|« Prev||TEACHINGS OF THE HOLY APOSTLES CONCERNING BAPTISM…||Next »|
TEACHINGS OF THE HOLY APOSTLES CONCERNING BAPTISM IN THE WATER.
Again, we are urged by the pure, chaste teaching of the holy apostles thus diligently to teach and receive this christian baptism: First, because it is written, "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter," "Men and brethren what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,'' Acts 2:37, 38.
Most beloved, bear in mind, now and all the days of your lives, not only concerning baptism, but concerning all doctrine you may hear, lest you be deceived by false teaching, namely, as all the true prophets of God, who were between Moses and Christ, conformed their teaching to the doctrine of Moses, so the holy apostles, also, conformed their teaching to the doctrine of Christ Jesus, as he had commanded them, saying, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," Matt. 28:20.
Therefore consider and ponder well that which shall be taught you, by the grace of the Lord, from the word of God, and you will clearly perceive from these words, of Peter, how the words of Jesus to Nicodemus, concerning the new birth, should be understood thus, " Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God," Jn. 3: G. Beloved brethren, the new birth came to pass through the word of God. When this word was taught on the day of Pentecost, by Peter at Jerusalem, the multitudes heard it from his mouth and from the mouth of the other apostles; their hearts were pierced, for, by faith, they accepted these words, and therefore they said, " Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." The same as Christ said to Nicodemus, when he first taught of the birth from above, saying, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
Behold, my chosen brethren I how harmonious are both master and disciples in their teachings, namely: First, the birth from above by which we become children of God. Secondly, the water by which the obedience of the children of God is shown. Thirdly, the communion of the Holy Ghost by which we are assured in our hearts of the grace of God, of the remission of sins, and of everlasting life through Christ Jesus our Lord, Jn. 1:14; 3:2.
Inasmuch as the holy Peter, who is the apostle of God, a true witness, sent by Jesus Christ with the word of everlasting life, enlightened and taught by the Holy Ghost, has thus taught and commanded us, namely, that we shall suffer ourselves to be baptized upon the confession of faith according to the command of the Lord, Mark 16:16; in the name of Christ for the remission of sin, therefore we must receive this baptism the same as is commanded us in the Holy Scriptures, or else we cannot obtain remission of sins nor the Holy Ghost. For who has ever received remission of sins, contrary to the word of God? Surely, it is impossible that we can rob God of the remission of sins and of his Holy Ghost. If we, then, desire the remission of our sins and the Holy Ghost, we must do and fulfill all that which God, the Almighty Father has taught and commanded us through Christ Jesus his beloved Son, and through his holy apostles, in all spiritual matters.
Here it avails nothing that some teach and say, contrary to the holy Scripture, "That the little children are born of Adam, with a sinful or wicked nature, and that therefore they should be washed of their inherent guilt and sin, by baptism." To teach and believe thus, my brethren, is first, a fearful idolatry, and abominable blasphemy against the blood of Christ. There is no remedy, in heaven nor on earth, for our sins, whether they are inherent or 200worldly, but the blood of Christ alone, as we have often shown in our first writings, 1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Jn. 1:7; Eph. 1:7. If we ascribe the remission of sins to baptism and not to the blood of Christ, then we mould a golden calf and place it in the stead of Christ. For if we could be washed or cleansed by baptism, then Christ Jesus and his merits would be of none effect; otherwise we must admit that there are two means for the remission of sin which is not, nor ever can be; first, baptism; second, the blood of Christ. For the most holy and most precious blood of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ must and shall have the praise, as has been so clearly prophesied and testified of all the true prophets and apostles, throughout the Scriptures.
The believing receive remission of sins not through baptism, but in baptism, in this manner: as they now, sincerely believe the lovely gospel of Jesus Christ which has been preached and taught to them, which is the glad tidings of grace, namely, of the remission of sin, of grace, of peace, of favor, of mercy and of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,. so they become of a new mind, deny themselves, bitterly lament their old, corrupted life, and look diligently to the word of the Lord, who has shown them such great love; to fulfill all that which he has taught and commanded them in his holy gospel, trusting firmly in the word of grace, in the remission of their sins through the precious blood and through the merits of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ.
They therefore receive the holy baptism as a token of obedience which proceeds from faith, as proof, before God and his church, that they firmly believe in the remission of 'their sins through Christ Jesus, as was preached and taught them from the word of God; therefore they receive remission of their sins in baptism, as the lovely promise of grace proclaims and represents; the same as the literal Israelites received remission of their sins by their offerings. For in case that we only sought outward baptism and trusted in the literal practice, and would yet continue in our old, corrupted walk, then indeed, all would be in vain, the same as it was in such case, a vain offering, amongst the ungodly and carnal Israelites. For the Lord of lords so often complained through his holy prophets, that their offering was not pleasing to him, that it was nothing but a corrupt abomination and stench, before his holy eyes; inasmuch that they despised the law, love and the commandments of God, and lived according to the lasts of their flesh, Isa. 66:4, 5; and other passages.
Secondly, we are not cleansed, in baptism, of our inherited sinful nature which is in our flesh, so that it is entirely destroyed in us, for it remains with us after baptism; but since the merciful Father, from whom are all good and perfect gifts, has graciously given us the most holy faith, so we manifest in the baptism we receive, that we desire to die unto the inherent, sinful nature, and destroy it, so that it will not any longer be master of our mortal bodies, Rom. 6:12. Although such true believers are often overcome by sin, as John observes, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God," 1 Jn. 3:9.
Brethren, I repeat it, as the Israelites received remission of their sins, through the promise, with which were associated their offerings, when they offered with contrite hearts, not through the offering itself, for then it would be merit, but alone through the word of promise; for it is grace and not merit‑so we receive remission of our sins, when we are true believers and are washed and cleansed in baptism, through the promise; not, I say, through the washing of water, for it is not merit, but through the promise, for it is grace, with which promise the Holy Spirit of God has associated the baptism of the believing, in the gospel, as Paul teaches, saying, " Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church," Eph. G:2G‑27.
Behold, most beloved, from this it is plain that we are not cleansed by the washing of water, but by the word of the Lord, as the holy Paul clearly teaches us in the beforementioned words. Inasmuch as the little, unconscious children, by reason of their incapability201 of comprehending and understanding the preaching of the holy gospel, by which, alone, comes faith, Rom. 10:17; by which faith, alone, God ‑purifies our hearts, Acts 15:9, and not by the outward baptism, as has been said before, and, inasmuch as the express command and word of God, which associates the promise with baptism, solely refers to those who are begotten of this same word and are thus cleansed in their hearts by faith, it therefore follows incontrovertibly therefrom; that these little children, notwithstanding that they are baptized under a false pretension and false explanation of the divine word, are not cleansed thereby, if they ever were unclean, which however is not the case. Why? Because the promise is not associated with their baptism. Therefore their baptism is not done according to the word; but in every respect contrary to the word. For the word requires faith, and they have no faith. Therefore their baptism is without doubt a baptism of their own choice, without God, without promise, yea, idolatrous, useless and in vain.
Whosoever now wants to oppose this, and does not want to believe the ordinance and word of God, let him take heed to what he does. For by infant baptism he nullifies the command of the Lord; tramples upon his precious blood (for he seeks righteousness in this baptism), and he establishes, contrary to the immutable ordinance of God, and of his own carnal choice, a false baptism which God never commanded. Therefore it neither is his holy will, as has been said above and as will be shown more extensively below.
Again the apostle Peter writes, As Noah, in his day, was saved in the ark from the waters of the deluge, so "even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ," 1 Pet. 3:21.
By this passage of Peter, the baptism of the believing is again clearly affirmed and the baptism of infants nullified. For it is impossible that any one can have a good conscience but those, alone, who believe, and whose hearts are regenerated and converted; who acknowledge the divine word which teaches that God the Almighty Father, whose enemies we were before, Rom. 5:10, is now again reconciled through Christ Jesus, his beloved Son; that henceforth, through the merits of our beloved Lord, neither hell, devil, past sins, eternal death, nor the wrath of God will hurt or hinder us. All those who truly believe this, shall receive and obtain a joyous mind and good conscience by the resurrection of Jesus Christ as Peter says; because he has so gloriously triumphed over all his enemies, visible and invisible, to our profit; and has again seated himself in heaven, at the right hand of his Father. Such, are first inwardly baptized with the Spirit and fire, according to the word of God, and are thus taught in their hearts by this Spirit, and are led in all divine truth, righteousness, obedience, and evangelical fruits and works. They are inwardly so enkindled with this fire of love, having become conscious, by the word of God, that such great grace, I repeat it, grace, has been bestowed on them through Christ Jesus, that they regard neither lords, princes, philosophers, learned men, councils, long usages, women, children, flesh, blood, decrees, nor any other threats; neither life nor death, but remain glad in Spirit, maintain, at the risk of home, not only the outward baptism, but also all the works of love and the fruits of righteousness, which the true mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ has taught and commanded us in his holy gospel, either himself or through his holy apostles.
Behold, beloved brethren, in this manner baptism saves us, as Peter teaches; not the outward literal baptism, but the inward, spiritual baptism, which as obedient children of God, has led us through the power of faith, to the outward literal baptism; for the outward, literal baptism is nothing more than obedience to the divine word, and thus it is a seal or proof of the righteousness from whence the true, fruitful faith comes; the same as was the literal circumcision to the believing and obedient Abraham, Rom. 4:10, 11.
