« ElőzőTovább »
then through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, in thee shall all natiops be blessed."" Now this is what my opponent calls the covenant of grace; but as I prefer scripture names where they can be obtained, I choose rather, with the apostle, to call it
the covenant confirmed of God in Christ,' or the new covenant, or the Gospel.' This, then, is as distinct from that covenant to which circumcision was attached, as any two things in the Bible. The covenant of circumcision was not made until 25 years after, until Abraham was 99 or 100 years old-Gen. 17. How then my opponent, and Peter Edwards and his followers, can call these two one, and argue from them as oue and the same, is a blunder that is too glaring in this enlightended age. Paul calls thein " the covenants of promise," he uses the plural; they call them the covenant of grace, making them singular. Whatever the apostle calls them, he preserves the same number-" To whom," says he, “pertain the covenants of promise"-again, “ To Abraham and his seed were the promises made.” On these two covenants, which are of such ancient date, are the two dispensations founded; the Jewish and the Christian.
On the covenant of circumcision was predicated the national or Sinai covenant, which erected the seed of Abraham into a typically holy nation, by which they were said to be married to the Lord. This Sinai covenant, was made 405 years after the covenant of circumcision See Exodus 19, compared with Heb. 8.
On the covenant confirmed before of God in Christ, 430 years before the giving of the law, was predicated the New Testament, which presents a new and full exhibition of divine mercy, extending to the Gentiles also; by means of which the spiritual seed of Abraham are associated into a new and spiritual relation called the church of Christ. [On these two covenants I intend to enlarge more fully in the appendix.]
If my opponent rightly appreciated the difference betwist these two covenants, and understood the important place they hold through the whole Bible, he would forever abandon all arguments drawn from the covenant of circumcision to prove infant baptism.
When I hear any pedo-baptist pleading for the baptism of infants upon the footing of the faith of the parents, that is on the footing of carnal generation; it brings to my re
collection the reply that John the Baptist made to the Jews who solicited baptism, upon the footing of the faith of their great, great, great, many times great, grandfather, Abraham. They were as confident of the validity of their claims, as any modern Pedo-baptist; they came forward with an ostentatious parade of bereditary excellence -- We have Abraham to our father," was their cogent argument; bow did John receive it? “O generation of vipers! Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
-Bring forth fruits meet for repentancethink not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father'-I say unto you, God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” In this transaction, methinks I see the arguments of my opponent drawn from covenant relation to Abraham, or from circumcis. ion, fully exposed, and perfectly refuted.
Before I sit down, I would express my fears that too large a portion of our time will be spent on the Abrahamic covenants, and that other important matters will be pushed out of view. In the mean time, I would remind Mr. Walker, that the seven points submitted to his consideration, yet remain unanswered. I would entreat bim to try them a second time--they get remain with rather additional force against him.
Mr. Walker then arose, and spoke to the following effect:
This bond, which I used as an illustration of my views, Mr. C. seems not to comprehend. I will endeavor to make it more plain to him. A bond is a contract betwixt two parties ; so is a covenant. Now, as I have already said, the covenant which had circumcision as its seal, is the same as the new covenant or covenant of grace. And, as infants were once entitled to church membership under this covenant, so they are yet. The adding of many names to a covenant or bomu, does not alter the nature of the transaction; it merely interests them in the things promised or specified in the bond, the bond remains the same.
He has said we live under a new dispensation, and on this he lays great stress. He should know, that this new dispensation is only a new form of the old one, or a new exhibition of its substance. The difference betwixt the old and the new, is far from so important and so greaty
as my opponent seems to think. All things are substantially the same under both. Do we not see from the apostle's reasoning, in the 11th to the Romans, that he considered the Jews and Christians as the same body politic ? My opponent has not attended to what I have said on this chapter. He seems afraid to meddle with this chapter-it is so decidedly against his views. In it, the Apostle shews that the Jewish church was not dissolved, that the Gentiles were merely received into it. The Gentiles were incorporated with the Jews, and became one body with them; they were, in one word, brought into the Jewish church. Into this church circumcision was once the door, by it infants once entered in. Baptism is now the door, and by it infants now enter in. lf, then, I can make this appear if I can shew that the apostle considered them the same church, and that infant Joembership was never taken away-I say, if these things can be established, the Divine right of infants to baptisia is established, notwithstanding all that my opponent has said concerning the differences between circumcision and baptism. Let us now hear the apostle, Rom. 11, 17, 66 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou being a wild olive tree were graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree," verse 24 - For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree, which is wild by nature, and were graffed contrary to nature, into a good olive tree, how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?" Is it not obvious, then, from the apostle's reasoning, that the olive tree denotes the visible church state of the Jews-and that the Jews, themselves, were the natural branches ? The Gentiles, who are represented as the wild olive, were contrary to nature graffed in among the Jews, that is, they were brought into the Jewish church, or were brought into the same church state as the Jews. And the Jews, if they continue not in unbelief, shall be graffed into their own olive tree or church state again. We see, from the above, that the Jewish church still continued, and as the Gentiles were converted they were incorporated with them. I wish, then, that my opponent would advert to this, and no longer tell us, that the Christian church is radically different from the Jewish ; which we have now proved to be one and the same.
