2. And therefore, in order to our being satisfied in our own consciences, that we have a right in the sight of God to come to the Lord's table, we are not “to examine ourselves of our knowledge to discern the Lord's body, of our faith to feed upon him, of our repentance, love, and new obedience,” as the Assembly of divines imagined a hundred and twenty years ago; nor are we to examine ourselves of our doctrinal knowledge, orthodoxy, moral sincerity, or of any thing else, of an internal, mental nature; for a right to the Lord's supper has no dependence on any thing of this nature. For but one thing was needful to satisfy the conscience of the Jew, namely, " the external mark in the flesh,” which might easily be known. And the Christian has nothing to do but to procure, and keep by him, a well-attested certificate of his baptism, to give him a full assurance of his right to come to the Lord's table.

3. For no crime, although of the most scandalous nature, could vacate this right in the sight of God, or in the sight of conscience; because this right was not founded in any moral qualifications whatsoever, but only in "an external mark in the flesh," or water baptism. But the idolatry of the Jew did not at all take away “the external mark in the flesh ; " nor can the open infidelity and debauchery of the Christian prove, that the certificate which he has of his baptism is not authentic. Let the idolatrous Jew look on “the external mark in the flesh," and let the infidel and immoral Christian look on his certificate, and their consciences may be confirmed, in a full assurance of their divine right and title to all covenant privileges.*

covenant right to all the external privileges of the visible church of Christ, then no consistent meaning can be given to these texts, Matt. xviii. 17, xxii. 12, Cor. v. 11, xi. 28, 29, Tit. iii. 10, 11, Rev. ii. 4, 5. etc. The truth is, by sealing & covenant we are bound to fulfil it; but it is an actual compliance with a covenant, that entitles us to its blessings. (Lev. xxvi. Deut. xxviü. Rom. vüü. 13. Matt. iii. 9, 10.)

• This is a short and easy method for dishonest, cheating, promise-breaking professors to come to the Lord's table with a good conscience; and for those who live in the neglect of family prayer, and who, instead of bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, train them up to live after the flesh in chambering and wantonness; while they themselves live in malice and envy towards their fellow-professors. Mr. M. is of opinion, that it is of very bad and dangerous tendency, for those who are admitted into the church to make a profession of godliness, lest by their ungodly lives they should disgrace their profession, and tempt others to turn infidels. (p. 53, 54.) And for the same reason, it is not best that any of the professed followers of Christ should pretend to be honest men, lest their dishonest practices should sink the holy religion of Christ into contempt, and promote infidelity in the world; and indeed it is come to this already, that, among the Mahometans, it is a common thing, when men are charged with cheating or suspected of any dishonest trick, to reply with indignation, “ What! do you think I am a Christian ?”

Nor can it be justified, in Mr. M.'s way of reasoning, for the church to require a profession of moral honesty of those whom they admit to full communion; for

4. Therefore no public profession of any kind, nor freedom from public scandal, are necessary in order to a visible right to all church privileges, in the sight of men. For, if our real right, in the sight of God, does not depend on any internal qualification, either moral or gracious, no pretence need to be made to any such qualification, in order to a visible right. The Jew had nothing to do, in order to prove his right, but only to make it appear that he had been circumcised; and the Christian has nothing to do, in order to prove his right, but only to make it appear that he has been baptized. Nor can the church consistently demand any thing further, on Mr. M.'s scheme ; for what he says is the plain simple truth — " To require more of the person to be admitted into the church, than is made necessary by the covenant on which it is framed, is really absurd.” But if all these things are true, then it will follow,

