ages. I only add, if you will read what the late learned, pious President Edwards wrote on the qualifications for Christian communion, printed at Boston, and the Rev. Mr. Green's pieces on the same subject, printed at New York, you may in them see the truth confirmed, and objections answered more largely; and if, after all, you should desire further conversation on this subject, I will be ready to attend whenever you will be so kind as to call upon me; only come at all times, as you have at this, in a serious, friendly, candid spirit; remembering this is one of the most interesting, solemn, and important subjects. Adieu, my dear sir.




Parishioner. Reverend sir, as you asked the favor of another hour, when I should be at leisure, I am now come to pay you a second visit, to let you know my sentiments plainly, and hope you will treat me with all the calmness and kindness you professed before.

Minister. I am ready to hear every thing you have to say.

P. I freely confess you made me say, and consent to every thing you chose I should say; and now I choose to turn the tables. And if you will be as condescending to me as I was to you, I doubt not but I shall easily gain my point.

M. I mean to be condescending.

P. You intimate there is no text of Scripture to justify the practice of those having children baptized, who do not come to the Lord's supper.

Allow there is none, it does not in the least prove the point. I will as easily be a proselyte to your opinion, if you will point me a text of Scripture which saith that all who were baptized, or had their children baptized, came to the

Lord's supper.

M. There are many things may be gathered from revelation, which are not expressed in terms.

P. Very true; and I think equally on my side of the question as on yours. I remember you intimated before, that it was not the custom any where, at the first settling this country, to baptize the children of any, only those who come to the Lord's table; and that it is not to this day the practice of the church

of Scotland; which I find is a mistake, as I am informed, upon good authority, that the church of Scotland ever did, and do to this day, baptize for those who do not come to the table, and am well knowing to the practice of the presbyteries in this country, that they actually do baptize for those who do not come to the table of the Lord.

M. Allow this to be so, it does not prove there is any halfway covenant.

P. It is readily allowed, and I believe generally, if not universally agreed, that there is no half-way covenant; Dr. Mather never supposed a half-way covenant. And I freely allow it is the duty of all to come to the Lord's table, whom the church will accept. But to oblige persons to that which we cannot convince them they may safely do, seems hard, and contrary to that Christian spirit which the gospel urgeth. (Rom. xv. 1.) We then that are strong ought to hear the infirmities of the weak. (Gal. vi. 2.) Bear ye one another's burdens.

M. The gospel every where urgeth condescension. But persons who, in a judgment of charity, are pious, are obliged by the express command of Christ. (Luke xxii. 19.) “This do in remembrance of me."

P. I cannot believe the command of Christ obligeth any of his followers to do that which they in their consciences dare not attempt, under their then present circumstances. it is their duty to come, but I believe they must first get their scruples removed; and I believe the church must allow them that privilege, which if they will not, in order to be consistent with themselves, they must proceed to excommunication; and I cannot see why the church must not proceed further, and excommunicate all baptized persons who neglect to come to the Lord's table; for they are all visible members of the church. A sad consequence, if it cannot be prevented.

M. To drive the point will undoubtedly make sad work; but it will not do to tell persons they will be accepted of God if they be not gracious; neither will it do for us to lead them to make a lying profession; nothing short of a gracious profession will give a person a right to the ordinances of the gospel.

P. Sir, I allow what you say in part, and I do not know that any one pretends to the contrary; all are agreed in it, that no person ever can be accepted of God, and be finally happy, short of real holiness; but whoever thought, unless it be some wild enthusiast, that a person might not be exhorted to attempt to do his duty, unless he could do it perfectly? It seems the sentiments you advance amount to the same absurdity lately

taught by a foreigner, that none but those who are gracious are to be urged to do any duty. And with regard to a lying profession, it seems your sentiments lead persons to it. For, according to you, those who make profession of real piety, have a right to the ordinance of God; and those whom the church receive on this foot are really in covenant. So it is not grace which gives the right, but a profession; then, if that profession is a false one, and the person who makes it is a hypocrite, a false profession, even a lie, brings a person really into covenant with God, and gives him a right to his ordinances. If I understand you, there cannot be any profession, only a lying one, unless persons are gracious. So a lying profession does bring persons visibly into covenant with God, or none are visibly in covenant with God, only those who are gracious. This I think is contrary to the divine declaration, and to all the divine conduct towards his covenant people. God allowed them to enter into covenant; God treated them as being in covenant; and declared they were in covenant, and accordingly had compassion on them, offered them special privileges and glorious means, that they might be trained up for his heavenly kingdom.

M. There seem to be some difficulties which I had not thought of; but is it not the covenant of grace which is to be owned ?

