Samuel Rutherford on Infant Baptism (Part 1)
Chapter 13 of The Covenant of Life Opened (published in 1655)
There are two sorts of Covenanting, one external, professed, visible, conditional, another internal, real, absolute and the differences betwixt them. 2. Infants Externally in Covenant under the New Testament 3. Some Questions touching infants.
Persons are two ways in Covenant with God, externally by Visible profession, and conditionally, not in reference to the Covenant, but to the thing promised in Covenant, which none obtains, but such as fulfill the condition of the Covenant: For consent of parties, promise and restipulation whether express, by word of mouth, Deut. 5.27. We will hear and do, Josh. 24.24. And the people said unto Joshua, the Lord our God will we serve and his voice will we obey. Or yet tacit and implicit by profession. I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed, makes parties in Covenant. The keeping or breaking of the Covenant, must then be extrinsical to ones being confederate with God. And 2. Infants born of Covenanted Parents are in Covenant with God, because they are born of such Parents, as are in Covenant with God, Gen. 17.7. I will be a God to thy seed after thee. (2.) The Covenant choice on Gods part is extended to the seed, Deut. 4.37. And because he loved thy Fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them. Deut. 10.15. Only the Lord had a delight in thy Fathers, to love them, (and) he chose their seed after them, (even you (Fathers and Children) above all people, (as it is) this day. And the Covenant choice of seed is extended to the seed in the New Testament. Act. 2.39. For to you, and to your children is the promise made. He speaks in the very terms and words of the Covenant, Gen. 17.7., every one of you be baptized, he saith not every one of you, old and young, Parents and Children, repent. For that command of Repentance is given only personally to them who moved the Question, What shall we do, Men and Brethren? (v. 37). For we are under great wrath, and crucified the Lord of Glory. The Answer is, you aged, Repent. (v. 39). True. But ah, we prayed, his blood be upon us and our Children. He Answers to that, every one of you be baptized. Why, that must be every one of you who are commanded to repent? No. It must be every one of you to whom the promise is made, but the promise is made to you and to your children. (The promise of the Covenant must be made to infants, else the meaning cannot stand, Acts 2.39).
Observe the very two Pronouns that are, Gen. 17.7. Deu. 4.37. Deut. 10.15. to thee and thy seed. To you and your seed, and children. Now the Answer had been most impertinent, if he had mentioned their children, except in order to their Baptism, and their being in Covenant. For 1. their Children crucified not the Lord Jesus; Nay by Anabaptists grounds, their Children not being visibly in Covenant with their Parents, and not capable of actual hearing the Word, of actual mourning for, and repenting of their sins, as Zech. 12.10. Mat. 3.8,9,10. they were not concerned either in the evil of their Parents, who crucified the Lord of Glory, nor in the good of their Repentance more then stones. So that (every one of you be baptized, for the promise is to you and to your Children) should be impertinent, and also false; for Covenant promises are no more made to Children, then to stones, say the opposites of Infant Baptism. Yea also, as the Lord in the Old Testament, calls Israel his people. My people old and young. Saul shall be Captain of my people. David shall feed my people, old and young, and shall punish with the sword the murdering of Infants. 2. Because he chose (with a Covenant choice) the Jews and their seed, Deut. 4.37, Deut. 10.15, Gen. 17.7, then he must be the God of their seed. But he chooseth with a Covenant choice, and calling all the Nations, Isa. 2.2,3, All the kindreds of the earth under the New Testament, Psal. 22.27, All Egypt and Assyria under the New Testament, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hand, Isa. 19.29. All the Kingdoms of the World are the Lords, and his Sons, and he reigns in them, by his Word and Gospel, as the seventh Angel soundeth, Revel. 11.15. All the Gentiles are his, Isa. 60.1-4, Mal. 1.11. All the ends of the earth, and the heathen, Psal. 2.8-9, Psal. 72, 7-10. Now if they be not his by visible and externally professed Covenant, they must be the Lords Kingdoms only, because some in these Kingdoms. 1. Are come to age. 2. Profess the truth. 3. Given a signification that they are converted and chosen, and so baptized. But so infants and all the rest of these Kingdoms who fixedly, in a Church, hear the Word, profess they are followers, and by so doing are witnesses against themselves that they have chosen the Lord to be their God, and have consented to the Covenant, as Joshua saith, Josh. 24.22, must be under the New Testament cut off from the Covenant, and a place must be shown where God hath now under the New Testament, broken the staves of beauty and bands, and hath laid this curse upon all the Infants of Egypt, Assyria, of all the Kingdoms of the earth, that the Lord is now no God to them, and feeds them no more, and therefore that which dies, let it die, and that which is cut off, let it be cut off, as it is, Zech. 11.9. And the like must be said of all that are come to age, and not baptized, or as good as not baptized. And Covenant promises are not to the Children of Believers, contrary to Acts 2.39. nor to the aged, until they be converted visibly and Baptized; This then hath never yet been fulfilled, that the Gentiles and Heathen are become to Lords people. Sure, it is (2.) and was a mercy for the seed to be in Covenant, Exod. 20.6. I am the Lord shewing mercies unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my Commandments. Psal. 89. 28. My mercy will I keep with David and his seed. What mercy? My Covenant shall stand fast with him. Hence they are called the sure mercies of David. Isa. 55. The Lord following the seed of the Godly with real mercies (so that it cannot be called the favour of a ceremony and instituted or positive privilege belonging only to the Jews) as that his seed is blessed, Psal. 37.26. Psal. 112. 2.
This mercy must be taken away either in mercy or in wrath: but that a real mercy of a blessing should be taken away in mercy, except a spiritual mercy of saving grace in Christ were given in place thereof, cannot be said, far less hath it any truth that a real mercy can be removed in wrath from Infants in Jesus Christ, in whom the Nations are blessed. And we see, Deut. 28. the blessing of an observed Covenant, and the curses of a broken Covenant are extended to the fruit of the body to the sons and the daughters, v. 4 18.32. Job 21. 19. Job 29. 14. Job 18.15,16,17. And that this is not a New Testament dispensation, who can say? And that outward positive favours are bestowed on Infants, is clear.
