Q. 69 What is Baptism?
A. Immersion or dipping of the Person in Water in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by such who are duly qualified by Christ.
Mat. 3.16. John 3.23. Acts 8.38, 39. Rom. 6.4.
Q. 70 Who are the proper Subjects of this Ordinance?
A. Those who do actually profess Repentance towards God, Faith in, and Obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 2.38. Acts 8.36, 37.
Q. 71 Should infants, too, be baptized?
A. No, for we have neither Precept nor Example for that Practice in all the Book of God.
Q. 72 Does the Scriptures forbid the Baptism of Infants?
A. It is sufficient that the Divine Oracles commands the baptizing of Believers, unless we will make ourselves wiser than what is written. Nadab and Abihu were not forbidden to offer strange Fire, yet for doing so they incurred God’s Wrath, because they were commanded to take Fire from the Altar.
Mat. 28.18, 19. Mark 16.16. Lev 9.24. 10.16.
Q. 73 May not the infant children of believers under the Gospel be baptized since the infant descendants of Abraham were circumcised under the Law?
A. No. Abraham had a command from God to circumcise his infant descendants, but believers have no command to baptize their infant children under the Gospel.
Gen. 17.9, 10, 11, 12.
Q. 74 If the infant children of believers are in the Covenant of Grace with their parents, as some say, why may they not be baptized under the Gospel, as well as Abraham’s infant descendants were circumcised under the Law?
A. By the infant children of Believers being in the Covenant of Grace, it must either be meant of the Covenant of Grace absolutely considered, and if so, then there can be no total and final falling away of any infant children of believers from the Covenant, but all must be saved.
Jer. 32.38, 39, 40. Joh. 10.28.
2. Or, they must mean conditionally, on consideration that when they come to an age of maturity, they by true faith, love, and holiness of life, taking hold of God’s Covenant of Grace, shall have the privileges of it. This being their sense, I then ask what real spiritual privilege the infant children of believers have more than the infant children of unbelievers, if they live also to years of maturity, and by true faith and love take hold God’s Covenant? I further demand, whether the Seal of the Covenant does not belong as much to the children of unbelievers as to the children of believers? and more too, since some infant children of unbelievers take hold of God’s Covenant, and some infant children of believers do not; as this often occurs to the sorrow of many godly parents.
Isa. 56.3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Acts 10.34, 35. John 3.16.
3. Suppose all the infant children of believers are absolutely in the Covenant of Grace; believers under the Gospel should not baptize their infant children any more than Lot had warrant to circumcise himself or his infant children, although he was closely related to Abraham, a believer, and in the Covenant of Grace too: since circumcision was limited to Abraham and to his family. Also by the same rule we should bring infants to the Lord’s Table, since the same qualifications are required for the proper administration of Baptism as for the Lord’s Supper.
Acts 2.41, 42.
4. We must know the covenant made with Abraham had two parts: first, a spiritual, which consisted in God’s promising to be a God to Abraham, and all his spiritual descendants in a particular manner, whether they were circumcised or uncircumcised, who believed as Abraham the Father of the Faithful did. This was signified by God’s accepting them as his people who were not descended from Abraham, but through Jesus Christ, the Gentiles, the uncircumcised who believed, should have their faith counted for Righteousness, as Abraham’s was before he was circumcised.
Gen. 17.19, 21. Gen. 21.10. Gal. 4.30.
Acts 2.39. Rom. 9.7, 8, &c.
Gal. 3.16, 28, 29.
5. This promise consisted of temporal good: so God promised Abraham’s Seed should enjoy the land of Canaan, and have plenty of outward blessings, and sealed this promise by circumcision. It was also a distinguishing character of the Jews being God’s people from all the Nations of the Gentiles, who were not yet the spiritual descendants of Abraham: but when the Gentiles came to believe, and by faith became the people of God as well as the Jews, then Circumcision, that distinguishing mark, ceased. The character of being the children of God now is faith in Christ and circumcision of the Heart. Whatever reason may be given for the Infants of Believers to be Baptized first, as their being the children of believers; or secondly, their being in the Covenant; or thirdly, that the infant descendants of Abraham a believer, were circumcised; all this you see avails nothing: for circumcision was limited to the family of Abraham and all others, though believers, were excluded. It was also limited to a particular day, the eighth day, and what ever reason might be given, it was not to be done before or after. It was limited to male and did not include female; if Baptism came in the place of circumcision, and is the seal of the Covenant under the Gospel as circumcision was under the Law, none but the males must be baptized, because none but the Males were Circumcised. But as the Law regulated circumcision, now the Gospel regulates Baptism, and it depends purely upon the will of the Law-giver, at what periods of time, upon what Persons and terms Baptism is to be administered. We will do well, then, to heed what is declared in Scripture, especially Acts 3.22.
Gen. 15.18. Gen. 17.8, 9, 10, 11. Gen. 12.6, 7. Gen. 13.15, 16, 17. Gen. 15.16.
John 1.12. Rom. 2.28, 29. Phil. 3.3. Gal. 3.26, 27, 28.