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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 cceli' 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 makethan actual promise or covenant with any other; and so I say that none other have right' in foro cceli.' 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 most 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 deliveied in baptism. Baptism is not an equivocal word, so as to signify divers covenants of God. »
tMark xvi. 16. Acts ii. 37,38. xxii. 16. 1 Cor. vi. 11. Tit. Hi. 3. 5,6. Heb. x. 22. Eph. v. 26. Rom. vi. 1.4. Col. ii. 12. 1 Pet. iii. 21, 22. Eph. iv. 5. Acts viii. 12, 13. 16. 36. 38. ix. 18. xvi. 15.33. xix. 5. Gal. ....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.
Atisw. 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 believethand is baptized shall be saved"." 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
2. And this is my second reason: because then we have no promise or certainty, or ground of faith, for the pardon and salvation of any individual infants in the world. And so parents are left to little comfort for their children. And if there be no promise there is no faith of it, nor any baptism to seal it; and so we still make antipaedobaptism unavoidable. For who dare set God's seal to such as have no promise? or pretend to invest any in a near and saving relation to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, (which is the very nature of baptism,) when God hath given no such commis
Obj. 'Yes: baptism and the covenant of special promises are for all the elect, though we know not who they are.' Answ. 1. I deny not God's eternal, antecedent election; but I deny that the Scripture ever mentioneth his pardoning or glorifying any, upon the account of election only, without certain spiritual conditions, which may be given as the reason of the difference in judgment. God may freely give the Gospel to whom he will, and also faith or the first grace by the Gospel, without any previous condition in man, but according to his free election only: but he giveth pardon and heaven as a rector by his equal laws and judgment; and always rendereth a reason of the difference, from the qualifications of man. 2. And if this were as you say, it would still overthrow infant baptism. For either we must baptize all indifferently, or none, or else know how to make a difference. All must not be baptized indifferently: and election is a secret thing to us, and by it no minister in the world can tell whom to baptize: therefore he must baptize none, if there be no other differencing note to know them by. Obj. 'God hath more elect ones among the infants of true believers than among others: and therefore they are all to be baptized.' Answ. 1. It will be hard to prove that much (that he hath more) if there be no promise to them all as such. 2. If he have more, yet no man knoweth how many, and whether the elect be one of ten, twenty, forty, or an hundred in comparison of the non-elect: for Scripture tells it not. So that no minister of a church is sure that any one infant that he ever baptized is elect. 3. And God hath given no such rule for sealing and delivering his covenant with the benefits as to cast it hap hazard among all, because it is possible or probable it may belong to some. Obj. 'You have no certainty what adult professor is sincere, nor to which of them the special benefits belong; no, not of any one in a church. And yet because there is a probability that among many there are some sincere, you baptize them all. Take then the birth privilege but as equal to the profession of the adult. Answ. This partly satisfied me sometimes: but I cannot forget that a visible, false, or hypocritical profession is not the condition of God's own covenant of grace, nor that which he requireth in us, to make us partakers of his covenantbenefits; nay, he never at all commandeth it; but only commandeth that profession of consent, which followeth the real consent of the heart; he that condemneth lying, maketh it neither the condition of our church-membership, as his gift by promise, nor yet our duty. And mark well, that it is a professed consent to the whole covenant that God requireth, as the condition of our true right to any part or benefit of it. He that shall only say, 'I consent to be a visible church-member,' doth thereby acquire no right to that membership; no, not in ' foro ecclesiae:' but he must also profess that he consenteth to have God for his God, and Christ for his Lord and Saviour, and the Holy Spirit for his Sanctifier. So that he must be a liar, or a sound believer that maketh this profession. But for an infant to be born of true believers, and sincerely by them dedicated in covenant to God, is all the condition that ever God required to an infant-title to his covenant; and it is not the failure of the true condition as a false profession is. Indeed if the proposition were thus laid, it would hold good: 'As we know not who sincerely covenanteth for himself, and yet we must baptize all that soberly profess it; so we know not who doth sincerely covenant for his infant, and yet we must baptize all whom the parents bring with such a profession, for themselves and them.' But if the sincere dedication of a sound believer, shall be accounted but equal to the lying profession of the adult,