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CONFIDENCE Corrected, ERROR Detected, AND TRUTH Defended; OR Some farther REFLECTIONS Upon the TWO Athenian Mercuries, Lately Publiſh'd about INFANT-BAPTISM.

By Philalethes Paſiphilus.

Mar. 16.16.

He that believeth and is baptized, ſhall be ſaved.

Act. 8.12.

When they believed [Philip] preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the Name of Jeſus Chriſt, they were baptized, both Men and Women.

Act. 18.8.

Many of the Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized.

Col. 2.8.

Beware leſt any Man ſpoil you through vain Deceit, after the Traditions of Men, and not after Chriſt.

Mar. 7.7, 8,

In vain do they worſhip me, teaching for Doctrines, the Commandments of Men. For laying aſide the Commandment of God, ye hold the Tradition of Men, as the waſhing of Pots, and Cups: (and as we are now told, Men, Women and Children too) and many ſuch like things ye do.

London, Printed in the Year, 1692.


Confidence Corrected, &c.

IT is a ſad Thing, and much to be lamented, that there ſhould continue to this Day, not only ſo many Differences in point of Judgment amongſt Chriſtians, but alſo ſo much Pride, and Pre­judice of Spirit one againſt another, by Reaſon of the ſame; inſomuch, that there can hardly be the leaſt Difference imagi­nable amongſt Profeſſors of Chriſtianity in Matters of Judgment, but they are too readily turn'd into ſo many Marks of Reproach, and Cauſes of Malignity, one againſt another. This has been very ſadly experimented in this Nation, for many Years paſt; and, to this Day, finds but too much Entertainment in the Minds of many, who ſtill reckon themſelves Men in Reputation, for Wiſdom and Honour. But, though it may juſtly be expected, do what we can, that there will ſtill remain Differences in Judgment, and Controverſies among Chriſtians in ſome things; yet of all the Controverſies that ever ap­pear'd upon the Stage of Chriſtianity, I cannot but moſt of all admire at this Controverſy about Infant-Baptiſm: And that chiefly upon two Accounts.

Firſt, That ever it ſhould become ſuch a Controverſy as it has done.

Secondly, At the ſtrange Effects that it has produced.

Firſt, I cannot but admire, how this ever became ſuch a Contro­verſy amongſt Chriſtians, as it hath done; eſpecially amongſt ſuch Chriſtians, as do daily profeſs and declare, that the Scriptures are the only Rule of Faith and Worſhip, the only Guide to all Duty and Obe­dience, relating to everlaſting Happineſs; whenas there is not the leaſt Word, nor ſhadow of a Word (and that by the Confeſſion of Parties) for Infant-Baptiſm, in all the whole Book of God. I cannot imagine what the matter ſhould be, that Men ſhould make a Trade, of ſtraining their Wits, to find out ſo many Tricks and Inventions, to maintain and defend a Practice, and count it part of God's Service and Worſhip, that they know, and are convic'd in their Conſciences (as appears by their frequent Acknowledgments) is no where to be found in God's Word. There is ſcarcely any other Controverſy, that ever4 happen'd in the World among Chriſtians, but makes a greater pre­tence to Scripture than this doth, or can: It is not ſo much to be won­dred at, that there has happened ſuch a Difference among Chriſtians about the Tenets of Arminius and Calvin, about Abſolute and Reſpe­ctive Election and Reprobation, and all the Appurtenances belonging thereunto; becauſe there pretty plainly ſeems to be ſome conſidera­ble Glances in Scripture in favour of both Opinions: yea, the very Socinians themſelves, (which deny the Deity of Chriſt) challenge a far fairer Pretence to Scripture, than any Pedo-baptiſt can do; be­cauſe the Text plainly ſaith, My Father is greater than I: Which as little as it is, if the Pedo-baptiſts could but produce ſuch a Glance as that, in Scripture, for Infant-Baptiſm, it would be more than ever yet was done upon that account. Yea, the very Papiſts are leſs to be wondred at, in their Plea for Tranſubſtantiation; becauſe the Text ſaith plainly, This is my Body, &c. Which is a Plea, beyond what any Pedo-baptiſt can pretend unto, in the behalf of that which they make ſuch a ſtir about. Yet how is the Weakneſs and Folly of Socinians and Papiſts, and others, condemn'd and cenſur'd by many Pedo-baptiſts, whilſt they magnify and bleſs themſelves in that for which they cannot produce even ſo much ſeeming Authority from Scripture.

I queſtion not, but I may preſume, that if a hundred of the moſt Learned and Judicious Men in the World, ſhould read the Bible o­ver forty times from one end to the other, they would never ſo much as think of Infant-baptiſm, by virtue of that Reading, and their beſt Conſideration into the Bargain, if the Voice of Tradition and Cuſtom had not poſſeſt them with it beforehand: and if ſo, how juſtly may it be wonder'd at, that ſuch a thing ſhould ever become a Con­troverſy amongſt Pretenders to Scripture? The Baptiſts ſay, In­fant-baptiſm is no where to be found in Scripture: The Pedo-baptiſts frequently confeſs the ſame thing. The Baptiſts ſay, that whatſo­ever is not to be found in Scripture, is no Part of Divine Worſhip: All Proteſtant Pedo-baptiſts, do freely acknowledg this alſo. Now who can tell where the Controverſy lies? Is it not ſtrange that Men ſhould pretend to differ, yea, and to differ greatly too, in that very thing wherein they ſeem to be ſo plainly and fully agreed? Who can give any good Reaſon now, why this Concluſion ſhould not neceſſarily be agreed to by mutual Conſent, namely, that Infant-baptiſm is no part of Divine Worſhip? Which if it were, the whole Controverſy would be gone at once. The Baptiſts do from time to time aſſert,5 that there is neither Precept for, nor Precedent of, nor Promiſe unto, Infant-baptiſm, in all the Word of God: And their moſt Learned and Judicious Adverſaries, do frequently grant and confeſs the ſame thing; and yet ſtrive to maintain and uphold the Controverſy in the World. This is one Part of my Wonder, with reſpect to this Matter.

Secondly, I cannot but wonder at the ſtrange Effects it has produ­ced, and they are many; but I ſhall only touch upon one, namely, That though the Principle and Practice of the Baptiſts (ſo called) is in the point of Baptiſm, ſo plainly and plentifully laid down in Scrip­ture, and holds ſuch an undeniable Correſpondency and Agreement with Primitive Purity, yet that they ſhould be loaded with ſo much Contempt and Reproach, as they have been, and yet are, by many in this Nation, for no other thing than this honeſt and harmleſs, yea, Honourable and Heaven-born Practice. Who is it that is any whit wiſe and judicious, that knows not that Chriſt and the Primitive Chriſtians were baptiz'd, as they now plead and practiſe? Yet how have they for many years, in this Chriſtian Kingdom, been not only ſlighted, but rendred odious, and counted as the very Dreggs and Off-ſcouring of the World, even for this very thing? Yea, the worſt and vileſt of Men, have been counted worthy of more Honour and Re­ſpect amongſt People than they; inſomuch, that Highway-men and Anabaptiſts, have been almoſt Titles of equal Dignity. Is it not ſtrange that any that pretend to be the Diſciples of Chriſt, and the Followers of Jeſus, ſhould dare ſo boldly to throw downright and naked Reproach upon the Practice of their Saviour; and caſt all man­ner of Dirt and Scorn in the Faces of any, meerly for endeavouring to follow him in that which he has not only commanded, but ſet them an Example in his own Perſon? Though bleſſed be God, through the gracious Influence, and benign Aſpects of our Chief Rulers, this Spirit at this day is ſomewhat corrected and abated; yet to this moment, there are but too many that ſtill ſtrive to foment and cheriſh it. This is the ſecond Part of my Wonder, with reſpect to this Controverſy, above any other, that ever happen'd among ſober Chriſtians. Now how far our Athenian Gentlemen have contributed towards the Removal of this Wonder, I ſhall take upon me the Bold­neſs a little to remark: Wherefore now I ſhall direct my Diſcourſe to them.

Gentlemen, I will not ſay, that you have ſo much beſpatter'd us with Dirt and Reproach, as ſome others have done before you; yet6 I cannot but obſerve that you, at leaſt, ſeem to have a good mind, (if I may uſe ſuch a Soloeciſm) to be nibbling at it; and that appears chiefly, if we conſider theſe three things.

1ſt, How liberally and tartly you beſtow that ſilly and idle Nick­name of Reproach [Anabaptiſt] upon us, ſo often repeated in your Papers? Though you know 'tis a Name we diſown and deny, eſpe­cially too to do it at the ſame time that the Queſtion is militating betwixt us: Which indeed, beſides the Malignity that ſeems to be in it, is an implicite begging of the whole Queſtion. For what do you elſe, when you aforehand briskly take it for granted, that we are a Parcel of Anabaptiſts, making no Queſtion of that, when you know you are a diſputing that very Queſtion, which ought to determine whether we are ſo or no? Pray, Sirs, why may not we as juſtly make a trade of calling you, and all of your Party or Perſwaſion, An­ti-baptiſts or Cata-baptiſts? for you cannot but know, that according to our Principles, you do as much deny Baptiſm, and abuſe it too, as we can poſſibly, according to your Principles, be twice Baptiz'd; but we reckon it below any that pretend to Wiſdom and Ingenuity, to make ſuch beggarly things any part of their Refuge: Wherefore, Sirs, I think I may ſafely conclude, you have not dealt ſo candidly with us in this Particular, as you ought to have done.

2dly. In that you very unworthily, if not proudly, inſinuate, that there are none, nor ever were any among the Baptiſts, that are ſo knowing in the Cuſtoms of Nations, Linguiſms, Radixes, or Original Significations in Languages, as you are; and that may perhaps be the great Cauſe of Diſputes upon this Subject: When, Sirs, it is very well known, that there have been, and are to this Day, many amongſt them, of very great Parts and Learning, and excellently well skill'd in all thoſe Matters you talk of. Wherefore, Gentlemen, if you are Ignorant herein, you might have done better to have kept your Igno­rance to your ſelves: But if you are not Ignorant hereof, there's no­thing can excuſe you from an invidious and ſpiteful Inſinuation. And you farther politickly expoſe them to popular Prejudice, by giving them a Paraliptical Bite, and by an Apophaſis cunningly charge them with a Spirit of Contention; which may alſo be a great cauſe of Diſ­putes upon this Subject: As if your Opinion and Practice about Infant-Baptiſm, was ſo manifeſtly clear and evident, that it's ſcarce poſſible for any Body to make the leaſt Doubt or Scruple about it, if they be not afore-hand troubled with a Spirit of Contention; or elſe ignorant of the Cuſtoms of Nations, &c. But pray, Sirs, Why a7 Spirit of Contention in the Baptiſts, any more than in your ſelves? What's the Matter, Gentlemen, that they muſt needs preſently be ſup­poſed to be Criminals in this Caſe for diſputing, any more than their Antagoniſts that diſpute againſt them? Really, Sirs, if there muſt needs be a Spirit of Contention on one ſide, it may with a little Conſidera­tion eaſily be perceived, that it lies rather at your Door than at theirs; if you do but ſeriouſly reflect upon the Darkneſs of your own Practice, and the Clearneſs of theirs with whom you contend, Adverſaries themſelves being Judges.

3dly. In that you ſo impertinently and boldly mention ſeveral Perſons, whom you call Ring-leaders amongſt Anabaptiſts, who are ſuppoſed to be guilty of ſeveral Crimes, and remarkable Enormities; for no other end that can rationally be thought of, but to expoſe your Antagoniſts to farther Contempt and Prejudice. Here, Gentlemen, I cannot but admire at your Wiſdom, (if I had ſaid Folly, I think it had been no great matter) that you ſhould be ſo inconſiderately hardy, to venture upon ſuch an Argument as this.

