of the Righteousness of his Faith which he had, being yet uncircumcised, that he might be the Father of all them which believe, though they be not circumcised, that Righteousness might be imputed to them also: And pray observe, that circumcision was a Seal only to his Personal Faith, and not to Infants that have no Faith, and this Seal was, that he might be the Father of all that believe, tho' not circumcised, and that Righteousness and Life might be imputed where Faith was, tho’ no circumcision, which obliged them to a Law of Works for Life; so the Apostle in Gal. 5. opposeth circumcision to the Covenant of Grace, and tells them, if they were circumcised, Christ should profit then nothing, because Circumcision obliged them to keep the Law for Life and Righteousness; thus the Antecedent is fully proved, that Justification doth not belong to the Covenant of circumcision; the Consequent follows, that the Covenant of circumcision is not the Covenant of Grace; for every good Christian understands that Justification can belong to no other Covenant than the Covenant of Grace; it never did yet belong to the Covenant of circumcision, which obliged to the Law; for never was one justified by any Law of Works, but only by a Covenant of Grace, from Adams fall to this day.
Argu. 5. The Covenant of circumcision had only temporal Blessings promised in it, Ergo, it could not be the Covenant of Grace, the Antecedent is clear from Gen. 17. from 7, to 14. Deut.
28. from 1 to 14. Jer. 11. 2, 3,4, 5. Hear ye the Words of this Covenant, and speak to the Men of Judah, and to the Inhabitants of Jerusalem: And say thou unto them, thus saith the Lord God of Israel, cursed be the Man that obeyeth not the Words of this Covenant, which I commanded your Fathers in the day when I brought them forth out of the Land of Egypt, from the Iron Furnace, saying, obey my voice and do them, according to all which I Commanded you, so shall ye be my People, and I will be your God. That I may perform the Oath which I have sworn unto your Fathers, to give them a Land flowing with Milk and Honey, as it is this day; then answered I, and said, so be it O Lord. Thus you see they had only a Promise of Temporal Blessings, as, the Land of Canaan, and to be blessed in their Basket and in their Store, in their going out and coming in, &c. But the Covenant of Grace, the principal Promises in it were spiritual good things, as God being a Peoples God in an especial manner, new Heart, Ezek. 36. 26. Pardon of sin, the Law written in the Heart, and a saving Knowledge of God; hence those Promises are called better Promises, implying the others were worse; and tho' to be granted, that many of the Natural Seed of Abraham did partake of those spiritual Blessings, yet not from the Covenant of circumcision, but the Covenant of Grace: And thus the Apostle strenuously argued in Rom. 4. 13, &c. For the promise to Abraham of an eternal Inheritance was not through Circumcision or the Law, unto which Circumcision did oblige them, but through the Righteousness of Faith, and it was to be by that Covenant where in Faith in the Messiah was a Principle, that it might be by Grace, and that the Promise might be sure to all the spiritual seed. So Gal. 3. 18. the Apostle there tells us, If the Inheritance be of the Law, it is no more of Promise, that is of Grace, if it be of Works, but God gave it to Abraham by a free Promise, and not by a Law of Bondage, both being held forth by Sarah the Free-Woman, and Hagar the Bond-Woman, Gal. 4. so the Apostle, Heb. 6. informs us that the Saints strong Consolation and Hope of eternal Life was from the Free Promise of Grace God made unto Abraham, Gen. 22. 16, 17,18.
Argu. 6. The Covenant of Circumcision could not be the Covenant of Grace, because persons out of this Covenant might be saved, and such as were in this Covenant might be damned; it’s well known that Lot and Job, and his four godly Friends, were not in the Covenant of circumcision, being made to Abraham and his seed only from Isaac, and yet all the godly then were saved, tho’ not in that Covenant, but as being in the Covenant of Grace. Again, were not all Davids Sons in this Covenant, yet how few except Solomon in the Covenant of Grace and Life? and this is an Argument ad bominum; for my Opponent asserts, that some in this Covenant of Grace may have the hottest place in Hell; but how contrary this is to Gods Word let us consider; for holy David thought himself safe enough, when he knew his Interest in the Covenant of Grace, 2 Sam. 23. 5.
Argu. 7. To suppose Circumcision-Covenant the Covenant of Grace, overthrows many fundamental Points of Religion, and many Absurdities follow it; therefore it cannot be such a Covenant, but there are no Absurdities really follow the asserting of a Truth, but many fol1ow in asserting an Error; and the Absurdities which follow are these:
1. Consider the chief Priviledges of the Covenant of Grace are Adoption and Sonship, Justification and inward Sanctification, all which priviledges that Generation must be born to, if they are born Heirs off a Covenant of Grace; from hence this fundamental point of Religion must be denyed, that all Mankind are by nature the Children of Wrath, Eph. 2. 2.
2ly. This Opinion of holding the Covenant of Grace, intailed in the flesh, opposeth it self to the stability which is in the Covenant of Grace and Eternal Life; for taking this for granted to being a Truth, that all born in the Church of the Jews were born Heirs of the Covenant of Grace, then most of the Church of Israel that were in the Covenant of Grace were damned, and not saved, Isa. 10. 22, 23. Tho’ Israel were as the sand of the Sea, yet but a remnant of them were saved.
3ly. This Notion and Error overthrows the necessity of Conversion or Regeneration, which Doctrine is eminently confirmed by Christ as a fundamental Truth, John 3. 5. But to what purpose should any man seek their Conversion who are born Heirs of a Covenant of Grace? Dr. Owen in his Exposition on Heb. ch. 2. p. 250. saith thus, “For both he that sanctifieth and them which are sanstified are all one; there is then surely a woful Mistake in the World, &c”. And then adds, “It is grown almost an Abhorrency unto all flesh, to say, that the Church of God is to be holy, &c”. And further saith, “If men be baptized, whether they will or no, and outwardly professes the Name of Christ, tho' not one of them be truly sanctified, yet they are, as it is said, the Church of Christ; why then let them be so, what are they the better for it? are their Persons or Services therefore accepted of God? are they related unto or united to Christ? are they under his Conduct unto Glory? are they meet for the Inheritance of the Saints in Light? not at all; not any of these things do they obtain thereby? what is it then that they get by the furious Contests which they make for the reputation of this Priviledge? only this Mark, that satisfying their Minds by resting, if not priding themselves in it, they obtain many Advantages to stifle all Convictions of their Condition, and so perish unvoidably”. Doth not the Doctor say as much as this, that it takes Persons off from the thoughts of the Necessity of Conversion, for they were Baptized in Infancy, and then made Members of Christs Church. And another great Man of the same Judgment, saith, “That the wide door of Regeneration by Baptism hath sent thousands to Hell; so that I am not alone in my Opinion.
4ly. This Opinion destroys the Doctrine of the New Covenant, and the Nature of it, and the Manner of Gods making it with the Soul; for God to make a New Covenant with the Soul is to write the Law of God in a Mans heart, and in his Mind, and to infuse saving Knowledge and Faith, by which God unites the Soul to himself, and so pardons all his sins, whereas this Dream would seem to bear you in hand, that a whole Nation may be in a New Covenant of Grace, and yet have none of all this Work wrought upon their Hearts.
5ly. This Opinion destroys the Doctrine of Justification by Faith in Christ, seeing it holds another way of Justification, which is by Carnal Birth of Believing Parents; for if Souls be admitted into the Covenant of Grace and Life, you are not ignorant that Justification is a great priviledge in that Covenant, and really the Portion of all that are in that Covenant.
6ly. This Notion destroys the Doctrine and Foundation of all Gospel Churches; which appears in two things:
1. It destroys the Matter of a Church, which under the Gospel are Saints by calling, 2 Cor. 1. 2. spiritua1 Worshippers, Joh. 4. 24. such as are redeemed from a vain Conversation, 1 Pet. 1. 18. and are brought out of Darkness into Light, and are living stones, 1 Pet. 2. 7. But this Error it brings, in the Nation of Believers, all born of their Body, their Seed, and their Seeds Seed in their Generations, if they will be faithful to their Principle, these must be all Members of Christs Church.
2ly. It tends to destroy the true Constitution of a Church, which is to baptize those, and those only, who do make a Profession of Repentance and Faith, and so admit them immediately to the Table of the Lord; but here Persons are made Members without having any regard to a Gospel-Constitution.
In page 30. Mr. Mence demands of his Opponent, where God made a Covenant of Works with his redeemed People since the fall of Man? but he forgets him self miserably, and contradicts himself, for in page 33. he tells you of a Law of Works, and a Covenant of Works, which Covenant and Law, saith he, holds forth no Pardon to Transgressors that violate and break the smallest point of it, and refers you to Gal. 3. 10. which place refers unto Deut. 27. 26. which respected the Sinai Covenant: But seeing my Opponent requires where God made a Covenant of Works with his redeemed People since the Fall, I shall shew him that from abundance of Scripture Arguments.
Thus I promise my self I have sufficiently cleared this point; also, that God hath since the Fall given unto Man a Covenant and Law of Works, but yet the design of it was Mercy, being as a School-master to lead us unto Christ, that we apprehending no Life nor Salvation by our Obedience, might apply our selves unto the Covenant of Grace and Righteousness of Christ for Relief.
A Review of Mr. Mence his Book Vindiciæ Fœdris.
IT's worthy of a Remark, that a great part of this Book consists in confounding the two Covenants together, and so confounds the Understanding of his poor Reader, as you may see page 12, 13, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28,to 38. 63, 64, 72, 73, to 79. 88, 89, 95, 100, 101, 141. And for the eight Arguments to prove the Covenant, Gen. 17. 7. the Covenant of Grace, they are not cogent, but very impertinent, because of applying it to a wrong Subject; for those Arguments which properly belongs to the Covenant of Grace he applies to the Covenant of Circumcision; as for Instance,
His 1st. Argument is, That this Covenant must be a Covenant of Grace, because God chose Abraham out of an Idolatrous Family: A very weak sight may see this to be a Nonsequitur; what, because God made a Covenant of special Grace with Abraham, and gave him a special Call, doth it follow, he made such a Covenant, and gives such special Calls unto all his Natural Offspring? surely no.
His 2d. Argu. That this is a Covenant of Grace, concludes as little, which is from the Quality of the Person, Man being now in an Apostate State, this doth no way follow, that because Man is lapsed, that all Covenants in futurity made with him are Covenants of Grace; what tho' Man be imperfect, hath God 1ost his power of commanding, because Man lost his power of doing. If this Argument be true, then the Sinai Covenant was no Covenant of Works, because Man is fallen. I am of the Opinion, for this very reason, there was more need of a Covenant of Works, that man might see his own Impotency and Guilt, and be led by it, as was Gods end, as by a school-Master unto Christ and Salvation, by Free-Grace, Gal. 3. 24.
The 3d. Argu. For this hath been enervated before, wherein we shew'd, that Gods promising to be a God to Abraham and his seed, doth not infer that they all are in the Covenant of Grace. God is said to be the God of the Spirits of all flesh, and its said to the whole Body of the Jews, Exod. 20. 1. I am the Lord your God. Here he speaks to the ungodly as well as the godly, but who will conclude he was no otherwise a God to the Believers than the Unbelievers, tho' in Mr. Mence his sence it seems he is no other, for he applieth the same Promises to one as to the other: All the spiritual Promises which belong only unto Abrahams spiritual Seed, he applies unto his carnal seed. page 31. as Heb. 8.10. 2 Cor. 6.18. Rev. 21.3. Ezek. 36. 26. To be God to Abraham and his Seed, hath been shewed that his glorious Attributes should be exerted for them, to protect, defend, deliver them from the seven Nations, and give them their Land for a Possession.
The 4th. Argu. also is Hetrodox, because he applieth the Mediatorship of Christ, which belongs only to the Covenant of Grace, unto the Covenant of Circumcision, which Rite obliged them to keep the whole Law and Covenant of Works. And I do deny that Jesus Christ God-man was Mediator of that Covenant, because the Apostle he tells us, That Christ hath obtained a more excellent Ministry, by how much also he is the Mediator of a better Covenant, which was established upon better promises, Heb. 8.6.
And his 5th. Argu. wants Crutches to uphold it, doth this Covenant freely hold out the pardon of sins to them in it? then how can any of the Natural Seed of Believers want eternal Happiness, when their sins are pardoned? but the sin of all the Children of Believers are not forgiven, therefore they are not all in the Covenant of Grace, for there is an infallible and eternal Connection between a Persons being in the Covenant of Grace and the Absolution of his sins, Heb. 8. 10, 11, 12.
The 6th. Argu. is deficient in its medium, which is, because the seal Circumcision was affixt to it, therefore, saith he, it was a Covenant of Grace; but for that very reason it could not be the Covenant of Grace, because Circumcision obliged them to keep the whole Law, the Covenant of Works; and if the Christians were circumcised in order to the keeping that Law for Justification, Christ should profit them nothing, Gal. 5. 1, 2, 3. From whence it is clear, he hath made use of a wrong Topick aud Medium to prove his Argument, because Circumcision you see did belong to the Covenant of Works.
How defective his 7th. Argu. is, will appear, if it be considered, that he asserts, page 36. The great Result and Period of the promise of the Land of Canaan to Abraham and his Natura1 Offspring, was no less then Heaven. Is this good Logick? God made a Promise to Abraham and his fleshly Seed, from Isaac, that they should enjoy the Land of Canaan, Ergo, all the Children of Believers shall have Eternal Glory.
The 8th. Argu. is defective also in its Medium, viz. It must be a Covenant of Grace, saith he, made, Gen. 17. 7. Because God exacted obedience from Abraham, as if no Covenant, but the Covenant of Grace did exact Obedience; the Sinai Covenant required Obedience, tho' a Law of Works; and one thing Abraham was to see done in his Family was, that every Male-Child was circumcised on the eighth day, upon penalty of being cut off: Now every body knows that Circumcision, as aforesaid, obliged to the keeping the whole Law, and this was a part of Abrahams Obedience, even that work which obliged unto the Sinai Covenant, and therefore it is but a begging for to limit Abrahams Obedience here, to that which is properly called the Covenant of Grace.
And for these Priviledges which he saith the Natural Seed of Believers have, in page 44. They are such as render the Gospel-Church National as ever the Jewish Church was, because he proceeds upon the same Mediums as renders them alike, tho' indeed the Gospel-Church is far from a National Constitution.
And for his Demonstrations, they are as unconclusive as his Reasons.
As to the 1st. God always hath taken Believers seed, into Covenant with their parents: How comes it to pass then, that some of those in the same Covenant, should be separated as far as Heaven and Hell is distant? as for Deut. 29. 9, 10, 11, 12. Which he doth so much tautologize about, and lay so much stress upon, did the Infants, there make a Covenant with God? No; they were not capable so to do; tho' their little ones stood before God, yet they could not make a Covenant: Those who entred into a Solemn Oath, which were the Adult, they entred into Covenant with God, no doubt but there was so much goodness in God's Covenant as was sufficient to lay them all under an Obligation of Obedience, when capable to give it; but no Parents can Promise God for their Children, and Covenant they shall be his, so as to obey him.
And for his 2d. Demonst. Sad experience contradicts it; God hath not confin'd himself, as he supposeth, or else there is nothing in his Argument, to convey all saving good to the Elect, as Infants of Believers; Abraham, Josiah, Abijah, Asa, &c. all witness against it, and he will find it hard work to prove this to be Gods ordinary way to convey Grace.
His 3d. is Hetrodox, Because there are Children which remain in Covenant, tho' their Parents was never therein, and many times the parents remain in the Covenant, and the Children never in Covenant, therefore his Notion is unsound, when he asserts, where God ejects the Parents, and casts them out of Covenant, he casts out the Children also, page 65. To speak plain, there is no being cast out of the Covenant, Parents nor Children, when once in, for Gods Covenant of Grace is Immutable, as aforesaid. Moreover, it is opposite to that word, where it is said, that the son should not dye for the Fathers sins; and upon this head he hath greatly wronged the Apostles sence, Rom. 11. 17, 19. In this Chapter the whole body of Believers are compared unto the Olive-tree, each Believer to a Branch, which partake of the Root and Fatness of the Olive tree, which is Christ; the grafting in is by Faith, into the invisible Church, not the visible, for the Gentiles, tho' wild Olive-trees by Nature, yet are grafted in by Faith, while the natural branches are broken off by unbelief; and so the Abrahamical Covenant of circumcision is repealed.