(1.) That Christ laid his hands on them and blessed them, making them a fixed copy of the indwellers of his Kingdom.
(2) The promises of the Covenant are made to them, Act. 2. 39.
(3.) They are clean and holy by Covenant holiness, 1 Cor. 7.14. which cannot be meant of being born of the marriage-bed. For Paul, Rom. 11. 16. saith the same, of the Jews, root and branches, Fathers and Children: And no man dreamed that Paul, Rom. 11. intends to prove that the Jews shall be insert in again, because they are free of bastardie Father and sons. Now Infants understand no more any of these to be blessed by the laying on of the hands of Christ, and to be such as have title to the promises, Acts 2. 39. and to be Covenant-wise holy, 1 Cor. 7. then they understand Baptism.
(4.) The same Covenant made with Abraham is made with the Corinthians, 2. Cor. 6. 16. I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Which is Prophesied of the Gentiles under the New Testament, Ezek 11.17,18,19,20. Ezek 34.23,24,25. Jer. 31,31,32,33,34,35,36. Jer. 32.36,37,38,39,40. Zech. 13.9. Hos. 1.10,11. 1 1 Pet. 2.9,10. And it is made to the Gentiles with an eke of a new heart, and a larger extent of the Covenant under the New Test, for which cause it is called a better Covenant, hath better promises, Heb. 7.22. Heb. 8 6,7,8,9,10,11,12. Now that were a strange eke and excellency of the New Testament Covenant above the Old, to forfeit, without farther process, all Infants under the New Testament of all Covenant-right, which was due to them of old under the Covenant which the Lord calls faulty: Egypt shall be my people, except their 1. Infants. 2. And except their aged, and their non-Saints.
(5.) Infants in the former Covenant had right by birth to the means of salvation, to be taught and Catechized in the Law of the Lord, because born of Covenanting Parents within the Visible Church, and so had title to Covenant calling, and GODS Covenant choosing, Mat. 22.4. as is clear, Gen. 18. 19. I know Abraham will command his Children and his household after him, and they shall keep they way of the Lord, Exod 20.10. Deut.6,6,7. And thou shall teach them diligently unto thy Children, Exod. 12.26,27. Ps. 78.4,5,6. Now if Infants be without the Covenant as the Infants of Pagans, then they have no more Covenant-right to the hearing of the Gospel, and a treaty with Christ, and Covenant, then Pagans have. Its not enough to say their Father owe that much natural compassion to their souls, as to teach them, it being a Parents duty; Yea, but what warrant hath a Father as a Father to make offer of a Covenant of Grace in the Name of GOD to one Pagan more then to another, since all are equally without the Covenant, if there be a Covenant-call warranted to them, where is the Fathers command to propone and engage the Covenanters consent, if the Children by Pagans? but as they have a right by birth to the call, they being born where the call foundeth, they must have some visible right to the Covenant it self, more then other Pagans. Its but of small weight to say that, Rom. 9. Paul expoundeth that in the New Testament, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed, only of the spiritual seed, such as Jacob, who was predestinated to Glory, not of those that are carnally descended of Abraham, otherwise it should follow, that these that are in the Covenant, might believe that they should be saved, though void of Faith and Repentance.
Answ. The purpose of the Apostle, Rom. 9. is to Answer a sad Objection: if the Jews be cast off, and rejected of God, as Paul, by his extreme desire to have them saved, insinuates, then the Word of God takes no effect, and his calling and choosing of them for his people, takes no effect, v. 6. He Answers, it is not failed, though the body of Israel be rejected. For there are two kinds of Israelites, some only carnal and born according to the flesh: Others sons of promise, and chosen of God. Now the word of promise takes effect in the latter sort, to wit, in the chosen, and in the sons of promise, for they are not cast off of God, and so the Word of God takes effect, v. 6.
(2.) But the truth is, if there be none Covenanted with God, but the chosen under the New Testament, then there is no such thing as an external and visible Covenanting with God, under the New Testament, then must all the Nations. Isa. 2. 1, 2. Kingdoms of the World, Rev. 11.15. all Egypt, Assyria, Isa. 19. 25. all the Gentiles, Isa. 60. be internally Covenanted and sons of promise, and predestinated to life? And that, 2 Cor. 6. 16. I will be your God, and ye shall be my people, under the New Testament, must infer, that all in Covenant under Christ must be spiritual y, in Covenant, and the Visible Church of Corinth, and of all the Kingdoms of the world, Rev. 11.15. must be the invisible and chosen Church, and as many as are called, must be chosen, contrary to Mat. 22.14.
Hence Q. 1. Have Infants now under Christ no privilege nor Covenant Grace external by their birth and descent from believing Parents?
Ans. Sure they have. For Acts 2. 39. the promise is to you and to your children. Either to all children or to some, the Text makes no exception.
If it be said to all conditionally, if they believe, not absolutely?
Ans. That must be an internal covenanting proper to the elect, and the promise is not made to the aged but conditionally, so they believe. And yet the promise shall be made to Infants and Children, but not while they come to age. 2. To be cut off and casten out of Covenant is a dreadful Judgement, Zecha. 11.9. Hos. 2.3,4,5. Rom. 11. 20. well, because of unbelief they are broken off. Then because the Jewes believe in Christ already comed, all their children, for no fault, but for the beleef of their Parents, must be cut off.
