Wherein the grand Argument for In∣fant-Baptism taken from the Covenant made with Abraham, is fully confuted. Proving the Covenant of Circumcision was not a Covenant of Grace, wherein both Mr. Burkit and the Athenian Society are clearly answered. The Legal Covenant and Fleshly Seed being under the Gospel both cast out, the Plea for Pedo-baptism from the old Covenant-Right is vanquished.
I Come now to examine your second grand Argument for the Baptism of Infants, which you in Pag. 8. laid down thus, viz.
*If the Infants of believing Christians under the Gospel are in Covenant with God, as the Jewish Infants under the Law were; then the Seal of the Covenant, which is Baptism, may and ought to be administred to them.
But the Infants of Believers under the Gospel are in Covenant with God,* as well as the Jewish Infants under the Law were.
Therefore Baptism, the Seal of the Covenant, ought to be applied to these, as Circumcision was to them.
Answ. Tho this Syllogism is not perfect in Form, yet I will pass by that Oversight of yours, and consider it in each part, and finding it sophistical, must deny the whole Argument.
Page 391. For first, as to your Major, If the Infants of Christians were in Covenant with God, as the Jewish Infants were, yet Baptism cannot belong to them, unless God hath commanded them to be baptized, and made it also a Seal of the same Covenant: for as much as Baptism, (as I have told you before once or twice already) is a meer positive Law or Institution, 'tis not Man, but God himself must make it their Duty to be baptized, and a Seal of the Covenant, if it were so indeed: but God hath neither en∣joyned them, or made it their Duty to be bap∣tized, nor appointed it to be a Seal of the Cove∣nant of Grace to them; Ergo. Also you mistake, in calling Circumcision a Seal of the Covenant made with Abraham; for 'tis only called the Seal of the Righteousness of the Faith he had, (that is Abraham) and which he had, being yet uncircumcised. 'Tis not called a Seal of the Covenant, but of Faith, and that too of Abraham's Faith only, because none before they were circumcised had such a Faith but himself only. Nor can you prove Christ's true Baptism is a Seal of the Covenant of Grace under the Gospel, the holy Spirit is the only Seal of the Covenant of Grace mentioned in the Scripture, Ephes. 1.13, 14. chap. 4.30.
If therefore I should grant, that the Infants of Believers under the Gospel, as such, were in Cove∣nant with God, which I must deny, yet it would not follow in the least that they ought to be baptized, from that ground: for, were not, think you, all the Children of the Godly before Abraham's time, or before he received that ex∣press Command to circumcise them in your sense, in Covenant with God? If you do not say this, why do you affirm, that the Children of Believers were always, or ever in Covenant as well as their Parents? but if it were so, Do you Page 40 think it was their Duty to circumcise them? If you should say, no, because they did not know to circumcise them was the Will of God. But you might say more, viz. it was not the Will of God they should do it; 'tis God's Command only, and not their being in Covenant, made it their Duty to circumcise their Children: and had God given us such a Command, or any Au∣thority to baptize our Children, we ought and would baptize them; but must not, dare not, without such positive Command or Authority.
2. We utterly also deny your Minor, and say that the Infants of Believers (as such) under the Gospel, are not in Covenant with God.
We will therefore examine your Grounds to prove that which you affirm upon this account, Pag. 8, 9. and thus you argue, viz.
Answ. 1. I answer first of all, that your Argu∣ment is not true in form; Is Circumcision in your Minor? Sir, if you are a Logician, speak like one;* your Minor should run thus, viz. But Infants were once by Circumcision, solemnly by God's Appoint∣ment, taken into Covenant, &c. But I'll pass by that, and must tell you your Argument in another re∣spect is lame also; You do not tell us what Co∣venant 'tis you here intend; ought you not to have added, They who were once solemnly taken into the Covenant of Grace by Circumcision, &c. but Infants were once solemnly taken into the Covenant of Grace by Circumcision? If you do Page 41 not affirm that, you say nothing that concerns our Controversy. If the Covenant of Circumci∣sion was not the Covenant of Grace, you will and must give up your Cause: and if you say that, you ought to have put it into your Syllo∣gism. 3. There is yet another fault in your Argument. If you would include the Controversy, ought you not to have said, All they who? &c. Can your Conclusion be good, when your Pro∣positions are bad and defective?
But to the business; If you say Infants, as such, were solemnly taken into the Convenant of Grace by Circumcision; then I deny your Minor: Infants, as such, were never by Circum∣cision, nor any other ways under the Law, taken into the Covenant of Grace. Moreover, I affirm, that tho they were once solemnly taken into Covenant with God by Circumcision, yet that Covenant, and that Covenant Seed, viz. the natural Seed of Abraham, are both solemnly cast out; and this I shall, God assisting, prove, and afterwards take off all those pretended Absur∣dities you in the 9th and 10th Pages of your Book mention, and give a full Answer to your Reasons and Arguments you bring to prove the Covenant of Circumcision was a Covenant of Grace.
1. And now to proceed, to raze and quite overthrow this main Foundation and Pillar of Pedo-baptism; I shall argue as Mr. Tombs hath done, whose Arguments could never be yet answered.
We are first of all to consider, whether the Gospel-Covenant, and the Covenant of Circum∣cision made with Abraham be the same. Second∣ly, Inquire what Seed of Abraham it is, of which 'tis said, I will be a God to thee, and to thy Seed, Gen. 17.7. Thirdly, Whether there be the same Reason of Circumcision and of Baptism in Page 42 signifying the Gospel-Covenant. Fourthly, Whe∣ther there is the same Parity of Reason for the one, as for the other.
First,* The Covenant made with Abraham we affirm is not a pure Gospel-Covenant, but a mix'd Covenant, partly made with his Natural or Fleshly Seed, and partly made with him and his Spiritual Seed; and therefore we thus argue.
Arg. 1. If the Covenant takes its Denomination from the Promises, and the Promises are mix'd, some Evange∣lical, belonging to those to whom the Gospel belongeth; some Domestick, or Civil Promises, specially and ab∣solutely respectin• the House and Natural Seed of Abraham, and Policy of Israel; then 'tis a mix'd Covenant.
