…and what kind of argument had this been, if the Text should be interpreted as these men would have it, Suffer little children to come unto me, that I may touch them, take them up in mine armes, put my hands upon them, and blesse them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to them, who have such like qualities, who resemble children in some select properties? By the very same ground, if any had brought doves, and Sheep to Christ, to put his hands upon them, and blesse them, the Disciples had been liable to the same reproofe, because of such is the Kingdome of God, such as are partakers of the Kingdom of God, must be indued with such like properties.
Danny Hyde recently wrote an article on the relationship between John Owen's view of prayer and politics entitled, John Owen: Prayer as Politics By Other Means. It is now online by signing up for a free subscription to the Ad Fontes journal.
"Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent." (Revelation 3:3; KJV)
If it be inquired, then, by what things chiefly the Christian religion has a standing existence amongst us, and maintains its truth, it will be found that the following two not only occupy the principal place, but comprehend under them all the other parts, and consequently the whole substance of Christianity: that is, a knowledge, first, of the mode in which God is duly worshipped; and, secondly, of the source from which salvation is to be obtained. When these are kept out of view, though we may glory in the name of Christians, our profession is empty and vain. (“The Necessity of Reforming the Church” in John Calvin: Tracts and Letters, 126)
You, brother, must learn hereby so to love your wife, as Christ Jesus loved His spouse His church. That is to say, even as our Savior Christ is very patient towards it, and by little and little purges, washes, and cleanses away the corruption of it, so must you in like manner in all wisdom use the means (and with a patient mind wait for the amendment of any thing that you shall find to be amiss in your wife) that the graces of God’s spirit may daily increase in her. Therefore, I charge you in the sight of God and his angels, and as you will answer unto me and the parents of this my sister, before the judgment seat of Christ, that as you receive her a virgin from her parents, so you neglect no duty whereby her salvation may be furthered, that you may present her pure and blameless, as much as in you lies, unto Jesus Christ when He shall call you to account (Works, 291–92).
This is the fountain of most disorders in most families: where God is not feared, what can abound but profaneness and impiety in… the whole household; where people are not taught the knowledge and fear of God, how should they know or fear Him? Where these graces are absent, how should anything be found but rudeness, stubbornness, and undutifulness? Now therefore… let all husbands and wives that fear God be of one mind in the Lord, and let them not fail… [to establish] the exercises of religion in their houses (A Bride Bush, 93. Cf. Jer. 10:25).
How much may this comfort the soul of every believing parent, to behold this great love and goodness of God in his Covenant of Grace to them and their posterity, that not only themselves, but even their infants for their sakes, should be reckoned to the household of God, put into the Ark, wrapped up in a covenant of love, brought under the wing of God?
While God does hereby honor [parents] to have their children counted to his Church, to his kingdom, and family, to be under his wing and grace, while all the other infants in the world have their visible standing under the Prince, and in the kingdom of darkness, and consequently while others have no hope of their children’s spiritual welfare, until they be called out of that condition; these need not have any doubt of their children’s welfare, if they die in their infancy, nor if they live until they show signs to the contrary: God having both reckoned them unto his people, and given them all the means of salvation, which an infant’s age is capable of.
If no children be members of the visible church, then we have no well-grounded hope according to ordinary course of dispensation, of the salvation of any dying infants: And the reason is, because salvation pertains to the Church, Isa. 45:17; Eph. 2:12; 5:23, 26; John 4:22; Acts 2:27; Luke 19:9. Those that are without the visible kingdom of God, are visibly in the kingdom of Satan; for he is the God of the world, 2 Cor. 4:4. And to him are men delivered, when they are cast out of the church, 1 Cor. 5:5; 1 Tim. 1:20. So if children live and die out of the visible Church, they live and die out of God’s visible kingdom, and visibly in the Kingdom of Satan: and then what visible ground of hope (according to ordinary course) of their salvation? But to account the estate of all that die children, so hopeless and forlorn, is contrary to the tender and rich mercy of the Lord, and to the doctrine of the Scriptures, and to godly parents most uncomfortable.
God having appointed baptism as the sign of regeneration, unto whom he denies it, he denies the grace signified by it. Why is it the will of God that unbelievers and impenitent sinners should not be baptized? It is because, not granting them the grace, he will not grant them the sign. If, therefore, God denies the sign unto the infant seed of believers, it must be because he denies them the grace of it; and then all the children of believing parents dying in their infancy must, without hope, be eternally damned. I do not say that all must be so who are not baptized, but all must be so whom God would have not baptized.
Happy New Year! Let's kick it off Puritan style with a free book giveaway. Our friends at Latimer Trust in the U.K. have given us two (2) 3-book bundles to give away: Chad B. Van Dixhoorn, A Puritan Theology of Preaching, Peter Adam, 'To Bring Men to Heaven by Preaching': John Donne's Evangelistic Sermons, and Martyn Cowan, Portrait of a Prophet: Lessons from the Preaching on John Owen (1616-1683).
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