Infant Baptism God's Ordinance - The First Argument.
After setting out five considerations to rightly understand the controversy of Infant Baptism Master Harrison proceeds to draw his first argument concerning the ownership of the seed of believers, fleshing his contention with the ground of scripture.
1 Cor 7:14 "...else were your children unclean; but now are they holy."
Editor's Note: The First Argument is taken from the Second Chapter of Infant baptism God's ordinance, or, Clear proof that all the children of believing parents are in the covenant of grace and have as much a right to baptism the now seal of the covenant, as the infant seed of the Jews had to circumcision, the then seal of the covenant. Again the writer has edited the original work and also updated the spelling, grammar and language and it is sincerely hoped that such revisions have not detracted from the intent or meaning.
The First Argument for Infant Baptism.
If God does own the Infant seed of believers as his, then they ought to receive the token of his so owning of them.
But God does own the Infant Seed of believers as his, therefore they ought to receive the token of his so owning of them, which is Baptism.
Now that God doth own the Infant Seed of Believers as his, I prove by these four arguments.
1. If the Children of believing parents are God's children, their sons and daughters his sons and daughters, then God owns them.
But the children of believing parents are God's children, as is evident, Ezek. 16:20, 21. Moreover, thou has taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast born unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed to be devoured: thou hast slain my children and delivered them to pass through the fire for them. These Idolatrous Israelites were at this time much degenerated, but yet God had not given them a bill of divorce, the Covenant was not dissolved; and therefore these children born within the Covenant, were God's children; and his, not merely by right of creation, so all are his but by right of Covenant. There was little reason to believe the parents were gracious; but however, being visibly in covenant, God claims their children as his own, as belong∣ing to his Church and family by a Covenant-Right.
2. If the children of such parents, who are one or both of them believers, are federally holy, then God owns them: but the former is true, 1 Cor:7.14. therefore the latter, else were your children unclean; but now are they holy; the question was, whether when the husband was a believer, and the wife an unbeliever; or the wife a believer, and the husband a pagan, they might yet continue to live with the unbeliever: to this the Apostle answers, they might, and gives this reason for it, viz. The unbeliever is sanctified by the believer.
Sanctified in Scripture usually signifies either
(i) Savingly sanctified by grace and spiritual life infused into the soul by the Spirit of God:
(ii) Setting persons apart for some holy use or office; as the Priests, Sabbath, Tabernacle, and all the utensils thereof, and all the people of Israel who were circumcised.
But the unbelieving husband or wife here were sanctified in neither of these respects; therefore it's otherwise to be understood.
Candidatus eat fade [candidate of faith], say some, they are in a fair way of being won over to the faith of Christ, or prepared by God for such a use; so sanctified signifies in Isa. 13:3. but the meaning is plainly this: That in regard that all the faithful are heirs of the Covenant of Grace, Gen. 17:1. I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. Acts 2:39. The promise is to you, and to your children: This promise being to believing parents, and their Infants, this Covenant the unbelieving party cannot undo by his or her unbelief; hence their children were holy:
(i) Not merely legitimate; for so they would have been, had both the parents been pagans; to say as the Anabaptists do, they are not bastards; is, says Doctor Featly, a bastard exposition.
(ii) Nor can it be meant, that they are saved, justified and sanctified by the Holy Ghost, (though if that were the sense, it would not contradict but confirm the doctrine of Infant Baptism; for whoever hath Justification and Sanctification, the thing signified by Baptism, hath undoubtedly a right to the Sign and Seal.
(iii) Then by holy must unavoidably be meant federally holy; i. e. within the Cove∣nant; as the Infants of the Jews were a holy seed, and had a right to circumcision; so the Infants of Christian parents, though but one of them a believer, had a federal holiness and a right to be baptised, as if both the parents had been believers.
3. If the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to little Children, then Christ owns them; but the Kingdom of Heaven does belong to them, Matt. 19:13, 14. Then were there brought little children unto him, that he should put his hands on them, and pray, and the disciples rebuked them; But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Here Christ declares the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them. By the Kingdom of Heaven is meant, either the Kingdom of Glory in the next World, or the Kingdom of Grace here; the latter is most probable, for so the Church is called, Matt. 22:1, 2. Now be it the one, or the other, its evi∣dent Christ owned them as his.
4. If the promise of the Covenant of Grace may be made to the Infant seed of believers, then Christ owns them; but the promise of the Covenant of Grace is to the Infant seed of believers, as well as to their believing parents; Gen. 17:7. I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and thy seed af∣ter thee. And this promise the Apostle recites as belonging to all believers, Acts 2:39. The promise is to you, and to your children.
Now from all it's abundantly evident, that God does own the children of believing parents as his: Therefore they ought to receive the token of his so owning them, which is Baptism. The conclusion is unavoidably; If it be evident God owns a person, that person ought to be baptized; let him show, that can, any reason why a person so owned by God should not be admitted into the Church by baptism.