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FROM THE COMMUNION OF THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH.
7. Transubstantiation is derogatory to Christ's priestly oblation.-Falkner.
8. The sacrifice of the mass is"offered for the sins, punishments, and other necessities of the living and the dead," &c.-Falkner.
It "expiates the sins of all mankind." Ib.
By grace ye are saved," says the New Testament; but what say the fathers, the false apostolical constitutions, and the true baptismal regenerators -"Next after God he is your Father, who has begotten you to the adoption of sons by water and the Spirit; he is next after God, your earthly god. (Lib. ii. xxvi.) If Transubstantion be consistent in affirming, that the priest is God's maker-Baptismal Regeneration is consistent in affirming, that the priest is the new man's Creator.
I dissent from all those churches which admit infants to baptism; and, particularly, from the Roman, the Lutheran, and the Anglican Church.
I observe that, after confuting every argument advanced in its favour, such as those from Proselyte Baptism; External Covenant relation; Circumcision; Matt. xxviii. 19. Gen. xvii. 7. Ezek. xvi. 20, 21. Matt. xix. 4. John iii. 5. Acts ii. 39. xvi. 15. Rom. xi. 16. 1 Cor. vii. 14. Apostolical tradition;-the most eminent Pædobaptist divines are forced to conclude with Calvin, that "Though baptism be a sacrament of faith and repentance, nevertheless, as God doth receive in his church little children with their parents, we say that, by the authority of Jesus Christ, little children begotten of faithful parents should be baptized."-Art. xxxv.
True it is, that the Genevese Reformer contends on other grounds for this extraordinary inference. His argument here is, however, first, an unproved assertion, that "God doth receive little
God, the example of Christ's apostles, and of the two first centuries of the church.
7. Baptismal Regeneration is deroga. tory to the privileges of that Holy Spirit, which is termed, "the Spirit of Christ," Rom. viii. 9. and "the Spirit of his Son," Gal. iv. 6. It was 66 after that they believed," that the Ephesians were “sealed, with the Holy Spirit of promise ;" it was when they had "put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man which is corrupt," that they were "renewed in the spirit of their mind," Eph. iv. 22.
8. Baptism removes original and actual sin, and if it does not now, as of old, regenerate the living and the dead, infants without faith and repentance, as well as adults with both, are by the laver of regeneration made the heirs of life eternal."-Private Baptism of Infants.
children in his church;" and then a jumping conclusion from this unproved assertion, that the "authority of Jesus Christ" sanctions their baptism!
Venema says, that "Seeing infants, while destitute of reason, are considered as in their parents, in them and by them, they both profess faith and are baptized." Diss. Sacr. 1. ii. c. xiv. 6.
I believe, however, with the old Waldenses, that the least offensive excuse hitherto alleged for this prostitution of Christ's ordinance, is absurd and unscriptural. I repeat with them, that "the third sin of Antichrist consists in his baptizing infants in a strange (or vicarious) faith."-Del Antichr. I declare also with them, that "the office of godfathers is superfluous, and that it is antichristian innovation."-Del Antichr. an. 1120.
I discover with pleasure in all their early documents, either direct assertions against infant baptism, or a complete silence on the subject; and am delighted to find that the earliest and most eminent of their barbs, or ministers, as well as their most distinguished friends and converts, unanimously denied scripturality and validity of infant baptism. From the year 1020 to 1417, a succession of Anti-Pædobaptist teachers and martyrs may be traced in the Evangelical Churches of Piedmont and Narbonnese Gaul.
I discern with agreeable surprise, Berengarius, the enemy of Transubstantion, "the Church's pillar, and the clergy's hope," among the opposers of
infant baptism and baptismal regeneration, in the year 1050.
that was not yet expressly appointed by him, &c."
I should have stated, that my first Our Saviour's expression is very anadoubts on the subject arose from the logous to that of John the Baptist, when consideration, that not a single father of he says, "I baptize you in water to rethe two first centuries, seems to have pentance; but he shall baptize you in the been aware of the existence of a practice, Holy Spirit and fire;" for we should read mentioned and condemned by Tertullian" born of water and of Spirit," that is, cleansed and sanctified. Did he mean
in 204. He was an African, and with Grotius is of opinion, that that superstitious province first admitted infant baptism. Barnabas, Hermas, Justin, and Clemens of Alexandria, mention, and some of them do so repeatedly, the baptism of adults; of that of infants they say not a word. The two latter invariably declare, that faith and repentance are requisite to its administration.