For his 4th. Demonost. That Children are Members of the visible Church, is much sooner said than proved, and would make the Gospel-Church national, as others do; if so, he must be so kind as to admit not only the immediate Child of a Believer into visible Church Membership, but their Childrens Children in remote Generations; and that tho' their Parents are never to ungodly, or else he is not true to his own Notion, for thus it was in Abrahams Covenant, yea and those of this Principle are obliged from their own Tenet to make their Blacks and Slaves Church members by Baptism, as we said before, yea, all persons bought with their money, for thus Abraham was obliged in the Covenant of Circumcision, which he still refers unto; and if they are Members of a Gospel Church its very hard to deny them the Lords Supper, for all them which were baptized continued in the Apostles Doctrine in breaking of Bread and in Prayer, Acts 2. One Ordinance belongs to a Member of Christs Church as well as another, but to assert Infants Members of Christ's visible Church is against the Doctrine of the Gospel, who saith such are saints by calling, living stones, not dead ones in Gods spiritual Bui1ding, from hence we may see how Mat. 19. 14. is wronged by interpreting the Kingdom of Heaven to be the visible Church, and for the greek Word β ρ ε φ η, which he doth seem to restrain to little Infants, relying much upon Learned Beza's Judgment: I hope he will not prefer him before the Apostle Saint Paul, which he will not only allow was under the guidance of the Spirit as well in the use of Words, as Matter and Argument; neither can he deny that the same Apostle understood the greek as well as Beza and knew the common acceptation of Words as then used, and yet he applies the same word β ρ ε φ ο ς to one capable of Understanding, in 2 Tim. 3. 15. And that from a Child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, &c. Doth he think he knew when he was an Infant of eight days old, this will be very hard to perswade his Reader to believe tho' he hath endeavoured it in pa. 77, 78. but how pertinently I leave to my Judicious Reader to consider.
As to his 5th. Demonstration I have spoken to on another Head.
And for the 6th. such as it pleased God to account and accept as holy are in Covenant, and this you call a fœderal Holiness, but by your own Concession it is such a Holiness as may be lodged with them in the Jaws of Hell, therefore it may not improperly be called a fetheral Holiness, being as light as Feather instead of a fœderal, for that in 1 Cor. 7. 14. It is no more then a legitimate Holiness as will appear in explaining the Text, the Apostle is giving an Answer unto a Case of Conscience, viz. whether it were lawful for the be1ieving Husband or Wife to leave or depart from the unbelieving Husband or Wife, the Apostle answers in the Negative, by no means, for then every one would account their Children Bastards and unclean, but in continuing together they will be acounted holy, that is legitimate, lawfully begotten in Wedlock, and if he will baptize the Child because tis said it is holy, then the unbelieving Husband or Wife is to be baptized, from the same Argument, because they are said to have the same Holiness and Sanctification, for the unbelieving Wife is sanctified to the Husband, and the Husband is to the Wif, in a Matrimonial Way, and it is a very undue Reflection of my Antagonist upon us, as if we supposed that none but Believers Children are legitimate, and none but them have a lawful use of their Children, also how grosly is the sence of Rom. 11. 16. perverted, for if the first fruits be holy, the lump is also holy, &c. Whereas ‘tis supposed that all the natural Seed of Believers are holy with their Parents, the Scope of the Apostle there is to shew, that Abraham Father of the faithful is the root, not as a natural but a spiritual father, and if we boast our selves of being branches of this root, we must have the faith of our father Abraham, for the Text saith, if the Root be holy, so are the Branches, and the grafting in here as we said before doth not consist in outward Ordinances, but in saving grace; not in the visible but invisible Church by faith, and none can be called a Father of the faithful, but Abraham only, no particular Believer which is but a Branch from this Root (a) infer they are a holy Root to their posterity, because Abraham is called the Father of the faithful, for Abraham was a spiritual Father, but we are accounted natural.
For the 7th. Demonst. It would be very happy for Parents and Children if he could prove they had all a Right to the pardon of sin, a new heart, and were all taught of God, and had all of them the pouring out of the holy spirit and regeneration, and were all the spiritual seed of Israel, which he more then intimates in page 71 to 79. and that they shall all know the Lord from the least to the greatest. Let me close this with one Enthymeme, All the Children of
Believers are not pardoned nor taught of God, and all have not a new heart and regenerated, nor do all know the Lord by the pouring forth of the holy Spirit upon them, therefore they are not all in the Covenant of Grace: Oh how falacious is this Argument, for he argues from temporals to spirituals, and from particulars to generals, and misapplys the Promises; for that which God doth promise in special unto Abraham's spiritual Seed, is unduelly applied unto all the natural Seed of Believers.
For the 8th. Demonst. We have weakned elsewhere.
The 9th. In my handling the 3d. General Head, where I prove the Covenant of circumcision is repealed, therefore not transferr'd unto the times of the Gospel, and that answers the 11th. for tho' the Jews were called Gods Sons and Daughters in a Covenant way, while that Covenant stood, yet now it is broken they are only Gods Sons and Daughters by Creation, in common with others; yea, those who were once Covenant-Children, are now Cursed Children: Let my Reader consider, whether this be a good Argument to prove all the Infant Seed of Believers in the Covenant of Grace, because God called them his Sons and Daughters once, who are now under the greatest Curse of any in the World.
His 12th. Demonst. I have turned the Scales, and shewed that gross Absurdites lieth at his door, from his holding all Believers Children in the Covenant of Grace; for it overthrows many fundamental principles of Religion, and for the Δ ι ο τ ι he gives in pag. 99. or Reasons why God doth take Believers and their Seed into Covenant, they are as jejune and barren as his Demonstrations, and may be as well improved to the Children and Parents who are Unbelievers.
As to his 1st. Reason, It is because of the rich and abundant Grace of God, doth not the Grace of God bring many an Unbeliever and his Child into covenant?
And doth not God reap much glory to his grace by so doing? which is his second.
And doth not God discover his peculiar Love to a poor sinner in his Conversion? which is his third Reason.
Moreover, doth not God lay as good a foundation of Hope for Children of the Unconverted Parent, seeing God often calls them when he passeth by others? and this is his fourth Reason.
And for his fifth and last, Gods Church is continued in the conversion of the Children of the Ungodly as well as the Godly; thus you see there is no weight in these Reasons, and wants Cogency, because they are as well improved for the Infants of Unbelievers as the Children of Believers. I cannot pass the taking Notice of one Inconsistency, he having spent some sheets in labouring to prove the Infant Seed of Believers, as such, in the Covenant of Grace, when he gives you his Reasons, why God doth take Infants into Covenant with their Parents, in his second branch of his second Reason, p. 102. that so by this means he might allure and graciously entice Men and Women to accept of and come under this Covenant; but what need is there for them to come under this Covenant if they are there already? its impertinent for me to desire a Person to come into my House, if he be in the House at the same time, as he supposeth in his arguing those are, who yet are invited to come under it, I hope he will not be angry at this Remark, as he was with my joyning Transubstantiation, Infants-incovenanting and Infants-habitual-Faith together, had I not thought them near akin I should not have made such an Union; for it doth not appear to the communicant, that the Bread and Wine is transubstantiated into the real Body and Blood of Christ, but yet he takes it to be so by an implicite Faith, the Notion being upheld by the Judgment and Authority of the Romans, called learned, the Laity falls in and believes as the Church believes, without any sensible or rational Demonstration; and for my own part I do seriously profess that the Demonstration is to me equally clear, and I could never yet have it proved either by Scripture, Reason, Experience, nor any other way, that Infants have Faith, or that all the Believers Seed as such are in the Covenant of Grace; and seeing this Covenant of Grace is not intended by you the Election of grace, it is generally I suppose as unintelligible to the People as Transubstantiation. Hear what Mr. Charnock saith upon Infant-habitual-faith, “some say indeed that Regeneration is confer'd in Baptism upon the Elect, and exerts it self afterward in Conversion, but how so active a Principle as a spiritual life should lye dead or asleep so long, even many years which intervene between Baptism and Conversion, is not easily conceivable, &c. Vol. 2. page 75 to 89. And saith Augstin “if we should go about to demonstrate by Words, that Children know the things of God, who as yet know not the things of Men, I fear we should offer Wrong to our very Senses”. I shall give one Argument and pass it.
Argu. Those Children of Believers which died in an unregenerate State, either never had the Habits of Grace, or else if they had them they have lost them, but there is no losing Habits of Grace, therefore they never had them; if you say they had them, and have lost them, that is against your own Principle about Perseverance; if you say they never had them, then you contradict your own Assertion.
Moreover, what a stir he makes in page. 123. 124. &c. Because I say the Holy Scriptures was written for the Adult, and not for Infants, the Reason of this Assertion was, that when my Antagonist brought the Commission, Mark 16. 15, 16. Go ye into all the World, and preach the Gospel to every Creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned: When this Scripture was brought for the baptizing of Infants, and for Infants habitual-Faith, say I, when Christ gave this Commission, were the Apostles to preach this to little Infants, that they were to believe upon Penalty of Damnation? and then I argue, it none are here intended in Mark 16. but Men and Women capab1e to hear, and actually to believe the Gospel of Christ, then Infants and Infant-habitual-Faith is not here intended, but the former is true, and therefore the latter; now my Antagonist should have consider'd the Grammatical Difference between of and for, for tho’ I grant the Scripture often speaks of Infants, and so of our Saviour, yet my Argument stands still untoucht, that the Holy Gospel was never intended to be preacht unto Infants as such, and therefore his five or fix Scriptures in page 124. are not pertinently used, for who ever denyed, but that many Scriptures may speak of them, tho' never intended to be preacht in that state unto them, see the Antidote proved a Counterfeit, pag. 3.
And let my Antagonist know, that its very unfairly as well as grounlesly suggested in page 128. as if John Baptist baptized before Persons repented, because it is said Mat. 3. 11. I baptize unto Repentance; the Reason of that Phrase and Mark 1. 4. Where his Baptism is called the Baptism of Repentance, that is, God commanded him to demand Repentance of all who were baptized, and Faith also in him who was to come, Acts 19. And upon this John did preach unto them the Remission of Sins, the Scope of the place sheweth they were to repent before they were baptized, because when the Pharises and Saduces came to his Baptism, saith he, Oh Generation of Vipers, bring forth fruits meet for Repentance, or unto, or according to the Nature of true Repentance, and then you are fit Subjects; and no doubt but Repentance is the every days work of a Christian, after a Subjection to this Ordinance so much contemned. These things considered Mr. Mence had little reason to suggest they had no Repentance antecedent to this Ordinance, or else why doth he say, “Covenant Blessings are either conveyed when Baptism is administer’d or after, as, saith he, John did baptize unto Repentance”.
And whereas he assumes the Throne of the most high, in passing Sentence upon me, as a confident, ignorant, proud Person, do not these passages smell stronger of such Vice? when he tells us, page 127. “That I shut out Children out of the Covenant, and proceed upon such ways as inevitably shuts them out of the Kingdom of God, taking off Parents from all ground of Hope concerning the Eternal Happiness of dying Infants, and also send them by swarms into Hell: I suppose it is the Opinion of all Divines Orthodox, that it never was in the power of any Creature to bring any into the Covenant of Grace, or to shut any out: St. Paul saith, the Election hath obtained it; for to say I can shut Persons out of the Covenant of Grace, is as if you should say, I can damn whom I please, or them whom God would save, I believe St. Paul’s Words are true, that God will have mercy on whom he will, then how can we shut any out of the Covenant of Grace? as there is not one more in this Covenant than God hath decreed shall be, so there is not one less, how then can we shut them out? Oh what Trash is this to come from a Guide and a Leader! can any man revere Gods Eternal Decrees, Councils and Purposes? No, no; God worketh all things after no the Councils of his own Will, and doth all his Pleasure by this means; Christ may be a King without a Kingdom, a Head without a Body, and the Eternal Transactions about Mans Salvation may be made void, if Men can shut Souls out of the Covenant of Grace; and if Baby-Baptism gives him such great Hopes of dying Infants happiness, we have a better foundation of Hope for our dying Babes, namely, the Imputation of Christs Righteousness; and I am sure then they cannot want Holiness: But in this Notion doth not Mr. Mence symbolize too much with the Romans, who Anathematized all that said Baptism did not wash away Original Sin? and as it is impossib1e that such as are cloathed in Christs Righteousness should go by swarms into Hell, so it will be as difficult to keep such out of Heaven, what should be the Reason that my Antagonist should dress up his Neighbour thus in a Bears-skin, unless it were to have him baited, for he well knew nothing could more raise the Hearts of affectionate poor Women who had buried their Children against me then to tell them my Judgment shut them out of Heaven, and sent them by swarms into Hell.
And he hath not contented himself to deal thus unjustly with my single Person, but in several places reflects upon others Conversation, as if they wanted the power of Godliness; perhaps this is too much wanting in all the Churches of Christ, but its good for every man to look at home, he knows who said, Judge not that you be not judged, and with what measure you mete it shall be measured to you again. First cast out the Beam out of thine own Eye and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the Mote out of thy Brothers Eye.
He saith page 117. It's brought in as a great Objection against Infant-Baptism, that there is no Command for it, and I think a very material Objection it is, if we consider that all instituted Worship such as Baptism is, depends upon a positive Command and whereas he tells us they have a Command by consequence, for Infant-Baptism, he can never prove it as long as he lives, besides how pertinent it is to talk of a Consequential Command I leave to the Reader: But what need is there to go about to prove an Ordinance of Christ by a dark uncertain consequence, when God hath given us a plain and positive Command? and were Mr. Mence to try a Title for a good Estate, he would presently produce his plain and positive Evidence for it, and have little Regard to Circumstantial Proof, unless there were no other; but blessed be God we have a sure foundation for Believers Baptism, no less than the great Law-givers Commission, and therefore he might have forborn those Instances he brings to prove things by consequence because they do not only want Cogency, having a plain Command for the promises, but may be of ill consequence; and were it my Business I could prove the Consubstantiality of the Son with the Father, and the Deity of the Holy Ghost by better proof than consequences, which he seems for to deny can be done, and as it is beneath a rational being to insist upon Circumstances when positive proof is at hand to clear any temporal Concern, Oh how much more reasonable it is for to part with that practice which is confessedly upheld by consequence! and fall in without tarrying with that Practice which hath thus saith the Lord for it.
For that Text Acts 3. 25. which Mr. Mence frequently runs unto as to a strong Bulwark, Ye are the Children of the Prophets, and of the Covenant which God made unto our fathers, saying to Abraham, even in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the Earth be blessed: From which Text he concludes that all the Children of Believers are in the Covenant of Grace, but how little this Scripture makes for that purpose you will see in my opening the Text. Indeed, saith Peter, you are the Offspring of the Prophets and the Patriarch Abraham, with whom God made a Covenant and Promise, that in his Seed, namely, the Lord Christ, all the kindreds of the Earth should be blessed, bnt how unlike are you to your father Abraham who rejoyced to see this day, and by faith saw it and was glad, but now God hath made good his Covenant and Promise unto Abraham in giving this Saviour, and you to have the Prerogative of the first Offer of his Grace to save your Soul, but instead of believing on him you have wickedly killed him, you the Offspring and Children of the Patriarch Abraham of whom ye boast, but in this you have been more like the Devil, for which you have cause to repent, v. 19. That your sins may be blotted out, but if you Children of the Prophets and Patriarchs should miscarry, the Lord Christ will not lose the End of his coming, for in him shall all the kindreds of the Earth be blessed, tho' the Children of the Kingdom should be cast out for their Abomination, for in the next verse he tells them they were Children of Iniquity, and that Jesus was sent to turn them from their Wickedness; my Reader I suppose will conclude him a very wise Man that can prove from this Text all the Children of Believers in the Covenant of Grace, because this Promise and Covenant mentioned in this Text is that special and peculiar Promise God made unto Abraham concerning the Messiah, and not to all the natural Seed of Believers; its not said I make a Covenant with thee and all thy natural Off-spring, but I enter into a Covenant with thee, that in thy seed the Lord Jesus, not only those who believe among the Jews shall be happy, but all the Kindreds in the Earth shall be equally blessed upon believing, forasmuch as under the Gospel God maketh no difference between Jew and Genti1e when the Heart is purified by faith, Acts 25. 9.
One Mystery I would have unfolded if he write, that is, that sometimes 'tis said Infants are baptized because they are in Covenant, at other times its said, they are baptized to bring them into Covenant.
And in his calling a Church of Christ a Schisin, and the Minister thereof the Head of an Overgrown Schism, he considered not how he hath made himself obnoxious to the Censure of others, I may be sorry he is now to learn that every Separation is not a Schism, for in this doth he not condemn Calvin and Luther and many others, who separated from the Church of Rome, yea and the Church of England also; oh how many of the generation of the righteous doth he here condemn. Moreover doth he not condemn himself and all the godly Independants and Presbyterians who did conscientiously separate from the Church of England. Men that write had need consider well before hand what they put forth into the World, and not let crude, undigested matter be the Object of their Eye, he knows how the Papist condemn the Church of England for Schism, and the Church of England all the Dissenters for Schism, and is it not very hard we should condemn each other who have suffered together from the same common Enemy.
