Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

a vineyard. “My beloved had a spring of Abraham to its “natural vineyard in a very fruitful hill, and branches :" and, by a very common he fenced it, and gathered out the figure of speech, the Jewish nation stones thereof, and planted it with as constituting the church of God the choicest vine, and built a tower at that time, are compared by Jerein the midst of it, and also made a miah to

a green

olive tree, fair and wine press therein. And he looked of goodly fruit.” He tells us that the that it should bring forth grapes;

natural branches were broken off and it brought forth wild grapes. “because of unbelief,” or for not And now, ( inhabitants of Jerusa receiving Christ as the Messiah, lem, and men of Judah, judge I with the exception of a remnant pray you, betwixt me and my vine that received him as such, and thus yard. What more could be done to still adhered to the good olive tree, my vineyard that I have not done? and constituted the church. He For the vineyard of the Lord of tells us also, that some of the Genhosts is the house of Israel, and the

tile nations, whom he fitly compares men of Judah is his pleasant plant.” to a wild olive tree, were “cut out Our blessed Lord appears to have of this wild olive tree," by believhad a view to this allegory of the || ing in Christ, and by faith ingrafted church in his parable of the vine into the good olive tree, in the place yard, in the 13th chap. of Luke; and of the broken off branches, and the apostle Paul to both in the 6th “partake of its root and fatness." chapter to the Romans: where, And it is worthy of particular atspeaking of baptism, he styles it a tention, that the apostle, in the 23d being planted in the likeness of and 24th verses, alluding to the resChrist's death; a proof by the way,

toration of the Jews, does not say that he considered circumcision with Mr. C. that they will be inand baptism as appointed for the grafted into what he calls the Chrissame purposes.

tian church, commencing at the day It is necessary also here to ob of Pentecost, but into their own serve, that the church, under the olive tree, or that church founded patriarchal and Abrahamic dispen on the covenant of circumcision, sations, was not different from that and out of which they were cast by under the dispensation by Christ, their unbelief. “And they also, if but one and the same; differing in they abide not still in unbelief, shall deed in external rites, but the same be grafted in, for God is able to in substance and in essence. When graft them in again. For if thou the Abrahamic dispensation began, wert cut out of the olive tree which though new ordinances were added is wild by nature, and wert grafted to it, it was yet ingrafted into the in contrary to nature into the good patriarchal dispensation, constitu olive tree, how much more these ted a church by sacrifice, typical of which be the natural branches shall the death of Christ. That the Chris be grafted into their own OLIVE tian dispensation is ingrafted into TREEP”-grafted in with their offthe Abrahamic, is affirmed and ar spring as formerly, as the bud is gued by Paul in his epistles to the grafted on with the branch. Christian churches. In the eleventh Let this be recollected; and what chapter of his epistle to the Ro now is Mr. C.'s interpretation of mans, he fitly compares the cove this beautiful and appropriate allenant of circumcision on which the gory? " The good olive tree was Jewish church was founded to “ the Jewish nation,"_but not as a good olive tree”—Abraham, with church of God, for this he denieswhom it was first made, to “its “ the root and fatness of the good root,” its provisions to “its fat olive tree was Jesus Christ; and in ness”-and the circumcised off a still more enlarged and exalted

a

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

sense, the Christian church is the human victims, sacrificed to their
good olive tree: the natural branch idol gods? The same principle that
es denote the Jews.”

p.
29.

induced liim to deny that there was Let us now test this interpreta a church of God in the Jewish nation by what the apostle tells us tion, together with that unrelenting about this good olive tree and its hatred to infant baptism which he natural branches. The natural manifests in almost every page of branches, says he, were broken off his book. For he clearly saw, that from the good olive tree; that is, the admittance of a church in that according to Mr. C.'s interpreta nation, and that the Christian tion, the Jews were broken oft from church was ingrafted into it, overthe Jews or the Jewish nation. If turned his whole system, and furwe will try it by the hypothesis that nished Pædobaptists with an unanthe Christian church was the good swerable argument for infant bapolive tree, it will be this:

