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behalf of himself and his infant, in the very act of offering it to God in baptisin. And baptism is a seal, not to a blank, but to this covenant, which in fact takes place between God and the pious parent.
15. We are to distinguish between covenanting with God actively, in a visible manner, as a pious parent does when he dedicates bis child to God in baptism, and promises to bring it up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord ; and being. laid under the bonds of the covenant passively, as is the case with the child. God speaks to the pious parent in that ordinance, saying, “I will be a God to thee, and to thy seed, i. e. if they will take heed to walk in my ways.” The pious parent answers, in the act of offering the child to baptism, “I choose thee for my God, and for the God of my child. And I promise to bring up my child for thee. And, oh, that it might live in thy sight, be thy child, and walk in thy ways !". The parent is active; bụt the child is merely passive. We may bring ourselves under the bonds of the covenant, by our own act and deed, as the adult did in the plains of Moab, when they renewed covenant there: or we may be brought under the bonds of the covenant, by the act of another authorized by God so to do. Thus Moses laid all the infants in the congregation, in the plains of Moab, under the bonds of the covenant. And thus, parents, in offering their children to baptism, lay them under the bonds of the covenant.
16. If no one is to be baptised, till by his own act and deed he enters into covenant with God, be it the covenant of grace, or a graceless covenant; then no infant is to be baptised on either plan: because no infant, by his own act and deed, enters into any covenant of any sort, or so much as knows, that there is any covenant of any sort to be entered into. If the child has a right to baptism, on its parents' account, and not on its own, infant-baptism can be vindicated, as well on the plan of a gracious covenant, as on the plan of an ungracious one; but if the child's right to baptism is founded on its own personal compliance with the covenant, infant-baptism must be given up on the plan of a corenant of moral sincerity, and a right doctrinal belief; for no infant was ever thus qualified : but some infants have been sancti
fied from the womb, and so, in this sense, have been in the covenant of grace. Luke i. 15.
17. It must apparently be an unspeakable advantage, to be under the watch and care of a godly church, who have a real spirit of fidelity in them; and, like Abraham, will command all under their care to fear the Lord. Gen. xviii. 19. And it is equally evident, that it can be of no advantage to be under the watch and care of an ungodly church, who will neither walk in the ways of God themselves, nor bring up those committed to their care for God. God put confidence in Abraham, I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, &c. But there is no confidence to be put in an ungodly man, that he will be faithful to God, with respect to his own soul, or the souls of his children. Hos. vi. 4. Mat. vij. 16, 17, 18.
of the This
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THERE are three things in Mr. M.'s external covenant, viz. The conditions required; the privileges promised ; and the seals; and his ideas concerning each of these, as express ed in bis book, are inconsistent.
1. As to the conditions required, in order to a covenant right to all covenant privileges, his ideas are inconsistent.For,
1. Sometimes he makes circumcision the only condition. “For that by which,” says he," any one was to enter into this covenant, was an external mark in the Aesh, This is my covenant, which ye shall keep between me and you, and thy seed after thee ; etery man-child among you shall be circumcised. But that by which any one enters into the covenant of grace, is the circumcision of the heart." p. 7 m So
in "That by which any one enters into the covenant of grace is the circumciSion of the heart :” and yet he is obliged to deny this, p. 21.; and to affirm that the circumcision of the heart intends no more than entering into his external
that the circumcision of the flesh brings men into the exter-
any colour lay claiın ; for Abraham made no profession but a profession of saving faith. But this was a visible compliance with the covenant of grace, and not with the external covenant. If, therefore, he did any thing at all by way of compliance with Mr. M.'s external covenant, it was only merely and simply making an external mark in the flesh:
2. And as Mr. M. thus sometimes represents the circumcision of the flesh to be a compliance with the external covegant with Abraham; so he sometimes represents baptism as entitling to all the privileges of his external covenant, under the Gospel dispensation. For, according to him, all who are baptised" are Abraham's children, and heirs according to the promise." p. 13. “ For a child baptised in infan
graveless covenant, in order to get rid of that plain text, Ezek. xliv. 9. Thus saitla the Lord God, no stranger, uncircumcised in heart, &c. shall enter into my sanc. ruary; which is a prophecy of the glorious state of the church spoken of, Isa. ii. 8, 4, 5. Chap. xi. 1—9. and Ix. 21. When satan will be bound, agrecable to Rev. Ix: and when Mr. M.'s external covenant will be no more practised upon in the whole earth for a thousand years. For in that day, Thus saith the Lord God, no stranger, uncircumcised in heart, shall enter into my sanctuary; i.e. none shall be admitted but such who in their profession, life, and conversation, appear to be godly. For in that day right doctrine and right discipline will universally take place, and then all will be agreed : For they shall see eye to eye. Iseni. lü. 8.
