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I deem it unnecessary to write much concerning the baptism of the believing, in this place; why we teach that it shall be received and practiced at the confession of faith; for we have explained this matter before, by so many plain Scriptures and reasons, to the intelligent reader, that he can plainly see and palpably feel the foundation and truth.
Therefore I will refer to the main articles and arguments with which Gellius undertakes to defend his infant baptism as apostolic and christian, and will rebut them with the Scriptures; andItrust tobeenabled, by the grace of God, to do this with such clearness and power that all attentive, intelligent readers may fully perceive that he can stand before the holy ordinance, word and truth of the Lord, with his infant baptism, as little as he can with his calling.
Before I enter upon the examination of the matter, I would, not without cause, first relate to the kind reader, that some years ago, I had a discussion with John A'Lasco, Gellius and Herman; and, as we had a lengthy reasoning concerning baptism, and they admitted that all the Scriptures which I adduced, relating to the matter, were spoken by the ancient or believing, we at last got on the subject of infant baptism, which, according to their opinion was also right, although not Scriptural. At last, after having had a lengthy discussion and after they had made many unscriptural assertions, I propounded two questions and prayed them for God's sake to answer them Scripturally. The first question was, Has a ceremony any promise, which is practiced without the command of God? They answered that it had not. Then I asked them, in the second place, Is not such a ceremony, which is practiced without the command of God, idolatry? They answered that it was.
When I heard them answer these questions thus unreservedly, I said, Well, dear men, what will become of your infant baptism? They all three simultaneously answer: Yea, dear Menno, if you would ask of us for the command, then show us first where it is commanded that we should baptize the believing. When I heard this I was much alarmed, for I perceived that, in fact, they meant nothing but party and carnality. I pointed them to the sixteenth chapter of Mark, where the Lord speaks, " Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized shall be saved," Mark 16:15, 18.
But this was no command to them. Then I referred them to Matthew 28:19, where the Lord says, " Go ye therefore, and teach all nations baptizing them (or as the Greek text has it: Make all nations disciples, and baptize them), in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
This did not avail with them, for it reads, they said, "baptizing" and not "baptize them;" although, alas, they well knew that the surest translation is the Greek text. in the imperative mode, namely, baptize them; something which I had till then never noticed so particularly.
Behold, they contended so wilfully against the plain word and Atrath of God, that they openly denied it to be a command; while they had many times read (also according to the Lutheran translation) that the Lord had commanded it in an express command, saying, "And baptize them."22German Translation 39When I perceived that they wanted to find an excuse by means of the use of the participle, I proposed the following, If I command my servant and say, Go and plow the ground, sowing it with wheat; as the Lord said, "Go and teach all nations, baptizing them," &c., have I not, I now ask, commanded my servant to plow the land and to sow it with wheat, although I use the participle sowing, the same as baptizing was used. They answered that this was using philosophy and not the Scriptures. Behold my reader, thus boldly they sought to deny the truth.
Seeing that they, although convinced, obstinately persevered in falsehood and would not receive the powerful and plain truth, as did the Pharisees, I was much grieved and said, Men! men! I Since I find it to be a fact that you, in perversity of heart, reject God's truth, and delight in falsehood, I will be silent and ~ not speak another word with you concerning this matter; for, alas, it is all in vain! Reader, in the day of the appearance of Jesus Christ, before his impartial and eternal judgment, it will be found true as I here write.
Behold, so dishonestly do they deal with God's precious and eternal truth, that they then pretended that there was no command to baptize the believing, and now they have an abundance of commands to baptize the unconscious children. O, God! thus they mock with the souls of men, and they know not how much to garble, bend and break the sure foundation of truth, that they may remain on the broad road, without the cross, that they may please the world and that they may lead a careless life according to the lusts of the flesh.
Gellius first says in regard to this matter, That we blasphemously speak against the holy church, because we say that the children cannot believe, cannot repent and cannot obey the word of the Lord, while they (as he says) constitute a great part of the church, and that they are referred to in plain and clear words by the prophet Joel, in the preaching of repeptence, &c.
Answer. His commencement is unscriptural and his end will be unscriptural. Observe, the word of God shall be our judge. Say, beloved, is it not a great blindness in him to undertake to include unconscious children in the preaching of repentance? and a little further on admits himself that they cannot, in their feeble understanding, understand the doctrine, which is a doctrine of penitence. If they cannot understand the doctrine how can they then believe; if they do not believe how can they then repent, and if they do not repent how can they be included in the preaching of repentance? If they, then, have neither doctrine, faith nor repentance, which he admits they have not, on account of their feeble understanding, and which is not necessary for them to have, while they are God's own and while sin has not become alive in them to bring forth fruit, therefore all of sound judgment must admit he reproves himself and acknowledges that he wrongfully accuses us, when he says, that we speak blasphemously against the holy church, because we say that the unconscious children cannot repent, believe nor obey; for he admits that they, in the feebleness of their understanding, cannot understand the doctrine, from which faith, repentence and obedience originate, as has been already said.
In the second place he writes, That there is one church and one faith, both under the Old and New Testaments, from the time of Adam to the end of the world; and that from the time of Abraham, under the Old Testament, preaching and circumcision was commanded for the purpose of the gathering, edification, growth and extension of the church, and under the New Testament, preaching and baptism, without regard to the age of persons.
Answer‑. I understand it that all those who, from the time of Adam to the present time, and also hereafter, had, have and shall have the Spirit, mind and nature of Jesus Christ, and who did, do and shall walk as obedient children by virtue of such a spirit, in truth, were, are and shall be the Lord's church, kingdom and people. But we would have reasonably expected that Gellius would have added that each in his times had a peculiar doctrine, ordinance and usage. That from the time of Adam to Abraham no ceremony was practiced on the children because the Lord had not commanded it; and that circumcision was commanded from Abraham to the time of Christ. But now we have Christ, the promised prophet, Dent. 18:15; Acts 7:37, to .whom all the Scriptures pointed that we should obey and follow him. He is the eternal Word and Wisdom of God; all that abide in his doctrine40, walk in the truth, for his word is truth, and his command is eternal life. What ordinance this wise counsellor has commanded us concerning the children, under the New Testament; what he has commanded us and what he has not, concerning them, all pious, faithful hearts may learn from his holy word.
But what he says in regard to them, that in the New Testament no regard is made as to age, but that we should preach to all and baptize them, is in my opinion so directly contrary to Scripture, common sense and his own words, that he should reasonably be ashamed of the assertion. For how can we teach a little, unconscious child repentance according to the word of God? Christ commanded that we should preach the gospel to those who have understanding, and those who believe are to be baptized. Nor has he left in his gospel any other command, ordinance or example concerning this matter.
Besides, he acknowledges that the children, on account of their feeble understanding, cannot understand the doctrine, as already heard. Yet he writes, in the face of this plain ordinance of the Almighty God, and his own confession, that in the New Testament, teaching and baptizing are commanded, without respect to age.
Behold, thus grossly err all who reject the word of the Lord. Is this not violently rejecting Christ and accepting anti‑christ, and is it not plainly wrong? I must admit that I have never read a word in the Scriptures with such misunderstanding.
In the third place Gellius writes, That the church should give the seal of the covenant of grace to children according to the command of God because they are participants in the covenant or promise of God, and in the sanctity of the church and in eternal life; for the covenant is not altered and God is no less gracious to our children, who are born under the promise, than to the children of Israel who were born according to the flesh; for it is written, I will be thy God and thy children's after thee; and that therefore, in the gathering of the churches, under the Old and New Testaments the same command obtains, both as regards the preaching, and the use of the holy sacraments.
Answer. Gellius does even as all the false prophets have done who miserably deceived the people, and pretended that the Lord of lords said so, although the Lord had not spoken it, as Scripture informs us, Jer. 23 17; Ezek. 13:7.
Say, reader, is it not an intrepid deed and a condemnable boldness, that he dares publish to the whole world that God has commanded it; since eternal Wisdom has neither commanded it by word nor deed? Peruse the whole New Testament from beginning to end, and if a word can be found that the mouth of the Lord has commanded it, or that the apostles have anywhere taught or practiced it, then we will, by the grace of God, unanimously admit that he is right.
Inasmuch, as it is clear that nothing has been mentioned concerning it in all the Holy Scriptures, as has been said, and that he, in the face of this, dares write that they do it according to the command of God, then the pious reader may imagine how abominably he sins against his God, especially since truth is manifest, and how lamentably he deceives the poor souls by open falsehood when he writes that God commanded it; since the Holy Spirit, I say, has not expressed it in a single word, nor manifested it unto the church of God by word or practice of the true witnesses of Christ.
His assertion that the command is not altered, is so diametrically opposed to truth, that we may well wonder at it. The Scriptures clearly testify that God promised Abraham the multiplying of his seed, and the land of Canaan as an eternal inheritance, and commanded him that he should circumcise himself, his son Ishmael, &c.; also all male children of the age of eight days; for it was a covenant in the flesh, Gen. 17.
And thus was commanded to Abraham, at the promise of the multiplication of his seed and the possession of the land of Canaan, the blood‑sign of the circumcision of the foreskin, on the eighth day of their age, of all the male children and not the female children. But to us the blood‑sign of circumcision is not commanded, but baptism in the water. Now, observe the first difference. Not on the eighth day, but when we, through the spirit, in faith, are born of God, and have become followers of Abraham. Observe the second distinction. Not 41alone the males, but both males and females, who through the preaching of the holy word, have died unto the old life and have arisen with Christ in newness of life; who are pricked in their hearts; who circumcise their hearts and minds; who put on Christ, and who have the testimony of a clear conscience, before God, Rom. 6; Acts 2:37; Col. 2; 11; Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet, 3:21. Observe the third difference. Not to possess a literal kingdom and land, and to become a great people upon earth, as was promised to Abraham and his seed; but to bear all manner of anxiety, affliction, tribulation and misery upon earth, for the sake of the testimony of the word of God; to turn the heart away from all visible and perishable things; to die unto pomp, splendor, the world and flesh, and thus to walk in our weakness as Christ has walked in his perfection, &c.
Behold, reader, how openly he adulterates the Scriptures, and how grossly he perverts the truth when he writes that the command is unchanged, and that the gathering of the churches under the Old and New Testaments are the same, and that no different commands are given, both as regards preaching and the use of the sacraments; for it is all changed and renewed as may be clearly educed from the foregoing references. I will leave to your reflections if such a thing may not be called perverting truth into falsehood.
