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Thread: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Genesis 17: 7-14 is the covenant of the flesh not of the promise.
    Galatians states that both were given the sign of the covenant but that only Isaac was a true child of the promise. It does not say that because of this the sign of the covenant should only be administerd unto those who express belief nor does it say that circumcision had merely to do with an allotment of land, nor does it say that the covenant is conditional in any way. God establishes the covenant and God promises it is everlasting. Either the covenant is everlasting or God is a liar.

    Paul did allow the circumcision to continue to avoid causing unneeded stress in the church, but when it became an issue he made some very harsh statements against the practice, refused to circumcise Titus, and equated baptism with circumcision in Col. 2:11-12.

    If circumcision has to do with allotment of land then so would baptism, and although this is not the focus it does. For we shall inherit the earth.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Wilb Boar;
    God establishes the covenant and God promises it is everlasting. Either the covenant is everlasting or God is a liar.


    Heb 8:13
    In that he says, "A new covenant," he has made the first old. But that which is becoming old and grows aged is near to vanishing away.

    Heb 8:9b

    For they didn't continue in my covenant,
    And I disregarded them," says the Lord.


    When the covenant was broken by the Jews God was no longer obligated to keep his part. That is the nature of contracts.

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    You are avoiding that which is at issue, the covenant made with Abraham. Heb. 8:9 and 13 both speak of the covenant made on Sinai which is clear from the first part of vs. 9 which you cut off.

    Hebrews 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
    The covenant with Abraham is everlasting and we become seeds of Abraham as the Bible very clearly says.

    Galatians 3:29 - 4:1 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
    When the covenant was broken by the Jews God was no longer obligated to keep his part. That is the nature of contracts.
    A covenant is not a mere contract. God alone passed through the animals establishing his covenant with Abraham. Abraham did not pass through. The covenant is unilateral. And the covenant is not some agreement between to parties, it is a bond of friendship. The picture of the covenant we are given in our daily life is that of marriage. Is marriage in which the husband is called to love his wife as Christ loved the church a mere contractural agreement which can be dissolved simply by one party failing to fulfill his/her duty? If our remaining in the covenant is up to us keeping our part then we are all damned for we are all spiritual whores.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Abrahamic vs. Old Covenant

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    When the child of God sees his sin and his own damnworthiness he can look to his baptism and know that just as surely as water washes away dirt from the flesh Christ has washed away his sins.
    this sounds dangerously close to baptismal regeneration. where do we find this admonition (to look at your baptism for assurance) in Scripture?

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    But we ought not read change where the Bible does not speak of change.
    do you see change from the entire old covenant or just parts of it? what parts do we understand are to have changed here?

    Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. 8 For finding fault with them, He says, "Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, When I will effect a new covenant With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; 9 Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers On the day when I took them by the hand To lead them out of the land of Egypt; For they did not continue in My covenant, And I did not care for them, says the Lord. 10 "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, And I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, And they shall be My people. 11 "And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And everyone his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' For all will know Me, From the least to the greatest of them. 12 "For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more." 13 When He said, "A new covenant " He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

    what parts of the old covenant remain (are continuous)?

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    To focus upon the covenant at Sinai is to miss the point. There are various views within the realm of covenant theology as to what took place. The heart of the matter is the covenant of grace and even more particular to this discussion, the covenant given to Abraham which ocurred well before the giving of the law on Sinai.
    but the NT writers are the ones who constantly focus on the discontinuity of the new covenant with the old (mosaic, sinaitic). but you are correct that they do not only discuss that covenant (i.e., the Sinaitic) and therefore we should not only discuss the discontinuity of the new with the old covenant but must also discuss the continuity with the abrahamic covenant.

    is your understanding of covenant theology that the eternal covenant was "cut" (has its beginning) with abraham and that is what is continuous with the "new" covenant (however you understand "new")? and where does the old (sinaitic, first, mosaic, etc.) covenant fit in as a covenant? and what about the other covenants (e.g., Noahic, Davidic)? in your understanding, can a covenant be taken piecemeal or are they to be understood holistically?

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    It does not say that because of this the sign of the covenant should only be administerd unto those who express belief nor does it say that circumcision had merely to do with an allotment of land, nor does it say that the covenant is conditional in any way. God establishes the covenant and God promises it is everlasting. Either the covenant is everlasting or God is a liar.
    how do you read this?

    Gen 17:7 "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8 "I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." 9 God said further to Abraham, "Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 "This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 "And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 "And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. 13 "A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 "But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant."

    is this not a contract? how do you read v. 9ff? and how does v. 13 (in your flesh) fit into the new covenant? can anyone break the new covenant? isn't the point of the new covenant that Christ the mediator perfectly fulfilled the requirements of all previous covenants and therefore is our surety and that it therefore cannot be broken? how do you read Heb 8 (or the entire book of Hebrews) in this light?

    and i agree that the abrahamic covenant is unconditional (v. 8 indicates no "if") but there are requirements (therefore, it is a contract). the old (sinaitic, mosaic, first, etc.) on the other hand is wholely a conditional covenant of works where the results were physical life/blessing if the conditions were kept (not salvation) or physical death/cursing if the stipulations were broken:

    Ex 19:5 'Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel."

    Deut 30:8 "And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. 9 "Then the Lord your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the Lord will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; 10 if you obey the Lord your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul...15 "See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17 "But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. 19 "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."


    and how do you understand the following in light of 2 Co 3:7, 11 and Heb 8:13?

    Lev 24:8 "Every sabbath day he shall set it in order before the Lord continually; it is an everlasting covenant for the sons of Israel.

    Num 18:19 "All the offerings of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer to the Lord, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord to you and your descendants with you."


    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    A covenant is not a mere contract. God alone passed through the animals establishing his covenant with Abraham. Abraham did not pass through. The covenant is unilateral.
    but it is at least a contract. the distinction is between conditional and unconditional. the noahic, abrahamic, davidic, and new are unconditional and the sinaitic is conditional.

    Gal 3:15 Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man's covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.

    all covenants are at least a contract (though as you say, not a mere contract, whatever you mean by that). perhaps you could tell us what more is involved in order to properly call something a covenant?
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Disciple:
    and i agree that the abrahamic covenant is unconditional

    me too but circumcision is not part of the unconditional covenant God made with Abraham it is law pure and simple. Strait from Sinai. So it is also covered by Heb 8:9

    Galatians 4:24These things contain an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar.

    The Abrahamic Covenant was based on a promise not on his obedience to a command.

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Quote Originally Posted by tomas1
    me too but circumcision is not part of the unconditional covenant God made with Abraham it is law pure and simple. Strait from Sinai.
    huh? how do you read Gen 17?

    anyway, the problem i think comes in that by the time of the NT the circumcision of the abrahamic covenant is nearly enveloped into the sinaitic covenant. the judaizers saw obedience to the law of moses and circumcision as the two most important factors of being a jew. and so from the perspective of the NT, it seems that circumcision had been convoluted into the mosaic covenant as one and the same or as at least two pillars of the true faith for the faithful jew.

    Jn 7:22 "For this reason Moses has given you circumcision (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man. 23 "If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses (pentateuch?) will not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath?

    Acts 15:1 Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved."...5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses."

    Acts 21:21 and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.

    Rom 2:25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

    Gal 5:3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.

    Gal 6:13 For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Quote Originally Posted by disciple
    and so from the perspective of the NT, it seems that circumcision had been convoluted into the mosaic covenant as one and the same or as at least two pillars of the true faith for the faithful jew.
    and to me this is the consummate error of the judaizer and i think an error repeated by many paedobaptists. the first century jew understood covenant entrance (and salvation) as through circumcision and then covenant maintenance as through keeping the law of moses. likewise, the paedobaptist understands covenant entrance (and in some cases salvation) as through baptism and then covenant maintenance as through keeping the 10 commandments with the addition of the NT commands. this extreme is well pictured in roman catholicism and by those so-called protestants who adhere to the new perspective on paul.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Disciple says:
    huh? how do you read Gen 17?

    I hope this doesn’t turn into dueling interpretations but you asked for it.
    I think Paul in Galatians explains this passage better than I ever could. He was battling people who said that the eternal sign of the Covenant was circumcision aka Gen 17.
    He explained that there were really two covenants in the passage one of the flesh represented by Hagar and Ishmael (verse 7-14) that promised land in exchange for obedience (just like the law). And one of the promise represented by Sara and Isaac (verse 15-21) in which God said what he would do.

    17:19God said, "No, but Sarah, your wife, will bear you a son. You shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his seed after him. 17:20As for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 17:21But my covenant I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this set time in the next year."

    Obedience had nothing whatsoever to do with the promise.

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Disciple and Tomas, your comments and observations are timely and truly worth their weight in gold! I like a lot of WB's comments--but he needs to explain his position on the covenant at Sinai. I think the views of the rest of us are plain on this issue.

    I am also quite certain that men like Herman Hoeksema once opposed many of the typical Reformed notions of covenant paedobaptism: i.e., that covenant baptism in any way supports the notion of New Covenant conditionalism. John Murray and many others have taught a 'conditional' paedobaptism (making the salvation of the 'baptized' conditional upon the faithfulness of the parents). The present trend of many Reformed theologians on this subject is extremely disturbing to my mind.

    Whatever our views on the water, the administration of the New and Everlasting Covenant of Grace is absolutely unconditional! God gives salvation in Christ through faith to whom he wills and never recalls his free distribution of it!
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Quote Originally Posted by tomas1
    He was battling people who said that the eternal sign of the Covenant was circumcision aka Gen 17...Obedience had nothing whatsoever to do with the promise.
    i agree that circumcision is not the eternal sign but it was the sign of the abrahamic covenant. at least that much is clear from gen 17 and other passages that discuss it. and that is my point. it was a sign of the abrahamic covenant but that did not mean that the covenant was conditional. therefore you are correct to say that the promsie was not conditioned upon our obedience (our ability to be righteous and keep the covenants). the promise was, however, conditioned on the obedience of the mediator (Christ) and He perfectly obeyed God and fulfilled all that the covenants of promise entailed and promised. therefore we have the blessings because of His obedience. but this does not mean that the sign of the abrahamic covenant wasn't circumcision if that's what you meant.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    disciple:

    this sounds dangerously close to baptismal regeneration. where do we find this admonition (to look at your baptism for assurance) in Scripture?
    If I did not draw the charge of teaching baptismal regeneration I would fear that I had not presented the truth about what the Bible says regarding baptism in all of its glory just as if nobody accused me of being a hyper-calvinist. The many books that describe baptism has our first act of obedience miss the point, as if baptism is something we are doing for God.

    However, the charge is false and comes nowhere near baptismal regeneration. I am not saying that all are regenerated at the time of baptism or that all those who are baptized become regenerated. I am saying that the visible sign of baptism is given by God to us to strengthen our faith and that the child of God who doubts his own salvation because of his sinfulness can look back to his baptism to know that it is God which washes away all sin just as certainly as water washes away dirt of the flesh. A reprobate would not feel the same concern about his own sin before God.

    do you see change from the entire old covenant or just parts of it? what parts do we understand are to have changed here?
    The essence of the covenant remains the same, it is "I will be your God and you will be my people." To go into the details of all that changes and all that remains the same would take several books. It should suffice to say that we should acknowledge a change when Scripture speaks of a change, but not read one in where none is found. It appears that the ceremonial law is at issue in Hebrews however especially since it is dealing specifically with the covenant delivered at Sinai. The Bible uses very strong language here for very good reason but we must take what the Bible says of the covenant in its totality, not just pet passages. The Bible in various passages speaks of their being a new heaven and a new earth and us receiving new spiritual bodies. This passages taken in isolation have led some to believe that the old are in every way completely different from the new, yet we learn that they are same but have been dramatically and drastically changed.

