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consequence of this, it never could be so broken as to authorise the Lord to utterly reject his people. My opponent has not paid much attention to the oath that confirmed this covenant to the seed of Abraham. Upon this was predicated the sermon which Peter preached to the Jews on the day of Pentecost; and that infants have a right, with their believing parents, to baptism and church membership, is obvious from the conclusion of this sermon : “ Repent, and be baptised every one of you, for the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call.” I must now ask my opponent, Are not children included in this promise ? And if he should ask me what children, I must refer him to Gen. 17, 17, “ I will be a God to thee and thy seed after thee." Now as seed and children are the same, this promise is one and the same, and secures baptism to the infants of believers. By the same rule, and to the same extent as the Jews circumcised, are we to baptise. If, then, we will allow the scriptures to interpret themselves, they make it manifest that infants are proper subjects of baptism, inasmuch as they are included in this promise, when Christian baptism was appointed.
That infants are members of the church, appears further obvious from these words of Christ, « Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of Ileaven.” By the kingdom of Heaven, we must understand either the Church of Christ on earth, or the kingdom of Heaven above: If we understand it of the church on earth, then doubtless infants are said to be members of it; and if we should suppose that the kingdom of Heaven, or the invisible church above, is meant, then they must be born of the spirit, and consequently fit subjects of baptism. View this text then as we may, it secures and authorises the baptism of infants.
How, then, the Baptists can oppose a practice so ancient and so well founded on scripture, is to me strange and unreasonable. We have nothing to say against their baptising, or their dipping of believers; we only contend that infants should not be excluded from this seal of the covenant, nor debarred from their place in the church, which their birth-right requires, and which we have shewn belongs to them, by the promise of him who cannot lie. • Mr. C. has asked me for a positive command, authori.
sing the baptism of infants. I ask him for a positive command for the institution of a church, which is as positive as the institution of Baptisın.
That you may hear how my opponent will reply to these things, I sit down.
My reply was then to the following effect:
Mr. Walker, instead of answering the very pertinent question which I proposed him, relative to positive institutions, has occupied your attention with an impertinent declamation on moral duties, in which he has endeavored grossly to misrepresent my views of morality. This is rather an ungenerous way of retreating from a question, which must, if answered correctly, have overthrown all his reasoning to-day. He has labored industriously to convince you of the dangerous tendency of my remarks on moral institutions. He has asserted, that I have attempted to prove " that moral duties are to be gathered only by the exercise of reason.” Nothing can be more unjust; no remark can be more contradictory to plain declaration, than this perversion of Mr. W. My words on this part of the subject, were, “ that a man is not to reason whether he is to be just or honest; but he may reason to know in what justice and honesty consist. In moral requirement we are clearly commanded to be just and honest, but allowed to reflect and reason, to ascertain in what these virtues consist.” The words of the Apostle, which I cited from Phil. 4, 8, comprehend every thing I meant by these remarks: 6 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are just, &c. think on these things.” To illustrate, still further, this distinction, I would observe, that a man conscious of, and influenced by, the Divine commandments, relative to moral duties--Such, for example, as justice, honesty and truth, will, in order to practice these duties, have constantly to exercise his reason upon a thousand occurrences in the common trapsactions of human life. In his common conversation, in buying, selling, and, indeed, in all his business of this world, he must constantly bring bis thoughts, words and deeds to some standard, by which his conscience must approve or disapprove his conduct. If there had been a certain sum of money commanded to be paid on all occasions, as the value of a pound, yard, or any other quantity of the arti. cles of commerce, then, indeed, we should have no occa
sion to reason on the subject of honesty or justice in our: transactions with the world. But seeing this is not the case, we can neither be honest, just, &c. without daily employing our reason on general principles.
In positive institutions, all that we have to enquire after, is the meaning of the words of one particular precept, which, to an iota, we are bound to perform, in the manner il which it is commanded. I again propose
the above question to Mr. W. which, if he dare not answer, let him be honest and confess it let him not raise a false alarm that he may escape detection. The question is this~Was there ever a positive institution. founded solely upon reasoning ?- In the conclusion of his address, he answered this question by asking another, viz: he asked me for a positive institution for a church. I will cheerfully answer his question, hoping he may thereby be induced to answer mine: In the commission give en, Matt. 28, at the close, to the Apostles, they were commanded to make disciples out of all nations, to baptise the:n, and then teach them to observe all things Christ had commanded them. In teaching them these observances, they gathered them into societies called churches, which the Apostles planted every where they labored. 'Thus, for example, Acts 2, “ They made disciples out of the Jewish nation, they baptised them, and that same day added them to the 120 already made, which they called the church at Jerusalem." Here, then, is a positive institution of a church, with the authority for it.