Since Christ Jesus has commanded that we should baptize the believing, Mark 16:18‑therefore holy Peter followed the commandment in his teachings; and has 202taught baptism to be a work of faith, namely, the answer of a good conscience toward God, which answer none can experience but those alone who have faith. Inasmuch as there is but one literal baptism taught in Scripture, which baptism shows and is proof of the answer of a good conscience toward God, as Peter teaches, and thus by this Scripture of Peter, infant baptism is prohibited; for they cannot have this consciousness like the believing. Therefore take heed, kind reader, whosoever you are, lest you offend God. For all those who thus lamentably oppose this evangelical baptism of the believing, which baptism is so pointedly commanded of Jesus Christ, and is thus taught and practiced by .his holy apostles, either by doctrine, word or sword, must confess and acknowledge that they were hitherto neither right believing, regenerated, obedient, nor inwardly baptized with the Spirit and fire. Again, let every one of you beware and take heed for it does not concern anything temporal, but it concerns your poor, naked souls which have been so dearly bought and delivered by such a precious treasure.
Beloved children in the Lord, however incontrovertibly our cause is confirmed and founded in the word of God, yet some are not ashamed, persistently and continually to write, talk, and slander against us; advising and exciting persecution, slaughter and blood‑shed against us; in part I presume from ignorance, partly out of partiality, and because they are enemies of the cross of Christ and because they do not desire the lovely, spiritual life which is of God; and say, "Although infants have not ‑the answer of a good conscience, as the believing have, yet this should be no cause of not administering baptism to them; but they ought to be baptized, that they may the better receive instruction in the word and commandments of God."
Most beloved brethren, when an idolatrous, refractory and disobedient person has not the word of God wherewith to defend his cause, he yet acutely invents something wherewith he can so beautify and adorn his invention and carnal righteousness with a semblance of divinity and holiness, that it seems quite right, just, spiritual, holy, divine and unblamable in the sight of those who are not versed in spiritual matters of faith; and the more so because their unchristian hearts and carnal minds are prone to trust in outward works, yea, through their own choice and opinion, as I understand it. If I write wrongly, then rebuke me according to the word of God; for the greater part of them have always sought righteousness in wrought ceremonies, and not in Christ, as is evident from the fact that, as now, the unintelligent teachers and bishops in the days of the apostles, or soon after, commenced the practice of infant baptism, contrary to the command of God and the doctrine of the holy apostles, as may be readily perceived in the book of Tertullian, called "Corona Milites." He writes that among the ancients almost invariably the adults were baptized with the washing of regeneration. Understand me rightly brethren. Tertullian lived one hundred and eight years after Christ, some say one hundred and forty years. As early as in the days of these ancient writers, the true, evangelical baptism, which was commanded by Christ and taught and practiced by his holy apostles, had become degenerated with many, which baptism he clearly testifies that the ancients almost invariably practiced upon adults. If now, brethren, it were so that the ancients, who were before him, already baptized infants, as it appears, and to which we consent, because he says almost invariably; and in another place in the same book, as the Strasburgian philosophers write of him, he says, "That in the same fount or water‑bath, both children and adults were baptized." Nevertheless, infant baptism was no apostolic institution nor practice, nor a divine command; for if Christ had commanded it, and the holy apostles had taught and practiced it, then the ancestors of Tertullian would not have baptized some infants, but all the infants of upright, believing parents, indiscriminately.
That it is no divine command nor apostolic institution, was well known and shown by the beloved, aged father, Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, who was a particular opponent of Arrius; for he, so long after the days of the apostles, did not baptize203 the infants of his church, as may be plainly seen and understood from the Church History of Eusebius, Vol. 10, Chap. 14, translated by Ruffinis, on "The play of Children," by Anthanasius. Therefore the intelligent and learned Erasmus, of Rotterdam, as Sebastian Franck writes of him, who had perused and understood all the noteworthv writers of the world say, That the ancient fathers disputed about infant baptism, but never settled it.
Behold, kind reader, inasmuch as the ancients, from the beginning, were not unanimous in this matter; and inasmuch as they did not all practice infant baptism, as appears from Tertullian and Alexander; and as those who practiced infant baptism have ever sought righteousness therein, as may be seen by their writings‑therefore we will not place our foundation upon that which is uncertain, but upon that which is certain, which is Christ's word. Neither will we seek our righteousness in the outward baptism nor in any other works, as does the world, but in Christ Jesus, as all the Scriptures teach us. Herewith we desire to present our cause to the consideration and judgment of all the world and let them tell whether they have ever read in the word of God, I sap in the word of Clod or in his gospel, that Christ Jesus and his holy apostles taught two different baptisms in the water, namely, that one baptism should be administered to the believing, which baptism represents death unto sin, a new life, the answer of a good conscience toward God, and the washing of regeneration, Rom. 6:12; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21; Tit. 3: C; and that the other baptism should be administered to infants, which signifies nothing only that they should be outwardly washed with water.
Brethren, judge rightly and do not deceive your souls. We know that they first say "That infants are cleansed of their inherent sins and that therefore their baptism is not in vain." To this we reply with the word of God: That such belief is abominable idolatry; for in this case the blood of Christ avails, and not the outward baptism, as has been shown above.
In the second place they say, "That thereby they are accepted into the covenant of God." To this we reply again: That this is not because of baptism, but alone through the mild election of grace, Eph. 1:6; for it is grace and not merit, Rom. 11:6.
In the third place they say, "That children should be baptized that they may the better be trained in the word of God and his commandments" To this we reply again: That we desire to know where such is expressed and written in the holy Scriptures. Give a discreet answer, we pray you, who assert infant baptism to be right, just and necessary, and who so lamentably slander and profane us on account of baptism, that we may no longer be deceived in our hearts; but that we may assuredly know by the word of God where to find this infant baptism. For however industriously we may search day and night, we yet find but one baptism in the water, pleasing to God, which is expressed and contained in his word, namely: Baptism on the confession of faith, commanded by Christ Jesus, taught and administered by his holy apostles, which is administered and received for the forgiveness and remission of sins in such a manner, as we have fully proven above by the words of Peter, Acts. 2:38. But of this other baptism, that is, infant baptism, we find nothing.
Because this infant baptism is nowhere commanded nor implied in the divine word, therefore we take issue with you and all the world, that we regard it not only as vain, but we believe and proclaim it as idolatrous, useless, and unavailable, not only by words merely, but at the cost of our lives, as has been proven by events in many countries of Germany. The reason is this, because it is administered without the word and commandment of God; because righteousness is sought therein; and because the true baptism of the believing must be so lamentably rejected and trampled upon, by the whole world, as an heretical baptism, as far as the name of Christ is mentioned. Therefore, brethren, it is nothing but opinion and human righteousness, to teach, without the word of God, that infants should be baptized, that they may be the better trained in the word of God and his commandments; as we find to 204the contrary that, although these parents have their infants baptized, they yet, from youth on, are trained by these same parents in this Adamic nature, in all manner of pride, pomp, avarice, vanity, lying, cursing, swearing, dancing, singing, foolishness, artfulness, hatred, enmity, revengefulness and to the accursed life of this world, the same, as from the beginning the heathen have done who never confessed God.
What profits such baptism as they have received? Is it not merely folly, deceit, mockery and shame in the sight of God? Certainly. Beware. There can be no greater hypocrisy, mockery or blasphemy in his sight. Inasmuch as, perhaps, the secret awfulness which is hidden in infant baptism, is not yet rightly understood by you ‑therefore I will briefly present the matter, that you may the better distinguish between truth and falsehood. I will present to you that which for many centuries, as all men may have seen, has been of daily occurrence and which, alas, yet occurs daily.
In the first place, we will imagine an extremely corrupted, ungodly, carnal knave who is yet called a priest, pastor, vicar or prebendary by the world. This same unchaste man, full of all manner of roguery and deceit, covers his condemnable knavery with such a pleasant semblance that none suspicion him, as does the ravening wolf in sheeps clothing, Matt. 7:5. His head is frequently shaven, perhaps, as proof that he wants thus violently to shave off and destroy all lusts and desires of his wicked, sinful flesh; he desires to walk in long robes, as Christ says, Luke 20:40, as if he were pious, holy and venerable; he daily reads his prayers with folded hands and uncovered head, as if he were very ardently inspired; he kneels and burns incense before stone and wooden blocks, which he calls Peter, Paul, Mary and the worthy crucifix of the Lord. I tell this verily without facetiousness, of which God is my witness. Judge now whether this is not the case.
Besides he buys a hundred wafers for a stiver, takes one at a time, consecrates it as he savs, and that mentally, without saying a word, nods to it, worships, implores and eats it; and this same thing he believes and teaches to be the true flesh and blood of our beloved Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Almighty and living God. Besides he must be so pure and chaste in his walk that he is not allowed to have a legitimate or wedded consort, although the Holy Scriptures allow it, but the Pope has forbidden it. All these and other abominations he calls and teaches to be the holy worship, and the most holy, christian faith. Such fruits are begotten and produced by this evil tree, by the faith that is within him; and after he has orderly, sumptuously and well performed his carnal holiness, he proves his inward holiness, by seeking the best female company, wine and beer; drinks, sings, dances, laughs, shouts, scolds, fights, curses, swears, boasts, plays, courts and defiles himself with his female servant, his neighbors daughter, or wife whose husband perhaps is at sea, or some other place, trying to earn a livelihood by the labor of his hands. Thus he lives in shameful adultery until, by the fruits thereof, it can no longer be concealed, when the blame is cast upon some one else, and the fruit . (understand what I write), is disposed of, and by falsehood and deception their shame and adultery are concealed.