But the Covenant takes its Denomination from the Promises, and the Promises are mix'd, some Evan∣gelical, belonging to those to whom the Gospel be∣longeth; some Domestick, or Civil Promises, specially and absolutely respecting the House and Natural Seed of Abraham, and Policy of Israel. Ergo, 'Tis a mix'd Covenant.
To make this clear, 'tis evident that that Pro∣mise was Evangelical, belonging to those the Go∣spel belongeth to, Gen. 17.5. I have made thee a Father of many Nations: And so is that Gen. 15.5. So shall thy Seed be. In which it is promised, that there shall be of the Nations many, or a great Number, that shall be Abraham's Spiritual Chil∣dren by believing, Rom. 4.17, 18. Also it was Evangelical, which we find in Gen. 12.3. And in thy Seed shall all the Kindreds of the Earth be blessed. These, 'tis evident, respect all Gospel-Believers, who are the Spiritual Seed of Abraham; see Gal. 3.8. And the Scripture foreseeing that God would ju∣stify the Heathen through Faith, preached the Gospel un∣to Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the Nations of the Earth be blessed. And more directly to Christ, who is the Seed of Abraham, as Gal. 3.16. Now Page 43 to Abraham and his Seed were the Promises made. He saith not, And to Seeds, as of many, but as of one, And to thy Seed, which is Christ; that is, to Christ as the Head and Surety of the Covenant of Grace, and so primarily and directly to him, and then in him to all who are his; according to that in Gal. 3.29. And if ye be Christ's, then are you Abraham's Seed, and Heirs according to the Pro∣mise. See also Acts 3.25.
2. Moreover, that the Domestick and Civil Pro∣mises were many, is plain: As,* 1. Of multiply∣ing the Seed of Abraham. 2. The Birth of Isa∣ac. 3. Of the continuation of the Covenant with Isaac. 4. Of the coming of Christ out of Isaac. 5. The Bondage of the Israelites in Egypt, and their deliverance out from thence, and of their possessing the Land of Canaan; Gen. 15.18. Gen. 17.8. And I will give unto thee, and to thy Seed after thee, the Land wherein thou art a Stranger, all the Land of Canaan for an everlasting Possession; and I will be their God. So Gen. 15.18. In that same day God made a Covenant with Abram, saying, Ʋnto thy Seed have I given this Land, from the Ri∣ver of Egypt, unto the great River Euphrates. Can you be so ignorant as to affirm this Covenant and Contract made with Abraham, was made with the Natural Seed of believing Gentiles? Nay, or that it was made to Abraham's Spiritual Seed? Compare these Scriptures with Acts 7.4, 5, 6, 7, 8. And thus it appears, the Covenant made with Abraham, is a mixt Covenant, or a two-fold Covenant, one made with ••s Natural Seed, the other with his Spiritual Seed: And this is fully signified by Sarah and Hagar, the Free-Woman and the Bond-Woman; and their Sons, Isaac and Ishmael, Gal. 4.22.
Secondly, The Seed of Abraham i• many ways so called.
Page 441. Christ is called the Seed of Abraham, as I said before, Gal. 3.16. by way of Eminency, as he is the Head and Surety of the Gospel-Cove∣nant.
2. All the Elect, Rom. 9.7. all Believers, Rom. 4.11, 12, 16, 17, 18. Gal. 3.29. If ye be in Christ, then are ye Abraham's Seed, and Heirs ac∣cording to the Promise.
3. There was a Natural Seed of Abraham, to whom the Inheritance did accrue, this was Isaac, Gen. 21.22.
4. We read of another Natural Seed of Abra∣ham, to whom the Inheritance, it is positively said, did not belong, as Ishmael and the Sons of Keturah, Gen. 15.5.
But now can the Infant-Seed of Believers, as such, be said to be the Seed of Abraham in any of these four respects? add, if you can, a fifth.
1. As the Promise refers to Christ, (so they cannot be included) who is Abraham's Seed in a special manner, to whom God promised he would be a God to, and impart all Blessings of the Co∣venant unto, according to that glorious Compact or Covenant of Redemption made between him and the Father before the World began, upon the account of his blessed Undertakings, as our Mediator and Surety, that so he might impart all those purchased Blessings and Priviledges to all who believe in him, or where given to him by the Father.
2. As ••e Promise refers to the Elect Seed, or such who have the Faith of Abraham, and walk in his steps, it cannot include the Infant-Seed of Believing Gentiles as such.
3. As the Promise refers to Isaac, who was Abraham's own natural Son according to the Flesh, as well as according to the Promise, they are not the Seed of Abraham.
Page 454. As Ishmael and the Sons of Keturah were the Seed of Abraham, so the Infant-Seed of belie∣ving Gentiles, are not the Seed of Abraham. If you can add a fifth sort of Abraham's Seed (I mean, such who are so called) from the Scrip∣ture, pray do when you write again.
And from hence I thus argue;
If the Children of believing Gentiles, as such,* are not the Natural Seed, nor the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, then they can have no right to Bap∣tism or Church-Membership, by virtue of any Covenant-Transaction God made with Abra∣ham.
But the Children of believing Gentiles, as such, are not the Natural nor Spiritual Seed of Abraham: Ergo, they can have no right to Bap∣tism, nor Church-Membership, by virtue of any Covenant-Transaction God made with Abra∣ham.
Your Brethren, called the Athenian Society, in p. 2. of their Athenian Gazette, affirm, The Chil∣dren of Believers are the Spiritual Seed of Abra∣ham, till they by Actual Sin, unrepented of, are otherwise.
1. To which I answer,* Then some of the true Spiritual Seed of Abraham may perish eternally, and the Promise is not sure to all his Spiritual Seed; which is directly contrary to what St. Paul affirms in Rom. 4.16. Therefore it is of Faith, that it might be by Grace; to the end the Promise might be sure to all the Seed; not to that only which is of the Law, but to that also which is of the Faith of Abra∣ham, who is the Father of us all.
From whence I argue:
All they that are in that Gospel-Covenant which God made with Abraham,* or who are his true Spiritual Seed, have the Promise of ever∣lasting Life made sure to them.
