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deed it were the height of absurdity to imagine, that Jesus Christ came to cut short the privileges of the church, in any single point; and to cast the children of believers out of God's covenant, who before were taken into it.
It being impossible to deny, then, that the infants of believers have still a right to their antient unrepealed privilege, of being admitted with their parents into God's covenant, and of having its token applied to them; the consequence is inevitable :-That they have then a right to baptism, the appointed token of God's covenant, and the only initiatory rite by which persons are now admitted into it.
The point is farther proved thus,
From the ABRAHAMIC COVENANT. THE covenant which God made with Abrabam and with his seed, Gen. xvii. (into which his infants were taken, together with himself, by the right of circumcision,)-That covenant I say, is the very same which we are now under, even the christian or gospel covenant; and Abraham, in that transaction, acted and is considered under the character of our father, the father of us believing gentiles: the original grants, therefore, and privileges of that covenant must necessarily belong to us, believing gentiles, his seed.--Now it was an indisputable grant or privilege of that covenant, that infants should be received, together with their parents, into it; and solemnly pass under its sacrament or seal. This grant, therefore, or privilege, in behalf of our infants, we, believing gentiles, may now confidently claim.
That we, believing gentiles, are the seed really included and intended in that covenant; and that Abraham, in that transaction, was considered as our father-is a point actually and most clearly determined by St. Paul. For in two several epistles (Rom. iv. and Galat. iii.) where he is explaining the nature and extent of the christian or gospel covenant, he quotes this covenant made with Abraham, (Gen. xvii.) refers to it, reasons from it, and fetches arguments thence to prove, that believers from among the gentiles, are under the christian dispensation, to be fellow-heirs with the Jews, and are the real seed of Abraham, intended in that covenant. See Rom. iv. 9.-particularly ver. 16, 17. Therefore it (i. e. the blessedness, or justification, of the Abrahamic covenant) is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (i. e. of believing gentiles as well as Jews,) as it is written (Gen. xvii. 5.) I have made thee a father of many nations.
Expressly to the same purpose, the Apostle also assures us, GALAT. iii. 7. That they who are of faith (believers) the same are the children of Abraham. And ver. 29. If ye are Christ's (i. e. believers) then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. And again ver. 16, 17. That to Abraham, and to his seed, were the promises made ; (which seed he proves to be all true believers, taken in a collective sense as the body of Christ; and adds ;) now this I say, that the covenant which was confirmed before God in Christ (105 xpısoy respecting Christ, or true believers) the law, which was 430 years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of no effect.-Now that the promises, or covenant, here referred to, which the apostle affirms to be still in force, and not to be disannulled, must be, and is this covenant, (Gen. xvii.) into which infants were taken by a visible rite, is most evident; because, this is the only covenant, in which God ever made and confirmed promises to Abraham and to his seed.
Seeing, then, it is incontestable—that we believing gentiles, are the seed intended in that covenant; it follows, that we have an undoubted right to all its privileges and grants; consequently, to the admission of our infants into it; and consequently, to their passing under its token or sign.
This token or sign was originally circumcision: but when God sent his son into the world further to explain and confirm this covenant, and to publish it to all nations, he was pleased to alter its token, or initiating rite, from circuincision to baptism : partly, perhaps, as circumcision was a painful and bloody rite, and obnoxious to great reproach and contempt amongst the gentiles; but principally, because both sexes were now to be alike visibly received into the covenant; and under this new dispensation of it, there was to be neither male nor female. Galat. iii. 28.*
Thus, then stands the argument, in short:-if we are Christ's (believers) then are we Abraham's seed: (Gal. iii. 29.) but, if we are Abraham's seed, we have then a right to all the grants and privileges of that covenant which God made with Abraham, and with his seed : but the admission of his infants,
That circumcision is abolished, is acknowledged by all ; but the Abrahamic covenant still subsisting, and being no other than the gospel covenant; and of this gospel covenant it being acknowledged that baptism is now the appointed token or sign; it bence evidently follows, that baptism now succeeds in the room of circumcision. Accordingly, it is called the christian circumcision, or circumcision of Christ. Col. ii, 11, 12.
together with himself, was an indisputable grant or privilege of that covenant : therefore, as it was given to Abraham our father, it must necessarily remain and endure to us his seed.*
FROM THE COMMISSION.
A THIRD argument for admitting infants to baptism, may be drawn from the sense in which the apostles, when sent forth to baptize, would naturally and even necessarily understand their commission. Go TEACH (MGÖntiVOale disciple or proselyte) ALL Nations, BAPTIZING THEM.T It is now enquired, in what sense they would understand this commission? Whether, as authorizing them to baptize only the believing adult; or, to give this token of God's covenant also to the infants of such believers ? The commission is delivered in such general terms as not certainly to determine this. If any part of it can be said to exclude infants, it must be the word teach. But
* Infants are not baptised as being themselves the seed of Abraham; but as being the children, or property, of those
the sced of Abraham : for as Abraham's faith brought not himself only, but his infants together with him, into the covenant of God, so the faith of Abraham's seed (believers) brings not themselves only, but their infants together with them, into the same covenant: else the covenant would not be established in the same manner to his seed, as it was to Abraham himself; which yet is plainly promised, Gen. xvii. 7, 10, 11.
+ Mat. xxviii, 19.
) in the 19th verse, is not the same with that in the next verse, teaching them to observe all things—(8820209765) but is of a more large and comprehensive signification, and is better rendered to proselyte or Disciple.
suppose it had been said-go teach, . proselyte, 'all nations, CIRCUMCISING them :-Would not the apostles, without
any farther warrant, have naturally and justly thought, that upon proselyting the gentile parent and circumcising him, his infants also were to be circumcised? Or, if a divine command had been given to the twelve patriarchs of old, to go into Egypt, Arabia, &c. and teach them the God of Abraham, circumcising them :-Would they not, must they not, have understood it as authorizing them to perform this ceremony, not upon the parent only, but also upon the infants of such as believed in the God of Abraham? Without all question they would.
Hence then it is plain, that the word, teach, (disciple or proselyte) concludes nothing, certainly, against infants being admitted, with their believing parents, into God's covenant by baptism. But, if the word, teach, does not necessarily exclude infants, let us see, whether there are not such circumstances attending this commission, as would naturally and even necessarily lead the apostles to apprehend infants to be actually included therein.
Now, here let it be considered--who the persons were, to whom the commission was given ? They were Jews; men, who had been educated in the knowledge of that covenant, which God had made with Abraham and their fathers; and who knew it to be still in force.—Men, who had seen, that in all covenant-transactions, betwixt God and his church, the infants of believers had always been admitted, together with their parents, and passed under the same initiating rite.-Men, who apprehended this their admission to be a great privilege or favour to them; and knew, or were to be soon informed, that the gentiles, (all nations) were now to be taken into a joint-participation of