Behold, brethren, they of whom such illegitimate children are born, have been baptized in their infancy, claiming thereby to be christians; they boast of Jesus Christ and of his precious blood. But we may see by their fruits what kind of christians they are, and what kind of faith they have.
Therefore I tell you these things, O kind reader, that you may know in the first place, what kind of christian parents these are, what kind of faith they have, of whom some children are born who are, notwithstanding all this, carried to the baptism and are baptized on the faith of their hypocritical parents, and are therefore called christians. O, abominable mockery!
In the second place, I find at many places, throughout the world, numbers of vain and abandoned characters, some of them sanctified, others not, some claiming nobility, in a worldly sense, some of large means, some of mediocrity, some poor, in short, of all classes, who, in the same manner, live in all manner of debauchery, vanity, inebriety 205and uncleanliness, according to their shameful, inordinate lusts and devilish desires, and in all‑ manner of fornication and adultery. Th ey seduce all they can, notwithstanding they are baptized. And when they, by their recklessness, have succeeded in accomplishing the ruin of such simple and uncircumspect souls who are also born of Adam, and who are, perhaps, deceived by, false promises and gifts, and led thereto by their accursed actions, then yet, it must be considered by those of their class as a great honor and respectability, as the prophet says. Yet, notwithstanding all this, these same persons alike carry the children who are thus illegitimately born of such profaners, rogues and abandoned women, to the baptism, that they may be called christians and be trained up in the same works and fruits as their adulterous parents, in whom and by whom they are conceived, and begotten in accursed and damnable adultery. , unbelief!
In the third place, I find almost universally, both among men and women of whatever class or condition they are, noble, rich, poor, citizen or yeoman, who were baptized in infancy, and on that account are called christians, yet they lead such sinful lives that we can form no idea thereof. Their pride, unchastity, avarice, fraud in buying and selling, quarreling, hatred, unrighteousness, unmercifulness towards the tenant and the , poor, their cursing, swearing, lying, cheating, pomp, debauchery, drinking, vanity, foolery, blood‑thirstiness, cruelty, hypocrisy, tyranny, transgressions, idolatry and all manner of wickedness know no bounds.
If there are some who are not guilty of all the beforementioned vices, on account of their natural indisposition thereto, it must be admitted that there is not one in a thousand who industriously seeks and desires to walk according to the commandments of God, or to live according to his blessed will. Nor do they ask for the right way to eternal life that they may be saved; yet they must be called the right, christian church. Thus has God, the righteous judge, obscured the understanding and natural intellect of those who reject his holy word, and who make and honor things of their own choice, as an idol.
Notwithstanding the heathenish life of both father and mother, yet their infants which are born of them must, without the word of God and merely out of their own choice, be conjured, blessed, rubbed with spittle, anointed, crucifixed and baptized, and after this has been done at the instance of their parents, although contrary to the commandment of God, they are called believing,, christian people, no matter how ungodly, inhuman and devilish a life they lead; and are admitted and received into the church as full and proper members.
, Lord, Father, how very broad, easy and pleasing to the flesh is the entrance into this miserable, carnal church; for it is all as said, no matter who, or what, or how he is, it is all right, if he has but been sworn before a fountain, and washed and baptized in it by an idolater. But how wonderfully narrow, Lord, is thy way, and how very strait is the gate which leadeth into thy poor and holy church. Yea, so narrow that on its posts are stripped off gold and possessions, flesh and blood and all the lusts and inclinations of those who desire and sincerely seek to enter in at this narrow gate; and thus, by thy grace, to rest and remain forever in thy holy church, Matt. 7‑ 13.
Behold, kind readers, I have referred to this in this manner, ‑first, that you may the better conceive and understand what kind of christians, those are, what kind of faith they have, and what kind of life they lead, to whom infant baptism has been administered and who now have it administered to their children, that the true, divine knowledge may multiply in you, that you may rightly comprehend, by the word of God, what abominable mockery and hypocrisy infant baptism is before the Almighty God; and that there is no other fruitful, pleasing and available baptism before God, than alone the baptism which is administered and received according to the command of Christ, Mark 16:16; namely, the baptism upon the confession of faith, as has been frequently remarked. Secondly, I must refer you, in the same manner, to how wonderfully far the custom of the godfathers, 206who lift the child upon the basin and answer their confession of faith, is different from the Spirit, commandment and word of Christ, that by all these facts, falsehood, unbelief, abuse, and satanic imposture may appear to you and be demolished; and that, on the other hand, truth, faith, the right practice and the divine will may be made known and acted upon.
Inasmuch as Christ commanded that the baptized should first believe, Mark 16:16, before baptism should be administered, Acts 8:38, and as the world well knew that infants had no faith; and as they, notwithstanding this, would have unconscious infants baptized, as human righteousness ever has looked upon, profaned, persecuted, despised and rejected the righteousness of God as useless, imperfect and foolish; therefore the ninth or tenth pope, named Higinius, without any commandment of God, hit upon a happy idea, with which the world has hitherto been well satisfied, and by means of which they baptized their infants, and those who feared God more, and therefore understood the word of God better, were for the greater part thereby excommunicated as heretics. This means was this: That some should be chosen from the church, whom they called godfathers, who should lift the children up to the fountain, to be baptized, and who should care for and answer to the faith of the child. Most beloved reader, it is true this matter has a fine appearance and show, but is not in accordance with Christ's Spirit and meaning because the practice of godfathers is a human institution, as history plainly shows; therefore I am at a loss to know why it is that all the learned of the upper and eastern countries yet have this practice of godfathers, since they have so bravely and incessantly written, taught and battled with the word of God, against all human institutions and teachings; for nowhere in the divine word are we taught the practice of such godfathers, in any manner whatever; but every where in the Scriptures where baptism is spoken of, it is shown in very plain characters that the baptized must believe for themselves, must confess it verbally and by their works, and thus desire and receive baptism as a commandment of God, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38; 8:36; 10:48; 16.:33; and other passages.
Again, if it were even so that the practice of godfathers was in accordance to the word of God or the commandment of Christ, which however is not so, O, how extensively and closely, and with what great care we would have to search, in city and country, for a suitable person to discharge the duties of such an office. For, How can one blind man lead another I How can one fool make another wise $ How can one poor person be surety for another? Understand what I write. In the same manner one unbelieving person can be no surety for the faith of another; "For every man shall bear his own burden," Gal. 6:6. Neither can he teach nor advocate the faith of another so long as he himself has no true, christian faith; for whatever I am to teach another I must understand myself; and prayer must be the prayer of faith, Jas. G:16, in Spirit and in truth, Jn. 4:24.
As the unbelieving cannot be surety, before God, for the faith of another, nor teach him faith, nor advocate it, even if the practice of godfathers were founded on the ordinance of God, which however it is not, so it must be acknowledged and admitted, that the practice of godfathers in infant baptism is entirely vain, useless and unavailable. I will leave every intelligent christian to judge what faith there is in the godfathers.
I know that I will be asked if there are no right, believing godfathers, who with good consciences, hold the infants to the basin 8 To this I briefly answer: No. For, in the first place, it is human righteousness, contrary to the word of God, and without the ordinance of Christ; and therefore it can not be practiced with a good conscience. In the second place I admit that there are godfathers who are honorable and virtuous; but, truly, I do not know that they are truly believing; for if they were true believers it would be impossible that they could ever be led to practice such abominable shame with infants, without the word of Christ. For there is no word to be found in all the apostolic Scriptures which in any manner teaches and commands us such a thing; not to say any thing about the impurity, 207avarice, pomp, ignorance concerning divine matters, idolatry, foolishness, vanity, refractoriness against God and his blessed word, and of the accursed, carnal life of most of those who are called to this office by the church, that the faith of the parent and of the godfathers alike, upon which they baptize these infants and through which they are thought to acquire faith themselves, may go over on them; as we have too often seen that the one adulterous knave calls upon the other; one drunkard on the other; or one proud person upon the other. By their works they show plainly that it is not of God; but that it is deceit, devilish hypocrisy, human righteousness, blasphemy, mockery, destruction of the ordinances of Christ, and, in every respect contrary to the blessed word of God.
Behold, worthy brethren, in the course of time they have thus subtlely converted and changed the heavenly doctrine, and lovely ordinance of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ into such unclean mocking, abuse and shameful practice. O, Lord, Father of grace, that this fearful and abominable snare and imposture to our miserable souls, might once be destroyed, Amen.
In the third place, as we have first shown you the faith and life of the parents; second, the command, faith and life of the godfathers, we will now show you who those are whose office it is to baptize these infants and thus to make christian people out of them, and will point you, faithful reader, to your ‑ own pastor, vicar, prebendary or chaplain, as you call their. Yea to all the priests round about you; that you may closely scrutinize them according to the word of God, and see if there is one amongst all of them, I say one, however many there may be, who is called of an unblamable, christian church, who is moved by the Spirit, and who is unblamable in both doctrine and life: O, brother, not one, no, not one, however far you may travel, and however industriously you may search. Their calling is of the dragon and of the beast. They have nothing which forces them to this office, but, solely, their lazy, greedy, avaricious, proud and gluttonous flesh. Their teaching for the‑ greater part, is merely deceit; their worship is all idolatry, spiritual enchantment of the bottomless pit and a cause for shedding innocent blood. Besides, their daily walk is so shameful, unclean, sodomic, adulterous, lustful, greedy, avaricious, backbiting, envious, unmerciful, treacherous, ambitious, blind, ungodly, fearful and so abominable that all reasonable men, the angels of God and the heavens must be astounded and ashamed thereat.