Thus I have done with my Answer unto Mr. Mence and now Reader I have one Request to thee, if there be any Answer made to this Book, be not put off with Shadows instead of Substance, with Words instead of Arguments; you have reasonable Souls, do not suffer your selves therefore to be imposed upon, but be like the noble Bereans, to search the Scriptures, to see whether the thing be so or no: And this I have to say to Mr. Mence, that if he shall respond, I do expect not only an Epitomizing of my Book of Baptism, and this, &c. as he tells you he may do, but I expect an Answer to all my Arguments, or the Argumentative Part of my Books, Paragraph after Paragraph, as I have done to his, and who ever else shall undertake to answer me, if this aforesaid be not done, I shall not reckon my self obliged to make any Reply, or to take any considerable Notice of it, and that this may be done, the Respondent is to consider that both the Church and the World will have the sight of it, and therefore it will be to no Mans Honour to give the go by to the Arguments levelled against Baby- Baptism.
The Substance of Mr. Michael Harrison's Book, Entituled Infant-Baptism God's Ordinance, hath been Answer'd in the Answer to Vidiciæ Fœderis, and now I shall Answer what remains.
MR. Harrison in page 3d. tells us, that this Abrahamical Covenant in Gen. 17.7. is an Everlasting, perpetual and eternal Covenant, a Covenant to last for evermore, so the Hebrew Word ע ו ל ם Gno1am properly signifieth saith he, but I suppose this Gent1eman knows, that this very Hebrew Word is often used by the Holy Ghost to signifie a certain Period of Time, and not Eternity always, and therefore it doth his canse no Service; the legal Oeconomy and Preisthood is called Gnolam, an Everlasting Priesthood, Exod. 40. 15. Which he believes is put an End to by the great High-priest Jesus Christ, it is the same Everlasting that the Jews Possession of Canaan was to be, Gen. 17. 8. Which is now inhabited by the Mahumetans, yea, its the same Gnolam, Everlasting, that Circumcision had, Gen. 17. 13. and as he believes Circumcision is abolished, tho' called Everlasting, and the Jews disinherited of Jerusalem, tho' given for an Everlasting Possession, for the same reason he may conclude the Gnolam, Everlasting, in the 7th v. hath an End also and that Covenant of Peculiarity broken with Abraham's Natural Seed which was signified by the breaking the Staff of Beauty and Bands, Zach. 11. 10, 11, 12.
In page 4. he gives us the nature of the Covenant of Grace, wherein he tell us, “its Gods gracious Promise of delivering from a state of Sin and Death, and bringing into a state of Salvation by Jesus Christ, all that by faith fly to and lay ho1d on him”. Surely the Gentleman hath forgot himself in the definition of the Covenant of Grace, for this makes as much for the Children of Unbelievers as Believers, it they fly to him by faith, and lay hold on him, then they are equally delivered from a state of Sin and Death, and brought into a state of Salvation by Jesus Christ; surely all the Children of Believers are not in this Covenant of Grace, from his own definition I argue, all that are in the Covenant of Grace have a promise of Deliverance from a state of sin and death, and brought into a state of Salvation by Christ, but all the Infants of Believers are not in this state, Ergo, they are not all in the Covenant of Grace.
For his 1st. Argu. in page 13. Let me give an Argument ad hominem, “If God doth own the Infant Seed of Unbelievers, as Pagans, &c. as his, then they ought to receive the Token of his so owning them”, but that the former is true, appears from Ezekiel 18. 4. All souls are mine, &c. Therefore the Consequence follows, the Children of Pagans and Infidels ought to be baptized, as the Token of his to owning them.
So in page 14. From the Argument for a fœderal Holiness, as some call it, Baptism is inferred, if the Children are to be baptized “because said to be holy, then the Pagan Husband or Wife ought to be baptized also”, because they are said to have the same Sanctification the Child hath, 1 Cor. 7. 14.
In page 18. he asserts Infant Church-membership not repealed, tho' I have spoken to it already, I shall say something to it here, and prove it to be repealed.
Argu. 4. “None are accounted Abraham’s seed under a Gospel Dispensation but actual Believers in Christ, ergo, the Abrahamical Covenant of Peculiarity is repealed, see Gal. 3. ult.
Argu. 5. “The Branches are broken off, ergo, Infant-incovenant is repealed”, Rom. 11. this breaking off could not be from the Covenant of Grace, for that is immutable, ergo, it must be that temporary Covenant with Abraham and his Natural Of-spring.
For his Argu. pag. 23, 27. “If an Infant was Head of a visible Church, then an Infant may be a Member of a visible Church”. First, Its no good way of arguing from the Creator to the Creature. Secondly, Its an Argument serves for all Infants in the World, then they may be all Members of the Church. Thirdly, He might better argue from Christs being a Member of a visible Church, as he was, that therefore Infants may be, ay, the Infants of Pagans and Infidels, from the same Argument; so that this Argument cannot answer his End, being to prove Believers Infants only Church-members, because the Argument runs universal, when intended to a particular People.
And for what he saith of Irenaeus, lib. 2. adv. her. c. 39. his Words are wrested, is the Opinion of the Learned Mr. Tombs, the Words being these, “Christ did sanctifie every age by his own Susception of it, and Similitude to it, all I say who by him are born again to God”. In all which there is not one Word of Infant Baptism, neither can it be concluded, because then he would not consist with himself, for Grotius on Mat. 28. 19. proves the profession of Faith before Baptism, out of Justin Martyr, Ignatius, Irenaus, Tertullian; and by renascuntur, are born again, cannot be understood he meant Baptism, is proved by the Words and scope, which are per eum renascuntur; by him, that is Christ, are born again, cannot be meant baptized by Christ, for he baptized none, John 4. 1. but his Discip1es, neither did they baptize any Infant at all: Christ was not in his Age an Example of every age in his baptism, as by it he did sanctifie every age, for then he should have been baptized in every age; but in respect of the Holiness of his Humane Nature, every age was capable of Holiness by Conformity unto his Example. If Christ came to save all baptized by him, or his Appointment, then he came to save Simon Magus, Judas, if baptized, but in that sense Irenaeus his Proposition would be false, therefore this sense is not to be attributed to his Words, but are wrested by Pedo-baptist, against his meaning, to prove a use of of Pedo-baptism, And whereas Mr. Harrison he saith, “for Infants Christ was made an Infant sanctifying Infants, in little Children being a little Child sanctifying them”: This is an Argument for the sanctification of all Children in Infancy and Childhood, as well, as some as aforesaid, and so is fallacious and impertinent for what it is brought.
As to your Argu. pag. 27. wherein you assert, “that it hath been the constant Custom of the Church of Christ all along from the Apostles days to baptize Infants, none never denying till some hundreds of Years after”, for the Proof of which you mention Irenæus, who had seen Polycarpus, St. John's Disciple and Tertu1lian who lived about the year or Redemption, say you, two hundred. Let us make a little Enquiry into this Argument, and see if we cannot prove the contrary practice maintained, by the very persons he brings, and many others of great Credit.
And whereas Mr. Harrison saith, as aforesaid, in p. 27. “It hath been the constant custom of the Church all along from the Apostles, to baptize Infants”, the contrary appears from the Magdeburgenses History, Cent. 1. l. 2. p. 495. of the Edit of Basil, in seven Tomes, in this Age they find they baptized only the Adults, whether Jews or Gentiles; whereof they say we have Instances in the 2, 8, 10, 16. chap. Of the Acts. But as to the baptizing of Infants they confess they read of no Example, De infantibus baptizatis Exempla non leguntur. And as to the place of Baptism, they find it was as Occasion offered; where Rivers and Fountains and other Coveniencies for baptizing were, and which was done as well privately, where only two Persons, as Phillip and the Eunuch were, as in a great Congregation, Acts 2. And as to the manner of baptizing, it was by dipping or plunging in the Waters in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, which was, they say, so agreeable not only to the sense of the Word, which signifies immersion in the Water, but to the Allegory of Death, Burial and Resurrection, to which the Apostle so properly alludes, Rom. 6. Col. 2, &c. So the Waldenses and Albigenses did in this age profess and practise the baptizing Believers, See Doctor Balthazar Lidius in his Treatise of the Church, p. 2. Col. 2. out of Renarius; the Ancient Britains did the same, who received the Gospel by the Evangelist, sent from the Apostles under Tiberius the Emperor, saith Gildas in his Book called de victoria aurelij Ambrosij. See Dan. On Baptism, p. 48.
Justin Martyr who its believed was converted unto Christ within thirty years after the Apostle John, Mr. Baxter mentioneth him from Dr. Preston, in his Saints Everlasting Rest, p. 179. 3d. Edit. In the primitive Times wherein they renounced the World, Flesh and Devil, and engaged themselves to Christ, and promised to obey him, as you may see in Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, and others at large, I will, saith he, “cite but one for all, who was before the rest”, and this is Justin Martyr, speaking of baptizing the aged, saith, “as many as being perswaded, do believe those things to be true which we teach, and do promise to live according to them; they were first by Prayer and Fasting to beg pardon of God for their former sins, we our selves joyning also with them, then they are brought to the Water, and are born again, or baptized”, &c. Apol.
2. And in the close of the Paragraph you see, saith Mr. Baxter this is no new overstrict way. Tertullian will make as little for Mr. Harrisons cause as Irenæus before, see his Book de baptismo, Chap. 18. “For the Condition and Disposition, also Age of every person, the delaying of Baptism is more profitable, yet chiefly about little Ones, what need is there of Sureties to be brought in danger, who even themselves may break their Promises through Mortality, and be deceived by the Increase of an Evil Disposition. Indeed the Lord saith, do not ye hinder them to come unto me, let them come therefore, while they grow to years, let them come while they learn, and while they come let them be taught, let them become Christians when they are enabled to know Christ: Why doth innocent Nature and Age hasten to the Remission of Sins, Men will deal more warily in worldly affairs, so that they who are not trusted with an Earthly Inheritance are trusted with an Heavenly; let them know to ask for Salvation, that thou mayest appear to have given it them who desire it”, Doct. Du Veil on the Acts, P 280. Tombes full Review, p. 788, 789. And Tertullian in his Book of Repentance calls Baptism “the Sealing Repentance; and we are not baptized, because we should cease from Sin, but because we have ceased”. Dalle on the Fathers, 2 Book, p. 72. Tertullian, saith he, “is so far from pressing Men to baptize their Children while young, which are yet the present Custom of those times, that he allows and pleads the contrary, councelling them to deferr it, not only in Children but them of Riper Age, Councelling them to desire it every Man according to his Condition, Disposition and Age”, and saith Dalle, “his Opinion is not much different from the Anabaptists of our Time, and the Magdeburgenses tell us that Tertullian in his book de baptismo opposed himself by several Arguments at large to some that asserted Infant-baptism”: Mr. Baxter you have heard confesseth that Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian and Justin Martyr, who lived in the second and third Centuries, held that none were baptized without an express Covenanting, and Gregory Nazianzen in his 40th. Oration, which is upon holy Baptism, treating of those who dye without Baptism, gives us an Instance in those to whom Baptism was not administered by reason of Infancy, Du Veil 279. And Doct. Barlow in a printed Letter saith, “I do believe and know that there is neither Precept nor Example in Scripture for Pedobaptism, nor any just Evidence for it above two hundred years after Christ, that Tertullian condemns it as an unwarrantable Custom, and Nazianzen a good while after him dislikes it; sure I am in the Primitive Times they were Catekumini, then Illuminati or Baptizati, and that not only Pagans and Children of Pagans converted, but Children converted of Christian Parents, the Truth is, I no believe Pedobaptism, how nor by whom I know not, came into World the 2d. Century, and in the 3d. and 4th. began to be practised tho' not generally, and was defended from the Text as lawful, John 3. 5. tho' grossly understood, supposing no Baptism, no Salvation, and upon the like gross Mistake for many Centuries communicated Infants, or gave them the Lords Supper from John 6. 53”. “And I confess”, saith the Bishop, “they might do both as well as either, for that of communicating Infants, continued about six hundred years, as Maldonate confesseth”. Jer. Taylor Bishop of Down in his Liberty of Prophecy, pa. 237. 238. saith, “and the Truth of the Business is, as there was no command of Scripture to oblige Children to the Susception of it, so the necessity of Pedobaptism was not determined in the Church, till in the fifth Age after Christ in the Milevitian Council a Provincal of Africa, there was a Canon made for Pedobaptism, never till then. I grant it was practised in Africa before that time, and they or some of them thought well of it, and tho' that be no Argument for us to think so, yet none of them did ever before pretend it to be necessary, none to have been a Precept of the Gospel, Austin was the first that ever preached it to be absolutely necessary and it was in his Heat and Anger against Pelagius, who had warmed and chafed him so in that Question about Original Sin, that it made him innovate in other Doctrines possibly of more Concernment than this; and that tho' this was practised antiently in Africa, yet that it was without an Opinion of Necessity, and not often there, not at all in other places, we have”, saith he, “the Opinion of a Learned Pedobaptist, Ludovicus Vives, who in his Annotations upon St. Austin de civit. dej. l. I. c. 27. affirms none except grown to Men or Womens Estate were wont to be baptized”; See Du Veil upon the Acts, pa. 128. “But besides”, saith the Bishop, “that the Tradition cannot be proved to be apostolical we have very good Evidence from Antiquity, that it was the 0pinion of the Primitive Church that Infants ought not to be baptized, and this is clear in the sixth Canon of the Synod of Neocæsarea, the Words are as follows, concerning a Woman with Child, that she may be baptized when she please, for her Baptism Concerns not her Child, for every one is to give a Demonstration of his own choice in a confession”, Dr. Du Veil on the Acts p. 279. saith, “to this purpose are the Words of Balsamo in compen. Can. lib. 4. “The unborn Babe cannot be baptized, because it is not come into light, neither can it have a choice of making Confession which is required in holy Baptism, when it can chuse the Babe will need Baptism”, saith Zonarus, the Bishop farther adds, pa. 239. “Tertullian gives Advice, that the baptism of Infants should be deferr'd 'till they could give an account of their Faith”; for a close with what Mr. Tombes, Dr. Du Veil and the Bishop of Down saith, Nazianzen, Basil, the great John of Antioch called afterwards Chrysostom, Constantine, Theodosius, and Austin, Hierom, Ambrose, most whose Parents were godly, yet not baptized till came to Mans age, this consideration is of great Efficacy for destroying the supposed necessity of Pedobaptism its derivation from the Apostles.
Curcelæs saith in his dissertation of Original Sin, Numb. 56. “That the Custom of baptizing Infants was brought in without the Commandment of Christ, and did not begin before the third Age alter Christ was born in the former ages no sign of it did appear”, See Dr. Du Veil on the Acts of the Apostles, pa. 282.
Tertu1lian gives advice that the baptism of Infants should be deferr'd until they could give an account of their Faith and the same also is the Councel of Gregory Nazianzen altho' saith Dr. Taylor “he allows them to hasten it in case of Necessity, for tho' his Reason taught him what was fit, yet he was overborn with the Practice and Opinion of his Age, which began to bear too violently upon him; and tho' the same should be said of Tertullian, yet we see both their settled Judgments were that the Adult only were the proper Subjects of Baptism. Tertullian again in lib. de baptismo. He knew no such danger from Infants Original Guilt as to drive them to a Laver of which in that age of Innocence they had no need as he concieved”, Dr. Taylors lib. Proph. pa. 23O.
In page. 34. he saith, “Our Doctrine is justly to be abhorred as a false Doctrine, because it leaves no well-grounded hope of the Salvation of any Infants dying in Infancy”. But in page 35. gives himself a foul box in the Ear by contradicting himself, “for he confesseth the Anabaptist”, as he calls them, “asserts the Salvation of all Infants, which smells strong of his holding the Damnation of some”.
In page. 46. He chargeth us with “Murder and breach of the sixth Commandment”, if there were any thing in this Charge, its levelled against God, the Legislator, more than against us the Obeyers. Moreover, in Murder the Persons are said to contrive and design Death, which I suppose this Gentleman tho' he be very censorious, yet hardly concludes that Murder is designed, we are therefore in his Own Conscience clear from the Charge, tho’ he could not forbear Writing to shew his Malice, but suppose he should be called before a Seat of Judicature to prove the Charge, I fear he would come off with shame; and what if the proof of the Charge shall be required at Gods Bar, then I fear it would be worse, but I hope God will give him Repentance before that day come.
