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but betray their own ignorance in the original languages, and by consequence, in the true interpretation of Scripture.
I should not have insisted so long upon this, but that the false exposition of these words hath occasioned that no less dangerous than numerous sect of anabaptists in the world; for the old Latin translation having it, Euntes ergo, docete omnes gentes ; hence, the German, where anabaptism first began, and all the modern translations, render it as we do, Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them.' From whence it was supposed by some that were not able to dive into the true meaning of the words, that our Saviour here commanded that none should be baptized but such as were first taught the principles of the Christian religion; which is the greatest mistake imaginable; for our Saviour doth not speak one word of teaching before baptism, but only after, ver. 20, didáσкOVTES, his meaning being only that his apostles should go about the world and persuade all nations to forsake their former idolatries and superstitions, and to turn Christians, or the disciples of Jesus Christ; and such as were so should be baptized. And therefore infant baptism is so far from being forbidden, that it is expressly commanded in these words; for all disciples are here commanded to be baptized; nay, they are therefore commanded to be baptized, because disciples. And seeing all disciples are to be baptized, so are infants too, the children of believing parents; for they are disciples as well as any other, or as well as their parents themselves; for all that are in covenant with God must needs be disciples: but that children are always esteemed in covenant with God is plain, in that God himself ommanded the covenant should be sealed to them,
as it was all along by circumcision. But that children are disciples, as well as others, our Saviour puts it out of all doubt, saying of children, of such is the kingdom of God.'1 And therefore they must needs be disciples, unless such as are not disciples can belong to the kingdom of God, which a man must be strangely distempered in his brain. before he can so much as fancy.
And besides, that children, so long as children, are looked upon as part of their parents; and therefore as their parents are, so are they: if their parents be heathen, so are the children; if the parents be Jews, so are the children; if the parents be Christian, so are the children too; nay, if either of the parents be a Christian or disciple, the children of both are denominated from the better part, and so looked upon as Christians too, as is plain, 1 Cor. vii. 14. But now are they holy,' that is, in a federal or covenant sense, they are in covenant with God; they are believers, Christians, or disciples, because one of their parents is so.
Now seeing children are disciples as well as others, and our Saviour here commands all disciples to be baptized, it necessarily follows that children must be baptized too. So that the opinion that asserts, that children ought not to be baptized, is grounded upon a mere mistake, and upon gross ignorance of the true meaning of the Scripture, and especially of this place, which is most ridiculously mistaken for a prohibition, it being rather a command for infant baptism.
But I must crave the reader's excuse for this digression from the matter principally intended,
' Mark, x. 14.
though I could not tell how to avoid it; nothing being more needful than to rescue the words of our blessed Saviour from those false glosses and horrible abuses which these last ages have put upon them, especially it coming so directly in my way as this did.
Secondly, here is the extent of their commission, which is very large indeed, not being directed to some few particular persons, but to nations; not to some particular nations only, but to all nations; 'Go ye therefore and disciple all nations;' or all the world, as it is, Mark, xvi. 15. This was that which the prophet Isaiah, or rather God by him foretels, Isaiah, xlix. 6, which our Saviour himself seems to have respect unto, Luke, xxiv. 46, 47. The meaning whereof, in brief, is this, that though the Jews hitherto had been the only people of God, and none but they admitted into covenant with him, now the Gentiles also are to be brought in and made confederates or copartners with them in the covenant of grace; that the partition-wall being now broken down, the gospel is to be preached to all other nations, as well as the Jewish; Christ being now come to be 'a light to lighten the Gentiles as well as the glory of his people Israel.'
But though the words of the commission be so clear to this purpose, yet the apostles themselves understood it not, till God had interpreted it from heaven to St. Peter, showing him in a vision, that he should call no man 'common or unclean.'1 From which time forward, he, with the rest of the apostles, observed their commission exactly in
'Acts, x. 28.
preaching to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. And this was one end, wherefore the Holy Ghost came down amongst them, even to enable them to do what their Master had commanded them, to preach unto all nations; but that they could not do, unless they could speak all languages, which therefore the Holy Ghost enabled them to do, Acts, ii. 4, 5, which also is a clear demonstration of the true meaning and purport of these words: for there was no necessity that the Spirit should teach the apostles all languages, but that the Son had first enjoined them to preach unto all nations.
Thirdly, hence is the manner whereby they are to admit all nations into the church of Christ, or into the Christian religion, by baptizing them 'in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.' For the opening whereof we must know that baptism was a rite in common use amongst the Jews before our Saviour's time, by which they were wont to admit proselytes into their religion, baptizing them in the name of the Father, or of God. A little before our Saviour's appearance in the world, John Baptist being sent to prepare the way for him, baptized the Jews themselves, as many as came unto him, in the name of the Messiah to come, which was called the baptism of repentance. I indeed baptize you,' says he,' with water to repentance; but he that comes after me is mightier than I,' &c.' But when our Saviour was to go to heaven, he left orders with his apostles to make disciples; or admit all nations into the religion that he had preached, confirmed with miracles,
Matt. iii. 11.
and sealed with his own blood, by baptizing them ' in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;' which form of baptism, questionless, his apostles faithfully observed all along, as may be gathered also from Acts, xix. 2, 3, where we may observe, how when they said that they had not so much as heard of a Holy Ghost,' he wondering at that, asked them, 'Unto what then were ye baptized ?' plainly intimating, that if they had been baptized aright, according to Christ's institution, they could not but have heard of the Holy Ghost, because they had been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. But verse 5, also Acts, ii. 38, chap. viii. 16, we read of baptism administered in the name of the Lord Jesus; from whence some have thought that the apostles baptized only the Gentiles in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, but the Jews in the name of the Lord Jesus only; because they believing in the Father already, if they were but baptized in the name of Jesus, and so testified their belief that he was the Messiah, they could not but believe in his Spirit too; but this expression of baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus, seems to me rather to intimate that form of baptism which the Lord Jesus instituted: for, doubtless, the apostles observed the precepts of our Lord better than so as to do it one way, when he had commanded it to be done another; and baptized only in the name of Jesus, when he had enjoined them to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.'
Neither did the church ever esteem that baptism valid, which was not administered exactly according to the institution, in the name of all the three