Say, kind reader, is it not so? Have you, ever found greater pride, avarice, gluttony, adultery, fornication, spitefulness, hypocrisy, mockery and shame than is found amongst them? I am aware that they are not all alike unchaste and shameful in their daily walk; yet there is not one amongst them, however finely he appears before the world, but his worship and life is of the flesh‑of the devil; contrary to God and his blessed word.
Worthy, beloved brethren, he who knoweth all things, knows that I do not write this with hatred or with bad intentions. Therefore, judge for yourselves all things according to the word of God, and according to your rational, natural understanding; as you may daily perceive these things amongst them. You will without doubt acknowledge that I have discovered and presented to you nothing but the truth, out of love for your salvation. Say, have I done wrong to discover and present unto you the wiles of a thief or murderer? Pluck from your eyes this accursed and abominable blindness, and look to the truth of your Lord; root all unbelief from your obscured hearts, and believe the word of God. Behold, the holy apostle Paul says, " Not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother, be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat." A proof that, although they call themselves brethren or christians, they are not in the church of Christ on account of their dis• reputable life. For the church of Christ is holy, pure and unblamable. In another place he teaches that such shall not inherit the kingdom of God, Rom. 1:32; 1 Cor 5:11; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:6.
Now if they are not in the church of Christ, and if they cannot inherit the king 208dom of God, tell me what things divine, or christian can then be served or practiced by them in the house of the Lord, that is, in the church of Christ? Notwithstanding that we should not keep the company of such, nor eat with them, and notwithstanding they have not the promise of salvation according to Paul, on account of their unbelief and their terrible, wicked, beastly life, yet the world is so blinded by them and so estranged from God that they look upon, honor and accept them as true shepherds, teachers and pastors who have power from God to do anything they please while they only make their pretensions under the false cover of christianity and of the holy, christian church, as they call it. O, blindness!
These are they, O ye men, who yet this day are allowed to mislead the whole world by their false doctrine, and to uselessly bless, conjure and baptize infants, without the word or command of God, notwithstanding that the most holy gospel of Jesus Christ opposes and rebukes such things.
As these spiritual fathers or teachers are, so also are their children who are begotten of them, that is, those whom they teach and baptize as they plainly prove and verify by their fruits.
Behold, brethren, by no‑ other means than by these beforementioned teachers; and infant baptists, the church of Christ is converted into such a work of hypocrisy, shame, mockery, deceit, degeneration, knavery and prostitution. O, misery of misery!
Now you have presented to you, first, the parents of whom the children are born, with their unbelief and carnal life; secondly, the papal godfathers, together with their abuse, unbelief and evil fruits, who lift the children to the basin for baptism, and answer their confession. Thirdly, the teachers, or baptizers together with their sending, calling, doctrine, idolatry, unbelief, and ungodly works, who baptize the infants, and, as they call it; cleanse and wash them of their inherent sins; all of which parties, namely, parents, godfathers and baptizers, themselves feel in their hearts neither knowledge, faith, truth, love, fear of God, gospel, christian fruits, obedience, remission of sins, peace of mind, prayer, promise, God, Christ, Spirit, nor eternal life; but are only nominal christians. These deliberately claim to make a christian out of a child just taken from the mother's womb, which can neither stand, walk, hear, speak, nor comprehend; which for lack of understanding, is as the irrational animals; which cannot distinguish between good and evil; without the word and without faith by no other means than by crucifixes; breathing, salt, oil, crisma, candles, clothing, useless questions and answers; blessings, conjuring, baptizing, offering, and such like abominations, and when this noisy, idolatrous hypocrisy has been practiced upon the infants, then they are christian people, as the nurses tell the mother after these things . have been performed, saying, we have received from you a heathen but a christian we return and deliver to you again.
The next thing in order, is setting the table. Victuals and drink are prepared, the neighbors and friends partake thereof, and the parents are well satisfied with their baptized infant. And from that hour it is trained in all manner of foolishness, unbelief, vanity, sin, shame, wickedness, idolatry and all manner of carnal and devilish works; in a manner, that no knowledge, faith, fear, and love of God, evangelical truth and life can ever take root in it. And should anything occur that something christian‑like would spring up in it, then it will have to suffer much and bear the cross of Christ. I repeat it, because of this baptism it is henceforth considered a christian person, no matter how it acts. Behold, beloved brethren, they call this the holy church of to‑day, and in this manner one of these christians begets the other, until the world is full of them.
Honored reader, understand rightly what I have written unto you, for I have treated so extensively of this matter that you may be convinced of what a secret, hidden snare and what a terrible, fearful idol, infant baptism is against God; and how very useless and idolatrous it is to teach that infants should be baptized that they may be the better trained in the word and commandments of God. Thus human doctrine ever puts on a fine and holy air, but in fact it is, 209verily nothing but hypocrisy, falsehood and a deadly venom.
Those who do not depend on this autichristian, infant baptism, but practice the true, christian baptism which was commanded of Christ Jesus and taught and practiced by his holy apostles, take care of the salvation of their children. Therefore they train them in the fear of God by teaching, admonishing and chastising them, and with an example of an unblamable life, that when they become of mature years, they may hear, believe and accept the most holy gospel of Jesus Christ, and receive the holy, christian baptism, as Jesus and his holy apostles have taught all the believing of God, in divers places of the New Testament.
In the third place, Paul, also, teaches us so, saying, " Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life," Rom. 6:3, 4.
Here the baptism of the believing is again undeniably confirmed, and infant baptism is made void. For as Christ Jesus commanded that we should baptize the believing, Mark 16:16, so, also, it is evident from these words of Paul that baptism represents and signifies something which none can realize but those, alone, who are believing, namely, it represents death unto sin or a burying of the old life, and a resurrection into newness of life.
Since Paul says, This christian baptism is such a death unto sin, and a raising up into a new life, therefore they must confess and admit that none can die unto, and bury his shameful lusts and desires, his inordinate, carnal, ungodly life; and that none can raise up into a pious, unblamable, godly life but those, alone who, as obedient children of God, are taught and regenerated by the word of the Lord; which spiritual death, burial and resurrection are represented in holy baptism. At another place Paul calls it the spiritual circumcision, saying, "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," Col. 2:11, 12.
Inasmuch as it clearly appears that the believing alone die unto their sins, and burp them, and, with Christ, enter into, and are raised up into the new, godly life; and as little children cannot do this because they have no faith by which God operates in his children, therefore it must be acknowledged and admitted, whether they are willing or not, that infant baptism is not commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ, nor taught or implied in the apostolic doctrine.
Kind reader, it is sometimes alleged that other apostles also left Scripture behind them; which Scriptures Pope Gelasius has selected, and that perhaps infant baptism was expressed and implied in them.
Beloved reader, if our opponents build their cause upon the selected Scriptures of the apostles and have no certainty therefrom, but only presuming that infant baptism may have been expressed therein, we would discreetly answer, and ask, first, since they refer to the apostolic Scriptures which we do not have, we would like to know of them what thgse apostles have taught ‑and commanded concerning infant baptism
Secondly, as they seek to establish their doctrine by uncertain Scriptures which they do not have, and that only on presumption, they show thereby that they are unable to verify their doctrine at all by the apostolic Scriptures which we now have.
Thirdly, we say that we should not. teach and practice the ceremonies of the Lord, namely: The holy baptism, upon presumption and adventure, but on certainties.
Fourthly, we say that the apostles have all written, taught and preached in one spirit. Inasmuch as Christ Jesus has commanded baptism on the confession of faith, Mark 16:16, and as Peter, Paul and Philip taught and practiced, according to the commandment of Christ, the baptism of the believing, and not of infants, therefore you may surely deduce therefrom that it was not taught and practiced differently by the other apostles whose Scriptures we do not 210have; even if they had written and published six hundred volumes. For if infant baptism was an apostolic institution it would appear so in their Scriptures. Nor would Tertullian, who lived not long after the days of the apostles, have written, that among his ancestors, almost invariably adults were baptized, as has been said above. Also would Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, have baptized the infants of his church; and the ancients would not have disputed about it; as all those who feared God would act according to the Scriptures and not deviate therefrom; for what Godfearing person would dare to despise, oppose, or in any manner contradict an apostolic institution or practice?
Those who did not rightly confess Christ, but sought their righteousness and placed their trust in outward ceremonies, got the upper hand of the world; and therefore it was not necessary that this infant baptism should be confirmed by any papal decree or council, as it gradually and of its own accord stole its way into all classes, nations and tongues and took its full sway; for the whole church, after the demise of the apostles, through the ignorant teachings of the bishops, gradually degenerated from the trust in Jesus Christ to the trust in outward ceremonies, as may be plainly seen.
Again, brethren, however plain this passage of Paul, Rom. 6, applies to the believing, yet the learned of this barren world have inverted and explained it as confirming and asserting infant baptism, saying, That infants should be baptized that they may become partakers of the death and holy blood of Christ Jesus; and that when they become. of mature age, they may die unto sin and walk righteously before God.
