THE occasion of the following Essay, as represented in general terms, in the beginning of it, did, in the view of the Church affected by it, call for very serious and deliber­ate consideration; that they might be clear to discharge them­selves, as the nature and importance of the case required; and so as they might be acquitted in the day of account.

They considered the two persons referred to, as practising contempt of the sacred ordinance of baptism in their childhood; which baptism is certainly vindicable from the scriptures; whether the following Essay shall be considered as having done it, or not. They considered them also, as violating their solemn faederal connection with this Church, to submission to which, they were holden, as well as to union with it. Also, those persons appeared to look down on the various lenient mea­sures of the Church towards them, contemptuously. But as they alledged conscience for what they did, so the Church con­sidered the case, as wholly out of their power. Yet viewed the persons as going a stray, and that the end would be bitter­ness, when all disguises shall be removed. The Church there­fore were at a plunge, being sharply pinched, between sympa­thetic feelings for their old friends, and a pressing sense of duty lying on them, to do something. Of course, considering the evidence they had, that Baptists proceed in an unscriptural way, and the possibility that pertinent light might tend to extricate those persons from their present embarrassments, and be of use to others in like temptation; and at the same time be a dis­charge of duty for themselves; they determined to exhibit as clear an account as they could, of the nature of the baptism which was used by John the Baptist, under the law; as also [Page 4]of the baptism appointed to be used under the gospel. And they were disposed to desire their Pastor to prepare those exhi­bitions for public view. He was sensible of his insufficiency to do honour to those important topics, together with his daily avoca­tions and incumbrances, would necessarily confine him to the ve­ry shortest method of treating those points. And when he con­sidered the people, whose benefit he had in view, were not able or disposed to comprehend large treatises, he judged it was best for them to give as short sketches on each head, as could consist with some measure of light, in the nature of it. However, he foresaw some disadvantages in so brief a manner of treating the scriptural doctrines of baptism; both because many interesting points could not be, in that way, so distinctly illustrated or prov­ed; and because the class of people, to whom he would feign communicate some light, are as apt to harp on a supposed defect, as they are averse to feel and yield to a fair demonstration. On the whole, as the Church held themselves disqualified to pass cen­sure, for the reason already given; though they know that no conscience ever dictated, what is not scriptural, either materi­ally or in made of management. Of course they held, that the case before them must be refered to the Lord of all consciences; and that they who charge to conscience any other kind of influ­ence, or prepossession, must answer it.

And the Church were equally barred from approving the said two persons, in their conduct, either by neglect, indiffer­ence or silence; because in either they would injure known truth; so they held, themselves confined to the present method.

The writer of the following Essay is sensible, that the gen­eral representation he has given of the covenant of grace, is not exactly agreeable to the sentiments of those who conceive of a covenant of redemption, between the Father and the Son, dis­tinct from the covenant of grace; and who conceive man a party in the covenant of grace. He rather thinks, with ma­ny others, who see no necessity of understanding a distinct cove­nant of redemption; but that Jesus Christ, as the second Ad­am, undertook the salvation of the elect from eternity; was sole party contractor for them, without any actual pardon or [Page 5]justification granted to them, as not yet existing, till faith and repentance should open a door, for the consistent display of such acts of grace upon them. Other sentiments in the Essay, may be charged to the writer's account; but he hopes none offen­sive to the generation of God's children, whose hearts are found in his statutes, nor unsupportable by the scriptures.

The writer found it nearly impossible for him to avoid say­ing the same things, in some parts of the Essay, which have been said by others on the same subject; however, he has been dictated by the scriptures, and the nature of the argument.

He begs leave to insist on two points, from every reader of the following Essay, viz. to read attentively every article, with the evidence adduced to support it: and to suspend censure till be is sure of the sentiment; for if the sentiments are contained in truth, they claim all this as due; but if not, censure is a just reward.

N. B. The said Church also thought it a proper part of the following testimony, to add a number of marks of a wrong sort of religious spirit, in whomsoever they are found. As

  • 1st. To be insensible of the sacred nature of religious cove­nants.
  • 2d. To refuse visible communion with such as are allowed to be real Christians.
  • 3d. To prefer any temporal consideration to the observance of sacred bonds.
  • 4th, To support a profession of saith, without endeavours to keep the commandments.
  • 5th. To hold a confidence of good moral slate, on the foot of any outward action whatever.
  • 6th. To suppose any outward action of his own, commends a person to divine favour.
  • 7th. To hold one Christian better that another, in God's esteem, by any outward action whatsoever.
  • 8th. To hold any outward action of his [...], to be any mean of justifying righteousness to any person.
  • 9th. To hold any branch of sanctification, to be a wear of justification in the sight of God.
  • [Page 6] 10th. To feel preferable to other Christians in the sight of God, by doing any duty whatever.
  • 11th. To prefer [...]selves to other Christians, on any ac­count.
  • 12th. To treat any visible Christians contemptuously.
  • 13th. To indicate a divisive propensity towards visible Christians.
  • 14th. To be inclinded to say, "Stand by thyself, I am holier than thou."
  • 15th. To suppose divine favour as partial to us, as our own.
  • 16th. To hold ourselves excused from any private duty, merely by performance of any public duty.
  • 17th. To be void of that union to all Christians, which is the mark of Christ's disciples.
  • 18th. To break Christian union, rather than practice self­denial.
  • 19th. To hold a spirit of self justification.
  • 20th. To have more religious confidence, than scriptural evidence.
  • 21st. To support a religious hope, by what is not certainly scriptural.
  • 22d. To supply the want of clear scriptural evidence, by mere suppositions.
  • 23d. To be more apt to believe in our own favour, than divine authority will support.
  • 24th. To be deaf to reason and scripture, when they don't favour our own opinion.
  • 25th. To regard the word of God, just as it appears, to suit ourselves.
  • 26th. To make our own principles our rule, for under­standing scripture.
  • 27th. To support any religious principles, by rejecting fair scriptural consequences.
  • 28th. To make a merit of differing from other Christians.
  • 29th. To hold the favour of God, engrossed by any sect whatsoever.
  • 30th. To feel a little more happy, by dividing from any visible Christians.
[Page 7]


The first PART, on the BAPTISM used under the Law.

THE judgment of a Church in Hampshire county, in the case of two persons, who have heretofore professed the christian faith, and submitted to the gov­ernment, watch and care of said Church, and so be­came divinely bound to keep the unity of the spi­rit in the bond of peace with it.

And yet paying no regard to those sacred bonds, have of late, in a disorderly manner, withdrawn them­selves from all connection with said Church, not on­ly without its council and concurrence, but contrary to its painful labours and faithful remonstrances, and unit­ed themselves to what is called a Baptist Church.

And now said Church, still meaning to practise fi­delity to Jesus Christ and them; in consideration of the premises; in consideration also of the noted habit of the people called Baptists, to criminate all opposition to their bias, with the style of persecution; and lastly, in consideration of the utter inconsistency of their scheme, with that of the bible; the said Church holds itself called to exhibit scriptural light to the said two persons, and to whomsoever else it may concern; in [Page 8]considence, that when their minds are disentangled from the bondage of errour, as they certainly will be in this case, they will then know we have treated them in con­sistency with our stable profession: and then we shall leave the said two persons entirely to the Judge of right.

Now as the people called Baptists, hold it a necessary part of obedience and following Christ, to be buried in water, as they say he was in baptisin: We therefore are bound to testify and prove,

I. That Christ's baptism, was not christian baptism.

1. Because christian baptism is a seal of christianity; but the christian dispensation was not in being when Je­sus Christ was baptized, and so there was no such thing to be sealed at that time; and then it must be a seal to nothing, which is no seal at all. Therefore the bap­tism of Jesus Christ was not the christian baptism.

2. Because Jesus Christ's baptism was under the law; but no ordinance under the law, could at the same time be under the gospel; and if not under the gospel, it could not be a christian ordinance: therefore Christ's baptism was not christian baptism.

3. Because Christ's baptism was part of that law-righteousness, which he came to fulfil, and which must be finished before the gospel dispensation could begin; as justification must be finished before sanctification can begin: therefore Christ's baptism could not be christian baptism,

4. Because as every thing done to fulfil the law was legal, and as Christ's baptism was confessedly done to fulfil the law; Matt. iii. 15,—therefore Christ's bap­tism was legal, not christian baptism.

5. Because to be baptized in obedience to the legal dispensation, must be legal obedience; but Christ was so baptzied: therefore his baptism was legal, not gos­pel obedience.

6. Because what Christ came to do was to fulfil the righteousness of the law, Matt. v. 17. But that was law-work, not gospel-work: therefore Christ's baptism was legal, not evangelical.

[Page 9] 7. Ordinances of the law, and of the gospel, are dif­ferent; but Christ's baptism was an ordinance of the law, as the next argument will shew: therefore Christ's baptism was not a gospel or christian ordinance.

Objection. But the Lord's supper was instituted un­der the law also.

Answer. True; but it was the very night in which he was betrayed, so it must be then or never, I. Cor. xi. 23. Whereas Christ was baptized several years be­fore. Beside, he commanded the future constant use of the Lord's supper; but no such command about his baptism, because that was part of his perfect law, right­eousness, which none ever could do but himself.

Nay further, Jesus Christ knew that he was appoint­ed by the Father to be faithful in all God's house, the church, as Moses was,—Heb. iii. 2 But Moses ap­pointed the Paschal feast, as a constant token of di­vine presence and favour, and a mean of communion with him, which Paschal feast was to cease the moment Christ died. Therefore he must appoint the gospel feast, the Lord's supper, before he died, or else he would not be as faithful in God's house, as Moses was; but would leave it quite destitute of this chiesmean of visi­ble connection and communion with God; which would show he had not finished his work, and be a blot on him and his kingdom forever.