-The tism, as I hope to make appear in Jews, the natural branches of the its proper place. Surely there is Christian church were broken off not a thinking person whose mind from the Christian church: but, ac is not perverted by a system, but cording to Mr. C.'s system, the will say, there must be something Christian church did not commence rotten-rotten to the very core, in until the day of Pentecost, and the that system, to support which, comJews were broken off before this pels a man to pour contempt on that time by their not receiving Jesus as church of God, and his ordinances, the Messiah, and crucifying him as " which he hath purchased with his an impostor. I need scarcely say

own blood." that the absurdity of this interpre

But so intent is Mr. C. on detation is so palpable, as to be al grading Jews and Judaism, that he most capable of being felt, and is insists that it is impossible that as opposed to itself, as the arctic is they could be a church of God, beopposed to the antarctic pole. But cause the apostle says in the 32d this is not all. He tells us in the verse of this chapter, " that God foregoing page, “that Judaism and hath concluded them all in unbelief Gentilism were both distinct from, that he might have mercy on all,” and essentially opposite to Chris and he warmly recommends this tianity.” What now shall I say verse to the consideration of all to this ? I feel an unwillingness to Pædobaptists. I have considered call it blasphemy, or a speaking in it, and to understand it as Mr. C. juriously of God; and yet I know does, would be to set the apostle in not a milder term whereby it can opposition to himself. For although be designated. Judaism is an uni he

says

that the Jewish nation were versal term comprehending all the rejected by God from being his doctrines, commandments, and or church, because of their rejecting dinances delivered by God to Mo his Son, yet there was “a remnant ses; and you are now doubtless according to the election of grace:” ready to ask, what could induce

that although “blindness happened him to bring down the doctrines to Israel,” it was “but in part:” and precepts of Judaism to a level and that only “some of the branches with the doctrines and precepts of were broken off.” What then does Gentilism ; and the ordinances he mean in that verse? The same which Jehovah appointed for his thing that he meant in the 3d chapown worship, to a level with the ter, when he says, “I have before impure, licentious, and horrible

proved both Jews and Gentiles that rites of Gentile idolàters, whose al they are all under sin," and equally tars often streamed with the blood need a Redeemer. And to redeem of their own children, and of other Gentiles as well as Jews, was the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ultimate end for which Christ came Abraham, and from Abraham to into the world, and erected a church Christ, and the identity or oneness as a medium of redemption : and of that church under those dispenalthough professed friends some sations, and also the present dispentimes join with avowed infidels, in sation of grace; we are now prepouring contempt on that church pared to

estimate the force or and his holy word, he hath declared weakness of Mr. W's arguments in that “the gates of hell shall not favour of infant baptism, drawn from prevail against it.” And who does the oneness of the church, and the not see, that to place Judaism on a force or weakness of Mr. C.'s relevel with Gentilism, is virtually plies. The limits I have assigned saying, that the Old Testament can to this letter, will not allow me to not be the revelation of a holy God; review all the arguments used on for, if Judaism is essentially oppo the occasion; I shall therefore consite to Christianity, Gentilism can fine myself to those that seem to not be any thing more than essen have most bearing on the point in tially so.

dispute. But this chapter is not the only

Mr. W. we are told, produced place wherein Paul, who was a Jew that

passage

from one of the evanby birth, not only recognised the gelists, where it is said, that little existence of a church in the Jewish children were brought to Christ, nation, but affirms that the Chris that he might put his hands on them tian church was built

upon

it. In and pray; and his disciples rebuked 2d chapter of his epistle to the them that brought them—“ But Ephesians, he says, “ Wherefore Jesus said, suffer little children to remember that ye being in time come unto me, and forbid them not, past Gentiles in the flesh, who are for of such is the kingdom of heacalled uncircumcision, by that which ven.” From this passage Mr. W. is called the circumcision in the argued, “ that by the kingdom of flesh made by hands : that at that heaven we must understand either time ye were without Christ, being

the church of Christ on earth, or aliens from the commonwealth of the kingdom of heaven above: if Israel, and strangers from the cove we understand it of the church on nants of promise, having no hope, earth, then doubtless infants are and without God in the world : But said to be members of it; and if we now in Christ Jesus, ye who some suppose that the kingdom of heatime were afar off are made nigh by ven or the invisible church above is the blood of Christ.