(3.) Whereas Paul makes it a misery that the Ephesians, 2. 12. were strangers from the Covenants of promise, having no hope and without God, without Christ. And Peter, that the Gentiles were no people, 1 Pet. 2. then that misery lyes upon the Infants of Christians and all within the Visible Church, until they be converted and baptized, and the Gospel is no favour to them, that they are within the net, and in the office-house of Grace the Visible Church, where the word is Preached to children, who are to be taught, Gen. 18.19. Deut. 6. 7. Exod. 12. 26, 27. Psal. 78. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. 2 Tim. 3. 15. and the Lord reckons it among the favours, that he bestows not on every Nation, but only on his own Covenanted Ifrad, that the Word of the Gospel to gather them and their Children, Math. 23. 37. 2 Tim. 3. 15. Psal. 78. 1,2,3,4,5. and his Statutes and his Judgments are declared and Preached to them, Psal. 147. 19, 20. Deut. 5. 1,2,3,4. 5.6. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7. Psal. 81. 4. and that the Oracles of God, and the promises are committed to them, Rom. 3. 1,2. Rom. 9. 4. the promises and the giving of the Law, and the Covenants and the service of God. And that this is a special blessing in the New Testament to old and young is clear from Acts 13. when Paul turns from the blaspheming Jews to the Gentiles. 47. I have set thee to be a light to the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation to the end of the earth. Now this Covenant salvation is, Isa. 49. 6. I wil give thee to restore the preserved of Israel.&c ;8. I will give thee for a Covenant to the people to establish the earth.&c ;9. That thou mayest say to the prisoners go forth, &c. Now if it be said, it was indeed a singular privilege to the Jews, but what places of the New Testament make it a Covenant privilege to the Gentiles and their seed, if the Word of the Covenant Preached to the aged under the New Testament, can the same ways, by accident, be Preached and promises come to the ears of the unbaptised Children, now growing to be capable of hearing the Gospel, Acts 2. 39. 2 Tim. 3. 15. as to Pagans, and such as are no less strangers to the Covenant, and void of all right by the Covenant made with their Parents, them Indians and their children who worship Satan?
Paul not without a command Preacheth the Word of the Covenant to the discerning Gentiles, Acts 13. 47. from Isa. 49.6,9,10. must not the fathers have command to speak the Gospel to their children? Or doth not the warrant that Parents and Pastors have to take within the Covenant the fathers, warrant them to preach the same Covenant to the children? where as, otherwise the Apostles should have said, we have no warrant to offer the Covenant to any or to Preach Christ a given Covenant to any: But 1. To such as are come to age. 2. Such as are Converts. 3. To such as can give signification by confession, that they are not only visible but also invisible and chosen confederates, and they should have said all children are now by Christ excluded as profane Gentiles and heathen from the Covenant of Grace, because there can be none (say Anabaptists) but real Believers under the New Testament in Covenant with God.
Yea but the New Testament offers Christ a Covenant, in the preached promises, alike to fathers and sons. Math. 4. 16. The people (fathers and sons) that sate in darkness saw great light, &c. Math. 19. 43. Therefore I say unto you, the Kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And is it not a punishment to be deprived of the Kingdom? If the Kingdom of God come where the Preached Covenant is, Math. 3. 2. Math. 12. 28. and the Bridegroom among them, and so cause of joy, Math. 9.15. and the Golden Candlesticks be there and the Son of God walking in the midst of the Golden Candlesticks, Rev. 1. 20. c. 2. 1. sure this is much to children. If it be said, it is very nothing, for children understand nothing of this. What then is meant by the Prophecy of the incoming of the Gentiles, Psal. 87. 3, Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. 4. I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me; behold Phylistia and Tyre, with Æthiopia, that man was born there. 5. And of Zion it shall bee said, this and that man was born in her. 6. The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. And Christ Prophesying of the desolation extends the judgement of a despised Covenant to the children and the house, Math. 23.37.38. Luke 19. 44. Luke 22. 24. how should there be under the New Testament Covenant wrath, for the fathers Covenant breaking derived to the children, if in their fathers the sucking children brake not the Covenant, then they have been in Covenant with their parents, especially since a Visible Covenanting, by borrowed allusions to altars, speaking the language of Canaan, offering incense, swearing by the Lord, is spoken of Egypt and of five, that is, of many cities of Egypt, and of all the Gentiles, Esa. 19. 18. 19, 20. 21. Mal. 1. 18. and Covenant blessings shall be derived from fathers to children. The Lord shall say, 25, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. It must be a narrow blessing of Covenanted Egypt, Assyria, Israel, if it be a blessing of these come to age. 2. Professing the faith. 3. And baptised. How can the Lord say, blessed be Egypt, and though the whole seed be visibly in Covenant, old and young, yet it followeth not that therefore every promise that is absolute, that is, that of a new heart is made to all and every one within the Visible Covenant: for it is promised, Deut. 30. 6. to the Jews, and was given to them and undeniably the visible body of the Jews and their seed were the chosen and externally Adopted and Covenanted people of God, Deut. 29. 10, 11, 12, 13. Deut. 7.6. Deut. 10. 19. and the Lord calls them those whom he delivered out of Egypt, his people, Exod. 3. 7. I have seen the affliction of my people, Ezek. 37. 12. O my people, I will open your graves, as many as Saul and David did feed, whether they have a new heart or not, the Lord calls them his people, 1 Sam. 9. 16. 2. 2 Sam. 7. 8. See Psal. 50.7. Hear O my people, Psal. 81.13. Jer. 9. 26. and so the Church of Corinth, 2 Cor. 16. is called his people, and the Kingdoms of the world the Lords Kingdoms in Covenant, Rev. 11. 15. and there were many of them uncircumcised in heart, Jer. 9. 26. Isa. 1. 10. Amos 9. 7. and with many of them, God was not well pleased, 1 Cor. 10. 5. and so it is most false that none are in Covenant under the New Testament, but only Believers; For Judas, Demas, Simon Magus, and all the externally called (for they cannot be baptized but as in Covenant with God) Math. 22. 10. are by their profession in Covenant externally, as the Jews profession sayeth they accepted of, and consented unto the Covenant of Grace, for 1 Cor. 10. 7. Be not ye Idolaters, as some of them, commit not fornication, tempt not Christ, murmur not, as some of them, v. 8.9. these and the like say we are the same way in Covenant as they were and our Visible Church, now, and the Visible Church then are of the same constitution.