Cyprian, in 258, is the first ancient who approves of infant baptism; and the first who alludes to infant communion as an ecclesiastical practice. Justin mentions neither about the year 150, though he minutely describes the manner in which individuals were received into church-membership, namely, by repentance, fasting, prayer, baptism, and the Lord's Supper-an ordinance which immediately and invariably followed baptism. The fathers, who may have bors rowed this dangerous innovation from the heathen, soon found out scripture for it, in those two plausible texts, John iii. 5. vi. 54.
"An opinion," says the incomparable Salmasius, "prevailed, that no one could be saved without being baptized; and, for that reason, a custom arose of baptizing infants." Epist. ad Just. Pac.
Suicer adds, that "an opinion concerning the absolute necessity of baptism, arose from a wrong understanding of our Lord's words, John iii. 5. Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.'
""Tis strange," observes Charnock, "that when all agree that the birth here spoken of is spiritual and metaphorical, the water here should be natural. None could be saved unless baptized, if this were meant of baptism. As if these words, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you,' were meant of the Supper, none could be saved unless they did partake of it. Baptism was not then instituted as a standing sacrament of the Christian church; and it is not likely Christ would discourse to Nicodemus of the necessity of an institution,
that Christians should pass through fire like the worshippers of Moloc?
Infant communion, founded on, or excused by the other text, continued in the Western Church till the year 1215. "Without doubt, they do rightly," says Hospinian, "who give the Lord's Supper to infants, if the arguments of the Fathers, of the Papists, and of others, be of any weight, by which they tie salvation to baptism; for they see, with equal reason, that the same blessings may follow the participation of the Lord's Supper."
"The Lord's Supper was given to the infants of believers in the time of Pope Innocent I., of Cyprian, and of Austin, as well in Europe as in Asia and Africa, and that as necessary to salvation. Jerome, Austin, and other fathers, testify that they who were baptized, not only adults, but infants without any delay, received the Lord's Supper in both kinds." "When an infant was baptized, the Priest that baptized him, used to dip his fingers in the cup, and drop the wine into the child's mouth, saying, The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ profit thee to eternal life.”
DR. WALL "Very near half the Christians of the world do still continue that practice."
VENEMA" In the ancient church, these two sacraments, in respect of the subjects, were never separated the one from the other."
Bishop JEREMY TAYLOR-"Since the Jewish infants being circumcised is used as an argument that they might be bap tized, their eating of the Paschal lamb may also be a competent warrant of their eating of that sacrament; in which also, as in the other, the sacrificed lamb is represented as offered and slain for them."
"Infants having already received some real dispositions towards this, even all the grace of the sacrament of baptism— refusing to communicate them, rests upon an unwarrantable ground. For though it was confessed that the communion would do them benefit, yet it
FROM THE COMMUNION OF THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH. 277
was denied to them then, when the doctrine of transubstantiation entered; upon pretence, lest by poking up the holy symbols, the sacrament should be dishonoured."-Worthy Communicant, ch. iii. s. 2, p. 202.
This is a curious fact; but the Bishop's strong arguments convince me more and more of the danger and responsibility of those, who turn from the infallible LAW of God, to the foolish and impious GLOSS of frail mortals. "When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter; should not a people seek unto their God?-For the living to the dead."-"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isa. viii. 19, 20.
Not only do I believe with the purest church upon earth in the twelfth century, but likewise with the most impartial and learned Protestant divines, that infant baptism is as much an innovation as infant communion.
and fourth it was allowed by some few; that in the fifth and following ages it was generally received. That the custom of baptizing infants did not begin before the third age after Christ was born; that in the former ages no trace of it appears; and that it was introduced without the command of Christ."
