A Treatise of Baptism
by Henry Danvers, 1674
Wherein Believers are proved to be the only only Subjects of Baptism, from the Spiritual Ends of the Ordinances.
The first End or Use we shall mention, is, that the Baptized might have that represented in a Sign or figure, and preach'd to his Eye in the Ordinance which had been preach'd in his Ear and Heart by the Word and Spirit of God, respecting the whole Mystery of the Gospel, and his duty and obligation therein. A sign being, as Paraeus observeth, some outward thing appearing to the Sense, through which some inward thing is at the same time apprehended by the understanding. Therefore he calls the Sacraments Signa in Oculos incurrentia.
And therefore Mr. Perkins saith, That the teaching of the Word, and the administration of the Sacraments are all one in substance; for in the one, the witness of God is seen, and in the other heard, Case Confc. p. 177.
And some do call them Hieroglyphicks, viz. such visible Representations of things, as the Egyptians used to teach and instruct by.
Which therefore calls for Understanding and Judgment, and Senses to be exercised in all that partake thereof, otherwise the action will
be wholly insignificant; and therefore for any to carry a poor ignorant Babe to the Ordinance of Baptism, is as much as if you should carry it to a Sermon, which would be insignificant, as if you should represent some goodly shew to a blind man, or instruct a stock or a stone.
The second End that we shall mention, is, that the party Baptized might thereby witness his Repentance, Mat. 3 & 6, 11.6. 38. Acts 2.38. called therefore the Baptism of Repentance, Mark 1.4. To which, whoever offered themselves, were to bring forth fruits meet for Repentance and amendment of Life.
For which we are beholding to Mr. Baxter, for very convincing Arguments. Upon his first Argument with Mr. Blake, in the fore-mentioned Book, viz. wherein he doth positively affirm, that we must not Baptize any without the profession of true Repentance; which he proves thus.
First Argument. If John Baptist required the Profession of true Repentance before he would baptize them, then so must we; but John did so; therefore the Consequence is clear.
The Antedecent I prove from Mark 1.3, 4. He preached the Baptism of Repentance unto Remission of sins; and doubtless the Repentance, (saith he) which is to Remission of sins, is true, special Repentance.
Second Argument. If Jesus Christ hath by Scripture, Precept, and Example directed us to baptize those that profess true Repentance, and no other, then we must baptize them, and no other; but the Antecedent is true; so therefore
is the Consequent; which is fully made clear [?] from Mat. 4.17. Mark 1.15, & 16. Acts 17.30. Luke 24.27. Where Christ himself called and sent forth his Disciples also to preach Repentance, to prepare them for baptism; which afterwards followed. As, Mat. 3.11 Mark 1.8. Luke 3.16. Acts 2.37, 38, 41.
Third Argument. If they that profess to be buried with Christ in Baptism, and to rise again, do profess true Repentance, &c. But all that are baptized, must do so, &c. Col. 2.11, 12, 13. Rom. 6.4, 5.
Then in further Confirmation he quotes, Mr. Bullinger upon Acts 2.38. Who saith, To be Baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Sign of Baptism to testifie, that we do believe in Christ for the Remission of sins. First, mark, It is not only an engagement to believe thereafter, but the profession of a present Faith. Secondly, And that not a common Faith, but that which hath remission of sins. Thirdly, And this was not an accidental separable use of baptism, but the very exposition of to be baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A Third end of Baptism is to evidence present Regeneration, whereof it is a lively sign or Symbol. Regeneration being called in [an] allusion to it, The washing of Regeneration, Tit. 3.5. And a being born of Water and of the Spirit, John 3.5 Which is so essential to the Ordinance, that if that thing signified thereby be wanting, the Sign only will be very ineffectual and insignificant: As,
Dr. Taylor, late Bishop of Down, very elegantly saith in his Plea for the Baptists, in his
lib. of Proph. p. 242. This indeed is truly to be baptized, when it is both in the Symbol, and in the Mystery. Whatsoever is less than this, is but the Symbol only, a meer Ceremony, an opus operatum, a dead Letter, an empty Shadow, an Instrument without an Agent to manage, or force to actuate it. And to the same purpose you have.
Mr. Baxter in his Tenth Argument, p. 117, 118. Christ hath instituted no baptism, but what is to be a Sign of present Regeneration: But to men that profess not a justifying Faith, it cannot be administered, as a Sign of present Regeneration. Therefore he hath instituted no Baptism to be administered to such.
The major is plain, saith he, in John 3.5. Except a man be born of Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. And so in Tit. 3.5. Where it is called The Laver of Regeneration.
And what can be a fuller grant, that Infants Baptism is neither significant, nor any Institution of Christ, than what these two learned men have here given us?
