committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

THE

Doctrine of Baptism,

 

And the Distinction of the

COVENANTS

OR A

Plain Treatise, wherein the four Essentials of

B a p t i s m,

1. Who is a lawful minister thereof;
2. What is the true form thereof;
Viz. 3. Into whose name it is to be administered;
4. Who is a fit subject thereof,

Are diligently handled.

As also the business of the two Covenants,
wherein is proved that the Covenant of Life, is not
made to the seed of Believers, as coming out of
their loins, and therefore that the baptism of
Infants is drawn from thence by a false
Consequence.

 

By THOMAS PATIENT,
a laborer in the Church of Christ at DUBLIN.

 

Acts 22:16, And now why tarriest thou, Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Eph. 2:12, Being aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the Covenants of promise.

John 3:5,6, Jesus answered, verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God; For that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.

 

London,

Printed by Henry Hills, and are to be sold at his house at Sir John Oldcastles in Py-corner

 

1654

 

The Epistle to the Christian Reader,

 

To whom the Author wishes all grace and peace from God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.

There being but a small moment of time from the Lord allotted to men in this life, to run that Christian race set before them. Considering that Christ says that while it is day we ought to work, for the night cometh when no man can work, and further considering, that Christ Jesus is gone to fetch a Kingdom and to return, having left His servants several talents to be accounted for at His coming when every man's reward or punishment shall be according to his works, ought to provoke and stir up every Christian to a conscientious and careful improvement of his strength for God's glory and the service of his generation in this pilgrimage.

These, among many other motives, prevailed with me to present this Treatise to your view, being also pressed thereunto by many of God's people formerly in England, and of late in Ireland, who have heard me deliver the substance of what is herein contained, both in England and in Ireland.

Beloved Reader, I know the World is filled with many books stuffed with very much of man's wisdom, which, though the Apostle says is "enmity against God;" yet we find such discourses most pleasing to the carnal hearts of men in our age. Therefore, if that be the thing that thy itching ears do thirst after, thou may spare thyself that labor. Thou wilt find that with as much simplicity and plainness as possibly I could, I have herein given out by clear Scripture-evidence what the Lord has made known to me, for the clearing of this weighty point which God, by His mighty power, has subjected my heart to believe, the which formerly, by reason of my ignorance and error, I was much averse unto.

 

My Experience of Grace

After it pleased God to reveal his Son in me, and to work a change in my heart, the great and weighty thing that God presented to me was, to make my calling and election sure. I found this to be a work filled with many difficulties considering how far Hypocrites might attain in the profession of godliness, and that they might come to have the counterfeit of all the Grace in the Child of God. This the rather appeared more difficult, because I found my own heart so desperately wicked and full of deceit, as Jer. 17:9. I also found the wiles, and subtleties of the Devil, to be various.

 

God's Desertions

I was constantly under several temptations, and deep desertions when God (though for a little season) withdrew Himself, and the light of His countenance from me. At which time, I judged it my only thing necessary to prove whether CHRIST were in me, and my faith right, as also my sincerity to the Lord. At which time I found but little settled rest or peace till the Lord had put that great question out of doubt, in giving me a sure and well-grounded confidence of my interest in Him. Till which time, I found little disposition to search narrowly into other truths, which I then thought to be too remote for me to exercise myself in, having received so much spiritual benefit, in communing with God and mine own heart, and searching out the difference betwixt the speaking of God's Spirit, my own spirit, and the spirit of Satan.

 

My Measure of Assurance Followed by Severe Temptations

But when I came to some good measure of settlement in my confident and well-grounded hopes, that I was the Lord's, then presently I was tempted touching the main and material fundamental points in Religion. These temptations, as they were a great cause of trouble and restlessness in my soul, occasioned me with great eagerness, night and day, in the use of the best means God presented to me, to seek satisfaction in the same, at which time the Lord did carry on my soul with much vehemence after him, so with much unweariness.

For usually as one case and weighty question was answered to my satisfaction and comfort, another was stated in my soul too hard for me, in which experiences for many years I was exercised with all, in which time I was ignorant of the true way, which Christ would have His people to walk in.