Again, from his saying that the church is no less gracious to our children than to the children of Israel, born in the flesh, I understand him to say, If God will not have our children baptized, that he is less gracious to them than he was to the children of the circumcision; by which he openly testifies that he couples the kingdom, grace and promise of God with that sign.
If God is only gracious to such children as have received, or may receive that outward sign, then it must necessarily follow that God has been ungracious to, and displeased with all the children before the law of circumcision; besides to all children who died before the eighth day, and during the forty years they passed in the wilderness, together with all the maids and women, because they were not circumcised; then he must also be displeased with all the children under the New Testament, for they are not commanded to be baptized.
O no, to children belongs the kingdom of God. Not by virtue of any sign, but alone by grace through Christ Jesus, Matt. 19:14. And as to his calling infant‑baptism a sealing of the covenant of grace, I would reply, If he can show me a place in all the New Testament where the baptism of the believing is called a sealing of the covenant of grace, then I will admit that he is right. But I know to a certainty, that he cannot. do so. If the baptism of the believing, which is ordained of God himself, is not called such, how can infant baptism, then be called such, which is not ordained of God, but is merely self‑chosen fiction invented of man?
If he should allude to the circumcision, I would say that they are two distinct and different signs, and that the first has no relation whatever to the second; for these following reasons: Firstly, because all the signs, before and under the law, given to the patriarchs, as the coats of skins to Adam; the rain‑bow to Noah; the circumcision to Abraham; the yearly offering of the high priests, &c., Gen. 3:21; 9:16; 17:10, 11; Lev. 16, all, unitedly pointed to Christ who has now appeared, and in whom all the preceding signs are fulfilled; and we now have no sealing or assurance through outward signs and symbols, but through the true Sign of all signs, Christ Jesus, as he himself says, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life; for God so loved the world that he gave his only‑begotten son," John 3:14 ‑16. Secondly, because we, now, are not a people according to the letter, as was Israel, but are a people according to the spirit; who, before they receive the sign, are turned to God through the preaching of repentance; who die unto the old sinful life; who receive the light of grace in their hearts; who accept the true Sign of peace, Christ Jesus, through faith; arise with him into a new life and are thus sealed in their hearts, through the promise of the Holy Ghost and the eternal covenant and the 42grace of God. For if we were not sealed in our hearts before the sign, then we could not truly repent before the sign; nor could we burden ourselves with disesteem, disgrace, anxiety, tribulation and misery which are connected with the cross.
But by the sign, which we accept in obedience to the holy word, we testify that we, through Christ, the true Sign, given us by the Father, and made known to us through the word, have peace with God, and that we are assured of the spirit of his grace.
Behold, my reader, here you may now observe that the signs of the New Testament do not seal or assure us, as the learned teach the poor people; but that our only, eternal surety, is Christ Jesus; that the sealing of our hearts is the Holy Spirit; and that the signs or sacraments are nothing more than that they are given to the penitent, sealed and assured christians, for the purpose of admonishing and reminding us that we should walk in continual repentance; that we should practice our faith, and that we should eternally give praise to the Lord for his inexpressibly great kindness and grace, through Jesus Christ.
All who teach differently, and point you to water, bread and wine as a sealing or assurance, as Gellius does, points you away from the true Being, to the sins; from Christ to Moses again; give you a vain hope and a false surety and cause you to remain impenitent and without Christ all your lifetime; for you console yourself so much with the signs, that you remain without the signified truth, as may, alas, be plainly seen by the whole world.
For however drunken, covetous, pompous vain and given to lies they may be, they still boast themselves christians. They are so consoled with this ungodly sealing of the idolatrous water (I say ungodly sealing because it is so directly contrary to the word of God) and with the bread and wine of the preachers, that they all walk upon the broad road, and remain without the word of God.
Behold, this is the proper fruit and effect of the sealing of Gellius, which he so highly praises and so artfully teaches. But, as regards the saying: I will be your God and your seed's after you, from which they conclude that as the children of Abraham were circumcised with him on account of the promise; that also our children should be baptized on account of the same promise, I would reply, Firstly, God promised Abraham to be his God and his children's God. In this promise the females were included as well as the males; this must be admitted. Notwithstanding, Israel did not circumcise the females but only the males, although the females were included in the promise; and that because God had so ordained it. From which it may be safely educed that the male children of the seed of Abraham were not circumcised for the sake of the promise but for the sake of the ordinance which was commanded to Abraham and his seed. For if it had been done for the sake of the promise, and not for the sake of the ordinance, then the females should also have been circumcised, as joint participants and joint heirs of the same promise. This is incontrovertible.
In the second place I would say, That if Israel had followed the doctrine of Gellius, and some other preachers, in respect to this matter, then they would also have circumcised the females, notwithstanding they were not commanded to do so; for they were joint heirs of the covenant of grace, as our children whom they want to have baptized, are joint heirs of the promise.
If they should answer, that the ordinance referred to the males and not to the females, although the females were joint heirs of the covenant of grace, then I would reply that their cause is already lost. For as the command of circumcision at that time, had only reference to the males and not to the females, although the females were joint heirs of the promise, so also does now the ordinance of baptism have reference to the believing and penitent, and not to the unconscious children, although they are joint heirs of the promise, as heard.
They further say, If infant baptism is not commanded neither is it prohibited. To this I reply: The circumcision of the females was neither ordained nor prohibited, even as infant baptism is neither ordained nor prohibited; yet they did not circumcise the females, and that because they were not commanded to do so. Therefore, all who 43blame us because we do not baptize oui children, who are joint heirs of the promise and are not prohibited from being baptized, also blame Israel because they did not circumcise their female children, who were joint heirs of the promise and were not prohibited from being circumcised.
Thirdly, I would say, since I observe that Gellius only includes the children of believing, and not of unbelieving parents in the baptism, and since he well knows that the proud, avaricious, pompous, envious, bloodguilty, whoring and idolatrous are not believers, nor, according to Scripture, joint heirs of the promise, therefore I cannot stop wondering at his inattention, that he, against his own belief and doctrine, yet baptizes the children of such parents, whom he must acknowledge, as being without God and Christ, and therefore having no promise. If he says that he does not know the faith of others, then I would say again, that he then acknowledges, in the first place, that his infant baptism has an unstable foundation, if we, according to his own words, are to baptize them on account of the promise to the parents, while he does not know whether the parents believe or not; and, in the second place, that such parents are not fruitful trees nor shining lights.
But what shall we say! If Gellius were to tell all his pompous, drunken, usurious, and unrighteous members, without respect to person, that they are without Christ and have no promise, and would not baptize their children, he would not long remain a preacher at Emden, nor enjoy his easy, careless life in peace.
He further writes, That Paul testifies that baptism has taken the place of circumcision, has the same signification and is called the circumcision of Christ.
Answer. In this instance Paul himself rebukes him, that he has mistaken his word; for he says, "Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ, for in him dwelleth all the fullness of the God‑head bodily; and ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power; in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead; and you, being dead in your sins, and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him,. having forgiven you all trespasses," Col. 2:8‑13.
My faithful reader, observe the word of the Lord; the doctrine of the New Testament, and his sacraments treat of none but those who have ears to hear and hearts to understand. For it is a service of the Spirit, and not of the letter, as Paul says, 2 Cor. 3:6.
Inasmuch as the preachers ever point the poor, simple people to the elementary water, bread and wine, and teach that baptism is our seal which assures us that we are heirs of the covenant of grace; that God operates through his sacraments, &c., and, since we find, however, that neither the sealing, surety nor power are found in their hearts, as the fruits testify, but that they are led by the preachers to a false profession, vain hope and an unstable surety, under the semblance of the gospel; therefore I would faithfully admonish all my readers and hearers with these words adduced from Paul, not to be at all deceived by such high‑sounding, smooth words of the philosophy and artful fictions of men, nor by the hypocrisy and worldly institutions of the learned, but to follow after the perfect Institutor, Christ Jesus, in whom is embodied the perfection of the God‑head, truth, light, power, righteousness, &c., and who therefore does not point to uncertain, deceitful, dark and unrighteous ways, but in him all true christians are perfect and full of his grace, Spirit, love and power.
He is the head of all principalities before whom every knee shall bow, and whom all tongues shall confess that he is the Lord, and that besides him there is no other, Isaiah 45:23; Phil. 2:10. Therefore his word shall avail, and his command shall stand, and not that which the world adds to his kingdom or church, in which all regenerated children, who are of his Spirit, are not now circumcised unto Christ, with 44hands, as wan the came with literal Israel, but the impure foreskins of their hearts are circumcised with the Lord's word, Spirit and power, that they may become in spirit a new, regenerated Israel and people of God, by dying unto their sinful flesh, and by smothering the old man through the circumcision of Christ, which purifies and changes their hearts through his word and Spirit. For the penitent are buried with him in baptism, die unto the old sinful life, and arise in the new life of righteousness and virtue, by means of faith, through which God operates by the preaching of his powerful word, and the inspiration of his Holy Spirit. The faithful God and Father who has resurrected his Son from the dead, has also bestowed his power upon us, poor sinners, and has graciously resurrected us, who were dead in so many gross sins and tresspasses, into a new life with him; has called us from darkness unto light, and has placed us with him in a celestial being, in Christ, Eph. 2:1; 1 Pet. 3, &c.
Behold, dear reader, this is the proper ground and meaning of the words of Paul, by which Gellius tries to show, that baptism has taken the place of circumcision and is called the circumcision of Christ.
Judge now, if you fear God, whether you find a word in the writings of Paul, that has reference to unconscious infants. That this saying of Paul has reference to the believing and penitent, and not to unconscious children, all reasonable, to say nothing of spiritual persons, must acknowledge and admit. Notwithstanding, he writes that this saying implies that baptism has taken the place of circumcision and is called Christ's circumcision. He does, or will not observe that the circumcision of Jesus Christ to which Paul alludes, is done without hands, and that he daily serves with his hands the infant baptism which he calls the circumcision of Jesus. Behold, thus lamentably does he satisfy Paul, and thus violently break the word of God.
If he seeks an evasion to adorn his cause, and say, that God works through his sacraments invisibly in the heart, which the sign represents, then the deceit will be more distinct. For how shall God operate through a sign which is an abomination before Him? I say an abomination, because he has not commanded it, and because neither doctrine, confession, faith nor repentance precede it, which these signs represent, in the New Testament. Then, also, the sign and the signification must be one and the same, which never was nor ever will be the case unless the letter becomes spirit. This is incontrovertible. Yea, my reader, how the baptized children are circumcised with the circumcision of Christ Jesus in the foreskin of their hearts, which is the circumcision of the New Testament, the deeds and the fruits of the world, alas, plainly show.