For he is our meant, then they must be born of peace who hath made both one, and the Spirit, and consequently fit subhath broken down the middle walljects for baptism." of partition between us. Now there As I do not know whether Mr. fore

ye are no more strangers and W.'s argument from this passage foreigners, but fellow citizens with is stated with accuracy and precithe saints, and of the household of sion, or not, I shall therefore not God: and are built,” (not as Mr. Č. make any remarks upon it. Mr. says, upon the foundation of the

C.'s objections however, are, that apostles alone, but) “ upon the foun this transaction took place previous dation of the apostles and pro to the appointment of baptism as an phets, Jesus Christ, himself being initiating ordinance into the Christhe chief corner-stone, in whom ali tian church; and that it was a blessthe building fitly framed together, ing and not baptism that was regroweth unto a holy temple in the quested for these children. Be it Lord.”

so--the words “of such is the kingHaving now proved the existence dom of heaven," however, prove of a church of God from Adam to that Christ considered and

ac

knowledged them as a component to the promise of the extraordinary part of his church at that time; and influences of the Holy Ghost, menMr. C. is now called upon to show tioned by the prophet Joel in the at what time, and by whom they second chapter of his prophecy, and were cast out. Aware, it would referred to, and applied by Peter seem, of the force of this argu from the 16th to the 21st verse. Be ment, he says, that the words of it so; and what follows? This: that such” only mean similarity; and in whatever that promise was, it is unsupport of this he adverts to ano deniable that Peter urged it as an ther passage, where it is said, “ that argument, why the Jews and their Jesus called a little child to him, children should be baptized. and set him in the midst and said, But that the promise referred to Except ye be converted, and be

in this passage, cannot refer to the come as little children, ye cannot prophecy of Joel, is evident from enter into the kingdom of heaven.” the following considerations. That It is enough to say in reply, that the promise had been already fulfilled, words “ of such, and

as little

in the miraculous gift of tongues, children” are entirely dissimilar in conferred on the apostles, for the signification; the former always purpose of qualifying them for referring to persons, and the latter preaching the gospel to the differto character. As for the silly pun, ent nations of the earth to which which he exhibited on the occasion, they were now to be sent. And as that as baptism and blessing both the “gift of the Holy Ghost," as begin with a B, either will suit the well as “the remission of sins," is advocates of infant baptism ; I am mentioned by Peter, as what the heartily willing that he shall have Jews whom he addressed were to all the honour that belongs to it; | receive, upon their acknowledging and those who then heard it, and Jesus to be the Messiah, by being those who now read it, will estimate baptized in his name; then, accordall its worth and force.

ing to Mr. C.'s interpretation of the Mr. W. also produced in favour passage, the three thousand that of infant baptism, Peter's memora were baptized on that day, were all ble address to the Jews, on the day endowed with the gift of tongues. of Pentecost. Acts ii. 38, 39. “Re But there is not the smallest intipent and be baptized every one of mation that this was the case; nor you, in the name of Jesus Christ, is it elsewhere mentioned that this for the remission of sins, and ye gift was to be expected by those shall receive the gift of the Holy who submitted to Christian baptism. Ghost. For the promise is to you,

