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thetically, that is, on the supposition of their repentance and faith.

5. If therefore repentance and faith are not present at baptism, regeneration, remission of sins, and heavenly heirship cannot be there enjoyed; for all these rest solely on repentance and faith. This conclusion is admitted nearly by all but it is nevertheless admitted with great reluctance by many persons, even as it respects adults; though it is still strenuously denied as to infants; of whom we shall soon speak particularly.

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But we firmly maintain, that the essence of the covenant of grace is such as has been stated, namely, a covenant graciously appointed by God and faithfully and heartily received by man, as the only way of salvation, that baptism is its true sign, seal, and representative: it is a public admission into this covenant, or into the true church of Christ, the spiritual and "elect people of God ;" that "hearty repentance and true faith" are as necessary on the part of man as fidelity on God's part,-and that without this it is no covenant according to its scriptural and spiritual meaning, and according to the meaning of the church of England; for the parties before the church bind themselves to a due fulfilment of all the obligations.

The Almighty has made a covenant; he has revealed its privileges, blessings, enjoyments, and promises. He makes, as it were, a public declaration, by the preached word, that he is willing to be reconciled to guilty and ruined man, 66 through faith" in the work and righteousness of his beloved Son. But until men individually "believe this report," until they individually approve from the heart the design of the covenant, until they heartily embrace Christ as their Saviour, according to the Gospel,-until these things be done, they can have "neither part nor lot" in this covenant of salvation, or in any of its saving privileges. Before this consent is truly afforded by man, he has nothing on which he can ground his claim he has no covenant right to its privileges. Previous to this spiritual and real concurrence of the heart, the covenant is not special but general; there is only a public promulgation of God's good will to men and of their duty to embrace his salvation. But when any one believes in God and embraces his offers of mercy in Christ Jesus, then he becomes immediately interested in

all the provisions of the covenant. Such persons are directly invested with the promised blessings, included in that ancient declaration," Ye shall be my people and I will be your God."

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Every covenant, especially that between the soul and God, requires mutual agreement between the contracting parties, in order to its validity and efficacy. And it is most obvious, that our church proceeds on this principle. Let us review what she says:-1. God has promised"which promise, he, for his part, will surely keep and perform.' -2. Man promises-" Wherefore after this promise made by Christ, ye must also faithfully for your part promise," that is, to renounce the devil and all his works-to believe in God and to serve him-to be baptised in this faith-and obediently to keep God's holy will and commandments, and to walk in the same all the days of your life;-3. All this is solemnly pledged, and engaged for, and attested before baptism: then that holy and solemn rite initiates him on the stipulation by which he has bound himself to God; the church receives him as a child of God, and giving him credit for the sincerity, heartiness, and spirituality of his profession, she pronounces him regenerate, pardoned, and saved; but were she aware of hypocrisy or defect, she could not, and she would not pronounce him blessed.-4. His blessings then, whether of regeneration, adoption, justification, or salvation, are not absolute, but hypothetical! Indeed, the expectation that the candidate should render the " answer of a good conscience towards God," was universal in the church from the beginning.

It is therefore a subject of no ambiguity, that in order to the due effects of baptism, there must be a spiritual concurrence and a cleaving of the heart to God in that ordinance. It is not a rite without conditions. It is a rite which stands as a token of the covenant. It is a sacrament on which is recorded a pledge or “oath" of our fidelity. It is a rite which "doth represent unto us our profession." It is an ordinance which as a witness, joined with other witnesses, claims from us constantly the performance of our engagements. It is a rite which seals to us all the rich and delightful mercies "promised to us in that sacrament." But the promises made in that sacrament, are most certainly made, not simply or absolutely to

those who are baptised, but to those who believe and are baptised.

We shall now conclude these observations by stating the following obvious and incontestible positions:

1. That a right and spiritual disposition in baptism is by our church and in the Scripture, made necessary to the due effects of baptism ;

2. That consequently to those who have not this right disposition, the blessings pronounced do not belong ;

3. That it is therefore demonstrated, that the blessings pronounced in baptism are not pronounced absolutely, but hypothetically, that is, on the supposition of there being spirituality of mind in those who profess "the faith of Christ crucified;"

4. That as subsequent conduct too frequently shews that the profession was without spirituality of mind, the regeneration and justification of such persons remain without their reality, and have nothing belonging to them but the name.

