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though the light of nature together with the general rules of the law of Moses, did sufficiently teach and require it.
(6.) It seems to be from time to time foretold in the proph- ; ecies of the Old Testament, that there would be a great alteration in this respect, in the days of the gospel ; that under the new dispensation there should be far greater purity in the church. Thus in the forementioned place in Ezekiel it is foretold, that “Those who are [visibly uncircumcised in heart, should NO MORE enter into God's sanctuary." Again Ezek. xx. 37, 38. “ And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and will bring you into the bond of the covenant ; and I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me.” It seems to be a prophecy of the greater purity of those who are visibly in covenant with God. Isa. iv. 3. “ And it shall come to pass that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living [i. e. has a name to live, or is enrolled among the saints] in Jerusalem." Isa. lii. 1. “ Put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city ; from henceforth there shall no MORE come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.". Zech. xiv. 21. « And in that day, there shall be no MORE the Canaanite in the house of the Lord;”
(7.) This is just such an alteration as might reasonably be expected from what we are taught of the whole nature of the two dispensations. As the one had carnal ordinances (so they are called Heb. ix. 10) the other a spiritual service ; (John iv. 24) the one an earthly Canaan, the other an heavenly ; the one an external Jerusalem, the other a spiritual ; the one an earthly high priest, the other an heavenly ; the one a worldly sanctuary, the other a spiritual ; the one a bodily and temporal redemption (which is all that they generally discerned or understood in the passover) the other a spiritual and eternal. And agreeably to these things, it was so ordered in providence, that Israel, the congregation that should enter this worldly sanctuary, and attend these carnal ordinances, should be much more a worldly, carnal congregation, than the New Testament congregation. One reason why it was ordered in
providence that there should be such a difference, seems to be this, viz. That the Messiah might have the honor of introducing a state of greater purity and spiritual glory. Hence God is said to find fault with that ancient dispensation of the covenant, Heb. viii. 7, 8. And the time of introducing the new dispensation is called the time of reformation, Heb. ix. 10. And one thing, wherein the amendment of what God found fault with in the former dispensation should consist, the apostle intimates, is the greater purity and spirituality of the church, Heb. viii. 7, 8, 11.
IT is not reasonable to suppose that the multitudes which John the Baptist baptized, made a profession of saving grace, or had any such visibility of true piety as has been insisted on.
Answ. Those whom John baptized, came to him confessing their sins, making a profession of some kind of repentance ; and it is not reasonable to suppose, the repentance they professed was specifically or in kind diverse from that which he had instructed them in, and called them to, which is called repentance for the remission of sins ; and that is saving repentance. John's baptism is called the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins : I know not how such a phrase can be reasonably understood any otherwise, than so as to imply, that his baptism was some exhibition of that repentance, and a seal of the profession of it. Baptism is a seal of some sort of religious profession, in adult persons : But the very name of John's baptism shews, that it was a seal of a profession of repentance for the remission of sins. It is said, Luke iii. 3. “ John PREACHED the baptism of repentance for the re. mission of sins." What can be understood by this, but his preaching that men should now speedily turn to God, by true repentance and faith in the promised Saviour, and come and con fe88 their sins, and openly declare this repentance towards God, and faith in the Lamb of God, and that they should con,
firm and seal this their profession by baptism, as well as there. in receive the seal of God's willingness to reinit the sins of such as had this faith and repentance. Accordingly we are told, the people came and were baptizéd of him, confessing their sins, manifesting and professing that sort of repentance and faith which he preached. They had no notion of any other sort of repentance put into their heads, that they could suppose John called them to professs in baptism, but this accompanied with faith in the Lamb whom he called them to behold; for he preached no other to them. The people that John baptized, professed both repentance for the remission of sins, and also faith in the Messiah ; as is evident by Acts xix. 4, 5. “ John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him that should come after him ;" i. e. on Christ Jesus : “ When they heard this [John's preaching] they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."
If it be objected here, that we are told, Matth. iii. 5, 6. « There went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jor. dan, confessing their sins ;” and that it is not to be imagined all these made any credible profession of saving repentance and faith : I answer, No more is to be understood by these expressions, according to the phraseology of the scripture, than that there was a very great resort of people from these places to John. Nor is any more to be understood by the like term of universality in John iii. 26. « They came to John and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou bearest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and ALL MEN come to him ;" that is, there was a great resort to him from all quarters. It is in no wise unreasonable to suppose, there was indeed a very great number of people that came to John from the places mentioned, who being exceedingly moved by his preaching, in that time of extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit, made profession of the faith and repentance which John preached. Doubtless there were many more professors than real converts : But still in the great resort to John, there were many of the latter char
acter ; as we may infer from the prophecy ; as appears by Luke i. 16, 17.“ and many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” And from that account of fact in Matth. xi. 12. “ From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” And in Luke xvi. 16. “ The law and the prophets were until John : Since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and EVERY MAN presseth into it." Here the expression is no less universal, than that which is objected in Matth. iii. 5, 6. As to those wicked Pharisees, that so much opposed Christ, some of them I suppose had been baptized by John, and then had a great shew of repentance and faith ; but they afterwards apostatized, and were much worse than ever before : Therefore Christ speaks of them as being like a house from which the unclean spirit is visibly turned out for a while, and is left empty, swept, and garnished, but afterward is repossessed, and has many devils instead of one, Luke xi. 24, &c. Yet as to the greater part of these Pharisees, they were not baptized by John ; as appears by Luke vii. 29, 30.
If it be further objected, that John in baptizing such multitudes could not have time to be sufficiently informed of those he baptized, whether their profession of godliness was credi. ble or no : I answer; That we are not particularly informed of the circumstances of his teaching, and of the assistance he was favored with, and the means he had of information concerning those whom he baptized : But we may be sure of one thing, viz. He had as much opportunity to inquire into the credibility of their profession, as he had to inquire into their doctrinal knowledge and moral character; which my opponents suppose to be necessary, as well as I : And this is enough to silence the present objection.
CHRIST says, Matth. xx. 16, and again, chap. xxii. 14, that many are called, but few are chosen. By which it is evident, that there are many who belong to the visible church, and yet but few real and true saints ; and that it is ordinarily thus, even under the New Testament, and in days of gospel light : And therefore that visibility of saintship, whereby persons are visible saints in a Scripture sense, cannot imply an apparent probability of their being real saints, or truly gracious persons.
Answer. In these texts, by those that are called, are not meant those who are visible sainis, and have the requisite qualifications for Christian sacraments ; but all such as have the external call of the word of God, and have its offers and invitations made to them. And it is undoubtedly true, and has been matter of fact, for the most part, that of those called in this sense, many have been but only called, and never truly obedient to the call, few have been true saints. So it was in the Jewish nation, which the parable in the twentieth of Matthew has a special respect to; they in general had the external call of God's word, and in general attended many religious duties, in hopes of God's favor and reward, which is called laboring in God's vineyard ; and yet but few of them cventually obtained salvation ; nay, great multitudes of those who were called in this sense, were scandalous persons, and gross hypocrites. The Pharisees and Sadducees were called, and they labored in the vineyard, in the sense of the parable ; for which they expected great rewards above the Gentile converts or proselytes; wherefore their eye was evil towards them, and they could not bear that they should be made equal to them : But still these Pharisees and Sadducees had not gcnerally the intellectual and moral qualifications, that my opponents suppose requisite for Christian sacraments ; being generally scandalous persons, denying some fundamental