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A Censure Upon a Dialogue of the Anabaptists - Henry Ainsworth (Part 3)

In the preceding two articles in this series Rev. Ainsworth explained the nature of baptism and set forth the scriptural command for the covenant initiation of infants, by showing that circumcision and baptism are one in substance (though differing in outward sign). We now arrive at Rev. Ainsworth's treatment of the exceptions raised by the Anabaptists against these positions.


In this article we set out the answers to four exceptions in respect to circumcision, and in the next will consider the Anabaptist objections relating to the covenant with Abraham.


Note: The writer has updated the spelling, grammar and language of the original work and it is sincerely hoped that such revisions have not detracted from the intent or meaning.

First Exception

There was a commandement for circumcision,Gen. 17. there is none for baptism of infants.

Answer

This is before disproved, and a commandement shewed Mark. 16. For the sealing of the seed of the faithful in infancy, was a part of the Gospel; seeing the Gospel is the fulfilling of the covenant and promise made to the fathers, and to Abraham in special,

Act. 13:32, 33. Luk. 1:55, 73.


If it be objected, that baptising of infants is not there particularly expressed: I answer, neither are other parts of the Gospel particularly expressed there: but the Gospel in general being to be proclaimed, all parts of the Gospel (whereof sealing the infants is one) are necessarily implied. Note also that things are taught and commanded somtime in Scripture, though not in express words: as the Trinity of persons in the unity of the Godhead, the resurrection of the dead (as Christ proveth) was taught in Exod. 3. Eternal life in heaven, and eternal death in hell are not expressed in Moses's law: nor that they should have Synagogues in every city for the people to meet on the Sabbath. Neither in the New Testament is it taught in express words, that Christ is co-essential, co-equal, co-eternal with the Father: or, that his death and obedience is the merit of our righteousness, or satisfaction for our sins: nor expressly commanded that woman should receive the Lord’s Supper, nor example that any did: with sundry other things which though they be not expressed in plain words, yet are they soundly to be proved by arguments from the scripture.

Second Exception

That commandment of circumcision included males only, children, or servants though unbelievers, and excluded all females, though believers so doth not baptism.

Answer

It is untruly said that servant unbelievers were to be circumcised: they feign this, the Scriptures teach them not so, but the contrary. For circumcision was the seal of the righteousness of faith, Rom. 4:11, and should it be set upon unbelievers, which had no righteousness no faith? So God should be made the author of a false and lying seal: to signify and to assure the things which were not. Again, every circumcised person was to eat the Passover, and had all other privileges of Israel’s law, Exod. 12:48, 49. The Passover signified Christ, and the eating of it life by Christ, 1 Cor. 5:7-8, John 6:57. But no unbeliever had these benefits. And if unbelievers and Israelites had communion together in circumcision, passover, and other holy things, then was the Church of Israel no communion of Saints, but a mixture with all sorts of infidels, whosoever would, contrary to Exod. 19:5-6, Lev. 19:2, & 20:7, 26, Deut. 14:2, & 26:18-19, and 1 King. 8:53. Though females (wanting that part of the body) were not outwardly circumcised, for that foreskin which was not, could not be cut off: yet may we not say they were excluded, for then they might not have eaten the passover, Exod. 12.48. They were within the covenant (Deut. 29:10-12) and implied in the males. As the men had that sign of purification (according to the nature of the male) which women had not so women had another kind of purification (according to the nature of the female) which men had not, Lev. 12. Each sex had their portion in the things that figured their redemption by Christ, according to their several natures. Therefore when the outward sign was changed from circumcising to baptising, wherof the female is as capable as the male; both sexes are baptised, Act. 8:12. So infants now are as capable of baptism, as they were of circumcision, there is nothing therefore to debar them from it.

Third Exception

The law required circumcision to be performed on the eight day: so doth not the law of baptism?

Answer

What of this? the law of baptism appoints no day at all for any: shall none therefore be at all baptised? The law required the Passover to be kept on the fourteenth day of the first month, Exod. 12. The law of Christ appointeth no day when to eat the Lords Supper: yet it is the same in substance that the Passover was, 1 Cor. 5:7-8, so baptism is the same in substance that circumcision was, Coloss. 2.11-12. and as all may now eat the Lord’s Supper, which might then eat the Pascha: so all may now be baptised, which then were circumcised.

Fourth Exception

But when faith is manifested, then is baptism to be performed.

Answer

They mean by manifestation, profession with the mouth; and by then they mean not before that time. This is denied, and formerly disproved, and they have no one word of God to confirm their doctrine. Though infants manifest no faith by their own mouth, yet the mouth of God manifests them to have faith in the begining or seed thereof, because he testifieth them to be holy, 1 Cor. 7:14, which is not without faith: and testifieth them to have grace and righteousness by Christ, answerable to the corruption and unrighteousnesse which they have by Adam, Rom. 5 as is before declared.





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