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is unto you, and to your children," was confined to them, it is added, “ and to all that are afar off, even as many as 'the Lord our God shall call,''-hall call to the faith of the gospel, or to the belief that Jesus is the Christ (who can only be known by their fear of him, producing obedience to him, or causing them to remember his commandments to do them.) The promise is equally to them and their children, whe ther Jews or Gentiles, whether in Mount Zion or in Jerusalem, or in the remnant that the Lord shall call, Joel ii. 32. So much of the glory of the gospel appearing to lay herein, the spirit of God in the Psalmist, when celebrating the forgiveness of fins, &c. takes care to celebrate this also. Hence the children of believers appear to belong to the visible church, the righteousness of Christ being unto them, and the promise being to them with their parents. And as the believers are encouraged to be baptised from the consideration of the promise being to them; in like manner it is an argument for the baptism of their infants, because the promise is to them likewife.
Further, if these texts be compared with what Jesus Christ says of the little children and infants that were brought to him by those who believed him able io bless them, Matthew xix. 14. Mark x. 14. Luke xviii. 16." of such is the kingdom of heaven," it will fully appear to those who believe the scriptures, that they are what Jesus Christ calls them, Doth not Matthew xxviii. 18, 19. help to illustrate this truth, when Jesus said, “ All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Go
ye therefore and DISCIPLE all nations,” (as it is said the Greek word there fignifies, and is not the same that is after used for
TEACHING them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you,” in the 20th verse) baptising them, &c.” The former
The former expressions disciple and baptising (in the 19th verse) seeming to imply a collection out of the nations of those who from hearing the
apostles aporttes testimoniy concerning Christ, appeared to believe through their word, and separated themselves to learn his will as his disciples :) These were to be baptised on their first profession of discipleship, or to profefs discipleship by being baptifed in his name; who could not appear to believe through their word, nor be admitted to baptism, if they disputed the truth of the first words of the apostles teaching, “ the promise is to you and to your children.--Believe on the Lord Jefas; and thou shalt be faved, and thy house.” And the latter expression; "teaching them to observe, &c.!!! in the 20th verfe, seems to imply their being taught to take their places under. Jesus Christ, by observing that order he has established anong his disciples in his church, there to observe every intimation of his will in Kis word,--agreeable to Hebrews vi. 1. " therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Chrift, let us go on to perfection,'!--not leaving them by departing from them, but by building upon theni, agreeable to 3d Corinthians vii: 1. " perfecting holiness in the fear of God.!'
Now I think it is plain from the passages above-mentioned, that as thofe who were discipled' from among the nations were to be baptised; fo their children are included in the promise, are to be looked upon as difciples, and to be baptised likewise.
If it be still objected, that those who were disciples, and to be bäptifed, were persons capable of being taught to observe all things whatsoever Jefus Chrift commanded the answer miay be repeated , Jesus Chrift teaches his disciples to obferve what he and his apofa tles have said concerning infants as being connected witlı believing parents in the promife,' and to treat: them accordingly; which they cannot ado, (unlefshthey ownthem as of the kingdom of heaven ao And if they are to be owned as dilciples, they are colbe baptifed ; and as fuch are to be brought up in the norture and adınonition of the Lord. And as they grow.capable,
they are to be taught, not creeds, confessions; čàteehisms, and covenants, in which their fear towards God is taught by the precepts of men (fee Ifaiah xxix. 13. Matthew XV. 7; to : 9. Mark vii. 6, 7:) but the holy fcriptures, as Timothy was, that are able to make wife to salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus. It is the fincere milk of the word that is only fit for them. These are the churches breafts of confolation : Let them suck here, and be satisfied; milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. And when with Timothy they cometo witness a good confession before many witnesses, they are to be received as members of a particular church, collected together on the confession of faith made by Peter, which had Christ's approbation, to observe all things whatfoever he has commanded:
I add-the apostle Paul's account of the children of believers--yea, though but one parent were a believer, they are holy ; ift of Corinthians vii. 14. : We mày be helped to understand this paffage by considering Exodus xix. 5, 6." if ye will obey my voice indeed, ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all
people; for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be anto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." This nation being feparated or fet apart from all'others, to obedience to the divine law, are called, an holy natiori ; while the. Gentiles were called unclean.See Acts x. 28. So the antitype of Israel after the flesh, to wit, the spiritual Israels, though they make up no nation of this world, but are gathered out from among them, and scattered abroad, yet are called, cift of Peter ii. 9:
a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, as being fet apart from the unclean world to Jefus Chrift (chap. i'. ver. 2.)!" through fanctification of the fpirit antó obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Christ="? Now to this hóly nation do the infants of believers belong. s It seems probable that the apostle Paul, from the 12th verfe of the
vii. chap. of his first epistle to the Corinthians abovementioned, was answering an enquiry that had risen in the minds of the believing Corinthians, from the confideration of what took place among the returned captives in Ezra's time, in their putting away the ftrange wives, and the children that 'were born of them, as not being permitted to be incorporated into that holy nation :--His words run thus-55 If any
brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleafed to dwell with him, let him not put her
away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, if he be pleased to dwell with her, fet her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is fanctified by the wife; and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband} else were your children unclean; but now they are holy,''--that is, belong to the holy nation of which Peter speaks.
To what is above faid, may be added, the practice of the apostles in baptising believers and their houses; Acts xvi. 15, 33. If it be enquired, who were their houses ? it may be answered, those to whom the righteousness of Christ is reckoned, which is “ to childrens children of them that fear him,”-those who are included in the promise which is,“
and to your children,'—those expressed in Acts xi. 14. « who shall tell thee words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved."-And those in Acts xvi. 31. " believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be faved; and thy House”-which must certainly include the infant children of a believer, even those of whom Christ says, “ of such is the kingdom of heaven.” For however any may endeavour to shew that there were no infants in these houses, which they cannot prove ; yet, if they could, it would by no means make the promise of none effect, which is to believers and their children; the infants being as really their children, and of their house, as those grown up. It is indeed faid (after the above-mentioned address of
Paul and Silas to the jailor) verse 32. “ they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that "were in luis houfe,"—which though it probably implies, that there were others in his house besides the jailor himself, who were beyond the state of infancy and childhood, yet this by no mcans proves, that there were not also little children in his house, and if there were, they were certainly baptifed ; for it is said in verses 33, 34.-" and was baptised, he, and all those of him--and believing in God, he rejoiced in the whole house--(as it is read from the Greek.) And I think it is evident, from this and the several other scripture passages alluded to in this matter, that infants, or little children are not only certainly included, but principally intended in the promise which refpects falvation, and baptism as the outward sign or privilege of the new covenant. And therefore that wherever there are any in the house of a believer, they are to be looked upon as heirs of the proniise, and are to be baptised.
As to those who oppose infânt-baptism, it is evident, that they make the blessings of the new covenant far less extensive than thofe of the old were ; in direct contradiction to Galations iii. 26, 27, 28, 29.. For although under the old covenant the blessings thereof were confined only to the nation of Israel, and such strangers as joined themselves to the Lord with them, and only the males were to be circumcised j yet every man-child of only eight days old was included, I may rather fay, principally intented in the covenant of circumcision, as well of the stranger proselyted or incorporated with the Jews, as of the descendants of Abraham. But the apostle shews, that now Christ is come, there is no distinction made, or to be made, "among the children of God, of any age, sex, or nation whatever; and plainly intimates, that the blessings of the new covenant, in this undistinguished shedding forth of them (which tarrieth not