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And baptism taken theologically doth as essentially include the will's consent or heart-covenanting with God, as matrimony includeth marriage consent, and as a man containeth the soul as well as the body. And thus it is certain that all truly baptized persons are in a state of salvation; that is, all that sincerely consent to the baptismal covenant when they profess consent by baptism (but not hypocrites). 4. And in this sense all the ancient pastors of the churches, did concur that baptism did wash away all sin, and put the
baptized into a present right to life eternal; as he that ex· amineth their writings will perceive: not the outward wash
ing and words alone, but when the inward and outward parts concur, or when by true faith and repentance, the receiver hath right to the covenant of God. 5. In this sense it is no unfit language to imitate the fathers, and to say that the truly baptized are in a state of justification, adoption, and salvation, unless when men's misunderstanding maketh it unsafe. 6. The sober Papists themselves say the same thing, and when they have said that even ' ex opere operato' baptism saveth, they add, that it is only the meet receiver; that is, the penitent believer, and no other of the adult. So that hitherto there is no difference.
2. Now let us by this try the case of infants ; concerning which there are all these several opinions among divines.
(1.) Some think that all infants (baptized or not) are saved from hell, and positive punishment, but are not brought to heaven, as being not capable of such joys.
(2.) Some think that all infants (dying such) are saved as others are, by actual felicity in heaven, though in a lower degree. Both these sorts suppose that Christ's death saveth all that reject it not, and that infants reject it not.
(3.) Some think that all unbaptized infants do suffer the • pænam damni' and are shut out of heaven and happiness, but not sensibly punished or cast into hell. For this Jan. senius hath wrote a treatise; and many other Papists think so.
(4.) Some think that all the children of sincere believers dying in infancy are saved, (that is, glorified,) whether baptized or not; and no others.
(5.) Some think that God hath not at all revealed what he will do with any infants.
(6.) Some think that he hath promised salvation as aforesaid to believers and their seed, but hath not at all revealed to us what he will do with all the rest.
(7.) Some think that only the baptized children of true believers are certainly (by promise) saved.
(8.) Some think that all the adopted and bought children of true Christians, as well as the natural, are saved (if baptized, say some; or if not, say others).
(9.) Some think that elect infants are saved, and no other, but no man can know who those are. And of these, 1. Some deny infant baptism. 2. Most say that they are to be baptized, and that thereby the non-elect are only received into the visible church and its privileges, but not to any promise or certainty of justification, or a state of salvation.
(10.) Some think that all that are baptized by the dedication of Christian sponsors are saved.
(11.) Some think that all that the pastor dedicateth to God are saved, (because so dedicated by him say some; or because baptized ' ex opere operato' say others). And so all baptized infants are in a state of salvation.
(12.) Some think that this is to be limited to all that have right to baptism coram Deo ;' which some think the church's reception giveth them, of which anon.
(13.) And some think it is to be limited to those that have right coram ecclesia,' or are rightfully baptized 'ex parte ministrantis,' where some make the magistrate's command sufficient, and some the bishops and some the baptizer's will.
Of the title to baptism I shall speak anon. Of the salvation of infants, it is too tedious to confute all that I dissent from: not presuming in such darkness and diversity of opinions to be peremptory, nor to say, I am certain by the Word of God who are undoubtedly saved, nor yet to deny the undoubted certainty of wiser men, who may know that which such as I do doubt of, but submitting what I say to the judgment of the church of God and my superiors, I humbly lay down my own thoughts as followeth.
1. I think that there can no promise or proof be produced that all unbaptized infants are saved, either from the 'pæna damni' or 'sensus' or both.
2. I think that no man can prove that all unbaptized infants are damned, or denied heaven. Nay, I think I can prove a promise of the contrary.
3. All that are rightfully baptized ' in foro externo' are - visible church-members, and have ecclesiastical right to the privileges of the visible church.
4. I think Christ never instituted baptism for the collation of these outward privileges alone, unless as on supposition that persons culpably fail of the better ends. . 5, I think baptism is a 'solemn mutual contract or covenant between Christ and the baptized person. And that it is but one covenant, even the covenant of grace which is the sum of the Gospel, which is sealed and received in baptism; and that this covenant essentially containeth our saving relation to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and our pardon, justification, and adoption or right to life everlasting : and that God never made any distinct covenant of outward privileges alone, to be sealed by baptism. But that outward mercies are the second and lesser gift of the same covenant which giveth first the great and saving blessings.
