Of the Subjects of Baptism
Interesting that Flavel answers many of the same objections people are still making today to the baptism of infants. First he sets out positively that the sign of the covenant of grace was given to infants in the Old Testament (circumcision) and that this continues in the new (as baptism, cf. Acts 2:39), then that the children also of Gentile believers are included, and then discusses the legitimacy of our children (cf. 1 Cor 7:14).
Q.11 But have we no express Command in the New Testament to baptize Infants? A. There needed no new Command; their Privilege had been settled many Ages before upon them, and never reversed by Christ, or his Apostles, but their former Right declared to continue still to them, Acts 2:39 For the Promise is to you and your Children, &c.
Q.12But if they have a Right, we might expect to find some Examples of their baptizing? A. It is manifest that Believers Households were baptized with them, Acts 16:15, 33 And when she was Baptized, and her Household, &c. Ver. 33 And he took them the same Hour of the Night, and washed their Stripes, and was baptized, he, and all his straightway. And if Infants are not named, so neither are any of Age, born of Christian Parents.
Q.13 But many trust to their Infant-baptism, as to their Regeneration, and so much Mischief’s done? A. They do so; yet the Duty is not therefore to be neglected. The preaching of Christ is to some a stumbling Block, yet Christ must be preached for all that.
Q.14 But many baptized Infants prove naught? A. And so do many baptized at Age too. Duties are not to be measured by Events.