Wherein Believers Baptism is confirmed to be the only true Baptism, from the Constitution of the Primitive Churches, who were formed not of Ignorant Babes, but of professing Men and Women, that upon baptism were joined together to observe all the Ordinances of Christ, which is also further evidenced by the Dedications of the Epistles to the Churches, and by the Epistles themselves.
The truth whereof appears not only from the Order directed unto in Christ's Commission, which (as already observed) requires, that men be first taught in the Faith. 2. That then they be baptized into the Faith. And then 3. That they be built up in the Faith, viz. in the place of teaching, the Church, or School of Christ. (The contemning which Order, as Mr. Baxter saith, is to contemn all Rules of Order.)
But also from the Pattern and Example the Apostles gave in observation of the aforesaid direction in planting the New-Testament-Churches we read of.
As first the Church of Jerusalem.
Acts 2.41, 42. Then they that gladly received his word, were baptized, and the same
day there were added to them three thousand souls. (The [them] that they were added to, appear to be the Baptized Disciples, mentioned Acts 1.15, 21, 22.) And so they continued in the Apostles' Doctrine, Fellowship, breaking of Bread, and Prayer. Where you have the Order fully observed. 1. Receiving or believing the Word. 2. Baptizing. 3. Church-fellowship in breaking Bread, and Prayer, &c.
And so in like manner you will find the self-same order was observed in all the Churches; As,
Secondly, The Church of Samaria.
Acts 8.12. Where it is said, that when the Samaritans believed Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus, they were baptized both Men and Women, (but not a word of Children.)
Thirdly, The Church at Casarea.
Acts 10. 47, 48. Where Peter upon Cornelius and his friends, believing and receiving the Holy spirit, said, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost, as well as We? And he commanded them to be baptized.
Fourthly, The Church at Philippi.
Acts 16. 14. It is said, That Lydia, a Worshipper of God, heard us, whose Heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things that were spoken by Paul, and was baptized and her household.
And Verse 32. They said unto the Jaylor, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved: And they spake unto him the Word
of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33. And he was baptized. He and all his straightway. 34. Believing in God with all his house.
Where you have two Families baptized, but no Child mentioned in either, but only such who were capable to hear the Word of the Lord, and to believe the same.
Fifthly, The Church at Coloss.
Col. 2.10, 11, 12. Where the Apostle asserts, that that Church at Colloss. Was buried with Christ in Baptism, wherein they were risen with him through the Faith of the operation of God. Which cannot be truly said of any but professed Believers.
Sixthly, Concerning the Church at Corinth, it is said,
Acts 18.18. And Crispus the chief Ruler of the Synagogue believed on the Lord with all his House, and that many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed, and were baptized; and in 1 Cor. 1.13. Paul tells the Church at Corinth, That they were not baptized in his name. And in 1 Co. 12.13. That by one Spirit they were all baptized into one Body, viz. That they were joyned to the Church by Baptism; of whom it is said, 1 Cor. 11.2. That they kept the Ordinances as they were delivered to them.
Seventhly, Of the Church of Rome, it is written;
Rom. 6.3. Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his Death. Therefore we are buried with him in Baptism into his Death.
Eightly, Of the Churches at Galatia.
Gal. 3.26, 27. For ye are all the Children of God by Faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.
And lastly, Of the Church at Ephesus, it is recorded,
Acts 19.1, 2, 3. That Paul having past [sic] through the upper Coasts, came to Ephesus, and finding Disciples, said unto them, Have you received the Spirit since you believed? And they said, No, &c. And he said, unto what then were you baptized? &c.
By all which Scriptures it manifestly appeareth, that the New-Testament-Churches were formed only of baptized Believers, wherein we neither find one ignorant Babe, nor one unbaptized person a Member.
And that Infants have as little right to be admitted into the Church, and esteemed Members thereof, or to partake of spiritual Ordinances therein, as they have to that initiating Ordinance, Baptism; It may further appear, if you do not consider, how incongruous it is to Reason and Sense to imagine, that little Children are any way concerned as Church-Members, either in the Dedications of the Epistles sent to the Churches, or in the Epistles themselves.
