« PreviousContinue »
ness were not circumcised until Joshua did it. So that for forty years circumcision was not practised on the eighth day- I grant that Zipporah circumcised her own son, but ministers of the gospel are to baptise. Ministers, only, are to administer sealing ordinances. I affirm that circumcision and baptism confer the same, or are seals of the same blessings. It is obvious that circumcision sealed spiritual blessings to Abraham, for, saith Paul, Rom. 4, 11, and he received the sign of circumcis. ion, a seal of the righteousness of that faith, which he had yet being uncircumcised-Circumcision was then to A. braham a seal of saving faith-Circumcision confirmed temporal and spiritual blessings, and Baptism confirms both temporal and spiritual blessings-all our temporal as well as our spiritual blessings come through the righteousness of Jesus Christmas the substance of Abraham's faith was the same as ours, and as circumcision was a sigu and seal of it, so baptism is a sign of the same blessings.
Now, that the Jews and the Christians are the same body politic, and that the covenants are the same, appears from Rom. 11, 17, “ And if some of the branches be broa ken off, and thou being a wild olive tree, were grafted ia among them, and, with them, partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;" from this text it appears obvious, that the Christians were grafted in among the Jews, into the same stock and root-now grafting does not alter the nature of the tree into which the branches are ingrafted; consequently the Jews and Christians are the same body politic. The covenants are the same, and baptism came in the rooin of circumcision-See Gen. 17 and Gal. 3—6 My love, my undefiled is one." As to the covenants that we have heard of, I consider that the coveBantof grace was that covenant to which circumcision was a seal. That the Abrahamic covenant was the covenant of grace, cannot, I think, be denied, seeing it sealed spiritual blessings; therefore I consider these objections of my opponent of no consequence, nor do they invalidate what I have already said, that infant membership was instity. ted in the church--that infants had once a right to it, and this right has never been taken away, but by the Baptists.
To which I then rejoined: My antagonist has attempted to remove some of those objections which I have made to liis assumption that
Baptism came in the room of circumcision.” Some of those differences he has not touched, and with what success he has attempted others you will immediately see, In the first place, with regard to the extending baptism to females contrary to the use of circumcision. This embarrassment to his system, he would remove by asserting, without evidence or proof, that our privileges are greater now than formerly, and consequently baptism should be extended to females. We Baptists affirm that females have a right to baptism, because we are positively informed in the New Testament, that men and women were baptised—but upon the hypothesis of its coming in the room of circumcision, there is no right for female baptism. To tell us that our privileges are now enlarged, is poor logic to prove any proposition-it proves too much. If there be no specification of those items in which our privileges are enlarged upon this principle we might innovate without end; and if any person asked us why, we might tell them, Our privileges are now enlarged. What my opponent means by this bond, I do not rightly understand who are the contracting partics, and what are its specifications, and what is the meaning of adding names to it?
With regard to the embarrassment arising from the age of the subjects of circumcision, my opponent comes off by saying, that the uncleanness of the mother postpo. ned it to the eighth day-that upon the eighth day she might approach the sanctuary. To shew you the fallacy of this coine off, I shall read you the verse to which he alludes: Leviticus 12, 2-4- If a woman have borne a man child, she shall be unclean seven days, according to the days of the separation of her infirmity, and on the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off, and she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying thirty-three days, she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be ended." This is a flat contradiction of my opponent's views--but I would add that circumcision was fixed upon the eighth day, 400 years before legal uncleanness was instituted. And with regard to their not circumcising on the eighth day, for forty years, while travelling to Canaan, it is nothing to the purpose, for this plain reason, that circumcision, during this period, was entirely given up. It was performed at no age-Josh. 5 & 5, "All
the people that were born in the wilderness, by the way, as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not cir. cumcised.” During their peregrinations, they could not, in consequence of the pain attending this rite, attend to it. But this does not prove that they might, with impunity, have at any time postponed it to the sixteenth, twentieth, or sixtieth day. We find that, in the most corrupt state of the Jews, they kept this ordinance pure. In the days of John the Baptist and the Messiah, it was
. There are four of the embarrassments I proposed, Mr. Walker has not attempted to remove; the difference of the administratorsthe difference of the pre-requisites to these ordinances-the difference in the part of the body affected by the rite, and the difference in their emblematical import. In relation to the blessings sealed or conveyed in these ordinances, he asserts that they are the same-alike temporal and spiritual ; this I confidentJy deny.
