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That they represent the same character.
That in both cases the external rite is valuable only on account of those things which it seals and represents.
We shall very briefly confirm these points.-We learn, from the foregoing extracts that Abraham is "the father of those who believe in Christ. Now we would ask, what
had Abraham to do with the "Gentile" believers? or, indeed, with any believers in Christ, on Professor Pusey's principles? And yet we see that he is called the father of all such. But how? He was not the natural progenitor of the Gentile believers; though he was of the Jewish: how, then, was he their spiritual father? It was not through his instruction, or influence, that the Gentiles believed in Christ. How, then, was Abraham their father? Simply from this circumstance,- God originally made with Abraham the covenant of salvation in Christ Jesus. Abraham believed in the covenant, embraced the Saviour promised in it, and went to heaven by virtue of those promises, which are now come upon the Gentiles. It must, therefore, follow, that the Gentiles believe the same covenant, embrace the same Saviour, and go to heaven by means of the same 66 Gospel" as Abraham did. Thus, Abraham's covenant is their covenant; Abraham's Saviour is their Saviour; Abraham's faith and character are their faith and character; and Abraham's felicity is their felicity.
He was their spiritual father, in the highest sense in which he could be so. All their blessings of a spiritual nature, both of grace and glory, grew, as it were, out of him, as their root; that is, out of the covenant made with him, and fulfilled in Christ Jesus, as it is expressed in the following promise:- "In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed;" and in another of a similar import:“Thou shalt be a father of many nations."
Thus, then, believing Gentiles are the true spiritual children of Abraham; and to be the children of Abraham, is the same thing with being "the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus." Hence, therefore, we see that the same covenant, and the same character, are common to Abraham, and to all who are in Christ, by faith, Gentiles as well as Jews.
Now this character, and these privileges, are equally represented and symbolized, by circumcision and by baptism.
When St. Paul assures the Colossians that they are "complete" in Christ, he summarily expresses this, by saying," Ye are circumcised with the circumcision of Christ,-ye are buried with him in baptism,-and ye are risen with him through faith." And, "baptised into Christ," is set forth as the same thing, (in Rom. vi. 4.) with becoming "dead unto sin," and rising to "newness of life." And when St. Paul would conclude the harmonious union of Jew and Gentile, or of circumcision and baptism, together with their significant privileges, he gives the substance in this form:-" Ye are all the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus: for as many of you as have been baptised into Christ, have put on Christ." He then merges both Jew and Gentile in one simple mode of hope and safety :-"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female;" that is, privileged or excluded as such; “for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." And then comes that remarkable climax :-" And if ye be Christ's, then ye are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Gal. iii. 26-29. Thus baptism makes us Abraham's seed, as did circumcision. It is, however, still true, that we are "all the children of God, (and only so) by faith in Christ Jesus."
We may now ask Professor Pusey this plain question, -Where is that scriptural testimony on which he builds the grand and essential distinction, between baptism and circumcision, that distinction which makes circumcision a "sign and seal only," and baptism" an appointed means for conveying the Holy Spirit?" The clear fact is, that there is not a vestige of scriptural evidence for such a distinction. The whole is a mere invention, from beginning to end. We have seen, that what circumcision was, baptism is, and no more. Nay, we should not clearly understand the real nature and character of this institution, could we not trace it up to its descent from circumcision, and the covenant of God with Abraham.
We may remark that one great source of this error is, the confusion of ideas respecting the dispensation of Abraham and that of Moses. Bishop Bethell, in con
junction with Professor Pusey, speaks of the "older dispensation," in degrading language. They consider it as the dispensation of Moses, a system of "temporal promises," a thing that is old and passed away; and they make depreciating comparisons between Christ's institution, and the signs and seals only, (as they call them), of the older dispensation. But this is all a delusion. The Mosaic law has nothing to do with the giving of the covenant and of the rite of circumcision. That covenant was the covenant of Abraham; and that rite was the rite of Abraham. The promise of the Gospel had its origin confirmed, and specified here; and the Mosaic establishment did not commence, nor intercept, but continue it. The apostle Paul is so remarkably pointed on this subject, that one scarcely knows, how any scriptural student can possibly misunderstand him :-" Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. And this I say, that the ' covenant which was confirmed before of God in Christ; the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise." Gal. iii. 16-18.
