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longest continuance of any church that ever yet appeared -it continued from Adam to Moses, or at least from Adam to Abraham. No infant membership for this long space. The Jewish state only lasted froin its erection into a nation, 1500 years; and had it not been necessary to the accomplishment of prophecy, and to identify the person of the Messiah, that the Jews should receive a mark in their flesh as soon as born, to keep them distinct from all the world; we should never have heard a word of infant membership. From a mistaken view of the intention of that mark in their flesh, and from a desire to return to the weak and beggarly elements," has this confused and untenable system of infant membership in the church of Christ, originated.
Mr. W. has cited the Song of Solomon, and from a figurative description of Christ's love to his saints in general, and their love to him in particular, he would infer that the Jews were in the same spiritual connexion with Christ as Christians. Since he has merely quoted these verses, and not shewn how they apply to his views of the Jewish pation being a church of Christ, I will reserve my strictures on them 'till he make his meaning plain.
He argues from the phrase, “ I am married unto you,'' to shew the impossibility of their being ever disregarded as the people of God. But granting them, in the highest sense of the word, married to the Lord, it will not follow that they never could, in a figurative sense, be divorced yea, they were accused of committing spiritual wbore. dom on many occasions, and, consequently, according to the analogy of the figures, liable to be divorced. Indeed they were said to be divorced, because of their spiritual adultery-see Jer. 3, 8: “ And I saw, wien for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery, I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.” In process of time, both Judah and Israel, having broken the covenant, on account of which they were said to be married, were divorced, “ they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord" _Heb. 8, 7th 8th. So that here, also, Mr. W. fails of proof for his identifying the Jews and Christians as one and the same church.
Having now replied to all that Mr. w. has advanced in support of his views. Having found all his arguments
destitute of scripture evidence; a few minutes yet remaining, I purpose to employ them upon a topic that should have, long ere now, come forward.
We have often heard that Divine Commandments or Ordinances have been correctly divided into two classes ; by some called moral natural, and moral positive-by others, merely moral and positive. When these distinctions are explained in the following sense, (which we believe to be the true meaning of the distinction) we consider them scripturally correct. By moral positive, or positive, we understand those that depend entirely for their moral obligation, upon some express precept of the Deity; the propriety of which, nature, in its most perfect state, could not discover- The probibition of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil ; the appointment of sacrifice; of resting on the Sabbath or seventh day, were of this nature. Amongst the patriarchs and Jews, there were many institutions of this character, The whole construction, furniture, and service, of the tabernacle, and afterwards of the temple, were of this nature. That is, nature, in her most improved state, could not discover the propriety of these institutions. For instance, Adam in Eden, could not, by the exercise of any faculty he possessed, see any thing in the nature of the forbidden fruit, prohibiting him from the use of it, and rendering it sinful for him to touch it. The positive precept of the Almighty alone, rendered it a sin for him to eat it, and a duty for him to abstain from it. So of all other positive institutions, both in the Old Testament and the New. Moral precepts are such as respect our duty to our fellow creatures, and are, in some degree, more or less discernible by mankind even now, and were perfectly so previous to the fall, merely by the light of Dature. Thus, for instance, Adam in paradise, without a law, knew that it was right to love his wife, to cherish and protect her as himself. And though fallen, men perceive such virtues as truth, honesty, and common justice, to be, in the nature of things, necessary and right. Though they may differ much in the extent and accuracy of their views on these topics, yet they must perceive, in some degree at least, that they are in themselves right. of the heathen, the Apostle saith, “ Their conscience bearing them witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another"-Rom. 2, 15.
Now, in positive institutions, the obligation is altogether in the command, but in moral duties the obligation is not only in the command, but also in the nature of things. Hence it has been correctly said, the former are right because they are commanded, and the latter are commanded because they are right. In positive institutions, the Divine authority commanding, is that which the subject views in his obedience; in moral precepts he views, also, the rational and moral use and beauty of the duty commanded. In positive institutions, we are not authorized to reason what we should do, but implicitly to obey. 5 See, (said God to Moses,) that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed thee in the Mount.”. Not whether it be rational or proper to do so, but, go, do it. In moral requirements, we are clearly shewn and commanded to perform certain duties, but left at liberty to reason, to ascertain in what these duties consist. A man is not to reason whether or not he should be honest or just, but to reason to know in what honesty and justice consist. Hence, the apostle Paul gives us general rules, which, by our own reason, we are to apply to particular occasions, such as Philip 4th, 8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if any praise, think on these things." Here we have very general rules, left to be filled up by our own reilection and reason.
