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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 95. To whom is baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is not to be administered to any who are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized.

1. Are Jews and Pagans to be baptized upon their believing? Yes: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest, Acts 8:31. Will their justifiable profession warrant the administering of baptism to them? Yes: Simon Magus himself believed also and was baptized, Acts 8:13.

2. Are the children of believing parents to be baptized in their infancy? Yes: for a seed shall serve him, it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation, Ps. 22:30. Is it possible that they may be in covenant with God? Yes: For you have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, John 15:16. Is it probable they should be in covenant? Yes: For when Israel was a child, then I loved him, Hos. 11:1. Is it certain they were in covenant? Yes: I will be a God to thee, and to thy seed, Gen. 17:7. Is it therefore certain they are in covenant? Yes: for the blessing of Abraham comes upon the Gentiles, Gal.3:14. Does the seal of the covenant therefore belong to them? Yes: Every man-child among you shall be circumcised, Gen. 17:10.

3. Are the children of Christians members of Christ's visible church? Yes: for of such is the kingdom of God, Mark 10:14. Do the promises belong to them? Yes: the promise is to you and to your children, Acts 2:39. Does the promise of the Spirit belong to them? Yes: I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, Isa. 44:3. Are they capable of receiving it? Yes: John was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb, Luke 1:15. Are they then to be baptized? Yes: For who can forbid water to them which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? Acts 10:47.

4. Are the children of believers federally holy? Yes: Else were your children unclean, but now are they holy, 1 Cor. 7:14. Are they so in their parents' right? Yes: if the root be holy, so are the branches, Rom. 11:16. Are they disciples? Yes: for the yoke of circumcision was put upon the neck of the disciples, Acts 15:1,10. Are they to be received in Christ's name? Yes: Whosoever receiveth one such little child in my name, receiveth me, Matt. 18:5. Are they born unto God? Yes: Thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast born unto me, Ezek. 16:20. Are they bound by relation to be his servants? Yes: I am thy servant the son of thine handmaid, Ps. 116:16. Ought they then to be presented to him? Yes: The first-born of thy sons shalt thou give unto me, Exod. 22:29.

5. Do children need to be cleansed from the pollutions of sin? Yes: for they are shapen in iniquity, Ps.51:5. Is there provision made for their cleansing? Yes: for there is a fountain opened to the house of David, Zech. 13:1.

6. Are the nations to be discipled by baptism? Yes: Go ye and disciple all nations, baptizing them, Matt. 28:19. Are children a part of the nations? Yes: Your little ones stand here this day, to enter into covenant with God, Deut. 29:11,12. And has Christ excepted them? No: Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, Matt. 19:14. Were the families of believers baptized by the apostles? Yes: Lydia was baptized, and her household, Acts 16:15. Did Christ himself receive the seal of the covenant in his infancy? Yes: When he was eight days old he was circumcised, Luke 2:21.

7. Is infant baptism useful for preserving the church? Yes: That our children may not cease from fearing the Lord, Josh. 22:25. Was it a great mercy to you that you were baptized? Yes: For we are the children of the covenant, Acts 3: 25.

8. Must we be careful to improve our baptism? Yes: Be ye mindful always of his covenant, 1 Chron. 16:15. Is it a good argument against sin ? Yes: How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein? Rom. 6:2. And for holiness? Yes: for we also should walk in newness of life, Rom. 6:4. Is it a great encouragement to faith? Yes: Thou art my God from my mother's belly, Ps. 22:10. Is it a good plea in prayer? Yes: Save the son of thy handmaid, Ps. 86:16. Is it a strong inducement to brotherly love? Yes: for we all are baptized into one body, 1 Cor. 12:13.

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