When, in the Firſt Place, we have juſt cauſe to queſtion the Truth of thoſe Things, as to Matter of Fact, being, as may rationally be ſuppos'd, firſt promoted by Lying and Malicious Papiſts, who ſpeak as bad things of Calvin and Luther, and the Waldenſes before them: And may juſtly be thought, to be taken from them, by ſome inveterate Proteſtants, which bore them as little good Will as the Papiſts did, or Mr. Roſs himſelf. Alas! What ſtrange Work have we ſeen, even in our own Nation, upon this account? How many good Men have been miſerably miſrepreſented before our Faces, when there have been Thouſands alive, at the ſame time, that were able to have detected the Scandal, but durſt not attempt it? How many Men in England, have even been Diaboliz'd in the Face of the Sun, that in ſome time af­ter have been little leſs than Canoniz'd for Saints? and had it not been for remarkable Revolutions, had never recovered out of the ſhape of Devils. And amongſt many other Things, Mr. Roſs's Brother Edwards his Gangrena, is too freſh in Memory to be forgotten.

Secondly; If all were unqueſtionably true, you cannot chuſe but know there is no Argument in it, it is not only the weakeſt, but the worſt of Arguments; it greatly reflects upon the Wiſdom of any that ſhall venture to uſe it. For tho Hind, Hannam, Cutting Dick, and the Golden Farmer were all Villains; yet who doubts but there are many Pedo-Baptiſts in England, and other Countries too, that are honeſt Men? and not only ſo, but their Principles too may be good, notwithſtand­ing any thing in this Argument againſt them.


Thirdly; If there were any thing of Argument in it, who need matter it? Pray, Gentlemen, conſider, who do you think has moſt cauſe to fear it, if there were any thing in it, they, or your ſelves? If they were diſpos'd to draw the Saw againſt you here, you may eaſily foreſee what dreadful and bitter work might be made with you, by virtue of this Argument. Really, Sirs, it argues you are heavily put to••, and in a deſperate Caſe, that you dare venture up­on ſuch dangerous and ſelf-killing Methods: But you had better ſuffer a Famine of Arguments for ſeven Years together, than to meddle with ſuch Noli me Tangere's as theſe; for you cannot but know, that we might in this Caſe, give you Argumentum ad Hominem, at leaſt forty for one: And if ſo, then how wiſely you have done in this Matter, you may upon farther Thoughts become your own Judges. But I care not to inſiſt any farther upon this, unleſs we be farther fool­iſhly provok'd.

I now come to conſider how you anſwer the Queſtions about Infant-Baptiſm, chiefly in your Firſt Mercury, and the Second occaſionally, as there may be any freſh matter worth regarding.

The firſt Queſtion you undertake to anſwer, is, Whether (as is commonly taught) Baptiſm is the proper and natural Antitype of Circumciſion? &c. Your poſitive Anſwer is, that in many Caſes it will bear the Affirmative; which you endeavour to prove, from ſome fol­lowing Conſiderations.

And your firſt is, from the Cuſtom amongſt the Jews, in proſely­ting the Gentiles into their Religion: So far indeed (ſay you) Cir­cumciſion was not properly a Type, but rather the Continuance of a Cuſtom, that by St. John, our Saviour and his Apoſtles, had added unto it, all that was neceſſary to make it a full, proper, and pertinent Type of Baptiſm. Now, Sirs, what a ſtrange, looſe, unintelligible and un­ſatisfactory Anſwer is this?

For firſt; Your poſitive Anſwer is not ſo poſitive as it ought to have been; for you do not poſitively anſwer the Queſtion at all, ei­ther that Circumciſion was, or it was not a Tyye of Baptiſm: Now this I humbly conceive you ought to have done, namely, poſitively to have aſſerted, that Circumciſion was a Type of Baptiſm, if you had look'd upon it ſo to have been, notwithſtanding they might have differ'd in ſome Circumſtances, as indeed all Types and Anti­types do in ſomething or other, otherwiſe they could not have been two, but one and the ſame thing: for things that differ not at all, cannot be different things. And divers things may agree with other9 things, under ſome general Conſiderations, of which they never were Types, as well as thoſe that were: Iſaac and Iſhmael, were both Sons of Abraham; therein there was an Agreement. 2dly, They were both Subjects of Circumciſion, there they agreed again, &c. yet Iſhmael was no Type of Iſaac. A Horſe is a Subſtance, ſo is a Man, there's an Agreement; a Horſe is a Living Creature, ſo is a Man, there's an Agreement again; a Horſe eats and drinks, ſo does a Man, there's another Agreement; yet neither of them was ever a Type of the other: So that your poſitive Anſwer, does as ſtrong­ly imply that Circumciſion was not a Type of Baptiſm, as it does that it was.

But ſecondly, Is it not ſtrange that ſuch Pretenders to Ingenui­ty as you are, ſhould bring a Conſideration to prove Circumciſi­on a Type of Baptiſm, which as ſoon as ever you have laid down, you plainly confeſs and acknowledg it proves no ſuch thing, but rather the contrary? For do not you plainly tell us, that you ſhall endeavour to prove the Affirmative, by theſe following Conſiderati­ons?

And the firſt is, From the Cuſtom amongſt the Jews; and yet in the very next Words, you tell us as plainly, it proves no ſuch Mat­ter: for ſo far it was no Type, but the Continuance of a Cuſtom. Pray, Gentlemen, why then did you urge this Conſideration for ſuch a Purpoſe, when you knew beforehand, it was not capable of per­forming that Service? Methinks, you ſhould never be in love with ſuch a Cauſe, as doth ſo ſtrangly captivate your Intellects; as not only appears in this, but in other things that follow: Circumciſion (ſay you) was rather the Continuance of a Cuſtom, &c. Now, Sirs, here I muſt of neceſſity be puzzled to find out your Meaning? Your Words are ſo unintelligibly laid down, that it will be hard for me to know what you intend by them; and if I ſhould, without any more ado, take that to be your Meaning, that the Order and Grammar of your Words here do imply, I know not but I might wrong you in your Meaning, which I would not willingly do if I could help it: I muſt be forc'd therefore, to gueſs at 2 or 3 things, and hit upon it if I can: Some one or other of which, I think muſt be your Meaning, or elſe I am like to continue ignorant of it till fur­ther Revelation. Certainly theſe words Continuance of a Cuſtom here, muſt refer either to Circumciſion it ſelf, or elſe to that other Cuſtom a­mong the Jews you ſpeak of; if to Circumciſion, as one might juſtly be under a Temptation to think it may, when you ſo plainly tell10 us both Negatively and Poſitively, what it was not, and what it was; not a Type, but a Continuance of a Cuſtom; who can think but you muſt mean Circumciſion all this while? For how Circumciſion could be the Continuance of another thing, I do not well underſtand: if you had ſaid a Cauſe or Occaſion of Continuance, there might have been ſome ſmall matter in it, though not very much; but to be the Conti­nuance it ſelf of another thing, is not eaſy to be perceiv'd. Now then, if this Paſſage of yours be referr'd to Circumciſion, then you on­ly tell us, that Circumciſion was a Continuance of Circumciſion: Which is ſuch a groſs Identity, as is not much incident to ingenious Men: But if we refer it to the Cuſtom among the Jews, then in the firſt place I ask, how could Circumciſion, which was a Precept of God, be the Continuance of another thing, that was only a Cuſtom among Men? Was the Practice and Continuance of the one, the Practice and Continuance of the other? or how would you be underſtood?

Secondly; If your word Cuſtom here, relates to the Cuſtom of the Jews aforeſaid, then you ſeem to ſay, it was that Cuſtom that St. John, our Saviour and his Apoſtles, made a full, proper, and pertinent Type of Baptiſm; and then it's ſo far from appearing that Cir­cumciſion was a Type of Baptiſm, which was the thing to be proved, that after all, it falls to the lot of this Jewiſh Cuſtom, to be this Type: Which our Saviour it ſeems, was ſo much in love with, that he and his Apoſtles, make it a Type of their own Baptiſm: Which is not only a very ſtrange thing, but wonderfully remote from your Purpoſe.

But becauſe I would do you all the Juſtice I can, there is another thing which I have thought on, which may be your Meaning, for ought I know, but whether it is or no, that I cannot determine; but if it be, it is very far fetch'd, and muſt needs have a very uncouth Reference. However, the Suppoſition is this, namely, that St. John, our Saviour and his Apoſtles, added to the old Cuſtom of the Jews, all that was neceſſary to make Circumciſion a Type of Baptiſm: And if ſo, then it's a plain Caſe, that Circumciſion was never ordain'd or intended by God, neither in its Original nor Progreſs, to be a Type of Baptiſm, till Baptiſm was made a Goſpel-Ordinance by Chriſt and his Apoſtles; which is a very ſtrange and Self-contra­dicting Notion. For if Circumciſion was ever a Type a Baptiſm, it muſt be ſo before ever Baptiſm, as a Antitype, could have a Being; for upon the Coming of the Antitype, the Type ceaſes: As ſoon as ever the Antitype lives and is in force, the Type dies11 and is out of date: how then could Circumciſion be made a Type of Baptiſm, by Baptiſm it ſelf? when according to this Suppoſi­tion, it muſt continue all its Life-long without ſuch a Title, and when it was dead, it could never come at it. If Circumciſion were not the Type of Baptiſm before Baptiſm came, how then could Baptiſm be the Antitype thereof? It could not come as an Anti­type, becauſe it ſeems there was no Type before it came. If you had told us, that a Man cannot properly be ſaid to be born, till he is properly ſaid to be dead; or that the Father cannot properly Be, till the Son lives and begets him, it had been juſt ſuch a piece of Philoſophy, as this is of Divinity. But if it be ſaid, that Circumciſion did not expire upon the coming in of Baptiſm, for they were both in force for ſome Years together: I anſwer, it's very true, but then it's a good Argument to prove, that Circumciſion and Baptiſm were never Type and Antitype. And this Suppoſition our Gentlemen do as good as grant, for they tacitly tell us, it was no Type before Baptiſm came, and how it ſhould be a Type afterwards, I know not.

You ſay further, Had John the Baptiſt, Chriſt, &c. undertook any new Way of proſelyting the Jews to the Goſpel, they had not only ſtruggled with the Oppoſitions of a new Doctrine, but alſo of a new Practice, &c. Really, Sirs, your Words here ſeem to imply, that it was ſome old Trade to proſelyte Men to the Goſpel long before it began; for if it was not ſome old Practice before, then it muſt be a new Practice, when St. John and our Saviour began it. And if the very proſelyting of Men to the Goſpel, were a new Practice, and the Doctrine leading there­unto, a new Doctrine, what force can there be in this Objection of yours? However, Gentlemen, this Suggeſtion of yours, ſeems to be very raw and inconſiderate; for the great and principal Struggle of the Jews with our Saviour, was about his Divinity and Authority; his being the Son of God, and ſent by his Fa­ther, to teach and inſtruct the World, by virtue of that Autho­rity which none ever before him had: And accordingly, when­ever our Saviour taught amongſt the Jews, he very frequently, not only reprov'd their vicious and enormous Lives, but corrected and condemn'd their falſe and erronious Doctrines, their idle and vain Traditions, and fooliſh Superſtitions, wherein they taught for Doctrines the Commandments of Men. And herein lay the chief Quarrel of the Jews againſt our Saviour, who inſtead of own­ing12 of him in that Divine Capacity he juſtly challeng'd, they counted him a Samaritan, a Devil, and a Mad-man, contradicting, oppoſing, and charging of him with Blaſphemy, for making himſelf equal with God, and condemning them in their Ways, as one that had Authority from Heaven ſo to do. It was no part of our Saviour's Buſineſs, to countenance or encourage any in their vain Inventions and ſuperſtitious Fooleries, which were never ap­pointed nor approved by God; but to enlighten their Minds, and take them off from all ſuch Dotages, and ſettle them upon ſuch things as were purely of God, and ſuch things as he had in Com­miſſion from his Father to teach them. And give me leave to tell you, that if your Notion in this caſe, were ſuppos'd to be true, it cannot rationally be thought, that our Saviour could have made any great Earnings upon the ſtubborn Jews, by virtue of that; for if he had only taken their old Cuſtom, and alter'd it, or added any thing to it of his own Pleaſure, and made it what it was not before, (as you ſay) and given it out in his own Name, re­quiring Obedience to it by his own Authority, even of the Jews themſelves, which never ſubmitted to it before, and that too in order to their being proſelyted or initiated into a new, or ano­ther Religion; he would in ſo doing, have declar'd and aſſerted his Authority to them and over them, altogether as much as if he had requir'd a down-right new Practice of them; and have croſs'd their Humours and Inclinations as much in the one as in the other. And as for thoſe that were inclinable to fall in with his Authority, and to own his Divinity, as he himſelf aſſerted it, it may readily be taken for granted, that they would give him leave to give out what precepts he pleas'd, without ſtruggling with him about it: Thoſe that receiv'd his new Doctrine, would never contend with him about new Practice; for indeed, all Practice is comprehended in Doctrine: ſo that the ground of your Notion is altogether groundleſs.

