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I.

• In one

covenant of grace; (this was the ground on which the SECT. Fathers insisted on all infants being baptized.;) the other, that as children of believers, they are already in the covenant of grace, and therefore are entitled to the supposed seal, baptism. Indeed it is not only the case that different pædobaptist authors thus contradict and confute each other; but it is not unfrequent for the same author to be, on this point, utterly inconsistent with himself. Mr. Booth, in his pungent and unanswerable work, Instance of

Matthew has given a remarkable instance of this from the cele

Henry., brated Matthew Henry's Treatise on baptism. place he says, “The gospel contains not only a doctrine, but a covenant; and by baptism we are BROUGHT INTO that covenant.' In other places he insists, that baptism is a seal of the covenant of grace, and therefore belongs to those who are in that covenant (at least by profession) and to NONE OTHER. The infants of believing parents are in covenant with God, and therefore have a right to the initiating seal of that covenant. When I say they are in covenant with God, understand me of the external administration of the covenant of grace, not of that which is internal.' The conduct of Mr. Henry'is quite similar in regard to church membership. For in one place he tells us, that baptism is an ordinance of Christ, whereby the person baptized is solemnly ADMITTED a member of the visible church ;' yet in the same Treatise he assures us, that baptism · is an ordinance of the visible church, and pertains therefore to those that ARE visible members of the church : their covenant right and their church membership entitleth them to baptism; baptism doth not give the title, but recognise it, and complete that church membership which before was imperfect.” He acts the same part over again, in respect

V.

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CHAP. to discipleship, as the reader may plainly perceive by

comparing the two following arguments. If it be the
will and command of the Lord Jesus that all nations
should be discipled BY BAPTISM ; and children, though a
part of all nations, are not excepted; then children are
to be discipled BY BAPTISM. If the infants of believing
parents are disciples, they are to be baptized; but they

ARE disciples, and therefore to be baptized."" h
Mr. Booth's The reflections of Mr. Booth are just and forcible
reflections.

“ How happily do these expressions, baptism and the
covenant,' baptism and disciples,' baptism and the
members of the visible church,' play into the hands of
each other. They are of so pliable a temper, of such
admirable force, and of such various application, that by
a prudent management of them the same conclusion may
be inferred from contrary premises. Are you desirous
of proving, for instance, that the infants of believers are
not in the covenant, are not disciples, are not members
of the visible church; and, therefore, that they ought to
be baptized, in order to an interest in those prerogatives
and honours ? Or, are you inclined to load the baptists
with the opprobrious charge of leaving their infants to
the uncovenanted mercies of God, and in the state of
heathens ? Do but arrange the forementioned words in
a certain manner, and you demonstrate each particular.
If, on the contrary, you reverse that order, they will
equally prove, with surprising facility and force, that
those
very

infants are in the covenant, that they are dis-
ciples, that they are members of the visible church; and
therefore should be baptized. So that you see, though
the mediums of your arguments be really opposite, yet
the conclusion is quite the same, and just such as you

h Booth's Poed. Exam. pp. 173, 174.

I.

desire. That is, the infants of believers should be bap- SECT. tized, because they are not in the covenant, and because they are in the covenant.” i The inconsistency in which pædobaptists are involved Confessions

of Reformby introducing infants to church membership, affects

ed churches not only their private writings, but their public formula. in effect deAlmost all the “confessions” and “ articles” of the re- of infants to

ny the right

church formed churches so describe the essential features of a

membergospel church as inevitably to exclude infants. The fol- ship. lowing extracts will enable the reader to judge for himself.

5 CONFESSION OF HELVETIA : A church; that is a company of the faithful, called and gathered out of the world ; a communion, I say, of all saints, that is, of them who do truly know and rightly worship and serve the true God in the Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour.

“ CONFESSION OF BASLE : We believe a holy Christian church, that is, a communion of saints, a gathering together of the faithful in spirit, which is the holy and the spouse of Christ; wherein all they be citizens which do truly confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world, and do show forth that faith by the works of love.

“ CONFESSION OF THE FRENCH CHURCHES : The church is a company of the faithful, which agree together in following the word of God, and in embracing pure religion.

66 CONFESSION OF BELGIA : We believe and confess that there is one catholic or universal church, which is the true congregation or company of all faithful Christians, which do look for their whole salvation from Christ alone.

i Booth's Pæd. Exam. pp. 173, 174,

CH A P. “CONFESSION OF AUGSBURG : To speak properly, V.

the church of Christ is a congregation of the members of Christ; that is, of the saints, which do truly believe and rightly obey Christ.

66 CONFESSION OF SAXONY : The visible church, in this life, is a company of those which do embrace the gospel of Christ, and use the sacraments aright.

66 CONFESSION OF SUEVELAND: The church or congregation of Christ, is the fellowship and company of those which addict themselves to Christ, and do altogether trust and rest in his protection. These only, if we will speak properly, are called the church of Christ, and the communion of saints.

“ CHURCH OF ENGLAND: The visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure word of God is preached, and sacraments be duly administered, according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same."

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The question of the salvation of unbaptized infants, in consequence of their not being in the covenant of grace, (and at least one reformed pædo baptist church refuse to bury such in consecrated ground!) might here be investigated; but as the subject will come fully under consideration in the chapter which treats of “the doctrines which preceded and introduced infant baptism,” I shall close this section with the sentiment of Dr. Wall, that the view taken of the Abrahamic covenant and circumcision in support of infant baptism is the basis of all the national establishments of Christianity.

k Booth's Pæd. Exam. pp. 175, 6.

SECTION II.

JEWISH PROSELYTE BAPTISM.

statements.

DR. WALL, liberal on the question of immersion, but SECT. devotedly zealous on that of infant baptism, admitting

II. that the Scriptures contain neither precept nor example Dr. Wall's for this practice, naturally looks every where else to find it. It may be presumed, from his placing so much reliance on the traditions of Jewish writers, that he feels that those of the Christian fathers are insufficient for his purpose. He has much delighted himself, and the advocates of infant baptism generally, by finding out as he imagines, that all Jewish proselytes were baptized as well as circumcised.

“ He that knows nothing of it,” we are told, “ is an incompetent judge of the force of the sayings of Christ and the apostles; it was called baptism of proselytism, distinct from baptism for uncleanness; it was said, and with just reason,” according to this writer, “ to be grounded on · Moses' law;' and was in fact the basis of the law of Christ respecting baptism! If any proselyte,” it is added, “ who came over to the Jewish religion, and was baptized into it, had any infant children then born to him, they also were, at the father's desire, circumcised and baptized, and admitted as proselytes. It was with such proselytes as it was with Abraham, at his first admission to the covenant of circumcision; as Abraham of ninety-nine years old, and Ishmael his son, of thirteen years old, and all the males in his house that were eight days old or upwards, were circumcised at the same time; so such a proselyte, with all his, were both baptized (and circumcised, if they were male chil

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