My beloved children in Christ Jesus, if it would do thus to bend, twist and garble, of our own choice, and carnal fancy, the plain truth and will of God and the most holy and glorious gospel of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, then verily, I do not see why we could not so adorn and beautify almost any abomination or idolatry as.to give it a good appearance in the sight of the, ignorant. No, most beloved, no. The eternal, omnipotent, and saving word of God, must be taught, explained and understood according to the true meaning of the Holy Spirit. For they baptize before that which is represented by it (namely, faith,) is found in us. This is no more sensible than to place the cart before the horse, to sow before we have plowed, to build before ‑we have the lumber at hand, or to seal the letter before it is written. Would this not be ridiculed by all the world as foolishness? Yes, certainly. Therefore the Holy. Spirit of God did not imply infant baptism in this beforementioned Scripture of Paul. Yet they are partakers of the death and blood of Christ by the precious promise which was graciously given of God through Christ Jesus our Lord, and not through baptism, Luke 18:16. But this passage of Paul speaks and teaches of those who, in their baptism, through their new birth from above and through their fruitful, operating faith, have died unto and buried their old, sinful life, as Christ Jesus once died in his flesh and was buried. For whosoever thus died with Christ, is already justified of his sins, and is thus victoriously raised up, with Christ, from the power of sin, to the praise of the Lord, in. a new, just, godly, and unblamable life, which is by no other means than through God's word alone, which is accepted and believed by them through faith, as has been alleged above, and is written " 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," Col. 2:11, 12.
O, beloved brethren, open the eyes of your hearts and understanding and take heed; for he who will not willfully battle against his God, or his holy word, certainly, can not mistake these plain words of Paul. Yet Henry Bullenger and many others, on the strength of this epistle to the Colossians, have taught _ baptism to have taken the literal place of the Israelitic circumcision, although without a good reason and without the Scriptures, yet not without a good deal of blasphemy and vituperation. For what reason they have done so, I . do not know; perhaps because Paul has so 211closely placed together and so intimately connected both the spiritual circumcision and the baptism of the believing or upright christians.
O, Lord, thy divine, blessed word is ever garbled into a shelter for 'all manner of false doctrine, heresy and wrong doing, so that the Bible is called by some the book of heresy I Notwithstanding their opposition and subtle lying and philosophizing, the eternal truth of God shall obtain and triumph in the chosen children of God who sincerely desire and seek the same.
I repeat it that I am heartily ashamed to write or speak one single word against such highly renowned and learned men. But what will we do? It will never do to be robbed, by these learned men, of God's eternal truth which leads to eternal life, and which was so plainly‑ taught us by Jesus Christ our Lord, and by his holy apostles. For, verily. I find nowhere that we should follow and obey such learned men rather than Christ and. his holy apostles. If it should be said that they are wise and pious, I say that Christ is the most wise and pious; and if it be said that they are versed‑in many tongues and sciences, I rejoin, briefly, that the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ is not bound by tongues and science. Therefore the most holy and invincible truth of God must be defended and maintained by us, not only against them, but against all the gates of hell, by the most holy word of God, in so far as God has bestowed on us grace, mercy and knowledge..
For this reason I will refer all my readers to Col. 2:12, and would humbly beseech them to judge impartially whether we find in this or any other divine Scriptures that the eircumcisioia of the Israelites was the prototype of infant baptism. It is incontrovertible that Paul, in this passage and also in Rom. 2:29, taught that the literal circumcision was a figure of the spiritual circumcision and not of infant baptism, which circumcision cannot be applied to any but the believing as may be plainly inferred from the figurative, literal practice; for the literal circumcision was to be performed with66German translation of the Bible. stone knives on the foreskin, Josh. 5:2, 3; Gen. 17':23. This spiritual Rock is Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 10:4, the knife with which the believing are circumcised is his holy word. Brethren, understand it well. If we wish to remain with believing, circumcised Abraham in the covenant with God‑into which covenant we are all graciously accepted, young and old, male and female, through Christ Jesus and not through any sign‑then our earthly, carnal birth which is of the earthly, carnal Adam, must be circumcised with this same, stone knife, which is Christ Jesus and his holy word. Therefore examine the beforementioned words of Paul to the Colossians, and judge whether they are spoken in regard to the believing or to unconscious infants: Say, who is it that is circumcised by the circumcision of Christ? Is it not the believing? Who is it that has put off the body of sin by the circumcision of Christ? Is it not the believing? Who is it that is buried in baptism with Christ? Is it not the believing? Who is it that is raised up into a new life by the faith of the operation of God? Is it not the believing? Yea, they are those who hear the word of God and believe it; and not the little infants. Never.
Kind reader, since the infant baptizers seek to prove their cause by the circumcision of Abraham and by his promise, therefore observe and ponder how unreasonably they make this assertion; and observe and ponder also on that which will be briefly taught and presented by us, from Scriptural truth.
In the first place, as we said before, we are all accepted into the covenant with God, not by any signs but by grace, and have obtained the promise by it, if we accept them by faith and walk according to the will of the giver; as Abraham was accepted of God by grace, from amongst the nations, and was made glad with the promise of grace; for he accepted it by faith, and walked according to the will of him who had accepted him as the Scriptures say, He believed in the Lord, and it was counted to him for righteousness, Gen. 16:6; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; Jas. 2:23.
To all those who are thus, by faith, graciously accepted of God into the covenant of peace with Abraham, God has given his ceremonies and figurative signs. Not that 212they should thereby be justified (for if it were by the signs it would not be grace, Rom. 11:6), but that they should be justified by faith; be children of God, children of the promise, &c., that they should show their obedience to the commandments of God who has graciously called, accepted and consoled them by his promise. For those that are obedient unto God, are his friends, Jn. 15.
Behold, brethren, this is one reason why God commanded his ceremonies, as is plainly shown in the case of Abraham; for Abraham was already in the covenant with God, before he was circumcised; as Paul shows, that his faith was already counted for right eousness when he was yet uncircumcised; and because he was in the covenant with God, justified by faith therefore God commanded him the circumcision, in itself a useless and dishonorable ceremony. First, it was in itself quite useless, because it did not benefit any neighbor. Secondly, dishonorable, for it is performed upon the most dishonorable member of the body. And it was commanded him that the believing father, Abraham, should deny himself and not live according to his own desires, but according to the will of him, alone, who, by grace, had accepted him and chosen him from among the nations; and thus he sealed, by this performance, which was dishonorable in itself, that his faith was true and fruitful before God. Why these ceremonies were again commanded, will be shown hereafter, if God please.
Behold, kind reader, in this manner Abraham was circumcised, and thus we are baptized; because it is thus commanded by God. Whosoever 'disobeys and opposes the voice of the Lord commanding these ceremonies, and despises the performance of them because of their uselessness and trifiingness, not observing that it was commanded by God, excludes himself from the precious covenant of grace, by his disobedience; neither does he prove his faith to be fruitful and living, but on the contrary he proves that it is unfruitful and dead before God. For he hears not the voice of his Lord nor lives in accordance therewith, but despises it as powerless, vain and useless. Therefore observe and know that we are not accepted into the covenant by an outward sign, but alone by grace through Christ Jesus. And because we are in the covenant by grace, therefore he has given and commanded us his signs, that we shall perform them upon those on whom he has commanded them to be performed, namely, upon the faithful; for if it were possible that we could come into the covenant with God by any signs or ceremonies, then the merits of Christ were vain, and grace was ended. No, brethren, no. Abraham was already chosen, accepted and justified by God, through faith, before he was circumcised; and because he was faithful, and justified through faith, therefore the circumcision was commanded him of God that he should thereby seal his faith. Again, as Abraham and all his seed born of Isaac, together with others, were already included in the covenant with God, women as well as men, and as the promise was given to both sexes, yet it was not commanded that the females should be circumcised, but the males.
Observe well, beloved reader, had they obtained the covenant with God by the sign and not by grace, then the females must have been excluded and without the promise. Not so, it .was by grace, it is by grace, and it ever will be by grace. If they had been disobedient to the word of God, and not circumcised their males on the appointed day; or if they had done differently from the commandment of God, and circumcised their females, then they would have had to bear the punishment of their disobedience in their children, Gen. 17:14, excluded them from the covenant with the Lord, and not have obtained the gift of his, grace. For God, the Almighty Father, whose voice, will and commandment all creatures, both in heaven and earth, should obey, will have the commanded ceremonies performed as it pleases him and as he has commanded them to be performed, for therefore he has commanded them. If we do not perform them or perform them differently, we have, by our disobedience, neither covenant nor j promise. This is the right, scriptural meaning of Abraham's covenant, circumcision and promise. Whosoever teaches you differently deceives your soul; for he points 213you to merits and works, and not to Christ Jesus through whom alone are received the eternal covenant of peace and promise of grace, given of God.
O brethren, brethren, how long will you oppose the Holy Gnost I Give the word of God its due praise, and observe that little infants are not buried with Christ in baptism; nor are raised into newness of life: for if they did die, and were buried in baptism, then sin, would be so destroyed in them that it would never more vanquish their spirit. Inasmuch as sin, after their baptism, so powerfully, and so abundantly flourishes in them as they begin to come to understanding, as may be plainly seen, therefore the infant baptizers must acknowledge anal confess that they bury the children alive, which should not be; or else that they baptize them all without faith, and contrary to the ordinance of Christ, therefore useless and vain.
For this reason, learn once, beloved reader, that infant baptism is not of God nor through him. But whosoever rightly acknowledges the love of God for himself through Christ Jesus and is baptized upon his own faith through true love of God, according to the doctrine of Christ, Peter, Paul and Philip, is rightly circumcised in his heart with the circumcision of Christ, as Paul teaches; he is buried with Christ Jesus; he has died unto sin, and is again raised up by a fruitful faith with Jesus Christ in a new life, Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12,
In opposition to this, the infant baptizers have still another point, saying, Because Paul, in this passage, has not forbidden infant baptism, therefore it is right. To this we reply by asking: Whether infant baptism is commanded in this or any other Scripture`s They must own the truth and answer, no. If it is not commanded of God, then it is not his ordinance, and therefore it has no promise. Again, if it is not commanded of God, then it is not his ordinance; if it is not his ordinance, then it has no promise; and if it has no promise, it is doubtlessly useless and vain.
