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ness of sins, and to be indued with the manifold grace of God, for to lead a new and innocent life. Baptism therefore doth call to mind, and keep in remembrance the great benefit of God performed to mankind, for we are all born in the pollution of sin and are the sons of wrath. But God who is rich in mercy, doth freely purge us from our sins by the blood of his Son, and in him doth adopt us to be his sons, and by an holy covenant doth join us to himself, and doth inrich us with divers gifts, that we might live a new life. All these things are sealed up unto us in baptism.
"We condemn the Anabaptists who deny that young infants born of faithful parents, are to be baptized. For according to the doctrine of the gospel "this is the kingdom of God." And they are written in the covenant of God. And why then should not the sign of the covenant be given to them? Why should they not be consecrated by holy baptism, who are God's pecu. liar people, and in the Church of God?"
The former Confession of Helvetia.
Baptism, according to the institution of the Lord, is the font of Regeneration, the which the Lord doth give to his chosen in a visible sign, by the ministry of the Church in such sort, as we have declared before. In which holy font we do therefore dip our infants, because that it is not lawful for us to reject them from the com
pany of the people of God, which are born of us, (who are the people of God) so long as they be not pointed out by the voice of God, especially seeing that we ought godly to presume of their election."
The Confession of Bohemia.
"For we believe that whatsoever by baptism, as by a Sacrament added to the word of the gospel, is in the outward ceremony signified and witnessed, all that doth the Lord God work and perform inwardly that is that he washeth away sin, begetteth a man again, and bestoweth salvation upon him, and through the washing of water cleanseth by the word the society of his Church, cloatheth and appareleth it with his Son, burieth and taketh away sin, and giveth testimony to, and sealeth the peace of a good conscience, &c.
"And although Baptism in the primitive Church was for the most part ministered to such, as were well grown and of discretion, after a confession of faith made by them, according to Christ's commandment; yet this is taught, that young children also, who are reckoned in the number of God's people, in like sort are by this ministry to be benefitted toward the attaining of salvation, that they likewise may be consecrated and dedicated to Christ, according to this commandment, when he saith, "Suffer ye the little ones to come to me, and forbid them
not: because unto such belongeth the kingdom of God." Therefore according to the word of the Lord, and many other testimonies and other promises made to this beloved age of children, especially when as also there is extant an example of that ancient ministry ordained of God, to wit, circumcision, which by the covenant belonged not only to those of discretion, but therewithal also to young children. For these causes do our ministers without any doubt and boldly baptize children in the name of the Holy Trinity, applying unto them a sign of most effectual virtue, and a most sure witness-bearing of that thing which by Christ's own words is assigned to this age, and is imparted unto it. For so Christ in general, and without exception giveth in charge, not touching some, but touching all, "Teach ye all nations, and baptize them, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." And so over children this most holy name is called upon, in which alone there is salvation."
The French Confession.
"Furthermore, although Baptism be a Sacrament of faith and repentance, yet seeing that God doth together with the parents account their posterity also to be of the Church, we affirm, that infants, being born of holy Parents, are by the authority of Christ to be baptized.
"We say therefore that the element of water,
be it never so frail, doth notwithstanding truly witness or confirm unto us the inward washing of our souls in the blood of Jesus Christ, by the virtue and efficacy of the Holy Ghost."
The Confession of Belgia.
"Neither doth this baptism profit us only at that moment when the water resteth upon us, and when we are sprinkled with it, but it is available throughout the whole time of our life. Therefore here we do detest the errour of the Anabaptists, who are not only content with one only baptism, and that once received, but do also condemn the baptism of infants, yea of those that be born of faithful Parents: but we by the same reason do believe that they ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant, for the which in time past the infants amongst the Israelites were circumcised, that is, by reason of the same promises made unto our infants, that were made unto others. And verily Christ hath no less shed his blood to wash the infants of the faithful, than he did for the washing of those that are of riper years. Therefore it is meet that they should receive the sign or sacrament of the thing which Christ hath wrought for their sakes, as in the law the Lord commandeth, that the sacrament of the death and passion of Christ should be communicated to children new born, by offering up the lamb for them which was a sacrament of Christ to
come. (Levit. xii. 6.) Furthermore that which circumcision did perform to the people of the Jews, the same did baptism perform to the children of the faithful. For the which cause Paul calleth Baptism, "the circumcision of Christ."
The Confession of Augsburgh.
"Concerning baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, as a ceremony ordained of Christ. Also that by baptism the grace of God is offered. And that young infants are to be baptized, and that they being by baptism commended unto God, are received into God's fayour, and are made the sons of God as Christ witnesseth, speaking of little children in the Church, (Matt. xviii.) "It is not the will of your heavenly Father, that any of these little ones should perish." They condemn the Anabaptists, which allow not the baptism of infants, and hold that infants are saved, though they die without baptism, and be not within the Church of God."
The Confession of Saxony.
"We do also baptise infants, because it is most certain that the promise of grace doth pertain also of (to) infants, and to those only which are ingrafted into the Church, because that of these it is said, "Suffer little ones to come unto me, because that to such appertaineth the kingdom of heaven." And Origen