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3. Mr. M. must give up the common notion of a seal, as declaring a present compliance with, and binding both parties to act up to, what is contained in the written instrument, or else he must honestly leave the covenant of grace out of the written instrument, or he must give up his scheme as wholly inconsistent. To solve this difficulty he says, “in their primary reference they may be seals of the external covenant; and yet, consistently in their ultimate reference, may be seals of the covenant of grace." p. 36.-But if they in fact really seal both covenants, then the man who comes to the sacraments, does in fact really bind himself to fuifil both covenants. For, let him ask any lawyer on the continent, and he will be told that by sealing a" written instrument," if it contains two or ten covenants, we oblige ourselves either to fulfil all of them, or none of them. The truth is, Mr. M. had proposed this objection against his scheme, viz. "The preceding discourse represents the sealing ordinances of the Gospel, not as seals of the covenant of grace, but of the external covenant with the visible church." And he had no way to get rid of it, according to his scheme, but to run into these inconsistencies, or roundly to deny the received doctrine of the Christian church, that baptism and the Lord's supper are seals of the covenant of grace. He has denied it implicitly but he did not choose to deny it expressly; but seems to own it; and so runs himself into these inconsistencies.
But if we turn our eyes off from Mr. M.'s inconsistent scheme, to the New Testament, which was designedly adapted to the capacities of common people, we shall see not the least appearance of two covenants, of which baptism and the Lord's supper are the appointed seals; we shall find no covenant but the covenant of grace; no Gospel, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which promises pardon and eternal salvation to the penitent believer; and baptism and the Lord's supper are
I am of our Saviour's mind, Matt. xii. 33. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt. Let holy Abraham be at the head of a holy covenant; but let some graceless professor be at the head of Mr. M.'s external graceless covenant. For it was contrary to the Jewish law to yoke an ox and an ass together. And, saith the apostle Paul, What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ?
represented as seals to no other covenant but this.-For, to use Mr. M.'s phrase,
In the "written instrument" Gon promises salvation to the true believer. Mark xvi. 16. Therefore, if thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest be active in receiving the seal of the covenant, said Philip, divinely inspired. Acts viii. 37.
Again. In the "written instrument" GoD promises remission of sins to the true penitent through Jesus Christ, Luke xxiv. 47. Therefore, repent and be baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins, Acts ii. 38. (that is, comply with the covenant, and then be active in receiving the seal;) was the language of a divinely inspired apostle. And another divinely inspired minister of Christ, already knowing the man to be a true penitent, and so prepared to be active in receiving the seal of the covenant, said, arise, and be baptised, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Acts xxii. 16.-Thus we see what covenant is ratified and confirmed by this seal, on God's part.
And because the apostolic professors, in offering themselves to baptism, and in being active in receiving the seal of the covenant, did on their part thereby bind themselves to live according to all things contained in it, therefore Paul said, Gal. iii. 27. As many of you as have been baptised into Christ, have put on Christ; not put on the external covenant; but put on Christ, i. e. put on Christianity; so as to be entitled to the heavenly Canaan, granting their hearts to answer to their external conduct; for he adds, ver. 29. And if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to promise. Heirs to what? To all the blessings of the covenant; particularly to the heavenly Canaan, of which the earthly Canaan was a type, and which Paul had just said, was given to Abraham by promise, ver. 18.
And because in baptism, in the apostolic age, men professed a cordial compliance with the covenant of grace, and bound themselves in all things to be affected and act accordingly; therefore, when it was objected that Paul's doctrine of justification by faith without works, tended to make men licentious, and to encourage them to live in sin, that grace
might abound; he thought it sufficient to say, "this can never be, for we have been baptised, and so we are dead to sin and alive to Go D." "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid: how shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not that so many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ, were baptised into his death? therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life; for if we have been in baptism planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under law, but under grace." Rom. vi. 1—14. Which proves, that in baptism they professed a compliance with Christianity itself, and not with Mr. M.'s external graceless covenant, with which a man may comply, while under the dominion of sin.
