Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.—John 3.25.

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David Dickson’s

Truth’s Victory Over Error

Chapter XXVIII.

Of Baptism.

QUESTION I.

IS the Sacrament of Baptism with Water by Christ’s appointment, to be continued in his Church to the end of the World?

Yes.  Matth. 28.19,20.

Well then, Do not the Quakers err, who maintain, that Baptism with Water, is not an Ordinance of Divine institution, and that there is no Gospel precept for it?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

(1) Because, Christ taking his fare-well of his Disciples, gave them this Commission, Go ye therefore and teach all Nations, Baptising them in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Or according to the Original Word, make all Nations Disciples, by your Doctrine, Baptising them, in the Name of, &c.  All which words are spoken with one breath.  Whence it is clear, that the same very persons that were commanded to make all Nations Disciples by their Doctrine, were commanded to baptise them.  But it was not in their power to administer the Inward Baptism; that is, to baptise with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.  Men may well administer the Water, or external sign, but it is Christ that bestows the inward Grace, and thing signified; as is clear from Matth. 3.11, where John the Baptist, says, I indeed baptise you with Water unto Repentance, but he that cometh after me, shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.  If any man had received this power of Baptising with the Holy Ghost, then surely John should have received it, whom Jesus so highly commends, as, that there was not a greater than he born of women; Matth. 11.11.  And though our Saviour subjoins, he that is least in the kingdom of Heaven, is greater than he, yet this will not infer, that any among the Teachers of the Gospel, had the power of baptising with the Holy Ghost, which he had not; but only, that they did shew Christ more clearly, as having most perfectly accomplished whatsoever was requisite to our salvation; and did publish this, not only to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles.  And so Christ as the Master employed only the Disciples, as his servants to dispense and act ministerially in his service, reserving the blessing of their employments to himself.  Now, baptizing with the Holy Ghost, is the greatest blessing of the Gospel, and so cannot flow but from Christ himself.  (2) Because, the Disciples of Christ acted only ministerially under him in working of miracles: therefore they could not administer baptism with the Holy Ghost, seeing this is a greater power, than the other.  The curing of the soul is a far greater work, than to cure miraculously the body.  The work of conversion, and regeneration, is a work beyond the creating of heaven and earth.  There was only here, [in water baptism,] the introducing of a new form, but no contrary form, or quality to be expelled.  But in this, [baptism with the Holy Ghost,] the heart of stone must not only be taken away, but a heart of flesh must be given.  That they acted only Ministerially under Christ, it is evident from what Peter says, “ye men of Israel, why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power and godliness, we made this man to walk”; Acts 3.12.  And the same Peter says, “Æneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole”; Acts 9.34.  See Mark 16.17.  1 Cor. 12.10.  (3) Because, if this commission, empowered the Apostles to baptise only with the Holy Ghost, and not with water; then they in the exercise of this Commission, would only have baptized men and women with the Holy Ghost, and not with water, but the contrary is manifest, (Acts 2.38,) where Peter makes a distinction between being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost: namely the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, which are common to all believers, and necessary to salvation.  (4) Because, if baptism with the Holy Ghost be here meant, then all whom the Apostles did baptize, were baptised with the Holy Ghost, which is false: for Ananias and Saphira could not have been Hypocrites, if they had been baptized with the Holy Ghost.  And Simon was baptized and yet not with the Holy Ghost, as appears by Peter’s answer to him, verses 21, 22, of the either chapter.  (5) Because, if Christ’s commission carry not a warrant for baptizing with water, whence then had the Apostles a warrant for baptizing with Water?  Either they must produce and let us see another commission for it, or else they must acknowledge that the Apostles did warrantably baptise with Water.  But another commission the Quakers cannot shew us from Scripture.

Quest. II. “Is dipping of the person (to be baptised) into Water necessary?”

No.

Is Baptism rightly administered by pouring, or sprinkling water upon the person?

Yes.  Acts 2.41.  Acts 16.33.