Q. And may we not say, that the same Covenant of Grace, we are under, is the same in nature and substance with that Covenant made with Abraham? Ans. The same Christ was their Mediator, as ours, Heb. 13. 8. their Rock and our Rock, Christ. 1 Cor. 10. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Ioh. 8. 56.
3. They were saved by Grace, the Gentiles as well as they, Acts 15.11. by faith, Acts 10.43. Heb. 11. 1,2,3,4. 13.&c.
4. There is no more reason to say, it was a civill Covenant made with Abraham, because it distinguished Abrahams seed from other Nations, and an earthly Covenant, because Canaan was promised to them, not to us, then to say there be two Covenants of Works, one made to Adam, with a promise of an earthly Paradise, and another Covenant of Works to the Jews, with an earthly Canaan; And a third to these who in the Gospel time are under a Covenant of Works. Yea upon the same account, the Covenant of Grace made, Psal 89. 2 Sam. 7. with David, having a Throne promised to him, should be yet another Covenant different from the other two; And since a Covenant here is a way of obtaining salvation up
(2.) We are justified as Abraham, and David. Rom, 4.1,2,3,4,5. Gen. 15.6. Ps. 32.1,2. in condition of obedience, John Baptist should be under another Covenant of Grace, then the Apostles: For to their faith is promised the working of miracles, Mark 16. 16, 17, 18. But John wrought no miracles, and many thousands of believers work no miracles, and they must be under a third Covenant: For though Canaan was promised to Abrahams seed, there is no reason to call it an earthly Covenant, or another different covenant, for to all believers the blessings of their land are promised, Ezek. 36. 25,26,30,31. Jer. 31.31. compared with 38,39,40,41,42,43. Mat. 6.33. Luke 12.31. 1 Tim. 4.8. Heb. 13. 5,6. 5. What if we say the Covenant made with Abraham, Exod. 3. proves by our Saviours reasoning, Mat. 22. 31, 32, 33. that Infants shall not rise again and be in Angel state and saved, otherwise if Infants and all believers in the Saducees time be not under the same Covenant with Abraham, no Infants shall have a Covenant-Resurrection, nor a Covenant-Salvation; Or then there is some other salvation for Infants that are saved, to wit, some Pagan heaven without the Covenant, and without Christ, and if Infants be Pagans without the Covenant, either none of them are saved and chosen to life. Contrary to Christ, Mat. 18.2,3,4. Mark 10.13,14, 15, 16. and the Anabaptists grant. Or there is a salvation 1 without a Covenant, and so without the New and Old Testament. 2. Without the Name of Jesus and the Blood of the Covenant: Contrary to Acts 4.12. 1 Joh. 1.8. Rev. 1.5. (3.) they shall be saved without the Visible Church, the way that Pagans are saved.
Q 3. Are they not saved all of them? Is not this enough? But because the Kingdom of Christ is spiritual, the Element of water can do them no good, except they believe?
Ans. If his Kingdom be not spiritual, because his wisdom hath appointed external sings, then no promise (which is but good words) shall be made to Children, contrary to Acts 2. 39. for they can do them no good until they believe. 2. Then should there be no Preaching of the Gospel to all Nations, as Mat. 28.20. for impossible it is that all Nations can be profited by the Gospel. 3. The doubt supposes that it is legal servility and Jewish to be under the Gospel Preached and the dispensation of signs and seals, even to the aged, such as are Baptism, the Supper, rebukes, censures. 4. To be a visible member, and visibly is Covenant, and to be baptized, except all be sound believers, must be Jewish. Now certain, it is a new Testament Ordinance that Ministers Preach and baptize all nations, though the greatest part believe not.
Q. 4. If faith sanctify as faith, then an unbelieving whore might be sanctified by a believing fornicator: For faith will do its formal work in every subject?
Answ. Paul never meant that faith doth sanctify in every subject, but in subjecto capaci. Faith sanctifieth not incest and sin, they are not capable to be separated to a holy use: If fire as fire burn, then might all the water in the Ocean be dryed up with the least sparkle of fire. If prayer as prayer obtain all things, shall it obtain that the sacrificing of your son to God, shall be accepted of him as holy and lawful worship? Mr. Baxter saith excellently upon this subject. A thing must be first lawful, before it be sanctified; God sanctifieth not sin in, or to any. See the Argument 1 Cor. 7. learnedly and solidly vindicated by him, so as the dispute is at an end now.