Mr. C. has asked again, what spiritual blessings did circumcision seal to the Jewish nation. To answer his question again, I must refer to Rom. 4,2-12. Let him consider this chapter, and he will see that not only to Abraham, but to David also, circumcision sealed spiritual blessings. It was a seal to David, of the forgiveness of his sins, as well as to Abraham of the righteousa ness of his faith. It is no objection to my system, that circumcision did not seal spiritual blessings to all the subjects of it; for Baptism did not seal spiritual blessings to all its subjects. What spiritual blessings did Baptism seal to Simon Magus, who was a member of the visible church, and a proper subject of Baptism according to iny opponent?
Again; the infants of the Jews, though they might receive no immediate advantage from circumcision, yet they were bound thereby to keep the whole law; and if they did so, they would receive spiritual blessings-in so doing. It laid them under an obligation of obedience, as long as they lived ; so does Baptism oblige all children to observe the laws of God, which, if they do, they shall doubtless receive the blessedness of which David partook, and the righteousness which Abraham possessed. By this covenant of circumcision I will stick, it is a main pillar of my argument, I will not be coaxed from it by my opponent-I must still maintain that circumcision was a seal of the covenant of grace, and conveyed spiritual blessings to those who partook of it.
[The above is the substance of what Mr. Walker spoke in two of those periods which he employed. In reply to which, I subjoin the substance of my remarks in two sucu ceeding periods:]
I cannot but admire the ingenuity of my opponent, in evading the consideration of those insuperable difficulties which I have thrown in the way of his system. He reite. rates the same things under scarcely a new garb, which are plainly refuted in the arguments against his views, which I have already submitted. While agreeing upon the preliminaries of this debate, previous to commencement this morning, I foresaw, I anticipated, that this day would be spent, and the attention of this congregation wearied, in just such a controversy as you have heard. Is it possible that my opponent has no better support for his system! Is he obliged to prove a New Testament positive institution, from the 17th chapter of Genesis ! from portions of scripture in which Baptism is never mentioned ! In all the scriptures he has yet adduced, Baptism is not so much as once mentioned ! What is the meaning of this ? Either, he wishes to keep us from attending to the plain portions of scripture pertaining to the subject, by an abstruse disquisition on portions of scripture inapplicable to the main subject of debate ; to perplex and weary your attention : or, he has no better support for his views. I am determined that the day shall not be spent, in such foreign and unedifying discussions. The forty minutes which are assigned me to speak, are my own; I shall occupy them as I please. I will spend a certain portion of them in refuting his assertions, the remainder of them I will appropriate to other topics illustrative of the subject in dispute. I will attend to every thing he advances, worthy of notice ; but I will do more: I will endeavor to elucidate the subject by other arguments and considerations, than those which he may please to introduce.
With the advantage of all that Mr. W. has said, on his favorite illustration, the Bond, I am at a loss to understand him. He seems to assert, that the adding of names to the bond, interests those names in the privileges of the bond--that the rite of circumcision, or the rite of Baptism, is the seal of this bond. This similitude ap. pears to me to obscure, rather than to elucidate, his side of the question ; for, according to him, the bond is a perfect blank at the time of signing and sealing. The infant that receives the seal, or, according to him, who seals the bond, (for the person that seals a bond is always active, never passive) has nothing guaranteed or secured to him at the time of sealing; his name is affixed to it, before the items are specified ; and after fifteen er twenty years the items are written; for he admits, that Baptism does secure nothing to an infant at the time of administration. It depends entirely upon the subsequent conduct of the baptized, whether he ever receives any benefit from it. This is a novelty, to me at least, in Bond transactions first seal the bond, and afterwards specify the items.*
* A respectable gentleman of the bar, to whom I had the pleasure of being introduced during an interval of the debate, made the following criticism on this similitude of the bond. He