    13 When He said, "A new covenant " He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
    Notice that this passage says that at the time it was written the old covenant had not yet become obsolete or disappeared but was ready to. This further leads me to believe that the ceremonial ordinances of the Jews is what is in view, which ceased to burden and drag down the church until 70 AD.

    but it is at least a contract. the distinction is between conditional and unconditional. the noahic, abrahamic, davidic, and new are unconditional and the sinaitic is conditional.
    The covenant is not a contract it is a bond of friendship. The definition of the covenant as a contract has plagued the church for far too long.

    The Leviticus and Numbers passages are not done away with but have a greater spiritual significance. Part of the problem with the baptist view of the covenant is that they diminish in many ways the new covenant while the Bible continually speaks of how much greater it is.

    is this not a contract? how do you read v. 9ff? and how does v. 13 (in your flesh) fit into the new covenant? can anyone break the new covenant? isn't the point of the new covenant that Christ the mediator perfectly fulfilled the requirements of all previous covenants and therefore is our surety and that it therefore cannot be broken? how do you read Heb 8 (or the entire book of Hebrews) in this light?
    In its outward form and in an outward way God's covenant with Israel in the OT can rightly be said to be conditional in an outward way but this is because God's covenant with the nation of Israel was a picture of the one true covenant and not the one true covenant in and of itself in the same way that each individual church is a picture of the body of Christ and of the one catholic church. The Bible also speaks of those in Hebrews who were once enlightened and fell into apostacy. We know from other passages that these were never part of the one catholic church but they were a part of the church visible.

    BT:

    but he needs to explain his position on the covenant at Sinai.
    I believe the covenant made on Sinai is somewhat irrelevant to the current discussion, but I will try to delve into it at a later date. Right now I'll just say that I believe it served a two-fold purpose at the time it was given.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Contract vs. Bond, etc.

    The idea of covenant as bond instead of contract: this reinforces in my mind even more the truth that it is unilateral, not conditional.

    However, the unique and conditional nature of Sinai (Ex. 19:3-8)--plus the fact that it alone of all covenants had the potential of cancellation due to man's unfaithfulness; this is something that has to be owned up to and contrasted with all the others.

    The Abrahamic covenant of promise (signified by circumcision) was not a contract and it was not conditional upon the obedience of man. God alone passed through the parts of the animal in Gen. 15.

    Abraham was justified by the righteousness of faith before receiving circumcision; Gen. 15 precedes Gen. 17 by at least five years and Abraham's faith had been conceived many years prior to that. It is also important to note that Abraham's obedience to the command of circumcision was not due to his faithfulness but God's. Abraham laughed at God's promise of a son through Sarah, yet hastened to obey a command involving significant pain for himself and others. This can only indicate that the Lord bound Abraham's heart to obedience in spite of doubt and a measure of rebellion.

    A lot of details in the circumcision story of Gen. 17 do not speak well for covenant-transference theology in relation to the 'drip.' More to come in the days ahead.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    John Calvin

    Institutes of the Christian Religion

    Book Fourth




    Chapter 16. Paedobaptism. Its accordance with the institution of Christ, and the nature of the sign.


    Divisions of this chapter, - I. Confirmation of the orthodox doctrine of paedobaptism, sec. 1-9. II. Refutation of the arguments which the Anabaptists urge against paedobaptism, sec. 10-30. III. Special objections of Servetus refuted, sec. 31, 32.

    Sections.

