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are cast out. Mr. Cotton, minister of the first church in Boston, says, in a letter dated in the year 1634, (which was before 1662.) we may not account such parents for Pagans and Infidels, who are themselves baptised, and profess their belief of the fundamental articles of the Christian faith, and live without notorious scandalous crimes, though they give not clear evidence of their regenerate state. In the year 1635, came over, Matber, Norton, and Shepherd. Three extraordinary men ; each give their opinion in the affirmative. In the year 1636, came Patrick and Rogers, Mr. Smith of Weathers-field, Mr Prudden of Milford, and many others, all in the affirmative. So the congregationalists at home, Dr. Owen, Dr. Holmes, and others. From which it appears, that it was no new thing for persons in covenant to have their children baptised, if they did not come to the table. And I think many of their arguments unanswerable.

P.

DIALOUGE III.

ParishIONER. SJR, this third visit I am come to make you, for I have lately read a piece printed at New-London, entitled, “ A Dialogue between a minister and his parishioner, concerning the half-way covenant, continued ;" said to be written by one of the most learned and ingenious ministers in the colony. I hope therefore, now if ever, by the assistance of such a patron, to be able to carry my point. Instructed by him, I give up the half-way covenant; I grant there is but one covenant. I give up the half-way practice too, as founded only in ignorance, and the mistaken notions of the vulgar. I am convinced, that he that is qualified to have his children baptised, is equally qualified to come to the Lord's table. I come therefore to claim baptism for my child, and a place at the Lord's table for myself, as my proper right. p. 6. However, I am not well pleased at the publication of our discourse in my first visit, although I must confess you have given a fair representation of what passed, because being very dull at that time, I make but a very indifferent figure in the eyes of the public. p. 2.

MINISTER. Be comforted, my friend ; no blame is laid on you by the public. I bear it all ; and I am willing to bear it for your good : and methinks you have only cause of joy and thankfulness; for to be convinced so soon of your mistake, is no small favour. 'No doubt the voice of the clergy, who practise the half-way, declaring as one man, that he who is qualified to offer his child to baptism, is equally qualified to come to the Lord's table, has wrought your conviction; for your former faith and practice were grounded merely on the custom of the country: this led you to think that the Lord's supper was more holy than baptism. But while you hear all the ministers, with whom you converse, declare they mean no such thing ; they practise the half-way only in condescension to the ignorance, and groundless unscriptural scruples of the common people ; you are convinced; you give up the point; you own the command of Christ, do this in remembrance of me, is binding on all his disciples: but, pray, upon wbat grounds, do you now so boldly claim baptisin for your child ?

P. Although I was "uncommonly dull and muddy,” in my first visit; yet,“ you know, sir, what I wanted was to have my child baptised. As you

told me there was but one covenant, so we were agreed that I bad entered into that covenant,

the

very same covenant that you entered into three and thirty years ago, when you was admitted into the church. And, sir, why may I not have the seal of it set upon my child ?" p. 4.

M. Did not I expressly tell you, that “ If the covenant owned is the covenant of grace, and if the parent acts understandingly and honestly in the affair, he is a good man; he has a right before God to baptisın for his children, and an equal right to the Lord's supper ? But that if the covenant owned is not the covenant of grace, those who have owned it, have in the sight of God no right to either of those ordinances, which are seals of that covenant, and of no other: no more righit than if they had given their assent to any chapter in the Apocrypha ?

P. True, you did so; and there is but one covenant, says my patron.

M. This covenant then is the covenant of grace, which, we are all agreed, requires repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ : or else there is no covenant of grace at all; for he says there is but one. But lay your hand upon your heart, and tell me the truth honestly, did you mean to profess repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, when you owned the covenant? or in other words, did you mean to profess a compliance with the covenant of grace? Pray, sir, recollect and repeat the very words you spake to me in your first visit.

P. You make me blush ; for I told you the truth in my first visit, from the bottom of my heart; and this is what I said : [ “ knew myself to be unconverted; I meant the covenant, as the phrase is, and have my children baptised ; but I had no design to profess godliness, or to pretend a real compliance with the covenant of grace. This godly people may do, but it had been great hypocrisy in me to do it. To lie to men is bad, but to lie to God is worse. I supposed that owning the covenant was what the unconverted mighi do." These were my very words: and on these principles I acted, as do all others that I am acquainted with, who own the covenant, have their children baptised, and do not come to the Lord's table ; and I verily thought this was right before my first visit.