That Expreſſion of yours alſo, I muſt a little remark, as ano­ther piece of crabbed Intricacy, which I cannot make very plea­ſant Senſe of. When you tell as, that therefore this Cuſtom was continued, (namely, to pleaſe the Jews) and had the Superaddition of the full force of Baptiſm, viz. a Conſignation, or a Seal of the Co­venant: Do not theſe Words now ſeem ſtrongly to imply, that there was ſome other Baptiſm in force as a Seal of the Covenant, which the Jewiſh Baptiſm had not the force of, till our Saviour13 takes it, and gives it now the full force of Baptiſm, viz. makes that Cuſtom a Seal of the Covenant as well as Baptiſm, Baptiſm being the very Rule and Standard, unto which that Jewiſh Cuſtom was brought? for how could that Cuſtom have the full force of Baptiſm added, or given to it, if there had been no Baptiſm then in force, unto which this Jewiſh Cuſtom is now ſaid to be advanced? And if ſo, then People may take their choice, whether they will have this laſt made Jewiſh Baptiſm, or the firſt made Chriſtian Baptiſm; for it ſeems, though they are two diſtinct Baptiſms, yet they are both Seals of the Covenant. Really, Sirs, it is not uſual for Men, in the face of the Sun, to ſpeak Daggers at this rate; No more would you, I conceive, if your undeſerving Cauſe did not force you to it. I ſee it is not for nothing that you ſo freely acknow­ledg, in your ſecond Mercury upon this Subject, that you deliver'd your Aſſertions a little darkly. Indeed, Gentlemen, I think you were greatly in the dark when you wrote them, and therefore no wonder you were deliver'd of ſuch a dark Iſſue: Which though you ſeem to be ſenſible of, yet you ſeem to have no Inclination to come into the Light, that you may ſee to make better work. But, Sirs, after all this, I might juſtly enquire, how you came by all this Confidence? Gentlemen, I beſeech you, who told you, or where did you read ſuch a piece of Chriſtian Divinity, as you ſo boldly dictate to the World; namely, that John the Baptiſt, Chriſt and his Apoſtles, did ſo highly approve of this old Jewiſh Cuſtom you talk of, as to take it, and put a Divine Sanction upon it, and make that very Cuſtom a Con­ſignation, or a Seal of the Covenant, and ſo it became a proper Anti­type of Circumciſion? Does the Scripture, which we all pretend to be our Rule in Matters of Divine Worſhip, tell you any ſuch Story, or teach you any ſuch Doctrine? Is there the leaſt Whiſper of any ſuch thing in all the New-Teſtament? if there be, pray be ſo kind as to tell us where; if not, what ſignify your Dictates? Nay, Sirs, I am very apt to think, that your great Friend Maimonides, nor yet any of the Jewiſh Rabbies, ever told you ſuch a linſy-woolſy Story as this; yet here ſeems to lie the greateſt ſhew of your Proof that Circumciſion was the Type of Baptiſm. Sirs, if you did not ſeem to be a little proud and obſtinate in this Matter, I could hear­tily pity your Diſtreſs: but why ſhould you ſtrive, thus to impoſe your vain Crochets, and Scriptureleſs Notions upon us; and ſeem to be angry with us, that we do not greedily ſwallow them?


As for the three Texts you bring, further to prove Circumci­ſion a Type of Baptiſm, which you call undeniable Texts; I confeſs, it might be worth any ones while, to take theſe three Texts, and read them well over; for they are, as the Gentlemen call them, undeniable Texts: But withal, do but remember for what purpoſe theſe Gentlemen quote them, and then forbear ſmiling if you can. The Gentlemen, I confeſs, were very much in the right, when they call'd them undeniable Texts: But they were extreamly in the wrong, when they thought theſe Texts would prove Circum­ciſion a Type of Baptiſm, or do them any ſervice for Infant-Sprinkling. The firſt Text is, Col. 2.11, 12. In whom alſo ye are circumciſed with the Circumciſion made without Hands, in putting off the Body of the Sins of the Fleſh, by the Circumciſion of Chriſt; buried with him in Baptiſm, wherein alſo you are riſen with him, through the Faith of the O­peration of God, &c. Now in the reading of this Text, any one might be ready to think, that certainly, if any thing here ſpoken of, may be ſuppos'd to be the Antitype of Circumciſion with Hands, it muſt be the Circumciſion here mention'd, made without Hands, in putting off the Body of the Sins of the Fleſh; and this is very ſo­berly, not only ſuggeſted, but (one would think) alſo very ratio­nally and fairly proved, by the Gentleman in his Animadverſions, as alſo in his Rejoinder: And alſo in that other Gentleman's Anſwer to your two Mercuries. And indeed it lies ſo fairly in the Text, ſo eaſy to be underſtood, and ſo rational in it ſelf, that one may juſtly admire how any underſtanding Man could miſs it. But, ſay our Gentlemen, in their ſecond Mercury, The Scope of the Apoſtle here was to take off the Coloſſians from the Rudiments of the World, (then I hope, by the way, it was not to ſettle them in any old Cuſtom) eſpecially Circumciſion, which troubled moſt of the Churches; ſo far indeed, I ſhall not diſpute: And therefore, the Apoſtle very wiſely and rationally gives them to underſtand, that they had not the leaſt occaſion to dote upon theſe weak and beggarly Rudi­ments; for, ſaith he, ye are compleat in Chriſt; (without them) in whom alſo ye are circumcis'd (if that be it you would have) with the Circumciſion made without Hands, in putting off the Body of the Fleſh, which is far better than your old outward Circumciſion; and this is plainly ſignify'd and confirm'd to you, in your being buried with Chriſt in Baptiſm: So that you have no reaſon in the World, to hanker after theſe unprofitable things, but rather much reaſon to be content in your Goſpel-Station, and keep where you are: being not15 only in a better Condition, in being deliver'd from that Yoke of Bondage, but alſo ſtrongly oblig'd to perſevere in the Chriſtian Re­ligion, by being liſted under the Captain of it, by your being buried with him in Baptiſm, wherein alſo you are riſen with him, through Faith, &c.

But ſay you, they might object, We want the outward Circumci­ſion to us and our Children. No Sirs, they might not now object at this rate, for this was the Objection that was ſuppoſed to go before, unto which the Apoſtle had given a very fair, full and ſatisfactory An­ſwer, by telling them that they were Circumciſed with the Circumci­ſion made without Hands, as aforeſaid: So no room for that Objection now. But this Interpretation is rejected, and condemned, by our Athenian Gentlemen; and Circumciſion muſt, even by this Text, be the Type of Baptiſm when all's done: But for what Reaſon I cannot imagine, unleſs it be meerly becauſe they find theſe two Words in the Text, Circumciſion and Baptiſm; and therefore conclude one muſt be a Type of the other. But, Gentlemen, if you will but let our Interpre­tation paſs for Orthodox till you are able to give us a better, we ſhall in this Caſe deſire no more. Moreover, Sirs, If we ſhould grant you your own Expoſition here, and give it you for Truth, I do not yet un­derſtand what great matter you would gain by it; unleſs we give you alſo what you pleaſe to beg for into the Bargain: What if I ſhould grant you, for Argument-ſake, that Baptiſm ſupplies the place, or came in the room of Circumciſion, and that Chriſtians are in effect Circumciſed becauſe Baptized (as you ſay:) All this might be, and yet this Text ſignify nothing for Infant-Baptiſm, unleſs it were alſo plain in the Text that Infants are the Subjects of it; but there is not the leaſt glimmering of ſuch a thing in the Text, but rather plainly the con­trary: There's nothing in the Text but what is rationally excluſive of Infants. It cannot be ſuppoſed that the Apoſtle is to be underſtood of Infants, when he tells the believing Coloſſians, that in Chriſt they were Circumciſed with the Circumciſion made without Hands, in putting off the Sins of the Fleſh, and were buried with Chriſt in Baptiſm, wherein alſo they were riſen with him through Faith, &c. What therefore, if I ſhould now grant you that the Apoſtle in this Text ſhould intimate, that in the place and room of Infant-Circumciſion, Chriſt has now appointed Be­lievers Baptiſm; that inſtead of Abraham's Fleſhly Seed that were wont to be Circumciſed, he will now have only Abraham's Spiritual Seed bap­tized? As in the caſe of the Paſſover and the Lord's Supper, moſt judi­cious Chriſtians do ſuppoſe and believe that the Lord's Supper came in the room of the Paſſover, and that tho Infants did partake of the one,16 yet they are excluded from the other. Where then would your Ad­vantage be, if we ſhould grant you that Baptiſm might come in the room and ſtead of Circumciſion? you would ſtill be as far to ſeek for Infant-Baptiſm as ever you were. For you know, it is not Cir­cumciſion and Baptiſm, running parallel in ſome things, that will make them parallel in every thing; and by the ſame Rule you grant them to differ in the caſe of Women, why may they not alſo differ in the caſe of Infants?

Your other two Texts, is 1 Cor. 10.2. and 1 Pet. 3.21. the one ſpeaks of the Iſraelites being baptized unto Moſes, in the Cloud, and in the Sea; and the other of Noah and his Family being ſaved in the Ark, &c. Now let all the World judge how theſe Texts prove Circumciſion to be a Type of Baptiſm. What courſe ſhall we take to frame an Argument from theſe Texts for ſuch a purpoſe? Gentlemen, becauſe I perceive you are ſuch Friends to a Syllogiſtical way of argu­ing, I'le try how well I can do your work for you, which you ſeem to have no Stomach to do for your ſelves.

Firſt, thus, If the Cloud and Sea were a Type of Baptiſm, then Circum­ciſion was a Type of Baptiſm: But this Text implies, That the Cloud and Sea were a Type of Baptiſm: Ergo, Circumciſion was.

Again, If Noah's Ark were a Type of Baptiſm, then Circumciſion was ſo: But Noah's Ark was a Type of Baptiſm: Ergo.

But if you think this Hypothetical way of Syllogizing is not ſo good as the Catagorical way; I'le try how they will look when they are laid down Catagorically.

Then thus it muſt be; The Cloud and the Sea were a Type of Baptiſm: But Circumciſion was the Cloud and the Sea: Ergo, Circumciſion was a Type of Baptiſm.

Again, Noah's Ark was a Type of Baptiſm: But Circumciſion was Noah's Ark: Ergo, Circumciſion was a Type of Baptiſm.

If our Gentlemen ſhould not like theſe Arguments, I would adviſe them to ſtudy a better Cauſe, that they may know how to mend them: In the mean time, whoever is in love with ſuch Logick, let them go to theſe Gentlemen to learn it.

