Home > Baptism > Does a rejection of infant baptism require a rejection of the Lord’s Day Sabbath as well? John Tombes answers

Does a rejection of infant baptism require a rejection of the Lord’s Day Sabbath as well? John Tombes answers

James Renihan:

The popular 17th century Presbyterian preacher Stephen Marshall stated that rejecting infant baptism necessitated a rejection of the Lord’s Day Sabbath as well. Here is the reply from John Tombes.

John Tombes: An examen of the sermon of Mr. Stephen Marshal about infant-baptisme in a letter sent to him. 1645

“You say, . . . I see that all that reject the baptizing of Infants, do & must upon the same grounds reject the religious observation of the Lord’s day, or the Christian Sabbath, viz., because there is not (say they) an expressed institution or command in the New Testament.

Give me leave to take up the words of him in the Poet . . . What a word hath gotten out of the hedge of your teeth! They doe, They must. Though I doubt not of your will, yet I see you want some skill in pleading for the Lord’s day, that others have the truth in that it is neither so, nor so, They neither doe, nor must reject upon the same ground the Lords Day. That they doe not I can speake for one; and your owne words delivered after with more caution, Verily I have hardly either knowne, or read, or heard, intimate that though few, yet you cannot say, but you have heard, or read, or knowne of some, that have not with baptizing of Infants rejected the Lord’s Day; but you have, I presume heard or read of whole, and those reformed Churches, that have upon such a ground rejected the Lords day as not of divine institution, who yet are zealous for paedobaptisme. Nor must they, And to make that good, let us consider their ground as you mention it. Their ground you say is, because there is not an expresse institution or command in the New Testament: this then is their principle, that what hath not an expresse institution or command in the New Testament is to be rejected. But give me leave to tell you, that you leave out two explications that are needful to be taken in; First, that when they say so, they meane it of positive instituted worship, consisting in outward rites, such as Circumcision, Baptisme and the Lord’s Supper are, which have nothing morall or naturall in them, but are in whole and in part Ceremoniall. For that which is naturall or morall in worship, they allow an institution or command in the old Testament as obligatory to Christians, and such doe they conceive a Sabbath to be, as being of the Law of nature, that outward worship being due to God, days are due to God to that end, and therefore even in Paradise, appointed from the creation; and in all nations, in all ages observed: enough to prove so much to be of the Law of nature, and therefore the fourth Commandment justly put amongst the Morals; and if a seventh day indefinitely be commanded there, as some of your Assembly have endeavoured to make good, I shall not gainsay; though in that point of the quota pars temporis which is moral, I do yet [epekein — (original is Greek)] suspend my judgement. Now Circumcision hath nothing moral in it, it is meerely positive, neither from the beginning, nor observed by all nations in all ages, nor in the Decalogue, and therefore a Sabbath may stand, though it fall. 2. The other explication is, that when they require expresse institution or command in the New testament, they doe not meane that in positive worship there must be a command totidem verbis, in so many words, in forme of a precept, but they conceive that Apostolicall example, which hath not a meere temporary reason, is enough to prove an institution from God, to which that practice doth relate. And in this, after some evidences in the Scripture of the New Testament, they ascribe much to the constant practice of the Church in all ages. Now then if it be considered, that when Paul preached upon the first day of the weeke, and Paul was at Troas, Acts 20.7 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] the Disciples came together to breake bread, and Paul, 1 Cor. 16.1 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] ,2 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] as he had appointed in the Churches of Galatia, so he appoints at Corinth collections for the poore the first day of the week, & Revel. 1.10 it hath the Elogium or title of the Lord’s day; and it was so Sacred among Christians, that it was made the question of inquisitors of Christianity, ‘Dominicum servatis?’ hast thou kept the Lords Day? To which was answered , Christianos sum, intermittere non possum, I am a Christian, I may not omit it. It is clear evidence to me, that either Christ or the Apostles, having abrogated the old Sabbath, Col. 2.16 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] subrogated the first day of the week instead of it. Now if a moity of this could be brought for Paedobaptisme, in the stead of Circumcision of infants, I should subscribe to it with you. But Paedobaptisme not consisting with the order of Christ in the institution, being contrary to the usage of it by John the Baptist, & the Apostles, there being no foote-steps of it, til the erroneous conceit grew of giving God’s grace by it, and the necessity of it to save an infant from perishing, some hundreds of yeares after Christ’s incarnation; I dare not assent to the practice of it upon a supposed analogy, equity or reason of the rule of Circumcision, and imaginary confederation with the believing parent in the Covenant of Grace. For to me it is a dangerous principle upon which they that so argue: to wit, that in meere positive things (such as Circumcision and Baptism are) we may frame an addition to God’s worship from analogy or resemblance conceived by us between two ordinances, whereof one is quite taken away, without any institution gathered by precept or apostolical example. For if we may doe it in one thing, why not in another? Where shall we stay? They that read the Popish expositors of their Rituals, doe know that this very principle hath brought in Surplice, Purification of women, &c. that I mention not greater matters. I desire any learned man to set me downe a rule from Gods Word, how far I may go in my conceived parity of reason, equity or analogy, and where I must stay; when it will be superstition and will worship, when not; when my conscience may be satisfied, when not? That which Christ and his Apostles have taken from the Jewes, and appointed to us, we receive as they have appointed; but if any other man, if a Pope, or Oecumenical Councel take upon them to appoint to mens Consciences any rite in whole or in part, upon his owne conceived reason from supposed analogy with the Jewish ceremonies, it is an high presumption in such against Christ, and against the Apostles command to yeeld to it Col. 2.20 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] though it hath a show of wisdome, v. 23. And the Apostles example, Gal. 2.3 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] ,4 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] ,5 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] binds us to oppose it, when it is likely to bring us into bondage.”

 

Source [Confessing Baptist]

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