M. How is it possible a man so honest as you then appeared to be, should now act such a dishonest part, as you have done? It is my duty, as a minister of Christ, to rebuke you sharply; for then you told me, as you now own, that did not mean to profess a compliance with the covenant of grace, upon which I denied baptism to your child; and yet just now you pretended you did mean to do it. You have need to blush ; this deliberate dissimulation in such an affair, is no small crime. Did your learned patron advise you to this step, to get your child baptised ? Is this the way to obtain God's blessing?

P. Be this as it may, I am willing now to make a profession, and publicly to enter into covenant with God, and I have no objection against the form used in your church. I can make

that you

that covenant, and speak truly in the sight of God, notwithstanding I know I have no grace. p. 6,7. :

M. How can a man who knows he has no grace, profess a compliance with the covenant of grace, without wilful lying?

P. I do not mean to make a profession that shall imply conversion. There would be 'special hypocrisy' in doing so. p. 14.

M. What then? do you suppose the unconverted do comply with the covenant of grace? That the unconverted have repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ? That the unconverted choose the Lord Jehovah for their sovereign Lord, and supreme good through Jesus Christ, and give up themselves to his service, to walk in all his ways, seeking his glory? P. No, sir, by no means.

But “ if it be true that the Lord Jehovah is my sovereign Lord and supreme good through Jesus Christ, i. e. if it be true, that he who through Christ is the author of being, and of every mercy to all the living, is the sovereign Lord and supreme good of every living soul, it is no harm to avouch it.” I mean to give my, assent to this truth, and no more.

M. Doth not the devil believe the truth of this proposition as firmly as any wicked man does ? and is he in covenant? You have need to be better instructed about the nature of entering into covenant with God, before you can be considered as qualified io point of doctrinal knowledge.

P. No, sir, I am not so ignorant, neither. I know in what sense you mean to understand your covenant. But knowing myself to be unconverted, I cannot profess a compliance with the covenant of grace in that sense. I cannot profess supreme love to God, and that I do actually take him as my God, my chief good, through Jesus Christ. This is not in

, my heart. Therefore I mean to adopt the words of the covenant in a different sense; even in the sense in which an unconverted man who is at enmity against God may use then, and yet speak true.

M. But this is not to profess a compliance with the covenant of grace. And therefore should you make it, it could give you no right to sealing ordinances for yourself or your

child. Rather is it gross and scandalous dissimulation, very much like what is practised by Arians and Socinians among the clergy of the church of England, when they subscribe the xhirty-nine articles, in order to qualify themselves for a benefice upon the establishment; which practice is condemned by all honest men.

P. Be this as it may, I can at least with moral sincerity promise, “ to walk in all his ways and keep all his commands, seeking his glory.” p. 7.

M. The obedience engaged by one who professes a compliance with the covenant of grace, is that kind of obedience which the covenant requires, viz. an holy obedience, an obedience which proceeds from faith and love. And do you mean to engage

this? P. No, by no ineans. I only mean to engage what an unconverted man may do, while such. p. 72.

M. But this unholy obedience is not that kind of obedi. ence which the covenant of grace requires at your hands. So that you mean to profess neither to comply with the covenant

of

grace at present, nor to live such a holy life as it

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a Other writen maintain, that such as know themselves to be unconverted, when they join in full communion with the church, are to engage that very kind of obedience required in the covenant of grace, from that time and forward till they die. They are not to profess that they have as yet loved God, believed in Christ, repented of their sins, or lived holy lives; but they are to engage that they will do all this as soon as ever they have joined with the church, and from that time forward till they die. This is Mr. Beckwith's scheme, answer to Mr. Green, p. 26. If these professors are so near being converted in their own judg. ments, really and honestly, that they do expeet' to be actually converted as soon as they have joined with the church, it is a pity they do not put off their public profession till the next sabbath ; and so be converted first : and then they might make a full profession of a present compliance with the covenant of grace, and so the whole controversy might be ended. This is always the way that honest people take when they enter into the marriage covenant, to which this writer comþares this transaction. They do not come and present themselves before the priest to enter into the marriage covenant, till they begin to love each other. And now they can with a good conscience give their consent to the whole mar. rige covenant, as being conscious to themselves that they already have such an heart in them. But should a pair offer to be married, who had, through their whole courtship, and to that moment, been at enmity against each other, as much as Paul declares every carnal mind to be against God, (Rom. viii. 7.) it would be looked upon as a bypocritical, mad, and stupid piece of conduct. VOL. 111.

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