But Gentlemen, I have not yet done with your Jewiſh Cuſtom, I am willing to paraphraſe a little farther upon it before I paſs it: Where­fore, in the firſt place, I muſt needs tell you, that I ſee no reaſon but why we may yet queſtion the very Truth of it, even with reſpect to matter of Fact; for although 'tis true I lay no great ſtreſs upon the Buſineſs, for I do not much care whether it be true or falſe; yet I can­not17 but reckon it is at leaſt lawful to queſtion whether your Story be true or no, eſpecially a Truth of ſuch an ancient ſtanding as you talk of, and not only ſo, but a Truth ſufficient to make the Bottom and Founda­tion of a Goſpel-Ordinance. You had need of good Evidence, Sirs, to palliate your Boldneſs; but if you had far better Evidence than you have, as to Matter of Fact, it will not excuſe you in impoſing it upon us as a Goſpel-Duty: How great is your Folly then if it ſhould hap­pen to be but a Fiction, which ſeems at leaſt to be likely, if we ſeriouſly conſider theſe two or three Things?

Firſt; Becauſe there is not the leaſt mention of ſuch a Thing in all the Old and New Teſtament; the Scripture knows nothing of ſuch a Story, which is a very probable Argument to prove it falſe: For if there had been ſuch a remarkable Cuſtom amongſt the Jews ſo long ago as you intimate, Is it not ſtrange, that neither Moſes, nor any of the Old Teſtament Writers, nor our Saviour, nor any in the New Te­ſtament, ſhould ever give us the leaſt hint of ſuch a Thing? And yet you confidently dictate, that our Saviour took that Cuſtom, and turn'd it into a Goſpel-Sacrament, and yet never gave us the leaſt Signification that ever there was ſuch a Cuſtom in the World: Which does, at leaſt, very ſtrongly imply one of theſe two Things. Firſt, That either there never was ſuch a Cuſtom in the World in thoſe Days; or if there was, our Saviour had nothing to do with it, at leaſt in your Senſe; your choice of either (Gentlemen) wholly deſtroys your Cauſe.

But Secondly; Matter of Fact may yet be doubted, becauſe, as far as I can yet perceive, this Story is originally taken out of the Jews Fictitious and Lying Talmud; in which is contain'd ſuch a Bundle of fabulous and ridiculous Stories, which almoſt every Man in his Wits is ſo far from believing, that they muſt rather conclude them to be abominable Falſhoods.

Thirdly; Becauſe, as Sir Norton Knatchbull obſerves, (as I find him quoted by Mr. Danvers) there is a difference in this Matter even be­tween the Jewiſh Rabbies themſelves: two eminent Rabbies that were Contemporaries, plainly contradicting each other in this Point, even as to matter of Fact; Eliezer affirm'd that the Proſelytes were Circumciſed and not Baptized, and Rabbi Joſhuah atteſted the quite contrary, that they were Baptized and not Circumciſed: Whereupon Sir Norton de­mands to which of them muſt we adhere, to Eliezer that affirms what the Scriptures teach, or to Joſhuah that aſſerts what the Scriptures no where teach? All theſe things well conſider'd, it ſeems to be more than probable to be but a lying Invention.


I confeſs, had you not brought this Story as a Baſis of that which all Chriſtians count part of Divine Worſhip, I ſhould not ſo much have concern'd my ſelf in queſtioning the Truth of it, neither had your Weakneſs been ſo apparent, whether the Story had been true or falſe; we might have believ'd juſt what we had liſted in it without being one jot better or worſe. But now, Sirs, with reſpect to what you bring it for, nothing leſs than Scripture-Teſtimony ought to ſerve the turn; therefore your Diſingenuity (to ſay no worſe) appears to be exceed­ing great in going about to put us off with the Story of Alexander the Great, Cato and Hannibal. Alas! Sirs, we may make a pretty good ſhift to believe ſuch things as theſe, if Human Teſtimony do but hang well together about them, becauſe they are of the ſame Nature and Con­cernment with the Teſtimony that gives them; and if they ſhould happen to be falſe, yet our Souls have no Dependency upon them. But if any Body ſhall tell me that Alexander, or any Body elſe, conſul­ted the Apoſtle Paul about Baptizing Bells and Pots, and the Apoſtle's Anſwer was that it is a Chriſtian Duty ſo to do, 'tis part of God's Di­vine Worſhip, and it ought to be done in the Name of the Sacred Tri­nity; and ſhould refer me to ſome old Human Hiſtory to prove it by as a Divine Truth; I ſhall only ſay, that he that takes this for good pay, deſerves to be cheated.

But Secondly; If your Story, as to matter of Fact, were unque­ſtionably true; and that it's ſo certain that the Jews had ſuch a Cuſtom, that none needs doubt it, this would be far from being ſatisfactory to the matter in hand: For firſt, Who bad them do it? Did they come honeſtly by this Cuſtom? Was it appointed and approved of by God, or was it not? If you ſay it was, you cannot but reckon your ſelves oblig'd to prove it: And if it was not of God, but their own Super­ſtitious Invention, what does it ſignify to us Chriſtians, any other­wiſe than to admoniſh us to take heed that we do not provoke God by our fooliſh Inventions as they did? And can it be imagin'd that God ſhould aboliſh his own Appointments, and ratify and conſecrate one of their God-provoking Cuſtoms, as a Divine Sacrament in the room and place thereof, to be a binding Duty upon all Chriſtians? Sirs, if you dare aſſert ſuch a thing, you had need to have ſpecial Evidence to bear you out in it; and yet behold you have none at all, notwithſtanding you can venture very boldly to tell us that there was no need to have this expreſly ſet down, in what Method and what Perſons, whether Infants or not, the Cuſtom being ſo well known before-hand; when it may not only be queſtion'd, whether Chriſt and his Apoſtles knew19 any thing of it, or whether you know any thing of it your ſelves from good Authority? But it's evident there are many thouſand in the Chri­ſtian World that know nothing at all of this Cuſtom; What muſt all theſe poor Creatures do that have nothing to inform them into their Duty in this matter, but the Scriptures? Do not you a little too plain­ly give us to underſtand, that the Scripture ſignifies nothing to our In­ſtruction or Direction herein? And if it be our Duty to baptize our Infants, we are like to know nothing of it from thence? But thoſe that are ignorant of the Cuſtoms of Nations, (as you intimate many are) muſt of neceſſity remain ignorant how to ſerve and pleaſe God in this particular, unleſs by conſulting the Jewiſh Talmud they can arrive at that Happineſs; for it ſeems by this Paſſage of yours it is in vain to conſult the Scriptures about it, Res ſtupenda & horrenda! &c.

The Second Queſtion you undertake to anſwer is this, What certain indubitable Grounds can we have for the practice of Infant-Baptiſm?

Your Anſwer is now direct and poſitive, from the Scripture. Gentlemen, I do aſſure you, I am very glad of this Anſwer; for then, I hope, we ſhall hear no more of that old Jewiſh Cuſtom, which has lain ſo long in our way: If you had thought of this ſooner, you might have ſav'd your ſelves and me too, a great deal of Labour: for hitherto, the Jewiſh Cuſtom has been the only Oracle that one would have thought, might have been ſufficient fully to have decided the Controverſy: for it does not only prove Circumciſion a Type of Baptiſm, but it goes further, and anſwers the main Ob­jection in that caſe; for though Women were not circumcis'd, and ſo one would think ſhould have been excluded from Baptiſm: No, not ſo; this old Cuſtom take, that quite off: for, inaſmuch as Men, Wo­men and Children, among the Heathen, were baptiz'd by the Jews, it wholly anſwers that Objection; and one would think, ſhould fully prove the whole Controverſy, that Men, Women and Children, are all the Subjects of Baptiſm. Who could imagine, that after all this, we ſhould need to be beholden to the Scripture for Infant-baptiſm? But however, the caſe it ſeems is alter'd, the Scripture muſt now do the buſineſs: And I freely confeſs, that if it do but appear from Scrip­ture, that either Infants were baptiz'd by God's Appointment, or ought to be Baptiz'd, we ought to be ſilent in the Caſe. But what Scriptures are theſe, that thus certainly and indubitably prove Infant-baptiſm? Why the firſt is, Matth. 28.19, 28. Good Reader, do ſo much as read the Text, and ſee elſe if it do not: Thus it reads, Go ye therefore, and teach all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Fa­ther,20 and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoſt: Teaching them to obſerve all things whatſoever I have commanded you. Certainly, Sirs, you muſt be Gentlemen by your Boldneſs, elſe you durſt not have ventur'd up­on ſuch a Text as this, to have prov'd Infant-baptiſm: Sure you can­not but think, that any Text in the Bible will prove it as much as this; and there are abundance of Texts that have leſs in them againſt it. I wonder why you did not urge them by Dozens! But, Sirs, what reaſon had you to bring this Text for Infant-baptiſm? Does not the Text rather plainly exclude them, when it ſaith, Go, teach all Nations, and then baptize them? Pray, Sirs, conſider, and anſwer plainly, if you dare venture to be ingenuous; Is any more, or any other, here commanded to be baptiz'd, than what are firſt commanded to be taught, and that too, by the Apoſtles preaching of the Goſpel to them, as it is expreſs'd in Mark 16.15, 16. a parallel Place, where this ſame Commi••ion is repeated? If this be not excluſive of Infants, I wiſh you would let us know what is. But, ſay you, the Order of Words in the Commiſſion, does your buſineſs: Well, Sirs, if it do, we are well contented; for we are very well pleas'd, with that Or­der that our Saviour has here laid down: And I plainly perceive, that with all your Art and Learning, (though you ſeem to have a great mind to it) you are not able to diſorder them, to ſerve your purpoſe. The words in the Commiſſion, you ſay, is, Mathetéuſate pánta ta ethne, diſciple all Nations; and then follows, Baptizontes kai didáſcontes, and this you ſay, in your ſecond Paper, you ſhall ever ſtand by, (as the Senſe and Scope of this Commiſſion) to wit, diſci­ple all Nations, Baptizing and Teaching them. Good now, Sirs, ſtand your ground; mean but honeſtly, and there's no danger of Diſcord from any that I know of. What do we ſay, or plead for, more or leſs, than you have thus far plainly given us? We freely grant, that the Word Mathetéuſate ſignifies to diſcipulize, diſciple, or make Diſciples: and this muſt be done, by this Commiſſion, before Perſons are to be baptiz'd: and when that's done, they are to be baptiz'd, and after that, ſtill to be taught, to grow in Grace and Knowledg, that they may go on to Perfection. Now, Sirs, if this be the thing you reſolve to ſtand by, we bid you God ſpeed; you will hardly meet with any Diſ­ſenters among the Baptiſts. Yet though you not only grant, but plead to this purpoſe, in your firſt Paper, and tell us you are reſolv'd to ſtand by it, in your ſecond: You have no mind we ſhould take this Senſe into our hands, though you know not well how to keep it in your own; neither have you any mind to keep to it your ſelves, when21 all's done; for you ſtrangely ſtrive to ſhrink away from it, as ſoon as ever you have laid it down; and very odly make theſe two incon­gruous Obſervations from the Text ſo read:

Firſt, Infants are not excluded from Baptiſm, as is generally believ'd by Anabaptiſts.

Secondly, A Perſon may be baptiz'd before he be taught.