In the fourth place he writes, As in the Scriptures, which testify that women are participants in the merits of Christ, and are disciples, a command is implied that the Holy Supper shall be dispensed to them, so, also, a command is implied in the Scriptures, which testify that children are of the church of Christ and of the Kingdom of God, that they should be baptized.
Answer. The words of Gellius prove clearly that women are participants of the Lord's Supper; for he acknowledges that they are disciples. If they are disciples, as they are in fact, then it is manifest that they hear the word of God, be. lieve, repent, suffer themselves to be baptized, and that they are gifted of God in power with the representation of the Holy Supper, and that they are participants of his mystery no less than the men. Since they are believing and penitent disciples, as heard, therefore it is reasonable and right that they should partake of the sign, whereby this mystery of faith and of the holy gospel are represented to the believing, and admonished to the repenting. As we cannot deny but that the believing, repenting women understand and realize the representation of the Holy Supper‑namely, the remembrance of the offering of the flesh and blood of Christ, the love of God and one's neighbors, &c., for which purpose it was instituted by the Lord, therefore they should have a place at the Lord's table, as believing, penitent disciples and guests. Now, Gellius, to make his infant baptism of effect, must prove and show to us by works, Scriptures and truth, that little, unconscious children realize the effect of holy baptism, namely, faith, repentance, obedience to the word, a clear and peaceable conscience, &c., for which purpose the sign 45of baptism was instituted of the Lord, as the believing, penitent women realize the signification of the. Holy Supper. But if he‑ cannot prove this, then it is sufficiently plain that this, his assertion and argument are not according to .the Scriptures, but that it is ‑ deceitful, false, and contrary to God's word.
He further says,. If such a command to baptize children is not sufficient, as the one he has adduced from the Scriptures, then he wants us to point him out a prohibition (as he says), or sufficiently prove that God wills that we shall not baptize children.
In the first place, I reply: Gellius herewith openly betrays that his reference to the command of infant baptism can, in his own opinion not stand, according to the Scriptures. For he turns from the doctrine of commands and wants us to point out a prohibition, never observing that if one wants to partake of anything (that is a ceremony), he must first adduce and point out the command of the institution.
If he wants to make good the infant baptism which he teaches and practices, then he must prove that it is commanded, and not ask us to point out or show where it is prohibited.
We practice baptism in a manner as the mouth of the Lord has commanded, for we know that it stands written, "What things soever I command you, observe to do it; thou shalt not add thereto nor diminish from it," Dent. 12:32; Prov. 30:6. Yea, my reader, I would say to Gellius and the learned that if they ‑can find an instance in all the Scriptures where the pious and faithful servants of God have changed a word of the commands, and ceremonies, and practiced them differently than God had commanded them, then we will further reflect upon the matter. But we know it to a certainty that it cannot be done.
The Lord commanded Israel that they should circumcise their male children on the eighth day; t4ere was no command that they should not do it on the fifth, or on any other day. Yet they never circumcised a female; nor did they circumcise on any other day but the eighth. For the ordinance and command of the Lord was on the eighth play, to the male children, and not on the seventh or ninth; nor to the female children as has been heard.
If they, now, had circumcised the females, or if they had circumcised the males before, or after the eighth day, although it was not expressly forbidden, they would have committed an abomination, as did Nadab and Abihu with the strange fire, and circumcised without God's word; by the grace of God, no man can Scripturally convince me to the contrary.
It was also commanded Israel that they should eat the Passover in remembrance of their deliverance and departure out of Egypt, on the fourteenth day of the first month, in the evening; it had to be a male lamb, without blemish, of the first year, &c., Ex. 12: S. Israel did just according to the command, and never offered a female lamb, but in every instance a male, although the Lord had not expressly prohibited the offering of a female lamb, for if they had offered a female, they would have offered contrary to the command, which stipulated that it should be a male.
In the second place, I would say that I would refer to the testimony of the Almighty and great God, who says, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him," Matt. 17:5. If Gellius, now, can point to a single word of divine truth and unadulterated testimony of the Holy Scriptures, that this Son of God, Christ Jesus, the Father's eternal Truth and Wisdom, has taught or commanded one word of infant baptism, or that his holy apostles and missionaries have taught or practiced it, then I will recall my doctrine, willingly submit to dungeons and bonds, confess my guilt, repent and stand before the whole world conquered and abashed; this I promise in sincerity of heart.
But, if he cannot do so, as he never can, and still professes that infant baptism is apostolic and right, whereby he forsakes the ordinance of Christ and the apostles doctrine and usage; consoles the people in their impenitence‑then it is manifest that he is a deceiver of the poor souls and an adulterer of the holy word, who would be wiser than the Son of God himself; for he says that it is a sealing of the covenant of grace, an embodiment into the church of 46Christ, &c. And the great Lord has not at all commanded that he should reprove the Holy Spirit which has not manifested unto us in the Scriptures this doctrine and usage; nor the apostles that they did not at all disclose unto the pious such an important matter, as he says, and that they have not given a word in all their writings, in testimony thereof, and thus manifested it unto their descendants.
In the third place I would refer Gellius, and all his preachers, to Luther, who writes very clearly that we should renounce not only that which is contrary to the word of the Lord, but also that which is beside it, and advises every body, although, alas, he himself did not follow the advice, to follow certainties and not uncertainties; for the Scriptures admit of no addition nor diminishing, by which he has caused quite a rupture in popery. If the Scriptures admit of no additions, and we find nowhere a word in Scripture commanding infant baptism, as Luther himself admits, then I would leave it to the impartial judgment of all who have understanding, whether infant baptism is not prohibited.
In the fifth place, Glellius writes, They say that the children have no ears to hear; and cannot distinguish between good and evil. But it does not follow from this, he says, that the sacrament of the embodiment into the church should not be practiced upon children; for the children of the ancient church had no such ears that they could hear, and they could as little distinguish between good and evil, as our children can.
Answer. If Gellius will show us the command, ordinance or usage of the Lord, that we shall take them in by such sign, then we will consider the matter further. But he cannot do so.
We say with holy Paul, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, as cording to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace," &c., Eph. 1:3‑‑6.
My faithful reader, understand well what these words of Paul paean. This paternal adoption unto membership; .this great favor, love and grace through Christ Jesus; this holy, unblamable life in love, of which Paul speaks, is taught by the gospel. All who rightly believe this, and who are, through faith, truly converted, changed, renewed and born of God, and have the Holy Spirit, are children of the covenant, are graciously accepted of God, and are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; even before they have the sign of baptism.
Behold, thus we are, by God's choice through faith in Christ Jesus, and through the inspiring power and renewing of the Holy Spirit, embodied into the body of Christ, which is the true church, and become flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone; and not through any outward sign.
But this rule does not apply to unconscious children; for they have no ears to hear nor hearts to understand. They are, however, in grace, children of the kingdom, participants in the promise; not through any outward sign, I say, but in the adoption of Grace through the reconciliation, mediation and merits of the death and blood of Christ, as the Scriptures teach. The New Testament treats with those of understanding minds, and its sacraments belong to the penitent. Let this be to you a sure and eternal reference and doctrine.
All those who give a different meaning to the signs of the New Testament, by their philosophy, and teach you that they should be dispensed before faith, deceive you, however much they may adorn it with choice words, such as, sealing, sign of grace, embodiment, &c., for it is in fact, nothing but human wisdom, deceiving of souls and hypocrisy. If the children under the old covenant were incorporated by circumcision, and the children under the new covenant are incorporated through baptism, as he says they are, then we are forced to conclude that the children which died before the eighth day and those who were left in the wilderness, besides, all the females, were not in the Israelitic church, and consequently had no share in the grace, covenant nor promise.
The same would also apply to our children which are hindered from baptism, 47through death. O abomination and blasphemy I If that is not attaching God's selection, grace, favor, love, kingdom, covenant and salvation, to the element, water, and to works, I will leave to the judgment of all the godly and pious.
In the sixth place he writes, and says, We have ever received, in return for our assiduity and clear, convincing explanation of the Scriptures, yea, for our solicitous care, to again gain them, nothing but anathemas. For what else do we hear from them than that we are wolves, blood‑hounds, deceivers, &c., who run their own course and bring forth no fruit?
Answer. All those who rightly seek our salvation, who rightly teach the word of the Lord, and who walk before us with an unblamable life, understand, according to the doctrine, Spirit, and example of Christ Jesus, are not reproved by us, nor by the Scriptures; but we sincerely thank and love them and will by the grace of God, never despise their fraternal assiduity and paternal solicitude, but will, in sincere love and very thankfully, accept them, and as much as we, in our weakness, are able to do, follow them. But we are not to blame that Gellius and the preachers are called deceivers, false prophets, ravening wolves, men guilty of blood, &c., by the Scriptures, but they themselves, are the cause; because they so lamentably adulterate the Scriptures, reject Christ Jesus and his Spirit, word and walk; because they preach according to their own pleasure, seek improper gain; because they teach and walk to suit the world, destroy the poor sheep by their false doctrine and deceiving practices; and because they upbraid, blaspheme, belie, betray the pious, faithful hearts and thus deliver them to the sword of the magistracy and executioner, as may, alas, be too clearly witnessed at many different places.
Yea, reader, if he cannot bear to be called by such hard names, of which he is guilty, according to the Scriptures, then he should reasonably consider how shamefully he accuses, in his writings and conversations, the poor, miserable souls who are quite innocent, as being ungodly heretics, apostles of the devil, deceived conspirators, hedgepreachers, sneaks, adulterators, &c., and how he, by his rebellious, fiendish, bloody doctrine, deprives the innocent of their property, welfare, honor, blood and life; and instigates the unmerciful cruel tyrants to robbery, imprisoning, banishing and murder. My faithful reader, reflect, and see if I do not write the truth.
In the seventh place he writes, The example of the apostles shows that it is a command; for the Holy Spirit testifies that the apostles baptized whole families; no children are excepted, which, surely, would have been excepted if it were wrong to baptize them.
