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to make her holy and virtuous, as Christ purged his church, spotted and polluted with sin, and made it holy and faultless in his sight.
Here is shewed, how Christ hath purged his church truly in the fountain of water, by his word. Although God of his mere mercy and goodness, without all man's deserts, or merits, only for Christ's sake, hath washed and purged man from sin: yet he useth a mean, by the which, he cleanseth men from sin, which is by baptism in water, by the word of God; and so in baptism are our sins taken away, and we from sins purged, cleansed, and regenerated in a new man, to live an holy life, according to the Spirit and will of God. It is not the water ihat washes us from our sins, but Christ by his word and his Spirit, given to us in baptism, that washeth away our sins, that we have of Adam by carnal nature.
In that the Apostle saith, that Christ “hath cleansed his church in the fountain of water by the word;" he sheweth plainly, that baptism is a mean, whereby Christ taketh away original sin, and maketh all them that be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, according to Christ's institution (Mat. xxviii.), to be cleansed from all the sin of Adam. And if they be of age, they be baptized through faith in the promise of God by his word, taking upon them baptism ; as many, in the Apostles time, at the preaching of the Apostles, were converted from their sins, believed in Christ, and were christened; and so delivered from their sirs, and were saved.
This place of St. Paul maketh against the Anabaptists, that would not have children to be christened, which is a devilish and a damnable heresy, worthy of great punishment. If we be Christian men, our office is to bring every man, as much asin us is, to Christ, and that sinners may be cleansed from their sin, and be saved. Children be born in sin, and shall be dainned, if they be not cleansed from their sin.' Although God du purge us from sin only, yet he useth means, whereby he taketh and washeth away our sins. That means, saith St. Paul here, is by the fountain of water in the word of God, by the which means, Christ purgeth his church and his congregation. Children are of the church, or congregation of God; wherefore children must needs be christened, or else they are not purged of their sins, nor shall be saved without baptism, which is the mean to purge and wash them from their sins. And therefore, baptism is counted of St. Paul, to be (Tit. iii.) the fountain of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which God hath poured upon us abundantly, by Jesus Christ our Saviour. This saying of St. Paul proveth, that children of necessity must be christened, or else they cannot be purged of their sins, nor yet saved by Christ, and come to life everlasting. Wherefore the Anabaptists, that would not have children to be christened, they shew themselves, that they would not have children to be purged from their sin, and be saved. If they would have children saved, they would not deny to them the means, whereby Christ purgeth his church from sins, and saveth it, which is by baptism, as here appeareth.
Secondly, it may be proved, by many places of the holy Scripture, that children must nceds be christened, or else they cannot be saved, except God of his absolute power do save them. Besides these places of Paul already brought, which have evidently proved, that children must needs be christened, it is also proved by St. John, saying: “ Except a man be born again of the Holy Ghost and of water, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.” To be born again of the Holy Ghost and of water, it is to be christened, as Paul sheweth to Titus (Tit. iii.), where baptism is called the fountain of regeneration, and of renewing of the Holy Ghost. Children, therefore, must be christened, if they shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, and be partakers of life celestial.
The third reason, to prove this same thing is, that as there were none saved in the time of Noah's flood, that were out of the ship of Noah, but only those that were within the ship; so in our time, none are saved without baptism. This similitude useth St. Peter (1 Pet. iii.). Therefore, children, if they shall be saved, must be baptized.
The fourth reason is, that, what was the sea and the cloud to the Israelites, when Moses was their captain, and they passed through the Red Sea, the same thing to us now, is baptism, as saith Paul (1 Cor. x.). This was a figure of our baptism ; but as none of the Israelites were saved, that did not go through the Red Sea, and entered the cloud with Moses, so shall none be saved now, that have not been christened. It pertaineth therefore, to the salvation of children, that they shall he christened.
The fifth reason is, “ He that hath not the spirit of God, he is not of God, nor of Christ” (Rom. vii.). Children have the spirit of Christ, if they be of Christ, and shall be saved ; the spirit of Christ and Christ himself they receive by baptism, witnessing St. Paul, Gal. iji. ; where he saith, “ Whosoever are christened, they have put on Christ.” First, he saith, " ye that are christened ;" and then, " ye have put on Christ:" so, that christening goeth before the putting on of Christ : children, therefore, before they receive Christ, they must be christened.
The sixth reason is ; " they, that will not be obedient to the ordinance of God, shall be damned” (Rom. xii.). Christ hath ordinated, that all people and reasonable creatures shall be christened (Matt. xxviii. Mark, xvi.). Children are people and reasonable creatures. Wherefore, it followeth, that chil. dren must be christened, or else they shall be damned in hell for evermore. But that children shall not be damned, it appeareth Mat. xix. where Christ reproveth his disciples, that would not suffer children to come to him : where he saith to his disciples, Let not these children from coming to me; he took these children in his arms, and laid his hand upon their heads, and blessed them, and said, Of such is the kingdom of God. Here are tokens that God loved these children, that they pleased him, and that they had faith; for without faith no man can please God (Heb. xi.).
The seventh reason is; circumcision in the old law was a necessary ordinance, without the which no man masculine was saved (Gen. xvii.). Baptism for us in the new law is counted in the stead of circumcision; and as no man child was saved without circumcision, so none amongst us shall be saved without. baptism. Children, therefore, must of necessity be christened. That baptism to us in the law is in the stead of circumcision, it appeareth in many places of Scripture: as Phil. ju. where St. Paul saith, that " we are the circuincision, which worship God in the spirit.” This circuncision is that outward sign, whereby we shew ourselves to all the world, that we be servants of God, and that we will serve none other, but God and Christ Jesus, whose badge and name we have; and also we promised in baptism only to serve him.
The eighth reason is; no man can be partaker of Christ's resurrection, ascension, and glory, except he die with Christ, and be buried with him, and rise with Christ. We cannot die with Christ, except we be first christened in Christ, as saith St. Paul (Rom. vi.) : « Do you not know, that all we, that are christened in Christ Jesus, that in his death we are christened, buried with Christ by baptism into death, that we might arise with Christ, and be partakers of his glory?" Mark the order of St. Paul, and then see how it followeth consequently, that we must
be christened of necessity, if we will be partakers of his glory and kingdom.
The ninth reason is: the Apostles christened whole households; as Paul christened Lydia, a seller of purple, and her whole household (Acts, xviii.). He christened Crispus, an high ruler of the synagogue, with his whole household (Acts, xix.), and Stephen's household (1 Cor. i.). It is very likely that amongst these whole households he christened children, seeing children be of the households. The Apostles with all inward instructions and outward signs did bring men to Christ, as much as lay in them; and would that every man should know them that were the servants of God, and that servants should be made certain, that they were the servants of Christ by some outward token, which was by baptism. And therefore the Apostles baptized all them that would become the servants of Christ ; and believe in Christ, and take Christ for their Lord and Master, whose outward badge was baptism : as appeareth by St. Paul, Epli. iv, where he moveth men to unity by reason of baptism, saying: “ one God, one faith, one baptism, one Lord God and Father of all, that worketh all in all.”
The tenth reason is: The truth of God's words and the true use of them hath been always in his church and in the congregation of God. That children should be christened, hath ever been used in Christ's church since Christ's time, till these Anabaptists did come; wherefore these Anabaptists, denying baptism to children, greatly are to be blamed, seeing there be so many Scriptures that prove evidently that children must be christened, as I have here shewed by some Scriptures; and more places may be brought for that purpose, to prove the baptism of children.
Now, I will bring in the reasons of the Anabap