Imatges de pàgina
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the time of the apostle's death or not; because the fathers of some of them, and grandfathers of most of them, were born before that time, and were themselves infants in the apostles' days, and so were baptized then in their infancy, if then that was the order; or their baptism deferred to adult age, if that was the use then : for such a thing as the general baptizing of infants being a rite public and notorious, and in which the whole body of the people, poor and rich, pastors and laymen, men and women, are concerned, cannot be forgotten in a short time, nor altered without a great deal of noise. In a point of doctrine delivered by tradition a mistake may happen ; or in the account of some matter of fact done by some particular man; but for a rite of universal concern, a whole church cannot forget it, much less all the churches in several parts of the world, in so short a time. We, Englishmen, cannot be ignorant whether, infants were usually baptized in England or not in Queen Elizabeth's days, which is the same distance: the man that thinks this possible, is one that is not used to consider.

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It is to be remembered likewise that the apostles, before they died, chose men of whom they had good proof to teach the Churches the same things that they had done; many of whom lived till a great while after the apostles were dead; which makes the time that needs to be kept in memory so much the shorter.

Some pretend to slight this argument as not being a Scripture one; but it is that too by a direct consequence; for since the Scripture promises that the Church shall be led into all truth, i.e. all truth that is necessary or fundamental,-to follow the example of the primitive Church must be, by the rule of Scripture, a sure way not to err in fundamentals,

It were (as Bishop Stillingfleet observes * in another case) a great blot and dishonour to the Christian religion, if the primitive Churches could not hold to their first institution not for one age af, ter the apostles; no not the purest and best Churches.

But the truth is, there is no man that does really slight this aru gument; though those that have no skill in it, or do súspect that it will go against their side, will make as if they did : and there. fore you shall

see, both on the one side and on the other, those men who, for a flourish, do pretend that they lay small stress on it, as baving proof enough from Scripture, yet take all the pains possible to bring this argument to bear on their side, and that so zealously, that they often do it unfairly. There is no Christian that loves to hear or to admit that all the ancient Churches practised otherwise than he does in a controverted matter.

Seeing, therefore, that all the arguments from Scripture for each side have been so searched and so often bandied to and fro, that not

* Unreasonableness of Separation, p. 226.

much more can be said to illustrate them; and that where a coma mand in Scripture is given in brief and general words, the practice of the primitive Church thereupon gives us the best direction for the sense in which it is to be applied to particular cases : and that a great many have desired to see the history of this practice fully and fairly represented, - I have thought it worth my pains to draw up and publish such a Collection as is expressed in the Title.

And if any one ask what there is done in this more than in others that have been already, I answer,

1. That the best collections of this nature have not been publish. ed in the English language; and it is for the use of Englishmen that this is intended.

2. That this is more complete than any I have seen ; because, among those I have seen, each one omitted some testimonies which the other had ; and it is easier for one that collects out of all of them to have more than any one: beside that, no inconsiderable number of these have been gathered from my own reading.

The first and best collection that I have seen is Cassander's, then Vossius, and of late Dr. Hammond's, and out of him Mr. Walker's. The rest are mostly intermixed by those that produce them, with their proofs and arguments from Scripture, and must be picked out: so there are many in the books of Calvin, Bullinger, Featly, Tombs, Marshall, Cobbett, Baxter, Danvers, Wills, &c.

3. I pretend it to be more impartial than the rest ; for most of them are collections of such quotations only as make for that side of the question for which they are disputing. And here my readers. will say, If those produced by you do make some for one side, and some for the other, they will leave us in the same ambiguity that they find us. To which I must answer, That if he will come to? the reading of them with the same resolved impartiality that I set myself to the writing of them, I believe he will find it otherwise: however, the only way to pass a true judgment is to see both together.

4. I have recited the places more at large than others have done; one single sentence, or (as they frequently cite a bit or scrap of a sentence, gives but a very imperfect, and oftentimes a mistaken account of the author's meaning ; but the context added shews the tenor and scope of his discourse.

After all, I acknowledge that there are in the books I mentioned, and others, several quotations which I have not here; and the reason is, partly, because I confine' myself to authors that lived and wrote within the first 400 years (though some of them, outliving that term, wrote some of their works after it); and that I do because all men of reading know that from that time to the time of the Al.

bigenses, about the year 1150, the practice is unquestionable ; and partly, because many of the Quotations were false, and so altered, that when I came to search the original, there were there nothing to the purpose, or they were out of spurious books, &c. I have been forced to write one chapter of this work * to give an account what sort of Quotations I have left out, and for what reason; and if any one will inform me of any passage in any author within the term limited, which he, after reading of the said chapter, shall yet judge to be to the purpose, I will, if I live to see any more editions of this mean work, put it in, if it seem to me to be to the purpose; and that indifferently whether it make for or against Pædobaptism; for I desire that this Collection should be as complete and impartial as may be.

When I say in the title, of all the passages, I do not pretend but that in St. Austin there are a great many more ; but all to the same purpose; for he, in his disputes with the Pelagians, has whole books, wherein he proves Original Sin from the practice of Pædobaptism. In those I have only taken here and there a piece, since every body knows his doctrine.

I have recited the Originals of all the principal Quotations; bea cause, in this matter, writers have so accused one another of for, gery, or perverting of testimonies by false translations, &c. that

people are grown distrustful. Now they will be satisfied that, if I have mistranslated any thing, I did not do it willingly; for then I should never have added the author's own words for the discovery of it.

