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Presbyterians (I speak now of all that I have ever known or heard of, particularly the most rigid among them) Presbyterians, I say, believe, that according to th: tenor of the Covenant of Grace, salvation is promised, that is, secured by covenant engagement, to all who sincerely repent of sin, and unfeignedly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course they consider all who bear this character, to whatever external church they may belong, or even if they bear no relation to any visible church, as in covenant with God, as interested in his great and precious promises, and as in the sure and certain road to his heavenly kingdom-They know, indeed, and teach that it is the duty of all who believe in Christ, to connect themselves with his visible church ; they teach also, that receiving the seals of God's covenant and attending on all the ordinances of his house, are solemnly enjoined, and productive of essential advantages. Nay, they go so far as to pronounce that he who neglects these ordinances, when he is favoured with an opportunity of attending on them, gives, in ordinary cases, too much reason to fear, whatever may be his declarations to the contrary, that he has no real love to Christ. But still they do not, and without contradicting the scriptures, they cannot, teach that the means of religion

but that which is promised or secured by the covenant of grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord. If Dr. Bowden and Mr. How have discovered any other kind or channel of divine mercy, I can only say, they have not found it in the Bible.

constitute its essence, or that the scals of the covenant, form the covenant itself. The seal on a bond, is not itself the contract, but only the evidence of it. In like manner, the seals of the Christian cove. nant, are not in themselves the promise or the engagement either on the part of God or man ; but are the constituted means of recognizing or ratifying a covenant transaction, supposed to have previously taken place in secret, when the person receiving the seal, embraced the gospel, and cordially devoted himself to Christ on the terms of the covenant.

I repeat it then, the doctrine of all Calvinistic Presbyterians is, that every one who loves the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, and maintains a holy life, whatever may be the mistakes into which he may fall, or the prejudices against particular parts of evangelical truth and order which he may entertain ; whatever the disadvantages under which he may labour, with respect to his ecclesiastical con. nexions; or even if he were placed in circumstances in which he never saw a place of public worship, a minister of the gospel, or a church of ficer of any kind, in his life; that every such person is in covenant with God, and has that title to salvation which is given by the promise of a faithful God to every sincere believer. How much error, how much infirmity, how much deviation from the external order which God hath appointed in his house, is consistent with true faith, we know not, nor has any Presbyterian, with whose person or writings I am acquainted, ever attempted to decide. But that every one who has sincere faith in Christ, is in covenant with God, they, with one voice, proclain and teach.

This simple statement also refutes another assertion, which Mr. How permits himself, without the smallest foundation, to make and repeat. The assertion to which I allude, is conveyed in the followlowing terms. “ All of you declare baptism and " the supper to be general conditions of salvation ;

representing them as seals of the covenant of grace, without which, it is impossible to have

any ordinary or regular claim to the blessings of 16 that covenant. Such as habitually neglect these " ordinances, saving a little allowance for error,

you exclude from the kingdom of heaven.“ Intolerant and wretched bigots! To give so “ much importance to the ceremony of sprinkling “ water, or of receiving bread and wine! And to " tell us too, that it is impossible to have these ore “ dinances, except at the hands of ministers Pres" byterially ordained. How much better is all " this than the tale of Papal infallibility! How far

are you removed from catholic absurdity and

arrogance !" Letters, p. 117. Mr. How asserts that all Presbyterians believe and speak thus. But can he find one that does ? I know of none; and am confident there is none. Our Confession of Faith says no such thing. On the contrary, it expressly declares, that persons to whom these ordinances are never administered, may be saved; and that those who do receive them may perish.“ But,” says Mr. How, “Your Confession of Faith represents Bap“tism as the only mode of admission into the vi. " sible church; it declares that out of the visible

church, there is no ordinary possibility of salva« tion; and it maintains that Baptism ought not

to be administered by any but a minister of the “ gospel lawfully ordained. Does it not follow " then, that without Baptism, there is “ po ordi“ nary possibility of salvation ?" No, it does not follow. His premises are incorrect, and his conclusion is equally so.

With all his confidence, he blunders at every step. Every one who has read our Confession of Faith, knows its doctrine on this sabject to be, that all who profess the true religion, are members of the visible church; that the children of such persons, by virtue of their birth, and of course anterior to Baptism, are also members of the church ; and that Baptism is only the appointed seal, or solemn recognition and ratification of their membership. This is perfectly plain; and it cuts up by the roots every pretence for the statement which Mr. How has made.

With respect to Mr. How's direct and repeated assertion, that Calvinistic Presbyterians make a belief in the doctrine of “ Election, and the other, “ rigid peculiarities of Calvinism,essen. tial to our being in covenant with God, and that

and they represent all who do not receive these

pecu“ liarities” as given up to uncovenanted mercy, it

F

is difficult to answer it as it deserves, without speaking of its author in a manner in which I cannot permit myself to speak of a Christian mi. nister. It is no arrogance to say that I am probably as familiar with the writings of Calvinistic divines, as Mr. How: and I can solemnly declare, that to the best of my recollection, I never met with one who expressed such a sentiment, or who gave the least reason to suppose that he held it: nor do I believe that Mr. How ever saw or heard of one.

On the contrary, I have scarcely ever opened a volume by the most zealous Calvinist, in which a question of this kind was discussed, without finding an acknowledgment, either express or implied, of the sincere piety, and of course the covenant title to heaven, of many who were far from being Calvinists. But you will find, my brethren, before you have completed the perusal of these sheets, some apology for Mr. How. You will clearly perceive that he is not acquainted with the writings of Calvin, and that he does not understand the system of doctrines which is distinguished by the name of that

great

Reformer. Mr. How, in his zeal to prove that Presbyterians, are even more uncharitable than such highchurch-men as himself and others, endeavours, to throw great odium on a clause in the 10th chapter of our Confession of Faith, which is in the following wdrds—“Much less can men, not professing “ the Christian religion, be saved, in any

other

way

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