תמונות בעמוד

though he believes the doctrine of an universal, indefinite atonement, yet he is no Hopkinsian, nor have we ever considered the denial of a definite atonement, as a peculiarity of the Hopkinsian scheme. Dr. S. observes,

“ No doubt the Jews wilfully closed their eyes;' and so do all others, who perish in their sins. The question is, Whether all others would not do the same, if left to themselves, without the special grace of God; and whether God might not justly so leave them. God is not, and cannot be, the Author of sin: and if any speak of God, in language implying this, he is a blasphemer. I feel not the least repugnancy at associating, in other respects, with many decided, yet meek and humble Arminians, (as to the doctrine of divine decrees,) but a man called a Calvinist, and maintaining that God is, in any sense, the Author of sin, I regard as Judas, and would have no communion with him. I say, meek and humble Arminians: for such as are eager and fierce, often run into as direct blasphemy, in another way.” Vol. I. p. 410.

While we thus speak, we are persuaded, that some truly renewed men, in this country, believe this damnable doctrine, that God is the Author of sin; but in such a manner as to impute, in their esteem, no pollution to him.

Time will not permit us to pursue our authors through the long line of Fathers; and we leave them, with the wish, that their writings were better adapted to public utility.

ARTICLE IV. Letters explaining the Abrahamic Covenant,

with a view to establish, on this broad and ancient basis, the divine right of Infant Baptism; and the question relative to the mode of administering this Christian Ordinance: addressed to the members of the Second Presbyterian Church, in Philadelphia. By Jacob J. Janeway, D. D. Philadelphia, 1812. pp. 302. 12mo.

The first letter in this volume contains some excellent observations on the importance of positive institutions of worship; the error of some in exalting them too highly, the crime of others in making light of them, and

the author's general plan of discussing two questions, re• lative to the subjects and mode of Christian baptism.

In the subsequent sixteen letters he proves, to our en. tire satisfaction, that 430 years before the law was given from Sinai, and when Abraham was 99 years of age, Jehovah entered into covenant with that patriarch; that the covenant included the promise of both external and spiritual blessings; that the covenant constituted the one, only, visible Church in the world; that by it Abraham was made the covenant father of his seed, and transmits to them the benefits of the covenant; that the covenant is perpetual; that it embraced Abraham and his natural posterity through Isaac and Jacob, to the exclusion of Ish. maci and Esau, together with all proselytes, his spiritual seed, who are visibly turned from the idolatry of the nations to the faith of Abraham, together with their posterity; that circumcision was the external seal of this covenant; that neither the Sinai covenant and law, nor the introduction of the Christian dispensation, annulled the covenant made with Abraham; "that the law could not give life and righteousness, which were the proper fruits of the promise or covenant;" that Abraham was constituted the father of all subsequent believers, as well as of a visible seed, the former of which were, in general, to be raised up

from the latter; that all who are included in the visible family of Abraham are entitled to the initiatory seal of that covenant, by which it is chartered; that Gen. tile believers and their offspring belong to this family; that Christian baptism has been instituted in place of circumcision; that the children of professed believers ought to be baptized; that immersion is not exclusively ordered in the administration of the rite; and that the Abrahamic covenant, whether sealed as formerly, by circumcision, or as now, by baptism, exhibits powerful encouragement, and imposes upon all who are under it, most solemn obligations, to sincere, universal obedience.

In establishing these points, he frequently presents some truths of greater and some of minor importance, in a clear light. His style is easy, and his language, in nearly every instance, correct. The letters are so well worthy of being read, and preserved, by all who honour us with their support, that we shall extract very little from them. It is true, they cannot claim much credit for originality of thought, because the subjects of which they treat, have been learnedly and laboriously discussed, again and again, before Dr. Janeway was born; but it is justice to declare, that he has made a wise selection; and a happy arrangement of the most important arguments of the pædobaptists, in his own perspicuous sentences. More than this could not have been expected of him.

The consideration of one important question relative to the baptism of infants, the Doctor has omitted; probably, because it is a subject of controversy between the pædobaptists themselves, and not between them and the denomination of Baptists. It is this; What kind of profession in parents is requisite to entitle their children to baptism? Some maintain that a parent, who would pass from the world into the visible church, and so be intitled to baptism for himself and children, must make a credi. ble profession, that he actually possesses saving faith, through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit: while others think, that a profession of faith of a different description, would have admitted a gentile, and his family with him, into the Church under the Jewish dispensation; and ought to do it, under the Christian. We shall not here attempt to decide which opinion is scriptural; but had Dr. Janeway done it, it would have greatly enhanced the value of his performance.

