“Water is the outward sign, and matter of baptism. Water and no other element; pure water without popish mixture, or compostion with oil, cream, spittle, or the like. For this and this only element the Lord appointed; and his appointment stamps on the use of it, Dignity and Authority; and justly checks the curiosity of such as are subject to contemn the simplicity of the element, and advance the dignity of the ordinance by their own dull, but daring inventions: And yet water being an element, cooling heat, quenching thirst, of common use, and easy purchase, and cleaning all filthiness; doth fitly represent unto our minds the cooling and refreshing efficacy, the plenty and easy purchase, together with the purifying property of the blood of Christ.” The Rev. Zachary Crofton (The Vertue and Value of Baptism. London, 1663. p. 6)
The Rev. Zachary Crofton (Nonconformist minister, 1626-1672), in his The Vertue and Value of Baptism (London, 1663) begins the book with short catechism on the subject. One of the questions addresses what renders one to be a fit subject for baptism. It is not the majority report, and is quite contrary to the conversionalism so prevalent now: Q. By what must Infidels converted to the Faith be judged, within the Covenant, and fit Subjects to be baptized[?] A. By making a profession of saving faith, which may be done by men in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity; not by a saving profession of faith, importing sincerity of grace, nor by a well ordered conversation; for God’s Ministers must judge by a present visible sign, and they cannot search the heart: And plants are to be set in the Church before we look for fruit; Baptism is a bond unto amendment of life.