Having now distinguished positive and moral institutions, I proceed to shew, that on no account whatsoever in positive requirements, are we to attempt to reason upon the expediency of the things enjoined, but implicitly to obey on all occasions. When Eve, the mother of us all, began to reason on the expediency of eating the forbidden fruit, she began to sin. She reasoned, that as the fruit of that tree was pleasant to the sight, and to be desired to make one wise, there could be no harm in eating of it consequently she concluded to taste it. Of the incorrectness of her reasoning, and of her incapacity, even when in Eden, to draw a correct inference, when reasoning on a positive institution, we have, alas! a melancholy proof.
The ark of the covenant was given in charge to the Kohathites, with all its appurtenances-See Num. 3d, 30 and 31. Uzzal, 450 years afterwards, when conveying
this ark in a cart, either heedless or forgetful of the Divine command, though of another family, presu, med to touch it. He reasoned thus: The Ark of the Lord is shaken in the cart; it may be broken ; it is
expedient that I take hold of it to preserve it.' What Pedobaptist ever, on the subject of Baptism, reasoned better? But mark the consequence of Uzzah's sophistry, and of Uzzah's misguided zeal-2d Samuel, 6, 7, « And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God smote him there for his error, and there he died by the Ark of the Lord.” Hence, learn the danger of attempting to depart from positive institutions, through our reasoning or expediencies.
It was a positive commandment, that no strange fire or incense should be offered (Ex. 30, 9) upon the altar of incense. Naidab and Abihu (Levit. 10, 1) contrary to this commandment, from some reasoning on expediencies, offered strange fire thereon. The consequence was, fire from Heaven fell upon them and consumed them. These instances, from many that might be adduced, demonstrate the glaring impropriety of attempting to set aside, to alter or amend positive institutions by our own reason, and pronounce a loud caveat to all Pedo-baptists.
Now, as it is confessed by all Pedo-baptists as well as Baptists, that baptism is a positive institution; I ask, does not the baptism or the sprinkling of an infant require a positive command ; and I call upon my opponent to shew, if there was ever a positive institution founded solely upon reason or inference and if not, to shew a positive precept authorising the sprinkling of an infant. This should have been attended to sooner, for what avails all reasoning, if the subject is of such a nature as not to be established by reason. My opponent may proceed.
Of Mr. Walker's reply this is the sum :
Mr. C. has preached you a long sermon this time; I shall call
attention to what he has last said. He has given you a lecture on moral and positive institutions, to prevent you from reasoning on positive institutions. But how bas he left moral duties? To be gathered by the exercise of reason !- This is a very lax system ; you may conclude from it, that whatever you cannot reason yourselves into the belief of, is not a duty. But I maintain that moral duties are as positively enjoined as any other, and
as plainly manifest as any thing can be- Thou shalt not steal, is a positive command; as much so, as " be bapti. sed every one of you.” This is antinomianisa he has been teaching you. This will go down with many, If we have no other standard of morality than just what we think, we might as well have no Bible; a man may think it right to sell children from their parents, or wives from their husbands, and it's all right. Well, I hope my opponent will not make many proselytes to his system of morality.
He has given you a long comment on Hebrews 8th.Now I would be glad to know how a covenant that was everlasting could be abolished, as he has affirmed. Was not the covenant of circumcision an everlasting covenant, and being the same as the covenant of Grace, is it not everlasting ? The Lord says, Gen. 17, 13, “ And my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. Now, as the scope of his reasoning, on this chapter, is to shew that this covenant was done away, it must be inconclusive, seeing it is contrary to the express word which entitles it to an everlasting covenant.
Mr. C. says the Jews were divorced; thereby making light of the marriage relation that subsisted betwixt the Lord and his ancient people, the Jews. I think his observations make too little of the marriage relation. If men are not allowed to put away their wives on every trifling account, would the Lord thus lightly, agreeable to the figure, divorce and forever cast away his people ? Has not Christ been always represented as the same husband of the church? Has it ever had another husband ? llas not the church been ever represented as one and the same bride ? If, then, the husband has ever been the same, and the bride always the same, how can they be said to be divorced, in his sense oi' the term ?
He has said that Moses's throwing down the stones on which the law was written, and their being broken, was an emblem or type of the breaking of that covenant; but I say this was a type or emblem that the covenant of works was broken, and not of the covenant to which he refers. And the law being written again, on new tables, denoted the writing of the law anew on the hearts of the people of God.
This covenant to Abraham was confirmed by an oath ; its spiritual blessings were secured to his seed, and, in