Circumcision conveyed only temporal blessings to the Jews-It guaranteed that they should be a numerous and powerful people, that God would be their king, and that they would individually have an inheritance in the land of Canaan : But Baptism promises the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit; this did not circumcision. Mr. W. refers to Rom. 4, to shew that it was a sign and seal of spiritual blessings; but the apostle's object in that chapter was entirely different-his object was to shew that men are justified by faith without works.It is always unfair reasoning to use arguments for another purpose, or for any purpose, contrary to the design of the writer, and the scope of his reasoning... Paul was shewing, that even Abraham, the father of the faithful, received the promise of all spiritual blessings previous to his circumcision ; yea, twenty-five years before he was circumcised and that “ Circumcision was a sign and seal of that righteousness, which he had yet being uncircumcised.” Now I know of no passage more obviously against my opponent, for it goes to shew, that circumcision was to Abraham what it never was, nor could be, the any of his posterity. Will my opponent say that circumcision was to Ishmael, to Isaac, or to any of the id, fant offspring of Abraham, what it was to him? Was it a sign and seal to Isaac, or to Ishmael, of a righteousness
which they previously possessed? The only fair and unexceptionable interpretation of this passage is, that Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him righteousness : This happened, Gen. 12, 3, when he was 75 years old. His being marked out by circumcision as the father of the promised seed, was to bim a sign or token ; and a seal or confirmation, that his faith was approved of God; and it is to this day a sign or token to all the world that his faith was approved, and that he was justified by it, inasmuch as he was thereby made the father of the promised seed, and the father of all them that ever after inherit the same faith-But to say that it was to all the cire cumcised the same, or to one of them the same, he only excepted, is destitute of all proof, and contradictory to fact-It is a sophism of the first magnitude-It is drawing a general conclusion from a particular premise. Suppose I should say that because this 19th of June is a clear day, and the wind north-west, that every 19th of June till the world shall end, shall be a clear day, and the wind shall be north-west--who would not discover the sophistry of my reasoning ?-As sophistical is the reasoning of my opponent. Again, it is entirely contrary to fact. Was circumcision a seal of spiritual blessings to Ishmael, to Korah, Dathan, and Abiram ? was it to Nadab and Abibu? Was it to Saul ? Was it to the Jews that crucified the Messiah Yet they were all the apparent and the proper subjects of it. What circumcision was to one of Abraham's seed, it was to all his seed-according to the covenant made with him, Gen. 17, it secured temporal blessings to them all. There is also another difference betwixt the import of circumcision to Abraham and his seed. To Abraham it secured that his seed should positively inherit that land, and that according to the tenor of that covenant, - God would be their God But it did not positively secure to all the circumcised even this—but only provisionally, for many of them might die the day after they were circumcised and never inherit any of its temporal blessings; besides many of them might live and break that covenant, and therefore forfeit the enjoyment of its blessings, and many of them did so. So that it was only provisionally a seal to any of the seed of Abraham, when they received it; but to Abraham it was a positive confirmation that his seed would inherit those temporal blessings. But baptism secures to all its
proper subjects, the promise of all spiritual blessings from the moment they receive it. This is another difference, and I now call it the eighth difference betwixt circumcision and baptism.
It appears to me a gross departure from analogy, from the meaning of Jewish rites, and from matter of fact, to say
" that Baptisın came in the room of circumcision.” The sacred scriptures do not, as far as I can understand them, ever lead us to think that one rite came in the room of another; but they teach us that Christ came in the room of all Jewish rites-he is our passover, our circumcision and our sacrifice. 6 lo whom we are circuincised with the circumcision made without hands-by the circumcision of Christ,” Col. 2. Christ is the substance of all rites and emblems: he is the great antetype of all
I would also ask my opponent-If baptism came in the room of circumcision, why were so many thousands of
the Jews baptised who had previously been circumcised ? · This, on the principles of my opponent, was a mere tau
talogy. If baptism and circumcision are alike, the same seals of the same covenant, why administer both to the same subjects ? Three thousand, on the day of Pentecost, were baptised, or, in the language of my opponent, they were sealed into the covenant of grace, into which they had been sealed when 8 days old. Upon the same principle, if all the Jews bad lived to that time, and believed, they would all bave been baptised. What would have come of their circumcision then ?
With regard to the "covenant of circumcision," and the 6 covenant confirmed of God in Christ,” the latter being revealed to Abrahain 25 years before the former was made with him, and the latter being 430 years before the giving of the law-my opponent appears not to understand this difference; it appears it has never entered, into his views, upon this topic, and so far as I can judge from appearance, it is a strange and a new thing to him: I will therefore be at a little pains to state it more fully.
Gen, 12, 3— In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed," is what Paul, Gal. 3 and 8, calls the gospel; and, in the seventeenth verse, he calls it the corenant confirmed before of God in Christ, 430 years before the giving of the law. The 8th verse reads thus: “ And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heat