P. Doubtless it is; no one dare deny it. Neither need they be led to give their assent to any chapter in the Apocrypha. No one disputes its being the covenant of grace; but by attending upon God's ordinances, they mean to confirm their belief of the truth of the covenant of grace, laying themselves under more solemn obligations to perform every duty.

M. I think it my duty in private, as well as in public, to explain the covenant, and to see to it, that persons understand it before they make it, and to instruct them what a wicked thing it is to lie to God.

P. Very well, sir : no doubt it is a minister's duty; and equally upon my principles as on yours. I think it the duty of ministers to teach and instruct persons, and show them how duty is to be performed; but not teach them to neglect duty, if they cannot do it in a perfect manner. Men are nowhere in the Bible forbid to enter into covenant, nor to be baptized, nor to attend the Lord's supper, nor to do any other duty, unless under some special circumstances; but abundantly required to do in a right manner every duty, the one as well as the other. But no special qualification is required of men to attempt to do duty, more under the New Testament than under the Old. All the congregation of Israel were required, except under

particular uncleanness; and I cannot find any thing to the contrary under the New Testament. The Pharisees and lawyers were blamed for rejecting the counsel of God, they not being baptized, (Luke vii. 30.) If it is the duty of all to be baptized, and to attend the Lord's supper, then it is the duty of ministers and churches to receive all those who visibly are qualified.

M. God never proposed any covenant to mankind, but what required real holiness on man's part. The covenant of grace requires repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

P. The covenant of grace requires real holiness, on man's part, for eternal salvation. Repentance and faith are absolutely necessary for salvation.

But faith and repentance are not absolutely necessary to give persons a right to attend the means of grace ; for those who have not true faith are called upon to attend the means of grace. Though the objection may be made, that wicked men's prayers are abomination unto God, yet it is their duty to pray, as God commands all men. The Pharisees were blamed for praying in the streets, that they might have glory from men. But they were not blamed for praying; for ungodly men are blamed for not praying. (Ps. xiv. 4; Isai. xliii. 22.) So men are blamed for leaving off praying, (Job xxvii. 10 ;) hence it is their duty to pray under their circumstances. Real holiness is required on man's part for salvation; but whether real holiness is required in order to enter into covenant, is another thing. God declares (Lev. xxviii.) “ that he would punish Israel because they had despised his judgments, and because their soul abhorred his statutes, (v. 44;) and yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them, for I am the Lord their God.” Now I do not see, if persons may not enter into covenant only on the plan of being holy, why they must not be cast out on the plan of their being unholy; which is not done, as declared above, and in many other places. But God does really allow unregenerate men to be in covenant, and treats them as being in covenant, (2 Chron. xxxvi. 15;) and the Lord God of their fathers sent them his messengers, rising up by times and sending them ; because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling-place. God does not declare the covenant void, but rather he will keep covenant to a thousand generations. If men were not in covenant, they could not be cast out. But they really are in covenant, though unregenerate. For my own part, I freely confess I cannot find that the

Scriptures represent real holiness absolutely necessary, visibly to enter into covenant, and attend God's ordinances. I know many texts are mentioned ; 2 Chron. xv. 15, is one: “And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their hearts, and sought him with their whole desire, and he was found of them, and the Lord gave them rest round about." Who can once suppose that this was done in a gracious manner by all the thousands of Judah, and Benjamin, and some of the other tribes ? Let us hear the covenant, and the truth will appear. Ver. 12, 13: " And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers, with all their heart, and with all their soul, that whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman." Israel were fallen into idolatry, and Asa was reforming them. And they were required really to turn from the service of idols to the service of the living God; and this is what is required in the external covenant, namely, to break off from sin, and turn to God. Another text is that, Acts viii. 37 : “ If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest; " by which, from the context, there cannot be any more consistently understood than his belief, that Jesus was the Christ the prophet had foretold, and that baptism was the way in which we are now to be visibly introduced into covenant with God. If the eunuch was a good man, it does not appear that Philip acted upon the plan to receive only good men, or that he could act upon the plan. Having no rule to determine by, we infer that what Philip acted upon was the eunuch's giving his full assent that Jesus was the Christ.

M. We do not mean to act upon the plan of knowing whether men are gracious or not.

P. I cannot say what you mean; but what you say seems to imply it ; if you mean they should make no higher profession than we do, why do you tell them they have no right unless they are gracious? We require persons to make profession of their belief of the Christian religion, their assent to the glorious doctrines, acknowledging their obligations, determining to be faithful according to them; upon which profession you will receive them, if they will tell you they believe they are gracious. I cannot find any such rule. wish they were all gracious, and that we had good evidence to believe they were.

M. Is baptism administered without a divine warrant a likely means to do a child any good ?

P. No, şir; nor with neither, only as it brings a child visibly into covenant with God, and so puts it into the way of covenant mercies; unless you hold it to be regeneration.

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