Imatges de pàgina


Octavo, with very considerable Alterations and Additions by the Author ; and the same year the Doctor published a Defence of it, from the Attacks of Mr. Gale, an eminent Baptist Minister of that day, and others.


The present Edition has been most carefully reprinted from that of 1720, above-mentioned; the Chronological References made use of in it are retained, and likewise adapted to their corresponding Eras in the year of our Lord; and the Publishers now present it to the Reader strictly as Dr. WALL'S ORIGINAL WORK, without REVISAL, IMPROVEMENT, or ALTERATION of any kind, as it is too common in this age of Revivals, to make those venerable Authors, whose Works were the admiration of our Forefathers, and are also highly valued by many judicious and learned Persons in the present day, appear in a dress or style so different to what they used in their life-time, that many great Men, both Scholars and Divines, were they

come amongst us, would scarcely know their own Writings.

again to

Every candid Reader will allow it to be highly essential that, in Theological Matters, and especially on Controverted Points, an Author should be permitted always to express himself in the very Words and Manner he himself thought to be best adapted to his Purpose, otherwise his Book can only be said to express the Sentiments of his Editor: which circumstance has caused many modern Reprints to be thrown aside, and their Originals sought after with increased avidity.

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ORASMUCH as the commission given by our Saviour to his disciples, in the time of his mortal life, to baptize in the country of Judea, is not at all set down in Scripture, only it is said that they baptized * a great many; and the enlargement of that commission given them afterwards (Matt. xxviii. 19.) to perform the same office among

all the Heathen nations is set down in such brief words, that there is no particular direction given what they were to do in reference to the children of those that received the faith; and, among all the persons that are recorded as baptized by the apostles, there is no express mention of any infant; nor is there, on the other side, any account of any Christian's child whose baptism was put off till he was grown up, or who was baptized at man's age (for all the persons that are mentioned in Scripture to have been baptized were the children of Heathens, or else of Jews, who did not believe in Christ at that time when those their children were born); and since the proofs drawn by consequences from some places of Scripture, for any one side of this question, are not so plain as to hinder the argument drawn from other places from the other side, from seeming still considerable to those that have no help from the history of the Scripture times, for the better understanding of the rules of Scripture, it is no wonder that the readers of Scripture at this distance from the apostles' times, have fallen into contrary sentiments about the meaning of our Saviour's command, and the practice of the apostles in reference to the baptizing of infants.

But since the practice of the ancient Christians that lived nigh the times of the apostles, being more largely delivered, is more easily known, that such as have gone about to give an account thereof out of the ancient records should give so contrary accounts as they do, is a great won'ler and a great shame.

* Jolin iv. 1, 2 ; item iii. 22, 26.

For they do not only differ in the understanding of the meaning of several of the places produced, but also as to matter of fact (whez ther they be rightly cited or not) do charge one another * with for- ; gery; and are come, as Mr. Baxter complains, to thou liest, and thou liest : and, indeed, among all the books of controversy bee ! tween Papists and Protestants, or others that are scandalous for : false quotations, there is none comparable to one that is written on, this occasion, which I shall at present forbear to name.

Such a thing done by mistake, or for want of skill, is bad enough ; but, if it be done wilfully, it is hard to think of any thing that is a greater wickedness; for it goes the way to destroy the common faith of mankind, by which we are apt to rely upon a writer, that, how zealous soever he may be for his opinion, he will not forge matters of fact, nor speak wickedly (though it be) for God, as Job says t.

Some other accounts also are very partial, mentioning only that which makes for their side, and leaving out parts of the clauses which they cite.

The inconvenience of this is the worse, because it is in a matter which would have a great influence to settle and determine this unlucky controversy, provided that the accounts of the eldest times were given fairly and impartially, and so that the reader might be satisfied of the truth and impartiality of them.

For when there is in Scripture a plain command to proselyte or make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, but the method of doing it is not in all particulars expressly directed, it not being particularly mentioned whether they were to admit into this discipleship and baptism the infants of those that were converted, as the Jewish Church had always done to the infants of proselytes (giving them circumcision, as we know by Scripture, and baptism, as we are $ assured by their records) or whether they were to proceed in a new way, and baptize only the adult persons themselves; there is no body that will doubt but that the apostles knew what was to be done in this case, and consequently that the Christian Churches in their time did as they should do in this matter.

And since the apostles lived, some of them to near the end of the first century, and St. John something beyond it, and had in their own time propagated the Christian faith and practice into so many countries, it can never sink into the head of any considering man but that sạch Christians as were ancient men about 100 or 150 years after that time of the apostles' death, which is the year of Christ 200 or 250, must easily know whether infant baptism was in uşe at

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More Proofs for Infants' Ch. Membership, and Baptism, p. 346.

Job xiii, 7. # See the Introduction..

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