But all the Infant-Seed of Believers, as such, Page 46 have not the Promise of everlasting Life made sure to them: Ergo, The Infant-Seed of Belie∣vers, as such, are not in that Gospel-Covenant God made with Abraham, nor his true Spiritual Seed. Take another;
*If all the true Spiritual-Seed of Abraham have the Faith of Abraham, and walk in the Steps of A∣braham, even that Faith Abraham had before he was Circumcised; then the Infant-Seed of Be∣lievers, as such, are not the Spiritual Seed of A∣braham.
But the true Spiritual Seed of Abraham have the Faith of Abraham, and walk in the Steps of Abraham, even that Faith Abraham had before he was Circumcised: Ergo, The Infant-Seed of Be∣lievers, as such, are not the true Spiritual Seed of Abraham.
As to the Major, see Rom. 4.11, 12.
The Minor cannot be denied; no Man in his right Wits will affirm, the Infants of Believers, as such, have the Faith Abraham had before he was yet Circumcised, nor do many of them; nor can they walk in the Steps of Abraham, having not his Faith.
If any object and say, If Infants of Believers are not included in that Covenant made with Abraham, How can any of them, who died in Infancy, be sa∣ved?
I answer; 1. Cannot God save dying Infants, unless they were included in that Covenant made with Abraham? How then could the dying Infants of the Godly, who lived before that Covenant was made with Abraham, be saved?
God has a thousand Ways, through Christ's Undertakings, to save dying Infants, as Dr. Taylor notes, which we know not of: Secret things belong to God, and revealed things to us.
2. Were they in any sense included in that Covenant made with Abraham, though not ac∣counted Page 47 counted for his Natural or Spiritual Seed, yet it would not follow from thence that they ought to be Baptized, because the Females, who were truly Abraham's Natural Seed, and some of them might be his Spiritual Seed too, yet were not Circumcised, no more than the Male Chil∣dren of the Godly were before Abraham's Time. And,
3. Were they in Covenant, as they are the Natural-Seed of Believers? then Baptism how∣ever does not bring them into the Covenant: and if so, their State is good, whether Baptized or no. And if Baptism brings them into the Covenant of Grace, then they have not right thereto, because they are in the Covenant: And if Baptism brings them into the Covenant of Grace, and makes the Covenant sure to them, then it would follow, that 'tis in the Power of Men, either to bring their Children into the Covenant of Grace, or keep them out; and that it is in effect to say, Parents have Power to save or destroy their Children: and how absurd that is, I will leave to all impartial Men to judg.
I shall, in the next place, prove,* that the Co∣venant of Circumcision was not a Covenant of Grace, or Faith, and therefore doth not con∣cern the Infant-Seed of believing Gentiles.
1. I argue thus:* That Covenant that was made to separate the Natural Seed of Abraham from all other Nations of the World, and made sure unto them the Earthly Promise of the Possession of the Land of Canaan, could not be a Covenant of Grace, which concerns the In∣fant-Seed of Believers under the Gospel.
But the Covenant of Circumcision was made to separate the Natural Seed of Abraham from all other Nations of the World, and made sure Page 48 unto them the Earthly Promise of the Possessi∣on of the Land of Canaan. Ergo, The Cove∣nant of Circumcision could not be a Covenant of Grace, which concerns the Infants of Be∣lievers under the Gospel.
The Major cannot be denied, because the Gospel, or second Covenant, is established upon no such earthly Promises as the Covenant of Circumcision was, not that we should have an Earthly Kingdom, or possess the Land of Canaan, but it is established on better Promises than these, as Heb. 8.6.
Also if that Covenant concerned us, or our Children, who are Gentiles, then the Gentiles had equal Right to that Earthly Inheritance; and then were not the Natural Seed of Abraham separated from all other People upon the account of that Earthly Blessing as their Possession only.
As to the Minor, see Gen. 17. I will establish my Covenant between me and thee, v.7. And I will give unto thee, and to thy Seed after thee, the Land wherein thou art a Stranger, all the Land of Canaan, for an everlasting Possession; and I will be their God, v. 8.
This is my Covenant which ye shall keep between me and you, and thy Seed after thee; Every Man-Child among you shall be cirumcised, v. 10.
1. There were some who were circumcised, to whom the Promise of the Gospel-Covenant God made with Abraham did not belong, as Ishmael, Esau, &c. God expresly said that his Cove∣nant, (i. e. the Covenant of Grace) was not established with Ishmael, but with Isaac, and yet the Covenant of Circumcision belonged to Ishmael as well as to Isaac.
See Gen. 17.20, 21. As for Ishmael, I have heard thee, behold, I have blessed him, &c. But my Covenant will I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear unto thee. Compare this with Page 49Rom. 9.7, 8, 9. Not because they are the Seed of Abraham, are they all Children; that is, Children of the Covenant of Grace, or the Children of God; but the Children of the Promise are counted for thy Seed; see Gal. 4.29, 30. Nay, all that were in Abraham's House, whether born there or Strangers, or such who were bought with his Money, were circumcised; but will you say, all these were in that Gospel-Covenant God made with him?
Moreover, there were other Persons in Abra∣ham's House, who, no doubt, might some of them be in the Covenant of Grace, and had the Pro∣mises belonging to them, who were neverthe∣less not circumcised, namely, the Females; also Male Infants dying before the eighth day coming from Abraham. Moreover, other godly Men who were not of Abraham's Family, yet lived in his time, as Melchisedec, Lot, Job, &c. none of these had right to be circumcised. But if any object and say, the Females were circumcised in the Males; I answer with Mr. Tombs, it is without Proof; and by like perhaps greater Reason it may be said, that the Children of Believers are baptized in the Persons of their Parents, and therefore are not to be baptized in their own Persons.
Also 'tis apparent that the Jews comprehended in that Covenant made with Abraham,* and cir∣cumcised accordingly, were nevertheless not ad∣mitted to Baptism upon that foot of account; which had the Covenant of Circumcision been a Gospel-Covenant, i. e. of the same nature, I see no reason why John Baptist should deny their Argument, i. e. We are Abraham's Seed, &c. Hence it plainly appears, that the right Evange∣lical Promises were not the adequate Reason of Circumcision: But as I have before said, the Precept, or express Command of God to Abra∣ham.Page 50 And from hence I shall infer this third Ar∣gument.