Its well he is so ingenuous as to confess that the Word β α π τ ι ζ ω, is derived from β α π τ ω to dip or plunge, but doth it not argue abundance of Ignorance or sinful Confidence to assert, page 48. “It was never yet proved that Persons were dipt by the Apostles?” no Sir, what shall their Commission be to dip by your own Confession from the Propriety of the Greek Word, and were they not faithful in it, its very strange he should suggest that diping was not the Custom of the Primitive Times, when we have whole Jewries of the Learned against him.
In page 48. He asserts it was never yet proved that the Apostles baptized by dipping, and he labours as in the fire for very Vanity to shew the contrary, and that from the Greek Preposition ε ι ς in Act. 8.38. which he saith doth not necessarily signifie going into, but rather unto the Water, I fear Mr. Harrison did not consider how, in this he doth reflect either upon the Learning or Honesty of our Translators or Annotators, and labours to advance his own Learning or Faithfulness above theirs, a very ill thing let it be which it will; and I cannot but think how Scholars smile in their sleeve to see this published to the World, tho' Mr. Harrison would have justled out, and have a divine Precept and Presedent governed by a little Greek Preposition, and tho' he is either not so honest or so learned as to govern prepositions by the Scope and Design of the place, Blessed be God our Learned Translators and Annotators have had both the Learning and Honesty to do it, tho' probably not so agreeing with their own Sentiments, but let God have the Glory, Mr. Pool on Acts 8. 38. saith in hot Countries this was usual to baptize by dipping the Body in the Water, so Rom. 6. 4, he seems here to allude to the manner of baptizing in those warm Eastern Countries which was to dip or plung the party baptized, and as it were bury him for a while under Water, &c. Dr. Hammond on the same Text saith, 'tis a thing that every Christian knows that the Immersion in Baptism referrs to the Death of Christ, the putting the Person baptized into the Water denotes and proclaims the Death and Burial of Christ, &c. See the Dr's Annotations on Rom. 6. 4. so Erasmus in his Annotations upon Mat. 2.8. saith, the Apostles were to go teach all Nations, dipping them, &c. And this was the sense you see of Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Basil, the great Basil of Selucia, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Lactansius, Bernard, &c. and our late Bishop of Canterbury, and our present Bishop of York, with innumerable more which might be added, therefore this Gentleman must have much Ignorance or a great stock of Confidence to reflect upon so many Learned Men. I hope Mr. Harrison doth not pretend to understand the Greek Text better then themselves their own Language, who always practised baptism by dipping even to this day. And this is like what he saith in the same page, that Α ι ν ο ν, Enon, John 3. 23. is but Ocu1us an Eye, a very little Fountain, not enough in probability to dip a multitude in. In the first place, this is strange that this Gentlemen should contradict the very Spirit of God, for the Holy Ghost gives this as the Reason, why that place was commodious for the use of Baptizing, because there was much Water there; no, saith Mr. Harrison, 'tis nothing so, there was not much water where John was baptizing, in so many Words he knows the Commination against all that add or take from the book of God. Moreover, the Learned are against him, here also Dr. Lightfoot and Dr. Hammond saith the Greek signifies many Waters, and saith Dr. Hammond in his Annotations on Joh. 3. 23. a place chosen by John as commodious for that purpose, by reason of the Pools of Water, and thither the People came and were baptized of him there. Erasmus’s Annotations upon the Text saith, that Enon in the Syrians Tongue signifies gushing streams of Water, by reason whereof saith he there was plenty of Water to baptize the People withall; and Mr. Poole in his Annotations on the place saith, it is from this apparent that both Christ and John baptized by dipping the body in the Water, else they need not have sought places where had been a great plenty of Waters. And I suppose he knows that the Greek Preposition ε ν is variously used according to the Scope of the Place, as Dr. Owen in some place speaketh that all prepositions are to be govern’d according to the Scope of the place.
Esquire Boyl in his Stile of the Holy Scriptures pa. 64, 65. tells us that the Hebrew conjunct on copulative vah or vap tho’ it do primarily signifie and, yet hath also (I speak within compass) four or five and twenty other significations, (as that, or, but, for, when, therefore, yet, then, because, now, as, though, &c.) and that the Sense only gives it the great diversity of Acceptations.
For further clearing the right Mode of baptism, I shall here transcribe what the Learned Dr Du Veil transcribed from Sir Norton Knatchbuls Annotations on 2 Pet. 3. 20, 21. “Whose Words tho’ long I cannot saith Du Veil but transcribe, they are so full of Truth and Weight; the Sense and Meaning of Peter is saith he, that baptism which now saves as by Water, and is antitypical to the Ark of Noah, doth not signifie the laying down the filth in the Water, but the Covenant or Promise of a good Conscience toward God while we are plunged in the water, which is the true use of water in baptism, thereby to testifie our Belief in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, so that there is a manifest Analogy between these words by Water and by the Resurrection, nor is the elegancy of it displeasing; as if he should say, the Ark of Noah, not the Flood was the Type of Baptism and Baptism was an Antitype of the Ark, not as baptism is a washing away the filth of the flesh by water, wherein it answers not at all to the Ark, but as it is a Covenant of a good Conscience towards God by the Resurrection of Christ, in the belief of which Resurrection we are saved, as they were saved in the Ark of Noah, for the Ark and Baptism were both a Type of the Resurrection, so that the proper end of Baptism ought not to be understood, as if it were a sign of the washing away of sin, altho' it be oftentimes thus taken Metonimically in the New Testament and by the Fathers, but a spiritual signal of the Resurrection by Faith in the Resurrection of Christ, of which Baptism is Lively and Emphatical Figure, as also was the Ark, out of which Noah returned forth as from a Sepulchre to a new Life; and therefore not unaptly called by Philo the Captain of the New Creation, and then the Whales belly, out of which Jonas after a Burial of three days was set at Liberty, and the Cloud and the Red Sea in which the People of Israel were said to have been baptized, that is, not washed but buried; for they were all Types of the same thing as Baptism, not of the washing away of sin, but of the Death and Resurrection of Christ and our own, to which Truth the Apostles, the Fathers, the Scholasticks and all Interpreters agree. That Christ the Mediator should become θ ε α ν θ ρ ο π ω ς Theanthropos, God and Man, to be declared Man in that he died, and God in that he rose again from the dead; this was a Mystery beyond all Phylosophical Speculation, therefore there was need of some Type and Figures, which might make so impenetrable a Notion familiar and perceptable to the sense of man; to which purpose nothing seemed more fit and easie in the Wisdom of God, then the burying of our Bodies in Water by baptism, from whence they do receive an immediate Resurrection, and tho' the thing be so apparent as to need no Testimonies, yet because there be not a few who teach otherwise, led thereunto by Example and Vulgar Error, it will not be superfluous to produce some of those innumerable Testimonies and that I may not speak without Book let us first begin with St. Paul in Rom. 6. 3, 4. Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Christ, were baptised into his death, therefore we were buried with him by baptized into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life. Col. 2. 12. 1 Cor. 15. 29. Else what shall they do that are baptized for the dead if the dead rise not. As if he had said, if there be no Resurrection why are we baptized? In vain doth the Church use the Symbol of Baptism if there be no Resurrection; the like Testimonies frequently occurr among the Fathers, that believing in his Death we may be made partakers of his Resurrection by Baptism, Baptism given in the remembrance of the Death of our Lord, we perform the Symbols of his Death and Resurrection in baptism, Ignat. Epist. ad Tral. id Epist. ad Philadelph. We know but of one saving baptism, in regard there is but one death for the World; and one Resurrection from the dead, of which baptism is an image, Justin Martyr; saith Basil the great, hear what Saint Paul saith, they were all baptized in the cloud and sea, he calls their passage through the Sea baptism for it was an Escape from death; Basil of Se1ucia, to be baptized and plunged, and so return up and rise up out of the Water, is a Symbol of the descent into Hell and return from thence. Chrysostom, Baptism is a pledge and representation of the Resurrection. Ambrose, Baptism is an Earnest of the Resurrection; Lactant. Immersion is a representation of Death and Burial; Bernard, we are buried in the Element of Water; Aneslin, see Sir Nortons book translated pa. 302. Baptism is performed more laudably, more safely and more commonly by dipping, for by dipping the figure of Christ his burial is represented. Tho. Aquin. the Word baptism doth signifie the dipping under the Water, and it is evident the ancient Church used the Ceremony of dipping, Calvin. Baptism is a Greek word, and signifies properly Immersion into the Water, and this signification doth properly agree with our Baptism, and hath an Analogy to the thing signified; for by baptism we are buried together, and as it were drowned with Christ, being dead to sin, &c. Zanch. Estius speaks to the same purpose, see Sir Nortons book pa. 304. Now saith Dr Du Veil. which things if they be so (speaking Sir Nortons Words) I beseech you what affinity is to be seen between a burial and washing, that Christian Baptism should be thought to draw its Original from Jewish Lotions and Washings of the Jews. For if it were true that the end of our baptism were to signifie a washing or ablution, or if it were true that the Jews of old did admit their Children or Proselytes into their Church by the administration of any diving, as it is asserted by many Learned Persons of late days, I confess it might be a probable Argument that our baptism was fetcht from the diving of the Jews, but to prove that our baptism is indeed an Image of death and resurrection, not of washing, enough hath been said, but as to their Arguments who have our baptism to be derived from the Jewish Lotions, as there is nothing of Certainty in it, so it is so far from being grounded upon any authority of Scripture, that there are hardly any Footsteps to be found thereof in the Old Testament, they deduce the Original of baptism from the Hebrew word כ כ מ which signifies to wash or cleanse but the Rabbins, if I am not decieved, make use of the word ט ב י ל which signifies Immersion thereby making it appear that they owe the Notion of that word to the Greeks, or rather to the Christians, for what affinity is there between Lotion and Immersion, but the thing it self is so uncertain that the Rabbins themselves differed about this very matter, for in the very Text they urge which is cited out of the Talmud, Rabbi Elizer doth expresly contradict Rabbi Joshua, who was the first that I know of who asserted this fort of baptism among the Jews; for Rabbi Eliezer who was contemporary with Rabbi Joshua, if he did not live before him, asserts that a Proselyte circumcised and not baptized was a true Proselyte, for so we read of the Patriarch Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that they were circumcised not baptized, but Rabbi Joshua affirms that he who was baptized not he who was circumcised was the true Proselyte; to whom shall I give Credit, to Eliezer who asserts what the Scripture confirms, or to Joshua who affirms what is no where to be found in Scripture? but the Rabbins upheld Joshua’s side, and what wonder was it, for it was their Interest so to do, that is for the honour of the Jewish Religion, that the Christians should be said to borrow their Ceremonies from them, but when I see Men of great Learning in these times fetching the Foundation of Truth from the Rabbins, I cannot but wonder at it: From whence was the Talmud sent unto us? they are are the Word of Buxtorf in his Synagoga Judacia, that we should give so much Credite thereto, that from thence we should believ that the Law of Moses either can or ought to be understood, much less the Gospel, to which they were professed Enemies; for the Talmud is called a Labyrinth of Errors, and the Foundation of Jewish Fables; it was brought to perfection, and held for Authentick five hundred years after Christ, therefore it is unreasonable to rest upon the Testimony of it: And that which moves me most, Josephus to omit all the Fathers that lived before the Talmud was finished, who was also a Jew, and contemporary with Rabbi Eliezer, who also wrote in particular of the Rites, Customs and Acts of the Jews, is altogether silent in this matter; so that it is an Argument to me, next to a demonstration, that two such eminent Persons, both Jews, and living at the same time, the one should positively deny, and the other makes no mention of Baptism. Besides, if Baptism in the modern sense were in use among the Jews in Ancient Times, why did the Pharises ask John Baptist, John 1. 25. Why dost thou baptize, if thou art not Christ, nor Elias, nor that Prophet? Doth this not plainly intimate that Baptism was not in use before, and that it was a recieved Opinion among them, that there should be no Baptism till either Christ, or Elias, or that Prophet came? how then there should be so much affinity between Baptism and the Washing of the Jews, that the one should be successive of the other by any Right or Pretence, is altogether I confess beyond my Faith: This is a very unlikely thing, that our Lord should follow the Traditions of the Elders, which he so often condemns, neither would he have avowed the Baptism of John to be from Heaven, if only in Conformity unto a Jewish Custom: How few of the Millions of Christians and Ministers of Christ in the World, who have not heard, much less read the Jewish Rabbins, Du Veil on the Acts, pa. 78 to 83. And saith the same Du Veil in his litteral Explanation of the Acts of the Apostles, pa. 75, 76, 77. The sacred Ceremony of Baptism is not to be performed by the sprinkling on, or pouring on of Water, but by the plunging of the whole Body of those that are to be baptized, as first the proper signification of the Greek Word β α π τ ι ζ ο, baptizo declares. Thus saith Causabon upon Mat. 3. 6. Was the Rite Of baptizing, that the Persons were plunged into the Water, which the Word, baptizo sufficiently demonstrates; which as it doth not extend so far as to sink down to the Bottom to the Hurt of the Person; so it is not to swim upon the Superfices, therefore we are apprehensive that it is not without some cause that some have disputed, that Baptism ought to be adiministred by plunging the whole Body into Water. 2d. The Example of Christ, whence the Synod of Celichyth, An. Dom. 816. Can. 11. Where Wolfred the Arch-bishop of Canterbury, presided, let, saith he, the Presbyters beware that when they administer the Sacrament of Baptism they do not pour water upon the Heads of the Infants, but let them be alway plunged in the Font according to the Example of the Son of God himself, who was thrice plunged into the Waters of Jordan; thus must this Ceremony be performed according to Order. 3d1y. The constant Practice of the universal Church, till the time of Clem. 5. who was crowned Pope Anno 1305. under whom first of all the second Synod of Ravenna approved the abuse entred into some Churches, about an hundred years before: “That Baptism without any Necessity should be administred by aspersion; hence it came to pass that contrary to the Analogy or intended Mystical Signification of this Sacrament, all the West for the most part has in this Age the use of Rantism instead of Baptism, as Zepper speaks, to the great Scandal of the Greeks and Russians, who to this day plunge into the Water those whom they baptize, and deny any one to be rightly baptized who is not plunged into the Water, according to the Precept of Christ, as we may find in Sylvester, Sgaropulus, and Cassander. The Custom of the ancient Church was not Sprinkling but Immersion, in pursuance of the sense of the word baptizing, in the Commandment and of the Example of our blessed Saviour, Council florent, Sect. 9. c. 9. and lib. Of Infants-Baptism, pa,693. Jer. Taylors ductor dubit, l.3.c.4 Reg.15. Numb. 9. “To substitute in the room of Immersion either Sprinkling or any other way of applying Water to the Body, to signifie the same thing, is not in the power of the Dispensers of Gods Mysteries or of the Church as Tho. Aquinas excellently observes it belongs to the signifier to determine what sign is to be used for the signification; but God it is who by things sensible signifies spiritual things in the Sacrament. And that the sick as well as healthy were wont to be plunged, which is properly to he baptized”, says Pamelius, in his Notes upon Cyprians Epistle to Magnus, besides other Proofs I omit. To be brief, the Acts of several Saints do testifie, as in the Acts of St. Sebastian the Martyr, we find that Tranqui1linus a Noble-man, afflicted with the Gout, was so baptized by holy Po1yarp the Presbyter, and restored to Health by his Baptism: All a Para1itick Jew who having long tried the Physitians, and in vain, bethought himself of the Application of Christian Baptism; being brought in his Bed to the Font or Dipping Place, at the Appointment of Atticus, who succeeded Chrystostom in the Constantinopolitan See, was plunged over Head and Ears, which being done, was immediately freed from his Distemper to Health, Socrates, l. 7. c. 4. And let not any be afraid of repeating Baptism, or of the Scandal of any Church, because, as St. Gregory saith most excellently well, that is not said to be iterated which is not certainly demonstrated to have been rightly and duely done, L. 1. Ep. 7. Nor is it to be doubted, saith the famous John Forbes, but that they are again to be baptized, who before have only recieved a vain Washing, and not the true Sacrament of Baptism: And tho' it be not so great as the Papists imagine, yet is the Necessity of this Sacrament very great and the Profit and Advantage very considerable. See what the late Arch-Bishop of Canterbury saith, see his Book stiled Sermons on several Occasions, Fifth Edition, pag. 188, 189. speaking of Rom. 6. 3,4. “Antiently saith he, those who were baptized put off their Garments, which signified the putting off the body of sin, and were immersed and buried in the Water to represent the Death of Sin, and then did rise up again out of the Water to signifie their Entrance upon a holy Life: and to those Customs the Apostle alludes in this 6th. of the Romans, when he saith how shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein, &c”. The same hath D. Sharp the present Arch-Bishop of York, in a Sermon Preacht before the late Queens Majesty, March 27. 1692. “And this in ancient Times was taught every Christian in and by his Baptism, when ever a person was baptized, he was not only to profess his faith in Christs Death and Resurrection, but he was to look upon himself as obliged in Correspondence therewith to mortifie his former carnal Affections, and to enter upon a new State of Life, and the very form of Baptism saith he, did lively represent this Obligation to them, for what did their plunging under Water signifie, but their Undertaking in Imitation of Christs Death and Burial to forsake all their evil Courses as their ascending out of the water did their Enjoyment to lead a holy Life: Thus our Apostle saith he, doth more than once declare to us, Rom. 6. 3, 4. May not this be a sufficient Reproof for his suggesting, “as if our way of Baptizing were Immodest, and done not as comely and of good report”. Surely if it be Gods way, it is a comely way in the Eyes of all good men; and let him remember that for this he is to be accountable; but would Mr. Harrison come and see our Order in the administration of that Ordinance, I doubt not but he will be convinced of his Error, and be forc'd to say that the subject goeth with more Sobriety and Modesty to the Sacrament of Baptism then thousand do to the hearing Gods Word, or to the Sacrament of the Lords Supper.