II. The baptism of Jesus Christ, was the appointed mean of entering on his publie ministry, which he must fulfil, both as it was a part of the law, which he was to obey perfectly, and also, because otherwise he could not claim that priesthood all to himself.

1. Legal priests were always inducted to their pub­lic ministry, by washing or being baptized with water; therefore it was commanded for Aaron, his sons and all his successors, to be washed, or baptized with water, when they went into their public ministry,—Exod. xxix. 4, xl. 12.—Exod. 30.18.—20. So Christ, who knew the whole law, when he was going into his public discharge of the legal priesthood, knew he must be washed or baptized with water; and as no legal priest [Page 10]could enter that public ministry, till thirty years of age, —Num. iv. 3, 47,—so Jesus Christ, when he arrived to that age—Luke iii. 23—knowing it was the ap­pointed mean of entering the ministry of the law, was obedient in that, as in every thing: therefore Christ's baptism was wholly legal, not christian.

2. This is exactly the reason which Jesus Christ gives to John, when he come to be washed or baptized by him; "thus it becomes us to fulfil all rightousness." Im­porting I can't fulfil all righteousness, viz. of the law, unless I submit to it; nor you do your duty unless you administer it; for this was the reason why John was sent to baptize—And as this was a noted part of obedience to the law, so all righteousness could not be fulfiled with­out it: therefore Christ's baptism was not christian baptism.

3. It is declared, John i. 31, &c. that the very rea­son why John was sent to baptize, was, that he might by that ordinance make Christ manifest to Israel, viz. to be their promised high priest; and he was made manisest by public baptism, according to law, by the heaven's visibly opening at the same time; by the de­scent of the holy spirit on Christ, and by the voice from heaven approving him. Therefore as soon as the ne­cessary trials of forty days in the wilderness were out, he began to preach. Matt. iv. 17. Therefore Christ's baptism was altogether legal, not christian.

III. The baptism of Jusus Christ was no part of christian obedience. For,

1. Then it must be obedience to himself; for Je­sus Christ is the head of all christian matters. He came to do the will of God, Psal. xl. 8, not to do his own will, John vi. 38. But the will of God by Jesus Christ, primarily, was his fulfiling the law, and his bap­tism was part of that work, as he told John at the time: therefore Christ's baptism was obedience to the law, not to christianity.

2. To be christian obedience, it must be under christianity, not under the law; but it was under the [Page 11]law, not under the gospel: therefore the baptism of Jesus Christ was wholly legal obedience, not christian.

3. Not only the fact was under the law, but the view and design of it was to fulfil what the law already re­quired, and to be a lawful qualification for his public ministry while under the law; the last act of which ministry and priesthood, was his offering up himself in death, Heb. viii. 3, 7, 27. Therefore the design of Christ's baptism was altogether legal, and peculiar to himself; which was implied, when he said, "suffer it to be so now," Matt. iii. 15, as the only instance of it in the world.

IV. Christ's baptism could not be a pattern for his people's obedience. For,

1. Obedience to the law for justification, never can be a part of his people's obedience: But Christ's bap­tism was a part of his obedience to the law, for the jus­tification of sinners: therefore no pattern for his peo­ple's obedience.

2. If Christ's baptism was pattern for his people to copy, then there must be a law in christianity for his people to be baptized as he was; but there is no such law: therefore Christ's baptism was not a pattern for them to follow.

3. Therefore there is no more reason to follow Christ in this action, than in all the actions of his obedience to the holy law.

Question. What was John's baptism?

Answer. John's baptism was a rite which divine wis­dom designed and proclaimed by Malachy of old, Mal. iii. 1, which was to serve three purposes.

  • 1. John was a pioneer and herald, sent before his General, and the following christian army, to remove impediments; and as sin was the chief impediment, so John's work was to witness against it, and require re­pentance of it; and then to baptize, or wash with wa­ter, all who complied, as a badge of their clearness from it; just as Jews always did to proselytes and priests, under the law, as token of their purity. But now John [Page 12]did this to all penitents, both because God ordered him so, and because the holy christian kingdom was then coming, in three or four years: so it was called the baptism of repentance.
  • 2. As John's ministry was all under the law, so it was a type, like other religious actions, under the law; to be a picture of that holiness, which was to be character­istic of approaching christianity; that every body might see in that symbol, what they must be and what Christ could make them, viz. all over holy: But no use for types when the substance is come, except among Jews.
  • 3. As Christ could not enter on his public ministry without baptism, and it could not be administered with­out a qualified officer; so, John i. 31, tells us the ve­ry reason why John was qualified, was that he might introduce Jesus Christ to his public ministry under the law, by the baptism of that dispensation.

And with this testimony we refer the said two persons to God the righteous Judge. Only adding, that we shall as clearly delineate what is true christian baptism, with its nature and evidence, when you, or any in your behalf, shall desire it.


AS all goods derive from God to men through the channel of the covenant of grace, so I shall,

  • 1st. Open the nature of the covenant of grace.
  • 2d. Prove that this was the covenant established with Abraham.
  • 3d. Show what were the contents of it, in that es­tablishment.
  • 4th. Show what provision God has made for the propagation of those contents.

[Page 13] I. I shall very briefly open the nature of that cove­nant of grace, through which all goods as such, derive to man. But,

1st. If all men are sinners, then divine justice for­bids all favours to them, except on supposition of e­qual atonement; but all men are sinners, and there­fore the justice of God forbids all favour to them, ex­cept on supposition of equal atonement. Rom. iii. 23. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God," and Jer. v. 25, "Your sins have withholden good things from you." But since mercy and truth have found a­tonement, and "righteousness is come down from heaven, the Lord will give that which is good," Psal. lxxxv. 10, 11, 12.

2d. But the man Christ Jesus, could not consistent­ly undertake the work of atonement, without express security to be preserved through, accepted and suffi­ciently rewarded; therefore when the determination of the Father, was to give his son "a covenant of the people," Isa. xlix. 8. Jesus Christ replied, "Lo I come, I delight to do thy will, O my God," Psal. xl. 7, 8. And for his security, God said, Isa. xlii. 6, "I have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand and will keep thee. And promised "he should see his seed, and the ends of the earth should see his salvation; that he should say to the prisoners, go forth," &c. Isa. xlix. 6, 9: So that there was a com­pleat stipulation or contract, between the Father and Son, with reference to the elect of God.

This contract is commonly styled the covenant of grace. On which remark,

  • 1st. This covenant is called, covenant of grace, or mere favour, because the heart of the parties contracting first gave spring to the scheme of it, Cant. vi. 12.
  • 2d. Because their object, lost sinners, deserved no fa­vour at all. "They had destroyed themselves, but in God was their help," Hos. xiii. 9.
  • 3d. Because it contains all grace, for time and eter­nity, without money or price, Isa. lii. 3.
  • 4th. Because the parties contracting, knew they ne­ver [Page 14]could need any thing from the creatures. God said "I am God, I will take no bullock of thee, &c. but will shew the salvation of God, Psal. l. 7, 9, 23.
  • 5th. As nothing can be new to God, so 'tis evident this covenant was made from eternity, Tit. i. 2, "It was promised, viz. in Christ, before the world began."
  • 6th. The parties contracting were God the Father, of the one part, and God the Son, as accepting the hu­man nature God provided, on the other; and without which it was impossible he should make atonement. Psal. xl. 6. Heb. x. 5. "This councel of peace was be­tween them both," Zech. vi. 13.
  • 7th. Therefore the covenant of grace, is as necessari­ly (by divine appointment) infallible, unchangeable and eternal, as God himself is. "'Tis the covenant which God always remembers; the word which he has commanded to a thousand generations," Psal. cv. 8.

And this gives us light in several texts of scripture, as Psal. lxxxix. 3, "I have made a covenant with my chosen. And, II. Tim. i. 9, This was his own purpose and grace, given us in Christ, before the world began. So also, Psal. xxv. 14, "The secret of the Lord, i. e. his free love and favour, is with them who fear him, and he will make them know his covenant." For Abraham, as having the secret of the Lord with him eminently, had this covenant notably established with him, Gen. xvii. 7. On the same account, God made Isaac know his covenant, Gen. xvii. 19. And in the same way it was revealed to Jacob, I. Chron. xvi. 15, 16, 17. And God has to this day made all know his covenant, who were govern­ed by its principle, for "his secret is always with the right­eous, Prov. iii. 32.

Question. When God says, "I give thee for a cove­nant of the people," must we understand that Jesus Christ is himself the covenant of grace?

Answer. By no means. 'Tis as absurd to hold Je­sus Christ himself to be the covenant of grace, as to hold a treasurer to be the treasury itself. Or a testator to be his own testament. Or, an administrator to be [Page 15]the administration itself. The whole nature of the two parties to whom the covenant of grace has respect, is in Christ, and he has full power of sole administration of it. For "in his hand was the pleasure of the Lord to pros­per," Isa. liii. 10. 'Tis therefore amazing! that any man endowed with common sense, and privileged with the bible, should ever imagine, that the covenant of grace is not from eternity; or that it is possibly subject to in­termission or failure, in whole or in any part, touching any of its subjects, in any respect whatever.

