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condition of his acceptance into covenant with God, but a gift of the covenant of God itself, following both the condition on our part, and our right to be covenanters, or to God's promise upon that condition. 12. So the adult themselves have the operation of the Spirit by which they believe and repent, by which they come to have their right to God's part in the covenant of baptism, (for this is antecedent to their baptism): but they have not that gift of the Spirit, which is called in Scripture the " Spirit of sanctification, and of power, love, and a sound mind," and is the benefit given by the covenant of baptism, till afterward; because they must be in that covenant before it can be made good to them. And their faith or consent is their infant's right also, antecedent to the covenant gift.
13. There is therefore some notable difference between that work of the Spirit by which we first repent and believe and so have our title to the promise of the Spirit, and that gift of the Spirit which is promised to believers; which is not only the Spirit of miracles given in the first times, but some notable degree of love to our reconciled Father, suitable to thegrace and gospel of redemption and reconciliation, and is called the "Spirit of Christ," and the "Spirit of adoptionu, which the apostles themselves seem not to have received till Christ's ascension. And this seemeth to be not only different from the gifts of the Spirit common to hypocrites and the unbelievers, but also from the special gift of the Spirit which maketh men believers. So that Mr. Tho Hooker saith more truly than once I understood, that vocation is a special grace of the Spirit, distinct from common grace on one side, and from sanctification on the other side. Whether it be the same degree of the Spirit which the faithful had before Christ's incarnation, which causeth men first to believe distinct from the higher following degree, I leave to inquiry: but the most certain distinction is from the different effects. 14. Though an infant cannot be either disposed to a holy life, or fit for glory immediately, without an inward holiness of his own, yet by what is said it seemeth plain, that merely on the account of the condition performed by the parent,
"Rom. viii. 9.16.26.
and of his union relatively with Christ thereupon, and his title to God's promise on these grounds, he may be said to be in a state of salvation; that is, to have the pardon of his original sin, deliverance from hell, (in right,) adoption, and a right to the needful operations of the Holy Ghost, as given to him in Christ, who is the first receiver of the Spirit. 15. But when and in what sort and degree Christ giveth the actual operations of the Spirit to all covenanted infants, it is wonderfully hard for us to know. But this much seemeth clear, 1. That Christ may when he please work on the soul of an infant to change its disposition, before it come to the use of reason. 2. That Christ and his Spirit as in covenant with infants, are ready to give all necessary assistance to infants for their inherent sanctification, in the use of those means, and on those further conditions, on which we must wait for it and expect it*. For the Holy Ghost is not so engaged to us in our covenant or baptism, as to be obliged presently to give us all the grace that we want; but only to give it us on certain further conditions, and in the use of certain means. But because this leads me up to another question, I will suspend the rest of the answer to this till that be handled. Only I must answer this objection. Obj. 'It is contrary to the holy nature of God, complacentially to love an unsanctified infant, that is yet in his original corruption unchanged, and he justifieth none relatively from the guilt of sin, whom he doth not at once inherently sanctify. Answ. 1. God's complacential love respecteth every one as he is; for it is goodness only that he so loveth. Therefore he so loveth not those that either actually or habitually love not him, under any false supposition that they do love him when they do not. His love therefore to the adult and infants differeth as the objects differ. But there is this lovely in such infants; 1. That they are the children of believing, sanctified parents; 2. That they are by his covenant relatively united to Christ, and are so far lovely as his
1 Mr. Winston, p. 60. sheweth,' That even the promises of a new heart, &c. Etek. xxxvi. xxxvii. &c. though they may run in the external tenor of themabsolutely, yet are not absolutely absolute, but have a subordinate condition, and that is, that the parties concerned in them do faithfully use the means appointed of God in a subserviency to his working in or bestowing on them the good promised.'
members; (3.) That they are pardoned all their original sin; (4.) That they are set in the way to actual love and holiness; being thus dedicated to God. 2. All imperfect saints are sinners; and all sinners are, as such, abhorred of God, whose pure eyes cannot behold iniquity. As then it will stand with his purity to accept and love the adult upon their first believing, before their further sanctification, and notwithstanding the remnant of their sins, so may it do also to accept their infants through Christ upon their dedication. 3. As the actual sin imputed to infants was Adam's, and their parents' only by act, and not their own, it is no wonder if upon their parents' faith and repentance, Christ wash and justify them from that guilt which arose only from another's act. 4. And then the inherent pravity was the effect of that act of their ancestors, which is forgiven them. And this pravity or inherent original sin may two ways be said to be mortified radically, or virtually, or inceptively before any inherent change in them, 1. In that it is mortified in their parents from whom they derived it, who have the power of choosing for them; and 2. Inthat they are by covenant engrafted into Christ, and so related to the cause of their future sanctification; yea, 3. In that also they are by covenant and their parents' promise, engaged to use those means which Christ hath appointed for sanctification7.
