« PreviousContinue »
On Tuesday Morning, at the hour appointed, after Prayer, Mr. Walker thus began :
My FriendsI just proceed as if we had never moved from this ground since my opponent last spoke. I pro. ceed as if I had not since slept, and will prosecute the subject just as we left it. My opponent has endeavored to lead, to coax, and to drive me from the Abrahamic Covenant, but I will not give it up. It is the main pillar on which I stand, and I will not relinquish it. My opponent feels the force of it against his system, and would gladly shrink from it. But from day to day, we shall, according to agreement, prorogue, rather than the subject should be left undecided. I hope my opponent will keep more closely to the subject this day than yesterday, and not roam at such random. Towards the close of yesterday, Mr. C. insisted on positive institutions, and solicited an express warrant for infant baptism.--Now, if I prove that the church of Christ received its origin in the Abrahamic Covenant, and that its institutions are the same with those instituted in that covenant, then this express warrant will be easily given, But I might ask him for an express warrant for female communion, and for praying in those places where he preaches. I believe that no express warrant, or no warrant more express, can be given for these things, than for infant baptism. And if my opponent can advocate female communion, can pray where he preaches-he might also baptize infants ; for the authority is, in my opinion, the same. But that there is a positive institution for infant baptism in the Abrahamic Covenant, I am convinced must appear to the unprejudiced.
If the ordinance of infant membership was instituted under the Abrahamic covenant, as it doubtless was, and if the Church of Christ is founded upon the same cover pant, as it certainly is, then the membership of infants in it is a positive institution. And the command to cir. cumcise infants, which was published under that covenant, is tantamount to the command of baptism, and includes the baptism of infants as well as adults. Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, 4 chap. shews us, that the greatest blessings of the Gospel were sealed to the Patriarchs by circumcision, and, consequently, it is equivalent to baptism, which seals spiritual blessings. Mr. C. has objected to my system, on the ground that circumcision did not seal spiritual blessings to all the circumcised. He has
gone on to shew that what circumcision was to one of Abraha u's seed, it was to all of them.--Now, he declares that circumcision sealed only temporal blessings, and that among these temporal blessings an inheritance in the land of Canaan was one. I would ask, then, did circumcision secure to Ishinael an inheritance in the land of Canaan ? If it did not, then he must admit that circumcision was not the same to all Abraham's seed, and consequently it might, on my principles, seal spiritual blessings to some, and not to all-concerning Esau, and his descendants the Edomites, I might also enquire what interest circumcision secured to them in the land of Canaan ? Did not the Lord say that he had given Mount Seir for a possession to the Edomites ? Now it is certain that Esau, as well as Jacob, was circumcised, and according to him, had a right guaranteed to an inheritance in Canaan.
That the kingdom of God is the same now as ormerly, and that the Jews were that kingdom in as high a sense as the Christians are, appears very obvious from the words of the prophet Isaiah, 65 chap. 23 v.: “ They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble-for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them."-From these words, it appears, that their of spring was, equally with themselves, the blessed of the Lord, and entitled to all the privileges of their parents. This is further obvious from the 127th Psalm-in which children are called “ the heritage of the Lord, and the womb's fruit his reward.”—If, then, infants are called by the spirit, 6 the heritage of the Lord,” is it not evident that they belong to his kingdom, and are entitled to the privile. ges of it p-Something more than temporal privileges is, doubtless, implied in this phraseology. Could there be any thing more flattering said of parents than to call them * the heritage of the Lord the blessed of the Lord P" Now how are children said to be his heritage, without a seal identifying them as such ?-Indeed, many things are said ia the Old Testament that suggest the peculiar relation in which children stand to the Lord, particularly the offspring of the faithful. To deprive them, then, of the seal of the covenant, is, no doubt, an act of great injustice, which the baptists must answer for ; in this respect they withstand God.-lle who is their king, who is the Lord of Hosts, hath conferred upon infants this privilege, and they, from mis taken zeal and a self-righteous principle, debar them
from the enjoyment of their privilege.-Christ says, “ who. soever receiveth one such little child, receiveth me;" and
if he has received them, why should not we?-If to re* ceive them be to receive him, to reject them is to reject
him. If the Lord has distinguished infants, and marked them out as worthy of our notice, and if he reproved his disciples for refusing infants when brought to him, assu. redly we have good right to receive and baptize them. Again-how many
households do we read of in the Acts of the Apostles, that were baptized on the faith and conversion of the head of three house? There was the house of Lydia, the jailor's house : the house of Cornelius, and the household of Stephanas-Can we suppose that there were no infants in any of these households ? All the individuals that composed them, were baptized when the father or head of the house professed faith, consequently they were - baptized on the faith of the parents. If any person
will carefully read the accounts of the baptism of these households, he must be convinced that the members of them were baptised on the faith of the parents, or in consequence of their conversion of the parents.
