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ing our flesh, and obeying the righteousness of God, and must by godly life declare to all men that we have in baptism, as it were, put on Christ, and have his Spirit given us.
Master. Sith infants cannot by age perform those things that thou speakest of, why are they baptized?
Scholar. That faith and repentance go before baptism, is required only in persons so grown in years, that by age they are capable of both. But to infants, the promise made to the church by Christ, in whose faith they are baptized, shall for the present time be sufficient; and then afterward, when they are grown to years, they must need themselves acknowledge the truth of their baptism, and have the force thereof be lively in their souls, and to be represented in their life and behaviour." 1
After adopting the first part of that beautiful extract from King Edward's Catechism, given at p. 131. The SCHOLAR proceeds nearly in the same terms; They that be steadfast, stable, and constant in this faith, were chosen and appointed, and (as we term it) predestinated to this so great felicity, before the foundations of the world were laid, whereof they have a witness within them in their souls, the Spirit of Christ the author, and therewith also the most sure pledge of this confidence." To which the Scholar adds this application of the doctrine to
Fathers, &c. vol. viii. pp. 126, 127.
himself. "By the instinct of which divine Spirit, I do also most surely persuade myself that I am also, by God's good gift through Christ, freely made one of this blessed city."
Master. It is sure a godly and very necessary persuasion." 1
The two following extracts are taken from certain "Prefaces, Prayers, and other Godly Tracts, printed in various editions of the Geneva Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Psalter, during the reign of QUEEN ELIZABETH."
"Question.-How doth the word of God serve to draw men unto him!
Answer.-When it is so preached and heard, that men may understand and learn what God teacheth, accept and receive thankfully that which is thereby given, promised, and assured ; and be moved with desire and diligence to do that which it commandeth.
Question.-Do the sacraments also serve to this end?
Answer.-Yea, verily; that by sight, taste, and feeling, as well as by hearing, we might be instructed, assured, and brought to obedience. Question.-How doth our baptism serve here
Answer. It teacheth us to put on Christ, that with his righteousness our sinfulness may be
Fathers, &c. pp. 79, 80.
hidden; it assureth us that we are so graft into Christ, that all our sins by him are washed away: it chargeth us to die to sin, to continue in the profession of Christ, and to love each other.
Question.-Hath the Lord's supper also this
Answer.-Yea, doubtless; for it teacheth that the body and blood of Christ crucified is the only food of the new-born children of God; it assureth that Christ is wholly theirs, to give and to continue life spiritual and heavenly to both body and soul, to nourish, strengthen, refresh, and to make cheerful the hearts of the elect, it requireth thankful remembrance of the death of Christ, unity among those that do profess him, with a free profession of his truth.
Question.-Why is not this use of the Sacraments commonly known?
Answer. Because they are abused for form, for fashion, for custom, and company, without regard unto the word, whereunto they are so annexed, that they ought not upon any necessity by any person be severed from it, which teacheth the right use of every thing." 1
PETER MARTYR, Professor of Divinity at Oxford. "Note here that the Fathers made a league
Fathers, &c. vol. viii. p. 203, 204.
with God, not only for themselves but also for their posterity, as God again for his part promised them, that he would be the God not only of them, but also of their seed and posterity; wherefore it was lawful for them to circumcise their children, being yet infants. And in like manner, it is lawful for us to baptise our little ones, being yet infants, forasmuch also as they are comprehended in the league. For they which have now the thing itself, there is nothing that can let, but that they may receive the sign: it is manifestly written in xxix. chap. of Deut. that the league was made not only with them which was present, but also with them which was absent and not yet born."-On Judges. fol. 75. 1
The attentive Reader cannot but be struck with the general consistency of the doctrine of Baptism as represented in the foregoing extracts, with that expressed in our Baptismal service and its kindred formularies. The Child is a child of God in virtue of the promise to his faithful Parents; as such he receives the sign of the covenant in Baptism; and he is urged to a holy life in consistency with his profession; not in his own strength, but as "a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven."
See "Marbeck's Common Places," under the head "Baptism."
These sentiments of our Forefathers of the Reformation respecting Baptism, will receive ample confirmation from the concurrent sentiments of the Reformed Churches throughout Christendom in their day. I extract the following testimonies from "An Harmony of the Confessions of the faith of the Christian and Reformed Churches which purelie professe the holie doctrine of the Gospell in all the chiefe Kingdomes, Nations, and Provinces of Europe, -allowed by publique authoritie," and "imprinted by Thomas Thomas, printer to the Universitie of Cambridge, 1586.' And should these testimonies not be deemed sufficient, I must refer to the Corpus Confessionum" for any further evidence that may be required.
The latter Confession of Helvetia.
"There is but one baptism in the church of God for it is sufficient to be once baptized or consecrated unto God. For baptism once received doth continue all a man's life, and is a perpetual sealing of our adoption unto us. For to be baptized in the name of Christ, is to be enrolled, entered, and received into the covenant, and family, and so into the inheritance of the sons of God, yea and in this life to be called after the name of God, that is to say, to be called the son of God, to be purged also from the filthi
1 Fathers, &c. p. 395 and the following.