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Satan’s Appeal to the Regulative Principle

denying infant baptism was made a cause of banishment [in Massachusetts], by men who knew that many who did so, did not hold the errors mentioned in this law. And Mr. Cotton said in those times,

“they do not deny magistrates, nor predestination, nor original, sin, nor maintain free-will in conversion, nor apostacy from grace ; but only deny the lawful use of the baptism of children, because it wanteth a word of commandment and example, from the Scripture. And I am bound in christian love to believe, that they who yield so far, do it out of conscience, as following the example of the apostle, who professed of himself and his followers, We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. But yet I believe withal, that it is not out of love to the truth that Satan yieldeth so much, but rather out of another ground, and for a worse end. He knoweth that now, by the good hand of God, they are set upon purity and reformation; and now to plead against the baptism of children upon any of those Arminian and Popish grounds, as those above named, Satan knoweth they would be rejected. He now pleadeth no other arguments in these times of reformation, than may be urged from a main principle of reformation, to wit, That no duty of God’s worship, nor any ordinance of religion, is to be administered in his church, but such as hath a just warrant from the word of God. And by urging this argument against the baptism of children, Satan transformeth himself into an angel of light.”*

* Cotton on baptism, 1647, p. 3

An Abridgment of Church History of New England, Isaac Backus

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