And whereas he saith, page 37 “That there were no Anabaptists in the Apostles days nor many hundred years after, for this I will thank Mr. Harrison, for in this he doth confess, that Infant -Baptism was not in the Apostles time, nor many hundred years after, which I thus make cut, when he calls us Anabaptists you must understand he supposeth we baptized some that were baptized before in Infancy, tho' that we deny; now, saith he, there were no Anabaptists, viz. those who baptized again, until many hundred years after, fully confessing, as I think, that there was no Infant Baptism in the Apostles days, no, nor many years after this; this is just like the Athenian Mercury, who tells us there were no Churches of Anabaptists until about three hundred years after Christ: Indeed we know not how there should, Anabaptists, that is to say Rebaptizers, as they confess we are unjustly called, forasmuch as there were no Infants baptized, or rather sprinkled, until about that time. Thus we see here is, I think, an implicite Confession from both, that Infant-baptism was not known until about three hundred years after Christ.
Whereas he tells us, it was highly improbable that three thousand should be baptized by Dipping in one day, p. 49. tho' he does not question, I suppose, the possibility of sprinkling as many; unto that I say, that a Person may be baptized by Dipping as soon as Sprinkled, for in the administration the words of Institution are to be repeated to every subject, I baptize thee in, or into, the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and in this time the Person is dipt and there is the same words and time used when when the Infant is Rantized: I have lately met with a passage in Mr. C1ark's 2d. Vol. of Examples pertinent to this, p. 114. where he tells us that one Ajdanus baptized 15000 Persons converted in the space of seven days; now then if one man could baptize so many in seven days, it was far more probable that twelve Apostles and seventy Disciples might baptize 3000 in one day. His Answer to our Objections is answered in the Book, and should I reply particularly I should be forc'd to Tautologize, and say but the same things over and over, which to me is not grateful.
And whereas it hath been too generally cast as a Reproach upon the People called Baptists, both by those stiled of the Reformed Religion, and others, that we lay more stress upon external Ordinances, and particularly Baptism, then we ought, of which charge we are altogether ignorant, because nothing short of the immense Bowels of the Father, and infinite Merit of the Son, is our Foundation for Salvation; and why we should be so hardly born upon for an Act of Obedience to our Sovereign and most Gracious Lord, is a thing to us unaccountable; and whether there be not more reason to suppose that the Pedobaptists are excessive in that Error they would charge upon others, both the Cons and Noncons equally criminal here: For if a Child be sick before it be priviledged with the Font or Bason, Oh in what haste is the Minister sent for, least the Child should expire before it be baptized; what can be the Interpretation of this, but that the Childs Soul is in danger of losing Heaven, shut out of the Covenant, and Eternal Perdition? whether in this there be not a symbolizing too much with the Council of Carthage, who anathematized all that asserted Baptism did not wash an infant clean from Original Sin? and is it nor apparent that the Pedobaptists lay more stress upon Externals, then we who frequently assert, because we dare not be guilty of Will-worship, in the baptizing our Children, that therefore the Parents have no well grounded Hope of their Salvation; and that we set them among Pagans and Infidels who are of the visible Kingdom of the Devil: As if their Infant Baptism made them Members of the Church, and regenerated them, Is not this much like the Opus operatum? yea, they advance farther, as if this did deliver them from Hell, and give them a Right to Heaven, who can find the Man that ever laid such stress upon Believers Baptism as here is laid upon Infant-Baptism?
Thus I have given a fair Answer, I hope, to those Books, may I have but as fair a Reply it may tend to encrease love and affections, tho we differ in Opinion; but might I have my Will and Desire, I would rather all Controversie should cease by a Conviction of the Conscience, and my Opponents falling in with the Love and Practice of that Truth they have so long militated against.
For my part, if a Man may be believed, I am much averse for appearing in the Field of Controversie, and would please my self with those thoughts that it will be the last friendly Debate I may have with my Brethren, and tho' all Truth be precious to me, yet if it may be written without a Censure, my Delight is in Doctrines more sublime, and am not a little sensible what a loss it is to a Church where a Person is called unto a Pastoral Charge to be taken off by Controversies from a Laborious Meditation concerning things of greater Moment, for considering what Work Ministers have to do in their Families, their Visiting both Saints and Sinners, and as Occasion is, the Writing of Epistles upon various Accounts, besides their other publick Work in the Ministry, there is but little time left for other things, and had I not more than an ordinary Call for what I have done, as you may see in the Narrative, I should have been silent, but that the Glory of God, the Credit of Religion and the Church lay at Stake, which be dearer to me then my own ought to be.
Yet I am not unsensible the Heart is so deceitful that it may propose the Forms, when indeed self is uppermost, but that I may be delivered from that Deceit, I beg the sincere Prayers of all the Godly who shall read what is here written.
Syllogistica1 Arguments against Pedo, and for Believers-Baptism.
Arg. 1. That which hath no divine Command nor Example, none Commended for its Observation, not Reprehended for its Neglect, cannot be of God, or Divine Authority; but the Baptising of Infants hath no Divine Command, nor Example, none Commended for its Observation, nor reproved for its Neglect, ergo, the Baptizing of Infants is not of God or Divine Authority.
Arg. 2. That which hath a Divine Command and Example, some commended for its Observation, and others reproved for its Neglect, must be of God and Divine Authority; but the Baptism of Believers hath a Divine Command and Example; some commended for its Observation, others reprehended for its neglect, ergo, the Baptism of Believers is of God and Divine Authority, Mar. 16. 15, 16. Luk. 7. 29, 30.
Arg. 3. That which was the Practice of the pure Primitive and Apostolick Times, about Initiating persons into the Church, ought to be the same unto the second coming of Christ: But to Initiate persons into the Church by Baptism, upon a profession of Faith, was the Practice of the pure Primitive and Apostolick times; ergo, to Initiate persons into the Church by Baptism upon a profession of Faith, ought to be the same unto the Second Coming of Christ: This Argument doth stand Immovable against the Churches for Pedo-Baptism; unless they can assign the time and place where Christ altered the Constitution of his Churches, and changed the manner of Initiation into them, or else to their Peril be it who constitute Churches any other way, or Initiate Members contrary to the Apostolick Practice.
Arg. 4. That which is contrary to the Doctrine and Practice of John, Christ and his Apostles, is of Humane Invention.
But the Baptism of Infants is contrary to the Doctrine and Practice of John, Christ and his Apostles, ergo, the Baptism of Infants is of Humane Invention.
For the Minor; That the Baptism of Infants is contrary to the Doctrine and Practice of John, Christ and his Apostles, the whole New Testament witnesseth: That the Subjects of this Ordinance were Understanding Believers, not Ignorant Infants, and Dipping not Sprinkling, the manner of Administration; and therefore the consequence of the Major is true, That Infant-Baptism is of Humane Invention.
Arg. 5. That Practice which hath no Promise Annexed unto it, either of Sins Remission, Divine Presence, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, nor Salvation, cannot be of God, or Divine Appointment.
But Pedo-Baptism hath no Promise annexed unto it, either of Sins Remission, Divine Presence, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, nor Salvation, ergo, Pedo-Baptism cannot be of God, or Divine Appointment.
Arg. 6. That Practice in the Church, which hath the Promise of Sins Remission, Divine Presence, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Salvation annexed unto it, is of God, and Divine Authority.
But the Baptism of Believers, upon Profession of Faith, hath the Promise of Sins Remission, Divine Presence, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Salvation annexed unto it, Mat. 28 18. Acts 2.
38. Mark 16. 16. Ergo, The Baptism of Believers, upon Profession of Faith, is of God and Divine Authority.
Arg. 7. That manner of Administration of Baptism which no way answers the Commission nor intention of Christ the Law-maker, cannot be Authentick.
But the Administration of Baptism, by Sprinkling, Pouring or Dropping, doth no way answer the Commission, nor Intention of Christ the Law-maker, ergo, the Administration of Baptism, by Sprink1ing, Pouring or Dropping, is not Authentick.
The Minor is clear, That the Administration of Baptism, by Sprinkling, Dropping or Pouring, doth no way answer Christ the Law-makers Commission, because he commands the Subject to be Dipt, Immersed, Buried; in pursuance of which Commands, the Apostles did always so Practice. Secondly, It can no way answer the Intention of Christ the Law-giver, because his Intention was, that it should be a lively Representation of the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ, together with the Believers Death to Sin, and a Resurrection to a new Life; all which appears, Rom. 6. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Co1os. 2. 12. Now what Similitude or Likeness is between Sprinkling and Christ's Death, Burial and Resurrection, I leave to all the Judicious to consider; would Christ take such care to have his Death set forth in Lively Figures at the Lord's Table, in breaking Bread and pouring out Wine? And would Christ appoint a dead figure in Baptism? No, no.
Arg. 8. That Baptism which hath manifest Absurdities, cannot be of God:
But the Baptism of Infants hath manifold Absurdities, ergo, the Baptism of Infants cannot be of God.
The Minor is thus proved; It's full of Absurdities, because asserted by some, that persons have Regeneration in their Baptism before Vocation, and may be visible Church Members before Conversion; moreover, that persons may be baptized by anothers Faith, and Making a National Gospel Church, instead of a Congregational, and bringing in a Carnal Fleshly Seed into Christ's Church, in the room of a Spiritual Seed.
That Faith and Repentance is required of persons before baptized, yet confess that Children, unto whom they apply it, have neither.
Again, They profess that Baptism is a Demonstration of a Spiritual Marriage between God and the Believer, and yet Assign it unto One as uncapable of such a thing as a Stock or Stone: Moreover, that the Baptismal Covenant enters into the Visible Church, yet deny Church Members the Lord's Supper.
Arg. 9. That Baptism that introduceth Gross Errors into the Church, cannot be Divine, but Humane.
But the Baptism of Infants introduceth gross Errors into the Church, ergo, the Baptism of Infants cannot be Divine, but Humane.
The Minor thus appears of its introducing Errors; It was first used to wash away Original Sin, which nothing but Christ's Blood could do. Again, It's used to work Grace and Regeneration, and Effect Salvation by the Work done; and against all sence some say, It is an Apostolical Tradition, and that Children have Faith, are Disciples of Christ, that all Children of Believers are in the Covenant of Grace, defiling and polluting the Church with false matter, and confounding the Church and the World together, introducing many Traditions and Inventions of Anti christ with it, as Gossips or Sureties, Bishoping or Confirmation, Chrism, Exorcism, Consignation; finally, it hath made a great deal of Contention in the World, and filled many with prejudice.
Arg. 10. The proper Subjects of Baptism are such who are capable of hearing the Word, and Teaching, of Repenting, Confessing of Sin, believing in Christ, and doing it as Christs
Commission, a part of Gospel Righteousness, as Gods Counsel, and as the Answer of a good Conscience, and ought to do it as a Symbol of Christs Death and Resurrection, together with our own Death unto Sin, and Resurrection to a New Life, ergo, Infants are not the proper Subjects of Baptism.
Seen some have queried, where you find that Children are forbidden to be baptized, tho' you know it is rather your work to prove the positive, That there is a Command for the baptizing of Infants than for me to prove the Negative, That there is none; for if you would but prove the former, you would save me the Labour from proving the latter; however I shall attempt it for once.
To prove the Baptism of Infants forbidden. All positive Commands prohibit whatever is repugnant to the positive command of Christ for that Ordinance, ergo, the Baptism of Infants is prohibited.
The Major is undeniable, the Minor I thus prove: If Ignorance be opposed to understanding, the want of an Act of Repentance, Faith and Obedience be opposed to the Act, and Teaching be opposed to them not capable of it. If a few drops of Water be opposed to a Burial in water: In a word, if a wrong Subject or wrong matter of Administration be opposite to a right Subject or manner of Administration, then Infants Baptism is repugnant to Christ's Command for that Ordinance, and therefore roundly prohibited; for no man of Sense can imagine that our Lord can allow of any practice repugnant to his own Commission; the Word all Nations, in Mat. 38 4. is referable only to the Teaching all Nations; all positive Commands prohibit whatever is repugnant thereunto, we might illustrate; when we are commanded to worship God in Spirit and Truth, it forbids all ignorant Devotion, Formality and Hypocrisie, and when commanded to Worship God, all Idols and Idolatry is forbidden; to eat Bread and drink Wine in remembrance of Christ, forbids a belief of his Corporal Presence; what need I do any act to put me in remembrance of him who is corporally present, when Gods Word asserts we are saved by Grace, it forbids Works as meritorious; so when God commands Persons that profess Faith and Repentance to be baptized, it prohibits all that are uncapable of those Qualifications. Take heed of incurring divine Displeasure, by command that in the Name of the Lord which he never commanded: Oh! what a dreadful Judgment did God threaten against Jerusa1em for doing those things which God commanded them not, In offering their Children to Molech in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, which I commanded them not, saith God, neither came it into my mind, Jer. 19. 5. The Geneva Note on that place saith, Whatsoever is not commanded by God, touching his Service, is against God's Word, because not commanded: Was not Nadab and Abihu prohibited false fire when commanded to take Fire from the Altar? Is not Tertullan's Notion true, every positive Command of Christ includes a Negative? by this Argument you may set up a great part of the false Worship In Rome, by Interrogating where it is forbidden, read Mat.28. 18. Acts 2. 37. Rom. 6. 4, Acts 8. 36, 37. Acts 10. All which Scriptures shew, that Baptism must be repugnant unto that Baptism 5 which is from Heaven, therefore is prohibited.
The Substance of a LETTER writ in Vindication of Mr. Hercules Collins, and sent to Mr. Mence, Jan. 26. 169?.
By a Private Gentleman.
Altho' the Holy Scriptures have foretold, that Differences would arise in the Churches, and we by sad experience find it true; yet that they should proceed from, be fomented and maintain’d by those, who, we hope, truly fear God; and managed in such a manner, as is utterly unbecoming both an Ingenuous Man and a Christian, calls for a Jeremy to bewail it. But hereof you are greatly guilty, in your late Dealing with Mr. Her. Collins and his Book, by curtailing his Words, and palpably wresting his Sense.
When I was at your House, you may remember, that among many other things then discoursed of, you told me Mr. Collins asserted, that none of the Children of Believers were in the Covenant of Grace: Whereupon, I asked you, whether you were certain he did assert it? You answer'd, you were sure of it, and seem'd to be angry with me, for even suspecting the contrary of him; concluding, as you very well might, if that was his Assertion, then they must be damned. Moreover, you told me, he held, that Children might be saved, tho' they were not sanctified.
Now these Assertions being very gross and uncharitable; I could not be induced to think (having long known Mr. Collins to be a Person sound in the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of a more charitable Opinion about poor dying Infants) notwithstanding your confident Affirmation, that he should hold them. And therefore in order to my further Satisfaction in a matter of this moment, I took this method;
First, I examined that passage in his Book, [viz. The Antidote proved a Counterfeit.] which you referr’d me to: But could not find any foot-steps of such Monsters, as you said lurked there.
Secondly, I went to Mr. Collins himself, and desired him to tell we his Judgment plainly about the aforesaid Points, which I found to be far distant from the Errors you were pleased to charge him with.
And because you have not only in private, but also publickly endeavoured from the Pulpit to fasten upon him, The damning of all the Infant Seed of Believers dying in Infancy; I shall here transcribe your own Words, as they were taken from you, by one who wrote your Sermon.