    1. Paedobaptism. The consideration of the question necessary and useful. Paedobaptism of divine origin.
    2. This demonstrated from a consideration of the promises. These explain the nature and validity of paedobaptism.
    3. Promises annexed to the symbol of water cannot be better seen than in the institution of circumcision.
    4. The promise and thing figured in circumcision and baptism one and the same. The only difference in the external ceremony.
    5. Hence the baptism of the children of Christian parents as competent as the circumcision of Jewish children. An objection founded on a stated day for circumcision refuted.
    6. An argument for paedobaptism founded on the covenant which God made with Abraham. An objection disposed of. The grace of God not diminished by the advent of Christ.
    7. Argument founded on Christ's invitation to children. Objection answered.
    8. Objection, that no infants were baptised by the apostles. Answer. Objection, that paedobaptism is a novelty. Answer.
    9. Twofold use and benefit of paedobaptism in respect, 1. Of parents. 2. Of children baptised.
    10. Second part of the chapter, stating the arguments of Anabaptists. Alleged dissimilitude between baptism and circumcision. First answer.
    11. Second answer. The covenant in baptism and circumcision not different.
    12. Third answer.
    13. Infants, both Jewish and Christian, comprehended in the covenant.
    14. Objection considered.
    15. The Jews being comprehended in the covenant, no substantial difference between baptism and circumcision.
    16. Another argument of the Anabaptists considered.
    17. Argument that children are not fit to understand baptism, and, therefore, should not be baptised.
    18. Answer continued.
    19. Answer continued.
    20. Answer continued.
    21. Answer continued.
    22. Argument, that baptism being appointed for the remission of sins, infants, not having sinned, ought not to be baptised. Answer.
    23. Argument against paedobaptism, founded on the practice of the apostles. Answer.
    24. Answer continued.
    25. Argument founded on a saying of our Lord to Nicodemus. Answer.
    26. Error of those who adjudge all who die unbaptised to eternal destruction.
    27. Argument against paedobaptism, founded on the precept and example of our Saviour, in requiring instruction to precede baptism. Answer.
    28. Answer continued.
    29. Answer continued.
    30. Argument, that there is no stronger reason for giving baptism to children than for giving them the Lord's Supper. Answer.
    31. Last part of the chapter; refuting the arguments of Servetus.
    32. Why Satan so violently assails paedobaptism. 1. But since in this age, certain frenzied spirits have raised,and even now continue to raise, great disturbance in the Church onaccount of paedobaptism, I cannot avoid here, by way of appendix,adding something to restrain their fury. Should any one think memore prolix than the subject is worthy let him reflect that in amatter of the greatest moment, so much is due to the peace andpurity of the Church, that we should not fastidiously object towhatever may be conducive to both. I may add, that I will study soto arrange this discussion, that it will tend, in no small degree,still farther to illustrate the subject of baptism. The argument bywhich paedobaptism is assailed is, no doubt, specious, viz., that itis not founded on the institution of God, but was introduced merelyby human presumption and depraved curiosity, and afterwards, by afoolish facility, rashly received in practice; whereas a sacramenthas not a thread to hang upon, if it rest not on the sure foundationof the word of God. But what if, when the matter is properlyattended to, it should be found that a calumny is falsely andunjustly brought against the holy ordinance of the Lord? First,then, let us inquire into its origin. Should it appear to have beendevised merely by human rashness, let us abandon it, and regulatethe true observance of baptism entirely by the will of the Lord; butshould it be proved to be by no means destitute of his sureauthority, let us beware of discarding the sacred institutions ofGod, and thereby insulting their Author.
    2. In the first place, then, it is a well-known doctrine, andone as to which all the pious are agreed, - that the rightconsideration of signs does not lie merely in the outward ceremoniesbut depends chiefly on the promise and the spiritual mysteries, totypify which, the ceremonies themselves are appointed. He,therefore, who would thoroughly understand the effect of baptism -its object and true character - must not stop short at the elementand corporeal object, but look forward to the divine promises whichare therein offered to us, and rise to the internal secrets whichare therein represented. He who understands these has reached thesolid truth, and, so to speak, the whole substance of baptism, andwill thence perceive the nature and use of outward sprinkling. Onthe other hand, he who passes them by in contempt, and keeps histhoughts entirely fixed on the visible ceremony, will neitherunderstand the force, nor the proper nature of baptism, norcomprehend what is meant, or what end is gained by the use of water.This is confirmed by passages of Scripture too numerous and tooclear to make it necessary here to discuss them more at length. Itremains, therefore, to inquire into the nature and efficacy ofbaptism, as evinced by the promises therein given. Scripture shows,first, that it points to that cleansing from sin which we obtain bythe blood of Christ; and, secondly, to the mortification of theflesh, which consists in participation in his death, by whichbelievers are regenerated to newness of life, and thereby to thefellowship of Christ. To these general heads may be referred allthat the Scriptures teach concerning baptism, with this addition,that it is also a symbol to testify our religion to men.
    3. Now, since prior to the institution of baptism, the peopleof God had circumcision in its stead, let us see how far these twosigns differ, and how far they resemble each other. In this way itwill appear what analogy there is between them. When the Lordenjoins Abraham to observe circumcision, (Gen. 17: 10,) he premisesthat he would be a God unto him and to his seed, adding, that inhimself was a perfect sufficiency of all things, and that Abrahammight reckon on his hand as a fountain of every blessing. Thesewords include the promise of eternal life, as our Saviour interpretswhen he employs it to prove the immortality and resurrection ofbelievers: "God," says he, "is not the God of the dead, but of theliving," (Matt. 22: 32.) Hence, too, Paul, when showing to theEphesians how great the destruction was from which the Lord haddelivered them, seeing that they had not been admitted to thecovenant of circumcision, infers that at that time they were aliensfrom the covenant of promise, without God, and without hope, (Eph.2: 12,) all these being comprehended in the covenant. Now, the firstaccess to God, the first entrance to immortal life, is the remissionof sins. Hence it follows, that this corresponds to the promise ofour cleansing in baptism. The Lord afterwards covenants withAbraham, that he is to walk before him in sincerity and innocence ofheart: this applies to mortification or regeneration. And lest anyshould doubt whether circumcision were the sign of mortification,Moses explains more clearly elsewhere when he exhorts the people ofIsrael to circumcise the foreskin of their heart, because the Lordhad chosen them for his own people, out of all the nations of theearth. As the Lord, in choosing the posterity of Abraham for hispeople, commands them to be circumcised, so Moses declares that theyare to be circumcised in heart, thus explaining what is typified bythat carnal circumcision. Then, lest any one should attempt this inhis own strength, he shows that it is the work of divine grace. Allthis is so often inculcated by the prophets, that there is nooccasion here to collect the passages which everywhere occur. Wehave, therefore, a spiritual promise given to the fathers incircumcision, similar to that which is given to us in baptism, sinceit figured to them both the forgiveness of sins and themortification of the flesh. Besides, as we have shown that Christ,in whom both of these reside, is the foundation of baptism, so musthe also be the foundation of circumcision. For he is promised toAbraham, and in him all nations are blessed. To seal this grace, thesign of circumcision is added.
    4. There is now no difficulty in seeing wherein the two signsagree, and wherein they differ. The promise, in which we have shownthat the power of the signs consists, is one in both, viz., thepromise of the paternal favour of God, of forgiveness of sins, andeternal life. And the thing figured is one and the same, viz.,regeneration. The foundation on which the completion of these thingsdepends is one in both. Wherefore, there is no difference in theinternal meaning, from which the whole power and peculiar nature ofthe sacrament is to be estimated. The only difference which remainsis in the external ceremony, which is the least part of it, thechief part consisting in the promise and the thing signified. Hencewe may conclude, that every thing applicable to circumcision appliesalso to baptism, excepting always the difference in the visibleceremony. To this analogy and comparison we are led by that rule ofthe apostle, in which he enjoins us to bring every interpretation ofScripture to the analogy of faith, (Rom. 12: 3, 6.) And certainly inthis matter the truth may almost be felt. For just as circumcision,which was a kind of badge to the Jews, assuring them that they wereadopted as the people and family of God, was their first entranceinto the Church, while they, in their turn, professed theirallegiance to God, so now we are initiated by baptism, so as to beenrolled among his people, and at the same time swear unto his name.Hence it is incontrovertible, that baptism has been substituted forcircumcision, and performs the same office.
    5. Now, if we are to investigate whether or not baptism isjustly given to infants, will we not say that the man trifles, orrather is delirious, who would stop short at the element of water,and the external observance, and not allow his mind to rise to thespiritual mystery? If reason is listened to, it will undoubtedlyappear that baptism is properly administered to infants as a thingdue to them. The Lord did not anciently bestow circumcision uponthem without making them partakers of all the things signified bycircumcision. He would have deluded his people with mere imposture,had he quieted them with fallacious symbols: the very idea isshocking. I is distinctly declares, that the circumcision of theinfant will be instead of a seal of the promise of the covenant. Butif the covenant remains firm and fixed, it is no less applicable tothe children of Christians in the present day, than to the childrenof the Jews under the Old Testament. Now, if they are partakers ofthe thing signified, how can they be denied the sign? If they obtainthe reality, how can they be refused the figure? The external signis so united in the sacrament with the word, that it cannot beseparated from it; but if they can be separated, to which of the twoshall we attach the greater value? Surely, when we see that the signis subservient to the word, we shall say that it is subordinate, andassign it the inferior place. Since, then, the word of baptism isdestined for infants why should we deny them the signs which is anappendage of the word? This one reason, could no other be furnished,would be amply sufficient to refute all gainsayers. The objection,that there was a fixed day for circumcision, is a mere quibble. Weadmit that we are not now, like the Jews, tied down to certain days;but when the Lord declares that though he prescribes no day, yet heis pleased that infants shall be formally admitted to his covenant,what more do we ask?
    6. Scripture gives us a still clearer knowledge of the truth.For it is most evident that the covenant, which the Lord once madewith Abraham, is not less applicable to Christians now than it wasanciently to the Jewish people, and, therefore, that word has noless reference to Christians than to Jews. Unless, indeed, weimagine that Christ, by his advent, diminished or curtailed thegrace of the Father - an idea not free from execrable blasphemy.Wherefore, both the children of the Jews, because, when made heirsof that covenant, they were separated from the heathen, were calleda holy seed, and for the same reason the children of Christians, orthose who have only one believing parent, are called holy, and, bythe testimony of the apostle, differ from the impure seed ofidolaters. Then, since the Lord, immediately after the covenant wasmade with Abraham ordered it to be sealed, infants by an outwardsacrament, how can it be said that Christians are not to attest itin the present day, and seal it in their children? Let it not beobjected that the only symbol by which the Lord ordered his covenantto be confirmed was that of circumcision, which was long agoabrogated. It is easy to answer, that in accordance with the form ofthe old dispensation, he appointed circumcision to confirm hiscovenant, but that it being abrogated, the same reason forconfirmation still continues, a reason which we have in common withthe Jews. Hence it is always necessary carefully to consider what iscommon to both, and wherein they differed from us. The covenant iscommon, and the reason for confirming it is common. The mode ofconfirming it is so far different that they had circumcision,instead of which we now have baptism. Otherwise, if the testimony bywhich the Jews were assured of the salvation of their seed is takenfrom us, the consequence will be, that, by the advent of Christ, thegrace of God, which was formerly given to the Jews, is more obscureand less perfectly attested to us. If this cannot be said withoutextreme insult to Christ, by whom the infinite goodness of theFather has been more brightly and benignly than ever shed upon theearth, and declared to men, it must be confessed that it cannot bemore confined, and less clearly manifested, than under the obscureshadows of the law.
    7. Hence our Lord Jesus Christ, to give an example from whichthe world might learn that he had come to enlarge rather than tolimit the grace of the Father, kindly takes the little children inhis arms, and rebukes his disciples for attempting to prevent themfrom coming, (Matth. 19: 13,) because they were keeping those towhom the kingdom of heaven belonged away from him, through whomalone there is access to heaven. But it will be asked, Whatresemblance is there between baptism and our Saviour embracinglittle children? He is not said to have baptised, but to havereceived, embraced, and blessed them; and, therefore, if we wouldimitate his example, we must give infants the benefit of ourprayers, not baptise them. But let us attend to the act of ourSaviour a little more carefully than these men do. For we must notlightly overlook the fact, that our Saviour, in ordering littlechildren to be brought to him, adds the reason, "of such is thekingdom of heaven." And he afterwards testifies his good will byact, when he embraces them, and with prayer and benediction commendsthem to his Father. If it is right that children should be broughtto Christ, why should they not be admitted to baptism, the symbol ofour communion and fellowship with Christ? If the kingdom of heavenis theirs, why should they be denied the sign by which access, as itwere, is opened to the Church, that being admitted into it they maybe enrolled among the heirs of the heavenly kingdom? How unjust werewe to drive away those whom Christ invites to himself, to spoilthose whom he adorns with his gifts, to exclude those whom hespontaneously admits. But if we insist on discussing the differencebetween our Saviour's act and baptism, in how much higher esteemshall we hold baptism, (by which we testify that infants areincluded in the divine covenant,) than the taking up, embracing,laying hands on children, and praying over them, acts by whichChrist, when present, declares both that they are his, and aresanctified by him? By the other cavils by which the objectorsendeavour to evade this passage, they only betray their ignorance:they quibble that, because our Saviour says, "Suffer little childrento come," they must have been several years old, and fit to come.But they are called by the Evangelists "brethe kai paidia", termswhich denote infants still at their mothers' breasts. The term"come" is used simply for "approach." See the quibbles to which menare obliged to have recourse when they have hardened themselvesagainst the truth! There is nothing more solid in their allegation,that the kingdom of heaven is not assigned to children, but to thoselike children, since the expression is, "of such," not "ofthemselves." If this is admitted, what will be the reason which ourSaviour employs to show that they are not strangers to him fromnonage? When he orders that little children shall be allowed to cometo him, nothing is plainer than that mere infancy is meant. Lestthis should seem absurd, he adds, "Of such is the kingdom ofheaven." But if infants must necessarily be comprehended theexpression, "of such," clearly shows that infants themselves, andthose like them, are intended.