To this I reply, in the first place, that Gellius hereby testifies that there is no command for infant baptism; for he here founds his doctrine and faith upon presumption and not upon. imperative words, according to which all things should be judged that are to be a pleasure in the sight of the Lord. In the second place I would say, that the Holy Spirit has testified in plain words, that the three families of which the Scriptures make mention in particular, to have been baptized, were all believing persons as may be plainly understood from reading Acts 10:16.
But as to the house of Lydia, it is plain that she at that time had no husband; for the house is called after her name, which is neither the custom of the world nor of the Scriptures, if the husband is alive. Since the New Testament, then, makes mention of but four households in particular, to have been baptized, and three of them were believing, and the fourth, as appears, had no husband; as has been heard, how much then should we rely on it, that there were little children in these households, both nature and the Scriptures teach us.
He further writes, That it cannot be gainsayed that the children, all through the Scriptures, are always included in the household, for a household or family includes both young and old; therefore also children should be baptized because the Scriptures mention that whole households were baptized, which includes children.
I reply: If Gellius proves to us, by the testimony of God's word, that the unconscious children have faith, then we would gladly include them in the believing, baptized households and allow them to be baptized. But as he cannot possibly do so, we would faithfully admonish him and all the preachers to take heed, how and what they say concerning this matter; for all they philosophize and teach about it, is mere deceit. Besides, I would yet ask, if we can also cause unbelief in small children by 48false doctrine, or, if we can teach them faith, through God's word? If he answer in the affirmative, then his answer is contrary to all the Scriptures, common sense, and contrary to his own words; for he admits, that they, through their feeble understanding, can not comprehend the word. But if he answer in the negative, then he admits, himself, that his including both old and young in one household, is contrary to Paul. For Paul says, that the vain talkers and deceivers subvert whole houses, Tit. 1:10, something which cannot be done to little children, on account of their not having sufficient understanding, as he himself admits. He also says that we too boldly exclude the children, which the Holy Spirit has not excepted, &c. To this I reply: The Holy Spirit has commanded and ordained that we should teach the understanding, and baptize the believing, and this ordinance we follow. Therefore, it is not boldness, but obedience to do as the mouth of the Lord has commanded us. But whether the preachers are not boldly opposing the Holy Spirit, who reject his doctrine, advice and ordinance as heretical and sectarian, and institute instead a doctrine and ordinance to suit their own taste, of which we find not a single word in the Scriptures, I will leave all the pious to judge according to the word of the Lord.
As to his reference to Tertullius, Cyprian, Origenes and Augustinus, I would reply: If these writers can support their assertions by the word and ordinance of God, then we will admit that they are right. If they cannot do so, then it is a doctrine of men, and condemned by the Scriptures, Gal. 1:8. In the second place I say, Rhenanus annotates on Tertullius that it was customary with the ancients to baptize adults with the bapof regeneration.
Cyprian left infant baptism optional.
Erasmus writes that the ancients have disputed much concerning infant baptism, and never came to a conclusion.
Zuinglius writes, Although we are aware that the ancients baptized children, yet it was not practiced so commonly as it is, in our times. They were openly instructed in faith; and when they verbally confessed their faith which was imprinted in their hearts, they were allowed to be baptized. This doctrine (he says) I wish to have again resuscitated, Lib. Art. 18.
Bucer writes that the ancients generally baptized adults and not children.
Oecolampadius writes, I, in my weakness, cannot yet find Scriptures which command infant baptism.
Luther admits that they have no express command to baptize children.
What Martin Cellarius and others write, concerning this matter, is too lengthy to be here reproduced.
Since it is plain that few children were baptized of the ancients, as the above mentioned Rhenanus, Zuingli and Bucer show; that Cyprian left infant baptism optional, and the others acknowledge that there is no express command for it; how can Gellius, then truthfully write that they received infant baptism from the apostles; that it is an incorporation into the church, and a sealing of the covenant of grace?
Yea, my reader, if infant baptism has the virtues which Gellius ascribes to it, then our ancestors grossly sinned to have baptized so few children; and also because they left optional that which (he says) the apostles practiced and taught to be an incorporation into the church, a sign of grace and a sealing of the covenant of grace.
In the third place I answer, If we consider the confession and doctrine of the learned in regard to infant baptism, we find it to be such a Babel that we are forced to acknowledge that it is not of God. For some of the ancients (not the apostles) as appears, baptized some children, but not a considerable number. Some said they had received it from the apostles; others, again, denied it. Some have, and some still baptize them to wash off hereditary sin; others because they are children of the covenant. Some baptize them for the sake of the faith of the church; others, again, for the sake of the faith of their parents. Some on the strength of the faith of the patriarchs; others on the strength of their own faith; and again, others that better care Rhall be taken of their education. Behold, thus the defenders of infant baptism are divided among themselves.
Inasmuch, then, as they do not teach 49one doctrine and are not of one mind in regard to infant baptism, therefore it is manifestly proven that they baptize them without the word of God. For if their cause had a foundation in Scripture; then they would baptize to the same purpose or end, according to the same ordinance, rule and doctrine. This is incontrovertible.
In the eighth place he writes "that it is not prohibited at all, in Scripture, nor testified that infant baptism is wrong. And that the Lord Jesus Christ testifies that it is not his word and will, but the will of his Father who is in heaven."
Answer. Peruse all the Scriptures‑Moses and the prophets, Christ Jesus and the apostles, and diligently meditate upon them, and you will find different instances that God was not only displeased at unbidden ceremonies and worship, but that he has often severely punished such. O, dear Lord, what blind reasoning! If they can, with a clear conscience do so because it is not expressly forbidden that infants shall be baptized, then they may as well accept holy water, candles, palms, clocks, confession before a priest, masses, the building of convents, altars, the becoming of monks, pilgrimages and the praying ‑for the departed souls, &c., as just and right; for there is not a word to be found in the Scriptures which expressly prohibits these works; or which says: You shall not do these things.
If he should say that the circumstances of Scripture and its fruits testify that they are contrary to the word of God; then I would again say: Still clearer do the circumstances of the Scriptures and the fruits testify that infant baptism is contrary to God's word. For the mouth of the Lord has not commanded so at all. All those who practice it, misuse the name and ordinance of God, and act hypocritically, and those that receive it, console themselves, when they come to years of understanding, that they are baptized children, although their whole walk is manifestly, for the greater part, quite impenitent, ungodly, earthly and carnal.
In the second place I answer: Christ Jesus has testified and said, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creaturo. Ho that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved," Mark 16:15, 16. Behold this is the express, eternal and unchangeable ordinance of the Lord, which he has commanded and left for his church to follow. Also have the apostles so taught and practiced it.
If now the unconscious children have faith, that is, if they are penitent, Rom. 6; have circumcised the foreskin of their hearts by the circumcision of Christ, Col. 2:11; if they have a clear conscience before the Lord, if they have a new mind, which are all the result of faith, and which are represented by baptism‑then baptism can not be refused them. . But while it is plain that they have not one of the beforementioned qualities, therefore we say that infant baptism is a self‑chosen superstition, an abuse of the glorious and holy name of God, an adulteration of the ordinance of Christ, a vain, hypocritical consolation to the impenitent, a sacrament of the church of anti‑christ, nay, an open deceit, blasphemy and idolatry. Notwithstanding all this, this thoughtless man writes that it is the word and will of the Father, and then uses the eternal Father and his beloved Son and Holy Spirit, together with the chosen, holy apostles, as a cover for his deceitful abomination and wicked blasphemy. O Lord!
In the ninth place he writes: "That they have the promise, that God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, a true and living God, is powerful in his command and works; and will, through his power, sanctify the children of the church and bestow on them his Spirit."
Answer. If he could prove that infant baptism was commanded by the word of God, by apostolic doctrine and usage, or by the example of Christ, as he pretends that it was, then we would gladly admit it to be a holy rite, and pleasing to God, and that it would be a blessed, admonishing, useful, fruitful and powerful thing, for God commands nothing in vain. But since it cannot be proven that it was commanded, and since baptism cannot apply to little children, because the signs of the New Testament are applied to the penitent, therefore we say again, that it is not a God‑pleasing ceremony, but according to all Scripture, a wicked blasphemy and abomination, as has already been heard. And how powerfully God works through such abominations, may 50be plainly seen in the cases of Nadab, Abihu, Jeroboam, Uzza and others.
The pious reader should also know that the children of the churches are not sanctified by means of ceremonies, words and water, but solely through the grace, favor, merits, blood and death of the Lord, and by no other work nor means, at all. But as to his writing that God bestows upon the baptized children his Spirit, we would say that we would have him consider more deeply and learn to know what the work of the Spirit is, before he teaches such doctrine.
Is it not deeply to be regretted that such people dare take upon themselves the care of souls, while they have not yet learned what is the nature, fruit and power of the Holy Spirit? For wherever the Holy Spirit is, there also must be its fruits; this is incontrovertible. And what fruits we find in children when they begin to become of understanding minds, we may, alas, educe from their words, works and life.
I would further say, that if the Spirit is bestowed upon children, through baptism, as he says, and since the Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit is given to the believing, then it must follow therefrom, since the children do not believe, that the Holy Spirit is not given them through faith, but that it is given through the merits of the ceremony of baptism, which the preachers practice. And what is worse, such a spirit, which in every respect is without knowledge, intelligence, inspiration, power, fruit and work, as may be seen. O, great blindness and error!
In the tenth place he writes: " The Lord Jesus Christ commanded that the children should be brought to him (which the anabaptists do not at all) and that he embraced them, laid his hands upon them and blessed them, that is, baptized them with the Holy Spirit; and all this, done by Christ, is not powerless."
Answer.. Here I would ask Gellius, and all who practice infant baptism, Firstly, If all the believers brought their children to Christ when he was preaching? If they answer in the affirmative, then they ought to be ashamed; for they can not prove their assertion by the Scriptures. But if they answer in the negative, then they acknowledge that they in the first place, are wrong to teach and practice that children should be brought to him, that is (according to their understanding), to baptize them.
In the second place I ask, whether in any part of Scripture bringing to Christ is called baptism 3 If they answer in the affirmative, then they can not produce proof. If they answer in the negative then they admit that they, in the second place, adulterate the word of God, by explaining and construing bringing to Christ to mean baptizing.
In the third place I ask, whether Christ baptized the children, brought to him, with water 8 If they answer in the affirmative, then I would answer with John, that Christ, himself, did not baptize, John 3:5. But if they answer in the negative, then they acknowledge, in the third place, that it is a false doctrine to try to defend infant baptism on the strength of this bringing to him.