“1. Say you, if Infants are absolutely shut out of the Covenant of Grace, then they must be damned”; and this you told your Auditory he held.
“But some may say, that Infants may be saved by the imputed Righteousness of Christ, altho' they neither have Habitual Faith, or are in Covenant. I tell you, this is Mountebank Divinity: For there can be no Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ, to a Person that is not sanctified and cleansed”.
Then to summ up the Indictment, in brief it is this,
An Heavy Charge indeed, if there were not a little Charity in the two last to salve the Rigour of the first, namely, that Infants may be saved: But the Absurdity of the Tenent, which is a Child of your own, and unjustly father’d upon Mr. Collins, is so gross, viz. That they may be saved without being either in the Covenant or sanctified, that it renders his Charity vain and frivolous: Because we have no Ground in Scripture to hope well of those whom we exclude the Pale of the Covenant of Grace, and judge dye unsanctified.
In your Prologue to your Sermon, wherein you so roundly charge him, you pretend much aversion to Controversie, and great love to Peace, but under this smooth Language you cover your severe Intentions, and to use your own Proverbial Eloquence, endeavour to cut his throat with a Feather. Thus Joab dealt with Amasa, 2 Sam. 20. 9, 10. While he called him Brother, and took him by the Beard to kiss him, he smote him with his sword in the fifth rib, and shed out his Bowels to the Ground. And such false Friendship is yours; for tho' your Words are soft, yet they cut like a Razor.
But give me leave to tell you, tho you have endeavour'd to wound him under the Pretext of friendship, yet sti11 his Reputation lives, and the cause he is concern'd in is victorious.
I shall therefore prove your Indictment, tho' plausibly presented, to be a meer Libel; because the matter contained in it is neither asserted by Mr. Collins, nor deducible from any thing by him delivered: Unless we may take Mens Words, which in themselves are straight and beautiful, and distort them to what crooked and deformed shape and sence we please. For,
1. Mr. Collins doth not assert, that the Infant Seed of Believers are all absolutely shut out of the Everlasting Covenant of Grace, as you are pleased to charge him. His Words are these, in the Book before mentioned, Antidote proved a Counterfeit; p. 4. For my part (saith he,) I think Transubstantiation, Habitual-Faith, and the Infant Seed of Believers in the Covenant, are Terms equally allowable, and probably equally understood among their various Professors. And here is not one Syllable concerning the absolute Exclusion of all the Infants of Believers out of the Everlasting Covenant of Grace. For 'tis evident, that Mr. Collins, in that comparison of Infants being in Covenant with Transubstantiation, doth not respect the Truth or Falshood of the thing; but your Uncertainty about the manner of it: For upon this Question, What is meant by being in Covenant? He answers, There are thousands of themselves know nothing of it: Seeing they do not mean the Election of Grace, for my part, I think, Transubstantiation, &c. Where tis plain, the comparison respects your Uncertainty about the Mode, and not the Truth or Falshood of the thing. For, says he, there are thousands of themselves know nothing of it. And then for his next Words, viz. Seeing they do not mean the Election of Grace, forasmuch as when you say the Infants of Believers are in the Covenant, you do not understand thereby their being in the Covenant of Election, or Everlasting Covenant of Grace, as he supposeth in that place, how can you assert, he holds the absolute Exclusion of all the Infants-Seed of Be1ievers out of the Everlasting Covenant of Grace, and consequently their Damnation? When he is only discoursing in that Paragraph against your imaginary Covenant, wherein you fancy the Infants of Believers are, and very truly compares your unintelligible Jargon to the Popish Figment of Transubstantiation.
But you were pleased to leave out this Sentence, viz. seeing they do not mean the Election of Grace, and to incandidly perverted his Sense; which Sentence had you taken in, there could not have been the least Colour for such a Conclusion as you have drawn.
Again, as the manner of Christs Presence in that Ordinance (which is commonly called the Sacrament) is differently understood by Papists, Lutheran and Calvinists; so the Infant Seed of Believers being in Covenant is so ambiguously used among your selves, that comparing them together, Mr. Collins might very well say, with respect to the different Apprehensions of Persons about the mode of the things themselves, I think Transubstantiation, Habitual-Faith, and the Infant-seed of Believers in the Covenant, are Terms equally allowable, and probably equally understood among their various Professors. I pray Mark it, equally allowable; a soft
Expression surely, and deserving rather your Thanks than your Censure.
But if you will yet force him to speak in that Passage of the Everlasting Covenant of Grace, whereof its manifest to any unprejudiced Reader, that he doth not; doth he not sufficiently inform you of his meaning, pa. 13, 14. of his Antidote, &c. where no less then nine or ten times he uses the Reduplication, as such, when he speaks of the Infant-Seed of Believers: Whereby you may see, if the Scales of Prejudice were off your Eyes, that he excludes not the Infants of Believers simply and absolutely, as you tax him, but denies their Being in the Covenant of Grace, as such, that is, because thy are the Seed of Believers; for not the Parents Faith, but the Free-Grace of God thro' Christ entities to that Covenant.
Let me intreat you hereafter to deal more ingenuously with your Neighbour, if you engage him again; for whatsoever you would that Men should do unto you, do you even so to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets, Mat. 7. 12. Let your Arguments be as sinewy as you can make them, but do not defalcate his Words, or wrest his Sense, and then draw malignant Consequence from them.
You know who it was that mutilated Scripture in tempting of our Saviour; and truly tis a trembling Thought to me, that any who profess to fight against Tempter, should use that part of his play in contests with their Brethren.
2. Mr. C. affirmeth not the Salvation of dying Infants without their being sanctified. His Words from whence you make your Inference, are these, See Antidote proved a Counterfeit. p.
9. and Believers Baptism from Heaven, p. 113 114. One of the first Arguments of the Church of Rome for Infant Baptism, is, That it washt away Original Sin. We can tel1 you a better way of washing away Original Sin, namely, by the Imputation of Christs Righteousness, to Infants dying in Infancy. Now is there any thing in them that gives the least countenance in your Charge? for do not Christ’s imputed Righteousness, and his Sanctification go together? is it possible to have the first made over and not the latter? The Apostle says, Christ is made Righteousness and Sanctification, 1 Cor. 1. 30. And whom he justified them he also glorified, Rom. 8. 30. Christ's imputed Righteousness is not only our Justification, but is also comprehensive of, and necessarily inferrs our Sanctification; Justification and Sanctification are together, and at once in the same Subject; for tho' they are distinguished, yet they are not divided. Therefore to conclude, that because dying Infants are saved by Christ’s imputed Righteousness, they are saved without being sanctified, is to divide Justification and Sanctification in the same justified Person, which is against the whole current of Scripture, and so in Effect to make void the imputed Righteousness of Christ: Which, wheresoever it is received, hath Sanctification instantaneously accompanying of it. Not that Justification and Sanctification are formally the same, so as the one may be called and taken for the other; for Justification is not Sanctification, neither is Sanctification, Justification: But the same Person that is justified, is at the same Instant also sanctified. One would have thought, nothing could have been spoken more clearly and less 1iable to Exception, then what Mr. C. hath said about the Salvation of dying Infants. The Papists hold that Original Sin is washt away by Baptism; which is to ascribe a regenerating Efficiency to an external Rite; No saith Mr. C. ‘tis the Blood of Christ, or his imputed Righteousness which doth that. And he speaks the Language of the Holy Spirit, Col. 1. 14.2. Joh. 1. 7. Rom. 5. 9, 18, 19. For 'tis Christs Blood, i.e. his Righteousness alone graciously imputed, that justifieth or cleanseth from all sin. Without Holiness no man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12. 14. that is, Holiness is necessary in Order to a participation of the Beatifical Sight of God: But tis not for Holiness, but for Christs Righteousness imputed, as the meritorious and material cause, that any poor soul is justified and saved.
3. You charge Mr. Collins with holding that Infants may be saved without Habitual-Faith, or being in the Covenant. Answ. The latter he utterly disowns; for he believes there is no Salvation out of the Everlasting Covenant of Grace. And as to the former, he doth not think that dying Infants which are saved, are either capable of Habitual-Faith, or that Habitual-Faith is necessary to their Salvation.
Whatsoever is necessary to the Salvation of dying Infants, is either expresly declared or certainly imply'd to be so, in the Word of God. But Habitual-Faith is neither expresly declared or certainly imply'd to be so in the Word of God:
Therefore Habitual-Faith is not necessary to the Salvation of dying Infants.
If you object against the Minor, I demand where in the Word of God Habitual-Faith is either expresly declared, or certainly imply'd to be necessary to the Salvation of Dying Infants? Indeed Mr. Shute pretends to an Intimation of Habitual-Faith in Infants, from Psal. 22. 9, 10. Thou didst make me hope, when I was upon my Mothers Breasts. I was cast upon thee from the Womb, thou art my God from my Mothers Belly. But Mr. Collins from the late Annotations hath shewn how impertinent that is to the purpose. “Thou didst make me hope, when I was upon my Mothers Breasts, that is, thou didst give me sufficient Ground for Hope and Trust, if I had been capable of acting that Grace. I was cast upon thee from the Womb, thou art my God from my Mothers Belly, that is, I was like one forsaken by his Parents, and cast wholly upon thy Providence. Antidote Proved a Counterfeit, p. 4.
Now upon the whole matter, let any indifferent Person judge, whether Mr. Collins deserved such hard usage from you as you have given him? Whether his Positions are so dangerous as you have misrepresented them? or worthy of that scornful Appellation of Mountebank Divinity? But 'tis the way of some Persons, when they are not able to withstand the clear Evidence of Truth, to load it with odious Consequences; and truly Sir, it grieves me that this hath been your Method.
Doth Mr. Collins exclude the Infant-Seed of Believers out of the Everlasting Covenant of Grace, when he only denies their being therein upon the reason assigned by you, viz. because they are the Children of Believers? or doth he hold the Damnation of Infants dying in Infancy, who tells you, their Original Sin is washt away by the Imputation of Christs Righteousness, in his Believers Baptism from Heaven, p. 113, 114. and his Antidote proved a Counterfeit, p. 9. and in this latter p. 15. saith; I conclude well of all that dye in their Infant-state? or doth the Imputation Of Christs Righteousness to dying Infants argue they are saved without being sanctified, seeing Justification and Sanctification are contemporary in the same subject? or lastly, doth it follow, that because he denies Habitual-Faith to be in Infants, therefore dying Infants must be damned, as tho' your Habitual-Faith in Infants ( which neither your self, nor any other of your Opinion understand well what you intend by it; ) were of the same necessity with Christ and his imputed Righteousness?
Sir! You know such Conclusions could not flow from his Assertions, if the Fire of your Intemperate Zeal had not forc'd them thence; so that they are yours in a proper sense, his only by abuse.
I. The Pedigree of Infants Habitual Faith; And,
II. The Judgment of Learned Men against it.
By Richard Claridge.
1. IT hath no Honourable Pedigree, unless it is to be accounted one to be a Descendant from Rome. “The Papists, (saith Bellarmine) hold that Infants only have Habitual-Faith, and that it (together with Hope and Charity ) is infused into them in Baptism. De bapt. l. I. c. 10, 11.
Jer. Taylor having rejected the Lutheran Device of Personal and Actual Faith, and the Calvinian of Imputative Faith, saith, “And yet there is a third Device, which the Church of Rome teacheth, and that is, that Infants have Habitual-Faith. Liberty of Proph. Sect. 18. N. 29. p. 141.
I have more Charity then to think our Brethren like it the better, because it was first hatcht in her Nest; but I see some Men are very apt to hug any thing, that they imagine will help them, when they are put to their Shifts.
2. The Judgment of Learned Men about the Faith of Infants. And,
1. Augustine, tho' a very severe Pedobaptist, yet held not the Personal or Habitual-Faith of Infants, as is manifest from his Writings.
“Altho' the Infant (saith he) hath not that Faith which consisteth in the Will of Believers; yet the Sacrament of that Faith (as he terms it) maketh him a Believer. For as it is answered, as he doth believe, so he also called a Believer, not by an assent of the Mind to the thing it self, but by receiving the Sacrament of the thing it self. Tom. 2. Epist. 23. ad Quæst. Bonifacij.
And to another place, he saith, “This Word of Faith is of so great Efficacy in the Church of God, that it cleanseth the Infant by him that doth believe, offer, bless and dip him never so little, tho' he be not yet able to believe with the Heart unto Righteousness, and make Confession with the Mouth unto Salvation. Tom. o. sup. Join. Tract 80.
2. Bernard is of the same Opinion, “Infants (saith he) are saved not by their own Faith, but anothers”. Epist. 77. - “It is meet and belongeth to the Goodness of God, that to whom Age denies a proper Faith of their own, Grace should afford them the Benefit of anothers. For the Justice of Almighty God doth not think a proper Faith is to be required of those, whom he knows to have no proper fault of their own”.
3. Zanchius in his Answer to this Question, What are we to think of Infants, who cannot actually repent and believe? saith, Oper. Tom. 4. p. 440. “The Answer of Augustine and others is true; that they are so baptized in the Faith of the Church and their Parents; but I add, they have also the Spirit of Faith. I pray take Notice, he doth not say the Habit of Faith, but the Spirit of Faith, which he calls in another place the Spirit of Regeneration, to distinguish it from the Habit of Faith. For the Spirit may renew and sanctify, where yet no Habit of Faith is produced. “For (as Usher says) the Spirit of God in Elect Infants supplys the Room of Faith”. Body of Divinity, p.419.
But an Habit of Faith, if Pemble's Definition be true, is very unlikely to be in Infants; “The Habit of Faith (saith he) is that renewed Quality of the Soul, whereby it is made able to discern, and yield Assent unto, and also willing to put Assiance in all divine Truth revealed. Of the Nature and Properties of Grace and Faith, p. 19.
4. Musculus owns that the Anabaptists (so called) are not the first, nor the only Persons that deny Infants have Faith. For,
“Tho' (saith he) there are some in our Age dispute about the Faith of Infants, and stiffly plead for their believing; yet I cannot approve of their Opinion”. Loc. Commun. de Pædobapt. p. 729.
“It is absurd to require Faith of an Infant, which neither God himself requireth of it neither can it by reason of Age either have or express”. Ibid, p. 736, 737.
And speaking a little after against that Abrenunciation of the Works of the Devil, and Answer about the poor Infants Faith, made by the Witnesses in its Name, he asks, p. 737 “What need there is of this custom, to do and speak such things in the Church of Christ, which cannot be spoken with any probability; much less Assurance at all?
5. “Beza saith, it is neither certain that Infants are endued with Habitual-Faith, nor is it likely they should be capable thereof, who have no use of Understanding; unless God peradventure should work in them some extraordinary way, whereof we can have no Account”, Confes. Fidei, cap. 4.sect. 48. de Infant. Bapt.
6. The Martyr Philpot in Fox's Acts and Monuments, tho' very zealous for Infants-Baptism, yet doth not ascribe Habitual-Faith to them. He argues indeed for a Reputative or Imputative Faith, thus, “Whom God doth account among the faithful, they are faithful, but God doth repute Children among the faithful”; but not a Word of Personal or Habitual-Faith. Vol. 3. p. 510.
“Such as be of Age may hear, believe, and confess, &c”. But so cannot Infants. p. 511.
7. Whitaker in his Answer to Duræus the Jesuite, writeth thus, “I was never yet of that Opinion which you falsly attribute to me, to judge that Infants do believe, seeing the Scripture doth not teach, nor Reason perswade any such thing”. De Paradox, lib. 8. p. 681, 682.
Again, “If Infants were endued with Habitual-Faith, then they have a Knowledge of Divine Things, tho' by reason of bodily Impediments they cannot express them. I demand then, whether they may afterwards loose that Habit or not? but this I believe you will not affirm, because it is absurd. If then they retain that Habit, they know the Mysteries of Faith before they are taught”. Ibid 633.
8. Vossius, in his Theological Disputation about Pæobaptism, saith, tho' Infants are capable of a Spirit of Faith, by which the Soul receives a Spiritual and Supernatural Principle, yet are destitute of the Habit of Faith, his Words are these:
“A Person is said to be an Unbeliever two ways;
Negatively, who is indeed wholly void of the saving Habit of Faith, but is not polluted with the contrary Habit.
Positively, who both wants the Habit of Faith and labours under the contrary Will of Unbelief.
Infants are only negatively Unbelievers, that is, they have not Faith as yet, being naturally incapable thereof”. Thes. 15.