I affirm with Mons. Delaroque, Pastor at Rouen in Normandy, that "The primitive church did not baptize infants; and that the learned Grotius proves it in his Annotations on the Gospel.".
I affirm with Chambers, "that in the primitive times, none were baptized but adults." And I conclude, where I should perhaps have commenced, in referring to the transcendent_authority of our Divine Legislator, the Lord Jesus Christ, and his inspired followers, "Go ye," says the incarnate Word, "and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," Matt. xxviii. 19. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned," Mark xvi. 16. Luke informs
I affirm with Saumaise, that, " In the two first centuries no one was baptized, except, being instructed in the faith, and acquainted with the doctrine of Christ,us in the Acts, that "they that gladly he was able to profess himself a believer; because of these words, He that believeth and is baptized. First, therefore, he was to believe. Thence the order of Catechumens in the Church. Then, also, it was the custom to give the Lord's Supper to these Catechumens immediately after baptism."-Epist. ad Just. Pac. and Suicer. Thes. Eccl. sub. voce. Zuvagis.
I affirm with Ludovicus Vives, a Papist, that "No one, in former times, was admitted to the sacred baptistry, except he was of age; understood what the mystical water meant; desired to be washed in it; and expressed that desire more than once. Of which practice we have yet an imitation in our baptism of infants. For an infant of only a day or two old is yet asked, Whether he will be baptized? and this question is asked three times, in whose name the Sponsors answer, He does desire it."-Annot. in Aug. Civ. Dei. 1. i. c. 27. (I have a translation of this Commentary by Gentsan Hervet; but the note is wanting!) I affirm with the pious Courceilles, that "The baptism of infants, in the two first centuries after Christ, was altogether unknown; but that in the third
received the word were baptized," ch. ii. 41. Peter had said unto them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins," Acts ii. 37, 38. But not a word is uttered of the baptism of their infants. When the Samaritans "believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also; and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip," Acts viii. 12, 13. Were there no infants in Samaria? in that large and populous city? "Can any man," says Peter, "forbid water that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" ch. xi. 47.
Baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ," 1 Pet. iii. 21. Paul tells the Colossians, "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power; in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands,* in putting off the body
"Baptism is no more spiritual circumcision, than circumcision is spiritual baptisin."
of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ: buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead," Col. ii. 10-12.
With revelation, reason, and such incontrovertible evidence on my side, is it possible that I should err in the important conclusion, that the baptism of infants is founded on error, and maintained by ignorance and imposition?
"Isaiah," says an ancient Father to the Jews, "Isaiah does not send you to the bath, there to wash away sins, which the whole sea, vast as it is, could not expiate: he alludes to the laver of salvation which follows repentance; we are no longer purified by the blood of goats and rams, by the burnt heifer, and the meal oblation; but by faith through the blood and death of Christ."-Dialog. cum Tryph. Jud.
This is a word from the wise, and CHRISTIANS as well as Jews might still profit by it.
The following letter, we believe, has never before been printed. It throws considerable light, as we think, on the state of the Baptist profession in England, nearly two hundred years ago; and the apostolic simplicity which pervades the whole, cannot fail to strike every reflecting mind. It may be useful to inform some of our readers, that Hexham is a considerable town in the county of Northumberland, situate on the road from Carlisle to Newcastle. The letter appears to have been drawn up at an Association of the churches, specified at the end, held in one of the midland counties; and it certainly presents us with a beautiful pic
ture of the interest which these sister churches took in each other's welfare. EDITOR.
TO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST AT
Dearly beloved Brethren in our Lord Christ.
