Page images
PDF
EPUB

they have either knowledge of, or faith church, and if they are both one and in him-or of becoming his sheep by the same church, then we have two having a few drops of water sprinkled heads to one body! This is another in the face-or of being the favored of those mysterious problems, growfew, created purposely that they ing out of this strained effort at might be saved, while all others are proving what is not taught nor increated that they might be condemned, timated in the bible. whether willing or not-is not to be To avoid this absurdity, and still found in the bible. God our Saviour to make the two covenants as near willeth that all men should be saved, identical as possible, it is modified and come to a knowledge of the truth, somewhat, by the position, that the 1 Tim. ii. 4. Hence his gospel, which new is a branch of the old ! But contains his power to save, has been here another difficulty presents itself: sent to every creature under heaven. -Who on earth ever saw the branch In some parts of the world, however, of a tree twice as large as the trunk? where the gospel once flourished, they for it is evident the branch includes have ceased to bear fruit, and, like Jews and Gentiles, whilst the trunk the Jews, have for ages been cut off embraced but the Jews! But if, to from God for their disobedience and avoid this difficulty, the position is unbelief. “If God spared not the reversed—and it be contended that natural branches, perhaps neither will the old is a branch of the new, it he spare thee,” Rom. xi. 21.7-J.W. presents a still more strange and

anomalous idea, of the branch of a INFANT BAPTISM. | tree springing up first, and the trunk IDENTITY OF THE COVENANTS.

then growing upon it !!*

| But the Jewish church is no more It is thought by some, that the identified with the Christian, than is two covenants must be identical, be- the religion, which the apostle makes cause they are both called by the out an entirely different matter. [See same names—we read of the church Acts xxvi. 5, Gal. i. 13, 14.] in the days of Moses, as well as the The Jewish church had been in church in the days of the apostles, &c. existence upwards of fifteen hundred But does it follow because two things years, when the Saviour says relative are called by the same name, that to Peter's confession, that he was the they are therefore identical ? Let us Christ – “Upon this rock I will build see, Joshua was called a saviour-so my church, and the gates of hell shall was Christ; therefore, according to not prevail against it.” Math. xvi. this logic, they are identical, and 18.] Observe that the church of Christ is none other than Joshua-a Christ was not yet built, for he says mere man 1-But even worse:- “ I will buildit, still in the future. Baalam was called a Prophet-So This not only proves the church of was Christ-hence Christ was none Christ to be separate and distinct other than that wicked character who loved the wages of unrighteousness,

* Some persons contend that the covenant

of circumcision must still be in existence, and for the sake of money would have because it is called the “ everlasting covecursed the children of God!!

nant !Strange to tell! Then by the same This rule, we see, will not answer | logic tl

| logic the priesthood of Christ is but a con

tinuation of the Aaronic priesthood, for it the purpose. It is true, the Jewish

was called an “everlasting priesthood." organization was called a church, but (Ex. xl. 15.] I would ask if God did not not the church of Christ. It was the say to Abraham, at the very time he made church of Abraham, if you please, as

the covenant of circumcision, that he would he was the head of that covenant

give to him and his seed the land of Canaan

for an “everlasting possession ?” [See Gen. but Christ is the head of the christian ' xvii. 8.) And do they now possess it ?

