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vours to lay a new foundation for infant baptism, perhaps never before laid by any writer on that subject, viz. An external graceless covenant; and what the effect among common people will be, if they shall see Mr. M.'s external covenant proved to be a mere non-entity, cannot yet be known. But if any are shaken in their belief of infant baptism, when they find Mr. M.'s foundation give way,under them, they ought to remember, that the defenders of infant baptism have vot built their arguments on this foundation, but always on a supposition that the covenant with Abraham was the covepant of grace.
Thus Mr. Bostwick, late minister of the presbyterian church in New-York, in his Vindication of Infant Baptism, p. 19. says, “ The covenant made with Abraham was a covenant of grace, and the same for substance that is now in force under the Gospel. This I look upon to be the grand turning point on which the issue of the controversy very much depends ; for if Abraham's covenant, which included his infant children, and gave them a right to circumcision, was not the covenant of grace, then I freely confess that the main ground on which we assert the right of infants to baptism, is taken away; and consequently, the principal arguments in support of the doctrine are overturned."
The corenant with Abraham was a holy cveenant, and could
not be really complied with but in the exercise of real holiness.
SHOULD a dispute arise concerning the contents of any.covenant between two of our neighbours, what way would common sense teach all impartial men to advise them to take, in order to settle the controversy ? Would they not say, “come, neighbours, no more dispute about this matter, bring out the writing, let us read it, and see with our own eyes how the bond runs ?”
Now these are the contents of the covenant with Abraham, in Gen. xii. where it is first of all mentioned; “ Now the
NATIONS BE BLESSED.
Lord had said unto Abram, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great ; and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse hin that curseth thee; and in thee shall all the fumilies of the earth be blessed.” And was this a graceless covenant, or the very Gospel of Christ? Hear what an inspired apostle saith, Gal. iii. 8. And the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, IN THEE SHALL ALL
Aod in Gen. xii. 4. follows an account of Abraham's compliance. So Abram depurted, as the Lord hud spoken unto him. He did not merely “endeavour," but he actually complied. And was this done in faith, or in a graceless manner ? Take the answer from an inspired writer. Heb. xi. 8. By FAITH Abrnhum, when he was called to go out, &c. obeyed. Just parallel to the conduct of Christ's true disciple, when he was on earth. Mark. ii. 14. And he said unto him, follow me, and he arose and followed him.
And this saine covenant was renewed on God's part in Gen. xv. 3. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, look not toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them. And he said unto him, so shall thy seed be. And in ver. 6. follows Abraham's compliance ; and he believed in the Lord. And the very next words determine that this was not Mr. M.'s external covenant, in a compliance with which no man is justified, and that Abraham's faith was a true justifying, saving faith ; and he counted it to him for righteousness, ,
And in chap. xvii. this same covenant was renewed again with this additional declaration, I am God Almighty, absohutely all-sufficient. For he had before said, chap. xv. I am thy shield, and exceeding great reward; which is something of a higher nature than what is promised by Mr. M.'s external covenant; yea, it is added, to be a God to thee, and thy seed after thee. In consequence of which he was called the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and what is implied in this we may learn from Heb. xi. 16,
Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city. Yea, all the great blessings of the Gospel are summed up in one promise, Rev. xxi. 7. He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his Gon. And this divine injunction was added at this season of renewing this covenant, walk before me, and be thou perfect; which implied a life of real holiness, and sincere devotedness to God.
Mr. M.'s external covenant requires no higher kind of faith than the devil has, and nothing but ungracious, unholy obedience, which those who are dead in sin may perform : But neither this faith nor this obedience were the faith and obedience of Abraham. Mr. M.'s covenant requires what James calls a dead faith, by which no man can be justified ; but Abraham's was a living faith, by which he was justified, and by which all others will be justified who have it. And his obedience was an holy obedience, such as is peculiar to the friends of God. Mr. M.'s external covenant, is adapted to the temper and state of the unconverted, requiring only such religious exercises as may take place in them. But Abraham was not in an unconverted state ; and so Mr. M.'s external covenant was not adapted to the temper and state in which he was, if the reader will be at the pains to take his bible and turn to Gen. xii. and read the whole history of Abraham's life, he will not find the least hint of more than one covenant with Abraham; nor was one unholy duty ever required at his hands : rather on the contrary, these were the express words of God Almighty to him, , walk before me, and be thou perfect. If therefore we judge of the nature of the covenant with Abraham, as we do of all other written covenants, viz. by the contents of the written instrument, there is no room to doubt.
And now this covenant being thus made, and thus renewed from time to time, through the space of above twenty years, an external seal was at length by God appointed to it. For circumcision was appointed as a token of this. very covenant, which was made with Abraham before he was circumcised. For an inspired apostle has said it. Rom. iv. 9, 10, 11, “Cometh this blessedness, (viz. that spoken of in
the foregoing verse,' blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin,') then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also ? for we say, that faith was reckoned to Abrahain for righteousness. How was it then reckoned ? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision ? not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal, (not of Mr. M.'s external covenant, but) of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised ; that he might be the father, (not of those. graceless men, that enter into Mr. M.'s graceless covenant, but) of all them that believe; that righteousness might be imputed to them also.” That all who comply with that covenant as Abraham did himself, might be justified and saved, as he was. From all which it is evident that that covenant with which Abraham visibly complied, when in obedience to God's call, he separated himself and his family from the idolatrous world to worship the true God only, and to believe in, and wait for, the coming of the Messiah, whose day he same',
and was glad, was not Mr. M.’s external graceless covenant, by which no man can be justified and saved ; but the covenant of grace, which promises eternal life to those who comply with it; for God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, Mat. xxii. 31, 32.; and that circumcision was a seal of this very covenant. Which were the points to be proved.
There is not one text in the New Testament where the nature of the covenant with Abraham is pointed out, but that it is spoken of as the covenant of grace; for it is always spoken of as the way, and as the only way, in which a sinner can be justified. Particularly, read the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, and the 3d and 4th chapters to the Galatians, and this will appear in the clearest light. For from the manner in which Abraham was justified, Paul illustrates and confirms the Gospel way of justification. For he considers Abraham as the pattern, and teaches that all sinners are justified in the same way in which he was; and in this sense he is "the Father of many nations, as he is the Father of all that believe.” Rom. iv. 16, 17. “ For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” Ver. 3. “ Now it is not written for his
- Know ye,
sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to
Su that if we read the contents of the written instrument, as it is recorded in the Old Testament, or consider how the inspired writers of the New, understood it, nothing can be plainer than that the covenant with Abraham, into which the believing Gentiles are received under the Gospel dispensation, was the covenant of grace, even that covenant in which, and in which alone, justification and eternal life are to be expected. Nor can Mr. M. apply these texts to his external, gráceless covenant, without perverting the word of Gon in a most shocking manner. Yea, if these tests do not