Well then, do not the Anabaptists err, who maintain, Dipping to be an absolute and necessary ceremony in Baptism?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

(1) Because, the Greek word in the original signifies, as well to pour, and sprinkle water, as it signifies to dip: Mark 7.4, Where it is said, “and when they come from the market, unless they wash, or be Baptised, they eat not.  (2) Because, we read of three thousand baptised in one day, in the streets of Jerusalem, by twelve Apostles at the most, where there was no river to dip them into; Acts 2.41.  And was not Jerusalem, and all Judea, and the region round about Jordan, baptised by John the Baptist himself alone, which could not be done to all and everyone by Dipping? Matth. 3.5,6.  (3) Were not many baptised in private houses, as we read in the History of the Acts, chapter 10.47, and 18.8, with 9.17, and 16.33.  (4) Because, Dipping of Infants into water in these cold Countries, would be hurtful and dangerous to them.  But GOD will rather have mercy than sacrifice, Matth. 9.13.

Quest. III. “Are the Infants of one, or both believing Parents to be baptized?”

Yes.  Gen. 17.7,9.  Gal. 3.9,14.  Col. 2.11,12.  Acts 2.38,39.  Rom. 4.11,12.

Well then, do not the Anabaptists err, who maintain, that no Infants though born of believing Parents ought to be baptized?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

(1) Because, to covenanted ones (of which number the Infants of Believers are no less than their Parents; Acts 2.38,39,  Acts 3.25,  Rom. 11.16,  Gen. 17.7,12;) that seal of the covenant, of which they are capable, is not to be denied, Gen. 17.7,10,11. (2) Because, the outward Sacrament of Water, cannot be denied to such, as have received the Spirit of Christ, and to whom the promises of the New Covenant, sealed up in Baptism do belong; Acts 10.47.  Acts 11.15-17.  But to some Infants of Believers, as well as to others come to Age, the Spirit of Christ hath been given; Jerem. 1.5.  Luke 1.15. Matth. 19.14.  Mark 10.13,14.  And to them do the promises belong; Acts 2.39.  (3) Because the Infants of Believers are members of the Church, which is sanctified and cleansed, with the washing of water by the Word; Eph. 5.25,26.  Joel 2.16.  Ezek. 16.20,21.  1 Cor. 7.14.  (4) Because, Infants no less than others come to Age, were Baptised, in the Cloud and in the Sea; 1 Cor. 10.2.  (5) Because, Christ commanded that all Nations should be baptized, a great part whereof were Infants; Gen. 22.18.  Matth. 28.19.  (6) Because, Christ commanded Baptism to be administered to Disciples, (Infants also are here to be taken in; Acts 15.10.) Matth. 28.19.  The word in the Original is Matheteusate, Μαθητευσατε, Teach, Instruct, or make Disciples all Nations, or make Disciples among all Nations, baptising them.  The signification of this Greek word may be gathered from John 4.1, where it is said, that the Pharisees had heard, that Jesus made Disciples.  So that Matheteuein and Mathetas poiein, are both one thing.  (7) Because, the children of Believers, were by a Divine right circumcised, under the Old Testament: therefore, the children of Believers under the New Testament, ought to be baptized; because the one hath succeeded to the other.  That Baptism succeeds to Circumcision, is evident first, because, they both seal up, the same very thing.  Next, as Circumcision was the initiating Seal, under the Old Testament, so is Baptism under the New: because the Apostles did administer it so early to the Disciples at the first appearing of their new birth, and interest in the Covenant.  Moreover, because by Baptism, we are said to put on Christ; Gal. 3.27. That they both seal up the same thing, is evident by comparing Rom. 4.11, with Mark 1.4, and Acts 2.38, Where Circumcision is declared to be a seal of the righteousness of Faith, and Baptism is held forth to be a pledge of the remission of sins, as also may be seen, Rom. 4.6-8. See Col. 2.11,12, Where the Apostle teaches, that our being buried with Christ in Baptism, is our circumcision in Christ; which shews that Baptism hath succeeded to us in the room of Circumcision.  (8) Because, the Apostle says, that the Infants but of one believing Parent are holy; 1 Cor. 7.14, that is, are comprehended in the outward Covenant of GOD, and have access to the Signs, and Seals of GOD’s Grace as well as they are, that are born of both believing Parents.

Quest. IV. “Are Grace and Salvation so inseparably annexed unto Baptism, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved without it?”

No.

Are all that are baptised, undoubtedly regenerated?

No. Acts 8.13,23.

