« AnteriorContinuar »
Ait.sw. Of all these great difficulties I have said what I know, in my Appendix to Infant Baptism, to Mr. Bradford and Dr. Ward, and of bishop Davenant's judgment. And I confess that my judgment agreeth more in this with Davenant's than any others, saving that he doth not so much appropriate the benefits of baptism to the children of sincere believers as I do. And though by a letter in pleading Davenant's cause, I was the occasion of good Mr. Gataker's printing of his answer to him, yet I am still most inclined to his judgment; not that all the baptized, but that all the baptized seed of true Christians are pardoned, justified, adopted, and have a title to the Spirit and salvation. But the difficulties in this case are so great, as drive away most who do not equally perceive the greater inconveniences which we must choose, if this opinion be forsaken: that is, that all infants must be taken to be out of the covenant of God, and to have no promise of salvation. Whereas surely the law of grace as well as the covenant of works included all the seed in their capacity. I. To the first of these questions, I answer, 1. As all true believers, so all their infants do receive initially by the promise, and by way of obsignation and sacramental investiture in baptism, a ' jus relationis,' a right of peculiar relation to all the three persons in the blessed Trinity: as to God, as their reconciled, adopted Father, and to Jesus Christ as their Redeemer and actual Head and Justifier, so also to the Holy Ghost as their Regenerator and Sanctifier. This right and relation adhereth to them, and is given them in order to future actual operation and communion. Asa marriage covenant giveth the relation and right to one another, in order to the subsequent communion and duties of a married life: and as he that sweareth allegiance to a king, or is listed into an army, or is entered into a school, receiveth the right and relation, and is so correlated, as obligeth to the mutual subsequent offices of each, and giveth right to many particular benefits. By this right and relation, God is his own God and Father; Christ is his own Head and Saviour; and the Holy Spirit is his own Sanctifier, without asserting what operations are already wrought on his soul, but only to what future ends and uses these re.lations are. Now as these rights and relations are given immediately, so those benefits which are relative, and the infant immediately capable of them, are presently given by way of communion: he hath presently the pardon of original sin, by virtue of the sacrifice, merit and intercession of Christ. He hath a state of adoption, and right to Divine protection, provision and church-communion according to his natural capacity, and right to everlasting life. 2. It must be carefully noted, that the relative union between Christ the Mediator and the baptized persons, is that which in baptism is first given in order of nature, and that the rest do flow from this. The covenant and baptism deliver the covenanter, 1. From Divine displicency byreconciliation with the Father: 2. From legal penalties by justification by the Son: 3. From sin itself by the operations of the Holy Ghost. But it is Christ as our MediatorHead, that is first given us in relative union; and then, 1 The Father loveth us with complacency as in the Son, and for the sake of his first beloved. 2. And the Spirit which is given us in relation is first the Spirit of Christ our Head; and not first inherent in us: so that by union with our Head, that Spirit is next united to us, both relatively, and as radically inherent in the human nature of our Lord, to whom we are united y. As the nerves and animal spirits which are to operate in all the body, are radically only in the head, from whence they flow into, and operate on the members as there is need (though there may be obstructions); so the Spirit dwelleth in the human nature of our Head, and there it can never be lost; and it is not necessary that it dwell in us by way of radication, but by way of influence and operation. These things are distinctly and clearly understood but by very few; and we are all much in the dark about them. But I think (however doctrinally we may speak better,) that most Christians are habituated to this perilous misapprehension (which is partly against Christianity itself,) that the Spirit floweth immediately from the Divine nature of the Father and the Son (as to the authoritative or potestative conveyance) unto our souls. And we forget that it is first given to Christ in his glorified humanity as our Head, and radicated in Him, and that it is the office of this glorified Head, to send or communicate to all his members from himself, that Spirit which must operate in them as they have need. This is plain in many texts of Scripture. "He that spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things *?" (when he giveth him particularly to us.)"And this is the record that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son: he that hath the Son hath the life, and he that hath not the Son hath not the life a." "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his b.""And gave him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in allc." "The Son quickeneth whom he will:" "For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself m.""Labour for that meat which endureth to everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you, for him hath God the Father sealed. He giveth life unto the world. Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life dwelleth in me and I in him my flesh is meat indeed . As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. It is the Spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing"." "This spake he of the Spirit which they that believe in him should receive°." "God giveth not the Spirit to him by measure0."