Q. 5. What holiness is it that is called federal, or Covenant holiness which is in Infants?
Ans. It is not so much personal holiness (though it may so be called, because the person is a Church member, separated from the world to God) as holiness of the seed, Society, Family, or Nation, which is derived from father to son, as if the father be a free man of such a City, that privilege is so personal, as it is by the Law hereditary freedom derived from father to son, if the father have jus ad media salutis right to the means of salvation, so hath the son. Hence this was first domestical, God made the Covenant with Abraham and his family: I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed, Gen. 17. it was extended to him, not as a father only, but as to the head of the family; the children of Servants born in Abrahams family were to be circumcised and to be instructed as having right to the means of salvation. Gen. 17.12. He that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man-child in your Generations (so it is Generation-holiness) he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, that is not of thy seed. So God shows clearly that in Abraham he chose the Nation and the house, Gen. 18 19. I know Abraham, that he will command his children (that is too narrow a Church Visible) and his household after him, that they shall keep the way of the Lord. 2. Afterward he chose the Nation to be a peculiar people holy to himself, Deut. 7.6,7. but not with another new distinct Covenant, but in the same Covenant. 8. But because the Lord loved you, and would keep the oath that he had sworn to your fathers, to wit, to Abraham. Deut. 10.15. He chose their seed after them, even you, above all people, not above all houses. Amos 3.2. You only have I known of all the families of the earth. So the external Church Covenant and Church right to the means of grace is given to a society and made with Nations under the New Testament, Isa. 2.1,2,3. Psal. 2.8,9. Psal. 22.27. Psal. 87. 2,3,4. Rev. 11.15. Matth. 28. 19,20. And not any are baptized in the New Testament, (except the Eunuch, and Saul, Acts 8.39.) who were baptized firstly, but they were baptized as publick men representing a seed; also, societies are baptized. All Judea, Mat. 3. 3. All the land of Judea, Mark 1. 5. All the multitude, all the people, Luke 4.7.21. Sure the fathers were so Christianed and Baptized as their children had right to the same seal. So Joh. 3.22,23,26. Cornelius his house and all with him were baptized, Acts 10.33.47. Three thousand at once, Acts 2. 39,40,41. The Jailer and his house, Acts 16.33. servants and friends. The household of Stephanas, 1 Cor. 1.16. was Baptized. And this 3. is holden forth as the Church, as the household of Narcissus which are in the Lord, Rom. 16.11. Aquila and Priscilla, and all the Church at their house. v. 5. The Church at the house of Philemon, Phil. v.3. which teacheth that the Covenant holiness is of societies and house under the New Testament as in Abrahams house, and as Abrahams house was Circumcised, so are whole houses under the New Testament Baptized. 4. Paul aptly calls it the holiness of the lump, or Nation, and the first fruits, root-holiness, the holiness of the root and the branches. Of the Olive Tree and the branches, Rom. 11. 16,17. (5.) The special intent of God in sending the word of the Covenant must evidence this; he sends not the Gospel unto, and for the cause of one man, to bring him in, but to gather a Church and his elect ones, by a visibly and audibly Preached Covenant to a society, to a City; to Samaria. Acts 8. To the Gentiles, Acts 13. To all Nations, Mat. 28. 19,20. that they and their children may have right to salvation and to the means thereof, and to the Covenant, and therefore we are not curiously to inquire whether the faith of the father be real or not, if the Gospel be come to the Nation, to the House, to the Society. The Lord in one Abraham, in one Cornelius, in one Jayler, (whom he effectually converts as far as we can gather from the Scriptures) chooses the race, house, society, nation, and gives them a Covenant-holiness, the mans being born where the call of God is, does the turn, as much as the faith of the Parent. For by the root is not necessarily meant the Physical root the father. For Abraham was not the Physical root and father, nor Cornelius of all the servants and friends in the house. But if a friend be in the house, or society, and profess the Gospel, he and his obtain right to Baptism and the means of salvation. But as touching real holiness, it is not derived from a believing father, to make the son a believer, Scripture and experience say the contrary. Nor 2. is internal and effectual confederacy with God, that, by which one is a son of promise, Rom. 9. and predestinate to life, a national favour. For 1. no man is chosen to life in his father, because the father is chosen: A chosen father may have a reprobate son. 2. Election to life is not of nations or houses or societies, but of single persons. It is not said, before the nation had done good or evil, I chose this nation all and whole, not this, but I loved this man, not this man.
Q. What is the formal reason and ground that any hath right to Baptism?
Ans. If we speak of a passive right, if the Eunuch believe, Act. 8. and if such have received the Spirit, Acts 10. they may receive baptism, The Eunuch moves not the Question whether Philip should sin in baptizing him or not. The Eunuch was troubled to make sure his own, not Philips Conversion. They who bring that Argument, Acts 8. and that, Mark 16. to prove that only such should be baptized, who believe actually and are come to age: They prove that the Church sinneth, if they baptize any, but such as are predestinated to life and really believe. For the faith that Philip asked for, was real, with all the heart, not as the faith of Simon Magus: And the faith, Mark 16.15. is real saving faith, that brings salvation; he that believes is saved. 2. It can not be visible faith only, for that is in Simon Magus, he doth visibly so believe and is baptized. Yet upon that faith he was not saved, being in the gall of bitterness (3.) He that believes not, is damned. The meaning must be, he that believes not savingly is damned: Or then he that believes not visibly, as Magus, and Judas, is damned, but this is most false, for Peter believes not as Judas, and yet he is not damned: Or then the meaning must be, he that believeth both really, savingly, and also professedly and visibly, is saved. And that is true, but it conclude that none are to be baptized, but both real and visible believers. 4. If it be true that none are to be baptized but Covenanted ones, as Acts 2.39. And if none be Covenanted ones under the New Testament, but real believers and such as are predestinated to life, as our Anabaptists teach from Rom. 9. then must the Church without warrant of the Word baptize Magus, Demas, Judas. (5.) Then must also all Judea; all the Generations of vipers baptized have been both real and visible believers, for they were all baptized, Mat. 3.3,4. Mark. 1.5. Luke 1.7.21. Let Independents consider this, and what D. Fuilk, and Mr. Cartwright, Paræus, Calvin, Beza; and our Divines speak on these places against the auricular confession of all the huge multitude. (6.) It is a wonder that any man should dream that the Eunuch made a case of conscience, Acts 8. whether it was lawful to Philip to baptize, and not whether he himself did believe and could worthily receive the seal, Act. 8.36, here is water (saith he) what hinders me to be baptized? (7.) So none can warrantably baptize any but persons dying in faith, and its not certain these have the faith that is, Acts 8.37. Mar. 16.16. But for the formal warrant of such as baptize: neither are the aged as the aged, nor Infants as Infants to be baptized; for so all the aged and all Infants even of Pagans are to be baptized. Nor 2. are all in Covenant, to be baptized: For such as are only really and invisibly in Covenant, and do make no profession of Christ at all, are not warrantably by the Church to be baptized. Only these whether old or young that are tali modo visibili federati, such as professedly and visibly in Covenant, and called, Acts 2. 39. are warrantably baptized. Hence they must be so in Covenant, as they be called by the word of the Covenant, for they cannot be baptized against their will, Luke 7.29.30.
