Samuel Rutherford on Infant Baptism (Part 1)
Chapter 13 of The Covenant of Life Opened (published in 1655)
There are two sorts of Covenanting, one external, professed, visible, conditional, another internal, real, absolute and the differences betwixt them. 2. Infants Externally in Covenant under the New Testament 3. Some Questions touching infants.
Persons are two ways in Covenant with God, externally by Visible profession, and conditionally, not in reference to the Covenant, but to the thing promised in Covenant, which none obtains, but such as fulfill the condition of the Covenant: For consent of parties, promise and restipulation whether express, by word of mouth, Deut. 5.27. We will hear and do, Josh. 24.24. And the people said unto Joshua, the Lord our God will we serve and his voice will we obey. Or yet tacit and implicit by profession. I will be thy God, and the God of thy feed, makes parties in Covenant. The keeping or breaking of the Covenant, must then be extrinsical to ones being confederate with God. And 2. Infants born of Covenanted Parents are in Covenant with God, because they are born of such Parents, as are in Covenant with God, Gen. 17.7. I will be a God to thy seed after thee. (2.) The Covenant choice on Gods part is extended to the seed, Deut. 4.37. And because he loved thy Fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them. Deut. 10.15. Only the Lord had a delight in thy Fathers, to love them, (and) he chose their seed after them, (even you (Fathers and Children) above all people, (as it is) this day. And the Covenant choice of seed is extended to the seed in the New Testament. Act. 2.39. For to you, and to your children is the promise made. He speaks in the very terms and words of the Covenant, Gen. 17.7., every one of you be baptized, he saith not every one of you, old and young, Parents and Children, repent. For that command of Repentance is given only personally to them who moved the Question, What shall we do, Men and Brethren? (v. 37). For we are under great wrath, and crucified the Lord of Glory. The Answer is, you aged, Repent. (v. 39). True. But ah, we prayed, his blood be upon us and our Children. He Answers to that, every one of you be baptized. Why, that must be every one of you who are commanded to repent? No. It must be every one of you to whom the promise is made, but the promise is made to you and to your children. (The promise of the Covenant must be made to infants, else the meaning cannot stand, Acts 2.39)…