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the visible Church is formed; and the other affirms, that a covenant of grace, by which the covenanting saint re. ceives the blessings that flow from the covenant of re. demption, is the covenant by which the same church is formed.
The Rev. Daniel Dow, a very sententious writer, is second only to Dr. Emmons in defence of the doctrines, that “the visible church comprehends all such, as have made a public profession of their faith in Christ, and are in a visible covenant, to attend upon gospel institutions:"_" that the visible church began, as soon as there were any believers in Christ, who took it upon them to attend divine institutions:" and that circumcision was, while baptism now is, the scal of the believer's faith, or a token of the covenant of grace, and not of the covenant of redemption.
Dr. Osgood teaches, that “the new covenant was virtually proposed to our first parents when they received the first promise of a Saviour, and their family was thereby constituted the visible church and people of God. li continued in the families of such of their descendents as adhered to the knowledge and worship of the true God.” The covenant made with Abraham, he thinks, constituted a national church, and rendered all his circumcised posterity, together with those who were converted to the religion of Abraham, the peculiar, covenant people of God. At the same time, he says " that the covenant here mentioned, (Gen. xvii.) was the same covenant of grace which is made with be. lievers under the gospel, can, with no show of reason, be doubted. The promise, I will be a God to thee and to thy seed, includes blessings of every kind.-Faith was really the condition of the Abrahamic, as it is of the gospel covenant, and was as truly denoted by circumcision of old, as it is by baptism now. Thus we see that, in this early constitution of God's church, infants were by his authority, made members, included in the covenant with their parents, and received the seal of the covenant in circumcision."
Dr. Lathrop, says “by the visible church are meant all those who have been visibly dedicated to God in
Christ, and have not, by infidelity, heresy, or scandal, cut themselves off from the society of Christians.”— “ The promise to Abraham was made also to his infant seed, who were to receive the seal and token of the promise, as well as he; and as many as received it not, were said to have broken God's covenant; and these were to be cut off, or excluded from among their people." He teaches, moreover, that since Christ, proselytes to the true religion are to be received into the church with their children, in the same manner that they were before the Christian dispensation commenced, with the change of circumcision for baptism.
The performance of the Rev. Giles H. Cowles, agrees with the Dissertation of Dr. Emmons, in nearly every point but this, that circumcised and baptized infants be. long in some sense to the church, being dedicated to him as his property. He is very explicit in teaching that baptism and circumcision are different seals of the same co. venant of grace, and not of the covenant of redemption; and that whether they are applied to parents or their offspring, they are tokens of the faith of the professing parents. His words are, “Circumcision was a token of the covenant of grace between God and those who applied this token to themselves or children, as has been already shewn. It denoted that they gave their assent to this covenant, and thus was a seal or token of their faith. Accordingly the apostle calls it, “a 'seal of the righteousness of the faith which Abrahamn had being yet uncircumcised;' showing that he first believed, and then circumcised himself and household in token of his faith. So baptism now is a token of faith in Christ, and thus a seal of the covenant of grace. For Philip told the eunuch, that he might be baptized, if he believed wi'li all his heart; which plainly shews, that baptism is a token of faith, wbich is the condition of the covenant of grace."
If this is true, our Baptist brethren are not much out of the way, for they say baptism is a sign, a token, a seal of an individual's faith, and therefore none but a believer should be baptized.
From Mr. Cowles's view it follows, that none should be baptized but renewed persons or the children of renew. ed persons, because otherwise the rite of baptism would be a token of something which did not exist, to wit, faith in the parent, and so would be a seal of a lie. This has in. duced most of the New England divines of the present day, strenuously to maintain, that no children but those of at least one communicant should be baptized; and those who have admitted some parents to profess faith and have the ordinance of baptism administered, without coming to the Lord's table, have been stiginatized as the supporters of “the half-way covenant.” Dr. Cyprian Strong, of Chatham in Connecticut, has published a dis. course or two on this subject; and before him the Rev. Solomon Stoddard of Northampton, and the Rev. Jonathan Edwards, maintained a spirited and learned contro. versy about it. Dr. Hemmenway and Dr. Emmons have respectively taken up the cause of these great com. batants, so that it is less to be regretted, than it other. wise would be, that their writings cannot easily be obtained.