Q. What warrant is there, Act. 2.39, for Infant Baptism?
Ans. I shall not contend for the actual baptizing of them at that instant. But every one of you be baptized, father and sons. Why? the promise is to you and to your children, break the Text into an hundred pieces, and blood it as men please, the Genuine Thesis which cannot be neglected, is, These to whom the promise of the Covenant does belong, these should be baptized, But the promise of the Covenant is to you and to your children. Ergo, you and your children should be baptized. The assumption is the express words of Peter and the Proposition is Peters. Every one of you be baptized, for to you is the promise of the Covenant. Calvin, Bullinger, Brentius, Gualther clear it.
Who they are, who are in the nearest capacity to be baptized, he explains, when he showeth, that the Covenant promise is made to these who are far off, to the Gentiles, whom the Lord shall call, then all that are under the call and offer of Christ in the Preached Gospel, as Prov. 9. 1,2,3,4. Math. 22 bid them come to the wedding, Luke 14. 16, 17, 18. &c. are externally in Covenant, and such to whom the Covenant is made, and should be baptized, its presumed they give some professed consent to the call and do not right down deny to come, else they should be baptized against their will.
Calvine shows Acts 2. 39. that the Anabaptists in his time, said, the promise was made to Believers only, but the Text saith, it is made to you and to your children, to infants, to the children of the Prophets and of the Covenant made with the fathers, Acts 3.25. Now what ground doc Anabaptists give that all infants believe, or that some believe, since to them, their children were as Pagans without Christ, without the Covenant? if to the children when they come to age and shall believe? but what need to adde, and to your believing Children? for these are not children but men of age, their fathers and they both being believers. Now Peter sets down two ranks, the aged who heard the word with gladnesse, and were pricked in the heart, v. 37.41. and the children, and to both the promise is made, and what ground is their to exclude sucking children? for the word, Acts 2. 39. is Math. 2.18. 1 Cor. 7.14. where sure the word is taken for sucking children of whose actuall faith the Scripture speaks not.
The promise is to you and to your children, can have no other sense then, the promise and word of the Covenant is preached to you and to your children in you, and this is to be externally in Covenant, both under the Old and New Testament. If it have another sense it must be this, the Lord hath internally Covenanted with you the 3000, who have heard the word and with your children, and you are the spiritual seed, and sons of promise, predestinate to life eternall: as Rom. 9. they expone the seed in Covenant:
But 1. Were all the 3000. Ananias and Saphira and their children the spiritual and chosen seed? for he commands all, whom he exhorts to repent, to be baptized: And 2. Now to Simon Magus and Demas, and numbers of such, Peter could not have said, the promise is made to you and to your children, if it be only made to real and actuall believers, as they say, Peter therefore must owne them all whom he exhorts to repent, as the chosen seed. But if the former sense be intended (as how can it be denyed?) to wit, the word of the Covenant is preached to you, an offer of Christ is made in the preached Gospel to you. Then it cannot be denyed, but the promise is to all the Reprobate in the Visible Church whether they believe or not, for Christ is preached and promises of the Covenant are preached to Simon Magus, to judas and all the Hypocrites who stumble at the Word, to all the Pharisees, as is clear, Math. 13. 20,21,22,23. Acts 13. 44,45. Acts 18. 5,6. Math. 21.43, 1 Pet. 2.7,8.
The promise, I will be your God, and ye shall be my people, must be one way expounded in the Old Testament, to wit, you are externally only in Covenant with God. But in the New Testament, it must have this meaning, I wil be your God, 2 Cor. 6.16. that is, you are all predestinate to life, and the sons, by promise, and the spiritual seed, to whom I say, I will be your God: But so it may well be said, there were no internall Covenanters in the Old Testament, and there be none but only internall Covenanters in the New Testament, so that when the Lord sayeth, Rev. 11.15. The Kingdomes of the earth are mine, and my sons. He must say, the Kingdomes, Egypt, Assyria, Tyrus, Ethiopia, &c. are chosen and the spiritual seed, and these Covenanted Nations and the Kingdomes of the Gentiles are all internally and effectually called, and there are no Visible Churches in the New Test, but only all invisible and saved.
If these words, The promise is to you, and to your children, be limited, to as many as the Lord shall effectually call, either fathers or children. But Mr. Stev. Marshel judiciouslie observes; there is no more a Covenant favour holden forth to their children, then to the children of Pagans; for the children of Pagans, if God effectually call them, have the promises made to them. Its clear that externall Covenant-holiness, is to these men ceremoniall holiness now out of date; and then externall calling the only means of internall and effectuall calling, Math. 22.14. 1 Cor. 1.18.23,24. Luke 15. 1,2. and the fixed Church-hearing of the Preached Gospel is a ceremony. That God should be the God of Infants of the seed of the Jews, a mercy to fathers and sons coming from free love, Deut. 10.15. Gen. 17.7. Deut. 184.108.40.206. and Prophesied as a mercy to the Gentiles by all the Prophets was a ceremony removed now in Christ. Yea 3. externall Covenanting, and adopting, and choising of Israel is no mercy, except that a Pedagogie of the Law is a mercy for a time. The promise is to you and to your children, must be in a contradictory way expounded, to wit, the promise is no more made to your children so long as they are Infants, then to Devils. Yea fathers and children not believing, though chosen to life, are excommunicated from Visible adoption, calling, hearing the Gospel promises, for there is no Covenanting now under the New Testament, but only internall Covenanting of the elect. Young Timothy and children of believing Parents, and all the aged within the Visible Church, have no right to hear the Preached Gospel, before they believe and be the holy seed, more than Pagans. Yea they can have no command of God, to hear the Gospel, nor any Covenant or Gospel warrant, untill they be believers, for if there were no promise made to hearing and considering the word, if they shall believe, while as yet they believe not, and untill they be effectually called, there can be no command, and no Law, to hear the Gospel and the Covenant-offer made in Christ. It shall then be no more sin for unconverted persons to turn away their ears from the Law, and not to hear the Gospel.