'The Spirit is not given radically or immediately to any Christian, but to Christ our Head alone, and from him to us.
"The Advocate or Comforter whom I will send unto you from the Fatherd," &c.
"If I depart, I will send him unto you *." "The Comforter, whom the Father will send in my namef.""And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father '." "I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in meh;" (I know that is true of his living in us objectively and finally, but that seemeth not to be all.)"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God; when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." Col. iii. 3, 4. I know that in verse 3. by 'life' is meant felicity or glory; but not only; as appeareth by verse 4. where Christ is called 'our life.'
"All power is given unto me in heaven and earth"
"I am with you always' ""The Father hath given all things into his handsk." "Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him, and this is life eternal to know thee'," &c.
'Rom. viii. 32. '1 John v. U, 18. b Rom. viii. 9. c Eph. i. 22, 23. >1 John xv. 26. « John xvi. 7.
'John xiv. 26. * Gal. iv. 6. * Gal. ii. 20.
'Matt, xxviii. 19.20. k John xiii. 3. 'John xvii. 2, 3.
"He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit"1." "The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is libertyr."
"Through the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ'." "Abide in me and I in you: as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me (or, out of me, or, severed from me) ye can do nothing'."
I will add no more: all this is proof enough that the Spirit is not given radically or immediately from God to any believer, but to Christ, and so derivatively from him to us. Not that the Divine nature in the third person is subject to the human nature in Christ; but that God hath made it the office of our Mediator's glorified humanity, to be the cistern that shall first receive the waters of life, and convey them by pipes of his appointed means to all the offices of his house: or to be the head of the animal spirits, and by nerves to convey them to all the members. 3. We are much in the dark concerning the degree of infants'glory; and therefore we can as little know, what degree of grace is necessary to prepare them for their glory.
"> John v. 21.26. "John vi. 27. 32,38. 53—56. 63.
• John vii. 39. "John iii. 34. 11 Cor. «. 17.
r -> Cor. iii. 17. * Phil. i. 19. 'John xv. 4,5.
4. It is certain that infants before they are glorified, shall have all that grace that is prerequisite to their preparation and fruition. 5. No sanctified person on earth is in an immediate capacity for glory; because their sin and imperfection must be done away, which is done at the dissolution of soul and body. The very accession of the soul to God doth perfect it. 6. Infants have no actual faith, or hope, or love to God to exercise; and therefore need not the influence of the Spirit of Christ to exercise them. 7. We are all so very much in the dark, as to the clear and distinct apprehension of the true nature of original inherent pravity or sin, that we must needs be as much ignorant of the true nature of that inherent sanctity or righteousness, which is its contrary or cure. Learned Illiricos thought it was a substance, which he hath in his " Clavis" pleaded for at large. Others call it a habit, others a nature or natural inclination, and a privation of a natural inclination to God. Others call it an indisposition of the mind and will to holy truth and goodness, and an ill disposition of them to error and evil. Others call it only the inordinate lust of the sensitive faculties, with a debility of reason and will to resist it. And whilst the nature of the soul itself and its faculties, are so much unknown to itself, the nature of original pravity and righteousness must needs be very much unknown. 8. Though an infant be a distinct natural person from his parents, yet he is not actually a distinct person morally as being not a moral agent, and so not capable of moral actions good or evil. Therefore his parents' will goeth for his. 9. His first acceptance into the complacential love of God, as distinct from his love of benevolence,) is not for any inherent holiness in himself; but(L) As the child of a believing parent who hath dedicated him to Christ; and (2.) As a member of Christ, in whom he is well pleased. 10. Therefore God can complacentially as well as benevolently love an infant in Christ, who only believeth and repenteth by the parents, and not by himself, and is not yet supposed to have the spirit of sanctification. 11. For the spirit of sanctification is not the presupposed