 

The Unlawfulness of the Prelates and the Liturgy of the Church of England
and its Mixed Communion in the Parish Assemblies

But presently being convinced of the unwarrantableness of the Government of the Lordly Prelates, and the Liturgy in the Church of England, and the mixed Communions in the Parish Assemblies, I was resolved, God willing, to examine all Religion, as well in worship, and the order of God's house, as I had done in other points. But, at this time, by the divine power of God, I converted from the Church of England, though with a great deal of difficulty, being well furnished with arguments from Pulpit and Print, and diverse able Disputants for the defense of that false way; but God breaking in by the power of His Spirit with clear Scripture-light, subjected my heart to the obedience of the truth, so that I found my heart closing with those truths in the love thereof.

 

Flight to New England and its Faith and Order While Still Holding To
The Sprinkling of Carnal Seed

At this time many godly Christians were going to New England. Being come up in my judgment to the way of New England in Faith and Order, I went over thither, being not convinced of my error and great darkness in sprinkling the carnal seed of Believers. But verily, I thought I had good warrant for that practice, having then in substance the same grounds for the defense thereof, that generally, to this day, is urged for the same.

 

Exercised about the Point of Baptism

Yet having in my heart, so clear a light, discovering how shamefully in many things I had been deluded, and that by those which I could not but have charity to think were the Lord's own Servants, and finding the danger of receiving truths by Tradition, was resolved to examine that point of Baptism. So I constantly resorted to the meetings of the people in New England, desiring to have good satisfaction in them, and their doctrine and practice, before I joined in Communion. In order thereunto, I constantly attended the preaching of the word, where hearing many, often preaching for baptizing of children of believing parents, I began to examine the grounds thereof, and the weight of their arguments and genuine scope and drift of the Scriptures alleged by them to prove that point. I found that the Scriptures were being generally wrested and abused, contrary to their native tendency and proper drift and scope. I also found, as I conceived, the foundation Argument they urged was so exceeding contrary to several foundations of Religion which both they and I did believe.

 

God Speaks to the Lowly and Simple

These things being hinted into my soul, I was resolved to examine the same, as I had formerly several other points of Religion, with great profit and advantage. But upon this Resolution temptations came in upon my heart urging that I was but weak, and in case it were not a truth, did I think so many men eminent for Religion, Piety, Gifts and Parts should not discover it sooner than I? Therefore, it was to no purpose for me to trouble myself. Unto which I had this answer in my soul, that I had been too long misled already on that ground, submitting to the Liturgy, and that Corrupt Hierarchy.

 

The Simple Shepherds

Again, I considered that when the Angels came with that Message of glad tidings to all people, in Luke the second chapter, declaring the birth and nativity of Christ, the Lord then made the choice of the poor simple Shepherds watching their flocks by night.

In the first place, this eminent truth was delivered and revealed to them when all the learned and eminent men in Israel had no knowledge thereof.

 

The Thief on the Cross

Finding the poor Thief on the Cross to have a sounder judgment than the General Synod, or Council of Learned Men at Jerusalem, and also the Speech of Christ to this purpose in Matthew 11:25 where Christ thanks His Father for hiding "these things from the wise and prudent, and revealing them to Babes and Sucklings, out of his good pleasure, the Spirit being like the wind, which bloweth when and where it listeth."

 

The Stones

Also finding some of Christ's Disciples bearing testimony of Christ in Luke 19:38-40, the Pharisees desired Christ to rebuke them, but Christ answered and said, "I tell you if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." Here I observed Christ to descend and not to ascend. He does not say, if His simple and weak disciples should neglect their testimony, the learned Pharisees would cry out, but if His disciples neglect, the stones should cry out, which manifests that God loves to choose the most simple and foolish things by which to reveal His will.

 

Those Who Fear Him

Then again I found God not so much engaged by promise to reveal Himself to men, considered of such outward and excellent parts, but in Psalm 25:14. "The Secrets of the Lord are with them that fear him, and he will shew them his Covenant." And Christ said in John 15:15, "You are my Friends, if you do whatsoever I command you; henceforth I call you not Servants, for the Servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth; but I have called you Friends, for all things that I have heard of the Father I have made known to you." And David saith, "Thou hast made me wiser that my teachers, because I have kept thy Commandments." Here the Lord promises teaching principally to such as fear Him and conscientiously keep His Commandments, guiding them in Judgment, and in the way that He should choose.