And secondly, Those Epistles to the Corinthians,
are they not also directed, 1 Cor. 1.2. to those that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be Saints, with all that in every place call upon the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and theirs, enriched with all utterance and knowledge, &c. But what Ignorant Babe could be concerned therein?
And Thirdly, That Epistle written to the Church at Ephesus, Eph. 1. Is it not to the Faithful in Christ, the chosen, adopted, abounding in Wisdom and Prudence? But what poor Child could be intended thereby?
And fourthly, IN the Letter directed to the Church at Philippi: Is it not to all Saints in Christ Jesus, who have had their fellowship in the Gospel from the first day till then? Phil. 1.1, 5. But how can that be said of any Child?
And Fifthly, Those epistles inscribed to the Church at Thessalonica; were they not to such as did abound in Love, Faith, Hope, Patience, that received the Word in much affliction, and joy in the Holy Ghost, &c. 1 Thes. 1. 2 Thes. 1.3. But what Patience, Love, or Hope can be attributed to Children?
And lastly, those seven Epistles written to the Asian Churches, Rev. 2 & 3. Wherein several Graces are commended, and sins reproved and threatened, and every one that had an Ear commanded to hear what the Spirit said to these Churches. But how could there be one Child concerned therein?
The Church of England in their Nineteenth Article, do acknowledge, that the visible Church is a number of Christians by profession.
Dr. Owen in his Catechism about New-Testament-worship, p. 89. Tells us, That a Gospel-Church is a Society of persons called out of the world, or their Natural worldly state, by the administration of the Word and Spirit, unto the obedience of the Faith, or the Knowledge and Worship of God in Christ, joyned together in a Holy Band, or by special Agreement, for the exercise of the communion of Saints in the due observation of all the Ordinances of the Gopsel, Rom. 1.5, 6. 1 Cor. 1.2 1 Cor. 14.15. Heb. 3.1.Jam. 1.18. Rev. 1.20. 1 Pet. 2.5. Eph. 2.21, 22, 23. 2 Cor. 6.16, 17.
And again in page 106. As the Apostles in their Writings do ascribe unto all the Churches, and the Members of them, a Participation in this effectual Vocation, affirming, that they are Saints, Called, Sanctified, Justified and Accepted with God in Christ; (for which, he again cites the forgoing Scriptures) so many of the Duties which are required of them in that relation and condition are such, as none can perform to the Glory of God, their own benefit, and the edification of others, (the Ends of all Obedience) unless they are partakers of this effectual Calling, 1 Cor. 10.16, 17. 1 Cor. 12.12. Eph. 4.16.
Mr. Baxter in his 10th Argum. To Mr. Blake hath these words, very significant to our purpose, viz. Paul calleth all the baptized Church of Corinth, justified: None that profess not a justified Faith, are called justified therefore none such should be baptized. The Major is proved on of 1 Cor. 6.11. ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified in the name of the
Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. To which he adds, I confess it is sad, that good men should be so unfaithful to the Truth, which is so precious, and is not their own, and which they should do nothing against, but all they can for it.
Secondly, As Children are not concerned in the Dedications of the Epistles, so neither are they as Church-Members in the Epistles themselves, as may appear by a few instances; to which you may abundantly add in your reading the Epistles.
The first we shall mention is that 1 Cor. 6.4. If then you have judgment of things pertaining to this Life, set them to judge that are least esteemed in the Church. And that he meant least esteemed for Wisdom and Judgment.
But Infants of 8 or 10 days old can neither judge nor speak: therefore we must necessarily conclude, there were no such Members in the Church of Corinth.
2. Another you have in 1 Cor. 10.16, 17. Compared 2.28, 29. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the Communion of the Blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the Body of Christ? For we being many are one Bread. And whosoever doth eat and drink unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, and eateth and drinketh Damnation to himself; not discerning the Lord's Body, &c. But poor ignorant Babes without understanding cannot possibly either examine themselves, or have the least discerning of the Lord's body, whether
considered as Symbolically or Mystically represented in that Ordinance.
Therefore were none such to be found in the Church at Corinth, nor in any other Gospel-Church, as Dr. Owen saith very well.