I have made Two Parts of this work. The first contains the principal Quotations, with some Notes drawn from them. I have re, jected all the spurious ones; only I have put a few of the most ancient of them together in the last chapter. The two first chapters have no Quotations that speak expressly of Infant Baptism; but of infants being discipled to Christ (which must, I think, import their baptism) and of Original Sin as it affects infants ; - of the necessity of baptism to salvation ;- of baptism succeeding circumcision, &c. ; but all the rest are concerning Infant Baptism expressly, either for or against it.

The other part contains an account of some Matters proper for the fuller Explication of the Primitive Practice; of which the chief is, the Enquiry concerning the Baptism and Parentage of those who are brought as Instances of Persons not baptized in Infancy, though born of Christian Parents ; for which work I wish I had been a little better furnished; yet I think I have rectified some mistakes concerning some of them that had past currently.

* Part 2, ch. 1.

I have noted in the Work, after every author, the age wherein he flourished (or began to be a man of note, by writing books, &c.) viz, how many years it was after the apostles time (which I make to end with the year of Christ 100, though St. John lived a year or two beyond it); and this I do, because, during all the apostles' time, every body is satisfied that the Church had an infallible direction.

I think it needful to give the reader notice before-hand, that, in the sayings of the fathers here recited, he will find that, as we, beside the word to baptize, do use the word to christen in the same sense, so they used several words to signify baptism. The most usual was åvayevvãy to regenerate ; which is also a Scripturé word for it; - sometimes they express it xavomotīv

, or áværaiviļuís, lo renew; and frequently áriálewy, to sanctify. They frequently by this word, the grace, do mean baptism. Sometimes they call it the seal, and frequently Quriouós, illumination, as it is also called, Heb. vi. 4; and sometimes tenéiwcis, initiation. The sense of the places will shew that where the words are of an infant, or other person, regerateil, renewed, sealed, enlightened initiated, sanctified, &c. we must understand baptized.

I have added a Dissuasive from Schism, or men's renouncing Christian Communion with one another, on account of this difference in opinion; for which I wish I had a vein of speaking more powerfally ; for I am fully persuaded, and clearly of opinion, that nei. ther this, nor most of our other differences, are any sufficient or reasonable ground of flying to that dreadful extremity of separation.is

One thing I was resolved on, That if I wrote any thing, it should be something which should give nobody any occasion to force me to write again. I said, in the first edition, That if any one would write against this, they should either write against the men that have been dead these 1300 years, or, if they found fault with the Notes that I have here and there made on their words, as not nature! ally drawn from them, my answer was beforehand, That I would refer it to the readers, whether they be or no.

But I find that I must partake of the fate of writers; only mine has been in the main a much more favourable one than came to my share. It becomes me humbly and thankfully to acknowledge, on one side; that the honour publicly done to my book, and the kind reception it has had from worthy men, has been far greater than I can ever think it does deserve; but, on the other side, a certain anonymous author of a pamphlet, called in Account of the Proceedings in the Convocation, 1705, did presently, upon the first edi. tion, give me a rebuke. To which I, in the Preface to the second edition, gave what Answer I thought needful; but that pamphlet being now, I suppose, out of print and forgotten, I do not think my answer to it worth reprinting.

Since the second edition, I have had more adversaries. Two or three, of which, being Antipædobaptists, though they could not charge the Quotations with any falsehood, yet, disliking the consequence which naturally follows from them (which is, that the Chris. tians in the time of those authors do appear plainly their infants) have laboured strenuously, and by different ways and evasions, to enervate that.

One of them has done this in so large an Oration, in such a popular way of pleading, with such wresting of the sense of the places, and in so challenging and insulting a manner, that I have been forced to write a Defence of this History against their several atw > tacks; but I was resolved that I would not, by mixing such various squabbles, pro and contra, interrupt the thread of it, but print the Defence separate. If any reader have been moved with any of their objections, and do think it worth his while to see what I have to say in answer to them, I must desire him to look for it there, and not here.

I have in this third edition added some Quotations, which either I have met with in the antients since the last, or which have been communicated to me by learned men; and some few new Remarksa The new quotations do make for infant baptism; and if I had met with, or there had been commuuicated any new ones that had made against it, I would, as I once promised, freely have inserted them; but I met with none. There are some passages of Barnabas, of Dionya sius Alexandrinus, of Eusebius concerning Polycrates, &c.which Mra Gale (one of my said adversaries) has quoted and tried to enforce for Antipædobaptism. I have in the said Defence shewn them, I think, to be not to the purpose ; and as upon an impartial consideration of them, I think they are not, I have not encumbered the History with them.

I conclude with a story told by Cassander *, which he makes long, but the substance is this: A man of note among the Antipædobaptists, being told that there was a full agreement of all the antients, who do with one mouth affirm, that this custom of baptizing infants has been in use ever since the Apostles' times, confessed in genuously, that he did put a great value upon such a consent of the church, and should be much moved with such an agreement of the ancient Christian writers ; and that if this could be proved by come petent testimonies, he was not so obstinate as to sliğht so forcible a. reason, especially if such authors were produced to prove this, as lived very nigh the Apostles' times; and, therefore, he earnestly desired that the testimonies of this matter should be shewn to him; and having read them, and (as he was a man of good sense) dili, gently considered them, he altered that opinion which he had taken up from a mistaken understanding of the Scripture ; which hap

* Præfat. in Testimonia de Pædobaptismo.

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