It may be said, as it has been said, that with respect to adults, who come to be baptised with insincere and unfaithful minds, they " do not at present receive any benefit from their baptism;" and as there is but one baptism, it is a great and awful uncertainty, whether they ever may : but that with respect to infants, who "cannot be unbelievers," and therefore cannot put any "bar or obstruction" in this "channel" of divine communication, it is uniformly maintained, that baptism, as to them, really "confers the graces which it represents." And therefore that all infants are regenerated and saved by baptism. The church, and the Scripture, are declared to be of one mind on this point. Thus, under the profession of admitting what Bishop Mant's Tract did not admit, namely, the necessity of "faith and repentance," in order to the due effects of baptism, modern writers of the same school confine the necessity to adults solely; and thus evade the practical utility of the admission in general, inasmuch as the general body of our population is baptised in infancy. We shall under the next head examine the validity of this plea, and inquire into the evidence for infant regeneration -the pretensions on which they claim for our church the assertion of their doctrine-and the general state of the controversy.

II. The Case of INFANTS.

We shall give here a general and brief sketch of our views respecting the case of infants, and then we shalk more minutely attend to the particulars respecting them. It appears to us that both in the Scripture and by the Church of England, infants are spoken of and dealt with as adults.

1. They seem to be involved with their parents and to be treated like them, until they come of years to answer for themselves. The evidence of this truth will appear both from the nature of the case and from matter of fact: -First, Male infants under the Abrahamic covenant were bound to be circumcised as well as their fathers. Yet from the necessity of the case they must depend on their parents for qualifications, conditions, pledges and expectations; secondly, in fact, the male child, if uncircumcised after eight days, was esteemed and treated as a violator of God's covenant. (Gen. xvii. 14.) The punishment, however, as in the case of Moses, might be transferred to the parent, who from his neglect was the person actually guilty. (Exod. iv. 14.)

2. May we not then inquire, why should not the infant be as capable of being esteemed a due receiver of the covenant as the violator of it? It must be admitted that there was double guilt in the violation, that is, the original guilt of the infant and the actual guilt of the parent. But as God's judgments visit only" three or four generations," and his mercies "a thousand," why should we object to his blessing the infant in the parent, if he chose to do so?

3. God involved Adam's posterity in his behaviour; and the promise to " Abraham and his seed," as a type of Christ, the second Adam, appears to involve and include his posterity.

4. This union of the parents and children, with its consequences, seems to have been believed as a doctrine and complained of as a fact, by the carnal Jews in Ezekiel's days. And while they appear to have derived from God's threatenings and dealings a "proverb," not always untrue in itself, they made a wrong application of it; and thus endeavoured to throw the guilt of their sinful imitation of their wicked parents, upon God's providence, and so to excuse themselves. "The fathers have eaten sour grapes,

and the children's teeth are set on edge." And we may observe that God's reproof of their misapplication of the proverb, is only applicable to those who were come to years of discretion, and who therefore should be dealt with according to their own actual conduct. It is truly a matter of fact that during infancy children are often treated, in the course of providence, as the parent.

5. We have before shewed, that the covenant and the promise of Abraham, is "come upon the Gentiles," or the Christian church, and has come by faith. The same divine economy therefore respecting the infants of Christian believers, must be looked for and acted upon under the new as under the old or patriarchal dispensation.

6. This idea of a natural union between the Christian and his offspring, forming the basis of a covenant union between those infants and the Most High, seems to have been esteemed by the early fathers, and is still esteemed by our church as a principal and sufficient ground for dealing with them as with adults. "Else were your children unclean; but now are they holy," or clean, is a text generally considered, we believe, by the fathers and by moderns too, as referring to the natural right of such infants to be spiritually dedicated to God; and also to God's right to expect, that Christian parents should dedicate their offspring to Him.

7. The substitution of sponsors is, in the case of infants in civil life, practised every day in our own and every other civilised nation; which, though it do not wholly reach the case before us, may nevertheless serve to illustrate and justify it. In civil cases the infant is supposed to concur in and to allow the transaction of his guardians on his behalf, and is legally bound accordingly. And something like this, or in a way similar to it, must have been implied in the case of circumcision.

FIRST. Infants are by our church baptised as adults. This is a position that cannot be fairly denied by any who carefully attend to the structure of her baptismal documents and to the source from which she derives the right of infants to baptism. And we think, that a due consideration of the evidence on this point, and of the natural consequences resulting from it, will lead us to a very sufficient answer to those who contend for the necessary and universal regeneration of infants in baptism.

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