Q. But don't the covenant of works interfere with the covenant of grace?

A. Not at all. Their agreements and differences are as follows:

  • 1st. They agree, in that their preceptive part con­taining all the laws of the bible; and their promissory part, including all the goods of promises; and their pe­nal part, containing all the executions against sin, are the same in both. And they agree also that perfect conformity to the precept, is the only qualification for the promise; and that the want of it, induces the exe­cution of the curse. They both run through all ages, just as do the seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent. And all human persons in the world, are now subject to the one or the other. But,
  • 2d. Those two covenants essentially differ, in the following respects.
    • 1st. The covenant of grace is coeval with God, and the other is coeval with men.
    • 2d. They differ essentially in their several headships. For in the covenant of works, the first Adam was foeder­al head. Therefore in Adam, all die, I. Cor. xv. 22. But Jesus Christ is sole head in the covenant of grace: therefore "in him all its subjects are made alive, I. Cor. xv. 22.
    • 3d. The parties contracting in each are different; for in the covenant of works, Adam contracted for all his posterity. So Rom. v. 19, says, "By his disobe­dience many were made sinners" But in the covenant of grace, Jesus Christ contracted for all the elect; so [Page 16] "grace reigns thro' righteousness to them all." Rom v. 17 to 21.
    • 4th. They differ as to the ground of claims on the promise; for in the covenant of works, each candidate claims on the foot of his own performance of the pre­cept: But never so in the covenant of grace. For there every claim is made on account of Jesus Christ's performance of all the precepts. 'Tis "for his righte­ousness sake only, God is well pleased," Isa. xlii. 21.
    • 5th. Though neither of these covenants admit any plea, but perfect righteousness; yet the covenant of grace admits those to use it successfully who have no righte­ousness at all personally. In this way, "he who hath no money may come, buy and eat, Isai. lv. 1.

Q. Doth not this doctrine injure morality, by en­couraging neglect of duty?

A. Right the reverse; it discourages proud arro­gance; but gives infinite encouragement to humble duty and obedience. Rom. iii. 31, "Do we then make void the law, thro' faith, God forbid, yea we establish the law."

II. I am next to prove, that this was the covenant established with Abraham. This indeed is evident from what has been already said. But,

1st. If Abraham's seed, named in the covenant made with him, implies christians, then that covenant was the covenant of grace: But seed in Abraham's covenant, implies christians: therefore the covenant made with Abraham, was the covenant of grace. For God him­self has told us, Gal. iii. 29, "If ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed." And speaking of the same co­venant, God assures his people in all ages, Isa. liv. 9, 10, "It never should be removed from them."

2d. If by righteousness of faith, Rom. iv. 11, is meant the covenant of grace, then the covenant with Abraham was the covenant of grace; but righteousness of faith, in Rom. iv. 11, doth as evidently mean the covenant of grace, as that saving faith, and its perfect righteousness, are the peculiars of that covenant. But then 'tis just so cer­tain that the covenant with Abraham was the covenant of grace: For it was Abraham who received circumci­sion, [Page 17]as the initiating sign and confirming seal of the covenant made with him; which as it contained the sum of all grace, I will be thy God," &c. must be that covenant through which only grace flows to men.

3d. If the mere mercy of God is equally the source and fountain of the covenant of grace, and the cove­nant with Abraham; then the covenant with Abraham was the covenant of grace: but 'tis as certain to be so, as that both covenants contained good things for the unworthy; and that there is no other fountain, whence to derive them. Of course, the covenant with Abra­ham was the covenant of grace.

4th. Gal. iii. 6, says, "The promises of the bible were made to Abraham and his seed. But the promises of the bible contain all grace revealed; either therefore, the covenant with Abraham was the covenant of grace, or there is no such covenant.

5th. The scriptures never speak of more than one covenant of grace; but a covenant of grace was certain­ly made with Abraham and his seed. Gen. xvii. 7, "I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and thy seed after thee." Therefore the covenant with Abraham, was the one only covenant of grace, which runs through the whole bible.

6th. If Jesus Christ was the very seed of Abraham's covenant, as Gal. iii. 16, says, "and to thy seed which is Christ," then the covenant with Abraham was the cove­nant of grace.

Objection. The covenant with Abraham was to secure temporal things, as a numerous posterity, and the pos­session of the land of Canaan.

Answer. These things were examples and shadows of heavenly things, Heb. viii. 5. His numerous poster­ity, represented that multitude which no man could number, Rev. vii. 9. For they who are Christ's are Abraham's seed, Gal. iii. 29. And the earthly Canaan, represented that better country, even the heavenly, which they desired. Heb. xi. 14, 15, 16. But if the [Page 18]antitypes of those temporary figures, were most gracious things: then the covenant by which they were secured, was the covenant of grace, by which all good things are secured to its subjects.

7th. If God never published but one system of gra­cious promises, and these Abraham received, Heb. xi. 17. Gal. iii. 16, then 'tis certain that the covenant which contains all gracious promises, was the covenant made with Abraham.

8th. If no person has justification and salvation, but through the covenant of grace; and yet Abraham had justification and salvation through the covenant made with him; Gal. iii. 18, "For God gave the inheritance to Abraham by promise;" then the covenant with Abraham was the same covenant, by which justification and sal­vation are received by all who are saved.

9th. If the words promise, promises, &c. very often used in the inspired writings, generally mean Abraham's covenant, then Abraham's covenant is the covenant of grace. But those words generally mean Abraham's co­venant. For instance, Rom. iv. 13, 14, "For the promise was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. So Gal. iii. 18, If the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise, but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Also Heb. vi. 13, when God made promise to Abraham, he sware by himself, saying, blessing I will bless thee," &c. which are the very words of Abraham's covenant. Gen. xxii. 16, 17, 18. There­fore the covenant with Abraham was the covenant of grace.

10th. If heirship, often mentioned in the new testa­ment, as predicable equally of Abraham, and of all christians, implies title to the covenant of grace, then the covenant with Abraham was the covenant of grace; but heirship in the new testament implies title to the covenant of grace; therefore the covenant with Abra­ham was the covenant of grace. For Rom. iv. 13, says, "Abraham became heir of the world;" i. e. not only en­titled to Canaan, but a father to all who believe every where, "through the righteousness of faith;" i. e. through [Page 19]the covenant of grace. So Gal. iii. 29, "If ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the pro­mise;" i. e. according to the covenant made with Abra­ham. So also Heb. xi. 9, "By faith Abraham so journ­ed with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise," or covenant of grace.

11th. If inheritance, in the sense of the bible, implies interest in the covenant of grace, then the covenant with Abraham and his seed, was the covenant of grace; but inheritance, in the sense of the bible, implies inter­est in the covenant of grace, I. Pet. i. 4, He hath begot­ten us to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away." And yet such inherritance God gave to Abraham, in the covenant made with him. Gal. iii. 18, "God gave the inheritance to Abraham by promise." Therefore the covenant with Abraham was the covenant of grace.

12th. If there is no salvation but through the cove­nant of grace, then the covenant with Abraham was the covenant of grace; but there is no salvation except through the covenant of grace. Acts iv. 12, "There is no other name under heaven, whereby ye can be saved." Yet Abraham had salvation, for the beggar was carried to Abraham's bosom; Luke xvi. 22. Therefore the co­venant with Abraham was the covenant of grace.

13th. If saving faith is always grounded on the cove­nant of grace, and yet Abraham had such faith, then the covenant with Abraham was the covenant of grace.

14th. If the people of God were all saved for two thousand years, viz. from Abraham to Christ, in the faith of Abraham's covenant, then Abraham's covenant was the covenant of grace, the only standing way of salvation; but the people of God for two thousand years, viz. from Abraham to Christ, were saved through faith in Abraham's covenant; it was by such saith "the elders obtained a good report," Heb. xi. 2. And the 13th verse says, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises," i. e. not living to the outward establishment of christianity. Yet "God was not ashamed to be called their covenant God,—and pre­pared [Page 20]for them a city. So surely, therefore, was the co­venant with Abraham, the covenant of grace.

15. If Christ did not receive christian baptism, pre­vious to his instituting and receiving the Lord's sup­per, it must be because the initiating seal of the cove­nant of grace, was already on him in circumcision; but Jesus Christ did not receive christian baptism, pre­vious to his instituting and receiving the Lord's sup­per—which is thus proved:

  • 1. Because the dispensation to which christian bap­tism belongs, was not in being.
  • 2. Because to receive christian baptism, is an in­stance of christian obedience; but, it was inconsistent for Jesus Christ to perform any act of christian obe­dience for his people, till he had finished a righteous­ness for their justification.
  • 3. Because the baptism, then in use was John's bap­tism, which was legal not christian.

The consequence is, that as Jesus Christ had the witnessing seal of the covenant of grace upon him, in circumcision, so he was as well qualified for access to the Lord's supper, as any can be now by christian baptism. But then 'tis just so certain, that the cove­nant with Abraham, which contained circumcision was the covenant of grace.

Quest. 1. Why did not Jesus Christ himself baptize, but his disciples only?

Ans. 1. The baptism with which his disciples baptized, was John's baptism; of which before.

Ans. 2. As John's baptism was tipical of christian purity; so for Christ to practice it, would be bearing witness to himself; contrary to his own maxim. Jon. v. 31

Ans. 3. The work of Jesus Christ was to obey the Law; now though the law required him to be baptized, as the induction to his public priesthood; yet no precept or prophet of the law, ever said he should baptize with water; so he had no such work to do.

Quest. 2. What is christian baptism?

[Page 21] Ans. 1. Christian baptism is being so enriched, and endowed, with the special gifts, and graces, of the holy spirit, as is in scripture called, baptized with the holy ghost. Matt. iii. 11. "He shall baptize you with the holy ghost and with fire." Where fire is explanatory of this baptism; for 'tis purifying as fire.

Ans. 2. But as nature abounds with speaking em­blems of spiritual things; so it pleased God to ap­point outward resemblances of inward and spiritual things. And the outward signal, and representation of christian baptism, is that external application of water, in the name of the Godhead, which is called baptism, from its resemblance to true baptism. Ezek. xxxvi. 25.

Ans. 3. But then the sign must always tally with the thing signified. And therefore as no person is to­tally subject to true baptism; for we are sanctified but in part; so to apply the outward sign to the whole body, does not agree to the thing signified, in any case, in this world.