It were nonsense to say to men under the externally proposed Covenant, repent, hear the Gospel, use the means, receive the seals, and yet you have no right to hear, nor have we any warrant to baptize you, untill ye believe; for there is no promise made to you, nor to your seed and children, untill first you believe. And it must say there was no threatening to Adam, Gen. 2.17. before he sinned, and no promise to Adam nor to any now, do this and live, untill Adam first sinned, and first obeyed the Covenant; and so, if John Covenant to labour in Peters Vineyard, and Peter promise to him four pence, so he work twelve hours, otherwise he shall not pay him four pence, though John accept of the Covenant, and work but one hour, whereas his Covenant is to work for twelve hours, then no man can say to John (work, for there is a promise made of four pence to you) the other might deny; no such promise was made to me, except I work twelve hours. It were, sure, unfaithfull dealing to John to say so. For the four pence ought not, by this Covenant, to be given to him, except he work twelve hours: but he cannot, without palpable falshood, say, I have broken no Covenant, in not working twelve hours: For though I consented to the Covenant, and began to work an hour, yet the promise was to be simply, but to me as working twelve hours; but there is neither face nor faith in this Answer: For the fulfilling of the Covenant is only to give four pence to John, if he work twelve hours; But the promise and Covenant was made to him, and he hath foully broken, Yea a conditionall Covenant agreed unto and accepted, is a Covenant, if we shall distinguish between a Covenant, in its essence and nature, and a Covenant broken or fulfilled, a Covenant or threatening, is a Covenant and threatening oblidging Adam, if it shall be agreed unto, by silence, as Adam accepted the threatening, Gen. 2. 17. by silence, and Professours within the Visible Church, by their professing of the Doctrine of the Gospel or Covenant of Grace, their receiving of the seals and professed hearing of the Word, are under the Covenant of Grace, and engadge themselves to obey commands, promises, threatenings, and therefore promises are as properly made to them. Acts 2.39. as commands, and threatenings, exhortations, invitations, and Gospel requests are made to them. But tho the Anabaptists ignorantly confound the promise, and the thing promised; the Covenant, and benefits Covenanted. The promise is to you, and so are the commands, & threatenings, whether ye believe or not, the command is to you, and layes an obligation on you, whether ye obey or obey not, and the threatenings are to you, whether ye transgress, or transgresse not. It is true, indeed, the promise, that is, the blessing promised, righteousnesse and eternall life is not given to you, untill ye first believe.
Objection. Is not the promise made the same way to the aged as to the children, and the same thing required of both: The promise is to you and to your children. But the promise is made to the aged only, if they actually believe. Ergo, the promise is made to the children only, if they actually believe, and so not to Infants.
Answer. Neither proposition nor assumption can bear weight. For the proposition, when God saith, I will be thy God O Abraham, and the God of thy seed. Is it needfull that God require the same conditions, that is actuall believing, that he may save Father Abraham, and also actuall believing from hearing the word of the Covenant Preached from all Infants born of Abraham and dying in Infancy, or then all these Infants so dying must be eternally damned? Nay. We believe many Infants (we reserve to the Holy and Glorious Lord his liberty of election and reprobation, Rom. 9.11,12.) among the Jews were saved by the Covenant of Grace, though they died Infants. And this we condemn in Anabaptists, that they show no revealed way of God of saving Infants of believing Parents dying in Infancy, more then of saving Pagans and their Infants, for to them both are alike without the Covenant of Grace and without Christ; and therefore believing Parents have no word of faith or of the Gospel to pray for the salvation of their Children dying in Infancy, for such prayers have neither warrant in the Covenant of Works, nor in the Covenant of Grace, by their way. And yet that we are to pray, is to be gathered from Gen. 19.18. 2 Sam, 12.16. Job 1.5. Mark 10.16. Psal. 28.9. and if we pray for their salvation, they must be saved by either Law or Gospel. It’s not enough, to say that we may pray for savages that never heard of the Gospel, nor of the Covenant of Grace, that they may be saved. For seeing there is no name under Heaven by which men may be saved, but by the Name of Jesus, Acts 4.12. Joh. 14.6. There is no other warrant of praying for such, then that God would send them the Gospel; and since Christ prayed for Infants and blessed them, which is a praying for them, Gen. 48.15,16. Deut. 33.1.6,7,8. &c. Eph. 1.2. Gal. 1.3. 1 Cor. 1.3. 1 Tim. 1.2. 2 Tim. 1.3. See Mar. 10.16. he must own them as blessed in Christ in whom all the Nations of the earth are blessed, and so Covenanted with God in Christ.
2. It is false that the promise is made only to the aged, upon condition of actuall believing. 1. It is made to their children expresly in the Text, and for the way of their believing, we leave it to the Lord. Nor is it true, that the promise is made to the aged, upon condition of believing. The promise is made to them absolutely, whether they believe or not. But the blessing of the promise and Covenant of Grace is given and bestowed only conditionally, if they believe. The promise is absolutely made: its called conditional from the thing conditionally given.
Obj. But is not this an approved distinction, that persons are within the Covenant, either externally, professedly, visibly, or internally, really, or according to the intention of God? Ergo, such as are externally within the Covenant, are not really & indeed within the Covenant of Grace.