Again, “Infants cannot have Habitual or Actual Faith; because Grace presupposeth Nature: But there is not yet such a Perfection of Nature in Infants that Reason call shew it self in them, much less can there be a supernatural Habit in them, or an Act proceeding therefrom”. De Sacram. Vi. & Effic. par. poster. Thes. 47.
9. Curcellæus having shewn the Absurdity of their Opinion, who think that Faith is produced by Baptism in Infants new born, and of theirs, who say Infants do believe in Christ; doth in the third place refute the Opinion of those, who do not ascribe any Actual Faith to Infants, but yet nevertheless attribute an Habit, or some seed of Faith.
What is that seed? saith he, “In the Seed lieth hid the whole Vertue and Substance of the thing that is to arise from thence. Is there any such like thing in Infants? doth this Vertue shew it self of its own Accord in them, when they grown up? No truly, except they are instructed in the Doctrine of the Gospel”. Institut. l. 7. c. 8. § 16. p. 468.
“But (say they) without Faioh it is impossible to please God, Heb. 11. 6. Therefore we must judge that either Infants have Faith, or that they are eternally damned, if they dy in their Infancy”.
Answ. “This is a foolish Consequence, as if truly it doth not appear, that this, as all the rest of the Precepts of the Gospel, belongs to the Adult only, and are capable of Instruction, either of Vertue or Vice, and obligeth them alone. Certainly Faith is not more necessary to Salvation, then the keeping of the rest of the Commands of tho Gospel, and to live after the Spirit, not after the Flesh. Seeing then they do believe that Infants may be saved without these, why not also without Faith?”
10. Downe, in a Treatise upon this subject, proveth by irrefragable Arguments, that Infants have neither Actual or Habituae1 Faith. of the Faith of Infants, p. 194, - 200.
Both Lutheran and Papists agree in this, (saith he) that Infants have a particular Faith of their own
“The Principal Reasons that they alledge for proof hereof are these. Infants please God: But without Faith it is impossible to please him, Heb. 11. 6. The Kingdom of God belongs to them: Mat. 19. 14. Which yet the Scriptures say cannot be attained without Faith. The Word of God every where maketh particular Faith a necessary means unto Justification and Salvation, as where the Prophet saith, Hab. 2. 4. The just man shall live by Faith. But infants are justified before God, and being justified cannot but be saved. Nay, Christ himself expresly saith, that they do believe, Mat. 18. 6. Mar. 9. 42. And Luke 1. 41. John the Baptist in the very Womb of his Mother was filled with the Holy Ghost, and sprang at the Salutation of the Blessed Virgin. Other Arguments they use, but they are all of the like Nature, and notwithstanding them all, I cannot be perswaded, that Infants while they are such, have any Faith of their own, ether Actual or Habitual. And these among sundry others are my chiefest Reasons.
“1. The Scripture in plain Terms affirmeth, that they have no Knowledge at all, either of good or evil, Deut. 1. 39. they cannot so much as discern between the right and the left hand, Joh. 4. 11. If so, how can they who conceive not of things natural, understand those things that are Heavenly, and above the pitch of Nature? If we should go about (saith Augustine, Epist. 57.) to demonstrate with words, that Children know the things of God; who as yet know not the things of Men, I fear we should offer wrong even to our very Senses, endeavouring to perswade that by words, the Evidence of Truth whereof far exceeds all Power and Office of Speech”.
“2. When Infants are presented at the Font, and either sprinkled with the Water of Baptism, or dipped therein, how chanceth it that they so much dislike thereof, testifying their dislike by their crying, and other motion of the Body? Certainly, had they actual Faith they would endure all with much patience and chearfulness, and never bewray so much Averseness and Discontent”.
“3. If they have Faith, why are they not after their initiation by Baptism, forthwith admitted to the Communion? In the time of Augustine, and Innocent the first, it was the Practice of the Church so to do: And it continued, as some write, for the space of 600 years, down to the time of Ludovicut Pius and Lotharius. But why is that Custom now grown out of use, and why are Children barred from the Eucharist, if they believe as well as Elder People? Nay, why are they not rather admitted than those of riper years? For Infants have not so much as evil Thoughts in them, but these by reason of their 1onger life have made themselves guilty of many evil deeds besides”.
“4. Faith, as Paul witnesseth, cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God preached. But Infants hear not, neither by the Ear, nor by any other way proportionable thereunto: Or if they do, yet they understand not what they hear. For did they understand, I presume they would hearken more attentively unto what is said then we see they do, wherefore not hearing, neither do they believe. If you say, they believe by an inward hearing; then is that Faith wrought either by ordinary or extraordinary means, not by extraordinary means, for it is done every day and hour. By ordinary therefore. If so, then have we a double manner of working Faith, and both of them ordinary: The one by inward hearing in Infants only, the other by inward and outward also in those that are adult, which is a meer Novelty in the Church of God”.
“5. How cometh it to pass, if Children have Faith, that among so many millions of them as have been in the World, not so much as one of them when they come to riper years, giveth any Testimony of his Faith, until he be farther taught and instructed? If a Child born of Christian Parents, and entred into the visible Church by Baptism, shall afterwards while he is yet in his tender years fall into the hands of Infidels or Turks, as the more the pitty many thousands of them have done, and the whole Band of Fanizaries consist of none other, doth he not readily receive that Religion which is first instilled into him, without once dreaming of the Christian Faith? which yet how should it be, having from his first Infancy been seasoned and sanctified with the Christian Faith, cannot easily he conceived or imagined”.
“6. Tell me, do all that have received Faith in their Infancy, loose it again when they come to be of more years? It seemeth so, if then they received it, for otherwise, why are they put to their Catechism, and taught the Elements of Faith again? But this were a very strange Course, for how should they lose it? unless perhaps God secretly take that from them which he gave them; which to say, is very derogatory to the Bounty of God”.
“7. And lastly, there is not the 1east Habit, either acquired by custom, or infused from above, but maketh a man more apt and prone unto their proper Actions. For Example whosoever is possessed of the Virtues of Justice Temperance, Liberality, Fortitude, will readily do justly, temperately, liberally, valiantly, it being the Nature of Habits to facilitate Actions. Tell me then, are the Children of Christians, when they come first to be instructed, more capable of Christian Religion, or more inclinable to Holy Actions, then the Children of Infidels? Experience tells us they are not, but are as Wax, indifferently flexible any way. It is absurd therefore, and void of Reason, to place in Infants the Habit of Faith, which yet inclines them no more to Acts of Faith then those which are without it”.
“Now having thus briefly demonstrated, that Infants have neither Actual or Habitua1 Faith: It followeth in the next place to answer the contrary Arguments above set down”.
“And first, where it is said, that Faith is a necessary means unto Justification and Salvation, in as much as none can please God, or live without it”.
“I answer in a Word, it is to he understood not of Infants, but of those that are of riper years, unto whom alone Faith is necessary. These cannot please God, nor live, nor be justified and saved without a particular Faith of their own; but Infants by reason of their Incapacity through the Indulgence of God may. Adde hereunto, that according to the Tenent or our Divines, it is not the Habit, but the Act of Faith that doth justifie: In Regard whereof they define it by a Motion of the Will, grounded upon an Assent of the Mind unto the Truth of the Gospel. Unless therefore you grant unto Infants such a Motion, both of the Mind and Will, which Papists expresly deny, and Lutherans seem to stagger at, neither can they be justified by Actua1 Faith, having none. And seeing without it the Habit avails nothing at all, as being an idle Faith: I see not to what End the Habit should be infused. And if it be to no End, neither is it infused. For if Nature doth not, much less doth God any thing in vain”.
“To that of our Saviour, where he seemeth expresly to affirm that Little Ones believe: I answer,
“1. That those Little Ones are not Infants properly, but such Men as resemble little Children in holy Innocence and Simplicity; in Regard whereof they are elsewhere called by Christ, Mat. 11. 25. ν η π ι ο ι, that is, Infants”.
“2. Grant it that Children be also meant, yet not such Children as are Infants, but grown to some Stature and Capacity. For altho' the Child whom Christ took in his Arms be called π α ι δ ι ο ν, a little Child; yet was he both a Follower and Hearer of Christ, and such an one as in some measure could understand, such as were those, π α ι δ ι α, 1 Joh. 2. 14. Mat. 18. 26. little Children to whom John thought it not unfit to write. For as the Text saith, he was one that came of himself being called, and farther, he was capable of Scandal and Offence, which questionless is not incident unto Infants”.
“Lastly, To the Example of John the Baptist, I answer with Augustine, Epist. 57. neither do I contemn, saith he, that which was done in John, neither do I from thence frame a Rule, what we are to think of Little Ones: Yea, I acknowledge it to be marvellous in him, because I find it not in others; moreover, it is not said of him, he believed in the Womb, but only he sprang in the Womb; and this Exultation or Springing was done by the Power of God in the Infant, and not by any Humane Power of the Infant. Or if use of Reason and Will were so hastened unto him as he did believe, it is to be reckoned among the Miracles of Gods Power, and not to be drawn into an Example of Humane Nature”. Thus far the Learned Downe.
11. “Willet saith, That Infants neither have Faith in themselves, nor yet are profited or furthered to their Salvation by the Faith of others”. Synopsis Papismi, p. 574.
12. Usher of Armagh was no Favourer of this Notion, “Infant's (saith he) are not capable of Grace that way whereby the grown are, by Hearing, Concieving, Be1ieving; yet it follows not that Infants are not capable in and by another way. It is easie to distinguish between the Gift conveyed, and the manner of conveying it. Faith is not of absolute necessity to all Gods Elect, but only to those to whom God affords means of believing. It is the Application of Christs Righteousness that justifies us, not our apprehending it. God can supply the defect of Faith by his sanctifying Spirit, which can do all things on our part, which Faith should do; do we not know that the Sin of Adam is imputed to Children, and they defiled by it, tho’ they be not capable to understand it? Even so the Righteousness of Christ may be, and is by Gods secret or unknown way to Elect Infants; and so to those that are born deaf, and Fools not capable of Understanding”. Body of Divinity, p. 416, 417, 418.
“It is hard to affirm (as some do) that every Elect Infant doth ordinarily before or in Baptism receive Initial Regeneration, or the Seed of Faith, and Grace. For if there were such an Habit of Grace then infused, it could not be so utterly lost or secreted as never to shew it self, but by being attain’d by new Instruction”.
Again, “The Scripture requiring Faith in the Party to be baptized, speaks of grown Men. And as we have said before, the Spirit of God in Elect Infants supplys the room of Faith, and however it be, Adam's Corruption cannot be more effectua1 to pollute the Infant than Christs Blood and Innocency is to sanctifie it; and Gods Wisdom wants not means to apply it, tho' we cannot attain unto the manner”.
13. Eyre in his Answer to Woodbridge, Cranford and Baxter, argues solidly against it, “If they say Infants have the Seed or Habit of Faith, the Scripture will contradict them, which affirmeth”. The free Justific. of a Sinner, c. 14. sect. 5. p. 142.
1. “That they have no Knowledge at all, either of good or evil, Deut. 1. 39. And that they cannot so much as discern between the right and the left hand. And if so, how can they who conceive not of things natural, understand those things that are heavenly and spiritual”.
2. “That Faith cometh by hearing of the Word preached, Rom. 10. 17. Now Infants either hear not, or if they do, they understand not what they hear: We have sufficient Experience, that no Children give any Testimony of Faith, until they have been taught and instructed. Elect Children (which are afterwards manifested to be such) are as obstinate and unteachable as any others”.
And a little after he delivereth his Judgment about the Salvation of Infants, (wherein he accords with H. Collins) in these Words; “That any Infants (saith he) are saved, it is meerly from the Grace of E1ection, and the Free Imputation of Christs Righteousness; of which, all that are elected, are made partakers in the same manner”.
14. Tombs, arguing against the Discipleship of Infants, useth this Medium, viz. They are not termed Believers; which he substantially proves thus, “Believing (saith he) is an Act of the inte1lectual part, and supposeth the use of Reason, which Infants ordinarily have not; nor is the Term Believer any where in Scripture applied to them. Antipædobapt. 2d. part p. 148.
And in another place he saith, “Believing is an immanent Act, which neither is, nor can be anothers Act than the Persons, nor by any others Motion then his own, nor from any other Principle without his own Understanding. And then how can Infants believe, who have no use of their Understanding”. Antipædobapt. 3d. part, p. 870.
15. “Whether Infants have Faith or no, is a Question (saith Jeremy Tay1or) to be disputed by Persons that care not how much they say, and how little they prove; first, Personal and Actual Faith they have none, for they have no Acts of Understanding, and besides, how can any know that they have Faith, since he never saw any sign of it, neither was he told so by any that could tell. Infants-habitual-Faith he calls the Device of the Church of Rome, but who told them they have it how can they prove it? what Revelation or Reason teacheth any such thing? are they by this Habit so much as disposed unto an actual Belief without a New Master? can an Infant sent into a Mahumetan Province be more confident for Christianity when he comes to be a Man, then if he had not been baptized? are there any Acts precedent, concomitant, or consequent to this pretended Habit, this strange Invention is absolutely without Art, without Scripture, Reason or Authority, but the Men are to be excused, unless there were a better. And again, to this purpose, if any Man runs for succour to that Exploded Crespbugeton, that Infants have Faith, or any other inspired Habit, of I know not what, or how, we desire no more advantage in the World, then than they are constrained to answer, without Revelation, against Reason, Common Sence, and all the Experience in the World. Dr. Tay1ors Liberty of Prophecy, p. 240, 242.
A brief, but an honest and true Answer to Mr. Mence his book, Entituled Deceit and Falshood detected.
BEfore I speak unto the Book, I have something for Information to my Candid Reader. Whereas all Christian Endeavours have been used by me to prevent the Reply to this Book, knowing that Gospel Enemies do not use to put the best Constructions upon such Pro's and Con's: Neither was it without an Eye to my Opponents Reputation, and the Congregation whereunto he belongs; but not meeting with that which was justly expected to prevent this Answer, the Church whereunto I belong have thought that I am greatly obliged for the publick Honour of the Gospel, and Advantage of the Ministry, and stopping the Mouths of Enemies, that I do make the Vindication as publick as the Aspersion: And had it only concerned my own private Reputation, I hope I could have buried much more than this amounts unto. And tho' my Friends were very tender to Mr. Mence, yet they saw no reason to acquit him, but to condemn his undue Management of the Controversie with me, (this being their own Sense, and no Imposition of mine upon the Reader.) And whereas at our parting there was some Discourse of another Meeting, which I have since endeavoured to obtain, in order to accomodate the Difference, yet Mr. Mence hath been pleased to decline it.