1. That Mr. M. is inconsistent with himself, in putting an "outward profession" along with “an external covenant relation," as he does, and for saying, as he does, “I will allow that none but such as profess the Christian religion, and will endeavor to conform his practice to the rules of it, ought to be admitted into the church ;” and for asserting, that “the disorderly and vicious should be debarred.” For, if baptism alone is all that is necessary to a covenant right to all church privileges, then baptism alone is all that ought to be required in order to an admission into the church ; nor is a public profession, or freedom from public scandal, at all requisite. If baptism alone gives a covenant right to all church privileges; if there is “a promise

every one of his objections against a profession of godliness are of full force against a profession of a disposition honestly to pay our debts, and act up to our word and promise in our dealings with our fellow-men. For, 1. Such an honest disposition is an invisible qualification, and we cannot be certain that men have it in their hearts; and therefore on this plan there can be no visible church. (p. 48.) 2. Besides, according to this, the design of God must have been to have made a visible distinction between honest and dishonest men. But this is contrary to Scripture, which represents the visible church like a net which catches all sorts, good and bad. (p. 49, 50.) 3. Admission to full communion on this plan will do hurt to men's souls, tend to make them think they are honest when they are not, and to blow up pride in their hearts, and to make them say with the Pharisee, “God, I thank thee, I am not as others are, extortioners, unjust, etc. (p. 52, 63.). 4. And it will tend greatly to wound religion, when afterwards they neglect to do as they say, and are not honest to pay their debts. (p. 54 ) 6. Besides, this scheme makes infant baptism a mere nullity; for if moral honesty is a necessary qualification for sealing ordinances, then infants cannot receive the seal; for the church can have no positive evidence that they have an honest disposition. The Anabaptists, therefore, are right in rejecting the baptism of infants.

(p. 54.) These are Mr. M.'s *• most weighty and material objections, an answer to which he has never yet scen attempted.” But it so happens, that they are of equal weight against himself, unless he will say, that moral honesty is not a qualification necessary for church membership.

left” by God to those who have this; no man, nor any number of men under heaven, have a right to require any thing else ; so that, to insist that "none but such as profess the Christian religion, and will endeavor to conform his practice to the rules of it, ought to be admitted into the church ;” and that “disorderly and vicious persons ought to be debarred ;” “and to keep such back from enjoying the privileges and means appointed for the good of their souls," is a very strange affair; and, therefore, to use Mr. M.'s own words, and to apply them to his own conscience, “I would request such as have thought and acted upon this scheme, impartially to examine what I have offered. It is surely no small matter to shut the kingdom of heaven, as the visible church is often called, against men, and not to suffer such to enter as would.” A horrid crime, indeed! and yet the very crime of which Mr. M. stands publicly convicted out of his mouth; for he shuts the kingdom of heaven against all baptized persons, and will not admit one of them into the church, “but such as profess the Christian religion, and endeavor to conform their practice to the rules of it;' although, according to his own scheme, they are as much in the church as he is, and have as good a right to all church privileges as himself.

2. Therefore Mr. M. may be publicly called to an account, and admonished out of his own mouth, in his own words, for making infant baptism “a mere nullity, a thing of nought.” “ And what is a baptized infant to be accounted of? Is he a member of the visible church, or is he not ?" (p. 54;) and be rebuked for his conduct, for practically “representing and treating such as are baptized, as if they were not really in covenant, (p. 56,) by refusing to admit them to covenant privileges without a profession, when, according to his own scheme, he ought to tell all baptized persons, that “they are really in covenant with God; that they are members of the visible church; and are entitled to the privileges of it,” (p. 55, 56,) merely by their baptism, without any profession at all, and without any endeavors at all, even all of them, “old and young, moral and immoral.” (p. 42.)

3. For to say, that “the disorderly and vicious ought to be debarred," and so "to require more than is made necessary by the covenant, on which the church is framed, is really absurd ; for if baptism gives a covenant right to the Lord's supper, nothing else is necessary.