*That Covenant that was made with, or did belong unto the fleshly Seed of Abraham, and un∣godly ones as well as the godly, was not a Co∣venant of Grace, or Gospel-Covenant. But the Covenant of Circumcision was made with, or did belong to the fleshly Seed of Abraham, as Ishmael, Esau, and all the lineal Seed of Abraham, who were ungodly, as well as to the godly.
Ergo, The Covenant of Circumcision was not a Covenant of Grace, or Gospel-Covenant.
*If all who are in the Covenant of Grace, or Gospel-Covenant, do know the Lord from the greatest to the least of them;* then the Cove∣nant of Circumcision could not be the Cove∣nant of Grace, or Gospel-Covenant. But all who are in the Covenant of Grace, or Gospel-Covenant, do know the Lord from the greatest to the least of them.
Ergo, The Covenant of Circumcision was not the Covenant of Grace.
This Argument is fully proved by that in Jer. 31.32, 33, 34. Speaking of the new Cove∣nant which God would make with the House of Israel, which should not be according to the old, he goes on and tells us what God would do in that Covenant-day; that he would put his Law into their inward parts, and write it in their Hearts. And they shall teach no more every Man his Neighbour, and every Man his Brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know-me, from the least▪ of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord, &c.
And indeed in this very respect the Gospel-Covenant is not according to the old, as the Lord said it should not be, as well as in divers other cases; for many of those who were in the old Covenant (to which Circumcision did ap∣pertain) were Infants, tho all of them were Page 51 not taken in by Circumcision: for Female In∣fants were received into that old Covenant without it. Now these Children who were taken into that Covenant, did not know the Lord. Infants having no Understanding, know not their right Hand from their left, it is therefore im∣possible they should know the Lord;* and there∣fore also there was a necessity after they were in that Covenant, that they should be taught to know the Lord: First, that God is, and what a God he is, and so to know him, as to fear him and serve him in Sincerity.
But in the Gospel-Covenant God promised it should be otherwise; all who were received into that Covenant, should be Adult Persons, or such who did know the Lord, which plainly implies no ignorant Infant should be taken into that Covenant, and be a Member of that Church-State; for if so, then it would follow, such would have the like need to be taught to know the Lord, as they had in the old Covenant Church-State. And remakable it is, that this Text doth clearly intimate, that all who should be taken into the Gospel-Covenant, or Gospel-Church, should be discipled or taught, first to know God: for to be taught or discipled, is all one and the same thing, which agrees with Christ's great Commission, Matth. 28.19, 20. where he gave Directions who, or what kind of Persons they were to be, that he would have his Apostles receive into his Gospel-Church: and that they should be all of them first taught or made Disciples, and as such be baptized, is clearly declared. Now that this Text in Jer. 31. refers to the Gospel-Covenant, is evident; see Heb. 8.7, 8, 9, 10.
That Covenant that was a part or branch of the old Covenant, or Covenant of Works,* was not a Covenant of Grace, or Gospel-Covenant.
The Major cannot be denied.
The Minor is easily proved. That which bound or obliged all those who were under it, or did it, to keep the whole Law, and was also abro∣gated▪ or taken away by Christ, with all the other Rites and Shadows of the old Covenant, was a part or branch of the said old Covenant. But Circumcision bound or obliged all who were circumcised to keep the whole Law,* and also the same Rite of Circumcision was abro∣gated, with all other Rites and Shadows of the old Covenant by Christ, Ergo, Circumcision was a part or branch of the old Covenant. See Gal. 5▪ 〈◊〉testify to every Man that is circumcised, that he is a Debtor to keep the whole Law.
*That Covenant which was in its nature and quality as much a Covenant of Works as the Covenant made with Adam, or the Sinai-Cove∣nant,* was not a Covenant of Grace, or Gospel-Covenant, whereof Christ is the Mediator. But the Covenant of Circumcision was in its nature and quality as much a Covenant of Works as that Covenant made with Adam, or the Sinai-Covenant, Ergo, The Covenant of Circumcision wa• not a Covenant of Grace, or Gospel-Cove∣nant, Read Reverend Mr. Philip Cary's De∣sence and Proof of the substance of this Argu∣ment, in his just Reply to Mr. John Flavel, p. 59, 60.
Thus he says (and doubeless speaks the truth) viz.
It accepted (as he shews) of no short En∣deavours, nor gave any Strength, and is called a Ministration of Death and of Condemnation, 2 Cor. 3. And moreover, 'tis called in express terms, the old Covenant which God made with the Children of Israel when he brought them up out of the Land of Egypt, Heb. 8.9. Also the new Covenant is said to be directly contrary unto it, or not according to it, but opposed thereto, and that there was no Righte∣ousness by it, nor Life: for, as the Apostle shews, if there had, Christ is dead in vain; and besides, the Apostle says 'tis done away. Now all these things being considered, Mr. Fla∣vel, 'tis evident, doth but beat the Air, and darken Counsel; and all that he hath said in his last Book in answer to that worthy Gentle∣man Mr. Cary, deserves no further Answer.
And as the Terms were the same, so were the Promises; that which was the great Promise of the Covenant of Circumcision, was the Land of Canaan, and God to be their God, in fulfilling that earthly Promise to Abraham's Natural Seed, upon the Condition of the keeping that Cove∣nant on their parts.
That which Mr. Flavel hath said in his last Reply,* (in his Book called, A succinct and seasona∣ble Discourse) to Mr. Cary, is mainly to prove that there is but one Covenant of Works, pag. 217, 218, &c.
To which I answer, by way of Concession, yet must say, that Covenant had several Ministrati∣ons and Additions, as had also the Covenant of Grace; because the Covenant of Works was made with Adam, by which he stood in the time of his Innocency, justified and accepted by vir∣tue thereof.
Could not God give forth a second Ministration or Transcript of his Righteous and Holy Law; though not to Justification, yet to aggravate his Sin, and so to his just Condemnation▪ And doth not St. Paul assert the same thing, Rom. 3.19, 20. compared with Rom. 7.13. That Sin by the Com∣mandment (or Law) might become exceeding sin∣ful? So Gal. 3.19.