Dr. Owen, p. 103. As God hath appointed Saints to be the seat and subject of all his Ordinances, having granted the right of them to them alone, 1 Tim. 3.15. Instructing them with the exercise of that Authority which he puts forth in the Rule of his Disciples in this world: He hath also appointed the most holy institution of his Supper to denote and express that Union and communion, which the Members of each of these Churches have by his Ordinance among themselves, 1 Cor. 10.16, 17. The Cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the Communion of the Bloud [sic] of Christ? The Bread which we break, is it not the Communion of the Body of Christ? is it not the Communion of the body of Christ? For we being many, are one bread and one body, for we are all partakers of that one bread.
How consonant (by the way) agreeable both to Rule, Reason, and Righteousness, doth it appear to be, to admit men upon profession of Faith, to both Ordinances, keeping thereby the right Subjects, as well as the due Order.
But how Childishly ridiculous it was in those first inventers of Infant Baptism for six hundred years, so well to observe the Order [viz. first to baptize, and to communicate] and yet so miserably to miss in the Subjects, applying the Spiritual Ordinances to Ignorant Babes?
And how much worse in the Protestant-Reformers, that so lamentably miss is both
the due Order, and right Subjects also.
Which the Prelate and Presbyter do in admitting Children to Baptism and Membership, but not to the Supper?[sic].
And the Independent more in point of Order, in admitting them Baptism, but neither to Membership, nor to the Supper.
A third observable Passage we have in 1 Cor. 12.25, 26. Where the Apostle exhorts, that there be no Schism in the Body, but that the Members should have the same care one for another.
But how ridiculous would this be to be applied to a little Ignorant Infant?
A fourth considerable Instance may be fetcht from 1 Thes. 5.2, 5. Where the Apostle saith, That they all knew perfectly, that the day of the Lord so cometh, as a Thief in the night. That he speaks of all, is evident, ver. 4, 5. In these words, But ye, Brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake You, as a Thief: Ye are all the Children of the Day, and of the Light, &c.
But little Children that have no understanding, are no such Children of the Light, as to k now perfectly, or in part the coming of the Day of God; for they know nothing at all of it; therefore no such Infants were Members of the Church at Thessalonica.
And fifthly, another convincing Passage we have in Heb. 6.11, 12. The Apostle thus exhorting; And we desire, that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope to the End, that ye be not slothful, but followers of them, who through Faith and Patience inherit the Promises.
But little Children can shew no such diligence to the assurance of hope to the end, neither can they shew such diligence in following of them, who through Faith and Patience did inherit the Promises: For they have no understanding in Earthly things; How then can they understand heavenly? John 3.12. Therefore no such Babes were Church-Members in the Church of the Hebrews.
And as a further proof against Infants Church-Membership, we may add some of the Characters Christ gives of his Disciples, viz.
John 8.31, 32. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him; If ye continue in my word, then are ye my Disciples indeed, and ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.
And John 13.34, 35. A new Commandment I give unto you, that you love one another, as I have loved you; That you also love one another : By this shall all men know that you are my Disciples. And again,
John 15.8. Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much Fruit; so shall you be my Disciples. And again,
Luke 14.27. And whosoever doth not bear his Cross, and come after me, cannot be my Disciple. And Verse 33. So likewise, whosoever he be of you, that forsaketh not all that he hath, cannot be my Disciple.
But how absurd would it be to apply any of these Characters to little ignorant Infants.
And lastly, From that general Exhortation, that Christ gives to all his Disciples, Luke 21.36.
Mark 13.37. Watch and pray alwayes [sic], that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things, and to stand before the Son of Man. And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.
But how ridiculous would it be to include a little Babe herein?
Which Argument about Church-Membership, we shall conclude with those full words of Dr. Owen so much to the purpose, p. 107.viz.
From all which it appears, who are the subject matter of these Churches of Christ, as also the means whereby they come to be so, namely, the Administration of the Spirit and Word of Christ. As also by the Gifts and Graces of the Spirit given to them, to make every one of them meet for, and useful in that place, which he holds in such Churches, as the Apostle discourseth at large, 1 Cor. 12.15, 16, 17, to 27. Col. 2.9. Eph. 4.16. It being manifest (saith he) that no Ordinance of Christ is appointed to be observed by his Disciples, no Communication of Gifts of the Hioly Ghost is promised to them, but with respect unto these Churches of his Institution.
A Treatise of Baptism Index