4. To say, that “the disorderly and vicious ought to be debarred” by the church, is to say implicitly, that such ought to debar themselves; their own consciences ought to pronounce sentence upon them. But what if a man's conscience should

happen to be convinced of this plain Scripture truth, that to rise in rebellion against the great God, is one of the most "disorderly " things a creature can be guilty of; and that to continue obstinate in this rebellion, after all the external means which God has used to reclaim us, is one of the most " vicious”? Must not his own conscience debar him on Mr. M.'s scheme? Or will it do to tell such a man, “Had you been guilty of stealing but five shillings from one of your neighbors, for this sin, if considered only as against man, your conscience ought to have debarred you, until you had come to repentance and made restitution; but your conscience ought not to debar you for being an obstinate, impenitent rebel against the God of heaven, the great Sovereign of the universe"? Or might we not, for telling a man thus, be in danger of that rebuke in Mark xxiii. 24, “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel ?" For to rise in rebellion against an earthly prince, would be esteemed more “disorderly and vicious” than barely to steal five shillings from our neighbor; and to rise in rebellion against the great God is doubtless more "disorderly and vicious" than to rise in rebellion against an earthly monarch. In a word, if baptism alone does not entitle to all church privileges both "young and old, moral and immoral," without respect to any mental qualification whatsoever, it will not be easy to find a place where a man may set his foot down and be consistent with himself, unless we return back to the good old way, to the apostolic plan, according to which, not baptism, but saving faith, is considered as the condition of the covenant, and that which entitles to all its blessings. (Gal. iii. 26, 29.) are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. And if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Mr. M. says, (p. 42,) “As to baptized children, I allow they have a right to the sacrament of the Lord's supper, but not a right of immediate possession, according to the apostle's representation in Gal. iv. 12: Now, I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all, but is under tutors and governors, until the time appointed of the father.'" But the child, though ever so young, eats bread at his father's table, and no one disputes his right. And when the child is of age, and his father is dead, and the estate is to be divided among the heirs, the child has nothing to do in order to prove his right to a share in his father's estate, but to bring a certificate from the town clerk, in order to prove from the town records, that he is the child of the deceased. Nor is such a child obliged to make any profession, or to enter

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into any covenant before the Court of Probate, in order to come to a possession of his right. The law gives him his right without any such prerequisites; for his right is not founded upon any thing of such a nature, but simply upon his being the child of such a father. This, therefore, is the only point to be proved; and just the same, to be consistent, must be the case on Mr. M.'s plan. The only point which one who was baptized in infancy, has to prove, when he becomes adult, in order to take possession of his right, is, that he was baptized. Let him, therefore, produce a well-attested certificate of this, and nothing further can be demanded.

If it should be said, that all that Mr. M. means is, that baptism gives a conditional right to the Lord's table, that is, a right upon condition of a profession of religion and freedom from scandal, - it may be replied, that the unbaptized have a right to sealing ordinances upon these conditions, according to Mr. M.'s own scheme, and therefore this cannot be his meaning; for this, to use his own words, would be to make baptism "a mere nullity, a thing of nought.” But this brings us, in the next place, to observe, —

II. That Mr. M.'s ideas of the peculiar privileges of his external covenant are also inconsistent. For if it should be inquired, What advantage hath Mr. M.'s graceless covenanter, or what profit is there in baptism administered upon a graceless covenant,- he has no right, upon his scheme, to the apostle's answer in Rom. iii. 1, 2—“Much every way,” etc.

1. For, as to the oracles of God, which he claims for one of the chief privileges of his external covenant, he will grant, that they are common to the unbaptized ; that is, the unbaptized have as good a right to read and hear the word of God as the baptized have; and as good a right to believe and embrace the gospel ; for, by Christ's last commission, the gospel is to be preached to all nations, to the uncircumcised Greek as well as to the circumcised Jew; yea, to every creature; and that previous to, and in order to prepare men for baptism, (Mark xvi. 15, 16,)- so that there is not the least need of being in his external covenant in order to have as good a right to hear and believe, and be justified by the gospel, as any man on earth has; for there is no difference. (Rom. iii. 22: compare Matt. x. 5, 6; xxviii. 19.)

2. As to sealing ordinances, he is full in it, that baptism alone gives uo righ to them, for ourselves, or for our children, which can be enjoyed without a profession of the Christian religion, and freedom from scandal ; and one who never was baptized, may, on his scheme, be admitted to sealing ordinances

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