Quest. 3. Why was circumcision appointed a seal of the covenant of grace?

Ans. 1. 'Tis a prerogative of every royalty to chuse and appoint his own seal.

Ans. 2. A seal of the Covenant of grace should always suit with the present dispensation of that cove­nant. When it was established with Noah, and his seed; the universal terror, was fear of another flood, and so the rainbow was a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, exactly suited to those times. Gen. ix. 9. to 17. But in the gentle reign of Jesus Christ, when blood has virtue enough, to answer all the purposes of cleansing our sins; then the cleansing medium of water baptism, becomes the proper seal of the cove­nant of grace. Whereas for two thousand years be­fore, viz. from Abraham to Christ, the business of all that time, was to give assurance that their little bloods would certainly issue, in the allsufficient blood of the Messiah; for which purpose nothing could be more [Page 22]suitable, than for all families to be constantly shedding blood in circumcision; so that was appointed, the wit­ness and seal of the covenant of grace. Gen. xvii. 10, 11. The bloody ordinance of circumcision, with all the burdensome rites of that dispensation, excited desires, and prayers for Christ's coming, and gave con­stant assurance of it.

Quest. 4. When was the form of the seal of the covenant changed?

Ans. When the dispensation was changed, from that of the law, to Christianity. When the dispensation was changed, it was proper its witnessing seal should in its outward form be altered. Heb. x. 9. "He took away the first that he might establish the second."

Quest. 5. When did the christian dispensation be­gin?

Ans. 1. Exactly when that of the law ended. But neither could the first cease, or the second begin, till John's ministry was finished; for he generally spoke of Christ as coming after him. Mark i. 7. Matt. iii. 11. He preached "the kingdom of heaven is at hand." So then it was near, but not come.

Ans. 2. The christian dispensation could not be­gin before the death of Christ.

1. Because many legal types could not be fulfilled till that event. Heb. ix. 7, to 16.

2. Because Christ's legal priesthood, which must be finished, before the gospel dispensation could begin, was compleated by his offering himself in death. Heb. viii. 3, 7, 27, ix. 26, x. 12.

3. Because as the doctrine of Christ's kingdom was to be peace on earth. Luke ii. 14. And that peace is founded in the blood of the cross, Col. i. 20. So the gospel dispensation could not be set up, till that blood was shed.

Ans. 3. The christian dispensation could not begin till after Christ's resurrection.

1. Because his finishing the attonement must be proved, by his resurrection from the dead. But when [Page 23]God raised him, it was proof of his work fully done, and that justice was satisfied. Acts ii. 24.

2. Pardon of sin, the privilege of the gospel dispen­sation, could not be boldly affirmed; till Christ's ris­ing had proved the meritorious cause complete. Heb. ix. 26.

3. It was impossible to believe, without doubting, in what Christ had done, till he was proved to be the Son of God with power, by his resurrection from the dead. Rom. i. 4. Therefore his dispensation could not be­gin till this proof was given.

Ans. 4. The christian dispensation could not be­gin till the day of Pentecost.

1. Because as Pentecost was the fiftieth day from the second day of the passover; so such as are learn­ed in scripture chronology alledge, that was the day, in which the Church was established, and her law giv­en from Sinai of old. And the institution of her christian form, must answer ancient types; but then it must be on the day of Pentecost, according to Acts ii. 1, which says "when the day of Pentecost was fully come." The inspired words are, "en too symplee rousthai," as importing, it must be at that juncture, neither sooner, nor later.

2. Because it was proper, that the religious privi­leges of this world, should commence in presence of witnesses from every nation under heaven; which was the case then, Acts ii. 5. to 12.

3. Because the circumstances of that day, indicate that the great institution was upon it. As

1. That God might not surprize his people, with such important events, without previous notice. He gave them these days, from Christ's resurrection, to the said fiftieth day, to digest the evidence of what they had seen, that they might be prepared for this estab­lishment, ten days after his ascension.

2. The gospel dispensation was to be managed by twelve apostles, as the old one had been by twelve pa­triarchs; but these apostles were not all appointed till [Page 24]after Christ's resurrection. And they were directed to bear witness of Christ, &c. after the Holy Ghost was come on them, Acts i. 8; but this was not till Pentecost: Therefore the gospel dispensation did not begin till that day.

3. Tongues were a needful mean for propagating the gospel; but these were not given till Pentecost. Therefore this dispensation did not begin till that day.

4. The gospel is the holy spirit's instrument, in gra­cious operations; but he did not come to possess and use it till Pentecost, Acts ii. 2, 3. Therefore his dispens­ation did not begin till that day.

5. Special divine power was essentially necessary for the management of this dispensation, but the apostles, the instruments of that work, were commanded to tarry at Jerusalem, till they should be endowed with power from on high: that is, till the promise of the Father, which was the holy spirit, should come on them, Luke xxiv. 49. Acts i. 4. But this was not done till Pentecost; there­fore the dispensation did not begin till that day.

6. The apostles were not endowed for casting out devils, taking up serpents, and being proof against poison, &c. which infernal malice against the gospel would give occasion for, till Pentecost, Mark xvi. 18, 19, 20.—Luke xxiv. 49. And so their dispensation did not begin till that day.

7. Whenever the christian dispensation begun, it may be expected such providences would soon follow, as should witness it's divine nature. But such events took place at Pentecost.

1. The Holy Ghost took possession of gospel truth, as the mean of his gracious operation then.

2. Then did the sacred symbal of it's nature and ef­fects appear in fiery tongues.

3. Then did cloven tongues indicate Gentiles, as well as Jews, to be its designed objects.

4. Then did their fiery appearance, foretel, the throughly purifying effect of the gospel.

5. Then were all the world together, to witness the advent of the universal religion.

[Page 25] 6. Then was a most distinguished day for miracles and devils malice charging all to drunkenness. Acts ii. 13.

7. Then was a day the most crowned with gospel success, having three thousands converted at once.

Quest. 6. Where is authority for the institution of outward baptism?

Ans. 1. In the nature of the case. For, as God has been pleased, in various dispensations of the co­venant of grace, to appoint an outward sign and seal of it; 'tis therefore certain, that it was right and rea­sonable, that the covenant of grace should have an out­ward sign and seal; but the nature of the case deter­mines, it is as right and reasonable now as ever it was; therefore, as there is no pretence, to any other outward initiating sign and seal to the covenant of grace now but outward baptism; therefore that ought in all reason, to be held the initiating sign and seal of the covenant of grace now.

Ans. 2. In the institution of circumcision. For 'tis certain God appointed circumcision, Gen. xvii. 10. and called it "a seal of the righteousness of faith." Rom. iv. 11. And as there is no pretence of any thing to succeed circumcision, as a seal of the covenant of grace but outward baptism; therefore either circumcision is still of force, as a seal of the covenant; or else outward baptism has taken its place: But we are forbidden to use the ordinances of that dispensation, Col. ii. 20, 21, "Touch not, taste not, handle not, for they are all to perish in the using." Therefore outward baptism is the visi­ble seal of the covenant of grace.

Ans. 3. In divine institution, Matt. xxviii. 18, 19, "All power is given to me in heaven and earth; go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them." And as this is an express command, there is equal authori­ty for baptism, as for any thing in christianity.

Quest. 7. Is there any further evidence that bap­tism comes in place of circumcision?

Ans. 1. There is; For since circumcision did [Page 26]confessedly, terminate with the legal dispensation, if baptism does not succeed to it, then the dispensation of the gospel, cannot be much more glorious than that of the law; but it is in its outward circumstances much more glorious. II. Cor. iii. 8, 9, 10, 11. Therefore this must have an outward initiating seal, as well as that; and as there can be no pretence of any other, it must be baptism. And this exceeds circumcision, as there is nothing bloody in it, and as it admits females, and lastly, as it expresses what we need, viz. cleansing by the blood of Christ, more clearly.

Ans. 2. The maxim of christianity is, "give no offence in any thing, to Jew or Gentile." I. Cor. x. 32. II. Cor. vi. 3. But to stop circumcision, and not replace it by some other form of a seal to the cove­nant of grace, would have been an inappeasible offence to all Jews; especially the most serious and godly of them. And it would have been offensive to Gentiles, to call them under a covenant not so well endowed, as that by which they knew the Jews had ever been dignified. So it is contrary to an established rule of the bible, to suppose circumcision abrogated, and bap­tism not instituted in its place.

3. If baptism does not take the place of circumci­sion, then the church is not so complete in her outward privileges, under Christ, as she was under Moses; but divine testimony affirms, the church is "complete in Christ." Col. ii. 10. Therefore baptism takes the place of circumcision; and you find, in the 11th verse, baptism is called christian circumcision, or the circumcision of Christ, and in the 12th verse this circumcision is expressly called baptism.

4. If baptism imports the same things, and is of the same use now, as circumcision under, the law then as 'tis certain circumcision has ceased, baptism takes its place.

But, 1. Baptism imports the same things; for as none might cat the passover, till circumcised, Exod. xii. 49. So the apostles divinely guided, always bap­tized [Page 27]their converts, as their visible qualification for church state, and privileges. As Acts ii. 41. Also circumcision was then a seal of the covenant of grace. Rom. iv. 11. And it has been proved that baptism is so now. And when, I. Pet. iii. 21, says, "baptism doth now save us." He implies, 'tis a visible witness of the salvation, which is in the covenant of grace, for its subjects.

2. Baptism is of the same use to us, as circumcision was to them. For as circumcision was the ordinance of admission into the visible church then; so is bap­tism now; therefore the apostles baptized those they taught, as set apart for God. And they whom Peter baptized, were added to the Church. Acts ii. 41, 47. Circumcision was the visible badge of relation to God, and his Church; so is baptism now. Gal. iii. 27. "As many as are baptized have put on Christ." There­fore baptism answering the same purposes, succeeds to circumcision.