from that of Jews, but it also proves concious babe, must be barred out of incontrovertably that infants cannot the church, and for ought I know, be members of it! The church was out of heaven, because its father was to be built upon the confession which an unbeliever!! Shame to such Peter made that Jesus was the theology! Well, and how merciful Christ, and hence those who did not are they to those infants, who are so nor could not make that confession, unspeakably fortunate as to gain adcould not be built into that church ! mittance into the church? Why, Paul, in his first letter to the Corin- they are so very kind to the dear thians, cautions them against putting little church-members, that they will into this building wrong materials— take them to the house of God, and and would not the admonition given when there, will debar them from the in that case, come home to pedo- communion table, as well as all other baptists with full force " Let every immunities and priviliges of the man take heed how he buildeth there-church :-and if they should happen on.(1 Cor. iii. 10.] He gives them to unite in conducting the music, to understand they are not to put according to the best of their abilities, into this magnificent edifice either they would be compelled to leave the wood, hay, or stubble ; by which he house till service was ended! Such undoubtedly means all persons, whe- is the mercy of pedo-baptists—a mere ther young or old, who would be of form without substance an empty no actual service to the building. puff—a sounding brass and tinkling But those, and those only, who pos- cymbal ! sess the proper moral stamina, repre- But the true mercy of a Christian sented by the gold, silver, and precious towards infants, is not to make them stones, are suitable materials for this out vile and depraved little sinners spiritual temple, in order that it may exposed to the wrath of God; but it be always able to stand amidst the is that inculcated in the doctrine of fiery persecutions to which it is liable our Saviour, “ of such is the Kingdom to be exposed.

of Heaven," without baptism, churchWe are sometimes accused of being membership, the communion, or any cruel and unmerciful to infants, by other means of grace! The Saviour not admitting them into the church. taught that a man, when converted, According to this objection, it appears and consequently fit for heaven, was that all infants who are not admitted then only on equal footing with the into the church, must meet with some unconscious and offenceless infant. dreadful calamity — perhaps be for Thus we see, positively, that baptism ever lost! Well, then, pedo-baptists can do them no good, as they are fit for are compelled to admit, from their heaven without it. Why then bapown objection, that they are a most tise them ? Because, says that pious cruel and unmerciful set of folks, for father, I am commanded to bring up they exclude all infants from the my children in the nurture and adchurch, except such as happen fortu- monition of the Lord. Well, what nately to be born of believing parents! instruction--what admonition is there Thus, notwithstanding Ezekiel has in putting a few drops of water on a plainly informed us that the child child's face, when it knows as little shall not bear the iniquity of his about the design of it, as the preacher father, and that the proverb concern- who sprinkles it? Cannot parents ing sour grapes should no longer be teach their children as much about used, yet this people, according to God-about religion, piety, and their own doctrine, are using the morality, without that gratuitous and same old condemned proverb, and unmeaning performance, as with it? teaching that the innocent and un-Surely they can! But this unscrip

tural, unauthorised practice, is not world, for in one generation the whole only useless, but is absolutely injuri- race of Adam are members of the ous to children who are trained up church! Who, then, could preach in that belief. They are taught to as did the apostles—“ Repent and be believe themselves baptized when they baptized ?No man, for they have are not, and are thus debarred from all been baptized before they were the blissful privilege of voluntarily able to repent? Who, then, permit submitting to the Saviour in obedi- me to ask, dare hold forth a doctrine, ence to this personal command. The which in its legitimate tendency and language of hundreds has been, would result, must not only set aside the that I now had the privilige of fol- preaching of the Apostles, and dislowing my Saviour into the water, annul one-half of the Saviour's comand of obeying his most significant mission, but which also throws open command for myself; but I cannot the doors of the church as wide as my father had it obeyed for me, humanity, annihilates the world, and before I was able to understand or converts the spiritual house of God, appreciate the privilege.*

into one vast tabernacle of flesh and But the evil does not stop here. blood ? Suppose this doctrine and practice to But we have positive proofs there prevail, until it becomes universal, were no infants in the church in the and it at once breaks down all dis- | days of the Apostles. If this can be tinction between the church and the made to appear, then the most strenu

ous pedo-baptist must give up the • In order to provide a salvo for this diffi- | notion of infant church-membership. culty, some say, “How often have we seen the tear of love and gratitude flow down the

Let us examine it. Peter, in writing cheek of parents at the baptismal altar. And to the church, testifies as follows: who would deprive them of such a privilege?” “Ye also as lively stones, are built We might also ask, How often have we seen up a spiritual house.(1 Pet. ü. 5.). the rear of love and gratitude flow down the cheek of that Catholic lady, while the priest

| According to this it appears that the is pardoning her sins, or praying her infant,

| church was spiritual, not fleshly, and perhaps, that has died without baptism, out that all the members were spoken of of purgatory ? And who would deprive her as a lively stones» not dead or inan.

