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Bible is not received, through the inattention, prejudices and blindness of men. The scripture has not been so well and so fully understood, as it will be in the days of the millennium, when the Spirit of God shall be poured out on christians in general, in much greater degrees than it has been by which they shall have more discerna ing, and be disposed to search the Bible, with a sincere and earnest desire to know the truth, and a strong disposition to receive it, and practise agreeable to it. The Bible will then be improved to much better purpose, than it had ever been before ; and many important truths and duties which had in ages before not been understood or seen, will then appear plain and easy to be understood. Then the Bible will answer the end for which it is given to men, as it never had done before, as it was chiefly designed for that day, by the proper improvement of which, the knowledge of God, and of all revealed truth, will fill the earth, as the waters cover the sea.

The doctrine now under consideration may be then well understood by all, and the evidence of it appear much more strong and clear, than it can be made to do now, and being reduced to practice, the good effect of it will be seen, as has been observed above. This doctrine, taken in its full length and breadth, when reduced to a practice agreeable to it, is directly contrary to the natural disposition of man, and peculiarly so in many respects : and it is not expected, that however evident the truth of it is from the Bible, that it will be generally believed ; and that it will be received, and properly conformed to, and practised by many churches, if by any, in the christian world, at this day. Religion, even the true spirit of christianity, must rise much higher than it now does, in order to practise the duties implied in the baptism of infants, and many other duties which are commanded, and ought to take place among christians, and in christian churches.

Question VIII. If a right account of infant baptism has now been given, then the baptism of children of believers is an institution of vast importance, and an indispensable duty, as well as a great privilege ; and they who deny, that infant baptism is a christian institution,

and refuse to practise it, are very erroneous and wicked. Ought they not, therefore, to be rejected as no christians ?

Answer. They who believe the baptism of infants is evidently a christian institution, and think it to be as important and useful, and suited and designed by Christ, to be of such advantage to parents and their children, and to the church, as has been represented above, must look upon those who refuse to comply with this institution, but oppose it, as in a great error, and as offending Christ, and those little ones, who being the children of believing parents, ought to be considered and received as believers in him. * But they are to be thought of, and treated with great candour, tenderness and

christian charity : especially since there is reason to believe, that most, if not all, who believe in the baptism of chil. dren, and practise it, are more guilty and offensive to Christ, in their treatment of this institution, than the Antipedobaptists are. The Pedobaptists believe infant baptism to be a divine institution, and baptize their children ; but most of them, if not all, refuse to comply with, and practise the most important and essential duties implied in the institution, which they solemnly profess and engage to do. They make use of the external rite, but treat it as a mere ceremony, because it is the custom of their denomination, or to gratify their pride, or superstition : they generally shew, that they do not heartily devote their children to Christ, by their neglect to educate them for him. In this respect, their children are not distinguished from those who are not baptized : and let them behave as they will, they are not treated as being under the care of the church, or subjects of discipline, and most, if not all the parents who bring their children to baptism, do not desire they should be censured and cast out by the church, if when they are adult they refuse to obey Christ ; but stand ready to oppose it. It is a common practice to baptize the children of those who are not visible believers, who do not obey Christ, in attending upon all his institutions, and, in many instances, are in other respects immoral : and in those churches where no children are baptized, but of

. See Matt. xviii, 5, 6. Luke ix. 48.

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parents who make a profession of religion, and are members of the church, the baptism of children is generally treated as a mere ceremony :

when that is performed, no more is done for the children by the parents, or the church, than is done for those who are not baptized. How short do they come of the duty which is reasonable and important, and solemnly engaged by the parents, and the church, if the above representation of this duty be in any measure just! How greatly is this institution abused and perverted even to bad purposes, by most of the Pedobaptists! The error and sin of the Antipedobaptists consists in their not believing infant baptism to be an institution of Christ, and therefore rejecting it, as a mere human invention. Theirs is a sin of ignorance. Their ignorance and unbelief are criminal ; but who are the greatest criminals in their treatment of this institution, it is easy to determine.