Certainly, Sirs, you can never think, that theſe two Propoſitions receive Countenance and Confirmation from this Text: For firſt, If Infants are not excluded from Baptiſm by this Text, good now do ſo much as tell us who are. Secondly, If Perſons may be baptized, by this Text, without being firſt taught, pray be ſo kind as to tell us, who by this Text, are not to be baptiz'd. If you think none are ex­cluded, or if there can be none in the World, that are not to be bap­tiz'd, I wiſh you would tell us ſo in words at length, that we might readily give you the Reputation of extraordinary Doctors of Divinity. Pray, Gentlemen, tell us alſo plainly, how you think the Apoſtles, by virtue of this Commiſſion, were to make Diſciples of Chriſt, in order to their being baptiz'd: Were they to make People Diſciples of Chriſt, meerly by looking upon them, without ſpeaking a word to them? This indeed ſeems to be the Deſign of your ſtruggle in your two Papers; namely, that the Apoſtles were to diſciple People to Chriſt, where-ever they came, without teaching them any thing in order thereunto. Which he that can believe, certainly need ſtick at nothing: for if People may be Diſciples of Chriſt, without being taught, then they may be Diſciples of Chriſt without learning any thing at all; and if ſo, then ſure one would think, that all the World ſhould in every, or any Capacity, ipſo facto, be Diſciples of Chriſt. And yet again, they were to be made Diſciples before they could be ſo; and the A­poſtles were to do ſomething in order to the making them ſo: but what that was, who can imagine, for they were not to ſpeak a word to them, to teach them any thing about it. Sirs, why do you ſtrive thus, by your confuſed Confidence, to deceive People, and bring them into a miſerable Maze? Beſides, if this were the Deſign of the Commiſ­ſion, that the Apoſtles were to make Diſciples without Teaching, then theſe two things will follow: Firſt, That our Tranſlators of the Text, were either very Ignorant, and knew not how to tranſlate the Words as they ſhould have done; or elſe very unfaithful, that they did not: For they have, by their Tranſlation of the Text, given us occaſion to believe, almoſt whether we will or no, that Teaching muſt precede Baptiſm: and really, it ſeems to agree ſo mightily, not on­ly22 with Reaſon it ſelf, but alſo with other Scriptures, that we can do no leſs than think it true. 2dly, If this were the Senſe and Deſign of the Place, then if the Apoſtles had ever preſum'd to preach the Goſpel to any Body, before they had baptiz'd them, they had gone quite beſides their Commiſſion, and broke the Command of their Ma­ſter: for either they were to teach People by this Commiſſion, be­fore they baptiz'd them, or they were not: if they were, then all your ſtrange Prattle to the contrary is gone; if they were not, then that which I have ſaid muſt follow: Or elſe there muſt be two Com­miſſions in this one, contra-diſtinct to each other, given out in the ſelf-ſame Words, which can be but of one Signification, and yet muſt be underſtood in two, quite contrary to each other; that is, you ſhall, and you ſhall not, teach People before you baptize them: And how conſonant theſe things are to Scripture and Reaſon, let all the World judg. But, alas! were it not for the ſake of the poor Ig­norant World, that are apt to be taken with any thing you ſay, we need not take any pains to confute you; for after you had been ped­ling a while, to make Folks believe, that the Apoſtles were to make Diſciples without Teaching, you preſently, even in the Proſecution of your Proof, contradict and confute your ſelves: for you ſay, Ma­thetéuſate, which ſignifies, to diſciple all Nations, is a general Word, and contains in it the other two that follow: viz. Baptizontes kai di­dáſcontes, Baptizing and Teaching; the Commiſſion is to diſciple, and the Manner how, is Baptizing and Teaching; both it ſeems, as well as one; without which a Diſciple cannot be made. Is not this a clear Confeſſion, that Teaching is as neceſſary and eſſential to the making of Diſciples, as Baptizing? And if ſo, what will you do for Infant-Diſciples? Are you not as far to ſeek now, as ever your were? What are you the nearer, if this be true, to baptize your Infants, unleſs you teach them too? you even leave them as you found them, no more Diſciples of Chriſt, than they were before: and if ſo, had not you better ſtill let the Needle go before the Thrid, (or Teaching before Bap­tizing) than thus to ſtrive to teach the World a ridiculous Trade, and take a deal of Pains to no purpoſe? Though when all's done, it's very plain from Scripture, that Perſons may be made Diſciples of Chriſt be­fore Baptiſm, as indeed they ought, even by this Commiſſion of our Saviour; and that by Teaching too, and then to be baptiz'd: and this is not only agreeable to the Current of Scripture in many other places, but particularly moſt exactly to Joh. 4.1. Jeſus made, and baptiz'd more Diſciples than John: firſt made them Diſciples, then they were baptiz'd.


Secondly; You ſay, Children are capable of Proſelytiſm, as may be ob­ſerv'd from our Saviour's Words, Suffer little Children to come unto me; which your great Skill in the Greek, tells us is the ſame with, to proſelyte. Now how you would be underſtood here I know not, whether you reckon that their bare coming to Chriſt were their Proſelytiſm; or, whether they come to Chriſt with a deſign and purpoſe to be proſely­ted to him ſome other way? If the former, then all that came to Chriſt (when he was upon Earth) upon any account whatſoever, (tho it was to betray him) were immediately by that very Act proſelyted to him, the Act it ſelf was their Proſelytiſm; but if they came with a de­ſign and purpoſe to be proſelyted to Chriſt by any other way, as he pleaſed to direct and inſtruct them, then certainly they could not be ſuch eight-days-old Proſelytes as you frequently baptize. Now, Sirs, we deny not, but when Chriſt was perſonally upon Earth, little Children might either come to him, or be brought to him, upon divers occaſions, as well as others; and ſo far as that very thing made Proſe­lytes of them, ſuch Proſelytes let them be, who ſhall hinder it? But then that Act muſt be perform'd, or elſe that Proſelytiſm has no being. But now Chriſt is not upon Earth; Ergo, there's no inſiſting upon this now: And whoever is capable of coming to Chriſt now, with a Deſign and Purpoſe to be proſelyted to him, by Faith, Repentance, Love, &c. let them be young or old, we are ſo far from hindring them, that we had rather do all we can to help them forward. But, if this don't pleaſe you, good now do ſo much as tell us plainly, what you mean by Proſelytiſm, when you ſay, Children are capable of Proſelytiſm; wherein lies their Capacity, or what is it they are capa­ble of doing? or whether there is any thing requir'd of them in or­der thereunto? If any thing, what? If nothing, why are not all Proſelytes as well as any? or how ſhall we do to know the Capacity of a Believer's Child, from an Ʋnbeliever's? If they are both alike in Capacity, then there is no difference: If there is a difference in the Capacity of the Children of Believers and Ʋnbelievers, pray tell us where it lies; eſpecially, ſince the Children that came to Chriſt, were Children indefinitly: or whether it be any Child's Vertue to be a Proſelyte, or fault that it is not? or whether this young Proſelyte, you talk of, underſtands any thing more of the Mind of God in Bap­tiſm with it, than it or another did, or may without it? For if it be no fitter for Baptiſm with it, than it or another is without it, pray what is it you talk of? For we ſay none are fit for Baptiſm, that know nothing of it, or care nothing for it. But if its Qualifications24 for Baptiſm be increaſed by it, tell us by what means? Truly for ought I know, you may even intend as little by it when you ſay they are capable of Proſelytiſm, than as if you had told us they are capable of Sleeping. But to enlarge no farther upon this, I ſhall only ſay that it's a very plain Caſe, that this Text will do no Service for Infant-Baptiſm.

Firſt, Becauſe there is not one Word of Baptiſm ſpoke of in the Text, tho recorded by three Evangeliſts; and it is not likely that a Text that makes nothing for any Body's Baptiſm, ſhould make any thing for Infant-Baptiſm.

Secondly, Becauſe our Saviour makes no improvement of ſuch an Argument as this to your purpoſe; and yet doubtleſs he knew as much of their Proſelytiſm as you can pretend to know: And if he did not, pray, why ſhould you? He ſaw nothing in it for their Baptiſm, I marvel how you came to be ſo ſtrong-ſighted: Yet you are ſo far from being able to prove that Chriſt baptized theſe Children, that we are able to prove he baptized them not; as appears, Joh. 4.2. Jeſus himſelf baptized none. And if ſo, this Text rather affords an Argu­ment againſt Infant-Baptiſm than for it. And if you will not believe me, I ſhall leave you to ſtruggle with Dr. Taylor about it; who tells us, The Concluſion would with more probability be derived thus; Chriſt bleſſed Children, and ſo diſmiſſed them, but baptized them not: Therefore Infants are not to be baptized. Let us ſee, Sirs, when you will be able to give us a better Argument for it, than this is againſt it.

You tell us you meet with Inſtances of Children that have been ſo young, ſome before they could either go or ſpeak, that have had ſtrange Exits into another World: Well, and what then? pray, what's all this to Infant-Baptiſm? Certainly, their going out of this World, let it be by what Exit it will, can be no Argument for their Baptiſm; unleſs you will ſuppoſe that they ought to be baptized after they are dead, or elſe in the next World, by virtue of their ſtrange Departure out of this: For you cannot make uſe of this Argument till you have it, and you cannot have it till you ſee and know their Exits into another World; and then you have no ſooner got it, but you have loſt it. Beſides, you cannot but know, that a thouſand ſuch Stories as theſe are not at all to the Queſtion between us; for the Queſtion in this Caſe between you and your Antagoniſts, is not concerning the State of Infants, but rather concerning their Duty, if there is any ſuch thing in the World; and if there be, whether Baptiſm be any part of it: If there be not, then we think we may ſafely conclude Infant-Baptiſm to be no Duty. For we25 ſay, all the true Subjects of Baptiſm are bound in Duty and Conſcience to yield Obedience to God in that Ordinance, which Infants cannot do, neither is it required of them, neither do they loſe any Priviledg, or one jot of God's Favour through the want of it. But if you ſay the Duty lies not upon the Infants, but upon the Parents; then if you would defend this Argument, you are bound to prove that God re­quires all ſuch Parents, whoſe Children make ſuch Exits at their Death, to baptize their dead Children; for they cannot come at this Argument ſooner: But as for all other Parents and Children, this Argu­ment concerns them not. And yet in the ſtrength of this miſerable Argument, you can valiantly trample upon your Antagoniſts, and boldly tell the World, that you may (by virtue of this rare Argument) with all the Indignation imaginable, explode that uncharitable Poſition of the Anabaptiſts, that ſay, Children have no more Right to Baptiſm than un­reaſonable Creatures: When, alas! this Poſition, let it be what it will, appears to be not one jot better or worſe, either for your Indignation, or for the Argument from whence it flows. However, Sirs, we only ſay Infants have no Right to Baptiſm by God's Appointment, for God re­quires no ſuch thing of them, nor from them: if you ſay they have, for my part I ſhould be very well pleaſed to ſee you able to prove it: But if you cannot prove it, you ought to be as well pleaſed to let it be otherwiſe, without reflecting upon any Body. Now, indeed, there is a Conſequential Truth in it, which I know you love dearly to aggra­vate, if by any means you may render us obnoxious to the Hatred and Diſpleaſure of the Fooliſh. For I confeſs, it cannot properly be ſaid that they that have no Right at all to a thing, can have any more Right to that thing, than any other thing that has likewiſe no Right to the ſame. And yet we have not the leaſt uncharitableneſs in our Breaſts or Thoughts againſt Infants; for we ſay they are not one tittle the worſe for having no Right to Baptiſm, nor any thing the leſs in the Love and Favour of God without it: It only argues that Baptiſm is be­yond their reach and capacity; and as it is ſo, God neither requires nor expects they ſhould be concern'd about it. And pray, Sirs, what's that to you, or to me either, if it be ſo? If this be the Caſe, who is it you quarrel with? Now, Sirs, 'tis you Pedo-Baptiſts rather that are ſo uncharitable toward poor Infants, that unleſs you may have your own Wills, and have them baptiz'd (as you miſcal it) not only whether they themſelves will or no, but even whether God will or no, you preſently grow ſo Surly and Ill-condition'd towards poor harmleſs Babes, that there's ſcarce one in forty of you can afford them a good26 word; and not only ſo, but condemn, cenſure and ſentence them far beyond what they dare pretend to do by any unreaſonable Creature. Be­ſides all this, Gentlemen, you forget that you your ſelves are guilty of the ſelf-ſame Crime, or at leaſt a Crime of the ſame Nature, which you here pretend with ſo much Indignation to explode: And why may not we reflect upon you, as well as you upon us, by telling you, That we may with all the Indignation imaginable explode that uncharitable Poſiti­on of Pedo-Baptiſts, that ſay Infants have no more Right to the Lord's Sup­per than unreaſonable Creatures? Is not this altogether as ſayable from your practice, as the other is from theirs? and is not this as bad and as uncharitable a Poſition as the other? What's the Matter, Sirs, that you ſeem to be ſo quick-ſighted abroad, and ſo very blind at home?