    8. Every one must now see that paedobaptism, which receivessuch strong support from Scripture, is by no means of humaninvention. Nor is there anything plausible in the objection, that weno where read of even one infant having been baptised by the handsof the apostles. For although this is not expressly narrated by theEvangelists, yet as they are not expressly excluded when mention ismade of any baptised family, (Acts 16: 15, 32,) what man of sensewill argue from this that they were not baptised? If such kinds ofargument were good, it would be necessary, in like manner, tointerdict women from the Lord's Supper, since we do not read thatthey were ever admitted to it in the days of the apostles. But herewe are contented with the rule of faith. For when we reflect on thenature of the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, we easily judge whothe persons are to whom the use of it is to be communicated. Thesame we observe in the case of baptism. For, attending to the endfor which it was instituted, we clearly perceive that it is not lessapplicable to children than to those of more advanced years and thattherefore, they cannot be deprived of it without manifest fraud tothe will of its divine Author. The assertion which they disseminateamong the common people, that a long series of years elapsed afterthe resurrection at Christ, during which paedobaptism was unknown,is a shameful falsehood, since there is no writer, however ancient,who does not trace its origin to the days of the apostles.
    9. It remains briefly to indicate what benefit redounds fromthe observance, both to believers who bring their children to thechurch to be baptised, and to the infants themselves, to whom thesacred water is applied, that no one may despise the ordinance asuseless or superfluous: though any one who would think of ridiculingbaptism under this pretence, would also ridicule the divineordinance of circumcision: for what can they adduce to impugn theone, that may not be retorted against the other? Thus the Lordpunishes the arrogance of those who forthwith condemn whatever theircarnal sense cannot comprehend. But God furnishes us with otherweapons to repress their stupidity. His holy institution, from whichwe feel that our faith derives admirable consolation, deserves notto be called superfluous. For the divine symbol communicated to thechild, as with the impress of a seal, confirms the promise given tothe godly parent, and declares that the Lord will be a God not tohim only but to his seed: not merely visiting him with his grace andgoodness, but his posterity also to the thousandth generation. Whenthe infinite goodness of God is thus displayed, it, in the firstplace, furnishes most ample materials for proclaiming his glory, andfills pious breasts with no ordinary joy, urging them more stronglyto love their affectionate Parent, when they see that, on theiraccount, he extends his care to their posterity. I am not moved bythe objection, that the promise ought to be sufficient to confirmthe salvation of our children. It has seemed otherwise to God, who,seeing our weakness, has herein been pleased to condescend to it.Let those, then, who embrace the promise of mercy to their children,consider it as their duty to offer them to the Church, to be sealedwith the symbol of mercy, and animate themselves to surerconfidence, on seeing with the bodily eye the covenant of the Lordengraven on the bodies of their children. On the other hand,children derive some benefit from their baptism, when, beingingrafted into the body of the church, they are made an object ofgreater interest to the other members. Then when they have grown up,they are thereby strongly urged to an earnest desire of serving God,who has received them as sons by the formal symbol of adoption,before, from nonage, they were able to recognise him as theirFather. In fine, we ought to stand greatly in awe of thedenunciations that God will take vengeance on every one who despisesto impress the symbol of the covenant on his child, (Genesis 17: 15)such contempt being a rejection, and, as it were, abjuration of theoffered grace.
    10. Let us now discuss the arguments by which some furiousmadmen cease not to assail this holy ordinance of God. And, first,feeling themselves pressed beyond measure by the resemblance betweenbaptism and circumcision, they contend that there is a widedifference between the two signs, that the one has nothing in commonwith the other. They maintain that the things meant are different,that the covenant is altogether different, and that the personsincluded under the name of children are different. When they firstproceed to the proof, they pretend that circumcision was a figure ofmortification, not of baptism. This we willingly concede to them,for it admirably supports our view, in support of which the onlyproof we use is, that baptism and circumcision are signs ofmortification. Hence we conclude that the one was substituted forthe other, baptism representing to us the very thing whichcircumcision signified to the Jews. In asserting a difference ofcovenant, with what barbarian audacity do they corrupt and destroyscripture? and that not in one passage only, but so as not to leaveany passage safe and entire. The Jews they depict as so carnal as toresemble brutes more than men, representing the covenant which wasmade with them as reaching no farther than a temporary life, and thepromises which were given to them as dwindling down into present andcorporeal blessings. If this dogma is received, what remains butthat the Jewish nation was overloaded for a time with divinekindness, (just as swine are gorged in their stye,) that they mightat last perish eternally? Whenever we quote circumcision and thepromises annexed to it, they answer, that circumcision was a literalsign, and that its promises were carnal.
    11. Certainly, if circumcision was a literal sign, the sameview must be taken of baptism, since, in the second chapter to theColossians, the apostle makes the one to be not a whit morespiritual than the other. For he says that in Christ we "arecircumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting offthe body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ."In explanation of his sentiment he immediately adds, that we are"buried with him in baptism." What do these words mean, but justthat the truth and completion of baptism is the truth and completionof circumcision, since they represent one thing? For his object isto show that baptism is the same thing to Christians thatcircumcision formerly was to the Jews. Now, since we have alreadyclearly shown that the promises of both signs, and the mysterieswhich are represented by them, agree, we shall not dwell on thepoint longer at present. I would only remind believers to reflect,without anything being said by me, whether that is to be regarded asan earthly and literal sign, which has nothing heavenly or spiritualunder it. But lest they should blind the simple with their smoke, weshall, in passing, dispose of one objection by which they cloak thismost impudent falsehood. It is absolutely certain that the originalpromises comprehending the covenant which God made with theIsraelites under the old dispensation were spiritual, and hadreference to eternal life, and were, of course, in like mannerspiritually received by the fathers, that they might thenceentertain a sure hope of immortality, and aspire to it with theirwhole soul. Meanwhile, we are far from denying that he testified hiskindness to them by carnal and earthly blessings; though we holdthat by these the hope of spiritual promises was confirmed. In thismanner, when he promised eternal blessedness to his servant Abraham,he, in order to place a manifest indication of favour before hiseye, added the promise of possession of the land of Canaan. In thesame way we should understand all the terrestrial promises whichwere given to the Jewish nation, the spiritual promise, as the headto which the others bore reference, always holding the first place.Having handled this subject fully when treating of the differencebetween the old and the hew dispensations, I now only glance at it.
    12. Under the appellation of "children" the difference theyobserve is this that the children of Abraham, under the olddispensation, were those who derived their origin from his seed, butthat the appellation is now given to those who imitate his faith,and therefore that carnal infancy, which was ingrafted into thefellowship of the covenant by circumcision, typified the spiritualchildren of the new covenant, who are regenerated by the word of Godto immortal life. In these words we indeed discover a small spark oftruth, but these giddy spirits err grievously in this, that layinghold of whatever comes first to their hand, when they ought toproceed farther and compare many things together; they obstinatelyfasten upon one single word. Hence it cannot but happen that theyare every now and then deluded, because they do not exert themselvesto obtain a full knowledge of any subject. We certainly admit thatthe carnal seed of Abraham for a time held the place of thespiritual seed, which is ingrafted into him by faith, (Gal. 4: 28;Rom. 4: 12.) For we are called his sons, though we have no naturalrelationship with him. But if they mean, as they not obscurely show,that the spiritual promise was never made to the carnal seed ofAbraham, they are greatly mistaken. We must, therefore, take abetter aim, one to which we are directed by the infallible guidanceof Scripture. The Lord therefore promises to Abraham that he shallhave a seed in whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed,and at the same time assures him that he will be a God both to himand his seed. All who in faith receive Christ as the author of theblessing are the heirs of this promise, and accordingly are calledthe children of Abraham.
    13. Although, after the resurrection of Christ, the boundariesof the kingdom of God began to be extended far and wide into allnations indiscriminately, so that, according to the declaration ofChrist, believers were collected from all quarters to sit down withAbraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven, (Matth. 8: 11,)still, for many ages before, the Jews had enjoyed this great mercy.And as he had selected them (while passing by all other nations) tobe for a time the depositaries of his favour, he designated them ashis peculiar purchased people, (Exod. 19: 5.) In attestation of thiskindness, he appointed circumcision, by which symbol the Jews weretaught that God watched over their safety, and they were therebyraised to the hope of eternal life. For what can ever be wanting tohim whom God has once taken under his protection? Wherefore theapostle, to prove that the Gentiles, as well as the Jews, were thechildren of Abraham, speaks in this way: "Faith was reckoned toAbraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was incircumcisions or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but inuncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal ofthe righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised:that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they benot circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed to them also:and the father of circumcision to them who are not of thecircumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith ofour father Abraham, which he had yet being uncircumcised," (Rom. 4:9-12.) Do we not see that both are made equal in dignity? For, tothe time appointed by the divine decree, he was the father ofcircumcision. But when, as the apostle elsewhere writes, (Eph. 2:14,) the wall of partition, which separated the Gentiles from theJews was broken down, to them, also, access was given to the kingdomof God, and he became their fathers and that without the sign ofcircumcisions, its place being supplied by baptism. In sayingexpressly that Abraham was not the feather of those who were of thecircumcision only, his object was to repress the superciliousness ofsome who, laying aside all regard to godliness, plumed themselves onmere ceremonies. In like manner, we may, in the present day, refutethe vanity of those who, in baptism, seek nothing but water.
    14. But in opposition to this is produced a passage from theEpistle to the Romans, in which the apostle says, that those who areof the flesh are not the children of Abraham, but that those onlywho are the children of promise are considered as the seed, (Rom. 9:7.) For he seems to insinuate, that carnal relationship to Abraham,which we think of some consequence, is nothing. But we must attendcarefully to the subject which the apostle is there treating. Hisobject being to show to the Jews that the goodness of God was notrestricted to the seed of Abraham, nay, that of itself itcontributes nothing, produces, in proof of the fact, the cases ofIshmael and Esau. These being rejected, just as if they had beenstrangers, although, according to the flesh, they were the genuineoffspring of Abraham, the blessing resides in Isaac and Jacob. Thisproves what he afterwards affirms, viz., that salvation depends onthe mercy which God bestows on whomsoever he pleases, but that theJews have no ground to glory or plume themselves on the name of thecovenant, unless they keep the law of the covenant, that is, obeythe word. On the other hand, after casting down their vainconfidence in their origin, because he was aware that the covenantwhich had been made with the posterity of Abraham could not properlyprove fruitless, he declares, that due honour should still be paidto carnal relationship to Abraham, in consequence of which, the Jewswere the primary and native heirs of the gospel, unless in so far asthey were, for their ingratitude, rejected as unworthy, and yetrejected so as not to leave their nations utterly destitute of theheavenly blessing. For this reason, though they were contumaciousbreakers of the covenant, he styles them holy, (such respect does hepay to the holy generation which God had honoured with his sacredcovenant,) while we, in comparison of them, are termed posthumous,or abortive children of Abraham and that not by nature, but byadoption, just as if a twig were broken from its own tree, andingrafted on another stock. Therefore, that they might not bedefrauded of their privilege, it was necessary that the gospelshould first be preached to them. For they are, as it were, thefirst-born in the family of God. The honour due, on this account,must therefore be paid them, until they have rejected the offer,And, by their ingratitude, caused it to be transferred to theGentiles. Nor, however great the contumacy with which they persistin warring against the gospel, are we therefore to despise them. Wemust consider, that in respect of the promise, the blessing of Godstill resides among them; And, as the apostle testifies, will neverentirely depart from them, seeing that "the gifts and calling of Godare without repentance," (Rom. 11:29.)
