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36. What letteth me? The eunuch’s baptism ensueth now, whence we gather how greatly he profited in a small time, seeing he offereth himself willingly to give Christ his name. For it must needs be that faith was after a sort ripe in his heart, seeing that he brake out into external profession with such desire. I like not that which Chrysostom noteth, that he was kept back with modesty from requiring baptism plainly; for that interrogation hath greater vehemency than if he should simply have said to Philip, I will have thee to baptize me. But we see that Christ was preached to him in such sort, that he knew that baptism was a sign of new life in him, and that therefore he would not neglect the same, because it was added to the word, and such an addition as was inseparable. Therefore, as he embraced that willingly which he heard concerning Christ, so now he breaketh out with a godly zeal into the external confession of faith; neither doth he think it sufficient for him to believe inwardly before God, unless he testifieth before men that he is a Christian. There might many things have come into his mind, which might have kept him back from being baptized, lest that he should lay himself open to the hatred and rebukes both of the queen, and also of the whole nation. But he denieth that any of these things doth hinder him from desiring to be numbered amongst the disciples of Christ. If being instructed but a few hours he came to this point, how filthy is the sluggishness of those men who suppress the faith which they have conceived, having been taught five, ten, or twenty years?
If thou believest with all thy heart. Whereas the eunuch is not admitted to baptism, until he have made confession of his faith, we must fetch a general rule hence, That those ought [not] to be received into the Church, who were estranged from the same before, until they have testified that they believe in Christ. For baptism is, as it were, an appurtenance of faith, and therefore it is later in order. Secondly, if it be given without faith whose seal it is, it is both a wicked and also too gross a profaning. But frantic fellows do both unskillfully and also wickedly impugn baptizing of infants under color hereof. Why was it meet that faith should go before baptism in the eunuch? To wit, because seeing that Christ marketh those alone which are of the household of the Church with this note and mark, they must be ingrafted unto the Church who are to be baptized. And as it is certain that those who are grown up are ingrafted by faith, so I say that the children of the godly are born the children of the Church, and that they are accounted members of Christ from the womb, because God adopteth us upon this condition, that he may be also the Father of our seed. Therefore, though faith be requisite in those which are grown up, yet this is untruly translated unto infants whose estate is far unlike. But certain great men have abused this place, when as they would prove that faith hath no confirmation by baptism. For they reasoned thus, The eunuch is commanded to bring perfect faith unto baptism, therefore there could nothing be added. But the Scripture taketh the whole heart oftentimes for a sincere and unfeigned heart, whose opposite is a double heart. So that there is no cause why we should imagine that they believe perfectly who believe with the whole heart, seeing that there may be a weak and faint faith in him who shall, notwithstanding, have a sound mind, and a mind free from all hypocrisy. Thus must we take that which David saith, That he loveth the Lord with all his heart. Philip had, indeed, baptized the Samaritans before, and yet he knew that they were yet far from the mark. Therefore, the faith of the whole heart is that which, having living roots in the heart, doth yet notwithstanding desire to increase daily.
I believe that Jesus Christ. As baptism is grounded in Christ, and as the truth and force thereof is contained there, so the eunuch setteth Christ alone before his eyes. The eunuch knew before that there was one God, who had made the covenant with Abraham, who gave the law by the hand of Moses, which separated one people from the other nations, who promised Christ, through whom he would be merciful to the world. Now he confesseth that Jesus Christ is that Redeemer of the world, and the Son of God; under which title he comprehendeth briefly all those things which the Scripture attributeth to Christ. This is the perfect faith whereof Philip spake of late, which receiveth Christ, both as he was promised in times past, and also showed at length, and that with the earnest affection of the heart, as Paul will not have this faith to be feigned. Whosoever hath not this when he is grown up, in vain doth he boast of the baptism of his infancy. For to this end doth Christ admit infants by baptism, that so soon as the capacity of their age shall suffer, they may addict themselves to be his disciples, and that being baptized with the Holy Ghost, they may comprehend, with the understanding of faith, his power which baptism doth prefigure.