 

Babes and Sucklings

Notwithstanding, I found further Objections in my heart, that though it was not men of parts, and outward Learning, but babes and sucklings, having their hearts bowed to obedience, and to the holy fear of God, that God would teach, yet I was sensible of so much evil in my heart that I questioned whether I might not be misled. Upon which I was put upon humble and fervent prayers to the Lord to guide and teach me, and to reveal His mind to me. Having again resolutions to seek the mind of God in this truth, and great encouragements to believe that God would satisfy me, and the rather from my former experience of His goodness having satisfied me in many weighty points that I was every way as much unsettled in, I found some comfort.

 

The Coming Temptations and Sufferings for the Truth

Upon which this Temptation came in afresh upon me, what need I trouble myself in a point so disputable? If by my search and trial in that matter I should come to see grounds swaying me in conscience against children's baptism, then I should be generally despised and slighted of all the godly in that country. Not only would I be frustrated of Communion and Fellowship with them, but I must also expect to suffer imprisonment, confiscation of goods, and banishment at least, which would be my ruin, not knowing where to go, but in the woods amongst Indians, and wild beasts?

 

The Temptation of My Evil and Treacherous Heart

Under this Temptation I had a sore conflict. My evil and treacherous heart resisting the blessed motions of the Spirit of God, but considering that the ground of these discouraging arguments did arise from the flesh and the Devil, as Peter when he said "Pity thyself Master, this thing shall not be to thee," My Resolution was as Christ said, "Get thee behind me, Satan, thou savourest not the things of God."

 

By the Truth and Sell It Not

These put me in no small agony or conflict. But it pleased the Lord to set that Scripture home upon my heart, "Buy the truth, and sell it not;" buy the truth at any rate, but sell it at no rate. If truth cost me my life, I must buy it, though I might have all the favor and friendship in the world I must not sell it. This wrought in me a grounded and settled resolution. I would seek after the mind of God, as well in suffering truths, as other, because Christ said, "He that keeps the word of my patience, I will keep him in the hour of Temptation;" apprehending that to be the words of Christ's patience. My embracing and practicing whereof would bring the cross (that is, contempt and hatred from all sorts of men) I found Christ said "for this cause He was born, and came into the World, to bear witness to the truth." these things satisfied me, and that from the Lord, that I ought to make diligent search what His mind was in this point.

 

No Knowledge About the Baptized Believers

Hereupon I found the special presence of God with me, carrying out my heart to the Lord by Faith and earnest Prayer to be instructed and guided. All which time I was not acquainted with any who opposed Christening children, and conversed only with such as were for that practice. Finding my carnal part to desire satisfaction in Infant-baptism, the more I conferred with or heard any preach for it, the more I was convinced of the folly and ignorance of that judgment and practice. I heard one man preach fifteen Sermons upon this subject, urging in substance which many considerable Authors had written.

 

Study of the Scholars

With much attention I also searched many authors night and day who wrote thereof, weighing and examining the grounds they urged. Many times breaking my sleep by watching in the night season, at the last it pleased the Lord to reveal His mind to me, so that I was enlightened in my understanding to see answers to whatsoever I had heard. The Lord breaking in with not only a clear light in me, as to the matter in question, but three days, one after another, coming into my soul with sealing manifestations of His Love and with such Scriptures so pertinent and suitable to my condition.

 

Warrant from the General Court of New England

There being a Warrant at this time issued out to apprehend and bring me before the General Court of New England which was no trouble to me, being filled with unspeakable joy, as I walked up and down in the woods in that wilderness, about my business. This discovery from God did much settle me in that truth which in substance you will find in this Treatise. Upon this God wrought in me a true Repentance, and sorrow of heart, that I had so long both in opinion and practice, gone in so sinful a way as I found that to be.

 

Explaining my Long Experience in this Treatise

I have not, in this Treatise, gone about to undertake a confutation of any one man, but upon my long experience in this Subject matter, have taken up the main Argument which is the foundation that all the rest are grounded upon, and have bent my understanding in answer to that, which being overthrown, all other Arguments fall with it.

Christian Reader, I judge the clear evidence of Scripture light, which I do here give out to confirm the Dipping of Believers, will be sufficient to reprove all that darkness generally asserted in many large Discourses about this point of christening of children.

