Images de page

those within, and those without, i. e. members and non-members, 1 Cor. v. 12. It seems he knew of no such distinction of mediate and immediate, as puts a medium between these two. Object. If children be compleat and immediate members as their parents are, then they shall immediately have all church privileges, as their parents have, without any further act or qualification. Ans. It followeth not, all privileges that belong to members, as such, do belong to the children as well as the parents : but all church-privileges do not so. A member as such, (or all members) may not partake of all privileges ; but they are to make progress both in memberly duties and privileges, as their

age, capacity and qualifications do fit them for the


3. That their membership still continues in adult age, and ceaseth not with their infancy, appears, 1. Because in scripture persons are broken off, only for notorious sin, or incorrigible impenitency and unbelief, not for growing up to adult age, Rom. xi. 20. 2. The Jew.chil. dren circumcised did not cease to be members by growing up, but continued in the church, and were by virtue of their membership received in infancy, bound unto various duties, and in special unto those solemn personal professions that pertained to adult members, not as then entering into a new membership, but as making a progress in memberiy duties, Deut. Xxvi. 2-10, and xvi. 16, 17, with Gal. v. 3, 3. Those relations of born-servants and subjects,

which the scripture makes use of to set forth the state of children in the church by, Lev. xxv. 41, 42.

Ezek. xxxvii. 25, do not (as all men know) cease with infancy, but continue in adult age. Whence also it follows, that one special end of membership received in infancy, is to leave persons under engagement to service and subjection to Christ in his church, when grown up, when they are fittest for it, and have most need of it. 4. There is no ordinary way of cessation of membership but by death, dismission, excommunicating, or dissolution of the society; none of which is the case of the

persons in question. 5. Either they are when adult, members or non-members : If non-members, then a person admitted a member, and sealed by baptism, not cast out, nor deserving so to be, may (the church whereof he was, stili remaining) become a non-member, and out of the church, and of the unclean world; which the scripture acknowledgeth not. Now if the parent stand member of the church, the child is a member also: For now the root is holy, therefore so are the branches, Rom. xi.. 16. Cor. vii. 14. The parent is in covenant there. fore so is the child, Gen. xvii. 7, and if the child be a member of the visible church, then lie is a subject of baptism, according to proposition 1.


PROPOSITION SIXTH. Such church-members who either by death or some other extraordinary providence, lave

been inevitably hindered from public acting as aforesaid, yet have given the church cause in judgment of charity, to look at them as so qualified, and such, as had they been called there. unto, would have so acted; their children are to be baptized.

This is manifest, 1. Because the main foundation of the right of the child to privilege remains viz. God's institution, and the force of his covenant carrying it to the generations of such as continue keepers of the covenant, i. e. not visibly breakers of it. By virtue of which institution and covenant, the children in question are members, and their membership being distinct from the parents membership, ceaseth not, but continues notwithstanding the parents decease or necessary absence : and if members, then subjects of baptism. 2. Because the par. ents not doing what is required in the fifth proposition, is through want of opportunity; which is not to be imputed as their guilt, so as to be a barr to the child's privilege. 3. God reckoneth that as done in his service, to which there was a manifest desire and endeavour, albeit the acting of it were hindred; as in David to build the Temple, 1 Kings viii. 18, 19, in Abraham to sacrifice his son, Heb. xi. 17, according to that in 2 Cor. viii. 12. Where there is a willing mind, it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not: which is true of this church-duty, as well as of that of alms. It is an usual phrase with the ancients to style such and such Martyrs in volo,

and baptized in volo, because there was no want of desire that way, though their desire was not actually accomplished. 4. The terms of the proposition import that in charity, that is here done interpretatively, which is mentioned to be done in the fifth proposition expressly.


The members of orthodox churches, being sound in the faith, and not scandalous in life, and presenting due testimony thereof; these occasionally coming from one church to another, may have their children baptized in the church whither they come, by virtue of comimunion of churches : But if they remove their habitation, they ought orderly to covenant and subject themselves to the government of Christ in the church where they settle their abode, and so their children to be baptized. It being the churches duty to receive such unto communion, so far as they are regularly fit for the same.

1. Such members of other churches as are here described, occasionally coming from one church to another, their children are to be baptized in the church whither they come, by virtue of communion of churches : 1. Because he that is regularly a member of a true particular church, is a subject of baptism, according to proposition 1st and 2d. But the children of the parents here described are such according to proposition 5th and 6th. therefore they are meet and lawful subjects of baptism, or have right to

be baptized. And communion of churches infers such acts as this, viz. to baptize a fit subject of baptism, though a member of another church, when the same is 'orderly desired. (See Platform of discipline, chap. xv. sect. 4.) For look as every church hath a double consideration,' viz. 1. Of its own constitution and communion within itself. 2. Of that communion which it holds and ought to maintain with other churches : So the officer (the pastor or teacher) thereof, is there set, 1. To adininister to this church constantly; 2. To do acts of communion occasionally, (viz. such as belong to his office, as baptizing doth) respecting the members of other churches, with whom this church holds, or ought to hold communion. 2. To refuse communion with a true church in lawful and pious actions, is unlawful, and justly accounted schismatical. For if the church be true, Christ holdeth some communion with it; therefore so must we : but if we will not have communion with it in those acts that are good and pious, then in none at all. Total separation from a true church is unlawful : But to deny communion in good actions, is to make a total separation. Now to baptize a fit subject, as is the child in question, is a lawful and pious action, and therefore by virtue of communion of churches, in the case mentioned to be attended. And if baptism lawfully administered, may and ought to be received by us for our children in another true church, where providence so casts us, as that we cannot have it in our own, (as

« PrécédentContinuer »