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5. Church members who were admitted in minority, understanding the doctrine of faith, and publicly 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 baptised
6. Such church members, who either by death, or some other extraordinary providence, have 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 thereunto, would have so acted ; their children are to be baptised.
7. 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 baptised in the church whither they come, by virtue of communion 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 baptised.
It being the churches duty to receive such into communion, so far as they are regularly fit for the
The confirmation of these Propositions from the scripture followeth.
PROPOSITION FIRST. They that according to scripture are members of the visible church, are the subjects of baptism.
The truth hereof may appear by the following evidences from the word of God.
1. When Christ saith, Go ye therefore and teach, or(as the Greek is)disciple all nations,baptising them, Mat. 28, 19, he expresseth the adequate subject of baptism, to be disciples, or discipled ones. But disciples there, is the same with members of the visible church.
For the visible church is Christ's school, wherein all the members stand related and subjected to him, as their master and teacher, and so are his scholars or disciples, and under his teaching, as verse 20. And it is that visible spiritual kingdom of Christ,which he there,from his kingly power, verse 18. sendeth them to set up and administer in verse. 19. the subjects whereof are under his laws and government, verse 20. Which subjects (or members of that kingdom, ii e. of the visible church) are termed disciples, verse 19. Also in the acts of the A. postles (the story of their accomplishment of that commission) disciples are usually put for members of the visible church, Aets i. 15. In the midst of the disciples, who with others added to them, are called the church, Acts. ii. 47. The members whereof are again called disciples, Acts vi. 1, 2. Acts ix. 1—against the disciples of the Lord, i. e. against the church of God. 1. Cor. xv. 9. Gal. i. 13. Acts ix. 26. He assay
ed to join himself to the disciples. The disciples at Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, Acts xiv. 21, 22, are called the church in each of these places, verse 23. So the church, verse 27, the disciples, verse 28. Acts xviii. 22, the church at Cæsaria, Acts xxi. 16, the disciples at Cæsaria, So Acts xviii. 23, with chap. XV. 41, and Gal. i. 2 Acts xviii. 27, and chap. xx. 1, with ver. 17, 28. From all which it appeareth, that disciples in Mat. xxviii. 19, and members of the visible church, are terms equivalent : and disciples t'eing there by Christ himself made the subjects of baptism, it follows that the members of the visible church are the subjects of baptism.
2. Baptism is the seal of first entrance or admission into the visible church, as appeareth from those texts, 1 Cor. xii. 13, baptised into one body, i. e. our entrance into the body or church of Christ is sealed by baptism ; and Rom. vi. 3, 5. Gal. iii, 27, where it is shewed, that baptism is the sacrament of union or of ingrafting into Christ the head, and consequently into the church his body ; and from the Apostles constant practice in baptizing persons upon their first coming in, or first giving up themselves to the Lord and them. Acts viii. 12, and xvi. 15, 33, and xviii. 8, and in Acts ii. 41, 42, they were baptized at their first adding to the church, or admission into the Apostles fellowship, wherein they afterward continued. And from its answering unto circumcision, which was a seal of initiation or admission to the church : Hence it belongs to all and only
those that are entered into, that are within, or that are members of the visible church.
3. They that according to scripture are members of the visible church, they are in covenant ; for it is the covenant that constitutes the church, Deut. xxix. 12, 13. They must enter into covenant, that they might be established the people or church of God. Now the iniatory seal is affixed to the covenant, and appointed to run parallel therewith, Gen. xvii. 7, 9, 10, 11, so circumcision was : and hence called the cove. nant, Gen. xvii. 13, Acts vii. 8, and so baptism is, being in like manner annexed to the promise or covenant, Act. ii. 38, 39, and being the seal that answereth to circumcision, Col. ir. 11,12.
4. Christ doth sanctify and cleanse the church by the washing of water, i.e. by baptism, Ephes. v. 25, 26. Therefore the whole church, and so all the members thereof (who are also said in scripture to be sanctified in Christ Jesus, 1 Cor. i. 2) are the subjects of baptism. And although it is the invisible church, unto the spiritual and eternal good whereof, this and all other ordinances lastly have respect, and which the place mentioned in Ephes. v. may, in a special manner look unto, yet it is the visible church that is the next and immediate subject of the administration thereof. For the subject of visible external ordinances to be administered by men, must needs be visible. And so the Apostles baptized sundry persons, who were of the visible, but not of the invisible church, as Simon Magus, Ananias and Saphira, and others..
And these are visibly purchased and sanctified by the blood of Christ, the blood of the covenant, Acts xx. 28. Heb. x. 29. Therefore the visible seal of the covenant and of cleansing by Christ’s blood, belongs to them.
5. The circumcision is often put for the whole Jewish church, or for the members of the visible church under the Old Testament.
Those within are expressed by the circumcised and those without by the uncircumcis. ed Rom. xv. 8. and iii. 30. Ephes. ii. 11. Judg. xiv. 3, and xv. 18. 1 Sam. xiv. 6. and xvii. 26, 36. Jer. ix. 25, 26. Hence by proportion baptism (wliich is our Gospel circumcision, Col. ii. 11, 12.) belongs to the whole visible church under the New Testament. Actual and personal circumcision was indeed proper to the males of old, females being but inclusively and virtually circumcised, and so counted of the cir. cumcision : but the Lord hath taken away that difference now, and appointed baptism to be personally applied to both sexes, Acts viii. 12. and xvi. 15. Gal. iii. 28.
So that every particular member of the visible church is now a subject of baptism. We conclude therefore that baptism pertains to the whole visible church, and to all and every one therein, and
to no other.
PROPOSITION SECOND. The members of the visible church according to scripture, are confederate visible believe ers, in particular churches, and their infant seed,