And indeed, for men to come to the apostles to be baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, could consistently mean nothing less than a public practical declaration of a present compliance with what the Gospel reveals concerning the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and an engagement to act accordingly in all future time; in which the whole of Christianity consists. To believe what the Gospel reveals concerning the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to receive God for our Father, and Christ for our mediator, and the Holy Ghost for our enlightener and sanctifier; and to be affected and act accordingly, is the whole of Christianity. But to be active in offering ourselves to be baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and in the very act to refuse in our hearts, and in the sight of God, to have God for our Father, or Christ for our Saviour, or the Holy Ghost for our sanctifier, is to contradict ourselves in the sight of God. It is to lie to the Holy Ghost. It is to renounce Christianity in heart, at the very moment when we embrace it in our visible conduct. But such wicked dissimulation is not an appointed means of
As to the Lord's supper, our Saviour teacheth us, that it is the seal of the new covenant, in which remission of sins is offered through the blood of Christ. Mat. xxvi. 28. For this my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins. Which is essentially different from Mr. M.'s external covenant, by which no remission of sins can be obtained.
At the Lord's table, Christ, by the mouth of his minister, says, this is my body, take ye, eat ye all of it. This is my blood, take ye, drink ye all of it. Hereby sealing to the truth contained in the "written instrument." But it is therein written in so many words, "I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give him is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." John vi. 51. 56. Thus it is written, and thus it is sealed on Christ's part. On the other hand the communicant, by his practice, declares, "I take his flesh, and eat it. I take his blood, and drink it," and seals the covenant on his part; and thus the "written instrument" is externally and visibly sealed, ratified, and confirmed on both sides, with as much formality as any "written instrument" is mutually sealed by the parties in any covenant among men. And now if both parties are sincere in the covenant thus sealed; and if both abide by and act according to it, the communicant will be saved. For salvation is promised in the "written instrument" to those who eat his flesh and drink his blood. John vi. 51. This promise is sealed by Christ at the Lord's table. The condition of it is externally complied with, in the sacramental actions, by the communicant, who visibly eats his flesh and drinks his blood. And if the exercises of his heart answer to his external actions, the covenant is on his part complied with, sealed, ratified, and confirmed. And if the Gospel is true, he will be saved.
But if the communicant's heart does not answer to his external sacramental actions; but on the contrary, if when he visibly and sacramentally eats his flesh and drinks his blood, even at that very time, in his heart and in the sight of God,
he rejects his flesh and his blood, his atonement, and all. the blessings purchased by his death, his visible actions are a lie : and lying is not a converting ordinance.
An impenitent sinner under legal terrors may forsake bad company, lay aside the practice of uncleanness, of drunkenness, of backbiting, of lying and cheating, &c. he may make restitution to those whom he has injured in name and estate : he may spend much time in hearing and reading the word of God, in meditating on death and judgment, heaven and hell, in comparing his thoughts, words, and actions, with the law of God, and with the gospel of Christ: and he may spend much time in secret prayer, and in trying to get his heart deeply affected with eternal things, &c. &c. without lying. And thus reforming his life, and attending these means, may be useful to promote a conviction of his sinful, guilty, helpless, ruined state: But lying tends to sear his conscience and hearden his heart in sin. To make a profession of a compliance with the covenant of grace with his mouth, when he knows he does not comply with it in his heart; and to renew this covenant at the table of the Lord in visible actions, while he continues to reject it in his heart, and knows this to be the case with him, is wilful lying, and tends directly to the eternal ruin of the sinner's immortal soul.
OBJECT. By my sacramental actions I mean to acknowledge, that the gospel is true; but not to profess a compliance with it. p. 41.
ANSW. Should your neighbour treat you thus, in any covenant depending between you; should he say, "I own the things contained in it are true, but I do not mean to bind myself to fulfil the covenant, by signing and sealing it before evidence;" you, and all the world, would look upon him as a dishonest quibbler.
OBJ. But I mean to have the truth of the Gospel deeply impressed upon my heart by the ordinance." p. 41.
ANSW. This end might be as well obtained, if you tarried as a spectator. Those who stand by as witnesses, when a bond is signed and sealed, may know what is done, as well as those who are parties, and who bind themselves. Men that mean not to bind themselves should not sign and seal the