It is evident, then, that the COVENANT is not changed. It was established" of God in Christ" to Abraham; and it has never been disannulled, but fulfilled. was Christ's covenant then, and so it is now. The introductory right is changed, but the covenant is still the same.
This, then, being the case, it is obvious that the form only of the rite being changed, there can be no change in the OFFICE which the rite performs, any more than the change of the entrance into the palace would make any difference in the privileges of those who obtained admission into it. There is but one covenant of grace; there is but one way to heaven. Moses, who gave the law, "esteemed the reproach of Christ,” and so did all “holy men of God in old time "as now.
HENCE, THEN, we see the utter demolition of every thing that consitutes this modern theory. Neither the Professor, nor Bishop Bethell, has the least pretension to evidence, except on the assumption that baptism has obtained, by virtue of its "divine institution," an office
differing essentially from that of circumcision. They are forced into this invention, because circumcision is so expressly denominated, both by Moses and St. Paul, the token, the sign, and the seal of the covenant, that it is impossible to compel that language to signify "the channel or conveyance of the Holy Spirit." But when no original institution can be found for baptism, they can fancy any secret or mysterious influence "annexed" to it, which suits their system. But there is not a shadow of countenance to this assumption found in the word of God. Nay, if "divine INSTITUTION" is to distinguish and exalt a rite, circumcision has by far the pre-eminence ; for its divine institution is very minutely recorded, while that of baptism is not.
The sum of what we have been proving is the following:
1. That circumcision and baptism are tokens of the
2. That they are representatives of the same holy and spiritual character.
3. That they are seals of the same privileges,-the privileges of the covenant of grace; and
4. That each of these rites, as it may be hence inferred, is valuable only on account of the things which it seals or represents.
Each of these particulars will receive farther confirmation, as we proceed to state more fully and specifically,—
III. The DESIGN and OBJECT of Baptism.
The real nature of this ordinance, as we have already proved, cannot be learnt directly from any description given of it; because there is no account of its institution or introduction recorded by Christ or his apostles in the New Testament. Its nature can only be inferred or deduced from some intimations of its necessity for entering into the kingdom of God, from certain things spoken of it in the introduction of persons into the Christian church, and from some passages, such as we have been reciting, in which it is alluded to in connection with the people of God. From the whole of which passages we have seen that it has taken the place of circumcision, and sustains the same office. The design and object, therefore, of circumcision will show to us the design and object of bap
tism. Circumcision was INSTITUTED with great particularity so was the passover, and so was the Lord's supper. But inasmuch as there has been nothing of this kind with respect to baptism, but only with respect to its having been practised and commanded by our Saviour to be continued in his church, it seems imperative, that as we trace the gospel covenant to the fathers, so also we must trace the design and object of the gospel rite to the design and object of the rite belonging to the fathers. Hence, then, we learn that
Baptism is what circumcision was.
Circumcision was a "token of the covenant," called "the covenant itself." Baptism is the same. "The covenant was a mutual accordance between God and man: God was to be "their God," and they were to be "his people." So it is under the covenant as fulfilled in Christ : "I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters." 2 Cor. vi. 18. This implies, on man's part, love to God, faith in Christ, and a willing mind to be the Lord's "soldiers and servants unto their lives' end." And on God's part, all the blessings of grace and glory are hereby signified.
Baptism, as we have shown in our remarks on John iii. 5, is necessary, as well as the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit, in order to "enter into the kingdom of God." All the blessings of this kingdom are signed and sealed in a visible and public manner when the believer enters into covenant with the Saviour, by baptism. It is the marriage ceremony between him and Christ. He renounces "the world, the flesh, and the devil," and engages, with pure heart and mind, to follow Christ as his only Lord and Saviour; and the Saviour pledges, that he "shall never perish, neither shall any pluck him out of his hand."
Baptism as "the washing of regeneration," signifies or represents a believing, and, consequently, a regenerate state of soul, or a spiritual change of mind. It supposes, as we have seen in considering John iii. 5, that the heart is already turned from every other object to Christ the Saviour; and baptism is symbolical of this holy change of mind. A believing mind, as we then proved, was a regenerate mind; for faith is always required before baptism. ،، Repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ," are stated in scripture and in our