    15. Such is the value of the promise given to the posterity ofAbraham, - such the balance in which it is to be weighed. Hencethough we have no doubt that in distinguishing the children of Godfrom bastards and foreigners, that the election of God reignsfreely, we, at the same time, perceive that he was pleased speciallyto embrace the seed of Abraham with his mercy, and, for the betterattestation of it, to seal it by circumcision. The case of theChristian Church is entirely of the same description; for as Paulthere declares that the Jews are sanctified by their parents, so heelsewhere say s that the children of Christians derivesanctification from their parents. Hence it is inferred that thosewho are chargeable with impurity are justly separated from others.Now who can have any doubt as to the falsehood of their subsequentaverments viz., that the infants who were formerly circumcised onlytypified the spiritual infancy which is produced by the regenerationof the word of God? When the apostle says, that "Jesus Christ was aminister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm thepromises made unto the fathers," (Rom. 15: 8,) he does notphilosophise subtilely, as if he had said, Since the covenant madewith Abraham has respect unto his seed, Christ, in order to performand discharge the promise made by the Father, came for the salvationof the Jewish nation. Do you see how he considers that, after theresurrection of Christ, the promise is to be fulfilled to the seedof Abraham, not allegorically, but literally, as the words express?To the same effect is the declaration of Peter to the Jews: "Thepromise is unto you and to your children," (Acts 2: 39 and in thenext chapters he calls them the children of the covenant, that is,heirs. Not widely different from this is the other passage of theapostle, above quoted, in which he regards and describescircumcision performed on infants as an attestation to the communionwhich they have with Christ. And, indeed, if we listen to theabsurdities of those men, what will become of the promise by whichthe Lord, in the second commandment of his law, engages to begracious to the seed of his servants for a thousand generations?Shall we here have recourse to allegory? This were the merestnibble. Shall we say that it has been abrogated? In this way, weshould do away with the law which Christ came not to destroy, but tofulfil, inasmuch as it turns to our everlasting good. Therefore, letit be without controversy, that God is so good and liberal to hispeople, that he is pleased, as a mark of his favour, to extend theirprivileges to the children born to them.
    16. The distinctions which these men attempt to draw betweenbaptism and circumcision are not only ridiculous, and void of allsemblance of reason, but at variance with each other. For, when theyaffirm that baptism refers to the first day of spiritual contest,and circumcision to the eighth day, mortification being alreadyaccomplished they immediately forget the distinction, and changetheir song, representing circumcision as typifying the mortificationof the flesh, and baptism as the burial, which is given to none butthose who are already dead. What are these giddy contradictions butfrenzied dreams? According to the former view, baptism ought toprecede circumcision; according to the latter, it should come afterit. It is not the first time we have seen the minds of men wander toand fro when they substitute their dreams for the infallible word ofGod. We hold, therefore, that their former distinction is a mereimagination. Were we disposed to make the allegory of the eighthday, theirs would not be the proper mode of it. It were much betterwith the early Christians to refer the number eight to theresurrection, which took place on the eighth day, and on which weknow that newness of life depends, or to the whole course of thepresent life, during which, mortification ought to be in progress,only terminating when life itself terminates; although it would seemthat God intended to provide for the tenderness of infancy bydeferring circumcision to the eighth day, as the wound would havebeen more dangerous if inflicted immediately after birth. How muchmore rational is the declaration of Scripture, that we, when alreadydead, are buried by baptism, (Rom. 6: 4 since it distinctlystates, that we are buried into death that we may thoroughly die,and thenceforth aim at that mortification? Equally ingenious istheir cavil, that women should not be baptised if baptism is to bemade conformable to circumcision. For if it is most certain that thesanctification of the seed of Israel was attested by the sign ofcircumcision, it cannot be doubted that it was appointed alike forthe sanctification of males and females. But though the rite couldonly be performed on males, yet the females were, through them,partners and associates in circumcision. Wherefore, disregarding allsuch quibbling distinctions, let us fix on the very completeresemblance between baptism and circumcision, as seen in theinternal office, the promise, the use, and the effect.
    17. They seem to think they produce their strongest reason fordenying baptism to children, when they allege, that they are as yetunfit, from nonage, to understand the mystery which is there sealed,viz., spiritual regeneration, which is not applicable to earliestinfancy. Hence they infer, that children are only to be regarded assons of Adam until they have attained an age fit for the receptionof the second birth. But all this is directly opposed to the truthof God. For if they are to be accounted sons of Adam, they are leftin death, since, in Adam, we can do nothing but die. On thecontrary, Christ bids them be brought to him. Why so? Because he islife. Therefore, that he may quicken them, he makes them partnerswith himself; whereas these men would drive them away from Christ,and adjudge them to death. For if they pretend that infants do notperish when they are accounted the sons of Adam, the error is morethan sufficiently confuted by the testimony of Scripture, (1 Cor.15: 22.) For, seeing it declares that in Adam all die, it follows,that no hope of life remains unless in Christ. Therefore that we maybecome heirs of life, we must communicate with him. Again, seeing itis elsewhere written that we are all by nature the children ofwrath, (Eph. 2: 3,) and conceived in sin, (Ps. 51: 5,) of whichcondemnation is the inseparable attendant, we must part with our ownnature before we have any access to the kingdom of God. And what canbe clearer than the expression, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit thekingdom of God?" (1 Cor. 15: 50.) Therefore, let every thing that isour own be abolished, (this cannot be without regeneration,) andthen we shall perceive this possession of the kingdom. In fine, ifChrist speaks truly when he declares that he is life, we mustnecessarily be ingrafted into him by whom we are delivered from thebondage of death. But how, they ask, are infants regenerated, whennot possessing a knowledge of either good or evil? We answer, thatthe work of God, though beyond the reach of our capacity, is nottherefore null. Moreover, infants who are to be saved (and that someare saved at this age is certain) must, without question, bepreviously regenerated by the Lord. For if they bring innatecorruption with them from their mother's womb, they must be purifiedbefore they can be admitted into the kingdom of God, into whichshall not enter any thing that defileth, (Rev. 21: 27.) If they areborn sinners, as David and Paul affirm, they must either remainunaccepted and hated by God, or be justified. And why do we askmore, when the Judge himself publicly declares, that "except a manbe born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God?" (John 3: 3.) Butto silence this class of objectors, God gave, in the case of Johnthe Baptist, whom he sanctified from his mother's womb, (Luke 1:15,) a proof of what he might do in others. They gain nothing by thequibble to which they here resort, viz., that this was only oncedone, and, therefore, it does not forthwith follow that the Lordalways acts thus with infants. That is not the mode in which wereason. Our only object is to show, that they unjustly andmalignantly confine the power of God within limits, within which itcannot be confined. As little weight is due to another subterfuge.They allege that, by the usual phraseology of Scriptures "from thewomb," has the same meaning as "from childhood." But it is easy tosee that the angel had a different meaning when he announced toZacharias that the child not yet born would be filled with the HolySpirit. Instead of attempting to give a law to God, let us hold thathe sanctifies whom he pleases in the way in which he sanctifiedJohn, seeing that his power is not impaired.
    18. And, indeed, Christ was sanctified from earliest infancy,that he might sanctify his elect in himself at any age, withoutdistinction. For as he, in order to wipe away the guilt ofdisobedience which had been committed in our flesh, assumed thatvery flesh, that in it he might, on our account, and in our stead,perform a perfect obedience, so he was conceived by the Holy Spirit,that, completely pervaded with his holiness in the flesh which hehad assumed he might transfuse it into us. If in Christ we have aperfect pattern of all the grace, which God bestows on all hischildren, in this instance we have a proof that the age of infancyis not incapable of receiving sanctification. This, at least, we setdown as incontrovertible, that none of the elect is called away fromthe present life without being previously sanctified and regeneratedby the Spirit of God. As to their objection that, in Scriptures theSpirit acknowledges no sanctification save that from incorruptibleseed, that is, the word of God, they erroneously interpret Peter'swords, in which he comprehends only believers who had been taught bythe preaching of the gospel, (1 Pet. 1: 23.) We confess, indeed,that the word of the Lord is the only seed of spiritualregeneration; but we deny the inference that, therefore, the powerof God cannot regenerate infants. This is as possible and easy forhim as it is wondrous and incomprehensible to us. It were dangerousto deny that the Lord is able to furnish them with the knowledge ofhimself in any way he pleases.
    19. But faith, they says comes by hearing, the use of whichinfants have not yet obtained, nor can they be fit to know God,being, as Moses declares, without the knowledge of good and evil,(Deut. 1: 39.) But they observe not that where the apostle makeshearing the beginning of faith, he is only describing the usualeconomy and dispensation which the Lord is wont to employ in callinghis people, and not laying down an invariable rule, for which noother method can be substituted. Many he certainly has called andendued with the true knowledge of himself by internal means, by theillumination of the Spirit, without the intervention of preaching.But since they deem it very absurd to attribute any knowledge of Godto infants, whom Moses makes void of the knowledge of good and evil,let them tell me where the danger lies if they are said now toreceive some part of that grace, of which they are to have the fullmeasure shortly after. For if fulness of life consists in theperfect knowledge of God, since some of those whom death hurriesaway in the first moments of infancy pass into life eternal, theyare certainly admitted to behold the immediate presence of God.Those therefore whom the Lord is to illumine with the fullbrightness of his light, why may he not, if he so pleases, irradiateat present with some small beam, especially if he does not removetheir ignorance before he delivers them from the prison of theflesh? I would not rashly affirm that they are endued with the samefaith which we experience in ourselves or have any knowledge at allresembling faith, (this I would rather leave undecided but I wouldsomewhat curb the stolid arrogance of those men who, as withinflated cheeks affirm or deny whatever suits them.
    20. In order to gain a stronger footing here, they add, thatbaptism is a sacrament of penitence and faith, and as neither ofthese is applicable to tender infancy we must beware of renderingits meaning empty and vain, by admitting infants to the communion ofbaptism. But these darts are directed more against God than againstus; since the fact that circumcision was a sign of repentance iscompletely established by many passages of Scripture, (Jer. 4: 4.)Thus Paul terms it a seal of the righteousness of faiths (Rom. 4:11.) Let God, then, be demanded why he ordered circumcision to beperformed on the bodies of infants? For baptism and circumcisionbeing here in the same case, they cannot give any thing to thelatter without conceding it to the former. If they recur to theirusual evasion, that, by the age of infancy, spiritual infants werethen figured, we have already closed this means of escape againstthem. We say then that since God imparted circumcision, the sign ofrepentance and faith, to infants, it should not seem absurd thatthey are now made partakers of baptisms unless men choose to glamouragainst an institution of God. But as in all his acts, so here alsoenough of wisdom and righteousness shines forth to repress theslanders of the ungodly. For although infants, at the moment whenthey were circumcised, did not comprehend what the sign meant, stillthey were truly circumcised for the mortification of their corruptand polluted nature, - a mortification at which they afterwardsaspired when adults. In fine, the objection is easily disposed of bythe fact, that children are baptised for future repentance andfaith. Though these are not yet formed in them, yet the seed of bothlies hid in them by the secret operation of the Spirit. This answerat once overthrows all the objections which are twisted against usout of the meaning of baptism; for instance, the title by which Pauldistinguishes it when he terms it the "washing of regeneration andrenewing," (Tit. 3: 5.) Hence they argue, that it is not to be givento any but to those who are capable of such feelings. But we, on theother hand, may object, that neither ought circumcision, which isdesignated regeneration, to be conferred on any but the regenerate.In this way, we shall condemn a divine institution. Thus, as we havealready hinted, all the arguments which tend to shake circumcisionare of no force in assailing baptism. Nor can they escape by saying,that everything which rests on the authority of God is absolutelyfixed, though there should be no reason for it, but that thisreverence is not due to paedobaptism, nor other similar things whichare not recommended to us by the express word of God. They alwaysremain caught in this dilemma. The command of God to circumciseinfants was either legitimate and exempt from cavil, or deservedreprehension. If there was nothing incompetent or absurd in it, noabsurdity can be shown in the observance of paedobaptism. 21. The charge of absurdity with which they attempt to
    stigmatise it, we thus dispose of. If those on whom the Lord hasbestowed his election, after receiving the sign of regeneration,depart this life before they become adults, he, by theincomprehensible energy of his Spirit, renews them in the way whichhe alone sees to be expedient. Should they reach an age when theycan be instructed in the meaning of baptism, they will thereby beanimated to greater zeal for renovation, the badge of which theywill learn that they received in earliest infancy, in order thatthey might aspire to it during their whole lives. To the same effectare the two passages in which Paul teaches, that we are buried withChrist by baptism, (Rom. 6: 4; Col. 2: 12.) For by this he means notthat he who is to be initiated by baptism must have previously beenburied with Christ, he simply declares the doctrine which is taughtby baptism, and that to those already baptised: so that the mostsenseless cannot maintain from this passage that it ought to precedebaptism. In this way, Moses and the prophets reminded the people ofthe thing meant by circumcision, which however infants received. Tothe same effect, Paul says to the Galatians, "As many of you as havebeen baptised into Christ have put on Christ," (Gal. 3: 27.) Why so?That they might thereafter live to Christ, to whom previously theyhad not lived. And though, in adults, the receiving of the signought to follow the understanding of its meaning, yet, as willshortly be explained, a different rule must be followed withchildren. No other conclusion can be drawn from a passage in Peter,on which they strongly found. He says, that baptism is "not theputting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a goodconscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ," (1 Pet.3: 21.) From this they contend that nothing is left forpaedobaptism, which becomes mere empty smoke, as being altogether atvariance with the meaning of baptism. But the delusion whichmisleads them is, that they would always have the thing to precedethe sign in the order of time. For the truth of circumcisionconsisted in the same answer of a good conscience; but if the truthmust necessarily have preceded, infants would never have beencircumcised by the command of God. But he himself, showing that theanswer of a good conscience forms the truth of circumcision, and, atthe same time, commanding infants to be circumcised, plainlyintimates that, in their case, circumcision had reference to thefuture. Wherefore, nothing more of present effect is to be requiredin paedobaptism, than to confirm and sanction the covenant which theLord has made with them. The other part of the meaning of thesacrament will follow at the time which God himself has provided.