Nay, I will affirm always generally, when the Scriptures of the New-Testament speak of the Page 55 Old Covenant, or first Covenant,* or Covenant of Works, it passes by in silence the Covenant made with Adam; and more immediately and directly applies it to the Sinai-Covenant, and to the Co∣venant of Cirrumcision, as all careful Readers, who read the Epistles to the Romans, Galathians, and to the Hebrews, may clearly find. But to proceed, Though we say there is but one Cove∣nant of Grace, yet it is evident there were seve∣ral distinct Ministrations or Additions of it; yet we say, the Promise of the Gospel, or Gospel-Covenant, was the same in all Ages, in respect of things promised, with the Nature and Qua∣lity thereof, which is a free and absolute Cove∣nant, without Works, or any Conditions or fore∣seen Acts of Righteousness, or any thing to be done by the Creature, Rom. 4. 5.
The Substance and essential Part of this Cove∣nant, is Christ, Faith, a new Heart,* Regenera∣tion, Remission of Sins, Sanctification, Perseve∣rance, and everlasting Life. Yet this Evangeli∣cal Covenant had divers Forms or Transcripts of it, which signified those things, and various Sanctions by which it was given forth and confir∣med. To Adam the Promise was made, under the name of the Seed of the Woman bruising the Head of the Serpent; to Enoch, Noah, &c. In other Forms to Abraham, under the name of his Seed, in whom all the Nations of the Earth should be bles∣sed. To Moses, by the name of a great Prophet of his Brethren like unto him; and it was also signifi∣ed to him under dark Shadows and Sacrifices. Unto David, under the name of a Successor in his Kingdom. In the New-Testament, in plain words, We all with open Face, beholding as in a Glass the Glo∣ry of the Lord, &c. 2 Cor. 3.18.
But now, because there were so many Addi∣tions of the Gospel Promise and New-Covenant; are there so many New Covenants? this being so, Page 56 Mr. Flavel hath done nothing to remove Mr. Ca∣ry's Arguments, but they stand as a Rock. Take another of them.
*That Covenant in which Faith was not rec∣koned to Abraham for Righteousness, could not be a Gospel-Cov•••n•, or a Covenant of Grace. But the Scripture is express, that Faith was not reckoned to Abraham for Righteousness when he was Circumcised, but in Uncircumcision, Rom. 4▪ 9, 10. Ergo, The Covenant of Circumcision was not a Gospel-Covenant, or a Covenant of Grace.
* That Law or Covenant which is contradistin∣guished, or opposed unto the Righteousness of Faith, could not be a Covenant of Faith, or a Gospel-Covenant.* But the Law or Covenant of Circumcision is, by the Apostle plainly opposed to, or contradistinguished unto the Righteousness of Faith, Rom.•. 1•. Ergo, The Law, or Cove∣nant of Circu••ision was not a Gospel-Cove∣nant. And from hence, Mr. Cary argues thus,
*That Covenant that is plainly represented▪ to us in Scripture as a 〈◊〉-Covenant, in and by which there was imposed such a Yoke upon the Necks of the Jews,* which neither those in the Apostles ••me, nor their Fathers were able to bear, could be no other than a Covenant of Works, and not of Grace.
But the Scriptures do plainly represent, such was the Nature of the Covenant of Circumcisi∣on, Page 57Acts 15.10. Gal. 5.1, 2, 3. Ergo, The Co∣venant of Circumcision was not a Gospel-Cove∣nant, but a Covenant of Works. Thus Mr. Ca∣ry argues also. And thus we have proved from God's Word, and sound Arguments, that the Covenant of Circumcision was not a Gospel-Covenant.
Object. But lest any should think, that we shut out all dying Infants from having any Benefit by Christ.
I answer;* I doubt not but God might com∣prehend them in that glorious Covenant or Compact made between him and our Surety in the Covenant of Redemption; but as I said be∣fore, Secret things belong to God.
But let me here add one word or two further, i. e. Circumcision, you say, was a Priviledg; so we say too; but not such a Priviledg as you do imagine.
1. It doth profit as a Priviledg, because it was given as a Token or Sign to Abraham's natural Seed, that they should have the Land of Canaan for an everlasting possession.
2. As a Token or Sign to them of the giving forth of the Law on Mount Sinai. He dealt his Laws and Statutes to Israel, he did not do so to any other Nation. This Rite therefore could not be a Gospel-Rite, nor the Covenant it was a sign of a Gospel-Covenant, in which the Gentile Chri∣stians are concerned: And thus the Apostle ar∣gues, Rom. 3. 1. What Advantage then hath th• Jew? or what Profit is there in Circumcision? ver. 2. Much every way; chiefly, because unto them were committed the Oracles of God. You may soon know the Nature of that Covenant made with Abraham's natural Seed; and of Circumcision, which was a Sign of it: The chiefest Priviledg which attended it, was the giving to them, i. e.Page 58 the People of Israel, the Law of the Ten Com∣mandements.
*3. Circumcision by the Doctrine of St. Paul, was a Priviledg if they kept the Law 〈◊〉 for, Cir∣cumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the Law; but if thou break the Law, thy Circum•ision is made Ʋn∣circumcision, or a Nullity, and profiteth thee no∣thing, that is, if thou keep not the Law perfectly. And thus speak our late Annotators on the place;
Hence 'tis said to be a Yoke of Bondage, which neither they nor their Fathers could bear, Acts 15. because it obliged them to univer••l O∣bedience, or to keep the Law perfectly, and brought them under a Curse if they did not, Gal. 3.10.
Page 59These things considered, fully shew of what stamp and nature Circumcision was, together with that Covenant to which it did apper∣tain.
I come now to what you further assert in the 9th Page of your Book, viz.
Answ. 1. Infants being once Members of the Jewish Church,* doth not prove they were ever Members of the Gospel-Church: the Male In∣fants of God's Priests under the old Covenant, when grown up, had other Priviledges: If we must call Circumcision a Priviledg, which the Sons of Christ's Ministers have no right to under the Gospel, and yet no where in express words in the New-Testament excluded from that Pri∣viledg.
2. But I have proved the Covenant for Infants, in Covenanting under the Law, was no Gospel Covenant, and so concerns not our Infants.