In the fourth place I would ask, because he says that Christ baptized the children with the Holy Spirit. If, then, baptizing with the Spirit is the same thing as baptizing with water? If they answer in the affirmative, then Spirit must be letter, or letter, Spirit. But if they answer in the negative, then they, themselves, pronounce sentence against infant baptism; that Christ's action with the children does not teach nor imply it.
In the fifth place I would ask, How we are to understand this bringing to him‑in a carnal, or spiritual way? If they answer in a carnal way, then I would say, that it cannot now be the case, since Christ, in body, is taken from us and removed hence, where we cannot approach in the body, 1 Tim. 6:16. But if they answer, in a spiritual way, then I would again ask why Gellius so shamefully abuses the pious, whom he calls anabaptists, by writing that they do not at all bring their children to Christ (something which could not have been written in purity of heart), while many of them are so solicitously caring for the salvation of their children by teaching, admonishing and punishing them, and by having a constant solicitude for them, as God's word and the love of their children command and teach all christian parents to do.
O, that God would grant that Gellius and his followers would more deeply consider this spiritual bringing to Christ, as I trust 51that many of ours do, by the grace of God; and that they would abandon this unscriptural infant baptism, of which they make so much ado. This, in my opinion, would be a very desirable thing. For, as a general thing, they abandon their children, from the cradle on, to the wiles of the devil, by educating them in ignorance, blindness, pomp, splendor, vanity and idolatry, as their fruits plainly show to all of understanding minds. Behold, my reader, from these questions and answers you may conclude whether Gellius and the learned can stand on the strength of the saying, " Suffer: the little children to come unto me," with their doctrine and practice of infant baptism, which they practice so indiscriminately, and about which they make so much ado?
Observe, too, that Gellius, by his writing that we do not bring our children to Christ at all, not only judges and disgraces us but also Christ Jesus, because he has no commanded us such bringing to him; hE also judges the holy apostles who have no testified nor taught us a word in regard tc this matter neither by word nor practice it the whole Scriptures.
In the eleventh place he writes: Since Luke testifie that John the baptist was sanctified in his mother' womb, and leaped in the presence of Christ (which, hi says, doubtlessly, was caused by a spiritual movement) and as also Jacob, &c, therefore it is manifest that fioi also works in the children of the church according tc their measure, through his Holy Spirit, and that infant baptism is a command and has the promise.
Answer. If these particular miracles o: God, which were wrought in the case of John and of Jacob, are to be a common rule, then these following miracles were also common rules, namely, that Sarah and Elizabeth, two barren women, conceived in their old age, and that Balaam's ass spoke: Num. 22:28; and, therefore, all aged, barren women should conceive, and all asses speak. O no. That such miracles of God were no common rule things, maybe educed from the floating of iron at Helizeum; from the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea, and from the standing still of the sun and moon, 2 Kings 6:6; Es. 14:21; Joshua 10:13.
I would further say, if, according to the doctrine of Gellius, it follows from the case of John, that all the children of the church, or of the believing members, have the Holy Spirit, then the greater part of his fellowbelievers of the German nation (whom alone, he esteemed as faithful servants, and who, with him, are of the same calling, office and service) are greatly contemned in their doc, trine, faith and usage; for he writes that the children of the holy church have the Holy Spirit, and they believe and teach that they have the evil spirit, for, before they baptize them, they say, Depart thou evil spirit, and give room to the Holy Spirit.
Behold, thus it is generally with all who teach and practice this shameful doctrine. And, although they are unanimous in the practice, yet they are so divided in opinion as to the grounds of this doctrine, that we are forced to say that it is nothing but a vain mask and infernal mockery. Notwithstanding he writes that infant baptism is commanded, and that it has the promise; while he well knows that he cannot advance one plain word from all the Holy Scriptures, to show that the wisdom of God has commanded it, or that the apostles have taught or practiced it; or, moreover, that its signification, penitence, regeneration, &c., can apply to children. To say nothing of the author mentioning that the primitive, incorrupt church did not practice it, as has been heard
Is not this adulterating the word of God, breaking the Scriptures, perverting truth into lies, stealing the honor and praise of God, killing souls and defending the church of anti‑christ ? I say again, as I did before, I have never read a word in the Scriptures with such misunderstanding.
In the twelfth place he writes: "That, according to Matthew, baptism was not first instituted by Christ. For it was before commanded of John and practiced by the disciples of Jesus Christ; so that we are not obliged to follow one rule."
Answer. Let every one take heed, and observe what the word of the Lord teaches. Gellius, alas, is not at all ashamed to deny the plain word of God, and writes: "That we are not obliged to follow one certain rule in. regard to baptism; that Christ did not command to baptize the believing persons alone; nor that his heavenly Father did, when he commanded John that he 52should baptize; and that it was not Christ's meaning that such and such persons should be baptized." Behold, thus the Lord's holy word is perverted.
Inasmuch as Gellius so degrades his Lord's mouth, and so lamentably adulterates his word, therefere I will place the words of Christ, according to Matthew and Mark, before the reader, that he may see what rule and law he has made concerning baptism, and .what command he has given. Christ says, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them (understand, whom you make disciples, by your doctrine) in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," Matt. 28. Again, " Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth (namely, the gospel) and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned," Mark 16:1C, 16. Behold, this is the word and ordinance of the Lord, how and when we are to baptize. I think these words are too plain to admit of perversion by fine words and accuteness‑preach the gospel and baptize those that believe.
But that John taught and practiced baptism before Christ, is evidence for us and not against us, for he practiced upon those who confessed their sins, Matt. 3:6, and not upon unconscious children, as the disobedient, offensive preachers do.
Since John did not baptize any but the penitent, before Christ; since Christ commanded it at the confession of faith, the apostles taught and practiced it so, and, also the primitive church, as heard, therefore, the reasonable reader may reflect, in the fear of God, how miserably and lamentably the poor souls are deceived by these degenerated men who so boldly adulterate the pointed, plain words of Christ concerning baptism, and his pleasing, salutary ordinance, and thus destroy it and found it upon an unstable foundation and wrong meaning.
But his writing, "That the apostles were commanded to gather unto Christ a church, from all nations, and to teach them, not that which Moses, but that which Christ had taught," we admit. Yet through no other command nor ordinance than that they should preach the gospel, make disciples through the doctrine, baptize these disciples, and thus to gather unto the Lord a peculiar people, who should walk in Christ Jesus in righteousness, truth and obedience, as the regenerated children of God, and give eternal praises to his great and glorious name. And with such a people, who walk in his fear, love, word, ordinances and commands, he will be, always to the end of the world. But of infant baptism not a word is mentioned.
In the thirteenth place, he writes, "That the apostles, some of whom were baptized of John, and those who came to him from the cities and from Jerusalem were indiscriminately baptized of John, and could not have had much knowledge of Christ, or a true, strong, sincere faith in him."
Answer. If I understand him aright, he would conclude from this, that, as the baptized disciples were not, before baptism, thoroughly fitted in the doctrine, faith and repentance, but had to exercise themselves in continual penitence, and to die unto sin, as baptism represents, that also the children, although they have no faith before baptism, will, after baptism, when they become of understanding minds, study the doctrine, repent, die unto sin, and walk in newness of life.
To which opinion (if this be his opinion) I would reply: The prophets prophesied of John, Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1. His birth was made known by an angel; Christ testified of him, that he was the second Elias, a shining light, not clothed in soft raiment and not like the waving reed; that he was the greatest of all children born of woman, &c. From which it may be safely educed that he was no light‑minded nor reckless preacher, but that he earnestly and valiantly executed his office, according to the pleasure of God, and that he rightly practiced the commanded baptism according to the ordinance. And, although his disciples were not so thoroughly instructed in all things, yet he did not baptize any but those who confessed their sins, as said, Matt. 3, Acts 19.
But, as to his explanation of. the words: "If thou believest with all thine heart," which Philip spoke to the Ethiopian, that 53they mean to believe without deceit and hypocrisy which he rightly asked of the Ethiopian; and of Luke, to leave an example to all servants of the church, how those of mature years should be baptized, he has rightly pointed out, since he also had arrived to years of maturity. We say, that this is right. We would also state what we desire of all baptizers, is: That they first examine well the faith and foundation of those who wish to be baptized, before they baptize them, that they, in their work and service, may not prove hypocrites.
I think that this is a plain example that the servants of the church should not ask the confession of faith from others, but from those, themselves, who wish to be baptized, as also Otto Brunsu. says concerning this: He says not (he writes), If you do believe or answer for your child, it is then permitted to be baptized.
Since Gellius refers us to the disciples and to those baptized of John, and, as appears, would thereby demonstrate that baptism does not require true faith, and that it makes no difference whether faith comes before or after; and, since we, also, are called anabaptists by him, therefore I in my weakness, would ask him, If the command of Christ and the example of the eunuch are not sufficient to show that faith should precede baptism, and that baptism requires true faith, and why Paul re‑baptized the disciples of John, who had before been baptized with the baptism of John, while John's baptism was not of men, but from heaven? Matt. 21:25. He cannot, scripturally, answer it otherwise, than that it was done because they had never known that there was a Holy Ghost. Inasmuch, then, as these disciples were once baptized in their years of maturity, with divine baptism, and lacked nothing but that they did not have an understanding of the Holy Ghost, and were, on that account, re‑baptized of Paul‑therefore Gellius should consider whether or not true, christian baptism requires true faith, and whether he does not wrong us by contemptuously calling us anabaptists because we re‑baptize those who were not baptized with a divine baptism, as were the disciples of John, but with as anti‑christian baptism, without any knowledge, faith, command or word, as the reckless, ignorant world, in pact, can judge and see.
If we, then, are anabaptists because we re‑baptize those who received a baptism instituted of man and which was practiced upon those who had no knowledge whatever, how much, then, was Paul an anabaptist since he re‑baptized those who were of understanding minds and baptized with a baptism which was from heaven and ordained of God.
In the second place I would ask, since he calls us anabaptists, as has been heard, Why he still adheres to Cyprian, together with both the Concilions‑the African and the Nicene? which unanimously resolved: "That heretics have no baptism, and that therefore those, who have been baptized of heretics, should be baptized with the true baptism." If he says that it is according to the Scriptures and right, then he admits that he was not baptized with the right baptism, and that we are right in re‑baptizing those who have been baptized of such who are not alone by Scripture, but also by Luther, Zuingli and the learned, pronounced anti‑christian servants and the root of all heresy, before the whole world, as we may on every hand see in their writings.