    22. Every one must, I think, clearly perceive, that allarguments of this stamp are mere perversions of Scripture. The otherremaining arguments akin to these we shall cursorily examine. Theyobject, that baptism is given for the remission of sins. When thisis conceded, it strongly supports our view; for, seeing we are bornsinners, we stand in need of forgiveness and pardon from the verywomb. Moreover, since God does not preclude this age from the hopeof mercy, but rather gives assurance of it, why should we deprive itof the sign, which is much inferior to the reality? The arrow,therefore, which they aim at us, we throw back upon themselves.Infants receive forgiveness of sins; therefore, they are not to bedeprived of the sign. They adduce the passage from the Ephesians,that Christ gave himself for the Church, "that he might sanctify andcleanse it with the washing of water by the word," (Eph. 5: 26.)Nothing could be quoted more appropriate than this to overthrowtheir error: it furnishes us with an easy proof. If, by baptism,Christ intends to attest the ablution by which he cleanses hisChurch, it would seem not equitable to deny this attestation toinfants, who are justly deemed part of the Church, seeing they arecalled heirs of the heavenly kingdom. For Paul comprehends the wholeChurch when he says that it was cleansed by the washing of water. Inlike manner, from his expression in another place, that by baptismwe are ingrafted into the body of Christ, (1 Cor. 12: 13,) we infer,that infants, whom he enumerates among his members, are to bebaptised, in order that they may not be dissevered from his body.See the violent onset which they make with all their engines on thebulwarks of our faith.
    23. They now come down to the custom and practice of theapostolic age, alleging that there is no instance of any one havingbeen admitted to baptism without a previous profession of faith andrepentance. For when Peter is asked by his hearers, who were prickedin their heart, "What shall we do?" his advice is, "Repent, and bebaptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for theremission of sins," (Acts 2: 37, 38.) In like manner, when Philipwas asked by the eunuch to baptise him, he answered, "If thoubelievest with all thine heart, thou mayest." Hence they think theycan make out that baptism cannot be lawfully given to any onewithout previous faith and repentance. If we yield to this argument,the former passage, in which there is no mention of faith, willprove that repentance alone is sufficient, and the latter, whichmakes no requirement of repentance, that there is need only offaith. They will object, I presume, that the one passage helps theother, and that both, therefore, are to be connected. I, in my turn,maintain that these two must be compared with other passages whichcontribute somewhat to the solution of this difficulty. There aremany passages of Scripture whose meaning depends on their peculiarposition. Of this we have an example in the present instance. Thoseto whom these things are said by Peter and Philip are of an age fitto aim at repentance, and receive faith. We strenuously insist thatsuch men are not to be baptised unless their conversion and faithare discerned, at least in as far as human judgement can ascertainit. But it is perfectly clear that infants must be placed in adifferent class. For when any one formerly joined the religiouscommunion of Israel, he behaved to be taught the covenant, andinstructed in the law of the Lord, before he received circumcision,because he was of a different nation; in other words, an alien fromthe people of Israel, with whom the covenant, which circumcisionsanctioned, had been made.
    24. Thus the Lord, when he chose Abraham for himself, did notcommence with circumcision, in the meanwhile concealing what hemeant by that sign, but first announced that he intended to make acovenant with him, and, after his faith in the promise, made himpartaker of the sacrament. Why does the sacrament come after faithin Abraham, and precede all intelligence in his son Isaac? It isright that he who, in adult age, is admitted to the fellowship of acovenant by one from whom he had hitherto been alienated, shouldpreviously learn its conditions; but it is not so with the infantborn to him. He, according to the terms of the promise, is includedin the promise by hereditary right from his mother's womb. Or, tostate the matter more briefly and more clearly, If the children ofbelievers, without the help of understanding, are partakers of thecovenant, there is no reason why they should be denied the sign,because they are unable to swear to its stipulations. Thisundoubtedly is the reason why the Lord sometimes declares that thechildren born to the Israelites are begotten and born to him, (Ezek.16: 20; 23: 37.) For he undoubtedly gives the place of sons to thechildren of those to whose seed he has promised that he will be aFather. But the child descended from unbelieving parents is deemedan alien to the covenant until he is united to God by faith. Hence,it is not strange that the sign is withheld when the thing signifiedwould be vain and fallacious. In that view, Paul says that theGentiles, so long as they were plunged in idolatry, were strangersto the covenants (Eph. 2: 11.) The whole matter may, if I mistakenot, be thus briefly and clearly expounded: Those who, in adult age,embrace the faith of Christ, having hitherto been aliens from thecovenant, are not to receive the sign of baptism without previousfaith and repentance. These alone can give them access to thefellowship of the covenant, whereas children, deriving their originfrom Christians, as they are immediately on their birth received byGod as heirs of the covenant, are also to be admitted to baptism. Tothis we must refer the narrative of the Evangelist, that those whowere baptised by John confessed their sins, (Matth. 3: 6.) Thisexample, we hold, ought to be observed in the present day. Were aTurk to offer himself for baptism, we would not at once perform therite without receiving a confession which was satisfactory to theChurch.
    25. Another passage which they adduce is from the third chapterof John, where our Saviour's words seem to them to imply that apresent regeneration is required in baptism, "Except a man be bornof water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom ofGod," (John 3: 5.) See, they say, how baptism is termed regenerationby the lips of our Lord himself, and on what pretext, therefore,with what consistency is baptism given to those who, it is perfectlyobvious, are not at all capable of regeneration? First, they are inerror in imagining that there is any mention of baptism in thispassage, merely because the word water is used. Nicodemus, after ourSaviour had explained to him the corruption of nature, and thenecessity of being born again, kept dreaming of a corporeal birth,and hence our Saviour intimates the mode in which God regeneratesuse viz., by water and the Spirit; in other words, by the Spirit,who, in irrigating and cleansing the soul of believers, operates inthe manner of water. By "water and the Spirit," therefore, I simplyunderstand the Spirit, which is water. Nor is the expression new. Itperfectly accords with that which is used in the third chapter ofMatthew, "He that comes after me is mightier than I;" "he shallbaptise you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire," (Matth. 3: 11.)Therefore, as to baptise with the Holy Spirit, and with fire, is toconfer the Holy Spirit, who, in regeneration, has the office andnature of fire, so to be born again of water, and of the Spirit, isnothing else than to receive that power of the Spirit, which has thesame effect on the soul that water has on the body. I know that adifferent interpretation is given, but I have no doubt that this isthe genuine meaning, because our Saviour's only purpose was toteach, that all who aspire to the kingdom of heaven must lay asidetheir own disposition. And yet were we disposed to imitate these menin their mode of cavilling, we might easily, after conceding whatthey wish, reply to them, that baptism is prior to faith andrepentance, since, in this passage, our Saviour mentions it beforethe Spirit. This certainly must be understood of spiritual gifts,and if they follow baptism, I have gained all I contend for. But,cavilling aside, the simple interpretation to be adopted is, thatwhich I have given viz., that no man, until renewed by living water,that is, by the Spirit, can enter the kingdom of God.
    26. This, moreover, plainly explodes the fiction of those whoconsign all the unbaptised to eternal death. Let us suppose, then,that as they insist, baptism is administered to adults only. Whatwill they make of a youth who, after being imbued duly and properlywith the rudiments of piety, while waiting for the day of baptism,is unexpectedly carried off by sudden death? The promise of our Lordis clear, "He that hearth my word, and believeth on him that sentme, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, butis passed from death unto life," (John 5: 24.) We nowhere read ofhis having condemned him who was not yet baptised. I would not beunderstood as insinuating that baptism may be condemned withimpunity. So far from excusing this contempt, I hold that itviolates the covenant of the Lord. The passage only serves to show,that we must not deem baptism so necessary as to suppose that everyone who has lost the opportunity of obtaining it has forthwithperished. By assenting to their fiction, we should condemn all,without exception, whom any accident may have prevented fromprocuring baptism, how much soever they may have been endued withthe faith by which Christ himself is possessed. Moreover, baptismbeing, as they hold, necessary to salvation, they, in denying it toinfants, consign them all to eternal death. Let them now considerwhat kind of agreement they have with the words of Christ, who saysthat "of such is the kingdom of heaven," (Matth. 19: 14.) And thoughwe were to concede every thing to them, in regard to the meaning ofthis passage, they will extract nothing from it, until they havepreviously overthrown the doctrine which we have already establishedconcerning the regeneration of infants.
    27. But they boast of having their strongest bulwark in thevery institution of baptism, which they find in the last chapter ofMatthew, where Christ, sending his disciples into all the world,commands them to teach and then baptise. Then in the last chapter ofMark, it is added "He that believeth, and is baptised, shall besaved," (Mark 16: 16.) What more (say they) do we ask, since thewords of Christ distinctly declare, that teaching must precedebaptism, and assign to baptism the place next to faith? Of thisarrangement our Lord himself gave an example, in choosing not to bebaptised till his thirtieth year. In how many ways do they hereentangle themselves, and betray their ignorance! They err more thanchildishly in this, that they derive the first institution ofbaptism from this passage, whereas Christ had from the commencementof his ministry, ordered it to be administered by the apostles.There is no ground, therefore, for contending that the law and ruleof baptism is to be sought from these two passages, as containingthe first institution. But to indulge them in their error, hownerveless is this mode of arguing? Were I disposed to evasion, Ihave not only a place of escape, but a wide field to expatiate in.For when they cling so desperately to the order of the words,insisting that because it is said, "Go, preach and baptise," andagain, "Whosoever believes and is baptised," they must preach beforebaptising, and believe before being baptised, why may not we in ourturn object, that they must baptise before teaching the observanceof those things which Christ commanded, because it is said,"Baptise, teaching whatsoever I have commanded you?" The same thingwe observed in the other passage in which Christ speaks of theregeneration of water and of the Spirit. For if we interpret as theyinsist, then baptism must take precedence of spiritual regeneration,because it is first mentioned. Christ teaches that we are to be bornagain, not of the Spirit and of water, but of water and of theSpirit.
    28. This unassailable argument, in which they confide so much,seems already to be considerably shaken; but as we have sufficientprotection in the simplicity of truth, I am unwilling to evade thepoint by paltry subtleties. Let them, therefore, have a solidanswer. The command here given by Christ relates principally to thepreaching of the gospel: to it baptism is added as a kind ofappendage. Then he merely speaks of baptism in so far as thedispensation of it is subordinate to the fiction of teaching. ForChrist sends his disciples to publish the gospel to all nations ofthe World, that by the doctrine of salvation they may gather men,who were previously lost into his kingdom. But who or what are thosemen? It is certain that mention is made only of those who are fit toreceive his doctrine. He subjoins, that such, after being taught,were to be baptised, adding the promise, Whosoever believeth, and isbaptised, shall be saved. Is there one syllable about infants in thewhole discourse? What, then, is the form of argument with which theyassail us? Those who are of adult age are to be instructed andbrought to the faith, before being baptised, and, therefore, it isunlawful to make baptism common to infants. They cannot, at the veryutmost, prove any other thing out of this passage, than that thegospel must be preached to those who are capable of hearing itbefore they are baptised: for of such only the passage speaks. Fromthis let them, if they can, throw an obstacle in the way ofbaptising infants.
    29. But I will make their fallacies palpable even to the blind,by a very plain similitude. Should any one insist that infants areto be deprived of food, on the pretence that the apostle permitsnone to eat but those who labour, (2 Thess. 3: 10,) would he notdeserve to be scouted by all? Why so? Because that which was said ofa certain class of men, and a certain age, he wrests and applies toall indifferently. The dexterity of these men in the presentinstance is no greater. That which every one sees to be intended foradult age merely, they apply to infants, subjecting them to a rulewhich was laid down only for those of riper years. With regard tothe example of our Saviour, it gives no countenance to their case.He was not baptised before his thirtieth year. This is, indeed,true, but the reason is obvious; because he then determined to laythe solid foundation of baptism by his preaching, or rather toconfirm the foundation which John had previously laid. Thereforewhen he was pleased with his doctrine to institute baptism, that hemight give the greater authority to his institution, he sanctifiedit in his own person, and that at the most befitting time, namely,the commencement of his ministry. In fine, they can prove nothingmore than that baptism received its origin and commencement with thepreaching of the gospel. But if they are pleased to fix upon thethirtieth year, why do they not observe it, but admit any one tobaptism according to the view which they may have formed of hisproficiency? Nay, even Servetus, one of their masters, although hepertinaciously insisted on this period, had begun to act the prophetin his twenty-first year; as if any man could be tolerated inarrogating to himself the office of a teacher in the Church beforehe was a member of the Church.