It is matter of Admiration, and also a ground of Trouble, that a Person in Mr. Mence's Sphere should make Answers to Books, neither like a Christian, a Minister, a Scholar, nor like a Gentleman, or a Man of a sober moderate Temper; for what is it that hath the loudest voice in his book, but what would foul a Mans thoughts to think, and his Mouth to express, viz. This is an Untruth, this is another Untruth, this is a Falshood, and thumping Untruth, and the other a Lye; and that I am a Halophanta: i.e. A base flattering Fellow, one that for hire or gain will say any thing; a dishonest lying Fellow; see Gouldm. Diction. and is it not a thing unaccountable, that when I earnestly press'd him again and again, before several grave Divines, to prove me guilty of but one Untruth, and I would confess it before, which notwithstanding all, he made not the least attempt to do any such thing, tho' too much of this Nature evidently appeared against him in the presence of all that heard the Case. But now I consider it, Mr. Mence had obliged himself to prove my little Book a Book of Lies, tho' never so full of Truth, having told his People that it was all Lies; now he supposing they would not take his simple ipse dixit, but expect he should prove it, he hath made a dreadful Attempt to make Light show like Darkness, and Truth like Error and Untruth; but Light is Light still, and Truth Truth still, with a non obstante all his Evasions and Quibbles; and I must needs say, I am troubled for him, to see that the more he struggles to clear himself, the more he is entangled, like a Wild Bull in a Net, and will be so, until he disentangles himself by true Repentance; for there is no way like it, and this every man will confess when he comes to dye, if in any good frame. My Opponent exclaims greatly in the Beginning and Ending of his Book against my publishing my Books on the Sabbath day; my Honest Defence for this is, that if there be but one effectual way lest for me to vindicate my Innocency, I presume that my rational Reader will allow me that way, as if it were his own Case, Mr. Mence had greatly asperst me in his Pulpit before his Auditory, and I not having the Advantage to use his Pulpit to undecieve the People, I was obliged to take the best way I could to do it, which I thought was by putting a Book into their Hands; I hope I have as great a Desire to sanctifie the Lords Day as some others; neither can any think that the doing a good work can prophane it, as the undeceiving an honest, deceived people, and the publishing Verity. Is it not as laudible a Practice freely to give Truth and Innocency, as it is to sell Deceit and Falshood on his Sacrament-Day? and why is it not as lawful for me to vindicate my self upon that day, as it was for Mr. Mence to reproach his Neighbour upon that day, in the face of hundreds? pray let it be considered which is the greatest Evil. And whereas Mr. Mence saith, that my great design was to wound his Reputation, which I can truly say it never was, but that he might be brought to Repentance, and the Acknowledgment of his sin, by some faithful Christians, or the Church whom he imposed an Untruth upon; and it is the Opinion of very wise men, that if twenty Persons had writ against him, none could more effectua1ly ruin his Credit and Reputation than he hath done himself in his scurrilous way of Writing, so that he is felo de fe; and is it not to be wondred at, that at the same time a man is condemning another, he is acting the same thing, for who is more guilty herein than himself; all that read his Book may see, and that my Readers may be satisfied, and set in a true Light, that the first principal Cause of Difference, was my asserting, we know a better way to wash off Original Sin from dying Infants than by Infant-Baptism, namely, the Blood of Christ, and the Imputation of his Righteousness, which I prove from his own Words in the Pulpit, quickly after I had answered Mr. Shutes first Book. But some may say, saith he, tho' Infants have no Habitual-Faith, neither be in the Covenant, yet they may be saved by the Righteousness of Christ; I tell you this is Mountebank-Divinity; now if this were not the principal thing, why should this be the only thing urged by him and its well known that the mentioning those Words was the very first Difference between him and I. And whereas he disowns, and saith it is false, that he should say if Infants have no Faith they must be damned; hear his own Words, if Infants have no Habitual-Faith, then they must be damned, for no unclean thing can enter into Heaven; and that he suggested to his Auditory, as if I held the Seed of Believers absolutely shut out of the Covenant of Grace; hear his own Words, if Believers Seed are absolutely shut out of the Covenant of Grace, then they must be damned, and this he spoke, because I asserted that that the Children of Believers as their fleshy Seed are not in the Covenant of Grace; and tho' this Qualification was not added, where Infants in Covenant and Transubstiation was joyned, yet he must know I so intended, it being five or six times in one page said, they were not in the Covenant of Grace as such. Antidote proved a Counterfeit, p. 13.
Whereas Mr. Mence spends his 10th. 11th. 12th. 13th. pages, upon telling the World that I have founded my Fabrick upon one single Testimony, I would have him know, it was not because I had no more; hath he not cause for to thank me to produce but one, when I had more, and whereas he suggests that I have forged an Accusation, because I did not name the Writer, let him know, that if ever there be Occasion, I make no Question but that this very person will appear face to face to prove the Matter, and not only he, but another who discoursed him in his own house, and sent him a large Letter, the Substance of which you have at the End of the Book; but had I no more to prove the matter by than his own Book, that is more than many Evidences, and will be an Everlasting Testimony against him, unless he repent. Now to give some Instances from his Book, in pag. 7th. of his Epistle, and 8th. he asserts that which may make a man blush, that my Tenent is, that no Infants of Believers are in Covenant with their Parents; let him shew if he can such a position in any of my Writings; and in pa. 9. doth ridicule my position, of Infants being saved by the Righteousness of Christ, or an imputed Righteousness; and pag. 10. insinuates as if I held this Opinion, that Justification and Sanctification were separate, and not in the same Subject, whereas I believe they always meet in the same subject: And in the same page suggests it as my Notion, that Infants may be saved that are not in the Covenant of Grace, which is a Notion I abhor, and these things he calls Mountebank Divinity; see more of this in page 87, 122, 127, l30. of his Book. Thus you see I have more then one, two, or three Evidences to prove my matter. Moreover, the Truth of the Matter was never questioned till now, for when I charged him with those things before the Elders, and required Satisfaction, he never denied one word of it, as they can all testifie, and when I sent the Charge in a Letter, he never made any Answer; whereas had not the things been true he would no doubt soon have made a Reply, but here is too much said to what doth appear so plainly, for tho' he say, neither his Books from the Press, nor Sermons from the Pulpit could furnish him, I am you see amply furnished from both.
And that I have walked in danger of my Life, from fire struck out of his flint, as one lately told him, I can amply prove if I would. The 37th. page of his last Book, is it not enough to set the whole World against me? where he asserts that in one of my Books I have laid down four or five things absolutely damnable to all dying Infants. To defend your self here, which you never can, you spend the 14, 15, 16, 17. p. Whereas he saith it is utterly untrue that he was with the Ministers purely upon Mr. Collins's account, I appeal to him whether he had ever been with them, if he had not called something in my Book Mountebank-Divinity, and concerning A. P. of whom, tho' dead, he makes a long Harangue, the Ministers gave him satisfaction upon that assoon as he came in almost; it was well I put in almost, least I had been charged with an Untruth, neither was he ever charged by them, that he should say Believers-Baptism was Mountebank-Divinity; and he seems to deny as if he made any Complaint; I have many Witnesses to prove he made a Complaint of three things, that is one more than I wrote, namely, that he was falsly accused, 2dly. That I joyned Transubstantiation with Infants in Covenant, and Infant-Habitu-Faith. 3dly. That we keep an Anniversary Day, yet he seems to deny it; I will not foul my Thoughts nor Mouth to say 'tis a Lye, a Lye, a Lye, but may be he hath forgot himself. As for those pages spent about the Challenge, where he calls me a Liar, and saith a Lyar had need have a good Memory, indeed so they had, for Mr. Mence will here be found to fail in his Memory, to say no worse, whereas he saith I gave him the first Challenge in my Pulpit long before he met the Ministers, this is indeed not so, and I question not but to convince Mr. Mence of his Error; here the time that he called my Writing and Doctrine Mountebank-Divinity was in a Sermon in the Winter, but a little before A. P. died, and his Sermons upon the Covenant was not until some Months after. Now I think the very next Monday A. P. did mention something of his Trouble to the Elders about his Sermon the day before, upon which the Elders designed on that same day to go to Mr. Mence not to say [for] least I am a Lyar, and in a little time he came, it may be a fortnight or three weeks time; for I think he was sent to twice before he came, and at that time Mr. Mence gave me the Challenge, and I am sure it was many weeks, or some Months after this that I said I would accept of Mr. Mence his Proposition before the Elders: Pray who had need have a good Memory now, and who was the Bold Challenger? he calls it Nonsence and Untruth, when I say I was about to offer something concerning the matter in debate, yet he said nothing; then saith he, how could I challenge to dispute him, when I did not know what he would say? this is easily unriddled; what tho' I did not speak, but was interrupted; yet Mr. Mence might offer to dispute some points which was in Controversie before, and I not be guilty of Nonsence nor Untruth.
To conclude, A. P. died in October 1693. and was buried November the second, his Sermon where he asperst me with holding Mountebank-Divinity was about three weeks, little more or less, before the aforesaid Persons death, about which time Mr. Mence was with our Ministers and gave me the Challenge, his Sermons upon the Covenant were not till some months after this, about the Spring, that is about January, which is conformable to what he saith in his last Book pa. 36. that it was thirteen months before he printed this Book that he preached the Sermons upon the Covenant. Mr. Mence confesseth that my first offer to discourse him, was that day he preached his last Sermon on the Covenant, so that it appears from himself that he was the Challenger, and not I; moreover, many can remember that both those times I mentioned the matter, I thus worded it, that I was willing to accept Mr. Mence his Proposition before the Ministers, therefore he must first make it.
You tell us pa. 27. when you sent the Line of Latin, that you did desire the Person by whom you sent it to acquaint me, that whereas I understood you had been a University Scholar, that I had challenged to dispute you in Latin, to which you say you never had an Answer; I know not how you should, for as I never said any such thing, so no such Message was ever delivered me; and having asked the Messenger, he solemnly professeth you never said any such thing unto him; who speaks amiss now? Moreover, I challenge any Person in the World to say to my Face, that ever I spoke any such thing, and as for the Minister who said you had sent me a Latin Letter, his Name shall be forth coming upon the first Occasion. His Word of Advice, pa. 37. sufficiently proves what I charged him with, saith he, let those have a care of Blasphemy against God, his Tabernacle, &c. that are so bold as to call that Everlasting Covenant, which as an Instance of Gods Rich Grace is made with Abraham and his Seed for ever, an Antiquated and Repealed Covenant; and how unfair is he, in pa. 35. to argue that it is enough to mention a position and not the Reason of it, I do affirm the contrary, that if there be a position laid down, and a Reason added unto it, whether it be before it or after it, the Reason being to clear the position, it ought to be mentioned, or else how can the Position be cleared, Oh how hard it is to bring this Man to Repentance; I wish he is not more careful of his Reputation among Men then a good Conscience.
For my Charging of him with an Hyperbole, and a great Untruth, which he told his People together and apart, viz. That I should deny what I had writ and when proved upon me, the Elders held down their Heads and were ashamed on't. This he is very loath to take to himself, till he cannot help it; Oh how fain would he not be the man, no nor doth he care to understand what I did mean by his friends together and apart: I question not but the Church knows, and he too, what I meant by it; neither is he willing to know who I mean by his own friend, who was with him at the Ministers; but he could not witness for him, neither is he willing it should have the Name of an Hyperbole, or Untruth; he tells us pa. 30. that I was proved guilty of an Untruth before the Ministers, but what this Untruth is, that page is so full of Confusion, that wise men cannot find it out. But now he is in two Stories, which would he have us to believe to be true, that which he told his People or this in the Book? in his Book he saith, the Ministers whispered that sat near him, and asked if it were so wrote in his Book, and one answered the other that it was, but here is nothing mentioned of my denying any thing. Now that I was proved guilty of no Untruth before the Ministers, the following Certificate will satisfie any reasonable Person.
Whereas Mr. Mence in his Book entituled Deceit and Falshood detected, pa. 30. hath asserted that Mr. Hercules Co1lins was found guilty of an Untruth before the Elders and Ministring Brethren, This is to Certifie, that Mr. Hercules Collins was Convicted of no Untruth, or any thing like it, either in reference to his Book, or any other Matter whatsoever.
Witness our Hands, April 1. 1695.
William Kiffin, Richard Claridge
William Collins, Benjamin Dennis,
Richard Adams, Thomas Harrison,
Benjamin Keach, Simon Brunt.
Mr. Mence greatly wished another had been in my post; he believes God hath appointed every mans Habitation, or he believes it not, if he believes it not, he denies divine Providence; if he believes it, why is he displeased with the Bounds of my Habitation? Before I close, let me mind you of some of his Contradictions in his Answer to Mr. Dennis, he seems angry for his espousing my cause, because he saith, what he did was only or principally against one private Person, and not the whole party; let his own Book confute him; In Vindiciæ Fœderis, p. 43. and now let me, saith he, apply my self to you my Brethren of the Anbaptists Perswaaion, &c. pa.
44. saith, and here I might retort upon my Brethren, because many of your Members, &c. pa.
53. The Anabaptists are greatly put to their Shifts, speaking about 1 Cor. 7. and in pa. 70. saith, some have lodged that precious Scripture in a Miry Labyrinth, pa. 74. in dealing about the Covenant with Abraham, we have to do with our old Adversaries the Papists, tho' marching under the Banner of a People of another Denomination, pa. 113. saith, many of the Anabaptists do found their Churches in their renouncing Infant-Baptism, pa. 117. our Friends the Anabaptists, pa. 120. how many Arguments do the Anabaptists, &c. By all which it appears he struck at the whole party, tho' he contradictingly saith, it was only calculated against me; yet in pa. 18. saith, that I did not abuse him, neither was I for any Abuse offered to him among them, nor for any thing peculiarly relating to him, as he doth assert, but what all of them (meaning the Ministers) were equally concerned in, therefore for any one to say, I was there purely upon Mr. Collins's Account is utterly untrue. So that one while all he hath done was against Mr. Collins only, another time tells us that all the Ministers were equally concerned about it; so pa. 22. he saith I made a false Insinuation, without the least Attempt of any proof, yet a few Lines after tells us, that I did offer something to prove the matter by, namely, his Incivility before the Ministers; in pa. 19. he asserts, according as a Criminal I received my Charge, which was thus, viz. that I should say in my Pulpit that Believers-Baptism was Mountebank-Divinity. This is a false Charge against the Elders, for they did never charge him with it, which Mr. Mence in contradiction to himself confesseth pa. 18. the Ministers were far more ingenuous than Mr. Collins, for they concluded one Witness, tho' of a great figure, was not sufficient to give Credit to an Accusation against me.
How hard is it, to believe what this Man saith, in his Epistle he tells us of a Black Catalogue of Lies he hath against us, and tho' he had so much Occasion to demonstrate them, having told his Friends my Book was all Lies. yet here is not one of this Catalogue Appears, as I know of; but this is like that, that I should say I would preach upon his Text and refute him, let him bring me that Person that dare say so to my face.
Thus I have done, begging of God to heal our Divisions, and the Divisions of all the Churches, Praying according to the Prayer of Christ, thy Kingdom come, thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven; and desire Prov. 28. 13. may be considered and believed, He that covereth his Sin shall not prosper, but whosoever confesseth and forsaketh his Sin shall find Mercy.
I might have taken Notice of many more Impertinencies, Self-contradictions, and Falsities, but I think this is enough and too much to be made Publick, if there had not been an absolute Necessity for it, Considering the Subject of this Discourse.
--- Tum frigida Men est
Criminibus; tacita fudant præcordia cupla.
Τ λ η σ ο μ α ι ε ν ζ η θ ε ο σ ι ν ε χ ο ν Τ α λ α π ε ν θ ε α θ υ μ ο ν, Η δ η γ ι μ α λ α π ο λ λ ε π α θ ο ν
1 Melius Inquirend. p. 211.
2 De Vanitate. p. 35.
3 Baxter’s preface to the Cure of Church-Division.
4 Mat. 38 in the original, but should be Mat. 28. (Ed.)
5 “that Baptism” is infant baptism. (Ed.)
Books Printed for, and sold by William Marshal at the Bible in Newgate-street, and John Marshal at the Bible in Gracious street, near Cornhill.
The Works of that Eminent Servant of Christ Mr. John Bunyan, late Minister of the Gospel, and Pastor of a Congregation at Bedford.
A Treatise of Baptism: Wherein, that of Believers, and that of Infants, examined by the Scriptures. With the History of both out of Antiquity; making it appear, that Infant Baptism was not practised for near three hundred years nor enjoyned as necessary, till four hundred years after Christ: With the Fabulous Traditions, and Erroneous Grounds upon which it was, by the Pope's Canons (with Gossips, Chrysm, Exorcism, Baptizing of Churches and Bells, and other Popish Rites) founded. And that the Famous Waldensian and Old Brittish Churches, Lollards and Wickliffians and other Christians witnessed against it. With the History of Christianity amongst the Ancient Brittains and Waldensians. The Second Edition with large Additions. By Hen. D'anvers.
The Antidote proved a Counterfeit: Or Error detected, and Believers Baptism vindicated, Containing an Answer to a Nameless Authors Book, Entituled An Antidote to prevent the Prevalency of Anabaptism. By H. Collins of Wapping.
A Looking-Glass for Religious Princes: Or the Character and Work of Josiah, delivered in a Sermon upon 2 Kings 23. 25. By Richard Claridge, M. A. and then Rector of Peopleton in the County of Worcestler.
Baptism discovered plainly aud faithfully, according to the Word of God. Wherein is set forth the Glorious Pattern of our Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, the Pattern of all Believers in his Subjection to Baptism. Together with the Example of Thousands who were baptized after they believed. By John Norcott late Servant of Jesus Christ, and of his Church. The third Edition, Corrected by Will. Kiffin and Rich. Claridge. With an Appendix by another Hand.
The Child's Delight: Containing a Scripture Catechism. Wherein all the chief Principles of the Christian Religion are clearly (though Briefly) Opened. Necessary to Establish young People in God's Truth, in opposition to Popery, in these perilous Times. Adorned With Copper Cuts, by Benjamin Keach.
This text was transcribed from PDF files downloaded from and used with the kind permission of the Angus Library and Archive, Regent’s Park College, Oxford (http://theangus.rpc.ox.ac.uk/).
Note: In the original text, there were marginal references. The position of these citations as footnotes in this text were assigned by the transcriber and any inaccuracy in their positioning is his alone.
Acknowledgement: I would like to thank Dr James M. Renihan of The Institute for Reformed Baptist Studies (www.reformedbaptistinstitute.org) for his assistance in rendering the Greek and Hebrew present in the original text.
Transcription by Mr Mark Smith, A Reformed Baptist's Disk (www.rbdisk.vor.org), © 2016.