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be demonstrated, that this is, or that it is not the thing intended. On the supposition that it is, then we have here baptism expressly determined to be christian cir: cumcision. On the supposition that it is not, the ey. idence is scarcely less conclusive. Let it be conceded, that the apostle is here treating of the sanctification of the heart. What will follow ? If, by the circumcision of Christ, in the 12th verse, be meant sanctification of heart ; then by baptism, in the th verse, must certainly be meant the same thing. For this verse is not the assumption of an entirely new subject. It is a continuity of the sentence, which closes at the end of the verse, and therefore respects the same subject. He tells these Colossians, that they had risen with Christ in baptism. Now, if the subject is the same, and if to put off the body of the sins of the flesh, and to rise with Christ though the faith, which is of the operation of God, be the same thing which it is presumed no body will dispute ; then circumcision and baptism are used as of exactly equivalent import. Then who can doubt that the one is in the place of the other ? rs
It has been sometimes objected to this idea, that if this were the case, the church in Jerusalem might have given a ready reply to the Antiochian christians. They might have told them at once, that baptism was substituted for circumcision, and therefore circumcision was no longer obligatory. To this I reply, that such was precisely the answer that the Jerusalem Church sent back, though not in so many words. These christians had been baptized. They are told, that after this was done, circumcision is not necessary. Baptism, under the christian dispensation, is of equivalent import with, and therefore supercédes the necessity of circumcision. · It has been also asked, If baptism be in the place of circumcision, why is it not confined to males, and administered on the eighth day, as circumcision was? This question goes upon the supposition, that, in or. der that one institution may be a substitute for another, they must be similar in circumstantial things ; than
which nothing is more unjust. It is not necessary for us to know all the reasons for the ordinances God ina stitutes, or the modifications to which he subjects them. But in this case, the reason of this circumstantial difference seems plain enough. The seed, to whom the promises were made, who was to be a male, and the holiness of whose descent was signified by circumcision, is come. The design of this appropria. tion, is therefore answered. Its discontinuance was hecessary to coincide with the Gospel dispensation."
The evidence that baptism is in the place of circumo cision, will be considerably strengthened, from the proofs which will be produced, of infant membership, and infant baptism. For by these will appear the entire coincidence between the one and the other. To this subject therefore, we will next proceed....
Respecting the membership of infants in the Jewish, and Chrisa
tian Church; the application of the seals to them.; and the manner in which they are to be treated, by the officers, and adult members of the Churck.
Dr. GILL; and several other Baptisť writers, Have freely conceded the fact, of the membership of . infants in the Jewish Church. But they have not been candid enough to carry up this membership to its foundation in the Abrahamic covenant, notwithstanding they can find no posterior law, ordaining such a revolution in the society of Israel. To get rid of this difficulty,which seems altogether insuperable, they set up their own authority against that of the Deity; and, in opposition to demonstrative evidence, convert the garden of God into an aceldema of dry bones.
It is presumed that the analysis which has been given of the Abrahamic covenant has proved, that infant membership was established in that covenant ; that it was in fact, the most distinguishing feature of it. This covenant, it has been shewn, constituted a relig. ious and an indissolvable society, which was to be transmitted, allowing for adult proselytism, seminally, from generation to generation to the end of the world.
It is accordingly a fact, that from Abraham to the Exodus, infants were comprehended in the covenant alliance, and went to compose the society of Israel. It is a fact. -- not to be contested, that this continued to be the case till the Sinai covenant. And it is a fact conceded, which therefore we have no need to spend time to prove, that it continued ever afterwards, to the coming of the Messiah. He himself became a member
of this society by birth. No law of the Sinai cove. nant, ordaining the membership of infants at all, and especially as a new thing, can be produced. Infants then must have held their membership, not by the Si. naicovenant; butby the Abrahamic covenant only. The abolition of the Sinai covenant did not, of course, affect this establishment.
The only question therefore, now before us, on this ' subject is, Has the institution of infánt membership been revoked under the christian dispensation ? None, it is evident, could revoke it but God. For he pnly, who rightfully, and authoritatively establishes a law, is competent to repeal it. And if the revocation have taken place, it must have been as public, and express, as the law,
Now, that there has been no such revocation, and that infant membership is continued, in its full force, under the christian dispensation, may appear from the following considerations.
1. Infánt membership cannot be annulled ; because to annul it, would be to diminish materially the blesa sing, which the covenant secured. The covenant entailed, not the curse, but the blessing. In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thee
and thou shalt be a blessing the blessing is in the house of the righteous and all that see them, shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.". The blessing attached itself to the society perpetually. It was entailed upon the adopted, as fully as upon the natural seed. I will bless him thạt blesseth thee. 32 Galatians iii. 8. "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel un, to Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed!! : Here was an irrevocable grant of the entire bles. sing of the covenant to the believing Gentiles. It is therefore added, in the next verse. “So then, they which are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” And at the 14th verse, “ That the blessing of Abraham, might come on the Gentiles through Jesys
Christ.” Here is the very blessing with which God blessed Abraham, full, and entire, determined by the Apostle to have come on the Gentiles. Hence it is said in the two last verses « There is neither Jew nor Greek ; there is neither bond nộr free ; there is nei. ther male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.". The complete in. heritance belongs to them, as proper heirs, by virtue of the absolute promise of the covenant. This blessing could neither be withdrawn, nor diminished; for it was given by will. It might be enlarged, at least in its ef. fects. And we have abundant evidence, that at the advent of Christ, and in the Gospel day, it was enlarged. It was not narrowed into a more diminutive stream, but swelled into a broader river.. 5 And I will extend peace to her like a' river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream." Infant membership was an important part of the blessing. Its revo: cation cannot therefore have taken place." .. ! .
2. Infant membership is not only secured in the covenant, as a part of the blessing ; bút it is so insep:
arably connected with the covenant, as to be essential :, to its existence. If this be withdrawn, the covenant
itself is done away. The seed is the great object of