5. And it must be remembered that as this is but an inceptive, preparatory change, so the very pardon of the inherent vitiosity is not perfect, (as I have elsewhere largely proved;) however some Papists and Protestants deny it. While sin remaineth, sin and corruption is still indwelling, besides all the unremoved penalties of it, the very being of it proveth it to be so far unpardoned, in that it is not yet abolished, and the continuance of it being not its smallest punishment, as permitted, and the Spirit not given so far as to cure it. Imperfect pardon may consist with a present right, both to further sanctification by the Spirit, and so to heaven.
7 God's being a God to any individual person, doth require and presuppose that they do for the present, supposing them capable, or for the future as soon as capable, lake God in Christ as their God. Ibid. p. 61.
VOl. v. A A
Obj. ' Christ's body hath no unholy members.' Answ. 1. " Now are your children holy"." They are not wholly unholy who have all the fore-described holiness. 2. As infants in nature want memory and actual reason, and yet initially are men; so, as Christ's members, they may want actual and habitual faith and love, and yet initially be sanctified, by their union with him and his Spirit, and their parents' dedication, and be in the way for more, as they grow fit; and be Christians and saints ' in fieri,' or initially only, as they are men.
Quest, Xliii. Is the right of the baptized (infants or adult) to the sanctifying operations of the Holy Ghost, now absolute, or suspended on further conditions? And are the parents' further duties for their children such conditions of their childre?i's reception of the actual assistances of the Spirit? Or are children's own actions such conditions? And may apostate parents forfeit the covenant benefits to their baptized infants or not?Answ. The question is great and difficult, and few dare meddle with it. And almost all infant cases are to us obscure. 1. 1. It is certain that it is the parents' great duty to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 2. It is certain that God hath appointed this to be the means of their actual knowledge, faith, and holiness \
3. And God doth not appoint such means unnecessarily or in vain: nor may we ordinarily expect his grace but in the use of the means of grace, which he hath appointed us to use. 4. It is certain that God's receiving the children of the faithful is an act of God's love to the parents as well as the children, and promised as a part of his blessing on themselves. 5. It is certain that these parents hold their own mercies upon the condition of their own continued fidelity: and (let their apostacy be on other reasons never so impossible, or not future, yet) the promise of continuance and consum1 l Cor. vii.14.
* Eph. vi. 4, 5. Col. iii. n. Gen. xviii. 19. Deut. vi. 6—8. xi. 18—«0.
mation of the personal felicity of the greatest saint on earth, is still conditional, upon the condition of his persevering fidelity. 6. Even before children are capable of instruction, there are certain duties imposed by God on the parents for their sanctification; viz. 1. That the parents pray earnestly and believingly for them. 2. That they themselves so live towards God, as may invite him still to bless their children for their sakes, as he did Abraham's, and usually did to the faithful's seed. 7. It is certain that the church ever required parents, not only to enter their children into the covenant, and so to leave them, but to do their after duty for their good, and to pray for them, and educate them according to their covenant. 8. It is plain that if there were none to promise so to educate them, the church would not baptize them. And God himself who allowed the Israelites, and still alloweth us to bring our children into his covenant, doth it on this supposition, that we promise also to go on to do our duty for them, and that we actually do it. 9. All this set together maketh it plain, 1. That God never promiseth the adult in baptism, though true believers, that he will work in them all graces further by his sanctifying Spirit, let them never so much neglect or resist him; or that he will absolutely see that they never shall resist him; nor that the Spirit shall still help them, though they neglect all his means; or that he will keep them from neglecting the means (election may secure this to the elect as such; but the baptismal covenant as such, secureth it not to the baptized, nor to believers as such). 2. And consequently that infants are in covenant with the Holy Ghost still conditionally as their parents are; and that the meaning of it is that the Holy Ghost as your Sanctifier will afford you all necessary help, in the use of those means which he hath appointed you to receive his help in". Object. ' Infants have no means to use.'
Atisw. While infants stand on their parents' account, or b The Holy Ghost is promised in baptism to give the child grace in his parents and his own faithful use of the appointed means.