Well then, do not the Papists and Lutherians err, who maintain, that Baptism is simply necessary to Salvation; and that all, and those only, who are baptised, are most surely regenerated, in that same very moment of time, wherein Baptism is administered?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

(1) Because, the Thief upon the Cross, and others were saved, that were never baptised; Luke 23.43.  (2) Because, persons unbaptised have had saving Faith; Acts 10.22,44.  (3) Because, Infants that are predestinated unto life, though they die in their mother’s belly, yet they cannot perish, Matth. 18.14.  (4) Because, some children before their Baptism, have been beloved of GOD, whose love is unchangeable, Rom. 9.11,13.  Others have been Regenerated by the Holy Ghost, Luke chap. 1, ver. 15, and some have also been comprehended within the Covenant of Grace, Acts 2.39.  (5) Because, that Baptism, without faith, and the inward operation of the Holy Spirit, hath no efficacy to Salvation, Mark 16.16, 1 Peter 3.21.  (6) Because, the Baptism of the Spirit, at one time goes before, at another time follows Baptism with water, Acts 10.37.  Matth. 3.11.  (7) Because, very many that are baptized within the visible Church, are damned, Matth. 7.13,14.  (8) Because, in those that are come to age, Faith, and Repentance, are pre-required to Baptism; and therefore before they be baptized, they have the beginning of regeneration, Acts 2.38.  (9) Because, not all that are baptized are elected; Matth 20.16.  But all that are elected by GOD, are in time regenerated, 1 Peter 1.2.  (10) Because, the Holy Ghost, is a most Free Agent, and Worker: and therefore his operation (whence the efficacy of Baptism depends) whereby we are regenerated, is not tied to any one moment of time; John 3.8.  (11) Because, Baptism is not a converting, but a confirming Ordinance, even as the Lord’s Supper is.

The Papists do otherwise contradict the second part, in affirming, that the virtue and efficacy of Baptism (as to the abolishing, and sealing up the remission of more grievous sins and failings, which they call Mortal) doth not extend itself to the time to come, but to the time past: so that if the person baptized, fall into some deadly and dangerous sin, which wounds the conscience, there is need of another Sacrament, to wit, Penance, whereby the remission of that Mortal sin, as they call it, is sealed up unto him.

By what reasons are they confuted?

(1) Because, the Sacrament of Baptism, after the administration thereof, doth not cease to be a Sacrament, of the blood of Christ which purgeth us from all our sins; Mark 1.4.  1 John 1.7.  (2) Because, justification by faith (which is sealed up to us by Baptism, Rom. 4.11. Col. 2.11,12,) is for all sins committed before and after baptism, Acts 13.39.  (3) Because, our Saviour says, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; Mark 16.16.  (4) Because, not only the beginning of our Salvation, is referred to baptism, but also salvation itself, and eternal life, 1 Peter 3.21.  (5) Because, the Scripture bringeth Arguments from the use and remembrance of baptism, by which we that have been baptized, are stirred up to holiness, and newness of life, and to put off the old man, and consequently all those sins, which the Adversaries call Mortal, Rom. 6.2,3.  Gal. 3.27.  Col. 2.11,12.

Quest. V. “Is the Sacrament of Baptism, but once to be administered to any person?”

Once only; Gal. 3.27.  Titus 3.5.

Well then, do not the Marcionites err, who maintain, that men after grosser failings ought to be re-baptized?

Yes.

Do not likewise the Hemerobaptists err, who maintain, that men according to their faults every day, ought every day to be baptized?

Yes.

Do not lastly, the Anabaptists err, who maintain, that children baptized, ought to be rebaptized, when they come to age?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

(1) Because, Baptism is a Sacrament of Admission into the visible Church, and of Regeneration, (which is one only, 1 John 3.9) Cor. 12.13.  Titus 3.5.  Eph. 5.26.  (2) Because, there is a command for repeating, and frequent using the Lord’s Supper; 1 Cor. 11.25,26;  but no Precept, or command for repeating Baptism.  (3) Because, Circumcision (to which succeeded Baptism) was never repeated, as the Passover was.  (4) Because, Baptism is a seal of Adoption; Gal. 3.26,27.  but whom GOD loveth, and hath once adopted, those he never casteth off afterwards; Rom. 11.29.  (5) Because, the Apostle says, there is but one Baptism, Eph. 4.5; namely, not only in number, but also in the administration upon us all, Rom. 6.3,4.