The proper subjects of baptism are those only who give credible evidence that they have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit or, in other words, have entered by faith into the communion of Christ?s death and resurrection.
A. Proof that only persons giving evidence of being regenerated are proper subjects of baptism:
(a) From the command and example of Christ and his apostles, which show:
First, those only are to be baptized who have previously been made disciples.
<402819> Matthew 28:19 ? ?Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?; <440241>Acts 2:41 ? ?They then that received his word were baptized.?
Secondly, those only are to be baptized who have previously repented and believed.
<400302> Matthew 3:2, 3, 6 ? ?Repent ye...make ye ready the way of the Lord...and they were baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins?; <440237>Acts 2:37, 38 ? ?Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent ye and be baptized every one of you?; 8:12 ? ?But when they believed Philip preaching good tidings concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women?; 18:8 ? ?And Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue believed in the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized?; 19:4 ? ?John baptized with the baptism of repentance saying unto the people that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Jesus.?
(b) From the nature of the church, as a company of regenerate persons.
<430305> John 3:5 ? ?Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God?; <450613>Romans 6:13 ? ?neither present your members unto sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.?
(c) From the symbolism of the ordinance, as declaring a previous spiritual change in him who submits to it.
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