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in the church, which pertains to males in full communion. It seems not rational, that those who are not themselves fit for all ordinances, should have such an influence referring to all ordinances, as voting in election of officers, adinission and censures of members doth import. For how can they who are not able to examine and judge for themselves, be thought able and fit to discern and judge in the weighty affairs of the house of God? 1 Cor. xi. 28, 31, with 1 Cor. v. 12.
PROPOSITION FIFTH. Church-members who were admitted in minority, understanding the doctrine of faith, and publickly professing their assent thereto; not scandalous in life, and solemnly owning the covenant before the church, wherein they give up themselves and their children to the Lord, and subject themselves to the government of Christ in the church, their children are to be baptized. · This is evident from the arguments following
These children are partakers of that which is the main ground of baptizing any children whatsoever, and neither the parents nor the children do
in any barr to hinder it. 1. That they partake of that which is the main ground of baptizing any, is clear: Because interest in the covenant is the main ground of title to baptism, and this these children have. 1. Interest in the covenant, is the main ground of title to baptism; for so in the Old Testa
ment, this was the ground of title to circumci. sion, Gen. xvii. 7, 9, 10, 11, to which baptism now answers, Col. ii. 11, 12, and in Acts ii. 38, 39, they are on this ground exhorted to be baptized, because the promise or covenant was to them and to their children. That a member or one in covenant, as such is the subject of baptism, was further cleared before in proposition 1. 2. That these children have interest in the covenant, appears; because if the parent be in covenant, the child is also : For the covenant is to parents and their seed in their generations, Gen. xvii. 7, 9. The promise is to you and to your children, Acts ii. 39. If the parent stand in the church, so doth the child among the Gentiles now, as well as among the Jews of old, Rom. xi. 16, 20, 21, 22. It is unheard of in scripture, that the progress of the covenant stops at the infant-child.
But the parents in question are in covenant, as appears, 1. Because they were once in covenant, and never since discovenanted. If they had not once been in covenant, they had not warrantably been baptized; and they are so still, except in some way of God they have been discovenanted, cast out, or cut off from their covenant relation, which these have not been; neither are persons once in covenant, broken off from it according to scripture, save for notorious sin, and incorrigibleness therein, Roin. xi. 20, which is not the case of these parents. 2. Because the tenor of the covenant is to the faithful and thcir seed after them in their generations, Gen. xvii. 7,
even to a thousand generations, i. e. conditionally, provided that the parents successively do continue to be keepers of the covenant, Exodus XX. 6, Deut. vii, 9, 11. Psal. cv. 8, which the parents in question are, because they are not (in scripture account in this case) forsakers or rejecters of the God and covenant of their fathers : See Deut. xxix. 25, 26. 2 Kings xvii. 15 20.
2 Chron. vii. 22. Deut. vii. 10. 2. That these parents in question do not put in any
barr to hinder their children from baptism, is plain from the words of the proposition, wherein they are described to be such as understand the doctrine of faith, and publickly profess their assent thereto: Therefore they put not in any barr of gross ignorance, Atheism, Heresy or Infidelity: Also they are not scandalous in life, but solemnly own the covenant before the church; therefore they put
any barr of profaneness, or wickedness, or apostacy from the covenant, whereinto they entered in minority. That the infant-children in question do themselves put in any barr, none will imagine.
The children of the parents in question, are either children of the covenant, or strangers from the covenant, Ephes, ii. 12, either holy or unclean, 1 Cor. vii. 14, either within the church or without, 1 Cor. v. 12, either such as have God for their God, or without God in the world, Ephes. ii. 12. But he that considers the proposition, will not affirm the latter concern
ing these children: and the former being granted, infers their right to baptism.
To deny the proposition would be, 1. To straiten the grace of Christ in the gospel-dispensation, and to make the church in New Testament times in a worse case, relating to their children successively, then were the Jews of old. 2. To render the children of the Jews when they shall be called, in a worse condition then under the legal administration, contrary to Jer. xxx. 20. Ezek. xxxvii. 25, 26. 3. To deny the application of the initiatory seal to such as regularly stand in the church and covenant, to whom the Mosaical dispensation, nay the first institution in the covenant of Abraham, appointed it to be applied, Gen. xvii. 9, 10. John vii. 22, 23.
4. To break Gods covenant, by denying the initiatory seal to those that are in covenant, Gen. xvii. 9, 10, 14.
Confederate visible believers, though but in the lowest degree such, are to have their children baptized; witness the practice of John Baptist and the Apostles, who baptized persons upon their first beginning of their christianity. But the parents in question are confederate vis. ible believers, at least in some degree : For, 1. Charity may observe in them sundry positive arguments for it; witness the terms of the propsition, and nothing evident against it. 2. Children of the godly qualified, but as the persons in the proposition, are said to be faithful, Tit. i. 6. 3. Children of the covenant (as the parents in question are) have frequently the beginning
of grace wrought in them in younger years, as scripture and experience shews : Instance Joseph, Samuel, David, Solomon, Abijah, Josiah, Daniel, John Baptist and Timothy. Hence this sort of persons showing nothing to the contrary, are in charity, or to Ecclesiastical reputation, visible believers. 4. They that are regularly in the church, (as the parents in question be) are visible saints, in the account of scripture ; (which is the account of truth) for the church is in scripture account, a company of saints, 1 Cor. xiv. 33, and i. 2-5. Being in covenant and baptized, they have faith and repentance indefinitely given to them in the promise, and sealed up in baptism, Deut. xxx. 6, which continues valid, and so a valid testimony for them, while they do not reject it. Yet it doth not necessarily follow, that these persons are immediately fit for the Lord's supper; because though they are in a latitude of expression to be accounted visible believers, or in numero fidelium, as even infants in covenant are, yet they may want that ability to examine themselves, and that special exercise of faith, which is requisite to that ordinance; as was said upon proposition 4th.
The denial of baptism to the children in question, hath a dangerous tendency to irreligion and apostacy; because it denies them, and so the children of the church successively, to have any part in the Lord ; which is the way to make them cease from fearing the Lord, Josh. xxii. 24, 25, 27 For if they have a part in the