But above all things, I perceive, I muſt not forget the Inſtance of the Ruler's Daughter; for it ſeems there lies ſo much ſtrength in that for Infant-Baptiſm, that it muſt be reckon'd a piece of Cowardiſe to evade it. You ſay, you would ask ſuch Perſons who deny Infants uncapable of Baptiſm, becauſe they can ſhew no actual Sign of it. By the way, Sirs, I muſt demand of you who are the Perſons you mean here, that deny Infants to be uncapable of Baptiſm? Surely you cannot mean the People you call Anabaptiſts; for they plainly ſay, that Infants are uncapable of Baptiſm: and if any will ſay that they can and do give Actual Signs and Demonſtrations of their Incapacity in that Caſe, I ſhall not reckon it worth my while to contradict them. Here, Sirs, you ſeem to be ſo eager in the diſcharge of this Mortar-piece, that you have miſerably over-ſhot your ſelves, which you it ſeems look'd upon to be ſo formi­dable, that becauſe the Gentleman in his Animadverſions thought it had been empty, and ſo paſſed it by as a uſeleſs thing; you reckon it was becauſe he was afraid to come near it. Well, however, ſome Body it is you have a mind to ask what they think of the Ruler's Daughter? Our Saviour, ſay you, bid him only believe, and it ſhould be done. Would not any now be ready to think, that ſurely this muſt be ſome plain Inſtance of Infant-Baptiſm? when they that are ſuppos'd to deny it are ſo briskly and cloſely call'd upon to tell their Thoughts of ſuch a particular Inſtance, that is in ſhort, without any Paraphraſe, brought to confute them. Certainly if it chance to prove a Story of another Nature, and relate to another thing, and not at all to Infant-Baptiſm, our Gentlemen then muſt needs be ſtrangely impertinent, and deſerve to be corrected in their Imperious Confidence. Now let any body, for tryal-ſake, but read the Story as it's recorded by three Evangeliſts, in Mat. 9. Mark 5. and Luke 8. and they will find it to be only a Story, wherein is compre­hended27 an excellent Relation of our Saviour's Power and Compaſſion towards poor Mortals, manifeſted in reſtoring a young Damſel to Life and Health, even when ſhe was ſuppoſed to have been dead. And now, Sirs, my Thoughts of the Ruler's Daughter, is, that ſhe was recover'd by our Saviour from a very dangerous Diſtemper, and given as it were again to her Father, as a freſh token of our Saviour's Kindneſs to him. And for you only to ſay (as you do in your Second Paper) this ſhews that believing Parents Faith avail for their Children. What is it you talk of? you muſt needs know 'tis nothing to your purpoſe: For, in the Senſe of this Text, who ever deny'd it? We deny not, but the Father's Faith, Humility and Love to Chriſt might and did greatly avail herein, as to the Recovery and Reſtoration of his Daughter: but ſtill we deny, that ſhe immediately became a true and proper Subject of Baptiſm, by her Father's Faith; there is not the leaſt Shadow of ſuch an availment in the Text: Our Saviour doth not ſay, believe, and thy Daughter ſhall be baptized, nor any thing tending thereunto. And, Sirs, you ought to know, that if you plead for Infant-Baptiſm upon the Parents Faith, nothing ſhort of ſuch a-like Inſtance will, or can, do your Buſineſs: You know very well, that whether a good Man's Faith, and pious Endeavours, may or may not be available, in the behalf of a Child, a Wife, a Servant, a Neighbour, a Friend, yea or an Enemy ei­ther, in ſome reſpects, is no part of the Queſtion in Debate. And if you ſhould affirm that it may, and ſometimes is available, who do you think will be your Enemy therein? Now for you to clap your Wings, as it were, and crow as if you had got ſome famous Victory, by diſ­charging this Piece, when you know you have not ſo much as kill'd a Flea in your Enemies Quarters; What ſtrange Men are you? Pray, Sirs, why were you not ſo publick-ſpirited as to bring in the Centurion's Servant to take his ſhare of Right to Baptiſm, out of the common ſtock of ſecond-hand Faith? Was not his Maſter's Faith as available to him, as the Ruler's was to his Daughter? Pray read the Story in Mat. 8. and Luke 7. and you may eaſily perceive it was ſo. Now what Rule is this for you to baptize any of your Servants, whether they believe or not believe, meerly becauſe you your ſelves believe, and plead their Right to Baptiſm by virtue of your Faith? Beſides, If this Argument were good for the purpoſe you bring it, I cannot imagine who muſt be ex­cluded from Baptiſm: For it will not only take in any ungodly Perſon whatſoever, upon whoſe account a godly Man may, in ſome reſpects, prevail with God; but it will take in whole Cities of ungodly Men by the Lump, and make them all immediately true Subjects of Baptiſm,28 without any Change or Alteration at all in themſelves. For you know God, upon Abraham's Requeſt, offer'd to ſpare the whole City of Sodom, if there could have been but Ten Righteous Perſons found in it: And it had certainly been ſav'd from that fearful and amazing Ruin and Deſtruction that befel it, if only Ten had been there found. Now the Argument is the ſame in its Nature and Conſequence, tho they were not found as if they had been found; and if they had been there found, pray tell us what you would have to be the Conſequence of your Argument, concerning all the reſt of the Inhabitants? And if God ſhould ſhew any Kindneſs to any City, Place or Kingdom now a-days, upon the account of the Faith and Prayers of ſome Righteous Perſons, as there's no doubt but he doth, Would not this Argument turn all the Inhabitants immediately into Subjects of Baptiſm? And who knows but in your next you may improve it to the utmoſt; and why not? For it is of the ſame Stamp with the Ruler's Daughter: And we know you are Valiant, and dare venture upon very great Under­takings.

You likewiſe tell us, That 'tis a great Weakneſs to believe Children not baptized from the example of the Jaylor. Indeed, Sirs, I rather think 'tis a greater Weakneſs for any to believe they were: If by that am­biguous Term, Children, you mean little Infants, ſuch as you frequent­ly baptize: And 'tis not your Syriac Latiniz'd that will help you at this turn. For pray, Sirs, what great Diſcovery have you made by going to Syria, and there hearing of the Jaylor's Sons? You need not have taken that pains, (eſpecially ſince 'tis to no purpoſe) for we can freely grant you, without putting you to ſtruggle for it, that the Jaylor might have ſeveral Sons, yea and Daughters too: And if he had had ten Sons, and as many Daughters, I readily acknowledg that in all probability they were all baptiz'd. I will not ſo much as ſuppoſe that any of his Houſe, let them be Sons or Daughters, or Servants, or what elſe you pleaſe, were here exempted from being baptized. But yet ſtill, Sirs, you cannot chuſe but know (or elſe you muſt be horribly ignorant) that all this does you no Service at all for Infant-Baptiſm; you are ſtill but where you were, you have gain'd nothing at all by this Syriac Bargain, tho you ſeem as great upon it, as if you had been at ſome profitable Market: For ſurely nothing can be more evident, than that all that were here baptized in, or of, the Jaylor's Houſe, were grown Perſons, and famous Converts, not only Actual, but Active, Lively, and Spiritous Believers. For how plainly does the Text tell us that they ſpake the Word of the Lord to the Jaylor, and to all that were in his Houſe. 29Here it ſeems teaching went before baptizing, however it came about. But do we hear of any Infants yet? Altho we ſhould ſuppoſe them all to be Sons, which is not probable, for there might be Daughters as well as Sons, and Servants as well as either: But not an Infant amongſt them all. And when he and all his were baptized, he brings his welcome Priſoners into his Houſe, and like a good Chriſtian, ſet Meat before them, and rejoyced, believing in God, with all his Houſe. Suppoſe it were all the Sons of his Houſe ſtill, it's the ſame thing, it's plain they were All Believers, let them be whoſe Sons they will. What a ſtrange thing it is, that our Gentlemen cannot underſtand them to be Believers, meerly becauſe it's thought they might be Sons: When alas! the Jaylor himſelf, no doubt, had a Father, and was certainly Some-body's Son. Now it ſeems it lies within the reach of our Gentlemens Under­ſtanding, that the Jaylor himſelf might be a Believer, but they can­not think that his Sons ſhould be ſuch: Pray, Sirs, why might not the Jaylor's Sons, if he had any, be Believers as well as their Grand-Father's Son? 'Tis true any Body would be ready to think they might, and not only ſo, but that in reality they were ſo too. But then this quite ſpoils our Gentlemens Buſineſs, for they muſt have Infants, or they die. And therefore, rather than they will admit of this, they'l ven­ture to tell you, 'tis Nonſenſe to urge from the conſequent Text, that thoſe which were baptized, glorifyed and praiſed God, which Children could not do: And that which proves it Nonſenſe, is, becauſe it only means ſuch as were capable of doing it. Gentlemen, 'tis very true; you are now in the Right, 'tis only meant of ſuch as were capable of doing it: But then 'tis as true, that it means all of the Jaylor's Houſe that were bap­tized; for it's certain that all that were here baptized, were capable of ſo doing, and did ſo do. If I be ſo honeſt as to grant what you ſay in the former, I hope you will not be ſo diſhoneſt as to deny what I and the Text both ſay in the latter: For it's a plain Caſe, that there were no more baptized of the Jaylor's Houſe than what were firſt Converted by the preaching of the Word of the Lord; and glorifyed God in the ſtrength of their Faith: But Infants are not capable of this: Ergo, All your Infants are loſt.

There's one profound Obſervation more which you make hereabouts, which I ſhall a little Remark, and ſo proceed to ſomething elſe. At their Rate, ſay you, we ſhall have all the Children of Anabaptiſts ſtarved: For 'tis ſaid, he that will not work, let him not eat: But Children muſt eat, tho not capable of working, &c. But why I beſeech you at their Rate, any more than at your Rate? What is it that makes them ſo guilty in30 this ſad ſuppoſed Murder any more than your ſelves? You have not in any meaſure made it appear, how they ſtand chargeable with ſuch a Crime, whilſt your ſelves remain Innocent: I wiſh you had attempted it, for aſſuredly, Sirs, ſuch a Charge requires a Demonſtration. But in­aſmuch as many ignorant People will be apt to take it for granted, meerly becauſe you tell them ſo, tho they know no more why than a Poſt: I ſhall gueſs at your meaning as well as I can, and either clear the Baptiſts of this frightful Suggeſtion, or elſe bring you in guilty along with them. Now, I hope, we may take this Propoſition for granted without any more a-do; Namely, that you are not at all guilty of this ſtrange Plot againſt all the Infants in the World. Now if I can but make it appear, that if you be Innocent, they cannot be Guilty; or if they be Guilty, you cannot be Innocent: I hope you will be willing to diſmiſs them without Damage. Your meaning then certainly, I think, muſt be to this purpoſe; That foraſmuch as the Baptiſts ſay that In­fants are not to be baptized, becauſe not capable of believing; They may as well, and do in effect ſay, that Infants muſt not eat, becauſe not capable of working; for tho Faith is required of grown Perſons in order to Baptiſm, ſo is Working required of them in order to Eating. But now Infants may either be baptized without believing, or elſe it will follow that they may not eat without working. Herein I reckon I have done you the utmoſt Juſtice imaginable, in ſtating your Proof to the full, which you ought to have done your ſelves; but perhaps you durſt not, leſt your Folly ſhould have been the more eaſily diſco­vered. Now, Gentlemen, I intend to join Iſſue with you, and ſee what Concluſion we can bring it to. Sirs, why may not I as well conclude, that becauſe you ſay that Infants are not to be admitted to the Lord's Supper, becauſe not capable of Self-Examination, or diſcerning the Lord's Body; you may as well ſay that Infants muſt not eat, becauſe not capable of working: For tho Self-Examination &c. is required of grown Perſons, as previous to the Lord's Supper, and working required of them in order to eating; But as for Infants they muſt either be admitted to the Lord's Supper, without Self-Examination, or elſe it will follow that they muſt not eat without working: And therefore at your Rate all your Children muſt be ſtarv'd, and not only ſo, but the Race of all Chriſtians, nay of the whole World, muſt ſoon be extirpated, as you very boldly tell us in your Paper. Now, Sirs, your Charge is very fairly return'd upon your ſelves; What ſay you, Guilty or not Guilty? To ſuppoſe you will plead Guilty here, would be little leſs than to commit Sacriledg; yet if you ſay Not Guilty, you do in ſo ſaying fully acquit your Anta­goniſts:31 For now it appears, that if you be Innocent, they cannot be Guilty: And ſo I hope this dreadful Tattle of ſtarving Infants is blown over, and come to nothing. Yet, Sirs, I think you ought to take ſome blame and ſhame too, to your ſelves, for being ſo mighty willing to expoſe and condemn your Neighbour for nothing. I ſhall only ſay thus much more for the preſent to this matter, and ſo leave it, viz. If you had but clearly prov'd that God has given you the like Com­mand and Authority to baptize Children in their Infancy, as he hath done to Fathers and Mothers to feed them in their Infancy, you had then ſaid ſomething to the purpoſe; otherwiſe you had far better have ſaid nothing.