Ans. The Adverb (really) relates to the real fruit of the fulfilled Covenant, and so such as are only externally within the Covenant, are not really within the Covenant, for God never directed, nor intended to bestow the blessing Covenanted, nor grace to perform the condition of the Covenant upon them? But they are really Covenanted and engaged by their consented profession to fulfill the Covenant. And as the Commands and threatening of the Covenant of Grace lay on a real obligation, upon such as are only externally in Covenant, either to obey or suffer, so the promise of the Covenant imposes an engagement and obligation upon such to believe the promise, but some times, we say the promises of the Covenant of Grace are not really made to the Reprobate within the Visible Church, because God intends and decrees to, and for them, neither the blessing promised, nor the saving grace to fulfill the condition or to believe. And therefore these words are figurative, Heb. 8.10. This is the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, I will write my Law in their minds, &c. that is, this is the special and principal Covenanted blessing, I will give them a new heart: which must not be called a simple prediction, though a prediction it is, but it is also a real promise made absolutely to the elect, which the Lord fulfills in them: And this is called the Covenant. Because 1. they are no better then non-Covenanters upon whom the Lord bestows not this part and blessing of the Covenant. 2. The truth is, the promise of a new heart is not made to the Visible Church, which is only Visible: but to the Elect and Invisible Church. And if Anabaptists shall expone these words, Acts 2.39. The promise of a new heart is made to you and to your children , upon condition that you and your children believe, which they cannot do until first they have a new heart, its as good as Peter had said, God promiseth to you and to your children grace to believe, and a new heart to obey him, upon condition that you first believe. And that is, Gods promise to you to believe upon condition that ye believe, which is ridiculous, and therefore we cannot say that this promise of a new heart is made to all that are commanded to believe and repent and be baptized. For Elect and Reprobate and all are under these commands, if they be members of the Visible Church: But the promise of a new heart is not made to all within the Visible Church.
Quest. How then? Must the promise of a new heart be here excluded? And shall nothing be meant in the Word, but a promise of forgiveness and life is made to you and your Children.
Ans. I should judge it hard, to say, that were the only promise here made, the promise of a new heart is made to you all, therefore repent and be baptized. The Antecedent is not true. 2. Therefore because Peter speaks unto, and of a mixed multitude, Fathers, Children, Elect and Reprobate, who must first understand, the promise of life and forgiveness is made to you. Ergo, all come to age, repent and be baptized. And because the promise is made to your children, therefore let them be baptized. And 3. the promise of new heart is not to be excluded, because there were in the company to whom, and of whom the Apostle Peter speaks, many Elect, in whom the old Prophecy, Jer. 31. Ezek. 11. was to be fulfilled; For he saith, The promise is made to as many as the Lord shall call; to the Gentiles, it were a sense too narrow, to exclude that promise, and therefore, as the great promise, I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed (which chiefly is meant, Acts 2.39.) requires not the same condition in fathers and infants, nor the same condition in fathers, wives, hewers of wood, officers and Commanders, litle ones, and such as were not born, Deu. 29. with whom the Covenant is made. For the same faith in fathers and in infants, and faith working in the same duties cannot be required of husbands, wives, Magistrates, and hewers of wood) so neither is the promise made the same way to fathers, children, Jews near hand, and Gentiles far off, to Elect and Reprobate.
Q. How can the promise of the Covenant, to write the Law in the heart, be made absolutely, and not to the Reprobate, but to the Elect only? For the Elect are only these to whom that promise is made, and yet the Reprobate are really in the Covenant of Grace and the promise is made to them, as hath been said.
Answ. It is no inconvenient that the Reprobate in the Visible Church, be so under the Covenant of Grace, as some promises are made to them, and some mercies promised to them conditionally, and some reserved special promises of a new heart, and of perseverance belong not to them. For all the promises belong not the same way, to the parties visibly and externally, and to the parties internally and personally in Covenant with God. So the Lord promiseth life and forgiveness shall be given to these who are externally in the Covenant, providing they believe, but the Lord promiseth not a new heart and grace to believe, to these that are only externally in Covenant. And yet he promiseth both to the Elect.
Hence the Covenant must be considered two ways, in abstracto and formally, in the letter as a simple way of saving sinners, so they believe, so all within the Visible Church are in the Covenant of Grace, and so it contains only the will of precept. 2. In the concrete, as the Lord caries on the Covenant in such and such a way, commensurably with the decrees of Election and Reprobation; As the Lord not only promises, but acts and engraves the Law in the heart, commensurably with his decree of Election, so the Elect only are under the Covenant of Grace. The word tells of no condition or work, or act to be performed by any, which if he do he shall have a new heart: and therefore the promise of the ingraven Law in the heart, is not a simple promise made to the Covenanters as Covenanters, for so it should be a promise to all visible Covenanters (for visible Covenanters are essentially Covenanters) but it is both a promise and a prediction, yea a real execution or an efficacious way of fulfilling the decree of Election to such and such chosen, and specially loved of God Covenanters.
2. A new heart hath a twofold consideration, one as a duty commanded. 2. As a blessing promised, as to the former, Ezech. 18.31. make you a new heart and a new spirit, Jer. 4.4. Circumcise your heart to the Lord, take away the foreskin of your heart, ye men of Judah, Eph. 4.23. be renewed in the Spirit of your mind, Eph. 4. 14. Awake thou that sleeps and rise from the dead, these are either bare commands, without any Gospel strength given to obey, and so they are legal commands in the letter obliging all visible Covenanters to obedience, and so, all Letter all Law, no Gospel strength to perform speaks poor unmixed Law. In this case, God repeats and craves back again from broken men a sound heart, which they sinfully lost in Adam, and may justly seek heart conformity to his holy Law from all men. Or then these commands are backed with Gospel strength to obey, and so they are both commands and blessings promised, as Jer. 31.33. This my Covenant (a Covenant and something more) shall bee&c; I will put my Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts &c; 34 Ezech. 11.19, Ezech. 36.2,. Heb. 8.6-12. so the more strength promised the more Gospel. Neither is there any inconvenience, to say that the Reprobate visible Covenanters are not thus, as touching the special promises of a new heart and perseverance of the Saints, really in the Covenant of Grace.
Q. Who are they, who are to believe God shall give them a new heart?
Ans. No man is positively to believe it while God work it in him, for no man is to believe that he is predestinated to Glory, while he first have the effects thereof in him, the hid Manna, the white Stone, the new Name. But no man is to despair or to create fatal inferences that he is Reprobate, since God begins kindly with him with a Gospel call.