Does anything actually happen when baptism is performed? This work by Burgess is a polemic which confirms the position of the Reformed Church throughout the centuries. It is a testament to believing the promises of God to his elect church, instead of merely discerning the intents of a profession before baptism by human standards. A must read!
Presumptive Regeneration, or, the Baptismal Regeneration of Elect Infants by Cornelius Burgess (1589-1665)
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Cornelius Burgess (1589-1665) was an active and zealous puritan, a member of the Westminster Assembly, and esteemed as a very learned and judicious divine.
This work by Burgess was written to prove and declare the Scriptural position of Presumptive Regeneration in administering the covenant sign on infants of believers. Burgess’ thesis is, “That it is most agreeable to the institution of Christ, that all elect infants that are baptized (unless in some extraordinary cases) ordinarily receive the Spirit from Christ in baptism, for their first solemn initiation into Christ; and for their future actual renovation, in God’s good time, if they live to years of discretion, and enjoy the other ordinary means of grace appointed of God to this end.” It also serves to separate the Reformed Doctrine from the Scripturally deviant positions of the Anabaptists, Arminians and the Roman Catholic Church.
Burgess teaches through a careful study of Scriptural doctrine and application, that the benefits of the Covenant of Grace are only efficaciously conferred by the Holy Spirit to the elect, which include elect infants. This laver of regeneration (Titus 3) is found opened to us in baptism, and that infants of believers are presumed to receive the same benefits in the sacrament as any others.
This topic was debated thoroughly at the time Burgess was writing, and his work serves as a Reformed polemic to those who would take exception to the Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th century, as well as from various divines such as the early church fathers like Cyprian, Athanasius and Augustine, Reformers like Calvin, Bucer and Beza, Reformed Confessions like the Helvetica and Belgica, as well as English divines of his day like Bishop Jewel, Dr. Whitaker, Dr. Fulke, Dr. Davenant, Bishop of Salisbury, Dr. White, Bishop of Norwich, Dr. Daniel Featly, Dr. William Ames, and many others.
This work is not a scan or facsimile, has been carefully transcribed by hand being made easy to read in modern English, and has an active table of contents for electronic versions.