9 Reasons for Baptizing Children

The following excerpt was taken from William Gouge’s book, Of Domestical Duties (1622). This section can be found in the Sixth Treatise, Duties of Parents.


Of the reasons to move parents to see their children baptized. 

That parents are bound to procure baptism for their children these reasons declare.

1. The commandment of God concerning circumcising children: in the room whereof baptism succeedeth now under the Gospel (Col 2:11,12) God’s commandment to this duty was first given to Abraham: and that for himself and all his posterity to observe (Gen 17:10). After this it was in the law laid down as a positive statute (Lev 12:3).

2. The practice of the Jews in a faithful and constant observance of this ordinance: as of Abraham (Gen 21:4); of Zachary and Elizabeth (Luke 1:59): of Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:21), and many others.
Object. The children which were born in the wilderness were not circumcised (Josh 5:5).
Answ. They had no abiding place in the wilderness, but were ever and anon removing: so as it would have been dangerous for the children to have been circumcised: in that extraordinary case this rule took place, I will have mercy and not sacrifice (Matt 12:7).

3. The practice of Christians (Acts 16:15,33), who believing were themselves and their whole household baptized. Under whole household children must needs be comprised.

4. Christ’s embracing and blessing such children as were brought to him: and rebuking those that would have kept them from him (Matt 19:13).

5. The promise of God made to them (Gen 17:7): for seeing God is so gracious as to extend his promise to our children (Acts 2:39): our care must be to procure the seal which God offereth for the confirmation of that promise.

6. The right they have to God’s Kingdom (Matt 19:14). Baptism is an evidence of that their right. It is a parent’s duty to get them that evidence. If children have just title to any lands and revenues, or to any earthly honours and dignities, parents will do what they can to make that title sure unto them even in their infancy: much more careful should they be to make that rich and glorious inheritance, which is in heaven reserved for them, as sure unto them as they can: now no better means for the effecting of this than baptism.

7. Their conception and birth in sin (Psa 51:5). Children drew contagion from their parents: therefore great reason it is that their parents should see them washed with the water of regeneration.

8. The comfort which from the performance of this duty will arise to Christian parents, yea and to the children also themselves when they come to the age of understanding. When parents behold the covenant of God surely sealed and confirmed to their children, they cannot [if at least they bear any love to their children] but much rejoice therein. And it must needs also much comfort the child when [being of understanding] he shall know that from his infancy he hath carried the seal and pledge of his regeneration.

9. The constant continued custom of the true catholic Church, which ever since the Apostle’s time hath afforded the sacrament of baptism to children.

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