The subject has been much agitated by American divines; and it will be of service to those who would examine the matter for themselves, to have a list of the most important publications relative to it, that are now in circulation. They are,-1. A Discourse concerning the Church, by Moses Hemmenway, D. D. of Welles: printed at Boston, 1792, containing pp. 123. 8vo.—2. An Enquiry concerning the Design and Importance of Christian Baptism and Discipline; by Nathan Williams, A. M. of Toland: printed at Boston, 1792, pp. 70. 8vo.--3. A Dissertation on the Scriptural Qualifications for Admission and Access to the Christian Sacraments; comprising some strictures on Dr. Hemmenway's Discourse on the Church; by Nathanael Emmons, A. M. of Franklin: printed at

Worcester, 1793. pp. 133. 8vo.-4. Remarks on the Rev. Mr. Emmons's Dissertation, &c. by Moses Hemmenway, D. D. Boston, 1794. pp. 86. 8v0.--5. The Church of God described; the Qualifications for membership stated; and Christian Fellowship illustrated, in two discourses, by Joseph Lathrop, D. D. of West- Springfield: 1804. pp. 50. 12mo.-6. The Validity of Baptism by Sprinkling, and the right of Infants to that Ordinance, supported and defended in two discourses, by David Osgood, D. D. of Medford: 1804. pp. 83. 12mo.7. An Attempt to explain God's Gracious Covenant with believers, &c. by John Hubbard Church, of Pelham: 1805. pp. 91. 12mo.-8. The Hebrew or Jewish, and Christian Church the same; illustrated and applied, in proof of the duty of InfantBaptism, by Giles H. Cowles, A. M. of Bristol, (Con.) 1802. pp. 100. 8vo.-9. Dissertations on the subjects and and mode of Gospel Baptism, by William F. Miller, A. M. of Windsor: 1806. pp. 120, 8vo.-10. Essays on the Church of God, contained in the Christian's Magazine, by John M. Mason, D. D. 1806.-11. The Pædobaptist Catechism, &c. by Daniel Dow, of Thompson: 1807. pp. 38. 8vo.-12. À Dissertation, on the Sinaitic and Abrahamic Covenants; shewing the former to be only temporary; the latter everlasting; by Daniel Dow, of Thompson: 1311. pp. 75. 8vo.-13. Four Sermons on the Mode and Subjects of Christian Baptism; by Jabez Chaawick, of Onondaga: 1811. pp. 93. 8vo.–14. Report of the Committee of the General Assembly, appointed to draught a plan for disciplining baptized Children: written by the Rev. John B. Romeyn, D. D. 1812. pp. 56. 8vo. and signed by himself, together with James Richards, D. D. and Samuel Miller, D. D. who constituted the Committee.

A summary of the most important truths contained in all these publications may be found in Dr. Janeway's Letters; with the exception of those which relate to the nature of the profession of faith, which ought to be required of parents, who present their offspring in baptism.

These writers all agree, that God has established but one visible Church in the world; and that this Church was not founded on the law given at Sinai, nor on the covenant solemnly made at that mountain between the people of Israel and Jehovah. They are not all agreed, however, in a definition of the visible Church in the world; nor in the use of the word covenant, and conse. quently they differ about the time and mode of institut. ing the Church, and about its constituent members. About the invisible Church, consisting of all that ever have been or shall be regenerated, there is no dispute. Let us then learn their opinions about the one visible Church in the world, and its organization.

Dr. Emmons uses the word covenant in the strict sense, for “a mutual contract, stipulation, or agreement, between two or more parties, by which they bind them. selves to each other, upon certain conditions." He ad. mits of no covenant without the mutual consent of all concerned in the covenant.“ A covenant,” he says, “ between God and man, is of the same general nature, as a covenant between man and man. God can no more enter into covenant with men, without their personal consent, than they can enter into covenant with each other, without their personal consent.” He formally denies and attempts to disprove three positions laid down by Dr. Lathrop,"1. That God has a right to lay mankind under covenant obligations, by his own sovereign act: 2. That he has a right to bring mankind into covenant, without their consent: and 3. That he brought some of the children of Israel into covenant, in this sovereign way." In The Covenant of Redemption, the same writer says, “the three sacred persons in the ever blessed Trinity, mutually agreed, that each of them should bear a distinct part in carrying into execution their wise and gracious purposes respecting man.” The covenant of Grace he teaches is something distinct from this; for “the covenant of grace subsists between God and believers; but the covenant of redemption subsists between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The covenant of grace was made in time; but the covenant of redemption was made from eternity. Man has a part to perform in the covenant of grace; but man has no part to perform in the covenant of redemption.” “The Gospel promises eternal life to all

« הקודםהמשך »