Again, we ask them, Where in the word of God it is expressly forbidden to baptize bells? They must own the truth, and answer, nowhere. If it is, then, not expressly forbidden to baptize bells, is therefore bellbaptism just and right? Not at all.
Thirdly, Israel was not forbidden to circumcise the females. Now, would it have been right if they had circumcised their females? Far from it. For the Scriptures commanded that the males should be circumcised therefore they considered that it was forbidden to circumcise their females.
In the same manner Christ Jesus commands us to baptize the believing, and that which is represented by baptism is only found in the believing, as may be plainly seen from Peter and Paul, therefore we infer that infant baptism is sufficiently forbidden; for they have no faith and do not understand the representation of baptism which comes by faith.
I repeat it, If the infant baptists assert that by this Scripture of Paul, infant baptism is not forbidden, and that therefore it is right, that it is not expressly forbidden in the holy Scriptures to bless (as they call it), holy water, candles, palms, goblets and robes; to hold mass, and other ceremonies; yet we pointedly say that it is wrong. First, because trusf is put in it. Secondly, because it is done without the ordinance of God, for he has not commanded us a word thereof; and there is no ordinance in which his holy, blessed word is not expressed and implied either in spirit or letter.
Since Christ Jesus has commanded baptism upon the confession of faith, Mark 16:16; since the apostles have thus taught and practiced it, and as the meaning of baptism Rom. 6:3; Col. 2:12; Tit. 3:6; Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 12:13;.1 Pet. 3:21, cannot be applicable but to .the believing, therefore it is sufficiently forbidden by this divine ordinance, to baptize infants; for there is no faith in them nor do they understand the meaning thereof; notwithstanding that infant baptism commenced soon after the time of the apostles, or perhaps yet in their time, and thus it has been practiced many centuries; for length of time can not prevail against the word of God, as we have sufficiently shown the pious, god‑fearing reader, above.
Fourthly, Thus says the holy apostle Paul, " The‑ kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works 214of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost," Tit. 3:4, G.
Most beloved brethren, if we rightly and thoroughly examine this passage of Paul, with spiritual eyes, and weigh it with the Scriptures, then the infant baptizers, by force of the Scriptures, must acknowledge that the christian baptism which is commanded by God, pertains alone to the believing, according to the commandment of Christ, Mark 16:16, and not to those who are naturally unable to hear, speak and understand, namely, infants; for it is a washing, of regeneration as holy Paul has taught and testified to by the above words.
My worthy, kind brethren, because the holy, christian baptism is a washing of regeneration, according to the doctrine of Paul, therefore none can be washed therewith, to the pleasure and will of God, but those alone who are regenerated through the word of God; for we are not regenerated because of baptism, as may be perceived in the infants who have been baptized; but we are baptized because we are regenerated by faith in God's word, as regeneration is not the result of baptism, but baptism the result of regeneration. This cannot well be controverted by any man, by force of the Scriptures. Therefore all should be shamed by this passage of Paul, let them be ever so learned; the learned, who so shamefully teach and make the unsuspecting populace believe that infants are regenerated by baptism. .Beloved reader, such teaching and belief is, verily, nothing but fraud and deceit. For if the infants were regenerated, as the learned say, then their whole course would be humility, longsuffering, mercy, pure and chaste love, true faith; certain knowledge, sure hope, obedience to God, spiritual joy, inward peace, and an unblamable life; for these are the true and natural fruits of the new, heavenly birth; but what fruits are found in infants every intelligent reader may judge from every day experience.
Do you think, most beloved, that the new birth consists in nothing but io. that which the miserable world hitherto has thought that it consists in, namely, baptism ff or in the expression, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost 8 No, worthy brother, no. The new birth consists, verily, not in water nor in words; but it is the heavenly, living and quickening power of God in our hearts, which comes from God, and which, by the preaching of the divine word, if we accept it by faith, quickens, renews, pierces and converts our hearts, so that we are changed and converted from unbelief into faith, from unrighteousness into righteousness, from evil into good, from carnality into spirituality, from the earthly into the heavenly, from the wicked nature of Adam into the good nature of Jesus Christ; and of such Paul spoke in the alleged Scripture.
Behold, those who are of such a nature are the truly regenerated children of God; those are the beloved brethren and sisters of Jesus Christ, who are born with him from above of one Father, namely, of God, Jn. 1:13; Heb. 2:13. And these regenerated are those to whom, alone, he has taught and commanded the holy, christian baptism, as a seal of faith, Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:1C, by which they receive remission of sin; Acts 2:38, and not the unconscious infants, as has been frequently shown above, from the word of God. Therefore the holy apostle Paul teaches us by this Scripture that God sanctifies the regenerated by the baptism of regeneration; because they are regenerated by the word of God, they deny themselves by the power of their regeneration and have obediently taken upon themselves all that. which God, the Almighty Father, in his holy word, has taught and commanded his chosen children, through his beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and through all his true servants and messengers. Therefore I repeat that the baptism by which God sanctifies us, belongs to the believing or regenerated, as Paul teaches. And in this manner: First, there must be the preaching of the gospel of Christ, Matt. 28:19; Secondly, The hearing of the divine word, Rom. 10:17; thirdly, faith, by hearing the word, Rom. 10:17; fourthly, there must be the new birth, by faith; fifthly, baptism, by the new birth, Tit. 3:6, in obedience to God's word, and, lastly, the promise follows.
If we do not desire willfully to oppose the 215Holy Ghost and reject the grace of God, it is impossible to believe that a true faith can be without regeneration and obedience, and that this obedience can be without the promise. For the eternal truth, the blessed Jesus Christ, will never fail nor deceive us in his holy word; and it is he who taught this: First, to preach the holy gospel, saying, Go ye into all the; world, and preach the gospel to every creature; therefrom follows faith, saying, And whoever shall believe; from faith follows baptism, saying, And be baptized; and from these follows the promise, saying, ,Shall be saved, Mark 16.
Inasmuch as the ordinance of Jesus Christ thus reads, and as the one follows from the other, therefore Paul here teaches us that God sanctifies us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost; for in case true faith and obedience be separated from each other, as is sometimes the case, such as grieving the Holy Ghost and sinning against him, then such faith does not profit us; for it has no promise, on account of disobedience and is, besides, useless and dead before God, Jas. 2.
To all those, who, of their own choice., and contrary to the Scriptures, assert the regeneration of infants, because they were baptized, notwithstanding there are no fruits in them, as may be plainly seen, I reply: First, that he does not know what the new birth is. Secondly, with the same propriety and reasonability, bells are baptized. God in his word has no more commanded the one than the other, for according to their nature, there is as little faith and fruits in the one as there are in the other. O, Lord! when will this awful abomination once cease to be practiced. When will those who now call themselves christians be christians ? Yea, when will the blessed Lord Jesus Christ be acknowledged as wise, true and perfect in his holy word ~ I fear, never. The false teaching, unbelief and opinion is esteemed and loved by these miserable, carnal men, far above the same doctrine of Jesus Christ and his holy apostles. Notwithstanding we say in Christ Jesus, let them baptize their infants as much as they will, let them teach it as long and as strong as they will, and let them assert it on the strength of the garbled Scriptures, of learned men, and of long usage‑yet it is all vain and useless before God; for the regeneration of infants cannot be maintained by virtue of the word of God.
Chosen brethren, let them freely cry out against us, let them adduce all doctors, learned and famous men who have lived centuries ago, let them console themselves with long usage, even from the apostles' time; yet where there is no new birth there can be no baptism administered in accordance with the commandment of Jesus, for baptism is the washing of regeneration, Tit. 3; which regeneration none have but the believing, alone, as we have shown our readers before.
Therefore I would admonish all my belovedreaders in the Lord, not to heed the philosophy of the learned, nor to look at the long usage, but to the plain and unmixed word of God, and you will surely find by this Scripture of Paul, and others, that, according to the commandment of Christ, the christian baptism should be, administered to none but those who, by grace have become believing and regenerated through the word of God. As long as baptism .is, administered to infants, it is no washing of regeneration. For the new birth is of the word of God, as has been often said, which word infants cannot hear and understand; therefore they cannot be born again as long as they are minded as a child. All that which the Father has not planted should be plucked from the heart by the word of God, Matt. 15. God's word shall stand forever, and according to the divine word, every pious christian shall and must build the structure of his faith, if his work shall be pleasing before God; and should not build it according to his own pleasure. For God, the Almighty Father, who rules all things by his word, will not be honored by human doctrine and commandments, Matt. 15:9; Mark 7:7; Col. 2:22; Jer. 29:8.
In the fifth place holy Paul teaches us saying, For ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. " For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ," Gal. 3:27; Rom. 8:3.
My beloved children in Christ Jesus, you 216are aware that all the world, by their blind and foolish unbelief, have hitherto whored with outward works and ceremonies. Yet you should not do likewise. But you should know that the righteousness which avails before God, consists nut in any ceremonies and outward works, but solely in a true, pious and fruitful faith and in nothing else, in this manner. For the faith which comes by the word of God cannot be without fruit only in those who sin against the Holy Ghost, as said above, but it leads into all manner of righteousness, it willingly submits itself in all obedience and it cheerfully complies not only with baptism, but with all the words and ceremonies which God, the gracious Father, through his blessed Son, has so clearly taught and commanded in his holy gospel.
