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capable of admission into the kingdom of heaven? Relying on the mercy of God, (though uncovenanted mercy is all upon which they can, in this instance, place any just dependence) they will doubtless answer, Yes.

But persons who are capable of the greater, are certainly capable of the less, which is contained within it. If through Divine mercy, then, unbaptized children are capable of admission into the kingdom of God in heaven, they are surely capable, through the same mercy, of admission into the Church, which is the kingdom of God on earth. If they are capable of receiving the fulness of Divine mercy, in the possession of everlasting blessedness in heaven; where Christ has told us, their angels continually behold his Father's face; they are surely capable of being admitted into that Church membership which was designed only as preparatory to it.

Although infants, therefore, should not suffer for the negligence, obstinacy, or self-opinion, of their parents; yet parents would do well to consider what may be the consequence to themselves, for showing less attention to the spiritual condition of their children, than God has done; by straitening that covenant, which, in the original delivery of it, was expressly extended to them; and, in the Jewish Church, scrupulously continued to them. At the same time they may remember, that though the child of Moses suffered no punishment for the delay of his circumcision, yet the father very narrowly escaped it on a memorable occasion.t

But it may be observed further, in answer to
* Matth. xviii. 10.
+ Exod. iv. 24.

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hose who object to the admission of infants to haptism on account of incapacity, that the Jewish, infants were admitted into the covenant by circum-, cision at eight day's old, by God's express command. That there is the same reason for infants of Christian parents to be admitted to baptism, is to be thus proved.


The covenant entered into by God with Abraham* was, as St. Paul plainly tells us, the Gospel covenant. "The scripture, (says the Apostle) foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel to Abraham," delivered beforehand the glad-tidings of that event to Abraham in the following words: “In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one: And to thy seed, which is Christ. This I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ; the law which was four hundred and thirty years after cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.”† "From these words, which distinguish so plainly between the covenant which God made with Abraham, or the promise which he made unto him, and the law; it is evident, that the beginning of the Jewish Church, purely considered as a Church, is to be dated from the covenant which God made with Abraham; and therefore, in the second place, the way to find out the nature of the Abrahamical or pure Jewish Church, is to consider the nature promise upon which which it was

of the covenant or

* Gen. xvii.

+ Gal, iii. 8, 16, 17.



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founded; and if we examine the scriptures, we shall find, that it was an Evangelical covenant, for substance the same with that which is since made betwixt God and us, through Christ. This will appear upon a review of those scriptures, which teach us, That faith was the condition of this Abrahamical covenant; that it was made with Abraham,* as the father of the faithful, and in him with all believers, with his spiritual as well as carnal seed, proceeding from him by spiritual as well as carnal generation; and that the blessings or promises of this covenant belonged unto them upon the same account of their faith.Ӡ

The covenant, then, that was made by God with Abraham, was the Gospel covenant, containing the promise of blessing to all nations in Christ. Of admission into this covenant circumcision was, at that time, the appointed seal. Circumcision, therefore, was not a legal institution, but the seal of the Gospel covenant, administered to Abraham four hundred and thirty years before the introduction of the law. Agreeably to which our Saviour told the

"Fide autem stare justitiam, et illic esse vitam predictum est apud Habakkuc. Justus autem ex fide vivet. Inde Abraham Pater Gentium credidit. In Genes. credidit Abraham Deo, et deputatum est ei ad justitiam. Cognoscitis ergo qui ex fide sunt, hi sunt filii Abrahæ, providens scriptura quia ex fide, &c." CYPRIAN advers. Judæos. "Successisse verò in eorum locum Christianos fide Dominum promerentes, et de omnibus gentibus, ac toto orbe venientes.” CYPRIAN ad Quirin. Testim. 1. iii.

+ "Case of Infant Baptism by the Dean of Worcester." See London Cases, No. 15.

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than it was.

Jews, that "Moses gave unto them circumcision,
not because it was of Moses, but of the fathers."
All the alteration that took place in this business,
upon our Saviour's establishment of his Church,
was in the nature of the seal of the covenant; our
Saviour having exchanged the severe and painful
one of circumcision, for the more mild and practi-
cable one of baptism. The seal, then, is altered,
but the covenant remains the same.

The covenant, therefore, into which Christians
are admitted by baptism, being the same Gospel
Covenant, which was confirmed before to Abraham
in Christ; the mere change in the ritual can make
no difference with respect to the capability of the
parties to be admitted into it. Consequently, the
precept delivered to Abraham,† respecting the
admission of infants into the Gospel covenant by
circumcision, applies with equal force to the ad-
mission of infants into it by baptism; circumcision
and baptism being seals or tokens of the same
Covenant, appointed by God to be made use of for
the same purpose, at different periods. Hence it
comes to pass, that the Church Christian is called
in the New Testament, the new and supernal
Jerusalem; to let us know that Christianity is
nothing but spiritual Judaism; the same city new
reformed, constituted upon a new charter, blessed
with more noble and ample privileges than for-
merly, and every way better built, and more august

Thus in Rev. iii. 12, "Him that

overcometh (saith the Son of Man) I will write the
name of my God, and the name of the city of

* John vii. 22.

+ Gen. xvii. 10.

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God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God;" that is, I will acknowledge him that holds out to the end for a person truly godly, and for a true member of the pure Catholic-Christian Church, which is the spiritual Jerusalem descended from above. And so, c. xxi. 2, I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God, out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband," meaning Jesus Christ. So, in Gal. iv. "Jerusalem, which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all.”*


To what has been said, it need only be added, (for I avoid entering at large into a subject which has been so frequently and fully handled) that our Saviour found the Jews in the practice of infant baptism; as has, I think, upon the ground of the strongest probability, been maintained by learned men. He, therefore, only transferred this ceremony from the Jewish Church to his own, by making it the sacrament of initiation into it. It is to be concluded, therefore, that the Apostles, who were Jews themselves, and who were directed to address the first offer of the Gospel to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel;"+ in baptizing them into the Church of Christ, or rather into the new dispensation of it, would observe the general practice to which they had been accustomed, if they had received no express precept from Christ to direct them otherwise.

But the commission delivered to them by Christ was of a most general and comprehensive nature:

• See "Case of Infant Baptism, by the Dean of Worcester." London Cases, + Matth. x. 6.

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