The words of Christ to them, who brought to him a woman guilty of adultery, and said Moses commanded such to be stoned, are applicable to this case. that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” Too many of the Pedobaptists have treated those who deny infant baptism, with unreasonable censoriousness and severity ; especially since they themselves have been so faulty in this very matter ; and have denied or neglected, in principle and practice, the most useful, important, and essential part of this institution. To such may be applied the words of the Prophet Obed, to the host of Israel, with a little variation.

“ Ye have condemned and censured your brethren, with a severity and rage that reacheth up to heaven. But are there not with you, even with you, sins against the Lord your God ?»»*

This subject will be concluded by observing, that what has been offered from the scripture, to prove that the baptism of infants is a divine institution ; and whatever other arguments from it have been mentioned by others, or may be thought of, stand good, and ought to be considered in their full weight, independent of what has been now said, to show what is the design and import of this institution ; and whether this can be sufVOL. II.

44 * Chron. xxvii. 9, 10.

ficiently supported from scripture, or not : Though it is thought that the view which has been here given of it, if it be admitted, will serve to strengthen the evidence that it is an institution of Christ, and to show the propriety and importance of it. Therefore, they who shall not be convinced that there is any promised connection between the faithfulness of parents in the covenant, as it respects their children, and the conveyance of saving blessings to the latter, will not find the evidence on which they believe and practise infant baptism, in any degree weak. ened : While they who believe that such a connection is evident from scripture, will, by this view of the matter, be more confirmed in the reality, usefulness and importance of this institution; and excited to improve it accordingly. It is presumed that this attempt has no tendency to prejudice any one against the practice of in. fant baptism, or to lead him to doubt whether it be a christian institution : And that no one can have any reason to think that the belief of such a connection, and a practice agreeable to it, can tend, in any respect, to slur the institution, or to render it less important and useful to the christian church ; or be hurtful to any.

If what has been now offered on this subject, shall in any degree awaken the attention of divines, and chris. tians in general, to this matter, and excite to a more careful and strict examination of it, which, it is thought, not yet been thoroughly explored ; but has been generally treated in too loose and indeterminate a manner; and if, in consequence of this, greater light on this point shall be obtained, and a more consistent and scriptural account of it shall be given, than is here exhibited, the composing and reading of these pages will not be in vain.

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THE LORD'S SUPPER.

The Lord's Supper is also an institution of Christ, which he bas commanded his followers to observe, and attend upon ; and has appointed it to be celebrated in bis church to the end of the world.

The elements of this ordinance are bread and wine. The bread consecrated and broken represents the broken

body of Christ, in his death on the cross. The wine poured out represents his blood in his death, which was shed for the remission of sins. The professed followers of Christ, by eating the bread and drinking the wine, when consecrated and blessed, by prayer and thanksgiving, and distributed to them by the officers of the church, do, by this transaction, profess cordially to receive Christ by faith, and to live upon him, loving him, and trusting in him for pardon and complete redemption, consecrating themselves to his service. And by the ministers of the gospel consecrating those elements, and ordering them to be distributed to the communicants, Christ is exhibited as an all-sufficient Saviour, and the promise of salvation is expressed and sealed to all his friends. This is therefore a covenant transaction, in which those who partake of the bread and wine express their faith in Christ, that they are his friends, and devoted to his service; and their cordial compliance with the covenant of grace; and solemnly seal this covenant by partaking of these elements. And at the same time, they are a token and seal of the covenant of grace, on the part of Christ. All this is asserted by the apostle Paul, when speaking of this ordinance. “The cup of blessing, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body" Christ ?»* “For I have received of the Lord, that which I also delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus, in the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread ; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat ; this is my body, which is broken for you : This do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also, he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood.+. And the church by coming together, and celebrating this holy supper, not only profess their love to Christ, and union of heart to him ; but that peculiar love and union to each other, which takes place between the true disciples of Christ, and is essential to their character. This is expressed in the following words of the apostle Paul. being many, are one bread, and one body : For we are all partakers of that one bread."

• 1 Cor. x. 16. † Chap. si. 23, 24, 25. $ 1 Cor. 17

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