    30. At length they object, that there is not greater reason foradmitting infants to baptism than to the Lord's Supper, to which,however, they are never admitted: as if Scripture did not in everyway draw a wide distinction between them. In the early Church,indeed, the Lord's Supper was frequently given to infants, asappears from Cyprian and Augustine, (August. ad Bonif. Lib. 1 butthe practice justly became obsolete. For if we attend to thepeculiar nature of baptism, it is a kind of entrance, and as it wereinitiation into the Church, by which we are ranked among the peopleof God, a sign of our spiritual regeneration, by which we are againborn to be children of God, whereas on the contrary the Supper isintended for those of riper years, who, having passed the tenderperiod of infancy, are fit to bear solid food. This distinction isvery clearly pointed out in Scripture. For there, as far as regardsbaptism, the Lord makes no selection of age, whereas he does notadmit all to partake of the Supper, but confines it to those who arefit to discern the body and blood of the Lord, to examine their ownconscience, to show forth the Lord's death, and understand itspower. Can we wish anything clearer than what the apostle says, whenhe thus exhorts, "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat ofthat bread, and drink of that cup?" (1 Cor. 11: 28.) Examination,therefore, must precede, and this it were vain to expect frominfants. Again, "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth anddrinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." Ifthey cannot partake worthily without being able duly to discern thesanctity of the Lord's body, why should we stretch out poison to ouryoung children instead of vivifying food? Then what is our Lord'sinjunction? "Do this in remembrance of me." And what the inferencewhich the apostle draws from this? "As often as ye eat this bread,and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come." How,pray, can we require infants to commemorate any event of which theyhave no understanding; how require them to "show forth the Lord'sdeath," of the nature and benefit of which they have no idea?Nothing of the kind is prescribed by baptism. Wherefore, there isthe greatest difference between the two signs. This also we observein similar signs under the old dispensation. Circumcision, which, asis well known, corresponds to our baptism, was intended for infants,but the Passover, for which the Supper is substituted, did not admitall kinds of guests promiscuously, but was duly eaten only by thosewho were of an age sufficient to ask the meaning of it, (Exod. 12:26.) Had these men the least particle of soundness in their brain,would they be thus blind as to a matter so very clear and obvious?
    31. Though I am unwilling to annoy the reader with the seriesof conceits which Servetus, not the least among the Anabaptists,nay, the great honour of this crew, when girding himself for battle,deemed, when he adduced them, to be specious arguments, it will beworth while briefly to dispose of them. He pretends that as thesymbols of Christ are perfect, they require persons who are perfect,or, at least, capable of perfection. But the answer is plain. Theperfection of baptism, which extends even to death, is improperlyrestricted to one moment of time; moreover, perfection, in whichbaptism invites us to make continual progress during life, isfoolishly exacted by him all at once. He objects, that the symbolsof Christ were appointed for remembrance, that every one mayremember that he was buried together with Christ. I answer, thatwhat he coined out of his own brain does not need refutation, nay,that which he transfers to baptism properly belongs to the Supper,as appears from Paul's words, "Let a man examine himself," wordssimilar to which are nowhere used with reference to baptism. Whencewe infer, that those who from nonage are incapable of examinationare duly baptised. His third point is, That all who believe not inthe Son remain in death, the wrath of God abideth on them, (John 3:36 and, therefore, infants who are unable to believe lie undercondemnation. I answer, that Christ does not there speak of thegeneral guilt in which all the posterity of Adam are involved, butonly threatens the despisers of the gospel, who proudly andcontumaciously spurn the grace which is offered to them. But thishas nothing to do with infants. At the same time, I meet him withthe opposite argument. Every one whom Christ blesses is exemptedfrom the curse of Adam, and the wrath of God. Therefore, seeing itis certain that infants are blessed by him, it follows that they arefreed from death. He next falsely quotes a passage which is nowherefound, Whosoever is born of the Spirit, hears the voice of theSpirit. Though we should grant that such a passage occurs inScripture, all he can extract from it is, that believers, accordingas the Spirit works in them, are framed to obedience. But that whichis said of a certain number, it is illogical to apply to all alike.His fourth objection is, As that which precedes is animal, (1 Cor.15: 46,) we must wait the full time for baptism, which is spiritual.But while I admit that all the posterity of Adam, born of the flesh,bear their condemnation with them from the womb, I hold that this isno obstacle to the immediate application of the divine remedy.Servetus cannot show that by divine appointment, several years mustelapse before the new spiritual life begins. Paul's testimony is,that though lost by nature, the children of believers are holy bysupernatural grace. He afterwards brings forward the allegory thatDavid when going up into mount Zion, took with him neither the blindnor the lame, but vigorous soldiers, (2 Sam. 5: 8.) But what if Imeet this with the parable in which God invites to the heavenlyfeast the lame and the blind? In what way will Servetus disentanglethis knot? I ask, moreover whether the lame and the maimed had notpreviously served with David? But it is superfluous to dwell longeron this argument, which as the reader will learn from the sacredhistory, is founded on mere misquotation. He adds another allegory,viz., that the apostles were fishers of men, not of children. I ask,then, What does our Saviour mean when he says that in the net arecaught all kinds of fishes? (Matth. 4: 19; 13: 47.) But as I have nopleasure in sporting with allegory, I answer, that when the officeof teaching was committed to the apostles they were not prohibitedfrom baptising infants. Moreover, I should like to know why, whenthe Evangelist uses the term "anthropous", (which comprehends thewhole human race without exception,) he denies that infants areincluded. His seventh argument is, Since spiritual things accordwith spiritual, (l Cor. 2: 13,) infants, not being spiritual, areunfit for baptism. It is plain how perversely he wrests this passageof Paul. It relates to doctrine. The Corinthians, pluming themselvesexcessively on a vain acuteness, Paul rebukes their folly, becausethey still required to be imbued with the first rudiments ofheavenly doctrine. Who can infer from this that baptism is to bedenied to infants, whom, when begotten of the flesh, the Lordconsecrates to himself by gratuitous adoption? His objection, thatif they are new men, they must be fed with spiritual food, is easilyobviated. By baptism they are admitted into the fold of Christ, andthe symbol of adoption is sufficient for them, until they grow upand become fit to bear solid food. We must, therefore, wait for thetime of examination, which God distinctly demands in the sacredSupper. His next objection is, that Christ invites all his people tothe sacred supper. But as it is plain that he admits those only whoare prepared to celebrate the commemoration of his death, it followsthat infants whom he honoured with his embrace, remain in a distinctand peculiar position until they grow up, and yet are not aliens.When he objects, that it is strange why the infant does not partakeof the Supper, I answer, that souls are fed by other food than theexternal eating of the Supper, and that accordingly Christ is thefood of infants though they partake not of the symbol. The case isdifferent with baptism, by which the door of the Church is thrownopen to them. He again objects that a good householder distributesmeat to his household in due season, (Matth. 24: 45.) This Iwillingly admit; but how will he define the time of baptism, so asto prove that it is not seasonably given to infants? He, moreover,adduces Christ's command to the apostles to make haste, because thefields are already white to the harvest, (John 4: 35.) Our Saviouronly means that the apostles, seeing the present fruit of theirlabour, should bestir themselves with more alacrity to teach. Whowill infer from this, that harvest only is the fit time for baptism?His eleventh argument is, That in the primitive Church, Christiansand disciples were the same; but we have already seen that he arguesunskilfully from the part to the whole. The name of disciples isgiven to men of full age, who had already been taught, and hadassumed the name of Christ, just as the Jews behaved to be disciplesunder the law of Moses. Still none could rightly infer from thisthat infants, whom the Lord declared to be of his household, werestrangers. Moreover he alleges that all Christians are brethren andthat infants cannot belong to this class, so long as we exclude themfrom the Supper. But I return to my position, first, that none areheirs of the kingdom of heaven but those who are the members ofChrist; and, secondly, that the embracing of Christ was the truebadge of adoption, in which infants are joined in common withadults, and that temporary abstinence from the Supper does notprevent them from belonging to the body of the Church. The thief onthe cross, when converted, became the brother of believers, thoughhe never partook of the Lord's Supper. Servetus afterwards adds,that no man becomes our brother unless by the Spirit of adoption,who is only conferred by the hearing of faith. I answer, that healways falls back into the same paralogism, because hepreposterously applies to infants what is said only of adults. Paulthere teaches that the ordinary way in which God calls his elect,and brings them to the faith, is by raising up faithful teachers,and thus stretching out his hand to them by their ministry andlabours. Who will presume from this to give the law to God, and saythat he may not ingraft infants into Christ by some other secretmethod? He objects, that Cornelius was baptised after receiving theHoly Spirit; but how absurdly he would convert a single example intoa general rule, is apparent from the case of the Eunuch and theSamaritans, in regard to whom, the Lord observed a different order,baptism preceding the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The fifteenthargument is more than absurd. He says that we become gods byregeneration, but that they are gods to whom the word of God issent, (John 10: 35; 2 Pet. 1: 4,) a thing not possible to infantchildren. The attributing of deity to believers is one of hisravings which this is not the proper place to discuss; but itbetrays the utmost effrontery to wrest the passage in the psalm (Ps.82:6) to a meaning so alien to it. Christ says, that kings andmagistrates are called gods by the prophet, because they perform anoffice divinely appointed them. This dexterous interpreter transferswhat is addressed by special command to certain individuals to thedoctrine of the Gospel, so as to exterminate infants from theChurch. Again, he objects, that infants cannot be regarded as newmen, because they are not begotten by the word. But what I have saidagain and again I now repeat, that, for regenerating us, doctrine isan incorruptible seed, if indeed we are fit to perceive it; butwhen, from nonage, we are incapable of being taught, God takes hisown methods of regenerating. He afterwards returns to hisallegories, and says, that under the law, the sheep and the goatwere not offered in sacrifice the moment they were dropt, (Exod. 12:5.) Were I disposed to deal in figures, I might obviously reply,first, that all the first-born, on opening the matrix, were sacredto the Lord, (Exod. 13: 12 and, secondly, that a lamb of a yearold was to be sacrificed: whence it follows, that it was notnecessary to wait for mature age, the young and tender offspringhaving been selected by God for sacrifice. He contends, moreover,that none could come to Christ but those who were previouslyprepared by John; as if John's ministry had not been temporary. But,to omit this, assuredly there was no such preparation in thechildren whom Christ took up in his arms and blessed. Wherefore letus have done with his false principle. He at length calls in theassistance of Trismegistus and the Sibyls, to prove that sacredablutions are fit only for adults. See how honourably he thinks ofChristian baptism, when he tests it by the profane rites of theGentiles, and will not have it administered except in the waypleasing to Trismegistus. We defer more to the authority of God, whohas seen it meet to consecrate infants to himself, and initiate themby a sacred symbol, the significance of which they are unable fromnonage to understand. We do not think it lawful to borrow from theexpiations of the Gentiles, in order to change, in our baptism, thateternal and inviolable law which God enacted in circumcision. Hislast argument is, If infants, without understanding, may bebaptised, baptism may be mimicked and jestingly administered by boysin sport. Here let him plead the matter with God, by whose commandcircumcision was common to infants before they receivedunderstanding. Was it, then, a fit matter for ridicule or boyishsport, to overthrow the sacred institution of God? But no wonderthat these reprobate spirits, as if they were under the influence offrenzy, introduce the grossest absurdities in defence of theirerrors, because God, by this spirit of giddiness, justly avengestheir pride and obstinacy. I trust I have made it apparent howfeebly Servetus has supported his friends the Anabaptists.
    32. No sound man, I presume, can now doubt how rashly theChurch is disturbed by those who excite quarrels and disturbancesbecause of paedobaptism. For it is of importance to observe whatSatan means by all this craft, viz., to rob us of the singularblessing of confidence and spiritual joy, which is hence to bederived, and in so far to detract from the glory of the divinegoodness. For how sweet is it to pious minds to be assured not onlyby word, but even by ocular demonstration, that they are so much infavour with their heavenly Father, that he interests himself intheir posterity! Here we may see how he acts towards us as a mostprovident parent, not ceasing to care for us even after our death,but consulting and providing for our children. Ought not our wholeheart to be stirred up within us, as David's was, (Ps. 48: 11,) tobless his name for such a manifestation of goodness? Doubtless, thedesign of Satan in assaulting paedobaptism with all his forces is tokeep out of view, and gradually efface, that attestation of divinegrace which the promise itself presents to our eyes. In this way,not only would men be impiously ungrateful for the mercy of God, butbe less careful in training their children to piety. For it is noslight stimulus to us to bring them up in the fear of God, and theobservance of his law, when we reflect, that from their birth theyhave been considered and acknowledged by him as his children.Wherefore, if we would not maliciously obscure the kindness of God,let us present to him our infants, to whom he has assigned a placeamong his friends and family that is, the members of the Church.

