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A Censure Upon a Dialogue of the Anabaptists - Henry Ainsworth (Part 7)

Henry Ainsworth now moves to defend against the objections of the Anabaptists to the proof of infant baptism found in 1 Cor 10:1-2, "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;".

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.


Against an other proof for baptism of Infants, gathered from Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 10:1, 2 &c. Where he speaks of all the Israelites baptism in the cloud & in the sea: they struggle with little reason or colour of truth. For (to omit their discourse of Paul’s scope in bringing that in, which no way clears the controversy) they tell us:

1. That Moses did not at all wash them with water in the cloud and sea.

2. That this of Moses is called baptism by comparison, as Noah’s Ark is called the figure of the Baptism that saveth us: for as the Ark saved those in it from drowning: so the Israelites were all under the cloud and in the sea, and therein baptized or safeguarded from destruction of their enemies.

3 & 4. That it pleased the Holy Ghost to say they were baptised in the sea and cloud, because the cloud and sea was their safety, as Noah’s Ark was.

5. And as Christ saith, they are baptized that suffer for his sake.

So there is as much warrant to enjoin infants to suffer persecution, because it is called Baptism: as to baptise them, because the cloud and sea is called Baptism.


How many wrestings and windings are in these men’s words?

First, they say, Moses did not at all baptise them with water. And why? Was there no water (think they) in the cloud and in the sea? Let them consider Exod. 14:24, 25, compared with Psal. 77:16, 17, &c. and they may see there was water enough in the cloud: and they will not say (I think) that there was no water in the sea. All outward baptising or washing, must be with water or some other liquid. If they were not baptised with water, what other liquid were they baptised in? not with blood, as in the baptism of suffering death for Christ’s sake, which they impertinently mention. Not with wine or strong drink: for they found none such in the wilderness. If they can show nothing but water to baptise them in, let them deny no more (for shame) that they were baptised with water. God spake to our fathers by the Prophets at sundry times (or in sundry parts, as it were by piecemeal) as the Apostle teaches Heb. 1:1. By Moses he showed how the cloud removed from before Israel, and stood behind them, (as they passed through the sea) and gave them light, but was darkness to the Egyptians: and from this fiery cloudy pillar the Lord looking, troubled the Egyptians, and took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily, Exod. 14:19, 20 24, 25. This being briefly and obscurely told by Moses, God after enlarges by Asaph another Prophet, who shows the manner of it; how not only the waters of the sea saw the Lord, when they fled and parted; but the clouds also (from above) poured out water when they rained; the skies sent out a sound by thunder, &c. thus the ground being softned with the rain, occasioned the chariot wheel of the Egyptians (sticking in the mire) to fall off, and hindered their pursuit: Ps. 77:16, 17, &c. After this the Apostle (taught by God’s spirit) manifests the mystery which before was kept secret; namely how this passage under the cloud (which rained) and through the sea was a baptism to the Israelites: even as Christian men’s washings in rivers or vessels, was a baptism to them. And as the manna which Israel ate, and water from the rock which they drank, was the same spiritual meat and drink which we have signified by bread and wine in our Lord’s supper; so their washing in the cloud & sea, and our washing in vessels or rivers, is spiritually the same baptism. From hence we gather the baptising of our infants by two arguments:

(a) All our fathers (says Paul) were baptised in the cloud and sea: therefore (say we) infants: for seeing there was no other baptism but that in the cloud and sea, such of our fathers as then were infants were at that time baptised, or else many of our fathers (even all the infants of many thousand families) were never baptised: which is contrary to the Apostle’s doctrine. And if infants had baptism under Moses, it cannot (with any colour of reason) be denied them under Christ.

(b)In that the Apostle teaches us, that the extraordinary and temporary sacraments (or seals of salvation) which Israel had, were the substance and truth which we now have, though Moses doth not so express: it follows upon like ground, that their ordinary seals, namely Circumcision and the Passover, were the same in truth and substance with baptism and the Lord’s Supper which we now have. And being the same, as infants had circumcision then, so they are to have baptism now.

Secondly, whereas they say that of Moses was called baptism by comparison, as if it were not properly baptism; they swerve from the right way: it was as truly and properly baptism to them, as ours is to us, though the manner of administration differ: even as their Manna and water were as truly and properly the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood to them, as bread and wine in the Lord’s supper are to us. Otherwise the Apostle should not say truly, that they were the same. 1. Cor 10:3, 4.

Thirdly, Noah’s ark is not called the figure of baptism, as these corrupters of scripture tell us: but baptism (says the Apostle) is a like-figure (or antitype) 1 Pet. 3:21. So that the saving by water of eight men in the Ark, was a type or figure: and the saving of a few now by water in baptism, is an antitype, or like figure: both of them figuring salvation by the death of Christ.

Fourthly, neither do these men set down the reason fully and rightly, why they are said to be baptised, namely, because the cloud and sea was their safety as Noah’s ark was; for though it may in some sense be granted that these were their safety, as baptism is our safety (for it is said to save us, 1 Pet. 3:21.) yet properly they were said to be baptised in the cloud and sea, because they were in them sacramentally washed from their sins, & planted together in the likeness of his death, burial, and resurrection, as we are now by baptism, Rom. 6:3-5. The cloud served them for three users, (1) To protect and keep them safe, Isa. 4:5-6. (2) To guide them in the way that they should go, Numb. 9:17. &c. Exod. 13:21. and these two were ordinary, (3) To baptise them by pouring down water, and this was extraordinary, and but one time in the red sea, for ought we find. And in this respect Paul says they were baptised in it.

Fiftly, their last speech of enjoining infants to suffer persecution, as well as to baptise them, is spoken with a wry mouth: for as we enjoin not infants to be baptised, though we baptise them; so can we not enjoin them to suffer persecution. But this we say and know, as infants are baptised into Christ, so oftentimes they suffer persecution for Christ: being with their parents afflicted, imprisoned, banished, &c. yea and bereaved of life it self, so that they have even the baptism of blood or martyrdom also.

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