The fourth End is signally to represent the Covenant and Promise, that the Believer enters into hereby, viz. to die to sin, and live to Christ in new obedience, by the figurative death and Resurrection in being dipped in water, and so by going down under, and rising up out of the water, he is said to be buried, and to rise with Christ, to be planted into the likeness of his Death and Resurrection, to die and live with Christ by Mortification and Vivification. To which purpose you have.
Mr. Perkins very significant, viz. The Action of the Party baptized is a certain stipulation, or Obligation, whereby he bindeth himself to give Homage to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Homage standeth in Faith, whereby all the Promises of God are believed, and in Obedience to all his Commandments. The Sign of this Obligation is, that the Party baptized willingly yield himself to be washed with water.
And also you have Mr. Baxter very fully upon his third Argument to Mr. Blake, viz. It is of the instituted Nature of Baptism to be, in general, a professing sign for the present, as well as an engaging sign for the future.
For first, the Minister doth baptize into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the party doth consent thereto.
First, Voluntarily offering himself to Baptism; And secondly, Voluntarily receiving the Baptism; And his offer of himself here goeth before the Ministers baptizing of him, and his reception of that Baptism is essential to it: So that Baptism essentially containeth, on his part, a signal profession of content, to that which is meant in the form used by the Minister; [viz. I Baptize thee in the Name, &c.] So that it is a most clear case, that Baptism, as Baptism, according to its instituted nature and use, doth contain the person's actual signal profession of present assent to the Gospel, and acceptance of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as therein offered; and an actual signal profession that we there presently consecrate, devote, and dedicate our selves to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the aforesaid Relations.
Secondly, Another part of Baptism is the Minister's washing the person; and the person first offering himself to be washed, and after actually receiving it, doth hereby signally profess his consent. Now this washing doth essentially signifie our washing from our former filth of sin, together with the guilt, our putting away the old man, which is corrupt according to our deceitful lusts, being buried with Christ. For all that are baptized, must profess to be buried with him; and to rise again, signifieth a being dead to sin, and alive to God, to newness of life, and not only an engagement of this for the future, but a profession also of it at present, which is made good from Col. 2.11, 12, 13. Rom. 6.4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11. Yea, he that readeth the whole Chapter with judgment and impartiality, will soon discern, that true Repentance & renunciation of the service of sin was to be professed by all that would be baptized, and thereupon they sealed their own Profession and Covenant by the reception of Baptism, as Christ sealed his part by the actual baptizing of them.
Concerning which, you have Dr. Taylor very excellently, Pag. 243. Baptism (saith he) is never propounded, mentioned, or enjoyed as a means of remission of sins, or of Eternal Life, but something of duty, choice and sanctity, is joined with it in order to the production of the end so mentioned. Know ye not, that as many as are baptized into Christ, are baptized into his Death? There is the Mystery and Symbol together, and declared to be perpetually united. All of us who were baptized into the one, were baptized into the other; not only into the Name
of Christ, but into his Death also: But the meaning of this, as it is explained in the following words of St. Paul, makes much for our purpose. For to be Baptized into his Death, signifies to be buried with him in Baptism; That as Christ rose from the dead, we also should walk in newness of Life; that is the full mystery of Baptism. For being baptized into his death, or (which is all one in the next words) into the likeness of his Death, cannot go alone, if we be so planted into Christ, we shall be partakers of his Resurrection; and that is not instanced in precise reward, but in exact duty; for all this is nothing but Crucifixion of the old man, and destroying of the body of sin, that we no longer serve sin.
And therefore it is, that Baptism is called The answer of a good Conscience towards God, 1 Pet. 3.21. Which can by no means be applied to the Infant. And thereupon Dr. Taylor again, p. 244. That Baptism which saveth us, is not only by the washing with water, of which only Children are capable; but he answer of a good Conscience towards God, of which they are n ot capabl;e till the use of Reason; till they know to refuse the evil, and chuse [sic] the good.
And Mr. Baxter very fully, p. 156. If (saith he) according to the Institution, the answer of a good Conscience must be joyned with Baptism, for the attaining of its end then we must admit of none that profess not the answer of a good Conscience; but the former (saith he) is certain from the Text; for Baptism is said to save; that is its appointed use; yet not the external washing, but the Answer of a good Conscience doth it. Therefore this is of a necessary
injunction, and without it Baptism cannot attain its end; But it is to be administered, and received only in order to the attainment of its End; and therefore never in a way, by which the End is apparently not attainable. What the Answer of a good conscience is, the common Expositions fully confirm, as I maintain.
The Assemblies Annotations (saith he) recite both thus, viz. By the answer of a good Conscience, we may understand that unfeigned Faith, whereof they made confession at their Baptism, and whereby their Consciences were purified, and whereby they received the Remission of their sins.