uld deprive her as “lively stones,” not dead or inacof that privilege? Would the infant sprinkling? No. ño; they would let her enjoy tive, which would have been the case her superstition without being molested! with perhaps a majority of them, had Not so, however, with the enlightened infants been included! Could infants Christian philanthropist. He labors to re-l be called “ lively stones” in the builddeem such persons from their ignorance and stupidity, and bring them into more elevated, ing of the Lord? Again: “But sublime,and pure enjoyments of unadulterated speaking the truth in love, may grow Christianity. The man who looks upon his up into him in all things, who is the children as fit for the society of angels, with

head even Christ; from whom the out baptism, has more cause to shed tears of the purest love and gratitude, than he who | whole body fitly joined together and looks upon them as the vile offspring of cor compacted by that which every joint ruption and depravity, which makes it supplieth, according to the effectual pecessary for them to be baptized, in order

working in the measure of every part, to bring them to the covenanted favor and mercy of God! Pedo-baptists are very maketh increase of the body unto the kind, in giving parents the privilege” of edifying of itself in love." (Eph. iv. offering their infants a sacrifice upon the 15, 16.) It appears to me, that the altar of baptism, but there is no unkindness in depriving infants of the transcendantly

Apostle penned this portion of scripblissful “privilegeof submitting to this ture for the express purpose of refutordinance for themselves! I would say, ing the doctrine of infant church 8 thus of o

membership; and it is most singular sacrifice upon the altar of baptism), in the language of Samuel to Saul-“ Behold to obey is better than sacrifice.(1Sam. xv. 22.) / into the controversy, with Pedo-Bap

[ocr errors]

tists. He here clearly informs us And being brought on their way by the that the object and business of the churcb, they passed through Phenice and church is to edify itself, and convert

Samaria, declaring the conversion of the

| Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto sinners, by which the body shall be | all the brethren. And when they were come “increased ;” and in order to effect to Jerusalem, they were received of the these grand objects, he gives us to

church, and of the Apostles and Elders, and

they declared all things that God had done understand, that “every jointmust

with them. But there rose up certain of the supply some assistance, and that there sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, must be a united effort of the “ whole that it was needful to circumcise them, and bndy ;” and to cap the climax, and

to cummand them to keep the law of Moses.

And the Apostles and Eiders came together show positively that infants could not

to consider this matter." be included, he tells us that there must be an effectual working in the | It is admitted that this portion of measure of every part.Who is scripture has been as much misquoted, there, permit me to ask, after this misapplied, and abused, as any other testimony, who can muster enough passage in the sacred writings. Councredulity, to believe that the uncon- cils oecumenical, Synods, Conferences, scious babes composed a part of the Associations, and Conventions of all church in Paul's day? But this is sorts ecclesiastic, have leaned upon it only a fraction of the testimony which for warrant and protection. That it we have to adduce upon this point. has been tortured, times and ways It shall be presented in our next. without number, to countenance and

A. HALL. support proceedings hostile to the

genius of Christianity, and subversive DIFFICULTIES IN CHURCHES.

of its designs, is freely and cordially RIGIIT OF APPEAL.

admitted. Still it is a portion of

canonical scripture, and designed to THE right of prayer is not more develope the Christian institution natural, nor necessary, nor expedient,

both in its matter and form, and is than the right of appeal. There is

not to be dispensed with as unnecessary no government, or state, or family, to the perfection of Christian records. that can subsist without it. It was

It has a true and fixed meaning, and a part of every religious institution

| is as necessary to the exigencies of before the Christian ; and if it be no

Christianity as is the second chapter part of it, it is a perfect anomaly in of the Acts to the development of all social institutions.