5. Jesus Christ could not be faithful in God's House, the Church, as Moses was, if when he put an end to circumcision, he did not institute baptism in its place; but he was faithful in the house of God, as Moses was. Heb. iii. 2. Therefore he appointed baptism, as certainly as Moses appointed circumcision.

Obj. 1. The baptism of the bible, is called a being buried with Christ, and so means plunging.

Ans. 1. Rom. vi. 4, says, "buried with him, by baptism into death." But there is but one sort of Bap­tism in the bible, or in the world, that is into death; and that is spiritual baptism, or sanctification; which is to the death of sin only. Therefore buried with Christ in baptism, is not true of any baptism at all, by water.

Ans. 2. Col. ii. 15. say, "buried with him in baptism." And it says also, "risen with him," in the same baptism. But there is no baptism in the world, which implies death and resurrection too, but bap­tism by the holy spirit. And the certain effect of this spiritual baptism is, union to, and not separation from re­al [Page 28]christians. I. Cor. xii. 13. "For by one spirit, we are all baptized into one body, and have been all made to drink into one spirit."

Obj. 2. But there is no command in the bible for baptizing children.

Ans. 1. It is a reproach common to baptists, that they will not allow of fair scriptural consequences. But we believe fair scriptural consequences, are good scrip­tural authority. As

1. If God did once command his people to de­dicate their children to him; and his mind has never changed; then 'tis the mind of God now, that his people should dedicate their children to him; but if he has abrogated circumcision, as has been proved; and instituted baptism in place of it, as has been prov­ed; then we know 'tis the mind of God now, that his people should dedicate their children in baptism. Now he has told us, his mind always was, that cir­cumcision should cease in the using. Col. ii. 21.22. And that baptism should succeed to it, as has been proved, so that this alteration, shows no change in the mind of God, about it. And now the fair conse­quence is, that his visible people must dedicate their children to him in baptism, or sink into the charac­ter of unbelievers, and disobedient.

2. Tis a command of God, "If thou know not, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock." Cant. i. 8. But we know that the flock of God, for two thousand years before Christ always dedicated their children to God, with acceptance, it being according to his ex­press command. And there is reason to judge, that when Christ commanded his followers to baptize all nations, he meant they should baptize children; both because they are a great part of all nations; and be­cause they had been always used to dedicate children of professing parents; and he makes no exception a­bout it. And when Peter directed the multitude of his hearers, to be baptized, every one of them. Acts ii. 38, 39. And instead of saying, but not your children, [Page 29]he adds, as a reason taken from divine command­ment, "For the promise," meaning Abraham's cove­nant, "is to you and your children." And he implies, that the same establishment extended to the Gentiles, as those afar off, as fast as they should receive the same faith. And the fair consequence of all this is, that be­lievers ought to give up their children in baptism. Nor will it help the cause of such as dislike this con­clusion, to wish there was a little alteration of the bi­ble on this head,

Beside, as we have reason to judge the apostles practiced infant baptism, because they tell us they baptized whole housholds, of which children are gene­rally a part. And they had always used a like prac­tice; and never gave a word of caution against ad­mitting the children of christians, with their parents, as they certainly would, if 'twas wrong. So we histo­rically know, that many nations have practiced it, and do still, viz. all who are called christians, in Asia and Africa, and divers nations in Europe. So that 'tis easy to see what it is to follow the foot-steps of the flock, in this case; and what they must expect, who disregard this commandment, with its evidence.

Ans. 2. Baptists seem to suppose that the bible favours their peculiar notions of baptism, which don't lie in baptizing professing adults who were not bap­tized in infancy for that is our constant practice. But what is peculiar to baptists, is, first, to deny baptism to young children, even of professing parents; for which there is not one word in the bible. And Secondly, to baptize adults, who have already been baptized in in­fancy; and the bible knows as little of this as the o­ther. Now till these their two peculiar points become scriptural, which 'tis certain they never will, baptists should be very sparing in boasting of favour from the bible.

3. I am now according to the methods proposed to shew what were the contents of the covenant of grace as established with Abraham. And I shall take [Page 30]notice only of two things contained in that covenant, and consider them together.

  • 1. The infant children of believing parents, are there declared to be in the covenant of grace, with their parents. And,
  • 2. The seal of that covenant is there ordered by God to be applied to them. But it is necessary to set some things, relative to these points, in their true light, before I proceed to the points themselves, as Baptists do not seem to notice them rightly.

Quest. 1. How can any, either parents or children, be in the covenant of grace, without saving faith?

Ans. 1. 'Tis certain some infants have been sanc­tified from the womb. As Jer. i. 5. Also John the baptist. Luke i. 15. And what has been of that kind, certainly may be again, and there is reason to think, some are so still. I know the word sanctified, is sometimes used only for sequestration to divine use. But other expressions, in the case of Jeremiah, as well as the concurrent sense of interpreters, make it evident enough, that Jeremiah had gracious sanctifi­cation; and of course, infants are certainly capable of saving faith. And whoever knows, that the gift of faith, is totally a work of God; and that the difference of adult years, from infancy, in respect to the bestow­ment of saving faith, is that it encreases opposition, and never furnishes any concurrence; will doubtless allow that a state of infancy, in itself, is of no weight at all, against saving faith being wrought.

Ans. 2. Being in the covenant of grace, does not always imply saving faith, or any other saving grace. The covenant of grace has its outward court, just as the holy temple had, I. Kings, viii. 64, and many texts. And just as the godhead in Christ had the outward court of flesh and blood, in his manhood; in which, tho' it was holy, was no divinity at all. So 'tis common for rich palaces, to have court-yards round them, con­taining things belonging to the palace, but not fit to be bestowed in its interior apartments. So has the [Page 31]covenant of grace its outward court, and to this be­longs the unsanctified children, houses, cattle, fields, &c. of all the believers. Now I will prove that the covenant of grace, has such outward court.

1. Every understanding christian in the world, holds his house, cattle, all he has, are in the covenant of grace; how else should he take hold of the truth and faithfulness of God, in prayer about them; but these can only be in such outward court of that cove­nant.

2. This doctrine of an outward court to the cove­nant of grace, gives light about many scriptures. As John xv. 2. "Every branch in me, that beareth not fruit, will be finally burned." But there are no such branches in Christ, but these who are in this outward court of the covenant of grace, who are in Christ only by out­ward appearance, visible standing, or mere profession. So also Matt. xv. 3. "these are the plants which God hath not planted," viz. in the inward spirit and grace of his covenant, and so "they must be rooted up." There­fore many may be in the covenant, without saving grace.

3. You know God often calls the children of Israel his people, as Exod. iii. 7, 10, and vii. 4, which ne­cessarily implies, they were in the covenant of grace; and yet you know they were not in the special grace of that covenant generally. For they were a rebelli­ous people, and God often threatens to cast them off utterly. So it appears, they were only in this porch, or outward court of the covenant. But then the con­sequence is, that persons may be in the covenant of grace, without any saving grace.

4. 'Tis in this sense God claims and owns the chil­dren of his covenant people, when they were general­ly fallen to idolatry; but not yet visibly cast off. As Ezek. xvi. 20.21, and xxiii. 37. "Ye have taken your sons and daughters, which ye did bear unto me, and have slain my children, by causing them to pass through the fire." viz. to Moloch. And the margin of the text refers to Gen. xvii. 7.11. where the covenant of grace was [Page 32]established with Abraham and his infant seed; to shew the wickedness of this conduct. But these children, and indeed their parents too, were in God's covenant claim, only as they were in this outward court of the covenant of grace. Therefore parents and children may be in the covenant of grace without any saving grace; which was to be proved.

Quest. 2. What are the privileges of young chil­dren in the covenant of grace?

Ans. 1. God knows they are his creatures, and that he has required his people to dedicate them to him in his appointed way, and "he is ever mindful of his covenant." Psal. iii. 5. And the psalmist draws the consequence. Psal. cxv. 12, 13. "The Lord has been mindful of us, and will bless us. He will bless them that fear him, the small with the great." So the Hebrew is. And if God's blessing small children, as well as parents, is allowed to be a privilege, then the question will be allowed to be answered, by all who duly regard the word of God.

Ans. 2. The psalmist held the privilege of a child in the covenant of grace, very great, when he said, Psal. lxxxvi. 16. "Oh turn to me, and have mercy on me, and save the son of thine hand-maid!" Importing, "my mother was in covenant with thee, she gave me to thee, in thine own way." Now I pray grant me the privileges of that covenant, in which I was given up to thee at eight days old. Again he says. Psal. cxvi. 16. "Oh Lord I am thy servant, I am thy servant, the son of thine handmaiden!" Importing, I am doubly bound to fi­delity in thy service; viz. by my own covenant obli­gations, and by the early dedication of my pious parent. Those then who love the obligations of the covenant of grace, will hold it a privilege to be under them. Bathsheba also, as became a pious penitent, urges on King Lemuel, his duty, from the considera­tion of the vows, by which she had dedicated him to God, in his own way. And such as hold urgent ar­guments to holiness, a privilege, will allow their chil­dren [Page 33]privilege by that holy covenant in which they have been vowed to God. Samuel's piety and honors were his privilege, in consequence of an early and pious de­dication to God, in the covenant of grace. I. Sam. i. 11.

Ans. 3. Godly parents have advantage to plead the covenant of grace for their children, given up in a covenant way. And if 'tis allowed to be a great privilege for children to have such prayers made for them, which is peculiar to such as have given up their children to God, in his own covenant way; then this is another answer to the question.