But the Text ſaith, Act. 2.39. The Promiſe is to you, and to your Chil­dren. Well, Sirs, it doth ſo: But how comes this Text to be any­thing to your purpoſe for Infant-Baptiſm? eſpecially, unleſs you were able to prove, that by Children here is undoubtedly meant Infants, which I doubt you will find ſuch a Task, as you will hardly ever live to finiſh: What, Sirs, do you take it for granted that Infants muſt here be underſtood, meerly becauſe you find the Word children〈◊〉the Text? What ſtrange Reaſoning is this? Is this one of your ne­ceſſary and unavoidable Conſequences you talk of in your Paper? Why may you not as well conclude, that becauſe the Text tells us, Joſh. 22. That the Children of Reuben and the Children of Gad built them an Al­tar: Ergo, The Infants of Reuben and Gad were Maſons and Stone-Cutters. And becauſe it's ſaid concerning the Vertuous Woman, Prov. 31.28. Her Children riſe up and call her Bleſſed: Therefore her Infants of eight Days old did ſo. And our Saviour ſaith of Jeruſalem, How often would I have gather'd thy Children together, as a Hen gathereth her Chickens under her Wings, and ye would not? Can it rationally be ſuppoſed that our Saviour here means Infants in the Cradle? And yet a little Conſideration will make you capable of diſcerning that Infants are not more excluded by theſe Texts, than they are by this Text now in Hand. For if Infants are here intended, then the Promiſe here men­tion'd, let it be what Promiſe it will, is not Conditional, but muſt be Abſolute: But the Promiſe here ſpoken of is not abſolute, but conditi­onal: Ergo, &c. Repentance and Baptiſm is here plainly requir'd, as the Means or Condition leading to the Promiſe, unto which the Promiſe is annexed; without which the Promiſe is not to be claim'd. And the Promiſe is here mention'd as a Motive or Encouragement to perform the Duties or Condition requir'd. And who is it, that in the reading the Text is not able to diſcern this? If you were not ſtrangely biaſſed, or32 devoted to an Error, methinks you might eaſily perceive, that by you and your Children in this Text, is meant the Jews and their Poſterity af­ter them, as they ſhould come to cloſe with this Doctrine now taught them: Wherein they are all encourag'd to fall in with Chriſt upon the Terms of the Goſpel, for Remiſſion of Sins and Salvation, notwith­ſtanding their great and unparallel'd Wickedneſs, in killing the Lord of Life, and imprecating that dreadful Curſe upon themſelves, and their Children, or Poſterity, the cutting Senſe whereof, now upon their Hearts, might have been apt to have driven them to Deſpair, had it not been for Peter's Cordial: Wherefore the Apoſtle gives them to underſtand that God would not be ſo ſevere as to take ſuch Advantage thereby, but that upon their hearty Repentance, and Submiſſion to the Terms of Salvation required in the Goſpel, they and their Children, or Poſterity after them, upon the ſame Terms, ſhould certainly be re­ceived to Mercy. All that I ſhall ſay more to this at preſent, ſhall be only to recommend to you the Sayings of two eminent Church of Eng­land Doctors, in Reference to this Text and Matter, Dr. Hammond, and Dr. Taylor.

If any, ſaith Dr. Hammond, have made uſe of that unconcludent Ar­gument, I have nothing to ſay in defence of them: I think, ſaith he, the Practice is founded upon better Baſis than ſo; and the word Children there, is really the Poſterity of the Jews, and not particularly their Infant Chil­dren.

And Dr. Taylor, upon this Scripture, ſaith; That the words menti­on'd in St. Peter's Sermon, are interpreted upon a weak Miſtake: The Promiſe is to you and your Children, therefore Infants are actually receptive of it, in that Capacity; that's the Argument: but the Reaſon of it is not yet diſcover'd, nor ever will: for to you, and your Children, is to you and your Poſterity: to you and your Children, when they are of the ſame Capacity, in which you are receptive of the Promiſe: But he that, whenever the word Children is uſed in Scripture, ſhall by Children underſtand Infants, muſt needs believe, that in all Iſrael there were no Men; but all were Infants. And if that had been true, it had been the greater Wonder they ſhould overcome the Anakims, and beat the King of Moab; and march ſo far, and diſcourſe ſo well, for they were all called the Children of Iſrael. Now, Gentlemen, I leave you to your liberty, whether you will, in this caſe, contend further, or ſubmit.

But you ſay, Children are in the Covenant, and they are holy, and of ſuch is the Kingdom of Heaven, &c. I might here juſtly enquire, what you mean by Infants being in the Covenant; and whether you mean33 all Infants in the World, or but ſome; if all, I wiſh you would tell us ſo; if but ſome, then which are they? or whether any thing is requir'd of them, or is to be done by them, in order to their getting into the Covenant? if any thing, what? if nothing, how came they in more than others? or whether it is their Vertue to be in, and the Sin of others to be out? or whether there is any difference in the Ca­pacity of thoſe that are in, and thoſe that are out? Is their Wiſdom, Knowledg, Judgment and Underſtanding, Increas'd by it, or not? if you ſay it is, you muſt make it manifeſt: but if not, then there is no difference betwixt them and others, in reſpect of their Fitneſs for Baptiſm, &c. I ſay, I might enlarge and inſiſt upon ſeveral things of this kind: Which I confeſs, I could be glad to be reſolv'd in: But for the preſent I ſhall not here inſiſt, but ſhall rather take you at all Adventures; and mean what you pleaſe by all theſe Allegati­ons, I ſhall endeavour to ſhew you, that there is nothing at all in them for your purpoſe. For what if I grant you all you ſay in theſe caſes, that Infants are in the Covenant, and Holy, and ſuch as ſhall be ſaved, &c. what then? if you infer, that then, or therefore, they ought to be baptis'd, I deny that Conſequence: for by this Rule, Moſes might have baptis'd Infants as well as you, if a bare being in the Covenant, &c. were ſufficient to warrant the Practice: however, Sirs, he might have circumcis'd them, the firſt, ſecond, or third Day after they were born, as well as to have ſtaid till the eighth Day: for certainly, they were as holy, and as much in the Covenant, and as fit for the Kingdom of Heaven the firſt or ſecond Day, as they were the eighth: and what's the reaſon think you that he did not? He might alſo have circumcis'd Females, if this had been good Rea­ſoning, for there's no doubt to be made, but they were holy, and in the Covenant, and ſuch as ſhould be ſaved, as well as the Males. But if he had done ſo, would he not (think you) have been a Tranſ­greſſor rather than a faithful Servant? Yet he might have taken up your Plea, and defended himſelf altogether as well as you do or can, in the buſineſs of Infant-baptiſm: but it's a plain caſe, he did not like this Argument. But, Sirs, you ought to remember that the Will and Pleaſure of God, ought in a ſpecial manner to be heeded in all ſuch Caſes: for it is the Command of God that gives Life and Being to all Duty, without which, all your Allegations are in vain: with which, we ſhould gladly ceaſe to contend; and that's the reaſon why Infants were circumcis'd preciſely upon the eighth Day, either before, or after, would certainly have incurr'd Diſpleaſure. And this was34 that which kept Females from Circumciſion, tho holy and in Cove­nant, as well as Males. Nay, if Chriſt had not commanded Believers to be baptis'd, their being Believers would not have juſtified the Practice, neither will it now juſtify any other Practice that he never commanded or appointed to be done. Beſides, Sirs, do you not herein ſin, becauſe Grace abounds? for is God ſo good and gracious, as to place our Infants in Covenant with himſelf, muſt we therefore take the holy Name of God in vain, and ſprinkle Water upon their Fa­ces, as if we ſuppos'd the Covenant worth nothing, unleſs we confirm it with our own Inventions, and clap a Seal to it of our own making, without any order from him ſo to do? Sirs, if Infants be in Covenant, be content there to let them reſt, without diſturbing or interrupting them in it: be content with that, till you are able to make them ſen­ſible of the Obligations that may lie upon them, by virtue thereof to diſcharge Duty towards God.

I have only two Demands to make, and then I ſhall leave this to Conſideration:

Firſt, Pray, Sirs, tell us, do you think Chriſt and his Apoſtles did not know as much of this Nature, concerning Infants, as you do? do you think they were not as well acquainted with their being holy and in the Covenant, and ſuch as ſhould be ſav'd, as you are? I hope, as Learned as you are, you will hardly venture to ſay they did not: yet where did Chriſt, or any of his Apoſtles, give either Command or Permiſſion, to any Body, to baptiſe their Infants upon any of theſe accounts? Where is thee the leaſt Sign or Shadow of ſuch a thing, in all the New-Teſtament? If you know of any, pray produce it, and let us ſee it, that we may read and underſtand ſuch a thing as well as your ſelves; and in ſo doing, the Controverſy would ſoon be ended: but if there be no ſuch things ſignify? if you ſhould argue and write for three ſeven Years together, what is it all worth, unleſs you bring Scripture-warrant for what you affirm and practiſe?

My ſecond Demand upon this account, is as followeth: Suppoſing all theſe things to be unqueſtionably true that you talk of; that In­fants are in the Covenant, holy, and ſuch as ſhall be ſaved, and what you pleaſe of that kind: How comes this to intitle them any more to Baptiſm than it doth to the Lord's-Supper? What's the reaſon, (I be­ſeech you) you do not receive them to the Lord's Table upon theſe Accounts, as well as admit them to Baptiſm? Are you able to give us an Inſtance in all the New-Teſtament of any that were accepted as fit35 Subjects of Baptiſm, and at the ſame time, as ſuch, reckon'd and known to be unfit for, and uncapable of the Communion of Saints in the Supper of the Lord? I marvel, Sirs, what you make of Baptiſm, that you ſhould think Infants ſo fitly and fully qualify'd for that, and yet dare not venture to plead, either Right, or Obligation to any other Goſpel-duty: Is not Baptiſm a Goſpel-requirement as well as the Lord's Supper? a Command of Chriſt, an Ordinance of Heaven, and part of that Service and Obedience which Chriſtians owe to God, in and under the Goſpel? And do you think it ought not to be done with more Knowledg, Judgment and Reverence, than Infants of ſeven Days old are capable of? What Subjection, or Obedience to God, is there, or can there be, in a little Infant in the performance of that which you call its Baptiſm, when it knows nothing at all of the thing com­manded, nor of the Law-giver commanding, nor any reaſon in the World why it ſhould, or ſhould not ſubmit; neither is it capable of thinking either well, or ill, concerning any thing relating thereunto? How then can it be done as a Duty, in Obedience to Chriſt, as the anſwer of a good Conſcience towards God, when the Subject knows nothing of theſe things, and is altogether uncapable of the leaſt motive to Subjection? But if you ſay, Infants muſt notwithſtanding all this, be admitted to Baptiſm, certainly you muſt needs wrong them greatly, in debarring them from the Lord's Supper. Gentlemen, theſe things deſerves to be well conſider'd; and then take Advice, and ſpeak your Minds.