what the apostolic gospel and mode The first great difficulty in the

of preaching it were. My object is, Christian church was settled in this

therefore, to ascertain not only its way, and that, too, while the apostles

literal meaning, but its abiding utility yet lived. And as this single point,

and proper application. well established, settles the whole

The case is as follows:-Certain question in discussion, we shall nown

| believing Pharisees of Judea had take it up and analyze it. The case

gone down to Antioch in Syria, the is found faithfully reported by Luke,

first Gentile church in the world, and Acts xv. We shall copy from the

had endeavored to corrupt the simcommon text the first six verses :

plicity of the gospel by introducing « And certain men which came down from

certain dogmata of their own. These Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses,

attempts having been resisted, a disye cannot be saved. When therefore Pauí cussion and controversy arose. Meanand Barnabas had no small dissension and time, Paul and Barnabas returned disputation with them, they determined that from their tour: and finding these Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of 3 them, should go up to Jerusalem, unto the air

difficulties in the church, undertook Apostles and Elders about this question. 'their correction, but failed in giving

|full satisfaction to the whole commu- in their apostolic or presidential

nity. Whereupon the church, no character ? Why associate Elders doubt by and with the consent of the with them ? Had they not power Apostles Paul and Barnabas, agreed to judge infallibly without Elders ? to refer the matter to some other | And why is the whole church repretribunal. They chose Jerusalem, sented as concurring in the decision ? probably for two reasons. First, Is it as a sanction of the proceeding, because the Judaizers pretended to or simply an intimation of acquieshave authority from that place; and cence in it ? &c. secondly, because that church had a Nothing can be plainer than that very intelligent presbytery, and the “ the Apostles and Elders came togeApostles might be expected to take ther to consider this matter.They part in the adjustment of the matter. I asked no helps. They certainly were They appealed then to the officers of competent to the task themselves. that community.

The church could add no authority The reference or appeal being to the Apostles and Elders ; but as agreed upon, the church at Antioch the question of communing with unelected a deputation, determining to circumcised Gentiles affected their send other delegates besides Paul and feelings as Jews, they demonstrated Barnabas. They went to Jerusalem, their submission to the Apostles and and were cordially received by the Elders by concurring in the decision whole estate of the Elders, Apostles, and in the mission of certain persons and church. A meeting was ap- to Antioch. pointed, " and the Apostles and But the cardinal question yet reElders came together for to consider mains to be answered, viz.-In what this matter.” The Apostles and character and capacity did the AposElders were the judges. We are tles participate in this meeting—as not told that the Apostles, Elders, Apostles, or simply as judges ? Not and the whole church came together as Apostles ; for in that character to consider and decide this matter. they could receive no help from the But we are told that “the Apostles Elders or brethren. Besides, as and Elders came together to consider | Apostles, they were under a plenary the matter.” The discussion was inspiration, and needed no reasoning, continued for some time, probably no debating on the subject. They by and between the Elders and those gave judgment just as the Elders did Judaizers. Finally, after there had —without any special revelation or been much disputing, Peter rose supernatural light upon the subject then Paul—then Barnabas —then -as Paul did on another occasion, James. These four of the Apostles 1 Cor. vii. 25–40. only are named as speakers. But be These able ministers of the New it observed that Paul and Barnabas Testament were sometimes left withbeing delegates, did not judge in the out any special revelation, that their case. Their speeches were not argu-l private and personal advice and exmentative ; they only narrated simply ample might be useful to the whole what God had wrought by their church. Their decision in Acts xv. means among the Gentiles. Peter was, it is said, acceptable to the Holy and James argued the case. The Spirit-i.e. concurred with the scriplatter, indeed, offered his judgment tures quoted and explained ; as in a or sentence to the whole tribunal, case referred to Paul by the Corinwhich was unanimously adopted. thians, to whom, when he responded,

A number of questions here crowd he said, “I think [in the judgment upon us, as—Who decided this ques- given] I have the Spirit of God," tion? Was it decided by Apostles! In one word, then, the Apostles

« PreviousContinue »