After having expatiated on morality, he next replies to my reasoning on Heb. 8th, by asking, How could a covenant that is called everlasting, be done away? This is mere play upon the word ererlasting. The term everlasting is often used as a relative term in the scriptures, and in the very chapter in which the covenant of circumcision is called an everlasting covenant in their flesh, we have this term so used; verse 8, And I will give thee the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession. Now it is obvious that the Jews have not ever since that time lived in the land of Canaan, nor do we expect that they were to have lived there to eternity; but so long as they continued in that covenant, were they to enjoy that land; por could they have a covenant in their flesh, which would last longer than their flesh; so that, in the strict sense of the word, could that covenant be everlasting? It was,
however, to last forever, so long as the Jewish nation was kept a separate and distinct people. The word everlas. ting is most frequently used in this sense, when applied to any thing belonging to this world, or man's condition in it. Hence we read of the everlasting priesthood of Aaron, of the everlasting hills, &c.; this being all that my opponent has to object to my interpretation of that chap. ter, it plairly amounts to nothing at all. Hence I conclude that my reasoning on it is unanswerable.
He next returns to Heb. 6, and to the promise made to Abraham confirmed to his seed by an oath. He should know that the Apostle, in reasoning on the seed of Abraham, both in his epistle to the Gallatians and to the Hebe rews, interprets this seed as not the carnal or fleshly seed of Abraham, the Jewish nation, but as his spiritual seed connected with the Messiah. “He saith not to seeds, as of many, but as of ine, and thy seed, which is Christ.” 6 The children of the promise,” or true Christians, « are accounted for the seed.” 66 So we brethren, (Christians) as Isaac was, are the children of promise"- For she is the father of all them that believe;" and, if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." There is no spiritual connection with Abraham, there is no new covenant relation to him, but through Christ. Our participation in, or enjoyment of, any spiritual blessedness promised to Abraham, as the father of the promised seed, depends upon an ifif ye be Christ's, not otherwise, can ye partake of the spiritual blessings promised to Abraham in that covenant, confirmed before of God in Christ, 430 years before the giving of the law. If there be, or if there can be, any proposition intuitively evident, which respects the Christian religion, it is this, viz: That no connection, no relationship of a fleshly nature, no birth, blood, or descent, no temporal privilege, in a word, that nothing but faith in Christ, communicates or secures spiritual blessings to mankind. Grace is not hereditary. Nor can any one in Christen. dom, where the Bible circulates, be born nearer the king. dom of Heaven than another. If Mr. W. and other Pedo. baptists would consider the Apostle's reasoning in the 3d and 4th chapters of the letter to the Gallatians, they would discover that Abraham had, and still has, a twofold seed, 66 the children of the flesh," and the children of the promise--That Ishmael was a type of the one, and Isaac of the other-That to the fleshly seed, every blessing they enjoyed came by the flesh; and every blessing of a spiritual nature, to the children of promise, came by the spirit of grace: “ To Abraham and his seed were the promises made; he saith not to his seeds, (that is the natural and the spiritual) but to thy seed, which is Christ." Faith in Christ is the great medium of connection, and the only means of any spiritual blessedness or true felicity.
My opponent seems reluctant to admit that the Jews were divorced agreeable to his figure of marriage. He fears it is making light of the marriage relation. But this is of a piece with his fears for morality, when positive institutions were submitted to his consideration. As a nation, I have already shewn the Jews were married to the Lord, and, as a nation, he divorced them. He then formed a relation more close, and altogether spiritual, with a remnant of the Jews and a remnant of the Gentiles-which, as Christians, he espoused to himself. It is not true, that the bride is the same now that she ever was, any more than that it is not true that the Christian church is similar to the Jewish. I must refer him to the consideration of Jer. 3, 8.
I am glad that I have got my opponent brought on to the New Testament at last, to quote some of those favorite texts of his brethren. I was afraid that the sun would have set, before we should have heard of any thing but circumcision and the Abrahamic covenants. He has gravely told us, that Baptism was preached on the day of Pentecost, on the footing of the promise made by Abra. bam ; this is going a little farther than some of his senior brethren have gone. In this view of Peter's preaching, on that memorable day, he comes to the point with great ease, and apparent triumph. But, alas! “ every inan's way seems right in his own eyes, until his neighbor cometh and searcheth him out." The argument deduced from this chapter is the following: The infants of believers are to be baptised, because they are equally included in the promise that authorises the baptism of the parent. Mr. W. quotes the verse and views the context in a summary way; he cites it thus. Be baptised-for the promise is unto you and your children." As there is so much use made of this verse, in establishing infant sprinkling, I intend being the more explicit in exhibiting the true meaning of it