3. According to that Maxim, Ownis privatio intimat habitum; you know that every Dispossessi∣on implieth a Possession. Infants therefore cannot be cast out of the Gospel-Church, before it can be proved they were ever admitted. If Mr. Bur∣kitt, or the Athenian Society, or any Men living, can tell us in what visible Administration Children were admitted visible Church-Members before Abraham's days, which was above 2000 Years; and you say somewhat, you affirm they were always in Covenant.
Mr. Sidenham makes mention of a two-fold be∣ing in Covenant; 1. In relation to Election. Page 60 2. To be in Covenant, In faci• visibilis Ecclesiae.
To this I answer; The Covenant of Circum∣cision belonged to the Children of the Flesh, to Ishmael and Esau, as well as Jacob, who were not in the Election of Grace: therefore those who were Circumcised, were not so in Covenant. Children of Unbelievers may be in that sense in Covenant, as well as the Children of Believers; as many of them afterwards prove to be, nay, may be more of them than of the Children of Believers.
2. As touching Infants being in Covenant, In facie visibilis Ecclesiae, in the face of a visible Church. I answer, Though they were so in the Jewish Church under the Old Covenant, some with Circumcision were brought in, and some without it; yet that Covenant, and Covenant-Seed are (as I have and shall yet prove) cast out, which will be a final Answer.
Thus I argue;
*If the Covenant for incovenanting of Infants was the Old Covenant signified by Hagar, and that Covenant-Seed signified by Ishmael, are cast out, then the natural or fleshly Seed of Believers are cast out, or not to be admitted into the Go∣spel-Church.
But the Covenant for Incoven•••ing of Infants, was the Old Covenant signified by Hagar, and that Covenant-Seed signified by Ishmael, are cast out.
Ergo, The 〈◊〉 or fleshly Seed of Believers are cast out, or not to be admitted into the Go∣spel Church• see Gal. 4.22, 23, 24, 25, 26. For it is written, that Abraham had two Sons, the one by a B•nd• woman, the other by a 〈◊〉 woman. Ver. 24. Which things are 〈◊〉 Alleg•ry; for these are the two Co∣venants, the one from the Mount Sinai, which g•n∣dereth to Bondage, which is Hagar, &c. Ver. 30. Nevertheless, which saith the Scripture? Cast out the Page 61 Bond-woman and her Son; for the Son of the Bond-woman shall not be Heir with the Son of the Free-woman.
By Hagar is meant, all agree, the Old Cove∣nant; and by casting her out, is held forth the abolishing or taking away of the Old Covenant; He took away the First, that he might establish the Second.*
2. By Ishmael is meant the natural Seed of Abraham; and so the natural Seed of all Godly Men of his Race that succeeded him, who were Members of that Church; and as the late An∣notators note by this place is signified, The total Destruction of the Jewish Church, which consisted of Parents and their Children, or the whole Nation of Israel, this Church and Church-Seed, and manner of Church-Membership, is cast out and gone for ever.
Pray read Mr. Cary's Solemn Call, and what I have formerly said in that Book intituled, Gold Restn'd; or, Baptism in its Primitive Purity, p. 113.
Mr. Cary and we all say, That Children were once admitted Members of the Jewish Church:* But evident it is, that God hath now quite pul∣led down and razed that House to the Foundati∣on thereof, I mean that National Church of the Jews, and broke up House-keeping, and turned the Bond-woman and her Son (i. e. the fleshly Seed, or natural Off-spring of Abraham) out of Doors; the natural Branches are broken off, and God hath now built him a new and more glori∣ous and spiritual House under the Gospel, into which he admitted none as his Houshold-Servants, to dwell in this his Spiritual Family, or Gospel-Church, but Believers only, or such as profess themselves so to be: Yea,* (saith St. Peter) as lively Stones are built up a spiritual House, &c. And that the Old House, the Jewish Church-State, with all the Appurtenances, Rites and Priviledges Page 62 of it, are abolished, or pulled down, and a new one built and set up, into which Infants are not to be admitted; is very evident; Heb. 7.12. For the Priesthood being changed, there is made of ne∣cessity a change also of the whole Law; which must needs include Circumcision, with all the Appur∣tenances and Priviledges belonging to it.* And therefore as Infant Church-Membership came in with the Law of Circumcision, and as a direct Part of the Old Covenant, or Old Law, so like∣wise plain it is, that it went out and was disan∣nulled with it.
Take again my former Simily, viz.
What Priviledges soever are given to any Per∣son by an Act of Parliament, which said Law was to continue in Force so long and no longer; then when that time is expired, and another Parlia∣ment makes a new Law, where many things are contained that were in the first Law: But those divers Priviledg•• given to those Persons in the former Law, are left out in this latter Act; would it not be a piece of Folly for any of them to plead those Priviledges, by virtue of a Law that is gone, and now not in any force? But to come a little nearer the case, in a more apt Si∣mile;* Suppose a Man should have a Legacy be∣queathed to him, by the Will and Testament of his Friend, and yet afterwards his Friend sees good to make another Will, which is his last Will and Testament; and in this last Will and Testament he leaves him quite out, not men∣tioning his Name, bequeathing no such Legacy to him; would it not be folly in him to sue for that Legacy left him in the first Will and Te∣stament:
Sir, the Case is thus in hand, we read of two Covenants or Testaments, an Old and a New, a First and a Second: Now in the Old Will, or Old-Testament, Infants were admitted to the Page 63 Priviledg of Church-Membership, in that Legal or National Church of the Jews; And Na∣tional Church-Priviledges are now made null and void by the Gospel-Covenant, which is Christ's last Will and Testament, in which Infant Church-Membership is quite left out, their Names not being mentioned, as having right to any Gospel-Ordinance, as Baptism, the Lord's Supper, &c. If we would know the Mind of God herein, we must of necessity have re•ourse to Christ's last Will and Testament, since the Gospel is so called, and that the first, or old is taken away, and there is no Man can prove any one old Rite that did appertain to the natural Off-spring of Abraham, or Believers, remains to them, which is not mentioned in the new or last Will and Testament of Jesus Christ; 'tis plain they had (or least wise) some of them other external Priviledges besides that of Circumcision; and yet I see no Man contend for any one Rite but only this they call the Seal of the Covenant. Why might not Ministers plead for all their Sons to have right to the Ministry,* since that Priviledg was given them in the Old-Testament? And for all Male-Children that open the Womb, to be holy to the Lord? which Blessing belonged to them under the Law, and also plead for the Tenths and First-fruits? &c.
