Are Baptist Children Heathen?

I’m doing some copying work for the Westminster Assembly Project. The goal is to get all the documents relevant to the history and work of Westminster up on the web, accessible to all. The gentleman in charge, Dr. Chad van Dixhoorn, found some lost minutes of the Assembly lying around(!!!), and so there is much to learn, or re-learn. My efforts are not nearly so grand. I’m typing out a sermon by Stephen Marshall, a central divine, called the “best preacher in England” by Robert Baille, one of the Scottish comissioners to the Assembly. Anyway, the following caught my eye. If you read slowly, the basic point is that (Ana)Baptists basically believe their children are going to hell; whatever way they find to get around that can also be used by paedobaptists to justify baptizing infants.

I thought something inflammatory might attract more readers. There’s so much muck-raking elsewhere on the web, it’s hard to stay relevant and provocative!

[Note: all the weird spellings and italics are in the original, unless I made a blooper. I’ve modified it to make it easier for the modern reader, so just imagine the original!]

“But it is expressly said, That hee that beleeves and is baptized, shall bee saved; Faith in Christ is the Condition, upon which men may be baptized: and this is the most common objection among the Anabaptists: Unbeleevers may not bee baptized, children are unbeleevers, therefore they may not bee baptized. We have, say they, cleare evidence, that Faith is a condition required in those that are to be baptized, no evidence of any other condition that makes them capable of Baptism. Others of them adde, that under an affirmative command, the negative is to be included, beleeving is the affirmative, unbeleeving is the negative, therefore where beleevers are commanded to be baptized, unbeleevers are forbidden to be baptized: this objection they much glory in, and some of them dare all the world to answer it.

I Answer first, but if this argument have any strength at all against the Baptizing of infants, it hath much more strength against the salvation of infants,; it is said expressly, he that beleeveth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that beleeveth not, shall be damned: there yee have both the negative and affirmative set downe, Hee that beleeves shall bee saved, hee that beleeves not shall be damned; now I frame their owne argument thus against the salvation of infants, All unbeleevers shall bee damned, all infants are unbleevers, therefore they shall bee damned; now look at what doore they will goe out, for the salvation of infants, at the same will we go out, for the baptizing of infants; how ever they will evade the one, we shall much more strongly evade the other, if they say this Text is meant of growne men, of the way which God takes for the salvation of grown men, Infants are saved another way, upon other conditions; the same say we of infants baptisme, the Text means of the condition of baptizing of grown men, infants are baptized upon other conditions; if, they say, infants though they cannot have actuall Faith, they may have virtuall Faith, Faith in the seed and roote, the same say we; if they say, though infants have not Faith, yet they may have that which is Analogous to faith, the same say we, they have somewhat which hath analogy to faith, and as effectuall to make them capable of baptism, as of salvation.”

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