Page images
PDF
EPUB

to which Mr. Cary (following Mr. Tombes) had wrefted them. These things premised, I fhall only further add, that if Mr. Cary fhall attempt a reply to my anfwer, and free his own thefes from the gross abfurdities with which I have loaded them, he muft plainly and fubftantially prove against me,

(1.) That the Sinai law, according to its true fcope and end, was promulgated by God for man's justification and happiness in the way of perfonal obedience; and that the Jews, that did accordingly endeavour after righteoufnefs by the works of the law, did not mistake its true end and meaning; or if they did, and thereby made it what God never intended it to be, a cove nant of works to themselves, that the Sinai law ought rather to be denominated from their mistake and abuse of it, than from its primary and proper use, and God's defign in its pro mulgation.

(2.) He must prove against me, with like evidence of truth, that circumcifion discovered no more of man's native corrup tion, nor any more of his remedy by Chrift; nor fealed to any perfon whatsoever the righteoufnefs of faith, than Adam's covenant in paradife did; and that it did in its own nature oblige all upon whom it paffed, to the fame terms of obedience that Adam's covenant obliged him. And,

(3.) That there is not to be found in the new covenant any fuch act or duty of ours, as hath been described and limited above; which is of a fufpending nature to the benefits therein granted. And,

(4.) That the respective expofitions he gives of the several texts to be explained and vindicated, are more congruous to the fcope and grammar than mine are, and more agreeable to the current fenfe of orthodox expofitors; and then he thall be fure to receive an answerable return from me, else it is but labour loft to write again.

À

RÉ P
P

ΤΟ

Mr. PHILIP CARY's Solemn Call, &c.

HE book I have undertaken to animadvert briefly upon, bears the title of a folemn call; but I am not fo much

TH

L

Y

concerned with the folemnity, as I am with the authority of this call. Not how it is, but whofe it is. If it be the call of God, it must be obeyed, though it be to part not only with the pri vileges, but lives of our deareft children; but then we had need to be very well affured it is the call of God, elfe we are guilty at once of the highest folly, and basest treachery, to part with fo rich an inheritance, conveyed by God's covenant with Abraham, to us believing Gentiles, and our feed, at Mr. Cary's call. You direct your Solemn Call to all that would be owned as "Chrift's faithful witnesses.

".

Here you are too obfcure and general: do you mean, all that would be owned by you, or by Chrift? If you mean, that we must not expect to be owned by you till we renounce infants baptifm, you tell us no news, for you have long fince turned your back upon our miniftry and affemblies: yet, methinks it is ftrange, that we who were lately owned as Chrift's faithful witneffes under our late fufferings, muft now be difowned by you, when we have liberty to amplify and confirm our teftimohy in the peaceful improvement of our common liberty.

But if your meaning be, (as I strongly suspect it is) that we muft not expect to be owned by Chrift, except we give up infants baptifin; then, I fay, it is the most uncharitable, as well as unwarrantable, and dangerous cenfure that ever dropt from the pen of a fober Chriftian. It is certainly your great evil to lay Jalvation itself on fuch a point as the proper fubject of baptifm, and to make it articulus ftantis vel cadentis religionis, the very bafts on which the whole Chriftian religion, and its profeffors falvation must stand. I hope the rest of your brethren are more charitable than yourself; but however it be, I do openly profefs, that I ever have, and ftill do own you, and many more of your perfuafion, for my brethren in Christ, and am perfuaded Chrift will own you too, notwithstanding your many errors and mistakes about the leffer and lower matters of religion. Nor need your cenfure much to affect us, as long as we are fatisfied you have neither a faculty nor commiflion thus folemnly to pronounce it upon us.

But what is the condition upon which this dreadful fentence depends why, it is our attendance or non-attendance to the primitive purity of the gospel-doctrine.

Sir, I hope we do attend it, and, in fome refpects, better than fome great pretenders to primitive purity, who have caft off hot only the initiating fign of God's covenant, (this did not Abraham) but alfo that most comfortable and ancient ordinance VOL. VIII. Y

of finging pfalms; and what other primitive ordinance of God may be cafhiered next, who can tell?

We have a witnefs in our bofom, that the defence of Christ's pure worship and inftitution hath coft us fomething; and as for me, were I convinced by all that you have here said, or any of your friends, that in baptizing the infants of believers, we did really depart from the primitive purity, I would renounce it, and turn Anabaptist the fame day.

But really, fir, this difcourfe of yours hath very much convinced me of the weakness and fickliness of your cause, which is forced to feek a new foundation, and is here laid by you upon fuch a foundation as muft inevitably ruin it, if your party, as well as yourself, have but refolution enough to venture it thereupon.

1

And it appears to me very probable, that they intend to fight us upon the new ground you have here chosen and marked out for them, by the high encomiums they give your book in their epiftles to it, wherein they tell us, your notions are of so rare a nature, that you are not beholden to any other for them; and it is a wonder if you should, for I think it never entered into any fober Chriftian's head before you, that Abraham's covenant, Gen. xvii. was the very fame with Adam's covenant made in paradife; or that Mofes, Abraham, and all the elect of God in thofe days were abfolutely under the very rigour and tyranny of the covenant of works, and at the fame time under the covenant of grace, and all the bleffings and privileges thereof; with many other fuch rare notions, of which it is pity but you fhould have the fole propriety.