Ans. 4. Children given to God in his own cove­nant way, may always plead their outward covenant relation to God, for deliverance in any distress: As David did, Psal. cxix. 94. "I am thine, save me." Such as are not addicted to plead promises, will hold this answer very light. All others will allow the weight of it.

Obj. But God hears no prayers but such as proceed from saving faith.

Ans. This objection proceeds from an antinomian principle; and indicates ignorance of the scriptures, and of the power of God. Prayer is first of all the language of nature in distress; and the God of na­ture hears it. For 'tis an aphorism of the kind bible. Isa. xxv. 4. "He is a strength to the needy in his distress." And he hears the cry of the ravens. Psal. cxlvii. 9. The God of nature, hears the voice of nature in man and beast.

Ans. 5. The Church of God holds itself bound, to exercise watchfulness, and careful inspection, over the lives and manners, of such as having been dedi­cated to God, are become the children of the church. As Psal. xxxiv. 11. "Come ye children, hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord." For 'tis a max­im with the church of God, "the things that are reveal­ed belong to us, and to our children forever." Deut. xxix. 29. Therefore 'tis said of Christ, the great [Page 34]head and patron of his Church, Isa. xl. 11. "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, He shall gather the lambs, with his arm, and carry them [...] bosom." And there­fore Christ forbids his people to [...] little children from coming to him, and intimated, they were under the watch and government of his church, by saying, "for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Matt. xix. 14. Accordingly when Christ gave order to Peter how to treat his sheep, he especially charges him to feed his lambs. John xxi. 15. The inspired words are. "bos­ke ta arnia mou." Which allude to the case of chil­dren in a natural family, where oversight and govern­ment, belong to feeding. And all such as chuse to have their children inspected and well regulated, will certainly hold this a great privilege. And to this all children publicly dedicated, are of right always sub­ject.

Ans. 6. The consideration of such solemn dedica­tion to God, has a tendency to solemnize and restrain the spirit and manners of such children. And surely all advantage this way is a privilege. And for this reason, children should be taught the nature of such dedication.

Ans. 7. The obligation arising to christian parents, from such solemn dedication is Eph. vi. 4, "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." And eve­ry faithful parent esteems his obligation this way a pri­vilege, which centers in covenanted children.

Ques. 3. What is it that is sealed by a sealing or­dinance?

Ans. 1. Never the immediate object. Persons or children are no more sealed in baptism, than the cloud was, in which was the rainbow, which was a seal of the covenant of grace in Noah's time. Gen. ix. 13, 14, 15. The immediate subject of baptism, is not at all morally or spiritually affected by that ordinance. The spirit of God may bestow quickning, comfort, blessing, at the same time, to a believing parent, or a believing adult at the time of the adminstration; as [Page 35]he sometimes does in a clap of thunder: An earth­quake; or a sudden death. When the apostle says "Baptism doth now save us." I. Pet. iii. 20, 21. He tells us it is as Noah's ark saved him. The ark was a sensible mean of security from the flood: And es­pecially speaking signal of future salvation by Christ. So baptism is a sure evidence of pardon and salvation to be had; but baptism itself gives none of it. And so the apostle explains himself, when he says, "not the putting away of the Filth of the flesh; but the answer," or correspondence, "of a good conscience:" in the covenant­ing agent. And this derives not all from the ordi­nance itself; but from the holy spirit of grace.

Ans. 2. The only thing actually sealed in bap­tism is the covenant of grace. Baptism is like every thing else in christianity, "a witness to the truth." John xviii. 37. And so serves the same purpose as circumcision did; which God himself has told us was a seal of the righteousness of faith. Rom. iv. 11. It gives a certain present witness of the truth of christian­ity. And so reminds every believer, of the certainty of the ground of his hope; and of the matter of his faith. And so by the frequency and believing use of it, christians may hold fast their confidence, and the rejoicing of their hope firm unto the end. Heb. iii. 6. Baptism is also a declarative seal, witness, and monitor, to the beholding world, as far as they are instructed enough to under­stand its speaking import; it bespeaks a certainly, in all the materials of the gospel, and true religion. And so the gospel kingdom of Jesus Christ as antitype to that of David, "is established forever as the Moon, and as a faithful witness in Heaven, Selah." Psal. lxxxix. 37. And so by this ordinance, as a picture of his blood he witnesseth also on the earth. According to, I. John, v. 8.

Now let us return to what was proposed; viz. To shew that the contents of the covenant, with Abraham were, that infant children of believers, were declared to be in the covenant of grace, with their parents; and [Page 36]accordingly the seal of the covenant was ordered by God himself to be outwardly applied to them. And the first evidence I shall give of this affair is the letter of the text.

1. If the bible says, that God declared the children of believers to be in the covenant of grace, with their parents; and that God accordingly ordered the seal of that covenant to be applied to them; then such children are in that covenant, and the seal of it must be outwardly applied to them: But the bible does say so; therefore such children are in that covenant, and must have its seal applied to them. For Gen. xvii. 7. &c. says, "I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an ever­lasting covenant, to be a God to thee, and thy seed after thee. And God said unto Abraham thou shall keep my covenant therefore, thou and thy seed after thee, in their generations. This is my covenant which ye shall keep, between me and you, and thy seed after thee, every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a token of the covenant between me and you. And he that is eight days old, shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations; he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed, he that is born in the house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised, and my covenant, shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant; and the un­circumcised manchild, whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people, he hath broken my cov­enant."

Now, Rom. xv. 4. says "whatever things were wri­ten aforetime;" viz. as long ago as Abraham, were writ­ten for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." And to prove that this text refers to this establishment with Abraham; the 8th verse adds, "Now this I say, that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision, for the truth of God." But then the covenant of circumcision, was the truth of God; to be continued down to us Gentiles. And [Page 37]to prove it, the apostle adds, "to confirm the promises, made to the fathers." Pointing to this covenant with Abraham. And then gives the reason; "that the Gen­tiles might rejoice with his people," viz. in the enjoyment of the establishment with Abraham. Now all who be­lieve the bible must confess, that children were taken into the covenant of grace, with their parents, and that the seal of it was applied to them. And in the said 15th chap. of Romans, the apostle proves, that these things were not ordered for Jews only; but especially for Gentiles; for the time of the New-Testament; i. e. for us. But the holy spirit who guided the apos­tle, knew that circumcision, in its jewish form, was never to take place with us: but that baptism, which is the christian circumcision, was to be in use now, as has been proved. The consequence is, that the chil­dren of believing parents, are in the covenant of grace, with such parents, and by them to be given up to God in baptism.

2. If the plainest sense of Act. ii. 39. "be baptized for the promise is to you and your children," is, that chil­dren are under the outward administration of the cove­nant of grace, if their parents are in the spirit and grace of that covenant; and that therefore the seal of it, is to be outwardly applied to them; then this is good authority for our practice; for scripture ought always to be understood in the plainest sense that is consistent with the whole. But that this is the plainest consist­ent sense of the text; I shall now prove.

1. 'Tis exactly agreeable to the letter of the text, as all may see, if they read impartially.

2. 'Tis exactly agreeable to the practice of all God's people, for two thousand years before that time.

3. As Peter knew the Jews were tenacious of their re­ligious rites; so you may see, if you please, that Peter who perfectly knew what his hearers were used to; would not give them offence at the new christian reli­gion; by cutting off their children from their usual privilege; but lets them know in this first christian sermon, that this new religion extended privilege to [Page 38]them and to their children just as the bible always did.

4. Peter knew the will of God, was "give no offence to Jew or Gentile, or the church of God." He knew also that the moment he gave the least suspicion, that this new religion, was so much narrower, and less glorious in outward privileges, than what they had always been subject to, as to exclude all their children, from cove­nant privilege; they would immediately renounce it, and conceive offence not to be removed. And as he knew there was no ground for this offence; but that they were all under the same covenant, to which they were always subject; He therefore addresses them in language they had always heard; importing "you and your children stand related to God, and his covenant, just as you, and they always did; God is not altered, the cove­nant is the same, the promise is to you and to your children, just as it always was. And 'tis evident they under­stood him so; and so all proceeded, without one word of objection.

5. To construe this text as baptists do, is to set a­side the plain literal sense of the text, although it per­fectly consists with the whole bible; it also implies that the mind of God is altered since Abraham's time, which is atheistical. It implies also that the covenant with Abraham was not the covenant of grace, contrary to the above demonstrations. If then we would avoid such sentiments, let us allow the text to speak honest­ly its own meaning; and then we shall adopt the mind of God, plainly exprest in it.

6. Peter had now a fine advantage to have taught his hearers otherwise; viz. to have told them, "you are now under another dispensation, and must not expect any old Jewish matter to be continued to you" &c. It was a fine opportunity to advance the baptists notion of this text; for his hearers were soft and ductile, fit to receive any thing from their spiritual father; it was also a time for new things to take place. Beside, he was di­vinely bound to speak the thing, as it was. And doubt­less, but two reasons can be devised, why he delivered [Page 39]himself as he did, viz. because it was true, and because the reverse was not true. But indeed the apostle was not so far advanced in the light of modern times, as to see reason to correct a gross error in divine conduct, in put­ting such subjects into his holy covenant, as were no way fit for that situation.