cy,” he says, “is thereby as really brought into covenant, as
1. That no internal mental qualifications are now, or ever were, requisite, in order to a right to all church privileges in the sight of God; neither moral, nor gracious; neither faith, nor practice of one sort, or of the other ; no, nothing at all, but only " an external mark in the flesh," or water baptism". And therefore,
n The land of Canaan was one chief external blessing of the Abrahamic cover pant Gen. xrii. 8. A compliance with that covenant gave a covenant right to a
2. In order to our being satisfied in our own consciences, that we have a right in the sight of God to come to the Lord's table, we are not “ to examine ourselves of our knowledge to discern the Lord's body, of our faith to feed upon hiin, of our repentance, love, and new obedience," as the assembly of divines imagined an hundred and twenty years ago : nor are we to examine ourselves of our doctrinal knowledge, orthodoxy, moral sincerity, or of any thing else, of an internal, mental nature. For a right to the Lord's supper has no dependance on any thing of this nature. For, but one thing was needful to satisfy the conscience of the Jew, viz. “The external mark in the flesh," which might easily be known. And the Christian has nothing to do, but to procure and keep by him, a well attested certificate of his baptism, to give hiin a full assurance of his right to come to the Lord's table. For,
3. No crime, although of the most scandalous pature, could vacate this right in the sight of God, or in the sight of conscience; because this right was not founded in any moral qualifications whatsoever, but only in " an external mark in the flesh," or water baptism. But the idolatry of the Jew did not at all take away
“ the external mark in the flesh ;" nor
possession of it. Nam. xxxii. 11, 12. The Israelites who came out of Egypt were all circumcised. Josh. v. 5. If in circumcision, they fully complied with that covenant on their part; then their parcasses did not fall in the wilderness, Lecause they on their part broke covenant, but because God broke cove. bant on his part. They on their part fulfilled the only condition on which the land of Canaan was promised, but God was not true to the covenant on his part. So the fault was not in them, but in him ; and in this view, Lev. xxvi. and Deut. xxviji. are entirely inconsistent with the Abrahamic covenant. And so also is the di. vine conduct in the expulsion of the Jews out of the land of Canaan by Nebuchadnezzar, formerly, as well as in their present dispersion. For they on their part have always kept covenant. For they have always circumcised their children, from the time they took possession of the land of Canaan to this day. Nor. can Psalm 1. 16. Isai. i. 10-15. Ezek. xliv. 9. Mat. v. 23, 24. Heb. iii. 19. and an bundred other texts, be reconciled with this scheme. .
And if baptism alone, without respect to any mental qualification, gives a coveuant right to all the external privileges of the visible church of Christ ; then no consistent meaning can be given to these texts, Mat xviii. 17. Mat. xxii. 12. Cor. v. 11. and Chap. xi. 28, 29. Tit. ii. 10, 11. Rev. ii. 4, 5. &c. &c. The truth is, by sealing a covenant we are bound to fulfil it: but it is an actual compliance with a LOVEnant, that entitles us to its blessings. Lev. xxvi. Deat, xxviii. Rom. viii. 13. Mat. iii. 9, 10.