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    BT:

    I wish had more time to write, but the relationship between sinai and Zion is too important for me to rattle off without some deep thought. It would require a lengthier article than I have time to write right now to bring out all the implications of what went on at Sinai. I do think this article does a good job of it, but I think it is a doctrine which can certainly be more fully developed. http://www.prca.org/standard_bearer/...endingForFaith
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    If I did not draw the charge of teaching baptismal regeneration I would fear that I had not presented the truth about what the Bible says regarding baptism in all of its glory just as if nobody accused me of being a hyper-calvinist.
    then i find it suprising that paul and the other apostles did not draw this charge.

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    I am saying that the visible sign of baptism is given by God to us to strengthen our faith and that the child of God who doubts his own salvation because of his sinfulness can look back to his baptism to know that it is God which washes away all sin just as certainly as water washes away dirt of the flesh. A reprobate would not feel the same concern about his own sin before God.
    perhaps you missed my question:

    where do we find this admonition (to look at your baptism for assurance) in Scripture?

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    The essence of the covenant remains the same, it is "I will be your God and you will be my people."
    i believe i agree here.

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    It should suffice to say that we should acknowledge a change when Scripture speaks of a change, but not read one in where none is found.
    which was why i brought up hebrews 8. i don't see any justification to take that passage piecemeal as it wasn't just the ceremonial part that they broke.

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    The Bible uses very strong language here for very good reason but we must take what the Bible says of the covenant in its totality, not just pet passages.
    i agree. which is why i don't think we can skirt the hebrews 8 issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    Notice that this passage says that at the time it was written the old covenant had not yet become obsolete or disappeared but was ready to. This further leads me to believe that the ceremonial ordinances of the Jews is what is in view, which ceased to burden and drag down the church until 70 AD.
    actually it says that the first was already obsolete (perfect tense meaning that it is a completed action; see Heb 8:13a). and i think the DE should be connective rather than adversative along with the two participles describing the old covenant reading, "and that which is (being) made obsolete and aging (wearing out, growing old) is near destruction/disappearance (i.e., will soon be gone entirely)." in other words, even though the covenant has already been made obselete (not just some ceremonial portion of it, unless we want to read our pet passages and doctrines into it) and that as you know there are still parts of it that remain (the temple, priesthood, sacrifices, etc.) that we have to deal with everyday, soon it will all be gone and there won't be any temptation to return to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    The covenant is not a contract it is a bond of friendship. The definition of the covenant as a contract has plagued the church for far too long.
    perhaps we're talking semantics here but a bond (of friendship) is a form of a contract. covenant is actually a synonym for contract but i don't think we need read our current understanding of contracts into it (we shouldn't think of a cell-phone contract). all that i mean or understand by it is that there are two parties that enter into an agreement and their are attendant stipulations, blessings, cursings, etc. this is a contract (even though it may be unilateral or bilateral and conditional or unconditional). here's merriam webster:

    contract - a binding agreement between two or more persons or parties
    covenant - a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    Part of the problem with the baptist view of the covenant is that they diminish in many ways the new covenant while the Bible continually speaks of how much greater it is.
    perhaps you could be more specific here because i have no idea what you're referring to. to me it seems that paedobaptists are more in danger of diminishing the new covenant because it seems to be an effort to nearly equate or convolute the new with the old.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    perhaps you missed my question:

    where do we find this admonition (to look at your baptism for assurance) in Scripture?
    What is the purpose of baptism if it is not to strengthen our faith?

    actually it says that the first was already obsolete (perfect tense meaning that it is a completed action; see Heb 8:13a).
    Yes, the passage says it was obsolete when God first spoke of a new covenant, but that does not negate the fact that the old covenant was still in the process of whithering away at the time of the Apostle. The Bible never says that those within the New Covenant will cease to be children of Abraham.

    As I'm sure you're already aware, we cannot simply take words which have been translated into English and then expect that the translated word has the same range of meanings. It is believed by some as well as myself that the Hebrew word carries more the idea of binding together. It is not an agreement between two parties but a union between the two and is related to a word which means to bind sticks together.

    perhaps you could be more specific here because i have no idea what you're referring to. to me it seems that paedobaptists are more in danger of diminishing the new covenant because it seems to be an effort to nearly equate or convolute the new with the old.
    The Bible presents us with a covenant which is more inclusive, yet the credobaptist presents us with a covenant which is more exclusive by only allowing sheep and no lambs into the covenant community.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    What is the purpose of baptism if it is not to strengthen our faith?
    i asked for Scripture not rhetoric. i am not comfortable with making up my own reasons for why to baptize (or why to do anything).

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    Yes, the passage says it was obsolete when God first spoke of a new covenant, but that does not negate the fact that the old covenant was still in the process of whithering away at the time of the Apostle.
    isn't that what i said? the covenant as a covenant was already obsolete (Heb 8:13a), but elements of it still lingered on (Heb 3:13b). therefore, in the context of the book of Hebrews, because the temple, priesthood, and nation was still present the temptation to return to it (because it was nostalgic, etc.) was still present. but rest assured, this temptation would soon be fully gone.

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    The Bible never says that those within the New Covenant will cease to be children of Abraham.
    first of all what do you mean (understand) by this? second, did i ever say that wasn't the case? the difference is that children of abraham are now (in the new covenant) defined with a bit of a different nuance (as far as the new covenant is concerned):

    Ro 4:16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

    Gal 3:7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham...26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.


    covenant membership is through faith alone (spiritual birth), not through physical birth. we must be careful not to convolute the types with the antitype or confuse the shadows with the reality. let us come out of the shadows that we might embrace the clear reality of the new covenant.

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    The Bible presents us with a covenant which is more inclusive, yet the credobaptist presents us with a covenant which is more exclusive by only allowing sheep and no lambs into the covenant community.
    but as i mentioned before we mustn't skirt Hebrews 8. if God has said that the covenant is more exclusive (i.e., only includes believers), then who are we to tell God He must do it differently? as paul says, "who are we to answer back to God?" and here is where Hebrews 8 comes in (as well as the passages mentioned above). it explicitly tells us the difference between the covenants (we are not left to guess or to surmise that it is just the ceremonial law because of our understanding of the subject matter of the book of Hebrews).

    Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. 8 For finding fault with them, He says, "Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, When I will effect a new covenant With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; 9 Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers On the day when I took them by the hand To lead them out of the land of Egypt; For they did not continue in My covenant, And I did not care for them, says the Lord. 10 "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, And I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, And they shall be My people. 11 "And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And everyone his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' For all will know Me, From the least to the greatest of them. 12 "For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more."

    so unlike the old covenant, in the new covenant:
    1. The members will continue in the covenant
    2. He will care for the members
    3. His laws will be internal in the members (e.g., the Holy Spirit)
    4. All members will know Him
    5. All members will have their sins forgiven (in other words, the sin issue will be forever taken care of on behalf of His new covenant people)
    this is explicit. we are not left to guess on how the new covenant is different. they are here plain for us to read.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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    A room without books is a body without soul.
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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    All this talk about Abraham’s children brings to mind Jesus’ disscusion with Nicodemus. What better evidence could there be that physical birth is not the way into the New Covenant.

    John3:3Jesus answered him, "Most assuredly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can't see the Kingdom of God."
    3:4Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"
    3:5Jesus answered, "Most assuredly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can't enter into the Kingdom of God! 3:6That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 3:7Don't marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born anew.' 3:8The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don't know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
    3:9Nicodemus answered him, "How can these things be?"

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    Quote Originally Posted by tomas1
    All this talk about Abrahamís children brings to mind Jesusí disscusion with Nicodemus. What better evidence could there be that physical birth is not the way into the New Covenant.
    this excerpt is from http://www.trinity-baptist-church.com/art_abrcov.htm:

    As circumcision was administered to the natural seed of Abraham, so baptism is to be administered to the spiritual seed of Abraham, that is believers in Christ, who have received the true circumcision, that of the heart, through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.

    Clearly then to baptize infants because they are the natural offspring of Christian parents is to introduce an element of terrible confusion. It is to confuse the natural with the spiritual; it is to confuse the shadow with the substance; it is to confuse the Old Covenant with the New.

    The natural seed of Abraham did receive, under the Old Covenant, the fulfillment of the natural blessings promised ( cp. Josh 21:43-45 ), but the spiritual blessings promised, which the natural typified, were intended not for the natural seed ( in either Old or New Covenants ) but for the spiritual seed, that is true, regenerated believers. This is the point of Paul's teaching in Romans 9.

    The natural offspring of believers have no longer any covenantal significance. They are greatly priviliged to be born into a godly home and receive parental teaching, intercession and spiritual nuture. But like all others they must be born again to see the kingdom of God ( John 3:3 ) and only when that is the case and there is evidence of repentance and faith ( i.e. the circumcised heart ) and therefore of New Covenant membership should they be baptized and added to the church.

    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

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    Re: A Presbyterian Case for the Baptist Rejection of Infant Baptism

    disciple:

    i asked for Scripture not rhetoric. i am not comfortable with making up my own reasons for why to baptize (or why to do anything).
    The speaks of baptism as the washing away of sins. As I'm sure we can both agree that water baptism does not wash away any sins, it must at least signify the washing away of sins and be used in some way for the benefit of the one being baptized. If you have an alternate explanation please let me know.

    covenant membership is through faith alone (spiritual birth), not through physical birth. we must be careful not to convolute the types with the antitype or confuse the shadows with the reality. let us come out of the shadows that we might embrace the clear reality of the new covenant.
    Of course only those whom God regenerates are ever true members of the covenant, but Acts does state in language very, very similar to that found in Genesis that the promise is also to the believer's children.

    so unlike the old covenant, in the new covenant:
    1. The members will continue in the covenant
    2. He will care for the members
    3. His laws will be internal in the members (e.g., the Holy Spirit)
    4. All members will know Him
    5. All members will have their sins forgiven (in other words, the sin issue will be forever taken care of on behalf of His new covenant people)
    Once again, there seems to be a desire on the part of the credo-baptist to equate God covenant with Abraham with the covenant at Sinai.

    All this talk about Abrahamís children brings to mind Jesusí disscusion with Nicodemus. What better evidence could there be that physical birth is not the way into the New Covenant.
    tomas:

    All this talk about Abrahamís children brings to mind Jesusí disscusion with Nicodemus. What better evidence could there be that physical birth is not the way into the New Covenant.
    But Jesus spoke these words during the Old Covenant era. Just because there is a division in your Bible and the title New Testament is listed does not mean it immediately starts.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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