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ship only iş asserted. And this, it is evident, is ex actly the reason which should have been given. .: This relation of membership in his kingdom, seems plainly recognized again by Christ, in Mark ix. 36, 37. “ And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them, and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children, in my name, receiveth me ; and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me." In the name of Christ, is a mode of speak. ing, which, as is evident from parallel places, is equiv.. alent with a disciple of Christ, or as belonging to Christ. See Mark ix. 41. "For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward." These children were of a particular description.' εν τοιούτων παιδιων, one gf such children as these. They were children of his kingdom ; probably children of parents who adhered to him, as the Messi. ah. Their relation to him as his, is expressly brought into view in the passage. For those who received them, received, for that reason him. Surely then, infant membership is here recognized and confirmed. : . 7. The grand commission which Christ gave to his disciples, to go over the world and preach the Gospel in his name, is delivered in such terms, as seem neces. sarily to imply the continuance of infant membership in his Church, to the end of time. Matthew xxviii. 19, 20., “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, bap. tizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo,
I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. • We will not here go into the dispute, on which so much learning has been expended, respecting the proper meaning of the Greek term, wa@yleuw; and whether the nations were to be made disciples, in order to be taught; or were to be acknowledged and baptized, as disciples, subsequent to their being taught, and upon their receiving the Gospel. I am ready to concede, it
is necessary that an adult be taught, in order to his be. .
of the continuance of infant membership. in
1. This is the most full and formal commission to
2. The objects of this instruction, or making of disa
3. The cominission evidently supposes the natural possibility, that the whole family of man should be so effectually taught, or made disciples, as that it should be incumbent to baptize them in the name of the . Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. To
say that this is a natural impossibility, is to say, that the
4. That which is naturally possible ; and for which
will be driven entirely from his usurped dominion. He l'Every creatine is as host as general, as all letatreem. If there for harting uk Natom, hosting
incheon enfants, and offers from y son of expression. 2 farni con mand to preach the gospel to guany ergutne is gesom? To preach to infants.
will be bound, and cast down into the bottomless pit, and there holden in chains of darkness, so that he shall be able to deceive the nations no more, for a thousand years. The earth shall become exclusively the inher-itance of the saints.' All things will be made morally new; so that there will be nothing to hurt or offend. There shall be written even upon the bells of the hor. : ses, 'holiness to the Lord. Now then let us suppose, ..
5. That the Gospel had in fact so run, and been glorified, in the course of a year, or even a century, as that the whole family of man, all nations, had been brought to a saying subjection to the Messiah. None : will deny, that in such a case, the infant part of this great family would necessarily be gathered into his kingdom, and numbered with his disciples. Undoubtedly they would be disciples upon a different principle from that of personal consent to the Gospel. It would : . be connectively with their parents, and by virtue of. this unlimited dispensation of grace. If any one will contend that discipleship belongs exclusively to adults, he will certainly place himself in a state of open warfare with this commission, which Christ gave to the apostles. The commission necessarily involves infant discipleship; therefore the continuance of the membership of infants in Christ's kingdom.. . a ....*
6. We have another proof of the continuance of infant membership in the declaration of Peter, Acts ii. 39. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that'are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” This passage has been à subject of much altercation, and has been tortured in a most shocking manner. It is imagined that the analy. sis which has been given of the covenant of circum-. cision, and the view which has been taken of the man- , ner, in which it has been carried into execution, lead to an easy, and evident explanation of this passage. The promise is certainly of a' gracious nature, and belongs to the covenant of circumcision; let the particular thing designed by promise, as the Apostle here uses the word, be what it may. All the Gospel promises belong to..
that covenant; and are yea and amen in Christ. 1 are inseparably linked together; and form a common inheritance. He who is interested in any gracious promise, is certainly a subject of that covenant. For, "Jesus Christ is a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers."!** The baptist writers generally, not universally, contend, that the term promise here, refers espe. cially to a prophecy in Joel. The prophecy is this; Joel ii. 28. -“ And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons, and your daughters shall prophecy; your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions. And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids, in those days, will I pour out my Spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in thë earth, (probably Jews and Gentiles) blood, fire, and pillars of smoak. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, (figurative language,' representing desolating
judgments to be brought upon unbelieving Jews) · before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” : Suppose it be allowed that by the prom. żse, the Apostle Peter means this prophecy, it will not follow that it has not respect to the covenant'; and therefore nothing is gained by the adversaries of infant membership. To make any thing of the construction, it must be shewn that this prophecy is wholly discon: nected from the covenant. But this can never be done. Nothing is more certain than that the promise, in this prophecy, isbut a branch of the covenant. The cové enant comprehended and secured the very blessings, which God engages here to confer in the Gospel day, upon Jews and Gentiles. "For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as 'the Lord hath sảid, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” As the Lord hath said. Where had the Lord said this ? Ung Geniably in the covenant of circumcision. For says Paul, Gal. iii. 16. “He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant that was before confirined of God in Christ, the law,which was 430 years after; cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect." Here we see plainly enough what is nieant by the promise. It is the coming of the seed, and salvation in him. A correspondent passage we have in Acts, xii. 32. “And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise, which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again," as it is also written in the 2d Psalm, Thou art my son; this day have I begot: ten thee.” Connect with this the 38 and 39th verses, which are explanatory of what is intended by the promi ise. “Beit known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man, is preached unto you the forgive. ness of sins; and by him all that believe, are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses.” The Messiah, with all the de.' liverances connected with his appearing, is the sum. mary good of the covenant. This is evidently the thing intended in the prophecy of Joel. All the promises center in Christ. All deliverances are in him. The Jews knew well enough what was meant by the promise. They had but one opinion about it. They all under: stood it respecting the Messiah promised in the cove: nant with Abraham. Even the expectations of the carnal Jews, with respect to a temporal kingdom, ter. minated in him. The whole Gospel gives this yiew of the promise. :
The evidence which the passage furnishes, of the continuance of infant membership in the Gospel day, will now be easily seen. “ The promise (in the cove.. nant established with Abraham, of a Savior, and salya, tion in him) is unto you." You are the seed of Abra. ham, in whom that promise terminates': “And to your children.” They also are the seed whom the prom. ise respects. “And to all that are afar off, even as ma.