The fair conclusion then is, that the and to your children, and to all that ordinary influences of the Spirit, as are afar off, even as many as the a spirit of sanctification, are there Lord our God shall call." Accord intended, and are therefore propering to Mr. C.'s statement, (pages | ly connected with the remission of 50-54) Mr. W. argued, that as the promise in this passage evidently Since, then, the promise of the referred to Gen. xvii. 7. “ I will be Holy Ghost in his extraordinary ina God to thee, and to thy seed after fluences, cannot be intended in this thee;" and as the children of the passage, it will be naturally asked, Jews are equally included with the is there any corresponding passage parents in it, when he urged the that will lead us to understand it, parents to be baptized—that the as referring to Gen. xvii. 7? Before children ought to be baptized also. I answer this question, I would re

To this Mr. C. objects, by saying | mark, that the expression is not a that the promise in this passage promise but“ the promise," or a prodoes not refer to Gen. xvii. 7, but || mise of a peculiar and distinguishVOL. I.

2K

sins.

he says,

MISE

ed kind. The apostle Paul, I think, || ly comports with, and strongly coranswers the question, when speak roborates the interpretation I have ing of the covenant of circumcision: given to this passage. The Jews,

“ And if ye are Christ's, we know, from Paul's epistles, were then are ye Abraham's seed, accord extremely tenacious of their priviing to THE PROMISE.” Gal. iji. 29. leges; and if their children, accordAnd in his epistle to the Romans ing to the Baptist system, were now (ix. 8.) he uses the same phraseology, to be cast out of the church, a fairer and says, they that are the children

opportunity of doing so, and of obof the flesh are not the children of taining their parents consent to the God; but the children of THE PRO measure, never presented itself be

are counted for the seed. fore nor since. “They were pricked With these passages. in view, we to the heart," from a sense of their now see the propriety and force of exceeding great guilt in crucifying; Peter's argument.

as an impostor, the Son of God, and From the time of Abraham, the their expected Messiah ; and were Jews had enjoyed the privilege of thereby prepared to submit to any being admitted into the church by thing that would remove the guilt circumcision, together with their of such an atrocious crime; and acchildren. Baptism was now to take cordingly said to Peter and to the its place. Hence says Peter, “be rest of the apostles, “ Men and brebaptized every one of you, in the thren, what shall we do?” Did name of Jesus Christ, for the re Peter

say to them as Baptists would mission of sins, and ye

shall receive have said, and do say; be baptized the gift of the Holy Ghost.” And every one of you, in the name of lest they should suppose that they Jesus Christ, for the remission of themselves were only entitled to be sins—for the promise is to you, but admitted into the Christian church not to your children? But he says, by baptism, and their children left “ the promise is to you, and to your out, he adds, "the promise is to you children; and to all that are afar off, and to your children,” or they are, even as many as the Lord our God by the promise of God in the cove shall call." nant of circumcision, entitled to all But whom does the apostle mean the privileges under the new dis by the “afar off,” in this passage? pensation, to which they were enti Mr. C. tells us that it means what tled under the old. But let the Joel in his prophecy styles the promise mean what it may, what is remnant whom the Lord shall the language of Mr. C.'s interpre call.” I confess that I was amazed tation? This: the promise is to you,

when I read this, as it came from a Jews, therefore be baptized; the man who talks about “ quacks in promise is also to your children, but theology," in his book; and as I did they are not to be baptized; or in not think there was any person who other words, the promise was once

read the Bible, and was acquaintto your children, but it is now re ed with its phraseology, but knew voked; but by whom, or at what that the remnant is usually, if not time, neither Mr. C. nor any other uniformly, applied to that portion On the contrary,

of the Jews who believed in Christ, we have seen that it was acknow and who should be saved from the ledged by Christ during his life, and direful calamities awaiting that by Peter after his death, “and after nation; and portrayed by Joel in Christ had fully instructed the apos that prophecy in the strongest and tles in all things pertaining to the most appalling colours. But a paskingdom of God.”

sage in the epistle to the Ephesians, There is another consideration, already adduced, tells us that the which, when duly weighed, perfect words“ afar off,” designate the

person can tell.

« PoprzedniaDalej »