work of God in you and for you, in persuading your hearts to obey his will in being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, whilst so many in all places endeavour to deter people from embracing the plain precepts of Christ, and by all sorts of arts seem to darken the truth, and to continue the profane abuse of infant sprinkling upon superstitious and Judaizing grounds, by which the reformation of the churches is hindered; and not only so, but that he hath kept you from those errors of universal grace, preficient,* but becoming effectual by the motion of man's will not determined by God, such other errors that corrupt and that he other baptized people; timely discovered that counterseit Jew,† who was likely either to have corrupted you, or brought you into obloquy; and the keeping you, as we hope, unspotted of the world, hath filled our hearts with joy, and enlarged our hearts with thanksgiving to God; and so much the rather because we hope that from you the truth of God may sound further, and your holy conversation provoke those that yet are averse from the right ways of the Lord in which you walk, to consider their ways, and enquire after the mind of the Lord more earnestly; for all which reasons, and that there might be a holy union and correspondence held between us and you, as those that are members of one body, have one spirit, and called in one hope of our calling-have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father, who is above all, and through all, and in you all-we have judged it our duty to write unto you, that we might congratulate with you for the mercy and the grace of God vouchsafed to you, and assure you of our readiness to assist you in any thing that tend to your edification; and to concur with you in any work of the Lord, whereby the kingdom of Christ may be advanced, and the opposite dominion, of what sort soever, may be depressed. As for yourselves, though we are confident that he who hath begun the good work in you will perfect it to the day of Jesus Christ, yet being sensible that you have potent adversaries, who will endeavour with all cunning
* This is so obscurely written in the original, that it is difficult to make it out, nor are we sure that we have hit upon the right word.-EDITOR.
"The 4th month, 4th day, 1653, a child of the Devil came from Rome to ruin this church, and with great subtilty made a most glorious confession of Christ, pretending that he had been a Jew, and that his name was Joseph Ben Israel; after his declaration in the Parish House, he was baptized; but the Holy One of Israel, our gracious protector, brought the hellish impostor to light before he had any church communion; ever blessed be his glorious name for this great deliverance."
Extract from the Church Book.
LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT HEXHAM.
teachers from the churches, and of signifying to all churches of our com
In the name and for the Church at Weston
In the name and for the Church meeting
and violence to cast you down to the earth, that you may lose your crown; we think it safe for you that you be ex-munion, who are approved or disallowed horted by us to look to your garments, as Teachers, or in case of removal as that they be kept clean, and that you brethren, that the churches of God may may be as "the sons of God without not be deceived by such impostors as rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and the counterfeit Jew with you; and that perverse generation, among whom ye popish and other devilish practices to shine as lights in the world;" and be- divide or corrupt them may be preventcause your stedfastness will rest much ed, though we hope the Pastors in every upon your order and unity, we beseech church will be very watchful in this you that you mark them that cause thing. For the present we have no divisions and offences contrary to the more to write to you, but to entreat your doctrine you have received, and avoid prayers for us as we for you, that you them; and that you obey them that are may stand complete in all the will of over you in the Lord, who watch for God, to whose tuition we commend you, your souls, as they that must give ac- and remain your strongly enchained count to God, that they may do it with brethren in the bonds of perfectness, joy, and not with grief. Whatever dif- and the unfeigned love of you in the ferences may arise, labour to compose Lord. (Signed) them among yourselves, and to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others before themselves; love humility, it will help much to unity; take heed of lightness and inconstancy. If any have private opinions let them not be divulged; each one seek privately information of their teachers, or such as are most able; and not zealously promote them without regard to the church's peace. Let every one study to be quiet, and to do his own business, remembering that as in the body all members have not the same office, so it is in the church; and therefore each member is to keep his own place, and therein abide with God. Brethren, if it had seemed good to the Lord, we should have been glad if our dwelling had been nearer, that we might have visited you in person; but the Lord otherwise ordering it, we have contented ourselves only at this time to signify our mind to you by writing, hoping to hear from you of the grace of God to you, in preserving and increasing you in the knowledge of Christ, and the love of God unto eternal life. We farther signify to you, our longing to have with you, and all the baptized churches that hold the faith purely, such communion as that we may by Letters or Messengers, in some meeting or meetings, communicate to each other our knowledge, for the testifying of each other, and obtaining ef consent of doctrine among the churches;
In the name and for the Church baptized
John Tombs, Pastor,
In the name and for the Church at Beaudly,
R. London, Pastor,
In the name and for the Church at Wormbbredy,
John Bell, Francis Pobb. In the name and for the Church meeting in Coleman Street, Swan Alley, London, (it coming to us the 2nd of the 8th month, 1653.) and we further desire, that there may be some certain way of approving and sending
Henry Jessey, Teacher,