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SECTION III.

CHILDREN OF BELIEVERS – HOLY."- -CHILDREN BLESSED

BY CHRIST. -"SO SHALL HE SPRINKLE MANY NA-
TIONS."

the term

“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wise, and the SECT. unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your chil. III. dren unclean; but now are they holy."

I Cor. vii. 14. “ The great question in relation to this passage,” says Import of Dr. Miller, “is in what sense does a believing parent

holy.” sanctify' an unbelieving one, so that their children are Dr. Miller's

views. holy?' It certainly cannot mean, that every pious husband or wife that is allied to an unbelieving partner, is always instrumental in conferring on that partner true spiritual purity, br, in other words, regeneration and sanctification of heart; nor that every child born of parents of whom one is a believer, is, of course, the subject of gospel holiness, or of internal sanctification. No one who intelligently reads the Bible, or who has eyes to see what daily passes around him, can possibly put such a construction on the passage. Neither can it be understood to mean, as some have strangely imagined, that where one of the parents is a believer, the children are legitimate ; that is, the offspring of parents, one of whom is pious, are no longer bastards, but are to be considered as begotten in lawful wedlock! The word holy' is nowhere applied in Scripture to legitimacy of birth.

“ The terms. holy and unclean,' as is well known to all attentive readers of Scripture, have not only a spi. ritual, but also an ecclesiastical sense in the word of God. While, in some cases, they express that which is

CHAP. internally and spiritually conformed to the divine image; V. in others, they quite as plainly designate something set

apart to a holy or sacred use; that is, separated from a common or profane, to a holy purpose. Thus, under the Old Testament economy, the peculiar people of God, are said to be a holy people,' and to be severed from all other people, that they might be the Lord's;' not be. cause they were all, or even a majority of them, really consecrated in heart to God; but because they were all his professing people,--his covenanted people; they all belonged to that external body which he had called out of the world, and established as the depository of his truth, and the conservator of his glory. In these two senses, the terms · holy' and unclean’ are used in both Testaments, times almost innumerable. And what their meaning is, in any particular case, must be gathered from the scope of the passage. In the case before us, the latter of these two senses is evidently required by the whole spirit of the apostle's reasoning.

“ It appears that among the Corinthians, to whom the apostle wrote, there were many cases of professing Christians being united by the marriage tie with pagans; the former, perhaps, being converted after marriage; or being so unwise, as, after conversion, deliberately to form this unequal and unhappy connexion. What was to be deemed of such marriages, seems to have been the grave question submitted to this inspired teacher. He pronounces, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, that in all such cases, when the unbeliever is willing to live with the believer, they ought to continue to live together, that their connection is so sanctified by the character of the believing companion, that their children are · holy,' that is, in covenant with God; members of that church with which the believing parent is, in virtue of his profession,

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united : in one word, that the infidel party is so far, and SECT. in such a sense, consecrated by the believing party, that

III. their children shall be reckoned to belong to the sacred family with which the latter is connected, and shall be regarded and treated as members of the Church of God.Such is the view which Dr. Miller and some others, Opinions of

Ambrose, following the fanciful suggestions of Augustine, take of &c. this passage. St. Ambrose, who is followed by Camerarius, Vatablus, Camero, Justinianus, Dr. Whitby, Dr. Ames, Dr. Macknight, and others, maintains the opinion that the allusion is to the legality of the marriage bond, under the circumstances of the case. Dr. Macknight ob Dr. Macserves :—“Our translators seem here to have understood

knight. the terms sanctified, unclean, and holy, in a federal sense, which, indeed, is the common opinion. But, first, it is not true in a federal sense, that the unbelieving party in a marriage is sanctified by the believing party; for, evidently, no one hath a right to the blessings of the gospel covenant by the faith of those to whom they are married. In the second place, it is as little true, that the children, procreated between believing and unbelieving parents, become unclean by the separation of the parents, and clean by their continuing together, as the apostle asserts, if by unclean we understand exclusion from the covenant, and by clean, admission into it. For the title, which children have to be members of the covenant, depends not on their parents living together, but on the faith of the believing parent." b

That this passage has no connection with any system In any case of baptism ever practised, is evident, because if the terms thing for " holy” and “ sanctified are designed to entitle the par. infant bap

tism. a Dr. Miller on Infant Baptism, p. 17-20. b Macknight on the Epistles, note in loc.

V.

as

CHAP. ties who are thus designated, to the privileges of the

Christian church, the unbelieving husband is as much entitled on this ground, as the children, and also the grown-up children well as the babes. There is no distinction made by the apostles; why then do those who claim this passage reject unbelieving husbands and youth from baptism, when they are “ sanctified by the wife" and mother. The practice of pædobaptists on this point is a sufficient answer to their argument.

This being the position of this passage, it is not necessary in a history of baptism to ascertain its true meaning, having in reality no relation to the subject. It

may, however, be a satisfaction to some minds to in. sert an explanation, the most satisfactory of any that I have met with. It is from the pen of the Rev. John L.

Dagg. Mr. Dagg's “ The Jews considered all Gentiles to be unclean, and explanation. thought it unlawful for a Jew to be in the house, keep

company, or eat with, or touch a Gentile. By some means, possibly from the influence of Judaizing teachers, the church at Corinth seems to have been agitated with the question whether the same rule ought not to be established to regulate the intercourse of the members of the church with other persons; that is, whether the church ought not to decide, that all who were without were unclean to them who were within ; just as Gentiles were unclean to Jews; and that therefore it was incon. sistent with Christian purity to dwell, keep company, or eat with, or to touch them. While this question was undergoing discussion in the church, it was perceived that it involved a very important case.

Some of their members were married to unbelievers, and if such a rule should be established, these members would be compelled to separate from their unbelieving husbands or wives.

III.

Although the lawfulness of the marriage was not ques. SECT. tioned, yet it would be unlawful for a believing husband to dwell with his wife until God had converted her. The church resolved, probably after much discussion of the question, to write to the apostle respecting it. This letter he had received, as appears from the first verse of this chapter. On the general question of intercourse with unbelievers he treats in the fifth chapter, and decides that, to keep company or eat with persons who make no pretension to religion is not unlawful, and that, were all such persons to be esteemed unclean, and their touch polluting, Christians must needs go out of the world. On the particular case of those members of the church who were married to unbelievers, the apostle treats in the chapter before us. He decides in v. 12 and 13 that they may lawfully dwell together, and in v. 14, for the conviction and silencing of any members of the church, who might object to his decision, he in substance says; The unbelieving husband is not unclean, so that his wise may not lawfully dwell with him: the unbelieving wife is not unclean, so that her husband may not lawfully dwell with her. If they are unclean, then

your children are unclean, and not one parent in the whole church must dwell with or touch his children, until God shall convert them; and thus Christians will be made to sever the ties that bind parents to their children, and to throw out the offspring of Christian parents into the ungodly world from their very birth, without any provision for their protection, support, or religious education.'

“ It will be perceived in the preceding interpretations that the phrase your children is taken in a different sense from that which it obtains in any of the interpretations usually offered. It is here supposed to refer to the whole church. Had the apostle designed to speak of those

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