Therefore true faith is the fullness of righteousness, Rom. 3 and 6; yea, it is the true begetter of all christian virtues; and by reason of this, the word of God ascribes to it righteousness, Rom. 3:23, the blessing, salvation, and life everlasting, Jn. 3:36; 17:4, and does not ascribe these to ceremonies. If ceremonies are commanded by him, it is not because of these ceremonies, but it is because of the faith which compels us to observe these ceremonies for they are commanded of God. Therefore you should know, kind reader, that when the ceremonies in God's word are coupled with the promise, as the Israelitic offerings in the law, and baptism under the gospel, then it is not because of ceremonies, but it is by virtue of faith, which obediently and in love fulfills not alone the commanded ceremonies, but also all that which God has commanded, as has been said above.
For this reason holy Paul taught the Galatians that they were become the children of God through faith and not by baptism, saying, "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." And again, because they were the children of God by faith, they showed obedience to his word, and therefore Paul said unto them, "As many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ." Therefore the principal thing is in faith, and not in ceremonies. Bat this godly, fruitful faith, in which all consists, together with its chrisn tian fruits, is not known to many, and for that reason they ever seek their righteousness in outward ceremonies, yea, also in the most useless ceremonies of human invention which are neither taught nor commanded of God, as they have shown, these many centuries, in baptizing infants. Read what we told you above‑ about the parents, godfathers and baptizers and you will see that all the world is led into a false trust by infant baptism; has become estranged from God, and is blinded in regard to all christian matters. And to give their false pretensions a beautiful, holy and divine appearance, they mutilate and twist the precious word of God to suit them, as they fully show in this case; for, by this Scripture of Paul, and other garbled Scriptures, they have fooled and deceived the poor, ignorant people these many years; teaching them that infants put on Christ in baptism, plainly showing by such doctrine that they do not know what regeneration is, nor what it is to put on Christ Jesus.
Most beloved brethren, verily it is the nature of all heretics to tear a fragment from the holy Scriptures and thereby to prove their chosen worship; never observiug what is written before or after, by which we may ascertain the right meaning, as in this instance they have so plainly shown. For this sentence: " as many of you as are baptized have put on Christ," they pick out to give their infant baptism an appearance; but the foregoing sentence: "Ye are all the children of God because you believed on Christ Jesus," from which, as we have shown above, all the rest must follow, that they seem not to have noticed; and thus they, seek merit in ceremonies and not through faith in Jesus Christ.
Besides, inasmuch as they are not clothed with Christ nor have put him on, either actively or passively, and have not tested his heavenly, spiritual nature and Spirit, because they are carnally minded‑therefore they do not understand, however much they write and teach, what it means to put on Christ Jesus, I repeat, either actively or passively.
That we may convince all gainsayers of the word of the Lord, and that we may neither stumble nor err in these words, 217therefore I would refer all my readers to holy Paul. He shows who they are that put on Christ, and what fruits they manifest, by which we may know that they have put on Christ, thus saying; "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness," Rom. 8:10; 6:5.
Kind reader, however dexterously the scribes and infant baptizers may controvert under a false semblance of the divine word, yet none can deny that Christ dwells in those who have put on Christ. Since the truly baptized put on Christ Jesus, he is in them; and if he is in them then the body is dead unto sin and the spirit is life because of righteousness; this being the case, I again call on all reasonable persons to judge impartially for themselves, whether it is found in truly believing persons, or in infants? If they say, in the believing, their judgment is right; for Christ Jesus dwells in the hearts of the believing, Eph. 3:17. But if they say in infants, then I would again ask by what means we may find this out, inasmuch as in these infants the death unto sin and the spiritual life are not shown nor found
For all of them, from infancy, so long as they do not believe the word of God, notwithstanding their baptism, are not alone prone to evil, but also to disobedience, as daily experience openly shows in all those baptized of this world.
Therefore I conclude from this Scripture of Paul, and say, If the infant baptists remain constant in their opinion and belief, that by their baptism, infants put on Christ, that they must come to the conclusion by virtue of the word of God, that Christ Jesus is unbelieving, proud, ambitious, envious, vain, drunk, adulterous, refractory and disobedient to the word of God; for whosoever has put on Christ Jesus does not live himself, but Christ lives in him. If they, then, have put on Christ by their baptism, as they claim, and as, according to Paul, Christ lives in them and rules their actions, so it must follow that Christ is vain and useless in them, or that their accursed works are begotten of Christ, for they yet live in all manner of carnality and ungodliness, and it therefore follows that they have not put on Christ.
No, verily, no. For Christ Jesus cannot be without fruits; but whosoever has put on the humble, long‑suffering, merciful, amiable, peaceable, sober, chaste and obedient Christ, in such an one the beforementioned accursed works are not found; for whosoever has put on Christ, is dead unto sin and lives in righteousness, Rom. 8; is led by the Holy Spirit, born with Jesus, from above, of the Father; and therefore he lives according to the will of the Father, and cannot sin because he is born of God, 1 Jn. 3:9; 5:18.
Inasmuch as all those who are baptized without faith, prove the contrary by their life and do not manifest the nature and virtues of Christ whom they have put on, as they falsely claim; but they manifest in their whole walk the nature and vices of the flesh and of Satan; therefore it proves clearly that they have not put on Christ who is from heaven; but that they have put on the devil, who is from hell; for it is he who actuates and leads them at will, as may be plainly seen: as all their thoughts and works of the flesh and of Satan are natural, inherent fruits which are found all over the world, in all men; no matter of what state, trade, condition, class or sect they are.
Beloved reader, you will acknowledge that every tree brings forth fruits after its own kind, and that by the fruit we may know the tree, Matt. 7:20; 12:33. Therefore it can not fail but that where Christ Jesus is, there are the good fruits of life everlasting; but where the devil is, there are the wicked fruits of eternal death. Yea, whosoever has put on Christ, in him the works of the devil are not found. On the contrary, where the devil is, there Christ is not; the one must give place to the other; for they are two princes so very different that it is impossible for them to dwell in one heart, or for the two to be conceived and included in one human heart, Matt.. 6:24; Eph. 2:2.
For this reason I would admonish all God fearing christians in the Lord to ponder well upon these words of Paul, and tounderstand them according to the divine truth, and you will plainly see that Paul taught by this Scripture just what Christ had commanded, Mark 16:16. The believ 218ing, alone, put on Christ Jesus in their baptism, and they alone bring forth true fruits, and not the infants, as we have here, and also in our first writings sufficiently proven to all the pious and true believers.
Most beloved brethren, let the infant baptizers, to their own condemnation, thus scornfully ridicule such plain Scriptures, and let them subtlely garble and twist them as much as they please, yet this Scripture will ever remain unbroken by them; it will remain so firm and binding that they will stumble thereon, be shamed thereby and will have to stand back, notwithstanding all their flattering. If they would but rightly look into the matter and then judge according to the word of God, what it means according to Paul, what it implies, to put on Christ, whether spoken in the active or in the passive (for all those who are not content with the active may apply the passive to Rom. 13, although it is in the active by Paul, according to the translation of Erasmus), they would soon perceive that it makes no difference in this matter whether it is used in the active or in the passive. But what will it benefit? If the learned have nothing wherewith to obscure the truth they garble things before the ignorant, simple populace, by strange tongues, false explanations, lies, and ‑high‑sounding philosophical reasons. O how justly Christ Jesus said unto the Pharisees, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites I for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in," Matt. 23:13.
In the sixth place,. Paul teaches, saying, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit," 1 Cor. 12:13.
By these words of Paul the baptism of the believing is again plainly taught and confirmed, and, on the other hand, the anti‑christian, infant baptism is rejected and made of none effect, because God, the merciful Father, in his holy gospel, points us to faith, alone, through Jesus Christ, and to the new birth. Because the believing or regenerated act rightly before God, and diligently seek and fulfill his holy will according to the grace they have received‑therefore we must forcibly acknowledge that we cannot be led to this godly gift of faith and of regeneration, otherwise than by the word of God, through his Holy Spirit. All writing, reading, and teaching is in vain, when the Holy Spirit of God, the true Teacher of all righteousness, does not quicken, pierce and turn the hearts of the disciples or hearers, by the only means for this purpose given of God, which is his word.
Since we are baptized by one Spirit into one body, according to the teaching of Paul, and since this same Spirit must quicken and turn the hearts by the word of God therefore it incontrovertibly follows that none should be baptized but those alone whose hearts are quickened and turned by this Spirit through the word of God.
All those, then, who hear the holy gospel of Jesus Christ and sincerely believe it and are thus inwardly quickened and pierced ', by the Holy Spirit (let them be of whatever nation or sex), are baptized by this quickening Spirit into one holy, spiritual body, of which Christ is the head,‑that is into the church. And thus Paul has taught by this Scripture in conformity to the command of Christ, Mark 16: le.