As to what you ſay about univerſal conſent of Churches, and Antiquity for Infant-Baptiſm, I ſhall not ſo much as concern my ſelf to enquire after the Truth or Falſhood of the matter; becauſe, let it be true or falſe, all the while it is Scriptureleſs, there is not the weight of a Fea­ther in it: It neither hurts us, nor helps you, in this Caſe. For what does all the Conſent you talk of ſignify, unleſs you can clearly prove the thing conſented to, to be Truth without it? And if you can, then you have no need of its help; but if you cannot, it has no help for you; for it is not the greateſt Conſent imaginable that can make a Falſhood Truth: It muſt either be Truth previous to that Conſent, or elſe it remains a Falſhood notwithſtanding that Conſent: The Conſent it ſelf can be no Argument to prove it Truth. So that all that appears from this Argument, if all that you ſay were ſuppos'd to be unqueſti­onably true, is only this, That a great many People a great while agoe held Infant-Baptiſm; but whether they did well or ill, in ſo doing, ſtill remains the Queſtion, as much as ever: And if it want the true36 Primitive Mark of Antiquity, let it be as old as it will, 'tis never the bet­ter for that, but indeed the worſe; for that only ſerves to prove it an old over-grown Error. As old as it is, it is not old enough to be Truth, becauſe from the beginning it was not ſo. 'Tis in vain to talk of Antiquity, all the while you want the true ground thereof; for if that be wanting, all your talk of Antiquity is ſo far from being an Argu­ment for it, that it is clearly an Argument againſt it: For if it be very old, and of a long ſtanding, and yet not old enough to be Truth, it's high time for us, even for that Reaſon, to reject and explode it with Indignation. As a Learned Church of England Doctor well ob­ſerves and directs, ſpeaking of old Popiſh Pretenſions, When they ob­trude (ſaith he) their Revelations, or teach for Doctrines of God the Com­mandments of Men; we muſt ask them every one how they read in the Be­ginning: We may not draw out of their Ditches, be the Current never ſo long, whilſt we have Waters of our own of a nobler taſte, which we can eaſily trace back to the Chryſtal Spring, &c.

The next Queſtion you undertake to Anſwer, is, Whether Infant-Baptiſm is to be found in Scripture? Your Anſwer is not expreſly in the Letter, but from neceſſary and unavoidable Conſequences, as, ſay you, we have already ſhewn, &c. Now, Gentlemen, if the latter part of your Anſwer here were but as true as the former is, I ſhould very readily give you the Caſe, and Diſpute no more; for I am clearly of the Opi­nion, that whatſoever is truly prov'd by neceſſary and unavoidable Con­ſequences from Scripture, is ſufficiently prov'd, as you ſay, to all diſ­intereſted Perſons. But the miſery of it is, we could never yet ſee theſe neceſſary and unavoidable Conſequences; but your Conſequences are all ſo grievous ſick of one Diſtemper or another, that all the Doctors in Chriſtendom will never be able to make them ſound: And this we have pretty well found by your Conſequences hitherto produc'd, unto which I refer, having not now time to repeat. Beſides, Gentle­man, if it be true, that there is nothing of Infant-Baptiſm to be found expreſly in the Letter of the Scripture, I cannot readily underſtand how you can come by thoſe neceſſary and unavoidable Conſequences you talk of: for tho it is true you may lay down a Propoſition in ſuch Terms as cannot be proved verbatim from Scripture, and yet I confeſs it may be well enough prov'd from very good Conſequences. But if there is nothing at all expreſly in Scripture about it, not one Word in the Letter concerning it, I'me afraid you muſt be content to go without thoſe neceſſary and unavoidable Conſequences. Sirs, will you ſay that there is nothing of the Doctrine of the Trinity, or three in one, to be found37 expreſly in the Scripture? Is there nothing expreſly of the God-head of Chriſt, or of his being born of the Virgin Mary, to be found in the Scripture? If there is not, for my part I know no Reaſon in the World they ſhould be received for ſuch Great and Orthodox Truths: But if there is, What ſtrange Men are you to talk at this extravagant Rate, as if the Scripture ſpoke nothing expreſly about theſe Matters? And how boldly do you inſinuate and endeavour to make the World believe, that Infant-Baptiſm is at leaſt altogether as plain in Scripture, as Chriſt's being born of the Virgin Mary; and that altogether as dark and as hard to be prov'd from Scripture as Infant-Baptiſm. Now, Sirs, this Inſinuation is either true or falſe: If falſe, don't you deſerve to be ſeverely corrected for ſuch Imperious Tricks? But if you ſtand by it, and ſay it is true, How do you think you would come off if we ſhould join Iſſue with you about it, and bring the matter to a Tryal? But I confeſs I have been ſo large hitherto, beyond my firſt Thoughts or Intentions, that I ſhall ſay no more to this at preſent, and not much to what remains.

There is no leſs than three Queſtions following which you undertake to anſwer, which I reckon ſo inconſiderable and inſignificant, both Queſtions and Anſwers, that I count it not worth my while to ſpend one Line about them. I therefore purpoſely omit them (time being precious with me) for the ſake of ſomething elſe which I judg more worthy to be noted; wherefore I wave the Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Queſtions, and paſs on to the Eighth, and ſhall take ſome ſmall notice of the Fifth, laſt of all, and ſo draw to a Concluſion.

The Eighth and Laſt Queſtion you undertake to anſwer, runs thus: Whether Children have Faith or no, ſince Faith and Repentance are pre-requiſite to Baptiſm? To which you anſwer and ſay, That you have al­ready ſhew'd that according to the Words of the Commiſſion, Baptizing goes before Teaching: Therefore there is no ſuch pre-requiſiteneſs as ſome dream of, &c. But, Sirs, I tell you plainly this is a meer idle ſwagger, for you have ſhewed no ſuch matter, but the contrary does moſt evident­ly appear; therefore there is a greater pre-requiſiteneſs of Faith and Repentance than you dream of. Why you refer us to Acts 9. and tell us our Saviour was born King of the Jews, I cannot imagine: I wiſh I did but know your Inference. But you ſay further, Admit Faith as pre-requiſite to Baptiſm, you could anſwer that Children have Faith po­tentia, tho not in actu viſibili; as an Artiſt, when he is indiſpos'd or a­ſleep is potentially an Artiſt, tho not actually. Sirs, it's a plain Caſe that you meerly ſpeak what you liſt, not knowing what you ſay, nor whereof38 you affirm: What is it that you may not ſay Infants have, and are, if this kind of talk be allow'd you for good? Whatſoever you have a mind your Infants ſhall have, or be, put but potentia to it, and it's done. What if you had been in the Humour to have told us that Infants have the Greek Tongue and the reſt of the Oriental Languages, and are as good Preachers as any in the World, potentia, tho not in actu viſibili; as an Artiſt when he is a-ſleep, is potentially an Artiſt tho not actually? Could you have expected that any Body in their Wits ſhould have re­garded you? And why not in this. I marvel, as well as in the other? Beſides Sirs, what can you mean by Childrens having Faith potentia? You do not mean that they do actually and viſibly believe; no by no means, that is not to be imagin'd. Well, but what then do you mean? For my part I think it is partly the ſame thing, at if you had told us only that they have Power, Might, Strength and Ability to believe; but yet, whatever the matter is, they do not believe: Notwithſtanding this potency of believing, they neither do, nor can make any improve­ment of it ſo as to do the thing. And if this be true, good now what is it you talk of when you ſay Infants have faith potentia? And yet if they have Power and Ability to do it, it muſt needs be their Sin if they do it not. So that our Gentlemen's great Plea for Infants ſeems to prove a very Fatal Charge againſt them, for the damning Sin of will­ful Unbelief muſt needs lye upon them, if they have Strength, Might and Ability to believe, and make no uſe of it to act accordingly.

Moreover, What reaſon have you to conclude any Man to be an Artiſt, tho but potentially ſo, when you ſee him aſleep, if you never ſaw, nor knew any thing at all of his being an Artiſt before? if he had been aſleep all the Days of his Life, you would have had ſmall cauſe to have counted him an Artiſt, tho you had put the word potentia to it. But now Infants have (to follow your Simile) been aſleep all their Life-time, in this caſe: You never, ſo much as ſaw, or knew of a time when they were ſo far awake, as to ſhew themſelves Believers, as the Artiſt was to ſhew himſelf and Artiſt: So that as you have no reaſon to conclude any Man to be an Artiſt potentially when aſleep, that you never knew to be any thing of an Artiſt actually, at one time or another before; ſo you have no reaſon to conclude Infants Believers potentially, unleſs you had ſeen or known them at one time or another to have been actually ſuch. So that I think you had as good blot out potentia (unleſs you will put it to their Baptiſm too); and let your Children reſt without Actual Baptiſm, till you can write upon their Faith Actu viſibili.


But you ſay, our Saviour is full to the purpoſe, who aſſures us, as you tell us in your Second, that Children have Faith, when he ſaith, Whoſoever ſhall offend one of theſe little ones, which believe in me, &c. Sirs, I do plainly confeſs that our Saviour is full to the purpoſe, but not to your purpoſe; for he does aſſure us, that the Perſons here ſpoken of, were ſuch as did really, properly, and actually believe in him: he does not ſo much as intimate any thing of their having Faith, poten­tia, but not in actu viſibili; but in down-right terms tells us, they are ſuch as do believe in him; which little Infants, I think, by your own Confeſſion, cannot do: therefore, little Infants not here intended by our Saviour in this Paſſage; but only ſuch as were converted, and be­come as little Children, in Plainneſs of Spirit, Humbleneſs, Innocency, and freedom from Malice. Our Saviour does not only aſſure us, that ſuch ſhall be greateſt in the Kingdom of Heaven; but alſo plainly tell us, that whoſoever ſhall offend, or ſcandalize, one of theſe, thus con­verted, little ones, which believe in him ſhall certainly incur great Diſpleaſure from God. And this is eaſily diſcern'd, with a little Con­ſideration, in reading the Text, and Coherence of the ſame: That after our Saviour had call'd a little Child, and taught his Diſciples how they ſhould be converted, and become as little Children, and humble themſelves as that little Child; he under that Conſideration, gives the Denomination of little ones, even to ſuch as ſhould ſo learn and ſo do, which did truly believe in him, from that Analogy, that was and ought to be, between little Children and them: therefore, whereas you argue thus, or to this purpoſe, [Theſe little ones which believe in me;] therefore Infants do believe. I argue the direct contrary from the ſame Text, thus; Thoſe of whom Chriſt here ſpeak, did really believe in him: but little Infants neither do, nor can believe in chriſt: Ergo, Chriſt ſpeaks not here of little Infants. To prove the Minor here, I thus rea­ſon; Faith in Chriſt, comes by hearing the Word of God underſtandingly: but little Infants cannot hear the Word of God underſtandingly: Ergo, Little Infants cannot be Believers in Chriſt. Again, if little Infants nei­ther do good or evil, nor ſo much a know good or evil, then they can neither hear the Word of God underſtandingly, (for if they can, they muſt of neceſſity be capable of knowing good;) nor be Believers in Chriſt, for if they be, they muſt of neceſſity do good; for believing in Chriſt is one of the beſt things that can be done in the world. But the Scripture it ſelf, beſides Experience, plainly tells us concerning Infants, that they neither do good, or evil; nor know good or evil: Ergo, Rom. 9.11. Deut. 1.39. Iſa. 7.14, 15, 16. See the Aſſembly Annotations on this40 Paſſage of our Saviour; and Reverend Diodate on the ſame: See al­ſo theſe Scriptures, where this Phraſe, little ones, or little Children, is us'd to grown Believers, and Diſciples of Chriſt; Mat. 10.41, 42. Joh. 21.5 Gal. 4.19. 1 Joh. 2.1, 12, 13, 18, 28. & 3.7, 18. & 4.4. & 5.21.

Beſides, Gentlemen, if you muſt and will have little Infants here intended, then it muſt and wi