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lieving and taking upon them the vows of the


The author of the discourses before us, has framed a doctrine with perfect safety; it does not seem to bear upon any point of the subject controverted, which he makes a shew of defend ing.

Doctrine......" In God's covenant of promise "with Abraham, provision was made for the "continuance of the church formed by it, and "thus for the trasmission of the privileges and "blessings contained in it, from generation to generation, down to the close of time."

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This position appears very luminous; but who has disputed it? The question between us and the Baptists is this, who are the church formed by the covenant of promise with Abraham? The ground taken above, may be considered by all parties strictly neutral; it gives neither of fence nor aid to any. In defining his doctrine, however, our author has not been so happy; but has conceded to the Baptists the point, which has been considered, by the ablest writers on both sides, to be the main hinge on which the controversy turns.

The Baptists hold, that the church formed by the covenant of promise, is composed of believers, and only of such. They do not deny that this covenant was established with Abraham; nor that the elect, by the sovereignty of God, for many ages, were chiefly comprized in Abraham's natural discent; nor that the privileges and blessings of the covenant were secured to the church, formed by it, for ever. It is sufficient for their purpose to maintain what our author has yielded to them, viz. that none but believers, or those who have true religion, have a standing in that covenant in which the Lord is our God.

On the other hand, the defenders of the right of the application of the covenant seal to our children have held, that the natural seed of Abraham and all believers, one as much as another, have that radical standing in the church, formed by the covenant of promise, that the Lord is their God, in the covenant sense, unless they have voluntarily renounced, and gone out from the society of the faithful; or have been rejected and cut off from it, by a righteous judicial act.

Our author, agreeably to all the Baptists, defines the term Abraham's seed, to mean Christ in person, and all true believers as included in him. But the defenders of infant baptism have defined the term to mean Christ, as being the Head of the Body......the Church, of whom the whole family is named, which family includes our infant children, though they be not capable of believing; or though they should grow up to be profane unbelievers like Esau, and at last should be rejected and cast away.

A few passages from the discourses before us, relative to the particulars on which we chiefly remark, may here be noted.

"To Abraham and his seed were the promises "made; not indeed to seeds as of many, or as if

different sorts were intended, some believers "and some unbelievers; but to seed, as intending but one sort or description, namely, Christ "in person, and all true believers as included " in him.


"TO ABRAHAM AND SEED, comprehending MES SIAH, and all true believers as included in him, were made the promises, which comprise all "the blessings ever to be conferred upon the

church and people of God."........." God's pro"mise then, or proposal to Abraham, was to be "a God not only to him, but also to his seed af

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"ter him. The same was his promise or proposal to Isaac, the same to Jacob, and so down "from generation to generation."......" As there"fore God promised, or proposed to Abraham "to be not only his God, but also the God of "his seed; so he now promises, or proposes, to




every believing parent to be, not only a God "to him, but also to his seed after him. And "the same promise, or proposal, to believing parents, is to continue down from generation "to generation, to the latest periods.' "It "was on the ground of Abraham's faith and uprighteousness, that God promised to be a God "to him; and it was on the same general ground, "that he promised to be a God to his seed..... "Walk before me, said God to Abraham, and be "thou perfect; and I will make my covenant be"tween me and thee."......" To become entitled


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then, to the blessings of the covenant, Abra"ham must walk before God, and be perfect; "must have true faith, and be sincerely obedi"ent. This was necessary as it respected him"self personally, and equally necessary as it "respected his children..... From the view which 6c we have taken of the covenant made with "Abraham it appears, that this covenant is ne"ver established with any but true believers, or "the subjects of true religion. God's promise "to those with whom it is established, is to be <c a God to them, and their seed after them. But "God is not, in the covenant sense, a God to any but true believers, or the subjects of true religion."...... "God's covenant promise, or proposal, my brethren, is to be a God to you "and to your seed after you.". "Though bap"tised persons, previously to their taking persosonally the vows of the covenant upon them,



are neither entitled to the privileges, nor subject to the discipline, of the church, as mem


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"bers in complete standing; yet, as the children of the covenant, their relation to the church is "sacred, and the correspondent duty is great.'


These passages may be sufficient to shew our author's view of the nature of the covenant with Abraham, and the standing of our baptised children previously to their believing, &c.

Upon the view before us, we remark, first, It does not agree with the cases given us in the scriptures of those in the covenant relation, who fall through unbelief.

Esau sold his birth-right; which birth-right has been understood to comprize the privileges and blessings of the covenant with Abraham. It was something, the consideration of which afterwards caused him to weep with an exceeding bitter cry. We know that he lost an inheritance in the land of Canaan; he settled in Mount Seir; and, "as "the land of Canaan was a pledge and earnest of "that better country, which is an heavenly, and "all the blessings promised in the covenant," he undoubtedly sustained a loss by selling his birthright, that was a sufficient reason for his exceeding bitter mourning.

A birth-right is a title. By this phrase, we conceive an idea of the most substantial right and title. But according to the representation before us, Esau had no title to the privileges and blessings of the covenant, therefore he could sell none; for we cannot sell what is not our's. He could only be entitled to the blessing by faith, which, as to him, did not exist. Birth did not give the right. Birth-right then, in Esau's case, is an improper word. As the matter stood with him, it was only a proposal that he was entitled to, and all he could do was to sell a proposal.

Again.......Concerning the men who fell in the wilderness, the Lord said, I will disinherit them. Num. xiv. 12. To be disinherited, they must


have been heirs, and as such entitled to the inheritance. But according to the view before us, this could not be; for they were all unbelievers, and therefore not heirs, not entitled, and never in a condition to be disinherited.

If" it be only true believers, such as are in "Christ by faith, who are Abraham's seed, and

heirs according to the promise," how came some of the natural branches of the good olive tree to be cut off? As they were destitute of faith, according to our author, they never were in the covenant, nor in the church formed by it. What propriety is there in saying, they were cut off from a participation of the root and fatness of the olive tree, if they were never entitled to its privileges and blessings? It affords but poor relief in this difficulty, for our author to say, that "though the covenant is never, on "God's part, established with any but true be"lievers, yet all who have taken the vows upon "them, ought to feel themselves sacredly bound "to fulfil their engagements;" for if the covenant be not established on God's part, an unwarranted transaction on our part, will effect nothing; it cannot make us branches of the good olive. And again, why does the Apostle exhort us to fear? He says, thou, the Gentile, art graffed in, and partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree, still take heed, lest God, who spared not the natural branches, also spare not thee. But accord

to our author's view of the nature of the covenant, there can be no danger, provided it be a fact, that one is graffed in to partake of the fatness of this good olive tree.

Further, our Lord says, Matt. viii. 12. Children of the kingdom shall be cast out. But how can this be! for, according to our author, on the one hand, such as are children of faith in the covenant, will not be cast out of the kingdom of

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