Page images

is unto you, and to your children,'' was confined to them, it is added, " and to all that are afar off, eyen 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, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether in Mount Zion or in Jerusalem, or in the reinnant that the Lord shall call, Joel ii. 32. So much of the glory of the gofpel appearing to lay herein, the spirit of God in the Psalmist, when celebrating the forgiveness of sins, &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 promile 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 Je- : sus Christ says of the little children and infants that were brought to himn 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, "6 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 expressions disciple and baptising (in the 19th verse) seeming to imply a collection out of the nations of those who from hearing the


[ocr errors]

they are to be taught, not creeds, confessions, čáte: ehisms, and covenants, in which their fear towards God is taught by the precepts of men (fee Isaiah 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 confeflion of faith made by Peter; which had Christ's approbation, to observe all things whatfoever he has commanded ivice

· I add-the apostle Paul's account of the children of . believers--yea, though but one parent were a believer,

they are holy; ist of Corinthians vii. 14. We mày be helped to understand this paffage by considering Exodus xix. 5, 6. 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 untó 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 nation ; while the. Gentiles were called unclean. --Seo Acts x. 28. So the antitype of Israel after the flesh, to wit, the spiritual Israel, though they make up no nation of this world, but are gathered out from among them, and scattered abroad, yet are called, cift of Pem ter ii. 9;. $ą chosen, generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, as being fet apart from the unclean", world to Jefus Chrift (chap: 1. ver. 23) 666, through fanctification of the fpirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Christ Now: to this hólyi nation do the infants of believers belong: . It feems probable that the apostle Paul, from the 12th werfe of the


vii. chap. of his first epistle to the Corinthians above mentioned, was answering an enquiry that had risen in the minds of the believing Corinthians, from the consideration of what took place among the returned captives in Ezra's time, in tl:eir 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-66 If any bro

ther hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleaf..ed 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 Kouses ? it may be answered, thofe 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, 16 unto you, 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. 3i... 66 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 fuch is the kingdom of heaven.'!För however any may endeavour to thew 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

c . i


Paul and Silas to the jailor) verfe 32. " they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that "were in his house," 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 means 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 promise, and are to be baptifed.

As to those who oppose infant-baptifm, 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; 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 profelyted or incorporated with the Jews, as of the descendants of Abraham. But the apostle shews, that now Christ is come, there is nos 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 undirtinguished shedding forth of them (which tarrieth not


« PreviousContinue »