6. And therefore that whoever hath right before God, to claim and receive baptism, hath right also to the benefits of the covenant of God, and that is, to salvation: though I say not so of every one that hath such right before the church, as that God doth require the minister to baptize him. For by right before God, or ' in foro cæli' I mean such a right as will justify the claim before God immediately, the person being one whom he commandeth in that present state to claim and receive baptism. For many a one hath no such right before God to claim or receive it, when yet the minister hath right to give it them if they do claim it.
The case stands thus. God saith in his covenant, ` He that believeth shall be saved, and ought to be baptized, to profess that belief, and be invested in the benefits of the covenant; and he that professeth to believe, (whether he do or not,) is by the church to be taken for a visible believer, and by baptism to be received into the visible church.' Here God calleth none but true believers (and their seed) to be baptized, nor maketh an actual promise or covenant with any other; and so I say that none other have right' in foro cæli.' But yet the church knoweth not men's hearts, and
must take a serious profession for a credible sign of the faith professed, and for that outward title upon which it is a duty of the pastor to baptize the claimer: So that the moșt malignant, scornful hypocrite, that maketh a seemingly serious profession, hath right coram ecclesia,' but not 'coram Deo,' save in this sense, that God would have the minister baptize him. But this I have more largely opened in my “ Disputations of Right to Sacraments."
7. I think therefore that all the children of true Christians, do by baptism receive a public investiture by God's appointment into a state of remission, adoption, and right to salvation at the present: though I dare not say I am undoubtedly certain of it, as knowing how much is said against it. But I say as the synod of Dort, art. 1. “That believing parents have no cause to doubt of the salvation of their children that die in infancy, before they commit actual sin ;' that is, not to trouble themselves with fears about it.
The reasons that move me to be of this judgment (though not without doubting and hesitancy) are these; 1. Because whoever hath right to the present investiture, delivery and possession of the first and great benefits of God's covenant made with man in baptism, hath right to pardon, and adoption, and everlasting life : but the infants of true Christians have right to the present investiture, delivery and possession of the first and great benefits of God's covenant made with man in baptism. Therefore they have right to pardon and everlasting life.
Either infants are in the same covenant (that is, are subjects of the same promise of God) with their believing parents, or in some other covenant, or in no covenant. If they be under no covenant (or promise), or under some other promise or covenant only, and not the same, they are not to be baptized. For baptism is a mutual covenanting; where the minister by Christ's commission in his name acteth his part, and the believer his own and his infant's part: and God hath but one covenant, which is to be made, sealed, and delivered in baptism. Baptism is not an equivocal word, so as to signify divers covenants of God.
+ Mark xvi. 16. Acts ii. 37, 38. xxii. 16. 1 Cor. vi. 11. Tit. iii. 3. 5,6. Heb. x. 22. Eph. v. 26. Rom. vi. 1. 4. Col. ii. 12. 1 Pet. iii. 21, 22. Epb. iv. 5. Acts viii. 12, 13. 16. 36. 38. ix. 18. xvi. 15. 33. xix. 5. Gal. jji, 27.
Obj. ‘But the same covenant of God hath divers sorts of benefits; the special God giveth to the sincere, and the common to the common and hypocritical receiver.
Answ. 1. God indeed requireth the minister to take profession for the visible church-title; and so it being the minister's duty so far to believe a liar, and to receive dissemblers who had no right to lay that claim, you may say that God indirectly and improperly giveth them church-privileges : but properly, that is, by his promise or covenant-deed of gift, he giveth them nothing at all; for his covenant is one and undivided in its action, though it give several benefits, and though providence may give one and not another, yet the covenant giveth all or none. God saith that godliness hath the promise of this life and of that to come: but he never said, (that I know of,) · To the hypocrite or unsound believer I promise or give right to common mercies.'
2. But suppose it were otherwise, yet either the children of true believers have the true condition of right to the special blessings of the covenant, or they have not the condition of any at all. For there can no more be required of an infant, as to any special blessings of the covenant, than that he be the child of believing parents and by them dedicated to God. Either this condition entitleth them to all the covenant promises which the adult believer is entitled to, (as far as their natures are capable, or it entitleth them to none at all. Nor are they to be baptized : for God hath in Scripture instituted but one baptism, (to profess one faith,) and that one is ever for the remission of sins: “ he that believeth and is baptized shall be savedu.”
. 3. Or if all the rest were granted you, yet it would follow that all infants in the world, even of true believers, are left out of God's covenant of grace, that is, the covenant or promise of pardon and life; and are only taken into the covenant of church-privileges, And so 1. You will make two covenants, (which you denied,) and not only two sorts of benefits of one covenant. 2. And two species of baptism; while all infants in the world are only under a covenant of outward privileges, and have no baptism, but the seal of that covenant, while believers have the covenant, promise, and seal of pardon and life.
Mark xvi. 16.