The fifth End of Baptism, is, to be a Sign to the Believer of the Covenant on God's part, of washing away his sins by the bloud [sic] of Christ, to give spiritual life and Salvation, Acts 2.32, 33. Acts 22.16. 1 Pet. 3.21.
To which Truth Mr. Perkins sets his Seal. We see (saith he) what is done in Baptism, the Covenant of Grace is solemnized between God and the Party baptized; and in this Covenant something belongs to God, and something to the Party baptized.
And Bullinger upon Acts 2.38. That Baptism is an Agreement of Covenant of Grace which Christ enters into with us, when we are baptized, as well as a professing sign of our true Repentance.
A sixth End is, that it might be a signal Representative of a Believer's union with Christ, called therefore a being baptized into Christ, figured out by such an union and conjunction with the
Element, as imports a being born thereof, and being cloathed [sic] therewith.
Upon which (saith Dr. Taylor) Whoever are baptized into Christ, have put on Christ, have put on the new man. This whole Argument is the very words of St. Paul: The major Proposition is Dogmatically determined, Gal. 3.24. The Minor in Eph. 4.24. The Conclusion then is obvious, that they who are not formed in Righteousness, and Holiness and Truth; They who remaining in their incapacities, cannot walk in newness of Life, they have not been baptized into Christ; and then they have but one Member of the distinction used by S. Peter: they have that Baptism, which is the putting away the filth of the Flesh; but they have not that Baptism, which is the Answer of a good Conscience towards God, which is the only Baptism that saveth. And this, saith he, is the case of Children.
And to this purpose also Mr. Baxter again, p. 98. If it be the appointed use of all Christian Baptism to solemnize our Marriage with Christ, or to seal or confirm our union with him, or ingrafting into him, then must we baptize none that profess not justifying Faith, because this is necessarily pre-requisite, and no other can pretend to Union, Marriage, or ingrafting into Christ.
Both the Antededent and the Consequent are evident in Gal. 3.27, 28, 29. For as many of you, as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ; ye are all one in Christ Jesus; and if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and Heirs according to Promise. Here we see, that it is not an accidental or separable thing for Baptism to be our Visible entrance into
Christ, Our putting him on, Our admittance by solemnization into the State of God's Children, and Heirs according to Promise. For (as all own) if we be truly baptized, we are baptized into Christ, then are we Christ's, and have put on Christ, and are all one in Christ, and Abraham's seed according to Promise.
A seventh End of Baptism is, That the Baptized person may orderly thereby have an entrance into the visible Church, and have a right given him to partake of all the Ordinances and Priviledges [sic] thereof. For as Circumcision of old was the visible door of entrance into the Old-Testament-Church, and so essentially necessary thereto, that without it, none were esteemed either Church-Members, or were to partake either of the Passover, or of any of the priviledges thereof, all without being called the Uncircumcision: So also was Baptism such a Door, and visible entrance into the New-Testament-Church, that none were esteemed Members thereof, or did partake of its Ordinances before they were baptized, being so God's Hedge and Boundary, that others were esteemed without: And therefore as Christ hath laid down the Order in the Commission, Matth. 28.19, 20. first to teach, then to baptize, and then to teach them all things, viz. in the place of teaching his School or Church. So did they practice accordingly; as we read, Acts 2.41, 42. Where, after Peter had taught them, it is said, That they who gladly received his Word, were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them three thousand Souls. And they continued stedfastly in the Apostles Doctrine
and fellowship, and breaking of Bread and Prayer. So that after Baptism, not before, the Believers were said to enjoy, and partake of all Chruch-priviledges. And which is Christ's Directory and Standard for Rule and Order to the end of the world, The Church of Corinth was said, 1 Cor. 11.2. to have kept the Ordinances as they were delivered to the. And it was the Apostle's joy and rejoicing to see the Order and Faith of the Saints, Col. 2.5
And therefore it is said, 1 Cor. 12.13. That by one Spirit we are all baptized into one Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, bond or free, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit, viz.
The same Spirit of Faith, Regeneration and Holiness, which gives right to Baptism, orderly lets into the Body or Church, and so admits also unto the Supper, which is the received sense of most Interpreters upon the place.
And by this Order Believers were said to be baptized into Christ, and to be implanted together with him, Rom. 6.3. Gal. 3.27.
For as publick Officers are invested into their trust by some external solemnity, that passeth upon them at the time of their instalment [sic]: And as the Husband and Wife enter into their Relation by some solemn act done at the time of the Marriage. Or, as a Corporation, by some publick act done, doth received its Members at their Enfranchisement; Even so according to the import of these Scriptures mentioned, do Men and Women receive that Relative Being, which they have in Christ, and as visible Members of that Spiritual Corporation,
on, wherein Christ is Head and Chief, from that solemn act of being baptized into him.