I desire you and the Athenian Society carefully to consider this, and weigh what we have said; we have shewed you and them how Infants who were once in Covenant, that is, in the Jewish or old Covenant, are cast out, or left out; for indeed they were never admitted into the New-Testament-Church; but since they are not put in, and the old Covenant and old Church-Member∣ship being cast out and gone, in vain is it for any to plead their Right by an abrogated Law.
Page 64Besides, you say Circumcision was the Seal of that Covenant, by virtue of which Infants had a Right to Church-Membership; if so, 'tis evident that Covenant is gone, because 'tis can∣celled; for the tearing off; or breaking off the Seal, we all look •pon the cancelling the Cove∣nant: That Circumcision (the Seal, as you call it) is broken off, I am sure you cannot deny: Sir, what is then become of your Cove∣nant for incovenanting Children?
Object. But may be you will object, and say, that you do not contend for that particular Rite or Insti∣tution, but of a visible Church-Membership of Infants perpetual in all Ages, and an indefinite Seal.
1. Reply; How doth it appear the Infants of the Godly before Abraham's time, had any right to visible Church-Membership? or what Seal had they?
2. Such a Right is a meer Figment, like Idea 〈◊〉; all Institutions merely positives, are of such a Rite in particular; and an initial Seal is meerly positive, as Signs that are not natural, but by the Will of the Appointer; and therefore there is no initial Seal indefinite.
Sir, now you have no way left, but to see, since the old Covenant is cancelled, whether you can find the Baptism of Infants in the New Testament, and there taught, laid down and prefix'd to it, as Circumcision was to the old? Do that, and you do all; do not that, and all you do is just nothing.
But you in Pag. 9. raise up many Absurdities that follow this, that Infants are cast out, or not taken into the Gospel-Church.
Page 65Answ. You should, before you brought this pretended Absurdity upon us, have shewed what Advantage did accrue to Infants by Cir∣cumcision, and how that added to the goodness of their Condition; it put them, 'tis plain, to a great deal of Pain; and the Apostle says, it was a Yoke of Bondage, which neither they nor their Fathers could bear.
Being Members of that Church, did not save them, nor purge away Original Sin, &c. tho I doubt not it served for the end God appointed it; yet I say, how did it add to the goodness of Infants Condition?
2. Then, say you, the Privileges of the Gospel are straiter and narrower than those of the Law.
Answ. If you once imagine, that the outward or external Privileges of the Gospel are larger,* or so large as those were under the Law, you are greatly mistaken. The Jews and Jewish Teachers or Priests had many external Privileges which Christians and Ministers under the Gospel have not; they had a lovely Country promised to them, a Land that flowed with Milk and Hony: out∣ward Peace, Riches, and gathering of Wealth, were Privileges belonging to them; but we under the Gospel have no such Privileges, but are to expect Persecution, and what not.
Yet our Privileges are better and greater, tho more spiritual, 'tis a Covenant established upon better Promises: our Children, when grown up, sit under the clear and glorious Light of the Gospel which they and theirs then had held forth but in dark Shadows.
Moreover, Then the Church-State was confin'd to the natural Seed of Abraham, &c. But now all in all Nations who repent and believe the Gospel, the poor Gentiles are now become Fellow-Heirs indeed: our spiritual Priviledges do infinitely excel theirs, but not in Externals, Page 66 now greater Infusions of the holy Spirit.
O Sir, what Priviledges had the Gentiles or their Children then? is not the case mended with us?
3. You say,
Answ. 1. I answer, had it been the Will of God, that Infants should under the Gospel be admitted into the Church by Baptism, Christ you might rather say, had been forgetful or un∣faithful in not giving the least intimation of his Mind and Pleasure therein, who declared all things plainly from the Father, and was faithful as a Son over his own House.
2. That which is not contained in his last Will and Testament in this and other matters, is sufficient to declare his Mind and Will in the Negative. And so you know 'tis in all last Wills and Testaments among Men, if it be not expressed in the Affirmative, it needs not be expressed in the Negative; and if not because 'tis not forbidden it may be done, so may a hundred things more; nay, many Jewish Rites and Popish Innovations too, for where are they forbid? The sum therefore of our Answer to all you say upon this account, is this; The Privi∣leges which are Rites, Ordinances or Sacraments, are not so many as you would have, or so many as the Jews of old had, nor are they to be Page 67 administred according as you fancy or approve of, or according to your Reasonings, but ac∣cording to God's express Appointment. Rightly doth Mr. Ball in his forementioned Book speak, Posit. 3, 4. p. 38.
Were it not thus, how could we deny or oppose the Papists seven Sacraments? or con∣demn Salt, Oil Spittle to be used in Baptism, which they use in it, seeing these are not for∣bid? But well saith Tertullian,
You say, Pag. 10. before you end this Ar∣gument,
Answ. Did this stumble them in the Apostoli∣cal Days, who were told, that Circumcision a∣vailed nothing, nor Ʋncircumcision? the truth is, if Circumcision availed nothing, but was a Yoke of Bondage, then why should that stumble them? Page 68 It might be a greater Stumbling-block in their way, to tell them their Church-State, and all their Privileges are now gone, and now they must not look upon themselves better than the Gentiles; no more Scepter in Judah, no Land of Canaan, no Temple, no High-Priest, the Levites Sons, as such, now no more Ministers, no Suc∣cession of Priest-hood: What of all this, when they hear of better Privileges for them? And that their Infants who die, may go to Heaven, tho not circumcised nor baptized? and if they live to be Men and Women, and do believe, (or God doth please to call them) the Pro∣mise of Pardon of Sin, and of the holy Spirit is to them, and that they shall be saved, Acts 2. 39. Are not they and all others told, that old things are passed away, and all things are become new?* &c. 2 Cor. 5.16. Wherefore henceforth we know no Man after the Flesh: it seems then that heretofore there had been a knowledg of Per∣sons after the Flesh; and 'tis plain there was, that because the Jews were of the natural or fleshly Seed of Abraham, and were therefore all of them admitted to the Privilege of external Church-Membership, while others were ex∣empted: But we see the Apostle resolves hence∣forth to disclaim any such Value, Esteem, Preference or Knowledg of them, or any others, upon the ac∣count of meer fleshly Descent. And to this very pur∣pose immediately subjoins in the following Verse, Therefore if any Man be in Christ,*he is a new Crea∣ture; old things now are past away, and all things are become new: the old Church and old Church-membership, Privileges, Rites and Ordinances, and a new Church-State, new Ordinances, new Rites, a new Seed, and a new way of Intro∣duction unto the participation of Gospel-Privi∣ledges and Church-membership; and if this should stumble them, who can help it? We know Page 69 they have stumbled upon as bad Rocks as this. Moreover, denying Infants any right to Gospel-Ordinances, cannot fill the Mouths of Jewish Chil∣dren with clamorours and passionate Complaints against Christianity, because they could not see Jewish Children had such benefit by Circumcision as you intimate: no, no, they must yield to the Soveraign Will of the great Lord, and plead for no more Privileges, nor any otherwise than he sees good to ordain and appoint.