I am particularly concerned to detect your dangerous mistakes, both in love to your own foul, and care of my people's, amongst whom you have difperfed them; though I forefce by M. E's epiftle to your book, what measure I am like to have for my plain and faithful dealing with you; for if that gentleman, upon a mere furmife and prefumption that one or other would oppofe your book, dare adventure to call your unknown answerer, before he ever put pen to paper, a man-pleaser, a quarreller at reformation, and rank him with the Papifts, which opposed the faithful for their non-conformity to their inventions; what muft I expect from fuch rafh cenfurers, for my fober, plain, and rational confutation of your errors?

As to the controverfy betwixt us, you truly fay in your title page, and many parts of your book, and your brethren comprobate it in their epiftles, that the main arguments made ufe of by the Peedo-baptifts, for the fupport of their practice,

are taken from the covenant of God with Abraham, Gen. xvii. You call this the very hinge of the controversy; and therefore if you can but prove this to be the very fame covenant of works with that made with Adam in paradife, we fhall then fee what improvements you will quickly make of it.

Ay, fir, you are sensible of the advantage, no less than a complete victory you fhall obtain by it; and therefore being a more hardy and adventurous man than others, put desperately upon it, (which never any before you durft attempt) to prove Abraham's covenant, which ftands fo much in the way of your cause, to be a mere covenant of works, and therefore now abolished.

My proper province is to difcover here, that part of the foundation (I mean Abraham's covenant) whence our divines, with great ftrength and evidence, deduce the right of believers infants to baptifm now. Next, to evince the abfurdity of your affertions and arguments you bring to deftroy it: And, laftly, to reflect briefly upon the anfwers you give in the beginning of your book, to those several texts of fcripture pleaded by the learned and judicious divines you oppofe, for the justification of infants baptifm.

(1.) Thofe that plead God's covenant with Abraham, Gen. xvii. as a fcripture-foundation for baptizing believers infants under the gofpel, proceed generally upon these four grounds or principles.

(1.) That God's covenant with Abraham, Gen. xvii. was the fame covenant for substance we Gentile believers are now under; and they substantially prove it from Luke i. from the 54th to the 44th verfe; which place evidently fhews the famenefs of the covenant of grace they were, and we are now un der; and from Matth. xxi. 41, 43. the fame vineyard and kingdom the Jews then had, is now let out to us Gentiles; and from Rom. xi. that the Gentile Chriftians are grafted into the fame olive-tree, from which the Jews were broken off for their unbelief; and that the blessing of Abraham cometh now upon the Gentiles, Gal. iii. 8, 14, 16.. And in a word, that the partition-wall betwixt them and us is now pulled down; and that we, through faith, are let into the self-fame covenant, and all the privileges they then enjoyed, Eph. ii. 13.

(2.) They affert and prove, That in Abraham's covenant the infant-feed were taken in with their parents, and that in token thereof, they were to have the fign of the covenant applied to them, Gen. xvii. 9.

(3.) They affirm and prove, That the promise of God to Abraham and his feed, with the privileges thereof to his chil dren, do, for the fubftance of them, defcend to believers now, and their feed, Acts ii. 38, 39. and though the external fign, viz circumcifion, be changed, yet baptifm takes its place under the gofpel, Col. ii. 11, 12.

2

(4.) They conftantly affirm, that none of thofe grants or privileges made to the infant-feed of Abraham's family, were ever repealed or revoked by Chrift or his apoftles; and therefore believers children are now in the rightful poffeffion of them; and that therefore there needed no new command or promife: In Abraham's covenant we find our duty to fign our children with the fign of the covenant; and in Abraham's promise we find God's gracious grant to our children, as well as his, especially fince the apoftle directs us, in this very refpect, to the covenant of God with Abraham, Acts ii. 38, 39.

1

Thefe, fir, are the principles on which we lay (as you say) great stress, and which to this day you have never been able to Thake down; here therefore you attempt a new method to do it, by proving this covenant is now abolished; and this is your method, in which you promife yourself great fucceefs: Three things you pretend to prove;

(1.) That the Sinai covenant, Exod. xx.

(2.) That Abraham's covenant, Gen. xvii. are no gofpelcovenants; and that because,

Y

1

(3.) The gospel-covenant is abfolute and unconditional. How you come to hook in the Mofaic covenant into this controverfy, is not very evident, unless you think it were eafy for you to prove that to be a covenant of works; and then Abraham's covenant, Gen. xvii. being an Old Teftament covenant, were the more eafily proved to be of the fame nature. I am obliged to examine your three pofitions above noted, and if I evidence to the world the falfity of them, the cause you manage is fo far loft, and the right of belivers infants to baptifm ftands firm upon its old and fure foundation. I begin therefore with your

I. Pofition.

That the covenant made with Ifrael, on mount Sinai, is the very fame covenant of works made with Adam in innocency, p. 122. and divers other places of your book, the very fame.

[ocr errors]

Now, if I prove that this affertion of yours doth naturally and regularly draw many false and abfurd confequents upon

1231

« PreviousContinue »