And as the Officer is not invested with his Authority, or Husband and wife with his power over each others Bodies (as 1 Cor. 7.4) nor any Members with the Immunities, or Corporation; by any pre-qualification, or actions preparatory thereto, until that be acted and done by way of Solemnity, which immediately invests them with their several & to be esteemed capable of those privileges, which visibly do belong to the Body of Christ, upon the account of any precedaneous Qualification or Actions whatsoever, until first they have past through those spiritual solemnities in Baptism, upon which they are invested with the denomination and visible priviledges which belong in common to the Members of Christ's Mystical Body.
Which Order of Christ hath had such a sanction upon it, that all, or for the most part all, or for the most part all, that have profess Christianity, whether Papists, Prelatists, Presbyterians, or Independents, have owned the same; not communicated in the Supper with any they judged unbaptized.
In a word, Baptism hath been called of old amongst the Ancients, and not without reason, Janna Sacramentorum, the Gate of the Sacraments, whereof they gave this Reason, viz.
Ambrose, In all respects the Order of the Mystery is kept, that first by remission of sins a Medicine be prepared for their wounds, and then the Nourishment of the Heavenly Table be added.
Which Truth is further witnessed unto, and confirmed by the following Testimonies, viz.
Justin Martyr, in secunda Apologia pro Christianis, speaking of the Lord's Supper, to which the new baptized person is admitted, saith, This food we call the Eucharist, to which no man is admitted, but only he that believeth the truth of our Doctrine, being washed in the Laver of Regeneration for the Remission of sins, &c.
Ursinus, in his Catechism; Baptism is a Sacrament of entrance into the Church, whence it cometh, that the Supper is presented to none, except first baptized.
The assemblies Caatechism; Baptism (say Assembl. they) is a Sacrament of the New Testament, or Catechis. Ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized in the visible Church: But &c.
M. Baxter, in his Plain Scripture-Proof, p. 24. As a Souldier before Listing, and a King before Crowning and taking his Oath; so are we Church-Members before Baptism: But as every one that must be admitted solemnly into the Army, must be admitted by Listing, as the solemn engaging sign: So every one that hath right to be solemnly admitted into the visible Church, must ordinarily be admitted by Baptism; proved thus:
If we have neither Precept nor Example in Scripture, since Christ ordained Baptism, of any other way of admitting visible Members, but only by Baptism; then all that must be admitted visible members, must ordinarily be baptized.
But since Baptism was instituted, we have no
Precept or Example of admitting Visible Members any other way, but constant Precept, and Example for admittance this way.
Therefore all that must be admitted Visible Members, must be baptized.
I know not (saith he) what in shew of Reason can be said to this by those that renounce not Scripture. For what man dare go in a way that hath neither Precept nor Example to warrant it, from a way that hath a full current of both. Yet they that will admit Members into the Church without Baptism, do so.
I had thought to have been larger upon this Point, and intended particularly to have answered a late piece of Mr. Bunion's [Bunyan] in contradiction hereto: But being so well replied to by M. Paul, in his serious Reflections so lately Printed: I shall say thereto little more, than what you find in the Sixth Chapter, respecting the constitution of the Primitive Churches.
Now may it not be referred to the Judgment & Conscience of the considerate impartial Reader, whether any but the Believer can possibly reach or attain these spiritual ends mentioned? And how capable poor ignorant Babes are to answer any of them? And whether it is not contradictious to common Sense and experience for any to assert it? For what repentance or faith are they capable to profess? What present Regeneration can they evidence? What Testimony of a good Conscience can they give, in striking, or keeping Covenant with God herein? And how can they embrace, or improve the Covenant on God's part for Pardon, Purging, Justification, Sanctification, and Salvation?
And therefore is Mr. Baxter forced to confess, in his Plain Scripture-Proof, p. 301. That as to the Ends of Baptism, they are rather to be fetched from the Aged, than Infants; and that because the Aged, 1. Are the most fully capable Subjects. 2. The most Excellent and Eminent Subjects. 3. Of whom the Scriptures fully speaks, &c. But on the contrary, as for Infant Baptism, he acknowledgeth in the same place, that the Scripture speaketh darkly of it; Yea, that it is so dark in the Scripture, that the Controversie is thereby become, not only hard, but so hard, as he saith, he finds it.
Wherein, if he hath not said more in a few words for the baptizing of Beleivers, and against that of Infants, than all his great Book can answer; let all the World judge: though he calls it, in contradiction hereto, Plain Scripture-Proof for Infants-Church-Membership and Baptism.
A Treatise of Baptism Index