But if he pronounce it offensive and sectarian, then he thereby testifies, in the first place, that the church, or at least a great part of it, was at that time offensive and sectarian.
In the second place, That he couples God's Spirit, word, work, ordinance and command with the anti‑christian and heretical service and works.
In the third place, That he is an antichristian and heretic himself, since he was baptized with an anti‑christian and heretical baptism, and that he yet defends it as the true baptism.
O, my reader, that Gellius had but half an ‑understanding of the word of God, and could but see a little of the truth, he would, all his life‑time lament to God that he has so lamentably profaned the Lord's express command and ordinance, given through John, Christ and the apostles; that he has so inimically slandered the pious, and that 54he passes such a thoughtless and ungodly sentence, by his writings that he not only pronounces us, but also Cyprian, all the African bishops, the Nicene Fathers, besides also, holy Paul himself open anabaptists, nay, heretics.
In the fourteenth place he writes, '° That it is with baptism as it was with circumcision. As God commenced circumcision with Abraham, upon preceding instruction,‑and, for the purpose of the sealing of the promise, it was practiced upon Abraham's seed and children‑so John, the baptist and the apostles commenced baptism with those of mature years, and it was gradually practiced upon the children, since it could not be otherwise on account of circumcision."
Answer. That it is with baptism as it was with circumcision before, namely, in this respect; that it was commenced on previous instruction‑is our ground and doctrine; for Christ Jesus has so ordained it and his holy apostles have so taught and practiced it. But that it should, by the command of Christ and by the teaching and practice of the apostles, gradually have been practiced upon the children, is mere conjecture and not Scripture.
For if it were so, then the apostles did wrongly that they did not, according to the manner of circumcision, commanded of God, baptize both the believing and the children (something which they did not do), as Abraham circumcised himself and his house together with the males of eight days old after him, according to the command of God, and did not gradually institute circumcision, as Gellius maintains, and would make us believe, that the apostles should have done with baptism.
But that he writes that this should have been done on account of circumcision is conjecture and not Scripture; for as the apostles and also John served on the believing ones of the Jews the sign of baptism, why not, then, on their children, if God had so ordained and commanded it, as Gellius pretends he did?
No, no, the command of the Lord concerning circumcision expressly applied, first to Abraham and his household, and then directly to the males of eight days old, Gen. 17:14; but this is not so with regard to baptism, for it applies only to the believing and not to the unconscious children, Matt. 28; Mark 16. Therefore baptism was not gradually practiced upon the children, as Gellius pretends; but it was afterward instituted without the word, ordinance and command of God, by disobedient and selfconceited men, who, alas, have considered a wrought ceremony above the Lord's command and its representation, as is generally the case with the learned and worldlyminded.
Again, as to his writing "that the promise is sealed by baptism, and that it is given not only to the aged, but also to the children "‑the reader should observe that the promise of the grace of God, and of the eternal covenant, is not sealed, now any more, by the perishable blood of oxen and rams, nor by visible water and ceremonies, but solely by the precious blood of Christ on the cross. Blessed is he, who believes it, and cordially accepts it. This promise is made to the unbaptized children, no less than to the baptized believing, so long as they are clothed with childish innocence. and continue in simplicity. But when they come to maturity and accept the dispensed gospel of grace through faith, then the Scriptures teach us that we should baptize them, Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15. But if they reject grace, and lead an easy, impenitent life, neither Christ's blood nor death will avail them; much less will word and water avail them. For, "he that believeth not" (the Scripture means those of understanding minds) "is condemned already," John 3:18.
In the fifteenth place he writes, " They err abominably, because they conclude, from the Scriptures and esamplea which have reference to those of mature years, to a certainty, that it is an ordinance of God that the children should not be baptized, notwithstanding that there is not a tittle in the whole New Testament which forbids it. And therefore they are no less wrong than I should be if I would not feed my children that cannot labor, because Paul says, he that does not labor shall not eat, which is incontrovertibly spoken in regard to those of mature years, and not to children.
Answer. In my opinion, Gellius wilfully intends to uphold the things contrary to Christ and truth, that he may execute the office of an anti‑christian preacher, according to the pleasure of the world. For, when he should write that we act rightly according to the Scriptures, and that there is not a tittle in the New Testament that children 55should be baptized‑he writes that we err abominably, and that there is not a tittle that forbids infant baptism, &c.
Inasmuch as he so willfully and violently contends against the Lord and his truth, and since he in various ways seeks to give his cause a fine appearance by the use of many borrowed words, lies, conjectures and perversion of the Scriptures, and says that we err abominably, &c., therefore I would briefly state: That if he can at any time prove to us by the unadulterated, divine Scriptures and truth, that John the Baptist practiced infant baptism any where; or that it was commanded of Christ and taught and practiced by the apostles;. or, that it was, through the ordinance of the Lord, gradually practiced upon children, as he writes it was; or, that bringing to him is called ed baptism and baptism bringing to him, in the Scriptures; or, that Christ and the apostles have baptized the children that were brought to them; or, that Christ baptized them with a spirit that was powerful in works (the Spirit of God is never idle); or, that small children have faith, or that they are penitent, that they bury their sins and are circumcised through faith and thereby arise with Christ in newness of life; or, that circumcision is called baptism, and baptism circumcision; or, that they have the answer of a good conscience; or, that baptism, anywhere in the Scriptures, is called a sign of the covenant of grace, a sealing of the promise, and an incorporation into the church, or that unconscious children speak with tongues as the believing members of the house of Cornelius did, of whom Peter says, " Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we" Acts 10:47, or, that the true, primitive church practiced it by the apostolic doctrine, usage or command; or, that God is powerful through works which he has not ordained, then we will lay aside our pen, repent and confess before the whole world that our cause is mere deceit, and nothing but falsehood, in this respect.
But if he cannot do so, as it is impossible for him to do, then I would faithfully admonish and fraternally beseech him to consider earnestly and thoroughly how shamefully he refiects on Elod, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, John the Baptist and the apostles, in this matter of infant baptism; how lamentably he adulterates the plain Scriptures and deceives the poor souls; what gross falsehoods he teaches the poor people; how deceitfully he teaches the accursed abomination and passes it for a holy, glorious work; and also, how unjustly he accuses us of abominably erring, we, who clearly have on our side Christ's plain word, the apostolic doctrine and usage, the signification of baptism, and the usage of the true, primitive churches; while he cannot show by a single word of all the Scriptures, that his infant baptism has any foundation in the ordinance and command of God. My faithful reader, beware; fear Good; act justly; search the Scriptures; shun falsehood and follow the truth.
Again, by undertaking to draw the saying of Paul, " That if any would not work, neither should he eat," into his argument, he contradicts himself, and is unworthy of a reply. For, as Paul thereby commands the idlers and busy‑bodies to earn their own bread by honorable labor, lest they become an offense, and troublesome to others, and since such cannot apply to children, therefore such labor was not thereby commanded them. Neither does Paul say, he who does not work, &c., as Gellius writes; but he says, "If any would not work, neither should he eat." So, too, baptism is not commanded to be practiced on unconscious children, but it is commanded in the Scriptures to be practiced upon those who believe the word of the Lord, lead a penitent life and who have a sound understanding and comprehension of baptism, as has been said several times.
In the sixteenth place he writes, "That in Christ Jesus no respect of persons or time is made. For the glory of the kingdom of Christ is not limited to any cities, times or persone; so, neither to any age nor gen. eration."
Answer. Herewith, if I understand it, he would assert that, although, according to his assertion, baptism has taken the place of circumcision, and the males only were circumcised in Israel, that notwithstanding this, both males and females are to be baptised, now, be they believers' children, and 56born of believing parents or not. If that is his meaning and foundation, then he should know that as the grace, favor, love, covenant and promise of God under the New Testament, extended to both men and women, so, also did it extend to all under the Old Testament. For, if God had coupled his covenant of grace and all to signs, whether it be circumcision or baptism, and if those alone were in the church who had received the sign, then the Israelitic women and maids, and also the children of the primitive churches, were in a bad situation; since the first, according to the Scriptures, were not circumcised, and the latter, according to the ancient authors, were not baptized, as has been already said.
No, reader, no. Abraham and all his seed, I mean both men and women, young and old, were the Lord's people and church. But the males only, were circumcised, and not the females, the male children of eight days old, and not the female children, according to the ordinance of God; yet, they all, both men and women, were members of the church under the covenant of God, and were children of the promise, although, I repeat it, the males only were circumcised, and not the females.
So it is under the New Testament. The gospel is "preached, and all who believe it and are baptized, shall be saved; be they males or females. They are members of the church of Christ under God's covenant and grace; they are joint heirs of the kingdom of God, and children of eternal life; also the children, although they are not baptized, Mark 16:16; Acts G:14; 1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 8:14.
For, as God would have his ceremonies under the Old Testament, such as circumcision, the passover, sin‑offering, burnt‑offering, B;c., practiced just as he ordained and commanded them through Moses, in the same manner he will have his signs, under the New Testament, such as baptism and Supper, practiced in no other way than he has commanded and ordained through his Son.
For he says, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." If, now, this Son had ordained infant baptism, then we should practice it, if we would be his disciples; but since he has not done so, we pronounce it, according to the Scriptures, accursed, as said, Gal. 1: S.
I further say, If they, now, place the children of both believing and unbelieving parents, on the same foundation; which, according to my opinion world not be contrary to the Scriptures, then they must recall their doctrine whereby they, before, applied the grace and covenant of God, with many words, to the children of believing parents, and admit that their doctrine in regard to Abraham and his seed, whereby they make baptism take the place of circumcision, has no similarity to, nor connection with it, at all; for it was not commanded of Abraham to circumcise all the children round about him, who were not his seed, but only those which were of his seed, as may be learned from Genesis 17.
In the seventeenth place he writes, would to God that they could once rightly understand the 5th chapter of Paul's letter to the Ephesians, wherein he describes the church, saying, Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water in the word, or as Erasmus says, through the word. Then he goes on and says, This incontrovertibly includes the children along with their parents, that is, the believers and their seed, nay, the whole church. How should they, then, be excluded from the word, while it reads, He has cleansed the church with the washing of water by the word!