Dr. Osgood's discourses, and the Rev. Wm. F. Miller's dissertations, are principally devoted to the proof of the propriety of baptism by sprinkling, or affusion. We think them unanswerable, but while Dr. Osgood treats his opponents with all due respect, we must say that Mr. Miller forgets that all Baptists are not like the few ignorant persons of that persuasion in the state of Con. necticut, and that it was descending from the common dignity of a minister of God, to fill his pages with such expressions as “John the Dipper," "dipping him like a duck;” “diving like a fish,” and duck-dipping baptists.”
The “Enquiry” of the Rev. N. Williams, and the “ Four Sermons” of the Rev. J. Chadwick, are more estimable than any of these writings, if we except Dr. Mason's Essays on the Church of God. Indeed these three authors, and Dr. Janeway, very nearly harmonize. The four intend the covenant of redemption, when they write about the covenant of grace. Mr. Chadwick expresses the sentiments of each of them, when he says,
“It appears perfectly consistent to consider baptized children as being under covenant obligations to be the Lord's, al
though they may have never entered into personal engagements of this kind. For God has a right to receive into covenant whom he pleases. And it hath pleased him to establish his gracious covenant with believers and their seed. Consequently, an obligation is laid on both to keep this covenant.
“The notion, that God cannot bring men under the bond of his covenant, without their personal consent, does not appear to be founded on scripture. It is admitted, that a covenant among men often implies two or more contracting parties, so that its obligation becomes mutual, only by mutual consent. But from this, we cannot rightly determine the nature of a covenant existing between God and men. For there is an infinite disparity between the parties therein concerned. It is within the province of Jehovah, to bring men into a covenant relation to him, with, or without, their personal consent. Do not the whole human race stand in a covenant relation to him, in respect of his engagement not to drown the earth any more by a flood of waters? It will not be denied that a covenant of this nature actually exists. Yet the consent of men to this covenant has never been required. The scriptural idea of covenant, is often illustrated by the terms promise and testament. These several terms are used as synonymous. Both a conditional and an unconditional promise on the part of God, is called a covenant.
“ The covenant with Abraham was of the nature of an unconditional promise. God said, “I have made thee a father of many nations; and I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee. There was, indeed, a condition required to be performed, in order to inherit the blessings of that covenant. But the performance of this condition was secured by the divine promise. Thus it is written, ‘I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.'
“ Some may think this absolute promise pertains to the covenant of redemption; and that the covenant of grace is always conditional But, it is not seen, that there is any just ground for making a distinction between the covenant of redemption and the covenant of grace. They are both one and the same covenant. The conditional promises of this covenant respect its external administration, and the absolute promises of it respect its internal administration. Where the covenant is brought into view in the form of a proposition of mercy, it always has a condition. But where its internal and effectual adininistration is spoken of, its promise is absolute. God engages to give the elect seed an heart to know him.' He promises that every qualification necessary to inherit the blessing shall be possessed.”
The covenant of works was made between Jehovah and the first Adam. Jehovah was the Covenanter and Adam the covenantee. The promise of the covenanter was to bestow eternal life not only upon Adam but upon all his posterity. The condition of the covenant was perfect obedience during the time of probation. Adam consented to the covenant, and undertook to perform the condition; but he failed, and so was for ever broken the covenant of works, which is often called the old testament.
The new covenant was made between Jehovah and the Mediator. Jehovah was the covenanter, and the Son, anointed a covenant head from everlasting, acting as the Representative of the people given to him to be redeem. ed, was the covenantee. The promise was, to give eternal life to him as Mediator, and to all whom he represented. The condition was, that the Mediator should obey and suffer during the time of probation appointed him, so as to bear the punishment of the sins of his people, and work out for them a justifying righteousness. The Anointed in the counsels of eternity consented to the covenant, and in the fulness of time performed the condition, so that the new covenant is well ordered in all things and sure. Eternal life shall certainly be enjoyed by the God.man, as the head of his people, with all whom he has redeemed. This covenant is called indiscriminate. ly, by the greater part of divines, the covenant of grace, the covenant of redemption, and the new covenant.
Now it will be admitted by all, that the covenant made with Abraham was a gracious covenant, but we can never admit that it was the covenant of grace. Dr. Janeway does not affirm that it was; but he rather inadvertently says,
“ That it is in SUBSTANCE the same as the covenant of grace.” p. 109. Mr. Chadwick says, "the covenant of grace was established with the patriarch Abraham, the promise of which respected not only himself, but his natural seed. If it can be made to appear, that the Abrahamic covenant,—the very covenant which was ratified by circumcision, was the covenant of grace, and that the promise of this covenant, not only then respected both the believer and his natural seed as such; but also,