This is quite analagous to circumcision, and plainly shews that, as the infants were circumcised on the faith of the parent, or rather the federal holiness of the parent, 80, in baptism, respect is had to the character of the parent, and we find that on the faith of the Jailor, all his household was baptized; on the faith of Cornelius, Lydja, and Stephanas, were their respective households baptised.
When we consider the respect shewn to infants by our Saviour ; when we consider the promises given them, when we consider the covenant made with Abraham, the nature of the Jewish Church, the households baptized, and above all, the similarity between the dispensations of the covenant of grace under the Old and New Testaments, we cannot, we dare not, refuse infants tbe seal of that covenant to which they have been so long entitled, and from which none but the baptists debar them. I will now give place to Mr. C. hoping that he will not wander off from the subject--that he will keep to these covenants and no more attempt to draw me after him until they are fully discussed.
I then proceeded :
I am a little astonished why Mr. W. should again bring forward those 'topics that were so obviously discussed, and, in as far as his arguments were considered, evidently refuted yesterday. This method tends only to protract time, to weary out the patience of those who are ans. ously waiting for something interesting, and not for dull, stale repetitions, that neither convince nor edify. It ap. pears that Mr. Walker is resolved to hold fast his views of the covenants whether or not, and to rest his cause solely upon them.-But what is still more surprizing, he continues to insinuate that I fear that ground—that I wish to get off from the discussion of it, as if he had yet adduced one argument that is not, in what I have already said, clearly refuted.-But if he has any thing new to offer, I would wish to hear it, as I am quite tired of refuting un. meaning repetitions.--I am, however, resolved to keep him as closely to these covenants as he can wish, and shall now attend to them until he is satisfied to give them up or to abandon this part of the subject.
As it is more than probable I may one day publish this debate, and as there were sundry things suggested yesterday, that, upon reviewing ny notes, I am apprehensive, will not, when in print, be admitted by some pedo-baptists; and least I might be impeached with misrepresentation by some here present this day, I wish, in order to apprize Mr. Walker of my intention, and to prevent any misun. derstanding, to read over, in writing, some of those theseswhich Mr. Walker yesterday assumed. I only wish to have Mr. W's assent to them as correct, and if they are incorrectly stated, I beg leave now to have them correc-ted. I request the gentlemen here taking notes, to enter, verbatim, the following propositions and questions which I am now about to propose to Mr. Walker, with such answers as may be given to them. I would also inform Mr. Walker, that I demand no privilege from him that I am not willing to grant to himself-he may propose to me any thesis or any questions he thinks necessary to ascertain my views, and I will give such answers to them, as I will not hereafter retract; I will abide by all the consequences resulting from the answers I shall give, and I entreat Mr. W. to do the same. These things premised, I proceed to read two propositions, which I conceive to be the substance of much of what Mr. W. said yesterday, and
which are here written in nearly the same words which : Mr. Walker himself used :
Proposition 1st–That the Covenant of Circumcision is the same with the New Covenant or Covenant of Grace.”-Does Mr. W. admit and maintain this proposition ? Mr. W. answers 6 Pes."
Prop. 2d. That the Old and New Testament Church, are the same, with only some accidental or circumstantial differences.”—Does Mr. W. admit and maintain this pra position ? Mr. W. answers. 66 Yes."
In order, then, still further to obtain Mr. W's views on these and some other topics, I proceed to ask Mr. W. a few questions, which I request him to answer, when he next speaks. I presume we shall be most likely, in this way, to get through the subject to-day; and if this method be not adopted, it may continue for weeks.
The questions which I shall propose at this time are three. *
On the first proposition, viz. that the Covenant of Circumcision and the Covenant of Grace or New Cov.. enant, are the same, I ask:
• The intelligent reader will no doubt perceive, that my in. tention in proposing the above propositions and questions, was, to bring the controversy on the Covenants to a speedy and satisfactory close ; and with a reference to publication, to obtain from Mr. W. a record of his views and arguments, that would estab. lish the truth of my statements, and prevent the impeachment, which is too common in such controversies, of misrepresenting the views or arguments of my opponent. It very fortunately had the desired effect, for no longer did Mr. Walker insinuate that I wished to avoid the controversy on the Covenants ; and when the discussion of them ceased, it ceased at the request of Mr. W.or of his abettor and second, Mr. Findlay, to which Mr. W. heartily consented. Moreoyer, it places my feet upon a rock, in as much as it establishes the truth of the narrative of the first day's debate, and fully confirms the whole representa. tion I have given of the means employed by Mr. W. to maintain.
It was my design to have in the course of the debate, brought into one view the answers which Mr. W. gave to those questions, and to have exposed the tendency and discrepancy of them in relation to one another, and to the scriptures; but a proposition from Mr. Findlay to dismiss this part of the subject rather sooner than I had anticipated, prevented me from reviewing them in this way. This then I must reserve for the appendix, in which I propose briefly to compare and contrast them-In the mean time the questions and the answers, in the words in which they were proposed and answered, shall be recorded, with the criticisms.or observations that were pronounced upon them.