Answer. I trust that we, through the grace and enlightenment of the Lord, in our weakness, do not misunderstand these words of Paul, but that we do rightly understand the meaning. We offer Gellius and all the learned, the use of all the Scriptures, besides all reason and experience, if they can show one tittle in the Holy Scriptures to prove that reason and experience teach, that we can teach little children the word of God, from which originates the true cleansing of the heart, or that the Scriptures of the New Testament any where apply the word and sacraments to them; if they can, then we will admit that they are cleansed by baptism through the word, or in the word. But, if they can not do so, then it is already proven that these words of Paul are not written in regard to little children.
It is true, Christ has so loved his church, that he has given himself for her, and has sanctified her through the power and meritsof57 his innocent blood, and cleansed her by water, which is a sign of a new and penitent life, but not otherwise than in the word, or through the word, which, preached in the power of the Spirit, and accepted in true faith, is followed by the ordained baptism as commanded.
Christ said, "Ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you," John ls:3; not, my reader, that they were clean on account that it was outwardly spoken unto them, but because they believed that which was spoken unto them. For God does not cleanse the hearts through any literal water, word or ceremony, but through faith in the word; otherwise all who outwardly hear the word and receive the outward sign of the water, would be holy and clean; this is incontrovertible.
In the eighteenth place, He advances an argument and syllogism. Whatever pertains to the church, also pertains to the members of the church. Baptism pertains to the whole church, both old and young‑therefore baptism pertains to all the members of the church.
Answer. In my opinion it were better for Gellius, since he boasts himself a preacher of the holy word, to leave his logic to the wise of the world, who, alas, seek their own praise and honor more than they do God's: and satisfy himself with the true doctrine, foundation and truth of Christ, and with the unpretentious, plain testimony of Matthew, the publican, and of Peter and John, the fishermen, &c., that he does not deceive the unlearned by such accute reasoning and lead them off the true way.
As to his major proposition (as he calls it), I would say, that if Gellius had applied it to grace, reconciliation, promise, eternal life, &c., which were bestowed upon the whole church, young as well as old, for Christ's sake, and not upon the ordinance of the church, then he would have been right; but as it is, he will have to admit that it is wrong, and contrary to the word of God. For, as regards the ordinances of which he speaks, in which baptism is included, I would say, that all the members of the church are not of one and the same calling, service and work, and are not under one and the same ordinance; for the Lord has ordained apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and servants, in his church, and all are not, on that account, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and servants. Thus it is with the ordinances of baptism and the Holy Supper, in his church; not that we should therefore serve them to the unconscious children, but only to the believing and penitent, according to the Scriptures.
As to his minor proposition, I would say, our doctrine, belief, foundation and confession is, that our unconscious children, so long as they live in their innocence, are, through the merits, death and blood of Christ, in grace, and joint heirs of the promise, as has already been heard. The doctrine of the New Testament, which is a doctrine of the Spirit, does not include them with those who are ruled and governed by the word and sacraments of God, and who are properly called the church of Christ in Scripture.
That the children should be counted into the church on account of the promise, we consent to, but we controvert that they should be included in the ordinances of the church; for this is contrary to all Scripture and common sense, as we will prove by Christ's own words. He also openly reproves Christ and the apostles, together with the Holy Spirit. For he writes, " Baptism pertains to both young and old;" while they have not left us a single example, nor one word in all the Scriptures whereby it is taught or commanded, as may be seen.
Since both his major and minor propositions are not consistent with the word and command of God, as shown, how then, his conclusion, that baptism pertains to all the members of the church, can be consistent with the word and ordinance of God is sufficiently clear to the kind reader.
I would further say, that if this, his syllogism, is right and true, namely, Whatever pertains to the church, must pertain to all the members of the church, &c., which, however, is not so, then it would also be true that as doctrine, faith, knowledge of Christ, true repentance, a regenerated, new life, the circumcision of the ueart, a clear conscience, baptism, Lord's Supper, the love of one's neighbor, a living hope, ardent thankfulness, &c., pertain to the church 58‑therefore they pertain to all the members, both young and old.
If he denies this first proposition of mine, then he denies his own, for it is like his. If he denies, besides, the second, because children, on account of their weak understanding, as he admits, cannot understand the word, and that they, therefore, cannot repent nor be admitted to the Supper, &c., then he testifies that the children do not belong to the church which is governed by the Lord's word and sacraments; and that his syllogism, wherewith he includes all the members of the church, both young and old, in one and the same ordinance, is wrong and false, nay, contrary to God's word. This is my answer to the argument of Gellius and his fellows. How they can stand with this, according to the Scriptures, you may reflect upon in the fear of your God.
In the nineteenth place, he makes a long discourse in regard to the child which was, according to Mark and Luke, called to Christ; and will thereby prove and teach that children believe, or if they do not believe, that they are accounted as believing, be they of whatever age they may. He further writes that a child of two, three or four years old may be corrupted by bad examples; and that we are too timorous because we dare not baptize those whom Christ accounts as believing (as he says).
Answer. If Gellius and the learned had received but a little understanding of the nature, power and properties of true faith, they would be ashamed all their lifetime to have such a poor idea of that precious faith which is a power and gift of God. Moses says that the children have no knowledge of good and evil. The ‑ wise man says, that they have no understanding. Paul says, "Brethren, be not children in understanding," 1 Cor.14:20, and yet Gellius dares write that they believe; as if faith were but a dead thing that has no motive power or work.
O no, true faith, which avails before God, is a living and saving power which is through the preaching of the holy word, bestowed of God upon the heart; that moves, changes and regenerates it to newness of mind; that smothers all ungodliness; that destroys all pride, ambition and selfishness; that in malice, makes us like children, &c. Behold, such is the faith which the Scriptures teach us, and not a vain, dead and unfruitful conjecture, as the world pretends it to be. And that such faith is not to be found in children of two, three or four years old, both the Scriptures and common sense teach US.
O, dear Lord! what great blindness, that this thoughtless man does not observe that he and his like preachers, some of whom have grown already gray, who daily read the Scriptures after their manner, are yet so unbelieving that they dare, for the sake of a piece of bread, adulterate the plain word of God, lead the poor, miserable souls to hell, in great numbers, upbraid, slander and hate all the pious, and innocently heap upon them slanderous lies and disgraces, incite the magistracy to tyranny and blood, and that they delight in pomp, splendor, the lusts of the flesh, avarice, &c., which is such clear proof that they are not alone unbelieving, but that they are also quite earthly and carnally‑minded; and yet they assert that a child of two or three years of age has faith. O, folly and error!
The reason that Christ called unto himself the child, and placed it in the midst of his disciples, was because the disciples were casting about as to who would be the greatest. He set the child as an example to them, and said, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." And that we must inherit the kingdom of God, as a child (in malice, understand), as Mark and Luke write. Paul says, "In malice be ye children." Christ says, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven; and whoso shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a mill‑stone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea," Matt. 18:4‑e. Behold, Christ himself explains to what children we should apply this.
As to his writing that children are accounted believing, is merely a conjecture and opinion which cannot be substantiated by a single word of the Scriptures. Again, 59as to his assertion that a child, two, three or four years old may be offended, I would say, first, If we were to apply, ‑as Gellius does, this saying, " Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe on me," &c., to young children (to which I, on my part, do not consent), then the whole world might well be astounded at these words, from the inmost of their souls. For how they educate their young children, and with what ungodly, offensive life they walk before them, their disgraceful ill‑manners and roguery, alas, teach us, both in city and country. O, reader, that the world would take to heart the salvation of their children, and not, from the cradle on, lead them in the way to hell, by their doctrine and example; what a blessed thing it would be for their souls at the day of judgment!
Second, If the preachers and magistrates would rightly understand this saying of Christ, and believed it just and true, then, in my opinion, the offensive, deceiving doctrine would soon be at an end, and the tyrannical sword be put into the sheath, by which, now, alas, hundreds of thousands of souls, are offended to everlasting destruction, and consigned to the kingdom of the devil. O, Lord! "Woe unto the world because of offences," says Christ, God's mouth and wisdom.
To his writing that we are too timorous, because we dare not baptize children, I would say this, that the Scriptures teach us not to do that which we see proper, but that which is commanded us, Dent. 4:2; 12:32.
Jeroboam was chosen king of the ten revolted tribes of Israel, worshipped in a manner not commanded of God, and therefore he was told by the prophet that God would take away the remnant of his house, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone, 1 Kings 14:10.
Uzziah was smitten for life because he burned incense upon the altar of incense, to which the Lord had not called him, 2 Chron. 26:18.
Luther writes in his preface to Isaiah and says, " God will not be told how he is to be served. He will teach and lead us. His word should be our guide; for without his word it is all idolatry and vain falsehood, however fine and pleasing it may appear." Again, in the 3rd chapter of Daniel, II Worship without God's word is ever idolatry."
I would further say, All those who seek God, and sincerely fear him, obey his ordinance and word.
Israel never circumcised a female, nor offered a ewe for the passover; for God ordained that the males should be circumcised on the eighth day, and that rams should be offered, Gen. 17:11; Egod. 12: S, as heard before.
Since we clearly learn from the Holy Scriptures that Moses and the prophets and besides, the Father, himself, unanimously point to Jesus, who is Wisdom and Truth, to obey him; and since we surely know, by the grace of God, that he is the true Prophet and perfect Teacher, whose word is truth, and whose command is eternal life, and since he has not commanded us a single word of infant baptism, nor his true witnesses, the holy apostles have taught it or left an example, and since we also find that the signification is not applicable to children, and besides, that the Scriptures do not admit of strange worship, self‑chosen ceremonies, nor addition, nor subtraction, and that Goal has several times punished such self‑chosen righteousness and worship, as heard; and further, that the primitive church did not practice infant baptism, as has been often heard, therefore we are so timorous, that we dare not baptize our little children; for these cases to which we have referred, together with the unfeigned love of salutary, divine truth, the sincere fear of our God, and the power of our faith, although in weakness, prevent us.
O, reader, would God grant that our opponents could rightly understand what frightful abominations they commit on every hand with their infant baptism, and how they practice it to the dishonor of God and corruption of their neighbors, then, I trust, this matter would soon be reformed, and by the help of God, he changed to a scriptural usage.
60In the first place, they falsify God and the Holy Scriptures by their infant baptism; for they assert that it is God's ordinance, while there is not a single word or example to be found in all the Scriptures, that teaches infant baptism.
In the second place, they thereby destroy the true church of Christ, and establish an anti‑Christian one which bears the name and semblance of the christian church; although it hates and despises its doctrine, spirit, ordinances and usages, taught by the Scriptures.