3. Mark x. 13. 14, says, They brought young chil­dren to Christ; be sure not to be baptized; for he baptized not. John iv. 2. Reasons for which have been given above. But Matt. xix. 13. says, "that he should put his hands on them and pray." Mark x. 13, says, "that he should touch them" and the 16th verse shews they meant that he should bless them; which he did. But this blessing must come from the trea­sury of the covenant of grace. But we are sure, a bles­sing from the covenant of grace, could not be bestowed on such as were not in that covenant. For a divine rule is, "give not that which is holy to dogs." Matt. vii. 6. But then tis evident these children of his covenant peo­ple, were in the covenant of grace. And though he did not baptize them, he required them to be brought to him, to receive a covenant blessing. And if there is no way for his people to copy out this instruction visibly now, but by baptismal dedication, according to the revealed mind of him who changeth not; then 'tis their duty, so to dedicate them. And though there were some even then, who opposed this practice of bringing children to Christ for a covenant blessing; yet it was done; and received great encouragement by Chrst's being much displeased with those who op­posed it; and also by his command, equally binding now as then. "Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not." And his reason for it is of force now, "for of such is the kingdom of heaven." And 'tis of no importance in the case, whether by "kingdom of heaven." is designed the church militant or triumphant; since they are both of one nature. And if children belong to either, they are entitled at least, to the privileges of the former. And if Jesus Christ now owns little children to belong to the kingdom of heaven; if you [Page 40]are not sure of their salvation, you are the more sure they belong to the visible church. Therefore who is he that shall dare deny them?

4. If the principle of forbidding a dedication of children in baptism, tends to prevent the millennium, or glorious state of the church in this world, in which the prophecies of scripture so generally centre; then 'tis an unscriptural principle; but it has such a palpable tendency. For in the millennium all nations are to flow into the church of God; Isa. ii. 2. But chil­dren are a great part of all nations; and the hope of the people, both for church and state. And to exclude them all from so much as the outward court of the church of God, is to shut them all up visibly in the devil's kingdom: for all who are not of the visible church, are, as to their visible standing, in the king­dom of the devil. And to place all children there has a direct tendency to prevent all nations ever to be­come, entirely the kingdom of Christ. Whereas if they were dedicated to him, according to his own plan; and so put in his way; he would be holden by his co­venant to take care of them; for he is ever mindful of his covenant. Psal. iii. 5. They would be in the way of religious inspection and regulation, instruction, pray­ers, every mean, private and public, appointed to rip­en them for divine service. But to exclude them from all those, has an awful tendency to keep them out of God's appointed way, and to prevent the de­signs of his grace in this world. And so is an unscrip­tural and antiscriptural principle. I am sensible anti­nomians who are hearty enemies to the laws and regu­lations of God's house, will easily harden themselves against this reasoning; for at bottom, they hate a re­ligion which confronts their loose and licentious spirit. But the people of God may comfort themselves, such unhappy people are more against God and the bible than against any of his people. And we may be sure, divine truth will have weight, with all whose hearts are found in God's statutes.

5. Children were in the covenant of grace, and so [Page 41]in the outward court of the church, under the former dispen­sation, by God's own order; this has been proved and can't be denied. But the same covenant of grace still stands, and God is of the same mind; therefore in right, they are there now.

Obj 1. But the same word of God says "believe and be baptized." Whereas children can't believe; and therefore ought not to be baptized.

Ans. 1. It has been proved, that children have believed, and of course may be often made believers

Ans. 2. This is no more a bar to their dedication in bap­tism, than it was in case of circumcision, little children are as able to believe now, as they were when God declared them to be in the covenant of grace of old. 'Tis no mark of one being taught of God, to be disposed to dictate his maker; or dispute his revealed will.

Ans. 3. When little children are denied baptism, on this principle, that they can't believe. It looks like an evidence of unregeneracy; for it seems to imply that an adult, can contribute something toward getting true faith; but an infant cannot, for want of abilities, which shews ignorance of the nature of human depravity, and of the power of God For faith is solely the gift of God Eph. ii. 8. And infants cer­tainly have not so strong opposition to this work; and adults as certainly never concur in it. Rom viii. 7

Ans. 4. God knew the state of infants with respect to believing when he connected circumcision with faith; for Abraham believed before circumcision was commanded. Gen. xv. 6. And all parents of his progeny believed the great doctrines of revealed religion, in those days. And so dedicated their children in circumcision. And this fully explains the doctrine of "believe and be baptized." The command lies on the agent, not the infant subject.

Ans. 5. We insist on the principle "believe and be baptized," as strictly as any; but we insist on it only where God orig­inally required it; viz. in the agent, who is bound by the command, and who can obey, and accordingly desires bap­tism, for his child, if he is a parent; as a part of himself, and as what God requires of him, as his own, and to be rendered to him in his own way. We therefore keep his command­ment exactly according to the original state of it. Whereas baptists insist on it, where it never was required, in the ori­ginal establishment of the covenant to which all these things belong. For God said not a word of faith in the infant sub­ject of circumcision; but in the agent, the parent, or actor in the affair; who feels the bond of duty, and who being him­self dedicated to God, means to dedicate these branches of himself also, viz. his children.

Obj 2. But little children know nothing of what whey are doing; have no sense of the affair.

[Page 42] Ans. They do nothing in the affair, and have nothing to do. They are not the subjects of command about it; nor have any duty to do in it. But they have full as much sense about the matter now, as those had who were circumcised in infancy, when this covenant and its seal were established of old. And the author of the whole scheme, knew full as much about it at first, as any body does now. He knew how this test of allegiance would operate through all generations. But as he did order it; so we mean to obey his revealed will without disputing it with him; without charging him with error, or absurdity in it; or substituting our own imagination about it. For we know "the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." Deut. xxix. 29.

6. If the letter of the apostolick commission, doth not ex­clude children, as it certainly would if it was the mind of God to exclude them; but includes them with their parents; then we ought to include them, and allow them to be the subjects of that witnessing ordinance, which God has appoint­ed for them; but that commission does naturally include them; therefore we must include them, and apply the ordinance of baptism to them, as God has directed. The words of that commission are "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, bapti­zing them." Now if 'tis certain and well known that children are always a great part of all nations; then they are not ex­cluded, when the command says all nations, but necessarily included; since there is no exception at all made. Beside if the command had been "circumcise all nations," the ad­mission of children, could not have been doubted; and be sure 'tis as evident they are to be admitted now. For the in­stitutor, and his authority are the same; the covenant is the same; and baptism is exactly in place of circumcision, as has been proved. Therefore the children of visible christans, are in the covenant of grace with their parents; and by divine direction the seal of that covenant is to be applied to them.

7. The last evidence I shall adduce for the point, is the evident import of Rom. xi. 17. "If some of the Jews, were broken off from the former state of the church and gentiles were grafted in their place, and so gentiles under the gospel, partake with such jews as believed, and so were not broken off, in the root and fatness of that former state of the church, &c. Then the following things are certainly true, viz.

  • 1. That by olive tree, in the close of this text, is meant the church of God, in which those Jews who believed, and so were not still broken off, still remained.
  • 2. That when gentiles were converted under the gospel, they were grafted into the same church state, with those Jews who stood by faith, and were never broken off.
  • 3. And so the believing gentiles, did with those Jews, who [Page 43]were never broken off, equally partake of the root, i. e. of the church privileges derived from Abraham, or the institution established with him; and of the fatness, i. e. the promises, ordinances, and blessings, of that good olive tree, the church of God. All which may be reduced to the two following heads.
    • 1. That all gentile christians, are grafted in, and belong to that church which was first founded on the covenant made with Abraham, and which was commanded to use circumci­sion, as the visible seal of the covenant. And so all gentile christians came to be entitled to all the ordinances and privi­leges of the church, down from Abraham. But circumcision of children was one of them. Therefore, since God has only altered the form of this ordinance, which also the apostle knew, when he wrote this text; gentile christians, being now in the same church, are equally bound to dedicate children in bap­tism, as Gods people of old were in circumcision.
    • 2. As this insertion of all gentile believers, into the same church, is called grafting; so it implies that their children are set in with them; just as the buds of a cyon are set into the stock, with the cyon, as parts of itself. And as the cyon, with its buds all partake of the sap of their stock; so christians with their children partake in the same privilege of religious dedication by baptism, as the people of God, did of old by circumcision. 'Tis certain, God never had, or designed to have, more than one church. There never was more than one such good olive tree. The lamb never had, or will have more than one wife, Rev. xxi. 9. The covenant of grace, is her only charter of priviledges; and baptism is her only initi­ating seal; the first public witness of the truth, durableness, and certainty, of her grand charter. And as circumcision of their children was part of the fatness of that state of the good olive tree; we being grafted into the same olive tree, have this branch of her fatness, in christian baptism. And such as daily attend to, and regard this word of God, may be fully satisfied in the conclusion.

4. And this brings me in the last place, to shew what pro­vision God has made for the propagation of these contents.

1. Baptismal dedication is one mean to propagate and dis­tinguish the visible church, and so to attain the end and design of the covenant of grace in this world. As circumcision was an ingredient in the wall of separation, between the church of God, of old, and the heathen world, so is baptism now; for all who are not baptized, are heathen in their visible standing. When the apostle Peter had declared. Act. ii. 39. That bap­tism belonged to believers and their children; just as circum­cision did, from Abraham down to that very day, in which he delivered this doctrine; he afterwards compares baptism to Noah's ark, so that as the ark was a mean and pledge of safety to Noah and his family; just so he says, baptism doth now save [Page 44]us. I. Pet. iii. 21. But intimates at the same time, 'tis not the mere formal action, that does it, any more that Noah and his family were saved from the flood, merely by the ark, which if God had not upheld and kept, must have foundered by the weather and the flood. But baptismal dedication, is like the ark, a mean and pledge of safety and preservation to the church of God. 'Tis of God's own appointing; and by it, his visible church is distinguished, from all who do not prac­tically own the true God. And as he owns and honors his own appointments; so this ordinance, as the witnessing seal of his covenant, and mark of his people, is evidence of his promissed-fidelity, in watching over them, and preserving them, as his people and church, from final ruin in this world. Even the gates of hell, can't prevail to that effect. Mat. vi. 18. Nay the church which is faithful in these observances "shall be established forever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven, Selah Psal. lxxxix. 37.