 

The Devil's Evils Joined to Baptism

But further, that which I have had much in observation has been a great deal of malice and contempt discovered from the devil against this truth.

 

Baptismal Regeneration

 

First, in that the Devil did by his subtleties and fair pretenses in the first apostasy, sow this error in the minds of people, that this Ordinance was of use to regenerate and convey grace, and then who should be thought unfit to receive it. It had been a great unmercifulness to let children or any be without the same.

 

Midwife's Baptizing

 

Second, Midwives baptized. Thus that subtle enemy, the Devil, destroys God's Ordinances and sets up another of his own in the room thereof. It still remains upon the Papists and generally all our carnal Protestants, both Priests and people, concluding the dangerous estate of that child that dies unbaptized. Therefore, Midwives on this ground, were tolerated to baptize if a child were likely to die, putting such a value thereon, as if it had conveyed grace.

 

New England Covenant

But many good men have renounced this, though the devil has shown his malice in blinding them still to practice the same evil, though upon another ground lately found out, and that is the subject this book opposes.

 

Seekers

Others see the darkness and error of Christening carnal children upon any ground. But the Devil shows his rage against that Ordinance in them. Rather than embracing it as from the Lord, they contradict and oppose the same saying, "There is no Ordinance or Church to be found in the world."

 

Quakers

His malice also appears in such as boast of their being above Ordinances saying, "That Christ and Ordinances are at end, that dispensation being for that time or age, but now they have Christ in Spirit, the substance being come, the shadows vanish."

 

The Devil's Many Counterfeits

The Devil strangely appears like himself; as if he had forgot his language in the Papist and carnal Protestant, that this Ordinance regenerated in the very work done, and that the salvation or damnation depended upon it. Now in others, he says "what is washing or dipping in a little water, but a low or legal thing?" So that if the Devil's delusions and inventions are not closed withal, then Christ's Ordinances are vilified and condemned.

 

False Accusations Against the Saints

Further, Satan manifests his malice in throwing contempt upon the obedient and upright practicers of the same so as to raise prejudices from a story of what strange Creatures were of that opinion at Munster in Germany. He also stirs up others to pry into the dark side of the Saints, I mean their personal frailties, As the Egyptians in the Red Sea, to their own destructions; the Cloud was darkness to them, but gave light to the Israelites, Exo. 14:20. The Egyptian's eyes were only on the black or dark side of the Cloud, therefore they stumbled and fell. The Israelites had the light part thereof for their safety, which is compared to the conversation of the Saints, Heb. 12:1, where there is a light part, their graces and virtues, but their dark part is their failings. Such malice or prejudice will not suffer many men to see beyond. For a man "who hates his brother walks in darkness," as John said. The tempter accused Job, that he did not serve God for naught, he was hedged about, God had preferred him to honor and riches and place of authority in the world, as appears in Job 29. This malice he nowadays manifests against the prosperity of his Saints, desiring to stain their holy obedience with improbrious language of self seeking and preferment. The professors of this truth have been the persons ordinarily stoned and suffering the violence of the multitudes where they have not been protected by godly Magistrates.

 

Weakness of the Writer

 

Christian Friend, do not read this book with a heart prejudiced against the same for the sake of the Instrument, or plainness of the style. It was not intended to please men, but in faithfulness, to discharge a duty to God from Whom I received what I have laid before thee. Also it was to answer the call of many Christians who have been for some years past neglected because of my indisposedness to this work. However, if thou shalt reap any satisfaction or edification in the truth by this my weak endeavor, let God the Author of every good and perfect gift have the praise which is only due to Him, and not to His

Unworthy Servant,

Thomas Patient.

CHAPTER 1 | CHAPTER 2 | CHAPTER 3 | CHAPTER 4 | CHAPTER 5 | CHAPTER 6
CHAPTER 7 | CHAPTER 8 | CHAPTER 9 | CHAPTER 10 | CHAPTER 11 | CHAPTER 12
CHAPTER 13 | CHAPTER 14 | CHAPTER 15 | CHAPTER 16 | CHAPTER 17 | CHAPTER 18
CHAPTER 19 | CHAPTER 20 | CHAPTER 21 | CHAPTER 22 | CHAPTER 23 | CHAPTER 24

 
 
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