Beloved reader, as those should be baptized who are urged by faith and forced by the Spirit, as Paul teaches, so I will again leave it to your judgment who they are that are led and impelled by this Spirit. Whether they are the believing or whether they are the infants? If you say the believing, your answer is right. For the believing die unto their flesh, lusts and desires, Gal. S:24; they put off the old man and all his works, Eph. 4:23; seek Christ Jesus in purity of heart; bring forth the precious fruits of the Spirit which is in them, and show outwardly and inwardly in all their actions that they are taught, led and impelled by this Holy Spirit, Gal. 5:18; Rom. 8:14. But if you answer, the infants, then I would ask you, Where are their spiritual fruits
As nothing appears in a child but their childish actions, as we said above. Yet they are baptized and called christians, without doctrine, faith and commandment, from which follows that in all the baptized 219of the world nothing is found but abominable blindness, idolatry, hypocrisy, evil thoughts, vain words, madness against the truth, disobedience, blasphemy, trickery and a very wicked life contrary to God and his blessed word.
I am aware, brethren, that children have spiiritum ritalem, that is, the spirit by which they live, which God breathed into Adam and into all flesh that they might live, Gen. 2:7; Acts 17:25. But they have not the Spiritwm Justifccantum, aut innovantem, that is, the spirit which sanctifies or regenerates. For if the latter spirit was in them it would surely be manifested in the fruits, as it is impossible that the Holy ‑ Spirit of God, which of itself is awake, living and fruitful, and by which all true christians are justified, taught, led and urged, should be idle, dormant, and fruitless in those in whom it dwells. Let the infant baptists controvert this as mach as they please, no matter whether they are old, learned, or of high renown, yet it will never be proven by the word of God, that the Holy Spirit of God is ever idle, useless and without fruits. I am aware that one may stumble, notwithstanding he has the Spirit of God, as is shown in the case of the pride, adultery, and manslaughter of David; the hypocrisy of Peter, and the quarrel of Paul and Barnabus; they will not long continue therein, but will be immediately admonished to repentance, either by the kind admonition of the brethren or by the Spirit. For it is impossible that those, in whom is the spirit of love and the fear of God, can long continue in a shameful sin and transgression. If the baptized infants, now, have the Holy Spirit, as the infant baptists affirm, then they must admit that it is a dead, unfruitful and powerless spirit which can beget neither faith, love, fear of God, obedience; nor any evangelical, divine righteousness, in these children.
Because they have, of their own choice, contrary to all scriptural truth, and by their own righteousness, taught infant baptismtherefore they subtlely seek to clothe and adorn it with a garbled form of the divine word, that the adulterous, enchanting wine which is in the goblet of the Babylonian whore, may be swallowed as a good and pure wine, Saying: "That infants should be baptized that they may be the better trained in the word and commandments of God; cleansed of their inherent sins; buried in the death of Christ; regenerated and put on Christ Jesus, yea, baptized into the body of Jesus Christ and thus become partakers of the Holy Spirit." Which teaching is, verily, nothing but open deceit, lies, garbling of the Scriptures and a deception of satan. For in all the baptized of the world we find the very contrary in their fruits, all through their lives, as every intelligent christian may plainly observe.
Most beloved brethren in the Lord, never let such shameful and abominable lies find place in your hearts, but examine all things rightly and according to the word of God, that you may rightly understand all evangelical truth. For thus to ornament infant baptism with the virtues which only belong to the baptism of the believing, is just as reasonable as it is to clothe an ape in purple and silk, as the common saying of the learned implies, which reads, Simia semper manet simia, etiamsi induatur purpwra; which means: an ape is an ape though he be clothed in purple. In the same manner infant baptism will remain a stench and abomination before God, however finely it be ornamented with garbled Scriptures, by the learned; for an infant, so long as it is in its infancy, will remain ignorant, simple and of childish mind, notwithstanding it be baptized a hundred times and its baptism be still more subtlely asserted by six times a hundred garbled Scriptures; as it is plain to all intelligent persons that with infants are found neither doctrine, faith, spirit, fruits nor idea of God's commandment; and that therefore they should not be baptized; that is, if we believe that the word of God is true and will ever remain true, as we have abundantly proven in our first writings concerning baptism, as also in this.
O, kind reader! Verily, if it were not that this bitter, cancerous, lime spittle of false doctrine and long usage had so deeply eaten into the eyes of your hearts, you would acknowledge at once that this large church, in its young days, was not embodied into the pure, chaste, god‑serving, and 220unblamable body of Jesus Christ, by the office of a clean and christian spirit, but rather into the adulterous, idolatrous and blamable body of anti‑christ, by an unclean and anti‑christian spirit.
For if it were the case that they were incorporated into the most holy body of Jesus Christ, as they persistently boast, they should prove by their works that they are serviceable, and fruitful members of that body into which they are incorporated.., For we plainly see that there is no member of the human body created but for some use and purpose, be it ever so small and trifling; but it is in its way profitable and useful to the body to which it belongs. But how useful the beforementioned infants are to the body of Christ Jesus will be perceived by all those taught of the spirit.
From this it incontrovertibly follows, that if they are the body of Christ, as they claim, and that Christ is the head of his church, that Christ is the head of the unbelieving, the avaricious, perjurious, gamblers, drunkards, adulterers, fornicators, Sodomites, thieves, murderers, liars, idolaters, disobedient, blood‑thirsty, traitors, tyrants, proud, and of all rogues and knaves. For where is there one in the whole church of those who were baptized in infancy; that walks unblamably in all the commandments of our beloved Lord Jesus, Christ, and who, either inwardly or openly, is not guilty before God, in some or many of the beforementioned crimes. O no, kind reader, no. The most holy and glorious body of Jesus Christ is wonderfully far different from such a cruel, ungodly, refractory, disobedient, carnal, bloody and idolatrous body.
Most beloved brethren, since they plainly are such transgressors, blasphemers, and willful sinners, judge for yourselves from these and other scriptural reasons, what kind of a body they are; by whose doctrine, commandment and practice; by what Spirit they were and are yet daily incorporated into this very horrible body; yea, such a body that has neither gospel, faith, christian baptism, supper, nor christian life; and therefore neither God, prayer, promise mor eternal life; but only false doctrine, false faith, false sacraments, false promise, ungodly life and eternal death. O, Lord, save all thy beloved children from such an abominable, bloody body.
But in the most holy body of Jesus Christ is a true and orderly state of things according to the word of God, as the true doctrine, faith, baptism, supper, love, life, worship and true excommunication; and therefore also grace, favor, mercy, remission of sins, prayer, God's promise and eternal life. Behold, brethren, where these are, there also, is the true body of Jesus Christ, of which Christ Jesus is the head. They are the true brethren of Jesus Christ who with him are born of God the Father; the spiritual Mount Zion which will never be moved; the spiritual house of Israel which is wisely ruled by Christ Jesus our only King, according to the Spirit, with the unbroken scepter of his divine word; the spiritual Jerusalem in which the great King, the blessed Christ Jesus has placed the glorious, kingly throne of his honor; the spiritual temple of the LOr(I. in which his holy name is sincerely glorified; the spiritual ark of the covenant with his heavenly bread; blooming, red and stone tables upon which the throne of mercy, the blessed Christ Jesus is found under the two cherubims of his testaments according to his promise. Yea, the lovely bride of Jesus Christ; flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, Eph. 5:30; which he placed in his chamber, Cant. 1:4, and kissed with the mouth of his eternal peace, Col. 1; Eph. 1. Therefore no one can be a profitable member in this most holy, glorious and pure body of Christ, who is not believing, regenerated, converted, changed and renewed; who is not amiable, mild, meek, obedient, merciful, chaste, sober, humble, forbearing, peaceable, just, constant, and who are heavenly and spiritually minded with Christ; for it is impossible, according to Scripture, that Christ Jesus will or can be a Prince or head of those who do not conform themselves to him, that is, of those who do not sincerely seek, hear, believg and serve him; but rather trample upon, blaspheme and resist him.
But those who hear and believe the word of God, are, by the Holy Spirit which has taught, begotten and enlightened them, baptized into the body of Christ, on their 221own faith, according to the commandment of Christ; for these are regenerated of the word of God; bury their sins and are raised up with Christ into new life; have a good conscience; receive remission of sins; put on Christ Jesus; become true members of the most holy body of Jesus Christ, which are fruitful, useful and serviceable according to their strength, 1 Cor. 12:13; Rom. 6:5; 1 Pet. 3:21; Acts 2:38; Gal. 3:27. On all such are the affectionate eyes of the Lord, the heavenly blessing, and the merciful mind, protection and solicitude of the eternal Father; because they have sincerely and fully denied themselves, and have obediently followed the will of God to live according to the will of him who has graciously called them, Christ Jesus. Beloved reader, since infants have not this mind, and as the Holy Spirit does not operate, nor show itself to be in them, and since they cannot serve in the body of Christ as is required by the word of God, since it is plain to all intelligent persons, they should not be baptized; for without the quickening Spirit of God, none should be baptized, as we have abundantly proven to all the pious children of God, from his word.
Therefore I conclude in regard to this matter of baptism, with these plain words
Inasmuch as Christ Jesus, the true Teacher, sent of the Father, has commanded us to baptize the believing, Mark 16:16, and as the holy apostles have, in the above adduced Scriptures, so explained that which is represented by baptism as pertaining to none but the believing, and as infant baptism is no such baptism because it is evident that they have no faith nor its fruits, which faith and fruits are the true representation of baptism‑therefore we are again necessarily forced by the word of the Lord, by faith and by the love of God, diligently to teach and receive the baptism of the believing, and to assert it to the praise of the Lord before lords, princes, and the whole world, at the risk of life and goods as true witnesses of Jesus Christ.
|« Prev||TEACHINGS OF THE HOLY APOSTLES CONCERNING BAPTISM…||Next »|
►Proofing disabled for this book
► Printer-friendly version