2. Another mean of divine appointment, for perpetuating the designs of the covenant of grace, in this world, is family instruction, and government. Therefore Deut. vi. 7. After referring to the establishment with Abraham in several points, says, "Thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children." And to fix a solemn engagement on them, to do so, adds 15th verse. Lest the anger of the Lord thy God, be kindled against thee, and be destroy thee from off the face of the earth". Which implies that if they were faithful in this duty of family instruction, it should be a mean of their preservation, as a church, and people of God, on the face of the earth. To which the apos­tle, long since, refers Eph vi. 4. "Bring them, your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Nay the wisdom of God has determined both means and end. Prov. xxii. 6. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it And God has added the christ­ian confirmation. II. Tim iii. 15. "From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation" And the holy spirit in giving laws for the church's health and preservation, says Prov. xxix. 15. "The rod and reproof give wisdom; but a child left to himself, bringeth his mo­ther to shame." Therefore, 17th verse adds "correct thy son." And the same divine councel says, "he that spareth the rod, hateth his son". Prov. xiii. 24. And, be sure, the want of such measures ruined Eli's House I. Sam. ii. 13. As surely then, as "the reproofs of instruction are the way of life," Prov. vi. 23. So surely, family instruction and government, are a mean appointed by God, to preserve and perpetuate his church upon earth.

3. Another mean for accomplishing the design of the covenant of grace, and the last I shall name is ecclesiastical discipline. For as family discipline is for the members of the family; so church discipline is for all the members of the church.

[Page 45] 1. If then the children of professing christians, are in the outward court of the covenant of grace; and so under its out­ward administration; then they are within the pale of the vi­sible church. The former has been proved, and the latter follows of course. The common objection is, then they ought to partake of all ordinances; but 'tis not so. An infant heir at law, has right to an estate; or a crown; but he can't inherit, and possess it, 'till of lawful age. So a baptized infant member of the church, can't actually enjoy full communion 'till evidence of knowledge, faith, and holiness, qualifies him according to the laws of the visible church. II. Cor. xiii. 5. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith, prove your own selves." And all who can do this, may eat and drink I. Cor. xi. 28. 'Tis certain that all circumcised children of old, were of the visible church. For in the first institution of that ordi­nance, God gave a rule to run through all ages of the law — "The uncircumcised manchild, shall be cut off from his people" Gen. xvii. 14. But he could not be cut off from the church by want of circumcision, unless circumcision constituted membership. And the Psalmist who knew the nature of church state, in those days, says Psal. cii. 28. "The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee." But as God is the same, his mind the same, the church the same, and the covenant on which it stands the same; so of course children are in the outward court of the church now. And to this purpose, the apostle is quite full. "The blessing of Abraham" Part of which was circumcision of his seed, and their consequent priviledges; "is come on the gentiles;" that is on us now; "through Jesus Christ" Gal. iii. 14. The apostle Peter therefore had good reason to preach to visible christians. The promise is to you and to your children. Act. ii. 39.

2. As all baptized children are in the outward court of the church; so of right, they are under the care, oversight & discipline of the church; just as children of a private fami­ly, are, as to their Parents. And as 'tis of dangerous conse­quence, for Parents to neglect this duty; so 'tis for a church to neglect the discipline of her baptized members. This kind of conduct ruined Eli's house. Jesus Christ sat an ex­ample for his church, when in giving Peter charge about his fold, he especially commands him to feed his lambs; but feeding implies government. Yea, Christ himself took young children in his arms. Mar. x. 16. And as the out door mem­bers of his church, bestowed a covenant blessing on them, and was much displeased with those who opposed, 14th verse.—As certainly therefore, as jewish children, were within the pale of the church, and under its government; as has been proved; so certainly are baptized children now. So Act. iii. 25, tells us, "ye are the children of the covenant, God made with the fathers, saying to ABRAHAM, in thy seed, shall all the kingdoms of the earth be blessed;"

[Page 46] 3. If God claims the children of his people, as his children and servants; then they are jubject to the discipline, which he has instituted in his church; but he does so claim them. For he says, Ezek. xvi. 21. "Thou hast caused my children to pass through the fire, viz. to Molock, thy sons and thy daughters which thou hast born to me." 20th verse. And in Lev. xxv. 41, 42. "They are my servants." Also, Psal. cxxv. 3 "Chil­dren are the heritage of the Lord." But heritage, is character for the church. Joel iii. 2. Therefore they are as surely sub­ject to the discipline of God's House, the church; as that there is any discipline there. Or as children and servants are under discipline in a family.

4. If God owns the same relation to children in the church, as to their parents there; then they are equally under discipline there; but he does own the same relation; Ezek. xviii. 4. "All souls are mine, as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine." And the following words inflict punishment equally on both, in cases of disobedience.—Therefore the children of the church, are equally subject to discipline, as parents there.

5. All persons, in the visible church are, as to their stand­ing in the kingdom of Christ; but as the branch and the stock belong together; so 'tis absurd to suppose their children, given to God in baptism, are in the kingdom of satan, as to their outward relative standing; yet 'tis evident, the kingdom of Christ, and that of satan include all. Therefore children given to God in baptism, and so being of the Church, as to their relative standing, are of course under the inspection and discipline of the church.

6. If baptised children are not of the church, and so un­der discipline, the church will not be able to give account ac­cording to Heb. ii. 13. "Behold I and the children which God hat given me."

7. If the known and allowed distinction, of visible and in­visible church, is founded on matter of fact, then there are those truly of the church who are not of it, as a spiritual and invisible body. And as the bible teaches, and it has been prov­ed, that baptized children are of the church; so these are of it as visible in distinction from the spiritual and invisible state of that corporation; and of course such children are objects of the care and government of the church as a spiritual and truly christian corporation.

8. If all disciples are of the church, and subject to disci­pline, then baptized children are so; Act. xv. 10, calls those disciples who actually endured circumcision; but in general, only children were circumcised from Abraham to the apostles; and we have proved baptism, to be in place of cir­cumcision. As therefore circumcised children were disciples then; 'tis equally evident that baptized ones are so now; and of course, they are of the church, and under its inspection [Page 47]and discipline. For 'tis the claim of all corporations, to gov­ern and regulate their own subjects.

9. If the church in both states of it, had one and the same lord and head; and he changeth not, Mal. iii. 6, but is of one mind, and none can turn him. Job xxiii. 13. Then as evidently as we find circumcised children, under the over­sight and discipline of his church formerly; so certainly bap­tized ones, are equally under inspection and government of the church now. But the apostle ascribes the calling and forming of both states of his church to the same head and lord. Rom. ix. 24: Therefore subjects of the christian cir­cumcision are equally under the inspection and discipline of the church now.

10. If Abraham, the father of believers did "command his children and household after him, to keep the way of the Lord." Then 'tis the duty of a christian church, as consisting of his children, to copy the example of that patriarch. But he did do so; and God approved him in it. Gen. xviii. 19. There­fore a christian church, as Abraham's children, ought to fol­low his steps.

11. If for baptized children to be under discipline in the church, is one mean to form them for succession in the christ­ian church, and other useful offices; then 'tis the will of God, and the duty of the church, to exercise it; but 'tis as evidently one mean for those ends; as training up a child in the way he should go, is a mean of his walking in it af­terward. According to Prov. xxii. 6.

12. If when God said, "I will be a God to thee and thy seed. Gen. xvii. 7. Heb. viii. 10. He did at least secure all outward blessings and privileges, to the children of the faithful; then, if the oversight and regulation of a christian church, in the government of their children, is a blessing and privilege; it was the design of God originally, and of course, the duty of the church, so to treat their baptized children. But the former is true, and so of course must be the latter.

13. If such care and government, is implied in God's be­ing the God of Abraham's seed, which includes believers children; then they are under such care and government in the church; for be sure, God has government [...] all that are in covenant with him. And 'tis as sure, that a church under that government, and who mean to be follow­ers of God as dear children, must, in fidelity excercise it o­ver all baptized subjects of the same covenant.

14. If training up a child in the way he should go, implies discipline, and the church are bound by this command, [...] a law on every parent, then the church must exercise disci­pline, on all their baptized children, or be disobedient

15. If baptized children, are under the bound of the coven­ant of grace, as has been proved; then they must [...] [Page 48]the rod of discipline; but they are under the bond of the co­venant, both as given up to God; and as he calls them his own children; therefore they must pass under the rod of discipline. For God has connected these together. [...] xx. 37.

16. The church is God's family, Eph. iii. 15. There is therefore equal reason for discipline over all that belong to it; as in any natural family.

17. If discipline in a natural family is a privilege; then in the church it is part of that fatness, which every, christian church derives from the olive tree into which it is grafted. Rom. xi. 17.

18. As "there is one body," the church, one Lord, one faith, one God and father of all" churches, in all ages, who is above all," and so has right exclusively to order every thing, "and is through all" from the beginning of the world, to the end of it; "and in all" his people and churches; Eph. iv. 4, 5.6. And as this one God, is of one unalterable mind, and has seen fit in his wisdom, to establish a church in the world; and calls it his family; and has appointed its rules, and in­ternal government; and gave the sum of these to Abraham, and gave assurance to us all, that he should never depart from that plan; but maintain it for substance, through all a­ges to the end of the world; and as the public dedication of children, and their being subject to christian oversight, and discipline in his church, are parts of that plan which un­changeable uniformity has prescribed, and determined shall continue, and be observed by his people, in all times and pla­ces; so 'tis certainly safer, and more honorable as well as peaceful, for us, to be subject to his pleasure; and in every thing learn to say "thy will be done."

The END.

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