In the third place, they thereby console the world in their unrighteousness; for however ungodly, adulterous, perjurious, covetous, pompous, envious, blood‑thirsty, greedy, drunken, carnal, idolatrous and hypocritical they be, yet they boast that they are baptized christians.
In the fourth place, they hate and persecute all those, who, out of pure, godly zeal, avoid this deceitful abomination, reprove their damnable worship, and point them to Jesus and his word alone. Nay, they are called their apostate anabaptists, apostles of the devil, deceived heretics, offscourings and booty.
In the fifth place, although they, and their authors, in the past, have condemned unto hell the institutions and commands of men, and have written one volume after another against it, yet they, alas, altogether adhere, to this abhorrible abomination, because they want to avoid the cross, and gain the favor of the world; they act hypocritically in all things, and do the things which are pleasing to the world; they heap one abominable error upon another; hang crosses upon the child's breast and forehead; they conjure and ask the parents if they believe, &c., drive out devils, and commit other disgraceful acts; so that we are forced to say that all the infant baptizers are hypocrites of all hypocrites, and that infant baptism is an open incorporation into the church of anti‑Christ, the beginning of all deceit, anal an accursed blasphemy and enchantment, which is not only contrary to the plain word and ordinance of the Lord, but also against all reason, nature and common sense. For who that has read the word of the Lord at all, does not know, that a cross made with the fingers cannot help or save a child g That the innocent creature, the unconscious child, which is cleansed by the blood of the Lord, is not possessed of the devil, and that one cannot insure the faith of others, since it is a gift of God?
Say, kind reader, What worse mockery and hypocrisy could be imagined, than to ask of one in the name of another: Do you believe? Do you renounce Satan, &c. I and on an affirmative answer, to baptize an unconscious child that knows nothing of neither yes nor no, of God nor devil, of truth nor falsehood, of life nor death? O blasphemy and shame !
O, Lord 1 O, dear Lord! I how long shall this gross deceit and vile abomination be practiced I I think it were high time that the world should take heed, and learn to know such open deceivers and their doctrine, baptism, supper, life and fruits, and that they would pay more attention to the ordinance, will, word, ways and works of the Lord.
In the twentieth place, he accuses us of a false security, as he calls it, because we, or ours, say that we are assured in our hearts that they err, and that we are right, &c.
Answer. The Lord speaks through Moses, "Whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he" (that is Christ) " shall speak in my name, I will require it of him," Dent. 18:19.
The Father says, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him," Matt. 17: s.
Christ says, "Teach 'them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded‑you," Matt. 28:29.
Paul says, " Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed," Gal. 1:8.
John says, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son," 2 John 1:9, and other like Bayings.
Since all the Scriptures point us to the Spirit, gospel, command, ordinance, usage and example of Christ; and since we, in 61our worship, do not follow conjectures, our own desires, false explanations and doctrines of men, as we are accused of, Christ's plain word and command; the doctrine and usage of the holy apostles, and of the true, primitive church; and, as they (our opponents) are no more commanded to baptize children than Israel was to circumcise females, or that they should found churches, altars and places of worship on hills, or in dales, or that they should offer their children as burnt‑offerings, or that the papists should baptize bells as they are accustomed to, and since they call and persecute the baptism ordained of Christ, as the baptism of heretics, and esteem and practice infant baptism, which was instituted through hypocrisy, as a christian baptism, and since they, besides, boast that they do right by not abandoning this practice; therefore I would gladly leave it to the judgment of all reasonable and impartial readers, who of us are the Sanherib, Holofernes, Pharisaical, and deceiving sects, mentioned as trusting in false security.
He further writes, What else has deceived the anabaptists in the past, that they took. up the sword, than just such security. They imagined that they, as the people of (sod, were marked with the sign, Tau; should subdue the whole world, and bang us preachers, who they said knew better, to our own door‑posts?
Answer. Reader, observe, What else does he hereby say than, Beloved lords, will you yet be merciful unto such an offensive people and wicked heretics? Persecute, imprison, banish and destroy them. They are deserving of it. You may consider and .judge whether the Holy Spirit, in the Revelation does not call this the sting of scorpions, Rev. 9:10. Further on he says that our church was originated by me; something which, as will be hereafter shown, I do not admit. He knows very well that I never was found in the company of the rebellious; but that I reproved their doctrines and abominations with the word of the Lord, as much as I ever did those of the preachers. Notwithstanding, he accuses us of these ungodly practices and wicked deeds; that he may thereby make us, who are innocent, suspicioned of all the world, and deliver us unto the sword of the magistracy. I will leave it to the consideration of all the pious and good-fearing, if this is not seeking the blood of the innocent.
O, that he would have sufficient discretion not to mix the innocent with the guilty. For what else does he seek than to change Simon Peter into Simon Magus, and John and James into Judas
If I should say, I have known some infant baptists which were open perjurers and thieves, therefore Gellius and all the infant baptists are perjurers and thieves. Would not that be wrong? O, faithful reader, how justly has holy David portrayed such slanderers, saying, The wicked murder the innocent in secret places; his eyes are privily set against the poor. He lieth in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; he lieth in wait to catch the poor, &c., Ps. 10:8, 9. For, by such murderous cries, it is caused, that in different places, the pious and faithful hearts ‑men and women, youths and virgins, the gray‑headed, the lame and halt are pitilessly and mercilessly imprisoned and robbed, their children sent abroad in the world, homeless and penniless, as the most wicked upon earth. Some are thrown into boiling oil; others are hanged, racked, drowned, strangled, burned, beheaded or tortured by some other heathenish and tyrannical means. Behold, such are, alas, the consequences of the deceiving and false writings of such blood‑thirsty preachers, in some countries.
Would to God, that he and his preachers, together with all the papists and monks, who are guilty of innocent blood, may find mercy and grace before the eyes of the great and Almighty God, in the day when the fearful sound of the last trumpet shall sound, and that the innocent blood of which they are guilty, be not counted against them. This is my sincere wish and prayer. But if they continue in their present minds, and do not turn from ungodliness, then, says the Spirit of God, the fiery pool will be their reward and part, Rev. 19:21.
Further, I would say, Just as we hate and reprove (understand this in a gospel like way) the bitter and inimical heart, and the bloody and fiendish crying and writing of Gellius and all the contentions‑so, also, do we hate and reprove those that take up the sword, steal, rob, or in airy manner 62wrong any one on earth, be he friend or foe. In this we should pay no respect as to persons, be it father, brother, emperor, king, neighbor, friend, great or small, baptized or not baptized. All those who shed human blood against the word of God, who act contrary to love, who wrong, offend or afflict their neighbor, can not be our brethren, for they plainly show that they are not christians.
We must ever hear that the rebellious and their aiders at Munster, have, in the past, alas, taken up the sword, contrary to God's word, as if we were one with them in that abomination; although we are quite innocent in the matter. But they do not see that they arm whole countries and corrupt them; that they destroy one principality after another, that they use all manner of violence, and thus cause affliction, misery and sorrow, every where. Yea, this is, alas, called doing right.
Since it is manifest that not only France, Italy, Spain and Burgundy, `but also all the German nations, and the rest of the world who boast of the word are guilty of the same deeds, as regards fighting, warring, robbing and shedding blood; why do they, then, reprove the crimes of the rebellious, while they are so far from being innocent, yea, have done the same criminal deeds as those they reprove? Paul says, "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art, that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that. judgest, doest the same things," Rom. 2:1.
In the last place he writes, Our eyes have seen better than the eyes of the anabaptis'ta in regard to wilful sinning, because they have made many doubtful and caused some to recede, &c.
Answer. If he aims this at us, then he should know that he has written more than he should have done. For I can say with a clear conscience, that I never was troubled concerning this matter by the brethren, and that the doctrine has not been broached among us in my time.
I have ever taught that all sins which are repented of are pardoned in the blood of the Lord, be they what they may. David's adultery and shedding of innocent blood, is to me a sure testimony. Yet everybody should take heed that he sincerely fears God, acts rightly, and that he does not wilfully sin against his God, that he does not pervert falsehood into truth, nor truth into falsehood, as did the scribes. For who knows but that he who wilfully sins against his God, will never truly repent and receive grace? Christ says, "Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin," John 8:34.
I fear that if his imperial highness were to present to me many costly gifts, and I should ungratefully squander them, or trample upon them, or cast them from me, his imperial highness would, undoubtedly, severely punish me for such ingratitude, and would probably not again offer me such favors and costly presents.
Therefore, take heed that you do not wilfully despise and adulterate your Lord's word, nor walk according to the pleasure of a carnal mind; lest the manifest grace at once be withheld from you, and you are led into perverse ways. Qui timst Dewm, recedit a malo, he that fears God, shuns evil.
As Gellius exerts himself to adulterate, by his false doctrine, the word of the Lord, to render of no avail his precious blood, and to harden and console the impenitent, reckless world in their wild and wicked ways, under an appearance of the holy word; so he also exerts himself, in my opinion, to root out the salutary, pure truth from earth, and to deliver the pious and godly children into the hands of the executioner, by all manner of false defamations and criminal accusations. If I am wrong rebuke me.
If the name, " grasping kite, 11 is not more applicable to him than a gathering hen, by which name he would like to be called, I will leave to himself and the Lord.
But the Lord, who is the shield and surety of all the oppressed, defends them against the ungodly. He destroys the liars. He abhors the bloody and deceitful; "There is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue," Psalm 6:9.
Therefore they shall not stand before the storm; their light shall be extinguished, and their glory shall vanish. For the Lord is strong, who shall judge them, and he 63will require the poor, deceived souls, and the innocent blood at their hands, and he will give them their reward.
Behold, dear reader, from this you may see that the doctrine and confession of the preachers in regard to infant baptism, can not stand, according to the Scriptures; that it is not founded upon the Lord's command, nor upon the doctrine or practice of the holy apostles, as is the baptism of the believing, but merely upon logic, opinion, conjecture, falsehood, borrowed names and custom. If you be of reasonable mind, then let the infallible and true word of the Lord, and your impartial heart judge between us and the learned.
I would hereby, for God's sake, beseech all readers not to think hard of it that I reprove falsehood, according to the Scriptures; defend truth with truth, point out the right way, seek the salvation of your souls, controvert the false prophets, expose their deceiving, secret snares and defend the Lord's praise. He who seeks the Lord in sincerity of heart, read and judge.
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