I am sure, if what you say was true,* it is enough to fill the Mouths of poor Unbelievers Children among us who are Gentiles, with cla∣morous Complaints against their Parents, if they did regard what you say: and doubtless there are more of them, I mean more Chil∣dren born of Ungodly Parents, than such born of Godly Parents: And what may they say, and how may they expostulate their own Condition? Alas! alas! sad is our State, our Parents were wicked and ungodly People, and we are by that means left of God; to us belongs no Covenant, no Sacraments, nor hopes of Mercy; God hath taken none but the Children of Godly Persons into Covenant! We were baptized, alas, but had no right to it; our Condition is as bad as the State of the Children of Pagans and Turks! Sir, if People did consider well the Purport of your Doctrine, they must needs have their Hearts rise against you: Nay all or most Chil∣dren may be in a doubt, whether their Parents were truly godly, and so in Covenant or not; for if not, you must fly to some other Argu∣ment to prove their Baptism and Church-Pri∣vileges, than that of their Parents being in Covenant. True, the case under the Law was another thing; for if their Parents were Jews, or the natural Seed of Abraham, whether godly or not, yet they knew they had right to those Page 70 external Privileges. And so much to your Ab∣surdities, and they are returned on your own Head.
In pag. 11. you lay down your Arguments to prove the Covenant made with Abraham was a Covenant of Grace.
*1. Your first Note is this;
Answ. 1. I have proved that Covenant made with Abraham, was a mixt Covenant; and I de∣ny not but the Covenant of Grace made in Christ was promised to Abraham, which takes in only the true Spiritual Seed, and to all those God is in a special manner become a God un∣to.
*2. Evident it is, all manner of God's Cove∣nanting Transactions since the Fall, of what na∣ture soever, have been no other ways, than through the interposition of a Mediator; as that with Noah about the Flood, &c. Gen. 9.8, 9. in that God shewed himself to be the God of the Old World; and so he is by Creation and Providence, &c. Yet it doth not follow, that Covenant was the Covenant of Grace, or that God hath received them into special favour with himself. So when God gave out that fiery Law on Mount Sinai, he told them, Exod. 20.2. I am the Lord your God, &c. This was the very Introduction to that part of the Law which was Page 71 written in Stone; which nevertheless the Apostle expressly calls it, A Ministration of Death and Con∣demnation, 2 Cor. 3.7, 8. and that it killed,* and could not give Life. Now must this be a Cove∣nant of Faith or Grace? How is it then that the Apostle Paul says, The Law is not of Faith; also the Covenant of Grace giveth Life?
But I argue thus, The Law could not give Life; Ergo, The Law was not a Covenant of Grace.
And so much to your first Note, or Observa∣tion.
2. Your second Observation is,*
Answ. You might have left out this, only it helps to add to the number; you have answer∣ed this your self, in saying, The Hebrew word for Everlasting, sometimes signifies no more than a long continuance of Time. Sir, We know it very well; and those Mosaical Rites that ended in Christ, are said to be for Everlasting. But when the Lord saith, he will be a Person's God, for ever and ever, or everlastingly, it denotes his being so to all Eternity: But God never said he would be the God everlastingly, or to all Eternity, to all who were concern'd in the Cove∣nant of Circumcision: Nor was he Ishmael's God so, though Circumcised; and has he not cast off that whole Nation of the Jews, with whom he made that Covenant? and is not so their God now, though he is, I confess, to all Eterni∣ty, or everlastingly, the God of all Abraham's Spiritual Seed, viz. all true Believers in Christ.
3. Your third and last Argument or Note,* to prove the Covenant of Circumcision a Covenant of Grace, is taken from the Benefits and
Answ. This is idem, & bis idem, culpandum est, the same again which is already answered. Sir, Is God everlastingly a God to Abraham, and to all his fleshly Seed; and to Believers, who are the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, and to all their fleshly Seed; I say, is this so? Does God give himself, all he is, and all he has, to every Be∣liever, and to all his fleshly Seed? Have all their Children, or every one of them, Christ, Grace, Holiness here, and Glory and eternal Happiness hereafter? Or are you not to be justly blamed thus to jumble things confusedly together? 'Tis true,* the Covenant of Grace made with Abra∣ham, and all his true Spiritual Seed, (who are the Elect) have Interest in all God is; and has so far as it can be communicated to Creatures; and we know they have Christ, (as well as are Christ's, as Paul notes, Gal. 4.) and Grace here, and shall have Glory hereafter: But a multitude of Abraham's natural Off-spring, and the natural Off-spring of Believers, have neither Christ, nor Grace, nor shall be saved, but perish eternally. Therefore this may serve for an Answer, with what I have proved before, touching the Nature of that two-fold Covenant made with Abra∣ham.
To what you speak in the second place, pag. 12, 13. as also in your third Reply, viz.
Answ. You had this before, and I have already answered it, only I shall add a Passage or two of Martin Luther.
Mr.Perkins on the Galatians,* concerning the Covenant made with Abraham;
Now this Covenant we grant thus made with Abraham, is one and the same with the Covenant of Grace; but what does this signify to the In∣fants, or fleshly Seed of Believers, as such? And thus I shall pass to your next Argument, pag. 14.